Remember?


Remember when I used to blog? Yeah, I barely remember either….

I’m watching Julie & Julia, the movie that started this whole blog off in the first place. I figured if Julie Powell could utilize her writing and cooking skills through a blog, that maybe I could try my hand at it too. At first, I wrote a lot about how much I loved Julia Child — her spirit, her television persona, her life. Then, I wrote complete and utter silly nonsense. All the time. I’d write a post almost every day, about the books I’d read, the things I noticed about people.I wrote sarcastic posts about boys who had rejected me. I wrote about my declining mental health. I wrote about writing. About college. The Bachelor. Rabbits. Dancing. Barney…

So when I started writing almost 7 years ago on this very site, I didn’t really expect my life to go this way. I thought I’d be a writer by now. Then I thought maybe I’d be a psychologist. Now I’m in cosmetology school, which I wouldn’t have predicted but definitely won’t complain about. Clearly this path hasn’t exactly been linear. I just…thought I’d have it all figured out by now. I’m 23, after all, and when I was 17, I trusted my future self to take care of everything.

This blog was my everything. I had a solid following, an actual subscriber base that cared about my wellbeing and loved my humor. It used to be called Writer’s Block. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll run kicking and screaming,” the caption at the top warned. A picture of typewriter keys occupied the banner. The web address? bymyink.wordpress.com. Now? Cappy Writes. A web address that matches the blog’s name. A picture of a packet of letters I bought at an antique shop. No tagline. A lot of sadness. Anger.

I’m not lamenting what used to be, really, so much as finally remembering. Realizing.

Obviously, I haven’t put the time and effort into blogging that I used to. At its peak, blogging was a tool to help me learn about and expand the world that I occupied. It was a way to gain support, to express myself, to hone a craft. It was pure. It meant everything to me. It was how I showed the world who I was, at a time when I thought I knew.

But the past few years haven’t been easy on me. My “mood disorder not otherwise specified” developed into generalized anxiety, a panic disorder, and depression. I was suicidal for a while when I was 18. I went through a surprisingly complicated breakup. I found Hinduism. It helped. New obstacles popped up. I got through them. I went to India. I got E. coli. I came out as bisexual. I graduated college, moved to a new city. I started cosmetology school. And through that all, the anxiety ebbed and flowed, but stayed mostly beneath the surface.

So now? I don’t know. I’m not okay, honestly. Something new is happening inside me, and I can’t understand it. I dealt with some serious depression over the summer, which is unusual for me, as it tends to stay contained within the “fall and winter seasonal affective” bubble. The panic disorder seems to have stayed away, which is one of the only things I find myself grateful for these days. The world doesn’t seem real lately, and neither do I. I’m going through the standard identity crisis that most people in their early 20s seem to experience, sure. But on top of that, some weird depersonalization/dissociation issues are cropping up. Therapy is happening. It’s rough, trying to stay afloat, stay alive, when you’re not even sure what’s going on anymore. I know all of that is vague, and I wish it could make more sense to me too. Just know that I’m dealing with it. I always do. I just don’t always know what to do anymore.

What does this all mean? In terms of this post, this blog, me, my life? I don’t know. All I know is, I got 15 minutes into watching Julie & Julia and I just got this itch to write. I’ve been cooking a lot lately, too. I’ve noticed that the worse I feel mentally, the more I cling to activities and people that used to make me feel calm and human and happy. This blog, more than anything, steadied my life when everything felt like it was going up in flames. So maybe it’s time to jump back in, ya know? To see a little humor in all the bullshit around me. To tell the world what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling. To share my story again with anyone willing to listen (and some who are very unwilling but are forced to because I’m a witch and I’ve hexed them).

So I’ll try, if you’ll help me. Your job is very simple: to show up and to read. I don’t even know how many of you are still out there, how many are new to my blog today, how many of you aren’t spam robots trolling through wordpress………

But yeah. I’ll try. No guarantees I’ll be funny, because half the time I just want to cry. But I’ll be here, writing into the abyss, for as long as you’ll have me.

 

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Scones: The Ultimate Gift of the Gods


I am pretty much obsessed with scones. I make them all the time and therefore eat them all the time and love them long tiiime.

They are flaky. They are pastries. They are warm when you get them right out of the oven. They are surprisingly tasty with cherry preserves. I had some with a chai tea latte this morning. They make me feel cultured.

I don’t know who invented the scone, but they are my hero. Lucky them!
Actually, lucky them they are dead, because if they were alive I would stalk them and make them tell me stories about how they invented the scone and then I would leap on them and make them be my friend forever.
It’d be pretty scary. But it’d be awesome, too.

So for your eating pleasure, I will now post my favorite scone recipe (which I have, inexplicably, memorized).

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened but not melted
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp lemon or orange zest

Mix the dry ingredients and zest together in a large bowl.
Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it into the dry ingredients with your hands (my preferred method) or with a fork, until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add the cream and mix with fork until just moistened. Don’t overwork the dough.

Remove 1/2 the dough from the bowl and knead on a flat surface just 5 or 6 times. Press flat on surface until it’s a circle about 6 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. Cut into 6 wedges. Do the same with the other half of the dough.
If you prefer, you can make them into round biscuit-like shapes. I’ve never done this, but it looks pretty snazzy.
Place on greased cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan and bake 10 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the scones are golden.
Remove to a cooling rack for a few minutes.

Then eat them and love them because they are delicious.

Once again, this recipe is courtesy of Julia Child (or rather, the cookbook Baking with Julia), so bon appetit!

To avoid cramping, eat, then pray for at least 20 minutes, THEN love. – Mo Rocca.

Why I Owe My Happiness to (The Essence of) Julia Child


1. She was a very tall woman (well over 6 foot), but she wasn’t afraid to marry a short man. I mean, technically you shouldn’t be afraid to marry a short person in the first place, but society sets these standards that the woman is supposed to be small and frail and the man should be bigger and strong. And being 5’10” (bordering on 5’11” ) myself, I find that I worry about dating a guy who is smaller than me. I don’t even think it has to do with my personal preferences – I worry about what other people would say. But reading about Julia, reading her book My Life in France, and watching Julie & Julia has made me respect…no, understand…that love can happen even when your husband/boyfriend/whatever isn’t superman, isn’t the Old Spice man, isn’t Fabio. Because (sap alert!) love is inside and what’s on the outside is just extra. I feel like I should have learned this sooner (like the million times I was told about it in elementary school and in all the sappy movies I’ve ever watched) but it just didn’t make sense until I saw it in real life.

2. She cooked.
Well. She cooked well. With Julia, there was no baked Alaska in a flower pot…she cooked real food. Food that probably made people cry because it was so good. And every time I think about good cooking, I think about her.
She started cooking because her husband was at work and she wanted something to do, something she loved. So Julia fought to go to cooking school and…the rest is history. She worked for years and years and YEARS to write a cookbook of French food for American cooks. She was revolutionary. She was wonderful.

3. Julia Child was a happy woman.
Lots of people are happy. I am happy. Mr. Rogers is happy (I love him too, but I’ll save an explosion of Mr.-Rogers-love for another blog). But Julia Child was happy in a way that makes you want to know her. Sometimes, I feel like I already do. And though she passed when I was like 10, she’s alive because she made so many other people feel good. Good at cooking, good about themselves, good because the food tasted so good. And for that I say, bon appetit!

4. Her best friend was her pen pal.
Its a super long, complicated, and slightly strange story, but my best friend and I have only met once (worry not, we have a real, live, mutual friend – I didn’t meet this person on a dating site or something). We communicated through email, telephone, and letters for two years until June when she finally came to visit me.
And that’s how it was with Julia and her best friend Avis DeVoto (yes, Bernard DeVoto’s wife). They had corresponded for years through letter/telegram/what have you. I like that Julia’s life parallels mine. It makes me feel content, like I’ve just had a lovely, warm bowl of soup.

5. She is the reason I blog.
Well, indirectly, that is. You see, Julia Child wrote a cookbook. Julie Powell wrote a blog about cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook. Her blog got so popular that she wrote a book about the experience. Her book became a movie. I watched the movie and simultaneously fell in love with Julia Child and blogging. 
This blog makes me so happy. I finally figured out what I like to write about, and I love that people I don’t know can read my writing and laugh or think or just…be. I love that people enjoy what I write. It gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. So thank you, I am eternally greatful and indebted to all of you.

P.S. Apparently, she and her husband Paul had a fantastic sex life. I guess you shouldn’t judge someone by the way she looks after all! Cheers!

Classy Cooking


Meryl Streep elegantly portrays Julia Child

There’s always been something so glamorous about cooking. There need not be a stiletto in your closet if you have the capability to feed your lover delicious food. I don’t mean it in the sense of “Woman, make me a sandwich!” I mean that people fall in love around food probably more than anything else. Think of how many dinners we share with people on dates. We get dressed up, cook someone a meal/go to a fancy restaurant, and eat wonderful food with someone we hope to find a connection with.

Except when it all goes horribly wrong. Tonight, I made Julia Child’s nectarine chiffon upside down cake. It took me an hour from start to finish (not including the immense cleanup process) and I was tremendously excited. I took it out of the oven with the intention of letting it cool. I allowed myself to take a tiny bite from the corner…and realized that it tasted of bad vegetable oil. So I went to the cupboard and smelled the bottle. How could I not have noticed that it smelled like fish before I added it to the batter? I felt like Julie Powell in the film Julie & Julia…like I needed to crouch in the corner of the kitchen and have a “meltdown.” All the glamour was gone. Plus I was having cramps.

But tomorrow, the glamour of cooking will be back and I’ll be as happy as ever trying to bake something else. And tonight, I realized the wonder of the hot fudge sundae.