Bella Frances

I'm reading Bella Tuscany, the second in the series, Under the Tuscan Sun. I loved the book, loved the movie (even though they completely changed the story), but hadn't read any of Frances Mayes' other books. I'm loving this book, and wish she'd written it before we went to Tuscany in 1997. Next time, I want to plant myself squarely in one of the small towns, and explore every day. The tiny hill towns, the wineries, the lakes, the back roads. Just immerse ourselves in the region and the culture, the cuisine and the wine. Wouldn't that be heavenly?


Woodford Reserve Dinner

Tonight was the long-awaited Woodford Reserve dinner at Duke's Chowder House. We've done several of these special dinners, which feature a particular winery or brewery, combined with a multi-course meal created by executive chef, Bill Ranniger.

Our little group has become regulars at these dinners, and we've enjoyed getting acquainted with Bill. He does an amazing job of creating recipes to pair with whatever beer, wine, or spirits are being featured. We usually go with the same group of people from Dave's group at Boeing, people who have become friends.

This is the second year that Duke, Bill, and other staff have traveled to Kentucky to choose their own special barrel of Woodford Reserve. Bill treated us to a tasting of the 2009 barrel last spring, and tonight we sampled them side by side. As a special thank you to our friend Rich, who got us started on these dinners, the restaurant gave a bottle to Rich, who plans his own food and bourbon party over the Christmas break. We're looking forward to that!

Dave with the special bottle of Woodford Reserve (with Rich in the background)

Melinda & Julie


Cheshire Moon

It was a chilly 44 degrees this morning, with a perfect Cheshire moon rising in the east. Just a few short weeks ago, I drove to work straight into the full moon, bright in the western sky. Today promises to be another spectacular autumn day in the Northwest, with sunshine in the forecast. As I logged into the computer and started another work day, a flock of Canada geese flew past my windows, on their way from the river to the corn fields just south of town.

I love the autumn, the chilly mornings that give way to warm afternoons. The air is soft, the leaves are still green on the trees in the wetland beyond my windows. All too soon the rain will fall and the wind will blow, and the leaves will be on the ground in thick piles of yellow and gold. I also love autumn for the changes it brings to my wardrobe. I've packed away the tank tops and sandals, the lightweight cotton shirts of summer, and brought out the long-sleeved t-shirts and the sweaters, the jackets, and the scarves that I wrap around my neck to brighten up my wardrobe.

More than any other season, autumn makes me smile.