Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

LIFESTYLE

You need to slow down

I’ve learned that one of the keys to happiness, contentment, satisfaction, improved health, and peace in your life — is to slow down.

How you ask? Is slowing down even possible in modern society? Well, here is a simple cheat sheet:

Slow down when you eat: Actually taste and enjoy the food. Stop shoveling it in.

Slow down when you prepare food: This is how my wife meditates. Preparing a meal should be a slow, creative, artistic endeavor.

Slow down on accomplishing tasks: Do one thing at a time. Focus on it. Do it well. This actually enables you to even enjoy mundane tasks like washing dishes.

Eliminate multi-tasking completely from your life. If you do nothing else on this list…

Slow down when you shower or bathe: Enjoy the warm water. Smell and savor the scents of the shampoo and body wash. Let the water run over your face.

Slow down when you wash dishes: Enjoy the warm water over your hands, strive for the squeak of a clean bowl.

Slow down when in conversation: Don’t rush to get something said, just because you can.

Slow down when in conversation: Actually listen to what is being said. And give a damn about what is being said.

Slow down when consuming media: Read the words, listen to the music, get lost in the imagery. If you are reading an honest-to-goodness real paper book, stop every now and then and smell the pages.

Slow down when driving: Driving recklessly and thoughtlessly won’t save you much time. Enjoy the silence and solitude when inside the vehicle.

Slow down when walking: Don’t walk with head down, buried in your phone. Look around you. Breath the air. Observe what’s around you. You’ll see (new) things.

Slow down when shaving: If done mindfully, it can be a very soothing process.

Slow down when writing: Be intentional. You’ll remember what you write. And be able to actually decipher it later. Don’t rush to publish.

Slow down when getting ready for work: If you are putting on make-up in the car, you are doing it wrong.

Make time to meditate: If you can’t carve out at least ten minutes, you need to rethink things. Once you see the beauty of meditating, you’ll find more time.

Slow down when thinking: Why are you in a rush? Take your time. Enjoy the creative process. Get lost in your thoughts.

Slow down when folding laundry: Why are you trying to complete this task in four seconds? Take care of your wardrobe investment. It’s how you look.

Slow down when texting. Those typos are no longer cute and endearing.

Slow down when you drink coffee: Relish the racket the baristas are making. Listen to your coffee maker percolating. Take in the scent of roasted coffee when it’s brewing. You might as well enjoy this important ritual each and every day.

Slow down when you are walking in the city: Really notice the little details of the architecture as you walk by.

Slow down when shopping: Why are you rushing this? Why are you not taking the time to carefully review and purchase the healthiest and/or the best products?

Ok, so you get the idea. At the end of the day, just slow down. There is no need to always be in a hurry. Learn to embrace a more relaxing pace. Remember the tortoise! And if the day flops, remember the sun will come up again tomorrow.

Key to success: Ignore the mob. Ignore the social media chatter about the hustle. Ignore the business pressure to multi-task and get one hundred things done in one hour.

Keep in mind the following: slowing down reduces stress. Slowing down allows you to live life in the moment. Slowing down allows you to enjoy (and actually notice) the little things. Slowing down allows you to breathe a little easier. Slowing down is better for your health.

This year, you need to slow down. It will change EVERYTHING.

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HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, SIMPLE LIVING, WELLNESS

25 key things for you to do this year

1. Eat less.
2. Be more active.
3. Read more.
4. Listen intentionally.
5. Stretch more.
6. Slow down and breathe.
7. Criticize less.
8. Encourage more.
9. Buy less.
10. Donate more.
11. Stop multitasking.
12. Save more money.
13. Stop lying.
14. Communicate clearly what you believe in.
15. Trust more.
16. Write/journal more (even to yourself).
17. Make something.
18. Pay more attention to the world around you.
19. Stop judging.
20. Eliminate regret.
21. Take pride in everything.
22. Value what you have.
23. Prepare better.
24. Enjoy right now.
25. Smile more.

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HUMANITY, LIFESTYLE

Slices of Grief

It isn’t easy

I’ve spent much of my life trying to put grief and heartache behind me, sometimes outright ignoring it. This isn’t the best way to heal or the best example to those I care most about, like my children or a significant other. I am a strong woman – I’ve had to be. However, I am learning that there is great strength to be found in vulnerability. That may not make sense to you, but it is starting to make sense to me.

I have lost people close to me to the great and ultimate avenger: death. Many of my friends in the last two months have lost their fathers. These friends’ losses happened during an emotional time for me, as I braced for the annual reminder of my own father’s death, which occurred on the 25th anniversary of my brother Tommy’s death. November 10th presents a double-whammy for me. Each year, I think it will be easier, but each year presents its own difficulties, which allow me to miss my father more than I expect.

How I Faced It

My father died in 2001, exactly one month after my husband, the father of my four children, moved out. My husband’s leaving occurred one-month after 9/11, an event that devastated our country – and though my little family was on the West Coast, it changed our lives as we, the six of us, watched the 2nd plane hit live on television – and everything after that, on that day, blurred. My father’s death two months later was the culmination, as well as the beginning of what I perceived as the worst time in my life.

I was alone. That Christmas, both my father and my husband were gone, and I was alone. Yes, of course I had my children – and they saved me – oh, so many times, but the two most important men in my life were gone.

I don’t know how I faced it. I don’t think I did face it. I think I covered it with new-found joys, with the holidays, with Disneyland (annual passes!), with the love for my children and from my children, and with the busy-ness my life entailed. I was working 3 jobs, taking five classes at the local college, and now raising four children alone. So, no — I didn’t face the grief I felt, the grief that was brewing. I just lived.

The Long and the Short

No time in my life seemed to pass more slowly or more quickly. I am not sure how that is possible, but it is. I jumped out of bed every morning, most days trying not to think where my next dollar would come from and certainly trying not to dwell on what I could have done differently for my dad or for my marriage. My grief was real, but it was shoved to the back burner – tears only came in the shower or in the dark of early morning and they were quickly forgotten at the first flip of a pancake.

I learned to box grief up and only bring it out when no one was looking. There are those who assumed I was a heartless bitch and there are those who worried I might crack. I just had to keep getting out of bed in the morning and somehow put gas in my car.

My Comfort

When my brother passed away 41 years ago, I was just 13 years old. He was 20 and had been severely handicapped since birth. I had no idea how to grieve or what that even meant. I was raised in a very religious home and there was plenty of talk about my brother finally being free – finally out of his deformed body, finally in the presence of God, but none of that helped me comprehend the impact his death would have on me or my life, or my mother, or my family. It seemed like a bandage to cover the pain of his death, not a way to face his death or understand how it would change me, my siblings, or my parents forever.

A Tom Sawyer Trick: Whitewashing

It is a human tendency to whitewash pain, when really we should face it, head on – determined to let it clean us from the inside out: breaking our hearts, cleaning our minds, softening our memories, and planting a new place for that love. My pain found its way on to lined paper, in the form of a poem. And thus, it began – my lifelong quest to heal myself through words.

Many have asked, “Why do you write…, why do you write about your pain, your sins, your weaknesses?” and others have answered by saying, “Thank you for writing how I feel, I thought I was alone.”

We are not alone

Grief is a common denominator for many of us. We know that pain. We know the heartbreak. We know that feeling of catching breaths through sobs that collapse. We know the tender mercies bestowed by love and compassion from others.

Today, I remember my father’s hands on my cheeks lifting my face to his as he tried to comfort my 14-year old broken heart. Today, I remember his finger slowly dragging along the alto line of a hymn. Today, I remember his love of ice cream. Today, I remember his love for anyone he ever met. Today, I remember his love. Through slices of grief, I remember.

HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE

50 Cents and Responsibility: Lessons from an 8-Year Old

“But this will not do, God will certainly punish you for stealing and for being unfaithful.”
– Jupiter Hammon

I was a precocious child growing up and somewhat mischievous, as well. A number of older people forget their youth. I feel bad for them, I really do. That or they manipulate their past in their mind over and over again, in order to paint themselves in a better light; sort of finger painting of the mind. I stopped doing this a few years ago when I stopped punishing myself and allowed those memories to come to the forefront. I started my own, shall we say, therapy to explore more about why I am who I am, a riddle wrapped with perplexity and tied with an enigma bow.

It’s Nice to Want Things

I wanted things but being eight years old, there’s little choice getting baubles at toy stores because you just don’t have the money, I mean, look, you were eight. Oh, and as my buddy Pete Radloff likes to say, “It’s nice to want things.” What in the hell did you need money for, really? I suppose it is an odd rite of passage to begin earning money and become part of the general economy at some point, but a kid should have kid memories, the good, the bad, memories, good times.

I want to make a very important point here before I continue with this. I was raised with respect and was taught morals, however – at this tender age, there is only so much a person should expect from a boy to know, life you see. So, many times it is the mistakes we make, the falls that teach us; this was one of those times.

fifty centsWhenever I was in Yuma visiting my grandparents, we would eat out. Back in the day, restaurants, even the classier ones in town, had, shall we say, items for a gentleman? Cologne, condoms, and oddly, stupid toys that you could drop into a glass of water and they would form a bird, I shit you not, no pun intended.  The cost was only fifty cents and I wanted to see what the bird would look like. The small issue I had? I was eight and not making a paycheck, damn child labor laws.

My Uncle Mike was making a pay check though, and when he went out he had a change jar where he would deposit his loose change. Mostly pennies and nickels, but there were dimes and quarters, too. It sat on the dresser drawer’s cabinet that housed his work shirts and underwear, socks and such. It was just an old preserves jar that had a small crack in it and my Grams didn’t want to use for preserves. Hence, the change jar was born. As earlier stated, I was eight years old, keep up folks, and well I, being froggy, just put my hand in that mason jar and took out fifty cents. I just figured my Uncle wouldn’t miss it since it was only two coins in a sea of them, sitting in that old mason jar.

The Next Time

I got my toys the next time we went to the restaurant. The two coins were in separate pockets as to not let them jingle against each other, the sound alerting anyone of the booty in my pocket. I learned a lot from the detective magazines my Uncle Mike would leave around the house. I went to the bathroom and procured my reward for stealing from him without a care, then came back to the table with an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Um, yeah best-laid plans of mice and men; and eight-year olds, I suppose.

It may have been fortuitous, within a week I was afforded an allowance of one dollar a week to do chores. Raised the way I was, I heard a story from my Grandparents about stealing and that it was a bad thing, it hurt people when you took what was rightfully theirs. I, in my eight-year old mind, thought I had hurt my Uncle. So, instead of going to the market for a Slurpee and baseball cards, I got change; four quarters. I guess this is when I discovered I was going to be a writer, I wrote him a letter, put two-quarters in the envelope with the letter and left it on his bed. Easy, right? Nope, not even close.

My Uncle took the letter to my Mother and to my Grandparents, the reaction was at first one of anger that I would steal, but my Grandparents intervened the tongue lashing and the switch and instead, embraced the fact that I wanted to make amends. I had learned my lesson without them having to teach me. I learned from their example, their knowledge. That is how we learn, you know. My mother was so proud, she took the two toys and letter and framed it, my mother – the hidden artist.

To wrap this up, we all make mistakes, we are not perfect. However, when the imperfection comes we need to learn from it, take it with us. Funny thing is, I have a goblet I got from a bar years ago and although loose change is now non-existent with credit cards and digital chips, it’s still out there and when I have some change, I throw it in that cup.

Thanks, Uncle Mike, it was a great lesson, and I miss you. Rest in peace.

fifty cents

**This is a photo of the actual letter I wrote to my Uncle, funny thing? I needed an editor even then.

#truestory

HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Don’t Fear the Script, Rewrite It! – The Passionate Chase

Chasing Away the Script

We spend a great deal of our lives building confidence. Some days, weeks, or months, it doesn’t seem to matter how much experience I have or how many clever skills I have – I can easily get caught up in fear of failure or overwhelming expectations I set for myself. Many of us have a negative script that gets played over and over in our heads – that counts on us failing.

The two greatest fears I’ve had in my life have been falling and failing. Sadly, I am not one of those individuals lucky enough to have flying dreams – I have falling nightmares, though they have receded a bit. I did jump out of a perfectly good airplane a year ago and loved it. So, the falling wasn’t the problem, perhaps  it was more about the landing.

But failure has haunted my days.

What I Learned from Writing

I have spent the last 12 years writing about every part of my life, from earliest memories to latest catastrophes, very few subjects or experiences are off limits. From poetry, to microblogs, to lengthy blog series, to podcasts.

Writing is like giving birth for me. Hitting the wrong key or failing to save a document can lead to disaster or meltdown, and it has happened on numerous occasions.
The first several times, parts of me died with each loss.

But, I Tricked Myself

These were profound moments of loss for me, over time, I learned to tell myself that “It must not have been good enough – I can write that better.” The first time, it took a great deal of self-convincing, but I learned to find the truth in my words because I always produced better words or a more meaningful story.

A State of Mind

Napolean Hill, famed author, stated, “Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.” I have seen evidence of this in my own life. And often, all I need to do to get over any particular bump in my road of personal progress is to review my last failure.

  • Where did I land? Was it a crash landing?
  • When I got up, dusted myself off – what was it I learned?
  • When the dust around me cleared, what new experiences had I gained?
  • How did I grow, or can I grow more, as a result?

I do hate failing –

I hate miscalculating, missing a mark, or misjudging any circumstance. But I also know that a serious lesson was meant for me, so I best get to learning it. Even if all I learned was to get up –

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

You Are Not Beaten

And neither am I – it’s just another chance, another opportunity to succeed.


**If you are interested in learning more about “the script,” follow Richard Wilkins on Facebook, he shares some interesting thoughts about this negative script and how we can overcome it. Warning: he uses colorful language, he just keeps it real. 

HR, LIFESTYLE, SIMPLE LIVING

This One’s About the Journey

On the Road Again

It seems as though I have flown almost every September 11th in the last ten years. This year, I was not flying, but rather driving; I am currently on a 3,660-mile road trip, and today finds me in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, not quite at the halfway point. Roadtripping has become a kind of therapy for me. In my past, most road trips have been just “a way to get there” on the cheap. They have been about the destination, not the journey. That changed significantly for me a couple years ago, when I found myself alone, really alone, not knowing too much about my own likes and dislikes. Strange place to be as a 50+ year old. Nevertheless, I have tackled that truth and in the takedown, I found parts of me I never knew existed or had forgotten about.

I am a strong woman with many weaknesses.

Not sure how that came to be, but it is certainly true and…, not one to shy away from the truth, I find myself digging in and trying to expose how I got to where I am. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time and place, can one ever? For I feel we are consistently moving to a place where exposition is how we survive with our integrity in tact.

Exhausted by Life

It is easy to get tired – it would be easy to just go with the flow and not make waves. As many can attest, that would be strongly against my nature. So, I expose myself to situations where I will learn, where I can grow, where change is not only imminent but necessary.

The first three days of my adventure found me in St. George, Utah with about 20 women from my family – our annual Thorn Women’s Retreat (Estro-Fest) was another smashing success. Next year will mark 25 years of this particular gathering. I have not been able to attend every year, but when I have gone, I have been strengthened and empowered by the women I am lucky enough to call family.

The Other Destination

While there is a business destination involved in my travels, I have wrapped a dropped pin with self-discovery. 3600+ miles does not scare me, nor will it scar me. It will fulfill something in me that is needed. Time in my head – to clear the cobwebs woven by hurt and anger – as well as releasing the stress that work can sometimes bring – and I am one of those crazies that works on vacation. Certain emotions tend to be felt more deeply or have a stronger impact, I believe anger and hurt call into that category.

journey

The Destination

My company, Dovetail Software is attending/exhibiting an annual event for Healthcare Human Resources in Seattle this weekend – The ASHHRA Conference. I love this event – it’s one of my favorites and I have attended a number of times. I will walk the aisles, speak with other vendors that support Healthcare HR and learn as much as I can from the practitioners there for erudition. There will be plenty for my team to take in, as we want to benefit clients, as well as make sure we are presenting the full benefits of what Dovetail offers.

Many years ago, I worked for a healthcare-specific search firm as an executive recruiter – this is where I cut my teeth in recruiting, in human resources.  It is strange but going to this conference always feels like going home. And, with the many changes in recruiting and HR over the last fifteen years, it is always a strange homecoming – like when your parents get new furniture, though you’ve been gone from home for 20+ years.

Change is Good

Like so many others, I have felt the pain of change in life and career. Life goes on and thank God for that.  We are often faced with what ifs and could’ve beens – it is when we see clearly, when we know the choices that were initially painful to make, when we see them through the lenses of today, that we know the choices we made were the right ones.

And while not necessarily pain-free, they are right, correct, the best, the way it should be.  I am happy where I am now. Work is fulfilling and life / love continue to be a gamble. And who doesn’t love a spin at the roulette table?

And so it goes.  Change is inevitable and usually for the better.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, LIFESTYLE, WINE

Hungry for This Wine: The Wine for Transitions: Donnafugata SurSur 2016

The Donnafugata SurSur is a transitional wine, and I do not mean that it’s the wine that’s in transition.

Donnafugata SurSurIt’s us who are transitioning, and this is the wine that is bridging us this week from one place to the next. Literally. We are moving houses, from one part of the city to another and, though we left most of our wine in the “old” house for now, this wine made the cut of the very few bottles that we hand-carried on our move.

Here’s why I’m that hungry for this wine.

We live in Atlanta, and it’s the month of July, and it is hot. As in, sweltering. In the midst of that heat is the physicality of moving heavy boxes and bulky furniture, and making 537 decisions about what needs to go where inside a new home that we don’t yet know.

It is all, in a word, exhausting, even for someone who enjoys the karmic shake-up and editing process of a move.

So I knew that, at the end of the day, I would want something cool and refreshing and, especially in these conditions, white and crisp.

That’s one reason that the Donnafugata SurSur made the cut.

The second reason has two parts: it’s from southwestern Sicily (Sicilian wines are all the rage right now, thanks to a major surge of interest in volcanic wines from Mount Etna), and it’s made from a native grape (Grillo) that is mostly unfamiliar to me.

Being Sicilian and unfamiliar raised the chances significantly that I would be interested in this wine even though I may have been too tired to be interested in much.

And then there were the bonus points. Its low alcohol (12.73% ABV), with just enough body without ill-timed weight or heft, and fruit and florals (which I love) on the nose. There is also a clever naming convention that, among my “tougher-minded” friends, I’d be embarrassed to admit that I find adorable. In addition to being the name of an ancient indigenous Sicilian grape, “Grillo” is also the name for the cricket, which brings good luck. “SurSur” means cricket in classical Arabic, which was once also spoken in Sicily.

That’s a lot going on for one bottle of wine that made our very short-list transitional cut.

I placed a bet that I would – still – be hungry for this wine, even in a time of transition. And that bet paid off.

This wine reminds me why I love wine. Which reminds me why I love living my life. Which reminds me of all the thousands of things I’m grateful for, including moving and fresh starts and the luxury of relishing a glass or two of thirst-quenching wine at the end of an exhausting experience.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS WINE!

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LIFESTYLE

How to achieve better results on social media, at least for me

To achieve better results on social media, I’m changing my approach to how I spend my time there. Effective immediately.

I’m fed up with the nastiness. I’m fed up with the near constant negativity. I’m fed up with people using the platforms to complain about everything, and I mean everything. And I am really fed up with people who instigate combative debate just for the opportunity to tear people down and pick a fight, or to say something mean, just because they can.

I’m not innocent in this.

Online, I’ve complained about the media. I’ve complained about Hollywood. I’ve whined to airlines and the TSA when I have travel issues. And I’ve certainly offered my opinions and frustrations on politics.

But I’m done with that. And frankly, no one is listening anyway. They’re too busy complaining or tearing down. Too busy trying to shout louder than their (perceived) rival on the other side. And honestly, my bitching accomplishes little, other than to give a few unhappy people the chance to hit me right back, and me the phony satisfaction that I’ve gotten something off my chest.

What am I focusing on instead? My life in Chicago: my wife, my nutty dogs, my foodie adventures with Stephanie, my local experiences living in our beloved city, and of course, my ups and downs with training for the Chicago marathon.

In other words, I am going positive.

That’s what I’m personally doing. In the end, you will observe some of my life, or you won’t. And if you don’t, so be it. I know you have your own life to live.

Life is short. Life is precious. I am happy. And I’m going to celebrate it – I am no longer surrounding myself with negative.

And of course I will continue to share the work of my little media company: telling the stories of the people and organizations teaching us to be better at business, practicing our humanity, and improving our lifestyle design.

In terms of the social platforms themselves, here’s where I stand:

FACEBOOK. I’m hardly active there anymore. Too many people complaining 24/7. And it’s all memes now. Or the results of silly games to see what your Christmas Elf name should be, or what foreign country is truly right for you. Not judging if this kind of stuff is interesting and fun to you, or worth your valuable time. It isn’t to me.

I’ll see you around the FB neighborhood from time to time, but not often. There are still people here that I care about and will look in upon from time to time.

TWITTER. Becoming increasingly irrelevant to me. Why? Because unless you are Donald Trump or some big celebrity, no one is paying attention to you anymore. Shame the platform evolved that way. Just a PR tool for celebs. And frankly, half of them are paid to do it anyway.

Yes, I met my wife on Twitter. Probably the only reason I’ve stuck around this long. I sometimes wonder if Stephanie and I would have even connected on Twitter if the year was 2017, instead of 2009.

INSTAGRAM. This is my new home on the social web. This is where I can best tell my story and chronicle my life. This is where I can best observe and engage with others trying to do interesting things with their lives. Here on this platform I can still be inspired by others, and that’s what I value most. Things seem simpler and less complicated. Find me on Instagram here!

Oh sure, there are negative and nasty nabobs on Instagram too. But much, much easier to ignore them here.

And, if I am being honest, most of what I share to Facebook is fed through Instagram in the first place…

TO RECAP: I’m done with negative people on social media, and I’m committed to stop being negative on social media.

I’m done with spending time on platforms only housed with unhappy people who complain all the time, and will spend my time on platforms where I can still find inspiration.

Normally I’d ask you to join me in this new approach, but I’m not going to this time. Use social media however you want to. It’s up to you. Far be it from me to preach that my way is the only way. It’s only my way.

My new approach will free up my time to do and focus on things that matter to me. It will make me less angry, less bitter, and more celebratory of the good stuff in my life that I’ve been too blind and distracted to see.

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, WINE

Hungry for This Wine: 2016 Malbec Rosé from William Chris Vineyards

It’s very hard these days to not get into a rosé mood.

Malbec RoséThe weather’s changing. The earth is tilting toward the sun. Its radiance is stronger on our face. The green grass is greener, and the blood flowing through our muscles is somehow warmer.

Welcome to the season of rosé, the one that lifts our mood and reminds our tastebuds of all that’s light. Translucent, even. And definitely sunny.

I am huge fan of rosé and here are two reasons why: it can be made from just about any grape (giving it tremendous diversity and range), and it can be made from just about anywhere.

By “anywhere” I mean the places you’d expect, like the Provence region of France, Italy, and California.

But did you also know that rosé is made in places that wouldn’t expect, like the Rioja region of Spain, South Africa, and Chile?

And also… wait for it… Texas?

Yes, Texas indeed.

Stay with me here.

It may not have hit your radar yet but a THING for wine has hit Texans. Hard.

In recent years the amount of grapes grown and wines made in Texas has leapfrogged over most other US states. This momentum has been bolstered by local and regional tourism boards, which are posting enviable numbers of consumer visits and engagement.

Here’s one of the best parts, in my opinion, of this major upswing:

The rosé of Texas.

I love it because, as this week’s wine pick shows, it’s made from unexpected grapes like Malbec.

I love it because, when I pour it for friends, they are surprised — actually, “shocked” is more accurate — that it’s from the Texas Hill Country.

I love it because they love it even before I tell them that.

I love it because it’s opening all of our eyes.

And I love it because it’s GOOD, and because it’s exactly the wine that I am hungry to drink right now.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS WINE!

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Hungry For This Wine: Cecchetto Raboso Passito

Can you taste “hungry” in a wine?

CechettoThat is, can you taste the desire that brought the wine into being? Can you taste the passion that brought the wine to your glass?

I think you can. But only if you’re really (really) lucky.

A few weeks ago I was in northern Italy for a wine trade fair, and one night I was lured away from the usual crowds and boisterous evening activities to visit one single, quiet producer called Cecchetto, some 90 minutes away.

I was lured away, that is, because they are hungry for this wine.

They are so hungry to share this wine that I’ve received personal, thoughtful emails from them for more than a year.

They are so hungry for the mystery and the science of the winemaking process that they travel to places like Armenia and Georgia to share knowledge and experience with the winemaking community there.

They are so hungry that they experiment incessantly, from wood for barrels (oak, chestnut, mulberry…) to aging in huge casks for years and years on end. Their experimentation, and the end results, have attracted the attention of Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, among others.

They are so hungry to preserve their heritage that they’ve committed to a grape – Roboso Piave – that long ago represented a significantly greater percentage of vineyard plantings in their region. Today the quantity of Roboso is lean, replaced by the über-popular Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. But Cecchetto plants it anyway.

And they use it to make this wine, a passito version of it, which concentrates the fruit, the process, and the intention.

It’s the kind of wine my husband loves, because he loves Port and other wines in that sweet style. It’s the kind of wine I also love, because I love the narrative and the heritage of it. It’s the kind of wine we drink together, slowly and when it’s dark outside and we are capping another day.

This is the kind of wine we, also, are hungry to drink.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Cecchetto Raboso Passito wine!

Find Cathy Huyghe’s book here:

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