Monday, April 23, 2012

state of nicki

It has been a long time.

Last week I got force-upgraded to the New Blogger, which I suspect most of you got months ago and that's what you've been complaining about for the last four months.

I haven't been force-upgraded to Facebook Timeline, either. I was one of the last to get New Twitter. I suspect social networks sense my backwoodsian roots and know that I, like most of my Pennsyltuckian brethren, need some time to adapt to new changes and technology. For Chrissakes, I only got a smartphone in 2011. I am just two shoes away from being a barefoot hillbilly.

So now I have New-Blogger, which looks and acts suspiciously like Google Reader, which is currently stocked with an even 250 of your unread blog posts. This morning it had 350. Baby steps.

Everything I write on New Blogger has a strange sense of weight, of gravity. I somehow feel cat videos need not apply on New Blogger. It's a brave new world. It should be stocked with serious fonts and red velvet smoking jackets.

New Blogger calls for whip-sharp snark and poignant parodies. I'm drinking a Killian's. My beer feels unwelcome here. Pardon, New Blogger, but I drank all my craft microbrews. I am an unpaid intern. Killian's it is.


I owe you something, I don't know what I owe, but I owe it all the same. I owe you-- not you readers, per se, but this cobbled-together jet-ink piece of cyberspace that I own, I owe it something. It's like a piece of land. 

I worry the weeds will grow.


I go to work Tuesday through Thursday and I love it. I love it. I absolutely love it. I work in an office with sunny windows, red bricks, and deep hardwood floors. An On Air sign hangs above the kitchen entrance, with a bright red bulb to indicate filming. Puppies -- honest to God puppies -- are allowed in the office. The shelves are lined with cookbooks, more cookbooks and magazines and food memoirs than I could read in a lifetime. 

There is a green iron spiral staircase in the library. I cannot tell you how it thrills me to type there is a green iron spiral staircase in the library.

The staircase carries me to the editorial department, to my desk where I sit and answer readers' questions about cooking. Should I use cooked or raw shrimp in your crab cake recipe? they ask. Raw, I answer. Does brining drastically change the salt content of the meal? they ask. I research our findings. Not as much as you'd think, I answer. 

I learn about baking, about brining, about grilling, about stewing. I watch, wide-eyed, as my editors talk about story value and angles and caramelizing and the chemical structure of starches. I taste the food and chefs listen to my feedback. I bring home food from the day's testings. Every day Derrick asks me, What did you taste today? It takes me our entire ride home to tell him everything I've tried.


My days not spent at the Kitchen I spend working. I type on the porch when the weather is warm. I go about my job. I email my clients. I polish sentences. I research. But my thoughts are with risotto, with pasta, with shortbread, with wine. I wonder what's next.

I search jobs when I should be working. The city is my oyster; I find ten jobs--- careers -- that call out to me. They sing of 401ks and of easy commutes. They sing of future openings and dynamic workplaces and two weeks paid vacation. 

I can't apply to any of them, not with an available start date so far off in the calendar. I don't apply to any because I don't know what I want. I'm pulled in so many directions. I want to keep writing. I want to do editorial. I want to seek out new options. I want to go back to school.

I want everything and I want nothing at all.


I take refuge in the kitchen. We hang pictures of us, of the dogs, of Derrick eating an oyster on the Cape, of me sipping spiked cider on a New York City rooftop. We simmer, we bake, we chop, we dice. We sit sipping beers by the grill long after the sun goes down. Winter has passed us by, summer seems too soon for comfort. We are children of summer. We long for fresh vegetables, for ripe tomatoes and strawberries and bushels of plump blueberries waiting to be eaten. We wait for the sun, we wait for the season. We wait for the change.


  1. Can I come hang out with you sipping, chopping, eating, slurping, gazing, chatting, snickering, laughing...

  2. I know how you feel, my dear one. Time flies faster and faster anymore (I cannot believe that I've been at my job for seven months now!) and I feel this frantic need to do everything...yet everything is a waiting game. And I'm a very impatient person. I guess we both just need to sip our wine and let it all flow. ;)

    (You forgot to mention the puppies at your internship!!)

  3. Couldn't agree more with Kat. And as you commented on a post where I states the ABC example, everything depends on something else. I always love reading your posts as they ooze passion, and this was no different. You're internship sounds amazing. Enjoy it.

    P.S If you ask me new blogger seems like a pretentious relative of old blogger. You know, the one everyone just puts up with. (read: I hate it)

  4. I can't tell you how much I LOVE America's Test Kitchen and how JEALOUS I am that you get to work there. It would be a dream come true! I'm very glad you have found yourself in such a happy place. Don't worry about the future, it's fun to have options. The decision making seems painful but once it's done, you miss it. So keep exploring and tasting and just wait to see what the future holds.

  5. First of all: YAY! IT'S SO GREAT TO SEE A POST FROM YOU!!!

    The winds of change are blowing around here for me, too. It's a little scary, but in the best possible way. I love having options, and knowing how open and hopeful my future is only makes me that much more excited to see what happens.

    I love that you're so happy in your work! Soak up every minute. Enjoy it all! You deserve it. :)

  6. This all sounds absolutely ideal. I'm so happy for you :)

  7. Oh and I was so wrapped up in the last couple of paragraphs about writing and hanging around drinking outside with a significant other (me and mine needa get back to doing that :( He works nights) that I forgot to say that the new blogger makes me feel like an idiot. It was forced upon me too. The reason I kept rejecting it was cuz I didn't wanna feel like a fucking idiot trying to figure out a new interface.

  8. "I want everything and I want nothing at all." And that is the perfect place to be.

  9. Love this post, although the penis jokes must have a space too. Please. Your job and workplace sound pretty darned special. As for your 'state' .. one thing at a time. It's cool to have options, be open to opportunities. Sounds like you're enjoying where you're at right now. New blogger aside.

  10. "I want everything and I want nothing at all." Dead on.


  11. i missed you. but i'm glad you're busy :D

  12. "I don't apply to any because I don't know what I want." I know the feeling. I've been looking for a job, too. Looking, but not actually applying. Yes, I applied once and then I chickened out. First because I'm scared of changes and second, I don't know what I want. I've been stuck in my suck-ass company for six years and I've been saying I'm gonna get a new job for FIVE YEARS.

    I'm glad you love your office. And the green iron spiral staircase! I'm really happy you're doing something that makes you happy!!! Also? You should definitely keep writing. You're really, really, REALLY good at it.

    And the New Blogger? It sucks. It's garbage. It's sh*t. It's everything I hate.

    I think this is the longest comment I've ever made so I guess I should stop.

    (But wait, there's more! That racist a-hole I talked about on my blog? He also said he uses Nair to de-hair his manly parts. TMI and I don't care and I don't know what's wrong with that creep. And he thinks he's a big flirt. Ew, I know.)

  13. I just had to stop by & wave at you! I was also force bloggered, which sounds like we should call the cops.

    You have a smartphone??? I'm jealous. I have a cheepie pre-paid phone that I can barely text on. It's so 2003.


  14. No recent posts chica....missing your wit.


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