A Great Place To Wine

We would love to tell you that Mary and I spent hours trying to determine the ultimate way to spend our 30th wedding anniversary. But, we cannot do that since we are not as comfortable as so many of today’s politicians are with stretching the truth.

Photos and collage by Greg

Wien Cellars

No, the truth of the matter is Mary found a Living Social deal on a boutique wine villa (appropriately named Villa del Vino) across the border from us in Temecula, California.  And, since we love getting away in the summer almost as much as we love a good deal at a great place, the anniversary journey was on.



Maurice Car’rie Winery and Kitchen

So, shortly after our actual anniversary, we headed from our Arizona home for a short stay in Idyllwild and then on to a couple of days of wine tasting and photoremedy in Temecula.

Leoness Cellars

And, what did we think?

The easiest answer is it exceeded all of our (already lofty) expectations. While Temecula is a bit of a late comer to California’s grape growing excellence, it is both beautiful and the source of some great wines. We were particularly fond of the red wines produced in this — between San Diego and Orange County — region.

South Coast Winery Resort and Spa

More importantly, as my back was acting up, the incredible photo opportunities offered by the lush and meticulously manicured countryside helped take us to a better place.

Better for me because I was up at sunrise for a leisurely photo journey and better for Mary because she was enjoying some much anticipated ‘sleeping in.’

Ponte Vineyard Inn

And, as I traveled the back country roads, one of the greatest benefits of photoremedy revealed itself to me. Instead of sitting around whining about a little ‘pain in the back,’ I was able to get out and explore how the roots of wine are often beautiful beyond description.

Callaway Vineyards

Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved. – Medieval German saying

Photoart by Greg (Monte De Oro Winery)


Idling A While in Idyllwild

Many Arizonans have long considered the Southern California coast to essentially be ‘Arizona West.’

This is because: 1) It is a relatively short drive from Arizona’s major metro areas, and 2) The typically cool, ocean breeze-aided temperatures are often the ideal complement to our ‘beloved’ summer heat.

To anchor a short little 30th wedding anniversary trip, Mary found a great Living Social deal for a charming wine villa in Temecula. Temecula is an up-and-coming grape growing destination essentially between San Diego and Los Angeles that we have wanted to experience in greater detail for some time now. It ended up exceeding all of our already lofty expectations; I’ll cover that portion of our journey in greater detail in our next post.

On our way to Temecula, based on the recommendation of one of our friends who is one of Arizona’s most respected resort industry leaders, we decided to ‘idle a while in Idyllwild.’

Idyllwild is an eclectic alpine community nestled in the San Jacinto mountains on a back road between Palm Springs and Temecula. It was a great stop for us. It allowed me to give my back a break from the car ride, Mary was able to mosey around and explore a few of the town’s unique shops, and I was able to get in a little mountain top photoremedy.

We found that Idyllwild offered good wine…

really good food…

great scenery…

and even the opportunity to step back in time.

It didn’t, however, offer us much of a respite from the heat. While that would normally occur, we happened to come to town on a day when ‘more than unseasonably warm’ temperatures were sweeping through the San Jacintos (and much of the rest of the country). In the end, that didn’t matter much.

Spectacular sunrise photoremedy and special time with my bride, it seems, is what etched my most extraordinary, indelible memories of ‘Idling a while in Idyllwild.’

Sunrise over Lake Hemet – near Idyllwild, CA

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Perfect Love

July 9, 1982: Clyde, Kansas.

Tomorrow, July 9, Mary and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  I told a friend at church this morning when she congratulated us on this milestone, “People should say congratulations to me, and ‘my condolences’ to Mary.” I truly believe I got the better end of the deal!

I considered developing a reflective post about our anniversary, but I then decided that sharing a poem I wrote for Mary for Christmas after we had been married 25 years would best express my (sentimental) sentiments. Of course, I’ll also weave in a little photoremedy as well.

Much has changed in the last five years: Loved ones have gone on to their reward, two of our kids have gotten married, the first grandchild has arrived, education milestones have been accomplished, and we are all together again in Arizona. Many, many blessings.

One thing that remains the same is I continue to be eternally grateful for the sacrament of marriage. I often tell people, “Love hasn’t kept our marriage together, marriage has kept our love together.” Think about that. And, think about your version of Perfect Love.

Perfect Love

Some people want a flame that always burns bright. Some people long for a day without night. Some people want it covered every step of the way. Me? I don’t need it to be perfect, ‘cause Baby I have you. You lift me up whenever I’m down. You always keep my feet on the ground. You share my love of all that is good. Our love isn’t perfect, but it couldn’t be better.

June 30, 2012: Before the Kiana and Kiara Perez Quinceañera Mass in Culiacan, Mexico.

Three wonderful kids, some cars, and a roof over our heads. More than 25 years in the same bed. Family, friends, and a love of the Lord. With you, my friend, I’ve never been bored. I don’t need anything more, ‘cause Baby I have you. You lift me up whenever I’m down You always keep my feet on the ground. You share my love of all that is good. Our love isn’t perfect, but it couldn’t be better.

If today were the day that I breathed my last. I’m not going to complain that it all went so fast. I’ll say my prayers and thank God above, that he shared you – our heavenly dove. You lift me up whenever I’m down. You always keep my feet on the ground. You share my love of all that is good. Our love isn’t perfect, but it couldn’t be better!

Happy Anniversary, my love!

– Greg