To Meat or Not to Meat
Last night’s Joe went meatless because he turned Buddhist. Listen, Buddha Buddy, if you are not eating meat for philosophical or moral reasons, then you shouldn’t be going out with a girl who states on her profile that she went to culinary school and LOVES FOOD. And you really should have mentioned your non-meat-eating tendencies on your damn profile. Why torture us both?
I respect the choice to turn your back on meat, for whatever reasons. But can I be with a man who can’t love bacon?
But then I close my eyes, and imagine a romantic candlelit dinner, sharing with my love a plate of spaghetti Lady and the Tramp-style. I see noodles.
What Happens When a Dream Dies?
Yesterday, I officially laid a dream to rest.
It had been comatose for a while, I merely pulled the plug, to draw an analogy.
Around this time last year, I had the opportunity to realize my dream of opening a cooking school. It started five years ago, after attending numerous cooking classes and feeling like I wasn’t really learning anything, that I felt I could do it better. So I went about making the dream a reality: I went to culinary school then got experience teaching at Epicurean until it closed down.
Meanwhile, my day job was killing me. Literally. Killing. Me. There I was, in the best shape of my life, running marathons (okay, at that point it was just the one), and I was waking up with chest pains. Suddenly I felt like Phoebe in the bizarro Friends episode where she was a lawyer and had a heart attack in her 30s.
So I quit that lousy job, doing everything in my power to stay classy and not flip off my bitchy boss with both middle fingers.
The original plan was to take time off and write. Write the memoir I had been working on for three years, finally finish it. Hey, maybe get working on the screenplays I had put aside for a few years. It was high time I put my creative side front and center, and not let work or a social life get in the way for once. I had won some money from a game show and it would be enough to live on for a while.
Easier said than done, as I found myself in a kind of “hangover.” A depression even. That lousy job had taken so much out of me that I only got a chapter done in a week. And even then, I was spending another week revising that chapter. But at least I was writing. And I was going to writing class and working on assignments so I felt I was making some kind of forward movement.
But what about the cooking school? The universe had been dropping some hints about this for a few months- which I won’t get into now, that’s another blog for a slow news day. So on a lark, I decided to check out Craigslist and bam! There was a space to sublease, at a reasonable price, and the landlords turned out to be one of my favorite chefs from culinary school and his wife.
And there was the game show money, which was enough to get me started. The stars really did line up to make it happen.
Despite making a careful plan to start slow, building a business – especially a cooking-related business – costs a LOT of money. Those racks, those stainless steel worktables, ovens, cookware, knives – NOT cheap. It was clear that my seed money wasn’t going to last six months, so I started freelancing at my old career to get some more capital in.
I got about four hours of sleep every night, but it didn’t matter. When you’re making a dream come true, you don’t need to sleep.
A few months later, the unthinkable happened: I finally got my dream and realized I didn’t want it.
I never thought that owning a business was going to be easy. I expected and prepared myself for a few hard years ahead of me. But when it came right down to it, I didn’t like much of it.
I realized that I hated dealing with customers. Especially stupid, demanding customers. I’d always been surrounded my a lot of smart people having worked in the tech and interactive business since I got out of college. So it was striking to experience first-hand what “real people” were like. And trust me, I’d been in advertising and entertainment too, and I know what stupid and rude look like. But the daily encounters of it was a real eye-opener. You’d be surprised how many calls I got from people asking how to sign up for classes, when instructions were clearly spelled out on the Web site, with online payment availability. When the customers started getting indignant, or demanding, it took every ounce of self-control not to make them feel like the true self-important, entitled idiots that they were.
On top of it, my landlady was a psychotic raving bitch. I only tolerated her because her husband is one of the nicest, most talented chefs I’ve met in the business.
And I was exhausted. Bone-tired. I hardly had time for a social life, save for my weekly poker game, which I kept going to for my sanity. The problem with the food business, and this kind of food business, is that I’m working when everyone else is off. My nights and weekends were no longer mine. When I had to cancel a class due to not enough enrollment, I was actually grateful. And it’s never a good thing to be glad not to have to work when it’s your own business we’re talking about.
I like to think that I’m pretty good about responding to signals when the universe sends them to me. Even when they’re harsh.
First, I got into a major car accident on my way to a class one Saturday in June. The car was totaled, and worse, my back was hurt. Which is something you can’t have when your work calls for being on your feet for about 8 hours. Cooking is hard labor.
Second, my landlords were vacating the space. They said I could move my school to their new location once they find it but they’ve been too busy with other projects that school space had to be put on the backburner.
It was nice to finally have some free time. Time to rest, catch up with friends, watch TV. Time to just sit, let the back heal and not have to be anywhere or do anything. With the business in full swing, I never had enough time. I was always running around, trying to get something done or bought, answering calls or e-mails, running back and forth between home, school and wherever it was I was freelancing for a dayjob.
It was also time to think.
It occurred to me that I was so busy trying to build something but I didn’t even have time to ask myself what I was doing it for. I didn’t even have time to date, to meet anyone. All my friends having babies made me sad that the only baby I had in my life was this thing I thought was my dream. And it hit me: I didn’t want to wake up three, five, ten years down the road to have this business built up but no one to share it with, and no kids to build a legacy for. What’s the point, right?
It became clear what I had to do and my heart broke.
Working so hard to make a dream come true and watching it die: it hurts. Feeling like a failure: it hurts. Feeling lost: it hurts. Not having a sense of purpose: it hurts. Not having a reason to get up in the morning: it hurts.
It took me a while to work out the feelings of failure and being lost. I started to regret spending all this money on a failed experiment when I could have put money down on a condo. I wanted to kick myself for wasting time when I could have been writing. I started seeing a life coach to make sense of the mess I felt my life was in.
After a lot of soul-searching, I’ve realized that I can’t regret any of it because it was an experience I needed to have. There were lessons here I needed to learn. If I didn’t do this now, then I will always hold it up as some kind of dream-to-end-all-dreams kind of ideal.
At least I’ll never have to wonder and ask myself “What if?” I had to remind myself of one of my life mottoes: Never regret the things you do, just the ones you don’t. I have the satisfaction of knowing that I had this goal and did everything I could to attain it.
So last night I deactivated the Facebook and Twitter accounts and announced on my website that the school is closed for good. It will take a while to fully close the chapter as there are taxes to pay in April and equipment to liquidate. But I have mentally and emotionally moved on.
So what happens next after a dream dies? You make new ones.
Confessions of an Infomercial Shopaholic
Once in a blue moon, your local team wins a hockey championship and your lousy drunk neighbors feel it’s okay to scream and whoop into the wee hours of the morning. Work be damned. Sometimes, anxiety prevents you from getting a fitful sleep. Sometimes, it’s too hot or you’re too sick, and you spend the night tossing, turning, fidgeting, until the alarm jars you into consciousness and you begrudgingly drag yourself out of bed to face another day.
Whatever the reason, I’m prone to bouts of insomnia. Many times, I would fall asleep on the couch while watching TV and wake up between 2-4 AM. I used to burn time smoking and/or playing Galaga and Ms. Pacman until the sun came up or when I finally felt sleepy again. Whichever came first.
Sometimes when I’m lucky, I wake up to the same episode of “Cold Case” over and over again. You know the one: in which the kid from “The Nanny” plays a recovering junkie who thought she lost her baby in a fire only to realize someone stole her child and set fire to the apartment building. (It makes me cry. Every. Single. Time.)
Every now and then, I have the misfortune of waking up to Joel Osteen. Hideous, just hideous.
But more often than not, I wake up to an infomercial. And more times than I care to admit, I’ve found myself grabbing the phone or logging online to snatch up whatever it is that they are pushing. I don’t even reach for the credit card anymore… I know all the numbers by heart.
I’m an infomercialholic. You name it, I have it.
It started out innocently enough. One of the first items I ever bought was some “miracle” product that wiped scratches off glasses without dissolving the tint on sunglasses. (I never tried it, it’s still in the box.) Then there was that laser leveling thing that was supposed to help you put up paintings and shit evenly. (Never used it. Except to fuck with the neighbor’s cat.)
Then came the plethora of workout/diet stuff: Kathy Smith’s yoga (still plastic-wrapped), pilates (used a few times), Zumba (still in the box), Gunnar Peterson’s core secrets (the ball’s been gathering dust since 2010), Food Lovers for Life (I gave up after day one), a pole dancing workout (declined the pole option as I had 15-foot ceilings at the time).
I even bought the Tracy Anderson method. We oughta know that anything endorsed by Gwyneth Paltrow should be completely dismissed. I’ll be posting this up on ebay soon.
I also have “Debt Cures” though I have yet to read it (I’m several months behind on my Food & Wine subscription, you think I have time to for this? Besides, there’s only one cure for debt: pay it off as soon as you can.)
There are some pretty neat and useful stuff though. Tai Bo was pretty darn awesome until I got rid of my VHS player and eventually gave up the tapes. The pilates and Hip Hop Abs DVDs got some use and I do plan on working out with Zumba fitness. As soon as I clear the clutter in my apartment and am able to move around.
I have the space-saving Swivel Store spice rack (two, actually) which is only useful for bottles that are small enough (but my good stuff comes in jars too big to fit.) The rub (pun intended) is that I couldn’t fit them into my cabinets, so they’re sitting out on the kitchen counter. I bought the Smart Spin tupperware set but, ironically, the carousel took up too much room and had to be chucked eventually. (And yes, I got the second set for free, only paid shipping and handling, because one can never have enough tupperware.)
I love Total Pillow but I wish I had discovered this when my tailbone was broken and sitting down was a pain for eight excruciating months.
The Magic Bullet has proven to be a nifty little gadget. It’s mostly used for grinding spices as I own a Vitamix, food processor and immersion blender, which individually accomplish their specific tasks magnificently. (I am, after all, addicted to kitchen gadgetry.)
No infomercial shopaholic is worth his/her salt if he/she doesn’t own a Snuggie (I have three. One for the office, one for the car, and one for home.) Be very careful ordering this online, by the way. Those Snuggie purveyors are sneaky bastards. Rather than take you to a confirmation page before putting your order through, you are taken to a “Wait, but there’s more…” offer page in which they tempt you into buying another two-for-one deal. The submit button takes you to a new page that looks just like the one you were on, tricking you into thinking that the order didn’t go through. You think you’ll have a chance to review your order before submitting it, but you don’t and before you know it, you’re paying $100 in shipping and handling fees and left wondering what to do with a shitload of Snuggies. (Merry f***ing Christmas, family!)
I’m not ashamed to admit that I bought the Genie Bra (several, actually.) I didn’t realize how much weight I had put on at the time and discovered that my underwire bras were bruising my skin. This was a welcome addition to my, uh, intimates drawer.
Then there are the beauty products. I’m the proud owner of the NoNo hair removal system but I still get waxed. Couldn’t bring myself to cheat on my long-time waxer Tamara. (No one should accuse me of being disloyal.)
I’ve even tried Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty. It’s that skin care regimen formulated with extracts from the wonder melon from France that keeps your skin looking young.Allegedly. I really should know better than to buy a product being hawked by a supermodel whose face once evidenced a botched plastic surgery job. Have you seen my mother? Genetics will do more for me than hundreds of dollars’ worth of skin care products.
I tried my hand – correction: head – at Wen. That’s the shampoo/conditioner all-in-one that’s supposed to unfrizz frizzy hair. Which is bullshit, as photos from my week in Mexico show. It does a good job of preserving my highlights; however, I’m in love with the usually-discounted Suave shampoo and conditioner. (The smell of apple in my hair is intoxicating.)
But the most helpful of all the products I’ve bought and tried (or not tried) over the years is ProActiv. Jessica Simpson and other celebrities might be paid handsomely for their testimonials, but I’ll give one for free. I’ve been on ProActiv for ten years and it has done wonders for my acne. I still get the occasional breakout but I don’t think any product on earth can totally prevent it (maybe the Martians have something better.) Since you can now buy this from vending machines (there’s a dispenser at the Century City mall by the chair massage), I believe it has transcended infomercial mockery into legit status.
But I don’t believe I’m completely ill. I never felt the need to get the thighmaster (though in the spirit of full disclosure, an old roommate had one and I borrowed it occasionally.) So give me a little credit: I have successfully avoided buying the Sham-wow and the shake weight, and until I buckle, there’s no need for an intervention. And heaven strike me if I ever buy the pajama jean.
Let’s Get (Meta)physical
Ode to My Father
My father died nine years ago today. Got the call about this time, actually, which validates my belief that nothing good ever comes from the phone ringing in the middle of the night. (I once chastised a late-night booty caller, as I have a lot of aging family members, and my first impulse is to wonder, “Who died?” as I go through my mental rolodex of who is battling what ailment.)
I knew it, too, the minute the phone rang… I had just talked with my Dad’s doctor earlier and made plans to head to Vegas that very day. I was just a few hours too late, not that it makes me angry or sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye one last time. These things happen.
I miss my Dad. Not all the time, mind you, I’ve gotten used to not having him around. But I do see him every time I look in the mirror; I have his face, after all. (Some people say I look like my mother, which technically is a compliment, but I suspect they’re just trying to be polite.) I have the shape of his face, his nose. The way the corner of my upper lip thins out unevenly on one side when I smile, I’ve seen it on my Dad and his siblings… it’s a Barreiro thing.
But there are moments that hit me like a mack truck. Like the time I dreamt that I had a beautiful baby boy… it was a few months after my dad had passed away. The kid was screaming bloody murder and I couldn’t get him to calm down. I remember saying “Please stop crying, your grandpa will be here soon.” Then I realized his grandpa was never going to come, and if I ever have kids, they will never get to meet their awesome granddad. I woke up crying worse than I did at the funeral.
Though Dad did humor me once… my mother scoffs at my prized, beloved teddy bear Strawbeary. I told my parents to buck up, she was my baby and just might be their only grandchild from me. My dad then tightly hugged that ratty, raggedy old thing as if it were a real child.
And there was the stressful, crazy 2008 when I was on my way to culinary school after a full day at work. I had been stuck in traffic for almost 3 hours and had asked myself why in the world I was putting myself through that hell. And when I realized it was what my Dad would have wanted me to do, I bawled the whole way from downtown LA to Pasadena.
It’s not all sad memories. My dad was the sweetest, most good-natured, big-hearted (weak-hearted, as it turns out) guy you’d ever meet and he was ALWAYS telling jokes. He was ridiculously smart too… the only thing I miss about going to church was him teaching me Latin by translating the inscription on the altar walls just so he and I could stay awake during the sermon.
He was by no means a perfect man, but the way he loved my mother set the bar for how I want to be loved. People ask what I look for in a guy. Well, to be honest, someone a little like my Dad: a kind, smart guy who’ll make me laugh and really, really LOVE me. And have flowers waiting for me every week. Nothing sick and Freudian, right?
And Dad was my biggest fan. Those who know my story know that my childhood wasn’t all peachy. And moving to America, while fairly seamless, had its rough patches. My faith in myself wavered – still wavers – at times, but Dad was my constant cheerleader. It would have been easy for me to stray off the “path” but my Dad’s love and presence grounded me.
I’ll never forget the day he picked me up from school in 8th grade. Through a sea of electric red sweaters (Reno-ites will tell you that shit can blind you) and plaid skirts in the playground, my dad said he had immediately spotted me.
“You may be short, but I can pick you out in a crowd. You’re head and shoulders above everyone else,” he said.
I told this story to a friend of mine right after his daughter was born. He said he was going to tell her that when she was old enough. I told my friend it might just keep her off the pole.
A few months before he passed, Dad had remarked how my eyes had lost their sparkle. It stung. I didn’t even know I was unhappy then, but he knew. I’ve been chasing my bliss ever since… and in moments of uncertainty and doubt, a voice in my head reminds me that I can do it. Head and shoulders above… head and shoulders above.
My Favorite Cities in the World … with a Twist
Just got done talking with a neighbor about my favorite cities, when I found myself using celebrities to describe them. Thought maybe I’d share it here, for a little fun light reading after the past week of serious shit.
What are your favorite cities in the world, and what celebrity would you use to personify them?
1. London – Tina Fey. Fun, witty and cerebral. I’ll never tire of it.
2. Venice – Vanessa Williams. A beauty that stands the test of time, my magical place.
3. Budapest – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Gorgeous and elegant.
4. Sydney – Jennifer Aniston. Pretty and easygoing.
5. Florence – Natalie Portman. Cute and charming, you just want to pick it up and put it in your pocket.
6. Prague – Zooey Deschanel. Cute and quirky and you’d keep visiting even if you can’t understand the language.
7. Barcelona – Lindsay Lohan. Party all the time.
8. Vancouver – Angelina Jolie. Beautiful and in equal parts familiar and exotic, you forget how much you appreciate it until you see it again.
9. Las Vegas – Drew Barrymore. Like a friend you want to hang out with ALL the time… but there are things you just don’t want to find out.
10. Paris – Cameron Diaz. Everyone loves it but took me a while to warm up to it. Ten years.
Of Mice and Men… and Meltdowns
Ms. Smarty Pants had a meltdown in the past week.
I’m not proud of it, but I’m glad for it. We need to be knocked down every once in a while, not so much to keep us grounded, honest or humble… none of that heady shit. I actually like to hit bottom every now and then to remind me that there’s nowhere to go but up.
I cried all week, which is more crying than I’ve done in the past two years. And believe me, I’m a crier. I cry at weddings. I cry at movies, funny ones even (didn’t shed ONE tear at “Titanic” and that’s how we know that movie blows.)
But there’s this thing called “momentum” and I just can’t seem to catch it.
Let’s backtrack a little bit to 2008, most challenging year of my life. I had decided to take on full-time school in addition to working full time. You’re thinking, big deal, a lot of people do this. Of course, that’s true but it was a struggle in my own experience.
Many people make it work for their circumstances as I did for mine. Picture this: waking up at 6, being at work at 7 or 8, leaving work at 4 to spend the next two hours in rush-hour traffic, then spending the next 5-6 hours on your feet sweating in a hot, noisy kitchen, then coming home at midnight, staying up for another hour or two to do homework and check on work e-mail, then getting four hours’ sleep, and doing it all over again the next day. You think you can unwind on Friday? Not really. There’s class at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, followed by lab.
By the time I got home on Saturday nights, I was usually too tired to do anything else, even eat. A cup of dry cereal and then I’m out until Sunday morning, when it was time to do laundry, homework and a little bit of office time to catch up on work work.
And along the way, I had to move residences TWICE (once in January and once in September.) The economy was in a freefall and I saw my backup plan dwindle to 10% of its original value. I lost my job by the end of October. In November, the IRS put a lien on my bank account. This was my own fault: I was so busy that I had forgotten to pay my taxes.
(In the ’90s, I remember reading an interview with Sherry Stringfield, one of the stars of the hit show ‘ER.’ She had talked about how LADWP shut down her electricity because she had forgotten to pay her bill. I couldn’t fathom how someone making millions could possibly have this happen to them until a similar thing happened to me. I still have unopened mail from 2008, tucked in boxes somewhere in my mom’s garage.)
All through that I only cried once. (And only because I was stuck in traffic for THREE HOURS and nothing – NOTHING – sends me into a tailspin quite like LA traffic at a standstill.)
But then I got a job with a boss who was flexible about letting me leave early for school. There was the possibility of scoring an internship at the L.A. Times (didn’t pan out). Things were looking up. One of my favorite teachers had said that I had momentum, and to take special care not to lose it.
After all that work to change careers, I found myself back at the desk job full time a few months later, trying to rebuild what I had lost… savings, 401k, good credit rating, even confidence. It was a temporary but necessary glitch. Then I landed a part-time gig teaching cooking and I got to write reviews for a food review blog/publication. I was getting momentum back.
And then I found myself in the job from hell… which wasn’t the job from hell when I first started. Like most of my relationships that start out so promising and end up in the toilet. Except this job was the worst experience I could ever have gone through. I’ll take a bad breakup over this any day. (And that’s saying something.)
It was stressful and painful and for many reasons lasted longer than it had to (we won’t go into details). The one mitigating factor was that I had gone on a game show and won a lot of money. Insurance in knowing that the nightmare would end soon, but it would be several months before I can breathe easy… that check is no good if the show doesn’t air and it took about six months for that. Add another couple of months to get the check, and I languished in hell for nearly a year.
All the time this was happening, the universe kept sending me signs that it was time to leave all this behind and go full speed on my culinary adventures. I have a culinary memoir to write. And the school that I had dreamt about opening for all these years, the reason I put myself through all that stress just a couple of years back… it could actually happen now. Not to be dramatic, but the stars really were lining up.
And the day came when I triumphantly gave my bitch of a boss the finger. Momentum. I had it again.
But we don’t realize what hell we put ourselves through (ok, maybe just me) until we’re out of it. Instead of go-go-going, I found myself spent. For at least two weeks, I could barely get out of bed. The promise of a “new life” was a bit of a letdown, it was anti-climactic. I thought that I might have been depressed, but after talking it out with several people, we concluded that the job-from-hell had wiped me out mentally, physically and emotionally. And it was imperative that I spent some time healing.
It was all good and necessary, but that meant giving up momentum.
At some point during my respite, a series of fortuitous events led me to find the space for my cooking school, even though I was hoping to wait until the new year to pursue this. I found the right space, the right people to get behind me and things were moving. But there are lots of little things that one has to attend to when setting up a business… some of these administrative and some personal. And each little thing does its share of chipping away at your momentum. They’re like little potholes in the road and after a while, your tires take such a beating that one of them loses air and the whole damn car is stopped.
That’s what the past few months have been for me. I understand perfectly well this is how the journey goes and have been managing it pretty well. And while I have a high tolerance for shit, there comes a point where I’m oversaturated and explode. And that was last week.
The joy of seeing my best friend’s brand new baby was diminished hours later when I rammed my car into a pole. I couldn’t even look at the damage for a couple of days, and then discovered it wasn’t that bad, just a bunch of scratches. And while the business is going, I had also realized that I’m going to have to go back to the dayjob to pay the bills. (The game show money is a nice chunk, but it’s certainly limited when I’m bleeding expenses on the business.) Add to this a bit of anxiety over my upcoming birthday, and being reminded that I’m growing older and not being in a place where I truly feel comfortable, and a slight depression sets in. When you’re in a downswing, each little thing adds up to cause a tailspin and you find yourself out of control.
Found myself breaking down every few hours, frustrated that I can’t seem to get the momentum going. It’s like driving up a hill in a manual car, and just when you think you’ve gotten over the hump, you stall and roll back down. Think of this as a crappy metaphor but if you’ve had problems driving a stick shift, you’ll know it’s frustrating as all get out.
Saturday came the low point but I’m thankful for it. As I said earlier, I like hitting the low point because there’s only one way to go and that’s up. It’s time to reset, re-evaluate the flight plan, get the engines started and get the next climb going. And hope that at some point, sooner rather than later, momentum will actually catch.
Ignorance is Bliss
So a friend of mine suggested that I should apply to Mensa. After all, what kind of world is this when the blogger of a site called MsSmartyPants.com is not a card-carrying member of the world’s foremost nerd fraternity?
I’ve long thought about this and had even started the process years ago. There’s a test you take. I’m no stranger to tests. I take them all the time. I’ve also proven that I can pass them. (Pregnancy tests included, and for the record, PASS/FAIL is subjective here. Passing is when your desired result is achieved.)
But I’ve also been known to fail them. And Mensa’s IQ test is the one test I’m scared shitless to fail.
You see, my whole confidence as a person is built around the knowledge that I have my brains. And whether I was skinny or fat, popular or not, a success or failure, motivated or uninspired, loving or hating a job… none of that mattered because I could always tell myself I was smart and no matter the situation, I had that.
I’ll admit I’m an intelligence snob. I like to surround myself with smart people. Even my friends are smart. (If you’re funny though, you can stick around.) I become less tolerant of stupid people as time goes on. When it comes to dating, non-smart men don’t have a chance in hell, and likewise prefer that a man appreciate me for my brains. (Yes, the only online dating I do is a site called Geek to Geek… and for the record, the pickins are slim there too.)
I live for trivia nights at my local pub. I used to watch game shows all the time but, having appeared on a few of them, find them unwatchable now. (It frustrates me when I see “easy” categories, enrages me when the contestants don’t get the answers and brings back memories of my own experiences when I went down on what I considered tough questions.)
I don’t think there’s ever been an instance where I questioned my intelligence, even when in a room surrounded by multiple Jeopardy champs, Millionaire millionaires or even Mensa members. I think I hold up: I did win Ben Stein’s money, I did win twice on Jeopardy, I did take down six figures on Millionaire.
And I have taken a few IQ tests over the years, though not Mensa-sanctioned. I always land in the “genius” range, albeit in the low- to mid-range. Which is fine, at least I’m in the range… if I was smarter than that then I wouldn’t have felt the need to drop pre-calculus in high school. And math was my strong point. (In all fairness, I had gotten early acceptance to a great journalism school and knew I was never going to need math again. I wish someone had warned me about my future in poker though so I would have kept up with the math skills. Hindsight = 20/20.)
But to officialize it, to put an official seal and stamp on my so-called smartness is making me anxious. Because what if… what if I fail this test? What if Mensa says “You are NOT smarter than a fifth grader”?
My core will be shaken. Those who know me best know I take forever to bounce back from heartbreak. I get over it eventually. But this? I fear I won’t recover from a Mensa rejection. Ever. There will be no getting over this, I promise you.
Of course, all this is on the side of negative thinking. I could just be working myself into a tizzy for nothing and I could very well ace that damn test.
But in this moment, Ms. Smarty Pants, the girl with a voracious appetite for knowledge, would rather not know. Ignorance really is bliss.
So, Here We Are
Apparently, I don’t know how to handle free time. I quit my lousy job two months ago to concentrate on the things that really matter: finish my memoir, lose weight, get the apartment in order, travel, and most importantly, open the cooking school I’d been dreaming of launching for the past few years.
The only thing I have to show for the past few weeks is a few extra pounds… clearly, I’m headed in the opposite direction.
But it seems the only way for me to get anything done is to have a million of them to do.
When an old boss came calling about a position, even though I promised myself I was done with corporate America, I succumbed to the lure of a good paycheck. And as luck would have it, the minute I accepted that job, fate winked and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime: the ideal location and circumstance to open my cooking school.
We’ll be musing about the ups and downs of opening one’s own business in the coming weeks. But for now, let me just take a moment to say that Murphy is a real asshole.