We went to another World Tour of Wine dinner last night. The wines and menu were, so they said, Chilean. I can vouch for the wines, inasmuch as I saw the labels on the bottles and tasted their contents. I am not certain about the menu, but I suspect it was based at least loosely on Chilean fare.

Last night’s dinner was the first, we were told, that was not a sell-out. The crowd seemed a little sparse, though I imagine there were at least sixty or eighty in attendance. It’s possible that attendance is declining because we’ve begun revisiting countries’ wines. Chile was among the first countries whose wines we tasted; that earlier dinner is what prompted our group to start our own wine-specific gathering at one another’s homes, doing a blind-tasting of Malbec wines. We agreed last night to have another gathering early next month at the house of a couple who live close to us. Despite our decision last night to do that again, I have the sense that there’s not as much enthusiasm about these gatherings as there once was. And I’m not quite sure why that is.

There was quite a bit of enthusiasm last night when someone suggested the group should organize a trip on a California wine train. The idea appeals to me, but I suspect such trips are crowded. My ideal, of course, would involve a multi-day trip in a private train car, visits to multiple wineries (with tastings), and overnight stays at luxurious properties. The cost for such a dream excursion would be out of this world, I imagine. But one can dream, can’t one?

Two people who used to participate in our group, a brother and sister, have stopped because of his pulmonary illness. Coincidentally, I received an email from him this morning, responding to mine, suggesting that we might be able to get together sometime soon for happy hour at his sister’s house, where he’s been staying since his latest hospital visit. Apparently, from what I’ve been told, he is more than a little depressed because he is tethered to oxygen tanks and doesn’t have much energy to get up and about. I can only imagine what that must be like; I hope I can help boost his morale a bit when we visit.

Most of the members of our wine group have known each other for many years; in fact, that’s true of all the members except for Janine and me. We are the newcomers, the outsiders, the interlopers. We’re not treated that way, but I don’t feel truly part of the group because I don’t know the other members nearly as well as they know one another. I suppose it takes time, a lot of time, to feel truly engaged in such a tight-knit group. I’m much more relaxed with the group than I once was, but I can’t be completely comfortable with any of them in a one-on-one basis. That’s true of most people; I mean that’s the way I feel with most people. I can relax and open up in a group setting, but it takes me quite a long time to really relax. Maybe “quite a long time” actually means forever. I can’t even completely open up with myself, and I’ve known the person with whom I share mind and body for many year; still, I have secrets I won’t even share with me. It sounds like gibberish, but it’s not; not really.


I have an appointment with my primary care doctor’s nurse this morning. The objective of the appointment is to get a referral to an ENT doctor to see if that doctor can identify the cause(s) of my excessive phlegm/mucus and resulting cough; not only the cause, but the cure, I hope. My primary care doctor is on vacation. His prescription of a diuretic and potassium seemed to help for a few days, but then the symptoms came back with a vengeance.  My wife insists I do something about the cough; she says she wouldn’t let me get on an airplane with a cough like that. I think she was speaking as if she were the pilot or flight attendant. And she’s probably right. Even though I don’t think I have anything contagious, my cough probably would frighten an entire plane-load of passengers, who would fear exposure to the bubonic plague or something equally (or more) scary. We shall see what we shall see. I sure want this cough to disappear.

Aside from the cough, I have a pretty severe pain in my upper vertebrae. Today is the third day of it and I’m ready for it to end. I’ve skipped going to the gym since the pain started because I don’t want to exacerbate it.

This business of illness, pain, coughing, etc., etc. is interfering with my ability to enjoy daily living. This is not what I was planning for this July, nor for the remaining years of my life. Something’s gotta give. My hope is that all the nastiness will disappear into a quickly-fading memory. Let’s hope.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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