Redwoods and Jumping the Synapse

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

I once lived in a cabin in the redwoods south of San Francisco back in 1988-89.

This area was/is one of the most beautiful and incredibly spiritual nature places I have ever experienced. Walks along paths in local parks provided solace, comfort and peace of mind I have found almost impossible to find here in the mid-Atlantic.

Drives along shaded back roads from La Honda to Pescadero were relaxing. Taking route 84 out to PCH Route 1 and heading up towards Half Moon Bay offered sights of pumpkin farms, countless red tailed hawks and a number of places to turn right and back into heavily wooded areas.

Those were the days of frequent jumping the synapse from the left brain constant intellectual jib-jabbing, Silicon Valley life in the fast lane “what’s the next chess board move?” to the right brain’s gentle calmness and feeling incredible peace and feeling a part of something so much more authentic and genuine.

Often, I miss those times and look forward to discovering another rural place that cups my fragile heart and where nature tenderly enfolds my spirit and heals my soul.


Autumn Duo: Landscape Paintings and Ecochic Vintage Jewelry

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photo du Jour: Monument Valley

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

A photo of one of my favorite places, Monument Valley. (sigh) Visited here several times but it has been over ten years and I need to visit again soon.

The School of Essential Ingredients Book Review

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

When she was a little girl, Lillian discovered the power of food to bring people back to themselves. After Lillian’s father left the family, Lillian’s mother retreated into a fictional world, her face always hidden behind the pages of a book. Only when Lillian, desperate to reconnect with her mother, enlisted the help of an “Abuelita” from the neighborhood grocery store, did she discover that a perfectly prepared dish, a few “essential ingredients,” had the ability to bring her mother back to reality — and to her daughter.

This ability of food, and cooking, to connect people with themselves, their past and each other is the common theme of Erica Bauermeister’s THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS. The novel gets its title from the cooking school that Lillian, now an adult, runs on evenings when her popular, high-end restaurant is closed. On the first Monday of each month, Lillian’s restaurant kitchen is filled with a colorful assortment of amateur cooks, some eager to deepen their own culinary connections, some unsure what brought them to this place.

There’s Claire, who’s been so smothered by the constant physical and emotional demands of being a young wife and mother that she’s forgotten what it means to make time and space for her own interests. There’s Carl and Helen, an older couple whose seemingly perfect marriage hides a history of betrayal, redemption and hard work. There’s Tom, whose passion for food was ignited by the love of his life. And there’s Isabelle, whose short-term memory is failing her in her old age, but whose rich, long life rushes back to the present when she indulges in the nourishing, delicious food Lillian’s restaurant prepares.

THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS will likely appeal to fans of THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB and other novels where a group encounter serves as the foil for exploring individuals’ stories. Unlike those books, however, Bauermeister’s is best read not as an overarching story but as a series of linked character studies, as exquisitely prepared and satisfying as the dishes Lillian prepares in her restaurant. Although two of the characters do begin a tentative romance and one fulfills a career aspiration, the focus here is less on where they’re going, plot-wise, and more on where they’ve been and who they are.

And then there’s the food. Bauermeister has a gift for writing about food in sensual, evocative terms, connecting the dish’s rich flavors not only to her characters’ rich histories but also to the reader’s inner palate. “She took a piece of melon in her fingers, wrapped it with a translucent slice of pink meat, and motioned for him to open his mouth. The meat was a whisper of salt against the dense, sweet fruit. It felt like summer in a hot land, the smooth skin in the curve between Charlie’s strong thumb and index finger. The wine afterward was crisp, like coming up to the surface of water to breathe.” Such intense, emotional descriptions of food deepen and enrich the gems of character studies that comprise the novel. They’re also likely to send hungry readers to their own kitchens, where they might find themselves reconnecting to the pleasures of food — and to their own intriguing life stories.

— Reviewed by Norah Piehl ¬†( on amazon)

Fine Art Landscape Paintings: Etsy Treasury

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pour yourself a glass of fresh iced tea or a cup of coffee and take a visual vacation.

Writing Career Gets Harder: OpEd LA Times

August 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am an optimistic romantic or a romantic optimist. Yes, writing and getting published and paid is very hard work and not for everyone. Personally, I would like to see more employed writers share their success stories in terms of snapshots of typical days of writing.  However, articles like this one provide a somewhat grounded perspective:,0,4119789.story

OpEdNews: Talented writer worth following

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

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