Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm Going Where?

“So you leave for Italy in like two weeks right?”
“No. It’s like a month or something…..right?!”

“Holy shit. I’m leaving for Italy in like two weeks.”

This was the conversation I had this afternoon before leaving the shop. I have no idea why I thought my departure date was still a month away, maybe it’s the fact that I am still disbelieving of the fact that I am going. Being invited, and not just invited but being taken, to Italy. To swirl around the north eastern hills of Friuli…tasting, smelling, learning soaking in yet another country’s wild scent and accent, well it not only feels like over a month away, it seems unreal to me, like it must be someone else’s life. I get to sit away here late at night, early in the morning, buzzy, hungover, ranting, loving, making love to the wines I adore by retelling their story here, the tap-tap-tap of my nails against the keyboard of my beloved laptop keeping me company and not only do people read it….respond to it, I get an email asking me if I would consider travelling with a few other wine bloggers to Italy, a guest there to taste the wines of the region and share my impressions. God, how did I get here?

Vacation only meant one thing to me when I was growing up, it was an extra check that helped pay the bills once a year. We never went anywhere; maybe had a dinner out that week but there was no going, no packing, no camping, not ever. My “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” papers where always the same, they were a recount of watching my little sister and reruns of The Honeymooners, (and ahem…Maury Povich. Don’t judge, I just HAD to find out which of the 12 men tested was that woman’s baby daddy) Wasn’t horrible, was just the way it was and travel never even really entered my consciousness, in fact….in all honesty it scared me in some ways so it was something I rarely even thought about. That whole, “don’t look at it and it shall not exist or ever come up” thing…always works that.

I began baby stepping my way around the US once I met a man that was much more fearless than I. A sound and quiet man that booked travel like an agent and held me when I felt like my heart and body were about to leap from my airplane seat and pry the doors off the plane in an effort to save my life….or preserve the dangerously fragile barrier that kept me just as quiet and satiated in my life of up and down the same streets, to and from point A and point B. The life I knew, the foods I knew, the nameless faces of the rest of my fearfully safe crowd. Seattle, DC, Georgia, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine….each flight just a little longer, each taste just a bit more comfortable and each step in a new place a fingerprint resting upon the flesh on my back, pushing me to take the next step. The next deep breath of air that didn’t smell like home, smile in the face of someone’s verbiage I didn’t quite get…to feel a life, if only for a moment, that was thousands of worlds away from any I had ever tasted before. Each time leaving me more ready, more wanting and more eager for the next hesitant step….

So here I sit, almost every state in our union and 4 trips to Europe under my belt about to climb aboard and hear the cla-clunk as yet another stamp is added to my passport. Surreal. Fuck, I cannot even begin to express how humbling and not even close to real, this feeling is. Cannot even begin to imagine what I’ve done in my life to deserve this, wishing I did as I would not only do it again…I would pass whatever it is along as I would give anything to share this with all of you that have made this next adventure even possible. Without you, your visits and comments, my silly blog would have never been noticed and this rather clumsy voiced, thick bodied, goofy, ranting, somewhat inappropriate girl…turned woman, would not be boarding that plane in….fuck, two weeks! I’m tucking you in my laptop…come with me. I need you.

So I’ve been scanning my fellow travelers blogs. Been checking out their tone and I gotta tell ya, kinda sucks knowing…before we even leave, that I am likely going to be the worst behaved. (sigh)
I’m starting out with three strikes:
1) Fat
2) Smoker
3) Can’t pee while standing

None of those shall be changing before the trip. I can get me some less than ghetto shoes and stuff but I aint about to shed like…erm, a hundred pounds, give up my much dreaded but so adored huffing habit or grow some tubage that will make my pee deficiency better. These are truths that no matter how I ache for them to go away, shan’t. So the next worry on my list of shit that makes me a nut job before one of these trips, you know aside from hoping I don't fall out of the sky and junk is…..who shall be my partner in crime? Now on a bigger trip I do what most do, I look for the girl…seeing as that is me on this here wild ride, well I am kinda screwed there. I once relied on the kindness, (read horniness) of one of the hotel workers….long story, very bad plan and very expensive cab ride. Ugh.

I can’t help but wonder who will sneak out of our luxurious accommodations, go on the cured meat, the one more glass run with me. Who will be clinking glasses of grappa when Sussudio or Baby Got Back comes screeching through the jukebox or is spun on the wheels of steel. Who will give me that, “Oh I hate you” glare at 11:00 AM when we are picked up to begin our day…

Gonna get those shoes
Still wondering who's down for a little late night grappa....any guesses?

Wayne Young
Alfonso Cevola
David McDuff
Nicolas Contenta
Jeremy Parzen

Can't figure out how in the hell I got so lucky but....

Cannot wait!


chris said...

Sam- Here's my advice...

Enjoy the two weeks of pre-departure buzz.

Pack a pair of comfortable waterproof boots.

Purchase chic shoes in Italy.

Partner in crime? Don't worry, there will be plenty.

Learn to pee while squatting.

Know that we're thinking of you and wish you all the best. You deserve every blissful moment.

Samantha Dugan said...

You are so kind. Just one question....are the waterproof boots for the squat peeing?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I'd fit in your carry-on? I'd give you the 11am "damn you're a bitch... now pass more wine" glare.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

You just might show all that testosterone a thing or two about tasting wine. You'll, for sure, show them about having a good time. Peeing while standing ain't all it's cracked up to be--there's a joke there somewhere, but no sense going on a scavenger hunt.

Let's not forget that this is your first junket as a blogger!! Wow, look at you, it's like you're all 1WineDoody and shit. Next thing you know you'll be speaking at Social Media conferences--"Social Media and How it Makes the Hairs on my Bits Erect." Though I think Wark is already doing that topic.

As for me, I see all this as a personal blow. I didn't get invited on one trip when I was a world-renowned wine blogger! I know, hard to believe. And, also, just how am I supposed to get along without you? It's like some kind of trial separation, you know, where the woman goes off with five guys for a week to try and get her head straight, drink a lot, and learn to pee standing up. Same thing happened with my first wife. Man, can she pee now!

We all can't wait for your reports from Italy. And, here's another tip, stay the hell away from Berlusconi. That guy's insatiable.

I love you!

Pasta Daddy said...


I don't get to go on many overseas junkets since most of my writing focuses on the east coast. But, on those few occasions when I ventured out to Oz or Argentina or Sicily, I never noticed that there was a lack of late night activity. So, I don't think you have many worries on that score.

But peeing while squatting is not anything I have had to master so I guess Ron knows more about that than I do.

I'd be more worried about the fact that you are going to northern Italy in the middle of winter. Take your skis.

chris said...

The waterproof boots are for wet vineyard visits and cold rain or snow.

As for the squat pee, last month while visiting Italy I came across a low to the ground, no seat toilet...had to squat, didn't know what else to do.

webb said...

So, I've looked quickly at their blogs and at the COF 2011 site and I think surely one of them will be on the late night schedule with you. If not, find and Italian! And forget the standing pee thing. You can do it your way, just like always! Have a great trip and keep us posted. Travel safely.

Typo Daddy said...

East Coast?

West Coast, please.

Valerie said...

Damn, lady - I'm so looking forward to your posts from the bel paese! And the grappa stories...

Samantha Dugan said...

Another Day of Crazy,
Holy crap....can you just imagine the two of us on one trip?! Even I have to shudder at the very thought....or quiver, not sure which. Would be so fun though.

Ron My Love,
Oh what I wouldn't give to have you coming with us, that would be like a Birthday, Christmas and Anniversary gift all rolled into the greatest gift ever. Sadly, it's not to be but you know you will find my annoying voice in your inbox every morning yammering on about this and won't even have time to miss me. I love you sweet man...

Pasta Daddy,
I chose to ignore the east coast/west coast slip....thought it might be some pent up basketball issue seeping through and I was beaming for a second there. I don't've seen me, would you trust two little sticks to hold my girth and lead me?! No, I will just have to bundle up while I'm out misbehaving and learning...wish you were there too!

Oh hell, I know the squat and balance toilets far too well....they have them in France too and lets just say...I can hold it.

I hope one of those cats is down, I just read Alfonso's latest post and he is the first to hint that he might be willing to play, (check it out...he is truly a fantastic writer) so I fear not too much. I doubt I will find and Italian, been forewarned about walking off with random Italians, hell that's how I ended up married and junk. I'm sure the whole pee issues shall not be an issue and I am just so looking forward to being there.

Oh girlie I wish you could be there too, would love to see Italy through your eyes as I have so many times through your lens. I hope to have plenty of time to write and share...I am seriously going to miss you all so, I need you to follow along so I can have you with me!

Do Bianchi said...

@Sam I'll have you know that I am always up for a late-night grappa (and there's plenty in Friuli!); I always pee sitting down (for real); and I've been known to sneak a cigarette (jazz or otherwise) now and then (more the now when it comes to the jazz). So psyched to finally get to taste with you!

TWG said...

Well keep this in mind after those late night grapps runs:

na cica de vino said...

mmmmmmmmm grappppppaaa....

there will be no problem finding a cured meat buddy, unlike jeremy's 24 year break from nutella, i plan to hold a 24 year binge on prosciutto di san daniele..
as far as cigarettes go.. im feelin the jazz theme!

forza cof2011!!!

Samantha Dugan said...

If you sit while peeing, what do YOU do at those squat and balance potties?! Um, you might have more to fear than I. I have to say I am starting to worry less; got you for the grappa, Alfonso is handling the potty thing, looks like my smoking isn't going to get me many of those "how could you?!" hard stares and now crossadbilia and I are fixin' to throw down some cured pork....oh this is going to be fun!

Good tip. Thanks, you think I should have an IV installed just in case?

Well count me in for 6 days of your 24 year meat fest, I'm in!

Do Bianchi said...

@Sam ok, with the Turkish chamber pot thing, I do stand... my favorite is pissing on the old trains when you can see the tracks running below through the hole in the toilet bowl.

re. Prosciutto ya'll are about to experience "cult" prosciutto, D'Osvaldo, first and foremost among them.

@croosadabilia I'm working diligently on the jazz... it will happen at some point during the trip

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh thank gawd, you cannot even begin to imagine the one handed balancing act I had pictured in my head. So see, I'm on my own again there....I have been practicing though, running out of socks so I guess it's not going well.

Cult prosciutto?! I think I just peed a little...and I'm not even practicing!

Okay you cats are too funny with the "jazz", very smooth. Um, you think you could find us some disco too? (That would be me deflecting, didn't even have to take my shirt off this time!)

Sara Louise said...

WOOHOO!!! I'm thrilled for you Sam! Looking forward to hearing about all your Italian adventures :-)
(And there is nothing wrong with a little Maury! Love me some Maury)

Thomas said...

Sam, I learned the squatting thing while living in Iran, and after peeing on all my shoes and pants, I managed to get it down, so to speak...

When you think grappa, think Nonino. Had a wonderful time visiting with the family a number of years back, and tasting every one of their products--wow!

Ron, don't feel bad. Even someone as erudite and slick as I don't get no blogger invites at all.

Samantha Dugan said...

I'll never forget the first time I saw those toilets, thought I had mistakenly walked into the Men's room....I mean, how is a woman gonna pee in one of those?! Well, they do and I am just not as skilled with my, I'm sure it will be fine and I'm just hoping that I don't need to use them. We have carried the Nonino Grappa before, have yet to try them so I hope to taste them while I'm there!

Thomas said...


In Iran, even a controlled stream did not necessarily dicKtate that men would stand rather than squat. When I happened upon a place with a 'Western-style" WC I sometimes saw footprints on the toilet seat, obviously left there by someone who just didn't get it.