Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I watch a lot of news. Carefully I watch because I need to know everyday how my life will be or won't be affected. One thing I have paid a lot of attention to is the fact that Congress, now having changed its stripes, will probably not vote to extend Unemployment Benefits to those out of work.They are lucky enough to have jobs, which we as the people gave them, and pay themselves an astonishing amount of money for what they do, how much time they get off and the benefits they have. If they all took a pay cut, I am sure that there would be funds for the extension. That is besides the point right now...

I need my unemployment. I have bills to pay, and if I didn't have it I wouldn't be able to LOOK for work. No money, no gas, no gas, no going to interviews, no going to interviews, no job. How hard is that for Congress to understand? I live in a rural area, staying with family because I lost my job because of cutbacks. I stay with family because I cannot afford to pay for rent, utilities and food. This way I can pay for food and gas...and try to find a job. I get lots of interviews, talk to lots of people around the country and thankfully for the internet (which I pay for) I can be a viable candidate in states other than California.

How many others are in the same situation as me? Looking for work, lost their place to live, and barely making it by... thankfully for family, but what about those who don't have family?

I have been out for work for over a year...between February and now I have applied to OVER 500 jobs. I have had probably 60 interviews... If I go get an $8/hr job it makes me unavailable to get a job that will make a living. Besides, I have applied for those jobs, and I am "over-qualified" and have been told that if they hired me I would make the manager look bad and they couldn't have that. (WTF?)

I am sure that being out of work has hindered me, that's why I cook and blog about it, volunteer and watch my friends kids while they work... I keep up on all the culinary trends and teach myself new tricks in my kitchen at home. I have read a lot of books, and keep myself occupied. This country will turn around... it will be a slow process, we have 8 years of damage to undo.

This is what my unemployment pays for:
storage bill
car insurance
cell phone
gas/maintenance on vehicle
dry cleaners (when I need a jacket cleaned)
cat food

I try and save some every check. I would like to stop living with family someday, really miss privacy.
I would also like to get back to work in the kitchen. I am really a great team leader and chef. Just waiting... and waiting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

40, just around the corner

I can't believe I am going to be 40. I just don't feel like it. Is my life half way over? Not even close. I feel like I have just started. Like I am waking up from a long nap. I want to tell kids to LISTEN to your parents. Go to school, get an education, don't party too much, stick with things and if you say you are going to do something... freakin' DO IT! If you have a chance to travel, GO. Get your passport and get as many stamps in it as you can! Backpack through Europe, ride the trains, go to Mexico, climb the Andes in Peru.... If you are working and living at home, save every dime you can... be frugal and smart with money. Don't use credit unless you can pay it off every month. Buy good quality things and take care of them so they last! There are so many things that our parents told us... things we should have listened to, done and taken full advantage of them.

Anyhow, I feel like I really have another chance to start my life over and to do the things I really want to. Once I get a job I can start moving forward again. I want to work til I collapse. Make sure I have plenty of savings and life insurance.. Get on a boat, plane or train.. and get going. Take Steven's hand and vanish.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fight Club

Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells "stop!", goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: the fights are bare knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.

I feel like this hunting for a job. I don't want to talk about it, I get beat up and sometimes really want to give up. I go at it naked, being myself, and baring my talents for scrutiny and judgment and it is going to go on til I find something and I have to fight, everyday. Not quite as violent as Fight Club, but sometimes leaving me with scars nonetheless.

Omaha was fantastic. I had a great time, and my interview went extremely well. It is a city that I could see myself living IN, I mean downtown, near all the awesome restaurants and shops. Less than a mile from Creighton. I could really seem myself working there, developing relationships with local farmers to bring fresh products to the school, developing a farmer's market on campus for the students...Creating salads and items as specials for the dining halls. I want to be proactive in that. My knowledge and talents for doing that are part of the passion that I feel for this business. But I feel I need to quit talking about it.. like it will jinx me. I want to think positively, because things were said. I also don't want to get heartbroken...

I got home on Friday... after a long flight from Minneapolis, which is a HUGE airport. Of course, I was on Concourse G and had to run to Concourse F, after taking the tram and there is a MALL inside the center of the airport.. WHAT THE HELL? A mall, like with big stores and people EVERYWHERE! It was crazy.. I barely made it, or so I thought because I wasn't the only one with a flight delayed because of thunderstorms. We sat at the gate waiting for more passengers for almost an hour... then once we got out on the runway, we were 7th in line to taxi. When the plane turned to begin it's taxi, you could see the line up of others behind us. The flight took off into gray raining skies and landed in Sacramento only half an hour late.

Yesterday was Sunday. Sunday was the day we always had pasta at home growing up. Our garden has been very productive in tomatoes this last week, so I harvested, roasted and pureed.
We have red onions hanging in the garage, and there is basil in the garden as well.. So, garden fresh sauce over rigatoni. Tastes so much better than mass produced crap in the stores. I had several gallons left of puree, so they went to the freezer.

Also, ate like stupid in Omaha. So, this week I am back on my plant based, no sugar, watch what goes in my body diet. I am not calling it really a diet, just more like paying attention and getting some exercise. If I drop some weight, great... if not, at least I feel better.

I am going to no write until life let's me know what I am to do. Hopefully that will just be later this week.. or when I move..or whatever.
I will post some recipes maybe soon... I have been baking and have pics, so maybe I should share. Eh, maybe not.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Omaha Bound

Glory Be!!!
I am headed to Omaha Nebraska for an interview this week with a great company and a well respected university. I am ecstatic!! But, like my normal neurotic self... nervous!
I put off working at the losing weight thing for the last 2 weeks, but I haven't gained any back.. not for lack of trying. I have been baking like a madwoman on crack!
Nectarine gallettes, chocolate custard pie with an amazing meringue, lemon sponge custard and raspberry coulis, almond pear cake in coffee cups...also canning and preserving too!
Steven's mother and I made Chow Chow and giardiniera. I have been going to the fruit stand via bicycle once a week too to pick up the over ripe stone fruit @ $5 a flat! This morning I cut up nectarines and plums and froze them for when I return on Friday... the plums will become mini glazed bundt cakes and the nectarines will become no sugar preserves. I feel more happy lately than I have in a long time... despite the fact I have not held a paying position in over a year.
It's the cooking that does it.
Tonight I am going to make Chipa Guasu, from Douglas Rodriguez's Nuevo Latino, (which is out of print)... We have fresh corn from the garden so I am making this lovely souffle-like dish.. It is light and tasty and almost like creamed corn, but way better!

Oh, Omaha! Lovely city... have done research and it seems like a good place to finally set down some roots. Steven and I have been living out of boxes and with family long enough! We made some mistakes in Texas, but that is long washed away. Just starting over. Seems like I have done that a lot in my life... but at least I have had the opportunity for second chances. Life is just a challenge.

Monday, June 21, 2010

One week later..

I really hate the freaking treadmill. Feels too much like life right now, going and going and not getting anywhere. So, yoga, meditation and my little athletic games are going to have to suffice for now. Can't do something that is only going to make me hate it more and lead me to fail.

I have lost about 7 pounds this week, mostly from changing the diet.. some exercise, digging in the garden for several hours this week and bouncing around to build up the heart rate. I have incorporated some little things that help me keep moving too. Leg lifts and hula swirls while waiting for the coffee to brew, tricep and shoulder shrugs during world cup matches... crap like that. I still hate exercise. I would much rather be on my feet, moving around a kitchen, hefting heavy pans and pots of soup around for 12 hours...funny how that doesn't equate to exercise. I wore a pedometer once to work and discovered that I cover almost a marathon in a week with the amount of steps I take.

So, I quit snacking. No more food after 7pm and lots of water... keeps the body flushed out. I do snack.. I can't lie about it.. just not after 7pm and I keep it to a minimum. 2 potato chips, 3 or 4 'nilla wafers, but not sitting down with the whole box or bag. I actually tossed out 1/4 of a chocolate beet cake I made 2 weeks ago. Crazy throwing away food! I am not going to do that again. I will cut it up in small pieces and freeze it next time. Let the other people who live here eat it.

Oh my gosh too... Steven is losing weight. Granted he has IBS and it has been giving him lots of trouble too. But, he's lost like 15 pounds since Christmas. It is not fair how men can just shed it so fast from little changes.
Says he'll start exercising once he reaches a certain weight. Yea, we'll see about that.

So, what have I been eating? Well, last week was mostly to get me to quit snacking.. which I am committed to. This week is diet changing... so, tonight we will have fish with a big salad. Big salad... lots of them, one with lunch and dinner.. fill up on that so I don't eat all the starch and carbs. Going for the plant based diet with some meat and cheeses. Cutting out sugars is the goal... we will work on changing fats later. Anyhow, that is basically it for now.. going to get off the computer and quitmahbitchin'. Go outside and play for an hour. Weeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

First Sunday

Today is the first day of the new beginning.
Going to eat better, get some exercise and start on the road to changing all my bad habits.
I really don't want to have a heart attack, or a stroke, or end up with diabetes and lose a limb. I don't want what happened to my Grandma Altieri to happen to me. So, we must change.

I don't know what I am going to do to exercise. I hate the treadmill. I like gardening and yoga. But those aren't going to get my heart rate up and blast the plaque from my arteries. And sex is out too. I am too easy to get going and have a short fuse... in other words, it doesn't last long enough to break a good sweat. Trust me when I tell ya, it's not him. I like the work outs I would subject on the girls in softball. The stretching, jumping, running, throwing... leg scissors, sit-ups, push ups. I just have to commit to it and do it. I actually hate most exercise... except swimming. And since I don't have access to a private pool... that is out. It's all excuses really. Just me not wanting to do anything.

Okay, well... coffee, yogurt, granola and raisin toast amounted to almost half my calories for the day. I am not going to skip breakfast ever again as long as I live...okay, that maybe a stretch, but I am going to really try. I am also going to try to be a better less bitter and angry person. I need a mitt and a ball and a block wall. (sigh) that would be exercise I could stand more than 20 minutes. Okay Okay, getting off the computer. Going to go outside and play for a while... Let's see what I come up with.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Can feel it...


Here it is, a year later and I still haven't found anyone who wants me. I end up being second best for almost every job I have had an interview for... just haven't quite pulled it off yet.
Then there is the fact that everyone in CA thinks they can hire and Exec. Chef for less than 45K per year and have them kill themselves for it. Not to say I don't want to work hard, but I want to be paid for my time, experience and talent. Is that too much to ask?

I don't want to stay in California anymore anyhow. People are too rude, too impersonal, self involved, can't drive for shit and really don't give a crap about anything but their little worlds. So Cal is worse, but the Central Valley is almost as bad. Still love love love SF. Don't think I will ever stop loving that City. Miss Houston like mad! Crazy that I miss Texass. Certainly do not miss the heat.

So, where do I want to go? The Mid-West-- the heart of the nation, Iowa. Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, where it snows in the winter and there are tornadoes in the summer. I can make less money there and it will go further. 

Anyhow, I have been baking. Made a sick chocolate cake with beets this last week. I can't wait to taste it. OH, and saw this thing on CBS news about how your body may be telling you things about itself.... I have 2 things on the list, the ear lobe crease (sign of heart attack risk) and small yellow bumps around the eyes (fatty deposits signs of high cholesterol).  I feel like shit. So, today I decided that I really need to do something. I am. I need to stop this relentless complaining about my life, need to move forward with something else other than just waiting. I have been on hold long enough. It's depression, I KNOW... but only I can DO something.
So, taste the cake, don't eat the whole thing. Get up and MOVE damit! I know. I am sitting here writing and complaining, but that's what I am saying... no more. I HAVE to begin treating my body better, Steven can't take care of himself... and I don't want to leave this earth prematurely. I would like to live at least til I am 80. Which means, I have half of it left... better make it worth it. So, from here... progression and more blogging about the progression. maybe some recipes and pics... but damnit.. get up and move!
Talk later... this is just for me anyhow.