Saturday, January 26, 2008

what'll you have?

there's a new wine shop near our house.

we're doing our best to help it succeed.

in '06 we bought a wine chiller at our children's elementary school auction. it came with half a case of good bottles of wine, each costing more than we'd ever spend at the grocery store.

one of the bottles was a '91 cabernet sauvignon, something from caymus vineyards, i believe. let me go check...

okay, this is it:

i googled the bottle for the label at left, and guess how much this bottle is selling for right now...$349.

it was nowhere near that when we bought it. wine is an appreciating asset? who knew being a lush could also be lucrative?

the bottle is too expensive to drink. i mean, how can we enjoy a $350 bottle of wine? we can't. we're, like, $10-15 a bottle people.

it's a conundrum.

take, for example, the kim crawford sauvignon blanc above. it's from marlborough, new zealand, and it's marvelous. it has a green pepper finish to it that is characteristic of other new zealand sauvignon blancs we've tried. it's dry, but very flavorful. and you can get it at costco, for the love of cheap wine.

our basement stays cool, year-round, perfect for storing wine. so we bought some pre-fab wine racks from pottery barn, and they fit perfectly into a niche at the bottom of the stairs. i've just gotten them filled, for the first time ever. bottles from the new store, mostly.

it's an eclectic collection of reds and whites, mostly inexpensive, with a couple bottles making their way into the chiller now and then. this one, for example...

the last grgich hills chardonnay we had was at a business dinner in a fancy hotel in san francisco, circa 1990. the wine was an '87, and it was one of the few bottles in my life that i remember specifically. it was that good.

hopefully the '05 will be equally enjoyable.

there's very little point to all of this, except to say that we drink our share of wine. we heard somewhere that it's heart-healthy, in moderation, and really, that's all the rationale we need. besides, we like it.

and as some of you may know, we like to share it with friends.

a toast, then, to all y'all.


p.s. bon, you'll have to go check it out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

i don't know much

look at this face
i know the years are showing
look at this life
i still don't know where it's going
i don't know much
but i know i love you
that may be all i need to know
i don't know much
but i know i love you
and that may be
all there is to know

a cold, dark, winter day in the pacific northwest finds the spaceneedl family indoors, moving slowly, feeling none too eager to get out in the world.

except for missus spaceneedl, who is busy businessing in boston. she left the morning after i returned from miami, so by the time she returns (late tuesday) we won't have seen each other in 10 days.

could be worse. our neighbors, who got married about six months ago, have split up. i don't know how they could live together for more than a year, plan and pull off an extravagant outdoor wedding, then just, plahh! hit the wall in less than half a year.

according to her, the fighting started practically as soon as the wedding ended. there is no "according to him," because he's gone back to the midwest, which doesn't sound like much of an improvement.

i know, "this kind of thing happens all the time"®, but i still don't get it. nor do i get the corrolary, "it's better that it happened now instead of five years from now."®

i'm not a big fan of conventional wisdom, because it doesn't apply. it doesn't take individuals or a billion variables into account. why is it better that it happened now? are you sure it's better? you know these people? you know the future? no? then why are you running your mouth?

sorry. i'm cranky. my neighbor's biological clock is ticking loudly, and she's heartbroken, about seventeen different ways. "a woman doesn't have to be married to have a baby," mrs. spaceneedl reminds me. this is true, but it ain't optimal, either. parenting is hard enough with two--i don't know how single parents manage. financially, logistically, emotionally, or otherwise.

this morning's clouds have turned to rain. it's 3:30 in the afternoon, and it looks like it'll be dark soon (though today never really got to be all that light). in the interim, the little spaceneedls and i have been to the climbing gym, where lots of couples were clambering around, smiling, having fun.

the requirement there is that you work as a team; one climbs while the other belays. you do your job, pay attention, make sure your partner doesn't hit the floor. or the wall. the agreement is non-negotiable: don't let me down, don't let me get hurt, and i promise to do the same.

there's never any ambiguity if the agreement is broken.

it's a flawed analogy, i know. relationships are fraught with ambiguity. but the premise is sound. you work together, day after day, year after year, and you've got a chance at whatever permanence we're allowed.

it beats the alternative.

and that may be all we need to know.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

past ostentatious, on to vulgar

there's no way to sugar-coat this thing, so i'm just gonna come out with it, kinda like ripping the band-aid off quickly:

tomorrow i'm flying to miami for a national sales meeting.

wait, there's more.

we're all staying at the ritz-carlton, south beach.

there. it's out. and some of you are prolly saying, "lucky son of a mother somethin' somethin'." can't blame you. the idea of it doesn't suck.

but here's the thing...i don't particularly feel like going. for me, there's no dressing up business travel. no matter how much lipstick you put on that pig, you're still working. you're still "on" at all times, even during the expensive dinners, when you'd like to be diving into the exquisite bottles of red wine that cost three times what you'd ever spend on your own dime.

you can't get too loud, or too silly, or act like you're enjoying it too much, because...well, because it just ain't a good career move.

the fact is, the company had an amazing year. if ever a bunch of people had reason to celebrate success, this is it. furthermore, 2008 and beyond looks pretty darn good as well. so maybe the circumstances and the fabulous venue will spark some kind of wild, spontaneous funfest.

it would be entirely justified.

here's another thing. the ritz-carlton, south beach, in the middle of winter. just using those words, in that particular order, costs thousands of dollars. the ritz people own the rights, after all, and can charge any damn thing they want, because people will pay it. which makes this a very expensive post.

i'm trying to imagine making the kind of money it'd take to be able to come to the ritz-carlton, south beach, in the middle of winter (tm), and not worry about how much it costs. me, i'd be scurrying around like a howler monkey trying to squeeze every bit of value out of every waking second, in a vain attempt to justify the expense. in fact, i'd forego sleep entirely in that pursuit, necessitating a post-vacation recovery vacation.

my imagination, at its most vivid, pales next to the splendor that is the ritz-carlton, south beach, in the middle of winter (tm).

you know what? to hell with it. i'm gonna get into the spirit of this thing and get a little crazy. i'm gonna wear the comfy robe. and work out at the wondiferous fitness center. and maybe even entertain a foo-foo beach drink with an umbrella in it.

i will do these things, not for myself you understand, but for others. i will do this despite the fact that, at the end of the day, it is still business travel. and as god is my witness...i will never stay at a holiday inn express again.