Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Girlfriends Chill

I came across this letter I wrote to my friends last year. After reading it I thought it might be appropriate at this time of the year when Holiday commitments and pressures mount. Maybe it's time to reach out to a friend or even a friend-to-be... Chill and Enjoy the moment. Your list can wait. Kathy
Dedicated to us… Four Fab Friends

Looking around my office is like walking down memory lane… or maybe it’s Working Girl Lane up to the winery. I’m not a hoarder and I don’t like clutter but I do like to gaze beyond my monitor and look at the stuff that represents the evolution of this Working Girl. 

Thinking about these relics of my past can put me in a zone when I need creativity or kick me out of the proverbial funk. Each has a story. I remember the immediate rush when I first pounced on the object or idea… emotionally pegging what I was dealing with, even if I didn’t know it at the time. 

First vintage of the Working Girl Wines… a beginning
Painting “Curse of the Good Girls”
A Pamela Hastings’ doll “Love Yourself” with a bit of the Hot Flash couture
Collection of white rocks and hearts
“I’m so tired of being the bitch” t-shirt
Small Quilt “Go With the Flow”
Message In a Bottle
And, solid brass balls

This week a new “art piece” joined the menagerie and along with it comes this story…

A few weeks ago, the four fab friends (me being one of them) headed to Seattle for a 24 hour get-away. All have businesses and it took some finagling to get us loaded up and out of town. Then we crossed Hood Canal Bridge. I may have imagined it but there seemed to be a collective sigh and a slight release of that every day level of own your own business type tension. We all started talking. Chill

The reason for our trip was a special goodbye to one of our friends who was moving across the country. This was not an easy decision for her and she seemed to have her emotions on hold talking about the move in a distant sort of way. Chill

This trip was a new adventure as we are all new to this “girlfriend experience”. Conversation was still on a safe level. We all admitted, though, that we never really had girlfriends. Chill
Still hadn’t really started to relax… needed to drop off wine in Auburn on the way and got totally lost. Car GPS and phone GPS taking us two different routes. Again tense. I was wasting our precious time. I’m the queen of the u-turns, finally found I-5. OK Chill

Arrived at hotel. Had surprise bottle of champagne and strawberries in room. Popped the cork, sipped cold champagne and talked some more. The hotel was serving our Working Girl Wines during wine hour in the lobby. Needed to make an appearance. Never did. This was our time. Chill

Conversation turned to tattoos… believe it or not. Two of us had tattoos and it turned out after more champagne that we all wanted a shared memory tattoo… we decided on a peace symbol as our theme and each would pick their own design. A few calls later we had a 10 p.m. appointment (after dinner and martinis).  Picture four “gracefully aging” ladies walking into a skanky tattoo parlor. All I can remember before making a fast retreat was this very large guy, bare butt up with a guy working on his tattoo. Really?! We’ll skip this venue. Chill

Walked the city and talked more. About ex’s and everything in between. Sweet chilling.
The “morning after” we noshed through the market and reality starts to set in. We’re on a schedule. Back to work. Race for the ferry. Chill

Turns out we all did get our tattoos a few days later, each of us overlapping time slots for moral support. We forgot that the guy doing our tattoo was in the room, the buzz of his instrument just became background noise. We started at 9:30 a.m. and finished at 6:30 p.m. The damn tattoos hurt but not as much as saying goodbye. Chill

Pamela Hastings Doll
Back at work. I look to the right of my monitor. A doll, appropriately named “Chill” greets me every morning. She reminds me of my three new friends… all individuals, learning to chill, drop our masks, open up and trust. 

In friendship, Kathy
Working Girl

Friday, November 23, 2012

You Know The Turkey Is Dry WHEN

·        When the turkey is floating in the roaster.
·        When you slice the breast and it crumbles
·        When the turkey has the feel & taste of dehydrated meat
·        When you start telling “You Know The Turkey is Dry When”... JOKES

I haven’t cooked a whole Turkey in more than 10 years, maybe more. Baked a turkey breast… but you can hardly screw that up.

Question: Have the turkeys changed over the years? I sprang for the free range, organic. Then a mix-up at the store and instead of a 14 pound, I walked out with a huge 20 pound turkey for 2 people. I’m thinking we could have gone out for dinner for the price of this bird but I really wanted to cook Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

OK, I can do this. For the last few days I’ve been watching the ‘how to’ YouTube videos… How to Cook a Turkey, How to Make Bread Stuffing (outside the bird) and How to Make Cranberry Sauce.  I bookmarked all the recipes and videos that I liked and thought were pretty fail safe.

The big day. Thanksgiving. Armed with my trusty iPad, I watched all the videos again and started on the Turkey. I sort of combined a couple of cooking methods and temperatures but didn’t modify them by much… or so I thought.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened. The turkey just cooked in the oven in a covered roaster. The only slight concern… not sure my thermometer still worked after maybe 15 years  but nothing rattled inside.

So at 5:30 we took the turkey out of the oven. The temperature just wouldn’t get to 180 degrees and based on the time/pounds chart I was 55 minutes over.

Took the cover off…  Hmmm

When both Ralph and I exclaimed... this doesn't look really good, I think it looks DRY!

At this point the only thing I could do is open the champagne.

Bubbly fixes everything and then you need a good laugh!

This VIDEO says it all… Tante Marie said she never had a good turkey. All turkeys taste like cardboard and the three things that make a turkey tasty is gravy, cranberry sauce and Pinot Noir. I know this isn't true but it made me feel better at the time.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend. Kathy

Thursday, November 15, 2012

No Hay Problema

Anything I ask for...
No Problema, Everything is Possible

Sounds like I’m in Mexico and you’re right!

My husband, Ralph, and I have been making our annual November pilgrimage to recharge to a small fishing village North of Puerto Vallarta for the last three years. The place we stay is rustic but boasts fast wireless and good food. I worry about the speed of the internet and have the staff check it prior to arriving. I may be a little OCD, but my other priority is good wine which is checked with my luggage. So I’m not totally a lost cause.

Billed as a working vacation we pack up two laptops, two iPads, two iphones (now on the Mexican phone plan), and 8 inches of working files, yellow pads and pens. Then if there’s room we add some clothes.

I’m the worst… it takes me about 6 days to slow down and stop checking email every hour. I’m anxious… waiting for my creative marketing streak to kick-in because by November each year I’m brain dead. Finally, though, the music of the surf has me relaxed enough to count lizards on the ceiling.

2012 was a year of major change in my life. Ralph and I own our respective businesses or as they say the businesses own us. But anyhow, both past the age of 62++, we always said we wanted to work together instead of just working together in the same office.

So January 2012 I took over the operations of Target Focus Training and Lisa starting learning the ropes of the winery, managing its operations. While not in the tasting room much anymore, I still had my feet in the grapes, so to speak, with wine production, marketing and events.

Instead of enjoying a glass of wine at day’s end with the Working Girls in the tasting room, I toasted my computer with wine each evening. Harley, the winery dog in training, my constant companion.

2013 is beckoning, only 6 weeks away, and again life changes for this Working Girl.

We will be announcing some exciting changes at the winery, events, our business, and our products. I can tell you right now, 2013 will be over the top. The Working Girls of Olympic Cellars can’t wait.

So let me sign off… we will fly home tomorrow. Life speeds up again.

BUT before I go, let me leave you with this. I started my career in 1977 at Texas Instruments. A top chart, Grammy award winner song was “Afternoon Delight”.  I loved it. Heard it on the radio for months on my way to work and back. It’s my ring tone on my phone.

Yea, I know the lyrics were a bit sexually explicit, but if you listen to it with your eyes closed, it takes you into that special place with no iAnything.  It becomes a “State of Mind”.

Stayed tuned for 2013 at Olympic Cellars.

Everything Is Possible…

Cheers, Kathy

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Winery Sasquatch

When our Olympic Peninsula Winery Association decided to bring back the Scarecrow Trail for this weekend’s Harvest Wine Tour my mind’s eye visualized a pretty traditional scarecrow with a winery theme… maybe a new version of our Vineyard Angel which is made from all parts of an oak barrel and champagne bottles.

After a short discussion amongst the Working Girls about our Scare Crow design, our resident artist, Kristi said she wanted to create a Sasquatch which is so much part of the lore of the Olympic Peninsula.

Just picture our remote, rugged Olympic Mountains with lush green forests, huge trees, moss, ferns… shadowed from day’s light and home to the Sasquatch. My Google searches reveal that last sightings documented and filmed were in 2007 & 2008.

OK… Sasquatch… Scarecrow… Sasquatch? Why not!

Then the Sasquatch started to take shape under Kristi’s artistic eye. Of course, our Sasquatch is female and not shy! She’s also a Working Girl and likes her wine! Her name is Sasquina.

Let me digress just a minute.

When the Working Girls need to conference our favorite meeting place is the Gastro Pub in Port Angeles. There is a huge mural on the upper wall of a Sasquatch riding a bike! Every time we’re there we wonder what the story is behind the mural but have never asked.

Ever the romantic I wonder as I write if this story will lead down the path of a romantic involvement between our two Sasquatches. Probably not but the thought makes me smile.

Back to Sasquina and her scarecrow duties at Olympic Cellars.

She wondered into our lives about a month ago. Not sure why she came down out of the mountains in to the fields of the winery but a couple of years ago a herd of Elk just showed up near the barn. Maybe in the dark the barn looks safe and offers a sense of refuge.

Our first sighting was in the vineyard. There Sasquina was… towering over the vines waving her arms, crows flying. All 7 feet of her with a few more feet of arms.

This year we finally had a harvest with 100 days of perfect weather and the vines were loaded. I don’t know how crows know but they leave the grapes alone until just right before picking… then swarm in and decimate a vineyard in just hours.

We wanted to thank this Sasquatch but didn’t know what to do. So we left a LARGE glass of Working Girl White and a 2X t-shirt. Next day both were gone.

A couple of days later the empty glass appeared by our back door. We refilled it. This went on for a few days. Whoa… Sasquina really likes her wine!

Kristi thinks she has a taste for the ‘grape juice’ eating lots of our wild Oregon grapes which can be sour mixed in with some Olympic blackberries and thimbleberries to make it sweeter.

Then the fateful day... we were crushing Cab Sauv and Merlot and guess who showed up with a big smile. Who could resist the enchanting smell of Virginie's brew.

We handed Sasquina a shovel and she went to work… Believe It Or Not :)

Join us this weekend, Nov 10-11, for our annual Harvest Wine Tour and meet Sasquina. She loves to have her picture taken!

The Working Girls of Olympic Cellars

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sasquatch at Olympic Cellars?

What does a Sasquatch have to do with Wine Tasting ?
Harvest Wine Tour

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries Harvest Wine Tour will take place November 10 and 11, Veterans Day Weekend, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Olympic Cellars has a lot of fun in store, including of course wine tasting of a wide selection of our wines.

New wine releases include the popular holiday Cranberry Jubilee which sells out each year.

We are also releasing our Merlot 2008 and Cabernet Franc 2008. Across the board, our 2008 red vintage is delicious, full-bodied and smooth. The Merlot is well balanced, with just the right amount of tannins. The flavors of bright red cherry and notes of vanilla and almond abound. The Cabernet Franc is extremely complex, full of dark berry, toasted aromatic wood, nutmeg and clove.
  • Sample fall-hearty mushroom and local grain soup prepared by Chef Dave Long of Oven Spoonful.
  • Hang out on our decorated patio and enjoy fresh popped truffle popcorn.
  • Solve our winery word search and enter to win a fabulous wine purse.
  • Take advantage of featured event wine specials.

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries will each put their creative grape juices to the test at this year's annual Harvest Wine Tour, with each of us displaying our own artistic interpretation of the "Wine Scarecrow" for visitors to enjoy.
Limited only by our imaginations, each winery will strive to design the most unique vineyard watchman ever to scare (or commune with) a pesky bird! Visitors can vote for their favorite scarecrow while tasting the best of the vintage.

With artist in residence, Kristi Knowles on our side, of course Olympic Cellars will win the scarecrow competition. Our Scarecrow, Sasquina, is modeled after the sassy female Sasquatch seen around town. She’s said to be dating the bicycle-riding male Sasquatch who frequents the very popular Next Door Gastropub in Port Angeles. More on their love life to follow…

The $30.00 ticket for the self-guided tour can be purchased at participating wineries during the event. Tickets entitle participants to a commemorative wine glass and complimentary wine tastings at each winery during the event weekend.
A tasting fee of $5.00 per winery will apply to non-ticketed visitors. Get your ticket stamped at all eight wineries and be eligible to enter our gift basket drawing.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Business Recognized for Concert Series

Thank you Port Angeles Chamber for naming us September Business of the Month!

And, Thank You All for your support and attendance for this Summer’s Great Concert Series! Donations topped $15,000 to local charities.

We didn’t plan on doubling our music series this year to 8 concerts in July and August.  It just happened. There were more non-profits wanting to partner then the number of Saturday nights in August. Boy were we nervous especially about the weather…

The first concert I put the sunglasses on to greet guests because we had brilliant sun (so unexpected) and our “mole” eyes from the winter and rainy spring couldn’t handle the sun. Then it became sort of a joke each week… but now I’m a bit superstitious thinking those glasses have magical powers! We had sunshine every Saturday night!

Before the winery moved to our barn, music was a big part of its heritage. Many of you remember the 70s when the barn was a dance hall. We now say that the barn doesn’t only make good wine but hosts great music.

Music in the barn started in 2003 on Friday nights with jam sessions which then became scheduled performances. Our first Summer Concert series on Saturday night was 2005. Later it was renamed the Hot August Night … which you know isn’t always “Hot”.

This year we averaged 360 in attendance which included volunteers from the non-profits and staff. The Paper Boys concert was over 500++. We’ve already started planning next year with changes to enhance your concert experience.

We learned so much… thanks to Jerry Nichols who taught us how to park. One concert we had to turn folks away because we were out of parking (but we needed training to maximize our space.)

John Christensen and Gene Stashuk were the first to arrive and the last to leave. They were the sound guys... worked with the bands each week.

Mystery Bay seafood cooked for our guests after already a long day at local markets.

Molly handled the gillions of calls, ticket sales and getting us ready each week. Lisa was the point person for each concert, trained and coordinated the 15+ volunteers each week. I was the designated worrier.

Eileen Schmitz summed it all up as she and I stood behind the bar watching the happy, laughing dancers…  She said, “This is community”.

Thanks to your support we partnered with 7 non-profits and a young band on their next life’s journey and were able to donate $15,648.

Also 2013 is going to be pretty special… 10th anniversary of Music at the Barn, 10th anniversary of the Working Girl Wines and 10th anniversary of our first Grape Stomp (we may need to ring it back after a two year hiatus).

Stay tuned,

Ps. Harvest is just around the corner.
Olympic Cellars

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our Barn Goes Honky Tonk

Need a Little Country?
Amy Clawson promises a whole lot of country.  This week’s concert, Amy Clawson and Coltrane will have you up and dancing from the get go. Watch her ‘Cowboy Up’ video and you tell us if this isn’t boot scooting music at its best.

Amy is petite, but has more voice, presence and energy per square inch than you'd ever guess. Her memorable career is highlighted by performances alongside legendary entertainers like David Frizzell, Martina McBride, Toby Keith, Restless Heart, Neal McCoy, Mel Tillis, Clint Black, Lee Ann Womack.

With a musical style that varies from traditional country to rockin' original country songs to gospel (her favorite part of the show), once you've seen Amy, you'll be a fan!

Band members include:
Tim Donahue - Drums,
Lance Seiders - Bass,
Chris Ward - Lead Guitar,
Ryan Miller - Acoustic Guitar & Vocals,
Amy Clawson - Vocals

So, grab your hat, dust off your boots and join us this Saturday when the Barn goes ‘Honky Tonk.’ Our own Texas Gal, Kathy has promised to go full cowgirl; boots, hat and all.  This week's concert benefits the Trey Green Guild, a non-profit supporting the Seattle Children's Hospital.  

Yee Haw!
The Working Girls
  • P.S.  There are still openings available for Tandem Skydiving
Wednesday August 8th and August 22nd beginning at 4:00pm.
Join the Working Girl First Jump Club and skydive into the field behind Olympic Cellars.  Contact Skydive Kapowsin at (360) 432-8000 for reservations and information.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Working Girl White Wine Sangria

Love this recipe... has a bit of a kick to it with the Gin & Triple Sec
Over ice, feet up, sun shining... this is it!!

1 cup sugar
¼ cup mint leaves (about 25), plus springs for garnish
1 cup Gin
½ cup Triple Sec
1 orange cut into small wedges
2 apples, cored and cut into small wedges
2 Bottles Working Girl White Wine
1 bottle Cava
1.      In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and sugar to a simmer. Add mint leaves, remove from heat, and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Let mixture stand 1 hour, then strain into a jar and refrigerate until ready to use
2.      In a large pitcher or punch bowl, stir together gin, triple sec, orange and apples. Refrigerate 2 hours or as long as overnight. When ready to serve, stir in white wine and 1 cup mint syrup. Pour into ice-filled glasses, top with Cava, garnish with mint springs and serve.
Makes 8 servings

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Go Girl" Grant to Peninsula College


For Immediate Release                                             
Contact:: Joan Busick,
 (760) 772-9594
Girlfriend Factor is Coming to Port Angeles!
Educational Grants for Local Women

Palm Desert, CAJuly 12, 2012 – The Girlfriend Factor (GFF), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Palm Desert, CA which provides educational grants to adult women, is proud to announce that they will be extending their financial assistance to motivated women at Peninsula College this fall. The expansion to Port Angeles is the result of a relationship that started back in 2005 between GFF and Olympic Cellars Winery, home of Working Girl Wines. As Co-Founder of GFF Joan Busick explains “I read an article in Wine Spectator about philanthropically-minded winery owner Kathy Charlton and her team of women and was so inspired by their style and efforts that we named our educational grants after their Go Girl Red. To date our Go Girl! Grants have assisted over 70 women achieve their goals of becoming self-sufficient by earning college degrees and certifications.”
Fast forward to 2011 when, without hesitation, Olympic Cellars donated 12 cases of Working Girl Wine to be poured at an inaugural Wine, Chocolate & Shoes reception during Fashion Week El Paseo. In appreciation of their support it was mutually agreed to extend GFF’s Go Girl! Grants to women in the Port Angeles area. And to help launch the arrival and raise funds for ongoing grants in the area, Girlfriend Factor has been named as the beneficiary of a Random Manor concert to be held at Olympic Cellars on July 28th.
According to Charlton “We share a very similar philanthropic mission and approach – we help women to help themselves, provide opportunities for women to gather and build friendships and maintain “fun’ as the operative – with a lot of chocolate thrown in along the way! I think we were destined to come together.”  
To find out if you qualify for a Go Girl! Grant and to apply, go to the Go Girl! Grant page on www.thegirlfriendfactor.org.

To learn more about the Random Manor concert to be held at Olympic Cellars on July 28th and other concerts in their summer series, go to www.olympiccellars.com.    

# # #

About The Girlfriend Factor
The Girlfriend Factor (GFF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and explore the powerful influence women have on each other’s lives through building friendships, sharing experiences, and providing financial support in the form of educational grants to motivated adult women so they may become self-sufficient.  For more information on the Girlfriend Factor, please visit www.thegirlfriendfactor.org or call 760.772.9594.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fat Chance - Thanks for the Memories

It’s rare in the music industry for a band to stay together for 30 years but Fat Chance has and is still a beloved part of the music scene on the Peninsula since 1982. Max Fernandes, Jeff Joaquin, John Christensen and Doc Gardner were the original four band members. Doc, the drummer, has moved on replaced by Kent Demmel, another local talented musician.

I’ve only lived on the Peninsula for 11 years and don’t even remember when I first got to hear Fat Chance play but I do know that I danced the whole night… never sitting out one dance. The band played lots of my favorites from the 50s to the 80s and their original music were songs that told stories about life on the Peninsula. My favorite was the Hot Tub song which was actually a stock tank heated by the kiln of a local potter. But as John told the story the song title was a bit longer… something about 7 N@#?D Ladies in a Hot Tub.

Last night John and his wife, Dee, allowed me to interview them and share their memories via a box full of pictures going way way back. John estimates that the band has played over 2000 gigs. Dee started singing with the band and then formed her own bands, Olive and the Pits – 50s music, and also “Mom’s” band, their original music.

The music scene on the Peninsula was hopping in the 80’s with 5 bands performing each weekend with folks strolling the streets listening to all the music. For a while John and Dee owned the Port Angeles Tavern which is now Bar 9.

All the musicians are self-taught and play by ear. Practicing faithfully two nights a week in their studio (the lower level of John & Dee’s house) they would pick their favorite musicians and practice along with the music until they perfected the songs. Elvis, The Beatles, Neil Young and Creedence Clearwater helped influence their style. Their genre of music is definitely Rock n Roll that gets people on their feet and keeps them dancing.

What kept this band together for 30 years? Music wasn’t their only jobs but it was their passion… A love of music, strong friendships, a deep love of the Peninsula and their families.

Fat Chance has donated their time to many fundraisers over the years including the Boys & Girls Club, Duck Derby, Festival of Trees, Museum & Arts Center and Beyond Cancer.

Never ‘hitting the road’ like most bands they played proms, weddings, festivals and even an Inaugural Ball. Max was also well known for his Elvis performances.

Gene Stashuk is the “sound guy” for Fat Chance pushing the band through long rehearsals for each of their two CDs which he produced. He is also the former Red 7 lead singer and guitarist. An internationally known musician, songwriter and the magician on sound, Gene has worked with Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin and was on tour with Michael Jackson.

As I listened last night what hit me the most is that The Fat Chance Band has become part of the “memories” of so many on the peninsula… multiple generations. If you opened their photo albums I’m sure you will find The Band in the background surrounded by happy dancers.

Thank You Fat Chance for 30 years of your music.

In Concert, July 14 at Olympic Cellars. Music begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased on-line or at the door.
Arrive early for best seating and to enjoy Chef Leonard's Coastal Cuisine, Mystery Bay Seafood