Saturday, November 11, 2006

Of Seasons and Fleeting Time

This has been an interesting week. All hell broke loose, weather-wise, here in the Pacific Northwest. With just a few little rainy hiccups, our summer lasted well into October, with warm breezes and inconceivably sunny skies. I have to admit, I was beginning to wish summer would move on, already, and give way to my favorite season. And so it has. After a couple of downright freezing nights—with temperatures low enough to doom every tender annual—we have been awash in record rainfall for the past ten days. Cows are floating away down swollen rivers in our beloved Tillamook, hillsides are sliding onto freeways, and trees are uprooting from the rain-soaked earth and toppling onto houses. There will be no pleasant November afternoons to stroll through the neighborhood taking pictures of our fall colors at their peak. There’s no sun to ignite the colors of what leaves haven’t been pummeled by sideways rain or savaged off the trees by high winds. Even so, on these blustery dark days where full daylight is never quite achieved, the bright colors are cheerful and warm. They almost look lit from within.

The latest news on the CafĂ© front is that I lost TWO cooks in less than a week. One disappeared mid-shift last Wednesday night, and another just stopped showing up, as of last Sunday. I still haven’t heard from kid #2. I have to assume he decided he couldn’t handle two jobs… I should have known better than to hire him, but he seemed SO eager during the interview. I had a feeling right away that he wasn’t going to work out. Still…I didn’t expect things to transpire in exactly this way.

I don’t know why, but I’m not panicked about the whole thing. The lousy weather has severely curtailed our business, and I know in my heart that I am fully capable of being the only cook, should it come to that. And it has been a good thing for me to finally take control of my kitchen; if only to give over that control when I finally hire someone capable and trustworthy. Maybe the one I hired today will turn out to be that. Or maybe not. In the end, all I can do is keep trying to move forward and trust that in due time the Universe will provide what I need.

At least this person I hired today is only thirteen years my junior. Presently, my oldest employees are in their early twenties. And I have to admit, working with all these young people makes me feel older than dirt. Being childless, Husband and I do not have that connection to the younger generation that other folks our age have. I remember my own mom and dad going through a sort of "second youth" in the seventies, when we kids were all crazy teenagers. We were their link to the pop culture of the time, and they chose the bits and pieces of it that they were able to embrace (For dad, it was long sideburns, "flared" pants, and leisure suits… My mother, on the other hand, discovered pantsuits, and, well…wine.)

Fifteen years ago, when I was managing my little bakery, I had a crew full of college students (and JackieJ .) I felt pretty hip...I felt like I could hold my own in a conversation with them. Then again, I was only in my mid-thirties myself. I wasn’t quite old enough to be their mother. It had been less than a decade since I had fallen off the edge of the earth, pop-culture wise. The music of the eighties seemed new to me; the girls could at least remember the songs, though they were in middle school when those tunes hit the charts.

So, today, I’m in the kitchen with my last remaining cook. We have settled on a radio station called "Charlie FM," whose motto is "We Play Everything." And so they do. Today we heard everything from Dean Martin’s "That’s Amore" to…well, whatever it is they listen to these days. Damned if I can name one current band.

Anyhow, they come up with stuff that you haven’t heard in a million years. This morning, "Our Lips Are Sealed" came on, and I said, "Wow, now here’s one you haven’t heard in forever." For some reason, I assumed my twenty-year-old cook would be familiar with this song… This song that I think of as not that old. This song that came out roughly five years before he was born. Augh! Yep. I am indeed older than dirt.

I recently got the first haircut NOT from hell that I have had in, like, the last three years. And I had a weave done, so I have this nice blonde highlight thing going on. By all rights, I should be able to take stock of my reflection and be pleased that I don’t look half bad for a broad of fifty-one. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m forced to consort with a gaggle of cute, firm, nubile, WAY young girls every day. For the first time in my life, I kid you not, I look in the mirror and see a middle-aged woman staring back at me. And I think, "Who the hell is that?"

So, will this new enterprise prove a vehicle by which I prove that I am as capable as any sprout less than half my age? Or will it show me once and for all that I am, indeed, well and finally over that fabled Hill? Time—that commodity of which I feel myself increasingly losing control—will tell.


  1. I love the tone in this entry.  You sound doggedly resilient, and I'm impressed.  You really are rolling with all the changes.  I'd love to see a picture of the haircut.  I haven't had a haircut I've liked since my long-time stylist died a couple of years ago.  Getting a grip on this aging thing does have its challenges, doesn't it.

  2. "So, will this new enterprise prove a vehicle by which I prove that I am as capable as any sprout less than half my age?"

    It seems to me that it already has, afterall, the two "young" cooks are gone and you're still there. :-)

  3. Hiring and keeping good employees has to be one of the toughest parts of being an owner/manager. Good luck with doing all the cooking and I hope you find a reliable replacement soon. I had to laugh at the generation gap in terms of musical tastes.  If it's any consolation, "Our Lips Are Sealed" has recently been re-done by Hillary Duff and her sister Hayley. I remember seeing the original group, the Go-Gos, in concert at an outdoor Berkeley amphitheatre back in the early 80's.  Tee-hee...when did the 80's become "classic rock"? :)

  4. I know what you are going through trying to find good employees.  When we had the cleaning business up and running full time it was a constant recruiting battle sometimes weekly.  People would come and go like water being flushed.  Hope you find a few more good cooks and sorry to hear about the rain taking the cows down the rivers.  That is something I can imagine without seeing.  LOL.  Hugs,

  5. What Robbie said. I second. And we did have a lot of good times in The Little Bakery in the Mall. I do not miss the holiday season in the mall though. We've already had our crazy season at the dealership. Don't get blown away tonight.


  6. It sounds like a new LISA is emerging!

  7. It struck me that the first half of the entry expresses contentment and acceptance with the weather/kitchen situation, then gets into a bit of a funk.   I'm five years older than you, and feel placid about my age now.  It was kind of hard there for awhile, looking at the aging of my face, but doesn't bother me too much anymore. Yes, you are over the hill, but no, that doesn't mean you are less competent.  Since when did nubile = capable?  
    Not panicking is so good!  Can't resist it--I guess those dark clouds do have a silver lining.

  8.  I have been catching up on you. Holy smoke this one hits home. I have always kinda thought I was hip. Kids now think George Strait is the old guy. I guess he, is, I am , we are! Try dating in this mess...thomas