On a Tough Wait

This evening we got the news that our friend (who is has been in the hospital most of November) has taken a drastic turn for the worse. I wonder if she will still be with us when I awaken in the morning.

I want to take a day away from my planned post for her and her family. I know she would suggest I press on, by hey, this is still a post.

No matter if one has faith or not, no matter the religion, and regardless of geography, human nature is to feel a sense of sadness during times like this.

So on this night and through the day tomorrow, I hope and pray for peace and strength for her and her wonderful family.


Update 11:oo am EST Dec 1, 2011

We received word that our friend peacefully passed away at 8:15 am EST. I know no more pain and uncertainly, and in the spirit of the baptism that I believe, she is in a better place. I can’t imagine what her family is feeling after having their life turned upside down in a matter of 3 weeks. Please keep “the family of Frank’s friends” in your prayers. Thanks everyone for caring.

On an Autograph

Here’s a light-hearted post for today.

Most, if not all, of us have had opportunities to get an autograph. Some of us are shy enough never to pursue the opportunity while others will jump at every opportunity possible. Then again, I imagine the majority of us are a somewhere between the two.

I imagine some autograph seekers keep them in a special place. Then again, if you may be like me, so it goes into a drawer or a stack only to be found at a later date – thus sparking a memory.

I recently stumbled across this autograph I got in 1988. With it I ask two questions: 1) Who is it? 2) Whose autograph have you ever received?

By the way, I’m probably willing to answer yes/no questions to help with hints.

On a Time to Thank Congress

Everyone knows that the US Congress has unprecedented low approval ratings. With that in mind, I admit that the recent Thanksgiving holiday caused me to reflect about Congress in a different way, so here are a few thoughts in the spirit of the season.

Thank you Congress for encouraging agencies to lower the country’s bond rating.

Thank you Congress for letting the financial industry run wild and artificially stimulating the housing market at the expense of lowering our property values.

Thank you Congress for doing what it takes to limit the growth in my total assets.

Thank you Congress for allowing the justice system to send Martha Stewart to jail for doing what you can do legally.

Thank you Congress for demonstrating that Congressional Ethics is an oxymoron.

Thank you Congress for wanting a worthless Balanced Budget Amendment to force you to do want you cannot do on your own and still get re-elected.

Thank you Congress for mismanaging income and expenses for so many years. Yes, doing good times and during bad times, we can count on your consistency.

Thank you Congress for demonstrating that it’s not what a citizen can do for the country, it’s want the citizen can do for the party.

Since there is so much more for which to thank Congress, I encourage others to add more thanks in the comments below.

On a Musical Drill

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We went to my sister-in-laws for a few good days with the family. Amazingly, we mostly encountered reasonable traffic during the 3+ hours of driving each day.

The initiation of this post came from two unrelated sources. First from Patti, the author of Learn More Everyday, who gave thanks to her dentist – yep – simply because she was better after the office visit.

The second source was a good guy named Ed, a person that I got to know well during a 2009-2010 project. Recently I have been thinking about Ed and the others at that location – then surprisingly I to a message from him. Knowing that a have an interest in the unique, he provided an interestingly link to the MozART Group, a Polish string quartet.

OK – the title of his post includes musical drill. I mentioned Patti’s thanks to her dentist and contact from an Ed in my past. For those who remember and enjoy Victor Borge, you will enjoy this musical treat. Have a good week.

On a Thanksgiving Reprise

Thanksgiving starts each for the cook and for many travelers. Some have the family morning tradition of watching the Macy’s parade before the guest arrive.

The arrivals eventually descend on the host’s domain, and the feeding frenzy begins with appetizers – which happens to flow directly into the annual feast.

Everybody ate a lot and the many dishes, utensils, pots, pans, and glasses eventually cleaned and returned to their rightful place. Fortunately, the second feeding of the day uses disposable plates.

As the day nears an end, the adrenalin is starting to flow in crazies wanting to storm the retail Bastille for the Black Friday specials. On the other hand, some of us still want the calm of the holiday’s intent.

In Thanksgiving spirit, our handbell choir played this tune at Wednesday evening’s service. Enjoy.

On Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving Day … the day of thanks. The list of things to be thankful is lengthy when analyzing one’s life: family, friends, health, and the abilities that differentiate each of us into tools that others use. We can also look at the basic needs as food, shelter, and water … or the many thanks revolving around one’s faith … or even the variety of possessions each of us have … and in many cases, actually more than we need.

Then there are the fundamental human behaviors as care, love, and empathy. Last Friday I mentioned the health concerns for a hospitalized friend. Her short-term concerns have greatly improved, yet the great unknown of her long-term fight lies ahead. However, I am thankful for those who wished her well here. A wrote a short line of concern and many of you impressively reached out. Although many people are selfish, condescending, mean, and even evil, I continue to be thankful for the good people everywhere.

Think about the beauties in nature such as oceans, mountains, and plains – or bees, flowers, pets, and wildlife. I’ve written about the joys of creation and discovery in many posts found in the Religion and Science category. Creation is a beauty thing, especially when we take the time to look. Enjoy this wonderful video … and thank you Nancy for finding this.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone – and a special thanks to those who take the time to visit here. Have a safe holiday weekend.

On a Thanksgiving for Pinot

It’s a hard grape to grow. As you know. Right? It’s, uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And, in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. (Jack explaining pinot noir to Maya in Sideways)

Pinot noir is one of the world’s great grapes for wine. It’s seductive, and subtle – yet difficult and temperamental. It is the classy lady at the ball who catches your eye, which doesn’t reveal the complex person behind the first glance.

Pinot noir is red, but not dark like other red wines. Pinot noir is flavorful, but not overpowering. Pinot noir is difficult to grow because its best locations require the odd combination of cool temperatures and a long growing season. It is fussy about the soil, slope, and climate, but ironically, once successful on the vine, winemakers find transitioning the grape into a wonderful wine as easy. The wine is an interesting blend of fruit and earth tones. While it does not pack a punch of puckering tannin, the charm is in its complexity and cerebral nature.

While growers cultivate pinot noir throughout the world, its geography remains limited because of its preferred conditions. Pinot noir is the grand grape of Burgundy (France), with interesting is the same parallel as another place where pinot is king – Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Pinot noirs from both of these regions tend to be earthier than the silky nature of those in California.

California regions doing well with pinot noir include Russian River Valley (Sonoma), Carneros (southern Sonoma and Napa), Anderson Valley (Mendocino), Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterrey), and Santa Rita Hills (Santa Barbara). The setting for Sideways was in the Santa Barbara wine region.

Pinot noir is a versatile food wine. It’s very good for pre-dinner and appetizers, yet goes well with main food as chicken, fish, and pork. To me, pinot noir is an excellent wine for Thanksgiving dinner.

In general, pinot noir wine is not cheap. For anyone wanting to spend more than $20, talk to knowledgeable staff at a wine department. Since Wine Spectator (not long ago) featured California pinot noir, here are their bargains, plus a few others from me.

Wine Spectator Values (Score and Price)
Saintsbury Garnet (Carneros) 88 ($20)
Siduri (Sonoma) 88 ($20
Villa Mt Eden (Sonoma Coast) 88 ($20)
Hitching Post (Santa Barbara Hometown) 87 ($20)
Kenwood (Russian River) 87 ($16)

Heron (Sonoma) 87 ($16)
Acacia (California) 86 ($15
Heron (California) 85 ($14)
Castle Rock (Carneros) 84 ($14)
Cupcake (Carneros) 84 ($14)

AFA Additions
A to Z (Oregon) 90 ($20)
Mark West (California) $10, Santa Lucia Highlands $13
Angeline (California) $12
Castle Rock (several: Mendocino, Monterey, and Willamette) $12
Pepperwood Grove (California) $7
There are good values from New Zealand, so take a flyer or ask your wine merchant