Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's Off to Chicago I Go

In Chi-town for three days of business meetings. Trying to limit the over eating/drinking to just one night (last night). In spite of Lakeview Coffee's protestations, I am usually the innocent party in these things. The weather here is an advertisement for global warming. It's going to be November and it's in the 70's.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Danger - Foodie Entry!

When short of time all of we small cadre of blogators choose...picures! After spending Saturday in an all day meditation intensive (notice how all my letters glow with a golden light - no? - cretins), I went for a hike on Sunday followed by the preparation of a meal for a friend who is moving to Hawaii.

The menu is cream of cauliflower soup with Indian flavorings, Casserole roasted capon with bacon, onions and potatoes, and creme brullee.

Our Trusty Capon (think large chicken)

Bacon being sauteed

Trusty Sous-Chef, Wife, Peeling Lots of Small Potatoes and Onions

Our Capon Ready for the Oven

Cauliflower Soup Cooking

Finished Soup

Meal Ready for Serving

Our Wines
A 2006 Vigonier from Sonoma, CA (first course), a 2001 Chateau Neuf du Pape (main course), a sweet blend,2006 with a lot of Gew├╝rztraminer from Oregon (dessert)

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Many Analogies Can You Fit Into An 'Epic' Project

Those that know de-I well (which should be most of you since I don't get a lot of surfers our outsiders here), know my unbridled love of the analogy. In fact, partner Lakeview Coffee made it a condition of continued involvement with my firm that I not reuse old worn-out analogies. He thought it was a way to get me to stop, not realizing it has just set off a entire creative process of finding new and interesting analogies.

Now that we are in full swing on the 'epic' home expansion project, the well for analogies is about to go to overflowing. Where to start. We intimated Egyptian in yesterdays posts. What about Roman, The Great Wall of China, the temples of India, Mayan, Aztec, Inca. Need more modern? How about Gothic churches? Hoover Dam? The Golden Gate Bridge? The possibilities are endless. I may go mad with this actual process of the remodel but I will have fun writing about it.


Continuing to push the boundaries of cell phone camera capability I decided to show you the plans of the expansion

The Downstairs
You can see that the stairway up will be just to your right as you enter the front door. The hallway you enter into will be open to the second story. The current 'hole' is to be cut down in size and become a storage area and will also be the new wine cellar.

The Upstairs

As you come up the stairs you will enter a hallway. The big room to the back is the office. The room to the front is Wife's craft/photography room. And the rooms to the side and back are the exercise room and bathroom. There will be decks off both the front and back. We have French doors going from both the front and back rooms to the porches and between those rooms and entering from the hallway to the front room to allow us to open the whole area and create as much a feeling space and light as possible and vistas in as many directions as possible. There will be picture windows on the sides of both the office and craft room for purposes of capturing the views.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'll Bet the Pharoahs Had a Much Easier Time of This

...building that is; building epic monuments. I don't suppose that our new edition is really an epic construction project. It just seems so to me. We met with our builder today for three hours going over the plans, erasing walls, adding closets, discussing windows, etc, etc. My mind was spinning afterwards.

I didn't catch the Next Iron Chef on Sunday so I had to watch it tonight. Can't say I was surprised. I still think Besh and Cosontino are the best bets to move on.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sonoma Stay

Mrs. de-I and I liked up in San Francisco International. It was a long a rainy drive up Marin County and on to Sonoma. We spent the night in Santa Rosa, then went on to our destination. I had work on Saturday. Wife went off a-photo-ing. We caught up in the late afternoon. She took me for a ride over the coastal hills and on to the coast.

Mrs. de-I Photo-ing the Coast from the Standing Position
Yes it is as cold as she looks.

And Now from the Sitting Position

An Attempt to Catch Wave Action

An Attempt to Catch a Sunset

On Sunday we went down the Russian River for more photo shooting the went to Armstrong State Park, a redwood forest, for some hiking. We had a nice 3.2 mile hike with a 500 foot, steep climb included. Boy, I was so glad for the exercise after a week on the road. My body was muy happy.

Mrs. de-I Tromping through the Redwoods
It was quite cool in the forest

After climbing the hill we were stripping off layers

A Redwood

Next it was off to a winery. Heck we were in wine country and we had been told this particular winery, Iron Horse in Sebastopol was the best combination of both wine and view. So we did some tasting and I bought a half a case. And the view was classic wine country stuff. The weather was perfect too.

We hadn't had a lot of luck with our dinners during this trip but our last stop was at a place in Sebastopol called Alice's Restaurant. We had a great meal. I had crab cakes up front with confit of lamb as a main course. My crispy duck skin children would have died for this dish. It was accompanied by mash potatoes that were excellent. It is very, very rare for me to say that! Most of the time potatoes are relatively insipid. Finally there was deep fried spinach as a side dish. Never had it before. Don't know how it's done. It's like having spinach chips. We have had excellent wine through out (buy local) and tonight was the same, an Atascadero Creek Syrah. For dessert was a creme brulee with just a touch of ground walnuts in the sugar crust. Magnifique! We met the chef/owner who did a wonderful job of damage control with a table where one of her waitresses had screwed up the order. Turns out she was also the owner of the cottage we had rented for the weekend.

My Duck
This photo does no justice to the bright green deep fried spinach

Scene from the Kitchen of the Cottage

The Breakfast Nook of the Kitchen

The Living Room

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday in the Bay Area

I met my client while they were at this industry trade meeting at a big resort in Palm Desert. Since they made my reservation late, I wasn't at the main hotel but in the "Villas" adjunct. this turned out to be great luck. The unit was practically as large as my house. It had a jacuzzi and everything. Only problem is that all I got to spend in it was about 2 hours of actual awake time. I did use the jacuzzi!

I was up early and on the road by 5:45 to get to Ontario and fly to San Francisco. Then drove down to San Jose for a meeting and then back to San Francisco to pick up Wife where I am waiting as I right these words.

Interesting stuff happening in the old PG since the Palooza. My meeting today (which came from a conversation started with a stranger in an airplane 5 months ago) has led to my delivering a proposal for work. I had two leads from lead from Top Gun L in Palm Desert. Craig DiOne has a prospect. Hope this keeps up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Quickie from on the Road

If only the experience was anything as good as the title implies. I'm surviving! Iowa was the pits - rain, lot's of it though I did have a great veal chop and shrimp cocktail at the Paxton Chop House in Omaha. Spent 3.5 whole hours with the Pulisha household. I send my applause to them for maintaining their humor in the face of the three child, two job chaos. I'm now halfway between LA and Palm Desert in Riverside, CA taking time in a Podolny Group Branch (Starbucks for the uninitiated) to check up on my email. Meeting tonight and on to the Bay area tomorrow along with conjugal visit with Mrs. de-I whose joining me for the weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Next Iron Chef - Commentary

Ok fellow foodies, if I can be flying to freakin' nowhere Iowa, have too late planes, and drive 2.5 hours through thunderstorms and still catch the second episode of the Next Iron Chef, what's your excuse! With the blessings of my anti-tv chef mavens Bourdain and Ruhlman, I am totally hooked on this new series. I especially love the commradery between the chefs even though they are clearly competing intensely with one another. Personally my money is on Besh or Cosentino.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shoot My Travel Planner!

Oh wait that would be me! And that would have a whole series of unintended and most likely unpleasant consequences.

Through a set of unrelated circumstances involving a variety of different business requirements I had to schedule a multi-day, multi-city travel extravaganza.

Today (Sunday) - Travel to Sioux Center Iowa (my very first flight is late taking off, not exactly boding well for the rest of the week)

Monday - Meeting in Sioux Center, drive to Omaha and spend night there

Tuesday - Catch 7 AM flight to LA. Arrive in LA 10:30 AM and have three meetings ending up at Pulisha's for the night.

Wednesday - Starting with 7:30 breakfast have four meetings moving gradually to the west and ending up that night in Thousand Oaks.

Thursday - Have a 7 AM networking meeting in Pasadena, meeting in Ontario, and end up in Palm Desert (about 150 miles away from Thousand Oaks) where I spend night.

Friday - Catch 7 AM flight from Ontario and fly to San Francisco. Drive to lunch meeting in Santa Clara. Go back to San Francisco Airport and pick-up Mrs. de-I then drive to Santa Rosa, CA

Saturday and Sunday - Stay in one place! I have a meeting on Saturday. Wife will be out a -photoing. We hope to spend time together on Sunday.

Monday - Drive to San Francisco and head home.

I am taking applications for a new travel arranger. Must have a strong and well founded sense of sanity.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Podolny-Palooza Report

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it goes the old line.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I had 8 people in Albuquerque for two solid days of Podolny Group planning. Included in this were the existing 4 people other than myself, 2 people from LA that were evaluating becoming part of our organization, Wife and I. I got a room at our attorney's office on the 10th floor (that's pretty high here in Albuquerque) of a main office tower so things looked pretty professional.

The conversations covered a wide range of topics but were primarily oriented on a few major subjects:
  • Enhancing the pass-on of knowledge from founder to others
  • Upgrading our marketing and selling efforts and results
  • Creating better communication between the various people in the organization including promoting better usage of the resources of the group
  • Determining the mutual commitments of everyone to trying to turn this into a sustainable business that would grow beyond me
Present at the meeting were:

Mrs. de-I

Lakeview Coffee

Los Angeles
Top Gun L

Without going into great (and certainly boring) detail, it was quite an intense two days. I've gotten this thing to the point where it is poised to go to the next level and there were major questions concerning whether I really had the people that would justify the efforts I've made to continue to try and expand. The net is that it appears that this team of highly talented and hard working team are truly interested in seeing if we can go, together, to the next level.

So now it gets interesting as to how all this is going to come together but unlike in the past, there are people who are picking up responsibility for this piece or that as opposed to me having to do everything. Stay tuned for the next episode.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Processing the Garden

Maybe Wife is trying send me a message. I'm in the middle of the two week home stand and she has scheduled a four day visit to Pulisha and family. I might be just a tad bummed. In the meantime it is cooking overtime. While I was kayaking and pig disassembling over the last two weeks, the garden was in over drive. As a result I needed to do a mess of cooking this weekend to make use of the abundance. First to deal with the mass of tomatoes, I made a cream of tomato soup (to be served at the big Podolny Group meeting).

Tomato Puree, Onions and Garlic for Tomato Soup

Onions and Garlic cooking in a Roux for said Soup

I also had some eggplants so I made an old recipe from my family for a chopped eggplant salad. This involves baking the eggplant then removing the cooked meat from the seeds and skin. It is then chopped (via a closely guarded family secret) with onions and hard boiled eggs. It's served cold with fresh tomatoes (got those), olive oil and bread.

From Ohio I brought back some very tasty semi-dried meat (not quite jerky). I decided to try to make a rillettes type (a kind of cold potted meat like a pate) of dish as an appetizer for my group meal. It turned out very good.

Rillettes in Process

Since a lot of people are not fond of tomato soup, I am also making Vichyssoise, a cold cream of potato and leek soup for the Wednesday meal.

Vichyssoise Ingredients

Last but not least I have a mess 'o' peppers, both New Mexican and Poblano. So those have been roasted and I'm still deciding whether to just freeze the the meat or make sauces from them. We'll have to see how my energy is.

Chiles, New Mexicans on the left and center, Poblanos on the right

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Ahhhh. Back in Albuquerque where I will be for the next two weeks. And the travel prognosis for October is back down to less than 50% of the month. We've got a couple of big events coming up. I have a partner (one operating company and two buildings) from MI who is spending a couple of days this week looking at the possibility of doing some investing in ABQ. Then next week we have a big two day meeting of Podolny Group people (both existing and recruits) to look at where we want to go next year. So I've got a lot of preapration to get ready for that. Mrs. de-I is dashing off on Friday to visit Pulisha, Tim de Buffalo and the 3 terrors and will be back on Monday.


The latest squirrel extermination seems to have done the job and a bountiful harvest seems to be coming in. We have a slew of tomatoes, yellow and green summer squash, butternut and acorn squash, eggplant, NM green chile, poblano chile and three humongous watermelons. I've got much cooking to do this weekend.