Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

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Today started slow. I got out of bed, took a shower and made a milk shake.Then I sat down at the computer and called all the members of the OLPH men's club to remind them of the meeting taking place on Wednesday evening. Then I jumped in my little white potato of a car and drove down to Napa. There I went to my nephew Edward's house for a wonderful day of opening presents and eating Croation Cuisine.Ed and Ant's new baby Mila will be Christened on New Year's Eve so I hope that I can take next Sunday off. The picture you see here is of the little tyke in a good mood. She is five months old, and quite a talker. She likes to stick her tongue out and give everyone a raspberry.Then she cuts little farts and breaks up laughing.She had us entertained for hours.The time went by quickly and before you know it, it was dark outside and people were stuffed. We had already chatted and exchanged gifts. I recieved a nice shirt from Rita and Hamish and a Nike+Ipod Sports kit from Ed, but unfortunately I have the wrong kind of Ipod! Also,I don't have a new pair of Nikes to slip into...Which, by the way are necessary items to get going with this program.So,If I buy a Nano, it would be my fourth Ipod, and I am sorry, but that is ridiculous! The other present I got was a cool book about Motor Scooters from Mario( Antonella's brother )I really appreciate his thoughtfulness. All in all it was a great day and I hope we do it all again next year.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Festive Appearances

I enjoy my work but
I have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility that a lot of people read as control. Today, a group of thirty people did not show up for one of our cooking demonstrations at 10:30 AM. We called the group to remind them and only got voicemail. Patricia Landis is in Panama taking a vacation and she is the one who made the reservation. I let her know how I handled the situation.I am also training someone to work the concierge desk even though I haven't been called on to do so. She is a nice person who is my age. Her name is Marnie and she lives locally. She is the manager/owner of a workout gym in St. Helena. So far we have been enjoying working together. I hope it continues that way. She is the best friend of Mary Lee who is someone who has been on-call as a concierge ever since I have been here.This a picture of them and a friend at our Christmas party which took place on the sixth of this month.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What have I done?

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Another silly movie showing me fumble around trying to find the right settings, etc. Generally making an idiot out of myself.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Return of...

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After my attempt at staying in shape, I went to ACE® to buy a shower curtain because I am having my bathroom painted in the morning. I spent most of the afternoon cleaning and scrubbing the floor, then the shower tiles , the toilet, the sink, etc. etc. I don't want these guys who are doing the painting to think that I live like a pig. My apartment needs a good dusting every week though.Where does all this grey dust comes from? During the summer months the spiders make good use of it, as it becomes the choice material for making thier webs. Where am I going with this...hmmm. Well as Banteron told you, This morning he went for a run/walk with his buddy, Don. They yabber on about their lives and what new projects they are working on just to stay busy. Then it's time for a cup of mud. Today Bant had his usual roasted brew only this time it included a big dallop of Espresso Ice Cream in the cup. Yummmm ! This weeks blog is announcing the return of "Banteron from Boca Raton". My alter-ego.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sketching what I see...

I have been practising my drawing skills here at work now that it has been kind of slow.Yesterday, I drew this teapot to learn how to do reflective objects and chrome better. It is tricky and requires observation to get all the detail. I don't always draw things the way I SEE them. I rely a lot on my imagination, or rather what I THINK something looks like. I don't know if I could make a living doing this quite yet. I could be a lot more disciplined around this practise. I am building a portfolio and plan to have another show at some point. This time I will plan it a little better.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Showing off

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I have been playing around with this video blog thing for a little while now and I want to broaden my ability to create effective content. So,here i chose to show off some of my black and white art work... only it's blue ! Yep, I got Quicktime Pro to let me colorize the video. Now if I can only figure out what I am going to upload next.


Spec commercial for a new cell phone from Apple by award winning filmmaker Christopher DeSantis with design by Gregory DeSantis.

The Men's Group

I have been in the men's group at our Catholic Church for some time now, and I have been president since July. I have just recently added a web site here in Google to support the members. I have invited around twenty-seven regular members who have e-mail, and so far only one has signed on. I plan to announce to the group on Wednesday that this web site has been created so that we all can stay in touch with the group and each other. It is my intention that this site builds community and good will among the members. These are a great bunch of guys who have lived in and around Calistoga for some time now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Persnicketity Persmimmons

This blog has nothing to do with persimmons other than I posted this pretty picture which was taken last year about this time .Today my sister Ellen sent me an email which was one of her famous surveys. She does this from time to time. It consisted of 50 questions that are varied and diverse. They are fun to answer and to ponder about... " What was the last fuzzy thing you touched? " or" Who was the most famous person you have stood within three meters from?" These kind of questions make for a time of reflection in an otherwise boring fall day at work. Luckily, my manager and my supervisor were not in today, which was nice. I don't feel that I have to perform like a trained monkey so much. My scooter is running great. I tell everyone that it is like an "E-ticket" ride at Disneyland. I hope that I don't repeat myself too much. I do so much of that at work. It is really hard to say anything original because people are constantly coming up with the same stupid questions that I have to pretend they are asking me for the first time. Sheesh! My good buddy, Steve Ruggenberg has decided to move on from work as a demo chef at the De Baun Theater. I have an idea why he is moving on ... but it's all good.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I haven't made the time to blog since the Worlds of Flavor Conference over two weeks ago. The reason being what I call "Digestability". This is where the information and conversations have been coming at you at such a rate that you have no time to reflect. Forming an opinion is sometimes like having a turd form. A collection of matter conjoins to form a mass which may be symbiotic or may not be. Bringing ideas together into a cohesive package is not always the easiest thing. Too many things get out there way before they have been cross-referenced for their viability, let alone proper grammar and spelling. An idea is only as good as it's support structure and digestability.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Back from the W.O.F. O6'

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It has been a long day... I have worked straight through without taking much of a lunch break yet i feel energized from the people I met today. It is nice being of service and feeling like I am doing the right thing with my life.

This video was originally shared on by banteron with a Public Domain license.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Almost Halloween

It has been a busy week. The Robert Parker event took place on Thursday, and Friday was the B&P graduation. Tracey, Dawn and Andrea invited me to the ceremony and dinner which was fantastic. I don't think I have had a better week as far as food tasting goes. Yesterday was the Pelligrino "Almost Famous" chefs competition. The lunch that was prepared was mostly Northern Italian- which is my favorite cuisine. Parmigiano Reggiano crustinis, gnocci, pesto, ceasar salad, linguini and desserts that were scrumptuous.On another note, Yesterday I drove my scooter back from Vallejo and froze my tookus! The bike is now over 1000 miles and next paycheck I will bring it in for it's first servicing. I enjoy riding it but the cold weather is begininng to come around.This coming week is the "Worlds of Flavor" conference at the CIA, and Spain is the hosting country. The place will be packed for sure. I will bring my digital camera to document as much as I can. After this event we enter our "quiet" period until thing pick up again after February with the Mustard Festival.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is anyone out there?

When I starting writing this blog, I thought that more people would read it (ego).Now I realize that I barely read it even after I have written it ! That be said, I might as well recount the past week since I have last posted. Friday the 13th came this week and it was a doozy. We had a truck take out a power line in St. Helena which caused a major traffic tie-up, up and down the Valley. The CIA was without power for around two hours. People were just starting to head home when the power came back up.I try to stay cool in those situations because it is usually a time when the managers go into overdrive. I simply called PG & E and asked for an update call as soon as they knew when we might expect to get our power back. I must say, that PG&E really has got it down now to a fine Science. After two hours, I got a call from a guy who said we would have power within 5 minutes and not to tell anyone else, lest it be a false alarm ( the guy even covered his own tracks ! ) Well, he was right. The power came back and everyone who was about to leave for home, grumbled and filed back into the building. We lost 56 lunch reservations and had to close our campus store... oh well !

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Spending Spree

Yesterday I went to a Mac Expo at Santa Rosa Junior College. I attended two workshops.One was with Barbara Heimann who taught Photoshop at SRJC until her retirement. The other was with Burt Munroe. He is a real Photoshop expert. He demonsrated some of his techniques, but went so fast I could hardly digest the information. I know enough about Photoshop to get by, but I know there would be tons more to learn if I was interested. I also won a book and t-shirt on Digital Photography which will go in my colletion.I also ended up buying Jim Heid's book on ILife O6'. I got it for twenty bucks when I would otherwise spend forty five. I also purchased Micromat's Techtool Pro for my Minimac which has been giving me a little trouble lately. I have a feeling that it is memory issues. Lastly, I purchased a little kit to keep my ipod scratch free. All in all, I dropped around $150.00 after I paid Roy at Revolution Moto to attach the wire to my tail light.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October Blues

Today is Tuesday, my regular day off. I am feeling sad. I found out after reading the paper today that an old friend of the family has passed on.Frances McAteer was our neighborhood "mom" if you will. This wonderful woman would open her heart and home to almost any kid she knew. We loved her because she would make us laugh and was always interested in what we were doing. She would always have a smile to greet us, as well. Most of the neighborhood knew Mrs.McAteer, not just as a State Senator's wife, but as an encouraging and generous friend. Those days when it was unusually hot in San Francisco, she would let all the kids come and swim in her pool. We would dash out of our houses and run with our towels over there to be the first one off the diving board. I think that there must have been about twenty-five kids in her pool at one time.That was a treat not to be missed. I remember one time she took me along on a special trip to Alacatraz. This was long before it opened up to the public ( and even before the Indian "take-over" ) when there was a committee forming about what should be done with the property. She taught kids respect to be respectful of one another and to be polite towards adults. One time, Governor Edmund G. Brown was visiting her husband Gene at their home. I had the good fortune to meet him, because Mrs. McAteer invited me in and introduced me to him. I felt important because of her. I will never forget this kind gesture.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My New Scooter !

Okay, Revolution Moto has provided me with the most beautiful 250cc Aprilia Scarabeo Motorscooter around. In fact, it is the only one of it's kind in Northern California.
It is a deep indigo color ( almost eggplant, if you will ) and it is 100cc's faster than my old one.I really have to thank BMW of Santa Rosa for facilitating this process.They picked the bike up in their van when it broke down. The manager called me to tell me that they would get me a new scooter and Revolution Moto came through with a brand spanking new one in less than two weeks. I love riding it around now that the sunny season is still around. Pretty soon though, I will be driving the old white potato ( my Ford Aspire ) when the rain and cold weather sets in after Halloween.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Goodbye to my old scooter

Today I did some sleuthing to find out what the status of my motorscooter is, after my engine malfunction on the Silverado Trail. It looks like I will be getting a new scooter as soon as the othre scooter is paid off and the title is transferred. I am upgrading from a 150CC to a 250CC scooter which will have a lot more umph.Hopefully, I will be able to pick my scooter up on Saturday at Revolution Moto in Santa Rosa.So far, the people who work there and at BMW Santa Rosa couldn't be nicer. I have been treated with respect and dignity.I will sing thier praises as so as I am on the seat of my new scooter heading down the road.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Potato Story

(You can view this image upside down,too!)

A girl Potato and a boy potato had eyes for each other, and finally they married and had a little sweet potato, which they called "Yam". Of course, They wanted the best for Yam, When it was time, they told her the facts of life.

They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally smashed, and get a bad name for herself, like "hot potato" and end up with a bunch of tater tots.

Yam saidi not to worry, no spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her. But on the other hand, she wouldn't stay home and become a couch potato either.

She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her shoestring cousins. When she went off to Europe. Mr. and Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland, and the greasy guys from France called French Fries.

Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds.

Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (That's Potatao University ) So that when she graduated she'd really be in the chips, but in spite of all they did for her, one day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry a TV news anchorman.

Getting Married? Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry a TV news anchorman , because he would just a ... "Common Tater !"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nice shot of Sedona

I wish I was there... it is a beautiful place. Last time was in 91' I think. My online buddy Steve took this shot during a recent trip. The place supposedly has many energy centers throughout the area. Many westerns were filmed there too. I know that there are some places where only the local Indian tribes can visit because they are sacred spots where initiation rites take place. The sky and scenery there is breathtaking. Thank you Steve for sharing your site with us ! If you would like to visit his website,click here

Blaaaaaa !

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I thought that I would have my eyes checked being that I am 55 and soon to be 56. I have been using the Dr. Dean Edell magnifiers for the past couple of years as my eyesight has gotten progressively worse. The doctor says that my eyes aren't any worse than any other person my age and that I shouldn't be concerned. Well, after my exam ( which my insurance paid for... ) I sat down to be fitted for my new glasses. I gulped when I learned the price but bit the bullet and ordered them anyway. Now I can SEE where my money has gone. Now if only i could correct my financial foresight.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another Blip

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This is a short and stupid video, just to see how fast I could publish it. Hey, if it were not for experiments we would never have eaten jello. Today I download the new video version of Skype for Macs, and yesterday I downloaded the new ITunes 7.0 which has a lot of visually pleasing features. Let's face it... technology is great, especially when you understand how best to use it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Just swell...

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Okay, so now it is 1:35 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2006. I am back here posting to my blog because I haven't done it in awhile. Yesterday I took a run with my friend, Don Freeland. We ran to Coyote Peak in Bothe State Park near where I live. It was difficult for me, but I was able to comlete the distance. Afterwards, I felt a little ill and Don took me to? Cal Mart to buy a Green Tea drink. This quenched my thirst but I still felt a little "woozy". He then dropped me off at my place and went home. I took a shower and a nap and felt much better after that. The reason I am writing about this is because today I am going back to see Dr. John to talk about my cholesterol findings. The blood panel results were showing elevated levels of "bad" cholesterol and high glucose. I am a bit nervous about this and guess that I went for a run to prove to myself that I am still in great shape. I sure hope that I am. I don't want to end up with diabetes like my other siblings.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dr. John and the day tripper

On my day off I drove my scooter down to the city of Napa to visit Dr. Dermody about the pain and bruising under my rib cage. He said I probably go poked and didn't remember it ! ( now wait, I am here because of thinking I may have a heart problem and you are telling me I have alzheimers ? ) Actually, he thinks it was not anything to be concerned about and to just relax. He then suggested that I go have a blood panel done since it has been about two years since I have had that done. Although, I remember having a cup of coffee with cream that morning, he didn't think that would effect the test because it had been about three hours. Well today I got a call from his staff saying that my triglycerides were through the roof and that my good and bad cholesterol were both extraordinarily high. GREAT ! So today at lunch I ate only salads, tomatoes, carrots, beans, rice and anything that doesn't produce those bad things that only serve to block my areteries. I promise to be a good boy and start lowering it beginning today. Cheese, eggs , dairy, bread, yougurt, chips and some nuts... all out ! My life is beginning anew.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pain under my rib

I have been a little concerned after waking up for the past week with what feels kind of like a bruised rib that isn't really healing. It may be a hiatel hernia (?) from some refluxive reaction, but I am not sure. I am probably going to have to get it ex-rayed and looked at by my physician. I hope it is nothing that requires surgery.When I got home last night I read my e-mail and I got one from my friend, Joe. He sent me this article about how dioxin can leach from plastic wrap placed over foods in the microwave. Another thing to add to my list of worries. But if the handwriting is on the wall, I am going to have this looked at for sure.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Another Long Week

Sunday is my Friday, and this week I have done a lot to keep the Concierge Desk at the CIA in good stead. We have new cooking demo schedules for September as we are adding another two demos on Tuesday and Thursday. That should be a challenge for our chef, Steve Ruggenberg. This Tuesday I will be attending the Parish Festival Meeting at O.L.P.H. ( Our Lady of Perpetual Help ) to formalize the plans and to find out how much Tri-tip and Chicken we will need to order. Wednesday night is the Men's meeting where I try to enroll volunteers for this effort. I want to expedite this correctly so that everything runs smoothly. Saturday night I have volunteered to help with the setup when I get off of work.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


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This is my own version of the Barbara Striesand song " People" with a special little twist. Let's just say that it may someday be a big hit in Manila . Okay, perhaps not. But hey, I had some fun singing it and who knows maybe someday I will perform it before a live audience. Okay, perhaps not. But you never know, maybe I will be discovered. Yea, that's it ! I will be discovered by Letterman.Or maybe I will just be discovered by somebody walking by an abandoned car lot next to the Rug Mart on the way to their job at Popeye's chicken. Well, at least that's a start !

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


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Here I am again. Trying my hand at videoblogging. Let me know what you think, but be gentle with me. Today was fun. I got along with most everyone and I got my work done with time to spare. I especially like working with Keith who is the maintenence guy. He is just so pleasant and even tempered, I know he is a good role model for me. He just makes himself available at the drop of a hat. He even showed a few people around the building , much to their delight. Anyway, tonight I am going to my aa meeting and then for a run before I hit the sack. It is a beautiful time of the year here in the Napa Valley.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Master of Excel

Or should it be Excelling Master? I have been put in charge of tabulating the monthly attendance of the Cooking demonstration. I didn't know how to use the software before, but I am getting a good idea about how to use it now.All I have to do is go to Open Table and get a daily head count of the people attending the three cooking demonstrations.From there, I take those statistics and I enter that information into an Excel document where I can tabulate the total number of Guests each month. Simple eh? Not really. I am not the world's best typist and at times am given to error. Hopefully, I will keep good records, and have this project fair well on my annual review.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Won't you come home?

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Okay, this is the second attempt at uploading this silly little flick. I am just about to make my bed as it is already 8:00am on Monday, August 2nd, 2006. I just want to see if I can videoblog even before I head off to work. Hopefully, when I arrive at work I can boot up my computer and view this little document so as to keep an ongoing record of what my day was like BEFORE all the hoopla.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Taking it to the streets

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Well, this is a shot of my favorite coffee shop in St. Helena, CA. It is called the Roastery and they make the best coffee because they hand pick and hand roast the beans. The best part of this place is that you can just hang after you get your coffee and bring your laptop and hookup to their wifi connection.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Things went pretty well at the CIA today. I think that my position here is becoming more appreciated since I have been away. Perhaps the break just did ME a world of good. Maybe everyone was relieved to not see my charming face here for the past two weeks. I have been given the cookies these past couple of days and tonight I have two bags. I suspect that I am going to be pretty popular at the AA meeting tonight. The weekends here are generally a different scene entirely. Tommorow the Special Events team will be doing a wedding which usually means that the staff gets a little something to eat. Then again, there is the "Family Meal" that the restaurant prepares for the staff in the SIMI room after 4:30 PM My attitude has been improving, my computers are working fine and I should'nt be too strapped until the next payday.Life is good

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Today was my first day back after a nice lengthy vacation.I had no shame in explaining that I didn't really go anywhere... just on short trips. School is back in session here at the CIA an there is a whole new crop of Baking and Pastry students.It is pretty much business as usaual and hence, there is no need to get my ego in the way of progress here. The weather has been cooperating nicely, but it is still a little warm. Tonight I am attending the men's club meeting at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I am bringing fresh CIA cookies so it should be a nice dinner meeting. We will be discussing the upcoming Parish Festival.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lesson One

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Okay, here I am acting like a pro and I just started doing this... Who the heck do I think I am? Well, if I can do this, so can you ! This is my first hot tip on videoblogging. Enjoy ! ( or not )

Banteron's Blip Blog Begins !

This is starting to be fun. Okay, so you may NOT think that I am not a very private person. The fact is that I like to put myself out there , but I do in fact cherish my privacy. I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country in a one bedroom apartment amidst Hispanic neighbors who have many kids who like to stay up to all hours playing a variety of games that involve yelling, screaming and crying. I live upstairs, plunking away at my puter. Today I discovered videoblogging at It is just an experiment depending on how easy and interested YOU may be in tracking my day to day activites. If I can do this, Anyone can do this ! Have a simple ( perhaps boring at times) daily monologue that details your thoughts and observations.
Oh joy !

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lunchtime Poetry

Here it is, the second week of my vacation. Today, I did the food run from Napa to Calistoga with Jim and Leonardo. We got it all done before noon so the heat was not too much of a factor, although it should hit double digits this afternoon.Last Sunday, I was accused of being a pervert for taking an unauthorized picture of two pre-teen girls walking along the boardwalk at Johnson's Beach in Gurneville eating ice cream cones ((( What was I thinking !!))) . It was devastating to hear the accusation from the mother of one of these girls. "Who the hell do you think you are?" She bellowed. " What right have you to take a picture of my daughter without asking her permission ! " ( she was right, of course) I muttered apologies and regret and explained that I was only taking pictures of people in general, as part of a photo documentary piece. After submitting an ID, she finally let me go after thoroughly reeming me emotionally. I doubt that I will return to that beach any time soon. I hear on the news that Forest Fires have broken out in Middletown since last night. It was only 25% contained as I write this. I want to see " The way of the peaceful warrior " with Nick Nolte tonight at the Rialto. It is Tightwad Tuesday and the show begins at 7:10 pm. The price break is by two or three dollars on this day.I also will be purchasing some groceries at Trader Joes and the Grocery Outlet before I head back over the hill on my scooter. It is nice sitting here in my apartment listening to Robert Hass read his poetry via a podcast.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'm still the same

Nothing has changed. On this day in History, on this very spot, Nothing Happened... and, That's Okay ! Hey, I have been told that when you are really bored you are getting real close to your Higher Power. Hmmmm... that sounds a little too Zen for me.
The one thing I do know, is that my laundry still needs to get done. I still need to feed myself and shower everyday. I still need to work to pay my bills to get and stay out of debt. I still need to communicate with my loved ones so that they don't think I have completely lost it. I still need to get plenty of rest so that I don't go around banging into walls. I never knew that this blog could be so funny. Tune in next week when I have been off for awhile to hear the saga of my summer vacation. Hell I had more excitement. adventure and fun in one day at 15 than I've had in the last 5 years of my fifties. This is like Zen and the art of Limbo...

How low can you go?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Is it Ground Hog Day ?

It sure feels like it. Somedays I come to work and I go down the same road, talk to the same people, do the same job. Blah, Blah and Blah. It is a good thing that I will be having a nice long vacation after the 10th of this month. I plan on taking a lot of short trips on my motor scooter, exercising by riding my bike or hiking, cooking my own meals, etc. I want to come back to the CIA refreshed and ready to face another year of fun, food and frolic ! When you are eating , sleeping and breathing CIA 40+ hours a week you can go a little crazy. Don' t get me wrong, though. Everyone needs a break. I plan to take a lot of pictures, go to San Francisco, Russian River, Shasta, Monterey, Mendocino and other "day trips". The thing is, I am on a budget and have to watch my spending like the rest of you.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday on a Holiday Weekend

The kids in the neighborhood are getting excited about the fair that is taking place this weekend. They buy a bracelet and get to go on all the rides ( Jessica says that it's Free then). It is quiet here at the CIA. Only foot traffic as we have no big events scheduled. Last night the Napa Valley Vintners had their annual dinner in the Barrel Room. I heard that everything went smoothly and our Special Events Staff deserves a Gold Star. As it stands, I am continuing this blog on Wednesday , July 5th because as usual , I got busy. Last night I did a kewl thing. I climbed up on the roof top of my apartment building to watch the fireworks. I also brought my Powermac with and Isight up there with me. I was chatting with my friend Steve from Calgary who was at a campground there ( without any fireworks to view, I might add ) and I was able to direct the ISight camera towards the sky so that he could watch the entire show from 9:30 to 10:00 pm. I love high tech stuff for this very reason.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Last dog day of Spring

It has been a while since I have posted to my blog ( probably because I am the only one who reads it ) But it is good to do this every once and awhile. Today the heat was over 90 degrees and I am back at work trying to get ten things done at once. Even though it is relatively slow on my first day back after two days off, I have found that I can stay busy doing this sort of thing! Today, I got on my motor scooter at lunch and drove as fast as I could to Calistoga to pick up a pay stub for verification so that I can be compensated for the days that I took off to do the mock trial down in Napa. I was pissed that I was not paid for those days.Of course it was my own problem because I failed to tell Connie or Bob that I wanted them to be considered either a personal day or a floating holiday. Anyway, I hope to see some big $$ on my next paycheck. Incidentally, I received an e-mail from the Concierge manager at the Meritage in Napa. I will interview with them to see if I am going to be paid any more money than I am making here. I would like to make between eighteen and twenty dollars an hour.If they don't offer a comparable package, I won't be working there.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I like the quiet times in the late afternoon her at Greystone. Most of the people who were coming to visit the facility, have already ventured on to other places. Today, we are having a dinner party for the Federalist Party out on our terrace in front of the building. Our workhorse, Juan Carlos Anaya called in sick today so the special events team will have to set up all the tables and chairs.The Valley is busy this weekend because of the Annual Wine Auction at Meadowood Country CLub. I usually volunteer to assist there, but I want more than an apron and a chance to look at celebrities for my time. The last two years were enough for me.The weather outside hss been nothing short fo Spectacular, and it will be fun driving my motor scooter home from work.Perhaps I will go out tonight, I have not decided one way or the other.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Oy Vey !

It seems that everything is related, especially when it comes to computer problems. I downloaded the most recent version of IWeb from my software update feature from my .mac account. After creating a few new pages to upload, I found myself getting error messages.When this happens, I immediately back track to see what could have possibly happened.It has been almost two weeks since I last blogged. Finally, I was able to post some new pics to my IWeb site. It is Memorial Day and the pool is again open at Bothe State park.I took Thursday and Friday off this past week because I had a few floating holidays coming to me and I wanted to recoup the money I lost from being suspended for three days from work ( another story, another time ). Suffice to say, I did pretty good because I was paid $350.- for two days at a mock trial. Not bad, huh! Right now I have a load of laundry to do so that I can dress nicely at work. And this is just in... I am now the new president of Our Lady of Perpetual Help men's club... of which Mr. Joe Montana Sr. is a member ! Being a Catholic in a small town like Calistoga is a good thing. I hope that I can still say this after a year on the job as their humble servant.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

End of the Work Week

Today is Mother's Day and the restaurant was very busy.According to one of the managers they did over 320 covers. The cooking demo featured Eggs Benedict with Black Forest Ham . Chef Steve Ruggenberg is our new Demo Chef because Dianne Kind moved on to work for Elaine Bell as a pasty chef. She will be much happier, I am sure.I was able to Google the origin of Eggs Benedict and print out 15 copies after one of the participant's queried the name. Steve didn't know so I got right on it. I copied and pasted the Google article and adjusted the point size of the text so that it could fit on a single page in a word document. I then printed out a copy and gave that one to Carol ( the other Concierge ) to run the copies. It was sweet how effective the internet can be in the instance.Now I found out that Yahoo has IPod Maps, so that I can determine a destination and have Yahoo make a map for me that I can download on to my IPod. SWEET !

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I just realized that I have been posting to my blog here for a year now. I didn't know it could be so easy. I am still thinking about adding more links and video/audio enclosures. As soon I get more inspired, I might add even a podcast or two. No generation has been better documented than the current one, and with the advent of the Internet we have all emerged as reporters in a McCluhan Galaxy. As I write this, I am listening to my ITunes, writing an e-mail to my sister in Dubuque , and checking out the world events on my Yahoo splash page. If my sister Nancy were still alive, she would ask... email? internet? blog? ITunes? but in very short order, all of these terms I becoming the venacular of a global society.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mixed Messages

I love my job because I love people... and they generally know this fact when they come to visit the Culinary Institute.I like to have the answers and solutions that they seek. A few days back I ran into a problem.First I got into trouble for attending a Gemstone meeting which is a voluntary employee service meeting.It has never been clear to me that I could not attend. This was the first time I was pulled out of the meeting because apparently someone needed to cover the Concierge desk. I knew this, and asked our Administrative Receptionist cover for me. My supervisor saw this as a breech in my responsibility. I returned to my post without a word. Later I was asked to help someone in our education department by offering to lead a tour for the Flavor Summit group.
My supervisor had already gone home and I was left with another decision about leaving the desk again. I asked the Receptionist to cover for me again. and she said she would but would have to leave soon. Well after the tour was about to get started, someon else who fancies herself my supervisor noticed that I was away from my desk. She came to find me and started to pull on the door of the theater where the welcoming Introductions for the Flavor Summit was taking place. To spare her the embarrassment of interuppting the speaker I held the other door from opening. I suspect that this made her angry and she reported this incident to my boss. I was suspended for three days when I thought I should be getting a pat on the back. What is that saying that no good deed goes unpunished ?

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Story Unfolds

A letter from Martha, my sister.

Thanks for all your kind thoughts. Fortunately we only sustained facial damage. The awning, sign, outdoor lights, and cracks in a few of the windows right around the main doorway were the only real damages we took. There was a little smoke and water damage to the stock but really minimal. No one got hurt in the store. But the guy that died was a good customer named Fred. He who used to date a former employee of ours. We kind of thought it might have been him because the staff recognized his car. He was a pretty decent guy, a pain in the ass sometimes, but really a friendly person. So it makes the whole situation that much sadder that we knew the person who died.
The accident and fire started about 6:30pm. It is usually a pretty busy time as people shop on their way home from work. I was just out of the store by about 5 minutes. I was walking Camille (my granddaughter) up the hill. I'm so glad we just missed the explosion. I was almost to 21st St when the helicopter was hovering overhead. I knew something was up but didn't know what. When I got to the top of my stairs I turned and saw the smoke from the fire. As I open my door, my phone is ringing, and it's Chris, my brother, calling to say he just saw on the news about the fire and it looked like it was in front of our store. My heart dropped out of me about then. I ran to the attic and sure enough, it was the store. I tried calling and got no answer. I called Terry on her cell and she told me a car had exploded and the awning was on fire and they were getting all the people out over the fence into the Mix (Uncle Burts) a bar off our alley. I felt so useless. I wanted to be able to do something, but with Camille, I couldn't leave. So I called the Insurance company and got the ball rolling there. Ernie had been out and was just coming home when he saw the smoke. Terry got ahold of him and he came home and walked down to the store. He couldn't get through the police line at first until he found a cop he knew. Terry called back to let me know that her husband Richy's car was one of the ones torched. That is probably the biggest loss this family sustained. Ernie, Terry and Richy stayed at the store until about 9:30 getting as much of the water up as they could. Terry and Richy did a great job of keeping everyone calm and the situation under contral. Actually all the employees were really cool and worked together to make sure everyone was out safely. We evern had to help some of the people in the apartment next door as they were trapped upstairs in their apartment. So they got onto our roof and we let them in and out with everyone else.
We spent Friday cleaning and going through everything to assess our losses. The staff really pulled together as a team and the store hasn't look this shiny ever. They were so good. But it sure does open your eyes at times like these. We realized we don't have a good evacuation plan. We were lucky that there were no elderly, or wheelchair bound in the store at that time. We only had to get one dog over the fence. But at least we had that route. I was worried about the computers since I hadn't done a take home backup in a long time. If the fire had gotten the upper floor, my office would have been toast. Its times like these that make you give life a lot more respect. You just can't take anything for granted. You have to enjoy ever day as if it could be your last. And I think we must have an angel on our shoulders. All the times we've had anything happen to us, they it never seems that awful. We must be doing something right.
So take care, be good, and thanks.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fire !!

Saturday, April 29th. It was only two days ago when a big fire occurred in front of my sister's store in the Castro district of San Francisco.Eight cars caught fire after someone careened off the street into a parked car. A gas tank exploded and immediately the other cars ignited.Two people were seriously injured and there was one fatality.The facade of the store was completely torched as all the awnings went up in a blaze.Today, my mind is on different things.It is only two more days until I pick up my new motorscooter. I can hardly wait.The days are spectacular, and I want to go riding everywhere.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring has Sprung !

High pressure is building up off the coast of northern California and a light breeze is keeping the clouds away. Finally, it seems that the flowers are blooming and the nice weather is coming in... Next Tuesday is Labor Day and I will be picking up my new motor scooter ( an Aprilia Scarabero ) it's an italian motor scooter that looks like a vespa but has more juice ... 85 mpg and 85 mph. It has been a long time since I have been on a two wheeled vehicle, but I think that it will be perfect for the summer. Besides, with the price of gas being what it is, it makes sense to purchase a vehicle that doesn't use much.If you want to see where I am going to buy my scooter, go to: and be amazed !

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Presidential Perspective

It has been a little while since I have blogged, mainly because I have been staying busy in other ways. The rains have finally ceased for the time being. It has been a very WET late winter/ early spring here in the Napa Valley. I think that grapes are going to suffer this year. Many oak trees have fallen over and there has been significant flooding up an down the Valley. Yesterday, I saw a helicopter practising touching down and taking off. When I asked someone what that was all about, he said that the president was coming this weekend to visit St. Helena. Great. We had Dick Cheneny come visit about 6 months ago and I guess he enjoyed his visit so much he had to tell George W. This probably means that he will come visit the CIA for lunch or something and the secret service will be all over the place, looking obvious. Well, I for one have been through this drill before. Welcome to the REAL CIA Mr. President.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Significant Day

Today is Apple Computer's thirtieth birthday and the rains have been going on now for weeks. It has been the wetest March on record.I have been using Apple computer's since 1995. I purchased my first computer in 1998. Since that time i have been part of the the whole tech revelution. I started out learning how to use a word processor and luckily, since i was going to Santa Rosa Junior College I was able to get an e-mail account and learn different programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and the like. My first program was Mavis Beacon's typing program. From there I learned how to use Adobe Pagemaker, Aldus Super Paint, Macromedia Freehand and how to use a scanner. Everything was just catching fire then. My teachers were Barbara Sikora, Max Hein,Michael McGinnis,Barbara Harris,Carmen Sheldon and Cyndi Reese ( who made working on the computer most interesting to me ). Today, with fried retinas and nimble fingers I can honestly say that I have entered the digital age with aplomb and have not looked back.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Going through the motions

Admittedly, there are some days when my job goes on automatic pilot. At least it sometimes feels that way. I have a set routine that I adhere to when I arrive at the Concierge desk. I usually have to restock the literature racks, answer the messages for Demo reservations, check the signage and the bathrooms, wipe the fingerprints off the main door, greet anyone walking through that door and making them feel that someone paid attention to them. I actually love this job because of the people. People cna be fabulously great or a colossal pain in the tooch. I honestly, sometimes think that my attitude is creating an environment for people to enjoy themselves, while they are here.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Family fun using Instant Messenger

Last night, I got home and wanted to show off my laptop to my sister in Portland. So I opened IChat and found that she and my other sister in San Francisco were online and text each other. So I created a Chat room for all three of us to exchange information. We reminisced about our childhood in Greenwich, Conneticut and swapped tales about the neighbors at that time in our lives. Then we got the idea to include other members of our family into the mix. I called my brother in Chicago in hopes that he might be awake and eager to do instant messaging with the rest of us. He obliged, even though he was in bed at the time. He booted up his computer and went to do a Google search for the latest Mac version of AOL's I.M. After the download ( which took about five minutes ) He called me back to have me walk him through the installation process. Well, wouldn't you know, that he tried and tried to get a secure password and username to no avail. The setup was impossible and I could not really be of assistance since I could not see the monitor. Unfortunately, he gave up and went back to bed. Someday, I hope that all my family and friends can meet online wherever we are. This would be a big step.