Wednesday, July 18, 2018

act 1, scene 3

i have a friend who works at the market i frequent and we've developed the art of encouragement while she's stocking shelves, a sort of "daily affirmation in the frozen foods section" if you will.

this week when it was my turn, being hungry and tired, all i could come up with was borrowed words, so i said, "to thine own self be true."

when i arrived home less than an hour later, there was a package waiting for me, out from which tumbled a magnet bearing the same words, "to thine own self be true"!?

shakespeare, in hamlet, has polonius speak this line. the second part, however, is just as key and that is, "... and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

sounds suspiciously like "love thy neighbor as yourself" to me. and i am left pondering this interaction and mystery: in what ways do being true to ourselves better, and more authentically, serve others?

(not to worry, mom, this isn't a picture of my arm)

lessons from a succulent

i consider myself a fairly good gardener, but the tending that makes fruit and vegetables happy kills cactus.

the irony of succulents presented itself when yet another one died but i came home to two new ones on my doorstep as a gift.

i over-water, just like i over-tend to things and people sometimes. it's what people want in a pet and house sitter, but no cacti is safe with me.

this brings me to the awareness that a little "healthy neglect" might serve me, others, and my new succulent plants well. tending is not my problem.

i remind myself that, nature needing no improvement, there is a time to just let things be.

we can't make anything grow, after all, but we can give it the right environment to help it (or them, in the case of people) flourish.

that said, my intention is to try to ignore my new and super cute little plants in hopes of them actually surviving me.

wisdom from the desert, lessons from a succulent.

bottle shock

this is a comedy (2008) starring chris pine about how a napa valley chardonnay upset the french wine industry in 1976.
when a british wine connoisseur sets up shop in paris, he is unsettled to hear that california vineyards are becoming increasingly popular.

he decides to visit and taste them in person, ultimately setting up the historic blind tasting that would rock the european wine world.

(it is based on a true story and the winning vintage is actually on display at the smithsonian!)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

wildflower picking time

on a recent wildlife refuge hike with my parents and aunt, she was reminded of when she and my uncle would go wildflower picking as kids.

i love this photo she sent of them collecting lamb's tongue flowers with grandma (my mom is 10 years younger and yet to be born).

what family traditions or outings do you remember fondly and want to continue?

Friday, July 6, 2018

worth our salt?

credit for this blog post's inspiration goes to my dad who, over a meal started wondering out loud about the etymology of something he had read about salary being somehow related to salt.

being word lovers, we looked it up and sure enough, the word salary (sel/salarie in French) is derived from the Latin sal or salarium for "wages".

as history goes this is an abbreviation for argentum, or "salt money" referring to Roman soldiers being paid in salt, and also where we get the modern vernacular, "to earn or to be worth your salt".

even if you don't fancy your employer trading your time for this flavor-enhancing mineral, you can still use it to improve your cooking.

it is first in the list of culinary foundations in the book i am currently practicing from, " salt, fat, acid, heat" by samin nostrat.

in the words of james  beard, father of american cookery, "where would we be without salt?"

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


just minding my own business today, two different people just randomly gifted me books--that's a good day, in my mind! 

the first, via a mutual friend, is "lines from a place that's all sky" by the ever-beautiful and wise poet i am fortunate enough to know robin m. lawton.

the other, also fresh from the press, is by amy natzke (who handed me a copy in the bookstore parking lot) entitled "turnings:  a book of consolation and provocation".  i know amy as a violinist and so it was fun to know that she also enjoys writing.

a sample of each...


she says that angels
touch the earth
where water is
and she speaks truth,
i know.

dark green dams
on afternoons
of numinous skies
green boughs tipping
to touch the breezy forms.

she pictures airy essence
stroking worlds with wonder
rainbow shades
where earth
and water are.

she says that angels
touch the earth
where water is.
and angel she,
she speaks truth. i know.

by robin m. lawton


"those in whom Christ is disguised are not only strangers and enemies--they are our neighbors, and they are us.  in disguising himself this way, Jesus answers our prayers for himself, as we say that we seek to love him.  he has put himself within our reach.  if we want him, we can find him."--amy natzke