Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Happy Friday

A Happy Friday
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
M and I went to the county fair last night, just on the spur of the moment. We ate fried food, wandered the Hall of Flowers and the Hall of Vendors (I got this close to signing up for a Napa condo hard sell in exchange for a cruise--I still might do it), listened to some music, and took a spin on the ferris wheel. We enjoyed snapping some pics with his new iPhone camera app that mimics the Hipstamatic (which I somehow missed in the '80s).

We'll go back to the fair on Wednesday--Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult are playing! M really wants to hear them. And we need to see the livestock, bet the ponies, check out the "sustainable Sonoma" geodesic domes, and of course eat more fried food. That brick of spiral-cut potatoes is haunting both of us even now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home and Portland Recap

One of the hardest things for me about being back from a trip after the summer solstice is the change in light. Because I get up before sunup a couple of times a week to go to the gym, every moment of daylight counts. I can tell if it's just a scoche darker as I drive to the gym. Yet I squander it at the other end. I come home from work and putter inside and do chores and watch TV rather than sit on the deck and ponder the zippy comings and goings of hummingbirds and the glow of sun on the oak tree in the back yard. And as the evening deepens, I wonder why I didn't spend even just a few more moments breathing deeply under the deep blue summer sky. Pardon me while I go gaze at the stars a bit. That was nice. It's funny hearing the cricket chirps mixed with the screams from the midway--the county fair has started up.

So. Portland was lovely, despite the long days and aching feet during the conference. Which was a solid success, thank goodness. The soaks in the tub most evenings helped keep my spirits up, and the general happy feeling of the conference attendees did too. High points included an informal lunch I organized for women attendees (I had to try very hard to be amused rather than annoyed when some took offense to being called "ladies" rather that "women"--lighten up, gals!) that seemed to go over well--trying to up the diversity of our speakers is one of my job duties. One participant said she had met me at another event earlier in the year and had submitted a proposal to speak at the conference in Portland in part because of my encouragement, and it was accepted--that made me feel so good, like I had made a little bit of a difference. And I actually made a bit of progress myself on a similar front--I had set speaking in public as one of my personal goals for the year, and I did! Well, sort of. It wasn't planned (which was probably a good thing, I couldn't get nervous) and I had two other people onstage with me who were really the focus of the presentation so it ended up being a low-key stage experience, which was exactly what I needed. I haven't actually watched the video of the presentation myself yet. Mom said I did a pretty good job, but I'm skeptical. The main thing is that I did it, right?

I consumed a number of very delightful meals while fulfilling my professional duties. I stopped for Walla Walla onion rings at BurgerVille on my way to convention center on the first day. I consumed fried goat cheese and local beer at the Farm Café with a group of colleagues. With my fellow managers, I slurped edamame and Japanese noodles at Yuki. After a somewhat disappointing trip to Knit Purl and a brief wander on the west side of the Willamette, I tucked into a solo dinner and a delightful pinot noir from McKinley at the bar at Clyde Common, which a friend had recommended months ago and I just sort of crossed its path in a way that seemed Meant to Be. Am I food obsessed? Well, I do have to keep up my strength.

Luckily, I'm part of a family of foodies. Uncle Lloyd picked me up on Friday afternoon and after swooping up Aunt Jacque, Jim, and Enid, we headed out to the Kennedy School, one of the McMenamin Brothers' many arty and delightful establishments. Lloyd caught me up on the latest family tree discoveries, and Heather and the Jones clan joined us much later that evening. The next morning we breakfasted at Bread and Ink then did a great deal of chatting and catching up during the day. Michelle brought the boys over in the afternoon and she, Heather, Alyssa, and I drove out to Edgefield, a former work farm and nursing home, another pleasant McMenamin Brothers establishment. We wandered in the garden and had refreshments, marveling at the bridal parties drooping somewhat in the heat. We enjoyed more conversation and a great dinner grilled by Forrest and Lloyd.

I had just enough time for crepes for breakfast in the morning before catching a flight back to Santa Rosa. What a difference it makes not to have that long drive back from OAK or SFO! M took me out to lunch to one of our favorite new spots, Jackson Grill, on the way home. It was so relaxing to be eating rather than driving. And it was just good to be home again, lovely as the trip was. I did have one PDX disappointment: I finally purchased my very own bag of Stumptown coffee (it was like going into a wine tasting room, discussing what kind I should buy) and I didn't like it! I gave it several chances. Luckily, one of my co-workers also bought some, but French Roast, so I swapped her with my Holler Mountain this afternoon. I'm pretty sure I'll like it better.

It's been tough keeping my energy up at work this week. I think I'm still a little burnt out from my travels. I did take Monday afternoon off to meet up with niece Felicia in honor of her 21st birthday. We had lunch and it was nice spending a little time with her, Denise, and Mike. I'm looking forward to hearing about her birthday exploits in Las Vegas. I'm also looking forward to some sleeping in this weekend! Maybe even napping in the sun one afternoon. I keep telling myself I'm going to do it, that it's really not frivolous at all, but I haven't actually done it yet this summer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What I Did Yesterday

This photo is of me talking to one of my favorite conference speakers. He was one of the first people I met when I started doing conferences and has always been very kind to me.

Sorry for the blog silence. I've got a lot on my mind lately, but haven't been coherent enough to post anything. I have several views of hotel rooms to show you, but forgot my camera cable so you'll just have to wait til I'm back home from Portland on Sunday to see them.

It's been a long week, but I'm very much looking forward spending the weekend with northwest family, starting in about six hours!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Fourth of July Beach Photos

Beautiful beach day
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
The great weather continued last weekend. But now we're back to foggy mornings--my office is so gloomy, but the memories are bright!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Fourth from the North Coast

Pt Arena on the Fourth
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
It's an unusually gorgeous day in downtown Point Arena. Barely a breath of breeze, no trace of fog, the sun is practically beating down as the parade gathers in the high school parking lot, preparing to wend its way down the Main Street hill at high noon. I'm wearing my disco ball flipflops and no sweater, regretting leaving my hat in the trunk, that's how lovely it is. I'm in a newly opened cafe, very un-Point Arena like, all slate and cork floors and dark-walled hang out space, watching the town assemble for the festivities, squinting at new patrons to see if I went to high school with any of them. Art cars and be-bandana'd dogs and herds of jeeps and Harley riders are passing in front of the cafe windows, my private movie. I came here thinking I would get some work done, but seems a shame to waste such a good vibe on work. I just ordered a lemon blueberry crepe. A crepe for FSM's sake!

Friday was a good day. Another afternoon of leaving work a little early. I bought frames for the "old timey" photos from Virginia City, two Sookie Stackhouse books and another on drawing (the Betty Edwards classic), and deep blue velvet curtains for the bedroom. M has convinced me that we sleep better in the dark. While I was in Bed Bath and Beyond, I handed over two of my coupons to a fellow shopper who wanted a set of drapes that she said were too pricey, and that made me unusually happy. I treated myself to an order of fries at Mickey D's on the way home and was handed a free cup of mocha ice cream also, just cuz (and as we all know, french fries and ice cream are two thirds of a perfect meal). Instant karma, perhaps?

Yesterday I picked up a quarter of a cow for mom from an old school butcher and pasta-making outfit. The so-called (in Sonoma County anyway) king of pasta himself, Art Ibleto, waited on me. 85 if he's a day, still thick with Italian accent and memories. We talked ice cream and he told me about the times he would steal milk from his mother's cow and take it to his friend's house, the one with the ice cream machine, and after it was ready he'd gather 'round the bucket with his buddies, spoons in hand and finish it all in one sitting. One friend in particular would wait until it was almost gone, then dip his arm in the bucket and run his hand in the seam at the bottom, scooping up the last bits and then taking off with a fist full of ice cream. He has too many friends, he says, and they all want a plate of free pasta when he sets up at the Wednesday Night Market downtown. He's having a hard time seeing, so I helped him find the ticket, and then accompanied him to the freezer to identify the two crates of white paper wrapped meat.

Well, I'm about done with my crepes and it's just about time to take my place on the parade route. Later today: coleslaw making and a walk on the beach and more lounging with family. Ah.