Monday, November 26, 2007


Quote of the Day: "Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving." -- W.T.Purkiser

The view at sunset, looking across the Snake River from Idaho into Oregon

One of the benefits of getting remarried is that you gain a whole new set of in-laws. In my case, I have been blessed throughout my life with nice in-laws. So I was looking forward to getting to know Tash's family better over this past Thanksgiving weekend. Gene and Celeste live in Meridian, Idaho, just west of Boise. Her brother, Loren, and his wife, Kristin, joined us from Utah. Despite some chilly weather, we all had a pleasant time.

I can’t understand why there are all those mother-in-law jokes out there. Having a mother-in-law is a good thing. In fact, the I.R.S. confirms that fact by letting you claim your mother-in-law as a deduction even after you have divorced her child (provided she meets the other qualifying criteria). Indeed, the in-law relationship is not dissolved by divorce. Who knew?

Anyway, it is said that Adam was the happiest and the most fortunate man in the world, because he didn't had a mother-in-law. Some people at the local bowling lanes frequently joke about mothers-in-law. For example, the hidden pin in the 2-8 spare-leave (as well as the 3-9) is referred to as the mother-in-law pin. Supposedly, that’s the one that always stands behind the other. “Mother-in-laws are like seeds,” they say. “You don’t need them for anything, but they come with the tomato.” Of course, I would never joke about my wonderful new mother-in-law like that. Some people are so ignorant...

We had a spectacular dinner of turkey and vegetables. My new sister-in-law is a vegetarian, so she had tofurkey (or faux turkey). It’s a loaf of vegetarian protein that serves as a healthy alternative for those who don’t eat anything that ever had a mother-in-law (OK, enough already). The only problem that we encountered was timing everything to be ready at the same time (and between football games). Somehow, it all worked out.

Celeste, Tash, Kristin, Gene and Loren ready for dinner

On Friday, the six of us toured the Idaho wineries in a region of the state known as Treasure Valley. These are shown below with captions explaining the highlights. Gene drove so that Tash and I could feel free to sample the different wines. He's a good person, my new father-in-law!

Ste. Chapelle winery was built in the style of a French chapel, with cathedral windows, high ceilings and wooden beams. We bought a bottle of their award winning 2005 Winemaker's series Merlot. I had it with dinner this evening. Very nice!

Our next stop was Hells Canyon winery, owned by Steve and Leslie Robertson. The small winery is noted for its artistic labels and colorful names. Here, Tash poses in front of a poster featuring the artistic label for their Crooked River Chardonnay.

Leslie Robertson introduced us to their watch kitty,
"Vinnie Mouse Patrol", shown here after sampling the free soup. His formal name is Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-n'yay). Leslie directed us to our next winery (Williamson Vineyards) so that we could sample some liquid Viognier. We purchased a $30 bottle of Hells Canyon Idaho Merlot Reserve, which we will save for a special occasion.

Williamson Vineyard was our last stop. We had a pleasant conversation with Roger and Mike Williamson, shown above "pouring" my barrel tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yum.

The original 80-acre Williamson homestead was started in 1909 with the planting of a few fruit trees. Eventually it grew to over 700 acres of orchards and row crops, including delicious cherries, apples and freestone peaches. Four generations of Williamsons have worked on the farm. Read more here.

Tash with Mike Williamson, one of the 4th generation of family members to work on the original homestead.

Emily Williamson (daughter of Roger and sister of Mike) sold us three bottles of wine on the way out: one red (Syrah) and two whites (Reisling and, of course, the Viognier). We're set for wine for the rest of the year.

So a man meets a genie. The genie tells him he can have whatever he wants provided that his mother-in-law gets double. The man thinks for a moment and then says, "OK, give me a million dollars and beat me half to death." Now that's just dumb...

Here's something more to the point:

Thanksgiving Morning
As I open my eyes in the early morning,
The sun shines through the window.
The smell of baking turkey fills the air.
I put on my slippers and crawl out of bed.
After opening my door, I see my mom in the kitchen.
I come out of my room and help to prepare.

Later on we all sit down at the table,
My family, friends, and me.
After saying Grace, we all pile food on our plates.
The last of the dirty dishes are washed,
And the left-overs are put in the fridge.
Everyone is so full; our Thanksgiving dinner was great!

-- Anonymous