I mean who can swim, bike and run all at once, I thought I could give it a try but, this old lady’s age is showing. The body lets you know when you about to break. Bodies were meant to be upright not hunched over for 2 hours on a bike, run for 3 hours; the bod is screaming no thank you, ma’am, and try swimming for 1 mile in open water-yikes!
Friends have asked why am I doing this and to this, I plainly say because I want to. My husband hears me complaining about the training, and he replies back, “are you even having fun?” And then there is the second guessing myself of why am I doing this for and is this benefiting me, or is it mentally and physically breaking me down.
And don’t get me started on the bike portion because all that in itself is beyond painful, not to mention remarkably expensive, just thinking about it makes my head explode. To give you an idea today I’m “supposed” to go for a 2-3 hour bike ride, but my back says, Hell NO Bitch! in the months to come I supposed to ride 6-7 hours and that just one discipline. If I make it to those months.
Oh and the kicker, I’ve also decided to limit my calorie intake so that I can drop some pounds for race day. Apparently, as I’ve been told and have read on the web, that I’m a “BIG SAIL.” I’ve always known I’m a big girl/big frame/ big bone, but now I can add another synonym to that list. My body frame is huge in this sport and makes me less “aero” for the bike ride.
So here we are, my progress report for the first month of training, we figured out that I hate biking, my back hates me and running for most of my adult life doesn’t grant me speed or mileage. But on the bright side, I’ve learned that there is more than one way of saying big boned.]]>
It’s getting serious I told myself, swim, bike, then run- ugh. So I tested myself once I got back to town, a shortstop to the bank, then to the market, no problem right, I’ve even googled the route. No biggie I told myself, I could maybe squeeze a swim and test out my lungs. Well as it turns out, I was in no shape for a quick dip in the pool. My little bike ride to the bank totaling 2.1 miles nearly knocked the wind out of me. This was when I realized that biking is going to be my weakness, not even a weakness but can I bike 56miles on a hilly terrain. All this after a swim that’ll be over one mile- one whole mile just thinking about making me want to hurl!
And I’m not trying to be modest, trust me if I was peddling up and down Lombard Street than I would have a story to tell. What I thought to be a very easy, no, leisurely ride to the bank turned into a chest pounding that I was not ready for and the calves were not happy with me either. On the bright side, I’ve noticed my running is getting a slightly higher boost from all the cross-training. I think all the lung pumping from the bike is growing my capacity to grasp for more air, can’t remember the last time I ran a mile under 10 min. Some of the runs are coming around 9:20 and 9:30, when I ran in New York most of my times were under 11min and on good days just below 10.
So not everything is a bust in these beginning stages. More updates to come and my thoughts on a new bike. But for now still going to lug around my hand-me-down bike that I’m ever so grateful to inherit from my friends. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.]]>
For me it’s been a dream of mine, ever since I was a very young girl, staring at the tube, and crying for no reasons know to myself. Just in awe of the all those who finished the ungodly task-in-hand. And before you get too bored about the sport all you need to know is it consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run.
And that’s as technical I’ll ever get to blabbing my pie hole about that, in fact, although it has been my lifelong dream, I’ve only considering doing the half of a whole. Which, in the industry is 70.3. Now, now don’t worry I plan to tackle the whole pie, but for now baby steps.
I do feel it’s the perfect storm for me now; I’m currently relocated back to San Francisco, out of a job, and not planning to bake any buns in my oven. Such is life, some like the challenge of miniature humans, but I like mine with a chance of death or at the very least a likely promise of bloody nipples (yes it’s a thing).]]>
One might think well what does that have anything to do with me, and why should I even care? For one I know most of us care about people, even if they don’t think it affects them in their daily lives. If one takes a closer look into who picks the fruit from the orchards that provide for our daily nutrition, to the seasonal worker providing service in restaurants, to the person that cuts down that pine tree for Christmas, migrant lives affect us all. It’s all connected, we just don’t see it sometimes, and that is why I wanted to bring to the light of the unjust that has been going on for years.
For instance, “…Mexican farmworkers carrying up to 110 pounds of oranges around their necks were pressured to pick quickly. Guaranteed $9.96/hour, they ended up being paid by the satchel instead, earning less than promised and less than minimum wage. A lawsuit was filed in Florida on behalf of the exploited workers. The court required signatures within 15 days but many of the workers had already returned to Mexico. Undeterred by the dangers ahead, a Justice in Motion Defender drove for more than two hours into a remote and politically unstable region of Oaxaca to get a worker’s signature. Finding that heavy rains had washed away the road, she continued on foot for another 2 hours until she found the worker. The Defender’s efforts paid off. Damages were awarded to the plaintiffs and working conditions improved. The broader positive outcome was that these and other workers were empowered to speak out against disrespect and abuse.”
That is just one example of what’s been happening in the US/Canada for many years. But, there is still hope because of people like Cathleen Caron who started Justice in Motion. What this organization promises to do is “…reach out to over 40 organizations in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Justice in Motion provides ongoing training to the Defender Network equipping them with the knowledge they need to engage in this cross-border work. The training cover many topics such as human trafficking, employment rights, immigration, and recruitment fraud and abuse. Defenders use that knowledge to conduct community outreach and education, positioning themselves as a resource in their communities. They are trained by Justice in Motion to handle legal actions and engage in local policy advocacy on behalf of people from their communities migrating to the US and Canada.” http://justiceinmotion.org/
So let’s take a stand together for everyone’s rights, I thank you for taking the time to read this and know that every dollar donated to the Bay to Breakers run will be matched by me, so every single dollar is appreciated.
Please click here to donate – https://justiceinmotion.funraiser.us/]]>
“How much do you weigh?” casually probing again, there I stood looking at him blankly, thinking do I lie or just tell the truth. “Come on…” he’d say trying to get a rise out of me. Frozen, the only thing I could do was look for some support from the girl standing next to me; luckily she took my cue, said: “that’s rude Jamie.” But he replied back, “Oh how heavy could you be 120 max.” Which goes to show you, men (and boys) don’t know much when it comes to women and their weight. Feeling faltered and anxious all at once, I exclaimed it was none of your business and sat back down on my chair to shut him up.
I hated myself that day. But it started well before high school when I was an adolescent, having moved to a foreign place with new friends, new sights, and new customs. Part of those traditions would include late night snack gorging on Doritos and hamburgers. Somedays I’d wake but my parents still asleep from working late hours, so I’d indulge in the occasional ice cream for breakfast.
With all this self-care, I grew and grew, vertically and horizontally, but that didn’t stop me, it just made me want more. My parents noticed and shamed me telling me that I was too fat, not knowing how to stop their child from growing in every which direction. I outgrew my classmates, I outgrew my clothes, and I grew myself. To the point of hating myself, I couldn’t see the end of this vicious cycle of comfort eating. If I had a bad day at school, I’d run home with a bag of chips in one hand, soda in the other and go to my hiding place. In the closet, it was dark, contained, but most importantly no spectators. Numbing myself of all the bullying and shaming that came with being a chubby girl with a funny accent.
Looking back I wished I had someone to look up too, but then again, maybe I wouldn’t be who I am now. It goes to show how strong our young minds can me, overcoming life’s obstacles. We all do it; somehow we cope with them. Some are lucky they can turn to family/friends, but I had my chocolate bars, ice cream sandwiches, and neon colored chips to keep me company.
Hate is a strong word, but if you grew up fat, it takes a lifetime to heal from all the fat shaming, or at least that’s what I have experienced. I may not be the weight I want to be but at this point being happy and healthy is more important. Let’s face it I only have this one body and if it’s happy and functioning my psychosis can shut the hell up! Enough already, torturing myself thinking that one morphed body type is ideal for oneself is overrated and stupid.
Gone are the days of lusting over Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, or Naomi Cambell. The young girls now have Ashley Graham and other body positive ladies to look up to. Ms. Graham posted on her Instagram, a photo of her sitting on the beach while vacationing, showing off her lumps, bumps & cellulite as if they were a badge of honor. I’m there right with her sipping on a colorful cocktail when my brain tells me I’m not good enough, and she politely pushes aside all my negative thoughts.
In no particular order here are my Festivus grievances.
Happy Festivus everyone and may all your grievances be plentiful.]]>
>> We want this article to function as a sort of “reality check” for would-be wine shop owners. Not to discourage them, but just to make sure they’re aware of both the pros and cons of starting this type of retail operation. What were your two or three biggest obstacles in setting up your business and how did you overcome them? Brutal honesty is encouraged!
The biggest obstacle is finding the right location. The New York State Liquor Authority will not issue new licenses if the area is already over-saturated. Before I signed my lease, we were considering multiple locations, from Manhattan LES to Brooklyn Williamsburg. For one reason or another those sites didn’t work out, and I almost gave up on the whole endeavor until my husband Kenneth suggested an empty storefront just one short block from our home. Prospect Heights was very different six years ago, and no one thought a boutique wine store would be a good fit for the location. But we took a gamble, believing that there was a small market for specialized wines, competitive prices, and excellent customer service.
Making that decision was a huge step because once we committed to the location, there was no turning back. We were able to take the risk largely due to the fact that I had been laid off due to the recession and was receiving assistance from the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). SEAP allowed me to work full-time on my new business while collecting unemployment benefits, but the benefits ran out after 26 weeks. That was the pivotal point in my life where I felt like it was sink or swim.
The second biggest hurdle was signing a lease without the guarantee of obtaining a liquor license. In New York, one must have a signed contract before applying for a liquor license, which means that you can be sitting on a rental lease for good 3-12 months, sometimes more, waiting to get approved. Often, applicants renovate an entire store after signing a contract and then NYSLA doesn’t approve their license; they can lose all their startup capital in an instant. The waiting game nearly killed me. We didn’t fix up the space completely because we didn’t want to risk additional capital in case we didn’t get the liquor license.
>> What would you estimate the start-up costs and monthly operating expenses to be for this type of business? Any big financial surprises when it came to getting the company off the ground? I know that depending on one’s state of operation, wine sales use a C.O.D. system. Did this impact your financial planning?
That is a tricky question. When we started, we had small startup capital to work with and costs kept adding up even after we opened up shop. I’ve heard that the start-up costs of an average wine store can range anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 – it all depends on the rent and the location, how large space is, and how much initial inventory you want to bring in.
Our start-up costs were bare-minimum; besides the lawyers, electricians, and some general contractors, Kenneth and I did a lot of the dirty work ourselves. Knocking down walls, painting, sanding the floor, building the sales counter, getting our Certificate of Occupancy, tracking down distributors – we did it all. The minimum startup cost for an operation similar to our store is most likely $150,000, but I bet that’s a very small estimation.
As for the C.O.D, in New York state we have a 30-day term, meaning you have 30 days after delivery to pay your bills. If the invoices aren’t paid off within 30 days, NYSLA will put you on C.O.D. (cash on delivery). We played it safe, ordering very minimally and relying on our wonderful customers to give us feedback on the wines to carry.
>> Any tips or advice when it comes to choosing a location, negotiating a lease, or obtaining a retail liquor license? And are there multiple licenses (tasting license, premises consumption license, Sunday sales license, etc.) people need to obtain based on their location?
Think of 3 sites/areas where you would like to set up shop, then find the demographics simply by doing some google searching. But most importantly, walk. Go to the areas that you are interested in, and simply walk around the area, talk with other business owners, talk to the people living in the neighborhood. Lastly, make sure that there aren’t other similar stores near your dream location.
As for negotiating the lease, New York landlords have the upper hand in most cases, and mostly you’ll be the one doing the renovations. So make sure you have a lawyer read your lease —don’t go cheap on this one — have a professional fighting for you and your rights.
>> What advice do you have for setting up inventory? Is it better to invest in lower- and mid-priced bottles or to build up a good selection of high-end vintages? What about the split between imports and domestics? Do you have to meet certain order minimums in order to get price breaks from distributors? I read somewhere that some wholesale reps won’t sell certain wines to boutique shops unless they also “support” their other products. Have you run into this issue, and if so, how did you handle it?
It took us a long time to set up a proper rotation of wines, and it’ll always be changing. Most of our inventory is from lower to mid range, and we take pride in finding the best value for our customers while not sacrificing quality. With this said every store is different; others might have higher-end wines, and that might work great for them. You just don’t know until you get feedback from your customers.
>> What kind of a margin does a specialty wine shop have to make every week or month to survive? Is it annoying when shoppers routinely come in and buy the $10 bottles, as opposed to splurging on finer wines?
Many people don’t know this, but the margins are slim. For wines the margins are about 33% and for spirits about 21%-25%, depending on the store. As I mentioned before we focus on lesser known wines that are fantastically priced. I honestly believe that every customer should be treated the same, regardless what they spend. We are happy when a customer spends $10 or $50 on a bottle; this is our motto.
>> How important is storage for extra inventory? Is it challenging to balance the assortment you want with the quantities you need?
The big discount/chain stores will always have better deals than boutique stores like ours. It’s not uncommon for us to buy just six bottles of any given wine. That’s why we try our best to bring in smaller production and unique wines from all over the world. However there are times when we have wines that are also carried in bigger stores, and yes it is hard to compete with them. Just think about Trader Joes — it has a huge budget and a storage space that is multiple times bigger than our entire store. Our space is about 500 square feet total, including storage, so you can understand my frustration when a customer comes in and asks why our wines are more expensive compared to a grocery store. These are very real things that a new wine store owner has to think about when opening up a store.
>> Some bottle shop owners sell online; others focus exclusively on the local market. What is your strategy and why? Generally speaking, how important is the internet and social media to your business?
We’re a neighborhood shop, but there have been times when we’ve contemplated having an online store. But speaking as a business owner who runs and works at a physical store, I think it’s smart to focus on one or the other. Setting up an online store is not easy; you need a designer, a programmer, and someone to track inventory. Some websites have all those functions now, but the cost is significant. And in my opinion, they still have lots of bugs to work out. If your budget is big and you plan to have employees, then there is tremendous potential for an online store. For us, we like being mom and pop shop. Both my husband and I work at the store; we know most of our customers, and we consider them friends. That’s what we love about the business, and it works for us.
>> How important is it to have a sommelier-level knowledge of wine, as opposed to a hobbyist’s interest? Are there certain books or other tutorials you’d recommend to someone who didn’t have any formal training but wanted to get into this field?
To be very honest, I’ve never gotten my sommelier certificate. But we have a passion for wine, with an eagerness to learn. I believe if you want to become a master sommelier, you would be better suited to the restaurant industry, where you can really surround yourself in wine. In contrast, a wine store merchant has to focus on costs, bills, inventory, and marketing on a daily basis; this is the reality of being a small business owner.
>> Other than a core customer base, what are the most important relationships a would-be bottle shop owner needs to establish?
Our favorite part of the day is chatting with our customers. It really gives us a sense of pride in the work that we do, and I think this is also true in working with our sales reps. It’s vital to work well with your reps because they’ll help you figure out what can work in the store. We work with well over 30 distributors, which means lots of tasting between us and the reps. This part of the job is one of my favorite perks, which also allows us a chance to learn more about wines.
>> What is one of the biggest mistakes you think new bottle shop owners make when getting their business off the ground? This can be a misstep you yourself made and learned from, or just something you’ve noticed others stumbling across.
For us, we put customers first. Our goal, besides carrying great wines, is to have the best customer service. It’s a simple idea, but treating others how you would like to be treated can sometimes be forgotten when you’re dealing with the nitty-gritty details of running a business. But I guarantee your customers will not forget. Social media is a great to way to spread great or poor reviews. Everyone knows Yelp, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc… you get the picture.]]>
Moments later bored the boys finally left me to tend to my leg; I kept limping around the playground tightening my sweater of a bandage. Making sure that the rip in my pants was not exposed to anyone’s eyes, making sure I keep up appearance. Then no one would question my broken leg or my ripped pant leg.
Earlier that day I was running around after lunch, and all of a sudden I saw something that caught my eye on the floor. So like an old Korean man, I decided to crouch down to take a good look, when- rip! No joke two seconds flat, the inner lining of my amber colored corduroy split. I felt paralyzed, not knowing what to do I stood there, I wanted to cry and go home. But how with these stupid pants all ripped up everyone would laugh.
A scenario kept playing inside my head, my parents asking how my pants ripped, thinking for a moment then inevitably one of them squeezing my belly while nodding their heads side to side. As if anyone had to say why, and how the pants ripped. Poor chubby thighs, I’ll take good care of you, I thought.
After, my pants ripped, after the interrogation, after the imagined ridicule and lastly the self-pity a white knight came to my rescue. The beautiful nurse walked me over to her office. It was my first experience going into this fascinating place, where a kid can sit and rest, from bullies, sickness, or even imagined broken leg. The nurses will comfort you and ask how you’re doing and if you’re lucky they’ll let you sit there till your pride mends itself. When I ripped my pants in fourth grade, it was a big deal, because I understood it. When you’re a baby or a geriatric its expected nobody cares, if I saw a toddler or old grandpa rip their pants, I’d take a good hard look then shrug to myself, no harm no foul. But when a fourth grader rips her pants the whole world stops even if you didn’t break your legs.
Fatigued of Trump, I think I hit the wall when he came to me in my dreams. Yes, folks, it’s getting bad, and I wouldn’t think twice usually but this has legs, and it went something like this.
doodley do doodley do dissolve…
Trump is on the scene already, as I observe from the background, he intrigues me, especially because we are so close in proximity. He (Trump) is engaged with others trying to convince voters/onlookers to vote for him. Later, we take a walk, on the way to his house, all of sudden, I’m somehow informed that I’m his girlfriend.
Yes his girlfriend, I seem interested in figuring out how, and when we have established this in the dream. I go along with it, cause when will I ever be in this situation again?! We reach a white house like complex, not Trump Tower. Once we enter the house, I’m introduced to both his sons; the younger one seems nice, but the other one grabs my hands and pulls me in real close. He murmurs to me something inaudible; I try to decipher if its “take care of him” or something very racist. My fuzzy mind can’t make up my mind. I follow the Donald up the stairs they are grand, all made of marble, I’m impressed. However when I get to his room, I notice, he has no bed?! it seems as if his place of sleep is made of Tiger Print Mink Cashmere-Like Material, the type you would find in Mongolia or Asia. I’m not impressed.
The Donald is exhausted, as he tells me already lying down on the blanket and summons me to his bed with his tiny hands. Strange, I think cause his suit is still on him, but at last, I must break from his invitation and go for a refreshing bike ride. He doesn’t look disappointed, I guess he is fatigued, but he does add that I must avoid the wrong side of the area and only ride on the right side of the tracks.
I ponder this while outside of his grand house, and walk my bike toward a familiar supermarket, inside most of the items are Asian goods. I also see some familiar faces that also happens to be of Asian descent, at first they seem to talk about the products but once I get a little closer to say hello I overhear them talking about the Donald. They are saying fanciful words I can’t understand; I get frustrated at myself for not knowing these words. The experts were discussing how it’s not Trump’s fault for who he is, and that it’s his disorder. He can’t help being this way; this neurosis makes him act like a narcissist, and there’s nothing he or we can do about it.
As I woke from the fog, the thought of having sex with Trump in my dreams made me want to gag. I wasn’t sure if I should share this with anyone, but I feel that this race is getting weirder by the day and nothing is going to stop this train wreck. If you can’t win them join them as the saying goes, so if you too have strange dreams I’d love to hear them. I can’t be the only one having nightmares over this year’s election?!