“I don’t like nature…I like hotels.”

Of all the things I’ve learned from my dad, embracing being a character is one of my favorites.

Superlatives are good (the best?). Being a doctor is the best thing you can be. (He’s a lawyer, no one in our family is a doctor.)  Vermont is the best state. (None of us have ever lived in Vermont.) The nature vs. hotels thing…well that one holds true for him.

My dad will talk to anyone, and makes friends everywhere. On a college-visiting trip at Middlebury, we were eating dinner at the inn we were staying at, just us and about 40 middle-aged ladies on a bike trip. My dad stands up in the dining room and gives them a toast, not knowing them at all. I was embarrassed at the time, but now I aspire to have guts like that. The risk of looking ridiculous is small compared to the joy/laughter you bring to others.

People love my dad. Friends of mine, even ones who have only met him once or twice, always ask how he is or what he’s been up to lately. It’s beyond the courtesy “how is your family” inquiry. Sure it’s because he’s a riot, but mostly, I think it’s that he takes a genuine interest in people. Whether it’s his eternal quest for the greatest cheeseburger, or his latest travel adventure

He makes an impression.  He always has an opinion.  And he takes a genuine interest in people and life.  If at the end of the day I can say I’ve met those three criteria, then I would say I’m doing all right.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

“People live good lives everywhere.”

This is one of my favorite Joe Winter-isms.

After I graduated from Williams, I made a comment to my dad about how one of my friends was moving to Buffalo, questioning why would they move there. He replied, “People live good lives everywhere.”

I’m not even sure why I made that negative comment, I’ve always been a great geographic defender. But since then I’ve probably repeated this quote a hundred times to different people.

It’s a simple statement, but I think it speaks to a broader open-mindedness towards life. My dad is a man whose life has taken him from Cincinnati to Worcester to San Francisco to Chicago to Pasadena back to Chicago then to New York and now to Connecticut and Pasadena.

So far mine has taken me from Chicago to Pasadena to Williamstown to New York to Boston back to Chicago then to Florida and now Palo Alto. Are Justin and I here for good? Not sure. But I do know that as we evaluate opportunities in life I’ll have an open mind, and be open to risks/adventures. And I have my dad to thank for that attitude.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

49ers Training Camp

This week Justin and I got to go to a 49ers training camp practice with the local YPO/WPO chapters – great event, so excited for the season to start!

Frank Gore (21) warming up with some fast footwork drills.

Rookie twin towers Mike Iupati (77) and Anthony Davis (76).

Coach Mike Singletary came and talked to us for a bit after practice, which was great.  Afterwords he was signing autographs for the kids, and I hung around hoping to get a word in, and told him that I was the biggest Bears fan here.  I asked for a photo and he said sure, but then I was a total idiot and tried to take it myself and hit the “off” button instead of the button to take the actual shot…why didn’t I just hand the camera to Justin?!?  Oh well.  I’ll have to live with my photo of me and Otis Wilson and Richard Dent as my ‘85 Bears glory (for now)…more on that here later.

“I’m Samurai Mike, I stop ’em cold, part of the defense, big and bold.”

Recipe Roundup

10 new relatively fast and easy-looking Food and Wine recipes on my to-do list:

1) Three-Cheese Mini Macs

2) Mini Black-Bottom Cheesecakes

3) Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

4) Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette

5) Sautéed Chicken with Olives, Capers and Roasted Lemons

6) Kung Pao Chicken

7) Heirloom Tomato Salad

8) Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic

9) Pico De Gallo

10) Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Arugula Salad

Armadillo Smoker!

Saturday we went to a BBQ Rib Showdown @ Seghesio, one of our wine clubs.  Fantastic day!  Pit Masters Ray Green from Texas’ North Main BBQ (ribs and delicious pulled pork sliders), Stan Peterson from Kansas City’s BBQ Pig (ribs and incredible smoked rack of lamb), and Seghesio’s own Blaze Pit Crew (ribs and excellent tequila lime shrimp) were the competitors.

Ultimately, our votes went to Ray Green (also the owner of the above armadillo smoker), who was named the winner.  Can’t wait for next year!