All posts by winecountrydiaries

I live in Sonoma with my husband, two sons, three cats, one dog, some fish and 600 vines. My blog is a weekly journal of sorts, sharing my love for writing, wine and wine making, gardening, reflections, friends, travel, poetry, good food and cool places I might happen on. I look forward to sharing my musings in the wine country and beyond with you.

Sunday Morning Pages

The mornings are my favorite time of the day. Usually, all is quiet with my dog Ella at my feet and calico cat, Shelby snoozing on my reader’s chair. They pay no mind to what I am doing as I sit to write. Secretly, they are waiting for their morning walk or breakfast.

This is the hour that I take a little time for myself before I give to others. My mind settles down the moment I glance out of my office window. The day is starting out just fine, in my eyes. I’d like to keep it that way

“A mind too active is no mind at all,” says Theodore Roethke, one of my favorite poets. I can’t argue this truth, but I don’t know if it’s all that easy.

And yet, here in my home on this little corner plot of land breathes a different kind of world–one that I can fully call my own filled with simplicity, stillness, order, hope, and peace. Out my window, the pumpkin on the porch rail sits quietly and offers me comfort, color and its stoic presence. The maple trees have fully dropped their leaves, given the recent winds, and stand naked before me. I witness their surrender to seasonal change, vulnerability and strength. As winter nears, I would like to follow their lead and go inward to rest, restore and write.

I don’t think I will mind growing into old age as long as there are books to read and pages to write each day. Of course, that is, as long as I have my pets at my feet and birds at the feeders. I just love having them all around as they welcome me gladly without condition. Every day, I check my finch sock to make sure its filled with seed. They come in record number to cluster around the sock, or take a drink from the bird bath.

This image reminds me of a woman artist named Alexandra Sanders. She calls herself “The Lady Who Loves Birds.” (That’s what her business card says), and I thought, I do too. I have to get to know her.

The above image is an original Batik designed for her gratitude journals. (Awww. Gratitude–how sweet the sound). She’s a water-colorist, photographer, and digital designer. She creates greeting cards, calendars, totes and so much more. I knew she was a kindred spirit when I met her, and perhaps she will be for you too? You can find her at www.ladywholovesbirds.com.

Her art is life giving. I hope my simple words to you provide the same nourishment. May life be kind and glorious to you on this Sacred Sunday.

Tapping out

I have been following Hoarded Ordinaries for years now. I wanted to share her site with my beautiful readers. I loved reading about your father. Such a beautiful story. Thank you.

Hoarded Ordinaries

This past Monday night, less than a week after my parents’ 65th anniversary, my Dad died after a long illness. The news that he had passed came as both a relief and a shock.

My Dad was a humble man. In his final months, he let us know he wanted to be cremated without fuss, funeral, or even the attention of an obituary. My Dad was a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Columbus, Ohio, and his biggest life accomplishment was supporting a wife and four daughters on a bread-truck driver’s salary.

My Dad was raised in a large Italian-American family, and each of his siblings had at least one son who was a state champion wrestler. It was a point of ribbing among his siblings that my Dad didn’t have any sons to carry on the DiSabato family dynasty. My Dad took some solace when I…

View original post 357 more words

Hello on this Sacred Tuesday

I haven’t written for quite a while on this blog site, and for that I am sorry.  Life has been anything but simple, but it can be if I discipline my mind and behavior. (I say to myself). Something has called me back here on this Tuesday morning where all is quiet on the western front. I cherish the silence and contemplative life where I can be with my heart and thoughts with you.

As I look out my window, the Morning Glories greet me along the porch rails. My dog Ella waits at my feet until it’s time for our daily walk along the back roads of Sonoma where I am sure to bump into a familiar face, a neighbor happy to say hello.

I know I’m not alone in this room of my own. I like the idea of you being out there about to start your day too, me here at my writing desk, sharing in an intimate exchange on this Sacred Tuesday.

I breathe in and out, and savor these precious moments, wondering if you might be doing the same? Each day is so unique and short-lasting. And as Stephen King said, “Life can turn on a dime.”

I have made a home here, among the ripening grapes, the growing garden, and the stoic Redwood trees, but more, I have made a home in my soul. I may just be “a Soul in Sonoma,” but who says I need to be more? I sense the timelessness in the air, in the start of a new day.

“Your True Home Is the Here and Now,” Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master & Activist writes this in Lion’s Roar magazine. He talks about the 5 Practices to Nurture Happiness, and how to find one’s true home. 1. Letting go. 2. Inviting Positive Seeds. 3. Mindfulness-Based Joy. 4. Concentration and 5. Insight. He says, “We each have many kinds of ‘seeds’ lying deep in our consciousness. Those we water are the ones that sprout, come up into our awareness, and manifest outwardly. ”

As I think about his wise words, I water my soul seeds by connecting with each of you through my writing. It’s a simple act, but a good one: true, fun and genuine.

I wish you peace and joy on this Sacred Tuesday. May you find what fills your soul tank. Thank you for being in my life.

 

 

Hello on this Sacred Sunday

I like the idea of you being out there, me here, sharing in an intimate, yet quiet exchange on this Sacred Sunday. 

I breathe in and out, and savor these precious times, wondering if you might be doing the same?

I pick the last of our sunflowers and put it in a vase. It’s sunny face makes me smile and relax into the day. I have made a home here, among the grapes, the garden, the Redwood trees.

“Your True Home Is the Here and Now,” Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master & Activist writes this in Lion’s Roar magazine. He talks about the 5 Practices to Nurture Happiness, and how to find one’s true home. 1. Letting go. 2. Inviting Positive Seeds. 3. Mindfulness-Based Joy. 4. Concentration and 5. Insight. He says, “We each have many kinds of ‘seeds’ lying deep in our consciousness. Those we water are the ones that sprout, come up into our awareness, and manifest outwardly. ”

As I think about his wise words, I water my seeds by connecting with each of you through my writing.

I wish you peace and joy on this Sacred Sunday. May you find what fills your soul tank. Thank you for being in my life.

 

 

Sunday Morning Funnies

Dear readers,

I hope you get a “Giggle and a Grip” out of my Sunday Morning Funnies. (And if you don’t there’s always the news.) Monicas iphone photos 418

I like to pretend that Sundays are my lazy days, a time to regroup, recharge, and reboot when I’m by myself, or with my colorful family and friends (you know who you are).

The words, regroup, recharge, and reboot place an emphasis on the prefix “re-“, which means “back” or “again”; and according to Englishhints.com, ‘re’ appears in hundreds of English vocabulary words. For example: reject, regret, or revert. Hmmm…I prefer my re-words, don’t you? How about rejoice? That’s good one.

Like my dog, Ella, she knows how to do it.

Fall 2016 009

Sigh. I wish I could be more like her. She’s a master at the Art of Doing Nothing. And I mean nothing. Zippo. Zilch. She’s not even aware of her god-given gift! Talk about unfair!

Then, there’s my cat, Shelby. She doesn’t engage me much when I’m busy running around. She just looks up and yawns, as if to say. “Get a grip, will ya?” In fact, she doesn’t give a rats-ass (actually she might if it’s a rat), if I rest or not. Why would she?

She’s too busy cleaning my room, doing the laundry, and paying my bills.

Monicas iphone photos 673

As for my Sunday Tips:

  • Make time for a power nap.
  • Don’t under-estimate the power of ignore.
  • And the next time you think you hear your pets talking to you, see a doctor!

Note: And no, I’m not a cat person, or a dog person. I’m a Muppet person.

Happy Sunday my friends!

What Needs Pruning in your Life?

Every year at this time, the vineyards call our attention. My husband, Dan and I live on an acre of land and tend to 600 vines in Sonoma. Come the break of Spring, the vineyards ask to be freed of their dead weight, scraggly wintry branches they’ve been holding up for far too long. The vines need room for the sun and time to breathe before the birth of little pink bud-babies.

After months of rain, the dormant vines received their wish yesterday. A group of hired-hands came together to alleviate the vineyards from their weighted past. With clippers, they made space for possibility, vast and beautiful as the Sonoma sky.

cropped-sky-photo.jpg

Photo Credit: Deborah Parrish Photography

I soak in the beauty of scarcity that only comes at the tail end of winter. I feel lighter now, knowing the heavy work is done. As I stare out my living room window, the vineyard landscape is breathtaking: open and stark. I am reminded that I too, need to prune the things in my life that no longer serve me, so I can make room for more life-affirming, joyful acts.

feb-2017-013

Being a lover-of-lists, here’s what I am pruning out of my cluttered life to make way for more open, life-sustaining fulfillment, like candles. Heart candles!

Here’s my list:

  1. Less Whining = More wine! More friends and more wine.
  2. Less News and Social Media = More reading, writing, listening to music.
  3. Less Talking = More Prayer, meditation, and silent retreats.
  4. Less Clutter = More sanity!
  5. Less procrastination = More ‘Be Here Now’ activity.
  6. Less seriousness = More laughter!
  7. Less planning = More trust to let the day unfold.
  8. Less pressure = Enough with the should have, could have, would have thinking!

As the old saying goes, “Less is More.” The recipe for simplicity.

What do you think needs pruning in your own life? I wonder. (Hope it’s not me. Haha).

 

 

The Power to Soar

I just finished reading a book called, Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain, a powerfully written novel about Beryl Markham, a woman brought up wild in Kenya, Africa. If you loved Out of Africa, this unconventional story is for you.

Beryl was involved with Deny’s Finch Hatton and hungered for his love for most of her adult life. She endured societal scandals as well, swept up in a love triangle between him and the writer and Baroness Karen Blixen who also loved him deeply.

What stays with me was Beryl’s fearlessness, a pioneer in her own right. She was one of the first women racehorse trainers,