Every Day is a Struggle

It’s been a long time since I’ve hated a job.

Just last year, I loved my job.  This year, I hate it.  Thanks, new boss!  Hating my job is stressful.  It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve dreaded going in to work.  I’m the girl who arrives an hour early, remember?  And I still do… but the entire time I’m getting ready, I dread getting there.

My last post was about how much I dislike my new boss so I don’t want to let him monopolize this one as well but… this is what is going on in my life.  It impacts everything in my life.  I’m passionate about what I do and so, when someone screws with that, it really sets me back.  I have no energy when I come home.  So… I don’t work out.  What do I do instead?  Oh yeah, I eat.  That coping mechanism I’ve known since I was all of 3 years old rears its ugly head again.

To make matters more complicated, I’m having some issues with my gluteus medius.  It hurts a lot.  It hurts when I sit too long.  It hurts when I bend at the waist.  It hurts when I maneuver around in certain ways.  And obviously, this makes me want to work out less also.  Not working out leads to negative body imagine and weight gain.

Weight gain leads to me hating myself.  Ok, I don’t actually hate myself…. but I do hate my body right now.

I really need to do something about that.

At least the cookies are doing well

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The speed of light

Well, I managed to put a title on this post… that makes this one automatically better than my last.

It’s the beginning of the school year: two new members of my department, a new boss, new requirements, less planning time than ever before and me…. running around trying to accomplish everything.  While I have a few rants I’d like to write I simply don’t have the time to do them properly and so they will have to wait until my brain and body settle down.  (Yeah, I’ve been having daily neck fatigue/pain which really sucks.)

In the meantime… this is what I’ve been up to lately in the cookie business….

df2 minnie3 sp2 tree2

I’ve always had the urge to create stuff.  In high school I dabbled in painting (in a cheap acrylic paint on poster board sort of way), I knitted a series of scarves in college, I tried writing poetry at various stages of my life, and I’ve always enjoyed writing in general.  I would say I’ve attempted drawing before but I really haven’t given it a true effort.  My drawing attempts are rivaled by those of a kindergarten student and I wind up terribly embarrassed and hunching over my paper afraid someone will see.  Seriously, it’s that bad.  And in all of the above endeavors I haven’t really had anyone helping me out.  I wasn’t taking a class, I wasn’t consulting a professional, most of it was all done in the privacy of my own living quarters and hidden from the world.  So I guess it isn’t any wonder I missed out on some of the lessons being creative can teach a person.

Example?  Of course.

Today I started working on some cookies for my largest cookie order to date.  Six dozen cookies, pale green onesies with pink owls on them.  Sounds adorable, yes?  And the owl is your basic no frills easy enough shapes owl.  As I have no drawing ability I went to the internet to find a piece of clipart or drawing of the cute little owl to trace.  Yep, I find an image… resize it on my screen so it fits my cookie cutter and then trace it onto a piece of paper from my computer screen.  (This is where having a printer would probably come in handy, eh?)

What I failed to do before I drew out 100 of those little buggers on a sheet of paper is make sure the drawing I was using was even.  I mean, sure, he LOOKED fine.  Adorable.  Cute.  But as I was tracing one after another onto the sheet of paper I began to notice his wings didn’t seem evenly sized.  So, instead of stopping and trying to figure out a way to make this thing super precise and then start all over… I just trudged on and figured I could fix the issue when I was laying down the icing.  (For those of you confused at this point I put the sheet of paper in a sheet protector then use icing to make what’s called a royal icing transfer.  Once it dries, I can lift it up and place it on the cookie.)

So here I am this morning working on my royal icing transfers and trying to figure out the best way to go about it.  And as I’m working… I’m getting concerned.  I rarely outline anything and for some reason I outlined everything this morning first.  Then, when I put in the wings with a different color… OMG my owls started to look like crap.

 

These are three of my owls where you can clearly see I was trying to figure out what to do about the wings.  Starting from the left… I added MORE icing on top of the old in an attempt to make it poofier and less noticeable.  Fail.  Then skip to the far right because that’s the one I did next.  I thought maybe outlining the wing would make it look better.  Fail.  In the middle you see me wonder what would happen if I did some brush embroidery and, while it looks like crap there (wrong consistency and same color as the base) I totally saw the potential.

And in a matter of seconds my 100 owls went from beyond repair to….

owl transfers 2

 

…. totally adorable.  (I know they look weird without the black parts of their eyes right now but I have to wait for everything to dry properly first.)

My lesson of the day?  There are very few things in the world that are beyond repair.  I have had similar situations so many times with my cookies I can’t even begin to estimate how many.  And each time I find a solution?  I’m totally amazed at how something so small can have such a dramatic impact.

And isn’t it the same with life?  I mean… sure things are messed up… but adding a few tweaks here and there can take something I currently find unable to be salvaged and make it into something I can totally live with.  I think the creative people in my life already know this awesome secret.  They’re the ones who are always saying “Oh, I’ll make it work” when I’m freaking out and running around crying out “OMG I HAVE TO START ALL OVER.”  Maybe I don’t have to start all the way over.  Maybe all I need is a creative tweak here and there.  Maybe I am able to be salvaged after all, eh?

I have blog issues

Seriously, everyone… I have blog issues.

I start a blog, go at it like crazy for a while and then when my interests change, I feel as though I have to change my blog.  So I make a new one.

Or, I spend the time I used to spend blogging feeling guilty about not blogging.  So I just don’t blog and nothing gets done.

The truth is…. This blog was supposed to be a fun project with a couple of friends and myself.  It was supposed to be about life in general.  And, when they weren’t as enthused as I was… well… I kept feeling as though I should start a different blog.  And then, when I became obsessed with cookie decorating… I felt as though my life didn’t fit this blog anymore.

How can a blog about my life in general not fit my latest obsession?

Seriously, y’all.  I have some blog issues.

So, starting today, with this post I am just going to start blogging here again.  I’m going to forget that Sarah and Beth are also supposed to be blogging here and I’m going to pretend maybe they DO also blog here. 

Aren’t you so lucky?

And, if you’d like to see my cookie obsession first-hand, please feel free to visit my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/microcosms/

Until tomorrow, my friends!

Cookie Crazy

Ever since I discovered the art of decorating cookies with royal icing, I’ve been a bit obsessed.

I want to do it all the time.

I want to be really crazy good at it.

I want to make cookies to delight the masses.

I’m not at all certain I’ll be able to achieve any of the above things, but I’m having fun trying.  And it has prompted me to finally bite the bullet on purchasing something I’ve wanted for a very long time… A Kitchenaid mixer.

I’m not sure why I fell in love with the darned things but I did.  And I’ve been saving up my cashback bonus on my credit card for YEARS determined to purchase one of those babies virtually for free.  (Don’t start to argue with me about cashback bonuses not being free due to interest, I don’t carry a balance on my credit card from month to month.  Learned that difficult lesson a long time ago.)  So my balance sat at $200 and I am well aware that the base model Kitchenaid costs roughly $250.  Then, if you figure that if I take $20 of that and purchase a gift card from Bed Bath & Beyond I get $25…. you start to see that I had pretty much achieved my goal.

And then I started to look around to purchase one.  Apparently BB&B doesn’t carry the base model anymore.  Well crap.  So I looked online at Amazon.com.  And then I started reading the reviews.  And then I started to wonder if I really wanted a Kitchenaid mixer at all.  The reviews were really terrible for the lower end models and I started to realize that I was going to have to spend some money to get a better model… or try out another brand, something I really didn’t want to do.

I agonized.  I researched.  I changed my mind a dozen times.

And then I found out you can purchase a refurbished Kitchenaid mixer right from their website.  This enabled me to purchase the Professional 600 series (which has the best reviews) for roughly %50 of its original cost.  Plus, there is a 6 month warranty.

kitchenaidAnd then I spent forever trying to choose a color.

And then I rejoiced at the $2 shipping deal.

And then two days later it arrived.  The color is nickel pearl.  The operation of it is easy.  I couldn’t believe how quickly I had whipped together a new batch of cookies.  I couldn’t believe how little work it was!  I can’t believe how lucky I am to own this thing!

I fully intend to work the crap out of it over the next 6 months to ensure all is well before the warranty is up.

 

I have no title

As I sit here beginning this post, it doesn’t have a title.  Hell, it doesn’t even have a clear direction or content.  I just know it has been absolutely forever since I’ve posted and I also know I have an urge to write something.  Let’s sum up my life:

 

Weight:  Climbing.  I haven’t been able to get it together.  I keep eating whatever, whenever, and not exercising more than 2-3 times a week…. which wouldn’t be so bad if I were really hitting it hard… which I’m not.  As a result I feel fat, I hate all of my clothes, and I want to cut off the fat composing my lower stomach.  I tried on a pair of jeans the other day and it was as if they were designed to accentuate the lower belly flab I have.  Like “Yooo hooo!  Don’t you think this is sexxxsay?”  Seriously, I’ve thought about taking some scissors to it but I’m pretty sure that is not the way to go.

 

Work: I’m busy.  I’m so incredibly busy.  I’m stupidly busy.  And January starts up Academic Bowl season where I will have even more to do.  I’m pretty sure I’m at my limit of things I can handle.  I cannot sign up for any more committees, I cannot spend any more time helping my coworkers problem solve their class issues, I cannot spend any extra time creating new stuff for the class I’ve taught before.  Everything I have second semester will be devoted to staying afloat in the classes which are new, doing work for all these freaking committees I find myself a part of, and trying not to feel overwhelmed with everything I have to do.  There is this huge part of me that just wants to resign from everything extra and enjoy a month or two of being able to go home after work and just… be at home.  No extra meetings before going home… no work to do once I get home…. no stack of papers waiting for me to grade… no last minute tweaks to activities to make them better… no endless searching for cheap supplies to do things with.

 

Love: My love life sucks.  I can’t even talk about it.

 

Extras: I’m having  a hard time connecting with my mom these days.  I’ve always been able to call her up and have a decent conversation but lately, I just haven’t been able to do it.  She’s been annoying me.  I think it has something to do with her living with my sister and all these notions about mom just needing a helping hand to get on her feet evaporating in the wake of it.  My mom will never be able to support herself living on her own.  And worse yet, she’s in such a state of denial about that.  She doesn’t make enough money to pay her bills, she doesn’t tell anyone when she’s in trouble, when she does have money she spends it immediately on crazy, inane shit…. And let’s not get into the hygiene issue.  I don’t know what to do about my mom and I don’t know how to get over the disappointment I feel that she can’t take care of herself.  Even worse, I’m more disappointed that I didn’t see that until now.  She’s always been this way, I’ve just been in denial myself.

I have also taken up cookie decorating.  I say this like I’ve been doing it for ages now but in reality, I’m two batches in to the whole endeavor.  I needed a hobby.  One that wouldn’t make me feel poorly if I didn’t do it for a week or two (like exercise), and one that forced me to slow down and spend some time in the moment… because I haven’t been present in the moment since this school year started… and I used to be pretty good at living in the now while still planning for the future… that is just gone right now and so I needed something.  Plus, someone said to me “You’re only as interesting as your hobbies.”  Now, they weren’t insulting me at the time but I really couldn’t let that statement go because I took a look at my hobbies and found myself lacking one.  I used to be really into jogging but I haven’t been able to get back into it since the accident… and aside from that… my real hobbies are reading books to escape reality and talking to my cat and I realized I am not very interesting by anyone’s standards.  So I got inspired and just dove in to the whole cookie thing.

And that, my friends, pretty much brings you up to date.  I’ll try to write more as blogging USED to be a hobby of mine.

 

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