Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Great Courses Catalog

My heart soars when catalog comes. Did you know they offer over 500 courses? I wish there were a at least a dozen of me so I could take many at once. I could time travel to Medieval Europe, Explore the Louvre without sore feet, learn about The Night Sky with stars sans mosquitoes and more.

On a clear August night, my sister would insist I go with her to the top of Bodley's Hill in Nebraska. We'd spread a blanket, stretch out and watch the meteor showers. They shot every direction. We'd whisper excitedly, "There's another one!" When I've been with her elsewhere and stars were visible, she'd look up with longing, similar to Claire in Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. I wonder if my sister used to have an address somewhere out there? Hmm, real distant relatives.

I could elaborate on the courses, but I want you to have the joy of studying the catalog, too.

The Great Courses partners with, and This group's work is so exciting, my friends, and quality at its best  Thank you one and all.

2015 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Friday, June 12, 2015

B.B. King laid to rest

Wed, June 3, 2015 The Clarksdale Press Register printed a piece by Charlie Smith of The Enterprise-Tocsin.

For sixty years, B.B. King graced the world with his music. At his services, Charlie Sawyer, B.B.'s biographer, said, "B.B. King lives in every blues lick on every electric guitar as long as blues is played." He noted that even after 18,000 performances, B.B.'s hands were soft from the way he cradled "Lucille."

President Obama and former President Clinton lauded his musical genius and "simple human kindness."

I've seen black horses lead processionals, but never with a black guitar.

King grew up in Mississippi poor as poor could be, like so many others. He played for the prisoners at Parchman. Music may have kept him from living there.

I first heard "When a man loves a woman," when I lived in the Midwest. There was such anguish in his voice, I wept for his lost love." I did not yet know the pain of divorce.

People came from around the world for his funeral at Indianola, MS., home of his museum.

RIP B.B. Your memory and music live on.

2015 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

I volunteer to read to second graders at Kirkpatrick School in Clarksdale, MS. My intent is to inspire them to read. Where else can you travel the world without leaving home? My heart soars spending time with them. They're generous with hugs and love letters.
St. Paul's Methodist Church adopted Kirkpatrick school. We provide cookies or cupcakes, lemonade and achievement stickers for over 100 K-4 children each quarter. I peel the stickers off and stick them on my shirt. Each child gets one and a compliment.
I wore a few leftover stickers to Walmart. It didn't take long to find a frazzled clerk trying to restock first aid. "You look like you could use a sticker." She burst into a smile just short of tears, "I needed that!"
The day of our Peace March, I came around an aisle in Kroger's and there was this man wearing a gold paper crown, a black with gold threads suit, and a full-length black coat draped over his shoulders like a cape. To top it off, he had this long stick with a twisted root. When I got my breath, I asked if I could take his picture. "Sure." The man beside him happened along. They knew each other. It was a two for one.
I asked, "Mr. King, would you like a peace sticker?"
"Sure,put it on my hand."
As I turned to leave, he added, "Isn't it nice to be nice?"

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Friday, April 17, 2015

My French Shelf

This is my dedicated, French, eye-level shelf. My sister and I would go back in a heartbeat. We will someday.

The over-sized book on the right is Monet WATER LILIES. We stood by the pond and tried to see what he saw.

Monet's Table is to the left. Claire Joyes, text. Jean-Bernard Naudin, photos. Can you imagine being at Monet's table with his wife, Alice, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas and Cezanne? "Other frequent visitors included Rodin, Whistler, Maupassant, Valery and the statesman Clemenceau." Glory days!!! I was born too late. I can only imagine the conversation around Pike in white butter sauce, baked field mushrooms with shallots, cognac and heavy cream, and Green (pistachio) Cake. The book is full of delicious recipes. And, for a beyond-your-wildest-imagination moment, Christmas morning was scrambled eggs with black truffles. Oh, my achy, breaky heart!!!

To the right is The Louvre, worthy of a week's visit. Next time but I will stay longer. I was surprised to see students copying the master's works, but they had permission to learn from the best,

The Heartaches of a French Cat by Barbara McClintock, was one of Krysia's favorites. It's a pen and ink children's book about life in 19th century France. Minette is the heroine.

Fodor's Escape to Provence is not just  a map, it's a moving, soul-nurturing feast throughout the Region. The French so love their food. They take their time eating even a loaf of bread. They don't grab something to eat while driving or working. STOP and eat, for heaven's sake! Enjoy your food! I would love to learn to cook in France and understand wine. Maybe I'll live there some day.

To the right are Andy Warhol's Cats, Cats, Cats and Henry Beard's French for Cats, Advanced French for Exceptional Cats and POETRY FOR CATS. Krysia read these in French to her cat, Jasmine. The cat in turn acted out the French cat's tricks. Just thought I should warn you not to underestimate your cat's intelligence..

Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, Acquired Tastes, Chasing Cezanne, Anything Considered and A Dog's Life are informative and humorous.

Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris A love story with recipes "denotes major life events around certain foods."

There's a ratty copy of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities. It was a ratty time in history, but it's on my reread list.

I'm reading Miles Morland's A Walk Across France. Life Transforming. Hiking the Grand Canyon did it for me.

Victoria Magazine Aug. 1992 and Oct. 2000 and Victoria's book, The Heart of France, A Journey of Discovery.

There are language books, sarcastic language books, guide books and others sandwiched in. Right now, I want to slip into bed, squeeze my crunchy lavender sachet and dream of France. Nite. Nite.

2015 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Smithsonian Journeys Trans-Siberian Express trip

It's rainy in Mississippi and expected to continue through Friday. Knees and ribs appreciate consistent weather, so my chiropractor says. Mine agree. Where winter stays winter, people adjust. Our weather fluctuated from open windows in the morning to freezing temps in the evening, day after day. We pulled in our necks to warm our ears and slept scrunched up. Yes, those were two dog nights, and we have only one. Home insulation was optional when our house was built in the 1960's, reason enough to search out warmer, sunnier places. This is not Midwest construction.

Go to for information on the Trans-Siberian Express trip 9/9/15-10/4/15. Nearly 5,000 miles long, it travels through six time zones between Moscow and Beijing. I would love to ride the Tsar's Traveling Gold, see The Forbidden City and Mongolian nomads on the Steppes. There's a picture of a kiosk of Ulaanbaatar Prayer Wheels. We used to have a small prayer wheel from Tibet we twirled to send the prayers on.

The Annunciation Cathedral's rich blue with gold, onion-domes stands proudly in Kazan Kremlin. I hope you can go in. Can you imagine taking afternoon tea aboard The Tsar's Gold private train? I wonder what delicious fare is served? I see "many" stories in the making.

We haven't have a problem train traveling through time zones. I don't know how six would affect us, but we trust we could adjust. We're adventurous trying new foods, seeing new places and making friends. That does it. I'm adding this to my Bucket List. I pray I can make the trip before I'm so old I need oxygen and elevator shoes.

Prices start at $14,295 per person. 855-330-1542 M-F 9am-6pm ET.

Happy Traveling all!!!

2015 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mississippi winter 2015 vs George Washington's 1779-80

This is my fourth winter in MS. Locals say we don't have "bad" weather, which explains why there is little or no insulation in our 1960's house with "single-pane" windows! And no vehicle shelter. Thank goodness we have blankets to tack over our windows and layers of clothes to wear. Early Monday, Mother Nature blessed us with a quarter-inch of ice followed by sleet. Can you hear her laughing? Looking on the bright side, I thought of Dr. Zhivago. I would love a sleigh ride covered in furs, wouldn't you? Remember when he studied the snowflakes on the glass? Such a romantic.

Five of us were invited to Harvey Fiser's for a lady's luncheon, but the weather wasn't cooperating. My car's front and back passenger doors were frozen shut with a mottled pattern of ice as thick as an I-don't-want-anyone-to-see-me-shower door. It took me 20" to clear the windshield and a peep hole on the right front window. Two ladies wiggled and giggled into the back seat. I did the back of the neck. Thank you Morgan Freeman for Driving Miss Daisy. We made it to Harvey's and enjoyed her wild rice soup, dainty ham sandwiches, tomato aspic on bib lettuce, baked chocolate pie and coffee in demitasse cups, a blazing fire and friendly conversation. True Southern Hospitality at its best.

Pause for a moment and imagine what it was like for George Washington's troops. Robert Middlekauff wrote Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader. Copyright 2015. "The winter of 1779-80 proved to be one of the worst that longtime residents in New York and New Jersey remembered." . . . Some soldiers didn't even have a shirt. There was ice on the ground. Streams froze and Grist mills couldn't turn. Troops went without meat for days at a time. Washington ordered the soldiers to take wheat from mills, beat and husk it and boil it to make a tolerable substitute for bread. With so little, so much was accomplished.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is all around!

 Finding natural "hearts" started with this.
 Then I needed to take a walk to work it off.

 A tiny bit of egg white escaped the griddle to show some love.

 Oh, chocolate cake loves me too!

 I chopped celery for soup.
When I cleaned off the cutting board,
I found this heart.

 It loves broccoli and cauliflower, too.

 Skillet magic!

A baby seal napped on my napkin.
I was nibbling apple and sunflower seeds,
I turned a slice over to pick up a seed.
This is what I got.
I tried to create one and the seeds wouldn't stick.
Nature does it best!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day
and keep your eyes open 
for Love!

2015 Red Convertible Travel Series

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