Brand New Apartment, Brand New Life

New Apartment

This is a big step, for me, for him, for us. It’s extremely cliché; I know it. We signed a lease together and I’m going to write this post even though he’ll probably be embarrassed. However, since many of you out there don’t know who HE is, he can relax, knowing that the ones who do know won’t make fun of him for too long.
My man and I lived together for a few months out of necessity and, I’d have to wager, a bit of laziness on his part. Or, maybe it was his sneaky way of a test drive. Whatever it was, living together at my last place of abode led to us signing our first lease together about one month prior to this post. We’ve been officially moved-in together for about three weeks; I think it’s going well! We even had our first houseguests over, including one of our favorite couples ever over for a hilarious evening of food and wine. I made boeuf bourguignon a la Julia Child (because I can’t resist making a mention of her wonderful legacy) and he made the most wonderful salad. Of course, the walnuts were raw, yet still scrumptious because, as we discovered in media res, our oven wouldn’t heat up…

New Life

In other news, I’ve gotten what one can only call a promotion of sorts. It’s funny how getting a raise and promotion only means new (and more) work. At least that’s what I’ve observed in the movies! Ha! I’ve just gotten my first one of either sort. Although, I’m not sure if I can really say promotion, but my hours of work and play have dramatically changed and, as of this payday, so will the number of dollars in my direct deposit.

Looking Backward, Just for a moment

It’s amazing to think that it was three years ago to the day, I was fired from my first job in the city, for, essentially, not being trained properly. I still believe there were more motives than that at play, but who cares at this point? The only reason I even know that it happened is that I have a draft labeled March 22, 2014: “Being fired and moving on…Yes, I was just fired from my job yesterday.”

I’m not sure I even want to open the draft to read the rest…I can’t believe how different my life is now. I can’t believe that back then I could even begin to fathom that I was happy. I was not nearly as happy as I am now……

Took the time to read that draft. I’m amazed at how positive I was about being fired from a job I loved so much…Of course, that’s how my momma raised me!

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…

2016-07-10 2016-07-10 001 003

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.

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.

Random Thoughts on My Career Path

I sense a lack of passion in my life, which I am desperate to feel. Maybe I do have a passion, I suppose, which isn’t necessarily food, but people. I also still really would love to attend culinary school.

I like food television, seeing the passion on which other cooks thrive. I sense a lack of passion in my life, which I am desperate to feel. I know i’m looking for it in the wrong places. I love learning and reading and singing. I realize the third isn’t applicable to the work environment I love so dearly.  Maybe  I do have a work-related passion, I suppose, which isn’t necessarily food, but people. I crave interpersonal interaction. In restaurants, I get that, but I also get to work with food and the brilliant minds that create it. I think what I love is doing prep work because I feel like i’m supporting the team. At least I don’t like being on the line at my current pastry job, which may have more to do with my environment and not the actual job. At the Cliff House, I liked plating food. However, I also loved helping the men on the line, getting things from the walk-in refrigerator, or helping them with their prep work. I don’t know if this was simply a default because I loved the guys like family or because I wasn’t being trained to actually do the pastry prep work (I tended to get pushed aside by the tiny Asian women who didn’t have the time or patience for my inexperience).
I love acquiring new knowledge/information and I think I would love to involve traveling in my future job tasks. Trying new foods that could blow my mind would be amazing. Writing about food in some aspect, or researching stuff about food might allow me this luxury of travel. Otherwise, I’d love to help a restaurant thrive by maintaining a blog related to the daily goings-on of the restaurant, like whether there is a special du jour, direct from the kitchen. S0, I guess essentially working as a restaurant’s Director of Public Relations would be awesome.
I also still really would love to attend culinary school. I want someone to teach me how to be more efficient–faster, focused and engaged in what I am actually doing. I’m well aware that efficiency can be learned on the job, but I’ve yet to find someone willing to work with me, other than the wonderful Lauren at Seaglass. I stupidly left her to work in a fancier place for which I was yet again unprepared. I’m impatient to learn everything kitchens want me to know in the time it would take me to learn on the job. I made many mistakes in my life, but I don’t want to make the big one again. I didn’t go to culinary school after college; I went to graduate school. Sometimes I feel that I wasted the loan I took out for it because I did nothing with it and I withdrew from the university rather than completing my master’s program.

Job Update

Since my last post was a long time ago, I know that there is a lot I have not written about… I have been working at a Michelin-starred restaurant since early January. I am proud of where my journey has taken me in such a short time! I feel I haven’t entirely earned working in a Michelin-starred restaurant by any merit, since I am currently doing a job (for essentially the first time) which I would not ever have expected myself to be doing; I have been a food runner at Aziza! It is a wholly different experience to not be cooking or baking but still working in a restaurant. It has been a relief not to have to worry as much about the plating or getting in trouble for not being an experienced enough cook. All that I have had to do is be nice, eloquent and have the menu and all its ingredients memorized.
The only bad thing about working in a restaurant as a food runner is that I still want to go to culinary school. I am learning a lot about ingredients and sourcing and guest relations, but it is not hands on cooking. However, I still have too much debt even to consider attending culinary school. With some credit card bills from when I was in a transitional period called college, to the student loan I took out for two semesters of graduate school, I am afraid to take on more debt right now to get schooling for a career that just is not very lucrative. Consequently, I simply have to continue working as hard as I can and I am going to continue to work two jobs if that is what it takes. Of course, I do not want to entirely give up working in the back of house anyway. so, even if I’m at One Market Restaurant only a few days a month, continuing with two jobs makes more sense, unless I could work for a restaurant like Lazy Bear where the cooks are the servers.

Trestle Menu
Trestle’s Menu during my visit

Regardless of culinary school pipe dreams, I have been to some lovely restaurants lately, including Spruce, Trestle and Nopa; all three of which I was very impressed with. I think Trestle, being that it is so inexpensive and has just as good food as the other two, and therefore is a great value, takes the proverbial cake. All three were wonderful experiences, however, and entirely different anyway. I don’t have time before work to go into detail about them, but comment below if you’d like to see a follow-up blog about these restaurants.

Julia, My New Guide

So, I just got one of the best gifts of my life. Nothing extravagant or expensive….Well relatively speaking it’s exorbitant, I usually spend only a few dollars on a book. This one is quite a bit more costly than that. But this book, this book is special. My boyfriend just gave me the two-volume set of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You may be able to imagine my excitement on receiving this gift, or maybe not. But if you have read my blog or know me personally (shout out to mom, haha), you know how excited I am. I’ve often said I wanted to be like Julia, dedicated to the art of cooking. My blog is even named for her most famous ingredient, butter.

But I’ve never allowed anyone to buy this set for me, and I wasn’t ready to purchase it for myself, for many reasons first and foremost, the price tag and my fear. I am terrible at following through on things, just like Julie from Julie and Julia, but I plan on being accountable for reading through the two volumes. I even intend to cook as many recipes as possible for the practice and to feed my boyfriend and roommates.

The big question is… Should I try to make every recipe in one year or less? Would anyone be interested in reading about that kind of travail?