Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cooking In The Semi-Retired State

I find that much in the daily gastronomic world is changing now that I am firmly entrenched in a semi-retirement state. These changes are the result of:
  • More time available daily to cook
  • Need to decrease consumption of food associated with declining metabolism
  • Decreasing ability to eat various things associated with age (i.e. large quantities, overly rich food, etc.)
  • Increased desire to be creative
While one of the manifestations has been trying to expand flavors I cook with and being a bit more creative with building flavor bases, I think the most interesting development has been the desire to make use of everything. This means that whatever is cooked gets used to the fullest. It often means the reprocessing of leftovers into soups and it means cooking more larger cuts of meat and then processing it into a variety of meals and ingredients.  For example for our Sunday dinner last weekend I made roasted a turkey breast that served as dinner. The major part of the meat was harvested into 6 oz packets for future use. All the little bits of meat and pan juices were added with other leftovers for a stew. Finally the carcass was turned into a stock.

I'd like to delude myself that I am being incredibly frugal and not wasteful. However it is hard to maintain that illusion when two people share a 3200 square foot house with no other occupants.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Selling In the Semi-Retired State

The balance between retirement and 'semi' (meaning the amount of time I still work) has been a work in progress. But after the exploration and rejection of full retirement after our fall travels, I have been much more at peace with the chosen path. This has led to a refocus (within acceptable limits) on the disciplines necessary to get business.

So it was with interest that I read daughter #3's recent post on the selling environment of her soon to former employer and her new employer and I reflected on how certain sales management and sales process fundamentals are the same whether you have a sales staff of thousands or you are the sales staff. Among those fundamentals are that sales is a process, you have to do the work (make the calls, have the meetings), you have to measure what you're doing, you have to analyze what you measure, and you have to be accountable.

Last year as I was going though the transition, I was a bit sloppy with many of these fundamentals. Fortunately I had enough momentum from past years that with what I did do enough came in for me to produce more than what I had hoped. I did keep the most important metrics however and I was able to the kind of analysis I've done for many years. It was very encouraging in that the basic relationship between developing leads, prospects, proposals, and sales had remained constant even with the lower total activity. So I've been able to set some targets for my basic sales variable - networking meetings - with a good degree of confidence.

What is most evident since November is how I conduct my meetings. For one thing I am definitely lighter (meaning my attitude and spirits). I just have confidence that my system works and I don't have to have this to survive so I don't feel so intense about things. Therefore, most of my meetings are about the person I'm with (though I must admit a lot of people I meet with are curious about how I manage the semi-retirement mode successfully). Bu ant I always close my meetings, the last 10 minutes or s, with my pitch...this is what I'm looking for and these are the conditions that will tell you when you should bring me in. And I am very unabashed about doing it...something that was not always the case earlier on in my career.

It also helps that I am much more selective about the work I want to do which makes it much easier to explain, and as I don't need the income I needed when working full-time I can be much more flexible in structuring a service and payment scheme that people will buy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Just Hanging

The urge to blog has not been there the last couple of weeks. Probably because we're in a fairly mellow normal, everyday, not running around the world mode.

The semi part of the semi retired lifestyle is going fine. I got a couple of nice jobs that suite the level of work I want to do just at the end of the year so the first quarter should be fine. It remains cold and we still keep getting occasional snow so there is still great snow on the trails for hiking.

I'm sitting in San Francisco International Airport on the way back to Albuquerque after a quick visit to see Daughter #1 and family. We flew in on a very early flight Saturday so we got to their house by 9:30 AM. But in spite of just being here just two days we did a lot. We hung out with the family on Saturday morning. We went to the hotel for a nap in the afternoon. We saw 1A's parents for a drink and then went out to dinner with #1 and 1A. The restaurant was okay but the company was great. On Sunday morning our Nephew and his Wife and two children who also love in the the same town for brunch. Had a great time with them and then we took the two grandchildren tow a movie. Came back and played cards, brought back a TV and then watched a Star Wars movie at home because #1 is briefing her daughter 1.1 on all the Star Wars history before seeing the new movie. We had breakfast out as a family with 1A's parents again before we headed to the airport.

We're in the middle of a big IT project. Wife's laptop has been a lemon and there has been much fear about it crashing and her losing lots of her data. Plus it never has had enough memory to truly handle here needs. So we've been working on getting a PC server and combining that with a VPN so she can leave her accounting programs on that and access it while we're traveling and also give us something to back up to while we're traveling. It also would give a single server to which then to back up onto a cloud back up. But of course there have been all kinds of things that aren't working quite right because this service doesn't like that hardware, and this software doesn't like that service, etc etc etc.
It will all work out eventually.

Wife has been madly getting all of her pictures going back to 1999 with stuff that was backed up on hundreds of CDs into the new server. I think she only 8 more years to do!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Just Going On Notice

I have been reading with minor amazement the adventures over the holiday of my niece and her parents (my brother and sister-in-law) and how they have been replacing the plumbing of a 70 year old house that the niece bought in the Washington DC area. It is a project that few homeowners that I have know would ever want to take on.

So just to go on notice to my three lovely girls, if you buy a house some day, spending a week replacing its plumbing is NOT something I will be doing for you.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Winter Wonderland in the Desert

We had a lot of snow right after Christmas. In the southeastern part of the state it was blizzard conditions with one to two FEET of snow.

And it has been very cold here too with the highs just barely breaking freezing. The result is all that snow has been staying put on the trails of the mountains. Last Thursday I got out and in many areas the snow was still pristine.

On the trail

Sunshine off of snow crystals

Looking at the desert/city in the background from the mountain trail snow in the foreground

On another note I always love to relate to those not in the desert how water is thought about here. We've had a very rainy year, the 6th most rainy since they've been keeping records about 120 years ago. We got around 12.5 inches of rain, about 3 inches more than normal and enough to take our state out of the drought column. But I loved the piece in our newspaper where they were talking about the amount of rain and said something to the effect of "But this year was nothing like the deluge year of 1941 when we had 15.9 inches of rain."