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Brenda Johnson
Pollock Pines, CA
A snarky writer type who is also a techie, jazz lover, and Sci Fi nut
Interests: I love Star Trek, Dr Who,technology, all science fiction, great wines, musicals, writing, and jazz trumpet. I am focused on health and healing and all things alternative as well.
Recent Activity
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One of our favorite wineries here in El Dorado County is Via Romano, and for the first time ever, our busy schedules allowed us to attend their bi-monthly pizza night. Jon and Leanne, the winemakers, purchased an Italian style pizza oven that cranks out unique and delightful creations about every ten minutes for the duration of the event. What a great time we had! The pizzas ranged from a traditional pepperoni and red sauce with cheese to a delightful pesto, tomato and arugula creation. They even had wonderful, piping hot calzones oozing with cheese and veggies. Nothing is better than this, fresh from the oven and enjoyed on the winery patio under the stars. Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at The Wine Hacker.com
Last weekend we stopped at Chateau Davell's brand new tasting room on our way to a jam sess in the Bay Area to pick up a friend's wine club shipment. WOW!! The view is spectacular, the grounds peaceful and inviting, and the wines are as good as ever. I am posting my first ever VLOG or video blog on our visit - which is here: Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2018 at The Wine Hacker.com
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This lovely and fully drinkable wine is acidic in character, with the beautiful softness of a Cab Franc as well as a bold character usually seen more in its close relative; Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted rich forward fruit, a hint of black pepper, soft vanilla and hot cocoa flavors enriched with some tart strawberry and rhubarb middle tones and a soothing rich dark berry finish that was both lingering and satisfying. I also got just a hint of the type of bell pepper you would find in a Chicago Portillo Italian sub sandwich (thinking of those, as I am making a clone of them tonight for dinner). The color is also dark and rich, with outstanding clarity (no need to decant as no sediment in this wine). Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2018 at The Wine Hacker.com
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Far off the beaten path, Fenton Herriott is one of the smaller wineries in the El Dorado area. I only learned of them through taking a flyer and ordering one of their lovely wines off the menu at the Smith Flat House (arguably the best restaurant between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe). One sunny Sunday, we went on a pilgrimage to find this wine mecca, and were not disappointed in our tasting experience. Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2018 at The Wine Hacker.com
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It is exceptionally rare to visit a winery and have EVERY wine you taste be outstanding, but that is exactly what happened the week before Christmas at Gold Hill Vineyard . I had hoped to choose my absolute fav of 2017 and write about it, but that became impossible after visiting Gold Hill (and Fenton Heriott, which I will talk about in a later post). Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2018 at The Wine Hacker.com
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One of my all-time favorite holiday CDs is Groovelily's "Striking Twelve" - I've seen it twice in a real live theater and it never ceases to amaze and thrill me. If you haven't heard of it, it is a modern day rock musical dramatization of "The Little Match Girl" - which was a really depressing fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. Now, you might ask, how can a really depressing fairy tale inspire end of the year musings? I suggest you download and buy the CD, but barring that - I can tell you that this show/CD/musical points us to what is truly important in life in a comical way. The people around us and the love we share is ALL that really matters in the end. Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
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If you are like me, you probably lost track of healthy eating habits somewhere between mid November and December 25th. Like they say, if you fall off a horse the very best thing is to get back on and ride, and that is exactly what I plan to do. Here are the ten ideas I have brainstormed to get me back on track. I'll let you all know how I do! Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
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Looking back on the year, Bert and I had a ton of great meals between our subscription to Blue Apron, my incredible cookbook collection, and our El Dorado and Lake Tahoe restaurants. Hands down, the winner of the best meal of the year was the Winemaker's Dinner at our local Italian winery; Via Romano. And believe me, this was a tough call to make! A new Apple Hill/Camino winery - Via Romano will be celebrating its one year anniversary on January 6th with an Open House featuring small bites and desserts. They are fast becoming a local hot spot with incredible Italian style wines, a beautiful patio, regular fun events, and a friendly atmosphere that exudes warmth from the moment you set foot in the tasting room. Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2017 at The Wine Hacker.com
This week, we have had a record-breaking heat wave throughout California. If you live in Arizona or Nevada, you are probably used to this but we most certainly are not! I have personally found that when I go out in the heat, I experience chest pain. Heat should dilate blood vessels so one would think that heat would make things better. Not so. Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
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My dear husband Bert is a beer drinker and usually only drinks red wine to humor me. Imagine my surprise when I handed him my glass at Illuminaire Winery filled with the Pinotage only to hear him exclaim, "Off the hook! Can we get some of this?" What the---? Happily, I obliged him and this wonderful wine now sits in our cellar (which is just a small room off our garage), waiting to be paired with a fantastic meal worthy of its amazing spirit. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at The Wine Hacker.com
One of the biggest contributors to ALL DIS-EASE is chronic stress and our ability to manage it. Today we live in a world of immediacy - our cell phones are always on and we are continually surrounded by multiple interactive screens that clamor for our attention 24/7. If we don't detach and let go of these stressors, we start to have warning signs that our bodies are not tolerating the flood of stress based chemicals (like cortisol and worse). These symptoms can include depression, insomnia, irritability, stomach distress, migraines, eye twitching, joint pain, and fatigue. Over time, this can manifest into more serious issues such as type diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and autoimmune diseases. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
Magnesium is most often recommended for bone health, but is also key for 300 different metabolic processes across the body. Of prime importance to heart disease patients is that it is necessary for the assimulation of calcium into bone material. If too much calcium is present in the blood stream, it can contribute to coronary artery disease as it can be deposited onto the artery walls. A proper magnesium/calcium balance is also needed for a strong, regular heart beat. In fact, taking calcium supplements without magnesium supplements has been shown to increase heart attack risk. Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
A Silver medal winner in the 2016 El Dorado County Fair, this wine is big, rich and bold, like a Barbera should be. It is also smooth at the same time, and doesn't have the brash after taste found in many lesser Barberas. The color is deep and rich, and it has a very pleasing earth and leather nose with a hint of fresh flowers. I enjoyed the velvety texture of this wine as well as it's mineral content and rich, chewy tannins (which tell me that it would have aged well, too bad, I drank it). Like most of DiVittorio's reds, this wine is a bit on the sweet side. This is because DiVittorio is also known for some of the most incredible ports you will ever drink, and the reds here also take on some of the port character. I would definitely recommend stopping by DiVittorio if you are ever in the Placerville/Camino area. It is well worth the visit - and they also have a special running where you can get a case of their 2005 (that's right, 2005) Cabernet and Syrah for $110. That is cheaper than grocery store swill folks. Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at The Wine Hacker.com
Go to any health website these days and one of the first things you will see is either a reference to, or an article about inflammation. Modern research shows that inflammation is being blamed for anything from Alzheimer's to obesity to heart disease. How can one condition cause so much destruction to the human body? Why is it rampant, and what can we do about it? Inflammation refers to swelling and irritation of our bodily tissues in response to an outside irritant. We get inflammation when our bodies are highly acidic - and much of the highly processed foods we eat in America ARE highly acidic. Eating sugar or worse, high fructose corn syrup creates an acid condition in the body as does eating refined carbohydrates such as white breads or pastas. Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
Roughly two months after my big cardiac event, I started noticing irregular heart beats, but only at night. I mentioned this to my Cardiologist - Dr Henjum in Placerville, and he recommended I purchase an iPhone gadget that does a complete EKG in 30 seconds. What a great use for a smartphone! Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
One thing I have realized as an escapee from the ICU is that our life here on earth is an incredible gift. If we get too caught up in the day-to-day and forget to live in the moment, we miss millions of synchronistic messages that our creator has sent to us - as well as the beautiful spring lilacs, the love our dogs have for us, the affectionate kiss from our spouse, and the precious moments spent with our aging parents. When it all comes to an end, if we don't slow down and pay attention - we will exit this planet with a vague sense of having missed some momentous - like what was REALLY important in our daily lives. Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
Another great supplement recommended by my Sutter cardiologist during my recent hospital "vacation"was CoQ-10. This is not one that I have taken in the past with any regularity - as I thought heart disease would be the very last thing that I would ever have to suffer through. Not so!... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
One of the supplements my cardiologist recommended was vitamin D. I recently read on Pinterest that over 75% of heart attack victims had lowered vitamin D levels - didn't see a source for that number/statistic, but believe that it is in the ball park based on all the research now focused on this necessarily nutrient. It acts as a hormone, and regulates over 200 or more genes across the body. WebMD cites a study by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, which had the following findings: Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
Continuing the saga of my heart attack and experience - as they weren't able to put a stent in my heart, they kept in the Cardiac ICU for five days. The first few days, I wasn't allowed to get out of bed, thanks to the wound in my groin where the angioplasty line was inserted. This meant the lovely and unholy bed pan was my friend. No fun, no fun at all. I did enjoy my daily visits by the cardiologists on staff at the time Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
Articles I have been reading tell me that the warning signs for women can be different than for men. For instance, it is more likely for a woman to have some of the peripheral symptoms such as jaw pain, back pain, shortness of breath, a feeling like you have the flu , nausea, and heartburn. From my experience, I had chest pains that ranged from mild to very sharp that just lasted a few minutes. This happened for about a month before my event. So if this is happening to you, don't ignore it! Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
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Easter is a bright and lovely holiday - and deserved a bright yet soft and lovely wine to share with friends. After not writing ANY blogs for many months, I am returning to my beloved wine blog - and the 2009 Crystal Basin Renegade Red is a wine deserving of being my first blog post for the resurrection of The Wine Hacker. Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at The Wine Hacker.com
Three years ago in one of my "health craze" phases, I decided to start this blog. I set it up on the same platform as my wine blog, and then proceeded to ignore it. I never wrote one single post. On March 22nd of this year, an event happened that changed my life forever - and has inspired me to dust off this blog platform and actually add some meaningful content. If my experience can save someone's life, then I have a responsibility to share. First, before I share some of the research I have been doing during my time off work, let me share my experience. Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Reengineering Life, Mind and Spirit
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Rich chocolately flavors blend with forward mulberry and plum fruit in this light yet rich Bordeaux blend. A hint of Malbec gives it a bit of a kick, and adds complexity to the middle note of the wine. An earthy tone that is so characteristic of French wine is present in this Mosaico, which made it a great choice for a spicy dinner like Orange Spiced Chicken wings. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2016 at The Wine Hacker.com
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unday, I went to the City (SF) to meet two friends from out of town, and quite accidentally came upon the Pride Parade (I knew about it, but forgot). This is not your usual, run-of-the-mill" parade! This week's historic decision by the Supreme Court made this year's parade bigger than life; the colors, floats, and enthusiasm by the crowd was just over the top. I saw things I had never seen before, and I am 60 years old! Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2015 at I Take Pictures -That's What I Do....
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True to the Hess name, this wine was aristocratic, full-bodied, and flavorful. When it was first poured into our glasses, the holiday lights illuminated its jewel-like clarity until it looked like the star from the top of the tree. The nose was full of forward cranberry and black cherry fruit, with a spicy, black coffee finish. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at The Wine Hacker.com