Sunday, June 29, 2008


Auto-complete is a funny thing. You start typing a title and get a little jolt from the past. I typed with word "new" in this title and my computer wanted it to be "New Beginnings, Same old mistakes."

What the hell is that??

I have no idea when I said that. It wasn't, in fact, here ( I checked). It is also, for me, ridiculously pessimistic and negative. Change may not be my favorite thing to cope with, but it has to happen. Make it the best possible, try and get something new from it. Or at least, that is how I think I think I am. Stuff like auto-complete tends to bash my head about a little.

So I got a new job. We're moving away from our life with this step. I am, in fact, scared. Not as to whether or not I can do the job - I am confident that I can. I am scared about my judgment. And that is a devastating thing to be scared about. I have been told many times that my judgment is flawed. It was always in the context of doing exactly what someone else told me to do, rather than following my own instincts, so you would think that would make me want to stick to my guns more. Apparently not. And it gets tangled up with authority figures and roles of responsibility. Basically, it makes the people who said I have crappy judgment correct. Screw that.

This is a different kind of job for me. Not in terms of work, but in terms of structure, culture. Attitude. I can learn all the things I was hoping to learn from my last position and more I would never be able to learn here. New things. New Beginnings. Maybe some new mistakes, sure, but new mistakes are a lot more interesting than the same old ones. And if I do make old mistakes, well, maybe they will look different in the new place, and I can learn to stop making them.

All the wonderfulness of an apricot, just with a new skin.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What you take with you.

I hate last days. I've moved around a lot, had a number of last days and given my general state of mind, I give those last hugs listening to the little voice in my head say, "I won't remember your name in two months."

Well, I am kinda bad with names.

I'm good with personalities, though. This team will set types in my head for many moons to come - the ambitious production guy, the batshit bipolar cook, the seriously mellow dishpit king, the cake girl. Some people will be beyond recasting, like the handicapped drug dealer prep cook who wants to get it on with my little sister. I won't find another one like him. But those roles will be how they live on in my head.

There's some practical lessons gained, too. Some, I will work hard to overcome almost immediately. Others I will write down, or don't even need to write down, because they are mine now, incorporated into the whole. A few recipes, too. Like that flan. Without the cockroach. Don't ask.

There is still a little part that wonders what would be if I stayed. And what all of those people would become. But they will, in their own time and place, leave as well. I'm going on my terms, and that makes it worth the wondering.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Things do that, you know. Break. You can call it planned obsolescence. You can call it a bad emulsion. Or you can just fix it and go on with the important things.

The praline paste was broken, and was going to get thrown away. Like half a bucket's worth. I snagged it from an untimely demise and brought it home to fix it. Fix it, I did, now I have exquisite praline paste. Of course, I burned out the motor on my immersion blender doing it. Broken. So I ordered a new one. It arrived today. Fixed.

It made me think about broken things. Broken things are important in a way that whole things are not. Whole things are lovely and accomplished and get crossed off the to do list. They fall away like something memorized by rote. Broken things frustrate, challenge, teach. They become the whys and hows.

"Why is the stupid a/c broken the first week of 90 degree weather? How am I going to temper chocolate when tempered chocolate is just melting from being in here?"

It is a shame that we are such a disposable culture. Sometimes, yes, a broken thing needs to be discarded. Corporations, among others, plan it that way. But the worst possible method of teaching, to me, is the "start over" method. That may be what is required, but figuring out what went wrong first, exploring how to fix it, or why it cannot be fixed, that is where confidence begins.

It isn't just about doing it over and over again. It is about understanding what it is you are doing in the first place.

But you'll still have to throw away all that ice cream if your walk-in freezer dies over the weekend.