The kids and I had a great time. We played with puppies at PetCo, had soy milk in the bookstore coffee shop, bought t-shirts at Target, and then went on a BART ride. The regular stuff.
When we got home, I set up their sleeping bags on the living room floor and, once ready for bed, we watched two Clifford cartoons before turning off the lights. I'm fixed up on the couch- everything seemed to be going fine until around 3am.
Vincent is one of those thrashing-around-a-lot sort of sleepers. When I woke up, he was sitting up trying to untangle his sleeping blag so he could crawl back in. Okay, that's fine. Once re-tucked, he only woke me up once or twice more when having bad, or at least intense, dreams.
Zoe, on the other hand, is the reason I slept most of the next day. She fell asleep, glow stick in hand, about 10 minutes after the last story of the night. I've just fallen back asleep after Vincent, when I sense something and open my eyes to a pretty little face just inches from my own.
"Rocky? What are you doing, Rocky?"
Well, I was sleeping, kiddo. Thinking about it now, I may have been snoring and I can understand the kid being awakened and curious why I'm sounding like a broken train.
"I wanna sleep up there with you." I tell her to lie back down, reach over, rub her back and in a few minutes she's out. That's when I hear the banging.
Turns out the neighbors were playing guitar and singing in the middle of the night. Luke, assuming the role as his own father, bangs on the wall twice to no effect. Then he tromps over to the neighbor's and establishes quiet. Much to Luke's credit, he remembers the many a 3am guitar session of his own and appreciates the irony.
An hour later, Zoe wakes me up to again tell me she wants to come up on the couch. Fine. I pull the extra cover, and let her curl up on the couch. If I weren't tired, this would be sweet. An hour later she's got the couch to herself and I've moved down to the floor.
Zoe. I love you, but you kick in your sleep.
6:30am, sun just up, I get my nose beeped by the cute little angel up on the couch. Okay. I surrender. She wakes up her brother, we all get dressed and head to the store for bacon. I make breakfast. They watch Clifford.
By 9am, I'm home in my own bed where I finally get some sleep.
Well, as of 4 and a half hours ago, gays can legally marry here in California. I'm sure, were I to look out my window I'd see fire in the skies, the raining of feces, and all sorts of allegorical beasts walking the street.
Nope, just some homeless guy pissing against a Prius.
Back in the later part of the last century, we Michigan school children were taught to memorize the surrounding Great Lakes by the acronym HOMES. This weekend I watched both the first season of Wired and, occasionally, the weather channel. Like a great unwanted thunderstorm it hit me: we need to update this old mnemonic device with something that speaks to the new, hipper urban cache of youth while recognizing the changing environmental situation.
To that end, I propose that we now teach the Great Lakes with the tag HOMIES.
I stopped writing wine reviews for a very simple reason: it's ridiculously repetitive. Honeslty, it's eventually much like playing Mad Libs. Alone.
Still, I've come across two wines that I thought should be brought to the attention of others. They come from the Liberty School Winery down in Paso Robles. At work we're in the middle of this year's wine sampling season Liberty School has come thru as a clear winner. Both the Chardonnay and the Cab are unaffected examples of honest wine making- a rare and wonderful thing. This from their website:
The recipe is straightforward: start with an array of good fruit, handle it with basic, no-tricks winemaking—and pay attention every step of the way.
And here's the kicker: the cab sells for $12 and the Chardonnay for $9. Enjoy
I've been working on a new project. A second website that will be more involved with my professional work and less to do with the self entertaining moments I call life.
At the beginning of April, I noticed that my 1000th post was coming up soon. Seemed like the right time to devote more time to Banquet Chef and wind this puppy down. I've told the best stories that I remember and I've found that there is a bottom to the well of opinion and it isn't nearly as deep as I might have thought. Honestly, I felt that I was the 7th season of Everybody Loves Raymond. Yes, I was doing it only for the money trough that is syndication.
Since March I've been working on this new idea, a website focusing on my work. This blog taught me something about myself: I'm not a writer. I'd like to apologize to any real writers out there because I marvel at what you do and would never make the commitment to the amount of work that you put in to your craft.
And that is what this is about, really. I heard an interview with Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky last year that really stuck with me. The Q & A involved many Q's, but the same A over and over. "It's about getting down to the long, hard work required." And deep in my dark blue collar roots, I finally started to come to grasps with my own feelings about what I do.
Cooking was easy for me. Hell, most things I've ever tried (obvious exceptions: singing, weight loss, and sounding sincere in casual conversations) have come pretty easy. It wasn't until I actually became the Executive Chef that I realized I'd gotten by on the skills that came easy. It's the whole idea of rising to level of your incompetence. Well, I had to get competent at some things pretty damn quick or it would have been failure.
I've worked harder in the last 7 years than I ever thought I would.
Earlier this month, friend emeritus Mr. Bierman came to town. I was glad to see him, glad we found time for a few hours at Dave's on third, and also glad that he and his lovely wife got to have dinner at Delfina. Things didn't work out for a second night of cocktails, which I was sad about because I wanted to hear about his dinner. Food is most of my life. I spend over 50 hours a week, easily, in a kitchen. Add to that the hours spent thinking about menus, personnel management, budgets, equipment, etc . . . No angst here, want to find out what I do in this life I don't have to look any further than that last box at the bottom of the 1040.
And I'm okay with that.
I'm more than okay with it. I'm starting a blog that, I hope will serve as a format to share with other hard working chefs the nuts and bolts parts of the job that just aren't in one of those pretty cookbooks by some twat on The Food Network. Aside from the few texts made for the culinary schools, there is no central knowledge of how to do large volume cooking at a high level.
So, Sain't Christopher shall go forth and spread the good word. Out of sheer laziness, this site will probably mirror that one and also have the personal stuff. I'm going to create a mail list for friends who have long suffered my poor typing and spelling. I'll send a shout when something new gets posted.
Well, I didn't want to brag, but I spent the last two months on special assignment as a grooming consultant for fabulous Detroit Red Wings while they successfully chased Lord Stanley's Cup. There is much importance, superstition, and expertise in growing the scraggly "playoff beard" and I didn't want to jinx myself by mentioning it before Nick Lidstorm did his victory lap.