Monday, December 28, 2009

Did the Ipod just die?

This is my grandniece Mila on Christmas morning. I had arrived at my nephew's house five minutes earlier, and already I think Mila was getting anxious to open the gifts. My nephew's wife Antonella was trying to get the ipod to play some music after plugging it into a player device with speakers. Mila was already dancing in anticipation of the music that just wasn't to be. As it turned out, the Ipod just needed to be recharged. After breakfast we all went into the living room to open the presents. All in all, it was a nice day spent with family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Can we get there any quicker?

Many are looking forward to the new year with a degree of excitement and trepidation. No one seems to know if the economy will buoy to the point where people will feel less stressed about making a living and saving money. Right now, all anyone seems to hear about is how much the prices of things will be raised in the new year. I have already heard that P.G. & E. will be raising their rates for the average user. We won't be expecting any raises here where I am , that much is certain. In fact I think that we may be scaling back on some of the jobs around here. but I hope that this is not the case.

Today we have a lot of tourists visiting our building, restaurant and store. I took two groups of thirty people on tours of our facility, talking about it's history and the history of the school itself. The regular scheduled cooking demonstrations were canceled because our demo chef was ill today. I came up with the idea of offering the "Greystone Experience" as a way of compensating those who already had made reservations and were expecting a cooking demo.It is so busy with people today, I am surprised that we don't have more staff to accommodate our guests.

The picture above is of Stephanie, who is one of the most positive people you will find around here. She always seems to have a smile on her face and I consider myself very priveleged to work with her. She works in our campus store, but also works Special Events like she is in the picture above.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa's greeting

My brother John has been very busy this year. He has created a wonderful persona as the Chicagoland Santa which has been in development for well over twenty years . Frankly speaking, I don't think he really cares who has been naughty or nice.He just likes going out, telling stories to little kids, giving out candy canes, smiling for pictures, going "Ho-Ho-Ho" at every opportunity and making a decent wage. What a great gig ! Now since he has launched his website, it's my guess that he will have plenty of work to keep him busy throughout the year. I drew this picture above while thinking about how I envision Santa Claus. I think my brother exemplifies this effort.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back to work

Ahhh... four days off, and back for Holiday Season at the CIA. Last night was the Open House Event at Greystone. For me, a must to avoid. I was in S.F. yesterday, visiting my sisters Martha, Rita and my brother-in-laws, Hamish and Ernie. I went there to talk about marketing my chef hats, which will be one of my big projects for the new year. My aim is to get them into Cliff's and the Spice Island Marketplace. Right now, it is contingent upon whether or not the printer, Chromagraphics can figure find a way of recreating them with the right materials and packaging them in such a way that people will want to buy them. Then it becomes a costing factor. How much will it cost to produce 500, a thousand, five thousand. Being that this is my first is my first commercial product venture, I learned a lot from my sister Martha and her staff. Right now I am looking at redrawing the tag to simplify and making it more obvious what it is from a distance of five feet. So many questions arise as I move forward with this, and so many have specific types of advice to give me. So far it has been quite educational in a field I would not otherwise have any particular interest. Some have suggested creating a web site. I think that I eventually may do this, but I want to test market these products first in an actual brick and mortar store before I go online with this.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just another day ?

Today is my birthday and so far I have heard from three friends. Two via telephone message, the other via email. I had some floating holidays saved up, so I decided to take this weekend off. I really prefer the Spring over these late Fall days. Winter doesn't officially begin until Dec. 21st, which is the shortest day of the year. I sort of feel like I want to go into hibernation and wake up around St. Patrick's Day. I have already done my spiritual exercise for the day and now I am ready for action.

My latest taste treat concoctions are Lundberg rice cakes with melted cheese, tahini and chapoltle sauce on top. Just for fun I put a roasted red bell pepper on top of that. So I guess you could say that my tastes are unconventional.

Last night I went to see the new George Clooney movie, "Up in the Air". It was a really good story and I drove all the way from Calistoga to San Raphael to catch it. It rained pretty hard last night but I drove carefully and made it back safely. I am so grateful that I am in reasonably good health. This time last year, I was recovering from a serious motor scooter accident and was just taking life a day at a time. I am still doing that, too. It's important to be grateful every day for what you have. Today I am going over to Trader Joe's to buy some more rice cakes, tahini and chapoltle sauce.

You see, I don't need a big cake like the one in this picture to make me happy on my birthday. Sometimes, these little things can make me feel like a winner.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birthday coming up!

This is my brother with my grandnephew, "Christopher" who is his daughter's child. He and I had a little IChat spat the other day. We both wear are feelings pretty close to the cuff, which is tricky when we interact with one another. I think it was a good thing that we were a few thousand miles apart and talking online.I will tell you more about him later in this post.

Okay, I might as well shout it from the rooftops. Sunday is my birthday and I will be 59 years "of age". Doesn't that sound better than old? Besides, I am still very much a teenager in my mind. Being a child of the sixties in San Francisco, I could not think of any practical reason to grow up. The motto then was, " Don't trust anyone over 30." We all figured that those over 30 were the establishment, and were uptight squares. It must have taken most ALL of my adult years to acquire some semblance of maturity. Anyway,in our family no one likes to be advised of ANYTHING, because every last one of us is stubbornly independent. Some more than others, so one has to be VERY careful when soliciting the advice of an elder sibling. Of course if you talk with my brother he may disagree with you on that point.

My brother is the Chicagoland Santa and he has done quite well as establishing himself in this unique business.He has a real beard that is large, white and fluffy. His wife, Ariane helps him as Mrs. Claus at some of the events he is invited to attend.Last time I spoke with him we had a flare up because I felt that he was patronizing me. This can be difficult when as an adult, we are trying to relate to each other as adults who are respectful of each other. I think we were both tired.I still love him very much.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day. Well, I don't know about that. As I look out my bedroom window I see the sun trying to come through the clouds.The picture above is the sun peeking through the pine trees up at Robert Louis Stevenson State park about a week ago. It was supposed to be a big gully washer today, and I have yet to see what the weatherperson was talking about. Snow down to 500 feet? I doubt it. We had snow on the Valley floor a few years ago, but that happens on very rare occasions. It is more likely that the hills around here will have a dusting of the cold white stuff. Reflection time...

I was just sitting here thinking that it wasn't until the personal computer came along did we multi-task as much as we do now. I find that I pay more attention to my computer and Iphone each day, than I do to anyone or anything else. Is this a healthy thing? What about the computer that we used to rely on in our own head? Has this device actually helped us process information better than we already do?

Well, unlike Television ( which I don't now have any subscription to...) I seek out my information and entertainment in a whole new fashion. If I want to watch a show that I used to watch on TV, I will either download it onto my computer or just wait and watch a Hulu version of it for free. Hulu, who knew? I haven't ventured AT ALL into the gaming world. I see many friends and relatives getting involved in games like Bejeweled, Mafia Wars on Facebook, World of Warcraft or other such diversions. I avoid them precisely because of information overload. I think it's time to go back and take another look outside my window.