Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Breaking up

I finally did it. I broke up with the restaurant. After working with Rene for over a year trying to get her business going again, I finally had to stop. I researched, designed, cleaned, counted, fixed, cooked, waited, rung up, but I can't fix the real problem...the owner.

No amount of talking or lecturing has made any difference. No matter how much work I put in, it is undone by her. I feel bad. I wish I could fix all the problems. It's a good place, but it needs some serious reigning in. She knows what needs to be done to get her restaurant going again. I have told her many times that I cannot care about her business more than she does. That's why I can't work there any more. Until she makes the changes that we have talked about for the last year (that she has continually put off) I can't help. There is no point in continuing.

There's definitely some relief. I won't stop going. I'll be there for her to talk and bounce off ideas, but I'm not going to spend more of my time on her business. Especially when my own business needs it so bad.

In helping her, I have neglected my own business. I haven't finished the website that I should have finished months ago. I haven't been on top of the marketing like I used to be. Marketing is something that you do now and see the results in three to six months. Did I market myself properly December through March? No, and my lack of photo shoots now are very evident. I put myself in a bad position and now I really have to fix it. I sure don't want to end up in her position.

Mario and my goals are very important and a lot more urgent now. It's time for me to reach the business goals I set at the beginning of the year. So, I'm revisiting my goals and the schedule I laid out for myself. I'm back on the business wagon. All the energy that I put into someone else's business, is now going back into my own. If I crack the whip, I think I can be back on track by August.

I am also signing up with a temp agency. There are a few reasons behind this. The last thing I want to do is get a job. So, it's a bit of a bit of a punishment. I know you are thinking it seems counter intuitive. Part of what I need to relearn is how to use my time wisely. I won't put in nearly the amount of hours that I put in at the restaurant. I will work part time and then I get to leave it behind and be able to focus on my own work.

Second, I need to make money. I need new equipment and Mario and I really need to move. After a third incident with the neighbors, it's time to go. We would like to be able to stay another year and save up for a house, but it's not happening that way.

Third, is Murphy's law. The minute I have ever mentioned getting a part time job or leaving photography as a profession, the photo shoots roll in. I'm hoping this happens this time at well. If not, at least I'm making some extra money. Right?

I'm excited right now. I might not have had any control over the restaurant situation, but I certainly have control over my own situation. I have clear goals and am ready to get back on track!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Family Visit...continued

We ended up spending the rest of the rest of the week hanging out and planning a bit of my sisters impending nuptials...checking out dresses and locations. We had a nice time, did a lot of relaxing and waiting for our Mothers Day Senior Bus Tour on Sunday...the real reason mom wanted us to stay for long. Yes, a bus tour. It was actually really fun.

Growing up in the Bay Area we spent a lot of time boating on the Delta. When our family got rid of all the boats, we would take road trips, fishing trips, and photo trips out to some of the islands and towns. It's a part of the bay area that I love and really haven't shown Mario, so I was pretty excited for the trip.

The plan was to drive out to a mansion for a champagne brunch. Tour around the mansion and grounds. Then drive out to Locke...a very cool town on the river lock that had a very high Chinese population in the early 1915 and on.

We arrived at the beautiful mansion and it rocked. The grounds were gorgeous. The rooms were gorgeous. The food rocked and the champagne was plentiful. One thing that I can't express enough is how cheap my sister is. If something is buffet or endless, she will try her hardest to make it a good investment of her money. Example, we used to visit Disneyland she would count how many rides we went on and divide that into the cost of the ticket and try get her hardest to get the per ride cost as low as possible. Put her in a buffet and free champagne and imagine what she can do. They served us all mimosas. She shot her mimosa and then asked for more. Then, when I finally finished my first drink and was asking for my second, she finished her second off and said "oh no my glass seems to be empty". They would fill it up. She'd drink that one quick and then ask the other waiter for a refill. About half way through my second glass, they topped me off. She quick shot back her third glass and pulled another "oh no my glass seems to be empty". Of course they obliged. I lost count of what glass she was on. Now this is where I clarify. This is not a "lets get drunk" thing, this is purely how cheap she is. She wants the most bang from her buck!

Her second point of attack came with dessert. They had bowls of really nice wrapped chocolates. They were not safe. This meant that Lindsay could grab handfuls of chocolates and stuff them in her purse. They could have saved quite a bit of money had they only served unwrapped chocolates...don't make it portable people. The look on the face of the lady next in line after Lindsay was priceless. First, she was all smiles and then she looked slightly appalled. I couldn't help but laugh...the girl is cheap and balsy! I'm sure there are still some chocolates in her purse.

We spent the rest of our time at the mansion sneaking into rooms and checking them out. They have their own bowling alley, he hugest billiard table, a theater, endless rooms, a lodge room, a ball room, was really beautiful.


After a few more glasses of champagne for Lindsay, we headed down the road to Locke. I was so excited! The last time I had been there was with my dad. I can't tell you how many times we visited this town. We'd spend a few hours photographing and then head over to a tiny island with a picnic lunch. We still have a ton of my dad's photographs from Locke.

We checked out the house with all the toilets in the yard. When people would move into the houses back in the day, the new owners would change out the toilets...because they didn't want to use a toilet that a chinese person had previously used. However, one man thought the toilets shouldn't go to waste. So, he planted a big toilet garden. Tons of toilets made into planters. It was pretty fun. The original owner has since passed away and most of the toilets have been removed, but there are enough there for memory's sake.

I loved when Mario realized the only thing holding the facade on were some straps

We walked the main street. Old western looking buildings with faded Chinese writing. It really is a cool place. It was actually fun to see that the town is a little busier than it used to be. They seem to be making it a bit of a tourist stop.

One spot that is less of a tourist stop and more of a regular spot is the old bar...Al the Wops. My dad had lots of stories about this bar. It's just one of those bars that is known in the delta. I was in the midst of telling Mario about what dad had told us about the bar, there are dollar bills all over the ceiling and a number of ladies panties stuck up there as well, when it occurred to Lindsay that we were actually now old enough to go in the bar and check it out for ourself. FINALLY! If we had more time, it would have been nice to stay for a drink...maybe next time. It was fun to finally see the ceiling we had heard stories about since our childhood. Want to know how all the dollar bills got stuck into the ceiling...give them a dollar and they'll show you.

By that time champagne had started wear off and the afternoon had caught up with us. We all piled back on the bus, closed our eyes and immediately woke up back at mom's community. It was a really great day. I actually can't wait to take Mario to some of the other spots we used to hang out. I'll miss having someone drive us around was nice not having to worry about drinking and driving or just driving in general.

My highlight of the trip? Driving out through the delta, you overlook a lot of farmland. The nice little lady in front of me asked what type of crop I thought one farm was growing.

Me "Oh that's a wine plant"
Cute Lady "Yeah I thought it might be a grape vine"
Me "Oh god, I've obviously been hanging out with my mom far too long when I start referring to grapes as a 'wine plant'! Very classy! Thank you for overlooking that comment."

Between the endless champagne and the wine plant comment, you'd thing we are all alcoholics...

our beloved waiter...the bringer of all things champagne

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Oh long has it been? Have you all left my bloggy for another bloggy that puts out? Of course not...cause we always come back together.

The last few weeks have a little crazy. The last weekend in April was my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary. Mario and I decided we would go up to Oregon for the celebration. We left on Friday and drove the 6 hours up to my moms place. On Saturday, Mom, Mario, and I drove the 8 hours up to Oregon. We arrived about half an hour before the party started. It was a nice relaxing supper with all their friends and family that could make it. It was good to see people I haven't seen in a while, nice to meet some new people and of course it's always fun to see my cousins and family.

My favorite parts of the trip were after the party though. We headed back to my aunt and uncles for a little bubbly wine and some good story telling. I usually hear most of the family stories from my mom and cousin. This time it was my uncle, aunt, cousin and my mom. My mom was in heaven. My mom's relationship with her brothers haven't always been strong, so this story telling was really made her happy. She got to hear more sides to the stories from her childhood. I miss my grandmother's stories, so this was really fun for us all. Mom's still talking about it.

My second favorite activity was getting to shoot some guns. I've shot bb guns before, but not a real gun. I have this dream of being a sharp shooter one day and I'll never be a sharp shooter if I never shoot a real gun. So my other cousin took me and Mario up on their ranch to shoot some guns Sunday morning. Mario went in trying to be all cool and shoot a bunch of bullets...and missed a lot. I went in trying to hit every I took a long time between shots aiming. In the end, if we had an intruder, Mario would shoot a million bullets and miss the guy. While I'd take forever to line up the shot and the guy would end up running away before I shot. So, we aren't safe but we had fun.

However, the fun was soon over and we were already heading the 8 hours home. We landed at mom's house again on Sunday night.

Normally we would have spent the night and headed out the next morning, however, my mother and sister had waged a war on us. My mom bombarded us with phone calls for the previous two weeks begging us to stay through to the next weekend...for mothers day weekend. She worked. She begged. She bribed. Then she enlisted the guilt of my sister.

It worked. She now had us for over a week. Mario hasn't stayed with my family for over a week that I can think of. He's patient, but I wanted to give us a little break, and my mom a little break too, so I booked us a few days at our little timeshare in Napa.

the wine cave at our timeshare

happy peoples

Fun fun fun. It was a really nice little getaway. We went up Tuesday. Relaxed, swam, made yummy dinner, hung out and just enjoyed ourselves. It was like a little anniversary for us, since we never get away for our actual anniversary. Wednesday night, mom drove up and stayed with us. We had an awesome dinner at the timeshare restaurant, walked the grounds and then completely passed out.

Yummy food!

 after dinner we sat at this awesomely huge fire pit and ordered dessert

Bocce Ball court also! This place rocks!

Thursday morning, however, was wine tasting day. Mom and I were wasted before 11am. Luckily Mario's not really a drinker, so he was our driver. There is a really beautiful wine cave on the timeshare grounds. The wine tasting guy loved him some Sara. Cause that woman knows how to spend some money on her wine. I know! She doesn't just drink boxed wine...she drinks the good stuff too! We had a blast. I think we tasted every wine in the place. He was very very generous with the wine.

Mom and I quite a few tastings in...and yes she also brings her own iced tea to tastings as seen in the background...she is always high class!

We ended up at only two wineries...the second winery I found out that my mother becomes a product saleswoman when she's drunk. I was feeling good, mario was relaxing taking photos, and mom was selling cheese slicers and corkscrews to other patrons of the winery. She cracks me up.

My poor man relaxing and waiting for us drunkies

The second winery was beautiful!

We were looking a little worse after the second's impossible to take a photo of this woman cause she's always talking!

Needless to say, we hit our peak early. We ended up getting lunch and then realized we should head home. It was a blast though. I haven't really done the wine tasting with my mom for a long time and I hadn't been to Napa for even longer. It was a beautiful little break from life. Perfect weather, great wine, and a great place to stay.

continued tomorrow...