Notes From All Over

Transitions
Pushing buds

I am a big proponent of outlines-not necessarily a formal ABC 123 hierarchy, just a simple flow chart. It has driven me substantially nuts that I could not convince my daughter to use outlines when writing school papers. Granted, given a certain familiarity with a subject and a relatively quick wit, you can probably turn out a decent paper without one. But a plan of attack helps you crystallize your thoughts and manage transitions between different ideas. Good writing is all about those transitions.

Always
Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

Do you have books you have read until they're dog-eared and falling apart? Books you pick off the shelf to re-read a favorite passage which speaks to something going on in your life that day? For me, Kathleen Norris' Dakota: A Spiritual Geography is chief among those favorites. Her loving but entirely unsentimental treatment of my native landscape never fails to thrill; she captures both the pristine beauty of the land and the twin challenges of isolation and economic stagnation with equal aplomb.

And Counting...
Bottles, Bottles, Bottles

Want to incite fear and loathing in a retailer? One word: Inventory. That's right- I spent the last several days bending, stretching, lifting, moving, perched on a step-stool, kneeling on the floor...and counting. Counting every single item in the store. I love talking about our products, tasting them, selling them. Counting, them, not so much. By the time we finished, I was both creaky and cranky, longing for a yoga class followed by a glass of wine.

Solutions

This Friday morning found us in New York for a post-New Year, pre-return to college day trip. First stop: the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, a re-creation of immigrant life in the city from 1863 til the 1930s. We took the 'Shops' tour, which starts in an 1880's German-style beer saloon. From our modern perspective, it's hard to imagine why whole families would gather in this cramped, dark space. But tour their apartments (much smaller) and consider their circumstances, and you get it: this was their living room, where they relaxed and met friends and family.

Resolution: Happy New Year!
Hemingway: Wine and Friends

It's that time again-time to examine the old year and make plans for the new one. Don't worry; we're not going to regale you with plans for less coffee and more hot yoga. As always, our resolutions are all about the grape juice.

I hereby resolve to:

A Gift
Gift

Because I grew up in a very rural area, my earliest memories of Christmas shopping involve catalogs. Not the ubiquitous pile of paper that lands in your mailbox on a daily basis now, just the 'Big Three' of JC Penney, Sears, and Montgomery Ward. Their Christmas catalogs, the size of a city telephone directory, would arrive in the fall, because it took a good 4-6 weeks or more to place and receive an order from them. We'd spend weeks poring over the pictures of toys and clothes, picking and marking our favorites.

Friends
Turning Point

Friends, I will remember you, think of you, pray for you. And when another day is through, I'll still be friends with you.
-John Denver

Going to the Dogs...Saturday, December 3 2-5 PM
Crazy Dog

We think everyone should drink more bubbly (and bodacious holiday-worthy reds, killer Scotch and Bourbon, great eggnog...). We think everyone should experience the hot dog Nirvana that is Snappy Dogs. And we definitely believe that all real dogs deserve a home of their own, with people who love and care for them.

Ergo, Bubbles & Bark, our year-end bash to benefit Forever Home Rescue New England. Your $10 ticket -a 100% donation to FHR- includes:

Laying Down the Rules
Coffee and Wine

Ah, Thanksgiving: the holiday devoted to stuffing a turkey then stuffing yourself and all your family members. The Pilgrims and Native Americans are mixed up in it somehow, too. Plus football, of course. And a parade.

I have 2 Simple Rules for Thanksgiving Guests

The Wine Nose...Knows
Washington Wines

The Washington State wine scene is growing by leaps and bounds; it seems like a new winery springs up about every other week. With more than a dozen American Viticultural Areas and dramatic differences in climate and terrain, WA is also producing an exciting array of wines: Bordeaux-style blends, varietals more often associated with Spain (Tempranillo, Graciano) or Portugal (Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional), rich Chardonnay, Rhone varieties like Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre...the list is endless.

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