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cold, rainy

... and gorgeous.

I took this photo yesterday after a run at Shollenberger -- finished four miles just as it started to drizzle.

the perks

So I was at the Wine Center today helping the executive chef rehearse the cooking demo he'll be doing on TV in a few weeks.

Cooking on TV is not easy. We'll have about five minutes to show viewers how to make a sweet potato gnocchi, while simultaneously discussing wine pairings, encouraging people to drop by the tasting room and fielding questions from the TV show's hosts. Not to mention worrying whether the burners will be hot enough so that the gnocchi actually becomes gnocchi, and not a big pile of orange mush.

I know rehearsing this stuff is part of my job, but I still feel really stupid when I have to role-play, which is what I had to do today. I had to pretend I was a TV show host, do cheesy introductions and try to come up with the most random questions I could so our chef would be prepared.

Luckily, he is a pro, and it only took us two tries and one mushy gnocchi dish to figure it all out. And practicing was fun, despite my poor acting skills.

And I got to go home with a goodie bag: The chef found out how much I love mushrooms, and he sent me home with some porcini, yellowfoot chanterelles, candy caps, wild oysters, hedgehogs and pig's ears.

I love people who love food.

dear santa

Forget what I was thinking about new running shoes or gift cards to Whole Foods or -- ahem -- the third Twilight book (I know, I know -- I'm embarrassed too).

This is what I want: A fresh black truffle covered in dark chocolate ganache.

four weeks later

I think I'm adjusting. No more meltdowns in spin class. No more parking in the wrong lot. No more failing to recognize my own desk.

Granted, there are still hiccups. I spent way too much time today trying to figure out how to turn in a mileage form. And I still need to double-check vintages on my sample requests because I don't know what the wineries' release schedules are. And I have yet to find a satisfying burrito.

But I did get a great hit in Sunday's SF Chronicle, which featured not just one, but two of my wineries. Hooray for holiday picnics!