Gotta Love Google!

Funny story…well only if you’re not me!

Soooo in the early 2000’s I left my executive position in manufacturing firm to raise a family.

I had this 401(k) money to rollover. I did some research and I asked my husband for some advice. I decide to invest some of the money in mutual funds and I picked a few stocks that I thought were interesting…this was 2004…and I picked Starbucks and Google.

At the time I had a fair amount to invest. I wasn’t planning to invest all of the money in one stock, but I planned on investing about $5,000 in one of these stocks.

My husband said “this Google seems very risky, Starbucks seems to more reliable”.

I bought $5,000 worth of Starbucks shares. It was under $20 per share and is valued today at $113 per share.

Starbucks did okay. The stock split. The earnings were good. Solid. Reliable. My husband was right about that.

Now let’s just pretend I put the money in Google. In 2004 it was valued at $85 a a share. The stock had just gone public. Google is currently valued at around $3k per share, then there are stock splits and incremental gains to consider. But just doing basic math, I would have purchased about 59 shares. Those shares would be worth around $177K today.

I guess the moral of this post is…listen to your gut! If there is one thing that has always been true and has never steered me wrong it is this.

Now maybe being wealthy is simply not my fate. I’ve had many a ‘brush’ with wealth and fame only to land smack on the other side broke and without recognition. So I think this is true. It simply was not in the cards for me.

But Google has brought me some karmic gifts. I write these wine posts and miraculously Google loves my top ten wine posts!

Google Buttery Chardonnay under $20 and my post from 2014 is still well ranked.

In the Google search “Buttery Chardonnay under $15” the same post pops up!

My new post “Buttery Chardonnay for under $10” is making Google headway.

In these Google searches my ‘top ten’ wine posts are often top ten in the search engine so that’s something isn’t it? Who needs $180K, right???

Finally, I was getting ready to update my wine bottle photos from the 2014 Buttery Chardonnay under $20 post because the current photo quality with the new phones is far superior, but Google images searches show these photos are ranking so now I don’t dare!

How do you measure success? This remains the eternal question. Whatsoever your definition, I hope you find it!

Loki’s First Week

Loki’s 1st day!

We adopted a new kitty last week named Loki. He’s about six months old, very sweet, and pretty fearless. He was nervous at first. I think he was missing his family who are moving, and sadly could not bring Loki with them.

Loki’s 1st day!
Loki’s hiding out!

Loki brought so many toys, and tunnels and fun things to play with that we hoped Licorice would soon accept his company.

Loki: “Anyone want to play?”
Licorice: “Wait, what? Who’s the kid? And why wasn’t I asked first?”

It was pretty tense at first. There was a considerable amount of growling, and hissing, and some paws were thrown.

To make matters worse, Loki just seemed to instinctively know where all of Licorice’s favorite spots were, and he sat in all of them. The nerve!

Loki in sunbeam central the purrfect napping spot! Photo by Katherine Slovak

Then we had a few hopeful close encounters.

Loki and Licorice sharing the bed at a safe distance. Photo by Katherine Slovak

After a few days the growling and hissing subsided and gave way to some interesting cat noises, like squeaks and chirps.

Loki was exhausted from all the fuss. It’s hard making friends! Photo by Katherine Slovak

As a growing boy, Loki gets very excited about food! He growls when he eats and he likes to eat Licorice’s leftover food.

Luckily, Licorice is not a big eater. But when she catches him at her food dish, she pops Loki with her paw just in case he forgets who’s the boss around here.

Queen of the clean laundry!

Licorice has been the solo queen for several years, ever since her companion, Lily, passed away. As I recall, Lily was not thrilled when we brought Licorice home either but she adapted.

This was Lily. She was a sweet girl who sadly had thyroid disease.

Maybe Licorice remembers this experience, it’s hard to know. Luckily, Loki has decided he’s fine with Licorice being the queen.

I can’t believe it’s been a week already! I wonder what that feels like in cat time?

Sharing a sunbeam! Photo by Katherine Slovak

I think it all comes down sharing a sunbeam, because what’s better than that?

Time will tell, but I believe they are very close to playing together, and becoming best friends.

Happy #Caturday!

Qupe White Wine Review

Enjoying a pleasant Saturday lunch at Vino Bistro

Qupe Chardonnay

Last Saturday my husband and I discovered a new place which is always fun. New to us, I mean. It’s called Vino Bistro which is located in Leesburg, VA. If you live in Northern Virginia you should check it out. It has extensive outdoor space complete with a fire pit and festive lighting. If you are far, far away from Virginia, I highly recommend finding a wine bar or vineyard near you for a short weekend escape. You deserve it!

Vino Bistro in Leesburg, VA https://www.vinobistroonline.com

It was extremely quiet for a Saturday, partly due to the residual effects of COVID19 which have left this fairly new shopping center with several empty retail spaces. We have also had some recent bomb threats in Northern Virginia targeted at shopping and strip malls in the area.

So what were we doing out? My post COVID attitude is that life is for living, and that means not living in fear. We had the whole place to ourselves and felt like celebrities! When my number is called, I hope I have a glass of wine in my hand!

The Bar at Vino Bistro

I was particularly impressed by this expansive wall of wine!

Wow! A wall of wine!

Our server recommend a few wines based on our taste and we selected Qupe (pronounced kyoo-pay) 2018 from Santa Barbara County at $45.00. I did some quick research and you can purchase this wine at various wine wholesale or retail outlets for between $18.00 and $28.00.

It has a pale, golden color, and is light, with medium body, and a clean finish. I tasted oak, lemon, almond, and crisp green apple. It paired well with the fabulous cheese plate we ordered.

Cheese plate from Vino Bistro: Sweet Hill, Camembert, La Caseria Carpenado, Point Reyes, Bleu Cheese, and Grafton, Clothbound
Cheers!

If you try Qupe please share your thoughts. Happy weekend all and I hope you live life fearlessly!

Baby Bunnies!

Are they heavenly creatures or a serious gardener’s worst nightmare? It depends on your perspective.

As a professor of horticulture, my dad was an avid gardener. He passed away ten years ago, but throughout his lifetime he shared his passion for gardening with my five siblings and me. We all love gardening although some of us are more dedicated than others.

Shortly before retirement, my parents built their dream home in a wooded area not far from the University of Rhode Island where dad was teaching.

It’s not easy making a garden thrive when you are surrounded by the woods and all manner of forest dwelling creatures. I recall dad’s constant battle with nature, in particular with deer, ground hogs, rabbits, fox and even chipmunks. I never understood moving to the natural habitat of wild animals and then spending all of your time trying to keep them at bay.

Dad spent countless hours building wire fences around his garden and his cherished plants to keep the deer away. Deer are incredible jumpers so the vegetable garden fence had to be really high and had an added component of an electric zapper along the top. Dad had a relocation program for the chipmunks which involved have a hart traps. I am not sure why the chipmunks were spared because I don’t believe some of the other varmints fared nearly as well. I try not to dwell on it. Let’s just say that he valued plants above animals, as many committed gardeners do.

I enjoy gardening but my level of commitment is wavering. I grow flowers because I like to cut flowers and put them in vases. I grow herbs because fresh herbs enhance the flavor of the meals that I make. In my youth, my dad was trying to feed a family of eight with his vegetable garden. By comparison I am a pampered gardener.   

We moved to a new home in the middle of the pandemic and the gardens were badly in need of attention. Having this task saved me from falling prey to a bout of depression for all of those months when we were holed up at home.

I inherited this raised bed which I turned into a kitchen garden and filled with herbs and a few vegetables.

My herb and vegetable garden

As my father had taught me, sometimes you have to move plants and shrubs around if they are not thriving in their current location. I moved lilacs and peonies, shrubs, and hydrangea bushes.  I revived soil and installed a new perennial bed. I cut things back, ripped things out, pruned and fertilized. I released all of my COVID angst and created something beautiful.

The birds were thrilled. Birds and gardeners have a symbiotic relationship. We dig up worms for them and they grace us with their beauty and song. The butterflies and the bees were overjoyed. I even had a few rabbits who hopped through the yard at dusk and dawn.  

When we came back from vacation in June we made a remarkable discovery — burrowed under the thyme in my raised bed was a nest of baby bunnies; four tiny balls of fluff.

When I told my siblings about the bunnies, my brother’s wife said, “oh, no!” She’s an ardent gardener. One of my sisters said that her cats just love baby bunnies! Yikes! None of them thought this was particularly good development, but my teenage daughter was completely enchanted.

For several weeks we watched the babies grow and hop around, at first in the herb and vegetable garden, and then once they discovered they could hop over garden walls, all around the yard. During the day they frolicked and played. I was amazed at how independent baby bunnies are and by the fierce instincts which helped them escape all of the neighborhood cats, including a close encounter with Licorice.

Each day, in the early morning and late evening, the mother rabbit would return to nurse them. My apologies for the poor video quality but if I were closer she would have startled.

Momma rabbit nursing her baby bunnies

Eventually, the survivors moved on and I got my garden back. But I have to say that for a brief period of time I did not mind sharing my garden with a family of rabbits. It was nice that they felt safe enough to build their home in our small backyard.

So it seems despite my efforts that I am not a serious gardener, but I am as it turns out a resolute nature lover.

Happy Saturday all!  

Cat Day Adoption

I had no idea it was cat adoption day today…one thing led to another and before I knew it we had a new family member.

This is Loki.

Loki’s pooped!
Photo by Katherine Slovak

Loki’s family was moving to a place where they could not bring a cat, and on top of that had an allergy situation.

My friend Heather was the common thread who put us together when I was telling her about the article I wrote about the two kittens she had adopted from my foster litter. Sometimes things are just meant to be!

Phantom Chardonnay

Phantom Chardonnay from the makers of Bogle

Bogle Chardonnay is one of my all time favorite wines, so when the makers of Bogle introduced Phantom I just had to try it. If you are a Bogle fan I think you will enjoy it. It has all of the wonderful richness and flavors of Bogle, the butter, caramel, vanilla and ripe melon and it may be a slight cut above Bogle Chardonnay.

Phantom back label

The cost of Phantom is almost double that of Bogle at $12.00-$20.00 depending on where you shop. Although I did enjoy it, I am not sure I would regularly make the leap to Phantom when Bogle is just so amazing at under $8.00-12.00 on average. Try it, I think you’ll like it, but call me old fashioned, I’ll stick with the original!

Bogle Chardonnay

Ten Beautiful Things

Nature makes this easy, but I thought a writing prompt like this would inspire some joy on a Sunday morning. Feel free to share yours! #10BeautifulThings

Gorgeous Gourds!
Morning Dew! Photo by guest photographer Katherine Slovak
Naps! Licorice is an expert when it comes to naps.
Lunch Fresh From The Garden
Flowers From a Friend
Cows! Photo by guest photographer Katherine Slovak
Moonlight on the Beach! Photo taken in Bethany Beach, DE
The Change of Seasons. Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn.
The Elusive Ghost Crab! Photo by guest photographer Katherine Slovak

My daughter, Katherine, takes excellent photos so I borrowed a few of hers for this post. Here is the guest photographer in action...

Have a blessed Sunday all!