Friday, January 30, 2009

de-I Rent-a-Rant

As I said, working hard, traveling, tired...what's a blogger to do. Why not just put a link to some other blogger's interesting stuff!

Michael Ruhlman is a well known food writer and I love visiting his blog. He put this post up recently about people being stupidly germophobic. I am totally in tune with his philosophy and recommend that you give it a read.

Wife tells me that the stairs are finished and all the beams are down in the entrance way. I have a picture from just before I left but it wasn't fully done so I'm going to wait until I get home to get the updated pictures to post.

Let me go on record as saying I am soooo lucky to have Wife who is an incredible detail follow up and management person because we could never have tackled this remodel project and have it come out without her efforts.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Busy

For all those doing the gratitude lists, I am so, so grateful to be working like a maniac. We've got tons of stuff going on. I have three clients that we are doing varieties of conflict resolution between owners (always very draining emotionally). We have a full plate of companies that we are doing process improvement and long-term value building (these are the most enjoyable and rewarding). I have had more speaking engagements in the first two months of the year than I the whole second half of last year. Plus I have two acquisition deals I'm negotiating.

One of these is a deal where I'm representing the buyer and we thought it was dead and gone but has revived. It isn't that big, around $2.5 million, but I have a great free agreement that pays on the profits of the deal going forward five years. I'd love to get this one. The other deal is totally crazy. We're helping a guy who is trying to acquire a $350 million a year retailer, publicly owned, that is tanking. We could very well end up trying to buy it from its bank when it gets ready to close it down. This is really pretty far a field from what I do normally but I must say it is fun to play on this kind of playing field.

And as I'm in Chicago and on my way to Connecticut, I'm dead tired - but grateful :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reminded of My Lack of Fitting In

Wife and I took a quick jaunt to Las Vegas, NV last weekend for an Uncle's 80th birthday party. Las Vegas - great you say. Except I really dislike Las Vegas. I can't stand the constant audio and visual assault from all directions. The total number of people is a turn off. I don't play cards. I don't like to gamble. The food, unless you spend are real lot of money, is ok but not spectacular. Walking through the casino (always a requirement to get to your room) and passing all those at the slot machines reminds me of going through a chamber of zombies.

Fortuantely, I got to see my older brother and his family (the BCD girls). And my uncle who really appreciated everyone coming. And my sister - everyone was really glad to see how well she has come since the transplant. And tons of cousins who I haven't seen for a long time. So it was really a nice trip. I just wish it could have been somewhere else.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whoa - No Time

Work is just nuts - not a bad thing when you are self-employed. I have three owner conflict resolution negotiations going on at the same time. These are always draining emotionally. Plus I have this cool deal I'm working on helping a local business person who is taking a run at a tanking public company in California. All this leaves little time for much fun creative writing


They started putting the stucco on the house today!


I was challenged by Nonna (I think) after her post about messy pantries and my comment on obsessively neatness on my part to show pictures of our pantry. So here they are:

Actually it's interesting - they're neat below and sort of just thrown together on the top.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Channeling SRM

Full-time styling on a dime maven and part-time niece Styling with Renee Michelle must have take possession of Wife and I recently. One result of our remodel is going to be a mother of a big wall that will be opposite the entrance way and the stairs going upstairs. We were talking that this needed a real focal piece. But with all we are putting out for the addition, that doesn't leave a lot of moola for things like 'art'.

So I was telling Mrs. de-I that something woven like a tapestry, wall hanging, rug type thing would be great. She of course gives me the evil eye because all decorating aspects of our house are truly the purview of The Tasteful One - which isn't me. But then suddenly she stops and says,

"Do you remember that rug I got when I was a student in Mexico (remember just before the Spanish came in and wiped out the Aztecs)? "

"Well, vaguely dear."

"Let me see if I can find it."

So she does and this thing that has been following us around for literally 35 years will finally find its place and home.

We have also had wonderful results in the past taking relatively inexpensive items like posters and cards and getting good framing for them. The results have been far better and less expensive than trying to get lower priced art. So we then went out to our favorite framing store and ordered a poster for $55 that we will have framed (the framing will cost more than the poster by far) and will provide another focal piece.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The big day took place on Friday when they finally broke through between the new second floor addition and the downstairs. I think our lead guy was bored and had nothing else to do because he started before we had heat up their. Fortunately the plumbing/gas company soap opera got solved and they did get the upstairs furnace hooked up and on.

The view looking toward the front door.
This will be the large, grandiose entryway.
Those beams will be going away.

From the same location looking toward the landing on the 2nd floor

Looking back from the landing towards where I took the other two pictures

Friday, January 16, 2009

In Solidarity of Northern Breathren

Oh fellow Northern Blogger freezing in the sub-zero weather. You are not alone. You are not just abandoned to your ice, snow, darkness, frigidity. No we are all comrades in arms. We bleed for you like we bleed for all those who are suffering in the world

Look below at the weather forecast today in Albuquerque.

Look at that under freezing temperature. Look by Tuesday there are going to be clouds in the sky. Look at this picture below as we fight off the skin cancer from the over abundance of sunny weather.

You are not alone Northern bloggers! We are with you

Just not too too close to you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Day, Another Jury Panel

Maybe it's the ramping up after the holidays but I am being called in every day for another jury panel. After having been at the courthouse from 8:30 AM to 7 PM yesterday and not getting picked for the murder trial, I was back in court at 9 AM to be on a panel for a civil case involving a woman suing a teenage girl and her mother for damages associated with being rear ended by the girl in an auto accident.

I was in the top group being considered for the jury. In NM you can tell this because you are seated in the jury box during the vetting. However, unlike the murder case where I felt I could be completely impartial, I had real issues with this one. And the defense attorney in his questions brought these out. Since my work brings me in contact with all kinds of abuses of the civil legal systems, the attorney asked if anyone would be biased by this. Well I felt I was. In addition, I am well aware of the limits a parent has on the actions of their teenagers in the real world no matter how hard they try, so I had strong issues about that as well.

In the end I was not selected. I'm not sure if this was the best thing for my personal business life as I'm still on the hook for panel's through the end of the week. I have to call in again midday to see if I need to come in during the afternoon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This Program Delayed Because of Jury Duty

Yes I'm on jury duty. I have to call in every day - sometimes twice a day - to see if I have to go in. I'm in the second of two weeks. I was at the court house from 8:30 AM to 7 PM being vetted for a murder trial. Thank goodness I wasn't chosen because it would have gone 5 to 6 days and this has already screwed up my work schedule. I have to be back in at 9 AM because they have a perfect storm of trials and have just about all the jurors they called up for this two week session already used up. I think though it is a short civil case tomorrow.

On another subject, look at all the comments concerning hash! Who would have thought. I will get back to this once my time and life are returned to me by the Bernalillo County Court.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


What do you do when you have left over meat and potatoes? No you do not pretend this is the 60's or modern day Amsterdam. You chop the meat and potatoes fine and make a hash.

I don't know why I suddenly got this urge to do this with leftovers. I think it was a Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, that got me on the kick. A few weeks ago, I had a small bit of meat and potato left from a previous meal. I checked my trusty, Joy of Cooking, (one of the best overall cooking texts ever!) and under hash I found that it is simply chopped meat, potatoes and whatever, combined and then pan-fried.

So I've been experimenting whenever I have the basic components. I am still perfecting what I feel are the necessary additives and techniques to make a superior hash. My results to date have been good but I can see a lot of room for improvement.

I will report back when I get things more fully tested.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Remodel Update

After a two week break over the holidays, the contractor is back at work. Over the last week they put in the dry wall and have started to tape and mud. The heater and water heater are in (separate units for the new upstairs). Our lead man has been taking out the roof where we are going to breakthrough - a very laborious task. Once the gas is hooked up to the heater and we have heating in the space, they will break through. We hope this will be in a couple of weeks.

With the drywall in it is really taking on the character that it ultimately will.

This is the exercise room Wife's Craft Room

Looking into the Office as if you were coming up the Stairs

Looking in the opposite direction from the Office toward where the Stairs will be

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Frequent Flyer Touchdown!

I don't think many of the few people who visit my page do a lot of flying. But, flying for business has been part of my life for most of my career. So naturally I end up getting a lot of frequent flyer miles and in spite of traveling a lot for business both Wife and I really enjoy traveling for our vacations.

But it has become harder and harder to convert frequent flyer miles into meaningful trips - meaning going overseas and getting at least a Business Class seat.

I am proud to say that I have managed to score twice over the last few weeks. I've got Mrs de-I and I on to a trip to Amsterdam to visit daughter AinA and - catch this - finally scored on a trip in April to take her to New Zealand for her 60th birthday trip. I had to call over a period of three months to finally get that one and I ended up settling for Economy Class on the way back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Vendetta Against Bambi - The Truth Revealed

Actually the two deer related posts were total serendipity. However, I will bare all - I do indeed have no love of deer.

It goes back 20 years ago when we lived in Maryland and had a house that was near a large amount of greenspace. As is true of much of the Eastern US, the area had become overrun with deer because there were no natural predators to reduce there herd size (this is a very well documented phenomena). Since over-breed, they start spilling over into the built up areas looking for food. That meant (and means) devouring your and my garden.

Since there was so much foliage in the sub-division. They became very picky. They wouldn't just wipe out my tomato plants. Noooo, they would eat just the buds and the flowers. So it would always look like the plants were just ready to do something. Then you'd notice that yes there were flowers but they never turned into tomatoes. It took me years before I finally realized what was happening. And there was no practical fence in a suburban neighborhood that was sufficeint to keep them out.

I swore a horrible oath that hence forth I would become the nemisis of Bambi. Bambi would find its rightful place - as a source of protein in the human food chain.


Interested in Natural Child Birth?

Not exactly the kind of thing that de-I tends to write about. However, daughter blogger Motherrocker posted this story and commentary about a friend of hers who tried it. If the topic interests you, I strongly suggest reading it and giving your comments.

Road KIll Challenge Update!

Think I was just kidding about this contest huh!

Well Nonna of Nonna's nonsense left this comment a couple of days ago that she had just backed over a suicidal bunny. Evidently the bunny was going across the driveway and then backtracked so it dove under the wheels as she was backing up. Score 1 for Nonna.

And our heroine, Aimee the Huntress, notifies us that her killing machine, the SMD - Suzuki of Mass Destruction, is just about out of the shop ready to terrorize the wildlife of Northwestern PA.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hunter or Hunted?

This weekend I went for my weekly hike. I'm on winter schedule now - and I don't want any poo-pooing from all you folks up in the Mid-West about our 'winter'.

We don't get much snow in the City of Albuquerque but the Sandia Mountains do and the trails typically get very icy because of snow, melt and refreeze. So I move into winter training mode. Fortunately for me, I have spur of foothill right behind our neighborhood. It rarely is covered with snow for long and never gets the refreeze phenomena. In addition though not very high, it is very steep (my hiking buddies and I affectionately call it the "Trail of Death" because of some of the issues descending) so I get a very good work out.

For years, I've run into a group of four deer that seem to winter on the same height. Don't know if it is the same group but it is always four. On my hike this weekend, I was descending when I saw this deer just below me across an arroyo.

For some reason, I looked up hill a bit more and there I saw something that didn't look right. On closer inspection it was a bow hunter that was stalking the deer. They allow bow hunting in the national forest. It can be a bit of shock when you're hiking along, go around a corner and find yourself face to face with a guy in camoflage with a big ass bow and nasty looking arrow tips!

I made a quick decision that I didn't want to incur the wrath of any hunter and stood still. Another deer joined the first. We all pretty much stayed in our places for a good quarter hour. I'm wondering if I'm ever going to get down.

Finally the two deer started downhill and I figured I could move on. After descending for another 15 minutes I came across two other of the deer and they started to move uphill toward the hunter. I should have pinned my business card on one of them in case he was successful so I could claim my share of the meat for moving them in his direction.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Preparing New Year's/Birthday Feast

New Years Eve also happens to be the birthday of granddaughter C - or has Pulisha calls it the anniversary of the good tax deduction timing arrival. C has very grown up tastes and as she was turning 10 and was in fine motivated cooking style, Wife and I whipped up a special meal

Homemade Lobster Pasta
Chocolate Raspberry Cake

The lobster pasta consisted of a home made lobster sauce with home made pasta. As I showed the pasta making technique a couple of posts ago, I will focus on the lobster sauce.

Start by boiling a couple of nice size lobsters but only until half done (about 7-8 minutes)

These were about 2.5 pounds each

Next separate the meat from the claws and tails while chopping the shells and body into large pieces - you can see how little meat you end up with but it is very rich

Saute butter and salt pork
Add and saute the mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery)
Add the lobster shells
Brown slightly
Add some cognac and then flame to burn off alcohol
Add water, bay leaf, salt and pepper
Cook for 15 minutes at a fairly high heat
I put the resulting broth through two strainers
The resulting lobster stock
Finish by making a roux (flour cooked in butter) and adding the stock until you have a nice consistency.
The lobster meat is finished by cooking for about three minutes in butter
Add cooked pasta to the sauce
Plate pasta and put lobster on top
The Cake

Make a sponge by whipping egg whites and folding with other stuff (Wife has the recipe - I don't)

These are raspberries Wife froze from her garden this summer.
Mix with sugar and cook down to a nice thick consistency

Chopping Chocolate for a Ganache (fancy term for chocolate-cream topping)

Finished Ganache
Filling going onto the cake

Finishing the cake

Aftermath - C loved it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Enter the de-I Road Kill Challenge!

We've had an unexpected visit this weekend from loyal retainers Agent W and Gaius Derf from Salt Lake City who are in Albuquerque for a very hush, hush, secret mission. While here, Agent W regaled us with news from her daughter Aimee who lives in Northwest Pennsylvania.

Evidently during this winter season alone to date, Aimee has hit with her car

  • 1 squirrel
  • 1 turkey
  • 2 deer
Not only that, the second deer was only wounded. So the intrepid Aimee sought out one of her in-laws (father-in-law I believe) who assisted in dispatching the wounded animal. They then took said deer to be butchered and ended up with 70 pounds of dressed meat!

Based upon her prowess and by the powers invested in me as El Supremo de New Mexico, I hereby promote Aimee to the title of Aimee the Huntress. We expect a full tv series a la Zena the Warrior Princess to be forth coming.

Totally inspired by Aimee the Huntress' accomplishments, I throw out to everyone the de-I Road Kill Challenge. We will be keeping track of who over the winter of 2008-9 can achieve the most. Categories measured will include:

  • Total number dispatched
  • Variety dispatched
  • Total weight or that dispatched (you can estimate)
  • Anything else I might dream up.

Special points will be awarded for those who follow AtH's example and harvest the results - I hate being wasteful.

I expecting my fellow uber-bloggers from the great Northern Midwest Terri and Weaselmomma to be helping me spread the word. And no Lakeview and Weaselmomma ,the dispatch of fellow humans will not be included in the count.