Saturday in Napa

Yes, I know we’ve been home a week already, but I needed to think about how to best convey the utter perfection of our second day in Napa, and these things take time to percolate. Plus, the hustle & bustle of real life intervened, so there’s been a mountain of laundry, baseball games, homework, and errands aplenty since our return from the Golden State. Then there were some humorous interruptions, like Payton’s poker face (or utter lack thereof) and a couple of doctor appointments forcing themselves to the head of the blogging queue. Couple all of that with the arrival of our dear friends from Boston for their semi-annual visit, and you get a better idea of why this little blog has been neglected. Never fear, it is back to business now.

I’m not quite ready to let go of the Napa trip. So much of what I blog about is yucky stuff–cancer, infection, surgeries, drug therapy, and assorted pain & suffering–so when I have a lovely topic, like a trip to Napa, I’m gonna milk it for all its worth. Then maybe milk it some more.

If I still write about the trip and continue to post pictures, it lives on in the forefront of my memory and isn’t yet consigned to the dusty, slideshow status of trips gone by, and it doesn’t quite get crowded out by the workaday stuff that has to get done around here to keep this household running. Our long weekend in Napa to celebrate one of my BFF’s entries into the “Over 40 Club” was the stuff that legends are made of (at least in my mind). It was a celebration of Yvonne’s 40 years on this Earth, and for me, a smaller celebration of life finally, at long last, returning to some semblance of normal after a long, unpleasant, bumpy ride.

Which brings us to Saturday, Day Two in Napa. Friday, Day One in Napa, had been what I thought was the perfect day in Wine Country, but Saturday was even better.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, let me share two of my favorite photos from the preceding days. This one  is from Thursday afternoon at the Franciscan in San Francisco, before we left the Bay City for Wine Country. It’s a fave because The Birthday Girl had arrived to start the party-filled weekend, because we’re surrounded by great wine & yummy food, and because it was a harbinger of all the fun times to come. We were still waiting on the rest of our crew to arrive, but we went ahead and got the party started.

This was at Silver Oak on Friday, where we met the infamous Walter, who will live forever in our memories of Napa. In fact, if I recall correctly, the infamous Walter took this very photo. Just after this photo, we moved on from Silver Oak to Quintessa, and the day just kept getting better and better.

But back to Saturday. The day began with mimosas and a bloody mary to toast The Birthday Girl at breakfast. I mentioned before that this was the best-ever bloody mary, and I stand by that claim. Wish I had one right now. But I’m drying out, so that would be inappropriate.

After breakfast Saturday morning, we grabbed to-go cups and hustled outside to meet our ride and the rest of our merry party. While these aren’t exactly Texas-sized to-go cups (or “roaders” as we like to call a drink on the go), they certainly were tasty and really, who needs a Big Gulp when you’re off to taste a hundred wines in one of the best places on Earth? As delicious and festive as those bloody marys were, I’m glad I wasn’t confronted with the dilemma of having a refill to say no to; that would have been tricky.

We were off to Quixote, my favorite of all the wineries we visited. Suffice to say that if our trip had ended after the visit to Quixote, I would have been satisfied. The fact that it didn’t was icing on the cake. Or an extra olive in the bloody mary. I will write about Quixote soon; need to sort through the photos and do it justice. For now, know that it was phenomenal in every way.

None of us really wanted to leave Quixote, and once we were ready to shove off, we were delayed a bit while our driver borrowed a toolbox from Quixote to remove the limo seats to retrieve a fallen iPad. Once that was done and we packed into the car, we headed to Mumm, on the suggestion of Robert, our tour guide at Quixote. He did not lead us astray. Like all of the wineries we visited, Mumm is gorgeous. Stunning views and beautiful flowers everywhere. And the champagne–did I mention that? My favorite drink, being produced in plentitude. Ahhhh. Happy girl.

We hadn’t scheduled an appointment, and Mumm was bustling and busy on that beautiful Saturday, so we each ordered a glass off the tasting menu and strolled the grounds.I’m not sure where I was in this shot, but hopefully I had a glass in my  hand. I might have been in the restroom, checking out the great quotes on the walls, like this one from Bette Davis:

And this one from economist John Maynard Keynes:

Or I might have been mesmerized by this display in the gift shop:

Also in the gift shop was a small shrine to Carlos Santana, who we had seen the previous day at Silver Oak. He’s a regular around there, and Mumm had a signed guitar, a couple pieces of Santana-inspired artwork, and his own vintage of bubbly.

The patio at Mumm was beautiful, overlooking the vista of the vineyard. The weather was perfect, with blue skies, abundant sunshine, and cool breezes. 

There’s also a small art gallery at Mumm, with rotating exhibits. The day we were there it featured black & white photos of “then & now” shots of all sorts of people. Siblings as kids then as grown-ups. Mamas holding babies, then grandmas holding their generation’s next generation. Cool.

After Mumm, we headed back to V Sattui for picnic provisions and ate a quick lunch before our appointment at Stag’s Leap.

The wines at Stag’s Leap were not my favorite. In fact, of the 7 tastings they poured, I didn’t finish any of them. It was still a lot of fun, and being in the tasting room while the rest of the visitors milled around the common area was nice. We had a place to sit while we dissected the wine, and a chance to catch our breath before moving on. 

With our visits to Quixote, Mumm, and Stag’s Leap, we were done with tastings for the day and headed back to our hotels to get ready for dinner at Bottega. Just in case the day hadn’t been perfect enough, we still had a fantastic dinner to look forward to. Rest assured that dinner lived up to its expectations. Being at the chef’s table toasting The Birthday Girl with wines chosen from our tour will forever be one of my all-time favorite things.

The day was indeed perfect. Every bit of it was just plain perfect. Each winery we visited offered something different, and while Quixote was my favorite, by a lot, I enjoyed the others, too. And as if the wine wasn’t good enough, there was the uninterrupted time with great friends, gorgeous scenery and beautiful weather, and for me, freedom from cancer and its messy aftermath. Now that’s a great day.


Cranky, irritable, and just plain bitchy

That’s how I feel today. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If you’re not in the mood to read something scathing, if you’re feeling a little frail today, or simply don’t like bitchin’ & moanin’ then I suggest you move on, because I have a powerful need to get it out. Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeh.

Don’t know what set this off, and in my current state of utter bitchiness, I don’t really care. I’m just feeling pissy. Been fighting it since I woke up this morning, and am only 4 hours into it, so it’s gonna be a long day. I’m not too proud to call for help in the way of a bloody mary followed by a bottle of champagne followed by a Shock Top or two followed by an extra-tall vodka tonic with extra lime. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that alcohol isn’t the answer, and in many cases actually makes the problem worse, but today I don’t really care, and if you want to lecture me about the dangers of overindulging or how alcohol consumption is tied to increased rates of cancer recurrence, don’t bother. I already know that. But some days it just doesn’t matter.

Today is definitely one of those days.

The straw involved in this particular breaking of camels’ backs came when I decided to spend a little time mindlessly surfing the blog-o-sphere this a.m. in search of humor, inspiration, and distraction from my wickedly bad mood. There are a lot of good blogs out there, and if I ever get out of this funk, I plan to create a blogroll on my blog’s homepage, to share some of the greatness I’ve found. And I will do that. Y’all know me, once I set my mind to something, I do it. ‘Nuff said. But for now, I am waylayed, stymied, stopped in my tracks in my pursuit of a mood-elevating stint on the ‘Net.

Why? Because in the span of 10 minutes I came across 2 blogs that tell me I have to be invited to read before I can even click one single time to see if it’s a blog that appeals to me. WTH??? I have to be invited to access a blog I don’t even know if I’m going to like, much less return to or perhaps follow regularly? WTH???

Ok, on a normal day (whatever the hell that is), I might come across an “invitation only” blog and think, hmmm, that’s interesting, I wonder why it’s configured that way? I’m pretty new to the blogging world, and there’s a lot I don’t know about the wide and wonderful world of blogs. On a normal day, I might wonder: Is this invitation-only blog’s readership so huge that they have to separate the wheat from the chaff? Does the blog’s author feel particularly strong about privacy, as opposed to airing her dirty laundry, the way I do in my little blog? Is she just snotty and isolating in general but in particular toward other BC survivors who are trying to muddle along in this wretched “cancer journey” and seeking solace or answers from those sister souls who’ve been there before?

Maybe that blog author is just a bitch.

This blog author certainly is bitch-y. But I don’t think I’m a bitch. Maybe I am, but today, who cares? I don’t really think that other blog author is, either, although I can’t say for sure since her stupid blog is by invitation only. Screw her, I don’t want to read her stupid blog anyway. I’m gonna pack up my flaming bad mood and leave her holier-than-thou protected blogsite. Bitch.

The post-op instructions that I brought home from the hospital mention something about mood swings and periods of intense emotions. Apparently it’s all part of the “cancer journey” and in particular, the recovery from the major surgery required to try and put the pieces back together after a firestorm of mutated cells banded together to create some bastard tumors that burst through my milk ducts and invaded my system. Rude.

Maybe this is the mood-swing-and-intense-emotion portion of my recovery. Maybe this is the culmination of the hormone frenzy that goes on in my tired, taxed, put-upon body every single day, and today the frenzy got the best of me. Maybe this is totally normal for those of us in the midst of a “cancer journey.” Maybe this is just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill bad day.

Maybe it’s all of the above. One thing I do know for sure is that I am sick, really sick, supremely sick of all of this. I’m not a good patient on a good day, and I’m a hellabad patient on a bad day. Oh how I am sick of all this. Sick of the pain, yet leery of the pain meds. Sick of the drains yet aware of their necessity. Sick of the right drain leaking yet too pissed off to attend to it. Sick of the pile of dirty clothes with patches of bloody spots from the damn drain leaking, yet not at all motivated to start the laundry. Sick of the fact that I need to start the laundry, yet still haven’t been cleared to do any chores. Sick of chores needing to be done while I’m not cleared to do them, yet unwilling to seek help. Sick of having to think so hard about what to wear because of incisions and drains, yet unwilling to stay in my jammies another day. Sick of how hard it currently is to do the basic everyday things (like washing my face), yet not satisfied with the “it’s temporary” mantra that usually calms me. Sick of wondering if raising my arm high enough to reach a glass is the motion that will tear the micro-stitches and disrupt the healing of the micro-surgery, yet thirsty enough to reach anyway. Sick of worrying if I’m doing too much or being too still, yet too lazy to find the answer. And I’m sick–really sick–of sleeping on my back. I’m a side-sleeper but I have to sleep on my back, yet again, because I can’t lay on my incisions. Dammit to hell, I can’t even get comfortable at bedtime.

I’m 11 days into this recovery, and while my rational self knows that 11 days isn’t long enough to heal, I’m impatient and fidgety and ready to move on. But then I realize that when it comes to moving on, I don’t really know what that means. Baby steps aren’t my style. I’m more apt to pitch headlong and headstrong into something and just get ‘er done. Only, in this case, I don’t know how to get ‘er done. Have no clue. I’ve been on this “cancer journey” so long that I don’t exactly remember how to get ‘er done. Don’t even know what it is I’m supposed to be getting done.

All I know is that I’m cranky, irritable, and just plain bitchy today.