Here we are!

Here we are!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Date With Mom

Today, Daniel redeemed his "Date with Mom" coupon to go out to dinner at a restaurant of his choice. For Christmas I gave the boys an album filled with coupons to do different things with me during the year. Since Tim is at a U2 Conference in Cleveland and Michael is at Magic Mountain with a friend, Daniel thought it would be a great time to use one of his choices. I had to veto his first choice of Chuck E. Cheese, but his second choice was more acceptable.

Daniel likes Sweet Tomatoes even though he is a picky eater. He almost made it through the salad buffet with only croutons on his plate, but I told him he had to choose a vegetable. He plopped down some shredded carrots.

Next, he got a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a baked potato with some jello cubes on the side for variety.

Then he ended with dessert: soft serve and caramel sauce.

Sitting in the restaurant, I had to put on my MBA cap and make a few observations. Expectedly, with food prices and economy, the pickings in the salad bar have been slimmed down over the last couple of years. There were many employees visible, but most were not really doing anything productive. They looked like they were busy, walking around the floor and talking amongst themselves, but the counters were spilled and messy and the food was not being refilled very fast. We were there before the dinner crowd, so this is somewhat alarming. The condition of the restaurant is disappointing as well. The wall dividers are pretty disgusting and overall, it just looks like it needs a good cleaning.

With prime location and high traffic area, management is able to overlook these shortcomings and still squeak out a profit. If I was an investor, I would look for a tighter ship and higher standards. I guess in a sense I'm an investor; I just choose to invest elsewhere for dining. Unless, of course, my son wants to have a date with me there.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Going to China

I'm going to China in May! My Global MBA cohort is traveling to several different areas in China to learn more about global business and culture. China is such a large country, it's really hard to peruse the library guide books or travel forums. Narrowing down the cities helps a bit (e.g. Beijing or Shanghai) but the particulars about the trip are still elusive. Which emails and social media sites can I access? Do I load a VPN app? Do I bring my cell phone or buy a cheap one there? What kind of adapter to use? How much money should I bring? Where is the bottled water? How do you remember the exchange rate and the currency system? What does one bring home as a souvenir? What about squatty potties?

Interestingly enough, the blogs of people who adopt Chinese children have the most useful information. They blog about what they packed and what was useful to have along. The travel sites and forums, like Frommers and Fodors, were somewhat helpful as well. At this point, I am hoping to pack a small suitcase and a carry-on, leaving lots of room to bring stuff home. I ran across this site when looking for packing list ideas, and found the brilliant "one suitcase" tab which shows, for example, how to pack 14 items of clothing and make 30 outfits. While I probably won't need 30 outfits for a 12-day trip, I have found inspiration from the daily outfits and tend to view the site pretty frequently now.

I guess I should start practicing how to say things in Chinese, like "hello, thank you, how much, where is your squatty potty, I don't understand." Hola and gracias will not go very far, I'm thinking.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is Truth?

What is truth? That was a question posed to us students taking a financial management course for a Global MBA degree. Our instructor has told us many times to focus on integrity and accuracy in the business world. He described different kinds of "truth" that we have heard before from our government, politicians, and other business people (can you say mortgage meltdown?).

This week, he told a clever devotional to the class and asked again, "What is truth?" There is personal truth: The Giants are a great baseball team (not everyone may think so). There is social truth or timely truth: Sunday is the Sabbath day for rest (at one point this was generally agreed upon by society). Without going into the philosophical argument for different types of truth, the last truth is ultimately the absolute truth: 1+1=2. Absolute truth is one where it is always true regardless of person, time, or interpretation.

He then read John 14:6: I am the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus said, "I am truth" and meant that He was the absolute truth; it is fact, certainty and reality.