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

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.