Our Week With Wine – and Family

This past week, my wife Kim and I visited seven wineries in upstate Pennsylvania and upstate New York – and more importantly, with my parents, my sister, nephew and niece last weekend. Below are photos from each of the seven wineries plus the bed and breakfast where we stayed. The wineries we visited were: Antler Ridge Winery, Grovedale Winery, Pleasant Valley Wine Company (I’m holding up the bottle), Bully Hill Vineyards, Ventosa Vineyards, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, and Rasta Ranch Vineyards. The bed and breakfast was Ginger Cat Bed and Breakfast. (I’m not providing links as y’all have the power of the Interwebs since y’all are reading this.)

We hadn’t visited with my parents since last year so it was really good to see them. Saturday night, we played Aggravation with Kim dethroning my dad, who, according to my sister, always wins, and then on Sunday, my sister, nephew and niece visited and we had lunch together.

It was a very good week. As for this weekend, we have no plans as Kim went back to work last night. However, I don’t work this weekend so I plan to catch up a little on reading, continuing with The Age of Doubt, the 14th in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andrea Camilleri, and maybe the next in the Murderbot Diaries, Network Effect, by Martha Wells. I finished Exit Strategy earlier in the week.

How about you? How you doin’? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Share in the comments.

Where I am right now…

…is in a good place.

I’m off from work until this coming Thursday. I’m celebrating Easter, my wife’s birthday on Tuesday, and receiving my second COVID-19 vaccine shot this past Thursday.

Yesterday, I went to the Good Friday service at Washington National Cathedral and then received the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession/absolution) from a priest via Zoom. This isn’t to brag. It’s just that I like to attend Good Friday services…and I haven’t been to confession in several years. It felt good.

Today, I plan on continuing to read the Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. I’m now up to the 12th in the series, The Track of Sand. I also am getting together tonight with a former college roommate Joe to play board games online.

Tomorrow morning, I plan on attending the Easter service at Washington National Cathedral too. Then in the afternoon, I’ll probably read more Camilleri.

I also plan on getting out for a walk this weekend, probably both days since the weather is finally clearing after a little snow on April 1.

The last three days of my holiday/vacation/celebration will be spent mostly with my wife. Even though I am off from work, I will be attending a staff meeting Tuesday morning. As for me and my wife, we have no plans other than to eat, drink, and be merry.

Happy birthday, hon!

Pushing Forward Back November/December 2018

Back at November

November didn’t begin with a long weekend, unlike the last few months. However, it did end with a long weekend as I was off extra from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, including our 22nd wedding anniversary on Nov. 23.

Before that long weekend, we did get a short weekend away on Nov. 10 and 11, as we went to Maryland for a baby shower for one of Kim’s sisters, then the next weekend, I worked on my one Saturday of the month and then watched the NASCAR championship race with neighbors that Sunday.

The shower itself went well, but we had to leave the hotel we were staying at (the in-laws’ house was full) because of roaches. In our case, it was dead roaches. In the case of some other family members who were staying at the hotel, we learned the next morning, there were live roaches. We ended up back at the in-laws anyway and, though it was overcrowded, we made it work.

Thanksgiving Week, we participated in a “hate watch” of all the Twilight movies, inspired by a friend on Instagram. We were assisted by copious amounts of alcohol and Rifftrax. Thanksgiving Day, we had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. On our anniversary, we didn’t go out to dinner, but instead stayed in, ate leftovers, and watched Crazy Rich Asians, which was amazing. Then over the last three days of my long weekend, I reread The River Why by David James Duncan for Thankfully Reading Weekend 2018.

Other than that, the primary focus (obviously) the rest of the month was on getting good, restful sleep. And on that front, I succeeded, as with my CPAP, my numbers stayed below four incidents per hour. Before the CPAP, the number was 87 (!!!!), thus necessitating the CPAP in the first place.

Forward to December

December comes in like a lion and hopefully will go out like a lamb. Tomorrow is an annual Christmas event in our town, Dickens of a Christmas, and I am working at the library, where we have a book sale (today and tomorrow). We won’t see a lot of patrons, as they are trying to avoid town and most of the visitors aren’t buying books but are partaking of cookies and cider provided by our library’s Friends group and using our facilities. All in all, it is a hellish day, especially for an introvert like myself who loathes crowds.

The following three weeks are (should be) uneventful with the only thing of note on the agenda a staff Christmas luncheon next Friday, with the library closing early, meaning that next weekend begins early.

The month ends with a long series of days where I’m on vacation (starting on Friday, Dec. 21) and the library is closed (Saturday through Tuesday, the day after Christmas) interrupted by two days of work on Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28. Those two days could be as atrocious as (the?) Dickens, as we could have lots of books (and movies) to shelve and most patrons coming in for movies. But it will be OK, since we will have spent time with my parents and sister and her family Christmas Day (the worst is really over *just kidding, for sister who will be reading this*) and I have a holiday weekend to look forward to (the best is yet to come *2019*). I say “I” because my wife, who is a 911 dispatcher, will be working all weekend. However, unlike years past where we haven’t been together New Year’s Eve, we should be able to be together this year, because Tuesday is one of her regular days off. Fingers crossed.

So how was your month of November? Read any good books, seen any good movies and/or TV shows, listened to any good music? What was the highlight of your month? What are you looking forward to in December? Share in the comments.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, Part 2…

This week, I learned again that sometimes things don’t go as planned

While I did read and finish Dark Water, the sixth in the Makanna Investigation series, by Parker Bilal, the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub, a British-Sudanese author, other plans fell through:

  • A trip to Corning on Aug. 18 with family, which has been delayed yet again, but this time because of a series of circumstances too complicated to explain here.
  • My dad, who lives about an hour and half away, was coming over this Friday to help me cut down some bamboo-like weed in our yard that keeps sprouting every few years and has to be cut back. But then it rained.
  • Instead, I started to read a book on Friday, but then after getting about halfway through, I decided to abandon it because I realized it just wasn’t that good.

The first two things will be rescheduled for a later date, but I don’t plan on returning to that book or any books, specifically mysteries, by authors new to me. While on the phone last night with a friend with whom I talk every month or so, usually about our reading too, I decided I need to return to reading Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series. I need narrative that doesn’t bounce around from first person subjective to third person omniscient and back again, like some of the mysteries I’ve been trying to read. I need the straight story and nothing but the straight story, although I don’t mind twists and turns, as long as it’s not in who’s telling that story. 

I guess what I am saying is that I like structure. It might be why I prefer the liturgical churches to the shall we say less liturgical churches, the more “charismatic” churches.  Or why I have a daily routine of playing Solitaire and listening to music before I go to work and before I go to bed. 

That is not to say plans don’t go awry, as has happened these past few weeks, or even this past week. However, I continue to aim for a more structured life even still. That is always my target. 

Addendum: My wife, who was in the hospital a couple of days last week, for atrial fibrillation is doing better. She is adjusting to her medications and has an appointment with a cardiologist next week. She is on vacation this week, as her mother is visiting us.