A Balancing Act: How One North Kitchen Staff Member Manages it All

Arianna Buehler, Reporter

Balance. We know the word in many ways: whether it’s juggling family, having two jobs or enjoying life, humans have made their lives balancing acts.

This is the case for Lisa Hobbs, a kitchen staff member at North.

After working two jobs for the past seven years, Hobbs has learned that a key part of adapting to a full schedule is to prioritize your activities. She has developed a constant self-awareness and the ability to work with what she is given.

Although most at North wouldn’t take notice of this slight-statured woman with dark brown hair, she prepares breakfast and lunch for North’s students. If you take time to observe, her hands are strong but elegant. Her arms are also very toned from the time she spends carrying her young grandchildren.

Family is the most important thing to Hobbs. Her involvement in her grandchildrens’ lives is very apparent. She sees each of her seven grandchildren about once a week. When she talks about them, she flashes a cheery smile and her dark chocolate eyes light up the room. She watches her grandsons play sports, her granddaughter cheerlead, and she babysits the youngest ones when their parents are busy. The Hobbs family celebrates every Christmas together and values family above all. Hobbs’ favorite part of the Christmas tradition is seeing the joy on her family’s faces as they hurry to unwrap their presents.

        But there’s more. In addition to everything else that Hobbs does with her grandchildren (ranging in age from six weeks to 16 years), she watches dirt bike and four wheeling races at Bloomington Speedway with them. Hobbs has been consistently going to races since she met her husband in the 1970s. If you listen to Hobbs talk about races or her family, take note of her soothful voice and calm demeanor. It reels you in and makes you want to listen.

       Work is her second priority. She has two kitchen jobs, one at North and the other at  Bloomington Meadows Hospital. This adds up to 65 hours of work a week. During that time, Hobbs works closely with other men and women. They retell funny stories of their families and keep each other posted on current family news. The staff members also have plenty of shared experiences, many of which are kitchen mishaps and other inside jokes.

For example, one of her co-workers at Bloomington Meadows Hospital accidentally set the hot dog timer to 80 minutes (rather than the usual eight), and the hot dogs exploded. The mess was huge and they had to clean the whole steamer and the surrounding area. Despite the extra work it caused, the staff has a lighthearted attitude which allows them to laugh about these situations.

        Time is her main issue when sorting out priorities. She wishes that she slowed down to enjoy some of the finer things in life, like traveling and spending more time with her husband. “Everything is gone in the blink of an eye,” she said. “One day you’re a pretty cheerleader and the next day you’re just a cook.”

Lisa Hobbs stands in front of a freezer in the BHSN kitchen for a portrait.
Lisa Hobbs stands in front of a freezer in the BHSN kitchen for a portrait.