Sunday, December 25, 2005


Today is the first day since 1929 that Christmas and the first night of Chanukah have been on the same day. That works just fine for my little interfaith family. We'll take the opportunity to celebrate--twice.

This is very much a "back to basics" holiday season. Graham (4 1/2) and Lauren (2 3/4) are still young enough to want simple things. Graham asked for more books and more art supplies. Lauren didn't even ask . . . if it's Dora or Hello Kitty, she's overjoyed. We delivered for the little ones in spades, going above and beyond with musical offerings--keyboard, guitar, and small lap harp. Graham won't put the guitar down and that is a very, very good sign. Grandma MaryAnn and Grandpa Ralph delighted Lauren with a Dora blanket . . . the best gift of her day. She's been happily wrapped in pink and purple all day.

On this day of family, of love, of hope, I offer the wish of Peace, of Shalom.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Things Japanese

I just finished reading a trio of (loosely) Japan related books.

First up was David Mas Masumoto's Four Seasons in Five Senses. Masumoto is an organic farmer in California's Central Valley and a terrific writer. The book is a series of essays that chronicle farming as much as living. He celebrates his history, his family, and the hard labor that produces his peaches and raisins. Reading the book is like taking a long walk with an articulate and philosophical friend. He writes lyrically of his Suncrest peaches and I'll be searching for them during peach season.

Ever the mystery fan, I read Sujata Massey's The Typhoon Lover. This is the latest in the Rei Shimura series. The books are fast paced. I enjoy mysteries with female heroines and Shimura is a nice balance of guts, anxiety, determination, and style. I've followed the series from the first book so picking up the sixth was a natural.

Finally, I read Karin Muller's Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa. This is a quick and easy read covering Muller's year off to find herself and a sense of balance and harmony in Japan. It is not a quick and easy process for her. She moves through a series of funny and touching experiences that ultimately give her good insight into the magic of place and a better sense of what she values.

My husband and I spent time studying in Japan as part of our grad school experiences. I still can't get enough of things Japanese.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I am grateful . . .

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a true feast day. Cousins visiting. Intense cooking. Hubby handled the deep fried turkey and grilled salmon. I provided roasted root vegetables, Delicata squash with cranberries, Mom's (and Grandma's) oyster stuffing (with variations), pears poached in port. We also enjoyed an organic French Camembert, Cypress Grove Chevre Pyramid, French Agour, and Spanish Manchego. And Califonia wine . . . red Zin and a Chardonnay. Mmmmmm.

Today has been a leisure day of snuggling with the kids, reading and general laziness. A person needs that now and then.

I also have been reflecting today on what I am grateful for . . . my family--husband, children, and hounds, a sense of curiousity and wonder, my health, challenging work. Simply put, life is good. I am richly blessed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

At 41 . . .

Today marks the turn of another year for me.

I can honestly say I face it with no regrets and good amount of enthusiasm. I have a wonderful husband Mark, two great children, Graham (4) and Lauren (2), and two energetic hounds, Hamish and Isla. My career challenges and satisfies me; I work with wonderful, intelligent people. I have deeply held interests and I get to pursue them: books, fountain pens, travel, photography, modern art, food and cooking. I am curious and try to be an active, lifelong learner. My life feels balanced . . . mostly.

Like seemingly everyone else, I wish for more time. I could be thinner and more fit. And I will be both, in time. I strive to be more patient and kind. Every year, every day, is a new opportunity, a chance to improve.

At 41, I am comfortable in my own skin. That's worth celebrating. Cheers!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Just Finished Reading . . .

I just finished reading Steven Shaw's "Turning the Tables: Restaurants From the Inside Out". Shaw is an engaging writer who makes clear the mysteries of everything from how to get a reservation at a great restaurant, to the value of becoming "a regular," to how to interpret restaurant ratings, to big, thorny questions about sustainable agriculture and the future of dining out. A great book on "The Life." Shaw's book changed the way I will dine at restaurants. I will survive on his references to food and dining resources while he "works on the next one."

Prior to Shaw's "Turning the Tables", I read Maureen Corrigan's "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books." As a fan of "books on books," I was enthralled with this memoir. Being an unabashed fan of the printed page, I was inspired to read of this life shaped by books--classical, contemporary and somewhere in between. I was equally delighted to find a fellow fan of Sarah Paretsky's V. I . Warshawski mysteries. Paretsky has been my favorite mystery author since I heard her speak at my husband's fifth year reunion at the University of Chicago. If you've grown up with your nose stuck in a book and still find that's a pleasurable state, don't miss Corrigan's book.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Welcome to the new blog

I decided to do this, in part, because I love reading other people's blogs. The opinions, insights, images, and general quirkiness of blogs fascinate me. The notion of a personalized internet motivates me. I'm now moving from observer to participant.

The content of my blog will likely be fairly idiosyncratic, as the title reflects. I expect that "Life's Random Walk" will chronicle the things about which I am most passionate: my family, books and learning, paper and pens, photography, food, and bits of business, design, and technology.

Lao Tzu stated "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Here's to that first step . . . hitting the "publish" button.