day 109 – Musing on a Famous Writer

George Bernard Shaw

I recall reading Pygmalion in Junior or High School either as an assignment or just because… I wanted to read the original My Fair Lady story.

Shaw was known for his razor sharp wit but many do not know his wife had just as much Shavian wit.  When he asked her “Isn’t it true, my dear, that male judgment is superior to female judgment?”

She replied, “Of course, dear.” She paused and added briefly. “ After all, you married me and I you.”

Shaw coined the word English word superman, not Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra.  But Shaw did take the German philosopher’s word ubermensch and translated it, writing Man and Superman in 1903.  Later the comic book character came to be popularized in the 1930s.

My favorite quote (and he has many wisecracks) is “The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want.  And, if they can’t find them, make them.”


Get up and create your life!

Photo courtesy of V.

day 108 – Photography

Can you tell I am enthusiastic about taking pictures?  I believe that is because I see beauty everywhere.  I also maintain it is because a scene is a moment in time and we all know a picture can tell a story.

A photograph can capture an honest portrayal of an event or a person.  It may represent a side you didn’t visualize before or knew existed. It is apt to communicate a mood or achieve an effective emotion.  Perhaps, it masterly seizes a gesture or a ripe color palette.

Whatever the case, most of us are visual learners and an image can incite memory or emotion, instruct us both directly and using a different angle and/or enhance our lives purely with balance, form and tone.

I love to use my personal collection to remind me, to inspire me and to soothe me.

California poppy

day 107 – Icicles

February is almost over and if you haven’t enjoyed a day in the snow, shame on you.

Icicles are like frosting on the cake in wintry weather.  They adorn and showcase the exterior of homes with sparkle as if you bedazzled your house with rhinestones.  Drip, drip, drip they melt away in the sunny daylight and then freeze up again come dusky, cooler nightfall.

“God is in the details” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

If you have ever walked among icicles after an ice storm where the limbs of trees also become their canvas, it is like “living inside a diamond with all the walls cut and polished so they flame.”  – Robert Tristan Coffin.

Every season has its shimmer and dance.  

May the beauty of February enhance your gratitude as the month comes to an end, filling you with luminous and radiant life. 

day 106 – The Carousel

The effortless slow spinning of the carousel reminds me of the wheel of life.

Today I pray for two friends and their families.

I contemplate.

As a brand new one day old great grand baby searched into its dying great grand father’s eyes, the two put all their focus into seeking and knowing each other for an instant and then both grunted and fell asleep.

This is what I heard today.


Photos by my daughter V – Thank you

day 105 – The Grill

“Lets send her pictures!” my husband suggested.

“Fabulous idea!” I agreed.

Lest you believe you cannot get a decent, gourmet, fine-dining experience up in the Mountains of San Bernardino, I assure you I can vouch for this restaurant.   It’s one of the first signs of civilization after climbing just 25 minutes up loopy, winding and coiled up the edges of Highway18 on your way up to Lake Arrowhead.  At the first light, take a left then a quick right into the woods on Hwy 189 until you find yourself in the town of Twin Peaks.  There you will find your second unassuming enclave of individual cabins for rent on your right called the Antler’s Inn.  The first choice had always been our nesting perch for years when the children were teeny and it is called Pine Rose Cabins, situated on your left.   Each cabin is outfitted in a cozy theme and they all have kitchens.  I imagine the Antler’s Inn is the same and just as reasonable.  A great escape for the children so they can play in the snow or a romantic rendezvous for a couple in a picturesque forest almost storybook setting.

Am I enticing you?  Do I sound like a commercial?

The Grill at Antler’s Inn is a foodie mecca so make a reservation.  The outside is a typical country log cabin chalet with a sweeping porch lit up by twinkly Christmas lights and comfortable seating.  The interior is beamed high with jumbo swaths of rounded lumber and lit gently by a massive alpine hand-carved wooden chandelier.

The upper-level, modern and hipster sushi bar makes up for the drab and outdated window treatments on the main level dining room and bar.  But upgrading or changing out the fabric on the interior of the divided pane windows is my only counsel and will not keep me away.  The staff is elegantly dressed, prompt, eager to inform and please on a busy Saturday night.  Check out their website and check out these pictures.


We had three starters, two entrees and one dessert.  We chronicled the entire evening and shared the meal with my BFF in NY via smartphone.

The BLTA pizza or Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado Pizza was a crusty pie topped by a Caeserish salad.

The special Sushi Roll of the Night was a spectacular Lobster Roll with shrimp and lobster and caviar.

The Cajun Seared Ahi Sashimi was enough for two and was one of the finest cuts of Ahi, seasoned so well I commented on how you didn’t need ginger, wasabi and maybe just a dash of soy for this well plated appetizer.

“I wanna dive into that lusciousness!” remarked my BFF.


Later, our bread and house salad with feta and balsamic vinaigrette.

“Hitting all the notes.” She astutely noted.

Chicken Penne Gorgonzola Cream with mushrooms, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts.


Crab, Shrimp, Scallops Salad with candied slivered almonds, avocado and tomato buttermilk vinaigrette

“I think I just gained 5 pounds just looking at this amazing food!” my BFF merrily remarked.

“Phone calories don’t count.” My husband retorted.

Coconut Chocolate Crème Brulee

Using coconut milk as the eggy base, the pastry chef added Godiva chocolate and caramelized the sugar top till it was crackly like ice atop a frozen lake.  Like a well executed crème brulee, the creamy pudding under the sweet layer was not too sweet, the texture made my mouth purr as I swirled the crème around the inside of my mouth, the well defined simple flavor profiles spoke to each other in whispers and its temperature feel was cold like it’s supposed to be.  Too often I have received warm pudding or the caramelized layer which is either broiled or torched is not snappy (you want to be able to shatter the layer with a couple of hits from the side of your spoon as if you were ice fishing and may I add, hear it go – crack); both of these errors are just not the proper, definitive or classic preparation but all too often that is what I have settled for and so have you, I am guessing.  The Grill not only got it right, it took it to a whole new dimension.  Using creamy, rich coconut milk as the base was creative and decadent.  Pairing it with chocolate was genius!

“That chef is diabolical, in a devilish way!  It’s a Mounds crème brulee,” My BFF respectfully acknowledged and compared.

“Loved it. Every bite!” she pronounced in virtual dining ecstasy and we all thoroughly left sated and content!

Enjoy the Academy Awards!

day 104 – The Trainer

After watching the movie The Life of Pi, I had a vision.

“I desire to be as graceful, delicate and fast as a gazelle yet powerful and sexy like a tigress.”  I told my trainer, J.

J has rich, red, curly, long locks reminiscent of an Old World painting.  She is tall, lengthened, lean but strong like a Greek or Roman sculpture of a goddess.  She is the epitome of health and naturally fit.

No sooner did I confess my longing to be svelte yet bootylicious, J put me through some new and some old tough sets of moves.  Why did I confess my inner wishes?  Hahaha.

The reason why I have stuck to my sessions with her is not because I like to for the sake of exercise.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t need someone to make me accountable, now would I?  Yes, I need the guidance on how to use my body correctly as I perform each drill, but the accountability factor is just plain, priceless.

I honestly abhor to work out and only do it so my human body does not become atrophied.  The only way to look decent at my age without surgery is to move my tissues, blood and muscles (and eat way less than I want to).

As a child I enjoyed all sorts of play that I never realized was exercise and I love to walk/talk with a friend or stroll in nature, alone with my thoughts. Making a regular, formal stop at the gym and actually using my time wisely there is almost unheard of.  Is that machine taken? Oh, well, must be a sign I need to rest and go home instead.

That’s why I am grateful to J.  I enjoy her company and her consistent broad smile.  Her ever encouraging, positive and helpful cheering enriches me.  J makes the time go pleasantly by adding tidbits of inspiration, information or distraction between seriously and aggressively addressing my posture, alignment and counting repetitions.  Are you sure we are not at twenty yet?

J has never embarrassed, humiliated or done anything but laugh with me when I just can’t do one more lift, pull or push.  I do get fatigued but I am not disabled.

I might be improving slowly, but I meet with her faithfully, on the whole, biweekly. Showing up is a huge change from my usual if any gym behavior or attendance.  I am more of an erratic, emotional gym presence or an absentee.  Am I alone, here?

I am not driven, motivated or athletically inclined like everyone else, I guess.  I have to be inspired and kept interested with all sorts of enterprising entertainment.

I download music and most recently, a book on my I-pod, listen to Pandora on my I-Phone, have my headphones tuned to the TV channel if I am at the gym and sometimes I just space out.  That is what I must do on my own.  Having J on my team, I get good, orderly direction and a sweet attitude to boot.

I have had slave drivers whipping me and harassing me into admission, which is a complete and utter turn off.

I have had trainers oblivious to my mood, my form and my pain; distracted by every other person in the gym, not caring if I showed up or not.

So, I may not look like I am progressing much but I keep coming back. That in itself is an immense step in the right direction, a massive hurdle over my own stubbornly relentless and feeble mind that just wants me to stay home and lounge around. And I believe it has a lot to do with whom I miraculously ended up being paired up with.

It’s a good, healthy and natural fit just like J.

Here’s a shout out to all the gals helping other women!

Yes, I know she gets paid, but so did those other people.  I am not a dimwit – (well, sometimes) but I appreciate having an agreeable, amiable and sociable interaction during my workout.  It’s refreshing, comfortable and keeps me moving for at least that block of time.

Thank you, J.  I have learned to re-commit to myself and my workout, with my chest out, stomach and butt tightened, shoulders back, squeezing the blades, lower back arch and spine straight, pelvic bone neutral and no scrunching of shoulders up to my ears.  And then, I push, pull and lift in that position.  Will I ever be able to remember all that?

“Yes, someday, soon, your body will remember.” She said, gingerly with confidence and with a lilt in her voice, approximately ninety days ago.

I rolled my eyes and snickered, “I don’t know, you have no idea whom you are dealing with.”

Apparently, it was I whom had no idea.


day 103 – Arugula

My first time in Europe was in the City of Lights or Paris. Among other many morsels of meals, I had a salad with Roquette. I was convinced it tasted just like Arugula and soon investigated and sure enough it was the one and the same easy to grow from seed annual grown for its flavorful green lobed leaves.

Upon further query, I realized all the English cookbooks and chefs like Jamie Oliver, his nemesis Gordon Ramsey and Nigella Lawson mention this nutty and spicy plant as Rocket.  When we traveled upon English shores years later, it was verified by my very own taste buds – Rocket=Arugula.

This quick growing edible leaf matures quickly and is best sown in cool weather and is a rather thirsty plant.  It is perfect for Southern California from December to February.  Just keep sowing seeds every two to three weeks and you will be shot right up to Rocket heaven.  It has the least amount of carbohydrates of all the lettuces if that is a concern.

Here is a recipe for Arugula I created for a five-course menu – New York Themed Luncheon.  It was my starter followed by Prime Rib and sides.  Ideally, the dressed greens are an amazing presentation and taste sensation when placed gently inside Parmesan Cup-Shaped Nests but feel free to just partake of the delectable arugula.  The simple dressing makes the arugula stand out and it is well partnered with tangy, crusty Parmesan.  What a cute Easter Basket rendition of salad for your Easter Brunch, Lunch or Dinner!!!  If the Baskets don’t come out just so, just break them up and add to the salad as if that is what you meant to do all along. Keep it Simple, Sista.


Arugula in Parmesan Baskets

1 bag of Baby Arugula Salad Leaves (or if you are growing it, around 4 generous cups)

2 and 2/3 cups of SHREDDED Parmesan Cheese

Juice of one organic lemon (preferably from your own backyard, if you live around here)

1-Tablespoon Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt to taste


Heat a nonstick 10” skillet over med. Hi heat.

Sprinkle 2/3-cup cheese evenly into hot pan.

Cook Cheese “crepe” until slightly golden underneath.

Using a spatula and your fingers, carefully lift out webbed “crepe” and drape the uncooked and pliable side over an upside down glass tumbler, making sure to press firmly to shape it into an upside down bowl over the glass.

Lift and turn baskets over very carefully when cooled.  They can sit for several hours.

Toss salad with lemon juice, oil and salt at the very last moment before serving into the baskets.

Serves 4

Buen Provecho or Bon Appetit


day 102 – Garden Update/Recipe

Happy harvest

What a wonderful winter baby greens and herb salad I will be enjoying today. I harvested nasturtiums, cilantro, spinach, swiss chard, arugula and kale.  Harvesting at least twice a week keeps the crop delivering.  It stimulates plant growth.

Kale from my garden this morning before snipping.

I will use the Kale separately, sautéed with organic mushrooms and green onions I purchased.  It has a slightly bitter, hazelnut edge to it and the leaves are considered more a cooking green.  Whenever I do have baby kale raw, I like to let it marinate in a lemon, oil and salt simple dressing for at least an hour to allow the leaves to soften a bit.  You can even cover it and keep it overnight in the fridge and then let it come to room temperature for at least half hour.

Here is a tried and true healthy recipe for raw kale:

Kale Salad

1/4 cup or 1 ounce  dried organic Goji Berries or dried cranberries , softened in a bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water for @ 2-3 minutes and drained.

7 cups of organic Kale, stems removed, finely shredded strips or cut into bite sized pieces

3/4 cup chopped organic red pepper

1/4 cup chopped and pitted Kalamata or green olives

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

3/4 cup Thai Basil (or any basil – I just like the contrast in color and the mild flavor),  finely shredded

1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. Olive juice from Olive Jar

3/4 cup Feta, cubed or crumbled


2 Tbs. fresh organic lemon juice

2 tsp. organic first and cold-pressed olive

1 Tsp. agave nectar

Combine and toss all salad ingredients.  Whisk the Dressing and distribute over the salad.  Mix well and let the flavors meld at least for 1/2 hour at room temperature and up to 1 day refrigerated.


day 100 – Strange Happenings

“Somebody tried to break into my cabin.  We have him on camera.”   I texted my BFF last night.

“The patrol officer is out there right now.”  I added.

The intruder realized he was being filmed after turning around and spotting our infrared dot right in his eye from the downstairs entry. He pulled down his cap and proceeded to climb our big boulder to reach the camera and wrestled with it and finally took a wire cutter from his bag of tricks and cut the camera wires.  The whole thing was on tape.

If he hadn’t tampered with camera number four, we would have never even known he was there.

“Not too smart.” Said our hidden camera installer, the patrol officer and I.

“What a blooming idiot!” texted my BFF.

After a series of phone calls, sheriff reports and the repair of our camera just an hour ago, all is well.

Then this morning, “There’s been some sort of shooting or a series of shootings in town.” My husband indicated with his wake-up call.

I texted my BFF.  “ Oh my, now three people were shot dead on our freeway off ramp.  This mercury in retrograde in the middle of the Jupiter in retrograde is really scary”

Right before Super Storm Sandy pounded the East Coast, my BFF (an astrologer on the side) let me know we were in for a bumpy ride till Jupiter goes Direct (which is in April).  It seems this weekend we went into Mercury retrograde for a few weeks to come as well.

Is that why the chaos? Who knows?

All I know is that wonderful happens too.

My daughter E and I took a massage class together on Friday night and she kissed my forehead and said ‘Thank you for bringing me here and being my partner.”

On Saturday, my daughter V sent me pictures of famous paintings she saw at MOMA in NYC and reminded me of my days as an Art Masters mommy volunteer in her classroom.  On Sunday, we chatted and I relished hearing her voice.

On Saturday, I face timed with my son for an hour and got caught up with his life and work.

On Sunday, a friend thanked me profusely for being in her life.

This morning, I got to walk and talk with another gal I haven’t seen in a while.  I am so glad we are able to coordinate our schedules again.

Today, is my first day back in my writing class, this year.

.My husband is an absolute angel and gift to me, as always.

“Life can be fleeting, and you never know.” he just e-mailed me in all his wisdom.  We both have tried to savor every moment, been so awed by our blessings and constantly reflect on our good fortune.

My BFF, is only a text away!!

“Tell yourself…every lil thing is gonna be alright!” She reminded me.

“Yup. All is well. Blessed be the day for me and mine.  I love you.” I affirmed.

No matter what –

a gratitude list for what I truly cherish is always an attitude adjustment.

Thanks to the cameras, our alarm system and our local patrol in the mountains, our robber was unsuccessful and probably discouraged.

I feel lucky we were spared this morning with the freeway killings and all other times.

No matter what – seeing the silver lining in everything, eventually, is another form of thanksgiving.

May I always be so perceptive.