Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Tortoise Ever!

Much to our surprise last evening we found this tortoise meandering across our garden.

In other news, we ate our first peach...Holy Moly....Good.

Suggest you plan your flights for the peach festival (I suspect the entire tree will ripen on exactly the same day) for 10 days from now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Produce Producing

We've had a very different year in terms of weather much like the rest of the country. Our May and June which normally are our hottest driest months were cool and wet. July which is usually cooler and wetter has been hot but still wet.

As a result Wife's garden is growing in a very different manner than in years past. The foliage of the plants is very skimpy but they are putting out a lot of fruit. We've already been using quite a bit which is not normal.

Our Peach Tree Peaching

We've got flotillas of peaches and they are going to all ripen at once.

New Mexico Green Chile
I've done a couple of meals with chiles already and usually they don't come in until late in August

Tomatoes as well - another one that usually is much later

Blackberries blackening

The golden raspberry bushes are going nuts

With plenty of fruit

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Pleasure and The Agony

I was hiking by my lonesome on Saturday so I went to a trail that is not favored by hiking partner Derf, The South Crest Trail. I've written about his a couple of times with pictures including my best time ever on it which I did a couple of years ago.

Hiking this year has been more of a leisurely affair this year. But since I was by myself, I decided that I would give myself a push to see what I could do. That means no pictures but you can go to the links above for those.

The trail is roughly 5.5 miles, 11 round trip, with a 2000 foot altitude gain. Somehow once again in my mind I forgot that and thought it was a bit shorter.

I break this hike into three sections of roughly equal lengths; an initial steep climb, a more gradual section, followed by another steep climb. My first interim time was right in the range I hoped for. It was very warm, in the 70's already when I started just after 7:30 AM.

Typically the second section is a break because of the smooth trail. However, because of the heavy downpours we've been getting the trail on all sections was substantially more difficult with lots and lots of rocks to be stepped on and navigated. Nonetheless, I was doing a very good pace at the second check point.

Going up the third section really hurt but I was in full competitive mode. I made it in 1 hour and 56 minutes! Only 4 minutes slower than my best time ever!

At the end of this hike is my all time favorite post climb resting place. I stayed for 15 minutes resting, drinking, eating a sandwich. I was almost dozing when this killer hummingbird comes within a foot of my nose scaring the hell out of me.

The way down was hell. All those rocks meant that you had to pay attention to every step. You couldn't make any time. Plus the heat was now up to the upper 80's with sun ablazing. I was wiped out at the end. Took me 24 hours to really recuperate.

Can't wait to see if I can break my record.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Palooza II

Two subjects today.

Podolny Palooza Report

In 1993, I was the unemployed ex-owner of a failed investment banking firm

In 1994, I started as a single person consultant having moved from Maryland to New Mexico

In 1998, I recognized I had a unique methodology for dealing with my clients

In 2000, I decided I needed to really push myself and this business and find out what it could do

In 2003, I suddenly found myself experimenting with expansion in Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles

In 2007, I recognized the need to try and create a real organization

In 2009, we met for the second time as a group (7 of us representing New Mexico, Southern California, and Chicago) in what we affectionately call Podolny Palooza to discuss where we were going.

For the first time I was able to make a breakthroughs critical to our becoming a 'real' business. I'd established collaboration tools, a repository for standard documents, and wrote out detailed process descriptions for our critical consulting methodology.

We met for a day and a half. On Wed morning, we did introductions. The various geographic personnel don't know each other that well. Then I conducted the first real class we had on our base consulting methodology. This was all work. I had both breakfast and lunch brought in as we were working in he conference room of my attorney.

In the afternoon we held discussions about the various sub-sets of actual consulting we implement.

On Thursday, we got down to serious discussions of the future and the need to evolve from a single entrepreneur based model to one of multiple committed owners - a big change but one that can take us to new level.

We had lots of follow on work that will need to be done to make this happen.

Pretty cool.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Palooza Over

Worked from 8 AM through 5, two hour break then a working dinner on Wed.

Worked from 8 AM through Noon and then a goodbye lunch today.

Had a pile of work to work on until just now (7 PM)

I'm beat.

Detail on the Palooza tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


For the accurate reporting on our serious activities, go here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mucho Going On

Got back from Chicago on Friday Noon - had three meetings that afternoon.

I'm getting ready for my 6 partners to come to ABQ for a day and a half of meetings. This should be pretty interesting. I've gone from being a solo practitioner in 2000 to starting experimenting with having associates work under my umbrella and creating a brand in 2003, to our first every 'group' meeting in 2007 where we were figuring what the heck we might be and who might be willing to be involved, through a year and a half of uncertainty punctuated by a variety of personal issues on the part of myself and others to a sudden focusing of efforts to be culminated by our meetings this week.

In preparation for this I have been writing pages and pages of process definition and instruction. This sounds so easy when you tell someone else to do it. My partners have been after me for years to do this. I finally made a psychological breakthrough a month or so ago with a culmination of me writing pages and pages of this stuff this weekend.

On top of all this I got news on Friday morning that my blind father's house in Connecticut was hit by lightening and suffered a severe fire. Naturally there was all kinds of commotion about was he OK and what was he going to do. My Dad is an incredibly tough, organized and talented person and has told us all to chill out until he has taken stock of where things are and what he wants to do.

I did hike on Saturday. No pictures. Only excitement was that I underestimated the hike by about a mile and a half (8 miles instead of 6.5). Oops, that never happens with me :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Erie Cafe

Being the gourmand that I am I just love my business trips to Chicago. Not only do I get to see members of my family (daughter Motherrocker, son-in-law Armenian Deal Hound, and granddaughter Ms. Dukes), not only do I get to spend time with my partners and friends Lakeview Coffee Joe and Ricardo, but I get to sample from the incredible variety of quality eating experiences that make up Chicago. I love living in Albuquerque and wouldn't move but from an eating perspective it is strictly minor league.

Joe and Ricardo took me for dinner to a place called the Erie Cafe located downtown oddly enough on Erie Street (go figure).

My partners (as usual) browbeat me until I agreed to order a cocktail with them

Hey! Who put that picture of adorable granddaughter Ms. D riding her bike into a bush here?

LCJ has written twice about the food and service at Erie and I totally concur. He particularly expounded on the grilled calamarie appetizer with a sherry (I think) reduction sauce. Bread sopping up good!
Going to a classic steak house such as Erie Cafe is never going to be cheap. You expect great ingredients, well prepared and great service. Got all those. I was a little disappointed with the wine list. It was limited in selection and very pricey even for the steakhouse genre. However, there were a couple of relatively inexpensive wines. The first we tried, this malbec from Argentina, was very nice.
I had my salad with blue cheese dressing - very good.

It's hard to see but this is a classic dish called Chicken Vesuvio. It's hard to find a lot of times these days. The chicken and potatoes are roasted together. Very yummy.
Joe had shrimp de Jonghe. Excellent. A lot of time jumbo shrimp are tough, chewy and not flavorful. These had great flavor.
Ricardo was in the mood for restraint so he order the lamb chops. Ok in reality he ate two, gave me one, and took two home. They were the best of our dishes in my opinion.
We ended up ordering a second bottle of wine (and all you smarty pants out there we brought about 2/3rds of it home so no Joe is not a lush). Santa Cristina is a widely distributed, popularly priced Tuscan wine and the price on the menu was where it should be for a reasonable but not exhorbitant mark-up.
It was a very enjoyable meal. The typical steak and fish entrees are definitely not cheap. However, my chicken was about 40% less than the steaks and other chops as were the other chicken entrees. There was also a wide variety of pastas which were even less. If the pastas are as good as my chicken, one could definitely go here and enjoy the service and not break the bank.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Surviving Business Air Travel

This post is dedicated to my daughter Pulisha who for about the fourth time in a row was raked over the coals in the course of business travel as she documented in this post.

I've been traveling for business for over 3 decades. Some periods less, some scads. If you travel a lot you are going to run into problems...sooner or later. I've developed a list of rules that have held me in good stead and which I cleave unto without alteration.

Rule One - Never Check Your Bags

As in never, never, never, never. I mean never. And if I wasn't clear never. If you are flying for business (I don't mean a long international trip when you may not have a choice) in the U.S. you are rarely flying more than 3 to 5 days. Figure out how to get it all in the carry-on. With creativity, using wash and wear cloths, etc. It is doable. This eliminates one of the biggest problems of screwed up travel; the loss of bags. If you are on business you need your cloths. End of story. If you carry out it may be a pain but you always have your stuff. Plus if you get caught in flight cancellations it is much harder to get rebooked when you have baggage checked on a flight

Rule Two - Don't be Cheap, Concentrate Your Flying So You Get Frequent Flyer Status

This has nothing to do with gaining free flights. It has everything to do with preferential treatment. When flights start getting canceled and there are limited seats available, all airlines have a pecking order of they give those to and at the top of lists are their very frequent fliers. I can't tell you the number of times I've been at some airport disaster when the lines are beyond belief and passenger after passenger is being told that it will be days before they get rebooked and I find that I am already booked on a flight that leaves the next morning. Or my only option for getting the hell out of Dodge is a standby, there are 20 people ahead of me for 4 seats and I get one because my status puts me to the top of the list. You may pay more in your travel budget overall but how much to you value not getting stranded somewhere? Plus there are other benefits like preferential seating, boarding first (important if you are carrying on bags all the time), and upgrades which make business travel more bearable.

Rule Three - Study Your Airline's Patterns

One things start falling apart like when terrible weather hits and there is a cascade effect of cancellations, if you know which airlines fly where and when, you can often figure out your own route to freedom. I've done this when I've been cancelled in Chicago and because I know of a direct flight from Washington Dulles to Albuquerque, I've had them rebook me there even though it seems out of the way. Another time I was in LA where there are four different airports when I was notified that a flight I was taking was canceled. Knowing there were alternatives from the other airports, I was able to rebook from one of those.

Rule Four - Have All the Airline Numbers in Your Cell Phone

If you need to rebook because of any reason, don't just sit there in line. Make phone calls. Typically, I will be on the phone and in line at the same time (since in bad situation there may be a long wait on the phone). I book through whichever one I get through first.

Rule Five - Take Advantage of Airlines' Automated Messaging Services

I always sign up for these. I like getting them as text messages best. These inform you if a flight is running late or getting canceled. The earlier you get this information the more time you have to plot alternative strategies. We used this right after my kidney donation surgery. We were saying good by to my sister, taking our time, when I got a text about our flight from CT to DC being late. Looking at the rescheduled time, it was clear we would miss our connection. We got this with a number of hours to spare. We hightailed it to the airport where we were one of the few people to be able rebook to a Chicago flight that got us home ok.

Rule Six - Study the Weather and Escape Hubs that get Socked In

When a hub like Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta, etc. goes through a major weather meltdown, get somewhere else. This happened to me last year in Chicago. I was on an evening flight back home. Huge thunderstorms and tornado warnings came through screwing things up. They were going to schedule me the next day on the same flight. I had been watching the weather and knew that this pattern was suppose to hold for days. I arranged to go to Denver early the next morning. Even though they couldn't guarantee me a seat until late that day from Denver to ABQ, I was able (using my status) to snatch up the earliest connection on standby.

Rule Seven - Avoid Flying Late in the Day if You Can

Things always get worse and get more backed up as the day goes on. Plus there are fewer alternatives for you to take if things get screwed up. And in the summer, thunderstorm activity, a major headache for air travel, is always worse as the day heats up.

Rule Eight - Carry Emergency Rations

Always have some nuts, bars, something that you can eat if you get trapped on a plane waiting to either take off or get back to a gate.

Hope this is helpful Pu. If you're going to be a road warrior, be armed like one :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another Week- Another Attempt to Lose a Hiking Partner

For this weeks adventure in the Sandia's, de-I's Sandia Outfitters ( Our Motto: You Have Nothing to Lose but Yourself) called for a hike that we do very rarely because it requires starting from one locale and arriving at another. So you have to drop off a vehicle at the destination and then drive to the departure.

Gaius Derf had set a block on his phone to prevent me from inducing him to do any more of my hiking adventures. Fortunately for me, I had an underground IT guy hack into his computer and create a false reservation for him from a reputable outfitter. When he got to our departure point and found out the truth, it was too late
Gaius Derf
"How the hell did he get into my computer?"
This hike has us starting on the west side of the mountain going up the Embudito trail. The total hike will be 8 miles. We will start at 6200 feet and go up to 8200 feet at our hightest point.

We start by heading due east to begin with up the side of the valley towards that peak to the left. The first two miles has a lot of steep spots and is pretty exposed to the sun. We climb about half the altitude gain over this section. It is very warm now so it was over 7o degrees when we got going at 7:30 AM

Once we get first climb over, we can see our next stop. We're going to descend down into the valley and then climb the peak just ahead and end up at the pass just to the right of it, Oso Pass.
Descending into this valley and the climb beyond are one of the really neat and beautiful parts of the Sandias. Not many people hike it because it is in the middle of the trail system and not easily accessible. Of course whenever you have a lack of people there are other things to make up for it.
"Uh de-I. What's that large brown bear like thing behind you?"


The next two miles are some of the lushest sections of this National Wilderness. My picture below hardly does it justice. Derf says it reminds him of the eastern part of the Cascade Range in Oregon. It's hard to believe that just a mile to the west we were hiking in desert!

Never can resist the picture of a cool rock
Just before we break through the forest and get to Oso Pass there is this fabulous panorama of Sandia Peak. Unfortunately I had my phone camera set for too high an exposure given the incredibly bright sun we had today.
When we get to Oso Pass we are halfway so we have a 4 mile descent. This picture is just after we started down and we are now going due south. Just over that rise into the valley is our destination.

You can see just how dry things are now and this is just a half a mile from where we had lush forest.

Accidental picture of my shadow while I was putting the phone away :(
As we head south, we pass areas where we often hike

The Embudo Valley

A shot of the City of Albuquerque looking toward downtown
We are now 6 miles into the hike with 2 miles to go. We're on the Three Gun Spring Trail which I've written about before. We've gone through some mild descents and re-climbs but have only really given up about 700 feet of altitude so we have a steep descent ahead of us. This is also a section where there is no cover at all and is real desert. The temperature was pushing 90. I brought have juice and half water with me today. The electrolytes in the juice made a big difference.
At our destination

"Come on Derf. It's only heat stroke. Don't be a wimp and get in the car."

Friday, July 10, 2009

No Cooking

At least for awhile. Because on Wednesday night we had a

Kitchen Catastrophe!

I was working with one of my largest and heaviest pots which slipped out of my hands and into our nice new (just over a year old) high tech Silgranite sink with the following result.

I was stunned, shocked, totally upset. And as it turns out we are going to have to deal with the manufacturer and they don't seem to be in any state to resolve this quickly. I suspect it will be a number of weeks before the kitchen is truly operational again.

But before you shed to many tears for me Argentina remember this. This is a problem of abundance. I know three people right now who are dealing with serious illness - two with cancer and one with an unknown abdominal bleeding problem. Those are real problems. If this is all we have to deal with, I'm a lucky guy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gahd de-I, Is There No End to These Florida Posts...No

At least not yet. Things were packed in the St. Pete area for the weekend of the 4th.

The Goths were pooped and Tim di Bufallo had to fly to Austin and back on Sunday to pick up his two kids from his previous marriage (that's and flight and back in one day - yuck) for their 6 week summer stay.

On the way back over the causeway I got a Gulf of Mexico sunset shot.

When we got back to our hotel, it was bedlam. Cars were everywhere. There was not a single parking space in the hotel parking lot. Turns out there were fireworks right in downtown St. Pete just about where we were. Finally I dropped Wife off and cruised the streets until I found what I thought was a good space. Wife was still at the entrance of the hotel and we watched the fireworks.

Turned out the parking place wasn't such a good idea. The car got towed. Had to schlep out to get it bailed out. Of course I had wait outside since the place was locked up and on Sunday some kind of on-call person had to drive out un-impound me. Well I didn't like the looks of the neighborhood, was getting bit by bugs, noticed that there was quite a gap between the gate and the fence, and that I could see exactly where my car was. So I squeezed through, opened up the car and sat down much more comfortably.

When Mister on-call guy arrives he looks around puzzled outside the gate. I get out of my car call and wave. Boy is he pissed. I guess its not in the rules for me to do anything to decrease my discomfort from the whole experience. So this young shit glowers at me through the whole procedure but I just give him smiles, thank him and wish him a nice day.

I did call him an asshole once I was driving away :(

I'm just pissed off that I was careless about where I put the car.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Florida Room

One of the neater things about the Pulisha and Tim house is the "Florida Room". I don't know if this is a real name of rooms in Florida. But it is essentially the pool covered with a metal frame and bug netting and an outdoor sitting room that is covered so you can get out of the pool and sit or come out in the evening and sit like a living room just open to the outside.

Looking out at the pool from the 'room'
Scanning around

This is actually a play area that is off from the room

Looking back at the room from the other side of the pool
Pretty cool huh. Couldn't you see Pu and Tim hosting the family get together?

The REAL Truth

In my last post, our idyllic vacation in the lovely Florida vacation village of Pass-A-Grille was interrupted by our realization that granddaughter's J's head had been opened up and stapled shut - clear evidence that of the alien nature of this family!

This of course meant that we had to get to the bottom of this. What if this was all part of an alien plot? What if my poor family is now the first wave of the invasion. What if they were going to get us next!!!!!!

We spent much of the following day surreptitiously checking the everyone's head. And we needed to get pictures too. So we made all kinds of excuses about why we wanted to take pictures from high places down on the Visigoth skulls.

Finally, we were outed and they said we were over reacting.

The truth? J had fallen down the night before in the shower and whacked the back of her head. Much fright ensued with a lot of blood on the head. Pulisha was set to take J to the emergency room but Tim, a true son of Buffalo, said, "that will cost way too much. Let me take care of this."

So he cleaned the wound and stapled it shut. Nice work Tim.

The End

Not really.

The REAL, REAL Truth?

Pu did take her to the emergency room and in fact the actual medical procedure is they stable it shut. Who would have believed it?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Florida - Our Story in A Billion Pictures

We are in St. Petersburg Florida visiting Daughter Pulisha, Son-in-law Tim di Buffalo, granddaughters C and J and grandson A aka The Visigoths. Both things are very un-barbarian on this trip. In fact they seemed since they have moved to have reached a high state of civilization :)

The Goths live in a fabulous little community, Pass-a-Grille that is just south of St. Petersburg Beach. It's just south of the the real heavy duty touristy area. I really, really don't like Florida and was not looking forward to this trip. But the area they live in and their home are like a isolated beach community.

The beach hotels on the strip of St. Petersburg beach just north of Pass-a-Grille were very pricy (this being the 4th of Juy weekend even though it is off-season). But we got a great deal on a Hilton in the downtown area (53 bucks a night on Hotwire!)

The cleaning people left us personal notes.

And they did this for my razor. Pretty cool huh!

Grandchildren Pictures
(absolutely obligatory)

The Red Menance
(looks like an angel doesn't she)

C is always ready to have her picture taken

Trying to get a shot of A is a challenge because he is always in motion.
Here he is with Wife

Historic Pass-A-Grille

The downtwon area

J in a mellower mood

C helped me by carrying Wife's camera stuff
We called ourselves Gloria's Glorious Mules

Daughter Pulisha
Look at that calm demeanor that comes from working a full time management job, a big time gig in the Air Force Reserves and raising a family.

Tim on A chasing duty

I was in full grandpa mode. The minute we got out of the car C and J and I dashed ahead. I saw this ice cream place, an even though it was 10:30, we were in like a dash. There were no restritions and J ordered Cookie Monster ice cream with these consequences.

Beach side photos


We examined J's head when the parents were not looking and found this