Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Prickly Pears



It's Wednesday, and after taking a nice hike around a part of Lake Hennessy I hadn't seen before was a new adventure. My friend Don and I walked about 2 miles out and 2 miles back and found a few delectable items along the way. He even brought some plastic bags to gather some Fennel seeds that were growing wild along the path. We spotted a few red tail hawks, some egrets, some deer and also a pelican. The sun beat down pretty hard and my arms were exposed. Don let me wear a long sleeve shirt because I had forgotten to bring one of my own. The day before, I had been to the dermatologist to have some pre-cancerous spots frozen with liquid nitrogen, so I needed to protect my arms. Towards the end of the hike, Don spotted some "Prickly Pears" and proceeded to cut one from a bush. I warned him not to do it because of the nettles, but he extracted one and handed it to me. Yikes !! The nettles got into my fingers and they are impossible to see with the naked eye. Nothing will get them out except time and patience.Don was as annoyed by the whole experience as I was; and yet it wasn't serious enough to put a damper on the beauty that surrounded us. I have already made plans to visit Lake Hennessy again next Tuesday with a new friend, Rebecca. Don't worry, I am going to avoid those cactus pears.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Wild Child


This post is a special tribute to Chef Andrew and his wife Brenda on the occasion of the birth of their new baby boy, Porter Andrew Wild. So far, their is not much I know about him, but I know he arrived Monday at 3:30. Now I would not be suprised if this youngster follows in his father's footsteps. Both Andrew and Brenda have a strong background in both Wine and Food, and as the old saying goes, "Apples don't fall far from the tree." I would not be surprised if this youngster gets a full-on culinary education before he reaches third grade. Now about two weeks ago, I was invited to Andy and Brenda's house on Lake Street for a party. I was really impressed with how beautiful their home is. The kitchen had all modern, state-of-the-art equipment. The living and dining room are exquisitely decorated, and the outside patio and back yard are perfect for entertaining. During the party, Brenda showed us where the baby was going to stay. She had this room "tricked-out" from top to bottom. A beautiful mural painted by my co-worker Martha Leach depicted rabbits, birds, bugs, butterflies and trees that worked perfectly. Even their dog, "Bear" lent a yellow-painted paw print to the floor of the room in anticipation of the new arrival. I know that Brenda and Andrew will make great parents and a wonderful home for little Porter, as he gets to know this new and enchanting world.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tech not Touch


The Beatles had it right... " Ah look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?" and " Where do they all belong?" I was sitting at a table at the Napa Valley Coffee Roastery today, and everyone was pecking away at their keyboards fixated on their monitors, sipping thier fresh Latte's parked precariously next to their laptops. No one was talking with one another. An elderly lady came and sat down at the table next to me and remarked to her friend that people aren't making any effort to chat with one another in a casual fashion any more. I overheard this, and pulled the earbuds out of my ears and turned off my IPhone. I was embarrassed to be a part of this all too obvious picture of uban life in 2009.

From the corner of the room a young college age woman was answering her cell phone... " Hello ? Hello? " Yes, wait... I've got it here." She furiously scrambled to fish a flash drive out of her purse to plug into her laptop. " Yes, the file is in .pdf format, so I can read it on my Mac." Isn't it great to be so efficient and tech-saavy I thought.
All of this zippy equipment that is supposedly going simplify our lives; And all it seems to be doing is impressing little old ladies who seem oddly out of place and hopelessly out of the loop. No one even looks up from their screen to acknowledge anyone else at the nearby tables. It reminded me of the indifference exhibited in that scene from the movie "The Time Machine" where all these beautiful people were sitting around picnicking as someone falls into a river and drowns. No one even bothers to notice. We all may as well have been in separate cubicles. Occasional spurts of intense concentration was the order of the day.

Non-verbal, and mostly unconscious signals like these only serve to isolate ourselves from others. I am certain that this is how it looked from this elderly woman's point of view. Many mobile devices these days are such a bloody fa├žade. A blue-tooth device that sticks in your oh-so-self-important ear seems to say, "Excuse me," I am in the middle of a conversation that is more important than anything you have to tell me. So,even if what you have to tell me is that my car is getting ticketed outside... buzz off !

These laptops, cell phones, Ipods and blackberries are creating barriers between us. If this scenario actually happened, I imagine it would be a wonderful lesson to those that were observed by that woman and her friend. People are missing the opportunity to make themselves available for friendly conversations with other human beings. Hmmm... perhaps this is because we are all just too busy getting ahead.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Friday on my mind


Today, I am hoping to hear from the Peanut Board. I have 2,425 Buddy McNutty hats sitting in the living room of my one bedroom apartment waiting to be shipped. Do they go 2nd Day or 3rd day ground. Decisions, decisions... as I wait patiently. Holding myself in quiet anticipation for the big push. I have been busy since last April putting together what was flippingly assumed could be turned around in a week's time ( yea, right ) Anyway, no more small token orders of less than a hundred hats sent off for a summer camp via Fed Ex overnight. This is the big one.Besides, a lot of TLC went into preparing this order. Aside from it being my first ( an admittedly a test run ). It will not be my last... but most likely not as large the next time. Each of these hats had to be fed through my fourth ( yep fourth ) Epson printer. Twenty- four ink cartridges, and around 40 crumpled and rejected hats later , I have reached the magic number of 2,425. Hopefully, I will hear from my client in the morning via phone or email. But for now... I will rest.