Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Interns

Each year for the past few years I have had the opportunity to work with summer interns. They are usually college students in their junior or senior year and how they get hired may or may not be based on job skills or abilities. At one point in my life I was a high school teacher so to me working with young adults can be a lot of fun. Unless of course the interns are unpleasant or so lacking in skills that you are exhausted from instructing and supervising. There have also been times that I felt I was in the role of caregiver. Like last year when the poor intern decided to walk to the bank which was four blocks away. Normally that wouldn't have been such a problem but the day she decided to go walking, temperatures were in the upper 90's with 90 percent humidity. I got a call from the bank to come pick up the young student. She had thrown up in the bank lobby! Well this year was so different. We had three delightful, intelligent and energetic young women working with us and it made my work day so much fun. It was wonderful getting to know them and refreshing to hear their perspectives on the world as they shared their hopes, dreams and goals for the next few years. For me being around young people inspires, motivates and reminds me to be open to possibilities. This week is our last week with the interns so we have been going out for goodbye lunches. Today the first of the interns said goodbye. We were all sad to see their time with us end but I was glad to have spent a summer with such an outstanding group of young women.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Most Unusual Find for an Airport

I was waiting in Terminal D of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Friday evening and stumbled on a most unusual resting spot. Normally when waiting in an airport I do a little walking around but eventually settle on a stop at Starbucks before going to the waiting area near the departure gate. On Friday while walking around in Terminal D, I rounded a corner and first walked into L'Occitane. While talking to the sales assistant I mentioned the winery that I had seen on my way into the shop. I asked if one could have a glass of wine there (it looked like a place that sold wines by the bottle). The sales associate quickly said of course you can relax there and have a glass of wine. What a discovery. I completed my purchase and walked over to the La Bodega Winery. It was lovely. The winery was beautifully appointed with plenty of cafe tables just outside the shop and inviting bar seating inside. There were also gifts and wine gadgets galore. Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook was playing and the nicest assistant, Elise, gave a big Texas welcome as I walked in. For the next hour I thoroughly enjoyed waiting in the airport. I ordered a glass of wine along with delicious Texas goat cheese wrapped in a hoja santa leaf. This shop was lovely for other reasons besides wine, cheese and ambiance. One of the nicest things about the winery was that it was a comfortable place for women traveling alone. I typically don't go to bars in airports but this shop was inviting and welcoming. Elise is currently taking classes through Wine Spectator and she is excited about sharing what she has learned. There were 3 other women in the shop and Elisedshared with us an illustration on how the tasting of wine works and why the sense of smell is so important in the process. To illustrate try this. First, hold your nose, put a jellybean in your mouth and chew. Notice that you will only taste something sweet. You will not be able to "taste" the flavor of the jellybean. Then let go of your nose and notice a burst of flavor. Elise explained that the taste or real aroma of the wine is found where the sense of smell meets sense of taste. I have included a photo of Elise with her jelly beans. I spent the rest of the visit in La Bodega sharing travel stories with the other women. It was a wonderful Friday night in the Dallas airport. If you happen to be traveling in the Dallas area and have a layover, you might want to stop in and enjoy your wait.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Just Can't Figure It Out

This time of year I almost become obsessed (in my spare time) thinking about vacations. Growing up we took a two week vacation - every year, with no exception. As an adult it isn't as if I don't take vacations. I do, but they are structured differently - a long weekend here, a long weekend there, a five-day trip here, with a miscellaneous day off now and then. Every 5 years or so I manage a big one. A really great trip to someplace exotic for 2 weeks. The problem is that every summer my husband's family takes off a month and heads back home to Lebanon. My husband is Lebanese and it is quite the custom for everyone in his family to go back home and enjoy the beach and the cool mountain resorts for the entire summer. For those cousins who work in Europe, the entire month of August is dedicated to vacation. It makes me wonder what happened to the American vacation.

The photo is a friend's infinity pool in Byblos.

Don't get me wrong. I love living in Georgia, I LOVE my job and the work that I do but how is it that the rest of the world takes a month off to enjoy living while most of us in the U.S. work and even start school in August? Should I be working harder from September to July? Maybe that is the secret. All I know is that in less than a week all of my in-law relations will all be relaxing on rooftop gardens and on the beach enjoying the Mediterranean. Thank goodness for front porches, chaise lounge chairs, fireflies and summer nights. At least when I get home from work I can go outside, relax and take in all the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summertime.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time for Some Skip & Go Naked

It is soooo hot outside today. Temperatures are in the mid-9os and we have been outside at a patio brunch since noon so it was the perfect day for Skip & Go Nakeds! We decided to make this drink our signature drink for neighborhood brunches. I found this recipe a few years ago in the Susan Branch The Summer Book and it has been a summer staple ever since. If you love lemonade, you will love this drink.

2/3 c. pink lemonade frozen concentrate - don't dilute it
2/3 c. beer
1/4 c. vodka

Put first three ingredients in a blender then fill halfway with ice; blend well and enjoy! Not only is this drink refreshing, it's also pretty.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Those Were the Days

I love Friday nights and my ideal evening is to be able to go home with no plans so that I can curl up and watch a great movie. Last night's film was the 1966 award winning Un Homme et une Femme and it was wonderful. Growing up I had always known and loved the music but after watching the movie it was easy to see why it won two Oscars. This was the first time I had seen a film that featured Anouk Aimee and she was absolutely gorgeous. While I recognized her face, I had never seen her acting. I looked her up to see a current photo and she is still stunning at 77 years of age. What is the French woman's secret? Now we know why she is famous for saying, "You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older." After watching the film I began to think about a couple of things. First, how big our world is today. Growing up in Middle Georgia during the 60s this film never made it to our hometown theater but now our electronic world keeps us connected to just about anything, anytime. The second thing I realized is that I should have been born in the late 40's. I wish that I could have experienced the 60's as a teen or young adult. Instead I sat on the sidelines just observing, reading Seventeen magazine and being a tag-a-long to my older brother. When I look back and see films such as this or old films with flight attendants with pill box hats, or gentlemen jumping to open doors, shopping boxes stacked and tied with ribbon, roses being delivered in boxes and elevator service attendants (remember "Going up?") - those were the days. There is such a graciousness that sometimes gets lost in today's world. I should probably count my blessings that I was sent to a charm school because the school closed shortly after my class graduated. I was at least on the road to being a part of the era at the age of 12. Oh well, at least I have my Friday nights to watch old movies and enjoy the past.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Reading

My best friend lives in Seattle and in her neighborhood there exists a wonderful bookshop called Queen Anne Books. To me it is one of the highlights of Seattle. It is small but yet the shop provides plenty at which to look at and read. Queen Anne Books is one of those places that just begs you to linger longer. My last visit to Seattle was for my friend's wedding. While it might seem odd, we managed to squeeze in a trip to QABs during the days leading up to the wedding. In QABs you can count on personalized book reviews by the shop owners. I found a wonderful book (thanks to the readers notes and recommendations), called Suite Francaise. One of the notes describing the book said, "It is the best book that I have read all year." Anyway, I came back from the wedding with a bunch of new books and I finally read Suite Francaise. It is wonderful and I know that it will be a film. It is too good not to be. It was hard to decide what I appreciated more, the story, or the story about the author and how this book remained unpublished for 64 years. Just in case you want a good summer read.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Slow Movement

Have you heard of the Slow Movement? I don't know what has happened to summer. Can you remember summertime as a child? We woke up late, watched a little tv, read, rode our bikes, played games, or made homemade lemonade. Back then it was normal to pile in the station wagon and go on vacation for two weeks. The best of it all was that whatever we chose to do, we took our time. Somehow our days slowed down, almost to a crawl and it felt good. Being from Middle Georgia, I can remember taking rides to go pick up a flat of eggs from one of the chicken farmers or stopping at one of the roadside stands and buying watermelons, 4 for a dollar. Can you imagine? We were fortunate to live near several of the packing houses so trips to go pick up peaches, peanuts and apples meant an exciting trip to Ft. Valley. Of course this time of year would also mean picking or shelling various fruits and vegetables but sometimes even that could be fun.

Some days as I sit in my office and look at my Daytimer, I wonder what has happened. My days tend to be back-to-back meetings so when I get back to my desk there are usually several hours worth of work sitting in my voice and email box. When this happens, I close my eyes and just for a moment imagine those carefree summer days as a child.