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Here's to Friends - On Both Coasts

This weekend is Slow Bowl. Yes, I wrote Slow Bowl, not super bowl. Now most of you reading this have no idea what Slow Bowl is but I'm going to tell you. Slow Bowl, is an event started three years ago, coordinated and orchestrated by my friend Shannon, at which many of my SlowTrav friends gather, in Paso Robles CA, for a weekend of good food, good wine, oh and maybe some super bowl watching. We missed the first Slow Bowl but went to the second last year and had been looking forward to this year's with the giddiness of kids looking forward to summer break.

You all know what happened though.

We had to cancel because of my diagnosis. The doctor just didn't think it would be smart traveling across the country, during chemo week, exposed to the recycled air in those germ factories we call airplanes.

This week though I received one of many incredible gifts (I will write about the others later - hey I need a post for each day in February). This one though from our Slow Bowl friends ... an entire case of wine, from the wineries they will be visiting and tasting at over the course of this weekend. To be thought of by them at this point in my life, in really such an appropriate way, touched both Chris and I.

So to all the Slow Bowlers, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and caring. I've said it many times and will continue to say it, the support, love and prayers of all of you has awed and inspired me and helped make this difficult time extremely bearable.

Nevertheless though, while video conferencing yesterday morning, via Skype, with the party house (where we were lucky enough to stay last year), while fun, also saddened me. Great seeing and talking to everyone, but I have to admit, the pity me party began. So I dug into the big brown couch, and prepared for a day of mindless television watching, and waiting for my Big Love CD to arrive in the mail.

I guess Chris new this might happen because he and Becky had planned a surprise for me ever since the wine arrived. Chris snuck off to Whole Foods yesterday, telling me he was surprising me with dinner (a fearful thought all on its own), and banning me from the fridge. Then apparently Becky got to work researching the wines (which I discovered but to what end I had no idea).

So, after both Chris and Becky suggesting I shower because I smell, and spending many hours on the couch (with growing suspicions something was going on), I spied our good friends, Stephanie and Rick walking up to our front door. Still in my PJs, I high-tailed it upstairs as Chris explained that he arranged a surprise wine-tasting with our friends here, since I couldn't be in California tasting wines with my friends there.

After a few minutes of pity crying on my bed, I pulled out of it, hopped in the shower and returned downstairs to my friends and a spread of cheese and bread (Steph even brought over her famous baked brie), and wine. Then as first Becky educated us to the wine, followed by Steph and Rick's daughter, Allison, when Beck left to babysit, we sat for several hours sipping wine, talking and laughing.

NJ Slow Bowl Spread
The Wine Tasting Spread

We enjoyed tasting three wines yesterday, Midnight Cellars Aurora White Wine, which I found a flowery, sweet nose but found it much crisper than I expected based on the nose, Adelaida Pinot Noir, which was light in the mouth, but I thought had more guts than many Pinots (as in, I don't think I'd have any qualms pairing this with some hefty meat; it was quite dry), and Jada's Jersey Girl, a Syrah - which to me tastes like a great, smokey winter wine to have with some serious meat.

Becky
Becky Describes our Wine

Allison
Allison Takes Her Turn

NJ Slow Bowlers
NJ Slow Bowlers - Rick, Chris, Stephanie and Kim

Then with a nudge by me, Chris hit he kitchen where he prepared grilled NY strip steaks, Asparagus with Parmegiana and Potatoes Delfina (from the famed restaurant outside Florence). With this we enjoyed my favorite of the three wines we had tried earlier, the Jada Jersey Girl (come on - who could resist the name). For dessert, a chocolate layer cake. It was a great night - so thanks so much to you, Chris, Becky, Stephanie, Rick and Allison for creating a special day for me.

I finished the night with one more video chat with my friends on the West Coast. It was a good one, getting to see more of the Slow Bowlers this time than in the morning and participating in their fun, even for just a short time.

I didn't feel so sad either. Instead, I remembered and butchered a line from Passover, "Next year in Paso Robles."

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Other Thinks (22)

Eden:

Kim, I am glad to read that you did have your version of SlowBowl! I must say Hats Off to that family of yours for pulling off a New Jersey SlowBowl wine tasting party!

This ST group really is great. And Shannon for coordinating the Care-package....

Feel better and take care. Hugs from California.

cubbies:

Kim, we can identify! Thanks for writing of your day and hooray for friends on both coasts. We only hope we'll be there with you "next year in Paso Robles."

Joan & Fred

That is so wonderful of the ST group to send you the wine. I am glad that after all you had your little GTG!

How thoughtful of Shannon and the others! Just wonderful. And it sounds like you had a great dinner!

sandrac:

Wow -- what wonderful gifts and wonderful friends (and family!) And what a wonderful way to remind you how much you are loved!

(BTW, I love your dining room, and those cool, stemless wine glasses in the bottom photo!)

Lisa:

I didn't realize you were having such a rough day. I would have made sure I made it over to visit.

Wonderful gifts from thoughtful friends. Great to see your beautiful smile as you enjoy your very own Slow Bowl.

Kim-Your evening of wine tasting sounds like a lot of fun. Glad you got to "kinda" participate in the SlowBowl.

We missed you Kim!! But good for Chris and Becky for organizing your own tasting party. Looking forward to seeing you there next year!

Palma:

The Skype chat and having you "almost" in the cottage with us was a highlight of the weekend! Next year...LIVE!

What a wonderful story, Kim. Brought happy tears to my eyes.

nancyhol:

Kim, it sounds like you had a wonderful GTG of your own! That's great!

We missed your being in Paso with us, but it was really nice to "talk" to you via Skype.

I'm so glad you have so many supportive friends to help you through the rough days. How sweet that the Slow Bowlers sent you a case of wine so you could be a part of their celebration. And your family and friends back east are all so thoughtful and wonderful. I love the photos. It sounds like you had a wonderful night. Glad you were able to video chat with California.

Barb Cabot:

Kim, I hope somebody in the cottage got a picture of the group hovering over the computer screen just before we skyped you. It was an ocean of bodies all clamoring to see the screen and yelling, "Quiet, Quiet, we're calling Kim!" It was wonderful to be able to talk with you, see you. God how we missed you! You're family is awesome Kim. The whole wine tasting set up they created was so sweet and thoughtful. Shannon thinks of everything. Glad we were able to share a bit of the weekend with you. Next year all of us will see you there! Yay and cheers!

It is good to see that you are surrounded by love!
Next year in Paso~

Jane:

Kim, Chris is a very special man, isn't he? How fortunate to have him at a time like this. The world could sure use more sensitive, intuitive males. Lucky you!

You must know that your name came up often throughout the weekend so you really were with us and we with you.

See you in October!!

At Jada Winery, Deborah suggested we buy you the "Jersey Girl" t-shirt. Now I wish we had, since you liked their JG wine the best!
Glad to hear of your SlowBowl-like day ;) and it was great seeing you via video. Next year in Paso!

Terry (teaberry):

Great story, Kim, and I'll drink to that!

Kim,
That's the best day in the world! Wow, you are a much loved woman. If love can heal, you'll be well in a wink, girlfriend!
Niiiice!
xox

Kim, I'm so sorry I missed the live chat, but I did think of you often during the slow bowl. I think your wine tasting party sounded every bit as fun as ours, but we will look forward to seeing you next year. All the best, -Krista

Marcia:

We missed you guys beyond belief this year, so thanks for posting the pictures of your winetasting party. I was wondering how it would be for you after all the Skyping, because I am not sure I would be that brave to wave at people at the party, so to speak. But we loved talking to you. So yes, next year in Paso, and we'll talk about that house thing - just kidding, we were happy to be placesavers - or maybe we need a bigger house?

Stephanie:

We were glad we could participate in East Coast version of the wine tasting. We had a wonderful time! Thanks to Chris and the girls for everything (and also thanks to you for taking a shower). And yes, next year you WILL in Paso Robles. With the way time flies, it will be here before you know it!!!

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