Archive for March, 2009

Lessons from Gustavo

A few weeks ago we were in Napa with some Texas friends celebrating a birthday.  (I say Texas, but really we all traveled from Austin, San Francisco, Chicago and Sacramento…but the friendships started in Texas).  I had a fabulous time, and my lessons learned from the weekend I will credit to our new friend, Gustavo.

Lesson 1: Your first career choice may not be your true calling. 

This Napa visit focused on wineries featured in the movie Bottleshock and our first stop was at GustavoThrace.  We were lucky enough to meet Gustavo and enjoyed many of his stories while we tasted his delicious wine.  When asked if he knew all his life that he would be a winemaker, he shared with us that he thought he would be a professional baseball player, then maybe a history teacher, and what ultimately brought him to school at UC Davis was to figure out why people were so obsessed with “stinky cheese”!  That goodness for his curiosity, which led him to his true calling of wine-making.  May we all keep listening for what we are truly called to do.

Lesson 2: Enjoy the journey

I really felt like Gustavo loves what he does.  Sure, I have no doubt there are aspects of his work that aren’t thrilling, but it was clear he had a passion for wine-making, and enjoyed sharing it with us.  I am starting to appreciate and embrace more the adventure that comes with the journey of life, I hope to find ways to share my little excitements with others along the way as well.

Lesson 3: This one is a Napa wine-tasting logistical lesson…start early!

This is not a “come early, stay late” piece of advice, but rather start early and end mid-afternoon in the natural hot spring-fed hot-tub at the hotel in Calistoga.  The benefit of starting early is you beat the crowds and get a personal experience.  My most enjoyable stops this trip were at GustavoThrace and Chateau Montelana (they had the winning wine in 1976 which put Napa on the map…see the movie Bottleshock).  At both of these wineries we were the only party tasting and had the opportunity to ask many questions and learn much more about their wine and the region than when we are just another pour for the day. 

The gang with Gustavo!

The gang with Gustavo!

 

The winning wine from 1976.

The winning wine from 1976.

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March 24, 2009 at 9:30 pm 3 comments

Isn’t it Ironic?

A few weeks ago I saw an SUV turning into a Wal-Mart parking lot with a bumper sticker that read “I don’t buy Chinese crap”. 

Huh?  Do they think the “rolled-back” pricing is thanks to low, excuse me, “cost-competitive” wages in the Midwest? 

Just found this more ironic than Alanis Morissette’s unfortunate “rain on her wedding day”.

March 18, 2009 at 9:37 pm 3 comments

Mighty Yosemite

A few weeks ago we visited Yosemite National Park and snowshoed for the first time.  What an amazing trip!   First, I was very appreciative of being able to experience winter within 4 hrs (or closer if we hit the Sierra’s), yet I don’t have to LIVE with winter.  🙂  I experienced tire chains for the first time to drive on the snow-covered Yosemite roads.  Thank goodness for new chains that are easy to attach with color-coded instructions, and my mountain-bred husband!

I think I have discovered my winter sport: Snowshoeing!  It’s a great way to experience winter, without dealing with my fear of heights and feeling out of control (downhill skiing/snowboarding) or my inability to climb up a hill on skis (cross-country skiing).  Snowshoeing was like hiking with spikes on – no problem!  We lucked out with a gorgeous day, just under freezing but sunny, with ~2feet of fresh powder.  Some early morning trailblazers packed down the snow on our route, which made each step that much easier.  Along the way we discovered a few igloos previously hikers spent the night in…no thank you!

After spending our first day hiking on the mountain, we spent the second day in the valley.  At first there wasn’t much to see through the snowy day, until finally the white “sheet” was lifted, and revealed these incredible rock formations and waterfalls around us.  I felt like I was in the middle of an Ansel Adams photo.  Words do not do it justice. 

My favorite moments and photos from this trip:

  • The view from Dewey Point on our snowshoe hike- breathtaking
  • The silence when we stopped during our 7mile snowshoe hike
  • Our first glimpse of the cliffs and waterfalls from the valley
  • 5-star Chinese Restaurant in downtown Oakhurst.  What a funny place to spend Valentine’s Day with our traveling buddies!
Eric "Mountain Man" Thronson installing chains like a champ!

Eric "Mountain Man" Thronson installing chains like a champ!

 

Beautiful Day in Yosemite

Beautiful Day in Yosemite

 

ET_showshoeHike

El Capitan

El Capitan

 

Dewey Point

Dewey Point


Eric enjoying the view

Eric enjoying the view

The Snowshoe Crew!  Eric, Tara, Ben and Lisa after our 7mile hike. 

The Snowshoe Crew! Eric, Tara, Ben and Lisa after our 7mile hike.

Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley

ET_Yosemite

March 6, 2009 at 11:00 am 2 comments