forgiveness

dang. with a title like that you would think i would have a big story to tell you.
but i don’t. it’s just the first thing that came to mind.

i make mistakes like everyone does. i say stupid shit and regret it later. i talk bad about someone when i shouldn’t. i hold grudges now and then and i am selfish.
i yell at people i should be thanking. i thank people i should be yelling at. whatever it is, i do dumb stuff sometimes.

but i also get to feel forgiven. i know that sounds weird and it is, but hear me out. growing up learning this christian faith, there were some major themes that came from that. forgiveness is one of the biggest themes i learned. God forgives our shortcomings so we can really LIVE… and we forgive others that wronged us. simple.

but also this understanding has me forgiving myself. when i do stupid stuff and make mistakes i regret, i try to not dwell on them longer than i should, but forgive myself. you know, in the “i can’t change the past but only the future” sort of way and i move on. i consider the mistake enough to hope and plan to correct it in the future, and i eventually let it go and try harder. part of that may just be the religion i grew up learning but the other part is just decent upbringing. kids learn so much from their parents.

work. i give it my all but lately my all has been sorta thin. thin because the majority of my energy was focused back on my family. i think of it sorta like the stained glass windows i make. i spend a few months filling in a section of windows in my studio…. then months later when i make time, i spend months working on a set of windows for the greenhouse, then i plan a few months and focus on glass windows at the restaurant. then back to the studio etc. i think i’ve had 2 big swipes at each of the three locations and i’m about to start a third round at the restaurant again. it’s the same with my energy in general. i may spend months with my head in my job and then months with my head in my home. the balance is rarely fine tuned. it’s more blaring this way or that for a spell.

C is constantly fine tuning my energy as only a best friend could. shaking her head but also showing me the right direction in a silent sort of way, an unconscious way. never pushy. without that keel i would be off on a wild tangent for sure, forgetting the great laughs along the way.

having our parents close is a gift we enjoy.
it’s a gift for our kids – they can’t even realize yet.
having success in work and home is a gift i can’t even realize yet.
i think maybe forgiveness is easier for me to grasp than gratitude.
gratitude just breaks me down to dust.

and why is it that someone reading the blog reminds me to write in the blog? someone reading the blog scares the hell out of me because i know i say anything that pops in my head half the time. someone telling me they read the blog always has this strange effect: my first reaction is i want to run and hide and act like i didn;t really write any of that stuff but some other guy hacking me did. because i have no idea what i wrote and imagine whatever it was it must sound ridiculous to any sane person. and then later i feel guilty. guilty for not writing more, for not expressing more of my behind the scenes mania. and get this: i even feel guilty for not having a better story to tell or something more worth saying. for not giving readers more content to absorb more often. so i feel terribly bad that i have exposed my soul to the world but also guilty for not giving them better and more frequent material. there’s a deep problem there i’m stuck with. it’s the dichotomy thing that i am so obsessed with. dichotomies. i want to be a hermit who talks to everyone all the time. i want to hide in my shell but hope you notice me. i want my paintings to yell and scream but with the quietest of a whisper. i want to tell my story to the world but i don’t want anyone to listen.

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no lie

i spent the last 2 hours writing one of the longest and most personal posts i have ever written. i knew i had said too much and gone too far. i was worried about how much i revealed about myself and my state of mind. i went to preview the post, think about it, decide if it was too much or not…. and i got a strange screen pop up. something to the effect of “are you sure you want to do this?” and i said yes. but i think it was asking me if i was sure i wanted to move to another screen and lose all my writing. at the time i did not understand what it was asking me. but it’s gone. the post is gone. the entirety of my feelings and emotions was poured into the void. i feel fine with that. i think i would have liked to look back on all that one day and it would have been good to decipher my personal state, but it wasn’t meant to be. i feel certain that everything happens for a reason. lots of times the reasons are beyond my human comprehension. i gladly accept that. in accepting that i accept my own humanity and the imperfect reality of computers. there is no reason my writing should have ever been wiped out like that. even now it looks as if it saves a draft of my writing every couple minutes. if that is so then why is the 2 hours of writing completely gone?

it is not new to me. it happens more often that is believable. it has something to do with my energy. my anti-computer energy.

almost 2am. good night.

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wednesday nights

i’m making pies wednesday nights now. there’s a hole in the schedule there and i like making pies. i worked in the kitchen making pies for at least 9 years and a couple years ago moved to floating. i try and jump in at the LSE bar and move the line along or run get them kegs or pitchers. i chat with customers, run food, bus tables, and keep an eye on dough proofiness and prep.

but wednesday nights i’m making pies and it has become my favorite night to be at work. i like making pies a lot. i enjoy being the guy making half the people’s dinners.

tonight there were some big birthday parties. i was talking to a couple from holland visiting florida for the first time and the table next to us was singing happy birthday. about 15 minutes later another big party nearby was singing happy birthday. i love that.

met a lady in LSE briefly. francesca? fran-something. anyway, she was sweet. told me how much she loved the place, how she loved lavell, and always hung out at lightnin. always nice to hear the customers tell me how much enjoyment they get from the place.

i’m wiped out. i like making pies sure but i am running around ragged from early until late every day. there is very little rest for me lately. i dream about rest. i mean, i sleep. i go to bed at some point like everyone else. but all of the waking hours are frantic. it’s just where i’m at. the house renovation is going slow. the grout on order is taking 2 weeks instead of 2 days as promised. the things to do list is so long my head spins. its hard for me to figure out which of the seventeen things on my list i should start with. in a few weeks the work christmas party is happening and i would like to have the front porch not look like a construction site. i would like to have the unfinished bathroom finished. i would like to have some doors on more cabinets. but whatever. it is what it is. i can only do so much.

i get on tangents too like the greenhouse stained glass wall. i am one glass away from finishing a wall of stained glass and i am trying to find time to work on that last window. theres something about being done with a project that is so satisfying, even if there a thousand other projects unfinished. at this point i have the glass cut and ready to be soldered. tomorrow maybe i can solder and install? wouldn;t that be nice?

there’s also my show of paintings to be hung december 1st at satchels. i’d love to do another collage or painting by then but i don;t see how it can happen. i’ll hang what i have i reckon.

i have a video to make. danny and i delivered some free pizza to a junkyard today and i need to upload and edit but sheesh…. no time in the day for that nonsense. we got plywood in monday for cabinet doors and there are still 64 doors to build and i’m the finish guy. 3 coats of poly on both sides and sanded between coats. the pantry is big. the island has 12 drawer faces to do. there is another cabinet with 8 doors. and drawer faces too on our bedroom closet cabinet thing. will it ever be done? of course it will. but it’s been over a year now. there is so much to be thankful for. there is the new office and we are living back in the house so i should not complain. but it’s hard for me to not see the stack of things to be done still. the outdoor painting, and yard work. i should hire people i know but it’s not that simple. it’s just not. i wish it was. it would take me longer to explain things and manage someone than just to do it myself. of course i am supposed to be enjoying the journey and having fun with each task. i know i know. many times it is like that. when the weather is nice and the restaurant is running great i can really enjoy the projects.

but when the beer order is messed up, and the store run for work is not happening with efficiency, and the restaurant stuff i ordered is not coming in, and the grout is delayed another week, and the carpenter is late and making mistakes, and my cat wakes me up in the middle of the night…. i get ornery. so my voice is now fading in and out for three months…. three months of having loss of voice. stress i tell you, the silent killer.

the backsplash tile is a long way from being chosen. but one day… one day…

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football, pizza, people, lots of people

today the gators lost to south carolina in the last minute of the game. well, they were about to win and then the gamecocks tied it up and then the gators lost in overtime.
last night was insanely busy at work. right from 5pm we were slammed with people. so many hungry people. but tonight was even busier. the game was over about 3:30 and by 4 they hit us. BAM. non-stop. people everywhere. tickets coming out of our ears. the printer just ran and ran and ran and tickets just kept coming. right away we got to where the wait for a takeout pie was an hour. then an hour and 10 minutes. then an hour and 20 minutes. for a long spell the take out pizza times were an hour and 20 minutes. i don;t remember the last time it was that busy. i get especially overwhelmed at times like these because i know everyone is hungry and waiting and we can only make so many pizzas and we only have those 4 ovens. i know if 3 people who called in sick today but i think there were even more than that. so there were many people working doubles. and we were hammered all night.

it’s intense. i’ve tried to explain it in posts before and intense is the go to word i use. it’s hard to explain it in words. it’s hard to convey the intensity. while we can only do so much and fit so many bodies in the kitchen or the dining room, the amount of business just gets bigger than the ability to fill the orders efficiently.

but we do. we take each ticket and make the food and bake the pies and send them out and the orders just keep pounding us. i’ve worked in may busy restaurants in my days. washing dishes at the double musky in girdwood alaska was intense too. i remember i would get a $50 bonus if we did over 300 covers and we did that almost every weekend. i was in my 20’s and so while it was hard, it was not as hard as it is now. my body changed. my back hurts. my mind gets weary. i don’t breathe deeply enough. i get stressed. leonardo’s 706 was super busy and i washed dishes there over 5 years straight every weekend. i took it as my personal challenge to stay on top of the rush, to do the dishes as fast as they came in. sometimes i would lose that battle but i always took it as a challenge to overcome. now, after more than 11 years in this restaurant i still get overwhelmed and impressed. after about 5 hours of non stop pizza making i put someone else on pizzas and started to help the dishwasher. i couldn’t help but be amazed that i would go get 25 pizza pans to wash and before the two of us could get them clean there would be 25 more. and there was silverware and glasses and plates too of course. the dishes are so hard to keep up with. our dishwasher al is so good. he is calm. he just keeps going.

everyone was wiped out at the end. the lounge was trashed. napkins, forks and knives on the floor. pizza boxes stacked up. the trash overflowing, the recycle bins overflowing. the kitchen is a mess. flour everywhere. we’re all exhausted but the clean up has to happen. the kitchen and dining room and lounge have to get returned to clean and tidy state after going through such a crazy night.

it feels good in a weird way. hard work. body aches. back pain. feet pain. but there is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that is hard to explain. you got through it. you made it happen. you fed a whole shit ton of people. and pretty much they all left happy and full and smiling.

one of the best things about our restaurant is people seem to have fun and really like the food. they may wait longer than they want but once the food comes they are happy. they enjoy the food and they are glad they came. they fork over their cash and seem ok with the world.

the best thing about being closed two days a week is knowing that everyone can take 2 days off after a crazy friday saturday one two punch. jordan said he was going to stay in slippers and a robe ALL DAY sunday. i wish i could do that. i mean, i could i guess but i have so many other things i want to do on sunday.

speaking of sunday… i want to bring all my plants into the greenhouse. i want to finish painting and staining the wood and walls inside the greenhouse. i want to plant a couple big plants into the earth in there. i want to sand down the 12 foot board that is going on top of the cabinet upstairs. i want to start a new stained glass window for the greenhouse. i want to help my son with his science fair project. i want to do a lot of things tomorrow.

i stop and hobble into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine. my feet hurt. i must look like an 80 year old man. winding down from the madness takes time. my mind is still racing. my body still has some adrenaline rushing through it. i am happy. content. i hope folks were happy. many weekend nights i spend a lot of time talking to customers. tonight i was just making pies. i only interacted with a few customers at the end. but either job is fun and fine. but i do wonder why so many people do it. why do so many people work these hard jobs? when i asked one of the servers at the end of the night why we do it she did the winding finger around the ear move. crazy. we’re crazy somehow.

i feel like we serve humanity in feeding people. waiting on them. cooking for them. washing dishes and cleaning up for them. it feels like a good thing to do. it makes me really happy. i can’t explain it very good but i enjoy it.

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desk/ office/ mind rest

tonight i finally got to begin to fully move in to my new office. the shelves were hung in the cabinets and the desktop is fairly clear. the pencil drawer is filling up so fast it might resemble a junk drawer soon.

but i can spread out. plenty of room for a few projects at once. i like it.

working on a hoodie design, new bumper sticker. catching up with emails. nice to have a desk, an office, a room that is where i get work done. read. write. relate.

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good

the construction at the home has me anxious. every day trying to chip away at the long list. too much to do.
i knew what i was getting into and i dreaded it in a way. put it off as long as i could. revamping every square inch of a house is like revamping every square inch of your life. it’s good in so many ways. and hard. frustrating. mind boggling. expensive.
we knew from the start we were taking the long approach. the slow slow slow train. but now we are not feeling the leisurely pace anymore. now we are ready to get our lives to some normal again. but there is hardly a room that is really finished. there are a couple rooms that are close, but still a couple weeks away from being flat out done. bathrooms both.

new things.

i have new paintings/ collage. i am happy with them for the most part. i have been having fun working this 2014 series. they were hard, then easy, then got hard again, and then finally easy and fun. there are several i would keep and hang. not sure if i will keep more than 2 though.

i am into soylent. a meal replacement drink. i am a person who is driven and motivated for many hours each day. i get hungry because i don;t want to stop my progress and then i get sloppy. i speed-eat food that is unhealthy and i continue to work but not as effectively as before. sometimes.
this drink allows me to work on, feel i am getting sufficient nutrition, helps me avoid hunger and frustration, and even enjoy the real meals a bit more than before. because they are once a day instead of 3x a day.

hard to explain how a meal replacement drink is such a good fit for my lifestyle. i can try and explain all the benefits and reasons but it’s getting close to 1am and i still don’t have the time, even skipping the time for meals i find myself up too late and up too early and trying to get too many projects to fit into the hours like mosaic tile on a very large wall. there is both metaphor and reality in that last bit.

the sheer magnitude of things i have to be thankful for can only be described as HEAVY. and yet daily there are challenges to confront me and require my constant attention. daily i find new problems to solve that i did not see coming and could not have anticipated. while the landscape behind me is lush and rich and wonderful and overflowing, the details in the routine are intricate and require real work and problem solving skill. it’s like i have everything i ever needed but fight daily to keep it. it’s like i have been gifted with riches beyond imagination but they require my constant vigilance to keep intact. as great as my life and circumstances are, my ride is bumpy, rough, wild, and requires me to have both hands on the wheel. it’s as if somehow all of the hard work is balanced only by all of the benefits i enjoy.

regardless of the nonsense i am trying to explain above , this soylent product is very exciting to me. i am just too busy to bother with eating, as terrible as that may sound, for me eating revolves around a single food, pizza. if i eat pizza 3 or 4x a week instead of 10-12, and i am getting more balanced nutrition in a much more efficient fashion, then i am moving in the right direction. the pizza tastes even better, if that is possible, and i should be even healthier in the end.

i feel good. a bit manic yes of course, especially with so much going on in my life, but good. no allergies. plenty of water. business is good. employees seem happy. the customers mostly seem happy….

there is the one guy. he loved our sausage. the sausage we used to get that was spicy and link style. now we buy local unspiced ground sausage and we spice it mildly. anyway, he wrote me that he didn’t like the new sausage as much and when i wrote back we were now switched to the new, he let me know that he won’t be coming back. i changed to a new sausage and lost this regular customer. i may have lost another one as i got a twitter message that i should get the other sausage again. a customer that was clearly not happy with our change.

i can’t be all things to all people. our new sausage may lose us a few customers and it may gain us even more. who knows?
but i just get up and take on the day like it’s my job. what conflict will arise? what problem will i need to solve? who will i make mad and who can i make happy?
will i enjoy some one on one time with my son, my daughter, my wife, my mom?
will i finally accomplish something i have been working on for months? will i think up a new idea that will turn out to be a hit? will i start a new collage? finish a stained glass window? meet someone new that i like? will i learn something? will i improve? the day has so many things waiting for me to accomplish and discover.

i want to tell you about my new app, about some podcast gossip, i want to discuss kickstarter at length and my thoughts on fund raising. i want to talk about the tesla. my iphone. my computer and my work space. but now it’s passed the 1am and tomorrow is a huge long wonderful day.

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other things

Been working on this idea. Even started a blog about it here.
it might only make sense to people who listen to a lot of podcasts. the whole blog and app idea is centered around podcast funding. well, with a forward look to charity funding….

the blog is a place to send podcasters so they can follow this idea but i have only sent it to one podcaster so far. i want to get the app further along before sharing the idea more widely.

the only reason i am sharing it here now is because of alex blumberg. alex is a guy who worked for this american life podcast for a long time and then helped start planet money podcast and now he wants to start a podcast company and has a new podcast about that called startup podcast. if he can be so honest and open about his idea then i feel i should open up about my idea too. at first i didn’t want anyone to take the idea but now i think that i’m the only one who really sees the benefit of such an idea. the idea is an app that enables the user to give to multiple podcasts with a few simple clicks.

it’s nearly midnight. i spent too long writing for my other blog tonight so i’m signing out of this one.

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better a day later

i was in bad shape yesterday and good shape today. what’s wrong with me?
don’t answer that.

yesterday i had been in a bad space for a long time and i thought it would never end. today i emerged from my funk and found my happiness. first off my wife makes my life a million times better every day and today was no different in that regard. she took the girl to school and made breakfast and lunch for the boy and took him too, and THEN picked me up at the shop. why? because the A/C on my truck is shot. and i spend a lot of time in my vehicle talking on the phone, and talking on the phone is more difficult with the windows down, and my voice has been going out the last week (from stress), and well i want it to work because i like that truck and need the A/C to talk on the phone when driving and also to make the ride of my friends and family more comfortable.

but besides all that, i was able to work at home for a change and uninterrupted for many hours on sanding and sealing the new windowsills for my house. we added TWELVE new windows to the house and 9 of them have cypress windowsills. the other 3 are plaster. they are high up and so don’t need the wooden sills.

but anyway, i enjoy these home projects so much that it turned my spirit around. it’s just the kind of thing that i enjoy, working on a project at home. and then work tonight was pleasant and not too busy and pizzas looked really good.

i’ve got another blog. i’ve been working with a woman in colorado to try and create an app that allows user to give to multiple podcasts at once. i’m keeping a blog about the process but it’s still private. i will share it here when the time is right. i realized recently that the app may never get finished. but i’ve not given up yet. i even wrote a long post on that blog tonight. but it’s a long road and more complicated than i first thought.

ongoing theme: i had a lot to write about here but don’t have time now to tell you….

… spent too long on the other post and then looking at a kickstarter campaign on some cool artist made playing cards. and now it is after midnight and my shoulders and hands are tired. but i am not “exhausted” or weary with life like i have been for the last couple weeks. i am not 100% good to go, but i have recovered a lot from my feelings just last night. it can be good to post a few days in a row now and then to follow my roller coaster mood swings. they are not as bad as all that but i do go through quite high and low times. having time in my shop and studio at home are sure fire ways to raise my spirits.

a guy called me today asking why don’t i start making my sodas and selling to all the local restaurants. this person doesn’t know me very well. ha. well enough to have my cell phone but not well enough to know my life. if i get an extra couple hours i want to work on a painting, sculpture, stained glass window, or in my greenhouse, NOT start a new business.

more tomorrow maybe. but what are the chances really? 3 days in a row?
not likely.

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so tired

it’s hard to even express my burnout and exhaustion. from what? life. the lightning strike that took out thousands of dollars in equipment at work that keeps my head spinning daily. the renovation at home which has us out of the house for over 4 months. the workers on the renovation that some days just don’t show. the training of new pizza makers which is one of the most stressful things in my life. the kids, not listening or turning into teenagers. the cats that keep me up at night. my diet which consists of no food or unhealthy food. my exercise which does not happen.

my life is too complicated. i wish it were easier. i wish it were simpler. i wish i knew how to change things. not that it is unhappy or unfulfilled, because i have more than enough to be happy and fulfilled about, but i am just so damn exhausted. mentally. physically too but more mentally. i am thinking of too many things at once. i am trying to accomplish too many things each day and week. i wish i knew how to just flip the switch off.

the pizzas have been going downhill lately. because new people are making them and i can;t watch every one. i get called to other issues and come back and find pizzas with half the jalapenos they need, half or twice the cheese, or just entirely too small or too large and floppy. too much sauce, or too many toppings. i try and get a handle on each one but sometimes 3 go in at a time and i can;t keep up. the most experienced pizza makers are working less and less. the night manager of the kitchen moved to a day prep position and that has left a hole that is yet to be filled.

i am wiped out. tomorrows friday which means i have to be alert and ready and NOT tired and exhausted. i need to make changes, somehow, some way.

my mind is so weary. i am thinking about the decision for the ATM, the handrail for the stairs at home, the window sills i need to poly. the guy who is not at work until 3pm. the fact my car went to the shop and now has to go back again. the dwindling bank account. the kids bad attitude. the maintenance at work and home. the new schedule at work. trying to find the right people for the right jobs. i can’t go on. i am getting more stressed writing about it. i thought it would help but i just feel anxious.

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lightning

lightning struck at work and stressed me out.
my voice is almost gone from stress.

but at least i could take a labor day weekend and get in a gator game and some down time….

but wait… no game???

lightning has been messing with us around here. stalling my pizza biz and stalling the gators…

so, fortunately i am working on a system to salvage this lightning for some enhanced future use… because salvaging lightning is first off pretty much unheard of and secondly, is a bad-ass idea. you start with a long metal rod and a collection device, and a very intense storm.
but i can’t get into that right now because i am mostly thinking about an event that might happen september the second.

more on that later…

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thanks

such a great night.

one family made my night and it just kept a high note from there. the family had a boy about to start at UF. they were so excited about the pizza. the father said it was the best he ever had. he was originally form romania but visiting us from ft. lauderdale. he was so dang excited about our pizza it even tickled me. he said the crust was so good. he couldn’t get over himself with excitement. it reminded me of how i feel when i get a really good pie. i get so excited. i don’t feel it as a self absorbed pleasure or even related to my own accomplishment. i just am so happy the pizza is so good. so happy i picked the right toppings and it was cooked properly. so happy that my dinner is so good.

anyway, as if i couldn’t be any more pleased with this guy’s excitement, i went back at the end of their meal because i wanted to get another lift from them. i said to the man, ” hope you can come back and see us” and he looked at me straight and serious and said he was going to buy the empty lot across the street and move there.

and not long after that there was the woman from new orleans said she was happy and the food was so good. but she made a point to tell me that as good as the food and the atmosphere was it didn’t compare to the joy she got from how she was served by so many employees and how they all came by to check on her. she loved that they were all working together.

then there was the 8 year old who went gaga about our crust. she said with such emotion, “i can’t beliiieeeve how good this crust is!” omg, she is 8. how can she be such a crust critic? these sorts of things just make me as a happy as a man can be. when the customers see and comment on all the things i am working so hard to do (…make good crust, create an comfortable atmosphere, make something that one just craves and longs for…) when they notice and tell me with words about their revelations…. it makes me feel good, complete, and like my endeavors are worthwhile.

i love the customers and i am impressed by my employees. what did i do to deserve this?

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too busy to write

my summer’s are intense and this one especially so.
one of the things i feel i am best at is problem solving. for example, currently i am working on a home renovation. the house i live in was built in 1961 by my grandparents. we’ve added a deck and porch but never addressed the larger problems of the bathrooms, kitchen, ungrounded plugs, rusty plumbing, outdoor laundry room, and limited kitchen space. finally last year we started the big renovation. i get an office that isn’t in the living room, and we tackle all the things that need to be improved. currently we are in the thick of it and so every day and week there are dozens of problems to solve. where do the plugs go, what kind of light, what will the cabinets and siding look like. the fixtures. anyone who has done this sort of thing knows the struggle. it’s a wonderful struggle but a struggle nonetheless. on top of that the restaurant is busier than ever. while it is also running more efficiently than ever and the crew is dedicated and smart, still problems arise weekly that have to be solved. personnel problems, maintenance problems, logistics. then there’s the family. the kids go to camps different weeks, there is a visit to the in-laws on the horizon, we are moved out of the house so our belongings are in boxes and stacks. there are personal struggles as well. how to find time to paint? how to best organize my time and days? how to enjoy the family while also juggling the renovation and restaurant demands?

i make lists. constantly make lists and set reminders and alarms. if i don;t set a reminder then i don;t get that thing done. lots of times i am too busy when the reminder comes and i have to make time to reset the alarm for a new later time that i imagine will be appropriate. the bank account has to be constantly monitored and maintained. the bills have to get paid. the kids need attention and encouragement, instruction and time. time. time. time.

while i have abandoned the hope of stained glass projects for now, and do not find the luxury to write, i am carrying a painting around with me to work on in between other tasks. i am actually getting a fair amount of paintings finished and always waiting for an hour to make a frame and finish a painting or collage. i’ll continue to have my yearly show of paintings in december, and this year should mark my 19th or 20th year of showing new work every year. while i don’t make a big fuss over advertising my work, or trying to promote my work, it is one of the staples of my life that help me manage the madness. the times i sit with the brush painting are the calmest and most peaceful times. the work tends to mirror my state. lately they are whirling and spiraling, textured, and hopefully reflective of my year and the tension between the peace i seek and the intensity of my activity.

my love for the customers and employees is not diminished. when i am working at the restaurant i am happy, even if sometimes also troubled. fortunately i have amazing people around me who help manage my business. if it weren’t for the staff i have assembled, my restaurant would not be so successful. i am keenly aware of the wealth of truly good people who help me daily.

my mom has macular degeneration. this condition has worsened in one eye to make seeing from that eye very difficult. there is now the chance that the other eye could worsen at any time and render her legally blind. my mother is wildly independent. driving a car is her freedom, and preparing a sunday meal for my family might mean she takes two or more trips to the grocery a day for several days in preparation. she loves to drive and travel and be independent. nothing could make her more upset than feeling like someone else has to help her. as she discusses her condition and prognosis it is easy to feel her fears. as she has aged she has had to battle a couple cancers among other things. while she has always been there for me and been ready to drop everything for any small need i may have, she is not excited about having the tables turned. the only escape from growing old is dying young. our bodies break down and living through those inevitable bodily breakdowns is a struggle of a whole different level.

i connected with a friend i haven’t seen since high school this week, theo. it’s been almost 30 years since we’ve talked. we shared lunch and caught up. he told me about bobby fankhauser. bobby was a close friend i knew through junior high and high school who i had wondered about many times and even tried to locate on Facebook a couple times. he went by rob as an adult which is why i didn’t find him. bobby died of a heart attack in his sleep two weeks ago. my friend theo and bobby had become close after high school and had been close friends the last few decades. theo had to speak at bobby’s funeral. theo was obviously shaken and disturbed by bobby’s sudden death.

one of the app ideas i have is a cliche app. the app would be a long list of cliches under themes like life, death, sex, food, friendship, neighbors, money, work…. and i thought it would be cool to somehow make little vignettes or short cartoons or videos where the cliche would be acted out or somehow expressed in images. maybe these short clips could be sent to someone or posted in response to an event. it’s a silly idea. it’s one of those ideas i will likely never get to. it’s so far down on the list of things to do that i’m surprised i’m even bringing it up at all. but i bring it up because i like cliches. life is fragile. be here now. no one ever got to their death bed and wished they would have worked more. seize the day. it’s the little things. keep it simple. don’t cry over spilled milk. better safe than sorry. if you build it they will come. rome wasn’t built in a day.

that’s not the app idea i am currently working on. the one i may have mentioned in a previous post or two. that app idea is still in progress with my programmer friend in colorado who is trying to learn a new apple language called swift. hopefully soon i can share that app and a link to the companion blog here. hopefully i am able to keep breathing real life into my ideas. that is a big part of what keeps me inspired and motivated… bringing paintings and ideas and things that live in my head into the real world. they are all silly and fleeting and tiny in the scheme of things, but it is a gift and a curse i live with every day. my lists get longer and then i check off stuff. they shorten for a time and then get longer again. ideas bounce in my head, pulse in my heart, and electrify me veins. it’s self absorbed in a way i know. but it also is just part of my DNA. something i have accepted. something i try and manage. my poor wife just shakes her head.

and so my goals right now are to “take it one day at a time.” i hope to make my restaurant a more interesting place, with consistently good food and service. i hope to continue to find ways to make it more efficient. i imagine the spectrum of efficiency as an infinite one. i hope my mom lets me give back a fraction of what she has given me in the coming months and years. i hope my kids learn critical thinking and problem solving. i hope i can be a constant and positive influence, despite my own shortcomings. i hope to help the employees who need my help, to work through the problems that come up like a good family would. it’s a struggle because while i know it’s easier to let go of an employee who is having a struggle, it’s my responsibility to follow the harder path which seeks a solutions to their issues, to find a way they might fit in the puzzle, stay in the family. i hope to serve the many customers with humility and earnestness. and i hope to continue to make things that brighten, lighten, enliven, spin, churn, entertain, and express.

i’ve stayed up way too late again…. the early bird gets the worm. absence makes the heart grow fonder. actions speak louder than words. all in a day’s work. that which doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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ho

i watch myself make mistakes sometimes, but an hour or two later. i hate that feeling that i am not at my best. the constant rattle of being behind in my imaginary schedule.

but i have things that must be accomplished no doubt. and accomplished this day or this week or this instant.

i feel good. alive. excited. but also never caught up with the demands. a constant shifting of priorities to figure out which one should be placed where… is this better before breakfast wednesday or after lunch? what can wait until thursday or friday? how will i fit it all in the hours? the one i want to do the most requires daylight and that shut off a few hours ago.

i would sleep but i would only sort it all out in my head for a while so why not try writing about it and hope that can shorten the waiting with pillow?
my job feels so easy some days and incredibly hard others. i guess i need a job like that because it reflects my own pace. run run run. stop completely. run run run. stop completely.
so much going on all around me. so much i cannot control or engage. so much i want to engage. so much i have to leave out. good stuff. do not look over here.
if i could learn to take it all in and also be still. if i could engage it all, and still be productive.

i wonder.

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my plate

is full.

the talk consumed so much of my time last week, worry and stress. i was prepared enough, but i did not likely deliver what was expected. i imagine the crowd was ready for tips on making time for writing and came away with something else entirely. but i gave the talk i had. i am not the guy to try and give tips on finding time…. my wife constantly reminds me that my biggest problem in life is related to “time management.”

also interesting for me to think about how badly i was needing a few day break, how much i looked forward to my mini vacation, and then how restless and anxious i became by day 3, wanting to get back to work. but also then at the end, wanting to stay and be the pop, and husband, to my family.

it’s a time management thing. i am not the guy to give a talk on managing time. lol.

but no worries because the talk went fine. i was half as nervous as i expected i would be, and the whole thing was over in a flash. i can’t be certain but i think i even had some chuckles and claps from the audience once or twice so that is a good thing, right?

and while it did not make me think that more public speaking is in my future, it did feel like a test that i passed and can relax about now.

work is fragile for me these days…. or feels fragile even though it is solid like a block of wood. i am excited about my new idea, and working on it some, under the radar. i am excited about the summer, my sister’s family coming, and the home and work projects i have on deck. i heard some great podcasts this week, especially the love and radio one, which i enjoyed so very much. but i am not giving my business the time and energy it sometimes gets. but i tell myself it will be ok.

i feel so compelled to tell you all i know about george ohr but there is just not enough hours in the day, as the cliche goes.

more later. i am not through after all.

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summer is nice

so happy that summer has begun.
i cringed the day that they instituted school uniforms in alachua county because my eccentric daughter who loved to dress up expressively several times daily, was forced to wear the uniform starting her first day of kindergarten. my son at least got to know a few years wearing what he felt expressed himself but my daughter won’t get the same benefit.
and i sometimes wonder about the day they will decide public schools should be year round and the glorious thing called summer will just blend with all the other seasons, but hotter.
for now i can mourn the creative outfits but i can rejoice that summer is still a thing we get to experience together, my kids and me. they’ll go to camps, see their cousins, grandmother takes them to harry potter world in orlando. and we can all sleep in as long as we want (for the most part.)

i’ve been working in the hot sun, trying to mitigate the loss of the old greenhouse by beginning to form the new. my body and mind are over-stressed and tired. i feel guilty at work when i come into the night shift late and leave early. but i am only doing what i can handle. i am so worn out and also having to plan a talk which it turns out is hard to do, and quite time consuming.

i will admit now that it turned out to be a good thing, preparing my talk. i explored almost 30 years of writing in collecting info for this talk. it was sortof fun recalling the old stories and reliving my youth a bit. i think because it was my first time preparing a talk i started out with an outline for 3 hours of material. fortunately i gave myself enough time to realize my mistake and edit it down to a reasonable monologue.

i am amazed at the people who can speak publicly so easily and make it look so easy. it is not something i have a natural knack for. but something that takes me out of my comfort zone. that is supposed to be a good thing. i know i heard that somewhere.

1:44am already. geez. time flies when you’re having fun. i made a lot of pies tonight at work and that was fun.

trying to catch my breath and tell a cohesive story in front of a crowd? now that sounds like work. we’ll see. we’ll see.

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still here….

just when i thought i would not blog again….
just when i tell you i am done with the public expression….
here i am back post after post, with more nonsense and sentences full of text and font.

every day i say to myself, “with just another hour i can finish the outline for my talk….” and then i spend 3 hours struggling with it and say…
with just another hour i think i can wrap up the outline for my talk….

i’ve never done a long talk before and so i am coming at this one in a new way. i am actually trying to have some plan…. some notes, an outline. some reading. lots of reading actually.

but i also struggle to figure out how to tie this long story together. how to deliver it in a fashion that does not put you to sleep…. and it is only with practice do people get good at these sorts of things. it’s kindof like the agony of the pizza contest. it seems like a good idea in the beginning and then as it approaches one realizes all the work that goes into such a thing as transporting ingredients for 8 pizzas across the country and cooking in an unfamiliar oven….

let me say that i still have nightmares about that day in mississippi…. sure, if i did those contests 2 or 3 times a year i could get good at them i think but WHY???? what comes from going to a contest to prove that my pizza is better than someone else’s pizza? what is the point? the fact that my restaurant was full all night this hot june thursday is enough for me to feel like my pizza is good. the fact that i am in there training new pizza makers and watching the pies coming out like a hawk, that is sufficient to make me proud.

but now i embark on a new endeavor, public speaking. it’s like the contest thing in a way, because i am going into a situation that i am not accustomed to.
at least i’m not competing for any prize, not having to perform my pizza making abilities in front of a crowd. oh how terrible that day was….

one thing i hope is certain, it can’t go as badly as that day in oxford went. oh i hope not anyway. my plan is to have the talk so prepared that i am able to simply read along to my detailed notes. and even if folks can’t follow the convoluted story precisely, they might appreciate the smaller stories that emerge.

one can only hope and pray in these matters.

i have avoided really laying out the horror story i experienced that day at the pizza contest. i do have this idea that i might one day be able to turn that memory into a readable menu-back but i will need more distance from it still. so many things went wrong and i made so many mistakes personally, and to make it worse i had made the whole trip a public spectacle. just as i am doing now. making the same mistakes over as i make a bigger deal than i should about the fact that i have to do a speaking gig sunday. so what? big deal? who cares? the only people coming are choosing to be there. they can leave or fall asleep at will.

it’s hard to keep from writing when i spend so much time reading these days. i am reading a lot of old journal entries, trying to stitch together a narrative. i come across terrible writing and funny stories and then i am so tired and ready for bed but i feel compelled to just pop on the blog and write a couple lines….

i’m not even supposed to be blogging anymore. these are just post script posts on the end…. lol.

after 7 1/2 years of blogging i don’t imagine i will be able to just abandoned the habit from one day to the next, just like i wonder how i am supposed to stop eating sugar or start losing weight or solving the problem of my anxiety.
we all form habits that are hard to change and shake. we are accustomed to our ways and our routines. some people watch tv shows. some people read the news online. some people shop on amazon. some people write stupid blogs. it’s ok. it is good to be a human and all. 1:00 in the morning and on the nose y’all! i’ve GOT to get some rest.

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tired

for some reason my computer won’t connect to the internet tonight. i am bound to write but cannot access my blog or web service. it is more than 20 minutes past midnight so if i want to write i am stick writing on google drive and hope to upload this tomorrow to the blog. why am i here? to talk about pizza.

the last 2 days have been my “days off.” i have been working non-stop. a guy cleaning the gutter at the business to the west of satchel’s looked down to see that we had a greenhouse attached to the RE Michels building. he decided to report this infraction to the corporate headquarters. back in the day, before RE Michels bought the building they are now in, the East side of their building was a mess. Thorny vines, beer bottles, oil filters in big barrels, all were what one would see on this side of their building. since no windows or doors were on this side of their business, the landscape had gone wild and been basically abandoned. i spent months cleaning it up. regardless, the company sent me a letter saying it had come to their attention we had a greenhouse attached to their building and it needed to be removed. for the past week we have been “removing” the greenhouse. now it had been relocated to the bocce court.

i just took my first bites of delicious millet and flax crust pizza. i had pizza for lunch at work while me and the guys worked on rebuilding the greenhouse, but now it’s late and my hunger led me to the frig for a snack. i only found one tiny slice of pizza in my frig. i am so happy to be eating it.

preparing for my talk at the library coming up this sunday i have been reading through my journals for excerpts to read to the folks. i found the writing of my pizza journey through new york 5 or 6 years ago. i ate at 13 pizza places in 3 days and reading these memories made me crave a slice. i am so thankful for that small slice that was waiting for me in the frig. ‘

it’s almost 1am. i have been getting 4 hours of sleep for days. i stay up too late drawing and trying to make an outline for my “talk” and then work 15 or 16 hour days and i am so tired. i am trying to understand what compels me to write right now and why i cannot just go to bed at a reasonable hour?

pizza. i was reading the journal looking for something worthwhile and after an hour i came upon the new york pizza reviews and i read the few journal pages where i was in new york eating pizza for days, and then i was in a trance. it’s like when my 9 year old reads about ice cream in a book she has to have some, or even if they are eating a bagel she gets hungry for a bagel…. as i read about the pizzas and remembered the pizzas i had to go hunt down a slice in the frig….

i am trying to put together an outline for my talk on sunday. i want to tell a story and leave an impression about my inspirations and motivations. as i read my old journals i find i mostly talk about pizza, anxiety and painting. i find i write a lot about painting. next about my anxiety and then about pizza and my restaurant. even when i was in my 20’s i wrote a lot about painting, anxiety, and pizza. the same is still true today. 25 years later.

the small slice i just ate was delicious. my memories of my 3 days and 13 pizzerias of new york are delicious. it’s silly how much my life revolves around this food. silly.

my computer shows i have internet but i don’t. i must be up at 6am and it is 1am. not unusual at all for me. lately i get 4 hours of sleep per night and i long and wish for 6. but my anxiety won’t let me get more than 4. the greenhouse needs rebuilding. there is so much to do on this project i cannot begin to explain. i will be training new pizza makers tuesday and wednesday and thursday night this week. my son has an award ceremony tomorrow night i will escape from satchel’s to attend. i will work another very long day tomorrow, and every day this week. i am training new pizza makers, i am rebuilding the greenhouse. i am remodeling at home. i am anxious. i am trying to outline a talk. i am reading my old journals for material. i am eager to write again. i have been drawing every night lately. today i dropped off a new coffee mug design and new t-shirt design to the printer. i am working on menu changes with the menu design guy. i am thinking about paint colors for the interior of my home which i will be re-painting. i am 2 chapters from finishing reading the adventures of tom sawyer to my kids. there are three days of school left, three days left for me to get up early and feel anxious about getting my girl off to school. i am excited. i am overly anxious. i am curious why my internet is down. i worked 15 hours today of labor and i am as tired as i have ever been. when i get up from this computer my feet will buckle under my weight. i will hobble to the bathroom and brush my teeth. the pillow will feel better than i can even imagine. i am so tired. so tired. so weary and worn out. my mind is mush. my bones ache. my muscles complain.

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surprised

tonight i was scanning through the magazine, our town, and i read an article on the repurpose project and then turning the pages i saw a picture of ME! what?? turns out that agreeing to a low key “talk at the downtown library” led to getting an invitation to talk to a writers group at the millhopper library in june. this is the last time you’ll see me in this sort of role for a long time. i have been practicing the N and O sounds in the mirror and i doubt i will agree to something like this again. it’s not so bad, it’s mostly that i don’t like to stand and talk in front of a group. the other part is that for the last talk i told the organizer that i couldn’t come up with a talk and so to make it a Q and A session. that worked out good and i was able to answer questions that folks had. then i went to be a guest speaker with a couple others at UF”s leadershape camp and it was also a question and answer format and with 3 of us i didn’t feel too much pressure. but now i face what will likely be my biggest crowd and it turns out that picture in the magazine? it says my talk is about “finding time to write in a busy schedule.” the woman who talked me into this, carol ray skipper, is a go-getter. not only did she get a bio and picture out of me, but she is getting the word out in the paper and in this magazine about the talk. oh- and she also came up with a title for my talk! i don’t have a talk prepared and i don’t even know how to prepare a talk. i hope there will be questions to answer. i can do that. i’ve been told there will likely be 50 people there! well, whatever. this talk will mark the end of my old life where i said yes to everything and the beginning of my new life where i only say no. i just don’t like being the center of attention in that way, having to hunt for the words to express myself, feeling all the eyes on me. it’s weird because anyone going to my restaurant might think that i live for that because the place is so loud and bright, but really i could be a hermit. actually before i opened the place i was sortof a hermit. not in the strict sense of the word, but in the sense that i don’t go to parties, i don’t talk to strangers much, i keep to myself, don’t go to bars or concerts. i’m an introvert. deep down i’m just an introvert who has tried to become more extroverted. it was a good experiment but i think i learned it’s better to not attempt these gigs that make me anxious and self conscious. i suppose it’s good for business to get out there and talk about stuff and mention the restaurant some but i also think the pizza can do it’s own talking, sell itself you know?

i have some work news i just wrote out and then deleted. sheesh. so hard to know how much is too much to share. well, since i think the drama will be playing out in the next few days and weeks, i will wait until i have a bit more information to share. it’s a tough spot, the situation on the horizon, but i will face it like i have every other obstacle that rises before me. it could drastically change the satchel’s/ LSE experience, but hey, i won’t get too far ahead of myself just yet.

so much happening these days. the night manager is out for a while after a surgery. the GM just told me he’s going to croatia for a few weeks, in a few days!! i have a home project in full swing and the work load at work is ever mounting. how do i find time to write? well, everyone in this house is fast asleep. i’m too tired and mentally exhausted to go to the studio tonight. i really quite hate the internet if you want to know the truth. and TV is just not part of my life, not for about 30 years now. i read that magazine article on the repurpose project. i’d really like to draw a howard bishop hawks t-shirt design but the last one i did was sort of a flop so i’m taking a break before trying again. so where does that leave me? you guessed it. writing again.

i have started a new blog that is part of another project i am working on but that blog is still not public yet. i’m working on an app and we’ll share that blog with potential clients by giving them a password. i’ve been writing lots more privately as well, which is such a relief because i can just say any damn thing and not worry or think about how it sounds to the outside world. that sort of writing is quite liberating. but tonight i figured i would visit the dusty old satchblog again. make a second post to remember May 2014. go ahead and admit i have not totally fallen off the face of the earth. i still will return to write something now and then, and maybe even tell you a sad tale soon about how the world can be cruel or how it might be kind. we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

i find time to write because if i go to bed too early i wake up too early. my people all go to bed early and i just can’t sleep more than 6 or 7 hours…. so even a midnight bedtime gets me up at 6…. i think i just find writing is an easy way to express myself and fill some time between this and that. it never takes as much energy as painting or stained glass. if i do end up asleep before 11 then when i wake up at 5 i might as well write. there’s always so much crap bouncing around in my head, writing gets it out and helps rid me of anxiety. it’s cheaper than a shrink and not bad for me like pills would be. writing is the easiest way for me to kill an hour, or even two.

the battery on this chrome book is about to die. i could go hunt the plug but i’ll just call it a day. june 8th, that’s when i start my new life. about 4pm on june 8th. i’ll be done with my “talk” and i have no more gigs like that planned. i’ll be heading to the beach to catch up with my family. they will be starting the celebration called SUMMER. no wake up time, no school, no homework. i will be starting my new life at the moment my bare feet hit the sand. i’ll dump my worries in the ocean. i’ll lay down my burdens for a whale to come and swallow. i’ll unpack my cares and woes along with my duffle bag. we’ll blow up punchy the raft and hit the water. oh, how nice to live in the present, but how extraordinary to look forward to some down time.

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i find…

i find that i do have things to say in a public way.

tonight i was a guest speaker at a leadership camp in high springs. i was part of a 3 person panel talking about leadership. the UF students were so great. the event was well planned. the reception was warm and inviting. while i don’t generally like these speaking gigs i found this one was comfortable and bright.

but over and above that i find myself wanting to express my gratitude in a public space. i am the luckiest man alive. i enjoy what i do and others enjoy it also. i have the most wonderful family and job. after my speaking gig i stopped in at the restaurant near closing. the staff was all in a good mood and there were a few tables still who seemed to be having a good time. i get to hear the story about the 6 or 7 air force guys in uniform who ate in the van and the customer who gave a server a hundred dollars to pay for their meal. this is so inspiring and uplifting that it has made my night.

i get home to a quiet house with everyone asleep. i sit on my swing in my greenhouse and take in the lush greenery around me and listen to the chorus of crickets. i am so blessed.

most people don’t get to enjoy life so much. i feel so lucky. some of the students tonight came up after the talk and gathered around me to introduce themselves and tell me they love my restaurant. one girl said that we should be best friends. it was so sweet. at work people are doing their jobs and laughing. at home the house is tidy and the kids are tucked in. what more could i wish for? nothing more. nothing more at all.

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the good

there were lots of good things about the trip to mississippi. i found not one but two new artists i admire. frank estrada was at the festival and we discovered a book i am reading about an artist from a hundred years ago named george ohr.

the guy who won first place, “dutch” van oostendorp, was quite a character and presence. he makes every pie still at his little shop.

i met a few other characters in that short trip that i can’t stop thinking about like when we sat at the bar at the diner and spent the whole time talking to this pretty southern gal who reminded me of sandra bullock. or the head chef from five points pizza in nashville who was this huge guy who was super calm and friendly.

it was fun. i just screwed up. i can think of a few different things that i might have done differently but i didn’t think of them then.

i am going to learn a lesson from this trip. i am going to simplify my life. i am going to make some changes so i am not so busy. i get myself into these situations and that end up making my life so much more stressful.

and then i write and regret writing about the details of my life. i was not having these regrets when i wrote in private. it was so much easier to write when no one was listening. i must shake the desire to write in public because it only makes me anxious. if i stop writing on the web then i think i will overcome a portion of my anxiety. i don’t think it’s so much paranoia of who’s reading as much as feeling that a more private life will be a simpler and more healthy life. my world is so public everyday as i talk non-stop to employees and customers and friends. i want to live a less public life. if when i leave my house my life gets public then when i am home i want it to be non public time.

facebook also takes up a chunk of time, energy, and public eye. maybe it’s time to hand that off as well. i need to make changes. i need to simplify my life. i need to set an hour or two aside each day to exercise and work out some of my anxieties and stresses. my life seems more full of stresses and complications now than ever. i will be spending the next few weeks/months, trying to take on less responsibility, stress, and new projects, and work on working in more exercise and art time. i will fulfill the 2 more talks i have already scheduled, and then say no to these things which just make my calendar more full and my mind more rattled.

i’ll be back eventually with some update or another. i won’t abandon my 7 year blog site forever. but i am going to really try and quiet my world down a notch.

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