In preparing for last Saturday's event, Catherine so kindly put together thorough notes on the South American wine regions and types that we tasted. I cut and paste her notes directly into the blog along with the wine labels that we drank.
Similarities and difference between both Wine Regions.
1. Sauvignon Blanc - Alabamar (2010) (William Cole) The varietal identity of Sauvignon Blanc is typically similar to grass, bell-pepper, or grapefruit in nature. It is usually quite distinctive and one of the easier varietal wines to recognize by its often sharp, aggressive smell. Sauvignon Blanc is probably the best dry white wine to accompany the greatest variety of foods. It can handle components such as tomatoes, bell peppers, cilantro, raw garlic, smoked cheeses or other pungent flavors.
2. Torrontes - Serrera (2009) According to local Argentinean legend, Torrontes originated in Galicia, Spain, and was brought by the conquistadors in the 1800s. But in 2002, UC Davis studied the plant's genetic fingerprint and discovered that the varietal is actually a cross between two grapes: Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla Chica, known in California as the Mission grape. Aromas reminiscent of Viognier or Muscat, often with characteristics of white peach, citrus and flowers. Partner with smoked meats, mild to medium-strong cheeses, and seafood. Great partner for spicy food and Thai as well
3. Pinot Noir - Bola (2008) Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties to be cultivated for the purpose of making wine. Ancient Romans knew this grape as Helvenacia Minor and vinified it as early as the first century AD. Thanks to the movie Sideways, it has become one of the better known reds in the US. Although Pinot Noir harmonizes well with a wide variety of foods, the best matches to show off the delicacy and texture of Pinot Noir are: grilled salmon, a good cut of plain roast beef, a dish that features mushrooms as the main flavor element, roasted and braised preparations of lamb, pheasant, and duck, as well as grilled meaty fish, such as salmon, shark, and swordfish. Best are foods that are simple and rich.
4. Malbec - Mil Piedras (2008) Malbec has characteristics that fall somewhere between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I can be very deep color, have ample tannins, and a particular plum-like flavor component to add complexity to claret blends.
5. Chilean Blend - Maqui Lien (2007) In Chile's native Mapuche language, lien means “silver metal”—a reference to colonial Spanish coins that were once melted to make fine jewelry, like the lizard on the Maquis label. This blend consists of 32% Syrah, 25% Carmenere, 20% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot, and 8% Malbec.
See everyone on March 10 for a night of pampering hosted by Laurie Parker, Arbonne.
I've been watching action movies since I was 6 years old when Dad brought me to see Alien at the theater. Maybe that's why my expectations for action movies are so high. All I want is a strong, female action hero (in action clothes - no that doesn't mean wearing aerosoles heels) to be the main star of an adventure film. How hard is that? Search the World Wide Web, and you'll see I'm not the only one complaining. But at least now I know why: The Hollywood movie formula.
It started out in the 70's with movies like Rocky and Jaws. It's still around today. Any popular non-indie movie follows the 'high concept' formula. It's simple. The hero has a flaw (so you can relate). There are enabling circumstances surrounding that flaw. Suddenly, there's a life-changing event. The hero faces obstacles and an opponent. The hero also has an ally that either shows an example of how to change, or how not to be. The hero has many chances to overcome his flaw but still doesn't. The stakes change (climax). Then there's a choice to be made, but the flaw is tested many times before this happens. The choice then leads to a resolution which in Hollywood always equates to 'getting the girl.'
For example, in As Good As It Gets. Melvin Udall is OCD. He has a way of life, a job and a waitress (ally) who support his OCD (flaw). The life-changing event happens when Frank (opponent) tells him to take care of Simon's dog, and the waitress's son gets so sick she can't keep her job. Melvin has many opportunities to change, but instead chooses to keep the flaw and change others. Until he has an opportunity to 'get the girl' (the stakes) and then tries to take his pills and gets the girl.
This formula can be applied to almost all successful movies today that have immediate success in the box office. Of course there are movies that don't follow the formula and are successful, but these are what the producers look for. So why no women?
The movie that made me realize what was wrong was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie follows three very strong, very beautiful, very powerful women. None of them 'Get the Girl' in the end. In fact, they all lose! Now there are formulas where the hero doesn't 'get the girl' - a perfect example is Leaving Las Vegas. In this case Nicholas Cage is an alcoholic (flaw), he meets Elizabeth Shue (ally) but in the end he chooses to die with his flaw. But that's not how action movies go, and I'm talking about action movies.
In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, there is a woman warrior who is in love. Her love is away meditating on a mountaintop somewhere. There is a younger woman. She falls in love. She is also arranged to be married and must do so to uphold her family's honor. There is another woman, a woman without honor, who fights for her right to learn as men do, the secrets of a certain school of martial arts. They each stay strong until the very end. Amazingly, their strength is not in their physical ability, but in their solitude. They never 'give in' to their relationships with their lovers. They never allow themselves to give up on their honor or their obligations to their family and the one they love. The older woman has a job to do and so does her husband, they honor their positions, far away from each other despite how much they love each other. The younger woman longs for a life with her rogue boyfriend but holds the responsibility of honoring her family so much so, that she jumps off a sacred mountain believing that it will make her dreams come true. The woman with no honor is looking for justice and instead gets revenge, killing and being killed by, the man the older woman loves.
Are men the reason women cannot be strong in today's movies? A strong female figure cannot star with a male figure without disabling both characters. Either the woman has to be strong and the man has to be a wimp or there is no man at all, and if that's the case, is there a large enough audience to support a movie with a single, strong female character? If so, would the movie producers see it that way? I don't think so.if it doesn't fit the formula, it doesn't fit their budgets.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon obviously does not fit the Hollywood Formula - for many reasons. Yet it was successful. James Cameron directed Aliens. He understands the money-making power of a strong female character. Yet in Avatar, Neytiri was a perfect opportunity to capitalize on this, and in a way he did, but following the formula (and not in a good way), Neytiri gives up and stands BEHIND her man, immediately stripping her of all her strength.
More examples (Please keep in mind that most of these characters are not even leading women):
True Lies.Jamie Lee Curtis has the guts to prostitute herself to save the world until her husband 'saves the day!'
Star Wars, Princess Leia kicks ass and brings down the whole entire empire only to give in to Han Solo with "I love you!" and the perfect response, "I know."
The Matrix - Trinity is the star until 'the one' has to save everyone.
Kill Bill - Lots of great female characters of course and you can see how it worked so well - the fiancé died at the very beginning of the movie!
Harry Potter - Hermione is always second wand, but not bad.
Fifth Element - probably one of the best in my book but of course she's not allowed to have a man as she has to 'stay pure!' (A Fifth Element II would've been bad).
Pirates of the Carribean - They did this well - keeping the lovebirds apart!
The Incredibles - great but once again, second fiddle.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider - Just not a good character.
So what do I want? What would satisfy me? An action heroine (who has a flaw), on an adventure (not a killing spree in heels), who overcomes her flaw (without being hated), and saves the world. How much is that to ask?
(Information on "High Concept Movie" formula/term taken from "How to write High Structure High Concept Movies")
- Heather Harris
Thanks to Megan for keeping such thorough notes at our last gathering. Listed below are a few of the Global Gals’ Favorite Things.
Susan’s Favorite Things:
· www.pandora.com: a web site that allows you to enter a favorite artist and then plays songs by that person and similar artists. If there is a song you don’t enjoy, then you can give it a thumbs down and it will alter the playlist accordingly.
· Bumble & Bumble Curl Conscious for fine hair: All you do is stick it in your hair and let it dry. Smells nice.
Heather's Favorite Things:
· Bella Sun Luci Tomato Pesto: You can buy this at Barrons, which is located in Del Mar Heights and OB (at W. Point Loma & Midway.) The lid has recipes, and Heather love the chicken sundried tomato fettuccine. Thanks for the samples, Heather!
· Olympus Digital voice recorder: costs $75 - $80. You can record your own thoughts, but you can also hook it up to your computer and have the file. This one Heather bought at Target and it is nice and compact. She uses it to records her kid’s voices, but mostly to record random thoughts when she’s driving or doing other activities during which she doesn’t have time to stop & write it down.
· Orchid Garden Hotel: Green hotel in San Fran that Heather loved.
· La Pinata: Heather’s favorite restaurant which is in Old Town. On Juan Street behind Guadalajara. It’s the oldest restaurant in San Diego. All the servers are women and most of them are older. The food is traditional Mexican, decent margaritas, AND, for those of us w/ children, the food comes out FAST! Casual and kids can run around. Don’t get the light menu: eat the lard!
Alexis' Favorite Things:
· A giant zester that she found in Cook’s Illustrated. It makes nice zest and hold it so it you have it all of it. It’s great for parmesan cheese and fruit zest. It came w/ the cookbook!
· Alfonso’s margaritas on Prospect in La Jolla.
· Mama Mia’s Italian restaurant on Grand in PB. Near 1932 Balboa Ave (between Grand Ave & Lamont St). Near a hair salon.
Lisa’s Favorite Things:
· Vidalia Chop Wizard. It chops everything uniformly. It comes w/ two different sizes. Lisa uses it not only for onions but also for salads and her daughter’s food. She has sliced zucchini fries using this, too. It also comes w/ a cleaner.
· Restaurant: Urban Solace at University & 30th in North Park: Heather is an investor in their new restaurant, so she said GO!
· Accupuncturist: Liman Wang on Black Mountain Road.
· www.acufinder.com: Finds acupuncturists for certain things.
Meg's Favorite Things:
· http://www.sandiegohalfoff.com/intro.php: A website you can go to and get gift certificates to restaurants, spas, and other services, for half off. Usually, you get a $50 gift certificate but pay only $50.00.
· www.tripadvisor.com: A website where folks can provide feedback about hotels, restaurants, and local attractions from all over the world. You can enter the location you plan to visit, and it will provide recommendations based on user reviews. The reviews will often tell you exactly how to get to the place, where to sit, what to order, which room number to request, etc. It’s great!
· Blackberry: can connect to the Internet; can open Word docs and ExCel; GPS. Meg uses hers for email, her calendar, and to play games.
· Doublsided fabric tape: can be used to “fix” hems in a pinch or stick bras to shirts. Can be purchased at fabric stores or at Target.
Janice’s Favorite Things:
· Janice loves any type of wipes. Stain removal. Clorox Wipes seem to be everyone’s favorite. Not only do they get the mold off lunch boxes, but they also clean stains off clothes. Another favorite is “Kandoo” wipes, which are for cleaning one’s heiny.
· Strawberry Husker (stem pickers): Julie has one but Janice can’t find where to buy it anywhere! Try Great News kitchen store in PB.
Andrea’s Favorite Things:
· The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease: Gives ideas for how to get a squirmy kid into a story, inspirational stories, and generally helps adults get into reading aloud w/ their kids. It also has a list of specific books for recommended reading.
· In the Convent of Little Flowers by Indu Sundaresan: Book of short stories all about relationships written by an Indian woman. Some stories about elder abuse, arranged marriages, etc.
· www.sdmaritime.org: Maritime Museum at the Star of India. You Pay admission to the museum and then can ride the pilot boat for $3. Pilot boat holds 20 – 25 people. It’s $3 for 45 minutes to 1hour. Andrea chose the $40/year long membership.
Julie's Favorite Things:
· Braun Handmixer (as seen at the UCSD cooking class): Can use it to make soup, smoothies, etc. Julie’s comes w/ a chopping and whisk attachment. Tracy makes smoothies almost every day. The Gals raved about making soups with this.
· The wine vacuum: It vacuums the air out of the wine bottle and keeps the wine fresh.
· Garlic press: presses garlic with no chopping or smashing with a knife. One doesn’t even need to peel the clove.
Have a happy day!
With the lead found in
children's products that have come out of China from corporate giants such as
Mattel, there has been an outcry for testing for anything sold to children
under 12. Being a mom of a 2 year old this does make sense. I want
to know what I purchase for my little girl is safe and non toxic. But
this law is killing handmade America, the economy, mommypreneurs, small happy
businesses, antiques, and publishing companies. Let's say I wanted to
make really cool modern baby clothes and sell them on line. I go to the
fabric store, purchase non-toxic lead free material, buttons, and thread.
I go home make my little clothes. With this new law I am now required to
have my finished product tested. Every item I make has to undergo it's
own testing even if each item is made from the exact same bolt of fabric.
Also under this law it requires that everything is made from "New
Materials" that means antique toys (like the Fisher price record
player I purchased for Emma off EBay) or up cycled/ recycled items can no
longer be sold. And wait there's more, books have never had to undergo
such testing but under this law they would. Now each book has to undergo
testing if made for Children under the age of 12. Libraries are in a
panic because they will either have to toss all current books for children or
pay to have them tested. Either way they can't afford this cost. I
really thought us artists in the children's industry had a strong voice, but it
just isn't strong enough. We were able to get the law to hold off on
their February 10 deadline, but if you see this link, you will note that it's
not enough http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/message-from-senator-demint-call-your-senators-about-the-cps-3370/
No one is safe from what this law requires. This doesn't mean we are
making wonderful items for children using lead products, it means that we can't
afford the testing to prove we are not using led therefore we legally can't
sell "handmade", antiques, or books for children unless they are
tested. This will significantly hurt the economy and ruin the children's
art and crafts of America.
Here is the CPSIA Action Kit
I know that I can't be the only mom that has bought wonderful handmade clothes, toys, blankets, burp clothes, dolls and more. I am sure any mom can look in her child's room and see a favorite handmade wood car, child's chair, or stool, or even know a good friend that crafts out beautiful blankets, clothes, or dolls. I want to keep the creative people that have enriched my daughters early years alive. I am not a huge buyer of giant corporate American products that have been licensed to death. But that soon may be my and others only option. Very few handmade companies will be able to meet the cost of these tests.
Do you think Global Gals will want to help??
-Suzanne (posted by Julie)
Hopefully this gathering got everyone motivated to take a look at their financial plan. Whether you're single, married, or with children, its important to check in once a while to make sure you are still on the right track to take care of yourself and/or your family in the future.
After this get together, I feel motivated to meet with a Financial Planner to check on mine and my husband's retirement savings thus far. I think we might not be on the right track because we've have been doing our own planning for many, many years.
For those with children, the best financial plan is one that takes care of your retirement first and your children's education second. Your children will have various options to pay for their college education.
Some action items we took away from the meeting:
- Credit reports. Check your credit rating to make sure there are no discrepancies.
- Review costs and terms of current insurance coverage.
- Review your life stage and financial goals with a trusted investment professional and develop an asset allocation strategy.
- Pay yourself first each month by establishing an automatic investment plan.
- consult with your investment professional to ensure you are capitalizing on the appropriate investment vehicles for your portfolio.
- Consult with investment professional to ensure you are capitalizing on appropriate planning vehicles.
- If you are married, make sure you know where the insurance and financial files are kept so that you have access to the accounts in case of an emergency.
Thanks to David Lam from Edward Jones for presenting the material and getting us discussing issues that are important to women.
Until next month,
This came from our gal Sharon:
Subject: Tell McCain: Viagra is not more important than birth control.
Last week a reporter asked Sen. John McCain whether he thinks it's fair for insurance companies to cover Viagra for men, but not birth control for women.
To tell you his reply simply doesn't do it justice. Watch this video to learn his response. Then take action.
I just signed a petition calling on Senator McCain to stand up for affordable birth control -- I hope you will too.
Please have a look and take action.
Global Gals Gathering took place on Thursday night, June
19. Now that I am sitting here writing the blog, I wish I would have
taken better notes! I will do my best to document the highlights of the
First off, a BIG thank you to Mary Ellen for joining us at our Gathering #2! As guest speaker, Mary Ellen opened up the discussion quite easily. We found out that she was the Publisher and Editor of the newspaper "Women's Times" back in the early 90's. (Heather met Mary Ellen while working for the newspaper.) When the newspaper proved not to be a successful ongoing business, Mary Ellen became the Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood San Diego/Riverside Counties. She worked there until about a year ago when she retired to move to
We each introduced ourselves and mentioned one or two hot topics that interest us regarding women's issues. Some hot topics:
Have a positive affect on grandchildren
Inform woman on latest health topics (i.e. HPV)
Assist battered women (Rachel's Women's Center)
Spending research dollars on women’s health
Breaking the pink/blue barrier
Educating ourselves on how to take care of our children
"Dress Angels" (non-profit)
Teaching good values - being conscious of others
Education - public schools
I really liked a couple of Mary Ellen's quotes right away. She said, "The biggest changes we ever make are the ones we make within ourselves." So just by getting together as a group, we are already making changes within ourselves. She added that "making an impact doesn't have to be large and splashy. You have a small impact all the time." You just never know when or how your actions will influence another life. That is why it is important to make even the smallest efforts. What is insignificant in your mind may be highly influential in someone else's mind.
As far as becoming activists, she suggested picking a local issue and writing letters, talking to local officials; starting with City Council members working our way up to California Representatives and
We learned a bit more about Planned Parenthood and their desire to have all children wanted and loved. They give information to woman about their bodies and give access to birth control. International Aid for Family Planning has been cut starting back in the Reagan years. Pres Clinton brought back some of the aid only to have it cut again by Pres Bush. Basically, the
While at Planned Parenthood, Mary Ellen lobbied against the Parental Notification act. (The bill requires parents to be notified of a girl's wish for an abortion.) She met most of the local SD politicians and traveled to
Mary Ellen also traveled to the
One of our gals, Suzanne, asked if Mary Ellen was aware of
Another thing to keep in mind, just because a woman is "pro-choice" does not mean that she would choose an abortion for herself. It means that she supports women making their own decisions about their bodies, not the government.
I could go on and on... I will wrap up with a thought that I took away from our discussion: even a small action can make a difference. You just never know how/who you will affect.
Thanks to Heather for hosting, providing fine wine and chocolate chunk cookies, and for introducing us to Mary Ellen.