Monday, March 25, 2013


At our old abandoned opinion blog, Women On, we used to have something called "Photo Friday."  Here at Coming to Terms..., I'm announcing "Movie Monday."  Well, at least a series of one.

I took this cute little movie with my pocket camera, then had a devil of a time trying to post it because, evidently, it was recorded in the finest, highest resolution HD (who knew that little son-of-a-gun was so high tech?) The file for the one-minute movie was so huge, I couldn't load it into any program on my computer that could edit it. 

Finally, I uploaded it to youtube (this took twenty minutes) so I could post it on Facebook. 

And after all that work and worry, none of my Facebook friends looked at it or commented.  Sigh!

Oh well.  So I'm posting it here, if only so that I can get my hands (eyes) on it quickly when I want to look at it.  Because I really like it. 

I've witnessed the aerial dogfights that erupt between these two species when the rufous hummingbirds arrive back in town every year.  As a rule, the poor Anna's males--who have enjoyed free reign over my feeders for the entire long, cold winter--are rudely browbeaten away from the feeders by male rufies every spring.  The (smaller!) new arrival will station himself on a tree branch where he can keep an eye on any action going on around the glass bottle.  When another bird enters the picture, the little hellion swooops in, and with loud buzzing and chattering and aerial acrobatics, drives him away.

This year, apparently, the Anna's males have been shooting testosterone or something, because they are not being cowed by the antics of the frenetic newcomers.  In the video, our little Anna's male sits there calmly and continues to sip, exuding an attitude of, "If you're very polite, I'll LET you share my feeder..."

To see these two feeding rather chummily is kind of like watching the lion lie down with the lamb. 


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Next Chapter?

By way of letting any interested parties know what I am currently up to:


We are Lisa and Matt R, owners of "Cafe de la Rue." We are a festival food concession business--we travel northwest Oregon during the festival season serving our pocket sandwiches and desserts. We've been in business since 2001. We also owned a restaurant here in Columbia County for five years, during which time we used our restaurant kitchen as our commissary for the concession business. We closed the restaurant in 2011, and find ourselves in need of a kitchen in which to do our food prep. We have gone the rent-a-kitchen route, but we find that our needs would be best served if we had our own place.

We chose Lane County as a location to begin our search for a building because our highest grossing event by far is the Junction City Scandinavian Festival and proximity to that festival would be key. In January 2013, we became aware of a commercial building available in Junction City for under $100k. It was in pretty sad shape--the previous tenant had run a Mexican restaurant out of the building, but at some point decided to just bag it and disappeared--leaving behind a building full of junk and a "stack of unpaid bills"--per the seller's agent. 

We have invested a considerable amount of time and funds into the building already--basically trying to empty it of the clutter left behind by the previous tenants, and then ordering inspections and estimates for repairs (on our own dime.) The seller is an elderly retired lady who lives in California now and who is not particularly interested in/able to invest time or money into the building.

Now, it has come time for us to find out how we are going to finance this purchase, or if indeed there are funds available anywhere at this time. To my mind, the total monies required for purchasing and rehabbing this building are reasonable and would be a decent investment for us and any bank willing to finance the project. But we have no idea of the process involved in purchasing commercial real estate, especially in this economically depressed market. 

We have purchased our share of residential real estate (we have owned five homes over our 36 years of marriage) so we have a pretty decent understanding of that process. How different are the procedures when it comes to commercial real estate? Primarily, I guess our first question is, can one be "pre-quailified" for x-number of dollars to purchase a commercial building? If such a concept exists, it would probably be wise for us to take advantage of it. What documents would we need to show a loan officer in order to make this happen? 

Or are business loans granted strictly on a case-by-case basis? If that is the case, what documentation on this particular building/scenario would we need to bring to a meeting with loan officer? 

We're sending this e-mail inquiry for two reasons: 1.) We are currently based in Scappoose and we are not close to anything, so we would prefer to have as much information as we can before we go driving all over the place to money meetings; and 2.) We thought of xxxxsmall-bankxxx first because we really are dedicated to doing business with local or regional financial institutions.

Thanks for your time, and we hope to hear back from you soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From "To-Do" to "Ta-DA"

Who says Facebook is a useless, mind-numbing time-waster?  Okay…maybe any really useful information gleaned from Facebook can be filed under the heading of “Even a Blind Pig Finds an Acorn Now and Then…”
But of course, if I hadn’t discovered a really useful little tidbit, I wouldn’t be writing this, would I?  And what is that tidbit, you ask (you DO ask, don’t you?)  Well, here it is:
Anyone who reads here with any regularity will remember that my entrepreneurial experience left me with a dire aversion to “To-Do” lists.  For five years, I was hobbled by a chain of “needed this yesterdays” as long and as heavy as any strong coil dragged around by Marley’s ghost.  So once free of the cafĂ©, I declared my independence from to-do lists for the rest of…forever. 
What’s so bad about a to-do list?  After all, it’s just like a shopping list, isn’t it?  You write down the things you need so you don’t forget.  Cross them off when they’re done.  What’s so onerous about that?
Does anybody really believe this?  That a to-do list is merely an innocent visual reminder of things one might otherwise forget to do?  Hah!  Not so!  A to-do list is designed as an insidious finger-pointing device; with that insidious NEON finger pointing directly to an array of gnarly character flaws we all seek to keep well hidden, particularly from ourselves.  Sloth.  Disorganization.  Inability to prioritize.  Inability to give a damn.  Inability to complete a task.
Fear.  Failure. 
At the very least, a to-do list is the first billboard on that Highway to Hell:  The Guilt Trip.
So, when a friend posted on Facebook:

Monday via mobile .
Another day, another to do list unchecked.

I had to comment that I had given up to-do lists for Lent.  And every other week of the year.

And that, I thought, was that.  Clever, succinct and heart-felt.

But then another friend of my friend posted this comment:

o    Carrie Kemerer Harrington @ Lisa, how about starting a ta-DA list instead? It is a list of all the stuff you actually got done. Making that really helps you see how much you really do get done instead of making you feel bad about what you didn't do.

How simplistic, I scoffed.  How kindergarten!  How “Chicken Soup for the Soul!”
How…great of an idea is this?  Really?
What a simple way to morph the list from a cat-o-nine-tails into a pat on the back?  A “Look what I DID!” instead of a “Look what I COULDN’T do…”  One big smiley face with no other competing emoticons hanging around in the margins.
So today, I started my first “Ta-DA” list.  So far, it has only two things on it.  But that’s two more things than it had on it when I got up this morning.
And as soon as I post this, I’m going to add “wrote about ta-da list.”  Because I think this definitely qualifies.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Heart Pictures

It appears that my literary muse is on hiatus.  I won’t say I’m choking on writer’s block.  There is a lack of passion in my life right now, and passion is what usually leads me to pick up my laptop and clatter away as if possessed.  Life is not terrible.  It’s just not remarkably anything at the moment.

It’s like being in the Doldrums.  I mean the actual Doldrums—the place upon which the popular expression is based.  The place where tall ships would languish for weeks until a change in weather patterns conjured up enough of a breeze to set them free and on their way again:

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean

(From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner)
The weather is fine—the sun shines, no storms or danger on the immediate horizon; but it’s beyond tedious, and I’m not getting anywhere.  So, not the greatest place to pass too much time.  And not a place to inspire stories that would interest anyone else.
So I’ve been spinning my creative wheels a little, but have not been altogether without outlets for my right-brained talents.  I have been working at re-staging my plethora of chotchkes (which means stowing the winter decor and rolling out the spring and summer stuff.)  I’ve worked a little with some of my jewelry-making toys.  But mainly, ever since our trip to Klamath in January (which turned out to be an incredible photogasmic experience), I’ve been carrying on a love affair with all my digital photos—old and new. 
Digital photography.  What a miracle!  I have ten years worth of photos on my computers or saved to cd’s or thumb drives.  It’s so amazing to just pick up the Dell and start flipping through old pictures with a tap of the touchpad.  Both my laptops have the “slide show” gadget running on the desktop (a Windows 7 feature), and I use the “photo gallery” screen savers on all my computers.  It’s awesome to be so immediately surrounded by my personal pictorial history.  So much easier—and less allergenic—than unearthing big dusty boxes or crackly old photo albums.     
I’ve spent hours deeply immersed in playing around with my pictures.  It’s a bit more sedentary an activity than is really good for me, but it sure helps pass the dreary gray late winter days, when I can’t go outside and play in the yard.   
I started out just looking through old pictures, posting some on Facebook.  Then I decided to get involved with the task I mentioned in my previous post—restoring what pictures I can locate to their proper places in my archived “Coming to Terms…” posts.  And the combination of playing with pictures and dabbling in my seasonal redecorating led to picking out some of my best bird pictures and playing with them in my photo programs in an attempt to turn them into “art.”

I had a lot of fun with that.   “Artified” photos plus mats and frames from Goodwill adds up to some dirt cheap one-of-a-kind framed art for some naked walls that have been crying out for embellishment practically since we moved into the house twelve years ago. 
The bird pictures have turned out wonderfully. 
And of course, I had to try my hand at some of my landscape photos.   
Those last 2 are all Photoshop.  Yes...I have sidled up to that frustrating Adobe program once again.  I still can't get it to do what I want...but I get some pretty amazing results clicking on random icons...
I'm no Monet or Degas or even Ansel Adams.  But I'm having a good time, anyway.