What were you doing on new years eve 2012?

I rang in the new year with an awful man - Mr Influenza.  Who eventually I upgraded to Mr. Pneumonia!  But I will say - a night in full "sick" gear (stocking cap included)- I still toasted the new year from my tempurpedic bed, with an old bottle of Taiitinger champagne (one glass that hurt later), watching the famous ball drop while feasting on my "12 grapes of the NEW YEAR".  If you haven't heard of this - its a Spanish tradition (check out this website) http://www.entertainmentinspain.com/12%20Twelve%20Grapes%20New%20Years%20Eve%20Tradition,%20Spain.htm 
and I added my own twist to it by writing down the months on a piece of paper.  Then while eating each grape I would write down how each was (crisp, sweet, tart, rotten etc...) and they would correspond the month.  Weird enough - March (sour) and November (rotten) were the two grapes that were "bad" for me - and HONESTLY....Leap Year Day (which we had this year and I would say could be Feb or March) was awful and November, by far, was the worst month ever (my grandparents passing) 
 My best months being August (Hawaii) and December (clarification and moving on)I guess a coincidence but a fun one to rekindle.  
I hope you have a Safe and Blessed New Years Eve!  Drink Some bubbly! I will be - 
My Pick tonight will be Pol Roger and Piper Heidsick Champagne!

 
 
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I have this crazy notion in my head - and have for years - that every amazing sunset is for me.  Like people have "purchased" this day for me and sent me this sunset.  It could be my gramps or gram, friends, family - whatever.  Its ridiculous but completely amazing and I still think it even though I know its not true.  So this was my sunset sent to me on Christmas eve - as my dad would say "its a dandy" 




 




 
 
This is my Gram Rose.  She is sweet as pie most times....dementia has been nipping at her heels and she cannot HEAR! but she is cute! just like Jack....some of my fav people right here!
 
 
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86 degrees a week before Christmas....Heaven without SNOW!  Santa came to visit there and they had a full size Gingerbread house that any 6 years old could cook a Christmas feast in.  I enjoyed many glasses of the Ritz Carlton trade-marked champagne and franciscan Magnifcat by the glass.  The rooms were cozy and felt refreshing...breakfast was gorgeous and the coffee was like I was sitting down in Italy without the smells of baking bread in the air.  AHH.  Then to walk outside and it be 80 and sunny with palm trees is such a weird feeling for this Midwestern girl!  Christmas in Florida - I would want to eat oranges and drink cold sauvignon blanc all day.  Maybe next year I will try it!





 
 
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So Yes!  It is a 94 white grenache from Gallo.  A classic really.  I tend to believe that there is no possible way that this still can be good but crazy enough, the color is still pink and not the usual rusty old color most would have.  
  This just so happens to be what my Gram used to drink and what a coincidence that I would get this as a "white elephant" gift at one of my wine dinners.  I will keep it for now, and then every time I look at it remember my Gram and also think about the weird person that saved this, maybe thinking it was going to get better with age!  Fat chance there - 

 
 
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Its true - Santa is my friend.  We hang out and I am actually the one that adds people to the naughty list.  THat elf above takes care of the nice list.  Santa was ready for his big night and as you can see. he was looking out the window getting ready to leave!  

Am I the only one to have a life size Santa Clause?  Really one of the best gifts I have ever gotten.  Too bad Santa does not fit in my house right now - Im glad he has a nice home with a friend!

 
 
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I've been thinking about how to write about something so precious as love. And my beautiful grandparents can tell the story through theirs.

They met. They fell in love . She picked him up in a pretty dress and said" let's go to Iowa today and get married". And they did. They, like many other couples back then, were forbidden to marry as he was catholic and she, Lutheran. 

They had 5 children. They had a farm and my grandfather worked at Banta for years. 
I grew up going there every single weekend. As I got older,  I continued to keep them a huge part of my life. 

Im not sure how to describe something so dear. or how to tell you how important they were. 
Words haven't been able to come together. 
Sentences never seem to form. 
I think about their life and how it formed mine. I think of the love they shared. It wasn't the usual story book kind of love- pretty and respectful and fantasy-like. It was raw and Aggressive and completely real.
They fought, and yelled, and held hands at the tAble. They nuzzled each other, made fun of each other and grabbed each other inappropriately.  She hit him with a fly swatter when he acted up. She told her often he wanted to trade her in for a newer model. They fought over cookies and coffee and who's turn it was to start the stove for hot wAter. 
But you could see it always. 
The love. 
The faith. 
The emotions. 
They were ultimately so in love-to the point where they seemed lost if the other wasn't there. They laughed at each other always. I would catch her looking at him, just staring at him, shaking her head. And so proud. Of me and every single other family member. She made all of us feel like we were the favorite.
 
I shared my faith with them. We went to church together and that's were most of my blogs funny stories cAme from. Even if your religion was different then mine or you have none at all, it was easy to appreciate the stories and even easier for me to talk about God because of them. 

And my heartache is there. Like nothing I've ever felt before. Everything else in my life seems not as important. Or maybe it really is just more important. Clarification has taken the stage and all These little things that I was holding and that I thought were so big - they are gone. Feelings have changed immensely in me. Some have gone away and some have strengthened. I have also taken note of myself and have had more than one conversation with myself about my past, present and future. 
I've taken some major steps in having a more honest, communicative, positive and meaningful life. 
Im getting rid of obligations that aren't mine to carry. 
And I'm smiling much more. 
I've never felt more content with my insides as an adult. And that's the gift they left me. Love, faith, clarification and the right to believe in myself, as they always did. I am like them. I am not the usual.  

Oh Gram - She taught me to love God, be forgiving and always remember who you and where you are going. 
If you've been in my house, it's a jungle, like hers. Her love of plants has rubbed off. 
She was an amazing cook and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it too. 
She loved wine and I KNOW I'm VERY good at that...she also sent cards and handwritten notes all the time and I do as well. There is something amazing about getting a handwritten card or letter in the mail. I love it so I try to do that with fam and friends. 
Throughout the last 15 years i have been sending my grandparents post cards from every trip i have been on. I have already found over 60 as we clean out the house. I know she loved living through my travels and always loved to read the postcards to gramps and anyone else who would listen. I love a sunrise and sunset and try to see them both on a daily basis and have woken up more then one person and dragged them out to see it. My gram loved watching them too. And she could forecast the next days weather by what the sunset looked like. 
My gramps was one of a kind. He loved me . I knew that. He told me all the time. He always had a soft spot in my heart. I will never forget dancing with him so many times, his hand on my back and a smile on his face. I won't forget his love of stealing spoons everywhere he went as we still find them everywhere around the house. 

My faith has continued to be the light to see me through terrible times. 
And then its been there as comfort in amazing times.
I love them. More than I've ever loved anything else. They were the only sure thing I've ever had. The only thing I knew was always there. Unconditional love is real. They showed it to me every single day. And they were so proud. I was never embarrassed to speak of my successes or my life. 

They have touched my life in every facet. My traveling- I always send postcards. 
When I speak at wine events, I always started with a story about them and finished with one too. 
Most Sundays I would go to church and go after for cookies and that awful instant coffee. I thought about them during the week and would talk to them often. I never realized how much they were intertwined until they are now gone. 
And that's because of most of you. 
Since that awful night I have received so much support. I've gotten almost 50 cards and they still come in the mail. 100s of Facebook posts and inbox messages. Tons of emails and texts and phone calls. Some of you added to my Jungle by sending flowers or plants to my house or the church. Some of you sent money which I donated to the church's new building fund. Some people came to the funeral to support my family and listened to a lovely service. My job was so supportive and gave me time off and I had 2 full pews of support. Wineries from California sent flowers and wine (thank you and yes I already drank it all). Other families sent food to our homes knowing we weren't thinking of cooking and didn't have time or the effort. Some of my customers bought food, sent flowers and sent out company emails to make staff aware. People who didn't even know me well, have sent cards and showed their condolences. A wonderful man I've met through wine events showed up at the funeral to meet them as he'd heard so many stories through me. How amazing. 
  Then there was My closest friends and loved ones.  Who were just there.  All the time.  And I wasn't easy or pleasant I'm sure. 
I am so overwhelmed by everyone's love and support. It makes me weep. It gave me peace. it restored my faith in people and what we can look forward to in a time of need. I have no idea why I deserve it but what I can say is its them. My grandparents. Their love has shone through. You all see it in my writings and in MY posts. That kind of effect is mind blowing. I'm humbled still. Thank you so much 

And my life will move forward with the millions of memories I have. They will make me laugh, cry and smile. I was so blessed to be a part of their love story.
Their life did end with the most classic Romeo and Juliet love story....leaving this world just 25 minutes apart. They couldn't live without each other here in the world and their was no way they wanted to find out what life was like in heaven without each other. Their heaven WAS each other. 


 
 
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2001 Chateau st jean cinq cepages Cabernet Sauvignon
A glass to remember on a bad night. Made my night better. It was layered wiith cocoa and intense lingering qualities