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Posts Tagged ‘New years’

LOOT! The extreme smörgåsbord brought to me by my father on his current visit. An odd variety of smoked salmon, gourmet pancake & scone mixes, and a "limited edition" Christmas pudding from Harrod's, made with vintage Port and contained in a velvet box - it cost more than many of my monthly bills

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!

March - June: Alkalai Wine Bar, I lived in Bourgogne-wine-land every day

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.

Christmas Day: Katzrin, Israel. Visit to the winery. I'm pouring our Yarden Heights Wine 2009, a Gewurtztraminer ice-wine-style dessert wine. Yummy.

Christmas: Yonatan vineyard, Golan Heights. Organic Cabernet Sauv.

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).

June: the legendary Shakespeare & Co bookshop, Paris. Incredible book reading, and I met and spoke with author Nathan Englander, who graciously signed my book, in Hebrew and English. Extraordinary last day in Paris

April & June, Tel Aviv & Bordeaux: OYSTERS! Huitres!

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.

March: squashing tomatoes with my bare hands for shakshuka at the wine bar

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.

August: Kauai, Hawaii - kayaking the Na Pali coast

December: Rosh HaNikra, Israel - border of Lebanon - inside the deep caves

December: my kayak club with the Israeli navy

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.

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Don't put pleasure off 'til tomorrow...if you can enjoy it today!

I’m still in New Years mode.  My parents are still visiting in Israel.  As such, every day includes some sort of adventure, for good or bad.  I have so much interesting food and wine news and gossip to spread, but I just don’t have the time and energy. So, I’m making this particular post short.  Juicy chunks of meaty entertainment must wait.

But…I’ve got great links! Enjoy them!

Open That Bottle Night” (OTBN) – is the last Saturday in February, this year, February 27th.  This was started by two of NY’s leading wine critics, and I think it’s a fine idea.  Looking back at the subject of my earlier post, it’s nice that there is an attempt at creating a holiday devoted to “that special wine bottle.”  No more hesitating or excuses for not opening the best!

A Cheeky College Essay” – A lovely little controversy or silly brouhaha revolving around a college essay that was so humorous and loved, that the dean of admissions at my alma mater, the University of Chicago, sent it to remaining prospective students still going through the application process – in order to ease their nerves.  Read this.  Hilarious! My alma mater is famous for its college essays.  There are incredibly creative prompts, the essays inspired reveal the personal side of the applicants, and I know that these are taken into account (sometimes heavily, depending on the student’s academic situation) when decision time comes around.  I personally spent ages writing and refining mine, going through up to 6 or 7 drafts, and at the time I was so proud of the resulting essay, believing it to be the finest writing I ever produced.  And it probably was.

Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow” – Fantastic little article about research into pleasure…and why we put it off.  Basic message – we need to place deadlines on fun – or we won’t have it.  New years resolution to us all: have fun NOW.  A great read.  Let’s hope we can cash in those frequent flier miles, take that vacation, and open that wine…soon.  (with thanks to Bruce for sending it to me)

Champagne, in brief – a nice little history and how-to tasting guide for Champagnes, brought to you by France Guide, the official tourism website.  I like this site.  Don’t know why.  They have catchy little gimmicks like entertaining vlogs, fun quizzes and giveaways.  And I love France.  So it’s cool.  And hey, as far as capitalistic industries go, I’m good with tourism.  Get out there!  See another country (or state or city)!  It’s good for you, and I bet it’ll be fun, too!  In France you can drink lots good wine for cheap(er)!

Fun, beautiful, attractive, and appealing things…to me:

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The theme for my new year:

Last New Years I was secretly thrilled, relieved, and honestly tickled pink that I had someone to kiss.  Then it ended a month later.

This year, alone as is usually usual, I have a whirlwind day – this is not such a big deal of a holiday in Israel – AND lucky me gets to work wine until 11 pm.

And as is usually usual – I pick through the events of the last year in hopes of convincing myself it was productive/interesting/memorable.  Highlights include:

  • A marvelous inspiring five-day trip to Dublin that changed the focus of my life and led me to learn about and work in wine
  • Italy and a Mediterranean cruise – got to have a 3 week+ vacation with my family.
  • A whirlwind trip to the USA – 6 States in 4 weeks – including a gorgeous visit to Ojai, CA for a wedding, a drop by my old haunt of Milton, DE, and three days of late night Chinese food and chick flicks with my sister in Flushing, NY.  Yes, I said Flushing.
  • I had my novel professionally read over and critiqued.
  • Found an interesting basic little part time job serving/selling/educating people about the finest Israeli wines.
  • Moved downtown in from the remote boredom of suburban sprawl (and lack of public transportation).
  • And I’m sure a lot more…
  • Oh yeah, I turned 30! Had a great party, got over the stigma of being old, of being nowhere near where I thought I would be.

So… as I’ve now taken some 12 hours to complete this post…not having had more than 30 minutes to sit at a time all day…I want to wish you all a very

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!

May it bring prosperity and joy to us all.

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