Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Affair of the Necklace

This is the Necklace

This necklace is one of the only things I have ever seen in a display case and instinctively felt ought to belong to me. No- I felt that somehow, it DID belong to me. Have you ever felt that way about something, Gentle Readers?

This is old history- I saw the Necklace about five years ago and kept looking to see if it had been sold. It was prohibitively expensive, and although I mentioned it to my at the time husband, I didn't really expect to ever recieve it. So imagine my surprise on Christmas morning five years ago, when I found it hanging on a little bag on the tree at my family's house! My son is a year old, and this is my combined Christmas and baby anniversary gift.

It's nice,Dear Readers, after things fall apart, to find that you can pick through the memories of your old relationship and pull out the good ones. I'm not particularly materialistic, but I was so happy to put on this exotic beautiful piece of jewelry that I just really knew was supposed to be mine.

Later, J told me how he had gone to look for it, with only my description and that the sales girls had looked all over the cases and couldnt find it. Everyone assumed it had been sold, although no one remembered selling it.Then someone found it draped around a mannaquin's neck in the front window. I stopped wearing my wedding and engagement rings even before left my marriage- but I could still wear the Necklace with perfect happiness; a talisman picture postcard of a happy moment before anything went wrong.

Fast forward...It is a few months ago and I am starting my new job. Unlike at the bakery, I can wear my nice clothes, although our office is very very casual. On the first day, I wear a new skirt, and on the second day I wear the Necklace. I wear it over a heavy sweater, as it is very cold outside and chilly even in the office.

When I get home that night, I realize the Necklace is GONE. I drive back over to work, retrace my steps even though it is dark.No necklace to be found. Later,I send out an email asking my new co-workers to please keep an eye open for it and let me know if anyone finds it. People send general good luck wishes, but that's all.

When I am out at the copier that afternoon, one of the reporters from upstairs says 'Are you the one who lost a necklace?' He thinks he saw pieces of something out in the alley behind the building and leads me out.My heart is pounding, because I remember now that I had cut through the alley yesterday to move my car.

He kneels down in the dirty frozen slush. He is strong and muscular looking, compactly built with dark hair and keen eyes and a clever expression- like you might expect a reporter to look. Like someone who might see the crushed pieces of mosiac of a colorful necklace pressed into the grit and icy mud of an alley.

I can hardly breath and the only thing that keeps me from crying is how very cold it is. I kneel beside him and scrape the pieces into my hand as he walks in a circle around me and pickes up a small row of beads, a triangle of color, a scrap of chain. It has obviously been run over. The only parts we can still find are flattened and scarred, and those are only visible because the snow must have cushioned them a little.

I dont remember what else was said. I think he said it was too bad and maybe I could get it fixed and I think I thanked him. I remember thanking him later on, when the shock of losing this and then finding it again had worn off. I remember thinking that it was, after all, only a necklace. With so many other more precious things one could lose, it just shouldn't be so important. I tried to convince myself that this was just the universe moving me on; that now my old life was really and truly done with and that this loss was just a symbol of that. But none of that really made me feel any better.

I took the pieces in a baggie into the shop where it came from. As I let them fall out onto the counter, everyone gathered around to look with dismay, and the manager gathered up the bits and said that she would send them to the studio that had made it. The artist lives in Israel and who knew if it would do any good, but she would send it and see what happened.

Fast forward again to a few weeks ago. There is a message on my answering machine, saying that they have some news about my necklace, and can I please stop by the shop this week. The next day, I take an early break before lunch and walk over, wondering if they can somehow get another one made and how on earth I would pay for it, even if they could. Would it still be the same?

When I go in, they ask me to wait. Very excited, someone runs to the back for the manager,who comes out and reveals with a flourish- MY NECKLACE!!!

The colors are exactly the same. The mosaics,the beading, every tiny detail.The manager tells me that she wrote a long sad letter about what had happened and how much it had meant to me. The agent in the States forwarded the letter and the necklace to Ayala Bar's studio in Israel.They had one necklace left from this particular design.It had been a limited editon, and not many had been made in the first place. They fastened it around my neck and I couldn't help it- I started to cry.

When I asked them what I owed them for it, they told me I didnt owe them anything. I had my necklace back free of charge.I walked back to the office feeling bouyant and light. The weight of the talisman heart settled against my collarbones and I felt as if anything might be possible.

The moral of this story, Dear Readers, is that although necklaces, even precious ones are not important in the grand scheme of things, small gestures are. People still do good deeds with no benefit to themselves.

Not even good deeds to save someone else, or cure illness or feed hungy people.But they can do something nice just to make someone else feel BETTER. I have been trying very hard to remember that. You can do something-anything-for someone else and it may not ever be enough. But you can at least do something. Maybe such a small gesture can mean more than we think.

The other moral of this story, Dear Readers, is of course to always CHECK the clasp of your Necklace. Make sure that it is tight and in good repair. It will save you a lot of heartache in the end. xxxooo, Necklacegirl

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

tying up my hair- and I got new earrings, too! :)

the Girl Goes Out

Ok, since becoming NOT a bakerygirl, I haven't gone out a lot. Well, ok, I wasn't going out then either. At least not where there were drinks and music involved and all that.

When my dear friend Cyn very sensiblely pointed out that I wasn't going to meet people curled up on the sofa in my apartment watching DVDs of Buffy th Vampire Slayer, I decided she had a point and went with her to see a band called the Fabulous Janes, which she assured me would totally cheer me up.

Let me say that for pure uadulterated fun, the Janes *were* Fabulous. They do covers of all the songs you remember the words to- some whether you wanted to or not- with a punk spin and are just generally a great entertaining time, as well as being good musicians.

They were playing at some place in the burbs which neither of us had ever been to. I am completely lost once you get past the city and don't know the west suburbs at all, but with Mapquest we made it out there with plenty of time to spare.

Turns out they were playing at a North Beach Club, which is this sort of bar/dance floor/bowling alley/ volleyball club, with two giant rooms filled with sand and volleyballers in addition to the more bar-like areas. They also- for the record- served the tiniest mixed drinks known to man. Since I don't drink beer, it was a good thing I drove, because otherwise I might have been disappointed at how little actual alcohol there was in my so-called drink.

Dear Readers... is there anything like a night out? I felt weirdly out of place, but in my current insecure emotional state, I couldnt tell if it was just because it wasn't my sort of place and I *was* out of place, or if it was just me feeling like Donald Sutherland in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' where the pod people all start wailing and pointing their arms at him, denouncing him as 'NOT ONE OF US!'

Cynthia pretty much made me get over that though. Thank God for our friends, huh? And, oddly enough, thank god for the big bachlorette party next to us, which came complete with little plastic penises to fit on all their straws so that everytime someone took a drink it looked like- you get it, right? Aunt Susie must have LOVED that!

But the penises were not even the real entertainment of the bachlorette party. It also included the one tremendously drunken woman everyone DOESN'T want attending their festivities. She was in her forties, with long blonde 20-something hair, and she got herself so incredibly plowed - on those tiny drinks, I might add-that it was, well... incredible.

Just when Cyn and I would think someone HAD to wade in and cut her off, she would knock over another giant glass of beer, or go up to some random guys and chat with them until they convinced her to reach inside her pants for...? not sure, didn't want to find out.

As for the guys themselves... let's just say that the tribe of young white men in plaid button-down shirts drinking lots of beer and behaving stupidly as if this is 'Girls Gone Wild Cancun XI' is alive and well. I am sure during normal daytime hours these guys are perfectly ordinary men. But there was something about the ambiance, the drunken bachlorette party, the sand, maybe? It drove them all in strange and unatractive ways.

The sand was kind of interesting. For the club floor, they took the vollyball area not in use and rolled carpeting over it. I had worn jeans and high heeled boots, nothing outragous. But I spent a large portion of the night trying not to turn an ankle, since the pitted surface of the carpeting made everyone lurch like a pegleged sailor, and dancing could be accomplished only by planting my heels firmly and sort of swaying around without moving my feet. Pumas for sure, next time.

The opening band were actually a tribute band to- the BoDeans, of all things. Now, ok, I can't say I don't like the BoDeans, because I can't even actually name one BoDeans song, except someone told me they did the theme song to 'Friends' which I didn't really watch, but hey, could anyone have lived in the US in the past, say, five years, and NOT have heard *that* at least once or twice?

That said, I think the BoDeans do a lot of sort of tuneful guitar-y kind of songs with guys singing in harmony and um, they weren't bad, but really maybe the BoDeans just sort of have ONE song and rearrange it around a lot? I couldn't honestly tell, with apologies to any BoDeans fans reading this. Maybe the sand just really played hell with the acoustics?

Anyway, this band was actually not *bad* or anything. They were all competent musicians and at least one guy had a really powerful voice. And I wondered, at what point do you decide you are just not going to make it as a *band* band, and instead decide to go for the steady gig of tribute band? And how do you pick who to trbute? Do you just admire the BoDeans profusely? Or do people keep coming up to you and saying ' Man, you guys sound just LIKE the BoDeans!'?

Cyn feels that neither of these views are correct and that in fact only a deep deep love and idolizaton and desire to emulate their idols would produce a BoDeans tribute band. She may be right, and at any rate, we did pass a relatively painless 40 minutes or so with them, which even involved some scattered applause and singing along, particularly from the bachlorette party.

Next came the girl who sat with us and got to the 'sloppy love of strangers' phase of drunkenness and kept hugging Cyn and I- also grabbing Cynthia's boob, which was pretty funny- and saying ' I LOVE you guys. I just LOVE YOU. I never like girls, but I love you!'

We patted her back and smiled at her and when she got to passing out point, we told her boyfriend to take her home. Turns out they had rented a room at a hotel across the street with the plan of getting 'totally shit-faced!' so they left somewhere in the second set. By this time we were up near the front of the stage dancing- well, ok, SWAYING- and after a while someone tapped me on the back, and it was the boyfriend back alone.

"Is she passed out?" I asked him, thinking he was kind of a jerk for coming back- but hey, if she is passed out, she isn't going to care, I guess.
"I don't know!" he yelled back over the music.
*blank look from me
"What do you mean 'you don't know'? Where is she? Not still here?"
"Nah, she's not here! She's fuckin' drunnk! I don' wanna deal with that shit- she's fucking drunk!"
*more blank look
"Well, yeah, but where IS she? Did you take her to the hotel?"
"Well, yeah, but she got out of the car!"
"What do you mean, 'got out of the car'? Where? On the highway? Is she passed out in a ditch somewhere??"

After a few hoarse shouted minutes of this, he managed to convey that he had gotten her to the parking lot of the hotel, she had gotten out of the car, and, pissed off, he revved up and drove back over to the club alone.

Ok, and here, is where I in my little glass house should not be casting stones. Because I did not leave the club to go and walk the nearby stretch of freeway or drive around hotel parking lots and see if I could find this girl.

I admit to being somewhat concerned, but decided if they had made it to the outside of the hotel, she must be ok, right? Ok, it is sad what fun cover music and cold weather will make us convince ourselves of sometimes, I admit it. But I was relieved the next day NOT to find any mention of women in their 20s dead in the ditch in Downers Grove. The boyfriend, sensing my disapproval, wandered off and I kept dancing and singing along with punk-flavored covers of things like 'Jack and Diane' and 'Don't Stop Believing'.

Come on, Dear Reader. Don't give me that look. *You* have all the words embedded in your brains too, and if you were there, you would have been singing and swaying staggeringly right beside me, I promise you.

Anyway, the band was great and I danced- without moving my feet, granted- and had one guy hit on me, telling me I looked 'amazingly hot' over and over and asking me what my favorite teams were-(um,hmmm?) neither of which was a huge turn on, but hey, it's nice to be noticed.

More confusing was his reaction to my age, which was to say 'no way!' several times, followed by the oh so flattering, ' But you sooo don't look that old!' After a certain point, even my female vanity finds that a tad offensive. After some of that 'dancing very close to someone else who is not actually dancing *with* you', he moved on to someone else. I was sort of glad- I'm sure he was basically a decent guy, but just not what the no-longer-a-bakerygirl needs.

Hands down, my favorite person of the evening - other than the oh so fabulous Janes and the always amazing Cynthia- was the ladies' room attendent. Surrouned by drunk girls with low rise jeans and stressed out hair tracking sand in all night long, she remained a bastion of calm, despensing paper towels, chewing gum, hair spray and tampax to the tipping and non- tipping alike.

Cracking jokes the entire time, making little comments- when I tied my hair up in the back to cool down, she said

"Oh now, girl! Dont TELL me you are gonna put up all that pretty hair!?"

I found myself much more flattered by that than by the 'amazingly hot' comments earlier. When a toilet stall got plugged up in a NASTY way, she was a drill sargeant, getting everyone in a line against the wall and going to the door and yelling out *basso profundo*



When she came back in, we all clapped and she nodded and said,

"Ladies, you got that right! They got to be good for SOMETHING, right?!?"

I tipped her lavishly both times I was in and took a Cherry Blow-Pop to dip into my watery margarita. Getting home at 3, I took a shower to wash the smoke out of my hair, hung my smokey jeans by the back door, took some advil and went to bed.

By noon the next morning at the bookstore with Cynthia- my other very part time gig, have I told you all about that, Gentle Readers?- it all seemed but a passing dream.

So my little foray out into the world again went pretty well, even if I did feel like I was visiting someone else's nightlife world. But it did make me feel like I *could* go out to a nightclub again. Just that next time I am going to shoot for less sand- but be prepared for anything.

Friday, February 18, 2005

5 AM bakerygirl

and here she is now Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Riddle: When is a bakerygirl NOT a bakerygirl?

Answer: When she has become something else. Yes, Dear Readers.

Firstly, I owe you all an apology for disappearing. I didnt mean to, but I came back from Christmas and had a job interview and- got it! Which has been very very good in most ways, but I've been learning the ropes, and havent had much time. A lame excuse, I know, but there it is.

But now comes the question- if a blog is called bakerygirlworld and I am no longer a bakerygirl, then will all of you out there still want to read it? I can't promise any more Dakotafreaks- although I do have a funny anecdote about that- but every job has its quirks and characters and this one will not be any different.

But is the blog about the bakery or the girl? I cant decide. I never wanted this to be some kind of sad-sack rant about poor little me. But it seems like if one writes about oneself, that sooner or later some of that must creep in, and Im sure Im no exception.

But Gentle Readers, please weigh in and let me know- do you still want to read about the girl, even without a bakery to her name?

And, for those of you needing a Dakotafreak update- I stopped in last Sunday at the bakery. It was a gloomy, chilly, miserable day out, and it was totally empty, so I was talking to the girl who had taken my place. I asked her how it was going, etc. and she said she couldnt BELIEVE some of the people. She said it was really sweet how nice some of the regulars were- and then said,
"But some of those people- like the ones who come in for Dakota! I mean, lady, it's just BREAD!"

And so, the torch is passed on to a new generation of bakerygirls... Let me know if I ought to keep going with this, dear Readers? Perhaps you can all wait a few days and then meet...


Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve in Ohio

'High on the ends and round in the middle.'
Yes, sometimes people from Ohio actually say that, at least where I am from. I am back from my drive out into amish country to get a ham from Sugar Valley Meats. My dad went with me and we took my car which has four wheel drive.

Has anyone ever seen the movie 'The Ice Storm' by Ang Lee? That is what it looks like out there, only with trees and fields and barns and fences. The roads there are always bad; very twisty and hilly, except in the really touristy parts, where the main county road was expanded and straightened out for tour buses to get through. Droves of elderly people come out to eat at authentic amish resturants ( basic meat and potatoes, but always with the obligitory salad bar that seems to be a part of any tourist destination) and to buy handmade furniture and quilts. I have a lovely one from the 30s that was restored by a group of amish women who work together in a little shop behind their house. It is off the beaten path though- my dad drills water wells and has been working and driving out here for years and so the touristy areas are not really our thing. Its nice enough, but REALLY commercialized now.

But if you go way 'out in the county' the roads are still narrow and none of the farms have electricity- although the ice was so bad last night that the entire county lost power. My dad's partner who is now retired and housebound lives out there and we had to drive out last night at 2 am and hook up a generator for him.

But the view was more than worth the drive out and the icy roads. As we came around a hairpin curve, the huge masses of grey clouds parted and solid rays of sunlight that looked like sticks of butter came through and struck on a grove of icebound trees on the crest of the hillside. It was as if someone had lit up a thousand spears of ice from inside, gleaming and sharp and lovely. It was so beautiful it didn't even look real- one of nature's better homemade special effects. :)

Some of the trees were so weighted at their crowns with ice that they were bent nearly over to the ground with it, the trunks curved like bows with glittering bouquets of ice at their ends, touching the crusted snow on the fields.

Despite all of this, we actually have very little snow here in the Tuscaruwus River Valley. Unlike the area just to the south of us, the main block of the storms seems to have missed us, although we do have flurries going on.

The house is warm and the tree is lit and the presents are almost all wrapped. Soon I am starting dinner, which is going to be: pork roast with cranberry fool marinade and sauce, crusted with crushed pecans, red pepper fettucini with a little cream and some herbs, spinach salad with goat cheese and walnuts and bacon dressing, caluflower and broccoli baked with some toasted bread crumbs and for dessert, baked apples with vanilla bean ice cream. Yum.

While I'm cooking I think I will watch a christmas movie. My mother is addicted to Turner Classics and has a small tv in the kitchen, which I have to admit is convenient for long projects. I will watch 'Christmas in Conneticuit' with Barbara Stanwyck or maybe 'The Bishop's Wife' with Irene Dunn and Cary Grant.

Heh, this is getting all domestic and Women's Day- like, isnt it? Next thing you know I will be giving you all an esy recipie for gilding plastic cups with edible sugar and making them into angels for your kids to eat, all totally LO FAT, or something like that. ;)
Nawww.... I wouldnt do that to you.

Its just that I seldom have an oppurtunity to exercise my fearsomely capable domestic talents of late, so I am actually having FUN doing all this and driving my mom around with her broken arm etc. I have always liked the holidays and seldom stress about them specifically.

In case I dont talk to you all for a day or so, have a merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate. If you are not at all religious, then simply have a happy ANYTHING anyway. Go outside and look at the wonderful beauty of the cold and ice and think northernly thoughts. There is a tremendous clarity in the ice and cold- I think it is good for us to be exposed to it once in a while.

xxxooo, bakerygirl

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Here we are in Ohio-NOT at the bakery!

Yes, yes, I have returned to my roots for the holidays. I came home and became an aunt again- a girl this time, which seems promising since I never get to buy girly stuff for anyone but myself.

My cousin died yesterday morning. She did not want us to come to Florida for a memorial now- she told my mother to stay home and enjoy the new baby and the holidays so that is what we will do. In my heart at least, I had already said goodbye. It is hard going- everything reminds us of her- and my mother is very sad on top of having a badly broken arm, so I am rushing around like a crazy person trying to be full of holiday-ness and cheer!


The drive here went well, but we have had sleet all night and now everything is covered in ice. I have to drive out the twisty county roads later into amish country and pick up a ham at Sugar Valley Meats for christmas morning and I am not looking forward to it at all. Hopefully I can avoid skidding into a buggy or running some freezing little kids off the side of the road. But the ham will be good.

My father cornered me yesterday and asked me if I had gotten my mom anything when she and I were out the other day. Since she had been WITH me, I told him no and he informed me he hasnt gotten her a gift yet and thinks she got HIM something even though they werent going to do gifts for each other, etc... ah, the intrigue and drama that surrounds family christmas!! I have no idea what to get her from him- I wish he had asked me before I left Chicago, and I could have found something cool, but here the choices at the local mall are, ahem!, rather limited. Maybe I'll check her Amazon wishlist...

Yes, this is now deteriorating into standard blogger musing aloud to one's self ;)

But something a bit interesting about the bakery: For the past several days our afternoons have revolved around making up gift boxes of fresh bread to be mailed out for people at exhorbitant prices. Some are corporate gifts, some family, and I have been getting a kick out of reading the little private messages we have to write on a gift card when we pack them.

For example, why did ONE aunt get the Extravaganza gift box and 'all our love' , while another got the much cheaper Basic box and just a 'love, so and so'? Has it always been that way? Was there a falling out of some sort? Or the recipients of a box- a couple? sisters?- named 'Fern and Laverrne' I mean, were their parents just cruelly attracted to rhyme or did they meet someplace and hit it off? Try saying Fern and Laverrne fast five times...

But other than the call of the Rat Lady, another Gift Box best was the fact that UPS brought back six of them the other day. One had a sticker on it that said ' could not find address, directions needed'.

??? Come on! You are UPS, for gods sake! Don't you have GPS or something? The box looked pretty clearly addressed to someplace in central Florida- maybe it has sunk into the Okeefanokee swamps or something.
But the others had huge red stamps on them saying 'REFUSED DELIVERY!RETURN TO SENDER!' This also sends my over active brain/imagination into hyperdrive. WHY did you return it? Did you think you had to pay for it, even though the box is clearly marked ' A Gift For You!' all over it? Was there some massive familial issue that we- and perhaps the sender- were unaware of? ( "If Uncle Jim thinks a lousy box of free bread is going to make up for this, he has another thing coming! Send it back!That'll show him!") ??

Actually, Maddy's idea was the best. She said they must all have been on the Lo-Carb diet and the mere sight of a box of bread started to give them the cold shakes as they returned it safely back with the UPS guy so they wouldnt be tempted. Knowing how some of our lo-carb people can be, that is a sadly plausible theory.

Well, gentle readers, there are presents to be wrapped, dishes to do, and I have to take my mother to get her hair cut since she cannot drive anywhere. W is feeling stir crazy and so am I. We will go down to the basement soon and dig out the old little village of houses and nativity that go under the tree. But...

I look out of my icy window and it is snowing. Big heavy flakes that look like they will stick to the ice and coat it and at least make it LOOK like Christmas. Pretty soon it will FEEL like it too.

I promise.
xxxooo bakerygirl

Sunday, December 19, 2004


First off I would like to really thank everyone for the terrific and supportive emails and messages they sent after reading my last entry. I have been too busy/depressed to write for a few days, but just knowing that people out there pay attention to random things in this world and are willing to actually take the time to write something nice to someone they dont even know is a heartning thing. Thank you all so much for being kind.

It's funny. I definitely crossed a line with my last post. When I began this blog only a few posts ago, I had sort of decided it would remain strictly about the bakery. I also decided that although I would mention my coworkers, boss, etc, that I wouldnt get too personal or hurtful about them, just on the unlikely but off chance they read this.

But mainly I had decided to not talk too much about myself and turn this into some sort of sad little personal journal of lost hopes or whatever. But its really hard to seperate personal from bakery. And sometimes the only things you can think about or write about are the important ones on your mind. So maybe it isnt such a bad thing to get them out there and to write about them.

People have been pretty mellow at the bakery lately. I think they are all so focused on the holidays and such that they mostly just want to get in and get out. But we did have one lady who called about a gift box she had recieved and claimed it had been chewed on and eaten away by RATS!!!!

According to her, she was not home when UPS delivered the package. Thus it sat on her porch for a day or two.Her daughter had sent her the same thing last year and she 'didn't really like it then and didnt want another one', and she claimed that the bread inside the box had been chewed on and obviously eaten by rats and we must have mailed it out of our 'warehouse' that way!

Yes, dear lady. We looked at the fifty or so giftboxes freshly put together and ready to be mailed that afternoon and saw one with holes chewed in it and rats swarming over it and said to one another, "Ah, yes! She didnt like the gift box last year? Well, just WAIT until she sees this one!"

I almost wish that were true. ;)

xxxooo bakerygirl