Sonoma Magazine – October 25, 2011
Each year, there is one day that stresses me out more than any other. More than Tax Day. More than Christmas Day. More than Ben & Jerry’s Free Scoop Day (which flavor to choose???) The day that puts me on edge more than Martha Stewart at a Boston Market is Halloween. It isn’t the ghosts, or the ghouls, or the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes that tie my stomach in knots; it is the dreaded task of finding the right costume.
It used to be easy. You went to a brightly lit Woolworths store and your mom bought you a plastic mask with gaping eye holes and an ill-fitting, highly-flammable plastic jumpsuit designed to resemble Superman or Batman or the Marlboro Man (yeah, it was the ‘70s). I never understood why so many of those cheap costumes also featured the picture of the character you were supposed to be embodying on the front of the actual costume itself. That kind of ruined the illusion.
Sonoma Magazine – September 20, 2011
As the summer that never was begins to wane, just like Nicolas Cage’s hair and career, an age-old tradition begins to unfold at wineries across Sonoma Valley – the Harvest. Dedicated men and women take to row after row of vines, meticulously plucking vibrant red and green globes that I will eventually imbibe in mass quantities in the form of fine pinot noirs, cabs and sauvignon blancs.
While fall heralds the annual harvest of grapes for the large wineries in the Valley, it also serves as a rallying cry for amateur vinologists, who stumble head first into the craft of wine making with the same vim and vigor as Mel Gibson at his court-ordered anger management class, yet with the same likelihood of success as Mel Gibson at his court-ordered anger management class. After all, winemaking isn’t easy. It requires knowledge, skill and labor… lots and lots of labor. And this is exactly the point at which I have a real problem with the Harvest.
Sonoma Magazine – August 28, 2011
There are a plethora of things in this world that I am rather tired of at the moment: the shrill tea-soaked rhetoric of Michelle Bachmann, the over-hyped benefits of awful tasting coconut water, and any poorly produced television commercial for a local business featuring wooden acting by the owner’s family members (I am talking to you Toyota of San Francisco).
Perhaps the thing I am most tired of hearing about is the “renaissance” that is apparently happening over the hill in Napa. You can’t open a magazine or a Culinary Academy bathroom stall door without reading an article on the “new” Napa, which now seems more newsworthy than brain eating amoeba or Jennifer Lopez (they are one in the same, by the way).
Sonoma Magazine – July 22, 2011
Some of my fondest memories growing up were the hours spent with my great Aunt Doll. She was a tiny woman, maybe an AARP card short of five-feet tall. She liked to tell you she was five feet, two inches, but those extra inches actually came from a bun of fake spun grey hair she pinned precariously on top of her own wispy locks, which resembled the worn stuffing her toy poodle Cookie would often pull from the faded Levitz sofa that had seen one too many Christmases.
Sonoma Magazine – June 14, 2011
That philosopher was, of course, Chicken Little, foretelling of the End of Days, or at least the negative effects of global warming. Chicken Little’s musings fell on mostly deaf ears, as few around him believed the world was truly coming to an end. But, truthfully, instead of being worried about the impending Rapture, the local villagers should have been more concerned that a chicken had invaded their space… and that chicken was actually talking. That would be something I would personally find equally as disturbing.
Sonoma Magazine – May 9, 2011
When we bought our Sonoma weekend getaway/money pit/wayward home for friends who only call when the pool reaches 80 degrees, our meringue-sweet real estate agent Charleen helped consummate our new, strictly plutonic relationship with Wells Fargo Mortgage by handing us a ring of bent and slightly rusted keys (Sonoma’s idea of a key party?), along with a bursting packet from the Welcome Wagon. Having spent a good number of years living in Los Angeles (don’t judge), I honestly thought the Welcome Wagon was Paris Hilton’s Range Rover.
Sonoma Magazine – April 11, 2011
Every civilization has a sacred shrine – those monuments that unheedingly draw followers in year after year, like Nicholas Cage to so many bad scripts. Muslims have Mecca. Jews have the Wailing Wall. And Charlie Sheen has the Spearmint Rhino. I have learned, through extensive research, that the great City of Sonoma’s sacred shrine is none other than The Swiss Hotel.
Sonoma Magazine – March 25, 2011
I bought a house in Sonoma as an escape from the organic, range-free, hemp-woven stresses of San Francisco. In just an hour, give or take (not including the required pilgrimage to pray at the altar of In and Out Burger in Tiburon), I could be in laid-back Sonoma, or Slow-noma, as many locals call it.
What I didn’t realize is that life in Sonoma comes with a new set of stresses: The fear of running into Guy Fieri. Striving to out glam Deborah Emery (not possible, by the way). Trying to plan my life around the Temelec senior’s community garage sale. Perhaps the hardest part of being a new Sonoma resident has to do with the lifeblood of the Valley itself – the wine.