Soon our lives will return to Normal (I hope)



We have had a lot of time for reflection in the last year. Hopefully, with the vaccinations in place, our lives may return to a "new normal". Many that I have met in the last year will continue to wear a mask, even after being vaccinated. They liked not getting colds and flus as in previous years. Me, I can't wait to get rid of the mask-I want people to see my beautiful smile or my scowl or just my happy face.


We will all make our own choices as the end of the Pandemic nears. 16 states as of this writing have a "No Mask Mandate" in effect, leaving it up to business owners to do what they need to do. So far, Walgreens, CVS, Target, Kroger's (which owns Smiths here in Las Vegas), Starbucks & Albertsons will still require a mask to shop in their stores.


My hope is that I will soon return to my frequent travels. I really didn't want the vaccine, but in order to travel, it will now be a requirement, so today, I will be receiving the one-shot vaccine by Johnson & Johnson. My next trip planned will be Disneyworld with my family in May and Peru in July and the list goes on through the end of the year. Hopefully no more cancellations.


Women used to dominate the beer industry – until the witch accusations started pouring in




Up until the 1500s, brewing was primarily women’s work – that is, until a smear campaign accused women brewers of being witches. Much of the iconography we associate with witches today, from the pointy hat to the broom, may have emerged from their connection to female brewers.


A routine household task

Humans have been drinking beer for almost 7,000 years, and the original brewers were women. From the Vikings to the Egyptians, women brewed beer both for religious ceremonies and to make a practical, calorie-rich beverage for the home.


In fact, the nun Hildegard von Bingen, who lived in modern-day Germany, famously wrote about hops in the 12th century and added the ingredient to her beer recipe.

From the Stone Age to the 1700s, ale – and, later, beer – was a household staple for most families in England and other parts of Europe. The drink was an inexpensive way to consume and preserve grains. For the working class, beer provided an important source of nutrients, full of carbohydrates and proteins. Because the beverage was such a common part of the average person’s diet, fermenting was, for many women, one of their normal household tasks.


Some enterprising women took this household skill to the marketplace and began selling beer. Widows or unmarried women used their fermentation prowess to earn some extra money, while married women partnered with their husbands to run their beer business.


Exiling women from the industry

So if you traveled back in time to the Middle Ages or the Renaissance and went to a market in England, you’d probably see an oddly familiar sight: women wearing tall, pointy hats. In many instances, they’d be standing in front of big cauldrons.

But these women were no witches; they were brewers.


They wore the tall, pointy hats so that their customers could see them in the crowded marketplace. They transported their brew in cauldrons. And those who sold their beer out of stores had cats not as demon familiars, but to keep mice away from the grain. Some argue that iconography we associate with witches, from the pointy hat to the cauldron, originated from women working as master brewers.


Just as women were establishing their foothold in the beer markets of England, Ireland and the rest of Europe, the Inquisition began. The fundamentalist religious movement, which originated in the early 16th century, preached stricter gender norms and condemned witchcraft.


Male brewers saw an opportunity. To reduce their competition in the beer trade, these men accused female brewers of being witches and using their cauldrons to brew up magic potions instead of booze.


Over time, it became more dangerous for women to practice brewing and sell beer because they could be misidentified as witches. At the time, being accused of witchcraft wasn’t just a social faux pas; it could result in prosecution or a death sentence. Women accused of witchcraft were often ostracized in their communities, imprisoned or even killed.


Some men didn’t really believe that the women brewers were witches. However, many did believe that women shouldn’t be spending their time making beer. The process took time and dedication: hours to prepare the ale, sweep the floors clean and lift heavy bundles of rye and grain. If women couldn’t brew ale, they would have significantly more time at home to raise their children. In the 1500s