Maybe Netflix Instant Wasn’t Such a Great Idea

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Gentle Readers,

I’ve been watching all the episodes of “Frasier”, in order.  And I’m to the part where two of the main characters may or may not get married or unmarried.  (That’s for you, there, B.B.)  And in that episode, I might or might not have sobbed.  Cooper was eating dinner during that time, and couldn’t be bothered.  Now, I’m watching an episode of “Frasier” where one of the main characters may or may not have a major or minor medical procedure or just a day at the spa.  And I may or may not be sobbing, only this time, The Sir is not eating dinner.  Labradors do not like to see their people cry.  Cooper is licking my face as I type, thus making this the longest blog post ever.  Not in terms of actual verbage (oh, I’ll beat that record, but not tonight…) but in terms of sheer time spent typing and then deleting typos and retyping.  (Still watching.  Dear heavens, are the directors TRYING to make this the saddest episode EVER??????)

Anyway, blogging will be sporadic in the next few days, not because of the “Frasier” marathon/hormonal flexibility exercise, but because I am going to be hanging out with some of my favoritest people ever, and I don’t want to interrupt the fun and the shopping.

But I’m still alive and, don’t worry Andy and E, I still have PLENTY OF WORDS left in me!!!!!!



Accent Perfected

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Gentle Readers,

Is it just me or has this week been just a BEATING?  My evening plans consist of watching episodes of “Undercover Boss” and doing laundry. (Where has that show been all my life??????  Seriously, it’s Old People Television GOLD.)  I’m thrilled.  The Diet Coke is chilled (I like it again now.  Go figure.), and I plan on living life on the edge and microwaving the fish sticks instead of baking them.

But enough about the party at my house, let’s talk about the party at The Ranch last weekend!

One of our favorite-est French Wine Spies came to The Ranch last weekend with his loyal Assistant/Bodyguard (and fellow Labrador Person), Matthew, to pour his wine.  He has figured out that taking his wine on the road and letting people taste it is a good marketing plan.  I think it’s a fantastic idea because that means we get to drink his wine and I get to try to remember my French.  And when he says, “MacDo”, I get to translate for our American guests.  (It’s what the French call McDonald’s.) And, new people get to try his wine, listen to his accent, and hopefully feel some of the passion that Jean-Noel has for his product.

Hopefully they get a glimmer of the fact that wine is so much more than old grape juice.  It’s almost a miracle-it’s a one time occurrence, each year is different.  The soil, the light, the warmth, the moisture, the vines, the barrels, the yeast in the air.  These seemingly unchanging elements combine year after year to form very different flavors each time.  And, it being an organic process (not “organic” like the bananas at Whole Foods, organic like meaning “from the earth”, though their wines might be “organic” like the bananas at Whole Foods.  I don’t know.  Jean-Noel?) it is subject to the caprice and fancy of the Nature.  And that Nature can do crazy things sometimes, so the fact that (for the most part) year after year this happens?  Means that the Napa Valley in general, but more specifically, Mount Veeder, is blessed ground.   (I am astounded how vineyards literally FEET apart can produce such different fruit.  Even when they are planted with the same varietal.)  I have no doubt but what The Creator crafted that area of His Kingdom with special care.  It challenges the winemakers, it challenges the wine consumers, and is ever changing, and I’m pretty sure He likes that.  Enough philosophizing, on with the party pics.

A few images:

We started out with some bubbles from this place.  We adore them, too.  (Daddy, it’s their 150th Anniversary.  We need to go.  Please?)

(The French Wine Spy doesn’t make bubbly.  We do have a LITTLE bit of couth.)


All set up and ready to taste!

Things are looking up!

I’ve always believed that the hostess gets the first drink.  Or, in this case, apparently the first seven bottles.  😉


This photo demonstrates the importance of the nose in the taste of the wine.  (It also demonstrates the importance of making sure all cell phone cameras are confiscated pre-party.)  (I was unable grasp the correct order of the “hold your nose, sip the wine, unhold your nose, retaste the wine” exercise, and thus was freed to photograph people.)

And, demonstrating once again my photographic gifts, this is the best picture I got of Jean-Noel.  Those are his hands on the left.  But, if you are going to capture just one feature of a winemaker, I think the hands are an obvious choice.  Just know Jean-Noel is adorable and wonderful.  So are Matthew and Casper, his Labrador.

And finally…

The morning after.


Thanks for coming out to the middle of nowhere, Jean-Noel and Matthew!  Your passion is manifest in every sip!  After 30 years, you have perfected more than just the accent.



PS-Taste what I have been talking about for 657 words…go buy his wine!

Fastest. Blog. Post. Ever.

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Gentle Readers,

I’m taking the rest of the weekend (weekends start on Thursdays, right?) off, and headed to the Ranch, where we have something of an Event going on.  I’ll post more details later, but as a preview:

(If you can see through all the Lab paw prints and fur, thems 12 bottles of vino.)

These, and MANY of their bretheren, will be empty come Sunday.

Goodnight, and For Heavens’ Sakes, Enjoy Responsibly,


Happy Heart Day!

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Gentle Readers,

I wish you each the happiest of hearts.  And now, humor me, for a brief moment.

Dear Donor Family,

On October 14, 1997, you gave us a new perspective on “heart day”.  On a day dedicated to love, I am still humbled by the love you showed us.  Utter strangers.  And utterly unworthy of your gift.  But you showed Love’s Truest Nature that day.  I don’t know where you are or what you are doing today, but I hope it is filled with love.  I hope every day is filled with love for you, because, well, because of you every day is filled with love for me.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Pollyanna-I know your life is probably filled with everyday annoyances and the occasional periods of strife, though believe me if I could make those go away for you, I would move Heaven and Earth to do so.  But on the whole, I sincerely hope that at the end of each day, you rest with the knowledge that you are surrounded by love.)

In short, you gave my daddy back to us (and we could go into a long theological discussion/aside here, but I’m pretty sure Andy’s got big plans for his best girl tonight and doesn’t have time to read my thoughts on the Almighty, so just know that I know that there was Someone Else involved, too).  And we still love him a whole bunch.  And he drives us crazy.  And I have driven him to the edge of sanity with several decisions I have made in the last few years, (mama, too), but we are able to drive each other nuts and love each other as a family because of the fact that you loved us that day.  I love you with all of my heart.



The Zebra, An Update

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Gentle Readers,

EDITED TO ADD:  Y’all I can’t help it.  I watched the “steak” video from yesterday again, and there is just something that is VERY GOOD AND VERY RIGHT about FIVE LABRADORS and the chaos that naturally ensues.  That much happy?  Well, we should all be so lucky.  So I take back my earlier whining about the noise that two can create.  Though two are certainly MORE THAN CAPABLE of noise.

I know you are anxiously awaiting news from The Ranch about the zebra.

(In case you’d forgotten what they look like.)

But first, I have to let you know about the romance that is in the air here at The World’s Smallest Apartment.  Listen people, what I do?  Pretty much the ANTITHESIS OF VALENTINE’S DAY, so I take a somewhat unorthodox approach to February 14th.  Tonight, I’m reading the case file for the Thing That I Got Into Last Week, and eating part of the “large serving size” of the frozen mac and cheese because that’s what Target had (they had the “realistic” portion size of spaghetti, but for some reason the concept of frozen pasta coated in tomato sauce sounds icky while the thought of frozen pasta coated in cheese sauce sounds PERFECTO!) and drinking Diet Pepsi (because I went slap crazy in the soda aisle and thought that might taste really good…)  (um, no) out of a Dickey’s barbecue cup.  So, clearly we brought out the Good China tonight, ladies and gentlemens.  And I’m snuggled up in my shamrock blankie and have holey socks on my feet (I will spend the better part of tonight working my various toes through the hole like an OCD off her meds, until finally I will have HAD ENOUGH, and change socks.  But will not throw the holey ones away.)  So, Cupid, your work is done here.  Move along.

Onto the Ranch:


Obviously, The Boy is still out there, playing with his Brudder, but they are EXHAUSTED.  As you can see.  Apparently the zebra showed up yesterday morning at 3 AM (THREE IN THE MORNING!) for more salad bar offerings.  Somehow, the household was roused (presumably by some poor zebra ringing the door to ask mama to put out some more green goddess dressing, please) and The Boys quickly went into Threat Elimination Mode.  Which, when separated from said Threat by various windows, shutters, walls, insulation, landscaping, and fencing, mostly just means barking like someone was beating them.  Times two.  (Next time, let’s get TWO!  They can play with each other and it’ll be so much fun!)  So partly out of a desire to preserve what remains of their hearing, and partly out of a desire to preserve what remains of mama’s rosemary, Daddy turned on the hose.  The poor zebra were not fond of a 3 AM shower.  Daddy wasn’t a fan of gardening at 3 AM.  Mama wasn’t a fan of The Boys’ commitment to Threat Elimination.  So all around, nobody had a whole lot of fun that night.  Except Scout who slept through the whole incident because really?  SO beneath her.  But all in all, I’ve had a great time writing this post so all’s well that ends well, right?

And She Who Must Be Obeyed is one step closer to actually being able to blog on her own.

She’s taken over the computer for mama.



People, We’re FAMOUS!!!!!!

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Gentle Reader,

You remember how a few days (weeks?) ago I posted this:


It remains, and while I’m not psychic, I’m pretty sure this record will stand for a LONG TIME, the BEST.  VIDEO.  EVER.

Well, before I posted it, I sent an email to my buddy Eric, who runs the Garden Fork media empire (and, as always, a TOTAL PLUG for you to go to the blog, support it, love it, and help make it more wonderful than it already is).  I was a touch under the weather at the time.  A transcript of the email chain follows:  (Certain Identifiers removed or changed.  Where identifiers were changed, brackets were used…)
8:04 AM (11 hours ago)

hi [wordie],

i’m thinking i may not have replied to your email here.  BUT we did read it on GF Radio, with Rick bowing to my awesomeness!

thx, eric.

On Jan 28, 2012, at 6:10 AM, [wordie] wrote:

> 1.  5 Labradors
> 3.  Propane torch.
> 4.  Beef.
> 5.  BEST.  VIDEO.  EVER.
> I credit you, Sir, for helping my bronchitis go away with that video.  It has power.  Also, it’s impossible to get a ribeye “too rare”.  Just flame thrower it and wave it in the general direction of the oven, and you’re good to go.  (Pepper should always go at the end otherwise it scorches, which is a travesty against beef.). I’m still trying to wrap my cold-medicine addled brain around the flame thrower.  How did I not see the usefulness of this object before?  More importantly, how can I convince the Valentine’s Day Fairy or the Easter Bunny to bring me one?
> I hope you don’t mind my inevitable sharing of this video on my blog.  All credit will be given to you, Sir, the King of Flame Throwers.
> I bow to your awesomeness.
> [wordie] from Texas
> Sent from my iPhone


> Sent from my iPhone

 And, look!   As an added bonus, like a bloggy Valentine, he attached a pic of the second handsomest black Lab in the entire universe.  (The Sir, of course, being the MOST handsome…)  His name, unless I’m getting my Gardenfork labs mixed up, is “Moose” and DARN he is a good lookin’ Lab.  And, I’ll confess, Eric, “Moose” was going to be the name of the second Labrador which is in the planning stages right now (mama and daddy, DO NOT WORRY YET…the fact that I am planning this far in advance for Lab #3 should actually comfort you…and mama, the jury is most CERTAINLY still deliberating on the “no more boy dogs” issue.  It will likely be a hung jury, and we’ll have to retry the case in a few months.), but since your Moose was here first, obviously you have the dibs.  I’ll think of another fantastic name.  Like, “Tiny”, or “Doesn’t knock visiting dignitaries over trying to greet them”, or “Doesn’t Eat Drywall”.  (We live in hope, right?)
I would post a link to the radio section, but I have no idea which episode it is, so maybe Eric will chime in with the appropriate link.
Also, I post for your enjoyment, the funniest Gardenfork video EVER.
I *heart* Chris Kimball and all of his empire, but this is darn funny.
I will be using a hybrid of Eric’s gardening tips and Pioneer Woman’s gardening tips this summer.  The hybrid is because Eric makes things simple, and isn’t afraid of things not going exactly as planned-he rolls with it.  (Kind of like my 95 year old Uncle Ralph.  The secret of the longevity, I’m certain, is that he never got going fast enough to incur any stress in his life.  Water, duck’s back, etc.)  And then PW because her soil is going to be a great deal like our soil out here at the Ranch.
I wanted to do some beekeeping (for those of you who know me, yes, yes I have gone completely batty, but the way Eric suits up before playing with the bees gives me a bit of confidence that I won’t look like that scene from the movie, “Hitch” after  I get done messing with their habitat.)   and I also wanted to raise chickens on the Ranch.  Mama, a.k.a, “The Fun Killer”, firmly vetoed both of those completely reasonable suggestions.  But I still get my garden provided I spend every weekend during growing season at The Ranch, picking the stuff that’s ready to pick, and canning it RIGHT THEN.  (I have a boatload of canning supplies, but I am still looking for a pressure canner…if anybody has one that they are dying to get rid of, please let me know…or if anybody has one that wants to share, I’ll return it in better shape than I received it.  I already have a water bath canner…)
I am going to order my seeds from this place.  And I’m kinda excited, but I have NO CLUE what to plant when.  Advice would be most certainly appreciated.
At any rate, it’s bedtime, but I just wanted to let you know that we’re famous!
PS-Eric, I’m still waiting on the brisket post…  😉
PPS-Experienced gardeners, please message me and walk me through this.