Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Still recovering from yesterday morning's kick in the gut via the Voter's Rights Act being gutted and last night's screaming, emailing, sending my support via internet and dollars to my new hero Wendy Davis as she stood for....for all of us women and stopped a vote to pass one of the 624 measures, in 2013 alone, that would rule, govern a woman's body, (hey here's a fun little fact, know how many measures have been before any court or legislator  regarding a man's body, ever? 0, fucking zero. Yeah, Wendy and her back brace, strong voice and courageous heart are my Obi Wan Kenobi) and the massive hangover I woke with after trying to self medicate upon reading that had it not been for Wendy that archaic law would have passed, 19-10, (thank you, thank you, thank you Wendy and the 1000s of protesters that lent their voice and discourse) to hear that the same Supreme Court that punched my belly yesterday had in fact come down on the side of marriage equality. 

I stumbled my hazy headed self to the coffee pot this morning, not noticing at first that the television was even on, an oddity anymore in my morning at home, grumbled some sort of greeting to my still fearful looking, (he was here last night, heard me RAWR!!!) but mildly beaming husband and as the black nectar splashed into my mug I heard it....felt it as the words, "On this historic day the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of gay marriage" the clink of the spoon as I dropped it into the still steaming cup and lunged at my laptop. I went to Facebook and was wrapped up and rejoicing with people there but that wasn't what I went to the laptop for. I scrolled, read, laughed and cried as I read the hundreds of comments and responses but it was a memory I had come for and I found it in the picture that is at the top of this post. The wedding day of two men that I adore, the day I flew to Memphis to be a part of and that feeling in the pit of my tummy as I watched them exchange their vows and promises, knowing the whole time that their union would not be protected and honored as mine. Now, now as I look at that photo I see that beam of sunshine just above Michael and Kelly as they stood in the backyard of the home they own professing their love for one another, I see it as one of enlightenment and a source of tremendous hope. A much needed and profoundly happy one.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Moon.....

I needed to escape my living room tonight
Needed to free myself from the confines of the regularity or reliability of my Wednesday evening
Ached for the sound of the pond that runs through my apartment complex
Hungering for a sound other than the canned noise that darts at me from the television screen
Searching, I was searching for peace
Probing for a connection beyond that of a life chosen
Wanting to feel, needing to feel….something

I waited as long as I could
Tried to ignore the call that was scratching at my back
Urging me to get up
Walk out into the cold night air
Feel my skin tighten
My breasts constrict
My lungs fill
My need and your call were far too powerful for me to resist

I’m coming, wait for me…..

My body clad in pajamas and ankle socks
The fingers of my right hand parted, stem between them….cold bowl of white wine resting in my palm
The thumb of my left hand pushing the flat rectangular latch
The click of the screen releasing its clasp
My heart beginning to thump around in my chest
The sound of my own breath diving deep into my lungs
My chest expanding to make room

I’m coming, wait for me…..

As I slipped past the drawn blinds
The locked doors
My step lightened
My pace quickened
My sock covered feet making a pattering sound as I slipped past the courtyard
The little quad where my little boyfriend and I play
The patch of grass that separates our voices
The wind that carries them lifting my hair off my neck and slipping beneath my heels

I’m coming, wait for me…..

As I made my way to a spot beside the stream
A spot where the moon shone bright
The green of the grass reminding me of that sexy grayish green after a soggy rainy day
A stone in Our Moon’s spotlight looking like you sent it there for me
My feet sunk deep into the grass
Its moisture soaking into my socks
The thrill of that taking my breath away

I’m coming, wait for me…..

The chill creating bumps all over my flesh
My eye lids dropping because of it
A spot
A flat little spot on your chosen for me stone
For me to rest my wine
I shimmied my vibrating body upon the cold stone
Tucking my knees to my chest
My left arm resting across my shins…the right reaching for my glass

I’m almost there, wait for me….

The babbling stream
The life saturated into my socks
The chill working up my body from the cold hard stone
My back arching
My nostrils opening
The life I was taking in
The breath escaping my body in loud affirming tufts
The groan I was unable to subdue

I’m here with you now…..

My mind turning the pages
Letting each bit of life wash over my shivering frame
The brilliant haze surrounding Our Moon
The water dribbling past me
The leaves that caught a ride and were now causing a gargling sound in the filtration system
Behind those closed windows there was life
Couples twisted in that awkward but comforting sleep position
A man ticking away at his computer
A woman returning to the fridge for another splash of milk for her tea

I am here……

The more I opened myself on that cold stone
The longer I waited
The more I saw
My eyes closed
Nothing but the stream trickling in
Images of lovers
Tongues exploring
Meals cooking
Vines plunging deep into gravely soil

We were all there
Beneath one moon
Growing together……

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Might Be Too Much To Ask

“This is the last time, I brought full bottles this time and if you still don’t like them I won’t bring them back” a nervous sales rep that had made an appointment with me for early Wednesday morning but somehow failed to mention that he was also bringing his company’s import specialist/bully and a line of wines that he has been desperately trying to get placed at The Wine Country from like the second they landed the Fancy In The Pants brand, a line of wines I kicked out years ago…for a couple reasons. I grabbed my notebook, gave him a head-cocked grin and a shake of my smiling head as I made my way to the tasting room. Had to give it to the cat, that or feel for him as my guess was that he was getting some serious heat and pressure, big deep thumbs drilling his shoulders as to why this famed estate had no placement at The Wine Country….determination is a weakness of mine. You got it, I’ll at the very least listen and admire you for your RAWR.  

The last time I met with, oh let’s just call him Eric, he was freaking giddy as all get out, frothing at the mouth and such bubbling over with what I’m sure he thought were visions of dollar plums dancing in his head as he proudly, (poor fucker) sat across from me with those wretched half bottles of Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve and the famed Grande Dame as it were, the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose. Big stoner-ish looking wide grin, little sweaty bottles puddling on the table before me, almost accusatory in their weird little curly-q shirts and just-missing-it hipster packaging. I let him talk, felt guilty as he rattled off comments like, “As I’m sure you know” in a tone that was as oily and confident as I’d ever heard from him before. I closed my eyes, took deep and frantically seeking sniffs of the limp wine in my glass. Spun it, spun it again and again, my nose open wide and pulling and aside from a creepy little dried cheese aroma I was left flat and still seeking….anything even remotely pleasing. “Going to have to take a pass” I told him with an unusually sheepish tone, “Pass on which one?” he asked assuming that there was only one wine that I didn’t quite have room for…”On all of them” I said with a scrunched face. Ever stabbed a stoner in the heart? Sort of sucks. 

We parted that afternoon and I did my best to console him, “Maybe it was the half bottles” I tossed his direction as he shoved the water beaded little cheesy bastards in his bag. “I think half bottles are the worst, the absolute worst for Champagne” I offered as he made his way out the door. It’s true, that tiny bottle is far from a proper venue for wines as serious, profound and sexy as Champagne. Oh sure, put your shitty Prosecco and Cava in them, hell might as well put Laurent Perrier and whatever mass produced bubbly in there too, kind of like a juice pouch anyway. Serious Champagne lovers, the real ones not the “I like bubbles in my wine” dorks, they would never even consider a half bottle of gloriously effervescent, palate staining, sensual and mischievous wine, be it bubbly or not.  Those tight quarters prematurely age the wines, plain and simple and if the quality isn’t already there, well how well is it going to hold up really? I mean, when was the last time you saw a bottle of DRC, Comte Lafon, Mount Eden, Lopez de Heredia, Bruno Giacosa or  Camille Saves Brut Rose in half bottle? Yup…long freaking time, if ever. Just too little of the world’s great wines to bother with the smidgen bottles and as a first class wine dork I can tell you, our people are in no mood for droplets of greatness, we want mouthfuls. That and as I mentioned, the wines show advancement in those wee bottles, and with the larger Champagne houses aging the wines in regular sized bottles then re-bottling in those little bottles, (not to mention we never know how long the wines have been sitting around)? Well the wines have been forced and exposed more than the 750’s, and it way too often it is evident in the aromatics and on the danky, tired palate. I have a handful of half bottles of Champagne in the shop, they are tiny production wines that are in fact aged in bottle rather than being aged and re-bottled and, at least to me, it shows. If you insist on a not enough bottle, well I can proudly say it is as good as the full bottle…those Billecart-Salmon halves….eek.

“I fell in love with Champagne because of this house” I told the woman that was gently in my grill Wednesday. “My world quite literally changed over a bottle of 1989 Billecart-Salmon Nicolas Francois. Those thick, toasty, baked stone fruit aromas, the weight that pried my mouth and heart wide open…I would not be here and in any kind of charge if it weren’t for that squatty bottle of Champagne. I don’t take lightly the importance of this house. That being said I won’t give it a pass any more than I would a lover or partner that promised unconditional love and slapped me in the face over and over again with conditions.” My whole heart out and open as I ran through the wines, notes honest and open minded…the wines are not worth what they are asking, period and it breaks my heart. Better than they have been in years seeing as the gray market issue is being resolved so the wines are far more consistent but…

“I don’t think I’d be asking for your to sell your soul to bring the wines in. You are the only store of this caliber that isn’t stocking the wines and you, with your Champagne knowledge…we really want to see the wines here” her voice firm but hopeful, my eyes darting and not ready to land upon her. Not asking for my soul? Have to tell you…really sort of feels like it. I’ve spent years, over a decade actually, selling, teaching, opening bottles, minds and palates, spreading myself wide open and exposing one of the only real things I own, my pride, to opposition and “why don’t you have?”….showed people that Champagne, the real Champagne is wine and I won’t settle in my bubbly wine department any more than I would or do in the others I manage. Sell my soul? Sell my soul to a house that carries with it perceived prestige or value…can I stand there and take $75.00 dollars for a bottle of Brut Rose Champagne that I wouldn’t pay half that for? Suppose I could but….might be just a bit too much to ask.

My soul, not for sale just yet…

Friday, June 14, 2013

In The Name Of The Father

“What about Father’s Day?” a response from a friend when I mentioned that I was aching to write something but having a hard time finding any inspiration or subject matter. “Well, I don’t really understand it” my reply after spending several minutes trying to find some pang of something; emotion, sentiment, rage, disappointment…anything when letting the word father swim around in my head, bang about in my chest. Nothing, or more confusion, more wonder then anything else. I’ve seen plenty of fathers, devoted and strong, loving and playful, terrifying and admirable. I’ve seen it, maybe touched it a bit being witness to the job Carl has done being a profoundly wonderful father to our son but to know, to truly know what it feels to have a father? Absolutely no comprehension….

“How was it this time?” my mother’s voice strained, painted with palpable panic and concern as I hooked my little fingers to the doorframe of the car before giving my lower half a wide swing which would lift me off the ground, giving my back a midair twist before sailing into the passenger seat, the thud from my wee rump just hard enough to force the air from the seat cushion and making a little queefy sound that always, always made me giggle. The knot in my tummy tugging at my insides as I did my best to boldly lie to my mother’s face, “It was fun! What did you do last night? Did you finish your book? What did you have for dinner?” my words rapid fire in her direction, a defensive offence of sorts as I tugged at the car door pulling it shut. How could I tell her? How could I look into those big sad blue eyes, the ones with the semi-permanent lake of tears that always seemed to be pushed up right against her eyelids, just waiting to be set free. How could I tell her that I spent the night pressed firmly into the corner of the dusty and herby smelling couch in my father’s living room watching as he every so often pulled his affected head off the dining room table, bits of pasta and tomato sauce still stuck to his face from when he slipped off into his needle induced happy place during our father daughter dinner…watched as he rose, made those awful guttural sniffing sounds before scratching his neck and resting his head down again.

I remember a fierce sense of guilt with being at my father’s, which only happened, as I can recall anyway, a few times. The drive over was thickly coated in wash of absolute dread, not mine but my mother’s. Her fear, anger, anxiety and likely jealousy, making even taking in a breath in that VW Beatle a laborious task. I would twitch, sweat and stammer away with five year old nonsense to try and lighten the load…my load. From the second I stepped into my father’s apartment I could feel my mother’s ache, her heart stabbing pain and seething rage, the twist of the heavy lock on his front door no match for her voice in my head and the layer of culpability that left its indelible stain on me. The only thing able to jolt me from my heavyhearted sense of guilt, the terrifying sound of teeth clamping down too hard on a fork, the eye lids too heavy to keep open, the nod and the deafening sound of cutlery crashing against a porcelain plate, an upturned glass, my heart creeping up my throat and into my ears, pounding against my eardrums as I leapt from my seat across from him and ran to that corner of the couch, looking back just in time to see his head of long hair land halfway on his plate. Pulling my knees tight to my chest and humming as I rocked myself back and forth to stay awake, and to quiet the screaming silence. How? How would I tell her all of that? Why tell her that, she was hurting enough. The rocking, the couch, the thuds and heart beats, the lies she needed me to keep telling her, those I could take, spaghetti on the other hand, never took that again…

“Well he got on the bus. He didn’t look good, I don’t know if he’ll make it to rehab.” My sister updating me on our brother, the only one we have and the one she had just shipped off to some state in the middle, away from us and near his daughter. He had one job to do in order to keep a roof over his head, not live on the streets and be given food and guidance, don’t use, drugs or alcohol, he couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. My sweet sister hearing the same excuses and being subjected to the same accusatory and defensive bullshit I’ve been hearing my whole life…her heart maybe less damaged, or just bigger, she keeps listening, I on the other hand, am done watching him try and kill himself…seen this movie already, hated the ending.  I knew the last time I saw Mike, frail frame weighing less than 100 pounds and looking like he was seconds from dying in a hospital room, I knew from the brief look we gave each other that we would never see each other again. I made whatever kind of peace you can with that heavy bit of sadness and walked away…now I find myself thinking of him more than I did before he left, not about him as much as his daughter. A sinking feeling really, that he may bang against his plate in her home, in her heart, and I can only wish the best, for the both of them. I chose to let him be….let him go long ago.

“Let me guess, the salad bar” Mom in a semi-playful tone as the server at Marie Calendars asked for my order. She was right, it was salad bar, was always salad bar whenever it was an option. I used to tag it on to whatever sandwich or gawd awful steak at The Sizzler, neither of which I would eat, (big arguments those) because I was stuffed to my lobes, (I have ‘em but you gotta flip me over to find them) but eventually I skipped the pretense and boldly, excitedly answered the, “And what can I get for you?” with a loud, “I’ll be having the salad bar!” and got my sassy, swishy walk on, long “Oh look at me go” look over my shoulder back at the table as I made my way to the long treasure chest of cold and crispy goodness while the others sat and waited for their stoopid, warm, and made for them food. Chose feeling fancy and in charge….

Goes way back my love for the bar of salad, so far back in fact that I can actually remember my mother having to take me, rest me on her hip and let me point to the various items I wanted. Kinda weird thinking of that now, can’t remember another time I was held in my mother’s arms, not that she didn’t want to hold me but because I was uncomfortable being scooped up, held, off my feet or off the ground with someone else in charge of moving my parts around, even then. Salad bar, there was a place, a magic place full of unlimited food, (an idea so alien to me that it took years to not feel like I was stealing when I went for a second plate) that I could float around, high off the ground and high on the very idea of me picking what was about to happen. Sort of the only time it happened that picking for myself stuff. The only time I can remember filling myself, both actually and emotionally, with my choices back then…million miles away from upturned glasses, funny herb smelling couches, palpable Volkswagen anxiety and spaghetti.  

Mounds of fresh green lettuces, firm and tangy beans, spicy hoops of red onion, bouncy and flavorful hard boiled eggs, sweet and sour strips of pickled beets, briny black olives, garlicky croutons, earthy sunflower seeds, a sparse smattering of shriveled but sweet raisins and a generous blanket of creamy, sharp, nose widening blue cheese dressing. Me, this was me in charge of my moving parts. In charge of what was going to happen even if it only lasted the 40 or so minutes it took to get through dinner. The sadness in the car, the tummy sickening nod, the guilt, the thuds and nights with my knees dug deep in my chest, the given parts of a life I walked into…this bar of salad business a glimpse…a hint of what can and will happen when I get to choose and just how refreshingly sweet it could feel.

“Sam, come taste this wine” Randy’s boomingly warm voice both a source of welcome and absolute fear. The way he called me to taste wines, the way he smiled off my brisk and rather shitty responses to his continued efforts to share wine, his love, with me. That first glass of Zind Humbrecht, golden, sweet, powerful enough to rest me upon its hip, Randy’s hand in the small of my back as he lead me to the salad bar. The oily textured white wine filling and awakening my palate, his face always across from mine as I worked my sassy, swishy walk across the globe of wine. I don’t know father but I now know nurturing. I now know passion, dedication to work and relationships, utter devotion and pride. I know a world of food beyond the crunchy bits stuffed into the ever vanishing bars of salad, I know how to feel good about myself, feel proud of myself and that I learned from that warm Randy paw in the small of my back, that big smile and the occasional bite of, “Quit being a dumb ass” he gives me when he sees his “little girl” stumbling or being an asshole. I chose Randy…..or maybe he and wine chose me.

I don’t understand Father’s Day. Maybe don’t get what father really means, least not in a context that fits into traditional definitions and expectations. I’m okay with that. Might have missed some stuff but now, now I have this willingness to be hoisted up, carried around and lead to the next thing that is going to make me work my sassy swish walk. Thanks to Randy’s warm smile and repeated choosing, his banging heads with me drowning out that heart stopping clank of silverware against porcelain. To feel so safe, wanting to please but safe, to be in love and alive in a way that couldn’t have been fathomable before him, shan’t be forgettable because of him. The people I’ve met, the voices that are now in my ear each and every day…this voice of mine he helped me find, the flavors, scents, sights, moments that caused me to suck my breath deep into my chest with shock, awe and sheer gratitude. The pride I get to wear each and every day I walk in the store he lets me be and intricate part of, the one he lets me sass and swish away in the front of….well I don’t know what father feels like but I know what true love is, I chose this and would over and over again. From the very deepest part of this silly heart of mine, I thank you for that Randoo…

Not sure that I will ever be on board or acutely aware of tradition, not sure if that is a curse or a blessing but, I keep thinking about a very late night, heavily booze soaked conversation with a rather Fancy Pants man, one that most would crave swapping life placement with, his smirk digging deeper lines in his tanned and lived in face as I goofily stumbled through our chance meeting. His deep eyes swallowing me in big thick hunks, my awkwardness shedding with each sentence as I scrunched up my face, went mug to mug with this renowned expert and only backed down when his honey soaked voice said, “Miss Samantha, you are delightfully unbound by convention”….exhale. 

I choose

All of this

My life

My husband

My job

Our store

My son

My voice

Your willingness to hear

Cheer me on

Come here and visit me…

Randy, Michael, Carl, Ron, Jeremy, Eric, John, Charlie, Thomas, Anthony, Kermit, Alfonso, Wayne, Winey, Don, Joe, Kevin, Bill, Ed, Andy, Rinaldo, Jason, Stephen, Robert…all of you fantastically loving and supportive men, (And yes, I know I left like 100 of you out but don't think I don't think of you) I want you to know, own and know, just how much you mean and have changed my life. I wouldn’t be me without you and each tiny piece of you I get to touch is like fingers dug deep into my spine, pushing me to boldly blurt out what I want, sachet about and feel like your little princess, in thickly muddy boots. Never in a million years thought I would love that feeling but…it’s my crunchy bit of chosen so thank you.

Happy Father’s Day all

I love you..

I know how to love because of You…..
Salad eater

Friday, June 7, 2013

Going, Going, Gone.....

Happy birthday ahhhhh

Happy Birthday ahhhh ahhhhh

Happy birthday ahhhh-choooooo!


Woke Tuesday morning, slight spring in my sleepy step as it was the day before my 42nd birthday and the morning of the day we were going to celebrate it by going to a big fancy steakhouse. I happen to love steakhouses, the rustic cowboy variety and the high-backed leather booth and ala carte sides kind of situation. Just dig ‘em. I’m a meat eater of first order, I swoon for relish trays and believe with all that I am that a perfectly executed wedge salad is a crisp, crunchy thing of sublime beauty. Love them. So it makes sense that the morning before I was to be partaking of an icy cold martini and spooning onto my plate a steaming mound of tender, cheesy, creamy potatoes gratin that I would be in a damn fine mood. Nearly skipped to the coffee pot, half-teaspoon of sugar, glug of cool milk and I settle down in front of my laptop for my first eye-opening sip, “Ouch!” thinking my coffee was must too warm I waited a few minutes and reached for another, “Ouch! Goddamn it”…

“Oh I must have been snoring or something” I said to the husband who was concerned about my constant wincing and somewhat garbled speech caused by the buildup of slobber I was struggling with while trying not to swallow, you know, because it burned and junk. My assumption being that having only one day off before having to head back into work, with the prospect of a long celebratory week that would end with me pouring for one of the store’s most highly anticipated and historically crazy busy tastings of the year, our annual Rose & Aioli Fest, well I figured I had slept like I was getting paid to do. That not moving, dead body, sucking the cottage cheese off the ceiling kind of sleep, thought my throat was just raw from that, tossed my computer and work keys in my bag, with my delusions and off I went. 

We had opted to do fancy steak dinner the night before my actual birthday because, due to being super tight staffed right now, I was scheduled to close on Wednesday which would push steakhouse dinner back to somewhere near 9:00 and while not unheard of in the least for us to eat at that time, Tuesday just seemed like a better option, that way we could meet with a group of friends for dinner somewhere local on Wednesday, and not be out until the asscrack of dawn or whatever. Got lots of paperwork and meeting with suppliers done on Tuesday, the fire in my neck more a petty annoyance than anything else, but I was starting to worry when the burning would not cool down once all lubed and stuff, in fact it was getting far worse. Soothed myself with the promise of an icy cold Gin martini and gleefully glugged one down, let the cool nectar splash against the walls of my fiery throat as I crunched through my salad and greedily slurped away at the 2008 Domaine de Montille Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Thorey, the delicate fruit and savory flavors flitting across my tongue while hacking into a thick and perfectly cooked New York strip…bliss. Burning but blissful still. Fell into bed and woke Wednesday hoping to be done with that throat nonsense only to take a deep morning swallow…Ouch!

I had only one appointment Wednesday morning but it was with a importer that has quite a drive to come see me so I sleepily popped into my fridge and looked for an open bottle of wine to see if my taster was off. My throat still ablaze and now my head beginning to fill I was worried that my importer buddy might be wasting a trip. A quick swirl of Rose in my glass and I could smell freshly cut watermelon, minerals and citrus…not too shabby, a quick swish in the mouth and the Provencal Rose danced about so vibrant and lively that I could not bring myself to spit the tasty liquid, so I stood at my kitchen sink at 7:30 AM taking a couple sips of cool, racy Rose. Not too terrible, that cold on my throat and I was secretly hoping that even that tiny amount of alcohol might numb me just a bit. Sent the importer a quick email alerting her that while at the time of writing I still had my nose and palate but I could guarantee that I would still by the time she arrived. 

Nose and palate still alive enough by our meeting we had a nice chat, she even gifted me a bottle of her husband’s rare and highly coveted hot sauce before she headed out. I was thrilled to have been able to keep my appointment, although unsure of my palate was 100%. It wasn’t until I was trying to distract myself from the heat that was starting to come off my chest, and the cling film like bubble that began forming around my head, when I reached for that bottle of hot sauce, cracked the seal and at first, just vinegar. Dammit. Took a wee bit more time, dumped some into my palm, took deep chest filling sniffs and took a little sauce on my tongue, then I got more nuance. More complexity, more spice, more pepper flavor. It was going….

Got to dinner that night, my big loud group of close friends scrunching into a both that would have fit us perfectly if it were not for the three hulking wine bags stuffed with bottles and ice packs. First out of the bag, N.V. H. Billiot Grand Cru Brut Reserve, a Pinot rich bubbly that has been a long time favorite of mine. We were asked if we were celebrating to which I responded, “No” only to have my buddies out me and tell the server that it was in fact my birthday…assholes. She asked if we would like flutes, I declined and asked for white wine glasses, poor girl, just could help herself. Gone for-ever and out she comes, all proud and stuff, with 7 dripping wet flutes…ugh. All of us doing our best to dry out our wrong-for-the-job stemware, I poured the Billiot, not sure if it was me or that stupid fucking glass but I got nadda on the nose. “I’ll take a Pickletini” I blurted before our sweet but not so much with the listening server could scurry off. A round of drinks for everyone at the table and the first food arrived. Bottles being pulled from bags, corks flying and requests for new glasses, the cling film starting to seal tightly around my noggin. 2007 Dagueneau Silex, 2009 Dagueneau Silex, 2010 Dagueneau Buisson Reynard Pouilly Fume. All fiercely aromatic wines, wines full of depth and complexity and while I was able to smell and taste them, (hard not to with such demanding wines) I was feeling pretty grateful that they were sturdy, broad wines that I could feel as much as taste, if not more. The gorgeous texture of the wines comforting me as my usually sharp palate rolled over them like a big dumb marble. When we got into a second bottle of French Rose I felt a little pang of, “Oh hells yes!” when upon tasting it I was able to discern that it was corked, and not even that bloody obvious kind of corked.  Going, going but not quite gone……

Made it to work yesterday, not hungover as one might suspect but still feeling pretty much like warmed over butt. Hot, scratchy, cranky, coughing, stuffy and discovering that those cough/throat drops, they do in fact give me gas….fantastic news that considering the coughing and sneezing that are pretty prevalent during times when one might take or use those drops in the first damn place, but hey, least I can practice my clinch. Ugh!! My staff urging me to go home, me thinking they were probably right seeing as we are down two people already and are going to be horribly tight, staff wise, come Saturday, or Rose Fest day. Piled in my car, kept the windows sealed tight for the ride home, letting the warm dry air swim around my head hoping against hope that it might dry me out, at least a little….didn’t. 

Busted through the front door my head so thick and heavy I stood before my “What are you doing home so early” hubby, arms in wide swoops as I tried my stuffy headed best to describe how I was feeling but settling on, “Pretty sure this is how a whitehead feels” before kicking off my Chuck Taylors and heading to the kitchen. I knew what I needed, even more, it was what I wanted. This here was a job for some kickass chicken soup and I, if I do says so mine own self, am one kickass chicken soup maker. Carl was kind enough to head to the butcher for one of their deeply flavored birds, you know, one that tastes like actual chicken, and I got to prepping my pot with a smear of bacon juice before getting a dark brown sear on my onions. Carrots, celery, some whole garlic cloves all sweating away in sizzling, spitting oil, I pulled them out and got to getting a deep browning on the bird before its time in the bubbling tub. Patience, kinda rough when you are a grumpy, snot-filled person so I got a “good enough” sear on the bird before deglazing with some white wine and soy sauce then dumped the softened veggies back in the pot just in time to hear, “Something smells goo-ood!”my wee boyfriend’s pop standing at my dining room window, drawn away from playing baseball with Tyler by the aromas coming out of my pot. Thing was, as brown and hissing as my pot was, even standing there with the steam creasing my eye shadow, cleaning my pores, and sticking my hair to my sweaty brow I got nothing….n-o-t-h-i-n-g. I could not smell a thing. Whimper…

Carl and Jeremy opted to meet a coworker for sushi, I had the house to myself, the television stuck on something stupid, pot of soup on the stove giving off nothing but warm aromatics to me. Gave the bird a good 2 hours soak before my sick tummy’s grumbling became more than I could bear. Limp veggies discarded, plump chicken cooled and picked and I cranked the notch on my stove bringing the dark mahogany broth to a rolling boil before adding tiny pasta shells. I hung my face over the pot, begging to get any, any kind of chicken smell but alas settled for bits of break in my cloggedness that the steam provided. I loaded my shallow bowl with tender hunks of pillow soft white meat chicken and long strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano, all lacy and delicate before dunking my often-used ladle below the steaming surface, scooping up what I hoped would be deeply flavored broth and toothsome little noodles. I watched as the Parm began changing form beneath the hot liquid, from airy little strips to gooey, shiny, oily pasta coating blobs of creaminess. Gave everything a quick toss with my spoon before settling my chunky rump at the dining room table, lowering my highly anticipating noggin over the bowl, the heat and steam slipping into my nostrils and lungs and….fucking nothing. Argh!!! My gorgeous soup, the one so aromatically enticing it brought my neighbor over and even caused my stuffed to the gills sushi eating husband to have a bowl, a dessert of sorts, when he got home and me, my snotty, cling film tightened head, couldn’t smell or taste a thing. Literally tasted like slightly salted hot water. Blew.

Ate enough to not be hungry, no easy task when you have to stop mid-chew to catch your breath because your stooped nose is full, (hate that so friggin much) and ended up just giving up. Crawled into my most favorite jammies and slathered on a two-inch layer of Vick’s Vapo Gunk on my chest, even gave myself a Dirty Sanchez…a smear beneath my nose and above my lip, (um, don’t really recommend this maneuver when you’ve spent days blowing and wiping away at your nose…sort of stings like a mug) and still, nothing. Could not smell the Vick’s even, that ought to make clear just how jacked up I am, birthday week indeed. Humpf!

So this morning I can report, I’m still palate and nose deficient. Coffee smelled and tasted, “warm” but that was about it. Toast was merely hard crunch then sawdust, and you haven’t lived until you’ve been sent into a gagging fit, on cough drops mind you, after chocking on bits of sawdust toast. Yeah, still grumpy I’m sure you can tell and the one thing that is seriously plaguing me, I mean aside from feeling like warmed over butt, I have one of our most important tastings of the year tomorrow afternoon. Our Rose Fest where I get to showcase 12 of my lovingly chosen Roses from the South of France and pour them for what has been up to 120 people…and I can’t taste or smell a thing. Goddamn it.

Was going, going and now…



Wish me luck, sure as hell going to need it.