Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bike Riding in the Napa Valley

I must say that having a bike to get around is a lot of fun, great exercise and saves on gas. Lately, I've been riding to meetings, to church and to the grocery store to pick up a few small items and have been enjoying every minute of it. Last week I drove from St. Helena to Calistoga (14 miles round trip) and was returning just after sunset. Recently, I have recognized how important it is to be seen on a bike and how for a few dollars you can equip your bike with some necessary safety features like a blinking headlight and taillight. I also have purchased a small bell to warn walker/runners when I am approaching.

Just when you are heading south on Washington street in Calistoga, you will run into a great bike path which takes you all they way to Dunaweal lane. You will pass by vineyards, a glider port, a duck and goose sanctuary, a model airplane field, a little league diamond and several small ponds. It is easy to cover a five miles stretch in no time and come back home feeling refreshed. Below is a small pic along the route I recommend.


My Wheels...


Friday, January 30, 2015

Scary Nice Weather

That is the best way to describe the weather this January. Every week has been more and more beautiful. The sun has been shining , the birds are chirping and the mustard is already in bloom. In other words, it's been scary nice weather. The central and east coast have been experiencing scary "not so nice" weather. New York city just escaped a major snow drop; probably the biggest in history. I hear this as I pour another lemonade, and prepare for a little bike ride through the vineyards.We Californians don't know how good we've got it. We have no right to complain about any fog, wind or inclement weather that has befallen us in the past two years. Make that five. I am very grateful to be living in the lap of luxury and still able to keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach. Only the grace of God could manage this. Below is the entry to the "Castle of Love" only a few miles from my home.


Thursday, January 01, 2015

A New Year

Like most people, I enjoy this holiday, but don't celebrate it like I used to ( Thankfully ). New Year's is a good time for list making. What do I hope to achieve in the coming year. I think I attained one goal out of the six I made last year at this time. I made a nice looking rock stand for those who want to display their Spirit Rock prominently.



Yesterday, I went for a hike with my friend Dave, and then met up with my family ( including my niece, nephew, brother-in-law, sister and assorted grand nieces and nephews ) at the "Castle of Love" near where I live in Calistoga. It was loads of fun exploring the castle and taking lots of pictures with our I pads, I phones etc. I am so happy that I have a family like the one I do. The newest member is Casey, who my niece adopted this year. She is a very sweet fourteen year old who had not been off the island of Hawaii since her birth. This was her first big adventure to the mainland. Below is a picture of the crew as they appeared yesterday.





Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Memes

I don't know if this happens to you around this time of the year, but I have what I call "The Christmas Song Meme Syndrome". It entails waking up to a Christmas song that you perhaps heard at the mall, saw on TV, pondered on an escalator or maybe listened to at your daughter's Christmas recital. There it is, playing over and over in your head as you shave humming merrily along. Then, when you try to shake it by thinking of another tune, it reappears in your head holding you hostage for the rest of the day. You can't get rid of it no matter how hard you try.

ARRRrrrrgh !! Enough is enough. I promise not to post any audio files or midis to distract you, because I feel your pain. Suffice to say that even the mere mention of the name of these particular tunes will begin to burn holes in your brain. It seems that the only way to rid myself of the continuous loops is to pass these bouncy little ditties on to you !

They include Jingle Bells, Here comes Santa Claus, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Deck the halls, Grandma got run over by a reindeer, et al.

I'm sorry, I because all I really wanted was to wish you a...

"MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS ! "

ARRRrrrgh !! (tee hee)





Friday, December 05, 2014

Happy Birthday, Eric !

December was a great time to have a birthday as a kid, because we usually got presents both on our birthday and on Christmas. Next Saturday, I will be turning 64 on 12/13/14 ! My oldest friend Eric is turning 65 just the day after.

One cannot help but think that something very auspicious is going to happen on that day because it is that last numerically sequential date of this century! A lot of people get married on that day, because it makes it very easy to remember your anniversary, and my guess is that it binds a couple for eternity whether they like it or not. Eric lives in Eugene with his lady, Colleen ( They were not married on a numerically sequential day ), But now he is a grandfather, and devotes much time spoiling his grandchild when he is not putting the finishing touches on his new house ( Eric is a very talented builder and craftsman ). Those Oregonians know how to build stuff.

I spoke with my sister in Portland who said that they were enjoying the sunshine, and we have finally experienced more than a week's worth of rain... in such a long, long time. It is my hope that we have a long WET winter here in the Napa Valley. It would please us all to see our reservoirs and rivers fill up to overflowing, just because the summer left the land and trees so parched.

Today I've been preparing for the big Annual Holiday Gift show at the Black Stallion Winery near Soda Canyon on the Silverado Trail. This event is an invitation only event for the Craftspeople, and an open house for anyone who wants to attend. Lots of delicious snacks and finger food will be passed around and I hope to sell a lot of gift rocks for the holidays.

It will please me if Eric reads this blog, because he is generally the only one who checks to see if it has been updated. If you are reading this, beware, as I might mention you in my next blog.Well, I'm happy to have him as my oldest and dearest friend and I wish him the very best birthday this year, and for years to come. Happy Birthday, Eric. YOUR SPIRIT ROCKS !


Friday, November 28, 2014

Another Loss

I met Bob and Lou Crutcher at a CCE event at Roberta Meyer's house back in the early 80's. He had bright red hair and other than that, I thought that we had little else in common. I was wrong. He and I both shared common addictions.He was the owner/director of an iconic recovery center in St. Helena. His wife Lou, who he met at the St. Helena Hospital worked with him there. He was involved in alcoholism recovery here in the Napa Valley and contributed a great deal to many who went through Crutcher's Serenity House ( which has since been closed). He was also a veteran. Bob Crutcher was a class act. I don't know if he ever reconciled his relationship with his son Eddy, who had moved to Hawaii. But he and his sons were very much alike in their charismatic personalities.He drove a Harley and lived an enviable and full life. Later on in his life I had learned of a few setbacks, but he did not drink over these events and died sober. His humor and gentle spirit will be missed.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Friends that stay with you

This is a photo of a dear friend of mine that just recently passed. Although I fell out of touch over the years, we still remained strong in a heart-felt way. The woman I am speaking of is the one on the right. Probably the most talented and gifted person I have ever had the pleasure to know.

Her name is Roberta Meyer. I met Roberta early on in my sobriety, and she offered workshops for anyone with a desire to be in Communication. I spell that with a capital "C" because that was her gift. She brought that ability out in people just by her willingness to listen with intention.

She taught us that the degree to which we discount ourselves, is the degree to which we will damage others. In other words, love yourself, and know that you truly make a difference in the lives of the people around you. She authored two books, held many workshops and seminars, was an accomplished ballet dancer and taught dance throughout her life. She began programs that assisted families and youth at risk. She was a powerful speaker and  personality.

It was Roberta who listened when I had lost my mother to cancer. Ironically, she died from the same disease. She heard the language of my heart and I will forever be grateful to her for that. She was beautiful inside and out, and anyone who knew her would say pretty much the same thing.

May her Spirit live in the hearts of the people that knew her, forever.