Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slumdog

Yesterday I was stuck inside waiting for my new printer to arrive. I was hoping that it would be delivered early so that I could get outside for a walk as it was a beautiful (cold) sunny day. Sadly, the printer didn't get delivered until about 4pm. I did get out for a little bit, but not long enough to pick my spirits up.

My sleep is seriously suffering. Bedtime is getting later and later which means wake up time is as well. The good news is that once I get to sleep, I usually stay that way-but it's still no good. My goal for today was to look at the job boards, apply to whatever was there and then get outside before it started snowing. Luckily, I managed to do that.

My initial thinking was that I was going to explore Chinatown, as I have not officially done that since moving here. Once I got there though, I decided that I was not in the mood and I didn't remember the book I have that tells me where I should go to eat. I could have winged it, but I just wasn't into wasting money on a chance. So I walked around a bit then wandered to Downtown Crossing where I was lured into Bath and Body Works. They were having their annual crazy sale, so I decided to walk in just for fun and also to get out of the cold. I ended up getting a $5 bottle of stress relieving body wash-it smells fantastic and is functional. That's how I justified it.

I didn't want to venture home just yet-I couldn't imagine sitting around all day. So I decided to do something I don't do very often anymore-go to the movies. What did I see, you ask?

Slumdog Millionaire. And I highly, highly recommend it. It was the best movie I've seen in a long, long time. I loved it.

If you are not familiar with the story, it's about a young Indian boy. We see him and his brother grow up in stages, all via flashbacks because he's telling his life story to police. You see, he found himself on the tv show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and is accused of cheating.

Brothers, jumping on trains to get around-who needs travel deals?)

I know this doesn't sound very gripping. But trust me, pretty much right away you are sucked into the life of this little boy, Jamal, and you will be eager to see where he ends up.

Ultimately, this movie is about destiny. And love.

Seriously-go see it. It's playing in the theater up the street from me, and I might actually go see it again. It was that good.

I hope you all had a great Saturday, and that you have a great rest of the weekend.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's Bad When...

It's bad that 12am is quickly becoming my 10pm. (I used to go to bed around 12am, now it's more like 2am.) It's true I don't have to get up early right now, but it's also true that someone who's got sleep issues like me is on a dangerous road when this sort of pattern emerges. 12:28am and I am wide awake. I could go all night.

It's also bad that the only way I know what day it is, is by my birth control pills. Monday's and Friday's just don't have the same meaning right now.

I received a phone call from my former boss yesterday-I didn't have the heart to pick up, so I let it go to voicemail. She basically wanted to tell me that she got my separation paperwork in the mail and that I was "all set". Um, I'm sorry-but I'm not "all set". I'm unemployed and faced with a sucky ass job market and am uncertain as to whether or not I am going to qualify for state aided medical insurance. If that is what "all set" is, I'd hate to be screwed.

Every morning I wake up hoping that I'll see better jobs listed on the boards-and everyday I feel my heart sink as I see part time positions, or jobs that pay $11/hr. I know it's not been that long-just under a month-but it's discouraging. I know I have to keep my head up and to have faith, and to stay positive. But when you're sitting alone in your apartment all day, everyday without your phone ringing for interviews, it's hard to do those things.

There are people far worse off than me. I know this. It's just hard sometimes to let it all go and to believe that everything will be alright.

Thankfully I've had 5 orders to fill, and so I've been walking to the store and to the post office which has taken up some of my time. I've really enjoyed that, but am thinking that the shop will die down after this initial surge. It's OK-it's tough times, I know. It was fun while it lasted.
(The button to get to the shop is still on the side bar though!)

I miss my favorite coffee shop. It's still within walking distance, and I could easily go to it, but it's not the same as picking up my bagel and coffee on the way to work. Instead, I've been going to another good bagel shop across the street from me (in fact, my favorite coffee shop buys my favorite bagels from the bagel shop across the street from me-did you get that?). Obviously their bagels are fantastic, but their coffee isn't. And though their employees are quirky and weird like my favorite coffee shop, these people aren't as nice. I'm pretty "normal" looking and I don't have crazy hair, weird piercings or anything like that. I'm also probably about 10 years older than most of them-but at my favorite shop, all of these things do not matter. People of all different shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds somehow meld into one happy shop. At the place across the street-they don't smile at me much and they act like I don't belong. It's pretty sad, actually, because they have a killer sandwich.

It's my very favorite bagel (everything) with scallion cream cheese, bacon, red onion and tomatoes. OMG it's SO fantastic. It's alot of flavors all together-but the crunchy, creamy, scalliony, tomatoey combo is a winner. And the bacon, well...need I say more?

One thing did make me smile when I went in there the other day-one of the weird girls (and I realize this is not narrowing down very much) was talking about a band playing on the radio. She said that she has a crush on the lead singer and that he was "sooooooo cute". The other girl (who is weird and insanely pretty) asked about him. This is what she got:

"He's sooo cute. He's soooo tall. And he whistles."

That's it.

I kind of chuckled out loud to that (because it's what I do) and got a weird look. What? No one else thought that was strange? "And he whistles."? C'mon! That is definitely chuckle worthy. Especially when using it as proof that someone is cute.

Needless to say, I walked out of there with my fantastic sandwich, a (semi-good) coffee and a smile on my face because, well, I love this place.

If only I had a job...

Special shout out to my friend "Bad Habit" (who I think still reads this blog). Thanks for a fun night last night! I miss seeing you everyday!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Open Letter 2 My New Boots

Dear new "waterproof" boots,

You suck.

I bought you even though you had a zip up front instead of the trendy slip ons. I picked you over the others because of your deep slip resistant soles, your warm furry lining and yes, your waterproofing abilities.

You're not pretty. You were supposed to be functional. Instead, you're soggy and wet and give me nothing but problems. You take forever to dry, making it impossible for me to wear you multiple times throughout the day. Don't you know how inconvenient that is? Yesterday I went through three pairs of socks. Not cool, boots. Not. Cool.

You are so lucky that I am not gainfully employed, for it I were, you would be g-o-n-e, gone! But don't get too secure-if I sell more cakes, you are outta here!

Start shakin' boots...it won't be long now.

Thursday Thirteen ??

I have not done a Thursday Thirteen in a while and thought I'd do one today, but found that the site is no longer up! What the heck happened? TONS of people did that meme-I can't believe it's gone! Because it's new and, well, I am loving the sales so far, I thought I'd do a 13 things I'm selling on my Etsy shop...even though I won't get random people from the site over here, I'm going to do it anyway. So, here it is: (Click the button below to see the shop)

1. Aunt Carol's Rum Cake, $19 (So far, my #1 seller!)

2. Lemon Friendship Cake, $17

3. Cranberry Orange Bread, $16.75

4. Lowfat Chocolate Meringue Cookies, $13

5. Marshmallows, $12-or $14 with Toasted Coconut

6. Chocolate Chippers, $15

7. 12 Golden Cupcakes, $21

8. Fleur de Lis House Seasoning, $10

9. Moroccan Salt Blend, $7

10. Mediterranean Salt Blend, $7

11. Southwest Salt Blend, $7

12. Trio of Salt Blends, $18

13. YOUR SPECIAL REQUESTS! Email me (address on top link bar) if there is something you would like but don't see on my shop. I am more than happy to work with you to ensure that you get what you'd like! As long as it's shippable, I would LOVE to make it for you. So, what are you waiting for? Email me!

So, there you have it...my Etsy shop inventory. Thank you to those of you who have already purchased from me-I am thrilled that a few of you even used this as a gift for someone you love! (Or, at least like a little.)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Randomivity

Having a special visitor makes me happy.

Sometimes giving an "out of the box" Christmas present makes me nervous.

Apparently one corner of my sofa makes "people" fall asleep. :)

Contrary to popular belief, I do like cooking with a helper.

UPS drivers in Boston don't care if you tell them you'll be right down. They'll just continue on and tell their headquarters that you couldn't be reached. (Luckily I caught him before he drove away!)

Having an empty apartment after 4 days of it not being empty is sad.

Unemployment pretty much sucks. Each day gets a little more scary, knowing that I've applied to all of the posted jobs in the area and have not gotten any calls. It's also scary that two3 well known recruiters are looking for me, and can't find anything.

I need a printer very badly, especially with unemployment (they ask me to print verifications, applications and such). Because I sold 2 Rum Cakes3 rum cakes and a lemon cake, I was able to purchase one online. Esty won't make me rich, but it helps. :)

I am going to learn how to knit. Next week I'm going to a friends house for dinner and after, she's going to show me how! I'm pretty excited-I want to make myself a sweater by the end of the winter.

Unemployment dinner with 2 friends from my old job (now to be referred to as VP) on Thursday. Thank God. I am so bored.

I'm stoked that Scrubs is back on. I love that show.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

IT Help Desk?

If you've ever wondered why, when you call your IT help desk, they don't know what they are talking about, it's because companies are hiring people like me (with no IT background) to fill the positions.

In fact, I've been "harassed" by 2 recruiters who just don't understand that I do not want to be an IT employee. Why they would even contact me is beyond me-I've got computer skills, yes, but I'm certainly not qualified to be an IT help desk person!

Sad thing is-they're the only ones hiring...

Toosdae ?'s

Have you checked out my Etsy store yet? If not, please take a few minutes to browse. I added a button on my sidebar too. I am also happy to take special requests, as long as it is shippable, I'll add it just for you.

Yesterday was rather depressing, I have to say. Having the holidays and family and friends around me until Sunday helped take my mind off of the fact that I don't have anywhere to go during the day, no way of earning a living right now. I've applied to every job on Craigslist, Monster and Career Builder but gotten no calls. The unemployment process is extremely confusing here in MA also-online it says I have not filed, but I'm registered, the phone system says I have filed but I can't talk to anyone personally until Wednesday (again) and I got something in the mail saying I'm pending. The health insurance line isn't accessible from my area-which means that my 860 area code on my cell phone is blocking it. I don't have any other phone. It's a great big cluster f&*%. But-I'm trying to stay optimistic even though it's getting harder. I'm not wired to be bored and I live in a well maintained apartment so there's not much to do in that regard.

Oh-and I got a letter from my former employer thanking me for my superior service and dedication in 2008. It enclosed a "congratulations" letter telling me how much my personal bonus was for the year. Um...it's great that I got 100% of my personal performance bonus, but weird that you'd send me a letter like that.

I did find a parking spot right in front of my building this afternoon though. That's a bonus of not working-I can "steal" the spots the employed people had!

So, now that I've rambled, here are this weeks questions. Hope you enjoy answering them as much as I will enjoy reading your responses!

1. Do you have a "Stupid Human Trick"? If so, what is it?

2. Do you "decorate" your refrigerator? If so, what's on it now?

3. If you had to gain 10 pounds for a movie role, what would you eat to do so?

1. Sadly, no. I don't have any stupid human tricks up my sleeve...

2. I usually stay away from magnets on my fridge, but I have 2 on there now. One says, "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" and the other is a Wren's Nest magnet. I also have a picture of an elephant that says "I Love You" that Rye Bread drew for me, and a picture of her one summer when she was little.

3. I think cheese and crackers. White cheddar cheese or blue cheese-or both. I could easily eat a whole block of cheese in one sitting and often have to restrain myself from doing so! Oh how I love cheese.

Ruby Tuesday Signs

Mary asked for signs for today's Ruby Tuesday. This is an Asian market in the Boston area. I've heard it is a cool place for cheap produce and weird ingredients, as well as some good dim sum. When I walked in yesterday however, I was overcome by the smell and felt as though I needed to hurl. Needless to say, I did not get anything to eat...

On a somewhat abstract note, here is a sign that I need to take down my Christmas decorations:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Manic Monday: Sale

Mo's word today couldn't have been more right on with me today. As you know, I was laid off the week before Christmas and since then, I've pretty much been applying feverishly to the 3 jobs Boston has to offer (Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the point) and worrying about what I'm going to do once my severance runs out at the end of this month.

Last week, Rick commented that perhaps I should look into starting a small mail order business to sell my baked goods. I've thought of this before, but never really got it up and running and so I took some time last night to set up my very own Etsy shop. I realize that this will not help me pay rent, but if successful, it WILL help me buy food, or get gas for the car, or other small things that I'll need along the way. There's certainly no pressure to check it out, or to buy anything-I just know that a lot of people read this blog, and perhaps putting it up here might result in a sale.

Facebook proved to be a good source for my Etsy shop-my 6th grade teacher purchased a rum cake from me right after I posted the link! :) At the very least, I now have something to do tomorrow-a reason to wake up if you will. (That sounds way more depressing than I feel-just...it's kind of true.)

So, check it out if you are interested-also, if you don't see something you'd like up there for sale, drop me a line! I'll add almost anything up there for you...

For sale:
Aunt Carol's Rum Cake
Friendship Bread
Salt Blends
Golden Cupcakes
Chocolate Chippers
Marshmallows
Cranberry Orange Bread

If you don't see any of these up there and would like to purchase one, please email me. It means that someone else has also ordered and I just have to add it back up on the board.

Also-I am not certain that the shipping price is right, though the post office says it is. If you place an order and the shipping ends up being significantly different, I will immediately refund you the difference.

What's Cookin'? Creamy Apple Tart

I've been away from this blog for a little while, mainly because I had a special guest visiting me since New Year's day. During this visit, we tested a recipe I've been wanting to try for quite some time-and let me just say, it was a huge hit! In fact, I was told by my guest that this rivals his all time favorite dessert that I make...so, I know it's good. :) Though it looks fancy, this is relatively easy to make, and is a great choice for a brunch or dinner party.



Creamy Apple Tart, Serves 8-10

CRUST:
3/4 C. Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 t. Vanilla Extract

FILLING:
16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 t. Vanilla Extract

TOPPING:
3 C. Apples, Peeled, Cored & Sliced thin. (Granny Smith is best)
1/2 C. Sugar
1 t. Cinnamon

Method:

1. Make Crust: Combine the first four ingredients. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Set Aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour over the crust. Set Aside.

3. Combine topping ingredients; arrange on filling.

Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until the center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator. Cut into wedges with a serrated knife.

Taken step by step, this tart can be made by even the beginner cook. The topping does not need to look fancy-simply spooning the apples on top of the cake evenly will give this tart a "homier" look.