Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cooking and Life

Last Sunday Paul and I had a new experience. Our church has a cadre of volunteers that cooks at the San Jose Family Shelter several times a year. The shelter looks for volunteers to cook on the weekends when the regular staff is off duty. Our head chef, Andrea, is a super-organized lady, which is why it all works. Someone joked that she's a slave driver, but she isn't. She doesn't need to be because she posts a list of what has to be done and the time schedule, so it's easy for us to choose the next most important task and get it done.

After we madly slice, dice, and cook, we serve the food to the families. It's a lot of fun. I see I'm going to have to get coached to revive my high school Spanish. I could almost, but not quite, remember how to ask the Hispanic people what they wanted. Then we get to eat. However, we had more people than they ever had before and we ran out of chicken. Everyone got some, but we ended up trying small bits of what was left and eating later. Andrea brings good recipies.

It was a fun day and we're all signed up for the next one. Our church's turn comes up about four times a year. It's yet another way I can thank God for one of the gifts he's given me, since cooking is one of my greatest pleasures. And it's much more fun and rewarding to cook for other people, no matter who they are--friends, family, or strangers.

In a couple of weeks, I get to do more cooking. Our church hosts a Thanksgiving dinner a week before Thanksgiving. Three of us are gathering to cook the turkeys and dressing. Everyone is bringing the sides as pot luck. We did this last year for the first time and it was a blast. We decided to make it an annual event.

In other parts of my life--before we do the Thanksgiving dinner, my women's group, Ladyesong, is singing our fall concert. It's called "California Connections" and all of the music has been composed by California composers. Some of them will be attending the concert. We're also having Dan Levitan playing the harp and Michael Touchi on flute. It's going to be a good concert. And I get to cook some more. I'm bringing 2 dozen cookies for the reception afterward. I think I'm going to make these to-die-for fudgy chocolate cookies that are rolled in powdered sugar before you bake them. If anyone living in or near the SF Bay Area is interested, the concert is November 11 at 7 pm at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Saratoga. And it's free. The Thanksgiving dinner I mentioned is also at Prince of Peace on November 17. I don't remember the time, so I'll have to post that later.

Paul and I got a new car yesterday. We retired the old brown Olds and got a Phantom Blue Mica Mazda 3 5-door hatchback. We got a good deal because I fell in love with this color that no one wants. It's a beautiful dark blue green with a metallic undercoat, but it looks really green and kind of ugly on the Mazda web site. When I saw it in the dealer, it looked totally different and really pretty.

We decided to get a new car since, we were looking at putting at least 5 grand into repairs on the Olds and that's way more than the car was worth. The dealer gave us 50 bucks to take it off our hands. lol If only we could have gotten it to fail the California smog test. Then we could have sold it to the state, as part of their gross polluter program, for one thousand dollars.

Paul's phone interview last week went well. The interviewer wants him to come in for an in-person interview. We're waiting to hear the details for that from HR. We hope that will happen soon and that he gets this job. He'd really like the work and it's a good fit for his skills. We're also, of course, hoping it pays enough to cover the bills. A lot of technician jobs these days don't, just because housing is so expensive here. I guess almost everyone who lives in California complains about the cost of housing.

We'd be willing to move to a cheaper location, if companies would give him a chance, but he rarely gets interviews when he applies out of the area. The couple of job offers he's had over the years wanted him to start at entry-level jobs and pay, even though he had 20 or more years of experience. What's up with that? I can't believe they really think someone with that kind of experience would move hundreds of miles to take the bottom job in his field.

On the whole, though, things are looking up here. And I'm hoping for a bit of stability, at least for a while. I really, really like our new apartment and the money we saved on the car is paying for a bed and computer table and filing cabinets and other furniture we need so we're not sleeping on the floor and can unpack the rest of our stuff. It would be a great Christmas present to me if I could have an apartment not decorated with boxes lining every available wall, and half of the main closet.