you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Friday, December 31, 2010

Too many to name...

Gifts. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?- #reverb10

My gifts from those who love and support me were overwhelming this year. I struggle to deal with feeling unworthy of the generous hearts around me. Too many to name- too much help.

One thing that stood out was the constant support that my best friend and my husband both have given me to keep moving forward. I would not have such a happy terrific puppy in my life- if they hadn't been there to help take of him. And I think having a dog made a huge difference to my sanity this year.

Also so many friends helped me month to month. That gift stays with me each morning when I wake up and each night when I finally crash.

Always- having the best mom in the world is a gift I am grateful for EVERY years! 

Another huge gift brought to me in 2010 was getting back in touch with my father's sisters and brothers. I have not been in communication with my aunts and uncles for decades and having them back in my life- even if so far it is mostly through Facebook, has been a huge present!

SO I guess, mostly it is the people around me that are the true gifts of 2010. And I hope that stays true in 2011- because friends, family and strangers who will become new friends are so much more important than things.


Defining Moment - Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.- #reverb10

Another hard prompt to pin down... I guess the one was the recent advice I got from a good friend and adviser. It will involve a lot of "stuff" in the coming months and set me on paths I did not know I would be headed down. It is also taking several leaps of faith, but I trust this person and other people in my life agree so I am holding my breath and jumping into the future. I am not sure it is the right path, and neither are they, but it is a path worth pursuing and with little other inspiration on the table I think fail or succeed this will be a defining choice for sure.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Clarity, Stability & Simplicity

Achieve- What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. -#reverb10

Clarity, Stability & Simplicity

I will feel at peace and empowered if I achieve these related three things. I can't separate them because in my current situation they are irrevocably intertwined.

Pay and prepare for The Queen Sweep
Start using the Tools on Reverb10
Get back to daily walking
Clean off the dreaded window sill of books and junk
Organize the in and out pile
Write the letters that need writing
Decide between Yoga, Pilates and the Gym and do it somehow.
Make my dentist appointment (asap)
Commit to 1 calendar (not three!)
Embrace and write about my Word(s)

these are 10 things I can do a little on today- make some progress and then keep plugging away. I am filled with stress and worry- but hope and determination too.  

breathing is important.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rhiannon For a Day (or a year)

New Name - Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? -#rerverb10

I wrote a short piece for a workshop, about a winged woman named Rhiannon. If I could have a different name for a day, that would be the one I would pick. The story was powerful, came from someplace deep within me. She had multi colored feathers in her wings, and each one told a story and contained a special power. She would reveal them slowly, only to those she could really trust. I would love to don her mystery, majesty and power for a day. Introduce myself again especially to those I have known for years and share love and healing and promise with my kind supporters who have helped me survive this year. I need to find that story and re-read/ re-write it for 2011.


ordinary moments - Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? -#rerverb10

In the summer when it was soooo hot, (hottest year on record in Japan) I would have to walk my new puppy late late at night, or early early in the morning. There were many ordinary moments in those quite times. Just him and I out in the big city, with rarely another soul in site. But one that stands out is one where I saw shadows of my fears and strength at the same time. I was walking late and a little spooked and in my head worrying about what I was going to do to keep going. And I saw this amazing wrapped and struggling Aloe plant seemingly fighting with it's own shadows. I took a photo and wrote a bit about it. Somehow that image made clear that It was important to fight real fights but not poison my mind and heart with things I could not change. Fighting the fights that I can really make a difference in.

I can't find the photo now, which is a bummer- but maybe it is better that way. Stronger in my imagination that it would be in real life. The plant is still there on my morning walk but I have not seen it in quite the same light or shadow again.

Wine Adventure, Life Adventure

Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?- #Reverb10

This one is easy- I opened my own little bistro this year, and it has been lovely. I have felt so good feeding friends and new comers and one of the really amazing things has been designing these new micro wine dinners. 3 wines 3 courses an intimate experience with 10-15 people. We did 8 of them last year, and we will do one a month in 2011. Each and everyone was memorable and amazing. My chefs worked together to really push the envelope and It was glorious seeing and tasting their efforts. The reviews were great. I have repeat customers and big fans of the whole program. We are calling it "My Table- Wine Adventures" and for 2011 we started a club for a bulk purchase of reservations! Very fun, and very enriching, creatively, and deliciously.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Kid Is Alright.

Everything’s OK - What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? -#reverb10

2010 did not lead itself to "everything's ok" moments. BUT one that stands out is when I had my friend who is doing a new  business to help declutter- come to my office and help me organize. Until she came i thought it was beyond me- BUT while she was there she just kind of guided me and the whole thing was mostly done in 4 hours!!! unwanted stuff gone, files set up, shelves organized... And the thing was she just had to gently nudge me- I knew what to do and was able to do it with just some friendly help. I had it in me... and I never thought that I did. Since organizing at home and other places is high on my 2011 agenda, this assurance has given me a ton of confidence. I feel like if I make the time and even get a little help I can do what needs to be done. Even better the office STAYED organized so I think with the right system 2011 could be the year I get it together, at least stuff and clutter wise. Here's hoping!

next we are starting the 8 days of

How to create your personal manifesto

 I will share as I go along. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Photo – a present to yourself Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and [...] - #reverb10

This shot was taken by a friend Jack, when he and his wife took us to the redwoods. For me this signifies a lot of stuff. A BIG year, a lot of profound learning, an awe and sadness of things that were, things that were not, and everything in between. It is not all visible to others in this shot- But it is to me.

back to the future

Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake) #reverb10

Dear 48, thank goodness you listened to me and took things step by step in 2011. It was such an important time and I know it was hard after all the roller coasters of 2009-2010. Clarity, simplicity, and focus were the watch words of 2011 and it was great that you kept at it. I know it wasn't a perfect year and I know you struggled, especially with simplfying... but see how much it helped!? It made a lot more possible than you ever imagined. Glad you pushed yourself!

Dear 33- ups and downs are headed your way, but thank you for the chances you made possible moving to Tokyo and being open to new adventures. You will learn a lot, but you will never like Natto.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bite the Bullet

Beyond Avoidance What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)- #reverb10

I need to get my house in order. conquer Clutter. It will be healthier for myself, my relationships, my time and schedule. I waste too much time looking for things, I waste too much energy stressing about it. I have too much heartbreak losing important things because of having too much stuff and being too disorganized.

I know people that have WAY more stuff than I do and they know where it all is and have a system. BUT it is time to admit that I can't manage like that. I can't keep it all in my head and I am too prone to putting things down in the wrong places and just plain not remembering what is where and when???

I have already committed to myself and my family and friends who have had to deal with the aftermath of my clutter that I am working on clearing mind, body, soul and stuff for 2011.

In fact, I am going to start this as the project for the long New Year holiday.
Here we go!

It Will Be Ok

Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)- #reverb10

It may sound defeatist but I certainly don't mean it that way. The biggest help for healing in 2010 is that the sheer volume of what was coming at me was such that there was no way to deal with it all. I am still raw and overwhelmed from the mental cuts and bruises BUT it taught me an important lesson.

It is ok. I will be ok. I have friends and family that will stand with me. I can fail and get up again. I can just explain that it is just not possible for me to do X Y OR Z and life goes on.

I was healed by the knowledge that not being successful all the time, or on top of it all - all the time will not be the end of the world. It will not end my connections, it will be ok. That has been such a liberating lesson. It does not make the failure hurt less, it does not make it much easier to have to apologize for not being or doing what people need me to be or do 24/7, but that is pain I can deal with, the fear of failure is worse than the pain of failure. The amorphous worry wears me down more than facing up to what I can and can't do.

This was definitely a drip by drip evolution. I went into 2010 still trying to pretend that this was going to be easy. I am ending the year knowing that it is not. But it was a long road of getting knocked down and struggling back up. I am not there yet, and some days it is easier to remember that it will be ok, and some days it is not.

In 2011 I hope to be healed in ways that bring out some deep beauty and joy. This has felt like a year of something "about to happen." I think 2011 will be a year of happenings. I seem poised for something. Not sure what... but it feels intriguing and not scary.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Do or Do not, there is no try...

Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)- #rerverb10

Yes- I wanted to experiment more with cooking, menu creation and baking.

Not doing it meant not actualizing on some important tastes, flavors and statements I wanted to make. Also want to learn more about making drinks and creating some new profiles!

Determined to fix this is 2011!

School House 2010

Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)- #reverb10

it has been a long year. Hard and stressful. I thought after surviving 2009 that this year would be much easier- not the case. Consequently, I learned a lot about myself.

I have a long way to go on my relationship with money management, and on pacing myself. But i learned to ask for help, to find resources out there when I need them. I learned that down time is more important now than ever before. I re-learned the joys of downtime. And the healing powers of furry friends.

I learned that more important to me than instant success is learning, correcting, failing, correcting again and moving forward, inch by inch.

I learned that I am ok with my body, and that it is easier to exercise than I thought. I learned a lot about patience, though I am not sanguine with it yet- I can muster the skills as needed.

I learned that I am ready to move on.
Let's see what happens in 2011!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)- #reverb10

I had a friend, still a friend I guess, but working  together did NOT help our friendship. We learned more about what we don't like about each other- more about how we don't agree, more about our  how different our reactions to the world are. I honestly believe neither of us is all right or all wrong... but we are not on the same path.

One of my hopes for 2011 is that we can cleanly be done with each other- at least business wise.  In a good world, we will maybe repair the friendship part... but not holding my breath for that. Sadly things have gotten pretty out of control. Life is long, I hope we can repair that which went wrong.

Minutes and Memories

Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)
What do I most want to remember- start timer Now!

1. keeping clients and getting new caterings
2. my trip to SXSW again with chris.
3. Getting my new dog
4. Learning so much more about myself, what I can do, what I don't know how to do. and so much more.

these are the major things I don't want to forget from this year. The taste of successes and failures- a complex flavoring to this year of life.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Community Is Everything

I am participating in #reverb10 to think on the year that we are ending and make a plan for 2011. I didn't start until the 8th but still want to go and catch up on the first 7 prompts. So this is from the 12/7 request.

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?- #reverb10

I consider my self and builder of communities. I have started many, joined many and am probably over extended but I love bringing people together and sharing and learning from each other.

2010 even though it was crazy busy, I deepened or extended my involvement in a few offline communities. Of particular help adn support was joining the ACCJ. The American Chamber of Commerce. I was also able to be selected for the first ever Entrepreneur Mentoring Initiative. (EMI) which concluded on 11/22. Good experiences, I am still digesting what I learned and what I think about everything. My mentor Jeff Char was terrific.  Also this year was an up and down saga of building the Tokyo Hacker Space community. which I love but which as been often really difficult.

In 2011, I don't have plans to join more communities but to take time to deepen the involvement I have and to pay more attention to individual friendships and the community of close supporters and family that have been so key to my making it through this year.

I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends

Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)- #reverb10

I have much to be grateful for in 2010 though it was a year of real struggle and continues to be harder than I ever imagined. But the one thing I have come to appreciate most is the support of my husband and friends. I have had to reach out for help many many times over the last year and people have unfailingly been there to help. They have been kind, understanding and unwavering. My husband especially.

It has never been easy for me to accept that I cannot do everything perfectly, that I need help. But this year has been a huge learning curve on that front as on so many others. It was scary to ask for support especially so frequently- but there have been people there along the way who just loved, helped, and surprised me with their warmth and lack of judgement. My hope in 2011 is to not let them down and to repay them for their faith even when I did not always make the right decsions and did not always understand what I was getting into.

I try to express gratitude for all of their help by helping others whenever I can AND by promising and working myself to support and repay each and everyone of them. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2011 Will be the year of the ACTION hero!

Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)- #reverb10

So much to do, so many actions to take, baby steps, huge leaps, quiet moves--- so much!

One of my huge failings this year was lack of organization, papers missing, things lost (expensive and time consuming things) receipts late, scraps, snips and debris everywhere. Time to clean up my act. I am going to spend the new year holiday getting things sorted and hoping a clearer desk and file will help clear my mind a bit. And for once I am not going to be afraid to get help working on this. I have a de-clutter lady and an amazing life coach both ready to help me on the external and internal stuff.  Going to book the appointments and get going.

Enough is enough. Time to clean up my act!

Monday, December 13, 2010


December 12 – Body Integration- This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds) #reverb10

Honestly- this year I have felt out of synch a lot of the time. Moments of real integration were fleeting at best. A snuggle here, and quiet moment petting my new dog, a few brief seconds of stillness, a hug with my husband... but it has all been short lived, flashes only. Sometimes I feel very in the moment out walking but I still feel my body, heart and mind are not always working together.

Time to make a change.

integration a possible theme for 2011?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

These Things that Hold Me Down

(image by Neil Mulholland)

Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)- #reverb10

This is a big question for me. It seems like my focus has been on wanting to be rid of some big things and little things that impede and slow my soul. But this is also a hard one to write about. Diving right in might be best...

1. Drinking too much Coke. I mean- I don't want to say never, but at least get to rarely.

2. CLUTTER- it is not one thing but many- streamlining my "stuff" and systemizing. But mostly just getting rid of that which I don't need or want or love.

3. Books that I have already read (except the true life changing, keepers) the chances of me re-reading old already read books with my schedule and lifestyle are so remote- and the shelf space so coveted that it is time to box, bag, donate and dust!

4. Procrastination- time to kick the habit, once and for all. I don't really procrastinate too much on work stuff (though sometimes- damn menu covers) but personal stuff. Oh My. Hello- dentist- here I come!

5. Clothes that don't fit. Obvious, I know- but....

6. Multiple calendars- it is time to have my schedule all in one place. Adding to the crazy with a personal calendar, two online calendars and a paper calendar?! it is a wonder I ever know which way is up!

7. Pens, Pens and more pens. Find the ones that work that I like. Donate the rest to a school or something! drawers of pens I don't use- kind of crazy land.

8. Fear of saying No. Very important and so far impossible.

9. Scraps of papers that never find a file. I have the start of a system. Time to use it.

10. Relationships that don't work. For the first time in a long time, I find myself embroiled in a few situations where there is no one really at fault but the relationships are just not working. It is past time to set myself and others free and move on. There is no one in these situations that I wish ill will toward, and hopefully friendships are still possible but partnerships are not. It was a steep learning curve for all of us I think.

11. Distraction. in too many ways to detail here. but worth considering as it's own prompt.

Wow, this list is not too daunting. And it is certainly all worth working on. Reverberations.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wisdom in a Small Furry Package

Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)- #reverb10

It will seem silly to many people I think, But the wisest thing I did this year was get a dog. Archie is a joy. He makes me laugh, he loves my husband and I without question, he reduces my stress by 140% I think he has saved me this year. Starting a new business is impossibly hard in the best of times and this has certainly NOT been the best of times. I was worried I was crazy adding a dog into the mix. But it turns out it was one of the best decisions I made in the last two years. It has not always been easy, and he does drive me crazy at least once a day. BUT what a great little spirit and what a wonderful addition to our little family.

wisdom can come in furry little packages.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beautifully Different

Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)- Reverb10

 Me? All this writing about me stuff is hard. I do feel different, original, unique. But what makes me different is a harder question. Some things that are different about me;

One thing that sets me apart is a sort of laser vision for the bigger picture. I can see how things relate to each other and can fairly quickly come up with several solutions and suggestions for challenges and problems. I am not daunted. I try to be fearless- and a lot of the time I succeed. I can see into connections and how people relate to each other and I am sensitive to the mood of a room. That being said, I am often super direct and step on toes. Sometimes this is a virtue sometime a luscious curse that I am not that willing to alter.

I love lots of things. I love to try new things, and I have a very strong memory.
I will give anyone anything that I have to offer if they are in need or want.
I have cool antique glasses that I think look hot.

That is enough of that for one day.

It's my Party

PARTY- What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans? from Reverb2010

For me it was not any party I went to, but a week long party I held myself. Our annual thanksgiving spread at my restaurant. This was the first year that it was all about me getting out there and promoting, getting people to come and have thanksgiving dinner at my new little restaurant and providing folks far from home with a taste of their memories. The people who came were largely new to me this year, Another big change. The marketing I did brought in lots of new faces.

The food was traditional, yummy, and totally home-style
The people were generous with their praise, ate a ton and promised to visit us again! I couldn't have asked for more. I really felt the bounty that week. It was easy to remember why I am in this business.

My 2010 has been largely just about work, but I hope to go to some parties that someone else will be hosting in 2011. Sprout and spread some social butterfly wings.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today is Thanksgiving here in Japan. Tomorrow for my friends and family back home. It is a time that I cherish and love. I love feeding homesick Americans here in Tokyo. I love my husbands unquenchable hunger for Turkey- he eats it the whole week long during this special time. And I love reading all the thankful thoughts around the world via facebook, twitter, emails etc.

I also love the time and inspiration to be grateful for all the bounty in my life.

This year I am thankful for...
the support of so many friends and family, emotional, financial, and physical
my health and the health of my loved ones
my little puppy Archie who has made this year so much more fun
the fact that my company and my restaurant are still hanging in there in the continued worst economy in my lifetime
for friends near and far
for the chance to exercise my right to vote, to dissent, to speak freely and to work for causes I believe in
for the Hackerspace and the new things I am learning there
for inspiration
for creativity
for knowledge and the chance to have more of it
for great wine and food
and dreams of future travels

and for all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 05, 2010

Looking up

Well, things are still a bit of a roller coaster, with small biz ownership- money thin on the ground and lots of work to do that just seems to keep piling up on my desk and in my brain. BUT- I feel like things are looking up. I am trying to take time out to plan for the horizon and figure out ways to become sustainable (personally and professionally) I am in a group coaching class with fab coach Anna called Clean Sweep- and it is helping. Just maybe need more time to implement. This week is closets! lord knows I need help there!

the weather and Archie walks have been gorgeous and yesterday he discovered Soccer balls! Oh My! he is actually a pretty cute little soccer dog. too funny.

This weekend has whirlwind written all over it! Should be exciting.
-Few Craft Sale
-Live Music at kimono w/ Coyote
-Brunch yummy as always!

and a lot of work to plan and set up for Hackers on a Plane! 
back at it.  But Looking Up For sure!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ready for Something To Happen

painting by my friend Andy Boeger who is showing right now at Roti Roppongi

These days it seems like many things are coming to a head. Many issues are becoming urgent and many outstanding things need to be resolved. I alternate between hopeful and energized and overwhelmed and under resourced. Not sure how all the many fronts will resolve themselves. There has been some good news but much more bad news and I really need to recharge and find some extra something somewhere.

I feel like I am peeping out into a fairly hostile world right now and trying to figure out if I am strong enough and resilient enough to make it through the very certain trials ahead.

My novel is in fits and starts.
My little company needs some new directions and help.
A few of my partnernships are in real crisis.

and the way forward is not clear.

on the good side- Some coaching and support groups have shown up just when I needed them most. And My friends and family are still amazing and give me hope and will power to get through all this.
So I continue on, and let's see what is around the next corner, behind the next curtain, through the next door?

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Friends, Not-so friendly folks, Goals, Successes, Failures, Resolutions, Business Plans... It can all be a big wrestling match.

There is a lot of struggle in running your own business. A lot of wondering if what you think you should do is really what you should do and then thinking about what you should do do when you should really do something else... confused?

Me too.

Anyway each day is kind of a struggle. Setting out what needs to be done and wrestling my schedule into submission so that things actually get to where they need to be is the biggest struggle. Some days I come out on top. Some days I don't and frankly SOME days it is a draw.

Yesterday was one of those draw kind of days. Stressful stuff and then ended on an awesome night with my Small Biz Women's Group- some up some down some in between. Finding a balance and then getting up and starting over the next day is a huge part of the requirement in doing this. Trying to keep up my energy is a big part of the challenge.

The good news is win, loose or draw, I learn something new about myself and life every day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teaching Again

I am a teacher, probably genetically considering my parents' history. I taught for years in both Pennsylvania and then Japan (three years in a rural high school in Japan.) I left teaching for another passion, wine and food and service.

I found out quickly that the food and beverage industry includes a lot of teaching so my skills served me well. Teaching and training staff, educating guests on new items and interesting ingredients. Lots of opportunity to be a teacher, though not in the normal sense.

I still missed the chance to share and learn together with students and so I had a lot of fun starting my writers group 3 + years ago. But even that was quite informal. So I am quite excited to be hosting my first real "Class" in 10 years. I am teaching a creative writing 5 week workshop in Oct. and Nov. The topic is writing using all 5 senses. I think I will have between 5-7 students (a perfect number) and I am looking forward to reaching back into my teacher tool bag and building a great class for them and for me! You can read about it. If you are on facebook you can read the details here. 

All this is going on while my own writing project proceeds word by word- oh so slowly. But I am hoping to get more inspired from sharing with students in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking at things differently

It is important from time to time to look at things differently. I am always interested in techniques to change your perspective, think in new ways, and see what comes up from that kind of experimentation. One of my favorite things in my writer's group is the exercises that really push writers in new directions. 

Last night we had a good session and I really enjoyed the work that was done. I wasn't as happy with some of my work last night, but I did end up with one character I am interested in using in the future. We created characters using a 20 questions kind of model delving down into the minutia of what makes someone uniquely themselves. Do they drink tea or coffee? morning person? night owl? favorite vegetables, hated foods? outgoing? introverted? hardheaded? flexible? Even if those things do not appear in your stories or writing it is important to really know your characters and what they are like. It is important to really know ourselves in those was too for that matter. 

I am taking a writing class now with my former teacher Angela Jeffs, we've had 3 classes so far though I had to miss the first one. These classes are always a big push for me in looking at things differently. And I am happy to be in the group though I don't have too much time to spend on the work in between classes. Still it is something, and this week I dug out the time-line and plot lines for my novel. Good to re-read and rethink. I hope this time I can push forward. I am again considering Nanowrimo for Nov?! crazy I know... but...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Truly feels like autumn today. Archie did not have his tongue lolling for our whole walk and I needed a sweatshirt!

What a change from recent weeks.

I am from the north east in the USA. This means that autumn always makes me super homesick. The reason is simple. This is truly a gorgeous time of year back home. Perfect weather, amazing foods from harvest season, fun events and beautiful fall foliage. Most of the time I like living in japan but every autumn especially hard to be far from where I am from.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Breaking Bread

Food is a great way to bring people together. A universal experience that binds us. An instant conversation starter. We all eat. Most of us know how to enjoy food and everyone has an opinion but not usually one so strong as to polarize us. It is the perfect middle ground, the perfect place for like and unlike minded people to get to know each other.

This is one of the appealing things about working in the food business. Planning great meals and events that bring different people together and when the food and wine are good, or even great- watching that help build a community, even for one night. Build memories, build relationships all over shared meals.

Many of my most vibrant and visceral memories are about events related to food. Worst meals, best meals, sublime chefs and flawless service. Breakfast sandwiches in the morning, wine over sunsets in the evening. The best of times always have a culinary overlay for me. If I am successful in my little corner of the food world I will be providing that kind of memory for others. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

September Blur

I feel a bit laid low. I was looking forward to september but it ended up kind of hitting me like a ton of bricks. It is the 17th already and this is the first time I have been to the blog. The reasons are varied. Busy, and stressed. Too much, too little, too difficult, too too too...

About a week ago calamity struck. Of my own doing sadly. For years I have had a bad habit of carrying around impt stuff in my hands and putting it down in bad places and forgetting it. You may see where this is going. Last wed. we had a big typhoon here in Tokyo and the rain was something to be seen! In the midst of the storm I was headed from the bank to my gig recording for the Tokyo Metpod. I hopped in a cab carrying a plastic zipper bag which held my bank books, ID, a credit card and my beloved iphone. I got out of the cab 6 blocks later and did not get a receipt (which is unlike me) leaving the bag of all my important stuff behind. There was also cash inside. So far one week later no good samaritan has turned it in and I spent a week scrambling to replace and cancel stuff and feeling dumb and depressed. BUT hopefully a lesson was learned. Cause if I do this again (sadly this is NOT the first time) then I just give up!

The company struggle goes on. On the upside, the food is good, the customers are happy and we are getting some new business. On the Down Side, we are not getting ENOUGH new business yet. And I am trying to focus on sales sales sales. Some good nibbles in the last week. Our biggest struggle is labor cost. When I set up salaries etc I based it on a sales projection that has not materialized in the sluggish economy. So we can't really afford to pay the amazing people we have. This is a major heartbreak for me. So I am focusing on trying to see if we can get viable by end of year- and at that point look at options in terms of restructuring and moving forward. This small biz owner stuff is hard.

So the first 17 days of Sept. have passed in a blur of thinking and planning and recovering.

The weather has finally gotten nice no longer scorchingly humidly disgustingly hot. And I am feeling positive inspite of the struggle. If you have a chance, send some good karmic thoughts our way. And hopefully I can get back to enjoying my blog again.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

memories and snapshots

Years ago, before my adventure in Japan started I had another fantastic adventure. I was a part of a CISV camp in Norway. CISV or children's interenational summer villages, is a fantastic program promoting peace, cross cultural understanding and is just an all around fantastic group.

It was a life changing experience. One of the cool parts of being active on facebook is that many of the students and teachers from our camp are back  in touch 13 years later! pretty wild.

This is a a shot of me, back then, on a rocky shore of a lake in Norway.

I learned so much from so many people during that summer. It was a special time. I am hoping in the years to come I can get involved in CISV again. I have written to the Japan chapters several times but never had a response :-( BUT I will keep trying.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

taking time to smell the flowers

I am a go-er, a do-er and a running around-er. I find it really hard to slow down. So in many ways this week at Stanford has been a new experience for me.

I was here with no agenda.
No checklist
No time table.

It has been great. Reading, writing, thinking and soaking up sun without all the Tokyo humidity. It is certainly something worth repeating.

Though it wasn't easy.

Truth be told I did squeeze on a very full day of San Francisco exploration mid week. I am not sure I could have made it a whole week without some sort of frenetic activity.

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Thursday, August 12, 2010


One of the big benefits of traveling is to recharge my batteries. Not just resting- which I am not actually all that good at... But recharging my imagination and perspective batteries. Great to look beyond the everyday, get out of the daily and weekly routines. Travel gives me a chance to explore internally and externally. Lots of thinking time. Filling up the idea and experience notebooks. This has been true ever since my first memories of going from ny to pa with my mom. It is now ingrained in me. A part of my psyche. I cannot fathom staying in one place for years on end without rambling at least 3-4 times a year. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Traveling Time

We are on a two week rather whirl wind trip to the USA. First stop San Francisco. Chris will be taking a one week class at Stanford on NetFPGA whatever the heck that is. This trip is only possible because of frequent flyer miles, nice friends who put us up, and chris' company. I am calling it the cheap and cheerful tour.

Despite his best efforts to stow away in my suitcase, Archie stayed in japan with friends in the mts of iwate.

We have a couple of days in San Francisco before the class starts. I had a fun touristy ramble that included a gallery, fisherman's warf, a street food festival at fort mason a hike up telegraph hill and a browse of the famous city lights bookstore. (with various coffee and cocktail breaks on the way). We also went to Noisebridge, the SF Hackerspace, and we spent a great night with Patrick and Yukari, and another night with Carol and Jack, all great friends and foodies.

I love travel time. It is good time to both think about stuff and NOT think about stuff. On my own time schedule. Also a good time to get some food inspiration. I got a couple of great brunch ideas and some drinks I want to try.  Nice start to the trip. More updates soon.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Doing what you already know is comfortable. It is easy, And it makes us feel successful.

Attempting something big, something beyond our reach, something larger than life is out there. The exposure along can send me running for an afternoon nap under the quilt on the couch. But the things I have learned in life generally come from leaping in, trying, sometimes crashing and burning. But lifting the heavy stuff, not just the twigs. Not easy. Not safe. But for me it is what makes it worth while.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Somethings Bear Repeating

There are a few movies that I am sure I will watch every couple of years before I leave this planet. I watched one of them last night. "to Kill a Mockingbird" with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. What an amazing movie. Everytime I watch this film I see and feel something different. I am always moved.

This movie is brilliant in every way. If you have not watched it yet, do so. (shame on you). The acting, the cinematography, the history are all pretty amazing. Filmed in 1962- it will remain timeless I believe. Though hopefully the racism that is depicted will require more and more explanation to future generations. The history lesson alone is a good reminder of where we came from and how far we still have to travel.

This viewing I was struck by the theme that people are not always what they seem and I don't mean the Boo Radley Character - I mean Atticus himself. That people can make choices, they can be good and many things but focus on the things that they are most proud of, and feel are best for their families,and their communities. I was also struck by how commanding a truly strong will and intellect can be, no matter the threat or the situation. The kids in this one are priceless, especially Scout. And I am so glad that the filmmakers kept so much of the feeling and language of the Harper Lee novel in the screen version.

Films like this are special, rare and important.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Little Things You Do Can Make a Difference

Sometimes the world of a new small business owner can be overwhelming and sometimes even the fast paced life in a big city can make me feel quite small. But I am beginning to appreciate more and more that each day is a sum of many small moments, small steps, small things that you can do to move forward, share love, make the world at least your small part of it, a bit better. Sometimes it is too hard to focus on fixing the big picture- but a small thing can make a difference.

There is this guy in my neighborhood. I am sure he has been here a long time but I never knew anything about him. I still no very little. But this guy, who I don't know has made our little part of tokyo better every day. He's about 60 something, retired I think, older Japanese guy, very healthy. Every morning from about 5 AM he is out in the world walking- this is how I finally found out about him, now that my puppy Archie drags me outside for a morning walk anytime from 4:45-5:30~! (tooo early!) But the thing is, when he walks in his exercise clothes and baseball hat, he does something else too. Instead of just focusing on himself, or thinking about his worries, or just enjoying his morning... he also makes our neighborhood better. It is just a small thing, but he walks with one hand in a working type garden glove and whenever he sees cans or bottles along his walk he picks them up and throws them away in the next recycle bin *there is one next to every vending machine and there are TONS of vending machines. So most people in our neighborhood are probably like me and have noted that we have very little trash compared to other spots in the city- and I always thought it was just good city services in my part of town- BUT it is also because of this guy. A little thing, a small step he takes every day to make where he lives better. Not for thanks or for show - since there are very few people out and about at that time of day... He does it just because.

Little things DO make a difference.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sleepy Sundays

Sundays take a lot out of us! brunch service in the new restaurant and wine bar is FUN but busy busy busy. Plus for chris in the kitchen with our other chefs- it is toooo hot. We have an air con for the restaurant side, but the kitchen needs one and I don't yet have the 150,000 yen ($1,500.00) to pay to get one in. It has to be well over 100 degrees sometimes in the kitchen!  So after a busy brunch, we were full today, everyone is pretty worn out.

It has been over 90 degrees f. every day this week, but we have still had some full service times, last night we had a great busy Saturday. And as I said, today- BRUNCH was full! We were serving our homemade house cured bacon again. Very popular. And I was doing week 2 of the great smoothie launch. I made a ton of them today. Especially popular was the Tropical Truth- smoothie that has pineapple, banana, coconut milk and vanilla ice cream with a few other  ingredients.  The recipe is from my fantastic bartender, Peter. He works somewhere else on sundays but he helped me out by writing up some killer recipes.

This week I am going to start to research a few of my own to try as well.

Today is my hubby's birthday- and still he came in and cooked! Meant so much to me, not sure how we would have done it otherwise. And tomorrow starts another busy week on the treadmill. But for tonight we are chillin out- resting and recovering.

2 rings of pineapple
1 banana
1 splash of honey water
1 splash of coconut milk
100 ml orange juice
100 ml mango juice
1 lg scoop of vanilla ice cream
crushed ice

Blend on high till creamy and smooth
pour in glass and garnish with fresh mint
serve with a straw and a spoon on the side!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

inner child

Hands down, my favorite book when i was a child was this one, "The Tall Book of Make-Believe." This book was brilliant in every way and this copy has been well loved. The book is no longer in print but should be. I think this more than anything else fed my imagination and formed some of my long term day dreams.

It was not a story book but a collection of fantastic poems and short tales by famous and not as famous writers. Robert Louis Stevenson, Tennyson, Eugene Field, Carl Sandburg. Brilliant stuff, but what made the book magic was the illustrator! Garth Williams illustrated each and every entry and his work is magical in this book. You completely loose yourself in each drawing. Sugar plum trees, kids in mischief, A Knight fighting a giant Ant, Bears on scooters, Mr. Nobody. Each drawing expertly puts your heart and dream mind right in the brilliant poems or stories.

I want to do something with this book someday, find out if it could be reprinted, or maybe shared with new children in a new way. I think for now I will share some of the pages here in my blog.

My friend has a little girl, she is a star of her mom's blog and says the most wonderful, horrible, amazing, scary, gorgeous things. Lovely to think of her and children like her having a chance to enjoy this book.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Making Wishes Part 2

So I wrote that this week was tanabata (see below) it was a short post from my iphone but the longer version is this...

I am busy cleaning, organizing and throwing out stuff. Making space for my mind, my poor clutter belegured husband and my puppy. In the search through keepable and throwable stuff I found a notebook I started writing in 5 years ago! I had decided that this book would be a book of lists. Things I want to do, things I want to learn, you get the idea.

Well, the first entry was titled 25 things I wish for

It was fun to see what I was wishing for 5 years ago, happily some has come true, sadly many things have not yet materialized- But this is a call to action to start working on these wishes. Especially before I start my new 44 by 44 list. (more about that later)

Some wishes I have done well with

#4 I wish for a lifestyle that could include getting a puppy! *check*

#7 I wish for a new laptop *check*

#14 more bike riding *check*

#16 more time to cook and eat together *check*

#21 wish I could clean out my email inbox and keep in more under control. *in process*

5 wishes pretty well underway. Lots more wishes to come true. the nice thing in reviewing them is that I can do something about each and every one of them to make them more possible, more likely to become reality. WISHING WISHING WISHING.

So this summer season, I hope you can dust off your wishes too, check them, add to them, and make them real.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Making Wishes

Yesterday was Tanabata a special summer festival night in Japan. On this night people make a wish and write it on a piece of colorful paper. This all relates to a mythical fairy tale about star crossed lovers.

Mostly makes for colorful summer decorations!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Friday, June 25, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

So, these days i have been doing A LOT of walking. Puppies need a good bit of exercise. An outcome of this is loads of field research on great dog friendly cafes with outside seating and good coffee!

The picture above is my newest discovery. That is a cafe con panna from a great spot in Daikanyama Tokyo.

Basically it is nice strong coffee and a side dish filled with homemade whipped cream. Totally lovely! Kind of a DIY einspanner like they serve in the coffee houses in Vienna.

-- Blogging on the run from my iphone, please forgive sloppy typing!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Barcamp Tokyo May 2010

We had a great Barcamp again this year. 5/29. Just about a year from the last one. Barcamp is a kind of un-conference. Tech and community related where the partipants set the agenda. Free to attend usually due to a ton of gracious support and donations.

Barcamp has a big requirement though. Full and egaged partipation. Attendees lead the sessions throughout the day. On the big whiteboard in the photo above, session times are marked out and our group used post-its to write up a session title that someone would lead.

This year i could not attend for the FULL day due to work and puppy reponsibilites but i did lead a session on the one year timeline of our TokyoHackerSpace which is particularly relevent since our group was born from inspiration at LAST year's Barcamp.

Other sessions were on hardcore tech topics, community building, publishing, and even house squatting in Amsterdam.

Definately already looking forward to the NEXT barcamp.

Blogging on the run from my iphone, please forgive sloppy typing!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


A wonderful new little pizza place opened up near our home. Trattoria Pizzaria Isa. Small home grown place with a chef who clearly studied in Italy. Nice staff. Outside seating.

The pasta is not as good but the pizza more than makes up for it. I love the interior and it looks like they did a lot of the wirk themselves which i can relate to.

A good new local haunt.

-- Blogging on the run from my iphone, please forgive sloppy typing!

Monday, May 03, 2010

New family member

A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. The restaurant is 95% finished and we "officially" open on May 7th. And (drumroll...) a new little puppy joined our family.

His name is Archie. He's a 4 mon old brindle french bulldog. He is happy, funny, snuggley and full of life. We spent the last 2 days raking and working in the garden at the TokyoHackerSpace and Archie made it all more fun.

And today my hubby finished our home-smoked bacon! Can't wait to taste that!!!

More things food, puppy, and other projects coming soon.

-- Blogging on the run from my iphone, please forgive sloppy typing!

Location:5丁目,Minato Ward,Japan

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Choosing My Plates

Working on the restaurant has been fun, frustrating, exciting and exhausting all at once!!!

Even though i had the co-location space before... I found all the decsion making a bit daunting. But a big chunk of the work is done. Walls and trim 99% there. Bar built. Floor painted but needs more detailing.

Today I am headed out for plates, shelves, and more.

These are the samples of some plates i will be using. Gotta get going on menus and signs. Plus the website and and and... A million other things !

-- Blogging on the run from my iphone, please forgive sloppy typing!

Monday, April 19, 2010

What a Month!

The weeks have been flying by with no time to write. The reason? Construction and more construction! We've been sanding , painting, moving, hanging, more sanding, wall texturing AND testing recipes.

Our wine bar and restaurant from last year us opening in a new location as soon as I can finish setting everything up! It's a very DIY project. Fun but sooooo tiring. More updates coming soon.

-- Blogging on the run from my iphone, please forgive sloppy typing!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

On My Street

Once a year, for about 2 weeks, My street is transformed. The canal that runs the length of our street in front of my apartment building is lined with Cherry trees, and once a year it becomes famously gorgeous. Each year it seems, more people come to enjoy. This year it was quite cold for the first week so the crowds were thin, BUT this weekend the weather got nice and everyone was out. Streets were packed. We get lots of great street vendors, and hot wine. The street is still technically open for cars but the masses really keep the cars out which I LOVE.

Anyway, this little shot is just a glimpse of last night.

One of the down sides is if I want to go out to eat and not eat vendor food I have to leave my neighborhood as all my favorite joints are packed! This must be what it is like to live in a tourist area year- I definitely don't think I would want to do it year around. But for two weeks it is kind of exciting.