Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pride & Petulance

I've entered the petulant phase of learning to live gluten-free. If I can't eat pastry, I don't want to make any. So there.
Unfortunately, I've already paid for a cake decorating class. But it's fun, and education is never a waste. Here is my little fondant covered cake. For some reason my camera objects to all shades of purple, so the ribbon looks more blue. It also looks a bit dried out, because 1) fondant mixed with gumpaste dries out very quickly even when tightly wrapped in plastic, and 2) I made the mixture on Tuesday and just got around to finishing the thing this morning. But you get the idea. The Wilton fondant is on the inexpensive end of the spectrum, and it tastes like sugary play-doh. There are better tasting fondants, but really, fondant is just an artistic medium. If it's flavor you want, go for the buttercream. By which I mean Italian, French or Swiss; not that nasty shortening based crap that Americans seem to prefer. Blechk!

After my ongoing struggles with the evil buttercream roses, this gumpaste fondant technique was a relief. Sure, it's time consuming, but the flowers are so much prettier. Delicate, fragile and most of all, flowerlike.

The next class is all royal icing flowers, which I quite like. Yes, it involves piping flowers, but royal icing is easier to work with than shortening buttercream. Tragically, that shortening based buttercream is the industry standard. I had an interview at University of Denver this week. (Do NOT want that job!) The pastry chef told me that she tried using Italian buttercream but the students won't eat it. I try not to be a food snob, but really. Preferring crisco and powdered sugar to meringue and real butter? That's just sad.

But that's not the reason I don't want them to offer me that job. The volume in that kitchen is insane, and the position is subject to seasonal layoffs. Meaning that every time the students are on break, most of the kitchen staff is too. No thanks.

Looking for a job is hard work, much harder than actually working. Several jobs I applied for but never heard from have been reposted. This hurts my pride. It reminds me of waiting to be chosen for teams in gym class or waiting to be asked to the homecoming dance. (I went to high school in the very early 80's. If it wasn't Sadie Hawkins Day, girls didn't do the asking).

I decided to take advantage of all the programs Jefferson County offers the unemployed. Which is how on Thursday afternoon I found myself sitting in what I've dubbed the 'therapy cave'. It's a small room with no windows to the outside, is dimly lit, has soft music with ocean sounds playing and has a very comfy loveseat for the client. And a candy dish full of chocolate. But most importantly, there's a wonderful therapist. I'm looking forward to the next nine weeks of working with her.

I've had to revise my opinion of government agencies over the last few weeks. Every person I've spoken with has been kind and helpful. Especially the people at the mental health service. While I didn't qualify for the free therapy (I'm not a danger to myself or others) I did qualify for a program that provides ten sessions at $5 dollars a visit. I can pay for the entire series with what's in my change jar. And did I mention that the therapist's office in in walking distance? Sweet. Next week I'll be checking into all the vocational services. Maybe I'll take advantage of the Pell Grants and go back to school. If I think of something worth going to school for....

That's the thing. I still don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life. Or even if I want a master plan for my life. I haven't had one so far, and things seem to be going okay. Not by society's standards maybe, but those standards don't fit me.

The bonfire of the novel seems to have had the desired effect; I'm back into editing, however slowly it might be going. I'm making notes for Script Frenzy and am getting the software figured out. It's really pretty cool. I may be wrong, but I think 100 pages of script is going to be much easier to do than 50,000 words. Script Frenzy starts on April Fool's Day. There may be a reason....


ginger said...

That cake is beautiful!

I like that crappy buttercream, it gave me buttercream when I was vegan and I will probably continue to make it unless you're providing the real stuff.

(this isn't a bad thing so don't take it that way) You will never know what to do with the rest of your life. If I were to (God forbid) lose my job I'd immediately apply at every car dealer in's what I do. I like automotive accounting and the only other thing I'd love to do (teach preschool) pays nothing and isn't worth it. You acquire a new career everytime something leaves you unemployed. It's because you are adventurous and want to experience so much that you just don't know what to do next. You'll find the next big thing'll see. Maybe it will have something to do with writing.
And finally, I heart therapy! I think everyone should go to therapy!!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i saw that you were getting snow on the news! we have some in our forecast for the weekend. your cake came out great. one of my kids favorite cakes are the ghost cakes i used to make for halloween. they are an almond cake with buttercream then draped with fondant. crisco is just nasty! i've gone back to using lard for my biscuits and frying. lard got a bad wrap when crisco was introduced and now people wonder about the obesity epidemic. back to the good stuff for me. i make my mincemeat with suet!

Jenn said...

Good move taking advantage of all the benefits you can while you're unemployed, not only those offered by your county but those offered by yourself. Taking time to sit back down and edit your book, no matter how disenchanted you became with it before, will keep your creative juices flowing and talking to the therapist will purge the reasons why you shouldn't so you can just get down to the business of being creative!

I think you will do awesome writing a script because you're definitely a visual thinker. Who knows what or where it might bring you. Life will do what it wants and so will you, Ginger is definitely right about your adventerous spirit so own it sista! Life is WAY too short to force yourself to do something you don't want to do.