Spending time in Napa Valley got me thinking about wine…

Wine tasting here is a ritual that can be intimidating. The self-righteous sommelier stated that filling out the wine order form was a “test of intelligence”.

I know little about the intricacies of wine. I know which tastes good and which is going to give me a headache. I own a few wine gadgets: an electric corkscrew in honor of my carpal tunnel, an aerator to help it breathe and a vacuum bottle stopper for leftovers. I’m ok with where I am right now in the wine department.

I choose wine from areas I have been to. Wine with a story. I am drawn to Montepulciano from Tuscany, Barolo from Piedmont, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Shiraz from Australia. I recall sitting in a pub in New Zealand – it was trivia night (the horrors!) and I was invited to join a team. The only answer I knew was a question about Brett Favre ;-).

Drinking wine has a cerebral and a sensory component. Cerebral is the easy part for me. It is knowing the demographic origin of the grape, the soil composition, the wine-making process. The other is the primal sense of taste. That sense, as with all our senses, is underdeveloped. While we are aware of the 5 elements of taste (sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami), they don’t get adequate attention. Wine is different in it’s depth, quality and mystique than, let’s say a Coca-cola. Drinking wine with a bit of reverence is a good thing.

That said, often in life the less you know the more you can enjoy. An avid surfer knows so much about surfing that he can no longer go to any beach and catch a wave. He needs to check the surf report for the perfect conditions. Perfect is the enemy of good. I know musicians that can’t just lean back and tap their feet – they need to deconstruct and respond to their analysis of the song rather than the song itself. It’s like a joke…if you dissect it, it dies.

When it comes to wine if you get too intellectual about it, it is no longer fun. But if you down it like a Coke, you miss out.

A scholar tries to learn something every day; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.

Alan W. Watts

Got Passion?

Love + Medicine - Passion

One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.

E. M. Forster

Part of our journey as humans is discovering what our passions truly are. Not what is in style, not pretending, not copying from others – really sensing one’s own passion and going for it. If you get rich along the way, so be it. Many famous, successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to their passion about their work. But of course you can much more easily lose money in the pursuit of your passion ;-).

The sensation of being in it is the goal, not the end result. What we chose to be passionate about is our own, to be respected without judgment. It makes us unique. Development of a passion is a fluid and ever-changing process. Some people have one passion that they pursue their whole life – they put in their 10,000 hours – while others flow from one to another.

 

Continue Reading

Sociology and The Lemon Bar

Yesterday there was a recipe for lemon bars in the New York Times. Anyone who knows me fairly well knows how much I love lemon bars. I am always trying to find new recipes to make them just right. They are my first choice in a bakery. It is not easy to get the crust perfect and the filling balanced between sweet and sour. The perfect lemon bar is very elusive and a work of poetic art.

Several people saw this article and messaged me about it yesterday. What struck me was the thought involved. That someone would see this, think of me and act on it by sending me the link. The more technologically-challenged just let me know about the article, leaving me to look it up because they don’t know how to send a link.

This simple act of selflessness often goes unnoticed. Something as little as tagging someone in a Facebook post or messaging about an article shows the bright side of social media. It is making a connection between people in a very intimate way. Even if only for brief moment. This is being the seer, not the seen. This is a more subtle act that goes deeper. It shows how much this person knows you and doesn’t want you to miss out. Social media is notorious for self absorption; showing others how much fun you are having. That public display is suspect to me anyway (“Doth protest too much”).

So next time you see something that makes you think of someone – pay to forward. Don’t assume they’ve seen the article. Pass it on and let someone know you’re thinking of them. For real.