Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

This week’s photo challenge theme is “Boundaries,” exploring the creative potential of limits, borders, and dividers of all types.

My recent trip to Napa Valley highlighted various boundaries, here, there and everywhere. There are wineries for miles.

Grapes on the vine

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In their own special line

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Tasted in this line, from left to right…or else you blew it.

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This bunny is out-of-bounds! 
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But hey, how can you not stop to visit this one?

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This wine comes from the grapes from that hillside over yonder.

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Cheers! #ilovenapawine

Visit the Weekly Photo Challenge site for more Boundaries. 


Here’s my list for the Love/Hate challenge you may have seen going around the blogosphere. After reading Mark’s list on his blog Exile on Pain Street, I felt this rush to write a list of my own and here it is. I wasn’t tagged nor am I going to tag anyone, but if you want to jump in and write one, I’ll certainly read it.

I didn’t think that I “hated” anything, because it can be such a strong, negative, unhealthy emotion. But, I found out I do really hate some things, and some of these things are, of course, of a lesser degree of “hate.”

I also didn’t censor myself too much, and realize that I if I wrote this list at a different point in my life,  it may be an altogether different list. Here’s what is today. Read on.


  1. I love curling up with a book I can’t put down.
  2. I love dancing around my house for no apparent reason to my favorite music or to no music at all.
  3. I love fits of laughter when tears are streaming down my cheeks, and I’ve laughed so hard I forget what I’m laughing about. This usually happens with my sisters.
  4. I love watching my children sleep, their gentle breathing and their soft snores; they seem like angelic, peaceful creatures from beyond.
  5. I love that my husband still desires me after twenty-five years.
  6. I love great conversation over a delicious meal and bountiful amounts of wine.
  7. I love coffee, the smell, the taste, and knowing it awaits me (on most days) in the morning.
  8. I love when I absolutely forget about time; when I am so immersed in something I’m not aware of it passing; I’m particularly happy when this  happens when I’m creating something I feel passionate about.
  9. I love the kind of peace I feel after swimming in the ocean, the rush of the waves, and the taste of salt or after a good yoga workout lying in the corpse pose; I feel cleansed and relaxed.
  10. I love Mark’s post from Exile on Pain Street – the inspiration for this post – just read it! You’ll see. I’ll add, I love being inspired.


  1. I hate insomnia and waking up tired, and knowing I will be tired all day.
  2. I hate when I worry, especially about money.
  3. I hate boring jobs. It’s not a case of only boring people get bored, which is what I typically say about boredom. A boring job feels like prison.
  4. I hate poverty, hunger and cancer with a capital H.
  5. I hate crystal meth and that it almost killed my brother.
  6. I hate my smart phone. It’s destroying humanity. No, I love my smart phone. The Internet at my fingertips. No, I hate my smart phone. I love my smart phone. Hate. Love. Clearly, this is a love/hate relationship.
  7. I hate it when my Internet breaks down!
  8. I hate getting older. I still feel like I’m in my twenties. Sort of. But I’m not.
  9. I hate death. It sucks.
  10. I hate car problems.

 What about you? What would be on your list?


What happens to a closed Barnes & Noble? I’ll tell you.

In my sleepy town, the world shuts down at 8:30 pm. Once upon a time, our town had a Barnes & Noble, and at that time, our little town stayed up until 9:00 pm., maybe even sometimes 10:00 pm. It was a sad day when they closed their doors, and I was there. I had purchased a few items, and the lady at the cashier was grief-stricken. Sure, she was losing her job, but we both knew something greater was at stake. It was and is the beginning of new era: the era of disappearing bookstores.

That was two years ago, and hopefully that cashier got another job, possibly even working at another Barnes & Noble. There’s another store a few towns over, just far enough away that I never seem to get to it.

The Barnes & Noble is usually a warehouse of a store, am I right? When it closed, it sat vacant for a long time, reminding us all that once books lived there, and coffee and couches.

But have no fear, Halloween came along….the holiday that boasts over $2.5 billion in candy sales alone. A huge warehouse with an empty come-hither, vacant, dusty space was finally in demand. What space could be better for costumes, witches, werewolves…and….


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I got you, didn’t I? This scared the living daylights out of my son. Here he can be seen running away from this friggin place.


That mega Halloween store is not as mega this season, and made another temporary home to right of this picture… (not shown).

Many moons since, a whole lot of bottles have moved in.

Introducing the latest occupant….Total Wine & More!

Incidentally, last summer I noticed many college-age kids camping out in the parking lot in a nearby shopping center with actual patio furniture. I imagine all these kids live with their parents and have nowhere else to go. I don’t know what they’ll do when it’s chilly out. Now would they even inhabit a Barnes & Noble?

Let me tell you one thing I know, they ain’t getting into Total Wine. It’s a kind of a slap in the face. Let’s take the last place you maybe mighta coulda hung out in kids…

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Nope…now it’s truly the parking lot for you guys.

But there is wine.

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Rows and rows of it, stacked to the ceiling.

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Kind of like books….NOT. More delicate than books. Better not let your toddler run loose. Can you imagine?

That said, I like this store. I can always find a delectable wine at a good price. Wines in all aromas, flavors, styles, for any kind of dish from regions all over the world. Germany, France, Portugal, South Africa, lots of places, and local wines, too. You have many decisions to make here. Would you like something light and crisp with a hint of pear? Perhaps, you require a more intense, full-bodied experience. Will you pair it with a dish? Maybe you need something sweet like butterscotch or vanilla. Are you in the mood for soft and elegant? Decide your mood.

Feeling confused? Just like the book recommendations at Barnes & Noble, they have a wine team here with their favorite picks.

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I chose Chuck’s* favorite, a French Luc Pirlet Cabernet Sauvignon. I honed in on the milk chocolate and dark cherry flavors. Sadly, I did not have any grilled flank steak to go with it.

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There are plenty of beer and spirits, too.

Your Froggy B…


Let’s not forget your Pumpkinhead…


If you want to whet your palate, you can taste. I noticed, however, that there are no chairs.

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Oh, Barnes & Nobles., this store might as well be screaming, “There are no books here. Just get drunk!” But what about a few chairs at the tasting booth? And while they’re at it, how about a few more chairs strewn about the store…

…and a couch or two, a rug, reading lamp…a glass of wine.

I’ll bring a book like old times. Now we’re talking.

What about you? Have you seen a bookstore close in your town or city? What replaced it? Do you still get out to a bookstore? Do you want to? 

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

A Sip Away – Friday Fictioneers – 12/27/13

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I’ve run out of steam.

I wrote this on Friday evening and even poured a glass of wine for inspiration. Naturally, the wine makes an appearance.

Thanks as always to Rochelle, and to Doug MacIlroy for the stunning photo.

Click HERE for more stories from this week’s prompt.

Genre: General Fiction (101 words)

Copyright – Douglas M MacIlroy

A Sip Away

Tessa had seen every angle of this shiny tower on her way to work, and had imagined the most spectacular view. It fell short. She belonged here as much as her faux designer dress. It would pass for the real thing and her lipstick matched, but the stained, white linen underwhelmed her.

Thomas patted her hand. “Let’s have a nice bottle of wine.”

“Sounds lovely.”

He sipped and admired her through the delicate contours of his wine glass.

Tessa knew it would be the best vintage that ever touched her lips. One taste could seal their coupledom.

“I can’t,” she said.