Tuesday, May 28, 2013

21st New Thing ~ Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

So, remember way back in July of last year, my 3rd New Thing.... AutoCross Ride-Along ..... let me confess something about that.

If I had known for one second, what I was Google-mapping my way out to that day, I would never have left my house. Seriously.

I'm not saying I wouldn't have done the ride-along, I would have. It was one of the most surprising, amazing experiences of my life. But if I'd had a glimpse of what it looked like before experiencing the thrill, I would never have been brave enough go.

Fortunately, for my scaredy-cat self, by the time I had a clear idea of what I was in for, it was too late to back out. I'm so grateful because it turned out to be completely exhilarating and terrifying, in a good way.

That being said..... (Did I mention that it was terrifying?) ...in general, I try to avoid terror, if I can help it. And as scary as it was riding along in those careening cars (and Toyota X-Runner), there was one thing that looked even more terrifying than riding Autocross.
Driving Autocross. Driving! It was truly all I could do to ride-along. I couldn't imagine being brave enough to drive. Now, prior to that day, if you'd have asked me, "Are you brave enough to drive on a closed track?" I'd have said, "Absolutely! Sounds like fun!"

But after seeing it? No. NOT on your life! Nope. No frickin' way. NO MOTHER F*#&@!$ WAY! And the more time that past since riding at Autocross, the more I knew that I knew that I knew, that I could never drive.

And so, at the end of my ride-along day, when Matt said, "You can come out for Novice School next year. Drive the course with an instructor in your car," you can imagine my surprise to I hear myself say, "Yeah, sure! I'd love that." I was lying through my teeth and I knew it. Under no circumstances would I be out there driving my car or anyone else's. Period.

I felt guilty telling him that 'Sure!' I'd come out to drive, when I knew for a fact that I wouldn't. I was so grateful that he made the amazing day possible, introducing me to his friends and fellow enthusiasts, setting me up to ride in some stunning cars with exceptionally generous drivers. Yet not guilty or grateful enough to just tell him the truth.

Plus an extra complication in my dishonesty, was that I work in the same department as Matt. I enjoy and appreciate Matt, I didn't want him to know how chicken I was. My strategy would have to be avoidance.

Avoidance is NOT my standard operating procedure. I'm more of a 'let's get this all out in the open' type. I believe avoidance is for wimps. Cowards.

In spite of this dogma, I decided that I'd just not bring it up at work. ("Coward!!") Telling myself that surely he'd forget all about it. (Denial!) I'd avoid ALL eye contact with him.... for the rest of my life. (Chicken shit!) I'd walk the other way when I saw him coming. Or, when I had to, nod in his general direction and just keep walking. Just keep walking. Walking faster. Walking, walking....

Then one day in February, just going about my business, I got an email from Matt, with a link to Autocross Novice School on Saturday, March 16th. Oh no, no, NO, NO. Not on your life. I opened and scanned the email, with mocking, maniacal laughter in my head. "Yeah, right!"

That avoidance shit never works. I knew better! Okay, new Plan! I jumped up and ran down the hall, catching Matt by the back door as he was leaving for the day.
"No Matt, this is too scary," I said, breathless, grabbing his arm
"What?" I may have startled him.
"Driving Autocross. I can't do it. Too scary."
"Oh no, you'll be fine," he said and out the door he went.

Oh no! Matt is impervious to the straight-forward yet scaredy-cat plea for mercy. Shit! NOW, what do I do?

I spent the next couple days trying to work it out in my head. "How do I get out of this gracefully? Even ungracefully, I don't care. Maybe I could fake a debilitating medical condition...coma, perhaps? Temporary paralysis? Worth a thought. Or could I work up the courage to actually try driving? NO, don't even consider it."

After a few days of ceaseless internal debate and self-flagellation, I decided that as frightened as I was, I'd forever regret if I didn't try this. "Okay, good! Right! This feels good. Just do it." I might make a complete Autocross ass of myself but I wouldn't have to live with being a coward. I would do the brave thing. So I swallowed hard, held my breath and filled out the online registration form. "This feels good. It's the best thing. If I'm going to give Autocross a try, novice school will be the best place to start, right? Yeah. It's gonna be great!!"  I clicked Submit. I was so proud of myself. Done and done. The registration form disappeared from my screen and was replaced by "Sorry. Registration is full."

"Praise the heavens! Hallelujah, let the angels rejoice! Thank you, God!" Saved from the jaws of public humiliation.

At work the next day, desperately wanting credit for trying, "Matt, I registered for Novice School but it's full. Dang, I'm on the wait list." (Have you seen the new doll? Meet Pathetic Barbie.)
He looked at me, "I told you that it fills up fast," Had he told me that? I genuinely don't remember him saying it, but our puny little brains work this way sometimes, hearing or not hearing what's most convenient for us.

A couple days before the event, Matt asked me if I'd heard anything about getting in. No, I hadn't. He told me to email Michelle (Novice Co-chair) and ask her where I was on the list, what my chances of getting in were. At 2:30 p.m. the day before the event, I emailed her asking how it looked and how I'd be notified if a spot did open up. Her reply was that it didn't look good. That she'd usually heard of any cancellations by now. "Sorry."

So, that was that. I felt I should celebrate my narrow escape but in reality I felt terrible. I'd put off registering out of fear and missed my chance. There was nothing to feel good about.

Resigned to living with the consequences of my cowardice (otherwise known as self-pity), I settled in for the rainy evening. Feeling small and ordinary, when an email alert popped up.
From Michelle: "It's your lucky day!" 

A new land speed record: mopey regret to full throttle panic in less than 3 seconds. But fortunately this panic was mixed with relief that I'd get my chance. Regret would have been WAY harder to live with than giving it my best shot, even if I ended up stumbling, fumbling all over myself.

"I've had a space open up and you are next on the list. I'm going to add you to the list and here are the details."

Here are the highlights of the information she sent:

Event Preparation 

To make your day a little less stressful here are some helpful tips to prepare. 

The day before the event:
  • Empty your car: of all loose items before you get to the track, this would include, floor mats, clothes, bottles, garbage, etc. You will also be asked to remove your radar detectors, garage door openers etc once you are at the track.
  • Check your car: Please top off the oil/water/tranny fluid and air up your tires to the recommended tire pressures. Come with at least 1/2 full gas tank. Your battery must be securely tied down (bungee cords are not a tie down)
  • Pack: We will run the event regardless of weather. Please come prepared for any weather. When not driving you will be working, even in the rain. Please bring layers of clothing. Also bring a hat and sunscreen, there is no shade. Bring a tarp or plastic bin to put your items in, there is no shade or cover at Bremerton Motorsport Park.
  • Sleep: A good night's sleep will help you have a good and productive day at the track.
You can also find the rulebook and novice handbook
at www.bscc.net in the info section; both of which are helpful documents.

Arriving at the track:
  • Arrive no later than 7:30 am.
  • Sign the event waiver - mandatory
  • Unpack your car, removing all loose items
  • Register (bring your valid driver's license, it will be checked)
  • Prepare and get your vehicle teched (see rule book at bscc.net)
  • Meet the instructors, volunteers and fellow participants
  • Attend the Ground school and drivers meeting at 8:30 a.m.
  • Relax and get ready for a day of great driving starting at 9 a.m. 

Loaner helmets will be available 

Also, we will be having an After-Event Social at Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant (1599
SE Lund Ave, Port Orchard, WA). Come join us for dinner, drinks and chit-chat with your
fellow racers and car enthusiasts. 

The Good News: I was in. The Bad News: I only had a few hours of daylight to get my car ready for the next morning. My evening of regret became the mad dash of car preparation. 

As relieved as I was to get this chance, the advice in the email to 'get good sleep' and 'relax,' just made me laugh! I was so nervous. And I wasn't the only one. The adrenaline of the other novice drivers was palpable. Chatting with each other, anxiously. Chris and his little white Evo. Curt and his zippy green Miata. (This was how we first came to recognize each other, by car color and model.) We were worried about doing it wrong, missing gates and cones. Generally looking stupid. I was relieved to be in such good company. 

My first run was with Mileen as my instructor.  As we sat in grid, waiting for my turn, I was terrified. Mileen and I talked about how I wanted to be instructed. Did I need her to be subtle in her suggestions? A quiet tone? Or did I want her to be assertive and direct. "Be loud and be bossy," I told her. "Don't hold back." I respond well to direct, strong energy. We settled that.

I confess, the biggest part of my terror was driving in front of Matt. He's my co-worker. One of the good guys in my building. I did not want to make a complete fool of myself in front of him. "Matt, could you turn around and not watch?" Okay, I didn't really say that but I was tempted. 

Plus, I didn't want to embarrass him. Make him sorry that he'd introduced me to Autocross. I could just see him looking over his shoulder, pretending that he didn't know me, "Who is that crazy woman driving her car into the grass, sending the course workers leaping out of the way?" 

When I finally was up at the front, next in line, waiting for the GO sign, I said to Mileen, "Oh I hope Matt's not watching."

Then GO! and off we went. In seconds (I'm not saying how many...), we crossed the finish line. It was a complete blur. I was stoked. Adrenaline pumping. Heart pounding. I did it. Drove my first Autocross run. No cones mangled and stuck under my car. No injuries. WHOO HOO!
My first thought: "Where's Matt? Did he see that? I hope he saw me!" 

It was my first run, but I'm pretty sure the object is to get quite a bit closer to that standing cone. 
For goodness sake, you could fit a Mini-cooper between me and that cone! 
The cones on their sides are directional cones. Telling me what side of the standing cone to drive on. (In case you thought, I knocked them over.)

This is better. Yea, me!

You really want way more of a lean in your car as you corner.

I had three instructors through out the day: Mileen, Matt & Michelle. 
I also did extra ride-alongs with Michelle, Matt, Mike and Mark. 
(I didn't notice the alliteration at the time.)

Matt's truck!

Mileen! She's a great, patient and bossy instructor. 
(I think that might be her Dad, Mike's Mustang behind us.)

Michelle took me for a run in my first Mini-cooper.
It was a fun car! Just my size. 

I drove six runs. Plus riding in the Fun Runs! 

The rain and wind were off and on all day long!

I went out there knowing just Matt. (Well, Matt...along with Volvo Mark and Porsche Jordan from last summer.) But after the last run, knowing the other Novices as well. Each time a student climbed out of their car, their face glowed with excitement from beneath their helmet. Jittery with joy and nervous energy!! And the instructors smiling with their passion for Autocross. The collective exhilaration was palpable and great common ground.  

At the end of the day, I gave Curt a hard time about his slight detour from the intended course in his little green Mazda Miatta "Who was that I saw spin around twice out there?" He shook his head and talked about it with some regret in his tone. But I was having none of that.
"Okay," I said. "But I'm impressed. I know it's not the goal to spin out but when you go to sleep tonight you'll know that you went all out. You didn't play it safe or hold back."  

It's my understanding that the intent is to be just barely in control. Or maybe just barely out. Pushing hard up against the limits of your vehicle and your courage. If you're too controlled, it'll cost you time on the clock. I was pretty much in control each run. No surprise. I have a lot to learn. I did hit a few cones, trying to get closer each time. But I never spun or skidded. All three of my instructors kept yelling, I mean telling me "More gas, more gas, more gas! Faster. Go, go, go!" They hardly had to tell me to 'Brake,' at all.

During the Fun Runs at the end of the day, Mustang Mike, Mileen's dad asked, "Want me to show you what your car can do?"(Was this a trick question?)
"Sure," I said. And he showed me. He was the only person to spin out my car.

Matt took me for a run in my car as well. Taking only seconds to acquaint himself with my automatic/manual shift transmission, and going for the non-existent clutch only a couple times, as we inched forward in grid. Waiting our turn, he also fixed my clock to the correct time and taught me the nuances of my cruise control settings. Got to appreciate a guy who sits down and takes charge without waiting for permission. Now every time I use the cruise, which helps keep me from practicing Autocross technique on public roads, I say "Thanks, Matt."

I had about a three second debate with myself about whether it was cheating....claiming Driving Autocross as a New Thing. Maybe not even three seconds. I'm calling it! I had to work up some serious courage to try this. It definitely qualifies as a New Thing.

21st New Thing ~ Autocross Driver! 

One thing about Autocross that seriously surprised me... riding is scarier than driving. Turns out I had my fear on backward. It hadn't occurred to me until I drove but it makes perfect sense. Driving, you have total control. You know your next move. Riding, you have no control. You have no idea if your driver will stop or turn in time. What they'll do next. If you ever decide to venture into Autocross, know that riding it far more frightening than driving. There's a life lesson, for ya! For me. "Drive your own car!"

It was a great day. I'm seriously proud of myself.  Next time I go out there, I'll let go even more. Actually allow myself to spin out of control. I get all giddy thinking about it. I know this is a long post but I am without apology. I could just keep writing about it except that I'm running out of superlatives. Autocross, I highly recommend it!

Important Post Script:
Both times I've been out to Auto Cross, I spent all my focus inside the cars. There was no time or energy for taking real pictures. I took a couple shots with my phone having deliberately left my camera at home. But my phone is the Fred Flintstone model. Chiseled out of flint; hence the name. Picture quality, not so great. So both times, I've depended on others for pictures of the day.

My deep thanks to Mark who knew I didn't have my camera but that I wanted shots of this event for the blog. He gave me permission to use his photos. Thanks Mark, for the pictures. I'm glad we finally got to finish our run from last summer.

Friday, May 17, 2013

20th New Thing ~ Bless Our Hearts

I sometimes use the expression, "Bless your heart." And I mean it. May your heart be blessed.

But, not long ago, talking to a friend, in reference to a mutual co-worker's eccentric and peculiar yet endearing ways, I said, "Bless his heart."
"Oh, don't be mean," he scolded me.
"Wait. What? I was blessing his heart. That's not mean!" I said.
"You aren't from the South, are you?" Was that a rhetorical question? Was that?
"No. Why? 'Bless your heart' is a mean thing to say in the South?"
"Yeah, kinda."
This didn't sound right to me. It's blessings, for Heaven's sake.


On the original draft of "50 New Thing Ideas," I wrote: 
"Host a Cocktail or Dinner Party."

I've thrown kid's birthday parties and family holiday parties. Bridal and Baby Showers. But somehow none of these events felt like real grown-up parties.

I've attended other people's 'Grown Up' parties but I've never hosted one myself. 
So which would it be...Dinner Party? Cocktail Party? Both?
I was undecided but not really worried about it. There's plenty of time. (Yeah, Barbie....you just keep telling yourself that....there's plenty of time.)

Then one day at work, while talking about the Grape Stomping (see 14th New Thing ) and the Wine Making (see  Is It Wine Yet?), Genius Teresa in Circulation (that's her official job title) said, 
"You should have a wine tasting with the wine you made."  

Lovely line-up!
Well, of course! Forget the Dinner or Cocktail party. I'm hosting a Wine Tasting. (I love when something becomes instantly clear like that.)

I am not really a wine person. Other than what I've learned from Frasier & Niles, what do I know about wine? This is where Wikipedia, About.com and other search engine results came to my rescue. It turned out to be interesting research. I was surprised.
These were the links I found most helpful and user-friendly:

The week prior to the tasting, I spent my time checking out books and reading up, shopping for supplies and watching movies with wine as the main theme: A Good Year (Russell Crow, Baby!), Bottle Shock (A true story) and my personal favorite, French Kiss.

I had a small and select guest list of seven people. (I'd have had more but my home is also small and select, so there just wasn't room.)

The day of the tasting, I spent a lovely afternoon in preparation:
  • Playing the soundtrack to Chocolat, 
  • Gathering all my stemware ('all' two of them), 
  • Lighting candles in every corners, 
  • Laying out my fancy-nancy appetizer forks (that I did not steal from seafood restaurants)
  • Slicing cheese and artisan bread

Messy, cozy beach house.

The guests carpooled. My Aunt Kay, her first time visiting my house, walked in and commanded, "We're packing you up and moving you out of here tonight. This is way too far."
"Welcome. Have a glass of wine," I replied.

After all guests arrived, I began with my carefully prepared Wine-Tasting Speech:
"Thank you for coming. I've done extensive research. There are very specific and preferred 'rules' for conducting a wine tasting. And we will not be following any of them." 

I outlined our casual approach:
  • We'll be tasting 4 different red wines from 4 different wineries (and 4 different planets for all I know):
    • Cabernet Sauvignon (Firefly Ridge - California) 
    • Pinot Noir (Beringer - California) 
    • Shiraz (Yellow Tail - Australian)
    • Concord (14th New Thing - Lakebay)
  • We'll judge each wine by four basic characteristics:
    • Color
    • Smell
    • Appearance
    • Taste 
  • For Color, we'll hold the wine at a tilt over a white surface to clearly see the color of the wine. 
    • Is it more transparent or opaque? Is it a purple red or a brick red? 
  • For Smell, we'll use the Twirly-Swirly Sniff Maneuver.
    • Swirling the wine does two things: brings air into the wine (aerate) and releases the fragrance of the wine. The better to smell you, my dear.
  • For Appearance, after the Twirly-Swirling above, we'll watch for the 'legs' of the wine.
    • My unofficial explanation of 'legs' is how the wine 'coats' or slides down the inside of the glass. Is it in streaks or more of a sheet? I read somewhere that some people assume that 'legs' are about the quality of the wine, but apparently it's more about the alcohol content. (Then the article started taking a mathematical turn, so I quit reading.)
  • For Taste, we'll take a sip. 
    • This is where things get a little wine-snobby for me. "Fruity, floral, oaky, smokey, nutty, butty, creamy, crispy, rich, light, sweet, dry, blah, blah, blah." 
    • We'll make this optional but what I'm really looking forward to with the tasting is trying to slurp the wine to make that Silence of the Lambs Fava Bean sound effect. 
  • Two additional notes:
    • Swallowing is optional but driving impaired is not. Spittoon available.
    • Scorecards are also available, and optional as well.

I pointed out the different types of tastings I'd read about:
Varietal tastings. Regional tastings. Price Point and"Big Eight" tasting, Vertical tasting. Horizontal tasting. I have no idea the difference. Vertical, you're standing up while you drink? Horizontal, you're lying down? I didn't say I understood them, just that I pointed them out.

I can't tell you exactly what type of tasting we were having except that it would be blind.

Each bottle was concealed and uncorked.

As the wine flowed, we spent time catching up. I took the opportunity to ask the expert.
"Jackie, in the South, is saying 'Bless your heart' a mean thing?" 
"Yeah, it can be," she said.
"So if you looked at me and said 'Bless your heart,' what would you really be saying?"
"You're an idiot but I love you anyway."

Okay, got it. Kind of like the phrase Ciara and I sometimes say to each other..."You're so pretty." I can definitely see "Bless your heart" coming in quite handy.

Before the type of each wine was revealed, we tried to guess what we were tasting.
Checking the COLOR.

Taking notes.

Ready, Set............................................................SWIRL!

Being relatively new to this wine thing, Jackie was a skeptic.
"Legs? I don't see any legs?"
"Oh Jackie, bless your heart," said Erin.


This was the best picture showing the 'legs' that I got that night. See, just along the top of the red? This wine (and myself)...just proof positive that good things come with short legs.  

We attempted the Fava Bean Slurping Sound.
"Oh no, I dribbled wine down my shirt."
"Oh look, you're right. Well bless your heart."

We tried to keep it a Vertical Tasting, although I think if Jackie had her way,
we'd have all been horizontal before it was over. The less we used the spittoon, the closer we got to horizontal. Funny how that works.

I can tell you in which order the concealed labels were poured and tasted. 
(Concord, Pinot Noir, Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon) 
What I can't tell you is how well we did at guessing which wine was which, before they were revealed. Bless my heart. Someone should have thought to write that down. 

Prior to the tasting, I assumed that the concord would taste noticeably different from the three store-bought wines. Not as smooth. Distinctly homemade. Harsh, perhaps? (We did stomp those grapes with our feet, after all.) But we were all surprised at how much we liked the Concord. Foot-stomping and all.  We all liked it. It was definitely stronger and more tart than the other three. But keep in mind it had only aged four or five months. A very young wine. And a significantly higher alcohol content than the others.

I've said for a long time that Cabernet Sauvignon is my favorite wine. I'm not completely positive where this came from but I do have a vague memory of my 40th Birthday, sitting on the outdoor balcony of E.R. Rogers Restaurant (God Rest Her Soul), overlooking the water and drinking a Dirty Mother for old time's sake, hearing someone at the next table order Cabernet Sauvignon. I liked the sound of the name...Cabernet Sauvignon. I just decided it was my favorite. Say it...."Cabernet Sauvignon." It's so fun. So french. And when I say it, my face makes this goofy expression with a little nose-crinkle and lip-curl at the end. I've enjoyed ordering it for years. Just for the name.

Hey Wine Snobs, don't judge me! If people can love a wine because of its snooty-bootie floral bouquet, I can love one because of how fun it is to say the name. Shut up.

Before we started, I'd have guessed that my order of preference would be...
  1. Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Pinot Noir
  3. Shiraz 
  4. Concord

But instead, the cabbie was not the best. I'm as shocked as you are. The Shiraz tasted better and easily grabbed my First Place. The Pinot was my least. (In fact, I didn't like it at all.) The Cabernet and Concord were very close for second and third. This outcome was slightly disappointing as Shiraz will not be nearly as fun to order.

Kay's favorite was also the Shiraz. Erin like the Cabernet best. Ciara really preferred the Pinot Noir. Eph, I believe, chose the Concord. Jack, wouldn't commit. 

What I learned about the art and chemistry of food pairings came as a real surprise to me. 

There's a lot to read about Wine and Food Pairings. But we didn't really follow any strict recommendations.  I had some classic wine-friendly foods (according to the Internet) available on the table near by and let people pair as they chose.

Buffet included:
Artisan breads and crackers.
A variety of cheeses:
Sharp Cheddar, Provolone, Havarti, Goat and Baby Swiss.
Stone Ground mustard.
Walnuts. Figs.
Dark Chocolate.

I've always loved wine with cheese, crackers & bread. But I am not a walnut fan, at all. The research, however, suggested walnuts specifically with the heartier red wines. So I tried, and I loved them with the Cabernet.

I also really liked the stone ground mustard with sharp cheddar, crackers and the concord wine. All very strong flavors, they worked really well together. Not knowing one from the other, the mustard I happen to pick up was Inglehoffer Full Strength Stone Ground. Now, I find myself putting it on everything and wondering "Where have you been all my life?"

And figs. Who knew? I had never had figs before. At least figs, straight-up. (Meaning, not as the filling of a popular cookie.) I can't remember what possessed me, but I swiped some goat cheese on a fig and tried it with a sip of Shiraz. Holy crow. This might be my brand new favorite thing.

Turns out I was a wine/food pairing skeptic but I'm a believer now. It makes a huge difference. 

There were no white wines in the Official New Thing Wine Tasting, but Kay, in her default generosity, brought along a bottle of Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay. Jackie felt very strongly that we should try it as well. "It would be rude not to!" Well, okay. If you insist.
And Jackie finally found her favorite, bless her heart. Good thing, we uncorked that one.

After the tasting,
we switched to dark roast coffee and chocolate ganache cake.

Apparently someone took a swipe of the frosting with her finger before anyone arrived. 
I don't know what you're talking about.

We had the best time. Hosting a Wine Tasting was a great New Thing! Even so, when it comes to wine, I don't like all the snobby, pretentious energy behind wine connoisseur-ship. I just want to enjoy the wine. Drink something that tastes good. I want to order a glass because of the cool winery name. Pick up a bottle because of its great, eye-catching label. Or, as I've already covered, how much fun it is simply saying the name.

I can love wine. Red wines and sparkling whites especially, without digging into why I like them. Whether the grapes were grown on the north or the west side of the valley. Whether it was a dry or a wet year. I have no tolerance for all that vintage foreplay people like to get into.

New Things sometimes hold a distinction all their own:
  • Most profound? 
    • #8 - September 11th Memorial
  • Most frightening? 
    • #3 - Riding Autocross
  • Most messy? 
    • #7 - Changing oil in my car
  • Most smack-down with barnyard animals?  
    • #11 - Sheep Wrangling

Most laughter?  #20 - Wine Tasting
We laughed until no sound escaped our lips. And at the top of our lungs. Eyes watering, stomach muscles aching, difficulty catching our breath. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. Oh wait...I can: with my family! One joke snowballing into the next. My favorite was the "Cabernet Savant" bit. There was also a good deal of "Bless your heart" going on in my house." It was glorious! 

I want  Exceptional Cousin Credit (it is so a real thing!) here for not posting the picture of Erin lapping the wine with her tongue as it's being poured into her glass. Bless her heart. I love you so much, Erin, that I won't even mention it here. That's just the kind of loyal person I am...

I've never hosted a Wine Tasting. And for the record, I've never even been to a wine tasting. When I think about how behind I am with the New Things & the blogging, I'm warning you now that I'm not above calling that a New Thing at the last hour. Not really, I'd never do such a thing. Probably.

As I'm writing now, it just dawned on me that I failed to pay attention to the year of each wine. Except for the 14th New Thing Label 2012 Concord. A very good year.

20th New Thing ~ Hosting a Wine Tasting

To you, my reader, I say in all sincerity, 
Bless Your Heart, 
(heavy on the love you part).