Work…..finally

So I’ve been hard at it the last couple of days, working finally……it’s awesome! The day is a blur and then it’s over. It’s getting cold, snowing up on the range above us – we might get snow but probably not in the valley.

I got to eat fried Turkey Butt yesterday….amazing! The kitchen is busy prepping for Thanksgiving….the pastry kitchen will be making Turkey shaped pate a choux – it’s a cream puff pastry shaped like a turkey, dipped in chocolate and filled with ice cream, super cute. The remainder of our pastry menu consists of pumpkin cheesecake, mincemeat pie, berry pie and pumpkin pie all with fancy sauces and amazing presentation. I’m working my first night shift today, looking forward to the change up in duties and learning more. So tonight I’ll be riding my bike home in the dark vs. riding to work in the dark. I ride really fast in case a bear decides to say howdy while I’m rolling along. It’s so cold in the morning while riding to work my eyes water immediately and I’m sure one day soon my tears will freeze on my face…….yikes!

I also got some fantastic news last night, a lifetime friend of mine has been battling the big C and he is now in remission. Life is good, oh so good.

Here are some pics of the last few days.Vernal Falls from the bridge- mist trail is already closed for the seasonUp at the tree line on my way to Vernal FallsThe canopy…..so silent and beautifulMama and her babyUnion march to HRCops showed up, It’s like I’m living in another worldThis is a cake we did for a couple folks retiring from the NPS, picture of Yosemite and the Grand Tetons. 4 color process photos transfers with edible ink.My grocery store…..empty parking lot!! For anyone thats ever been here you never see this in the valley in the summer.It’s fall here….for real. Being the So Cal brat that I am, this has been pretty cool for me.

Tomorrow I’m headed into “town” Merced to meet up with my cousin Jennifer and see the movie!!! so excited!

Then I drive south Tuesday for 5 days, can’t wait to be home with Jim and Lily!!

My new 4S is waiting for me too….woohoo!!

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Adjusting to my new world

Mom & Ben came to visit and it was great!….. to see people I know, to laugh, walk, hike, eat & laugh more with people I love. I wanted them to stay…….forever – but they had to get back to their worlds. I cried. Being alone has been such a challenge for me, I’m such a social girl. I’ve made a pact with myself to hike everyday I’m off work, which has been a lot  lately. I haven’t finished all my corporate indoctrination classes yet. The schedule for these is pretty random in these slow weeks before the holidays kick in. Here are some pics from the last couple days of strolling in this beautiful place I get to live in. Walking path to the falls.Fog and Falls.Lower Yosemite Falls.John Muir- the reason this valley is here for us all to enjoy.Lower Mirror Lake.Upper Mirror Lake.Ben found this really cool rock stacking garden up by mirror lake.Mom and Ben, heading home…..:(

It’s clear sunny and almost 50 today so I’m off to hike and enjoy the intense beauty of this place, so lucky to be here.

First days in the Ahwahnee Kitchen

I finally got to start working after I took a mandatory class on how to serve alcohol responsibly. hahahaha…. everyone has to take it even if you’re not serving booze. I still have more corporate indoctrination classes to look forward to, but I couldn’t start working until I took the alcohol class?? Moving on….

I have worked two full days in the kitchen 6am to 2:30, it’s busy, fun and you never stop. In the last 2 days I’ve baked a zillion muffins, cookies, pastry, chocolate dipped strawberries, pancakes, waffles, dessert sauces, scones, prepped breakfast and lunch service for the pastry dept. I’ve met a few new people each day- one old guy calls me the quite girl LOL, he sure doesn’t know me yet! Most of the people I work with have been at the Ahwahnee for over 10 years, several people 20-25 years. It’s a huge kitchen and a huge staff and it’s not even summer! I asked if pictures would be ok and they are so here is a quick tour of my last 2 days.Top photo- Bruce the baker, makes ALL the bread, amazing. Bottom photo- front of the line.Left photo- pastry kitchen where I spend my day.

Right photo – the line – Chef Larry, makes a mean veggie omelet I want one of these in my houseThree weddings today- popular date 11/11/11- I did not participate in these cakes, just watched in awe as they were assembled so quickly.Cheese Danish- seriously a zillion of them!This is the scale we use in pastry, it has to be as old as the hotel. kinda cool.
This is the last original wood walk in door, above it is where they used to keep huge chunks of ice to cool the section below it, before refrigeration. There are 5 or 6 old walk ins like these on one side of the kitchen and there are probably 10 more walk ins that are bit more modern throughout the kitchen.

It’s a thrill to walk in this kitchen and then I get to hang out and work here.

Geeking!!!

Arriving in the Valley

The drive went well, cruised through LA at 6am with no trouble, almost unheard of at anytime of day. Hit Fresno around 9am, ran some last-minute errands, then the 41 and me spent a couple of hours together. I love this entrance to the park, saw lots of snow at the top of the pass and all the way into the valley floor. Coming out of the tunnel and having your breath taken away…no matter the season – it gets me – every time.Checked in with human resources -filled out tons of paperwork -got fitted for my chef whites and then the housing adventure started. My housing guy, he works for employee services, was a nice guy with tons of patience. We headed over to the Ahwahnee dorm building -WOW….. the folks that work in this valley, get here and never leave it seem. Most are older and MOVED in! The rule is everyone has a roommate – during the winter months the park employs half the people that it does in the summer, so lots of rooms are left with one resident. The other half of your room must always be left vacant and ready for a roommate to move in. I saw at least 5 rooms that were completely occupied by one person who was dug in deep and these gals were not afraid to say “NO! I do not want a roommate” Think hoarders….. really, I’m serious. Some of these gals have been in their rooms for years and most had little furry hamster type pets….WTF! oh and all their rooms reeked like cigs! My very nice housing guy showed me more and we finally found a room with an empty tidy side, so I moved in. The room is tidy, on the second floor and I don’t have to walk to the bathroom in the snow. My room is in an old dorm style building from the 40’s, spacious room, big closet, ladies restroom and showers on my floor. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation during the winter.

I made the rounds checking out the wellness center, the loft, where employee’s hang out play pool, eat pizza and drink. I am so the new girl here. I proudly tell each person I meet that it’s my first day as an employee. It’s cold here, in the 30’s at 6:45 pm and dark…..really dark at night. I’m totally geared up with the North Face and snow boots, but no one else is. They all have sweatshirts on a tennis shoes….wtf? I’m so the new girl….LOL

It’s weird being alone, I miss my man. My Mom and Ben will be here Saturday can’t wait!  Here are some pics from a walk on my first morning.

Gratitude and Excitement

This last week…. before I leave has been…surreal, busy, yummy, funny, sad, crazy, reflective, heart warming and exciting. I truly do have the best people in my life. I have received the most thoughtful gifts, funny gifts, totally necessary gifts, phone calls, emails, texts from so many  people. All sending their love and best wishes.

Lunch with the girls at True Food……LOVED every minute of that..Thanks again

Breakfast at Ramos House…..in the rain….during a blackout. Catching up with my Gilded Girls, all three of them – lucky me! Thank you and love you all – long time – forever.

Dinning at the Fishery in PB and going to see Anthony Bourdain with my BFF, Sistah Julie, hugging and kissing her kids as much as I could, I will miss these small people a ton. Thanks for being my girl since we was 14….big love to you.

Seeing my San Diego friends, hugging everyone tightly while sharing love, excitement, life and grief.

Chatting with Robert while he keeps the Breck Girl hair in check, always makes my hair and me feel so pretty. Love you to pieces and thanks as always.

Celebrating my husbands birthday early, since I leave on his actual birthday…..bad wife – I know….dinner at Vine….Terrine of Foie Gras, Burgundy Burger and Pinot Noir flights….chocolate souffle…..lovely.

Visiting with the Johnson’s….. I love these people, we sat and laughed… a lot…..giggled even, Jimbo especially. They came over to bring me a gift…..it’s a funny gift although useful and warm.Yes these are sock monkey’s on my feet and yes these are full sized grown up onesie footy jammies. I will so be rocking these in Yosemite…..while frolicking in the snow….. They actually fit and are very warm and toasty.OK this photo needs some explaining. The Opsal’s (I’m pretty sure this came from the mind of Chris) got me some retrofitted long underwear. These handy little pockets hold hand warmer packets and yes there are pants to match with pockets on the bum. He didn’t want me to freeze my T&A off. Thank you so much for this hysterical thoughtful gift. I love you like crazy.Pastry Chef Barbie…..I squealed when I saw this….do my friends know me or what?! Jennay, Debbie and Shea, Cheers ladies! I actually got this gift twice. A darling sweet little friend of mine was kind enough to take one off my hands. I heard she is having a great time doing her make up with a red sharpie. Thanks for the Barbie love sweet friends.These items are my necessary gear. Having never lived in the mountains, snow or anywhere cold, I did my research on cold weather gear. Shared my findings with my Chicago winter expert Debi and she approved!! Then came my angels…..KR sent me the boots….Thanks so much Kathrin….you rock! Then the Spry’s got me the North Face coat. I seriously am the luckiest girl to have an Uncle Dennis and an Aunt Debbie…. everyone should be so lucky…..best Auntie and Uncle EVER! Love you both so much and thank you for EVERYTHING. hugs and kisses!

Big love and thanks to my Jim, I’ll miss you madly.

I am full of gratitude and LOVE.

The next post will be from the valley, I leave tomorrow at But*crack. woo hoo!

oh and it snowed in the valley last night….eeek!

I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. Snow is my friend:)