Christmas and I are just not homies (how to gain social acceptability to drink red wine for breakfast)

Generally, I’m a bit of a Scroog when it comes to the holiday season. Being that I’m pagan and surrounded by Christian celebrations was what spurred my distaste for this time of year, though as I got older, I came to accept it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious one. My main issue really was the commerciality of the season and the over saturation of poorly written holiday songs that are played on repeat with horrendous “jazzy” remakes. I don’t want to fall into the pressure of society to spend the very little money I have on gifts for everyone. Thankfully, over the years, I have trained people to know that I probably won’t participate in gift giving, but will gladly spend time with them. I think that it is of importance to show the folks you care about that you care about them all year ’round, not just during the “giving season”. What’s more–charity and good will t’ward men needs to happen year ’round as well. If you want to show you’re a good person, make it who you are, don’t participate in the annual December competition.

But I digress.

This year I wanted to do something small, let the people who do put a stock in Christmas know that I appreciate them. So I decided to make truffles for everyone. I’ve done it in the past. They were easy and delicious. 

Being the hippie I am, I wanted quality chocolate and other ingredients, and I wanted alcohol in them because I’m a grown up and I can. I spent some $45 on ingredients (though this did included spiced rum and red wine). I began this process on Thursday, planning on making a double batch of red wine truffles, and a double batch of rum truffles.  I started with te former, since it requires sitting in the fridge overnight. 

  
When the morning came, the truffle bowl was not firm. In fact, it wanted nothing to do but glop. The truffles were only vaguely formable, at best. 

It took me a while to figure out how to deal with this. I only had enough chocolate for the rum batch. Of course it dawned on me that the rum batch and ye wine batch should merge to make rum wine truffle babies. 

I combined the recipes, making sure to put in less liquid (though still added a full 10 oz of rum). I had to create a make shift double boiler to get the chocolate to melt the second time. After a lot of mess, I got it to melt and mix with the new chocolate, cream and rum. Again, I put it in the fridge over night. 

  
This morning, knowing I was going to have to get all my truffles ready for the farmers market (which I’m not participating in today due to the lies of the weather forecast (when it said it was supposed to sleet, I’m waking up to blue sky)), since the majority of my recipients are there, I woke early to get these damn chocolates ready! 

Don’t be fooled by the above picture. I assure you, the chocolate under the surface is just as gloppy as yesterday.  I attempted to make my truffles, to form them into something recognizable, though again failed.

 
Now what! I had a bowl of 36 ounces of melted chocolate, a carton of double cream, and a ton of booze that wouldn’t form into chocolate balls!  
I was getting the kettle to boil for my tea while I stared at the bastarding mixture when it dawned on me. I threw my truffle balls into the mug and added the hot water.

   

 
And that is how you solve a problem! If it’s a weekend and it’s in hot chocolate, no one is going to get on your case for drinking wine in the morning. 

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The New Job

As mentioned previously, I did manage to get myself a new job. I’m working in the warehouse of a local coffee roaster, Tony’s Coffee. It’s a good job, in the sense that it’s small, it’s local, and that they look after their employees. However, it is only 15-20 hours and it is tedious work.

Having just completed my first week there, I wanted to share a few bits of my thoughts.

  1. I have an insane amount of time to think.
    I am there for five hours each shift, and there is really nothing to it to my job.
  2. People don’t give packaging enough respect.
    When you get a pound or 12 oz of coffee, and it has the little bendy thing at the top that helps you tie your bag closed–respect the crap out of that. My fingers are bleeding from tying those things down. What’s more, the stickers on the bag are put on by hand! That means that the sticker that says “whole beans”, the sticker that says the blend or roast of the coffee, as well as the bar code scanner–all put on individually.
  3. It is possible to dislike the smell of coffee.
    I didn’t think it was so,but it is. I’ve worked three days there, and it’s not that the place stinks. It smells delicious. But when I come home and smell it on my clothes I can’t stand it.

That’s it really, there isn’t a whole lot to learn there. I’ve literally been putting on tin-ties and stickers so far. I hear that next week I’ll be learning the next “repetitive task”. Part of me hopes it’s more challenging, but given that Monday is my birthday, I’m hoping it’s fairly simple.

However, there was a sinking moment as I worked and got to talking to some of my co-workers. There is one guy who just completed his Masters degree, in the UK even. I thought we would have tons to talk about. Nope. He is bitter because he just finished his master’s degree to become a teacher and is packaging coffee instead. What’s more, there’s another guy there that majored in creative writing, and yet another person who got a writing degree who works there as well. That makes four employees, including myself, that all majored in a degree that was said to be versatile and well sought after, who couldn’t find related jobs.

I’m trying not to let it get me down. After all, while they were good students, I’ve worked hard to get noticed. I’m not saying they didn’t, because I haven’t a clue what they achieved. But I have been awarded for my work, published, and given a talk at a national conference,  while acting as a tutor and piloting a mentor program. I’m hoping all those things count for something, any way.

The argument of course is that I’m still working in a warehouse tying tin-ties. But I’m in between schools. I wanted a job that was instant and fast, not necessarily in my field of study. I’m leaving it in September, so all that really matters is that it helps me to pay my credit card bills.

I could of course be deluding myself. But I can’t think that I’m going through all of this for nothing. I can’t believe that I’m about to get myself into a mountain of debt for my education just to not ever work in my desired field. I refuse.

And that’s that.

“Free” time

Now that I’m done with school (kinda), I’m confronted with the dilemma of what I’m going to do with my time. Now that I don’t have homework to do (and believe you me, that’s really been messing with me) or classes to be in, I’m at odds with myself as to what I should be focusing on.

Of course I have to get another job. Thankfully the writing center has offered to keep me on, and it’s something I’d really like, since it would keep me in the academic mind set. However, they can’t give me any more than 16 hours a week. I can stay on with Gothberg Farms, but it’s the winter, and the last market is this weekend, which we cancelled due to the terrible turn-out last weekend.

As it stands, I did manage to get myself a part time job–the day of my last class, in fact. However, it is just a part time job, only 15-20 hours a week. I’ll write more on that experience later.

Between my three jobs, I can pay off my credit card bills, which is the ultimate goal. But they still leave me, oddly, with some free time.

I’m fairly blessed where I live. Right now, as I huddle in the basement typing this out, it’s freezing cold, though not cold enough to snow, and it’s grey and miserable. Despite this, there is greenery around me, and hills and mountains to climb, and look outs to be explored. I want to do all the things of Bellingham and the west side of Washington State that I can while I’m still in the state.

I want to catch up on all the reading I’ve been neglecting since I started school (which is ironic, since I wanted to major in English so I would read more), catch up on writing, and begin sending out short stories for publishing. This last thing is terrifying, but it’s a way of possibly making money and getting out there a bit.

There are plenty of things for me to do out there. I just have to remember that I like doing them, and what it is that I did. My last relationship made me forget a lot about me, and what I like. Now that I’ve got a break between Whatcom and whatever university I move on to, I can try and remember what it is that I enjoyed doing, and who it is that was muffled.

I hoping for good things during my “free” time.

Last night I made truffles. Today I’m going to begin my applications for Columbia University and Harvard. I might even do a bit of reading. Who knows. Tomorrow I might edit a story or two. Golly!

Completed

It’s official. I am a graduate of Whatcom Community College. In February of 2014 I was laid off from my job and within a week, awkwardly enrolled at the local community college. 

All I wanted to do was get my grades up so that the local university, Western Washington University, would consider me.

I had no idea how much would change with that decision.  I had no idea how much I would lose and how much I would gain by simply saying “yes” to an education. Everything changed. 

And here I am, standing at the end of it, taking a break until September when I go off to Durham or who knows, maybe Columbia or Harvard, with my final grades and a degree. 

  

Saying “yes” was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am an honors student, a member of Phi Theta Kappa (for what it’s worth), an award winner, and a speaker at a national conference. I even get work with word in the Writing Center. I connected with amazing instructors and students who have had a great influence over my development and evolution of thought. 

Man, and this is all just at the community college level. 

Now to trudge through the next nine months to begin the next stage.