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Why I work at a Winery: a woodpecker taught me

August 15, 2017

Why do I like working at a winery…

The dead woodpecker lying in the street. That’s where this started. Since cancer, anytime I see something dead I get all worked up—a little spirit gone, a little spirit.

Then I thought of the spirits around me…and flashed to how I finished an evening of work at Hallcrest Vineyards…

For well over twenty years I have worked part-time at various wineries in the fog-lipped tipped redwood Santa Cruz mountains. I’ve made my wine, helped with numerous harvests, walked around in waders and hoses to clean and sulfur barrels, done punch-downs, bottling, and worked tasting rooms. A lot of sweat-equity, beers, dope, and library wines, and laughter and juice-stained jeans and good food and music and passionate, unique winemakers.

Anyway, I was sitting down after work on Sunday,sipping a great glass of Cabernet at Hallcrest Vineyards, looking at the old farmhouse building, the stainless steel tanks, and out in the fields was Bear the dog, and Pinot the cat was lolling in the shade. Here I was sitting in the Hallcrest Vineyards world in Felton created by John and his karma-centric wife Lorraine Schumacher I also thought about Ryan Beauregard and his wife Rachel Ungar Beauregard of Beauregard Vineyards, David Hunt and Annette Hunt of Skov Winery, Al Drewke of Roudon Smith, Brandon Armitage of Armitage Winery,Barry Jackson of Equinox, and there were a few places I didn’t like working at but learned what I didn’t want to do, as well as how to sell wine better, and learned to take the unpleasant and at least walk away with knowledge to take me forward (Some people never learn to unpack.). Everyone of these people make wine and have created these worlds with a passion, Ryan’s love of Bonny Doon, the Hunt’s love of winemaking itself and the life of it all, and John’s passion for Pinot and organic wine and Lorraine as his combo where they share a love and support for many others—actually, all of these people do the same thing, and as I sip the wine, I feel so humbled that everyone of them was their to support me emotionally and financially during my battles with cancer (So maybe I did something right along the way.). Quality people know quality people, and if you do it right, the aftertaste lingers forever.

Yeah, that little wood pecker flew and had a spirit, but having gone through cancer, I learned to be more deeply amazed by how the spirit of other people’s personalities can create a world. I mean, there I was, sitting down surrounded by what John and Lorraine built—the stainless steel tanks, the old farm building, the crush pad, a world—and all of these people opened the book of their lives and allowed me to be a character within it, and just as the wine was made so was I made in different ways. And again, I believe the force, and their friendship, and the chance to be part of their worlds and drink deeply in many vertical ways..well, it all shaped my passions too, and reinforced them, and gave my soul an estate vintage along with an occasional hangover and a laugh to the music in the sound of a glass being filled and empty and the pop of another cork to experience what the years and work have brought to us.

I sipped the wine, and toasted all those layers of experience these people have given me, and I can savor them, and those spirits bring me to other places, but more than anything, make me grateful I remained here to see the entire world.

To the spirit in the glass we drink and shape. And I toast them along with this life–and that’s why I always have liked working at wineries.

I think of that woodpecker,he just wanted to fly, and don’t we all–and we can do it on our own two feet, standing tall…

It’s a surf spot not a park, stupid

June 6, 2017

I went to my surf spot yesterday. The hardest part is being surrounded by these soulless, wel–meaning, happy-faced people who have gotten better at getting waves but are still horrible surfers in every possible way. The spot was where the cool people once hung, who had a passion, and who knew stoke. All this crowd knows is getting a healthy work-out, talking to each other so they can validate themselves at what they think is cool, and in the water it’s like being surrounded by a boring mix of social media stew.

So I got past that. But I’m still so weak from neuropathy and that draining battle with esophageal cancer. It has taken me away from the ocean, So I paddled around hoping to score a scrap, but nothing came my way, but with each paddle I felt a strength trying to crawl back into me, and it would be slow in coming. I felt like I was crawling on the water.

But I came in. There was my surf buddy John Stone who offered to help carry my board up the stairs.

“Thanks for helping me, I’m kinda tired,” I said.

“It’s okay, Fred. You’re keeping me stoked knowing you doing this.”

He walked away and I leaned against the car, trying to compose myself. Thinking back on how surfing this spot and all the people changed by life, perspective, and hardened my individual spirit with a resolve that could never be reduced. Their stoke was a re-bar within my foundation–and it has lead me to improve my life in so many ways. The crew is so rock solid–and none of us have ever had a harsh word.

Then he comes this family, carrying their beach chairs, Costco boards, smiling after their beach day. It was recreation. The husband says, “I bet I could get better at surfing if there were waves every day.” And I ignored them–they wouldn’t be here if the city didn’t improve access. And most of the others the same. When it was difficult, and you had to care, and not just consume the place, these people were at other beaches–and that’s where they should have stayed, and all they do is contaminate a surf spot. They remain outside of me. They would never sacrifice anything to be here, or anywhere else, They are the world that just goes along, and they reproduce, and become reruns. And they can only find this world, after others discovered it first. I don;t care for people who say the ocean is for everyone–who wants to be everyone. Everyone are the ones who try to stop you with the rules that favor them, but ones they can break. They’re everyone else. I’ve run against their world, just trying to express myself. They can be everyone they want to be–these every ones.

I hang with originals.

My guess is they went for ice cream.

Fred For Your Head: Latest one lines on Trump and more

May 30, 2017

Welfare people have to work to get their medical benefits, okay, so should Congress and the Senate?

Paris climate change—used to be called “retreating

Funny how Trump administration types who have made their millions on insider trading are offended by leaks.

Trump is over seventy and complaining about leaks–to his urologist.

Trump’s HUD Secretary Ben Carson says, “Poverty is a state of mind”–it’s a state: West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi….

The only leaks Trump GOP likes are the ones they take when they trickle down on us.

The sad thing about Hillary’s commencement speech–I didn’t realize it took her 48 years to graduate from Wellesley College.

One thing I never associated with Trump: giving away intelligence.

Not only did Comey lose his job, under TrumpCare is ineligible for coverage.

Trump wants to open logging on National Parks and Redwood Cafes.

The music inside you

May 9, 2017

I’m driving and caught up in Joey Ramone’s version of “What A Wonderful World,” grooving on the colors of the trees and the sky, and just having a chance to diver back into this dream of a world, like diving into a solution that is vibrant and throbbing with colors and possibility and undiminished hopes and the lessons of rejection without acquiring bitterness in this exhilarating routine moment that was almost denied me forever. And here I am, singing and laughing.

Then some assclown just pulls out in front of me.

I get mad, shaking my head, flipping up my hands in disgust and muttering, “Asshole, asshole.”

The moment passed.

The song I was enjoying was over.

I let anger take me away from the music.

Then I thought, in our life we have our own music within us, and when we succumb to anger, we get suckered out of ourselves. But if we stay close to the music, instead of getting angry, you can triumph over the moment by keeping the beat of that music, and dance around it, untouched, and in love.

A lesson.

May 8, 2017

Under Trump here’s my new health care provider.





Hey, from now my cancer-treatment is a guy dancing, hitting a drum and rattles and waving prayer sticks and shouting “heal.” I don’t feel any better, but for some reason it started to rain.

Trump violated the Federation

May 8, 2017
Hey Trump! It’s one thing to go against the US Constitution but when you go against Stare Trek’s Federation of Planets! I draw the line
What Captain Kirk said: “Tall words proudly saying We the People. That which you call Ee’d Plebnista was not written for the chiefs or the kings or the warriors or the rich and powerful, but for all the people! Down the centuries, you have slurred the meaning of the words, ‘We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.’ These words and the words that follow were not written only for the Yangs, but for the Kohms as well!”
Yes, when you yang me, I wil Kohm!

Trump violated Star Trek’s Prime Directive

May 8, 2017

Hey, bad enough Trump and Gop doesn’t respect our Constitutional rights, they have alos violated Captain Kirk’s Prime Directive