Sunday, December 27, 2009

My shins will never be the same.

You know how sometimes you get this great idea for a gift that is going to be AWESOME and the person receiving it is going to LOVE it. Then you give it to them and it kills them or puts them in the hospital or causes their face to swell up...

That is sort of what this was like:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas, Part II

On our drive out to St. Louis, we dropped my grandfather off in Indianapolis to celebrate Christmas with my uncle and cousins. We met at an Arby's in the ghetto and sort of foisted him off on my Uncle, still talking to us as we drove off. It was quite humorous, the man never stops talking. Also? He does things like this with no alcohol and very little help from us:
Yes, he is 84.

On the way home, we stayed a night with my cousin and her husband before driving home. My dad's side of the family is somewhat notorious for their alcohol tolerance. My cousin once drank a gallon of apple martini mix and then cracked a bottle of wine when we got home. I am not exaggerating. I can drink most people in my life under the table. So, when we get together, this is what happens:

There were mainly 6 of us drinking; male cousin and his girlfriend, female cousin and her husband, the boy (who only drank beer) and me. I know, I know, you are all writing your intervention letters...and it did get a little crazy that night, which is unusual for us. I ended the night by vomiting, which I was convinced was due to not eating enough. The boy told me the next morning I was also falling over. Awesome.

However, male cousin and his girlfriend apparently got in a huge fight. I woke up the next morning and female cousin said she got a text from his girlfriend that just said she left at about 4 am. My uncle also got a call asking him to pick her up at 4 am, as she tried to walk to his house and couldn't make it? That part was fairly unclear, because she was wasted. If there is any doubt, please see the picture again. Nobody has any idea what happened and male cousin and his girlfriend are refusing to talk about it. It was all very strange. My uncle has called my dad several times trying to find out if I told him what happened, which, yeah, no idea.

My grandfather said the next morning there were lots of tears, but you never really know how much truth there is to what he says. So, I guess it will remain a mystery.

So, that was my two part holiday adventure. How did all of you spend Christmas?

Christmas, Part I

Christmas was oddly calm this year. My holidays are usually spent flying or driving all over the country to see various members of my family. Everyone will meet in one city and Christmas is mass chaos. There is always drama, as my family tends to cause trouble wherever we go. Lies are told, people are manipulated, and someone always ends up in tears. Merry Christmas, right? This year was totally different. The boy and I drove to St. Louis and spent the weekend before Christmas with my mother, stepfather, grandmother, sister, and my sister's fiance. All the boy did was sleep and eat and I feel like I didn't do a whole hell of a lot more than that. It was boring. In a really really good way.

The only excitement came from my grandmother...who we all know is a tad off her rocker. We were supposed to all gather (my other three aunts - the drama makers - and everyone listed above) in St. Louis. My aunts scheduled a craft show for that weekend, so we cancelled the family gift exchange and decided to just buy small for everyone. My grandmother claimed that my mom (the bearer of bad news) cancelled Christmas and my grandmother wanted nothing to do with it. So, when we arrived, we were not sure what to expect. I called her when we got there because otherwise we get a frantic phone call claiming I am dead somewhere in Illinois.

Erratic: "I just wanted to call and let you know I made it safe and sound."
Grandma: groans
Erratic: "Are you OK?"
Grandma: "I have had a migraine for a week. I can't leave the house. I think I am dying."
Erratic: "You are not dying. Have you called the doctor?"
Grandma: "Yes, he put me on steroids."
Erratic: "So, you left the house to go to the doctor?"
Grandma: groans
Erratic: "OK, well, get some sleep, I will call you tomorrow."

The next morning she told my mom that she hasn't eaten in 5 days, so we made chicken noodle soup and went grocery shopping for a bunch of migraine-friendly food. When we got to her house, she was fine. I mean, completely and totally fine. She was ranting and raving about how China is trying to kill us and she refuses to buy anything made in China, even though I pointed out like 14 things IN THE ROOM that were made in China. Sigh.

So, we had to postpone Christmas until she "felt better" which caused everyone to say over and over, "Where's grandma, I want to open presents," something I said a few years earlier and have not lived down. I hate surprises and tend to get a tad impatient when there are 15 wrapped surprises in my presence. Let's just say my biggest childhood accomplishment was steaming open presents and then wrapping them and never getting caught. Oh, and taking the hinges off of closet doors that were locked. That served well both for presents and liquor.

When we left, my step dad, who even hates his own children, told the boy what a pleasure it was to have him this weekend and stated it was the best Christmas he has ever had with my family. It took me most of the drive home to recover from this.

Christmas part II will follow shortly.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I had two of my family Christmas's this past weekend and have a ton of really funny stories and pictures. However, I will probably not post any of them until after Christmas because no one in the history of ever has been this tired.

So, Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bald Spot

A picture of the bald spot, per the request of anonymous. Although, I know who anonymous is. Unless you are really anonymous, then, hi! I don't know you...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas - Meh

Today has been one of those days where I want to crawl into bed and never ever crawl out.

Everyone handles stress differently and the holidays bring about a ridiculous amount of stress. This is the first year that I have not had stress in a long time, the first year that I have been excited for Christmas. I feel so completely alone in this. Everyone around me seems frazzled and unwilling to participate in my holiday cheer. Not that I am skipping through the streets with mistletoe or anything. Holiday cheer in my world amounts to, well, not screaming "Fuck Christmas" every chance I get.

It just seems sort of lonely. Maybe it is the lack of office Christmas festivities and lunch time shopping sprees since I have been buying Christmas presents and stocking stuffers by myself. But, I don't think I have heard a living soul say the word "Christmas" with anything but disdain more than 4 or 5 times.

Is it stupid that I just want someone to sit and appreciate the Christmas tree with me, despite it's glaringly obvious bald spot I can't stop looking at and am going to fix immediately after I finish this post?

Is it weird that I am excited to go home, for the first time in a year? Is it unreasonable to think that a single member of my family should be excited that I am coming home?

I guess I realize how I seemed to everyone else year after year, when I despised Christmas and wanted nothing more than for it to just pass. It is amazing what a difference it makes when you have time to stop and appreciate the people around you, regardless of if they have the time to stop and appreciate you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This is actually happenning.

Remember the whore from the other night? I am trying to forget it too, so I'll give you a minute to re-read that post. Done? Awesome.

It turns out that the whore and the boy's friend (now the whore couple) are having secret sex and keeping it from another mutual friend of ours. I did not know this. Like, at all. When the boy told me that they were hooking up, I didn't even know who she was until I saw her at the Christmas party and was like, ohhhhh...THAT whore.

After we all parted ways, the whore couple went out with the friend they were trying to keep the sex from. This friend was trying to set the whore up with her husband's cousin. (I am aware how confusing this is, but it is necessary to the story. Stay with me here.) The whore couple arrives and the setup has NO idea that they are together, because they have been friends for years. So, he starts flirting with the whore, male whore gets pissed, threats were made, angry words exchanged, and everyone left pissed at everyone.

During all of this, I am texting with our friend and said that I was surprised the whore couple made it there because when we left them, they appeared to be on a one way train to sex town. Yeah, I said that. Friend is shocked, wants the details, I am shocked she doesn't know, details are shared.

Take a deep breath, that part of the story is over.

This morning, the boy sends me a picture of an iPhone conversation between him and the male whore. (This guy isn't actually a whore, it is just easier for the story.) Male whore had forwarded a grammatically repugnant text from the whore, pissed because everyone knew they were having "the sex." (her words, not mine) Basically, it said that the boy told me, I told our mutual friend, who then confronted the whore about lying to her. The male whore then tells the boy that they need to talk.

I reacted the way anyone over 12 would react, which was to say, I don't give a shit if he is mad, if he doesn't want people to know he's boning her, don't tell anyone or stop boning her. They are both single, culpable adults. Oh, and if something is a secret, precede the telling of said secret with DO NOT TELL ANYONE THIS. Whatever. Eyes were rolled and I put it out of my mind.

When the boy got home from work, he called the male whore, who was having some sort of middle school flashback. He punched a wall, said that our mutual friend was dead to him, told the boy he was pissed at me, but not mad at the boy. All of this because we caused him to lose the love of his life, which, right. Apparently he is going to die alone and nobody wants to be with him and a bunch of other really dramatic stuff. My favorite part? The boy was in charge of telling the mutual friend that she was dead to him. No, I am not making that up. I am surprised he didn't ask him to call her on three-way so he could listen.

The boy and I have spent the evening laughing and in a complete state of shock, because, well, WHAT THE FUCK? All of these people have known each other for 18 years. I cannot even imagine what those 18 years have been like...

In order to avoid any further confusion, I want all of you to know that the boy and I are having the sex. We are also living in sin. And we never ever ever ever call it "the sex."

Now I will never have to have someone random call any of you and tell you that you are dead to me. You're welcome.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Would you like some cheese with your wine?

I cut off all my hair. I had dinner with Krackle, then we got pedicures. With a gift certificate. I finished my Christmas shopping, came home, and had a glass of wine.

I logged on to the computer and checked my exam results. I passed my ServSafe exam, which is moderately awesome.

The boy worked late, but brought me McDonald's fries and we watched Big Bang Theory.

I am looking at a toy that I bought for my favorite little girl on earth. On the other side is a Christmas tree, filled with years and years of memories. I see the stockings that I can't wait to see filled for the first Christmas morning the boy and I will spend together.

I read a blog tonight and found that she linked to me, after I posted a moderately stalker-like comment on her blog. Seriously, though, she may be impersonating me. And you can't stalk yourself, right? Mutual stalking is legal, isn't it? I mean, really, who is stalking who here? I think I need a lawyer...

I, after a ridiculously dramatic morning, missed my first class, and walked into kitchen with everyone so excited and worried. Nothing has ever made me feel so welcome.

I know that Thanksgiving is when you give thanks...but holy shit, I am surrounded by awesomeness. I am so grateful for the life I have, the readers I have, the love I have, and the career I am growing. Cheesefest you all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The boy, the whore, and the slurring.

So. Tonight. Where do I start...

The boy is a member of this charity, that we will call the Happy Club. That is not what it is actually called, but it might as well be. He goes to a monthly meeting where he comes home wasted. I never actually hear about any good they are doing...just the drinking they are doing.

In October, I went to the Installation Dinner where a new president was "installed" and the boy became an official member. We got there early and I started talking with the bar tender who I dubbed the beer whisperer. I got ridiculously drunk and cursed her for all of time. I am fairly certain I gave her my number, but can't be sure. Yeah. It was that bad.

Tonight was the Christmas dinner. I decided to be the designated driver and redeem myself from my ridiculousness the last time I got together with them. The boy, however, decided to get ridiculous. His friend brought a date, who...well...let's just say she has seen a few poles in her time. She was wearing a dress that came slightly below her underwear and was so low cut her hot pink bra was sticking out of the top most of the night. She got so drunk, at one point, I was holding her up. Oh, and she was wearing a faux leopard skin coat. And knee high furry boots.

I was sober. Let me repeat that. I. WAS. SOBER. There is nothing quite like being totally sober and having to hold up a whore. DAMNIT, I SHOULD HAVE FOUND A POLE. Sigh.

So, the entire way home the boy was talking nonsensically and slurring. I have no idea what he said, if anything at all. He could have been like, hey, that is a car. But, it would have sounded like Sheyshayoingiqyaproiangkrlejs car.

When we got home, I felt it was only fair that I caught up. I mean, der. It was only 10 pm. There was drinking to be done. So, I grabbed myself a glass of wine and flipped on the T.V. (there was this crazy huge business fire down the street I had to watch.) I finished my first glass and asked the boy to refill me. He grabs a completely empty bottle of wine, takes out the cork, walks all the way over to my glass, and stands there for an uncomfortable amount of time "pouring" it before he realized it was an empty bottle in the recycling pile.

I laughed my ass off. I may have pointed. His response was shioewnfk waoin empty.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If you don't watch Top Chef, just skip this one.

Disclaimer: I do not think because I have had 8 weeks of culinary training that I know more than anyone else about food. These are just my opinions. Also, wine has been consumed. Continue with caution.

I follow Top Chef contestants past and present on Twitter and love hearing about where they eat and seeing pictures of food they make. I watch each episode at least 5 times. I study their technique and watch everything from their knife skills to how long they cook something as simple as a potato. If Top Chef was a cult, I would be a founding member, forcing all of you to cook an egg until it was perfect. COOK AN EGG DAMN IT. Sorry. I am getting carried away.

Who do I want to win? I feel like Kevin is someone I have something in common with. I feel that I could sit down at a table with him and drink some wine and laugh. I feel like he is my kind of people. I want him to move into my house and cook for me everyday.

Michael is amazing. The way his mind works is phenomenal. I am not a fan of deconstructed feels like a lot of work. I want my shit constructed. But, he approaches food in a way that reminds me of Richard Blaise, who goes down in my top 5 favorite contestants ever. I enjoy watching him and would enjoy his food every once in a while.

I can't get a read on Bryan. His food has sort of faded in between his brother and Kevin for me. However, if the brothers Voltaggio had restaurants side by side, I would choose his over Michael's. I would have rather seen Jen here, but that is just me.

I am basing NONE OF THIS on what the judges say. Just my impressions...

Course 1:

Kevin: Squash casserole with tomatoes and fried chicken skin. Um. Where do I sign up?

Bryan: Not a fan of sardines. Again, though, I just forgot it the instant he came out. Do I have Bryan amnesia?

Michael: Dehydrated Broccoli? Rename that. Gross. It didn't even look good to me.

Course 2: (I am making up names for these dishes as I go)

Kevin: Rockfish with squash, celery, and mushroom. For reals, just the way he describes his food is so appetizing. Undercooked mushrooms are gross, though (a comment from the chefs.)

Bryan: Rockfish over squash with curry and lemon: You had me at curry. OMG I REMEMBERED YOU.

Michael: Glazed rockfish with sweet and sour crab salad. This sounds pretty kick ass, except not a fan of things "glazed." But, sweet and sour with crab? Sounds very interesting and yummy.

Course 3: (again, made up names)

Kevin: Slow roasted pork belly. Holy mother fucking shit pork belly is yummy. That is all really.

Bryan: Venison saddle w/ puree of sunchoke. Did someone just talk? What just happened? Again...forgettable. Looked good...but not memorable.

Michael: Fennel scented squab breast. And some other shit. It just sounds so complicated. I am sure it is really good, but, I don't know. His food overwhelms me sometimes. Like, I would love to spend 6 months watching him cook because he is bad ass, but it just doesn't translate well to T.V. or something. Oh, and BURN. They called your food a gimmick.

Course 4: I don't like dessert, so I am choosing not to care. Except Kevin put bacon in his, which he puts in like everything, which makes me love him more than I love bacon. Seriously. If you can put bacon in all 4 courses in a 4 course meal? WIN!

I want Kevin to win. Why? Because his food translates to all audiences. It is not pretentious, but yet it is really fucking good. It appeals to the masses. Isn't that what being a chef is all about? It certainly is what being a chef means to me.

If you watched the show you know how it ended. I am not a spoiler man. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why you should never buy Super Mario Brothers for the Wii the same week the new Harry Potter movie comes out on DVD.

Erratic: "I really want to play Mario AND watch Harry Potter."

The boy: "You could watch Harry Potter on your laptop and play Mario on the T.V."

E: "Yeah...I might also need an intervention."

TB: "You could come down here and watch that."

E: "This really isn't helping. You should just run to the store and buy a second T.V."

TB: "Play Mario for an hour then watch Harry Potter. In the meantime, I will organize your intervention."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not so crazy after all...

Hoarders. Hm.

Goats have eaten through your walls.

There are feet of used adult diapers covering the floor in your house. Yes, I said feet.

The health department has declared your house uninhabitable.

You have not had water or gas for two years.

Animals have defecated all over your home.

You fell off your medical toilet and laid in your own waste being eaten by bugs until the fire department broke down the door and rescued you.

I understand mental illness. I understand that people have compulsions that cannot be rationally explained. I have some of my own - a very strong dislike for odd numbers, except multiples of five. I am claustrophobic to the point that I will claw your eyes out if you close in my face and upper body and I can't move my arms. I am terrified of bugs and have had panic attacks when faced with them.

I get crazy.

Hoarders? I do not get that crazy. I just don't. I cannot, on any level, comprehend how it gets there. How you have so much feces and urine in your bathroom that it eats through the floor and the foundation into the basement.

The thought of the smell makes me gag.

What I really don't get? How can your family have no idea this is going on? I realize that I might be abnormally close to my family, but at some point don't you at least notice that your mother smells like sewage? Don't you at least ask why?

If you have never seen this show, don't start watching. Trust me on this. It makes you want to walk up to every single house with a messy yard and ask if they need help. It makes my stack of things to be filed seem so much more normal, I almost want to hug it. In fact, I may throw it all over my living room and roll in it.

Most of all, it makes realize that my family is pretty kick ass because they would walk in and be like, "Dude, Erratic, your house smells like shit." And it would just be the trash.

Update: I meant, like, there was some chicken from last nights dinner in the trash and it started to smell. Not, the trash covering my floor. I mean, there isn't trash covering my floor. Or anything other than rugs. And probably some dog hair. And maybe some synthetic pine needles from the tree, we haven't vacuumed. STOP JUDGING ME. I will vacuum tomorrow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


When my sister and I were born, we were assigned a Christmas theme and ever year we get ornaments based on this theme. Mine is Santa, which I love and have embraced as my own personal Christmas theme.

Today, the boy and I put up our first tree together.

My family is not one of traditions. Those that we have, we have started after we were all adults. Santa is really all I've got and I hope to be able to pass a similar tradition on to my children.

The whole tree full of Santas.

Two of my favorite Santas...the chef Santa and the Santa we accidentally strangled with lights. His little feet dance when you move them.

The tree topper. He is a tad large for the tree and I don't care. I love him.

Marry me, Mario. You too, Luigi.

I have a confession. Please don't judge me, I can't help it.

I love all things Super Mario Brothers. I have kept a Super Nintendo since, well, I still liked to play dress up. Just to play Super Mario and Yoshi's Island on an old school controller that had a limited number of buttons. When the Wii came out, I was all psh, I don't need that. I have a Super Nintendo! I am old school, bitches. Then I played Wii bowling at my uncle's house and was like, holy fucktastic, this rocks. I slowly got suckered in. Still, though, it felt like a group thing to me. Not something I would sit and do by myself.

I spent the entire day studying for my ServSafe exam, but since I am one of those people who can't sit in silence, the ABC Family Harry Potter marathon was on in the background. My life changed forever when a commercial came on for the new Super Mario Brothers Wii.

I heard the music. You know the music.

I looked up, curious. I saw them. That family playing simultaneously. A Mario, A Luigi, Two Toadstools. Working together to conquer evil and safe the Princess.

I grabbed my phone and sent a message to the boy.

"OMG. We need Super Mario Brothers for the Wii. Like, right now."

Everything seemed to fall in place as if it was destiny. He brought the game home. (Along with some Burt's Bee's because he accidentally washed mine and I am addicted to the shit.)

It took me 15 minutes to figure out that you pressed 2 to pick a level. And then, my life changed forever. HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS GAME IS AWESOME. I see an intervention in my future. One day, you will all arrive at my house and I will be dirty and underfed and likely drunk. You will have to pry the controller out of my hand as I scream "THE PRINCESS, SAVE THE PRINCESS." I will throw myself on the floor, sobbing for humanity. I will end up in a padded room jumping around as if killing mushrooms and turtles. Getting big. FIREBALLS. The spinny mushroom, where I just fly away....sigh.

What is really awesome is that both the boy and I can play at the same time. And bounce off each other's heads. And push each other into canyon's. I CAN HIT HIM WITH FIREBALLS.

Also, Mario and Luigi may be more than friends...the end of the level is a little, well, dirty. I'm just saying.

Best. Night. Ever.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holy statutory rape, batman!

You know what I find endlessly amusing? When they do ER scenes on shows that are not medical in nature and the doctor comes out and he is all "let's intubate, stat" and you giggle because the acting is so bad and the actor has that smug look on his face, like, I totally just pulled that off. I just spent 2 hours in that moment. The amusement wears off after about, oh, a moment.

Also, I had popcorn for dinner and came home and had some wine and am now kind of accidentally drunk and a tad sick to my stomach. I felt the public deserved to know.

I read the entire Twilight series. Just once. And if you know me, this is not a compliment. I have read the Harry Potter series at least 15 times. I am not doing my whole exaggerating numbers thing either. I actually estimate the number being closer to 20 and talking about it right now reminds me I haven't read it in almost a year and now I may start reading it tomorrow. Holy crap, is this wine pure grain alcohol?

I finally saw New Moon. If you don't know what this is, you also probably didn't realize Thanksgiving just happened and you may be a hermit. When I saw Twilight, it was opening weekend and a bunch of prepubescent girls were screaming and jumping and hugging and snapping pictures with their cell phones of Robert Pattinson (Edward) every fucking time he was on the screen. I am not sure people realize how close they were to the "Twilight Massacre." Naming it calmed me. I also toyed with "Prepubescent Murder Spree" and "Just fucking die right now." I am not so good at naming crime sprees.

Where was I? Oh, right. I have been reading reviews and blogs and watching TV and being unhermit like. The general consensus was: holy crap Taylor Lautner (Jacob) is hot. He is 17. I have spent almost two weeks silently judging all of you. He's a kid! How can you find a kid attractive! Seek help!

I stand corrected when I begrudgingly agree with the masses who have said they are willing to go to jail for that. The shame! At one point I thought, "I should look away" and then immediately thought, "holy shit, am I drooling" which was followed by "THE SHAME." Then he turned into a wolf. I don't so much go for the animal thing, so let's just say someone out there knew what we would all be thinking and saved us from ourselves. It is possible he may have then gotten wet and I passed out. I can't be sure.

If you were to ask me to review the movie? It is a good story, it is entertaining. Other than that...I would mention some pecks, some really bad dreams that made me laugh the acting was so bad, so much overacting I vomited a little in my mouth, and oh! isn't that Dakota Fanning? When did she grow up? If you haven't seen it yet, you just saw it. You're welcome. You owe me $15, which includes my popcorn. The drink is on me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We now interrupt your regular scheduled programming for this brief service announcement.

If you are not a food TV addict like I am, feel free to just skip this post entirely. I could watch Top Chef every moment of everyday and learn something new each time. I want to learn. I want to absorb their talent through the TV. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched that show and concentrated so hard I could almost taste the food.

Chef Academy on Bravo is amazing. It is nothing like what I am going through, but still amazing. I wish I had that kind of one on one relationship with my Chef instructors. I don't so much wish that a French porn star was a part of that, but would jump at the chance regardless. You know what pisses me off? All they do is bitch about how hard he is on them. He can be a dick, yes. But he is right. He is talented. To learn from him? To have that experience? People would kill for it.

Shut the fuck up and learn everything you can. So you get yelled at. Swallow your pride and learn from it.

Also? A tailor? Really? I am pretending it didn't happen.

Rant over. Thank you for playing.


It was Thanksgiving, as you all know. And if you don't know, you should probably look into how you missed that. I had a full house and, honestly, it was a pretty good time. And how could you NOT have a good time when this was taking place on your couch:
That is my sister's dog, Gus, who is the cutest thing ever to live ever. However, he is into everything. He took a bite out of the cheese ball. He licked the pecan pies. He drank a large amount of my grandfather's rum and coke. His front paws spend more time on counters than on the floor.

Kobi, being the old man of the group, regulated the dogs. It was hilarious and I wish we would have gotten a video. When the dogs got too loud or started fighting, he would stand up, bark, and just look back and forth between the offending dogs until it stopped. Then he would look at me with a look that I can only assume meant, "Seriously, mom, you thought THIS was a good idea."

The only traumatic part of the weekend was caused by a bad batch of insulin. My sister has Type I diabetes and has since she was four. I had to take classes as a kid on how to handle a situation where she had diabetic seizures (caused by low blood sugar) or went into a diabetic coma (caused by high blood sugar.) Growing up, there were a shit load of the former, none of the latter. Especially when she was going through puberty and hormone levels were all over the place. So, I was very used to this and could handle just about any diabetic emergency you threw at me. A decade ago.

Now? Well, let's just say it came right back to me. Thanksgiving morning, her fiance knocked on my door and calmly stated that she was having a diabetic seizure and he couldn't find the glucagon. She was laying on her face and I managed to get her rolled on her back and get some of the sugar gel into her mouth while the boy called 911. She came to and stopped seizing before the paramedics got there, but you can't really just cancel them. So, they were there about a half hour, checking her blood sugar every five minutes or so until she was at an acceptable level. Nobody thought anything of it, these things happen.

Well, that night, she looked at me and said she was hungry and I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was going low. I went into the kitchen and got everything out of the refrigerator to make her some quesadillas and before I got it all out, she was seizing again. We located the glucagon after the last episode, so no 911 call. We determined it was the insulin and the boy and my sister's fiance went to a 24 hour Walgreen's to refill it. Luckily that solved the problems and the rest of the weekend seemed boring and uneventful in comparison. However, I think her fiance was very relieved that I was there. He kind of followed her around with a look of terror in his eyes the rest of the weekend. I was right behind him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I say fuck too much.

As soon as he said midterm grades, my palms started to sweat. We all nervously chattered around the prep tables as he called everyone one by one. My heart was in my throat when he called my name.

You have perfect attendance.

Your practicals have been impressive, 90 out of 100.

Your quizzes are kick ass, 48.5 out of 50.

This gives you a 92 in the class, the highest grade.

I love having you in class, you are quiet, but diligent and have some serious talent. You get shit done and do it well. Your food, if ever off, is just a fraction off. Please keep showing up everyday, because I will call your ass if you miss even a day. You belong here.

All I could muster was, "Thanks Chef," and I walked back to my prep table with shaking hands and a stupid fucking grin on my face. I could hardly talk. My classmates were all asking each other what their scores were. They finally asked me and I told them. They knew the highest grade because Chef told them. He would later announce it was me. I sat through the congratulations in a total state of awe.


I wanted to hug Chef and tell him that he has inspired me more than any other culinarian in my entire life.

I wanted to cry, because fucking shit, validation feels good.

I wanted to do cart wheels I was so happy, even knowing that it would likely end in a head injury of some sort.

I still can't believe it. I still can't believe that I am doing this, that I am here. That somehow I have been allowed to live my dream, when so many people can't.

Fuck, I am happy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fear not

The boy and Krackle have both expressed fear when cooking for me since I started culinary school. I have tried to explain that it has been 4 weeks and that I still like food. If it tasted good before, it is still going to taste good now. Yet, the fear remains.

I am in the process of reading Kitchen Confidential because every single chef at school has told me that every young chef should read it. One of the first things Bourdain talks about is this fear. I am not going to quote him, but he goes on to say something along the lines of loving to eat out and eat exotic foods he doesn't want to prepare at home, but nothing beats a home cooked meal with friends and family.

Today in class, Chef expressed the same sentiment when someone was asking for Thanksgiving recipes. They wanted out of this world, off the wall, blow your socks off stuff. Chef asked if they liked stuffing, cranberries, green bean casserole, etc. The guy was like, yeah, I love that stuff. Chef's response is why change something you love? Thanksgiving was about the classics and that is exactly what he will be cooking.

Am I discovering better ways to cook food? Yes. But, that doesn't mean I don't still want to eat taco's on a Wednesday night with friends.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Six People. Four Dogs. Five Days.

Tomorrow my aunt and uncle arrive. Wednesday, my sister, her fiance, my cousin, her husband, and my other uncle arrive. I will have six people and four dogs for five days.

This bears repeating.

Six People.

Four Dogs.

Five Days.

The condo is 1090 square feet without the finished basement, which is about the size of a bedroom. It is a tradition with my father's side of the family that the "kids" always stay with me and the adults stay with them. This plan is flawed. The kids are getting married, they have animals, and my condo is not getting any larger.

And the news just said it may snow this week. I am in my own personal hell. Now, do not get me wrong...I am glad everyone is coming. I love that we all still make this huge effort to get together. I love that we are closer now than we have ever been. It is important to me. I am happy to have them.

The next week? It is going to be rough. The boy has never met my sister. He has met my mom and my grandmother...who are like two extremes of the crazy spectrum of my family. My mother is the most mild mannered, tame one of all of us. My grandmother the craziest. We have already discussed our total elation at the fact that this house has Xanax to get through the weekend.

I am excited to cook for everyone, to play the roll of the hostess. It is one of my favorite things. I have not seen my sister in a year, so I am excited to see her. I am excited for her to meet the boy. Frankly, I am thrilled to have the whole family (with the exception of my cousin who lives in London and who will be GREATLY missed) together for a reason that is not a wedding or a funeral. To spend time together and talk and laugh and just be a family. We are spread all over the world, so it is hard to get together with any frequency.

I have a list as tall as I am for the store. A cleaning list posted to the refrigerator that the boy and I will chip away at for the next three days.

Six people.

Four dogs.

Five days.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope that yours is filled with love and laughter and family, just as I know mine will be. Oh, and plenty of Xanax.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Long, hard day.

Today was utter insanity. We had to prepare two dishes with a partner and one dish solo. In 3 hours. Now...before you scoff at my ineffectiveness, let me explain the kitchens at school. Better yet, let me draw it for you. At each prep table, there are four people stationed there. We have about three square feet of prep space each, if that helps with scale. Because, let's be honest, I can't even draw similarly shaped rectangles.
On the long burner table, there are 24 burners across the front and they are 2 deep. The front is 12 by 2. There are 29 people in our class. You now have the boring logistics.

We have to prep everything perfectly, because it is part of our grade. Every piece of collard green had to be identical. Every dice of onion exactly 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch. Every carrot cut the exact same size as the last and the next. Ever flavor spot on. Every ingredient measured with precision. Then we have to compete with 29 other people for space. And run back and forth across this room bringing our ingredients at the exact moment we need them. People steal your saute pan, your dish of salt, your hand ground pepper. They push you out of the way and they light towels on fire (totally happened today) and they have flare ups and they season the wrong dish and some of them are so stupid they can't even follow directions. OK, just one of them. You all know him well.

You walk away from it feeling like you blacked out and came to with three somewhat perfect dishes in front of you, presenting them to Chef. And you have a stupid, stupid grin on your face because you survived it. Fuck that. You conquered it. And you can't help but smile even bigger because you get to do it all again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

El Diablo Strikes Again

I came home from work yesterday to find wrappers and remnants of a 1 lb bag of Twizzler individually wrapped Halloween candy. On the floor. Eaten. By a dog of short stature.

I really didn't think anything of it. Dogs get into stuff, it wasn't chocolate or bleach, so I figured I would be in for a night of motor boat farts and maybe some vomiting. That all changed when we tried to feed him dinner. When Short Dog is fed, he dances around your feet, runs up and down the basement stairs, sometimes whines, and LEAPS on his bowl as if we have not fed him in a month. He will inhale his food and then circle Kobi, hoping that he leaves a crumb behind. I took a dog obedience course and they say dogs are either motivated by food or praise. We have one of each. Kobi doesn't really care about food at all. He eats to survive, period. He nibbles at treats, rarely finishes his entire dinner, and has never been much of a beggar.

Short Dog didn't just not finish his dinner. He didn't even touch it. The boy and I looked at each other with terror in our eyes. This either meant he was finally going to eat us in our sleep for putting him on a diet, or holy crap, he is full of Twizzler. We then looked at Short Dog.He looked like he swallowed a basketball whole. I tried to draw it for you in Paint, but due to my amazing drawing skills, the portrait was bought by the Art Institute of Chicago and is in their newest digital art exhibit. So, you can see it there.

I digress. So, the boy and I start freaking out. What do you do when a dog is bloated and it is freaking you out? You poke him. Look at each other, then poke him again. It was like poking a monument to my digital art abilities. I immediately call the vet, who is used to me. I tend to have a "we're all going to die" mentality when it comes to my dogs. I fear the day that I procreate. So, does the entire American Medical Association. I will ruin health care in this country, single handedly.

(Man, I cannot stay on subject tonight. This new B12 supplement the doctors have me taking is making me spazzy.)

The vet tech asked me a lot of questions, like, how long ago was it, how much did he ingest, was there chocolate, etc. It happened while I was at class, so I had no idea how long ago and you can only induce vomiting in dogs if it was within 2 hours. After gathering all of my information, they said they would call me back.

TWO HOURS later and the phone finally rings. The boy talked to her, and he is a man, so of course I got like 2% of the details I would have wanted. Nothing against men, but come on guys, even you can admit we would win a question war any day of the week.

Basically, he will be fine. It may take a few days for him to eat (ha! He ate about 11:30 that night after gnawing on my leg.) He would have sugar highs and crashes, which were moderately funny, in a sad sort of way. He would be lethargic and have that glazed look in his eyes that dogs get when they are sick. But, he will be fine. The weird unexpected thing? He wheezed all night. He was so full, his little Short Dog body couldn't breathe. (heart=breaking)

Tonight I made a bowl of popcorn and set it on the coffee table to go to the bathroom. I returned to find a certain dog's nose in it, gnawing away. He didn't get that much, but a part of me just wants to resign and feed him a diet of lard and Twizzler.

Do they accept dogs on The Biggest Loser? Because if they do...he will blame his weight gain on not getting enough belly rubs from his mother. I just know it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Uncle Jack, you will be missed.

My great uncle died today. I wasn't close to him, but there are a lot of people suffering because of his death. From what I know, he had a brain aneurysm Saturday afternoon. They rushed him to the hospital and gave him a prognosis that he would not live 24 hours. He died about 7:30 pm EST Sunday.

I have a very small family and the family I am close to is immediate family only. Uncle Jack was my grandmother's brother-in-law. She does not even plan on attending the funeral. As much as it pains me, nor do I. You don't attend a funeral entirely to mourn the people who are lost, but also to support the people who are mourning. My grandmother refuses to attend because nobody attended the funeral of my grandfather. I barely knew him and cannot afford it...although I wish more than anything I could.

Pettiness has it's place. That place is not death. That place is not family. I wish, more than anything, that my family will one day realize this. Everyone gets hurt, everyone has baggage. There are very few people in this world who love you because they just fucking love you, despite all of your bullshit.

My sister distances herself from me everyday. She rarely returns my calls or emails and when she does, it is because she needs something. This breaks my heart every single day.

Right here, right now...I swear I will always attend her husband's funeral. I swear I will always be there for her, believe in her, and love her. I will never let our family become as distant as the generations before.

It may be a losing battle, but it's fucking important. They are important. And, sometimes, family is all you have.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Validation, for now.

Today was our first day of cooking - applesauce and candied orange zest. It was stressful. I cook food every single day, far more complicated than applesauce and candied orange zest. I was a wreck, we all were. Running around the kitchen like maniacs and in a complete state of panic. Someone, who we have all grown to respect and admire, was going to be judging our food. It was nerve racking.

I thought my applesauce was too thin in the pan and freaked out. I put it through the food mill and voila, texture was good. Flavor was good. I wasn't entirely sure how it happened, but it did. I added a little cinnamon and thought, holy crap, I put in too much cinnamon. I was embarrassed as I walked to the front of the room and handed Chef my bowl of applesauce, which I tirelessly polished and wiped to make sure that presentation was perfect. He tasted it and said it was rocking, dead on, and gave me 100% on my very first professional cooking experience. I just stood and stared at him until my voice finally came back to me and I croaked, "really?" Chef laughed and told me to stop underestimating myself, that I did well.

The candied orange zest didn't go quite as well. I have never candied anything before and when Chef was doing the latter part of the demo, I was right in the middle of putting my apples on the stove and missed it. I am not saying that I didn't screw it up, I did. I second guessed myself and pulled the orange zest off the stove too soon. I was afraid of it overcooking and didn't trust my instincts. I still got an 8/10 because it was perfect, except for the zest being under-candied.

I know that all sounds a tad arrogant, but I needed that boost to my ego. After 3 weeks of knife cuts that I was mediocre at, I will admit, I was starting to second guess myself. Until we got in the kitchen and, even though I was in a total state of panic, I was at home. I can't quite explain the feeling that I had, other than to say that it all just felt right.

All of my classmates were so excited to start cooking from day one. I was terrified. I willed it never to happen. I hoped that I would somehow graduate culinary school without ever cooking a thing, because if it turns out I sucked at this? Then what?

It was just applesauce. So, maybe I do suck. But, for now, I am going to choose to believe that applesauce is the first of many, many "rocking, spot on" dishes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Liver? Yes, please.

I have the most exciting news ever. OK. The most exciting news ever, to me. Friday, as in two days from now, I get to start cooking. Yes, there will be more knife cuts and lectures and eating Chef's food, but I GET TO START COOKING. Applesauce and candied citrus. I know that it is not all that exciting, but to me, it is pretty fucking exciting. This is why I am here. I want to cook.

This week has been kind of huge for me. I made a promise to myself when I started this journey that I would not refuse the chance to taste anything. The people cooking this food are amazing chefs and rather than pay $18 for an appetizer of sauteed duck liver, I can try it for free at school. So here are the results of this week's tasting things I was either scared of or previously did not like:

-Salmon Carpaccio: It was seasoned with chives, lemon, salt, and pepper. It was fatty, in a really good way and amazingly delicate. It tasted like the ocean.

-Poached Salmon: It was poached in fish stock, lemon, tarragon and salt. We cut it with a spoon. Tender, flavorful, amazing. Slightly more fishy than the raw version, which surprised me. But, still really good.

-Poeler of duck: I always found duck greasy and texturally undesirable. This was...not. It was moist and had a gamey flavor that was surprisingly good.

-Caramelized turnips: Never eaten a turnip in my life and they kind of taste like broccoli? Unexpected and yummy.

-Sauteed duck liver and onions: surprise of the century. AMAZING. If you hate liver, like I did, you have never had it cooked right. It has that same rich, savory mouth feel of beef with a slightly more bitter taste. But, ridiculously amazing.

So, a lesson to all of you out there, if it sounds gross, try it anyway. What is the worst thing that happens? You have one bite of food you dislike and never eat it again? You could be missing out on some amazing food. Every single time I taste something new...I remember exactly why I am doing this. Holy fuck, I love food.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is that an elbow or are you just happy to see me?

Tonight the boy had his first sleep study. See, we have a bit of a problem in the Erratic house. Mainly that I am pretty sure he is going to die in his sleep of snoring. Like, maybe scaring himself to death? Mostly that he stops breathing. It has caused a tad bit of tension in the Erratic household. An average night in our house goes something like this:

The boy goes to bed.

I go to bed 2 - 3 hours later, because I am a night kind of gal. The boy is snoring. I try to listen and see if he stops breathing. I can't tell because the sound of the snoring drowns it all out.

I lightly shake him awake and ask him to roll on his side, where the volume goes from deafening to irritating.

I start to fall asleep. The boy rolls on his back and begins sawing logs.

I roll over and somewhat less gently suggest that he roll over and stop snoring.

I fall asleep. The boy rolls on his back and Pearl Harbor is reenacted next to me on the bed.

I use my elbows (the sharpest elbows in the Midwest, I might add. Challenge me sometime. I will win. They are like daggers.) to gently suggest that he roll the fuck over.

I start to fall asleep. He starts snoring.

I begin kicking him and raising my voice slightly while kindly suggesting that if he doesn't roll the fuck over I will kill him in his sleep.

I am angry and wide awake. Every time he makes a noise, I say something like "shut up or die" until one of us gives up and goes somewhere else to sleep.

The next day I am all pissy because I have not slept and he is all pissy because for some strange reason his body is covered in bruises the shape of my elbow. Huh. Must be a coincidence.

All evening I have been getting text messages of pictures of his room and then pictures of him covered in probe things that I assume mean he got abducted by aliens and will return with knowledge that will one day save the world. I am just hoping the aliens have some kind of miracle anti-snore drug. And maybe some elbow pads.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Word

I was texting with Big Jed tonight and I was describing the drunken stupor I managed to get myself into by the end of Saturday night. The hangover was legendary, in an I might die kind of way.

A new word was born. Stupidal: When you do something so stupid it has medical consequences.

This is either all kinds of awesome, or ridiculously lame.

Let's use it in a sentence.

Saturday night was so stupidal, I almost died!


That (fill in with cool skateboard term) was totally rad and stupidal. Let's do it again!


She is always doing stuff that is just stupidal. We should get her a bubble.

2/3 could be said about me. I will let you guess which ones.

10 fingers, people, 10 fingers.

Week Three begins. The main focus lately is for Chef to demonstrate how to do certain cooking techniques, like saute, braise, poach, etc. Of course, we are only allowed to call them by their French terms, but that is a whole other post. I will be fluent by the time I graduate.

It has been pretty awesome because he knows his shit. I always thought that I was a good cook, never a chef, but a good cook. I was curious what the distinction would be and how fast I would see the difference start to emerge. Day one. Hands down, day one. I have a good pallate. But, a good cook? I would say I was a mediocre cook with promise. Watching Chef prepare the simplest of things is so fascinating and humbling I can't even explain it. The first thing he prepared for us was a sauteed chicken breast, one prepared American (finished in the oven) and one prepared French (basted on the stove.) All he did was season it with salt and pepper. It was hands down one of the best pieces of chicken I have ever eaten. He fried us chicken breasts with a panko crust. He called them chicken nuggets. I would have gone with breaded perfection. Again, only salt and pepper.

I realize that I will not be at his level, even at graduation, but the thought of coming close to it? I kind of want to run around flailing my arms and screaming. Waving would not suffice, I must flail.

Kid from day one came in with the entire side of his face messed up. It looks like he had a fight with a meat grinder. When asked, he told everyone he was mauled by a tiger. I am pretty sure this guy either needs to bring enough for the class or abstain.

I also finally got my knife cut model. Woot! We start knife cuts again tomorrow, so everyone think positive thoughts about my fingers. Only thoughts where they are still attached please...this is not a good time to imagine me fingerless. BAD. PLAN.

In case any of you are wondering, behold a knife cut model:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Technology Addiction

I got the Droid today. I have never been a "jump on the new thing for the sake of owning the new thing" kind of person. However, being away from a computer all day has started to take it's toll. I may be an aspiring chef, but I am still a geek at heart. The geek in me comes home everyday and practically flings myself at my laptop. It really is quite terrifying to watch. Thankfully only the dogs are witness to my withdrawal and inappropriate attachment. The thought of a smart phone started to take root as soon as I knew that I would spend most of my time away from any kind of technology.

The conversation of the iPhone came up. I would rather throw myself in front of a train. There is just something about the iPhone fanboy mentality that makes me stabby (love you baby!) Plus, AT&T. Um, no thanks. I know it is a great phone, I do. I don't really hate it. I just want to stab it.

I thought about a Blackberry, but it didn't really have what I wanted. Plus, the newest versions were getting shit on by everyone and I am sure I would have been moderately satisfied, but it still just wasn't quite right. The boy insisted that I should wait for an android (should that be capitalized?) phone. I was all set to go with the LG Touch. He started emailing me article after article after article about the Android (eh??) phones Verizon was about to release. Finally, I was convinced.

I went to Best Buy and pre-ordered. You know what makes me more stabby than iPhone fanboys? Best Buy. I am sorry if you work there or know someone who works there or want to work there or have any affiliation with them in anyway, but that place makes me want to punch babies. I cannot, cannot, cannot handle it. It is so easy to order technology on the Internet and have it show up at your door step. No blue shirt wearing Nazi over the top IT wanna-be salesmen. Ugh.

I am getting side tracked on some kind of violent rant here. The point is I have a Droid! I like it, for the most part. There are about 1000 things I never knew I needed. Like Sudoku. And the ability to program my phone to go into different modes depending on my location. Like, school. It will automatically go into total silent mode as soon as my car arrives on campus. HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT? I would have bought the phone for that alone...had I even known it was possible. Oh, technology, how I love thee.

So, when I pre-ordered the phone (stab, stab, stab) I told Big Jed that she could have my old phone until her new every two kicked in. She wanted a QWERTY keyboard and I had a phone that I was no longer using. About 17 conversations followed, the boy volunteered some Blackberry's, Mr. Big Jed decided he wanted in on the used/new phone deal, and this happened. This does not include my new phone or the iPhone in our house. It is worse than the day of the laptops. This house is where technology goes to die...and ultimately be reborn. We are the Dr. Frankenstein of mobile phones over here. I am not afraid to whip out the Zack Morris phone. Not afraid at all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Brain = Old

My mind won't stop lately. It is full of worry and elation and the names of food borne illnesses that I should know and only kind of do. I forgot how hard school was. How hard it is to study and to memorize and to read for the sake of remembering, not just for enjoyment. I watch these 18 year olds absorbing information like a sponge and I feel old because my mind doesn't absorb information like that anymore. This is work. Hard work. And while up for the challenge, I wish I had discovered my dream when I was 18. That I could be standing with these kids, naive and hopeful and arrogant and just so fucking sure of themselves and the paths their lives will take. I laugh when they talk about their parents riding them about going to class. I sigh when they complain because their roommate left their dishes in the sink again. I am envious when they talk about late night study sessions in the dorm rooms. And also kind of curious that culinary school has dorm rooms?

We all took our paths. Mine may be different than theirs, but no less valid. I may not have the arrogance of youth (oh, wow, I just sounded 100) but damn it, I am good at this. I love this. I love going to class and chopping up fruit and vegetables for 3 hours. I love that Chef is making us mole tomorrow because he had some extra roasted poblanos. I love that these people speak my language, no matter how little else we have in common. I absolutely love being a part of this world. What I lack in youth, I make up for in passion. And note cards. Son of a bitch, I have made a lot of note cards.

Update: I am not sure anyone cares, but my exams last week? I got a "a little big, but tight for the first week" on the practical (which was pass/fail) and a 19/20 on the written.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Karate Kid and Dr. Kevorkian

Guess who found Halloween costumes on sale at Target? I will give you one hint, it wasn't me. Short Dog was a much more patient subject.

The part where uniforms suck.

I have recently become obsessed with Ace of Cakes. I mean, I have always been obsessed with the show, but suddenly it has been on Food Network ALL THE TIME and I can't stop watching. I even get pissed off when my DVR makes me watch something else. Is there a pastry chef in me after all? (shiver)

That is totally not what this post is about, though. It is about the uniforms.

I would be the guy on the left. Except my pants are totally black. And I always have a thermometer and pen in my coat pocket. And a little memo pad. No I do not need a pocket protector. Also, I am not a guy. And there is a neckerchief involved that I just can't even talk about.

When class is over, everyone immediately pulls off the hat and neckerchief and unbuttons at the very least the top button of the chef's coat. The kitchens top at well over 100 degrees and let me tell you, walking out into the cold fall air is the best part of my day.

A lot of my classmates change at the school both before and after class, because they are coming to/from work. Since I am still J-O-B-less, I don't bother. However, I am not comfortable going in public in my uniform. I fear people will ask me questions that I don't know how to answer and then I will feel stupid. I realize this is ridiculous, but I am kind of ridiculous, so it works with my whole theme. On Friday, my lunch buddy and I had 40 minutes, so we decided to go sit and eat at Wendy's instead of doing a drive-thru or going to his catering company down the street for free grub. Yes, I said grub.

Big, huge, gigantic, life size, holy fucking shit, mistake. Here is just a sample of the comments we received:

"This would be the PERFECT commercial for Wendy's. 'Even Chef's eat at Wendy's' Ha ha ha ha ha."

"Are you going to be on Hell's Kitchen/ Top Chef/ Any other highly commercialized TV food show?"

"What you are too lazy to cook your lunch? Ha ha ha ha ha ha"

"The other day I was making (insert dish) and it turned out (insert problem.) Do you know why?"

"Do you know (insert name of celebrity chef)?"

I would not walk up to someone in scrubs and ask them medical questions. Or if they knew some famous doctor. Or show them a rash and have them diagnose it. I mean, really? Did that happen? Ugh. We were very good humored about the whole situation and laughed along with them. In reality, it wasn't THAT big of a deal. We laughed about it the whole way back to school.

But, can you even IMAGINE what would happen if I went to the grocery store in uniform? The thought of it makes me want to hide under the couch.

Since I know that it is in the back of all your minds, yes that is the only picture I could find of someone in full uniform and yes I realize that it is ridiculously lame and possibly evidence of murder via rolling pin.

Also, I don't have a rash I need diagnosed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I promise not to post pictures, but I had my first kitchen accident today. I was cutting a tourne of carrot and the knife slipped. I cut off about a dime size chunk of my knuckle on my left thumb. It didn't hurt, luckily the knife was really sharp. Or not luckily? I am not really sure what would have happened if it was dull. Holy crap did that bastard bleed, though.

Chef, however, gave the award for the "raddest cut of the day" to one of my classmates who cut off his fingernail. Not, you know, the tip of it. The whole nail. I can't even fathom how that one happened. The school record is 120 bandages in one week for a class of 15. So, all in all, I think we are doing well!

The kid from day one continues to amaze me with his stupidity and it is a running joke now that whenever you do something stupid, it is because of the time change. Which, by the way, is why I tried to cut off my thumb. I do feel bad for the kid, all the chefs pick on him. Although, most of the time, he kind of deserves it.

On the downside, I feel like the dumb kid in the class. A lot of the people there are way more advanced than I am in knife skills. Some have even come in first in competitions. I wouldn't even place, not to mention come in first. It just means I have to work that much harder, but I am so completely OK with that, because I love every single second of it!

First practical exam tomorrow - wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crap, I cut off my finger!

Kidding, kidding. All fingers are in tact, but there were some questionable moments where I took a chunk out of my fingernail and a cuticle that is a tad bit smaller than it was before I walked in. If you haven't figured it out yet, today was day 1 of learning knife skills. (KNIVES!)

I have knife skills, to an extent. I can chop an entire onion in about a minute. Are the pieces all the same size? Nope. It also turns out that I do not hold a knife properly, hence the awkwardness and close calls. So, today I learned the right way to chop an onion, garlic, carrot, and potato. We also learned many cutting techniques, such as julienne. So, the day consisted of me taking a whole vegetable and breaking it down into various sized strips and cubes. I would tell you the name of all of these, but they are all in French. And you probably don't care so much.

We all set up our work stations and started chopping. Everything in culinary school must be done in a technique called Mise en Place (pronounced meez ahn plahs) which means everything in it's place. Essentially, it is the opposite of the way that I work. I am more of a crap, I need this, running around with no real direction person. They don't so much like that there, so we have to have EVERYTHING WE COULD EVER POSSIBLY NEED before we can even think about getting started. It's probably a good thing for me to learn and I could benefit from carrying it out in the rest of my life...chances are that will not happen. There is a reason that this blog is called Erratic. Because I am crazy.

After we completed our cuts, Chef had to inspect them and tell us how well we did. I got a "fucking awesome, man" while others got a "pretty rad for day one." Chef kind of reminds me of Sean Penn's character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He's a good time.

It is frustrating because I want to know it all right now, not sit and chop potato after potato after potato. I HATE CHOPPING POTATOES. I know the knowledge will come and that I just need to be patient. Much like Mise en Place, I think patience is a virtue I just do not possess.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Damn You Twitter!

I tried to copy and paste this conversation and twitter fucked it all up. I laughed forever during this conversation. This right here is why Big Jed should be president. Or a cabinet member. Or maybe just my drinking buddy. Whatever you think is best.

SwithanH: Whenever I write/text the word excellent, I hear it in my head as Mr. Burn's voice. This makes me crazy, right?

BigJed: hearing Mr. Burns is not what makes you crazy. There is much much more.

SwithanH: Shhhh...the voices will hear you.

BigJed: But the voices are the ones who told me. Wait...are we having a collective psychotic break?

SwithanH: Not again...

BigJed: I will call and reserve our favorite suite at the loony bin.

SwithanH: Excellent.


I realize my anonymity has been lax these days...but when you don't work for the man, and never plan to again, life changes a little.

Please explain this to me.

I am sitting on the couch, attempting to study, when the boy decides he wants to furminate the dogs. So, he walks to the front hall closet, looks at the dog shelf and says, "Where is the furminator?" I tell him it is under the bathroom sink. I hear him rummaging around and he peeks his head out of the bathroom, "It's not there."

"Maybe it is in the basement, but I really think it is under the bathroom sink." He disappears in the basement to look and comes up a few minutes later empty handed. He goes back to the bathroom and I hear him rummaging around. I hear the front hall closet open and close.

"It's gone. I can't find it anywhere."

"Are you really going to make me stop studying to find the furminator?" He throws his arms up in the air in an exasperated gesture, obviously defeated by the search.

I get up, walk into the bathroom, open the cabinet under the sink, bend over, pick up the furminator and hand it to him.

"How is it that every time you can't find something, I find it within seconds?"

"I guess it just takes a woman's touch."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Official Culinary Student

I am not sure how many of you that read this like to cook, but I have been counting down the days until I received this:

When they passed out our uniforms (pictures coming - you have to see this hat) my head was full of knives, knives. More knives. OMG knives. Where are the knives. GIVE ME MY KNIVES. It has taken every ounce of self control to not go in the kitchen and chop everything in sight. Including my old knives. Because these new super knives - they could do it. THEY ARE THAT AMAZING. I may sleep with them under my pillow. Because that is safe.

When they brought them out I squealed a little. Both of my neighbors looked at me, like, great, we are paired with the crazy girl.

Other than the KNIVES! my day was fairly typical. Syllabus, meet your chef's, a bunch of confused "freshmen" wandering around looking lost...ahem...I was so totally lost. I met the people I am going to be studying with for the next 20 months and, well, meh. That really is just the best word. There were some really nice people, do not get me wrong. Most of the class, however, fell into the genre of this kid:

We are sitting in the sanitation and kitchen design class and it is 11:30 am. The class starts at 10:40. This kid, obviously on something, walks in and sits down.

Chef: Sir, can I help you?

Kid: I am here for the 10:40 class. I am early.

Chef: This is the 10:40 class and you are not early.

Kid: (blank stare)

Chef: It is 11:30. This class is almost over.

Kid: I think the time change screwed me up.

Chef: The time change hasn't happened yet.

Kid: (blank stare)

Chef: Please stay after class.

We were all laughing so hard, I, for one, had tears running down my face. In kitchen lab, when we all had to introduce ourselves again, he introduced himself as the kid who walked in late and got ripped a new ass hole by Chef.

Oh, to be 18 again. And apparently really, really stoned.