Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Firey Truth

For about six months in the year 1996, I worked as a waitress at the India House Restaurant on South Clinton Avenue in Rochester, NY. It was (and probably still is) a family owned business. Two brothers and their sister, all possessing MBAs, if I'm not mistaken, went into business with their spouses and owned two restaurants and a store, all on the same block. There was the main restaurant, the vegetarian cafe, and the store that sold Indian groceries, clothing, and gifts. One brother actually worked as an engineer at Bausch & Lomb, if I'm not mistaken, one managed the main restaurant, one was the main cook at that restaurant, and her husband managed the vegetarian cafe. About a year later, the engineer ended up being my landlord, and I discovered then that the family also owned a number of properties in the area. When I got the job, I was badly in need of employment and knew that several of my college classmates from Eastman worked at the vegetarian cafe. I was told it was a good part-time job and that the food there was delicious. What is hilarious to me now is that at the time, I had *never* eaten Indian food before. There were no job openings at the vegetarian cafe, which is where I would have preferred to work, but the manager of the "regular" restaurant was in need of staff and put me on the schedule. Even though the work pace alternated between incredibly slow and way too fast and I was only paid $3/hour, so in order to take home any money (in other words, tips) I needed to hope for a super hectic pace, I have many fond memories of my employment there. First of all, it was my introduction to Indian food, which launched a lifetime obsession with its deliciousness and finding the best places to eat it. I remember diligently studying the menu, learning what all the different words meant, trying to get to a level where I could fake that I actually knew what any of dishes tasted like. There were many interesting personalities, the family who owned the place, the main cook's baby who liked to ride the vacuum cleaner during the otherwise painful clean-up period at the end of the night (rice is SO hard to pick up off the carpet!), the other waiters (who came from all different ethnic backgrounds), the cooks who were always yelling at us to work faster, and the manager who was always yelling at us to work harder, but who also had a lighter side and enjoyed making conversation. While employed there, I learned how to open up wine bottles really quickly on some particularly busy Friday and Saturday nights (as there was no bartender). I also became addicted to Masala tea (better known as chai) and the smell of certain curries, which would make me crave the food so badly, I would swear there were drugs in it. (I never understood before that how a potent spice could be medicinal.)

So, you're still wondering about the fire incident, aren't you? As a server, the cooks preferred that you stay out of the kitchen as much as possible. You had to be very careful not to get in their way while they worked. However, on the back burner of one of the stoves, there was a big pot of masala tea -- of water, milk, tea leaves, spices, and sugar -- that simmered there all evening long. Whenever a customer ordered the tea, it was the server's job to carefully weave between the cooks in the narrow passageway between two cooking workspaces, reach to the back of the stove to the burner simmering the masala tea and strain the tea through a filter into a small metal pot, either designed to hold one cup of tea or four cups. Although one had to work gingerly in order to accomplish this task, it normally went off without too many hitches. That is, until one day, as I was leaning around to the left of one of the cooks (Saul - sp?) to that back burner of the stove, something caught me by surprise. We all wore traditional Indian costumes. That is, pants and a matching top that hung long, like a dress. I never noticed that there was another stove next to the one Saul was working at, because up until that point, no one had ever been using it while I was working. But, when my dress caught on fire, I surely noticed it then! The stove was a short stove, so that while I was reaching around to get the tea, my dress was hovering directly over an open flame. Yikes!! Well, I put the fire out. I was shocked and dismayed, but no one was hurt and eventually went back to what I was doing. And, that's the whole story. My dress caught on fire! .... not my hair...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Memey Times!

I Stole This Meme from Steph

Three Things You Want To Do Before You Die:
1.) Learn how to be more loving, happier, and more resilient to change/disruption
2.) Sing with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra
3.) Travel to lots more beautiful, interesting places

Three Names You Go By:
1.) Peej
2.) Pamb
3.) Funk Sis

Three Physical Things You Like About Yourself:
1.) My nostrils, which I can wiggle
2.) My Gumby toe, because it's cool
3.) My left eyebrow, which I can raise independently

Three Parts Of Your Heritage:
1.) English
2.) Norwegian
3.) Irish

Three Things That Scare You:
1.) People who run after me with knives
2.) Flying in airplanes
3.) Windy roads through the mountains with narrow shoulders and no guard rail

Three Of Your Everyday Essentials:
1.) Clean air
2.) Clean water
3.) Healthy ecosystems

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1.) Earrings Emily brought me from Scotland
2.) Red Mary Jane shoes
3.) Brown pants with off-white polka dots

Three Of Your Favorite Bands/Musical Artists:
1.) Leonard Bernstein
2.) Indigo Girls
3.) Bach

Three Of Your Favorite Songs (at the moment anyway):
1.) Something's Coming (from West Side Story)
2.) Coin-Operated Boy (Dresden Dolls)
3.) Watershed (Indigo Girls)

Three Things You Want In A Relationship:
1.) Humor
2.) Music - lots of silly singing and lots of serious appreciation
3.) Extreme nerdiness

Two Truths And A Lie (in no particular order):
1.) My hair caught on fire in church once
2.) My hair caught on fire while drinking at a bar once
3.) My hair caught on fire while working as a waitress at an Indian restaurant once

Three Things You Want To Do Really Badly Right Now:
1.) Recline
2.) Read my book
3.) Go outside

Three Careers You've Considered:
1.) Masseuse
2.) Social worker / therapist
3.) Non-profit director

Three Places You Want To Go On Vacation:
1.) Moss landing, CA (where the sea otters make rafts together holding paws!)
2.) Hawaii
3.) Italy

Three Pet Names You Like to use for your pets:
1.) Floofy
2.) Pooky
3.) Silly muffin

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically A Girl:
1.) I like to dress up and wear make-up
2.) I like Jane Austen novels
3.) I like to take care of people

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically A Boy:
1.) I like to figure out how things go together/work
2.) I drive a stick shift and am a good parallel parker
3.) I like peaty scotch whiskey

Friday, November 14, 2008

Procrastinator's Exercise Redux

I need to do this again, so I thought I'd re-print this Procrastinator's Exercise I posted back in July...


First, write down four actions that you need to take that you've been putting off. (leave room to write under the items)

Second, under each of these actions, write down the answer to the following questions: Why haven't I taken action? In the past, what pain have I linked to taking this action?

Third, write down all the pleasure you've had in the past by indulging in this negative pattern. (For example, getting quick pleasure from eating sugar...)

Fourth, write down what it will cost you if you don't change now. How does that make you feel?

The final step is to write down all the pleasure you'll receive by taking each of these actions right now. (Make a huge list that will drive you emotionally, that will really get you excited: "I'll gain the feeling of really being in control of my life, of knowing that I'm in charge. I'll gain a new level of self confidence... etc."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keep Going!

You can do it!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

What Exactly Is Happiness?

"The happiness that we all yearn for is a sentiment commonly associated with the lost paradise of our childhood - when we felt omnipotent, entitled, and immortal. Happiness in adulthood, however, requires realism, reciprocity, and coming to terms with one's mortality. It is cultivation of forgiveness, tolerance, patience, generosity, and compassion." - T. Byram Karasu

from What Exactly Is Happiness

What do you think?


In this article from the IRS website, I learned:

"The IRS has published Revenue Ruling 2007-41, which outlines how churches, and all 501(c)(3) organizations, can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. Also, the ban by Congress is on political campaign activity regarding a candidate; churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying (including ballot measures) and advocate for or against issues that are in the political arena. The IRS also has provided guidance regarding the difference between advocating for a candidate and advocating for legislation. See political and lobbying activities."


This article proposes that we try to revoke the LDS Church's 501c3 status! They have a good point. As a non-profit organization, you are not supposed to create propaganda to influence legislation. The Mormon Church spent $25 million dollars in support of California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. How can they get away with that?

Here is a Petition to Change the Tax-code and Challenge The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Tax-exempt Status

Mormons For Proposition 8

Letter from the Mormon Church to its members

Another article here

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


What a wonderful, happy, awesome, super day!! I am SO excited!!! We have a new President who is intelligent, kind, and thoughtful, who has integrity, who is awesome! WOW!

Nonviolence Is The Right Choice—It Works

"Nonviolent resistance is not only the morally superior choice. It is also twice as effective as the violent variety.

That's the startling and reassuring discovery by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, who analyzed an astonishing 323 resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006." Read more here...

from The Progressive

Hey you!

Did you vote yet???!!