Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the Midnight train to Georgia....



It's official, I'm moving to the ATL. My new job starts on Wednesday - and it's gonna be ALL new. New city, New industry, New and exciting things!

Monday, March 29, 2010

"2 weddings & 2 babies"

That's pretty much what my grandma kept repeating over the weekend. She's VERY excited about all the additions to the family. This weekend was the two weddings part of the statement.

Friday saw the marriage of my Uncle Robb to Sharon. I don't know Sharon very well, but she has been very hospitable (she let my entire family come over for breakfast on Christmas...we're a big family!) and easy to talk to. I am very excited about them being a part of our big ole family gatherings!

Saturday was my cousin Brandon's wedding. Again, because of the distance, I haven't spent a lot of time with his bride. But I do know this: Julie is pretty laid back and LOVES to laugh. She also loves my grandparents and isn't too easily embarrassed (she'll fit right in!) It was a lovely ceremony and a nice reception. Their wedding was truly a village effort as all the food was made or brought in by friends and family. That's one way to measure the love of those around you! They had cupcakes instead of a cake...they were good (for those of you that don't know, I'm not a huge fan of wedding cake).

So over 2 days I ate myself full and drove alot.

Now to hunker down and wait for those two babies!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Power of Half



I was VERY excited about this book when I read about it (in a magazine? on a plane?). The idea that this family decided to sell their house and live with less in order to make a difference in others' lives intrigued me..... I also should have known it was too good to be true.

What I liked about the book: I like that the daughter (who is currently a jr. in high school) writes a little something within each chapter. They tend to be more action points (how to figure out what to do/encourage each other, etc). I like that the book shows how they grew together as a family unit (at the beginning the parents were driving the kids to activites: the car and the dinner table were their family time). And I like that they picked one project and are sticking with it (in this case a 5 year commitment) as opposed to giving a lump some to an organization they like and walking away. I like that they were already involved in some organizations in ATL beyond just cutting them a check.

What I didn't like: The title (and marketing campaign) are deceiving. This family sold their house (well, 2 years after putting it on the market) and they gave 1/2 of that money away. They moved to a smaller house, that was around the corner from their current house. They had to give up some possessions (due to the lack of space), but they didn't give up their lifestyle (eating out, sports, cleaning people, private schools, etc). I did note that the book mentioned that at the end their daughter was driving an 8 year old car....but I don't know if that was choice or because of their family's financial situation (during the process the dad "loses" his job and the mom switches careers resulting in a 50% pay cut).

Overall, I think that their idea was good (that we don't need these huge houses that state our status). But I didn't see them living with less.... and not all of us have a 1.9 million dollar home that we should downsize from. But I guess the real issue is that I always feel you could do more.... and I should realize that moving from this huge & prestigious house might have been all they could do - to start. They did deal with a lot of criticism from friends (and currently the general public). And I applaud them for seeing problems and struggling through how their family can make a difference.

So I will continue to wrestle with what I can do personally - and if I move to Atlanta, I have a list of charities all ready in hand!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Love...

I've been reading this blog for awhile (http://epherielldesigns.com). I like it because she's artistic and knows other artistic - and unlike me (well, the artistic part - I KNOW artistic folk!) I pulled these images from that site because, well, today I liked them :-D




Sunday, March 21, 2010

I did such a great job I bought the product!


Last week I sampled a marinade/rub. I liked the look of it (but not the meatballs I was using it on!) so much that I bought it. So far I've made a marinade for chicken. I'm looking forward to using this in grilling....or making burgers... or other stuffs!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tales from the demo world

Last week had some pretty interesting twist and turns. I daily remind myself that there is a reason I took a part time job...that helps lots of things roll right off (it's a work-in-progress, my letting go!) So a picture and a few funny stories:



"fitness woman": this woman walked by me with all kinds of "fitness" stuff in her cart. Protein powder, protein bars, sports bras...dressed in a tank & biker pants(?). It was all very humorous because here was this older woman who was most def trying to get people to notice her (cause it was too cold outside to be wearing what she was wearing!). I hope she was a trainer!!

"conspiracy theory Catholic": Last Friday I was serving meatballs. A woman came up and said, "nope, can't have those". I replied "yeah, I'm always surprised at how much meat they have us serving on Fridays during Lent." (because my marketing mind thinks that if I wanted my product tasted by the maximum amount of people, I wouldn't serve it on a day that a large percentage won't eat it for religious reasons). She then proceeded to tell me that she thinks it's done on purpose - that it's all a conspiracy... I mentioned the fact that the manufacturer, not the retailer chooses what gets served. She countered with "well who decides that their products are carried in the store?" (she had me on that one). She went on to tell me that the retailer's headquarters were in the Bible-belt, "with all those Baptist". I ended our conversation as quick as I could. She came back about 5 minutes later and told me she had just had some of the pizza (pepperoni) that one of my co-workers was making. "But I took the meat off and gave it to my husband. He's Baptist." Yep, pretty sure I was just standing there with my mouth open.

And finally a question (or maybe observation): Why is it that the people who drive around in those wheelchair things (not because they are injured, because they are obese) always stop at every place at least once for a sample?.....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patty's Day!



Last year was the first time I tried this yummy Colcannon dish. I always think about adding it to my regular cooking (as I LOVE mashed potatoes and could always use more veggies!). And now I'll share the goodness....






2 ½ lb Russet Potatoes, peeled and quartered
Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
8 Tbsp (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
¾ Cup Milk
4 Bacon Slices, cut into ½ inch dice
4 Large Shallots, thinly sliced
1 Large Leek, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
1 Bunch Curly Kale, about ¾ lb, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 Small Head Napa Cabbage, about 1 lb, cored and coarsely chopped (I used Savoy Cabbage)
1/8 tsp Mace or Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Method

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.

Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches. Fold in the milk mixture in two additions. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper tower-lined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 3 Tbsp of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the shallots and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and toss just well wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the mace and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm.

Serves 8.

The rest of my good stuff is currently in the oven ;-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thoughts on a Monday

As I drive this specific route in Atlanta, I pass the VA hospital. Three things always catch my attention:
1. The car traffic is bad and these folks can't drive.
2. There are always a TON of people standing outside the entrance.
3. The sign: as the words scroll across the lit up sign I read "The price for freedom is evident here!". I wonder who chose to put a "!" there. I'm thinking that the price for freedom that is so evident within the walls of this hospital don't really call for a "!" But maybe it just rubs the marketing side of me all wrong....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Church Signs

I really hope this is the first week of the series.....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A full plunge or just getting my toes wet?

Today I rejoined the work force. Yes, after almost 2.5 months away, I went back. Not because I missed it so much...but because I bought a car (that I have to pay for & also needs gas) and I didn't want to entirely deplete my savings during this period of rest.

So I'm back - part time. I had to fight for that - they wanted me full time, no thanks. What is this glorious/amazing job? I'm a Product Demonstrator. That's right friends, I'm "the sample lady" at Sam's Club. (I've been told we call it "the club" not "a store"....) Today, for 6 hours, I handed out cold cooked shrimp to anyone who would look at me. I saw a friend from elementary school...but he was the only person I knew all day. I think I'm gonna like this job, for now. It allows me to interact with people (so I don't forget all those skills) and gives me a flexible schedule to really pursue the full-time position I may seek...one day. I won't like standing on my feet for 6 hours....or smelling like fish when I get home. (Still trying to decide if it's better or worse than smelling like "fried" chicken & waffle fries.)

But the return to customer service means I get to revive one of my bro-in-law's favorite things from me having this type of job....stories about customers! And of course today was a good one! I see this woman walking toward the Miracle Mile (hey, that's what we call it in our family...cause it's a miracle all the good foods you get on it) and she is DECKED out. She looks like she's the mother in a wedding or going to some very fancy dinner/dance/concert. She's got jewels on her jacket, jewels on her fingers, jewels around her neck (this one was pretty & I complimented). She had her hair done and her make-up and nails. She wasn't pushing a cart, she was pushing one of those flat bed cart things. Such an odd sight! So she walks up to me VERY excited that I have shrimp and grabs 2 servings. After quickly downing these she hands me her empty cup and says "just put some more in there for me, I really like shrimp." I stammer, "Um, it's just 1 sample per customer." To which she responds "I get LOTS of samples here!" and walks away. I then watch her get an employee to load her cart with various 20oz bottle packages of pop (that's right East Coast - I don't say 'soda'!). I then notice a manager come and greet her and speak to her about how someone will help her load her merchandise in her car...and then she goes around greeting other employees. She knows EVERYONE it seems. As she is leaving my area of the store she comes back around to me - big smile on her face - and grabs three more samples off my tray. She made me laugh....and for that I thank her.

Don't worry folks - more stories to come, I'm sure!