Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great looking flower

This is a lovely passion flower which is so enchanting. It looks just great.The rains earlier this week have saturated the soil and the creeks are full. Yesterday though, a huge earthquake rocked Chile.It was 8.8 on the Richter scale and the death toll is currently at 720 people and rising. Haiti occurred some weeks ago, and that was in the 7's, yet the area was much more densely populated and killed a lot more people. Sitting here underneath a massive amount of Tufa stone sometimes makes me a little nervous even as I type this blog.If Greystone has survived three major quakes,it has to be said that nothing is really earthquake proof. We like to say that we are seismically safe here. We point out many things on the tour of this place, and usually take time to reveal the spots where many steel supports were installed, and showcase the overall condition of the building.I heard Wanda Sykes on NPR the other day comparing blogging to keeping a diary. She is so right on with her observations.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Open House not for the dogs

Today was our monthly Open House at Greystone. We had prospective students from all over the area, but not as many as last month. We have taken a "don't call us, we'll call you stance" when it comes to inquiring about admission to the CIA. In the past we have invited guests to come to our Open House only to find that they were more interested in a free tour with bakery goodies, than inquiring about our educational programs. Last month we had around 100 people. This month was more like forty people. Big difference. The Campus store, Viking Kitchen, Tasting bars and Chocolate Room are almost in full operation. The next big hurdle will be the Cafe and Bakery which will be a restaurant that is run by our students. I have been enjoying giving tours lately...since that is a new thing that generates revenue. Ask me again in a couple of months how I am doing with all this. The cute little puppy in the picture is my co-worker Eileen's dog, Pierre.
She emailed me the picture.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love in the world

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day. The sun is out and I've already gone to the local bike shop to get my tires filled with air for a little ride. First things first though, as it is also laundry day. This past week has been very good. I got a box of candy hearts from the Store manager at the CIA, and i gave out a few valentines to some special people in my life. I also had an emotionally stable week at work, because I made it a special intention to treat everyone as I wish to be treated. Sometimes, It is just a matter of bringing the Golden Rule up to consciousness. Friday and Saturday we had the Napa Valley Premier held at the CIA. The vintners in the area along with sommeliers, wine merchants and brokers came to Greystone to bid on the best wines of the Napa Valley while the wines were still in the barrel. I guess if it were the stock market, you might say that this was like investing in "futures". An auction took place, and unlike the more publicized NV Wine auction that takes place in June, this is an industry event where the featured wines have not even been formally bottled yet (strictly barrel tasting). In previous years there would be a few celebrities floating about among the high profile Vintners and Restauranteurs, like the apologist steroid slugger Mark Macquire. Boston Legal's "Denny Crane" (William Shatner) also made a showing one year. This Premier was not as eventful and I cannot even tell you what the highest bidding wine was.

Besides, Today is a beautiful day and I could care less.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Managing upsets

I learned a long time ago about the "Anatomy of an Upset." It consists of three components... 1.) Unmet Expectations 2.) Undelivered Communication or 3. ) Thwarted intention. It can be said that if you are upset, one of these factors come into play.

The trick for most people is to get off their position and move on with their lives, and not get stuck in a control drama. I cannot begin to tell you how liberating it can be to move beyond anger and resentment. I am powerless over that surge of feelings that overwhelms me as my buttons get jammed.Most people will attest that anger and bitterness can poison an otherwise wholesome relationship. I tend to fear the anger response, which only compounds it.

The idea of choosing one's experience of anger is beyond me. I would agree that which is resisted, will persist, but unless I can be specific when communicating my upset, do I have any clue as to how to release it.

Today I am grateful that I have moments that I can move past. I still can have angry moments. I pray every day to move beyond my anger.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rest and Recharge

Today is Wednesday, February 10th, 2010. That's two-ten-twenty-ten. Sounds pretty cool.

I am lying low today because I am recuperating from a chest cold that I stupidly pushed aside as I went to work last weekend. Monday and Tuesday were my regular days off and the only thing I did besides stay inside most of the time, was to shop for some new clothes. Big whoop. Chest colds require lots of liquids, rest and more rest.

However, I went to Target on Monday and bought some "Made in China" pants, socks, undershirts and a belt. I thought I was buying a leather belt that was actually stamped "Genuine Leather" only to find that the leather was probably less than a millimeter in thickness with some cellulose material sandwiched in between . The thing that amazes me, is that it is called a "Swiss Army belt" with the Swiss cross clearly designated on the buckle. All made in China. Hmmmm...Is this country selling the farm or what?

Anyway, I am not getting too upset about that kind of stuff, only because it only makes me feel cantankerous.Nothing worse than feeling like a crotchety old man. Rest will reenergize my drooping body and hopefully I will be ready for action on Thursday.

Below you can see how this new belt neatly wraps around my midsection and does nothing in terms of keeping my trousers up. It's all for fashion.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mustard Magic

The Mustard Festival went off without a hitch. The people responsible for this event have gotten better at putting it on each year, and it gives people a good reason to come to the Napa Valley this time of the year. This year's Mustard Magic had only around 700+ people in attendance. Last year we had around a thousand. Thankfully, no rain put a damper on the event. They had an art exhibit in the Barrel room and various performers were roving about the building as expected. The Teaching Kitchen had a full buffet of delectables like fish sticks, Raviolis, Scallops, Ceviche Salad and the like. I had the opportunity to talk with Don Sanchez and the lovely Cheryl Jennings who anchors the news on Channel seven. It's funny how she approached me and asked if I would like to have my picture taken with her. Pretty bold, huh? I was more interested in getting a candid shot of her from a distance, rather than this vanity shot of both of us. Notice the little Mustard flowers above my name tag. As you can see, I was ready to participate in the spirit of the evening. Without a doubt, most everyone there had a good time.