Geez Louise!

So I spend my days in a kitchen now, a pretty big and busy kitchen! I work with a very large and diverse staff from countries and cultures all over the world and its fabulous. Well, mostly it is. Many various languages are spoken in our kitchen and English is definately only one of them. Coming from a long line of English speaking family, indigenous to Salt Lake City, Utah, with only my 6 years of Junior High and High school French, I am at a distinguished disadvantage when it comes to clear communication at work.
As Chefs working together, good communication is essential in the kitchen. In fact, now that I think about it, good communication is essential in all aspects of life. But currently, for the sake of my career, I am saving up for the Rosetta Stone. All I have to do is decide which to learn first, Spanish, Bosnian or Vietnamese! Any of them would be a good start.
Today was a little slower day than most Saturdays in my kitchen, but it is amazing how ‘not speaking the same language’ can put a snag in an otherwise smooth service. There were just three of us on my station today. Mama Than is my supervisor, a tiny little bit of a person that carries a big…knife. She is Vietnamese and 71 years old, she speaks, and understands, almost no English. Luisa is from Argentina, she speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Luisa speaks a little more English than Mama, but understands about the same. So my chances of misunderstanding them and vice versa, are huge. Also, at 5’4″ I am probably a foot taller than Mama and a good 4 inches talker than Luisa. I am like the jolly green giant of Garde Manger with them. So as the newest member of the group, I am often feeling like the big, obnoxious, American. Like I said, fabulous.
Anyhoo, here is todays riddle, how many little chefs does it take to find the horseradish? Mama asks Luisa to make creamy horseradish, but Luisa comes back and says she can’t find any raw horseradish. Mama misunderstands and again, tells Luisa that is why she needs to make the horseradish. I am watching and listening to them go back and forth, round and round, and it reminds me of the old ‘whose on first?’ routine. I am understanding the disconnect here. I jump in to try to clarify. Luisa is nodding furiously at Mama as I try to explain her problem. But Mama doesnt understand me either. So she throws up her hands and walks off saying something in Vietnamese, with Luisa trailing behind her, speaking in a very fast Spanish. I go back to what I was doing. Then Luisa reappears, calling my name. After a minute I get that she wants me to come help her out with Mama and the horseradish. I walk back to the cooler with her to find Mama climbing the shelves looking for horseradish. Suddenly they are both talking to me loudly, in their respective languages. I say, in my best American, “geez Louise! Its like the United Nations back here. How many chefs does it take to find the horseradish!” With that, they are both quiet, looking at me. And then, Luisa says in her cute little Argentinian voice, “Dee, what geezy leweezy?” I begin to laugh. Soon we are all laughing. I find the horseradish and we all go back to work.  Crisis averted.
It seems that laughter is the language we all understand. Thank goodness and…Bon Appétit! (…there’s that French!)


How I Was the Brady Bunch Lamp

Yes, I will seriously date myself with this post, but here I go anyway.  In the last few months I have been concerned primarily with completely re-starting my personal career.  The need to do this was predicated by the traumatic loss of my previous career of 27 years with Wells Fargo Bank in 2015.

The loss of my job and my livelihood was unexpected and complicated and unfair.  I spent an entire year struggling to keep a career I had built over my entire adult life and that provided the income needed to take care my family.  It has been an
unfortunate roller coaster ride that crippled me and my family financially and emotionally. 
Many friends and loved ones sent their good wishes and words of encouragement to me during the year and they were greatly appreciated.  One of the messages I received repeatedly was “One day you will look back on this experience and laugh because it was all for the best.”    Okay, so currently, I  am about halfway there.  I am laughing at the situation because #1, it feels better than the alternative and B, it makes me feel stronger and braver as I move ahead into new territory.  Make no mistake, the loss of my job and all that came with it in 2015, broke me into irreparable pieces emotionally.  Pieces too small to put back together in the end, so I had to build something new to be able to walk away.  But also, in the end, I have always been able to find the humor in most everything that happens to me.  I refuse to let that part of me be lost too.

So yes, I am old enough to say I watched The Brady Bunch on TV when they were not reruns.  If you don’t know anything about the Brady Bunch, I am sorry for you and you will have to Google it.  For everyone else, remember the one where the boys were told, “Don’t play ball in the house” and they did anyway?   And then what happened? Yep, they broke the lamp in the living room.  That is me!  I am the broken lamp!  See, if they had done the right thing in the first place, the way they had been trained to do, it never would have happened.  But instead they did exactly what they wanted to and CRASH!  Broken lamp, broken me! 
I was as broken as that damn lamp when I lost my job.  I did not see it coming and was stunned when it did because everyone knows that Mom always says, “Don’t play ball in the house!”  Because I knew the rules and I followed them.  But then, do you remember what those boys did after they broke the lamp?  Did they come clean and tell the truth?  NO!  They tried to glue the freaking lamp back together so no one would know and put it right back where it was and acted like nothing happened. 
Like I said before, that is exactly what happened to me!  There I was broken to pieces, and suddenly I had to put myself back together and go right back to where I was at Wells Fargo and act like nothing had happened.  But no one came clean, and no one told the truth…except me.  And just like me the Brady Bunch lamp ended up telling the truth, because in the end, the covered up, and glued together version gave way and fell apart.  Now here is where I was different than the lamp, I held up, I was strong…until I was hit again.  More ball in the house!  And this time, I was smashed into pieces that could not be put together again.
But I fell apart where no one could see.  So at Wells Fargo, they are still playing ball, in the house no less.  It took several weeks to realize that I was the Brady Bunch lamp.  But where those boys had to come clean and tell the truth, Wells Fargo and those that played a part, still refuse to do so. But Karma is a constant watch man and as I have been told many times, “the truth will always out and you will reap as you sow.”  Take it from the Brady Bunch Lamp.

That said, I had to rebuild and create a new life for myself and my kids. Because just like that stupid lamp, they look to me to light the way.  As their mother, I want to be an example of strength, integrity and resiliency for them.  I want them to know that we can weather any storm, especially when we take the high road.  It starts with changing your mind and letting go of the past to start over again.  So I did.

It is the hardest work I have ever done both physically and emotionally.  I see a therapist for both.  The good news is that I find myself happy and under so much less stress than before.  My health has improved as well.  The bad news is that financially, progress is slow.  When you start over you start at the bottom and work your way up.  Trust me, I have done it before and I pray I can do it again now. 
The fact is I am not 22 or even 32 this time around.  I am 50 next month and believe me, I feel every single minute of my age.  I am putting in 9 to 15 hour days on my feet in the kitchens. Training to become a chef, and actually being a chef are two very different things.  I come home and flop into bed with the jimmy legs and already half asleep.  I wake up  the next morning with nothing short of rigor mortis setting in.  I crack and limp my way around like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.  But this is the path ahead.  I am committed to see it through.

Life rolls on, you see.  It is full of unexpected joys and sorrows.  Your current situation can change in a moment.  You have be willing, if not ready, to roll with it or you will be left broken on the side of the road. Don’t let anyone put your light out, be brave and take the high road…and please, don’t play ball in the house. 

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Happy Holidays 2014! …Finally :/

Holiday 2014

Well, Happy 2015…for crying out loud.  You may be surprised to see our holiday letter in February…or March, but I hope it is a pleasant surprise.  Some unfortunate and unexpected life events derailed me and it took me a little time to get my bearings. So we keep calm and carry on!  We hope all is well with you and yours!  Please know that we are all healthy and blessed.

If you haven’t heard by now, after a 27 year career, I have recently taken a leap off the Stagecoach and hit the ground with a very hard bump.  I am seeing a few stars and in the process of gathering my petticoats and brushing off the dust, so to speak.  There are no hard feelings per se, but I am still smarting a bit.  So I am currently between careers at the moment. Moving on has been a little bit of a learning experience to say the least.  I have not applied for a job since 1988, I have worked for only one employer and I am very much a stranger in a strange land!  Welcome to 2015!

Now write a LinkedIn profile and page and remember it must be worked and updated daily to make connections and ensure it is viewed.  Endorse others as you would like to be equally endorsed and be brave and select some folks you think might write you a recommendation on your page and invite them to do so.  But try not to feel badly of they ignore you or decline you.  Remember people are notified when you view their profile so don’t stalk anyone and be sure your own update notifications are turned OFF so you are not the pest of the internet. Oops.  Nothing too personal, no kids in your picture, no pets in your picture, not too formal, not too candid.  Do not use anything too old, no wedding photos.  No hubby photos, yes it has to be of yourself.  Don’t you have another Employer to add, or more Education?  You need more connections!  Look who has viewed your profile?  …someone from the Stage Coach, they wish to remain Anonymous, not helpful.

Now do a new Resume, and a Cover Letter and what the hell is a Cover Letter?  Note to self – Google “Cover Letter”. Objective statements are out, Professional Brands are in, but don’t call them a brand.  Two pages max for a resume and be sure you detail your career accomplishments separate from your skill set and your work experience and include your community affiliations and your charitable support work.  No one cares if you are married or of you have kids but be sure to include your web proficiency and social networking skills like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram etc.  Oh by the way, you will customize your resume and especially your Cover Letter (less than one page, 3 paragraphs – google it) for each job you apply for to emphasize the skills each employer is looking for specifically.  You will do this constantly because, to stay eligible for Unemployment Insurance payments, you will apply for 4 new jobs every week and submit the application information every Sunday via the website…or you will be deemed not eligible for Unemployment and have to start over again and re-apply.  THAT is not an option, trust me.  Plus I need that $400.00 a week to pay for the Cobra, man…  I am trying to stay focused on not eating everything in my pantry and not wearing my jammies all day.  But I am FINE!  REALLY I AM!  😉

In lighter news, Keith is working away at Hudson Printing and is looking forward to even more warm weather so he can get out on the Golf Course.  He has enjoyed sharing his rabid love for the Utes with Zach in the last year on both the football field and the basketball court!  They both enjoy watching in our theater room and attending games in person every once in a while.  However, in his old age, Keith is taking more and more after his Dad in the “rabid” department and gets quite…animated during the games and will hardly notice Zach slinking away, his face hot with embarrassment during his Dad’s ranting and raving at the TV.   Funny, because many a time has Keith come home early from his parents’ home during a game because “my Dad was out of control.”  Frankly, I find it HI-larious.  Keith is trying to stay focused on doing dishes and laundry and not on me eating everything in the pantry and staying in my jammies all day long…I told him I am FINE.  We are both on the Prozac, thank the Good and Gracious Lord.

Zach is 21 (!?) and also works full-time at Hudson Printing and he and Keith are spending good times together attending Jazz games from time to time in the court side seats with Hudson clients and pairing up for work events like the annual Holiday Breakfast.  They were “Big Ride Buddies” at Universal Studios during our family vacation this summer in Southern California and are often seen together in our neighborhood helping others with the Elders Quorum.  Zach also enjoys a round or two of golf and taking off to see the newest movie premiere.  Zach is my hero.  He has lost over 60 pounds since January of 2014 and looks super great.  He has done it by eating less and eating the right things and exercising more.  So the hard way.  He only drinks water and the occasional Gator-aid, no sweets and has his portions exactly right.  I feel like a diet coke-drinking pig in a pen next to him at dinner time but it has been nice to have him eating the same way I do as a diabetic, if not an emotional wreck of a diabetic.  Zach is our enduring spirit, our tender mercy.

Our Miss Holland is 15, sweet 16 in April.  She is a sophomore at Hillcrest High School and having the best school year ever!  She is finally placed exactly right academically and it has made all the difference in the world.  Imagine that!  Her special needs core-director at Hillcrest, Joanne Plant is literally her Fairy Godmother of Autism and one day when Holland gives two hoots about a Prince or a ball she will be Cinderella.  For now Holland is a second soprano in the Sophomore Girls Choir and has 2 recitals and a solo under her very tiny belt.  She loves to sing and has a voice like a crystal bell.  It is best showcased in the shower or when she doesn’t think anyone is listening.  She has been recognized for her art skills in Drawing and Painting and was showcased in Hillcrests’ Gallery show last spring.  She is currently working in Ceramics and Sculpture and is preparing a portfolio.  Holland also enjoyed our vacation in California.  Especially hanging out on Huntington Beach and in the beach house with her cousins and CC ad Poppy.  She is a beach bum at heart, just like her Mom.   This year she also discovered the Street Fair and I could hardly pull her and Zoe away…as if I tried very hard, I like me a Street Fair at the beach!  Holland likes shopping! …beach jewelry and beach bags and sunglasses, T-shirts and swim suits and sun dresses and especially the art.  They had a beautiful Farmers Market with fresh fruits and veggies and imagine my surprise when Zoe and Holland wanted to go “listen to the bands” while I was picking out produce.  (Translation = check out the boys!)  Needless to say, we can’t wait to go back to the beach!   Holland is our beautiful light, teaching us so much about patience and kindness every day.

So that is that for now.  The tide is sometimes in and the tide is often out in our lives and that is the way it is supposed to be.  So as I often say, “we keep our mitts up for the unexpected line drive” or painful fall off the Stage Coach, whatever the case may be.  It is in these experiences that we learn and grow the most, after the dust clears that is.  Then we continue to survive, count our blessings and be ever so grateful for what we do have…and carry on.

Much love,  Dee, Keith, Zach and Holland

Fresh Start! New Me? Nope. Just on 2 Plan Dee!

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my brand new blog!  For those of you that have followed me on Plan B, thank you for making this move with me to On2PlanDee!  Nothing goes quite how we expected it will, does it?  ,,,and yet we are consistently surprised!  Human Nature I guess.  Bless it.  For those of you that are just clicking in, you can review Plan B and my previous posts by clicking on the ‘Plan B’ tab on the menu bar above or the link I have provided here:

So many things have changed for me in such a short amount of time I frankly have not surfaced yet.  Life as I know it has been turned up side down and side ways and the ride is not over yet!  So time to just turn the page and start ‘anew’ if you will.

I hope to become a much more active blogger!  But I will need your help!  I need you to follow and participate!  Make some comments…and please share, share, share!  The more the merrier right!

So here it is.  Why I write, besides the high levels of anxiety I feel if I don’t and my wish to limit the time I spend in the “prozac nation’, so to speak.  I think that too many people worry about too many things, especially what others might think of them if they knew about those things, that really aren’t that serious.

Life is full of things that happen to all of us.  Some are really good things and some are very tragic things and hopefully those tragic things are very few and far between. But most things that happen are somewhere in between.  See I don’t think anyone should feel too mad, sad, bad, frustrated, embarrassed, ashamed or most especially alone about those ‘in-between’ things that just happen in life.   But we need each other’s help to do that.  I have 3 favorite feelings…I know, for people who know me that sounds very girly, which would be out of character for me, but you would also know that my ‘soft skills’ tend to be my strengths as well.  They are, and strictly in this order by the way:

#1 – Laughing Out Loud – preferably with crying and snorting.

#2 – Tears of Happiness – not the same as LOL.  You will know it when you feel it.

#3 – Laughing through Tears – “I can’t know what you are feeling right now Malin, but your hair is holding up beautifully.”

So we have a choice when things happen to us.  I call it laugh or cry.  What I write about is stuff that most everyone can relate to…I just say what everyone is already thinking…possibly more directly than most.  But I call it as I see it and most of the time I find life incredibly, wonderfully, and painfully funny.  If you can see it from the right angle…

Aloha!  Dee