Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee

So yeah’s that’s what I was doing last weekend as my wife Kim and I celebrated my 50th birthday with Smokin’ Summer Kickoff, a self-guided wine tour on Seneca Lake in upstate New York. Over the two days, we hit 12 wineries, 11 (out of 22) that were participating in the event that paired food with wines and one, Three Brothers Wineries that was not, but that is one of our favorites and we couldn’t pass up visiting. Not everything went as planned:

  • We didn’t start the weekend Friday night by watching Wine Country and Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix. I wasn’t digging Wine Country, but Kim still wants to see it.
  • I lost my ticket at one winery, but didn’t discover I lost it until I got to the next winery.
  • We didn’t finish our first day as planned at Three Brothers Wineries.
  • Kim forgot part of her cord for her CPAP machine so didn’t sleep well at the bed and breakfast, The Gridley Inn, in Waterloo.

But it all worked out, and is continuing to work out, as:

  • We’re watching Springsteen on Broadway tonight as I draft this.
  • We went back and I found the lost ticket on a concrete pad off the back deck where it blew off.
  • We started our second day at Three Brothers.
  • The inn itself was beautiful as was the breakfast the next morning and the stories one of the owners, Stephani, regaled us with before, during and after breakfast were more than memorable.

This coming weekend for Father’s Day, as planned for my birthday month, I’m going to see my dad – and mom, of course, the people who…well…made my birth possible. But we’re not going to the car show we had planned to go to. Instead, we’re going to one that’s closer to where I live. Plans changed for today, Father’s Day (as I add this), since my knee is “acting up,” feeling sore because of mowing yesterday (front side hill doesn’t help) so a 120-mile round trip driving doesn’t sound like something that’s in the cards. I already called my father and we will get together sometime later this week or next weekend when the car show we were supposed to go has been rescheduled. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see my mother then too…and maybe my sister and her family.

Earlier this week, I posted a PAUSE on my planned giveaway for my birthday month. Most likely, I will do it over the last two weekends. Also earlier this week, on Wednesday, I finally had an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, who requested an MRI for my sore left knee from my insurance company. On Thursday, to my surprise, it was approved and it is scheduled for Monday morning. I have another appointment Wednesday to go over the results and naturally I’ll let you all know what I learn. So…as always…stay tuned.

Wait a minute. This post is part of the Sunday Salon, right? Yet I haven’t talked about reading. What gives? Okay, I’ll throw you a bone :). Since the beginning of this month, I have finished one book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing A Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, that I didn’t mention here but that I had on hold for a long time. I’ve started The Lord God Made Them All, the fifth in the U.S. version of the All Creatures Great and Small, as planned. I still hope, during this my birthday month, to delve into Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver, two of my all-time favorite collections of poetry.

So how y’all doing? What’s going on in our lives? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? We did just finish Springsteen on Broadway and it was, as expected, very good.

I was going to post a collage of photos from my birthday weekend, but I think this sums it up:

I’ll leave you with something I discovered while listening to Guido’s Lounge Cafe this morning:

My birthday month begins…NOW!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before here on the blog, but next Sunday, I turn 50…

…and, as has become my custom, I celebrate my birthday not just for a day or a weekend or a week, I celebrate it…


That’s right. This year, I think with half a century in the rearview, it might just be worth the celebration. Throughout this month, I will share the party with my wife Kim (but of course), family, especially my parents (duh!), my sister, her family, and friends, especially all of you, with a giveaway of a few of my favorite books at the end of the month.

I am starting the month with breakfast today at my favorite breakfast place, Conspiracy Coffee, and lunch and dinner later with ribs that I will get there too. Unfortunately, my wife Kim won’t be able to join me since she worked a midnight shift this morning and then bookends it tonight with a 12-hour shift that goes into tomorrow. I am starting the month today with working at the library (hey, at least, I am with books) and then hoping to do all that stuff I crossed out in the previous sentence tomorrow. Then I’m starting off the week with a focus on my health:

  • on Monday, I’m going to physical therapy for my left knee that was bruised back in early March.
  • on Tuesday, I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to make sure that my knee is only a minor sprain/strain that the physical therapist and my nurse practitioner believe it is. Fingers crossed.

At the end of the week, we’re going to Smokin’ Summer Kickoff on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, an event that pairs wine with food at 22 participating wineries, over three days, June 7 through June 9. Because I work Friday, we won’t be going up until Saturday morning, but we’ll actually be kicking off the weekend Friday night by watching Wine Country and Springsteen on Broadway. Even though we’ve read mixed reviews of Wine Country, we thought it would be appropriate to start with a movie about a group of women getting together to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday. Whether or not the movie is good, we had t-shirts made, like the ones they have in the movie:

As for why we’re watching Springsteen on Broadway, Kim’s favorite musician is Bruce and we’re considering the weekend her birthday weekend too. Her birthday was in April, but she didn’t have the entire weekend off.

We already have our tickets for the wine event and are staying overnight Saturday night at The Gridley Inn in Waterloo at the top of the lake. Saturday morning, we’ll start from Catharine Valley Winery near the bottom of the lake, then wind our way up the east side of the lake to one non-participating winery, Three Brothers Wineries, which is one of our favorite wineries. On Sunday, we’ll start from Ventosa Vineyards still on the east side of the lake, then go down the west side of the lake, finishing at Lakewood Vineyards. Initially, I had planned for us to shuffle through playlists of our favorite musicians, a playlist of Springsteen’s first 12 albums on Saturday and then a playlist of U2’s first 12 albums on Sunday. But now I’ve made up a shorter playlist of some of our favorite albums, mostly from the last decade, with the playlist appropriately called “The Big 5-Oh”.

The weekend after my birthday is Father’s Day and I’m going to see my dad – and mom, of course, the people who…well…made my birth possible. That Sunday my sister, her family, and I are taking my dad to a Mopar Father’s Day Weekend Cruise-In at The Eagles Mere Air Museum and the Eagles Mere Auto Museum in Eagles Mere, Pa. The last two weekends? I’ll be honest I have nothing planned…well, at least as it relates to my birthday. On one of them, I’ll be going to my favorite breakfast place, Conspiracy Coffee, and then have lunch and dinner later with ribs that I will get there too. Unfortunately, my wife Kim won’t be able to join me since she works midnight shift Saturday morning and then a 12-hour shift that starts Saturday night and goes into Sunday. The other weekend? I don’t know yet.

In addition to the giveaway (details on how to enter, to be announced on my birthday), on the bookish front, I plan on continuing to read through the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot. I’m on the fifth in the U.S. version of the series, The Lord God Made Them All, and hope to finish the sixth, Every Living Thing, by the end of the month, if not by the end of July. Also during the month, I want to delve into Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver, two of my all-time favorite collections of poetry.

On my birthday next Sunday, I’ll be sharing photos throughout the day on Instagram via the hashtag #birthdayphotoanhour, started by @michelleerin and also done by @suzioregon and @florinda3rs, among a few others. Peek in on my celebration, if you like. Most likely I’ll be posting multiple photos every four hours instead of every hour on the hour as others have done. Less pressure to post and enjoy the day as much as possible.

The illusion of planned reading

Clockwise from bottom left are snapshots from each day of the weekend Saturday until this morning, with Memorial Day in the middle. 1.) Saturday: Plans to read The Lord God Made Them All. 2.) Sunday: Reading Sunday Salon posts. 3.) Monday (center):Memorial Day parade in our town. 4.) Tuesday: Wine, cheese and crackers 5.) Wednesday: Halfway through A Man Lay Dead.

This also could be subtitled “Looking Back At My 2019 Memorial Day Weekend.” This post was partially inspired by Sarah Sammis’s post “The illusion of organized reading” on her blog Puss Reboots.

Two weeks ago, I wrote this here on the blog: “I think now that I’m going to continue reading Herriot’s series that ends with The Lord God Made Them All and Every Living Thing, starting this coming long Memorial Day Weekend…” I even intended to follow through with that as I put the photo above in my Instagram Stories. However, that didn’t happen. In fact, I hardly read at all and when I did, I picked up a series that my friend John recommended: the Inspector Alleyn series by Ngaio Marsh.

Specifically, he recommended one he had just read: Night at the Vulcan, which he said was especially good. I went to Overdrive (via the Libby app) on the Free Library of Philadelphia website and found it, which John had told me was later in the series. While I checked it out, I also checked out the first one in the series too: A Man Lay Dead. I usually am a stickler for reading series in order, one might even say obsessive. But this time around, I’m only going to read this first one and then skip to No. 16 in the series with Night at the Vulcan (GASP!) even though FLP has the first 18 in the series.

I am about halfway through the first one and am enjoying it so far. I will get back to the Herriot series, but it probably won’t be until next month, maybe even after my birthday weekend (again GASP!). All this to show you that sometimes what I present here and what I actually do are different. But it still turned out okay, even if it wasn’t what I had planned.

How was your Memorial Day Weekend? Any reading? Family time? Burgers, hot dogs, the like?