Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thinking outside the box

I have heard it said "That it is not what you don't know than can hurt you... It's what you DO know that just isn't so ! " More often than not, I have been forced to eat a piece of humble pie when I take the initiative to venture off in areas where I think I have confidence and skill. Lately, I must say that I pride myself on the quick and efficient way I can break down cardboard boxes. I think that If I were pitted against someone as to who would be the fastest to break down ten, average-sized cardboard boxes into a flat pile, I would win. This month I had to correct someone who was a teacher as to how I would like these empty boxes passed on to me, so that I could break them down correctly. This teacher brings students who want to gain community service hours in order to graduate from high school to a Food Distribution site every third Tuesday of the month. It is here that I confronted the teacher when he took his box cutter out, to slice upon boxes of canned fruit for the students to place inside pre-arranged paper sacks to be distributed.

It was just playing out all wrong. After slicing open the boxes, he would hand me the part that he cut out on the top, and then the empty boxes were handed to me to be broken down by the students after all the canned fruit was placed in the bags.This little gesture forced all the boxes to come apart in several separate pieces that did not stack well. After I told him how to open the boxes correctly without a box cutter, he just ignored me. He explained that it was an easier way for the students to get the cans out of the boxes. A long shot of an explanation if I had ever heard one. I demonstrated that all he had to do was pull the flaps on the end open, pull one can out, and the rest would come out easily. Again I was ignored and he just continued to open the boxes the way he wanted them open. This encounter could have easily escalated into a shouting match, but I bailed before it got too heated. To me, this was recovery. I am letting go of situations where I would normally have fought to the finish for the short lived satisfaction of being right and making someone else wrong. At times, it may seem worth it. These times have been growing shorter and shorter as I gain more maturity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wet and Muggy

This week has been an example of controlled chaos.The suprise storms have taken down two trees out front. Water has seeped into the building and has destroyed some of the merchandise at the Spice Island Marketplace, and yet the store will be moving thier new rolling gondola racks into the new retail space starting next week.

The campus store will be moving shortly, but not until the floors,doors,electrical,plumbing,ventilation and other preliminary procedures are complete. The air is humid and full of cement dust. The lady from our maintenance facility is running around dusting all the diplay cabinets and furniture.Most of the major work is done and yet the noise and dust is continual.Our weekends have still been very busy with wedding events, cooking classes and demos. This trend should continue right on through until the end of the Worlds of Flavor Conference.

We have learned through an email attachment that the president of the Culinary Institute is regretful that we won't be having our annual Holiday Party because of financial constrictions. We still are hosting a number of guests daily, and have visitors constantly.The picture above are a couple of my pals from the Campus Store. Maricella and Stephanie are very positive people who along with the other "Spice Girls" add charm and vitality to our retail space. The other people here are also a lot of fun to interact with on a daily basis. This is my extended family.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reinventing oneself

Back in my youth, my challenge was to do my best at being honest, especially with my mom because she did not tolerate fibbing or outright lying. To me, that meant to not put up with anyone's Bullsh*t, unless you were doing it in jest, and it was obvious to the other person. My mom could sound so phony on the telephone when talking to nuns, though. She had this high pitched apologetic tone that sounded to me like she was grovelling. My sister and I would tease her about this, and she did not like it. I think she had a thing about nuns being "holier than thou" which was manifested when they would call and talk to her about us kids and our school work. I also think that she was well aware that we were not perfect little angels. The reason I bring this up is because as an adult I tend to fib more, and try my best not to tell an out-and-out lie when asked a direct question. Nowadays, everyone can be so political... doing their best to skirt issues that are best kept private. Now, if we are as "sick as our secrets" as the saying goes, then we undoubtedly have a lot of healing to do. Perhaps this is how one gains that priceless gift of humility.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fall in the air

Already the wind is picking up and the leaves are all turning brown as they fly from the trees. The days are golden and rust colored and the hills absorb deep shadows as the season eases on into October. Tonight is a full harvest moon and the weather is cooler... a lot cooler. Business at the CIA is as brisk as the weather,and will continue to be right on through until just after the Worlds of Flavor Conference the first week in November.
Tonight I attended a going away party for a fine young man named Israel Ramirez, who is joining the Marines. He is doing this mainly for his education and the benefits. One can only wish him well, as
this country is still looking for Bin Laden, and the situations in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan continues to escalate. I know Israel is a serious young man, and this is a big step in his desire for a future. I gave him a bottle of good red wine that he can drink when he returns from active duty. His family I have known for over 15 years since I have lived in Calistoga. They are truly wonderful people and I wish them all well. I hope and pray that Israel comes home safely, and that God will protect him.