Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wine Spodeeodee - Bottling Time!

Wow, this is my 100th post.  Hooray!  To mark this milestone I'll tell you a bit about one of our activities this past Memorial Day weekend, mostly in pictures.
Seems like forever ago that we were sorting grapes and de-stemming them at Amador Cellars so it was hard to believe the time to bottle was finally here! My in-laws live fairly close to a ton of fabulous wineries in Amador County located in the Sierra Foothills, mainly known for Zinfandels. This winery in particular has a program where you pay to make your very own barrel of wine and are involved in all of the steps along the way. Ben and I have unfortunately not been able to be there for all of the steps since it often happened during the work week but have had the opportunity to taste it along the way in its various stages whenever we were in town wine tasting. There was no way we were going to miss the final step of bottling though!

Amador Cellars

baby grapes...aren't they cute?

Here are the vines that the grapes to make our wine came from.

Inside where our barrel has lived...
The hose transporting our wine down to be bottled.
the Holt family hard at work...

drinking on the job while my niece photo bombs...

I was taking my job very seriously.  Here I am shooting nitrogen in the
bottles before filling them up
Ben taking corking the bottles very seriously as well...
Tip it!  The guy from the winery making sure we get every last drop.
Ta da!  I'm leaning on the 24 cases we bottled.
precious cargo...

One of my new best friends...

I didn't think my foot would be that comfy
but it was good enough for this puppy.

My other new best friend...


In a recently built farmhouse on the property...

I have to say I never thought I would be one to enjoy wine tasting until we were taken around to the Amador wineries years back. These places are often family owned and operated and the tastings are free (unless you are some bachelorette party or a group along those lines). Of course we always end up buying a bottle wherever we go. Most of the wineries are not trying to be some fake villa in Italy and embrace their California roots. I’ll never forget the first time we went to Story Winery and there was actually an old man, perhaps a family member, in overalls looking the part sitting on the porch telling stories. I couldn’t believe it was for real. Another of our favorites is Borjon Winery in Plymouth, a newer winery owned by a Mexican-American family who came to the area over 30 years ago. The father began as a vineyard worker and must be so proud his son now runs their very own winery. What a success story! Their logo is a cowboy silhouette in tribute to the father. Love it!
After all that hard work, we are supposed to wait a year so to let the wine get to a really good point.  Of course I think we may drink some of it before then since it already tastes pretty darn good.  So hard to be patient.

Monday, May 20, 2013

T-Bird Sweet 16

Our anniversary portrait!

Just realized as of February I have now had my ’65 Thunderbird for 16 years. So hard to believe! In the late 90s my dream car was a blue ’64 or ‘65 with a white top so imagine my surprise when I saw the exact car I wanted with a for sale sign on the street in early ‘97. I was not paying rent back then since I was still a teenager living at home so I was able to afford it since I had been saving. The seller wanted $3,000 but was cool with $2,700 cash. Don’t think you could get one for that cheap any more. I remember driving it home for the first time, listening to the AM radio and Patsy Cline was playing. Such a perfect moment!

in early 1997 at age 18 with my new baby...

I was 18 or 19 in this shot...

Even though I have not always driven it as much as I should (it now costs an arm and a leg to fill it up) and it has to sit outside uncovered, this car has been really good to me. I have never had just one name for the Bird since it depends on what mood it is in. The few names I do have for it are Tiki Ti Bird since Tiki Ti is one of our favorite places in Hollywood, Chewbacca for when it gets low on power steering fluid and it sounds as if Chewbacca is trapped under the hood, and finally Christine for when things randomly start working again on their own as if the car is possessed (I really wish the power windows would start working again on their own as they did once before!). 

Like most people, the Bird does have a good side which is all I’m gonna show you in the photos. Unfortunately, the driver’s side paint is not looking so hot anymore and the vinyl top looks rather crap. One of these days I will get it repainted and the vinyl top replaced, mark my words! At least under the hood is in great shape. It has been in a couple of magazines (BUST, Garage) and Jalopnik did a bit on it a while back so it has had its few moments of fame. At one point I actually thought about selling it but realized that would be a HUGE mistake.
in a 2004 issue of BUST magazine

When Garage Magazine did a feature on the Radiator Hoes
in 2005 (I love my Hoes!)

 Some current detail photos...

Happy 16th anniversary Tiki Ti Bird Chewbacca Christine!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Latest antique faire finds...

Ok, I confess... I could not resist heading over to the latest antique faire (like I said before, I am so weak!) but think I spent a record low for me…$24! Largely due to the fact I could not locate the vendor I usually buy my bakelite from but still, I was very proud of myself. Everything I bought was from our friends (who own Fuzzy Dude), Ian and Laura. The last two times I have gone now I head straight to the very back where they are and have a great time catching up and sifting through everything they have on offer. Their prices are great and all of the jewelry is individually packaged. They are some of the only people who clearly mark the price on their items which I love! If you head to the antique faire, go all the way to the back and look for the couple who is usually wearing matching shirts (this time it was pink western shirts). They are great people and have a ton of fun stuff to go through.

I did not have as much patience as I usually have this time around, probably because it ended up warm out and of course I was wearing a Pendleton and refused to take it off since I forgot sunblock so I was roasting. It was the strangest weather. As soon as I bought my ticket to get in, it started pouring rain. Thankfully it did stop since I did not think to bring an umbrella but I felt so sorry for all of the vendors trying to rescue their items and keep them dry.

I could not resist bringing this farmer home. He has a similar pose to a large pink matador I bought years ago. I think they will be great friends…

Well hello my new friend!

Then I got this matching signed broach and earring set. I think if I wear the clip-ons too long my ears will fall off but I will find a way to adjust them and make it work!

Finally, a couple initial pins. For our last name I found an “H” and then an “F” for my mom as a mothers’ day gift.

So that was it! I am sure I will end up there next month and will hopefully practice as much control as I did this time. Heck, it’s worth it to go and just shop at Fuzzy Dude.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Norway Day Festival & Balboa Cafe

This past weekend we went with my parents to the annual Norway Day festival at Fort Mason in San Francisco. My maternal grandfather is Norwegian so it has always been something we have strongly identified with. Thankfully we did not run into Ragnar Lothbrok (for those who have been watching the History Channel show, Vikings). Just a bunch of people in their Norway shirts, some sporting silly helmets with horns. Got to sample some delicious mead from Heidrun Meadery. They use the champagne method so it is not your typical mead and is much more enjoyable. There was some amazing folk dancing we got to see done by a father / son duo. We also enjoyed hanging at an upstairs bar where we could overlook the action at the festival or look out the windows at the Golden Gate and Alcatraz. The weather was so beautiful!

Outside at Fort Mason

the art of rosemaling

Meet Arne & Carlos, just in case you have 
been searching for items to knit at Easter.

Looks like I am holding Ben's head. 
Perhaps this was geared towards children???

Beer from the Norwegian brewery Nøgne ø

Bunad fashion show. Work it ladies!

My dad and I.

After leaving the festival we headed to my dad’s old stomping grounds where he used to work in the city. We had lunch at Perry’s on Union Street then drinks at the Balboa Café on Fillmore (est. 1913). My dad and the bartender at Balboa even remembered each other from way back in the day. This bar is beautiful! I wish it was in another location since Ben and I never spend time in those parts. Still so glad I got to experience it and thankfully it was not crowded like every other place in that neighborhood seemed to be. What can you expect on a sunny Saturday though.

Promising signs of a theater restoration we passed by.

Balboa Cafe (est. 1913)


Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Cheers!