Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

It's Not About The Money or the Fame:
Remembering Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds circa 1987
Source: Wikimedia Commons

I was afraid this was going to be my next post. Debbie Reynolds died from a stroke just a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher. She was 84. 

During funeral planning with her son Todd Fisher, she reportedly said, "I miss her so much. I want to be with Carrie." She had a stroke 15-minutes later. Those were her final words.  

Debbie Reynolds' stardom catapulted before my generation. I identify more with her daughter's fame. But I knew about her from Singin' In the Rain and Will & Grace. Of course I knew the scandalous story when ex-husband Eddie Fisher left her for Elizabeth Taylor. It rocked the media like when Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie.  Fisher and Taylor didn't last either. 

There was an Oprah interview you can watch below where she talks about forgiving Elizabeth Taylor, moving on with her life, other loves, raising Carrie, etc. It's a great interview and very funny. 

I was concerned that this would be my next post because people die from broken hearts. I have a few relatives who couldn't bear to go on without loved ones they were super close to. I've seen people mentally give up after experiencing a lot of deaths. It's hard. 

She supported her daughter through the drug abuse, bipolar, Hollywood drama, divorce and other stuff. They survived so much together and I guess burying her was too much. Can you imagine? I feel bad for Carrie's daughter who lost her mom and grandmother within a day of each other. I also feel bad for Reynolds' son. 

I find it interesting that these women died during the holidays. The holidays is about spending time with the ones you love. But too many of us get caught up in the gift giving.  Debbie Reynolds had fame, money, awards and beauty. She lived in Beverly Hills. She had a life that many dream of.  But none of that could replace her daughter. None of that could fill the void of losing her child. They were just things. What she lost was love. 

My grandfather migrated here from Texas, worked as a longshoreman, and bought a nice home in Oakland. He provided for his children and grandchildren. He lived the American Dream with his homemaker/entrepreneur wife, nice cars, nice home, etc. I remember during the last Christmas we spent with him, he took in that moment with his family. When he was on his deathbed, he didn't ask for his car or clothes. He just wanted my grandma. He wanted his family. Your family may not be your blood relatives or people who adopted you. They may be good friends, in-laws or your spouse. Family is how you define it. In the end what matters is love. 

And so Reynolds probably died because she lost someone she loved deeply.  It's a tragic story, but a beautiful story about the importance of love. I hope she and Carrie Fisher are resting in each others' arms.  


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