Monday, March 28, 2011

What Am I Complaining For?

I spent last week at a luxury resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I'm not saying that to brag - I'm mainly saying it to remind myself that I have a pretty good life.  I have to do that because sometimes I get so caught up in one aspect that is dragging me down that I forget overall how blessed I am. 

My friend (my buddy, my wingwoman, my sister-from-another-mister) re-tweeted something today that really hit me: God's 3 answers to your prayers: 1. Yes 2. Not yet 3. I have something better in mind. 

Can I accept that? Hmmm. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wish I Were My Cat: Daylight Savings Time??

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2011 Wine Road Barrel Tasting

I had a wonderful time this weekend in Sonoma at the Wine Road's annual barrel tasting event.  I *finally* was able to drag one of my wingwomen with me, so I didn't have to go solo: yipee!!

Even though it was wet, the day was mild and the sprinkles ended up scaring away the crowds that had clogged Sonoma the previous day.  Penny and I went to over a dozen wineries (there were more than 140 participating!!) and realized that next year, we were going to make a weekend of it!

We were able to taste of variety of fabulous wines, right out of the barrel, that will be ready to be bottled in about 12-18 months.  Most of these were 2009 vintages and it looks to be a really good year for the reds! All of the wineries we visited (with the exception of one big mass-producer ::coughKJcough::) were extremely friendly and welcomed us warmly.  Many, after learning who we work for, shared great stories about their interaction with our company - something we had not expected, but really appreciated.

I ended up with about half a dozen bottles from various wineries - the ready to drink *now* kind! This is truly a fabulous event, and for the price ($20 in advance/$30 day of) you cannot beat the value + education you will get!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Work: Wicked Witch of the West vs. Mary Poppins

In real life (IRL) I have a pretty amazing job: I am the top-ranked data security person at a very large company that makes some very good wine.  Over the years I've supported servers, email systems, survived six seasons of harvest, and have done everything from climbing up a 1/2 million gallon tank to riding a bike through a mammoth warehouse.  I love this place.

Data Security is a different beast than my previous roles here.  On one hand, no one wants our systems hacked, data lost, or intellectual property compromised.  On the other hand, everyone wants to be able to do everything without being slowed down. I've taken pride in the fact that all the feedback I've received from many different parts of the company have been complimentary and approving of how I've managed to balance this.  However, the other day my boss gave the opinion that I was "too harsh (mean)" in an email that I sent out to the IT staff. I was taken aback, because I never have viewed myself as mean.  Yes, I'm tough, but fair.  I communicate clearly but try to keep a light touch.  The old days of edicts from Data Security being delivered with the goal of shaking people in their boots is not what I am about.

On the flip side, I'm no Mary Poppins.  Never have claimed to be, never will be. If you want sugar and spice with your protection and policies, I'm the wrong gal. The margin for error in my position is infinitesimally small.  A wrong decision, a missed setting, letting someone "get away" with something could cost my company millions of dollars in the end. What at times chaffs my ass, is that manager I inherited this role from was a traditional throw-back datasec "cop".  No one questioned the tone of his emails, or called him a "bitch" behind his back because he didn't roll over and show his belly when he encountered opposition.  I try not to see everything through the lens of a female in a heavily male dominated IT world, but times like this I wonder if it's my actions that are being judged or my gender.

It's not anything new - this feeling of there being two standards, one for men and one for women.  So I was heartened to stumble across a post from the blog This Recording entitled "In Which We Teach You How to Be a Girl in a Boys Club". I laughed, nodded in great agreement with many sections, wrinkled my nose at others, and then sent it out to other women I know who are in similar positions such as mine.  It was a great reminder not to ignore critisims from people I should be listening to (yes, the PHB is one of them) but to always be strong and true to the *person* I am. I'm not a witch, I'm not a saintly nanny - but I am a force to be reckoned with. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wine in the City!

At the end of last week I sent out a call via twitter: "Where at My Wingwomen this Weekend??!" It was a plea for my girlfriends to join me in doing something impulsive, because I didn't have the rugrats.  I had my eye on two events - the first was Affairs of the Vine Grand Pinot Noir Tasting in San Francisco and the second was a group of wineries having an open house in Sonoma.

Even though I couldn't find anyone to go with me, I'm very proud to say that I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended the Grand Tasting solo.  I have never been to this event (or any like it!) before, so to say I was nervous/shy is no understatement!  Held at the Hilton in San Francisco, it's limited to 300 members of the public and the organizers split 64 of the top Pinot Noir wines into two groups to be blind-tasted throughout the day.  In addition, there were two educational sessions I attended: "A Question of Style" and "Winemaking 101".  In my job, I worked Crush (grape harvest) for six seasons, so I have a good fundamental background in some of the production of wine, but it was so interesting to hear directly from winemakers from wineries both small and large.

I chatted with the ladies sitting next to me in the first session, and the butterflies started to dissipate.  I introduced myself to someone who shares a common acquaintance with me, and just that small step allowed me to meet a very nice couple who just moved to Napa and are starting to live out their goal of being involved in the wine business. 

There was a sparkling wine reception (with some yummy appetizers!) followed by an opportunity to browse each of the participating wineries offerings individually and then the winners of the tasting were announced.  At the end of the day, I was definitely experiencing "palette fatigue" (even though I was using a "spit cup") but I had a great time.  If you are in Northern California area and interested in wine events, give me a holler and I will check the event calendar.  Often I have contacts in the business that can provide discounts and I'm always up for a tasting!  This upcoming weekend, my buddy and I are attending the 33rd Annual Barrel Tasting along the Wine Road in Sonoma County.  For more info check out their site: More than 100 wineries are participating!  Check back here for a recap next week!