Stay at home mom, lover of wine



A Rainbow and Remembering-9/11/01

A rainbow appeared over Manhattan yesterday. The headline that circulated noted that it was the eve of the 14th anniversary, adding to the wonder and sentiment.

Between reminders to floss and the last-minute comedy routines, I found myself wondering, what was he doing fourteen years ago tonight?

Was it like any other Monday or did he discover a great restaurant on his way home? Did he finish a book or begin one? Did he go for a run? Did he see a rainbow?

And in the morning, did he hesitate? Did he stop for coffee? What if the line had been longer? Did he know how much he was loved?

What if?

Continue reading “A Rainbow and Remembering-9/11/01”

Sweet Freedom!

I’m free!  I’m free!  I’m free!  After 7 1/2 years, over 8 if you count gestation, I am no longer beholden 24 hours a day.  I can write without interruption.  I can make a lunch date and stick to it.  I can go to the bathroom without mediation.  I’m free!

Ok, so I know some moms are really struggling today.  I did too. But when I say it feels different this time, I mean it feels AWESOME.  I mean setting the alarm for 6:15 means a jump towards peace, not punishment.

Before you judge, let me say this. My son was READY.  More than ready.  He didn’t want us to walk him in for the first day of Kindergarten ready. My sweet boy makes the energizer bunny look lazy.  He makes Ann Coulter look wishy-washy.  He is two parts Houdini and one part Evil Knievel.  I love that boy with every part of my being.  I will miss having my buddy around. But we are both ready. Continue reading “Sweet Freedom!”

Top 9 Reasons I’m Over Top 10 Lists

9) Why does it have to be 10?  Who decided that 10 is the magic number for a list? And how can I write a “Top 10” if that is what I’m ranting about? That would make me a hypocrite.

8) There was a time when I would have put Richard Marx on my Top 10.  Is this list supposed to quantify all-time or just this week? No one clarifies this very important distinction. Curious minds need to know.

7) The powers that be say to catch a reader’s attention with a Top 10 list.  If what you have to say isn’t interesting enough on its own, why would I want to read 10 things?

6) Is it ascending or descending?  Is it like a 3rd degree burn or the 1st place winner?

5) How does one decide what makes the cut?  It is torture!  I was once tagged to write my top 10 books.  How am I supposed to narrow it down to 10?

4) And on the contrary, sometimes you only have 6 all-time favorites and then you have to throw in a few consolatory choices.  They are nowhere near as good as the others and yet they made the same list.

3) Because the only people who are going to read your Top 10 list are the last 10 people who YOU read and liked and commented on.

2) Because it is the rare list that can compete with King Letterman.

And the number one reason I am over Top 10 lists…

1) Because the number 1 is never as witty as number 3 or 4.  It is always a letdown.

This list was not written in any scientific manner but in an early morning daze.  Some were pre-coffee, some post.  Thoughts and Opinions are my own.  Which means this list is, for all intents and purposes, useless.

Now, please take this with a grain of salt. I will still likely read and enjoy any lists that my fellow writers create.  But only if you read mine first. Happy Friday!


Lately The Drunken Cyclist has been writing a Friday rant or rave which I have enjoyed.  Although he is much better at it, I decided to follow his lead. Thanks for the inspiration, Jeff.  You have a place on my top 10.

Gifts that Matter on Mother’s Day

My favorites gifts have always been those which cannot be wrapped. They are gifts that say, “I see you.  I am listening.” They may or may not come on any appointed day, but their value is intrinsic and enduring.

I have been in several stores this week and, everywhere you look, there are marketing sections centered around Mother’s Day.  I watched the crowds swell in front of the card section yesterday as I made a return.  Pre-made bouquets line the checkout lines and I shudder to think of the jewelry store budgets. To what end?

Most mothers that I know, mine included, just want extra hugs and a day off from dishes.  We love the handmade cards from our children and the gratitude and care from our spouses, but that is all we need. (And some pink bubbles don’t hurt.)

But I know that I am one of the lucky ones.  Anne Lamott posted a rant on her Facebook page yesterday about the holiday.  And while her stance is more extreme than mine, it solidified some of the notions I have been having this week.  I have been acutely aware of the pain that accompanies this, and many holidays, for people I love dearly.

I have friends that have lost mothers in recent years; the pain, which is always there, is magnified.

I have other friends who had mothers that they did not want to celebrate, the disappointment palpable.

I have friends that see the window of opportunity closing.  They wanted to have children but are now understanding that age is working against them.

I have friends that have lost children, in pregnancy and years later. I cannot imagine the hole that will never be filled.

I have watched the avoidance, the cues, the attempts to put on a happy face from those that have not been able to have children, despite years of trying.

One woman I love more than life told me, “It is a sadness that never really goes away…people ask you ask the time, do you have kids? And you always have to answer no…it hurts a little every time.

To all of these friends, I see you and I am listening.

I am grateful, beyond words, for a mother worth celebrating. She goes out of her way to make sure that people feel seen and heard.

Despite an impossible list of things to do, she would stop and talk with the butcher about his health problems.

Despite a dwindling checking account, she would buy groceries for the person struggling.

She would stop and pray with the person she just met in line at the bank and ask the teller about her new grandchild.

She was a mom to all of my friends, the queen of field trips and extra hugs.

She listened to the lonely, cried with the broken, rejoiced with relieved.

I see it in my siblings; I aspire to be like her.  Mom, we saw, we listened.

George McDonald said, “If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.

This Mother’s Day, I am so grateful for the gifts my mother gave me.  I am grateful for the children I have been given. I am grateful for my friends and family.  I want you to know that you are seen, you are loved, and I am listening.



Training for #WBC14

Tomorrow is the day!  I’m so excited to be heading out to Santa Barbara county to meet and learn from some of the top wine writers.  But, I’ve got to say, I’ve been feeling a little out of my league.  So what is a girl to do?  Well, some training, of course.  And how does a SAHM find time for training with the littles out of school?  Well, put them to work, of course.

This is how a SAHM prepares for Wine Bloggers Conference 2014. 

WARNING: self-deprecating silliness follows.  No child-labor was exploited.  No alcohol was consumed.  Just some packing procrastination.



Now, it may be a little late to join my training program, (my trainers are really exclusive) but I won’t judge your techniques if you don’t judge my video production skills.

Thank you again to the sponsors and those who generously donated so that could be a part of this.  I hope I don’t lose my scholarship/credibility.  Santa Barbara, here comes trouble! Cheers!


“Congratulations, You’ve Been…”

This morning I heard the news that we lost a woman of incredible valor.   I’ve absorbed her words, envied her confidence, and admired the grace with which she conducted herself.  I had intended to share some news today, but it somehow felt inappropriate.  And then I read this quote shared on Oprah Winfrey’s site.   She said one of the best lessons that she learned from Dr. Angelou was this: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”  It was then that I realized this was exactly the kind of news I should be sharing.

A few months ago, I applied for a scholarship to the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara County.  A SAHM doesn’t exactly earn a salary, so it would hard to justify the expense, but I knew it was a unique learning opportunity.  I have connected with so many other writers online.  I have found mentors and support, encouragement and inspiration.

In August, I will have been writing for three years.  I have not yet acquired any certifications or attended any seminars.  I have yet to take it to the next level or monetize my blog.  With the changes in Facebook policies it seems my reach has lessened.   At times, it can feel as if what I am doing doesn’t really “count.”  But I want it to matter.  I want to build something of value, monetary or otherwise.  I want to reach beyond, to connect, to be seen.  And although my current schedule allows minimal time for exploration and writing, I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  My children are growing and I want to grow with them.

Yesterday afternoon, I was beginning to write when I saw the email pop up in the corner.  “Congratulations! You have been…”  I couldn’t see the full subject line but I assumed it ended with a “…chosen to take a survey.”  Or “…have a chance to win a Carnival cruise.”  And then I saw the sender: Thea@WBC Scholarship.  Holy Moly!  What?  Me? How?  AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

So, I am going!  I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to meet so many I’ve long admired.  I’m so humbled to have been chosen.  I am so excited to drink good wine…I mean…have a break from my kids….I MEAN learn from all of the talented writers that will be there.  Truly.

Thank you Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Committee.  Thank you to all of you that donated so that I can be there.  Thank you to all of you that will be sharing your insight and wisdom.  Thank you for teaching what you’ve learned and giving of what you have.

I will be sharing more about the conference when it is in full swing and as I process.  Right now, I would love to hear from those of you that have been.  Tips?  Water, spit…anything else?  Ladies, what to wear? (Have to ask)  Friends, when and where will you arrive? depart?  Most importantly, when can we toast in person?  Yay!!!!

Many thanks to the corporate sponsors that have made this possible:

Rodney Strong WBC Scholarshiptercerophoto1


I Blinked and She’s Gone

I sent my baby to Kindergarten on Monday.

I sent my little girl to Kindergarten.

I sent THIS little bundle of love to Kindergarten.


How is that possible?  It was a blink ago, I promise.  It’s not that she is really “gone,” obviously, but it is the first of many steps in letting go.  You hear it all the time.  Cherish each day; it goes so fast.  But when you’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t feel fast.  The lonely nights from 1-5 am, feel like they’re never going to end.  The hour before my husband gets home seems to drag with the kind of steady defiance reserved for acts like putting their shoes on when I am in a hurry or picking up their rooms, one lego at a painful time.  And yet I took my baby to Kindergarten Monday.

She has always operated at her own pace.  Although my body and my midwife told me, “Any day now,” three weeks before her due date, she came twelve days late.  Although the moon was high, the house still and dark, she was hungry and restless.   While all infants were napping, she decided to announce her independence by fighting me for two hours, only to give in for thirty minute nap.

Those were long, tireless days.  Those days looked so different from what I had imagined.  I had a great track record with all babies up to that point.  But despite swaddling, coddling, despite being full, dry, bounced, walked, she would cry for hours in the early weeks for me.  Then her father would come home, pick her up and she was, of course, done.  But that was about all he could do for her, for me, because despite 4 types of pacifiers and 5 types of bottles, she was an “AintNothin’LiketheRealThing” kind of baby.  All mom, all the time.

I was deep in the darkness.   Deep in the fog.  Deep in the “WhatdidIdotomylife?-WhyisMyShirtWet?-WhyDoesn’tMyBabyLikeMe?-WillIEverSleepAgain? Blues.”  And then it was over.  She didn’t fit on my chest anymore.  She wanted to move and explore.  She started to sleep and have opinions and feed herself and then I dropped her off at Kindergarten.

When her brother was born, I held him on my chest, tucked under my chin, as long as he would fit.  I knew how quickly it would change.

When he started to toddle after her, I held him a little longer at bedtime.

When he mispronounces words, I am not so quick to correct him.  He’ll do it soon enough and I love how he says, “Capation” for vacation.

And when he nearly breaks me with his “three-ness,” I remember that I was there with her and that at four I realized that she actually had been listening.

I was talking with husband this summer about the cruel, or maybe kind, parenting phenomenon that allows you to look back fondly on stages that, while you were in them, almost broke you.  When they are infants, it is the lack of sleep.  Everything is foggy and turns into a game of Survivor.  But you always know where they are and they don’t argue about what’s for dinner.  When they are toddlers, there is danger lurking around every coffee table, but they don’t ask you for Monster High junk.  And I am in a pretty sweet spot right now.  They are relatively innocent and sweet.  They are curious and somewhat self-sufficient.  They still think I am great and make me laugh every day.  And just when I want to absorb (almost) every moment, I am sending her off.

I usually try to tie in something about wine, but how could I?  There is nothing I can say about wine this week.   Except that I’ve had some.  And that next week I’ll likely be able to look back and tell you about the ones I enjoyed.  But this week, I am missing my girl.  And I am excited for her.  And I am trying to absorb and enjoy this phase.  Because I am sure I will blink and be sending her to middle school, to high school, to college.  But that is more than I can even comprehend right now.

California 2013 408

Rosé Colored Glasses

When we began planning our trip to Northern California I had visions of my husband and I running off to vineyards, or I would take off on my own for the day. I’d head up the Silverado trail or 37 solo, windows down, music up and not a hair out-of-place when I arrived for my tasting appointment. But apparently I was looking ahead with rose-colored glasses.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. We watched the sea lions on the Lost Coast, hiked in the redwoods, and relaxed on the beach in Tahoe. But that has meant that I have had three, yes, three days to visit wineries. Two brief appointments with the hubs and two while the hubs tried to manage the littles during my brief tour and taste.

In Tahoe, we broke even with the reds and the blacks on our date night. We had better luck with the pinks. Since it is Wine Blogging Wednesday on the topic of dry roses, I’m riding shotgun and doing a quick write-up on our way back from the Sierras.

In a recent post I highlighted a few dry roses from Provence. Here are a couple of gems from Sonoma.

J Vineyards Vin Gris Made from Pinot Noir, this is a gorgeous wine. Pale salmon, but don’t let the color fool you. This wine starts with light red fruit, a hint of tart acid and it finishes long and strong. We paired it with salmon with herbs and lemon and it was delicious. ($20)


Gundlach Bundschu Tempranillo Rose This one is almost at the opposite end of the color spectrum; think hibiscus tea. Super rich in color and flavor. Ripe red fruit, floral and spicy notes. It is the wine I first wrote about when I kicked off this site with “Punt,” (excuse the pun). Versatile, fun, and delicious. ($22)


Earlier this summer I wrote about how I was going to put more energy into my family than my writing.  Even though the trip did not turn out like I was planning, it did serve as a test of my resolve to refocus.  It did provide my family with some wonderful memories, challenges, and learning opportunities.  My daughter will start Kindergarten shortly after we return.  I can come back to Sonoma and Napa, but I can’t get this time back.  I’d rather see things through her eyes than through any colored glasses.

We just crossed the Sonoma County line. We may need to make a quick stop at Gun Bun on the way back to my father-in-law’s. All this writing is making me thirsty.

Thanks to Lenn Thompson and Tim Elliot for bringing Wine Blogging Wednesday back with a great topic. Cheers!

Everything’s Coming up Rosés

I feel guilty buying wine when I have a closet full, but my closet is filled with mostly reds.  At this time of the year, I am into pink.  Or crisp, bright whites but that is another post. When dry Rosé started coming back on the scene a few years ago, I was a happy girl.  Love it.  Love, love, love.  A few years ago, it was a little more challenging to find one that was under $20 that didn’t have a bite, but that seems to be changing.  In the last few weeks I’ve had five, all under $20 and four out of five made it on my love list.

If you’ve tried one or two and aren’t sure if you like them, keep trying.  Depending on the region, the grapes, the style, they vary widely.  There are three main style of production.  And because I am writing on borrowed time (sick kids) I am going to quote from an article on Wikipedia.  It pains me, but if you read the previous post, you understand why.

When rosé wine is the primary product, it is produced with the skin contact method. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days.[3] The must is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.[4]

When a winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage in what is known as the Saignée (from French bleeding) method. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration becomes more concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.[5]

In other parts of the world, blending, the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart color, is uncommon. This method is discouraged in most wine growing regions, especially in France, where it is forbidden by law, except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, several high-end producers do not use this method but rather the saignée method.[

Now for the fun part.  I tried three from France and two from Texas.  Here’s the lowdown.

1) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I really like Chateau de Campuget Costieres de Nimes Tradition Rose 2011.  Good structure and fruit, bright minerality. Fresh, fun, and fruity.  I’ve been feeling like that myself after a few sleepless nights. From the Rhone region, this wine is 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache.

2) From the Coteaux d’Aix in Provence, Bieler Père et Fils is making a lovely Rosé.  As they should.  This blend is 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Cab.  Great mouthfeel, both soft and sturdy which I like in my pink friends.  The fruit and minerality is well-balanced.  At around $12, it is a steal.

3) Chateau Paradis 2011 (on sale for $15) This was an interesting one to compare with the Bieler.  I think the higher percentage of Grenache gave it a little more tannic bite.  A great food wine, but it seemed a little harsh after sipping on the previous wine.  I’d buy it again, but I’d serve it with , savory and herbal. Also from Coteaux d’Aix, it is 60% Grenache, 20%  of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

4) Becker Vineyards in Fredricksburg, Texas recently released their ode to the above region with their 2012 Provencal Rosé.  I really like this wine.  A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend, this wine has earth and fruit.  Fuller bodied, lively, great for summer barbeques or more refined fare. You can find it in the 10-12 range.

5) The first Rosé I fell for made in Texas was from McPherson Cellars.  It is a little more fruit-forward than the others, but by no means sweet.  This is a great one to introduce someone to the drier style of pink, and Texas wines!  It retails for about $14 and is one of my favorites.

If you haven’t wandered down to the pink aisle yet, this gives to a place to start.  Now I want to hear from you.  Have you discovered any that I need to try?  Share them!

And a little pat on my back and disclaimer.  We’ve been fighting three kinds of funk in the last three weeks around here.  After two nights this week of 3-5 hours of interrupted sleep, I managed to write something, so you can’t get rid of me that easily.  I won’t say it’s my best work, but it works.  And since I wrote half of this with my son sitting in my lap, I neglected nothing.  I think that’s a win-win.  Cheers!

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