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sweet dreams are made of cheese

One of my best friends hired me at the cheese shop he manages. I'm not so thrilled about entering the world of retail again and having to recharge my batteries each day from the constant customer interaction, but I am hoping its a decent job. And I finally get to see my friend. (I was his boss several years ago in NYC). It is a little intimidating to sell fine foods to beverly hills clientele with very little knowledge of it, so to prepare myself I've bought a ton of cheese and wine books, watched 3 wine documentaries and counting, and have been listening to the Cutting the Curd podcast all day at work at the ice cream factory (Friday is my last day there). Needless to say I have incredible cheese cravings. I dream about cheese. I have made this all the more overwhelming because every bit of knowledge i gain only shows that there's a lot more knowledge I don't have. However, it is all pretty fascinating. I have gone around for a couple years talking about how dairy is the cruelest thing to consume as the cow is repeatedly raped and tortured over its whole life. Now i've been reading about all of these incredible small scale American farmstead cheesemakers and know this is not the case. That is true of some large industrial farms, but many high end artisinal cheeses, like the ones in the shop, are not made under those circumstances.

Listening to cutting the curd and the passion the host has for the history of cheese and the way cheese sparks memory for him, has sparked a kind of nostalgia in me as well. I wanted to jot it down while it was still a little fresh in my mind.

Hungary. I think. (could have been czech republic, i visited them within days of each other, but i'm pretty sure it was hungary). Circa... 2001? 2002? Sometime around then. Why didn't I write about this then? Maybe I did, I should check the archives. I probably wrote about pastry. I had a whole system where I wouldn't eat meat so that I could save room for all the desserts, but I digress. I remember an older woman and her daughter that were a part of my tour group. They were excited to be there as they had Hungarian roots. The woman would proclaim every morning, "the food is all so wonderful, except the yogurt! The yogurt is awful, its the worst yogurt I ever had." I just smiled as I glopped an extra spoonful on my plate. Yogurt was and is one of my favorite dairy products, probably my favorite. I went on a diet once that restricted animal products to one a week and I chose yogurt. I think I have a sour tooth. If it wasn't my favorite at that moment in time, Hungary certainly helped make it that way. While she went through her daily yogurt complaint I would think, "this is the best yogurt i've ever had. I didn't even know yogurt could taste like this". This was before the greek yogurt craze, and probably this hungarian yogurt was made fresh. It wasnt thick, it was thin and liquidy. There were a variety, one off white, another slightly more beige, and few pinkish ones that we had to guess the flavors. Berries of some sort, not berry flavor, the yogurt was such a dull color it had to be real fruit. It was sweet and milky with just enough tang. It was the core of my breakfast. Every hotel from germany to czech to hungary had a similar breakfast spread: an array of hard yellow tinged cheeses with a grey or brown rind. They were somewhat "swissy" but better, less strong, more complex. Some creamy and buttery; crispy bread, fruit, muesli, and yogurt, lots and lots of yogurt. Breakfast and dinner were free, we were on our own for lunch. So I would wrap up chunks of cheese and bread to take with me. I ate so much of that cheese I can remember the flavor now, it became disgusting to me at the time because i ate so much of it but as I sampled alpine cheeses on my training day last week the memory of that cheese sprang up and all I can think about is the wonderful cheese, bread, and yogurt of eastern europe.
i just read on yelp that our gelato popsicles are "$4.50 for a pop" I had like 3 1/2 today. I just ate $15.75 worth of popsicles.

too good to be true?

my new job, which found its way to me exactly two weeks before leaving my current job, pays me to eat all the gelato i want. I can go look at koi fish on my break. ZERO customer service! 

Gelato chef?

I got a call back from the gelato chef job. Its quite a bit less money than i'm used to and part time possibly. However, it sounds a lot like what i'm looking for- no customer interaction, just come in, make recipes and leave. Also I can call myself a gelato chef. Also looking for someone that grows with the company and will possibly be training new people on production when the business expands. The guy did what i used to do when hiring awesome looking candidates back at my old store, almost talk them out of it so they realize it isnt glamorous. That never works though. He seemed really honest and expressed the fear that i've suspected many employers have when they interview me, that i might not leave the food hole. I'm going to let him know my availability when i see my work schedule tomorrow. I can at least go check it out and see if it seems like a fit. I kind of hope it is. I have the savings to make the low pay work for a few months. I can just be honest about that. Like yeah dude, i can work part time at that pay for 3 months and after that its more hours or more pay or i need a second job.

Part time would actually be really nice. My boss kind of vengefully scheduled me that way now that I stepped down, but i'm enjoying the days off. In fact I'm almost disappointed that i might get this gelato job and already be full time again by next week. This guy wants someone immediately so he can train them along with the other employee. Looking for a job feels so weird. I've had such job security for so long.


Just hire me please.

i dream of chocolate

Did the chocolate interview. I was up for 22 hours, so hopefully i didn't say anything ridiculous. It was such a strange experience because they walked in said "have you worked in a factory before?" me "no" them "thats okay i can teach you everything. Do you have any questions about the job?" That was the interview, me asking questions and asking them how they are adjusting to living in L.A. I asked when will i know if there are next steps and they said, "oh we're interested! We will be in touch! We just need you to meet the head chocolate maker and general manager." So, Hopefully i'm in.I am meeting all kinds of people in the food world here through all these rounds of interviews. It all could be helpful experience if i did end up getting the food tourism gig. or start my own walking food tour company. I will be makign a lot less money, but it sounds like such a cooler job and such a great environment. fingers crossed.

On the current job front, I have a really understanding and cool store manager even if my direct boss isn't the greatest. I'm awed every time I come in wishy washy about leaving and he's like, eh, just stick around until you find something. He could easily be like step down, here's a 30 day letter and pay cut, good luck. but he's more like, "uh, you can still work here right? you can hang in here until you find something?" Super cool.

Oh yeah and chocolate job has an almost guaranteed celeb encounter. its a pretty hated on the internet place, but is pretty successful. I'd love to get that job because it will be such an amazing learning experience. I will make chcolate from scratch, like roasting beans and grinding them, and also some confection, and also some baking, and also whatever else pops up because its still a small company that is just now expanding. Exciting. I am so grateful to be learning so much here. I'm getting more confident at scratch bread. I'm even decorating more. I can juice with confidence. Its really cool. I'm also taking myself out of my work comfort zone. I got really secure in san francisco and now its all about shaking it up.

This whole move is like moving to new york city all over again. Its hectic and stressful, but also exciting and filled with potential. I'm going to find where i belong soon enough.

maybe its all for the best

Sunday I found an exciting work study program that made me reflect on what my calling is. Yesterday I apllied to not one, but two postings for dream jobs. I have an interview on Thursday for chocolate maker, cross yoru figners for me.

i am stuck

My previous boss offered to hire me part time for a little lower pay, but for so much less responsibility and the freedom to find another job, i was ready to take the leap of faith. I was so looking forward to finishing my screenwriting class, working on my novel, and possibly working as an extra or pet sitter in my spare time. I started looking at ways to save money and figured out a back up plan for at least four months, giving me that much time to find something else if needed. I was excited. I thought I'm finally going to do it. I'm finally going to leave secure and start working towards what i want. Today he told me he can't hire me after all. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm not so devestated because i was already looking at the prosepect of not having much money and figuring out a back up even if it required emptying my 401k. But damn, it is a bit disappointing. The thing that sucks the most is that I was looking forward to working with someone who i know to be a very positive boss. That was the best part. Plus the job was low on customer service, second best part. I even started letting go a little at work. Being more talkative with people, being a little less scared of my boss and finding her kind of funny (though the stress level was still there). People are opening up to me. I guess its like in Office Space, when he stops caring, everyone just liked him more. That's how i feel at work now.

It is disappointing though. I have to figure it all out again. I stopped job searching so seriously because I knew I'd have plenty of tiem for that when I went part time. Its like I'm just stuck in this store. Uhg.

What do i do? Do I just quit finally? The last tiem this guy didn't hire me, he ended up calling me a month later to interview again. So, maybe i will end up there. Last time it was on my last day of work too, I had already quit and he called just in the nick of time.

There's another lateral position open finally. That was what i was supposed to be doing. Looking to transfer laterally. I almost feel like someone higher up made that decision on purpose. They've really been trying to hold on to me.. But this position is an hour and a half commute. Unless I buy a car. I don't know. Can i even apply for this after i told my store leader i wanted ot go part time so i could finally have time to write? would he support me? do i even want to do this? I really was looking forward to having all the extra time in my day. I was finally thinking of the time vs the money.

What do i do? Do i stay? Do I go? If i stay there will be trouble. My boss just flies off the handle too much. I can't be part of that. Its shortening my life. If I go it will be double. What if I don't find something else? Will I have the discipline to look for a job? WIll I interview well? I haven't been hired yet. I've been through a lot of almost hireds. I got word recently that Philz is still interested. Did this all happen so I could end up at Philz?

Who knows. The future is so uncertain!  
I just can't continue to watch a person that studies to be an emt and save friggin' lives by night get laid into because they didn't put the right bread on the right shelf. It just seems so pointless.


I have been having such a hard time here mentally. I've gone on a few job interviews, i've been upped to interview with the ceo level rounds, but still haven't gotten another job. I wonder if i even want to manage a restaurant. Managing is not the career I ever imagined for myself and i've got some serious retail burnout. I'm at the point where I'd rather quit everything and just be a webcam model. Scott decided to help me refocus. He made a list of all the things i've been talking about wanting to do and I had to rank them. One was what i wanted, the rest were just ideas that i might like. So, now the plan is to work towards the one, try to move in with my friends here to save on rent, and maybe get a part time job or try to find work as an extra or something. One step at a time though. This step is write something every day. I'm glad livejournal is mostly abandoned these days; I can use it a real journal without thinking of an audience. Next step, finding another aparment and learning how to spend less. I made a menu for the week of lunches and dinners and grocery shopped according to it. I cancelled my mail order subscription boxes like horror block, barkbox, and nature box. I'm selling some of my books and things i don't really need around. As the current pop culture phenomenon says, the things that don't "spark joy". I'm working on trying to leave my work at work, and thinking of it as temporary. Just letting go of the stress of it. I am taking an online screenwriting class. Also, some classes on the psychology of happiness just because. I also want to get out more. I think I get depressed isolating myself in this dark apartment, receiving everythign through delivery. Its what happens when you live n a car culture city without a car.

Scott and I went to The Grammy Museum today. It was fun, they have lots of interactive exhibits. We also went to Old Chinatown and saw the Bruce Lee statue, had some pretty meh giant dumplings and then went to Olvera street. We had some great tex-mexy dinner, marveled at the old buildings and vowed to come back earlier in the day so we could go to the museum. Its tough plannign a visit to Olvera street; its right next to chinatown and they both start closing down around 6 and you really want to see both of them. I think its inspiring that a woman saw these old puebla houses marked for demolition and made up her mind to save them by turning them into a tourist destination. It worked. Its awesome. That piece of history, of old los angeles, of mexican american culture will always be there. Amazing. Sometimes I think I'd love to be a tourist guide. I love touristy shit and I know all the good places to eat.

I am still bummed about David Bowie. Maybe sometime in the next few days I'll write about that. His death also made me reflect. He seemed to live his life on his own terms and even he had so much more to say when he passed. Its kind of amazing that someone could dream so big and make it all come true.