Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's Always Something.

At this particular moment in time, my life is feeling a lot like the 9th Ward in New Orleans. The levy has broken and the waters are flooding in...

A health predicament, a glitch in the system as I like to refer to it (the details of which I prefer not to delve into), has yet again put a damper on my dreams of doing a season in the Mediterranean. I’m not sure why it is the Universe keeps signalling to me that it’s not my time to go – “signalling me”, you know, like a kick in the head… But what is life if not to grow, change and become a more compassionate and understanding human being from each new experience; "character building", as my father would say (don't I have enough character yet?!). For instance, over the past few weeks I’ve become intimately familiar with what it must be like to be a fish at the Fulton Fish Market; wrapped in paper, jabbed, prodded, weighed and manhandled, quite an experience I tell you. I feel much more compassion for my aquatic friends already – so much in fact that I’ve decided to prepare some for dinner; herb stuffed, whole grilled, land-locked, fresh caught Chinook salmon, compliments of a family friend. Accompanied by some grilled bok choy, a soba noodle sesame salad and a lovely Schmidt Family Syrah from the Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon. And soon, for me as well, I’ll be filleted, snipped, re-arranged, stuffed and sowed shut. Karma’s a bitch.

Another funny thing has happened since I’ve been home with this “glitch”. Unknowingly, I’ve discovered the benefits of being patient (God knows, if patience is a virtue, I am completely virtue-less). Somewhere further back in this blog, some time ago, I scribbled something about having interviews lined up in Mexico and Italy. Both interviews I decided to cancel because although they sounded wonderful and glamorous, there were some major pitfalls; cheap owners, extremely picky eaters, not enough closet space for my shoe collection, etc. I also wanted to work on a yacht of 150 feet or bigger – and neither of the interviews were for yachts of that size. But after I turned down those interviews, even more offers came along and still the yachts weren’t the "right" size, or something else was just amiss. But the more offers I refused, the more offers came along, on bigger and better yachts. And then came this little health "glitch", and I had to kiss those offers goodbye too, which was really upsetting to feel as though my hopes and dreams were being dashed away. I fell into a pit of despair and threw myself a pity party – complete with chamomile tea and butter cookies (Walkers Shortbread Cookies - I was too depressed to make my own).

While I licked my wounds, sulked, bitched and moaned about ‘why me’ and became intimately acquainted with the cracks in the sidewalk, fallen leaves, dog turds and the chipped polish on my imperfect toes – a conversation was being had, emails were being exchanged, my blog was being read and someone was deciding whether to hire me. And on a dark and miserable afternoon (80 degrees and sunny) an email popped into my box and read something like, “heard about you through Captain Kirk from the Star Ship Enterprise. We chartered the Enterprise several times, captain raves about you and we love him. We read your blog, you’re our kind of gal. We’re building a 156 ft. Motor Yacht being launched in the spring of ’08 and circumnavigating the globe. Would you be interested in coming on as our chef, and overseeing the design and build of the galley?”.

With hardly a moment to pick myself up, I was being whisked away in a private jet heading to the shipyard to meet the owners and see the yacht where it is being built. I left the yard with a smile on my face, the scent of epoxy tickling my nose and a giant set of plans rolled up under my arm detailing the design of galley. And since, I’ve been swapping emails with the owners and designers making suggestions for changes and additions. Dashed were my chances of prolonging my pity party. Oh darn.

Just a wee-little yacht...

Next Saturday I’ll be forced, yet again, to join the private jet and fly halfway across the country in rock star style to cook for the owners at their vacation home for two weeks. Assuming I don’t poison them with my cooking or burn down their house in those weeks, they’ve offered to work around my surgery and recovery schedule before coming to work for them.

My insurance company is refusing to cover my medical expenses. I had to have a wisdom tooth pulled. My favorite family cat that we’ve had since I was 13 had to be put down. I’m staying with my mother (I haven’t lived at home since I was 16) and very soon I’ll be down to my last few dollars in my bank account. And, my first two literary agents rejected me in my (first of many) attempts to get this culinary adventure story turned into a book. But somehow or another, I think everything is going to be alright... Character building, right?! Yeah life, I love a good challenge!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my limo awaits… Will somebody make sure there’s a bottle of bubbly chilled when I wake from the anaesthesia?

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