Archive | September 2017

2014 Amancay Red Blend

It was a long, tiring week with a ton going on both at work and personally, so Friday night when my weekend finally got started after 8 pm, I opened up the 2014 Amancay Reserva Red Blend from the Uco Valley in Argentina.  It was a Trader Joe’s pick at $6.99.

It has some terrible reviews on the internet, but I thought it was pretty good.  It is a nice, medium body red wine for a very good price.  The tannins weren’t too heavy and it has a nice balance with the fruit.  Not a lot of oak, and that’s what I like.  Plus it has held up well both nights, I feel like it tasted a bit bolder on the second night.  There’s still more in the bottle, so I am interested to see how it changes over the next couple of days too.  I’m not really sure why the couple of reviews that were there were so bad.  I guess it just goes to show that wine is always a personal taste.

I didn’t take any notes, because well, exhaustion, but I would definitely buy this again.

Happy Sunday Funday!

Need a Vacation!

I’m in peak busy time at work and in dire need of a trip plan to look forward to.  Sadly, I was invited for a return trip to Hawaii but couldn’t commit because of work!  Nothing breaks a girl’s heart more than a vacation I can’t take!  I need to get something on the books…  So here’s what I’m thinking…

  • Someplace with lots of history – museums, battlefields, tours, etc.  Concentrated so I wouldn’t have to do a ton of driving.
  • Small to medium sized city – I don’t feel like navigating a big metropolis.
  • Decent weather in early November.  It doesn’t need to be hot, but I’d rather not be dealing with a snowstorm either.
  • In the U.S. – as my passport is currently expired and I don’t think I’ll get the new one in time.
  • And of course, reasonably priced.

What say you, dear readers?  Where should my next trip be?

Sauk Mountain Hike

July 9, 2017

In July, I had an opportunity to do a hike up Sauk Mountain in Skagit County.  It is a popular hike, with gorgeous views of the Sauk and Skagit River Valleys.

We got on the road a little later than I had hoped, because Cora had escaped the house a couple days before and she had only come back that morning at about 4:30 am.  Bad kitty…  So I caught a couple hours of sleep, then woke up at 7 and decided to go for it, despite my semi-exhausted state…

The Sauk Mountain hike starts out with a little incline through wildflowers and small shrubs, and then begins a series of switchbacks up the side of the mountain.  Don’t get too close to the edge of the trail, as the switchbacks do have a lot of loose dirt, and it would be easy to lose your footing.  Be sure to take time to stop and check out the views!  If you are like me, you will have to, because you will need a chance to catch your breath.

At the top of the switchbacks you head around to the other side of Sauk Mountain, with more stunning views of the Cascade mountains in the distance. You reach a spur trail that goes off to Sauk Lake – we didn’t do it because it was still snowed in, plus we would have had to hike down to the lake and then back up!
The last bit to the top of Sauk Mountain was covered in snow – step carefully because it gets slippery!  The snow stays late in the season up here on this north facing slope.  After you are through the snow patch, you pick your way through the jagged rocks to the top.  Of course, I got distracted by the wildlife, and forgot to take a photo of the top, although this gives you an idea…

The jagged ridge near where the trail ends

We saw marmots!  And pika!  Both were not super-cooperative in my attempts to photograph them…  The views were amazing – everywhere you turn you see a different mountain.
I loved this hike!  It is 4.2 miles round trip, with a 1,200 foot elevation gain, and an elevation at the top of 5,500 feet.  I would certainly do it again!

2016 Woodinville Wine Half Marathon

On September 17, 2016, I completed my 8th Half Marathon!  The race was a repeat for me, another chance to do the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon – in it’s 2nd year.  You may remember that I got my personal record in this race in 2015!  Or maybe only I remember things like that…

At any rate – Katie and I were back for another round, with our friend Shelley cheering us on.

The weather was not our friend – a steady drizzle that pretty much stuck with us the entire race.  My shoes got squishy…  I usually don’t get blisters when I race, but the wet socks and shoes were a different matter…  Thankfully, they weren’t too bothersome and I was able to make it through…  My clothes were soaked through – I guess it doesn’t much matter if it’s sweat or water!

The good thing is that despite the rain, it wasn’t windy and the temperature was perfect for heavy exercise.  The course is awesome – fast and flat, and most of it runs through woods and along the river for some really pretty views.

I struggled a bit with my shin splints at the beginning, but was able to really find my groove thanks to the Nine Inch Nails I had on the IPod – a little ragey music to get my heart rate up!  And in the end I got a new personal record!  2:53:50 – for a pace of 13 minutes 16 seconds per mile.

The post-race beer and wine festival was good – the rain had stopped by the time we made it to the finish line – but it was a little cold once we stopped moving!  And again this year it seemed like some of the wineries were already packing up and heading out by the time we got done…  Frustrating!  We did find enough to keep us satisfied and get a happy buzz on, and made some new friends too!  I cannot remember this man’s name, but he was super-funny and very kind – it was his first half marathon!

After we did some day-drinking, we walked down the street to a burger joint and had a delicious lunch and lots of water!  You have to hydrate!

What a fabulous day!


Note: It seems that the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon is no more – after two years they packed it in.  I’m sad…  I liked the course and it was a convenient location for us.  I guess I can say I did them all…  All two of them…


Cora Loves Ollie

Oliver is slowing down lately.  He is content just snoozing most of the day away.  And he doesn’t usually have patience for Cora and her antics.  Today she marched over to him and started to give him a bath.  After initially looking really skeptical, he settled down and let her lick him…  I think he even might have liked it…



This is a photo of me in Hawaii this last May.  You may have noticed that neither of the men that I am with is my husband.

Unfortunately, my marriage ended this year, because sadly, you cannot make someone love you or treat you with respect, you cannot make someone keep the promises they made to you, and you cannot save someone who does not want to be saved.  All you can do is set your own boundaries, and prevent yourself from going down with the ship.

War stories? Yeah, I have a bunch. Some of you have heard them in all their ugly detail as I weathered the storm, but I have no interest in reliving those memories.

Neither of the men in the photo is my boyfriend, or my rebound.  They are dear, old friends with whom I have been blessed to do some traveling.  They are among the small group of dear friends and family who have helped me get through this.  Who have helped me to relearn that I am enough, just as I am.  For those of you in this group, I am eternally grateful to all of you.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”  – Louisa May Alcott