Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baby or Meth? You decide.

I was in CVS picking up allergy medication, mouthwash, nail polish and wine. I was eyeing my mouthwash options when I saw someone approach. 

"I know you don't know me from anybody else, but I don't have enough money to buy my baby formula."

I continued looking at mouthwash, sort of wishing the situation away. 

"I don't want money, I, God, this is so embarrassing. I can't believe I am even asking you to do this. Can you buy this formula? I don't get paid until Thursday and I don't know what to do. I don't want to steal it."

Without looking up, "How much is formula?"

"About $16. The baby needs the iron in this particular brand. It is more expensive. I'm really sorry. I can get something else if I need to."

I look up, seeing him for the first time. Tears are in his eyes and he can't make eye contact with me. 

"Come on. I need something from the pharmacy."

He hesitates and looks at me as I walk away, clearly not walking towards the checkout lanes.

"Are you coming? I need something from the pharmacy."

He scurries along behind me, rambling nervously about how he doesn't get paid until Thursday and the government assistance only gives him 8 things of formula a month and it is never enough, but normally he has enough money.

I put up my hand to stop him. "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing this for your baby." I hand him the formula and tell him to have a good night. He thanks me profusely and I give him a tight smile. 

I was annoyed. I was annoyed that he didn't budget his money better. I was annoyed that I quite possibly just bought someone something they were going to use to cut their meth. I was annoyed that I was the person he walked up to in the pharmacy, although I am sure my clearly frivolous purchases encouraged his approach. 

I did it because the thought of there being a baby sitting in some shit hole apartment with no food broke my heart. Which, I am sure, is part of the scam if it was a scam. 

As he drove off, he honked and thanked me again. With a baby in the backseat of the car and a woman in the passenger seat. My heart swelled. I did the right thing. 

I unlocked my car and a gentleman approached and asked me for money for food. I smiled at him and said, "I will drive down to subway and get you a sandwich if you would like."

To which he replied, "No thanks, I don't like Subway." So be it.

I posted about my first encounter and subsequent purchase on Facebook and how the boy gave me endless shit about it when I got home, saying "You always fall for this shit." 

Most of the comments were positive. One person in particular made some comment asking if the gentleman smoked and agreeing with the boy that I shouldn't have done it. 

The same person posted about a woman who was in the gym trying to lose weight and was bragging to this person how proud she was of herself that she went for a month straight and her husband took her out for pizza as a reward. This person basically called this woman fat and lazy and chided her for eating pizza as a reward. 

I am pretty OK with where I fell tonight. I am pretty OK with the side I was on. Because, you know what, I don't want to go through life not trusting people. Hating people. I'm not stupid, clearly based on the second encounter. I am not irresponsible about giving money to people who beg. I am going to spend my evening thinking that I helped a desperate father. And anybody who wants to can spend their evening thinking I helped some guy cook meth. I don't really care. 

Because in the end, I believe in helping people and giving back. You never know someone else's circumstances, you have never lived in their shoes. 

I left work one day and my gas light was on. I pulled up to the pump and realized I did not have my wallet. I only had enough gas to get back to work. I went back and was lucky enough that I could borrow $10 from petty cash and pay it back the next day. 

What would have happened if I didn't have those circumstances? What would have happened if I worked in an office building, everyone had left and I had no access to money? I would have had to beg people at the gas station to give me money so I could get home. 

Yes, sometimes they are meth heads. But, sometimes they are real people in really bad circumstances that just need that $17 can of formula to get them through. 

Monday, June 24, 2013


The garden is in full bloom! Well, sort of. Mostly, we're just eating a lot of lettuce. The seedlings didn't do so hot due to it being too cold in the cellar. Lesson learned. So, most of the garden was planted from seed. And once planted, it definitely grew fast! Here are a few of the pictures I have been promising forever, including the first things picked from the garden on the BAD ASS HANDMADE cutting board I got for $45 at the arts festival. In love. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parenting. I know, this post sounds ridiculous coming from me. Hear me out.

My mother is a graphic designer, my grandmother is a professional artist. My father is a chemist. You can imagine the difference in parenting styles. I was raised mostly by my mother and grandmother. I'm kind of a hippie. I do not like "the man" and what that whole concept stands for. I don't like large corporations. 

When I graduated high school, I immediately enrolled in college. That is what you do. You go to college. You don't spend a year trying to find yourself (although I really think everyone should.) You don't get a job and work until you figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Nope. You go to college. You start a career. You get married, you start a family. This is the "American Dream" to most Americans. 

Unfortunately I didn't listen when everyone told me that. Sure, I went to college. And skipped classes and racked up a whole lot of unnecessary debt. My mother told me to do what makes me happy. My grandmother was secretly satisfied that I didn't fit into the mold that everyone else did. My dad, not so much. My dad wanted me to go to college. He wanted me to be happy, sure, but this is a man who works out EVERY SINGLE DAY. He is puking his guts out? He sure as fuck still did his sit ups and push ups and stretches. Maybe he skipped the elliptical. He eats at the same two restaurants. He gets up at the same time everyday and goes to bed at the same time and is just a structured, disciplined person. 

I am not. So, when I finally said, enough, I am not going to go back to college AGAIN and do something I think maybe I might like. I am done, I am going to work this job until I figure it all out. And I did. And he was thrilled when I finally graduated from college. The speech he made at my graduation had me in tears. He was so proud of me and I think he learned a lesson from that...I just didn't fit in the same mold as the rest of the family, who all had their college degrees and are working steadily at their white picket fence and 2.5 kids. And, yes, often I am jealous of that. But it just isn't me.

One thing my parents never said to me was that they were disappointed in me. That they didn't love me. They were never anything other than supportive with my choices, even though I think a few times my dad wanted to shake me until I snapped out of it.

Then one day I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I pursued it and I am happy. Did I choose the lowest paying profession? Probably. Is it back breaking, exhausting work? It sure is. And I love it. And my parents are proud of me for doing what I love. 

Someone said to me, on Fathers Day, that they were grateful they were working. They were happy they didn't have to see their father. That his father hated him because he was a loser with no ambition. That he should have just gone to college like everyone else. Made something of his life. I just stood jaw dropped because, what? He does what I do, he's a cook. A chef. Maybe an untrained one, but a good one. He is one of the kindest people I know. I am proud of him. And I told him so. He just laughed. He didn't believe me. Suddenly his personality clicked and I understood all of those times I didn't understand his responses to things I said. And I felt sorry for him. 

I'm not a parent. I get that. Having a dog and a cat is not the same, no matter how many times someone posts a picture of a pitbull on Facebook with the caption "my dogs are my kids." They're not. It's not the same. So, maybe I am saying something untrue here, but I don't understand a parent of a kid who is good and kind and working full time doing something he loves, not being supportive of that. Actually being mean to him, calling him names. I don't understand.

Is it my upbringing? Is it because I had that support? I don't know. I know that when I walk into a coffee shop and see a 45 year old barista, I don't look down on them. I don't know their story. For all I know they are working three jobs to make ends meet. Does that  make a CEO better than them? When did we all become such snobs? When did success start being measured by wealth rather than quality of life? And when did parents stop loving their kids for being good people because they weren't making enough money? 

Friday, June 7, 2013


UGH! That is all I have left in me. Sometimes I feel like I work in a high school full of prepubescent bullshit. I can't deal. I miss the days of my all male staff where there was zero drama. I miss going into work and fighting with people when we disagreed. There was no shit talking, we just duked it out and moved on. I miss it so much. 

I am dealing with passive aggressive. I am dealing with back stabbing. I am dealing with someone who treats the employees like dogs. 

I am making a weeks pay check with ONE private chef event. If I can figure out a way to be doing a couple every weekend, I won't need to work. I will make enough money doing just that. 

The boy, Cupcake and Pocket Pen are helping me to figure out a company name and branding and shit. I got an email with a series of questions today, one of which was adjectives that describe yourself. I responded "I hate this question so much." I am pretty sure that I am the worst client ever. Who pays in food and alcohol. And frustrating indecision. Sometimes I wonder why I have friends.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this is what I am meant to do. Even though it is WAY harder than restaurant cooking. Especially in random kitchens. It is more fulfilling to me. I enjoy the interaction with the people (who knew?!?!) and I enjoy the aspect of it that is making somebodies night. 

I am in a shitty mood dealing with shitty people and just kind of over it. I hate the feeling of dreading going to work. I don't hate it. I despise it. That feeling is why I got into this industry...because I didn't want to feel it ever again. And here I am. Dreading going to work. Dreading dealing with the ass hole. Dreading it all. 

I hate this feeling. I love what I do. I love food. I love cooking food. I love everything about it. I just wish that love allowed me to surround myself with people who felt the same.

Monday, June 3, 2013


I should know the signs by now. Something major in my life happens. My nerves get the better of me. My mood is angry for no reason at all. I should know it is coming, but yet I never do. I walk through my day feeling as if I am the dumbest person in the world. I make poor decisions. Bad jokes. I feel like I am outside of myself. 

As the day goes on, I wander. Lost. I accomplish the tasks that I need to accomplish. I lack efficiency. I lack focus. I lack the ability to organize my thoughts.

I have been doing this for twenty years. I should know the signs by now.

The day continues and I find myself making excuses for why I am so unfocused. Why my brain refuses to cooperate. I didn't sleep well last night. My B-12 is dangerously low. I take vitamins. I drink smoothies. I stretch, thinking maybe I am just stiff. I read, thinking the anticipation of the end of the series has me side tracked. I put on music that makes me happy. I do everything I can. Everything I can think of to get myself out of the funk that is hovering over me. 

I still don't see it coming.

I had my first catering gig this evening and didn't really do that well. At least not by my standards. I was unhappy with what I served them. I struggled to find it in myself to care. I just wanted to get out of there, to escape to...what? I didn't know. My entire being just wants to escape. I need to be somewhere else. That will help. If I can just be somewhere else.

How did I not see it coming?

Sleeping pills make my skin crawl, like a thousand ants are tickling every inch of me. Pain killers do the same as do all of the various "PM" over the counter solutions. Supplements don't work. Exercise doesn't work. Meditation doesn't work. Twenty years of trying to figure it out. Nothing works.

So, here I sit. Yawning and exhausted. Incapable of sleep. I feel crazy, unhinged. Please let it be just one day. Except I know it won't be. I know it will last for days. By the end, I will want to scream. I will want to claw my own skin off. I will feel like a person outside of my body looking in. 

I wish it didn't make the skin under my eyes burn. I wish my muscles didn't ache. I wish I didn't feel stupid. And crazy. 

I wish, I wish, I wish. 

I wish I could go to sleep.