Monday, December 31, 2012

I Still Remember.

Daddy at my Uncle's home in Madeira.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when my life changed forever.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when my brother called to tell me that my father was missing.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew that my father was gone.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew that I wouldn't ever see his smiling face, hear his infectious laugh, hold his caring hands and receive anymore robust hugs.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew that I was so blessed to have spent time with my father in March 2001 on a family vacation.  Who knew it would be the last.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I knew what it felt like to have a part of your heart taken away, never to be replaced.

11:00am, 31st December 2001 is when I learned that you never let the sun set on your anger, that you love with abandon and that you never miss an opportunity to let someone know how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

Daddy, you are missed, every day.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Vicodin Filled Christmas.

Doesn't my foot look fabulous
Yesterday, Christmas Eve, I had surgery on my right foot.  The alien that was growing out of my ankle has now been removed.

Bear made a wonderful Christmas dinner, ham, gratin potatoes, sweet butternut and corn casserole.  Trevor contributed with much bitching. I gave orders from my comfy chair. I am very thankful for Vicodin and trying to stay ahead of the pain.

Hope your Christmas was filled with great food, family and wine!  I miss wine.  Wish I could sip on a glass, but Vicodin wins.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So Many Times We Forget to Say Thank You.

My favorite picture of T and Mr. Harris at graduation 2010
I was going through my pictures the other day and came across this picture of T. and his biology teacher, Mr. Harris.  This photo was taken at T's high school graduation.  I love this photograph as it epitomizes the relationship that Mr. Harris had, not only with T, but with all his students.  I never did get to say thank you.

So here it is.

Dear Mr. Harris,

Thank you for always believing in T and for never accepting work from him that you felt was inferior to what he was capable of doing.

Thank you for challenging T to think outside the conforming box, to question, research and question again.

Thank you for never giving up on T when he had those bad days when he didn't complete an assignment.  You held him accountable with his grade, but you showed compassion and kindness.

Thank you for respecting T as a human being and not blowing off his questions with condescending criticism.

Thank you for making Biology fun.  The classroom made up as a cell with masking tape was brilliant.

Thank you for your geekiness and nerdiness that helped T and so many other students deal with being stereotypes.    

Thank you for being firm, but gentle when lines were crossed.

Thank you for keeping me, the helicopter mom, informed of T's progress weekly and not surprise me with any "He did what?" at parent teacher conference. 

Thank you for dipping into your own pocket on more than one occasion to make science fun. 

Thank you for touching so many students lives in a positive way, it is no surprise you were regarded as the coolest teacher.

Thank you for allowing T to fail at certain things, to make him try harder, to make him understand that nothing comes easy or is free.

Thank you for making a difference.

With warmest regards,
T's Mom

Monday, December 10, 2012

Seven Word Wine Review

Me being creative

Vim, of, started Seven Word Wine Review.  (click on link to read the story).  I had read various 7 word reviews on Twitter and loved them.  What a fun, unpretentious way to rate wine.  I contacted Vim about started a chapter in Oregon.  Our first event had 8 people and was held at our home.  I asked everyone to bring a bottle of wine and a dish to share with all.  This past Saturday evening we had our 3rd event.  16 people attended. The requirement for this evening was to bring a French Wine under $25.00 and a dish paired with your wine. The challenge was that it was a blind tasting.  I must admit we all found this to be incredibly challenging as we didn't know the varietel which almost always leads you to your if it's Pinot Noir it must be berries, if it's Chardonnay it must be buttery oak.

Wine is poured, swirled, sniffed and sipped.  For some of us (aka me) this has to be done more that once.  We then throw out words, fruity, grass, lemons and I sit at my laptop and type furiously to catch all the phrases.  From those phrases we all come up with a sentence. This past Saturday we were very creative, so creative that a person on Twitter could not understand what the we were saying about the wine. Maybe our reviews were too specific to our group?

The first wine we had was Vin de Sauvoie Apremont.  On the nose there was lots of tropical fruit and sweetness, but when we tasted the wine it fell flat.  Not a hint of sweetness, more puckerish and had a rusty nail undertone.  This is the 7 word wine review we came up with.

“Bipolar Hawaiian in need of tetanus shot”

Next wine was Chateau La Freynelle 2009 Bordeaux.  On the nose it smelled like walking through a candy shop filled with sherbet, cotton candy and sweetness, but alas on the taste it was very disappointing not a hint of the candy heaven we had on the nose.  So this is what we came up with.

“Willy Wonka’s factory for a diabetic oompahloompah”

Yes, our reviews are not conventional, we are not creating reviews to sell the wine, but creating reviews to have fun and learn.  At this event we had three new people who were intimidated by wine.  They feared that their lack of wine knowledge would show.  By having everyone say out loud what they smelled or tasted gave them confidence in participating.

Now this is where it got totally awesome.  We poured Des Hauts Chassis Crozes Hermitage 2010.  One of the newbies looked at me and quietly said, "I smell wet newspaper and canned tuna."  She was right, many of us smelled this and we determined that the bottle was corked. She thought she was being silly and would never have said anything at a restaurant as her confidence in wine was lacking. At the end of the evening she thanked me for encouraging her to come as she had learned that wine tasting is not intimidating, but loads of fun and she learned so much.

So while our reviews may not be conventional these once a month get togethers are educational and fun and I think that this is what Vim intended seven word wine review to be.

*if you would like to join the 7 word wine review revolution, go to and let Vim know that you want to play along too. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I am my father's daughter.

Me and my daddy. 
In my father's will he left a coin to T.  Only 215 of these coins had been minted.  Last week I took the coin to a dealer to have appraised.

The conversation went as follows:

Dealer: (checking internet) I see only a few were minted. Very interesting coin.  How much do you want for it?

Me:  I don't want to sell it, I need to know a value for insurance purposes.

Dealer: (takes coin and throws it back on the counter towards me) This is a re-strike.

Me: How can you tell?

Dealer:  The 8 is larger than the 9

Me: Could I use your magnifying glass to see? (hands me glass) I don't see any difference.

Dealer: It's not a re-strike, it's a re-pour.  This coin has no value.

I left the coin dealer and as I drove home I wept.  I wept for my father who was once again duped by someone he helped financially.  I wept for my father who would give the shirt off his back to those that needed it.  I wept for my father and for how many times people continued to abuse his kindness and love.

Something made me stop at another coin dealer in town.  I took it in and it so happened that there was a coin dealer from New York who was very familiar with South African coins.  I asked him to look at the coin as I was told that it was a re-strike or re-pour.  He looked at the coin and he told me that is was genuine.  It was the real thing. His advice was to send it into NGC for appraisal.

The relief that washed over me was immense.  Finally someone had not duped my father.  When my father was murdered and I was going through all of his things I came across a wooden box.  I opened the wooden box and was in disbelief.  There were hundreds of pieces of papers of IOU's that people had signed of money they 'borrowed' from my father.  There were promises of paybacks and dates.  The amounts were incredulous. To this day not one of those people have come forward to repay the loan. We as a family made a decision not to approach those people.  That is not what my father would have wanted.

I am my father's daughter.  I give of my heart too freely.  I love too deeply and I trust blindly. I am the first to be there to pick someone up when they have fallen.  I am the first to be someone's cheerleader when their depression engulfs them.  I am the one that gently pushes and helps people towards their dreams and goals.

My mother reminded me today that I will always be who I am.  That I will always be my father's daughter.

And that is something to be proud of.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hullo, is this thing still on?

I am still here. Just busy trying to look busy then be busy then have a melt down because I am not busy enough.

I aim to blog about everything. Soon. That's if I don't get distrac.... oooh look a squirrel.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our Evening in Antica Terra Heaven.

When I received the email from Antica Terra that they were hosting their very first picnic in the vineyards I quickly called and reserved our spot.  The limit was 40 people.  I have always wanted to try wines from Antica Terra, but they were a little out of my budget.  The cost per person for the picnic was $35.00. Affordable and finally I would get to sip on wines that many buzz about on Twitter.

Antica Terra
The day started off slightly cloudy which wasn't a concern as Oregonians still do fun things in the rain.  As they say, you can tell who is not local by the people that carry umbrellas. Bear had arrived home early from the Gulf of Mexico so this was a great date event.  Our wonderful friend Roberta joined us as she originally was my date and was willing to have Bear take back that role.  Nate greeted us and poured a 2010 Phantasi Roussane which took us to the gates of heaven.

The table was set up in front of the vines and our chairs were hay bales. Lights were twinkling in the trees and a violinist and guitarist were playing great music.

Tables in the vineyards and hay bales for chairs.
Our musical entertainment for the evening.
Antica Terra Pinot Noir - 2006, 2008, 2010
Fresh Mozzarella
My creative shot, pre-wine.

We met a wonderful couple, Gannt and Alison.  Gannt is an Assistant Professor at University of Oregon teaching German and Scandinavian folklore, narratology, fairy tales and Iclandic Saga.  How cool is that!  Alison is a masseuse, AG Massage in Portland, Oregon and I am going to treat myself one day to her magic fingers.

Gannt and Alison
Dinner was German brats and sausages, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. 

Grilling the goodies.
My plate of yumminess
Heirloom tomatoes from Gathering Together farm.
While we were eating our delicious brats, Nate and Maggie poured our wines.  We had 2006, 2008 and 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  Okay 2006 blew our mind.  Of course you cannot buy these wines as there are no more.  We savored every single drop.  2008 and 2010 were wonderful.  Smooth, silky and fruit forward. (<-- that one was for Mitchell).

Yes please.
Maggie - winemaker extraordinaire
 Maggie had organized a Pinata for the little ones and while we ate our wonderful dessert, which I don't have a picture of, we watched the children destroy the beach ball.

Even the kids got to have fun.
After dessert Nate took a few of us for a walk in the vineyard.  It was the perfect end to an incredible evening.

Antica Terra
Nate explaining about the soil.
Grapes getting plumpy. (Nubian wine terms)
Pommard grapes.
I now understand why there are so many Antica Terra groupies on Twitter. Their wine is mind blowing. Choirs of angels singing. You want to break out into a rendition of 'The Circle of Life' song from the Lion King and hold your glass up high. That good.

A few days later I received a hand written note thanking us for attending their event.

My Mother would approve.

Thursday, September 27, 2012



... I signed up for Watercolor classes.

I have never drawn or painted so this is so far out of my box I need a tether to stay connected.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just another day in the life of my husband, my superhero.

As many of you know last November Bear did a stem cell donation.  Click here to read about the first process.

Bear received a call before he left for the Gulf of Mexico that the patient was now in need of his T-Cells.  Hurricane Isaac happened which delayed time and eventually after many rescheduling the day was upon us to head on up to Portland.

We checked in to The Inn at Northrup Station and I thought we had both sipped on some of Alice's happy juice and slipped down the rabbit hole.

Walking down the passage inebriated would not be wise
All I could think when I saw the 'headboard' was where are the handcuffs.
Living area with purple door that leads to another rabbit hole.
Portland is well known for their outstanding restaurants. We were in the Northwest Portland area and we decided to go to Serratto Restaurant and Bar. Once again Portland did not disappoint.

Their happy hour menu was wonderful and we agree with our friends, Dave and Lars, happy hour in Portland is incredible.  These pictures are the happy hour portions. 

Calamari Rings

Octopus Bean Salad. I dug in before I took a picture. Hence the bite out of the bread.

Fries, garlic mayo and ketchup.

Walnut salad

Pizza of the day

Creme Brulee
The Creme Brulee was on the house per our wonderful waitress Erin.  I had told her why we were in Portland and she was a little verklempt.

Serratto. Great place, great food and great atmosphere.

5:00am Came all too soon and we were off to the hospital to get Bear checked in. 

Bear all checked in and waiting.   
I had to leave the room when they put the needles into Bear's arms. These are some big boys and I don't do well with the sight of needles.  

So calm and happy.
Once Karen, our wonderful nurse we had last time,  had Bear all situated we turned on the TV and I flicked through the channels to find something to occupy us all for the next four hours. The T-Cell collection was not as stressful as the Stem-Cell.  If you remember back then Bear had to take injections to increase his stem cell production which put pressure on his bones.  My husband is a trooper. Not one complaint. Now me... well as Karen said, "We'll make sure you have two nurses in the room."

Bear and our amazing nurse, Karen
If you look to the right of the picture and about the machine you will see a bag with red liquid in it.  Those are Bear's T-Cells.

All done.
Our thoughts, prayers, wishes, good juju and mojo go to the patient.  We hope she has a positive reaction to the T-Cells and that she gets stronger every day.

Thank you to Fari at Be The Match for keeping us straight on our paperwork and appointments and for always having a hug and a smile for us no matter how hectic your day was.

Karen, thank you for your kindness and your compassion.  You made this journey so much easier for us both to get through.

Bear, thank you for going along with me when I signed us both up on the registry and for not giving me the sideways look when you were called six months later.  You are selfless and I wish there were more people in the world like you. I love you much.

If you are thinking of signing up on the registry please take a moment and educate yourself on all that is involved.  We can all get caught up in the emotion and when our number is called we should be ready to say yes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kramer Vineyards and Crawfish Deliciousness.

Kramer Vineyards
While Bear is off in the Gulf of Mexico chasing Physeter Macrocephalus aka Sperm Whales, I decided to treat myself and attend a Crawfish Boil at Kramer Vineyards.

For some, Twitter is a bother. For me, Twitter is a blessing as it has introduced me to some wonderful people who have become firm friends and the Kramer family are included in that small group. Over the summer Kramer Vineyards hosts various dinner events and I jumped at the chance to attend their Crawfish Boil dinner.  Kim, the fantastic and gorgeous winemaker, invited me to stay at Casa Kramer so I wouldn't have to make the long trek back to Corvallis at night.  In other words I could get my drunk on. (Mom, really I wasn't drunk, just a little relaxed.)

I love Kramer winery and was amazed to hear that some people in the Portland area have not visited this wonderful winery.  The very first time Bear and I visited the winery we were welcomed by the wonderful Ms. Angelene whose infectious smile and bubbly personality has you asking what is she on and where can I get some of that happiness, the fabulous Mrs. Trudy Kramer with her sun hat and her handful of fresh blooms and Kim, second generation winemaker.  Kim poured for us and watching her describe her wine and the process makes you feel as though you are intruding on an intimate moment.  Kim is very passionate about her wine and it shows. 

Mr. Kramer welcoming guests.
Relaxing and waiting for the dinner to commence.
Big Ron Sabin
The Kramer family knows how to put on a party and this event was finger licking, crawfish slurping deliciousness.  The music was provided by Big Ron Sabin and he provided the perfect winery event ambiance. I invited myself to sit with the wonderful Mike and my twin, Jacqui. Good choice as these peeps are my kind of peeps.

Fresh crawfish goodness.
The wonderful Kathy and Michelle, pourers of the happy juice.
Crawfish delicousness.
There was salad, but as Mike said, "This isn't a salad boil."
Kramer Rose of Pinot Noir - perfect pairing
My plate and my sippy cup.
My plate of awesomeness
Mr. Kramer with the incredible Pinot Noir 2002
Mr. Kramer surprised us all by opening a jeraboum of Kramer Pinot Noir Reserve 2002.  Everyone got to try it and it was mind blowing berry bursting velvety smooth heaven. Thank you Mr. Kramer for sharing with us one of your library wines.  

Fresh peach cobbler
Fresh whipped cream with basil.
After we all went up for seconds and some of us for thirds of dinner, dessert was served.  Fresh peach cobbler with fresh whipped basil cream.  *cue song* 'Heaven, I'm in heaven' I had a cup of coffee that was made from beans that Mr. Kramer roasts himself.  Not only does he make superb wine, he also makes superb coffee.

Much laughter, much wine and many sucking and slurping noises filled the vineyard and for the grand finale clear skies in which to witness the meteor shower.

Kramer Crew, you know how to throw one hell of a party.