about a dog

June 20, 2018 | 7 Comments

“I can’t see well, but I can still gaze at the mountain and have Deep Thoughts.”

Lenny actually has more fans on the Internet than I do, so I thought I’d post the report here.

He was my gift to myself for surviving a miserable divorce from a miserable person. I was ready for joy in my life and Lenny was it!  The moment the ink was dry on the decree, my friend Deanna and I took Barkis to a rescue fair and found the Most Perfect Puppy Ever.

Lenny is an essential writing tool.

Lenny welcomed my new life, my yummy new husband, and scores of admirers. He became That Dog–the one everyone wants to hold and cuddle.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed Lenny running into things and acting confused. His pupils didn’t contract. The vet referred us to a specialist to see if he has a brain tumor, which is the worst thing ever. The specialist didn’t think it was a tumor at all–but Lenny has gone blind.

It might be due to something called Sudden Acquired Retinal Deterioration. It’s not fatal. It’s just a thing. Lenny’s taking it in stride, adapting better every day. And loving life as always.

Lenny won’t let this ruin the things he loves–treats, sniffing, napping, and cuddling. Like the painter Claude Monet, he’ll keep on going: “I see less and less.. .Nevertheless, I always paint at the times of day most propitious for me, as long as my paint tubes and brushes are not mixed up…I will paint almost blind, as Beethoven composed completely deaf.”

Shakespeare wrote, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.”

 

 

dress like your summer beach read :: and other nonsense

June 15, 2018 | Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but I usually just use my beach book to screen my face from the sun while I read.

If you were to dress like your book, what would you be wearing?

Now this article suggests we use books as shopping guides for cute clothes. Like a $500 ruffled sundress inspired by the very excellent You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac, for instance.

If your summer  beach read is Between You & Me (and it should be; it’s by my favorite author and she did a really good job), your outfit might look like this:

Image result for doctor medical scrubs jacket

Fun fact–If your doc is wearing a short lab coat, she’s probably a medical student. The attendings are the ones in the longer coats.

Or this, for your man–who by the way should also read beach books:

Image result for farmer jeans

I know, right? He really doesn’t have time for the beach.

And for the Amish teenager in your life, especially if she’s got something to hide.

Image result for amish teenager

Or the little boy who steals your heart:

Image result for amish boy

[spoiler alert–his left arm…]

Okay, I’ll stop. But I would love to know–if you were to dress like the book you’re reading, what would your outfit look like?

 

Kate & Anthony

June 11, 2018 | 1 Comment

This picture struck me because I can relate to it on so many levels.

He’s writing. In longhand. On the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. It was posted so recently to his Twitter account.

He posted that just last week. He writes on the ferry. He writes in longhand.

I write on the ferry and in longhand. I probably look equally absorbed and serious when I write.

I’ve been on the Star Ferry crossing Kowloon Harbor in Hong Kong. It was on that ferry that I fell in love. I had just met Jerry and we were both working in the Far East (Jerry in China, me in Australia), and we followed a mad impulse to meet in HK and spend a week in the Peninsula Hotel. And while we were there, we took the Star Ferry over to Wanchou and got matching tattoos that spelled “YES” in Chinese. So that’s my Star Ferry story. I remember the light of evening. I remember the rush of finding the most unlikely, most exhilarating romantic love I’d ever experienced.

And this morning I saw this picture of Anthony and I wished that his demons, whatever they were, had left him alone to do his art and his life. I wished the love and joy and passion in his life had been powerful enough to protect him from those demons.

And this loss comes on the heels of another—the iconic Kate Spade. Another artist I admire every time I take out the crossbody phone wallet Jerry bought for me, or the blue bag that was a gift from my publisher.

Or the typewriter bag I once gave my editor as a gift.

Image result for kate spade typewriter bag

She was wonderfully creative, and deserved contentment along with the success she enjoyed.

She was so crisp and classy. And she had such a clean, clear vision of design.

He had such a big personality and an appetite for life.

There are no words of wisdom in this post. Only reflection and sadness. The world can never have too many artists in it. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, you are not alone. Lifeline @800273TALK can help. 1-800-273-8255.

I’ll close with another vanished genius who left us too soon—Chris Cornell.

 

That was Jerry’s walking-in song at our wedding.

I appreciated Anthony, Kate, and Chris in ways I didn’t realize until they were gone.

In life, as in art, anything is possible. Sometimes I hate that.

the “easier than you think” pie

June 05, 2018 | Leave a comment

People say something is “easy as pie” but I think they mean “easy as eating a piece of pie, right? Because most of us are pie-challenged.

But there’s good news–it doesn’t have to be that way. As Dr. Reese Powell, the main character of Between You & Me discovers, making a pie can be easy, and also a way to bring joy and comfort to someone you care about.

What’s better than a good book? A good book and a piece of pie!

As a doctor, Reese discovers that you can’t fix everything, but you can certainly make somebody a delicious pie, and sometimes, that’s what the moment calls for. In the book, she uses an old-fashioned pie fluter–but that’s just getting fancy. Your own two hands will do.

FRESH BERRY PIE

This one turns out right every time. You can use most berries in season—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries–or a combination if you can’t decide.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups fresh berries, stemmed, washed, and drained
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup minute (“instant”) tapioca–needed for thickening
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 prepared double pie crust (Note: The ones that come pre-rolled in a box are wonderful and won’t break your heart.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado or other coarse sugar for sprinkling on the top

DIRECTIONS

  • PREHEAT oven to 400°F.
  • Place the bottom crust in a 9-inch pie pan, prick the bottom, and put it in the oven to partially bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Toss blueberries (and other berries if using) with sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, almond extract and cinnamon until evenly coated.
  • Let stand 15-30 minutes. Don’t forget to take the crust out of the oven.
  • Fill the pie pan with the berry mixture.
  • Dot top of pie with butter.
  • Cover top with second pie crust.
  • Seal and flute the edges. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut slits in top crust; don’t be afraid to get creative with fanciful shapes.
  • Place a square of foil on bottom oven rack (to catch spills) and place the pie on the sheet. Using the bottom rack ensures the bottom crust will bake as nicely as the top.
  • BAKE 50 minutes to an hour, or until you see slowly-bursting bubbles coming through the vent holes.
  • Cool completely before slicing (this is the hard part), then serve with crème fraiche, whipped cream, ice cream, or wolf it down as is.

Note to readers :: Between You & Me will be published on June 26. You can order a signed copy here or here. It’s also available in hardcover, digital, or audio wherever books are sold. And as always, it’s available in any format, free of charge, at your local library.