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02/18/2005 Entry: "Gina's MI-5"

1. When a recipe calls for you to “season to taste”, besides salt and pepper, what are your favorite seasonings?
I like garlic a lot. And rosemary. And cilantro. And cumin. I guess it would depend on the dish, and I season with what's appropriate for that region. Just as you don't see cumin in Italian dishes, you wouldn't put capers in your tacos. And I almost always go off the written page when cooking. In fact, other than baking, I rarely use a recipe.

2. You’ve just heard a “juicy” story about someone. Do you tell it to someone else? Or do you refrain? If you do repeat the story, to whom would you most likely tell and why?
If it's personal juice, I try not to tell. If someone says "This is a secret," then I don't tell. The only deviation from that is if my wife asks. I don't keep secrets from her. So if you say "Bill, I have three heads," then I don't tell anyone. If Susan asks me "Does so-and-so have three heads?" then I tell her the truth. So if this secret can't be heard by Susan, you need to remember this caveat.

Then there are times at work where we have "discussions." It's not really gossip, because we're not swapping unfounded stories. But we'll say "What do you think of Jim getting that $500 bonus because he washed the bosses car?" (Totally fabricated--that didn't happen. But that would be a topic of discussion around the office.

3. What do you see as being your biggest challenge to maintaining (or achieving) happiness in your life?
I was actually thinking about this last night, as I was leaving the house to go work on Julia's loft bed. What good does it do to have children, and then not be able to spend any time with them? I either need more time, or more money so I can spend less time working. For the past several weeks, my evening hours at home have been spent building websites, and time for just hanging out with the family is hard to come by.

4. Scientist say that the sense of smell can trigger powerful memories. Tell us about a time when your memory was jogged just by smelling something.
Whenever I smell the cologne Grey Flannel, I am reminded of the night Susan and I saw Shawn Colvin in concert at Bowdoin. Why? I was wearing it that night. But I wore it many nights, so why should that matter? I don't know. Maybe it was the first time I wore it.

5. Have you ever been touched by the kindness of a stranger? If yes, please share your story here.
I once had a flat tire on the way to a Christmastime DJ gig, 1/2 ton pickup truck loaded with gear. I've changed many a tire in my day, but changing a tire on a pick-up is a pain. This guy came out of his house and offered to help. We tried to get the little bottle jack to lift the truck, but it just wasn't happening. He allowed me to use his phone (this was WAY before cells), and allowed me to wait in house until help arrived with a hydraulic lift jack. (Even after we got the tuck up, we couldn't loosen the bolt that held the spare on. This truck's spare--as with most trucks--was under the bed. So all kinds of dirt and salt and muck had welded the nut in place. I ended up using my grandfather's truck to get to the gig, and he and pastor Steve Bennett stayed behind to work it loose. If I recall, they had to loosen the nut with a torch.)

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