Life’s a beach

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Today I had a beautiful day at the beach with a dear friend, her giant chocolate lab, and her adorable blue eyed baby boy! I also rediscovered how to post photos, from my new fancy camera, to my crazy old blog… (WordPress has done some evolving while I’ve been away).

So this isn’t the greatest photo, (tho Gastineau Channel doesn’t really have a bad side to shoot) and this is not the greatest post either – but today is about baby steps, folks. And maintaining patience and gratitude all along the way.

More to come, hopefully soon, this could really all come together quite nicely!

Ha ha!

I finally disconnected my blog from Facebook!! I owe thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands, in her Writing Through The Fog post; Blogging, Rediscovered (or Finding the Right Space) – where she describes how reformatting her blog space has allowed her to write again.
It was a very pleasant and inspiring read, but the whole time I was just thinking, fucking Facebook ruined my blog… for some reason I don’t mind blabbing away for any and all to read on the tinterweb, but it got way too claustrophobic having all of said blabbing pointed out, in an inherently arrogant format – to everyone I really actually know!
And now it’s gone – which means I’m back, bitches 🙂

Kittens

Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

I wish we hadn’t been so poor – boo hoo. I think not having much money has made me more clever and compassionate, but I have decided not to have kids of my own until I know I can take care of them. Mainly, I would want to actually have the time to be there and raise them myself, rather than just dropping them off at day care every day. I have been told this is an impractical ideal, but for me it is the only way that makes sense. I had some pretty rotten and abusive day care providers, and would never put a child of my own in that situation.

(Turn and face the strain)

You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?

I don’t think a major change can be made cold turkey. Even if you do say “I’m gonna change, right…now!” Sure you make that decision, but it then becomes a decision that must be made again and again, in a variety of ways, each time you are brought face to face with a situation where that old habit might arise. Mindfulness and dedication are required to fully embrace a true change in one’s life.

I am changing rooms in my house, which might not seem like a big thing, but there are hundreds of little implications involved. Aside from just pushing myself to keep moving my stuff, and cleaning my messes as I go, (all of those forgotten items on the back of shelves, piles of dust under the rug, and you would not even believe the vast sea of dog-fur that has accumulated under the bed) – there are also the intangibles.

I love my space I have been living in, it is comfy here and has been my home for almost two years now. I will miss the view, the warmth of being on the top floor (the basement is much chillier!) and various other personal elements that I won’t get into here.

But you do what must be done, even if it is not a life or death “need” we do what is necessary to grow and progress through our lives.

Mature Wisdom

  • “The test of how far your wisdom has matured lies in the strategic skill with which you can keep yourself from doing things that you like to do but that would cause long-term harm, and the skill with which you can talk yourself into doing things that you don’t like to do but that would lead to long-term well-being and happiness. In other words, mature wisdom requires a mature ego.”

    Daily Dharma for January 31, 2013
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Tenative Return

Hello again, my little blog… once again, it has been a while.

But I think I have gotten to the bottom of at least one of my reservations to writing…which is that all my posts were getting shared on my wall over at the Facebook, which at first seemed like a good idea, but over time has only made me nervous. Because at the end of the day, I signed up here at the Press, just so I would have a place to write. A safe place, if you will.

Of course there are bigger applications for blogging that I did want to incorporate, recipes and restaurant stuff, but I just haven’t gotten that organized yet. Life is what happens while yr making other plans…

And while were on that subject – life has been having some happenings around here! I have neglected to blog over the last 6 months or so,which would have covered the conversion of Latino’s into Rockwell – from taco joint to banquet hall in 80 days! Well, to make a long story short, the whole thing kind of fell through on me… They are still up and running, and the transition itself did not go so bad, but once we were left with the task of establishing the new normal for the place, everyone seemed to be on a different page.

The project was not what I had hoped it might be, and I was not really the person they needed… so they demoted me (ouch! that stings…!) and left me with a rather untenable wage, so I found another job. I hit the streets, papering every place doing anything with food or coffee with my resume, just looking for an entry-level counter job, just to pay the bills. And I was lucky enough to get a gig at the Rookery, where we have the best coffee in town (yeah Stumptown), and also do pastries, brunch and lunch from a small kitchen upstairs.

It has been such a treat, being able to do work that I truly enjoy, with people that are intelligent and kind, and I have learned so much, about stuff I never knew brfore, but more remarkably, about stuff I thought I knew how to do, but was really kind of missing the mark for the last ten years or so. Like, for instance, making lattes, which I have always loved to do – but had been doing all wrong the whole time! Also there is focaccia and pizza dough, which is rather therapeutic to work with, I have done baguettes before, but learning different doughs has given me a much better understanding of the whole bread-baking process, which is a fairly magical thing.

So I have been very grateful, and doing my best to do a good job, and along came a new twist in the road… We just got the best chef in town, and we are starting full service dinners this weekend! I’ll be helping set up the front of the house operations, so I am not in the kitchen, but the chef has all of that under control – and I only hope to get a chance to learn some of his tricks in time. But for now I will be much more helpful out front, and even that seems to have become some big, fundamental healing process for me after my demotion blues… & interestingly enough, our Grand (dinner) Opening just so happens to coincide with Shaver’s Deathiversary, and why not, let’s just throw in my period too, just for kicks.

So I’ve been a bit out of sorts, nervous about the new endeavor, trying to make peace with the past – and, as usual, pretty much loosing track of the present. But not nearly as badly as I had done at Rockwell, where I had pretty much just written off my personal life, & even the basic fact that I was a human, which needs sleep and food! At the moment I am in the middle of a rare three-days-off sort of mini vacation, and then I’ll be working my tail off for the next couple of weeks. But I really think we have a great foundation to work with, complete with an already up-and-running POS system, and the new menu is a revelation for this food starved town. Elegant without being pretentious, really good pricing, and more kinds of animals than you can shake a stick at! The three standards are well represented, chicken, pork, and beef, but also duck and lamb, and even some vegetarian options. It is going to be great – and all I have to do is set help set up a procedure and flow for the service end of the deal, and I think we will have a good groove going in short order.

But I’m still really nervous – and writing makes me feel better – so here I am, I found the button to keep my posts off of FB (unless I come up with something worth showing off), and now that I will be on a steady schedule of dinner shifts, I think I will actually have more time and improved sleep-patterns! Hell, I might even start making some decent money in tips! Will wonders never cease!

Well, we shall see, and I intend to keep you posted… even if I never get any cookbook published (tho I really ought to, one of these days) I will have a fine record of my adventures in restauranteuring, for posterity.

Early?

Good morning, my neglected little blog… Somehow I lost track of WordPress’ daily topics – and I had by then finished a pretty solid year of daily posting, which was a lot of fun, but at that point I basically abandoned ship.

And just because I am here now, does not mean I am back, by any means. Things are about to get weird, see…

So then, a big part of why I moved up to Alaska, was to take the opportunity of starting a new restaurant – and the games have begun. There is so much to be done all of a sudden! And the game plan has been pretty much thrown up in the air – and remains in play, changing focus and direction by the day.

At this point, the general plan of attack, is for me to just start working at the preexisting restaurant that has been in the building for some years now. It is called Latino’s and is quite authentic Mexican food, and pretty damn good to boot. They have a good summer business and are known by the cruise boat workers as the place to get yr wi-fi on and catch up with the world, and many of these workers are Hispanic, South American, and there are quite a few Brazilians who frequent the joint. So all of the traditional and spicy fare offered there is appreciated, expected, and has been selling nicely for some time now…

The chef is a lady from Costa Rica, who I have not yet introduced myself to – I have only caught sight of her once – her working in the kitchen, and me sitting in the dining room. She goes back to Costa Rica on the first of July, and so, I have about two weeks to learn everything I can from her. & I don’t think she speaks much English – but I’ve got a tiny bit of rusty, broken Spanish here in my back pocket… I mean I’m a California girl, for Christ’s sake.

So when I meet her, I plan to say “Como esta ustedes?” to show my respect and willingness to get if my best shot. Aye yie yie… this speaking Spanish bit is probably the most daunting aspect of the undertaking! But here’s the thing – I have never actually worked in a Mexican restaurant – and I have always wanted to – so this is a very cool opportunity. But all of a sudden I am supposed to just walk in there and run the place, and I don’t have the foggiest notion of what goes on in there yet! Well… I guess I have a pretty good idea, and I learn quickly. But two weeks…

The upside to all of this is that a woman has already won the respect of the staff, and they are accustomed to cooking under her reign. Which in a cultural sense is a considerable feat. I mean the place is chock full of Latin men – the staff and the clientele – and here is me, little white girl – tho I have been oft mistaken for a Mexicana.

But despite my few advantages, I am still pretty much freaking out – and up at 5AM, thinking myself in circles till I finally decided to just get up and finish last night’s smoke, and write. I can do this… it is totally what I am here to do, on a lot of levels. But the simple fact that it is all actually HAPPENING, and happening now – pretty much has me in a mild state of shock & panic.

The previous plan was to take the place over in October, giving us some off-season down time to regroup, clean, train, and all of that fun stuff. But the time table has been changed to now…to a hand-off on the Fourth of fucking July. Holy mole (mo-lay, like the sauce, get it? ha ha)…

So here’s the plan: today I set up the preliminary groundwork for the distributors. I will also meet with another lady chef, who comes highly recommended by out other lead chef – creating a trifecta of  lady chefs to eventually run the show. So that is good news. This weekend is still pretty open at this point, but I’m sure something or other will come up – and then next week I jump in and get to work – I think I will be placing our first order on Tuesday, presumably under the current lady chef, who actually knows what she is doing. So I have a lot to learn, but all in all, it is a matter of getting trained up to cook at a new restaurant, and then just keep that going for the Summer season, and begin transitioning over to our new menu as the fall approaches. It is perfectly doable. And then in the winter we plan to close for a remodel – at which point I will actually be familiar with the kitchen, and the rest of the building, that is going to be the new center of my universe, for who knows how long of a time to come?

The White Flag

And now for a word on new year’s resolutions. It is now nearly February, and as tradition would have it – I am officially giving up on mine. My hope was that I would finally take some time to make progress on my cookbook. I put all the necessary materials in plain sight, and arranged the manuscript on my computer desktop in bite sized pieces to work with. & in that first week of this month, I did get a couple of good days where I reread the material and made some editing notes. But that’s about it.

Since then I have joined a young upstart school that is based in ecology and human psychology – and just recently, there has been word of a possible job opportunity. A new kitchen! Which would be the ideal thing for me to be doing, professionally – but I know full well that a project like that will be taking up the bulk of my time, and any extra time I might be able to eke out will have to go towards the U of Earth classes.

So I surrender – it’s just not going to happen right now. The cookbook, that is. And that certainly doesn’t mean that I am giving up on the thing entirely – just that it needs a bit more gestation time. Because really, if I do end up with a whole new kitchen to work with, there is no telling what new things I will be learning from the experience. Which is kind of the underlying theme of the book – using professional tricks to cut down on waste in the kitchen at home. Wasted food and time. My hope is that if it seemed easier for people to approach cooking from scratch, then folks might try it more often.

Oh, and the final hitch in my now-abandoned resolution, is that I can’t afford to do much recipe testing! I have not had room in my budget to justify the purchase of saffron for months now. Selah~