Sunday, January 27, 2013

I do not understand you.

Not you most likely. But some other people.

There are two people I interact with on occasion that I do not understand. Not them personally or their mission -- that is clear. I'm talking about their words. The way they string them together. The way their sentences are constructed. The what-I-perceive-are fragments to their speaking. I do not often understand what they are trying to get across.

Both of these people seem to get along in life just fine. One works. The other is philanthropic. I think it's my issue -- the way my brain is wired just does not decipher the way they communicate. So we remain friendly acquaintances, which is just fine with me.

Am I alone in this phenomenon?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Let's get fancy.

Dave and I spent a few hours of our MLK Day soaking up the recycled air at the Moscone Convention Center.

He'd gone to the Fancy Foods Show last year and insisted that I'd regret not accompanying him this year. I have to admit, it was a good time for the three hours we were there. And then we left, my eyes figuratively bruised from all that focus on getting my fill.

Let's set the scene. Picture 1,300 food booths spanning two large exhibition spaces, 90% offering samples. Next time I will forgo breakfast and if I'm smart, dinner the night before. By 11a I'd eaten my weight in chocolate, non GMO lentil / pita / tortilla / rice chips with salsa / tapenade / hummus, varieties of popcorn, ice cream, gelato, candy, natural yogurt, cheese, artisan olive oil and bread, coconut water, ginger / grapefruit / mango soda, cookies and meats roasted in sauces with names like DennyMike's and The Spice Hunter. At left is a nice lady from Bob's Red Mill, a large gluten-free flour manufacturer.

The manufacturers and distributors there are looking for retail outlets and each offering was beautifully merchandised. Dave and I went to check out products for Triumph Dining reviews. We offer manufacturers free listings in our gluten-free grocery guide and Dave handed out free copies to the marketers at brands we'd not seen before.

Pencil this in for 2014, friends. And join me for a David Lebovitz moment.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Observations from this Dance Mom

There should have been an Abby Lee lookalike award at Hollywood Connection last weekend. Dead serious.

This was Thing 1's first dance competition and convention, and that face-spanning smile at left stayed with her all weekend. She took classes all day Saturday then dolled up and performed. Her team won second place and gold, for those who keep score. We'd planned to watch the older dancers compete after we'd had dinner but she lay down on her bed in the hotel and opened her eyes 11 hours later.

Eldest Daughter stopped dancing competitively five years ago. Here are my observations after returning to the scene.
  1. This year's trend in costumes is derriere adornment.
  2. This year's trend in hair is wigs. Piggy tails. Pony tails. Colorful, fun, wild things, too.
  3. The level of competition has increased. By an order of magnitude.
  4. Cash is king if a dancer eats chicken nuggets and pizza. Finally there is convenient food set out for the dancers that does not involve sitting down, waiting and tipping on bad service. If a dancer does not eat these things then the Dance Mom spends her weekend dashing to and from Panera, Jamba Juice, Chipotle and Subway. 
  5. The further away the competing studio is from a major metropolitan area, the greater the chance the Dance Moms are wearing blinged sweats branded with their studio name. Watch out Nicki Minaj.
  6. I am far less competitive than other people. I just want Thing 1 to have a good time.
One down, three to go. Plus Disneyland.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wrapping Up

I begin my new gig in a week. Since deciding to change my work situation I've been frantic tying up loose ends because starting a new project is synonymous with a reduced amount of free time and an increased amount of mental exhaustion.

As everyone knows by now, in the Jacob vs. Edward drama Edward gets the girl. Seeing Breaking Dawn Part 2 was on my list. The movie was fine. I just needed closure on the whole dang thing. It feels like forever ago that I read the Twilight Series.

It was not forever ago that I read Fifty Shades of Grey. But I needed closure on that, too, so I powered through the final book in the series. This was not a good use of time but at least I know how it ends. And I had to return the book to the library by the office.

I baked for our next two NCL commitments. This is my current favorite cookie recipe. It's similar to risotto and soup in that you use whatever you have in the house, in this case, for the top of these three-layer cookies.

The Steve Jobs book by Walter Isakson. Surely I'm the the last person in the Valley to read it. In technology circles its quoted as often as The Minority Report and The Social Network. My first clue was finding eight copies on the shelf in the Mountain View Library. Truth be told, it took me a long time to get through. Isakson is a gifted writer and I wanted to savor the words (the opposite of Fifty Shades) and also think about it, too. I began my tech career in 1989, toward the beginning of Apple's historic rise, and even worked on the short-lived NeXTWorld Magazine.

Deferred Tech Support. Off to the Apple Store I went with one ancient desktop and two laptops to migrate the data from the old one to the new two. I needed to straighten out Apple IDs and iTunes Libraries. I gave some TLC to my PC, which has seen little use this last year. It needed software upgrades and a good reorganization. A dusting too.

Filing. Recipes and travel articles and health insurance claim forms. Creating new files for 2013.

Framing. The kids' art and new black and white pictures we had taken in Mexico. Hanging all that stuff. Taking old stuff down. Deciding where to put old and new framed art. This takes time!

Alterations! I'll be in an office five days a week so I did a big drop off at the seamstress as well as parked myself in front of Pitch Perfect on demand to do simple fixes myself. You can skip Pitch Perfect.

Shopping. I hit the mall for some work wardrobe basics, essentially winter sweaters in fun colors to go with all those boring pants I just hemmed. Also foundations. Thing 1, now 11 and who was with us, found this part as much fun as having a flu shot. Eldest Daughter enjoyed it more and for the investment I made on her foundations, I should have let her go to Victoria's Secret like she wanted to in the first place. Note to mothers of teen daughters: Betsey Johnson is not your friend at Nordstrom.

Holiday Cards. I reread your cards, refreshing myself on your beautiful children and 2102 highlights, and mentally assigned category winners to them. I hope to blog about those awards in the coming months. So far I've got Most Photogenic, Funniest, Most Creative, Most Content, Best All American and First.

My list is getting shorter and the daylight hours are getting longer. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who quits a job they love?!

Me. More on that later.

I woke up bright and early on January 1 and made Coq au Vin. I'm eating it right now and it's good. So good it was worth all that shopping and chopping and sauteing and braising and reducing. It's gluten-free, too.

Why did I cook instead of sleep in? Because one of my goals for 2013 is to cook more. And to cook more I need to spend more time at home, which is also why I quit a job I loved. It's hard to be a great mom and wife when your mind is constantly spinning #perftest messaging. I'm sure I'll love my new job, too, and I'll especially love that it's 43 miles closer to home and that I'll be able to see The Pinks both morning and evening. We're on the back nine after all.

The hardest part of quitting my job was actually getting the words out of my mouth. I literally had to force them out. And once I did, the recipient of that phrase, "My last day is January 11" sat back in his chair, paused and then said, "Really?!"

I'll be working on a change management project at PG&E come January 14. It's on Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. Who's up for lunch or walking?

Happy new year!