Settling In

On a blustery day back in early December, a friend and I went into the hills for a lecture on masala chai (literally, spice tea) at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. While chai may seem fairly self-explanatory, I was intrigued because the lecture included a tasting of a few different kinds of chai, information about its…

A Spoon Sweet for Summer

And yet a branch of unforeseen mimosa,Cleaving the heavens, falls across it all,So in pages of philosophic proseSometimes will gleam a line of lovesick verse. -Mikhail Kuzmin ("Fuji in a Saucer")   Before May skyrocketed into oblivion, I think it's pretty safe to say that I was taking things kind of slowly. Perhaps more slowly…

The Beauty of Realistic Thinking

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. -William Arthur WardI've always considered myself an optimist--a great believer that things will work out for the best, that people will do the "right" thing, that there is good to be found in every nook and cranny of…

Of Jujubes and Spoon Sweets

 "It's a question of discipline," the little prince told me later on. "When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend to your planet."-Antoine de Saint Exupery (The Little Prince)   All week long, I've been following the Little Prince's sage advice and tending to my planet. You might say that things have fallen…

Miles from Mother’s Day

If it is your natureto be happyyou will swim away along the soft trails for hours, your imaginationalighting everywhere. And if your spiritcarries within it the thornthat is heavier than lead ---if it's all you can doto keep on trudging --- -Mary Oliver ("Morning Poem")Living thousands of miles away isn't always easy, especially on holidays.…

A Little Crunch of Cardamom

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." ~ Ralph Waldo EmersonA…

Great Scoops of Delight

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. -E.L. KonigsburgI've never been one of those people for whom the sun must be shining in order to eat ice cream. In fact, I could (and sometimes do) happily eat it everyday; in my…

Zucchini Fest, Part I: Details Schmetails

"In life, as in literature, we navigate via the stars of detail. We use detail to focus, to fix an impression, to recall."-James Wood (How Fiction Works)Some days the details really matter: a little fog can chill you to the bone, exacerbating the feeling that maybe you're coming down with something; a simple phrase like…