Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sucker for red

To add to yesternight's post, I forgot to mention Edgefield.  I love Edgefield.  It's part of the McMenamins thang, but different from the regular McMenamins bar. Edgefield holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. 1) It's quiet. B) It has a blown glass gallery - as well as an actual dude that blows glass right there in front of you. I don't know about you, but this fascinates me to no end. I wish I had a talent like that.   3) Edgefield has this cool wine tasting room that sits almost underground. It's a lovely place to belly up, chill with a glass (or five) of wine, and maybe strike up a conversation with the bartender. Not that I've ever done this (**cough cough**). Ok... yes, I have. It was right after work. My friend, Erin, and I took a little road trip across the city to hang out and we ended up in the wine tasting room. I don't remember the bartender's name, but he was cute, and I was hoping to hook Erin up with him. Good thing that didn't work out so well, because since then she has met a fine fellow by the name of Michael. Scott performed their wedding. Guess where? Not Edgefield, but another vineyard. Wine is just part of the Oregon culture.

D) Two of my favorite memories is at Edgefield. There was a large group of us one Saturday evening. I won't recall all of the details, but one of the funnier moments was when, essentially out of nowhere, I kicked Erin in the shin. There was a good reason, I'm sure of it. But I kicked her a little harder than anticipated. That was the wine talking. We made a lot of merriment that evening. (And if I remember correctly, we may have chased each other around the parking lot with the intention of jumping in puddles to splash one another. We were such crazy kids.)

Another time, Scott and I (pre-marriage perhaps...I honestly don't remember) ended up in this little shed where they serve fine spirits and everyone smokes cigars. 

Want to know another secret? I like cigars. I prefer something a tad sweet, but there's something I love about a quiet, cool evening, fellowship, laughs and conversation around a fire, and everyone lightin' up a stogie. 

Edgefield makes an amazing Syrah. Yum. 'Course, I am a sucker for a good red vino.  What can I say? 

On the subject / off the subject - I never get to bed at a reasonable hour. Life is so crazy-go-nuts right now that once the kids finally fade off, I just really enjoy the silence. I don't get much leisure time, so what I do get is precious and I do all I can to take advantage of it. 


It's wonderful. 

There's something very appealing about pouring myself a cocktail or a glass of wine and just sitting in the darkness and actually taking a deep breath - with my eyes closed - enjoying what may be a fleeting moment of solitude. 

I'm such an extrovert. But I've been learning that solitude is a gift. I get a lot of energy from other people, but the few moments of solitude that I do get are welcomed and refreshing. I wish I had more of that. I just long for stillness and simplicity. I remember back when I was a kid, growing up on the hill, a few miles from town where in the stillness of the night there were nothing but crickets and stars. 




Add a glass of wine and that is damn near perfection.

Care to join me?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The color red

Last week, I had what was quite possibly the worst wine I've ever tasted. It was made by Red Guitar, which, if you go to their website looks (and sounds) like it might be delicious. But, in all actuality, it isn't fit to clean the inside of a toilet bowl.  Sadly, it was recommended by some grizzly liquor store owner in Keystone.  What's worse is it showed it got 92 points on the tasting. Yipes. And what's ever worser (is worser a word? If not, I'm going to use it anyway.), it cost almost $20.  You'd think you'd get a little more than a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner for $20.  **shaking head in shame**

After a long day of mingling and having to be on my A game last Thursday, I was looking forward to snuggling on the couch in front of a roaring fire (ok... maybe not roaring... really more of a dim flicker from  a gas fireplace) with a glass of wine. Imagine my disappointment when past my lips slipped what I can only describe as (pardon my English) shitty, cheap, tangy nastiness. Sorry, but true. Very disappointing. (But very memorable, I will tell you this. I've had a few laughs over it, intermingled with a few tears.)

After an experience like this, one just gets a case of the shiver-me-timbers at the thought of red wine. But... after about a week of recovery, I am ready to re-engage my seasoned taste buds.

Let me tell you a little something about cheap wine. Some people have a love affair with Two-Buck Chuck (that's Charles Shaw for the layperson). In most states, this wine actually does only cost $2 a bottle. In Oregon it was $3. Listen, for that kind of price, is it a bad wine? Not really. Is it a great wine? Certainly not. But it does the job and it's a nice basic wine to have around the house. (Gotta love Trader Joe's (TJ's, as we like to call it) for introducing a decent wine with an uber-low price tag.)

Even Target carries a decent cheap wine.  Bare Foot makes a great (gold medal) wine. A bottle of Merlot will run about $5. And it tastes pretty good. I mean... for the price. It's not great. But it isn't bad. It's acceptable. Much better than that crap wine I picked up in Keystone. 

Now... I'm not one to complain about the price of wine. You often get what you pay for. I was spoiled living in the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically the Willamette Valley, where the landscape is littered with vineyards and wineries. If there is one thing the Pac NW does right, it's Pinot Noir (among others).  We have done our share of wine tasting and winery tours. We've had our share of expensive wine. It's been a fun self-inflicted challenge to find that $100 bottle of wine for the low-low price of $18. There are plenty to choose from.  

One of my favorites is Willamette Valley Vineyards. I can say with all honesty and quite a bit of enthusiasm that I have never had a bad wine from Willamette Valley. It's quite good. The vineyard and winery isn't a bad spot to hang, either.  

Another winery that we're fond of is Redhawk. Their most popular wine is called Grateful Red. Kind of funny, with a great label. But... it's not my favorite. What Redhawk does really well is blend. They make an amazing Cuvee, which is a classic bordeaux blend, basically a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and sometimes some other version of red for kicks.  It's full, but light, and always does very well in the tasting room. What's a bonus about Redhawk is we are acquaintances with the owners. We've been up to their tasting room many times when it was just us and them. (We also ran into them once at The Ram in Salem, and they paid for our drinks.) Lovely people who followed their hearts and took hold of their dream to own a winery. I love stories like that.

Apparently, Colorado has a fair share of wineries, as well. I think one of these days, when the wind is right and I get a fire in my belly, I just might take a road trip to see what all the hub-bub is about.

I loves me a good glass of wine.... or two... or five.

Slap your grandma

After a conversation about blogging yesterday, it dawned on me that the majority of my rants have been far too serious. Not to say that what I and my family have been going through these last 2 years isn't significant (to us). It's just that... well... you know me. (Or maybe you don't.) I just prefer to keep things light. So, in an attempt to get back to my roots, here are some random thoughts for the day.

I was driving home last night from work rockin' out to a local country station. (Side note: It has been literally years since I've listened to country music. Well, since Billings, actually. Oregon just didn't have a good country station. And if I'm being perfectly honest, I like country, but not as much as I once did. Country music these days is more pop than country. But, I digress.) Trace Adkins' song Honky Tonk Badonkadonk came on. This song is a crack up, if for no other reason than having the word "badonkadonk" in it. (I should add that word to my list of funny words. **DING** Idea! I just added the word "badonkadonk" to my funny words list.)

Wow. I need to lay off the caffeine. I apologize to all of you unsuspecting readers. If this is too much for you, feel free to move on.

ANYWAY, here are a few lyrics for your viewing pleasure:
It's so hard not to stare

At that honky tonk badonkadonk
Keepin' perfect rhythm
Make ya wanna swing along
Got it goin' on
Like Donkey Kong
And whoo-wee
Shut my mouth, slap your grandma
There outta be a law
Get the Sheriff on the phone
Lord have mercy, how's she even get them britches on
That honky tonk badonkadonk
(Aww sonn)

Um... Can someone please 'splain to me what "shut my mouth, slap your grandma" means? I mean.... first of all, why would you slap your grandma? What does she have to do with it? What did she ever do to you? And don't you think that slapping an innocent little old lady is a bit excessive?

The line "how's she even get them britches on" doesn't conjure up a good image for me. Now, I know all you visually stimulated men are probably thinking of something completely different than I am. So let me ruin this for you. I had a friend way back (who will remain nameless) who, for whatever reason, wore the tightest jeans I ever saw. And, unfortunately for both her and all others, she didn't have the booty to pull it off. Granted, if a chica has a cute little round tushy, tight jeans might accentuate the asset (**ahem**), but ... when someone is ... um... pleasantly fluffy... maybe tight jeans aren't a good idea. I know that some women are in complete denial. That is, they believe their backside is smaller than it actually is. And more than likely these are not the women who ask the dreaded question, "Do these jeans make my ass look big?" Well, no, you big dummy. Those jeans don't make your ass look big. Your ASS makes your ass look big. I'm just sayin'.

Bringing me back to my high school days, I remember laying on the bed all stretched out like a cat trying to zip up the tightest jeans ever. Seriously, I might as well have melted myself down and poured myself into the jeans mold. That's how tight we wore jeans back in the 80's. Why, I don't know. (Ok, granted, back then, I had a cute butt. In fact, it wasn't that long ago when I had a cute butt.)

Just for the record, no one should wear jeans that tight. And nowadays it’s even worse. Jeans are worn much lower, so particularly when they are tight, there’s a whole lot of ass crack showin’. People, please. No one wants to see your ass crack. No matter how cute your tushy is, ass crack is not cute when it peaks out of the top of your jeans. That’s dirty. And not in a good way.

Wanna know what is good? Bloody Mary’s. The Chief mentioned them the other day, and I’ve been having a craving ever since. Mmmmm. Yummers. When I think of Bloody Mary’s, I think of my old next door neighbor Katie. Yeah, we used to drink a little together. We went wine tasting once…. And had a certain conversation in a certain cemetery… “Um…. WOW! Look at how old this one is…..” **Awkward** That’s all I’ll say about that. (Katie – you know! Hahaha)

I was in Keystone last week for a few days for work. I packed a couple of work outfits, one of which was practically a brand new pair of slacks (Ann Taylor, if you must know). I got up, showered, got all primped for the day, put my brand new pants on, and they promptly fell off. What the??? I mean, that’s a good problem to have, right? Needless to say, apparently I’ve been losing a bit of weight without any real effort on my part. Not complaining. Just sayin’. (Now if I could manage to just accidentally drop another 35, that would be brilliant!)

People crack me up. I’ve been learning some new phrases since moving to Colorado. One is “crop dusting.” If you work in agriculture, this is probably not a new phrase for you. But… it’s not used in that context. For years, my husband has warned against walking behind the elderly when shopping because most likely at some point in the journey they will pass some gas. I was just recently told that, here, this is called “crop dusting.” Hysterical! I don’t ever want to be crop dusted.

I’m so sick of breath mints. (Sorry for that segue.)

I love cotton balls.

I love the color green.

I love starry skies, breezy evenings and silence.

I love that Scott once told me, “Well, if I know it smells like something, I have to taste it.” I beg your pardon, but does not everything smell like something? (He said this in context of lip balm, but… you know me. I must take it to places it was never meant to go.)

You know what I don’t love? I don’t love that I just found out that if I drink a caffeinated beverage within 4 hours of taking my thyroid meds, it reduces their effectiveness. F. I love my caffeinated beverages. I love them even more than I love my adult beverages.

Stupid thyroid.

You may recall years ago when I was having all those MRIs and CT scans because I was having extreme migraines daily (to the point of vomiting), and what was discovered were bulging and blown discs (C4, C5, C6, to be exact). My neurologist was pretty sure they were related, and mentioned that the bulging discs may be pressing against a nerve in my spine. Since that time, Scott has been calling me Nerve Damage. But, see… the migraines and the bulging discs, so it turns out, were not related at all. So, I petition (won’t you join me) to have my spousal unit stop calling me Nerve Damage…. And start calling me Thyroid Damage. I’m all about truth.

Last night I was missing Newton and Fidget. Newton’s big ol’ soft, poofy belly, and Fidget’s purring mew. I miss having animals. I don’t really miss cats in particular. I do miss having a dog. Dogs are great companions. They’re happy when you’re happy. They’re sad when you’re sad. They put their head on your knee as if to say, “I totally understand what you’re going through.” And for whatever reason, we believe it.

But, alas, my spousal unit is not a lover of the animals, unless they happened to be cooked rare and sitting on a plate in front of him with a little cup of au jus on the side.

I’ve been wearing the same perfume since I was in high school. It’s the only perfume that I can’t smell. That’s why I like it. That’s not because it has not smell (because, really, what would be the point if that were the case?). It’s because it blends perfectly with my chemistry. I get compliments on it all the time. (Typically, after a comment, I do the wrist sniff test, and I still can’t smell it.) Want to know a little secret? I don’t like smelling perfume on me. That’s why I have tried many times to change, but keep coming back to the same perfume. Most perfumes give me a headache. (Men’s cologne, however, is a different story. The right fragrance, and mmmm, mmmm, mmmm…. ‘Nuff said about that.)

Is it hot in here?

Anyway, I wear Tresor. I love it. And I’m out as of this morning. I must go buy more.

Welp, glad I got all that out of my system.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Happy Place

I just don't blog like I used to. Simply stated, I just don't have the time. Back to working 40+ hours per week, plus a 30-45 minute commute (one way), plus having to get both kids up, fed and ready in time to drop them off at school, and then get myself to work on time, then back home in time to play with the kids a little, get them bathed and fed, read to and tucked in bed, and maybe, just maybe, I might have a little time to say hello to the spousal unit and grab a snuggle with him, too. 


Life is very different these days, for sure.

But, oh, so rich. I love, love, LOVE... LOVE (one more for good measure) my life. We live in a tiny little 2 bedroom, upper condo. We've never been so smooshed together as a family. Personal space is definitely violated. Our kitchen is about half what it was in our Oregon home (which is kind of a big deal for us because we love to cook and entertain). Gone (for now) are the days of massive dinner parties and Super Bowl gatherings (unless, of course, people don't mind sitting on each other's laps and "standing room only"). But, welcome are the days of sunny skies, fresh mountain air (except when the wind turns west and the wreak of Greeley blows in our open windows), long walks (and an occasional run), and the joy of the company of friends who enthusiastically accept an invitation to meet for coffee - regardless of whatever else they have going on.  

I love my job, in a way that I only dreamed possible (followed by a laugh, as if that could ever happen). I feel valued. I feel welcomed. I feel like I'm a part of the future of the organization; not just a necessary nuisance that someone threw out on the table and got a few nods of acceptance when the idea popped up.  

I was missing Oregon (gasp!) a couple weeks ago when I thought of fall.... I missed the misty mornings, bundling up the family and grabbing some coffee, hot chocolate and a donut as part of an early morning walk. When it was early enough, some passers by would actually say hello and not just look away real quick when we offered a "Good morning!" 

Then on Saturday I woke up... to a misty morning, with low-lying fog, and I bundled up my family, grabbed some hot chocolate and headed out to meet up with some friends. It was like a fall morning in Oregon, only we weren't alone. And in the deepest parts of my heart where I had hidden myself away to protect from the many hurts and rejections I had become accustomed to, I rejoiced. 

I feel like I've arrived.... Arrived in a place where I can allow others close to me, without fear of being stomped. Arrived in a place where my worship of Jesus isn't done in a "certain" way, in a "certain" place, with "certain" people. 

I've arrived in my Happy Place! And I actually live here! This is reality! Not just the Happy Place that I'd retreat to in my mind when everything around me was broken to pieces. 

My kids are happier. My husband is happier. I am happier. 

The Big Boss even commented to me the other day, "Well, you look happy!"

And it dawned on me that... yes... I am happy! 

Can I just say that it feels really good to feel happy? Not that I wasn't happy before, because I'm just typically a naturally happy person. But now I feel like I don't have to choose to be happy. I just am.

God did this. I said months ago at a very low point, "Just watch what God can do." Now I get to boast, "Look what God did!"  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Plan of attack

My plan of attack for this morning: make a beautiful omelette made with our fresh, local eggs stuffed with fresh spinach, tomatoes and the new monterey jack cheese that was just delivered to my doorstep Tuesday morning. (Man, I love our dairy delivery. Awesome.)

It all started out well.... I got about 75% of the way through my nummy, pack-a-nutritious punch meal when I discovered I forgot the tomatoes, which was what I was really craving.

But at least I still have my 4 shot latte - made with organic 1.5% local milk.....

This is what happens when I get very little sleep and inherit the lovely cold that my baby girl decided to share with me. Sore trote started on Monday... worsened yesterday.... And now this morning I feel like I got run over by a truck. The unfortunate piece to this is I have a TON of stuff to do at work today so I can't afford to spend any time in La-La-Land which is usually the result of lack of sleep + sick. The flip side to that (that is, the fortunate side if you're following along) is that I love my job, so I think I'll find a little paper-pile of inspiration once I walk in my door. That's my hope, anyway.

Plus, I smell fall in the air. The nights are a bit cooler. The wind is a bit chillier. The leaves rustle a bit louder. The air is a bit thinner and delightfully fresh. (Although, keep in mind I'm already at 5000+ feet altitude, so the air is always a bit thinner....)  And the sunrises are more colorful and bright. This always points the way to a beautiful autumn. This will be our first fall spent in Colorado. We've been looking forward to this for three years. I'm already planning the family's wardrobe for pictures, early Saturday morning walks in the park, and my choice of daily scarves for my work days. (Little do they know my love of The Scarf - one of the best inventions in fashion.) Fall is my favorite time of year. I'm blessed to spend this season with my favorite man, my favorite little girl, my favorite little boy, in my favorite place with my favorite friends (minus a few we left behind, but are constantly encouraging to come for a visit **ahem ahem** - clearing of throat, hint hint, nudge nudge, you know who you are).

So, as I enjoy my morning cup of motivation, I have much to look forward to.

There is much to celebrate, much to be grateful for and many reasons to just rest and send a million thanks to the Creator of it all. Thank you, God, for this amazing landscape and the incredible life you've laid out for us.