Thursday, May 3, 2012

Disjointed Thoughts plus Our Too Short Trip to Heaven

I’m facing my 67th birthday in June and I’m okay with it. I’ve never had the trepidation some have with milestone birthdays and I’m pretty damned happy with Social Security and Medicare. Medicare, by the way is the first insurance program I’ve been involved with I can actually understand. It has to be the low overhead and operating costs preventing Medicare from writing all the duplicitous and arcane bullshit that shows up in “private” insurance plans.

I used to think that Richard M. Fairbanks (Dick to the few, Mr. Fairbanks to the many) was the single most out of touch person I’ve ever met. Most of his remarks to those less worthy were so dissonant they would make me feel sorry for him as soon as the words left his mouth. It must be very difficult to have never worried about your “place” in the world much less ever thought of how to feed your family. I do have to say after watching Mitt Romney since the early 90’s (the bastard has been running for office for 20 years!) that old Dick Fairbanks was a blue collar, shit kicker compared to Mitt.

Jan and I spent part of our mini vacation in Cambria. We highly recommend the Fog Catcher Inn, dogs welcome and the room had a fireplace plus it’s across the street from Moonstone Beach. We had dinner at Madeline’s and once again the dog was welcome. I had jambalaya maybe as good as the jambalaya I kind of remember eating at Ernie K Doe’s Mother in Law Lounge in New Orleans at three o’clock in the morning years ago when I was a young and foolish fellow. In addition to the fireplace, beach and a good free breakfast the Fog Catcher has terrific bed linens, down pillows and comforters. Without my AARP discount we would have had to settle for Motel 6 “where they keep the light on for yah”. The dog refused to sleep on the fancy dog bed provided for him, choosing instead to sleep with Mom and Dad. The old boy was on fire from sleeping in a mound of down and woke me with his panting at three AM. Jan slept through it like the trooper she is.

We left Cambria after buying organic beef from the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon and drove over Highway 46 to Paso Robles and our visit to Bianchi.  46 is one of America’s finest drives, it climbs from the coast and Highway One (one of the best drives in the world, by the way) to the Central Coast Wine Country. Micro-climates galore, it was 52 degrees and foggy in Cambria, sunny and high 80’s in Paso all in 26 miles! When the sun went down at the Wine House at Bianchi, it was in the mid-fifties and windy, 4 hours earlier it was 90 and still. The grapes love it and you can taste it in the wine.

Our Cambria pals, Tom and Lana Cochrun joined us for dinner at the wine house along with Bianchi marketing rep Diane and her significant other Chuck. I cooked the beef and veggies, Jan made the salad. Tom roasted a chicken, Lana brought homemade Thai noodles and as an experiment I steamed the baby carrots and spring peas in Champagne and butter….add some sautéed mushrooms and we were good to go and go we did. Lana’s homemade bread was spectacular.  5 bottles of wine, the balance of the champagne, a taste or two of small batch bourbon and cigars made for a fine evening of conversation, food and friendship. Small gifts were exchanged and I woke up again at three, this time with a hangover! Well worth it.

Before we headed home we got the VIP tour of Bianchi. (Jan’s restaurant sells a 1,000 bottles of their wine a month, so she is a major   VIP) We saw all facets of the business from the baby grapes to the bottling machine. We also tasted 8 or 9 wines before 10 in the morning.

Tom Lane, the winemaker at Bianchi Winery told me an interesting fact, since installing moisture monitors in the vineyard soil he has been able to cut water usage by 35%.  The monitors turn on the drip irrigation system only when the vines need a drink. The man loves his job and makes great wine. Tom has 4 advanced degrees in ag, wine and chemistry and they have a very sophisticated lab in the middle of the winemaking operation with a full time technician who runs tests all day long. It was very cool.

We got home at 2. I had all good intentions of going into the office, called young Mr. Alvarez, he said he had me covered so Jan and I took a nap instead, because that’s what old guys do, especially when you have somebody you love to cuddle up with and dream of the California’s Central Coast.

Rumor is God has retired there.


1 comment:

  1. Say, young feller, I just celebrated my 72nd about 10 days ago. We're headed down to the big valley next weekend to celebrate Judy's. I won't mention her age.

    Sounds like you had a good run up to the Central Coast again. Tom had written about that visit to the Bianchi ranch but the only picture he showed was one of his chicken!!!