Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal

Cereal is one of Elli's favorite meals. I know most people would probably say cereal for breakfast is a favorite. But for Elli eating cereal anytime is a good thing.

So when The Clever Girls asked all of us CG's if we'd like to try a sample of a new cereal I said yes before I even read what kind of cereal it was. I'm always buying cereal so a few free boxes sounded good to me. Even if they're only sample sizes.

We wouldn't receive compensation for a review. But we would get the cereal shipped to us.

A few weeks went by and I got a box in the mail. Don thought I ordered something and looked at me with a little bit of curiosity on his face - which I find hilarious. The man is addicted to buying things online - so why would he care if I ordered something too? Sheesh.

Anyway, we opened the box to find two neatly packaged boxes of cereal on top of red shredded paper. A tag was glued to the lid with the promo info. The presentation was very professional. I set the box in the kitchen so I could take a picture. And then I kind of forgot about it.

The next night Elli came running upstairs "Mom, dad's eating the cereal!!!  He's on the second box." she said.

EEEEKS! What? Crap. I haven't tried it. How will I write about it?

I raced downstairs and ate ONE square. I would have to treat this like I'm tasting wine. Sniff, taste and review.

Aroma: scents of oatmeal cookie and brown sugar
Taste: Crunchy oatmeal goodness like an oatmeal cookie. But not too sweet.
Verdict: Excellent. If this were a wine I would give it 90pts. 

It was pretty tasty. Don and Elli liked it too. And the best part? It's only 7g of sugar, so now we have a new cereal to add to our under 10g of sugar list. It also has 1g of fiber per serving and is only 160 calories (without milk.) Yay.

There is a $1.00 coupon on the back of the box which nicely displays the other flavors: Cinnamon and Golden Maple. I may buy two boxes and mix brown sugar and cinnamon. The perfect oatmeal cookie. Sounds good, huh?

Thanks, Quaker! And let me know if you have any other new cereal under 10g of sugar. You have my address.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Hangover Part II

ahhhh. The sequel to the blockbuster comedy. Good idea or not?

Sequels are tricky.

Especially when it's a funny, slapstick comedy that had you laughing so hard you nearly spit out your coke and choked on your popcorn.

Those movies often pop out a sequel. Mainly because they made so much fricken money the first time around. Of course they will tell you it was because they had such an amazing time making it they want to get together again.

Uh, yeah. We're not stupid ya' know. We know you made a slapstick comedy, it was a way bigger hit than you expected, and you can now shop at Whole Foods without looking at the prices. And you're kind of digging that.

So here we are with The Hangover Part II out this weekend.

Don and I loved the first one. It was one of those movies where we kept recalling scenes and laughing all over again - the tooth scene, the tiger in the bathroom, Heather Graham, that crazy guy in the trunk, and Mike Tyson. Do you think that was really his house?

So when we saw the preview for the sequel we knew we had to see it. We had to see what the new adventure would be.

And guess what? wah wahhhhhh.

It's the same thing all over again!!!! They tried to recreate the exact same plot. Why would they do this? We already know this plot. It felt really contrived, like they got to a point in the script and said "Ok, that's funny now let's have them do this, and then this, and then this." It just jumps around from here to there and back again.

The acting isn't good, especially Bradley Cooper. There is one scene where they have a long closeup of him trying to think of what the guys should do and I swear it feels like he's making it up as they're filming.

Bradley Cooper. This dude is hot, even when he's all sweaty.
Zack G. is funny and odd like in the first movie. He plays this part well. But again, it's just the same thing all over again.

It would have been better if they had the guys get together for something other than a bachelor party.

Oh well.

There are some laughs. But, it's nothing like the first one.

I think this is a watch it on Netflicks sequel. Sorry fellas.

Friday, May 27, 2011

She is my enemy

We got a fun prompt for The Red Dress Club and it has me totally stumped.

I have been thinking about what to write for days and I can't think of anything that will get me from point A to point B.

The prompt was to start with "This was absolutely the last time" and end with "she was wrong." 

This was absolutely the last time .....
I would be single.....too cliche
I would reach in the big ol, now almost empty, bag of cheetos.....too cheesy
I would walk down this hall....and then what?
I would say frickin.....okay
I would drive the old smelly Cutlas.....yes, but....
I would.........blaaaah. I got nuthin.

The culprit? The second part of the prompt "she was wrong" made my forehead thump. grrrr. "She" is my enemy right now. In fact, since "she" is wrong "she" should go away. Shoo. Shoo!!!!

So here we are.

I'll be reading my pals posts over at TRDC. But no linking up for me today.

Finding a job is really weighing on me. I got a rejection email on Wednesday morning "we decided to move in another direction." Great. Wish you'd thought about that before you brought me in twice and got my hopes up. It really bummed me out because I really wanted this job.

Then I had to get myself psyched for another interview somewhere else later that day. All this rejection is starting to get to me. It has me questioning and second guessing everything I've said. I kind of feel like a helium balloon that's sinking and looking very sad.

They took my picture for my guest pass at the company I interviewed with on Wednesday. It was the scariest computer generated picture I've ever seen. The angle was odd and looked like a really bad license picture. I really hope the sweet receptionist tossed it and did not give it to the H.R. guy. Cuz if my mouth didn't sink me that picture will for sure.

I'm going to try and relax a little this weekend and rejuvenate myself. I think the stress on my face is scaring off any prospects I have. And perhaps I need a haircut. I'm looking like Ann Hathaway in The Princess Diaries before the makeover. Remember that? You would if you have a 9 year old girl in the house. Yikes!

Hey, it's Friday. Let's end this Debbie Downer post.

Have a fantastic 3-day weekend! Cheers!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gainey Vineyards

Last weekend we were visiting my sister and her family in Buellton. It's about 300 miles south of here. Kind of a long drive for a regular, non 3-day weekend. But it was worth it so we could see my niece dance in her ballet recital with the Los Olivos Dance Gallery.

Maya was amazing in the recital on Saturday. The dance studio is so popular the show is 3+ hours. Don and the guys took a little break from all the fun and went to a local pub at half-time, aka intermission. They missed all the big girls dance, and we missed all the heavy sighing and constant shifting and fidgeting in their seats. Ha. Not really.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day on Sunday, so we all decided to visit a winery at lunchtime. We went to Sunstone first, where we all ooed and aah'd over their Merlot.  And then headed to Gainey Vineyards for wine tasting and a picnic. It's a gorgeous place with really yummy wines.

We tasted five. Each one of us had our favorite. Here's what the family had to say.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc 
"Ooh, it's a little sweet." Kris

2007 Chardonnay 
"Oh, it's really good. My kind of chard." Caroline 

Kris, Caroline (mom) and Kathy (sister)
2008 Pinot Noir 
"May I have another sample, please?" Caroline
"Hey, it doesn't smell like goat!" Kris 

2007 Merlot 
"This merlot is excellent." Dave 
"This one's my favorite." Kris

2007 Syrah 
"It makes me happy." Kathy

Don ditched us and disappeared into the special tasting area where they were pouring Evan's Ranch wines to the fancy people. That's my Don.

I don't think anyone will be knocking on our doors asking us to judge anytime soon! Unless the scale for judging is yum, yummy and excellent.

View from the picnic area at Gainey Vineyards
We had a great time which means the five of us were loud and slightly obnoxious in the tasting room. I'm sure our host thought we were hilarious. We were definitely not those sophisticated snooty tasters acting all hoity toity. We are more like the neighbors living next door to Courtney Cox in Cougar Town.

Kris, Dave (dad) and Kathy (sister) 
My parents are coming to visit from Phoenix in two weeks so they can go to Elli's dance recital. Napa and Sonoma - consider yourself warned.

If you live in Marin you should catch the show at the Marin Civic Center. It's fantastic. We had some friends see the production of Alice two years ago and said it's as good as any Broadway show. And they should know, they're from NYC.

Roco Show
June 3rd & 4th
San Rafael
Civic Center

Monday, May 23, 2011


The box was high on the shelf in the closet underneath Monopoly and on top of Clue and Scrabble.

The gray corners dinged and torn. The top creased and scratched from years of use.

We'd grab a chair and stand on it so we could reach it. The tips of our fingers tapped the edge of the box and tilted it until it slid and dropped into our hands. You could hear the game pieces clink together as we juggled the box.

We'd toss it on the floor with a thud and rip open the top claiming our color before we even had the board unfolded .

"I'm red." I'd shout.

"Blue." said my brother.

"Yellow." said my sister.

"Ah, I don't want to be green." my little brother would say.

"You snooze you lose." we'd chant and laugh.

"Ok. I'll be green." he'd say with a shrug.

We would immediately put our pieces on our start color and start shuffling the cards. The deck was bent and worn from dozens of games of Sorry. We layed on the carpet and began playing. We were willing a card with a one or two to appear so we could be one of the first off of Start.

Before too long we each had at least one player on the board. Our strategy was the same. To win. Coming in second was no fun. There was no fist pumping when you came in second. Winning was the goal.

We used every opportunity to set our opponent back. We swapped places when we got an 11. We'd hold a piece near start hoping to get the 4 which would give us a nice reverse close to home. We didn't care how close you were to winning, if we got a Sorry card and you were on the board you were sent packing with a big 'ol "Sssoooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy." We were viscous. We'd laugh loud and talk non-stop trying to throw off your concentration.

We'd go crazy and collapse on the floor when we were sent packing until we got a Sorry card and send someone else to start. And don't even think about cheating. Ha. We were watching every move.

The minute we finished, and the winner was done gloating and bragging, we'd throw the game back in the box and yell "Want to play cards! Let's play crazy eights." And we were off, hunting down a deck with all 52 cards.

We spent many, many hours playing games and cards with my family, cousins, aunts and uncles, and my grandmother.  We'd all huddle around the kitchen table playing poker and Michigan Rummy until the adults would finally shoo us off to bed. We would hear them laughing and joking long after we went upstairs.

Last weekend we got together with my sister, her family and my parents. Of course we had to play cards. Elli taught us how to play a game called Tongues. It's basically Spoons, but you stick out your tongue instead of grabbing a spoon. It was hilarious. Watching my dad stick out his tongue and my sweet little niece laughing was so fun. My stomach hurt from playing the game, and from listening to all the gross camping stories everyone was sharing.

It reminded me that we need to turn off the TV more often and play games and laugh together.

The TRDC prompt this week was to write about your memories of playing games when you were a kid. We still play Sorry.  Anyone want to play?

Friday, May 20, 2011

CALI 351 Chardonnay

We had this CALI 351 chardonnay for the first time the other day. Oooh la la me likey. This is one Chardonnay I will definitely buy again.

'06 CALI 351 Chardonnay

Here's what Wine Enthusiast had to say.

91 Pts & Editors' Choice - Wine Enthusiast

"This is a classy Chardonnay. Grown 1,200 feet above Calistoga and fairly well-oaked in new barrels. It's rich and complex, with flavors of grilled tropical fruits and toasted meringue. The structure is greatly improved by a crisp, mineral edge of acidity."

As I sat here drinking a glass with Don I thought to myself. Gee, this wine is pretty good. I should take a picture. It's not too oakey, sweet, but not too sweet, hints of pineapple and lemon. Very tasty.

And then I looked at the bottle. Oops. It's almost gone. Should I try to pour my wine back in so it looks full? Nah, I might spill some. And that would be really, really sad.

So here it is with about one glass left. It runs about $22 a bottle. I'll have to ask Don what made him pick this one up since we're on a tight budget here. Maybe it was on sale.

Or maybe he just wanted it. That's how he rolls. I eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and he buys wine that is $22 a bottle. *sigh*

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm an email addict.

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

"You're obsessed." he said. "It's like an addiction."

"No I'm not, I'm waiting for something." I responded with just a little bit of attitude.

Of course it didn't look good. I was curled up on our favorite chair in the living room zoned out checking email. In the dark. At 6am.

I knew this is would happen the minute I got a smartphone and could access my email anytime, anywhere, including in bed under the covers.
Am I obsessed?


Okay, yes. "My name is Kris, and I'm an addict."

There, I said it.

I have five, or six, email addresses. Each one serves a different purpose. Two for work, one for the blog, one for friends and family, one for retail/junk stuff, and one other that is still fresh, and untouched. I'm saving it.

I'm one of those people that remember life before email. We phoned each other and wrote letters. I loved writing letters. Way more than phoning someone. So email was made for someone like me.

I love the instant communication and response you get with email. No waiting for your letter to be delivered, read, and then a response to come. Hence the hiding under the covers waiting for a response from a friend.

I don't remember my first email. But I do remember all of us sitting in the office wondering how the computer worked. There was no WWW it was basically a fancy typewriter. Then things started to change. Slowly at first. Then everything exploded. Next to the internet the biggest life changer was email.

We all made a few 'reply all' mistakes as email rookies.
Forwarded dumb jokes.
Believed in a chain email.
Sent pictures of our kids without reducing them.
Did fundraising and planned parties.
Acted a little snarky once or twice.
And delivered a few simple "I love you. I'm sorry." messages, too. Which is why I can relate to this video.

My favorite email is yet to come. It's the one that says "We'd like to offer you a job."

I'm expecting it any day.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My new fancy olive oil carafe

Look what's new in my kitchen?

I got this for Mother's Day from Don and Elli and I forgot to tell you about it. Isn't it awesome? Chef Curtis Stone designed it. It's shiny, stylish and functional. Looooove it. I feel fancy when I use it. That sounds funny. But it's true.

They also gave me a super cute apron and new dish towels. And a really, really sharp knife. I've been chopping stuff like crazy.

Want some diced celery and carrots? I'll get it!

Need to debone a chicken. I'm your gal.

Need someone to finely dice an onion. No problem.

I don't have a picture of the knife. But it is shiny. And awesome. And safely waiting in my knife drawer for me to chop something.


Want me to slice an apple for you?

I'm starting to get my cooking mojo back. So watch out. I saw a killer recipe in Wine Spectator that I want to try.  And I'm in the mood for lemon bread. Better get baking.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life without a cell phone

We went without the use of our cell phones all weekend.

And you know what? I actually didn't mind at all.

I rarely use mine to talk anyway. I did miss checking emails every 5 seconds. But I got over that too. Ok, so yeah, I did check it for like two hours straight to make sure it wasn't really working.

It wasn't really working.

My observation? Being able to reach people 24-7 kind of sucks. I sort of miss the old days. We had more freedom and were less stressed out. I was slightly less freaky.

I've had a cell phone forever. I was one of the first of my friends to get one. But I am the worst cell phone user ever. I always forget to turn on the ringer. I also forget to call back right away. I have a terrible habit of accidentally deleting messages before I hear them. I leave the phone in the car when I go shopping. I don't really do it on purpose. But I guess I kind of do. I mean really, I'm in Safeway for 10 minutes. What could you possibly want to talk to me about. I was just with you one minute ago.

What about you? Are you a cell phone lover or hater?

Who do you call the most? I call Don (the hubby) and home the most. We have the same conversations:

1) I forgot something and call Don to see if he will pick it up for me.
2) I call to see what he wants for dinner.
3) I call Don to let him know I'm running late and need him to pick up Elli. He hates this call because I waited until the last second to call him. Sorr-rry.

I'm kind of surprised he ever answers when I call. 

I think our phones will be back on today. Which is a good thing. Because I would hate to miss that call telling me I won a year's supply of pickles. Just kidding. I did not register for a contest to win pickles. My dream house? Yes. Pickles. No.

In the meantime, just shoot me an email or a tweet @kmulkey007. My laptop is never far away.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Candy thief

I'm hungry for something sweet.

Just a little something.

I can't think of anything in the fridge or pantry that sounds good.

And then I see the Easter basket on the counter. Elli is in school. She won't notice if I take a few pieces of candy.

I stretch in my chair to see if I can reach it without getting up. I reach as far as I can without tipping over in the chair but it's just out of reach. Bummer.

I stare at the basket for a few seconds then get up to see what's inside. There are at least a dozen plastic eggs, chocolate rocks, gummy bears, gum, cherry sours, M&Ms, jolly ranchers, chocolate eggs, bunnies and kisses. Oh, yeah. So I start shaking eggs.

I open a purple plastic egg. It's full of light-orange jelly beans. I eat a few. They taste like tangerine. Perfect.

I go back to my computer at the kitchen table. But I can't stop thinking about candy. Now I need some chocolate. I know she got some chocolate eggs so I go back to the basket and open a few more plastic eggs to find some chocolate. Bingo. Three chocolate eggs.

I open them up one-by-one. I let them melt in my mouth. I barely remember eating the last one.

Then I grab a tiny bag of gummy bears and a few Hershey kisses.

Ok. Now I'm done. Back to my chair.

I sit down, cross my leg, rest my head on my hand and stare at the screen. My post is going nowhere. So I go on Facebook.

I'm restless. All the noises outside are distracting me. And the dog keeps barking. "What!?" I snap at the dog.

I get back up and get some water. And while I'm up I randomly grab another plastic egg. One of the big ones. It's heavy and full of jelly beans. I crack it open at the table and let a few spill out. I switch to Twitter and finish the jelly beans.

Now the table is full of shiny wrappers, empty plastic eggs and I feel sick. I can feel a crease in my gut. Ugh, I feel gross. I think the candy is stuck in my stomach. Or maybe I drank too much water.

And then I panic.

Elli is smart and a candy freak. She will know stuff is missing.

I bury the wrappers in the master bedroom trash and shuffle candy around in their baskets to fill the empty eggs.

And the worst part? I got caught. Elli decided to surprise me and empty the trash for trash day. Guess what she found. Yeah, I suck.

And now I owe her candy the next time we go to the movies.

This week's TRDC prompt was to write a story about gluttony. It could be fiction or non-fiction. 600 words max. I did steal some candy. How much? I'll never tell.

Doggie want some bacon?

This is funny. You must watch it now. 'Cuz I think it's hilarious. Bentley is barking at me as I type. He doesn't think it's funny at all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sandy daze

Today's TRDC topic was to write about sand.

I have not been able to draft the perfect story. I have so many memories of sand I couldn't decide which one to focus on. It literally fogged my brain. Good thing I'm not in school because I would have failed this assignment.

I started writing about Matheson Hammock beach, one of my favorite places as a kid. We would hang out with my family, grandmother and cousins on our spring break vacation. It was perfect for little kids to play in the sand and splash around in the calm waters of the lagoon. You were safe from the open ocean with its big waves and jellyfish. We played all day making elaborate sand structures decorated with palm fronds and flowers.

If we were really good my mom would treat us to a Slushee at the concession stand, which invariably ended up with a fine layer of sand lining the bottom of the cup when we were finally done.

I thought about the amazing and huge sand castles I've seen in San Diego and in Hawaii. How they create those structures out of sand boggles my mind. I'm sure they used something different than a used Slushee cup.

And then there's 4th of July in Norwalk. We would stake out the perfect spot early in the day. Then each one of us would make a sand chaise by digging and wiggling around so the sand formed to your body. You'd gaze at the sky waiting for the show to begin. There is nothing more spectacular than fireworks launched from a barge. They shoot up right over your head and spray into a burst of twinkling color.

Just like the stars from the summer between my senior year in high school and college. We would hang out at Compo beach almost every night. We would stroll up and down the beach talking about what college was going to be like, dragging our toes slowly through the sand trying to get the boys attention. The night air was cool, the breeze gently blowing our hair, and the black sky filled with a million stars. It was the end of a chapter and the beginning of the rest of our lives.

It was our last summer together.....

Ah, I'm back. I was lost there for a minute.

I currently live near some of the most gorgeous beaches you've ever seen. They are rocky and rustic with giant cliffs and sandy army bunkers hiding in the hills. Whales spout in the distance, seals play in the surf, and starfish cling to the sandy rocks.

See? How was I going to pick just one.

2010 Thanksgiving morning- group hike to Tennessee Valley Beach

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bathtub slip up

Yes. I fell in the bath tub.

I felt like that lady in the commercial who yells "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up."

Except I did get up. In fact as soon as I went DOWN I popped right back up and glanced around the tub to make sure no one saw. As if Candid Camera had set up shop in my shower for some show called "NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THIS!"

I had turned around to grab conditioner. Squeezed some in my hand and turned back around to face the shower head. As I was turning back around my foot stepped on some conditioner and it suddenly felt like I was on a slip-n-slide. My feet slid and I went down hard. My left hand grabbed at the wall. But I couldn't stop myself from landing with a THUD.

The whole upstairs shook as I fell. I seriously expected Don or Elli to come running upstairs for fear that the sky was falling or to see if the house had been hit by a plane. It had to be loud downstairs.

I stopped and listened.


No one curious. No one coming to my rescue. They didn't hear a thing. Or it didn't sound bad enough to interrupt whatever they were doing to come upstairs.

"Did you hear my fall?" I asked.

"Nope." they answered in unison.

Ha. I guess our house is built better than I thought. Or maybe my ass is not as heavy as I thought.

Regardless, I'm fine. My butt is bruised and my back is sore. And I haven't seen a You Tube video of the great bathtub fall. So I'm safe.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day weekend ladies!!!

Don and Elli have something secret planned. Elli has almost spilled the beans on more than one occasion. It's killing her to keep quiet. She keeps trying to skirt around the surprise to tell me something and Don keeps hushing her - which of course she doesn't like.

So she gives him her famous you're-making-me-mad-look. I am proud to say she got this from me. Ha.
"Don't shush me, daddy."
I'm looking forward to a relaxing day with the family and lots and lots of smiles.

A little chocolate and coconut sorbet definitely helps with the smile factor. Not sure if you've ever had this sorbet but OMG is it good. We tried it at the local farmer's market in San Rafael and have been nibbling away at our small container for a week. It's a bit pricey. Ok, it's expensive. Ten smackers for the container. But man-oh-man is it good.

Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Why I hate karaoke

Back in 2011 I was part of a fun, online writing club called The Red Dress Club. We would have different topics and word counts each week. The topic for this piece was Jealousy. We all have it. We all feel it.
 Word limit was 600.

The bar was three deep, everyone anxious for that first cocktail. Small talk with co-workers is fun when it's your pals. But when you have to chitchat with people you hardly know it can be a bit awkward. Hence the mad rush to the bar.

The drinks went down fast. Pretty soon tequila shots were getting passed around and the room really started to buzz with laughter and smiles.

Everyone was starting to relax and have a good time.

The DJ was playing good tunes. It was too early to start dancing. But it wasn't too early to pick which song you'd sing for karaoke. The book of songs stared at me like a book of death. This was my most dreaded part of the party. The mere thought of singing in front of my co-workers made my stomach do flip flops. I could feel my armpits start to sweat. I would much rather kick someone's ass at a game of quarters. I could still remember exactly how to ping the quarter off the table into the cup of beer.

I sat there on the couch staring at the book and looking around the room. I felt like a fish out of water. I was a grown woman. I controlled millions of dollars for my clients and I was paralyzed by karaoke.

The funny thing is, I really wanted to sing. I used to love singing. Especially when I was in the car by myself. But I hardly did that anymore.

I was envious of my friends and co-workers as they got up there and belted out tunes. Most of them weren't very good. But they were such hams and were having so much fun it didn't matter. We loved it. We clapped along and jammed the dance floor.

Their faces were flush from their turn in the spotlight and keeping up with the lyrics. They nervously stepped side-to-side clutching the microphone until they got their rhythm.

It would be great if the book had a chicken-shit-starter-list for those of us afraid of hurling in public. This book didn't have that.

"Hey, let's do a group song!" my friends said. "What song do you want to sing?" they asked full of excitement. "Uhhhh." I said with a look on my face that said I would rather get a flu shot in the butt than get up there and sing.

My bosses were there. I didn't want them picturing my bad rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" or something else even lamer, when they were deciding who should get a raise. So I made up excuses and said I couldn't sing and sat there and watched liked a chicken, longing to be up there and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. It was just singing. Shit, they've already seen me cry. Why was I afraid to sing?

Before you know it the party's over and another year has passed without me singing.

My insecurities got the best of me again. I really need someone to kick my sorry chicken-butt and get in front of the microphone.

Next time.

I'll do it for sure next time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kris Pinot Grigio

Have you tried this? You really should.  It's really crisp and refreshing. Especially on a hot spring day like today. And it's only $10.99.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a glass, or two, when this day is over. 

2009, Kris Pinot Grigio
Wine Characteristics: It's pale yellow in color with aromas of flowers, citrus, tangerine, and hints of apricots and almonds. Very refreshing on the palate with hints of blossom and honey.

Food Pairings: Recommended with salad, roast vegetables, risotto, lightly flavored pastas, omelettes, quiches and grilled white meats or salmon.

The only problem with this wine is that it tastes so good it goes down like a glass of iced tea. Before you know it Don and I have polished off the bottle and it's all gone.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. I know you can buy it at BevMo and Cost Plus World Market.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do you love your home?

I was helping a woman in our store the other day. She was looking for fabric to recover her dining room chairs.

"I'm 80. I only need them to last another 10 years." she said. Then I'll be dead.

Believe it or not, this is not the first time I've heard a customer say that.

I needed a little direction to help her find the best fabric. So we started chatting about her house.

She told me she hates her house. And she really hates her dining room because it doesn't have a window. "Who would make a dining room without a window?" she asked. "And it's in the wrong place too. It's right by the front door so everyone dumps their stuff on the table. I have to cover it with a tablecloth so the beautiful wood isn't ruined. A man must have designed my house. A women never would have put the dining room there." she scoffed.

"Why don't you blow out the wall and add a window?" I asked.

"Well my son offered to put in a skylight. But I always thought we wouldn't be here that long. So I never did." she answered.

"Well, you plan on being there ten more years, do it now!" I said and smiled.

She smiled back. She kind of liked that idea.

The last time she did anything in the dining room was when they moved into the house. That was 1973.

She and her husband bought the house because it was the only thing available at the time. It's your basic no frills, starter/tract home. Their plan was to live there 6 years then find her dream house.

Unfortunately, her husband decided that he liked the house and wanted to pay it off instead of moving. So they stayed. And she has disliked it ever since. And she is not shy about telling you. So I'm sure her husband is aware of how she feels.

I found that so sad. She was very open with me about the type of house she wanted. She dreamed about living in a California craftsman style home with a big porch.

She then went on to tell me an even sadder story. Her parents lived in Alameda in a California craftsman style home. They lived in the house over fifty years. It had a huge front porch that wrapped around, a dumb waiter and a back porch too. She really loved that house.

Then one day the Alameda school district came knocking on their door. They wanted to buy the house, and two others, to build the school district offices on the three lots. Her parents declined their offer until the school district threatened to take them to court. Her mother was in her seventies and the thought of going to court scared her to death so they sold the house.

The school district gave them 90 days to find a new place to live. Then they immediately tore down all three houses and black topped the area. And that is how it has been for a very long time. They never did build the school offices there.

She said she drives by every couple of years to see the old neighborhood and it's the same.

Here's an example of a California Craftsman in Alameda. This one is for sale on Pearl Street. It's definitely not a tract home. I think she should go for it. It's never too late to start over.

Her story got me thinking about where we live.

Don really hates our townhouse. I mean really hates it. He wants a yard and more space. And a garage. I'm not crazy about it either but I've accepted it. Our plan was to live here for a few years. As in two. That was 4 years ago.

I need a "moving to a better place" plan. I don't want him becoming bitter and resentful like her.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I win. Game over.

I started my job knowing it would be challenging.

When I interviewed for the position they told me the client was difficult. I had dealt with difficult people before. I had learned how to manage over-the-top personalities. Or so I thought.

I was completely unprepared for this client. He knew marketing. He knew media. He was also irrational, controlling, outrageous and unbelievably demanding. He was a maniac with a bad temper.

He knew exactly what he wanted and when he didn't get it he would explode. He would yell so loud the ground would shake and the walls would rattle. There were times when I couldn't pick up the phone receiver fast enough before he started going off on a tirade on the speaker phone.

I was in shock the first six months. Learning the job and learning how to deal with him was more than I anticipated. Plus we had just purchased our business and Don was under tremendous stress trying to learn the ropes. We were both a wreck.

But as I figured out what made this guy tick I realized that I was experiencing something unique. I had never, ever come across someone like him. And neither had any of my colleagues. This guy didn't just peel back the proverbial onion, he planted the seed and analyzed the dirt and the wind, sun and water. He plotted the perfect longitude and latitude. He was so thorough it blew your mind. Every day was a new project more outrageous than the last.

It was a game to him.

My forehead would throb from the stress. My brain cells were stretched. I cried a lot. Thank goodness I had a big office with a door.

You probably think I'm crazy for staying on. And I'm not going to lie. There were days when I hoped a new job would land in my lap and take me away. Or a big bus would run over his Mini.

But he grew to respect me. I had passion for their business and was calm, where he was not. He knew I was trying hard. Every once in a while he would show a softer side and let his guard down. That's when I knew there was a human inside. It was buried beneath the armor.

I just couldn't quit. Because quitting meant he won. That he beat me, that I couldn't take the pressure. Working with him was what I imagined boot camp to be like. They push you and push you until you build enough inner strength that you are no longer afraid. You're a machine.

Now this may make me sound stubborn, and dumb, and just a little bit crazy. And I was far from a machine, because machine's don't cry, and I cried a lot.

But I had already outlasted every one before me and he was set to retire in two years. I just had to stick it out until he left.

He finally retired after 3 1/2 years. I think they forced him out, because it was a sudden announcement and quick departure.

The news brought cheers at the agency.

We started singing "Ding-dong the witch is dead..." Everyone was giddy and shocked that the day we dreamed about had finally come. We celebrated. Wine corks popped. Hugs were shared. We couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces. And I cried again. Only this time they were tears of joy.

He was leaving. It felt really odd. I had won. Game over.

For this week's RemembeRED prompt, we're borrowing a prompt fromWriting the Memoir by Judith Barrington.
In her chapter "The Truth: What, Why, and How," she asks her readers to: "Tell the story (without any trivialization or modesty) of something in your life that you are proud of." My story may seem like an odd choice to write about for this topic. But if you knew my client you would understand.