Thursday, August 4, 2011

And there it goes...

Summer has come and gone as quick as ever, although the weather in this part of the country is just now starting to show signs of warm weather. The past week or two have been warm and beautiful, with no rain to speak of. Maybe it'll hold off a little longer! It sure has been nice here.
Crazy life, always rolling and moving, has kept me busy the past few months! All good busy though, life is sweet as ever!

-First and foremost, (or at least maybe most recently) I AM DONE WITH CULINARY SCHOOL! I am now a proud graduate of Oregon Culinary Institute, with all my classes done. Real walk-the-stage graduation isn't until October (they only have two ceremonies per year) but it feels so so good to know that I am done!
On the same topic, I also have free dinner for life at OCI! I volunteered to make a cow suit for one of my chefs, and I actually got to make it! I had to buy a new sewing machine, because I left my other one in Texas. I managed to make a simi-quilted cow suit, to teach cuts of beef, and earned a place in their hearts and dining room forever.

-I got hired on at Toast, so I'm now getting paid for all my work! It's been about a month that I've been getting paid, I think this weekend will be my fourth working on the line as the griddle cook. Weekends are hectic and busy, but it's really much more interesting to work during the full days than the slow ones. I'm working 40 hours a week, but all in 4 days, so I have 3 days off a week and am still getting a nice paycheck. Tomorrow is my short day, I get to go in at 9, but the rest of the weekend I go in at 6 a.m. I've gotten better at sleeping early though, and even on my days off it's hard to stay up much later than midnight. I end up being the first one up in the house too, making coffee and breakfast before my other roommates are up.

-The whole fam damily came up to my green Rose State of Oregon to visit me! We had the best time, I got to show them all around my neighborhood, I rounded up bikes for them to ride, and we got to see lots of beautiful green places and waterfalls. They got to meet my friends and co-workers and it was just a great time overall. It was so nice for them to see my places, because they didn't get to come set me up when I first moved out here. I think this is a much better arrangement though, because we had a lot more fun than we would have had if they had just brought me out here in the first place. It was sad to see them go, but hopefully I'll be able to come back to Texas for a little while sometime before this year is up.

-I've met a nice boy that I've been spending a lot of time with. We spent my day off yesterday picnicking by the waterfront and riding bikes. He bought dad a lot of beer while they were here, and they got to talk about bikes and man things. So that's just an extra sweet bit in my life right now. :)

And everything else is just clickin'! I'm not working at Starbucks anymore, so no fraps and white mochas to deal with this summer. And lots of hours spent outside! Trying to take in the sun as much as I can. I want to get around to going to the river, some workmates have been talking about going. I need to get in the water and maybe get rid of my farmers tan. Mom and dad just got me a Pasta Machine that will end up at my door soon, so my roommate and I can finally realize our dream of making beet ravioli with the beets from our garden. We also added a fish spatula, spider, and bench scraper to the arsenal of cooking tools in our giant kitchen, so that just means more and more crazy cooking projects. Things are good and food filled and love filled at da house, so my life is just splendid!

Much Love from the Rose State!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My bed has missed me.

I just rode my bike home from work, in my pajamas and now sitting in bed. Tomorrow will me my first day off in about 3 and a half weeks, and I'm so looking forward to a full day of rest and relaxation and no work. It's been a crazy almost month, but things are starting to feel more manageable.
My externship started, and I've been working 6 am to 3 pm, Tuesday-Friday, and then working from about 5 pm Until 12:30am at Starbucks Friday-Sunday. I now have Mondays off of both jobs, after three weeks of making up my mind. I think I might need a day off every week. So I'm taking it!

Overall Toast has been really awesome. I've been working the griddle station, so doing a lot of bacon and potato rosties, and fancy french toast. I've learned a lot about the general run of a restaurant that you just can't get the feel for in school. We had the health inspector come just last week, and we made a 100% score, so that was good, but made me nervous. The people I work with are all really great and helpful, trying to make sure I get as much information and opportunity to learn as possible.
It's really strange to be out of the customer service position, and just be thinking about the food. I think it's the first job that I haven't spent most of my day talking to the customers, and so far I really like that.
I had a long conversation a few weeks ago with a friend of mine, about why I love cooking, and why I pursued it as a career. Working in a kitchen has been the first time I've been able to (sort of) master a physical skill set. I've always been the person who was good at talking to people, and interviews, and was always the narrator in the class play; but I've never been the person who could kick a soccer ball straight, or even be able to cary a tray without dropping everything. And in the kitchen, there's a peace that comes over me, and a feeling of grace that I have never been able to capture in any other situation. The ease of motion and calm of my mind surprises even me. I think of how many times my dad has told me to "slow down!" when I've spilled paint and marbles and food and everything else, and I can't wait until he and mom can see me in a kitchen someday. My roommates came in to eat breakfast at Toast, and although Althea (who went to school with me) had seen me in kitchen mode, Aubrion was shocked to see me so focused. She said she had never seen me so serious, and I just laughed and told her It's what I love to do! I was just bringin' it!
Not only do I love that I have the physical ability to get the food to the customer, but also I just bask the beauty of a plate of food that's made with skill and care and focus. And a cook can know that it will go out into a dining room and make a personal, human moment and story. It just makes me really look forward to my future in this industry.

Other than contemplating my love for my profession, I've just been working about 65 hours a week, fitting in other projects when I can. I went garage sale hunting with Aubrion last Saturday, and we bought a $25 couch! It's a super nice, West Elm couch that'll be perfect when we have visitors. The people who sold it to us even delivered it! Super sweet! We also got a grill for $5, I got an old food mill for making gnocchi, some new curtains for our doorway, two free chairs, and a few other small bits from various sales. We really made out like bandits, and now it's been hard not to stop at every sale we see.
Tomorrow we're having a barbecue/family dinner at the house, it's supposed to stop raining tomorrow so hopefully we'll be able to fire up our new grill and enjoy the sun (and my day off!).
The garden is getting planted, right now we've got pea shoots, mustard greens, kale, nasturtiums and leeks in the ground. Plus parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. We also found out that the FIG TREE in our front yard isn't dead, and it's covered in little green pods that will be amazing in a month or so. We've got a mystery fruit tree in the back yard that we're waiting with anticipation to find out what fruit is growing on it. Lots of fresh things to eat!

All in all, summer is coming in with a bang. Otis (my bike) is still riding strong, especially in the sunny days. I ride the 12 min every morning to get to Toast at 6 am. The sun is shining a little more every week, looking forward to the full-time pretty weather, although that'll mean busy weekends at the Starbucks in the square.

Love all! I can't wait to come visit Texas, hopefully sometime after my classes are all done. I've got one more that starts July the 7th but I should be done the end of August at the latest.

Much love! My bed is calling me!

Monday, April 18, 2011

This should get me through the winter...

Well, March is over and I managed to make it through. I also managed not to post anything to my Blog, and I apologize.
It has been a hectic spring, with many personal and professional growths.
I was just telling a friend of mine the other day how much 2011 has lived up to 2010's crazy life-altering goings on. It's been amazing the things that have happened just this far into the year, and I'm beginning to remember just how fast time flies; When you're having fun, or otherwise.
School has been great, I'm just a few days away from being done with my kitchen time at OCI. I have worked out an externship opportunity with a really incredible place in my neighborhood that serves brunch and dinner on the weekends. Toast is the name, and local, sustainable, creative breakfast is it's game. I'm so excited to start, my first day is April 29th. I'm not sure yet how my scheduling will work out with my Starbucks job, but we shall see. I am just so happy to be working in a place that really shares my passion for the food it makes. I just got a new pair of kitchen clogs too, to get me through my externship and (hopefully) my new job there. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one though.
I've been on many adventures over the past few months. I feel like my social life hasn't slowed down since Jory came to visit at the beginning of February. Been on midnight bike rides, gone to many birthday parties, and celebrated our new house with a fabulous housewarming party. I got to talk to a crazy old man on the bus the other day that reaffirmed my belief in taking life by the horns. We sang clementine together and talked about his 20 years of ravioli making and probably disturbed the rest of the bus thoroughly. BUT! Human connection is so rare, and to be able to spend 30 minutes on a crowded bus talking to someone who is probably ignored the rest of his day , just makes mine. We also have had countless family dinners (speaking of human connection) at our GIGANTIC dining room table. Candles and good friends and food- seems to be the theme as of late.
Speaking of the house, we have been all moved in for a few weeks, still working out kinks and orchestrating the communication of three very busy women. We have managed to constantly have toilet paper, eggs, and clean towels, although there have been a few close calls. I am usually surrounded by people who inspire me, but none do as much to help me grow as my two beautiful strong roommates Althea and Aubrion. I think we have all learned so much from each other in just this time, and who knows where we will be in a year. I have realized that I'm much more my father's daughter than I realized, and I'm always the one to check the locks and windows before we leave, and the one that gets called when the washing machine isn't working or a fuse has blown. I told both my roommates, who are each 6+ years older than me that I really appreciate that I don't feel like they act like my caretaker, and Althea just said "Cait, I feel like you're MY mom sometimes." That made me smile a little bit. Our garden is shaping up, and the guest room will soon be ready for family to visit. Mom, Dad, and Chloe have booked their flights for the summer, and I can't wait for them to see our beautiful house, and my beautiful city. It will be so great to show them around.
I got a new bike at the beginning of the month, and it has been one of the greatest joys of my life! I've been riding the 3.5 miles to school and work as often as the weather allows, and it has made me feel so good! It's a great ride, and keeps me moving. I named the bike Otis, and he is getting me around. haha
Overall, life has been so incredibly sweet. The weather is perking up, giving us a few hours of sun every couple of days. Life is moving, and I'm doing my damn best to keep up with it, and give it all I've got. That's all we can do, right?

Much love from a house in SE Portland that was built in 1923,

Friday, February 25, 2011


The Resolutions are going well!
Sorry for length between this and my last post, things have been crazy, as usual. But I had a little chunk of time for once, and I figured things could and should be updated.
It's been super cold here the past few days, we had a bit of snow, and then today it's been sunny as all get out, but about 20 degrees. SUPER cold. So, as to make this ridiculously long post a little easier, let's hit the bullets!
-Got home alright from NYC after a hectic travel day.
-Started my second term in the Kitchen at school, and that has been going really well. I'm actually almost done, and am about to go into my third and final term in the kitchen. We've had live-fire all week, which was about as stressful as it gets, but my group pulled through and made it happen. It was a lunch menu so we were making sandwiches and chicken and all kinds of other goodies, I made a yummy pablano corn chowder that I now have a huge bag of in my refrigerator.
-Jory came to town at the end of January, and it was one of the best visits I've ever had. He slept on the little air mattress and we got to explore and drink coffee and eat lots of good food. I was actually so happy to have his flight delayed with the storm, and was so sad to see him go. It's incredible how nice it is to have actual FAMILY in the cities we live in, and I think we both sort of realized that over the time he was here. We both live so far away, and although you can have all the best chosen friend-family, it's still so great to see someone who's known you since the day you were born. He got to meet all of my friends and see all my spots, and we just had a really great time.
-My friends Althea from school and Aubrion from work are all moving into a new house! We signed the lease this past Wednesday on a BEAUTIFUL house to rent in Southeast Portland, so on the other side of the river from where I'm at now. It's a 4 bedroom, with a gigantic basement and a great back patio for gardens and art projects. It's got lots of character but seems very sturdy and solid. My lease at this apartment isn't up until the last day of March, but that means I'll have plenty of time to slowly move my things on the few days off I have a week. We're all excited, and are planning a big empty house painting-cleaning party on Tuesday night.

Portland is still my favorite city in the world, and I can't wait to have a real house to come home to. I will be done with school at the end of August, and I still don't quite know what I'm going to do, but I know that I will at least be here in PDX until next year this time. Summer is around the corner (as much as this winter weather makes it seem otherwise) and I'm in the market for a good light bike to get my commute on. It'll be nice to have some sun and warmth soon!

I love you all! A Texas visit is in order, but I'm thinking it might have to wait until I'm done with school. But I'm thinking about those west Texas sunsets, and thunderstorms more than it may seem.
Love, Cait

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Oh, ya know...

just chillin' on a bench at the Boise, Idaho airport. Just finished rolling around in a wheelchair, but I figured before I made my makeshift bed for the night, I'd post the new years resolutions I wrote down a little earlier waiting for my last flight.

So, in 2011 I would like to keep these goals in mind:

-Take pride in my appearance.
As much as I would like to jump on the classic woman's bandwagon of "losing a few pounds", I'm not one for bandwagons. So I figured this would be a better way of looking at things. As much as I try to think that everyone shouldn't judge someone by how they look, I know that I judge people by their appearance. So mainly I want to be able to be proud of the shell I'm in. I want to present myself well, and if I were to write a book, I'd want that cover to be really awesome. So here's to making people read this book I'm writing!

-Let my competitive urges take hold
I don't think of myself as a competitive person, but sometimes I get those intense feelings of wanting to be the best. And I feel like I might be able to accomplish a lot more if I just took hold of those urges and turned them into mantras or some sort of power.

-Lern something new
Like how to play an instrument, or how to make a soufflé!

-Don't settle
I can't let my passiveness get me down. Can't keep letting me make the easier decision. Can't settle for people who don't help me grow, or habits that keep me down, or say yes when I really mean no.

-Save at least $1 a week
If not $10! or $20! Or $100! But AT LEAST $1.

-Take chances, get messy, and LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!
because, we only get ONE life you know.
Unless you get reincarnated or you get cloned or have a strange multi-dimensional life counterpart.

-No longer let myself believe that I have no self control.
No more of that excuse. We've all got the power to change whatever it is we want to change. Including me!

-Write more. Sing more. But most importantly Listen more.

-Get into situations that makes me (reasonably) uncomfortable.
It helps ya' grow up big and strong!

-Go to places I haven't been as often as possible.
A new coffee shop, a new street, a new town, a new highway, a new country. Every chance I get!

and last, but not least...
-When people ask "how are you doing?", ask them how they are.
It sparks this thing called conversation. I know I'm no shy mute or anything, but sometimes a little bit of conversation can change the outlook of a day, or a lifetime. And what are we here on this earth to do but to interact with those other crazies that got plunked down here too?

So those are them. Pretty simple, but I think it's a reasonable set of goals that could open a lot of doors in my life over the course of a year.

Happy New Years! Love from this weird shiny purple bench in a deserted airport.