Bachelor Chronicles: Day 3

Yesterday evening, after I’d thoroughly watered the garden and outdoor plants, I successfully predicted the future.

Naturally, I’m sure it will start pouring any second now, I blogged.

Naturally, it did. And was accompanied by such an incredible display of lightning, the kids across the street were cheering loudly with every flash. We get a lot of thunderstorms here during the summer, but this one was especially impressive. I sat on the steps next to the driveway, aimed my phone skyward, and watched the action unfold. Thanks to my secret lightning-capturing trick, I got some pretty good shots. This one is my favorite.

Lightning continued to arc through the sky like that for about an hour. Tara happened to call while I was sitting out there enjoying the show.

“You probably shouldn’t be talking on a cellphone outside during a thunderstorm,” she cautioned. Of course she was right, so I dragged myself inside to watch from the safety of the living room instead. Within minutes it started raining, and that was accompanied by the distinctive pinging sound of hail striking the roof. Fortunately it was only marble-sized and didn’t last long enough to cause any irreversible damage to the landscaping.

Today was an odd weather day, only because it wasn’t blazing hot. Temperatures have been in the 80s and 90s for the past week, and are forecast to be in the 80s and 90s for the next week, but today was a cloudier and cooler exception. 78º (only because the sun broke through the clouds late afternoon).

I had some wine after work and cooked a spicy Cajun dish called Chicken Sauce Piquant. Years ago I was a book reviewer for my friend Heidi’s Sacramento Book Review venture, and I got to keep the books I reviewed. I started requesting cookbooks, and this recipe came from Donald Link’s Real Cajun. Yeah, it’s spicy. Yeah, it’s delicious. No, Tara wouldn’t/couldn’t eat it.

Speaking of recipes, I had several requests for the teriyaki glaze I raved about yesterday. It’s no secret and I’m happy to share:

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple juice/water (reserved pineapple juice from the can + water to make one total cup)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
INSTRUCTIONS

In a medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice + water (enough to make 1 cup), brown sugar, ginger, and garlic powder.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Combine the cornstarch and cold water in a separate bowl.  Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the simmering soy sauce mixture.  Continue to simmer and stir until thickened.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

And another question, courtesy of Erica/Erika, whose blog is titled Behind the Scenery:

If you could go back to your younger self, would you have pursued a different career? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ooh, a thought-provoking two-parter!

First off, no…I would not pursue a different career. Writing is my passion, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I’ve dreamed of being a writer since junior high school, when I entered a short story contest and won first place in my age group. What I would do, however, is tell my heading-off-to-college self not to pursue an Advertising degree. Creative writing is my forte and I thought it would be fun to dream up campaigns ala Don Draper, but two years in, I lost interest because it was obvious that advertising is a cutthroat business and I’ve never been interested in stabbing people in the back. At that point I had no desire to pick a new major and start over from scratch, so I pocketed my B.A. and took a customer service job with a global manufacturing company. I then spent many years working my ass off to make my writing dreams come true, clawing my way rung by rung up the ladder until I reached the top. I’ll tell you this: becoming a writer without a degree or any real-world experience is a Herculean task, but I fought my ass off to make it happen. I worked three customer service jobs before making a move into marketing, which I felt could serve as a stepping stone. I wasn’t really qualified for that either, but had proven my worth to the company and they gave me a chance.

Then the company downsized and let me go.

Unemployed, I picked up any odd work I could find that was even remotely writing-related. Sold my soul to the devil by working for a content farm ($12 an article!), had a trial gig with Groupon, signed on for the book reviews, landed an (unpaid) food column in the local newspaper, self-published my novel. So much grunt work, but I was able to start building a portfolio. And then, the company that laid me off started hiring me for freelance jobs. Real ones, with decent paychecks. The lesson here is, never burn bridges. I smiled the day they walked me out the door, and I smiled again all the way to the bank when depositing the checks they wrote me.

One thing led to another, and through sheer force of will—a common theme in my life—I transformed myself into a writer.

And that is a very long-winded response to part one of the question, ha.

Part two is easier. Before I wanted to become a writer, I wanted to be a meteorologist. I doubt many fourth-graders study weather charts, but I did. Ultimately weather forecasting involves a whole lot of math (not my strong suit), so it’s relegated to the hobby bin. But still very much an interest as my weather station proves.

Whew.

See you tomorrow!

10 Comments on “Bachelor Chronicles: Day 3

  1. Mark, that photo of the lightening is PHENOMENAL!

    ” The lesson here is, never burn bridges. ”

    You are so right, my friend because you never know when you will need them again. That’s why whenever I’ve ended a job, I have tried to end it responsibly.

    Very interesting to read about your journey to becoming a writer.

    BRAVO to you. I admire your determination!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Ron! Was I angry when they let me go? Of course. But life works in mysterious ways, and I ended up comforting the person who delivered me the bad news (ha), so I understood it was just a business decision and didn’t harbor any ill will against them.

      Like

  2. I had to jump ahead in my reader queue and get to your next installment. Your Bachelor Chronicles posts are good for binge-reading.

    I could never be in advertising. Sometimes I wonder how advertisers can look themselves in the mirror. Glad you didn’t go into meteorology. I make a habit of bashing them when they get it wrong. (So, you know, most days.) By the way, that’s yet another thing you have in common with the husband. He’s into meteorology, too. In fact, one year he taught an introduction to meteorology HS course.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great lightning photo, Mark! Definitely a “stunner” photo in your June 7th post. I don’t recall the last time I saw lightning around here. I recall my parents always telling me to stay away from phones and windows in a lightning storm.

    Your dinners are looking great. No ‘just cereal’ when you are a Bachelor. Not a surprise to learn about the advertising business. Short lived is a good thing.

    Very interesting about your writing career. You are a writer from Day 1. Then, how can it help pay for food and shelter. The “sheer force of will” is inspirational. Your story would be very helpful to a graduating class. Dreams do not just fall into your lap. I suspect you are still a meteorologist, too. Ergo, watching, photographing lightning. Interesting post! Thank you for the mention.🙂

    Like

  4. People’s career paths are always interesting. Sadly, those who love what they do are few and far between. So happy yours has a great ending (or maybe I should say middle?)

    Like

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