Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cupcake Dreams and Bugaboo Mornings

Dear No One in Particular,

HI THERE. Remember me? I missed you.

Based on the theme of my last posts, I'm sure no explanation regarding the radio silence here at BFNOIP* is required, but the one word that sums it all up is "chaotic". "Soul-crushing" is another good one, considering the fact that I graduated university only to be thrust into a crippling worldwide recession. If ever there was a time to join the world of adulthood, now would not be it.

I keep hearing two conflicting pieces of advice regarding the economy, and therefore, my future. One is "Now is a terrible time to be looking for a job!" and the other, naturally, "Have no fear: there are tons of jobs out there!"
Oddly enough, I've found that both are true. Yes, there are tons of jobs available -- any cursory glance at craigslist would tell you that -- but what the proponents of #2 are forgetting is that with unemployment rates through the roof, there are also tons of people looking for jobs. Competition is stiff, folks, so if you're securely employed count your blessings. If not, there are tons of jobs out there!

After a really rough couple of weeks spent staring vacantly at craigslist, desperately shooting off resumes, I've finally landed a job. I won't go into specifics for fear of being dooced, so all I can say is that I work for a good company with a fun name and if you have any questions about strollers or anything baby-related, I am here to help.
On the flipside of the paycheck, I have much less free time. I'm hoping against all hope that this doesn't cut into my writing too much, but we'll have to see.

I keep having to tell myself that my current position is simply a job and not a career. It's difficult to see the difference, especially as a new grad having to field oh-so-unique questions like "What are you planning on doing now?" and "Where do you want to work?"** The hard part -- the part that keeps me awake at night and constantly second-guessing myself -- is that I just don't know. I have a degree, but, like most degrees, it doesn't amount to a whole lot. There is no set path in front of me; I have to pull out my machete and start blazing my own trail. The difficult part? Figuring out where to start.
We all want our careers to be something we love doing. No one sets out dreaming about working in a forest of cubicles, just making it through the week. I've spent a lot of time mulling over what makes me happy -- really bone-deep, I-could-do-this-for-a-million-years-and-wake-up-with-a-smile-on-my-face-happy. One of the few passions that fit that criteria is baking. I l-o-v-e baking. As anyone who's looked at my twitter stream knows, I bake a lot. The kitchen is my happy place***. I've named my KitchenAid and have more muffin tins than any one person should be able to own. And lately, I've been dreaming about opening up my own bake shop.

I've been feeling down recently, for various reasons. I decided the best thing to do to fight off the blues would be to use up the giant bag of lemons and the pint of blueberries in the fridge and make some muffins. I love muffins, especially when people say they're healthier than doughnuts in the morning. They're mini-cakes for breakfast, you guys. Anyway, I found this lovely recipe on smittenkitchen and decided to give it a try.

I love lemons.

Lemon rind + sugar = lemon sugar!

Little sapphires

Only I screwed it up. By a lot.
I kept trying to course-correct based on my meager knowledge of baking science (thank you, Alton Brown), but eventually I just tossed the lot into the oven, fingers crossed.

I can't be the only one who thinks these look vaguely nipple-like

Not so much when there's four berries ...
at least, I hope your nipples don't look like this!

And they turned out just fine.
Sure, it could have been a bit more lemony, but they were nice and moist and the blueberry the perfect foil for the citrus-sweet of the cake.

Fresh out of the oven!

Berry ooze

I'm slowly realizing that baking is going to be my career. Dreaming about cupcake flavours or new twists on cannoli fillings -- that's what makes me wake up with a smile on my face. Peddling strollers and eco-friendly diapers to gather enough cash to make The Nifty Bakeshop (working title) happen is simply a cut through the brush.

Glamour shot of one of the mini-muffins

Big, bronze beauty

The muffin version of Rob and Big

So, interwebs, that's what's been going on with me. What about you? What's new in your world? Tell me; I'd love to hear something lovely.


*My God that is a catchy acronym. Say it out loud, and I bet you $1 that someone says "God bless you!" and hands you a tissue. BlofoNOiP, perhaps? No; that sounds vaguely dirty and drug-related.
**My stock answer: "I plan on working for whomever pays me." So far, so good.
***I choose my choice, third-wave feminists!


Kitty said...

Bake goods fix everything!

When I graduated, all I wanted was to work for a magazine. And then I did. And then I decided it was not everything I always wanted. A recession is a time to get creative! Why not start your own Ebay store and sell something, or advertise your baking skills as a cheap option for those planning a recession-hindered wedding? Branch out and try to do some freelance writing - Now's a good time for it since people can't afford to hire extra staffers to take on extra work. Don't worry. You'll figure things out.

em for mighty said...

i LOVE baking! its so soothing! ive nearly perfected my version of the tollhouse cookie. i like to experiment with making baked goods heathier without compromising flavor (very hard to do). my main goals in baking these days are 1.)cookies that finian won't turn up his nose at & 2.)cookies that i can feed him for breakfast & when mr. man criticizes me i can say "but theyre healthy!!"

beautiful nipple cupcakes!

ps. welcome back--i thought of you today as i blogged about wanting a tiara.

Vanessa said...

OMG I'm so glad to see you back! (By the way, I'm totally going to send you a letter as a late "thanks!" for the package, 'cause I said I would, but I forget everything-- plus, until today, I didn't know where the outgoing mailbox at my apartment complex was, and I hate parallel parking at the post office downtown omg kill me)

ANYWHO, I'm so glad you've found something you'd like to do for the rest of your life. Go for it. What's to lose? Your muffins look awfully yummy (and I don't usually happen to like lemon in my pastries, so this is a true compliment). I hope The Nifty Bakeshop is planning on shipping chocolate cupcakes cross country *ahem*.

I don't really know what lovely things I could tell you about my life, other than the fact that things have been, well, uneventfully good. Oh! Wait, I'm taking The Boy to The Cheesecake Factory on Saturday for his 20th. That is the best event ever.

Take care, Amanda! Hope to see you blogging again soon!