PARTY PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Since I didn’t get round to sending out cards this year – or photos for that matter, here are my belated greetings. I actually considered buying discount cards the day after Christmas, but frankly what’s the point. Now that I’ve reconciled what used to be a bank account, I am WAY GLAD I got those 5 calendars for half price.

Sooooooo what have you all been up to these past 2 weeks…..????????

REALLY:: You don’t say// NOOOOO???!! WOW.

Me?? WEeeeelllll. We went to Hotlanta for the holidays. And it was HOT. WELL. Not really, but it was warm. On Christmas afternoon we went walking, the sky was gorgeous blue and we didn’t have to wear coats, let alone mittens, hats and scarves. Though my sister gave me a sweet hat for Christmas – which I LOVE.  Kiwi REALLY likes it too.


We had a grand ole time w/ my family. We played Trivial Pursuit and discovered that the official language of Latvia is LATVIAN. No fooling. Then we played Bingo. It was fun, but we all agreed it would have been better if we were playing for money. We drank wine. LOTS OF WINE. Now that my 2008 Wine Challenge is officially over, I am having difficulty giving it up. I blame it on the kids.  No.  Really.  Each time I go to stock up, the clerk eyeballs me suspiciously.  Like WHAT THE HELL”S THIS SEMI-ATTRACTIVE WOMAN DOING WITH TWELVE BOTTLES OF WINE??!  I always mention my children.  And the clerk, without fail, nods knowingly and asks to carry the box to my car.  SO. I am loath to stop drinking.  But what with the economy and our depleted savings, let’s face it.  I am going to have to cut my consumption altogether or switch to TRULY cheap hooch. My husband kindly left some adult juice boxes in my stocking.  Thanks babe.


BUT don’t think you weren’t on my mind too.  I thought of some of you particularly whilst we made our hellishly long 28 hour car ride there and back. We passed exits for Raleigh (Hayden), Greenville (HellCat) and finally Columbia, SC (Connie). I considered swinging by for a spontaneous visit, but thought you all deserved a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We are not exactly at our Ellingsworth best after so many hours in the car. Especially after dealing with the endless stream of Left Lane Charlies.  And by Left Lane Charlies I of course mean those persons who man the left lane ONLY.  Neither speeding, nor passing.  Just passing the time.  talking on their cell phones.  Conversing w/ passengers.  DRIVING A U-HAUL AND TOWING A CAR.  Along the way we did find time to buy fireworks, mostly b/c I Insisted and was at the wheel.  We set some off last night and MAN OH MAN was it fun.  My favorite was Halley’s Comet, which made a loud BANG and shot fire balls skyward..and then streetward..toward our neighbor’s car..after the package fell over.  Fortunately, as our neighbor was still out of town, NO HARM DONE.

And so here we are home.  And it’s the new year.  WOW.  My husband casually mentioned last night that 2009 marks 20 years since he graduated high school.  I nearly snarfed my wine.  OH MY GOOOOODDNESSSSSSSS.  20 years.  HOLY CRAP WE ARE OLD.

And on that note.  Bottoms up.


Wine Challenge 2008 – Third Quarter Summary

Hard to believe another 3 months has passed me by, but here we are again.  Focusing on my most favoritest of subjects. WINE.

I will be honest w/ you.  The past 3 months – POOF! into the ether.  This summer just went by waaay too fast.  I spent many of its balmy nights blissed out of my mind, sitting on a beach, by a campfire, YES pretty much anywhere, enjoying an adult juice box or two.  The past two weeks alone I’ve been drunker than a skunk on a blind-inducing bender. And YES it has been fun.

Unfortunately, in my revelry, my wine diary got tossed to the wind like yesterday’s bikini.  Well, technically it was placed behind that old photo on top of the bookcase – but you catch my drift.  This quarter I sampled many, many wines. Unfortunately, this quarter I made far fewer recordings in my illustrious diary than ever.  Wine is always easy, but being disciplined when you’re with wine is a little bit harder.

This quarter I sampled recorded 19 new wines.  The ante was upped slightly these past 3 months, in that many of the wines I tried would normally sell for MORE THAN $10.  This might perhaps account for some of my less-than-disciplined approach.  Drinking *better than hooch* does that to you. But then again, so does hooch.

Out of the 19 wines surveyed:

12 rated A or B.  A or B = Gooood.

7 rated C or LESS.  C or Less means NEVER AGAIN. NOT EVEN IF YOU PAID ME.

Christy’s Top Five of the Summer (in no particular order):

Castle Rock
2007 Pinot Noir
13.8% alc/vol, 750 ml

A deliciously light & lovely red.  Notes of cherry, ripe red berries and spice.  Medium body w/ a lingering finish.  Low acidity.  YUMMY! Highly recommended.


2006 Pinot Gris
13.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

Pale, clear gold w/ hints of fruit in the bouquet. Luscious fruit flavors – melon, citrus, pear, nectarine and honey.  Lovely, crisp clean finish. Round on palate. FULL FLAVORED and delicious.


Pascual Toso
2006 Merlot
14% alc/vol, 750 ml

What a red!  Round and rich w/ a perfect finish.  Low acidity.  Appealingly dry.  TONS of flavor, but not sweet or cloying in any way.  Ripe red berries w/ a hint of ….??  Something.  I just can’t put my finger on.  Not spicy.  Licorice?  Not dramatic or dark enough.  Just a wonderful wine.  See for yourself.


2006 Sauvignon Blanc
13.5% alc/vol, 750 ml

This wine in one word.  EXQUISITE.  Palest wisp of color.  Most distinctly unique flavor of citrus – especially grapefruit.  Crisp w/ very low acidity.  Clean finish.  Absolutely delicious.  One of the best wines I’ve had this year.


Torrontes 2007
13.8% alc/vol, 750 ml

Clear, palest gold.  Bright fruity bouquet.  Really striking, intense flavors of tropical fruit, pineapple, melon.  Good body.  A tasty young wine.  Yum- YUM.

Weekend w/ Mommy part two

It’s hard to top the March Madness that was Weekend w/ Mommy (part one), but we were willing to try. That’s right everyone, my Mommy is HERE.  IN PHILLY. RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE!!! take THAT, Atlanta.

Saturday night. The Borgata. After the buffet, a decent $5 chardonnay and 2 cloyingly sweet but free white wines, here were the totals.  Me $161.50. NOT TOO SHABBY. John $69. WOOHOO.  My mom: HAD FUN ANYWAY.  And we’ll leave it at that.

Sunday. Peddler’s Village. Brunch @ the Cock n’ Bull. The corn pudding was excellent and the petit fours a dream.  Post meal roundup: Me, Mommy, Maddie & Georgia, ALL OKAY.  John: NOT.  B/c John got food poisoning and spent the car ride home vomiting into a shopping bag.

Afterward, John & I went to the Eagles game. YES MY HUSBAND IS A TROOPER.  And thank Goodness.  B/c the game was AMAZING. Except that this was my view.

And this was John’s.

Yes, that is a security guard sitting on my husband’s lap.

Although my husband put a brave face on things, by the end of the game it had gotten OLD.  When we complained, we were cursed out by the higher-up security guards on the field – the one even threatened to beat the hell out of John.

On a good note, I was not sat upon. And after the game, David Akers threw his wristband to ME! And I also caught Deshawn Jackson’s sweaty towel.  Both of which I immediately put on.  ANd even though everyone around me said EWWWwWWwWwW.   I said AHHHhhHHHHHHhHHHH.

The Joy of Camping.

This past weekend we went camping with friends in Lenhartsville, PA, close to Hawk Mountain. We’d been planning the trip all last week, and everyone was EXCITED!! Though I haven’t done a whole lot of it, I actually enjoy camping. The fresh air, the dirt, the marshmallows. And even though it POURED Friday night, by Saturday everything was just fine. Or so we thought. Unfortunately we had not been briefed that *FAMILY CAMPGROUND* is really code language for WE HOUSE DERELICTS WHO LOVE TO PAR-TAY. Don’t get me wrong. We like drinking too. Of course we like drinking. It’s the only thing that makes camping tolerable.  When the pluses of doing something include: 1) having an excuse not to brush your teeth, 2) getting to pee in the bushes, and 3) wondering who’s going to fall into the firepit, well – drinking is simply par for the course.

But let’s be reasonable. Quiet Hours were posted as 11 PM – 8 AM. I didn’t have a watch to check and being in the middle of the forest, didn’t have a clock to reference either. BUT I think we pretty much stuck to that. All of us – our good friends P & E, and S. We all have kids. We put our kids to sleep – well, except for GEORGIA, but that’s another story altogether. Yes, we were drinking. But we were not making this camping trip into the bacchanalian orgy that our neighbors so clearly took it to be.

I will be honest. The folks renting the campsite on the far side of us were simply ANIMALS. And they should have been rounded up at 3 am and sent to the stockyard. But as I am not yet in charge of the universe, they continued on ALL NIGHT LONG.  AT one point I woke up and it sounded as though they were actually attacking a woman.  I could not deduce from the screaming whether or not she was enjoying it. And I couldn’t have helped her even if I wanted to.

You see, I was pinioned between my younger daughter and a tent wall for most of these NOT-SO-QUIET-HOURS.  B/c Georgia would not go to sleep.  Oh no.  At some point in the evening she spotted an insect in the kids tent, and refused to go inside.  I don’t think the bug was even in the tent – just sandwiched between the top of the tent and the fly – but how do you reason THAT to a 4 year old?  Needless to say, Georgia was bunking w/ us for the evening.

Unfortunately I am claustrophobic.  ACUTELY CLAUSTROPHOBIC.  As my husband and I were sharing a tent which comfortably sleeps 1, you can imagine how cozy it was w/ 3 of us.  In order to get Georgia to sleep, I finally had to ZIP HER INTO MY SLEEPING BAG beside me.  Rendering it more of a cocoon. I spent most of the night unable to move, smashed up against the side of the tent w/ the roof just inches from my face.  It was like being trapped inside an MRI machine, except the noise of the hammers was replaced with drunken revelry from the campsite 2 down.

Nearing daybreak I Couldn’t take ANYMORE.  I woke my husband long enough to unzip me from my iron maiden and I hightailed it to the spacious kids tent next door.  There I spent the next 2 hours, sleeping intermittently, trying my best to squash my tall frame into a toddler’s size sleeping bag. Even w/ four feet in my face, compared to my previous accommodation, it was HEAVEN.

Lest you think the trip was sheer torture, the art reception we’d attended the night before – w/ its scrumptious catered food and WINE BAR – was simply wonderful.  As was seeing the Blue Rocks Boulder Field, a glacial river of rock, parked literally beside our campsite.  Being w/ our beloved friends, whose company makes any situation bearable, was marvelous.  AND for the sheer fact that it didn’t RAIN, I will be eternally grateful. But being trapped next to prison escapees, NOT SO HOT. I may never do it again. At least until the memory fades. Which given the way I drink, could be as soon as next week.

CLICK HERE for all the fun in photos.

Wine Challenge 2008: Second Quarter Summary

HELLO WORLD!!! Time once again for………. WINE WINE GLORIOUS WINE!
I know I haven’t been bragging blogging about my drinking lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping my liver on HIGH ALERT, Oh no! It’s soooooooo hard to believe another 3 months has passed Oh So Quickly, but here we are – July. WOW. How’s things w/ you? Yep, me too. So now that’s out of the way, let’s talk turkey. Or in this case, WINE. B/c THAT’s what I like drinking when I am not drinking water, seltzer, the occasional pepsi, beer (of course), and sometimes tea. YEP. WINE. It’s what’s for dinner.

3 months ago, I gave you a glimpse into my newfound calling as wino extraordinaire (a la my 2008 Wine Challenge: First Quarter Summary). That FIRST summary featured some of the best and brightest wines I’d encountered since the first of the year. NOW. I am pleased to share w/ you all (YOU LUCKY PEOPLE!!) the most scrumptiously deliciously delectable wines I have been enjoying all SPRING. YAY!

Last quarter I sampled 34 new wines. During this second quarter, I sampled yet another 34. I AM SO GREAT!

21 rated A or B. A or B = STAMP OF APPROVAL.

13 rated C or lower. C or lower means YOU DRINKIN HOOCH. Sucka.

As a review, all WINE for my 2008 challenge was selected strictly on the basis of PRICE. B/c I am poor discriminating, $10 or less per bottle. This quarter I sampled wines from around the globe: Italy, France, Spain, the US, Argentina, Australia, Chile… and I just have to say. ITALY KNOWS WINE. By far, the Italian reds & whites I have sampled have been the most consistently superior in both taste & value. A good thing to remember when you are scanning unfamiliar labels at the liquor store. BUY THE BOOT!

2nd QUARTER RECOMMENDATIONS (in no particular order):

Vendemmia 2006

11.5 % alc/vol, 750 mL

Very pale white wine w/ faint bouquet.
Crisp, clean, light. UNBELIEVABLY easy to drink; goes down like water.
A- / B+


2005 Rioja

12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Clear golden color, subtle aroma.
Crisp clean taste of fruit – tart apple, pear notes.
Low acidity, very little aftertaste. YUM.
A- / B+


2006 Chianti

12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Deep purplish-red color, strong cherry nose and distinctly cherry flavor.
Slightly dry, full bodied, well-balanced.
Would definitely drink again.
A- / B+


Remole Toscana Rosso 2006

12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Mix of Sangiovese (85%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).
Deep garnet color, no noticeable bouquet.
Very pleasant fruit flavor, bright ripe cherry, faint hint of plum.
Well-balanced, slightly dry. A very yummy, easy-drinking wine.
A- / B+


2005 Mad Dogs & Englishmen

14% alc/vol, 750 mL

50% Monastrell / 30% Cabernet / 20% Shiraz
Darkest red color – almost tinged w/ black.
Cherry bouquet.
Fruit flavors: ripe berries, cherries w/ a hint of spice.
Dry & DELICIOUS. This wine left my lips tingling.
Highly recommended.


2006 Pinot Noir

13.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Ripe berry/cherry flavor – YUMMY!
Ever-so-slightly sweet and dry w/ very little acidity.
I sampled two other wines from SMOKING LOON: 2006 Chardonnay and 2006 Merlot.
A- / B+


2007 Pinot Noir

12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Dark garnet color.
Pronounced cherry flavor. Slight dryness/acidity.
A really nice wine – especially for the price. Fun, fruity & delicious!


2006 Shiraz

13.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Deepest darkest garnet color.
Forward fruit flavors – ripe cherry, plum, hint of pepper.
Low acidity. Soft, lingering finish.
A medium-bodied, young, energetic wine! Yummy & zippy.
A- / B+


Col di Sasso 2006

13% alc/vol, 750 mL

Combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.
Darkest cherry color.
DELICIOUS! fruit flavors of ripe berries & cherries.
Tingly on the tongue – feels almost effervescent.
Good body. Soft finish w/ no aftertaste.
Excellent wine.
A- / B+


CAVIT Collection
Pinot Grigio 2007

12% alc/vol, 750 mL

Palest gold color.
Flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, peach. MMMmmmm.
Very low acidity & aftertaste.
A fabulous wine at a fabulous price.


2006 Bonizio
Sangiovese de Maremma
12.5% alc/vol, 750 mL

Deliciously light, especially for a red wine.
Dark color, good body & very little acidity.
A lovely, slightly dry red. RECOMMENDED.
A- / B+