Catching You Up

Hi there! How are you guys? I'm so glad you've all stuck around in spite of my new limited posting schedule. And hi to all my new readers! I'm really trying to stick to posting at least twice a week -- so far so good. Of course, I'm still cooking a lot and have plenty to share, but I have much less time to form thoughts and write about what I've made. I thought I'd use this post to catch you up a little on what's going on with me.

It's week three of my new life! If you've been following my blog, you know that I recently started a new part-time job at a bakery. In order to do that, I had to cut back my hours at my regular job (editor at a research company). I know it's just a job change -- a schedule change -- but it really does feel like my whole life is different.

Instead of heading to an office, sitting in a cubicle, and reading and editing all day, on Mondays and Tuesdays I stand on my feet for 8 hours, run around a small kitchen, and bake. Then I go to the office on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays -- and then back to the bakery on Saturdays. I also squeeze in some extra hours of office work where I can. This takes me from a 40-hour work week to a 56-hour work week!

It's strange not doing the same thing every day, and it's a little rough having only a one-day weekend now. I hope, though, that this will be a good decision -- a good direction for me. Editing used to be my passion: I can still recite rules from The Chicago Manual of Style, and I still laugh when I page through Eats, Shoots & Leaves or Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon the English Language, but another passion that's been building inside me is looking for a shot too.

While I don't love hearing the alarm sound at 5:30 a.m. nor do I enjoy taking the bus (especially when the driver skips my stop!) on the days I work at the bakery, I do love what I'm doing there. I've always been good at time management, but it's a whole different ball game when you're balancing moving numerous trays of cookies into and out of the oven or thinking about when you'll need a new batch of this or that. If something goes wrong or your timing is a little off with editing, there are ways to fix it; when you forget about a tray of cookies, you've got burnt cookies. There's no going back from that.

You know I cook and bake a lot at home, but at the bakery I get to experience baking and food preparation in bulk. For this reason, I've learned how to use a kitchen scale. It's not difficult, but I'd never used a scale for baking measurements before. And now I'm putting one even higher on my list of things I want for my own kitchen. I'm learning other things too and also improving on what I already know how to do.

While the baking is fun and challenging, there's a slight relief that comes on Wednesdays, when I go back to what I've been doing for 6 years now (and get a ride or walk to work as opposed to dealing with the bus). It's not that editing is not stressful or that it can't be challenging at times, but it's what I'm used to, and I know I can handle anything that comes up. At the bakery I often have to ask for help or advice from others... until I find my groove. I'm always nervous about taking a step, trying something new, but eventually everything starts running smoothly and I feel comfortable.

So far, stepping out of my element and chasing after my dreams is making me really happy. I didn't expect it to be easy, and it's not, but it is definitely a wonderful adventure so far. I'm in my late 20s, which made me think that maybe I was silly for leaving the comfort of what I know, but I think no matter what your age, there's always time to figure out what you love and to find a way to do it.

The drawback: I'm tired more often now. After my first day (a Monday), I told my boyfriend we should probably resign ourselves to Mondays and Tuesdays being takeout nights (or maybe I would plan big meals on Sundays so we would have leftovers, but I definitely wouldn't have the energy to cook). Toward the end of the week, I've been more likely to cook because I haven't been standing beside a bunch of ovens all day, but I have been relying on quick recipes. And on Saturday evenings, I really try to rally. They're a part of my weekend, and I don't want to come home and crash. On Saturdays, my boyfriend usually picks me up when my shift is over. The first thing I do when I get home is shower, as I'm usually covered in flour and various batters. Then we either run errands, hit the mall, go to bbqs or picnics, go out to dinner, or watch movies -- whatever we might normally do if I hadn't been working all day. Because he picks me up, I'm usually home by about 3:20, as opposed to Mondays and Tuesdays when I take the bus and don't get home until close to 4. It's just a 40-minute difference, but somehow that 40 minutes makes me feel like I have a lot more time left to do things.

So that's the story here... I hope everything is going well in all of your lives, and I'll be sure to keep you posted on any new things I'm learning and how my "new life" is going.

I've got a tasty, quick chicken recipe coming for you later this week and hopefully another Julia Child recipe too!