Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Job Begat Job

So no sooner do I start doing something that earns me a (very modest) paycheck, then I get another interesting opportunity. This past weekend I participated in the most beautiful Passover seder ever, planned by Susie Kameny and held down at Adam Sah's house at Sunny Cove in Santa Cruz. Adam's fabulous girlfriend Joyce Guan was there, and we hit it off as fellow foodies.

Joyce works for Charles' Chocolates, and invited me to go to New York with her to help in their booth at the Fancy Food Show in late June. It's not an actual job per se, but it sure sounds like a fun thing to do to meet new people and see new things. The only real jobs I've ever had were in computer programming. The only industry I've ever seen is software. It would be great to get a look at something totally different!

I roasted a leg of lamb for the very first time for the seder. I was a little worried of how it would turn out, but I followed my father's instructions and it all came out great. People really enjoyed it, and said it tasted like beef rather than all gamy. I started by trimming off all the fat and "fell" (the muscle sheathing). Then I sliced up four cloves of garlic and inserted it randomly into slits in the meat. I rubbed it down with pink Himalayan salt spiked with garlic, parsley, and pepper, and finished it off with rosemary-infused olive oil. It roasted up faster than I thought it would, and I was terrified it would be overdone, but when Kim (another foodie and daughter of a French chef) carved it up, it was perfect.

Sigh. In the words of Han Solo, "Sometimes I even amaze myself."

(Yeah yeah, I know that Princess Leia rejoined, "That's not hard.")

Now I'm making stock out of the bones. I figure it will be good for steaming couscous.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The One Where Laura Gets an Actual Job

Believe it or not, I now have an actual part-time job. Last month a friend of mine bought the old Metronome Ballroom (I mean "Metronome Dance Center") in San Francisco. Since one of the investors is the mother of Dancing With The Stars' Cheryl Burke, the facility has been renamed "Cheryl Burke Dance." I kind of miss the old name, but after all I was a student there for like seven years so old habits die hard. Anyway, the new Operations Manager (also a friend) asked me to do some very basic maintenance work on their web site, and so I agreed to spend a few hours a week doing what I can.

My first day of work was yesterday and while it was weird to think that I was somewhat gainfully employed for the first time since June of 2000, it also was fun to have an actual place to go, and a thing to do that is so important to someone that they'd actually pay me money for it.

Don't expect any big changes on the web site, my task for now is to make the web site actually match what is in their printed monthly class/party/workshop calendar.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I am a Wanderer

What a long two weeks this has been, made longer by sleep deprivation. Still, I'm not really complaining -- I'd do it all again and probably will next year.

It started out with me working all weekend (March 28-30) at the San Francisco Open. This is a really nice ballroom dancing competition held every spring at the Marriott near the San Francisco airport. I think the organizers, Stephan & Denise Krauel, are great and I enjoy being there to check-in the competitors and help them with schedule changes in their events. The SF Open gets larger every year, and I meet the most interesting people while working there.

I was home for a day, then I got on a plane to Baltimore to work at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships. This was the largest Nationals ever, with well over 500 couples participating. The venue was beautiful -- the Renaissance Harbor Place -- and once again I met a lot of great people. I work at these competitions because I get huge satisfaction from helping to create the framework that allows these fabulous dancers to achieve their dance goals.

My own dance goal includes one day competing at Nationals, but that seems so impossible at this point. First of all, I need a dance partner. Second of all, I need a dance partner who is willing to spend the time and money to train and fly across country if necessary to compete in a Qualifier and then at Nationals. I might as well try to put a man on the moon. This is my one big sadness with competitive ballroom dancing: that none of my partnerships have clicked sufficiently. I've danced with some very good dancers who were wonderful people, but it takes a lot to put a super solid competitive relationship together, and I just haven't been able to do it yet. Part of it is my own fault, and part of it is just bad luck and bad timing. Someday, though, I hope.

After the competition, I flew up to New Hampshire to surprise my father for his birthday. My mom told my dad she was going to a volunteers meeting at her local library. Instead she went up to the airport to get me. I walked into the kitchen while my dad was rummaging around in the refrigerator and said "hi" and he turned around, turned purple, and I was worried he'd have a heart attack or something from the surprise. I spent a few days up there, and now am home again, tired, but glad I made the trip.

Something very interesting happened to me on this trip. I got hit with a massive and unexpected crush on someone. It's pretty much impossible to do anything about it -- that's not why I'm writing about it -- but rather I'm just amazed by the fact that I even still have the ability to experience any kind of feelings at all for a man after all I've been through. I'm taking it as a sign of healing, or of finally being healed enough, or something like that.

I'd pretty much forgotten over the past 15 years how crushes work. One minute I'm sitting there minding my own business, the next moment my brain power has shrunk to to the size of Paris Hilton's and I can't sleep or eat because my mind is whirling in circles. It's like having a tropical disease. Cupid's arrows are virus-tipped. It's violent, and thrilling, all at the same time. So life continues, on, for me. I'm not dead inside.