It's time to lose your mind and let the crazy out.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

You used to captivate me by your resonating light

I lost a dear friend, Diana. She was my classmate, my teacher, my mentor, but most of all, my friend. Diana was one of the strongest women I knew. She embodied the very meaning of what a strong caring woman is. I met her in the fall of 1997 on the campus at Fresno State. She was in my wine analysis class. She had worked in the industry many years, at wineries like Beaulieu Vineyard and Chalk Hill just to name a few and she owned property and grapes in Sonoma. She had gotten her degree in something other than enology when she was young, worked in the wine industry, got a divorce, and came back to school to get her official degree. She was beautiful, knowledgeable and so very nice. She took some classes alongside of us, and was asked to teach other classes, like Wine Tasting. It was in this class that she pulled me aside, told me she thought I had an excellent palate, and asked me if I wanted to learn to be a wine judge. I was and still am forever grateful, and honored. In 1999, and 2000 I was a wine judge in training at the New World International Wine Competition and in 2001 I graduated to official judge. After I graduated, I saw Diana twice a year, which was more than I saw anybody else from Fresno State, once at the wine judging and once at the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference. She worked for Scott Labs and did seminars and sold products all over America. She always had the scoop on where our old classmates were working; people seem to move around a lot in the wine industry in California. This year, 2006, neither one of us could go to the wine judging. I had Natalie's wedding and she had been diagnosed with leukemia. I talked to her a couple more times throughout the year. She was one of the most energetic people around, always talking a mile a minute, always going somewhere doing something. She refused to let the leukemia slow her down, although I had a bad feeling it was much worse than she was telling me. We both made a pack that we would see each other next February at the wine judging, because we were both sad we missed it this year, and missed each other's company. I haven't talked to her in a couple months, but saw she was quoted in this blog, just a couple weeks ago and I sent her a little email congratulating her on the article, and just a general checking-in-with-a-friend type email. I never heard back from her.

Although it isn't February, and it's not time for Diana and I to visit, I miss her deeply and my heart is heavy. She had this little quirk of putting on her lipstick a hundred times a day. She was classy and unique, introducing me to bitters, and she was always in my corner, and I in hers. Her light shined brighter than most, and in this instance it does seem like only the good die young. She was my friend when I didn't have that many friends, and she opened my door to an opportunity I will never take for granted. The last time I did see her, we had a really great visit. John, Ron and I stayed the night with her in her Bodega Bay house on the ocean in the summer of 2004. We had dinner with a bunch of my old classmates, a reunion of sorts, and then headed back to Diana's house to talk the night away, and drink more wine, of course. She was up and out of the house before we were the next day, always so busy and on the go.

I am sad to lose such a positive influence in my life.

Labels: , , ,

Diana and I in King's Canyon in the fall of 1997.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

sleep mates


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

old stuff in the storage room at the farm

Labels: ,

foley mills

Labels: ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

Blogroll Update

As promised last week, here is the second part of my blogroll.

Sara Most of you know Sara as my friend from elementary school. She does not post very often, but her blog sure is cute.

Stuff on My Cat very funny stuff here, IMO.

Grey Matter is a blog from the writers of Grey's Anatomy. It's great to see their thoughts behind the scenes, and sometimes get some hints about what is upcoming.

Chocolate and Zucchini is a food blog written by a girl who is in France. Although I haven't made any of her recipes, each one sounds divine.

My Cat Hates You is a website/blog that, in their words, "proudly present you the largest collection of sour-faced, indignant felines on the Internet." I submitted a picture of Java last year, but they never used it. The captions under the pictures are equally as good as the pictures.

You Grow Girl is a website/blog featuring gardening. It's kept by a lady who wrote a book by the same name, and I bought that book for Amanda recently. Lots of great pictures and conversation about plants on the forum. I can hear John in the back of my head telling me, "you're such a nerd."

101 Cookbooks is also a food blog written by a girl who is also writing and publishing a cookbook. There is so much info an her blog, I'm not exactly sure I can explain it. If you're looking for something to make in the kitchen, you'll like this blog.

Little Jenny lives in Rochester, New York. She is very crafty, and takes great pictures. I linked to her pictures way back when I was trying to figure out your picture looking problems (which I'm not quite sure I ever fixed.) She is the next Martha Stewart. I particularly like her Projects Page, and all the cute little sidebar stuff, like what she is listening to, busy with, etc.

Coconut and Lime is one more food blog. I'm relatively new to this blog, but whoever writes for it has recipes I might actually make, which is encouraging.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The rivalry continues and this time it's our turn to have the drum.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

I love a man with a nice BAG.


John will never hold my purse, under any circumstances, so you can imagine my amusement when Gabe willingly carried Robyn's purse.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 24, 2006

All 4 babies on the couch; Tony Danza, Java, Tabasco, and Chester.


I never get tired of seeing a cat in the cat bed that I made.

Labels: ,

We've seen these two brothers here before, here, here, and here.


Thursday, November 23, 2006


I can remember being in my very early teens, 13, 14, 15 maybe, and we went around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and said what we were most thankful for. Although we don't do this every year, we do it fairly often. My cousins, Heather and Natalie were at the farm, and I remember Heather saying she was most thankful that "she knew who she was" or something to that extent. I met that statement with bewilderment and awe. My first thought was, "I'm supposed to be figuring out what?" followed by "God, she's so cool." From here on out I have wanted to say that I am most thankful for knowing who I am, but I never did, because I thought people would remember her saying that. It is etched in my memory so vividly. Plus, I think I didn't know who I was until recently, and honestly I think I am still figuring it out. Maybe I should say that I have always known who I am, I am just now becoming comfortable with that person.

I have a new persceptive on life, through some self confident eyes. Not that type of 17-year-old-you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do-I-rock-and-you're-an-idiot self confidence either. It's more of a genuine understanding of myself, and loving myself type of self confidence. Don't get me wrong, there are moments when I feel totally stupid, and like I can do nothing right (those moments generally happen around dad) but overall I feel like I have a stance on issues, big or small. John will sometimes kid around and answer a question with a bold answer like, "That's because I'm the best teacher around" and it doesn't come off as conceited, it comes off as funny, but he won't laugh, and I love it.

I think moms have to have the most self confidence of anyone. The other day in the grocery store, this teenage girl was cold, so she put on her mom's coat, but exclaimed the coat was "so ugly." And the daughter laughed, and I gave a smile, and the mom just kept shopping.

I miss Heather and Natalie. When we were kids, we would play Barbies or school or air hockey until we fell asleep with exhaustion. When we were teenagers we talked and talked and had the best conversations ever. A good 15 years later, and I am still contemplating the same discussion. I think it's important to have someone ask you questions that you don't know how to answer. It's good to have someone to ponder life with. So, today I am most thankful for my husband (he's brilliant and ever so patient with me) my family (my favorite part of the day was when Abbey thought the word "chrysanthemum" read "crystal meth") and for people in my life who keep me thinking and for the tiny part of me that actually might be comfortable with myself.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You Know You're Old When...

the lady at the coffee bar counter asks if you have silver highlights in your hair.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another old picture I found. These are my dad's grandparents, the Hoffmeisters on the left, and the Hollerbachs on the right. I would imagine this picture was taken in the 1940s.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Breaking Bread

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 19, 2006


A blogroll is a list of friends that you have that have blogs, or blogs that you look at very regularly. It is usually found on the side of the blog, near the archive list or somewhere around there. I don't have a blogroll on this blog, the template didn't come with one, but if I did have one, this would be it.

Chuck is a great friend, and is married to my oldest friend, Sara. Chuck is an amazing artist, and you can see some of his work on his blog (notice his great example of a blogroll on the right.) He is a storyboard artist, and has worked on shows like Batman, Dilbert, Scooby-Doo, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also our designated artist for all our new labels at the winery. He doesn't update his blog very often, but when he does it is spectacular.

Katie and her husband, Clyde, own and run the Peaceful Bend Winery in Steeleville, Missouri. I have known Katie for many years, but am only recently getting to know her better through her blog. She is a wonderful photographer and a fellow scrapbooker.

Loobylu I don't really know Clare, the girl who blogs at loobylu, but I do look at her blog a lot. She lives in Australia, and sews a lot, especially little dolls. I find it interesting to see what the other side of the globe is doing, and her sewing talents inspire me to get off my butt and do something.

I told you a couple months ago about Farm Girl. She lives in rural Missouri, moved there from California and she raises sheep, and has an excellent garden, and develops recipes. She is really into living in Missouri, which is refreshing because I know I take it for granted sometimes.

Dooce is by far the funniest blog I view. Her name is Heather and she lives in Salt Lake City and she has the greatest stories about her daughter, her husband, her dog, and about being an ex-Mormon. Heather has the most famous blog I look at, she even gets flown to New York City to be on CNN.

Then there's Huffmania I'm not even sure if I know the girls' name on Huffmania, but I do know she lives in Kansas City, and has three beautiful children, and she is also very crafty. She is an excellent seamstress, and can whip up a homemade present in no time flat. She's also into cooking and baking and shoes, and she's an archeologist. Who doesn't like all that?

One of the most fascinating blogs I read is Wine Terroirs His most recent post is about deer hunting in France; really phenomenal to see how they do it over there. His photographs are superb, and he gets to tour so many tiny wineries around France, and do barrel tastings. I so want to be this guy!

A friend from college, Robin, adopted a little boy from the Ukraine and writes a blog about going to get him, and how he is adjusting to life in St. Louis. She has a daughter of her own, and I think it's really great that she is saving this boy from being family-less; very honorable.

I'm sure there are a few more, can't seem to think of them right now. Check back in a couple days for a blogroll update.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm Not Sure Which is Worse...

the fact that Kevin Federline is from Fresno, or the fact that Fresno has to claim Kevin Federline.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Mr. Hill, one of my high school teachers, used to call me a gourdhead.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

At the suggestion of Sara and Heather, I framed a few pictures of mine and put them for sale in the winery tasting room. They have been there since August and none of them have sold yet, but o'well, I'm pimping them anyway.

Labels: ,

My photograph made the paper! There is a new paper in the Ste. Genevieve Region called The Jacket, and they are starting a photo of the month competition and my photo was the example photo. ;)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I was introduced today to Gary Vaynerchuk's blog/website where he tastes wine and rates them on video. I am very entertained. I'm not sure if I'm laughing at him or with him, but nonetheless, I'm laughing. He takes wine tasting very seriously, but has fun with it too. You have to watch this episode and see if you aren't amused too.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Katie's version of my picture


Monday, November 13, 2006

Maybe there's a photoshop class at Forest Park Community College? Anyone want to look into signing up with me?


Any help out there? I know Chuck has to know how to use photoshop. I know Garrett knows how too.


So, we have photoshop on our computer, and I know it does lots of cool things... I'm just a little indimidated. There's words on there like dither and ripple and spherize and mezzotint. What do they all mean?


So, clearly, I could use some photoshop help. This is a picture I took Sunday morning of the vineyard on my way to my deer hunting spot. The sky was cloudy and hazy and grey, and it looked cool in person, but apparently not through my camera.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

This foodie took a trip to the international grocery store in the neighborhood.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 11, 2006

One last old picture... This is my cousin, Natalie, then me, then my other cousin, Heather, circa 1995. We are standing on top of the hill at the farm at dusk, probably taken at either Thanksgiving or Christmas. These girls are so dear to my heart, we have so much fun together. I could not ask for better cousins.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 10, 2006

This is a picture of my mom's dad, Bill. I like this photograph because it has wrinkles in it. I also like it because it looks like he's getting ready to tell you to do something. I remember my Grandpa Bill being very stern, and militant, and always telling someone what to do, so, in my mind, this picture captures his essence.

Labels: ,

This is a picture of my mom's mom, Genevieve, as a child.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I finally got the scanner at the farm to work, so I scanned a few old pictures. This is my Grandma Gertrude and Grandpa Linus' wedding photo. They are on the right. On the left is my grandpa's brother, George, (don't you love his Kramer like hairdo?) and the girl next to him is my grandma's sister, Elizabeth, one of two aunts that my middle name originated. My grandpa looks just like my cousin, Jeff, and I have been told I look like my grandma.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

If you're not watching

Dancing With The Stars, you are missing out. I think it's my favorite tv show right now. I could watch Emmit Smith do the waltz in a tux, and Mario Lopez dance the Tango all night long. I like the fact that they dance to pop songs. John doesn't like this aspect, but I kind of like the idea of dancing the cha cha to Michael Jackson's "Bad."

While we were in Germany, we realized that all the Germans ballroom dance. At the wedding, some of the guests gave the bride and groom presents that they had to work for. For example, someone gave Susanne and Dietmar a bowl of blue jello in a beach scene, with little beach chairs and beach balls, and stuck in the jello was a 50 euro bill. One of the games we played that had to do with a present included ballroom dancing. Random guests were given keys, some for girls and some for guys. I took a key, not knowing the game. John and Ron took keys also. Then Susanne and Dietmar had to ask guests to dance, dance a few jigs, and then ask for a key. Then they took the key and tried to open a box that held money. It was mayhem. Susanne and Dietmar politely acted like they wanted to dance with their partner, waiting a small amount of time and then rushing to the box to use their new key, and then the whole room laughed when the key didn't work. Once I learned I was going to have to ballroom dance to participate, I gave my key to Susanne's sister in law, Heike. She ended up having the right key to open the box. It was a lot of fun, but kind of sad to watch all the Germans dance on the dance floor and not be able to participate. Susanne parents, young and old alike all out there doing the foxtrot or whatever. The band they hired tried to play a few America songs for us, and the only one I can remember was Rocky Mountain High. We did what they expected and got out on the floor and tried to dance. The young Germans tried to free style dance, and they kept looking at us, and we were trying (I don't know what Ron and John were doing) to look like we knew how to dance to Rocky Mountain High. Should have videotaped that.

I think my mom would have liked Dancing With The Stars. She loved all the old musicals, and we watched a lot of Solid Gold together. Good times.

Labels: , , ,

Your Company Was The Best Present.

I think I am probably crossing the line between what I should write about on this here blog and what I should not, but you know, I've been looking at all those other blogs and some of them are much more controversial than mine, so this is where I step it up a notch. It's really more of a baby step.

When your dad's wife (I boycott the word 'stepmom') (I know I'm being very immature) (give me a minute here) (or 6 years and 2 days) sends you a thank you card for her birthday present, and it in she writes, "Your company was the best present of all" and you weren't able to attend her birthday party, how should that be taken?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

6 Years Plus 1 Day

Lest you think I forgot, yesterday was the anniversary of my mom's passing. The picture I posted is from the last Muny Band concert in July 2000, about 3 months before she left us. She was our guest conductor, and she had a ball. She wore these big earrings she bought for me years before because she thought they looked like treble clefs. She really did love life.

Although I know I can function without her, I still miss her.

Labels: ,

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right

Labels: ,

Monday, November 06, 2006

How Many of Me?

John actually found this website over a week ago, and I found it interesting. I tried to find it for Sharon at the party, but given my rate of alcohol consumption, that was pert near impossible. I did find it again today, so I'm sharing it with you. There are 34 people with my name. There is only one person with my first name and my maiden name, so is that me and they just haven't updated? Or it is someone else? I can't say this website is 100% accurate because it says there is no one with my dad's name, or Matt's name. I don't know about Matt, but I do know dad could be one of those crazy people who doesn't fill out the census report because he doesn't think the government needs to know.

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Americans can deep fry anything.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Deviled Eggs

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I joined a blog group for the month of November. The idea is to post something everyday in the month of November on your blog. It's an alternative to NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, where you write a novel in 30 days. At least I think I joined, even though my name isn't on the list. I joined late, so hopefully she's still updating. If ever you have time to kill and are interested in blogs, that list is the place to go, I think there are over 1,000 blogs listed that promise to update every day in November. That's a lot of blogging. My favorite aspect is the the NaBloPoMo Randomizer that shows you a different blog that is partcipating everytime you click on it. I already know I can't blog on Saturday (aw, pumkpin, I'll miss you too!!) so I won't be winning any of the prizes, but it's fun to be part of the community anyway. Plus, you all will hopefully be very entertained (or not.)


John and I were Catwoman and Batman, but John thought it would be funny if he called himself Iowaman because he was wearing his Iowa hawkeye t-shirt. So I guess we were Catwoman and Iowaman? (wtf?)

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat

One of the dilemmas of passing out candy at our house is that every year there are a few junior high aged kids that show up at our doorstep wanting candy without wearing a costume. This year John and I decided he would tell the kids- "No costume, no candy!" When the kids actually showed up with no costumes on, though, he turned soft, asked them for a joke, and gave them candy anyway. I laughed and laughed because on the way home last night he told me I need to reach down and grab a pair and tell the kids myself that they couldn't have candy. He couldn't do it either.

He did get to make fun of me, though. Kids show up, I say "trick or treat," I give them candy and then I sit back down to continue watching Dancing With The Stars. John asks, "why do you say 'trick or treat?'" I had no answer.

Can you tell we're new at this?

Labels: , ,