Friday, April 30, 2010

Take That Elizabeth Zimmerman!!!

So this was one of those patterns that I have had forever, designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman (one of the first people to publish patterns back in the day... some of which you would have never thought up without a degree in mechanical engineering). I would look at it from time to time deciding if the time had come to knit it up but it was the construction that always made me cringe. It was just odd. But it's those things that bug me the most! Was I going to let a little knitting pattern tell me who was boss?? I think not. So I whipped this little baby jacket up in 6 days and there you go. Pretty cute if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Cooking Gene

The very last class, ever, and it has to be cooking. Imagine your first day of taking a foreign language class and you walk in and take a seat. The teacher immediately starts the class by talking in the language that you are yet familiar with be it Spanish, French, or Italian. You look up to your teacher with a blank look on your face, unaware of anything she is blabbing on about and suddenly think.... oh crap. Well, that would be the exact feelings as I walked into my Culinary Skills 2 class and the chef began cooking, while going on about the way to cook these things I had never heard of and thus the "oh crap" analogy comes into play. Day two followed with conquering mashed potatoes for the first time with a wonderful cheese sauce. With each day, each dish, each ingredient, I come closer to starting my internship and thus starting the rest of my life. But though I do go to a culinary school, I have to say.... I am not a cook and never will be. I need the structure of a great cake recipe or the precise scaling of a wonderful danish in my little baking world. The unstructured world of cooking seems to be beyond my understanding, a foreign language if you will, and so I have come to terms with the missing cooking gene. Now I still have two and a half weeks to go in class and will try as I might to get through like a champ but the uneasiness will linger. So 17 days till I leave Portland, and from there.... at the moment.... it is up in the air for where I head for my internship (which will be figured out this Sunday). Its been fun but in 17 days my bags are packed and I will be running out the door to take on the world as a baker!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Little Knitting Laugh

Originally uploaded by gnotalex

I just finished day one of a two day finals testing in my Culinary Skills 1 class before a three day weekend. So as I pull my head out of these many books, ranging from herbs and spices to cooking in general, I look to get a quick laugh from my favorite past time.... knitting. Now back to the books, and here's hoping that tomorrow goes as well as today went!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Beginning of Life

Dear Little Sophia,

Welcome to the world! You were born on Saturday April 10th at 11:29am up at OHSU in Portland, OR. Your shinning little eyes along with your full head of hair and your cute little toes definitely show that you belong to your mom and dad.... as you look just as your sister Bella did when she was born. Waiting for you wasn't easy for your parents, let alone your uncle and I, your grandparents, and especially your big sister but we are so glad that you finally arrived (even if it was a little early). I know it must be hard spending the first days of your life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Doernbecher Hospital but know it is for the best. You have already shown all of us that you have a fighting spirit in you and that you will be out in no time, finally getting to rest in the arms of your mom and dad at home. Each day they hope and pray to finally be able to bring you home but they know it is for the best that you stay and get strong before stepping out into this big world. Just know that you have come into the hearts of so many and that we love you unconditionally no matter where we are. We can't wait to see you slowly grow and be apart of each new experience that you come across. You have a wonderful life ahead of you and we couldn't be happier to have you come into our lives. We love you and know that you will keep fighting to get out of the NICU and get on to bigger and better things. So welcome to the family little Sophia Gail McGuire!


Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Max

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Fight Towards The Finish

Its been ten months. Talking to some that haven't seem me in that period of time act as if 10 months has been the equivalent of a week in their eyes. If they only knew. This hasn't been the easiest 10 months for many reasons but as I inch closer to the finish line I have come to realize that I wouldn't have given up this experience for the world.

The big city has been a challenge for me, coming from a small area that I was born and raised in, and suddenly getting to the grocery store was a bit more challenging at 5pm. Actually the best thing is to just stay home and don't even try it. As for getting around on the freeways the only way to learn is to get lost a few times, then get yourself back home. This was the way I found a closer Target to my apartment as a matter of fact! Before the creation of GPS systems, I shutter to think what life was like. Even with mine, I have found myself at the wrong side of Gresham suddenly when I was just trying to get home from dropping off a friend at the airport. To this day, I have yet to admit that my navigation skills aren't exactly stellar and coming here has proved that point.

Then with my husband, family, and friends so far away. The saying that you don't know what you miss until it's gone has struck a cord in me many times. When the people we love are an arms-length away we take for granted how much impact they have upon our lives. Since being away, I do see my loving family every few weeks for a few days but I dream of the day that everything will come back together. Unfortunately this will only get worse as I head to Washington next month, since my husband won't be able to be around for a few months and my family will be back in Central Oregon. But as the same time, it is the light at the end of the tunnel that gives me the determination to work as hard as I can to make him proud when we finally do become a family yet again.

One thing that was a surprise since arriving was an illness that I didn't expect. While no illness is expected, it was the last thing that I ever thought I would have to deal with. Just another hurdle in this thing called life and unfortunately something I will have to deal with during the rest of mine.

Then school. The main reason for leaving everything to find something. I was lost before coming to school here. There was something when it came to work that was missing. In no way did I have a "career" but rather a few jobs that weren't satisfying in any way, shape, or form. It was heartbreaking to come home everyday and feel as if I hadn't progressed towards anything, or picturing life in 10 years doing the same thing and simply cringing. A change had to happen, and luckily I had the support to do it. I will admit that I was looked at like this was another "crazy" idea when I finally spoke up about what I wanted to do, and everyone had that right to think that. But the only thought in my mind was that if I don't try this... I will always regret it because I know that it was the right thing. I was nervous to the point of shaking my first day but as soon as I started feeling comfortable (and not burning everything) I realized that I indeed had made the decision that would change everything for the better.

So a little over 6 weeks until the classroom setting is completed and I move on to the real kitchen. I will admit I am nervous. It's as if I must perform on a stage for all to see, as well as prove everything I have learned over the past months. Through all of the things that have happened these past 10 months, the finish is in sight. But without the challenges this experience just would not have been the same. It's the situations that take us out of our cozy little box, and challenge our ways of thinking that make us progress and evolve into the people that will make our loved ones proud.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The One in the Chef Hat

As I peek out my window in my bedroom here in Portland, I sometimes get a quick glimpse of the lives of the many others around me. In a three story condominium you can't help but know about others, especially since all of the doors that we must pass through to enter our humble abodes face each other around a first floor garden in the middle of it all. As a slightly shy person, yes.... shy (as some of you are rolling your eyes), I tend to distance myself from the many that share this piece of the Earth around me. A simple hello as they walk by, or a grin to a dog on its way out for a walk is as far as I go. I have simply looked at my time here as short lived and that I am going to slip in, then slip out and not try to disturb anyone. Why I feel this way, I haven't a clue. My ultimate conclusion would have to be that being in a town in which I know very few has caused me to stay closed up and focused on only was is to be accomplished while I am here. But even though there are many neighbors that I have yet to meet there are times that our lives cross in odd ways. Like the couple above the apartment that love to wear their shoes at 2 am as they run back and forth across the apartment, sounding like a stampede of elephants just ran through my bedroom. Or the lady below us that has to leave her dog at home during the day, the dog that enjoys talking to himself at the top of his lungs for all to hear. There are days that I shake my head, then put on my headphones.... then the other days (especially at 2 am) I decide that expletives under my breath are the way to release the tension. So to my amazement today I found out that some of the neighbors know who I am. As I headed down the elevator to due my duty as a knitter and explore a new yarn store that just arrived in Portland, I found myself standing next to a woman I had seen on many occasions walking her dog. A friendly hello had been the extent of our conversations, and a slight giggle on my part due to the dog taking the most leisurely walk I had ever seen by a four legged type. Suddenly after saying hello (and keeping my giggle under my breath) she asked if I was the one in the chef hat she always sees. I couldn't help but laugh. The uniform for my school is far from flattering, and the hat should be burned. Granted one of mine has been burned in the classroom but that is a story for another time. Each day I leave the apartment, donned in my appropriate attire for school.... including the lovely hat that causes your hair to be plastered to your head for the rest of the day. Then, as I sometimes find, after school I sometimes run errands. Now the looks I get wearing the attire have ranged from people laughing to looks saying I should be committed. It's not like I choose to put this on each day, I am required! Trust me, I would much rather be sporting a pair of jeans, sweatshirt, and flip flops. And do I really want to spend the time after class to change, just to run a few errands, when there is no way I can make my hair look presentable after wearing that hat! Thus, I continue to wear the uniform while I do my errands and get home to rest and knit. So, now I am officially the one in #205 in the chef hat. Finally, I have made my mark in Portland society. I guess there are worse things to be called.

A Little Pebble in a Sea of Rocks

Four months ago things hit home for me.... I would be starting a new life somewhere in the world as a pastry chef. I didn't know where, I didn't know how and I definitely didn't know who was going to hire me. The stress of it all was taking over and I was in a constant state of panic. That was about the time that I last posted on here. It's amazing how the stress of creating a future can overwhelm and before you know it, it's April 2nd. Many things have happened over the past months: I finished many more classes, created my first wedding cake from scratch, turned 29 (feeling like I am 50), spent many great weekends and this past week with my husband back in Bend, finished a couple knitting projects, started many more knitting projects, and finally was offered an actual job as a pastry chef at Kalaloch Lodge in Washington. Granted, I am still waiting for the background check to come back from the lodge but trust me.....they aren't going to find anything at all. Unfortunately in the midst of the chaos that has been life lately, my blog has suffered as merely an afterthought in the daily pile of to-do lists. When I started this blog awhile back never once did I consider others reading what I wrote, but just assumed only my family would poke in every once in awhile since it was their duty to read my rantings. This was merely a journal for me, a way to talk out into the world and sometimes write things down that had been stuck in my head or have a record of the many ongoings to look back upon someday. Slowly after mid-December I began to hear from people about the blog, wondering if I was going to put anything up on it anytime soon. Even just this past week I had a complete stranger, soon to be a great friend, tell me how they loved the blog and hope more would be posted soon. I have to admit it has been a bit surprising to me to find out that people out in the vast world have stopped in from time to time to see what is going on in my somewhat odd yet quiet world and are interested to see more. To those of you that have given me the encouragement to continue with my little pebble of a blog in this sea, I thank you. For all the kind words throughout my adventure in what I like to call Pastry World, thank you so much. And finally for those of you that have constantly inspired me to keep my knitting needles moving (even if I did just drop stitches or want to tear the whole stinkin' thing out), you rock! It's people in the world like you that make this world such a better place. Now I must get back to knitting..... and working on updating this little blog of mine!