"So if I'm a raving cunt, it's probably nothing you did....it's likely just me" My words to coworkers yesterday. Just a warning that I might be a tad on edge and the possibility of me verbally ripping their faces off, well chances were kinda high....
So it has been nearly 36 hours since I had a cigarette and let me tell you, "fuckfuckfuckfuckitybullshitblowmethissuckgiantmonkeycockfuckshitfuck." This is by far one of the hardest things I've chosen to do. Sure, I've been through things that might be harder but imposing this sentence upon myself, yeah, way up there in the "this is insane" department.
So I'm still on track, feeling like I am going rip through my skin at any second, but still on track. Holding on the my fortune from the day I quit, telling it to go fuck itself from time to time, but keeping those words in my head and trying to use them as a buffer between me and whatever fucktard is pissing my nicotine deprived ass off at the moment....gawd, this sucks.
Cranky but still not smoking.... This has got to get better right?! Whimper....
“Turn that down! I can hear it through the
My mother’s snarl as she dropped her cigarette in
the ashtray that rested upon the small round end table that rested against the
end, her end of the couch. The table that held her nighttime company, the
ashtray, cigarette case with the interlocking clasp that housed her smokes and
Bic lighter, a shaded lamp, her ever sweating glass of suntea with its thick
layer of undisolved sugar resting murky and useless at the bottom. Yelling at
me from her perch, paperback book sandwiched between her fingers, sleeveless
satin nightgown hugging her curvy frame, her wavy locks wildly splashed across
her bare shoulders and spilling into her eyes. We had no television at the
time, I was too young to really devour books like she did, and I was in my
place…my secret garden. Giant pair of adult sized, big puffy earphones strapped
precariously to my tiny head, music cranked as loud as I could make it go, you
know, so when those way too big for me ear coverings slipped off my head as I
swung and bounced about, I could still hear the rhythm and voices. Feeling the
first thing that ever pulled at me and ignited my very first stirrings of
desire so powerful that I couldn’t ignore them, moving my body in time to
I would scurry to the triple decker sound system,
hands shaking with panic…just how mad was she? Wait with my tiny hand holding
one of the enormous pads away from my face waiting to hear footsteps coming,
they didn’t. Lower the volume, find a slow song to sway back and forth to with
my back resting against the bookcase, knees pulled tight to my chest until my…and
her heavy breathing went back to normal, or she fell asleep. Even then I was a
night owl. Wandering around in my socks on the hard floor as to not wake her
once she drifted off, never fearful that she might strike or scream at me, but
truly terrified of disrupting her when she was at peace. Stevie Wonder, KC and
the Sunshine Band, Cat Stevens and Marvin Gaye my nighttime company and
caregivers. Doors locked the only light coming from that nightstand which conveniently
lit the room in just the right way. My five year old frame a massive shadow on
the institutionally bare walls as I measured my steps, lifted the arm on the
record player and dropped the needle in the deep groove, the next stroll
through my lush and hopeful garden about to begin.
Once moved to Long Beach and living in the home of
the monster that fathered my older brother, the big beautiful house full of
rage, hate, denial, sexual deviance, sorrow and the kind of sadness that seemed
to grow with each lost soul that found themselves seduced through the front
door by thick and lavish carpets, velvet couches and the promises of something
better. There many things were taken from me but the biggest, at least at the
time, I wasn’t allowed to use the glass encased disco quality stereo system.
Not ever. My mother and I were living off the kitchen in a strip of “housing”
that held the washing machine and small television and a small radio system that
I discovered, the hard way, was frowned upon using. Old enough to read now I
found some relief in books, stories and words but as moving as gripping as they
were, I knew I wasn’t living all the things I was reading. The smells, the
yelling, the drunken and drug induced laughter that came roaring through the
hollowness of our corridor off the main part of the house a constant reminder
that we, that I wasn’t living at all….just making it through.
One night I found myself alone in our tunnel. I had
been reading Little Women when I heard the Trans Am pull into the garage that
was just beneath my bedroom window. My fingers were shaking turning the pages
as I heard deep voices, felt the clunky steps vibrate through the entire house,
could tell by the noise level that the monster had been out gathering young
men. Plying them with booze, cocaine and stories of what a glorious home, full
of many rooms, he had to share with them. I heard cupboards opening and
slamming closed in the kitchen, glasses being filled, awkward flirting, chest
thumping and with each glass of Rum or Scotch the noise level rising. The
beating of my heart so fast that the sound of my breath became, to me anyway,
as loud as they were. I dropped my book to the floor with a thud and ran to the
light and switched it off. Sat there in the dark, my chest heaving and whole
body shaking when I heard, “Oh fuck, you have to see my ex-wives daughter. What
a fucking piece of shit!”….no nobs to turn down and wishing I could crank the
music up loud enough to reach her, wherever she was and wake her up.
“Sam, get your ugly ass in here!” my body buried
beneath the comforters on the bed my mother and I shared, my hands pressed over
my ears as if not hearing it coming was going to make it go away, it didn’t.
Drug into the kitchen in my nightgown at nine years old, bright lights and
wreaking smell of cologne and alcohol burning my not used to the light eyes
which mixed with my fear brought tears. “Smile for them Sam.” My whole body
shaking as I backed up against the countertop and shook my head. “Isn’t she the
ugliest girl you’ve ever seen? I mean, who would love that face, that body? No
wonder her mom isn’t here” each word slashing into my flesh, ripping me apart
and as the somewhat uncomfortable laughs began to fill the kitchen I became
very aware of how powerful words could be, and exactly what naked and exposed
truly felt like. Have no idea how long the ordeal lasted, felt like months but
it was probably more like 20 minutes that I stood there, the man that held the
cards on if my mother and I had a place to live sticking his frail fingers in
my mouth, pulling at my hair, tugging at my nightgown and eventually dumping
his sack of post bar Taco Bell munchies on the counter only to unwrap them and
shove the horrifically smelling slop in my face, telling me to “eat it like the
pig you are”.
It was that night, the night, my nightgown crusty
with beans and my soul damaged in a way that would ready me for things to come,
that I found my first bits of courage. I was too afraid to get in the bath or
shower, still alone and not sure where the crowd has wandered off to, I snuck
through the side door in the kitchen and slithered, covered in dried beans,
tears and absolute humiliation to the big kidney shaped pool…the one with the
bright light in the deep end and far away from the rest of the house. Instinctively
I knew those people were too stoned and tweaked, wound up with each other to
even consider taking a swim at 11:00 PM so I crossed the thick grass in the
backyard, sliced the bottom of my foot climbing over the artfully displayed
rock garden and while holding my breath stuck my arm in the “Pool room” and
flipped the switch, not on the outside lights, just in the pool. First just
sunk my feet in but before I knew it I was all in. My whole body in the water,
first lapping from one end to the next, maybe hoping the water would wash me
clean but eventually finding indescribable pleasure and overwhelming peace in
having my head under water. No music, no laughter, no humiliation…just quiet. Just
still. My legs crossed and hooked to the cement, my back arched as I plunged…my
hair floating and then pressed against my skull, whole body flat against the
side of the still pool as I watched the ripples settle and heard nothing.
Peace. My secret garden, a place to go and feel safe, less ugly, less alone…the
water. The remainder of my time in that house was made just a bit more bearable
every second I was in the water or passed that bloody footprint that stained
the concrete beside the sliding door off the pool room.
Spent many years seeking the kind of silence and
peace that came from puffy headphones, hard floors, suntea and poolside blood
stains. Made millions of mistakes and lost more of myself than I can even begin
to explain. Longed for the girl that would wait until her mother drifted off to
sleep to feed her passion, the one that in the face of who knows what found the
fight to take a moonlit swim. Let all the “isn’t she ugly?” and “turn that down!”
determine and dictate what I would and would not do and put their fingers in my
back, pushing me to let rage and fear control me. Wasn’t until I met you that I
felt the slip of my socks across the tiled floor and the sensual embrace of the
deep end that I found myself…the me that feels like a massive shadow on a blank
wall. My curves, my snarl, my wet hair and saturated flesh, my moist mouth, willing
and open throat….you, the secret garden I had been planting and waiting for my
whole life. It’s You.
One late afternoon, after a many long days of
tasting and not quite getting it, it was your raw, pure, intoxicating sensuality
that filled my mouth and shook loose the me that was clinging and holding on desperately
to the reasons why I would never be or matter much. Your earthy, smoky, roasted
and sweetly erotic pull flipped my pool room switch and your stain, it lives
next to my heart and feels like your rough hands are digging into my skin by
the fistfuls. I’m yours and you make me this woman. Comfortable in my sensuality,
playful in my sexuality, willing and needing to toss these silly words out on
No more fear, my headphones fit, I’ve come to terms
with my ugly…you taught me that there is something beautiful and sexy about me,
it’s you and what you do to me. How I can share this with others, for that, for
the woman I am because of you, the way I kick my legs hard, feel wet and alive
when I’m standing in the shop or here at my laptop, there are no words to
express and yet, I keep trying .You scrape those beans from my face, always
sound like Marvin in my ear and have given me the freedom to stretch my limbs,
live out loud and love more completely than I ever have before. I know you, how
to share you, how to love you in a way that inspires and I would take
everything it took me to get here a thousand times over again for that one
second when I feel you spill across my tongue, grab my neck, demand I notice
you, love you and you nibble at my side until I tell someone how fucking sexy
You are my
not so secret garden
I will build you a fire from the bones of who I used
to be before you washed the weary away
Found myself in a rather rare situation last night,
alone in the house, no plans, no place to be, decidedly “over” the internet and
the trolling I find myself doing there, way too often, a bottle of cheap but
refreshing white wine and a remote control. Seeing as I have seen every
Investigative Reports and Law & Order, multiple times over, now that the
kid is back I tend to leave the television viewing to the guys, aside from my
Jersey Housewives, (Oh My Gawd, already in Part II of the reunion shows and the
drama let me tell you!) of course but here I was scrolling through like a
thousand channels with my thumb poised to select whatever I wished without even
the slightest sigh or fear that I’d be the one sending someone else to their
laptop. Rare indeed.
Went right to the good stuff, and no, not porn…..that’s
what laptops are for, went to the movie channels. Up and down, over a half an
hour and back my eyes scanning titles waiting for something to peak my interest
and stimulate my desire. One would think that with so many options this would
be an easy task, and maybe I’m just too picky but Harold & Kumar 3D
Christmas wasn’t stimulating anything more than a grunt and eye rolling for me
and the longer I fondled the remote the more I thought I had figured out why
everyone in this damn town has a medical use card for weed, they have to be
giving those things out with your fifth purchase of movie tickets or something.
That and I truly knew what it must feel like to shop at Total Wine and More,
thousands of stupid and boring options to choose from, hooray. Ugh! Was seconds
from flipping back to Wicked Women Week on the I.D. channel when I landed on
The Red Violin, viola.
Was pretty much captivated from the beginning, love,
loss, grief, sex, death, music, history, intrigue all with breathtaking sets
and costumes. Stuffed my pudgy legs under my chunky ass, unscrewed the top on
my little white wine and nuzzled in. Now I don’t want to be any kind of spoiler
for those that haven’t seen the film, (and really if you haven’t, drop that bong and
get on it) but the overwhelming theme that I walked away with, passion. Passion
for love, sex, music and in the end the somewhat murky and unsightly passion
for possessing something so rare that most people will never even get to see
it, regardless of if you understand it or not. Poured the last little bits of
my tremendously pleasing $10 white wine in my glass as the movie came to end,
sealing up all the loose ends and uncovered the last bit of drama and passion
that made that instrument what it was, (which I had figured out like way
earlier, thank you I.D. channel) love and real passion winning out over greed
and procurement, couldn’t help but think of this business of ours and the
people that buy, make and sell wine…and why.
My head kind of swimming with pictures of people
that shop at The Wine Country, come in a couple times of week seeking pleasure whether
it be in the form of procurement or, as was the case with me last night,
looking for a bottle of something enchanting to make them feel tingly while
nuzzled into their evening. The name-dropping, score chasing customer that “threw
me a bone” and picked up a bottle of some unread about red from the Loire
Valley I’d tried to get him to try for years, the desperate phone call I got
months later, after he finally popped the cork, Clos Rougeard powerfully
playing that customer’s strings, him begging me to try and help him find more. Listening
to the words of a somewhat appalled customer as he shared a story with me about
being with a very serious wine collector who was popping corks on current
release first growth Bordeaux and super-rare California Cabernets, dumping them
right into the glass and tossing it back like it were Crown Royal, no
decanting, no nothing. Just a showing of the bottle and a splash in his gullet.
Watching the irate violin collector, the one that had played the red violin and
deemed it, “Nothing special” now furious that the rare gem was not going to be
his…my lips pressed against the rim of my glass, mouth and soul open for the
final splash, heart slightly pounding as I devoured my last sip.
Passion man, it’s a funny business and in wine, the
scope is broad and full of opinions. I don’t flip over DRC, Dom Perignon, first
growth Bordeaux or super cuvees from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, matter of fact I tend
to find those wines a bit over-the-top and garish, and seeing as I don’t get my
rocks off simply owning something rare, well I can happily leave those wines to
the people that do. My passion no more profound or important than theirs, just
different, and that right there, is pretty fucking cool. I am a fan of passion,
fuck, the more the better if you ask me and I’m not about to sneer or smugly sip
my little Loire wines and act as if I know something the Scarecrow vertical guy
doesn’t, we are both getting off on wine, for whatever reason and I dig the
hell out of that.
In an effort to not talk politics, which is fucking consuming me right now, I am running this piece from our current newsletter about my big Cheese & Wine Fest. Totally cheating I know but trust me, you don't want to hear what's really on my mind right now...
For those of you that weren’t able to get seat for
the highly coveted Cheese & Wine Pairing Seminar last month, (always wish
we had more seats to accommodate everyone that wishes to attend) I thought I
would give you a recap, a run down if you will, of what we poured, which
cheeses we paired with them. Not quite as good as being there but a glimpse and
maybe a guide for your next cheese and wine purchases.
As the sold out crowd sat before their cheese plate
I explained that we would be starting with the cheese at twelve o’clock and
moving clockwise as we moved on to the next flight. We began, as we often do,
with a classic cheese and wine pairing, and then, in the interest of helping
them understand, I had them try that same wine but with a cheese that was an
absolute disaster with it. Sounds a little mean I know, and I confess that some
of the horrified, “Why would you make us do that?!” faces crack me up, but the
reason I do that is to make clear the fact that there is something to that
whole pairing thing, something chemical, that can take two wonderful tasting
things and completely wreck them, both, when tasted together. Once tasted,
“Yuck” faces and all, the group totally got it and it ended up being a truly
fantastic night of tasting and leaning.
Wine- 2010 Pierre Fouassier Quincy ($18.99) A
delightfully fresh and bright Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, just
across the way from Sancerre, this wine is full of tang, fresh cut grass,
grapefruit and minerals.
Cheese- Bucheron, French Goat’s Milk. A nicely aged
goat cheese with a sturdy bloomy rind, luscious creamy layer right beneath the
rind and a firm, crumbly texture in the center.
Pairing: A classic. If you’ve not had goat cheese
and Sauvignon Blanc, well get in your car and drive over to The Wine Country
this second! Gorgeous balance of bright, tangy, vibrant and creamy.
Wine- 2011 Chateau la Canorgue Luberon Blanc
($16.99) White Rhones can be somewhat difficult to pair with food but this
balanced little blend of Calirette, Roussanne, Bourbelanc and Marsanne, that
sees no oak, is a pure joy to drink. Nice fruit, light weight and with the
coolest little hint of fennel.
Cheese- St. Marcellin French Cow’s Milk. This is a
cheese that can vary tremendously depending on its stage of development or age.
A soft washed-rind cheese that comes in fun little terracotta crocks, when
young the cheese is buttery, dense and has a tart, almost sour finish. When
older you can nearly use it as dip! Super gooey and where that milky sour thing
was you will now find a mushroom like earthiness.
Pairing: I confess that I was hoping for the cheese
to come in a little further alone in age, (does make a huge difference) a wee bit gooier, but was still very
happy with how the Canorgue Blanc tempered that tart thing on the cheese. A
simple but nice pairing.
Wine- 2009 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Clos de
Chateau ($29.99) One of the best vintages to date from this Domaine. A powerful
Chardonnay with lovely nutty, roasted flavors and a big blast of ripe pear and
citrus. Rich and full in the mouth but with brilliant acidity.
Cheese- Epoisses French Cow’s Milk. An extremely
aromatic, (read stinky as all get out) washed rind cheese with the most
glorious of all silken textures. Massive mouth feel, salty and uber rich, this
is without question one of my favorite cheeses in the world.
Pairing: Have you ever heard the adage, “What grows
together goes together”? While I’m not dogmatic about that there are times when
there is no denying it, this pairing of two treats from France’s Burgundy, was
mind-blowing. Decadence, salty, savory with fierce creaminess and astounding
Wine- 2009 Trimbach Gewurztraminer ($23.99) A
slightly sweet Gewurztraminer from Alsace full of ripe peaches, wild white
flowers and a note of spicy ginger. Round in the mouth but with plenty of zip
to keep your palate refreshed and ready for another sip.
Cheese- Red Dragon English Cow’s Milk. I tossed this
cheese in the mix to challenge myself a little. A Cheddar-like cheese packed
with mustard seeds and a swath of horseradish. Great melting cheese so a
no-brainer for grilled ham and cheese or burgers, it is one of my favorites to
serve with thick slices of green apples.
Pairing: One of the stars of the night! Had one
couple even tell me that they didn’t like Gewurztraminer, thought it too
aggressive for most foods but they loved this pairing so much they ended up
buying both at the end of the night. The sweetness in the wine held in check by
the mustardy, spicy cheese and the cheese was also more restrained by the
weight and slight sweetness in the wine.
Wine- 2010 Widman Vernatsch, Alto-Adige ($19.99)
Such a light and delicate red wine! Just a shade darker than some of the Roses
we carry but don’t let the color fool you, there is plenty of lip-smacking
flavor going on here. Tart red cherries, cranberries and black pepper, makes me
crave grilled pork loin or smoked chicken.
Cheese- La Tur Italian Mixed Milk. This
ultra-creamy, rich, decadent and hauntingly mouth coating cheese from Piedmont
is a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk, has a very lacy bloom and has a texture
that can remind you of cream cheese. Creaminess from the cow’s milk, salty from
the sheep’s milk and acidity from the goat, this is one of those cheese that
makes people’s eyes roll back in their head.
Pairing: Even thinking about it now, I don’t think
we could have picked a better wine for this cheese. Because of the richness of
both texture and flavor we needed something with a fairly light body and some
spice to cut through and the Vernatsch did so beautifully. One of my favorites
Wine- 2010 Josep Vendrell Sere, Montsant ($12.99)
Frankly this is one of the most screaming deals we have as far as red wine goes
right now, period. An all-purpose red that would go with just about any food
you threw at it. We love this wine so much in fact, when we heard the importer
was running low Ronnie hopped on the phone and bought the rest they had. Brimming
with spicy Grenache flavors, light and easy going body, nice spice and wicked
cheap. Love it.
Cheese- Onetik Pilota Spanish Sheep’s Milk. Along
with Epoisses, this has got to be one of my most adored cheeses. Dense pale
white texture, slightly fruity and nutty, perfectly salty but it is the
meltingly sumptuous mouth feel that makes me wild for this Basque cheese. One
of those cheeses that you could pair with anything from red, white, rose and
sweet wines. If you are building any kind of cheese plate, you need Onetik
Pairing: Easier pairing of the night, a wine that
goes with anything and a cheese that does as well, together they were simply
comforting. The salty cheese bringing out more of the pretty fruit in the wine
and the wine graceful enough not to clobber all the character in the cheese.
Sometimes simple is what’s needed.
Wine- N.V. Villa de Corlo Lambrusco ($14.99) We are
wild about Lambruscos we’ve been tasting as of late. Once thought of as a
sweet, insipid lifeless stuff that sold itself as a beverage to pour over ice
here in the US for years, but the real Lambrusco is revered in Italy,
especially in Emilia Romagna, as the perfect wine, weather dry or off-dry, to
serve with slices or slabs of cured meat and hunks of sweet and salty Parmigiano
Reggiano. It might be a bit of a challenge for us to convince people to give
these serious, deep red and frothy sparklers a try, but we’re up to it as we
know just how freaking cool these wines are. Serious importers are bringing in
the real deal now folks, the lush and full, spicy and crave worthy sparkling
reds, be the first of your friends to be all over it!
Cheese- Barber’s 1833 Cheddar English Cow’s Milk.
I’ve never had a more perfect and balanced Cheddar, not ever. Sharp but not in
that way that has you reaching for the sides of your throat, milky, crumbly,
fruity and salty. I’ve had way more powerful Cheddar but none I couldn’t keep
my hands off like this one. Once the plastic wrapping is removed you can pretty
much count on it being gone, it’s that good.
Pairing: Another total rock star! The gently frothy
red with all its deep, dark black fruit and cracked pepper just sang when you
had the fruity and succulent Cheddar in your mouth. A good pairing is when the
two things taste just as good together as they did on their own, a great one is
when both things were made better when put together, this is a great pairing.
Wine- 2010 Dover Canyon Cujo Zinfandel ($15.99) Our
September Wine of the Month this is just a juicy, luscious, berry-rich and soft
Zinfandel that is a blast to gulp. No spike of high alcohol, no pruney notes,
no cooked or over-ripe flavors, this wine offers pure uncomplicated pleasure,
and who doesn’t love and need that from time to time?
Cheese- Rebloshon French Cow’s Milk. Now before some
of you get too excited, this is not the un-pasteurized version that is still
not legal here in the states. This is however a beautifully indulgent and runny
cheese that is impossible not to adore. Firm washed rind that once it’s cut
open releases the almost pudding like savory goodness that lies within.
Mushrooms, earth, fruity and a touch nutty this is a cheese you almost want to
eat with a spoon.
Pairing: I jokingly referred to this as, “Our big
dumb pairing” keying off the almost snuggly like feeling putting these two
nearly over the top things together gave us. Like a loveable nuzzle from a big
adoring puppy. The sweetness in the wine made the cheese slightly nuttier and
the fat in the cheese held up swimmingly to the wine.
Wine- 2010 Copain Tous Ensemble Chardonnay ($18.99) Anyone
that says California Chardonnay is all gloppy, over-oaked and flabby has never
tasted this wine. Ripe pears, green apple, some citrus with a crisp green note
play delightfully against the wines curvy texture and slight caramel flavors.
Rethink California Chardonnay, try this wine!
Cheese- Ewephoria Holland Sheeps’s Milk. One of our
best-selling cheeses, take one bite and you will know why. Created for the US
market, hence the “cute” name, this wine has more sweetness than most other
Gouda coming from Holland. That sweetness shows itself in the form of caramel
and browned honey butter and it is divine. A drier cheese that is best suited
for chunking as opposed to slicing it is on every fruit and cheese plate I
Bonus- Stone Brewing Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean
(12oz $2.99) So when trying to pair a wine with the Ewephoria I ran into a
fairly serious issue, one that was solved by this dark, mildly smoky, hop-rich
and vanilla kissed porter.
Pairing: You know, sometimes the best wine for the
job, well it’s a beer. The super-intense cheese, while eye-rolling delicious is
kind of a wine killer. I tried wine after wine, went red to white and back
again but once the cheese was in my mouth with the wines, everything went
horrifically metallic. Not good I assure you. I found that the stunning Copain
Chardonnay was the least offensive but,
that metallic thing was still there and rather than try and ignore it I took
the opportunity to share with the group that not every cheese has a wine buddy
as it were. The porter was amazing with the Ewephoria, just perfect as the
vanilla picked up all the caramel in the cheese and the hops and roasted notes
in the beer were way sturdy enough to marry with the cheese. Some things can’t
be forced and that cheese needed beer.
Wine- N.V. Dow’s Trademark Reserve Porto ($16.99)
Buying Port can be a bit of a commitment, I mean that is a big bottle of sweet
wine and unless you have a couple big parties, or like many of us, love ending
our evening with a glass of something sweet and rich, well like I said, a
commitment. That’s why we love this Trademark from Dow’s, all that deep berry
and cassis, coco and palate filling Port flavor without costing and arm and a
Cheese- Roaring 40s Blue Australian Cow’s Milk. This
packed and powerful blue has become a Wine Country staple and we even have a
few people that flip out a little if our supplier is out of stock, it’s that
addicting. Without a doubt a blue in its intensity but with some balancing
sweetness and far less acidic tang or sharpness.
Pairing: We started with a classic and ended with
one as well. Port and blue cheese is another one of those cheater pairings, it
always goes, always floors people and is always remarkable. Both things are
enhanced when paired together and as I said, that is a great pairing.
Sorry you were not able to attend but I hope this