Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Cancer is one of those points in my life that will forever be a marker of time.  For example, this weekend we were planting grape vines.  And I can’t help but to think back to last spring when we were planting vines.  I remember barely being able to help.   I was in between chemo and radiation and exhausted all the time.  I had to keep my skin covered because it was super-sensitive to sun due to the treatment.  And to add insult to injury, I had no hair.

This year my hair was a mess and blowing in the breeze.  I had on a t-shirt and was soaking up the sun with every ounce of my being.  Yes, digging the many holes totally kicked my ass, but in a marvelous way.  And unlike last year, the exhaustion didn’t leave me feeling tired for days.
The experience reminded me that life is good right now.  I love it when I get a moment of clarity and am able to remember to feel gratitude for all that I have.

Speaking of gratitude, I am in full-on vacation planning mode!  We leave in less than two weeks.  We had a trip planned last May that we had to cancel because of my illness.  We had plans to go to Santa Barbara for the Winemaker Magazine conference and we were going to stay on the west coast after the conference and hit wine country.  We both agreed that we would go when I was well. 
A little known fact about me:  I am a crazy psychotic vacation planner.   Robbie tried to get me to use a travel agent once because he thought that I stressed too much about the planning.  But he has come to understand that I enjoy it and that I like having the control.  Planning is part of the fun for me.  As soon as we have a destination in mind, I begin to read travel books, yelp reviews, trip advisor reviews, and vacation blogs. 

Destination Napa/Sonoma has been so much fun to plan.  I have a day-by-day itinerary in development that includes our starting winery for each day (those on our “must visit” list), a tour guide that will give us that private boutique winery experience, and group tours that are more fun and relaxed.  At this point I’m down to planning the second tier wineries as well as the meals.   I have experienced much anguish over picking a place to have Deem Sum in San Francisco and in trying to decide if Morimoto’s restaurant in Napa is worth the price (or do we just stand in front and take a photo!)   
Robbie used to poke fun at my planning, but after a few successful vacations he is now a believer.   I know he does not relish the planning phase, so I try to limit his involvement to seeking the information I need to ensure his enjoyment.  I now know that he could care less about what order I arrange to do things or the specific rental car we will be driving.  He really doesn’t want to hear the cheeses they offer during the tour or what types of linens are on the beds at the hotel.  He doesn’t want to pick his seat on the plane, nor does he want to participate in my agonizing over whether I want to spend extra money to have a great view.   I ask him the important questions:  What five wineries are on your “must visit” list?  Would you rather have a single “base” of operation or move each day or two to be closer to different areas?

Robbie is traveling for work this week, so in addition to spending the evenings hashing out the vacation itinerary, I am also a single parent to our very high maintenance beagles.  Zoe is diabetic and gets a shot twice a day.  Meadow is currently on antibiotics and “happy bacteria” for stomach issues and has to be coaxed to eat her breakfast because she has too much gas in her stomach.  I have to take Zoe to an eye specialist on Friday for recurring cysts she keeps getting in her eye (an hour away from where we live).  Monthly dog expenses:  hundreds (too afraid to add it up).  The joy they bring:  priceless.

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