Just wanted to take a quick break from eating tacos to bring you this important reminder on National Taco Day:
Please, please, please stop the non-Tuesday taco discrimination!
Now, back to tacos. 😉
On August 21, 2017, the United States saw something it has not seen in nearly a century: a total solar eclipse path traveling across the entire continental United States. The last time any of the mainland United States was able to see a total solar eclipse was 1979–and that was only for a handful of northwestern states.
In case you’re a bit confused why I’m talking about the recent solar eclipse during a Monthly Wine Writing Challenge–don’t panic! It’s because this month’s topic, as selected by last month’s winner, Erik of Red, White, and Cru is eclipse. Thankfully, Jeff extended the original deadline because well, between an emergency appendectomy for me and a urinary tract blockage and 8-day hospital stay for the cat, I’ve barely looked at my laptop let alone opened it and (gasp!) actually written something!
Before I start in on the wine writing part of this challenge, I did want to share this beautiful composite image of the eclipse over Nashville by Richard Sparkman, which I found when I was researching ideas about which to write.
Oh and perhaps it’s the wine in my glass, but also befitting this month’s theme is the MWWC logo (created by the Armchair Sommelier), which totally looks like a wine eclipse…
Yes, I’m totally stalling. Mainly because I had all these grandiose ideas about tasting and writing about wines with the name eclipse–or perhaps solar–in them and then, well, life happened.
So change of plan. Rather than talking to you today about wine, I thought I would talk to you today about winemaking. Ha–bet you weren’t expecting that!
Here’s the grand total of what I know about winemaking: it’s exceptionally expensive and requires an enormous amount of hard work.
BUT, if you want to be slightly adventurous and try your hand at being a vintner without breaking the bank, sacrificing your first born child, and working 20-hour days/7 days a week then perhaps you should try a wine making kit.
Yes. You read that correctly, I said winemaking kit. In fact if you’re reading this and wine isn’t necessarily your adult drink of choice, it seems that there is now a homemaking kit for pretty much any kind of alcohol in which you like to partake–wine, beer, whiskey, rum, sake, gin–much to the BFFs dismay when I got her hubby a beer making kit for his bday this year!
I know that winemaking kits have been around for awhile, but I was never really interested in them because it seemed like your only options were chardonnay, merlot, or white zin (gag, no, and ohhellno respectively).
So how does this tie in (even remotely) to this month’s theme of eclipse? Well very conveniently for me, Winexpert makes an Eclipse series of winemaking kits–and they sound pretty fancy…and tasty…and has me pondering if perhaps I might rethink my hand at oenology!
Here is the product description from Winexpert, along with the varietals they offer in the Eclipse series. Btw, I’m not getting paid in any way, shape, or form by Winexpert–but if they wanted to send me a few kits, I’d be more than happy to try them out!
Ultra premium wine kits are made with the finest quality varietal juice from around the world to produce wines that will satisfy the tastes of even the most discerning wine enthusiasts.
Now you don’t have to wait for the next eclipse–you can make your own! <— Yeah, I’m totally aware of how cheesy that was, but I’m leaving it in here because, well, what goes better with wine than cheese?!?!?
Okay, okay I’ll stop with the cheesiness because now I’d like to hear from you:
funny AND probably fairly accurate
Just kidding, Momma!
Actually truth be told, my mother is probably thinking “that’s totally how to kidnap her, especially if there’s also beer.”
In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!
You cannot go to Hawaii and not go to a Luau. Even if you don’t like pork or BBQ or don’t eat [insert random item here]. YOU’RE IN HAWAII–GO TO A LUAU!
It was very much a touristy place and the luau accommodated a large number of people, but it was such a fun evening: the after dinner show was entertaining, the pork was AMAZING!, and the drinks were flowing–especially the mai tais!
Plus we got big chunks of pineapple in our Mai Tais….how can you go wrong with that?!?!
We laughed. A lot. We got lei’d. We saw hula dancing. We learned how to hula dance (much easier after a few Mai Tais, btw!). And there was a plethora of food items from which to choose (I mean, you know how I am about food!). Also, if I didn’t already mention it–the Kalua pig was divine! I may have gone back for thirds. We were good little tourists and tried the poi–it was interesting, I’m so glad we tried it…but THE PORK! I’m drooling just thinking about it!
Yes, it was touristy and there were a lot of people–but it was such a great way to spend an evening. Here are a just few more pictures:
One of the most lush and densely forested places we visited was the Fern Grotto. The only way to access it (at least for tourists, but perhaps also workers) was by boat. It is located in the the Wailua State Park, about 2 miles inland up the Wailua River (the only navigable river in Hawaii).
After we disembarked from the boat, we had a short hike through the rainforest to get to the grotto.
There we received a history of the grotto, including why we couldn’t get any closer (falling rock). It was at one time one of the most popular spots in Kauai for concerts and weddings. One of our guides happily offered to marry/re-marry anyone who so desired, and assured us all it was legal & binding.
After looking around and taking pictures to our hearts content, we wandered back down the path to our boat–as beautiful as it was, we had luaus to go, hulas to do, and pork to eat…
As previously mentioned, our last day we decided to put some miles on the rental car and see where the open road would take us.
Not this open road.
But the one that follows this map (courtesy of Lonely Planet!):
We started in Poipu (southern most tip)–as that’s where we stayed. We drove to Lihue and then took the 56 (Kuhio Hwy) along the eastern and northern coasts as far as the road would take us. Also since I have the map here, if you were wanting a visual for our snorkeling/boat trip: we departed from Hanapepe westward bound for the Nā Pali Coast–so I wasn’t exaggerating when I said we pretty much circumnavigated the island!
Cartography aside, if you find yourself in Kauai (highly recommended)–then you should carve out a good chuck of time to make this scenic drive along the Kuhio Hwy. Estimated drive time from Poipu was about 3 hours roundtrip–more if you want to stop and take a shit-ton of pictures…which we did.
And of course, you need to allow yourself even more time if you want to tour the Kilauea lighthouse or snorkel along the way….which we did not.
Not that we didn’t want to but we were flying to the mainland that evening, so our first priority was to make sure that we had given ourselves enough driving/ogling/eating/drinking time to get all the way to the end of the road and back to the airport before our flight departed without us!
For the majority of our trip, the view on our east side was essentially something like this:
Meanwhile, our western view was almost a 180°:
We soon found ourselves literally at the end of the road and had to make a u-turn (as demonstrated by the red truck below!).
Okay, so “soon” is a relative term–the scenic views and frequent photo stops made the trip seem a lot shorter than it was (although, I wasn’t driving so perhaps Tracy has a different opinion about “soon”).
Of course, I know the real reason you’re here–the photos! Obligingly, I have a small sampling of a mere 197 photos from our drive. Kidding…just…kidding… 😉
In case you were counting (and color me very impressed if you were!), I made it through Day 47. Neeeeearly the half way mark to my 100 Days of Blogging goal. Then the fates decided to have a laugh and throw me a curve ball.
An angry appendix.
That’s what my surgical team called it. It didn’t rupture and my body wasn’t reacting as if it would burst–no fever, no elevated white blood cell count–but the inflammation looked like it was starting to spread, so the surgical team wanted to take it out. ASAP.
I believe my exact verbal reaction was something like “okay, great, thank you,” while the thoughts in my head were a
little lot more expletive. Since the surgeon wanted it out ASAP, it was considered emergency surgery, however, not-so-emergency that I had to wait in line behind two other more-pressing-emergencies for the operating room. I didn’t ask. I really wanted to know what qualified as more emergency than an emergency appendectomy, but as the actual possibilities started swirling through my brain, I thought perhaps it best not to know.
The surgery went well. The inflammation had not spread and about 12 hours after surgery, I was given coffee and my release papers.
I had grandiose blogging ideas at this point, having only missed Day 48 and 49, of getting back on track–but my body had other plans. Despite my brain’s restlessness, I managed to sleep most of last week except when Ann very kindly brought me food or coffee or coffee and food. You know, when she wasn’t answering a barrage of text messages from the Fam and feeding & walking the Princess Pupcicle and Evil Kitty…well, I don’t think she actually walked the cat…but point being, she’s been absolutely amazing!
Now that I’m on the mend and my restless brain is starting to win out a bit more, I realized that I owe you 53 more posts (well, 52 after this one!). At this point I can’t guarantee they’ll be every day, but hopefully more frequently than every 10 days!
Ciao-ciao for now-now!