What do you do when you’re alone? That may sound like a loaded (or dirty) question, but think about it. What is it that you do when no one else is watching? Me? I practice my violin without abandon; I strum on my guitar like I’m Keith Richards (What? I have a thing for the Rolling Stones…); I sing at the top of my lungs; and I dance because, well, no one is watching. I eat chocolate; I lift weights; I pour an extra glass; I run an extra mile. What do you do when you are on your own?
I dedicate this post to my partner in wine crime, without whom this site and my very career as a wine writer wouldn’t exist. I wasn’t always a writer — believe it or not, I wasn’t always a wine lover. But one thing he and I had in common right from the beginning of our relationship was the joy we both found in the kitchen. That joy increased exponentially when we started cooking together. I may have been the first in the relationship to ask, “What wine would pair with this?” but it’s only through both our inquisitive minds and insatiable curiosity about all things cuisine, that I’ve gotten as far as I have.
I like prime numbers. A prime number is unbreakable — only divisible by itself and 1. Some may say they don’t play well with others; I say they’re strong enough to stand on their own. I find I have some kind of spiritual connection to prime numbers. We’re weird, we don’t fit into conventional puzzle pieces, a lot of people don’t “get” us, and even more people don’t even know what or who we are. We hide in plain sight and are the answer to “can you tell me which thing is not like the other?”
…I also find that meaningful things happen to me when I am a prime number age…
In 2011 — a prime year — the Russian River Valley experienced unconventional climatic conditions that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t have worked. But it did — not for everyone, but for some vintners. And when I tasted the Crux Winery 2011 Zinfandel the first time I visited the boys in their warehouse winery, this was the wine I felt a deep, undeniably emotional connection to.
I did not grow up with a large family. Seeing extended family — even some type of grandparent-like figure — was reserved for holidays. And I’m ok with that because what it means is that my little family of four is actually quite close. I grew up with a mommy, a daddy, and a brother (and our dog, Sparky, who will be the first to greet me at the pearly gates).
My parents are the kind of parents who will play with me, help me with my homework, talk me through tough times, and celebrate even the smallest of victories with me. My brother is the kind of kid that can crawl under my skin and be utterly annoying, but is always there for me at a drop of a hat. I say these things in the present tense because, even as an adult-aged child, all these statements remain true. I used to think I wanted to be a part of a large family, have endless lists of relatives. Not anymore. Party of four means I’m never lost in the crowd, can give and receive attention when needed. Plus we don’t have to wait that long for a table at restaurants.
I was born and raised in San Francisco. To me, a breath of fresh air includes sea salt and seaweed; a warm day is in the high-sixties; and seafood is always fresh because, well, there’s just no excuse. But as life’s twists and turns would have it, I’ve found myself living in the South Bay. Now, fresh air only happens in the early hours of the pre-dawn; a warm day can be triple-digits; and any fresh seafood is that which I can find at a Safeway or Whole Foods. I don’t mesh with this tech culture, where the word “park” is preceded by the word “business.” Where’s the art? Where’s the unique forms of self-expression? Where are my people?
Every once in awhile I’ll find an answer to those questions. When I met the folks at Three Arches Winery in Sunnyvale, I found all three — art, meets unique, meets people with a passion beyond the silicon chip…