Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Different Path

My Facebook feed is full of pictures of freshmen arriving at college. I never realized how many people I know with kids the same age as GameTeen. This week, it is apparent that I know about two dozen friends and former classmates with 18 year olds of their own.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, mine starts 10th grade. Mainly because when we enrolled him back in public school last year, we placed him in 9th grade to catch up on the academics that weren't a focus at his private school. Still, he matured while there, so it isn't a total waste of three years.

It's kind of surreal, to observe this juncture and realize that this is where life is definitely different for our family. GameTeen might go to college someday, but the reality is that he will do so close to home if it happens. He has the intelligence to do it, but none of the other skills. Maybe he'll gain those in the next three years, but I'm not betting on it.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Pho Viet, Brandon

At my new job, there are a few traditions my department has that I've enjoyed partaking in, the payday happy hour and Friday lunch gathering. This past week, the suggestion came up for Vietnamese food, which I'd never had. Seriously, I've never had Pho, but have wanted to try for a while.

Even better, about half my dining companions were new to the cuisine, too, so I wasn't the weird one who knew nothing.

Looking over the menu, I didn't even have a clue which dish to get. I opted for an order of fried dumplings, then selected the pork Bun Bo Ga from the half dozen items that sounded appealing.

If you're the adventurous type, this menu has you ruling things out by the ingredients you don't like, rather than decide by the rare thing you do. If I was with my cube mates, I think I would have struck a deal for us to pick four things and share around.

A side note here: One of my coworkers is a veteran consumer of the cuisine and ordered an iced Vietnamese espresso without batting an eye. It looked so good, others went for the same thing.

Basically, you get the espresso pot and it drips down into a glass of condensed milk, you stir, then pour into a glass filled with ice. They were all raving about it, but I was worried that it would dull my taste buds for the food I'd ordered. Looked great, though.

A few moments later, my dumplings arrived. These were vegetarian style, deep fried, rather than the pan fry that I'm used to with other Asian restaurants.

Still they were very delicate. I shared them around, and was a bit surprised that others had never had dumplings. It seems that the filling is very similar to their summer roll, which I'll probably try next time. If I wasn't so intent on trying something different, I would have been quite pleased with these and a bowl of Wonton soup for my meal.

The server came out and placed a plate of sprouts, lime wedges, basil, and jalapeno peppers in front of me and J, seated next to me and stated that it was for our meals. We'd ordered different things, so I was confused.

It became clear a couple of minutes later. Across from me, someone ordered the same Pho that J had, and these items were to be placed in the Pho just before eating to allow them to maintain their flavor and texture.

Soon after, my pork Bun Bo Ga arrived, a bowl of rice noodles and grilled pork, served with fresh vegetables and a fish sauce to pour in and toss like a salad.

As for the flavor, the pork was expertly grilled, the vegetables fresh and crunchy, and the noodles were al dente. I didn't get a lot of flavor from the fish sauce and in retrospect, I should have had a heavier hand with the sriracha sauce provided on the table. Not their fault, all mine. That said, the smells of those bowls of Pho were rather aromatic-I'll try that next time.

One of our party got stuck in a meeting and arrived right after our meals did. He said he'd never been around us when we were all so quiet! Hmm, must be because we were enjoying the food. (Note: He was assisted promptly and had food within minutes. Impressive.)

I definitely want to give this another try, especially after the tutorial given by my colleagues more familiar with Vietnamese cuisine. Pho Viet got high marks from those who have had it many times in the past, and the fact that this restaurant is run by a Vietnamese family tells me that they're probably preparing family recipes they've enjoyed for years. Pho Viet on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Is This Thing On?

After many years of non-stop daily blogging, it's kind of strange for me to not write for so long. The combination of the new job and a rather intense semester conspired to keep me from the documentation of my life within this space. There are six days left until a five week semester break, so the many blog topics, and several restaurant reviews will soon spring forth from my keyboard.

The job has been the perfect one to replace the prior one. It's a large company and I feel like it is home. My cube mates are fun people, including the former classmate that I encouraged my boss to consider-he started this week. When it comes to recommending people, my manager hat will always be on-there are very few people in my discipline that I'd put my name on a recommendation, but it was nice to be able to do so for one I think has what it takes and watch it come to fruition. I have plenty of work to keep me busy, and will be traveling to my client school in August and September for several days each time. Woohoo!

One of the classes of the doctoral program is a philosophy class that I'd been told would be a killer in the quantity of reading it required. It is one of the first classes I should have taken, but my first major professor offered no direction on which classes to take when, so it has waited until the end of my second year. In my logical mind, it makes sense to condense the insane reading class into the 10 week semester, instead of prolonging it for 15 weeks.

I'm glad I did, for the professor is fantastic, the topic is incredible (to the point that I want to take more philosophy classes!) and I'm finally settling in to good habits that I knew I eventually achieve, once I started taking the ADHD meds. For the first time in a while, it looks like I may scrape out a 4.0 semester, instead of procrastinating so much that my A turns to a B for late submissions. Huzzah. The latest anything has been is 30 minutes.

Speaking of which, I have two papers due tonight, 8 issues chapters to read between now and Friday (debates in special education), and one more paper to write for Tuesday night, then I have off until August 25th. It will feel good to have a longer break!

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Eye...

Is jacked up.

I started feeling some tenderness Friday, but it wasn't really red. I was thinking it was a chalazion, which I've had a couple of times in the past (think stye, they're like that). No crusty stuff, so this isn't pink eye. It's sore like I strained my eye, but no clue what is going on.

At least my doctor is close to my new job, so if they can fit me in tomorrow afternoon, I'll get to the bottom of this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Prior Engagements

When I interviewed for this job, I told them I would be unable to work the 19th and 20th as my family would be going out of town Alas, the ability to book such travel would be really narrow, so I told them before I knew for sure. Alas, the travel opportunity window isn't going to open for this week.

Last Friday, with three days on the job, my boss and I talked about the situation and how it was somewhat tenuous. She told me that she's selfish and hoped it wouldn't come through, mainly because all our client contacts wanted to have meetings on one of the days I would be out of the office. She's also rather snarky and funny, so when I shared the news that I wouldn't be going, and thus, would be there to have these meetings, she turned away, then turned back trying to hide the grin 'I'm so sorry you won't be going on your trip', failing miserably at a pout.

Informed her of plan B, she liked the alternative date I came up with to try again.

Haven't even been there a full week and she doesn't want me to leave? What a difference a new job makes!