I am all of these things and none of them at the same time.
I am more than a label. I have dreams, plans, goals and crazy ideas. I love and am loved. I am the product of my decisions and the blank canvas of my future. I am me and who I choose to be today, tomorrow and next year. I am both complex and simple.
I am on a journey without an end.
I have been inspired and tortured recently by the concept of who and what am I. I am many different things to many different people. But who am I to me? Who do I want to be? What do I stand for and against?
Another beautiful autumn sunrise this morning. Every day I see these balloons, I remind myself that one day I want to take a trip and see the city from the quiet spot in a balloon. One day....
Sunrise from my balcony
And on another sunny note - drum roll please............. I have a new job!! Yippee. A wonderful moment happened on my birthday Friday where I got a call to say all the hard work and effort I put in applying and interviewing have paid off. Woo Hoo. So it was double celebration with toasts for me and my new role. More details on that to come as I draw closer to my start date.
Needless to say a weight has been lifted and I feel that I am moving forward rather than treading water. A feel some baking coming on to celebrate.
Having made some personal revelations and making a commitment to myself I realised that I have been find inspiration from movies and TV Shows for awhile. It was only today as I reflected on my recent thoughts and journey that my TV and Movie viewing has been telling me something even when I wasn't really aware of it myself.
My favourite DVD's that I have been watching lately
When I looked deeper into he plots and characters I realised a few things.
The Good Wife - Strong lead female character Alicia who develops from the tragedy that was her marriage plastered across the front pages to a powerhouse of her own choosing
No Reservations - About cooking and following your passions and opening your heart
Burlesque - Escaping your past and following your dreams. Getting back up when it gets tough and believing in yourself.
Julie & Julia - Following your passion for cooking and blogging. Having dreams and doing what you can to achieve them, no matter how long it takes
Under The Tuscan Sun - Taking a risk and doing something crazy, something that just feels right
100 Foot Journey - Following your dreams of cooking but remembering your roots
So many little things that have been pointing me in the right direction. Showing me the way. Some of these I had picked deliberately such as 100 Foot Journey as I read the book and love food. But others more subtle in being part of my current journey.
I wonder what I will find next? What is next on my DVD shelf and what relevance will it have to my future, if any??
As I noticed last week, the last few months of craziness in trying to get another full time job have taken a toll on me and it is to baking and cooking that I have turned. See what you think of the last two months as I share some of the photos.
Man and his fire
Clouds from the balcony
My mum's version of hedgehog - Plonky Square
Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls
Lemon Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing
My first attempt at honeycomb
My new favourites - Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Icing
It seems that every time I sit down to write an update or post that so much time has past since the last one. How does that happen?? At least I am consistently inconsistent. :) February and March both flew by with me taking on some temporary work alongside looking for a new role. This has seen me work a full week plus find time to write applications and attend many interviews. While friends say I should be positive about the fact that I am getting lots of interviews and many 2nd interviews, I have to admit to it being rather draining to be switched on so often. The constant selling of my skills and trying to read between the lines and figure out what the recruiter/HR team are really looking for is taking its toll on me. Why do people ask such inane questions and how do these really showcase whether I can do the job or not?
It's also rather demoralising to come 2nd so many times. I have lost count in the last 8 weeks how many roles I have applied for and how many I have been the second choice. I'm actually not sure what is worse - getting the phone call that I was the second choice candidate or having an interview and never hearing from them again? I feel like I could change careers and become a HR professional or recruiter with all the experience I have clocked up over the last couple of months. Maybe my next career. :) So this brings me to a look back on February and March. I decided to put them together as looking at my photos it seems that my fall back stress release has been baking and cooking. It is the one thing that doesn't care if I had a bad day. Nor does it matter if I am at my scintillating best. If you add butter, and sugar to eggs and flour you always get a tasty result. (I think Julie in Julie and Julia said something similar). If I could just find someone or someway to be paid a good wage for cooking and baking I would be in heaven.
It's funny how inspiration strikes at times. I started this post earlier this week and was thinking about what I wrote about baking and cooking. A chance conversation with a friend and a catch up on TV shows recorded has brought a little bit of excitement to my passion. Many of us dream about a time when money is no object and I love adding that if failure was not possible, what would you do? I have played this game many times with many different fiends and family. I love brining it up at dinner parties as I think it shows a lot about a person that they may hide. What are their secret hopes and passions. What would they do if they were not so afraid. For me the answer has changed as I have changed, understandably so. But i do keep coming back to the same thing for the last couple of years - food and more importantly cooking and baking.
Earlier this week I had jumped in with both feet and decided to apply to be a contestant on the next season of Great Australian Bake Off. I have no idea if I will even get an audition but it felt good to do something so scary and possibly life changing. Part of my 'what if I took a chance' dreaming. Now today I have seen a program where a past contestant of Masterchef has set up a food stall at her local market and is selling her creations each week and making a reasonable profit. (granted she also has a TV show and a cookbook to pay the bills but...) I had this sudden urge and thought that I could that. I could make a success of something like that. Why not?
Could I turn out masterpieces like this?
I have spent the last few months trying to find my place in the world of fundraising again. After a rough end to last year, I am more hesitant in picking the 'right' place to work and for the right amount of money too. I feel like I have, in part, understood my value and anything less would be underselling all that I am and that I have to offer. But finding a workplace that wants me is proving harder than I anticipated and rather soul destroying too. Fears of not being good enough crowd my mind and make me second guess myself. What if I am not as good as I think?
Fear holds everyone back. Fear of failure and, to a greater extent, fear of success. Is now the right time to jump? What about paying the bills? What about my other plans for a future - a house in the country, and a family to fill it? How can i do these things without a full time, well paying job? House prices are ridiculous, thats why we are looking to the country. But even that dream is rather unattainable if I don't have constant work to pay back a loan.
Can I really do this? Can I trust this talent to read a recipe and turn out edible food that people will want to eat? Maybe, just maybe I can find a way. I'm passionate enough and scared enough. Now to figure out how to make it happen and where to start.
Another month has flown by and we are already in the middle of February. Why does time go so fast as I get older? January was a month of craziness. I started the year with a cast iron desire to stand up for myself and not sell myself short. My first act in this was to hand in my resignation to the that was draining everything from me. Thankfully my contract included only a 1 week notice period so Monday morning I booked a meeting with the CEO and by Friday I was waving goodbye. While this brought a massive sense of relief that no longer was I being hammered in a toxic environment, the reality of what I had done started to sink in. I had thrown in my job with no back up plan. No savings and no other job to go too! Ahhhh sheer craziness and a sure sign of just how drained I was being there. It has been a long time since I had done something so foolhardy without a plan. But I had enough cash to pay the next 2 months of rent and a new enthusiasm for myself. My first week was a joyous sense of freedom coupled with time with my mum who was in town completing a dream of hers to do an art course. Cue a few hours into h kitchen baking snacks for mum and her class and I had a baking business of sorts starting. Mum's teacher ordered more snacks for her class the following week and I managed to make some cash selling my baking. Not bad at all It is funny how the world works as on my Bucket List of random things has been a for a few years to explore my love of cooking and baking and maybe turn it into a career. part of me hit full flight and I spent hours trying to come up with the best business name and branding. Then the smart part of me kicked in and said, let's just bake and see where it goes before pouring hours and cash into it. So now I was faced with eh real story of getting another job, paying my bills and keeping my baking business ticking over. I am a realist and know that as much as I want too, I won't be able to quit my (non-existent) day job and earn enough from day baking to love the life i want. So it's back to applications and interviews. In the 6 weeks since I left my job I have applied for 25 jobs, attended 9 interviews and worked 2 days temping. With 2 further interviews booked for this week and a 4 week temp assignment due to start next week. It has been busy. I had forgotten just how much time an energy it takes to get a job. This time I am doing it better though. I am making sure that I interview the company and stay just as much as they interview me. I know we need cash to live and dream but I want to work in an environment that suits me. One where I am valued and feel like I am part of the team. I don't want to go through another 6 months like the last by making wrong choices. While I can't guarantee that I will find the perfect team and organisation to work with, I will be smarter about listening to my gut and that funny feeling I have if something isn't right. So as February rolls on, I continue to stay hopeful that I will find something wonderful soon. I am certainly putting myself out there. And in the means time I am enjoying the baking and hope to continue to grow this interest. Here is a look back at January through my camera.
Summer sun from the balcony
Watching the storm roll in
Hot rain steaming off the heaters in a summer downpour
Baking - Blood Orange Syrup Cake
Baking - Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Fudge Filling
Baking - Choc Chip Cookies
Baking - Death By Chocolate Cake
Mum's amazing art after 1 week
Baking - Ginger and Lemon Kisses
Baking - The 2nd Blood Orange Syrup Cake
Sunset Country Style
Baking - Raspberry Friands and Nut and Gluten Free Raspberry Muffins
Baking - Chicken Sausage Rolls
Baking - Egg Bacon Pastries
Country views from our picnic table
I hope your January brought many smiles and moments with loved ones. In baking for relaxation, stress and money I realised that what I loved most about baking and cooking was sharing it with family and friends. Nourishing and nurturing those that I love with something I have made. That makes me sing inside. Here's to a February full of singing inside and out.
A belated post wrapping up the year that was 2014. I mentioned it a little previously that 2014 started well but July to Dec was a pretty challenging time for me and my family all round. From work pressure and family grief by the time 31 Dec rolled around I was more than happy to say goodbye. On reflection there were some happy points but the last 6 months have been one big stress. I learned a lot about myself, my colleagues, my family and my friends along the way. I learnt to listen to my inner voice and trust myself. I also learnt that your true friends will be there for you through these times and that some people have their own agenda and will step on anyone in their way. That was a hard lesson for me to learn as I trust people and believe in their good nature all the time. I am by no means "pollyanna" about things but I do believe that people are inherently good and not evil. This last year has shown me evil side of human nature. A side of some people I never thought existed. I discovered there were people out there who were happy to throw me under the bus to save themselves. While this was painful and confusing it was a good lesson to learn. I still trust people and am the same open and honest person I have always been but I do have my eyes open and am trying to use a sense of caution when my inner voice is telling me there is something not right. So in more ways than one this year is a about moving on. Before I do, I always feel the need to reflect on what has been. The good, the bad and the wonderful. So below is a highlights reel of 2014. The good parts I want to remember and share. I will not allow the bad to take over or take any more of my energy. I hope you are able to feel the same cathartic sense of letting go as I have done. As we move further into the new year the old one falls from my mind.
Burgers from Hello Sam
Baking - Apple Tea Cakes
Picnics - Always the Queen of Over Catering
The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road
Baking - Oat Bran and Apple Muffins
Valentine's Day Traditions - Pizza on the Beach
Dry Lake, Learmonth
Birthday Dinner with Friends
Easter Egg Hunts
Open Spaces in Country Victoria
Raising Funds for Charity
Happy Birthday to My Man
WELCOME TO THE USA
Baseball Trip of a Lifetime
Baking - Smoked Salmon Scrolls
Baking - Beef & Gravy Pies with Cheesy Crust
Storm Clouds Gathering
Tobogganing in the Snow
Watching the Fog Roll In
Celebrating the End
Baking - Choc Chip Biscuits
Relaxing in the Spring Sunshine
Baking for New Beginnings - Blood Orange Syrup Cake
Sunsets - My favourite Time to be on the Balcony
Xmas Hampers for Family full of Homemade Goodies
Baking - Fruit Mince Pies
Goodbye 2014 - Fireworks from the Balcony
Phew, a look back at the year that was. I notice lot of baking which pleases me to see. I have always enjoyed being creative and baking and cooking is the space that feels the most comfortable for me. I am looking forward to more of this.
I hope your year was fabulous and that like me, with distance you can appreciate all the good times.