Bon voyage time!

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Just a quick post tonight, off in the morning to Europe and the UK, so will be posting pics and stories when I am near wifi!

Cheers all!

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“I’m not old, I’m vintage”

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Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is about getting old. “Do you enjoy getting old, or are you fighting against it?

I enjoy the wisdom that I have and all the things I have learned and are still learning. It has been an interesting road with many twists and turns, and a few career choice changes. Life is an adventure, and also what you make of it. That being said, the road is never easy.

To quote one of my favourite authors Terry Goodkind of the Sword of Truth series, “If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way”. One of life’s own lessons is that you must choose your own path and walk it. In my case, I am on it, but I have had a few unplanned routes that have waylaid me from my goal but have taught me valuable life lessons. My future lies before me.

So, I equate myself to a fine wine still developing my characteristics and subtle nuances, ready to drink now but would benefit from further cellaring or aeration, pairing with the right accompaniment.

I am Vintage.

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3 more sleeps

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I haven’t been on a vacation in over 3 years, and the last time was a quick Las Vegas sojourn for my birthday which of course was truly wonderful.

So yes, I am as giddy as could be with my counting down the sleeps! So much to get ready and to plan still.

Do I book my train trips ahead of time, do I wait? Do I have my brief Amsterdam trip planned out well enough, is there enough time? With my mind revving at full speed and still 2 more work days to go, plus packing I need to chill.

This helped.

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Also, it was cold enough to harvest icewine at a few of the local wineries! That is still on my wine bucket list to accomplish, but there is time enough for that.

Cheers

12 things about me

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I am taking my friend I on Food, Drink & Life‘s approach to post a few things about me since I am new to #NaPoBloMo and meeting fellow bloggers!

1. I play several instruments; flute is my main, but I play the piano and guitar as well.

2. I’m a big fan of Wonder Woman

3. I was born and raised in Canada, even sport a built in sun tan

4. I am full of static electricity

5. I am a celiac ex-Chef. Yes, my food is still awesome! 😉

6. I have “street-luged”in Rotorua, New Zealand

7. I am an artist, sketching is my main medium, but I dabble in many genres

8. I love wine

9. I love animals; I have a cat, but I love dogs equally

10. Hallowe’en is my favourite holiday

11. I am a very handy person to have around, I can fix most things, but I need to work on my plumbing skills  no plumbers bum from me 😉

12. Oh, and it goes without saying, but I am a ninja

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The little things in life

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Today is still Remembrance Day in Canada, and I spent the whole day being thankful. Because of all the war heroes and veterans before us, I could wake up in Peace.

As I went to a local diner today for breakfast, everyone was wearing a poppy, the kind that you lose 6 seconds after you buy one and if you don’t lose it, it stabs you. I tend to purchase about 3-4 a year.

I wore a red sweater in case I lost my last one again in support and I was pleased to look around at the diner patrons sporting poppies and red shirts, hats, poppies, and some jackets.

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I had breakfast with my mom, and when her plate came out, I had to snap a picture of it. It was perfect.

As we were eating and chatting, we lost track of time and it was soon 11am.

One of the servers clanged a coffee pot and requested a moment of silence. You could have heard a pin drop, the noisy diner with a long line up to get in was silent as we all took a moment to remember why we were there. Why any one of us were.

I felt proud to be a Canadian at that moment. I was not at the Cenotaph, but my thankfulness is still the same.

My family and I are safe, because of all the people before us. A perfect moment in a small town diner, it’s the little things in life.

Lest We Forget.

Lest We Forget

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November 11th,  our national day of Remembrance. We are ever thankful.lest-we-forget

I think every child raised in Canada still remembers Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem ” In Flander’s Fields”. But in case you do not, here it is:

” In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.” 

To learn more about John McCrae, please visit our National Veterans Affairs website

My Ninja cat Bartholomew

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As I sat here wondering about what to post tonight, my cat so nonchalantly sauntered on over to see what I was up to and sat on my wine tasting notes. Typical.

And so here is my cat post of Bartholomew, my mischievous little ninja of a cat who behaves more like a loyal dog. Yes, he does fetch and greets me when I come home.

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He is a rescued SPCA kitten, that stole my heart after I lost my Samantha who was my first cat after the family cat passed away.

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He is the destroyer of Kleenex boxes and the hider of any of my ponytail ties within paws reach, any casualties are found floating in his water dish . He is ZKitteh!

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Cheers

Scotland the Brave, Scotland….the home of Outlander

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Ok, T- minus 8 sleeps now for the countdown to Scotland! I have visited the lovely United Kingdom 3 times already in my life, and that I can say is that even that, is not enough times! My Mom is a Scottish Lass so we have family all through out, and I am happy to say that for the first time ever, the Clan is gathering and it will be good.

I love visiting Scotland, everything is so rich with history and even though I am adopted, I feel a great sense of pride when I see my family crest in the Glasgow Cathedral. A verra braw feeling ‘ken?

Scotland also is the home of Single Malt Whisky (more on a later post) and Outlander, born of the brilliant mind of scholastically talented and sharp of wit Diana Gabaldon. Now I have been obsessed with this book series for many years, the first book was published in 1991. The 8th book Written in My Own Heart’s Blood was just released and just this year, Starz has produced a television series based on the book with Diana’s own approval, hereby known as Herself.

(The first 5 books as seen below are probably about the 3rd copy of each, and I have a hard cover of Fiery Cross in storage)

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What a treat. The book series are probably about the best I have ever read, and now there is a TV series with the perfect casting. Check out Starz for all the updates, but I for one as a die hard Outlander fan, fully approve.

Oh, and if you haven’t interacted yet with the lovely Diana Gabaldon on twitter or Facebook, you need to. She is so witty and amusing, I love to read her tweet interactions with the cast *Sheugs aka Sam Heughan and Cat, Caitriona Balfe* aka Jamie and Claire. *swoons*.

And, I am heading to Bonny Scotland in just over a week. *insert high-pitched unearthly screaming and gratuitous flaily fangirling* Yup.

I need to clear my devices etc. of unnecessary fodder so that I may enjoy and post all of my trip, I will post a few here and then link to my photobucket or my flickr account. Wish me luck on the flight, I am not a fan of flying…..like that will stop me

Cheers

Le Vieux Pin and La Stella tasting notes

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September 10th, 2014 tasting

I had a chance to try some of the new releases this year and of course I was impressed with the line up. La Stella and Le Vieux Pin have always been very well structured and serious wines for me, this year was no different, in fact more so!

First up was the Le Vieux Pin 2012 AVA; it is a blend of 61% Viognier, 21% Roussanne, and 18% Marsanne sourced just north of Oliver. I didn’t even have to hold the wine close to my nose and I was greeted with a burst of honeysuckle, which had underlying tangerine zest notes with hints of spice. This wine was 45% barrel aged in 500L French Barriques (33% new) for 9 months to give it the extra bit of complexity on the palate. Delicious 8.9

Second was the Le Vieux Pin Syrah “Cuvee Violette” 2012. All of the Le Vieux Pin Syrah have 3% Viognier in them. I was impressed with this wine and its distinctive “feminity”, I love that some vineyards are now making a few distinct styles or expressions of one grape in their vineyard. This wine is the most floral delicate version of Syrah. There was no bottle ageing and about 19% new French oak. On the nose, there was white pepper, violets, deep crimson red fruits and hints of eucalyptus & mint. On the palate, there was a continuation on the theme with beautiful soft fruits of moderate intensity and a long lengthy finish. Definitely a wine to pick up. 9.0

The Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2011 needs no introduction, the flagship wine is the perfect balance. 2011 marks the year of the winemaker’s favourite harvest to date. The grapes for this wine hail from Northern Oliver and the Black Sage Bench. 18 months in barrel and 1 year in bottle before release. I was extremely impressed with this wine, it has super intense earthy fruits and pepper with subtle floral tones. While muscular on the nose with hints of olive, it was very balanced on the fruit side with brambly fruits, a slight herbal nose and is what I consider to be a perfect textbook version of Okanagan Syrah. This wine can age 5-10yrs easily. 9.4

Lastly, the La Stella Maestoso 2011 Solo Merlot was the final wine in the line up. This vineyard property wine composed of 100% Merlot was planted in 1999. The vines for this wine are cropped very low, and the end product is truly stunning. This wine is well structured and elegant, I would call this a masculine Merlot, it had earthy fruits, hints of eucalyptus and cherries and chewy tannins. It was a bit reminiscent of a structured Zinfandel, just in hints. An excellent wine, this is a wine to be shared, cellared, enjoyed, and all of the above. It was truly an experience. 9.3

All in all, and excellent tasting

Cheers

Preparing for travel, with technology in mind

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As I gather my list together for what I need to pack and items still to get for the journey, I notice that there is one big difference between when I last travelled to Scotland in 2006 and now in 2014.

Technology has blown up, or rather I have come to rely heavily on smartphones, gadgets, devices, and tablets. That, and I must begrudgingly admit, 2006 was a heck of a long time ago.

One example is that I purchased a purse today, not just based on what it looked like, but that it was big enough to hold my tablet and my phone along with miscellaneous other crap that I cannot seem to survive without. In my defence, I can also use my purse as a weapon, I pity anyone on the other end of that receiving brunt haha 😉

When I think back to what I had packed backed then; I had a magazine, a Sudoku puzzle book, and a Canon Sure Shot camera with a few rolls of film. That same camera is still in my possession, but it has resumed its post as a reprised dust collector. It is far more convenient to whip out the phone and snap a shot then it is to pull out the camera, focus it, and snap. ~That, I find a bit sad, but C’est la vie.

I spent about an hour today after my work day researching and pricing out a portable battery charger that could charge an iPhone, an Android, a Tablet, and any USB device that I had. I picked one out, will review it once I put it through its paces, but it seemed like the best value for $40.

Now that I have the “charging-when-I’m-not-near-a-power-source” scenario covered I need to worry about data. My local provider is so not the way to go when you are overseas. So scratch getting a plan for my phone, no upgrade either at the moment.

An unlocked phone that you can put various country SIM cards into and add different plans seems like the smartest way to go when you are international in many countries. If the person you are travelling with has one, even better! There is always wifi when you look for it, and the personal hotspot. FYI, you can get an unlocked Google Nexus 5 from Google Play for about $350 and it is great to travel with.

So I am not fully packed yet, but I am scratching a few more items off my list, only 10 more sleeps until the big day!

Cheers