Some days your shit ain’t shit.

So I had just come off an orientation for my new job.  Retail job.  Not a career move or anything, but a step up from my current job.  Making almost a dollar more an hour.  Landed it in an interview that I thought I was bombing, offered on the spot.

Felt pretty good about that.

Then I went to lunch with my friend.  The purpose of which was to let me know that she wouldn’t be working with me at our seasonal gig this year because she decided to go back to work full time.  At a job she was offered.  For more than double what I am making.

I guess it is wrong for me to be jealous.  And initially I thought how great it was for her, and yeah it sucked that I would have to hire someone to replace her, but go her!
But, DAMN.  She wasn’t even looking!  She had only just begun to think about reentering the workplace.  And it was practically handed to her.  SMH

I can’t get an interview with an adult anywhere, that can begin to understand what I am capable of, and feel like I am stuck on a retail treadmill.

So, is it me?

Have I been somehow subverting myself?  In all honesty, I don’t really want a full-time gig.  I have been fairly spoiled over the last few years, and had some windfalls that allowed me to appear retired.  But if I want to be able to live the life to which I am accustomed, work is necessary.  And now I am stuck between giving up the life I have to hope I don’t screw it up on the way to a real retirement.

Just so fargin’ frustrated right now I could puke.

Life Lessons from making Pizza

Been feeling a little under things lately.  Not wanting to do anything, but I pried myself out of bed with a very small agenda.  Do some form of exercise and make pizza dough.  Lofty goals for the day, to be sure.

So, dragged outta bed and hit the yoga mat for a little om and stretch.  A ten breathe meditation.  Off to a good start!  Rolled on into the kitchen for a second cuppa coffee and to survey the domain.  A shambles, as usual.  But, put dishes away, loaded the dishwasher again and fired her up, and went on to task #2.

I love my pizza dough.  I sing it’s praises wherever I go.  It was a basic recipe, that I added some seasonings to (a proprietary blend, I will never tell), and now make on the regular to go with my own sauce recipe.  It is the Bomb.  Diggity.  Really.

It is a little bit of a pain in the ass, though.  No lie.  The single batch recipe yielded two large crusts, that don’t fit in a freezer bag.  OR three smaller crusts that are too much for one person (this person – me twenty years ago, maybe not), but not enough for two.  So, I always make a double batch.  This gets me 5 perfect size crusts.  Each makes a perfect pizza for two, each fits (two to a bag no less) in a gallon freezer bag.  And when I make my sauce it always works out for four pizzas.  One always gets sacrificed for bread sticks, so… voila!

I like to batch cook anyway.  If you are making a mess, may as well make double, or triple or whatever the freezer will bear.  (In my case, not much in the side by side fridge/freezer.)  And, since I am me, and hormonal, and menopausal, and well, Me – it is always good to cook ahead.  Because there are some days it is just not happening.   So, cook a lot.  Eat some, save some for the rest of the week.  Freeze some.  Sometimes give some away.  But if you are doing it, do it.

I’ll be honest.  I was a bit loopier today than usual, because I elected to do TWO double batches of pizza dough today.  Stocking up.  Every other time I have set out to do this, I have talked myself out of it.  I only have one bowl large enough to rise the double batch of dough, so there is a mid stream clean up involved.  And hell, it is a labor intensive deal.  Actually not.  It is a lot of mad-scientist in the beginning, an hour of waiting, a few minutes of stress relief, another 15 minutes of waiting and then however you can manage to parbake 5-10 crusts and cool completely for freezing.

But that means it gives you a lot of thinking time.  And I think I really love making this dough.  It reminds me that my place really is in the kitchen.  Cooking.  Feeding.  Tasting.  Experiencing.  Remembering.

Whenever I get out the mixer for making this dough, I think of Mrs. H.  She was my surrogate mom, my best friend’s mom, and I spent a LOT of time in their kitchen.  She didn’t make pizza dough.  But, oh, Christmas Cookie season…. Sigh.  Actually, I don’t remember a mixer, but I remember a lot of baking.  And canning.  Such a store they had in their cellar!  And when I reach things off my top shelves I remember hearing her say, “if you will get me that […] down, I’ll love you forever!”  And I always laughed, and teased her because she was gonna do it anyway.  She was and forever will be my first and greatest experience of unconditional love.  I have owned many dogs, and theoretically they are always that, but no… it was Mrs. H.

But I digress, as anyone who knows me knows will always happen.

So, pizza dough.  Any bread really, but pizza dough.  You get all your dry ingredients together.  No biggie.  But the wet… well, it has to be the right temperature.  Too hot, and you will kill the yeast.  Too cool, and it won’t activate.  And the window is pretty narrow.  So you have to be a bit exacting.  Inevitably it is a game.  Boiling water, add more water to cool, or wait for it to cool – not quite cool enough, wait… NOW…

Add, mix, but not too much.  Don’t overwork it, it gets tough.  Don’t under mix it, it doesn’t get even textured.  Perfect dough is elastic, but not sticky.  And nearly never happens.

Two double batches, back to back.  Same ingredients, same amounts, same attention (I think).  But the first was wet, like I forgot some flour.  The second was dry and heavy, like I added too much.  I wound up kneading a little more in to the first batch after the first rising.  Did nothing to the second.  They both baked up the same.  So, in the end, a lot of worry and fuss to get to the end with no worries.  Life lesson.  Don’t worry or fuss, just stick to the plan.  Adapt accordingly.  You will get there.

While the first crusts were baking, and the second batch was rising, I started thinking about my grand-kids.  Sure, I only married into the family, but they are mine, just the same.  I love them, and think the world of them, and am constantly amazed at the wonderful beings they are becoming.  And, I remember the first time I made them pizza.

I used to get annoyed that every time the family got together, we inevitably ate pizza, but when you got all five of the kids together, that was pretty much a guarantee that they would eat.  And we could deal with that for one meal here and there.  But one time I made the dough, and the sauce, and grated the cheese (four cheeses) like I always do for us.  And they bought pizzas because again, guarantees of kids eating.  But Kyler reached for my pizza, and his dad looked at him like, ‘what are you doing?’  And Kyler said, “What?!?  She’s a good cook!”  And I am not even sure how he knew that.  But he enjoyed it, and I enjoyed That.  Life lesson.  Even when you think you are not making an impact, you are.

Which brings me to another side note.  Because I think of this one often when I am cooking, too.  Another grandson saw something at our small wedding reception and said, “ooh!” to which his father replied, “You won’t like that.”  And so, Cage moved on.  It has taken much cajoling over time to get him to try new things.  But how can you know if you like something if someone else is telling you you won’t.  You can’t.  Life lesson.  Your taste buds are yours.  No one else can tell you what is good.  Their experience is not your experience.  Mind you, this only refers to taste.  Life lessons of themselves are different.  Experience can be a wonderful teacher.  Learning from someone else’s is usually far less costly.  But, hey, we are all gonna fail at that from time to time.

Yes, I have rambled on quite a bit here.  But this was what all was going through my head while the music was playing and I was dancing in the kitchen, out of the kitchen, and waiting for various stages of readiness.  So, missions accomplished.  Exercise, pizza doughs and hey, I even got some turkey fritters prepped, and cold-brew coffee started.

Life lesson.  You can do more than you think you can.

 

Just My Luck

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.  ~ Wayne Dyer

 

This morning, I was whining to my husband about the odd things that occur during the night that keep me from getting a restful sleep (of which there are many).  After discussing the many causes, and possibilities of causes – both physical and mental, and determining that some people are more predisposed than others to various physiological issues, he said, “maybe it’s just your luck – it’s not good or bad, but it is yours.”

That hit me square between the eyeballs.

I have been fighting acceptance, lately.  Accepting the current world order.  Accepting that no one wants to hire someone over 50 (regardless of the fact that Uncle Sam seems to think I have a good 18 years work left in me – but don’t get me started on that one).  Accepting that I need to work, when through all of our relationship I really have not, and how that is going to upset our apple cart.  Accepting my excess skin.  Accepting my new wrinkles and gray hairs. 

But now here is this idea that my luck is My Luck.  It is not bad.  Others certainly have it worse…  It is not good.  Others certainly have it better.  But it is mine.  Not yours, not his, not hers.  Mine.  My reality.  And because it is mine, no one else has the right to judge how I respond (or not) to it, any more than I have the right to judge theirs.  I can only work through my reality the best way I can.  I can try to understand theirs, but I can really only just try. 

Strangely, now, this I can accept.

I will be honest and tell you that lately, I have been responding poorly to various stimuli.  And it has felt like trying to move through quicksand, sinking deeper and deeper, flailing with no progress (and yes, a good deal of regression).

So now, I think I will just say, “Well, this is just my luck,” and move on.  Not the dripping-with-sarcasm statement we usually make with these words, but just the acknowledgement that this is the current Point A.  And if I don’t like Point A, then I can just move on to Point B.  No struggle, no fuss, just pick a path and go.

This will be difficult for me, as I suffer from paralysis by analysis more often than not.  But that’s me.

Just My Luck.  😉

Fear Factor

Dear Lord.

Why am I so afraid of every damn thing?

Here I am, still unemployed after nearly five years.  Mr. Patient Man at my side is an enabler.  I get that.  He perceives my unrest, my discontent, my inability to face the world, the reality that is I really need a j.o.b. so that when he retires, we can do stuff together then.  But we selfishly plug along in the now, not wanting to upset the applecart that is our lives, being able to move freely – at will.  That freedom will not last long, if the income situation does not improve.

Had a wild-hair idea to start my own fitness facility, and already two days into researching the feasibility of such an endeavor, I am overwhelmed and terrified that if I start such a thing, I will just be a slave to it, instead of the circus ringleader I hope to be… and we will be chained to it, unable to be our best, just like the proverbial circus elephant.

The reality is that even when I was actively pursuing work, it was actively evading me.  Okay, I was only half-arsed pursuing work.  But hey, if I am only going to get part-time employment, with no benefits, I sure don’t want a god-awful commute.  I want to stay local.  Sadly, local is pretty sad and bleak in and of itself, so I need to reach further.  Conundrum.

I wasted a grand on getting some group training instructor certifications.  I wish it wasn’t a waste, but it will take me two years to get my money’s worth out of it (assuming I get to use them at all), at which time I will have to recertify and run out of money all over again.  Sigh.

Feeling pretty disheartened to say the least.  I have never really felt a drive for what I want to do with my life.  I have been led around by the nose, and by others’ dreams for me, for most of my existence.  Nothing has felt authentic – not that I would know what that feels like!  So it seems I need to dig deeper and figure out what feels unfigureoutable.

But I am terrified of the deep work.  I am scared to know my true self.  I know that my husband saved me from myself – I was on a pretty dark path when he came into my world.  What if my true self is someone I, or he, cannot bear?

Breathe.  Begin.

What do you know?

So I set this up 3-4 months ago.  Thought I had lots to say.  And I do.

But I was a little bit under the vine, and I knew I wanted to say things.  Fortunately, not so much that I said them right then – I knew enough to hold myself back in that condition.

Which brings me to today.

I finally think it is okay to get my voice out.

What is the CZI chronicles, anyway?

CZI is a tip of the hat to my former life in aviation.  CZI is an identifier for a navaid out west – lovingly called Crazy Woman.  I am convinced I am crazy quite often, I am woman, and well, I like it, so that is what I chose to title this location.

I haven’t yet figured out the ins and outs here, but I will.  And when I have something better to talk about, I will be back.  But for right now, it is enough for you to know that I am a woman, I turned 50 this year, and I insist on it being a Golden Year.  Already there have been challenges to that, but I will continue to expect it.  I have an awesome man at my side who is solid gold himself – so if I do fall short, at least I have that.  His love and support are all I truly need in this world.  Everything else is just a want.

Enjoy your journey!  😉