It’s My Brother: My First DTO Partner



My brother and I have always been close despite living in separate time zones for the past 60 years. Over the years we have continued to talk every week or two over the phone and visited each other intermittently…more regularly since Mother died about 10 years ago. In recent years, our in-person visits have slowed down to about 1 per year. Who knows how Covid- 19 will play out.

About 4 years ago we decided to do a wine tasting together – online! I ordered a case of mixed reds and whites with tasting notes and ordered him the same combination and had them sent for his birthday. Once the wines arrived, we set a date and time to meet using our cell phones—he had iPhone- I had an Android –used the speaker on phones. Bruce was much more knowledgeable than I—he tried to enlighten me.

After a couple times of just wine, we got into pairing which led to cooking our meals together—planning what to have—usually we did the same menu. We got into the senses and food—tasting- figuring out how to make the meal taste super good—balanced, nutritious. He was good at grilling-that was relatively new experience for me…got the outdoor grill gassed up and tried my hand.

One thing led to another and soon we were reading up on which wine goes with what kind of food and were going to apply for amateur pairer status (no such designation?) That was fun. Actually we tried to develop Sommelier expertise which was touted as resulting in more mindfully enjoying the wine part of our dining experience. Mindfullness was in and could be applied to all parts of the dining experience.

How are you on your wine descriptors? Angular?

Sharp, pointed in your mouth, acidic—opposite of smooth. I don’t recall angular when we we started. What did stick was acidic—for me in wine and coffee I have learned during much tasting of each that acidic does it for me.

Are you up on disjointed? Notes of barnyard? Cheese sweat, old leather, gamey, flabby (lacking in acidity). Does flinty mean something to you? Minerally…tastes or smells like gravel? How fun is that—I’d like a bit more gravel in my wine please. Apparently wines from mineral-rich growing regions like the Loire Valley and Burgundy are more likely to be called flinty—I never did get to the level of that.

Full-bodied had promise.

Tannins I tended to like (I think) because of “texture and astringency”. Apparently reds have higher tannin levels than whites or roses…I did favor reds but found grippy to be more humorous than descriptive when describing reds.

Then you can get into complexity and different impacts on the palate

If you get that down you can go for the pairing…was it white and fish and red and beef. It was interesting to also get into different wine growing areas.

Early on we realized we needed a few guidelines for our DTO time —this was our exclusive time. We made ourselves and our spaces off limits to others while we DTO’d…no phone calls accepted unless emergency. We agreed that some subjects would be off limits. Politically we are at opposite –way opposite ends of the spectrum—this was going to be a positive supportive time—anyone could call TRUCE to stop the direction and the other would honor it. A couple years into it Bruce gave me an iPhone—nice addition to see each other while dining.


Reminiscing. Timing was right. I was 2 ½ years into leaving professional career of 49 years of college teaching…about six months into Uber driving –great having help on setting up navigation and how to not get sore back and stiff bottom—nice to have ear to vent. His home-based business was picking up steam. We put on a few pounds as we realized we would cook more than usual for a dinner on our night together – where in face to face dining out we would order one meal for the two of us—we ate more including the dessert—what fun.

Also the wine tasting-pairing meant opening a bottle or two of wine

With only one of us to drink it. Extra wine, extra food—once we realized what was happening…I was able to get down to weight hadn’t been since 6th grade and stopped drinking—now an alcohol- free wine drinker as of June 23, 2018. It feels soooooooooooo good. And really do enjoy the alcohol free wine I usually have. He too has changed his consumption level—one glass max. We are walkers—a shared experience of exercise we keep tabs on each other. With the 10,000 steps daily, the affirmative scales readings- the endorphins are daily shots. We’ve become more mindful of our communication styles and importance of listening. The more things we share the more we benefit. We are so grateful for our family relationship and the ever enriching DTO experience.

Notes into Journalogg for tomorrow night Wed dinner about which direction Zoom stock price is going and King County Beauty and Nail Shops may be open June 8 and update on riots and demonstrations in Seattle. Will probably cut an artichoke for our DTO and probably do salmon again that will get my Omega 3’s in. Spinach salad. We’ll have a lot to talk about vent, connect, catch up on business, stock market trends, Covid-19, demonstrations. I always look forward to Wednesday nights. ( Did a YouTube a few days ago on Journalogging in case you are interested. Journaling is proving to be really helpful to help some understand and get through this pandemic time.)

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Dining Together Online