Thursday, April 22, 2010

No, I mean it this time!

As you may have read, I got a new sister for Easter. We've both blogged about the experience and you can read Debi's account of the story here. Before I move on, I must say that I find it interesting that, while I compared the experience to getting a chocolate bunny in my Easter basket, she likened it to drinking too much tequila. Hmmmmm.

At our meeting, Debi presented me with a copy of  Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make. I gotta tell you, the creations in this book are adorable! After dinner we went to a local cupcakery. Yes, I said cupcakery. It's a bakery, but all they sell is cupcakes. Cute doesn't even begin to describe this place. It was all pink walls and crystal light fixtures. And the cupcakes! Oh the cupcakes! They were gorgeous! They had glitter! They were, um, not very good. I bought three of their mini-sized confections and all three failed to earn their sprinkles. This isn't the first time this has happened to me. I recently shelled out $6 for a gloriously frosted lump of dry bread. I wondered if there was some strange pastry law which states that a cupcake can be either yummy or beautiful, but not both. Then I remembered Zov's Cafe in Tustin, California. I was working in a perinatal unit of a hospital and one of our patients brought in a box of these beauties.

Not only were they gorgeous, they were insanely delicious! Dark, dense chocolate cake that screamed "I was baked from scratch using the best ingredients on the planet dammit!" They were hands down the BEST cupcakes I've ever had. Sigh....

Okay, I have a confession to make. Everything you've read up to this point has been a digression. I couldn't help myself, but I will attempt to tie it all together for you, I promise. Uh, where was I? Oh yeah, cupcakes! So I start fantasizing about having my own bakery -a cupcakery is too limiting for me- and next thing you know, I'm Googling pastry schools. I do this late at night lest anyone peek over my shoulder and realize that I'm contemplating yet another career. What can I say, I have a hard time deciding what I want to be when I grow up.  A perusal of my college transcripts and computer bookmarks reveals that in the past I have considered the following career paths:

Nurse - I liked the idea of a three-day work week and the variety of settings available. (Cruise ship nurse anyone?) The money they make isn't so bad either. Believe it or not I even looked forward to blood and guts. What can I say, I'm a little morbid that way.What I did NOT like was the idea of dealing with various other body fluids or the crankiness of the patients whose fluids I wished to avoid.

Child Care Provider - I will pause here to allow anyone who has known me for more than, say, an hour to compose themselves and stop laughing. When I saw all those Early Childhood Education courses listed on my transcript, I thought for a while that I'd accidentally logged into another person's account. Then I saw that I dropped the entire semester. Whew! Crisis averted.

Mortician - I shit you not. I actually had an entire folder of links to schools that offered classes in the mortuary sciences. I was probably drawn to the shock value or maybe I had just watched one too many episodes of CSI: Las Vegas.

English Teacher - As I write this, my major is still listed as "Single Subject English" which is to say high school English teacher. This is hysterical for the same reason Child Care Provider is hysterical. Seriously folks, for the future of humanity, do NOT expose me to young, impressionable minds. My son is lucky to have gotten through childhood without stories that begin with the phrase, "One day, in psyche ward..."

Psychologist - Yes, go ahead and laugh, but I'll have you know that I have 15 college credits in the psych department. Wait it gets better, they're all A's. Society really dodged a bullet with this one.

So there you have it. Now, back to the subject of pastry school. I've scheduled appointments at three different schools in the next few days and I have two major hurdles to overcome before I can move ahead. A) The nearest schools are in San Diego which is an hour and a half drive from here. I'd have to find housing for a few nights a week while I get through the program. B) Pastry school is hella expensive! Cross your fingers and hope that the Financial Aid Gods take one look at the Chocolate Cherry Chipotle Cupcakes I baked and decide to smile down upon me.

I shared my plans with select friends and family members and received a surprisingly supportive response. I suspect that when they say, "Pastry school! What a GREAT idea! I can TOTALLY see you doing that. Go for it!", what they really mean is, "Pastry school? Are you serious? What's it gonna be next week?"

Maybe they're right. Maybe next week I'll be researching how to get certified as a poledance instructor.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What I'd Really Like To Be When I Grow Up

Most people my age no longer get asked what they want to be when they grow up. This probably has something to do with the fact that most people my age have already grown up and are very much looking forward to the day that they no longer have to be whatever it is they became.

But, of course, I am not most people. I have yet to settle into a career. Don't get me wrong, I've had tons of jobs, just no career. Nothing that makes me want to attend my high school reunion and hand out business cards like they were Altoids at a garlic festival. Mostly I've served alcohol to drunks or been on the latex glove end of a pap smear. In either case, nothing to brag about.

For this and other reasons (like not wanting to live under a bridge in my golden years) I've decided to go back to school. I even shot a promotional video for the community college I attend which you can see right here. Because of this, I still get asked what I want to be when I grow up. Okay, they ask me what my major is, but we all know that's what they really mean.

I learned that people made assumptions about the kind of person you are based on how you answered that question. When I said I was working towards a nursing degree, they'd assume I was this selfless Florence Nightengale-esque care giving type. Or maybe they thought that, like Nurse Jackie, I just wanted to score some primo drugs. Neither was correct. I was in it for the three day workweek. Turns out, it was too much work for a degree I never really wanted in the first place. Now, when I say I'm an English major, I hear, "Oh! You want to teach!" I can see myself in their mind's eye, patiently imparting my wisdom to younger generations and igniting in them a passion for British Literature.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

Honestly folks, all I want is to work in my pajamas in the middle of the night and update my Facebook page during the day. I admit even this is something of a sellout. If I were to make a Top Ten List of What I'd Really Like To Be When I Grow Up, it would look like this:

10. Shamu's Trainer - Admit it, you can't watch a Shamu Show without sharing this fantasy with me. In my fantasy life, not only am I Shamu's trainer, I also look nothing like Shamu in my wetsuit.

9. Supermodel - The clothes! The make-up! The dieting...uh, nevermind!

8. Poet Laureate - This is in addition to from my pajama-wearing, Facebook trolling writer aspiration. I say "in addition to" rather than "instead of" because, although being a Poet Laureate gets you into some ultra posh White House dinners and gives you super literati cred, it only pays $35,000 a year. I neglected to mention that I want to surf the Web from the comfort of my own New York brownstone. I'll need waaaaay more than $35,000 a year for that.

7. Pastry Chef with my own show on The Food Network - Oh Food Network, how do I love thee! In a perfect world, Paula Deen would be my mom, I'd be married to Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray would be my BFF. I'd focus mainly on cupcakes. Some folks have animal totems. I have a pastry totem and it's the cupcake.

6. Vegas Showgirl - What girly-girl doesn't love dressing in feathers and sequins? The only drawback I see here is the relative anonymity. I've never really been an ensemble kinda girl. Give me the spotlight baby!

5. Cirque Du Soleil Performer - Like a showgirl but the costumes are more exotic and I imagine that the, um, dance moves would transfer quite nicely to the boudoir n'est-ce pas? Ooh la-la!

4. Designer - I love making pretty things. My apartment in San Juan Capistrano was a pussycat girl cave. Lately though, I don't seem to have as much inspiration for creating this kind of art as I used to have. So, I will leave it up to my sister Debi Beard to make the world a prettier place.

3. Stand-Up Comedienne - I like to imagine a room full of people doubled-over in laughter as I share one brilliantly clever insight after another. Sometimes I fantasize about being so funny that I have to pause and let them recover lest someone laugh themselves literally to death. Yes, when I dream, I dream BIG!

2. Rock Star - Do I really need to explain this one? Nah, I didn't think so.

1. Actor - This is the big one for me. This is the dream I would sell my son into black market slavery to attain. I want to be stalked by the papparazzi dammit!