Wednesday, October 17, 2012
"So if I'm a raving cunt, it's probably nothing you did....it's likely just me" My words to coworkers yesterday. Just a warning that I might be a tad on edge and the possibility of me verbally ripping their faces off, well chances were kinda high....
So it has been nearly 36 hours since I had a cigarette and let me tell you, "fuckfuckfuckfuckitybullshitblowmethissuckgiantmonkeycockfuckshitfuck." This is by far one of the hardest things I've chosen to do. Sure, I've been through things that might be harder but imposing this sentence upon myself, yeah, way up there in the "this is insane" department.
So I'm still on track, feeling like I am going rip through my skin at any second, but still on track. Holding on the my fortune from the day I quit, telling it to go fuck itself from time to time, but keeping those words in my head and trying to use them as a buffer between me and whatever fucktard is pissing my nicotine deprived ass off at the moment....gawd, this sucks.
Cranky but still not smoking....
This has got to get better right?!
Saturday, October 13, 2012
“Turn that down! I can hear it through the headphones!”
My mother’s snarl as she dropped her cigarette in the ashtray that rested upon the small round end table that rested against the end, her end of the couch. The table that held her nighttime company, the ashtray, cigarette case with the interlocking clasp that housed her smokes and Bic lighter, a shaded lamp, her ever sweating glass of suntea with its thick layer of undisolved sugar resting murky and useless at the bottom. Yelling at me from her perch, paperback book sandwiched between her fingers, sleeveless satin nightgown hugging her curvy frame, her wavy locks wildly splashed across her bare shoulders and spilling into her eyes. We had no television at the time, I was too young to really devour books like she did, and I was in my place…my secret garden. Giant pair of adult sized, big puffy earphones strapped precariously to my tiny head, music cranked as loud as I could make it go, you know, so when those way too big for me ear coverings slipped off my head as I swung and bounced about, I could still hear the rhythm and voices. Feeling the first thing that ever pulled at me and ignited my very first stirrings of desire so powerful that I couldn’t ignore them, moving my body in time to music.
I would scurry to the triple decker sound system, hands shaking with panic…just how mad was she? Wait with my tiny hand holding one of the enormous pads away from my face waiting to hear footsteps coming, they didn’t. Lower the volume, find a slow song to sway back and forth to with my back resting against the bookcase, knees pulled tight to my chest until my…and her heavy breathing went back to normal, or she fell asleep. Even then I was a night owl. Wandering around in my socks on the hard floor as to not wake her once she drifted off, never fearful that she might strike or scream at me, but truly terrified of disrupting her when she was at peace. Stevie Wonder, KC and the Sunshine Band, Cat Stevens and Marvin Gaye my nighttime company and caregivers. Doors locked the only light coming from that nightstand which conveniently lit the room in just the right way. My five year old frame a massive shadow on the institutionally bare walls as I measured my steps, lifted the arm on the record player and dropped the needle in the deep groove, the next stroll through my lush and hopeful garden about to begin.
Once moved to Long Beach and living in the home of the monster that fathered my older brother, the big beautiful house full of rage, hate, denial, sexual deviance, sorrow and the kind of sadness that seemed to grow with each lost soul that found themselves seduced through the front door by thick and lavish carpets, velvet couches and the promises of something better. There many things were taken from me but the biggest, at least at the time, I wasn’t allowed to use the glass encased disco quality stereo system. Not ever. My mother and I were living off the kitchen in a strip of “housing” that held the washing machine and small television and a small radio system that I discovered, the hard way, was frowned upon using. Old enough to read now I found some relief in books, stories and words but as moving as gripping as they were, I knew I wasn’t living all the things I was reading. The smells, the yelling, the drunken and drug induced laughter that came roaring through the hollowness of our corridor off the main part of the house a constant reminder that we, that I wasn’t living at all….just making it through.
One night I found myself alone in our tunnel. I had been reading Little Women when I heard the Trans Am pull into the garage that was just beneath my bedroom window. My fingers were shaking turning the pages as I heard deep voices, felt the clunky steps vibrate through the entire house, could tell by the noise level that the monster had been out gathering young men. Plying them with booze, cocaine and stories of what a glorious home, full of many rooms, he had to share with them. I heard cupboards opening and slamming closed in the kitchen, glasses being filled, awkward flirting, chest thumping and with each glass of Rum or Scotch the noise level rising. The beating of my heart so fast that the sound of my breath became, to me anyway, as loud as they were. I dropped my book to the floor with a thud and ran to the light and switched it off. Sat there in the dark, my chest heaving and whole body shaking when I heard, “Oh fuck, you have to see my ex-wives daughter. What a fucking piece of shit!”….no nobs to turn down and wishing I could crank the music up loud enough to reach her, wherever she was and wake her up.
“Sam, get your ugly ass in here!” my body buried beneath the comforters on the bed my mother and I shared, my hands pressed over my ears as if not hearing it coming was going to make it go away, it didn’t. Drug into the kitchen in my nightgown at nine years old, bright lights and wreaking smell of cologne and alcohol burning my not used to the light eyes which mixed with my fear brought tears. “Smile for them Sam.” My whole body shaking as I backed up against the countertop and shook my head. “Isn’t she the ugliest girl you’ve ever seen? I mean, who would love that face, that body? No wonder her mom isn’t here” each word slashing into my flesh, ripping me apart and as the somewhat uncomfortable laughs began to fill the kitchen I became very aware of how powerful words could be, and exactly what naked and exposed truly felt like. Have no idea how long the ordeal lasted, felt like months but it was probably more like 20 minutes that I stood there, the man that held the cards on if my mother and I had a place to live sticking his frail fingers in my mouth, pulling at my hair, tugging at my nightgown and eventually dumping his sack of post bar Taco Bell munchies on the counter only to unwrap them and shove the horrifically smelling slop in my face, telling me to “eat it like the pig you are”.
It was that night, the night, my nightgown crusty with beans and my soul damaged in a way that would ready me for things to come, that I found my first bits of courage. I was too afraid to get in the bath or shower, still alone and not sure where the crowd has wandered off to, I snuck through the side door in the kitchen and slithered, covered in dried beans, tears and absolute humiliation to the big kidney shaped pool…the one with the bright light in the deep end and far away from the rest of the house. Instinctively I knew those people were too stoned and tweaked, wound up with each other to even consider taking a swim at 11:00 PM so I crossed the thick grass in the backyard, sliced the bottom of my foot climbing over the artfully displayed rock garden and while holding my breath stuck my arm in the “Pool room” and flipped the switch, not on the outside lights, just in the pool. First just sunk my feet in but before I knew it I was all in. My whole body in the water, first lapping from one end to the next, maybe hoping the water would wash me clean but eventually finding indescribable pleasure and overwhelming peace in having my head under water. No music, no laughter, no humiliation…just quiet. Just still. My legs crossed and hooked to the cement, my back arched as I plunged…my hair floating and then pressed against my skull, whole body flat against the side of the still pool as I watched the ripples settle and heard nothing. Peace. My secret garden, a place to go and feel safe, less ugly, less alone…the water. The remainder of my time in that house was made just a bit more bearable every second I was in the water or passed that bloody footprint that stained the concrete beside the sliding door off the pool room.
Spent many years seeking the kind of silence and peace that came from puffy headphones, hard floors, suntea and poolside blood stains. Made millions of mistakes and lost more of myself than I can even begin to explain. Longed for the girl that would wait until her mother drifted off to sleep to feed her passion, the one that in the face of who knows what found the fight to take a moonlit swim. Let all the “isn’t she ugly?” and “turn that down!” determine and dictate what I would and would not do and put their fingers in my back, pushing me to let rage and fear control me. Wasn’t until I met you that I felt the slip of my socks across the tiled floor and the sensual embrace of the deep end that I found myself…the me that feels like a massive shadow on a blank wall. My curves, my snarl, my wet hair and saturated flesh, my moist mouth, willing and open throat….you, the secret garden I had been planting and waiting for my whole life. It’s You.
One late afternoon, after a many long days of tasting and not quite getting it, it was your raw, pure, intoxicating sensuality that filled my mouth and shook loose the me that was clinging and holding on desperately to the reasons why I would never be or matter much. Your earthy, smoky, roasted and sweetly erotic pull flipped my pool room switch and your stain, it lives next to my heart and feels like your rough hands are digging into my skin by the fistfuls. I’m yours and you make me this woman. Comfortable in my sensuality, playful in my sexuality, willing and needing to toss these silly words out on the wind.
No more fear, my headphones fit, I’ve come to terms with my ugly…you taught me that there is something beautiful and sexy about me, it’s you and what you do to me. How I can share this with others, for that, for the woman I am because of you, the way I kick my legs hard, feel wet and alive when I’m standing in the shop or here at my laptop, there are no words to express and yet, I keep trying .You scrape those beans from my face, always sound like Marvin in my ear and have given me the freedom to stretch my limbs, live out loud and love more completely than I ever have before. I know you, how to share you, how to love you in a way that inspires and I would take everything it took me to get here a thousand times over again for that one second when I feel you spill across my tongue, grab my neck, demand I notice you, love you and you nibble at my side until I tell someone how fucking sexy you are.
You are my not so secret garden
I will build you a fire from the bones of who I used to be before you washed the weary away
Before you came here for me…
My life with wine and Dave Matthews, (Google alert, you suck) sums it up, perfectly.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Found myself in a rather rare situation last night, alone in the house, no plans, no place to be, decidedly “over” the internet and the trolling I find myself doing there, way too often, a bottle of cheap but refreshing white wine and a remote control. Seeing as I have seen every Investigative Reports and Law & Order, multiple times over, now that the kid is back I tend to leave the television viewing to the guys, aside from my Jersey Housewives, (Oh My Gawd, already in Part II of the reunion shows and the drama let me tell you!) of course but here I was scrolling through like a thousand channels with my thumb poised to select whatever I wished without even the slightest sigh or fear that I’d be the one sending someone else to their laptop. Rare indeed.
Went right to the good stuff, and no, not porn…..that’s what laptops are for, went to the movie channels. Up and down, over a half an hour and back my eyes scanning titles waiting for something to peak my interest and stimulate my desire. One would think that with so many options this would be an easy task, and maybe I’m just too picky but Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas wasn’t stimulating anything more than a grunt and eye rolling for me and the longer I fondled the remote the more I thought I had figured out why everyone in this damn town has a medical use card for weed, they have to be giving those things out with your fifth purchase of movie tickets or something. That and I truly knew what it must feel like to shop at Total Wine and More, thousands of stupid and boring options to choose from, hooray. Ugh! Was seconds from flipping back to Wicked Women Week on the I.D. channel when I landed on The Red Violin, viola.
Was pretty much captivated from the beginning, love, loss, grief, sex, death, music, history, intrigue all with breathtaking sets and costumes. Stuffed my pudgy legs under my chunky ass, unscrewed the top on my little white wine and nuzzled in. Now I don’t want to be any kind of spoiler for those that haven’t seen the film, (and really if you haven’t, drop that bong and get on it) but the overwhelming theme that I walked away with, passion. Passion for love, sex, music and in the end the somewhat murky and unsightly passion for possessing something so rare that most people will never even get to see it, regardless of if you understand it or not. Poured the last little bits of my tremendously pleasing $10 white wine in my glass as the movie came to end, sealing up all the loose ends and uncovered the last bit of drama and passion that made that instrument what it was, (which I had figured out like way earlier, thank you I.D. channel) love and real passion winning out over greed and procurement, couldn’t help but think of this business of ours and the people that buy, make and sell wine…and why.
My head kind of swimming with pictures of people that shop at The Wine Country, come in a couple times of week seeking pleasure whether it be in the form of procurement or, as was the case with me last night, looking for a bottle of something enchanting to make them feel tingly while nuzzled into their evening. The name-dropping, score chasing customer that “threw me a bone” and picked up a bottle of some unread about red from the Loire Valley I’d tried to get him to try for years, the desperate phone call I got months later, after he finally popped the cork, Clos Rougeard powerfully playing that customer’s strings, him begging me to try and help him find more. Listening to the words of a somewhat appalled customer as he shared a story with me about being with a very serious wine collector who was popping corks on current release first growth Bordeaux and super-rare California Cabernets, dumping them right into the glass and tossing it back like it were Crown Royal, no decanting, no nothing. Just a showing of the bottle and a splash in his gullet. Watching the irate violin collector, the one that had played the red violin and deemed it, “Nothing special” now furious that the rare gem was not going to be his…my lips pressed against the rim of my glass, mouth and soul open for the final splash, heart slightly pounding as I devoured my last sip.
Passion man, it’s a funny business and in wine, the scope is broad and full of opinions. I don’t flip over DRC, Dom Perignon, first growth Bordeaux or super cuvees from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, matter of fact I tend to find those wines a bit over-the-top and garish, and seeing as I don’t get my rocks off simply owning something rare, well I can happily leave those wines to the people that do. My passion no more profound or important than theirs, just different, and that right there, is pretty fucking cool. I am a fan of passion, fuck, the more the better if you ask me and I’m not about to sneer or smugly sip my little Loire wines and act as if I know something the Scarecrow vertical guy doesn’t, we are both getting off on wine, for whatever reason and I dig the hell out of that.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
In an effort to not talk politics, which is fucking consuming me right now, I am running this piece from our current newsletter about my big Cheese & Wine Fest. Totally cheating I know but trust me, you don't want to hear what's really on my mind right now...
For those of you that weren’t able to get seat for the highly coveted Cheese & Wine Pairing Seminar last month, (always wish we had more seats to accommodate everyone that wishes to attend) I thought I would give you a recap, a run down if you will, of what we poured, which cheeses we paired with them. Not quite as good as being there but a glimpse and maybe a guide for your next cheese and wine purchases.
As the sold out crowd sat before their cheese plate I explained that we would be starting with the cheese at twelve o’clock and moving clockwise as we moved on to the next flight. We began, as we often do, with a classic cheese and wine pairing, and then, in the interest of helping them understand, I had them try that same wine but with a cheese that was an absolute disaster with it. Sounds a little mean I know, and I confess that some of the horrified, “Why would you make us do that?!” faces crack me up, but the reason I do that is to make clear the fact that there is something to that whole pairing thing, something chemical, that can take two wonderful tasting things and completely wreck them, both, when tasted together. Once tasted, “Yuck” faces and all, the group totally got it and it ended up being a truly fantastic night of tasting and leaning.
Wine- 2010 Pierre Fouassier Quincy ($18.99) A delightfully fresh and bright Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, just across the way from Sancerre, this wine is full of tang, fresh cut grass, grapefruit and minerals.
Cheese- Bucheron, French Goat’s Milk. A nicely aged goat cheese with a sturdy bloomy rind, luscious creamy layer right beneath the rind and a firm, crumbly texture in the center.
Pairing: A classic. If you’ve not had goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc, well get in your car and drive over to The Wine Country this second! Gorgeous balance of bright, tangy, vibrant and creamy.
Wine- 2011 Chateau la Canorgue Luberon Blanc ($16.99) White Rhones can be somewhat difficult to pair with food but this balanced little blend of Calirette, Roussanne, Bourbelanc and Marsanne, that sees no oak, is a pure joy to drink. Nice fruit, light weight and with the coolest little hint of fennel.
Cheese- St. Marcellin French Cow’s Milk. This is a cheese that can vary tremendously depending on its stage of development or age. A soft washed-rind cheese that comes in fun little terracotta crocks, when young the cheese is buttery, dense and has a tart, almost sour finish. When older you can nearly use it as dip! Super gooey and where that milky sour thing was you will now find a mushroom like earthiness.
Pairing: I confess that I was hoping for the cheese to come in a little further alone in age, (does make a huge difference) a wee bit gooier, but was still very happy with how the Canorgue Blanc tempered that tart thing on the cheese. A simple but nice pairing.
Wine- 2009 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Clos de Chateau ($29.99) One of the best vintages to date from this Domaine. A powerful Chardonnay with lovely nutty, roasted flavors and a big blast of ripe pear and citrus. Rich and full in the mouth but with brilliant acidity.
Cheese- Epoisses French Cow’s Milk. An extremely aromatic, (read stinky as all get out) washed rind cheese with the most glorious of all silken textures. Massive mouth feel, salty and uber rich, this is without question one of my favorite cheeses in the world.
Pairing: Have you ever heard the adage, “What grows together goes together”? While I’m not dogmatic about that there are times when there is no denying it, this pairing of two treats from France’s Burgundy, was mind-blowing. Decadence, salty, savory with fierce creaminess and astounding length.
Wine- 2009 Trimbach Gewurztraminer ($23.99) A slightly sweet Gewurztraminer from Alsace full of ripe peaches, wild white flowers and a note of spicy ginger. Round in the mouth but with plenty of zip to keep your palate refreshed and ready for another sip.
Cheese- Red Dragon English Cow’s Milk. I tossed this cheese in the mix to challenge myself a little. A Cheddar-like cheese packed with mustard seeds and a swath of horseradish. Great melting cheese so a no-brainer for grilled ham and cheese or burgers, it is one of my favorites to serve with thick slices of green apples.
Pairing: One of the stars of the night! Had one couple even tell me that they didn’t like Gewurztraminer, thought it too aggressive for most foods but they loved this pairing so much they ended up buying both at the end of the night. The sweetness in the wine held in check by the mustardy, spicy cheese and the cheese was also more restrained by the weight and slight sweetness in the wine.
Wine- 2010 Widman Vernatsch, Alto-Adige ($19.99) Such a light and delicate red wine! Just a shade darker than some of the Roses we carry but don’t let the color fool you, there is plenty of lip-smacking flavor going on here. Tart red cherries, cranberries and black pepper, makes me crave grilled pork loin or smoked chicken.
Cheese- La Tur Italian Mixed Milk. This ultra-creamy, rich, decadent and hauntingly mouth coating cheese from Piedmont is a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk, has a very lacy bloom and has a texture that can remind you of cream cheese. Creaminess from the cow’s milk, salty from the sheep’s milk and acidity from the goat, this is one of those cheese that makes people’s eyes roll back in their head.
Pairing: Even thinking about it now, I don’t think we could have picked a better wine for this cheese. Because of the richness of both texture and flavor we needed something with a fairly light body and some spice to cut through and the Vernatsch did so beautifully. One of my favorites for sure.
Wine- 2010 Josep Vendrell Sere, Montsant ($12.99) Frankly this is one of the most screaming deals we have as far as red wine goes right now, period. An all-purpose red that would go with just about any food you threw at it. We love this wine so much in fact, when we heard the importer was running low Ronnie hopped on the phone and bought the rest they had. Brimming with spicy Grenache flavors, light and easy going body, nice spice and wicked cheap. Love it.
Cheese- Onetik Pilota Spanish Sheep’s Milk. Along with Epoisses, this has got to be one of my most adored cheeses. Dense pale white texture, slightly fruity and nutty, perfectly salty but it is the meltingly sumptuous mouth feel that makes me wild for this Basque cheese. One of those cheeses that you could pair with anything from red, white, rose and sweet wines. If you are building any kind of cheese plate, you need Onetik Pilota.
Pairing: Easier pairing of the night, a wine that goes with anything and a cheese that does as well, together they were simply comforting. The salty cheese bringing out more of the pretty fruit in the wine and the wine graceful enough not to clobber all the character in the cheese. Sometimes simple is what’s needed.
Wine- N.V. Villa de Corlo Lambrusco ($14.99) We are wild about Lambruscos we’ve been tasting as of late. Once thought of as a sweet, insipid lifeless stuff that sold itself as a beverage to pour over ice here in the US for years, but the real Lambrusco is revered in Italy, especially in Emilia Romagna, as the perfect wine, weather dry or off-dry, to serve with slices or slabs of cured meat and hunks of sweet and salty Parmigiano Reggiano. It might be a bit of a challenge for us to convince people to give these serious, deep red and frothy sparklers a try, but we’re up to it as we know just how freaking cool these wines are. Serious importers are bringing in the real deal now folks, the lush and full, spicy and crave worthy sparkling reds, be the first of your friends to be all over it!
Cheese- Barber’s 1833 Cheddar English Cow’s Milk. I’ve never had a more perfect and balanced Cheddar, not ever. Sharp but not in that way that has you reaching for the sides of your throat, milky, crumbly, fruity and salty. I’ve had way more powerful Cheddar but none I couldn’t keep my hands off like this one. Once the plastic wrapping is removed you can pretty much count on it being gone, it’s that good.
Pairing: Another total rock star! The gently frothy red with all its deep, dark black fruit and cracked pepper just sang when you had the fruity and succulent Cheddar in your mouth. A good pairing is when the two things taste just as good together as they did on their own, a great one is when both things were made better when put together, this is a great pairing.
Wine- 2010 Dover Canyon Cujo Zinfandel ($15.99) Our September Wine of the Month this is just a juicy, luscious, berry-rich and soft Zinfandel that is a blast to gulp. No spike of high alcohol, no pruney notes, no cooked or over-ripe flavors, this wine offers pure uncomplicated pleasure, and who doesn’t love and need that from time to time?
Cheese- Rebloshon French Cow’s Milk. Now before some of you get too excited, this is not the un-pasteurized version that is still not legal here in the states. This is however a beautifully indulgent and runny cheese that is impossible not to adore. Firm washed rind that once it’s cut open releases the almost pudding like savory goodness that lies within. Mushrooms, earth, fruity and a touch nutty this is a cheese you almost want to eat with a spoon.
Pairing: I jokingly referred to this as, “Our big dumb pairing” keying off the almost snuggly like feeling putting these two nearly over the top things together gave us. Like a loveable nuzzle from a big adoring puppy. The sweetness in the wine made the cheese slightly nuttier and the fat in the cheese held up swimmingly to the wine.
Wine- 2010 Copain Tous Ensemble Chardonnay ($18.99) Anyone that says California Chardonnay is all gloppy, over-oaked and flabby has never tasted this wine. Ripe pears, green apple, some citrus with a crisp green note play delightfully against the wines curvy texture and slight caramel flavors. Rethink California Chardonnay, try this wine!
Cheese- Ewephoria Holland Sheeps’s Milk. One of our best-selling cheeses, take one bite and you will know why. Created for the US market, hence the “cute” name, this wine has more sweetness than most other Gouda coming from Holland. That sweetness shows itself in the form of caramel and browned honey butter and it is divine. A drier cheese that is best suited for chunking as opposed to slicing it is on every fruit and cheese plate I make.
Bonus- Stone Brewing Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean (12oz $2.99) So when trying to pair a wine with the Ewephoria I ran into a fairly serious issue, one that was solved by this dark, mildly smoky, hop-rich and vanilla kissed porter.
Pairing: You know, sometimes the best wine for the job, well it’s a beer. The super-intense cheese, while eye-rolling delicious is kind of a wine killer. I tried wine after wine, went red to white and back again but once the cheese was in my mouth with the wines, everything went horrifically metallic. Not good I assure you. I found that the stunning Copain Chardonnay was the least offensive but, that metallic thing was still there and rather than try and ignore it I took the opportunity to share with the group that not every cheese has a wine buddy as it were. The porter was amazing with the Ewephoria, just perfect as the vanilla picked up all the caramel in the cheese and the hops and roasted notes in the beer were way sturdy enough to marry with the cheese. Some things can’t be forced and that cheese needed beer.
Wine- N.V. Dow’s Trademark Reserve Porto ($16.99) Buying Port can be a bit of a commitment, I mean that is a big bottle of sweet wine and unless you have a couple big parties, or like many of us, love ending our evening with a glass of something sweet and rich, well like I said, a commitment. That’s why we love this Trademark from Dow’s, all that deep berry and cassis, coco and palate filling Port flavor without costing and arm and a leg!
Cheese- Roaring 40s Blue Australian Cow’s Milk. This packed and powerful blue has become a Wine Country staple and we even have a few people that flip out a little if our supplier is out of stock, it’s that addicting. Without a doubt a blue in its intensity but with some balancing sweetness and far less acidic tang or sharpness.
Pairing: We started with a classic and ended with one as well. Port and blue cheese is another one of those cheater pairings, it always goes, always floors people and is always remarkable. Both things are enhanced when paired together and as I said, that is a great pairing.
Sorry you were not able to attend but I hope this helps!