#Caturday Fun!

Happy weekend all! I wanted to share some #caturday fun to brighten your day! It’s just another week of lux living for Licorice…

Flowers, yum!
Just catching up with my peeps!
Moms water is so much better than mine!
It’s a cat’s life!

Thanks for viewing and keep writing!

Armageddon? If you fear this is the end of days, use your GIFTS and PRAY!

We were promised unity and transparency. We may be united on one thing; it’s crystal clear that something is tragically amiss. Do you feel it? A murky despair hangs like a toxic fog over our country.

I hear people ask, “What can we do?”

It’s not a shrug your shoulders, we give up, what can we do? My gut says Americans want to do something, to be proactive, do something to stop the madness, because there is nothing worse than feeling helpless.

We are far from helpless and there are many things we can do.

I have long believed that each and every one of us is given a gift at birth, a gift from God. You may be one of the lucky ones who have more than one. The onus is on us to figure out what our talents are and how to use them for the betterment of mankind. Likely, these proficiencies are skills at which each one of us naturally excels. Sure, we may study or work to improve our ability, but to some extent we have always simply had a knack for something like singing, painting, writing, fundraising, teaching, or any ability that makes us unique. It takes some people a lifetime to figure this out. Here’s a hint: ask yourself, what’s the one thing that when you’re not doing it, you’re completely miserable? What is something positive that you are compelled to do?

For me that compulsion is writing. In my youth, and before blogging, self-publishing, and social media, I filled notebooks with words, poems, stories, and incomplete novels. Then, in my twenties and thirties, I filed away the notebooks, in favor of my laptop, often writing stories that I never even shared.

When I started this blog a few years ago, it didn’t really have a focus at first, probably because I didn’t have a focus. Over time, I discovered I liked to write about wine, politics, writing, art and nature. But of all of these, people most like to read my posts about wine and writing.

Then, in I wandered away from the blog and discovered Twitter. A few years ago, I thought Twitter was amazing! I could post a photo of the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC and people in Japan could see and like it. I found other writers. I found people passionate about politics. I stopped really writing and started tweeting instead. I thought I was connecting with the world, how exciting!

In 2016 I wanted to do something for my preferred candidate in the Presidential election. I had used Twitter advertising to promote my book, so I ran a pro-voting twitter campaign using my own tweets. There was nothing nefarious in any of the tweets, snarky yes and attempts to be witty, maybe. The campaign was wildly successful in likes, retweets, and follows. Twitter blocked some of tweets and put them under review. I inquired and received some vague answer.

Not long after the campaign, Twitter deleted all of my advertising analytics, even for the ads I had run for my book. They sent me a letter stating that I had Russian followers. So what? I have followers all over the world, I thought, and a Russian sounding surname. I inquired about the missing ad data. After all, I had paid for those ads; surely what they were doing was illegal. The representative said the ad data only stays up for a limited period of time. I said, “That’s funny because I was always able to go back and review ads from previous years before”. Something didn’t feel right. I didn’t quit Twitter at that time, but I stopped tweeting. That love affair was over.

Just before the 2020 Presidential Election, I started Tweeting again, my political outlet. At one point last fall I had tweeted something about the election and someone tweeted back something nasty. Before I knew it, I was in a tweet battle with a total stranger. It went on for hours. Then, she started tweeting scripture at me. I tweeted scripture back. It went on. Finally, I was just exhausted and I wrote, “Agree to disagree. We both read the same book.” And it stopped. I think at that moment we both realized how foolish we were, and that in a sense, we were both actually on the same side.

I didn’t like who I had become on Twitter, so I closed my account. Prior to this, I had quit Facebook for the same reason and had not missed it at all. Some friends and family members were angry that I had left Facebook, but I was more at peace. It had lost all meaning to me. After my mother passed, I started a family group chat, and a year later we are still using it to share family related events and news. My circle has gotten smaller, but it is more meaningful. I kept this blog because for me it is where it all began and the place where I felt I had made the most genuine connections. I still want to connect with the world, only on my terms.

I think it’s OK to lose your way as long as you can come to your senses and still find your way back.

Lately, I have felt a strong sense that we are all being called, compelled to action if you will, to use our gifts for the sake of and for the good of our fellow man, right now.

As a result of my “tweet battle”, I don’t believe we are all divided. I deduce there is a purposeful wedge being driven between us and that all too often we seek salvation in human form, when the great unifier is faith in a higher purpose, and in a higher power.

As a nation, and as a world, we have spent the last year fighting against an invisible enemy, a virus. We are all exhausted, our souls are depleted and they need to be replenished.

We have been told, “Don’t wear a mask! You must wear a mask! Wear two masks!” And we have been muzzled.

We have lost loved ones; we have watched our children struggle and fail at home school and fight to participate in their chosen sports. Suicide, poverty, drug addiction, and alcoholism are on the rise.

We have been told that we can’t see our friends, our family members, our co-workers, and we can’t worship together.

Right now, tens of thousands of migrants are flooding our southern border illegally aided by human traffickers. We know very little about these migrants, except that they desperately want to flee their own countries and for that we can’t blame them, but at the same time we are ill-equipped to help them, especially now. In addition, they may be COVID super spreaders, and are being allowed to disband across our country. How does this fit with every restriction we have faced over the course of the last year? Why are our leaders allowing this to happen? Is it for votes? Is it to keep spreading the COVID virus and to keep us under control longer?

Our leaders are patting themselves on the back for the new $1.9 Trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package they just unveiled. Did they bother to ask themselves the one question that every one of us asks before buying something as simple as a kitchen appliance? “Can we afford this right now?” You should read what’s in this bill. This article offers a good explanation, and you can decide for yourself: https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-reliefbill2021-covid19-idUSL1N2LA2NF

Maybe a simpler and less expensive solution to our current angst would be for our leaders to close the border, to dispense the vaccines, to allow our small businesses to open and therefore have a fighting chance of survival, and to send our kids back to school. We are America. Most of us don’t really want a handout and $1,400 might pay the mortgage for a month and then what? What I hear people saying is: “we want to be able to earn an honest living and we want our country back”.

Like many of you, I have spent a fair bit of time ruminating over recent political events. For a few months, I chose to disconnect, to not engage, to not write about it, to close down my social media accounts, to not react, and to just take some time to think and to question.

I saw events with my own eyes that made me question the election outcome. Tens of thousands of people supported one candidate, and only a handful supported the other, but the other guy won? Balderdash! Isn’t that a great word?

I questioned why the Supreme Court dismissed court cases challenging the election results and refused to even consider looking into the possibility of voter fraud. Plus, there was the double insult of potential voting impropriety on the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage. What a slap in the face. Shouldn’t voting integrity be of supreme importance to the highest court? Will our vote ever count again? Did it ever count? Don’t we deserve to know?

When one party seeks power at any cost and as a result the other party is made to feel completely powerless, something is terribly wrong.

Make no mistake, a battle is raging.

So you ask again, “what can we do? How can we take back our power?”

We can use our gifts and no joke, we can pray.

A few years ago, while I was researching my novel and certain that I was experiencing a spiritual crisis, I went to speak with a priest. After a long discussion, he told me the best thing that I could do about my predicament was pray.

At the time, I recall I laughed a little. Was it nerves or embarrassment maybe.

He said, “That’s Satan, he’ll always try to stop you from praying.”

“Just pray, that’s it?” I said, “It sounds too simple”.

“There is nothing more powerful, “he said, “than prayer.”

Of course he was right. I didn’t really get it at the time.

I’ve never thought of myself so much as religious, but I’m definitely spiritual. Religious to me was always about being devout, never missing mass, and being able to quote scripture without looking it up. But I’m glad that I took some time this year to reflect and to pray. I’m thankful that I did not give in to negativity and derision and that I did not write out of anger. Loving your enemies takes courage. I’m still working on this. https://www.biblehub.com/matthew/5-44.htm

Like Janice Morrison, the character in my book, I consider myself a Catholic in progress. Janice is far from a saint. She curses like a sailor and sins like the rest of us. She’s in the midst of a battle, good versus evil, both figuratively and literally.

Through prayer, we are allowed to share our burdens. Afterward, I feel physically and spiritually lighter.

So now I pray for the Supreme Court to find courage. I fear that some heinous force holds their tongues, and prevents them from doing their jobs, especially Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Barrett. It could be simply my own fears. But if there is something holding them back, I pray that it will be revealed and that any known threat be vanquished.

I pray for the unborn and for those suffering from religious persecution around the world. https://www.persecution.org/2021/03/05/new-report-highlights-severe-lack-religious-freedom-china/

I pray for the members of the press to open their eyes, their ears, their hearts, and their minds and to tell the truth, not their version or their superior’s version of the truth, and for selective censorship to be cancelled.

I pray for Joe Biden and his family, that he is not afflicted with dementia. Over the past five years, I lived the horror of this disease. My mother lost her struggle with this disease last year just as our nation succumbed to this pandemic. I’m all too familiar with the vacant stares, the lost words, and the stolen memories. I witnessed it in her and in the other residents of her nursing care facility. Dementia is a nightmare from which one can never wake.

I pray that the members of the current administration running the country behind the scenes have the best interest of our great nation and its security at heart and that those in power truly grasp the weight of this heavy burden.

I pray for America to be free again someday soon, for the National Guard in DC to go home to their families, and for faith to be restored in our Nations Capitol. I believe our government does not need protection from its own citizens, but rather from thoughts and ideas that become policies and laws to the detriment of our United States.

I pray that the mighty Constitution of the United States of America can withstand the vicious assault on its Amendments, especially the First, the Second, the Fourteenth, the Nineteenth, and the Twenty-Sixth. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Constitution-of-the-United-States-of-America/Amendments-to-the-U-S-Constitution

Above all, I pray for our children and for the future we will leave to them, with fear, fealty, and faith. I am thankful to still feel compelled to write. With this outlet, and with these prayers, comes some levity.

Pray I’m brave enough to press publish.

Why I Think President Trump’s Supporters Love Him

I had an epiphany when President Trump contracted the Coronavirus and the news outlets that often show contempt for the President, along with a slew of Democratic politicians, and non-supporters were wishing our energetic, charismatic, outspoken President harm.

They’re jealous.

They can’t comprehend the love and support President Trump garners. Few if any leaders enjoy this level of adoration, not even former President Barack Obama.

As an ardent supporter from the start of the first debate cycle in 2016, I picked Donald J. Trump as my guy and here’s why. I don’t really trust politicians anymore than I trust snake oil salesmen, although, there are a few exceptions. I find it offensive when politicians talk down to me. I’m an educated voter. And new flash, the ignorant masses are gone as voters are becoming more informed. Fact checking is easier to do now thanks to every comment being recorded and reproduced on the internet. The veil has been lifted, we can see through the lies. I’m not sure all politicians or the press have gotten the memo on this.

I see the three greatest impediments to true public service as being: greed, power-hunger, and fame seeking. These make for weak character and translate into weak leadership because human beings can be manipulated for any of these reasons, and lose sight of the mission. Politicians can be bought. Politicians can become drunk with power, war mongering, and obsessed with their legacy.

So why did I pick President Trump as my guy in 2016?  

  1. He wasn’t a politician.
  2. He didn’t need the money. Not that public service pays exceedingly well, but after serving in public office, former Presidents get book deals, and speaking engagements, and seem to end up quite well off financially in their post-presidential lives.
  3. He wasn’t seeking fame. He was already a celebrity.    
  4. Fewer surprises and fears of dirty laundry. When candidates run for office, they’re dragged through the mud along with their family. Trump was already a public figure, so I figured his skeletons had already been exposed.
  5. He didn’t need the job, he wanted the job.
  6. He was a successful businessman on the world stage and I thought that the business of America was a mess at the time.

Why am I picking President Trump as my guy in 2020?

  1. He loves the United States of America.
  2. He respects the Constitution.
  3. He works harder than anyone I know.
  4. He survived all of the attacks and investigations by the Democrats over the last 4 years and did not lose focus of the job at hand.
  5. He knows what America needs.
  6. He wants the best for all Americans.
  7. I applaud his foreign policy.
  8. He’s working on world peace.
  9. He’s for school choice.
  10. He supports our military.
  11. He supports legal immigration.
  12. He lowers taxes.
  13. He supports our police officers.
  14. He’s made America energy independent.
  15. He selects the best person for the job, regardless of race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation.
  16. I know people who have worked for one of his private companies and his employees like him.
  17. Made in America is important to him.
  18. He supports our farmers.
  19. He was living the ultimate American dream and he gave it up for us.
  20. He has really smart, well raised children.
  21. He isn’t obsessed with his legacy.
  22. He’s a fighter and he won’t quit.
  23. He survived the Coronavirus.
  24. He has a great sense of humor.
  25. He doesn’t take a salary.
  26. He picked Amy Coney Barrett and she’s brillant.
  27. He wants to clean up corruption in Washington, DC.
  28. We need him more than he needs us.
  29. I trust him to do even greater things in the next four years.
  30. He’s the best person for the job.

If you still don’t get it, then maybe you just aren’t paying attention.

Ten Buttery Chardonnays for Under $20

Writing & Wining

Bringing you some feasible Friday fun with numbers…just in time for the weekend! Actually most of these wines are available for under $15, which is amazing considering the quality.

Fans of the buttery, creamy variety will enjoy these ‘Fab Chards’! I like mine fruity, but on the dry side, with hints of vanilla and oak of course!

Any fans of the new ‘un-oaked’ Chardonnay out there? I am curious if oak lovers find those enjoyable. I prefer these types with oak better.

Feel free to share some of your own great wine picks.

Have a wine-derful weekend all!

If you liked this post, please take a look at:

Ten More Buttery Chardonnays for Under $20

Chasmisal Chamisal

Clos du Bois Clos du Bois

Kendall Jackson Kendall Jackson

Bogle Bogle

La Crema La Crema

Coppola Coppola

Creme De Lys Creme De Lys

Chateau St. Michelle Chateau St. Michelle

Butternut Butternut

St. Francis St. Francis

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The Trump and Sanders Phenomenon

Four years later and still true!

Writing & Wining

How do you begin to explain the current public interest in politics? Is it because the candidates offer more in terms of entertainment value or because they have actually struck a nerve? Are we tuned in just watch their antics or are they tuned in to us for once?

Possibly the most interesting aspect of the political rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is not in the why, but in that fact the Political “experts” still find it so baffling. In my mind, herein lies the proof of just how out of touch those in Washington, DC truly are with the Country that they presume to govern.

A few years ago, I wrote an article entitled “Voting Rights” which sparked a great deal of debate. Then, I was of the mindset that Americans should not so easily take for granted their right to vote. What I learned from…

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Shenandoah Vineyard Hopping

Visiting CrossKeys Vineyard,  in Mt. Crawford, VA:  https://www.crosskeysvineyards.com/

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#Empty-nesters for the week while our two teenagers are at XC camp-my hubby and I enjoyed some vineyard hopping in the lovely Shenandoah Valley.

CrossKeys Vineyard is a must do: The wine is exceptional, the views are panoramic, and the food is heavenly.

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On the road to a vineyard, I am always hopefully optimistic, although on occasion, the website and the hype do not measure up to the reality. Not so here! Reminiscent of Tuscany, this is an exquisite escape!

We began with some sketchy weather, but it quickly improved!

I highly recommend having one of the cheese plates, and thoroughly enjoyed the all day Sunday brunch menu options. The wines are complex in style and can easily compete with European vintages, especially the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Our little romantic getaway was complete with a stay in one of the many local B&B’s, but this vineyard has the space and facilities to accommodate large events or would be fun with a group of friends.

Thanks for reading and keep drinking great wine!

 

 

 

Writing Success?

Amazon Top 100 Metaphysical free until 2/20/17 is #28 today!!! Secret Agent of God

How do you measure your success as a writer? Is is solely based on monetary terms? Is it based on numbers? Views? Or rankings? All of this has become very complicated. When I first published my book, I had no idea what I wanted in terms of writing success. Every month, and every year this definition of success keeps changing.

One single factor that remains consistent is that I am always taken by surprise when some form of writing success comes my way. So much for my mastery in marketing!

I actually forgot that I scheduled a book promotion for this weekend. Woops! I was checking the stats of another author, which of course led to checking my own stats, and then…an ah-ha moment.

Link to top 100 page

Incidentally as I write this the book went from #26 to #28! If I don’t write faster it may drop off the list entirely!!! Success no matter how you measure it fleeting.

When I was a “new” writer, I would get very excited about any measure of success. This is as it should be, which makes me wonder, as an “old” writer, am I now jaded or just too busy?

I have been a little busy with a new job, my daughter was home sick, I had a few plumbing disasters. You know, life tends to get in the way of one’s “writing life”.

Another recent discovery (again by accident) was that one of my blog posts from 2014, about buttery chardonnay, is consistently fighting for the top three position against Total Wine and Wine Spectator. What led to the discovery was I kept getting new comments on an old post. I looked at the stats, and realized it had a crazy number of steady views:

Web Results
  1. http://www.totalwine.com/wine/buttery-chardonnay/c/92888977Total Wine and More features the best wine selection with over 8000 wines in stock. Shop Buttery Chardonnay now.

  2. https://eileenslovak.com/2014/04/25/ten-buttery-chardonnays-for-under-20/Apr 25, 2014  Bringing you some feasible Friday fun with numbers…just in time for the weekend ! Actually most of these wines are available for under $15, which is amazing considering the quality. Fans of the buttery, creamy variety will enjoy these ‘Fab Chards’! I like mine fruity, but on the dry side, with hints of vanilla and …

  3. http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/47437Wine Spectator’s expert describes malolactic conversion, or ML, which can impart a buttery flavor to Chardonnays or other wines, and suggests ways of finding wines that have this flavor.

It does make me smile, to see that today, I beat out Wine Spectator. But what does this mean? I love that people are finding my post useful. It’s flattering to be google ranked among the big shots of wine for my post. But at the end of the day, most of the people in my everyday life have no idea that I even write. BTW: I use my real name on everything!

Putting “success” in perspective means finding out what it means to me to be successful. I do feel inspired by this “success” enough to make me want work on my new novel today. This equals a positive result.

My goal as a writer has always been to write for the love of writing, to publish just to say I did it, to maybe reach a small audience, to inspire, to make a few connections, and NOT to quit.

The last one is the toughest. Hang in there!

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Vouvray! Hooray!

Try a little French classic this weekend, Vouvray from the Loire Valley. Crowd pleasing Vouvray is perfect for entertaining. Lovers of both dry, and sweet wine will enjoy this wine. It is a Chenin Blanc, which can vary in sweetness.

This particular bottle of Vignobles Lacheteau was not overly sweet, although some Vouvray can be. It was characteristically deep yellow in color, fruity, and fragrant. I found this one at Trader Joe’s for under $8.00.

I like to serve Vouvray very cold and with appetizers, especially mild french cheeses like honey goat and triple cream brie.

Thank you for reading and keep drinking great white wine!