2011 was a year to remember for me. 
One of the most emotional years Ive ever had. 
Exciting too.
Heartbreaking as well.
  My biggest accomplishment- by far- was traveling to Seattle, WA to go through the grueling one day test to become a Certified Sommelier.  Before this test was taken, I studied for hours in the morning and more at night for many months.  I made flash cards, I did an online wine academy over and over, I read books, I served one of my favorite friends Christina dozens of glasses of champagne and opened bottle after bottle for her to critique me (thank you).  She and I also did smells kits (flavors and faults) and alas- I travel there to the unknown and stand with 18 other people in black suits, hoping to not screw up enough to be able to take home a gold and purple pin the size of a dime when truely all the odds were against me. 
I passed with a handful of others. 
That day changed a lot of things in my life.
For the good and bad.
My best friend (part of my "soul group") came to meet me in WA right after the test and we drove to Mt Rainier and celebrated for the next couple of days in a cozy cabin and drank wine.  Speaking of her - in 2011 she got engaged!  Holy shit is what I say every time I hear it.  I think of all the talks we had about how wrong every guy she dated was.  Down to the silliest detail sometimes.  But she didnt settle for someone she wasnt sure about.  She kept at it and always with the most positive attitude.  She found him.  She amazes me with her strong will and heart everyday.  She is my family and best friend.  She never judges me and listens to me ramble over and over about the same heartaches.
Its hard to imagine life without her. 

Which unfortunately leads me to the worst part of 2011. 
I have had to experience life with one less part of my soul.  I think about her every single day one million times. Because I talked to her what seemed like one million times a day throughout the last 20 years. My closest and best everyday friend by far. The person who answers the phone no matter what shes doing.  The person I shook my head at laughing. The person that made me smilTHe person whom I never thought I would have to imagine living my life without.  I never questioned that.  Never. I miss her and her daughter. More than anyone can imagine. 
I never knew that your heart had special places for certain people. 
This year I learned that in many different ways. 
    I traveled this year and may be my most amazing year of it.  I learned how to ski in Breckenridge, 
(i also broke my ass and it still hurts to this day)
I went to Seattle twice hiking and waterfall hunting. 
I traveled to California wine country- Napa, Sonoma, lake, mendocino, paso, santa cruz,lodi, santa barbara (i tried to find rob lowe my boyfriend there but he was out of town- I think in Italy looking for our future house :), monterey, Oregon, washington and Arizona wine country. 
I went to Washington dc to see Obama (he wasnt around?) to Las Vegas to buy some moccasins (as my grandpa would say) and to Oregon to see Crater lake and so much more. 
I visited my most thoughtful and favorite foodie and wine friend in Florida. She always stands by me.
NYC was a delicious trip which I met some fun friends who live out there and I hope to one day connect with again soon - maybe he will find a new show for me to be on? Im ready for a change.
    I also went to Italy - on an all expenses paid, first class flight (what a dream) for 11 days.  I am proud to say I was 1 of 5 chosen out of many other Sommeliers to go through the Court of Master Sommeliers.  It was an honor and a trip that I will never forget.  I still cant believe I went to Italy. 
I drank brunello in Montalcino in a castle. 
I ate homeade pasta made made by a gram just like mine....12 courses of it daily.  
    My last travel story of the year is Sedona.  Mystical and Magical.  I felt amazing there.  Different.  I am still thinking it may be the most beautiful city in the country.   I thought I was going to leave there a different person and I did.  Not the way I imagined. but none the less, I did.  
    I was blessed with another year with my grandparents.  They are the true meaning of love. 
Married 62 years and as fiesty as ever.  They are my family and blood. I love them unconditionally.
    Babies all around me- Brock, Sophie and my oldest soul best friend has found out shes having a girl.  Great watching all my friends babies grow up.  I decided Im going to have a baby one of these years yet....I know crazy. Tick tock.
    Speaking of love.  I am in it. I thought this was the year for me and it.  Sunrises and sunsets later. 
I was wrong. My heart will heal from the heartbreak this year.  It has to.  I hope for that.  I pray for that.  reality is a bittersweet friend of mine.  Above, I was talking about having special places for certain people in your heart.  This is another fine example. 
    Work will bring a change this year.  Im very lucky to have a boss thats not only a leader but a dear friend.  I hope to continue doing wine events - I did over 100 this year! WOW.  I also Went to Pebble Beach Food and Wine and spoke at Kohler Food and Wine.  I passed my Certifed Specialist of Spirits test. I didnt kill anyone with my road rage and have gotten progessively better with that problem.  I also started this website and blog...
I drank a lot of bottles of wine this year.  Bubbles too.  And shared food and wine with so many of my dear friends (too many of you to talk about) - Im lucky to have the friends I do.  And some new amazing ones this year...
I can only pray in 2012 I will be as healthy and blessed as I was in 2011.  My year was stellar and my experiences- priceless...

Maybe my magnolia will bloom four times this year.  Thats what Im hoping for.

wine is good people - drink it.    


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