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Articles Categorized Lifestyle

RESOLUTIONS: No. GOALS: Probably.

Last week I suggested everyone should ignore the annual guilt-ridden exercise of making resolutions. But it’s a hard custom to shake, which makes worth spending a little time analyzing the process. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Puritans spent their birthdays and January 1 in an exercise of intense introspection. During the process, they looked

BEING IN THE FLOW IS LIKE CATCHING THE BRASS RING

Welcome to the first week of 2020. Will you be setting goals? Or have you decided the annual ritual of introspection is an exercise in futility? This first year of a new decade, why not try something new, like catching a brass ring or being fully present in a state of flow? THE BRASS RING

Mistletoe Kisses, Roasted Chestnuts & The Christmas Song

A series on Christmas greenery isn’t complete without mistletoe, an Anglo-Saxon word that translates as “dung on a stick.” In many ways, mistletoe is a curious symbol of Christmas. On the one hand, mistletoe is a rootless parasite drawing nutrients from its host tree. On the other, its bright green color contrasts with the leafless

Holly, Ivy & Christmas

Holly, with its dramatic red berries, and ivy are two more evergreen symbols of Christmas that predate the Christian celebration. Romans decorated their homes with holly and ivy during Saturnalia, a year end festival honoring Saturn. Celts used the plants during the winter solstice. Both plants stand out during bleak winter days, with or without

Christmas Trees — Symbols of Hope

It’s December, and almost everywhere you look there are Christmas trees, evergreen boughs, and other symbols of this end-of-the-year “Season.” Long before Santa ever came on the scene, people in the Northern Hemisphere worried about the winter darkness. Some thought winter came because the Sun God was ill, and celebrated the Solstice because at long

Turkey, Football, & Shopping

At its most basic level, the holiday of Thanksgiving is about being grateful and eating a special meal. The menu generally includes a roast turkey, or tofu turkey. Pumpkin pie is a staple dessert choice, but far from the only one. The rest of the menu includes family favorites. Once the meal is over, thoughts

POINSETTIA: AMERICA’S CHRISTMAS FLOWER

Last week I was at our local garden center and couldn’t resist the Poinsettia display. Poinsettias weren’t part of my childhood holiday season, but now I can’t imagine the fall and winter festivities without them. Poinsettias didn’t always have a Christmas association. They were a lowly, yet useful, Mexican shrub the Aztecs called Cuitlaxochitl. The

Fanny Farmer & Modern Cooking

On August 23, 1902 Fanny Farmer opened her School of Cookery and continued her revolution in American cookery. In order to appreciate her efforts, it’s useful to start with a recipe comparison for Bird’s Nest Pudding. The original 1833 recipe is from The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child. Bird’s Nest Pudding If you

Pay Phones, Phone Booths & Superman

Phone booths are so 20th century, but when coin-operated telephones appeared in 1889, they represented a technological breakthrough as amazing as a modern smart phone. At the time, telephones weren’t uncommon, but there were no public venues. It was possible to find an agent operating a telephone pay station. For a fee, the customer could

We All Scream for Ice Cream*

Ice cream and its cousins can be had all year round, but during these Dog Days of Summer when the temperature climbs, frozen deserts are especially welcome. Considering reliable freezers are a 20th century invention, it’s surprising how long frozen desserts have been around. In China during the Tang Dynasty, ice men produced a concoction