Let’s Wine

I love wine. Too much for my own good, I’m sure. Part of the problem (um, did someone just say ‘problem’?) is that I happen to be married to an amazing cook who makes gourmet meals most every day of the week. I can’t help but want to pair these delicious creations with the perfect vintage. A good wine just seems to bring out the flavor in most any meal. I’m not formally educated by any means, but I do know what I like. I’ve experimented over the years, and would say I have liked more than I hKissing a Wine Bottleave disliked what I have sampled. My first experiences drinking wine included cheap sangria and wine in a jug. I’d like to think I’ve refined my tastes just a bit since then.

In my 20s and 30s I rarely, if ever drank wine. It made me shudder, literally. It wasn’t until a friend’s baby shower (such an appropriate place to drink wine, don’t you think?) where I was introduced to GOOD wine, that I really started taking an interest in learning about it. I think from that day, I was hooked!

In generalDrunkagain, I  agree with the ABC rule:  Anything But Chardonnay. Recently, however, I’ve started experimenting with some naked chardonnays, and am enjoying much of what I have found. I tend to go in phases, where I pretty much stick to a certain varietal for months at a time, though I still like to mix it up.

Now let’s not get crazy here. I do also like a good beer every now and then. But it has to be ice cold; and I mean so cold it’s starting to form crystals. I tend to like Pilsners, but I also like a good Bock beer when they are in season. My absolute favorite beer is Heineken. I like it so well that when my son was in Europe a few years ago, he bought me this awesome and isn’t-that-an-appropriate-gift-for-your-mom T-shirt at their brewery.

I’ll dedicate this part of the site to my love of wine; my amoré de vino. Come on in and share what you know! Where did your love of wine start? Do you have a favorite? How do you choose your wines? Let’s have some fun as we explore what’s out there. We’ll sample wines (and maybe a few beers) together, and I’ll write my reviews as I invite you to share yours. All winos are welcome! But please, no whiners allowed.

Let’s WINE!

Let's Wine ~~ August 2017

August 31, 2017 6:15 pm

My, oh, my where has the time gone? Fall is in the air and it’s time for the August installment of Let’s Wine! So grab a glass of your favorite varietal (or any other libation of your choosing), and let’s reflect together on this past month!

Some quick stats as I close out the month:

Walking/Running:  32.4 miles

Biking:  40.5 miles

Gym Workouts:  2 strength training sessions, 1 cardio

Wine Consumption:  Oh, how I love me a good pinot noir!

You would never guess I have a marathon coming up in less than six weeks, with another to follow two weeks later, seeing as I walked/ran one third of the miles I did the previous month. I’m pretty sure I should be increasing and not decreasing my miles at this point! Yikes. I have added more miles on the bike and have added some strength and cardio to my workouts, so at least there’s that!

Hospital staff waiting for the big event…much ado about nothing

August has been a busy month for me with some added hours at work to help cover some shifts during a colleague’s medical leave of absence. I have to admit, I’ve liked putting in the extra hours. I run an education/consulting business from my home and work part time at the hospital. I sometimes feel very discombobulated when I return to work after a number of days off, and often have to spend a couple of hours on my first day back trying to catch up with what has been going on with my patients. I like the consistency of working several days in a row. I worked the day of the solar eclipse. Very lackluster from my part of the world, but it was fun joining lots of the hospital staff outside to try to catch a glimpse.

Beautiful view of the city I love

Earlier in the month my son’s future mother-in-law invited me to tag along as they finalized some plans with the wedding. We enjoyed a nice lunch together and then went to check out the venue. It is a beautiful loft with floor to ceiling windows facing the Chicago skyline. I can’t wait to see the sun set over the city as a backdrop to this beautiful event. With just two weeks to go, we are all getting so excited…well maybe not as excited as me, as I finally (finally!) found shoes to match my dress. Yay!!!

My son sent me a list of some of the band’s suggested mother/groom songs for us to dance to. Yaaaawnnn. Nothing fit our personalities, and I spent far too much time Googling and You-Tubing and still came up with nothing. So we decided to go with something fun instead. Stay tuned for next month’s installment. I’ll hopefully have some fun pics to share!

My Halloween Baby will soon be 21!

Also mid-month my youngest son drove back to college for his junior year. Talk about time flying! It seems like yesterday I was sending my baby off to kindergarten. It was so much fun having him home for the summer, especially when the older boys came home. I am never as happy as I am when my boys are together. Lots of fun, board games, and just your basic horsing around. Pure joy. We are hoping to plan a family trip to Las Vegas to celebrate his 21st birthday, which is coming up this Halloween. My birthday buddy…we were born on the same day a mere 35 years apart!

And in all fairness, I have to make mention of my middle son. He will be the best man at the wedding and I am loving talking with him about plans. I can’t wait to hear his speech at the reception. Knowing him, it will be a doozy…and a very heartfelt one at that.

Special wine for a special occasion

Last, I was so-so happy to have made our final home mortgage payment on the last day of this month. Woo hoo! We celebrated with uh-mazing (and huge!) filets that my husband made on the grill, along with a special bottle of wine we’ve been saving for just this occasion. What a great feeling! Now just two more years of college tuition and we can finally breathe a little sigh of relief!

How was your month? Any fall family events coming up? Cheers!

Let's Wine ~~ July, 2017

July 31, 2017 3:49 pm

Well, as I have been reading on so many other peoples’ posts this past week, the big collective we can’t believe how quickly summer is flying by! It’s already time for the July installment of Let’s Wine! So grab a glass of your favorite varietal (or any other libation of your choosing), and let’s reflect together on this past month!

Some quick stats as I close out the month:

Walking/Running:  111.1 miles (and yes, indeed, I will take credit for that last 0.1!)

Biking:  10.2 miles

Gym Workouts:  4.5 hours

Wine Consumption:  Back on track and enjoying some refreshing Sauvignon Blancs as well as some great Rosés on these cool summer nights

Enjoying a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc!

I didn’t look back at my history, but these are probably the most miles I have run in a single month. Ever! I’m using a different plan for marathon training this year, which is fairly aggressive for this Accidental Marathoner. While I haven’t hit all the scheduled runs on the plan, I’ve been doing a decent job of getting some respectable miles in. With just under 10 weeks to go before the Chicago Marathon, I’m feeling pretty good about my progress.

The beautiful future Mrs. Mark T

July has been a great month on the home front, too. On the 1st of the month my mom and I attended my cousin’s son’s fiancé’s bridal shower (that’s a lot of apostrophes!) in the city. It was a great party with (way too much) amazing food, and it was fun meeting the bride-to-be’s friends and family.

How can my baby already be a quarter-century old???

Fourth of July weekend always is a great time for my family, with my eldest son’s birthday on the 5th. This year was even more special as we celebrated his 25th birthday. Holy moly, a quarter of a century old! Where did the time go??? My first baby is all growed up!

Mid-month my niece and I flew to California for the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 16th. We met up with one of my best friends, stayed at a beautiful ranch property in Sonoma, and then the day before the race we headed up to Healdsburg to visit a friend’s winery. And once again, this beautiful race did not disappoint!

The future Mr. & Mrs. Mark J. A match made in heaven from an early age!

Wedding planning is in full swing here as well. As the mother of the groom I don’t have too much to do, but last weekend I hosted the bridal shower and it was absolutely perfect, if I do say so myself! I really can’t take all the credit, since the restaurant pretty much took care of everything. I literally just had to show up and enjoy the party with everyone else. I did, however, put together a running slide presentation, with several side-by-side photos of the future bride and groom living parallel lives in different parts of the country. I also had fun making the favors for these die-hard Cubs fans!

Fun shower favors!

Last week I bought by dress for my son’s wedding, which was much less of a feat than I would have predicted. I wasn’t even dress shopping, but saw it, fell in love, and bought it on the spot. It is literally the first and only dress I tried on…which is exactly what I did for my own wedding dress 29 years ago! And now the search for matching shoes and accessories…

Now that’s what I call a bachelor party!

My youngest son has been home from college for the summer. We are lucky enough that the two who have already graduated live in Chicago. I’m never happier than when all of my boys are together. Last weekend they headed to Glacier, Washington with the rest of the groomsmen for my son’s bachelor party. The wedding is in less than seven weeks, and we are all so excited for a great celebration. Stay tuned!

How was your month? Did you meet your workout goals? What fun things have you been doing this summer? It will be gone in the blink of an eye! Cheers!

Let's Wine ~~ June, 2017

June 30, 2017 3:40 pm
A refreshing Sauvignon Blanc on a warm summer day

Wow! In the blink of an eye, it’s time for the June installment of Let’s Wine! I can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by. Have a seat with your favorite libation, and let’s review the month together! I’m more of a red wine lover, but in the summer months I do enjoy a cool, crisp Sauvignon Blanc as I prepare for dinner or while hanging out on my deck (or at the local Mariano’s, as the case may be).

Some quick stats as I close out the month:

Walking/Running:  53 miles

Biking:  27.5 miles

Gym Workouts:  6 hours

Wine Consumption:  Waaay less than usual! Is that a good thing?

This may be true…

My walking/running mileage is up a little this month and will continue to grow, as I started my official marathon training this month. I’ve always (sort of) followed the Nike Running Finish a Race  plan, which is pretty forgiving and great for first-time marathoners. The first four weeks of the plan call for running or working out 5 days a week, and then starting with Week 5, a sixth day is added to include weekly long runs, starting at eight miles and topping off at 20 miles in Week 11.

This year, I decided to try the Nike Running Set a New PR plan. Like the “Finish a Race” plan, this is a 15-week training plan leading up to the big day. But unlike the first plan, which starts Week 1 with a total of 9 miles, this plan starts with a total of 25 miles and six days of running or working out starting the first week. Well, then, how about we jump right in?! The first plan calls for a total of 363 miles over the course of 15 weeks, while the second calls for 588.9, to be exact!

I’m up for the challenge. This will be my 5th year in a row doing the Chicago Marathon, and in two weeks I will be running my 9th half marathon, the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Half (by the way, if you’re interested in these beautiful wine country half marathons, you can use my Promo Code DRAMBJUR to receive $10 off of your registration for all but the sold-out Napa to Sonoma half marathons in their series). While I won’t be joining the elite runners just yet, I thought it was time I (try to) pick up the pace a little and boost my finishing time. I am by no means near a BQ time, but I would love to PR this year, if even by a few minutes.

A tower of fun

Anywho…June has been a pretty good month here at the home front. My youngest son is home from college for the summer. The older two are out of the house already, but I love having all of them home, and nothing brings me more joy than seeing the three of them together, horsing around and showing each other their brotherly love.

My sweet great-nephew

On June 9th my darling little great-nephew was born, and he is absolutely perfect! My husband had knee replacement surgery a little over two weeks ago, and is doing fantastic in his recovery. He had a less-invasive procedure done, and is already up to walking about a half mile three times a day. He’s not ready for a marathon just yet, but it will be good to see him fully recovered and free of the pain that has been plaguing him for years.

My eldest son is getting married in September, and wedding plans are in full swing. As the mother of the groom I have little to do, but it is so exciting for all of us as the date is getting closer and closer. I’m very much looking forward to meeting more of the beautiful bride’s family and friends in the coming weeks and months.

How was your month? Did you meet your workout goals? What upcoming races are you training for? Have a safe and happy 4th, and of course, cheers!


Let's Wine ~~ May, 2017

May 31, 2017 11:47 pm

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first installment of Let’s Wine! This section of the blog will continue to evolve over time, but for now, I plan to use it to sit down and relax over a glass (or two) of wine as I reflect on my progress over the month. Why not pour yourself a glass and join me in my journey?

The weather in Chicago this month has run the gamut, to say the least! We’ve had temperatures as low as the mid-30s and as high as the high-80s, and everything else in between! We’ve also had our fair share of rain, which kept this wimpy runner in for much of the month. Some quick stats:

Walking/Running:  42.1 miles

Biking:  57.3 miles

Gym Workouts:  8.5 hours

Wine Consumption:  Let’s not go there

Hey, it’s a start. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl, and I tend to do much better when I have a specific goal in mind, so I’ve registered for several races throughout the year to help keep me on track.

On May 13, I completed the Destination Races Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. I recap the race here. I was horribly sick for the entire week leading up to the race, and in true me fashion, I didn’t really train, so as always, I was happy just to finish. My horrible sickness lasted a full week after the race, so I didn’t get much outdoor time in after the race, either.

Bike the Drive Chicago

The cool and rainy weather in Chicago finally broke this week, which has gotten me out the door a little more often. This past Sunday, my eldest son, his fiancé, my middle son, and I participated in the MB Bike the Drive in Chicago. Rain was predicted for several days leading up to the event, but it turned out to be a beautiful morning and we completed the entire loop, logging 32.1 miles that day. We rewarded ourselves with a couple of ice cold beers (at 10:30 a.m., no less!) and some yummy food at Four Moon Tavern in Roscoe Village in the city. I would highly recommend it.

I have a little bit of a green thumb!

Memorial Day brought such beautiful weather, I decided to forego any further runs and got myself outside for a good 5 hours of gardening. That in itself was quite the workout!

So what about the wine? I tend to go in phases, moving from one varietal to the next. This month, I’ve gone back to enjoying Pinot Noir, Meiomi being one of my favorites. With the summer weather here, I will probably start playing around with some Sauvignon Blancs again, which I love to sip on my deck on a warm summer night.

How was your month? Did you meet your workout goals? Share some of your favorite wines with me! I’d love to hear about what you love. Cheers!


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