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lucid thoughts

December 7, 2002 Saturday

AIM Winter Carnival

My employer AIM, is a big company with an even bigger heart. Once a year, it would host (among other events it hosts) a winter carnival for company employees and their kids. There's food, drinks and lots of fun. There was the standard fare of kiddie rides, petting zoo, clowns, face-painting, stage performance, rock climbing tower, magicians, etc. They even provide free parking vouchers. You can leave your wallet behind.

It was great seeing colleagues with kids in tow - me included. Seeing them in this light enhances a better sense of appreciation for them.

A few weeks back, the company asked employee kids to do an artwork about helping. Winning entries will be used as Christmas cards to be distributed to 10,000 recipients. My daughter's entry was one of the few chosen and her work was on display at the fair. She was ecstatic and I was one proud dad.

Paella Dinner

If there is one fact of life I have learned, it's to drop and cancel everything for Angela's dinner invite. It doesn't happen too often but when it does, it certainly makes the long wait worthwhile.

The main entrée for this evening was paella - a rice dish originally from the Albúfera region of Spain and later popularized by the inhabitants of Valencia that they adopted the dish as their own, calling it Paella Valenciana. This dish is so quintessential of Spain that the windmills of Don Quixote of La Mancha come to mind - not surprisingly, since paella is not paella without the indispensable addition of saffron - the red strands manually picked from the flower crocus sativus that provide intense color and subtle flavor to the dish. It is in La Mancha where the highest quality of saffron is produced.

How do you complement a great dish? Having great company, of course! Angela's long-time friends Dawn and Philip were there. Her former training partner Charles stopped by briefly. Former Chapters colleague Liat and husband Junya were likewise there and whipped up their version of a spicy steamed bun. Krystyna, an acquaintance from the 24 Hours of Adrenalin races, graced the occasion with her presence. It was an evening to remember.

Reader Comments:

Angela (December 9, 2002)
I would like to thank everyone for coming to my first Paella party and making it such a great success (I say first, since it was the first time I've ever made Paella). I really appreciate the fact that my friends are willing to lend their palates when I want to try out a new dish. What better way to spend a cold winter evening than with close friends (and new ones), great Sangria (hic! thanks to TheLoneRider), a wonderful appetizer (dumplings by Liat and Junya... the recipe please), and lots of great conversation. Merci beaucoup to everyone!

Dawn (December 9, 2002)
You have some very nice friends. I particularly enjoyed Krystyna. I hope we see her again.


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