Category Archives: Observations

Restaurant families

imageAfter more than three decades in the restaurant business, I know a few things. Some of the knowledge I’ve gained is related to food – how to make a buerre blanc or hollandaise and what to do with an excess of vegetables (frittata, risotto or soup).

I’ve learned about wine and spirits and the significance of all the minutia that is involved with creating an atmosphere that welcomes guests and makes them want to return. All of this is important to being successful in the hospitality industry but it pales in comparison to what I’ve come to know about people.

As a server my focus, naturally, is on my guests. I sincerely want those that I take care of to be happy and I have been so fortunate to be able to wait on some of the same people since my long ago undergraduate days. They’ve witnessed my life and the connection we share crosses our respective sides of the table to a place somewhere in the middle. Many of them know which nights I work and I do my best to recall who likes to sit where and which glass of wine they enjoyed last time they were in. We’re familiar with one another.

Over the years, though, there have been situations which have proven that the most valuable thing I have learned about the restaurant business is that the people I have worked with are my family. We’ve shared annoyances, laughter and the stress of a life that is utterly unpredictable every single shift. At the end of the night, while counting money and emptying trash bins, we have connected over a glass of wine (or two) and then hugged good night before heading to our cars to return to our other families.

It’s been a really tough couple of months for my family. The losses right now are so utterly outweighing triumphs and joys that my heart is echoing with absence. As we come together again to support one another, to embrace each other in love and sorrow during a time which feels impossibly tragic, the ability of our industry to create connections between people eclipses in importance any other aspect of the job.

Each shift on the floor comes with the guarantee of there being something new to witness or with which to contend. At this time of sadness, it is vital that we also remember with that same certainty that we are a family.  Always.

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Filed under Albany, family, friends, Observations, relationships, Restaurants

Like a virgin

imageI switched handbags this week. I’d been using a beautiful green one since early fall and it was time for a change. I peeked inside a couple of cloth bags until I came across a red bag that I hadn’t used for a while. It suited my mood and I lifted it off the shelf.

I began placing my items in the bag, filling the various pockets and compartments. In one of the inside pockets, I came across a concert ticket stub from 2008, Neil Young at the Garden. What a great time that had been and what a long time ago it was. Using a handbag for the first time in 7 years or so is almost the same as having a new bag. It’s almost like it became brand new again…

Which reminds me of a story I may have already told here. It doesn’t matter if I did because it’s one of my favorite stories and I’m telling it again because it’s my blog. Many years ago, my friend Mary Panza told me about a conversation she had with her grandmother, a woman I never met. Her advice, upon learning of the state of her granddaughter’s hymen, was simple: “If you don’t have sex again for seven years your hymen will grow back and maybe some man will want you.”

The take away? Putting something on the shelf for a few years can make it seem fresh and previously untouched. I’m loving this “new” bag.

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Filed under Fashion, favorites, Observations, Random

The State of our State makes me angry

  • I’m angry that Sheldon Silver was given the courtesy of sitting in a position of prestige at this week’s State of the State address when the state’s teachers are not invited to sit at the table and truly participate in education reform and improvement.
  • I’m angry that Sheldon Silver, along with the governor and other elected officials, is responsible for the educational, social and financial policies of NYS, a task with which he doesn’t deserve to be trusted.
  • I’m angry that for the last 5 years or so my profession has been under constant attack while Speaker Silver has been profiting from illegal business deals for decades.
  • I’m angry that Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly maligned the teachers of this state while protecting those he promised to prosecute.
  • I’m angry that dedicated and experienced educators have been made to feel like criminals when, in fact, the real felons are drafting absurd policies to evaluate how we are doing our jobs.  I’ve been a librarian for nearly twenty years and the measure of how well I do job is going to be based upon a test that I give students who want to check out a book or need research help?  How about that facility I manage?
  • I’m angry that 7 of the 12 charter schools in my district have closed, yet the governor has tied an increase in educational state aid to an increase in the number of charter schools permitted, along with the removal of limitations regarding how many such schools can be placed in a particular region.
  • I’m angry that other sitting New York State Democrats have not expressed their commitment to eliminating corruption and ridding our government of politicians who think that holding public office means that they are somehow above the law.
  • I’m angry that more people don’t vote.

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Filed under Albany, Education, News, Observations, politics, Rant

The Golden Globes in 3 Takes

image: usmagazine.com

Take 1 – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are fearless. The collective gasp when they ran their Bill Cosby bit was definitely an indication that they caused some discomfort in the audience. Unlike the rest of Hollywood, Tina and Amy weren’t letting Cosby get away with anything.

image: People.com

Take 2 – Nothing worked harder during last night’s broadcast than the yards of double-stick tape employed by so many of the women to prevent nip slip. Many of last night’s gowns gave new meaning to the phrase Golden Globes…

image: people.com

Take 3 – Amy Adams in her incredibly awkward and inarticulate acceptance speech did nothing to endear herself to me – until she stopped speaking, that is. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just can’t stand her.

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Filed under Fashion, Movies, musings, News, Observations, sunday, television, Uncategorized

Make(s) me happy

Many years ago a friend in the midst of the disintegration of her marriage, told me she didn’t want to be responsible for her husband’s happiness. Since that time, I’ve learned what that felt like and I’ve heard other women say the same thing, although not always using the same words. Who are you responsible for making happy?

I’ve learned that I can contribute to someone’s happiness. I may on occasion even inspire another’s happiness. But, when it comes to making someone happy, I don’t think it is possible for me to make it so. The only person I have the ability to make happy is myself.

I may at times be self-indulgent, but I don’t believe I can accurately be described as selfish. When I think about making myself happy, it isn’t at another’s expense. In fact, if I don’t take the time to ensure my own pleasure with life, the only one who pays is me.

image

So? What made me happy today? A morning yoga class (more about that tomorrow), errands and chores, a long walk with my celebrity dog,* watching a hawk swoop across the road in front of me, cooking some simple and delicious food and the anticipation of a half-time bubble bath.

What did you do today to make yourself happy?

*Did you see Jeter in Thursday’s Times Union?  He’s been recognized each day since his photo was published.

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Filed under aging, musings, Observations, relationships

If you don’t run under a full moon in frigid temperatures, with your outdoors besties, you don’t…

Image: fitandfeminist.files.wordpress.com

  • You don’t have an hour to talk and listen
  • You don’t see the moon part the clouds in greeting
  • You don’t feel your body transition from cold and tight to warm and loose
  • You don’t have the benefit of your besties’ wisdom and advice
  • You don’t devote your attention to where you’re going on a sometimes icy path
  • You don’t get to take a steamy, hot post-run shower with the best minty soap ever.
  • You don’t get to high-five, after 5, and admire one another for being so badass as to run under a full moon in frigid temperatures.

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Filed under Exercise, favorites, friends, Observations, running, winter

(Not)OKCupid

Disclaimer: What follows is my own limited experience on a free dating site.  Two things to remember, everything I share below is painfully true and you get what you pay for.

Last week I went skiing with a friend and we, as women do, got to talking about dating and the state of our romantic lives.  She had recently signed up for an online dating site, OKCupid and showed me some of her “matches,” none of whom looked too scary.  Like me, she is a busy, divorced mom not into the bar scene.  As a purely social experiment, I decided to follow her lead and create an account myself.

Monday, I began the new week with a new online profile.  My screen name, Notadaywasted, summed up my life philosophy and I embellished my profile with minimal details and a couple of random photos which had already seen the light of day on Facebook.  Within minutes the messages started coming…

Most of the messages I received were simply overtures like “Hello, pretty lady” or remarks about my appearance.  None were from anyone to whom I felt compelled to reply.  I had listed a range of ages I might be interested in (40-55), but this did not prevent a few twenty-somethings from contacting me, a state of affairs (ha!) I found disturbing.  I mean, I already have 3 sons, know what I mean?

As the day moved on, the messages continued to accumulate.  One guy became increasingly explicit over a series of unanswered messages about what he’d like to show me.  Strike one, cupid, I didn’t sign up for vulgarities.  With each log on to the site come suggestions for matches.  Growing up, there was a kid in my town who reliably responded to any and all requests for a match with the following: “Do I have a match?  Not since Superman died.”  Well, I think a dead Superman would have held more appeal than 99% of the potential matches tossed my way. Strike two, cupid.

The final nail in cupid’s coffin, alternately known as strike 3, came when a friend of mine going back to my undergraduate days, sent me a message asking me how the hell I ended up on an online dating site.  My response?  More rapidly than Katniss’ arrow flies, I deleted my account.

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Filed under love, Observations, relationships