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Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 4.55.57 PMPhoto by Dr. John E. Freed © 2015 All rights Reserved

Stacy Alexander

Welcome!

Please enjoy your visit to this blog.

© Stacy Alexander – 2015
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Reproduction or use of the content on this blog restricted without author’s permission.

Stacy Alexander – ARTE CALIFORNIA – Welcome!

Long Ago…and Far Away….

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I’ve been missing my piano lately.   It was a Yamaha concert grand that I got from Sam Taylor, video producer for ZZ Top.  We worked with Sam when I worked for the entertainment attorney in Texas.  (Did some independent projects for Billy Gibbons, too, but those were unrelated to Sam.  I remember not liking Gibbons very much.  Found him brash…but that had nothing to do with my piano.)

The piano was about 7′ long.  Black shiny lacquer finish.  A stunning piece of art.  We had just renovated a house in the Houston Heights when I got it.   The thing took up about a third of our small living room, but I didn’t mind.  That piano was near and dear to my heart.  I played it when I was happy….and I played it when I was sad. Friends would come over with their instruments and we would play together.  I loved it.  It was my pride and joy…and it was loud!  I played classical….rock….a little (but not much) jazz…and I composed a lot of my own pieces.

When we left the Heights, we moved over to an incredibly beautiful house on Hawthorne Street.  This was a big house, and the piano fit perfectly.  It was on wheels, I would roll it from one end of the living room to the other when I felt like changing things around.

My daughter attended the High School for the Performing Arts, and sometimes her friends would come over and play it.  I remember a Brazilian jazz pianist friend of my friend, Katy played one night.  Whenever we had parties, we would hire professional pianists, and I always enjoyed hearing other people play it, but it was my baby.  I played it every single day, and I loved it so.

When John was offered a position as Vice President and Academic Dean of a good school in New England, I decided to leave the piano behind.  That was a decision that I soon regretted.  However, the instrument was huge, and I feared that the trip across the US might damage it, so I decided to let it go.  It was one of the most painful decisions I have ever made.  I remember crying as the piano movers (wearing white gloves) loaded her into the back of the truck.  However, I also noticed a sense of freedom.  That piano was huge, and she did take up a lot of space.  As much as I loved her, she was a bit of an albatross.

I doubt if I will ever own another piano of that caliber again, but that’s ok.  I am happy that I had the experience when I did. I’m happy that the instrument was in the house when I children were growing up.  However, at the end of the day, it was just another thing….another material possession, and possessions simply aren’t that important…at least to me, they’re not.

I moved on to other things…started playing the guitar more…writing new songs…concentrating on other things….but now and again, I’ll want to play the theme song from The Piano….or some Mozart….or a little House of the Risin’ Sun.  I’ll not forget her.

 

 

No, Jimmy Carter does NOT endorse Trump!

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I opened Facebook this morning and saw about 6 claims from  right wingers, saying that Jimmy Carter now endorses Donald Trump.

It isn’t true.

Jimmy Carter was asked which he would vote for, Trump or Cruz, if he were FORCED to vote for one or the other. He said that under those circumstances, he would go with Trump, because Trump is the more malleable (easily influenced) (as opposed to Cruz being so rigid.)  This was not intended as a compliment toward Trump.   It was meant to infer that Trump is so wishy washy and wants so badly to give the appearance of “winning” (when he actually isn’t winning…) that he refuses to take a firm stand on any issue.   He does back and forth, depending on the demographic to whom he is addressing a given statement.

So NOW, the right wingers have taken those words, twisted them and are misrepresenting what Carter said as an ENDORSEMENT of Trump. Jimmy Carter does not endorse Trump, my friends. I am amazed by the stupidity of the many claims to the contrary that I am seeing across the Internet this morning.

Jeeze! Ain’t lack of education purty?!

Read the whole story HERE.

George Carlin says it best…

 

Well, it has been awhile….

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Apologies for my negligence here on Arte California.  Life came along and wiped me off my feet with a huge number of new opportunities that make me very happy.  I hit the ground running, and I’ve not stopped yet!  Things are happening at a fast pace here in the life of Stacy Alexander, and blogging has had to take a back seat, for awhile.

Things are going very well in my life right now.  (Yes, all is good in life and in love…..and I have a lot to gloat about there….but I’ve promised not to…so I won’t.)  I am working harder than ever, but at a higher, more gratifying level than in previous months.  My projects have taken a more journalistic slant, as I have been attending events and writing about those for a variety of publications.  I have a gig coming up in Ashland before long, where I’ll be reviewing the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  This is an event we try to attend anyway, but this year, it will be a working gig.

Recently took a brief trip in the middle of a snow storm, to Reno again.  We had plans to meet friends from Santa Cruz at Tahoe, do a little skiing, but there was a blizzard there and we couldn’t get over the pass.   Our friends got stuck in Sacramento where they had a good time without us, and now they’ve jetted off to NZ to celebrate the recent births of twin granddaughters, and we’re back home in Portland.

The weather was bad the entire time we were in Reno, but we still managed to have a good time.  Stayed at the Nugget…went dancing at the Peppermill.  Cooked dinner for our friends, Kat and Len.  Met friends, Kimberly and Don for Mexican food….and Kat and Len another night, for more Mexican food.  Went to the museum.  Listened to some jazz.  Played pool with our friends.  Ate breakfast at our two favorite breakfast places….let’s see…..what else?  Just had some good times.  Some fun.  We enjoy it there.  THAT was obnoxious.

Personally, I’ve been on a big creative binge…writing songs, doing sketches that I then digitize and manipulate into some pretty cool artworks, working on mosaics, making jewelry.  Writing poetry.  Working on my novel….on my cookbook….cooking…..I just feel this surge of creative energy emerging, and am having such a good time with it. I’m not doing anything monumental….but I am feeling happy with it all, satisfied, and that counts for something.

I still have all the same great friends (some greater than others) that I’ve had for years now, and have recently made some new ones, namely Baranna, who has recently moved here from Houston.  She’s a candy maker / baker, music fan like me, and general nice, like-minded person.  Then, I’ve hooked back up with my old accountant/friend, Keith, in Houston.  Another couple that I was friends with back in the day, have reached out, and I’ve met some great folks here in the hood.  It’s been nice!

 

A Six Year Old Impersonates Sarah Palin

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This is six year old, Ingrid.  She worked very hard on her impersonation of Sarah Palin.  I hope you enjoy it, and that you will share it if you do!

 

Thanks for watching!

All Hail the Power of the Mighty Avocado

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All Hail the Power of the Mighty Avocado

Avocados are one of the best kinds of flab-fighting fats.  However,  it is highly unlikely that you’ll eat an entire avocado in one sitting, unless you do what I do, and occasionally toss one into your banana smoothie.  Most people end up having substantial portions of their avocados left over.  So how do you keep that leftover avocado from turning brown?

Like apples or potatoes, avocados oxidize when they are exposed to air.  Once you cut into an avocado, you’ll never be able to completely stop the oxidation process, but you can dramatically slow it with a few quick tips and tricks:

1. Cut the avocado with a ceramic or plastic knife.  Metal actually accelerates the oxidation process.

2. Try lemon or lime juice. This is what I like to do.  Citric acid is a powerful antioxidant; rub a little juice around the exposed flesh and you’ll significantly delay the browning effect.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 9.56.40 PM 3. No lemon or lime? Use oil. Oil is another great buffer to oxygen. Use in place of lemon or lime juice when you don’t have any handy.

4. Store as air-tight as possible. Again, avocados turn brown due to oxidation and exposure to air, so storing in an air-tight container only makes sense.

5. Water. Whaaa? That’s right! This one works exceptionally well for guacamole. Place your leftover guac in a plastic container and press down to remove any air pockets. Add a half inch of water on top and seal with an air-tight lid. The water creates a barrier between the avocado and the air, keeping the  guac fresh and 100% green for 24 hours or more!  When ready to eat some more, just drain the excess water and enjoy.

Works like a charm every time!

Donner, Party of Six….

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Hung Liu, Jiu Jin Shan HUNG LIU (Old Gold Mountain), 1994, 200,000 fortune cookies with support structure and train tracks, Dimensions variable, Collection of the artist

John and I paid a visit to the Nevada Museum of Art today.  The exhibit encompassed a visual history of the Lake Tahoe area created by  175 painters, sculptors, photographers, architects and Native American basket weavers.  It showed us gorgeous baskets and many historical artifacts, including a lot of information about the Donner party tragedy.

My taste in art usually lends itself to a much more contemporary aesthetic than the three floors of landscape paintings that comprised this exhibit, but I did enjoy them, and there were plenty of contemporary additions mixed in, such as the piece above, by Hung Liu  Old Gold Mountain that was comprised of approximately 200,000 fortune cookies and a piece of railroad track to commemorate the Chinese railroad workers who laid the tracks across the Western portion of the USA and changed commerce in America forever.

Only certain pieces were allowed to be photographed, so I failed to capture the general feel of the exhibit, which had many, many paintings and photos that I couldn’t represent for you here.

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The museum itself, is a contemporary work of art, beautifully landscaped with indigenous plants and sculpture.

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Even in the dead of winter, there is still an abundance of color.

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We had lunch at Chez Louis, the museum’s cafe, then started our artistic journey of the day on the third floor and worked our way down each floor.

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A real highlight for me were the numerous Frank Lloyd Wright studies, models and renderings.  I have visited a number of his houses, my favorite being Falling Water in Pennsylvania, so standing so closely to his work and being able to examine it in detail was truly a meaningful experience for me this afternoon.

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Falling Water

Another highlight of the Reno exhibit was the wall sculpture created by Maya Lin, made entirely of long pins, applied directly to the wall.  You may recall her name by virtue of her fame as the artist who submitted the winning design in a national competition for the big Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built in Washington, DC.   (Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. It was taken in a low light situation without a flash.)

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I tend to dislike crowds, but one crowd I never mind is a crowd of people attending an art exhibit.  The exhibit was crowded and I was happy to see people out on a snowy day such as this, enjoying the art.

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I declined to write down the artist’s name who created these wonderful glass “globs” as we mosaic artists call the smaller versions used as tessarae in our work, but these were huge, and I loved them.

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The museum has a fantastic gift shop, too!  John bought me a fabulous new bag that caught his eye as he strolled past.   There were a lot of nice glass pieces and regionally-oriented, handcrafted art.  We both had fun browsing through it.

So…If you find yourself in the vicinity of Reno, Nevada, I recommend this exhibit.  It will impart a newfound respect for the Donner Party, the major lakes of the region, the mountains, and, of course, the topographical features of the earth’s surface in this area.

Good show, museum! (but bad hair, Stacy!)  lol!

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A Word from our President

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“Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely—that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too. Our right to peaceful assembly—that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”

– President Barack Obama at today’s White House Announcement on new executive orders

CLICK HERE

 

A Silly Time to Travel

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We probably chose the worse possible time to travel….but we’re adventurous…..so, a couple of days ago, we headed from our Portland home to Reno.  We were packed and ready to go when my daughter and Ingrid pulled up to say goodbye to us.  This brought tears to my eyes…their getting out of bed so early to make that drive across town. It was a loving and kind gesture, and frankly, I NEEDED those goodbye hugs!

We left before the sun came out, anticipating a relatively easy 8.5 hour drive that I have made many times, and that John has made at least 3 times.  Even though the weather forecast said the weather would be clear along our route, just as we turned onto Division street, it began to snow.

I love snow, so wasn’t unhappy about it….but….It didn’t stop!  It snowed and snowed and snowed….and soon, the roads were icy.  Fortunately, John is an excellent driver.  I wish I could say the same for everyone else along the way!

Many 18-wheelers skidded and slid all over the road, so we stayed clear of them as much as we could.  I had counted 8 accidents  by the time we reached the California border.

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So…what we thought would be an easy,  fairly straightforward drive ended up being a stressful 14.5 hour drive that seemed boundless.  Fortunately, we saw some breathtaking scenery along the way. The one thing that I love about snow is how it changes as the light shifts from hour to hour.

“Our” song is Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto In A Major: Adagio, and if you can imagine, that was what we played as we drove through this incredibly beautiful stretch of terrain.  This is the song I marched down the isle to when we married, and remains a cherished tune for us both.  Listening to it while in the midst of such natural beauty was almost a religious experience.   (This is a song that John played on his clarinet when he was in school.)

 

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I know this following photo looks like I put a filter on it, but this was a natural occurrence.  I took this shot as the car was moving, but John pulled over afterward, and we both got out and enjoyed this view for a few minutes as the Mozart played from our car stereo.  Indescribably awesome….the sky…the colors….

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Our first stop in Reno was to drop Beatrix off with a pet sitting service.  We had booked a room in a hotel that accepts pets, but decided she would get more attention and better care in an environment that was specifically designed for dogs, so we left her there for two nights.

The place was recommended by a chihuahua-loving friend who knows the owner, and I was so happy that he recommended it.  Beebles was in doggie heaven!   See how tiny she looks with this regular sized chihuahua?  Such a tiny, sweet baby girl.  Not an aggressive bone in her body.  She had never really been around other dogs much, let alone, allowed to run free outdoors, so she had a fabulous time. The pet sitter checked in with us regularly and sent us lots of pictures, which made us both feel better about leaving her.

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We stayed at the Nugget in Sparks, which is a nice enough hotel, minus the trashy population element that it now has since it was sold by the former owner, John Asquaga I’ve stayed there a few times in the past with no complaints (but I really can’t say much about that here…) (See other blog for select viewers..)

The accommodations were nice, however.   I was really sick by the time we got there, just from the stress of the scary drive, I think…and my husband made me stay in bed all day yesterday.  Mind you, taking naps and lying around is not something that I relish, but I gave in, and today, I feel a lot better….so thank you, John, for taking such good care of me.   He read his poetry to me and brought me soup and put an ice pack on my aching head.  Such a sweet man, he is.   I felt a little better that evening, so we went out to a place called Baldini’s, which generally sucked, but we did so as a favor to a friend whose son works there.  Glad to have THAT out of the way.  yuck.

Got up early today and did one of my jobs on the computer while John picked up some friends and  took them to the airport.  He was trying to do something nice for me, so I didn’t complain when he hired a limo to take me to the beautiful place where we’re staying on Mt. Rose….but I HATE riding in limos!  They never fail to nauseate me.  I’d much rather be driving around in my  tiny little Alfa or, better yet, a SmartCar!

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On the way out the door, I decided to drop a single buck into a slot machine, just for the hell of it.  I walked out the door $100 wealthier!   On the  the ride toward Mt. Rose street,  I saw a man with a trash bag for a blanket under an overpass, so I asked the driver to take me to a local department store where I bought a down filled vest, some warm gloves and a blanket.  We drove back and gave it to the guy who was very grateful.

 

John loves to eat at Stonehouse, so we unpacked the car, then went there for breakfast.  I’m still a little under the weather, so only took a bite or two of food.  While we were eating, big, wet snowflakes began to fall!

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It wasn’t heavy snow, though it was steady.  Very pretty.  When we got to the place where we’re staying, I slipped into my boots and decided to go for a long walk.  I love this old Mt. Rose neighborhood.  It has a mixed demographic and some beautiful houses.  I think the one we’re staying in is the most beautiful on the street.    I took this picture of the fence that surrounds it, as I was approaching from the opposite side of the street.  As you can see, the snow had already accumulated atop the brick posts that resemble sentries standing straight in a row.

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So now, I am ensconced in the house, fireplace roaring, husband sleeping, with a little dog on my lap.  Big snow storms are due for Tahoe, so we’re not sure if we will be able to make it up there.  Our friends from Santa Cruz are supposed to meet us there for a weekend of skiing, but I’m not sure they will be able to make it up route 80….but either way is ok with me.  Content to stay put or to go, however the cards fall….and I think Beebles is happy no matter where she is!

 

 

 

 

The Writing Life

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The Mills Brothers  released their hit  “Too Many Irons in the Fire” in 1946.  70 years later, this song could be designated my theme song. Yet, how many irons are too many?  I suppose that much is subjective.

I live a multi-faceted existence and always seem to have a lot of irons in the fire.  With the onset of the new year, however, I find myself busier than ever, but I am also happier than ever, and with great hope for the future.

I am working on opening a new business and have been developing workshops and programs for that, gathering partners and finances, and creating a dynamic endeavor that may take a couple of years to get off the ground, so  I continue to work on other things as I focus on getting this done.

A friend, who is a former celebrity client from a decades-ago stint I did with an entertainment law firm, contacted me over the holidays to ask if I would be part of a $25 million capital raising campaign with a view toward producing 5 new independent films.  I will be working in the capacity of a consultant, designing social media promotions and campaigns, but won’t know many details until some time next week. This will be my first MOIP-related, salaried work I have done since I received my masters degree, and while I’m excited about the work, this is not what I’ll be doing professionally, in the long run, but that is another story for another time.

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In addition to my art work, a large part of my vocational time is spent writing.  I have my various creative writing projects going on….my cookbook, my novel, my poetry and short stories, all of which take the back burner too often in favor of the writing work that I get paid for.

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Over the last 48 hours, I have written essays on the world-renowned Monte Pascoal cigars, Missouri fly fishing, eyeliner, the Bakken oil fields, Maternity photo shoots and the merits of portable ballet barres.  I have written essays for a graphic design company, two criminal law firms, a judge, an artist and a physician whose specialty is the treatment of diabetes.  I have a long list of articles to complete today, and another list of articles that I will have to complete from our retreat at Lake Tahoe.

I have honed article writing down to a fine art and can knock out what my editors designate as “high quality” writing in a very short period of time.  My research skills were honed to perfection while I was in graduate school, and I am able to produce many articles in a short period of time.  All this, is in addition to writing the Chinese fashion catalog that provides an endless stream of work.

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Admittedly, I do not feel a lot of passion about the paid writing that I do.  My heart lies with my creative work, but the paid work provides a good income, and I rather enjoy it.  It isn’t what I intend to do over the long run, but for now, it is fine.

I work through a number of different agencies.  Over the years, my ranking has risen to the top with many of these agencies, and I have received a more noteworthy status than I once had as a hack writer.  Today, I am frequently notified by editors and former clients, so that the majority of the work I do is for private clients or special projects.

My work involves long hours and intense concentration, and, therefore, results in my having to make a special efforts to exercise and stay healthy.  This work can be all-consuming, and it is as easy to forget to eat and exercise as it is to breathe.  There have been days when I have started work before the sun came up, and ended it well after midnight.

In this new year, I shall endeavor to moderate my writing into a more manageable enterprise.  I vow to place my health first, and to exercise twice a day, beginning each morning with  yoga and a long walk, and doing a concentrated aerobic effort each afternoon. I have been doing this three times a week, but I am going to up the ante.

This freedom to arrange my schedule as I want it is the primary reason I continue to pursue the writing life.  This freedom to travel.  This freedom to begin and end work when I want.  The freedom to take off a half hour when my best friend calls, or the freedom to stop what I’m doing to pick Ingrid up from school.  These are the reasons that I write.

Tomorrow, as my friends go to their offices and get snagged in rush hour traffic, I will be departing for Reno/Tahoe.  THIS is why I engage in the writing life.  This freedom to leave when I want or to sleep as late as I want …..although I am an early riser….this freedom is why I write.

 

 

 

Arriverderci, 2015!

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Happy New Year!

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Starting the new year off right this morning,  with a big breakfast of my organic veggie hash with poached eggs with a smattering of some amazing aged Parm that I received as a holiday present from my record producer friend, B, who lives in Rome.

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John bought some extra special coffee for us, and I served this hash with 9 grain bread, veggie bacon and pear slices.  It was good!

After I finish writing this, we will be heading out with Beatrix for a hike.  The sun is out today.  It’s cold, but gorgeous, and both of us are anxious to get outdoors.  We’re planning to go to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden where Steve Jobs used to hang out and smoke pot.  ;-)   It is right across the street from Reed College, where he went to school.

We spent another New Years celebration with our darling friends, Toni and Peter at Arriverderci last night .  Toni is a friend of the owner of this cozy little place.  We spent the evening listening to the jazz/blues of Ma Fondu, having fantastic conversations and enjoying some mighty good food and libations.  It was, as always, a good time.

Ma Fondu channeled a little Janis….because every New Year’s Eve party needs some Janis, right?

We danced and danced and danced.  The video above is Toni and Peter cutting a rug early on.  I’m embarrassed to admit that my husband puts me to shame on the dance floor.  He is ten years older than I but has the stamina of a 16 year old!   We had such a great time.

The food was fantastic, as was our New Years bottle of Dom….but I was especially partial to our desserts….Chocolate martinis!

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The band played all kinds of music….jazz, blues, saloon ballads, classic rock.  I don’t think I captured any of their truly great numbers….because I was out on the dance floor!   It’s hard not to get up and dance during such a festive occasion.

 

The owner of Arriverderci spends all day in the kitchen, but comes out to play with his guests at night.  He is a KILLER sax player.  The quality of the jazz that he brings to his little restaurant is world class, so he has played with the best of the best.  We heard him for the first time at last year’s New Years celebration.  The guy is absolutely great, and his restaurant reflects his passion for both food and music.

I had a wonderful and loving phone conversation with my ____ when we got home, the minute I stepped into the door….which started the new year off in the best way possible.  More details about this on my other blog for select subscribers only.

And so now….Here we are… and I’m out the door.

Happy New Year, my gentle readers.  Sending out all kinds of love.  May 2016 be the best year ever for us all.

 

 

 

Obligatory Last Post of the Year

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I am so tired right now.  I anticipate writing this post will be difficult, simply because I’ve worked so hard today that my fingers feel like they are going to drop off.  However, it is the end of the year and I owe my readers a post….so here it goes.

Tonight, I am grateful.

I am grateful for my husband. I am grateful for my family, in general.   I am grateful for my best friend.  I am grateful for music and for the laughter that fills my life.  I am grateful for my little puppy and for cell phones.  I am grateful for good books and for art supplies.  I am grateful for the honor of living in such a beautiful place and for having such a nice, cozy house on this cold evening.  I am grateful for the delicious food in my kitchen and for the warm bed I get to come home to after we celebrate tonight.  I am grateful for that beautiful house on Lake Tahoe that awaits us and for the fact that our darling friends will be joining us there.  I am grateful for my sweet father and for my cousin, Daina and my Auntie G.  I am grateful for my work and for my ability to write.  I am grateful in general….and I apologize for this posts lack of interest.  I’m just tired.  I need to go and recharge my batteries…..but first, please let me say:

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

How Not to Die

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I am very excited to announce the long-awaited book by my nutrition guru, Dr. Michael Greger.  Folks, this is a revolutionary breakthrough in medical research that will blow your minds!  Pick up a copy by visiting NutritionFacts.org.   This is the book that will change your life forever.  Would make a great holiday gift as well!

Happy Birthday to Me

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We celebrated my birthday two days ago with a beautiful array of activities and interactions with friends and family.

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The day began with a beautiful 3 a.m. text  message greeting that made my heart sing, accompanied by a funny, musical phone message so garbled that I could barely hear it, because of the bad connection, but it still made me smile.   Things just kept getting better and better throughout the day. Phone calls….gifts….beautiful gestures made by various people.  I truly felt loved.

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John had arranged a beautiful brunch cruise along the Willamette River aboard a yacht.  The weather was cold and overcast, but the sun broke out from time to time, making the trip absolutely perfect.  The yacht was three stories tall, and we periodically strolled from deck to deck, enjoying live jazz and beautiful scenery.

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Here is a little video of the cruise:

Ingrid , shown below with her glass of sparkling apply juice, was the star of the show when she sang happy birthday to me.

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I cried from the sweetness of this gesture, which was something that she cooked up herself.  As you can see, the crowd was also touched by this.    I love how she bends that note at the beginning of the song.  So cute!

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John enjoyed the gorgeous scenery as much as I did.

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The food was exquisite, and we had delicious, fresh mimosas to go with.

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The whole trip lasted around 2.5 hours.  It was peaceful, beautiful, and much appreciated by this birthday girl….and by a little piggy (shown below).

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Afterward, we attended an awesome art show, which I found wholly inspiring.  Then, we went to my daughter’s house for a traditional dinner.  She baked the most delicious coconut cake for me, which Ingrid decorated with pretty gold candles.

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I felt truly blessed this year….truly loved and deeply happy, knowing that those who took the time out of their lives to acknowledge my birth really love me.  Sometimes, I feel like the luckiest woman alive.   This was one of those perfect birthdays that I will never forget.  Many thanks to my family and to my friends who made it all possible.

How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body

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This is so, so good….and I’m really proud of my daughter, Sarah, an excellent mother herself, and of my son-in-law, Nate, one of the best fathers ever,  for taking this approach with Ingrid….who is a strong, dynamic child. However, as a grandmother, I can’t help but tell this child that she is beautiful…frequently….because she is. Inside and out….but I do try to stress her intellect and personal strengths over her outward appearance.

Nothing wrong with feeling pretty, but when women are made to think that this gives them their primary  value in life, that is where the problems begin.

Read this and think about it carefully….

The Cosmic Dancer's photo.

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one:

Don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “You’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are — you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say, “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

Christians and Coffee Cups

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Christians and Coffee Cups

…….and so it is.

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It’s early November and already this year’s installment of the so-called “War on Christmas” has begun. All over social media I’m seeing rants from angry Christians who are trying to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. And the first volley of shots has already been launched against an unlikely target: Starbucks.

Apparently people are mad that the seasonal cups at Starbucks this year are just plain red. No mention of Christmas or Jesus at all. And, clearly that means that Christians are being persecuted. I mean, my faith is just destroyed if I don’t get my venti blonde roast with room for milk in a cup that features the name of my Lord and Savior.

So, obviously I think this is a little ridiculous. Because, Christians, I promise you that Starbucks red cups are not going to destroy the Christian faith. Seriously, the Roman Empire couldn’t do it, and they could kill…

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