Today, the last day of 2011, is a Saturday. What a year. I’ve not blogged in a while, as has been the recent trend, not that I’ve not been collecting material. So, it’s a great time to share a review of recent, and not so recent events, as some of them are quite awesome. As for the year to come? Well… that’s for another post, but I suspect I’ll be reading more classic literature, traveling more, and studying for a wine certification…I hope. Enjoy the photos!
WINE: I transformed my career, somehow, with luck, with some concrete planning, with hard work. I went from an online marketing/editing/PR drifter and hopeless fiction writer, who worked part-time doing wine tastings, to a wine bar sommelier and cook, to an invitee representing the winery in a French exhibition, to a full-fledged winery employee. I’m proud of myself for going for something I wanted and succeeding. You never know what was entirely based on chance, but I know that whatever had happened, I would be working full-time in wine at this moment, whether at the winery or a restaurant or a hotel. I learned how to leave a job I hated, work hard, ask for help (which was not easy), and ask for what I wanted (which may have been even harder). I love my new job.
TRAVEL: Hmm… where did I go… Bordeaux, Paris, Giverny (in Normandie), Chicago, Kauai… I changed planes in Amsterdam, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles – though those aren’t supposed to count… and that’s it. Fantastic adventures…but not as far and wide a selection of places as in years past. I was very privileged in these, however. They really were incredible trips. Wine, food, laughter, hard work, hard play, art, beautiful weather – always – and especially the interesting people that I traveled with and met along the way. (on an interesting side note – after having been featured on an American Travel Channel television show, I was recognized all over the world, by random people, some of who plotzed and took photos with me and my sister).
FOOD: I cooked less this year, but ate just as heartily. Perhaps too heartily. The most typical New Year’s resolution may be in order for me this year. From scrummy wine bar fare like prosciutto & Parmesan, fatty French cheese platters, and freshly steamed Thai dumplings; to oysters, foie gras, chestnut creme crepes, Armagnac ice cream, crisp lemon squid, a simple Chateaubriand steak I’ll remember for a long time, more hearty soups than I can remember, and much much more.
KAYAKING: an odd adventure sport I picked up and stuck with. I suppose I needed some more exotic expensive exercise-induced adrenaline in my life. Begun as a crazy lark in Hawaii (the Na Pali coast is rated the #2 adventure to take part in by National Geographic), I was thrilled and proud I survived the craziness, I decided to roll with the momentum and immediately join a kayak club in Tel Aviv. It’s been interesting, and terribly challenging. It has added another dimension to this ever-changing life. It has also added painful dark bruises to my legs and arms every week, and taken a large chunk out of my paycheck for water-tight clothing. Oh well. Life. Better to go for it than to sit on the sidelines.
AND let’s end the year with some videos! Going along with the title of this post, Tom Lehrer wrote some excellent songs that still ring true today. In honor of all of the revolutions this year, in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya. In remembering all of the precarious situations that remain, Iran, North Korea, the Euro-zone crisis, the upcoming American elections, the environment going to hell, flu, honeybees dying out, and Israel practically becoming a misogynist theocracy, and of course the future of my physical, mental, and especially social fitness. Let us hope, but more importantly, let us work hard for a better year and a safer, happier world. And here’s some laughs and satire for us all.