Monthly Archives: January 2014

Passport Day

Diane and I are back from Passport Day in Aptos. Three wineries visited, six wines acquired:

  • Pleasant Valley Vineyards – a beautiful backyard winery (well, it’s a 5-acre backyard) with an amazing stand of redwood trees. The wines were rather pricey (mostly north of $40), but quite tasty. They specialize in Pinot Noirs, which were very drinkable, but we really liked their Syrah and Zin, both of which were on the spicy side; we bought one bottle of the 2009 “Sean Boyle” Syrah, which will go well with a well-spiced steak.
  • Nicholson Vineyards – this was a slightly larger operation than Pleasant Valley, but still small and friendly. Their wines are made for drinking fairly soon and were considerably less expensive than Pleasant Valley. I wrote my tasting notes on their order form, which I seem to have left with them, so I’ll just list the wines we chose to purchase:
  • Finally, we visited Alfaro Family Vineyards, an even larger operation than Nicholson (they sold wines under three different labels, in fact). They had seven wines available for tasting, but we decided, in the interest of safety, to skip the Chardonnays; all of the wines were interesting, but we only picked up the Corralitos 2012 Syrah, which was pleasantly spicy, with a long finish and a relatively low price (hmm, I guess I can’t bring this one to a party now that I’ve written that!).

Three wineries in the space of 2.5 hours is a pretty brisk pace, and I’m sure I didn’t do Alfaro justice – I guess we’ll have to return.

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I need rain

We haven’t had significant rain this season, and it shows. The hills are browner than usual; the fall garden is anemic; and there’s continuing talk about drought and water rationing. We even had someone ask at Torah study whether we should put the prayer for rain into the day’s service! Yes, we need rain.

But none of those reasons are why I need rain – I need rain so that I’ll stay inside and play work. When I look at my office, I realize that spending an hour or two reorganizing it would pay dividends – but that hour could be spent walking or hitting golf balls, and that’s what I do instead.

In fact, it’s a lovely day out right now. Bye!

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It’s not about the arms

I was at the driving range Friday afternoon. Just before I was ready to leave, I noticed that my coach was practicing, so I watched him hit a few balls. I noticed that he looked relaxed, especially from the waist up – it seemed as though he was letting his lower body provide most of the force and using his upper body to steer.

I only had a few balls left in my bucket, and no time for more, but I decided to experiment and concentrate on my lower body instead of my arms for the rest of my shots. When I kept that thought in mind, I made more solid contact and the ball went further and was better aligned with my intention.

Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all along?

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How should I start my morning?

My morning routine has only changed a bit over the years.

When I was at IBM, I’d read the paper with breakfast, check my email (work and personal), and then rush to work, where I’d once more deal with my email (personal and work, usually in that order – I guess I can admit that now), be on conference calls, and, if I was really lucky, get something done before lunch. Sometimes, of course, I’d have a conference call (or two) early enough in the morning that I had to call in from home; on those days, I’d never get anything accomplished before lunch.

Now, I get up, read the paper with breakfast, check my email (personal only!), check Facebook, read blogs, and on good days, get a walk in before sitting down at the computer to check my email and Facebook and blogs again. I only need to leave the house early for Toastmasters meetings or when I’ve got an appointment with my trainer, so often I sit at the computer until lunch. And I almost never get anything accomplished before lunch.

Very little in my email is time-critical; perhaps I should get something accomplished before I look at the email. Perhaps a blog posting would be a start….

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I am my mother’s child

My mother used to do something which drove me crazy – she lied to her checkbook. If she wrote a check for, say, $12.67, she’d enter it as $15 in the check register; similarly, if she deposited $280, she’d enter $250 in the register. When I asked her “why?”, she said she liked having a “cushion” in her account.

I keep my check register as accurate as I can – but I lie to MyFitnessPal, and for the same reason. As an example, I went to the gym this morning and spent 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer. My Wahoo heartrate monitor claims I burned about 500 calories, but it’s not integrated with MyFitnessPal; my Fitbit is, but it can’t tell how hard I worked, so it only credited me with 200 calories during that time, and that’s all I show in MyFitnessPal. I also try to overestimate serving sizes by a little bit. Why? To have a little “cushion” in case I forget to log something I eat during the day.

I don’t know if my mother ever got her checkbook in sync with reality, but I’ve lost 10 pounds and 2 inches from my waistline since starting to use MyFitnessPal this summer. Maybe lying isn’t always so bad!

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Things I learned practicing golf today

I am consistently hitting the ground too soon, and therefore hitting up on the ball instead of down on it. I do this when I’m practicing without a ball (I ground the club behind where I’m aiming), and even more so when there’s a ball to hit. The result is thin hits and no consistency in aim.

I also noticed that I still don’t always finish my follow-through, especially when taking a practice swing; I have a better chance of hitting the ground later when I do finish completely, so I need to make finishing a stronger habit.

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Proust had madelines; I have signs

A long time ago, I had to use TSO on a daily basis. One of the parts of the login process was being told the last time you logged in – you were supposed to check the last login time and make sure no one was using your account covertly, but I never bothered, partially because the date in the login message was presented as a so-called Julian date (yy.ddd). It was easy enough to figure out the human-friendly date in January, and even in February or March (especially in a leap year), but by the time April started, my interest in converting day 103 into the 12th or 13th of April (depending on whether it was a leap year) was zero. I’m sure someone made the decision to use the Julian date for a reason, but it never made any sense to me.

I was reminded of this today when I saw that the restroom cleanliness form at the place we had lunch had “1–14” as the date; I wonder if the person who set it up had been a mainframe user at one point.

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