Thursday, April 30, 2009

Road trip of the week

Good morning from the Hyatt Place in Rancho Cordova, where the rooms were designed by an idiot. The big TV screen is cleverly placed so you can make it face the bed or the couch. No way can you see it from the desk. The bed faces the bathroom mirror, and the bathroom door opens out to the bed, and is also mirrored. Therefore the bed lamp reflects back into the pillows, as does the mirror on the door if you try to block the mirror on the wall with the door. Then the light in the living room reflects off the other door . . . I think it is back to the Courtyard for me, despite the free breakfast here. Although they do have Tazo teas.

These trips are always interesting. Yesterday for the first time in memory I locked myself out of my car. I was in the parking lot right in front of the big windows along the office, I had both doors open while digging in the back seat for literature, posters and catalogs, with my purse on the seat, when my host came out to greet me in the parking lot. We both moved a door out of the way to shake hands, and both doors latched. I always put my purse on the roof - what was I thinking? We have a roadside service (number in the glove box) so I called the company in Little Falls and the operator hooked me right up. These voice recognition programs are amazing, they asked questions all the way to were the keys on the seat, on the dash or in the trunk by automated attendant. When I got to give the address, a real person sent out a tow truck, and the nice tatoo'd man had a big folder of bent up wires, and click! the door popped open. No big deal, but a lot of embarrassment on my behalf for being dumb in front of a client. Well, I probably don't need to go back there. They buy some of our equipment but not much from me, and I will have a hard time being a credible force for change after that!

Lots of homework from yesterday's visits, so I need to get to it. I get to go to a couple of wine labs in the central valley today - always interesting (no, no tasting).

Monday, April 27, 2009

love at first sip

About a month ago we went to a chocolate tasting in the City. Amazing how soon you can get saturated with chocolate - if you ever do one, be sure to take water. It was fun, I was glad I went once and would likely not go again. There are indeed chocolates I did not care for, very perfumy ones that assault your nose before you can even get it to your mouth. But I digress.

One table was giving little sips of chocolate martini. We hit the liquor store last weekend and purchased a bottle of Vincent Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate flavored vodka. I have no use for vodka as a rule - why waste vodka when I can drink gin? But this, ah, this is nectar. Not a sugary liquor, it makes a sublime martini. So when it was time for a fancy drink before Sunday dinner, we whipped two up. I haven't been this in love with a drink since I first tasted Blue Sapphire gin, which remains my favorite. I'm not the only one who liked this, as there were 15 or 20 pages when we did a recipe search. Ummmmmm . . . Too bad Sunday is only once a week.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Almost spoke too soon

It has been five years to the month that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had the tumor removed, had radiation treatments, took a pill every day, and life went on. A week ago she got to stop taking the pills. We were both pleased at reaching this milestone.

Monday she had a followup mammogram and an ultrasound. Wednesday someone left a message on her answering machine and told her she needed to have a biopsy. So today when I called her, she told me. Why hadn't she called me sooner? Well, I can't be bothering you with every little thing, she said. Mother, this is not what I would classify as a little thing. So she has not called the office back to get this scheduled, but has promised to do so Monday.

Five years. That's supposed to be the magic number. Here we go again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

update on the garden path

It is still a work in progress. It was HOT Sunday, and so not so much progress. Four more bags of Step 1 Paver Base are stacked in the driveway. However, the new roses are beginning to bloom, so that is today's update. Here are, in order Knockout Radrazzi, Pristine with Fritz and Tootsie, and Tamora and Tootsie (I just plant them, not name them).

Friday, April 17, 2009

J David Gladstone Institute

Yesterday the Secretary of the Interior and I happened to visit UCSF Mission Bay campus together. I went merely for the parking lot, not the picketers standing on the streets with signs to be photographed by the TV trucks. I picked my way through the circus and crossed the street without much notice from the cops, probably because in my business attire I didn't look like I would be joining them. I walked into the lobby of the Gladstone institute and literally gasped with delight. It was one of the most beautiful lobbies I have ever seen, and I do a LOT of lobbies. The wall facing me was 3 stories of thin, very large onyx tile (wonder how many of those were broken during construction). The tiles were backlit, the golden stone glowed. There were names in big letters at about the 2nd story level - James Watson, all the other biochemists I studied when I was in graduate school, the ones who wrote the review articles that explained everything I needed to know. Oh, LOOK, there is Stan Cohen's name up there, the guy on my Ph.D. committee. Wow.

Gladstone, the real estate magnate who founded the research institute, must have earmarked special funds for archetect fees. This place is truly amazing. The labs were a little quirky, not big rectangular labs but all angles, but the building is truly special. Too bad I could only find this crummy little photo with 3 VIPs obstructing the view. If you ever go to see the SF Giants, it is worth a drive by to see the art on the outside of the building

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Signs of spring

So I stopped by the office after my customer non-event of the afternoon, bounced up the front walk and stopped dead in my tracks. What?? Swans?? We can't even keep green plants in the offices anymore and they bought a pair of swans to live in the pool along the front of the building?? Wait - they are plastic swans. Turns out they are there to dissuade the ducks from nesting in the pond, as the ducklings get caught in the water circulatory system. Sorry mallards, not a good year for romance on the corporate turf.