Monthly Archives: September 2011

Tuesday Trainer
Okay, so I know I am working on moving my blog, but I wanted to at least post the link to the Tuesday Trainer Lindsay has been doing…it’s awesome!

Each week, readers can submit videos of themselves doing specific workout moves based on the theme for that week. The theme this week was legs. You’ll see me demonstrating the front/back lunge ;)

sooooo…get to work and have fun!!! :)

Reflections On Waiting Tables

I found out last week that the BBQ restaurant I have been working at one night a week is closing. I have mixed feelings about this…I am a little sad because it was my first waitressing job ever and I learned a lot of valuable skills, as well as developed a great respect for people in the service industry. On the other hand, however, it was a very disorganized restaurant, and was a little bit stressful at times.

The one night a week I worked was called Country Night. It was a fun night to work, because we had a DJ, and a dance floor set up for country line dancing. It was always really neat to watch the line dancers do their thang, and every once in awhile I would get pulled out onto the dance floor to dance, and they would twirl me around a bit before I went back to getting drinks and dinner plates for my tables. The customers loved it when the staff joined them! (even though we had basically no clue what we were doing, haha!) It was a unique atmosphere for Country Night, and it certainly had its charms. I also learned a few steps here and there which was an added bonus!

Speaking of learning, I think a great way to reflect on my experience as a waitress and to close that chapter up (at least for now) is to recap the things I have learned about the service industry.

So here goes! (I’ll do a top 5 again) ;)

1) Serving is very humbling. I can think of few things that are more humbling that cleaning up a table (and under it) after a complete stranger is done with their meal. You find the craziest things! ABC gum, wrappers from people’s pockets and purses, half chewed bits of food, ranch dressing puddles, used napkins containing things I dare not even say, and the list goes on. It is weird knowing such intimate details about strangers like that, and also pretty disgusting cleaning up!

Serving is also very humbling in that you have to be willing to do things like go back to the kitchen 3 separate times for 3 separate people at the same table that all decided at separate times that they wanted ranch or bbq sauce, but waited to tell you even though you asked them before you went back the first time. All this in the name of trying to get a decent tip so you aren’t only being paid minimum wage. Yeah, humbling, right?

2) There is a difference between being a server and a servant. A server is someone who takes your order, brings you your food and any condiments or sides you may needs, checks on you as you enjoy your meal, brings you refills, and brings you your check at the end. A server is there to assist you through the process of enjoying your meal at a given restaurant establishment. He or she is the ambassador, if you will, of the restaurant, making sure you have a pleasant experience.

A Servant, on the other hand, is subjected to much more. He or she must bend to every whim of the person being served. A servant is a subject, and is often treated with disrespect and indifference. A servant must often oblige to being harassed and abused for the sake of a paycheck because their employer wants to feel superior, or feels inadequate in some way. Waiters and waitresses are not servants. They are servers. They are there to perform a job, not become a slave. Treat them with respect, and they will treat you with respect in return.

3) Many customers have no clue how to tip appropriately. There should seriously be a class in school that teaches people how and when to tip appropriately for the services received. Some people will walk in to a restaurant and expect first class service, and then act like they walked into a fast food chain when it comes time to tip. Never mind that the restaurant is packed to the hilt. Never mind that they asked for a zillion sides, extra napkins, extra plates, extra silverware because they dropped it on the floor, extra drinks because their kid spilled it all over the table…nope, you deserve minimum wage for all your extra effort because they never planned on tipping in the first place.

Things I wish people would keep in mind: It is not the server’s fault that the restaurant is crowded. The server didn’t cook the food themselves. The server has multiple tables. Beyond that, I say start at 15% tip, and then consider the following:

1. Was the server polite and friendly
     2. Did the server remember to bring refills, and extras like napkins, bbq sauce,  etc.
     3. Did the server check on you to make sure your food was to your liking
     4. Did the server address any concerns you had and take care of them in a professional manner

If you answered yes to the above, they deserve at least 15%. If they went above and beyond the above criteria, then you should tip at least 20%. Never walk into a restaurant expecting to leave less than 15%. If you can’t afford it, or do not wish to leave it, consider fast food or cooking at home.

4) Side work and bussing tables are thankless but necessary. Picking up dirty dishes, wiping down tables and resetting them, and cleaning food gunk from seats and under tables is gross. You get food gunk all over you if you’re not careful, and it’s a little demeaning to crawl under a table after a dirty fork and a greasy napkin. However, if you don’t clean up and reset quickly, it affects the overall appearance of the restaurant, and tips go down.

Side work, such as rolling silverware, cutting salad veggies, wiping down the server station, and refilling condiment containers is important for the same reason…better appearance equates to better tips! Being prepared for a shift by having salad and butter pats ready saves you time when the rush comes in. It is thankless work, because you are only making minimum wage at the time, but it pays off in the end.

5) Waiting tables teaches you valuable life skills. I did a lot of bitching venting above, but I do have to say that the skills used when waiting tables can have a positive effect on you and can translate to other areas of your life. For instance:

1. It improves your communication skills. You learn very quickly the best way  to ask questions and make conversation so that the guests are happy.

2. It improves your memory. You have to remember multiple requests from multiple tables at the same time, while staying aware of new guests coming in, or other guests leaving.

3. It improves your ability to plan ahead. The rule is, never be anywhere without something in your hands. It saves time to grab a finished plate on your way to the kitchen to get a drink refill, etc.

4. It improves your ability to anticipate needs. You develop a sense of timing, and attention to detail when looking at your guests and what they do. it’s common sense that people need extra napkins when eating a plate of ribs, and common sense that when a drink is low they need a refill. The more you anticipate, the less they have to ask, and the better the tip!

So that’s my top 5 list of things I learned waiting tables!! I can now say farewell with a sense of peace and accomplishment, and move on to (hopefully) greener pastures, knowing that I gave it my all, and picked up some new skills along the way.

If you want to hear some hilarious rants and raves about waiting tables, visit The Bitchy Waiter’s blog. Trust me, it’s seriously funny even if you’ve never waited tables before. He’s a little crass and over the top, but that’s just his charm.

Question: Have you ever waited tables? What did you learn from the experience?

Thanks for listening!


Falling In Love With Songs

Do you fall in love with certain songs? I know I do. Some songs are just so in sync with where I am in my life and in my heart that it plays over and over again in my head, and it’s the first song I want to listen to when I turn on my iTunes or iPod, and then the last one I want to listen to before I turn it off. I like songs that have soul. I like a song that stirs something inside me and makes me want to express it as if it was my own.

I think that’s what got me dancing and singing in the first place. I needed to be able to outwardly express the emotional responses I had towards songs. I remember when I was really little, I would play a tape and just dance and sing until it drove my parents and sister nuts. I just couldn’t help it. I needed to let out that emotional response because it almost hurt to keep it in. I needed to react…does that make sense?

Sometimes it works the opposite way too…I might sing a song, or start dancing to a piece of music, and I start to embody it, and then I fall in love with it. Sometimes it’s just in the moment, and sometimes it is more long term. Sometimes it’s the lyrics that grab me, but sometimes it’s just the music itself and the way the melody and harmonies and rhythm interlace in a perfect and unexpected way. I don’t know if musicians and dancers feel this feeling more than other people, or if we just have a specific outlet to express our appreciation…what do you think?

Anyway, I digress…I totally have a point, I promise.

Right now I am not part of any type of vocal group or band, and not part of any type of dance team or even taking classes. And that’s really sad. Depressing even, ya know? I have too much bottled up emotion (both good and bad) and my only outlet is singing in the shower or dancing in the living room. That’s terrible, but that’s what I have right now. I know my Fluffy is having the same issue. He is a singer/songwriter/guitar player, and he has no band. So there is this big emotional rollercoaster happening, and we are riding it together, arms tied behind our backs and tape over our mouths, wishing we could wave our hands in the air and scream with joy at the pure thrill of flying through the air.

Yeah, I’m kind of dramatic by the way…did you ever see or read Anne of Green Gables? I’m Anne. I am so totally Anne, and if you are reading this you deserve this explanation of my eccentric and ever-changing style. I’m not apologizing though because you can stop reading or continue. God bless the digital age, huh?

Digressing again, sorry. Anyway…

Songs that I am in love with right now. I am on a bit of a strong female emotional vocalist kick at the moment. It doesn’t really matter what style, it’s the inexplicable emotional response I get because I can relate to the music and I want to express it. It sucks being poor and not being able to take dance classes and sing in a group of some kind. These songs deserve more than my shower singing or living room twirling as a reaction. Sigh. Oh wait, at least I can blog about them right? Yay!! :)

Okay, so Song #1: Alicia Keys Like The Sea

Why I love it so much:

1) I have always loved Alicia’s soothing voice and soulful style. I liked listening to Songs in A Minor before it was even popular. Fallin’ has been my go-to karaoke song for years.

2) The melody of the song just flows and flows! It’s repetitive and rolling like the sea she is singing about, so it matches what she is trying to say so perfectly that it elevates the listener’s senses in a way that allows them to feel the words and not just hear them.

3) The lyrics are so simple and poetic, and the metaphor of the love like the sea, though granted is overused, works because it makes it relatable. Everyone has heard of that metaphor, so the feeling created is that she is joining a group of people that have understood what she was going through and she is joining that special group of people who understand what it is like to love. The lyrics rock. I relate to them a lot. (Read them here).

Song #2: Taylor Swift Back to December

Why I love it so much:

1) Taylor Swift is adorable. She is so wholesome, and it’s refreshing to see that in a time where so much of the music out right now is so raunchy. She’s the glass of milk to Lady Gaga’s shot of Yager, if that makes sense.

2) The melody is pretty basic, but it lends to the sense of personal reflection and regret the song talks about. I can actually see the snowflakes falling outside Tay’s window while she sings. And it’s got a little country twang, but not too much for me. And there’s a lot of violin. My Sistar plays violin, so I appreciate hearing it in songs. 

3) The lyrics remind me of my younger self. Growing up and realizing it when I’ve made a mistake and hurt someone’s feelings. In my case, not necessarily a boy, but just people in my life that I could have appreciated more and didn’t. People that cared enough about me to help me out when I needed it, and I took it for granted. The lyrics remind me to appreciate the people in my life because they won’t be around forever. (Read the lyrics here).

Song #3: Christina Aguilera You lost Me

Why I love it:

1) Ah Christina…never has such an extremely talented vocalist been so badly misguided and blinded by her own need to please and be popular. But I love her still. Anyone who can perform vocal acrobatics like she can gets my unwavering respect. Anyone who can make Beyonce shake her head in bewildered amazement at her talent at an awards show is without a doubt someone to appreciate. Have you listen to her sing At Last? I mean, dammmmmmm gurl! I cried and then sat in awe at what I was hearing. Dude. Dude. She’s the Mariah of my generation. I didn’t particularly care for Bionic as a whole, nor was I very impressed by Back to Basics, but I loved her first two records.

2) The music to this song is so cool. It’s so unique! Not the background music, mind you, but the intricacy, timing, and unexpected note changes Christina sings! Singers understand the difficulty of this song. It’s super difficult to sing and she handles it like it’s Mary Had a Little Lamb. And the raw emotion is so vivid that it pulls you into her whole world! Wow. Just wow.

3) Now anyone who has been cheated on understands the emotion and bitterness in the lyrics to this song. Being cheated on SUCKS. It chews you up inside. I would never cheat on my Fluffy and he would never cheat on me, because we have both been hurt in the past. The lyrics of this song are a reminder of what it feels like, and are also a reminder of why you should never cheat on someone. (Read the lyrics here).

Song #4: Lykke Li Little Bit

Why I love it:

1) Lykke Li has her own style and she owns it. She’s an Indie artist, and she doesn’t rely on vocal talent so much as uniqueness of style, timing, lyrics, and intimacy. She lets you into her world, imperfect, and unedited. Her music is not digitally mastered or digitally enhanced, so just like in the old days when you could hear imperfections on LP records, you can hear that in her songs. It’s refreshingly beautiful to hear.

2) Lykke uses a very unique set of instruments and turn table mixes to create her music. Again, it’s the uniqueness and quirkiness that draws you in. Little Bit has a pop-ish feel to it, and it is very easygoing so you can just ride the wave of the song, so to speak. It almost has an island feel to it. Very cool.

3) The lyrics to this song are cute and full of honesty. She says it how she feels it, without giving too much away. It makes me remember the song and dance I went through with my Fluffy when we first got together…I wanted him to know I was interested, but didn’t want him to know just how much because I didn’t want to rush into it and mess up the good thing we had. Now I know he was doing the same with me. The lyrics are an ode to new love beginning. (Read them here).

Song #5: Adele Turning Tables

Why I love this song:

1) I am embarrassed to admit I started listening to Adele after listening to a clip of her on I was thoroughly impressed by her powerful vocals and soulful style. I got 21 immediately. Then, after listening to Chasing Pavement from her first record, I kicked my own ass for not appreciating her sooner. Oh well. 

2) I love the piano (and violin) music. Adele makes me want to just belt out her songs right alongside her, gathered around a piano in simple candlelight. It is reminiscent of my choir days when we would gather around a piano late at night and just sing and sing. The intimacy of it all is just beautiful. I love it, and I miss it, and I can’t wait for an opportunity to it again sometime.

3) I love the lyrics to this song. It reminds me of the frustration I feel when I am in an argument with my Fluffy, or anyone really, and blame is being tossed back and forth. It’s a battle nobody will win, and you just want to tell them to cut the $hit. But you can’t. There’s nothing you can say to get the upper hand. So you just close yourself off and keep a distance. This song is Adele’s way of saying “cut the $hit” and I love it. I needed this song a long time ago. I so feel her on this! (Read the lyrics here).

So that’s my top 5 songs I am in love with at the moment…I guarantee it will change very soon, because it always does. I honestly could keep going, but I think my top 5 list is more than enough to give you an idea of where I am at right now with music. The emotions these songs evoke, and the desire in me to get up and sing and dance are what I am truly passionate about…well, that and reading/writing…but that’s another post entirely…dah dah DAH!!

So on that note…

Question for you: What songs are you listening to right now that evoke a deep emotional response??

Thanks for listening!