Marco Polo

I think of things to write about, but when the time comes, I go stone cold.  Is this writers block?  If so, then maybe I don’t have what it takes to write a book, maybe I don’t have the charisma to hostess a blog, to live my life by the way of pen, by the stroke of the ink, by the code of the keypad.

I get inspired to write only when I cannot, namely when I am struggling against sleep, tossing in the sea of the comforter, tangled in the seaweed of the sheet, mind racing while the body cannot.

So here I am, hanging out with myself on a late fall evening, bored and avoiding Marigold.

Maybe we broke up and I was too distracted to even notice, maybe that’s it.  Whenever I call on Marigold, when I am ready, when I have time, I have already lost motivation because of how long I have avoided my blog baby.  Marigold has run away, and I do not blame her.

It’s like I am nervous, or scared, intimidated, unclear, and for the first time in  my life, unopinionated.

It certainly is strange, but I miss Marigold, and I do hope she starts to stop by a little more often than never.

XO

Marianna

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A Toast for My Friends

Sarah Lucille has changed my life.  I can say with confidence that everyone in this room can related to and understand this fact.

Like all of her closest friends, I met Sarah in the water.  Our friendship grew through the mutual struggle in competitive swimming, our respect for each other blossomed in countless hours bouncing back and forth off the pool’s walls, trying with all the might in our skinny arms to be the absolute best swimmer that we could be.  Despite the stress, competition, emotion, and simple act of growing up, Sarah was without a doubt supportive, encouraging, engaging, smart, well rounded, and of course, excited.

Sarah Lucille changed my life when she introduced me to the world of synchronized swimming.

We were both at of U of M, a large and intimidating university not very much like the smallish city from whence we came.  In trying to carve out a sense of self,  it was very intimidating to be in a sea of students, all the same age, and everyone really good at something.  I personally was so average in intelligence, so below average in social skills, so under coached in how to fit in, but so ready for the challenge of starting out my adult life away from the coziness of my where I came from. I wanted to find a niche, a way to make the experience negotiable, I wanted an extracurricular to fill in the gap between school and the new found party life.

A few weeks after synchro practice began, I got a call from Sarah telling me that I have join this team.  She raved about how you didnt need any experience to join, about how great the group was, how beautiful the olympic sized pool and diving well were, how this top notch facility would let us swim in its glorious pool.  She really saw the potential in the team. That little push was all it took for me to dive into the strange world of synchronized swimming- sport that blends ballet and water polo.  I can say with confidence that if it wasnt for Sarah, I never would have joined, I never would have stuck with it, I never would have the honor to consider myself a member of that team.

Seriously, I am sure that no one knows too much about this obscure sport, so let me give you a few details.  Its like dancing in water, it’s being graceful while looking like a wet dog, it’s defying all natural instincts when you are faced with the water: you keep your eyes open, you have to maintain a clear sense of direction while also upside down and submerged underwater, and you have smile all while wearing a sequenced bathing suit, have your face painted with clownlike make-up, and your hair literally glued to your head with gelatin.  Most importantly, you have to stay clear headed and in control while under pressure, underwater, while wet and confused. You cannot touch the bottom, you have to count music the entire time, and you have to copy the movements of seven other people.  It sounds impossible and it felt like that the entire 4 years I was on the team.  In the beginning, we would be SO proud when there was just a few seconds of actual synchronization.

This was an extremely hard sport, but good lord did we have a good time.  We had a lot of adventures and I learned more about myself then than ever before or since.

Being a part of this team is the single most important event of my college years.  I would not be the same person today  if I was not able to be on this team and share this traumatic event with Sarah.  And just like in highschool, she was fun, encouraging, creative, energetic, supportive, engaging.  Never critical, needy, judgemental or negative.  She always wanted me to succeed and be a great swimmer and pushed me to keep on trying even though I had no natural talent nor grace.

In getting to know the other bridemaids, it has been stated again and again that Sarah has helped everyone push there boundaries, to encourage everyone to try a little harder, go a little further, never give up or give in.  She has made people stronger, more confident, more talented all with in her style of happy encouragement and determination.

Sarah has an infectious personality that spreads cheer, joy, and optimism throughout every situation.  I can say with confidence that everyone in this room can relate to and understand with fact.

Sarah has a level of enthusiasm for life  and consideration for friends that has been unmatched.  Until I met Cy.  It did not take a long amount of time for me to realize this.  As soon as I got to know Cy I was convinced that Sarah met her perfect match.  Being with both of them together makes to best of times great, the happiest of circumstances hilarious, the simplest of events remarkable.

With all the stress and overload of details leading up to the wedding, with taking on the silly task of catering their own wedding, welcoming old friends from far and wide, setting up family and accommodations, filling up her binder with all the details, there has never been any moment of doubt that this wedding is not the best idea ever.  It is so inspiring to see a couple so perfectly matched and so damn ready to shared their vows,  without a trace of doubt in their decision to pledge a lifetime dedication to the other person.

Cheers to friends who make you a better person and cheers to the inspiration found in love.

Thank you Mrs Hans and Mr Van Wesep for including me in your celebration.  I look forward to your shared shennagins and adventures as married couple.  Love you both and am prividelged to have you guys in my life.

Tuesday Vibes

Things are really working out for me lately.  I am enjoying another lazy day in my uptown apartment, slowly sipping coffee and staring out into the late morning kitchen: it’s clean in here, the light is soft due to a hazy overcast day, the cat is happily playing in the basement, the neighborhood is graveyard silent.

As I sip the viscous coffee, very warm and pretty black is the way I like it, not too hot, not too room temperature, thick but not roasted too dark, I am making my daily to-do list and sorting out the errands for the day.  I am ready to accomplish every task at hand, motivated because they are all relatively easy and since I made the list, I want to do them.

Things are looking up is the prevailing feeling of this cozy and lazy morning, I have my life under control.  This is pretty ironic considering that I recently lost my job- a critical part of my self-identity, of my self-worth, of motivation, a demoralizing feat after working for over a decade with a personal sense of dedication for an end goal in which you feel like you got gypped.

Now I have lost my job before in the past- a couple of times.  But this time it is more personal and more defining.  I was very proud of my position, I worked at it very hard, at the expense of the personal life.  I lost my friends, I had to make an appointment with my roommate just to see her, I saw my nieces hardly at all.  I saw my lover while he slept, and we disagreed on what to do on our one day off together.  He wanted to find adventure in the big city, I wanted to sleep.

It felt worth it because this was a goal and I was following through with it.  I mean, as an adult you do have to prioritize work at times to get ahead.  This city is competitive and it takes a lot of energy to pull ahead.

But now, all I can feel is that it was a complete waste of my youthful years.  The payoff is that I cannot imagine doing that ever again.  I am willing to do the type of work, but not for the hours and not for the pay.

So, considering the circumstances of an intricate web of personal feelings, things are really working out.  For the moment at least, while I can wrangle some time for myself, while I can manage some time for other people, while I can keep motivated in not having anything in particular to do.

My Morning News

Time is going by so slow.  I just looked at the clock and it said 12:12.

I poured myself a cup of coffee, stumbled into the dining room, opened and unlocked the computer (ruby darling is her name.  She has a sticker on back that says ‘I donut care.” ). Nice morning ritual, I think to myself, coffee and reading the news.  Sounds legit.

I fire up good old google news, and scan the headlines.  I baffle once again over the influx of negativity that is the staple of catching up on local and global events.  Definitely a lot of gossip written in very persuasive tone of voice that doesn’t leave a lot of room for reader opinion.

Today’s top story, in my mind, was a particular piece of coverage about the fucking eclipse – a centennial celestial event that seriously everyone has to comment on.  No, I do not care if you got eclipse glasses.  It’s just something to buy and throw away.  This story, however, was about a Donald Trump tweet – another current top story since he took office.  Fucking twitter?  God how little I should care about a silly social media fun-thread bulletin board.  But apparently, this is shaping the world’s view of top politics in this country.

This tweet, though, was beyond comprehension of moral decency, maturity, and unmistakable evidence of any lack of intelligence.  It was a 4 part image of Donald Trump’s colorful face eclipsing a black and white pensive portrait of Barack Obama.  Below in quotes “best eclipse ever.”  This has to be a prank.  This has to be a prank.  Dear heaven, this has to be a prank.

If not, my reaction would be akin to Tina Fey on SNL weekend update about the riots at her alma mater.  If you haven’t seen the skit, do it now….  It’s of one attempting to keep a sense of sanity by stress eating cake.  A farce reaction because keeping a faith in the leadership ability of this country and maintaining the happiness of a fuck ton of people is a completely bananas concept.

Alright, enough news, enough opinions on the world at large.  It’s time to close up the internet shop, and locate the fat cat still sleeping in bed.  Curled up in a furry grey ball of soft adorableness, I give her some love.

Coffee half gone, I stumble to my phone to check awaiting text messages.

Its 12:13.

I have no idea how that is actually possible, to live a whole morning in 1 minute.  Time’s wanderings have changed pace, and I have to slow-up to adapt.

– Marigold

 

Ps- I got a good joke- Hey Donald, here I thought I was the worst speller in the history of writing anything!  Bam, self-esteem is starting to rise.

One Year In, Self-Reflection And Confection

I know the right thing to do.  I know by now that I should have the confidence to do whatever I want do.  I mean, come on man.

I know I am not an expert, but I know that I an more than competent.

So what is holding me back from like truly believing in myself?  Why do I insist that I have so many short comings and so much to learn?  Why can I not after a year of being in leadership throw my weight around?  I constantly resent people because they do not respect that fact that they should listen to me.  I never demand that they listen, which is my problem, they just don’t get it.  My advice is not an negotiable item at an auction, it’s a highly refined opinion that you really should do.  I mean, come on, lady.

Anyway, harmonizing the nonchalance of adaptation with the hyper sensitivity of precision can be a bit of a tight rope stroll, if you catch my drift.  I gotta say, I feel like I have I met my match.  I work in a kitchen that has a strange balance of personalities and attitudes.  Maybe never has so many different people cohabited that same space and time, with timidly snarkly me caught right in the twilight.

Semi-Obligatory Birthday Post

It’s that day again- it happens once a year to everybody and today it’s my turn.

My birthday always makes me so self-reflective, it makes my heart look in the mirror and ask “What have I done with my life?  Who have I become?  Have I made a difference?  Am I successful?  Am I happy?”

Seriously, why I can’t just be carefree like I usually am, why can’t I take the day off emotionally?  Instead it’s the opposite where I question everything about my life: who I have become, what impact I have made upon the world around, where my career is going, what does my future hold?

Some birthdays are filled with the most happiness I have ever felt, some are filled with tears and remorse.  Very few are non-memorable in terms of emotion and self-reflection.

This year, my 34th, I have finally reconnected with that sense of indescribable joy that has slowly leaked out of my heart over the last year filled with work stress.

I am a giver.  I give out all my energy to the outside world- mostly to strangers, but also to my coworkers and friends because I have this unending need to make everyone happy.  I am only partially delusional- I know I can’t actually make people happy, but I want to do all I can to make everyone smile.   Lately, it has taken its toll on me-  I have nothing left for myself.  Lately, after a full night of rest, I still feel drained, tired, empty.  I need a lot of coffee, a daily personal pep talk, just to get a minimal sense of momentum to take on the day, to endure the tasks.

Something has got to give. This is a reality that has been weighting on my mind a lot in the past few months.  And that in itself is tiring.  Being mad, upset, questioning everything, unsure, making myself motivated every morning is so exhausting- on top of the long, hard days in a hot, demanding kitchen.

Today, though, after deep though and self-reflection, after a personal examination of what I have done, what I am doing, the people in my life, why I work so damn hard basically all the time- I feel so fucking joyful.  I have wonderful people in my life that give a damn about me, about wanting me to smile, about wanting me to shine my energy with them.

I have spent so many years wanting a career I am proud of.  Although it’s a lot of work, I have been given the chance to finally be a Chef.  It’s way more work than I bargained for, but I am proud of everything I have created, and at the end of the day, that is really the most important thing to me.

So cheers, Marinara, to a new year.  Cheers to not being stressed about work, cheers to having more to talk about then work, cheers to following my personal standards for health and happiness.

I have a wonderful people in my life, and at the end of the year- that’s all that matters.  I am looking forward to focusing on the love in my heart, to keeping this joy so that I can shine it out.   The most I can do to help increase the happiness of the friends, co-workers, and strangers is to concentrate on the love and joy that I create with relationships and art.  And that is not hard, difficult, or draining- this is the easy part.

Lucky Number

Already it has been two months since the new year rang its bell.  I have not yet divulged all the luck I drew over the past year, I have not yet documented all the adventures that the past year brought.

Until June of last year, I was a devout personal recorder keeper. Last year began with high ambitions of art and writing.  I was posting on Marigold every day- so much so that I had posts planned out for weeks, scheduled and ready roll out at a set time.  I had recently rediscovered drawing- black ink highlighted with colored pencil- a very whimsical yet focused and symmetrical portrait of dancing lines.

I have not been the artist I was in the start of the 2016.  I have not even begun to document all the dishes I have put out in the last 6 months- a personal goal that is greeted with a D- failing grade.  It’s not that the resolution to Marigold wore thin, it’s that I found and focused on a large, all consuming professional project.

Marigold is not the only one who has experienced the profound drop-off in friendship, communication, sanity, support, and the charisma of the real me.  I spent so much of the second half of the year at work that it took everything and everyone from me.  I started a  giant and lovely garden that I let die hot summer sun.  I had to make appointments to see my roommate.  I saw my boyfriend while he slept, and he kissed me goodbye while I snored. Hell, I even miss myself.

It’s been one hell of a year.  I have two jobs, two homes, a boyfriend and roommate/bestie situation.  Life lately has been bananas and so detail-oriented my brain feels like I am constantly holding a plasma globe.

Yet, these are small sacrifices for the amazing feats that 2016 brought to me personally. 16 has always been my lucky number.  Ever since grade school, this auspicious number has been a good luck charm. For me, 2016 was a very lucky year.

January 2016 was greeted in South Africa.  The year started with a trip to a country that I never thought I would actually experience.  That feeling was a carry-over from 2015 when I rang in the new year in India.  I never thought that I would be lucky enough to travel to either country- and yet within one year I got very nice introduction to two very different cultures.

I have spent everyday of the entire year utterly in love.  Love is something that I never take for granted; it was not something that I was expecting to come to me.  Love is very special, and I feel extremely lucky to have found it.

Last year I got a promotion.  I got to be part of opening a brand new restaurant, and with that came the opportunity to run 2 pastry programs, simultaneously.  Much against my constant fear of failure, the new pastry program has been going better than splendid.  One might even call it a success.  We sell a butt load of dessert, I have received all good reviews from Chicagoland critics.  There has not yet been one flop.  The dish that sold the least made it in the top 131 things the MIke Sula ate that year (number 45 the Argentinean Float).

I got nominated for rising pastry chef of the year award- local but still legit.  As it turns out I did not win, but the nomination was very flattering.  I went to the awards, I wore a lovely emerald green dress, and my whole family went to support me and my growing career.

I was on television twice.  Local news- one was aired live, the other taped in one sitting.  I said “ummm” too many times, but I felt confident, I felt comfortable being me, being taped, being in high definition.

I almost got to meet Obama.  Seriously, he almost ate at one the restaurants.  How cool is that?

January 2017, started in tears- shockingly.  It was the chef’s dawn (9am) when I broke open my eyelids like two cold eggs- with a feeling of peril in my gut.  I woke up with a profound sense of dismay- of having to start the year over again- to have to experience everything that has to happen, again.  It’s a scary thought, to revisit the hardships and fears, the emotional roller coaster that was 2016.  Yes there were many positives that came out of the year, but it was a very challenging year at the same time.  It was worth it, but the thought of having to go through that process again, from the beginning, is terrifying.

I don’t want to have to face that caliber of a struggle again, even though I do.  I create my own struggles and my own wars, because they are a necessary side affect of my accomplishments.

Maybe 2017 will be just as magical as last year, maybe it will get easier with time, maybe I will find my artistic voice again, maybe I will not be so afraid of failing, maybe I will have time to dance.