#76 Drink Wine I ‘Helped’ Make

On May 8, 2018 I tasted the 2017 vintage of Viognier wine from Catoctin Breeze Vineyards. This was one of 3 types of grapes I harvested in September 2017 (See #57 Harvest Grapes from Vineyard ). While I will claim to have helped make this wine, I will not be responsible for the taste. Honestly, I only cut the grape bunches and placed them in the buckets. From there, the wine maker and this team is responsible for the final product.

When I tasted the Viognier, I was slightly disappointed. Usually when I drink white wines, such as Viognier, I prefer the taste to be ‘dry’ (as opposed to ‘sweet’). While the wine was very flavorful, it tasted a bit too sweet for my liking.

An interesting wine note: I learned that white wines (Viognier and Chardonnay, for example) take less time from harvest to market than red wines. In this case, the whites will be ready to be served in less than 1 year. Red wines, however, take longer. I was told to not expect the ‘2017 Syrah’ until 2019.

I hope the Chardonnay and Syrah are good. If not, maybe they will fire me (from volunteering). Haha

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Photograph of the Month: April 2018

I took this photograph as part of my homework assignment for “Street Photography”. While I took several interesting photographs this day, I found this action photo to be one of the better ones. A group of young men were in a Freedom Plaza, near the White House, showing off their skateboarding skills.  (See #75 Street Photography for description of Street Photography class.)

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#75 Street Photography

During the month of April 2018, I took another evening class at Montgomery College. This one was dedicated to the art of street photography. It was an interesting concept which I find fascinating but I don’t know if I fully grasp. Street photography, as defined by the instructor, is spontaneously photographing ordinary people in their ordinary lives in an urban environment. Based on the examples it is a pretty vague of a concept. The challenge is to find interesting people and situations to photograph. Then photographing them in a way that they don’t get upset.

For my assignments I took two field trips to urban centers to take photographs. First, I went to the town center in Rockville, MD. Second, I took the Metro to downtown Washington DC. DC was more interesting. I saw a ‘march’, the circus of people outside the White House, the tourists and natives walking, running, or biking along the Mall between the US Capital and the Washington Monument, and a demonstration at the White House.

The ‘march’ was interesting as it was a ‘National March’, with speakers, signs, catchy slogans to yell out, a police escort, and a defined route from Farragut Square, past the White House, to the US Capital. The only problem with this ‘National March’ was the group consisted of about 30 or so demonstrators plus maybe 5 people photographing them. I guess you didn’t see this one on TV! In addition, across from the White House in Lafayette Square there was a well-organized demonstration, with a name that said there were 10,000 men in it. Again, the name did not live up to the attendance. It looked like they were short by about 9,900. Again, you probably didn’t see this one on TV, either. You got to love DC!

Below is one of the photographs I liked from DC. (See a future post for my favorite – Photograph of the Month: April 2018).

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#74 Being an Involved Grandpa

This retirement experience has been ongoing since I first retired. Originally my involvement with the grandkids was rather limited, however in the past year I have become more and more involved with various aspects of their life.  See the links at end for some of the experiences.

While spending time with the grandkids comes naturally for Mary Ann, it is more of a challenge for me. They have been a priority for her. She enjoys them and they enjoy her. It is great for a child to have a grandparent that you want to spend time with. I kid her that she is constantly earning “Grammy Points” for all the time she spends with them and love she gives them. Those Grammy Points seem to grow with interest.

My approach is different. I like to spend time with them but sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed and can’t handle it for too long. Other times I am not the best suited to a task by myself. Sometimes I think of myself as the relief pitcher in the bull pen that is called on late in the game when the best pitchers have been used or not available and the outcome is not on the line. Or I am the third (or forth) string quarterback. Sometimes I do things when the primary, talented adults are not available. Other times I do them because it is something I can handle well.

During the school year we have a certain routine. Mary Ann and I pick up George and Grace from school almost every day. (Occasionally it is just me doing the honors. That is when I really need to step up my game.) We really only spend about one hour with them on school nights unless they stay for dinner. But there is time before to prepare and time afterwards to unwind. We are consistent with them. Our routine is simple – give them an afterschool snack and get their homework done. After that there are different things we do. Sometimes I ‘wrastle’ with them to expend their built up energy. Sometimes I read with them. And sometimes we all just play games or they play by themselves. But I always try to have fun with them and I try to guide them a little along the way. In the process I have been slowly building up “Papa Points”.

You know when you have built up some Grammy Points and Papa Points when one or two or all three of them call you up and ask to come over and visit us.

As they get older, my involvement will evolve to their needs. As long as they live nearby and we are given the opportunity to be with them, we will continue to build on that relationship.

There will be more retirement experiences with the grandchildren in the future.

I have written about a few of my experiences with the grandkids. Check out these links…
#11 Minor league baseball game
#35 Jumping on a Trampoline with my grandkids
#54 Vacation with Grandkids
#56 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts with Grandkids
#62 Field Trip with Grandchildren

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