Ch-ch-ch-changes

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything.  I don’t have an excuse per se, and I won’t offer any apology.  Though I know someone out there reads my simple words, this blog has always been more for me as a catharsis than it ever was for anyone outside myself.  It’s been a way to collect and catalogue my thoughts, even if it’s been semi-public.  Readers, you do, of course have my undying affection and gratitude, but I write for my own mental health more than for any other purpose.

The last year and change has been a jumble of highs and lows, fits of joy and fits of melancholy, good things and bad things and days when I didn’t think my life could ever get any worse.  My confidence and my self-image and my pride were shaken more times than I imagined possible by something other than the heart-breaking, soul-crushing terror of the man I loved telling me he no longer loved me and hadn’t for a long time.  My divorce was finalized.  I graduated culinary school with honors.  I started seeing someone who cheated on me and then blamed me for it when he wouldn’t act like a man and just be honest with me.  My ex-husband’s new wife sent me something in the mail. My grandmother died.  I got a new job and moved out of my parents’ house.

I’ve been kicked and beaten and bullied by life.  I learned just how brutal life can be and just how depressed a person could be without actually resorting to self-harm.  I’ve questioned my very existence and my worthiness to continue this life.  I’ve questioned my personality.  I’ve become fairly certain that I am going to be and deserve to be alone for the rest of my life.  Women like me–smart, funny, pretty women–don’t end up with a forever partner like everyone else.  We’re different, so we end up alone.  Silos of difference, longing for affection and understanding, having to settle for mere physical contact from a random few who mistake us.

All of my soul-searching and loss led me to the conclusion that I am not cut out for work in the culinary industry.  My catering job ended in disaster.  My boss told me I was a bitch and demoted me, which I took as a signal that my job was in danger.  I left because I was sure the next step was getting fired.  People in the culinary field are either brutal and mean or overly sensitive.  It all stems from an overall lack of maturity among most kitchen workers.  (I say most because I met some incredibly intelligent, talented people in culinary school, but they were very much the exception.)  I still dream of opening a little bakery of my own one day, but that dream is a long way off, still.  I absolutely believe it will happen, but now is not the right time for it.

Now for the big exciting job opportunity I found for myself a couple months ago.  Shortly after I left the catering company, my uncle told me he no longer needed me to come into the office because I’d basically completed all of the projects that they had for the foreseeable future.  This prompted a country-wide job search.  I found a job in Philadelphia for a traveling trainer for a company called Reynolds and Reynolds.  I applied and pretty quickly got a response asking me to take an assessment test.  The next week, I had a Skype interview with their recruiting office.  About a week after that, I had a face-to-face interview set up at the company headquarters in Dayton.  It was for a different position, but it felt very promising.  I spent over 3 hours there, including a rather lengthy interview with the managers with whom I’d be working.  I was interviewing for the Pittsburgh territory, but after reading over my resume, they mentioned that they had an opening in the Fredericksburg, VA area.  I’d been wanting to get back to the DC metro area for some time, so I jumped at the opportunity to have a job that would put me in that area of the country again.  The job requires 5 months of training in Houston, TX before I’m sent to my territory.  So, that’s where I am right now.  I’m in Houston, TX in an apartment that my company rented for the trainees they have.  It’s new and exciting and intimidating and a little scary.  I don’t know anyone here yet, beyond my fellow trainees and an uncle down in Galveston.

My goal for the next couple of months is to post more regularly.  I always feel very good after writing, and I know it will make the few of you who read this happy to hear I’m still alive.  😉

Race to the Finish

Today, I had my practical final in Breads.  We made Challah bread again.  I am fairly certain that I have an A, but Chef Weber was joking with me about giving me a 0 in some of my categories.  Very stressful!  I love my A’s, and I don’t like it when things stand in the way!  Making the Challah was difficult today because I had to wear gloves.  I still have open scrapes from my fall last week, so in order to comply with sanitation standards, I have to bandage them and wear single-use gloves.  It was kind of a pain in the ass because I couldn’t feel the bread, and I wasn’t able to get the necessary friction with the bench to roll the pieces out into long ropes like I needed to.  Everyone else in the class had long, thin loaves of Challah, while I had a short fat one.  It still tasted and looked pretty good, but I wasn’t able to get the length I wanted.

Monday, I turned in the final for my Intro class.  It went really well.  I am sure I’ll have a pretty good grade in that, too.  We did the tiramisu cupcakes again, and they turned out very nicely.  I didn’t actually eat them this time, though.  I took 2 home and gave them to my parents.  They had them last night after their dinner, and they said they were great.

My car is back in my possession!  I was able to pick it up last night.  I paid for it over the phone and picked it up after they closed.  I’m extremely happy to have my own vehicle back!  I was driving my grandpa’s Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight, which is a boat and a half.  It was seriously like driving a lazy-boy couch.  Very comfortable but a little awkward because of its size.

Tonight, I have my Nutrition presentation, and next Wednesday evening is the final.  I have my Sanitation final tomorrow, and a written final in Breads next Monday.  I have two tests coming up in my Math class, too:  the final unit text tomorrow followed by the final exam on Tuesday.  It will be nice to get to sleep in a couple of days next week!  I’ll probably still be up by 7:30, but it will be great to be able to sleep that little extra bit.

If I don’t post sooner, I’ll let you all know how everything went with finals and my date on Friday on Sunday with my weekly update post!

Car Trouble

So, I bought a car 2 and a half months ago.  It’s nothing special.  It’s a used Hyundai Elantra, so it’s not the nicest car in the world.  But, I noticed that it would behave badly sometimes.  Mostly when I had driven it two days in a row.  Not a good thing, especially when it took me 2 hours to drive the 45 minutes from Nelsonville to Lancaster because I kept having to stop.

I called the dealer in a tizzy last Wednesday and expressed my disgust at this, and they told me to bring it in.  I called back yesterday (Monday) to talk to them about how much this is going to cost me.  In my estimation, the car would have had to have been doing this long before I bought it, so it’s their responsibility to fix it for me, preferably at no cost to me.  They swore up and down that they did a thorough check and that all major problems were found and rectified.  Clearly not.

I dropped my car off to them yesterday afternoon.  It’s a small, family-run dealership, which means that they genuinely care about their customer and want them to come away satisfied.  I called them this morning to find out what was going on.  Apparently, my dad had called before I did.  I do in fact need a new transmission.  I asked what the status was and how much he thought they’d make me pay.  He told me not to worry that he’d call my dad with the details.  That made my blood boil a little.  I AM an adult, even if I’m living at home right now.

Around 4 this afternoon, my dad called to say that there may have been a misunderstanding with the car place, as they’ve been calling him with updates all day.  He said he wasn’t trying to interfere just wanted to tell them that he’d be able to pick up the car today if it was ready soon.  They took that to mean that he’d be handling it.  But, they told him that they’re only going to charge me $600 for everything since I bought the car so recently and they wanted to set things right and make sure I’m happy with them and the car.  That is a HUGE load off my shoulders.  Instead of the feared $2000+ I was expecting, I’m paying only $600.  I think my annoyance and my dad’s involvement probably helped them to make the choice to make me happy.  I would prefer not to pay anything at all, but I’ll take this over paying full price.

Monday Monday

Call it boredom, but I’m finding the urge to post a lot these last few days.  I had a really good day today, so far.  It’s only 3 in the afternoon, but it’s been really nice.  I’m starting to feel more comfortable in the kitchen classroom, which is a wonderful thing.  I’m finding that I have a good idea of where things are stored and kept.  I’m getting along well with all my classmates, and I’m settling into a kind of groove.  I think it’s probably fair to say I’m the oldest person in most of my classes.  Because of that, I tend to step into my oldest-child shoes.  It’s a comfortable fit!

I had my Intro to the Baking Industry class this morning first, followed by Breads and Baking Basics.  Intro was a lot of fun today.  We got to make more cinnamon rolls, and Chef Touria let us cut up fruit to improve our knife skills.  We segmented oranges first, then we did pineapple, and some of my group did strawberries, all of which we used to make smoothies.  We didn’t have any yogurt or ice, though, so they weren’t as good as they could have been.  They were still yummy, though!  The cinnamon rolls look better than the ones I made last week in Breads, but I haven’t tried them yet.  Everyone in the group said that they were way better than the ones we made on Wednesday.  We used the soft roll dough, and just made cinnamon rolls out of that instead of the sweet dough we used last week.

I have been having some sad days, lately.  I miss everyone terribly.  It’s been a difficult transition, despite my sunny posts.  I know that I’ll rebound eventually, but there have been a lot of days that I’ve doubted that.  There have also been days that I’ve doubted my ability to finish this program.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years, but I’m unsure of myself now that I’m actually doing it.  I know I present an exterior of confidence, but I have a lot of doubts about myself.  It doesn’t help that it’s a rainy day today, making my mood a little overcast like the skies.

Even with the doubts and sadness, I have had a good day so far.  I just wish some of you were here with me!  Posting about my adventures is fun, but nothing beats chatting with my friends.  Some of you can expect phone calls in the coming days!  🙂

Holding Pattern

School starts on Monday, September 27.  I’ve got all my books, and I was finally able to schedule all of my classes.  Right now, I’m just waiting.  I’m waiting for my uniform to arrive.  I’m waiting for classes to start.  I’m waiting.

It’s difficult to live with my parents after being out of their house for so long.  I am thirty years old.  I had a home of my own in Maryland.  It wasn’t much, but it was a place where I knew that I was the boss of my time and space.  Here, not as much.  I feel like I’m an intruder.  In a sense, I am.  My parents have had an “empty nest” for the last year or more, and I’m invading that.  It feels a little unnatural.

I suppose the unnatural feeling is a good thing – it means I won’t feel as inclined to stay.  I’m already plotting my escape.  I don’t think I’ll have much trouble finding something inexpensive in Nelsonville or Athens or The Plains.  Without a job, rent will not be something I can afford.  I’ve looked and applied for a few jobs.  So far, nothing, but I don’t need anything right now.  I have school to think about, and that should be enough to occupy my time.

I applied at the Dick’s that is opening up in my home town.  They rejected me.  I think it was the pink hair.  But, I’m pretty relieved, if I’m honest.  I didn’t want that job.  If they had offered it to me, I would have been in the awful situation of working somewhere I knew would make me miserable.  Or turning down a paying job just because it didn’t sound like as much fun as I think I deserve.  Plus, the thought of working Black Friday is…just…no.  I throw up a little in my mouth when I think about it.

So, for now I wait and hope that I get some kind of job to keep me out of the house longer than just school will.  I haven’t looked as hard for a job as I probably should have.  I am trying very hard to not worry about it.  I’ve been fairly successful so far, so I may end up working at Put-In-Bay with my brother and sister next summer to earn cash for the year.  I’ll be the sad old person waiting tables at a dive bar with all the young college kids.

Let the Adventure Begin!

A very good friend of mine suggested that I start a blog to chronicle my progress through the baking program at Hocking College.  I have decided to listen to her, in part to help me stay in touch with the dear friends I have made whom I am leaving behind.  This blog will be my place for writing about my experiences in culinary school.  I will try to write the good and the bad, making plenty of time for my homework, of course!

While not completely out of left field, my decision to leave a good job to attend culinary school is something of a reversal.   I never thought that I would be able to attend culinary school to pursue my dream of opening a bakery all of my own!

It is the final week and a half of my current job.  I’ll be moving to Ohio to live with my parents while I am in school, something I am actually excited about but which I never thought I’d find myself doing!

What I do now is technical training and IT support, which I enjoy.  That being said, it has become unchallenging.  For me, this is nearly as bad as being miserable with the people.  I adore all of the people with whom I work, and I will miss them terribly.  I will also miss the job itself, challenging or not.

My “move date” is September 10, two weeks from today.  At this time in two weeks, I will be at my parents’ house, on their couch instead of the one that I’ve occupied for the last 7 years.