Friday, October 30, 2009

25 More on the Way to 50...

26.) Try to take occasional criticism without taking offense. If it's true, it might help you. If it's not, eff it.

27.) Don't mistake infatuation for love. Love is a commitment, not a feeling.

28.) Being patient is not always a virtue.

29.) No one besides you can make you: happy, complete, fulfilled, secure, purposeful, unafraid, satisfied or settled.

30.) Two do not become one in marriage.

31.) Read. Especially things you disagree with. They make for good rants when you occasionally get good and drunk.

32.) Remember. And tell your stories to kids.

33.) Spout off when you must. But do it face to face. Email is for cowards.

34.) Be a hypocrite every now and then, especially about #33.

35.) Ask for help when you need it. Offer help before being asked.

36.) Don't compare yourself to others. Some days you're a Picaso. Some days you're a pick asso. Either way, there's no one like you.

37.) Don't ever allow yourself to be devalued in a relationship.

38.) Give. Because it reminds you the world is bigger than the inside of your head.

39.) Everything is a process. Sucks, but it is.

40.) Don't underestimate the power of influence. Even your own.

41.) Never, ever follow blindly. Think.

42.) Pay attention to small things. They pave the way to great things.

43.) When facing your unthinkable: Remember no matter how dark, hopeless, terrified, hurt or ashamed you are, one day, you truly will be ok again. Changed. But ok.

44.) When your parents die, let yourself grieve. Then continue their legacy.

45.) Shit disturb, just for the fun of it. Someone has to.

46.) Do things outside your comfort zone. Like math or public speaking. It's empowering.

47.) Learn to deal with your internal angst & dark side.

48.) Fake it til you make it, but don't get caught.

49.) If you get caught, make things right quickly.

50.) Love - you'll never be sorry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vienna Waits for You...

'You know that when the truth be told, you can get what you want, or you can just get old...Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true. When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?'
(Billy Joel)

My family is Austrian/German. I'm going to go there one day, hopefully with my kids. And see the architecture, the castles, the opera houses, the museums...

I can't wait.

Monday, October 26, 2009

If There's a Stairway to Heaven...

This is it. Sexiest stairway architecture I've ever seen.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

25 Things I've Learned on the Way to 50

1.) Take relational risks. Invite the crazy family from India, the pot smoking chainsawing burnouts, the Jablome band & the JW's over for dinner. All at the same time. It will enrich your life.

2.) Get really drunk every now & then. It reminds you how good not being drunk is.

3.) Every now & then, buy something REALLY extravagant with your grocery money. All your grocery money. Like roses - and deliver them to your friends, or better yet, your enemies.

4.) Hang out with teenagers & kids. They're so heartening.

5.) Keep up with new music & technology. It's amazing how smart it is.

6.) Once in a very long while, let yourself unabashedly cry your eyes. Alone. Then get on with it.

7.) Listen hard.

8.) Ignore yourself. You don't make much sense anyhow.

9.) Study dogs. They'll make you laugh.

10.) Always remember doing anything illegal will bite you in the ass. And rip your pants. And they'll probably be your fav pants.

11.) Never be promiscuous, no matter how thrilling it seems. It sears your soul.

12.) Try to keep in mind that other people's passions aren't stupid, even if they're math & numbers...or church.

13.) Don't scrimp on good chocolate, good coffee or good vodka.

14.) Travel. And if you can't travel, at least look at pictures and read about other places & people. The world is amazing.

15.) Fight hard for every single thing you believe in.

16.) Don't kill yourself for your mistakes. Try to talk to yourself like a friend, not the asshole you think you are.

17.) Laugh every chance you get.

18.) Create something out of nothing. It's almost spiritual. And so exciting.

19.) Release your inner rock star. Sing in the car at the top of your lungs. With the windows open. You might get discovered.

20.) Learn to be responsible. Even if it kills you, and it will.

21.) Find your dream & pursue it with your whole heart. Remember dreams change as you go. Let them.

22.) Appreciate everything. Especially people.

23.) Don't let your fears run your life. Do whatever it takes to overcome them.

24.) Take stock of yourself, but not too often.

25.) Always believe there is more, even if you don't.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I was in the pub yesterday when I suddenly realized I desperately needed to fart. The music was really, really loud, so I timed my farts with the beat.

After a couple of songs, I started to feel better. I finished my pint and noticed that everybody was staring at me.

Then I suddenly remembered that I was listening to my iPod.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gotta say, I've been railing all week against this whole 50 thing... I know it's just another day older than yesterday - but I just can't wrap my head around the freaking number! I even did the very timely 'what's your old lady name' on facebook, just to deepen my misery. I'm 'Opal'. (that's her in the pic) She looks pretty much how I feel...

My mother-in-law patted my hand consolingly on Saturday, confiding that 50 had been 'really good' for her, well at least til the part when her husband suffered a terrible stroke. Said menopause made her 'much more stable' with the decrease in hormones. I just know menopause is NEVER going to happen to me, I'll be non menopausal anomoly, the cadaver they explore to find out why it never stopped. Depends, sanitary napkins & life long instability, to boot...I can see it now.

My youngest son, who approaches each birthday with a level of jubilation equal to that of an overexcited dog, told me, 'Mom - 'old' is a personality thing, not an age thing.' I hope he's right...

I watched several episodes of Grey's Anatomy with my oldest daughter this weekend. Now there's a show to send even the most stable person in to weepy, fear ridden, omg time's running out! depression. Grey's Anatomy is like the melancholy suicidal sister to Scrubs. Same kind of compelling characters, same kind of great background music, same great little theme to tie it all altogether - but omg, everyone dies.

Anyways, there was a great line delivered very melodramatically by a beautiful young dying brain cancer patient intern after her impromptu wedding to her fiance in spite of her terminal illness (as she removed her wedding tiara and long clumps of chemo-ized hair came out with it.)

'Life just isn't long enough to squeeze in all the living we want to do...'

(ack! choke! sob!)

And that's what essentially freaks me out about being 50. How am I going to squeeze in all the living I still want to do???

(whyohwhy, do i watch hospital shows?!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

I went out to lunch today! That wouldn't normally warrant an exclamation mark, but I think it's the first time in a couple years I've been out to a restaurant mid day. Strangely disorienting (in a good way though) to be ordering, rather than taking an order.

The friend I went with is hosting something called a 'pastorate' at her home tonight. I've always thought the 'pastorate' was an occupation devout people entered in to as a career. But it turns out, in this case anyways, 'pastorate' is a fancy name for a youth group. This particular 'pastorate' needed a catchy name to attract the kids. We were thinking 'Stupid Pasturds' might be fitting. (hah, known a few of those in my life...!)

On another note, my very conservative church husband, my oldest son & I were eating dinner tonite when the dog decided some personal genital grooming was in order. 'Wow,' Sam commented, 'nothing like eating dinner watching your dog give himself oral sex!' Hahaha...

Kinda reminds me of the time we were having a formal family dinner with my very conservative mother in law and my oldest daughter casually called someone a 'douche'. And then as everyone sputtered & choked, inquired, 'what exactly is a douche anyways?'

Good question really. I bet half the kids who use that word don't know what it means. I mean, I never would have known what one was if I hadn't snuck in to my mom's dresser drawer with the neighborhood kids, pondering the weird rubber squeezy ball and tube contraption she had hidden under her sweaters...

Well, it's Thanksgiving weekend, isn't it. I'm so glad I didn't come from one of those families where everyone sits around the Horn of Plenty, misty eyed and prayerfully 'shares what they're thankful for' during the meal. That 'sharing' however, is a bit of tradition with the Abercrombies. I'm hoping though, there's enough Helem in at least one of my kids to time that holiday fart just right...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Well, here we are at October 4th ~ and the Bad Dog is two years old today. They say surviving the first two years in the life of a restaurant is the toughest part. I never believe those kind of things, because I remember being warned the same about kids, and still went on to have five. Hah, that's why every business partnership should have a seasoned mother in it ~ they believe they can survive the impossible. Anyhow, I almost had a cardiac arrest when we almost closed this summer. But 7 weeks into a restructured business format, many sleepless nights, much frenzied planning, hoping, fearing, re imagining & the support of some great friends and things are looking even better than expected! Ahh, I can finally breathe again! And since birthdays are a time to look both forward and backward, here it goes...

October 4th, two years ago marked the last day of a week of schizophrenic, adrenaline charged renovations. Our friend Briant, who owned Mission's Main Street Cafe for 7 years, had sold us his business for $10. Lock stock and barrel. Every piece of equipment, worth many times over what we paid. The business later became the Bad Dog Grill. Ten dollars. Who'd ever have thought a ten dollar purchase could change life so much?

The months leading up to the Grand Opening on October 4th challenged and inspired us in every way. None of us were restaurateurs, we were pastors, bankers, housewives (oh bad word!) so the designing of a menu, a restaurant interior and a business plan was all new territory. Territory that in retrospect, we faced with the blind kind of confidence you can only have when you have no friggin idea what you're getting into. Two years later, and I understand firsthand why most restaurateurs are workaholics, alcoholics and psychos...

And so we learned: to wait tables, to cook, to cost analyze, to inventory, to menu design, to purchase, to make espressos, to fix equipment, to market, to cater, to host banquets, to book live music, to network, to run community services lunch program.

And we learned the subtleties of interacting with the restaurant going public and ourselves. The praise and complaints, the wonderful and frustrating...Countless people have sat across the bar from us, (welcome, hah & not) and poured out their lives & stories. Listening doesn't always come easy. Neither does coping with the onslaught of time, financial and relational pressure. I personally have sat on the floor behind the bar downing shots of Fireball when things have become overwhelming. More than a few times, in fact. And i don't even like Fireball...

But there is undoubtedly, a wonderful (though sometimes painful) camaraderie that develops in the community of a restaurant. A lady we've hosted a few year end parties for has just discovered a 10mm malignant tumor on her liver, another street lady we knew well passed away quite unrecognized, our manager got injured, our chef moved on, we lost a business partner and this summer, augh - that terrible possibility of closing the doors forever...

And yet, here we are, against all the odds, alive and moving forward. Not in the same direction as we started but in the more profitable, less time consuming, 'niche filling' direction of a live music, events & catering venue. We're almost 7 weeks in now & I'm counting the weeks with the same focus and anticipation as counting pregnancy weeks. I remember thinking when each of my kids was brand new, I couldn't love them more. But every year has made them infinitely more precious to me.

That's kind of how the Dog is for me too. Two years and I'm still in love.
Happy Birthday Bad Dog. (oh my, you sure are ugly!)