It is Friday. And Friday is a good day for wine. Because you’re too tired to do anything crazy, but something to take the edge off is called for. Wine is perfect for that! And let me tell you, if you are getting drunk off of wine, the wine you are drinking isn’t good enough. Or you’re not paying enough attention to it. Either way, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’ve never been much of a wine person but would find the idea of it appealing, don’t ask a wine person for advice. They will direct you to something which they enjoy and you will find either unaffordable or undrinkable. (Do ask liquor store clerks, though. Some of them are really excellent and they don’t get paid enough to buy $40 bottles of wine either.) For those of us who are past Boones Farm but aren’t yearning to gargle our alcohol before swallowing, allow me to share The Upside Down World’s handy guide to wine selection:
- Whites are usually easier to drink than reds.
- Blush wines are usually easier to drink than either white or reds but usually run a little towards the kool-aid side of wine.
- Ask for something that’s not too dry and you’ll get a sweeter wine.
- If you are drinking a red, ask for low tannins – those are the things that make your mouth pucker when you drink many red wines.
- Interesting, quality, cheap, easy to drink red wines often come from up-and-coming new regions which change from time to time. South American wines are usually a good choices at the moment (or at least they were a year ago when I had money for a $10 bottle of wine!).
- For an easy to drink white, wines with unpronounceable German looking names are good bets – but again, avoid anything described as “dry”.
- Every once in a while, you can get a good wine pairing for what you’re eating. A sip of wine with food in your mouth will make you almost stop and gasp. It’s so good, it’s like magic. But it happens so rarely and unpredictably that it’s hardly worth going out of your way to find. Don’t get hung up on wine-food pairings.
- You will appreciate the wine section at Trader Joe’s much more after a few trips into the liquor store by the gas station.
Myself, I prefer a Riesling. I’ve had magic really good Riesling, but that’s only because someone with money bought it for me. But Riesling can be quite good even at the $8 a bottle mass produced range. This is why when he’s trying to pass himself off as a nice guy, the ex will bring a bottle of Riesling over even though he has no money and doesn’t care for it himself. When I’ve been nasty and he’s feeling extra committed to passing himself off as a nice guy, he won’t just leave the bottle on the counter for me to find whenever I happen to make it to the kitchen. He’ll actually open it and bring me a glass. And have put the bottle in the refrigerator for later. Three weeks ago, I must have been pretty nasty at some point in the preceding days because he brought me a glass of Riesling in one of the crystal glasses my parents sent from Poland. They are strictly special occasion glasses. Because we have 5 kids and at least 2 of them are in the “I inexplicably drop only breakable things I’m not supposed to be touching” stage at all times.
Within seconds after taking a drink, I began to experience intense, clenching pain around the area of my diaphragm. Fifteen minutes later we were driving to the emergency room while I alternately stick a paper sack on my head to avoid hyperventilating and stick my head out the window to gulp in cold, numbing air. On the way, I theorizing that I was having a panic attack or that I might be one of those people who shows up in the ER with severe gas pain and just needed to fart. Another round of head out the window and then into the sack.
I had insisted on a paper sack because you can suffocate from putting a plastic bag on your head. Even one with a hole in it. It’s just not safe. And who offers a person a plastic bag to breathe into? My ex, that’s who. You know, the pain had started right after drinking the wine he gave me. “Did you put something in the wine?” I managed to ask before I was seized with pain and stuck my head back out the window.
The ex was a bit startled to be accused of poisoning me, but my world moved right on to writhing around trying to find the least
painful position to sit in. Thankfully, I made it to the hospital without throwing myself out the window and was taken into triage pretty quickly. About 30 minutes later, while I was sitting in a hospital bed feeling much better, a couple of police officers walked through the waiting area where the ex was sitting and were waved back by the receptionist. He said he just knew they were there because I had told them that he was trying to poison me. He told himself that the toxicology report would clear him.
I had forgotten that I’d even said such a thing of course. I was busy having what would have been the most painful panic attack in human history. (Since I was in so much pain that it literally took my breath away, I was convinced that I was having a panic attack. I am irrationally certain that anytime something might be wrong with me, it will turn out to be a panic attack.) The doctor assured me that as intense as a panic attack can be, it doesn’t actually cause breath-taking physical pain. Later he came back and offered to call the surgeon and get him to come in the next morning to remove my gallbladder. Or he could wish me luck and let me call him myself come Monday morning. “Those are my choices?” I asked. “Well, I do have you on drugs, so I can manipulate you pretty easily at the moment. If you’re not up to thinking about it, I can just go ahead and make the call now,” the kind doctor responded. Which is what he did.
So, the ex was cleared of suspicion without even having to wait on a toxicology report. I am now a few ounces lighter and missing a green sac that once sat by my liver. (Actually, I have no idea if a gallbladder is really green, but it’s always colored green in illustrations, so that’s how I picture it.) And I have another 3 weeks before I’m supposed to pick up or carry the toddler. Fun.
Of course, I’m tough. I may not be 25 anymore, but I was a good girl and took it easy for a few days. It wasn’t going to knock me down. Unfortunately, a week after my gallbladder surgery, my mother nearly died from septic shock. She had attended a church dance with my father just the night before, so we kinda didn’t see it coming. She ended up in the ICU where the nurse called one of the surgeons and insisted that if he didn’t come in now, she wasn’t going to make it through the night. Even after emergency surgery to remove a lodged kidney stone, it was touch and go for a while. My dad told me that the evening after surgery, mom had the same gray look my grandfather had when he died a few years earlier. The parish priest came out and gave communion and performed the rites of anointing of the sick on her. According to my dad, almost as soon as the priest put his hands on mom, the color began to return to her face. My mom told me that she started feeling better and looked over at my sister who had tears running down her face. “How sweet. She’s crying tears of joy,” my mom thought to herself. Life always seems impossibly good when God’s moving, I suppose. 😉 Fortunately, mom’s on the mend. But it’s been a long couple of weeks. I’m exhausted.
I’ve been convicted about the need to rest lately. I’ve been hearing it regularly when I pray. But it’s hard. I’ll rest when I’m not poor.
I’ll rest when I’m done doing what I’m trying to do. I’ll rest when I’m not surrounded by children 24/7 for years without a break. I’ll rest. Later. And then life comes along and just piles on until I get to the point of not being able to function. Again. I swear, sometimes I think that life is so hard because it’s the only way God can get us to stop and rest. One day maybe I’ll learn to do it before life has piled on so hard I can’t do anything else. It would probably be a good thing to get worked out.
I hope that your life is not nearly as crazy as mine right now (although if not, don’t feel too bad. It does seem to be going around!). But even if you’re just riding along on a bed of roses, we were made to need rest. We were made to need some recreation and entertainment along with our work. Hell, what good is a bed of roses without the freedom to relax anyways?
So, please don’t wait for life to pile one you. Take some time to rest this weekend. God said so, and I’m here to report that not resting doesn’t work all that well anyways. If you’re not sure what to with yourself, you can always kick back with my newly re-vamped site. I worked all week making it pretty (or at least not dreadfully plain anymore). Plus, a lot of people who only started reading my blog recently may not realize how much there is on the site. I figured out recently that I’ve published close to a half a million words on the site over the years. Which is far too much sorting for most people to go through to find what you want to read. So I’ve been busy organizing as well. I’ve added menus that will make it easier to find what you are interested in reading. There is now a page with my favorite memoir pieces (Look under the “About” menu). There’s also a menu for “Hot Topics” which includes “Spiritual Parenting“, “Theological Concepts“, “Christianity and Evolution“, “Study of the Book of Job“, “Women and Scripture“. I’ve also created a menu for my poems as these seem to be particularly popular. I’m going to get to work on more Hot Topics just as soon as I can function again, so if you have requests/suggestions, please let me know.
If poking around the blog itself isn’t tickling your fancy, may I suggest the newly released eBook version of The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress for your recreational reading this weekend? It’s $5. Just like a movie from the bargain dvd bin at Wal-Mart. But better. And if you use my tips above you can add a nice bottle of under $15 wine to read by. For $20 bucks, you have the perfect night in, courtesy of The Upside Down World. If you really want to splurge, grab a bar of dark chocolate to munch on and it will be just like a visit to heavenly realms. I’ll just be curled up in the fetal position in my bed if you need anything!