Saturday, January 02, 2010

Highlights from Holiday Happenings

This is the first year that I skipped our paid vacation to Aspen. After my 3 week trip to Mexico I decided I'd had enough of planes for a while. And no matter--I planned a week full of exciting (and cheap!) events while most in the office were gone.

First off was the new Harpoon Beer tasting at the Kinsale and trying out Minibar's cocktails and Aspen-like interior decorating and fireplace.

The next day I organized a group to go the Wine Bottega's chocolate and wine tasting (free) and dinner in the Italian North End (not free).

More free booze on Thursday at Albert Winestein's tasting.

Then Friday I went to the Lexington annual Handel's Messiah. Now on it's 49th year, this is certainly the best sing-a-long Messiah there is. Many people there have been going, 10, 20, 30, event 40+ years! There was an air of camaraderie and a somewhat dorky love of singing aloud. At one point the bass singer finished a particularly good solo and I found myself grinning and nodding. I happened to look around and almost everyone was smiling and nodding in appreciation.

I spent Christmas at home in South Jersey, which is always a unique sensory experience. I spent most of the weekend being shuttled between relatives and family friends' homes. Because my father drove, I usually slept through the rides. It was if I'd magically awake in another strange house. Windows were small and it was dark out, so it was if the outside never existed--just funny knick-knacks, TVs always on and different people's wedding photos.

I'm used to being very aware of my environs. Up until recently I'd bike to work. Thursday I walked the 2 miles to the grocery store in the snow (safer than driving), stopping in shops and the library along the way. You notice the new art hanging in the gallery. You say hi to neighbors and you pet others' dogs. You notice a house's new paint job and feel the immediacy of the wind and weather.

The car to house, to car to house routine got a little surreal after four days. It's almost as if the state of New Jersey didn't exist, just a few folk's homes--and cars.

This week I returned to Boston with a vengeance. Went to Redbones for a beer launch. The wait was one cold, cold hour outdoors and the keg was kicked by the time we made it in, but the free appetizers of corn fritters, fried catfish, shrimp made a fine dinner. Partied perhaps a little too hardy for New Years with our home-made glögg.

I made up for January 1st's day of sloth with early morning sledding today, followed by more sloth.

Do holidays get any better than this?

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