Seven years ago or so, I was a transcriptionist working my tail off to make ends meet. Andrew was a toddler and Elizabeth was a baby, and I was often typing late into the night, feeding Elizabeth nestled in her Boppy on my lap as my arms hovered over her planted on my keyboard. The house was sleepy and quiet, and the room was always dark save for the glow of the tiny computer monitor that was set atop a built-in small desk that sat at the foot of our bed. Jason worked the graveyard shift, so it was often just me and the two little ones. I got very little sleep, and our lives were complicated and exhausting. The lives of my extended family were in turmoil with the loss of my grandfather, divorce, marriages, births. That time in my life was a dizzying blur.
My work as a transcriptionist is done all virtually. I have never met the people I contract with. I have never met fellow transcriptionists. I e-mail in my work, and they e-mail me my assignments. And given our life’s circumstance at the time, we were broke and exhausted and didn’t have the time or the funds to get out much. We had small children to tend to. I wasn’t raised in this area, so I didn’t have many friends, and my social life consisted of e-mails to friends far away as well as my family. It was quiet and a little lonely.
Just by accident, in the middle of the madness, I stumbled upon a forum of a website that had other work-at-home moms on it, all doing different things, but also had a handful that did transcription, just like me, some with many of the same companies I contracted for. Oftentimes when I’d need a break at night to blink away the sleep that I did not have the luxury of getting until my deadlines were met, I’d go to this website to take a break, to get tips on ways to become more efficient, to help other transcriptionists troubleshoot or ask questions that I might have had myself. I became familiar with the regulars of the site, but always superficially. Nonetheless, it was comforting to know that there were other people in similar situations, working all hours of the day or night, doing what I was doing, understanding the isolation that happens when you do this sort of job.
And then one day, someone from halfway across the country sent me a personal message asking a question that she thought I’d know the answer to specifically. I responded back. She responded. I responded. Lather, rinse, repeat. I learned that she was a work-at-home mom with small children of her own, and that she was funny and sarcastic and smart and well read and totally invested in her family, like I was. We had so much in common but were just different enough to keep it interesting. She was the coworker I missed having, the friend I really needed. We’d login in the mornings, wish the other good morning and get going on our work. We’d ask each other grammar or punctuation questions, “In your opinion, how should I…?” We’d debate and discuss. We’d send each other anecdotes about our kids, our husbands, our families. All the while, we both worked an incredible amount of hours, each living our lives many miles away from each other. A true, close bond of friendship was made, and to this day, I love her dearly and am so grateful to have forged the unlikely friendship.
Several years passed in much the same way, and then she decided she’d had enough of the transcription racket and she wanted to pursue her true loves (she’s my inspirational hero for doing all that she’s done). Being the phenomenal foodie that she is, as well as a gifted and talented photographer, she meshed her two passions into one and created her very successful website, Food for My Family. Unfortunately for me, we no longer have the luxury and pleasure of catching up as much as we used to now that our paths have diverged. (She still sends me surprises and treats though!) So even though our time to catch up is now limited, I still wanted to share her with you — just don’t steal her away, my gem of a friend! She has a brand new debut cookbook that has just been released, aptly named Desserts in Jars, and I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the goodness that blends her gift for making delicious food along with taking beautiful pictures.
This is what she has to say:
I was fascinated as a young girl watching my grandmother float through the kitchen, moving quickly and with precision as she turned out dish after dish to serve to family and friends. Her care and commitment as she created each course, brought out at just the perfect moment for its unveiling, would suck me in with the power of the statement it made. There would be days midweek that my grandmother would appear on her bicycle in the driveway, a basket of fresh doughnuts hanging from the handlebars just because. It was then that I truly appreciated the beauty that lives in the process of giving and gifting food to others and the ability it has to connect us all.
I never lost my passion for creating meals to be raved over or desserts that made a statement just by placing them on the table. For me, the kitchen has always been about me giving a part of myself to others. It is what keeps me there every day, to share it with my four children and to demonstrate the importance of a home-cooked meal.
Desserts in Jars is a small piece of me that I am giving, a bit of sweet to be savored at the end of a long day. From the more refined Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Crème and Peach Granita Bellinis to the kid-friendly Frozen Banana Splits, I hope that it will inspire you to give bits of yourself to those you love and cherish as well whatever the occasion.
Do yourself a favor and head on over to her site RIGHT.THIS.SECOND, and be prepared to be awed and inspired. There you’ll get to know her, her husband Ole, the grill master, and even her four adorable kiddos. And order a copy of her book, which is guaranteed to be ah-mazing! Then tell her how much you love her! I know you will because I do!