Your Happy is Not My Happy

Being passive-aggressive often takes some creativity, so let’s not look at it as a negative trait, but as an envied trait.

If someone treats you in an unprofessional manner, perhaps it’s because you acted in an unprofessional manner.

I ran some chardonnay through the soda stream a few days ago.  Schuylerville Champagne, we fancy.

I was a Baltimore Orioles fan until 1975.  I loved Brooks Robinson, arguably one of the greatest defensive 3rd basemen to ever play the game.  Towards the end of his career his skills as a hitter diminished and he was often a liability in the lineup.  It was at that time as a fan I was cognizant of what happens to someone who hangs on too long.

Knowing when it’s over, and it’s time to quit is sometimes a rare quality.  You don’t want to be remembered as a sorry representation of what you had been in the past.

My anxiety has been through the roof lately, I really need to find a good therapist, unlike my last one who nodded off more than once during sessions. The problem is that one of my anxieties is a real fear of calling people on the phone.  I don’t think it’s a phobia, but it does create a real nervousness when I need to make a call.  I avoid it as best as I can, using email, text, and other forms of written communication.  There are times however that even returning a text or an email causes anxiety.  I’d make a great hermit.

I love hermit cookies.

“Have a good one” always causes me to ask inside my head “have a good one what?”

Last week I had my first problem customer.  She sat at the chef’s counter and immediately declared that she hated cumin.  In my head I asked, “then why the fuck did you come to a restaurant that specializes in North African and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine?”  Out loud I said, “let’s see what we can do.”  As it turned out, there was nothing I could do.

Amuse is not for everyone, and that’s ok with me. No place is for everyone, and those places that try to accommodate everyone are destined to fail.  We are carving out our niche and developing a great clientele that appreciates what we do and can differentiate between well-thought out food and the same old same old.

Edibles as it turns out aren’t for me.

Pricey.  It means different things to different people.  It’s a term that only has meaning to the person using it.

Memories of your own history are generally skewed.

I’ve long known Bourbon to be a good friend, but he does talk behind my back and takes any opportunity to make me feel guilty about our relationship.  He may not be such a good friend after all.

Some people appear simply miserable, and it doesn’t seem to matter where they are.  Perhaps it’s just that we don’t get to see some people in their safe and happy places.  We judge them in places where they do not function at their best.

I have never seen anyone talk until they’re blue in the face.

I’m not them, nor should I be.

If you drive a 2009 Honda Civic with a spoiler and oversized rims, is it a requirement that you drive with your hood up in order to substantially decrease your peripheral vision?

People sometimes look at someone’s situation as unsatisfactory and give advice on how it can be fixed.  What they do not understand is that the someone they are advising is completely happy with the way things are.

Are there better values than free information kits?

The prize money for winning on Family Feud is $20,000 which is automatically divided 5 ways and paid out 90 days after the show airs.  Yes, taxes are taken out, and yes, families pay for their own travel. The prize money has not been increased since 2001.

Run with scissors.

Some kitties are real kitties.

I miss red pistachios.

What’s your busy?  Anything worthwhile?

Doggies in strollers.  Jajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajaja.

When A-listers eventually end up on the C-list.

You should all know that I’m fully aware that I am far from perfect.   I’m full of faults, difficult to live with, and can be cranky when mixed into the general public.  I also know that there are people who don’t like me and I’m ok with that.

A safe place for me is in the kitchen, and behind my chef’s counter serving great food and talking to people who appreciate it.  I feel good there, and I’m at my best there.  If you really want to know me, that’s the place to do it.  You’ll find me good-natured, friendly, and likely quite entertaining and willing to share my thoughts on almost anything.

Just don’t mention a dislike for cumin.

Not all kitchens are happy.

If you see me at Price Chopper, ignore me, I’m likely in an irritated state.


Hope to see you all in each other’s happy environment.

Still Working on Me

In a M*A*S*H episode I was watching last night, one of the last scenes had Hawkeye walking into a wooded area with his medical bag to help a sniper that had been firing at the 4077th.  The sniper was hit by a shooter from an American helicopter and finally waved a white flag.  Not knowing what he was walking towards, Hawkeye performed his duty as a doctor without a thought for his own safety.

I started thinking about how many people have experiences that significantly change their lives and make them who they are. I don’t mean short-term changes like going on a diet, but life altering experiences like the loss of someone dear to you, an encounter with death, profound occurrences in war, or incarceration.

Someone did house made pop tarts, and now others are doing them too.  I guess imitation is easier than innovation.

Years ago, The Miami Dolphins started the wildcat offense.  It worked because defenses were not accustomed to dealing with it.  Other teams started using it, it worked for a bit, then defenses adjusted.  No one does it anymore.

The Caprese salad is still done, even in Winter.  The defenses have not adjusted to the Caprese, so it’s still a thing.

I get distracted easily sometimes.

Anyway, I was looking at my own life, and thinking about my recent post They Call Me the Squanderer and I started to wonder if I have squandered any opportunities to make significant changes as a result of monumental events in my life.  I really haven’t changed who I am, or how I conduct myself at any time during adulthood.  I have given things up for short periods, I’ve wrestled with the existence of an omnipotent being, I’ve devoted myself to various long-term tasks, but I have never had a moment in my life, or an Earth shattering event that has changed the course of my life or who I am.  Have I missed something?  Was there something in my life that should have been bigger, and I just didn’t respond?

My sister Elaine died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 43. I held her hand as she took her last breath, and my life didn’t change.  My brother Dan died 5 years later at 48.  I would have been present at his death if it were not for a selfish act by his wife, who I’ll despise for the rest of my life.  Still, no change.  Perhaps I’m resisting change, perhaps I simply have a weakness that won’t allow me to be affected by such events.  My detesting my brother’s widow might just be a sign that I’m too steadfast in my ways, and that my inability to move forward is a stubbornness that will not allow me to evolve.

Other events have occurred.  My father died; I had a sister-in-law die at 38.  My first wife, Theresa’s mother died at 48.  Still, I see myself as me, and have never felt an epiphany that had me taking action towards real change.

I wonder, was I simply shaped early?  Or, as I suspect, am I just too hard-headed to make any meaningful changes in my life?

An alternate possibility is that perhaps people don’t all make changes the same way.  Some have monumental events that shock them into a new way of life, while others simply respond to major  events with slow and methodical adaptations in order to deal with occurrences that have a profound effect on their well-being.

The gradual changes are harder to detect, even for someone who prides himself on being self-aware.  I know I’m affected by the deaths of loved ones, by events in my career, and by the ups and downs and lack of retention of valued relationships, and by my mental health issues, but I still seem to be the person I’ve always been.  Perhaps I’m still adapting into a better person with a better grasp on the events that have dotted the landscape of my life.  Perhaps the process isn’t complete and at some point, I’ll wake up one day and be able to say “yes, the episodes I have experienced have changed me.” I don’t see or feel it yet, and maybe I have work to do in order to facilitate positive changes, but until then I just have my doubts that I’m able to use life’s experiences to help me to develop a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be.

Completely Random

In the age of social media most people assume they have more friends than the truly have.  I have many Facebook friends.  Facebook calls them friends, but people with their heads not up their own asses know that just because they’re referred to as friends, they’re not.

I have a small handful of people I call actual friends.  Several are either directly in the restaurant business, or friends because of the restaurant business.  Others are people I’ve known as far back as elementary school.

Many of my friends I can go months or years without speaking to, but they remain my friends and when given the opportunity to see them we usually make it happen.

I am bad, just so very bad at keeping in touch with people.

Hey “barista” with the hemp yarn knit hat: rather focus on your “art,” why not focus on not putting hot coffee into a cold mug, then taking five minutes to make a flower so that when I get my drink it’s lukewarm.

I was once told that speaking up about politics would result in my losing business.  The reality is that not speaking up could result in losing a lot more.

When I die, I just want to be thrown down a well.  A nice well.

Or I want to be buried made up as a clown, with full clown makeup and dress.

No shoes however, I cannot stand having my feet covered when I sleep.  Having them covered while I sleep for eternity would be the worst.

I posted three years ago that I wanted to start a book. I’ve worked on it on and off, but I want to pay attention to spending time on it regularly.  I have a basic outline, just gotta fill in the rest.

The book is animal characters who work at a restaurant and represent many of the people I’ve worked with over the years.

Think Animal Farm meets Kitchen Confidential.

Nachos done right are simply delectable.

One great thing about Amuse is that I’m not in a space where I’m paying $9000 per month and have 15 employees is that if it snows on a Friday night I can close without worrying about loss of business and close, ensuring that I’m not having my employees out in dangerous driving conditions.  Instead I’m home having dinner with my family and my coworkers are safe and warm.

Amuse is different on so many levels.

Plant-based proteins are pretty much silly.  I’m silly too.

Tuna nachos are not some culinary nirvana that needs to be held on to no matter what.

Of course, that explains some things

People have told me that I could get more seats in, or that I should be open more days.  These people have no idea what my goals and needs are, nor do they know what success means to me.

So, apparently, they’re no longer a Spanish restaurant.

I’m currently rewatching the entire M*A*S*H series.

Isn’t getting into cool, almost cold covers at the end of a long day one of the great pleasures in life?

Stella (9), has discovered video chatting with her friends. I fear this is the beginning of the loss of Tate’s (7) best friend.

Burger and a Beer, how inventive.

There’s sometimes a difference between house made and hand crafted.  I hand craft pasta; others make it in house.

My favorite table tonight was a young couple who had a bottle of wine and perhaps 5 small plates.  I could see them paying attention to each other throughout the meal, no phones, limited pauses in conversation, and eyes fixed on one another.  The attention paid to one by the other was genuine, and not lustful, but enjoyable and satisfying.  I imagined they didn’t have a lot to spend, and I was pleased that I could provide a great meal that brought such joy to these two young people and that I could be a part of their nice evening.  Perhaps my assessment was skewed by fantasy, but I don’t think so. Either way, their happiness gave me happiness.

All my tables were excellent in so many ways, and I appreciated all of them.

There was a lot of sharing tonight at tables.  Hooray.

They Call Me the Squanderer

I was in line at Saratoga Coffee Traders today and the young lady in front of me bought me a coffee.  What a pain in the ass that is, now I’ve got to pay it forward by being nice to someone else.

I’ve squandered so many things my whole life, and as I start thinking about it, I feel a deep sense of remorse.

The first thing I remember squandering is when I was in eighth grade. I was already in advanced math and science classes and was doing very well in school.  I was presented with an opportunity which the school system explained to me and parents as a new program for exceptional students to take a computer and advanced technology curriculum in high school which would include a lot of work at both school and at home.  I wanted no part of it.  My middle school buddy entered the program, went to RPI and has worked for IBM ever since.

Actually, the first thing I remember squandering is the chance to make out with Diane Keefe in fourth grade.

Full disclosure, I’m drinking Bourbon.

Those of you who paid attention to the game: remember after the second SF interception by safety Tavarius Moore? Instead of handing the ball to the referee like a professional he ran to the back of the endzone with his teammates and lined up for a posed group photo.  It was then, with about 10 minutes left that I predicted that the 49ers would lose.

I went out for cross country in 11th grade but quit before the racing season started.  I went back to it in 12th grade and got recruited to Siena College.  I became a very good runner, but if I had started a year earlier it  may have opened more college opportunities.  Siena was not the right school for me.

Even so, the education was practically free, and I did not take advantage.  I failed out twice and given a second and third chance I still did not finish, leaving myself 3 credits short.

Kansas City, MO

Prominent conservatives have publicly commented about the “offensive and pornographic half-time show.  These are the same people who support the pussy-grabber who has paid off porn stars and has cheated in his wives. STFU.

I had a pretty good college running career, including a NYS meet in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  After college I continued to run competitively, eventually running an 8:49.33 in the steeplechase, which was a nationally ranked effort at the time.  After that race I decided on a week off to recuperate and didn’t run for a few years.  I eventually started up again, ran well, but not at the level I was capable of.  Had I not stopped I believe I would have done quite well, but again; I squandered an opportunity to do something worthwhile.

I did the dishes during the half-time show as I knew it wasn’t my cup of tea.  Yes folks, when you don’t want to see something for whatever reason, you don’t have to, you can do something else.

The people who were offended watched it anyway.

Time has been around since, well, the beginning of time.  That’s a long time, yet people are still amazed at the rate in which time moves.

While at Siena, I had explored the possibility of transferring to the CIA.  I met with the financial aid director, applied, and was accepted.  I wanted to run cross country however, so I stayed with Siena.  I was just a kid, entering college at 17.  What the Hell did I know?  Perhaps someone could have figured out how to put me on the right career path.

Everyone has an agenda.

We need more mentorship.

People seem surprised when it’s cold in January.

Culinary license is beneficial. Just making shit up is not.

Burning bridges is sometimes necessary as it keeps you from going back over them when you really should not.

I have squandered too many personal relationships to mention.  Some casual friendships, some family.  All necessary and valued.

I was the chef at Café Capriccio in Albany and given significant ownership in the business.  I squandered it because I was not grown up enough to understand what I was given.

I squandered my talent as a chef for a long time by moving around too much.  I always thought the right place was the next place.

I’ve squandered money too often, starting with spending $5.00 on Patty Fitzgerald at Leonard’s Market when I was about 7 or 8.  I didn’t even get a kiss.

I hit her little brother in the head with a brick. I’m not sure he was ever the same.  I’m not sure I was ever the same.

From the time I left the Wine Bar for the last time until I opened Amuse, I accomplished very little.  Amuse should have opened stronger, but I squandered time.  Things are going well with Amuse, and I’m happy, but it should have gotten off to a much better start.

I’ve wasted opportunities, talents, money, and relationships.  The thing I’ve wasted more than anything is time.  It’s a non-renewable resource for which there is no replacement.

I love fried chicken.

As a chef, time is of great value.  In life, time is of great value.  I hope to have learned something here.

My favorite song is Time, by Pink Floyd.

My favorite line from the song is “one day you find ten years have got behind you.”

Let’s hope in ten years I feel better about time.