Saturday, July 30, 2011

Something Borrowed

I am a self-confessed non-movie person. (I LOVE TV. Mostly don't like movies.)

But I do like the rom-com genre, although it's been awhile since I've seen one worthy of mention. A long while. Maybe not since Sweet Home Alabama.

Readers, feast your eyes on "Something Borrowed":

My top 5 reasons why you should rent the DVD on August 16th:
1. Love, love, love Ginnifer Goodwin. I will now watch anything she is in.
2. Hello - who is the hottie she is in love with? I will also now watch anything he is in.
3. I cared about the characters. Rare find in a rom-com.
4. It took place in New York. Very hip.
5. It was fun to see Kate Hudson be the bad guy a little. Nothing wrong with that.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Power of Yes

I feel like The Power of Yes is probably a book title already. But one I haven't read. With the recent debt ceiling crisis, issues at work, government shutdown in Minnesota, conflits of all sorts around the world, got me thinking...

Saying NO is easy.

NO - The strategy does not match up with my ideologies.
NO - I don't like your proposal.
NO - That's not the way we want to do it.
NO - I don't want to hear the alternatives because I think it's stupid.
NO - Bring me something else to consider and then we can talk.

The problem with always saying NO is the nay-saying group is never bringing alternatives to the table. They hold the power to veto but never offer a solution.

It's much harder to envision a strategy, put together a plan, get buy-in, and pitch it, than it is to say NO.

My point is: do the hard work. Don't be on the NO side. (And if you are, combine the NO with an alternative.) There are a lot fewer people out there doing that, than there are people simply saying NO. The nay-sayers are a dime a dozen. The H.W. (Hard Workers) are few and far between.

Don't say NO. Make something happen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Risks of Ibuprofen.

I sometimes have issues with my lower back. I bulged a disc about a year and half ago and it flares up from time to time, and sometimes sidelines me for quite awhile.

Last weekend I stressed it doing something stupid (no, I'm not going to tell you what it was).

My only saving graces have been exercises (which I have not been doing nearly often enough, but just enough to seem to have helped), chiropractor visits, and ibuprofen.

As a matter of fact, taking 4 ibuprofen every 4 hours became the norm last week. So I thought I would look up the risks to scare myself into taking less:

Common adverse effects include: nausea, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding, raised liver enzymes, diarrhea, constipation, epistaxis, headache, dizziness, priapism, rash, salt and fluid retention, and hypertension. A study from 2010 has shown regular use of NSAIDs was associated with an increase in hearing loss.

Infrequent adverse effects include: esophageal ulceration, heart failure, hyperkalemia, renal impairment, confusion, and bronchospasm. Along with several other NSAIDs, ibuprofen has been implicated in elevating the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), in particular, among those chronically using high doses.

I am going to limit my intake if I can. Nausea is definitely present!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Girls in Science = AWESOME

I love this article from the New York Times .

Actually, I love the PHOTO that's at the top of this article. Notice the three girls holding tropies? It's because they each won their age division at Google's Science Fair.

Here are the projects that won:

Ovarian Cancer Drug Treatment studies

Air Quality Testing and affects on various populations

Reduction of Carcinogens in Grilled Meat using marinades

(Side note for those of you who have not known me forever: I did a variation of the last 2 projects on the list as my own science fair projects and one of them took me to the Intel ISEF when I was in high school.)

I am a HUGE believer in science fairs because I feel like it encourages people to get out of the classroom, think creatively, and apply what they have learned in a practical way. In fact, my own science fair experiences are what made me think I wanted to be an engineer (turns out, I am not cut out for research - although I still love the idea of it).

I wish / hope / pray that someday, I can influence a young woman at some point in her early life to be curious about the world, and can connect her with a mentor who can nourish that curiosity...and help her discover something great while entering it into a science fair.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Superstar Potential

I think I am an awesome employee. I'm smart, I'm focused, I'm creative, I'm a leader, I'm a team player, I'm organized...the list goes on.

It's hard to step outside yourself and see if you have "real" superstar potential. I like this article from Penelope Trunk this week. She lists 5 ways to self-determine if you're on your way to greatness (the bullets are hers, but the comments are mine, about me, to see if I am a superstar).

1. You Bet Big on Yourself.
Well, we moved 1500 miles away for me to take a job I knew nothing about, in an industry that was new to me, with a company recently merged. I think that's betting big.

2. You Take Alternative Paths.
I don't think this applies to me as much. After all, I work - and am happy for the most part - in corporate america. I like my health benefits.

3. You're Overly Focused.
Also not sure if this applies to me. I definitely do not obsess - in fact, I am very much of the "good enough" mindset...uh-oh, strike 2.

4. You Were a Mediocre Student.
I was a good-not-great student in college. I was too busy living life to study as much as I should to be a great student. I also did not like a lot of the 'rules' and 'expectations' laid forth - and therefore just skipped out on some requirements along the way (which made me a good-not-great student!).

5. You Read. A Lot.
I am 100% addicted to my Kindle. And the Internet. And Magazines. (Jeff, I read a lot, right?)

6. Your Goals Align with Your Myers Briggs Score.
I am an ENFJ - 89% extroverted, 50% intuitive, 12% feeling, 11% judging. My goals are to be 'Master of the Universe', as I jokingly describe to people. Which means, I want to be master of a domain - manage people, make decisions, set strategy, and then make sure it happens.

I think that matched my personality type as described here: "ENFJs are the benevolent 'pedagogues' of humanity. They have tremendous charisma by which many are drawn into their nurturant tutelage and/or grand schemes. Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it's usually not meant as manipulation -- ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.

ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

ENFJs are organized in the arena of interpersonal affairs. Their offices may or may not be cluttered, but their conclusions (reached through feelings) about people and motives are drawn much more quickly and are more resilient than those of their NFP counterparts.

ENFJs know and appreciate people. Like most NFs, (and Feelers in general), they are apt to neglect themselves and their own needs for the needs of others. They have thinner psychological boundaries than most, and are at risk for being hurt or even abused by less sensitive people."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sexism...or Migraines?

I am no fan of Michele Bachmann. I disagree with her on, well, just about everything. I contributed money to every opponent she had when we lived in her district.

But, that lack of vision alignment does not make me disrespect her as woman trying to make it in a man's field.

Which is why the recent news about "will her migraines keep her from her job" just boils me up.

I understand being president of the United States is a HUGE job. Maybe even the biggest. And the American people have a right to know if a candidate has a medical issue that could threaten their ability to do the job.

But seriously? Migraines are bad, the symptoms are extremely bad - but it's TREATABLE. Especially given what Ms. Bachmann has listed as triggers for her condition and that it is currently treated with medication.

Sometimes the media drives me crazy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Supplier Relationships

Entrepreneurs and I sometimes do not see eye to eye. I think it is the difference in how our brains work. Entrepreneurs are looking for the next big thing, or creating a solution, or developing an idea. I totally and completely get that, and respect it (especially because there a lot of folks out there wayyyy more creative than me).

I am in the business of Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management. But those things cannot occur consistently without effective upstream and downtstream supply chains.

I can find out about the most glorious, innovative, super awesome product in the world...but if I can't get it - where and when I need it - and in the quantities I need it - guess what. We're not going to use that product. Not today anyway. No matter how fancy schmanzy it is. Talk to me in 2 years when you have figured out the "how" in addition to the "what".

The disconnect between entrepreneurs and me occurs when they take their super awesome, yet abstract idea, and pitch it immediately - and then are disappointed when we don't sign up. I'm sorry - if I don't see the "how" to your "what", we're not ready to do business. (Everybody will be disappointed when we both fail.)

But sometimes, I can help them get there. The (extremely) happy medium is when I can take a small, ambitious business and give them the industry knowledge, the customer feedback, and netowrking contacts who can grow their abstract idea into a real business proposition.

Because if their product or idea is great enough, if it's big enough, I want to be their first customer when they hit it out of the ballpark at the size and scope we require.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From vacation

Whew! What a whirlwind - after departing the show on Tuesday, I made the 7-hour, 2 time zone, 1 layover trek from DCA to RAP. For you non-airliners that's Reagan to Rapid City.

We are still getting our photos organized but a brief overview of the past week is here:
Tuesday - arrive at the cabin
Wednesday - emergency work conference call, groceries, Broken Boot Gold Mine, Terry Peak summit and geocache
Thursday - Custer State Park Wildlife Loop, Sylvan Lake picnic and hike, Mt Rushmore lighting ceremony
Friday - Pactola picnic and swimming
Saturday - Spearfish Canyon, Fish Hatchery, Roughlock Falls, Cheyenne Crossing
Sunday - cleaning, packing, Pizza Lab lunch with arcade, most family departed but we met some college friends for dinner
Monday - relax at the cabin, run to Spearfish to restock supplies, listened to the wind
Tuesday - travel day

Aye carumba!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I heart Cat Cora

Day 2 of the convention and my puppies are barking!!!

Wow, this show is just huge. A ton of things do not apply to me, so I try to quickly go by...but I fear I will not see everything before it's all over tomorrow!

Tonight was the awards show for Specialty Foods at this show. Celebrity Chef Cat Cora was the keynote speaker.

She is so inspirational to me - she 'made it' in a man's world, doing it HER way. She is committed to hard work, creativity, and constant education and learning - I respect that so much and try very hard to bring that to my own professional life.

Thank you NASFT for another great day!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome to Washington

I'm at the Fancy Foods Show for the next 3 days. Wow - 2500 exhibitors packing a convention center, with everything you can imagine from popcorn tins to olive oil to frozen Japanese meals.

I have tasted more antipasti and olives, exotic cheeses, gelato, brioche, chocolate, potstickers, etc etc etc...oh, my, god...good food is amazing.

But the most surprising thing today was dinner. I met with several other industry colleagues at America Eats Tavern, a pop-up restaurant by 2011 James Beard Foundation Oustanding Chef Jose Andres, in conjunction with the National Archives exhibit of the same name. The restaurant was decorated with items on loan from the archives, and the entire menu featured new takes on dishes of Americana history from different parts of the country (SD even made an appearance featuring Lewis and Clark's bison tomahawk steak with cheddar mashed potatoes and catsup and pickles).

Wow - between 5 women we ordered at LOT of food and shared everything. I have never had a more interesting meal...and by interesting I do mean delicious as well. It was soooo cool to read about the origin of the recipes and how they came to be part of American cooking. If you are in DC between now and the end of December - you HAVE to go here.

The highlights from our meal (we ate a LOT):
1st course
Grilled Butter Oysters - Thomas Downing, NYC 1825
Shrimp 'N Anson Mills Grits - Jamestown 1607
Buffalo Wings - Frank and Teressa's, Buffalo 1964
Shrimp Remoulade & Fried Green Tomatoes - Francois Tanty, French Cooking for Every Home Adapted to American Requirements, 1893
Vermicelli Prepared like Pudding - Philadelphia 1802

2nd course
She Crab Soup - William Deas, Charleston 1909
Clinton's Gazpacho - traditional
Harvard Beet Salad - Fannie Farmer, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book 1906
Shrimp in Grapefruit Cocktail - Irma Rombauer, Joy of Cooking 1931
Maine Lobster Roll - John D. Rockefeller, Mount Desert Island, Maine 1910

Main course
BBQ Beef Short Ribs with 'Cold Slaw' - Lettice Bryan, The Kentucky Housewife 1839
Eisenhower's Stew - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954
Lobster Newberg - Delmonico's 1876
Chesapeake Crabcakes with Pickled Watermelon Salad - Lord Baltimore Hotel 1932

Strawberry Shortcake
Vermont Sugar on Snow
Key Lime Pie

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Carrot Cake Recipe

I'm really into carrot cakes lately. Really loving them.

And that is saying something, considering my current line of work.

I can't wait to try this recipe - someone else should make it first and let me know how it turns out!

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Hikers

I L-O-V-E 3-day weekends!!!

Friday was an early day - I got a phone call from Jeff saying he had stepped on a yellowjacket nest and had a bunch of stings. I rushed home to find him showered, red, and itchy - but doing ok (considering there were 16 stings on his legs and upper arms). This put a bit of a damper on Friday plans so we laid low as Jeff put on cream, lanacaine spray, and popped Benadryls.

By Saturday he was feeling better (can you believe it) so we got the yard all spruced up for the weekend - mowing, weeding, blowing debris. Four hours of work in the Georgia heat feels like 10!!! We capped off the day by having some friends over for a BBQ (from Shane's of course) and a fire pit with s'mores.

Sunday was an easy day - we needed some time off to relax. So we putzed around the house, got groceries and a few other errands, but mostly just hang out. I think there may have been a couple naps in there too.

On Monday, we woke up bright and early to take a day trip to Sweetwater Creek State Park, about 40 minutes from our place. We had go early to try and beat the heat since we were not going up into the mountains.

We were on the trails hiking before 9AM, with 2 Clif bars, a Gatorade, and 3 liters of water in town. It was a beautiful area - waterfalls and rock rapids, and a really cool Civil-war era ruins. The Union came through and burned all 5 floors of the textile mill during the war and all that is still standing is the brick facade. (I'll post photos later.)

And - of course - we geocached. We got our first stamp in the Georgia State Park passport!!! If we get 15 State Park Geocache stamps, we will reach the bronze level and get a really cool trinket.

Monday night was of course fireworks. We did not fight any crowds but instead Jeff dashed in and out of the the rain to give us a good show!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Confused Gardenias

My gardenias are STILL blooming a little bit. They don't seem to mind the 90+ temps we have had for the past month. What troupers!

Our garden is humming along...but not THIS well - check out this zucchini from some of our friends!

Turns out, pots are just fine in Georgia as long as you don't do petunias. They just have to be drought-tolerant.

My house smells WONDERFUL!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Favorite Fireworks

I am not a huge fireworks person. I am content with Snaps (because you can throw them at someone), sparklers, and a pagoda (because it reminds me of Amy).

I hate the stuff that makes a bunch of damn noise. Damn kids.

But Jeff really likes fireworks. Luckily he doesn't get too much of the noisy stuff.

UPDATE: no pagodas in Georgia. Too fly-y. Only sparklers and ground things. SUCK!

What are your must-haves? And what is your fireworks budget?