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Birthday Time 2020

January 12, 2020

January 11 is my birthday; I’m Gen X.

It’s also the birthday of WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, a Millenial who turned 36.

And of Larry Harvey,Burning Man founder (RIP), a Boomer fond of absinthe by Absinthia.

How did 2019 go by so fast? is it really 2020 — time of vision past and future?

I’d like to celebrate all three of us — Larry, Matt and ME, the future and the past plus any other Capricorns along for the ride…keep reading…

and I’d like to ask for your support. Because this was not a typical birthday.

On Wednesday, my dog Cisco was hit by a car as I was on my way to a pre-birthday celebration; 24 hours in the ER later, we owed $2.5 k AND he still needs between $2-6k in treatment to fix his displaced hip. He’s in a great deal of pain. I spent most of my birthday taking care of and cleaning up after him.Not at all how I’d planned to spend my birthday, and while we did have a nice dinner at home and a walk at the beach (more below), I fell asleep while trying to complete this post last night.

To help with the expenses, we’ve set up a Facebook fundraiser which you can check out here; my teen set up a GoFundMe. Thank youfor checking them out for more details and updates.

So far we’ve raised almost $2500 of the $5500-8k we will need so he can walk again. If you can, please help.

In the meantime, here are the wines I celebrated my birthday with this week:


NV Champagne Ernest Rapeneau

BECAUSE It’s a split and it was sunset on my birthday We walked to the Jolly Oyster for a break from nursing the dog, enjoyed oysters, and the sunset.

JNSQ Rose California with appetizers

BECAUSE My grandma Gwen always said I was full of “ginnygazip.” Years later I learned she meant “je ne sais quoi”… so I when I found JNSQ wine on sale at the grocery store, I picked up two bottles, one of which I opened earlier this this week because JNSQ stands for “je ne sais quoi”! Tasted with Gretel, Bruce, Sue. Detailed notes follow.

According to Grammarist, “Je ne sais quoi is French for “I know not what.” In English, we use it to refer to an intangible, distinctive quality, especially of a person, that can’t be put in words—e.g., “I don’t know what makes him so charming. He just has a certain je ne sais quoi.” The phrase is often italicized and occasionally put in quotation marks.

The phrase has been in use in English for at least three centuries. In some old books, it is treated as a broader term representing various philosophical and aesthetic concepts not easily put in words, but by the 19th century je ne sais quoi was widely used the way it is today….In French, the phrase is pronounced zhuhn-say-kwa, where zh represents the voiced j sound similar to the s in vision and the g in beige.” Read more here

JNSQsays: “There is a lovely French colloquialism used to describe someone so unique and exceptional that no words exist to sufficiently capture her essence. “She’s got a certain je ne sais quoi,” one might say, in the hopes it explains that extraordinary ability someone has to rise above all the rest.”

The weight and heft of the bottle reminds one more of Cognac or of a really HUGE perfume bottle. I opened and tasted this with Sue Hill, Gretel Compton, and Bruce Freeman.

Color – Coral, Rose gold,

Nose – Peach, apricot, stone fruit, apricot kernel, white flowers

Palate – Nice on its own as an opening wine, nectarine, apricot, ranier cherry, mineral finish, nice plushness, has acidity, but not super acidic

Pairing – Really yummy with the arugula wrapped with prosciutto, pate is also a friend of JNSQ, in a relationship, you want to have complimentary and contrasting elements, the pate contrasts nicely, what a pleasant surprise, have a pate and watercress sandwich, fun with a Langres the wine cuts through the richness of the cheese and brings out beautiful fruit in the wine.  It loves boar sausage.

NV Clos des Amis Chambang Mitchell Vineyards with appetizers

BECAUSE The bottle was a present from the winemakers, Bruce Freeman and Gretel Mays Compton, and I tasted it with them and with Sue Hill. I was involved in the final stages of this wine and it was fun in 2019 to learn about the process. Detailed notes follow.

Perlage–It was a gusher!

Color – Buttercup with a touch of green, delicate persistent bubbles

Nose – Almond, brioche, hint of green apple, lime kefir, key lime pies

Palate – Tart citrus lemon and lime at the front of the palate, minerals at the back of the palate, coffee/mocha mid palate, the earthy part of coffee, with a bit of almond and green apple.

Pairing – I would never have thought about having pate with sparkling wine, but it was fantastic with Chambang! It is almost like an oyster pairing, like the rich heart of the oyster, also fantastic with the arugula prosciutto roll ups, bringing out a nice asian pear quality in the wine. The thyme in the goat cheese balls plays so nicely with the wine, it loves the herbs de provence, and the lavender salt that Sue put in the cheese. With the blue cheese stuffed dates, it is the perfect dessert with Chambang!  Fantastic with rich salty foods.

2016 Ojai Vineyards Puerta del Mar Chardonnay

BECAUSE It’s shrimp season and I love them! M bought them from the fisherman that morning. This is a great wine to pair with the shrimp as it is as bracing and vibrant as the sea.

Thank you for joining me on another orbit of the sun!

By the way: Did you know that I’m a published poet? In November 2019, a poem of mine was included in Psalms of Cinder and Silt, an anthology that came out of the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mud Flows of 2017. Here I am reading my contribution in January 2019:


In December 2019 I was featured on this TV show:

And earlier in the year, I was featured in this local TV show– and I am scheduled to spread again for a taping this month to be shown later in 2020:


While I am not teaching this semester at Ventura College, I am an adjunct English professor who has taught all levels of writing including literature and creative writing as well as courses upper division Environmental Studies classes and lower divisions and graduate courses in Education. I’ve also taught rock climbing, yoga, and wine appreciation. So if you have any work for me, let me know!

And please — for my birthday — please help us get Cisco walking again!



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jonathan Sterling permalink
    January 21, 2020 11:56 am

    Happy Belated birthday to you! I too am a Gen-X and stumbled upon your 53 interesting facts. I’m doing something similar as I’m heading out of the Deck of cards stage and into the herbie the love bug stage. I’m enjoying the comments I get as I post them on Face book starting 53 days before my birthday which is 1 day after yours. I really do appreciate what you did find and you have inspired me to finish filling out the rest(I’m very close to finding the 53 days) Thank you so much!

  2. January 21, 2020 12:30 pm

    Fun! Enjoy finding your 53 days! I had no idea that 53 was such a fascinating number!

  3. Jonathan Sterling permalink
    January 21, 2020 12:35 pm

    I will, I have 3 days left now until I hit my birtday which is strangely hexidecimal of 53 if you go by the month day approximately and is it self 53 if you go by the European approach Day month.

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