A Post Where I Ramble about Cooking

This is gonna be a long post.  I’m not apologizing for that, but just giving folks a warning.

If you would have told me in high school or even early in college that I was going to be a cook and trying to further my life in the culinary field I would have laughed.

I mean, me?  Cooking for a living? Ha!  Sure, I love cooking for my family but what I considered comfort food for myself was instant mashed potatoes, overly buttered with salt and pepper.  Not quite cook material.  Sure, I can make a nice egg drop ramen but it was still Maruchan ramen.  I think that the extent of my cooking ability was stir fry and fried rice.  Both were items that we had frequently at home and I helped my mother with some of the work.  Plus, it is a rather straightforward meal!

Now?

Yeah. I own that shit.

It started at my previous job (I worked in a rehab facility).  I went from a dishwasher to a cook within a month.  I had been told that it would happen and I was looking forward to it.  It meant that I would leave my other job, which was a godsend, and it meant I would begin something new.  The training was minimal.  It was cooking.  We had recipes and I could talk to the other cooks and what not about what and how things needed to be done.  I went from a fish out of water to being the go to cook for anything vegetarian or vegan (despite not being either of those two).  I read up on things and went out of my way to really make sure the on-site dietitian was happy, as was the kitchen manager and the assistant kitchen manager/head cook.

I loved working there, but it became obvious that there was no way to move up and that the most senior cook did not like me.  It was never anything overt but there were little things said and done that made it obvious. The big one was telling a new dishwasher who was training to be a cook that within a year SHE would have his position. I was standing right there and was like ‘WTF’.  It was from that moment, at the Thanksgiving dinner, that I knew I had to get out.  I wanted to continue cooking but I needed to get out and find a place where I would be appreciated more than I was.

That’s when I found an ad for my current employer.  They were looking for a new line cook.  I took a leap.  I threw my application and resume at them and crossed my fingers.  Within a week I received an email asking for an interview.  Honestly, I don’t remember the interview.  I think I was nervous as hell.  Everything I had was on this job.  I had another application out there but nothing panned out with that restaurant.

A few days after that initial interview I was asked to come in for a second one.  I was ecstatic.  I went in, knowing that I was that much closer to landing the job.  Turns out this wasn’t really an interview.  I met with the same man, who was the then Bar Manager but current General Manager, and he quickly introduced me to the head chef.  I sat down with the two of them and chatted.  It was fine that I wasn’t vegan.  It was great that I was willing to learn and was able to work any shift they threw at me.  I was fine doing dishes (which had never actually happened).  I am a quick learner.

I left that interview with a job.  I was told that if my current employer let me go before my two week notice was up, I would be given a shift asap.  It was lovely.  The job I was leaving freaked out, asking if I would give them a month notice but I told them no (which is a HUGE thing for me).  They didn’t try to fight for me and I was quickly brushed to the side and ignored by the two other cooks and my managers there.  I left upset at them but happy with where I was headed.

Despite really not having enough experience cooking to land a ‘proper’ line cook job (at least that’s how I felt), I excelled.  I went from bumbling in the kitchen to becoming the second cook.  I owned it.  I made myself a force to be reckoned with.  I probably would’ve been the head line cook if it wasn’t for favorites, but that’s neither here nor there.  I was the only woman in the kitchen to boot!  The head chef made sure I was comfortable and answered any and every question I had.  I impressed him with how well I handled myself under the pressure of weekends and holidays in the restaurant industry.

I am a cook, through and through.  Following in my father’s footsteps and taking things my mother taught me to heart.

Before summer hit this year, around my year mark at the restaurant (St. Patrick’s day), our Chef was leaving due to health reasons.  He trained me to become the kitchen manager.  I learned how to do inventory, keep track of stock, order every scrap of food in that kitchen, and even schedule the staff in the kitchen.

Then everything went to hell.

Our head brewer quit and took his wife, another brewer, with him.  Our Bar Manager was leaving.  2 of the workers in the kitchen were leaving.  All before summer, our busiest season, hit.

A new chef was brought in.  Before meeting everyone he gave another kitchen employee the impression that she (yay, another woman in the kitchen. I’ll call her Kimmie) was going to be his sous chef/kitchen manager.  Up to that point she had been a dishwasher and prep cook.  It went to her head.  This chef lasted 5 days before quitting.  It was too busy and hot for him.  Kimmie nearly quit due to the stress of it all and made it known that she wouldn’t work the line due to the stress.

Another chef was hired.  This one lasted about 2 1/2 months.  He left due to not mixing well with the staff in general.  He had good ideas but rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.  He nearly fired Kimmie.  The two of them were like oil and water.  She had tried to place herself back into that kitchen manager position without the ok from that chef.  Another cook had been brought in with a culinary degree (lets call him Jr), and he hit it off with that Chef because of it.

During all of this I had been somewhat brushed to the side.  I was in my first trimester during it all.  Smells made me sick and I was suffering from morning sickness BAD.  The chef, who’s own lady was pregnant with their first, understood what was going on and let me move from cooking to prep work.

Things during that 3 month period was horrible.  The kitchen staff effectively has mild PTSD from the time.  I had sobbed in the middle of cooking once during that time and a few of us even debated about walking out.

I nearly did.

When the second chef was fired we were all wondering what would happen. We wondered how quickly a new one would be found and how this next one would fare.   Our owners were having interviews with multiple people.  One night, within a day or so of the chef being fired, Jr was called into the office.  He returned within a few minutes with a young woman in tow.  For a moment the kitchen staff thought she was going to be our new chef and we were all excited.  No.  She was going to be a new line cook.  Jr was actually being given the title of Kitchen Manager.  For the time being we would have no chef.

I was furious.  I was effectively passed up AGAIN. The only thing that Jr had over me was a culinary degree.  I had more time in the kitchen, I had experience as a store manager, and I had been personally trained by the Chef who had hired me to become the kitchen manager.  Within a few days I had contacted our previous Bar Manager, who was working at another restaurant, and asked if they had any openings.  He told me not to leave just yet.  He knew what was going on.  He was actually coming back to our restaurant as a General Manager and everything would get better.

And things have.  Our GM confided in me that the main reason I wasn’t given the Kitchen Manager position was due to my pregnancy.  It’s not ‘official’ but it is logical.  I’d be leaving in X amount of months and gone for a while.  They saw little reason to place me in a position only to have to replace me soon after.

Things have been better since then.  Jr is feeling the strain of his position.  I’ve yet to miss a day since I’ve been pregnant and I have never been set home due to it.  I know that when I come back from maternity leave, I will be a force to be reckoned with.

So….There is a LOT to talk about.

First off: hey, how you doin’?  Well over a year since my last post.  Oof!  What the heck has happened?  Why did I disappear?  Does anyone really care and did they notice?  I don’t know about that last question but I can expound.

So, what has happened?  Grendal and I are still at our same jobs.  Grendal is not happy with his job and is trying desperately to find a new job.  So far, no such luck and we are trying to keep his spirits up as best as possible.  I have become a much more stable cook and am currently the senior most member in the kitchen.  I am taking some culinary classes and expanding my abilities and knowledge as much as possible.   I was supposed to take on the role of Kitchen Manager when our chef left due to medical reasons (he was grooming me for the position and I was pretty much the Kitchen Manager without the official title) but something occurred that effectively blocked me from said position.  So what is it?

It’s true!  I am just about to hit my third trimester.  Grendal and I, for nearly all our lives, didn’t want kids.  We were and are happy with the furbabies we have.  It honestly got to a point where we both were like ‘Y’know, if it happens it happens’.  We stopped trying to prevent pregnancy and decided to let fate do it’s thing.  It was sometime later, to the point where we were thinking that it wasn’t going to happen or we’d have to take fertility steps if we wanted, that I found out.  I’ll do a post later on about that whole thing.

The pregnancy has been pretty good.  My first trimester was hell thanks to being so sensitive to odors and aromas, and the stress of switching chefs and that whole debacle.  The second trimester went smoothly.  Grendal has been amazing and has kept me comfortable and even grabbed things to help the few cravings I’ve had.  From what other people have told me, I’m a rather chill pregnant person.  I don’t know what that means but I’ll accept it as a compliment.  My coworkers seem much more excited about this then anyone else in our lives.  They all make sure I’ve comfortable, hydrated, and take breaks when needed.  Essentially, this child is going to be theirs as much as mine (I’m the first person to be pregnant while working there!).

So, while that only explains the recent sixish months of absence that doesn’t explain the earlier stuff.  Honestly, not much was going in our lives to really expound upon.  Our lives have been humdrum.  Pretty much all our days have been is wake up, eat, work, come home, eat (?), sleep, and repeat.  Our days off had been spent recouping and trying to feel human.  While our days are nearly the same things are obviously going to change.

This blog will remain pretty much the same.  Stream of consciousness sort of deal.  There will obviously be posts about the child once they’re here and how Grendal and I deal with this new chapter of our lives.  I mean, the name of the blog has changed accordingly since this is no longer just about me and my ramblings.  I don’t think Grendal will do any posts here but I can’t just keep him hidden anymore.

So, stick around! I’m going to try and do at least a biweekly update but, well, you’ve seen my track record.

Ahem

 

I’m back. . . . I think.

Life has changed for the better.  Grendal and I both have new, better jobs.  We are less stressed.  Happier.  Things look brighter.  Grendal is working for a lawn treatment company and has already been told that he is probably going to be bumped up to an assistant manager’s position within the next few months.

Me?  I am now a cook in a local vegan brewery/restaurant.  I’m loving it so much.  The people are amazing.  They care about you.  I landed the position a little before St. Patrick’s day and I’ve made many friends already.  Which is a HUGE thing for me!  I mean, sure, the kitchen staff but the servers too.  It feels strange.  I’m not used to making connections so quickly but it happened.  Everyone seems so chill.  I mean, just Monday Grendal and I took his parents there for dinner.  He and I walked in and when the wait staff saw me, I got hugs. They were so happy to see me even though I had been there for a shift just the day before.

For the most part, everything has been pretty laid back since we landed our new jobs.  Divo is in the process of moving out.  Come to learn he is a bit of a hoarder and, well, he has made a mess of things.  Due to that, I think the process is daunting for him.  While Grendal and I would like him out ASAP, the amount of things he has plus two jobs is making things slow to a crawl.

So, why am I back?  After months (again) I’ve come back to this.  I honestly thought about starting a new blog, but what would the point be?  It would be the same ramblings and all that.  So, I’ll continue here the best that I can.  I have most mornings to myself.  Waiting for my shift with little to do.  So, why not ramble here to keep myself sane?

I’ve been watching AHS: Coven again.  I seem to be alone in my love for this season of the series.  I do see it’s issues but, for what ever reason, I fell in love.  Maybe it was the setting.  Angela Basset.  Who knows.  What ever it is, it has made me come back to this season at least 5 times while the rest have only been given the initial watch.

Love her. Gotta be the big hair.

#aesthetic

 

For the past week I’ve felt like something has been tugging at me.  I’m feeling restless on my path.  I’ve put out offerings, cleaned and redecorated the altar.  Hell, I’ve even pulled out some of my old books on wicca to flip through.  While I’m not Wiccan I’ve felt the need to have the books out for whatever reason.

It might be the changing of the season but something is happening to me, and to Grendal honestly.

I mean, Grendal did have a dream that dealt with Odin and Freyr.

I’ll Get Better 

I swear.

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. A lot has happened. I’ve had a new schedule change, which means I am actually cooking in the mornings as well as night. It’s a nice change and lets me flex my cooking muscles. It’s a nice change, but I have to get used to it. Mainly because I close the night before and have to go to bed pretty much right when I get home. Sucks for the dogs and I am used to going to bed at about 4 in the morning, which is when I actually have to get up. So I work on roughly five hours of sleep and have a full day my first morning. The second morning, though, is much easier as I’ve gotten used to waking up and going to bed, only to have that messed up the following day.  Plus, it seems like I’m the only one with some passing ideas/knowledge of vegetarian and vegan dishes, so I’ve gotten some major kudos for that.

Go me!

Like I said, a lot has happened since I last posted. I mean it has been three months since I’ve said anything (and I’ve been working on this post off and on for a week and a half). For the most part things have been the same: work, sleep, maybe some food, repeat. About, I want to say, three weeks to a month ago I had an awesome opportunity. Nothing job-wise, nothing life-altering, but it was pretty awesome to say the least.

No I think I’ve mentioned this before but Grendal’s parents run a spiritualist church. His mother is a certified pastor? Not a priest. I don’t know, but she went through classes and became certified to run Church. But that’s not the point! The point is is that about a month ago they had a special guest from out of country. Person who is well-versed and I believe rather well known in spiritualism. He is a teacher of Grendal’s mother and was in the area to actually do some classes at the church as well as a church nearby, but that one isn’t run by Grendal’s family.

This guy (I won’t be giving his name because he doesn’t like some of this information to get out) taught some classes on healing and trance work  and other things. Gave some readings. Things like that. There was a invite only session that I was actually invited to. I went.

Guys. I was invited, essentially, to a seance!

Going to a seance is something that I wanted to do since I was probably 8 years old. I saw some David Copperfield specials where he did “seances” and I wanted nothing  more then to see one personally.  Even after 20+ years it was something I wanted and I was given the chance.

The gentlemen who was hosting it is an awesome person. Very kind, soft spoken, a little awkward around groups of new people (I can relate). The big thing, though, is that he is a septic. A big one. Someone very much steeped in science and all that. Yet he does trance work and physical mediumship.

Needless to say it was pretty awesome.  Things floating, strange touches, lights, the whole shbang!  Grendal and two others had gone into the cabinet themselves before the gentlemen hosting was starting to go under and needed to get in the cabinet.  He hadn’t planned on it.  The phenomena cranked itself up to 11 for the short period he was in.

Even with it all I was skeptical.  Grendal was too but could not find anything to indicate the guy was not being up front about it.  Hell, things were happening when Grendal was in the cabinet.

I can check that off my bucket list.

Another awesome thing is that the gentlemen brought a spirit board.  I was eyeing the thing for a good 15 minutes before Grendal figured out what was going on and asked the man about it.  He talked a little bit, eyed me, and asked if anyone wanted to test it out.  One person on the planchette and one person asking questions for the group.  Of course I jumped at the chance.  I was one of those kids who loved the hell out of Ouji boards growing up.  A friend down the street and I would play with it, a previous friend had helped me with it but ended up saying she had pushed the planchette around.  I ended up locking the thing away after I started seeing some strange things.  At that point in my life I still bought into the whole ‘it opens a gateway to hell’ thing.  I didn’t want evil things busting in to the house.

Questions were asked and, without too much preamble, the planchette moved.  After it all the gentlemen said I was a natural, which was a nice little ego boast for me.

Due to this and some other things Grendal has doubled up on his own spiritual workings and I have returned to my card readings and debate on trying to take up rune readings.  It’ll be interesting.

And I swear I’ll post more often.  If you REALLY need to see what I’m doing, there is a link to my instagram on the side bar.  You’ll be met with pictures of animals and food, but it lets you know I’m alive.

If I Could Turn Back Time

“I wish I could turn back the clock.”

“I wish I could go back to high school.”

“I wish I could talk to myself ten years ago.”

I’ve heard some iteration of these questions many, MANY times.  I’ve been asked them.  I have pondered them.  I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want to go back to high school.  It wasn’t the best time of my life.  Far from it.  That time was awkward and full of times that, while they weren’t damaging, weren’t fun.  Sure, if I could go back and tell myself that everything would be okay, I would.

Everything will be fine.

Learn from this.

Hang on to those happy times.

The one thing that I would do, though, is go find myself as I’m teetering on the cusp of paganism, grab myself by the shoulders, and shake myself violently.

Kinda like this.

I would tell myself to listen to my gut.  The books aren’t the end all, be all of how things work.  The elaborate rituals sound amazing and probably look amazing, but for the time being you’re solitary.  Work with yourself.  Listen to the whispers.  If something seems right, do it.  Read mythology and pick up books on ancient practices when you find them.

Believe in the magic you weave.  It works!

Thinking back on it, I started everything at the age of 13.  That means I’ve been practicing paganism for nearly 20 years.  I have to tell myself that.  This isn’t a phase.  This isn’t some passing fancy.

I am pagan.

I am a heathen.

I wish I had found blogs, websites, forum posts on paganism on a budget at an earlier date.  It would help me with the idea that the books aren’t the only way.

I have a box full of books on Wicca.  It was the path I started on.  I bought books when I could.  Bought the ones that jumped out at me.  A few with pretty covers.  Some that worked with dragons.  There was so much stuff.  So many guidelines and things that I had to remember.  I was a theater kid.  I should have been able to remember how to call the quarters.

None of the books mentioned going with your gut feeling.  Listening to your inner voice.

Do these sorts of spells when the moon is in this phase.  Use these herbs.  Use ONLY these colors.  Black is the color of negativity. Evil. VOID.

There is white magic and black magic.  Don’t do black magic.  There is grey magic, because some times you need to hex a bitch.  No one warned me that I should be careful with voodoo.  The local library and book store only carried books on voodoo that dealt more with the anthropological side.

Don’t forget the rule of three.  Or is it nine?  Don’t forget the Wiccan Rede.

I don’t know when it was that I shrugged off that oppressive feeling of so many rules.  When I got back to the root of it all.  I know it was after I began my relationship with Grendal.  After I found out his family was perfectly fine with paganism.  They read tarot cards, talk with spirits, and believe in faeries.  He sees things, speaks with them.

We’ve come together in our different practices, Grendal and I.  We talk about these feelings we have.  He encourages that I follow them.  He is also the voice of reason and has stopped me from cursing people in the heat of the moment.

I use magic as I cook, as I work.  I talk to the spirits in the garden, using three lawn trolls as physical representations.  I talk to crows and squirrels when I can.

I wish I could have done this earlier.  Embraced the fluidity and organic nature of what paganism should be.  You shouldn’t HAVE to buy all the things.  Those items aren’t needed.  They’re extensions of yourself, used to focus and pour yourself into.  It is nice to have but not necessary.

Things have change so much for me.  After 20 years it feels like I have finally become the witch I was suppose to become.

Frances. I’m supposed to be Aunt Frances.

When in Doubt

I seriously just spent ten minutes trying to find a spongebob gif to finish this quote but couldn’t find it due to Pinky and the Brain and My Little Pony.  What the heck.

Anyway, quick blurb!  I have been meaning to write a proper post but I need to get things figured out in my head before I get it down.

So! The other day Grendal and I decided to do some spell/craft/magic stuff together.  It is honestly the first time I’ve done anything with anyone in YEARS.  I don’t want to go into the specifics of the work but I wanted to mention the interesting thing that happened.

It was set up where Grendal was focusing his energy at me so I could channel our combined energy into our working.  We’re sitting at the kitchen table, eyes closed.  I’m doing my thing and I’m nearly done.  I open my eyes.  Across from where I sit is a set of windows that look out into our front yard.  We had a curtain open to let some light in since it was a sunny afternoon.  To my surprise there was a crow in the yard.  In plain view of my seat.  I was floored.

Crows, for what ever reason, don’t really bother with the neighborhood we’re in.  We can hear them blocks away, maybe see them flying off among the trees in the direction but they rarely, if at all, come along our block.  Let alone hang out in our yard.  Yet, one was there.  Bobbing around in the grass.  I quietly got Grendal’s attention.  He peeked out the window and then looked at me with wide eyes.

We took it as a positive sign.

Here’s to hoping our little magical working, well, works.

It’s Not a Phase, Mom

GAH.

Everyone goes through some phase or another.  I know I have.  The longest running one was my obsession with Phantom of the Opera that sprang into existence when I was in second grade.  I was going to see a stage production of Heidi with a school friend.  Her father was taking us.  I think they really liked theater and I remember he was playing a recording of the Phantom of the Opera.  Like, someone had sat in the audience and recorded it sort of thing.  I was enthralled with the music.  He told me little bits about it and I remember he mentioned that the actual opera house had a lake beneath it, AND that the theater we were going to had a river beneath it.  Looking back on that now, I don’t know if THAT was true but let me tell you, it sent my imagination spinning.

Needless to say, I begged for a tape of the Phantom of the Opera when I got home and I received it.  So since roughly 1991 I have been obssessed with anything Phantom of the Opera. I have different recordings, saw the Weber musical, read the original novel, read and watched the HORRID sequeals, love Susan Kay’s version, I know the entire script by heart, etc etc.  My prized possessions are music boxes from the San Francisco Music Box company.  Every year from middle school I would get one for christmas.  I treasure them still.  Hell, I LITERALLY just looked at their site and they have them still.

I’m no longer a HUGE fan of it.  I mean I like it and will watch it every so often….

But that isn’t the point of this post.

Way to go me for rambling so damn much.

Anyway, PHASES!  We have them.  I have them.  They go in some odd cycles (PotO may come back to me at some point).  The one that bothers me and I don’t know if I ever touched on is my spirituality.

My beliefs never go away but my wont to practice is VERY lackluster.  Want to know a sure fire way to kick my but into gear and get me actively practicing again?  Show me pictures of altars, documentaries that talk about these practices, or movies.  Hell!  Watching The Craft is a sure as shit way to get me doing SOMETHING.

Speaking of documentaries, I ended falling down the rabbit hole known as youtube and watched a few things from VICE/Broadly about different people and their practices.  I enjoyed them to a certain extent and, wouldn’t you know, I have that itch to get things spruced up around here and get back to practicing a little more actively.  I was already getting that tingle thanks to the season change but these videos just sent me over the edge much sooner.

 

 

 

It was specifically that last one.  I am always fascinated and in awe of the people have gone back to “ancient” practices and brought them to the modern day.  It just strikes a cord with me, no matter which pantheon.

There is something else that has always put a damper on my practicing.  I’ll cover that, though it will be in another post.  My ramblings about Phantom of the Opera has made this post seem a little over full.

I’m a dork.

And given the chance to ramble on about Phantom of the Opera, I can, will, and have gone on for hours.