Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

The Challenge of Being a “Duck” April 21, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Cooking,Life Balance,Moving,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:29 pm
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There’s a quote that’s stuck with me over the past few years and the analogy has helped me a lot with this move:

“Always behave like a duck – keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like the devil underneath”

— Jacob Morton BraudeDuck analogy

At no point in the past year has that been more true or more important than in the last month.  Moving, traveling, unpacking, continuing to work in a remote capacity, and staying positive throughout it all has truly tested my ability to behave like a duck.  Each turn has thrown things in my path that might have derailed me, had I allowed that to happen.  Staying focused on the positive aspect of each challenge has taken a conscious effort.  My “happy yellow lab” side has been pushed to its teary limits from time to time, but being able to take comfort in the firm belief that this move is our destiny has made all the difference.

Please allow me to share a few examples with you:

  • We were sent two amazing movers… a Marine (Irvin) and his aide (Billy) who walked with me all four days of our packing/moving.  The challenge came when their “reinforcements” arrived in the form of two guys, one of whom was both allergic to dust and cat hair. Both of these were especially plentiful in our bedroom, which was his only focus for a day and a half, so when the choice came between laughing and crying, I had to choose the former.
  • I had to resign from the most amazing job I’ve ever had and leave coworkers who were some of the most incredible, loving, and wonderful people in my life.  Rather than turning my resignation into a difficult and uncomfortable situation, they have continued to allow me to work from my MD apartment and allowed me the ability to help in the transition for my replacement.  While it’s a challenge to be so far from a business and people that are so dear to me, they’ve given me the gift of time… time to get used to not being on property… time to allow someone else to learn how to respond to event requests… time to cook and write, which I’ve come to love.  How many people can say that about a job?  How many people love their job so much that they’d rather do it for free (or nearly free) than not do it at all?  That, my friends, is how much I loved my job at the winery… yet, I know that it was time for me to move on to other challenges…
  • We chose to bring our two cats along on this journey to MD.  They’ve handled the situation as admirably as we could expect… especially since the only time either had ever been in the car was to go to the vet.  Thankfully, M took our girl-kitty, who voiced her frustrations during the entire trip while our boy-kitty chose to bravely travel without whining (much).  It’s taken a week in the apartment for them to calm down enough to sleep at night and not jump on our heads (apparently to make sure that we were still there) but things seem to be smoothing out for them.
  • Our apartment’s positioning in the building added so many challenges (which I’ve already mentioned in previous blog posts), but even that seems to be falling into some sort of a rhythm.  I’m slowly getting used to grabbing my cane to traverse around the building and the distance is thankfully becoming a little less daunting for me.  It’s the little things…
  • My Little Red Wagon… it rocks.
  • I’m learning to cook on an electric stove!  I’m not at all happy about it, but it’s a challenge and I’m learning how to adjust to make meals for us within the parameters of the items found within the apartment… and I’ll be even more grateful when we finally move into a place that has a gas stove, cuz we’re not going to buy a place that can’t be plumbed for gas.
  • I still have wine in the apartment… and I’m still cooking with wine… this makes me ridiculously happy!
  • After all the problems we experienced with the apartment complex during our check-in, our relocation guy just sent me an Amex gift card… won’t change the past, but certainly will give me something positive and happy to do tomorrow.  It’s all about perspective, people… focus on the positive.

See?  It really is all about how you view the situation.  We’re now deep in the “wait and see” mode with regards to the sale of our home in VA.  There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but pray… and pray, I will.  It’s how I lived through our move from Michigan to Virginia in 2001 and it’s how I’ll live through this move from Virginia to Maryland.  It’s not my preference, but it’s how things must be done in this  time of uncertainty and chaos.  I’ll strive to face each day in true “duck” fashion, looking calm and collected, while fervently paddling/praying like a madwoman at every opportunity.

Shouldn’t we all strive to act like a duck from time to time?

 

 

“Meritage” does NOT rhyme with “garage”… and here’s the proof. October 31, 2013

Filed under: Communication,VA Wine,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 7:39 am
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One of my biggest pet-peeves in the wine industry is the way some people pronounce the word “Meritage”. With permission, I am posting an explanation that was crafted by my Assistant General Manager at James River Cellars (Alexander Morgan) for distribution to the staff and volunteers of our winery. Since nowhere near enough people had the opportunity to read this information, I wanted to extend its reach… I hope you take this to heart and share it with as many people as possible. Together, we can make things right… right?
∞ alison

This is a long time coming, but I just heard the most outlandish justification for why “mer-i-taaaaaaaahge” is most DEFINITELY a French term (it’s not), so I called, read, and googled all kinds of sources, and here you go – proof:

Meritage – “MEHR-i-tidj” or “Summation”

Open Scene — It’s 1988, and a group of CALIFORNIAN winemakers, specifically from Napa Valley, are having trouble with their local ABC and ATF enforcement laws (shocking) concerning the official blend % of a wine in order to print said wine on the label.

Example – if a wine is only 60% Merlot juice, can the label state “Merlot?”

No – the law then, and still today, states that at LEAST 75% of any given wine, red or white, must be of the specific grape, in order to print it on the label.

Example – the wine MUST be a volume of >/= 75% Merlot to print “Winery’s 2013 Merlot”

So, a wine can be … 80% Merlot, with 20% …say, Cabernet Franc (or even 10 other wines at small %), and legally still be labeled as “Merlot”

These winemakers decided to take action and exploit loopholes in the law, in order to showcase the rising appeal of blending, much like the Europeans did. The most proficient blending region in Europe? Bordeaux, France.

So, a contest was held. Over 6000 entries answered the call for a collective term that could be used to describe BORDEAUX-style BLENDS, which were made OUTSIDE of Bordeaux.

One participant suggested combining the very-American terms “merit” and “heritage,” to reference the quality, resiliency, and history of winemaking.

“Meri-“ + “-tage” = “Meritage”
Remember, think “herit-I-ge Merit-I-ge”

And thus, the “Meritage Association of CALIFORNIA” was coined and founded. In 2007, the name was changed to the “Meritage Alliance.”

A Meritage MUST be:
1) a blend of at least 2 or more Bordeaux grape varietals, within no varietal comprising 90% or more of the blend
2) the participating winery’s highest quality wine juice
3) produced and bottled by a U.S. winery, using U.S. grapes
4) limited to a 25,000 case production, per vintage year

A Meritage must be ALL-INCLUSIVE of the following grapes. If blended with even 0.01% of any juice from an outside source, the wine cannot be labeled as “Meritage.”

Official red Bordeaux varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec

Unofficial red Bordeaux varietals: Carménère, Gros Verdot (no relation to Petit Verdot),and St. Macaire

Official white Bordeaux varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillion, and Muscadelle

Unofficial white Bordeaux varietals: Sauvignon Gris, Ugni Blanc (French term for Trebbiano, and parent to Vidal Blanc), Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Ondenc, and Mauzac.

Bordeaux’ regions: Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc, and Graves

The five ELITE Bordeaux wineries are:
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (Médoc),

Chateau Margaux (Médoc),

Chateau Latour (Médoc),

Chateau Haut-Brion (Graves), and

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Médoc)

Other Bordeaux’ wines you may have already drank: Sauternes (Graves)

Outside of the United States, the term “Claret” or “Clairet” is used to describe a Bordeaux-style wine that was created outside of Bordeaux

The Meritage Alliance website – http://www.meritagealliance.com/

There — proof that not only “Meritage” is an American creation, but also that it indicatively CANNOT be a French term (see stipulation #3 above)

 

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! July 8, 2013

Filed under: Blessings,Blogs,Communication,Cooking,Life Balance,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 3:44 pm
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I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award!

The award is from a fellow blogger, for my wine blog (fromthebottomofawinebottle.wordpress.com) but I thought it was pretty cool.  I followed all the directions, answered all the questions (there were 22 total) and posted the award on my blog.  Sweet, huh?

Maybe I’m just a little naive, but having someone else out there in the blogging world think that the stuff I write is worth passing along to others really made my day.  I write for me, first and foremost, but it really does make me happy to know that others enjoy what I write.  I’m not changing the world, nor would I want to, but making positive influences to my personal part of the universe is good enough for me.

Besides… there are enough people out there who want to change the world… right?  I just want to add a little flavor here and there.

Cheers!

 

A Winery Birthday Party? May 10, 2013

Filed under: Blessings,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 9:06 am
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Oska'sBIrthday2013Last night, I was privileged to spend a few hours with a large group of (legal-aged) young adults who were celebrating a friend’s birthday with a party at James River Cellars.  It was a night of great music, laughter, fun, and lots of wine and beer.  While I wasn’t originally scheduled to work the event, I was surprisingly glad to have been in attendance… if only to be privy to the party-life of a group of young adults.

Truth be told, I had trepidations about how this evening was going to go.  As the guest list grew from 75 to 100 people, I had visions of beer bongs, keg stands, and shot-gunned beers along with nightmares of inebriated young men and women needing taxis to get home again.  Thankfully, I was totally off base with these people… and I have never been so glad to be wrong.

The evening couldn’t have gone better.  The guests had taken the event seriously and were dressed up – the guys looked sharp in khakis, tucked-in-shirts, and blazers while the girls were stunning in beautiful dresses and heels that were higher than I’d seen in ages. Oska, the guest-of-honor, had organized almost everything and relied on friends to participate and make the evening special.  There were photos of  him alone and with friends/family, there were packs of cards for anyone who wanted to play card games during the night (cuz that’s something Oska likes to do), and a few signs that hinted at fun times and family traditions (Hip, Hip, Hooray!).   If you didn’t know Oska well before last night, there were ample opportunities to learn more about him and become part of his inner circle of friends.  His parents made the trek from MD for the evening and one of his professors even came for a few hours.  It was a wonderful event.

From my point of view, it touched my heart that so many people would take the time to spend a Thursday night during finals to celebrate their friendship with this unique young man.  He has created a family of friends who love and support one another in the way that every parent wants for their child.  These young people are kind, funny, creative, responsible, and genuine… and I’m so glad I was able to be a small part of something so wonderful.

 

 

Drinking wine can be beneficial August 26, 2012

Filed under: Health,Wine — beatitudesofmylife @ 1:01 pm

I read the coolest article recently, relating alcohol intake to bone density in women over 50.  Seriously… there’s actual scientific info to back this up.  Check out the following article (http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/2665-alcohol-bone-health.html) and read the specifics for yourself. 

While I’m not saying that everyone should go out and chug down two glasses of wine a day, I do like the idea that there are positive benefits to partaking in something I already enjoy.  Granted, I’m not quite in the article’s target demographic yet, but I’ll be there at some point and I might as well start learning all I can about how to increase or maintain bone density as I get older.  My family history allows for this to be fairly important, so I’ll be paying closer attention than I might have otherwise.

Hopefully you find this article to be as helpful as I did.

 

 
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