Wednesday, February 16th, 10.36am, NUSA Office, Napa, CA, USA
Morning folks, it’s a good day today. I picked up Jimmy, the 15-year-old Jeep Cherokee, from the folks at the NUSA office in Napa yesterday. Then I successfully sorted out my new GPS and got myself back to home base in Oakland last night. A bit of a hairy freeway exit duck and weave, but we lived!
So today’s “commute” back up to the NUSA office was a good run, especially as I’ve managed to tune in the local Fremont country music station 95.7 The Fox!
It was a heavy fog advisory morning for San Francisco, and I drove in and out of light ribbons of it, but you could see the fog layer sitting solidly on the bay, with the top of the bridges poking through. It looked like a big creamy head on a pint of Guinness had been poured across the harbour.
On the trip up today, we only cross one bridge – the steel span Carquinez. The old C & H (California and Hawaiian) Pure Sugar refinery sits on the harbour underneath, where they’ve been churning out sugar and molasses for 90 years – and you can smell the warm sweet when you’re stopped to pay the bridge toll.
So a lovely morning going on, and just when you don’t think it can be any better – you find out that Kara’s Cupcakes (a finalist in the ongoing best cupcake in the world competition) has opened a bakehouse in Napa. So I dived in and bought some for morning tea for the NUSA folks, who have been so good to me. In the photo left to right is Deirdre (banana caramel), Suze (choc velvet), Brian (java), Adrian (s’mores) and Linda (lemony lemon).
The S’mores is worth a further look, as they just do it odd times as a seasonal special. It’s based on an old American camping tradition where, to make s’mores, you put your marshmallow on a fork and toast it on the campfire, grab two sweet cracker biscuits, put chocolate on one, and then sandwich the toasted hot marshmallow with the two biscuits and pull it off the fork – effectively making a biscuit, chocolate, marshmallow sandwich. You can add caramel in there as well as an extra ,and that’s how Kara’s have built the s’mores cupcake.
So we’re ploughing through the 6-week program that has me working with the distributor reps up and down California, and we’ll be into that from this Friday. Plus I just had a call from Val, who looks after the PR and the market work for the United Kingdom, as we’re setting up that up for September/October this year. So it’s very much like being an air traffic controller. Jobs taking off, jobs landing, jobs up in the air, long-way-away jobs still in the hangar! Busy times – which these days is a good problem to have.
We start to catch up with folks in the local trade from this evening – old mates Chuck and Paige first up – so I dare say I’ll be navigating the infamous Bay Bridge for the first time tonight. Wonder how they feel about catching up at 1am. At least the traffic will be OK then!
Any rate – I’ll have a vintage update later on for you, as we’re staying in touch with what’s going on at home. It all starts to get very interesting from here on in.
I’ll also be starting the “Hey Sportsfans” spot next time as well, seeing as the Yankees are into the baseball spring training program now, my roller derby team – The Windy City Rollers – have just started their season, and the pre-season games for my Australian Rules football team St Kilda have begun.