School’s Out: Week 1 — Hot Stuff

Issa, Riff and I sprinted through Week 1 of summer break. It was a streak of hot, warped-speed fun, which included …

pancake mornings, swim suit afternoons, and scorching-hot evenings that called for grilling out whenever possible. After-hours indulgences include ice-cold Bell’s Oberon long-necks, Hard Luck Candy Rootbeer Flavored Vodka on the rocks, Cherry ICEEs and Rock of Ages.

Issa and Slim. Photo Credit: kateschannel

critter camp at Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center. Issa continued her exploration of reptiles, amphibians, insects and plant life during this four-day camp. Each day from 10:30 – 2:30 pm she joined other nature-lovers for hands-on instruction and fun. Plus, she got to see her adopted, pet ball python, Slim. In February, we donated funds to the nature center to help them care for Slim. In exchange, Issa visits him on a weekly basis to help with the provision of that care. Slim is very charming and loves for Issa to hold him.

weekend birthday bashes for my niece and nephew gave Issa and Riff two days of play with their cousins, introduced Riff to Jackson 5 magic, and gave me quality time with a very creative, over-the-top mistress of celebrations — my sister. Sisters do rule. Mine made her children a beach-themed birthday cake, which included a palm tree made out of rice krispy treats. She also woke me up at 5:15 am Sunday to ensure I made that 5k at Comerica Park in Detroit. Blaring Blink 182 as I zoomed along M-14 to meet up for a carpool with a long-time, college friend helped, too.

Just beachy! My sister is an artist in the kitchen, garden or wherever inspiration takes her. She made the palm tree out of rice krispy treats. Photo Credit: kateschannel

running with 2012 Heart of Detroit for Kids on the Go (KOTG) with the best coaches. Two avid runners — my cousin Joe Duris and my long-time, college friend, Lisa Brady — signed up to run the 5k at this event. There was something special about all these good people running for good people; down a quiet, traffic-free Woodward to the riverfront.

My A-Team. L to R: Joe Duris (my cousin), Lisa Brady (long-time college friend) and I envision the finish behind home plate at Comerica Park. Photo Credit: Kristy Schena, Kids on the Go

a home plate finish at Comerica Park. I came in at 35 minutes, 24 seconds and placed 12th out of 28 in my age group. Sweaty, running attire did nothing to stop my growing addiction to running; and to racing. In fact, Lisa, has helped me set my next goal: my first 10k at the Flirt with Dirt next June. My motivation to train more consistently and with greater conviction starts after the July 4 holiday week.

Comerica Park
Comerica Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

training on how to change shirts — without showing boobs — when one is without the privacy of a restroom. Lisa and I had decided on a post-race breakfast at Leo’s Coney Island in Plymouth, Mich. To save fellow diners from breathing our BO, we ditched sweaty race shirts for fresh ones prior to entering.

This week I need to do laundry and scrub toilets. But, there are only 12 weeks left. That means the priorities are painting, fishing at the subdivision retention pond, swim lessons, and taking time to make new recipes for dinner.

Related previous posts …

See It: Rock of Ages

Back Health Issues

Get Moving! Forward is a Pace

About Slim

Call Me Wino

I love wine. Call it genetics. After all, I am 50-percent Italian; and Italians make some of the best the world has to offer. But, to me, it has that something special that makes a meal, a family party, a conversation with a dear friend, or a romantic night out.

And, just like with food I do not discriminate. Sometimes I wish I did. But, like my dad, I love it all: red, white, dry, semi-dry, sweet, Italian, Spanish, Australian, Californian, and of course, Michigan.

Before I go further, I need a disclaimer: I am uneducated wino. While I have some knowledge about the regions, countries and wineries that produce it, I am really at the adolescent stage of my learning. I have tried enough to remember vintages I prefer, but not enough maturity to always have confidence when making selections at a store or restaurant. I’m okay with that. It gives me a license to experiment, make discoveries and to become friends with local sommeliers and wineries in my area.

Two experiments included a night out at Sangria’s in Royal Oak back in February; and a wine tasting at Filipo Marc Winery, a local winery in Clinton Township two Saturdays ago.

The night out at Sangria introduced me to Spanish wines; particularly Garnacha. My experience that evening left me on a quest to find a duplicate at my local gourmet grocer. Alas, I did not find that particular bottle. But, the sommelier at Vince and Joe’s tipped me off to other varieties of Garnacha, some under $10 a bottle, that are now staples in my wine rack. I am a happy wino.

Next, my attendance at that wine tasting was for a fund raiser for a non-profit I advocate for called Kids on the Go (which I’ll post about in the future). Owners, Gerard Giacona and his wife Tressa hosted our group. While I have previous acquaintance with Filipo Marc Winery and some of their selections, I had not actually been to a tasting there.

What I discovered — in addition to more bottles I like — was the tasting events Gerard and Tressa offer are really two-hour wine classes. In addition to tasting notes, they graciously explain the process of how each wine came to be, tasting advice to ensure an optimal experience with each selection, and food pairing suggestions. To learn more about Filipo Marc Winery and the 80+ wines they make, check out their web site or — if you’re a local — stop in for a visit at the winery. They’ll let you sample before you buy.