Job hunting, a messy house and 4 animals…there is hope

Back in August of 2014 I was downsized.  I had left a job I worked at for almost 9 years to work for a company I was told was fabulous to work for and that it was going places.  Yes it went places…but not in the direction I had hoped.  So now I have been forced back into the job market at the age of 57. I could say that would be a good thing because maybe now I can find the job of my dreams and finally do what I have always wanted to do…But that wouldn’t be true…I havent a clue what I want to do.

Looking for work at this age has been daunting,  to say the least. So many web sites …so many ways to get yourself noticed. I could say that my  job hunting has been effective and successful.   But that wouldn’t be true,  While I have had a few interviews,  I am apparently too qualified, too unqualified or just not what they are looking for.  All this after completing several rounds of interviews and assessment tests.  I know what is true,,,I am 57.

I could say I am job hunting all day so I can’t possibly take the time to clean or do laundry or clean litter boxes etc.  but then that wouldn’t be true either.  I’d like to say that I had hoped that during this time off I would have taken this opportunity to clean and organize my house…especially my kitchen and back rooms. That I would finally clear up the small bedroom and make it into my office again and that my office was turned back into the guest room it used to be…I would love to say that was the case….but 5 months later..I have barely managed to clean out my office and clean the kitchen. I do manage to get the garbage out on Thursdays and manage to clean the litter boxes most of the time,  I even manage to shower …what..the animals don’t care.  I hear my mom in my head saying..take a shower get dressed and go find a job.

Mom always said..wait till you have your own house…you will learn to keep it because its yours.  Wish I could say that was true.  Sorry mom..once a messy girl …always a messy girl.  I could blame a dog and 3 cats..but that wouldn’t be fair to the animals because they can only mess up where they can go…I am to blame…completely and utterly to blame.

What I have learned these past few months is that losing your job is very isolating at this age.  Most of my friends work or live to far away stop by for a cup of coffee and some encouragement. TV during the day sucks…Since I am job hunting I wont indulge streaming while looking for a job. I have learned that the wind in my sail is depends on the weather outside.  If the sun is out I seem to be more energized than when it is dreary…much like today.

I’d like to say that I took this time to work on recipes and started to put together a cookbook. I would like to say that I found a business partner and am finally able to start that business I still dream of starting,  But that wouldnt be true. All are still dreams and wishes and someday will happen.

317      482      sugar cookies

I have however, started this blog, worked on a website, looked for new courses to amp up my resume, bought a new computer and telephone, so that I can find temporary work , working remotely.  All this time has not been wasted. Duncan Dog ( my rescue from Nov 2013)  and I have gotten to know each other better .  He has learned how to get along better with me and the cats..while still a work in progress I have hopes….paw steps…

IMG-20130520-00982IMG-20130318-00702duncan cookie face

What is true..what i do know…is that I have hope.  I wake up every morning eternally hopeful that this will be the day! The day for cleaning, for a job and for whatever else I want, I just have to start the day hopeful.

Have you had any Amyburgers today?

A long time ago when I went to camp,  my father would send me letters asking if I had any Amyburgers…That is what he called me.  I have lots of letters from back then,  addressed to me at camp Amyburger Halpern.  For some reason I saved those letters.  We had a loving relationship back then.  It was a lovely simpler time.

dad and me                                       madmen summer camp

He owned a Pharmacy with his business partner Charlie.  I have sweet memories of making bows in the back of the store for the Christmas holiday gifts.  When I was old enough, I walked from school to the store and played in his office, did my homework or helped Esther,  the secretary,  file.  As a High Schooler I worked in the store legitimately…in the office or out front.  I loved working in the gift and cosmetic departments.  I mean,  who wouldn’t.

As a child I would dance on his feet and he would sweep me across the dance floor at a Bar Mitzvah or family wedding.  We didn’t dance much later on.  But once in a while we had an opportunity .  I saw this picture today while looking through some others and wanted to share. Maybe 15 yrs ago…He was still Dad…Sort of…

dad and me dancing

Why am I reminiscing today? Today Dad would have been 89 years old.  He passed last June 2014 at the age of 88.  A man with Alzheimer’s, and yet he still remembered who I was.  I would call him every week, 2 or so more times and each time when I’d call, I would say… Hi dad…and he would still answer … Hey are you?  Hearing those few words comforted me…forget that five minutes into a conversation he would either forget who he was talking to or get fixated on something in his room and the conversation came to a screeching halt.  But I did have those first 5 minutes and they were glorious.  I always had a story ready to tell him to get him engaged…get him laughing…get him feeling happy.  That was my job.

Over the years I baked for Dad’s birthday. He didn’t need another robe or tie or book…But I knew he enjoyed my baking…So I would get busy in the kitchen a few days before his birthday and start baking.  One year I made his mother’s recipe for Mandelbreit..another year it was my Great Aunts recipe for rugelach…and then sometimes if it was a cold winter , I would make him Rainbow cookies…all were his favorite and all were easily shipped. I knew that he would enjoy them and that they would help remind him of happier times.  The smell, the taste all were sweet reminders for him.  He may not remember who sent it or who used to make it but he did remember the cookies. That is all that I cared about.  I knew he enjoyed them. That was all that mattered.

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Today I woke up and realized that this would be his first birthday without a phone call. .It would be the first birthday he didn’t get a card. The first birthday I didn’t bake for him.  What consoles me is this will be his first birthday in 22 years he will get to celebrate with my Mom somewhere in time…Happy Birthday…. Dad..I love you and miss you. Say hi to Mom for me.

mom and dad wedding

Why Bread and Butter Cafe

Having been born in the 1950’s I was subject to many rituals and customs of my mother. Some of them I still continue to this day and others I have archived to a dusty box in the closet. Back in the day when people invited you to their house for dinner or lunch or anything special you then had to reciprocate by way of bringing something. When I was a little girl my mom called that a bread and butter gift.

It was a big deal to bring the appropriate gift. It could be a baked good, a casserole or an actual gift. My mom did not cook so much back then so it was not going to be a homemade item. No cookies, no cakes, no casseroles. We were lucky back then that she didn’t poison us with her cooking..but then… that story is for another time.

So back to the gift. Let’s digress for a moment… My family was part owners of a local Pharmacy in our lovely little town on Long Island. Bell and Halpern. Dad passed away this past June and just this past week Mr. Bell passed on. But to this day…when people hear the name Bell and Halpern, memories flood back to all. It was the store to find the perfect Bread and Butter gift back then…as a matter of was The store to go to, to find any gift…we had a great store…China, Glassware, jewelry, watches, wallets, luggage, appliances, TV and stereos and radios, books, fragrance and cosmetics. We used to laugh it was the Bloomingdales of Pharmacies..all it lacked was apparel.

Again back to the bread and butter gift. It didn’t need to be expensive or big…but it did need to be thoughtful…and thats what I am hoping this blog will be. I am bringing to your house a little gift of myself to thank you for having me over. Here have a piece of cake.


Hello world! Welcome to my cafe.

For all my life, cooking and baking was where I went to lose myself. Dicing, Cutting, chopping,  working that knife  you had to keep your mind on the task at hand.  Or you would lose a finger or at the very least cut yourself..which I have been known to do when I lost sight of what I was doing.

Baking requires following a recipe.  Measuring and weighing ingredients exactly.  I have a dyslexia with numbers so I constantly check myself.  With baking you don’t know if you have a fail until you cut into a cake or bite a cookie or your souffle’ is flat as a crepe.  But I love it…and I think I am pretty damn good at both baking and cooking and the only lessons I have had were from Home Economics in Middle School or from watching fine cooking shows. Julia, Jacques Pepin, Jose Torres, Galloping Gourmet, Nathalie Dupree to name a few, were my teachers albeit through the TV and through the internet.

I always said it was cheaper than therapy and always came out of a “session “with the house smelling great and something to eat.  Of course its more fattening but way more fun and no one to say to you…”do you think that was a smart thing to say or do?”

I have never been a fan of therapy,  but for reasons that don’t seem logical to those who like it. No reason to comment here on it..but it has just never been the route for me…thus cooking and baking and now blogging?

So back to cooking and why this blog now when there are more than a million blogs out there with amateurs and professionals and people somewhere in-between.

Sometime back in August I lost my job.  I used to sell restaurant equipment.  While the job itself wasn’t all that great and the people I worked for and worked with weren’t all that great, I loved it.  I loved working with chefs and cooks getting their new business started or getting their business back on track after new equipment was delivered to them.

I miss that part of my job.  I miss talking to bakers and chefs and store owners.  I miss the conversations about food and sharing of recipes and emails back and forth with pictures of what they did best and what I tried to do.  It was a community I was part of because of me selling equipment.  I want to find a way back in..

So, readers if you will allow me…I will try to educate and entertain you.  Why some equipment matters more than others.  Why sometimes doing something simpler is better than fussing.  Why this is infinitely better than therapy.