Empty nest

This weekend I drove down to Paso Robles with my mom to see my son off to college.

I’ll be honest, I got weepy.

I had to hug him and squeeze him and kiss him before I left.

It’s hard to feel too sad about the change however, because he has landed in a pretty cushy situation.

He is living in a 250+ square foot bedroom in a villa in Paso Robles.

The place had TWO hot tubs – one on the ground floor and one on the second level.


The ENTIRE house has vaulted ceilings.

There’s even an ELEVATOR in the house.

And a wine cellar, which is ACTUALLY a wine cellar not just a closet, down in the ground, through a wrought iron door and down a flight of stairs.


He’s 18 years old and his bedroom is twice the size of mine.

He’s living in a 3.2 million dollar villa in Paso.

And he’s got sweeping views of the vineyards surrounding the house.

The kid is 1 years old and already he’s more successful than me.

Go figure!

Wine tasting in Paso

Yvonne and I went wine tasting in Paso Robles on Saturday.

We took a leisurely drive from her home in Salinas to Paso Robles Saturday morning, checked into our hotel, and vegged for a few minutes before stepping into a luxury Escalade with our driver Melanie, whose job it was to squire us around town while we sipped wine.

We never got drunk but I certainly drank my limit in wine.

To note: we stopped first at J. Lohr, my family’s winery. When my parents invested in the winery during the 80s, they put us in a luxury bus and drove us down to tour the winery and estate. They even let my 16 year old sister and I drink wine, so I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for J. Lohr wines.

wine tasting

It was Yvonne’s VERY FIRST TIME wine tasting and she did great: swirl, nose, examine, swirl, nose again, sip, swallow.

The wines were delicious and I waked away with 4 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Then off to Le Vigne, which I found out is pronounces LEUH VEEN YAY.

wine tasting

More delicious wines and we got a cheese pairing there too which was AWESOME!


Eberle next. Their symbol was a great boar which reminded me of this artwork on the playa in 2016.


boar2It was time to enjoy some food, and the outdoor grill at Eberle served up delicious tri tip sandwiches, perfect for absorbing alcohol.


Our fourth stop was Sculpterra, and they had delicious wines along with amazing sculptures and artwork. I adored the mermaid sculpture out front and had a good time checking out all the other artwork there as well as their wines.

img_0927 img_0932


Finally, off to Tobin James, which was quite honestly, a little like walking into a rowdy bar in the wild wild west.


Their serving room actually is a historical stagecoach stop and has all the feels and character of a western-style saloon.

I promptly walked in, spotted the old taps, and asked if they served beer.

The woman across the counter rolled her eyes, sized me up, and said, “We serve WINE here.”

Properly put in my place, I could only mutter, “But I saw the taps. . . “

And we were off tasting wine at Tobin James.

We returned to our hotel room and grabbed the essential après-wine tasting activity. . .




What’s on tap…

I’ve been thinking about my next set of activities to take on.

Besides needing to scour Groupon for specials, I’ve come up with the following list:

  • Eat at Manresa
  • See Niagara Falls and get wet
  • See Bruce Springsteen
  • Go to a U2 concert
  • Take a tour of Alcatraz
  • Take a tour of the Winchester Mystery House (I’ve never been)
  • Fly a single engine Cessna again
  • Go to the Korean Spa, again
  • Great White Shark dive
  • Eat at a Burmese restaurant
  • Go to Supper Club in SF
  • See a transvestite show
  • Go to  strip club
  • Drive down Highway 1
  • Drive up Highway 1
  • Go to a book reading
  • Go to an art museum
  • Learn to surf
  • Fly in an acrobatic plane doing stunts
  • Camp in Yosemite
  • Go wine tasting in Napa/Paso Robles
  • Go to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz
  • Enjoy an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista
  • Take sailing lessons
  • Learn to brew beer at Workshop SF
  • Get a new tattoo

And that’s a pretty good start for me.  I think I’ll start with driving up and down Highway 1.  I love to stop along the way at any place that suits my fancy – like the Olema Farm House in Olema or the Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall, or Nepenthe in Big Sur.  So much to see and experience.  Time to get cracking!