Monday, December 21, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
The time had come to dance again
You could feel it in the air,
I saw it in my daughter’s eyes
As she practice-primped her hair.
“Are you getting excited?” Aly said
as she hugged me ‘round the waist,
“You better believe it!” I replied
as I picked her up with haste.
I swung her clockwise in the air
And sang a made-up song,
And as she smiled with girly glee
She sighed, “It won’t be long.”
I laid her in her fluffy bed
And hugged her with a cleave,
She shot-gun giggled with delight
on this Daddy-Daughter Dance Eve.
The whole day long my mind would drift
To dancing with my princess.
As she gathered with her giddy friends
All dolled up in their dresses.
Before I knew it, the time had come
to head toward my home,
where Aly was prepping for the night
with her makeup-artist-Mom.
As I turned into the gravel drive
And pulled up toward the garage,
I saw my girls off to the left,
And it felt like a mirage.
All preened and prissed was Aly Grace
With a mother’s custom care,
She stood there proud inside her dress
With her curly brunette hair.
She posed against the maple tree
As her mother snapped some shots,
I walked toward her with a smile
“I love you lots and lots.”
“I love you, too, Daddy!” she said
nasal toned and nostrils flaring,
I needed to go and change my clothes
But couldn’t keep my eyes from staring.
My little girl was growing up
Right before my aging eyes,
These moments won’t be here for long,
You get no second tries.
I hustled to my closet space
And fetched my nicest suit,
I combed my hair, put on cologne
That smelled like passion fruit.
I went downstairs and presented myself
As my daughters “ohhed” and “ahhed”,
They love it when I get all dressed up
And become the handsome dad.
We packed the family in the car
And headed out to eat,
Aly wanted for everyone
To enjoy this special treat.
Logan’s Roadhouse was the chosen spot
For our little pre-dance meal,
We ate free peanuts like elephants,
While Kami said, “What a steal!”
We finished up and headed home
To drop off her mom and her “sissies”,
And then we traversed o’er to Meijer
To get a surprise for “Miss Prissy”.
We parked the car and Aly said,
“Daddy, what are we doing here?”
I told her she had 10 dollars to spend
On whatever would bring her heart cheer.
She picked out a Webkin, I think that makes 12,
It was a Reindeer with antlers and fur,
She decided to name it Rudy for short,
I said that was entirely up to her.
We left the store and turned toward the school
She hugged her new animal tight,
The weather was perfect, the sky was clear
This was gonna’ be a glorious night.
When we walked in the school she skipped to the desk
Where they handed out tiaras and sashes,
Just like you’d see in a Miss American pageant,
Where the whole place sparkles and splashes.
We hit the dance floor like two butterflies
Spinning and swirling around,
No happier couple in the town of Lowell
Could possibly ever be found.
Between my legs I swung her frame
Then I snapped her to her feet,
Jigging back and forth like squirrels
We swayed to every beat.
The faster songs she danced with friends
And I would bow it out,
But when a slower song came on
I’d hear a little shout.
“Dad!” she cried with her little voice
“It’s time for us to dance.”
She’d grab by arm and lead me out
Where we’d assume the stance.
I took her little hand in mine,
she hugged me around my waist,
And bending down to cradle her,
I softly kissed her face.
The slower songs would settle her
And sedated in romance,
I’d pick her up; she’d straddle me
we'd spin as if entranced.
She’d bury her head into my neck
As I kissed her peach-fuzz ear,
I’d quietly whisper, “Love you, Grace”.
While I shed a fatherly tear.
Crying happened throughout the night
As I’d watch her lost in life,
There’s nothing better than innocence
To cut me like a knife.
As is the custom the night would end
With a love song for each date,
Aly knew it was coming really soon,
Like predestinated fate.
And when it came the song rang out
Like a spell was cast upon us,
I closed my eyes and took it in
Like a first encounter with Jesus.
“The smile on your face
lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes
sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand
says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best
when you say nothing at all.”
I rocked her back and forth that night
Remembering her birth,
When I took her in my loving arms
And heaven came down to earth.
As time stood still her life had passed
Before my mindful eye,
And as the song came to an end
My heart began to cry.
These moments in a daddy’s life
Are fleeting as a mayfly,
Here today but gone tomorrow
How quickly time goes by.
I kissed her neck again and again,
She snuggled on my chest,
I tilted my neck toward her ear
And said, “Gracie, you’re the best.”
We pulled away that cool fall night
She sighed and held my hand,
“I hate when this happens,” she blurted out
I completely understand.
When we got home, she brushed her teeth
Preparing herself for bed.
I was downstairs upon the couch
Resting my weary head.
When all the sudden I heard a sob
That spoke of a broken heart,
Aly was weeping to her mother upstairs
Falling helplessly apart.
I heard her coming down the stairs
To give a goodnight hug,
She climbed upon my manly chest,
As snug as a bug in a rug.
She started to weep with sorrow deep
Like my little mourning dove,
I clasped my hands around her back
Embracing her with love.
I told her that we’d always dance,
We didn’t need an event,
We only needed our heart’s to seize
The dance in each moment.
With swollen eyes she smiled at me,
and I kissed her salty face,
This ends this story of my second born,
The adorable “Alyvia Grace.”
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"What is a poet? A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music. His fate is like that of the unfortunate victims whom the tyrant Phalais imprisoned in a brazen bull and slowly tortured over a steady fire: their cries could not reach the tyrant's ears so as to strike terror into his heart. When they reached his ears they sounded like sweet music. And men crowd about the poet and say to him: "Sing for us soon again"; that is as much as to say; "May new sufferings torment your soul, but may your lips be formed as before; the cries would only frighten us, but the music is delicious." And the critics come too and say; "Quite correct, and so it ought to be according to the rules of aesthetics." Now it is understood that a critic resembles a poet to a hair, he only lacks the suffering in his heart and the music upon his lips."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Here is a excerpt of a rather timely e-mail that I recently received. Check this out...
Perfect for holiday gifts and entertaining, the $49 2005 Diamond Terrace, Diamond Mountain Cabernet is a fantastic deal! Made by Thomas Brown, the winemaker for Schrader Cellars and Turley Cellars, who has achieved two 100 point scores from Robert Parker and two 99 point scores from Wine Spectator in the past, the quality of the Diamond Terrace is sure to exceed your expectations.
Diamond Terrace is a micro-production, family owned winery. Its wines are priced at a fraction of Thomas's other wines, but are made with the same passion and dedication to his winemaking philosophy.
The 2005 Diamond Terrace Cab is indeed a gem from Diamond Mountain.
Winemaker tasting notes -
The wine has really blossomed in the bottle. First you notice the saturated garnet color and then you are hit with super expressive nose of graphite, white flowers and cassis. The blue and black fruit dominated palate contains crushed blackberries, blueberries, liquid mineral and wet gravel notes. The finish showcases its hillside fine-grain tannin component without turning dry. The drinks well now, but will continue to develop nicely for 5 - 10 years.
Aabalat Fine & Rare Wines
This thing just seems to be so ripe with metaphor to the marriage relationship as I have been reading it through this new lens of Husbandman/Vinedresser, Winemaker/Vinter. I've noticed that the name of the winemaker, his status or renown is directly related to the quality of the wine produced. The quality and value of the wine is derived from the passion and dedication of the winemaker. However, it is ultimately the wine that defines, not only the Vinter, but the Vinedresser as well. Because it all starts at the vine, it is the time spent in care of and cultivation of the vine that determines it's fruitfulness and quality of fruit produced. It reminds me again of the verse in Jeremiah 31:22 "...For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth-- A woman shall encompass a man"
Then there is the Winemaker's tasting notes. As the Vinedresser 'loves' his vine, so the Vinter 'knows' his wine. As he pours it out into a long stem crystal vessel, long before he ever takes a sip he gazes deeply into the wine and is captivated by its color, its character and body. He is overwhelmed by the diversity of its aroma and he affirms that his wine has really blossomed in the bottle. Next he takes in the fruit of his labor of love and is once again captured by all of the subtle nuisances of the wines taste and finish. And although he declare's that the wine drinks well now, in anticipation he knows that the taste will continue to develop and become even finer for years to come.
Wow, put in this context I have to wonder how well do I 'love' and 'know' my wife, am I even getting close or am I behaving as one merely looking for a cheap buzz from out of a brown paper bag. If the Husbandman is known for the fruitfulness of his vine; and the winemaker for the essence of his wine; when it comes to how well my wife has been loved. What will my name's renown be? Will I be a 'Mr. Chardonnay' or more of a '2 Buck Chuck'? The honest pursuit of that answer is proving to be very sobering indeed.
In the apprenticeship of the Master,
'Cellar Rat' dave
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
We love to drink the wine, but the vinedresser is thinking about the vine first. He is not rushing to the wine quite just yet. He understands the idea of putting "first things first".
So many men just want to enjoy the wine. They are winebibbers instead of vinedressers. They want to enjoy the fruit without the labor. But the passage in Psalm 128 says, "then he will enjoy the fruit of his labor..." Interesting. The foreplay (or forework in this case) become crucial to the unfolding story. Rush to the end without thinking of the means, and things will surely come to an end.
The labor with the vine leads to the ardor of the wine. I see this time and time again with my wife. As I elevate her as the primary interest, the wine follows. Oh, does it follow.
Just some more thoughts from the demented mind of Jason...
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This is where it gets a little more sticky. The troubleshooting of diseases isn't fun at all. Thoughts like, "Can it still bear fruit even with disease?" or "Shouldn't the vine self-heal? Why am I responsible for the strains of virus that it catches along the way?" or "Why not just pull the vine and plant a new one?" (a.k.a. - divorce) All these questions and more flood my mind when it comes time for the vinedresser to treat the diseases that creep in along the way. I'm looking for a way to avoid this part of the husbandman's responsibility. Anyone else feel this way about Grapvine virus diseases?
Grapevine Virus Diseases
This virus group includes at least 13 different viruses that can cause disease in grapevines. They share in common transmission by nematodes and a polyhedral physical structure when purified and examined with an electron microscope. This is the source of the name “nepovirus”: “ne” for nematode, “po” for polyhedral. Fortunately, only a few of these viruses are reported to be of importance in grapes in the U.S.
Fanleaf Degeneration — Grapevine fanleaf virus — GFLV
GFLV is perhaps the best characterized virus of grapevines, causing fanleaf degeneration in affected plants. It is widely distributed throughout the world. Fanleaf disease is a major viticultural problem in California, causing reduced yields due to poor berry set. The reduction in yield can be over 80% in some varieties. Symptoms include fan-like distortions of leaves and chlorotic yellowing as ringspots, vein banding, and mottling or mosaic patterns. The virus is transmitted by the nematode Xiphinema index and can infect all Vitis species.
Yellow Vein — Tomato ringspot virus — ToRSV
ToRSV causes yellow vein disease. A similar disease is caused by tobacco ringspot virus. These viruses are transmitted by several species of nematodes including X. americanum, X. californicum and X. rivesi. Symptoms of both diseases include shot berries, shoot stunting, and devigoration of the vine. These diseases are common in vineyards in the eastern U.S. and in fruit trees, but are rarely seen in California vineyards. The symptoms of yellow vein resemble those described for fanleaf, and they can be easily confused.
Arabis mosaic virus — ArMV
This virus is widespread in grapevines in Europe. Although not found in California vineyards, it has recently been reported as common in Missouri and some infections have also been reported in Canada. Infected grapevines show symptoms similar to those of fanleaf, and ArMV can be present in a mixed infection with GFLV. Several nematode species can transmit ArMV to grapevines, the most common being Xiphinema diversicaudatum.
There are at least seven distinct viruses reported to be associated with leafroll disease. These viruses are collectively referred to as grapevine leafroll-associated viruses (GLRaVs) and are designated GLRaV 1 through GLRaV 7. ELISA tests are currently only available in commercial labs in the U.S. for GLRaV 1-5.
Symptoms of leafroll disease may include downward rolling of leaves, leaf reddening in the fall of red-fruited varieties, poor fruit color development, and delayed fruit maturation. Yield losses of 10 to 20% may occur. In cases of mixed infections with more than one virus, vines may be severely weakened and vine death may occur.
RUGOSE WOOD COMPLEX
Diseases in the rugose wood complex are characterized by trunk and stem disorders (pitting and grooving). Foliar symptoms similar to leafroll may also occur. Diseases in this complex include corky bark, Kober stem grooving and rupestris stem pitting. Their effects on grapevines vary from mild to severe. Disease severity is compounded when multiple infections of the rugose wood complex occur, or by the presence of other viruses such as leafroll.
In recent years, individual viruses have been discovered and characterized which has made the detection of these disease agents much easier. There are still some rugose wood diseases for which the agent has not yet been described, making it necessary to perform laborious and slow biological tests.
Rupestris stem pitting-associated virus — RSPaV
RSPaV is associated with rupestris stem pitting of grapevines. This disease is usually of little consequence. Decline due to rupestris stem pitting has been reported, but is not well-documented. RSPaV is widely distributed and is not targeted for elimination in most certification programs.
Vitiviruses — GVA, GVB, GVC, GVD
The vitiviruses are a group of viruses associated with the rugose wood disease complex. Four vitiviruses have been discovered in grapevines: grapevine vitivirus A (GVA), grapevine vitivirus B (GVB), grapevine vitivirus C (GVC), and grapevine vitivirus D (GVD).
GVA is associated with Kober Stem Grooving. Affected vines may show swelling at the graft union and fail to thrive. Ungrafted vines may be infected, but usually do not show symptoms.
GVB is associated with corky bark disease. The disease affects only grafted vines. The severity of corky bark is more pronounced in vines infected with other rugose wood complex viruses.
Neither GVC nor GVD have been proven to cause disease in grapevine but their structure and genetic profiles have shown that they belong to the vitivirus group.
Grapevine fleck virus —GFkV
GFkV is a graft-transmissible virus that causes symptoms of disease only in V. rupestris. Other Vitis species can be infected but remain asymptomatic. In infected V. rupestris, symptoms include localized clearings (flecks) in the veinlets of young leaves. In older leaves, the symptoms diffuse into a mosaic pattern and the leaves wrinkle and curl upward. Symptoms persist during mild weather and disappear with the onset of hot temperatures. Very little information is available about the economic importance of fleck virus.
Many other graft transmissible diseases, likely caused by viruses, can infect grapevines. These include asteroid mosaic, enations, vein necrosis, and vein mosaic, among others. These diseases have been studied to varying degrees, but have never been demonstrated to be common or severe.
Occasionally, new diseases appear that are significant. Recently, a new stem lesion virus disease was discovered in California (see California Agriculture, July-August 2001). Also known as Redglobe virus, this disease can kill vines on certain rootstocks. Continuing research is necessary to identify important new diseases like this and to develop diagnostic tools to help minimize their future impact.
I am struck by the nuanced nature of disease. You can't see it by just looking at the vines, sometimes it can only be seen by looking at the veins, those little darkened spiderwebs within the leaf that can only be seen by drawing close. It's like the difference between the tree and the twig. You can think the tree looks great all the while the twigs are speaking a different story.
And here's the skinny...until you get closer to your wife, you will keep seeing her as a tree instead of a collection of twigs. You will see the leaf (the vine), but miss the life (the vein). Some diseases can be seen from the watchtower within the vineyard. Discoloration is detected in a section of the vineyard that needs some attention. But often, the diseases can't be seen without walking through the vineyard, taking each vine in hand and feeling the texture of the the leaf's skin, looking at the changing colors within the vine's veins. Without this vine-dressing, without this botanic EKG, the wife-vine can begin to die a slow death and unknowingly be left for dead by her husband. She will even bear fruit during her diseased state, but the wine will start tasting sour, wild (but we will get into that another day).
Suffice it to say, that woman-wine comes forth when she is handled as a veined vine. The disease/dis-ease that can be avoided with early detection and early treatment is quite profound. I've found some viruses that have crept into my wife over the years that I've had to treat with Truth-pesticide. I call it truthicide.
- Insecurity stem virus (ISv)
- Replaceable anomoly (Rp A-2)
- Lonley bark syndrome (LBsyn)
- Significance vein strain (SgnVS) - this strain of disease can't be seen on the surface.
- Discoloration of Face/Joy Disorder - DF/JD
It's been good for me to see my responsibility in fighting these diseases that creep in along the way. I can't just hope the vine heals itself. I can't just say, "It's not my fault she has such a low immunity to viral infection." I'm the vinedresser. I'm the husbandman. I have to be protecting the vineyard that is my wife.
So I keep my eyes on the veins, not just the vine.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My wife has thousands of these things sprawling out looking for something to attach to. The crawlers are questions that need answering like...
1. Do you really love me?
2. Can I rest under your banner of love?
3. Am I secure in your strength?
4. Will you give up on me?
5. Will you abandon me if I don't change?
6. Can I trust you?
7. Do you care about my heart?
8. Am I worth your pursuit?
9. Do you think I'm attractive?
10. Can I hold your attention until "death does us part"?
I wonder what other crawlers could be identified by soul-searching husbands? Something to think about today.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A song of ascents.1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
5 May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
6 and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.