Thursday, August 30, 2007

Let The Festivities Begin

I've been in Albuquerque (home) for over 24 hours the start of an 11 day home stand. Hooray! And we are having good friends, Agent Weasel and Gaius Derf visiting us. Agent W is already here since she came into town early for some work related stuff. Gaius Derf arrives tomorrow night. I've been perusing the wine cellar for appropriate offerings.

Darn, I won't even be able to blame Ricardo or Lakeview for any over-indulgence this weekend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week Four of Eight - Quicky from Iowa

Yup another trip to Sioux City Iowa and its cousin Orange where all the 19th century refugees from the Netherlands settled. (Alexis, believe me you don't even want to see this). Making great progress with this client and it looks like this could be a great long-term deal.

These guys really like to party. There's this bizarre restaurant/diner club in Orange we go to. The food isn't bad and the crew I'm working with definitely drink a bunch and let there hair down. Ricardo would fit in great here.

I'm heading home tomorrow afternoon and then have an ELEVEN DAY HOME STAND! Wife will probably be ready to divorce me by then. Also we have Gaius Derf and Agent Weasel visiting us so a massive hike plus consumption of mass quantities is on the horizon.

I learned something new today. Do you know what the meaning of giving someone a green M&M is?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Few More C-isms for the Road

Wife and I put C on the plane Sunday afternoon to fly back to Pu-land. C was especially sweet and cuddly the final hour as we were waiting for her to board the plane. If you've read Pu's blog, you will know that quotations from Chairwoman C are always a source wonderment. Even with her short time here in ABQ, we were treated to a few.

C on her Future:

Wife - So C do you think you will ever have children?
C - It's possible. I'm a woman.

C on Trying Her Best

Wife has taken C to Walgreens to pick up something for her to do on the trip back and unfortunately goes by the candy isle.

C - Oh I love these
Wife - No
C - Wow, look at the color of these. They must be sooo good.
Wife - No
C - My Mom thinks these are the best. Can we have some?
Wife - No
(this goes on for just about every candy in the section)
Wife - (the last) No
C - (after a pause) Well at least I tried

C on Her Prowess as a Berry Picture

C - The berries are going to miss me when I leave.
Wife - Why
C- Because when I pick them I'm very gentle
C in Berry Lane Picking Very Gently

Saturday, August 25, 2007

C in de-I Land

Oldest granddaughter C, eldest offspring of second daughter Pulisha, the Honorable Bleached Sheep, is visiting the de-I menage this weekend. Doing her first fly by herself trip, she has had a busy time. Because of my woes getting back from Chicago I missed most of the first day but wife was busy with her picking berries from Berry Lane, baking, sewing and playing puzzles.

Mrs de-I and C Deep in Puzzle Contemplation

C Shows Off Fresh Raspberry Tarts Made by Wife and Her
They were yummmmmmy

C had insisted that she wanted to go hiking so I went out with her this morning. I was sure this was going to be a pretty short affair. Boy was I surprised. C was a real trooper. After an initial bit of uneasiness about Cacti, Yucca and other scratchy, prickly things, she just charged up the hill. We ended up going about a mile and half round trip with a very healthy climb. She was hardly breathing hard!

C Winding He Way Around Some Big Cacti

C Proudly Posing at the Top of the Hill Looking West Towards Albuquerque

Now the View Looking East Toward the Rest of the Sandias

After helping her Grandmother make cinnamon roles, we took C and a next door neighbor's daughter (who C sees each time she's here) to a local amusement area. The two kids had a ball with bumper cars, laser tag, bumper boats, Jungle Jim, and the arcade. It's amazing how much energy she has.

C with the Bumper Boats - They have Spray Guns in the Front
We finished up cooking dinner together making some shrimp scampi pasta with homemade chocolate milk shakes for dessert.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Where in The World is Carmen de-Intimdator - Part 2

In Albuquerque – Ha, No!

Still in Chicago – Ha, No!

Try Denver.

The rescheduled morning flight from Chicago to Albuquerque was canceled this morning as well. Fortunately, as I was reading the morning blogs in the Red Carpet Club (I love you man!) I was also tracking my flight status and picked it up early enough to take remedial action.

As it was early still in the morning, the line for assistance was very short. I found they had rebooked me on the 5:15 direct flight. NO WAY. No way I was going to stick around Chicago trying to get an afternoon flight when more bad weather was predicted. So I got on standby for a flight to Denver. Just get me out of this bad weather pattern. I had the good fortune to get a seat immediately and even a window in the exit row. The plane is filled with other refugees whose stories made mine pale.

Supposedly there is lots of space on the various Denver to Albuquerque flights. We shall see.

Post-Script – Yes got on flight to Albuquerque. In fact made an earlier flight and still had a good seat. Ha!

Where In The World Is Carmen de-Intimdator

Still in Chicago.

After storm one passed through, We were told that our flight was going to be an hour late. Things were looking all right as flights were pushing back and getting off the ground. I got on the Weather Channel site and saw another line of storms was headed towards Chicago and I'm saying to myself, this isn't going to be a hour this is going to be much longer.

Typically, when they she a flight late on the system at United you can count on it actually loading much later than what they say...except this time. I got to the gate and the plane is already loading. There is also big black clouds filling the sky. I got on the plane and after about 20 minutes the storm hits. Just about as bad as the first one. My seat made says, "I bet tornado's look at airplanes as gourmet dining after filling up on all those mobile homes." Hmmmmmm.

We sit on the plane for an hour and they tell us that the crew has timed out. That means that with the projected flight time they will have been in the air too long based on FAA rules. The announcement was, "We've timed out, this flight is cancelled, please get off the plane and get in line at customer service to get rebooked."

Of course there are a billion other flights (OK not a billion, 285 million, 315 thousand, and 20) canceled as well meaning scads of people doing the same thing (Jeepers Lakeview Coffee, this calls for Superman). If you've been through this drill, you know that you cover all your bases. So you get on the shortest line you can find or qualify for (the Red Carpet Club line in this case) and you get on the phone with the airline at the same time and whoever you get to first you use. I'm booked on a flight the next morning (now as I write this). I make use of United's automatic flight update messaging service, so I get a convenient message telling me my flight was canceled and the flight I was re-booked on...this morning.

Motherrocker and John the Armenian had called wondering if I had gotten out and offering their house if I hadn't. I gladly took them up. It is very nice to have a home like place to crash in this kind of situation. Thanks MR and JtA! I even got to see the Dukes again before she went to bed. And I finished up the evening on high note, sipping my private stash of cognac that I have at MR's and watching the Thursday night fights.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oops - Answers to the Quiz

Tierra del Fuego is on the tip of South America and is in both Argentina and Chile

The Silk Road went through Samarkand and Bukhara not Damascus or Baghdad

Reunion Island is in the Indian Ocean

High Points from This Week's Trip to Chicago


Another very positive trip. Ricardo has a real nose for networking and is taking a great attitude toward the company, giving me a lot of positive challenges. Now all I have to do is make sure that he make money (arrrrggggg another mouth to feed). Our latest wine tasting networking event was the best to date and we made great progress on the most important projects we've been working on with our two clients.

A very, very poor photo of the infamous Ricardo (he's really very dashing)


We had our last lunch of the trip at Cafe 28, a Cuban restaurant. I was first introduced to this restaurant years ago by my daughters Alexis in Amsterdam and MotherRocker who lived very close by. For some reason or other I have never gotten around to trying the famous Sandwich Cubano which has pork, ham, cheese and Dijon mustard on French Bread and pressed like a Paninni. Having tried it I can see why it was so popular.

My Sandwich Cubano
I only thought of taking the picture when I was a third done.

MotherRocker, having shaken me down for a bread book, she wanted really wanted me to come to the household since I was in Chicago. Figuring that a dinner without Ricardo would be a major boost to my health, I agreed. In all seriousness to have your children want you to visit them even when your there all the time is a blessing that I do not take for granted. We ordered take out sushi from the place on the corner. Granddaughter Miss Dukes decided that this was something that she wanted to try. Low and behold she tries the good stuff (hamachi and salmon) and likes it! Hope you get a good job or marry well Miss Dukes.

Miss Dukes Imitating a Shark and Circling MotherRocker's Salmon Sushi

A Successful Predator Enjoys the Fruits of Her Kill
Airport Excitement

A massive thunderstorm swept through Chicagoland while I was at the airport and they ordered everyone out of the terminal and down into the tunnel in between the B and C concourse. It was impressive to see this storm swoop in and impressive that they got everyone out of the terminal in 9 minutes. We were only down there for about 15 minutes when they let us back up. Not sure when I will finally get home tonight.

As Good a Picture as I Could Get of the Masses in the Tunnel

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Good Day in Chicago

I got to Chicago on the early morning flight tired but no worse for wear. You can sure tell the difference in the air traffic once school starts. Virtually no line going through security and the plane was only 2/3rds full. I had an empty seat next to me - always a pleasure.

We worked with one of our clients in the afternoon where we are getting close to completing a succession transaction after quite a bit of work in developing the buy out of one partner and the buy in of another. In the late afternoon/early evening, we had another wine networking event. Ricardo took the lead on the invitations and I think it was the most successful to date. Lakeview did some good work with a lender we're trying to place a loan with and Ricardo and I got a meeting with a new lawyer contact and some follow up meetings with others. We went to dinner with friend Tim and a new acquaintance Michelle. I was over tired by this point and ate very little and didn't drink much either. We did have a little geography and history quiz. See how you do.

  • Where is Tierra del Fuego?
  • Which two cities are not on the historical Silk Road: Damascus, Samarkand, Bukhara, Baghdad?
  • In what Ocean is Reunion Island?

No fair answering if you were at the dinner tonight.

Week Three of Eight

At ABQ airport on my way to Chicago for a quicky...not that...a quick trip to Chicago. I will be back Thursday night. Only seems like a half a week after the last two. Since this is a Chicago trip on can only hope that my liver comes out unscathed.

Answers to the previous post questions are:

  • The Red Carpet Club at Washington's Dulles International Airport
  • The Red Carpet Club at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mrs. de-I - Variable as the Weather

Mrs. de-I could never be accused as her husband is of being a person of over-slavishness to routine, consistency or repeating the same behavior. Below you will see two pictures from our recent trip to Connecticut. You will note the dramatic differences in attitude, activity and body language. In fact these pictures were taken in different places. If you can correctly identify the place (specific city and place) and day each was taken, you will be entered into the Dinner with de-I contest for September.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Week Two of Eight - Checking in from the O-I

The Wife and I got to O-I's without problem on Thursday night. O-I is just dealing with the loss of his great friend, companion and guide dog, Wonder Dog, who as I mentioned a week ago lost his battle with cancer. This is the third such loss my Dad has had (including my Mom and a good family friend) over a relatively short time. I think that he had decided that the battles using chemotherapy are more draining than just letting the disease take its course.

Any way, it is good to be here and be of some support and companionship. It is kind of amazing as we go around town to the various stores and restaurants that O-I frequents how many people have noted Uzef's much a personality he was.

O-I has decided to let nature take his course in terms of getting a new guide dog. He's going to go through the application process but is not going to do anything extraordinary to make it happen.

You can always tell when someone rates in the O-I hierarchy. Mrs. de-I was offered some super high end vodka, Belvedere, that I've been told was off limits. I did get one drink. It was goooood. We went to dinner tonight to a local Italian place, Nulli's that was great. Nothing fancy but some very fine cooking. I had a polenta with a tomato, sausage sauce that was killer, a great balance of meat and tomato without the tomato overpowering everything.

In all I think O-I is taking things as well as one could hope.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Week Two of Eight - Part Two

I get such fantastic feedback from my four readers when I write about how hard my traveling life is (oh feel sorry for me please because I don't have to work for the man and get to go to neat places...well maybe not Iowa...and see all kinds of people I like and build my own business but occasionally go long days and suffer the travel system woes...sob! sob!) that I almost feel obliged to make these entries.

I got back to ABQ from LA around 8:30 last night. Wife picked me up and I hustled to get unpacked, get all my electrical devices re-powered, send out emails from the LA trip (a very successful LA trip with 4 leads, and a talk to the Financial Planning Association of LA that was extremely well received and resulted in many contacts which I now have to find time to follow up with), grab a bite to eat and re-pack.

I re-packed because Wife and I are heading out this morning to visit O-I in Connecticut. Since we had to catch a 7:15 AM flight, that meant getting up early. Wife had set her alarm clock as well as I did which was good since I had my clock time set 12 hours off. But there were no problems.

Wife and I are currently in the Red Carpet Club at O'Hare waiting for our connecting flight. I will fill you all in with the Connecticut report later.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pork Belly Supreme

Motherrocker has written about her love of pork belly so when I say this recipe on Ruhlman for Chicken Fried Pork Belly Confit Caesar Salad, I knew she'd want to know. Also see his article/rant on the Chicken Caesar Salad.

Change One Appointment - Add 100 Miles

Yesterday was one of those busy days I typically schedule for myself when on the road in the name of productivity. (I'd bitch about my boss here except that as the owner that would only reinforce my monomaniacal multiple personality disorder). I can't even map this but if you're ambitious and go to Google Maps you can track this.

7 AM go from Pulisha in Redondo Beach CA to Carson for breakfast.
9 AM booby on up to Century City for two meetings including lunch
1:30 PM keep moving north and west to Woodland Hills for meeting. At this point things have been logical and in the ultimate direction of where I'm staying for the night in Thousand Oaks. But one of my clients changed a dinner meeting from Tue to Monday which now requires.
3:30 PM reverse directions and go meeting in Van Nuys
5:00 PM go south and east to Whittier for Dinner meeting
8:45 PM go back north and west to Thousand Oaks

Total for the day approximately 162 miles.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Week Two of Eight - Coast to Coast

This week we're (we use the Royal we in de-I-ia) in LA and Connecticut. I've flown out to LA today to spend time with the Pulisha clan before spending two and a half days in various business development pursuits including a talk to the Financial Planning Association of Los Angeles which is actually quite a bit of luck.

I have arrived at the Pulishas just after they sent back Tim de Buffalo's 2 children from his prior marriage after six weeks of managing 5 children under the age of 8 with one new born...and if that sounds like chaos to you, it is. Both the Venerable Pu and Tim were a bit like war refugees as the picture below can attest. I took them both out to eat where we had a reasonable meal with a nice Spanish wine, a Vina Salceda 2001 Rioja Reserva (back in the wine chose grove)

Pearls Of Wisdom from Venerable Pu and Tim de Buffalo

Pu the Emotional Sherpa - On why Tim was attracted to Pu in Japan - "There was lots of young eye candy but with my baggage I needed some one who could sustain it.

Pu, the Effect of LA on One's Body Image, and Wanting to be a 'Serious' Woman - "I want to be 'eye candy'...just nutritious."

My Take on The Pu de Buffalo's (G2) - C who is 8, J who is 2 and A who is 10 weeks

The Blond Terror
The Red Terror
TheTiny Terror

Security Cam Photo's of the Red Terror

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ode to a Hero - The Passing of WonderDog

I got news from my Father today that his seeing eye dog and great companion, Uzef was put down. He had come down with Lymphoma about two months ago. While they offered chemotherapy, Dad after experiencing the agonies of that process with my Mom and a close friend over the last three years had no stomach for the process.

I am not much of pet person or a dog person, but Uzef was in a class totally by himself. His personality was palpable, he was a great companion to my parents, and was the most unbelievable chick magnet and old guy like O-I could ever have had. He will be sorely missed.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

In the Spirit of A - I Rant, Therefore I Am

4:30 PM - Finish meeting at airport and go to security for 6:10 flight
4:35 PM - Just taking off my shoes and look up at flight status board - 6:10 flight is canceled
4:40 PM - In line at ticket counter. Get sent to another airline
4:50-5:15 PM - Wait in line, get to counter and get my new ticket but not a boarding pass for flight that will leave at 7:35 PM but because it is non-stop will not get me in much later.
5:25 PM - Go to security. I'm now a 'dangerous passenger' because of my paper records issued today and must be security screened.
5:50 PM - Get in line to get boarding pass for 7:35 flight
6:15 PM - Finally finish the two people ahead of me and give me my boarding pass
6:50 PM - After making some calls and working on my computer, check status of 7:35 flight. find it is scheduled to leave at 9:55 PM.
7:22 PM - Decide to make this post

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week One of Eight - Part One

I’m finishing up my leg in Chicago working with our new associate Ricardo and staying at the home of Ricardo and his lovely wife J. I started the trip with a lovely visit with the Motherrocker household. Everyone in Motherrocker land seemed mellow. Miss Dukes was very lovable and we had a chance to play around and we capped it off with a wonderful cook out with steaks and halibut from Whole Net Worth (I don’t think the moniker Whole Paychecks really captures how much you can spend at Whole Foods). Unfortunately, I bombed out on my selections of wines with two less than inspired bottles.

Monday was a day of networking calls with Ricardo. He did a great job in identifying people and he seems to clearly have the knack for this type of thing which is critical to our success. We met up with Lakeview Coffee for dinner at one of our favorite hangouts, Tuscany on Clark where I had another poor wine selection. “I’m in a slump!”

Tuesday was work with client day. We have are placing financing for two and have a buyout/buy-in going on with another. Ricardo’s wife J wanted to cook dinner and we had grilled scallops, grilled veggies and couscous. We bought some one and I proffered an Italian Verdiccio and and New Zealand Sauvgnon Blanc. The first was another dud and my wine confidence was ebbing fast. But the second was very good. I capped it off with bringing a very nice bottle of Madiera that everyone but J (even Lakeview) thought was great.

Did I mention that Ricardo likes to have a drink on occasion? You might want to reference Lakeview’s blog on this subject. I always thought that Lakeview was the instigator for these bacchanalian escapades. However, having spent two nights with Mr. Ricardo I’m beginning to see Lakeview as a victim. This morning as I was trying to restore my energy level with large doses of caffeine in Ricardo’s kitchen, he announced to me that we were going to need to tone things down in future trips. I would have made a sarcastic remark on calling the kettle black but I didn’t want to take the extra energy to lift my head off of the counter.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Why Posts in August May Be Infrequent and Short

Sun Aug 5 AM - To Chicago
Wed Aug 8 PM - Back to ABQ
Thu Aug 9 PM - To Walnut Creek, CA
Fri Aug 10 PM - Back to ABQ
Sun Aug 12 Noon - To LA
Wed Aug 15 PM - Back to ABQ
Thu Aug 16 AM - To Connecticut
Sun Aug 19 AM - Back to ABQ
Tue Aug 21 AM - To Chicago
Thu Aug 23 PM - Back to ABQ
Mon Aug 27 AM - To Sioux Center, Iowa
Wed Aug 29, PM - Back to ABQ

In the Zone - A Record Breaking Hike!

Fortify by the cruel ordeal that Gaius Derf put me through last week on the Lake Blanche Trail in Salt Lake City, I decided that I would give my old friend, the South Crest Trail a go today. I wrote about this in early June when I set my last record of 2 hours and 5 minutes.

I got going early. The mountain was shrouded in clouds. This can be a good thing because it keeps the temperature and the dehydration level down. On the other had when the mountain is cloud covered it can also be freakin' cold. Once I got started, I notice that I that I was feeling really good and maintaining a very good pace. So I decided to make this a go for time hike. The first section which is a steep climb I was totally on top of. The next section which is longer but less steep, I felt less sharp. But the last section which is also steep, I was totally focused and able to push. The result was 1 hour and 52 minutes for the 5.5 mile 2000 foot climb hike.

I lucked out with the clouds as they were burning off progressively just as I was reaching them as you can see below.

Normal View at the End (taken on June 2nd)

View Today as I Arrived

Looking at Albuquerque from just about Cloud Level

Usually my hike down is just an exercise in pain and avoiding killing myself as my legs are tired, but I was totally in the zone today so even going down was really good.