Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Napa in Winter
I was surprised to find that driving through the streets of Napa in January evoked the same feeling as when used to drive through it in the summer. There are less leaves, but the recent rains have made the scenery just as green.
Taking a rare PTO (Paid Time Off) day, I decided to accept Sherry's invitation to one of her Rockapella concerts. This one counted as my third attendance. I burned some points and we stayed at the Marriott Napa Resort & Spa. We were greeted with wine and cheese in the room. These are one of those times elite membership pays off. Sherry couldn't get over the French doors in the junior suite upgrade we got. They were a nice touch. Tired from the drive from San Jose, we decided to dine with room service. Prior to the concert, we watched Shalimar's "The Village" and got totally blown away... kinda.
The concert was in a small and beautiful theater, the Napa Opera House. It's hard to believe that at one time it remained unused for 90 years. It seems such a waste. Today, it's wonderfully restored and now hosts a wide variety of theatrical and small musical venues.
Rockapella. What can I say, they sang "Jenny Come Away" and that was all I needed to hear. For those who don't know, I can't describe in words what a wonderful group this is. I have drunk the punch and am now a believer. If they are in Southern California again, let me know and I'll take you with us.
The next day was spent touring a bit of Napa. Because Sherry and I were both born with the Outlet Shopping Gene, we had to hit the one in Napa and the teeny one in St. Helena. We made of like... Discount bandits!
For her birthday, I took her to the CIA, no, not that one... The one with the yummy food: Culinary Institute of America - Greystone in St. Helena, CA - Napa's little sister. We dined and dined and dined... oh! so much good food.. can't let it go to waste. Let me see if I can remember our delectable eats:
We started out with their daily Temptations - an array of delicious small bites to be shared by all at the table. It was arranged on this iron contraption that held six little plates:
- Mixed Italian olives (It was all Jenny - Sher didn't care for these bites..)
- Leg of Pheasant over currant couscous
- Small sips of potato leek soup
- Teriyaki beef sticks
- Duck mouse
- some vegetarian dish - can't remember, damn my carnivorous brain!
For my First Course (Sherry declined), and for which I forgot to tell myself NOT to order: Fois Gras. Although it wasn't seared the way I like it, it was still oh-so good!
For our Second Course (main entree), Sherry ordered the Nantucket Bay Scallops with the risotto. I opted for the Braised Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish potato puree, brussle sprouts (I counted only two) and fried parsnips. Heaven!!
With barely one button left undone, for Dessert, a special birthday Profitreroles (mini cream puffs filled with coffee ice cream, caramelized bananas and hot chocolate sauce) arrived at our table. Sher blew out her candle and we dove in!
We rolled out of the restaurant and straight into the CIA Campus Store and proceeded to shop for souvenirs and, in my case, cute little kitchen things that I "may" one use day. We only had time to visit two wineries: Beringer and Coppola Vineyards. I bought a couple of their "Director's Reserve" and the newest blush wine named after his daughter, Sophia. (Ok, ok, it was a pretty bottle and the girl in me couldn't resist.) I decided to cap off our weekend by introducing Sherry to a Stabuck's Chantico... she hasn't been the same since. (Try it.. if you dare. :)
And so, ended Jenn & Sher's Excellent Napa Adventure. For those who don't know, Sherry and I have a looooooonngg history. We met at the age of 6... oh.. about 20 years ago. ;) Oh sure, we've had our ups and downs, but through sick and sin, we made it through - stronger, better, sweeter and much more appreciative of each other and our friendship.
That's the stuff dear old kindred souls are made off... The same kind we cultivate in our newer friendships. OK, 'nuff said... other than: Sher, I love you hon! (((hugs!))) Happy Birthday Sweetie!!
For more information on Rockapella visit:
For more information on Rockapella's Number 1 Fan Site (Sherry's Site) visit:
For more information on the CIA, visit:
For more information on Coppola Winery visit:
For more information on Beringer Vineyards visit:
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Jenn's Happy Thoughts
There are days when I feel like things are not going my way. That's when I close my eyes and think of some of the things that happened to me or have been said to me that make everything seem brighter and lighter:
While looking over some PBDA munchies, Dan began to read the company name on the label of a wrapped fortune cookie: "I Love You Cookie."
Standing next to him and without looking up, I casually reponded: "Well.. I don't know how I feel about you, but don't call me Cookie."
Hence, the birth of his nickname for me.
Herb, during a somewhat heated discussion of PBDA dancers and who they choose to dance with, announces: "Hey, if you have a choice of driving a Mac Truck or a Ferrari, you're gonna drive the Ferrari."
He starts naming off some of the ladies of the "Cat Club."
I piped up and said, "Oh?... I don't hear my name."
He leaned in close and said, "Girl, you smoothed out!"
At a recent dance at Swing Central (Kevin & Carla's home in Redwood City): During one of their rare Snowballs, I got a happy guy who, after each spin, would give this very surprised look. After the third one, I inquired: "Is there something I am doing wrong?"
His smile widened and responded: "No, you just spin like a top!"
My smile widened too.
At a recent PBDA dance, Charlie (Exchange-Charlie as we affectionally refer to him), made it a point to tell me, "You know, last week when I danced with you... you did really well. You've been working on your dancing. I thought you should know." My jaw dropped. A compliment from Charile. Wow, I thought I'd never see the day. I gave him a quick hug and said, "Oh Charlie, you made my day... no, my week!"
I decided to step it up a notch at the Feb 5 dance and got about a dozen compliments on my vintage dress. I usually reserve this particular dress for the Ballroom Dances, but it was a great hit at the dance. Most were along the lines of "I love your dress!!" "I like the way it twirls" the best, again from Herb, "It's nice to see someone dress up at these dances. That's why swing has gone down. Who the heck introduce bicycle pants to swing??!!!" Good ol Herb. (Don't forget to get me a copy of that picture!)
Like something out of a 70's Love Boat set, I stood on the Promenade Deck of the Carribean Princess. It was 5:30am, I was looking out a faint red glow to the east. Instintively I closed my eyes. I could feel the near perfect temperature of the wind on my face. Rarely do a feel a Peace this strong and profound. It surrounded me with such warmth and comfort. It suddenly disappated upon hearing voice behind me that commented, "Looks like it's going to be beautiful morning." I felt like I was tumbling out to the clouds. I turned around and... an angel smiled. I disappeared for a day. MIA amoung my cruise buddies. I missed a whole island. Time stopped for two ships passing in the night.