Not Your Everyday News

Thursday, July 13, 2023


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another 'Veteran' is gone from the good ole days...

My sister and I literally grew up in the restaurant business, going there after school most days when we were little, working on weekends and during summer vacation. It was fun, because we got to play little bosses at the side of Papa, ate anything we wanted, had live lobster races in the big walk in fridge, having Mom organize pizza parties for our school, and much much more. There were times that we didn't see Mom or Papa much, as they were always working, but they both always knew how to make up for lost time, allowing us to be spoiled and never missing a thing. We also grew up with certain people who just always seemed to be there, day after day, loyal, reliable, hardworking folks who helped the restaurants run like a top. We jokingly called some of them 'veterans' as that is exactly what they were, veterans of the restaurant business, and some of them became like family. The veterans were numerous, from different restaurants my parents had, a few worked at multiple ones. Over the years, as my sister and I have grown, moved away, gotten married, and eventually come back, one by one most of the veterans have passed, and with each obituary we read, all the childhood memories come roaring back. Hazel was one of the first to go, brain aneurism and cancer. She was a real character, too vain to wear the glasses she desperately needed. We shared the same birthday, so we always exchanged gifts, so naturally I think of her every June 13. Elaine left us a couple of years ago, numerous health problems took her, despite her strength. And a couple of days ago, Alice's name and picture turned up in the obituaries. Alice could get a little moody with her co-workers sometimes, but her loyalty and reliability to our family was second to none. She worked for my parents for approximately 30 years, longer than anyone else (Elaine comes in at a close 2nd), and literally saw me and my sister grow up. She was always kind to us and Mom, and she didn't hesitate to give any guff that Papa gave her right back (a Hazel characteristic as well!). On more than one occasion, customers at the restaurant would mention how they were able to get a free show with their meal, especially when Hazel and Alice ganged up on Papa with various hijinks and commentary! One by one, the veterans have left us, leaving memories behind, and a whole lot of nostalgia...the good ole days. Yeah, there were some days that weren't so good, but for two young girls growing up and looking through rose colored glasses, they were the good ole days. And as I read each and every obituary over the years of these ladies and others who have gone as well - Christina and Billy come to mind now - I realize that life goes on, but unfortunately, it means that we are getting older, a reality that I am really coming to dislike immensely. RIP Alice, say hi  to Hazel, Elaine, and all the others from back in the good ole days.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Football is back!

Well folks, it is that time of year - football season! And hence we come upon another one of my great loves! I have been a football fan since elementary school, watching it on the sly and picking teams according to whoever had the prettiest uniforms (well, I did that in all sports, not just football!). And over 30 years ago I fell in love with a team wearing blue and silver with a star on the helmet! I know I know, in Deadskin country, being a Dallas fan isn't easy, but hey, a girl's gotta root for her team no matter what! It of course isn't the same these days, football has become a business, there isn't as much loyalty by players, and even fans are more fairweather and tend to jump on bandwagons, but it is still fun to watch, 11 on 11, the strategy, the suspense, the trash talking with friends and acquaintances! As for the Dallas Cowboys, it is so different now from when I first started rooting for them. Back then, Tom Landry was the coach, Roger Staubach the QB, and you never heard a peep from the owner. Now, they have had coaching turmoil and turnover, inconsistent QB play, and an owner who can't seem to stay out of the limelight. But that star on the helmet still has luster for me, and it always will. I just wish hubby was into it as well. Being from Italy, he had no idea about America's version of football, and despite my efforts to educate him on the game during the 11 years he has been in the U.S., he continues to fall asleep or play on his Ipad! No problem, I sit and watch and yell and jump up and down (sometimes scaring Lady!), cursing refs, players, and coaches, before finally enjoying a victory or bemoaning a defeat....and then waiting for next week to do it all over again! Go Dallas!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Diner Life....

Being a small business owner is tough in any business, but I just have to believe that the restaurant business just might be a little bit tougher. Staffing is always an issue. The fact of the matter is that this business often attracts folks who live paycheck to paycheck, people who might be able to have a retail or office job but need the daily cash money waiting tables brings, rather than having a paycheck direct deposited every two weeks. Heck, most of my staff don't even have a bank account for that matter, in fear of having any funds in it seized by some state or federal agency for unpaid fines, child support etc..  Restaurants also attract folks who need that 2nd (or maybe 3rd) chance in life after going through personal problems, addictions, even incarceration. You feel sorry for most of these people, people who were simply dealt a bad hand in life, people who made poor decisions in that 'young and dumb' stage of life, or who just don't have the capacity of others for whatever reason. You are pleased when one starts to separate themselves from the others, to move a step or two ahead, and can move on to a career where advancement, even success,  is a real possibility. But too often you are disappointed with those who seem to revel in personal drama, who enjoy that baby step forward, only to take 2 or 3 giant steps back, who get paid on Monday and are broke and asking for an advance on Tuesday, who are willing to sacrifice their job, even friends and family, for a 'good time', whatever that may be. Is it all worth it? Well, for me personally, it is, because I love food and I love my customers - I cherish my friends and regulars, the lifeline/backbone of this business, the ones you know by name and celebrate birthdays or other special events with. And yes, there are those staff members who you do become proud of, those who overcame the bad hand or the poor personal decisions, are appreciative of the chance they were given, and have become great at what they do, whether it be waiting tables, cooking, or doing delivery. So while some of my staff frustrates me and makes me just shake my head, others step up and pick up the slack to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. I refuse to name names here, but there are 4 of my staff members in particular who simply are there when needed, becoming jacks of all trades, stepping up to the plate, most times without me having to ask. Other staff members might accuse me of favoritism, but I take care of those who take care of me, and that's just how it is!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Growing into her name, and being worthy of it

I know, I know...have been slacking big time in the blog department! Been a bit short handed at the Diner lately, plus trying to catch up on some projects at home with the few spare time I have...and of course, taking care of the hubby and Queen Lady! Hubby has been busy with his computer gigs as well, but at least he loves his work, my sweet adorable techie! And of course Lady has been busy with her demanding life - after all, it is very hard being a Lady, with all the demands, obligations, and expectations that fill her every day! Being blessed with such beauty and brains just overwhelms her at times, as does this hot summer with her thick (but oh so soft!) fur coat. But she plugs along with the rest of us, like a real trooper!

You can call me obsessed with our wonderful dog. There are hundreds of great dogs out there - no, what am I saying - thousands of great dogs out there. But Lady, at age 5, has turned into one of those once in a lifetime dogs. Yes, she is smart, yes, she is so pretty. But she is also so attentive, so loving, such a true companion for both hubby and myself. Not once in the 5 years we have had her has she not been at the window or door when we get home. Not once, since she was a puppy, has she had an accident in the house. Not once has she destroyed anything in the household other than a chew toy or one of the plastic water bottles laced with peanut butter that we sometimes give her. She isn't scared of anything except the vacuum cleaner. Lady regards the house and both the front and back yard as her property and makes her rounds daily of each. When we walk her or take her to the dog park, she ignores the hateful dogs who bark and/or growl at her (jealous of her beauty I am sure!) and concentrates on trying to make friends with the humans! She is such a helper too, helping hubby take trash and recycling to the garage, helping me do the laundry by smelling all the clothes,  and even in the kitchen she helps, making sure I haven't dropped anything edible and then checking to see if I stacked the dishwasher right! And the rare times we have had to scold her, she gives you that look, followed by her paw and dozens of kisses, that immediately make us forget why we even scolded her in the first place. And she breaks our heart everyday when we have to leave home, that look is so sad, and that little cry when one of us starts getting dressed in 'leaving' clothes (she is so smart, she recognizes from what clothes we put on if we are leaving or not). But then, upon return, she lavishes us with such love, joy and sheer happiness that perks up even the worst day.

Lady, if only you could understand what we say about you and to you (and we know you understand a whole lot, but not quite everything), and how much we love you and consider ourselves lucky to have found you 5 years ago. You were a wobbly, chubby 8 week old 10 pound super cute puppy, and now we have seen you grow into an elegant, gorgeous, intelligent, and loving 60 pound have grown into your name and are worthy of it my girl.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hello...and Thank You

Been remiss in writing. I think that heatwave got to me, was feeling kind of tired, blah, low energy and all. Then, to top matters off, that storm on the evening of June 29th played major havoc at the restaurant, knocking out power for 3 solid days. (thank goodness it didn't go out at home!) I ran and bought dry ice once I lost power in an effort to save the food, but dry ice last less than 24 hours, and when the realization set in that my power was not going to come back soon, there was no more dry ice to be found. Losing 3 days of business and 11 refrigerators and freezers full of food was a huge blow, and my frustration with the power company was magnified as businesses north, south, and across the street from my place got power back 2 days before I did. I began to fret, wondering if my friends, acquaintances, and regulars would forget about my little diner after being closed for what seemed to be an eternity. But, my fears were allayed when we finally did get back open, my 'peeps' flowed back in, bemoaning the loss of our food, especially breakfast, and thankful that we survived and reopened. It was heartening to say the least. My thanks to everyone for all the moral support, and the offers by about 1/2 a dozen folks to use their extra fridge and/or freezer space if, God forbid, something like this happens again. I certainly hope not, but unfortunately cannot be sure of that after witnessing some bizarre weather in our region the last couple of years.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time - the 80's and high school reunions

Time. Sometimes is just crawls by, the hands of the clock seemingly motionless. Other times, it just flies by at a screaming pace, and you wonder what on earth just happened, where did it go? I have been in the latter stage lately, ever since my high school reunion last weekend. I had missed the previous one, held when I was living overseas, so there was no way I was going to miss this. The turnout was a bit low, rather disappointing from the aspect that several of the folks who had clamored for a reunion and were talking about it on Facebook were no shows....very lame and uncool y'all! But those of us who did show up had an absolute blast! Some were a bit heavier, a bit grayer, maybe a wrinkle or two here and there, but overall, it was the 80's again - the DJ was playing Michael Jackson and Madonna and Journey and the Eurythmics and all of those 1 hit wonders that the 80's was famous for. We were 18 and skinny and loud and laughing, totally carefree, and I was driving my VW Bug convertible again. Time, for a sec, had stood still, because we were back in Mrs. Ringland's typing class (no chewing gum!), Mr. Agee's French class (or circus actually!), and Mr. Marino's history class (which I really should've taught, since I prepared the syllabus and picked the textbooks one year!). Pep rallies, spirit week, football and basketball games, homecoming - yeah, we were all there again! But then cold cruel reality set in as we pored over the old yearbooks and saw faces that we never saw again after high school. Whatever happened to him, whatever happened to her, I heard that so and so went through this or had that happen to them. And a tinge of sadness swept over, because those people were gone, out of our lives, and it wasn't the 80's anymore, time had indeed marched on. Time waits for no one, it goes on, with or without you. You do get gray, heavier, maybe a wrinkle or two, you just don't stay 18 and skinny unfortunately. But you revel in the times that you can have together, whether it be a reunion or something more impromptu, and appreciate that you are able to meet and get nostalgic together. To the HCS crew that did take the time to show up last week, thank you, I grew up with many of you, and have always, in my own way, loved you. So, until next time my friends...blast that 80's music when it comes on the radio!

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