Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another "Stay-cation"

I enjoy staying close to home. When you live in the Napa Valley, why go anywhere ( except perhaps the south of France ) to enjoy the cool mornings and warm halcyon days somewhere else. This is why I live here. I do miss San Francisco, however and perhaps will return there sometime in the future.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vacation TIme

Yep, I am off until the 19th of August. I left a note on the Concierge desk for my co-worker who comes in on my days off, so she doesn't get the idea that I got the axe. On this note I wished her well and made menton that I would be off until August 12th. ( WRONG ! What was I thinking? ) After five years of employment at the CIA, you get three weeks of paid vacation ... not two !! and I am going on SEVEN Years ( I can hardly believe it myself, considering I usually start looking out the back door around four years ). The truth is, I love my job and I am learning to respect those people I have held grudges against. Admittedly, I do get upset from time to time, but other staff knows that it is only because I don't want to disappoint anyone. In the business of Hospitality , It is all about having a "Sense of Urgency" that Thomas Keller refers to at his establishment, The French Laundry ( The sign is posted above the kitchen door ). It strikes me that without this presence of mind, the ball gets dropped and things don't get done in an efficient and timely manner. It has also been said that the "Devil is in the details" . Don't I know this... when a guest needs a recipe at the cooking demo and I am short a few, I have to get a fresh batch printed out and brought to the Theater before the demo progresses too far. This happened on Saturday and I freaked out because my co-worker wasn't getting these copies to me fast enough. I stopped what I was doing,and ran out of the theater, 50 yards toward the place in the building where the copier is located. I met her half way as she was coming towards me explaining how slammed she was at the Concierge desk. I just wanted the recipes without any time to spare. I was completely out of breath when I got back to the theater and in the heat of a tense moment, I broke down. Luckily, is was not in front of guests... but my team... Patricia and Andy. They were both very supportive until I could bring myself into some semblance of composure. It was clear to me, then and there, that a vacation was eminent.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Blogs (Bugs?) Life

If you are going to keep a blog, It is important to have a life. Today I went and cleaned out my closet of a bunch of old clothes and donated them to the Salvation Army over in Santa Rosa, CA. ( okay, so I missed Spring cleaning, so this is Summer cleaning ).Then I went shopping for groceries at the Grocery Outlet. Later this morning, I went over to my friend Reid's house and saw the swing set he put up for his kids.( Good Job I might add, but initially the plan was that we were going to hike up Channel Drive but canned that idea because he had to go pick up his son, William ) After that, I left Reid's place and went to meet my friend Dieter for coffee at Pete's in downtown Santa Rosa. I paid for my parking using my debit card in this new system that has replaced the meters on Fourth Street for the first time. I took the ticket that was issued with me and was reminded while meeting with Dieter to return it to my car and place is above the dashboard near the steering wheel otherwise, how would the meter person know that I wasn't parking there illegally...duh ! Then he and I went to Best Buy to see about a new battery for his mobile phone. It turned out that he did not need a new one because he had inserted the old one the WRONG way and it caused the phone to lose power ( back atcha Dieter ! )Then we went to Trader Joes for some items that I couldn't find at the Grocery Outlet... things like Irish Cheddar Cheese, Golden Flax Seed Cereal and dehydrated blueberries. Then it was time for a late lunch, so we went to have some Sushi at Yao Kiku on Yalupa street only to discover that they were not open until 5pm. which sucked because I was hankering for some Yellow Tail Himachi. Our Plan B for lunch turned out to be a Mexican Restaurant where Dieter ordered three carnita tacos with salsa and a horchata drink. I ordered a combination platter of a Chile Rellano and a Chicken Enchilada with Lemonade to wash it all down. I made a pig of myself. Then I drove back to Calistoga and Dieter drove back to St. Helena where he lives. Like I said in the beginning of this submission journal submission, you have to have a life to blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fishing for a faster connection

I am being placed on hold as the Comcast agent Alea restarts her computer which apparently is giving her some trouble. I want to get cable so that my internet connection will be a little faster than it is now. DSL has been rather underwhelming and expensive. I really feel that I have ridden the crest of a wave as the internet has grown over the years. Starting out with a 14.4 modem for dialup back in 1996 and eventually upgrading to a 56K modem in 2000, made me feel like I was in hog heaven... for about 3 weeks. Then DSL became all the rage because of the download times. Initially I signed up with COVAD because they were the only carriers available in my area. I have been with Earthlink now since 2001; and although Earthlink has been very helpful when I have called, their tech support calls are farmed out to India and a few months back my cell phone bill was outrageous! The problem involving my airport wireless connection was more an Apple issue than an Earthlink one, but the Earthlink server still drops out over my DSL connection even though I am able to retrieve it when needed. Hopefully cable will be simple, fast and trouble free when I get it installed. One can only hope. The image above was done with household bleach on black construction paper and highlighted with color pencils. Then I scanned the work and brought it into Photoshop for some tweaking. Pretty cool, huh? It sort of looks like a dangerous fish that would sit at the bottom of the river ,waiting to gobble up some unsuspecting creature that saunters along.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fireworks Finale

Watch this video until the end. It will only take a minute. The kids next door let out a big Scream at the very end. Well, today is Tuesday, July 7th. I've ordered a Cable Internet connection because my DSL connection kinda sucks. Hey, If I am gonna blog and upload videos like this one, I'd better have a high speed, high bandwidth connection. Lately I've been enjoying my summer even though I haven't taken a vacation. I am not even sure that I will get one this year because of my suspension from work back in February. We shall see. I was called for Jury duty on the 20th and won't know how long that will take until I call on Sunday the 19th. Yesterday, I went for a swim and movie. I saw the movie "Heist" with Gene Hackman and Danny De Vito. It was okay. I fell asleep so It couldn't have been that riveting. My Great Nephew Mika, was baptized on Sunday. I worked that day,so I missed it (damn). It seems like the only social events I get invited to these days are either class reunions, baptisms or birthdays. Admittedly, I haven't felt very socialable lately. It's weird, I work all week for a couple days off and all I want to do is sit around and draw or post stuff on the puter. Exercise has NOT been on the agenda lately, either. The fireworks were fun to watch. The kids next door sat on thier dad's pickup truck as they OOOoooooOOOo'd and AhhhhhHHHhhhh away the evening