Delayed Again

Yes, it’s still the tooth thing. After one month, seven x-rays, and two root canals – I’m still in a lot of pain. At this point, I’m up to four ibuprofens every three hours and have only slept through the night twice since this all started at the beginning of March. Sometimes I have to chase the ibuprofens down with a few aspirin to take most of the pain away. I only use the prescription painkillers at night because I hate going through my day in a haze… and with classes starting today at noon – I can’t afford to be foggy. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at 8 AM with a “specialist” who will hopefully find out what’s wrong and FIX IT so I can concentrate on school. One full month of constant discomfort with occasional moments of pure pounding pain racing from my tooth up through my jaw to my head is more than enough to make me want to SCREAM! ALL THE TIME!

So I promise to update more often, but the frequecy will depend on my pain levels… or if something really interesting happens at school that day.

UGH!

Sorry, no post today ’cause I’m still dealing with a dental emergency and it’s after-effects. I have a Culinary Book List (thanks to Paul) and reviews of several of the books on it that will go up on Thursday.

Orientation

I attended orientation for new students at TCA Saturday morning. I was a little worried when I saw how many people were there, but I had forgotten that there are now three different class sessions going on: Morning, Afternoon and Evening. The day started with a Cooking Demo, and I really wish I could remember the Chef’s name who did the demonstration since it was very well done and the food was great. I even picked up a pretty good syrup recipe in the process – ok, it was better than good – it was the best I’ve ever had (I’ll be making it for my husband soon).

After the demo, we were introduced to some of the faculty and to the history of TCA. They also covered the Rules and Regulations… lots of rules. From a school standpoint they seemed a little excessive, but nothing different from working for any company in the real world. I guess it’s part preparation for the future and also a way to weed out some of the students who really don’t care about cooking.

There were some other things that were discussed, like attendance (a major part of the rules), the fact that we would lose an average of 15% of our class before graduation, career services and Student Government. Then we broke off into groups determined by which session we would be attending. Roy Perez was introduced to us as our Afternoon Chef Advisor. I hope that he isn’t the type of advisor I had the last time I went to school… that one was impossible to meet with and useless when you finally pinned him down. There were about 17 to 18 student in my group and it looked like I was the oldest one there. There were also three girls who were very noticeable in my class. More about them later.

At this point, we were all set loose to visit different booths and watch more cooking demonstrations. The booths were mostly set up to take care of our paperwork, financial aid, and to find out more about student clubs and organizations. I watched some demos and also wandered around talking to some current students and some of the other advisors. Which brings up the 3 Girls (that’s how I think of them). While trying to meet up with my admissions rep to take care of my uniform fitting, she had to keep running off to assist the 3 Girls at each and every booth… and we didn’t have a chance to do the fitting until they finally left. When they weren’t being assisted, they spent their time in a huddle in the middle of the hallway, practically attached at the hips. Being timid isn’t a problem, but not being willing to do anything unless being held by the hand isn’t going to get them far, especially in this industry. They’re my guess for not making it through the program. I know it’s rude of me to assume this, so if they actually DO graduate – and find out about my comments – they’re welcome to slap me in the face with a baggie of warm chicken fat.

Paul Kelly

The post about Saturday’s Orientation is late, and you can blame Paul Kelly for that. We went to go see him yesterday at the Cactus Cafe and that didn’t give me any time for updating the blog. So I’ll leave you with the lyrics from one of the songs he sang last night:

How To Make Gravy
by Paul Kelly
CD: Songs From The South

Hello Dan, it’s Joe here, I hope you’re keeping well
It’s the 21st of December, and now they’re ringing the last bells
If I get good behaviour, I’ll be out of here by July
Won’t you kiss my kids on Christmas Day, please don’t let ’em cry for me
I guess the brothers are driving down from Queensland and Stella’s flying in from the coast
They say it’s gonna be a hundred degrees, even more maybe, but that won’t stop the roast
Who’s gonna make the gravy now? I bet it won’t taste the same
Just add flour, salt, a little red wine and don’t forget a dollop of tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang
And give my love to Angus and to Frank and Dolly,
Tell ’em all I’m sorry I screwed up this time
And look after Rita, I’ll be thinking of her early Christmas morning
When I’m standing in line

I hear Mary’s got a new boyfriend, I hope he can hold his own
Do you remember the last one? What was his name again?
(Just a little too much cologne)
And Roger, you know I’m even gonna miss Roger
‘Cause there’s sure as hell no one in here I want to fight
Oh praise the Baby Jesus, have a Merry Christmas,
I’m really gonna miss it, all the treasure and the trash
And later in the evening, I can just imagine,
You’ll put on Junior Murvin and push the tables back
And you’ll dance with Rita, I know you really like her,
Just don’t hold her too close, oh brother please don’t stab me in the back
I didn’t mean to say that, it’s just my mind it plays up,
Multiplies each matter, turns imagination into fact
You know I love her badly, she’s the one to save me,
I’m gonna make some gravy, I’m gonna taste the fat
Tell her that I’m sorry, yeah I love her badly, tell ’em all I’m sorry,
And kiss the sleepy children for me
You know one of these days, I’ll be making gravy,
I’ll be making plenty, I’m gonna pay ’em all back.

An Introduction to a Snarkygurl

Terrified, excited and scared to death. That’s the description of what I’m feeling right now. After 11 years as a Technical Writer and even longer working in the high tech industry, I’m ready to ditch it all and change careers. The thought of finding another job creating unread user manuals and documentation was more than I could handle. So I’ve decided to become a Chef. Yes, I’ll be making less money, and I’ll be going back into debt… but for once someone will actually USE something I’ve created. There are many other reason for this decision, but first and foremost is that I will be doing something I’ve always loved to do.

What worries me the most is the cost–$40K–for a degree in the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. I have a house and bills to deal with and working only part-time will barely cover that. But I’m going into debt anyway knowing that I won’t be looking back when I’m retired and wondering why I wasted so much of my life doing work that I hated (I may be good at it – but being a technical writer in the semiconductor field just SUCKS).

I did a lot of research on culinary schools and careers, and then went and visited a few here in Austin. Someone at TCA took the time to give me a tour of the school, introduced me to some of the instructors, and sat me down and showed how all the classes were structured and what I would be learning in each one. I left knowing that I had to get into that school somehow… maybe it was the atmosphere or maybe it was just the sight of all those gleaming student kitchens. I’m a sucker for a big beautiful kitchen. Yes, attending a LCB program is expensive, but it’ll give me the contacts and networking opportunities that I wouldn’t have with another local school. And I need that boost since I’m starting out in this career later than most people (and it doesn’t hurt that it also comes with an Associates of Applied Science). My husband is freaking out about the cost, but even he agrees that this specific school is the best choice for me at this time. It’s funny, now that I’ve set all of this in motion, my friends and family are asking me why it took so long for me to decide to become a chef. Ummm, if they all knew this was the job for me–why didn’t someone mention it 18 years ago? Or was this something I had to figure out on my own?

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I started on this path from the begining instead of wandering all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Part of it bothers me because I’ve wasted so many years. If I had known that culinary training was an option, my career choices would have been different. And I definitely would have started at a cheaper school – Austin Community College has a pretty good program – or maybe I would have gone to Johnson and Wales on the East Coast. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that you COULD go to school for it…. man, I must have been a stupid kid. But on the other hand–it might have also been wasted on me at that time. Now I know that I have to put everything I have into my education, and I also have the drive, ambition and single-mindedness that I was lacking in college.

Tomorrow morning is Orientation at TCA and I’ll finally get to meet my classmates and instructors. We were given a recipe to try and discuss there, and it was…. um, interesting. I’ll talk about it tomorrow after I find out if it was a test or just crappy instructions.