December 22, 2015

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …

The Force Awakens

I’m sorry. I know. I keep apologizing for the same thing but it’s true. My lack of an appearance online is due to work. I’ve been stuck on 4am shifts (which are now 3am for the holidays) for two months now. And it’s been totally wiping me out. I’m sleeping an average of 36-40 hours a week. I work an average of about the same. I got behind on christmas gifts, decorating for christmas and pretty much life in general. I’ve barely been able to see my friends because I get up at 3am (now 2am) am at work by 4am, work til 1pm, get home by 2pm and try to stay awake until 7pm where I rinse and repeat.

My days off have not been consecutive so I can’t catch up on sleep. Heck, I haven’t even seen my boyfriend in 3 weeks. But, hey. I have a job. One that has been major stressful because of my boss. Who finally stepped down and is leaving the department this week. It’s been a long time coming. Hopefully afterwards, my stress can diminish. And when I say stress, I mean stress: my hair has been falling out faster than is normal, I have a stress rash on my legs and near my shoulders and I broke down last week because of a panic attack caused buy claustrophobia from the disaster that is my department. This is why I have been MIA. Oy. But let’s move on, shall we?

December Fun 1

In the last few weeks, I have managed to at least have SOME fun. I decided to take the plunge and became an Avon Representative! I haven’t had much time to do anything with it as of yet, but am planning a local Avon Party at my house after the holidays. I’e always liked Avon products and once upon a time, I actually was a representative for their sister company, mark. So I decided, why not take the plunge. If you’re interested in some Avon, whether to buy or just to pick my brain for honest reviews, let me know! I also offer discounts and free products ;) Adonis sure loves the boxes that they send me my products in. It’s a win-win all around.

My roommate Rachel and I also found some time to bake and decorate a cake for my friend Irene’s mother’s birthday! I made a chocolate stout cake with dark buttercream frosting ad we dusted it with edible gold dust. It was a ton of fun to make and I hope that it was as good as it looks! I will say, the remnants of the pieces we cut off to frost it, were freaking delicious and I need to make another cake asap. For myself! Yum.

I enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah this year and introducing my roommate to the holiday. We also checked out a few thrift shops around town where I managed to pick up a tree skirt, a jolly Father Christmas figurine, an angel for our tree and the jackpot, ornaments exactly like the ones I grew up with. And I got them all for less than $8. The ornaments were the best find. After my mom passed, I was evicted from the house (I had moved back in after my ex and I had split up and also because she was sick – long story) and one of the things I left behind, was the box of all our Christmas ornaments. These slightly tacky and ugly ornaments were the highlight of every Christmas season for me. They were the first things I’d add to the tree. So finding them, after all these years, felt like a special kind of fate. I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit since Mom passed. It’s hard when your only parent passes and your brother decides you’re to blame. Haven’t had either in my life for almost 8 years now. But this, this helped a bit. Time to start my own traditions with these little gems.

December Fun 2

Rachel and I also managed to find some time this weekend to create individual ornaments for our co-workers. We thought it would be a fun little different gift. None of us have ever done ornaments for each other at work, plus it was a blast trying to figure out how to make them all different.

But the highlight of this December, for me at least, and let’s be honest, if you know me even a tiny bit you already know the answer to this — STAR WARS! Yup. Rachel and I had tickets for The Force Awakens, at 7pm on Thursday night. And boy, was it packed. 300 of us in the theater at one time. There were costumes, and silly pictures being taken, and tons of Chewbacca impersonations going on. I didn’t dress up, but I was crazy Star wars blinged out. Had on my vintage Star Wars t-shirt, my Darth Vader earrings and socks, my Star Wars Cover Girl lipstick, Imperial dogtag and my TIE Fighter necklace, not to mention, the best part of all, the Darth Vader purse that Rachel had gotten me for my birthday!

I was ridiculously excited all day, I started the day off by making Death Star waffle for Rachel and I, courtesy of the waffle iron that C bought me as a late birthday gift. We passed the day by running errands and picking up last minute Christmas gifts. I even had a Darth Vader key made for myself, since we’ve decided to renew our lease when it comes time in May. Finally, it was Star Wars time! I was nervous, anxious and happy all at one time. I was worried that my hopes were too high. But I was very happy with the way the movie turned out. It was a lot funnier than I thought it would be, and there was still the typical Star Wars darkness that is in every movie. The general feel was very much like the original series. There was CGI but on a very small scale, pretty much only where it needed to be, unlike the prequels. You could tell the focus was on the story itself and on the character relationships. I absolutely love Rey and have my own theories about her. My main follows that JJ Abrams is lying about her origins – which he’s done in past movies. I totally called three different plot points – but don’t worry, I won’t say each ones. If you’re curious, I’m always up for a discussion if you comment! And don’t get me started on Kylo Ren. He may be, as one friend put it, “a whiny man-child” but I love him, temper and all. Mainly because, just as with Darth Vader, I get him. I understand his issues. I also love BB-8, more than I ever loved r2-d2. I think BB-8 is freaking adorable, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to buy a BB-8 straw. The movie is not perfect, but then no movie really is. You don’t get all the answers. But then, there are still two more movies to go.

I probably won’t get another chance to post until Christmas, so I’m taking my chance now to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Yule and a wonderful New Year!

How’s your December going? Did you see Star Wars? I’d love to hear all about you month, your thoughts on the movie and what you’re doing for Christmas! Please do not leave any spoilers in the comments as this is a spoiler-free zone. Merry Christmas!

November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Blessings

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I may have posted my Thanksgiving blessings earlier, but I have to say that I’m so grateful for the fact that Thanksgiving is over – not because I had a bad one. No. I actually had a great Thanksgiving. I’m grateful it’s over because I need a reprieve from the craziness of the holiday and the hectic schedule that I’ve been keeping. The week before Thanksgiving, I worked 5 days and slept a grand total of 41 hours in the whole week. This last week I also worked 5 days, 39 hours and 15 minutes and had a grand total of 43 hours of sleep. I was scheduled to work Thanksgiving day (woohoo double time and a half!) and instead of the 4 hours that I was scheduled, I worked a grand total of 7 hours and 15 minutes. All of my shifts were either 3am or 4am. Which accounts for the little sleep and on Thanksgiving day I worked until 12:15 and still had to cook dinner. Whew. So, now you know why I haven’t been around much to blog or comment. I apologize for that, but that, sadly, is life in a bakery before a holiday!

Now. Time for the positives and the happy parts.

After a long day at work, I rushed home, showered and started on dinner. After I cracked open a bottle of champagne and drinking half a glass first … hey. It’s been stressful and champagne is good. I played my Cinnamon & Cloves playlist while cooking, because music while cooking/baking for me is a must and away we went!

There were only three of us and I wanted to do something different so instead of turkey, I made three Cornish Game Hens that I glazed with a brown sugar & spicy mustard glaze. To go with the hens, I made a Sausage & Herb Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole and Corns & Peas in Tarragon Butter. My roommate’s mother (who had come down from Mount Vernon to enjoy the holiday with us) brought Mashed Garlic Red Potatoes and her amazing Cranberry Salad made with cranberries, blueberries, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. And my roommate Rachel had picked up a Sweet Potato side dish for her and her mom (yeah I’m the weirdo who dislikes sweet potatoes). Everything was so good. We ate til we were stuffed. We talked. We laughed. We relaxed. i drank a second glass of champagne and they polished off a bottle of wine. And then … it was dessert time.

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I decided to do something a little bit differently this year. As I’ve stated before, I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin. So I definitely didn’t want any pumpkin pie. And I’m not really big on pies anyway. So I made a Carrot Orange Spice cake with Orange Spice Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with Candied Pecans. It was DELICIOUS. Decadent and sweet without being heavy. The perfect addition and everyone agreed. In fact they both said that that should be my Thanksgiving dessert every year. So it looks like I started a new Thanksgiving tradition, without even meaning to! But seriously, I’m NOT a fan of carrot cake but even I like this cake. No. Strike that. Love this cake. Rachel and I finished it yesterday and I was incredibly sad. I guess that means it’s time to make a new one!

I had to crash early, not just because I was tired, but because I had to work at 4am on Black Friday so I chatted for a few more minutes and then headed off to bed so they could have some mother/daughter time and I could relax a little before sleep.

It may have been a low-key (for the most part) Thanksgiving, but I wouldn’t have traded it for another. It was everything that I wanted. And unlike last year, there were no tears and no anger. No one took me for granted. No one acted like an asshole and made rude comments after I worked all day and the cooked dinner. No one was mean in anyway. It was honestly the best Thanksgiving that I’ve had since my mom passed. And that makes me happy. Yes. I missed her. Yes. I wished I could have my family back. But I can’t and I finally had a wonderful holiday despite that. I proved to myself it’s possible to miss someone you love dearly and STILL have a wonderful time.

I don’t really do Black Friday shopping. I despise the crowds and I can’t stand how horrible most people become when they start shopping. I don’t need to deal with the shoving and pushing and rudeness. So since I did have to work, I checked out the movies and that was about it. I will say that I did manage to buy 13 new movies … and only 1 is a gift. Oops!

I’d love to hear all about your Thanksgiving! Do you have any family traditions? did you do anything differently this year? Buy anything fun on Black Friday? Tell me all about it in the comments!

November 17, 2015

Ignorance + 6 Things That Piss Me Off

ignorance

My heart hurts. The events of the last weekend have shocked me in several different ways. The pain and the loss that has been caused. And then the reactions of those on social media … I almost want to delete and remove myself but at the same time, social media does do a lot of good. It’s like a co-worker said a few days ago, my faith in humanity is wavering daily. We’re not that far away from Thanksgiving or Christmas. The time of year when people are supposed to be thankful for what we have and practicing goodwill towards men. And yet, all I see is hate. I present to you, the six things I just find repugnant:

01) The Starbucks Red Cups Issue: I am so tired of hearing about this shitty “war on Christmas” propaganda that I’m seeing. At least I’m learning who to delete on Facebook on Twitter … There is no “war on Christmas” just because there is a minimalist red cup. If your decorative coffee cup (that you’re just going to throw away anyway) is what defines your Christmas, then honey, you have bigger issues to tackle than this made-up war.

02) The War on Christmas: This is sort of a continuation but also, not really. While everyone is complaining about not being able to find the perfect set of twinkle lights or the perfect wreath among the 6 aisles of Christmas stuff that most stores have now, I have been unable to find ANYTHING for Hanukkah. Not true. I found two, count them, TWO boxes of $10 18 count Hanukkah candles on one shelf at work. Oh and Hanukkah cards. That’s all. And Hanukkah is closer than Christmas. When I inquired about where I might be able to find some locally, several people replied “LOL tons of stuff on Amazon.” I know that. And I do buy stuff from Amazon. But why should I HAVE to? Where is the Hanukkah aisle? Or for that matter, the Yule aisle? Or the Kwanzaa aisle? I may buy Christmas presents and I may have a tree because it was tradition; I had a Catholic step-father. But I was born Jewish and I celebrate Hanukkah every year.

03) Reactions to Terrorist Attacks: What happened in Paris is horrible. It hurts in the most horrible of ways, just like 9/11 did. Even worse is that I have a friend in Paris (someone I hold dear to my heart) and I was going crazy at work trying to figure out if he was okay. When I snuck onto Facebook during my shift and saw that he has updated his status to safe, I cried. What makes me sick is that Paris, Russia and Lebanon all had terrorist attacks in the last week, all supposedly done by ISIS, and no one is mentioning the other two attacks. Outrage is perfectly natural. Be outraged at what happened. Be ANGRY! Be hurt and saddened. But feel all those emotions for all the attacks and not just one.

04) Blocking the Syrian Refugees: This one … just boggles my mind. I see all these people saying how ISIS needs to be stopped and how horrible the war in Syria is, but then they post and talk about how the borders (of several different countries) should be closed to the refugees. Wait, what? You’re saying bomb ISIS and stop the war but who cares about the people fleeing? Um, no. It doesn’t work that way. It can’t work that way. By the way? The last of the Syrian Jews were rescued last week. A 3000 year old community has ended. But we shouldn’t help them or anyone else from Syria? I can’t speak for other countries. But the US was born from immigrants. Why are we ignoring that fact?

05) Treating People in Retail Like Crap: The other day I literally had a lady stand in my bakery and raise her voice at me because we didn’t have mincemeat pies in stock yet for her Christmas party this week. Let that sink in for a second. It’s not even Thanksgiving and she is screaming about a Christmas party this week. Two days later I had a man sneer at me after I told him apologetically that we were out of french bread, and then after seeing my Star of David, he called me an Arab and walked away. I’m Jewish and an American, born and raised. Not an Arab. My co-worker had someone call her a bitch because the woman needed a cake in 30 minutes and A) we require 24 hours notice and B) we were busy and short-handed. We are people. Yes. We are paid to work and help you but guess what. We’re not paid to handle your abuse. Standing there name-calling and screaming at us IS abuse. And this happens at every store and year-round. And it’s getting worse.

06) The Politics Battle: I actually dislike politics. I follow enough to make educated decisions so that I can vote for the things that I think should change or happen. I try and stay out of political discussions because I know that my opinions aren’t the majority among many of the people I know and because I’d rather find other things to discuss. But I am very passionate about my beliefs and opinions, just like everyone else should me. My problem isn’t what you believe in. I really don’t care. I may not agree, but at least you have that opinion. My problem is with the people who are vocal about what they think is wrong and don’t vote. The way I look at it is, if you stand by and do nothing to try and change it (which is what a vote does) then you have no right to complain about how things are going. If you refuse to register and make a decision, you don’t deserve the right to state your opinion. At that point, your opinion is irrelevant. You made the choice to forfeit your opinion.

I understand that not everyone will agree with me on these subjects, and that is perfectly okay. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t agree. But these are all things that have been building in my head, and I needed to get them out. If you’d like to comment, I’d love to hear them and if you’d prefer not to, I’ll understand :)