Sun on the door of the breakfast nook started me off. It moves so rapidly now that we have passed the equinox I wanted to record the passage.

In a few days we’ll have to close the blinds as it will be right in H’s eyes.

This really brings home how rapidly the earth is turning, while we stay put. Isn’t it magic?



writing vs typing 001

Drake Baer wrote a fine article in Business Insider magazine to show how writing makes you smarter. He says:

Typing is fast. 

Handwriting is slow.

Weirdly, that’s precisely why handwriting is better suited to learning.

Read more:

Once I only took notes in shorthand, feeling that I was being the perfect secretary. Every word was there; I could even read them back and transcribe them – on my typewriter.

But I found I always had a lot of unnecessary words, so I changed to writing longhand.

Writing real words made me listen more carefully, and I got the important bits.

So this article really hit home.

And the photo is of my father’s notes about the music recording for Don Juan. He left me not only the information, but his unique handwriting. It is easier to read than the carbon copies faded with time.

Now if only I could blog in longhand, would that work? I think there are electronic pens nowadays.

But perhaps not; there’s only just so much time to say all I have to say. So typing it must be. And reading everyone’s blogs will be how I learn these days.


My Favorite & the Long Wait

What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person? Tell us about it.

I had to ask him. He’s the one that remembers dates, places & names. I remember the funny things, the trivia which isn’t important, but sometimes comes in handy for crosswords. But I didn’t remember how long we were parted.

It was very early in our married life. We were married in London 28 years ago and stayed there for the next nine months. Then $$$$ called and my new husband went back to teach summer school.

What kept me busy for the next four months was getting my immigration visa sorted out at the American Embassy.

The parking spaces there are much wider than the usual British ones; the Yanks have great big cars (or did then; I’ve noticed Mini Coopers are very popular over here now). But here I am being side-tracked. Where was I?

Back and forth I went (in my Mini) to fill out forms, and wait; be interviewed, and wait. No problems as far as I could see. Next was the official health check, waiting again.

Side track #2: This was the height of the AIDS crisis and there was lots of blood-letting and other testing to be done. One poor girl was in floods of tears because her fiance was waiting in the US and she had been denied a visa. “Everyone will think I have AIDS,” she wailed. I wasn’t worried.

The doctor I saw (a portly, affluent-looking Harley Street type), just said “You had a physical recently; you don’t want me to be poking around again, do you?” I said “Not unless you have to.” To which he replied “That was the right answer,” and that was that. And he probably got paid a bunch for that 5 minute “consultation.”

So I booked my plane from London, and in the US my husband’s relatives planned a big welcoming celebration for my arrival.

My son treated the whole family to a slap-up farewell dinner at a fancy restaurant the day of my departure.

But somehow the visa hadn’t come through. I decided I would just use my visitor’s visa as the UK and US had a reciprocal agreement, so we had gone to the airport with high hopes.

Alas, no. “If you are applying for a permanent visa you have to use that one” and I was not allowed to board.

We’d had our farewell dinner and loving goodbyes, but it was back to London and waiting again. The ceremony went ahead without me in Texas.

Well, I don’t remember it taking such a long time, but I wasn’t the one alone in the house;  I had all my family around me. The return to the airport with visa in hand was a very muted affair.

Everything comes to he who waits, and finally my husband and I were reunited in time for our first anniversary. Meeting my new relatives, however, had to wait.




Thinking we were nearly out, I bought a 2lb bag of cornmeal, only to discover the “flour” I thought I had in the cupboard was really a 5lb bag of cornmeal, so now that’s featuring in a lot of our meals!

Our favorite is cornbread which I cook for 8 minutes in the microwave; doesn’t have a crisp brown crust that 25 minutes in the oven produces, but is great for someone like me who is always cooking at the last minute. It is especially good when I substitute half a cup of blue cornmeal which gives it an interesting color and taste. Great to take to my Pueblo Indian friends on feast days.

I found an old Cooking Club mag recipe for Baked Polenta with Parmesan Cheese, although I used Cheddar; it was very successful. If you boil cornmeal/polenta in a saucepan it spits like the dickens; this way it cooks in the oven without a mess.

Baked Polenta with Parmesan Cheese

Oven 375 F. Grease 1 quart shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Mix together, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 tsp coarse salt in baking dish (I did it in a measuring jug and poured it in while on the oven shelf).

Bake 1/2 an hour or so; remove from oven and whisk to combine; whisk in 1/4 cup grated cheese and 1 TB unsalted butter. Smooth top and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. 

Bake additional 10 mins or until cheese is melted and top is lightly browned.

This is half the original recipe but it filled my 12″x 1″ glass pan. We enjoyed it that evening for supper, and the remainder set nicely, so I cubed it to use as gnocci or whatever the next day.

I was so pleased with the result I would have sent it in as the Cooking Club’s Flashback section, but alas, the organization has disappeared, and the Internet is full of disappointed people complaining. A pity as it was a good source of recipes and tips, and lots of contests which I sometimes won.

Ah well, there are lots of alternatives with good recipes, and YayYay’s Kitchen is one of them.



The daily blog asks “What bores you?”

Moi! Bored?  Au contraire! I don’t get bored; too much to do, to see, to learn, to make, to think about, to talk about, to write about, to read – you get the picture. Not to mention, to blog about.

But I do yawn, and yawn, and yawn. In specific situations. I’m not entirely sure why. I’m not tired; it could be in the middle of the day.

It is after we have been to the theater, or the movies, or a concert, or even a lecture. As soon as I get in the car to go home, I start yawning. Never during the performance.

I’ve thought about this, and have come to the conclusion that I must hold my breath, or at least my breathing is so shallow that I don’t get enough oxygen.

And yawning helps rectify that condition.

So it isn’t boredom; quite the opposite, it’s being so engrossed I forget to take deep breaths. I don’t forget to laugh, or to cry – my PA says I’m the perfect audience.

So there it is. Hope this bit of self-searching didn’t make you yawn.

Witness Protection – Friends or Strangers?

When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?

My first real attempt at public speaking came when I was selected to be a TEDxABQ Youth speaker. As soon as I sent in the application, I regretted it.

What was I thinking? This was a Youth event and I was 80!

I certainly could tell the kids about being volunteers. Hadn’t I been one at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center for 28 years? And an usher at the University’s Popejoy Hall since 1995? Not to mention helping the city’s RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) all over the place.

But I did it; and I was – to begin with – surrounded by strangers: the other speakers, and the coaching team. We were encouraged to critique each other’s talks, but told to start with praise before the criticism which should be constructive.

That’s exactly how the coaches operated. Over several weeks we worked on our texts, gestures, voices, and before long we were with friends, not strangers. Our fearfulness turned to excitement.

Strangers are more likely to be critical, and don’t know what you are really feeling; or if you make a wrong note, or leave out an important line. Only you will know that. But even a friend can say the wrong thing, while meaning to be helpful.

So I believe that stressful and scary situations can be overcome depending on the way they are handled whether by friends or strangers.

A cup of kindness goes a long way.