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The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Marriage Advice

My in-laws were in town this weekend to celebrate Father's Day with us. We had quite a crew, and we set out to terrorize the Napa Valley. It was me, Mr. Pink [my husband's new alias--he knows why!], Mr. Pink's parents, the Blacklabels, my parents, my two brothers [now they need aliases, too--Esquire and Crafty, perhaps? We'll give it a shot] and one brother's known associate.

First, we set out for a quick tour of our property. Most of the grapevines are planted right now, but they just look like sticks in the ground. However, if you peer inside the protective cylinders, you can see some grape leaves beginning to unfurl. So in about three years, we'll have our first harvest, and in five years, we should have some very drinkable wine. And then we can be fabulous, like the Steltzners! They're great people, and they make great wine, too. Plus, parties by their poolside are none too shabby...that's how we chose to end the night. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We made a brief stop at the Stetlzners' to drop off Esquire's new puppy for the afternoon, and then we were on to Duckhorn. Those Duckhorns do things right. Whether you want pinot, cab, merlot or even sauvignon blanc, they've got a delicious option for you. My mom, who doesn't drink much, discovered that she's more a white wine type of woman, thanks to our tasting of Duckhorn's sauv blanc. And what trip up the Silverado Trail would be complete without a stop at Rutherford Hill? They make some very nice wines, but the highlight is always the port, served with chocolate-covered blueberries.

We had dinner at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena, which I highly recommend, particularly if it is a beautiful afternoon and you can sit on the shaded patio. But what does this have to do with marriage advice, you might ask? Simply this: Do not underestimate the importance of in-laws to your marriage. If you can manage it at all, make sure that you get along with your in-laws. And for extra bonus points, make sure your parents get along with the in-laws. That way, everybody's happy and it's like you've just added some close friends to your immediate family. Our Father's Day weekend excursion would not have been nearly as much fun if my family and the Blacklabels didn't get along. But they do. And a good time was had by all.

I really think that choosing your in-laws carefully is second in importance to choosing your spouse carefully. Of course, once you've chosen the spouse, you don't get much say about the in-laws. But be prepared: if they don't like you or you don't like them, your marriage will not be as happy as it could be. Take my mother, for example. My father's parents never forgave her for not being Greek, and it always cast a pall over the extended family gatherings. I'm not saying you shouldn't marry someone just because of his or her family. I still would have married Mr. Pink, even if his family was not so great. But the fact that they're really cool, and that my parents like them, too, just makes everything so much easier and more fun. Just a little something to keep in mind, for those of you out there who are still looking for "the one."


  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very sage advice! I hope your in-laws will read this post and sense how important they are to you and how part of your parents' life they have become. Don't tell me that the next post we will read here is about all of you going on some fabulous Medi Tour of the Greek islands. Santourini was always my favorite. Hope you get to see it with your in-laws.


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