Nothing says small town America like a good ole’ fashioned parade. And on the 4th of July many of the candidates gathered in Watertown for a parade on Main Street and through the town square. If you haven’t ventured out to Watertown for their parade, then I suggest next year you make plans to attend because theirs is like no other.
Wilson Living Blogs
Blogs dedicated to sharing the Good Life in Wilson County, TN
Drive down Main Street these days and it's as if someone threw up politicians. As a card carrying member (by marriage) of these folks running for office, I think it's my civic duty to share the lessons I've learned ...thus far.
By Becky Andrews
Most adults have repeated the same phrase when referring to the younger generation, “What is this world coming to?” From the boomers to millennials, we’ve all been on the receiving end of criticism about our taste in music, movies, politics, and work ethic. My own parents had little patience for my taste in music, refusing to believe it was anything but noise. While there are many things I find annoying about the younger generation…texting a person sitting next to them, neck jerking to keep the hair out of their eyes, the constant mumbling, The Harlem Shake and on and on and on, in spite of it all, I still feel like we adults, the future retirees, are going to be just fine in their hands. Here’s why:
By Angel Kane
“Do not be a baby!”
Those were the words I read, via text, after parking my car at the Lebanon Police Station last Tuesday night. Twenty minutes before I’d met Brody in our driveway as he was pulling in and I was pulling out. We had both forgotten I was supposed to go on a police ride as part of my Leadership Wilson program. And I was not happy about it! I complained for about five minutes, via my open window to his, with all the reasons I should not have to do this.
“They better not drive fast!”, were my parting words to him as I drove furiously out of the driveway.
Have you ever been involved in a verbal confrontation and, after it was settled, thought about the perfect comeback? Of course, we don’t ever do that because that would be stupid. If we counter with the best comeback one day or even one hour after said confrontation, that person would now think you were even more inept than before. Not to mention, “crazy.” I’m the worst at comebacks. But afterwards, I. AM. AWESOME. I keep these little snappy retorts on file just in case the need to use them in the future ever arises.
A couple years ago I wrote an article that I often still hear about today. It had to do with my tendency to take down names...in sharpie. I'm not sure when or the how the practice first started, but at some point in my life my Oprah inspired gratitude journal went to hell in a hand-basket.
I live in a home that is all about justice. Maybe it's because we're lawyers or maybe it's just in our children's DNA, but nothing gets done in our house that doesn't involve negotiation, reward or retribution.
A feeling of both melancholy and excitement prevails in the Kane household as letter after letter arrives for our oldest, from colleges near and far. As I watch her open each one, I distinctly remember being her age, knowing very little about life, yet believing I knew everything.
I'm not sure if I should be offended or rejoicing, considering I've just been disinvited to my son's soccer tournament. Our youngest has been playing soccer since as far back as my 40 something year old brain can remember.
With the recent return of Will Ferrell's scotch-drinking Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, this is the perfect time to explore the basics of Scotch. Once referred to as "aquae vitae" or "water of life," scotch is simply malted barley that is distilled in Scotland in column stills or in pot stills.
By Angel Kane
With the holidays soon approaching, I've been seriously considering starting a charity. It's been on my mind a lot lately as I've noticed many who are in dire need of help. And this charity would be like none other!
Now, for starters my charity won't be giving out books, blankets or baked goods. In fact, there are those of you who may scoff at my "so called" charity, but as I always say...or more to the point...sometimes say...or if I'm honest, for the first time today, am finally saying...to each his own!
So the spark was lit for my charitable organization over Labor Day while spending a long weekend at my brother's home. Stumbling over Baby Einstein toys, my sister-in-law's golden retriever and a stack of recyclable magazines, I found my way to the sofa on an early Saturday before anyone was awake. With a mug of organic coffee in one hand (I know! Can you say Generation Y!) and the remote in the other, I hit....Power.
Nothing, other than a blue screen. I hit Power and then On. Nada.
Power, On, Menu.
Power, On, Menu, On and then a few wacks on the sofa.
For the next hour I pushed every button on the television, the remote, as well as every other remote I could find, working myself into a frenzy having missed much of the Saturday Today Show.
My brother was the first to get up, probably because after an hour, I started texting him like only a sister can do "Get UPPPPPP!! Emergency! Emergency!!!"
"What's the emergency?", he said, like a guy who had heard his sister's cries for several decades and guessed my 911 was either I needed shampoo or wanted him to run to the nearest grocery to get me real coffee.
"Don't look at me like that. This one is for real. Your television won't turn on. I tried everything. I even went upstairs and tried the television in the playroom. You need to call the cable company asap.
"You got me up at 7:30, on a Saturday, for that. I sometimes forget how much I hate you. There is nothing wrong with the television, we gave up cable a month ago!"
"What? You gave up cable? Why, did you lose your job? Mom is going to kill you."
"No, I didn't lose my job! We decided television was taking up too much of our time. It was bad for us."
T.V. taking up too much time? T.V., bad? Immediately, I understood the code. WE had nothing to do with this. This had Erica written all over it.
The reason for the long haired golden retriever that keeps Brody sneezing and itching every time we visit.
The reason for the stacks of recyclable paper products, plastics and cans that cause my kids to second guess the Kane family mantra - We Don't Recycle.
The reason for my constant weekend headaches caused by drinking her organic, caffeine free coffee-like substance she passes off as the real thing.
"Are you serious? What is wrong with you? What about your kids?"
"Erica says television shows just make you brain dead and they shouldn't watch them. We read and play outside instead."
And just like that I heard my calling. Erica and all the other Ericas of the world were slowly destroying the simple joys of life we were raised on. So for Christmas this year, my brother and his children will be the first recipients of my newly formed charity.
"I'm getting you cable for Christmas!" were the words I texted him the other day.
"Right, is that because it's your turn to come down here for the holidays?", he texted back.
Well, they do say charity starts at home...
By Angel Kane
If you were to look up the word uptight in the dictionary, there by the definition would a photo of yours truly. And, in that picture, I'd be sitting in a perfectly proportioned square box.
Oh, how I love my box where everything is just how I like it. Nothing out of place, everything color coordinated in muted colors, elevator music playing in the background, putting on my comfy socks on a Friday night, right before sitting in my comfy chair with a good book beside it.
Being as uptight as I am (and proud of it) you can only imagine that when my someone tries to dismantle my box, I don't take it well.
So a while back, Brody came up with the brilliant idea that I should apply for a spot in a local organization that does quite a lot of good for the community. He, himself, had participated in it years before, and he'd wanted me to join for some time. The organization, while a worthy one, required an overnight retreat of its members, where I would not know many of the other participants.
It also involved a bus ride, where it's common knowledge, at the end of which you will be required to tell the entire class what you learned about your seat mate. It required a personality test where your entire personality is dissected and discussed. It required countless interactions, games and discussions with those I barely knew. And it required my sharing a room with someone I had never laid eyes on.
For many years, for these reasons alone, I said No way! That box sounded noisy, messy and way too close for comfort for me.
For one, when I'm on a bus or plane I read, I don't talk, and just in case you try to engage me, immediately upon sitting down, I put on my earbuds and hoodie (the international language for "leave me alone"). I don't need a personality test to tell me all the ways I'm controlling and crazed. And I don't play games because I can think of 101 things I can clean with the time it takes to play an entire game of monopoly or bunco. (Plus the fact that when I have won, I have yet to win anything of substance.) But the number one thing I dislike more than any, any, anything, in this entire world, would be sharing a room (i.e. my box) with a complete stranger.
But for some reason I won't ever be able to fully explain I finally agreed to attend. All I can think of is that there must have been a slight opening in that box due to the fact Becky had just finished asking me to drive to East Nashville with her to have our chakras read and while trying to wrap my head around that crazy thought, Brody had snuck in with this one, which on it's face seemed less uncomfortable.
So last week, I did all sorts of things I never thought possible from my little box.
I made a new friend on a bus. It was slightly painful at first, mostly for her, because she seemed to be one of these people who can talk to anyone. I completed a personality test - that at the end of the day - found me to be judicious and competitive, which are nice words for controlled and crazy. And I played games which weren't so bad except I missed every ball that was thrown at me, which tends to happen when your hands are crossed in front of you. But most importantly, I shared a room with a complete stranger and she didn't kill me in my sleep nor did she steal from me.
My stranger roommate was very, very nice. A former model and diamond broker who now works for a local non-profit, she kept her side of the room neat and tidy, let me shower first and actually went to bed before I did. As potential psychotic roommates go, she was a good one, although the diamond broker M. O. had me worried there for a minute.
When I returned from the retreat, I was met by both Brody and Becky who seemed so very proud of me for stepping out of my box.
So much so, I found it quite annoying. "I'm not completely anti-social," I told them both. "I talk to people every single day of my life and lots of people like me." "Sure they do," both said in unison while trying not to laugh. But I must say, that evening, upon returning home, there was nothing I wanted to do more than put on my comfy socks, sit in my comfy chair, and read about the virtues of properly aligning frames on a gallery wall. While that other box wasn't as bad as expected, there is simply no place like home...especially when it's a perfectly proportioned square box. To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com.
You and Tequila Make Me....
In this blog I usually espouse different grapes and grains. But this weekend turned into a time to reflect upon that perennial plant of peril, blue agave and it's product, tequila. I have been known to enjoy the occasional margarita, or a shot of tequila. So, this weekend when my gracious host/paddleboard wondergirl offered me her special drink, I couldn't say no...it's called manners! A cold margarita with crushed ice after a long paddleboard ride in a shady cove sure sounds good. I peruse the ample liquor cabinet on the house boat and quickly realize that these folks take their tequila seriously. This is not just a once and a while type thing. There were atleast four different types of tequila decorating the shelves along with a large bottle of Grand Marnier. The margaritas made in a traditional way in a pitcher with lime-ade were strong. I told my friend that she should be looking for 100% agave anything else was pretty much not really tequila. Agave is a succulent plant similar in looks to a yucca or aloe plant whose favorite habitat is the desert. Lucky for me she had some El Ultimo Reposado which tasted great in the perfectly mixed cocktails replete with shaved sno-cone style ice.
The original margarita was actually called a “daisy” and was simply made with lime juice, sugar and tequila. If you have never tried a margarita this way, I encourage you to do so. The fresh squeezed lime juice is great. Again look for 100% agave when purchasing tequila.
“Now tequila may be the favored beverage of outlaws but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably has betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” -Tom Robbins Still Life with Woodpecker
Saturday night in Shady Cove around the dinner table with Don Eduardo Anejo and an open bottle of Jose Cuervo and the conversation turns to tequila again. What does anejo mean? It's been aged in the barrel longer than the reposado which is typically aged from 2-11 months in our margaritas from earlier. I encourage my friends to smell the cuervo after smelling the Don Eduardo and we all agreed it smelled like sugar. Cuervo is classified as a mixto tequila meaning it has atleast 51% blue agave the remaining parts are aften such items as cane sugar, caramel color, oak flavoring extract and glycerin. So we left the Cuervo alone and drank the Anejo which is made for sipping as it has been aged in oak barrels atleast a year. And the result was still dancing at the tiki bar next door where tequila was certainly betraying some outlaws.
This time of year lends itself to tequila with the long hot days of Summer coming to an end. We will be wearing our hats, ponchos and mustaches on October 25th at Sammy B's for the first ever but much talked about Market Basket Tequila Tasting. We like tequila year round in this town if you havn't noticed! We plan on having several big name tequilas such a Herradurra and Don Julio as well some beautiful craft tequila you may have yet to encounter. Sammy B's Tex Mex appetizers will not disappoint. The cost for the tasting is $20.00 and reservations can be made by calling the shop at 449-7115.
If you don't like Rye you just haven't meant the right one.
My Favorite Season
Oh, how I love fall- it just doesn’t get much better! As we find ourselves on the edge of this favorite season, there are so many things I want to do. Cleaning out the closets, preparing my garden for a long winter’s nap, and decorating my home for approaching holidays are top on my list.
Today the fall issue of Wilson Living comes out, and in my column, Celebrate Home, you will find some ideas on preparing your house and family for fall. As a little bonus, I created some fun subway art to print and display in your home! See the link at the end of this post.
And as we head into the fall and winter months, what subjects would you like to see discussed here? This is your blog for your magazine Wilson County, (and surrounding counties now!) and we want you to be a part! (Yes, YOU!) So let’s have roll call- if you read or subscribe to this blog, comment below and let me know what you would like to see!
I will also be happy to answer any questions you may have. The ladies of Wilson Living have lots of things in the works, and we want you to be a part of it! Happy Fall Y’all!
So as I sat there listening to my son’s 5th grade teachers welcome all the parents to Back To School Information Night, I thought this year was destined to be like all the others: struggling through homework, studying for tests and working on class projects.
And as I watched these two women excitedly expound upon the virtues of field trips, flash cards and fabulous educational apps, I was just about to zone out when I heard one of them say, "And we are going to try to NOT send homework home, especially not math!”
By Angel Kane
Wilson Living Magazine
School starts tomorrow and for the first time in many years, I'm rather melancholy about it.
Most years, I'm glad to return my kids to school. And I don't mean just glad, I mean ecstatic, overjoyed, beside myself with overwhelming happiness that I am no longer "Julie, their summer Cruise Director" planning one fun and exciting experience after another so that they won't be.....that word that shall never be spoken again! You know the one...don't say it, it's forbidden!
This year, however, our Madi will be a Junior and the college talk has begun, which means soon she will be leaving us for her own adventures. And honestly, its not about Madi leaving that has me down, it's that, as I told Brody,
"She is the child I practiced on. Remember when I fed her too much and she almost chocked to death? And then I gave her bangs that took years to grow out when all the other little girls had long hair with bows! Not to mention I've never been her class room mother - ever! And last year I made her join the soccer team to bolster her college applications and she had her tooth knocked loose! She is going to look back on her childhood and remember me as a horrible mother."
To which my always agreeable hubby added, "you also forgot to pick her up at school, what was it twice, I mean who forgets their kid? Wait you just didn't forget Madi, you forgot all three of them, didn't you?"
But all hope is not lost. (And for the record, I didn't forget to pick them up, I was just running late...from Nashville.)
What is clear to me, is that I need to reform my image. You know, rewrite history. If Anthony Weiner can run for Mayor after his texting scandal and Martha Stewart can serve jail time and follow her incarceration with a Prime Time Christmas Special, surely I can become supermom in the next two remaining years.
So, in an effort to replace her memories (and those of her siblings while I'm at it) I pledge to do correct my wayward ways as follows:
1. I will not forget to pick you up from school. Not even once, because that is wrong and also because it seems to be that one thing you guys bring up over and over and over. I get it, you get out at 3 and I will be there. What you get out at 2:50? Well, therein lies the first problem.
2. I will make your school lunch for more than just the first week of school. This will, obviously, also entail my going to the grocery on a regular basis which is really a huge thorn in my side but I completely understand, after 10 years you can't eat one more chicken nugget. Have you tried Chick Fil A nuggets, though, because those are soo good? Ok, no - you are right - make your lunch - done!
3. I will no longer let my son wear girl shirts to school. Apparently boy polo shirts button up on one side and girl polo shirts button up the other - who knew - well apparently most of the 4th grade boys did last year, so this year - no girl shirts!
4. I will not forget to wash your tennis, soccer, cross country, football gear every single night - twice - on HOT! Because throwing them in the dryer for a ten minutes with a dryer sheet and then Febreezing them is not the same... even though it kind of is.
5. I will not wait until the last minute to work on your/my Tennessee Project because all that yelling is bad for everyone. Additionally, I will start building that wigwam at least two weeks early so I can order all the necessities and not end up supergluing sticks and leaves to an old, plastic piece of tupperware the night before it is due. Because that not only gets you a bad grade but more importantly allows That Mom (you know the one) to make a better grade than me/you!
6. I will remember to sign your agenda book/permission slip/sports waiver and won't encourage you to forge my name when you call me from the school office. Because the Principal has an odd habit of putting me on speaker and also because your Dad's signature is much easier to replicate.
7. If there is a short period (promise, it will be short) where I can't make your lunch and you have to eat cafeteria food, I will remember to put money into your lunch account. Because it's embarrassing not only for you, but for me to get that call...day after day. And while part of me thinks it's character building, your Dad doesn't think it's funny.
8. I will encourage you to attend all practices even if that means I will spend every single day of this next year waiting in my car or sitting in the bleachers for hours on end. One, because I love you and two, because I have a feeling your Dad is keeping a file on me and I probably need to step it up.
9. I will remember that it's important that I get your teacher a Christmas gift, a Teacher Appreciation gift, a Valentine's Day gift, and an End of the Year gift because when I/you get that last tardy before Saturday school begins, she just might be "resting her eyes" as you slip into the room at 8:05.
10. I will do my best to not look absolutely pained as I sit through your Christmas, Chorus, End of the Year, School Award Program...because you/I worked hard for that Flutophone award, just as hard as that kid who has won every single other award for the last 10 years. Just as hard!
To read more of Angel or Becky's Columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com.
In 2008 I took a last minute trip to Napa with a friend. By some sort of stroke of good luck we travelled down a dusty path to Ehlers Estates. I had never heard of these wines, being new to the wine business. In addition, they aren't exactly taking out full page ads in wine spectator. So, after doing the big name wineries cliche thing we were pleased to find the historic stone winery that is Ehlers. I didn't buy a whole lot of wine on that trip, but the most expensive purchase of wine that I made was at Ehlers. This bottle was their flagship silky smooth cabernet called 1886. I knew at the time that I could not purchase this wine in TN.
I was very excited when I found out that one of our smaller distributors had picked up the Ehlers wines. I am pleased to announce that we now sell the cabernet franc, the merlot , 120 over 80 Cabernet Sauvignon and yes, their flagship, much beloved by me, 1886.
But, you see there is so much more to this wine. The founder of the winery, frenchman and philanthropist, Jean Leducq began buying up parcels of land in St. Helena in 1985. In 2001 he combined the original 14 acres and historic stone winery along with an additional 40 acres that composes Ehlers today. The best part of this wine, aside from the fact that it is organic and biodynamic is that all of the proceeds of the sales of this wine go to a nonprofit organization that funds heart disease research. In fact,Vanderbilt received two million dollars last year from the Leducq Foundation.WOW. The wine is amazing, the people who make it are conscious about our environment and about the greater good of the human race. Not to mention they operate out of a gorgeous old stone building that was erected in 1886 by Bernard Ehlers! And to think I had no idea back in 2008, I just liked the wine. I hope my customers choose to try this wine. It is sure to astound the palate. The 1886 is filled with notes of plum, black cherry, violets and cinnamon. Petit verdot adds a whisp of blueberry. There is just a touch of merlot blended in to warm up the middle. The finish is long and strong.
This year we were fortunate enough to bring in the highly sought after Petit Verdot in addition to the rose'. Both wines were out of sight literally and figuratively!
I will be back at Ehlers in October! I plan on representing Lebanon well! We are excited to have such a strong relationship with these producers!
Malbec Throwdown We had a lovely French Malbec blend at dinner two nights ago on vacation that was the inspiration for this blog and consequential “Malbec tasting throwdown”. I have had many Malbecs from Argentina and surprisingly few from France where Malbec has its' beginnings as a lowly blending grape. Times have changed and Malbec has come into its own, the shining star, premier grape in Argentina, particularly Mendoza.
The grape was first introduced to the region in the mid 19th century when provincial governor, Governor Domingo Sartiena instructed the French agronomist Miguel Pouget to bring grapevine cuttings from France to Argentina. Argentine Malbec wine is characterized by its deep color and intense fruity flavors with a velvety texture. While it doesn't have the tannic structure of a French Malbec, being more plush in texture, Argentine Malbecs have shown aging potential similar to their French counterparts. The Mendoza region is the leading producer of Malbec in Argentina with plantings found throughout the country in places such as La Rioja, Salta, San Juan, Catamarca and Buenos Aires.
In France, Malbec has an identity crisis. It traditionally was grown in 30 provinces, according to the Oxford Companion to Wine (a.k.a. “The Great Big Book of Everything”). And it had almost as many names. In the Loire Valley, it is known as cot but plays second fiddle to Cabernet Franc; in fact, maybe fourth fiddle, behind Gamay and Pinot Noir as well. Its most hospitable ground is in Cahors, midway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, where it traditionally was known as auxerrois, an unfortunate name that can only be pronounced correctly when coughing up a hairball. Although the grape orriginates in France under several names, Argentina is foremost and reknown for Malbec. The country grows 70% of the world's Malbec. So the winemakers of Cahors responded to Argentina’s success by embracing “Malbec” as the name of their grape and displaying it prominently on the label. They also have increasingly bottled their wines as 100 percent Malbec, though the appellation laws allow some Merlot and Tannat in the blend. The same thing has happened with Chardonnay. As a result of this new marketing emphasis by Cahors, we have a wine throwdown of sorts.
On beach vacation with a friend (who certainly loves a good throwdown) we bought a couple of bottles. This is a tremendously fun way to explore wine. The french wine is a Kermit Lynch wine, a Cahors consisting of 80%Malbec and 20% Merlot. I was not sure about it the first time I had it and figured a second time would seal the deal, good or bad. The Argentinian wine from the well-known Catena family of wines. Both wines were the same price, $15.99. Argentina tends toward a polished New World style, with new oak prominent to varying degrees and what I call “disappearing tannins,” by which I mean you can sense them in the inherent structure of the wine but you don’t necessarily feel them on your tongue and teeth. My friend preffered the wine Argentina citing the cherry properties. The French expression, on the other hand, is more earthy. The nose had the barnyard thing going which I loved while my friend disdained. New oak is not as prominent (and I hope the vignerons of Cahors don’t change that). The flavors and textures are a bit more rustic and chewy, and they often get even better a day or two after the cork is pulled. Cahors somehow combines a hint of Bordeaux-like class (the Atlantic influence) with the ruggedness of warm-climate wines from the Mediterranean. So, basically if you like a “New World” feel to your wine, an Argentinian Malbec might be for you. The Cahors is for a French wine lover, someone who appreciates a more “Old World” style wine.
Malbec makes a very food-friendly pairing partner with its concentrated black cherry and blackberry fruit components, fig-like flavors mocha and mineral notes along with a unique gamey quality that often rolls out with smoke, pepper and tobacco spice. From roasted and stewed beef or game to braised lamb, sausage, mushrooms, and spice-laden sauces, Malbec has the versatility and spice-affinity to handle a stunning array of food combinations and ethnic cuisines.