Saturday, March 29, 2008

Blue Skys - New Mexico

Got home from Chicago yesterday and found myself with a relatively open weekend. I'm working hard to get into as good physical shape as I can in anticipation of the May operation so I'm pushing my hiking (which I love to do anyway). Both Wild Bill (still in Denver taking care of a son's wedding planning) and Tim de Buffalo (blisters from last week's hike) bailed on me today so I couldn't do the new challenge I wanted to (I avoid going off the beaten track when I'm by myself). So it was back to my old friend the South Crest Trail. My time was very good.

The conditions today were phenomenal. It was around 43 degrees and sunny when I started and was 62 when I got back. The sky was New Mexico perfect - not a cloud in the sky and the most crystal clear, blue that you're going to find anywhere. Hopefully these pictures do it justice.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kitchen - Part 3

Dear Mrs. de-I has been through an ordeal with the kitchen counter top people, who could not get their act together and get things right. They had to go back (meaning take the counter tops off and bring them back to the shop) four times before they were finally right. What should have taken a day and a half, took more than week.

But they are finally in and now the tile people are in the process of putting in the back splash. Still no plumbing to the sink yet.

Motherrocker Says I Need to Post!

I've had a couple of very busy days in Chicago. In fact I'm at O'Hare International Delayport....I mean Airport now waiting to catch a flight home to ABQ. Having just gotten off the phone with Motherrocker who admonished me to POST, I am following instructions. So here's a quick update with details this weekend.

Business - Great trip to Chicago. Finished an initial engagement with a sizable client and are going on to implementation. We have a solid lead on another.

The Kitchen - You would not believe how bad the counter top people have been. Sadly this was a former client (who sold their business but is still working there) so I've had plenty of egg on my face and venting from Wife. But I believe it is now in and acceptable.

Hiking - Hopefully Wild Bill and I are doing a biggie this weekend if he gets back from Denver on time.

Vacation - Only about 10 days until we go on vacation to Prague and Budapest catching a boat in Budapest and going up the Danube River.

Kidney Donation - Just marking time - only 6.5 weeks away.

Eating and Drinking - Ricardo, partner and friend, had a bottle of an 18 year old bourbon that was phenomenal!

Top Chef - Yay Stephanie! Our favorite has another good outing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Love You Flying, Oh Yes I Do-oo

11:15 AM - Notification from airline that my 1:12 PM flight is delayed to 2:12 (all notifications are sent to me in 3 forms simultaneously - an automated phone call, a text message, and an email)

12:15 PM - Notification that the flight is now leaving at 1:45 PM

12:20 PM - Notification that flight is now leaving at 1:40 PM

12:55 PM - Notification that flight is now leaving on time - get on board!

Dash to gate area

Gate agent says we are boarding in 10 minutes

1:10 PM - Gate agent says we are not departing for another hour which will make it the 2:12 time I was originally notified.

It is 1:53 PM and they say we should board in 5 minutes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Adventures

Warning - Unabashedly Foodie Entry!

A side benefit of the arrival of the Pulisha Clan in de-I-dia, has been the opportunity to refine the family's favorite art form - Miscommunication. You have to really practice to get the level of misunderstanding that we have made effortless.

The planning of this Sunday's repast was just a small sample.
(Following dialog takes place over a number of days)

de-I to Pu and Tim de Buffalo - "The wine I ordered is in. Why don't we get together for a tasting with some cheese, pate, and appetizers?"

Pu to Mrs. de-I - "That Sunday is Easter Sunday. Maybe we should do a traditional Easter dinner like Tim is used to?"

de-I to all - "Easter dinner is great. Let's go with that"

At the Pu house on Saturday, Tim to de-I - "I thought we were having appetizers? I was looking forward to appetizers." (gnashing of teeth, recriminations and bitching by de-I and Pu deleted)

At the Pu house on Sunday, Pu to de-I - "I thought we were doing the Easter dinner?"

de-I to Pu - " I thought we were doing impromptu appetizers?"

Tim to de-I and Pu - "Just cook already, I'm hungry!"

So impromptu cooking it was:

Pu at work browning bread slices

Tim de Buffalo - Lookin' California cool even when cleaning the high chair

Baby A LOVES his Grandma

A Tim Favorite - de-I's Red Deviled Eggs
I don't have the heart to tell him I never remember what I did from one time to the next so they're always different

Corn Salad
Fresh corn frozen from last summer with lime juice, olive oil, NM red chile, cumin & Mexican oregano

Tim de Buffalo's Traditional Dressing

Pu's Open Faced Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
Whole wheat bread browned in butter with thin slices of ham and fontina cheese

Tomato, Avocado, & Radish Salad
Dressed in olive oil & rice wine vinegar

Da Ham

A Much Better Tasting Than It Looks Potato and Ham Dish in Indian Flavorings

We tasted four different wines, played with the kids, and had a great time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sneak Preview of MR Enhanced - Fashionalbe Mrs. de-I

As requested by the hoards of fans (I think two comments count as a hoard...a small hoard, but a hoard nonetheless) I have gotten the always camera shy Mrs. de-I (ironic isn't for such photographer) to agree to some pictures of her new/Motherrocker inspired wardrobe. Please remember who the photographer was and the conditions and equipment I use (go PDA)

Ready to Rip Your Heart Out
I took this shot of Wife as she picked me up from the airport to go out for a dinner date

Dining with the Captain?
For that formal dinner on the boat on the Danube.
The shawl is a Peshmina that I bought her years ago

A Glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the Picnic?
MR picked out this top and dress which I think will be great for informal outings in the warmer weather
I hope to make another post on the subject of the kitchen later tonight. Lot's of problems but it is going to be great when done.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Boo Hoo - No Top Chef Tonite

One of the frustrating things about traveling so much is that you can never get into any kind of pattern. For example it is virtually impossible to really follow any TV series. I'm either at someone's house and subject to there preferences or I'm in a hotel and subject to whether they have the channel or not or I'm subject to my schedule which may mean various dinners, flights and other late night encumbrances. So I find that the hotel I'm in tonight doesn't carry Bravo so I won't get to see the next Top Chef and based on my schedule will probably be missing many more of them. And yes if I had Tivo or something like it I could record them but that would be a moot point since when I'm home I don't really have time to watch all that much anyway.

Word from Wife is that the counter top people screwed up and miss measured and she's fighting with them over the corrections (they clearly were the ones who made the error). This is very frustrating since I elected to go with a former client out of loyalty to them and my contractor (rightfully) is saying "you chose them, you deal with them". Needless to say Wife is none to happy.

However, when they get done it will be attractive. Here are some pictures that she sent me prior to them being taken out for the corrections.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kitchen - Part 2

Only a small piece of the counter was done before I had to leave for the airport and head on to Southern CA. Hopefully Wife will send me some additional pictures tomorrow since I don't get back until Friday.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Work Begins

Work began on our home remodel today with the kitchen counter project. Unfortunately because of my travel I won't be able to do the complete day-by-day update (unless I can get Mrs. de-I to email me some pictures!)

Here are the before shots

Step One after Day One
Removal of the old tops and cutting down the center island

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Motherrocker - Fashion Consultant

Many of your follow fellow blog-a-tor and daughter, Motherrocker and know about her forays into redefining here style. Mrs. de-I has been unhappy with her style for many years and asked for MR to assist. MR came up with the idea of arranging to have a private shopper at Macy's in downtown Chicago.

So Wife flew into Chicago on Thursday, spent a day with granddaughter, Miss Dukes on Friday and then went a-shoppin' with MR on Saturday. Since I was in Chi-town for work, I stuck around and accompanied them for fun.

Our personal shopper was a gentleman named Angelo. He started out a bit on the cold side as it didn't seem we had given him the best of information. However, with MR fully in partnership and providing guidance, many clothes were identified and purchased. Angelo picked up substantially in spirit as he realized we were really going to spend money. Turns out he works on commission.

Many thanks to MR for helping her Mom!

I had to hide among the clothes in order to sneak these shots of super shopping action!

From Earlier in the Week
Shots from the Weird Des Moines Hotel

This is the Color of the Motel Bathroom

Thursday, March 13, 2008

These Guys are Chefs?

I mentioned yesterday that Lakeview Coffee and I caught the first round of Top Chef. It was amazing - not in terms of what food the contestants made but in terms of the basic knowledge of cooking that they lacked.

The elimination competition featured the contestants being paired off against one another with each pair having to make their interpretation of a classic dish such as crab cakes, souffle, chicken picatta, steak au poivre, shrimp scampi, etc. To say the least, the results were in many cases appalling. Examples:

  • Neither of the two people who ended up with souffle succeeded in getting anything close to the appropriate rise and were terrified of making it.

  • One of the chefs who did crab cakes (a real whiner), didn't buy mayonnaise thinking the pantry would have it. Then being forced to make it himself didn't know how to make a mayonnaise. This is suppose to be a top notch chef and he doesn't even know how to assemble one of the most basic sauces in the cooking repertoire? Hell I know how to make a mayonnaise.

  • Another in discussing his failures with the chicken picatta could only talk about the amount of pasta in the dish and missed entirely the issue of the breading and acid in the dish.
It seemed that the judges were equally appalled by this lack of rudimentary knowledge. Pretty sad.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Real Guys....

...Tailgate in single digit weather. Get together with the guys at the bar. Pump iron. Watch Top Chef?????

At least that's what resident Chicago 'real guy' Lakeview Coffee and I did tonight. My meetings in Des Moines ended early enough for me to catch an earlier flight. I got one of the last two standby seats on the Canadair Regional flying sardine can and was given the very last seat in the back. But as luck would have it they have first class on this little plane and with one empty seat there, gave it to me. Who'd a thunk I was the most senior United flyer on that plane?

So we went to a local Italian place for dinner which I hope Lakeview writes about because he took pictures and then sat down to watch Top Chef because a local Chicago chef whose restaurant we'd gotten love and who we met often at the restaurant (Stephanie Izard) is in the competition. Well our girl Stephanie bombed out of the first Quick Fire Challenge which is not an elimination round and came back to win the first round. Go Stephanie.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

11:30 PM - Des Moines, IA

It so depressing trying to write about travel when your post is going to be about Des Moines while your offspring post about nearly dying from street food in China. I'm giving a talk tomorrow (thank goodness not until 10 AM) here and I thought I was going to miss my connection in Denver but lucky for me the Denver to Des Moines flight was late too. Being wily in the ways of air travel, I figured I better pack my own dinner so I enjoyed a ham and cheese on rye with fresh veggies and some orange (sorry BCD girls, not very gourmet).

I rolled into my hotel around 11 PM Central time. The hotel named the Wildwood Lodge has this outdoors theme - all sorts of fishing and hunting references. There's even canoe paddles hanging in my room! But blessing of blessings, they have drinks available to anyone at any hour. The reception person goes into a locked closet and pours you whatever your like regardless of how late you come in. Mmmmmm, a double Absolut Vodka to end the day.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pictures from the Weekend

With a little assistance from Lakeview Coffee, I got my pictures from the weekend uploaded.

The View West from the Top of the Trail of Death

Your suppose to be able to see Mt. Taylor 60 miles to the west. (try double clicking on the picture)
If this looks a lot like other pictures I've posted it's because I pretty much hike the west slope of the mountain

My Partner in Crime Wild Bill
Now immortalized in the blogosphere

The Red Menace Icing Cookies

For the benefit of those who subsequently ate the cookies, I skipped the shot of her taking a lick of each cookie after she iced it

Mr-de-I with her Pupil

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mountain Season Getting Into High Gear

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, the snow and ice are melting from the trails - It's time to get out hiking and look for new personal challenges - It's hiking season!

With the return of Wild Bill and the impending dissection, I need to get in some exciting hikes before I'm put on injured reserve. We have a neat 9 mile round trip on a trail that I've gone part way on but never all the way. We did our training run on Saturday which covers about 2/3rds of the most significant climb. Because of mutual travel engagements we won't get to tackle this for three weeks.

I actually have pictures to show of this hike and Mrs. de-I in full grandmother - cookie making mode, however for some reason Blogger doesn't want to upload pictures today. So those will have to come later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

In So Cal but North

I'm back in So Cal but this time toward the northern end of the LA metro area in a town called Santa Clarita. This is a quicky as I flew in this evening, had dinner with my client. We will visit a company they are thinking about acquiring tomorrow and Friday AM then it will be back on the airplane and home by the end of the day on Friday. Just another week at work.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

So Cal - The Real Story

I got a lot of flack from the folks trapped in the snow belt (hey, I didn't make you live there!) about my good life. So in the spirit of self-defense, I thought you'd like to know the full agenda of that trip.

Sun - Leave ABQ for a 6:45 PM flight and arrive Ontario CA a little after 11 PM CA time (an hour later than ABQ) in my hotel a sleeping by Midnight.

Mon - First meeting is not until 10 AM, followed by meetings at noon and 2 PM - a light day. I get to take a long walk to try and keep in shape.

Tue - We have a networking meeting that starts at 7 :30 AM - that means on the road by 6:30 AM. We have three more meetings through the day followed by a dinner meeting that starts at 6 :30 PM. I'm back in the hotel by 9 PM.

Wed - I have breakfast meeting that is scheduled for 7:30 AM in a local 70 miles west of Ontario. With LA area traffic this means I need to be on the road by 5:30 AM. This is followed by three other meetings in the LA area at 9:30, 11:30 and 2 PM respectively (Mapquest the route from Agoura Hills, to Woodland Hills to Santa Monica to West LA and you will see where I went). Then it's on to Downtown LA where I'm meeting a lawyer for drinks. We finish up around 8 PM and I still need to eat dinner. I get to bed around 11 PM.

Thu - I have 6:30 AM breakfast meeting. Fortunately it's not that far from the downtown so I don't have to leave the hotel until 6:10 not taking into account checking out and waiting for the valet parking. After that it's drive back down to Ontario, drop off rental car and get picked up by partner and drive to Fullerton for another meeting. We get back to Ontario around 4 PM for another meeting. I crashed pretty early because the prior two nights have been minimal sleep.

Fri - We have work with a client that starts at 8 AM so we need to leave at 7:15 , a late morning. We work through lunch and I get dropped off at the airport at 2 PM. The flight home is a bitch because there is a group of four obnoxious passengers who are loud from the moment they get on to the moment they get off and I've lost my noise reducing headphones.

So if you'd like to join me for one of these typical trips to sunny CA, just let me know.

Return of Wild Bill

Great news on the hiking front - long-time hiking companion, Wild Bill, who was sidelined all last year recovering from a torn Achilles Tendon, is back. He has been working hard to get back in the good graces of management here at Hiking Team de-I. So we gave him a test on the infamous Three Gun Springs Trail (I've written about this in the past because it climbs a thousand feet in one mile...that's steep). Bill passed with flying colors. This is the equivalent of either the Bills or the Bears actually having a quarterback! It's that exciting.

After a year of limited hikes, it's time to go back to attacking the significant climbs. With only a little time until the dissection, I need to get as much accomplished as I can and get myself in the best shape I can. Having someone working with you does wonders. I was almost skipping down the mountain (almost), I was so excited. Hopefully this will lead to some interesting new places with some nice new photo ops.

In the meantime we had a nice weekend. In spite of my posted photos I actually did a helluva a lot of work in So Cal and we delivered a lot of proposals which is great. I told Mrs. de-I we needed to go out for a date so when she picked me up on Friday at the airport we went out to dinner at a little place in Old Town called Restaurant Antiquity. It's been around for a long time, is noted for serving relatively classic dishes in a very quiet, romantic space - the ideal thing for a date. Prices aren't bad, I had a nice rack of Colorado lamb in a Catalonian sauce that was made with roasted tomatoes and roasted red pepper. I was skeptical about the sauce but it worked very well with the lamb. Wife had Tenderloin Henri IV, a classic rendition with a bacon wrapped tenderloin on artichoke leaves topped with an artichoke heart with a Bearnaise sauce. We had a nice Sonoma Pinot Noir with it. Scheduling a date for right off the plane may not seem like the best idea and for the first part I was a bit of crab. But half-way through the wine, we were very mellow and it ended up being a lovely evening.