Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Photography, Therapy Thursday, Think Positive Thursday, Throwback Thursday, Thursday Thoughts

Water…

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Bruce Lee

Even as a young person I loved the water. I couldn’t wait to learn to swim. When we would go to see family in other states, especially in the summer all of us children were in a pool, lake, or pond. I remember like it was yesterday when I learned how to push off the side of the pool wall and glide across the water. I loved how the water engulfed me and rose overtop my body. It was exhilarating! My aunt was a beautiful swimmer, and she was the one that taught my sister and I the beginning aspects of swimming. My sister and I spent hours pushing off the side of the pool. I remember how we would wait for a small piece of wall space in the pool to open up so we could practice. We would be in the pool until our lips were blue, and our teeth were chattering. Our mom would advise us to get out of the pool since we were so cold. We would say as our teeth were chattering away “We are not cold”, but of course we were. Laying on the hot cement pool deck would warm us to the perfect temperature to go back in the pool to do it all over again.

My sister and I talked our parents into swim lessons the next year. I remember how I thought it was harder than it looked. How do people make it look so easy? When we would go back to see family we were a little better than we were the year before. My sister even decide to swim with her a cast on her arm. She really almost drown in the deep end of the pool. If it were not for our aunt that taught us the art of pushing off the wall, my sister would not be here today. As she was going under the water I remember that the last thing to go under the water was her cast. She really was trying not to get it wet. Boy, did her arm itch after it was dry…good thing she found a comb that she could fit between the plaster cast and her arm.

I finally learned how to swim well. Admittedly, my stroke looked more like a call for help than someone trying to swim. Once I got the high school, I was a appalled when the swim coach told me that I was only in intermediate swimming. I even had to stand on the tiled floor of the deck and practice my stroke by looking up at the wall, and following the grout line with my middle finger. It really did help. Honestly, I didn’t know how I looked when I was swimming. I thought I looked super graceful and like an Olympic champ. Now, I had someone telling me how much I looked like I was about to drown.

I went on to being a lifeguard, obtaining my Water Safety Instructor Certificate, Synchronized Swimming Certificate, Coach Certificate, Adapted Aquatics Certification, I had almost every certification in aquatics one could get, except SCUBA. Being in the water was so freeing. Overcoming the cold was always my biggest obstacles once I became a teenager. To this day, I hate cold water, unless I am drinking it. Once in the rhythm of swimming my mind feels free. It’s so liberating!

As I start a new chapter of my life, I have had some time to be grateful for my family outings to other states, spending time with my cousins in the pools, lakes, and ponds. Being grateful for my aunt, taking the time to show us how beautiful and fun pushing off the side of the pool can be.  Sometimes the love for something so simple can change your life, being in the water made me the person I am today. The memories of being a lifeguard, teaching so many aquatic classes, those memories are ones I cherish so much. It really brings a smile to my face every time. This only reinforces the desire to have swimming again be a part of my life. 86EE6B83-87D6-4AE9-B3E6-557000CB5724

Collections and Obsessions, country, Design, farming, Happiness Project, Photography, Saturday Special

Nearly Complete

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” Wayne Dyer

I am still busy with loads of paperwork and finishing touches on the “little house” at Terreni D’ Oro Estate Farm.

Now, I just need to double check the status of internet, and make sure I get Direct TV to set up their systems, and I am all set to have guests for the rest of the summer. I am pretty excited to see people having fun, and we can give them some of our luscious goat milk soap that we make here on the farm. IMG_7433

They have so much later, and they are so creamy. We milk the goats, and we utilize it to make soap and or body butter.

Here is our newest baby goat with her mom (Jasmine). We haven’t named this little guy yet. Mufassa is one of our little black barn cats. Belle gets outside the gate every single day. We hear her crying as soon as we get home. Crazy little goat!

Here’s to the hope that everything comes together and next week is a most productive week.

Cane corso, Collections and Obsessions, country, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Photography, Raising Montessori Kids, San Luis Obispo Sites, Throwback Thursday

American Girl Dolls

“Just don’t pretend you know more about your characters than they do, because you don’t. Stay open to them. It’s teatime and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It’s that simple.” Anne Lamott

It seems like yesterday my daughter packed up her 20 American Girl Dolls. We moved to the country, and she started collecting animals.

In the last five years that we have lived in the country, we have had chickens, cats, ducks, cows, goats, miniature donkeys, sheep, and dogs. She and I have stayed the night in the barn (very cold, and very uncomfortable) to make sure the baby goats make it. Got up earlier than we ever wanted to warm up bottles and go feed the babies. She has been a trooper through it all. Embracing country life like it was something that is meant for her.

She has even saved countless little lives of birds, dogs, cats, and even a deer.

We fed it some goat milk until it was strong enough to walk, and then took it to a refuge. They wrote to us to let us know that it was getting stronger, and they would release it when it was more mature.

She graduates soon, and will be heading off to college. The years of her polo playing, powder puff, and hanging out with her high school friends will be in the rearview mirror.

Some of the animals…

I know my husband and I are so happy that her high school years have been everything that she always wished. I loved teaching her how to drive, and make soap. Now, as this chapter of her life comes to close, and she is about to embark on her next chapter. I just want to say what an honor it has been to raise you into the young lady you are now!

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country, farming, food, Galleria, Happiness Project, organic, San Luis Obispo Sites, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Thomas Hill Organics

We have a wonderful restaurant here in Paso, Thomas Hill Organics. I was recently invited to a private pairing. Wines from four different wineries were paired with food that the chef made. Each one of us also had the opportunity to talk to the journalist that were visiting the area. The other wineries had their wine makers there, and I was the only one that was an owner. Everyone was so engaging and it was an excellent atmosphere for the journalist and all of us. The seating arrangement was intimate, and the exchange wasn’t just about us, but about the pairing of the food. How food changes the taste of the wine, and how all the different aspects of the dish change the taste of the wine. I was the first one there, so here is what the seating arrangement looked like before everyone got there…

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Our first course was paired with an Albarino. It truly is a seafood lover wine. IMG_0304.jpg

Salmon, jalapeno peppers, olive, tomatoes, and wafer slice of watermelon. It was so delicious!

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This was paired with our Zinfandel. This is a prime cut of grass fed beef, topped with a clove of garlic. Polenta is the side dish for this course. I usually don’t eat beef, but I was surprised how well it paired with the Zin.

country, Cucina, Design, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Morelli Family Sunday, Museum Monday, Photography, San Luis Sunday

In A Pinch…

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler

I was sitting down my husband having a hot cup of coffee, steam was still rising from the top of my mug that says “Greatest Mom”, and then I remembered…I told the kids I would make some fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls. Well, luckily, I purchased some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the grocery store the other day.

I leaped out of my French Country chair with the woven sea grass, and took a few splinters in my rear for getting up so fast. I ran across the cold tile with my bare feet to the fridge. Ahhh, a life saver, in tube form…the cinnamon rolls, just needed to be popped open, and put in a cast iron skillet, ya know, for a home made look. LOL!

I pop them in the oven that is 400 degrees, and mix about 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to 4 teaspoons of “sugar in the raw”, and add that to the top. Not everyone in the family likes the frosting that comes with the Pillsbury tube. They came out of the oven perfectly fluffy, and invigorating the whole house with the smell of cinnamon. The look of them in the cast iron skillet is such a bonus.

Yes, the kids were happy, and so was my husband.

Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Photography, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Another Graduate…

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Elenor Roosevelt

Just a few weeks ago, my daughter ask me to send her several options of baby photos for the year book. The year book that will be her final year book as a child. As I sat at my desk with the several photo albums, I just cried. My baby is almost an adult. She will be off to college next year.

She was such a beautiful little baby too…

All these years of watching my beautiful baby become her own person. I will never forget when she was told by the dentist that she had to have braces. She said “I like the way I look, the gap in my teeth make me, me. I don’t understand why I have to adapt to what society considers beautiful.” Oh, wow, I had to dig deep to find a damn good explanation for braces.

She also was so brave to just be herself. She has never needed approval from her friends, and I always commended her for being Sabrina. Through the years she was often the friend of the newest kids in the class. She knows that her family is with her on her journey whatever it is she decides to do, we know that she will do it unequivocally her way! I love my gown up baby, and having her in our lives has been a blessing. I love the times we have spent together over the years in the Lexus talking, coming and going to volleyball games, French, cooking classes, art classes, horse backing riding, learning to drive, and picking up new animals for the farm. Every moment is special with her!

Design, Fountain of Youth, Fruit, Galleria, Happiness Project, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Out and About

“Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity” Marty Neumeier

One of the biggest aspects of branding is making sure that people are aware that you exist. This has been an issue for a long time, but we are working hard to change all that by getting out there, and engaging with people that enjoy wine.

Recently, I was at our 2nd annual charity dinner. All of us on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, host a dinner at Hartley Farms. We hired Trumpet Vine Catering, and we were very pleased with their food. We pair the foods with the wine, and sell tickets for people to join us “Under the Estella Sky”. We then gave our money to the Pleasant Valley School, so they could have computer equipment. Here are some photos of our shenanigans after the party…

 

Then, I was off to Petaluma for a Polo Match, and pouring wine…

 

Pouring wine in Pismo…

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Pouring wine in Fresno for Wine and Wishes…IMG_0283.jpg

This next month, is full of pouring at more events, and meeting more people. We love being out there and engaging with an audience that enjoys wines!

 

Collections and Obsessions, country, Design, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Happiness Project, Museum Monday

R. Moretti

I have some small scale reverse glass paintings by R. Moretti that I just adore.

Both are rural Italian scenes, a farm house in the background. I used to having these little gems beside my bed, when we lived in the city. I’m guessing they made a subconscious impact on us, since now we are people that have a town and country life. With all the heavy clads it reminds me of the end of summer, and beginning of the autumn is looming in the horizon.

I love how the artist made use of the light just breaking through the clouds, and the detail is amazing for such a small painting. One has touches of orange, indicating the poppies that are still in bloom. The other has a creek with a waterfall, with light bouncing on the rocks. I just love how paintings take us out of existence in this time and space, then transports us to another location. Well, of course, you have to be willing to use your imagination.

Design, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Photography, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Bradbury and Bradbury Ceiling Paper

“Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern, like bad wallpaper.”  P. J. O’Rourke.

The other day, my daughter and I had a wonderful day together. She’s a senior in high school. It was a special day at school when the parents go to Liturgy, then the seniors are dismissed to spend the rest of the day with their parents. My husband couldn’t attend, since we are harvesting our grapes. She and I went to Barnes and Nobel, we are avid readers, and then went to eat. When we were eating she asked me “Do you miss our house in Oakland?” I answered…I miss the memories that we created. She told me that she missed the way the sun came into the front room, and the time we would spend in that room just reading together. We then remembered the Bradbury and Bradbury ceiling paper story that always makes us laugh. I believe it would make anyone laugh.

It took us years to get our house to be the gem that it was before we sold it. We had reconstruction done to our house, and that was so labor intensive for all of us. Then after the contractors went away, it was time for us to do all the finish work, and one of those projects was the ceiling paper for our living room. This would be the room where the family would gather for conversations and reading.

We ordered our Bradbury and Bradbury paper, and it doesn’t come precut, or at least at the time, it didn’t. You have to do all the trimming for the paper yourself or hire a professional. It is also paper that is hung using a clay. The paper sat in the large tubes until it was time for Roberto to take his winter vacation. The anticipation of the paper going on the ceiling was intense.

Roberto broke out several saw horses, and made himself a cutting space. After all that was done, he was ready for me to help him. He had two ladders, one for me at the back of the room, and his ladder was near the clay. The paper was folded according style as we gently put up section by section. I was in charge of holding it while he made sure all the bubbles were out of the paper. Success! We had the first section up, only 12 more to go. The first section took so long, and the kids were young, so they had questions to ask…which made the whole process seem longer.

We were on section 2, and I was holding the accordion piece with one hand and holding the paper with the other. Sabrina came into the living room, and told me something that was funny, but Roberto told me “Stop moving, you’re going to rip the expensive paper.” I told Sabrina, I would be in the family room once we finished this section. My arms were shaking from keeping them up in the air for so long. All the sudden, almost the whole part that we just put up on the ceiling peeled away, and drooped to the floor. Roberto was pissed. He walked over to the five gallon buck and picked it up, then slammed in on the floor in frustration. At the same time his glasses slipped off his face, and fell into the bucket of mud. I just busted out laughing so hard. I couldn’t stop laughing. He grabbed his glasses and took off to the kitchen where I could hear him laughing too. Then the kids came into the kitchen saw his glasses and laughter filled the house.

I got down from the ladder, and he told me; “We need to figure out a better way of getting the paper on the ceiling.” We all took a break together, and then he told me to stay out of the living room. He had an idea…I was replaced by a ladder and a cardboard box! LOL!!