It’s the end of the night, and it’s only the final fumes of the day that are currently keeping me running, but I thought I’d take a minute or two before I pass out to check in. I started my new job today and it wasn’t terrible at all.
I woke up with a start about fifteen minutes before my alarm went off this morning, having just finished a dream in which I overslept and ran to the office in my sweatpants and tank top. Luckily, my latent anxiety prevented that from happening in reality and I lay in bed awake for the final few minutes of unemployed time, staring at the slivers of morning light that were peaking through the slates of the blinds.
Once I got there, it was just like all the first days of work that have come before. I filled out HR paperwork (I am quite excited to have health insurance again, after 18 months without). I went on a walk around the office with my supervisor, meeting people, shaking hands and forgetting names as soon as they were told to me. I set up my email and voicemail and read the employee handbook (did you know that there’s no ‘and’ in GPTMC’s name?). I went out to lunch with some new co-workers, asking a bunch of questions and answering some in return. And, at 8 minutes before 5 pm, I started watching the clock, looking forward to the moment when my time would be wholly my own once more. Ah, work.
I started my first job in Philadelphia, at the American Association for Cancer Research, on February 25th, 2002. I got that job five weeks after moving to Philly when I was 22 years old. A lot of time has passed since then as well as two more jobs, three boyfriends (the last of which seems to be sticking) a year and a half of grad school, multiple blogs and an online cooking show.
Now, on February 25th, 2008, I’m starting another job, this time as the Special Projects Web Producer at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation. I traveled my new commute this afternoon, the entire block and a half of it, in order to sign the offer letter. As I walked down Ludlow Street, I realized that I am going to become really familiar with that stretch of alley.
I wasn’t actually intending to get a full time job, I was really hoping to make the freelance thing work. But when the opportunity to apply for this job came my way I decided to go for it and from the first interview I could see that it would be a good fit. Lucky for me, they thought so too. So starting Monday, I’m back to the 9 to 5 schedule and I’m really looking forward to it.
I’d been wanting to do an episode on breakfast sandwiches for sometime, as I was certain that I could easily outstrip the ones you get at fast food joints. I’m so glad we gave it a try, because the sandwiches we made were so much better than I had anticipated. They were delicious and worth the extra time and effort. Try them at home for yourself!
We haven’t had the opportunity make a promo for this month’s Fork You Live, but Scott turned to me earlier today and said, “We really need to start spreading the word that we’re filming Fork You Live on Saturday.” So that’s what I’m doing!
If you’re in the Philadelphia Metropolitan area this Saturday, February 23rd, you should head over to Fork You (399 Market Street) at 2 pm. There will be all the same antics, as well as two very large batches of Macaroni and Cheese for your tasting pleasure. And, as Scott just said, anyone attending can bring up to 7 guests!
Several months ago, I struck up an email correspondence with one of the editorial types over at Culinate, an online food magazine. We chatted back and forth about food writing and Portland. Eventually she suggested that if I was ever inclined, I’d be welcome to send a piece or two her way, for possible publication. Being the novice food writer that I was (and still am) I was deeply flattered that she would even suggest that my stuff was good enough for the pages of her site. I ran to my thesis draft, cutting down one of the pieces until it was an appropriate size. Thrillingly, they accepted it.
The piece went live today and I am so tickled to see it in digital print. It is about Pinch Pie, my family’s traditional birthday dessert (that I’ve written about ’round these parts before) and how my grandmother initially made it as a Valentine’s Day treat for her first husband, Dick. The recipe, with all the hard learned lessons I’ve acquired over the years, can be found here.
I’m in one of those periods where my real life is pretty darn interesting. I’ve got a second interview for a job I’m pretty excited about. I’ve been blogging up a storm over at Slashfood. The next Fork You Live is coming up in about ten days (2 pm on February 23rd at Foster’s). I got my car fixed today and it cost far less than I was afraid it would be. Oh yeah, and then there’s the whole cohabitating thing that on the horizon. A very large television is moving into my living room this weekend. Scott is soon to follow (I’m not going to make him live in the living room, though).
What? You hadn’t heard that Scott and I are moving in together? Well, now you know.
Anyway, all this makes for less time for blogging.
I spent most of last week in New York City. My experience there was mixed, what with feeling a little overwhelmed by the conference and the city. The primary saving grace was the fact that I was staying with my cousins, Betsy, Harvey and Anna (Sam, the fourth member of the family, is off at college in Michigan) in Brooklyn. They made me feel so welcome and comfortable in their house, a fact that I always appreciate when I stay with them. Then, Saturday afternoon Scott came up from Philly and we spent the evening having dinner and wandering around the city.
On Sunday, Betsy and Harvey took us to Coney Island, where we walked the boardwalk and ate Nathan’s Hot dogs (I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good hot dog in my life). After that, they took us to a Russian grocery store, where I bought some salads (I finished the beet salad today and I’m still a little sad) and a few cookies for the ride home.
(If you click on either of those pictures, they will take you to Flickr, where you can see lots more pictures from the weekend).
I think I need to start this post by admitting that I’m slightly vain. I subscribe to a Google Alert that tracks my name, just so I know if I get mentioned or linked someplace out there on the internet. When you write as much online as I do, you never know where a link might pop up. However, I was totally unprepared for the link that showed up today.
It seems that Mike Nizza, New York Times blogger, reads Slashfood (or was just searching for Pancake Day posts). He quoted something I wrote earlier today about how the International House of Pancakes was moving Pancake Day so that it wouldn’t collide with Super Tuesday. Of course, today is Pancake Day because it is the last day before Lent starts and so pancakes are eaten as a final hurrah before giving up foods for the duration. So it is in opposition with the original intent of the holiday to move it back a week.
It was something of a thrill to see my name on a New York Times page!
I am currently sitting on the floor of the New York 6th Avenue Hilton, my back to the windows, facing the Grand Ballroom (where, in the last 18 hours, I’ve heard both John Irving and Alice McDermott read). The attendees at AWP are not a particularly internet addicted crowd and so I’ve had no competition for the random blue ethernet cable I found tucked behind the drapes yesterday afternoon. It is located directly next to an electrical outlet and so I’ve now spent a sum total of six hours sitting in this same spot, blogging, responding to emails and otherwise trying to keep up with my online life.
There have been some really lovely moments during this conference (John Irving’s talk and reading last night was wonderful and inspiring) as well as some challenging ones. Over my lifetime, I’ve often spent countless hours battling feelings of illegitimacy and inadequacy, but I truly thought I had conquered most of those crippling emotions. However, since I walked into this hotel yesterday morning, I’ve been swimming in a sea of displacement, feeling like a trespasser and a fraud for daring to call myself a writer. It doesn’t help that the mainstream writing world doesn’t look favorably on blogs and other online writing (it was pointed out to me by several people smarter than myself that it’s in large part because that world feel threatened by the egalitarian nature of writing on the internet).
I had lunch today with a woman I’ve known since my first year of college. Kirsten was only at Whitman for our freshman year, but there was a group of us who grew very close in that single year. We lost touch after she left, hearing snippets about each other through a mutual friend. We reconnected a year ago when that friend pointed her in the direction of this blog. She is about five years ahead of me on the writing track, having known it was what she wanted to do since she was 19 and so as we caught up over sandwiches, I found myself spilling out all the details of my struggle with the conference and finding my footing as a writer in this post-grad-school reality in which I now find myself.
So often when I talk about the process of trying to make a living as a writer with another, more established writer, I feel them start to put up a defensive wall, almost as if my desire to write threatens their ability to do the same. That feeling was happily absent as Kirsten and I talked.