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Category: Thoughts & Ramblings

Life Lately: A Balancing Act

Life lately has been a crazy, crazy period for me. Kind of like walking a tightrope and balancing plates on sticks. My blogging has been more sporadic, and I want to explain.  My plan is to post three times a week. Occasionally, it might fall to twice a week, but that would be rare.  But this Spring/Summer it has become the norm with some weeks only posting once (like last week), and that is unacceptable.  So I want to apologize. I am sorry, and I will continually try to do better. Life Lately – Photography One activity that has taken my attention…

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Thirty Years – Life Together

Thirty years ago today, Gary and I went on our first date. We have been a couple ever since. Back then marriage was not an option so we were just together and that was enough. We moved in together about ten months later when our leases expired. As time passed, that date, June 18th, became our anniversary. Like all couples, there were a few bumps in the road during our first year, but after that, we settled into coupledom with ease. I hear folks talk about relationships being “hard,” and I understood because I watched couples around us struggle. But…

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Confessions of a Wine Geek

I am not exactly sure when this happened, but it has been confirmed by family and friends that I have become a wine geek, aka wine nerd.  This transformation was not intentional, but like most things I do, I went “all in” so I should not be surprised.  For the record, this confession does not also translate into me being a wine snob.  The term “wine snob” implies a condescension of others about their wine drinking habits. Should I ever become a wine snob, I hope someone will take me behind the barn and give me the proper whooping I deserve. I…

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Sanity Restored: Robocallers & Telemarketers

Yes, I have a landline. There are several important reasons why but the details are not important to this post. If you have a landline and you work from home, you know that your phone rings all the time with robocallers, scammers, and telemarketers even though we are on the Do Not Call List. Then there is my cell phone that also rings all day with scammers and telemarketers. As a small business, my cell phone is my business line, and so it is published on my website and Google for business reasons. Therefore anyone can call, and they do. It…

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One Year: Wow, It Flew By

Oh. My. God. Where did the time go? One year and a month ago, I started Strong Coffee to Red Wine. I can’t believe that the anniversary passed already and I did not notice. I guess that is because my nose is to the grindstone. But alas, it dawned on me today as I was reflecting on some of the comments I have recently received regarding recent posts… Ginger was thrilled to have found all of the Cariñena wines at her local Trader Joe’s and is having her own tasting party on Super Bowl Sunday while “the boys” watch the game.   Last…

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Unconditional Moof

Yesterday, my family had to say goodbye to our girl Mikili aka Moof, The cancer we learned about three months ago finally took its toll. The last few days we saw dramatic declines in her physical strength. She would not give up on us, so we had to let her go. My sister was her actual owner, but in my family, that title means that you are responsible for buying the food and paying the vet bills, but her care is shared by us all.  In Mikili’s life that was especially true for me. You see I picked her out of…

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Wine Country: Wildfires & Trip Overview

My Wine Country Experience Whew, I can not believe it has been eleven days since I last posted. But as you know I took a trip to Northern California wine country for the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference and then added a couple of days of touring with a dear friend.  To be sure, I had no real idea what I was in for so I had to adjust on the fly. I intended to post while away, but if there is anything that some may know about me, it’s that I am an “all in” kind of person. As such,…

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Social Media, Grandma & Homemade Mexican Beans

I have apparently turned into my grandmother. Social media once again has reconnected me with my past. By request, I am posting my Mexican Black Beans recipe.  And our stainless steel straws are awesome! So let’s begin. I am my Grandma When I was a kid and visiting my grandparents home, I can vividly recall my grandma washing and re-using plastic bags and aluminum foil. I used to giggle because I thought that defeated the purpose of one-time-use products. In my grandma’s case, it was because she was a child of The Great Depression. It was a habit as they needed to do…

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Dutch Baby with Spiced Apples

Yesterday morning I woke up with a plan. I was making a Dutch Baby with Spiced Apples. Decades ago, there was a restaurant in Skokie, IL that served something like this and I have always wanted to make it. As always I had researched several different recipes (it is also called a German Apple Pancake or a Baked Apple Pancake, Dutch Baby and several other names) and then recreated it with my own twist. Full transparency -> A Kitchen Confession: Before I get to the recipe, I need to confess that the morning started with a bit of excitement. I…

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Obviously Different: A Child & A Wine

All About You: An Adopted Child’s Memoir Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing that you look nothing like anyone in your family. And when you ask, all you get is lies. Imagine seeing that your parents treat you differently than your sibling and when you call it to their attention they lie. You can see that you are obviously different, but your family and your entire community lies. Side note: Liz and I have been “photographer friends” for several years. When we would run into each other around town or at photographer gatherings, we would chat and visit…

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Best Laid Plan * Irma * Binge *

Earlier last week when Irma had not chosen her course there was uncertainty abound and lots of folks making decisions before having all the information. While I am not a Lowcountry native, the last 13 years have taught me a great deal about tropical storms and hurricanes.  For us, since we do not have kids and we are not sickly or elderly, we have options based on storm severity. For others, they got out of dodge before the storm turned north making Charleston a ghost town for the weekend. One of the things that we learned last year with Hurricane Matthew is…

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Remember, Ramblings and Recipes

Dear Hurricane Irma: While I would prefer you just dissipate, please leave Charleston alone. Our bank account is still recovering from Matthew and the tropical storm the month before that!   Rambling… My parents always had a string of “I remember” statements like, “I remember having to walk to school for a mile in the snow.” So here are a few of mine… I remember when: Spam is/was a meat-byproduct loaf that we ate when we could not afford ham or bacon not junk email I remember when outlet malls were for overstocks and seconds. And it was all about “the hunt” for…

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Uncelebrated Holiday, Updates & more

Happy Labor Day! Labor Day is an uncelebrated holiday. Probably the most uncelebrated of all the federal holidays.  Most see it as the last three day weekend of the summer to enjoy with family before the school year “get’s serious.”   In actuality, this holiday was created by President Grover Cleveland as what was considered political “appeasement” to trade workers after the Pullman strike and subsequent riots and loss of lives at The Pullman Company in Chicago in 1894.  I will not bore you with the details, but there is an excellent summary here if you are interested. I see it a…

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Simple Pleasures – The ReSet

Vacations like the one I just had are the perfect opportunity for a reset. I did not plan it that way as I planned to blog throughout the trip. It took a couple of days, but once I settled in, I hit the wall that said: “Stop!, Relax and Enjoy yourself.” Thankfully I listened. But I have been home now for five days, and now as I get back to the grind, I am trying to remember the simple pleasures of my daily life, so I don’t “need” a vacation reset so much. Paper and Ink It has been a…

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