Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trgatev* etc

I will post some pictures later, but I thought I would steal this blog post from one of Joe`s emails. This saves me some writing, and gives him a chance to get his two cents in.

...Last weekend we participated in our first grape harvest.
It was lots of fun. We got to the vineyard around 8:00 in the
morning and started off with a couple ceremonial schnapps. Blueberry,
pear, and a bitter herbal one- all homemade of course. Then when the
group was assembled we headed into the vineyards to pick. First we
picked white and red varieties that we did not separate. These are
crushed together to made a sort of late harvest rose. Then we picked
pinot noir and riesling grapes, keeping them separate. It was a
beautiful sunny morning. It was glorious. As you pick, people are
coming around with wine to keep you refreshed. After picking, which
lasted about 5 hours, we gathered for another ceremonial toast in the
vineyard. We then had an incredible lunch. Started with a pork soup
and went on to various grilled meats, incredible salads, and desserts.
The wine maker then invited us into his cellar and that's when the
fun really began. I was gonzo by the time we were done tasting. I
went back up and had more soup, which helped me get my head
together...and allowed me to drink more wine!

We have two days off this week: 10/31 and 11/1 for
all souls day and the day of the dead. They take that stuff pretty
seriously here. The graveyards are a sight to see as they are completely decked
out with flower arrangements and thousands of candles.

So now you know that we are kicking back and relaxing for the next two days, and maybe --if it ever stops raining-- we will go for a hike somewhere. Lucy`s got some `gastrointestinal distress` at the moment so it`s fortunate that we`re home to give her frequent outings in the yard..


* PS: TRGATEV is the Slovene word for `grape harvest`

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Things

Well, since I last posted we`ve gone on vacation to ZDA (Združene države Amerike) and come back to Slovenia. Already. It went very quickly. Thanks very much to everyone we got to visit with, allowed us to impose upon them, shared their time (and their cars!) with us, and who made our trip such a fun time. We`re sorry we didn`t get to see absolutely everyone we wanted to, but the time flew, and before we knew it, we had to also.
While we were gone we didn`t miss much in the way of work, since school is not very busy in the beginning of September. We did however miss the grape harvest, which was a little bit early this year. This was kind of a bummer, but it turns out we have a second chance to get in on the action. We are going this weekend to our friend`s family home located in Rogaška Slatina, which is a town situated in the eastern part of the country. This town is generally known for its thermal spa, but they also grow grapes there. They do three grape harvests in this area: an early Autumn harvest (the one we missed); a second, late-autumn harvest (this is the one we are going to - these grapes are used to make a sweeter wine); and a third harvest, which takes place well after the frost (these grapes are used to make ice wine). It`s a beautiful, sunny day today, but I hear we could get our first snow showers this weekend. I hope you can pick grapes while wearing gloves. (˝It`s a fine late-harvest vintage, slightly sweet, with lovely acidity, and...is that a hint of...wool?˝) Here is a lovely synopsis of Slovene wine varietals.

After we`re done picking we will all have a big lunch together, and beyond that we don`t know what to expect but I`ll fill you in when we get back. On Sunday we`re going mushroom picking. Jurčki (large boletus mushrooms) are in season now, as are lisičke (chanterelles) You can click the embedded links for pictures and Slovene practice.
And don`t worry: we`re going with an expert. If I don`t update this blog for a while it won`t be because we`ve ingested some fatal funghi.

Michele has been involved again in the Walk to Cure Diabetes. Here is an excerpt from her email:

I am participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes again this year. Many thanks to those of you who have faithfully supported me over the past nine years. Covance is again supporting the Walk at a Presenting Sponsor level. Over the past nine years, Covance and our employees have contributed / raised over $250,000 for research to find a cure for Type I diabetes and its related complications such as blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations. My goal this year is to raise $50,000, although I lost one of my very significant sponsors last year, so $50,000 is a very optimistic goal.

For any of you that aren't familiar with my fund raising efforts, I am very actively involved in raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and I also serve on the Board of Directors of the Central Jersey Chapter of JDRF. Finding a cure for Type I diabetes is very personal as I was diagnosed with the disease at age 12. I want to see the day when children are no longer diagnosed with a life sentence of insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring and the ever present fear of developing further disabling complications such as blindness, kindney failure and limb amputations. We've made great strides in the management of diabetes since my diagnosis 27 years ago, but we still do not have a cure, and someone still dies every two minutes from diabetes and its related complications.

The Walk is Sunday, October 7th, but I can accept donations until the end of October.
You can make a donation online by following this link:

(In case the link fails, this is the address: https://walk.jdrf.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=walk.supportwalker&walkerid=86778209)


Here is a link to an interesting blog, which has recently become a book. People have been illustrating their secrets on postcards for some time now, and sending them to this site, where they are posted every Sunday. It`s definitely worth a look.


I started flamenco lessons with the group LunaGitana here in Ljubljana. I was worried about the language being a problem, but it turns out that coordination will be the more troublesome obstacle. ;-) It turns out that I am not alone in this, though. I`ve also met some interesting people in the class, one of whom is going to help me with my Slovene in exchange for my helping her with English.


And now I`ll leave you with a link to a really funny mime. Yes, I DID intentionally put FUNNY and MIME in the same sentence. Click here to judge for yourself. PS: It helps if you remember the song, too.