Saturday, August 30, 2008

RR and PLU

We enjoyed an evening with new friends last night. We had cocktails here then went out to late dinner. The conversation was fast and furious; we had plenty to talk about. We discovered similar interests and mutual friends and different experiences. We also discovered areas in which we could learn from each other. It was just a fun evening. "They are PLUs", Tom said as we returned home.

A friend of mine, a businesswoman who is one of the most dynamic people you'll ever meet, is one who has interviewed lots of people over her career. She interviews to hire for her own business, and she also interviews to give experience to young people who are just entering the job market. She told me that she has some little codes that she puts in the corner of some applications. One code is RR. It stands for "raised right". She uses it when she discovers young people with manners and values and work ethic and respect for others and other traits that she considers essential. Later, when she reviews that application, with RR in the top corner, she knows that person was someone that she would want to hire.

Another code she uses is PLU---for "people like us". Again, she uses that code to identify those people with traits similar to her own and those of her other employees---smart, congenial, hard-working, creative, enthusiastic. It might be a vendor or a potential client or an applicant for a position in her company.

I think those codes work in lots of situations. While it might be a little tricky to define RR and PLU, we all know what those traits look like. At the College, I come in contact with all kinds of students---some young, some not-so young, but I can tell you if I think they are RRs. I know it when I see it. (I surely hope that my friend would use RR to describe our children were she to interview them.)

We use PLU a lot---as we did to describe our new friends last night. PLU has nothing to do with their color or socioeconomic level or education. Instead it has to do with how comfortable we felt with them, how easily the conversation flowed, how many experiences and interests we shared, and whether we wished the evening could last longer. As it turned out, we overstayed our welcome in the small Japanese restaurant. We were talking so intently that we didn't notice that we were the last customers and the staff had begun sweeping up. We apologize, Sakura!

We enjoy meeting new PLUs!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Black Raspberry, Tar, and Earthiness

Wine tasting was a big part of our Napa trip. Of course it would be. The valley was dotted with acres and acres of grape vines that were loaded with luscious fruits ready to be picked. And in the caves at each vineyard the old oak barrels held even older wines just waiting for their debut. We tasted many. At each winery, we sampled four to six wines. My favorite was the Von Strasser Winery, and there we sampled, among others, the Von Strasser Sori Bricco Cabernet 2005. The steward assisted us with tasting notes. The notes for the Sori Bricco: "the wine is extremely dark and extracted with tremendous depth and concentration. The aromas are of coffee, black fruit, licorice, chocolate, and eucalyptus. Very chewy and viscous on the palate, with flavors of black raspberry, tar and earthiness with a long and impeccably balanced finish."

Did I taste those flavors? Did I catch that hint of eucalyptus? Could I identify the licorice? Could I articulate the sensations on the back of the tongue or describe the delicate finish? Not a chance. But did I enjoy the wines? You bet!

My descriptions of wine, however, would be very different. My description would be something like this: "a hearty red wine to be enjoyed on Sunday night, on the porch of an old farmhouse, with six friends and lots of laughter." Or this: a light red best served with Copper River Salmon prepared in a great kitchen with friends keeping company with the cook." Or this: "a great little Tuesday night wine enjoyed after a long day at the office with neighbors who dropped by to say hello." Or this: "a crisp, refreshing sauvignon blanc just right to enjoy on a hot August evening with grilled cheese sandwiches and a salad and the couple you invited on the spur of the moment."

You see, wine to me is about occasions and friends. It's about good times and hospitality, old stories and laughter. It's about sunsets and cool breezes and moonbeams and stars. It's about good conversation and discussion and poetry and literature. It's about history and shared experiences. And yes, it's about good food enjoyed with others.

I probably won't ever get a job writing tasting notes; yet, somehow, I think lots of folks feel the same way I do.

Our Trip to Napa

We returned home late on Sunday night, weary and yearning for our own bed, but what a great time we had! Fourteen friends, lots of laughter, plenty of wine and incredible food, great weather,a balloon ride, no logistical or other problems and safe travel. It just doesn't get any better! I'll have reflections on it all a little later.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where's the Groove?

I'm a little like Stella. I think I've lost my groove---my blogging groove. Maybe it's the long, hot days of August. Maybe it's being super busy at work. Maybe it's reading all these wonderful, interesting blogs that other people write. Maybe it's just Life interfering. Whatever it is, I've had a dry spell.

Stella took a vacation to get her groove back; well, I think I'll do that, too. We're leaving tomorrow for Napa. Maybe a little cooler weather; maybe new scenery; maybe lots of wineries and wine; maybe fine dining; maybe hot air ballooning; maybe even the fainting goats (Not!); maybe the fellowship of sixteen friends going aross the country together---maybe all that will help me get my groove back!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Staycation

We didn't really plan a staycation; it just happened. I had a week of leave I needed to take; it's really too hot to go anywhere. Gasoline is still almost $4 per gallon; and we have a nice trip planned later this month. So, we decided to stick around. Here's some of what we did during Staycation:

  1. We hosted and/or attended five dinner parties.

  2. We spent two nights at the Farm.

  3. We spent one night at the Lake.

  4. I spent one morning at the ER with Mother--after a fall. Nothing broken.

  5. We took a day trip to Thomasville, GA.

  6. I planted more rosemary at the Farm.

  7. I read The Poisonwood Bible; Tom read 1776.

  8. We took Mother to the Lake for the night; got her on the boat for a nice ride.

  9. We swam in the pool with Brooks.

  10. I cooked Copper River salmon two more times. It will be out-of-season too soon.

  11. We took a day trip to Montgomery.

Here are some photos from the weekend: