Monthly Archives: March 2015


I was introduced to Sancocho our second day in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  I was unfamiliar with it so who knows how long I would have gone without trying it if a small shot glass of it hadn’t  been served as a complimentary starter as we ordered for lunch.  It’s fabulous!  It’s rich and full bodied and velvety.  Yum!

I googled Sancocho and there are tons of recipes and descriptions.  It’s go good I’m going give it a try and see if I can come close to the perfection of the memory I have of it. It has many kinds of meat and is really a stew.  It’s spiced up with onion, peppers, oregano, cilantro, orange and lime juice and thickened with vegetables, plantain, etc.  Sound good? I think it does.  It’s served with rice and slices of avocado.

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It’s possible the charm of the  Adrian Tropical Restaurant had something to do with the deliciousness of the food because it was as if we were in a tropical grotto.  The tables were arranged along side a waterfall and stream with ponds of koi under palm trees on one side and a turtle pond and rock formations with lush plants on the other.  The sound of the water beckoned and Kia and I walked every inch of the bridge and path leading to the waterfall taking pictures of each other and the fish and the turtles.

We had plenty of time to do this because nothing happens quickly in the Dominican Republic.  Every meal is a three hour event that includes shared appetizers and drinks then sometimes shared dishes for a main course, sometimes not and small deserts and coffee or espresso.  ESPRESSO!  I discovered espresso!

That didn’t sound like enough to take up three hours…..and it wouldn’t be except for the long spaces in between.  And, as the warmth and humidity and the relaxing take place there doesn’t seem to be any reason to rush.  Everything will eventually get done.  Everything that doesn’t get done today will tomorrow…..probably.  And in that very happy, relaxed mindset everything under the sun is talked about and enjoyed.  The conversation becomes the highlight of the meal.  And every meal is memorable.

This meal was all about sancocho, mofongo, koi, turtles and a love affair with Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Springtime in the Rockies

Five days ago I was in the Dominican Republic on the east coast in Bavaro and Punta Cana.  Palm Trees lined the beaches and streets.  The sand was white and fine and felt wonderful between my toes.  The sun was dazzling and the blues, turquoises and aquas of the sky and water were breathtaking and took my breath for sure.

I wanted to bottle the air, the breeze, the sand, the sun, the feeling of warmth and salt and freedom.  What a marketable product that would make.  I wouldn’t even put a label on it.  I’d just let it beguile the purchaser all by itself.  Who could resist?

As I drove to the airport, I said “goodbye palm trees”, “goodbye beach”, “goodbye clean, clear ocean”.  I felt a tinge of sadness.  I arrived home after midnight.  It was dark.  I had no idea what I would see the next morning.  But, I sort of knew, because it’s March in Utah.  Utah is a desert and so grey, brown and drab after the snow melts.

Morning came and the was sun shinning.   That was a plus.  As I moved around the house and looked out the windows, bright spots of color caught my eye.  I had to grab my camera and head out for a walk to see what was happening.

Forsythia, pink and white plum trees, crocus and new growth on the rose bushes. Most every tree and bush is coming to life.  It’s Spring!  It’s Springtime in the Rockies.

The crocus are timidly showing and the daffodils are exploding.  The peonies, ground cover and tulips are peeking through.  Even my lilac trees are budding.

Yes, I miss the tropics.  But there is a lot to be said about the change of seasons and the dry air of the desert.  That is the majesty of our Mother Earth.  There is beauty wherever you look.  If you look, there is beauty everywhere.

Little Miracles

I’ve been taking pictures of the buds popping out on the trees since the first of February.  They started as little nubs and as I walked by them each day I could see the nubs swelling.  Then they began to look fuzzy.  Then a little fissure developed that gradually opened wider and wider until layers of petals were discernable.

Each day that passed brought different weather, a little sunshine, then a little rain, then some wind.  Driving by, the changes were nearly imperceptible.  But this two month metamorphosis was so exciting to watch in the slow-mo of walking. Gradually,  I couldn’t leave the house without my camera.  Something was bound to present itself that should be noticed and recorded.

This flowering plum tree has been my motivator this winter to get off the couch and get outside to walk.  Watching it change so slowly from stark bare branches into a fragrant canopy has given me so much food for thought…..about the little changes in my life going unnoticed…..the little changes in my thinking…..the blossoming of my happiness.

I’m so thankful for all of the little surprises, the little miracles constantly working in my life.  I’m so thankful!

The True Sign of Intelligence

I was walking down the concourse in Tocumen International Airport in Panama and there on the wall in 6″ high letters was a quote by Albert Einstein:  “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

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I’m a big fan of Albert Einstein.  I’m reading a biography of him by Ronald W. Clark.  The more I think about him, the more I see evidence of him all around me.  He died 60 years ago but he is still a major influence in our world.    Science is forever changed because of his contributions.

He said, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.”

I think it’s so interesting that he said so much about imagination and about knowledge.  He left us a very clear message.  “Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”  And…..”The true sign of intelligence  is not knowledge but imagination.”

Is it just me or is that an encouragement and even a challenge to let loose and be whatever you imagine yourself to be…..and discover and create your life, your future.



Let’s Shake Things Up


Taking pictures in Casco Antigua at the Plaza de la Independencia.  These photos show the Iglesia Catedral.  On the other side of the plaza are the Canal Museum and the Palacio Municipal.  The evidence of the attempts to build the canal and the countries involved are all over Panama City.  Even now, a new, huge expansion is under construction.

The ruins are all over “Old Town” and the restorations are all mixed in with them.

A guide, looking to drum up some business, joined us at our lunch table near the plaza.  He was born a “Panazonian”.  Because he was born in the canal zone, he went to American schools, learned english and was an American citizen.  He sat and talked with us as he eyed the crowds for possible clients.  We enjoyed his stories.

He  told us the high prices in Panama were our fault because Americans don’t haggle…..we just pay the first amount quoted.  He gave us a 30 minute education for free.  We had to admit, he was right.  He had lots of observations that have given us food for thought ever since.  That’s a good thing right?

Maybe I should change my motto to:  “Let’s shake things up!”


As we were walking along the beach at Playa Coronado, a Canadian gentleman walking a dog approached.  We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes and then asked him to recommend a good restaurant in the area. ” Lunarossa” was his emphatic reply.  “It’s an Italian restaurant”.  In Panama?  As we discovered, there are many Italians in Panama, many Italian restaurants, and many Canadians.

As we approached Lunarossa through a blooming arbor, Lisa, the owner, greeted us and made us comfortable.  We hadn’t even reached the door.   It felt as if we were in her home.  She makes fresh mozzarella every morning…..fresh pasta, fresh everything.

I get all excited when certain elements come together.  The patio was a large palapa complete with fans and soft lighting.  The music was Italian.  The palapa was surrounded with palm trees and fuschia bougainvillea.  The atmosphere alone would bring me back.  But, the food was so good:  the mozzarella and ripe tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar; the pizza, so light and fresh; the lobster caught that morning and pan sauteed potatoes; pannacotta with caramel…..we came back several times.  Yum.  Lick my lips.

Our last evening there, my husband had the most wonderful dish.  It was King Crab Tagliatinni, a house specialty.  My salmon was delicious. But, Lynn’s crab was velvety, rich, full of crab and the most delicate sauce served in the crab shell.  It was spectacular.

Thank you Lisa and the guys at Lunarossa.  We have such fond memories of our time with you.


Picasso On Imagination

Pablo Picasso said “Others have seen what is and asked why.  I have seen what could be and asked why not”.

In my imagination, I see a group of artists lounging around Gertrude Stein’s salon in Paris discussing what is real…..what is reality…..what is imagination and creation.  I see Pablo Picasso, George Braque, Salvador Dali, Maurice Princet and Ernest Hemingway with Gertrude and her brother.  I see them pouring over Henri Poincare’s book, Science and Hypothesis looking for details about the fourth dimension.

I imagine a lot of standing up and pacing and arm flinging with emotion as these subjects are analyzed, scrutinized and thoroughly discussed.  I can imagine Picasso saying “Everything you can imagine is real”.  I love this visualization.  And, then Braque says “Real discoveries are made beyond the limits of knowledge”.  Gosh, doesn’t that sound like something Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla would say?

In their cubist paintings, Picasso, Braque and Chagall created images that on first glance look fragmented;  but as we look closely, they have actually shown ALL of the subject, from all angles.  The painting above, Le Reve, shows the woman full face and in profile.   Picasso said he was painting not what he saw but what he knew was there.  At that point, the rest is left to the viewers imagination.

Chagall said “I upset in order to find another reality”.  Did he mean for him to find another reality or to challenge us to do it.  I’d love to sit down with him, well with all of them, and ask “What did you think about Einstein’s Nobel Prize research and how much did the scientific discoveries of your time influence your lives and art?”

I love to read about the lives of these people who were instrumental in changing our world’s reality.  I love the idea that we, too, can use our imaginations to discover and create our own reality.

Picasso Bar and Restaurante

We were in Panama last week… Playa Coronado.  We happened on Picasso’s right about 8:00 p.m. as happy hour was winding down.  We should have been there an hour earlier.  It was dark and the lights were enchanting.  We were led to a table with a view of a large open-faced brick, wood-burning pizza oven.  The glow of the fire spread all over the whole restaurant.  There was a large family with children near us.  Does it sound like a scene from a romantic comedy with Diane Keaton? That’s what it felt like.

We sat there a few minutes just enjoying being there and the owner,  Clair,  joined us.  She had come there years ago as a 20 year old with a backpack on her back from the UK.   She told us her story and after we commented on the Picasso quote “everything you can imagine is real” on the menu, invited us to go inside to see more about Picasso.

I’ve heard the name.  Pablo Picasso is famous after all.  Cubism.  However, I wasn’t aware of the connection he had with Gertrude Stein and the many artists and intellectuals living in Paris in the early 1900’s.  We had such a good time seeing all of the quotes and paintings.

We loved the green curry dish.  It had just the right amount of heat and spice and we ate every bite.  We did resist licking the bowl.  We also ordered a stir fry which was so delicious.  The margaritas were great.  We were there several hours thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.

Thank you Clair and all the staff at Picasso Bar and Restaurante such a great evening.



Your Greatest Happiness


Are you happy?  What makes you happy?  What stands in the way of your happiness?  Who have you assigned to be responsible for your happiness?  I often repeat the trite phrase that we all say lately…..”I am responsible for my own happiness”.  But, often, when things don’t go my way, I find myself blaming others for the way I don’t adapt and put my own priorities first.

I recently decided to get to the bottom of these questions in my own life.  Once I decided what makes me happy (not an easy task, it took some thinking), I realized what makes me happy is not what I spend most of my time doing.  Why is that?

I decided to make a list of the things I do each day and then start at the top and ask myself why I was doing “that” instead of what makes me happy.

I asked myself how many of these things are taking me where I want to go?  This is an interesting exercise.  You might want to try it and see how many things you do because you really want to and how many are because others want you to.  I’m not talking about exercising, paying bills or helping a family member or a neighbor.  Those are things I do that are in my own self interest.  They enrich my life.

I decided to get out my machete and whack away.  If the item on the list didn’t contribute to the health of my body, the health of my relationships or my goal toward happiness (for me that meant my time for painting and reading) then it was assigned to someone willing to take it on or whacked off my list.  Whoa…..that sounds harsh!

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Do you love music?  Do you play an instrument and lose track of time when you’re playing it?  Do you love to write, dance, sing, paint, work with wood, pole vault or solve equations? Do you love to use your mind/body to create harmony, beauty and interest in your own life for your own pleasure, your own happiness?  I’m beginning to think that all we need to do is define what we love to do and make what we love to do a top priority.

In Progress

I am plugging along on a painting and pleased with its progress.  It’s pleased with its progress.  I know this because it all but said “ta-dah” as I stood back a ways and checked it out.  I get to a certain point and get anxious to be “done” and start something new.  But, one thing is for certain:  a painting is not done until says it is.

I’ve realized through the years though that once a painting is finished, I lose interest in it.  My enjoyment comes in the doing, in the painting, in the mystery of not knowing what it will end up being.  In this case, there is no question it will be a pink rose.  But there is the potential of it being much more.  It could evoke an emotion or a feeling or a memory of a feeling.  It could draw you in closer only to divert your attention to something lurking in the background.  There’s really no way to know until it’s through with you.

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It’s occurred to me that everything is in “progress”.  Everything in life is always unfolding and expanding. And, it is in the becoming that we find the fun…..the joy.  It’s our job as the creator of our life to lighten up, relax and listen and enjoy the progress.