Sunday, August 26, 2007

A good recipe to share

I wanted to make something healthy and a little different for dinner tonight. This is what I came up with. I know some folks aren't into brussel sprouts so you could use another veggie easily. Actually brussel sprouts are one of my favorite veggies and I don't make them enough, because I am the only one in my house who will eat them. Oh well they were good, but of of course I am the only one in the house that knows that, since even though Paul and Gigi loved the fish, they did not dare try the brussel sprouts.

Chilean Sea Bass in Foil Packets

1 garlic clove, slivered
Juice of one lemon
2 T olive oil
Chopped Italian parsley
Sea salt
Garlic slat
Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes

1 zucchini cut into long quarters
6 brussel sprouts halved

1 lb Chilean sea bass
Steamed brown Rice

Preheat oven to 350. Make 3 foil packets. Mix all ingredients except sea bass and brown rice. Cut sea bass into three pieces; place each piece into a packet. Top each piece with vegetable mixture. Seal packets place on baking sheet and bake for 25-45 minutes or until the fish flakes.

Place a serving of rice on plate. Place piece of sea bass on top. Pour veggies and sauce from packet over sea bass and rice.

Good Stuff

There are two really great places that I need to share with you. The Red Door Spa and Azucar. You probably know about Red Door so I will start with Azucar. This is a restaurant in my neighborhood, literaly two minutes from my house. I went there once for a huge ladies club lunch and didn't get the real feel of the place. The other night I went with some friends from our neighborhood and I was blown away. How is it that this great little gem of a restaurant was right there all this time and I wasn't even aware of it? Well since then we have dinner there two more times. (once in and once carry out, yes carry out also!). So I had dinner there three nights in a row. What's cool is that each meal was so different it didn't seem like it came from the same place. The other great thing is that Paul likes it too. Usually if I get obsessed on place he usually hates it so it makes it hard. I guess I'll burn him out on this one soon enough.

The Red Door Spa, this was the big birthday gift. I went with my friend Louise and we had a blast. It started with a deep tissue massage, which was incredible. I've had massages before but never the deep tissue. I am sold on this massage. It really loosened up all the kinks. I mean it was serious work on the muscles, later when I got home I was so exhausted from it that I slept very soundly for two hours. I just can't say enough about it. Then we had facials. This was also very good, my skin has been a mess so I really needed the treatment. Finally we had a shampoo, blow dry and make application. This great because if you have had the first two treatments you know you walk out of the spa with a makeup free blotchy face and your hair is all messed up with oil from the massage in it, etc. We walked out all glamerous so it was well worth it. I had cut back on spa stuff this past year, but realized just how important it is. What's even better is I have two gift cards for Aveda sitting in my purse. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Montgomery County Fair

I Love this picture of these pigs sleeping. Feel bad about the pork bbq that I had for lunch today, but that's how the food chain works. Anyway, yesterday we finally made it to the Montgomery County Fair. As usual Ms. Gigi had great time on the rides. We also got a chance to see some farm animals which she also enjoyed. The arts and crafts section, she didn't fancy so much, so no time for shopping there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Illegal Immigrants are People Too

I know I am asking for trouble with a title like that, but I think it’s important to remind people of that very simple, but incredibly important fact. What has me thinking about this you ask? Well I was at a meeting of executives yesterday discussing business issues and it came up that one of the executives had recently let go of a good employee because it was discovered that she was in this country illegally. He let her go on a loophole, citing the reason as lying on her I-9 and skipped the whole illegal issue. As an HR professional I agree this was the way to go, unless a way to sponsor her to be in this company was an option.

Now that it is a done deal, he finds that she is working for someone he knows and feels an ethical responsibility to let them know her status or tip them off that they should run her social security number and find it out for themselves. This really hit a hot button for me, and I didn’t really realize it was there. I mean I listen to the news and here all the fuss about illegal immigrants but haven’t really defined where I stand on it.

Hearing about this woman helped me define it bit more clearly. In this situation, she is a good employee, holding down a job, paying her taxes etc. So do I want her to lose her job because she is here illegally? No. Do I like that she has lied to her employer? No. But I realize she no choice to lie. I would rather her lie and hold down a regular job than turn to crime or some other unsavory method of supporting herself.

Also, FYI, a former employer should never call the new employer and “alert” them to an issue with the employee. And yes, I do have exceptions to that rule like say they embezzled form my company or something to that effect. And just so you know you could get sued for that, but the ethical reason to do it out weighs the liability. In this case the business is no danger of not knowing her true status, they are doing nothing wrong I hiring as they believe her documents are legit and she is not hurting them. The worst thing that could happen is they find out and fire her.

Do I support all illegal immigrants? No. I don’t want anyone here illegally that supports themselves as criminals, or commit other crimes such as murder or rape. I also don’t want the ones here that buy homes in my neighborhood and fill it with 10 adults under the same roof, or the ones in the mall who have no sense of decorum. I don’t want our community to be brought down to a different level. But the folks who have been here in this county holding down jobs, paying taxes conducting themselves as good citizens in our community, who have families here, I support some way of allowing them to stay.

I Love Ikea, Gigi Loves Dancing

Last weekend I had had it with the family room in our basement. I decided I didn't like sitting down there. This is not good. It's called the family room for a good reason, this is where we are supposed to hang out. The good TV is there, the computers are there, and the majority of Gigi's toys are there. Which is one of the problems, they are everywhere in that room. We pick them up but a few days later your stepping on little figurines and killing your foot on the way to the sofa.

Saturday I got up, really with just intentions of cleaning up the toys and some of the clutter and it turned into a day long project. I moved the furniture around a bit creating "the adult zone" around the TV area. and reorganized "the kid zone" a bit. Then I needed some stuff to really make it work, so we headed over to Ikea. God, I love that place, good stuff and low prices. I picked a new square glass coffee table that really made my new "adult zone" work. Plus some cool current panels and hanging hardware to help define the area with out hindering the visual openness of the room. Tada! a new and fabulous room that works for all of us.

Gigi loves it too and is keeping her stuff in the kid zone. These shot are great because the show off the remodeled space and how cute she is dancing. At then end of watching a movie she always gets up and dances to the songs at the end. Last night it was Mulan. A really good movie for young girls. None of the typical saved by the handsome prince stuff. She saves the guy and all of China and goes home to her family without thinking twice about the guy. He follows her.

Controlling Others, Don’t Even Think About It

My advice about control has to do with controlling yourself, not others. As much as we would like to control the behavior of others, its a slippery slope to attempt and I say forget it. There have been a few situations lately where I have seen this attempt of controlling the behavior of others fall on its face. Really, people are people, they are going to do whatever they are going to do and your choice in the matter is only how much of that behavior, if you find it to affects you negatively, that you are going to accept.

One thing I have learned over the years is that unless the behavior is completely wrong in all eyes of judgment, such as violence against an innocent party, there are two sides (at least) to every story. So even when you have decided the behavior of another is wrong, it could very likely a perception thing on your part. You may not like it but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.

Another thing I have learned is that relationships and the behaviors that accompany them are tested and then repeat themselves. So if you let someone treat your poorly and get away with it, most likely they will continue that behavior. So it’s in your control to decide what you will accept and what you won’t. This doesn’t get into ultimatums or anything like that, it just means you have the choice to hang around and tolerate it or you need extract yourself from the relationship. Changing it isn’t usually an option. That’s in the extreme and should be recognized early on, because as time goes on, it certainly isn’t as simple as that.

The other thing about control is to match your expectations up with what another person is willing to give. If you think you can arrange a situation to get what you want, realize it may not be what the other person wants. If this is the case, the set up is doomed to fail and is guaranteed to leave all with bad feelings.

In a round about way I guess what I am saying is look at the people in your life realistically. Accept them for who they are, unless of course the relationship is truly a toxic one. Realize what they are willing to give and what they aren’t. If you set your expectations of them too high you will be disappointed. Also recognize the role you play in the relationship, this means how you have treated them, how you accepted their treatment of you and realize if you want something different than what the established patterns are, you may not get it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Few Good Quotes

Got an email this a.m. with some good quotes for "mature women" thought some were worth posting.

Inside every older person is a younger person . wondering what the heck happened.~Cora Harvey Armstrong

Old age ain't no place for sissies! ~Bette Davis

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart. ~Caryn Leschen

If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning. ~Catherine

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Germantown Splash Park

We went to the Germantown Splash Park on Sunday with some friends. This is the perfect place for water fun for little ones, you don't have to worry about them going in deep water. Its all fountains that you can run in. The only issue I have is that you get splashed in the face continuously and so that's a little hard to deal with. But when it's hot who cares?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fairy Party

Last weekend one of Gigi's friends from day care had a fairy party. It was really a great idea and the food and decorations were very creative. Several little girls were invited over and given fairy wings, wands, etc. I think they all really enjoyed it. The girls were asked to dress in the type of dress they thought a fairy would wear. I guess was a flapper fairy. :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Control - its a conversation starter

Well it seems that my post on Control has been great for starting insightful conversation. After writing it it really made me think about how I handle myself and got a friend of mine doing some self exploration also. This is great, I need to do more posts like that. I love taking about this stuff. What makes us tick, or crack as it may be.

Since this conversation did not take place on the blog I have asked my friend to allow me post the conversation.

My friend wrote...

I'm probably going to blog about this, but I've been thinking a lot lately about your self confidence entry and the Hack Yourself letter. I've always had challenges with my self esteem and have only learned, over the last several years, how to overcome that at times and especially how disruptive it can be in my personal and professional life. What I've been wondering about folks like you and my boss, and the guy who wrote Hack Yourself--people who exude self confidence--is whether you ever are at a low point yourself. Do you ever find that you are not performing optimally and are letting your behavior be adversely affected by a temporary lull in your self confidence? I mean, it's one thing to have a history of low self esteem. It's another to read stuff like Hack This and your blog entry and start thinking things that don't help me like, "man, I'm such a loser--these people don't let anything get in their way!" Am I making any sense here?

So my response was...

Yes you are making sense. I am glad you feel I "exude self confidence" and I guess most of the time I do. But really sometimes it's more show that substance. Not to say I don't have plenty of substance, but I've learned to fake the confidence when needed and as the situation pans out I grow into it. This allows opportunity to continue to come my way, even it I don't necessarily feel ready for it. One thing I have always done is keep my head down and work hard and pretend I know what I am doing until I really know what I am doing. It's been my way of hiding my flaws, but are they really flaws or do I just see them as that? Certainly my ability to spot lack of confidence in others is due to my own bouts with it. My post was an effort to allow the readers see it in themselves and get on with it. It's frustrating to me to sit and watch without a real way to effect change for others.

I believe most us have that little voice of self doubt in their heads, and of course carry mental baggage of things that have hurt us in the past, but it's important to see in ourselves the strengths that others see. I've been lucky to be in positive nurturing environments both at home and work, it has really allowed me to come into who I am and be confident.

To answer the question have I let low moments effective my behavior and productivity, certainly. But more in my younger days and I guess I did so much of it then that I really try not to allow it now. :) Again, it's this practice that allows me to see it in others. Now if I am on a low point I let it ride a bit and if it doesn't turn around I start faking it and sooner or later, usually sooner, I get back on good note. It's like smiling, even if you're not in the the mood to smile when you start, it actually makes you feel better and then you find yourself smiling without making an effort.

My friend's response...

Thanks again. I love this kind of discourse. It's great to learn a little about what makes people tick.
I guess my perspective goes right back to the topic of your original entry on this--control. By my count, I'm not so hot at faking anything. I tend to be brutally honest most of the time. Most people who know me well will attest to this--most of the time the examples they site are the times when I come right out and tell a person what I think regardless of how it might sound or how the subject might take it. People who don't know me at work or home usually find this amusing at least and admirable at most. My problem is that the longer I know you or the more often I'm around you, the more often I take the opportunity to "set you straight." This is when some people get to see how abrasive I can be. It doesn't stop here. Get me into a debate or an argument and, sometimes, I lose control. Now, this mostly depends on my mood and my mood is usually not directly related to the topic at hand. I am also very rarely aware of my mood or how it might effect my behavior until it's a bit too late. I won't go into the details of what happens when I lose control. It's usually embarrassing on some level and I almost always end up apologizing to someone very soon afterwards (another quality that most people who get to know me tend to appreciate).
The thing is that a lot of this stuff gets summed up as me being a bit moody or passionate--when I discuss this with the people who accept me, they say that they know that that's just "David being David." Even when I find myself apologizing, people tell me not to worry about it. . .I guess I always come back to the fact that most of the actual behavior is related to my need to be taken seriously and for my thoughts and feelings to be respected. If my confidence is low at the moment, I'm likely to believe that I'm being brushed off or disrespected--even if all that is happening is that someone is disagreeing with me. Even when people tell me I don't need to apologize or say they know that that's just the way I am, internally, I take that as being brushed off--people should accept compliments and apologies more appropriately!
So, I guess, as I mature too, I understand all of this about myself even better and, hopefully, I gain more control over my behavior. The thing that I still feel in the dark about is how other people, especially those who seem so successful, happy and "with it", maintain the control necessary to keep their feet out of their mouths. It seems as though these people must have a balance in their lives of the sort that will always be out of my reach. I guess the key here is that it only seems this way and, of course, only when I'm not feeling the most confident. Also, I suppose if I knew everything about how these people manage, they'd have no privacy and there'd be no point in getting to know them.

My Response...

Oh I've certainly put my foot in my mouth - that's always fun :( , not to mention embarrassing. The last time was at work with someone really pushing on me, really just pushing buttons with a fever and I was letting him. During the discourse I yelled across the office at my beloved assistant, who was with an outside vendor at the time ( I unfortunately did not realize this), and to say the least made an ass out myself. It was really not a good moment. I still apologize profusely to her about this incident to this day.

I have seen the owner of my company, who I admire greatly, lose it on occasion. So we all may lose it, but control is certainly the key. I really hope I don't allow myself to be pushed that out of control again, and pray I spot the warning signs and remove myself from the conversation before it happens.

You play a dangerous game, as I guess I have with my original post. People don't always want to hear what your opinion is if it reflects negatively against them, but I understand the need to let them know. Most of the time I keep my mouth shut, unless of course it's in a work situation where it is my job to observe and comment to employees and their managers. But in the social group, if you ask me I'll tell you, but otherwise I'll keep it to myself or blog about it. :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lighten Up

Well I am happy to say I am making some progress on ridding myself of the recently gained vacation pounds. Back to where I was before the second vacation so that makes me fairly happy. The other pounds will be harder. I have a new weapon in my arsenal for this quest, Hoodia. I've tried various "weight loss" products before with very little hope or satisfaction, but I have to say so far the Hoodia product has done what it says it will do. Basically it just makes you feel less hungry. And it does it without making you feel like you are on speed. This isn't to say it would keep me from sitting down and eating a large meal or several large meals throughout the day. But what it does do is allow me to eat the small meal and feel satisfied. Most of the time when I go for the small meal theory I fail. I want more to eat as soon as I am finished. I want to snack. Not the case with Hoodia. Now I am only 2 days into using this product but I am also down 3 lbs, so although I don't expect to lose another 3lbs in the next two days, it's given me a bump and if it can help control my appetite. The rest will follow.

When I purchased the product I got a quick education on its origins. Apparently it's an herbal remedy that the bushman in Africa have used for years. Not for weight loss of course but for for it's ability to keep you from feeling hungry. They used it whenever they would go on a long journey where they would have little or no food or water.

Now of course the other major factor in health and weight control is exercise. I have really let this go. But I have good news on this front also. My office is moving to a new building and there is a very nice Sport and Health club next door. We have meeting today with one of their reps to get an employee discount for our staff. We'll get this in motion ASAP, so I can start going there. Even now before the move it's much closer to my office than my other gym.

Ah, I feel in control. And caffeine free.