Sunday, September 20, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, Monday. Here we are again... Even though Mondays at home still weird me out a bit, returning to domestic life is not without it's forgotten pleasures.

Across my back fence lives a middle aged guy with a wild yellow afro. I don't know much about him, except his name is Kevin, and he's compulsive about his cat, his territory and his outdoor projects. I could live with all that, heck I understand 'compulsive' quite well ~ if he'd just keep it on his own side of the fence...

While Mike was away in Thailand this summer, Kevin called me unexpectedly one afternoon. I was a little surprised, not knowing he had my phone number, let alone knew my name. 'Lori,' he began, 'I'd like to talk to you about your downstairs light'. 'My light?' I responded, 'what?' "Your light,' he continued, 'is overly bright, and is a disruption to me in the evening. Can you get a shade for it, or leave it off?"

Now I've had many neighbors over the years and for the most part, not had much trouble with complaints. I mean, I didn't complain when my front window was stoned twice, the east indian family next door parked their vehicles all over my front lawn, the kid down the street rolled my van backwards into the neighbors fence or when the neighbor kids pee'ed like alley cats in my sandbox ~ because on a cul de sac, you live a life of give and take. My own kids ricochetted a water balloon straight into the neighbors kitchen, seized an entire crop of tomatoes and spray painted a naked 4 year old girl completely blue... It's all par.

But seriously dude, lightbulbs? You gotta be shittin me... And because domestic life is a little boring, especially without the parking ticket woman to spar with anymore, I calmly said I'd see what I could do, and proceeded to leave my lights on at every opportunity...


So foward a few weeks, and Mike, ultimate peace maker, is cutting the lawn when Kevin approaches him with his recent concern about the wattage of our lightbulbs, now not only the downstairs light, but the kitchen and the deck as well.. It seems Kevin is also upset about how our dog, frightens his cat when his cat sits on our back fence, or crosses over in to our back yard.

(omg! get a life!) But it was what happened next that floored me. In walks Mike, locks the dog inside from OUR yard, so as not to bother Kevin's cat in OUR yard ~ AND UNSCREWS THE LIGHTBULBS!!!

Now I don't think I'm an unreasonable person for the most part. But I dropped a friggin hiroshima over the unscrewing of the lightbulbs. I mean honestly ~ I get the whole 'love your neighbor' thing ~ but when your neighbor is an asshole, well, your neighbor is an asshole...


I have lots of time to check out the specials in the local papers these days. And I wouldn't be surprised if someone has a sale on clear, unfrosted 150 watt light bulbs. And now I have a lot of empty sockets to fill.

Hahahaaa, let there be light...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So here we are, having just finished the first weekend of the 'restructured' Bad Dog... And it worked. Don't know why I'm so amazed, but I guess after weeks of 'fake it til you make it, hope', real hope still feels kind of, well, unreal.

We did a little better than expected on every event, made some great contacts, have the support of the local music community, and the enthusiasm level all round seems to be growing.

I guess after one week I shouldn't be barking out 'we did it!' but this week, 'WE DID IT!' and I'm going to celebrate!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dropped in on some friends yesterday. Haven't seen them often lately, but we keep track of the general jist of each other's lives. 'How're you doing?' I inquired of the husband, who was clearly stressed. 'Good!' he distractedly replied without looking up from his computer. It was a bit forced, even I could tell. His wife shook her head & silently worded, 'Finances.' to me behind his back. 'You?' he asked back, quite apprised of the challenges I'm facing with the Bad Dog. 'Oh good too!' I responded a little more cheerily than truthfully. 'LIAR!' the wife asserted over the exchange. The silence hung for a moment. 'WHO's a liar?' I questioned indignantly, not sure if she meant me or him.

The husband looked up from his laptop, smirking, concluding observantly, 'We both are.'

We all laughed. 'How are you?'... What a stupid greeting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Well, it's day one of just me & the dog spending the day together. There's something acutely lacking in spending the day with someone who's primary interest in life is licking his balls...

So, I've browsed a few blogs, emailed, photoshopped, researched catering as a business, made some calls, booked some music, balanced the books, done some domestic shit, been to the school and back twice, chatted with the neighbor, made dinner, painted and puttied and I COULD NOT FEEL MORE FRIGGIN DISPLACED AND USELESS!

I don't think the domestic goddess gig is going to work for me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Selective Vision

I'm sure it's not the first time rose coloured glasses (or hah, in my case lack of them) have thrown a glitch in the best laid plans ~ but somehow when I got this prep fridge repair bill last week, I registered only $97 due on receipt, not $597! Oh my...

At any rate, I guess you can view these things in life as vision shattering, or find your friggin glasses and get on with it. I'm thinking to meet this, I'm going to have a do a revamp of my current business plan ~ which so far involves being open for live music/events/catering only. And to be honest, I think being mostly closed when you have a great facility is rather shortsighted anyhow.

I heard a guy on the radio a few weeks ago saying that the businesses that will survive the current recession (is it or isn't it over yet?!) are those willing to adapt. If the option for the BD is to adapt & pay that bill or close ~ well it's fairly clear to me what needs to be done.

And so, today I'm going to research the viability of opening daily, maybe from 11-2 to start, as a coffeehouse/express lunch place. I have a friend who's very successfully doing this already and I'm going to go over and pick her brain. I inventoried yesterday, and have lots of un-used luncheon tock. I figure the cost of opening this way is mostly time, current stock, and another able body, so there's not much to lose. My sanity left long ago anyhow. And really, it's amazing what you can acomplish without sanity!

What a wonderful adventure of adaptation this is! (and I mean that quite seriously.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I have a big day plannned today. I'm going down to sort & inventory the freezer at the BD. In the two years we've been open, I've only worked the front end of the restaurant. But with the recent changes, I'm starting to understand more of the business . (See, change isn't always bad.) I need to know what we have in stock to decide what's going on the menu for the three upcoming events this week, so I can make sure the financials stay in line...

The responsibility is bigger than I anticipated, to be honest. And not a lot of people are interested in casual conversation about food cost break even points, where to track down live musicians (since you know, a lot of them are dead now) and how to exterminate the seasonal fruit fly population.

My husband just returned from Thailand, and between bouts of unexpectedly falling asleep, is in the process of planning a cafe featuring 'Friday night live music, fair trade coffee/merchandise and a community services sponsored sandwich program' less than one block away. I suppose I should be wishing him well since he assures me his project is in no way in competition with mine, but my gosh ~ it sounds exactly like what we've been doing for the past two years. Not sure how to rationalize that yet...

I ran in to one of our suppliers in Superstore yesterday, who naturally inquired about the state of things. He's made his career in the hospitality business and has been a great source of information to us, hah, in spite of being a salesman. He offered to have a coffee sometime and bounce around some ideas for the new direction. I think he really meant it and wasn't just being nice. Once again I had to steel myself against the rush of emotion I get when people offer help. I'm starved for anything positive, anything encouraging, and any ideas I'm not trying to pull out of my own ass these days.

I'm thinking structurally, we should be searching for more management team people. Team ~ ohhh, perish the word. But in reality, it means a sharing of the responsibility, a broader range of contacts, more manpower, more financial input.

I'm excited at the thought of partnering with the high schools in a work experience program. A little nervous about the how to's, and 'selling' the idea, but hopeful it could be something new & ground breaking.

Also thinking of how to open daily, maybe 11-2 as a coffeehouse & 'Express Lunch' place as we continue to build the events/catering/live music side of things.

And the name...what do we call what we're becoming?

Lots to think about, obsess about, dream about. And it all starts with dunging out the freezer. Off I go.

(Oh ya, and this is the new table tent drink menu I'm working on...'Spiked', get it?)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Light Fantastic

'in Milan this year, was a lighting installation by Ingo Maurer called 'Lacrime del Pescatore'. In English it means 'tears of a fisherman'.

Maurer was inspired by a scene one day in Venice, watching as fishermen pulled their nets from the salty water. As the nets were lifted to side of the ship, the sunlight caught the droplets of water, sparkling, falling from the woven rope.

The image was so compelling and beautiful to him, he carried it for 30 years, until finally he was inspired to make a light fixture representing the nets he had seen that day.

The result is the above, displayed at the annual gallery showing in Milan. The wire mesh 'nets' are suspended from the ceiling and thousands of Swarovski crystals catch the light like the glistening drops of sea water.

I love how inspiration comes...

from Ellen...

Woman's Annual Exam

'Went to the doctor for my yearly physical.
The nurse starts with certain basics.

'How much do you weigh?' she asks. '135,' I say.
The nurse puts me on the scale. It turns out my weight is

The nurse asks, 'Your height?' '5 foot 7,' I say.
The nurse checks and sees that I only measure 5'5.

She then takes my blood pressure and tells me it is very high.
'Of course it's high!' I scream, 'When I came in here I was
tall and slender! Now I'm short and fat!'

She put me on Prozac. What a bitch.'

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I was sitting happily in the parking lot of Bellis Fair reading while my kids shopped this week ~ well happily isn't exactly the correct description, since I'm continuing to swing like a frickin yoyo over the closure of the Bad Dog. Nearly everything reminds me of something BD these days. En route to the mall, I choked at the sight of a closed Chinese food restaurant at the side of the highway. It's 'Kowloon' sign stared vacantly through the over grown grass, and through the dusty windows I could see the deserted oriental decor. I pictured the people who once held the dream of that business and that feeling was a little too close to home.

Anyways, as I was flipping through the latest Vogue Living mag, I came across this ad. I love the simple bold graphics but it was the words that actually caught me. Every one of the words represents something I value, but especially and quite unexpectedly, the last word, 'BELONG.'

It isn't rocket science that we all need a sense of belonging but I like to deny that I do. Some people are 'joiners', and like the collaborative give & take of being part of something. I however, associate 'belonging' with 'other people's agendas, structure & relational bs'. I'm not exactly the best candidate to belong to anything.

And yet oddly, my biggest sense of loss over the BD, is that daily sense of belonging. Belonging to the larger downtown community, belonging to the smaller group of people within the restaurant, and having a sense of something of value belonging to me...

And I am shattered to let that part of the BD go, even partially.


My friend Rose & I waited expectantly for the Story Time group to show up at the Dog this morning. As the clock hit 10:30 and the place remained deserted, our coffee and baking preparations for naught, Rose commented, 'Well, I could say it could be worse, but hah, I'd be lying. But then again, it isn't everyday you and I get to have a cup of coffee together.'


I smiled. Some days, that's as good as it gets. And today, that was good enough. Thanks Rose.
Heading off to Seattle school shopping today with a vanload of teenagers and the latest rap cd. I expect to return this evening black, broke and calling all women bitches.

I actually for the first time since the Dog closed, didn't wake up at 4am freaking out. I did however dream cats were breeding in a hole in my bedroom wall...

It's a sunny day, going to stop in to the restaurant, brew up a really strong latte, turn up the music and head out of town.

Some days it's so good not to have responsibility.