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Snow. And more coming to Asheville

Really bad, no good wine

I’ve heard of DeLoach. I don’t know
remember where or in what context. This was one of the more expensive
wines relatively speaking, at about $12. I found it completely undrinkable.
I aerated it and that took a bit of the poisonous taste away so that I could finish
a glass. I would buy Yellow Tail before I would buy this again, though.

Really Bad, No Good Wine


I’ve heard of DeLoach. I don’t know where or in what context, though. This was one of the, relatively speaking, more expensive, wines at the $12.99 point. 

I found it completely undrinkable upon opening. I aerated it and left it out overnight. That reduced the “I’m being poisoned” feeling somewhat. I am now attempting to finish a glass. 

I would buy Yellow Tail before I would buy this again.Image

And such an elegant label! Beware the label! 

Cheap but good wine too


Next up, Twisted/strong> an old vin zin. It has a label on it that
says it was chosen by Wine Spectator as a top wine value.

At first taste, I thought it was too pushy, but after drinking a glass of it with dinner,
it seemed just right. Not that I had steak, but my dinner had some strong flavors (what I had for dinner cannot be discussed right now) and Twisted held up nicely.
About $8.99 a bottle.

Cheap but good wine

In my previous post, I wrote about the ways to overcome tragedy. Ten seemed like a magical number, but, of course, there are so many ways that I didn’t mention —
Like drinking wine.
It can become a problem, but during my darkest hours, it was my antidepressant
of choice. Now that my hours have lightened up, I find I still want my two or
three glasses of wine a night. Gone are the days when we could buy our wine
wholesale and so drank excellent wine (my personal favorite is Schug Pinot Noir).
Now I buy it at the grocery store and I’m on a quest for the best cheap wine.
Ten dollars or under.

Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon surprised me by being mellow and flavorful.
It was a bit thin for a cab, but since I like Pinot Noir, I found it to be
immensely drinkable. It was on special at the grocery store and the bottle
sold for about $7. jacob's creek

Ten Ways to Overcome Tragedy

You think the 50’s and 60’s will be a time for you to refocus on your own hopes and
dreams. The children are raised and, hopefully, financially independent. It’s time to
question the need of the big house with the big yard, a time to reassess, revamp
everything from daily life to long-term plans. But, for so many of us, tragedy shows up
and rents our lives apart — heart attacks, breast cancer, the stark realization that your
finances are not in the state they should be for pending retirement, or worse: An
out-of-the- blue death or divorce. We’ve read much about recovering from a death, or
divorce or cancer, but when it strikes in the 50-60’s, you’re more vulnerable, for you
are no longer young, and less flexible because you are no longer young, but neither are
you old enough to expect death and, divorce after thirty years of marriage seems as
unlikely as losing an arm. It’s hard to go home to Mom and Dad at this age, although
I’ve seen it done under the guise of caring for them.

There are paths back to wholeness and life. The following techniques will vary in appeal
depending on your beliefs and personality, but those who have traversed a personal crisis successfully have utilized them, not necessarily in this order, not really in any order,
and sometimes, all in the same day. And, remember — time is the ultimate healer.

Meditation – People who don’t meditate often say it’s because they don’t
have time. But when you go through a trauma, time seems to lag unbearably. This is a good
opportunity to start or build your practice. Start with five or ten minutes and work up
to half an hour. Sit up comfortably (if you lie down you may fall asleep) and watch your
breath go in and out. If thoughts intrude, gently push them away and continue watching
your breath. Sounds too simple to matter, but this practice will center and calm you.
For more about meditation, google Deepak Chopra. Also, pilates and yoga offer a moving
form of meditation.

Spiritual – There is nothing like a trauma to make you wonder about God.
If you open yourself at this time, you will likely find God in whatever guise you perceive
him. Suffering seems to open the channel in a way that being happy or content just doesn’t.

Nothing – There seems to be a whole lot of what feels like “unproductive”
time, time that you can’t account for. Daydreaming? Crying? Moping? Whatever — do it.
Allow yourself to be unproductive.

Gardening – There is something about promoting life in any form that
gives a primitive knock on the soul and mind that not only yes, life goes on but that
life is a magnificent, driving force that will not be thwarted. The visual for this
would be the daffodil or tulip that forces through the asphalt.

Walking – Exercise and endorphins, yes, but walking offers a means
to wake up to the world, the neighborhood and what’s going on, the beauty of nature,
the feeling of the breeze on your cheek.

Reading – The self-help books do help, so do spiritual ones,
but the best are probably the laugh-out-loud ones. For me, that’s Carl Hiaasan.

Be with Friends and Family – You’ll think they don’t understand what
you’re going through even though they try, and you’ll be right. But they want to be
there for you. When I went through my particular trauma, my closest friends started
Sunday Supper, a time where we all got together for a couple of hours, to sip wine,
cook and chat. It turned out to be a comfort to them as well.

Change of Scenery – Get out of town. Go somewhere far from your
usual haunts, somewhere out of your comfort zone. Everything will feel so unfamiliar
that your pain will take a break due to shock.

Routine – And, conversely, find solace in your daily routine. Filling
the bird feeder, sweeping the front porch, feeding the dog, and, if you don’t have a
job, volunteer somewhere where you can leave your own troubles behind.

Moving forward – Without realizing it, you’ll eventually begin to
feel some forward movement. You may continue to relapse into sadness or dismay from
time to time, but the push forward towards life is a natural given, if you just let
it happen.

From the forthcoming book, Breakdown in Swannanoa available
as an e-book June 2014.

Infusing vodka with peppermint for Christmas

It’s a tradition to have peppermint candy canes at Christmas even though nary a one gets eaten. I suppose it reminds us all of childhood Christmases past.
This year, however, I have PLANS for some of these suckers: Peppermint infused vodka. Peppermint martinis are another tradition during the month of December. The rest of the year our family (except Alana, who prefers brown liquor ) drinks wine.
I wonder if simple peppermint oil would prove a less intrusive ingredient. I’m trying it in a half used bottle of Belvedere. I hope I’m not ruining high quality vodka.


It’s turning alarmingly pink!

Downtown Elizabeth City

Little Yellow Church Elizabeth City, NC.jpg

While there were some charming old homes and churches in Elizabeth City, for the most part it was bleak. The downtown looks the way most downtown areas did in the 1970s, many downtown store fronts empty, pawnshops. Few restaurants or shops looked as if they were doing well in spite of the lure of the Pasquotank River or the brand spanking new Museum of the Albemarle which I would have loved to have visited, but it was Sunday.

On Rt 158 headed towards Elizabeth City


Halifax, NC – where the Halifax Resolves were born, the predecessor to the Declaration of Independence. Quick stop on the way to Elizabeth City.

Blue Highways

Blue Highways sign.jpg

NC heading south!and east! Lots of tobacco and soy bean fields. Flat, flat, treeless, even near most homes. I know several people who’ve moved to the mountains and complain of the scary trees. I feel protected by the same tress and looking at these vast expanses of open fields, I know I would feel exposed. All what you get used to, eh?