I think someone once said that life is supposed to be challenging. Well, yes, the statement is true enough. But, somehow, many of us believe that things should go smoothly a good part of the time. Most of us work towards this end, and we count on it. Then, when life goes awry, we’re upset, angry, and disappointed. We dread challenges and vexation. I’ll be the first to admit that I work very hard to keep my life on course. I’m an “all your ducks in a row” kinda girl. I follow the rules, keep my word, and act decently–treating others as I would like to be treated. I basically over-analyze most situations, teasing out the pros and cons before making a decision. However, despite my good intentions and best efforts, challenging stuff still happens. Maybe, if we modified our view of challenging circumstances as a normal part of life, we wouldn’t be so surprised and upset when they occurred. Also, what if we stopped interpreting the stuff that happens as positive or negative. It’s happening, let’s try to accept it, and move through it. You know, let’s stop judging the stuff. Of course, this is easier said than done. On the surface, some stuff looks pretty negative–even devastating at times. Which brings me to a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that I absolutely love: “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.” What if the […]
“A View to a Kiss,” 20 x 24 acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer “Chemistry of Connection” Two people smiling, laughing– connected by a feeling, a flutter of energy or magnetism; moving together into a mutual understanding– an affinity: souls intertwined. ~Tonya R. Hengerer *Acrostic poems are a kind of poetry where the first, last, or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. Acrostic poetry by Tonya R. Hengerer. “Attraction” Attuned To someone who Totally makes your heart Race, And Clouds your thinking to the point of Inciting an Out-of-body experience– Nirvana! “Chemistry“ Capricious state of being that Humans share with one another Evolving into More Intimate feelings with Souls synchronizing in an effort To mutually Reflect an intensity of emotion– Yearning. “Love” Lingering On Volumes of ardent Emotion. “Love” Lives intertwined in an Ongoing partnership, because Vows were made to Endure the test of time. “Valentine’s Day” Valiantly Alluding to Lots of passionate Emotion through Notes To someone with whom you’re In love, Not forgetting or Excluding Some chocolates or a Dozen roses And, of course, You must have Champagne! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Farmgirl in Saint Émilion (right bank of Bordeaux) November 2016 “You had me at hello.” A line made famous by Dorothy Boyd, the love interest in the film “Jerry Maguire.” However, if Dorothy had been a sommelier, she may have said, “You had me at Merlot.” And, with good reason. Merlot, French for little blackbird because of its very dark fruit, is naturally versatile, acclimating to different climate zones and soil compositions, which, over time, have made it the second most planted red grape on the planet, behind its brother from Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot can be big and rich, but also fruity and soft, without being overly high in acids or tannins. These characteristics make Merlot an elegant and easy choice to drink as well as pair with food. If that doesn’t spark your interest in Merlot, maybe this will. You know all those famous red wines from Bordeaux? Wines that are considered some of the best in the world? Well, they’re all blended with Merlot. And, many are mostly Merlot—especially, on the right bank of the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux appellation, where it’s the law that Merlot has to be the predominant grape. Of course, the most famous Merlot wine is undoubtedly Pétrus (100% Merlot) from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux. This highly collectable wine can fetch several thousand dollars, depending on its vintage. You may not be as familiar with Merlot’s positive attributes, especially post “Sideways”—a 2004 film […]
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” ~Audrey Hepburn; actress, icon, fabulous chick 😉 Happy Tuesday!!
This sunflower inspires me. I’ve planted these cheerful blooms in my garden a number of times, and they haven’t come up—maybe, because the birds ate the seeds. I really don’t know. But, two summers ago, this little sunflower sprung up in the backyard of its own volition. It didn’t just grow….it thrived. To my surprise and joy, it bloomed and bloomed and bloomed…all summer. This eager little flower, in its simplicity and loveliness, grew into a flourishing plant. And, it accomplished this feat despite a lack of proper planting, no fertilizer, and without consistent watering. I admire this sunflower for what it symbolizes to me: determination, perseverance, and tenacity. “Tenacity” by Tonya R. Hengerer Tireless Effort to resist Negative thinking And overcome difficulties, while summoning Courage In spite of Tough times—never Yielding. “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” ~James A. Michener “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” ~H.G. Wells
“Sunset on Green Hill Farm,” 36 x 48 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas Original artwork by Tonya R. Hengerer This coming May 8th will mark fifteen years since restoration was completed on my family’s circa 1790s ancestral home. My family’s home place was purchased by my great-grandparents in 1912. The reference photo that inspired this painting was taken from an upstairs window, and it’s the view I see first thing every morning. I have marveled at countless colorful sunsets from this vantage point, and one of my favorite scenes includes our sheep grazing or lying peacefully in the pasture. When I look out at the mountain and fields, I have a sense of calm that I only have when I’m at home. “I hear the mountain birds, the sound of rivers singing A song I’ve often heard, it flows through me now So clear and so loud I stand where I am and forever I’m dreaming of home… It’s carried in the air, the breeze of early morning I see the land so fair, my heart opens wide…” ~Philippe Rombi Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!
Wine requires two assessments: Subjective and Objective. Just because we like a wine, doesn’t mean it’s a great wine. One way to illustrate this point is with art. You may not want to hang a reproduction of a Claude Monet painting in your home, but you agree that Monet is a great artist. So, getting to the point where you have both a subjective and objective opinion is one of the most rewarding stages in developing knowledge and comfort in wine; thus, allowing you to separate your liking of something from its quality. So, the point is this: You can love a wine but understand that it’s not a great wine. For example, I have weekly wines and weekend wines. Weekly wines are inexpensive wines ($15-25) we enjoy with our simple evening meals; however, weekend wines are the special ones ($50 or more) we may take to a favorite gourmet restaurant that has a corkage fee. Most of us know what we like, but having an objective opinion means increasing our knowledge base. So, let’s get started! The Five Ss: –See –Swirl –Sniff –Sip –Savor All together, they’ll enable you to maximize your enjoyment of your next glass of wine. SEE A wine’s color can tell you a lot: Taste, intensity, condition, and most likely, its aromas and flavors. The best way to examine the color is to tilt the glass over a white surface, such as a white table […]
When I think of old houses or antiques, I’m reminded of the Japanese philosophy called wabi-sabi. Loosely translated, it’s the art of finding beauty in imperfection, revering authenticity above all. It celebrates cracks and scratches and all other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. A good lesson in appreciating old houses, and…life in general. Some of the things that I love best about old houses are the creaky, uneven floors, the lack of right angles, wavy glass windows, hand-planed woodwork, and hints of the lives of those who lived there long ago. It’s this character, charm, and history that attracted me to the idea of restoring a 200-hundred-year-old house that’s been in my family for over 100 years—my family’s ancestral home or homeplace. I relish the sense of continuity; I literally follow in the footsteps of my ancestors as I walk through this house and around the farm. As one can imagine, caring for and maintaining this home is of the utmost importance to me. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the other thing I love as much as an old house is a well-appointed, everything in its place, clean house. I know that it’s mainly because I’m wired this way. However, the other view is that restoring my family’s homeplace was a significant effort and expense, and I value and want to take care of it. So, messy, unclean rooms, scratches on the floors, and dings […]
Green Hill Farm This moment is yours—
I absolutely love fizzy and sparkling wines! And, since New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, I thought it may be fun and helpful to share some information about Champagne and sparkling wines. Champagne: First, all that sparkles isn’t Champagne. Sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it’s from the Champagne region of France and made in the traditional method (méthode champenoise). The traditional method is a labor intensive, multi-step process (two fermentations) that contributes to the expense. Champagne can be made from three grapes: chardonnay and red-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier. Sometimes the label will use the terms “blanc de blancs” meaning the wine was made from white grapes, or “blanc de noirs” indicating that the Champagne is a white wine made from the dark pinot noir and pinot meunier varieties. There are also different levels of dryness/sweetness in Champagne: Brut Nature/Brut Zero: Bone dry. No residual sugar. Extra Brut: very dry Brut: very dry to dry Extra-Sec or Extra Dry: off-dry to medium dry Sec: medium dry Demi-Sec: sweet Doux: super sweet *Special note: More Champagne houses from France are opening vineyards in California: Roederer Estate (by Champagne Louis Roederer), Domaine Chandon (by Moët & Chandon), Mumm Napa (by G.H. Mumm), and Domaine Carneros (by Taittinger) are a few of the French producers in California. Sparkling Wines: Crémant: French sparkling wine that is made outside of the Champagne region in France but produced using the traditional […]