Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dear Santa

 Dear Santa,

Correct me if I'm mistaken but I thought we had a deal. I would stop pushing my pro-fanny pack agenda on the world and you would grant me my one and only Christmas wish, to make the Kardashians go away. I know, I know world peace seems like a more appropriate "one and only wish" but if you study World Peace it is impossible to achieve as long as the Kardashians are around. So if you really want to split hairs, in a round about way I did wish for World Peace.....geez, get off my back. But I digress.

I'll be honest, I was hopeful that my Christmas wish was going to be granted. The first promising sign was when Kim and Kris broke up. There was back lash and a lot of angry fans who felt betrayed and I sat back and smiled inside. So I gathered up a group of my closest friends (OK, friend) and we headed down to the nearest Sears where we were going to celebrate the Kardashian demise by dancing on Kourtney's Cheetah print pant suit and Kloe's Gold Silk Mini Skirt which I was sure would be thrown into the street and lit on fire as a sign of protest for all things Kardashian. But what did I find.....NEW INVENTORY! DAGGERS!

So I waited. And waited. And waited for another sign that the Karshanians would be going away and my Christmas wish would be granted. And then it came.....sort the form of a Lamar Odom trade to Dallas. OK, so at least LA would be less 2 Kardashians, but Dallas is not that far away, I was hoping for maybe Europe or the Lifetime Channel. I don't mean to complain, Santa, but this is kind of half-ass. I mean, in my opinion Kloe is one of the more likeable of the Kardashians, next to Kourtney's unborn baby. If they spin this off into a Kadarshian Dallas series, which they Kris Jenner will, I may be forced to unfollow them on Twitter in a last ditch effort and a final heroic stand against all things Kardashian.

And then finally, Santa, your last effort came. Now I am slightly impressed by this one but this is not really a long term fix. You with all your Santa Powers, had Kris Humphries booed at a basketball game by 20,000 rabid Kim Kardashian/Knicks fans. Sure this does prove that there are a lot of Kardashian fans who will go to great lengths, or at least buy Knicks v Nets tickets, in a show of solidarity and support of Kim who was betrayed by love. But this could also prove that you should stay away from Kim Kardashian less you enjoy being booed by 20,000 New Yorkers. Granted in this method it would take a long time to turn everyone against the Kardashians, as this would have to be done one person/marriage at a time and in 72 day increments. 

In conclusion, Santa, although efforts were made on your part, I don't see 2012 becoming Kardashian free and for that matter, there will also be no World Peace. How do you live with yourself?


The Kardashian 2011 Christmas Card: They make it impossible not to hate them.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Happiest Day

One year ago yesterday was the best day of my life. It was the day that I decided to give the restaurant business a break from me. I think we are both happier. Since then much has happened. Brock and I started our own business. We got another dog, Maverick. And this blog has been optioned as a movie with the role of Ginger Scone going to Jennifer Anniston. OK, that last part is not true. Anyway, looking back on the past year there are a lot of things I don't miss about the restaurant business but there are some things I do  miss. This is my list.

What I Miss About the Restaurant Business

 Free Food
I had no idea that I was eating 98% of meals at my place of employment, I also had no idea how expensive groceries were. Working at a restaurant is like have one big refrigerator stocked for you, every day new stuff comes in and somebody else cooks it. That is one sweet deal.

The Stories
 If you are at a party, do yourself a favor and find a restaurant manager in the group. Then stick to him/her like glue because you will hear the most mind baffling, outrageous, funny yet sad stories you will ever hear. Want to hear about a sewage back-up at a banquet for the University of Chicago Law Alumni? Want to hear about the waitress who was fired for licking the wall in the middle of a December lunch rush? Want to hear about a banquet sales manager who was testing the AV equipment with the host of the Lutheran Church banquet that was scheduled to take place in 15 minutes, only to start up the TV/VCR combo and play Porn (not good porn, bad porn) that the houseman had been entertaining himself with the night before? Want to hear about Mother's Day 1997 and how we got 5 hours behind on resos (which in theory shouldn't even be possible) and an 80 year old man threw a punch at the Maitre D? I've got 22 years worth of these stories and I fear I may run out. (PS. These aren't even the really good ones)

A Paycheck
Its becoming increasingly difficult to purchase items without a paycheck. Well played, restaurant business, well played.

Things I Don't Miss From The Restaurant Business:

Fridays in December
Its Friday in December and I'm in my sweats and not getting yelled at for forgetting the gift table/kosher meal/3 extra place settings. Where are you?

My 4:30am Call Time
Yes, it does exist. I was as shocked as you.

Chances are if something fun is happening, you will be working.

Knowing Your Place in Society
Nothing reiterates that you are less than others than that condescending tone/stare you get when you forget a fork/bring Coke instead of Diet Coke/take too long to split a check 21 ways/don't seat someone in a booth.

Covering Shifts/Writing Schedules/Answering Schedule Related Questions
50% of your time will be spent covering shifts. 88% of all restaurant firings/quittings take place less than 3 minutes after a 2 week schedule is posted.

 Answering Questions
The other 50% of your time will be spent answering non schedule related questions. Here are some of my favorite: What time is it? Can I be cut? Have you seen (the name of someone who is around the corner)? Can I be cut? I don't feel well, do you think I should go home? Can I be cut? Do we have (whatever item was 86'd yesterday and/or the past 23 days)? Should I take my break now? Where should I take my break? What should I eat on my break? Maybe I shouldn't take my break if I'm going to be cut.........can I be cut?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Seacrest Out

US Weekly reported yesterday that with Matt Lauer's contract up in December 2012, Ryan Seacrest is rumored to be in talks to take over Lauer's morning spot. OK, let's all catch our breath and calm down for a minute. You listen and you listen good, Ryan Seacrest, if I have to see your spray tanned face hiding behind that teeth whitened smile every morning from 7:00am-7:20am (the only time actually news is on the Today Show) I will declare war on you, E! Network, the Kardashians, and Ugg Boots (might as well throw those in there as long as I'm going to war, anyway).

If this hadn't been reported by US Weekly, I would have assumed it to be false. I can only surmise that the Today Show is  interviewing the low hanging fruit first and will eventually get to the real reporters they are actually considering for the job. In the event they are having a brain freeze and can't come up with anyone better, here are my suggestions to replace Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

David Gregory
He is a regular fill in for Lauer and seems very much at ease in the day time setting.  Only problem is that is 6'5", could create issues when they have to stand outside. Rumor has it Roker has short man complex.

Luke Russert
He's the son of the late Tim Russert, currently working on MSNBC. He's young and I think the Today Show may want to explore that demographic. Rumor has it though, Roker is an ageist.

Paula Deen
Two female anchors is not out of the question. Look at Weekend Update on SNL with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, ratings went through the roof! Plus have you ever listened to Paula Deen, its like an angel angel speaking about her love for butter.

Keith Morrison
Keith is currently on Dateline and he has that voice that I'm sure you recognize. Every time you hear that melodramatic, soft spoken, hypnotizing voice you know you are in for some good listening. He makes anything sound interesting and suspicious.

Boo, The Cutest Dog in the World
Boo doesn't talk. He doesn't need to. Just put him on top of the news desk in his little tub and rubber duck and suddenly the world doesn't seem so bad. I love you, Boo.

Jason Bateman
5 days a week, for 2 hours a day, Jason Bateman on TV. This needs to happen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Sweatpants

The Boathouse Pant
Dear Sweatpants,

How do I love thee, let me count the ways..... 

First, your elastic waistband is the hug I long for. It seems to say "I love you" and "it's OK you ate french fries for lunch...and breakfast" all at the same time. It also seems to say, "Go ahead and have that root beer float". You seem to really get me.

Secondly, and when I thought you couldn't be any more awesome. BAM, with the pockets. Pockets in just got real in here. Those pockets, or "candy vessels" as I like to call them, almost make me forgive that period of time that you wrote "juicy" across my butt. Almost....

Thirdly, you come in many different colors. Sure a slimming black seems like an obvious choice but a little too elegant for my taste. The bright colors are a West Coast fave, but I'll be saving that canary yellow for my bridesmaid's dresses. I like you in old school gray. First, in gray you go with everything, including my couch. Second, in gray you seem to say "I'm for lounging, but could possibly be for exercising". And finally, in gray you seem to say, "I'm not afraid to make the tough decisions, but I'm still a lady".

And finally, let's not forget the different styles you come in. I love your Boathouse brand. You're a dream in heavyweight cotton/poly blend, drawcord removed, and side seam pockets. Your leg opening which is an open bottom allows me to put you on without having to remove my shoes. I see you speak "lazy", Sweatpants. Well done. 

But I think Elizabeth Barret Browning said it best in Sonnet 43, which was written as an expression of her love for her sweatpants:***

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Ginger Scone

***May or may not be true

Friday, December 2, 2011

To Do List

Please don't bother me today as I have a very big To Do List.

Today's To Do List

1. Take dogs to the park.
2. Explain gravity to members of the household. Remind him that modern science has devised ways to combat gravity with such things as hooks and towel racks, however these will only work if THE TOWEL IS ON THEM.
3. Learn QuickBooks
4. Speak to members of the household about the wonderful drainage system that our beloved city, Los Angeles, has. Remind him that the only flaw in this system is that the water actually has be near or on the drain for said system to work.
5. Which reminds me, explain the difference between "near or on" to members of the household. For example, water "near or on" the drain would mean that water was in the sink, water NOT "near or on", the drain would mean that water would be on the counter thus rendering the drain useless.
6. Try on jeans that I haven't worn since last winter.
7. Depending on how #6 goes, set aside time for sobbing.
8. Review the mechanics of  the hamper with members of the household. Items in the hamper get laundered, items outside of the hamper might as well be towels, see #2.
9. Brush dogs hair.
10. Eat a piece of Lemon Cheesecake that I made yesterday.
11. Brush my hair.
12. Eat another piece of Lemon Cheesecake but this time only eat half, this means it never really happened.
13. Measure square footage of the house. Confirm it's still 1600 sq. feet then reassure member of the household that he does not need to leave a trail of items (a la Hansel and Gretel) when he comes from work as a way to find him. Generally speaking,  the splashing of water against the bathroom counter is a pretty good indicator of where he is.
14. Go to TJMaxx to try on jeans.
15. Sit sadly in the TJMaxx dressing room clinging to a size 6 pair of jeans and reminiscing about the great ride we had.
16. Eat second half a Lemon Cheesecake.
17. Watch Seinfeld.
18. Drink green tea. To be done continuously throughout day.
19. Make sure member of the household sets alarm 1 hour before he needs to be up with a 3 minute snooze alarm. Make sure he sets the alarm tone to "rabid dog barking".
 20. Go to the gym. Put treadmill at speed of  6.0 for 30 minutes with 10.0 incline, after 6 minutes decide a soak in the steam room is a better, easier way to spend an hour at the gym.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dogs On A Plane

For those of who know us, know that Brock and I love our dogs and with the holidays coming up, its decision time on what to do with them when we travel. Most holidays they spend at the Pet Smart Hotel but this year Brock had another thought........

Brock: I wish we could fly the dogs home with us.
Me: I know, but that's pretty expensive plus they would have to be in the cargo bin.
Brock: No, I mean fly with us, next to us in the cabin.  
Me: You can't take dogs that size in the cabin. (Goose is 95lbs and Maverick is 80lbs)
Brock: Hey, what if we got them service vests and said they were our service dogs. They would have to let them on the plane then.
Me: But technically speaking, we aren't disabled.
Brock: We'll just say I'm prone to panic attacks and you....well, you have red hair.
Me: Red hair is not disability.
Brock: It kind of seems like it might be.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Disgusted that they would have to work Thanksgiving, several Target employees took matters into their own hands and formed a petition. The petition demanded that Target close for the day so they could enjoy the holidays with their family and friends. After collecting over 100,000 signatures, the employees presented their petition to the corporate office only to have Target say they would remain open. 

OK, I can go a couple different ways here.

1) I could rant on and on about being thankful you have job.
2) I could could one-up the retailers with skin crawling accounts of working the holidays in the restaurant business. Not midnight of the holidays, actually getting up at 3:30am on Thanksgiving day, going to work, and spending the next 12-14 hours getting yelled at because we were 10 minutes late on a reservation, cleaning up vomit, getting a 7% tip on a 20 top, unclogging the toilet, and bussing a diaper off a table.
3) I could pontificate about greed in American.

I could discuss that although the petition was well meaning, it was directed at the wrong people. As long as people are willing to leave their cozy house on Thanksgiving and risk life and limb for a chance at a discounted TV, I've got news for you......Target will stay open. Below I've listed the people that the employees should have petitioned, because if they had been doing their job, people would stay home and there would be no reason for Target to open early.

Network TV Executives:
I stay home on Thursday nights to watch Parks and Rec & The Office, not to watch Ice Age. Demand that they target their programming appropriately: Dancing with the Stars Finale, Game 7 of the World Series (it may be a delay from Game 6 but just think how much better they would be with all the extra practice), The Superbowl (granted it would be odd to hold this half through the season, but drastic times call for drastic measures) or a Very Gaga Thanksgiving.....oh, wait......

Makers of Pup Tents:
If you can create a tent home that looks nicer than most homes outside a Best Buy, why wouldn't you?
Demand that these company's go back to the old school tents that we set up in our back yard after many hours of hearing our parents curse the craftsmanship of the tent only to have the zipper rip within the first 8 minutes of our "camp-out", leaving us subject to 40 degree temperatures.

The Pilgrims:
How can we be expected to entertain ourselves for 16 hours with only the tradition of a 2-3 hour meal? What are we..animals? Demand they create more lengthier traditions that we can add to Thanksgiving. A few ideas might be: Church Service (1-2 hours), Renewal of Wedding Vows (1 hour), Renewal of Wedding Vow Reception (2-4 hours), Airing of the Grievances (1-3 hours depending on amount and severity of grievances), and Family Movies/Slideshows.

The Turkey:
The turkey is a well meaning and tasty bird, but lets face it, after a big helping of turkey and its nap inducing tryptophan you end up having a full nights sleep in the middle of the day and wake up at around 8pm ready to go. Demand that all Turkey become Caffeine Pizza.

Unfortunately, 90% of all family get togethers end early due fighting, disagreements, dissension, nuclear warfare, civil unrest, and TV disagreements. These family meals ending early result in 98% of Black Friday purchases. Demand that family's try harder, be funnier, more entertaining, more tolerant, less bossy and more giving up of the TV remote. Then and only then will people stay put.

Better luck next year, Target employees!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The American Music Awards

Thanks to my discerning taste in clothing, I present you my fashion likes and dislikes of the 2011 American Music Awards.**


Jenny McCarthy
I loved the dress, the color, the shoes, the pockets, the fact that she is almost 40. The make-up was little to severe for my taste.

Nicki Minaj
Considering that she is usually dressed in candy wrappers and tinsel, I thought this was a classy step in the right direction.

Taylor Swift
I seriously don't get her. I know she is extremely popular and inexplicably nice (Kanye West) albeit clingy to (ex) boyfriends. Generally, I don't find her look all that interesting but I thought the hair and dress looked nice together and I the green pop of jewelry was nice surprise (I know, that last sentence I wrote made me roll my eyes too).

Selena Gomez
I'm torn here. Although not a huge fan of metallics, I thought Selena Gomez looked nice. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for her lady servant. Whoever, advised her on the velvet suit should be ashamed of themselves.


Kraven (if that in fact is his real name)
I can't decide what's more obnox, the bedazzled suit or the douchey pose.

Chaka Khan
I will say after I realized this wasn't Diana Ross, I did find this look to be a little more likable....if that's even possible.

Jennifer Lopez
Usually, she looks stunning. I prefer her Fiat commercial look.

Pheobe Price
First of all, I don't know who this is. Second of all, I think this dress looks awful on her.  Thirdly, distracting us with that hat/fascinator was good in theory but poorly executed.

**I'm neither an expert in fashion or music. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sexiest Man Alive

Well done, Bradley Cooper, well done. Kudos on a stellar year! Not only did your remake of The Hangover shatter box office records (made up fact) but you have now been named People Magazines Sexiest Man Alive. Although I agree your piercing blue eyes, your wavy hair and disheveled "not trying too hard" look make us all swoon, you are not the only hunk out there that could have walked away with this award.  Here are my picks.

Jason Bateman
First of all, he makes any TV show or movie better. Secondly, and probably most important, he is really polite. He once ate at my restaurant with his wife and baby and another couple who also had a kid. The kids made a mess and rather than leave it for the staff to clean up he and his wife swept it up themselves. They also chastised their guests for talking while the server was trying to hand out the food. The Bateman's said please and thank-you. If that's not sexy I don't know what is. I love you, Jason Bateman.


George Clooney
First and foremost he's a Humanitarian. Secondly, and more importantly, he's a stone cold fox.

Jim Bob Duggar
This one comes out of left field and might surprise you. But as he and his wife announced on the Today Show that they are pregnant with their 20th child, it became evident that at least one person finds Jim Bob sexy......very, very sexy.

Price Harry
I know the Ginger fellas get a lot of grief and aren't appealing to everyone, but he wears it well. Plus he all prince-y.

Other "Sexiest" Categories

Sexiest Woman Alive
But why should the women be left out? My pick for Sexiest Woman Alive-Young Adult Division would have to go to Ms. Justin Bieber. Wait...what? Oh.....really? This is awkward......hmmmmm, ok.
I stand behind my nominee.

****Warning! Danger! Danger! This next photo may not be suitable for everyone. Proceed at your own risk.****

Unsexiest Man Alive
Let's face it, we aren't all sexy and that's OK. But some of us really aren't sexy and my nomination for Unsexiest Man Alive goes to Tareq Salahi.

Sexiest Man Alive at the Hands of the Kardashians
Dear 1976 (date may or may not be correct) Olympic Champion Bruce Jenner, please come back to us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Help Wanted

The good news is that several jobs became available the past few weeks. The bad news is that I probably won't get any of them. Here are the reasons why.

Oscar Host 2012: I'm pretty sure if you are hosting the Oscars you have to sit through the entire show. Deal-breaker.

Pippa Middleton's Boyfriend: Pippa recently broke up with her on-again, off-again beau, Alex Loudon. Let's face it, I'm no Alex Loudon (whoever that is) and this would be a long shot.

Oscar Producer 2012: Based on qualifications of previous producer, Brett Ratner, I'm not an asshole.

Penn State Head Coach: I'm against child abuse. Also, conflict of interest, would probably be in bad taste to wear an Iowa Hawkeye sweatshirt while on the Penn State sidelines.

Prime Minister of Italy: Might have a shot at this. With all the financial trouble that Italy is facing, my ability to live for 11 months without any discernable income may appeal to the Italians. My lack of Italian citizenship probably won't.

America's Got Talent Judge: With Piers Morgan leaving to focus on his CNN show, a judge's chair is left vacant.  Unfortunately, I refuse to believe that America has talent. Don't believe me, YouTube singing.

Mr. Kim Kardashian: Worst. Job. Ever.

Various Penn State Administrative Positions: I do like to set and enforce policy at the University level, however, seems like a big mess to clean up.

Ashton Kutcher's Tweeter: After a huge tweeting faux pas that had an uniformed Kutcher tweeting outrage about the firing of Joe Paterno to his 8 million followers, he apologized profusely and decided he could no longer assume the responsibility of communicating to  8 million people in a public forum and would look for outside help to manage his twitter account.  Fellow Iowan beside the point, I don't think its in my best interest or anyone else's for that matter to ensure 8 million people  have a positive image of Ashton Kutcher. Besides, I'm too busy stannding in line for a McRib.

Co-Host of Regis and Kelly: Biggest disadvantage is that my name is not Regis, assuming they are willing to change the name, logo and all the merchandise associated with the show I would still succeed to the front runner Jerry Seinfeld. I'm not sure who  this Jerry Seinfeld is, but I understand he has 3 children and probably needs the job more than I do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Kim K

Dear Kim Kardashian,

The year was 1999 and I was living in Mclean, VA. I was working as a Kitchen Manager at Not Bucca (name has been changed to protect Maggiano's). This is how all my blogs are going to start from this point forward. As a KM (Kitchen Manager, Einstein) you have the pleasure of getting up at 5:30am, counting all the food in the walk-ins (Big refrigerators, Mensa Member) and deciding what you are going to prep for the day. 5:30am is cold. 5:30am is even colder inside a walk-in. 5:30am is even colder when you are inside a walk-in and you have to touch food product and the containers they are stored in. But I dressed the part: sweatshirt, coat, gloves, & boots.

One particular morning I was colder than usual. Realizing that we had a pretty abundant supply of clothing at the restaurant, known as the Lost and Found, I decided to do a little shopping. As I rummaged through my make shift Gap, there in the corner was exactly what I was looking for, a sweatshirt. A 1992 Planet Hollywood black sweatshirt. As it looked back at me, I imagined our life together. It was a whirl wind love affair. The minute I tried on that sweatshirt I felt protected and safe. Our world was bliss.

But as the hours in the day started to go by, employees started to show up, then customers started to arrive. Suddenly my sweatshirt and I were subject to their disapproval. I was told my sweatshirt was obnoxious and yes, it did have all the Planet Hollywood locations listed on the back. I was told my sweatshirt was loud, and yes those locations were listed in the shape of a Christmas Tree. I was told I could do better, that there were other sweatshirts out there that could keep me warmer.  But I didn't care for our love was stronger than the criticism.

But like any relationship between a girl and her sweatshirt, the newness started to wear off and the passion diminished. You start to questions what others are saying about your ill conceived union. And you know what I did, Kim Kardashian, once the flame of passion was merely a flicker? I held on. I held on to my Planet Hollywood sweatshirt with all my might. Sure there were ups and downs, but what did I expect? We came from two different worlds. I from Iowa and my sweatshirt from a lost and found box. But when everything was stacked against us that when our commitment become even stronger and that's when we relied on each other even more. Sure, my travels and my career took me to new places. No longer was a KM, I was the General Manager. There is no place for a sweatshirt in that world, but you know what? After arriving home after 12 hours of work, there was my sweatshirt...waiting for me. As soon as I put it on, everything was alright. The days problems were washed away.

Still goin' strong!
Kim, I'm not comparing Kris Humphries to my sweatshirt. I respect my sweatshirt too much for that. I'm also not comparing my relationship with your relationship. But where is my sweatshirt today, more than 72 days after we met?, you snidely ask. Right where it should be. In my closet next up in the rotation.

Moral of the story #1:
If I can commit to an outdated tattered sweatshirt for 12 years then you can certainly commit to a professional NBA millionaire basketball player for more than 72 days.
Moral of the story #2:
The Lost and Found is an excellent place to Christmas shop. Anyone receiving Christmas gifts from me between 1999-2001 probably noticed a lack of gift receipts.


Friday, November 4, 2011

El Norte Pants

They are happy because their pants fit.
I hate skinny jeans. I don't just kind of hate skinny jeans, I really hate skinny jeans. The kind of hate that is reserved for the Kardashians, Ugg Boots, and Vegans. I never quite understood why my hatred for skinny jeans was so intense until I was reminded by my friends, the Ridgways, of my El Norte pants. And here is how the story goes......

In 1998, I was living in Alexandria, VA and working at "Not Bucca" (name has been changed to protect Maggiano's) as a Banquet Sales Manager. Tired of sitting at a desk and  repeatedly explaining Family Style dining and describing what Rigatoni D was, I longed for the excitement of the dining room. After much pleading and even more sucking at the Banquet Sales job, I was offered a management position with Not Buca, a decision that would prove fateful years down the road. But I digress.

I entered Management Training with all the gusto of a bright eyed Iowan. The training was simple, spend most of your time working the different positions in the  FOH and BOH ("front of house" and" back of house" for those that are lucky enough to never have to use these words). This position training gave you a better understanding of each job and what each teammate employee went through, enabling you to manage them better, a" walk a mile in my shoes" type of training if you will.

As I entered the kitchen portion of the training program, I started first by watching the company video, "El Norte". "El Norte" described the tough conditions and the struggles that our neighbors to the south, the Mexicans, endured to create a better life for themselves as they came to States to look for work (I believe this video was filmed in the 70s). This population represented about 95% of the BOH staff. It was heart wrenching, but I watched and took notes and was determined to treat everyone with dignity and respect. As the video ended, I went to one of the training managers, Pappas, to get further instructions about my first day in the kitchen. Pappas was a big, fun loving Greek guy in his early 30s who specialized in wrestling co-workers, bear hugging co-workers and walking around with his hands in his pockets, that is until Ridgway (another manager) managed to staple his pockets shut on a day he appeared on TV to talk about Not Bucca. As we watched Pappas on live TV start to pontificate about the resurgence of Italian Food in the American diet, he leaned back, looked past the reporter, and put his hands in his pockets. And there he stood with hands in his pockets up to his second knuckle and an uneasy look on his face, as he discussed Southern Italian cuisine.......but I digress again as this is story about hating skinny jeans, not about how to break bad habits.

When I approached Pappas that day, I was full of optimism and eagerness to get started in the kitchen. But first he had to issue my kitchen uniform. As I stood in the managers office, he handed me a chef coat and a pair of checked chef pants. As I headed to the door, Pappas blocked my exit and asked, "Where do you think you are going?" I replied I was going to change. He stated, "El Norte, Baby. You change here, not everybody gets a warm bathroom to change in.". With that a small crowd started to gather near the office. Acting undeterred, I pulled out the chef pants, which appeared to be a size 4 toddler. I held them up for Pappas to see. His reply again, "El Norte, baby. Not everybody gets pants that fit, Princess." After managing to close the office door half way, I squeezed into my El Norte pants. As I emerged from the office, Ridgway and Pappas panned down at my feet, for there on my feet were my kitchen boots, then about 3 inches of sock showing, followed by about 4 inches of exposed skin and then just below the knee, my El Norte Pants hit. As they followed the pants up they had to look away. These El Norte pants were offensive and made hooker pants look like loose fit trousers. And there I stood, swaying back in forth, unable to tip over do the extreme tightness of my pants that kept me stable. As I "Frankenstein-ed" it down the stairs to the kitchen, I felt light headed and woozy mostly likely due to loss of circulation in my extremities. And then I worked. I'm not sure whether it was weight loss due to the kitchen heat or being in the weeds for 6 hours that made me forget about my El Norte pants and the numbness in my legs. When I got home that night I started to peel the pants off.  What I didn't realize then was that my El Norte pants were years ahead of their time, they were today's skinny jean. Sure, modern fashion has loosed them up and lengthened them to fall around the ankle and made them appear less vulgar than the pair I was wearing....but I hated them then and I hate them now.

Moral of the story: Skinny/El Norte jeans were stupid back in 1998 and they are still stupid today.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Many people have questioned how I use my free time and quietly wondered/judged if its time I go back to work and do something productive for society. In other news, this is the Halloween costume I made for my dog.

Lacrosse Player!

Maverick dominates any game he is in.

Check out that flow!

I love my helmet!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Forever Lazy

As the weather turns to cold and festive decorations go up, our thoughts turn to the holidays and gift giving. To give you a jump on your shopping this year, 3 readers (yes, there are 3, don't act so surprised) have turned me on to some wonderful unique gifts for those "hard to buy for" people on your shopping list.

This idea was brought to me by my friend and fellow red head, Alexandra who owns Red's Classic Barbershop, with her husband Michael. That's them pictured, not really but I do imagine them on their deck dressed just like this.

In a nut shell, Forever Lazy bills itself as the authority on staying cozy and warm. This one piece jumper/pajama keeps you warm from head to toe while you (according to their commercial) play with your dog, attend football games, jump up and click your feet together with 2 friends, sit by the fire, or read a good book. It really has everything including a tear away back side for bathroom going and an offer of 2 Forever Lazy's plus socks all for the price of $29.99. I guess when considering putting this item on your wish list, you must first decide if being cozy is more important to you than looking like a  normal functioning member of society. With that being said, I can only say that with this gift, it truly is better to give than receive.

 This was brought to me by my friend, Ugg hater, and fellow University of Iowa graduate, Ciana. Ciana writes , a fashion and beauty blog that is shockingly much classier and more informative than mine.

It appears that cozy is the theme this holiday season!

At $330, this Liv boot is described on the  as:
"Channel your inner Coco with this stage ready style. Our tall boot is dressed up with knit legwarmer, an asymmetric sheepskin fold-over and studded buckle straps. What a feeling!"

I'm not sure what "feeling" they are going for, but I would be feeling a little resentful if my boot was dressed better than me. What with its fur trimmed sweater, big chunky belt, and stage ready style. Hey, fancy boot, you suck.

My mom brought this to my attention after visiting me and seeing me struggle with poop pick-up and disposal that 2 dogs with active bowels can create.

Evidently, this wand-like apparatus contains a special capsule that when combined with poop at a high speed turns said poop into ash. Its as simple as hovering the wand over the poop, pushing a bottom that activates the poop pick-up and then pushing another button that starts the "ashing". Sadly, this is still in the concept phase. Thanks for nothing, Future. Now, if they can get this disintegrate those Liv boots this will move to the top of my list.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Am Benjamin Buttons

The youthful, Benjamin Buttons

As most of you know I am in my late 30's (so late that some might consider me to be in my 40's, those people I refer to as "wackos").  Anyway, with the passing of each year I have discovered different things you can do to look and feel younger than your years may indicate. Here are things I do to keep looking and acting young.

1). I eat healthy. Unless of course, I am sitting at McDonald's eating a super-size fry and 20 piece McNugget, which is only 2-3 times a week.

2). I always eat vegetables. I mentioned the McDonald fries in #1 or as I like to refer to them, Healthy Sticks.

3). I always eat fruit. Ketchup is made of tomatoes, tomatoes are a fruit and what do you dip your Healthy Sticks in? Ketchup, duh.

4). I get 8 hours of sleep per night. If you can't get 8 hours of sleep just do everything half ass for 16 hours, its just like resting. Your body will thank you, your boss....not so much.

5). I avoid the sun. If you think I'm joking, you should see me in shorts.

6). I shop at Forever 21. Dressing 15-20 younger is a great way to look and stay youthful. I'm pretty sure 75% of you can pull that off.

7). I exercise. Unless I'm sitting on the couch watching TV, even then though, I at least try to think about exorcising.

8). I own carnival mirrors. Not the fat ones, the tall skinny ones.

9). I drive fast. I race up and down my street avoiding stop signs, generally around 7:45am and 2:45pm. Wait a second, that's not me......that's actual young people that attend the school across the street. I'm actually the one calling and complaining to the school administration.

10). I listen to rap music. Not 80's rap but the hard core gangsta rap that kids listen to these days. For added youthful effect played at loud volumes while driving around town.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lazy Susans

We live near a community college that happens to have a very vibrant agricultural program and a couple of acres of "farm" land the college uses for crops and livestock. Try not to be too jealous. Each October the college blocks off a large area for a 4 week long Pumpkin Festival complete with trampolines, hayrides, festive decor including but limited to the likes of gourds and squash, and a potpourri of autumnal foliage. This is our conversation as we drove by the Pumpkin Patch.

Brock: I bet those really remind you of Iowa.
Me: What reminds me of Iowa?
Brock: All those Lazy Susans.
Me: What are you talking about?
Brock: The Lazy Susans out there in the field, you know those flowers with the brown in the center and the yellow on the outside.
Me: You mean Sunflowers?
Brock: Where do you get Sunflowers???
Me: That's the name of those flowers. They are called Sunflowers not Lazy Susans.
Brock: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, because they look like the sun.
(A few minutes goes by in silence)
Brock: You know that scrabble game I'm playing with the Math teacher?
Me: Yeah..
Brock: Well, I think he's cheating.
Me: Why do you think that?
Brock: He is using words I have never heard of......I think he is making them up.
Me: What's the score?
Brock: I'm behind by about 200 points.
Me: How is that even possible?
Brock: I accidentally hit "pass" a couple times.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Reservations

Today Huffington Post ran an article by regarding the 10 Most Controversial Restaurant Policies. Now I have spent a lot of time in restaurants enforcing unpopular policies with the use of words like, "we suggest" or "we recommend" or my favorite, "for your benefit". I have also spent  equal amount of time breaking policies that I deemed unjust, for example,  I will generally seat an incomplete party (I'm not God) or put a 20 top in a slot for a 2 top....on a 7:30......and I probably won't get a phone number to confirm. With that being said, I will take an objective view of these so called policies and offer what I can only imagine to be the final say.

10 Most Controversial Restaurant Policies

No Kids:
I Disagree: Why even have brooms if there is no one to tear their meal into little tiny microscopic pieces and place them on the floor?

No Substitutions:
I Disagree: A chronic substituter myself, I am owed the right to take my Chop Salad and substitute it all the way into a Cheese Burger. Deal with me.

Auto-Grats for Large Groups:
I Agree: If  75% of people can't find Canada on a map***, what percent do you think can calculate 20% of a restaurant check? Tip your servers, people!

No Reservations:
I Agree: If 75% of people can't find Canada on a map and 98% of people can't calculate 20% of a restaurant check***, what do think the chances are that that Host in their late teens/early 20's can calculate the table turn-time of the early seating to ensure that your reservation of 20 in December at 7:30 will be ready 15 minutes early to allow you time to decorate the table in festive holiday decor?
Answer: .009% Chance

Credit Card to Hold Reservations:
I Agree: People are rude and don't have the common courtesy of calling and letting a restaurants know
they have had a change in plans. Credit cards prevent, in my experience, the credit card is never actually charged.....suckers!

No Cell Phones/Cameras:
I Disagree: Do you really expect me to sit there and talk to the person I'm dining with? What am I? Some sort of animal?

Dining Time Limits:
I Disagree: Just don't be a jerk about it. If you know that you are going to be at the table the entire night, tip accordingly. If the restaurant offers to buy you a drink at the bar after you have been sitting at the table with a paid check for at least 1 hour, take the free drink and don't be offended.

Dress Codes:
I Agree: Have you seen the People of Wal-Mart website? Yes, there should be a dress code...EVERYWHERE.

No Standing at the Bar:
I Disagree: What are you...Un-American?

Cash Only:
I Disagree: How can we spend money we don't have on important things like Chicken Piccata, Tuna Tartare, and Dixie Chicken if a restaurant doesn't accept credit cards. What is it, the 1800's?

***Made up statistics meant to add drama and shock to prove my point.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Scrabble App

No doubt that Brock and I will be remembered as two of the most prolific spellers of our generation. It is our love of the English language and our zest for grammar which feeds our soul. Therefore, it was no surprise that Brock came home excited about the new iphone Scrabble app that he down loaded. This app allows you to have ongoing Scrabble games with multiple people around the world, or in Brock's  case, the Math teacher at the school he works at. The game was going something like this....

Brock: Hey, is "tinso" a word?
Me: Can you use it in a sentence?
Brock: I like tinso on my Christmas tree.
Me: No, its tinsel.
Brock: Ok..... what is a word that starts with "Xm"?
Me: I don't think there is a word.
Brock: Really? That sucks.
Me: Sucks big time. 
Brock: Ok then, how about a word that starts with "Zr".
Me: I don't think that word exists, either.
Brock: This game is hard.
Me: I know, right?
Brock: Is there "u" in  "Kwanzaa"?
Me: No. What's the score by the way?
Brock: 198-49.........I have the 49.

Tinso, in a variety of colors

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My donations paid for this building.

Dear University of Iowa Alumni Association,

This is long over due but I am writing to thank-you. Why, you may ask? Many reasons.

First, a big thank you for always being the first to welcome me to a new residence. Since I left Iowa City, I have moved 8 times. I'm not sure how you do it but you are always the first piece of mail I receive at my new home. No matter where I go or how many times I move you, there you are with your newsletter waiting my arrival. Now that I think about it, how do you do it? I mean, I'm not updating my address with are not contacting me via email.....actually, this is kind of creepy if you think about it.

Secondly, thank you for your nightly phone calls. I apologize I am not answering them, but I know its you checking up on me. Here's the deal, that last newsletter that went out was a plea for all alumni to donate money and a heads up that you would be reaching out to us via phone. Not that I don't want to talk, its just that I have no money to donate to you and I thought after a few weeks of unanswered phone calls you would understand that. But kudos to you and your Midwestern persistence, because we care currently going on 9 weeks worth of unanswered phone calls. Just so you know, I won't be answering until I have money to donate and with my current lack of income that may be awhile. On another note, how did you get my cell number?

And finally,  a heart felt thank-you for all the Department Newsletters and the Alumni Magazine I receive from you each  month. I'm not sure what I enjoy more, the all the Sociological Research that is going on in my field or the "Where Are They Now" section in the Alumni Magazine that features graduates with impressive resumes. In my defense and not to toot my own horn, but the research I have been involved in since graduation has been pretty impressive. For example, I discovered the combination of Funyons (even when tested with a placebo) and Dr. Pepper creates a large amount of intestinal pain. Also, my work in the area of sun exposure is world renown, scientist are still baffled by ability to be exposed to the sun but yet stay the palest shade of white. I realize these are still controversial findings and probably not something you would not want to showcase in the "Where Are They Now" section, but that doesn't stop from enjoying all the success my former classmates have had in conventional, all be it boring, fields. I can hardly wait until the November Issue to find out if another former Hawkeye has been promoted to VP of Bank! Fingers crossed!

Hats of to you, UI Alumni Association for staying in contact and refusing to give up on me! And God willing, your reward one day will be that $15 donation that you have spent over 240 hours trying to secure.

Ginger Scone

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Are you sitting down? Don't just say you're sitting down, actually sit down. The world was rocked today with news that Justin Bieber's Swagger Coach has left him to pursue bigger and better things. Although I can't imagine what would be bigger and better than the Biebs Swagger Coach, the fact remains Bieber is without a Swagger Coach. Although Ryan Good's (no relation) official title was "Road Manager",  an article in the Huffington Post today has Bieber describing their relationship as such, "I have a swagger coach that helps me and teaches me different swaggerific things to do," Bieber said in 2010, adding, "He has helped me with my style and just putting different pieces together and being able to layer and stuff like that."

Wow, profound.

I'm not quite sure what impact this news will have the rest world but I for one, will miss these "swaggerific looks".

These big old lady glasses and hair cut scream "swagger".

Swagger Lesson #2: Make a heart with your hands!

No, trust me, keep brushing your hair towards your face

Fingers crossed that the new Swagger Coach will
make him keep his shirt buttoned.

Yes, yes and yes! The fake mustache!

Bieber with his Swagger Coach....the final piece to this
puzzle is solved!

This reminds me, I should really pay my "Rad Coach" more money.