Raise a glass.

Here’s to you, ladies and Ladera!  The first autumn rain is falling, so I confess that at the moment, I’m still nursing my morning coffee.  But, you can be sure that tonight, there will be plenty of toasting.


Grapes at Ladera, Ripe for harvest in September

So, my hubby had just walked in the door last night, after returning from a long business trip.  We were catching up, glass of wine in hand, when the phone rang.  It was Ladera, one of our FAVORITE wineries.  Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I have loved visiting wineries around the globe, whether it’s the Margaret River Valley in Western Australia or the champagne region in Epernay or our very own Napa Valley.  The pastoral landscapes combined

Stone building dating back to 1886 – Restored 100 years later, when Anne and Pat Stotesbury bought the land and started this winery.

with the ritual of tasting wine, together makes for such a restorative experience.  You can’t rush wine tasting.  You sip.  You chat with the wine maker.  You pet his dog.  You gaze at the vines.  Whether you know what you’re talking about or not, you swirl the wine, talk about tannins, colors and aromas.  I love the fact that the VERY first miracle Jesus ever performed was turning water into wine.  I think He must have known that it is good to celebrate.  It is good to savor.


When our kids were very little, my husband hung up his golf clubs, exchanging that hobby for collecting wine.  Working in high-tech and parenting small children, he just didn’t have the time to maintain his golf game.  But, a glass of

Wine Tasting Menu

wine at the end of the day seemed like a logical remedy to stress we both brought to the table, inviting us to slow down and relish a moment at the end of the day.  Anyways, he dove into the study of wine, the regions in California, the various styles and varietals, etc.  Eventually, we landed upon the Howell Mountain region of Napa as a favorite for its deep, complex, rich Cabs.  Yields are low on Howell Mountain, but that actually sets them up for a dense, flavorful Cab that is hard to beat.  Surely, there’s some spiritual lesson in something so impressive coming out of the rockiest, hardest to cultivate soil.  Anyways, it didn’t take too long till our Howell Mountain tastings led us to Ladera.  Ladera was a tiny winery, but boy…did they make a BIG cab!


Grapes at Ladera, ripe for harvest in September

When the phone rang, it was a guy from their sales office, calling to tell us that they were logo_pjwinerybeing bought by Plumjack.  Did we want to buy wine, as they were discounting 2012 cases.  Ummmm….YES!  So, here’s to Ladera!  We have enjoyed many bottles over the years, toasting birthdays, holidays, anniversaries.  In fact, we visited Ladera during

My handsome husband at Ladera

a 10th Anniversary trip to Napa.   Plumjack owns another favorite winery, Cade (interestingly, we also visited Cade on that same anniversary trip).  And, I can’t say that Cade went downhill after their acquisition.  So, fingers crossed that our favorite red will remain a favorite going forward.  Still, there’s enhance-2something sweet and quaint about the mom and pop boutique wineries that have carved out their place in the mountains and also in the wine world.




My 2016 November Ballot

So, not only did my husband arrive yesterday, but so did my ballot.  As a busy mom, the convenience of voting by mail works well for me.  And, call me a poli sci nerd, but I try to take my voting right seriously; it typically takes a whole day, but I slowly work my way thru the ballot, going office by office, measure by measure, looking online and studying each choice before I color in that bubble.  Anyways, yesterday, my ballot for the November election arrived.  My hands trembled as I tore open the envelope and stared at Hillary Clinton’s name, listed amongst the other choices for President of the United States.  Wow.  We’ve finally done it – for the first time, we finally have a female candidate as a major party candidate for the highest office in our land.  You can love her or hate her, but she broke that glass ceiling.  Last night, my 11-year-old daughter and I watched Michelle Obama give an impassioned speech for Hillary, as she campaigns around the country.  God, I hope Michelle runs one day!  What a strong, passionate, smart woman!  I am so glad that my kids will grow up, seeing that dreams need not be limited by race or gender.  So, here’s to this milestone in election history.  I’ve got a feeling that this won’t be the last time we see a woman listed on the ballot.  Thank, God!



fullsizerenderbootsI mentioned Ireland yesterday.  This past summer, I got to visit a dear friend who lives in Cork.  While I was there, I asked her where she got HER rain boots (because I assumed all Irish must be experts on matters related to rain).  First, she told me they call them ‘wellies’ (not rain boots).  Then, she said, she got hers from Joules.  Conveniently, there was a Joules shop in Kenmare, so I could salivate over the boots that will only get used 2.5 times a year in sunny California.  Nevertheless, when I got home, I told my mom I wanted Joules rain boots for my birthday in September.  And, today, it is raining!!!  The tags are coming off.  I am wearing my boots ALL DAY (even if the clouds part later).  There’s really no connection between raising a glass and wearing wellies, except that I’m doing both today and it feels good.




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