Notes From All Over

Beer Bubble?

In beer, bubbles = good. Nobody wants stale, flat beer. But right now, the craft beer scene might be facing a different kind of bubble: a saturated market that's beginning to seem ripe for a shakeout. According to a recent Boston magazine article, in 2012 there were 47 breweries in Massachusetts. Today, there are 197, with at least 22 more scheduled to open before the end of the year. And that's just Massachusetts. Many other states are experiencing the same boom; the collective effect is that we are awash in beer.

Trunkline Trail

A couple balmy days notwithstanding, as I write this we're back in the deep freeze. Hat and mittens to walk the dogs in the morning, windshield-scraping, car-warming, and yes, please to that mug of hot coffee. Just another winter in New England. If only all that cold were serving some greater purpose-and it may be! According to an Atlantic article, exposure to cold temperatures may help humans lose weight and maintain weight loss.

Strangers Among Us

One night a few weeks ago, as I was driving home via Franklin's Elm Street, two deer dashed across the road, followed by four coyotes in hot pursuit. To a native of the Plains states, this was perplexing. Coyotes don't-generally-hunt in packs. But these four were definitely cooperating for the kill, behavior more associated with wolves. And there's the rub: this IS strange behavior for a Western coyote. But Eastern coyotes have been intermingling with grey wolves and timber wolves in Canada.

Animals New Years Resolutions

Relax. I absolutely promise not to subject you to details about giving up cheese or going to more yoga classes. (And on another note, SO not giving up cheese.) Nope, as always, these are liquid resolutions-all about what we think is awesome. We'll probably spend 2018 telling you about these, so in no particular order and without further ado:

1) Drink more 'other' French bubbly. Cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant d'Alsace. Sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Seriously delicious bubbles at non-Champagne prices. What's not to like about that?

Holiday Stress

Happy Holidays! Relax and enjoy this magical time of year! That is, relax and enjoy this magical time of year, as soon as you have baked 9 dozen cookies, shopped for, wrapped, and possibly shipped countless 'perfect' presents, written a thoughtful note in a teetering tower of holiday cards, cleaned and decorated the house, trimmed the tree, planned a delicious multi-course holiday meal, and...the list goes on.

The Beginning
First Baptist Church

For me, the Christmas season does not begin on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even Giving Tuesday. It begins on the evening when Brown University holds its annual Latin Carol Service at Providence's First Baptist Church.

I was not a Latin major. I do not currently live in Providence. I am not a Baptist. But sitting in those ancient pews, while the lights of the city gleam through soaring windows and the pipe organ's majestic tones blend with words of a beautiful language long dead, I feel a wake-up call to the glory of the season.

What Day Is It?
Doughnut Girl

Well. We have all-apparently-survived Black Friday. And Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. And in case you thought you were done with randomly-created 'holidays', you are SO wrong. Tomorrow is National Cookie Day. Dec 9 is National Anti-Corruption Day. The 12th? Gingerbread House Day. And-my current favorite-Dec 15th is Cat Herder's Day. Query: How do you celebrate that? By engaging in futile acts all day?

Deck the Halls
Trimming the Tree

Weather more in tune with autumn notwithstanding, we're now on the far side of Thanksgiving. Time to break out the holiday decorations! Driving back from yoga on Saturday, we passed quite a few neighbors out hanging lights and wreaths. Inevitably, the blowups will follow, and -Boom!- it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Gratitude & Hospitality

Thanksgiving: If you're the one doing the entertaining, it can feel like a marathon. Clean the house. Buy the turkey, plus all the other groceries. And wine. Beer. Etc. Cook furiously for a few days. Set the table, serve it forth, and then clean some more. Under these circumstances, it's possible to lose sight of the holiday's original purpose: taking the time to reflect on the plentiful blessings in our lives.

The Last Word
Fat Twitter

Do you know a 'last word' person? No matter how trivial the text or email, they answer it.
No, thank you!
Sure, no problem.
Arghhh! This drives me crazy! But now I have new perspective. Maybe they picked up this habit while trying to retain their Very Responsive badge on Facebook.