Monday, May 21, 2007

Buddy Needs a Home

Charlie & I have been wanting to get a dog for a long time. We figured it would be best to wait until I stop working so that our dog won't have to be home alone all day. So we have been counting down the months until the baby comes, and are looking forward to two new additions to the family.

We want to get a rescue dog rather than a new puppy. I don't know that I could handle a new baby AND a new puppy. Occasionally I browse Craigslist or, just for fun, to see all of the cute dogs that need homes.

Last week I found Buddy. Isn't he adorable?! We were planning to wait a few more months, but when I saw this guy I changed my mind.

"Buddy is an addorable, loving mix. He is three years old, has been lovingly cared for and is in perfect health. He is well trained, does fabulous tricks, loves running and playing with other dogs."

Sounds like the perfect dog! Plus, his headline says he is kid friendly. PERFECT!!! Charlie is sold too. I e-mailed his owner a few days ago... still no response. I just tried calling her. No answer. Could it be that she has already found a new home for Buddy? I'm heartbroken!

Friday, May 11, 2007

You might be a foodie if......

you can correctly match the word to its correct definition:

Foie Gras (pronounced Pho Graw)
a) A German pork sausage
b) Fattened Goose/Duck Liver
c) A type of sushi hand roll
d) A type of lettuce used in French salads

Beef Tartar (pronounced Beef Tar-Tar)
a) Filet Mignon served medium rare
b) Raw Ground Beef served in a special sauce
c) Beef prepared in a special tomato based sauce, usually served with sautéed onions and mushrooms
d) Build-up on your teeth resulting from eating too many hamburgers

My first job out of college was selling gourmet cookware to the rich and/or famous of Los Angeles. I spent long hours in specialty and department stores in the Westside of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena trying to convince consumers to spend $400 on a cookware set. It was actually much easier than it sounds. Because of the brand and product I was pushing, consumers assumed I was a gourmet cook or foodie. The truth is, I was a much better actor. As they told me about the delicious paella they cooked last weekend or their search for the perfect tagine pan, I nodded my head with perfect understanding. And during that first job, I became what I call a wanna-be foodie. Certainly I have appreciation for good food made from the finest and freshest ingredients, but I think my equal enthusiasm for both Del Taco and Nobu’s restaurant eliminates me from membership in the foodie scene.

At work, I manage a marketing budget that includes a small amount of money we dedicate towards consumer advertising. Fine Cooking Magazine (FCM) is one of the magazines we advertise in. This past week, while at a trade show in Orlando, my colleague and I, went to dinner with an account manager from FCM. Knowing FCM and trying to avoid a four hour, five course meal at a French restaurant, I told her “We don’t need anything super fancy,” in the email I sent a few weeks prior to the dinner. The day of our dinner, I learned our spot for dinner that night. It was at ‘Norman’s” at the Ritz Carlton. Unless ‘Norman’s” was their pool side grill, I knew it was a destination for a true foodie.

As I looked over the menu, I was pleased to find that I recognized most of the dishes on the menu. For appetizers we shared foie gras, beef tartar, and ceviche,. I was embarrassed to ask, “what’s beef tartar?” After tasting a small bite, I was disappointed as I concluded that I really didn’t like it. In fact I had a hard time swallowing it and quickly reached for my sparkling water to rinse it down. Between appetizers and the first course, I thought, “I think this means I’m not a foodie. I knew I didn’t like raw oysters or caviar or foie gras, and now I don’t like beef tartar.”

After a full week of many delicious gourmet meals, I found myself craving “normal food”. I think this must be a sign that I am not a true foodie. For breakfast on the morning of our last day of the trade show, we jumped in the rental car and I announced, “we’re going to Cracker Barrel.” While I devoured my two eggs (over easy), biscuits and gravy, two strips of bacon, and sausage patty, I realized……it’s ok not to be a foodie. A wanna-be foodie enjoys the best of both worlds….and certainly never goes hungry because of it.

By the way….the answer for the questions above is B.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Nesting Instinct

Def: Around the fifth month of pregnancy, the "nesting" instinct can set in. This is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.

I now feel slightly less crazy when stating that the highlight of my weekend was scrubbing the kitchen sink. Sure, my weekend was a little on the dull side (I have a cold and Charlie is out of town), but I really did get a thrill out of this sink scrubbing.

If you've never heard of a little wonder called Bar Keepers Friend, I suggest you give it a try. This is no ordinary cleanser! As their website says: "Once Tried, Always Used! Bar Keepers Friend will be your "cleaning friend" for life!" I'm sold.

The kitchen sink in our new place was pretty nasty looking. It was covered in stains, scratches, knicks, and paint drips. Since the previous owner had the whole place professionaly cleaned when he left, I assumed the sink was a goner. I'd tried cleaning it once or twice already but it still looked pretty much the same. Then my nesting instinct kicked in and I was suddenly inspired to start scrubbing! Add a lot of arm muscle, a hearty sprinkling of Bar Keepers Friend, and an hour later our once nasty old sink now looks brand new! (Well, "new" with a few knicks out of it.) I was truly amazed at the transformation. I wish I had some before and after pictures.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Favorites of a Road Warrior

I have spent the past 24 hours in dreary New Jersey. This trip can be very typical of my life on the road. I wake up early (4 AM), catch a flight across the country, arrive in destination, sleep, meet with customers the next day and catch a flight back home. My hotel in NJ was sandwiched between two interstates and my room had a perfect view of the Manhattan skyline about 10 miles in the distance. It was torture being in NJ and not in NYC.

The trip has made me think about how New Jersey has got to be one of the worst places for a business trip. So I've complied a short list of my favorite and least favorite places to travel on business. Here they are:

My Favorite Places for Business Travel

  1. Italy - It's tough selling Italian made cookware (really- it is) but annual visits to our factory somehow eases it a bit.
  2. New York - Great city but very expensive - it's always nice when the company pays the bills

  3. Bentonville, AR - Home of Wal-Mart- I feel like an anthropology student in rural Arkansas. Hillbillies wearing bib overalls driving old Chevy trucks are for real! The picture below is the corporate office of the world's second largest company!

Honorable mentions go to Costa Rica and Miami- both places with great food, color, and life.

My Least Favorite Places for Business Travel

1) New Jersey - I think the state lacks character and has confusing highways and unfriendly people

2) Las Vegas - Too hot, too crowded, and unexciting, but unfortunately the place of many trade shows.

3) Portland, OR- (Sorry Mikael) Everytime I am there it's raining. Three years ago I arrived during the worst snow storm in a decade. The "gorge" froze over and I was stuck in an airport hotel for 3 days!

On Saturday I'm off to Orlando. I've only been there one time for less than two days. It was not enough to make a judgement. I'll have to let you know if it makes either list.