As I Sit Here, Wishing to be Weird

As I sit here, completely uninspired and desiring to be, I watch other people. I always have watched other people; I watch them, wondering if they’re inspired or even happy. I’m not happy. I’m sitting here writing what feels like prose poetry, forgetting the definition I learned in school, catching every spelling mistake and getting frustrated because I hate prose poetry. Why can’t we keep the two separate?

And I realize that I need to cut my fingernails because it is no longer satisfying, but annoying to have them hit the keys on my keyboard. Maybe if my nails were stronger, but they don’t feel strong. I don’t feel strong. I’ve been sick for the last week, and I still feel exhausted. The coffee and bagel aren’t helping my energy levels…

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I am still sitting here writing whatever this is. Whatever this is that is completely inspired by my utter lack of inspiration. My desperation nags at me. I don’t want to be writing right now. I want to read, reread The HobbitPride and Prejudice (no zombies please). I want to do something where it’s considered acceptable to do nothing but read all day, the same books I’ve read a thousand times, if I so choose. I always talked about going to culinary school while I was a cook. Well, maybe I am still a cook, but not right now, right now I’m funemployed, as I’ve called it… My little joke, euphemism for not having a job because my old employer lost interest in us.

And I remember how fun it is to have my hair “weird” colors. I miss pink and purple and I long to try “opal” and I can’t because I worry that I may actually get an in-person interview with a company who doesn’t want to hire people with “weird” hair. At least I grew out my faux hawk. Not to mention, this is San Francisco, the mecca of weird hair, weird people. WEIRDNESS. I long to be more weird, but it’s expensive to be weird. Tattoos, hair dye, piercings, unless you have awesome weird friends with talents they’re willing to freely give away. The services required to look “weird” are not cheap. Unless you wanted to look cheap as part of your weird. I don’t know. I want my hair to look artistic and cared for, not just weird.

I am still sitting here and I’m glad, knowing that my goal of forcing myself to write something down would make me write anything and would also literally make me feel better. I do. With my “normal” blonde hair, or maybe it’s bland, I don’t think so, yet. My shirt that says “but first, coffee.” Another attempt at normal I guess. If I stopped being so normal, I would be more brave. I miss being weird. When I first moved here, to San Francisco, I was more weird. I had more “muchness” to me. But I’ve been scared and become lazy too; I think that’s the problem.

I don’t know where to go to become inspired. I want people to call me to hang out and they don’t. I don’t know where to go. I want someone to guide me a little. Help me become weird again. Instead I sit in the cafe, drinking coffee. Pretending to be normal. Wishing I could play guitar. Maybe in an alternate life I learned to play and became a busker. Maybe that’s in the future.

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Soul-Searching for my Next Move

Working on Me

Officially unemployed, but still finding a lot to doRelaxing with Mom

I’ve been struggling lately, trying to figure out what to do with myself now that the closure is official and I’m unemployed (by choice). I had no desire to work in our sister restaurant, a restaurant that does more than 100 covers on a nightly basis and is open for lunch. It is just too much for me. I have loved my restaurant coworkers more than any other aspect, which is crazy thinking about the fact that the actual cooking is what originally pulled me into the career. If I were a great cook, I would stay because I would love every aspect, but I just do not have the skills or drive anymore.

I decided to take a few days to myself, no boyfriend, no friends from work and visit my family. I got to go to the river and camp two nights, I shopped with my mom (not my most responsible part of this episode) and just relaxed. I needed a bit of perspective and I enjoyed the crap out of it!

My recent soul-searching has led me to take many career and personality quizzes. Apparently, I am a tribe member, a high-octane collaborator and an ENFP. I never saw myself as an extrovert as a child, but I know now that I just did not learn to be one until more recently. Working in the kitchen–and not being near my old friends, or my overly supportive family, who I relied on too much—has led me to become a more active extrovert who is willing to get shit done. However, I have not done much of anything constructive outside of my last job, too tired to write, too preoccupied to think about anything other than paying rent really. Now that I have this opportunity to take a deep breath—inhale relaxation, and exhale stress—I cannot let it pass without learning about who I am. Therefore, I took the quizzes as a basis for my soul-searching.

In summation of the quizzes, this is what I have gotten:
Energizer bunny that you are, your dream career is probably heavy on action and involves lots of hard starts and stops: a journalist, a project manager, a chef, a doctor, a firefighter, or anything fast-paced that relies on quick response time. And as an extrovert, you’d be great working in customer service, HR, or any role that involves reading and interacting with others (Bornforthis.com).

I also “love to interact with all kinds of people” and have an “expressive and warm manner that ideally sees lots of affirmation flowing both ways” (http://www.celebritytypes.com/test.php). According to my results clarityonfire.com, “To you, there’s nothing more rewarding than working toward a big vision with a team of people you love.”

I am clearly very motivated by working on a team and collaborating with my coworkers. I will shy away from solo projects because I find the interaction more motivating than just working by myself. As a tribe member, it is beneficial to me to eschew the ”responsibilities of business ownership, … use your leadership prowess to manage a team, take the reins on a project, and get to spend your valuable time doing what you’re good at” (clarityonfire.com). I want to be the one coming up with cool ideas and having other people work with me to reach unique, exciting, team-engaging goals. Most of all, I just want to feel like I belong to a group and am a necessary, contributing member of the team.

The Hundred Foot Journey

In The Hundred Foot Journey, a young chef gets the opportunity to help a restaurant get its second Michelin star. The end left me a) wanting to move to France, b) wanting to cook. Of course, I was feeling sick so I did not do either of those things, but I wanted to! I had my emotions torn between food and France as I do every time I see a movie about food. Food-themed movies are typically about French food because French food is THE classic, quintessential cuisine. It is dependent on the careful techniques developed to make food look AND taste amazing.

Although the father in The Hundred-Foot Journey argued that there is a classic aspect to all cuisines, French cuisine is definitely the one that chefs developed into a higher art form first. France is where the restaurant industry began although, the label of first restaurateur is apparently up for debate. Nevertheless, the technique of French cooking: knife skills, the feeling of when different meats are cooked properly, the balance, and sometimes, delicacy of the flavors is what makes the difference.

Food is Love

I’m not going to talk about anything I don’t know about because then I’d just be letting gas escape and I’m better at doing that through my ass, than through my mouth. And it’s funnier when I do it that way.

I do plan to cook my way through Julia Child’s cookbooks one of these days; I just need to deal with the multitude of things that are on my figurative plate right now, first. I realized today that I had not even renewed my car registration. I was almost a month late doing it, and the DMV sure penalized me for that mistake. Although, of course, had the lateness been on their part, they wouldn’t have given me a discount or anything like that.

I keep seeing all of these food-themed movies coming out in theaters lately and I’m so happy that people are getting into the slow food movement. And they all have romance tied in somehow because food is love, as most cultures will tell you. For example, my boyfriend’s mother is greek-american and she is always trying to feed everyone, including me. She taught her children that food is love too, so my boyfriend is also always trying to feed me. Food is love because it gives us the nutrients necessary for living but also it gives us mental sustenance, which comes from the flavors of our food. So when a food reminds you of your grandmother or your first love because of a spice or something, it’s echoing the love you feel and it becomes comfort food. Food that makes you feel really good even though those people may not be with you at the time.

Cooking itself is romantic, though, don’t you think? The act of preparing food for your loved ones is special because you know you’re treating them to really great food to show them that you care about them and about what they put into their bodies. Foods can literally be made with love.

Even when you are cooking for hundreds of strangers every day and being paid to do it, it still feels romantic, even though there may be a paradigm shift where the romance is with the food itself since you don’t know who is going to consume it. You really have to love slicing up hundreds of onions and julienning carrots to do this for your living.

I feel like I could write entire essays on the different topics I touched on in this entry, so if you want more on anything specific, please comment below. Be sure to subscribe!

Good and Bad Complimenting Each Other Again

Chicken SaladAnyone Can Cook

Yes, anyone. But not everyone has the desire or the patience. Not everyone can keep up in a fast paced kitchen and multi-task properly to work in a professional kitchen or even make a holiday dinner. Not to brag, but I can multi-task. I think it’s really fun to work in a fast-paced kitchen. I get bored really easily when a task is too menial or I don’t have interesting coworkers.

The bad news

Laura Calder‘s show French Food at Home got taken off YouTube, which is where I had been furtively watching pirated episodes. I feel bad, but hey, I live in California, which is sadly the wrong “Ca” for FoodNetwork.Ca… Food Network really ought to just make Ms. Calder’s show available to US audiences…PLEASE???

The good news

I had an interview for a line cook/prep position today. I don’t want to mention names, but it’s a corporate restaurant which happens to be located in famous department store in a mall. A very, very large mall, in San Francisco. It would be a wonderful place to work and the head chef, who interviewed me, was very nice and seemed like exactly the kind of person for whom I could work. It seemed like the interview went well. Although, it didn’t feel very interview-y. As soon as the chef walked up I felt at ease, whereas I normally feel very nervous in interviews. I cannot wait to hear from them! I know there are a lot of other cooks with more experience than I’ve got, but he did say they like “green” cooks because they can train them the way they want to, rather than hiring people who may have bad kitchen habits because they’ve cooked in other professional kitchens. I only have two years of kitchen experience, and I also haven’t worked in a kitchen since May 2012, so I should be “green” enough. Cross your fingers my friends!!