Michigan ~ Day 151

Somewhere in Madeline L’Engle’s books, there is a scene of naming, not because a body did not already have a name, but because the name expressed an aspect of the being’s center without forgetting their real or given name. Kind of like the passage of praises in Perelandra. In the same day, Scott named me Mom and sous. On the same day, it was brought to my attention that I have 20 days left here.

Blissfest came and went. And with it, faces, some new and some old/new. We have a new server, Mallory. Kenny and Chris and Tony and Allison and other Scott all came back for Blissfest. Marci’s brother, Chad, is here for the rest of the summer, and hasn’t been here since before Scott was around. Ben, Kabot’s bf, has officially joined our intern crew.

I love my kitchen. Missy and I have made it past all of the rough spots of newness, and we now have a very healthy respect for each other. I’m terribly fond of her. She confesses to still being intimidated by my game face – or, more recently, what Scott knows better as my I-just-have-a-lot-of-other-stuff-on-my-mind-too face – and when I have my game face on, I’m not in the mood to be cheered up by anyone, not even Josie, but I sincerely hope Missy isn’t hurt by that, and judging by the fact that she’s always bounced back, I’m really not too worried. Her relative youth and playfulness in the kitchen is infectious and refreshing. I couldn’t be half as silly with anyone I’ve ever previously worked or culinary-schooled with and still expect to be taken seriously.

I’m going to miss Missy terribly when I’m back in Cinci kitchens. We stayed up until nearly midnight just chit-chatting a couple of nights ago. I know I have girl friends that I can talk to like that in Cinci, but we don’t conveniently live and work in the same space of 157 acres. We all need our own alone time, but it’s also lovely having people so immediately available whenever, and since Missy and I work together 70% of the time, there’s plenty of time to talk.

Or just dance. Missy breaks out in dance and/or rap and/or some high note at the most random times, and it is a beautiful thing to witness.

Scott was previously unsure of how to handle Ryan’s general quietness. Then Ryan decided to state very plainly to Scott that underneath all the quiet and laidback and generally very nice, there was ‘a deep river of sarcasm,’ which he later amended to ‘a deep current of sarcasm.’ Missy and I believe that we’re the only ones who have gotten to know Ryan enough to be able to confidently recognize it. I feel quite at home with Ryan. Ryan might be perplexed by how good he is at making me laugh. His sarcasm is just so much fun. I laugh and he looks slightly bewildered, which makes me laugh harder.

Oh, get this: Previously I’ve been accused of saying, “I’m sorry,” too much, buy now, I am apparently saying, “Thank you,” too much. “People don’t say thank you enough!” “You do.”

I think it’s the authority thing. My life is made immeasurably easier by the thousands of little things that people do for me throughout the day. All of those little things – letting me know how many open menus there are, when an 8+ top just walked in, paying attention to the counts I dictate for the board, checking with the kitchen before putting in special orders and employee meals – how can I be anything but extremely grateful for both a BoH and FoH staff that are willing to anything and everything that I ask of them? They tolerate my game face, hug me, pet me, humor me, trust me… They’re darlings.

But back to Ryan’s sarcasm. Every time I say I’m sorry, he requires me to give a valid legitimate reason for being sorry. Jimmy made some joke about all of us getting to know each other on a new level because of Blissfest, but it’s really quite true, though not in the way Jimmy means… Blissfest is a weekend of extreme sleep deprivation for all crew members. Sleep deprived Ryan and Ais were obligated to run the cafe on Sunday and Monday. In spite of 11.5 hours of sleep-deprived each-other-ness in the kitchen, and in spite of an anticipated 8 to 10 hours of even more sleep-deprived each-other-ness in the kitchen the following day, we elected to enjoy the last few hours of Sunday night at Blissfest in each other’s deliberately-continuing-to-be-sleep-deprived company. For my part, it was perfectly delightful to be able to enjoy Blissfest with someone who was neither inebriated nor high. We were able to enjoy and discuss music styles intelligently… and soberly amuse each other with our respective slap-happy-ness the rest of the time.

And then, you know, there’s our normal well-rested selves that went to check out Mass at St. Francis in Petoskey this morning, followed by a hour and a half long debate on what is necessary for salvation, with both of our Bibles out.

This month, Zoe’s back teaching Foxtrot. I think out of all the dances I’ve learned this summer and last summer, Foxtrot is my favorite, because it’s the easiest for me to follow with my eyes closed. There’s something about the tension you’re required to maintain in Foxtrot that resonates with my personality.

We had a ladies’ night out at Chandlers with a much bigger group than last year; it was me, Missy, Kelly, Jill, Alise, Josie, and Katie. We fully enjoyed three bottles of Cava, martinis, dessert coffee drinks, and multiple courses each. Last year, they had run out of the foie by the time the girls and I got there. I did have it this year, but my tastes have been somewhat sadly spoiled silly by Jared, and I can’t say I was terribly impressed by Chandler’s foie gras “pastrami.” Still, the food was lovely, the Cava delightful, and the company superb. Danny and his mother came and surprised us just as we were going around the table giving ‘boy updates’ at Kelly’s request. It was the most hilariously perfect timing. And at multiple requests, Missy barked and we all jumped and laughed our heads off. Our server, Andrew Dawson M., was, in a word, incredible. He accommodated our insanity with a quiet and gentle charm that I couldn’t help appreciating. He wasn’t playing as some I know would, he was just smooth, very smooth.

Uhm, can I go on a totally unrelated tangent and just say that Tony Jaa is incredible and twist a semi-vulgar phrase to suit my violently-inclined mind? Total eye candy for the martial artist. What I wouldn’t give to be able to fight and dance like that. Please.

But hey, speaking of fighting, I currently happen to have a lot of battle scars. Two weeks ago, after Trivia, Danny and I were reviewing that one kung fu drill that Guro Paul taught me that teaches you to endure pain. I then taught the drill to Chad, who had joined us for the first time since arriving, and who hits a lot harder than Danny. I haven’t figured out if I hit harder with the right arm, or if I just bruise more easily, but the bruises on my right forearm, wrist, and hand were – are – considerably darker and greater in number than those on my respective left. I also sport my first burn from the Pond Hill Farm kitchen ever on the back of my left arm, just below my shoulder. I haven’t had battle scars like these, either in gravity or area or in number, in nearly six years. The slightly masochistic streak that I’ve had for as long as I can remember finds it invigorating. More drills at the halftime break at Trivia this past week, and Benjamin and Chad and I were practicing Kali on Saturday before the ladies went out to dinner, resulting in fresh battle scars on my forearms and knuckles. It’s terribly nice to be fighting people again, and not trees and deck-posts.

It’s a full moon tonight, which is probably why I’m still up at 2am. It’s just so gorgeous outside. And, you know, I was watching Tony Jaa. And I don’t have to be in until 13:30 tomorrow.

Scott’s taking me on an offsite catering event. I’m super excited. It’s a cocktail party for 60ish, and then a private dinner party for 11. He was prepping for it while I was making tonight’s barn dance happen. I’m a little bummed that I didn’t get to square dance properly this summer, but when I think of all the ballroom dancing and fighting and trivia that I’ve gotten in instead, I really can’t complain too much.

And this month, I haven’t missed a single [offered] morning Mass in Harbor! and since the second week of July, I’ve been able to go for Morning Prayer whenever offered as well. It’s made me miss the Dominicans more, but it’s also made the missing easier.

But yes, the Barn Dance tonight was essentially my gig; Missy was off at 7, and I had Katie, Ben, and Pat Ives at my disposal. Scott’s been calling me Mom since yesterday, and after some prodding, he explained that he feels that I take on more work and worries than I ought to at times and mother everyone else. I do. But when Ryan and I were talking about it on our way to Mass this morning, it’s an extremely welcome distraction for me to be focusing on others’ sufferings and effectively forgetting about what I have recently been perceiving as my own ‘hardships.’ A few weeks ago at Mass, after I had received Holy Communion and was kneeling again in the pew, a mother with two small children caught my eye as the mother walked forward to receive our Lord. They couldn’t have been older than 4 and maybe 1, the 4-year-old clinging to his mother’s skirts and the 1-year-old with his arms about her neck. I found myself very abruptly crying rather bitterly. New irregularities and complications revealed by my charts less than a week later didn’t help matters. And then Blissfest came and provided all the distraction I could possibly hope for. I’ve been working more hours than I ever worked even in Receiving, attending Mass more often than I’ve ever been able to attend Mass, planned and agreed to a constant stream of both constructive and frivolous after-work adventures, catching up on all the martial arts movies that I never have time for during the school year, eating more zucchini and kohlrabi than I feel like attempting to quantify, and all of this barely leaves me enough to do one load of laundry a week… Not to mention we have event after event, the longest stretch in July without having one being but four days long… and while I take no delight in others’ suffering, these days it’s just easier to take every opportunity to mother and comfort than to take the time to try and sort through my own psychological messes. Besides, the surgery is scheduled, I’m leaving much sooner than I’d like to leave, but I’ll have my second college diploma by this time next year, so whatever, right? Working for eleven days straight has the potential to drive anyone crazy, but in light of how little time I have left at a job I’ve loved more than any other job I’ve ever had, it’s hardly noticeable.

Apathy’s so easy sometimes. It isn’t really that at all, but I think it often comes off so; heck, I even fool myself now and again.

I can’t figure out if I’m sleeping just as much as during the school year or if it’s actually less. I suspect that during the school year, I spend more time in bed, but considerably less time sleeping, for a number of different reasons… More on my mind, street lights, cars and other noises, and just not enough exhaustion. This summer, I crash at weird hours, but I’ve been sleeping soundly and without dreaming. My alarm [usually] goes off at 07:00 on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, and 06:30 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays to be able to get to Morning Prayer before Mass.

Anyway, after Scott expressed concern that he saw me doing what he did at previous Barn Dances – that is, working more than everyone else and taking on too much and stressing more than I should – and frankly didn’t know how to fix it, I, after putting his mind at rest as best I could, asked half-jokingly, “If I come back, can I be your sous chef?” “You are my sous chef.” I’m usually good about not being speechless, but I was just smiling. Guess what’s going on my resume for this summer. To clarify, I was not stressed at all. Scott wasn’t stressed about the prep he was doing, and I’m not quite so jaded as to have made it past the honeymoon I-can-pull-this-event-off phase. Yes, I had my game face on because it’s appropriate and helpful. Yes, I was zipping around while others were lounging because I’m the only one scheduled who knows how to do what needs to be done, quickly. But I was also delegating what I could. Scott also told me that he thinks I’ve become very good at delegating and managing others, and we had our little laugh over my somewhat over-generous but highly effective use of, “Please,” “Thank you,” and, “You’re wonderful,” in my most winning 22-year-old lady manner, occasionally coupled with a bear hug (though I’m a very little bear). It does work, and I am honestly very grateful for others’ cooperation. The, “You’re wonderful,” line, or others like it, and the hugs, is frankly me attempting to get back to a nicer version of myself that used to exist… once upon a time; who knows when it started slipping. I know that others who don’t work with me as regularly – and even those who do – can sometimes be put off by how tense I tend to become when I’m just trying to focus. Now that I can identify when my focused self is starting to put others off, I’m trying to use that awareness to actively balance staying focused and being agreeable.

So, no, I didn’t get to square dance this season. But I did get to meet and play with a number of under-or-near 1-year-old babies tonight. I love blue-eyed babies. Especially when their blue eyes match their jeans exactly. So cute.

I also watched Mansfield Park with Alise before starting on my martial arts movies.

Oh, on Chad’s first day in the kitchen, he and Scott were comparing tattoos and commiserating over tattoo artists, etc. I really couldn’t help wishing that Jared had been there. Sorry to both of them, but in spite of sweetness of thought behind Chad’s tattoo of Emma’s birthstone, Jared’s chef ink still trumps all.

Once, Ryan took a sanitizer towel, wiped it on my arm and said, “There. You’re sanitized.”

Did I mention it’s nearly 3am now?

Speaking of ink and arms, my Blissfest henna turned out so much better this year than last year. Not that last year’s was bad at all, but this year, because it was on my forearm, I was able to keep the paste on overnight with a tube sock. Of course, henna disappears as you naturally exfoliate, so I don’t think it will last past next weekend, but that’s ok. It was still so much darker this year than I ever managed to get it last year.

I played phone tag with Migs and Nate for a while, but I spent at least a total of an hour and a half on the phone with Migs over the course of a few days, and I spent almost that much time catching up with Nate as well in the same few days. Migs and I went to Confession on the same day at about the same time =) I celebrated with Blissfest and he celebrated with a movie, I believe.

The Wolverine comes out this coming weekend!!! and Chad was trying to convince me to not mention it to anyone and wait until next weekend to watch it so that he would be available, but c’mon. Some of us have been talking about it since the beginning of the summer. He’s crazy if he thinks we’ll wait. Lol.

The latest proposed shenanigan is an intern/employee prom at the cafe. The ladies are putting together a playlist, I want pictures at the top of the vineyards, Josie wants a photobooth and a camera confessional, Jimmy has ok’d it, and I think we’re going to try and go all out and print invitations and a banner and all that insanity. Uhm, not prom dresses and flowers, though. We just want to dance.

There was some talk of karaoke as well, but I’m not sure if we’ll have time in the 20 days I’ve got left.

OHHHHH I finally made it to Pleasantview… !!! and once was quite enough for me, thank you. I generally enjoy history-of-wine lectures, but I do not enjoy being lectured for 45 minutes prior to tasting, when I went there for the sole purpose of tasting to begin with, and not for a class. Lol. It was certainly an experience – with Ben, Benjamin, and Katie – but it’s an experience that I’ll be perfectly happy never to never repeat.

After Pleasantview, Benjamin brought me to Toski-Sands to find a snack before ballroom dancing, and I discovered that they have mozzarella di bufala and prosciutto. Oh. My. Heavens. How did I never go there before?? The next day, I enjoyed a delightful dinner of rice pasta, mozzarella di bufala, prosciutto, and red wine syrup.

The week of July 4th, before the Fortnight for Freedom Holy Hour and Mass, Jill and I finally made time to get our second ear piercings, something that I’ve been meaning to do for at least four years now. I got rose-colored studs, and she got purple. They’ve healed up nicely.

With World Youth Day coming up, Andy’s going to be gone, so Fr. Joe’s asked me to do the readings and responsorial psalms for the next two Fridays. Karen might come to Mass on one of those Fridays. And since I won’t have time to receive a blessing in OH prior to the surgery, I’ll ask for Fr. Joe’s before I leave.

I wasn’t able to go the book fair this year, but Karen took me to the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society Cocktail & Dinner Party again. I’m not sure that either Cava or strawberries are truly improved by being in the same glass, but I had my happy fill of oysters and shrimp and beef tenderloin and jellybeans, so. Not to mention another incredible mansion tour, amusing company and conversation, and plenty of good stories to tell afterwards.

Now I’m sure there a million things I’m forgetting, but I really need to sleep! Peace out…

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