Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Guilt-Tripped Re-Cap, Part 2

In a continued attempt to redeem myself after a long, long absence from writing about the things going on in my life, which I know you've been sorely missing, I'm continuing my re-cap for you. You are SO WELCOME!

Here's some more things which have kept me busy and therefore away from the blog:

A few months ago I started guest co-hosting Get Lit! at Corkscrew Wine Bar in Petaluma. This is a really fun literary night featuring authors from all over (I've been honored to be one of these featured readers twice!), and there's an always-great Open Mic afterward. It's the fourth Wednesday of every month; you should come check it out! There's almost always something funny, something sad, something sexy, and something unexpected to hear.

More time-consuming than that, however, has been finally getting started on curating pieces for the next Mortified Sonoma County show! (Yes, it used to be called Mortified North Bay, but people in San Francisco and Oakland thought that meant Marin, so we changed it because, you know, we're not Marin. But I digress....)

The first show sold way the heck out!

Paulie and I have begun meeting with incredibly brave local people willing to share the embarassing artifacts from their angst-ridden youth. We've heard woe-is-me diary entries, super angry song lyrics, sexually-exaggerated notes to friends, and so much more. In short, it has been ah-maaaaa-zing.

And we're looking for more! If you happened to keep a diary, old letters, archaic video footage of your jazzy Star Search audition tapes...basically anything that seems too humiliatingly awkward to share in front of hundreds of strangers, you might want to hook up with us.

This is a real-life diary, you guys.

You can do this a couple of ways - go to our Facebook page and 'like' it, then find a call for submissions and click whatever link you find there...or (and I say this hoping you'll still go like us on Facebook), go to the Mortified website, find Sonoma County in the drop-down menu and fill out the info requested of you there. Soon we'll be knocking on your door and digging through your Shoebox of Shame!!

Okay it doesn't work like that exactly. We're not going to come to your house, man. But the rest is all pretty spot-on. This process has been soooooo much fun and taken soooooo much more time than we thought it would, but we're getting a lot closer to having our next show ready, and we're super excited!

Okay, that's the end of this latest re-cap. Hopefully I'm one step closer to being forgiven for my six-week hiatus. I haven't even told you about the fair or the winemaking or the...other...stuff......but I will.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Guilt-Tripped Re-Cap, Part 1

I thought Mike was exaggerating two posts ago when he said I'd disappeared. Then I did some tireless research (aka scrolling down a little bit) and realized that I haven't posted since late July soooo...yeah, it looks as though I've been slacking after all! Despite Mike's patented sneaky guilt-trip, though, I guess the most important question is: did you even notice I was gone?! I mean come on, there are lots of things happening in the world right now. Hearing about my dissatisfaction with my canned food collection surely can't be on the top of your entertainment options right now, can it? (Pun intended - Get it? Get it?!?!)

Actually it's true, our canned goods supply is seriously lacking. But that's not what has kept me away. How to even re-cap so you'll forgive me? I'll try. When did we leave off again...? Oh right, late July. Okay. So, since then:

- Jonah started freaking Middle School. I know! MIDDLE SCHOOL! Evie began 3rd grade and all that too, but seriously: Middle School. My mind, it is blown.

- A few days after the whole 'Middle School' thing, Jonah turned 12. So far he's handling it with grace and is still as awesome as ever, despite strangers' unsolicited and frankly unwelcome warnings that once the hormones really kick in he's going to become a wretched prick. I'm pretty sure this is a made-up thing because so far, so good. (Side note, I have seen firsthand the effect of hormones changing a sweet boy into a moody little punk, but that wasn't MY kid. I'm sure it won't happen to me....)

 Jonah still does his chores without complaint and often on his own initiative, he still hugs and kisses me goodnight, good morning, hello and goodbye, and he still runs his new joke ideas by me, which are always surprisingly hilarious.

In a nutshell, he continues to be super rad, and surely will forever and ever, and ever. I mean, for his birthday he asked for a Ukulele. For his party he asked for a crepe bar. A CREPE BAR, people! Come on. How cool can you get?!

As I'm typing this I realize that I do actually have a lot to catch you up on after all! Hm. You know what? I'll leave it at that for now. My firstborn started middle school, turned 12, is learning to play the Ukulele, and loves crepes.

Thanks for your patience, friends. You're the best, most understanding, beautiful people in town. I mean it. Stay tuned for more updates - I'll be better from now on, I promise. Until I run out of things to update you on...or until Mike reminds me I've been slacking, whichever comes first!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Liam Finds His Calling

Since the beginning I've fantasized about raising the boys steeped in a rich winemaking tradition.

Like most first-born kids, Liam received the brunt of my overly-idealized parenting dream. It tapered off to a more appropriate level by the time Finn was born. I still involve them in my work, but not for the same reasons I did initially. Before it was more about sharing my passion with my boys and, hopefully, creating a legacy like the Gallos and Mondavis. Now I just show them the cool stuff I do because I like showing off.

One of the things I get to do is operate the hoist that dumps the two ton bins of grapes into the receiving hopper. It's even cooler than it sounds. With me working every day, Jodee has selflessly offered to look after Liam and Finn on my weekends. I convinced her last Saturday to schlep the boys to work for me so I could dazzle them with my incomprehensibly skillful hoist operation. Unfortunately Jodee and the boys showed up at the winery just a few minutes after we had dumped our last load of grapes and the truck had left. I brought them up to the crushpad anyway and let Liam see the remote that operated the crane. I even showed him how to operate it. We have the fancy kind that not only goes up and down, it also goes north, south, east, and west. I let Liam play with it for a bit.

After a minute or two I thought, "even though the thing is twenty feet up and moving at two inches a second, this probably isn't an OSHA sanctioned activity for a 6-year-old," so I took the remote away.



Hell hath no fury like a first-grader denied heavy machinery. It started as just a run of the mill tantrum but quickly plummeted into a death-spiral of white hot fury. By the time I was strapping him into the car he was taking swings at me in between sobs. I just wanted him to think my job was cool but it was like I'd injected him with heroine.

After I got home that evening he asked me about it every 10 minutes. "Daddy, let's go do the grapes." I feel bad for exposing him to a little taste what's to come and then snatching it away, but, of course, I'm also pretty damn thrilled.

"We will go do the grapes buddy, I promise."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Sí, lo sé. Más de tres semanas sin noticias?! No manches! Que rollo con el hoyo?

Una mejor pregunta es "¿Dónde está Amanda?" Es ella trabajando doce horas todos los días como yo? ¡No creo! Amanda vamos! ¿Qué estás haciendo guey? Vales verga!

Uy, lo siento. A veces, durante la cosecha, me olvido de cambiar desde mal Español al Inglés.

Sorry about that. I'm in full-immersion harvest mode and tend to lose myself. Here is the above translated via Google Translate:

Yes, I know. More than three weeks without news?! Do not stain! I roll with the hole?

A better question is "Where is Amanda?" It is she working twelve hours every day like me? I don`t believe! Amanda go! What are you doing castrated bull? Vouchers cock!

Anyway, you get the idea. I get uneasy when nearly a month has passed without any updates. I've been crazy busy. I'm sure Amanda has her reasons for neglecting our poor blog as well. It's likely something along the lines of "I'm really unhappy with my current canned food inventory" or "I'm doing all my holiday shopping early this year on Etsy". I'm sure we'll hear about it soon.

Harvest came early to Ridge Winery and right now we're in the thick of it. Everything is a bit of a caffeine and alcohol saturated blur so I have to actually look at the pictures on my phone to see if there have been any milestones. Let's have a look, shall we?

Ah yes, Liam was sort of okay with getting his hair cut. For those of you that know him, this is HUGE.

Oh right, school started. That's big. This is Finn on his first day of school. He's going through the same "Roots and Shoots" special ed class that Liam attended, and he's loving it. Liam is now a first-grader and is going to school right here in Healdsburg again. In fact, their classrooms are next door to one another, all just two blocks from my front door. Life is good.

And this last one demonstrates the best news of all. No, not that Finn has taken the reenactment of his favorite movies to the next level (much to Liam's dismay), it's that Finn is getting potty-trained, boot camp style. As you can see he is out of diapers and in underpants, come what may.

That's all the news that's fit to blog for now. It's a lot actually. I wish I could delve deeper and polish these moments into bright and shiny new anecdotes, but duty calls. This is the one time of year where my role as "FATHER" is far more traditional than I'm used to. Hopefully it won't last more than a month.