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Day 344 – Lending A Hand

la manoSo, we have to say . . . it’s a little weird.  When you raise your kids and see them off to college, you’re pretty much ‘done’ with raising them.  Well, it sounds good in practice but not so much in reality.  There are always going to be moments when they need some advice, direction, an opinion, a shoulder or an ear.  We aren’t even close to perfect, but we strive to give both girls the opportunity to talk with us; tell us what’s on their minds; offer advice or suggestions when asked to do so and every once in a great while, we get the chance to impart a little life’s moment on them.  It’s one of the gifts of having children–watching them grow up, blossom and spread their wings.  We are now understanding more and more every year how our parents must have felt (other than relief) when we were moving out of the nest after graduating from college.

As we told you last night, we’re in the process of helping D#1 get ready for her first teaching position.  This means all hands on deck!  Yep, painting white here and there; painting red over there; moving books; cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, it’s a lot tougher job being a teacher than teachers let us see!  The amount of preparation leading up to the first day of school is immense.  The physical transformation of the school and classrooms leading up to that first day of class is the stuff that legends are made of!  After seeing the commitment of professionals who have been a part of education for a lot long than D#1 has, we understand why there are issues in education today.  These folks put  in long, long hours–and are compensated at (if you really want to figure it out) maybe a little above minimum wage.  The women and men who are charged with educating our future workforce earn peanuts while professional athletes earn hundreds of millions of dollars even AFTER having needles put into them.  Talk about a screwed up system!

The classroom is a mecca for kids and their teacher, and we’re hoping that as the time winds down before classes start, that you’ll not only thank a teacher, BUT lend a hand to a teacher. . .you’ll learn more than you ever dreamed!  And, it’s with this spirit of helping a teacher that we opened and tasted a Spanish wine this evening.  A 2009 La Mano Mencia Roble–had a nice, crisp nose when we opened the bottle–which kind of surprised us.  Actually, we weren’t sure exactly what we were getting with this wine- -but the nose turned out to be very nice.  It has a deep crimson-color, and it delivers aroma of earthy notes, mulberry, and blueberry. On the palate, it has extraordinary depth and concentration for its humble price of less than $9 a bottle. Surprised?  Don’t be!  We’ve been fortunate enough to uncover some amazing wines at less than $10-$11 a bottle–wines that would cause your friends to think you’ve spent far more!  The wine is an interesting cross-section.  A spicy, smooth-texture and it’s clearly intended for pleasure…however, the finish–well, the finish was nothing to write home about.  It just kind of disappeared.  No fruit, no spice, no leather or cedar. . .it was a tasty wine up until the finish.

At the end of the day, one of the best parts of seeing our teacher get ready for school is our ability to lend her a hand–or two.  It may not necessarily happen every year, but there is something special about the first year.  It’s a clean slate; a new beginning; a fresh perspective.  And, when those kids march into class on the first day, they’re going to meet someone who has passion in her heart and a lot to offer them.  We’re a LOT biased, but will refrain from outright bragging!  And, with this wine tonight, well, you should try it to see if you like it.  Obviously, you’re not going to break the bank. . .it’s another wine from the folks at East End Wine in Austin.  They really know how to stock their shelves.

By the way, Kudos to Bruce Wayne for coming over and helping out get things moved and organized – means alot to us and D#1!  Enjoy your night, remember to taste your wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible. 


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Day 304: Tell Me Something Good . . .

finders keepersMondays aren’t ‘usually’ good news days.  You know how it goes . . . you’re coming off a weekend and the last thing you really want to do is go into work on a Monday.  We still remember graduating from college – a long time ago – and getting that first job.  The feeling is, well, pretty cool.  Having a job before a large percentage of your friends was even better.  Having a job that gave you the luxury of starting when you wanted to was even better yet!  And when the offer letter came in, and we looked at what they wanted to pay us, it was as if the world had stopped spinning on its’ axis and all had aligned with the stars!  “They want to pay me that much to do this?”  For a couple of kids coming out of a small school in East Texas, starting our careers in the summer following graduation was a terrific experience . . . and one that we still remember to this day.

Fast forward about 30+ years and as previously noted, daughter #1 has graduated from the same small school in East Texas . . . and before today, she was looking to drink from the cup of professional employment.  When your passion is kids and teaching is what you’ve been called to do, finding that right fit is all about timing and chemistry . . . and OPPORTUNITY.  Today we learned that she had accepted  her first teaching job – 2nd grade = and will be molding the minds of tomorrow’s leaders this fall.  Wow!  We thought it was a cool experience for us to get OUR first job, BUT it pales in comparison to the exhilaration when your child hits paydirt!  Yes, we had been following the interviewing process, but nothing is carved in stone until it’s carved in stone . . . so when she told us that it was official, we weren’t sure who was more excited. . .her, us or her new boss–the Principal!

While finding the first job isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, we thought it would be fun to salute this great accomplishment in her life with a bottle of 2010 Finders Keepers Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, California.  This Cabernet is deep red with ripe berry and plum aromas, accented by toasty oak and vanilla. On the palate, dark fruit flavors are balanced by silky tannins and a lingering finish.  While it took a little time for the bottle to warm up, once it had been opened for a good 45 minutes, the richness and mellowness of the wine began to really show.  We both agreed that this wine could be even better a year from now, but enjoying it tonight was a good deal as well.  While it’s listed as a Cab, we couldn’t help but peak at its’ other varietals included. . .Merlot is added for the velvety soft tannin structure, and other reds are blended in to heighten spice and complexity.  And priced at less than $11 a bottle, you’ll be impressed enough with this wine to buy more than one bottle; in fact, you’ll probably want a lot more because once you share it with your friends, they’re going to want more!  Enjoyed with food or by itself, Finders Keepers is yet another hidden gem in wines from the Paso Robles area that are terrific deals and delicious to drink

At the end of the day, any time you accept a new challenge, it’s got to make you feel good.  Whether it was us accepting our first career opportunity all those years ago or our daughter taking on her first professional challenge, it’s an amazing feeling.  We’re obviously proud parents and tonight we raised our wine glass to her for tenacity and heart in achieving a dream.  Our wine is a testament to tenacity and dreaming as well, because after all if you find something unexpected and recognize its value . . . well, finders keepers, losers weepers.

Please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.