Notes From All Over

Time Flies
Tortoise and Hare

Or does it? For the first-grader waiting for the recess bell, time crawls like a tortoise. But confronted with the first birthday pics of a child you'd swear was born 2 weeks ago, you might feel time racing like the proverbial hare. Why, as we accumulate more of it, do we perceive time as ever more fleeting?

Perspective: La Vie en Rose
Em & La Vie en Rose

"Saturday began horribly. When the alarm went off, I thought: 'Ooh, I get to eat now!' But nooo...outside we go, and WHAT.IS.THIS??!!! It's cold, it's wet, it's getting all over my fur. And you expect me to WALK in this? I thought we were done with this white crap! I'm going to take as long as I can, just to protest! As soon as we're back inside, I give Mom a dirty look, run upstairs and launch myself onto the bed. 'Dad, can you BELIEVE this treatment? Mom tortured me! She made my feet cold and got all of my hairs wet, too'. I know-I'll rub it off on you.

Franco-American (aka Winemaker Tasting Tuesday, March 19 6-7:30 PM)
Alexandre Remy

No, not Spaghetti-o's. Although that IS a related story. In 1886, French immigrant Alphonse Biardot founded the Franco-American Food Company, aiming to introduce the foods of his homeland to an American audience in a convenient and cost-effective package: cans. His gambit paid off in a big way. In fact, Franco-American's canned soups and pastas were so successful that food giant Campbell's Foods bought out Biardot in 1915. The soups were soon re-labeled 'Campbell's', but they kept the Franco-American label on the pastas until the 1990's. Who could ever forget 'Uh-oh! Spaghetti-o's'?

Wines to Be Locked Up With

The fortress of Chinon, in France's Loire River valley, is definitely on my bucket list. A beautifully restored medieval castle, Chinon figured heavily in the tales of Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years' War. But my biggest reason for wanting to visit Chinon concerns Eleanor of Aquitaine, the 11th century Queen, first of France and then of England, and mother to not only Richard the Lion Heart, but also the infamously corrupt King John.

Embracing the Chaos
Tre Bicchieri 2019

I spent most of Friday knee-deep in Italian wine geek heaven, at the annual Tre Bicchieri tasting in New York. Tre Bicchieri highlights the best of the best of Italian wines, those very few which have won the coveted Gambero Rosso 'three glass' award. Actually, 'tasting' may not be the best description for this event. Once it gets rolling, Tre Bicchieri strongly resembles a rugby scrum....where everyone just happens to be carrying wine glasses.


There is little I love more on a cold winter's night than an interesting book. Add a warm blanket, an excellent glass of wine, and both dogs nearby....nirvana!

I come by this love of books honestly, as my two oldest sisters read to me and then taught me to read well before I went to school. We were and are a bookish family, and powered through the books available at our tiny school. When we moved, briefly, to a small city in southern Minnesota, the public library was a revelation to all of us. "So I can take any book I want home, and when I bring it back, I get more?"


I grew up outside of a very small (population ~400) town on the border of North and South Dakota, working both on my family's farm and in the small cafe we operated in town. And though farm animals can be both unpredictable and cantankerous, they had nothing on some of the cafe customers.


February 14th. Do all those hearts and flowers remind you of conscription into the Roman army? Or maybe a violent beating and beheading? Valentine, an early Christian priest, ran afoul of Roman Emperor Claudius II for secretly performing the marriage rite. Claudius had banned weddings, believing that married men did not make willing soldiers. As punishment, Valentine was publicly beaten and beheaded, his head displayed on a pike as warning to others inclined to disobey the emperor.

But for a Label...

As I write this, the federal government is once again fully open for business. For the moment, everyone's back at work, from cleaning up the garbage at national parks, to carrying out USDA food inspections, to researching (well, maybe) climate change, and thousands of other jobs that were given short shrift during the month+ shutdown. For the moment. Because twelve days from now, we face the prospect of another one.

The Unbeaten Path
Paths Diverge

-Gandalf, in J.R.R.Tolkien's The Hobbit

If you're a Tolkien fan, I don't need to tell you that Gandalf was cautioning Bilbo and the dwarves not to stray from Mirkwood Forest's central path. If you're NOT a Tolkien fan (query: why on earth not?), then just put it this way: a variety of rather nasty things were lying in wait for those who ventured into the trees. Of course Bilbo and the dwarves didn't listen to Gandalf, and their shortcut made a good bit of trouble for them but a delicious story for us.