Today was fairly quiet. Rob had to work at the winery for the spring harvest, but just a partial day. We wandered up to the farmer’s market and then did a little bit of shopping for a show I’m working on. I tried calling my mom to wish her a happy mother’s day but she was out having a good time with my brother and dad.
(Happy Mother’s day!)
Back home, Rob made rhubarb pie while I made a dancing bear. It was very relaxing. I’m taking process shots of the bear and will post them a bit later. Now, I’m off to bed.
When we got back from Philadelphia last night, I followed Rob to the winery mostly to prolong our day together. We realized that this little weekend jaunt is the first time we’ve been away together since we moved here. (Not counting Christmas).
The nice thing about the winery is that they’ll usually let me park at an out of the way table and write. The danger is that I’ve recently discovered that they have free wifi. As the evening picked up, I freed the table and came home to see the cats, who clearly did not miss us at all.
This morning we slept in sinfully late. At least, by the clock it was late, but since Rob doesn’t get home until one or two these days, noon doesn’t sound as bad as it might. He made waffles. Life is pretty good, you know?
In a future world where the weather is controlled, vineyard owner Bharat Mundari is unable to pay his weather bill after spending too much on his daughter’s wedding. The grapes are suffering in the resulting drought, and he is afraid to tell his wife about the trouble they are in; she knows, however, that he is keeping a secret from her and imagines the worse.
Although it gets a bit sappy towards the end, [1. Guilty as charged, but I like sappy…particularly with body and structure, paired with a velvety finish as in a Sauternes. Seriously, do you think she knows that “sappy” is a popular description of Chateau d’Yquem‘s Semillon? Because that would be hilarious.] this one is enhanced by the viniculture neep, and the wine-review epigraphs opening each section are a nice touch: Mundari Vineyard 2045, Nashik (India), Shiraz
Black cherry, plum, and currant flavors mingle with aromas of sweet tobacco and sage in this dependable offering from India.
I have to give credit to Rob for the wine-review epigraphs. He wrote them. I cut them down to manageable lengths.
This morning we started off with bagels and cream cheese then headed out into the world. We took the train down to South Street Seaport, which took forever because all trains were running local. When we got down there it was Icelandic levels of windy. I mean,really, the sort of thing that threatens to push you down if you aren’t working against it constantly. It was like gravity suddenly came in two directions and was intent on creating a new direction of down.
We picked up tickets for Tale of Two Cities for this evening and Spamalot for the matinee tomorrow. As Dad says, one highbrow and one lowbrow.
From there we went to Chinatown to Shanghai Cafe, one of my favorite restaurants for a meal midway between dinner and lunch. Their soup dumplings are the best I’ve had anywhere. Yes, for the KGB folks, they put our usual restaurant to shame.
We strolled through Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho up to the City Winery to visit Rob. By happy chance they were finishing early today so he got to give us a tour and then come home with us. We hadn’t gotten a ticket to the play for him, but I doubt he could have stayed awake if we had. He was asleep before we left the apartment.
The play… it wants to be the next Les Miserables and it’s just not. That said, James Barbour as Sydney Carton was brilliant. I could have listened to him all night long and waited for the moments when he was on stage. Particulary his scenes with Brandi Burkette as Lucy. Mom concurs. The cast was overall very strong, I just felt like the music was overblown, even for Dickens. Mom and Dad don’t agree with me there.
So we’ve come home, had a glass of 2006 Passito di Panterlleria and are heading for bed. I bet you guys don’t know what to do with me after all that twittering.
Is anyone interested in working at the winery with Rob tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00p.m.? It’s $10 per hour, which is isn’t much, but it’s a fascinating look at wine-making. They’re getting in a shipment of grapes tomorrow and need a couple of people to help sorting fruit. I’ll probably be one of them.
Last night I went to bed about twenty minutes after Rob. Normally, he would still be awake, but last night I could tell by the sound of his breathing that he was deeply asleep. The winery tires him out during harvest because it’s all hard physical labor and extremely long hours.
He was sprawled across the bed, arms outstretched. I nudged him to get him to move. No response. I picked his arm up and moved it without the rhythm of his breathing changing. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that he was snoring lightly I might have been worried. Poor guy.
He had today off, so we were able to spend some time together while both awake. Given how harvest generally runs, this is a novel experience.
Rob works with spaceships. At night, the Martians open this cockpit and ooze out. They are slimy and smell like fermenting grapes.
Three of their landing craft arrived at the same time. Rob is making sure that the landing gear is stable. When the landing gear isn’t stable, the spaceships fall over. That makes the Martians cross. We don’t like that.
After the Martians have oozed out of their spaceships and across the hanger, Rob has to squeegee the floor to get rid of their slime. It is very slippery. In the back, you can see the conveyor belt they use to get back into their ships.
They disguise the hanger as a winery in downtown Manhattan. But don’t be fooled. Who would build a winery in Manhattan?
We’ve definitely started into Harvest season.Â It’s funny, the last harvest Rob worked was 2005 but the rhythm of the winery was so much a part of our lives up until that point that it feels completely natural for him to come home smelling of grapes.Â He only worked a partial day today, but I didn’t see him at all on FridayÂ — I mean, technically, I saw him sleeping but he was gone before I woke up in the morning.
The strangest thing about this harvest, for me, is that he comes home every night.Â When he was at Bethel Heights, because the drive was an hour and a half, he’d stay at the winery for the whole harvest.Â I always drove down to visit him.Â I’m glad that this place is closer at least, even if they are having some rather interesting challenges from working in tight spaces.
And lo! I have returned to NYC and yet I have not slain any of the tourists who insist on stopping at the top of the stairs.
The cats are very needy because Rob has been working long hours at the winery.Â He got home around 8:30 tonight and smelled like grape juice.Â The grapes arrived today, so harvest has begun.Â He says that it was very strange to be sorting fruit and see cabs going by.
I’m not sure how I feel about being a wine widow in NYC.Â I mean, we’ve got this routine down around harvest that involves spending time in a winery surrounded by vineyards.Â That can at least pretend to be romantic, if you ignore all the plumbing involved in making wine.Â But the sound of taxis honking?Â Not so much.
See… this is the problem with writing science-fiction today is that just about anything I can come up with is already being done.
French scientists have devised a way of using particle accelerators to authenticate vintage wines, one of France’s top research bodies said this week.
The new method tests the age of the glass in wine bottles by analysing X-rays emitted when the bottles are placed under ion beams produced by a particle accelerator, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) said in a statement.
“This enables the age of bottles and their origin to be verified and thus a vintage to be authenticated, a bit like the signature of a painter on a masterpiece, all without opening the bottle and without affecting in any way the content,” it said.
I haven’t made a lot of noise about this but one of the things that’s been hard for us over the past year has been the bizarrely difficult time Rob has had finding a job. Some of this is circumstantial; we arrived right before the writers’ strike started and Rob works in film and television.
He’s had some gigs through the year, but nothing that lasted more than a couple of weeks. The perils of freelancing, you know?
Last week, he started working as the assistant winemaker at City Winery. Remember that film and television thing? Yeah, well, he has a completely separate career as a wine maker. We both find it ironic that he left his wine-making job in Oregon to come to New York and will be doing the same job here as there.
We are much relieved. In particular because I’ve had to take every job that came my way. This means I can turn things down occasionally.
It also means that I lose my house-husband and, after a year, I’m a little spoiled.
Here’s a bit of wine-maker jargon for you. Our friend Wayne is in town for a couple of days. He and Rob have been talking wine and wine making like they’ve both been starving. I’ve been listening and mostly staying out of their way. But this, this I had to share.
We were at dinner and they were talking about this new winery that Rob has started working at ((Did I forget to mention that?)) and he said something about how all the grapes were going to be delivered in FYBs.
I said, “What’s an FYB?”
Wayne looked at the table next to us and then said, “Well. F stands for something that’s not polite to say at a restaurant.”
I stare at him for a second before I get it. “Really?”
“Yes. With an -ing. Then the other two are Yellow Bin.”
Rob confirmed. Apparently the F***ing Yellow Bins are so universally reviled for being hard to work with that this is an industry standard term. Everyone calls them FYBs.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]