Monday, October 10, 2016

New York in the Fall

It’s fall and I’m in New York with Lisa. We made plans for this trip more than a year ago and we met up late Friday night. Saturday and Sunday the weather was very fall like, with some overcast skies and even a fair amount of rain on Sunday. We tootled Times Square, popped in to see a movie (after being wet all afternoon) - Sully, which was fun to see in NY, and we shopped a little, too. On Sunday we went to the American Museum of Natural History and wow, what a place that is!! According to their website, it’s more than 1,500,000 square feet of space to learn. Lisa and I spent easily 3-4 hours there and still did not see everything. I especially enjoyed the geology exhibit and loved seeing so much from California and even Placer Country as it pertains to the gold on display. This is going on my list of places to go back to with Mason, hopefully before he graduates from high school. It is absolutely a must-see if you visit NY.

We made a list of the things we really wanted to do while we are here some of which include roof top bars & nightlife, shopping the wholesale stores open to the public, riding bikes and the carousel in Central Park, seeing a show or two, and visiting the new Brookfield Mall at the site of the World Trade Center. We are staying in a little apartment in the meat packing district which is right across the street from Chelsea Market. There is just so much to see and do that is not on the normal NYC tourist list, there is no way we will do it all. With that said, we have already covered lots and we have another 3 days to play. I’ll wrap this up with a realization I had last night before falling asleep. After a full day of fun that wrapped up at a gay country bar we hopped in a cab and headed back to our little place, we decided to stop for dinner and that was one of the best meals of my life. I learned many years ago that there are restaurants that have great food and no atmosphere, great atmosphere and mediocre food, neither of what’s important, and finally, very few that have both amazing food and incredible atmosphere - We had dinner at Tao and I have a very clear understanding of the michelin star ratings for restaurants. I don’t know if they have stars, but they should! So the food was incredible, you get that, but my realization was this, Lisa and I were captivated from the time we walked in the door. We were greeted with big smiles, got right in and the experience moved along as we laughed, chatted, and sipped our drinks. By the time we had finished our meal, it occurred to me that had not thought about our phones, friends on social media, or anyone else for that matter. The
environment we were in had us completely present and enjoying what was happening right there and then. I suppose I snapped out of it at one point when I chuckled and noted that we had darn near cleaned our plates and didn’t event think to take a photo of how beautiful they looked when we were served. Just for fun, I snapped a photo of them having been thoroughly enjoyed and we paid our bill and left. I might note, for the meal and experience we had just enjoyed, in New York, the bill was under $100! With that, I will leave you with this:

Energy of intention

Life can often leave you feeling stuck or trapped in an undesirable position. Yet no matter how confining your situation may be, there is always a positive way forward.

Even though your options may be very limited, you do still have some powerful choices. Even in a difficult, highly challenging situation, there are real and present possibilities for great improvement.

The first thing to do is to refuse to see yourself as a victim. By taking full responsibility for your situation, you give yourself the power to change it for the better.

Next, instead of fretting about the way things are, develop a clear and compelling vision of how you want your life to be. Somewhere within the realm of possibility is a realistic goal that will make things much better for you.

Find that goal, focus on it, refine it, and make it so desirable that you cannot help but move toward it. Fill your awareness with your vision of a positive outcome, working enthusiastically and relentlessly to find and follow the way.

You've spent your entire life making things happen. Take control of the energy of your intention, and get yourself where you choose to be.

Ralph Marston - The Daily Motivator

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall Home Show in the Bag!

Happy Monday Friends and welcome to fall!

Yes, we got a taste of real fall weather over the weekend, cooler temps and even an awesome thunder storm with a heavy downpour yesterday. I have been busier than usual these last few weeks, between work, events, and Mason's performance schedules, I'm not sure which direction I'm heading when. In fact, the days got away from me so much that I didn't write a Monday Motivator at all. 

We just wrapped up the fall home show here in Auburn and it was wildly successful. Mason did Chopped Challenges all three days and when he wasn't performing, he was either emceeing other chefs during their Chopped Challenge or selling sauces in his Mason Made booth. He got to do double duty making money with his business and being paid for his host duties. Not bad as he gets ready to turn the clock over to being a teenager! Yep, the 20th of this month my baby turns the heck did that happen? He almost sold out of all his product, coming home with just 8 bottles of sauce. We will be restocking for the Mandarin Festival where we expect much of the same the weekend of November 18-20. As I mentioned in an earlier email, we are planning to put together some pretty packaging to make ready made gifts. If you can come to the festival, you can taste the products or you can just trust us when the tell you they are delicious! I'll send out more details as the event gets closer.

This coming Friday I am off to NYC for a girls weekend with Lisa and I cannot wait! New York in the fall and with no other commitments on my calendar, sounds like heaven. Now I'm off to keep tackling my list so I can get all my work done this week. I hope you are enjoying the change of season as much as I am and I'm sure I'll have plenty to share from the east coast next week.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The One That Got Away!

This week is the one that got away! I didn't get a post written, but actually there wasn't much to say.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Let it Slow!

Isn't this a pretty gift?
I'm late, I know. But the good news is, things have slowed down a little and I can take a breath and look around to see all the minutia that needs my attention. How is it that I have two escrows that closed (one a week ago Friday and one today) and as I map out my bills, I'm broke again? Really?! Laughing! I know, I know, it's the American way! Hopefully though, as I pay off our bills from our move and the months I went without a paycheck, I will open and close some more transactions and start to rebuild our savings. So one of my favorite parts of my job is giving my buyers the keys to their new home, but sometimes it doesn't work out for me to do it. I would never make them wait for me so when I can't the listing agent will meet them. This happened with my buyers a week ago Friday and I was bummed. As it goes with life, I got to give keys to the buyers of my last listing, so that made up for it...a little. 

"Zoodles" or zucchini noodles made with the spiralizer.
In other news, make sure you are wearing your sunscreen! I have been very diligent about wearing it and I even took a 10 year hiatus from intentional tanning for 10 years (between 30 and 40). I have hounded Dave and Mason to wear it and Mason has been far more receptive than Dave through the years. Dave has been better of late, but this week he gets to go get a painful treatment for pre-cancerous melanoma. As much as we all like to be outside, it is so important to protect our skin, not only with the hope of growing old gracefully, but to prolong our lives and stay healthy.

In other news, Mason has his sauces back in stock and we are prepping some ready-made gifts for the holidays. I'm thinking two bottle sets with a recipe or two and a big bow. He also has a handful of spiralizers (turns vegetables into noodles) in stock, $45 out the door, they make great Christmas gifts! I I need to ship to you, we can work something out. I'll post pictures on his Facebook page as we put them together. 

So now I'm off to wrap up my file and look at all the stuff that needs doing, and there's plenty!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The "Kids Can Cook" Cooking Stage

The Gold Country Fair was a wild success! The “Kids Can Cook” Cooking Stage was a big hit and all the kids followed through and did their cooking demos. Abby, who is just 6 years old didn’t back out and my oldest newbie Blake, did a great job, too! Ryan and Dylan who are normally shy kids, did their demos and though they were on the quiet side, they followed through and served up some yummy bites for the audience to taste. 

I wanted to do the kids cooking stage because so many people tell me how extraordinary Mason is, and to some degree, I agree. I also believe that Mason has excelled because of the opportunities he’s had and I wanted to give other kids an opportunity, too. What I learned last weekend is that yes, there are other kids who can cook, but I also learned that Mason is extraordinary. He has a gift and he puts on a show (even from his very first demo) that the other kids lack. Yes, he’s gifted, in the kitchen and as a young entertainer and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

Now we have a little lull before the next big push on the cooking stage with the upcoming Auburn Home Show (Sept 30 - Oct 2) and then we go right into developing recipes for the Mandarin Festival (Nov 18-20). Dave is getting a new job with the Guard so his scheduled is in more flux than usual so it’s hard to know what he will be doing with us. I’m hoping he won’t have to be gone as much in December with the new position, but that remains to be seen.

Mason will be a celebrity judge at the Hot Chili Cool Cars event this Saturday in Rocklin and then we are looking at another opportunity with a television show. I’ll keep you posted here, but it you want up to date info as it comes out, be sure to like his Facebook page, that’s where updates are posted first. Have great week with lots of love! Kathy

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

It's Labor Day which to most people just means a day off from work and an opportunity to barbecue. Dave and Mason have been at Pacificon, a game convention in the bay area. Dave has been at a game convention during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends as long as I've known him and now it's Dave and Mason. There are times when something special comes along that I wish we could go as a family, but for the most part, I look forward to having the long weekend to myself. 

This long weekend I worked, showed houses, ran errands, helped dig out the kitchen cooking stage supplies for the upcoming Gold Country Fair, I took care of a project in the backyard (that one was tricky by myself), got Dave's car washed, cleaned the house, and I took myself out to dinner last night and then relaxed in the hot tub. 

Speaking of the fair, I am running the cooking stage again this year, but the difference is I've got almost all kids doing the cooking demos. How fun is that? I know Mason has something special in his love and ability to perform and entertain, but I think we know this about him because he's had opportunities that other kids don't normally get. I want to give kids the opportunities to do a cooking demo, perform, entertain, and be in the spotlight. It's the perfect venue in that the local fair is smaller in scale and attendance but it's bigger than the stage in their living room. I've got four kids other than Mason, Abbey is the youngest at 6 years old and Blake is the oldest at 15. Ryan is 11 and Dylan is 12 and both have never done anything like this, but they really want to. Who knows how this will all play out, but I think it's really cool that we are creating an environment to empower our local kids. They may not keep cooking and performing, but they are going to move on in life knowing they can do it. I've arranged for each child to not only get rides at the fair, and our good friend Gary has donated Pampered Chef gifts to put in their goody bags as a thank you gift. The Auburn Journal did a story and included each of the kids photos and I will have lots of pictures next Monday after the fair. 

Dave and Mason are on their way home and I have to get the kids recipes formatted and printed for next weekend. I also need to get the schedules put together to be printed. It's going to be a busy week, but hey, what's new about that?! I hope you had a great weekend and as the new week approaches, target one thing you can do to move your dreams forward. It can be as small as starting to play your perfect holidays, or bigger, putting a down payment on your dream vacation for next year. Do it, you won't be sorry!

Monday, August 29, 2016

He Doesn't Want A Kids Menu

Having an accomplished kid cook provides for some interesting experiences dining out. Tonight we were out and the first thing they ALWAYS ask, "Do you think you want a grown-up menu, or a kids menu?" I get it, but it doesn't matter that he's a kid cook (of course they don't know that), he looks more like a teen than a child. Then when he orders, most of the time the server gets that he has a better understanding of food than most kids his age. Not last night. Mason ordered like this, "I would like such-and-such burger, absolutely pink, all the produce, with sweet potato fries with a chipotle aioli please." The server, "Oh honey, are you sure you want pink, you know that's rare? And we don't have chipotle aioli, we have Sriracha, they are the same, I bet you will like it." Mason replied politely, "Yes, thank you, I know pink is rare." he looked at me and rolled his eyes as she walked away. 
My favorite part comes when they ask him how his meal was... "The burger was seasoned beautifully, but well done, absolutely not pink like I ordered. The sweet potato fries were cold, but the mozzarella sticks provided an epic cheese pull! My mom had to take it for me because my arm was not long enough to keep it going. Other than the meal taking a really long time to come out, which is probably why the fries were cold, it was okay." 
I guess I'm just trying to say, if we give our young people a little more credit, listen to them, I bet they will rise to whatever the occasion is and impress the heck out of us adults. #SayYes #EmpowerYourKids#HeDoesntWantAKidsMenu