looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

I'll have the Red-Plate Special

Our stoneware plates have lasted us a while, but repeated attacks from a fierce dishwasher are beginning to take their toll. Plates are chipping, mugs are cracking... it was time to be on the lookout for replacements.

We dropped in to Pier 1 one day - as you do - to have a look around at possible replacements and saw the most gorgeous deep red plates. They were great! A wonderful Chinese red lacquer kind of thing. We'd never seen them before. We both love this colour, and despite the fact that we rarely buy on impulse, we debated a few minutes and decided to go for it. Eight plates each of two sizes!

When we got home, I'm sitting on the couch removing the sticky barcode labels from the first plate with the trusty Goo-GoneTM, when Lisa asks, "We do know if these plates are dishwasher and microwave-safe, don't we?". I look at the bottom of the plate revealed by the removal of the sticky label, and say, "Yes, we do. And they're not!".

Oops. We realised that this is not going to work. We needed a replacement set to be both microwave and dishwasher safe. We should have checked in the store!

We go back to Pier 1 the next day. It turns out that these plates are special "Christmas-season" plates and that is why we haven't seen them before. We suspected that the lacquer that gives them the wonderful appearance is not robust enough for general everyday use, hence their seasonal nature.

We kept one of the smaller plates to remind us to check more carefully next time.

Sherri drops in

Our friend Sherri K from Seattle rang up one day to see if she could stay with us for a night. She was flying down the coast in her little 4-seater airplane, and we were thrilled to be able to offer her a place to crash. Wait, make that "sleep".

We get out the maps and figure out that the closest airfield is Gnoss Field, which is just 10 minutes up the freeway from us.

When the day came, we went out to collect Sherri at the airfield, and we got to see her land. She made it look easy. We took her out to dinner to our favourite restaurant, Frantoio. Sherri was very impressed with the seafood risotto.

A new baby

During the last few weeks I had been frequently visiting our local music shop and playing one of the guitars there. Finally we gave in and decided it had to come home with us. It's a Godin Multiac Nylon SA for those of you who are interested. Very nice! I've used it a lot on some recordings already.

Lisa goes to Frankfurt

In November there's an annual VFP developers conference in Frankfurt, and for the last few years we have had standing invitations to go and give sessions each year. In 1998 we both went - and met up with our friend Mitchell at the same time. Last year, our schedules didn't work out and the conference took place without a contribution from us. This year, again we were both invited. I knew I did not have the energy or material to prepare sessions for the conference, so I did not want to go. On the other hand, there were many good reasons to go. We discussed it at length and we eventually agreed on a plan: Lisa would accept the invitation, leaving me at home for a week.

After I'd dropped Lisa at the new San Francisco International terminal, when I got home I decided to shave my beard off to see what had happened to my face over the last few years. If I didn't like what I saw, I figured a week was long enough to grow it back and no-one would be any the wiser. It turns out that for me, two weeks is probably the minimum.

Lisa called me from Frankfurt to report that she was safe, and that email access was turning out to be problem, but that I shouldn't worry, she was going to be busy with more than just her sessions - due to some unexpectedly absent speakers, she was going to be giving some extra sessions as well! Ugh.

We both took the week off from work as official vacation, and I spent a lot of time watching movies and working on music in my studio.

After Lisa got back from her very busy but rewarding week, she was pretty tired after all the extra work, but also happy that she'd got through it and presented her material well - and successfully covered for the other guys that couldn't make it. Frankly, I'm very proud of her!