I’ve had four fantastic days off and I feel so rejuvenated! It’s weekends like I just had that make life good. And I really needed a wonderful weekend, because there’s been quite a bit of stress in my life lately (some big, some small, but all annoying), and it was nice to just leave that all behind and enjoy myself.
Friday – Semester Break
I am so thankful that I did what I needed to in order to finish my grading (and record my final grades) before I left school on Thursday. I was there a lot later than I expected to be, but I actually put together a really cool mini lesson for the first week of our new semester. I left on Thursday afternoon feeling really organized and “free.”
On Friday I really didn’t do a whole lot of anything. I was online for a while, I read for a while, I watched some t.v.. Later in the afternoon when my parents brought my nieces home we all went on a long walk and enjoyed the sunny, cool day. The girls stayed at my house catching up on their favorite Nickelodeon shows until my sister arrived around 5:30. They ended up staying for dinner – my sister heated up leftovers for her and the kids and I had one of my Lean Cuisine meals. It was nice to be able to share an impromptu meal together without having to put in too much effort on either part. I’m sure we’ll do that more often.
As Friday nights go, this one was pretty tame, but that’s ok. I just needed to take the day and relax. Plus, I’m not 20 anymore, so it’s ok not to have major plans on a Friday night. Eventually I would love to have some dates to go on or other social engagements, but while I’m in “forced hibernation mode” I’m perfectly content to keep things quiet.
I had a busy morning planned on Saturday. We began with a “whole crew” (my sis, nieces, Lulu & Minnie) walk at 9am. My older niece led the way on her bike, the younger one was on her big wheel, and my sister and I pulled up the rear with our dogs in tow. It was sort of chaotic (at least for me) and we had a few near misses with dogs’ leashes and big wheels, but it all turned out fine. I’m sure that once we get the hang of the bigger group it will go more smoothly. I do think that Lulu and I need to start taking our normal solo walks again, too, because I like our head clearing/bonding time.
Then it was time for me to take both dogs to the groomers, and boy did they need it, especially Minnie. They came out later that evening looking like (almost) new dogs, and I swear that Minnie is strutting around with a new sense of purpose now that she looks cute again. :) While I was out doing some errands, I brought a big garbage bag full of old clothes, and 2 boxes of books to a local charity, thanks to the Daily Challenge. I’d had the stuff waiting in my garage for a couple of weeks, but the Daily Challenge made me put the stuff into the car and donate it to one of my favorite charitable organizations, and it really didn’t take any effort at all. I can’t tell you how good it felt to get that stuff out of my house and on to someone else who it can be of more use to. If you haven’t gone through your closet or bookshelves recently,
I highly recommend I CHALLENGE you to do it; you’ll get rid of some clutter and do a good deed all rolled into one.
The main thing I was excited about on Saturday was that my high school alumnae food & wine group was going to be going to a Passport Saturday. Passport days are amazing! You buy a passport for $40 and it entitles you to one free tasting at any of the participating wineries within the Santa Cruz Mountain Winemakers Association, and there are 51 wineries that participate! The passport never expires, and they have passport days every quarter – in January, April, July, and November.
Originally there was a good group of alums who were planning on going to the event, but it ended up that just my friend Ms. AD and I went. And really, it worked out perfectly. This way she and I could really catch up with each other without having to worry that we were excluding others from our conversation (because there’s nothing I hate more than people who leave others out of the conversation with a lot of inside jokes, talking about people others don’t know, etc.). Ms. AD and I headed off in my convertible (the weather was unseasonably and gloriously warm at 70 degrees) and hit three very local wineries. The original plan was to go into the mountains a bit more, but I didn’t want to challenge the windy roads of those mountain wineries.
Our first stop was a winery that I used to be a member of, Flemming Jenkins. Yes, as in Peggy Flemming. What started out as a landscaping project at one of their mountain estates turned into a really profitable wine business. Their wines are very good, albeit quite pricey, but it was nice to begin at a winery that I knew I liked.
From there we headed about a mile down the road (actually, up a hill) and came to Testarossa Winery, which is one that I’d never been to but had heard amazing things about. Testarossa was a 19th century novitiate (training center for Catholic priests) before it was a winery, and the grounds are truly beautiful.
This last photo is from their website, but I’m using it because it shows the dramatic tasting room with it’s gorgeous, old-world ceiling and walls. When you’re in the room you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time and are in an underground crypt somewhere in Europe, rather than just a mile off the main road of a bustling town. It was so nice that I know I’ll have a party here at some point in the future – maybe even my rehearsal dinner (a girl can dream). Oh, and the wine, the wine was delicious and very affordable. I’m going to make sure I always have some of this on hand to share with good friends.
Our last stop was a winery that I had heard such good things about, but which was the least favorite of the afternoon. Maybe it was because I had enjoyed our time at Testarossa so much that in comparison Cinnabar couldn’t quite make the grade. Or perhaps it was because no one told us anything about the wine they were pouring. It was fairly busy in the tasting room, but it seemed as if the people working that day couldn’t be bothered to explain anything to potential customers. Which is a shame. And with that, I think I’ve already spent too many words talking about this place.
The rest of my Saturday was spent doing a few errands, but it ended nicely enough with a good dinner that I made for myself. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the doggies look like after their grooming appointment, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos to share with you:
(My mom bought them matching sweaters for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist having them match in the last photo).
The day began as all Sundays do – with the Sunday paper and a nice, hot pot of coffee. But I was also expecting a visit from Comcast. Luckily the tech arrived at 8:30am (the window was from 8-2). I’ve been having nothing but problems with my OnDemand service every since I moved, and I finally wanted to get to the bottom of it. I’ve had 2 other technicians out here, and placed countless phone calls (I think I average 1 every other week), but it wasn’t until today that the cableguy (who was here an hour and a half) realized the problem was that they gave me an old, obsolete receiver box when I moved in. Not only that, but I’ve been paying for a more expensive receiver this whole time. I’m relieved that I finally have the proper equipment, but you’d better believe I’m going to be on the phone on Monday demanding my money back plus compensation for my trouble. It goes to show that it attention to detail and not stopping until the job is done really does pay off. Let’s just hope that Comcast cares about their customer enough to do the right thing.
The rest of Sunday was fairly lazy. Some reading, some time online, some t.v. time, a walk with Lulu, some light housework and laundry. Nothing especially exciting, but nice just the same.
Sunday evening my friend Ms. AD (whom I spent the day before with wine tasting), was having a Just Dance 2 party, and I couldn’t wait. What a great idea for a party, right? It’s like those old-fashioned dance parties in the 50s. Only this time we all brought our Wii remotes and tried to match moves with the computerized choreographer. I have Just Dance, so I was used to it, although I will say I like the graphics a lot better on Just Dance 2. Plus, it so much more fun to “play” with other people, instead of just dancing around my living room by myself. I did so much better than I thought I would, and I was consistently the top or 2nd highest scoring player. And it sure didn’t hurt that Ms. AD made some killer sangria and we each brought some “tapas” with us. It was a fun time, made even more so because Ms. AD made sure we came in our comfy clothes and knew that we could be as silly as we wanted to because there were “no boys allowed.” Although after about 5 dances/songs, lots of the girls sort of pooped out and we moved from dancing to chatting, which was good too. I’m definitely going to take Ms. AD’s lead and have one of my own Just Dance 2 parties.
(Speaking of which, this house has such a great layout for entertaining that I want to make sure to have some parties. I’m going to have Lulu’s 1st bday party in early February, and I also want to have an Oscar party, but beyond February, what are some ideas for themed get-togethers that I can have? I’d love any and all ideas).
Today is going to be all about enjoying this day off. The weather started out really foggy again, but once it clears (around noon yesterday), I’m going to take Lulu out on another walk. This time the goal is go explore a new street in our neighborhood and walk for at least an hour. Other than that, I’m going to be doing laundry, organizing my food for the week, and watching t.v. and doing some workout DVDs. I feel like staying close to home today, but I am going to go to a group exercise class at the gym – either Zumba (@ 5:50pm) or aqua aerobics (@6:45pm); I’ll decide which one depending on what the rest of the day shapes up to be.
It’s been an absolutely amazing weekend, free of stress and filled with fun and friends. I need to try to have at least 1 weekend a month exactly like this one, because it’s good for the soul.
What did you do this weekend?