Friday, September 25, 2009

fall is here

Oh my God, it is beautiful today! Fall is officially here. The sun is still shining, but there is that crisp breeze that can only mean fall. The trees are starting to change colors, and everyone is pulling out their sweaters. So, fall is here, right??? The most telling signal for me though, is that it feels like someone has pushed the restart button. Fall to me always feels like the starting point of the year. Not New Years. This is the time that everyone goes back to school...where new adventures await them.

In school there was always the question of who will the girls have a crush on this year? Who will become best friends? What will be every one's new favorite subject? At Patina, the Opera and Phil started their new seasons. The fall was full of Galas and the biggest parties. Fall always brought the question of what will the holidays bring? How much money will we make? Will we meet our goal for the year? Fall is the beginning of every cycle.

Now that I'm back in school and working part time jobs, fall brings a whole new beginning. My school schedule is divided into three week classes. So, every few weeks, things change. That hasn't meant a whole lot up until now. Oddly enough, with the onset of fall, the class changes are starting to feel real. Monday I start baking. I start something completely new and foreign, just like the beginning of every school year. I'm so afraid I will burn the kitchen down. Okay, not the whole kitchen, but at least everything I put into the oven. What if the bread doesn't rise? I've managed to ruin boxed brownies. How is making it from scratch going to go any better? I have learned at this school, there is no guarantee of anything. At least it is a new beginning. I have three weeks to figure out the rest.

Work is another story. This past month has been a struggle just to get through. I've been training at two jobs and working an inconsistent schedule. All I want is some constant. I want to know what each day is bringing and where I'll be going for that day. Fortunately, both jobs offered me more hours. Unfortunately, I was faced with making a decision....the one thing I'm horrible at. But I did it and am really hoping I made the right one. Next week I begin working 35 hours a week. I'm up for the challenge. I only hope that there is time to sleep somewhere between 35 hours of work and 25 hours of school. It will be like being at Patina again. Good thing I can't afford to have a social life. I have to use the energy and rebirth of fall to get me through it and into my rhythm.

I know I'm making it sound awful. It really isn't. I still love Boston and have not regretted moving for an instant. We are simply in a transitional phase and are working to have all the pieces fall together. I trust that one day we will be making money again and living the high life. We will be able to enjoy the city and all of its pleasures. Until then, we will stick to eating dinners at home and drinking Pabst. At least I'm getting lots of practice cooking.

So, here's to fall and all of the exciting adventures you will bring. I have hopes and wishes for you. Please bring the New England beauty and array of colors. That, above all else, will make it all worthwhile.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

photos for bianca

Next weekend, our good friends Bianca & Jaime are getting married. These two are high school sweethearts. Until meeting them, I didn't believe that could still happen. In my experience, your high school love is just a starting point. He/she becomes the person to teach you how to love and how to understand the different levels of love later in life. For Bianca & Jaime, they found the true thing the first time around. I adore this and have so much respect for them.

Unfortunately, we are not able to attend the wedding. Due to financial challenges and having just found our jobs, we can't make the trek back to sunny California. I know it is going to be beautiful and cannot wait to see photos. Bianca- just know we are sending our love from across the country.
In honor of you, I am posting photos. I forget that not everyone wants to subscribe the demon Facebook, and therefore has not seen our Boston life. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. I'll try to do better at posting in both locations.

Monday, September 7, 2009

developing a palate

I have so much to write about. This has been by far one of the most amazing weekends of my life. But...I want to relish this moment a bit more before dissecting it with words. So, for now, I will share the adventures of my palate.

I am not sure whether my current situation is due to having more time for myself, living on the East Coast, or that I am officially getting older. Either way, I am being forced to expand my palate. This is an odd concept to me. I have learned to love the finest foods and wines and developed a great sense of taste. As a child, my mother and I would play a game every time we went to a restaurant. After one bite, we had to name every ingredient the chef used. I remember doing this as far back as the age of 6 and loved it. Of course, with the time, the catalog of known spices, herbs, and flavors continued to expand and the game actually became harder. Yet, a sense of taste was developed and thus became the core of my knowledge of life. Only now I find myself completely lost. It turns out I know nothing about coffee, tea, and chocolate. Thus far these are items I did not have time to give any thought. The funny thing is these are the three best sellers at my job. So, I must learn them well and FAST.

Coffee has simply been a hot morning stimulate that I added hazelnut flavoring to and went on my way. That is if I even took the time to make it myself. Usually I wasted money and calories at Coffeebean to get me through the day. Don't get me wrong. I have had a great cup of coffee. My mother's cannot be beat. But it is something of which I have never understood the intricacies. Now, I depend on coffee to get me through the day. 5am is not my friend. And when I get up, I want something that tastes good. Thus, my first quest began. It turns out beans from Guatemala taste completely different from those from Mexico. Thanks to Kirstin and her wonderful Starbucks job, I am able to further my quest and soon become a full-fledged coffee ordering Bostonian.

Apparently chocolate is just as diverse. Did you know there are beans grown in many countries worldwide? And each one has a different flavor? Do you know what percentage constitutes a dark versus milk chocolate? And this said percentage is up to debate amongst chocolate connoisseurs. I had and still have no idea. I truly think we sell over 100 different types of chocolate in the store and each is completely foreign to me. Again, I have had great chocolate from Switzerland, Peru, and France. But the chocolate world goes so much deeper than that. There are at least 5 different dark chocolate bars with chilies in the store and probably 20 with some sort of orange. Each has a different texture, density, flavor, and breakdown. I need to know these differences and discover a good way to describe it to someone as clueless as I currently am.

Lastly we come to tea. To me, tea is just lightly flavored water. I have never understood how people could throw parties centering around flavored water (no offense friend). I have tried many times to make a good cup of tea...usually when I am coming down with a cold. However, every time, I am so disappointed. The leaves themselves smell amazing. Such great combinations of flavors and aromatics. But add a little water and you just get water..with a slight hint of that great smell. I don't get it. Why does tea have to be such a tease?!

I know to some of you reading this, my confusion may seem silly. How could I not know about chocolate, coffee, and tea? These are the staples in so many lives. I, however, could not have been bothered. I was too busy chasing the savory side of life. I ate at fine restaurants and dissected some of the best dishes in Los Angeles. I challenged my palate with different types of wines- sparkling, reds, whites and roses. There was no time to spend on hot liquids that usually tasted like crap or chocolate that usually tasted like wax. I was too busy working and planning everyone else's extravagant lives.

So now, like so many other aspects of my life, I need to figure out what it is that I like. I must return to the basics and develop a foundation so that I may one day have an extravagant life of my own.