Month: February 2015

These Are the Signs of Spring

What are your signs of spring? Are they longer dusks and quicker dawns? New and varied birdsongs announcing returned travelers? Do you see spring in the slow melting of snow and revealing of browned grass slowly turning back to summer’s bouncing greens? Spring comes in the start of soccer, rugby, and baseball. For my mother, spring is heralded by the growth of tiny weeds, an army she must slay before the season helps them become a stronger foe. Babies, everywhere, a typical sign of spring. The lambs and fawns and kits and kittens, the puppies and nestlings and foals and calves, gangly new arrivals. Spring comes in the lack of firewood and in the absence of cold morning noses. Spring re-writes the menu, away go the Brussels sprouts and in come the pea shoots. Away with the nine-grain bread and pencil sketch in the delicate white loaves. Eat the last apples in the bin and replace them with fresh picked asparagus. Spring is the count-down of days away from home, winter fading from view with the vanishing skiers. Signs of spring in bareheaded, barefooted walkers, short-sleeves, short skirts, pale pastels of sweaters. The pinks of Valentine’s yielding to the multihued array of Easter. Rolled down windows as cars flash by, music echoing down the sidewalks. What are your signs of spring? Mountain snowcaps growing fainter and further distant. The refreshed babble of just thawed rivulets. The barest hint of green leaves pushing out of cold tree trunks, the tiny petals of crocus flowers adding color to the dull lawns. The yellow-gold light strands are pulled off the foliage, bit by bit, in the same way they ascended at the beginning edge of winter. Hidden things are revealed. Everyone knows where the dog’s outhouse is, the sun’s lighting making the odor rise and no fresh white blanket to delay the shovel work any longer. There is the debris from autumn’s last wind storm, still needing to be packed away into bags. Deep morning breaths no longer create that odd half-ache, half-sharp joy in your lungs and when you puff out air, it doesn’t shine on the breeze for a moment. What are your signs of spring? Rains falling and milking time renewed, small spots of brightness catching your left eye, then your right. Spring brides and spring births, pale spring sunshine, pale-skinned spring travelers emerging from their winter caves. Mother and brother and sister, my spring people, spring-sprung each of them. Birthdays in the lamb-like ending of March and the flowery first days of April. Spinning out of bed to lay on the risen blades of green and pouncing upward even more quickly with the realization that the wet frost remnants are still icy cold. Mud, glorious mud, splashing, smelling, falling, the happiness of wet dirt and sloppy boot prints. Mint breath and apricot blossoms. What are your signs of spring?

Snapshots of Colorado Events

One of the best things that’s happened in Colorado so far this winter, was my boss calling out to me yesterday as I was clocking out yesterday to ask me if I wanted today off. Additionally, plans changed on how the food truck prep was being handled and two of my doubles disappeared. Since even normal five-day work weeks get me overtime hours, I am quite pleased to have my six-day four doubles switch down to a five-day two doubles week. I tend to feel more symptoms of homesickness on days off, but the extra sleep hours are worth it. And this way, you get a blog, for what it’s worth.

Last week’s blog was going to be a detailed story of how the 9:20 bus ran itself up onto the village curb and got stuck, causing the fifty-percent of bus riders who were heading down to town after achieving intoxication to break out their best ideas. “We’ll all push it off the curb together!” “We’ll lock the driver out and Sam can drive the bus!” “We’ll just hold the back door shut manually while we drive!” Thankfully, they weren’t able to organize enough cooperation to perform either the hijacking or bus-tipping maneuvers and the bus driver summoned another bus to fetch the passengers. Amusing as it was, I half-regretted not taking the chef up on his offer of a ride home, since it elongated my commute by about forty minutes.

And why didn’t you get this story, you ask? Well, because the rough-draft of it is in my other notebook, back at the apartment and because I no longer remember the details very clearly and because on Friday, my last day off and the first day off I’d had in nine days, I cleaned my room and did my laundry and replenished my dwindling cupboards rather than writing blogs or fiction or poetry. At times I like to feign actual adult responsibility levels, but don’t worry, I’m over that for another month or so.

What else of interest happened this past week? I had a day when I ferociously compared myself to Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Shirley and various other literary characters in my head to manage a stressful Saturday where interactions with a co-worker came to a head. Between echoing Anne’s wishes for gracious rejection speeches and Elizabeth’s resignation to Mr. Collin’s proposal speech, I managed to survive long enough to call my mother for soothing advice. That speech was enlivened when she handed the phone off to a friend who assured me that “men are pigs,” and when I returned to work the next morning, the atmosphere seemed to have eased.

Basically, now we hope that the flirtatious co-worker accepts that my rejection of his offer to come ‘spend time together’ on my day off because one day is ‘too long to be without you’, was a complete dismissal of any non-work relationship and doesn’t decide, a la Mr. Collins, that I just need more persuading. So far, no further abruptness has been required on my part, which makes me happier. Saying point blank that you don’t want to spend time with someone still seems very harsh to me, but I am assured that he brought it on himself, by not responding to lesser cues and phrasing his approach the way he did.

More monumentally, I seem to have lost my work shoes on the village bus after a double shift where I had to switch locations and thus was carrying more items than I am accustomed to on my work transits. I feel sorry for whomever had to clean the bus out that particular evening, because my work shoes are not the most pleasing things to smell, especially right after my feet have been in them for an eleven hour shift. Fortunately, I have last winter’s work shoes with me, but unfortunately, the tread on them is too worn down to count on for the last two months of this rotation. At least I have figured out package and shipping addresses and can use the internet to acquire footwear.

I overcooked the cheesecakes at work last week, though co-workers assured me they still tasted good. The texture and appearance were too crumbly to actually use them for the planned dinner. And then I made homemade (professional kitchen made?) graham crackers and toasted seven-minute frosting onto them for Sunday’s brunch and received compliments all around, from the general manager, to the kitchen crew, to the wait staff, to the guests. The valve on the steam kettle under reacted to my adjustments and the carrot soup didn’t get finished before we had to put it away for end of shift, but the chef complimented my buffet menu on the same day. The co-worker who I rebuffed gave me the silent treatment for eight hours, but the general manager told me his days are always better when I work. And back and forth and funny and sad, although in the balance, no matter how much people here tell me I am appreciated or compliment my food, I cannot bring myself to seriously contemplate coming back for another season. The menu-writing is pretty fun, though. Actually, food is pretty fun. I think I have the right job, folks, just in the wrong place. Oddly, the head chef at my current job knows a chef in McCall and told me he would help me make contacts there. Now I am hamster-wheel wondering how close McCall would feel after being so far away for my past four kitchens.

Despite discussing it on multiple occasions, the chef and I still haven’t sat down and gotten started on my CAP responsibilities for this season. Part of my low-levels of concern stem from the fact that it seems like the shortest and easiest set of goals yet, while my plans to not continue on with the company are likely another contributing factor. I have to continue reminding myself that I do want to finish the program in good order, even if I don’t want to embark on a sous-chef career with the resort immediately afterward. Procrastinators of the world unite! Tomorrow!

Now I’m going to further glory in the unexpected freedom of two days off in a row by completing some writing exercises and putting together another haphazard exercise schedule. I did some core and running last week, but ended up so exhausted between work and exercise that I wasn’t happy to go grocery shopping which is plainly a sign that something was wrong. I think I just need to balance my conviction that exercise must happen all the time, with the fact that a fourteen hour day on my feet counts for something. Maybe I’ll search for moderation in other things while I’m at it. So until next week, here’s to mood swings in moderation, running in moderation, loneliness in moderation, and blog updates – in moderation.