Ten Tips on How to Enjoy Yourself at a Winery

wine--monk sneaking a drink(Even if  nobody else does.)

We went to two local wineries on a rainy  Saturday afternoon.   We observed many of the following behaviors at both wineries.

1) Invite at least 8 or more of your BFFs.  (If your group is not large enough to reach critical mass, then why make the effort to show up?)

2)  While you are at the winery, make sure each of you enjoys every bit of wine to whichpour-wine large you are entitled. The whole purpose of tasting wine is to make sure you taste enough to know whether you like it or not.

3.  On a rainy afternoon where everyone wants to be inside or outside on the roofed patio, make sure you gather enough chairs and tables for your entire possee.  Then stare at  the people who arrive after you to let them know that they should have arrived earlier. (After all you did.)

4.  Since you elected to patronize the winery, make sure people know you are there.  Dress to be seen and speak loudly enough so that your entire group can hear your bon mots and witty asides.  Laugh frequently (preferably in loud, shrill tones) so that no one can miss out on this scintillating conversation.

5.  Since practice makes perfect, you need to visit several wineries to perfect you technique.

6. You are a responsible group, so it’s much better to arrive in a limo or a bus.  You are not driving while impared, take up fewer parking spaces, and arrive in a large group simultaneously, which makes it better to have your presence felt.

7.  Take as much space as you need when going tasting at the bar.  The other customers will notpouring wine into a glass mind crowding up to give you the space you deserve.

8.  Unless the winery, specifically prohibits it, bring lots of food to share with your possee.  Picnic baskets, plastic bags, large coolers, serving dishes and utensils, multiple courses with appropriate garnishes, and enough paperplates and plastic ware show that you know how to enjoy yourselves in style.

9.  When you leave, don’t bother to bus your tables.  That is what the winery staff is for and if the next people really want to sit there, they will clean the tables for you.

10.  Get back on the bus, complaining loudly how no one understands the effort your group has made to enjoy themselves on a rainy day.

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Happy National Vietnam Veteran’s Day

Nationial Vietnam War Veterans Day

Vietnam was the war where WWII era military served with Baby Boomers.   Unlike WWII, it was never a declared war. When the troops returned, they were vilified–not treated like the conquering heroes who defeated the Nazis and the Japanese or the Thank you for you service with which we appropriately greet our veterans today.  They were the last troops to be drafted and the first of the All Volunteer military we have today.

Ironically, being a veteran has once again become a political asset–Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan are all treated with respect.

According to the  American War Library, on February 28, 2019:

As of this date The American War Library estimates that approximately 610,000 Americans who served on land in Vietnam or in the air over Vietnam between 1954 and 1975 are alive today. And approximately 164,000 Americans who served at sea in Vietnam waters are alive today.

Vietnam Vets die at a rate of 390 a day. So please thank a Vietnam Vet while there are still some left to thank.

Swimming Pool Etiquette: 5 Easy Things To Remember

please shower before entering pool1.  Take a Shower. We’re supposed to take a shower before the entering the pool.  Most of us know that but not everyone practices that behavior.   If you have just finished your gym workout, and going to the pool or the hot tub is your reward, then you need a shower.

2.  Wear a bathing suit or at least a clean substitute. Last week several co-eds took it one step further.  They not only didn’t shower, but they went into the jacuzzi  with their workout clothes still on.  One can only hope that the chlorine in the hot tub was strong enough 1) to kill the germs and 2)  eat through some of the lycra so that the girls got a lesson why this was not a good idea.

lanes in a swimming pool3.  Share a lane.  If the pool lanes are full and people are waiting, offer to share a lane with them.  Many pools have lanes that are wide enough to share.  However, you should be aware of the pool culture–some places you have to share, other places don’t encourage it, especially if there are more than two people per lane.  (I once belong to a gym that only had a few lanes and people had to swim the laps in circles based upon the self-decided pace of the swimmer.)

4.  If you are learning to swim and can safely stand in the lane you are in, please don’t ask someone to move so you can use the lane next to the side.  Obviously this rule does not apply it the water is too deep to safely stand up, or you are too afraid of the water if you can’t always keep one hand on the side of the pool.

5.  If you are not swimming  and are standing around chatting with some chums, people waiting at side of the poolplease don’t block the steps to the pool.  This is more  prevalent in outdoor pools than the one at the gym. Some pools have  designated loafers lane– hang out there.  A version of this is when you and your friend spend more time talking in side by side lanes than you do swimming.  If people are waiting, please be considerate and keep swimming or continue the conversation out of the water.

 

Happy National Spinach Day–March 26 , 2019

Strong to the finish

Popeye the Sailor Man is probably one of the most famous spinach eaters in the world.

National Spinach Day has a website dedicated to it.

If something is Florentine, Specifically, a dish prepared à la Florentine will feature some main ingredient, such as eggs, poultry or fish, served on a bed of spinach which has been cooked in butter, then topped with Mornay sauce and grated cheese, and finally browned under the broiler.

Have you tried spinach with Olive Oil? (Olive Oyl was Popeye’s sometime main squeeze in the comics  Most people don’t remember that she had a brother named Castor.)

Spinach is good raw in salads, cooked by itself, or mixed in Florentine dishes.

From Healthline:

By weight, spinach consists of 91.4% water, 3.6% carbs and 2.9% protein. There are 23 calories in 100 grams (3.5 oz) of spinach.

How do you eat your spinach?National Spinach Day

Aspiration Sunday

“Before you search for inspiration outside, dig for aspiration within.”

-The Little Mermaid, MMXIX

The Little Mermaid posted this on her blog today.

In Central Virginia, today is a bright sunny day with temps that will soar from the mid 30s to the mid  60s.  Spring is steadily advancing with birds singing, flowers blooming, and tree pollen rising (along with the temps).

What do you aspire to today?  I aspire for peace and contemplation.

Cardinal Point logoI want to sip wine outside in one of my favorite wineries, Cardinal Point.  Maybe their Green wine will be ready.  Green wine  is from the Portuguese Vinho Verde  (literally ‘green wine’)  that originated in the historic Minho Province in the far north of Portugal.  It is not a St. Patrick’s day wine (white wine colored green) but is wine made from young grapes. Picked before the regular wine harvest, it provides fresh wine that is drunk soon after bottling before the other wines are available.  It’s a perfect wine to sip on while enjoying the warm Spring sunshine.

If we have no love for ourselves then we have none to give others.  At what point does self love become hedonism? Is it when the ego rear’s its head, thumbs its chest and starts proclaiming how wonderful  it is?  Or is it when our love for ourselves or our needs tramples the love or concern we have for others?  Is spending the afternoon sipping a light wine  outside in a beautiful environment aspiration or hedonistic?

The day will evolve from soaking up the sun to soaking in some peace.  Our church is initiating a new service this evening, Taize Eucharest.  “A Taizé worship service involves sung and chanted prayers, meditation, a period of silence, liturgical readings, and icons. There is no preaching.”  It is ecumenical in nature.

 

They Weren’t as Bad as I Thought

writing editingMy read and critique group meets the third Friday of each month.  We submit our pieces by midnight on the first Friday of each month,  One of our group leaders assembles them in a PDF document and emails them to us the following Monday or Tuesday.

Depending upon whether we are in two or three groups and how many people submit pieces, we each have four to six approximately 10-page submissions to read.  The guidelines say 10 pages per month, but people submit up to 19 pages so that an entire chapter can be included.  Most of the submissions are fiction.  A few are memoirs and occasionally someone submits poetry.

This month I submitted poetry that had been posted to this blog.  Titles included The Feral Wind, Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day, What Book is This,   How Fast Are You?, and a few others.   In the two weeks between submitting them and having them critiqued, I wondered why I had taken the easy way out and submitted poetry.  On a few of the poems like Feral Wind and Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day,  I had spent some time molding the words.  Most of the others were dashed off as quickly as I could get the words typed and the mispellings corrected. (Thank you Grammarly, even if I don’t always agree with you.)

Anything can be improved.  Removing most “the”‘s from The Feral Wind really smoothed out the flow.

Original lines

The playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with the currents

Swoop with the downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between the cliffs of the cove and the point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through the jutting land.

Revised lines

A playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with  currents

Swoop with  downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between  cliffs of the cove and  point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through  jutting land.

The other poems were critiqued because of imagery (or lack thereof like How Fast Are You which is just a word play on the number of words that end in fast like breakfast or steadfast.)  The uneven cadence in some poems like Be Leaf in Yourself were highlighted with re-write.  Everyone had a differing opinion on whether a poem had some or no meaning.

People seemed surprised and liked the variety.  No one shredded the poems with criticism.  The light hearted poems were as well received as the more lyrical or highly scripted poems.  I told them I was regretting the submission of some poems.  They asked which ones.  I said I would tell them after the poems had been critiqued.  The ones I had not wanted  to include were Be Leaf in Yourself and Valentine’s Day: Day of Love,.

Take away:  Be brave.  Let your work be judged. It is often not as bad as your inner critique would have you belive. The insights of others, may just improve your work.  It improved mine.

Heroine

Jane Whitney, my friend and sommelier at Glen Manor Winery near Front Royal, Virginia, died unexpectedly on February 5, 2019.  The area was just coming out of a deep freeze.

That Tuesday, Jane’s friend, Nancy Border Forest stopped by Jane’s house in Bentonville.  Nancy was taking her golden retriever with her to pick up another dog at the groomers.  Nancy never arived at the groomers.

The surmise is that the golden retriever escaped onto the half frozen pond on Jane’s property and fell through the thin ice.  Both women went out to try and rescue the dog.  All three were found dead the next day by Warren County sherrifs.

Jane, the owner of at least three rescue dogs, died as she lived–helping others.  In addition to working at Glen Manor Winery, Jane also volunteered and was on the board at the Front Royal Women’s Rescue Center and Blue Ridge Hospice.

She was from England, becoming an American citizen in 1979 when she married Scott C. Whitney and moved to the United States.  She was a lawyer in England and had met Scott when they were both teaching at Exeter  University Law School.

Jane was a lady of wit and wisdom.  When my friends and I visited the winery, she always took time to chat with us and catch up on what was going on in each others lives. She would talk about her many trips to the Charlottesville area when she drove a friend down there for medical treatment at the UVA hospital.

We first met Jane back in the 1990s when she worked at Linden Winery in Linden, Virginia.  We were very happy to re-make her acquaintance when Jeff White opened Glen Manor winery about 2009.  (Jeff planted his vineyard in 1995 and originally sold wine through Linden before opening his own wine some years later.)

 

 

Blog Spam–How Much is Too Much?

buried under paperworkNo matter how much I may like your postings (otherwise I hope I would not have subscribed to your blog), I would really like to get no more than one or two blog posts a day.  More than that is blog spam or bloglogna.

I realized that this is a personal opinion and you may feel justified in sending multiple posts a day.  You may argue that they cover different topics or they are lovely pictures that do not require much effort to zip through.  You may also rightfully say that if the topic does not appeal to the reader then just delete the post.

It takes me a few seconds to scan your blog to ascertain whether or not it is something I want to read.  On my laptop, I can just click the box in the in front of your post and delete several blogs at a time, based upon the title.  On my cellphone I need to open each one before I can delete it.  That is at least 3 keystrokes per blog for something I want to delete.  Each of those keystrokes adds up, especially if the connection is slow.  Even if I elect to recieve one mass email per day, I still have to sort through a lengthy block of posts to see which ones I may want to examine further.

Some of you, I truly wish would post more often, but there are at least 3 of you that post mulitple times almost every day.  I like many of your postings so I really don’t want to block you or remove myself from following your blog.  Please show a little consideration for those of us who like your blog, but in moderation.

 

Reading Across America: Was Seuss Racist?

Dr Seuss birthdayRead Across America is celebrated each year on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel.  For years, Dr. Seuss has been the go-to book for early readers–books that kids loved and would actually read.  Recently, Dr. Seuss has fallen out of favor with  many educators because of the way he portrays people of color.

In a study published earlier this month in Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, researchers Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens found that only 2 percent of the human characters in Seuss’ books were people of color. And all of those characters, they say, were “depicted through racist caricatures.”

Last year when Melania Trump tried to give some Dr. Seuss books to  the Cambridgeport Elementary School Library in Cambridge as part of National Read Day on September 6, the librarian turned the gift down because she considered the books to be racist.  These books were the same titles that Melania had read to her son when he was young.   This was the first (but not the last time) I heard about Seuss as a racist.

Seuss is supposed to have have written “an entire minstrel show in college and performed as the main character in full blackface.”  And Suess wasn’t even a politician….

Seuss is not the first American children’s author who has fallen out of favor because of racism.  Laura Ingalls Wilder, the long time popular author of the Little House series, was labelled a racist last year because of the way her books portrayed Native Americans.  Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn has long been on and off banned book lists for years.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been contested for many reasons. Some readers object to the strong and sometimes racist language and think it’s inappropriate for children. However, most educators think given a proper context the book is a great read.

When is the right time for child to read books that many percieve to be racist?  Does the child need to be old enough to understand that harmful stereotypes are not true and may be hurtful?  In the case of Dr. Seuss, could his books that feature animal characters and not humans be more acceptable?  ( I have heard of people who think that Cat in the Hat is racist so that may not be a suitable idea either.)

Do you think that Seuss was a racist and should not be taught to children?