Scarlett’s Letter August 27, 2013

It may have seemed like a perfectly ordinary Tuesday, but it wasn’t. Today was “National Just Because Day”. That could open the doors to many exciting things and to an extraordinary day! Just because.

I decided to go for a run this morning. I didn’t run at all last week. I had every intention to run while traveling, but the logistics always get weird with unusual surroundings, dinners in restaurants and showers and running and impending darkness. I had lots of excuses, and that just makes me feel worse; using all those excuses.  So I went out to one of my favorite running areas today, Dry Creek Road and did a fast four miles. Okay, well, fast, for me. Dry Creek Road is on the western edge of the Oak Knoll District and is one lovely vineyard after another. I kind of knew this, but not really. I sailed past one vineyard with a sign roadside that had beneath the vineyard name, “OKD” and it only took me a few minutes to figure out that meant Oak Knoll District. Well, I had a little help, perhaps, from a sign about a quarter mile up, on the opposite side of the street that spelled it out for me, “Oak Knoll District”. I sailed past that sign, too. Well, maybe I felt like I was sailing, I probably looked more like I was shuffling, but we’ll just say I was sailing past, just because. Other than it being quite sunny and not too shady, because of all the vineyards, and, so, a bit warm, it is a lovely place to run and is quite populated with other runners, walkers, dog walkers, stroller pushers and cyclists. It was a fine morning for a run, a fast four in the OKD. Just because.

As I run I often am struck with brilliant ideas for writing; topics, themes, sayings and word play. Today, I thought, since I was running in the OKD I should find a winery to taste at today, in the OKD. Tasting Tuesday. Why not? Just because, right?  After I got home and did my core workout, took my cool shower and answered a few emails, I went online to find a winery in the OKD to try. I perused several wineries and decided to find one as close as I could to where I actually ran. I settled on Trefethen (emphasis is on the middle syllable). I’d never been to Trefethen before, so that made it an even better choice. I like trying new things; just because.

I prompted Siri with the address, since it was just a few short miles from home, I figured Siri could handle the job and I wouldn’t need Armando and all his bells and whistles. Armando is my voice activated Garmin Nuvi that supplies lane assist, superior graphics, speed limits and how far in excess you are of the speed limit, as well as an ETA. For a quick trip in a familiar town, Armando is a little overkill. Siri, however, took me a longer route than I would’ve chosen had I known precisely where the winery was. Siri got me within about a mile and instructed me to park along State Route 29 and walk the rest of the way. I almost made Siri walk the rest of the way. Instead, I followed my keen navigational instinct and turned right, off of State Route 29 onto Oak Knoll Avenue, where the address was listed and where, at the intersection, was a winery sign. Perhaps my keen navigational instinct wasn’t really necessary, but I got Siri to the winery and she was still yacking about me continuing on to the next major intersection and doing something. Just because, I guess.

The drive into the winery was pretty impressive. I think the driveway was nearly as long as my trip up State Route 29! The winery is housed in a very impressive building, as well, not ostentatious, but statuesque, definitely. I was greeted as soon as I walked inside and the Napa Neighbors discount was happily recognized. A free “Classic Tasting”, four wines from a list of eight; four whites, a rose and three reds. I was introduced to the sommeliers who were knowledgeable beyond what most winery staff are. I was told the details of the estate; purchased in 1968, just one year after my family moved to Napa. It is the largest contiguous estate in the Valley and all of their grapes are grown on the estate. They grow enough grapes for their own production and are able to sell 30% of their crop to other wineries. They provided a map of the estate, for reference, so you could see the source of the grapes for each wine you tasted. I love visual aids! This was the best thing since the three-dimensional relief map at Ceja! As I am fonder of reds than whites, I was first given the 2011 Pinot Noir off the more expensive, “Reserve Tasting” list. It was fantastic. I then worked my way down the list of reds on the Classic Tasting with the 2010 Cabernet Franc, the 2010 Merlot and the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. My official four tastings were spent, but, still, I was offered more. I moved to the “Reserve” list and decided, based on the exclamations of others in the tasting room and the price per bottle, on the 2010 Dragon’s Tooth. I decided to cap things off with the S.I.N. – Summer in Napa, 2012 Rose. Just because! I didn’t taste anything I didn’t absolutely love! I was hard pressed to decide which ONE bottle to buy to take with me to Alaska this weekend. While I pondered my purchase, I was offered a taste of the 2011 Late Harvest Riesling, which isn’t on any tasting list, but, “just happened to be opened”, just because. Again, as I’ve said before, and I think I’ve made a liar of myself, I don’t like dessert wines. The last four, of four, dessert wines I’ve tried, I really enjoyed. It may have something to do with the fact that I’m always told they would be delicious with bleu cheese. I think anything is delicious with bleu cheese, and I think this may influence my palette just a bit.

Tasting Tuesday, just because on National Just Because Day!
Tasting Tuesday, just because on National Just Because Day!

I finally settled on the Cabernet Franc, of all the wines I tasted, I think my Sweetie will enjoy this one the most with the hint of cherry, tobacco and raspberry. I will save it for my trip. And I will share. Really I will. Just because! I also bought a silver horse head wine spout aerator. I first spotted it wine tasting in El Dorado County and have been lusting after it ever since. I found it online, but there isn’t nearly as much romance in having purchased it online as there is in purchasing somewhere you can talk about. Right? So, now, in the trunk of my car, along with two DSW bags, is a lovely carrier bag from Trefethen Winery in the OKD. Living with Mom is quite a bit like being married, I have clandestine purchases I feel like I have to sneak into the house. The aren’t really clandestine, but I just can’t take the remarks when I bring home “more shoes,” or “more wine”. And now that it’s kind of a game, it just makes me want to buy MORE shoes and MORE wine! Just because!

You have to admit you have a problem in order to have a problem. No problem.
You have to admit you have a problem in order to have a problem. No problem.

Alas, it is Tuesday. Do you know what that means? It’s Taco Tuesday! I love tacos. I can find a way to make almost anything into tacos. There is just something about putting food into a warm tortilla, folding it in half and having it spill out all over the plate, the table, and your lap that makes it so much more delicious! I made my meal into tacos last night, it was Mexican Monday. Tomorrow is Wrap Wednesday. I planned on having salmon salad for lunch and ended up having an apple, a carrot and celery with peanut butter, instead, in the interest of not having a lot of preparation and dishes mid-day. I really wanted salmon salad, I mean, I “helped” catch the salmon. Not physically, but I did offer a lot of moral support. I did behead, gut and wash the salmon alongside the Copper River at Chitina, then helped jar them, so I have a personal connection with these jars of salmon. So delicious! So, I made salmon salad tacos for Mom and me for dinner tonight. It may not sound very traditional, but they were very, very good and I’d eat more, now, if there were any left! Just because!

I have a very personal relationship with this jar of salmon.
I have a very personal relationship with this jar of salmon.
Taco Tuesday. Salmon salad tacos. Just because.
Taco Tuesday. Salmon salad tacos. Just because.

It is getting late, Mom has just gone to bed and that means I can now sneak my DSW bags and wine purchases upstairs. I managed to move them from the trunk of my car to a hiding place in the garage on the pretense of “taking the recycles out”, which is another clandestine operation. “Recycles” are usually one or two more empty beer or wine bottles than I think Mom would approve of, so I wait until she has the TV on, with a game show, the news, or Chopped on full blast, and I take the bottles out to the bin so she won’t hear them “clink” and so I’ll have enough time to shuffle the newspapers over them. It’s kind of a sport. And a way to avoid the inevitable question “did you have a second beer tonight?” Maybe. Just because.

My Favorite Person

I read a story about Marilyn Monroe the other day. In the height of her fame, she was in New York City and rode the subway without anyone recognizing her. She was not disguised in any way, but was able to stand at Grand Central Station waiting for the train, then ride for several stops without being noticed. She had a photographer and a magazine editor with her and her point was, she could be glamorous and famous or ordinary and unnoticed, at will. She had charisma, which is derived from self-esteem and self-awareness. And she was in control of how she projected that charisma. When she exited the train, with the flick of a switch, like a light bulb, Marilyn became Marilyn again, deliberately, and was instantly mobbed by fans.

Today is a day I’d like to ride the train unnoticed. Not that I have any number of fans who may otherwise mob me. But I feel like lying low. I, truthfully, just want to spend some quality time with my favorite person. Me. I need some me time. Is there something wrong with what I said? Should we not consider ourselves one of our favorite people? Certainly, when trying to improve our self-esteem, our self-confidence and our self-awareness we must acknowledge that we are pretty cool people, right? Isn’t that part of the point, to develop self-respect, self-acceptance and a healthy self-image?

During the course of any one day, we are frequently picked away at by little, petty nigglings and naggings by the people in our lives, the people we love and who love us in return, our mob of fans. It is common, natural and normal, for people to try to influence our behavior to a manner that suits their liking a bit more. It is common, natural and normal for people close to us to offer constructive criticism, well meaning, of course. It is common, natural and normal to become the sounding board for every ache, pain, indiscretion, injustice or fleeting thought for those close to us. And it is common, natural and normal to want, need and to seek respite from all of that, on occasion. Today is that day.

In respite, I want to nurture myself with quiet thought and reflection on all the input from the past days, weeks, months. In respite, I want to consider, or reconsider, the path I am on, the goals I’ve committed to, the actions I’ve taken and those I’ve planned, to assure myself that I am still on track, that my goals are still true. In respite I want to remind myself that I don’t require anyone or anything external to “make me” happy, fulfilled, or complete. I don’t need wealth, I don’t need material possessions, expensive cars, big houses, vacation homes, extravagant gifts, presents, jewelry, greeting cards, frequent text messages, birthday parties, phone calls, flowers, plans on my calendar, the DVD box set of Friends, or even shoes, to make me feel better or better about myself. Everything I need, everything I require, for genuine happiness and fulfillment exists within me and at this precise moment in time. Now. I only need to acknowledge that fact to unleash it and let it be true.

I know this, I have known this for a very long time. I have practiced this, but in the din of daily life, I occasionally fall out of practice and look outward, from inside, in search of something to satiate me. And nothing does. Nothing can. Everything, if that were even possible, couldn’t. Not that I will turn away from family, friends, loved ones, my career, or my desires, no, but I need only remind myself that my true, genuine happiness does not come from those people or those things, they are just the gravy on the potatoes. The potatoes being, simply, myself. And in acknowledgement of these facts, and with practice of that acknowledgement, on a regular basis, all those other things will likely manifest. It is true.

It is my belief that much of the pain, unhappiness and discontent in the world around us is from lacking. From lacking of the importance of self. From lacking self-esteem. This being the  same pain, unhappiness and discontent, the same feeling of lacking, that sends millions upon millions of people to the doctor with the name of that new pharmaceutical miracle pill they saw on television last night. The pill that leads one to believe that life is a sunshiny, slow motion, graceful run through fields of wild flowers once said pill has been ingested. Like diet pills and miracle cures, happy pills won’t provide what only oneself can. The sooner we all just stop, look and listen, the sooner we will find what it is we long for. It is all inside and the only intervention required is the time and reflection necessary to acknowledge this and practice it. Are you on the inside, looking out for what you think you need to fill you up? Or are you looking inward to find exactly everything you’ll ever need, want or require?

Sadly, even Marilyn Monroe did not understand this fact. And though she had charisma, which comes from self-esteem, and a strong self-awareness, as evidenced by her subway ride, throughout her life, she was looking outward for fulfillment and satiation, which despite having fame and fortune and seemingly “everything”, she failed to ever find. And it destroyed her.

And so my day of going unnoticed on the train was fruitful. I feel revived and rejuvenated, relaxed and in charge, happier and more fulfilled, returning home long after dark, a long day with my favorite person. Me.

Ok, so I bought shoes.

Shoe don't necessarily make me feel better, but they make my feet happy!
Shoe don’t necessarily make me feel better, but they make my feet happy!