Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heard on the Street

People say the most interesting things and if you're listening, they'll give you a good bit of wisdom. Here are a few pearls I've heard over the past couple of days.

Heard from a 93 year old woman in good health but not able to do as many things as she'd like due to age:

If you want to do something, do it now, do it twice even, do it lots!

Heard from a policy expert in state government:
If a job keeps you awake at night, it's time to move on.

Heard from someone who has moved over 20 times when asked for wisdom about moving:
Do it yourself. Be with the movers in the truck, packing boxes.  Ask them what they need you to do. But be there.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Originally uploaded by thyme2003
"The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished." Jesse Giglio

There is perhaps therefore no such thing as over-communication and in fact, it may be necessary to over-communicate to remove the veil and see clearly.

Perhaps this is why we have an entire Bible telling us that God loves us.

Perhaps that's why it's a good idea to tell our loved ones over and over again that we love them.

Perhaps that's why we need to tell ourselves over and over again that we are loved.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's to Love about Barcelona: Part 2

Originally uploaded by thyme2003

While you may get pretty hungry waiting for the famed "late" dinners starting earliest at 9pm, the food all day long is well worth the wait. This edible artwork of chocolate souffle was a special treat on the first evening in Barcelona at a mother & son restaurant called Ibericum. They specialize in acorn fed pork ham sliced to sliver perfection and served on a platter.

Good wine with dinner is very reasonably priced in Barcelona. At Ibericum, a bottle of tasty Villarrica Albarino, a Northeastern Spain specialty, was 18.90 Euro. A bottle of Lo Tengo Torrontes, more Agentinian, was only 21 Euro at Rias de Galicia, a prime seafood restaurant. A Muga Curza at Fonda Gaig was also only 20 Euro. In American restaurants of this quality you would pay much much more for a bottle of similar quality.

The price fixed lunch menus at museums were also extremely reasonable. At Caixaforum, a contemporary art museum, lunch was 12.70 Euro for 3 courses.At Fundacio Juan Miro a good simple spaghett dish was 9.85 Euro.

But the one that got away was Quatro Gats sequestered inside a park inside of Parc Montjuic. We'll have to try them next time!

What's to Love about Barcelona: Part 1

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Sun at Saavy Cellars

Summer Sun
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Saavy Cellars in Mountain View (there's also one in Redwood City) is a wonderful place to enjoy a flight of wine in the late afternoon summer sun. Located in a quaint old but new building on Castro Street next to the Caltrain tracks, this wine bar has a "there" there. The wide open Centennial Plaza gives this long building room to breathe and the outdoor patio occupants someplace pleasant to look. With 90+ point wines you can't go wrong. And the sunsets are the best. The only thing missing for weekend late afternoons is WiFi and possibly some plugins.

Full disclosure: Saavy Cellars doesn't know who I am nor are they paying me in wine or dollars or any other currency to say nice things about them. Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dara Torres and The Details

While many appreciate this book for the uplifting story of a mom's comeback to professional swimming against long odds, Olympic gold medalist Dara Torres book, Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life, gives precious insight into the difference that makes a difference at such high levels of performance.

She tells the story of Rowdy, a fellow Olympic swimmer who "studied the starter before his race to see how quickly he intended to pull the gun."  Anybody could have done that but he actually did it. And it paid off.

Dara followed that philosophy of caring about the details: "You have to care about every detail, every day, if you want to win."

Dara extended that philosophy well beyond the usual example of bringing your own food to bringing your own massage therapists or mashers and swimming the pool before racing in it in order to memorize the underwater landmarks.  

Adopting this mindset pushes you into more detail orientation and frankly, many people may prefer to delegate, but the 2 are not necessarily opposite.  Dara knew her older body needed more care than a younger one.  She took control of that aspect by delegating the responsibility for managing and mashing to her 2 massage therapists.  You can be detail oriented and delegate too.

Dara is a great example of taking responsibility not only of owning her dreams and drives but also of owning both her part and all the little but important details it took to get there.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's My Birthday and I'm Having a Party

I bought a wicked expensive pair of shoes for my birthday and I love them! Gold Sport Calf in color, the Ralph Lauren Carrie open toed pumps have a 4.5' high stacked tapered heel with a 1" platform in front.  The criss cross leather straps do a great job of stabilizing the ankle. These look great with navy, grey or black skirts and pants and do a great job of accentuating long lines.

Suprisingly, these are comfy.  Mind you, I didn't go for any hikes and I didn't do things like take all the plants in my office to the break room to water them but I did go out to the car and into a building 6 different times. Never once did I think about my feet hurting.

Unlike many high heels, these seemed to help me walk gracefully, something I generally have a hard time doing.

I used to want to be buried in my Lucchese's.  But now, it's my Carrie's! These plus my red high heeled sandals that say, "There's no place like home" are top of my list today.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What's to Love about Barcelona? Part 1

There are so many things to love about Barcelona. The Magic Fountain in the Parc Montjuic is one. Every night at dusk the fountains are turned on and they play through a series of different spray streams and colors.  Like fireworks made of water.  Tourists and locals, young and old couples a like come out to sit and watch the show. One one of my jogs in the parc, serendipitously, I was in the right place at the right time to enjoy the show.

Believe it or not, chocolate is the next thing to love about Barcelona. At first I wasn't really interested in the Museum of Chocolate, thinking what could make me enjoy chocolate any more than I already do.  But the chocolate scultpures there, like Ben Hur, alerted me to the sculptural and artistic qualities of the material which I never ever considered for a moment.  There was even a Wall of Fame with photographs of chocolatiers who had pushed choco-sculpture to new heights with dazzling innovations in technique and ability.

Chocolate, or the wealth created from Spanish colonization of Brazil and cocoa plantations there, is also responsible for the next thing to love about Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi's architectural creations. Like a balloon under pressure, where you have colonization moving wealth in one direction, the newly wealthy provide patronage and a sustainable artistic class is created from penury. It's an odd connection of dots.

Casa Amatller, while not architected by Gaudi, was so funded by choco-wealth, that they still sell Casa Amatller branded chocolate in the gift shop.  The dragon lamp to the right at the Casa exhibits a dramatic sense of the surreal world created by choco-wealth.

So, water fireworks, chocolate and architecture - the first 3 of  many things to love about Barcelona!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day Conundrums

More than usual, I've been thinking about what Independence Day means and have walked myself into some corners with questions I can't answer:

1. Kepler's Books in Menlo Park has a July 4th sale where they pay the sales tax.  Isn't tax what ticked us off against England in the first place? With ~10% sales tax, maybe Kepler's is sending a message.
2. If I were an immigrant in this country, Lebanese, Indian or Mexican, for example, would I be celebrating today as Independence Day? How much does the answer differ for men and women?
3. I didn't go to church today and today, of all days, is one to be grateful to God for this country and for living here. I am overwhelmed by my own lack of appreciation.
4. Is celebrating Independence Day as stage that a country goes through, like turning 21 is for an adult?
5. We seem to be obsessed with independence as a country....from England, from government, from taxes....and periodically, from oil. Yet we are quite dependent, very generally speaking, on government spending, on the holders of our debt to keep holding it in good faith, and on gas.

Well, I don't have answers but being aware of the questions gives a better sense of the context in which I live. For today, back to our regularly scheduled programming of fireworks and barbecues. Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adventures in Home Networking

My computer has been on the fritz. While I had been trying to wirelessly back up files to network attached storage like I belonged to the 21st century, it hadn't yet worked.

After 9 hours of Microsoft Customer Support directed activity my options appeared to be to return to factory default settings which means losing all your files.  I did have one last chance to put all my files gently overboard on a new drive to safety.

Rather than bother with RAID (redundant array of independent disks) which can mirror (have 2 copies) of all your documents, I went straight for the tried and true.  I bought a single PnP (plug n play) that attached directly to my computer without any fancy backup management software and no network interface and proceeded to do a seamless copy paste, just like I used to back when an 80G drive was big.

All this is making me think that each household with more than 1 computer user probably needs the equivalent of a CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate family member or at least a CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) regardless of company brand.

Network management activities in our household have usually gone to the person who had the time and patience to fix all the things that didn't work the first time. When we first set up our home network, I was our network manager. There was nothing PnP about it at that time. Later on, since the Google wireless signal, despite being right outside our yard, is pitifully weak, my husband took on the task of upgrading us to wireless. The next logical step, automated backup on NAS seems to be temporarily beyond both of our skill, time and patience levels for now.

When faced with the loss of all my documents and all my photos, I simultaneously wondered why I didn't have a backup system and felt a strong urge to never create another file again....because it could be lost. Ever a temptation to quit if I saw one and I'm still battling it by saying over and over, "I have a backup now. It will be there."

However, the Frye's salesman poked holes in my faith in backups when he said, "Would you like to buy a warranty? Did you know that almost 25% of all drives fail?" My inside voice said, "Then why am I buying one?" My outside voice said, "No, thank you." The real value lies in the files, not the drive and there's no warranty for that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Faded Glory

I had an opportunity to return to playing basketball in an 8-team department league. Vivid hallucinations make me twitch and stay awake late at night - a head fake to the right drive left for an ally-oop followed by a steal on the in-bound pass straight up into a jumper with all net and a foooowwwwl for goodness sake.  Of course, I make the free throws, in  my mind.

I walked away from first pickup and and then league ball after too many contact injuries - a cracked elbow, a broken pinky etc. Mindful that I hadn't shot a ball in over 10 years I went to the gym to test things out at the most basic level...can I dribble the thing.  I went with my new squeeky black basketball shoes that I spent an hour picking out to a pristine re-finished miniature indoor court and when I wasn't able to get a ball from the front desk I thought, let's start even simpler. Could I run one suicide? Could I do the slide one time around the perimeter of the 2/3 court? and still breathe?

I had expected this to go fairly well because after all I was running 20 miles a week and doing yoga. But my lips turned pasty and dry on the slide and I had to take a break before the suicide! Not only that, the next day, despite how short the duration of my test efforts, my body hurt.

My husband breathed a sigh of relief when I said, "Honey, I decided not to play." He doesn't like to see me get hurt.