Coffee Breaks & Other Food Thoughts

coffee breaks and confections

Days and events over the past month have me thinking. About food. About family. About friendship. About time. About what is normal life. About coffee breaks and cafes.

Is this now normal life? COVID numbers remain high and the pandemic continues. But government policies and the actions of most people indicate that society has moved on. I still have not worked in an office building in more than two years. Working from home is easier in many ways and cheaper. Impromptu coffee breaks with colleagues are what I miss the most. I also miss randomly stopping by coffee shops alone.

A few weeks ago, I had a chai date with a friend from law school that I hadn’t seen in about twenty years. She returned to India within a few years after we graduated, so there weren’t that many opportunities to connect in person. One of the last times that I saw her, she made me chai from scratch at her house. Of course it was delicious. One of my favorite memories of her is how we would share snacks in class too. Bonding over food and the law.

This time, we were only able to meet for a short period of time, so we had chai at a Starbucks near me. She looked the same, but had cut her hair and I remembered how she has the best laugh. It was also my first time taking my mask off in a Starbucks since before the pandemic.

A few weeks before, I attended a rehearsal dinner and then a wedding the next day. It was the first time in more than two years that I had eaten in a restaurant and attended a truly large gathering — mostly unmasked. The dinner was delicious. The wedding was amazing. I saw family that I hadn’t seen in years. We talked and danced and laughed. My cousin was the groom and he and his wife are perfect together. I’m so happy they found each other. Our family adored her from the first time we met.

I’m fully vaccinated and double boosted. I timed my second booster with the week of the wedding, so I’d have the highest immunity for this very large gathering. It seems to have worked. Now I’m inching toward whatever this new life is. Will we ever be post-pandemic? Maybe not. So this is it. I’m still uneasy about it all. But I guess I’m starting to move on too.

Since cafe visits are no longer tied with where I’m working, I’m attaching my errands with coffee breaks. I had wanted to visit French Press Bakery & Cafe in Needham since 2019. I’m not usually in that area, but suddenly I needed to be and had a little time to relax. So I enjoyed a cold brew and an almond croissant sitting outside in the sun. I love this place! The area is adorable and full of other restaurants and shops. It’s not too far from Quincy, so I’ll definitely return.

A few days later, I needed to be in Hopkinton, so I paired the errand with a visit to Muffin House Cafe. They also had outdoor seating where I enjoyed my iced coffee and blueberry muffin. This place was jumping! At a certain point, there was a line of people waiting to get in. It’s definitely a favorite local spot!

What’s next on my food journey? Well, it’s not a cafe, but I learned recently that H Mart will soon be arriving in Quincy. I’m so excited! It’s a Korean grocery store and I’m looking forward to trying some different foods. During the pandemic, I started watching a ton of Korean dramas and following several Korean YouTubers. I’ve learned about many Korean dishes and ways of cooking, so there have been foods and ingredients that I’ve been looking for. Now I should have an easier time finding them.

Have you noticed shifts in your daily life to bring back what you’ve missed from before the pandemic or new things you’re bringing in?

The Blizzard Of 2022!

snow on balcony

For those of us who are of a certain age living in the Boston area, the Blizzard of ’78 has been the reference point for all snow storms. I’ve seen the generational shift happening in many ways, but it was even more apparent today when someone tweeted that 2015 was the year to reference. Really? I think of 2015 more as a series of storms over a month and not just one storm.

Today’s storm was a whopper though and will be remembered for years to come, so I thought it was worthy of a post. I measured and marked the snow totals by feet on my balcony window. Close to four feet because of the wind and drifts! That’s a whole lot of snow and I wonder how long it will take to melt.

Luckily I kept power through the storm, so I did a bit of blizzard baking. Oatmeal, chocolate-chip and butterscotch-chip cookies for the win!

Home – Outside The Box

new home

No more boxes! I’m officially unpacked and settling into the new place. It’s been just over three weeks since I moved. Things are still being arranged and it will take a while to really be used to being here, but it’s feeling like home.

I’ve always wanted a balcony and finally have one! The unseasonably warm temperatures provided a bit of time to sit outside, enjoy the space and the view. The balcony faces lots of trees, so it’s like I’m looking at my own tiny forest!

Overall the place is bigger and the layout is better, but the kitchen is smaller. Can’t have it all! But I’m making do and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Then I switch up the way I’m using the space, so it’s more comfortable and efficient. I moved the coffee maker around a few times, but think I found a place that works. It was such a relief when I finally found it in the mess of boxes at the beginning!

Even though I’m still in Quincy, I’m in a new zip code! Goodbye 02170 and hello 02169! Before I was closer to Milton and now I’m closer to Braintree. It’s nice exploring new places, especially the food related ones!

As much as the world can be full of turmoil, it feels good to create a sanctuary at home. I’m very grateful.

Free Yoga On The Library Lawn

yoga on the libary lawn

Over the years, I’ve read about many free yoga classes at public libraries in Massachusetts and in other states as well. This morning, I was finally able to attend a free yoga class right here in Quincy, outside on the lawn at Thomas Crane Public Library. This class was the first in a series of community classes taking place each Wednesday morning in September on the library lawn.

It’s hard taking pictures and enjoy the relaxing vibe, but I managed to snap a few.

There was a nice breeze — and lots of bees. Four or five bees hovered over blades of grass in front of me. A few ants made their way onto my mat too, but no stings or bites!

I was beneath a large tree, so there was some shade and bright sun streaming through the branches. There was a mostly clear blue sky with a few wispy clouds floating by. Even though the class was in the morning, it was warm and a tiny bit humid. Perfect weather and a reminder that summer is still here.

There was a good turnout and new arrivals kept showing up through most of the class. We were mostly an older crowd, but there was young woman who arrived towards the end with the cutest little girl. They both got on their mats and dove right into their practice.

From conversation I heard, a few people said this was their first yoga class. Our teacher, Rhiannon Skolnick of Humble Roots Yoga, was enthusiastic and has a gentle soothing way about her.

This might have been my first yoga class since the pandemic started. Possibly the second, but the first this summer. Because I’m vaccinated now and there was a lot of space to spread out on the library lawn, I felt comfortable not wearing a mask. Hopefully the weather will cooperate next week for another wonderful class.

Stonehenge In Quincy. Have You Seen It?

Quincy's Mini Stonehenge

During these pandemic times, while driving to the highway, on the side of the road, I noticed a series of stones in front of a house. Over the last several months, the order of the stones has changed. They started piling up and forming a circle.

Huh. Something was going on here. I wanted to take a closer look. Yesterday, I had the time and the weather cooperated. So I pulled over and took some pictures.

Who did this?! There’s a mini Stonehenge here in Quincy! I love a good mystery and this has grabbed my attention.

While Quincy’s Stonehenge lacks the grandeur of the original in England, something and someone is behind it. Has the pandemic inspired someone to reflect on Quincy’s famed granite industry and pay hommage to it? Or maybe they’re just bored and wanted to try something new.

My time travel loving self imagines it’s a portal to an alternate reality. If I stood in the center of the circle, on the night of a full moon, danced around a bit with magical intentions and touched a stone, maybe I would go poof! Just like in Outlander — traveling to the past or maybe the future. Because my logical mind will overrule the urge to find out, I’ll never know.

I’m not sure if this is the final arrangement of the stones and I’m hoping the display continues to grow.

Next month brings the summer solstice, which is connected to Stonehenge. The person or persons behind this monument of stones could have something more planned. Maybe, just maybe, there will be dancing around these stones yet. But at sunrise on June 20th.