Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Fraction of the Whole

I'm not sure if I've discussed my cookbook problem with you before, but I have a sickness. I love to buy cookbooks. I may never make a single recipe from it, but I just love the idea of cookbooks. I can't control myself either. Amazon makes it so easy to purchase books on their website, I just lose track, and before I know it, my shopping cart is full, I qualify for Super Saver Shipping and I can't even remember what it was I ordered in the first place. Here are some of my favorites from my bookshelves below.

Nigella was one of my first loves - I thought her Domestic Goddess cookbook had such a clever title, and it was one of the first cookbooks I ever bought. I'll always buy her cookbooks, even though her on air personality kind of drives me bananas - all her gushing over food and licking spoons and nonsense. I don't think I'm a prude, but what the hell Nigella, do up the top button of your blouse!

I bought the Professional Baking cookbook when I first realized that I loved baking, but didn't want to enrol in the baking program at the technical school in my city. I figured it was like a text book for school which helped me justify the $100+ price tag for it. I just thought about all the money I would be saving by not enrolling in the courses, and instead, just teach myself how to become a professional baker (like it was hard or something). In case you're wondering, I didn't.

Contrary to the below cookbooks, I'm not actually from the south, nor do I regularly cook fried chicken. However, I do love butter and bacon, so that explains the Paula Deen and Pioneer Woman books. Also, the one that is titled Fat  (cancelling out any goodwill from the Diabetes Desserts cookbook above it) is also self explanatory. I'm always looking for ways to incorporate bacon fat into my diet, and I suggest you do the same.

This demonstrates a small fraction of my cookbook collection - the rest are scattered throughout my house, on coffee tables, night stands and kitchen drawers. I always tell myself I will stop buying more, but like an addict who wants just one last hit, I can't, I just love having them around. Please tell me I'm not the only one with a random weakness - confess your addictions in the comments below!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

About That List...

So I think it will be a surprise to no one when I mention that I haven’t made huge in roads on my list yet. Shocking, I know. I think I have a semi-reasonable excuse. I have been busy! I was taking a night class once a week, which THANK GOD it is over – although the instructor was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject matter, the subject matter was information systems for human resources and I realized sitting there for 5 weeks that I don’t really care that much about where to store employee information. New hires could write their contact info and social insurance number on the back of a napkin for all I care, I would still accept it. I’m a big fan of not overcomplicating things and an information system seems complicated.

So I had the class on Wednesday nights, plus I was working my bartending gig on Monday nights, which was only supposed to be temporary, but 3 months later I was still doing it (I’m done now), so that kept me busy, and obviously I had to watch my shows on Sunday nights (Mad Men/The Walking Dead – Boardwalk Empire/Dexter), so there was that too. As you can see, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on!

Either way, I’m back now, and even with my unbelievably busy schedule (snerk), I think I can cross something off my list. I have developed some basic Adobe Illustrator skills. Woot woot! Yes friends, I know how to use the program I bought so long ago. I met with one of my co-workers who is quite tech savvy and skilled in all things Adobe, and quite frankly has the patience of a saint (how many times can you tell one person “hold the Shift button and drag” with a smile on your face every time I would hit Control and drag? I was ready to knock my own ass out on her behalf), and for the price of one Tim Horton’s coffee, she showed me the ropes. Obviously I’m not going to be some crazy web designer or something all of a sudden, but I can do a bunch of stuff – invitations, announcements, cupcake toppers. I’m telling you – I have been loving the power I wield with this skill. I can make my own stuff – my Etsy spending has decreased significantly now that I know what I’m (sort of) doing, and all I want to do is plan parties so I have an excuse to use my new skills. So, I would say, success – it took me a while, but slow and steady wins the race.

What do you think I should tackle next? I’ve added even more books to the cook book collection, so perhaps croissants are in order? Let me know!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Was Your Service Tonight?

So I went for dinner with my mother and sister to The Keg. Now if you've been a long time reader of this blog (which, HA! - you could have started reading this today and finished the whole thing in 20 minutes), but you would assume that I eat there all the time. The reality is, I've only eaten there maybe four times in my whole life, this specific dinner being one of those times.

Either way, we went because it was kid friendly and casual, but we certainly regretted it after. None of us ate well and it seemed like everything annoyed us. Now I don't know if it's because we have a restaurant and have certain expectations of how things should be, but we are never satisfied. It's true. It's a wonder why we ever leave the house. What I'm wondering though, is how long does it take you to realize you like/loathe your server? My sister and I got seated and the server asked what we'd like to drink and as soon as she left, we both blurted out: "I hate this bitch".

Now normally a server does something listed below to irritate me:

1. Too much enthusiasm: I appreciate enthusiasm, but don't act like you were waiting all night for me to show up. I know you weren't. Also, I don't genuinely believe that you are that excited about your daily features, so calm down. Let's both take a step back and you can talk to me like a reasonable person, instead of talking to me through a creepy smile. Also, don't even think about being so engaged with me that you bend down/crouch to a squat and lean on my table. I will be mildly annoyed. My husband will probably kill you.

2. Not enthusiastic enough: Of course it's a fine balance, and I've stated above, I don't need you to be doing cartwheels at my table, but please, act like you have a pulse, and I'm not a huge burden on you. I get it, no one loves their job every day, but everyone has to do their job every day, so grin and bear it.

3. They tell you their name: I'm not trying to sound like a snob, because I don't mean to say, "like your name even matters, peon", but rather, We don't know eachother -  I'm not actually going to call you by your name - ever!

In this instance though, she didn't really do any of the above (except #3), and yet we were done with her before she even brought us our drinks. Which leads me to believe that in fact, we may be the problem. Having grown up in a restaurant has ruined us. Our expectations too high, and our tolerance for poor service too low. Because I understand the world is fair, I am certain, that servers have a 10 point list about which customers they like/can't stand similar to my list above. So when they see me walk in and I pretend to listen to them as they go through their script of daily specials, always order a glass of water plus my standard Diet Coke, and ask for no lettuce or tomato on a clubhouse, I am certain when they walk back to the server station they mutter to their coworkers, I hate this bitch.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

In a never ending effort to get to that pesky list I threw out in the
universe, I was researching some recipes online one day when I came across
a local (to me blogger). She was discussing what she’d done on the weekend
and mentioned that a dessert bar she enjoyed was closing down permanently
at the end of August. Sidebar - as I write that, I realize how long I have been sitting on this 'story' for. I need to update this blog more consistently.
Being the diligent investigator that I am, I went to said dessert bars’
website and lo and behold, they were closing down after 4 years in
business. I’d gone once or twice before, and was less than thrilled about
it. I felt like it was trying too hard and took itself too seriously, all
the while trying to come off as an ‘indie’ restaurant. Give. Me. A. Break.
The rent they were likely paying for the location, did not scream ‘indie’,
but in fact, ‘numerous investors’ and ‘silent partners’ which I’m totally
okay with, of course, but please don’t misrepresent yourself. Whatever.

I was thrilled to discover that they were liquidating their assets and
selling all their kitchen equipment and supplies. So, I quickly ran down to
the restaurant at lunch and picked through the shattered dreams of a
disillusioned pastry chef. For the low price of $60 I walked away with  
5 commercial sized baking sheets. FYI – these don’t fit in my oven, because
I don’t have a COMMERCIAL oven. Sometimes I get caught up in the moment.
They fit in my moms oven though, so all is not lost. Plus, 3 cake pans – 2 standard and one "oversized" pan. Apparently the "oversized" pan (which the most expensive of the 3)  is custom made as it isn’t a standard size I call bullshit, but wasn’t about to nickel and dime someone whose dreams were crashing all around them.

I was disappointed that I didn’t find something better – I was hoping to
find pie pans or a pastry wheel – but this was still a pretty good score. I
decided that I would send my husband down to double check on his way to
work that night to see if there was anything else worth buying, or if they brought more stuff out. Well, it is a good thing I did, because he came home with this:

Yes, that is an 8 quart commercial mixer. In case you’re wondering it is
for professional/commercial use, it weighs approximately 70 pounds, and is
currently living in my garage because it doesn’t actually fit between my kitchen counters and cupboards. He bought it for $400 and after some online research , I discovered that they retail for approximately $1200. In other words, AMAZING!

I am so excited to actually use it though I haven’t had a chance to yet,
because I can’t lift it up the two flights of stairs to my kitchen by myself. I’m
thinking of converting a section of my garage into a kitchen/work area. A
renovation seems like a reasonable solution to buying a piece of kitchen
equipment I don’t actually need, that I bought to finish a task
(croissants) on an arbitrary list I made, for a blog that fewer than 10
people read. Am I right? Anyone? Bueller?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smells Like September

There is something about September that makes me happy. I celebrated my 3rd wedding anniversary at the beginning of September, (can you say i-Pad? i-Love my husband); classes start again so work is busy and the campus has a pulse, the leaves change – fall is coming, you can wear corduroy pants again (just me?) and the wasteland that is summer television is coming to an end. Big Brother and Wipeout, I’m looking at you, Mad Men, you can stay. True Blood, I’m mad at you, but I love Eric, so you can stick around. For now.

Something else to look forward in September and the fall in general, is all the recipes that come out - pumpkins, apples, and comfort food take center stage. Thank goodness, because I think I’m officially over strawberries and cherries. My parents have a couple of apple trees in their yard and we got together to make apple crumble. We made 12 altogether, and it was pretty easy and quick, (except for 2 hours it took to peel 100s of apples) once you had all your ingredients assembled. An added bonus of course is the smell that fills your kitchen when baking them. I made the fatal mistake of baking one and not having vanilla ice cream on hand to eat it with. You can’t imagine the horror.

A sample of some of our apple crumbles. Sorry the picture is garbage, it's from my Blackberry - turn your head 90 degrees to the right to get the right perspective.

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Keeping My Day Job

My parents have a restaurant – it has been an ‘establishment’ in the neighborhood it’s in for over thirty years. It started as a restaurant and lounge, and through various renovations and changes in smoking laws, has finally transformed to a full bar. There are pool tables, dart boards, gambling terminals, and big screen TVs. Imagine your local neighborhood pub, now replace their crappy food with the best pizza you’ve ever had, and that’s what our restaurant is like.

My sisters and I basically grew up in that restaurant where we would answer phones, wash dishes, do any kind of food prep, bus tables and when we got older, actually be responsible to ‘manage’ the restaurant when we either opened or closed on weekends, giving our parents some much needed time off.

What we have never done though, is actually wait tables. I don’t know for sure but I imagine my parents’ motivation from keeping us from being actual servers was threefold. The first reason was that school and university were always the number one priority, and if we worked at the restaurant, we’d need to work late nights and wouldn’t be able to manage both. The second, reason was that none of us could hold a tray to save our lives, and would in reality be horrible servers. And finally, the most important reason we were never waitresses: if we started waiting tables, we would likely never stop because we’d be millionaires, and would never get a ‘real’ job!

This is something I always believed to be true, and now I know for sure.

Oh my God! Never feel sorry for the waitress who’s fifty and still working at the diner – she’s loaded! I understand there is a tradeoff – crappy hours, hard job physically, no benefits, etc. BUT! The tips – oh, the glorious tips! I discovered the money train that is the service industry when our bar tender quit because they were making the jump from bar tender to project manager at an oil firm. Which I've learned is code for, 'I have a drug problem and need to leave the city'. Because we were short staffed, I stepped into the role of bartender. I had done it numerous times before assisting the main bartender, but I’d never actually worked a shift on my own. Now I love it – I work on the slow nights – Mondays and Wednesdays, and my parents were right, if I had been doing this from the time I was in university, I’d never get a real job - the money even on the slow nights I work, is amazing - and I'm just the bartender. We have a waitress who actually went to school to become a teacher, but she has since left her day job and waitresses pretty much full time – I understand her motivation. Before there was judgment, now I’m in awe.

I worked again last night and that’s when it happened. The underbelly of bartending reared its ugly head. Somebody ‘walked out’ on me. Nooooooo! A regular came in and had a ‘date’ (and I use the term loosely) with him. He was ordering drinks, appetizers, food, he was having a great time at the bar. Then his bill comes and his credit card DECLINED, debit card DECLINED. I was so annoyed. He assured me he would be back to pay for his outstanding bill ($50.00), and I know that he’s good for it – he’s there every day practically, but the devastation of having to cover that bill to my own restaurant, was a weird feeling I’ll admit. So yes, although the money is good, you have to actually ensure that people can afford to pay their bill at the end of the night, otherwise you as their server are on the hook for it. Which brings me to my next question: why would anyone want to be a waitress?


PS - I made the creme brulee. Pictures and blog post to follow this week!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crème Brulee Fail

I was prepped and ready to go - I was going to tackle my to do list! I had my recipe photocopied and taped to my kitchen cabinet, all my ingredients ready to go, time blocked off in the morning to tackle the dish, and the resolve of champion fighter with something to prove. All that was left was for me to get the kitchen torch and the ramekin dishes. I felt if I was going to make crème brulee, I was going to do it properly and with the right tools so the kitchen torch was non negotiable for me. With regards to the ramekins, my subsequent downfall, I legitimately didn’t have anything that could act as a substitute in my pantry for them, so they were absolutely required, otherwise I would have to bake the crème brulee in cereal bowls, which would really take away from the whole presentation piece.

So off I quickly went to Williams-Sonoma to pick up the final pieces of my crème brulee puzzle, the kitchen torch and ramekins. I appreciate and understand fully that Williams-Sonoma is overpriced. I accept that walking into the store, and I know that I’m overpaying, but because I like the idea of that store, I don’t mind.

My experience with Williams-Sonoma is this: walk in, get distracted by the cute displays, pretty looking samples and overly helpful salespeople. I buy something I didn’t even know I needed (newsflash, I didn’t need it) and walk out not actually realizing what I've done, like I'm in some sort of fugue state. However when I was at the till paying for four ramekins and a kitchen torch, and the grandma working the register said the total was $181.65, I quickly snapped out of the fugue state and had a rare moment of lucidity in that store. I had to quickly decide - my own Sophie's Choice if you will - ramekins or kitchen torch? How does a mother choose between her children? Although it was difficult, I went with the kitchen torch, rightfully assuming that it would be harder to find that at another store, and parted ways with the ramekins. I scoured the rest of the mall to find a suitable substitution for the ramekins, and nothing. Devastation set in as I realized I would have to put the crème brulee on hold as now I was out of time – I would have to be at work shortly, and my hunt for ramekins would lead me to another mall twenty minutes out of my way to the poor mans Williams Sonoma - Crate & Barrel - to see if they had something that would work. Thankfully, they did, and for far less than $22 each. I will attempt again this weekend, I promise.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


So in preparation for my to do list, which I've decided to take very seriously, and you know, actually finish, not only have I devoted some major time to mental preparation - psyching myself up to deal with yeast and other sorts of preferements for the croissants and danishes, I have also devoted some serious time at Williams Sonoma. I need a kitchen torch for creme brulee, an indoor grill/panini maker for the pizza (I'm not about to fire up the entire BBQ for one piece of dough - let's get real here people), and anything else I stumble upon and can justify to myself. Like I said, I'm taking the list very seriously. All of this because this weekend, I am going to tackle creme brulee. I have a recipe from a French cook book, so you know it's going to be legit - not some bastardized version of creme brulee - plus the ingredients are listed by weight so you know they mean business. Note to self, I need a digital kitchen scale. 

I will post again with details of how it all went down, and hopefully some pictures too. I have a big fancy camera that I should get some use out of, even if I can't figure out how to turn the flash off. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Do List

As you can see by the list below, I don’t have huge aspirations, most of the things I want “to do” are food related. I will explain: I love baking and the idea of cooking, but always stick to the basics. I want to explore the millions of cook books I have and actually do some real baking/cooking. Everything else is sort of a mish mash of things I keep meaning to do, but never get around to.

The hot yoga, I have actually already done, but I stopped going and I should go back. I actually enjoyed sweating my brains out while doing awkward stretches in a room full of people. Even though I live literally one hour away from the Rocky Mountains I have never engaged in any sort of mountain/outdoor activity – hiking, skiing, snowboarding, etc. I’m an asshole. This is what my typical mountain experience looks like:

1) Go to the expensive hotel in town and indulge in an overly priced brunch that has anything and everything you could ever imagine. Usually I just want the bacon.

2) Walk to Starbucks and get a blended drink of some sort.

3) Stop at the fudgery that has been there forever and stock up on chocolate turtles and chocolate bark.

4) Arrive home and fall into a food induced coma.

As you can see, none of those activities involve getting on a mountain, or even walking in a pathway by the river. I stay on the sidewalk and in my car. So, I feel now is the time to make a change. I know that I will never actually get on skis – I am certain I would be cold and uncomfortable the whole time -  so I’ve resigned myself to going for a hike in the mountains. It’s basically just walking with better scenery, so I don’t know why I’ve waited so long.

Also, I’ve lowered my to do list to 15 items from the original 30 I had planned, and am also bumping up the timeline of before the age of thirty down to before Christmas. If it seriously takes me two years to clean out my basement, A & E may do a special on me.

1. Croissants
2. Danish
3. Macarons
4. Crème Brulee
5. Donuts
6. Grilled Pizza
7. Fried Chicken
8. Soutzoukakia
9. Kotopitakia
10. Pasta
11. Eclairs
12. Hot Yoga
13. Photography classes
14. Clean out my basement
15. Go hiking

Deadline: December 24, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Here We Go! Again.

Hi, it’s me again. Sorry for the huge delay in posts. To be honest, I totally gave up, but I’m back now. I’ve given myself a pep talk and I think I’ll stick around this time. For some extra insurance, I, I thought I should write a list of three reasons I should commit to this, and when the inevitable time comes that I am looking for a quick exit, hopefully something on this list will pull me back. Here we go!

1. I need something to do that is free. Somehow I have managed to pick hobbies/creative outlets that have a huge price point. Some examples include the following:

- Photography – I have about $2500 in camera equipment and still don’t fully understand what manual focus is, why everyone is so against the flash feature and what an F stop is. I saw some nice pictures, told my husband I think I’d be good at it, and dove right in. Not to mention the never ending downward spiral this has caused: Photoshop software so I can edit my pictures and of course 30 hours of Photoshop classes so I can learn how to use the Photoshop software. All of this so I could take a picture of my niece and nephew and edit it in Photoshop Elements, the subsequent software I bought because I felt that Photoshop was too professional for me, and I was just a regular person that didn’t need all the bells and whistles.

- Baking – I love to bake, in fact my sisters and I have started a pseudo baking business from our home. That being said, we just started it. Like 6 months ago. For the last five years I have been buying every type of cookie sheet and muffin tray on the market.Do you need a cake pan? I have 6”, 8”, 10”, 12”, or 14” inches.Round, square, oval (I really needed an oval cake pan set?), orheart shaped? What about a good solid cook book? You need to have a good cake recipe or else the heart shaped cake you were going tomake in the 12” heart pan will be all for nothing. Good thing I have over 200 books to select one basic chocolate cake recipe from.

2. I need to be held accountable. If I keep a blog, there will be a written record of what I say and what I plan to do. In that regard, all of those ridiculous hobbies and projects that I’ve started and never finished - maybe I can shame myself into completing them! I have seen a feature in other blogs where they have a to do list. I think that is a great idea. I love making lists. Grocery and otherwise, so I think I will compile a list of things I want to do before I’m 30 –that doesn’t give me much more time – less than 2 years and post them on the site. Then, I will have ‘put it out there’ and be forced to do it. I can’t wait for my productivity to increase tenfold. I can’t imagine how sitting in front of a computer will actually increase my productivity, but I suppose anything is possible. First thing on the list of course, will be to create the list. See how I did that there? Stay tuned!

3. I.CAN.DO.THIS. I am a professional blog reader. I have discovered gems, and found total duds too, but when I read a blog, I always wonder why don’t I do this? So now, I’m doing it. And maybe I’ll totally suck, which quite frankly, I don’t think I will, but also, I’m posting on the WORLD WIDE WEB, not a community bulletin so if I do suck, I don’t think anyone will notice in the small corner of the Internet that I’m in. But I won’t suck.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Love Television

I love television. I really do. I think it all began in university when I discovered Mighty Big TV (now Television Without Pity) while on a break in between classes. I thought that website was so funny (now, not so much – it’s lost a lot of its edge that made it so snarky in the first place) and that I could totally be a writer for that site. I wanted nothing more than to be a writer for that site. I emailed a few times, and never got anywhere, and stopped pursuing it (obviously didn’t want it that bad), but still read the site. It was through this site that I discovered shows that I normally wouldn’t give watch, and reveled in the fact that someone loved Dawson’s Creek cheesiness as much as I did. This site also fostered a “why can’t I do that” kind of attitude in me as well. Like, why can’t I write a book or a blog about something as inane as TV – these people aren’t smarter then me. And so I did. My friend and I decided that we would write a book about television characters that we loved, and see how they would fit in the ‘real’ world. A bit of an abstract idea, but we gave it a shot. And by gave it a shot, I mean, I wrote one blurb about one character and filed it under “The Book” – I don’t recall if my friend ever wrote anything, or if we only brainstormed a list of people we should write about. That was on October 19, 2007. Needless to say, we didn’t pursue the idea (I’m noticing this is a common theme), but here it is nonetheless.

Some things to note: I love The Shield. I thought it was the greatest show on television at the time, it still holds up well. When I originally wrote this, I had literally watched at least 3 seasons of it in a matter of six weeks – I was living and breathing Vic Mackey for a while, so it is pretty intense. I also turned my cousin on to the show and lent him the entire series on DVD – I’m still waiting to get it back.

I don't know about you, but when I find a kilo of uncut heroin in my glove compartment, the first guy I call is my neighborhood detective, Vic Mackey. Why do I call him, before say, Andy Sipowicz? Well, Andy would breathe heavily and wonder how the hell he's going to get me out of this mess, all the while thinking of how he is going to financially support his new daughter from his super hot and super younger girlfriend, Connie, especially since he's so close to retiring. Vic Mackey will deal with my problem with a clear head because he isn't worried about finances--he gave his ex wife 25 grand of stolen money to pay for their child to attend a specialized school for autistic children. Added bonus? If I am down trodden and really vulnerable, there is a good chance that he will probably take advantage of the situation and go down on me too – win win for everyone!

The morally ambiguous center of The Shield is just the man you need to take care of your problems if you don't have an issue with crossing the line every now and then and are okay with him pushing the limits, potentially framing someone else along the way, and committing at least 3 other crimes while trying to cover up the first one. Vic Mackey - you can't just call him Vic, it's Vic Mackey--is always willing to help the less bad people then the really bad people, as long as there is something in it for him (see: the Money Train of Season 4), he is the type of guy your mother told you to stay away from, but you knew that when the shit really hit the fan in your low income housing, he was the first guy your mom called--reason being? He gets shit done.

But like any super cop, he doesn't do it all alone. He has his Strike Team to help him do his work. Ronnie Gardocki is the computer savant of the team, and also had the pleasure of taking a hit for his fearless leader, Vic Mackey, when Armadillo, one of the Strike Team's adversaries of Season 3 burned part of Ronnie's face off using a stove. Shane Vandrell, someone you find yourself oddly attracted to, even though he has a severe overbite, is probably 120 pounds on his period, and is mildly racist is Vic Mackey's go to guy and confidante. He is my number 2 cop to call in case shit hits the fan--willing to go even further than Vic Mackey (spoiler alert: he killed the fourth member of the Strike Team, Curtis Lemansky, the true conscience of the show in the Season 5 finale to ensure his part in the Money Train heist was never revealed) to cover his -- and if he really likes you -- your tracks.

But does the world really need guys like these in law enforcement? Probably not, but does my pretend world, where the chance of someone planting drugs on me is indeed very real need it? Absolutely. They work the mean streets of Farmington, where there are barrios and street walkers, not the quiet streets of suburbia where there are Starbuck's and soccer moms. Which is why unfortunately, Vic Mackey is a necessary evil; he knows the difference between bad guys, and even badder guys, and is willing to do something about it.

Seriously, I love television. How can you not with guys like these?

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Pound of Butter

So over the weekend we had a cake order. It was exciting and terrifying all at once as these things usually are for me. Sheer terror in the fact that I hope we do a good job, and of course, that we don’t accidentally kill anyone and exciting in the fact that this was an order from someone removed from our regular circle of people and it would be a good opportunity to spread the word about our business. So after over committing to what we are actually capable of:

Customer: “I need a cake for my daughter’s seventh birthday party, and we are going swimming, so that that’s kind of a theme – so I guess a pool theme?”

Me: “Of course we can do that. I already have a few ideas that might work!”

Liar! I had no ideas that would work! Why? Why, did I say that? We are not professional cake decorators. Our cakes taste great, of that I am sure, but why didn’t I just say, “Actually we don’t really do huge cake decorations – we focus on celebration cakes and that’s it really”? I’m not totally useless – I did classes at the Michael’s Craft Store (snerk) through the Wilton Cake Decorating courses, plus I’ve taken other courses as well so I have some skills, but nothing at a professional level yet. We had already committed to a pool party cake, and that is what they were going to get.

I had prepared everything at the restaurant and brought it home to actually decorate with my sisters. What I didn’t notice at the restaurant, was that when I was mixing my buttercream, I had actually overmixed it (classic mistake when trying to do ten things at once) and it had separated. So. Freaking. Annoying. Considering the time was now 6pm and I knew we’d take forever to actually decorate the damn thing I was starting to get a bit unhinged and frustrated with myself – especially because if there is one thing you will find in my fridge, it’s butter (and apparently bacon). So I quickly went to my corner store to pick up a pound of butter because I was too lazy to go all the way to the grocery store.

Well, that is the moment this post takes a very different turn from cake and icing and fun, to ‘Whoa, this bitch is crazy.’ I quickly ran in and asked the cashier abruptly if he had any butter, and sensing my fury he pointed me in the right direction. Usually I chat with him, ask him if he’s been busy and buy lottery tickets from him – I’m convinced I’m his only customer – he’s never busy – so the responsibility falls on me to sustain him and what I imagine are his four children and wife at home. That day I threw the money at him and ran. I quickly got back into my car and began to pull out to head home. Well, as I was reversing, to exit out of the north exit, a car was approaching to exit out the south entrance, I was already pulled out, but this asshole couldn’t wait two minutes for me to straighten out and kept driving towards me. He was probably middle aged and had his wife in the car along with another couple. So annoying. He was being such a jerk – like are you really trying to impress your loser wife and lame friends by being a jerk in a parking lot? And did you all just come from dinner from the lame neighborhood pub? Seriously, back the fuck off, I have a cake to decorate!

So, as I finally drove past him, I yell (through my window) “thanks for waiting you fucking asshole” and he has the audacity to give me a look, like I’m the crazy one, and the women in the car both make a face at me. Is this shit for real? It was so on (in my mind). Well, now I’m in a full rage (road and icing based) and peel out of the parking lots north exit and cut him off before he can turn out of the south exit – to be fair, I was actually on the road first – it probably helped that I was going 70km/hr, but whatever – these are small details. I was laughing to myself thinking ‘victory is mine. I sure showed him and his loser middle aged friends who hang out at lame pubs on a Saturday night” until I realized I’d made a fatal error in road rage etiquette. I was now in front of this jerk – there were four of them and one of me. I live a block away from the store. Panic quickly set in as I thought he began to follow me. I sped away but he was still following me (hindsight indicates to me that I was on the main road with about twenty exits, so it’s likely he was on his way back home as well). I wasn’t about to take any chances so I drove 10 minutes out of my way into a random block that was far enough away from my actual residence and even though he had turned off somewhere, pretty much two minutes into our drive back home, I really wanted to be sure the loser was gone.

Having finally returned to my house and hiding my car under the cover of my garage, I went back to the task at hand. My sister arrived shortly after and we decorated the cake, and in the end, it looked surprisingly good. I was in such a bad mood from my bad day that I didn’t even bother to take a picture (I know, I totally should have), but it was done and that was all I cared about.

The next night after my sister delivered the cake (I wanted nothing to do with it anymore) I got an email from the customer:

“RAVE REVIEWS from all on the wonderful birthday cake! Thank you to you and your sisters for making such a delicious dessert for my daughter to share with her guests. The teddy bears were a huge hit too - very cute & tasty. I was able to distribute business cards to many approving parents :-). We will call again soon for our next event.”

I was able to let out a huge sigh of relief – we were a success, and we might even get more gigs out of it! Next time, to prevent myself from potentially being on the six o’clock news though, I’ll be sure to have a stocked fridge before I begin.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Now What?

I feel so confused…like what’s next? I thought this would be easy. I’ve read blogs forever, and yet now that I am writing one, I have no idea what to do. What should I write? What is there to talk about? The pressure! I don’t want to let down all four of my readers – you’ve come here, I should make it worth your while. So, after much deliberation, here it goes: dinner plans for tonight. I know – you are at the edge of your seat.

Well, when my husband and I want to kick it up a notch, we go to The Keg. We really are living in the fast lane people! And although I hate the service, find the restaurant has kind of a weird smell to it – bleach mixed with seasoning salt perhaps? – notice that the crowd isn’t really cohesive – families, teenagers, first dates – seriously, figure out your market Keg people, and think it's grossly overpriced for what you are actually getting (like my father would say what’s the difference between their steak and ours?), I do love their crazy overstuffed baked potatoes. Generally I’m a slave to all carbohydrates, but this gigantic potato really does me in. In the name of full disclosure, I have not gone so far as to request the cheese sauce on it, so I’m not totally shameless, but I always add the butter that you’re supposed to use on your bun, in my potato. Whatever.

So, although we are not going to The Keg for dinner, I figured I would do my best to replicate it. I was cleaning out my freezer last night and found ‘fast fry steaks’ that if the package is to be trusted are “best before December 15” (I’m sure they’re fine) buried underneath about seven packages of bacon (I don’t have a legitimate explanation for that), and because I’ve been obsessed with having nachos for whatever reason lately, I had green onions and sour cream in the fridge. This all created a perfect storm for our dinner tonight, and that is what we did – minus the weird smells and crappy service.

Also, how the hell do you spell potato(e)? E no E? WTF?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello Stranger

So I've clearly missed my opportunity at a book deal (blogs are so 2000s), that would later be optioned for a movie, where my Hollywood twins Stana Katic and Rob Thomas (that's not a typo - junior high was a very awkward experience for me) fight over who gets to play the coveted role of me, but I figure if I don't start now I never will. So, big payoff be damned, I'm doing this for (shudder) myself. Yah, I said it. Let me just throw this all out in to the universe and see what comes back. Please God, let it be a book deal.

Where to begin? I suppose the name is a good starting point. I am a sister - the youngest of three daughters, and I am incredibly snarky, so I guess that's covered. Come on people, keep up. I am also a snarky wife, snarky coworker, snarky friend, and snarky blogger now too. I know I must sound like a pleasure to be around, but in fact, I am a pleasure to be around. Pop culture expert extraordinaire, sarcastic, mind of a steel trap for useless information, and great reteller of stories (heed the warning - I remember everything), I am the person you want at your parties to entertain you. Unless I don't know you, then I won't talk to you at all and you'll probably think I'm kind of a bitch. It's true. I am terribly shy and will rarely start a conversation and/or engage with other human beings unless I know them. So join me, anonymous friend, as I share my experiences, comment on pop culture, and hopefully snag that book deal as I stumble through life.