Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mr. Ritter, I presume...

Tonight, we saw Josh Ritter for the fourth time. It was every bit the show we'd hoped for — though the kid was disappointed that he didn't play "Time, Love." Small omissions aside, what always amazes me about Ritter's shows are the energy he displays. The moment he isn't smiling on stage is rare, and his band's vibe is just as infectious. More than that, I've never seen someone bound — yes, he bounded — out for an encore as quickly as he did. Hell, the roadie hadn't even finished prepping the guitars when he was back on stage.

Thank you, Josh Ritter, for another memorable evening with my daughter, sweetheart, and friends.

A very brief post...

Cheryl Wheeler just popped on my iTunes. Mind you, she is a wonderful songwriter; still, hearing a track from 1993 reminds me how old I am. More than that, I have reached an age where I can identify the quirks of performers from that age without even knowing the song... Good lord... I'm that ADULT.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Customer Service at its best...

Competitors rescued each other this weekend. I bought a pair of Katahdin Engineer Boots from L. L. Bean over the winter, and they quickly became a prized part of my wardrobe. The fit was excellent, and the look was more of what I wanted.

Then the dog got hold of them.

And destroyed the insoles.

This weekend, on the advice of Bean's customer service, I took the boots to our local REI to find a new insole. Not only did we work through multiple insoles and sizes, the salesman took the time to really focus on what would feel best for me in the long run — for a product they hadn't even sold me — while several other people waited not-so-patiently.

For the same reason that Bean has made me a customer for life, REI now has my allegiance. When someone takes the time to make sure you get the best product you can, I appreciate it. He might have lost a $300 one-time sale for his attention to us, but  the company gained brand loyalty for life from a family who appreciates it.
Every day comes with wins and losses, right?

Today's loss was aioli. I'm not sure what is escaping me, because I am following Alice Waters to the letter. Still, the damn stuff isn't gelling. I ended up taking TJ's mayo and doctoring it up to go with the crab cakes. Somehow, my aioli never happened.

That said, we had the pleasure of pairing Barboursville's recently released Vermentino with the crab cakes. The minerality of the wine was perfect with the crab and light binding mixture. Since we did them on the grill, there was even a little bit of fire to add to the flavor. Could you ask for more on a last-minute dinner party?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cicadapocalypse — The Reboot.

I'm back.

This isn't to say how long I'm back or what direction the blog will take, but I'm back. I have left the miasma of corporate life for a fluid juggling of entrepreneurial life, parenting and partnership, and occasional freelance work. It's fair to say that I am facing down a lot of demons and the deeper effects of PTSD. I am also working to reopen parts of myself that were shut down over the past few years.

For a while, I thought I'd start a new blog, one focused specifically on food and drink or one that delved back into parenting. Then, I realized I am at my best when I poke at all the things I love. And all the things that distract me. That's where this blog started in the first place in the spring/summer of 2004.

At the time, I was stopping off in Dayton, OH, after the melt-down of my marriage to The Kid's mom. The blog was a chance for me to keep writing and process life. At the same time, the Brood X 17-year cicadas were blanketing Ohio, Indiana, and beyond. 

Nine years later, Richmond is about to experience the same blanketing. At the same time, I am seeing constant reminders of and bookends to pieces of my life. Moreover, my business and personal lives have taken me back to connections from when I first landed in RVA that summer. There is my life with business partners and a wonderful-but-complicated relationship at home. Add to that the building of a business that is a long-time dream I remember discussing as far back as college, and it's a pretty profound time.

So, yeah. I'm back. I started this blog as a way to process what was going on in life and to keep my hand in writing. There's no reason not to sit down at the table again with this old friend and have a really good conversation.