Thursday, July 24, 2014

Um, You Might Just Be Lame...

So after a couple days of mulling it over I have come to the careful conclusion that this

Not only makes more sense, but would likely taste far better than these.... 

What the fuck?!
I swear my face just puckered
Palate just quit
And brain just atrophied reading this nonsense. 


Oh and I wonder what the belly hole guy is dipping that cheese stick in a little more than I wonder what any of these "professionals" would pair with it. Can't you just see it now, "What To Pair With Toe Jam & Other Bodily, Um, Sauces"
You all let me know when it's safe to come back.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pulling Me Back

I’ve worn your scent all day
Could smell you with each shift of my shoulders…
My arms
Every move I made had you shimmying back to the front of my mind
Your scent
Now all over me…

Each tiny bit of you that slithered beneath my skin
Made my flesh go bumpy and gave me that “Damn I remember you” shiver
The one that makes my breath leave my chest whispering raspy memories on its way out
Your scent
Now all over me

So many years apart
A lifetime really since I smelled you last
One touch
One moment close enough to take you in
Feel you and relive your touch, your body, the way mine reacts….
To you…

Here you are again
My body once again drenched in your aromas
Images of our history dropping before me like snapshots being tossed on a table
Finding a rhythm…our rhythm
Discovering what I like, what I want and what I need more of…

Remembering the beginning
How it all started
How I started
Part of me was brought to life
Sculpted into this woman I am now
Because of you….

Wet mouths
Nervous hands
The way my whole body would quake
My tummy jumping
My thighs shaking….
My young hands pushing you away
Your earthy and ready aroma pulling me back….

Sexy as hell the connection between my life, my body, my desire, my strength, my want and how something as primal and basic as scent can evoke memories so vivid that I can actually be transported right back to that moment when I first touched, tasted and felt. 

Nowhere in my life is this been more prevalent and powerful than with the very thing I chose, or more likely, was chosen to do, this here crazy world of wine. I find myself often not quite fitting in. I read posts and notes, those goofy Delectable entries rattling off what's in the wine, the "blackberry bramble" and "apple blossom" and my eyes begin to float, my heart and desire however, they just sink. Well right after my face scrunches up and I mutter, "What the fuck is bramble?!" I don't taste without feeling, can't write without feeling either. My grammar may suck and and my spelling is even worse, people will, and have, told me over and over again how I won't be taken seriously because of that. As I sit here after reading a passion filled email from a stranger in Italy, one that has spent the past few days reading through my nearly 800 posts, a man that now feels like we've met...almost 800 times and is sending me wine from his family's vineyard. His story for me to taste through the first harvest he oversaw as well as the wines from his father and his father's father, and I am reminded once again, much like life, love, listening, touching, being touched and making love....there is no one right way to do anything, especially writing about something as personal and subjective as wine. 

To the French wines that first slipped beneath my skin, made me purr, bend my frame, crave and leak desire, thank you. To the handful of you that come here to jump over my typos and grammatical errors to sink your teeth into me and the wines that move me, I thank you.  I miss you when I'm away too long....and most of all, I need you. You feed me and keep me hungry. To open my heart, my laptop and my mouth for more. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Safe In The Insecurity

“If you can overcome the fear, you have nothing to worry about. It's a matter of wanting to do it, and believing that you can...and taking the risk.”- My Dear Friend Thomas Nearly A Year Ago...

Thomas’ words swam around in my head as I drove home from work tonight. His staunch support, mild irritation with my reluctance and gruff exterior covered bits of hope, all swishing about between my ears as I signaled the direction of my course to the sea of cars behind me, one left and right turn at a time. My route home so worn into my subconscious that I often make it to my front stoop without one shred or flicker of a bump in the road, face in a car parallel to mine, a missed or made light. Point A to point B taken so many times that my mind checks out to wander into all sorts of cavernous possibilities while my autopilot knows to slow down while making that sharp right and recognizes that there is a four minute window right before that light turns green for the folks waiting to make a left and we can “just make it”. 

Not nearly as hot tonight as it has been but when I arrived home the big fan was still on the stoop, screen door open and resting upon the back of it in an effort to bring more of the cooler air from the out to our in. Did the whole obstacle course climb trying to shimmy my bloated bits past the doorway hogging fan with my backpack and box of The Wine Country acquisitions, (wine, cheeses, canned tomatoes and the tiny jars of Spanish almonds cooked in olive oil, the ones with just enough salt to convince me, at well past midnight most often, that I need one more glass of wine to wash them down. Always sexier those, “Come on, you know you want to” voices when the world outside is still and you are bumping around in your home, lonely and seeking) past the screen and whooshing fan. Dumped my box on the counter, spun around in one flourishy ballet like move that admittedly ended up looking more like a linebacker squat as I flung my backpack in its spot at the dining room table. Wasn’t in my kitchen more than forty seconds before I felt my chest expand, the heat from the 450 degree oven stifling and suffocating, my shoulders given to a deep shiver as tiny soapy scented beads of sweat began to collect and puddle around the loose fitting material around my waist. 
Much like my drive home my head was busy working on my inner puzzles as my body  just moved about and reacted. Opened the box of stuff I brought home, put the wine in the fridge, stocked the pantry staples and began to unwrap the cheese that needed to be scraped, (fucking hate plastic wrap and how it imparts itself on the flavor of cheese. Crazy sensitive to that so all my cheeses get a good shaving before being wrapped in Cheese Paper and stashed away in the fridge) before I grated it for the Cacio e Pepe, Cheese and Pepper Pasta that was on the menu for the evening. A plume of salty sheep’s milk cheese aroma bounced off the grater, the starchy smell of spaghetti getting just fork tender in its bath of bubbling hot water, the splash of fresh lemon juice across the top of now crispy skinned chicken thighs that were baking in the oven. My kitchen, my food, the way I do it…empowering. 
An exhale so deep that I swear it came from the balls of my feet as I slipped out from the sweat inducing furnace that was my kitchen, fan peppering my lower back with cool, sweet kisses as I tugged at my work top and began to wriggle out of my jeans while walking down the hall to my bedroom. There I would pour my wet noodled self into dark grey sweat pants and one of those shamefully thin white shirts that stretch and cling to my frame in that way that would make me blush if it didn’t make me feel so goddamn sexy. My outfit for the night telling the story of my life, frumpy, wrinkled bits but mixed with plump, craveable curves, slippery skin, and vulnerability combined with a mouth, soul and mind that ache to be fondled and engaged. Walking past the mirror in my bedroom I found myself in absolute wonder about any man, any one for that matter, that would be curious about me…pulled that thin white material tight across my breasts, watched as my ribcage expanded and nipples amplified, sank my top teeth deep into my bottom lip as I felt the very powerful, and terrifying reality of being looked at and the possibility of being wanted. Sticky…I felt smugly and humiliatingly sticky.  Quickly pulled the gauzy material away from my flesh, smoothed out my hair, caught my breath and headed back to the kitchen to finish dinner. 
 “Another pool party Sam?” my mother annoyed that my third ever birthday party, (and let me just point out I was like 10 at the time) was once again going to be spent outside by the pool. I was in the 5th grade, I had more friends than I’d ever had before, (probably like 8…woo hoo!) and my birthday was in June for fucks sake. If there was one thing worth enduring the rather horrific and humiliating existence that was living in that sullen and sadness swollen house, it was that pool. I’d snuck out to find peace and silence there, probably hundreds of times, feeling safe while floating weightless or blowing all the air from my chest and sinking to the dark and soundless bottom of that sloshy retreat while the cruelty and unrestricted abuse continued inside. I felt safe there and that was the only place I wanted my friends to be. In some weird way I thought they would be safe there too. Pool party it was, and for one of the few times in her life my mother was able to give me what I asked for, another reason to feel good about my request, no matter how much she protested. 
 Pool parties brought with them a number of assorted games but there were none as thrilling to me as when my mother would throw handfuls of quarters into the water. The “Plonk” sound they made as they broke the surface, their slow, swishy decent and the slightly metallic thud they made as they settled on the bottom. I would stand at the edge, toes gripping the cement so assertively that I’d surely walk away with blisters, chlorine damaged red eyes desperately trying to focus as my mother blew a whistle and pointed to everyone but me to dive deep and claim their monetary prizes. My browned from the sun arms would be folded into a pouty square in front of me as each and every one of my friends was invited to scoop up the silvery treasure at the bottom of the pool, the one I was not allowed to go after until everyone else gave up. I had just one ace in my bathing suited pocket, that deep end was anything but scary to me, it was a treasure of a different kind, one I craved more than almost anything. I’d watch my young comrades’ jump goofily into the water. Eyeball them as they plugged their noses and flapped their tiny legs trying to plunge themselves as far as they could into the deep end. Sat all pudgy but shark like as each one of them drew their soaked and tired frames from the kidney shaped pool, hands empty as they jumped on one leg to try and knock the water from their ears. I’d just sit and wait for that final whistle…hands held in a diamond shape, arms extended, toes pushing off the side and body curved into a loose U as I rushed to the bottom to claim the ungrabbed and unreachable. 

“If you can overcome the fear, you have nothing to worry about. It's a matter of wanting to do it, and believing that you can...and taking the risk.” Thomas’ words once again floating amid the 500 hundred other voices bumping around inside my noggin. His voice just a little louder as it flicked at my stubbornness and fear.

Tucked the sweating bottle of San Lorenzo Il Casolare Verdicchio that was left over from dinner under my arm, slipped my key ring around my thumb and headed out to indulge in silky, still-warm-from-the-sun pool water and the very grownup treasure of glugging down crisp white wines, ones so unique and indelible that their stamp or imprint have become so woven into my memory they have begun to overwrite some of the ugly that used to plague me. The second my toes broke the glasslike surface of the still pool I knew my feet would not be the last of my bits to be….wrapped and caressed by slowly moving bands of sumptuous water.
Felt the weight of my sweat pants as they drank in the cool liquid, shivered a touch as the thin material of my shirt wrapped itself around my flesh like a wetsuit. Let the muscles in my thighs flex and pull, push and propel me through the water, my shirt billowing and constricting like a jellyfish while my body slithered about just above the bottom of the pool. Nearly all the voices and dramas in my melon silenced by the utterly captivating sound of water lapping and trickling, breaking, dripping and falling off my skin. I pulled my thick calves through the water in our pool tonight. I let myself move about in viscous liquid, a feeling so sultry and carnal I can only compare it to the way it feels when you run the tip of your tongue along the insides of your mouth….better yet, someone else’s mouth. There is no other feeling like that on the planet for me, the submission of my body into water. Tonight it made me feel strong, powerful, cold, erect, saturated, liberated, shy but flirtatious, erogenous and less afraid and once I pulled myself out of the water, the material clinging to my flesh and bones, droplets of pool water dripping down the sides of my wine glass as I drank deeply......... standing there, in my wet street clothes gulping Verdicchio and not giving a shit what anyone thought about it, empowered.
 I used to practice diving into the deep, cold, water in the blackness of night. Sucked my breath in hard as the ripple of my presence skipped from my little corner of the silent pool to the expansive deep end and splashed against the curved edge of cement that stood between those loud and angry voices inside and me. Bobbed around in the relative quiet, water lapping around my neck and sucking at my ears. Fear and running from the inside used to send me there but my legs stopped shaking once I settled in, felt the caress of water as it pushed me to spend those fearful hours, not afraid but making myself stronger. A stronger swimmer, a better diver, more capable of grabbing those thin treasure coins from the bottom of the pool, fingers shriveled like golden raisins and all. The fear of those people lurking inside a hard slap to my backside that as fucked up as it might seem now, inspired me to push myself harder. Strive to give just a little more, notice every little beautiful and terrifying thing…feel each and every second of my life. For the most part, I’ve been able to do that, just turns out that every once in a while I need to drink deeply from my glass, give myself over to absolute pleasure, splash about in silky wetness, look at my body with the eyes of someone that craves me, not give a shit who might be watching and yes, sometimes I need a firm slap on the ass to get me going.
Here waiting for one more firm tap....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Just Classic

I stopped at the light. My head resting back on the seat, fine hairs lifting and separating, landing upon my gin soaked lips, dancing across my collarbone and lapping at the tip of my nose. A long day at its end, dinner consumed, out, and with the lube of not one but two martinis. The long light giving me pause to try and tuck the wildly flipping stands of white blonde behind my ear and plunge my pudgy paw into the center console in an effort to retrieve my increasingly disoriented radio remote. Lady Gaga, flip, some Irish sounding “rock” band, flip, the shallow and tinny sound of studio produced music taking less than a few seconds to turn me off and inspire my wandering thumb to scroll up and down.

“Layla, you got me on my knees” the soulful plucking of guitar strings in place of electric screeching and intensity, the groan of the taught wire palpable as the thick-skinned fingers pressed them hard against the vibrating frame of the curvy instrument. “Begging darling please, Layla” and older, calmer, more longing Eric Clapton’s voice a mix of want, remembrance and wisdom as his long ago ache spilled out into the warm caverns of my 2007 red Camry…before I knew it I’d slipped my fingers around the tight little top button of my uniform shirt and in one fail swoop, set a tiny bit of my work day flesh free. Clapton’s voice groaned with the kind of desire I am especially accustom to, that knowing what you want but not being allowed to have it thing. Hair being restrained, the grumble of a long and trying work day, in the form of a stiff spine, slightly softened by icy cold chunks of shaken gin served in a high and tight triangle glass, sitting across from the face of a man that adores me and the skin tingling purr of relatable music wistfully spinning about me on my ride home.

A very deep growl simmered inside me. Started right around my weary ankles and slowly began to creep up the fleshy bits on the back of my thighs. I felt the day being lifted from my skin with each rumble much in the same way I used to lift the comic images from the Sunday comics with Silly Putty. Everything still there and visible, just flipped in front of me rather than sitting weighty on my chest. That growl slipped from between my lips in a way that might have embarrassed me…if I hadn’t been distracted by, “scrape, pop, hum” the sound of little rubber wheels skipping across the sidewalk.

That particular sound, the dragging of firm rubber across concrete a sound so familiar to me it could be my middle name. The secret language of skaters, be they roller or board. I spent nearly every summer with my feet laced onto wheels, my increasingly rounding body sailing down every hill I could find…often with my heart resting at the very top of my throat and beating so loudly, and before we were all plugged into nerve rattling music, it became my soundtrack. Scraping, the sound of warm air whizzing past my ears and pulling my skin and hairline tight, the thump-thump-thump of a heart that didn’t know, or care, how or when we were going to stop. The way those extra hours of sun were spent until I could slip my chunky frame into the barely lit and sloshy cool pool…the rolling, scrapping and sloshing my best friends way back then, ones I miss now when I hear them call….

“Scrape, pop, hum” like a crooked finger rested upon my jaw pulling my head to the left. I felt my heart start beating more ardently; very much in the same way I felt when I would fly down a hill, wheels ablaze beneath me, tiny pebbles and bits of tossed aside life being rolled over as I heard my mother’s voice calling me to dinner. I knew it was time to go, end the freedom and exhilaration, hard rubber wheels that just seconds before brought be absolute liberation now ushering me back to the house I ached to be let free from. I saw the newish sneakers, the crushed black material, thick laces and well-worn soles, one foot rested firmly on the thin slab of a board and the other dragging and pushing the frame of an aching to sail soul down the broken buckling sidewalk. I was at first mesmerized by the calling of, well of that middle name thing but I was quickly jarred back into my reality when I saw that the “Young man” fleeing and exercising his summer was my age, older than my age actually, probably had ten years on me and here he was, jeans, skater sneaks, sailing, rolling over broken bits and letting his heart thump away a soundtrack of long ago.

Might have been the gin, might have been that damn soundtrack but I found myself speeding ahead, pulling along the right side of the road, hitting that hazard button jobbie on my dash and climbing out of my car. Resting my thick rear end against one of those weathered fences watching the salt and pepper hair float in the wind as that grown ass man let his inner him coast. His thin frame evidence of his good behavior, the speed with which his sneaker clad foot raked and pulled at the concrete evidence of his rebellion and ache, “got me on my knees Layla” still pumping through my speakers adding to the “pop, scrape” and “hum” the beauty of the realness so powerful it nearly brought a tear to my weary and not-as-cynical-as-I’d-like-to-think eye. Ended up crossing four lanes of pre-freeway traffic just to sit closer and smell the sensual aromatic of clean but freshly sweating skin, feel the pulse of not giving a fuck, for a second, and be reminded that no matter how old we are we still ache for, and crave that heart thumping. 

His name and scent now part of my heart pounding. My fearless stopping of his ride to tell him how much watching, feeling, hearing, smelling and comprehending his feelings meant to me, adding to his heart-pounding and making us both bits of left behind road to smile about as we rode over them on our way back to the voices that called us for dinner. 

Wheels not so much needing of reinventing, just maybe craving some fresh air and heart pounding.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grooving On Up

“The boys, they are um…looking a little rough” me tattling, sort of, when Aline finally made it down to the belly of the hotel where I had been waiting for 35 minutes. Josh had been the next to arrive, big blue eyes swimming, or floating on leftover whiskey shots and finally Jim made his way down, out of breath and with a look that assured me that my lost night, well it had partners. I sipped away on my second double espresso, the dark and bitter elixir like punishing spikes clipping down my throat as Aline tucked her wild and wavy hair behind her ears and headed outside to gauge the situation by chatting with the struggling gentlemen. Her nearly lyrical lilt splitting the sliding doors, “Bonjour!” her rallying call, “What the hell happened?” the hysterical grumble from Team Booze Sweats as they paced and took nerve settling draws from smoldering tubes of nicotine.

Once our somewhat unruly bunch crammed our bags back in the car and were on the road to wherever our lovely French guide would lead us, we found that any sort of embarrassment was overruled by gut-splitting laughter and finger pointing as we retold and ribbed each other for the little bits of recollection that floated through the tight cabin on tufts of air scented with leftovers, dark brew and a comfort unlike any I’d ever known on one of these trips so early. I let my tense shoulders rest against the backseat, my legs stretching a bit longer and looser, the vibration of giggles and joke-slinging like strong fingers rubbing the anxious knots, massaging my throat and making my voice and laugh just that much louder. I sat there, my ass rumbling as the tires spun us to our next destination, knowing that this trip was to be one full of personalities and honesty. The four of us, the sights, the food and the wines we were to encounter, they were selected by this one bright-eyed and stylish French woman that had the insight, and sense of adventure, to not only select the wines that drew us all in, but to bring us there, together, to see why and share our story with the people that would eventually take home the bottles, set them on their table and add another night, laugh, memory to that label and the family that made it so. I let my fingers trace the buttons on the car door as I listened to the churning of anticipation and banter. 

We spent the next few hours tasting with a cooperative, sampling some value driven reds, whites and roses all the while swallowing mouthfuls of refreshing liquid as well as crunchy bits of local bread that had been slathered with fatty bits of pork and seasoning. Restorative in the form of nourishment, and getting us back on the path of seeking wines for the folks back home. The Terrebrune Anjou Rouge and its luscious and friendly fruit sprinkled with black pepper, the Rose from the same producer,  that zipped across our fatigued and waiting palates, giving life and incentive to keep plugging along if for no other reason than for, one, more, sip. A Muscadet from Garniere that reminded me to sit up as its sexy little acidic claws drug down the sides of my palate, made my tummy flip with oyster cravings and had me smacking my wanting lips for more. Wines that we all unfalteringly agreed we needed to share with our folks back home, and we could offer for wicked cheap come late summer when the only thing we all crave is simple, juicy, fresh tasting wines that don’t challenge us as much as give. Gots me some stacks a-coming people.

On the bumpy road to our next stop I thought about how many and how varied the voices are in our little world of wine. Big and powerful, bone shaking wines like those of Pithon-Paille, the simple and easy, less demanding and lip parting gems that can be found when a bunch of hard working farmers get together, as a collective, and produce simple table wines that won’t change anyone’s life but can, and do, most definitely make a contribution. How each of us hears, smells, feels and tastes something in each offering. I sat quietly that evening, my teeth sinking into another couple platters of preserved pork, gorgeously sinewy pillows of warm bread dispersed between firm stalks of crunchy green lettuces doused with sharp vinegar and mouth coating oil. The wines not so much speaking to me but the retailer in me could pick up on the angle the hipster wine maker was throwing out. I could sense there was a place for the wild and somewhat unwashed wines I was tasting but not sure our little corner of the wine world was ready…or moreover, wanting for that kind of challenge. Fuck, I’ve been doing this a long damn time and even lit up and full of adventure I was having a hard time swallowing. Cool for two sips, weird and redolent with hinny hole the rest of the bottle? I was wide open and listened as my LA counterpart (totally flattering myself, he is way fancy in the pants area) made a case for those wonky stinkers but I stood firm….those car ride laughter massages reminding me that I too had a voice worth hearing. Took a pass. I’m sure there is some wine bar in San Francisco that is calling me an idiot, that’s okay, I know there are a bunch of my people that are grateful that their next glass of sparkling wine from the Loire won’t wreak of body odor and horse poop. You are most welcome…(insert curtsey here)

Back in the car and we were on our way
Mineral Rich
Saint Bris and…
Bringing My Want Back In The Worst Way.... 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Strength In Laughter Part 2, Kind Of (Re-Post)

Been one hell of an emotional couple weeks for me. Started last Sunday with me opening a Word document, the contents of which would set in motion a roller coaster of feeling that I have been strapped into and riding ever since. I sat at The Wine Country an hour before closing flipping the pages, the ones I printed out so I could focus on them rather than read them on the screen of the store computer. The pages containing a summarized history of the father I never knew. Much like I responded to the Uncle’s email I took if far lighter than the situation may have called for. Just hit print, even stapled the pages and began reading as if I were not at all attached to the story that I was reading. Got up to help customers on the floor, rang people up, answered the phone then went back to the pages like I were returning to some novel I had flipped face down, spine spread on my desk.

Wasn’t until meeting my husband at our Sunday dinner spot, Tracy’s Bar & Grill that the story began to seep in. I sat there watching him turn the pages, his face intent, eyebrows raising now and then, felling much like I were across from him, fingers slipping between the buttons of my top, fists gathering clumps of my shirt as I ripped the material leaving myself completely exposed. He slid the stapled sheets back in my direction while searching my face for some direction. My husband is the sweetest most patient man I know, I mean c’mon he’s married to this raving case, he has to be but, well heavy emotion and deep conversation kind of freak him out. I know this, respect this and truth be told I’m not much of a “Lets’ talk about our feelings” kinda chick so we work exceptionally well in that respect and yet….here I sat, the words I had read just an hour before becoming more real as his big brown eyes left the page and fell upon me.

I leapt into full rattle. Just jumped into the retelling of revelations and very faint memories, somewhat manic I suppose but I was sitting there so naked and feeling the twisted anguish of someone that loves me not knowing what to say to me. It was perfect for a moment, I was able to think not about what I was feeling and instead turn my attention to soothing him, reassuring him that I was fine….that was until one of those freakish coincidences slaps you in the face and leaves you wondering just who the hell is trying to reach you.

“Oh little Jeannie, you’ve got so much love” fucking jukebox. My heart started pounding like a fist inside my chest, like it had had quite enough of this ignoring bullshit. I was mid sentence and my words simply froze in mid air, my eyes watching my fellow Sunday night reveler, the one that had chosen that particular song, stroll slowly back to their seat at the bar. My mouth was still half open as if I had been hung up or searching for the next word but the truth was I had stopped breathing. I was holding my breath, jaw slacked and heart ripping away at my flesh. I turned back to my husband and had the wind knocked back into my lungs when I saw his face….his face looking at mine that was now streaming with tears. I hadn’t even noticed that I was crying but was helpless to stop it, “I am so not going to be this woman dude. I am not gonna be the crying in a bar chick. You get the bill, I’ll meet you at home” grabbed my backpack and made a beeline for my car.

Spent the next week with my heart and head wide open, devouring every bit of history my Uncle sent, stuffing the information in the gaping holes, coming to terms with the idea that bits of this story, my story will never be fully filled in now that my mother is gone. Been missing her a lot as of late, missing her and wishing she had been more honest with me, more open. Feels a little like trying to finish a T.V. Guide crossword puzzle from like three decades ago….so many of the answers no longer at the tip of anyone’s tongue…

I woke this past Sunday feeling like the Sunday before had happened months ago. Like I had spent an entire month in my head roaming, picking things up, blowing the dust off shelves and finding places to hang my father’s things; his almost photographic memory, his angst, his rebellious nature. Holding the two of us up in a mirror and seeing how we fit. Laughing as I realized that I was not so much unlike my mother, just much more like my father. I may never be able to solve seven across and four down but, well it’s really amazing to get just a little closer.

I popped on Facebook Sunday and made some comment about how I could skip my shower and be enjoying eggs, hashbrowns, steak and sipping a martini in 20 minutes. The first two “likes” came right away along with a couple people chiming in that they wanted to go. I sat in my jammies looking at the clock, could I really start my Sunday in a dark coffee shop bar? Um, yes, yes I could. Tossed the day-before curls in a loose ponytail, painted my face, sent a “Meet us there in 20 minutes” text and headed out.

Walked into Hoff’s Hut and went directly to the bar. I love this bar. Gotta love a bar when you are one of like five people under seventy right?! I was blinking wildly as my eyes tried to adjust, (note to self, get sunglasses dammit) and I searched for the other crazy chick that was down with wasting away in whatever-ville with me on a lazy Sunday morning. Found her sitting at the bar, (I would have gone for a booth God love her) sipping her Bloody Mary and waving at us. Took my seat and was there not two whole minutes before I felt a tap on my arm, “Do you remember when we were married?” older gentleman sipping a margarita with his buddy just to the right of me, “I do and I really miss you” I responded, the grin that he tried to choke down melted my heart and I let out the first of many giggles that I would share with my new ex-husband that morning. He told me “off color” jokes, I laughed and played along with being his wife, discussing the children…our two dogs of which he has custody and whose vet bills are the reason his alimony checks are late. I went back and forth between the ex and the people I had come with, my head far away from puzzles and sad stories, just laughing and feeling so vibrant.

“There is nothing sexier than a woman that can laugh like you do” such a simple comment tossed out by my ex’s buddy but even in my somewhat crazy headed state I let it hit me. Took his unbelievably sweet observation and the dreamy eyes with which he delivered it to my newly open heart. My husband, (the real one) and friend both shook their heads as I bid farewell to my ex-husband and his buddy who took their leave just as our meals were being served. Laughed my ass off as the hostess came into the dark bar, craning her neck before walking up to me and telling me, “I was asked to tell you that your husband just left” say what you will about bars and the people that might be found there before like noon on a Sunday but what I found at that Hoff’s Hut bar with Guy and Mike, well it was just the sermon I needed.


When I was designing my first tattoo, (only have the one but there is one or two more to come) I knew I wanted to include the motto that had seen me through many a dark day; the living on pancakes, the never quite fitting in, the being the mother of a biracial son that I wanted to make sure was never ashamed or in any way hurt by his differentness, the sitting in the front room of my apartment while my baby slept and I poured coffee for the police that were there to file yet another report. Strength in laughter. The one thing that no one could take from me was my ability to laugh, desire to laugh and find some bit of light in the face of things that I was unwilling to let crush or consume me. Took a couple of strangers in a dark bar on a Sunday morning to remind me but I started laughing and began feeling like me again…

Wasn’t even really thinking about it when I reached in my fridge and pulled out a bottle of wine. Don’t think I even really looked at the label, just removed the foil and drove my corkscrew into the neck of the bottle. The perfunctory motions of opening a bottle, the glugging sound as the liquid splashed into the glass, the replacing of the cork, the mindless saunter back to my little couch perch to peruse crap on the information super highway. Cigarette lit, television on, mind off and wandering as it tends to do. I reached down, my fingers taking their assigned places on the glass, the quick swirl, the half assed sniff, my lips parting as the cold lip of the glass slipped between them, the saturation of history….my history, the one that I’ve made for myself spilling across my palate. Francois Chidaine, Francois Chidaine Touraine….

How many times had I had this wine? How many bottles consumed with friends? How many cases sold? How many people now know and love this humble producer because of the words I’ve shared about him? This wine is just as much a part of me as any of the things I’ve learned over the past week or so, in some ways more. This kind of wine, the voice that exploded inside me that demands that I find, drink and share wines like these....this is the me that I know, the laughing me, the me that I think my parents would both be proud of. Could not stop laughing. Been so caught up in the before picture that I had lost sight of the after. I am a product of my parents, their love and passion for one another but it does not define who I am now.

I owe so much of who I am to people like Randy and Dale Kemner, owners of the store where I get to….where they let me thrive. Michael Sullivan, the importer that took me on that life changing first trip to Europe, answered all my questions, laughed with me, believed in me and my palate. Ron Washam and his undying love and support of whatever it is I do here, his finding some sort of beauty in this beast regardless of typos and horrific grammatical errors. Charlie Olken and his even knowing who this humble wine slinger and fumbling blogger was, in letting me tease his palate with grower Champagne, arguing and getting me to take another look at wines that I had long ago given up on. Eric Asimov for sending me that first message telling me that he read me and admired what I was doing here. Thomas and our shared and understood love of the fried potato. Alice and her palate that I understand, her relentless voice and strength when I know it’s not always easy. Jess and Dave for flying or driving out to visit me and partake of my tastings, you two have no idea what that meant and still means to me. Another Day of Crazy, chris, Kevin, Michael Hughes, Benito, Heather, Vicki, Andy, Bill, webb, Sara, John Kelly, Stephen, Alfonso, Nico, Jeremy, David and Wayne….the list just keeps growing and just so you all know, with your help and support, so do I. Thank you. Thank you all…

Just felt like I needed to get that off my chest
There, now you own it
Now I can get back to my silly nonsense