Two books and a puppy!

👀 A Real Book

Leaving the best until last.

I have begun an interesting biography called Notes From A Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi. Alfred Knopf publisher. 2019.

I am reading this because I have become much more enthusiastic cooking not having to cook in a kitchen out of the dark ages. I have also been watching cooking shows on tv. Repeat series of the Great British Bake off and travels with Rick Stein. Not to mention a copy of Two Fat Ladies vintage cookbook I found in the tip shop. I loved them. I will probably settle down before long but for now I am enjoying many food related tasks.

Kwame Onwuachi is the executive chef at Kith and Kin and owner of the Philly Wing Fry franchise in Washington D.C. He was born on Long Island and raised in NY City, Nigeria and Louisiana. He was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has seen and lived his fair share of diversity. This is his story.

He trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has opened five restaurants before turning 30. He has a twitter account: @ChefKwame and an Instagram account: @bastedmind

The author of this book is Joshua David Stein who is a Brooklyn based author and journalist. He was a restaurant critic for the New York Observer and has been a food columnist for The Village Voice. This book is also available on audio. (inside back flap)

👀 👀 Audio

The book I’m listening to currently on audio is Twyla Tharp- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. Simon and Schuster; Illustrated edition 2008.

I have chosen this book because after a break from my photography because of the distractions of ill health (all better now), Christmas and all the events in the United States (also all better now) I needed to get my mojo back. Our photography club is meeting again face to face as we are currently Covid free in our state and several excursions in interesting places coming up. This book talks about the way to develop more creativity in all the arts and encourages the reader to establish the routines to be productive in ones chosen field. The author gives several examples of well known dancers, artists and writers in their routines and how productive they become as a result of them. I know…. common sense….but it is nice to have a coach when working alone with any endeavour. It will also encourage me to be more consistent with my journaling and attemps at drawing.

She is one of the world’s leading creative artists, choreographers and creator of the Broadway show, Movin’ Out. She is a well known American dancer, choreographer and author who lives and works in NY city.n In 1966 she formed the company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz and contemporary pop music. From 1971 to 1988 she toured extensively around the world performing original works.

The focus of her work and book is going through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide open realm of possibilities can be energizing and she explains how to take a deep breath and begin. (paraphrasing from Amazon and Wikipedia)

I have always enjoyed book that are related to New York City so to have two on the go at once is great fun.

👀 👀 👀 Personal Journal– Now for the good news. (I think.)

Dolly. Born 27 November, 2020 Pug/Maltese/Toy Poodle……I know.

Meet Ollie’s new little sister…. Dolly. Since we lost our beloved little Molly, Ollie has been at loose ends. He walks around eating stuff that makes him sick, sleeps too much and generally is not himself. He has not been well and has just had xrays and an ultrasound that is backing up his illness that is still being investigated.

We brought Dolly home yesterday. Yesterday was her 8 weeks old birthday. She is a mixture of (get this) pug, maltese and toy poodle. As we get to know her we can see a lot of pug in her (without the flat nose that causes respiratory problems in some breeds). She has a little toy poodle/maltese face with the squatty body and curled up tail of a pug. She is a little feminist, not letting Ollie boss her around as he has tried to do. When that didn’t work, he has now taken all his tennis balls in the front yard and hidden them in the bushes and in the house he has hidden his favourite toys next to bookshelves and behind furniture. It has been very funny to watch. He has that “only child” syndrome. Like a couple of toddlers. We are seeing a new side to him.

Ollie Meets Dolly for the first time.

As we are probably not travelling anywhere for any length of time this year we have lots of time to train her during her first year and to give Ollie a job which he needs. I think most dogs need a job to keep them focused and stop them eating all manner of things they find in the yard. The laughs just keep on coming watching the interaction of these two. As for our indoor cats, they have just rolled their eyes, looked at each other, sighed….’Another puppy!’ and moved on to their daily routines.

What a week it has been. This coming week has the builder coming back and painting our laundry room and before too long installing the kitchen floor to finish off the new kitchen.

I have a couple of friends dropping by to visit Ollie and Dolly and sharing a cup of tea or coffee. Ollie has a vet appointment to continue his diagnosis and treatment and I will take Dolly along to get her checked out as I always do with a new dog. I imagine she will be the last puppy we get in our lifetime as we are not getting any younger and we will go into “older age” together.

They better not forget about me !

As they say in an Olympic year- “Let the games begin!’

I’m Over All That…

Snip20180505_7No, Not me. I am not over much these days. But Shirley MacLaine’s latest book is titled I’m Over All That.  It is a book of very short chapters discussing all of the things she is over now she is approximately 80 years old.

Mainly she is over relationships. She had a lot of love affairs during her life even though she was with her husband for 30 years.  She said they had a fairly open relationship. She is not over her strong belief in reincarnation or UFO’s.  The government continues to cover up their existence according to her.  She drops a lot of names in this book as well. Actors, actresses and politicians of high standing whom she had affairs with. She was a busy woman.

Let’s back up a bit. When I was living in Ft. Myers Florida in my 20’s and 30’s I went through a real New Age phase. I think all American women in my age group seemed to flirt with the ideas.  Past life regressions, reincarnation, astrology, chakras acting up and all manner of ideas we hadn’t grown up with in our middle class midwest upbringing during our school years.

However I am “Over All That” now and have been for a long time. I read all of Shirley MacLaine’s books. Out On  A Limb, Don’t Fall Off the Mountain, Dancing in the Light.  Then I just woke up one day and thought, “This is all rubbish. I don’t believe any of it.” I moved on and once I began living in Australia in my late 30’s I didn’t think of it anymore. Also Australians didn’t seem to have any time for any of that stuff compared to Americans.


I gave up reading anything by her.  However I continue to love her as an actress and have seen many films she has starred in going all the way back to The Apartment with her and Jack Lemmon. I enjoyed seeing her in films as the cranky middle aged to older person in various films. It made me laugh.  She was a very talented dancer as well.

Now more than 35 to 40 years later I saw this book on the library shelf.  I knew she would be about 80 years old and wondered if she still believed all of that stuff.  I read it in a couple of days and sure enough she does.  Life is one big spiritual journey to her. She can find meaning in a old pork chop.

She enjoys animals around her more than people which I can relate to quite a bit.  She doesn’t need the love relationships with men anymore. She does need her close women friends which I can also relate to.

Snip20180505_9She likes her own company and the comforts of her home too which I also enjoy. But then she travels down the path towards her future lives and I follow my path until I simply finish this life and don’t think beyond that.

One thing I have always found funny about those reincarnation beliefs is that people who do believe in it always talk about their past lives as a Queen or a Princess or someone well known in Egypt.  They are never the poor shopkeeper in India or St Louis. There have been billions and billions of people who walked the earth at one time but if you are reincarnated you only seem to believe you were from a royal family somewhere several centuries ago.  Why would you remember fishing on the banks of the Mississippi in the early 1800’s and sleeping in a shack? Where are all these people now? Did they reincarnate too? Really. Are we all just recycled?  It might be a fun idea but let’s face it, life can be long enough and tough enough, why would one want to start over and do it all again.  It takes 60 years to get stuff right and finally relax and maybe enjoy it for 20 or 30 years then you’re gone.

Anyway, the book was interesting in that I got to think about the changes in both Shirley and myself. I’ll let her go now and hope she has a long life and enjoys her next millennium and I’ll go on admiring other people and books about them. I’ll still cuddle with my animals though. Life really is short.bluejumper