Catching up, life, media and how I got the nickname Donut

Last I wrote here, I was preparing for my first day of pastry school. I was a little nervous, mostly at the prospect of failing at something I truly loved doing. The apprenticeship program for baking takes two years of school and condenses it into six months of training, partially because they expect you to have learned a lot from your work experience. I was enrolled in my first year training and it went great. In fact as I write this, I’m just eight days away from entering my second and third year training. That was eight months ago, so why the silence?

Well it was my plan to post once a week on what was happening with school, with lots of pictures and details into the inner workings of professional baking. The only problem was, I kind of got burnt out telling friends and family about school and I was posting stuff on instagram, so I was just going to do a big post at the end. Then the condensed nature of the course combined with a couple of real life things got the better of me. I got married, secret married, which we didn’t keep the secret for very long. One of my best ad dearest friends got married as well and since it was a real wedding it required more effort and organization.

I had tons of ideas for posts, but I was determined not to post anything until I’d actually said something about school. Only I didn’t know what to say, it had been so long. I was going to say something before Twenty-Four Hour Comic Book Day, but then because everything was so hectic in October I decided to do Inktober and Drawlloween instead. I did a few more drawing challenges, one was even Dungeons and Dragons themed, which might have made me look a bit obsessed if you didn’t know it was a themed challenge. They were simple enough, plus to participate I didn’t have to do the one thing I’d been avoiding for months and that was opening my laptop.

Some day I’ll look back and 2016 and I’ll laugh, because for me personally it was a pretty good year. This was the first time since my divorce in 2012 that I’d stabilized myself financially, I went back to school, I got married to the most amazing man I could ever imagine and other than blogging more frequently I kept most of my resolutions, however, there were a lot of horrible things that happened too. The American election caused me so much anxiety that I couldn’t bring myself to open my computer. I did everything from my cell phone and was able to keep informed, but stay away from most of negativity that seemed to be infecting the internet masses. All in all, the whole thing made me very happy to be a Canadian. Now that all of the election garbage is over (there doesn’t seem to be as much coverage now that the worst has come) it feels like I can open the computer without a barrage of internet bile filling the screen.

So here I am days from going back to school again without having really said anything about my first year. I think that I can sum up my first year of school in one story, the nickname story. From what I remember it was the second or third day of class that we put on our uniforms for the first time and got to go into our lab kitchen. We learned about and got a quick demo about each station were were going to be using over the next two months; this was all review for me except for the doughnut station. So when we got to the hopper and deep fryer, I jumped at the opportunity try out the new equipment. We made a batch of cake doughnuts that turned out really nice, but it was interrupted by an orientation that all apprentices had to attend.

On the advice of our teacher, we brought the doughnuts to the auditorium to feed the rest of our schoolmates. So along with two other classmates, I carried the tray of doughnuts through the pouring rain. For the most part they were shielded by notebooks, so they didn’t get too wet. They turned out to be a huge success and everyone ended up loving them…except for the three people that we missed, the guys from the apprenticeship board. And boy did they know that we forgot to give them their doughnuts.

Every question I asked during the assembly was met with ‘will you give us a doughnut if we answer?’, since I’d sort of made myself the ringleader of the doughnut tray. Seven weeks later everyone was getting ready for their exams and the apprenticeship board guys were back. As I was passing the gymnasium on my way to the train I ran into one of apprenticeship board members and he asked if we were bringing any doughnuts, I told him we weren’t but I could bring some if they wanted. Instead, he told me to make sure I passed my exam.

On test day the board members gave us our instructions which mainly included under no circumstances can you bring a cell phone into the exam, and of course I was grilled about not bringing doughnuts.We proceeded to the exam, which was one of the harder tests I’ve ever taken since it didn’t involve a whole lot of what we learned in school, instead more so on what we would have learned at work. As I handed my paper in one of the board members asked, “How’d the test go Donut?” to which I responded, “Pretty good.” And we decided that Donut (I like the american spelling better because it looks cuter…at least for a nickname) was a pretty good nickname. I like donuts, they’re cute, tasty and just a little bit bad for you. Plus it could have been a lot worse, I could have gotten the all popular cinnamon bun, which after years of making them is my least favourite of the baked goods. Seriously, I get really frustrated when someone or something is referred to as a cinnamon bun too good for this world. In the grand scheme of baking cinnamon buns are low brow and don’t require any real skill, doughnuts are high tech compared to cinnamon buns. Plus I think they’re gross, cheese buns on the other hand are a work of art.

So there’s school in a nutshell, not the most interesting of stories, but the experience was well worth my while and now that that’s out there, maybe I’ll get back to posting more than once every eight months.

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Back to School at Thirty-Two

This past winter was unusually warm this year, which has lead straight into summer. Spring might have happened, but it was so fast I missed it. As a baker this means that hot dog and hamburger season has started a lot earlier than expected, before the school sliced bread glut has had a chance to die down. So work has been busier than usual for this time of year, which is good and bad. Good because even during a recession people still love our product and that makes me feel good, bad because within the next few days I’m going back to school and I love my job enough that I’m worried how they’ll hold up without me for a couple of months.

So a while back (the timeline seems hazy, looking back) I was in these two absolutely toxic relationships. This first was with my, then, husband and the second was with my job. In hindsight, the relationship with my ex always had some level of unhealthy toxicity, but the job hadn’t always been that way. At that point I’d been in the print industry for almost twelve years and I honestly thought that I was going to be in it forever. The company I worked for had really shitty upper management, whose philosophy seemed to be spend a dollar to save a dime. There was one time where the general manager made a foolish (and ill advised by everyone, including the far superior floor manager) choice that cost the company the equivalent of giving every employee a dollar raise for a year. This was all because he didn’t know what he was doing and his ego refused to listen to the people who did.

I’d had a series of amazing floor managers who not only knew what they were doing, but were great bosses and that was why I stayed. During the end of my print career my life ended up falling apart and I was fired, offered my  old job back and refused. I tried one more foray into print and it was the worst job experience of my life and the shortest I’d ever been employed. Every so often I’ll get a call from a print shop looking to hire me, either from people I used to know in the industry or an old resume that I posted online. So I guess there’s that.

Long story short, instead of doing something that I was learning to hate but was good at, I decided to try something I love, but didn’t know a thing about. Luckily for me, I picked things up fast and found that even if I was baking professionally, I still loved it. I worked through the hell of corporate bread, learned the motions and was able to land a job at a really awesome legitimate bakery (legitimate bakeries are the typically the ones that aren’t chains, if you want real bread don’t go to a grocery store or Cobs). It’s the kind of job where I actually want to better myself, thus the apprenticeship and going back to school.

See, I never went to college after high school. I took college courses for fun and a lot of courses pertaining to print, but I never actually did to college thing. I happened to fall into something I liked at seventeen and did it until I didn’t like it anymore. So here I am, thirty-two and preparing for college. I know a lot of people that went back school far older than I am now, but I’m still nervous. I’m worried at how much older I am than the other students, I’m worried about my pace (from what I’ve heard school pace is painfully slow compared to work pace and I’m not known for my patience) and on the flip-side, I’m worried about the workload(in my school handbook most of the quotes are about people failing and how much harder it is than people thought.). What if I can’t do this? What if it’s too hard? What if I’m too old to pull this off? When I say it aloud or write it down it seems silly and fickle, but when I hear it in my head it’s terrifying.

I’ve already paid my money, taken the time off of work and gotten my back to school shoes (industrial baking shoes!), so I guess I’m doing this no matter how much self doubt I have. So no matter what happens I’m glad I’m doing this, because despite what Yoda says there is a try and I’m going to try my hardest. Who knows, I might just pull this off.

 

Sketchbook #1

In keeping with my resolutions, here is the first finished sketch book of my big pile of half filled drawing tomes.  

  
It’s a little Moleskine that I picked up shortly after a bad break up and a bag containing most of my life had been stolen…three years ago. It’s filled with a lot of lists of things I needed at the time, mainly concerning finding an appartment. There’s also a lot of pages commited to my last print job AKA the worst job I ever had. 

While a lot of the book is lists, most of it is tiny sketches and doodles. 

First Drawing

  
A giant and a lady in a wasteland of sorts. 

Last Drawing

  
My Star Wars tabletop character Vintage. 

Favourite Drawings

 

Urklebot.

  

BB8 AKA me as a droid!

   
And Finally What Was Hiding in the Back Pocket

  
My fortune from Vegas and a picture of me, my dad and grandpa. 

Resolutions, good things that happened and comics

I know what you’re thinking, New Years was weeks ago, shouldn’t you have posted this then. Well…I procrastinate sometimes.

2015 was an interesting year. For a lot of people I know it was one of the worst years in recent history, while it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t a great one either. On the good side of things, I got my act together and decided that Baking is what I want to do with the rest of my life and have took the steps to start my apprenticeship and go back to school. I figured out a schedule that keeps my cluster headaches to a minimum and an aftercare treatment that keeps me from turning into a zombie after a cluster. I managed to train my dog to the point where he actually listens, I can now take him on small walks without a leash. It may not seem like much, but he’s a stubborn little bastard. I asked my boyfriend to marry me and he said yes! We’re planning on tying the knot in the summer of 2015.

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I couldn’t find a picture of the engagement so here’s a dinosaur!

On the bad side of things, I put my health, sanity and safety on the line to draw, ink, shade, format and print my comic in a span of two weeks…while working two jobs…during one of the biggest baking holidays of the year. I pulled this off for a book that, other than me and a few people close to me, no one cared about. I didn’t deal with this all that well and I went into a downward spiral where just looking at the damn thing became painful. I went into a sort of slump where it was a little hard to keep on track, I didn’t even like posting things to this blog. It hurt a lot more than I was willing to let on, but after months and months of letting it eat at me, I’m starting to get over it and looking towards the future.

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Sometimes looking at this makes me wanna cry other times I just smile.

Back in the day, when I worked in print, I asked a co-worker if he’d made any New Years Resolutions. I asked this mainly to make conversation, because I hand’t been there that long and it seemed like good small talk. This lead to a rant about societal pressure and conformity and why I shouldn’t be a sheep. There was a lot of ‘Edwards, you shouldn’t make goals because of some arbitrary date, you should do it because you want to,’ he liked to rant about things, even things that contradicted the things he was ranting about. He had a point though, goals should be made because of a sincere want to improve ourselves, not because it’s the New Year and that’s what we’re supposed to do. However, I like the idea of starting fresh and having a big bold deadline to finish my goals by. So here are some of the things I resolve to do before 2017 rolls around.

  1. Fill up all of my old sketch books. I have around ten half finished sketch books just lying around collecting dust. I love drawing, but I’m not great at it, just look at any of the comics I’ve posted here. But I think if I make an effort to fill up those books, I’ll improve. I mean I can’t get any worse.
  2. Apprenticeship. This is an obvious one, since I’ve got most of my hours and have signed up for all of the classes, but I’m really looking forwards to learning new skills and perfecting some old skills.
  3. Wedding. I’ve been married (extremely unsuccessfully) before, so I know that there’s a ton of things that you don’t think about when you decide to get married. I’m gonna stay on top of things, make sure the stress stays to a minimum.
  4.  Produce a draft of my novel that I’m satisfied with. This will be one of the hardest goals I’m trying to do this year, because I can be extremely critical of myself. I love to write, but dislike almost everything I produce. So on top of finishing a project I’ve got to build up the confidence to like what I’ve finished.
  5. Read 50 Books. Self explanatory, I like reading.
  6. Blog once a week. When I first started this blog, I used to post once a week. This was partly because wordpress used to have a little reminder that would tell me that I hadn’t updated. I’m also going to finish all of the half started posts, seriously there are like thirty reviews, stories and whatnot that I’ve started and half finished. This includes my very much ignored Disney Retrospective!
  7. Finish my Yoda Book or Yobo Book, since Yoda is not only the name of my dog, but a wise green alien. A while back I started a children’s book about my dog that was all construction paper cut outs. It’s too cute to pass up on.
  8. Eat seven new meats. Once again self explanatory, I love meat and I’m a bit of hedonist at heart.
  9. Work on a short animated film. This one falls into life goals, I love animation and one day I want to have my name on an animated film.
  10. Go on a trip. Traveling is awesome and I need to do it more.
  11. And finally, work on my comic more. Because even when it breaks my heart, I still love it and I still want to finish it. So part of actually encouraging myself to work of it more, is to get people to actually read it. So if you want, the whole thing is available here to read and if you like your comics in physical form and have two dollars, you can buy a copy here. Expect a lot more about this particular goal over the coming weeks.

So I guess the big thing now is actually doing all of this stuff a goal to keep goals. So for all of you who have trudged through this thanks for reading!