I read this book on New years day - It was religious in some ways but even if you are not religious - I believe its a good true story of a mans life and his crossing over into heaven.  and then back onto the earth.  It made me truly happy that his recollection of heaven was so "full of joy and happiness and everyone was smiling and laughing and singing" that it was comforting to know that not only were my grandparents there but I too will be able to go there when its my time.  
   We all hope for greatness now and in the afterlife - whatever you may believe that may be.  
This man believes he came back because a stranger came over and layed next to him in his demolished car, held his hand, and prayed for him.  He was already pronounced dead.  for over 20 minutes at this time.  What a story and he has many people that back the story up.  Can you imagine?  
  And all because of this stranger.  
 The story is not all peaches and cream.  When this man came back from heaven to here his body was thrashed.  It took him years of surgeries and being in the hospital, crippling pain and depression.  He asked God daily why he let him come back to endure this type of hellish life.  
He speaks about this hour in heaven now - all over the world.  People come to him and he gives them strength and hope.  He also wrote this book which is a quick read and it makes you really think of life.  Maybe its a hoax.  But I want to believe I will feel so happy and joyous when i leave this beautiful world
 
I started this year with the flu and confused on where life was going for me.
I ended this year with hope, clarification and a clear head.  
Feels good to not only say that, but believe it.

I am blessed with a year of great health again! 

Some of the best moments of 2012
I went to Disney World for the first time of my life.  It was even better then I thought it would be!  
M I C K E Y * M O U S E......
My best friend got married on a perfect April day to her love.  The days leading up to the wedding and all the time we got to spend together are days I will never forget.  I didn't think our friendship could grow and strengthen more - but I was wrong.
I got the best title added to my name this year - Godmother.  My brother and Erin had a baby - his name is Jack.  Hes a smaller version of my brother - who is pretty amazing - but Jack is my main man...He is not just cute- but smart and smiley and perfect.  I find myself a little infatuated with seeing him smile.  
I took trapeze lessons and did a flip about a mile in the air (i'm exaggerating but it felt like it)
I saw the magnolias and Azaleas in full bloom in Savannah, Georgia.  And stayed at the best place of my life for my birthday, with my dear friend,  in South Carolina - The Inn at Palmetto Bluff.
I went to Palm Springs for some old 50s style charm and to see a movie or 2 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival - and also went to the Napa Valley Film Festival to watch the Premiere of "SOMM" and it was spectacular.
I went to California Wine Country about 10 times this year - went horseback riding, made my own wine and ate and drank like a queen there.  Every time is still like the first time out there!
My oldest and dearest friend had a baby, Ella, a red head of beauty. 
I went to Texas with a friend I hadn't seen since High school - we rode a longhorn with a 9 foot horn spread.  We danced under the stars on a perfect starry night to Jake Hooker. We went to Texas Wine country, which was surprisingly great....I have new cowboy boots, went to Austin and seen live music and smiled and laughed with the cowboys!  San Antonio river-walk completed
I went to Bayfield, WI for my first time and biked on Madeline Island.  Also found many waterfalls there!  and the opening of Wild Rice Restaurant.
My 71 Volvo had an amazing Photo shoot with Motor Trend Magazine and I was featured in the fall issue.  It was over the top cool! 
I spent loads of time with Kila - In wis, cali and many other places!
We celebrated my grandparents 62 anniversary - I had many Sunday mornings with them and great stories of love and faith to share.
Emily got engaged to the most amazing man - I cant wait for the wedding.
I took a new job at my company and have more time for a personal life!
Time in Door County was relaxing - Sheboygan fun over the summer with paddle-boarding  fires on the beach and bocce ball in the sand!
I went to a 5 day Wine Seminar in California and learned so much! 
HAWAII - one of the best, if not the best, trip of my life.  Maui is a dream - like paradise that I could have stayed in forever. I intend on going back and soon!  Please go!
I paddle-boarded, cross country skiied, biked, ran many miles, snorkeled, golfed, swam, hiked and biked.
I drove the entire 269 mile Blue Ridge Parkway - from Washington DC to North Carolina.  It was gorgeous. Virginia was one of my biggest surprises of the year - their wine country, the food, the vibe, the history - I am going to explore more this year!
Ft Lauderdale, Miami and South Beach were firsts too this year! 
 I went to a Catalina wine mixer, and also saw Madonna front row in Minneapolis. 
So Many New great friends this year! and that stupid scramble with friends!


I had some tough times this year too.  But out of the tough times has come positives.  I realized I was carrying someones elses burdens.  I was living in a life that was mentally unhealthy.  And what finally has changed that was unfortunately - the worst part of my year.  I lost my grandparents in a tragic car crash.  There really is nothing worse than seeing not one, but two, hearses leaving a church with your favorite two people in the world inside of them.   It is still hard every day BUT out of this has come clarification and peace.  This tragedy made me re-evaluate my life and its contents.  It was like a light switch flipped on (or off) something and I have never felt better mentally.  I feel like I can finally breath.  Thank you to them for helping me see things differently and getting on a healthy track.  They have given me a solid foundation to work from.  I am blessed to have been able to share so much time with them and watch their love grow still every day.
I also went to Michigan and rekindled a dear friendship that means a lot to me.  Friends are my family and I'm glad to have that dear friendship back in my life.  
I want to be a better communicator.  I want to travel and I want to love hard and be able to take a new and healthy chance with someone special.  

lastly - there is wine.....that perfect grape elixir - So many memories have been made and I drank so many grand bottles of red, white, bubbles, pink and with so many amazing friends, co workers, family and just randoms. 3 liters, magnums, regulars, minis - beautiful dinners and lunches all over the country....I spoke at over 100 wine dinners/events this year! and at Kohler Food and Wine....I had lunch with Lydia Bastianich.  I met so many other celeb chefs and winemakers and have had the pleasure of staying at many wineries overnight - Jordan, stags leap, Franciscan, and my favorite the Inn at Buehler Winery! 

On this day - the first day of the rest of my life on January 1st 2013 - I wish you all faith, love and health

I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.  I can choose which it shall be.  Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet.  I have just one day, today, and I am going to be happy in it........Groucho marx


 



 
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!

 
Picture
Van De Walles Caramel Apples - with peanuts of course.
Every year I want them to come so bad and I also dread this time of year.  I can't stop. I love them.  I even try to make it home the 3 miles before I eat it but when I get home, I have caramel stuck to my face and peanuts in my lap - I can't wait the 3 miles.  
Its almost an obsession.  They are the best ones I have ever had and I have had one every day for the last 3 days.  And I want one right now, for breakfast.  

The best 3 dollars you can spend and I can only hope that they run out before I gain the average 5 pounds in October from them.

Van de Walles - thanks for an extra piece of ass  www.vandewallecandies.com

 
I have been gone so much I completely almost forgot about the photo shoot and article that was coming out on Buttercup - my volvo!

I was sitting in Virginia, on the porch of this lovely inn at Veritas Winery, when it dawned on me it must be out!   I checked online and it said it had been released so the very next day (Friday) I stopped at a Barnes and Noble on my way to DC.  Honestly I was pretty excited about the article....
   So there I am, rifling through the magazine rack with all of the other car magazines and then there it was! YES! I opened it and thumbed through it and that's when it caught my eye....AWESOME!  
  Right there I read the article and smiled like a 12 year old in love.  Todd and Brian did a top notch, first class article and photos.  Buttercup was quite photogenic.....I feel I may look a little older then usual but that's ok.  I wanted to walk around Barnes and Noble and show all the people sitting around my article (i of course did not) I just smiled and went and bought the magazine (which you can too at any "big book" store or by visiting www.motortrendclassic.com )

I will admit, I had a horseshoe shoved up my ass when this car came along - She is a classy piece.  

I thought about selling it BUT - I just do not know now!  

Thank you MOTORTREND CLASSIC - You are first class!

PS - I think my dad will be proud!


 
That is me

I've been living. 

I have the most loving and funny grandparents.
My close friends are supportive and amazing.
My job is consistent and rewarding.
I travel the world and live.

While I have been busy living life, the "play" button pushed and music flowing,
I also have had the "pause" button pushed.  Waiting. 
  Why am I waiting?  I am done waiting for nothing.

I vow to push "record" from this second on.

And I turned up the volume a little too.


 
Picture
over 300 wines in 3 days
15 classes 
300 wine focused geeks
purple teeth everywhere and no one caring!
some reporters, tasters, CWE, CSS, CSW, MS, MW, CS, judges, restaurant owners, educators, professors - or maybe just a wine lover.  What an educational and proper event.  And most people were so friendly. 


 It is first class wine knowledge and worth every penny.  
I learned soo much and tasted some wines that I had not before (many actually)  
Some of my highlights - 
1. Kevin Hook with Schramsberg bubbly tasting
2. Learning about Greek wines - I lad in that area
3. blind tasting
4. Having dinner with a new found friend
5. the wine educators toolbelt seminar by Tracy - great ideas to use
6. listening to David Glancy speak - hes a great teacher and I enjoyed his seminars - he owns and runs San Francisco wine school.
7. listening to Gerald Asher speak about his billion years in the wine world
8.  NOT spilling a drop of wine on any outfit I wore - I dont believe it!



 
An old friend of posted this one day and I have kept it and read it often.  Its a good guide for me to remember and then focus on trying to make myself better and stronger.  




30 things we need to do starting 2012


  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
 
Picture
I received an email a couple months back - some people wanted to photograph my car for an article - I said when, where, why....
in May sometime - Milwaukee and your car is cool.
I would get paid nothing BUT my car would be in a magazine.

Then I found out it was Motor Trend.  
The #1 selling car magazine in the World.  
Sign me up.

I was traveling a lot that month but it ended up being a day after I got back from a trip.  I was nervous it may not make it down there but Hagerty would be to the rescue if something went wrong.  
(Hagerty INsurance is for classic cars and they will come with a flatbed to the rescue)
I left the night before as it was going to be a 5am shoot - Yikes!  
I went 63 all the way down Highway 41 - A little over 2 hours later I was in Milwaukee having dinner with a glass of wine and a side of relief! We made it.
The next morning (they changed to 7am thank you) we met down in the 3rd ward of Milwaukee.  
A sporty orange/red Datsun 240z
A mean green AMC AMX
And a classy Cream Volvo 1800e
All in late 60s early 70s

the camera guy, Brian (from LA) and his Dr. friend (Minneapolis) and Todd  the Editor in chief (Detroit) were all there - 
Throughout the day they took pics of the cars together, separate, driving separately and together...Us turning corners in it and also some with us.  We drove through Milwaukee and found some great photo ops....They were really fantastic and interesting people....The day went by really fast and all of a sudden it was 8pm and the sun was setting.  We all went out for a wrap - up dinner at my favorite spot in Milwaukee - Braise- where asparagus was in season and DELICIOUS...(yes i ate there 2 days in a row)

It was a 12 hour day of great conversation, cool pics and even cooler cars.

I was definitely the odd "man" in this circle - The owner of the Datsun was the real deal - owning cars I couldn't even dream of as they were too rare and way too pricey for me. He loved and lived cars....And the other guy was just driving the car for his work (through a shop who restores and consigns cars)  who was actually just selling the car.  He sees these kind of amazing cars all the time.
I drive my car on Sundays - and I cant drive it if its going to rain because I STILL Cant figure out why the windshield wipers don't work - its not the fuse or the tiny motor....Sigh.....

If you own an old car you understand 1 thing - It can eat money faster then I can slam a glass of wine and I promise you I am VERY good at it.  

I had an old 79 BMW and a 85 Porsche.....money pits

This Volvo I have only stuck a couple thousand in it and it is a looker - 
and will be featured in Motor Trend Classic Magazine - 
out at the end of August...Sept-Dec issue....
This Is motor trend Classic - the one that comes out quarterly.......not the monthly magazine.  
It is $15 an issue and has thicker, quality paper.  I believe there will be quite a few pics in it.....comparing us (Datsun, amc, volvo) to the big 3 (ford, chevy, dodge)

My dad is proud - I could have won a Nobel Peace Prize and this he would be more impressed with....his daughter in Motor Trend Magazine.

Pick up an issue to see my pink shoes, 3 beautiful cars made even more beautiful by Brians photography skills......And to read Todds view of the cars (he drove all 3 to get a feel and interview us)

Thank you Boys - Colin, Frank, Brian and Todd - A great day and one to keep in the books - literally




 
The moment that you finally stop, look around and know that it is done.  
You know it, your head knows it but for some strange reason you still haven't been able to compute it until that very second.  
That moment where all of the what ifs are suddenly nowhere in sight.  
The moment when you feel anymore would possibly drive you crazy.  
The moment when you decided you are more important, your life is more important.  
The moment when the questions do not need to be answered anymore.
The moments where you do not want to continue on for fear of hate deciding to show up at the party uninvited.  
The moment you thank God you have the memories to revisit but you know you will not make anymore together.
That one moment.....that one second.