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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 away from the blog is my photography business. Spring is a busy time for weddings and summer is busy with family portraits and this year has been huge for family portraits.  I recently shot a family from suburban Chicago, and they were so much fun! I loved every minute of my session with them.

The parents had t-shirts made for their four kids that just cracked me up, and I had to share one of the images with you.

Life Lately Family Fun

In my family, I would be The Remix!

Life Lately * Somm School

Last Saturday was the celebration party for completing Somm School at Edmunds Oast Exchange. Somm School is a 13-week introductory course about wine. Some of the folks in the class were studying to take the sommelier level one exam, but most of us were just there to brush up on our wine knowledge.  It was super fun. We tasted lots of great wines. And I learned a ton. I may take the sommelier exam one day, but I will need a lot of time to study. Something I do not have right now.

In the meantime, this was a great series of classes. The next class series starts up in September, but there are some advanced courses this month on Burgundy, Piedmont, and Germany. Anyone can sign up online or at the store. I highly recommend these classes for any wine enthusiast.  Check out their website for more information.

Life Lately

Life lately
This was the best pic of the group. Not sure what is going on with my lips.

Life Lately * Spiralizing

With temperatures in the high nineties and heat index over one hundred degrees, I have been trying to eat lighter. This past week I got out my spiralizer and made two great meals. Sorry, I did not take photos because I was just so darn hungry but I promise I will make each dish again soon and share with you all.  The first was a Thai-style Napa Cabbage Slaw with a Sesame-Rice Vinegar dressing. I used the spiralizer to make cucumber strands. It was delicious.

Yesterday was  Shrimp Scampi over Zucchini “Pasta.”  I used the spiralizer again to make the zucchini into long pasta-like strands. After a quick sautè, it was spot on as the base for the Scampi.  Again I was way too hungry to take pictures, but this is a definite redo because it is super simple.

Spiralizer came out with a sturdier version with seven blades for 2018. You can get it here from Amazon.

Life Lately

Life Lately – We Cut the Cord

Frustrated with our soaring Comcast Triple Play cable bill ($265/month) along with my desire to get rid of our landline, we finally cut the proverbial cord. It was a roundabout cord cutting because we first switched from Comcast to WOW!, a regional cable company for internet and tv, dropping the landline.

life lately
Photo by Frank Okay on Unsplash

Our bill was reduced by about half. We were still “corded” as such, but it was the first step. Then we quickly learned that WOW! TV is truly horrible. I felt like I was watching cable TV circa 1999. It was so antiquated, clunky, and slow that I canceled the TV service before the 30-day guarantee was up. Their internet ($39.99/m), however, is great so we kept that.

Gary was losing his mind as I screamed at the tv when things went wrong. He does not like technology changes, but he told me to do what I needed to do. He had only one request. The tv channel line up must include VH1 so we can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Yes, Aquaria deserved the win!).


So I looked at all the streaming options I was aware of that included live tv and decided to go with DirectTV Now ($35.00 plus tax). It seemed to be the best for our needs over SlingTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV and Hulu Live. Since none of these options includes live TV for the four broadcast networks, we also subscribed to CBS All Access ($5.99).  We have always had Netflix ($10.99) in addition to cable tv so that actually makes our previous total media spend at $276/month.

All the services claim that they plan to add the local channels as soon as they can negotiate a deal but right now I am fine without live tv for ABC, NBC, and FOX. We just have to watch any new episode after it has first aired. I have not figured out how long that is after the airing because it is summer and there are no new episodes for the shows we watch. We will see how we like this.

Bottom Line… We dropped close to $175.00 a month off of our media spend, and I could not be happier.

Life Lately – White Wine

We have been on a white wine kick all summer. Here is another wine that is “outside the box.” Can you say Grenache Blanc/Grenache Gris blend?

Les Clos de Paulilles Blanc 2016 Collioure, Roussillon

This is a fantastic wine that hails from Collioure, a town in the Roussillon region which is the western portion of the Languedoc-Roussillon AOC in the south of France. These wines are not generally well-known and can be hard to find but are worth the search.

This white wine is made from the two white varieties of Grenache: Grenache Blanc (60%) and Grenache Gris (40%). Most people hear the word Grenache or Garnacha and think red wine. That is because the Grenache Noir grape is much more common and more widely planted around the world.

This Bottle…

…is a pale yellow color and has a medium body. It has a luscious somewhat creamy texture On the nose I got aromas of cream soda. On the palate is tart citrus flavors. The finish is pleasing and long.  Gary says this is a great wine to enjoy with oysters.

It sells for $30.00. It is my last one. I hope they have more.

We purchased this wine at Monarch Wine Merchants at 1107 King St., Charleston, SC.    PH:  (843) 576-4845


One Comment

  1. luci

    Love your blog Rick. I, too, did the change over and reduced my cable/internet bill and eliminated home phone (hard to do but why?). I still need to do more but I do get live TV. I too have Direct. I wish we were doing a trip together this year but I’ll see you in November. I’m coming a week or two before Thanksgiving with Lynn and Diane!

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