Sunday, March 28, 2010

Catching my Breath

Crazy schedule has not calmed down. But I did have a little time today to think about the fact that in a mere 3 months I will be in France. On another of our wonderful, relaxing, tasty, wine-drenched Words & Wine trips!!

And then that caused me to go...."holy crap, 3 months away?? We're in charge of this thing. We've got to get the itinerary to folks!!" So uh...this blog fell by the wayside. But you can check out part of the itinerary that's getting firmed up and looking good ("holy crap, I only have 3 months to do that myself!!") over at 
And in the next few days, Chris should have all the info and the full itinerary on the website. (We still have a few spots left for some wine-lovers to join the tour!). Hey, I wonder if this means life is sort of returning to a pre-cancer normal? Now there's a thought!

I'll be back blogging over here soon...I hope.

(P.S. photo is Chris and pre-cancer/chemo Teresa on the first Words & Wine trip...August 2006. Awwww...)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Two Steps Forward...Two, Maybe Three Back

Alrighty I've made it 2/3 of the way through my volunteer gauntlet. The Shop to Stop Breast Cancer was a big success (that's me with Roryann Clements and Sheena Meder at the event) and a fun evening. Both of my client seminars also went well. And this morning was the Walk With the Animals followed by Sheena and Ronaldo's housewarming party (luckily, dogs were invited too so we just went from one event to the next). You can see just how much Seamus enjoyed his day--this is him at the Walk with the Animals  pancake breakfast (syrup on the paws...yummy, and not at all messy.) He was much better behaved here than he was later at the housewarming where he barked at guests until they fed him. And they all fed him.

So what should have been left on my itinerary was just Alternatives to Domestic Violence's Professionals and Community Leaders Luncheon of which I am the chairperson with a few speaking duties. That's Tuesday and would have been the end of my crazy stretch of over-doing it.

But no. I failed to say "no" once again. So Wednesday night I will serve as co-auctioneer at the Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Ball. Two reasons I couldn't say no (beyond the usual failure to recall that word): 1) Jack Clarke asked me to be the Co M.C. and usually its me dragging him into things, so I owed him one, and 2) the party theme is "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere"/ Jimmy Buffett style and I'm a huge JB fan. I'm rationalizing this by saying it's only a small part. I'm not organizing it, I'm not selling tickets and I'm not really responsible for anything. Yeah, that's how I'm rationalizing it.

Then at the Walk with the Animals today I was approached by someone from the "Bark for Life" American Cancer Society fundraising event. A dog walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Given that Seamus and I are both cancer survivors she wanted me to speak at the event this summer. I will admit, I find that one hard to pass up. It's like it's an event perfectly aligned with this blog. And it's not until June! We'll see if she follows up with me, but yeah, I may have done it again.

The other step backward is the fact that I'm not going to the memoir writing class tomorrow. I'm going to work instead. I really need to get some work cranked out and the class takes place smack in the middle of my most productive time (2 to 4pm).  I'm sad about that, but it's what I have to do right now. The fact that I will miss this class, and the way I felt after the non-profit events this week (generally grumpy and a little irritated) should be enough to help me keep my resolution to step away from the volunteerism. In stark contrast, I felt great after my two client seminars and yesterday when I worked at home and got organized enough to know I need to spend Sunday in the office and it didn't make me grumpy as much as just motivated. Hmmm..

Oh, and by telling you all about it, I'm hoping to shame myself into just saying no. Keep me on it, will ya?

P.S. Hating my hair these days, but there it is in the Shop to Stop photo. Too long to be edgy/stylish/ short and too short to really style into anything. I've moved from toddler hair to 6 year old boy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slow Learner

Remember how I wasn't sure if I had had a "breast cancer survivor's epiphany" or not after I finished surgery, chemo and radiation? And then remember how I thought maybe I had because I learned a little about prioritizing my time (click here if you need a refresher)? When I went through the breast cancer odyssey I pretty much reduced my life to work and taking care of my health. And wow, I had all this time on my hands and the whole big world, my little town, my little world and pretty much everything else went on just fine without me. Huh. Post-treatment I ramped back up (dork!) and then suddenly hit a wall with way, way too much stuff going on and that's when I had the little epiphany about time management and prioritizing what was important to me. I scheduled things so I had time to exercise, read, write, and still work quite a bit (I am still building a business). Cue the maniacal laughter.

Old habits die hard. And it seems I did it again.

Today, Chris and Brein Clements (genius chef and proprietor of Restaurant Omakase) are down in San Diego at a Family Winemakers tasting event. I was supposed to go but couldn't. Because I, (once I finish blogging and am sufficiently amped on coffee) will be heading into my office to try to get a jump start on the week. Because my schedule has and will in the immediate future look like this:

Wednesday the 10th: film public service announcement for the Riverside Public Library Foundation (I'm on the board)

 Friday the 12th : in Burbank all day at a conference for work (where I also volunteered to serve on a committee).

Saturday the 13th: 1st birthday party for my assistant's son, followed by several hours in the office

Monday: Shop to Stop Breast Cancer event; I'm the honorary chair and am supposed to say something to the room of 200 women and I bet they expect something inspirational or at least moderately coherent. (Must figure this out today).

Tuesday evening : Seminar for my clients about the 2010 estate tax laws and other fascinating bits. Again, I think they'll expect me to be coherent (must figure this out today).

Wednesday evening: meeting with city manager (on a client's behalf). Probably good if I'm coherent.

Thurs a.m.: breakfast seminar for clients (see Tuesday evening and general need for coherency)

Saturday: Walk With the Animals (fundraiser for the Riverside Humane Society)--I am the master of ceremonies and will need to be there for the day.

Sunday: memoir writing class at the Mission Inn (okay, this one actually should be on the list!!).

Tuesday the 23rd: Professionals and Community Leaders luncheon for the benefit of Alternatives to Domestic Violence (I'm the chairperson of the lunch and a member of the board of directors)

Have I lost my freakin' mind??  Yes, yes I have. When you consider that I have to prepare speeches (or at least something) for most of those events, get sponsors, sell tickets, and generally know what the hell is going on, it's just a stupid, stupid schedule. It's like I can't look at the calendar as a whole and say "no, I don't actually have time for that." Instead I look at the 2 hour time slot of an event and say "Well, yes, I'm free those two hours and therefore I can commit to 20 or 30 hours of work before that and there is no reason for me to see what the rest of that day, week, month looks like! Yes, of course I'll help! What? Be in charge? Why yes, yes I can!"

The good news is after fundraising for no less than 3 major events in one month, I have no friends left. They are all avoiding my calls and emails and have blocked me on Facebook. This is good news, because it makes me completely useless as a fundraiser in the future. This, combined with the fact that my board terms are all up (and shall not be renewed!!!) in June (2 of them) and December (the other 2) should give me my life back.  This is the plan (again).

Slow, slow, slow learner.

I really should take a page out of Seamus's book and just chill.
P.S. Don't get me wrong, I love these agencies and the work they do. (That's part of the problem!). I'm not loving my inability to find balance.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Paso Part Deux

Back to Paso Robles...sadly, not in "real life" but in this blog. I must finish telling you about our trip to Paso Robles, because I pretend you are anxiously awaiting this and also because I love re-living it.

On our last day there, Monday, I slept in until almost 10a.m. And I mean slept. We were at Lisa and Ted Plemons' home until after midnight and got to bed somewhere around 1ish. I didn't even open my eyes until almost 10a.m. This is astounding because it's 9 hours of sleep--amazing enough--but I'm also pretty sure it's the first time I've slept that long straight through since cancer and chemo robbed me of that ability. So the day started off pretty darn good. We had time for coffee (me) and a blueberry muffin (Chris) and scone (me) before heading over to meet Judy Starr at the Starr Ranch. Judy is a well known, well-respected grape grower. Her grapes are used in many of the wines of the area. She gave us a private tasting and I thoroughly enjoyed her Rousanne, and also her dried persimmons (pretty and tasty!). The blog header photo was taken as we drove away from Starr vineyards (I'm pretty sure it's her property).


We left Starr and drove over to her neighbors, the Dubosts of the Dubost Ranch and Winery, for a spectacular lunch of grilled vegetables, chicken, boar sausage and ribs. Wow. Curt Dubost's family has owned the farm for over 90 years. His wife Kate, and both of their sons were all active in turning the farm into a vineyard and winery. Kate's son Jake is the winemaker and joined us for lunch to share and discuss his delicious wines (Chris loves their Negrette and I love the Alexandrine--a Viognier/ Rousanne see a pattern with my wine loves?). And, they had the most adorable dogs.


After Dubost we headed over to Carmody-McKnight where owner Gary Conway Carmody (he of "Land of the Giants" TV fame) gave us a tasting of his wines. Gary is passionate, to say the least, about his wine and his land. He and Chris literally "drank the soil"--Gary's demonstration of the mineral richness of his soil. Gary is also an artist and I loved his paintings (you can see them on the website; I had to refrain from purchasing however...we're still supposed to be on a budget and um, there was wine being purchased.)
Then (I napped in the car) we headed over to Sylvester Winery where winemaker Michael Barretto gave us a tour and a tasting (including a barrel tasting ) of his Barretto wines. Iberian wines from California grapes. Cool. Very interesting wines and while I normally have allergies to red wines and have to be careful...I had to indulge.


Continuing on our very difficult day we headed back over to Cass Winery to see it during the day. (okay, about here you're wondering who the heck is driving. The answer is Chris, because I was sleeping in the car constantly. Oh, and Chris is way better at sipping and spitting than I am. My motto is "Spittin' is Quittin'"). 

Steve Cass gave us a tour of their tasting room and winemaking facilities (the link is to a YouTube video of Steve discussing Paso Robles as an AVA). And, of course, we tasted more wine (love the 2009 Viognier...some came home with me but did not last long, so now I've joined their wine club). And we met their South African winemaker, Lood, and  Meg , the Boston terrier,who is one of the dogs featured in Winery Dogs of Central California. Shockingly, I didn't get a photo of her! In fact, the wine must have kicked in because the only photo I did get was of the private tasting room. We were just chit-chatting and tasting away so no photos. Next time!

Chris had the arduous task of then driving us home (it's about a 5 hour drive and we left at about 5pm). But we stopped for a classic steak and baked potato dinner in Buellton (about an hour and a half into the drive) at The Hitching Post 2 (made more famous in the movie Sideways). Mmmmm. Did I mention I slept the entire way home?
The owner, Frank Ostini, stopped and chatted with us and we're looking forward to bringing the Forgotten Grapes tour group back in April for dinner there as well. Oh, and at the table next to us was Jim Fox, the color commentator for the Los Angeles Kings ( Chris recognized him and his voice) who, as it turns out, is also a wine lover and kindly shared some of his wine with us when he and his wife didn't finish their bottle. Did I mention I slept the entire way home?? ;-)

This was really a memorable trip. My favorite things in the world are books, dogs, wine and travel and this had it all. Besides several bottles of wine, my souvenirs also included two books: Winery Dogs of Central California and Wine Dogs USA 2. (I already have and love the first Wine Dogs USA and Winery Dogs of Napa Valley--I think this makes me a collector).  Needless to say, I cannot wait to return in April!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Miscellany Mess o' things

 We'll get to more Paso Robles postings, but two exciting things happened in the last 24 hours that must be shared.

First, for the first time in 355 days...I used a blow dryer!!
Right, okay, so I don't really have that much hair, and nor did it get blown out that big, but...the point is, I have enough hair that a blow dryer,'s not necessary, but it's helpful. I'm not sure anybody else could tell a big difference, but at least I don't have a wet head of hair most of the day.

See, last week I got my hair trimmed up a bit and my hairstylist added a little red highlighting to it. But  nobody noticed! This seemed like a monumental event to me so I thought people should notice, so of course I started telling everyone. And everyone squinted their eyes at me, tilted their heads and said "really?" Then I realized that when my hair is wet, it's darker and when I put product in it in my lame attempt to style what still looks like toddler hair into something that looks like adult hair, but not too adult, it just stays dark. You can't really see any "highlights" when there is no light hitting it. That's when I had the brilliant idea to actually dry my hair before putting any product in it. Hmmm... still no one has noticed. I'll have Chris take a picture of it and see if you can tell. Besides, we're due for another oh-so-stimulating-just-how-long-does-it-take-to-grow-hair-back-post-chemo photo. (March 13th is the anniversary of my head-shaving. A one-year-later photo would be appropriate).

And the second exciting thing was that I received my first blog award! I've seen these on many folks blogs, but have never actually known how they came about. Well, apparently they are just bandied about from blogger to blogger.  Here's the one I received, from Chrissy over at I Shoulda Been a Stripper:

 This is a "Sweet Friend" award and it comes with serious, serious obligations for the recipient. To wit:

The Sweet Friends Award has the following rules:

1. Copy the image and paste it to your blog.
2. List 10 things that make you happy, do one of them today.
3. Select 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

Alrighty then, so yes, it's like a chain letter, only without threats of bad luck or ill health (which would of course be remarkably tacky considering my blog is what is known as a "cancer blog"---not a blog that is a cancer, people, knock it off).  I'm going to sort of follow the rules, since Chrissy herself broke the rules (she also had less than 10 in number 3):

1. Check.
2. Ten things that make me happy:  Chris, cuddling with Seamus, dogs in general, wine, reading, the beach, travel,writing, napping, having a fabulous meal.  And the jokes about "doing" one of those things are just too easy and yet inappropriate.
3.  The 3 (right, 3, not 10...I'm improvising here) bloggers who brighten my day (besides Chrissy, who already got this award) are:
     - Roryann at   Cooking With The Chef's Wife
     - Sara at   Sara in Vermont
     - Stephanie at  Bah! to Cancer

Ladies, consider yourself awarded and now you must follow the rules for one who has been awarded a "Sweet Friend" award or terrible things will (or will not) happen to your life/blog/worst enemy/Kleenex (you choose).

And there's my mess o' musings for the day.