The Sensitivity of Children

Life has been a whirlwind for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so maybe you can commiserate? I mean, damn, if things aren’t getting a little crazy up in the world. Most of it, for good reason… (the brilliance of the protests (yes!) but that is for another post…)

After a first-in-your-lifetime shutdown, are you coming out a bit different?

I know I am, that’s for sure.

I’m about to return to work as a server, but in a way that I haven’t done before now that COVID caused new rules, so I am struggling with if I can still do it. I have long wanted to stay in the restaurant business as I make my films and write my stories both for my love of food and wine and also for the tangible aspect of seeing people enjoying themselves and knowing I am part of the reason why.

For those who don’t know, in the past, I’ve worked entertainment jobs, such as assistant to Scott Rudin on the Paramount lot and assistant editor on season four of American Idol, both of which I chose to leave, because when I was working those jobs and similar ones, I felt empty. Like I was a cog in the entertainment machine, but not really making any difference, though it’s definitely worth noting Scott Rudin is a genius in producing original storytellers and I wish I could have learned more from him when I was his LA assistant, but, that’s for another story and sadly, I can’t go there. I signed an NDA.

Anywho, back to now. I’ve been going through a lot and I’m starting to feel empty again in my employment. Returning to a restaurant job where the industry has done a 180*, while also ending homeschooling my nephew two days a week, (BTW teachers everywhere, YOU ARE AMAZING AND SHOULD BE PAID WAY MORE,) coping with the death of my husband’s sister, polishing my first novel for agent submission, enjoying the visit of my sister and niece, all the while trying to make sense of the insanity we’ve allowed our government to become, has left me spent.

Yet somehow, today, when I hung out with my three year old niece, life felt special. It felt good. 

And that was all her.

It was like she picked up on my feeling down a bit and for the first time, came to me without me having to ask. She comforted me and all around enjoyed my company, when before she was a bit hesitant. And when I put her to sleep, having a three year old, caress your hand while she falls peacefully asleep in your arms, I felt true serenity.

And I thought:

Children know way more than most give them credit for. And they truly are the future. 

 

 

 

 

Please forgive me

I suck.

I haven’t written a post in over two months.

In my defense, I’ve been hard at work finishing my novel and booking writing clients for paid writing work but I know… that’s no excuse. And my post before this said something similar…

Here’s the thing. I’m in transition. I am a filmmaker but God help me, that’s the hardest damn thing to crack through, as you need a ton of money to make one. Writing, however, is something I’ve always loved and since I’ve been told I have a gift with it (no one has told me that about filmmaking…) I thought I’d focus on that right now.

But please, allow me to ask you, my readers, for forgiveness… I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I wrote until I logged on to write this and I’m sorry.

I’ll be straight with you. I’m trying to establish my writing career so I can finally retire from waiting tables but that’s very difficult since waiting tables pays triple (if not more) than many writing assignments. (Never let anyone tell you waiting tables is easy. IT’S NOT. PERIOD. A restaurant manager told me they know servers make more but they don’t do it because of what it entails and think it says about them, but that’s another story…)

Anywho, my diet coke addiction is at an all time high BUT I am going dry for at least five weeks (no alcohol!) to shave off all this holiday weight I gained. Yeah… not only did I gain everything back that I lost but I gained more on top of that! Stay tuned… loss is coming…

So, as I send my book to my trusted readers to read over the next two months and research which fiction agents to target, I will return to my blog and hope my readers forgive me and continue to come along on my journey of life.

Stay tuned…. I’ll be detailing my continuing weight loss battle but also my career twist as a writer….

Happy 2019!

Restaurant server humor

As most of you know, I wait tables a few nights a week at a restaurant to add to my writing income. I’ve been serving for much longer than I care to admit but I’ll put it this way – I started serving before having a cell phone was a popular thing…. yup! (And I’m not talking a smartphone, but any cell phone.)

Anyhoo, one of my favorite subjects to write about is restaurant humor – in particular, servers. There is so much material, I feel I could endlessly write about it… haha!

But I write today because I want to share my last three Blasting News restaurant server articles with my readers here. One of these articles even went viral and has been clicked on almost 100k times. (Can you guess which one?) I’ve begun to learn about the power behind social media and sharing…damn, it’s huge!

Personally, I think it’s a good thing. The gatekeepers of information are no longer able to thrive and transparency has never been so widespread. The future is globally connected and news journalists no longer have to be on a popular payroll to spread a story. In fact, the Internet has helped us see who is actually telling the truth and who isn’t… but that’s a post for another day.

Please find my latest restaurant server humor articles below and PLEASE add your own comments here for any of the articles. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these, funny or not! And if you do like any, please share!

Seven things servers wish guests wouldn’t do when dining out…

You might be a restaurant server if you…

10 Things restaurant servers know more about than most people…

Thanks for reading!

 

(Photo via Pexels.com)

 

11 Days Till Christmas – Giving Back

I wait tables, as many of you know, and as a server, I make tips (let’s hope the Department of Justice keeps it that way #tiptheft) and lately, guests have been rather generous during the holidays.

Don’t get me wrong. I work for my tips. I make sure to give every diner the restaurant experience that I would want and I always do it with respect and a smile, even if those aren’t reciprocated. I believe in value for value and feel I deserve the high tips I get.

On that note, today I decided to share some of those generous holiday tips I’ve received with a fellow tipped employee.

I received a massage today that was one of the best I’ve ever gotten. She literally made my shoulder pain go away. It’s a small strip mall foot massage place that doesn’t look as great as it actually is and to be honest, I’m not sure if my masseuse speaks english, but her hands work magic.

Value for value.

I decided to give back today by sharing some of the holiday tip money I’ve earned in my tipped position to another in theirs, one who perhaps doesn’t have the type of sales a popular restaurant server does.

11 Days till Christmas!!

#givingbackblogseries #givingback

Five things restaurant servers wish they could tell you

I wrote another piece for Blasting News and this one offers a little insider information from a server’s POV to all who dine out :)

I promise I won’t always link to my articles but as a newbie writer for this site, all the views I can get will help me right now.

And come on… aren’t you a little bit curious about what a server would tell you before dining out? And if you are a server, well, this one’s for you!

Five Things Restaurant Servers Wish They Could Tell You

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

 

 

11 Things Restaurant Servers Do Better Than Most

It’s interesting that restaurant servers often get a bad rep.

I once had someone actually say to my face that with all the odd jobs she had to do, she never had to wait tables. And she said this proudly. When I looked at her incredulously and asked, why the hell not, because after all, she lived in Los Angeles where servers pretty much make $30-$50 an hour, she shut her mouth and said no response except for the one her face gave away, which was shock.

I suppose the bad rep comes from the label of “server” because let’s be honest, most people don’t want to serve others. But the reality of it is so different. It’s the hustle bustle of a living organism. It’s a show put on nightly that always has issues and yet manages to go on. It’s performance art, through both food and service. And yes, it varies in degrees.

As I was thinking about all this on my drive home, I started realizing there are some traits servers have that many others don’t. At least, not as skillful in my opinion…

11 Things Restaurant Servers Do Better Than Most

1. Open bottles of wine.

2. Multi-task spontaneously in a loud environment.

3. Pretend you don’t hear someone trying to get your attention.

4. Look cool while wearing an apron.

5. Eat standing up.

6. Play things by ear.

7. Dine out.

8. Talk to people when they are hungry and angry about it.

9. Look at someone without them knowing it.

10. Calculate percentages without a calculator.

11. Bite their tongue and smile.

 

Any other servers out there want to add their own?? Please do!

11 Reasons Why Working At Night is Awesome

Night work. Starting your day when other’s are winding down theirs.

Perhaps you’ve been there. Maybe you haven’t. Or maybe you’re there right now as you read these words….

I’ve worked nights throughout my life. When I was an assistant editor in TV, I would start my day at 7pm and end at 5am. I lasted a few months shy of two years before I realized I had no life and couldn’t make films.

Restaurant gigs then worked well for me, so I went that route instead. I tried to give up nights and did so for many years, but just as Michael Corleone said, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! ”

Haha, not exactly. It was my choice but I’ve once again returned to nights and in honor of that, since it’s been a looooooong time, I’ve decided to write this post:

11 Reasons Why Working At Night is Awesome

1. There is no traffic, to and from work. (I live in Los Angeles. This is a BIG plus.)

2. You get to see your city/town asleep.

3. No lines at places that are open. Especially grocery stores. The store is yours at 6am. And movie theaters. 10 am screenings and you’re likely going to get center row, middle of theater with no one in front of you so you can put your feet up.

4. The phone doesn’t ring while you work.

5. No one expects you to show up for social events. Ever. So it’s super fun and surprising when you do.

6. Offers you a different perspective on living.

7. You’re the first to hear groundbreaking after-hour news.

8. The bond you form with other night-owls. There’s something special about working in the wee hours of the morning, when everything is still.

9. Parking is typically not as much a problem. (Again, I’m in LA….)

10. You catch both sunsets AND sunrises.

11. The reactions of people when they see you having a glass of wine at 7am are priceless.

Determination

The other day, I was working my normal lunch shift, waiting tables in Silicon Beach, when something happened that happens about twice a year and reminds me of why I do what I do.

As I approached a table, I recognized one of the two women. She had been a regular of mine at a restaurant I worked at many years ago. She was startled that I remembered her but she remembered me as well.

We briefly caught up before she told me she was here celebrating her friend’s birthday. Knowing that, I went out of my way to add additional touches so their meal would be extra special. (See, it pays to be cool to your server…)

Throughout their lunch, we chatted a bit and it was lovely.

As their meal came to an end, the woman who I had recognized, said, “Tell me, Christina, what is it you really do? I know it’s not this.”

She said it with such certainty that she wasn’t worried in the slightest if that offended me. I told her she was right – I’m a filmmaker/writer. She asked about my work. I gave her my card and told her a couple of my shorts are available on Amazon. She told me she’d be looking for them.

Sometimes it’s difficult to pursue a career where only a very small percentage of the population succeed at it on a financial level. Not to mention how many people and dollars one needs to helm such a project.

But when someone like this guest takes an interest in me based on our conversation and genuinely wants to see my work because of it, I’m reminded that waiting tables is a means to an end and it’s that end I’m determined to reach…

(Picture above is me shooting a short documentary on my honeymoon #justmarried – shot on my iPhone! @parisiprods)

 

25 Days of Spreading Love – A countdown to Christmas: Dec. 11

For the original idea, please go here.

14 Days till Christmas – spreading love by undo’ing a wrong.

Back in September, I left the restaurant I was serving at to go to another one. I had worked there for three years, the same lunch shifts, and had gathered a little collection of regulars.

One of them was a very kind elderly woman who would treat herself to a nice lunch every few months. She would dine by herself and I often chatted with her. When the shift was slow, we would talk for a quite a bit and I enjoyed seeing her. I knew what she liked, how she liked it and I made sure she got it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to see her in the weeks before I left. A few weeks after I was gone though, a former co-worker from that restaurant texted me to let me know this sweet lady had been in and asked about me. She gave him her number to pass on to me so I could tell her where I am now.

Such a sweet thing.

And I never called her.

In my defense, I was about to be married and then go on my honeymoon but that’s no excuse. I messed up.

Here it is now, over three months later, and I decided that today I would spread the love by undo’ing a wrong.

I found the text with her number on my phone and called her. No one answered so I left her a message with my number. I hope she calls me back.

Mistakes will be made; but it’s what we do about them that matters.

Spread the love. #spreadthelove

 

***UPDATE***
She called me back and we had a lovely conversation. I apologized for the delay in the call. She graciously understood. We caught up a bit and then she told me how much she appreciated my call and how happy it made her. I told her it made me happy too and I meant every word of it. And she can’t wait to come visit me at the new restaurant I’m at… #spreadthelove

 

 

 

Recommendations of proper restaurant etiquette as told by a restaurant server

I have been in the restaurant business for almost twenty years. Started as a hostess but quickly became a server and I soon fell for the whole machine that is a working restaurant. As I go after my life’s pursuit of filmmaking, restaurants have been my home away from home, my light in a dark tunnel, my pain in the ass and one of my best friends.

I love food. I love wine. I love family and friends. I love dining out. And I LOVE all four, at the same time.

HOWEVER!!

There are rules to restaurant dining…

All those who’ve worked in a restaurant longer than say a year, but most notably servers, are really the most qualified to make such rules simply BECAUSE we are the link between the food and the customer. That is essential in any restaurant dining and therefore, I feel completely qualified to make this list of what I like to call recommendations rather than rules of how one should conduct oneself when dining in public.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF PROPER RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE

1. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT enter a restaurant fifteen minutes before they close for anything other than picking up a takeout order or an employee there. (Respect the hours of service. Are you going to eat and leave in under fifteen minutes? Then, please come another time.)

2. Okay, no question is a stupid one, but things like, “Is there chicken in the chicken Caesar?” and “Why didn’t you tell me there was all this lettuce in the salad?” are just embarrassing for everyone involved. But if you insist on asking those gems, accept a smart-ass yet comical answer in reply. You deserve one.

3. If you don’t know wine, PLEASE don’t pretend you do. Allow us to help you. That’s why we are there.

4. Accept that your memory of a dish you think you had at a restaurant might be wrong. It will just save everyone a lot of time. Ask about it once, okay. Beyond that, the restaurant will and should win that conversation.

5. Birthday candles – YES. Singing – NO. There are others in the restaurant. Have some decency.

6. Hot water is not a beverage option. It’s an annoyance. Pay for some tea or drink the complimentary water that’s available.

7. Eat where you can afford.

8. If you lounge at a table well beyond your meal, fine, but adjust your tip accordingly in the server’s favor. Why? Because you aren’t renting the table. You are there for a meal. Beyond that, is it really fair for you to stay?

9. Asking for recommendations is like asking a parent who their favorite child is – no one should have to pick. Nor does anyone want to. And in this case, all taste buds are different. If the servers favorite dish is shrimp linguine and you’re allergic to shellfish, you just wasted everyone’s time. The bottom line is you know what you like. Look at the menu and choose. Otherwise, ask your server to order whatever he/she thinks is best and let them do their thing.

10. Don’t wait forever to pay your bill. You received a service. Pay for it when the bill is given to you.

11. Use those wonderful ideas you have on how to improve a menu by opening up your own restaurant and learning for yourself how annoying and disrespectful that actually is.

12. If you are really as close to the chef as you say you are, they’ll know you are in their restaurant and so will we, so there’s no need to name drop.

13. “Have it your way” is BURGER KING’S slogan. Remember that and go there if that’s what you’re looking for.

Salute!