Saturday, April 22, 2017

Keep Going, OK?

This little clip amazed me. I have never seen such a dedicated little spirit do what was requested and push so hard, and at such a young age!  It makes me think the little kiddo must have been born with this drive and urgency, where she will crawl and push until the job is done.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hunting for Easter Eggs

The kiddo's did some serious Easter Egg hide and seek training all week to prepare for THE big day - the CITY WIDE Easter Egg hunt!

Imagine their surprise when they found the eggs not in hiding, but scattered over the grass. It was as if each egg was pleading to be scooped up and taken to a good home.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Best Buds

I love this. Best buds at 4 (and almost 4).

Leaving a Legacy?

Because I hang out with a lot of retired people these days, the topic of being forgotten, or being alone, or leaving a legacy is something that comes up after we open the 3rd bottle of wine.  

Before my former Qigong instructor, Suzanne, died (at the age of 45), she shared how she thought there is a NEED inside all of us, to create something that will outlive us. She seemed to hope her legacy would be her flute music, or perhaps the books she wrote, but I believe her lasting legacy was the spark of wonder and skills she transferred to us, her Qigong students, in those many Qigong classes.
My Qigong Instructor - Dr. Suzanne Friedman
My mother, an artist, before she passed away, would review the photos of her paintings, created over her lifetime. She would lovingly gaze at them, and no doubt remember the different decisions about paint mixtures and brush strokes to get each painting to be just right. I believe she would consider her art to be her most lasting legacy.
My Mother
Another special teacher I had was John. He shared how each of us leaves a personal essence of our subtle energy on this earth in places as we travel through life. He continued by saying that we will leave a type of “energetic marker” in different locations based on the emotions and feelings we created at that time and location. If that is the case, we are leaving a part of us throughout our entire life and scattering it all along the life we lived.

Most of us probably assume our legacy will be the business we started, or our bank account, or any properties we own. It may even be the quilts we created our our cabbage patch doll collection. But most likely, our REAL legacy will be the feelings that we helped create with others - be it good feelings or bad feelings.  This is what will probably be what lives on after we die and will be our true legacy.

With luck, we will have created more good moments than bad, doing our part to make the world a better place through good energy vibes. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

ARQ, the intense Observer

ARQ, the 1.5 y.o. granddaughter, is quite the intense observer. She seems to notice everything. When something catches her interest, she fully engages in the activity of discovering more about it. For example, she discovered some of those teeny tiny black ants marching across the patio cement, probably going to their home in the flower pot. She squatted down, and observed their teeny tiny movements and march along the cement. She then started to chat with them for almost 10 minutes while she continued her squat and observations.

I found this rather fascinating to glimpse her interaction with the natural world. She seems to be captivated by almost everything around her.

Stories and imagination

I get a kick out of observing changes and development in the grandkids. The 3.5 yo grandkid LOVES books and enjoys being read to, but THIS weekend, when it was time to read stories before going to bed, he said he didn't want a book. He wanted me to TELL him a story.  I've been telling him a story AFTER reading time for months, but this time, he just wanted a story told to him while we laid in bed waiting for sleepy-time to take over.

The story usually is about a boy named George who goes on an adventure in a train, car, plane, or bike, and gets to see and do something new. But THIS time, it was as if I was able to watch his little mind paint the picture of the adventure he was listening to. It was pretty fun.

It is pretty cool being a Grandma.  Who knew? 

Weird toes

GDQ, the 3.5 y.o. grandkid, discovered I have some weird toes. He asked me what was wrong with that toe and I said "it's a corn" and I could tell by the look in his face, that if I wasn't careful, he would never eat corn again. So I corrected myself and said, "it's a blister".

He then looked a long time at my toe, and then examined all of them, one by one. ARQ, the little 1.5 y.o. granddaughter, then came over to also inspect my toes, too. This went on for several minutes as if I was a specimen at the zoo who displayed something rather unique in the genetic line of animals.

I realized they are now at that point of life when they are seeing imperfections of the adults around them, and for this visit, they observed some flaws and quirks of their Gramz they had not seen before. With luck, they will realize they can over still wrestle and play hide-and-seek with the old lady, even if she does have some pretty weird phalanges.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wine Tasting in Argentina

Recently we went food and wine tasting in Argentina with Wine Knows Travel. I used a rating scale of 0-5, with 5 being the best, meaning yes, I would definitely buy this, and 0 being a way to let me know I probably wouldn't buy it.

These are the wineries we visited, and the wines we tasted on this segment of our trip.

Zuccardi Winery
• 2015 Torrantes. This is 14.5 alcohol; I rated it 3+
• Malbac 2015 – Malbec is the flagship wine in Argentina; I rated this as 3+
• Sweet wine Bodega Santa Julia; Rated 3-

El Enemigo Winery
• Sparkling wine; Rating 2-3
• Cabernet franc 2011; Rating 4+
• Malbec 2011; I rated this as a 5
• Bonarda 2012; Rated 3+
• Gran Enemigo Gualtallary, 2012 85% Cabernet franc, 15% Malbec; Linda rated this a 5; I rated it as a 3.

Casa de Uco Winery
We tasted the wines at this winery, but they were in different stages of the fermenting process, so needless to say, the wines we tasted were not ready, but the experience was very interesting.

Bodges Salentein Winery
• 2015 Malbec 3+
• Cabernet franc 2014 100% rated 4+
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 rated 3

Finca Sophenia Winery
• Chardonnay 2015, I rated this as average 2-3
• Sauvignon blanc 2015, rated as 4-
• 2015 Malbec rated 4+
• Sophenia Synthesis Malbec 2014, rated 3+
• Cabernet 2012, rated  3+

Caelum Winery - I really enjoyed this winery and their wines
• Torrantes 2016 Muscat family; great flavor; I rated this as 4-5
• White Fiono; crispy; This one was aged 12 months and needs time to ripen
• Malbec 2013; rating 4 aged 12 mo in oak barrels; about $20/bottle
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2013; Rated 4-5

Catena Zapata Winery
• Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay 2014; rated 3
• Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2012; rated 4+
• Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2013; rated 2
• Nicolas Catena Zapata 2013; rated 2

Wine tasting is a very personal experience and your rating will probably differ from mine, and that is ok. 

Wine Tasting in Chile

We went to Chile with Wine Knows Travel to taste the food and wine of Chile. These are the wineries we visited, the wines we tasted, and how I rated them during our tasting. I used a sophisticated rating of 0-5, with 0 being "NO THANKS!" and 5 being YES PLEASE!"

Santa Carolina Winery
• Carmenere, Family Reserve, 2010; rating 0
• Carmenere, Premium Reserve, 2010; rating 0

De Martino Winery
• Cinsault Rose 2016 - aged in metal (we liked this one - very light); rating 4
• Viejas CINSUIT (Sanso) 201616 - aged in amphora terra-cotta  pottery; rating 3
• Muscat 2015 - aged in amphora terra cotta potter (this was dry and NOT sweet. It was an unusual surprise. Very full bouquet); rating 4
• Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (we all liked this one); rating 4
• Chardonnay Grand Reserve 2016 from Limry Valley - aged in oak (I liked this one); rating 3-4
• Carmenere 2014 - aged in the large Austrian containers. More gentle than a Merlot (I liked this one)
• Malbec Camenere 2014 (My traveling partner liked this one) Rating 4

Los Maquis Winery 
• Rose 2016 ; this is currently not available in the USA; I rated this 3+; about $20/bottle
• Carmenera Franc blend from 2014; I rated this 1-2 but my traveling partner rated this 3-4; about $20/bottle
• Maquis Lien Blend (2/3 Bordeaus; Syrah blend) 2011, I rated this as 3;
• Maquis Viola Carmenere 2011; Blend of Carmenere + Carn Franc; I rated this as 4; This is about $46/bottle
• Maquis Franc; I rated this as 5 - very smooth; $75/bottle

Montes Winery
Montes Winery
• Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - I rated this 4+
• Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2014 - I rated this 3+
• Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 - I rate this 3
• Syrah 2014 - I rated this as 2+
• Purple Angel 2013 - I rated this as 4+; cost is about $60-70/bottle
and is even available at Bevmo and Total Wine

Koyle Winery
Gran Reserve
• Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – made in large concrete shaped eggs; score 0
• Cinsault Don Cande 2015 Itata Valle; score 0
• Rose Don Cande 2015, tastes like white Zin; score 1
Premium Wines
• Syrah Royale 2014; Score 0
• Cabernet Sauvignon Royale 2013; score 0
Iconic Wine
• Auma 2011 (cabernet Suvignon 37%, Carmenere 25%, Malbec 18%, Syrah 13%, Petit Verdot 7%); score 2

Altair Winery - This was my favorite in Chile
• Tiera Morades Carmenere 2011, Purple earth – We rated this 4+
• Kanakana del Elqui 2013 Syrah; I rated this 4
• Sideral 2015 blend; - I rated this as 5
• Cabo de Hornos 2014 Cab; I rated this as 5
• Altair 2013 blend of cab, cab franc; we loved this one, rated 5

La Postalle Winery
• Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2015, like tropical hot weather; $16/bottle; I rated this as 2
• Merlot 2013; I rated this as 2
• Clos Voda Aphalta 2012 (carmenere, merlot, and cab) I rated this as 3

Since returning to the states, I've discovered it is difficult to find places that sell wines from Chile, but perhaps that will change because some of these wines are VERY VERY good!

Remember, wine tasting is a personal experience and what you like may not match with what I like, and that is OK. It is a very subjective process and experience.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Creating our Own Wine Blend at the Montgras Winery in Chile

We went wine tasting in Chile and at the Montgras Winery, we had a rather unique experience. We did our own BLENDING. In other words, we became a modified type of wine maker!

We were each given a glass of Merlot, Carmenere, and Syrah. We then tasted each glass and then were supposed to create our own BLEND. We were provided an apron, measuring flasks, calculators, and writing material to do our calculations and testing to see what percentage of each wine we wanted in our own personal blend.

After we decided the percentages, we were given a new bottle and had to then determine how much of each wine was needed for a full bottle and poured the different percentages into our own personal bottle.  Next we had to cork the bottle, seal it, and label the wine.

My blend was 80% Merlot, 10% Carmenere, 10% Syrah. I named this wine “Betheepoo".
Later I discovered no one wanted to even taste my wine, which leads me to believe I need to try a different name next time I'm mixing up a brew. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bathtime Faces

Facial expressions of the grandkid during bath time makes me chuckle.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Montes Winery in Chile

Our experience at Montes Winery, in Chile, was one I will never forget.  It began with a simple sign to let us know we were at Montes winery. You then take a walk up to the main entrance, and along the way, there are beautiful pools of running water to begin your enchantment.

We were then greeted, and got into position, with a spectacular view of the winery, getting into position to be carried away in the wine tasting extravaganza.

Next our glasses were prepared with several different wines to smell, taste, and learn about from our handsome Montes host.

These were the wines we tasted:
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - I rated this 4+ out of 5
  • Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2014 - I rated this 3+
  • Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 - I rate this 3
  • Syrah 2014 - I rated this as 2+
  • Purple Angel - I rated this as 4+ 
We then had dinner at the winery and this is when it became unique and rather breathtaking. We walked to the back of the winery, which was also very beautiful....

Then hopped on the Purple Angel to be escorted to the top of the winery

for a sunset dinner overlooking the valley and winery.
with lovely foods and wines.

This was an exquisite feast with an abundance of ambiance. It was one of those moments that will be forever sealed as a wonderful experience.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Wine Tasting at Los Maquis in Chile

The Maquis winery in Chile was such a lovely and wonderful wine tasting experience. This is the Maquis winery - very modern looking, and is filled with open air for ventilation, and is in the middle acres of vines as well as olive trees.

We were then taken to a quaint and lovely outdoor area near a stream, with linen table cloths and lovely wine glasses, to taste the Maquis wine.
The owner then continued information about his wines and the unique differences in each type of wine.

These were the wines we tasted

  • Maquis Rose 2016 - this is the best rose I have ever had, about $20/bottle
  • Carenera Franc 2014 - this is about $20/bottle
  • Maquis Lien 2011 - this is a blend, about $20/bottle 
  • Maquis Viola 2011 - this was very nice. I rated this 4 out of 5 (this is about $46/bottle)
  • Maquis Franco - this is very smooth. I rated this 5 out of 5 (this is about $75/bottle)
The labels are rather interesting, too. They were designed by the owners sister and are taken from Chilean metal works of art. Very lovely.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wine Tasting at De Martino in Chile

I loved this winery! We took a tour of the winery, with Guy, from the UK, and learned about the history of this winery, as well as their philosophy of making wine without additives - none!  It is all about the fermented fruit.  The alcohol in these wines are less than 14%, and a very different flavor than other wines

I was surprised to learn that at De Martino winery, they use clay pots to store and ferment some of their wines - muscat and

The jars are HUGE, and they seal the wine with clay and straw, along with a metal spigot poking out of the top.
They also use oak barrels, but what is unique, is they reuse the oak barrels over and over again, so the taste of the wine can change year by year.  They also use HUGE oak barrels, too, so the wine's exposure to oak wood is also reduced as compared to other wineries. This is in keeping with their philosophy to focus on the fruit and it's natural fermentation process rather than introducing outside elements, like yeast and oak.
Guy, our tour guide, then took us to do some serious wine tasting.

We had several types of wines at our tasting.
  1. Cinsault Rose 2016 - aged in metal (we liked this one - very light)
  2. Viejas CINSUIT (Sanso) 201616 - aged in amphora terra-cotta  pottery
  3. Muscat 2015 - aged in amphora terra cotta potter (this was dry and NOT sweet. It was an unusual surprise. Very full bouquet)
  4. Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (we liked this one)
  5. Chardonnay Grand Reserve 2016 from Limry Valley - aged in oak (I liked this one)
  6. Carmenere 2014 - aged in the large Austrian containers. More gentle than a Merlot (I liked this one)
  7. Malbec Camenere 2014 (My traveling partner liked this one)
This wine tasting was pretty amazing. I loved it!

Wine Tasting at Santa Carolina and Santa Rita Wineries in Chile

Napa Valley, in Northern California, was where I first learn about wine. It was a great place to get my toes wet and learn about wine and start tasting the differences in different types of wines as well as at different wineries. 

Now I'm expanding my wine and culinary experiences in other parts of the world. WineKnowsTravel, a San Diego, California, based company, provides a first class travel experience in their focused tours of wine and food. For this trip, we are focusing on South America, particularly Chile and Argentina.

Our first wine tasting activity was at Santa Carolina Winery, Santiago, Chile. The climate and foliage actually looks very similar to San Diego.

Like most wineries, they use oak barrels to store the wine until it is ready for bottling. They use these oak barrels up to 4 times at Santa Carolina.

These were the wines I liked at this winery during our wine tasting adventure:
Carnere, Family Reserve, 2010

I also liked Carmenere, Premium Reserve, 2010.

Next, we visited Santa Rita winery, which is absolutely gorgeous. The feeling of peace and contentment runs through this place.  We had an elaborate culinary experience, along with some fantastic wines to accompany our meal. It was pretty stupendous.