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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saturday Morning

our sad pathetic flower bed in the back yard

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Sunday afternoon

after putting in the trim, new weed guard, two new roses, two new blueberries, dividing the sedum, and getting and applying free mulch

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Growing a Backbone

In high school I was really into poems, especially poems written by Maya Angelou. I had them scrolled out in my best penmanship and taped to my closet door, like any good teenage girl did, right next to my Peace signs. I came across this poem the other day, and remembered when my mom wrote it down and sent it to me on my senior retreat.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

It's a beautiful poem. I think mom was trying to teach me self confidence. I think she thought all those things were true about me, but I also think she was trying to get me to recognize my current abilities. My mom was very good at making me feel good (and sometimes very good at making me feel bad.) She used to say she loved going shopping with me because everything fit me. She on the other hand, had to hem everything. I miss shopping with my mom more than almost anything else that we shared together. We had some knock down drag out fights while shopping, like the time she told me if I didn't throw away my bubble gum she wasn't buying me anything that day and that would be the most expensive piece of bubble gum I would ever chew. Ahh... good times... Now that I don't have her around praising me or telling others about my accolades, I have a hard time grabbing on to my own, self made self confidence. Maybe most women go through this at this age? When I was 15 I could have built Mt. Everest with my self confidence. When you are older, and you have raised a baby, and you teach that baby everything and he or she turns out good or sometimes even great, you swim in your own self confidence because you have earned it. Then there's me, joining Toastmasters, practically working in my own little universe, wading through a pond of personal ideas, trying to stand on my own two feet. Nothing like that poem to help me hold my head up high.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

This is the last picture from my trip. This is the San Francisco Airport. I kind of liked the blues and greys and the silhouettes of the people pulling their luggage behind them.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Melissa and Will at Half Moon Bay

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The Santa Cruz Mascot

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A couple flying a kite in the fog on the beach at Santa Cruz

I also wanted to give you a link to the restaurant where we had breakfast in Santa Cruz. It was a Brazilian restaurant called Cafe Brasil. Joe and Amanda would have loved it. Check out the smootie selection on the menu. I had the Avocado Shake which was avocado, lime juice, and soy milk, and it was so good. I took one of their to-go menus so I could try to make some of the dishes at home. Yummy.

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This is probably my favorite picture from my trip. This is the Santa Cruz lighthouse with the fog coming in at dusk.


Close up of a daisy that is twice the size of our daisies here in Missouri on our walk through Santa Cruz. The amount of greenery and flowers in bloom out there right now is insane.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Overlooking Santa Rosa


Trees on my hike with Dr. Ann Noble in Annadel State Park


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Longest Post To Date

I have returned, very fresh and vitalized and very happy to be home. I had a wonderful trip. Want to hear all about it?

I started in Santa Rosa, which is the major town in the Sonoma Valley, to judge at the National Women's Wine Competition. This was the first year for this competition, and it had its ups and downs. The best part, by far, for me, was my panel. So, during the competition you are assigned a panel of three of four people that will taste all the same wines as you, and together you decide if a wine is medal worthy, and if so, what medal it should receive. My panel consisted of Cynthia Goddeau who is a sommelier at a Mario Batali restaurant in New York City, Diane Teitelbaum who is the wine buyer for American Airlines, and Ann Noble who was the dominant professor of wine in America and who invented the Wine Aroma Wheel which revolutionized descriptions of wines. I had met Ann Noble when I went to UCDavis to check out the school. She seemed intimidating and stern there. She was anything but at the wine judging. I had a fabulous time with her. She is very high energy and brilliant. She and I went on a hike together overlooking Santa Rosa on the first day.

There were parts of this wine judging I didn't care for (some of those women were so uptight they stressed me out)(plus Gina Gallo wasn't even there) and since it was the first year they kind of made up the rules as they went along, but it was all worth the opportunity I was granted to hang out with Ann Noble. She said she thought I was decisive but nice about it, and that I would have been one of her star students had I attended Davis, but understood why I chose Fresno.

This is my panel; myself, Ann (holding her glass upside down), our two volunteers in the middle (I don't remember the guys' name, but the girl's name was Vicky and she is holding the Wine Aroma Wheel), Diane, and Cynthia.

From there I headed down to the Bay Area to hang out with Melissa, John's sister, and her family. Their son looks a lot like John, I think.

We had a really great day at Half Moon Bay, I even got a little sunburned. (Not too bad, Christy) It felt so good to get my toes in the sand, and the sun on my back. Plus, their son, Will, is a doll. There is a tide pool there, and Melissa taught us all about the sea urchins, and anemones, and snails, and starfish.

We saw a real live starfish!

From there I spent the night in Santa Cruz with Ron, and Tyler, and Eleni and her husband (could be long term boyfriend) Chris.

Myself, Ron and Tyler at the Santa Cruz lighthouse

These are all old Fresno State classmates. Good times, good memories. Ron and I are still really close, he accompanied John and I in Europe to see Susanne. Tyler and his family are starting their own winery, Grace Patriot Wines. Santa Cruz is probably the most libral place I have ever been, it even surpasses Berkeley in my mind. Everything is organic, and they are very focused on the enviroment there. California in general is much more "green" minded than most people I know in Missouri. We had to get something small for dinner that they forgot, so Chris and I headed to the corner store, which was exactly like a tiny little Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Made me realize today when I was grocery shopping how full of crap and things that are bad for us our grocery stores are. Gross.

Last but not least I headed to the New World International Wine Competition, where I have judged 7 times before. My Red Raspberry won a Gold and Best of Class, which is very exciting. (I don't have the results back from the Women's judging.) I had a very enjoyable, quick panel that consisted of the head salesman for Gallo, who promoted and sold wine in Europe for 14 years, (he is retired now) and a man who owns a Wine bar and was a wine broker in Salt Lake City.

Don't think for one second that there aren't more pictures of my trip to come in the next few days. Now, after all that wine, I must go have one of my wonderful husband's marvelous beers. ;)

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

I'm Outie

I fly out tomorrow for two wine competitions in California. The first one is the National Women's Wine Competition. This is the first year for this competition and all the judges are women, and there is a special woman winemaker category where I have some of my wines entered. This competiton is supposed to decide "What Women Want" so I'm sure most of the days will be spent trying to not like White Zin, which isn't hard to do. I am most excited about this competition because Gina Gallo is one of the judges. I have always admired Gina, and I hope I don't get tongue tied or say something stupid when I meet her. After this competition, I am spending a day or two in the Bay area, and then head to the New World International Wine Competition that I have been a judge for 8 years now.

I will be gone for 9 days which is the longest amount of time I have been away from John. I am looking forward to the trip, but am also a little anxious, especially since I only know one other lady who is judging with me at the National Women's Wine Competition. I am a little intimidated if only by the fact that I picture them all knowing one another and I know no one. Lesa bought me a Women In Wine book that I plan to read on the flight out there.

I shall return to the blogging world on or around Tuesday March 20th. With that, I leave you with a picture from my last trip out there that I always really liked, but never posted here before. It is of an abandoned orchard on the outskirts of Fresno. It was right after a storm, and the coloring was so unique. Until then...

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Yes, sir, that's my baby.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Hannah's on the far left, sharpening her defense skills.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chuck's birthday was Friday and Becky's was Saturday. I made a strawberry cake. Becky gave me the recipe. I'm craving another piece.

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We bought a Trivial Pursuit game for the Xbox, and unfortunately the boys won. =( I bought Batman stickers for each of us, since we were celebrating Chuck's birthday (and Becky's) and Chuck drew Batman for awhile. The package the stickers came in said, "put sticker on shirt and instantly become Batman."

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

There's nothing better than hanging out with your best friends.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saturday night we went to a trivia night and along with coming in third place (my husband's a genius) we got to see and hear Bart auction off a few things. If I was a genius I would have recorded Bart auction off the wine gift basket that the winery donated, but I am not, so instead you get to see him rattle off prices for a spa gift basket. I'm fascinated by the auctioneering process. Who else do you know that does this?

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