Wednesday, June 30, 2010

North Rim Grand Canyon

Tuesday we went up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From Zion its about 3 hours, and a pretty drive at that.

Not too crowded, not too many railings, but good views into the depths. I've been to the South Rim several times. I think the views are better on the South Rim, but the traffic is less on the North. Plus, there's not near as much cement and it's not as hot because of higher elevations.

We hiked along the rim, and down a ways on the Kaibab Trail. Then, headed to Las Vegas for a night in Luxury before Rainmaker flew back home on Wednesday.

Now, on Wednesday evening, getting back into the grove and grind of my seasonal work, I do feel privileged to work in Zion. This is a special place.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saute' Line Cooking

I am officially a saute' apprentice if not a saute' cook.

Now, this is just another part of Line Cooking, and its both heady and sobering.

You get this smallish saute' pan going with oil in it (about the size of a small frying pan, with sloped sides) and then add ingredients. But wait, another two orders have just been called, and so now its three pans on three burners, run get the meatloaf order, now half a chicken, then cut the bread for servers.

Don't let the stuff in the pans burn, shake it, flip it. Using a spoon or spatula is totally armature. Sorry, I'm working on it; I'm used to spoons.

While all this is happening in the same minute, orders are called down the Line to the broiler bitch (see previous post) and the wheel man assembles all this for the waitstaff to carry out. Its my duty to have my stuff ready in a timely manner, not over or underdone, with no sign of panic.
My mentor, Billy Ho, says Never Panic.
I'm working on the panic.

Its really been fun, and educational. I still am the only woman cooking, which seems weird, coming from a kitchen in Highlands where it was just the opposite.

Kitchens have personalities. Anger and Depression is contagious. Smiles always warm the soul no matter what the emergency. Seems like a woman's thing, though. Guys: its OK. Smile.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Twenty Pounds of Ground Beef

You start with twenty pounds of ground beef. Hopefully thawed. Then, recipe in hand, hunt down the spices, milk, Panco ( a type of very fine bread crumb which comes in fifty pound bags), and onions.

Yes, I'm making meat loaf for front of house. Its going in two hotel pans, making four long loaves, and has to be cooked by service time. All doable. I've done this before. Somehow the guy training me thinks its rocket science.

Just another day of work, in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Rainmaker and I compare notes, and there are just too many hikes that are right up there with the best: Angel's Landing, Observation Point, Hidden Canyon, and don't forget the Narrows.

He flies back to Georgia soon, I'll be able to revisit these places before my contract ends. Especially the Narrows. It should be quite different in August.

People still come and go: fired, transferred, newly hired, newly initiated into the whys and ways of seasonal work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Oatmeal Sack?

I made Polenta at work yesterday. Its basically cornmeal cooked in hot milk with Italian spices until thickened. Then, turn off the stove, add Parmesan cheese, sour cream and 4 beaten eggs.

Spray a sheet pan and bake this batter in a moderate oven until firm and golden brown. Not too hard if you do it in steps.

We serve a Ragu over that in the restaurant.
But, what caught my ultralight backpacker eye was the bag the fine cornmeal comes in.
Its lightweight, strong, and doesn't leak. AND they throw them away. Of course, this is America.

But as all ultra lighters (us frugal ones, anyways) know, a lot of good gear can be had by recycling.
Some call it dumpster diving. Not so. Its saving the planet.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, the empty bag was put in my locker until now, and I plan to use a twist tie to secure the opening, after filling it with oatmeal. No more worries about Ziploc baggies.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Friend is Forever

Rainmaker is a great photographer. He's forgotten more than I ever knew about cameras. Like, I never knew a the larger the digital photograph, the less sharp the details would be. Or, the harder to send off with the intermittent Internet we experience sometimes.

Or, if I set it to " snow and beach" I won't have so much glare on the cliffs.
By watching him, I learn to pan a little slower, take some time to get acquainted with my camera, and basically, bring my reading glasses to read the menu on this thing.

Still, it beats using a disposable camera: the dinosaur of the photographer's world. I used to love them because they are cheap and have so little commitment or investment.

But, as we discussed, the best things are not free. A little time investment, a little emotional investment, goes a long ways. Some cash investment doesn't hurt either.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All About Steaks

Last night on the Line I learned all about steaks.

First, I get this huge side of beef (well, maybe about 20 pound chunk of New York Strip). Then I found the scale, covered the tray where I laid the meat portion with plastic wrap.

Then, I got a red cutting board, sharp chef's knife, and 400 half pan for the steaks.
The goal here was to trim the excessive fat off the huge chunk of meat. Then, at first using an educated guess, I cut what I hope is a 10 ounce portion. Weigh it. Pretty close, a little over, but that's better than under. My co worker is training me, and he's pretty good.

After doing that whole chunk, we do another.
Then it's rib eye steaks. The goal here is a 12 ounce portion. A person can tell a rib eye by the way the fat swirls at the top, and the huge chunk has these lobes where it was trimmed from the ribs.

Once the restaurant opened, and steaks were ordered, the real challenge begins as order after order pours in for "Rare" "Medium Rare" "Medium" "Medium Well" and "Well". The New Yorks get salt and pepper. The rib eyes get a special rub. I mixed this rub which included about 8 spices.

A person doesn't want to over cook a steak. It can always be refired if the customer says its too bloody. Its just meat juice, there's really no blood in it. But, just do it.
But, if a steak is over done, no good. A person has to get rid of it. That's a lot of money down the drain.

Later that night I got introduced to the Saute station. More about that tomorrow.

I look at this Zion experience as more than a job. Jobs come and go, but this is a whole 'nother ball game. In a kitchen with just men ( women servers but no women cooks) seems like every day I have to prove myself, hang in there, no overly emotional displays.

As cooks, we can do some outbursts. Hell's Kitchen and Chef Ramsey saw to that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Indispensable Internet


The Internet has become nearly indispensable. Here I sit in my dorm room, online, e-mailing, researching, chatting, downloading photos, making videos for YouTube, editing this picture of the Narrows for my blog.

Then, I was wondering about the Oil Spill in the Gulf, and found my answers. Not Solved. Hidden agendas, fears, money. As always, we learn it is far worse than they told us.

Also, I was wondering about new health finds. Brazil is loosing the battle of the bulge, kids in Africa are still dying in spite of our efforts, skin cancer on the rise.

And, closer to home, I was wondering how much information was available on how to make your own backpacking gear. With the economy still in the trash can, every penny saved is a penny earned. And who can find a job to earn a few pennies anyways? I'm here in Zion working until September by choice. I could work longer if I wanted to, but family matters call.

I found this link, a valuable link for anyone who wants projects for the kids, or yourself. A person could start making Christmas gifts now, or birthday gifts. Or, just use these ideas to save money on outdoor gear regardless of pending holidays.
http://www.backpacking.net/makegear.html

So, I am happy for the Internet. Some folks are still resisting the 21st century by refusing to become www savy. I like it. What can I say?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Narrows of Zion

Rainmaker and I hiked up into the Narrows today. The Narrows of Zion National Park begin (or end depending on your perspective) where the Riverside Trail ends. They were closed due to high volume of water until just last week. Now, with a day off work I looked forward to experiencing the reality of this trail heading up through the North Fork of the Virgin River into a narrow passage through the canyon.

We hiked upstream, cliffs rising majestically on both sides, the water a cool 61 degrees. At times it was waist deep, other times we merely waded. Once in awhile we walked on boulders, other times dry sand.

Most wore shorts, a few of us long pants, a very few wore bikinis. There were a couple small girls, lots of teens and mostly young fit adults. One can rent shoes and poles from a Zion Adventure Company for this very purpose. I wore my New Balance trail shoes.

Cameras in tow, we fought a strong current while crossing side to side, following groups of people who were following others. Actually, I was surprised how many were on this trail.

I hope to go again this summer, work permitting. As the water level drops and the temperatures climb, it should be possible to get all the way back to the waterfall, past which one can not go upriver.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day Trip to Bryce Canyon National Park


Today
Rainmaker
and I took a day trip to
Bryce
National Park.
In order to get through Mt. Carmel Tunnel before the daily construction began we set the alarm for 6 a.m. After eating a good EDR breakfast, we headed out. Two hours later we entered Bryce Canyon.
At the Visitor's Center we learned a park wide free shuttle bus is optional, but encouraged to save on congestion and polution. We parked, and rode. Getting off at Sunset Point, we decided to go first into the canyon. 2.4 miles later we were back on top at Sunrise Point. What can I say? It was marvelous. Never forget the water. There is not a drop down there.
Then we hiked along the rim trail up to Inspiration Point. Very inspiring, a 360 degree view of pillars and hoodoos (that's the actual name for these desert sculptures).
We stopped in Bryce Canyon Lodge gift shop, looked around, then headed for home. Zion is feeling like home now: friends, good job, good room, good food, and a backyard to die for.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bring Back The Geo Metro

Bring Back the Geo Metro. I'm still getting 45 miles to the gallon on the highway. Sure, its really not the Most comfortable car. The owner's manual says load capacity is 600 pounds. That's a three people and gear on a good day.

It has a trunk, but no rear defroster.
It has a tape player, and awesome speakers. For those of you too young to remember, the tape came after the vinyl disk but before the CD. Thats light years before the mp3 and the IPOD.

The tires are small and inexpensive. The battery will last over 7 years. The oil filter looks like it belongs on a lawn tractor.

It is a stick shift. I've finally changed the spark plugs on this 1996 gem of mine. With 114,000 plus miles on it, I figure to keep it many more years.

If we all had good mileage cars, could we finally quit drilling for oil?
If we could learn to combine trips, car pool, or walk a little bit more, could we quit buying oil from the middle east?
Maybe we just need to quit buying all that plastic crap made with petroleum?

I think when we finally get a handle on alternative sources of energy, and we cut back on our endless consumption, oil will be the vinyl disk of the Energy Industry.

Grandkids will listen to our Remember-When stories, When I Was Your Age stories and say, "You actually Burned Oil in your car to make it run?"

They'll shake their heads, wrinkle their nose and say, "that's nasty".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Emerald Pools with Rainmaker



This morning we hiked up to Emerald Pools. Even with an "early start" after breakfast there were many other hikers. A lot of kids too, some with little hiking poles.

By turning left after the main North Fork Virgin River bridge, we ascended first to the middle pools. Then, threading our way through the crowds, we took another left and headed up to the upper falls. The water fall had all but dried up. It was cool, much cooler there. Shady, water, and good sitting rocks were taken advantage of by yours truly.

Then, after due time, we descended down path ways, rock steps, between massive three story boulders, to the junction with Kayenta Trail (heading north to the Grotto area) and the lower falls trail. The lower falls actually is a raining -dripping event which felt wonderful in the heat. Rainmaker had his High Definition camera tucked under his shirt for protection.

I really enjoy hiking early mornings because the trails are less crowded, and the shade is so comfortable for viewing this fantastic place. Today, a Saturday in mid June, many people were out early with their families enjoying it as well. Its good to see the children here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Free Table


This is a picture of a "free" table. People who are sick of stuff, or done with stuff, or just basically don't want to pack it up and take on the road with them, donate it to the table.
There are some pretty good books to be found, items of clothing, sometimes a board game or empty jugs for water.
Every once in awhile someone will "clean house" and dispose of stuff that's been sitting around for a long time.
Every dorm has its laundry room, and that's where some free tables are found. Other dorms have free boxes near the lounge. Just depends on who starts the box, and if HR approves.
They say the best things in life are free. I've been pondering that.
What are the best things in life?
Love. That's not really free. There's much emotional work and a measure of selflessness that goes with real love.
One must invest time. That's not free either. If it were, we would all stock up on it as much as possible. Seems like there's never enough time. Sometimes we even try to buy time : using convenience foods, multitasking, postponing domestic tasks in an effort to grab a few extra minutes of "free time." And when there is "free time", doing nothing, accomplishing nothing specific brings guilt.
One of the best things in life are children. They sure aren't free. There should be a lot of investment in them. Not so much the material things but the things that matter like time and love.
One of the best things in life is your health. That sure isn't free. I don't think a single person, especially an older person would dispute that.
So, I've come to the conclusion that the best things aren't free. They actually require the most, and that's a commitment to give the best of yourself.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hidden Canyon with Rainmaker




This morning before work,
and after a good breakfast in the EDR, I enjoyed a hike up in Hidden Canyon with Rainmaker.

It was cool and we passed only one couple until the return trip.

The trail has some chains embedded in the side of the canyon wall where one may grab ahold to aid in climbing, decending and generally avoid death.

A couple mountain bikers tried to use the trail, but I found my "voice" and told them it wasn't allowed. The sign clearly shows a red X through the bike picture.
There's also a sign warning of possible death, and that others have died on that trail.

Hidden Canyon doesn't seem that scarey, though. Some pavement, some drop offs. Not a place to be caught in a flash flood. Basically I felt today we escaped injury, Angels Landing is death.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fallen Heroes






These flowers will soon be shriveled and blown away in the wind. I'm not sure if they had enough time to grow viable seed within their short life times.
Somebody decided to pick them while hiking in Zion National Park. Somebody decided it wasn't enough just to enjoy their beauty for a short time. Somebody couldn't just walk on by and allow the flowers to continue living happily, soaking up sunshine, surviving on the little moisture available, producing seeds to further their species.
I remember picking flowers when I was a child. Back in those days, we didn't hear about global warming, or revegetation. Our mothers were happy to recieve the gift. I guess most of these were dandilions, or marigolds grown in the garden.
So, I'm not saying this is evil, just an outdated concept, unnecessary, perhaps simply a spontaneous reaction.
I hope we can evaluate before we take action with such long lasting consequences. Look beyond the immediate gratification of picking the flower in its prime, using it for our personal need, then casting it aside in the dirt.
Its just a simple thing. Just about respecting the beauty without having to physically own it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simplicity is the Spice


I'm a complicated woman who loves simplicity.
Friends, hanging out on Whitney, after hiking all the way from Mexico.
Sitting around a campsite cooking Ramen. A trail heading north.
Albert Einstein wrote "Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" . These were his three rules of work, and he is a genius.
I'm lounging on a rock in the foreground here. We'd climbed Whitney that morning, after stashing most of our backpacking gear in bear boxes down in Crabtree Meadows. As long distance hikers know, the longer you hike, the less you carry. You get it down to basics. The stuff that doesn't work you replace, or get rid of entirely. You look for gear you can fix yourself while on the journey. Our journeys had begun at the Mexican border, in late April. Now, it was June.
I still love the simplicity of a long trail. My co workers will see me eating with just a spoon. It makes sense to me. Why use a host of utensils when your basic spoon does it all?
I carry an solar powered L E D light, having given up on flashlights and batteries. Still use a silnylon wallet. Drive a 1996 Geo. Pants with pockets and jackets with hoods is my mantra for recreational clothing.
Always keeping things practical and simple to reduce the clutter and maintenance of material things.
To read an essay on my Ultralight Philosophy
By stripping things down to key functions, we can save ourselves many product failures. That's always been my way.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Special Hike in Zion

video

I love doing explorations. Hiking alone is great fun Seldom does a person actually go a whole day on a trail without encountering another individual. During those times we can shrug off societies rules of no burping, talking aloud to oneself, farting, or childlike wonderment.

We don't have to be way cool. Our clothes don't have to match or be designer labeled. In fact, the shirt I found was a Small and I cut its label off.

We can fail to reach our objective without feeling weak. We can elect our break times or continue mercilessly in heat and storm. I like it.

A good trail partner is a rare gift from the gods. If you find one, treasure them, and let them know it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zion Activities


The shuttle bus is pretty important in Zion. No other traffic is allowed except park rangers, polices, ambulances.

We park employees may drive our vehicles up to the Lodge which has the same parking lot as our dorms. Of course, window stickers and Employee IDs must verify that we are indeed employed here.

The shuttle bus runs frequently beginning before 8 a.m and ending around 11 p.m. They are free to ride as often as you like. That's pretty cool cause you can catch a ride up to the Temple and hike that paved trail and catch the bus back. Or, ride it to the various trail heads in the park, do the trail, then jump back on the bus to the next one.

During the mid morning to mid afternoon rush, they actually come every 7 minutes. On the front of each one is a place to load bikes or kayaks. Very user friendly.

The one I road back from the Visitors center had a recording with a nice voice describing all the views and landmarks as we road past. Gave the driver more time to focus on the road. According to a sign I saw, a bus is not allowed to pass bicycles. If you're on a bike and you want the bus to pass, you must pull over and stop.

Good rules to follow to keep everyone safe, comfortable, and accommodated in your National Park.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Trail to Grotto


This is one of my favorite trails in Zion, if for no other reason it leads to the crossroads for many others. On the Lodge side of the road, the east side, this trail is six tenths of a mile, leads to the picnic area where there are picnic tables, bathrooms, and a shuttle bus stop.
Crossing the road you have access to the river trails, heading both north and south, both of which are dirt. Crossing the bridge, you can head south to the Emerald Pools by way of grotto trail, or heading north you can hike up to Scouts Landing, Angel's Landing, or even further to the West Rim Trail.
But, back to this nice little .6 mile trail. I find deer feeding along the path many mornings. There are neat rock formations, its not crowded and its pretty level and straightforward.
Last night it rained, and the temperatures are in the 60's. Pretty nice.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Update on Reality


This is the EDR where I eat in Zion. It's a pretty neat place, really. Especially neat since I now work on the Line.
The Employee Dining Room is open pretty much from 6 a.m to 9 p.m. Even when meals are not being served from the hot line (center of photo, at the window) an employee can come in, get coffee, soda, ice cream, fresh fruit, bread or cold cereal and milk. This is very handy because sometimes we sleep in or go hiking past the lunch period.
The wood chairs are sturdy, and the place is swamp cooled, a form of air conditioning that is Eco- friendly. Feels really good in there when it's especially hot outside.
I've been here in Zion a month now and know many of the employees. I'm really liking my new station on the Line. Last night I got a taste of being wheel man. It was fine and dandy, like playing house almost, until we got slammed with a ton of guests.
Then, I happily stepped back to being broiler bitch, and occasional gofer.
This seasonal working in a National Park is quite an experience.
If a person needs work and can travel, this job experience is a viable option.
www.coolworks.com is a website that helps a person network. It contains information on jobs, people blogging about their locations, questions and answers sections, and much more. The site owners are friendly and responsive to the members.
Membership is free.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Carbon Footprint

I'm pondering my true carbon footprint. In this photo, I am sitting on a rock overlooking a valley in N. E. Georgia.

Hiking there is a trick. Its a special location only the immediate locals know about. And, they're a dying breed.

There's special mosses, lichen and vegetation that one must not step on or it will die. Rainmaker showed me how to find this place, and how to respect it. To watch and take care where every last footprint (and seat print) falls.

Every place I touch will be left with an impact. Even the little places. Some things will suffer, like the mosses. Some places will benefit, like a garden.

The things I chose to buy, to throw away, to wear, all this has an impact on the earth. The car I drive, the kinds of entertainment I enjoy. How often I must "upgrade" my electronics.
Sort of a heavy thought, a responsibility.

When I got to Zion, I was given a metal water bottle. They have established a free Spring Water bottle refill station for the public to use, in an effort to reduce the plastic consumption.

The flip side, of course is the reckless oil spills, wars, and strip mining that go on constantly. How will my couple footprints ever matter compared to all that?

It is a subject to ponder. Personal responsibility versus detached apathy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bare Feet and PB and J


In times like these, a person just has to find the small pleasures of life. Like a cool stream and a pb and J.
I hiked back into a canyon this morning (I'm sworn to secrecy, if I tell you they'd have to kill me). Even though it was around 9 a.m, it got really hot. Its June, and Utah, and very little shade.
When you find an oasis, you gotta take advantage of it. The trail gods would frown if one would spurn such a gift.
And anyways, this sandwich was only getting worse and worse, sandy, smashed, and dried out as I scrambled and bushwhacked way deep into uncharted (not seriously lost) box-canyon-territory.
I brought along the book about Yellowstone and read while enjoying this oasis. "Travels In the Greater Yellowstone" by Jack Turner is very interesting. A greater appreciation for our first National Park and the understanding of how it is being destroyed struck me with a curious thought. I really care cause I worked there last summer. I remember most of the places he describes. I care about the bison, the wolves, the nesting pelicans. I care about the white pines, the trails, the neighboring towns.
But, what if I had Not visited Yellowstone, had Not invested a part of me there, would I even read this book?
This summer I am really falling in love with Zion National Park. Hiking, living, breathing the land, now I will care when Zion is discussed, and the issues that face this remarkable national park.
And I came to the conclusion that if we are to protect the land, I think we must love it. Raise our children to love and care about it. Become invested in it. Not just intellectually, but with heart and soul.
And I realized that loving a place comes from experiencing it. Many and varied experiences. If we want future generations to protect the land, they must experience it, not from the comfort of a desk chair, but with sand in their shoes, wind in their faces, sunshine on their heads.
As a minimalist, my carbon footprint is small.
But now I'm wondering, what else can I do?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Zion Lizard


This little guy was so accommodating, stopping every few feet while I climbed the stairs to my dorm, that I was finally able to share a photo with you.
The lessons of patience. The trail gods smiling down on me. A day off from work yielding so many pleasures.
I hiked up and into Hidden Canyon this morning. It actually has no outlet, and one would be in dire straits if a flash flood would thunder through. From the Weeping Rock trailhead, its only 2.4 mile round trip.
As usual I got an early start. Always recommended cause then you have the place to yourself, or nearly so.
I took a lot of footage while scrambling over rocks and holding onto safety chains. Loved it. Felt like Brawny again.
Walking back, I met several groups of people who were destined to converge on the Arch at the end of Hidden Canyon together.
I like the strength I feel while hiking alone. I also like greeting people who are on their own journeys of discovery.
Zion National Park is my classroom this summer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Warnings and Privilege


Walking around Zion National Park, a person will see signs, both informative and preventative. Its good to take this stuff seriously. People die here; already this year several have.
I feel privileged walking around here, cause I don't have to go home after a few days. If the weather is a little hot, or the trails a little crowded, I can wait until a better time. I have tomorrow and Wednesday off. Fun is planned, no matter what.
Many languages are spoken here by the guests. Lots of German, French, Asian (not sure of the nationalities) Spanish, and English in various entertaining accents from around the Globe. A picture being worth a thousand words, this sign posted near a trail crossroads seemed very appropriate.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Where the Deer Feed


This morning before work, and before the heat of the day, I went down the Grotto Trail, on the Lodge side of the road. I was looking for deer. They have a couple favorite spots, off the beaten paths, and sure enough, this young doe was browsing on leaves. She didn't seem to mind my photography efforts. I spoke to her, and she didn't run.

Now lizards are a whole 'nother creature. I'd like to get a picture before I leave this fall, but so far none have sat still long enough.

Today was a good day. I enjoyed my co workers, cooked on the Line, trained my replacement, and didn't even feel tired. Now, that's almost like having fun!

I guess its all about knowing where to look, and when. Travel down the right path, at the right time and the trail gods will grant your desire.

Least, that's how I'm chalking up today's goodness.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To Everything there Is A Season

With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, I just want to remember some snow. They tell me it will get at least 10 degrees warmer in July.

To everything there is a season, and a time, under heaven.

Today I met the guy I'll train to replace me in the EDR. The Chef says to do a good job. Then, I can move to the Line. It will be seriously hot there, facing the "window" or place the plates get put when they are ready to be sent out. At arms reach, under that shelf like set up, with heating elements above, is counters and all sorts of additions for the plating.

Behind me will be grill (or broiler, they call it) flat top (where we place Talapia, trout, arrowhead chicken breasts, grilled cheeses). That station, I'm informed is for the "broiler bitch". Male or Female.

Then, behind the "wheel man" is a deep fryer, gas burners going constantly, and farther down the line is the "saute" station, with more hot boxes, gas burners, and stuff I've yet to learn.

Of course there are cold drawers for keeping all this fresh meat and condiments cold and at arms reach, and hot steam tables for keeping all the hot sides ready to plate.

So, its going to be hot work. I am looking forward to it. Making beautiful plates of scrumptious food for each diner.

Maybe I'm not a burned out cook. Maybe I just need a new station.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Working F'n B

F and B sounds like swearing. F'n B. After awhile, that's how I feel.
I think I'm a burned out cook.

Today I saw something interesting, and it reminded me of the universal mom-habit of applying spit as a cleaning agent.
Seems chef's hands are always clean, and are the universal tool.
Or so we are all led to believe, or assume, or hope by virtue of its common practice.

It is a widely accepted opinion that Food and Beverage is the hardest and least appreciated department, especially the Employee Dining Room (EDR) crew. If anyone out there cares, give your EDR person a thanks today for a job done, even if not well.

Zion is getting hot, nearly 100 degrees. Its still lovely, and I can't wait for my days off to enjoy some more of it. The river has slowed, the banks receding. The grass remains green here in the valley, however, because it is watered with sprinkling systems.

I feel removed from the general news loop. No one really talks about all the pressing issues the country faces. We work, we sleep, we hope for days off to play.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It Always Gets Better


A friend on the trail once told me she always felt optimistic when the day started out rotten. She said she knew things were going to get better that day.
Yesterday was so sweet, I knew today would have to be hard. If all the days were good, we would become weak, wouldn't know how to look inward for our strength.
Or evaluate our goals.
And just when I get so tired of all the games, rules and nonsence, ready to give up, a beautiful day comes along.
I like the changing tides. I like the surprises. But there must also be the knowledge that it ends, and we are the masters of our destinies.
Right now I'm cooking for employees in Zion. Its not easy. Everyone likes different things, and the menus rotate over and over every eleven days. So, there are complaints, and people forget its self serve. That also means self-bussing. Yeah, your mom doesn't work here.
So, maybe its time to just lay it out there. I'm getting bored.
But, tomorow will be better. Has to be.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Day of Gifts


I found this little boardwalk up to a lovely waterfall while hiking to the Temple of Sinawava. I never expected to see this little treasure spot. No one was there, either. Its between shuttle bus stops, too, so unless you're walking, you'd probably miss it as well. Its not even on the waterproof map of Zion National Park.
I got mail today. One envelope had a check from "my" gallery, which sadly is changing hands. Thanks Janette, for everything.
I found 65 cents, and speakers for my laptop on the Free table in the laundry room.
I read from a book my friend sent me from Yellowstone, about Yellowstone.
Life is full of gifts.
Thank you Trail Gods.
This frugal survivalist appreciates all the gifts that come my way.
And I'm not too proud to pick up a penny, either.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All Things In Their Season


The desert is in bloom. Fantastic purples, pinks, reds, white amongst the cactus and aloe plants.

Even though I came here to see all this, sometimes I get caught up in working and sleeping. Then on days off, pile on the hiking miles.

I work 1 p.m to 9 ish. So, there's time in the mornings to enjoy the warmth and glow of this canyon. That's what I'm doing now. Sunshine, exercise, a walk before work. Nothing sets the stage for a beautiful day like a commune with nature.

Zion is quiet this morning after Memorial Day weekend has past. Deer roam freely, wild turkeys ramble through the grass. Lizards scurry happily. Least I think they are happy.

All things in their season. One season at a time.