Java Jive

A friend of mine on Facebook bemoaned his fate during the recent blizzard. He, a veteran of many long, snowy winters had been confident that he was prepped and ready to go before the recent Jonas super storm, even mocking others who were less experienced with snow than he. Then, he discovered on the first day of the deep snow that he had very little coffee in the house.

This would not happen to me.  I always have a spare package.  Often one open package, one spare of beans and a second back up package. Of course some I have decaf to brew which offers taste if not substance. Finally, if some horrible thing happened and I was trapped in my house for days, I have a big jar of instant in the back of the pantry, and maybe a jar of instant espresso that I have on hand for some recipe or another. I also have a jar of instant decaf that I use for late night cups mixed with cocoa (I have become wimpy about drinking regular coffee late at night). Oh, and those little individual packets of Via or Taster’s Choice that I take with me when I’m traveling– those are around here too.

It would have to be a heck of a blizzard to leave me without coffee!

Well That’s Just Super!

This is the conversation Philip and I had last night.

Philip said, “I made our reservations to fly into Oakland on the 4th. Our event with Bob is on the 5th and we’ll stay the weekend and have our meetings and training sessions through the next week. See what hotel you can get close to Fremont.”

So  I clicked away and checked out our regular haunts.

“Looks like there is some big event going on, the hotels are either unavailable or really high priced that weekend.”

Then I googled “Super Bowl.” I knew it was going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, I just didn’t know it was that early in February.

Philip knew it was on the 7th, he just didn’t know it was in the Bay Area.

So, here is the ugly truth– we are sports illiterates.  We are not fans, we are not followers we didn’t watch the Royals in the World Series, but did follow the final games online. We didn’t watch the Chiefs in the play-offs, again catching the final score online. We are happy for both teams doing well this year. We are happy for our friends who follow every game, who watch the Royals in the burning heat or the Chiefs in freezing cold.

We are not those people.

But those people were driving up the cost of the hotel rooms we usually stay in when we are in California.

We spent almost 2 hours finding a hotel that was within driving distance to our event on Friday  and that cost less than a month’s mortgage. We’d  enter our dates, search for a hotel , find one that listed some reasonable price, click select and the next page would show that price for one night, a price 3 times as much for the following night, and a warning that rooms were paid immediately on reservation with no refund for changes.

Um, NO!

We finally used some (a bunch, actually) of Hilton points to offset the cost of one hotel and the on Saturday we’ll move to Windsor, north of the city. I haven’t got the rooms for the rest of the week yet, but we’ll figure it out. By then, the fans will have thinned out and the prices won’t be so hard to take.

And this way, I’ll be strolling the square in Healdsburg to taste some wine while the fans are cheering on their teams. And they and we will all be happy!

On the Road Again

We just got back from nearly a week in Texas.  It was 4 degrees when we left home and in the mid-50s when we got to Galveston.  Not sun bathe at the beach weather, but certainly warmer than home.

Not that we were heading to the beach anyway. This was a work week, so we spent most of our time in conference rooms, training centers, or working in hotel rooms.  That said, we try to have some fun on the road. But, we arrived on a Sunday, so we did take a bit of time.

I had googled “Wineries in Galveston” and found one nearby, in Santa Fe, TX.  We stopped at the Haak Winery  and tasted several of their wines.  When we are tasting several, we always share a tasting, both to save money and so we aren’t drinking too much.  We sat on their deck, which was possible because they had heaters, and enjoyed the sunny but chilly day. We bought a bottle of their White Madeira to take home, and walked around the vineyard a bit and drove on to our hotel.

Rooms were a bargain in Galveston, cheaper than nearer our client site, so we drove an extra few minutes in return for a view of the beach.  Originally we had a view of the back parking lot, but the sink in our room didn’t drain, so we were moved across the hall to a room with a patio/deck and yes, we could see water, if we looked across the Walmart parking lot and the road.  I’m not complaining, since I wasn’t expecting a view. And it wasn’t as if I was spending my time on the deck drinking margaritas!

We ate at a couple of local places.  It felt like the local prices were high (tourist town) so we also went to our fall back position for diet friendly,  fast and economical– Wendy’s salads. Oh, such connoisseurs are we!

When we finished with client work there, we drove for one last night in north Houston, and finally found what Philip had been wanting– Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen had cheap oysters on the half shell.  So he had a dozen oysters, I had a shrimp cocktail with 9 large shrimp and we each had a side salad and a glass of wine and we were very happy.

Client visits went well, had some different food, found a new Texas winery.  Working hard but taking time to smell the roses (you know, the ones planted at the end of the rows of grapes!) Great way to start the year!



Oh, and the Waffle Bar. . .

We had our annual brunch on January 1. The day was bright and sunny, and we had a good turnout– about 45 people, open house style, so they could come and go.  This year, they seemed to come early and stay a while which I love, because it makes for a high energy group– lots of mingling, talking and eating.

I generally gave people who are new the quick rundown of what is in which crock pot, where to find the coffee or the decaf or the iced tea, which pitcher has OJ and which has Mimosas, and, nearly every time as an after thought I heard myself saying “Oh, and the Waffle Bar is on the buffet.”

The menu was carb heavy, and other than the waffles, we lean toward savory as opposed to sweet. We did offer ham and shrimp and deviled eggs, and even a fruit tray and a veggie tray. I have eaten more from the left over veggie tray in the last two days than 45 people ate the day of the party. Philip laughs when I get the veggie trays, because he knows people don’t eat veggies at our brunch. Even so, I always have a veggie tray.

A lot of people say “Oh, I never eat waffles except at this party!” as they are adding the whipped cream. But that makes it a treat, and makes one more reason to have one last day of the holiday season where we eat our waffles instead of our vegetables.