Uncategorized

IN A WORD

IN A WORD

44.00, the Ebay auction item said as I perused my watch list. No bidders until the last four or five hours. She was a standard run of the mill simple but sturdy looking beauty with little or no wear as I could see by the eight pictures provided. The description was pretty simple as most of them are and this draws me for some reason.

“Very nice original vintage royal quiet deluxe typewriter. Appears to be in great condition. I do not know much about typewriters. i would assume it needs serviced before using it. Some letters don’t go back down instantly so it probably needs oil/grease. Were going to be selling this as is do to our lack of knowledge of typewriters. Please bid accordingly. If we look learn any new info it will be added to the description.”

At first, I turned my head away. There was no flash, no shiny newness. There was no story of some young woman getting this as a gift for her graduation from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in the 1950’s as she entered a career in office life. It wasn’t bubble gum pink, or bright turquoise or Corvette red. Just a sturdy old grayish greenish gal, in a barely worn case with a few scuffs and scrapes….waiting. In Ebay’s brilliance, by some algorithm a nerdy tech person set who probably has never even used a typewriter, I received the reminder that the bidding would soon come to an end and that one person had placed a bid for a meager 45.00. I put a max bid in of fifty dollars and saw my bid entered at 46.00. I couldn’t help myself; something made me just want to save her. I have become an addict and we should all be concerned.

Typewriters, the manual kind, are heavy, inconvenient, noisy, frustrating old machines for those not familiar with them. You can’t throw one into your purse and head off to a coffee shop with barely an extra pound or two over your shoulder. You can’t change font sizes or have spell check automatically correct words or change your small letter ‘i’ automatically to a capital ‘I’. In the old models at least, there are no italics , no bold, no number ‘1’ (small ‘l’ instead) and no exclamation mark ‘!’ because frankly your vocabulary should be better than a single symbol.

You need ‘things’ for typewriters- paper, for one, ink, for two and a big vat of PATIENCE, for three. If you haven’t used or ever used a typewriter, a manual one, you probably and ironically need to be great with YouTube (I am not) or find yourself a typewriter repair person. In my case, I am going old school here, typewriter repairman, (my apologies to the superchick typewriter repair women out there). Marr Office Supply in Pawtucket, RI is my new best friend and so are Ray and Michael who as a father and son team have lived through the rise and fall and rise again of the lowly typewriter.

What you don’t need, though, is a power cord, an electric socket, a back up hard drive or a save button. A manual typewriter is a machine of great engineering. Everything is connected to something else and when you come down off of tech brain and just dig in to its workings, each button and lever is pretty obvious in its use. I cheated with my first one, Royal circa 1947 standard weighing in at probably forty pounds and hard to move. Old Bess, as I call her, is a stationary model firmly planted on my kitchen desk with a slight view of my gardens. My grandmother would approve of her placement. I had to take her to Ray because YouTube videos are too cumbersome for my hands and visual brain and honestly this feels like cheating. I had to see and feel how to put the ink in, and quickly learned that the ink could be reused by moving a lever one way or the other to reverse the spools and back again! Can’t do this with our fancy printer cartridges. After a few desperate shakes of the cartridge, you may as well buy a new printer since the replacements often cost as much.

What pray tell (is this even a word combination?) is alayne going to be doing with the six typewriters she has purchased in less than three weeks? I know you are asking this question to yourselves as you read my essay today. There are a few thoughts to my new love. First off let me clarify, in case this is your first reading, and if not you probably are well aware, that I get on what my aunt and I fondly call ‘Jags.’ When something speaks to me, it is full throttle, when it leaves me, it is like it never was. I have accepted this about myself and though I wouldn’t label myself as manic, I do fully understand there is a manic quality to this part of my personality. A little mania is what makes the world go round so here I am. Unapologetic and joyful jag girl. I have learned to like this part of myself rather than think there is something wrong with me so I lean in whole heartedly. From a chocolate babka making obsession, to drinking bio dynamic wine every single night, then not drinking a drop, the list goes on and thankfully the people in my life who love me don’t roll their eyes as much as they likely could. This is love.

So what is my big plan for these beauties who have now entered my life at almost a box delivery a day pace? In a word, fiction. I have never written fiction and I have quickly learned that I am awful at it. I have been writing non fiction personal essays my whole life and almost daily for a solid year and a half and have gotten pretty good at this, but I need a new challenge, a new task. Fiction. In a word. I have been prompted by the idea of flash poetry, where you give someone a word and they type you on a real typewriter a poem in less than ten minutes. This is incredible and my experience of this was fun and fulfilling, but I am not a poet. So I thought it would be fun and super challenging to write flash fiction, one word, one page short stories. Someone gives me a word and I write an entire fictional story using the word on one page of paper. My self imposed rules are as follows:

No date, no reference to my name, no title except who the story is for (To Michael, for example) at the top, no whiteout or erasing (like erasing is even possible), no copying, no posting, publishing or looking for the addictive behavior modifying likes and only one page, one side. It can be single, single in a half or double spaced and handed in its original form to the person who gave me the word. I am sparingly allowing myself a little google to get a date or a peron’s name correct if I am making a reference to it. This is it. And it is way harder than I thought. I have written eight so far and all but one have been typed on the front porch outside in the fresh air. Written on my new Royal portable bought from someone’s son or daughter in West Roxbury, Mass given to their mother by their grandmother in the fifties. This is a practice I am hoping will improve my writing skills because as I am learning, my vocabulary and rhythm of fictional attempt is pretty pathetic. But I am ok with this. There were many famous fiction writers who started late. http://mentalfloss.com/article/63112/11-writers-who-started-late.

I am not looking for fame, just intellectual curiosity and stimulation and an excuse to step away from all things wireless, blue tooth and screen filled. I am looking to engage the people who walk by in eye to eye conversation and starry eyed talk of yesteryear. I am looking for a more creative life and a less technological one.

So throw out a word and I’ll write you a story, stop by and type with me if you see me on the front porch or if you visit my business. There will be a few typewriters soon for you to throw your thoughts on. But trust me when I tell you, you may become hooked as fast as I have become. I take no prisoners or responsibility for anything that happens after your first glorious pound of the key. For the “AArrggg” sound you make when you realize the backspace key does not delete or erase and the thrill of the bell ding when you have completed your first sentence.

In a word. I am waiting.


this is not the Royal I have fallen head over heels for, but a Swiss Hermes I bought before the Royal arrived. Trying it out on my luscious front porch before I wrote my first in a word fiction for Michael, both of them. And Cat and Dave and Gary and Alicia and Ashley and Peg. Aurelie is next, are you?
Uncategorized

A NEW SPOT

A NEW SPOT

Change is good. I say this phrase often and for the most part I am an earnest believer of change being a good thing. I like to move furniture, change places I hang my art, sometimes my dishes and pans and my closets, certainly. I enjoy the notion that energy shifts created by change are great and healing for the soul. I love the feeling after everything is moved and put back into a new place, the zest in my physique after gathering the adrenaline to singularly move bookcases and couches. The calm and satisfaction of the final sit after a hot shower with a cold glass of white wine or a steamy cup of earl gray tea depending on my place in the I am not drinking or I am drinking life I lead. I am a happy soul as I look around at my work and feel the shift that happens as I sit in my newly created space surrounded by the peace it gives me from both my creative side and my get shit done side.

The change I have realized I don’t like is when a routine changes that I have come to depend on for most of my life especially since I have been a grownup buying my own groceries and paying my own mortgage. A routine forced upon me because well just because. A routine like buying my beach pass, getting in my beach accouterment packed car on a Sunday morning and driving to the beach lot I am accustomed to and walking to the spot I have been going to for most of my adult life. Do not fuck with my happy place- the beach and everything that goes with the beach. From the first packing of the bag, everything sand-less and clean, new cans of sunscreen, new tubes of the better one for my face and décolleté (yes I know- roll your eyes here), my new books and stacks of magazines I have been saving even if they are from March. Clean fresh towels, my big cotton blanket I got in Menorca seven years ago, a new tube of lipstick, a new hat, all of these rituals are part of my tradition. Like the same dinner I make for Passover every year, there is a predictability I have come to rely on in an unpredictable world.

Last year the entire beach situation was upheaved, a rug pulled out from under my neat little perfect beach world when the Middletown Town Council decided on July 5th to change the parking lot to a residents only. Imagine. Now please dear reader, bear with me, this new “problem” is not at all anything to be fretting about. I know this. I really know this. As I passed the woman with the I NEED A MIRACLE sign standing in the baking sun by the Mount Hope Bridge today, a woman many of us have passed daily for at least a year I realize these are what should be considered problems. Not being able to park my sparkly new car with my one hundred and forty dollar pass at the parking lot I want is not a problem. I shouldn’t even be complaining or making commentary or writing an entire piece about it, I realize this but there is an end to this discourse, I promise.

Today I decided to just get over it. I am never going to be able to park in the lot I have always parked in again and whining about it is not going to change anything except my beach experience for the entire summer. Today I decided to get to the beach at 8:30 am to see if I could stake out a new spot for the summer. In the spirit of total detachment, I chose to leave my phone at home so I could just focus on what the best part of what the beach brings out in me, napping, reading, writing, eating, swimming and meditating, staying present. I found a new space in the new parking lot and walked a very short distance (one positive already) to a spot that shall remain nameless as to not open up its whereabouts. I was almost the first one there, a personal best for me, and plopped my things down. The water was calm, the air was clear, very slight cool breeze; the day was a definitive ten. People started to come around ten but mostly families with little ones, no blaring music, no one yapping in annoying one way phone conversations and mostly there was generally great beach behavior.

I woke up from my nap to one of the dads standing strangely close to me and I realized he was staring at a hawk who had taken up residence about ten feet from me eying some prey below. We all had some quick conversation about whether it was an eagle or a hawk (come on, there was no fucking way it was an eagle), but regardless it was a big bird. I have witnessed a lot of red tail hawks and it definitely looked like this to me. I watched him (or her, not sure, but it seemed very male like, I don’t know why) I stood there with no camera just watching, then a red winged blackbird made its way over to the tree about six feet away from the hawk screaming like she was warning whatever was beneath his gaze. She was not happy and she sounded like a lioness protecting her nest. Watching this for about fifteen minutes was a spectacular moment in my new spot at the beach that wouldn’t have happened if I had been at my other spot. The reward for surrendering. As a matter of fact I had earlier floated on my back eagle spread in the crisp Atlantic water breathing deeply to the words I SURRENDER, I SURRENDER, trying to LET GO AND LET GOD take some of my troubled and sad self into the heart of the universe for a fresh wash in the spin cycle. These words help in times of crisis for me and as my old go to guy Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This change in my new view finder today was rewarded with the beauty of a simple witness to nature today. And I feel better already.



Uncategorized

SHAKING IT UP

SHAKING IT UP

Wind and rain and cold, the perfect combination on a June 4th early almost summer day for my new installation of a second floor air conditioner. Like washing your car and the next day it rains, I said to the kind man doing the installation, “Now watch, it will be a cold and wet summer and this AC will not even be necessary.” Frankly, I am in disbelief that I have come to this place of central AC. In my former life of marriage and home owning, the thought of AC would occasionally be brought up by my husband at the time (I just can’t stand the word X, it feels like I am supposed to erase those twenty years of my life and I wouldn’t change them for anything). “ We don’t need ac,” I would say, “we live so near the water, the breeze is our AC.” I am a windows open 24/7 kind of chick. I like to hear the birds, the sounds of the day and the breeze of the water I am blessed to see from most of my southern and west windows. I almost feel like AC is a cop out for this hardy New England born and raised. It’s not like I live in Florida. I mean in the south, AC is a given. Like a built in pool, the intensity of the summer is so short lived here in New England, why bother?

Until menopause. Menopause changed all of this. Hot Flashes with a capital H and F changed my purist mind. My partner has it in his bedroom and sleeping on those hot humid nights with the hum of the AC has made camping out at his house my go to resting place since surgical menopause became a part of my world almost three and half years ago. So AC is now officially in the entire Whitehouse. And if the weather continues like yesterday for the summer, I will never even have to use it. But this is doubtful, this is New England and it is not even mid June yet.

As the guys were here most of the day yesterday doing the installation, I decided to move a few things around on my first floor. This led to moving a few things around on my second floor and up and down and back and forth I went for the good part of the day. Changing. Moving. Shaking. Tossing. Reinventing. When the mood strikes, the adrenaline rush could move mountains. The day before, I managed to get my dear son to help me with a few pieces of furniture. Back in the old days, I probably could have done it myself. I have always said, Hell hath no fury like a woman who wants to move furniture. Adrenaline is a powerful force to be reckoned with and it is a propellant that comes from the deepest part of my core when it comes to moving furniture. Rugs, pictures, chairs, tables, everything is up for grabs and in all of my years, I have learned to release the emotion tied to some of the stuff I have in my house. Of course the advantage is that I have a business on the first floor and it is easy to move up, down and all around. I am always thinking about change. Adding bathtubs, building additions, porches, decks, my brain moves constantly with ideas, but since I have a son in college for two more years, these major changes have to take a backseat. Hence the working with what I have. Where does the need to move and shake come from? I have friends who seldom move their houses around, they seem normal and happily adjusted.

I just have an inordinate amount of creative energy and this is how it reveals itself in my life. I often think this is why I enjoy wine so much, it helps to slow down and mellow out this creative force that takes hold of my spirit on occasion. Regardless of the whys, I have learned to go with the flow and allow the moving and shaking to do what it does, move and shake. There is a beginning and an end to changing things around in my house and an intense feeling of exhausted completion when the final picture has been hung and the last bag of trash has been brought out to the container.

I have learned a few significant points in all of this changing. One is definitely that just because it is a dining room doesn’t mean you have to put a dining room table in there. Just because the living room is considered the formal living room, doesn’t mean you can’t make it what you want, after all it’s my house. I can do whatever I want so instead I have lots of sitting spaces. As a matter of fact, I have over four in my house alone, and in my business I have three plus four outside.

Sitting. I have been trying to consciously sit a lot more. This likely sounds like a challenge to the reader here after what I have just written about my in my intense energy abounding daily. There is something about sitting though. Just sitting. No phone, not even a book, just sitting. And staring. And listening. And thinking. Just being quiet. All this working, working out, and moving requires the opposite in order to keep me in check. As I sit here in one of my new sitting spaces looking out over the garden, I feel energized and peaceful not doing anything except sitting and writing with my morning cup of tea as I decide on the rest of my day. Moving things around in our spaces helps to keep us awake and conscious about our lives. What we have accumulated, what we no longer need, and what we hang on to and why is a great outcome in the moving of stuff. Ultimately it is an energy shift in my space and then ultimately in my being. This is the joy of the change. Never a dull moment and for this I am and continue to be a lover of life.

Grateful, humbled, happy and sitting.






a few of the many places to sit and stare and wonder.
Uncategorized

UP WITH THE BIRDS

UP WITH THE BIRDS

Silence. Darkness. Should I check the time? Do I have to pee? The thoughts start darting in this early morning wake up. I am awake. I mean AWAKE. For an early bird riser like me, I just know that I am not going to go back to sleep; it is a feeling. I get up to pee, why not, kill some time as it could be midnight, it could be four am or the dreaded three am. I decide to take a look, 3:49. I quickly add the numbers together, a weird pattern I have gotten into since I bought this house and the number 11 started showing up everywhere. 3+4+9=16. 6+1=7. Nada. No meaning to me right now. Well it’s a stretch but today is June 1. 6+1=7. Ok. Whatever. I lie in bed for a little while longer taking some deep breaths and thinking about my sleep last night, what I ate before I went to bed, trying to determine if anything I te is the root of my early morning wide eyed and bushy tailed wake up. At about 4:15 (4+15=19, 1+9+10, 1+0=1, okay, it’s the 1st?), I get up to pee. At this point, I decide to be up, so I brush my teeth, wash my face, spray with a new Rose Toner I am trying out and layer up some oil also from another company I am trying out. I get dressed in my morning PJs aka flannel bottoms and a Life is Good Tshirt, (super attractive, I know), find some cotton socks and find my way into the kitchen.

Take my vitamins, make my coffee and like magic the early morning symphony begins. It is 4:30am (there is that 7 again) and the cardinals are cheering me on. The sliver of light is only a glimpse since I am on the south west side of my town, and the birds have decided that it is time for my part of the world to wake up.

The magic of the morning never disappoints and it speeds by in an accelerated fashion. The early sounds of the few cars and trucks making their way to work begin. It is 5:02 when I glance at the clock. Mmmmm. 7. Again. Let me distract myself for a moment and look up the symbolism of the number 7. As I make my way to Google, “what is the meaning of the number 7?” I notice it is now 5:06. (5+6=11) there is my beautiful number 11 that feeds me and gives me peace. But 7? Holy 7! A boatload of symbolism. This summary comes from Medium Mara on Linked In (so it must be true. 🙂

“Associated with divine perfection… (7 days of creation, 7 chakras, 7 days of the week, 7 colors of the rainbow, often considered a sacred number, beneficial and protective. Because it is the sum of two numbers it finds a place between the two worlds, the world of life and the world of death. It refers to completeness and the aspects of things well done.”

The aspects of things well done. I like that. Just looked at the clock again, 5:15. Yep 5+1+5= you guessed it. 11. In case you haven’t realized by now, I am the type of person who likes to find meaning in my surroundings. If I am in serious thought, mulling something over and over in my head, I usually see a cardinal and this always means everything is going to be alright, to me anyway. These are my thoughts that are my reality so I just go with it. What is the alternative, to go south with negative thinking? That is not me. I am positive patty for the most part and I enjoy this part of my personality. Up with the birds gets me to accomplish my morning routine, a morning routine that is chock filled with tasks before 8:30 am (8+3=11). Write, workout, walk the garden, water the garden. This is a lot to get done and I can easily get sidetracked if I make the fatal mistake of checking my email or Facebook. I try to wait on that but it sometimes lures me into the fated oblivion ultimately disrupting my morning energy field.

This is my sacred church, the morning. I worship its alter available to me every single day I get to have another every single day. This in itself is a divine blessing, waking up. It’s so easy to take waking up for granted, isn’t it? I sit here windows open, birds really revving it up, cool morning breeze making its way into my living room. The first of June smells of the ocean, an evening before rain filled air wafting in, cooler than usual, it almost feels a little like fall. The plants are going to look brighter and greener this morning when I get out there. I am careful of my morning routine because I cherish it so much, I don’t like to make a lot of plans that take me away from it. I miss a lot of early morning network business breakfasts I should probably be at, but I just can’t bring myself to veer from my am alter.

As the birds continue to rally me and the world, I am once again humbled my the simplicity of what the day can bring when I just make myself available to it. It begs the question that is a constant in my mind. Is all of this social media that has become a daily grind in my business world even necessary? Will I be less connected with the world? What I know is that when I gauge my spirit after writing, or listening and watching birds, cooking, gardening, exercising, or reading a real book, it is uplifted and energized. I feel depleted and low energy when I have been on Facebook or whatever else I have allowed to unintentionally drain my energy away from rather than flood me with the goodness that nature brings. This of course poses the question why have it? Will I miss out on some connection I won’t know about?

The irony is that on my deathbed, the only connection will be with me and me alone and the world that lies ahead. This pseudo connection will mean nothing and I surely won’t have my phone with me recording every last breath. What I see for myself when I live my real truth is a social media free world. I relish the day I can just step away from it. The irony these days is that going off the grid doesn’t even seem to mean what it use to mean to the average Jane like me after all, I am not planning on moving into the mountains anytime soon. Going off the grid means removing myself from anything that does not energize me and leave me with a feeling of love and happiness. The grid I see for myself sooner than later is the grid of shutting it down and enjoying what I work really hard for, my home, my gardens, my interaction and conversations with clients and friends, my health and the privilege of waking up on the right side of the grass.

Meanwhile as I live in the fantasy world of getting to that place I will continue to find the balance of controlling its power rather than allowing it to control me. We all have choices, this is what makes us human and for me, this means finishing this essay today and getting my ass in the garden with my freshly manicured fingers in the dirt and my nose in the peonies.



Uncategorized

SET IT AND FORGET IT

SET IT AND FORGET IT

There was a movement over fifteen years ago. It was a rotisserie chicken movement. It was in my old life when my former husband bought something on an infomercial that was a contraption for roasting a chicken to perfection. The one liner that went along with the countertop roasting oven was “Set it and forget it!” And the promise was exactly what it sounded like. Put the chicken on the spicket and voila, this oven would make a perfect rotisserie chicken, no basting, no temperature checking, just put it in and take it out. I was a skeptic, but I must admit, this was a great purchase and we ate endless roasted chickens that were delicious.

As clever as Set it and Forget It was for engaging chicken rotisserie enthusiasts, Set it and Forget It does not apply to being a parent (if only) or running a business. Just like you can’t say something to your child one time and expect them to remember (Michael, take out the trash every Friday… imagine if as a parent you could say this once and miraculously it just happened every Friday without fail?), Set it and Forget It is also like this for a business.

Creating a systemic approach to running my company so that everyone who works for me knows the parameters of expectations is the Set It part. This is the seasoning part, the prep, the getting it in the oven before turning it on part. This is where lots of the work goes into and creating systems and teaching my team to follow them is 80% of success. There are times in my past sixteen years of leading a team of usually about twenty women that I have wanted to Set it and Forget it. There are times when I have been mentally or physically absent. When I have Set it and thought I could Forget it for a moment a month or a few months. I have seen the results of turning on the rotisserie and forgetting to set the timer as much as I have seen turning it on and ending up with a perfect result.

Just because I own my own business does not mean that when life has come at me, it has not affected the way I have been in my business and my own performance. I am human. I am woman and I have made mistakes. I have lost great people who have worked for me and I have weeded out dead weight of people who shouldn’t have worked for me in the first place. I hope that I always learn from my mistakes when someone leaves, and what I do know 100% of the time is that when someone does leave it is always a blessing in the long run with few exceptions. The great ones usually move on to something that continues their love of beauty and this always makes me happy because I know I have been a positive influence in this. Even if there have been negative elements, there are always divine lessons for both of us.

What I love most about running my company is that it is like a living breathing organism. It allows me to take breaks when I need to and it calls me back in when it needs me. For sixteen years, my business has never let me down and I always come back stronger and better from its unique lessons. I am convinced that it is because of my Set it mentality. Without the Set it, what do I have? If people who work for me don’t know what my expectations are then how can anyone of them succeed and how does my business succeed?

I have strong expectations and some people love this about working for me, some are energized by it and some grow tired of it. All of this is good in the long run. What I have realized, especially this past year with my caught it early for the second time breast cancer surgeries, is that my team continues to show up and has allowed me to Forget it so that I could recover. I lost some great employees right around my first surgery and it was hard to not take that personal when I reflected on the timing of their departures, but I have learned that business and employees are just that. No matter how much I think of them as family and close connections, first and foremost it is employee and employer. When I remember this, I am a better leader. Don’t get me wrong, sensitivity and empathy to my teams’ personal lives make for much better relationships. I care about them a lot. I care about their happiness and their work environment. I care about their lives, their children, their families, their livelihood, their animals, their weddings, showers, funerals, first homebuying, the list never ends. This day as I reflect on what was one of my most difficult years of owning my business, I am so grateful for my team of almost twenty shining stars who have rallied and risen to every occasion. I am blessed beyond words for their work ethic and their hearts as they come to work every day to help me fulfill my own business mission of taking stellar care of our clients so they want to come back often.

Recently one of my favorite employees decided she was getting a bit complacent and at 45 wanted to take a break and decide what she wanted to be when she grew up because she realized that she never really had defined this for herself. This was a big loss for me as I came to rely on her unique approach to my business and she offered honesty and solution based constructive criticism on an almost daily basis. She assured me that all would be fine, life would go on and someone else would take the helm. I knew as I always do that this is definitive truth. I know that grooming leadership is my strength more than even running my business, one of the most satisfying elements of being an entrepreneur is developing leaders. Her departure reminded me of this part of my ability that is intuitive to me me. I have always known what I wanted to be when I grew up because it is exactly what I am doing today. As sad as this loss was for my company and the women who have grown to rely on her own leadership skills, this opportunity for me to develop new energy is something I relish and it is a perfectly timed gift. Working with women and teaching them the skills that I know are invaluable to running a million dollar company also teaches them unique life skills they can bring to their personal worlds. These skills make them better women, not only in the workforce, but as mothers, wives, partners, and humans. It is my unique privilege to show up for them the way they show up for me. This is legacy and female small business owning in its finest hour.

I have the best team not because of luck as so many like to say when they speak to me about my team. I have the best team because they are willing to take a chance and step out of their comfort zones to trust my leadership. They are my nucleus, not the other way around. I just get to be the container of their strengths by keeping the cell healthy and growing. I am the lucky one every day because I get to own my own business, but because I get to work with twenty women who are the best in the business. We have learned to care and support one another. They have taken my Set It to heart and have given me permission to occasionally Forget It. They command my return when they know it is time for my leadership again. This is the well-seasoned machine of a team that I have the honor of being the line leader of. People leave. Great people leave and I miss the ones who were great, surely, but what I know in my deepest of cells is that the great ones stay too. I am so appreciative for the time they have given me before they left and I am most grateful for the time they are here present and part of this party I have the luxury of calling work. To all the chiefs in my kitchen who have come and gone, you know who you are and the Chieftresses who are still cooking up the feasts, Thank you. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to be the line leader, the head chef and the student all in the same breath. Lucky indeed.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Great Life.













surely not all of the team past and present but the photos i could find quickly this am to at least represent a few.