Travels with Penelope

Travel, Food, Wine, Spirituality and Everything Else

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June 13, 2017 The Glass of Wine

 I am interrupting my travels through China journal to bring you breaking news. After several years of touring wine regions around the world, my partner and I hatched an idea for a book. That idea has finally born fruition.  It is in production and although it can be ordered now (in time for Christmas), it won’t be available until October-November.

The Glass of Wine

ISBN: 978-1-119-22343-6
250 pages
October 2017

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The first book to focus on the role of glass as a material of critical importance to the wine industry

For centuries glass has been the material of choice for storing, shipping, and sipping wine. How did that come to pass, and why? To what extent have glassmaking and wine making co-evolved over the centuries? The first book to focus on the role of glass as a material of critical importance to the wine industry, The Glass of Wine answers these and other fascinating questions.

The authors deftly interweave compelling historical, technical, and esthetic narratives in their exploration of glass as the vessel of choice for holding, storing, and consuming wine. They discuss the traditions informing the shapes and sizes of wine bottles and wine glasses, and they demystify the selection of the “right glass” for red versus white varietals, as well as sparkling and dessert wines. In addition, they review the technology of modern glassmaking and consider the various roles glass plays in wineries—especially in the enologist’s laboratory. And they consider the increasing use of aluminum and polymer containers and its potential impact on the central role of glass as the essential material for wine appreciation.

  • The first book focusing on the role of glass and its central importance to the wine industry
  • Written by a glass scientist at UC Davis, home of the premier viticulture and enology program in North America
  • Interlards discussions of the multi-billion-dollar glass and wine industries with valuable technical insights for scientists, engineers, and wine enthusiasts alike
  • Illustrates the wide spectrum of bottles, carafes, decanters, and drinking glasses with an abundance of exquisite full-color photos

Both an authoritative guide and a compelling read, The Glass of Wine tells the story of the centuries-old marriage between an endlessly fascinating material and a celebrated beverage. It is sure to have enormous appeal among ceramic and glass professionals, wine makers, and oenophiles of all backgrounds.

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Author Information

James F. Shackelford, PhD,is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC Davis. He is a member of the American Ceramic Society and ASM International and a Fellow of both societies.

Penelope L. Shackelford, MA, is a former teacher who has served as an arts writer for Davis EnterpriseArtweek, and other national arts publications and as Associate Editor for Arts for the journal Multicultural Education.

June 7, 2017 Terracotta Warriors – Zhongguo (China Journal)




Dear Friends,

Back from a wonderful trip to Japan I am finally able to resume sharing the wonderful pilgrimage I had to China last month.

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May 10, 2017 To Japan



Dear Friends,

I have so much left to share about China, but I am going to Japan today and will be offline for two weeks. Will continue with China when I return.


May 7, 2017 Xi’an, Zhongguo (China Journal)


Dear Friends,

FYI:  One of my readers told me that she did not know that words in color are links to an explanation or information on the term or site. In the former post, clicking on the blue-green Wuhan in the first sentence will provide more information on yes, the city of Wuhan.

Only two days in Wuhan and it felt as though I had lived in China from a beginning. I did not know the exact timing of that beginning, in a past life perhaps, I only knew that I felt at home and safe. And, home rescinded to the backyards, no that is too close, home retracted to a distant horizon deep in my mind.

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April 30, 2017 Wuhan, Zhongguo (China Journal)


It was Saturday, my second and last day in Wuhan. We decided to forgo the breakfast buffet at the hotel and head for Starbucks, but first I took advantage of what was an unusually clear and sunny day,  to snap a shot from our hotel window. When done, we left the room and headed out for a morning walk.



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4-20-2017 In China


Dear Friends,

The post below is a continuation from my last post on the journey to China. After I arrived in China, I had  minor internet issues to deal with. With that and a very full schedule, my plan to post every other day proved to be impossible. Long story short, I can now begin to share what was an enlightening trip to Zhongguo. Continue reading

4-14-2017 On my way to China…


Dear Friends,

As I began to make my initial preparations to go to China, three things were clear: I would avoid the pollution of Bejiing, I would go to see the terra cotta warriors in Xian and the trip would begin in central China in Wuhan. Otherwise, with my limited knowledge of China, I felt like I was dropping into a yellow sea of the unknown. A friend suggested that I get a guide, but first I had to determine where I wanted to go.

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April 5, 2017 Enroute to Zhongguo (Middle Kingdom)



Dear Friends,

A year ago the thought of going to China was one of the last trips I would have entertained. Yet here I am sitting in an American Airlines gate waiting for a plane to Shanghai. A fourteen hour flight! From Shanghai I will transfer to China Eastern Airlines and make another two hours to Wuhan, a city of 10,000,000 in central China.

When a second opportunity to go to China came up in less than a year, I decided to take a deeper look at my misgivings about going. Most of them boiled down to human rights issues. I thought about how badly I feel when some of the people I meet abroad tell me about the same feelings they have for American (not about human rights, but other issues) and refuse to visit our country.  The more I thought about China and got beyond the initial thoughts I began to sense a deep feeling, almost a calling to go to Zhongguo. After all, I had been intensely interested in Taoism for decades. One of the readings at my wedding had been taken from Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu. There was a time when I threw the I Ching daily. As soon as I decided to join my partner in China, after he completed the annual course he teaches at the University of Technology in Wuhan, everything began to fall into place. Guides to sites I wanted to see, important information about sites walked in the door. It was time to explore the roots of two spiritual traditions that had been a deep part of my path.

One thing in particular let me know that I was supposed to take this pilgrimage. China does not allow Google. So coming from the States, one must find a way to connect with the internet. VPN is the way to go. At the Genius Bar at my local Apple store I asked my assistant to download. Turns out that Apple cannot do that: its another company, stupid! I was pretty down in the mouth. How would I survive in China without the internet. Well, I was having tea with a friend when her friend Brent passed by. He reminded me that we had met a year earlier. When my friend told me that Brent goes to China four times a year, I bemoaned my internet problem. He said, “Oh, don’t worry, you can download VEP. I’ll do it for you right now. Additionally, he downloaded it on my phone as well as Google translation!

It’s time to board. Wish me Bon Voyage.


March 31, 2017 Sintra, Portugal


In preparing for my upcoming trip to China, I began to reflect on my recent trip to Portugal. I decided to review my posts on that trip. To my chagrin, I came across two unpublished posts. Senior moments encourage humility! While late, it is as as timely as when I wrote it. Here it is.

While ascending and descending the seven hills of Lisbon last fall, I felt the goddess of travel secretly guiding my journey from the shadows of a hidden dimension. Random walks led to places I would have put on my itinerary had I been into making a plan. Like stepping stones on the trail a series of UNESCO sites opened, one jewel after another, revealing the layers of art, architecture, religious and political history that provide a deeper understanding of Portugal’s historical role in world matters. And, along the way, an abundance of street musicians’ syncopated sounds from ancient stringed instruments filled the promenades with melodic harmonies. In the evening, after sunset, heart-rending interpretations of fado poured out of restaurants and wine bars.

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March 10, 2017 A Great Laxative, Can Robots Replace Humans and More!



Through cold weather and several northern California monsoons, I holed up and shuttled between my studio and the kitchen. I finally had an opportunity to get into Plenty More, an amazing cookbook I received as a Christmas gift from my son. Plenty More is full of vegetarian recipes heavily influenced by Ottolenghi’s (the author) Israeli, Italian and British background. Asian influences shine through as well. While the book is vegetarian the author frequently suggests that many of the recipes can be used as side dishes for meat or fowl. I cannot give enough praise to this chef and I am determined to try every recipe in the book before the year’s end.

In spite of the cold, my partner and I also made a few foodie excursions to San Francisco. Among the restaurants we sampled, Aster, Liholiho Yacht Club, Cala and Al’s Place are the ones that I recommend. Eater.Com offers some great info and reviews on all four. Continue reading

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