Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wish List

I assumed it was only because of the hurricane or maybe just a HUGE oversight that I did not get the ONE thing I wanted for my birthday. Upon further review, it turns our Ben & Jerry is sold out at the moment.

I guess I can wait till Nov 29th....for now......


Monday, November 12, 2012

Soul For Sale

Friday is a day I'd rather erase from my memory forever, but that can't happen. I have December 28th to do it over again, so I guess I only have to relive the agony of Friday for another 50 days or so. Anyway, I got a random text from a guy a know about a bakery space for rent in a building. Apparently, he bought a gym in the same building and just noticed the sign go up. I thought it was kinda cool he thought to text me out of the blue since we haven't spoken in almost 2 years, but I guess that's why some people are better at networking than others. I was thinking about it and was surprised how interested I really was in this possibility. It's a great location, and I don't know how much rent we're talking about, but it's a great neighborhood for a bakery. Obviously, this throws a wrench in my plans to blow this fucking state. As you have all probably heart, Colorado and Washington have both decided to do away with illegal marijuana. Not that it really makes a huge impact in my life, but it would make a big impact on my business, as it would open up a whole new demographic for my "other" baked goods. My ultimate goal is to move out West and open my own spot. However, I still feel that I am poorly lacking in business operating experience. On the other hand, I can't just stick around here for another year to tinker on a business and then cut ties and run West. I had to weight the realistic options I'm working with. I'm realistically still swimming in about grand of plastic debt. This includes various credit cards and two personal loans that technically are not even mine. I'm not even going to go off and rant about it because I'm only gonna end up upsetting myself again. I've also got those two fucking timeshares that I will have no hope of selling due to this fucking hurricane. With all the destruction I see today in various parts of NY and NJ, I will hold off on feeling sorry for myself because there are people who lost EVERYTHING. Debt can get paid and money will be made because I am a worker. And it doesn't matter who is elected in office- the bottom line is that I can take care of myself. (Just between you and me, I'm really happy those Republican pieces of shit are off playing crazy golf to blow off some steam!) So, now that I am really considering sticking around at least a little while to get my shit together, I'm wondering how awkward it would be to hit up all those people who have offered me start up money. "So, remember that 20 grand you said you had laying around to help get Queenie Cakes in to an actual store...." Someone playfully told me I could do 20 paid escort nights to earn that kind of money, and I said that I wouldn't want to wear out the equipment before the doors even opened. Seriously, I'm about to be another year older. I'm already aged out of that sort of game. I feel like a sell out for setting up roots here. I'm not happy living here. I've been aching to move out West for years and years, and have been sitting quietly on the sideline as I watch other people do it one after another. How fucked up is it to take this dude's tip as an actual option to snap up? I've been thinking about it for 2 days now, and I've been researching business plans. I'm cautiously optimistic about my success rate. Besides Buttercooky, there's not really an awesome American bakery in this area anymore. I don't know... There's a lot on the line in terms of my life, but honestly, there's nothing much to lose.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Banana Brownies

Do you know what makes people feel better when they're stuck inside due to inclement weather? Junk food. My house, unfortunately, is void of junk food. I was eating a mint Klondike bar last night, and I set it down on my nightstand so I could finish my zombie make up. Well, more than half of my uneaten Klondike slipped off the tilted cover of an open book and landed straight inside my little garbage pail, which was full of snotty, phlegmy tissues. Gross.

Well, what I do have on hand is eggs (lots of them), chocolate (I always have that on hand). flour, and over-ripe bananas. The bananas were bought on some crazy sale and my mom stocked up thinking I was still doing my smoothie diet. I can't do a smoothie diet while ill because the natural sugars in the fruit only makes a phlegmy throat a lot worse.

I decided to make banana brownies with Nutella. Weird? Yeah. Certainly. But, I love chocolate brownies, I love banana, and dammit, who doesn't love Nutella?

I was a little skeptical because I read that some people substitute bananas in place of eggs in baking recipes. I, myself, don't have any experience doing this, but I did worry it would effect my overall finished product. Eggs serve different purposes depending on the recipe. For cookies or quick breads like pancakes, waffles, muffins or brownies- the eggs are more of a binder -adding thick moisture, but won't make your baked good light and fluffy. If you're going to use a banana or 1/4 applesauce in place of an egg, be sure to to add a little baking powder or soda to give you the rise you're looking for.

But, I'm not looking for rise. I wanted flavor. I like bananas. I like bananas and chocolate. My diet smoothie is made up a frozen banana, chocolate diet shake powder, ice, and a couple of swishes of a low-fat yogurt drink. I think chocolate and bananas are one of those classic flavors that should forever remain together forever!

So, I made a double recipe of brownies and added two large, overripe bananas and a 1/4 cup of Nutella, as well as a couple of handful of butterscotch chips. I'm stuck inside of a cold house with limited access to the outter world. Why not add more sugar in the form of butterscotch chips? Just to see what would happen, I also added half a cup of Bailey's buttercream I had left over from my cake order last weekend. The buttercream is made up of a cooked meringue (egg whites and sugar), melted chocolate, vanilla, and at least a 1/3 cup of Bailey's caramel flavored liquor, and of course a LOT of butter.

What I got was a very fluffy brownie, instead of a dense ooey-gooey one. Which is fine. (Still phlegmy, you know?) The banana flavor is strong and cuts right through the chocolate. I can't taste the Nutella which makes me feel like I wasted a quarter cup of Nutella that could have been used for something else. I can't taste the buttercream at all, but I cut back on the regular butter called for in my recipe in substitute of the buttercream. Do you think I saved any calories doing this?

The butterscotch chips sank to the bottom of the brownies and really doesn't add to the overall flavor or texture. I know people usually put nuts, but I'm not a walnut fan at all and I didn't have any other nuts on hand.

I got a thick, quarter sheet tray sized portion out of my recipe. Each brownies is about 2 1/2 inches think and it is quite thick and fluffy. It's just what I needed!

I've been working at home since Sandy hit. While I'm lucky enough to say that my neighborhood made out fairly unscathed, lots of bordering neighborhoods are still without power. That means the grocery stores we rely on for our food is still closed and the traffic lights are still out, which makes driving dangerous. I live in a neighborhood of douchebag drivers. Just to give you an idea, I think about 75% of NYC cab drivers live in MY neighborhood. Take that as you will!

Sometimes it just takes a little bit of sweetness to get your mind off some really shitty circumstances.

While NY is not exactly an impoverished area, there are still many neighborhoods that need a lot of help. I'm not in a position to write a huge check but I have several bags of practically new clothing that my friend picked up earlier today on her way to a Red Cross drop off location. My cousin is coming in from Boston and we're doing our blood donation if we can find an open blood center. They did put out a call for blood, and we're more than happy to answer it.

I'm seeing so many ugly things on television this past week, but sometimes it's that one little sliver of human kindness that can set it all right. Someone I haven't spoken to in YEARS because we had a tremendous fight called me from California to make sure me and my family were okay. He heard parts of Queens was devastated and he thought about me. Of course, I've had the same number for the last 15 years or so, and he lucked out and reached me. I've had friends and family calling all week to see if I'm fine and it really does warm the heart. I never thought I would ever exchange a kind word with this person ever again, but like he said, "I heard Queens and I was terrified something happened to you. I know we left off hating each other. I guess I didn't realize how much I still care about you until the prospect of you being gone for good hit me."

And we didn't even have a romantic relationship!!! Needless to say, we buried the hatched and I'm happier for it.

In the immortal words of Bill and Ted: Be excellent to each other.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flu No More Chicken Soup

I am thoroughly convinced that my awesome chicken soup kicks the ass of any over-the-counter cold remedy out there. I have been sick for the better part of 2 weeks, and I finally broke down and made myself some soup the other night. So far, I'm feeling better than ever.

I'm not much of a recipe writer. It's a pinch of this or a shake of that. Here's my secret tips that make my soup so fucking awesome.

  • Ginger - it has all kinds of health benefits. Not ground, powdered ginger; fresh ginger.Use your microplane or a grater to mince it fine.
  • Peppers - I've tried to use cayenne or chilli in place of fresh peppers but nothing beats the real, fresh thing. I like to use a combo of jalapenos, serrano, and those long green Italian peppers. 
  • Chicken STOCK  - not broth or soup. Buy a good quality, low sodium STOCK. Stock is rich and dark and flavorful. Broth is nothing more than flavored water. The stock is where it's at. Don't skimp on this
  • Fresh lemon - Nothing enhances the flavor of chicken quite like a squeeze of lemon and maybe some of the zest. Use your microplane for the zest and your reamer to get all the juice out of the lemon. It also does wonders for a cold.

So, get out your favorite chicken soup recipe, and tweak it with my tips.

You need chicken with bones to make soup. No one makes soup with boneless breast meat. I personally like breast meat to eat, but the flavor is in the bones and the dark meat. For my soup, I bought a split chicken breast, bone in. With a pat of butter and some oil, I sauteed that chicken, breast side down in my soup pot until the outside was seal and the skin was crispy. Remove the chicken and set aside. If you have too much oil, drain off a little but leave enough to saute your mirepoix. You're making soup, so you ARE using mirepoix, rirght? (Onions, carrots, celery) small dice is fine. While sauteing your mirepoix, throw in your herbs and spices. I like thyme, parsley, tarragon, and some bay leaves. Use what you want. When it's all cooked and translucent (that means you can see through it), toss in a little minced garlic, lots of minced ginger, and your diced hot peppers. Cook until it's smelling good and cook everything down until it starts to caramelize in the pot. That means the water is cooking off from the veggies and the heat and natural sugars in the mixture is starting to brown slightly. Remove the chicken skin from the split breasts. Nothing is more gross than boiled chicken skin. Throw the whole breast back in there, bone and all. Cover everything in chicken stock. Rub all the fond (the brown caramelized bits) off the bottom of the pan. Toss in some bite sized carrots and boil until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken, shred the meat and return that shredded meat to the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning. I personally like a little starch in my soup so I always put in some mini pasta like orzo or stars or mini bow ties, like I just found this past weekend. Add a little more water if necessary and book down until the pasta is cooked through. Toss in the grated lemon zest and squeeze that lemon juice in there as though your life depended on it! All the caramelized veggies and fond should result in a rich, dark soup. Better than any yellow, canned coagulated mess any day.

Here's why my soup is awesome. The ginger is a natural immunity booster. The hot peppers helps the body sweat. Why do you need to sweat? Because all the bacteria and mucus and crap in your body making you sick needs to be forced out. The hot peppers help do that. Chicken soup, for some reason, is generally known to have some sort of healing powers. I don't know if that's scientific or mental, but there you have it.

I'm still ill, but much better than I have been the last couple of weeks. Try it. See if it does wonders for you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crumbs: Trader Joe's Cookie Butter

Some people cry when they spill milk. Some bitch about crumbs in the bed. Some really don't like broken cookies in the bag. Well, Trader Joe's takes all those broken cookies and makes this awesome thing called Cookie Butter. Goddammit, I know I'm really late to the party when it comes to this product because it's been out for some time, but I  finally broke down and bought some. WOW!!!

It's not peanut butter or almond butter, but it sure does look like it. Within this velvety texture is tiny little specs of Speculoos cookies, which are crunchy Belgian cookies with a slight caramel and gingerbread flavor. It's a hint of cinnamon and maybe a little nutmeg. Whatever the hell it is, dammit, it's GOOOOOD!!! It reminds me of those awesome thin Bistro Buscuits that I devour from TJ's.

Anyway, they crush it down into a fine powder and blend it with vegan stuff (vegetable oil....I know, the only downside) and they make this fantastic butter! I have been forking it bit by bit since I've bought it. "Forking it" means I'm picking at it with a fork rather than scooping it out with a spoon. Because I'm watching my weight (insert chuckle here) I've opted not to spread it on anything, although I imagine it would be delicious on apples.

Ok, since this isn't exactly all natural or even very good for you in large quantities, I offer it as a substitute for those looking for a peanut-butter-like experience minus the nuts. I'd eat this on veggies. Yeah, I don't have a problem blending the savory with the sweet. I could even throw this in a pastry bag and pipe it on top of mini cupcakes. Mmmm....Imagine the possibilities!

I've said it once and I'll say it again- I friggin love Trader Joes!! Love it! Love it! Love it! Yes, it's not always cost effective and they don't have everything you need to stock a well-used kitchen. However, when it comes to comfort foods, I really love this store. There is very little I don't like about them.

Cookie Butter: Go check it out and let me know what you think!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Crumbled Cookie

I had a future bride put her 40 custom cookie order on hold earlier today. They were for next weekend, along with a platter of bride and groom chocolate dipped strawberries. I know this woman. She isn't just a referral. I've worked with her the last 8 years. I watched her as she navigated the singles scenes, I watched her start dating this guy, and proceed to break up and get back together several times over these last several years. I guess he finally got around to asking her.

Let me just set this up for you. On a scale from 1-10, this woman is a 20. She's tall, thin, beautiful, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She's gorgeous. This guy is maybe a high 4.

Anyway, that was relevant, whether you think so or not. So, she called to tell me she had to cancel her engagement party. She didn't sound well on the phone. In fact, she could have just texted me. She then said she wanted to pay me for the ingredients or the cost of whatever I've already bought by giving me half the money. If the party was back on in the future, I could consider it a deposit.

That's not my style. I told her not to worry about it, and to just let me know if they went through with the party at a future date. She kept insisting I take the money and I kept insisting that I didn't want it. It's about 7pm at this point, and I was ready for my Sunday night lineup. She kept pushing, saying that she was in my neighborhood and maybe we could go to a diner and she could pay me. Again, I'm not in the business of holding people's deposits, and I really didn't want to get dressed again to go out.

She finally broke down and said she wanted someone to talk to, and I've always been a reasonable headed person in the office and she would really appreciate it if I could step up and be a friend this evening.


So, I found myself at the Omega Diner (whoop-de-doo) sipping a hot cocoa and nibbling an overpriced grilled cheese and bacon. Wow. Talk about de ja vu! She ordered a BLT that she wasn't touching and a hot tea, and then a Jameson's on the rocks. (I almost went for her BLT but it was smothered in mayo.)

Well, I assumed this was about why her engagement party was called off. She caught her fiance with another woman. Not sleeping with the other woman. It was one of those things where she's been spending a lot of time in Mineola at her parent's house, planning the wedding and engagement party. Her fiance has been left in the city at their apartment in the Upper West Side, left to his own devices. To make a long story short, he said he was home working on stuff, and she found out he was out with another woman. I don't need to get in on the nitty-gritty, like she did for nearly an hour. That was the gist of it.

"Are you going to be okay?" What else could I ask her? I don't know her very well.
"No. Yeah. I don't know. I mean...I've waited so long to be married and now it's going to happen. My parents are elderly. I want my mother to see me married before she dies. That's the crux of it."
"But, you don't want to get married to the wrong guy just for that you?"

To me, this answer would be obvious. But, looking at her face, I don't think my obvious answer was the same as her obvious answer.

"I can get over this. I can. I'm just in shock right now."
"I don't want to be the devil's advocate or anything, but if he does it and gets away with it the first time he's caught, what's to stop him from doing it again if there are no consequences for his actions?"
"I didn't catch him in bed with someone else. He was just out...."

That's when I realized I was dealing with a future Stepford Wife. My buddy certainly fits the role. She's the perfect image of a beautiful, smart society wife. And her Irish immigrant parents expect her to be married to a good man with a fruitful job and breed more gorgeous blonde-haired and blue-eyed babies. That is the route her life was supposed to take. And then this happened. Something tells me that if she caught him after the whole wedding thing, it wouldn't be so bad. But here she is, struggling with a trust issue but knowing she's going to marry this guy anyway.

"Okay. Well, it seems to me that you have your mind made up. So you don't really need to know what I think about it, and it shouldn't matter anyway. It's between you and him. Are you going to be alright with your decision?"

I think I hit the nerve. She just stared at me. She started tearing up again, and I've never seen a woman cry pretty before like she did. I mean, her big blue eyes watered up like large animation eyes, and perfectly clear, round tears started to roll down her cheeks, not messing up her make up and leaving the most flawless trail of tears. I was mesmerized, to be honest. And I was also irritated, because it felt like I was wasting time. I wanted to get home to watch the Season Premier of The Walking Dead. This woman already knows what she wants to do. So, what the hell was I doing there?

Admittedly, this could have gone very wrong.

"Look, S," I started with no empathy whatsoever in my tone. "I think you're going to marry him despite what happened this weekend. I don't know either one of you well enough to say if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I can see you're not done with him. All I have to tell you is that no matter what choice you make, just be sure you can live with it. And I don't mean that in any ominous way. I just mean that you need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and be okay with the person looking back at you."

She started picking at her BLT, much to my consternation. I had already finished my hot cocoa and grilled cheese, and I was still a little hungry, but not hungry enough to really order anything else. I opted to just steal her pickle instead and she seemed fine with it. Why let a perfectly good pickle go to waste, right?

"You think I can do that?"
"Do what?" I completely lost my train of thought. What did I tell her she needed to do?
"You know, get back together with him and be okay with myself for doing it?"
"I don't know. No one can answer that but you. But, let me just tell you from experience that you can't force a bagel into a pop-up toaster. Maybe you can mush it down and shove it in there, but you're not going to like what comes out IF it can even pop out when it's done. I've broken up and gotten back together with men all because it hurt too much to let them go, even if it was the right thing to do. And the story always ends the same way. I'm just saying that whatever decision you make, you need to be okay with it for yourself and your life. Whatever your priorities are, and I'm not judging, but you need to make sure your decision follows your priorities."
"Like, maybe crawl into my comforter for a couple of weeks and cry it out, then come out reborn like a butterfly?"

I tried not to let the grimace on my face look too obvious because her example seemed to perk her up. I'm not big on butterfly metaphors and I don't get why women love them so much, but I wasn't going to argue. If that's what she felt like, then I wasn't going to search my mental references to find a simile for something I preferred.

"I don't think that's a good idea. If you're feeling strong now and you can make a choice you're happy with, then why purge yourself into the whole depression thing? If you can skip that, I suggest that you do. I'm gonna quote Finnick Odair right now and say 'It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together then it does to fall apart.'"

With that, I also slid her cole slaw towards me and started on that. I wasn't impressed with the cole slaw, but it was just what I needed to finish my meal. I looked up at her and she gave me a blank stare.

"Who's Finnick Odair? Does he work with us? Is he Irish?"
"No, dude. He's from District 4." I started cracking up. "The Hunger Games. He doesn't come in until Catching Fire. Anyway, if you need to clear your head, it's a good series to read. It's a fitting quote....for you, I mean. If you don't need to fall apart, then don't. Like a house of cards. It takes hours and hours to put one up, and it takes one second to send it crashing down, and it will take hours and hours to put it back up. If your house isn't demolished, then don't bring it down. Don't let yourself crash down to that ugly place. It's a hard pit to climb out of."
"Oh. I'll get it for my kindle. Thank you, Katherine. You're a lot wiser than you let on at work."

Well, hell! If that wasn't a backhanded compliment, I don't know what was! If I was such a non-wise person, why did she drag me out of my warm bedroom and fuzzy pj's to come out into the cold night, into a mediocre diner to sit there and tell her she should do what ever she wanted to?

Either way, she looked a hell of a lot better and she wolfed down her BLT, her tea, and then her Jamesons with melted iced. She made the waiter bring her another cole slaw and pickle since I ate hers. She was kind enough not to bitch about it. Since she's pretty, they brought it out for her in record time without any fuss.

I have a feeling she's going to tell me her party is back on. So much for crumbled cookies. I think her cookies are going to be just fine, and her dude will throw some extra frosting on there just to sweeten the deal. I think her fiance is a really lucky guy. She can do so much better than this douchebag, but who knows why women do the things they do?

Anyway, thank you to Suzanne Collins for writing such awesome words!

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together then it does to fall apart."
~Finnick Odair, Catching Fire

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Worst Taste in My Mouth

Congratulations, Campbell's Portobello Mushroom Madeira Bisque!! You have won the prize for having been one of the worst things I have ever had inside my mouth. (And I've had some pretty gnarly things in my mouth.)

I'm not above doing a Duane Reade lunch every now again; especially if the food options are stagnant in the establishments surrounding my office building or my wallet can't handle more than $3 or $4 for my midday meal. I've went through a phase where I was regularly slurping down Italian Wedding Soup, New England Clam Chowder, or Grilled Burger Stew from one of those microwavable environmentally unfriendly containers that come out piping hot in under three minutes from the office nuker. With a few dashes of hot sauce at my desk and a plastic spoon I probably swiped from the cafeteria on the 6th floor, I'm all set to have a quick, satisfactory bite that will hold me over until I can get something better for dinner.

It's not to say I'm recommending this kind of diet to anyone for any reason. It's loaded with sodium. None of them taste outrageously delicious. They're all pretty greasy. And I'm sure all that microwaving isn't doing anyone any good.

With that being said, I've had Chunky, Healthy Choice, and Campbell's Select Harvest. Chunky is my favorite for taste, but I've bought all of them about equally. Every now and then when I'm REALLY broke, I'll break down and buy a Cup a Noodle, but we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to an affordable meal.

Anyway, as I was browsing the food aisle of my local Duane Reade, looking for my affordable lunch, I noticed they added a new line of Campbell's; a MUSHROOM soup that looked all gourmet and tasty. I forked over my last $4 and looked forward to my lunch.

Let me tell you why this is the worst thing I've ever had in my life. First off, as I was reading to see how long it would take to zap it hot, I noticed that it said the container was not microwavable. I had to find a bowl, and my tupperware/candy dish had to be emptied and washed out so it would serve. When it came out of the microwave, it didn't smell particularly delicious. After one spoonful, it didn't taste very delicious. I shook some pepper into it. I tasted. Ick. I took out my crushed red pepper and garlic powder, usually reserved for pizza and gave it some shakes. A taste. Yuck. Still bland. More black pepper. More crushed pepper flakes. More garlic. Still a big, ugly, beige bowl of blandness. Not only was the flavor (or lack thereof) off-putting, but the texture of the various mushrooms were just downright unpleasant. Not quite rubbery or slimy. It just disintegrated into mush in your mouth with very little bite. Six or seven spoons were 6 or 7 spoons too much. I dumped the rest into the trash. (I'm sorry, starving people of the world! This is not very charitable or thoughtful of me!)

Never again. Just goes to show you that no matter how fancy a company makes their product out to be, you just can't polish a turd.


Speaking of bad taste, I'm going to go off on a little tangent here because I had one of these weirdo experiences late last week that left me a little shook up. Because I have been known to be one of those over-nurturing control freaks with my partners, many of my ex's doctors still have my information on file. I received a large package of medical records along with MRI dvd's, xrays, and lab reports. When I opened it and realized what it all was, I sent my ex a text only to find out his cell was changed or cut off or whatever. I don't know where he lives now; just that he lives with his new old woman. He doesn't use the internet for anything. He isn't listed.

I've thankfully fallen into this rut where I care a whole lot less about trying to be a savior. After doing due diligence to try and contact him, there really wasn't much else I could do. I re-wrapped the package and decided I was going to mail it back to the doctors office. I didn't have to wait long before my ex called me at work to ask if his package was sent to me. I haven't spoken to him in months, and he wasn't very happy with me the last time we did, so I wasn't thrown off by the frosty exchange.

I met up with him after work to give him his stuff. He tried to talk me into dinner, but I declined and he had that look about him that he knew I would say no. He offered me a ride home, and I declined again. He looked me square in the eye and said something like, "I'm not going to touch you, if that's what you're worried about. And it's pouring."

Tired from my day and aching pretty badly from my new sneakers, I caved and hopped in. (It really was raining like a mofo that day, and of course, I didn't have an umbrella.) It was a tense drive home through traffic with not many words flying back and forth between us. To top it all off, he had some homemade mixed-cd with nothing but country music. I don't really have a hatred of the genre. It's just not exactly my best category on Song Pop, you know? But if you're already irritated in the company of someone who can only irritate you even further, the last thing I personally want to hear blasting over cheap speakers is the country twang of a Nashville pop song.

My ex has a liking for smooth, female, slow, ballad-type music. I don't know where his new love of all things country came from, but I wasn't willing to get into it with him. His renewed love of the Born Again Cult of Bible Thumping has shown him many new experiences that he seems to enjoy in his retirement, so who am I to scoff at them....out loud, anyway. At one point, he was rambling about some church trip out to Texas sometime next year. I looked out the window at the traffic to keep the look of "Are you friggin' kidding me?" from registering on my face via eye-roll. He ends the subject with, "I've always wanted to go to Texas." It was the last statement on the matter when I didn't answer him.

Five minutes away from my house, one particular song came on and I had one freaky encounter.

Here are the words:

I've been sitting here staring at the clock on the wall
And I've been laying here praying, praying she won't call
It's just another call from home
And you'll get it and be gone
And I'll be crying

And I'll be begging you, baby
Beg you not to leave
But I'll be left here waiting
With my Heart on my sleeve
Oh, for the next time we'll be here
Seems like a million years
And I think I'm dying

What do I have to do to make you see
She can't love you like me?

Why don't you stay
I'm down on my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
Don't I give you what you need
When she calls you to go
There is one thing you should know
We don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay

You keep telling me, baby
There will come a time
When you will leave her arms
And forever be in mine
But I don't think that's the truth
And I don't like being used and I'm tired of waiting
It's too much pain to have to bear
To love a man you have to share

Why don't you stay
I'm down on my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
Don't I give you what you need
When she calls you to go
There is one thing you should know
We don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay

I can't take it any longer
But my will is getting stronger
And I think I know just what I have to do
I can't waste another minute
After all that I've put in it
I've given you my best
Why does she get the best of you
So next time you find you wanna leave her bed for mine

Why don't you stay
I'm up off my knees
I'm so tired of being lonely
You can't give me what I need
When she begs you not to go
There is one thing you should know
I don't have to live this way
Baby, why don't you stay, yeah

This is the song:

I've never heard this song before. It had a pretty melody, and the woman has a lovely voice. It wasn't until the second or third verse in that I realized what the hell she was singing about. And that's when it hit me; like a fucking punch in my gut.

It was years and years ago. I was still working at my culinary school and working full time at my job. It was a time when I spent all my free time getting drunk and waking up on a train in the middle of Brooklyn; hung over and pretty fucking pathetic. It was one of the many times I had left my husband (again) and was alternating weeks staying at a friend's apartment and renting cheap motel rooms. It didn't matter because I wasn't sleeping much anyway.

Joel and I started our thing.

At first, he was just the ride home I really didn't need. Was I tired and far from where I needed to be? Yeah, but it wasn't like I couldn't get myself home or was physically incapable of doing it. A ride home in a car someone else was driving with the heat blasting on a cold winter night and full control of the radio is like riding home in a fully loaded Escalade instead of a packed subway car with no available seats. I opted for the comfort instead of being a martyr.

So, back when I was still 24- young, sexy, head-strung...and tired of being married- I stepped into that man's car, let him drive me home, and invited him in...and kept him there with me all night. I didn't care that he was still sorting out his own marital status. I didn't care that the right thing to do was probably encourage him to go back home. Well, actually when it was all just sex and goodies, I told him he should go home to her and make things right. When he asked me what the hell we were doing with each other if that's how I felt, I said, "We're just having fun, right?"

But, after months and months of a man treating me well, I decided that "fun" was a lot nicer to have than misery. He drove me everywhere. He bought me anything I needed, because I never wanted for anything. I didn't even have to say I was hungry before he had food within my reach. He made me stop drinking. He made me stop partying. He made me take school more seriously. He made me give up a lot of my friends, albeit friends who were probably not taking me anywhere positive, but I let them go in exchange for his company. It was nice being with a man who knew how to treat a woman. There's also the other factor where he was good friends with my family and did them many, many solids over the years...but that's a whole other story that I'm not getting into.

Because of certain circumstances going on in his marriage, which I won't bother getting into either, he wouldn't give me a solid commitment, the way I had given him. We argued about it a little, but the longer this went on, the more heated our debates would get. It was our 6 month "anniversary" since our "first" time, and he went all out. He reserved an awesome room at a very posh hotel in the city. Rose petals on the bed. Flowers all over the room. A beautiful view. And room service. I'll never forget it. Ginger ale (because I stopped drinking), lobster, and the most fantastic mushroom tortellini with peas and pancetta in a rich and creamy alfredo sauce. Forever in my mind will be imprinted how delicious that tortellini was. It was so good, I ate all of mine, some of his, and was wishing there was more of that instead of the lobster. He called down for another plate of it. We were in the middle of...uh...working some of that dinner off when his phone rang.

It's the kind of call that the Other Woman always dreads while in mid-coitus with their married man. (If we're going to get technical, I was still married myself, but I was under the impression we had both made clean breaks long before all this went down, and it was clear that his break was neither actually broken or clean.) I sat under the silken covers the of the rose petal littered bed and watched him pull his clothes back on. I couldn't believe he was leaving...RIGHT NOW. It was our 6 month Sexiversary for God's sake!!

I yelled at him. I cursed him out. I threatened him. I cried. He didn't raise his voice or curse me back once. He sat on the bed, tried to embrace me, and again attempted to explain why he had to go and that he wouldn't be long and that he would be back and I just needed to give him a little more time to do all the things he promised he would do. I slapped his hand away from me, spit some nasty insult at him, buried my nakedness under the covers, my back towards him and told him to go. I didn't need him anyway. I felt him lay a chaste kiss on my shoulder and he was gone.

Not five minutes after he left, there was a knock at the door. Before I could even think or find clothes or anything, a heavily accented voice on the other side yelled through, "Ma'am your husband said to just leave the cart out here with your food. He already tipped me. I just need to let you know it's out here. Please let me know if you need anything else."

After a little deliberation and some choking ugly crying, I pulled on my little nightie and cracked the door open. Just as he promised, the rolling table was out there with a covered dish. I pulled it in and inspected it to see the tortellini plate, still hot and steaming. I was hungry...crying can take a lot out of a girl. I picked up the dish and sat on the bed, turning the television on, hoping to distract myself.

The hotel sent up a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine on the house for our anniversary, along with the tortellini plate. (Champagne is from France. If it's from any other region; it's only sparkling wine.) The tortellini was no longer delicious. While it was still the same flavor and textures that I fell in love with not an hour before, my tongue and senses no longer felt the same way about it. It felt heavy and sticky in my mouth- like wadded newspaper sauced with glue. I think all my sadness and loneliness poured out onto that dish (figuratively).

I never ate it again. I never made it again. It went from being my favorite comfort food in the world to being the one thing that can bring tears to my eyes just from the aroma.

I did, however, break my sobriety and downed that sparkling wine like a drowning woman. Big mistake. I was never a huge champagne fan to begin with, and coming off from being 6 months sober didn't make me such a bad ass with the bottle. I got violently ill not long after and the entire dinner along with the cheap sparkling wine came back up into the fancy toilet in the oversized luxury bathroom.

Hearing that song above did the strangest thing to me in that car with that man. I could SMELL that tortellini dish. I could taste it and nearly feel that sticky, heavy sauce on my tongue. It was so visceral, I nearly gagged. My stomach rolled. I could feel the bile rising up my throat.

I think it's staggering how our minds can control our senses. I let music affect me a lot. The right lyrics set to the right melody sang by the right voice will take my heart or mind to places far away from where my physical body is at that moment. Smells and tastes do the same thing to me. I can remember a reisling I had once in Salem, Mass at a seafood restaurant. It wasn't a particularly expensive reisling or even the best reisling I've ever had. It was good. But, it was such a nice time and the company I was in was so awesome (at the time), I can still feel the tight pucker of my mouth when that wine hit my tongue. And when I found it later on in NY and had it in a wine glass in a little apartment paired up with a Grandma slice of pizza- it still tasted like the best damn thing I've ever had in my entire life.

Good feelings can be evoked, as well as bad one's. I can't eat Spam. Ever. Or Vienna sausages. It reminds me of when my parents didn't have any food in the house and our breakfast, lunch, and dinner was stale rice with fried Spam or Vienna sausages. We would have to eat that until one of my parent's next paycheck. And it wasn't even that it was gross. I've tasted worse. It was the anxiety in my house and the fighting they did, and I knew that things were not okay and that money was an issue. I can still remember laying in my bed and hearing my dad yell about the house being taken away and all of us being homeless. And I would wake up to see my mom fried up a new batch of rice and Spam. My stomach would be in knots from the stress of what was going on. So, Spam will never be a staple in my fallout shelter.

Neither will Chef Boyardi microwave ravioli. I would eat that during my CVS days when I only had $15 to spend on food for the whole week so I would have enough of my paycheck left to pay for tokens (before the days of Metrocards) and pay my rent.

I wonder if other people have such crazy reactions to food or smells the way I do when certain emotions are evoked or if the food can trigger emotions to start screaming within them. I've met men who cannot eat certain things because it reminds them of a bad childhood. My friend's ex-husband remembered how his family would kill a chicken once a week back in his home country, and that traumatized him from eating chicken EVER again. He won't do it. My ex hated polenta. It's not really my cup of tea, but he had to eat it once in culinary school during our Italian module, and he nearly puked. He tasted, and then excused himself so he could spit it out in the bathroom without insulting our chef. He wouldn't get into it, but from what his mom told me, the old grocery where he worked at when he was 10 would give him free milk, bread, and polenta every week along with his pay. So, polenta was a big staple in their home, until one day he said he never wanted to eat it again.

Truthfully, the rules society puts down will probably behoove to eat things at nibble on something that I may really not want to, and I can do it with a smile on my face without dying. I'm just more concerned about not offending someone rather than my fragile psyche. But, when there is no one's feelings to worry about or a dinner party that I need to behave at; it would take a miracle for me to willingly eat someone on my Cannot Stomach List.

So, am I nuts or does everyone have that ONE food that they just can't get past their gullet?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Dancing At Her Funeral"

There are only a few things these days that really make me smile!!! I kicked a little cash into The Limousine's Kickstarter project for their upcoming album and this is how they are thanking their fans on Social Network Unnamed!!!!


A heart and FOUR exclamation marks....that's some dope shit right there!! ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tid Bits

I haven't had a lot of cake action recently, which I'm, admittedly, a little grateful for because the free time has allowed me to do all the doctor appointments and various other things I've been wanting to do for months. I have a gorgeous new art project that's about to go up on my other blog. I've written a bunch of reviews that my other gig has been asking me to get to. For copyright reasons, I was told I couldn't publish them on my own, which is fine because it was getting a little redundant anyway.

I figured I would do a little update.

On tonight's "Long Island Medium" episode, she went out to Sky Dive Long Island, where my buddy Margaret and I did our Dirty 30 Jump during our year of Firsts. Let me just say right now that I don't subscribe to the whole medium/psychic thing. I'm sure there are people out there who are a lot more sensitive to the supernatural world beyond what we mortals can see and hear, but I doubt that those people would be charging whatever it is most of these people charge per hour.

With that being said, Margaret texted me to tell me to watch tonight because they were filming at our Sky Dive spot AND the restaurant out there that we went to a couple of times. She wanted me to see if they filmed anyone we knew. Well, as luck would have it, Margaret's tandem jumper Duncan was on the show and he was strapped to the psychic's husband's back. We didn't know anyone from the restaurant but we recognized the place well enough and she ended up doing a reading on the general manager rather than the actual restaurant.

Anyway, here are some blasts from the pasts to brighten up a sullen Sunday night:

Margaret and Duncan
Me & Willie (this because my free-fallin' shot is over done)
Two of the happiest people on the planet!!

 Goddammit it; look how skinny I was!!!!!

Speaking of Margaret, I was always talking to her about this Indie flick I caught one night at 3am. I had missed the beginning, but I saw most of the movie and found it one of the most thought-provoking, insightful movies I have ever seen. Talk about a rollercoaster shitstorm! Anyway, if you're every bored and want a good recommendation, go torrent "The Guitar". It's fucking awesome but in a quiet understated way.

It took me nearly 3 years to find the name. I got lucky tonight and stumbled on it. =)

Friday, September 21, 2012


11 Years and approximately 3 weeks ago, this is what I looked like! So young and to drink and eat whatever I wanted!! All those women in the picture with me were all my age now. And they all still look amazing in their 40's while I have ballooned to enormous proportions. In that 11 years, I haven't done anything as flighty as that Hawaii trip and I would give anything if I could pull out the Flux Capasitor and travel back to that time. Yes, I'd be saddled with a shitty husband, but I swear I'd be smarter; less emotional; less scared to kick him the fuck out. If I could go back to that trip, at that time, I'd be more prepared for what was about to happen after that trip, and how it would effect the rest of my life and the choices I made.

This was taken in September of 2001 at a luau during our last night in Kawaii, Hawaii. We flew back to Los Angeles and spent a couple of days with our friend before flying home the night of September 10, 2011 on United from Los Angeles to New York.

What  I wouldn't give to look like that again......
I'm in the yellow dress!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Well, hell! I've been doing it all wrong all this time!!!

What are some of the things you do to add to your misery or overall discontent? Are these bad habits ingrained in us or is it possible to change the knee-jerk reactions we have all come to accept within ourselves?

"Don't promise when you are happy."
This is simple. Ever remember yourself telling someone you were going to love them "forever"? I do! Usually after a 3 hour session of blissfull, sweaty, insanely-passionate DNA swapping. It's easy to want to give someone or promise someone the world when you are content and generally feeling pretty damn good about them. Try promising those same things after catching them in bed with someone else, finding out they just stole $500 from you, or processing that their ex is pregnant with their baby. Still feeling good about making those same promises? Yeah, I didn't think so. Anyway, we all know that kind acts should be KIND ACTIONS, and not just Kind Words. If you really want to do something good because you feel good; then just do it. You shouldn't regret being kind to someone, even if they turn out to be complete assholes at the end of the day. Save the good deed in the Karmic Bank and forget about it. You'll get your comeuppance when the time is right. When you promise something, you're giving your word, and putting your integrity on the line.Your word is only as good as your last broken matter how good the reason is for you to break it.

"Don't reply when you are angry."
Guilty, again! I'm notorious for my quick temper and even quicker pressing of the "reply" button- be it via text or email or voicemail or face-to-face retort. I've had some regrets in my day for letting my hurt and rage reply to someone instead of letting my cooler head prevail. The thing is; usually we are hurt the deepest by those we truly love and sometimes the pain can cause that knee to jerk up higher and harder to bash those fuckers in the balls faster than you can stop yourself. Underneath it all, no one wants to hurt someone they love. And if you think about it, you have all the ammo to do it. It doesn't make it right. I've learned to TRY and walk away when my temper is threatening to unleash Hell. I've destroyed plenty of relationships and obliterated countless bridges with my temper, only to see myself tearfully trying to make an apology for it later on. But, the thing is, even though it was RIGHT for those relationships to end, I didn't need to do it with all the nuclear forces my heart has been hoarding. When you're done eating, you take your dishes to the sink, wash them off, and put them away. You don't smash them into bits and pieces in a violent declaration that "I'M DONE EATING MOTHER FUCKER!!!!!!" See the difference? There is a way to handle situations that don't involve telling people what kind of infectious disease you think they are or how you hope their testicles get fried on a live wire in the seat heater of their car. You can THINK it, but why put that poison to paper in the heat of the moment? This is the one I take to heart the hardest- Don't snap back in anger.

"Don't decide when you are sad."
I had to think about this one for a moment. In my case, I've made some of the best decisions while taking a vacation in the pits of depression. I've purged many items, tossing out stupid mementos and keepsakes that were only taking up room and shackling me to my sadness. I think sometimes people do brash things in the midst of emotional turmoil. I've had more than one bad haircut because I was desperate to shed the skin of woe. I guess it means to have your cry, wait it out, and think with a clear head before doing anything too harsh or deciding on any major decisions. When it's all over, you don't want to have a house full of junk, an empty bank account, and a wallet full of maxed out credit cards- all because you tried to buy your sadness away. Or maybe they mean that in the midst of sadness, one can be fairly apathetic to anything. "What do you want to eat today?" I don't care. "What colors should we paint the rooms?" Whatever. "Do you want to move to Jersey or Canada?" Doesn't matter. You decide. I guess I've fallen into this rut, too. All in all, I think this part just means to not let your depression route your map for you. That's the best I can do with that one.

One of my favorite sayings when I read something I need to apply to my own life is: "I should have that tattooed on me somewhere."

If that's the case, I'd have a body full of tattooed post-it notes!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Not that true validation can really come from a social network app, but here you go.

All I have to say is; I knew it all along!

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Kind of Porn

I have a deep, almost scary crush on Stanley Tucci. He isn't the typical RDJ sexiness, but there is something stylized about him which drives me absolutely wild. Could it be his sexual ambiguity? (He's a newly married man, a woman.) Maybe his aloofness which carried over from one character to another. A gay fashion director in "The Devil Wears Prada" or an effeminate father in "Easy A" or a child pedophile in "The Lovely Bones" or the not-so-typical bureaucratic asshole in "The Terminal": he plays all those roles well, but he's still distinctly Stanley Tucci. Don't even get me started on his role in "The Hunger Games". I could absolutely eat him alive!!!! (Let's not forget his role in "Captain America", either!)

Anyway, besides Bourdain, who is NY's resident pirate chef badass, I think Eric Ripert is my choice as one of the best NY chef's. If I ever win the lottery, I think I would gorge myself at his restaurant first...if I can get a reservation!

Anyway, Eric has a new web series on you tube, and I happened to see it on Social Network Unnamed that he had Stanley Tucci on!

If my love of these two men ever needed validation; I found it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'm not sure I've posted this word yet, but never the less, here it is:

I was just writing about this on the other blog. I am notoriously bitchy when I am not able to sate my appetite. Not just bitchy....I mean; BITCHY. I'm rude, selfish, and unabashedly immature. It's terrible how bad my mood changes when my stomach is growling.

I wish I knew a better way to cope, but seriously, this condition has not changed since I was a kid. Like I've also written in the other blog, I am pretty lucky to have been in relationships with men who went above and beyond most of the time when the Hangry Bird came resting on my shoulder. Seriously, these men deserve Nobel Peace Prizes for doing half they stuff they did when the look on my face and the tone of my voice implied that the bitch was coming.

Hangry: a state of anger caused by lack of food; hunger causing a negative change in emotional state.

It really is real. See? I'm not alone!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Matter of Perspective

Remember that last minute wedding I wrote about last week? The woman was trying to entice me to give her credit terms with the promise of "professional" pictures of my cupcakes were going to be taken on HER cupcake tower.

I have my own cupcake tower. My original tower was retired after someone snapped the stem. Eventually, Wilton came out with one of their own and it turned out to be a lot sturdier than my old one was. I am more wary about lending that one out because it is a lot pricier than the first tower I had. In fact, the first tower is no longer being made. I am wiser after the first one was ruined. I'm a lot more careful with the new one.

Since this woman insisted she had it all set up and only needed cupcakes, I didn't bother offering my own tower. She paid me in cash, as she said she would, and emailed to tell me they were delicious and all her guests loved every bite.

Then she sent me the picture.

Oh. My. Golly.

Well, thank goodness I don't put much weight on promises people make to me. Professional? Not quite. I later found out that her best friend was a baker and charged $3 per cupcake. I'm assuming she wasn't about to cut her a break on the price. Mine were NOT that pricey. I already had the feeling she was on a budget and after seeing this picture, I knew I was right.

No, this isn't going up on my website, but it just proves to me that I was right.....AGAIN.

  • This is not a professional picture.
  • This is not a cupcake tower. This is a 3-tier staggered cake stand. (I have one of these, too.)
  • She was on a VERY tight budget.
  • She was thankful for the work I did, but I know she doesn't realize what kind of break I cut her.
  • She most certainly DID NOT refrigerate those cupcakes like I told her to do.
  • Despite all my belly-aching, I know I did the right thing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Non-Load Bearing

Ok, I know I've been going a little nuts with my health posts, but I just got another blow to my fragile frame again today.

I learned a long time ago that the first injuries a chef suffers in a kitchen is either cutting themselves or burning themselves. Luckily, I've never suffered a bad cut. Maybe a few small nicks, but nothing to send me to the ER like some of my other chef buddies have done. I just don't cut fast enough to not pay attention to where my fingers are...that's not really a GOOD thing in the kitchen, but I'm not a big fan of stitches and I'd rather get yelled at for being slow than being yelled at for bleeding all over the food.

I've been burned. A lot of my old school burns have healed up nicely over the years and you can't even see most of them anymore. Most of my burns were on my hands and wrists- reaching into a hot oven with nothing but a kitchen towel. Real kitchen don't use pot holders. (Just an FYI for you there.)

The third, most devastating injury a chef can suffer in the kitchen is slow and silent. It's their feet.

They drilled it into our heads even before stepping into the kitchen that we needed to come dressed right. Sneakers wouldn't cut it. The shoes needed to be hard- to protect your toes and the tops of your feet from a falling knife. I've seen a knife fall tip-down and straight into a chef's foot. The only thing that stopped it from being a complete skewer was the hard leather of the clog. The tip went through and just nicked the top of his foot. If he was wearing Nike's, that knife wouldn't gone through his foot like butter and embedded itself into the kitchen floor.

It took me several months to break my clogs in. I went home after a long 8 hour shift on my feet at the school aching the entire way. Joel usually have one of my ped-covered feet in his lap as he drove us back to Queens. I guess I was lucky in that sense. Other people have to walk and take the subway after being on their feet all day or all night long. I had an air-conditioned ride home every single night, and a foot rub to boot!

Once my clogs were nice and molded to my foot- let me explain this process. A clog is a perfectly designed shoe for someone on their feet all day long. I am talking about a CLOG, not a CROCK. Please keep those piece of shit plastic whatevers far away from me. A good clog is made of leather. It's perfectly inclined just enough to relieve of the strain on the foot, the calf, the Achilles tendon, the leg, and the spine. The inside is not some soft squishy material that will soak up bacteria and stink to high heaven. No, it's leather. And as long as you're wearing socks (Yes, there are some dirty fuckers who go barefoot...EWW!) it's pretty damn resistant to odor. The force of your foot in the clog, combined with the heat of your foot wearing it night after night molds that hard leather inside to perfectly hug the curves if your entire sole- the heel, the arch, the pad, and even the toes.  But, to get to that point, you have months of achy feet coming out of a hard leather clog.

I wore my clogs to every catering gig I did. Sneakers really didn't cut it. Not only would my feet hurt after a couple of hours, but my back started to ache like a screaming Banshee, too. After moving again, I lost track of my clogs and my back and feet have not been the same since.

Sometime last year, I noticed my feet were aching a lot more than usual and were not feeling any better even after a rest and a hot soak. As time went on, I would wake up and not be able to walk on my left foot. I bought insoles- expensive one's- and they were not helping.

I know my support-less Chucks were not helping the situation but I've been wearing them so long I couldn't imagine what my outfit would be like without looking own and seeing one of my 21 pairs smiling back at me from below. It got so bad, I started throwing out my worn out shoes. Old Nikes, the Black Chucks, the Gray Chucks, the Navy Blue Chucks....I said goodbye to them all. Still, my left foot continued to give me problems.

I finally went to a podiatrist earlier today. As soon as she saw my shoes she shook her head and said, "No more." WHAT?!?!?!?! Even with insoles?? Even with insoles- she told me.

Well, it's a combo of many things, she told me. The shoes were one factor, but the fast weight gain over the year has been the biggest factor. My poor little feet just can't handle the extra 20 lbs I heaped on those little guys. My arch is collapsed. I have a heel spurt and some extreme inflammation in that area. My right foot is starting to show the same symptoms.

So, she stuck a pair of heel cups in my shoes. She wrote my a script for an anti-inflammatory, and I have to go get an X-ray sometime this week to make sure I don't have any stress fractures or breaks.

The bottom line is: "You're not doing yourself any favors staying at this weight. It's not natural for your body. You put it on very rapidly. And the problem will travel from your feet, up your legs, and into your spine. You need to lose the weight.....but you have to stay off your feet until we can get them painless again. Stop eating. Get an exercise plan in place. And buy a dress you're gonna want to fit into. The motivation will do wonders. LOSE THE WEIGHT!"

I have never felt like such a fat piece of shit before in my entire life. Not only am I chunky and not sexy anymore, but now my body is breaking because of it. This fucking sucks. I really hate myself right now....and I'm really hungry.

I'm not going to eat though...The kitchen is downstairs and my feet hurt too much to walk all the way down there. Lazy ass.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"In and Out of Time"

I woke up in the middle of the night, well, to be honest, like an hour after fell asleep after getting home from a very busy, alcohol fueled day. And for some reason, this poem was whispering in my head. I had to think to remember where I heard it before, and I realized it was from one of the first Tyler Perry movies I've ever seen.

Yes, a Tyler Perry movie is one of those love it or hate it genres. I don't care if his plots do follow the same formula every time, I find them fascinating to watch. The subject matters are pretty raw; things that your typical vanilla audiences will not relate to or enjoy. I'm glad I'm not vanilla. ;-)

Well, here's the poem. I don't know what the significance is of thinking about this poem, but it felt important. Hopefully, I figure it out before work on Tuesday,

In and Out of Time
~Maye Angelou

The sun has come
The mists have gone
We see in the distance our long way home
I was always yours to have
You were always mine
We have loved each other in and out of time
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
And the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I have always loved you more
You freed your braids, gave your hair to the breeze
It hung like a hive of honey bees
I reached in the mass for the sweet honeycomb there
God, how I loved your hair
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance
Lost, injured, hurt by chance
I screamed to the heavens
Loudly screamed
Trying to change our nightmares into dreams
The sun has come
The mists have gone
We see in the distance our long home
I was always yours to have
You were always mine
We loved each other in and out,
in and out, in and out of time

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Bridge

Well, people. I think some of my closer friends know that I have this horrible habit of trying to stick my head in the sand and wish away my troubles. For the past couple of years, I've been suffering an assault on my female reproductive mechanisms. I stopped taking my oral contraception in hopes of alleviating some of the issues, but it has only grown worse.

Maybe you'll recall when I took my blogs down for a month or two. And I stated personal issues or just being too busy to really keep up with them. That, along with the cyber stalkers, and it was just too much for me to look after in my own time of need.

Not getting into the nitty-gritty (because most of you readers are dudes and any part of the female anatomy that doesn't directly involve copulation tends to gross you out), and that's fine. I've had some cysts in places they didn't belong. And for a few years they've stayed pretty docile and didn't bother anyone. The last real painful episode I had were back in my culinary school days, and after that initial bout of pain, they haven't really bothered me since.

My doctor hinted that those cyst could have been the reason I wasn't getting pregnant right away with that ex. My inner voice told me I wasn't getting pregnant because I didn't want to get pregnant and as a Republican would say, "My body was triggering that automatic response to ward off unwanted pregnancy." Hahahaha!! What a crock of shit!! Seriously, though, I didn't take my fertility issues all that serious because I knew I wasn't ready for a baby and if it wasn't happening with him at the time, then it was fate telling me that it shouldn't be happening. And I was cool with that.

Follow that up with a relationship where kids were a hundred percent out of the question, and it was an issue I shoved to the back of the closet....behind the hoard.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I started to experience some pain. I ended up stopping my birth control, hoping I wasn't one of those women who ended up with the horrible side effects or "death" as the TV law ad was warning about.

Stopping the birth control was easy. The side effects of stopping was just unbearable. My weight started to fluctuate and my energy levels have really dropped off. I knew this was all tied in together, but still stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that my body was waging a war on me, I told myself it was many other things causing havoc.

Eventually, I had to have some minor surgery to remove a growth in my ovary. Because I was just over 30 and I was still in generally good shape, the doctors slapped a bandaid on me, told me to take it easy for a couple of weeks, and sent me on my merry way. I didn't look back....

...Until it got worse. Well, that bridge I wasn't worrying about crossing till I got to it suddenly appeared right in front of me and there was no way around it. The weight gain hasn't stopped. My skin had been in ruins. Despite the dermatology appointments and meds, it wasn't getting better and I knew it was hormonal. I had to go back to the doctor. A couple of months ago, they removed another growth. They've been watching me closely ever since.

My energy still isn't what it used to be. My skin is getting a lot better. (Thank you photofacial!) But, I can feel that something is wrong. After another appointment yesterday, my doctor finally approached me with the option of getting a full hysterectomy. It was suggested as an option to me in the past by one of my surgeons but due to my age and the fact that I haven't had kids yet, it was never a serious route. I still have time, don't I?

But, since my maternal grandmother died of the lady cancer, and both my mom and my aunt have both had their women machinery scraped out, they slapped me with a "high risk" label and ask that I seriously consider it to save my health and possibly my life in the future.

I'm gonna get a little whiny here.

For fucks sake, where's the fairness in that? I'm not saying I'm one of these women who are dying to pop out a baby right now, but it feels like because I had the smarts to wait it out to make sure I could bring up another human being in the most ideal conditions I could manage; it feels like I'm getting punished for it. I see young girls and women- ill-equipped, dumb as a stump, and morally handicapped making babies like some people make coffee each morning. Effortless. Painless. And their bodies are fine and they are healthy, and can probably pop out another kid in their 40' know; right around the time their first set of kids are having new kids of their own.

But, here I am, waiting, protecting myself from an unwelcome surprise- and what happens? My machinery gets rusty or stalls out or squirrels have nested up in there. I don't know.

I know medically, it would be smart to scrape me out hollow. But, dammit, it just isn't fair, is it?

I feel like letting them do this to me is like throwing in the towel. It's like telling them I know I'm not going to be financially ready soon and I won't be able to meet a suitable DNA swapper right away. And rather than wait it out to see what life throws at me, it's best to clean out the house and board up the doors. Does that make sense? Am I making the right decision if I let the doctors carve me up to prevent something bad that MIGHT happen???

My logical brain tells me to go ahead and do this. My health has been speeding downhill the last couple of years and it's not something I can deny any more.

The other part of me says to wait. Nothing has been actual cancer. The body is full of benign little nothings that stay benign little nothings. Some people can smoke 4 packs of cigs a day and live to a hundred. Some people can stay away from smokes and alcohol their entire lives and die at 35. There's really no equation that can determine your mortality because I can step off the curb tonight and get hit by a bus. And that's the end of that.

I'm freaking out. I know I shouldn't be freaking out, but I am. A simple wedding cupcake job last night took me twice as long because of the pain. And I refuse to pop pills to mask it. It doesn't end the pain; it just tricks my brain into thinking it isn't there anymore, and I'm not keen on being deceived by anyone, least of all an overpriced pill.

What do I do? Yank it all out "just in case". Or take my chances with fate? Seriously, I'm freaking the fuck out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mind Blown: Egg-stractor

Ok, the concept is pretty damn simple. Why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner???

A couple of tips to make this work.

  • Use fresh eggs. Old eggs have weak shells and weak membranes. The yolk will probably break while cracking it open if the egg is old. If it survives the cracking, it may break while sucking it up into the bottle. Any speck of yolk in a meringue-bound egg white will ultimately ruin your whites.
  • Be Careful! If you break the yolk due to overzealous cracking, all the bottle sucking in the world won't separate it from the whites.
  • Use three containers. One to catch the yolks. One to hold the whites. And one to open your egg into and suck up the initial yolks. If you accidentally break the yolk three eggs into this process, you won't mess up the clean whites you have sitting in the other bowl.

I gotta try this! I'll let you all know how it works out!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Get Out of RUDE Free

A few years ago, after a particularly prickly exchange, an ex sent me a caricature he drew of me. It was a side view of me with my nose up in the air holding and oversize Monopoly "Get Out of Rude Free" card. (A play on the "Get Out of Jail Free" card from the game- for those of you who don't understand the reference.) It was after a tense, heated argument about one of the millions of things we argued about and he disagreed with the way I ended the conversation. I probably said something snarky and then signed off the IM or turned off my phone. Either way, I was being rude.

Rather than continue arguing about how nasty I was and how poorly I handled the exchange, he expressed himself the best way he knew how- with a drawing. I was so taken aback, I even put it up on Social Network Unnamed. The reaction was mixed. Some people thought it was awesome and hilarious. (It was.) Other people thought it was rude of him and I should be angry about the way he went about getting his point across- passive aggressive and rather rude himself.

The way I react to things and the hair-line trigger my temper was often set on actually took his gesture in stride. I would rather have someone tell me to my face how rude they think I am (even with a picture), rather than have them passive-aggressively stick it to me by hanging out with ex-lovers behind my back. (Which also happened.) Frankly, I was all for the picture approach, given the three options:
  • A.) Fight until one of us throws down the "I'm DONE! This is OVER!" (Guilty! Not good times.)
  • B.) End the fight amicably and get back at the other by doing something that person wouldn't be ok with.(Hence, the contact with the ex-lovers.)
  • C.) Find a less volatile way of expressing our thoughts or feelings. (The picture.)

I once drew on Microsoft Paint a stick figure of myself hitting a brick wall--with purple Converse and a spilled can of Coke to symbolize how frustrated I felt dealing with whatever issue we were trying to unsuccessfully hash out. He chuckled at my poor attempt at art therapy and we had a pretty decent conversation resolving the problem at the time.

I was thinking about all this last night, as I tried to get to sleep, and this morning when I opened my eyes and saw that I was late once again. Is it ever okay for anyone to pull out the "Get Out of Rude Free" card?

My timeshare points were about to expire again, and rather than let the corporate wheel run over my hard earned money, I booked a two bedroom deluxe suite in Atlantic City this past weekend. I did this months ago, and the first invite went to my friend "J". He said he would go. I threw out a handful of other invites to people who I've promised to party with in AC, leaving out those who I knew didn't have the cash for this kind of weekend.

A few of my girlfriends who know of J were not happy about his invite. Why not make this a girl's weekend, they asked? He had been rude to a couple of them in the past and another bunch of them had boyfriends or husbands who would not be cool with another dude sleeping in the same unit. I tried to explain that his underage girlfriend would not be coming, but he was not the cheating type and they were safe. Think of him as our gay buddy, I tried to joke, but at the end of the day, only a couple of other girls were willing to go.

To make a long story short, I didn't hear from him all week and when I texted him to ask what time he would be getting to AC, he teetered back and forth between Friday night and Saturday (in case he was too tired to drive after work.) I told him who else would be driving down Saturday and maybe he should hook up with them to save on gas and tolls. He didn't reply. I already had a sneaking suspicion this fucker was going to flake on me, and I wasn't wrong. Friday rolled around and I was in my 2 bedroom suite, soaking in my pink bubble bath in the jacuzzi when I asked him again what time he would be arriving. He said it depended on his girl.The only reason he wouldn't go, at this point, was because of her.

Let me point a few things out. While his girl is old enough to vote and fuck legally, she is not old enough to do all the other fun things adults like to do. And that's on him for dating a child. When I first threw out the invite, I did politely say he was welcome to invite her, and he said she wouldn't go because she can't get into any of the casinos or the clubs or the bars. But, she had insisted that he should go and have fun. That's why I had no doubt in my mind that this son of a bitch was going to show up- ESPECIALLY after I told a bunch of my girls to fuck off when they asked if he could be left out of this weekend.

Friday afternoon, I get a text which validated my suspicions. He was too tired. But, enjoy my weekend, he cheerfully ended with.

I was heated. I decided not to reply. I've learned a long time ago that me texting in the midst of a rage is NOT a good combination. He tried to continue playing Song Pop with me, and I promptly deleted our game. He attempted to throw up some comments on my statuses on Social Network Unnamed. I ignored him.

I know he's too dense sometimes to see what is obviously in front of him, but I wasn't about to start a war from Atlantic City. He just isn't worth the effort. My other friend (actually a mutual friend of ours) showed up and I gave her the rundown. She agreed with me, but I saw that she felt weird going against her obvious loyalty to J. It wasn't a big deal and we all had a great time while we were out there.

While on vacation, I get an urgent email forwarded to me from my mother from a co-worker of my father who is desperate to hire me to make her wedding cupcakes. For this coming Friday. Ok, now who the hell gets married without securing the cake months ahead of time? She asked for a price quote, and from my groggy hungover state, I sent her my quote. She wrote back how the payment structure was? What the hell did that mean? I told her since she was a co-worker of my father's, I would accept payment on delivery and not ask for a deposit. She responded if I was willing to wait till next Tuesday for the payment.

This woman was not particularly nice. In fact, she was basically asking me for a credit terms not ever having done business with her before. I was still prickly about J bailing out and effectively fucking up the weekend I had in mind, which could have happened if I un-invited him and brought out my girls instead. I wanted to reply with a "Get the fuck outta here" to this woman, but I stopped, took a hot pink champagne LUSH bath and calmed down.

Okay. She's getting married. Either she is doing so with a really small budget and has overextended herself, or something happened to her cake. It doesn't matter. She's getting married and she doesn't have a cake and her wedding is on Friday. That sucks. She is probably hoping to pay me with wedding gift money. Okay, I've been there, myself. Low on fund but high on everyone's invite list. I felt for her. So, I agreed.

Could she have kissed my ass a little more for doing her this solid? Could she have been nicer? Yeah. Indeed, she could have. However, I can only imagine the stress she's going through trying to pull off a wedding she probably doesn't have the money for. In the grand scheme of things, 156 cupcakes isn't a huge dent in my wallet. I can float the cost until she pays me, and a wedding is always a hotbed for potential clients. I will come out on top at the end of the day. I can deal with a little Bridal Rudeness in the meantime.

My mutual friend came by last night to pick up a cake from me and she mentioned she had a talk with J. He pointed out that everyone who is in a relationship needs to make their significant other their priority. He decided to make his girl his priority this past weekend, and he's not making any apologies for it. She was hinting that she understood where he was coming from since she was having an issue with her boyfriend not making her his priority. And I do believe J threw it out there that I, of all people, should understand since I was in a similar predicament myself once upon a time.

I tried not to blow my top, standing outside of my house, holding a turntable cake. I smiled and patiently told her that if he didn't want to go and leave his child bride behind, I could understand that. But, he should have had the balls to tell me that weeks ago, and not at the 11th hour, when it was too late to get other people to take his miserable place.

Our annual Fire Island trip is this Saturday, and I had to fight every fiber of my being from sending my cancellation RSVP to everyone involved. As tempted as I was at doing that, I remembered that I would be the ultimate hypocrite for bailing out last minute just to spite this fucker. And it's my friend's birthday, probably the last one in NY since she will be moving to FL soon. It would make me the biggest asshole for doing something like that.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Your word is only as good as your last broken promise.

People who do not value their integrity have no place in my world. With my time being a lot more limited and my money a lot less available; have I made the right choices giving this person president over others? As much fun as we have together doing normal mundane things like hitting Target or our Midnight Diner Run or some awesome concert- I don't think it's too much to expect a little respect when it comes to situations like this. I didn't ask him to choose between me and his girl. I have been nothing but nice to the youngster. I do take exception to being lied to and lead on when he had no intention on following through with his promise.

That's not cool.

Am I overreacting? I seem to think everyone around me thinks I am. It's hard to see the situation when you're right there ensconced in it, but I think the law is on my side with this one. Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Skinney Medspa

I'm not really the hoity-toity MedSpa type of girl, but my side gig had me traveling up towards the Bloomingdales crowds to seek out this spa for a Photofacial. What's that? you ask? Good question. They take a laser and run it over your face to eliminate bacteria and help reduce lines and pigmentation.

It makes you pretty.

Or so they say. The spa is nestled inside on a block of brownstones. It looks like a house when you walk in and you have to be buzzed in order to gain entry. I let them know I was there, and was told they were running a little behind. After filling out a bio sheet, much like a doctor's office, I sat and waited. It wasn't a bad wait. I watched East Side trust fund babies ask a million questions about how the treatments would hinder their weekend social scenes at the Hamptons.

I listened to some blonde nitwit whine about wanting beautiful skin for her wedding, but refused to wear a hat or put on zinc at the beach house her mother owned that she frequented 4 out of the 7 days of the week. (She only works 3 days, she giggled to the front desk staff.) When the tech insisted again that she really can't opening expose her skin to the sun after having the treatment, she went on a whine about how Samantha Jones (Sex and the City) ended up with a hideous red, puffy face after an errant run-in with the laser. The tech laughed and reminded her it was only a movie, and sun damage on freshly lasered skin was no joke.

So, my tech, Adriana, is gorgeous. I mean, really beautiful. Perfect skin, perfectly highlighted light brown hair, a perky smile and a mini skirt with tall fuck-me pumps to accentuate perfect legs. She wore a lab coat with her name on it. This is probably to give the illusion of making her look more professional, but I had already found out that wielding a laser at someone's skin doesn't require many, (if any), credentials.

Never the less, I went in, she reviewed my skin sheet, and agreed that clearer skin would be a wonderful goal for someone as young as me. When I told her I was 33, she was reluctant to believe it. She contemplated doing a chemical peel on me, but after reminding her I was leaving for a vacation the next day, she relented on sticking with the laser.

A cold goo was spread all over my face and she went to work. If you've never had any skin laser procedures done before, this was my experience:

Your eyes are covered with a protective goggle much like the one's used in tanning beds. A cold blue goo is spread over your face to keep your skin cool and to help the laser affect the areas targeted. She starts moving around and warns me when she is about to pulse the laser. Even with my eyes closed I see a flash of red every where when she pulses. It's lighting up all those tiny veins and capillaries mapped across my skin. She asks me how I feel. The pulse makes a noise which makes me jump, but after the 2nd pulse, it doesn't startle me anymore and I'm not jumping. She asks if I feel anything. Nothing. She stops and turns up the knob. She pulsed again. Anything? No, nothing. Another knob turn. Again. Nothing. She adjusts that knob about 4 times before a feel a little pinch of heat hitting my skin when she pulses. Then, she's satisfied that she has the right intensity going.

I'm glad to know she didn't crank that thin up to fry the hell out of me right from the beginning. I would have lost my patience the 2nd time around and given the knob a good turn, but she was careful to ease it up slowly so she wouldn't hurt me or burn me. The whole thing was done in under ten minutes. She wiped off the blue goo and rubbed a lovely smelling sunblock all over my face. I was worried that my skin my suffer if I slabbed my foundation back on, but after looking at a mirror I was floored to realized I didn't need any. My skin looked....looked....flawless!!!! I had a lovely glow. There was no redness or blotchiness. I looked like a normal person with PERFECT skin.

Holy shit on a pita!! Is this how the rich people manage to look pretty ALL THE TIME????

I didn't experience any redness or peeling afterwards, which makes me think she could have cranked that laser up a little higher. However, my skin was certainly a million times better in touch and in sight that it was before I walked in there. She only did my face, and not my decolletage, and I can see the difference.

There was a groupon type deal on line with them which gave you 1 IPL photofacials for $200 which is about half off the normal price. I did see women in there for a 3 for $99 deal but I don't know if that was for laser hair removal or something else. The photofacials really did a number of my skin and I gotta say, after checking out the pictures my aunt took of my on vacation, I look.....dare I say....better? 

I don't know how long the laser treatment will last. I'm a little sad because I know this isn't something I'd ever be able to afford on a regular basis. I'm really glad my gig let me experience something so luxurious, but I know I'm already struggling to pay the important bills. Little "me" luxuries have already been cut out of my budget. It's hard to imagine there are women in this city who can do this without blinking an eye on a regular basis. It makes me wonder what they're doing right and what I'm doing wrong.