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Saturday, December 21, 2002

My day began with a crash and ended with a headache (totally unrelated), but in between it was great.

At three in the morning I heard a clatter in my living room. It sounded as if my amaryllis plant had grown too tall for the weight of the blooms, snapped in half and toppled off the speaker, scattering wet dirt all over the white carpet. Amazingly, that's exactly what had happened. So in the middle of the night I was up with the Woolite foam, scrubbing the mud out of the rug.

That was an unfortunate way to start the day, but I did get a little more sleep before I had to be at John and Suzanne's house, where the limo was picking us up. Yes, in honor of Suzanne's birthday, John rented a limousine for the day and invited a bunch of people, family and friends, to go on a wine tasting tour of Sonoma County. There were thirteen of us on the bus (we kept calling it a bus because it was as big as a bus but much more comfortable, with its plush leather seats, wet bar and big screen TV).

Suzanne's birthday limo

We had a great time. Suzanne was feeling just enough better that she could enjoy the day, although it more than wore her out by the time it was over. We were all over the county, starting at Korbel in Guerneville and ending at- well, to be honest by that time and after that many wineries, I wasn't sure where we were. Somewhere near Kenwood, I think. Might have been Kunde Estate.

vineyards, hills and clouds

We were treated well almost everywhere. I did not taste every kind of wine offered in every tasting room, but I did drink more in one day than I usually do. It was spread out over ten hours, though, and between each stop we had bread and cheese and water in the limo. Staying hydrated goes a long way toward avoiding the worst effects of overindulgence. It's not foolproof, but it definitely makes it easier to keep having fun longer.

Until this morning Suzanne didn't know about anything but the wine tasting. She didn't know John had also rented a house overlooking Bodega Bay. A huge house, with four bedrooms and a game room and a big kitchen and a patio that opens up right on the golf course. You can actually see the ocean from there and watch the waves lapping on the shore of the bay.

looking off the patio

We had stopped there earlier in the day, and by the time we got back it was well after dark. It took us awhile (some more time than others) to come down off the highs (emotional, physical and chemical) of such a great day. Suzanne had a migraine attack, and I had a headache I couldn't quite shake. We'll both be okay, though.

The people who are here tonight genuinely enjoy each other's company. Nine of us will sleep in this house tonight. Others will come and go during the day tomorrow.


Aboard the limo.

This wasn't just a surprise for Suzanne's birthday. It was a wholly new experience for me as well. I've been in wineries before, but I've never been on such a complete tour covering all the various regions in Sonoma County. I felt that I learned a little more about what I like in wines, although I don't drink it often, living alone and all. Mostly, I had a great time with some great people.

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One year ago: Just Desserts
"I don't think I had too much wine, but I'm pretty sure I ate more than I should. I finished my dinner, and my dessert, and Mom's dessert, and Eric's dessert. My diet has seen better days."

Two years ago: End of the Tunnel, or Oncoming Train?
"It doesn't matter how it developed; it's here and knocking us down and putting its heel on our throats. Passive resistance is the only way to counteract this kind of aggression. If I keep my eyes closed, maybe it'll give up and go away."

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