Worthwhile Things I’ve learned- Personally or Vicariously

1.  Own a cast iron skillet. Or several. And learn how to properly use and care for them.


2a.  Life is too short for mediocre coffee and poor wine. Buy the best you can afford.

2b. Even if it is just for you.

2c. Especially if it is just for you!

2d. Sometimes a $2.99 bottle of wine can surprise you ( in a good way). Don’t be a snot- more $$ does not necessarily equal better.

3.  If you aren’t just collecting friends like a teenager seeking validation, Facebook is really awesome.

4.  Temperature is relative- move from California to a colder clime and you’ll make fun of family for wearing sweaters when the mercury drops to 60 there. Return, and you’ll go right back to doing the same thing.

5.  A hybrid car is sooooo worth it.

6.  If you can make spaghetti sauce, baked chicken, and muffins from scratch you will never hunger and save big bucks.

7.  Real friends stay with you until the tow truck arrives (inebriated or not), or until your parents/spouse/friend can get there with spare car keys.

8.  Everyone should own at least one Hawaiian shirt. You never know when a party might break out.IMG_5604_2

9.  Electric kettles are the best!

10. So is plain, black tea. And freshly brewed iced tea.

11. Screen time is overrated. People are underrated.

12. Mom Advice that is everywhere, but we don’t appreciate until later: “The days are long but the years are short.”

cute relationship quotes
Be This Person!

13. You need a community- humans are social creatures. Join and meet regularly with at least one spiritually/socially edifying group be it a church, synagog, club, society, etc.

14. Stop being so offended by everything, people . It offends me.

15. Spend time with people who lift you up and make you want to be a better person- spiritually, mentally, emotionally. And in turn, BE that person with everyone who spends time with YOU.

16. Pop your own popcorn in a heavy pot. It’s an entirely different species than microwaved stuff.

17. Everyone thinks they are the most interesting person in the world on Pinterest. They are all wrong. I am. I can prove it:  https://www.pinterest.com/DDWJ/

18. A trick I learned from a dear and darn near holy woman: carry candy in your purse to always have on hand to share with your friends’ little ones. Guaranteed favorite adult status!

19. If you want to try something new every day (need to get yourself out of a rut? Overcome anxiety? Or just looking for some good, clean fun?) but don’t know where to start, start small. Pick one small project- a new book, decorate an area you have neglected, try a new cuisine. Don’t start with large or grandiose projects (Re-landscape front yard! Read the complete works of Shakespeare!). I guarantee you will be surprised how uplifting it can be to simply repaint your front door.


Adelaida Cellers “Claudia” 2010- A Nice Red

Described as a red Rhone blend, this wine from Adelaida went nicely with our BBQ’d ribs!

Ribs and a red. Yum!
Ribs and a red. Yum!

A little less of a mouthful than the average Chianti in the same price range, this is a nice table red. Light fruit, not very sweet, and a nice bit of tannins, I like it.

This was another one of the bottles that we won earlier this year at a raffle held at The Boy’s school. Twenty-four bottles of wine for the price of a $25 ticket… can’t beat that with a stick!

Have a wonderful summer evening, everyone. I’m going to enjoy the last of my glass while I listen to The Boy’s excited chatterings. He was just gifted a one day pass to the San Diego Comic Con International and will be going with his sister and me this week since I won those two passes from Fox 5 San Diego. The Girl has some truly generous friends!

July Read: “Hild” by Nicola Griffith and “Divine Vintage” by R Heskett and J Butler

Getting greedy this month, I’m hoping to finish two books. I used to finish some books in two days, then I got a job, got married, and had kids. I like to tell myself I traded in one kind of crazy fun (hours of non-stop reading, woo-hoo!!) for another (grading papers, saying stuff like “don’t lick your brother’s hair!”**)

This month I’m reading two books, and one has to get back to the library before the end of July or I get late fees. I hate late fees, but always end up owing them to the library… I nobly tell myself “it isn’t a fine, it is my donation to a fine institution” to take the sting out of my day-late-dollar-short character.

2Q==So, this month I want to read “Hild” by Nicola Griffith, a novel about a 7th century saint… what might her life and times had been like? A lot of research and a ton of imagination went into this story, and I am really looking forward to reading this book. (Photo at left is from Amazon.com and links to their page)

2Q==-1The other book is the non-fiction “Divine Vintage- Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age.” by Randall Heskett and Joel Butler. I love learning about food chemistry, history, and origins, and this book includes all three, heavy on the last two. (Photo at right is from Amazon.com and links to their purchasing info for this book)

Enough posting, I’m going to get reading.

**True story: those words really did come out of my mouth about 15 years ago.

Home Made Spanakopita and a Nice Pinot Grigio…

My good friend Joy has been in the same boat with me for the end of this school year. She’s another mom with 8th and 12th grade graduations, and I just scored- she shared party leftovers with me.

IMG_6985Joy’s spanakopita now shares the same ranking as my mom-in-law’s enchiladas- dishes that I will never order at a restaurant ever again because someone’s home made version can never be topped. Ever. I humbly place my cinnamon rolls on that pedestal, too. Joy’s pastries were the lightest, most buttery, cheese and spinach-filled Greek pillows of happiness. Unbelievable.

This stuff was that good. Thanks, Joy, what fabulous snacks!

IMG_6986And thanks, too, for the bottle of the Pinot Grigio, the Santa Margherita 2013 from Italy. I’m not too familiar with Pinot Grigio, but I like how it is light, a little sweet and fruity, but still a little on the dry side. I prefer less sweet wines, and this was lovely with the different melons and the spanakopita. A very nice, light wine to sit and share with friends this summer- what wine isn’t better when shared with friends? Joy says it is in Costco now at a great price. Get your summer wines stocked up, everyone!

Wine to Wrap-Up a Hectic Week. Or Two.

It has been a long couple of weeks. A fortnight fraught with all emotions a person can muster, and more graduate parties and activities than you could shake a stick at.


Wine me, please!

Hilliard Bruce 2009 Pinot Noir
Hilliard Bruce 2009 Pinot Noir

Here is one of our Wine Winnings from a few months ago: Hilliard Bruce 2009 Pinot Noir… very nice. I am just beginning to learn about this red wine, and I like how even though they are not as full of tannins or as powerful as a Cabernet, the Pinot Noir still tastes and feels like a red wine. They are lighter, but not watered down.

If you are interested in learning more about this varietal, like me, you might want to start here: Pinot Nor- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinot_noir for a simple introduction.

Happy drinking, all, and congratulations to all the graduates of 2015!

New Wine from the Winnings- Paso Creek Zinfandel 2012

Evening meetings at the high school to gather information about activities that interest The Boy had us hurrying home to get steaks on the grill before the potatoes finished baking. It was a good evening to pull a wine from our awesome raffle winnings!

IMG_6630Since I was throwing sirloin steaks on the grill, I searched for a nice red… mmm, reds are my favorite. Paso Creek Zinfandel sounded good, so, I popped it open to drink while the steaks cooked. I chose well, what a nice wine! Dark red, big fruit and bigger tannins make this a zinfandel strong wine that can stand up to our salsa on the steaks.

I think I am beginning to keep my reds straight- pinot noirs are lighter, cabernet can’t be beat for best overall dry red, zinfandels are heartier than cabs, merlots are worthless… am I missing any?


24 bottles of wine on the wall… Sing Along with Me!

When we won the wine raffle after purchasing a single ticket at my son’s school (pretty neat raffle offering for a school, huh?!?), our closest friends also in attendance cheered. They were just as happy knowing we’d be sharing this windfall. Twenty-four bottles of wine in the cupboard, twenty-for bottles of wine… sing along, everyone!

That was the best $25 The Husband and I spent in a long while.

Among the most interesting bottles are Fallbrook Winery 2011 Cabernet, Hilliard Bruce 2009 Moon Pinot Noir, and Gros Ventre 2011 Pinot Noir. Multiple bottles of each, hot dog!

IMG_5701There is a potpourri of other wine varieties and producers in the batch. Represented are the sweet to the dry, the well known to the new to me, at least. I discovered a great website to help me begin to identify everything. WineSearcher.com allows you to type in your wine’s information, then returns more statistics than you will know what to do with- our two dozen range from $12 to $60.

The first I popped open was from one of our local wineries, the Fallbrook cabernet. I love me some cabernet sauvignon. This is a delicious cab, the tannins are already mellowing.

We hit the jackpot! I like wine, can you tell? I already had a good 15-20 bottles, so, we will now need to contemplate which is the lesser of two evils: wastefulness versus drunkenness- some of these whites need to be drunk up right away, after all.