2300 degrees


Since we didn’t get much of a vacation over the holidays, Luke decided to take a few days off of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. For our first day off, Thursday January 17th, we decided to go to 2300 degrees.

2300 degrees is a free event sponsored by the Corning Glass museum every third Thursday night from November to May. Each month the museum chooses one night to close the galleries and transform this tourist attraction into a site for a night on the town.

Corning Glass Co.  launched 2013’s 2300 degrees with a “Finger Lakes Finest” themed event which meant free wine tasting. You heard right: free!  The Finger Lakes Region, as our area of upstate New York is called, is home to many local wineries and wine trails nestled in the hills surrounding the local lakes.

Luke and I arrived around 5:40pm to find the Glass Museum parking lot, and all adjacent parking lots full. It was disappointing to have to walk several blocks in the snow, but it was promising to know that this event was well attended. Grateful to get into the warmth, we were greeted and given a program listing the 30 wineries and their booth locations.

We walked through the entrance and wandered toward the auditorium. Low-lit black dinning tables lined the back wall. On the stage was an Indie Rock band from California called The Blind Spots. A lead singer with a  Zooey Deschanel hair cut swayed as she sang and rocked to her decked-out microphone stand. On the adjacent stage screens flashed images from the Hot Glass innovation stage as lights danced on the open stage floor.

The Blind Spots
The Blind Spots

After listening to a few songs, Luke and I decided to check out the wineries. This was my first time wine tasting and although I know generally what I prefer, I was not as familiar with wines such as Caberet Franc, Riesling, or Gewurztraminer. Fortunately  being married to an ex-bartender, Luke has had plenty of wine-tasting experiences, so I let him take lead.

Each winery brought three to five wines  from crisp whites to full-bodied reds, some even brought fruit or dessert wines. We decided to focus on red wines. We wound through the corners, ramps, landings, and stairways of this modern museum reading each booth’s wine descriptions and taking brochures from the ones we liked best. (It didn’t take long for Luke to start a 0-10 rating system on the side of our program.) I was pleasantly surprised to discover we both liked the same wineries and the similar qualities in a red wine.  Just as I began to remember we had not had dinner yet, we rounded the corner to find a table of free snacks: cubed cheese, crackers, vegetables, dip, and cold cuts were piled high on round black tables getting quickly picked over.


We took a short break from the crowds to watch the glass blowing in the Hot Glass Innovation studio.  A tiered open auditorium hosts a large screen showing the busy hands of the glass artists on the stage directly below. With the aid of state-of-the art video equipment observers can even watch the glass be turned and heated via a video camera inside the kiln.  Many people sat sipping their drinks while watching the artists make a large wine colored vase decorated with clusters of glass grapes.


 In spite of the tight space, everyone was warm and friendly, milling around the booths discussing their taste and preferences with each other. Everyone stood in clusters holding comfortable easy conversation. If they bumped into someone it was only to  recognize their face and ask how their holidays were.

This was one local event we were lucky to attend. We now can support local wineries without any guesswork.

Curious what 2300 degrees really looks like?  Here is the event list and photo gallery: Click Here

Want more details on the wineries? Here is a link with information on “2300: Finger Lakes Finest”: Click Here

Looking for new up-and-coming music artists? Find out more about The Blind Spots: Click Here

P.S. I’d love to know: What do you do for date-night or a night-on-the-town with your friends where you live?

Part 2 update: Life in 2011

Part 2: In 2011

-I decided to earn the full MA degree in TESOL after some fasting, searching, and consulting of wise advisors in my life.

-I started to date Luke in the summer after a year of co-leading the college group together.

-I was hired as an international writing center consultant at APU.

-I taught a summer English camp for Chinese high school students.


-I went with Luke on a two-part summer rode trip. 1: We went camping in Yellowstone with my family:

kayaking on lake Yellowstone exploring the geysers
kayaking on lake Yellowstone exploring the geysers
At the top of Mt. Washburn
At the top of Mt. Washburn

2: Then we drove to Oregon to meet and stay with Luke’s parents.

hiking Silverton Falls trail with Luke's parents
hiking Silverton Falls trail with Luke’s parents
blackberries we picked from the bushes on the Greene property they made for amazing pie
blackberries we picked from the bushes on the Greene property they made for amazing pie

-I got hired at a private English language institute, ELS, in the fall.

-I went on a two-part northwestern winter road trip with Luke.

1: We celebrated Christmas and New Years with his parents and  brother’s family.

2: We toured my old stopping grounds in the Seattle area and visited with my college friends.

And that is Part 2 update of my life in 2011

in the U district near the University of Washinton
in the U district near the University of Washington
At SAM (Seattle Art Museum) Park
At SAM (Seattle Art Museum) Park

A lesson in Independence

I was anxious already about this past Wednesday, had trouble sleeping, I wasn’t looking forward to venturing out in the single digit temperature cold. I hated Luke’s work alarm as it went off and I put on my long johns under my jeans for the first day this winter.

Today I would take the initiative to accomplish goals that have been on the fridge list for the past two months: register my car, get a NY drivers license, get a new phone/phone plan, and then to Wegmans for my weekly trip to the grocery store. This may seem like normal life tasks. But for an introvert, who detests change or new challenges well, it creates stress. I knew I had to be independent, risk change and failure, and face new challenges head on.

And that is what I did. Just in a very different way then I expected.

After dropping Luke off at work, I got coffee and dolled up for my new license picture. Then I started my outings with the AT&T store.  After telling the salesman what I had rehearsed in my mind all morning he informed me that without Luke’s authorization as the person with the AT&T plan, I could not sign us up for a new contract.

Failure number one.

So I put gas in the CRV and turned to the 86 West toward the DMV. Suddenly I hear a deafening thumping sound, hollow it echoed through the car like a bad bass system. I could feel the car struggle to gain speed. Thinking quickly, I turned left instead of onto the freeway, cars passing me as I went half the speed limit. As I drove towards the Wegmans parking lot my mind ran through the million things that could be wrong with my car.

Listening to the sound I asked: Is it a belt? It doesn’t smoke or sound like the radiator when it cracked. Is it the transmission?, No, the RPM’s and all engine lights are normal. Is there a problem with the anti-freeze because it’s so cold? No, the engine shows normal temps. . .

I finally breathe a sigh as I park in a remote corner of the massive grocery store parking lot. As I get out of the car I prayed oh please let it be something easy to fix/something I can see, not some major internal problem. As I round the front of the car I see the front left tire is shredded to pieces and completely flat.

A flat tire:

I am relieved beyond belief. With anxiety gone, I call my parents (I know not very independent of me-remember baby steps) to double check I am still have AAA service. Once I had reassurance help was on the way, I left the cold car and put my ancient cell phone with a dead battery in my pocket, praying it would not die until AAA comes. Then I did the only thing I could do: I went grocery shopping. As I shopped I realized the time and recognized I wouldn’t make it to the DMV:

Failure number two

I trekked back out to the deserted corner of the parking lot, put the groceries away, and returned to the warmth of the Wegmans café. I ordered a raspberry tea (I know shocker, don’t worry coffee is still near and dear to my heart) and settled in the café to wait.

It didn’t take long for Mr. AAA man to call and come to my rescue. He had my spare tire on in minutes in spite of the snowy temp. of 9 degrees. Grateful I got back on the road and headed home.

As I left, I realized I wasn’t upset at myself for not accomplishing my big anxiety-producing goals. Instead I was proud of myself, for taking the initiative, thinking on my feet, and being independent. Once I realized the problem, I calmly jumped into action. I know it may seem insignificant to some. This is not a heroic feminist story of how in the freezing snow on the side of the highway I changed the flat with no assistance. But this is a story of risking change: learning how to deal with conflict and the unplanned on my own. And I think I it’s ok to be proud of the little things when you’re learning to transition to a new life so far from “home”.

my poor torn up tire
The raspberry tea that kept me company as I waited for AAA

Part 1 update: Life in 2010

Although my globetrotting days have stalled, 10 countries in 3 years, and so have the blogs, my life adventures have not. To do a proper and overdo update I will write a 3-part blog sharing a brief timeline of my adventures during my 3-year blogging hiatus.

Part 1: In 2010

-I graduated in May with my BA in Intercultural Studies: emphasis in the Middle East with a secondary degree in Biblical Studies from Northwest University in Kirkland WA after spending my last semester of my senior year in the Middle East.


            -I moved back into my childhood bedroom in Covina CA after a month of unsuccessfully attempting to find work or direction in the Seattle area.

-I started the MA TESOL(Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Cert. program at APU(Azusa Pacific University) during the Fall I quarter.

-I started once again attending my old church and helped jumpstart a college/young adult ministry, co-leading with a fellow MA Nurse Practitioner student at APU named Luke Greene.


That is Part 1 my life in 2010.

Coming Next: Part 2 my life in 2011

It Begins . . .

Well it has been three years since I was a student blogging my travels through the Middle East. Life has consisted of  many changes since then.

A few highlights: I  earned a new degree, changed from Ms. to Mrs., and moved half way across the country .

And that is only a taste test of  what I have to share with you.


Good, then check out the pages on top bar of the blog to learn more and join me in my journey to transition, transform and transcend.


P.S If you missed out on reading of my  globetrotting days: don’t worry.

Here’s the link to my old blog site: http://mandasadventure.blogspot.com/