Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I want to write something really nice and a short history of memories about my Aunt Connie. For now, I am just going to share the obituary.

I will share one picture for now. Connie had asked me to make an Avatar version of her and my cousin (her daughter) Suzanne. Here was the results. She was so happy that I could do this and it makes me just as happy that I could do it for her.

Click on the picture for her obituary.
Love and miss you Connie, so very much.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My First Time Wine Tasting

It has been a long time since I blogged. A lot of that was due to the fact that I was very busy with the wedding and dealing with some family tragedy all at the same time. It actually seems that in my age now, family and friend tragedy’s are far too many a year. That is one reason it really sucks to get older, aside of course from the other crap that it entails.

Anyway, I am getting off topic. This blog is purely about my, long-time-due, reaction to the form of Wine. Many people hit their low spot before they are even legal to drink. I on the other hand had promised myself to never drink after losing my grandfather to the drug. Well, that promise broke at age 23. Even so, I was still determined not to have an empty-your-stomach reaction to the drink. I would always monitor myself as to not get that sick. As it is with me, I mentally fight the urge to upchuck as does my body.

Regardless, this is the tale.

After I had a taste of Stella Rosa wine and a determination to decorate my very own kitchen with grapes, I decided to see what kind of wine suits me and what kind Robert would be interested in as neither of us know our wine taste. What is the best way to find out what wine tickles your taste buds? WINE TASTING!!

After mentioning this to Robert’s brother and sister in law, Paul and Joanne, they were all for a wine tasting expedition. Enter, Temecula.

Sunday morning started out alright…we had snow on my Nitro out in Beaumont. I had a “gourmet” Jack-in-the-Box breakfast then we were off to Temecula. Our designated driver was Joanne (THANK YOU!). Even so, I was not PLANNING on drinking too much as we still had to drive home later that night. They stopped for lunch but as we had just eaten not long ago, Robert and I decided not to eat lunch: Mistake #1. We had our snacks and water so we thought we were set for our wine tasting.

First Winery Thornton, there was very limited parking so we skipped that one. Next, Baily Winery, one of the family owned wineries in Temecula. There was better parking here. As we walked towards the building, I couldn’t help admiring the décor as it was like a castle, complete with gargoyles and creatures “climbing” the walls. Should this have been a warning? Inside was of the same theme, tapestries, arches, and even a knight. Awesome! We squeezed in and bought our 5 tastings for $10. We mentioned that we hadn’t been wine tasting before and was our first time. Our sommelier was VERY generous and gave us a large sampling of all 12 wines on their list! Mistake #2. Our favorites were: Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon and Meritage. Robert was really interested in the Meritage as it was a wine that went well with his favorite, Prime Rib. I’m not even going to go into our delight in the Port.

This trip proved fruitful for Baily. We got the sale price on the Rose and split that with Paul and Joanne. A case of Rosé for $75! (Retail is $169). Not only were we happy about our smokin’ deal we were ALL highly buzzed and giggling and laughing as we walked outside to the car. I of course was snapping pictures of our surroundings and continued to as the day moved on.

Next stop, Stuart Cellars. This place was busier than Baily, but we found our little spot and this time Robert picked our limited list of wines to taste as I was preoccupied “happily” instructing the New Jersey girls how to use their camera. The wines here tasted pretty good but we still were happier with the wines at Baily. Here, we didn’t get to keep the glasses. They were smaller anyway, probably a 14oz glass vs Baily’s 19oz. And boy, once our 6 tastings were up they snatched those glasses back before I could even blink…slowly anyway. As we left Stuart Cellars, I was REALLY feeling good! So good that while I was taking a picture of some old fashioned piece of machinery, I stumbled on the curb and slowly fell on the ground. I didn’t feel a thing and kept snapping my pictures with the camera upside down and laughing. Oh but that was fun.

Back in the car and after some water and snacks (Chili Cheese Fritos) we were on to the next one. Wilson Creek Winery. This one had the line out the door. Nope, not gonna wait. Though, we really probably should have and let the alcohol get processed that was roaming around in our empty stomachs. We did stop to take some pictures. I was of course talking to anyone I could say hello to and tell them how awesome the world is.

Last stop before the 5pm close time was at Monte de Oro Winery. Mistake #3.This time I was practically floating into the winery and taking pictures of the ground. In my defense, there was grape’s and leaves embossed into the stone so that caught my eye. Inside we paid and went to the bar. This time I noticed they were also serving water. Oh, and on one other note, not one of these wineries had a spittoon or anything to spit the wine out. Not sure if I would have used that option anyway but I would still consider that Mistake #4. Next time, I am going to request one or bring along my own. I refuse to spit it onto the ground or back into my glass.

Here, I do not remember the tastes of the wines. I remember enjoying them and that I definitely am one that prefers the darker wines but my head starting spinning so much that after 5/6 wines, I quit. Joanne walked me outside and sat me down on a bench were I drank as much water as I could and babbled on an on about whatever was on my mind. As Joanne said, it was a bonding moment for us. She sober and me drunk with truth serum. I also remember saying Hello! to anyone that I saw. One group came out and a man was wearing a chicken hat. NO JOKE. I commented on how awesome his hat was and he started squawking like a chicken. Fun times.

I vaguely remember walking back to the car. Off to Pat and Oscars for dinner. My head is still spinning like a top and I’m still trying to consume as much water as I can. Enter the restaurant. Mistake #5. Mistake # 6, having a piece of bread while we were waiting to order. By the time they got me to the outside, SECLUDED, table that is where the worst of my shame entered. I had my head on the table the entire time with a plastic bag ready to catch anything. Every time I lifted my head and smelled more garlic I got more and more nauseous. As I am trying to convince myself to rid me of the nausea, crying about how I never want to feel this way again, I finally expel. At the restaurant. I shouldn’t even be blogging about this shame but what is shame without some exposure? Luckily for me, being sick didn’t affect the appetite of my party and there wasn’t anyone near enough for me to ruin their dinners. Thank you to my friends for sitting outside!!

I barely remember the ride home as I slept all the way back to Beaumont. Once we were back at Paul and Joanne’s, Robert got sick. Then we slept for hours and hours. I got back up at around 11:30 feeling better. I had a piece of bread since I had nothing in my stomach. I walked around. I made sure I could walk completely straight and I hadn’t been dizzy since Pat & Oscars. Robert was too sick to do any driving and I think he was still too far gone. We left Beaumont at 12:30am arriving safely home at 2. I had some soup since I knew my stomach needed something and anything too solid made me nauseas.

That seemed to end our First Wine Tasting Expedition. I woke up with a slight headache but I don’t think it was from drinking as I had the same headache the morning of our trip. Stomach took a couple days to recuperate. Enjoy this story for what it is as it will NEVER happen to me again. I for one am one that learns from mistakes….or so time will tell.

In conclusion, my buddy Jack has NEVER treated me as mean as wine. Cheers!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Okay, so since I am having problems making this blog private, I am going to keep this open and create a new one just for personal picture sharing. Otherwise I'll keep things here.