Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Food Glorious Food

So, I moved back to the city four months ago...really? No way? I know I can't believe it either.
Since I was a kid I wanted to have a restaurant, when I was in the third grade I made my first Thanksgiving turkey for Thanksgiving and before that I made my dad be the cook while I put a sign on our door that said "Ferentinos Inn" when my parent's friends came over and I would run around taking orders for tuna melts and pizza bagels. This story still makes my brother crack up but fishing with paper clips for army men still seems cool in his recollection.
Any way my food story --so yes, I went to art school for industrial design, I welded functional art, furniture, etc and dropped out and worked like crazy and thought at 22 I would open a restaurant but didn't have enough money so instead I opened an art gallery with still not enough money but it seemed easier. When I hit a streak of good fortune after a long spell of bad and I made a bunch of money at 24 I thought of opening a place again but instead bought a cute lake house in Sparta, NJ. Then at 32 when I had an "early life crisis" and wanted to live my own "Eat, Pray, Love", I thought I would open a place on the lower east side in NYC with the money I made from selling my house, but no, instead I took guitar lessons, improv lessons, glassblowing lessons, a lot of f$cking lessons. I have always cooked, I do it as therapy, an income, for friends and family when I want to say I love them, am happy, sad, you get the point. I started a small catering business 8 years ago and it has been steadily growing and two nights a week I teach cooking classes and today , yes today, I was cooking at a food show and someone offered me a head chef position. So the point, I can throw down, I am confident, curious, and I have a passion for it. So why not open a place in NJ and instead move back to NYC? I don't know why but, I did it. I realized recently why. I want my own "shop around the corner", remember from "You've got mail"? I want a place on the UWS. I want a cute, old style NYC place that smells of delicious breads baking as you walk in with square marshmallows in big old fashioned glass jars on the counter. I know but you are thinking, Vicki you should be a super star! Well, I am (to my three nephews). I found my voice again, I feel confident, have some control over my life, I tumble through with the bad and am thankful for the good. So, what next, winning the lottery? maybe. First step by November 1st, I will have a fancy new web site which shows my catering like now but also my mail order retail with my tasty treats with new fancy packaging which is being designed by fancy people. Not really fancy just labels that seem like me. I am going to keep saving, looking and redefining my dream. Yes, food may seem trivial to some but to me it means love, like the memory of my grandmother teaching me to make Greek bread is forever, and the smell of garlic reminds me of my father's garlic tomato sauce that was so many years ago but makes me think of my dad when he was alive, healthy and more importantly happy. I said no thanks to the head chef position today and I think this time my dream is actually going to happen, because I have grown up a bit more lately. I embrace commitment, fortitude, boring. I have had crazy, boring seems fun!!! I am being sarcastic by saying Boring, I really mean not as fun as the spot light, the applause, the fake glitter. You know what, I just got an order to make 3000 cookies for the Food Network Food and Wine Show and I will also be at the show cooking at in the main tasting area, not too shabby. So, I guess if I do what I like, have passion, a bit of talent and work hard my dreams can become a reality and I can learn, live and laugh along the way . Thank you for reading, this was not as dramatic as normal, but as I say to my cooking students---"cooking is fun, no one ever died over a cookie, so relax".
thank you for reading.
xo, Vicki

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thank you for reading my blog and more importantly telling me to write......

So, I went back to weight watchers, yay, down another 4 pounds totaling 56, yay! This week's topic was being able to ask for "what you need". I know how hard is that? I was always that kid who wore a smile and was polite while crazy stuff went on at home. I learned to put people at ease even if, by the time I was ten I would pray for someone to come and take me away, not calgon, you get the point. Sorry, every one has battle scars, the point is I learned to carry my load and sometimes other peoples and asking for help would probably be good, but wow? admit that I couldn't do everything in life all alone, balancing on one toe? What are you crazy? I am a super hero!
I sat at this meeting and a slight woman raised her hand and she said her name was Victoria and she had cancer and was battling for her life and she still came to weight watchers because she needed to keep some of her normal routine. She started to cry and say that she started to call people in her family, even the ones she didn't get along with to ask for help and start telling them what she needed. She was upset because she felt alone and her husband tries to help but she doesn't understand why everyone doesn't. WOW?? A light bulb went off in my head and I shared too. "Victoria, you are doing great, your name alone means Victory, believe me I should know, the older I get the more I realize you only get a small life boat of people who are on your team. There are a few people who will always be there, a family member, a parent, a best friend, but the other couple spots are sometimes being changed, maybe with a friend you know for a short period of time, or a stranger who makes eye contact with you and knows without even asking you need them to carry your falling bag. So don't feel alone, even in this room I know there are women who would help you, whenever you need it. The people you see who seem like they have a giant yacht filled with people, well that is all smoke and mirrors, they spend more energy than you have to keep that going. Focus on you and your small life boat will be there for you just ask." I can get preachy sometimes, and I know everything we say in life is really for ourselves and if it helps someone else at the same time all the better. As I left the meeting I saw Victoria, and I hugged her and told her she was doing great. She hugged me back and told me I was too. Tears weld up in my eyes as I walked away because I guess for that minute Victoria was in my life boat and I needed to hear that too. I am doing great. I had hit a speed bump for a second but now I am right back on track. As Rocky Balboa says---"It's not how many times you get knocked out that count, it's how many times you get back up."
So, watch out, I'm getting back up, because I too have a hell of a small life boat and I am thankful for them!!!
Thanks for reading! and thanks for telling me to write more (you are on my small life boat).
xo, Vicki

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's been almost 6 months? so much and so little.

Wow, I can not believe that almost six months have past since I wrote on this blog, not sure if anyone is reading it but some times some of my favorite people in the world remind me to write so for you, I write. Let's see the highlights I moved back to NYC, lost 64 pounds, opened my heart up to the possibility of love, I proclaimed sexual desires to a someone and scared both of us (they were very kind in an awkward situation), I bought the smallest pants I have in ten years, I found my voice and stood up to some bullies in my life.....Now the downside, I had my heart crushed, I gained back 12 pounds recently after eating pancakes ( more than a few times but heading back to Weight Watchers Wednesday to reach my goal), dealing with a mom who is not in the best health and I am being her voice, advocate and sometimes a misunderstanding daughter. That was the cliff notes now the meat of it.
I found my voice, my vagina, my courage, my fear, and I know a bit more but feel like I know less perhaps. I acknowledged a part of me I only recently realized after finding my sexuality again....I may like ladies, I say may because I have yet to test out my theory. I have tried and failed, turns out women are even more confusing than men and not everyone can clearly express their truth like I can (and this is nothing I am overly proud of I literally can't help my mouth). My ego left me years ago and admitting how I feel for the good or bad only has made me stronger but not everybody else is honest, forth right, clear. I hate that. The other day I was in the doctors office with my mom and an elderly man in his 80's came in as I waited for my mother's appointment to be done and this gentleman and I chatted. He told me I had a "knowing eye" and he then explained that he watched me make clear judgments of everyone that walked in the room with my eye movements and that not everyone can shoot from their gut and that is a gift. He also said it is probably because I have been around the block a few times and no one can con me. I agreed but I also said well no one but myself. So my gut instinct has brought me success, failure, heartbreak, love, insight, pure joy and a whole lot of life. The thing is I don't smoke, drink and have never done any drugs so pancakes seem to be my salvation and for the last year I gave them up and rolled with it, lost weight, paid off my debt, spoke up, and made adult choices (ahhh that sucks sometimes).
Several months ago someone drove through my mom's living room while I was watching tv with her in the next room, yes this is not a misprint, the 80 yr old driver stepped on the gas not the brake and flew through her living room window and landed in the fire place. It was the loudest sound I ever heard - like if you broke a bottle in your head. I thought the world was being folded inward and my mom panicked and I (being a child who grew up having to bob and weave) do great in emergencies so I had my mom call 911 while I chatted with the driver who was remarkably fine. Three weeks later I moved out, and two weeks after my mom moved in with my brother and his family and she has been deteriorating from post traumatic stress or something else (we will know more this week) ever since. If you have never read my blog, I was a visual arts major not an English major so run on sentences and poor punctuation, well a given. As of very late things have gotten confusing, for everyone. I have one brother who is great, two years older, married with three sons, etc always the athlete, the accountant, the practical, responsible, follow the directions type of guy who can handle life in a mostly non emotional way. I, on the other hand, have always been the march to the beat of my own drum, question authority, my mother's date and shoulder since the age of twelve, always been self employed successfully and unsuccessfully, fearless when it gets down to it. I may wear Talbots and not have tatoos (well a few but no one would know that) but I would throw down in a heart beat for the people I love in my life or for something I believe in with out caution, which is probably why my mom has of late relied on me to speak up for her and do what I think is best when she is not quite sure of what that is.
The other day I found myself giving my mom a speech from the movie Fightclub, telling her she still had fight in her and that she needs to be Brad Pitt and the truth is I was telling myself this. Recently I fell for someone, I did, someone who has a complicated situation and is basically unavailable and being the "righteous" gal that I am I never let any line get crossed except in my heart. I hate that, I grew up in a house where crazy stuff happened and yet I knew because my mom was a highly moral rock "to be honorable, respectable always to yourself", never allow anyone to make you less you because at the end of the day it is you who has to look you in the eye. AHHH, I know so boring, I see those people who are binge drinking, and being trashy and the life of the party and having fun and I am home, alone, googling recipes for blood orange marmalade. So, there is that, my mom's health, my up and down catering business, my sometime comedy performing, my pancakes, just threw them away, my crushed heart...wah, wah, wah. I know even typing this makes me mad at me. I am a single woman who is open to great love (turns out could be anyone), I love my family, I pray for my mom to get better, I have been writing this book about the last five years of my life (my own Eat-pray-love), mine took longer, but the five years end in about a month and who knows how this book is going to end (literally), I know that the truth sets you free but being honest with yourself sometimes feels shitty. My honest truth: sometimes I feel sad, happy, ecstatic, lonely, sexy, beautiful, fat days, mean, angry, frustrated, empowered, hopeful, fearless, successful, like a total f@ck up, a good daughter, a good friend, a crappy daughter, a crappy friend, like a super hero, in need of a hero, and once in a while nothing at all. I always followed the road less traveled which has been good and at times much less than good. I always feel like I take three steps forward and two steps back, lately I am getting over taking any steps back because even now my moms words are right "not everyone has to like me"-----except me and I have a hell of a lot of fight still in me-thanks Brad Pitt! xo, thank you for reading, Vicki