My Material Life

Beth’s Wine Bar

From 1989 to 2000 I worked at a place called The Career Action Center which I always thought was a funny name for an organization.  In fact, it was not unusual for callers (mostly those who reached us by accident) to imagine they heard the other voice on the phone say, “Hello, Correction Center” or even, “Hello, Queer Action Center” when they reached us on the telephone.  But even though it had a funny name and caused me quite a bit of stress now and then, it was a wonderful place and it brought many, many good people into my life.

One of them was Beth.  I started at the Center when I was still in my twenties and for a while, I was the youngest staff member.  In the nineties, that changed.  Beth was hired to work on our corporate services side and I remember thinking of her as one of the new “kids”.  She was goofy, very fun to be around, enthusiastic, extremely resourceful, sharp as a tack, and talked a lot about wanting to have a coffee cart (at least that’s what I remember).

Now Beth is all grown up and instead of a coffee cart, look what she’s created (photo above from – a wine bar.  It’s called A Grape in the Fog and it’s located in Pacifica.  I saw Beth at a reunion in August 2010, so I knew she was opening the bar, but I missed out on a subsequent outing to Pacifica.  It looks so charming, doesn’t it – very British.

One of our former co-workers just alerted us to the fact that Beth and the story of her wine bar are featured in an article in the October issue of More magazine.  My first reaction to that was, “Wow!”, closely followed by, “Beth’s too young for More magazine!”  I think I’ve gotten over the shock that I’m getting older, but I’m still surprised that it happens to people who are younger than me.  Anyway, the article (written by Julie Halpert) is very well done – very specific and real in terms of dollar amounts, doubts, and things like that.  The kinds of things that are so important in showing how someone was really able to turn their dream into their reality.  Read it and be inspired.

And then go visit Beth at her wine bar and tell her Colleen from the correction center sent you.  You might even bring your knitting.


  1. Kathie

    What a great place! I’d love to go there sometime. You have the most interesting friends! I actually saw that article in “More” magazie, after all, I guess I AM in their target reader range! Colleen, your “Correction Center” story reminded me of the time I had jury duty the 3rd day of school. I tried to explain as best I could to my new first graders what “jury duty” was. Thought I’d done a pretty good job, until the Principal called to tell me that she was getting several calls about me being in jail! Small town that we live in, news travels fast, and not always accurately! The judge actually postponed the trial the next day so I could go back to school to explain to my students (and their parents) what was going on! 🙂

    Thanks for the glasses! We really appreciated you sending them. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner – We’ve had some changes lately around here we’ve needed to deal with – Talk to you soon, I’ll fill you in.

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