January 27, 2011

True Story

Mike and I went to the Y a week or so ago on a Sunday. I swam and Mike did other stuff. Whenever I swim I take into account the post-workout shower and just get ready for the day. So I was getting ready when two women, one literally blind and one figuratively, started banging on the wrong door to get into the pool. I went to help them and when I returned a dude was standing near my locker with one leg out of his pants. We looked at each other while he balanced on one foot and I said, "This is the girl's locker room." He replied, "Too late, pants are off." He put his shorts on and promptly headed out of the locker room.

Thankfully I was totally dressed. Thankfully those two old biddies were gone. Thankfully we both seem to have a good sense of humor. Most thankfully he kept his boxers on the whole time. I kinda felt bad for the guy. He was totally alone until I turned the corner, just getting ready to play some basketball. I even thought to myself, was I in the wrong locker room this whole time? I was not. But he was. And man, oh man. That could've been so much worse. But that much funnier.

Whirlwind Book Conference Recap

Last week I headed down to Washington, DC to attend a bookseller's educational conference held by the American Bookseller's Association. Not only was the conference awesome but I got to visit with some dear friends. On Wednesday I flew down and had some Indian food with one of my oldest friends (I always find saying oldest strange, we're the same age I've just known her for seven years) Kisa and on Thursday I got to have lunch with my mom's ex-boyfriend (who is the closest thing I have to a grandfather) and dinner with Teresa and her cute as crap family. I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to, but it happens. I didn't have a car and the conference was pretty intense. I found myself exhausted by day two and I was only listening. So much information!

As I mentioned the conference was educational so there were seminars that covered all kinds of topics- cost of goods, book buying economically, how to throw awesome events for a small store, etc etc. And all the people were really nice and totally supportive of me trying to start a bookstore. I know that I can contact any and all of the people I met and they will try to help to the best of their abilities. What an awesome community to be a part of. Really, great folks.

While I was there I got a call from the first bank I applied to for a loan. My application was rejected. The banker who called was apologetic about it. The bank just wanted to see me put up substantially more money than I had. I'm still raising capital (as you can see by the meter on the top-right of the blog) but what I have so far isn't enough. That's okay. It's the bank's prerogative. I'm relieved it's nothing that I could really control. I mean, I could control it but I don't know how I'm going to raise that kind of money. I revisited my start-up budget and realized I could cut at least $15,000 out of inventory- if not more. So, I can ask for less and make what I have that much more attractive. Anywhoodle, I have another loan meeting on Monday at 10am. I hope it'll be a great way to start my week....

January 22, 2011

I Should Totally Be a Detective

A week or so ago I was out with friends at a restaurant. And when we were saying our goodbyes I realized my gloves were missing. I went back to the restaurant and the bar, no gloves. I even checked the sidewalks and street for the gloves. I then sent messages to all my friends to see if my gloves accidentally went home with them. No luck. I had to accept the fact that I lost my super sexy, vintage Isotoner gloves were lost for. ever.

I am not one to accept losing anything. I HATE losing stuff. I just don't take it well. I like the things I have because they all serve a specific purpose. I am a purposeful shopper (or stealer of my mother's things) and therefore do very little shopping. I can't stand frivolous shopping. I love frivolity, Frivolity and I are besties. But I loathe frivolous spending. I didn't say I don't make bad decisions with money sometimes, like I really need to be more scrupulous in my choices of tea- I've put a moratorium on new flavors without sampling them first because I just don't have the room for more tea. (Who says that?) But I get really pissed when I have to spend money on duplicate items because carelessness contributed to the loss. Riding the bus has made me lose more than I care to admit. OK, I'll admit it. A pair of headphones and a scarf. OMG. The day I lost that scarf was a dark day.

After dwelling on it for a few days and even doing some searching for gloves that would be the most similar replacement I was coming to terms with my loss. That same day I had to take Mike and some friends to a bachelor party. In order to accommodate all the bodies I did some light car cleaning when I felt one of my gloves stuck in the passenger side door! There was hope! The last time I was in the passenger seat was on the same night as dinner with friends and then I took over the car to drive myself. So the gloves fell out of my pocket when we were parked and I was dropping off Mike. Since there was no glove on the street near the restaurant nor did it fall out of the door when I was cleaning, the glove has to be where we switched. And that is up our street just a few yards. The only problem? That glove is now encased in an icy tomb because we've been dumped on my snow, ice and sleet since that night. It's cool and all because I love snow. I just want my glove back. And we all know patience is not my strong suit. I WANT MY GLOVE.

January 11, 2011

Thankfully My Boob Remained Unviolated

Ever since I complained about a fellow theatre-goer's arm hair touching me during a play (seriously, this arm hair was the LONGEST arm hair I have ever seen/felt on me), I've been wondering about the expectations one can set of honoring personal space in a public place. I was chastised for being so creeped out by said body hair because according to my friends, being in a public space means I give up my personal space. I agree. But to a certain extent. What are reasonable expectations?

Today on the bus my personal space was completely invaded. And in a physically uncomfortable way. Out of all the open seats on the bus a huge person decide to sit next to me. (This is what I get for not taking up a whole extra seat with my two full bags. I'm too nice I guess.) This person wasn't fat, he was just a big person. His sitting next to me scrunched me into the wall of the bus to the point that I couldn't move. Then his elbow poked into my ribs and his knee pushed my knees together into the wall. And it stayed that way for the duration of the ride. Sets of empty seats appeared but I guess he saw no point in moving. He was perfectly comfortable. I was in pain. And he smelled a little bit.

So. Am I being snotty because I was teeming with angry thoughts in my head? Or am I within my right as a person who needs space to BREATHE to be miffed? I think I am within my right. But what do I do about it? Ask the big scary black man to kindly remove his elbow from my kidney? Ask him to get out of my way and sit in another seat myself? Why does riding the bus have to equate with losing some kind of dignity? I know I can get a little uppity, but I don't think I'm overreacting. Next time I'll just assert myself and move. Passively assert myself, yes. But I won't have to be worried about potential molestation.

January 3, 2011

Free Books! Bring It!

When Mike and I got home from work today a package was waiting for "Katherine Stephens, Beverwyck Books" from Houghton Mifflin, the publishing house. How peculiar and AWESOME. Here's what was in the package:

How COOOOOOLLL! My very first advanced copy of a book. Well, one was given as a gift a few years ago but this is totally different. This is just the beginning. I danced around my kitchen at the excitement of this. I know that one day I will be swimming in advanced copies but I don't care. This is so awesome. I'll let you know what I think of it when I get a chance to read it. So far I like the cover. But I'm a sucker for a good cover. I know I know- I've read some crappy books because of fancy packaging. But sometimes it works out for me.

Anywhoodle. I just had to share. Woot!

We Need More Sophie B Hawkins In Our Lives

This came on over the radio in the car. And I loved every minute of it.

January 2, 2011

Ain't Too Proud

Remember when I earlier posted about pushing myself out of my comfort zone? Well, here's the best example I have of that. I set up a fundraising gadget to the side of the blog, and on the bottom of this post, to raise money for capital to start my bookstore. I need a bank or other lender to loan me a lot of money- $115,000 to be exact- and banks like to see more self-raised money than I've been able to liquidate. Other entrepreneurs turn to friends and family for loans of large sums. My friends and family don't have large sums to lend. So I'm turning to everyone out there for help, a little at a time. If you're a casual blog reader, think of this as giving me a busking tip- like I'm singing on the side of the street and you toss me a dollar. If you're a friend or family member, I'll bake you some cookies. Heck, I'll bake anyone who donates cookies. Send me your address and I'll do it. You tell me what kind, I'll bake them to order.

This is hard for me because 1) I'm afraid I'll turn off some people. 2) This feels kind of humiliating like I'm admitting I'm unable to start this by myself. 3) What if no one helps? That is terrifying. But really, 1) If someone out there doesn't approve, they don't have to donate. 2) Sometimes you need help. The brave thing is admitting it and looking for it. And 3) Someone out there will help.

So, if you're someone who wants to help please donate or direct people to this post or just send out good energy into the world in my general direction. Please don't feel obligated. Really. Just your reading this this far is awesome. This is a totally secure transaction. I will not have access to any account information. The donation goes directly into my paypal account. I'm not asking for much. I'll be grateful for anything- $5 is great. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Parenthesees Alert

Mike and I don't really eat at many restaurant chains. The only chain we frequent is Taco Bell. (And everyone knows that isn't real food.) We don't even really shop at chains- online or in person. Target? Of course. The mall? Not so much. (Full disclosure, we're also poor.) I even split our groceries between a local chain and our food co-op. I don't know why our shopping habits are such exactly. Since we live inside the city near a plethora of fresh food and locally owned everything, convenience dictates we stay chain-free and local. Even ordering from Domino's Pizza is less convenient than ordering from the pizza place a block away. (And less tasty.) I'm not saying we think chain restaurants are all terrible. But those places lack character (despite the apparent lack of trying) and they aren't as invested in the creating customer loyalty. Just another schmuck will come along and take the place of the disgruntled.

But lately I've found a whole new appreciation for patronizing the local establishments. It hit me today as I was picking up my lunch crepe (nom nom nummers) from a small creperie that the woman behind the counter (making my crepe and wishing me a happy new year in French) was the owner and that the tiny, lovely restaurant was her dream. How wonderful buying my crepe became. In a way I was supporting her dream. And it felt pretty good. And was delicious.

I have a dream to open a bookstore and yet I find myself crippled with fear at this next step. The holidays are ending and I can no longer use the excuse that no one really works on the holidays and I now have to begin contacting financial institutions for financial support. I've been so stressed out about it my eye keeps twitching. It's driving me mad! Not as mad as my self-imposed block is, but still pretty nuts. But today I've made the first few steps of sending emails to people I need to meet. (I'm sure emails seem like a cop-out but the schedule I keep and the total inability to answer my cell phone at either job makes email the best way to reach me and to make meetings.) This whole endeavor is pushing me outside of my comfort zone. That's a good thing, but man it makes me uncomfortable. Nevertheless, here I go.