Is It Chauvinism or Laziness?

This evening Shay and I took a little drive over to the Mercedes dealership in Cary. Russ was bringing his Smart Car in for service and I was picking him up. True to form, I was early. So I parked my Ford C-Max and got out with Shay on a leash and walked around all the lots holding many, many unsold Mercedes.

The show room was still open as it said on the door, Sales until 8pm. I could see no less than half a dozen men in logo polo shirts, some sitting inside the showroom and a few walking around the lot. I looked at the stickers on sedans, SUV’s, station wagons and sport cars. I peered inside blacked out back windows to see how much legroom there was. I practically kicked the tires on all the cars. I was the only non-employee on the whole lot and the only woman.

As I was deciding between light tan or dark tan leather interior I looked at my watch and made a mental note about how wrong I was looking. I stood back from a row of varying sized SUV’s and studied how many different models there were. I looked at my watch again. I waited. I looked at the men sitting in the all glass box of a show room. I stared their way. I even raised my hand.

I looked at my watch again. Fifteen minutes. I had been walking around looking at cars a whole fifteen minutes and not one man spoke to me, looked at me or even thought that I might want to buy a car. You would have thought they were overwhelmed with customers and work. Didn’t appear that way.

Russ drove his car into service and filled out the form and dropped his keys in the box. Service closed two hours before sales. Ha, sales was closed as far as I could tell. I walked back to my car to pick Russ up. Only then did I cross paths with one of the men in a Mercedes logo polo. He spoke to me. All he said was, “Cute dog.”

What a foolish group of men. They had no idea if I could write a check for any of those cars. I made no contact with Russ, they didn’t know I was there for him. Was it chauvinism or laziness? Doesn’t matter, it was just stupidity.


Welcome Cucciolo

The person in our family who really should work at Durham Magazine is Russ Lange because he is always first to alert me about news going on about town. He was the one who told me the sad new that Phoebe Lawless was closing both Mini Scratch and the Lakewood, both of which we loved, but maybe not often enough. He told me about his beloved Basan closing before it was even announced publicly. That is a real blow to his office mates since it was across the street from CMG.

Russ is not just the deliverer of closings, but opening too. A week or so ago he altered me that a new Italian restaurant, Cucciolo, was opening up next to the West End Wine bar and that he already found out they were going to be making carbonara. That is big new in the Russ Lange world.

So I broke my cardinal rule of not visiting a new restaurant in the first week of their opening because Russ went ahead and made a reservation for tonight, the first night they were taking reservations. Apparently the place is owned by a Korean chef and he is not making Korean Italian fusion, just Italian. According to my source of all knowledge, Russ says the guy’s cousin owns the number one Italian Restaurant in Seoul, that has a Michelin Star, so this is the Durham outpost.

The space is not large, but has good lighting. We were waited on by a very friendly guy, Antoine and he was very enthusiastic about the offerings. Russ had already decided on the carbonara, but was overwhelmed with other choices in that starter category. We finally narrowed it down to a fig and goat cheese bruschetta with prosciutto and honey and a 3 mushroom dish. Both were outstanding. I was trying to be good so I had the green salad which I would go back for and Russ had a double of carbonara so he had leftovers for breakfast.

There was much on the menu we wanted to try and Russ was asking me when I was going out of town next so he can come back without any pasta guilt. I am sorry to see restaurants we love go, but happy the new one is worth multiple visits.


How’s the Weather?

When the Weather Channel first came on the air it quickly became my father’s favorite channel. He loved to know what was going on, not just where he was at that moment, but where he might be going and where he had recently been. I used to tease him about his devotion to the weather.

When we were working in London and he was building his new house at the farm he often called Alvin, the farm caretaker to discuss the weather. Since my Dad always talked on the speaker phone I usually could hear these conversations in my office, three doors down.

Alvin was a skilled builder and tinkerer, but was not a formally educated guy. This made for the most entertaining conversations. One day when my Dad called him after seeing some big Atlantic weather systems on the news this is how the conversation went.

Dad: Alvin, how’s the weather there?

Alvin: It’s fine now, but I ‘spec we will be getting something soon. See there is a big tycoon (not a typo) down in Costa Rica.

There was a pause, as my father suppressed a laugh.

Alvin: No, No, that wrong. It’s in Puerto Rico.

Ever since I have always referred to typhoons as tycoons.

In the twenty plus years since that conversation I have come not to make as much fun of my father as I used to about his devotion to following the weather. Now I too pay close attention, although mainly to where I live. My reason is for water management. I am anti-grass watering, but I do water flowers and vegetables. I am constantly making judgement calls about my need to carry buckets of water to thirsty flowers, or if rain is actually coming to do it for me.

I have never watched the weather channel, but I do count five different weather apps on my phone, two of which transmit to my watch. I guess you can say, the apple does not fall far from the tree.


Puppy on the Payroll

Once in a while Russ calls me out of the barn for some strategy discussion for something he is working on. Russ is the professor of Agile Marketing, which is all new to me, but I am still useful in the sales department.

Russ has a few big things he is working on and asked if I would come to the office with him today and white board a plan. We could have done this all at home, but I think that Russ figured if he got me in the office I would be less distracted by some fun thing to do at home.

After dropping our friend Adam off at the airport, we were off to a Saturday at the office. Shay loves to go to the office. I think it is because she knows that is it Russ’ domain and we all know she would rather be with Russ.

When we pulled into the parking lot Shay practically dragged us from the car to the lobby door. She knows exactly where the elevator is and heads in first just so she can turn around and stand right in front of the door to be the first one out. When Carter was a little girl we used to call the elevator the magic room because you walked in one door and in a few minutes walked out the same door in a totally different place. I would love to know how Shay sees the magic room.

Once in Russ’ ballroom sized office Shay likes to run down the wood floor from one end to the other and slide on into the conference room. For the record Russ likes to do the same thing with her. Although she loves to come to the office, Shay is much less interested in actually working.

Russ and I took our seats in the all white board walled conference room and got to work. This bored Shay completely. She looked around to see if any of her other work team mates might be there for her to beg a snuggle from, but sadly, since it is Saturday we were all alone.

It did not take us long to work out a plan for Russ to follow on the projects he was working on. Perhaps he was right about doing the work at the office, but I also did have needlepoint with me since I think better while my hands are busy. As for Shay, as happy as she was to get in the office, she was just already to go back to the magic room to go home. I think she would like to be a puppy on the payroll, but only as the receptionist. Shay is just not that Agile.


Consumer Tipping Point

Yesterday my friend Christy and I went on a little trip to Fearrington Village for lunch and a little walk around the shops. Since the majority of her kids are at Cheerio just until Saturday she wanted to take advantage of her last few mother vacation days. We started out at one of my favorite stores, Dovecote. You know that kind of store where all the clothes are beautiful, classic and expensive and in between the clothes are really cute things you don’t need, but might buy for someone else, like books about how to live like a Parisian. I did buy a number of Christmas presents because I have five women in my immediate family to shop for.

As I was pursuing the “you really should buy this for someone else” section I was drawn to a cute blue and white note pad. It was all of eight dollars, but despite loving the original design and unique shape of the paper I walked away from it.

We went to lunch at the Belted Goat which was too yummy and followed it up with a look around McIntyre’s Books, one of the last great independent book stores. I love to read the handwritten reviews of books by the staff of the store. There were at least eight or nine reviews that made me want to buy the book. Then I thought about all the books I have sitting on or under my bedside table waiting for me to put down the needlepoint. So I just enjoyed the reviews.

After my vacation day yesterday I decided that today needed to be a work day. My original sweat shop, my office, has been greatly neglected by me since I moved most of my crafting hours to my new sweat shop sewing room. Having two rooms in my house dedicated to my hobbies seems excessive. My only defense is we thought we were going to have more children to fill those rooms.

Once I stopped consulting I really didn’t need my office for work. At first it became scrap book central and the storing place for all family files. Eventually I put a walking desk in that room so at least both Russ and I use the treadmill in there. I have taken a long pause on scrapbooking, despite still having boxes of photos that need to be cared for. But the office still has been the repository of all important family paperwork. That means that mail also goes in there to be sorted, responded to and filed. It has been a while since I had done any filing and thus the pressing need to work in my office.

As I was cleaning up the piles of paper, putting things in their rightful places, mostly the trash and recycling I came upon not one, or two or even three, but dozens of cute pads of paper, some still wrapped in cellophane with bows on them. I thought about how often I use a cute pad these days…not often since I make most notes in my phone so I can find it later. Still I do love a beautiful note pad.

I was thankful that I did not succumb to that blue and white pad at Dovecote yesterday. I decided that long go I reached the consumer tipping point. I probably have enough of everything in the non-consumable world that I will need for the rest of my life. Yes I still need to buy tooth paste and peaches, but dishes and certainly note pads, I have enough to last me for life.

It would be so great if I had been better at not buying something new until I had used up its predecessor. Perhaps then I wouldn’t have so much to clean up and care for now. So now add no new note pads to the list of things I don’t want people to give me. Just don’t give me anything, if I need it I’ve already got it.


Glamorous Life

I’m not one who ever was looking for a glamorous life. No hanging with the jet set, no designer everything. That being said I feel like my major buying decision today is polar opposite of glamorous.

I mopped the floor today with my old string mop that I have had for a number of years. When someone else helped me clean she liked this string mop, so that is what I use now that she is gone. Since my kitchen floor is black and white tile it shows every speck of dirt. I like it to be sparkling clean so that means I have to mop multiple times a week.

Mopping does not only involve the string mop, but what I call the dish towel shuffle. After the mopping with simple green and hot water I lay down four dish towels, two stacked one on top of the other under each foot. I skate around the kitchen drying water left after the string mop. It leaves the floor streak free. It also means that I wash at least a dozen dish towels every week.

Today my trusty mop broke. The metal handle just snapped right off the head that held the strings. I knew I had to buy a new mop pronto, but what kind to buy? I looked on line and it turns out there are hundreds of kinds of mops. I already own a swifter and it is not good on the kitchen floor. Then I looked at micro fiber, string, sponge, oh so many.

So I studied reviews of mops. Just as confusing. Granted this is not a major purchase, but I wish there were test mops. Russ suggested I go to our local hardware store since they usually have just the right thing. As I stood in front of the dozen or so choices for a good five minutes it hit me, this is the opposite of a glamorous life.

I chose one that was most like my old one since it worked well and took it home. Sadly, I am practically giddy with anticipation to get to try out this pristine, perfectly white and clean new mop. I am not cut out for high society in anyway.


Sharing Four Ways

Tonight I went to dinner with three of my needlepoint friends. Besides all being avid stitchers we all enjoy good food and most of us love to cook. We went to Elements in Chapel Hill, which has fantastic Asian fusion food. As I was looking at the menu one thing jumped out at me as something I had to have. It was a grilled cauliflower appetizer.

I should have gone with my gut and just eaten that for dinner, instead I offered up splitting it as an appetizer. Well, everyone jumped right on that. I should have ordered a second one as my meal, but instead I went with the walnut prawns, which are always delicious, but too much.

The cauliflower came and the four of us wasted no time enjoying it. Sadly I dropped one of my two pieces of cauliflower on the floor. One friend asked if it would be OK if she licked the bowl. No one thought it was out of the question.

After declaring it the best thing ever I decided I needed to see the menu again so I could read the list of ingredients in the hopes that I can recreate it at home. This plan was met great enthusiasm. The potential bowl licker want me to get right on that and share it with her the second I had perfected it and not make her wait for a blog entry.

It may not be cauliflower season, but I know what I will be doing this weekend as I try and perfect a soy reduction. I hope that my one bite of cauliflower will be enough to help me remember the taste to judge if my recreation is close.

Next time I go there I am going with my gut and ordering a double appetizer for my dinner and not offering to share. It’s not sharing that I mind, it’s just that I really wanted more cauliflower. Once I figure out how to make it I won’t be so selfish about it.

Tonight I went to dinner with three of my needlepoint friends. Besides all being avid stitchers we all enjoy good food and most of us love to cook. We went to Elements in Chapel Hill, which has fantastic Asian fusion food. As I was looking at the menu one thing jumped out at me as something I had to have. It was a grilled cauliflower appetizer.

I should have gone with my gut and just eaten that for dinner, instead I offered up splitting it as an appetizer. Well, everyone jumped right on that. I should have ordered a second one as my meal, but instead I went with the walnut prawns, which are always delicious, but too much.

The cauliflower came and the four of us wasted no time enjoying it. Sadly I dropped one of my two pieces of cauliflower on the floor. One friend asked if it would be OK if she licked the bowl. No one thought it was out of the question.

After declaring it the best thing ever I decided I needed to see the menu again so I could read the list of ingredients in the hopes that I can recreate it at home. This plan was met great enthusiasm. The potential bowl licker want me to get right on that and share it with her the second I had perfected it and not make her wait for a blog entry.

It may not be cauliflower season, but I know what I will be doing this weekend as I try and perfect a soy reduction. I hope that my one bite of cauliflower will be enough to help me remember the taste to judge if my recreation is close.

Next time I go there I am going with my gut and ordering a double appetizer for my dinner and not offering to share. It’s not sharing that I mind, it’s just that I really wanted more cauliflower. Once I figure out how to make it I won’t be so selfish about it.