Monday, March 5, 2012

Astaria means Business

   We had a little time between our afternoon meetings and dinner, so we headed back to Sofitel to catch up on a little work and relax a bit. Rob and I had a great conversation about work & our philosophy about it, as well as our thoughts as to where our company was headed; about the difference between living to work, and working to live; and about relationships (I happen to be reading a very interesting book, "Extraordinary Relationships".) Trips like this are as good an opportunity to get to know your fellow employees as they are to build external partnerships. There's nothing like traveling together and having new experiences to help you bond.
I could get used to working like this. Sitting in a sunshiny, swanky hotel lobby in California, with a platter of olives and wasabi peas, and a glass of wine. And with Rob, who looks suspiciously like Don Draper here.
   Great meetings today. I have renewed energy and excitement already. Our very generous (and supremely fun) hosts chose Astaria for our business dinner: California comfort food. It didn't sound like it would be off the "adventurous" Richter scale, but it did sound very good. And speaking of the Richter scale, apparently I slept through a 4.3 earthquake that occurred early this morning. Guess the day of travel & hiking wore me out more than I realized! (A 4.3 is described as a light earthquake: "Noticeable shaking of indoor items, rattling noises. Significant damage unlikely.")
   Back to dinner, we were in for a treat. Heaping piles of calamari, fried onions and tiny lil' (whole) octopi, chicken spring rolls with cabbage, carrots, and very spicy/sweet plum sauce; skirt steak balsamico with garlic potatoes, green beans, carrots & asparagus; homemade Ho-Hos, and "triple play" baked Alaska. While I wouldn't call it "adventurous", it was quite delicious. Stick a fork in me, I'm done! (And P.S. I haven't been able to work out since January 31, the day before my surgery, and I HAVE TO STOP eating like this until I get back into it!!!)
   The real adventure turned out to be finding the restroom, which involved walking through what looked like a fire door and traveling through a deserted lobby in the next building, into a large, art-deco-style ballroom with this great sign:
   And on the way home, this additional treat:  a stunning mural on the side of a Bank of America in San Mateo. Wish we could have stopped to get a better look; it was certainly spectacular! Reminded me of Mary Blair's designs for It's a Small World, due to the color and design. Wow!!! (Photos from link above; it was dark when we drove by.)
mmm... fish dinner...