Friday, June 27, 2008

There is always room for wine...

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first , " he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

Because Walking Sucks...

Found this and had to share it up... Because Walking Sucks

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Balancing Act...

Trying to achieve a balance between work and play has been my recent failure. I was raised to get my work done, and then go play. I go to work all day long and when I come home there is always something that needs done…yard work, house work, fixing something, etc. Lately my wife has been giving me static about not 'being there'. Her mom has been in town for a about a week and a half and is leaving in less than a week. We haven't done any 'trips' with her. She has been a huge help around the house and has done her usual visit rituals and helped plant flowers, played with the kids, etc. but there hasn't been anything "special".

I don't know how to respond. We have a lot of stresses on our life lately and I have gotten to a point where i don't know how to respond. Our truck doesn't adequately fit everyone. We looked at getting a minivan but, since the economy is in this funk, the dealerships are unwilling to payoff what we owe - and therefore we are not able to afford the van. Gas has hit all-time highs in the area, so making trips out to greater distances costs a pretty penny. The kids have been off for Summer Break and I feel bad that we don't have any 'special' trips for them to look forward to. Last year they spent a month at my mom-in-law's house in Colorado. The year before that we went to Disney for a week. The year before that was a week at the beach (i think) - my memory is kind of fuzzy about those kinds of details. another good reason for this blog.

So the icing on the cake is this Saturday is her 31st birthday and I am at a loss for something to do for her. I had the idea of going to a restaurant that we have always loved called "The Melting Pot". The problem with that plan is that it is a restaurant that has been targeted towards the adult audience. So i am not certain that my brood will be a welcomed sight. -- UGH! -- What to do...

I am working with my company now on figuring out a "new" schedule. There are a couple options we are looking at. The first is a telecommuting schedule. Something that will enable me on a regular basis not to have to come into the office. This schedule would be a 5 day a week schedule, but would enable to save $ on gas and time. The second idea is a Condensed Work Schedule (CWS). This schedule would have me working longer (about 10 hr) days 4 days a week (say Mon - Thur) and then have off the other 3. This schedule is nice because I will not only save $ on gas & time, but that 5th day is family time and not work time.

At the end of the day I am frustrated - Michelle is frustrated - and we aren't communicating effectively right now... :-(

I guess I need to step up my game and make some things happen

Quick Guide to Wine Pairings

It's been a while since i last posted. Things have been hectic in the household since we have been entertaining guests for the last couple of weeks. I was reading a good article the other day on wine pairings and decided to condense it down.

I'll post more about the last week or two later...

A snap guide to matching wines to foods

WHITE WINES


    Chardonnay
    Wine has notes of lemon, pear, pineapple, vanilla, and oak making it engaging with seafood, fish, chicken, and egg dishes.

    Chenin Blanc
    Similar flavors found in Chardonnay, thus the wine works best with appetizers, fish, chicken, & Asian or Indian cuisines.

    Gewürztraminer
    Wine is spicy and it captures the essences of Asian and Indian foods, as well as ham. (Champagne/sparkling wine is, however, the best accompaniment for these foods.)

    Muscat (sweet wine)
    Lots of acid and pear notes allowing foie gras, dessert, and fruit to pair well.

    Pinot Blanc
    Apple and pear tones making it right for fish, chicken, egg dishes, and brunch.

    Pinot Gris
    Hint of spritz and soft sweetness make it right for Asian and Indian foods.

    Riesling
    Apple, peach, citrus, and big acidity allow it to pair well with pate, fish, ham, and foie gras. Also, fine with Asian and Indian foods.

    Sauvignon Blanc
    Big acidity and crispness cut right through fish allowing it to pair well with chicken, turkey, and veal.

    Sémillon (The best of it is sweet wine)
    Apricot, honey, and nectar-like, it needs foie gras, fish courses; it craves Roquefort cheese. This is the grape for Chateau D’Yquem.

    Viognier
    Floral flavors with apricot and tropical fruit, making it excellent for cheese, brunch (egg courses), fruit, & quiche.

RED WINES


    Barbera
    Rich, plum, peppery, blackberry flavors, with high acidity pair it easily with bistro foods, Italian dishes with beef or chicken.

    Cabernet Franc
    Soft grape with plum, spice and big acidity make it perfect for lamb, pork, and chicken courses.

    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Big acid, spice, hefty blackberry, and oak require beef, steak, game, and rich cheese courses.

    Gamay (Beaujolais wine)
    Nothing complicated here and it marries easily with pork, ham, cheese, deli foods, brunch dishes, or any casual supper.

    Grenache (The best come from Rhône, Australia, and California)
    Spice and plum pair it nicely with beef, meat, and duck. (Like Pinot Noir, it’s one of the most versatile red wines, marrying with almost any cuisine.)

    Malbec
    This wine is popular in Argentina, where they love to pair it with steak, red meat game, and beef stew.

    Merlot
    This wine loves lamb; it also goes well with beef, macaroni and pasta dishes.

    Pinot Noir
    A versatile wine that craves salmon; superb with roast chicken, pork, grilled meats, quail, and pheasant. Like Champagne, it goes well with almost all cuisines.

    Sangiovese
    One of Italy’s finest grapes. Big acidity and cherry nuances pair nicely with veal, poultry, beef; it craves Parmesan cheese.

    Syrah (also called Shiraz)
    Peppery, spicy, blackberry, and oak make it forward enough to marry well with game, beef, pork, and cheese.

    Tempranillo
    Cherry, soft spice, with good acidity allow it to cut through game, duck, and steak.

    Zinfandel
    Spicy, with cherry and blackberry and modest acidity allow it to pair easily with beef, veal, pork, chicken, ragout, and cheese.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

As if you had to ask...

Just got notice of a company all-hands event that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I have grown to classify them as corporate mandatory fun times... heh... Anyways, one of the questions in the registration was this:

3) Your favorite Italian food or beverage

Pasta
Pizza
Gelato
Cannoli
Tiramisu
Wine
Cappuccino
Other (please specify)

Now it only allowed me to select one item, which I find unfortunate that they did not have an all of the above option...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wines to log and try out....

Been reading some wine reviews and have a couple that I really want to try.



2006 Treana White Meritage

California White Meritage that is supposed to be a great wine both with and without food. It is supposed to be a nice summer wine. Not too heavy / dry like a red typically is and not too sugary sweet like a desert wine.








2006 Martinetti Gavi Di Gavi
Italian Gavi wine that is along the same lines of the Meritage. This wine is suppose to be a nice refreshing wine. A great amount of fruit flavor but nothing overwhelming.


It is tough to review something before I have actually tasted it.

This week my parents and mother-in-law are coming into town. For the next couple weeks my parents will be in town and my mother-in-law will be in town for a week or so longer. This leaves the opportunity open for some wine consumption. Whenever my dad comes into town it makes for a great opportunity to taste some of the wines that i have been collecting. I think the vino will help ease tensions between everyone being in the house at the same time.

I'll have to look around and see where I can buy these wines from - I don't feel like I should have to pay for shipping if I don't have to.

Monday, June 9, 2008

All I need to know...

Listening to an interview with actor Will Smith and he made an interesting point. He said that he is big into studying different things - broadening his knowledge. He stated that "There have been so many people who have lived and died before you that you will never have a new problem. You will NEVER have a new problem. Somewhere somebody wrote the answer down in a book. he tells his kids "Right now i'm getting on your nerves really bad - There's a book out there that tells you how to deal with me." The idea that everything you need to know has been written down and the beauty of the internet now is that you can get through to the information so much more quickly.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

IMPACT DAY

The company I work for has an annual day called IMPACT day. This is a day that the company takes to give back to the community. They give all 100,000+ employee's a paid day of work and deploy them into the community to give back. Last year I worked out at Fort Belvoir with the USO. There we put together care packages for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a great opportunity. This year far surpassed the opportunity I had last year.

This year I volunteered at the Veterans Administration (VA) medical center. The project I worked on while I was there today was taking audio history of WWII and Korean War veterans. The project is actually sponsored through the Library of Congress. These audio recordings will be cataloged and maintained as historical reviews of this very special generation. I met 2 very interesting people today. The first served in WWII. He was born in 1924 and joined the service at 18. He enlisted in the Army's Air Corp and flew a P-47. He had some interesting stories to tell. We talked for about an hour. His failing memory and my lack of memory about WWII dates & events made the discussion difficult.

The other vet that I interviewed today was born in 1925 and served in both the Navy and Army during the Korean War. This vet served as part of a armored division along the 38th Parallel. Even though we talked for about 2 hours we barely scratched the surface on the memories and stories that he had to share.

I am hoping to go back out there again soon. I was invited back by the hospital to talk with the vets anytime. I think it will be interesting to read up on some of the history from these two wars and to also hear first hand from the troops that were there about living through it. I find it pretty cool that my name will be included in a document that will be preserved as part of American History.