Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride cheres!

Calla Lilies to Cala Cakes - Buckle Up, Chere - It's Gonna Be A Bumpy (but fun) Ride!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Nothing new, really...just a pic or two of some cute fledglings I saw through the kitchen window on Sunday. 
My sweetie is working his bum off at his training/testing, I miss him, the cats miss him...
I really want to do some creative stuff, but I'm torpedoing myself by succumbing to 'get home from work, do a couple of things around the apartment, collapse on the sofa w/dinner'...

I need a week off to be 'me' and not mentally zapped from the at-times intriguing and most of the time draining day job. Yes, I'm paid well, but I don't do well when my creative side is chained.
Ah, well...I'll figure something out. 

Good night! :) 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Not Roller Coasters, CAROUSELS!

Anyone who knows me knows I understand the ups & downs of life...they happen. What I tend to not like are emotional and situational roller coasters: extremes of good/bad/high stress... Give me a carousel. 

The plan when my beloved and I 'shacked up' over 2 years ago was a year in SoCal, then we move to NOLA. Well...lets revisit how that worked out - quick answer: it didn't.

I had been in Los Angeles for just over a year as of last summer. I was frustrated as hell with my job, having been shoved into a management posish I didn't really want, and was getting little support from higher ups. And I am no armchair quarterback, I didn't pass off the projects to others save a special few, I kept up my workload AND tried to head up the team. It wasn't my bag. I was stressed to the max, mentally wiped out, homesick for my soul's home. At home, the direction was a destination-less ramble which was frustrating. 

Then late summer, an offer from an awesome NOLA friend to "just come on out and stay with us until you can get on w/a job and place of your own!" happened. I discussed it with my Boo and I went with it. I gave a month's notice at work and got ready and left. 

It was VERY hard to leave my sweetie and our cats, but it was all in the name of my going on ahead and getting us set up in NOLA so that he and the cats could follow on later. My hosts were great, but the job market not as 'open'. And, housing when you don't have a job is pretty well not happening. I did get a job as a seasonal hire at Sucre in their production kitchen making Parisian macarons. :) I had sent Chef Hanna my Flickr set of cake/cookie art, and at the interview, he called me an "artist"! :) on that compliment high, I agreed to work the 4 pm to midnight shift... LOL WTH was I thinking? (I was thinking "oh, sure I'm a night owl..." Not fully realizing I am but on MY determination when I'm at liberty to run around...)

I spent a total of just over three weeks working there (and though it was neat, switching from 20 years of comfy task chair to on.your.feet.for.eight.hours was a HEINOUS thing to do to my bod), given the Thanksgiving holiday was in there and I drove to Houston for the holiday weekend. I learned how to 'match up' the meringue shells, flip them (one ready for filling, one for capping), filling them, capping them, and any post-capping special treatment... Like airbrushing some luster or sparkle, painting on a swoosh, striping with thin stream of chocolate. Also, helped 'finish' the marshmallows by dredging them in p.s. hit with disco dust. :) 

That Monday after I got back, I was told by my dad that he was going to have to have a double bypass operation!??!? I gave my notice (as putting another gap in my work schedule was not going to help them). On my last night there, Chef came up and gave me a big hug and wished me and my dad well. 

I drove to Houston, and helped get stuff set up for his return to the house after the then-forthcoming surgery and went to an art gallery opening with him. Monday a.m. was a rainy and thought/fear-fraught time as we headed to the hospital. On the upside, he's generally VERY fit and the threatening blockage was found in a stress test, and not via a cardiac event, so going in, his body wasn't nearly as stressed out as someone having had a full-on heart attack who was in less-than shape. The surgery went amazingly well, like: 4 hours from gown to recovery! AND while they were in there, realized they may as well do another so that this doesn't need to happen again: so triple bypass in 4 hours! His recovery was great, he was cracking jokes that very afternoon! Granted he was high as a kite on morphine and didn't remember it the next day! LOL! Until he was operating under his own doctor-approved power, from the moment he went into the surgical suite, I was given POF (power of Facebook) to update his status for his friends on his page. I felt like his PR agent. ;) 

Once I returned to NOLA, I was able to move into my friend's little Tulane-Study-Hut. I had delusions of living 'small' in that space...but yeah...no. I'm too old to live like a Ramen-brick-eater. I was missing The Dude and the critters something fierce (not to mention: our beloved orange Rascal had succumbed (right as I left for my dad's surgery) to pancreatitis that was not diagnosed until too late after his ear surgery in September. Boo was understandably devastated, I felt lost being so far away at that point... It's still weird to not have him around)... 

The week before Xmas, my sweetie flew in and we had a quick turn around the city, and drove to Houston the next morning. Spent his birthday and pre-Xmas there, and went back to NOLA to spend the rest of the week. 

I had, in the meantime, scored a shop position in a Chinese antiques store that was opening on Magazine St. The only good about that was it was fun rambling around an approx couple-hundred year-old store, where it wasn't so much dust, as the building that flecked down in itsy-bitsy mote form as the mondo tourist buses trundled down Mag. At first I was keen on the job, but as I got deeper in, it was a waste of my time. The owners had massive issues. And, about a month in, my Boo dropped the bomb on me: once he got on with the FAA, he wasn't going to be able to choose where he goes...which ruled out NOLA as Baton Rouge was the nearest office. All that effort and expense for nothing...other than anecdotes for a rarely read/more rarely kept up with blog and Facebook.

I muddled through, as after all - Mardi Gras was coming at me! We agreed I'd stay through MG, so I geared up and set a course for immersion. From the Krewe du Vieux on... :) There was a break for the NFL to shove in to the city to commandeer it for the Super Bowl...and they had the GALL to tell us (hey, I was paying rent, I was a resident) to 'be nice' to Roger Goodell, the utter slime ball who WRONGLY destroyed the Saints' 2012-2013 season by suspending Coach Sean and key players for the bullshit bounty gate. To see Jackson Square overtaken by t.v. show sets thrown up across the lawns and wedged under hundred + year old trees, light set ups 'rigged' in the trees, and FAKE AS HELL 'ironwork' that even Disney Co would reject as too far shoved in the MIDST of some of the best remaining wrought iron examples... It was too much. And then...the night of the SB. 

I had worked that day...oh! The SALES we made from the crowds...NOT! Nobody was of a mind to buy a Ching music table or armoire or Ming spirit house. i went home. The game was rolling, I needed food...my micro-kitchen was a joke to me, I had about as much functionality at my disposal as the playhouse I had 39 years earlier. Again, the studio was GREAT for students only needing a hot plate for ramen (or meth), but I was too far down the foodie trail to camp like that. So, I drove over to the Camellia Grill. I dined, chatted with the awesome staff, and then drove home. I parked as usual on the street and walked up the psycho neighbor's drive to get to my humble abode. I went inside and talked with my Boston-based NOLA-sis for a bit, then watched Downton Abbey and slept. 

I awoke and got ready for work... I walked to the street and as I got to the driver-side door I saw my CDs ALL over the interior?!!? They weren't like that the night before...and I checked the doors: all locked. Everything was still in there, just ALL over?!!? All windows were intact and closed... So, the car had not been broken into. But what?! And THEN I saw it: sometime after I had parked the night before...some drunk a-hole had failed to navigate the street properly and sideswiped my NOLA Rouge?!!?!!! 

The damage was crippling...I feared it was a matter of being totaled. I was bereft, she was MY car, I had bought her by myself, took care of her and paid her off... For the no-note-left actions of an utter jackass, I may be car-less?!!?!? I bawled as I called the insurance co, I bawled as I called NOPD (almost pointless), I bawled as I called my sweetie and my family...and called in 'not working' to the shop. And I especially cried as the tow truck arrived to take her unable to move-self away to the mechanic for triage. There I was...two weeks from Mardi Gras and a planned trip to Houston to drop off stuff and see my mom for her birthday...and then the move back to SoCal...without a car.

The next day, I got the good word she was fixable...but it was going to take a bit of time - two weeks to be exact. Well, yeah...I could have gotten a rental, but why? It was hard core last weeks of Mardi Gras, and hell...the rental could have suffered the fate of NOLA Rouge, after all...I was living in easy reach of Tulane frat houses. One of which had been raided for a meth/LSD/etc operation within the week! I opted to walk to the streetcar (a 10 block hike each way - not a big prob, but just time consuming) and the odd cab to get me through the break. 

I essentially quit the shop, as I wasn't going to stress myself out further by waking early enough to get the streetcar...and they weren't paying me enough to care at that point. I went to parades, I packed some stuff, I indulged in laziness that settled on me due to the depression at leaving NOLA and in essence, my dream of myself and cats (Boo was a happy addition after dream already on my mind) and Boo living there - granted I envisioned a bit more s/f and a grown up's kitchen. It wasn't NOLA as I wanted it, but it was NOLA. I could have stayed, sure...piss away the love of my life because I wasn't willing to afford him the chance to follow his dream?! Yeah, I could have pushed to work in office furniture and made decent bank and done it on my own...but that wasn't what I wanted anymore. I wanted an 'our home'. 

As all folks who live in NOLA say: Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint. It's true...it's a LOT of fun, but it's a lot of hassle. Getting around is a pain due to parade routes getting closed to cars, streetcar routes impacted, minimal buses to fill the gap, trying to get to parties/meet ups to watch... I'd be up for such a hassle if we could live there as I wished. But I need to set that free. My sweetie has as much as said he doesn't want to live there...ever. :( I say he hasn't spent enough time there to make that declaration decidedly. 

As my car wasn't ready until after Mardi Gras, my post-MG trip to Houston was scrapped. And that put me in a pickle. I shipped about 30-something boxes in all back to SoCal...and still didn't have enough room in the by-departure repaired NOLA Rouge for everything?!!? Some stuff had come from my Houston storage, but I sent it to SoCal, some stuff had been bought... And I seriously purged the cache of Mardi Gras loot I had scored, donating unwanted items to be recycled for next years MG. 

As my NOLA time wound down, I dined with friends, I walked around absorbing NOLA images into my soul... As I shoved the last of what would fit in my car, trying to remember that The Dude was going to need a place to sit once he flew into Houston (he was going to drive back w/me)...I steeled myself for departure. 

I drove to Houston, put a couple of things in my storage room and was able to also give my Houston friends their Muses swag that helped me make space in the car. I was excited to be returning to my man's arms/side...but very sad to have New Orleans in my rear view mirror. My old job that had contributed to my stress had actually asked me back so, I didn't have to hunt for work back in L.A., but I did say I wanted no part of managing, just do my work and go on...it was agreed upon. 

I've been back now for over 4 months. I miss easier access to my friends. Still not a friend-rich environment for me out here. But two dear friends (married) are moving out here in the next month from NOLA, so I'll get to see them as traffic allows. Things have changed a bit here, for the better. The cats are finally settling in to a mostly peaceful environment (Vinny still opts to terrorize the ladies, but he's only almost 2). They have dealt with my departure, Rascal's death, Boo's feeling the loss aline, and my return...to have seen ALL FOUR on the bed at the same time the other day was a landmark event! I've reworked the kitchen space to be more workable for me. My man is off getting his A&P certification as I write this, and there's a chance of his getting on with the FAA soon after. :) Granted...that may cause a 'blog post of import' depending upon what that entails. In the meantime, I'll just be better at chronicling my SoCal life as it is on here.

Truth be told: I'm feeling like a castaway again... Not sure what I want to do with my life now. The 'having my own funky NOLA bakery' thing just didn't happen... I'm going to focus on getting fit again (damn the neighborhood's dirty looks, I'm GOING to walk around the area!) and doing artsy/bake-y things and just see what tomorrow brings. 


Monday, September 3, 2012

Oh, wow... I've finally tucked into finishing my 'cake' resume' to send out to NOLA bakeries - as I'm finally ready to push 'print' for a hard copy to review... And the online program I am using goes kaplooie!??!? Toes up! It now looks like the inside and the outside are the same.exact.panels?!?! (it's a brochure format) And now...I cannot even get it to come up to edit and reinsert the photos I carefully selected and sized, let alone the text. I'm ILL! Positively and thoroughly ILL. I believe my only recourse is to utterly recreate the beast. ARRRGGHH! That being said - you may ask "why so stressed about this?" Well - sisters, brothers, whomever still remembers that this blog exists (not faulting you, I almost forgot about it myself) - it is because the resumes going for more office-type jobs have resulted in ZIP, NADA, ZILCH...and of all of the ones I've sent out...there has been one, count 'em ONE (1) response. And though it was 'negative' at the very least it was a response. For sh*ts and giggles, I responded to her and thanked her and just in case she may know someone (as people always do) at one of the NOLA bakeries/cakeries...included the link to my flickr page of cakes (specifically the Hubig's cake as it is immediately recognizable and most folks that I know of that have seen it LOVE it! :) Well - you may wonder what the heck is the deal w/the lackluster posting... I've been working my butt off at the job, and well - I did forget about it. I'll have to go look at my last post to catch up on what I posted last time I remembered, and pick up from there. Thanks for remembering, hang with me - I'll start documenting the real ROAD to NOLA. Even as I build the damned thing myself...career-wise. :) Be good, be safe, W.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Yeah, I know...it's frikkin' May...

Golly, how long has it been?! I've not only become gainfully if not happily employed (It'll do for now, being unhappily employed beats being unhappily unemployed...though there are days...), I've been back to Texas for a Christmastime visit, and to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Sadly, went back to Houston the week prior to the Yuletide...for my Aunt Andrea's memorial. My beautiful, elegant, sweet Auntie Andrea...whom I realistically worshipped growing up, getting to see her perform in many wonderful ballets. Yes, her loss is still at the very top of my mind...granted that was further enhanced by receiving a phone call from a client today who's voice was very similar to hers...it caught me by surprise. On the happier news front, did I mention previously that we adopted a kitten? I shall have to dig in the vault and see what I last posted and either elaborate upon or fully disclose the story of Vinny. Well, my year of living in So Cal is drawing to a close. Not that leaving this state is in the immediate itinerary. I'm not wishing for it to go on another year, I really miss the Gulf Coast...its crazy weather, the humidity, my friends. The only thing it lacks is Dan and myself...and our cadre of cats. Okay, that's enough for now. Thanks for reading...if anyone is still following this thing. Hugs and happy spring! W.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finally - Something to Say Other than "Po Pitiful Me"!

Well, when all was seeming bleak and unpromising...I managed to persevere and keep pushing through and by gum, I HAVE A JOB! I start this coming Wednesday! Designer/Project Manager at a high end office furniture dealership. The team seems great, the pay is great and general traffic issues not too heinous (afterall, this IS L.A.).

The job finally was offered to me in early mid-October after about a month and a half of e-mails, calls and interviews.

About two weeks prior, we added (by accident) a member to our household - a feral tuxedo-colored kitten. The 'accident' was that the little thing had gotten stuck in a pilot's BMW under the hood and above the engine baffle. He apparently spent about 4-5 days in there w/no food no water...!?! We had him checked out by the vet and he's hunky dory! He was about 5 weeks old at that point, and - owing to the airport where he was found - his name is "Vinny" for the code for Van Nuys Airport "VNY".

Vinny runs the gamut from "Adorable" to "Squee" and between and also from "STOP IT!" to "GO TO SLEEP!" and all point in the interim. ;)

Now that I'm finally going back to work - I'll be able to re-enter the land of the financially living! :) Money for spending and even better - money for SAVING! And I'll be able to start back to 'playing' with cakes again. I'm also feeling inspired again, so I'll be plugging away blissfully on my Muses shoes for Mardi Gras 2012. :) And on that note, I'm also GOING to Mardi Gras 2012! I've ordered my Muses beads/throws, I've booked my airfare (as it was only going to get more expensive and more rare the longer I waited. My awesome friends are hosting me, so that saves serious ducats and I know it's a safe place, great access to the parade routes. I WISH my Boo was going to go with me, but he's about to make some career adjustments/improvements so it's better right now that he's not committed to Mardi Gras if he changes positions.

I'm hoping that once I have my first paycheck that I'll be able to get affordable airfare to Houston for the Christmas holiday break. Gifts...? Well, since I'll still be in financial recovery mode - if I can get airfare, my usual gift expenditures will be impacted. I hope my family understands. If not...well, it is what it is.

I'm going tomorrow to apply/test for my California driver's license. I'm making the transition to be an official Californian!

My revised plan of 'just a year' has moved to a more open-ended thing...I'll be performing like a long-termer at work, I want to kick some butt. This is going to be weighing more on my man's career growth. He has a chance at a seriously great placement, that would help get us to NOLA in the future - and still allow him to retire w/full military benefits in about 8 years from that point. :)

If we win the Lottery before that - well, then yet again, plans change and accelerate. :) Granted - it would help if we actually PLAYED...LOL!

Okay, I need to make groceries and practice the driver's license test a few more times.

Cheers all!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

60 Days (+) Of California Living (thus far)

Wow, I've been here two months already!?
The weather here has been really nice, a tad warm - but NOTHING like what Houston's been dealing with: 23 days STRAIGHT of 100+ degree high-temps!?!?!
My only weather-related negative comment about L.A.: no thunderstorms. Dan swears there will be some this fall. I'm holding him to it.

I really want a full-time job w/a decent salary, which means: back to the furniture world. So last week, I e-mailed a mid-market office furniture dealer that is located in Burbank (about 9 miles away). Just as a tickler, y'know "hey, I'm here, I can do this, any needs?" kind of thing. In a stroke of luck, they are INTERESTED! :) They requested my resume', so I e-mailed it to them - for a project manager/sales support position! Later in the day, I received an e-mail back to schedule an interview! :) It was set up for last Wednesday at 10 a.m..

That meant - I needed to top off my hair color which had grown out from the cruddy way I had done it three weeks earlier. I spent Tuesday hitting the shops for something to spice up my work clothes. I scored a couple of Adrienne Vittadini tops (one a knit long-sleeved in a mid-range olive tone, and the other a black/heather grey rugby stripe tunic w/patch pockets that I can wear over jeans, leggings...whatnot) and a fun, flouncy peasant skirt in colors that will make it through summer and well into fall. I also scored hair color and raided the beauty supply for coloring brushes and a bowl. I spent the afternoon diligently addressing the root of my root problem. The results of my efforts was quite nice.

I went to the interview, arrived a little early. It lasted about 40 minutes, the lady was very nice and it seemed to go well. I'm at present waiting on the decision. I called today and she said they were reviewing other candidates and would let me know. She seemed in a good mood, was pleasant...hoping that's a good sign for me.

If I can get this job and at a decent salary, I'll be in veritable clover. I can save towards a place in New Orleans, as well as go back for a visit...SOON(?).

On the homefront - GrisGris is now comfy sleeping in the bedroom w/us and Dan's cats! Progress! It just 'happened'...though I suspect it dovetailed nicely w/the fact the cats realizing, when she's in close proximity to them...they all get treats! LOL!

I have slightly reworked the kitchen set-up, getting a glitter-dome set up - time to start working on Muses Shoes!

Goodnight, here's to good news on the jobfront tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Has It Been Almost Two Months Already???

Okay, I made it to L.A. in the expected amount of travel time. I took a little time to mellow out after the hectic nature of the preps to move and the move itself. The cats are settling in - Boo's two cats are getting better at sharing the apartment and my two are getting better at not being soooo spootie.

Since then, I've interviewed at two specialty cake bakeries and submitted my resume' to many other places. Most of all of my job hopes have been fairly dashed by extreme pseudo-excuseable rudeness of companies that ask for resume's but can't be bothered to send even a "screw you", "no dice", "are you serious" back...let alone a simple "thank you for your submission" and actually follow up w/a "you don't meet our req's at this time"... Or better yet, "Please come in, we'd love to talk to you."

Sure, in that first couple of weeks, I did swing by See's and dropped in an application - but they aren't looking for folks until the holidays are upon us...might not contact me until like September/October.

I am actually working in a part-time capacity at a neat little cake boutique in Beverly Hills, but just once a week (when I'm needed) isn't really cutting the financial mustard. I've even recently submitted my resume' for a position at a Knoll dealer - it could be neat, and profitable - but even that search agent hasn't responded w/anything yet.

Let me say this: I don't do extended 'downtime' well. I'm getting a handle on it - as I'm getting disheartened by the day. I hope something profitable that I want to do comes up SOON.

That being said - I really dig L.A., we haven't done any 'tripping the light fantastic' things, heck, I haven't even been to Hollywood proper yet. I have been to Burbank (love it!), North Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Studio City, Van Nuys, Northridge and Glendale (and some other little areas I can't fully recall).

We live a few blocks off of Ventura Boulevard, which is like (for my NOLA peeps) Magazine Street on steroids. It's cool, walkable and all manner of shops and businesses. There's also a great Farmers' Market less than a mile away. We went for the first time this past Saturday and I was blown away w/the array of locally grown produce...pics on my flickr account.

Oh! On a way cool note: my friend who has many cookbooks and children's books under his belt, has asked me to create cake recipes and a couple of designs (NOLA-centric, of course) for a book to come out this Fall!!! :) :) :) And he would like pics of some of my prior NOLA-themed cakes for the book, too! I may well be published by the end of the year!

I know more stuff has happened, but most of it is me sitting on the sofa watching re-runs of "Sex & the City" on E! or Style... Who knows, maybe this weekend, we'll go to the Sherman Oaks Castle and I can get some skee-ball games under my belt. I'll pretend the ball is smacking the less-than-responsive job folks...!? LOL!

I promise to write more often. Cheers.