Just A Little Coffee Thing – Fiction Part 2

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She did notice him, though, when she came out of the door, yelping in surprise as he leaned next to the opening. She didn’t have any more time to get out more than the shriek before Gerrit grabbed her clipboard and pen and tossed it to the counter. She watched the pen roll off just as Gerrit’s palm enclosed around hers and he swung her around in a spin. He pulled her close and slow danced with her to a Crystal Gayle song.

“Gerrit,” Hela protested, pushing on hand against his chest and tugging against the hand he gripped. Her heart was pounding and to say butterflies were taking flight in her stomach was an understatement. She shivered as she felt his other palm, quite warm, settle against her waist.

“What?” was his innocent reply.

Hela did not believe a minute of his wide blue eyes.

“Oh stop struggling. You love this song. You sing it whenever it comes on, you always spin around and glide through like you’re on stage.”

“Twirl.”

“What?”

“I don’t spin, I twirl,” she corrected.

“I beg pardon. You twirl,” he teased, then released her waist to twirl her around again, before catching her and dipping her back. She was laughing but when his face was inches from hers she thought in an instate he might kiss her. His eyes flashed to her open mouth then back to her eyes, but he quickly righted her and they went back to dancing, the song now a one.

“You are stressing too much, Helena, he said, using the name no one ever called her, except for close friends or family. She looked up at him ready to argue and deny it.

“Oh, no, you are not going to get out of this one. I’ve been here three weeks, and you are like a time bomb waiting to go off. Or on pins and needles. I’m not sure which, but you know you are doing amazing, don’t you?”

She stared at him. “Um.” She bit her lip. She always felt like she was falling apart. Snapping at line chefs, getting impatient with the pantry girl, ready to throw her hands up at servers who asked bizarre questions. Constantly thinking about the new menu and the changes in flow. She was mentally exhausted and she felt like she was cracking at the seams.

“You are. You’re keeping things running smooth. You’re good, Hel. You’re a whiz at plating, you can take over the line when one of the guys is in the weeds or goes down. Organized, on your toes, you leave me amazed at how you keep things flowing in this madhouse. You’re already better than you think.”

Hela couldn’t respond. She had hoped someone had noticed. Micah had been her person to work with, but even he had sometimes left her wondering if she was as good as she hoped. She and Gerrit worked well together, like she and Micha could. Quiet, handing each other things as they needed it without even a word. Notes on boards were underlined from agreements; they could bounce ideas off each other like two kids playing catch.

“Obviously you doubt yourself too much.” He gave her a chastising look, as he spun them around. “Stop.”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Obviously you don’t know how my brain works,” was her caustic reply.

“I do. More than you know.” He grinned, his eyes twinkling. “Now, what was that thing about something sweet?”

 

So part two, mostly because it was a 1200 word document. Thought it might overwhelm you all.  Like I said, I’d like someone I could relate to at night when I close. Currently I can’t relate to anyone. At least on the level I’m at. But one can dream of a dream chef and dream team and someone I might have as a close colleague. One day.

Kate

Just A little Coffee Thing – Fiction Part 1

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The restaurant was empty but for Carlos polishing glasses at the bar and Johnboy mopping the front dining while Hela and Gerrit went over new ideas for the upcoming menu. Prep lists, schedules, ordering, and a menu marked up, crossed out and notes scribbled in the margins. A giant whiteboard leaned against shelves on a prep station and occasionally one or both of them would walk over and scribble something else on the entire menu written out in black dry erase marker. The notes were in red and blue; for Gerrit and Hela, respectively.

Hela had teased Carlos into playing something new tonight. The “Bread” station was on and now the two of them were humming and singing their way through 1970s classic light rock. Ambrosia, Dan Fogelberg, Randy Vanwarmer, and other smooth classics. Hela had finally parted from her whites, slipping into a loose white gauze button down, the front tails tucked into her sensible slacks. She’d pulled out the plethora of bobby pins, groaning at the release of tension from all the metal bits biting into her scalp. A sharp pencil replaced the pins, turning her mass of kinked hair into a messy bun, tendrils brushing her cheeks and neck. She’d also snuck into her locker in the office and grabbed her moka pot. She needed something better than the sludge sitting in the pot for the last two hours since the last guests had left.

She hummed to the music as she heated water on the closest gas range and rooted through the lowboy in the pastry section for her hidden stash of Guatemalan dark roast coffee. Fingers tamped down the grounds, a towel to remove the nearly boiling water. The moka pot was back on a low blue flame as she went out to the bar and snagged four coffee cups. She grabbed some spoons, a carton of cream, a ramekin of sugar, then back over to grab the now spitting pot.

She didn’t see Gerrit watching her quietly from the whiteboard. He held a clipboard and pen where he had been marking the garnishes they had in stock and what he wanted to use next. He grinned, nearly laughing when she groaned after running the base of the pot under cold water at a prep sink. She set the pot down on a towel and marched out to the bar then came back with a shot glass. She measured out two shots of rich coffee to three cups, then glanced up in his direction.

“You want?” she waggled the shot glass in her hand and held the spout over it.

“Sure.”

She poured two more shots and added them to the fourth cup.

“Carlos! Johnboy! Espresso’s up!” She had more water simmering on the stove and she topped off her cup with that, adding a pinch of sugar and a very light dollop of cream. “Fix yours how you like,” she directed at Gerrit.

She stirred her cup while she watched Gerrit add a generous spoonful of sugar and only a splash of water. She made a face when Gerrit downed half the cup. Carlos came through the swinging doors baring a tall highball glass of peach effervescent liquid, a lime wedge suspended between the ice cubes. He handed it to Hela who tilted her head in thanks.

Gerrit frowned.

“Bitters and soda,” She clarified. “I mix my drinks.”

Johnboy and Carlos fixed their coffees and headed back out to the front of house. “I’ll have something sweet in a while,” Hela called after them, Johnboy grinning at her statement.

They went back to their notes. Carlos changed the station and a Juice Newton song played Hela didn’t see Gerrit watching her as she hummed and swayed as she wrote things down, stopping for random sips of coffee and her soda water. Nor did she see him grin as she sang a few lyrics and swayed her way into the produce walk-in…..

 

I was missing work the other day and I had this thought about how I’d love to have a good moka pot at work. A nice Bialetti, for when the sludge in the pot has been sitting for hours. Normally I use the French press, which is fine, but it’s still not quite like how I like my coffee. I’d love to have a nice Chef at night that I could work over prep, orders, and ideas, and drink a good cup of coffee. But no one I work with appreciates coffee at night quite like I do.  Oh, and part two is in the next post.

Oh, and if anyone notices my conflicting verb usage, would you please point it out. I have issues with passive voice. Bleh, and mixing my verbage.

Musings on Missing a Friend

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I miss my friend a lot these days. Random days where I want to ask how to make something, or what technique I need to learn.  Or when I just want to check in to see how he’s doing. Nothing much, or something much. I miss him most when I have a vivid dream where I can actually talk to him and he’s what I remember. Vivid dreams that I wake up and wish parts of it were true; so true or real; that it hurts.

Today was one of those days where I missed Coffeeman so much it was an ache inside. I wanted to cry, I wanted to fall apart on the line, I wanted to walk in back and have him ask if I was okay. I wanted the old to be there. I wanted the fist bump at the end of the night. I wanted the hug I might get if it had been a strenuous week. I wanted to see my friend.

There has been so much conflict and chaos in the last few months and I struggle with how to pull myself out of this pit of despair. Okay, it’s not that dramatic, but I am writing this at after 2 in the morning letting myself cry a little. The one in the shower wasn’t enough.

58 pizzas was busy for early January

Today was a busy day. And as I snapped a picture of the tickets stabbed on their nail, I posted it hoping Coffeeman would see, which he did, and he asked if it was so. It was a super busy day. And I had had the craziest, vivid dreams the night before where a conversation we had had before I went to bed, happened in the dream. It was so weirdly real, so gut wrenching bold in my dream that I found myself mentioning it to Ms. Godsend (aka, our front of house manager, whom I love to pieces and could not do this job without) who thought it was weirdly strange too. I won’t go into detail because it doesn’t matter.

So there I was on the line at random moments so very very happy for Coffeeman as he’s almost ready to have his new restaurant open (he’s the exec chef, doesn’t own it). I am so happy for him because I hope it works and he’s happy in his new job closer to home. But I am horribly envious that others get to work for him. Why couldn’t it have been us? I know the reason why, and I know that the two of us had our weird moments. But that doesn’t still make me not wish things had never changed.

In my time within the cooking world, I have learned that everyone has their Chef. The one chef that stood out to them. The one they talk about as theirs. Capitol letters and the pride gracing their voice when they talk about whomever it is. Coffeeman is my Chef. I will never refer to anyone else with that stigma. I may work for others, but he is the first one who has meant the world to me. As I tell anyone who will listen, for all his faults, there isn’t a thing we wouldn’t have done for the man. Oh sure, we challenged him, and even his authority, to some degree. But I would have done anything for him. He was pretty much the ‘Jump!”…. “how high, Chef.” It’s funny how you don’t realize that until they’re gone.

I go through small periods of time where I don’t muse on missing him too much. Thankfully we ‘talk’ all the time. Just little snippets of texts that help or vent or update. I don’t think I could exist without a random comment or conversation weekly. Or daily. Yeah, the man is busy. All the time. I worry that I might bother him too much here and there, but hey, he pays attention to my life, and I to his. So that means something, right?

I can count on one hand the close friends I have. I am not someone that has gobs of friends. I have that weird middle ground where there isn’t a word for acquaintance/friend. That in between stage. I know you more than just here and there, but we don’t hang out and you definitely don’t know the inner side of me. I classify these friends as family. You will get a card at Christmas, or a random one in the mail, with a letter. I write letters to those I love. I don’t just do it for the heck of it. So if something random shows up in the mail for you, be it letter, package, etc, it’s because I view you as more than that weird middle ground. You mean a hella lot to me.

And while he probably won’t read this like he used to during the Lucifer days….. I miss you like hell, Coffeeman.

Kate

A Little Christmas Bling

Winter slumps in like that grumpy gnome you have hiding in your garden. One minute the sky is blue, the next, there sitting in the corner armchair, or maybe it’s a recliner, is this frown faced, white bearded, cross armed gnome. Sort of like Grumpy. The fog sits in this fuzzy white line across the sky like a low hanging ceiling. Never lifting and you know darn well it’s all blue skies and sunshine above. Maybe. Who knows. It’s this bubble you are in. You have no clue. Heck, it could be rockets red glare up there and you wouldn’t know.

The fog, if it does lift, happens around 4pm right when the sun is making its last pass and is about ready to drop down over the mountains. Then, the night sky is alight with the most midnight blue sky. Brilliant and scintillating with the starshine of the winter constellations. Orion tipped on his side as a waxing gibbous mercury silvers a metal barn roof to mirror shine.

Daytime: late afternoon and deer linger on velvet lawns of faded green and tan, like well placed ornaments. It is Advent season after all. They are like the flocked deer of one’s childhood where there were those beautiful horses and deer and woodland creatures that were the softest to touch but couldn’t have their limbs moved. The kind that area always in the ranching stores. I remember the last time I saw them was in this all purpose Radio Shack store when I was about 12 in Colorado. The kind of store that sold farm toys to kids. Tractors and John Deere things, and blue jeans, and knick knacks for a tourist town.

Advent, when every glittering thing takes on a new meaning. Starlit nights, Christmas lights, a red drum in a second-hand store window, paper bags lining a street with little flickering lights. Turn on every Christmas song I know, watch every Christmas related movie in the world, hum about hippopotamuses and lost front teeth. Grinches and Little Toy Trains. Candles shine more brightly in the dark.

 

Christmas is a fairytale. For Christians it aught to be a fairytale. We are on this quest for the ‘gold’ and the right, we are knights fighting for our King, to end up in a paradise of riches and wealth. They say fairytales don’t exist. Clearly no one ever read the Bible. Why, everything is fantastic and amazing and glorious. And it’s all true! Talk about a story that doesn’t have an end, and the end is going to be so much more magnificent than anything us mortal humans could cook up in section 398.2.

The holiday season is fastly here and I’ve yet to write anything I’ve wanted, but the start of this post was a start of a poem that didn’t go anywhere. It was clearly meant for blog posts and all that.  I can’t quite seem to get out what I’m feeling and thinking. Life is just too chaotic at times. I’m just one motion into another. Planning desserts, Christmas party dresses, functioning. It’s just all a little too much to sit and write. That being said, I am in another Hallmark frame of mind. Ironically, a friend just sent me the best Hallmark Christmas movie plot generator. I am having a blast with it. I dare you to come up with something yourself.

Go for it and tell me what you come up with. Even better, or brownie points if you can name a movie that fits one of these!

Kate

 

Baseball, Romance, and Jazz

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

The World Series is on while I wash the lunch dishes at nearly dinnertime. A load of whites is agitating around in the washing machine, in the room on the back deck, as the evening goes from periwinkles and lemon ice to lavender, mauve, pale rose, hints of coral and cerulean. I’m playing old school jazz as I watch the score change on my cell phone just tuned to the headline scores. I wish I could listen to a game on the radio like my great-grandfather used to, as I really don’t have the time to watch the nationals eek out a better baseball score.

Never mind, I’m turning on the game. I have to see if these points wracking up quickly make for a good game….. they do. It was worth my time to turn on the game and get immersed in the plays. Yelling at a completely ridiculous call by what must be a biased umpire. That play was totally legit! Where were his eyes?! I am yelling at the television, my father and I, neither one of us sports watchers, totally involved with the call coming in from the head of the NBL umpires association.

There’s nothing more American than a baseball game. I picture Steve Rogers listening to the Dodgers on his front porch as Peggy mixes up cookie dough in an old and well loved mixing bowl of Pyrex glass. I just have finished watching the final Avengers film and Steve and Peggy dancing in their craftsman style home, with the windows open and the radio playing… Now when I say I want that, you can’t imagine how much of a dream that is. “Kiss me once and kiss me twice, then kiss me once again, it’s been a long, long time….”

It’s nearly November and all the leaves have escaped the hold each mother tree had on them. Now stark and bare, practically indecent, it’s just spread branches and trunks. Somebody get them a coat! I’m reminded of the Barney Miller line, “We caught a flasher.” “In THIS weather?!” for who wants to have an ounce of flesh exposed to the dry ice air? The wind pulls any moisture right out of every living cell and leaves behind a cracked and parched shell.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

The Washington Nationals have won the series after seven games. A historic game, just like the Cubs winning two years ago. Sports has been fun. And a week has gone by. The air is now balmy in the day. Nearly seventy and warm enough to dry laundry on the line. From freezing to balmy. Mountain life is lovely like that. The time change throws us all off, rushing around to find it is only 4pm with the sun gone. Thank goodness we are attempting to reorganize our schedules so we are up sooner in the day. It’s amazing what can get done when one is up before midday. A novel thought.

I’m sitting outside at this moment, it’s just after 5pm. Evening has come….

A rosy twilight settled in, pink hued glow over every building and tree, the sky pastel shades of pink, coral, baby boy blue. The oaks in their brown coats turned a shade more burnt sienna and bittersweet red, like the crayons in every child’s box of coloring supplies. It was a “La vie en rose” moment as if a pair of rose colored glasses had slipped over the world and people walked hand in hand up the sidewalks and past lit storefronts and cozy eateries. The scent in the air of damp leaves and wood smoke, fragrant from incense cedar and pine, alder and oak. The wood that burns in the wood stoves and fireplaces in the mountains is so much more fragrant than any other place. Everything smells so much better.

Right now the coffee I drink tastes like I was at my grandparent’s cabin in the Sierra Nevadas, in mid August or September, when the cabin gets a bit chilly in the afternoon because the wood stove isn’t burning and the sun is shifting behind the trees towards it’s western route. Miles Davis is playing “When I Fall In Love”. The trumpets just get to me and make me tear up. I was listening to a lot of Miles Davis as I slowly lost Rugburn a year and a half ago. Miles Davis and his jazz era has been hard for me to listen too in the last year because of that. I miss him a little too much these days.

The days are short, and time is sweet. Let me dream of baseball, and good romance and the sweet sounds of the best jazz music that makes your heart clench and cling.

Kate

Rizzo, Sandy, And Managing

“I am so Rizzo to your Sandy!” – Mixologist Man

I float through the dining hall in my white chef’s jacket, the stares of guests, a finger point, gesturing, as I carry plates behind a number one server. it’s not often you see a chef carrying food to a table. “Brownie points for running food,” says Jersey Boy.

Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash

Owners watch, take notice. I just give a smile and nod my head as I pass.  Another round, and I’m out the door with appetizer and plates, then back with entree, that I made. Sure, it might be a pizza, but my pizzas have been claimed as art. Aparently I am art to watch as well. I guess my five foot three, or four depending on which doctor’s office I’m in, frame, and a large, burning pizza oven make for living artwork. “I’m not in a hurry,” says a guest, holding up his beer, “in fact, take your time on my order.” Later. “I wasn’t in a hurry, I was just enjoying watching you.” I nod my head again in acknowledgement to the compliment.

I’m on display. “I need you to keep your head up and keep smiling.” Teddy Bear of an owner says to me. I am out front and center, one of the first things you see when you enter the restaurant. I am the first thing related to food you see. As I can toss pillow-y soft dough into a round without even looking at it, catching it on a spin. I may not be able to toss it above my head, I’d rather not get flour everywhere, but I can practically do it in my sleep. I can flip wooden boards down, and in five minutes, have five rounds of dough ready to be filled, and slung into a 700 degree oven. All five at once. Six or more if I have it just right.

Photo by Daniel Bradley on Unsplash

I spin, I dance, I slide, I arabesque. I duck, and bend and move in ways I never thought I could, reaching for this, stretching for that. I spin on a heel after a pizza goes into the oven.  In out, in out, this dance that is fast or slow depending on the strip of ticket orders that grace my board.

Grace under pressure. That is my mental motto. I am on the fast track to being a manager without even trying. That’s not bravado talking. I direct traffic, I answer questions, I grab a server and hustle them to their next table. I roll silverware, mix up sauces on the fly when we are out, hand off things to Jersey Boy and William Turner. I know where things are hiding in the walk-in. I solve problems, and shift people to where a job needs doing. I’m not even trying to do these things. They just come to me. I taste things, adjust salt, answer flavoring questions.

“It needs salt,” I say, much to the annoyance of everyone, but all around agreeing with the statement. I know flavors and pick out things most can’t. “I smell gas,” I say. Never believed, but usually I’m right.  I like to know things. I like to know how to solve things and fix things. If I could be in the distillery with the owners, learning how our gin, vodka, and bourbon are made, I would be. I just don’t have time. I’m too busy with a mental prep list that never ends, even on the weekends. I am told to shut it down mentally, give myself a break on the two days I’m off, but I can’t. This is still Coffeeman talking in my brain. I’m still thinking about things for the week to come. The many items I know that need to be done.

My body has adjusted to the life. “You’re changing your image,” comes the reply from someone I’ve known for several years in this town, but haven’t seen since almost the start of this job. I am. I’m becoming the me I never knew I was. I am bold in my earrings, and sassy with a bit of spice coming out of my mouth; Rosie the Riviter and I are old souls… as I channel her on a daily basis, even just with the, “keep your head up, keep working, stay strong” mentality that has come from Coffeeman.  My body has a strength to it I never knew it could have. Our baby dishwasher, McConaughey, who is smaller than I am, watches as I carry 50 lbs. of flour through the kitchen and I don’t ask for help. “I got this.” I say.  “You got this, gurrrrrrl,” Hostess Extraordinaire always tells me.

I am definitely the Sandy in our little group. And Mixologist Man is definitely Rizzo. I am the uber sweet girl, the girl that still needs Rizzo to motion for her to toss her cigarette and crush it out under the toe of her high heeled shoe. “I’m not a complete idiot,” I say to Mixologist Man, as he comments on “I knew I needed to figure out a way to get you to sit down next to him. So the only solution was for me to get up and dance,” when we are discussing a flirtation with a cute guy.

Okay, so maybe I don’t have it all down, and I may not be an idiot, but a little help never hurt Sandy. She might not have gotten Danny without the help of the Pink Ladies. So, Mixologist, keep being my lead Pink Lady. You totally could pull off the jacket.

Kate

Timing Is Everything

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I love the song from Country Strong, “Timing is Everything.” I believe wholeheartedly in the statement, living my life always amazed by the timing, the tick-tocking cadence of the world spinning. How things line up a certain way and lead to the next thing in life. Hostess Extrodinaire has “everything happens for a reason” tattooed onto her arm. And I fully believe in that as well. But, that doesn’t make me  not still question it at times.

Coffeeman’s last day was an unexpected slip away moment that for all included, lead to a very personal moment of tears, from all parties. It was not planned, it was jarring, and it was heartbreaking. When I got home later, I couldn’t stop crying. For him, for my sadness for him, the suddenness of all of it; the unexpected. The weird irony of it all was that months ago I had had a dream where actions and emotions were exactly what had happened. Not the situation, but this overwhelming heart stopping pain and crying. This feeling of helplessness. At the time of the dream, I was mentally off all day and when my mother asked me what was wrong, I couldn’t stop crying. I knew it was a portent of things to come. I can’t explain why I knew this, but I’ll apply it all back to my belief in God and how certain things in my life have been inferred by Him, either in dreams or a gut feeling, if you will. I believe that is Him talking to me directly. So at the time, I just tucked the dream into the back of my mind for a later date. Then there I was again two nights ago, sobbing for my friend, feeling like I was right back in the dream. Too weird is a statement I’ll say, but maybe it was a warning months ago.

Why did this have to happen this way, right at this moment? Why this specific experience for all of us? I will say that it gives me insight into certain people’s actions immediately following the slip out the door and gone moment. I now have an opinion of certain people that might not have been there had an event like this not happened. Some good opinions, some negative.

Coffeman has affected all of us in ways we never would have imagined. I’m in his life for a reason, he’s in mine, and somewhere it will all make sense. Brother, friend, boss, colleague, he’s impacted us in ways no one else has. Nor do I think we are ever going to find someone who has the same connection with us that he does. Jersey Boy has insanely big, impossible shoes to fill, and I don’t think he will be able to. Friends are impossible to replace. While someone new might move in and you may like them, they will still never be the person that left.

The timing of all of this is still on the fringe of my mind. I don’t get it. I don’t know why it all had to happen this way. Just about all of us is still reeling from Coffeeman being gone anyhow, but for some of us close to the man, I think it’s going to take a long while to move on. I hate that statement, moving on.  And I really don’t have any plans to move on, so to speak. I have great plans to stay in contact on a regular basis with Coffeeman. I respect the man. He knows several things, because he’s seen several things. (we are farmers…… sing the jingle)

Somewhere down the line I hope all of this makes sense. I mean, it’s not like I don’t understand Coffeeman not being here, the changes, bla bla bla (my new favorite statement) the fact that in this business, change is bound to happen. For whatever reason, this one moment, him being here, might be for something to happen down the road. Mrs. B said to me today, (Monday), that maybe Coffeeman was in your life just to remove Lucifer from the picture. She might be right. But I think it’s more than that.

So, as the old chapter closes, and a  newer one opens, all I can do is wait. I can honestly say I 100% do not like the new changes, but be that as it may, sometimes one thing you struggle with becomes the thing you need to overcome to get to the next part. Currently Jose Gonzalez’s “Stay Alive” is playing and I think it applies to everything as well. Especially the tick tocking rhythm.

There’s a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don’t move and the colors don’t fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

But there is a truth and it’s on our side
Dawn is coming open your eyes
Look into the sun as a new days rise

Songwriters: RYAN ADAMS, TEDDY SHAPIRO
© BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, FOX MUSIC, INC., A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

I’m going to finish this semi rambling post with an online round of applause, as I was never able to get our group of people at work together for said applause for Chef Coffeeman as he slowly backed out of the doorway, shaking his head at our antics, and our craziness that led to his weird eyeball crazy look. I’m sure missing him like mad won’t happen for a week or so, but I’m sure it will soon. I’m dreading the day. Sigh

Kate

It’s A Little Bit Greek To Me

A sudden rainstorm over a two day period came and blew out the heat and summer dust. In a few days the summer smell went to autumn, or early autumn, in a flash.  Step outside to gorgeousness and sweet air.  It’s been a minor perfection.

Work has kept me at a constant spiral of in, out, split shifts, late nights, huge workloads, and a constant ever present desire to write when I can. Even a few words. An older gentleman who has heard my work asked me the other day if I was still writing. He’s so sweet. Yes, I am still writing. A lot more than I thought I could while being this busy, but also a lot less than I would like. Time is much more precious. Reading too. I read this amazing retelling of the Hades and Persephone story. Very adult. Very good. I love Greek myths, always have, and retellings are fun. I found Lore Olympus on Webtoon, which I had seen some of the art on Pinterest, and it has been another delightful retelling. Modernized. I would love to read more retellings.

Lore Olympus. Persephone and Hades…. yum!

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Lore Olympus  

I’m on the hunt for more fun retellings of other Greek or Mythology  stories.

Wilson Tennu has gotten a few more words out recently, which as been nice. I like how I’m able to step into another frame and write about him. I had to get over some road blocks with him.

Just like I recently picked up a novel about the Sierra Nevadas I started a couple years ago. I finally knuckled down and came to a point where I have been trying to get to, and now have some basis, and plot points. It is a huge event for me because I write by the seat of my pants. Though at least with this novel, I’m taking a novel I already love and have read multiple times and rewriting it to be like what I want as I always found some fault. I’ve changed the setting and the theme some. Instead of a harmless mistake of scheduling, this is an actual setup of two people by the sister of the girl and her husband who met the guy and is a friends. Guy and Gal hate each other from a work standpoint, but well, things change. Surprisingly, Instagram is what helped take this novel off because I could find pictures of the place I was writing about, since I live 8 hours away these days. I grew up there, but haven’t been back in a 20 years. So I needed a bit of help.

I’m going to include a few lines of a Wilson Tennu poem I’m working on. It’s nearly finished, but not quite. I was inspired by Greek Muses, muses in my life, and tarot or oracle cards. It’s from Wilson’s POV

I watch her shuffle the large deck of cards
cutting, rotating, shuffling again.
She has four decks, one classic,
the other three are one’s she lovingly stroked
then tapped rhythmically with her pearl varnished nails.
It’s a height of summertime kind of day, and she,
she’s an oracle, Delphi would admit her in an instant.
A grass heated breeze blows in through wire screens,
wild florals and sweet wild oat turning tan and gold
as July slowly bakes on, lazily spinning the ceiling fan,
around and around, and she sits in the middle of my bed,
her legs crossed under her white skirt spread out ,
her blonde hair snapping out impatient like;
Electricity flows through her veins and lightning
flashes in her ever changing sea and sky blue eyes.
“Y know I’m no good at this,” she sing-songs her words,
shaking her head bemused, flipping a card over with a small frown,
two little indents forming between her brows.
She and I had joked about a reading, answering existential questions
as we sang our way through the breakdown and mopping
when she’s as put together as any chef should be.
As unlike she is now, all Greek muse like,
humming her approval of one card I pick
consulting her books at another,
and our glasses sit, sweating pools of water rings
on the wooden table, forgotten in the moment.

By Katie Lyn Branson copywrite 2019

Isn’t that fun? Summer ish?

Kate

Be Assertive – Day 30

“Katie, you need to be more assertive,” says my GM. “Walk around like a guy, like you have a big d—k and b—s.”

This comes after several weeks of being challenged within the kitchen. It didn’t matter how  or what I did, it was like I was dealing with another Lucifer. Actually, this person tends to treat me like Lucifer in ways regarding respect, meaning lack of, especially when no one is watching. Which…. well…. irks me. I am not some peon within my restaurant. I am not the inferior here. I’ve got some experience under my belt. And everyone deserves respect.

I am not an assertive person. Never have been. I am almost as girly as you can be, without being like a complete and total priss. I do get my hands dirty with this job. To be assertive as a woman, you have to be a take charge, don’t let the big boys push you around and have this ability to have authority roll off  of you.

I’m not exactly that person. As Mrs. B said, ‘you have never lived the life your GM has lived, and you probably won’t get jaded to life like more assertive people are.’ It is a fact. I don’t have kids, haven’t been married, haven’t dated a lot, so life hasn’t made me nearly as cynical as  most people are by the time they hit their late 30s. Not to mention I am 20 years behind my GM as far as life experiences go. Oh and the whole health issues which screw up my brain on a regular basis. <—-there’s a real confidence in me builder….

Heck, I go into  a one on one meeting with Coffeeman and GM nearly in tears….. pardon, I was falling apart. To the point where I am not sure I even got out everything I wanted to say. In fact, I know I didn’t say everything I had been rehearsing for two days with my parents. Stuttering, tripping over my words, worked up….I know what I did say got most of my point across. Basically, if you don’t fix this you are going to lose me because I am so frustrated I’m not sure I want to say with this job. I was back to crying before work and crying after. That was/is how frustrated I am. Granted, I cry because I am more sensitive, but this comes from sheer and utter frustration.

I am  a more sensitive person and a lot of things bother me. I am soft. I care about people; I care a lot about people. If they struggle, I am sympathetic or empathetic to their plight most of the time. If someone I really care about is not doing okay, then I really find myself chewing on it. There have been a couple of our servers who I keep my eye on because I care about them a whole heck of a lot and when they go through things, it bothers me. Makes me want to cry.

 

Okay, in general I am a watering pot.  That is how I show my passionate side, besides getting a glow and a sparkle, I tend to get teary. Compliment my dessert, you won’t see me trying to dab my eyes, but I will be.

I have got to learn to just walk away….

I will never be as assertive as my GM would like me to be, but you know what? These people I work with wouldn’t like me as much as they seem to if I wasn’t me. Maybe it’s good to be more soft in a lot of ways.  Life is a dance of opposites. Hard and soft, light and dark. I’m the soft. I’m the light. I’m the laughter. I’m the feminine.

Someone else can be the masculine and the assertive.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to be more assertive and such. That is something I am working towards. I need a backer who has my back when I request someone do something and that backer is the enforcer and makes sure what I say is done as well. I’m one of those ladies where if I had kids, I would need my husband to be my backer when I wanted those kiddos to do what I said. Basically, not that the backer is the only one making it happen, but giving me the authority that what I say is rule.

Right now I don’t feel like I have that backer completely…… I am hinting at someone.  I’m afraid he’s a little like me. Too subtle…  Hint hint. HINT. I need your support to be semi assertive.  I need to feel like I have authority of some sort, because I am working to that goal. Maybe I will never be in charge totally, but I do think I have skills to be directing traffic and managing. With and enforcer by my side…. Or back, or whatever. Help me help you, so that we both have help….I’m quoting Jerry McGuire there, sort of.

But be thankful I’m not an assertive lady. Trust me, you will like me much more as I am.

Now pardon me while I go hunt down a tissue…. just kidding

Kate

Tired – Day 26

I am tired. Tired doesn’t even begin to express what I feel. Exhausted might be a better word.  No, I don’t usually work a 40 hour work week, and I’m definitely not a workaholic like Coffeeman, though a part of me would like to be. That being said, I am exhausted. Mentally, and a bit physically.  I feel like I’m in a losing battle. Chef and I against the world… Okay, well he has William too, I forget about him as he’s so quiet!

I feel like I am not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The last few weeks have been tiring. Good at times, but tiring. This weekend was especially so. While the flourless chocolate cake was marvelous, the rest of the work days could be shot down into a sewer, which is ironic because I dreamed I needed Chef to come to the walkin and he said he wouldn’t step foot in that sewer( he laughed when I told him about the dream)

I’ve also heard ‘f***ed up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional… This is the polite one.

My blood sugars have been too low during service. I am down my backup guy, with two very crazy days of service and no time to eat a proper meal.  Coffeeman asked me if I was okay the other night after I dipped down way too low… I said I was fine. What is fine….? See picture. That was me. It was so crazy that one coworker who always calls me Miss K, pulled me in the back when I was having a tearful meltdown to let me breath some of her Young Living stress reliever. I have got to get some of that. It helped. And our hostess who is the literal translation of Awesome, Superwoman, Extraordinaire, came to my rescue with a tall glass of water. (She knew when I asked for it, something was wrong, then finally when she found out I hadn’t eaten, pestered me for the next half hour to go eat something, even the chocolate cake, “you deserve it!” she said.)

Thank god for Coffeeman. I mean, I know he’s the Chef, boss, all around good guy, but he came up on the pizza line and helped me knock out a crazy amount of dishes because I had gotten backed up. I was in tears. It had been a bad day coming in to work and finding out the kitchen was not up to standards because my dishwasher/closer and I had a disaster with cleaning the kitchen where the two of us could not see the way flour spread all throughout the kitchen floors because water makes flour disappear…. Someone said it looked like cocaine had been dispersed through the whole kitchen. 2 Which is probably why it ended up on counters over the night cause they were spotless when I left…. I was so so so so so frustrated. I was nearly sobbing up on the line. I know a lot of it was being tired and also knowing/feeling that one of my coworkers bitched because I had told that person to do their prep as it has not been done for quite a while. Yeah, I was really annoyed on Friday night. Yeah, I let the anger build and I was not nice with the note.

Throw in the mistake with the kitchen floor, and boom, it was not a good Saturday. Even if I had the second chocolate cake turn out well. And having a down coworker because he got sick.

It all added up to just a kind of crappy weekend. I felt like I was punched in both eyes by the time Sunday rolled around. Bruised body, heart, mind. I don’t know how you are supposed to always bounce back from that.

I try really hard with this job. Sometimes I think I try so hard mistakes get made because I’m trying so hard not to screw up. I’m more brave than I used to be, but in a lot of ways I think previous bosses made me doubt my existance. I doubt what I can do all the time. What would anyone see in what I have to offer? Am I worth keeping around. I know I know, I am worthy, but I still doubt my existence all the time. I am at heart a very insecure person. I just don’t always see what other people see. You could tell me a hundred times and I still my doubt your words.

I don’t like it when my sugar goes down. And I really need to do what my parents told me to do after I relayed the weekend. They said, go tell your Chef you need him to man your station for a bit so you can go eat. Yeah, I know I need to do this, but I hate, hate, hate to ask for help. I know that I need to do it, but it makes me feel like I am not capable of handling myself in this job. Shouldn’t I be stronger? Shouldn’t I be able to hold it together even if I have a lot of health issues?

I am trying to be a strong independent woman. Twin named Bear, always has a goofy saying about that… Well I’m trying! But not feeling like I’m succeeding too well.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Will the kitchen ever run more smoothly than it is right now?

I don’t know, and honestly the last few days of the month couldn’t come any sooner.

Kate