Category Archives: opinion



My brother and I had lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen in Town Triangle today. I’m wondering if I am way off base or do others agree with my thoughts. The Shredded Mushroom and Spinach Pizzas were good, sided with good Mediterrean Salads, but my chin was about 3” above the table. I asked for a bumper seat, knowing immediately how small children feel. Alas, they had none.

The music was very loud and of a nature that was definitely not conducive to pleasant dining or digestion. Where is the sense of dining room decorum to be found?

It was also annoying to have the wait person come to us, while our mouths were busy chewing our food, and pump us for donations in “supporting the troops.” Really, doesn’t anyone respect time and place for things?

I wonder how others feel about this. Am I out of step, expecting too much for the money paid? If it were McDonald’s or Wendy’s or like fast-food places, I would understand the mentality. What are your thoughts on this?

Leave a comment

Filed under opinion, Uncategorized

Writing in Cookbooks

Here’s a question for those who love to spend time in the kitchen and there are still many of us out there, fortunately. How many times have you come across hand written notes in a used cook book you bought? Or one handed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter or thankfully, today to sons, etc.? Have you written adjustments to a recipe to suit your own tastes? I know I have. The first time I try it their way. After that, I’m doing it my way, altering their recipe and sometimes my own to accommodate a healthier recipe.
Think about the way our Moms cooked 40 years ago and how we cook today. Especially if you have changed Mom’s recipes for healthier ones. That is how tastes evolve, restaurants stay at the top of the list; by tasting, adding more of this, less of that, and changing this ingredient or seasoning for that one. It’s like exploring without leaving the kitchen!
We are lucky here in America where immigrants bringing their herbs and spices with them when they came, introduced us to new tastes; even their fish and meat unknown to us as children. I was 40 before I ever tasted goat and 60 before I tasted kale. We definitely have a melting pot of ethnic foods and I have definitely altered cookbook recipes to suit my own taste. Try it……

Leave a comment

Filed under books, cookbooks, general, opinion, Uncategorized, writing




DSCF3335Were you taught to not write or mark your books when you were growing up? Teachers especially stressed that the books loaned to us for class had to be reused the next year and the year after that. Strong words were spoken about the love and care of books.

That love and care of books remains with me today and the memories of those teachers. Yet after decades of keeping my books pristine has changed drastically.

In the 90s I came to appreciate and to buy mostly used books. Often I would open a book to see a personal note written on the flyleaf by someone gifting the book. This brought me into the scene of the giver and receiver. A privilege; almost like being invited to share a confidence.

Pictured here, the John Woolman, American Quaker by Janet Whitney book, a first edition published in May 1942, is inscribed, To Cousin Gertrude, a Direct Descendent of John Woolman, with love and best wishes, from H…. Hutchinson Cook. The dots replace the writing I could not read. The first initial could be an H or a TH. I wonder about the relationship between these two cousins. I imagine the delight she felt with receiving this gift. He sounds happy to have found this book for her to read.
The original price in the book is $3.75. It is listed online for $33.00 to $85.00. For serious book collectors the inscription would lower the value of the book. I think of it as adding value.

More on this subject in the near future.

Leave a comment

Filed under American History, books, general, opinion, reflection, writing

Looking for a Lost Relative


Looking for a Lost Relative
The trouble women face, not as often today as in the past, is the name thing. When we get married and take our husband’s name as our own, we lose our identity. This makes genealogy searches on women extremely difficult. And when we marry a second time, it makes it twice as difficult.
It also makes it hard when cleaning out old files and boxes full of photos that the next generation will know nothing about. Which brings me to my dilemma; I have photos of a first cousin, who I only remember meeting once or twice in a lifetime that spans two centuries. (The last one and this one-I’m not over 100 years old.)
The photo posted was Janet Bice at her Holy Communion, born in Trenton, New Jersey area, I think. in the late 1930s. Daughter of William Bice. Not sure, but I think her mother’s name was Helen. The last I heard, she lived to Texas. This would have been in the 1970s. If anyone has an idea of who she or her family is, please let me know. I know someone out there would love to have these pictures.


Filed under general, lost relative, opinion, reflection, women, writing

Speaking of Good Writing-Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes

Downton Abbey is so refreshing to hear as well as to watch. It’s the writing! It’s good dialogue. The actors can hardly discharge good lines if they aren’t any good when written. Thanks to Julian Fellowes we hear good lines…..and thanks to Maggie Smith, of course.
The Dowager Countess character puts me in mind of an earlier writing extraordinaire of Fellowes’, Gosford Park . Countess Trentham, snobbish aunt of Lady McCordle, played superbly again, by Maggie Smith. She has the best lines in the movie. Well, among the best. Fellowes declares that he fashioned her after an aunt of his own. It is a movie I have watched many times because of the good writing; the subtle hints to dwell on, trying to figure it all out. After I did figure it out and I knew what was coming next, I still enjoyed it because good acting follows good writing.
If you want to search and enjoy more of Julian Fellowes, check out Monarch of the Glen. He acts resplendently as a delightful character in the series from 2000-2005.

No, that is not a picture of Downton Abbey. It is America’s Castle, the Biltmore, former home of George Washington Vanderbuilt in Asheville, North Carolina.

Leave a comment

Filed under general, movies, opinion, writing

What Is It About The Day Before….


Today is New Year’s Eve, at least it will be when night falls over us. So it is a big deal turning the calendar to 2013… WOW! 2013! But it is only one day later than the 2012 that we are washing away with a reflection then just letting it go.

 Really, the day before I turned 60, I was 59, of course. Now the fifties are great but facing 60…WOW! That was a big step. People look at you and listen to you differently when you say you are 60. It is like they put you into a serious age category so they can listen to you without taking what you have to say seriously. But I was only one day older than yesterday. What’s up with that?

 Christmas Eve was very different when I was a child. It was something anticipated, creating more anticipation for Christmas Day. It was an evening of singing Christmas Carols in the neighborhood or to whoever would consent to listen. That wasn’t always an easy thing to do with a bunch of kids without the choral guidance of someone who knew about real music. But today it is about opening your gifts so you can spend Christmas Day opening gifts with the absent parent & the new family that you had no part in seeing it blossom. It is a day extended but so different from the day before.

 Happy New Year……Remember yesterday……Enjoy today……Treasure tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas season, general, opinion, reflection

Remembering the Odd Ones…..


At the end of December the media often reflects back and notes the public figures that have passed away over the last year. Fortunately our favorite actors can still be seen on DVDs so after a few years we’ll not remember if or when they left us. We still have the pleasure of their company.

Naturally loved ones always leave a hole in us that cannot be filled by anyone else. But also there are the teachers, casual friends and folks who have impacted our lives giving us direction and the wealth of their experience to help us down that road. Sometimes it is a person we have met only briefly who made a comment that tweaked its way into the back of our mind and stuck there.

Whenever I ask a group of writers to make a list of those who have given them sage words; mother, father, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are often the only ones mentioned on that list. But I know if given a bit of time and lots of thought digging into memory, teachers, the lady at the corner store, a clerk, an auto mechanic, even someone met at a party, i.e. the odd ones as opposed to the usual list, will pop up.

There is a long list in my pocket of people who come to mind at the oddest times and from places I thought I had long ago forgotten.

Leave a comment

Filed under general, opinion, reflection