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Technology Turn-Off

Nearly ten years ago, my husband and I turned off our cell phones and moved to Madrid, Spain. Cell phones weren’t in the hands of every man, woman, and child so we didn’t really think we were disconnecting from life. After all, we would still have a land line.  We opted not to have cell phones in Spain primarily because we didn’t feel the need and we wanted to live in the moment with our young daughter. She was beginning first grade and we took her to school, picked her up, and if she went anywhere, we were always with her so there really was no need for a cell phone. Read more »


A Day in Le Mont Saint-Michel, France

Le Mont Saint-Michel  or more casually known as Mont St. Michel is probably one of the most photographed sites in France (after the Eiffel Tower). I was there in 1977 and remember being taken aback by the site of the towering island in the distance, charmed by the narrow stone streets for pedestrians only, and being served a huge omelet for lunch, which is what the town is also famous far. Flash forward 34 years and not much has changed. Read more »


A Day in Bayeux, France

Bayeux, France is a small city with about 14,000 residents, 30 kilometers from Caen and 10 kilometers from the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (Cimetiere USA). The town is charming on foot but some of that charm is lost if you’re in a car trying to maneuver through narrow one way streets that seem to keep you going in circles. Best to follow signs to the center of town, park and explore the town on foot.  There are two sites to see in Bayeux:
  1. The Cathedrale Notre-Dame of Bayeux
  2. The Bayeux Tapestry Read more »

A Day in Normandy, France

In 1977 I went on a high school trip to France, Belgium and Holland – a whirlwind trip over 10 days that included a visit to the west coast of France although and I was unable to see Normandy because I was sick and left at the hotel to convalesce that day.  I always regretted not being able to go so when my husband and I decided to explore the west side of France, Normandy was on our schedule. Read more »


Franzen and Irving: Rock Stars of the Literary World

Several months ago, Jonathan Franzen and John Irving appeared together at a book club forum in Hartford, Connecticut.  I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of seeing two of my favorite authors in a panel discussion.  This wasn’t a book store appearance but a chance to hear two very talented authors speak about writing and their thoughts on literature. My husband compared my enthusiasm to the anticipation most people feel before an upcoming rock concert. Point well taken but Franzen and Irving are rock stars in the oft ignored literary world. Read more »


Corn – The Other Grain

Corn or “maize” has been getting bad press over the past few years primarily because its best attributes – speed and versatility – can also be its worst, thus inviting criticism. Corn grows rapidly in diverse climates and as such is grown throughout the world although the USA and China are the largest producers.  In its most pure form, corn is a grain cultivated and harvested early with the kernels used as a vegetable because its natural sugar content is at its highest early: hence the word “sweet corn.” High in fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin, and vitamin C, corn is also low in fat and sodium. Read more »


Children’s Books To Be Treasured

Last month my 15-year old daughter asked me if we could update the playroom in our home. She told me she had outgrown the room and wants it to be more mature….”like for teenagers” is how she phrased it.  I knew this day was coming but still it’s hard to believe the games, toys, and books that defined her childhood are no longer relevant:  the classic wooden blocks that haven’t been used in years, or the “Pretty Pretty Princess” game which was more than likely last used in 2004 when she convinced her three male cousins (ages 9,7, and 6) to play; or the books that I’ve spent thousands of hours reading to her.  They are as much a part of my journey as hers.  She’s just ready to move on while I’m still holding on. Read more »


Dying With Your Boots On

My friend, Clif died after he reached the summit of Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain at 26,906 feet. On his way down the mountain, Clif was resting in a base camp at 23,000 feet when he told a fellow climber, “I am the happiest man in the world – I have just climbed a beautiful mountain.” He went to sleep and never woke up. Read more »

A Slice of Red Onion

When traveling, I am always on the look out for a place to have a meal made with fresh ingredients which is how I came upon a chain restaurant called “The Atlanta Bread Company” one day. Scanning the menu, I settled for the “California Avocado” on honey wheat bread: thick pieces of ripe California avocado, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a slice of red onion. Read more »


The Cuisinart, Circa 1981 and Cole Slaw

The summer of 1981, I was 20 years old and just finished my sophomore year in college. Prince Charles was going to marry Lady Diana Spencer that summer,  MTV was launched, and the first woman (Sandra Day O’Connor) was nominated to the US Supreme Court.  It was quite a year but I remember 1981 mostly because it was the year I discovered a kitchen appliance that transformed food preparation:  The Cuisinart. Read more »