Bake and Release by Chelsea · 6 May 2017

I have written about my friend’s Bake and Release mentality, but now it is time to get into her business a little.

My friend, Chelsea, is a great baker. She bakes cookies and cakes and all sorts of goodies. Then, she lets them go out into the wild. Actually, she makes the treats for special occasions or gives them away to friends and family. She loves the process and the finished product, but she does not necessarily want the calories all to herself. Which is why she bakes and releases.

Those of us who work with Chelsea have enjoyed her delectable treats for years, but now others can as well. Chelsea has become an entrepreneur and is selling said treats to those who want them. (Get the business pun now?)

I am not sure exactly how it all started, but I am sure getting to the point of selling her treats went something like this:

“Wow! These cookies…” (or cupcakes or cakes) “…are fantastic! And they’re works of art!”
“Yeah. These are amazing.”
“You made them?”
“Yes.” Chelsea surely blushed and demurred, “I did.”
“You ought to sell these things instead of just baking and releasing.”
“You really think so?”
“Oh yeah.”
“You bet.”
“Amen sister. You could make a mint.”
“At least mint cookies.” (Another pun, if you missed it.)

Image courtesy of Bake and Release by Chelsea.

I am sure there were several conversations like the one above before Chelsea gave it any real thought, but seeds were surely planted each time somebody raved about her baking. Those raves were transformed into likes when she posted pictures on her personal Facebook and Instagram feeds. So she decided to take the next step and put out her business Facebook (Bake & Release by Chelsea) and Instagram (bakeandrelease) pages. Now, the world can see the pictures she takes of her treats.

Of course, she did get a little anxious with an order I made. And we almost blew the surprise cookies for my wife’s, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi’s, birthday. It was actually entertaining.

Chelsea did not know that my wife was following Bake & Release by Chelsea, so she (Chelsea) was surprised when The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi posted something about the cookies she (my wife) wanted. My wife had actually told me to get those cookies and I had ordered them a week earlier. But when she told me the exact cookies she wanted had shown up on Chelsea’s page, she was curious.

“Did you order those cookies from Chelsea?”
Thankfully, I was in the other room so she could not see my face. “What are you talking about?”
“Those chocolate sugar cookies I wanted for my birthday. Did you order them from Chelsea?”
“I still don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Chelsea put up pictures of the exact cookies I want for my birthday.”

Well, my wife decided to go to the source and posted on Bake and Release by Chelsea. It was the second post on that particular photo. So naturally, Chelsea just told The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi that the cookies were for her husband. Or something like that.

It worked out great in the end. The cookies came as a wonderful surprise. They were so artful it was difficult to eat them. Okay. Not really. They really were individual works of art, but they were also delicious treats. We savored each one with our eyes and with our noses and with our taste buds. Yum.

I must say that I am not totally pleased that Chelsea has gotten entrepreneurial. Oh I am excited for her as she goes off on a new venture. I am even rooting for her to make it big. (Who knows, maybe we will see her on The Great American Baking Show (or one of those shows).) But I cannot help but be a little selfish and think that her success will mean we will not get to see or smell or taste as many of her bake and release treats. Regardless, I will always root for my friend and her new venture. So getting into her business a little, I need to tell you to check out Bake & Release by Chelsea. And let all your senses feast on her treats.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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A Broken Record · 29 April 2017

A Vinyl LP Record
taken by Evan-Amos
This work is in the public domain.

It seems like I have been writing this a lot lately, but I do not know what I am doing on the internet.

I do not know what I am supposed to be writing. Today. This week. In fact, as I look at my computer screen, I see four starts for today’s blog. Four. Oops. Five, including this one. It makes me question my sanity. And makes me wonder if my wife is right. If I ought to worry less about getting something out there on the interweb and put more quality out there. Which also makes my friend and faithful reader, Marc, right. I ought to concentrate on trying to attain the status of mediocre, as my moniker suggests.

Of course, it does not really matter that much. There is lots of junk on the internet, adding my little less-than-mediocre musings each week is not going to make much difference. After all, it is not like my blogging is adding to landfills or growing the plastic islands in the oceans. At least not directly.

So what does a writer write when he does not know what to write about? Today, I am going to write about the things that I started to write.

I wanted to write a nice tribute to my wife for her special birthday. That did not work out so well. After all, she told me I need to get her approval when I write about her anymore. Signed and in triplicate. That was not going to happen when I started writing this the day before I publish it.

I also wanted to write about coaching the track and field throwing events (shot, discus, and javelin), but could not quite get the story right yet.

I was thinking about making up an excuse for my subpar blogging by pointing out that I am working on other writing projects, but that meant I had to point out my other writing projects and I am not ready to do that yet either.

I also worked on a piece that I have a conundrum about its release date. (But that is another story.)

So instead of finishing any of those four ideas, I just wrote this. I know. Not much to it. Not really any substance at all. Not even much of a broken record. Except to say that I do not really know what I am doing still blogging after all these years. Still crazy. Still less than mediocre.

Ah well. At least I am not adding to the landfills. I am just clogging up the internet. And I am still wondering what I am doing with my writing on the internet.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Not a Human Metronome · 22 April 2017

Taiwanese-American conductor Apo Hsu in rehearsal
(original size 500 × 418 pixels)

by Alton Thompson licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I was at our youngest son’s school concert when I realized something that I should have known all along. The band director is not just a human metronome.

If you have ever been to the symphony or the opera or even to a school concert, you see the maestro up there waving a baton. I think of the director tap tap tapping the baton on her music stand to get everybody’s attention. Then raising that baton higher as a signal for the band to raise their instruments to their mouths getting ready to blow or to raise their mallets readying themselves to strike. Then finally, moving said baton frantically and the band finally playing.

I have sometimes mistaken the band director as merely a human metronome when I have been in the audience listening. I have seen the director wave her arms as the band played and saw how it looked like she was just keeping time for her young charges. But at the most recent concert, I saw how mistaken I was thinking that the tick tock tick tock of a metronome could replace a maestro in action.

I usually take video of our sons when they play at band concerts. I have done so for years. I like to pan around the band and zoom in on my kid or sometimes other people’s kids who I happen to see. But I also like to just listen as I let the camera record. I have the camera on a tripod so I can ignore the picture on the little LCD panel and just watch and listen. And enjoy.

I was really entertained by my son’s band director at the last concert.

I need to make a little confession here. Having been a teacher and coach for a lot of years, I sometimes tend to analyze things from that perspective. I have been known to spout off technical knowledge to my sons to help them improve when all they really wanted was to know that I was proud of them for whatever their accomplishment was. My wife sometimes needs to remind me that I ought to just be the proud papa instead of the analyzing teacher or coach. I am almost there now that the last one is getting ready to leave the nest in a few years.

At any rate, for some reason I found myself watching the band director during a couple of the songs. There was a combined band which was getting ready to play at Disneyland. The director said that the combined bands had not even played at least one of the songs together yet. As I was watching and listening and enjoying the music, I noticed something. The director was waving her arms to the beat, but she looked like she was laboring to do so. Her arms looked like they were pushing against some unknown force and that every downstroke and sidestroke of her baton was taking all of her energy to beat it. Then I noticed what that force was. She was ahead of the band. Their playing was just behind her beat and she was trying to get them to catch up. It was as if beating the baton against the air was going to help the band get back to the tempo she wanted. And it did. By waving the baton. And by sheer force of will.

It took me back to my few years in band and a year or so in choir. I remember the directors I had working with the bands and choir during rehearsals. These three men would work with us and stop us when they needed. Sometimes they would beat the air with their batons to try to get us to speed up or relax a bit to help us slow down. They would wave that baton like a magic wand doing magic for the maestro. But during rehearsals, the directors would often stop us. They would let us know what we needed to do to get the music right. We would work to get things right. And I never once saw them as human metronomes, but always as directors. As maestros.

I am sure my directors imposed their wills upon us with their wands, rather batons, but I do not remember it being such a force as it was with my son’s band director. That was an amazing sight to behold.

That demonstration of force of will of my son’s band director on the band made me realize that band directors and symphony directors and choir directors really are maestros. They are artists with a baton. They are magicians. And they are certainly much more than human metronomes.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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