A Celebration of Spring!

People who haven’t traveled to the desert Southwest probably have some mental image of our landscape being somewhere between the images they’ve seen of Death Valley or the more recent photographs that have been released of Pluto.  Well, years ago, I had those images, too.

But now, after having lived here for 35 years, I’m still amazed at the sheer beauty of what the spring brings us each and every year.

Two of the more hearty plants are ruellia and lantana.  Combined here, they are nearly eclipsing our barrel cactus!

Ruellia and Lantana
Ruellia and Lantana

 

 

 

 

A single ruellia is stunning in its simplicity.

Single Ruellia
Single Ruellia

And a different variety of the lantana peeks through from the structure of our garden to show off its combined colors.

Lantana in the Garden
Lantana in the Garden

 

 

 

 

 

Even the lavender are beginning to open on the patio, attracting the hummingbirds (yes, really! They love lavender!) and keeping away the pesky mosquitos.

Lavender
Lavender

 

So, at the end of the day, as we sit on our patio taking in the awesome beauty of spring on the desert, we celebrate it with two new additions:

Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon
Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all you red lovers …. and for you white lovers:

Josh Sauvignon Blanc
Josh Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so, I leave you with the peace, beauty and brilliance of a spring evening in the desert … until we meet again.

Evening on the Patio
Evening on the Patio

 

 

 

More On Great Wines!

It seems like Saturday night is as good a night as any other night to experiment with a new wine to see if it makes the “Let’s Buy This One Again” distinguished category!

As usual, we are featuring both a red and a white here, as my husband prefers red and I prefer white, except in this instance — well, keep reading …

First, the red:

Carnivor
Carnivor

This is a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Carnivor Wines, Modesto, California.  It’s a $12 bottle of wine that has earned 90 points and a “Best Buy” nod from Wine Enthusiast in July of 2013.

This is such a great red wine that even I can’t resist its great flavors — blackberry, caramel and roast coffee.  Truly a “statement wine!”  Its label also boasts of  a toasted oak flavor, but, thankfully, I don’t taste it.  (Oaks are better left to the unimaginative Chardonnay’s.)

Go to http://www.carnivorcabernet.com for more info – or #devourlife. Be sure to buy more than one — store shelves empty out quickly on this one!

And for my white:

Dellatorri
Dellatorri

 

 

Oh, and was this a great surprise!

 

 

 

 

A $9 purchase that earned a Best Buy nod from the World Value Wine Competition – 2013.  It’s an Italian wine from the House of Torri produced by the descendants of Mario Torri.

The label will tell you it’s “crisp and fruity,” but my immediate taste from this wine was a combination that I had never had before — chilled pears and almonds!  And it was a taste that continued without being cumulative and overpowering itself.  This, quite frankly, was a superb Pinot Grigio that I would never hesitate to serve!

So, there you have it, folks, a couple of new ones to add to your shopping lists.

Be sure to get back to me with your comments — for that matter, with any great wines you have tried and that you would like to mention.  They will be happily shared here!

To Life — L’Chayim!

 

Parts Wear Out

My favorite expression lately, said with a slight smile, is “parts wear out.”  For those who know me well, it’s just a smile back.  For others out there, let me translate:  Neurosurgery, lumbar region.

This all probably began longer ago than I realized, but it has made itself quite evident over the last 16 months.  Of course, other alternatives like physical therapy and epidural injections were tried (as were appropriate), but without any success in my case. Various other tests were done before finally, I found myself standing, at long last, at the front of the imaginary line whispering under my breath, “YAY!”

My neurosurgeon (and his partner) perform this type of surgery only one day a month.  What is normally a five-hour surgery time for one surgeon, is reduced to two hours with two surgeons (less exposure/risk to the patient) while two holes are drilled into the lumbar region and metal tubes are inserted on either side of the spinal column.  All of the surgery is done through those two little tubes — unbelievable when you think about what they are trying to accomplish in such a very small area with such great constraints!

The first things that were fixed were the smoothing off of the bone spurs that were pressing on nerve roots and causing pain to radiate down my legs whenever I stood.  The second (and more complicated procedure) was to prop open a collapsed disk (and fix a fracture) by inserting two rods and four screws to stabilize the area between L4 and L5.  To my great relief, they have assured me that I’m not likely to spring airport security measures to life – thank goodness.

That night, I was awake every few hours, either for vitals or to take more meds, but I had a wonderful night nurse, Nikki, who made it all the more pleasant and who had a caring and upbeat personality.  They should give find a way to clone her.  She truly was amazing!

The next day, I “exceeded protocol” by being able to walk unassisted down the hallway (nobody has ever called me an “under-achiever!”), so I got “sprung” from the confines of the hospital, knowing I would do better in my own environment and on my own terms.

You know, a lot has been said about health care lately and I’m sure we’re going to hear a great deal more about it between now and the election.  I, for one, think there’s a ton of things “broken” about the system — most of which is traceable directly back to the lobbyists for which we have absolutely no need for in the digital age.

But one thing I will say is that I felt — just for that one night in the hospital — like the luckiest girl on the planet.  My primary care physician was there as they began my anesthesia and wheeled me down to surgery, and he was there in recovery, sitting next to my bed, holding my hand in his, as I awoke from the procedure. My neurosurgeon was there, too, before surgery and afterward, and reported to my husband that he thought on a scale of one to ten, my surgery was a “ten-out-of-ten.” I will need to thank him when I next see him, for his care, compassion and, above all, his miraculous hands!

Those two gentlemen, my friends, are what isn’t broken in our medical system and they will forever have my gratitude.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m charged with taking small walks every day, getting my range of motion to improve, and upping the endurance levels.  Certainly enough to keep me busy ….

To my friends here in America – and across the pond – Shabbat Shalom!

Until we meet again …