Are you going to eat that? / What the heck has Katherine been up to?

“First we eat. Then we do everything else.”
– M. F. K. Fisher

Do you ever think about what you put in your mouth?  (And, yes, Precious Readers, I am aware of how that statement may have come across.)  I was recently watching shows from the Food Network, and consider myself a loyal viewer of the show, Good Eats staring Alton Brown.  He came to this sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy city of Seattle.  His show often delves not only in the molecular breakdown of food, but also its history, and the food’s impact on culture.  As I was sitting at lunch, I stared at the food on my plate.  Similar to the way Good Eats delves into food culture, I began wondering a more basic question.  “How in the heck did we decide to process food in order to consume it?”

For example: Take the banana.  This vitamin rich food is considered one of the ultimate healthy treats, and has even become a substitute for ice cream when pureed and frozen.  However, think back to the first person to decide it was something for the human diet.

In tropical climates, the person would have to look at this bunch of green goodness growing like giant hands on a tree.  Said person would have to climb said tree, and bypass the gigantic, poisonous spiders.

I repeat:

Gigantic.

Poisonous.

SPIDERS.

What is my point of view about arachnids?  I don’t do spiders.  That’s it.  I just don’t do spiders.  I would’ve posted a picture, but when I “Googled” banana tree spiders, I screamed at decibels that B-Movie Horror Film Actresses would’ve applauded for.

Feel free to look them up yourselves, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 Once you’ve survived your toxic trek into the tree, you still have to wait for the fruit to use its chameleon like body to change its color entirely to yellow.  Then you peel the typically hexagonal skin.

But, wait, there’s more!

After the peel is gone, there are these fibrous, sticky strings that, although edible, are not palatable.  These must also be removed.  Then, and only then, is our delicious banana ready to be eaten, sliced, mashed, pureed, smoothie-d, etc.

You’re requesting another example?  How about women’s favorite sweet?  Chocolate!

In case you are not familiar with this cocoa conundrum, chocolate has an incredible journey before it ends up in a bar form, wrapped in shimmering foil like the gold bar of richness it is.

Chocolate starts as a bean.  That’s right.  A bean.  It’s similar to a seed in a large green/red pod.  The pod is split open and several cacao beans are removed.  These beans being as white, and very slimy.  The farmer actually lets these ferment.

Yes, ferment.  Like beer.  Think we’re almost done?  Not by a long shot!

Once the pods are fermented, they’re left out in the sun to dry.  After the beans are dried, they’re roasted.  That’s what gives chocolate its color.

Ready to eat?  No!

The beans are crushed to reveal the nibs.

Yes, nibs.  I still half-giggle at that term.  (Yes, I’m an adult.)

The nibs are then crushed into a paste, where it’s cooked AGAIN.  Once the nibs are liquefied, THEN it’s formed into a chocolate bar.

May I ask just how the first Mayans decided this was the process for chocolate?  Admit it.  There are fewer steps to roasting a chicken than there are for creating chocolate.

Pineapples.  Don’t even get me started on pineapples.  The only thing I have to say is, “Yeah! Let’s take that spiky thing that stabbed my hand and try to find a way to EAT IT!”

There’s really no point to this.  Just trying to get you to think beyond your reality.  Think beyond just what is “normal” for you.  Start asking yourself the question, “Why?” or “How?”  Believe me, this will completely change the way you perceive the world and open all kinds of new doors for you.

Speaking of pondering the universe, I realize I haven’t written in a long time.  I made the difficult decision to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck and leave my job.  I’ve been home since January, not working.  I have never “not worked” up until this point, which I’ve delved into extensively in previous postings.

Please check out my archives!  (Hint, hint.)

I was overwhelmed with warm and fuzzy feelings over the incredible support my husband, Pilot, my family, friends and coworkers all gave me for making this decision.  The reason I didn’t close out the year of 2014 with postings, was due to the reason of me working my tail off to close out my position at “Mega Ultra Corporate Job” and to also close out the fiscal year.

To put it simply, I worked overtime on my final day.  I wish I was kidding.

So what, pray tell, have I been doing with this time?  Well, the first month I did nothing.  That’s right, absolutely nothing.  I think I caught up on enough sleep equal in weight to about 4 months worth of hours. Then, I had to spend the next few weeks trying not to be nocturnal.  Up until today, it is truly confirmed I am not a morning person.

I’ve been cleaning The Bacher Fort since then.  Yes, Pilot and my apartment has been so bad, that I’m still working on it from mid-February.  Let’s just say The Bacher Fort is going through a cleanse.

After some (several) weeks of not doing anything, but sleeping, Netflix binging and visiting people whom I had considered close friends and family-

Despite not having laid eyes upon said close friends and family in months.  What do you want from me? I told you I was a workaholic.  This is not news.

-I started to feel the inspiration come back.  Those thin tendrils niggling at the back of my brain slowly seeping into the forefront.  Little ideas that popped up and are slowly beginning to become cohesive sentences.

I was ready to write again.

This is the first piece I’ve written in almost six months.  I’m ready to continue this path of making it a full time deal.

Pilot and I have discussed our future.  It is just not fiscally responsible for me to quit working all together, as I was the higher bread winner of the house.  This is not a slight on Pilot, it’s just a fact.  However, I’ve decided I might not go back to work full time.  Instead, I may find part time work while continuing writing full time.

I’m ready to continue down this untrodden path, and I hope, Precious Readers, that you’ll walk along side with me.

What was the best/worst decision you ever made regarding your career?
What advice would you give someone about to begin their first job?
What has been the best way to keep your work life and home life satisfied?
What was the best/worst advice you ever received?
Why have you decided to jump around to different jobs, or stay with the job you’ve had for a long time?

Share your stories in the comments below!

starting to lead a purpose-driven life

“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.”

– Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

Precious Readers,

I have good news and I have bad news.

 

THE BAD NEWS:

I have not lived up to promises of keeping you entertained.  These last few months have been some of the most difficult I’ve ever encountered.  Needless to say, there is a lot in my life that has required me to step away from the keyboard and focus.  These issues are not quite at a place to discuss them publicly at this time.

Life lessons have been recycling in my life.  Lessons that I’d thought I’d learned from and protected myself against.  There are people in my life and there are those who were only seemingly in my life.  I haven’t had this strong of a reality slap in the face since my dad passed away.  There were people who I thought would never leave my life, who instead completely disappeared never to be heard from again.  Then there were others who stepped up and became closer friends with me than I ever imagined possible.

I’m facing that needle-like tingle across the face, the stinging reverberated across my cheek as the icy reality of the same sensation has happened again.  This time there no major life changes that caused this, thank goodness, but my own awakening as a “can’t look back now, I’m officially an adult, no other synonyms allowed” person.

This year, I turned 30.

Not to sound cliché, but this was a difficult birthday for me.  Not in the political sense of “a woman turning thirty” requiring everyone and their brother to question if the female subject in question is married, has a house, has children?

No, the idea of 30 was a bit more personal than political.

There’s a film called The Last Kiss, one Americanized starring Zach Braff, but actually is a remake of an Italian film L’ultimo Bacio.  For the purposes of this blog, I am focusing on the Zach Braff film.  The director’s commentary of the film-

Yes. I’m one of those.  I watch the director commentary of films. <shrug.> 

-mentions that although of course at the heart of the story is a man who is realizing his life is beginning to “settle.”  He and his long term girlfriend are expecting a child and planning to find a place to live.

The film isn’t subtle.  It’s about as subtle as a brick to the head. However, it does bring up an interesting subplot: the idea that it’s possible there is more than one type of “life crises” phases throughout the human experience.  The main character and his three other friends are all approaching 30.  It explores the idea that there is another “mid-life crisis” in your 30’s where you face not only the consequences of your youth, but setting the foundation for the remainder of your adult years.

That’s a lot to deal with.

It becomes apparent that this is the final age where no person can truly say they’re a ‘young adult’ anymore.  It is the official stark, unwavering line between youth and adulthood.  20-somethings can still use the excuse that they’re “young” and still “finding themselves.”  While any person can easily say that “if you want to be somebody else, change your mind,” (thank you Sister Hazel), at any age, it would be difficult to find any person who believes 30 could still be misinterpreted as a ‘young adult.’ You are now an official adult, no turning back, no holds barred.

In the new age of writing, there has been a recent genre rising to the scene called “New Adult.”  This surpasses the pre-teen angst, the teenage romanticism of pain and joy, and the college years of someone claiming to be an adult while still dealing with a 4-digit phone number and mini-fridge.  New Adult claims to be post-college, yet not quite in the “married, settled in the suburbs with the 2.5 kids.”

Obi-One-Pin-Obi, a longtime friend of mine, greeted my third decade amongst the world with a birthday card that said, “Welcome to your 30’s!  There’s cookies here!”  I’m one of the youngest of all of my friends, the second youngest of all of my cousins on both sides of the family, and was the second youngest person in my graduating class of high school.  The youngest person is only younger than me by less than two weeks.

I look at Facebook among the people around Pilot’s and my age and see a definitive, polarized line of the life stages.  Many are either married or already divorced with several children, while the other side is still single or just finding significant others.  I fall into a minority where I’m married with no children, and no plans for children in the immediate (or possible long term) future.

I’ve been (somewhat) maintaining this blog for 2 years.  What do I have to show for it?  A slow fading of posts that went from daily to only a few times a year.

Funny enough, I find myself back at square one.

 

THE GOOD NEWS:

I find myself back at square one!  (Yes, I did intend to write that a second time.  With an exclamation point!  As a GOOD thing!)  I have another opportunity to make another drastic change in my life.

Precious Readers, Pilot found a full-time job!

This marks a new beginning for me.  The freedom of choice. Although there are still several details that will need to be sorted out, I finally have the freedom to choose how I spend my time.

Not to sound completely full of myself-

However, if I do… I’m blaming “only child syndrome.”

-I am quite hirable.  The skills I’ve learned through having to work since I was young-

and no, I’m not talking early twenties. I’m talking about babysitting, doing odd jobs before I was 14, and then being old enough to have jobs since I was 14.  Been working and never stopped!

-I have a (now) decades of customer service training under my belt, along with now a degree and several other office administrative skills that have grown over the years.

This has granted me the ability to work in whatever location of my choosing.  At the time, I worked wherever the money flowed.

Now I can choose.

The difference between my 20’s versus my 30’s?  I’m finally taking steps towards making writing my full-time career.  This month, I’ll be attending the Emerald City Writer’s Conference in Bellevue, WA.  If you happen to be there, feel free to look me up.

Also, I’ve been attending writer’s support meetings and finally getting to a place where I’m not blocked anymore.

If the lack of blog posts have been an indicator, I’ve been a dealing with a bit of writer’s block lately.  Mostly due to lack of time.  Although it’s true that, “if you want to be a writer, you’ll find a way to write.” That would be true if I didn’t work 60-80 hours per week, plus 1-2 hours of commuting ONE WAY, and (attempting to) manage a household and take care of others in my time-limited life.

Lunchtime would be primo time to knock out a few hundred words… If I actually took a lunch, which I rarely do.

Just a reminder: It’s easy to dole out advice when you don’t understand the other person’s situation. Think before you speak… Another lesson I’m relearning on a minute-by-minute basis, and rarely succeed at.

No, Precious Readers, something has got to give. I’m reviewing my life with a fine-toothed comb, and I’ll tell you what:

By this time next year, there are going to be a LOT of changes happening for me.

I hope you’ll continue to stay with me on this new adventure.

 

Have there ever been definitive moments in your life where you completely 180’d your entire existence?

What sacrifices did you have to make for these life-changing experiences?

Do you ever regret uprooting your entire life?

Who were the haters and your greatest supporters, and how did they affect your decision?