Saturday, September 16, 2017

Low Carb Salmon Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

Do you like salmon? 

Do you like cake?

If you answered yes to both these questions then you should try my salmon cakes!  Except they are nothing even relatively close to cake....but it got you to keep reading. Right?

They are super easy and tasty on their own, but it's the remoulade that really puts it over the top.  I LOOOVE  cold sauces. Aiolis, remoulades, cocktail, tarter....any of them!  Load me up! I always make a big batch to have leftovers to eat with anything and everything. I just can't get enough of it 

Here goes!

Salmon Cakes

1/2 C. small diced celery
3/4 C. small diced red bell pepper
1/2 C. sliced green onion
(3) 5oz cans boneless skinless salmon
2 Tb. brown mstard
6 Tb. mayo
3 tsp. old bay seasoning
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. finely ground pork rinds)
2 eggs, beaten

Combine all the ingredients together well.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before forming into patties so it has to to absorb the moisture and stick together better.

Form into patties using a 1/4 c.  Pan fry in high smoke point oil over medium high heat until golden brown on each side.  If you think they have browned before the centers have set, you can always bake them until set and firm in the middle. Serve with spicy remoulade

Spicy Remoulade

1C. mayo
5 Tb. minced dill pickle
1 Tb. chopped capers
2 Tb. minced green onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients.   Best when made ahead of time so flavors can meld

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I Finally Left a Job That Was Killing Me

So if you know me personally, you probably know that I just recently quit my job of the last 7 years.  And let me make it was FAR more than just the "Seven Year Itch" that prompted me to leave. It's been a build up of emotions and frustrations that brought me to a breaking point.  But it wasn't always like that...........

The Good Ole Days

I first started with the company when I was a wee little lady of 20.  It was back when the economy was shit and I had been applying for jobs for months without any luck.  I was thrilled when they called me....even if it was just a crap pay part time job.  After a few months of that job I got a full time gig, then about 3 months after that I got a promotion to the job I had actually wanted all along when a position unexpectedly opened.  (back then there was low turnover because people stayed put and liked being there....that has since changed lol)  I worked about 3 years where I can say I was genuinely happy being there.  We had a tight knit crew that felt like family. The kind where we all sat together at one long table everyday like it was Thanksgiving. We were invested in each others lives, had little to no drama, and we all seemed to have each others back.  If someone was behind we jumped in and helped without being asked because we knew next week they would return the favor. 

Even with the management team, they may have had their issues with each other, but they seemed to support their staff. I never felt uneasy with them. As I sit back and remember those times....I think we were all pretty content with where we were at. Until........

The Shift

....There was a big change in management.  Some left voluntarily, some not.  And that's when things FIRST started to get a little weird.  I know what you're thinking...."what you couldn't hack some new blood coming in and shaking things up??"  Yea, yea....we bitched about a few things, but quickly adapted to the "small" things and the focus was on what I feel were the big things. It was the way we were spoken to and berated. Even if it wasn't aimed at you personally, it was watching it happen to a person singled out because they were an easy target that wouldn't stand up for themselves.   It was at this time that the negative culture was born.  The once positive and fun environment quickly disappeared and everyone was collectively miserable.  People were pitted against each other and everyone walked on egg shells all the time.  This is when I  made my first attempt to get out.  Almost 4 months ago to the day I interviewed for what I now see was a ridiculous option...I was just so miserable and desperate I didn't even care what it was.  I remember calculating down to the penny how much of a pay cut I could take if I had to and still pay my bills.  When they told me in the interview that it wasn't going to happen (the job was COMPLETELY different than any experience I had on my resume), I remember going back to my car, calling The Boy, and sobbing for at least 10 minutes before even being able to drive away.

The Next 3 Years 

A few months after this first attempt to break out, things began to calm down.  The complete outbursts at employees lessened so the mind set of "maybe things will be ok now" started to creep in.  Shortly after that I was offered a position that gave me a Monday-Friday schedule...something that is nearly impossible to come by in the food industry.  As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance.  Then just a few short months after that, I was offered another new position.  I was only thrown some mere change as a raise, but I would keep the Mon-Fri schedule and get myself out of the kitchen chaos. I took the opportunity yet again.

Much like an abusive relationship, you try to forget the bad times and try to focus on the good.  "Things are different now...right?"  Nope.

These last few  years were some of the most dysfunctional I have ever experienced.  Turn over was so high we could never keep up. We were constantly short in every single area of the department that everyone was just thrown extra duties daily....then they would get bitched at for not being able to get out on time.  Getting pulled to work other areas for 6 out of 8 hours of their shift for days in a row....then they would wonder why their  own job was incomplete.  You could never win.

 Everyone around me was overworked, under appreciated, and treated like crap no matter how much harder they busted their ass.  I saw people who I respected and genuinely felt were excellent workers being completely beat down day after day. Morale was at an all time low and we lost that "family" feel that we all had loved so much.  People were so overwhelmed all the time that everyone sort of went into self preservation mode.  You stopped looking for ways to help out your coworkers because it just didn't even feel possible anymore.  If someone else was in the shit you put your head down and tried to stay out of it.  The complete opposite of everything it had been before. This place certainly had a way of making loyal hard workers not care at all anymore.

 Meanwhile, with my new position I got jerked around far less than them and still got my 2 days off every week.  The entire reason I ever took this job was to afford me these "perks" and yet I as going home at night feeling extreme guilt for not being as shit on as my coworkers.  I hated watching people I cared about being put on long stretches and left with little to no direction, while still being held completely responsible (blamed) at the drop of a dime when anything went wrong. 

The same went for the supervisory staff.  I know that they got just as shit on as we (the line levels) did, but just in a different way.  I know it was hard for a lot of my coworkers to recognize that and they would often just get really angry with them.  Not saying I didn't...I did.  But I was sympathetic to their position as well.  I could see  how they never felt they could hold their head above water.  It became a perpetual cycle of never being able to really solve any problems and just slapping a tiny bandaid on something that needed stitches (how do you like that metaphor there)  I could see how they were just as beat down as us and would give up. It became about just getting through the day even if it was just by the skin of their teeth and to the detriment of their staff.

 I could give you SOOOOO many examples of the dysfunction and toxic environment.....but I would never even get around to posting this.  There is just far too much.  I almost feel like this is doing a disservice to what really went down...and almost downplays how bad the environment is.  But please....just believe me when I say it is not good.

Me Personally 

So like I said....I got jerked around alot less being out of the kitchen....but my own set of frustrations set in.  I actually really liked my new job as the purchaser and took it pretty seriously.  But I quickly became frustrated with never being able to get information out of anyone in a timely matter to do my end of things.  I was always having to rush because of them and ended up looking like a douche with a lot of my vendors at no fault of my own.  Communication was at a zero and I would often find out about major changes through my vendor reps.  They would hear about things before me and it made me look like an idiot (tnakfully they quickly caught on to the dynamic and knew it wasn't me)

Major projects would come the time we took over a property across the street and I got NOTHING out of them until the day before it was happening.  No guidance, no processes, no information.....nada.  I was rushing around trying to make sense of the chaos while the big boss was on vacation that ENTIRE first week.  I openly expressed frustration to the supervisors around me and one of the snakiest ones reported back to him that I was "disgruntled and angry." The next week when he got back from vacation he said to me "if you don't think you can handle this, do you need a new position?"  I think this was the beginning of the end for me.  How douchey of him to throw me (and the workers of that property) into something brand new with no guidance AT ALL and take off for a week. Then you have the balls to come back and the very first thing you say to me is insinuating that I am just not hacking it??? Are you kidding me? It felt completely disrespectful. Not to mention even after that he never showed any interest in that area at all. Getting that place to a point where it could run (relatively) smoothly came at no thanks to him.  It was from us figuring it out on our own and creating a process...and yet there was no acknowledgment of that whatsoever.

I also started to feel mocked for doing my job.  Just a little backstory so you can understand better.  The majority of things I ordered I could completely handle on my own directly with the vendors.  The patient supplements and tube feeds however, required me to go through the network purchasing department.  I would put in what what I needed into a system and it would have to be approved by the big boss before it would even get sent to the purchasing department to order.  He was not "approving" my orders in a timely manner at all.  Orders that should have come within 2 days were coming in 7-9.  I began having to hound him both over email and in person to do his part (mind was just a mere click of the mouse).  I got a lot of half eye rolls and annoyed sounding responses which frustrated me, but I could handle it.  What really sent me over the edge was one time when I was asking about it again he said "you are ALWAYS on my back about that!!"

Oh bad! Sorry for doing my job.  Sorry for not trying to run out of supplements needed for people who can't eat. Sorry I "annoy" you to do your job.  Seriously....fuck me right?  I'm the worst.....

I also felt mocked for keeping my eye on the budget.  I had a spreadsheet that I would track everything bought and the category it fit into.  When they would want me to bring in new products I would point out when we weren't making a profit on them.  Or when we had caterings that used too many items not in regular inventory we would end up spending more to bring them in (say a big case that we only used a small portion of) than we would make off the entire catering.  I would simply point these things out and his response always was "I don't care about the price!."  Ok...that was apparent, but I felt the need to point it out so when we went over budget I had that on my side. I also heard about things he would say behind my back.  He would say things like "Oh...did WHITNEY say it was toooo expensive???" (imagine that in a condescending tone and the upward eye roll emoji)  

It also hit the point where you could pinpoint the exact moments he was feeling insecure about his own job.  He would go on a rampage/witch hunt trying to find anything he could try to spin as being your fault.  (this happened to everyone, not just me)  He would NEVER say it to my face, but would walk my storerooms and walk ins and make comments about how I was overstocked etc.  I would confront him and ask him if he had any issues with me he needed to discuss and of course he would say no and that I was "tripping out" for no reason.  I  made it clear that if he had issues with things pertaining to my job performance he needed to talk to ME about them, not walk around asking and discussing it with everyone else about it but me. Everything there felt like it was handled immaturely and completely unprofessionally. 

The Cycle

So like I mentioned earlier, the last 3 years have been a cycle between "ehh", bad, and REALLY bad.  Something would happen worse than the normal everyday and my mind would start racing about how I needed to get out. Things would then settle back into bad or "ehh" and I would think..."its ok, I can do this" Or at any point the big boss would sense I was really unhappy I would get pulled into his office to have a pow wow.  They were the same thing over and over.  He appreciated and "respected" me and my opinions (eye roll) blah blah blah.  Basically, like an abusive relationship would try to smooth things over.  Sadly, in the very early days I bought it a few times but after a while it just became white noise.  I would speak my peace a little, then just nod my head until I could get out of there.  I was banking on the hope that the really bad times would become fewer and further between and that I could maybe just outlast this until something happened to make things better.  Quiiiiite the opposite happened though.  Things continually got worse.  Morale was at the absolute lowest, and the "this is REALLY fucking bad" times were now closer and closer together.  I would sometimes only even be able to go a week where I felt like I could relax and just do my job.

This Is NOT Normal

My work environment has been a major talking point for me in the last couple years (my instagram followers know lol)  Nearly every family gathering the topic came up.  At first people like my father in-law would say things like "well you get that everywhere you go."  Or... "every job has it's ups and downs."  Believe me...I get this.  I am Rita Realistic here.  I understand that a job will always be a job.  You will always be frustrated at something and things will never be smooth sailing.  I get it. But after 7 years of being there it was becoming abundantly clear that things were never going to get better.  As I would tell my family things that went down at work they would all be shaking their head in disbelief.  I've sat in the kitchens of each of my siblings and sobbed more times than a person should about their job.  It became even more clear to me when they would look me dead in the eye and say, "Whitney...this is NOT normal.  We need to get you out." If outsiders were saying this, I felt it must be true.

I became open to the idea of leaving about a year ago.  The problem though (or not) was that I was adamant that I had to be leaving for better and not just leaving to leave.  I wanted to maintain the same great Mon-Fri schedule.  I didn't want to take a step back or to the side...I needed to go up.

I completely own up to the fact that I don't deal with change well.  At all.  I would find myself thinking things like "I know this place is shitty but at least I KNOW this shit."  The thought of going somewhere else and being just as miserable but in a new and unknown form of shit was terrifying to me. Well meaning friends and family would send me TONS of jobs but I only applied for a handful because I was adamant and not just taking anything just to get out. The job itself needed to also be the right fit. I knew at some point I might be willing to, but right now I was going to hold out for better.  

I'm a Bitch

Hindsight I can now clearly see that that incident where we took over that other operation was when I really began to disconnect and change as a person.  I started to truly hate who I was and how I felt when I was at work.  My stomach would turn the closer and closer I got to work on my drive in. As soon as I walked in the door I was hit with waves of sadness, frustration, and anger.  Sometimes before anything had even happened.  I started to see things in myself I truly hated.  I was snappy and impatient almost all of the time (some deserved it, some didn't)  I was never NOT complaining...EVER.  I just felt like a miserable bitch. I started coming home at night and crying to The Boy about something I had said to someone that day.  How they had asked me a question and I started to raise my voice.  Not AT them per say, but about a situation surrounding the question they had asked me and their response was " Oh WOW" with a look of shock on their face.  In the moment it didn't bother me, but minutes later as I sat alone at my desk it began to eat away at me.  How I hoped they realized that it wasn't about them but this place and situation, but all the while feeling extreme guilt for even getting angry at all.  It wasn't their fault.  But this was just one of many incidents where I just didn't feel myself.  I felt  like I wasn't the kind person I know I can be. Not saying I can't be an impatient and snappy bitch on my own....totally can! But this was far too often and over the top.  The fact that it was spilling so far over into my home life too was not good.  I stopped being able to check it at the front door and became consumed with the anger, frustration, and guilt from each and every day.

I ended up asking one of my coworkers if he felt like 2 different people in and outside of work and he said, " YES!! I'm actually a nice person outside of work" The reason I asked him specifically is because I had already sensed that in him.  He's a nice guy, but much like me he spent the majority of his days angry and snappy. I never held it against him in anyway or even gave it much thought until I started seeing some of the things he posted on social media.  He sounded like a completely different person.  Happy. Grateful. Enthusiastic.....quite different from the person I saw everyday lol  We had a short conversation about it that brought me great relief.  It was nice to know I wasn't the only one who felt this way

My Breaking Point and The PERFECT Timing

Back in July my best friend told me about the PERFECT job opportunity.  It was so perfect I couldn't even believe it! I quickly applied and the waiting game began.  Just a mere 4 days after this, one of the worst situations at this place to date began to unfold.  I won't get too would make this already long novel into a week long read.  Also, it's not my story to tell (errm....cept I already told it in real time on Instagram lol whoops!)  Even though it was not happening to ME directly, it broke me as if it was and I was completely invested in trying to get this person justice.  Without details the long story short was the big boss did something completely unethical that cost a coworker of mine a great job opportunity.  As if his interference wasn't bad enough already, he lied about it through his teeth to HR.  HR per usual was basically useless in trying to handle the situation, along with other people up the chain that were contacted as it felt like nothing was being handled.  They stopped answering the persons attempts at contact and it just felt like they were trying to make the whole situation go away so they wouldn't be in a big mess.  To me it felt like something lawsuit worthy if he had kept going.

As he did with me, he pulled this person into the office and tried to "make nice" by saying he never meant for things to turn out this way.  That he would be happy to help him in the future...even offering up the possibility of my job when I left (mind you, my notice was not in at this point nor had I even told him I was looking elsewhere. Someone had just opened their big mouth about it.  Yet another example of his unprofessionalism that he then "pow wowed" with me over when he heard it pissed me off.  Again I was "taking it all wrong" according to him)

The whole situation was completely wrong and I was broken hearted at how it was now obvious to me  how corrupt the entire place is going up the chain.  I had held out hope before that it was just our department that was so dysfunctional and unethical....but this whole ordeal made it clear that  it was deep rooted and so that meant it would never get fixed.  Nobody was going to come in and "save" us because they were just as backwards.  

One particular night while talking to the person it happened to, they basically told me it was over and they were done fighting it. I was sickened that once again (reminder that there is more stories than I could ever tell) these people were getting away with murder and I just couldn't take it anymore. I repeated to The Boy over and over in between crying and pounding tequila "I need to get that job. I NEED to!!"

Luckily....I did.  

Onward and Upward

After a month of waiting, then multiple interviews....I was offered the job.  In this moment I was so happy I had held out for better, because this will truly be better in every sense.  More money, an exciting new project/position I feel fit for, and a dream schedule that simply CANNOT be beat! In that moment on the phone the weight of the world felt lifted from my shoulders and I was fighting back tears of joy while almost yelling into her ear with excitement.  This is EXACTLY what I needed and at the most perfect time....when I was feeling hopeless (seems appropriate for me to add in that right at this time when the above incident was unfolding, my husband had been laid off from his job abruptly.  So you can imagine how much stress I was under and how unhappy I was)

Actually Leaving

Crazy enough, right as I was applying for all this so was one of the supervisors.  We ended up putting in our notices a day apart from each other, him going first.  After he put it in he told me he had actually gotten a little emotional. He asked if I did and I said no.  His response was basically "wow" and how that showed how much this place had broken me down to be so disconnected.  We reflected on how just 6 months earlier a person who left cried while putting theirs in and they were OPENLY miserable and wanting out for a while.  They had been there less than half the time I had, so my lack of emotion spoke volumes.  I was just DONE.

I worked through my notice and my last day was quickly approaching.  Because of peoples days off I had been saying goodbye for the last 3 days or so I was there.  I didn't get emotional with any of them at all.....until...HER.

One of the cooks came up to me and said "If I don't see you tomorrow I just wanted to tell you good luck and thank you"  I barely held it together long enough to make it to the bathroom before I started sobbing.  Some of you lucky people got to see the ugly cry face in real time on Instagram.  lucky!! lol

The funny thing about her was that we weren't close at all.  Not even a little bit.  She had been there maybe a year and our interaction was minimal.  But as she so genuinely wished me luck I was hit with the guilt of how I had treated her.  I had never been purposely or directly "mean" to her, but I can 1,000% own up to the fact that I was impatient with her..  When she would ask me questions I tended to be very short.  When I explained things to her my voice was not in as kind of a tone as it should have been.  This eats me up inside like you wouldn't believe.  I hate that that "version" of me is the only one that she ever got to know.  As much as this pains me, it was a great reminder of why I was leaving.  I needed to leave before I lost myself completely. Before that became my personality and demeanor all the time.  As much as that moment hurts me and I still tear up now just even writing this, I am also so very thankful for this moment of clarity.  It made me realize that the lack of emotion in leaving up until this point was ok, because in the end I was getting emotional for all the right reasons.  I'm not dead inside yet and I desperately want to be a better person.  I can't do that there.

My best friend suggested I talk to her and apologize for being impatient with her, but I knew I would not be able to get through it without crying and she would probably just think I'm a nutcase considering we never spoke about anything besides quick work related things.  I am truly hoping that the way I talked to her bothers me more than it did her.  

The next day when it actually came time for me to clock out for the last time and turn in my badge, I did so without any tears.  I was so ready to put this place behind me and dive straight into everything that has scared me for the last 4 years.

The Future

Again with the guilt...I feel guilty over leaving some people behind.  I know I have to do what's best for me, but I can't help but feel emotional about some of the people still there.  Those who I know get treated like garbage because they can't effectively defend themselves.  Those that I fear are "stuck" and will never get out for various reasons (pay, experience, benefits, age etc)....only to live out a numbers of years of their life in misery. I want better for them just as much as I want better for myself.  I don't know why I feel such responsibility for their well being and feel so deeply about it, but I do.  I am still trying to work through that.  I don't where I am supposed to draw the line between letting go and freeing myself of that stress or feeling like I need to do something about.  I'll keep ya posted....

I am currently taking time off between the two jobs to relax, recharge, and mentally move on from the last 7 years.  I start next week and can't wait for this new chapter.  It has been a long time coming.

I am most excited to be in a more positive work environment where I can get back to being me.  I am ready to kind again.  Ready to have challenges but not CONSTANT frustrations.  Ready to like myself again.

One last thing...The Boy always says this and it is absolutely true! Management is what makes or breaks a place.  People will stick out a job they don't  absolutely love if they feel theyare supported by and trusting of their superiors.  And vice versa....I liked my actual "job" and would have stayed and done it for years had it not been for the leadership of that entire network


If you made it this far...thank you! I know it was a long one and believe me, it could have been even longer. (like the supervisor that is a legit pathological liar, the secret deal made with an employee to tell HR things in a good light about them, how none of the equipment ever works...oh there is lots!) 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Basic Bitch Cake: Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake

I'm guessing that at some point or another you have heard the term "Basic Bitch"  For those who haven't here is a rough idea

Basically...(ha!) It's a funny term to refer to girls who like all the same typical or "basic" things.  One of the running jokes and themes of being a Basic Bitch is how much they love fall and all things pumpkin

So when I decided to make a pumpkin spice version of my New York Crumb Cake and give it to The Boy to take to work I told him it was "Basic Bitch Cake".....and the name just kinda stuck.

The recipe just like my original crumb cake starts with a cake mix.  But instead of yellow I swapped it out to spice cake and subbed out some of the oil and eggs for pumpkin puree, added some extra spice and voila.

Basic Bitch Cake (Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake)

1 Spice cake mix
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 C. Milk
1 C. pumpkin puree
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Crumb Topping

4 C. Flour
2/3 C. Brown Sugar
2/3 C. White Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Cinnamon
3 sticks melted butter

Combine the cake mix, eggs, milk, spices, and pumpkin.  Beat until smooth.  Spread in well greased sheet cake pan.
Bake for 15 mins at 350.  Meanwhile combine all ingredients for crumb topping.  

After 15 mins pull cake out and let cool slightly.  Break apart crumb topping dough into large crumbs and cover the entire cake.  Bake and additional 15 mins

Let cool completely before serving

 Since we're on the subject of Basic Bitchiness.....I thought I would try and determine where I land on the Basic spectrum.  Let's see here....

Not sure if this counts or not but all my paperwares are Basic
I just wore jeans recently for the first time in MONTHS (meaning leggings are my go to), even though I currently only own a camping worthy pair, I love me some Ugg boots! (even more of a basic offense I have eve rocked the Eskiho look in years past)

I could talk all day about how much I love Disney and Holidays, and boots and a flannel shirt are a good look in my book.

But on the flip side....I have only had Starbucks once and have never had Dutch Bros coffee (I just can't get down with paying that much beverage that doesn't at least have booze in it....and even then I do 97% of my drinking at home anyway)

While I don't dislike pumpkin I don't go INSANE the way alot of girls do, and lastly....I don't like Beyonce or Taylor Swift (20something girls everywhere just got the wind knocked out of them and aren't sure why)

So where does that place me on a scale of 1-10?  I'm going to say I'm a solid 7 Basic Bitch.

Where do you land on the spectrum??

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cholo Couples Costume

Looking for a last minute couples costume?  Well I have an easy one for ya...Cholo is the way to go!

The reason why it's perfect for last minute is because it's likely you have 90% of it in you closet already.

In the past I've spent a lot more time and energy in planning my costume....but last year was just too crazy.  I went on vacation and then immediately came back and threw a baby shower the weekend before costuming took the inevitable back seat.  I didn't even decide on the Cholo couple thang until the night before.  

So what do you need???

Flannel- with the return of the 90s fashions I betcha got at least one passable flannel in your closet.  Just make sure you only button the top button and you're set

Wife beater- or plain white T

Khaki pants- the wider the leg the better.  Grey or black will work too.....but I feel most Cholo in khaki

Bandanna or beanie- you know you have one!

For the ChoLAs Specifically: big ass hoop earrings, lip liner, and eye liner

Me and The Boy had pretty much everything we needed....but I got pretty set on the idea of getting what I only remembered as the foamy Nikes  I remember from my childhood.  Now I wasn't sure what they were really called so I had to do some googling to find out they are Nike Cortez.  Then I was informed by a few people that they are also called "Dopemans".  Mmkkay
 So Halloween morning I hopped in Cammy Corolla and ventured over to the mall in the sketchy part of town to score the shoe loot. 

 We were good to go!

One thing I completely underestimated was the art of crunchy hair.  I wet my hair, got max hold gel, and scrunched and scrunched until I developed arthritis and STILL didn't get the crispy look I was going for.  It was a big bummer.  Wah waaah! 

Here is how we looked together head to Dopeman

Then of course we took the kiddos trick or treating.  The Boy is a large I'm pretty sure people just assumed this was his normal everyday attire hahaha

At one point when we made it down the block I got sent back to the house on a beer run (like I literally ran both ways...first and only time a "run" for booze has been literal in my world)  My sister laughed because I could not have looked more ghetto in my gettup running with bottles of beer 

We came across the MOST PERFECT truck to pose with in our costumes....and just to prove how not hard I am....(in case you MIGHT have thought I was a hard ass)....I was told to throw up the "West side" sign.

This white girl panicked something fierce...didn't know what to do....and threw up the number 3 instead. Bahaha!  Nerd alert....More like a segment on Sesame Street than a gang sign 

That's a white cup in my hand.....not a completely misshapen boobie

That about sums it up here.  What has been your go to last minute costume?? I  might need it this year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grandma Yetta Costume

I am a HUGE  fan of The Nanny.  It's for sure in my top 5 favorite shows of all time. I have this dream of being each of The Fine women for Halloween, Yetta, Sylvia, and Fran (although technically Yetta isn't a Fine....she's a Rosenberg, but you get the idea and that's probably more information than you needed to know anyway)

A few years back I was Fran.  You can see the post HERE

I'm going to have to do a redo some year.....because honestly it wasn't that great.  My hose weren't opaque enough, my lips weren't red enough, and the hair wasn't high enough.  It was a bit half assed and Fran Fine deserves my whole ass.  But in my defense.....I was in charge of alllllll the food for the particular Halloween party, and most of you probably know that when you are the one pulling the party getting ready (whether it be cute and dolled up or in costume) always seems to take a back seat and you never quite turn out the way you wanted.  Someday I will do her justice!

Fast forward about 2 years.....(but still at least 8 months before Halloween) and I was doing a little shopping at Goodwill.  I was walking down an aisle and the clothes on a rack parted and light came shining down from the sky......ok so not exactly.  BUT it did sort of feel like divine intervention.  

The rack was totally full and I couldn't see the front of it....but for some reason I was drawn to what at the time I could only tell was a black sweater with thick shoulder pads.  Once I moved the clothes next to it and I could see the front.....I gasped (gaspy hands on face emoji) and proclaimed out loud for the world to hear (really) "A YETTA sweata!!!"

It was a bright sequined sweater that instantaneously SCREAMED Grandma Yetta and I bought it right on the spot and kept it the rest of the year until Halloween.  Things like that just don't happen everyday and you must seize the opportunity!

Once it got a little closer to Halloween I started to gather the rest of the components for my Yetta  getup.   I bought a cheapo fanny pack and painted it gold with sparkly acrylic paint, stole some pants from my mothers closet (not sure why she had such horrendous pants that I don't remember her wearing since I was in the first grade...but whatevs....worked out well for me!) and bought a grey wig online.  The finishing touch was the glasses from and a little lipstick.

My sister Bree was my hairstylist Halloween day and did an AMAZING job at teasing the ever lovin crap out of the wig and giving me some pretty EPIC Yetta hair.  It came out 1000000x better than I could have ever imagined or done myself.  Good job seester!

 Here it is all done

And a little side by side action

I can't wait to do a Fran redo and get my Sylvia on!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

7 Reasons Why This Non-Sporty Broad is Fangirling Over the Olympics

Me and sports are two things that seldom cross paths.  I can't play any sports worth a crap and besides a 2 year period where I was obsessed with catching every Diamondbacks game....the extent of my sport fandom is low, low, low.  I leave that to my husband....he cares enough for both of us.  Yet here I am rushing home from work as fast as I can to catch the Olympics. The channel on my TV has not been changed from NBC since the opening ceremonies and my Netflix and Hulu accounts are having the longest break ever since they were first activated.  So why does a girl like me who normally doesn't give sports the time of day actually LOVE the Olympics? Well I've got 7 reasons for you......

1. Novelty 

Birthdays and Christmas are awesome because they come once a year right?  Well the Olympics are only every 2 years and you have to wait 4 years to see that particular kind again.  To keep me interested in sports it needs to feel novel and not beat to death.  I was telling my sisters last football season (or couch season as we call it in my house) that Carrie Underwood should really consider changing those lyrics to the NFL theme song.

  "Sunday Night" my ass. Lies.  Try EVERY NIGHT.  There's Sunday, Thursday, Monday....then when you factor in College football you have Saturday.  Ugh! Too much!!  Too much for me.  Every 2-4years is right up my alley

2. It's Short & Sweet

This one goes along with #1 because they both relate to my attention span issues.  I can hardly sit through a you can imagine how sports would be a struggle for me.  First of all, the Olympics only last 2 weeks period, so while I maybe full blown into it and rushing home to's a 2 week max obsession instead of 4 days a week for months on end.  I just can't commit to more than that.  Nope.

And then the events themselves are also short and sweet.  How I ever used to sit and watch a 3 hour baseball game day after ever lovin day is BEYOND me.  Swimming and gymnastic for example, a heat can be just a couple minutes or even less depending on the event.  You can watch an hour of it and see soooo much!  The stop and start, stop and start of football KILLS me.  At least basketball keeps moving....but I need the instant gratification that I get from Olympic events. It all gets wrapped up in neatly a matter of minutes and moves on to the next thing.

And for the longer events I like to watch, like say cycling, they cut back and forth to it all day long.  Perfect for an ADD human like myself 

3. Passion

I'm gonna get all Gouda on you here....but I enjoy the passion that comes with the Olympics versus regular sports.  Most of the sports aren't mainstream and while they may have Wold Championships and such, they don't get a lot of attention.  The Olympics are the event they are working towards and they only get that opportunity every 4 years.  You can see and feel how much it means to each of the athletes and I love that! 
Aly Raisman and her holy crap, happy tears!

 That is why I really have very little interest in the Basketball events.  Like take Kevin Durant for example, he might be pumped to be there repping his coutry.....but we all know this isn't his main career goal.  This is for a lack of better words just something to do in the off season but not something he has been working towards for years on end. It just doesn't have the same feel so I skip it all together

4. Nostalgia

Nostalgia plays a big part into why I love the Olympics so much.  When I was little we would be stuck in the house all summer with absolutely NOTHING to when the Olympics came on we had something fun to focus on and I would watch it all day long.  I was that girl who would put on her swimsuit and pretend to be a gymnast in the living room.  I got really into my role and no routine was complete without my hands on my hips, heaving breathing, waiting for my score.  Once I got it I would shake my head with little emotion on my face and sit down for a swig of water.  Man it was fun!! 

5. Sportsmanship

To me sportsmanship should also apply to the fans. Anybody else think that Sundays on Facebook during football season is the WORST place to be?  Ugh!  I mean there is gentle razzing and a few funny comments here and there....and then there is just plain effing annoying.  I hate it.  People can get so crazy and it' stupid.  At least with the Olympics we are almost all rooting for the same team and even if you aren't or somebody else wins....I haven't come across a huge amount of shit talking.  I'll take that any day over the stupid comments people insist on making.  That might be fun for some people but it certainly isn't for me 

Now for the athlete portion of it....I can't stand the entitlement, cockiness, and overall douche factor that seems to plague mainstream sports.  That's not to say that ALL of them are like that....but enough to turn me off from it in general.  I attribute it to their celebrity status, giant salaries, and constant exposure.  Athletes (actors, name  it) may all go into it for the love of the craft, but once huge fame and money hits I feel like the ego takes over.  They are no longer humble and relatable and I'm not into that at all.  

Most Olympians don't make much money, and even those who do (like Michael Phelps) don't get a huge amount of exposure 24/7.  He might be a legend and a household name, but I think the fact that he isn't on TV multiple days a week for months on end lends itself well to an overall better attitude and presence. I will always root for the kind and humble over the cocky and entitled.  I admire those who prove that you can be great at what you do without being an asshole.



It also gets me right in the feels when I see the athletes congratulating each other.  Most if it seems pretty genuine.  There's no forced high actually see them go out of their way to go over and shake a hand or give a hug.  We could all benefit from being more like that

6.  It All Counts!

I am what most people would probably refer to as a "bandwagon fan"  So freakin be it!  Again, I don't have the attention span to watch a bunch of stuff that doesn't feel important.  My interest is only peaked when I feel like it counts.  Now, I'm not bandwagon in the sense that I will suddenly become  a team from Colorado's biggest fan ever once they make it far......but if an Arizona team (or a team somebody in my family follows) makes it to the playoffs you can't deny the excitement.  

The great part about the Olympics is it all counts!  It's like watching the Playoffs or Superbowl for 2 weeks.  It's basically either a semi final or final so it all feels important.

Last but not least......

7. It's Themey

I'm a theme freak!  To me everything is better with a theme....and the Olympics play straight into that.  I'm slacking now.....but I have a future vision.  I imagine myself as "that mom" whose house is decorated (inside and out) like it's the 4th of July.  I want to bake USA themed cookies and cupcakes and theme our meals around a different country on different nights.  Someday this will come to fruition.....check back in 4-6 years.  :)

There ya have it.....the reasons why I'm fangirling over the Olympics.  Off to watch some track....

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Just Another Girl with Daddy Issues

First off....let's get a couple things clear about this post. This wasn't written for sympathy or anything of that nature. It's just a topic that has come to mind a number of times to write about but I never followed through because stuff like this had never been the "Voice" of my blog.  I originally started my blog intending to write craft and recipe posts, but as more and more time passed I realized that I really like to WRITE....real material that's not always easy, breezy and simple.  I've been really feeling the urge to write about some more relateable here goes...

Some people might see this as airing my dirty laundry, but the way I see it is it's not my crusty underwear getting exposed.  I'm more like the shirt caught in the same hamper that could have just used a light febreezing before getting caught up with other peoples grime .  I haven't spoken with my dad in about 7 or so years....but I haven't had a relationship with him in 26 years.  I turn 27 this you see what I'm getting at here?  While some  never have their dad in their life at all, I did.  He was physically there in my house but he was never really present.  I think as a kid I didn't really notice it because I didn't know any different.  It wasn't until I was about 20 that I truly saw how surface our relationship had been.  Let's back it up a bit.....

My dad was (is?) very religious and spent my entire childhood holding prominent positions within our church.  These positions or "callings" aren't paid so they are on top of his full time job.  He spent at least 4-5 nights a week at various meetings and events for Church.  It felt like despite always being taught that family came first, he took every opportunity to be away from us.  When he wasn't at Church he was in his room with the door shut, or falling asleep in the living room rocking chair yet refusing to let us change the channel from Any Griffith even though he was snoring.

Me and all my sisters could never live up to what he wanted us to be.  I think we all turned out damn good and the majority of parents across this planet would agree.  He had 4 daughters all of which never got into ANY trouble with the law, none of us did drugs or get pregnant.  We all got by in school just fine, some of us even getting scholarships.....but Oh yea.... a.big key thing was missing.  We weren't Molly Mormons so we were a big disappointment.  We were (are) all good people with high morals, but because we weren't what he pictured in his head to be we might as well have been shooting up heroin. maybe that's a little extreme....but the judgement and disappointment he had for us was obvious.  This was a normal part of life's not like I had known anything else

Everything came to a head though one May night when I was 16 years old.  It was the night before my last day of Sophmore year when my dad asked us all to meet in the living room.  The only times in my whole life that we ever met together like that was for forced "Family Home Evenings" (put me out of my misery please) but there was no Bible or Book Of Mormon in his hand so I was relieved and terrified all at the same time.  He proceeded to tell us that he and my mom were "Separating"  (he really meant divorcing but for whatever reason wouldn't say the word....maybe he thought you would grow horns and a tail??)  It was completely unexpected  and quite frankly I didn't handle it well.  I had a very physical reaction the the shock that took me most of the night to calm down from.  The next day I dragged my ass to the last day of school figuring I could make it through....after all it was only a few hours.  I walked home from the bus stop, unlocked the front door and was immediately taken back.  My father who never missed a day of work had apparently stayed home (even though I thought he left that morning) and had already packed up his shit and left.  His side of the closet was completely empty, the bookshelves were cleared, and even pictures were taken off the walls (go figure they were church pictures...none o his family)  It was unbelievable  It had been barely 16 hours since he sat us down and he had already erased himself from the home.  It was just the oddest thing and I instantly got a horrible feeling about how this was all going to play out

The next few months were weird to say the VERY very least.  He would come over and spend terribly awkward time with me and my one other sister left in the house.....and even our mom.  I went with it at first because I don't think I really knew how to feel or even act.  He did all kinds of things he had NEVER done my entire life.  He took me out to eat and to movies and we would listen to the Beatles together.  When the school year was starting he even offered to take me back to school shopping for some shoes and clothes even taking me to one of the upscale shopping centers downtown that I had never been to before so I could window shop fancy things like Loubitons and Chanel....something he never would have done in a million years before. I didn't know what to make of it but at the time I felt like he was trying so I thought I would too.  

It wasn't too long before he told me and my sister that he was going to start dating.  A week later on the dot (yes, really) he told us he was dating "someone"   From there I honestly can't even remember how quick it was before he was engaged because it was all such a mind fuck of a whirl wind.....I just remember that they got married the day after Christmas of that same year.  He was out the door at the end of May and married to a new wench by Christmas.  I didn't attend the wedding and had refused to meet her.  I had been keeping a relationship with him but had made it EXPLICITLY clear that I would meet her when I felt ready.  He ended up tricking me into meeting her (I could write a whole other post about that) and hindsight I see that that was the beginning of the end for me.

He had left his family behind in a terrible position to pick up the pieces from a mess he had created.  I'm not going to get into the details of all that.....because it's just waaaaay too much.  The only thing that's important to tell is that he left us all incredibly stressed.  I was 17 and feeling the weight of the world.  He did my mom DIRTY and we were all suffering because of it.  After 29 years of marriage he picked up and started a new life with no guilt about leaving behind his responsibilities. All 4 of us sisters plus one of my brother inlaws showed up at his house and voiced our concerns.  Bottom line was.....he just didn't care.  "She" also opened her big stupid mouth when she had no business doing so and shes lucky I was more timid back then because I just cried instead of cussing her stupid ass out.  This conversation SHOULD have been the last straw....but for some crazy reason unknown to me to this very day.....I continued to talk to him for about 6 more months.  Much much less, but the contact was still there.

I had graduated high school and started my life long (but really...what's a life long dream at 18 anyway? lol) dream of culinary school.  This was right in the heart of the recession and banks were being stingy with handing out loans.  I had already secured the first half of my schooling long before, but it was time to get the second half squared away and nobody would give me a traditional student loan.  The only option I had left was Parent Plus loan....which is basically a loan completely in the parents name applied to your schooling.  I was distraught over the idea of having to drop out of school half way through and as much as I didn't want to ask him for help.....I did.  After all, he had been repeatedly feeding me the line of "let me know if you need anything."  Well buddy....I need something. He gave me the run around and didn't want to do it.  I've blocked out the exact way it all went down but I remember he said some things that really hurt my feelings and I had a full on panic attack.  It was something along the lines of him having doubt that I would make the payments and I found that insulting to my character and work ethic.  I was hyperventilating and trying to calm myself down enough to make the hour drive to school for what I thought would be one of my last classes.  My mom, not wanting me to have to drop out ended up filling out the paperwork with her information.  It was absolutely amazing to me but somehow she got approved.  At that moment my relationship with my dad was officially over for me.  My mom had shown me what a parent was and what he wasn't.  She KNEW me enough to know that I would do whatever it takes to make that payment and not hurt her.  Her financial means was a fraction of his and she didn't hesitate to help me because she knew it was important to me.  He was all talk....and quite frankly a fair weather father.  This incident made me look back and realize he had never really been there for me for ANYTHING.....not just this situation.  What was I holding on to?

I made the cut right then and there.  He would send me emails that I would occasionally read before I ended up changing my email address completely so I wouldn't even have to see them roll in. ( oh and by the wasn't until AFTER he heard that my mom volunteered to do the loan that he sent me an email with the subject line "The answer is YES"....too late brochacho)

The next few years consisted of me avoiding him as much as possible. December became the most stressful month of the year for me.  Between my birthday and Christmas I was afraid he would pop up at any minute.  I would stay out late after work so that I would be getting home at a later hour that he was less likely to show up at.  When I did get home I would try and rush to the front door as quick as possible and do a scan of the street first before even getting out of my car. He would show up to my moms house with my aunt, uncle, and grandpa caroling.  I would roll off the couch and army crawl so he couldn't see my shadow lurking as I would pretend to not be home.  I got caught once in my driveway as he stopped by right at the exact moment I was getting out of the car and trapped me.  He showed up to mine and one of my sisters job a few times. He asked for my work schedule if I wasn't there.  Every year around October I start having nightmares about him that always entail me trying to run away from him.  If that's not telling....I don't know what is. He has since seemed to have finally given up on the physical contact (that is after he sent my uncle over to basically interrogate my brother inlaw outside his own home) and now we each just get a birthday card with  gift card and  a box of Sees candy at Christmas

Too Little Too Late

 There were a few things here and there that we did together as I grew up that for some reason I really clung to and glamorized without realizing.  My brother in-law Drew really put it into perspective for me about 5 years ago.  This was 2 years into having stopped talking to him completely, but we were having a conversation about him and I said something along he lines of how of all 4 of his daughters I was probably the closest to him because "We went to Walmart together and stuff."  That's when he bluntly said to me, "So??  Going to the store together doesn't make a relationship"  It was a HUGE turning point for me even though I had already cut ties with him.  And outsider had clearly put into perspective how silly and ridiculous what I had said and thought all these years really was.  Somehow I had played up in my head the one time a year that we shopped for Christmas decorations and a few random times here and there he let me tag along with him on errands were grounds for a father daughter relationship.....and the closest of 4 at that!  That's sad.  

This really made me realize that there was nothing to really fight for in this relationship.  It's not like a friendship or marriage where you're having a rough patch but have a firm foundation to stand on...a good place to work back to.  We never had that. You simply can't fight for something that was never there to begin with.  This realization was the most freeing thing in my life.  I finally felt at peace with the idea that you know.....sometimes it really is too little too late.  Why did he only start trying to build a relationship with us AFTER he left??  That was not the time to starting trying to be there.

You know when he should have been there?  He should have been there one of the 6 or so times that I begged him to come watch my Christmas sing along at school but never showed. You know when he should have made an effort?  When every single solitary year I would cut out one of my wallet sized school pictures and give it to him and say, "Here,.....for you desk at work!" because I was a little kid who had this grand idea of my father displaying my picture proudly at his job.  Only to years later find a stack of every single picture I had ever given him tucked away far back inside his desk at home.  As if that didn't hurt enough I finally got to go inside his job one day (he worked there for 27 years....waaaay before I was even born and had never let us go in) I got to see that next to his computer he had a GIANT corkboard....with plenty of room to display my pictures.  But instead of pinning a single one he had magazine photos of Koi fish covering it instead. How's that for a giant slap in the face?

Just a few of the pictures he wouldn't display

Maybe instead of my best friends father being the one to take me camping for the first time, teaching me how to catch and clean fish.....he could have done that.  But he didn't.  (Oh wait....I'm sorry.  He did invite me along on a fishing trip a few months after he got married again.  He was taking all his new grandkids and invited me at the last second.  The whole trip was disgusting because he was doing things and being a person I had never experienced.  And all those little rugrats were already calling him Grandpa so freely it was creepy.)  He didn't make the effort and he didn't EVER get to know us.  His Christmas and birthday cards sound less like they're coming from a father and more like they've been written by a distant Great Aunt Gertrude! You know when somebody doesn't really know anything about you so they glom onto the two things they do happen to know and it's like a broken record? Yea....that's his cards.  I like to cook and like I Love Lucy.  According to him that's the scope of my entire life.

And it's not just me that feels this way.  My sister Kinsey found out she had ribboned in the school art show and asked him to take her to the school to see her work.  He wouldn't do it.  And the thing that is even more baffling to me is that he too is an artist!  He paints and this was a perfect way to bond with one of his children and connect with her on a relatable level....and he still couldn't muster the effort to show up and god forbid show he was proud of her.  I think he is is absolutely clueless to things like this that have hurt us and made it so easy for us to walk away completely.  I truly believe he sees our childhood and upbringing completely opposite of the way we lived it,  Moments like that make or break relationships 

The Good and Where I'm at Now  

I 1000000x believe that my parents divorce and severing ties with dad is the best thing that could have happened for my family.  Because he is gone my family is closer than ever and we actually enjoy each others company (at least I think so lol)  With my dad in the picture whether we recognized it or not at the time we avoided family get togethers.  If he showed up at all he made things incredibly stiff and awkward.  If it was at my parents house he more than likely shut himself away in his bedroom.  We were never able to really be ourselves with him around and who wants to show up to something like that?  Now we can casually get together and just enjoy simply enjoy each others company without the awkwardness

Just a few weeks ago I went to dinner with my mom and had a similar conversation.  I told her I truly believed she wouldn't have the relationship she has with her kids had she still been married to him.  When you're married you're a package deal and when nobody is interested in 50% of the package.....most likely you will suffer for it to unfortunately.  I said to right now.....on what planet would you and I be having dinner together on a Sunday afternoon if dad was still here?  It wouldn't happen plain and simple.  

Overall the stress of maintaining even an acquaintance type relationship with him just wasn't worth it.  I spent my childhood feeling awkward, uncomfortable and judged and I wasn't about to put myself through that my entire adult life as well....I don't have the time or energy for fake shit anymore.  We are all living life just fine without him and I won't be losing sleep over it.  He's the one whose missing out....not us.  He never got to see 2 of his daughters get married, his granddaughters grow up, and soon he will have a grandson he will never meet....but being a part of all of this was a privilege he surrendered long ago....and he can live with the consequences for the choices he made.

My mom walking me down the aisle at my wedding
 Some times I think you learn alot more from the bad than you ever do the good.  Instead of taking a good father daughter relationship for granted it has made me more firm in my expectations for my future children....and if The Boy is half as good to our human children as he is to our Kitty I'm pretty sure everything will be fine. I don't think having a relationship with your kids is as hard as he made it.

I'm still incredibly grateful to be have the example of a good father around me.  My brother inlaws became my role models for it and I've watched them more closely over the years than they probably even realize.  Simple things like watching them teach their daughters (and me!) how to shoot a gun, fish, participating in father daughter derbys, having a an annual picture taken of the two of them and proudly displaying it for everyone to see.....those are the things I am happy to witness and I am beyond grateful that my nieces don't know any different.  I jut want them to understand that not everybody gets that experience in life.  

I am never sad over the absence of HIM I merely get sad over the idea of what SHOULD have been....and even that feeling is far more infrequent as the years pass.  I'm doing just fine without him.....just add me to the list of girls with daddy issues.