vespachica: (cooking mama failed)
Boo.

I missed [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol again. I need to drop out. My life is just too crazy busy right now. Opening the restaurant and trying to do just a bare minimum in school is just too much!
vespachica: (cooking mama failed)
I had comments set to "friends only". I have now changed it to "registered users only". This should be okay for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol entries. :)
vespachica: (Bill and Me on a boat)
Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

All of these questions seem difficult for me to answer right now and I think, for simplicity's sake, I will answer the questions in reverse order.

Right now I am in school to study culinary arts. And … that's basically all I know. Originally the plan was for me to study cooking in order to become a professional chef. All of that, however, has changed now. I am assured by my husband's cousin, a professional chef herself, that there are far more things to do with a culinary degree aside from being a chef with irregular hours. So, onward I go. I will define my destiny as I go. Perhaps I'll be a wedding caterer. Or a food writer.

I come from a family of four. My family contains my dad, my mom, my brother, and me. In my early years we lived in California around my mom's extended family. We moved to Washington when I was eight and since we did not have any relatives up here it was just us. We learned to lean on each other, and our neighbors, to get by. My parents have been there for me throughout all of my ups and downs and I expect they will be there for more of my roller coaster ride. Since our family was small there was nowhere to hide. This was both good and bad. It was good because if you were trying to avoid a confrontation or if you needed help you had no choice but have someone notice. It was bad because, well, sometimes you just need somewhere to hide away with your thoughts. My dad has been, and remains, my closest confidante. I know I can tell him anything and he will not judge me. He will help me with the situation, if needed, or he will simply listen. It is because of his wisdom and sense of humor that I am the person I am today. My mother has her own issues and although we historically have not completely gotten along we are now doing better and trying to learn how to treat each other. My brother is a typical younger brother. He's a goofball and self-absorbed but has a heart of gold. He would do anything for his family. My only regret regarding my brother is that he lives so far away, in Nevada, and we hardly ever see him.

The hardest question for me to answer is “Who am I?” On the surface this is fairly easy. I am a mother. I am a student. I am a daughter. I am a sister. However, recently my world was shaken to its core. Less than three months ago I was also a wife. My husband of over 11 years committed suicide on July 21, 2010 leaving me alone and floundering. Prior to that I lost my job and only career. I used to be an insurance agent and not the garden variety kind. I worked in aviation insurance. Because I was so specialized and had no common experience no one wanted to touch me.

Those two events happening within two months of each other have placed my feet on unsure ground. If you had asked me six months ago who I thought I was I would tell you that I was a professional woman with a loving family. I would have told you that, sure, I have my share of problems but who doesn't? Now I am not so sure who I am. My identity has been reset and I can now be anyone I want to be.

And so it comes back to who I want to be. I want to be the best mother I can to the two gifts of life my husband gave me before he left the earth. I want to find a profession where I am not “working”. I want to find a profession where I am doing something I enjoy. I have always enjoyed cooking. Cooking is how I express my love for my family and friends. So it is with that spirit that I pursue a culinary arts degree. It is with that spirit that I have decided to walk this walk even though it is not easy to get out of bed every day and get it done.

I sometimes think of this as a blessing in disguise. I have a fairly unique opportunity to experience a mulligan, a “do-over”. Of course I miss my husband like crazy and am devastated that he is not with me. But my logical mind will occasionally, just sometimes, whisper that he is no longer in pain and agony. It is that same logical mind that whispers to me that I need to live my dream. I have lost my family home and am renting an apartment. Renting lends itself to not putting down roots which means I can go anywhere I want. I don't need to stay in Seattle or even the United States. I can move to France if I want to and study cooking further. My children would come with me, of course, and we could have some grand adventures not being tied down to a house or obligations.

My upbringing by my parents has left me strong. They have supported me through thick and thin. They are supporting me and loving me now. My dad's wisdom and good advice continues. The relationship with my mom keeps improving and we are starting to understand each other more than we ever have. I know that the sky is the limit. And maybe, in the sky, I will be able to feel my husband smiling down on me.
vespachica: (Johnny Depp w/Watch)
I am officially declaring my intention to join the frenzy that is [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol.

My writing needs to improve. Why not?

Smile

Nov. 5th, 2009 01:26 pm
vespachica: (Johnny Depp w/Watch)
At the request of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol, this week's subject is: smile!

I have thought of different approaches to this topic over the past few days. I thought, at first, I should write about my kids' smiles. Perhaps I could wax nostalgic on their first smiles. Nah... lots of people will write about that. I then thought about what makes me smile and how I could go on and on about that. Again, I'm sure that'll be a subject for many people. In the end, I arrived at what fills my heart the most: how I make other people smile.

Making others smile is one of my life's goals, I'm certain of it. If someone at work is down I do my best to make them grin like a fool just by talking to them. If that doesn't work, perhaps sending them a good joke via email will do the trick. Eventually, I find most people will warm up and at least give me a wan smile. That's good enough if they're really down. Don't mistake this for clowning or insensitivity. I just want to cheer them up a bit. And I definitely try to empathize with people and lend an ear. In fact, I'm sure my employer would say that I lend too many ears and listen/talk with too many people during the workday!

The other thing that I love to do to make people smile is cook. Most of the cooking I do is not necessarily for self-satisfaction but to see the expressions on people's faces. The reward I reap from cooking is hearing and seeing satisfaction from others. This is fairly narcissistic, I suppose, because I feel such a great sense of pride whenever someone really loves what I have whipped up in the kitchen. If someone moans in ecstasy that makes it even better!!

I love seeing smiles on people's faces. The only step I haven't taken is being someone who is so open with strangers that I can make them smile as well. Perhaps I should try!
vespachica: (Johnny Depp w/Watch)
Post for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol.
Subject: Uphill, both ways, barefoot

When I first read the subject I had to think about it for a while. It connotates wisdom of age, making fun of young people, or reflection. Life has a way of throwing challenges at you when you least expect. Or, perhaps, you create your own challenges by actions or inactions. Age has a way of making you look at today's kids and wonder if youth really is wasted on the young. I suppose the point is that everyone has challenges in their lives.

There have been several points in my life where I think things are going along terrifically and then - BOOM! - problem! One time I was on my way to work, minding my own business, and my car broke down. Another time I was happily back in the dating game. I had been seeing a great guy for six months or so when I learned I was pregnant. (Challenges, remember? Sometimes they're not negative!) There was another situation in my life when things in the house we rented went to hell because the roof started leaking into the kitchen. Life is full of unexpected challenges and situations; you just have to learn to roll with the punches.

A lot of the challenges in my life have been self-inflicted. I either do or do not something which makes my life harder. I have been known to blatantly ignore my finances. I have been known to flagrantly break the law by speeding as quickly as possible (yet in the realm where I still feel I am safe to myself and others). I have also been known to not act appropriately when I really should have. As a result, my financial status suffers. I have received speeding tickets (which if it coincides with the financial troubles this makes it extra challenging). At work sometimes I am not a consummate professional but can sometimes be the "class clown". These three things seem to be a frequent theme in my life and I have had to get over these challenges by myself, again and again. It's hard to learn lessons and even harder to learn them the right way in order to avoid repetition of mistakes.

I have an 18 year old son. Sometimes I see the trials and tribulations of his life thus far and think that perhaps he is misusing opportunity. He is not living according to carpe diem. He makes choices that perhaps I would not make myself. Often I will see a difficult situation he is going through and think that he doesn't have life so bad, really. I don't understand why he thinks life is so difficult or dramatic. Of course, when I look back to being 18 I really believe that my life was harder, my choices more difficult. I have to laugh when I do want to tell him that "back in my day" I did have to walk uphill, both ways, in the snow, barefoot!

Challenges in life come up without warning a lot of times. Sometimes, though, you can see them coming and even dare them to come. As you age, you really do look on today's youth and wonder why they think they have it so difficult. The important thing to recognize as you address your challenges that everyone has their own problems with their lives. Maybe the next time you come across someone being unnecessarily or inappropriately gruff perhaps you can remember that; they could be in the middle of one of their own challenges.



ETA: Crap. In between taking too much time to write this and having to wipe Sophia's butt twice, I missed the deadline.
vespachica: (Johnny Depp w/Watch)
Uh, LOLZ...I'm outta LJ Idol, I think, before it even began! Life got really busy all of a sudden and the topic was stumping me so I think I'm probably done for. Grrr.
vespachica: (Calvin Jumping Out of Skin)
[livejournal.com profile] therealljidol has demanded I introduce myself. Okay, it's not a demand. It's a warm-up exercise. So, here are ten random facts about me:

1. I'm a wife, a mom, and a full-time insurance agent.
2. I love to cook. I even have my own blog! (It's here if you'd like to peruse it.)
3. I like offbeat TV shows such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Dollhouse, etc.
4. I like all kinds of music. Johnny Cash, Muse, Will Smith, Peter Murphy, Bauhaus, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie, Lady Gaga, etc.
5. My politics are eclectic but lean toward the Libertarian. Basically, the less government the better.
6. I love to drive. Quickly.
7. I adore cats.
8. Reading has consumed my life recently and has been fairly diverse.
9. I have a Brittany Spaniel with ADD.
10. I'd really like a nap.
vespachica: (Johnny Depp w/Watch)
I'm going to give [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol a go this time. I've admired others' entries in the past and, well, I am listening to the call!

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