A Truffle Hunt to Remember

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by Brenda Athanus

truffleThen there was the thick morning fog rolling in like brush strokes of soft gray paint giving the town of Chinon and my deep sleep a dream like feel.

The shill sound of a phone broke the silence into unidentifiable pieces. Who could be calling—me? I somehow found the phone in my deep dream (unearthly) like state.

“Madame, they are leaving in 5 minutes for the truffle hunt, with or without you” and the high pitched voice went silent and the phone went dead.

In seconds, I pulled on my clothes from the evening before, jumped into my shoes and grabbed a mint. Down the long carpeted stairs I ran, tussled hair and all. I was the last person in the last seat of the multi car caravan as we watched the other two cars fishtailing in the soft pebble driveway.

Fight or Flee

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by Nancy Ellison

This is been a TERRIBILIS AUTEM SABBATI (aka a really bad week)... a lot of pain - all over the world. Cautious moderate thinking seems utterly incapable of solving the problems, as we have moved into a communal state of FIGHT OR FLEE. For a moderate middle of the roader this is awkward. So while my point is serious, I now move into a wistful moment of humor. I am offering two options each on fight or flee.

Fight: Slim Pickens riding the bomb from Dr Strangelove and Brunhilda from Wagner's Ring Cycle, (photo©Nancy Ellison Photography).

Slim Pickens Maj King Kong brunhilda







Flee: IZ - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and his youtube video of Somewhere Over the Rainbow - the sweetest most personal rendition ever, and finally my personal favorite - the White Cosmo that I just had at Cafe Boulud for brunch today....

White Cosmo

The Flee choices are short term. The Fight choices are rather permanent.

My Oscar Night

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by Fredrica Duke

84th_oscars_awards.jpgOscar night approaches and something is missing. My kids. The nest is empty, and 364 days a year I’m fine with that. But not on Oscar night. Let me tell you why. Growing up, kids are like natural hostages. Until they get their driver’s license, they’re pretty much always there. And the night of the Academy Awards was no different. On that night in March (now February) my children, the two cats and I would gather in front of our living room or sometimes bedroom TV and take it all in. This was before we all had wide screens that now make the event seem like a private Oscar party. It was just a modest little TV. We’d sit in rapt attention and watch what to me was the most exciting part. Everyone’s magical entrance. The Red Carpet.

hilaryswankredcarpet.jpgAs each stunning actress made her way through the gauntlet of tedious interviews, I would ooh and aah at how beautiful she was. That’s when my kids would turn to me, me sitting there in my dirty sweats, my unkempt hair tied above in a twisted knot, no makeup, and assure me that I was even prettier!!! I’m not kidding. No matter who the actress was or how young and beautiful, my kids would yell, in unison, that I was MUCH prettier. “You’re MUCH prettier than her, mom!!” Don’t get me wrong, I know they were humoring me, I’m not delusional, but I bought it. And, I looked forward to it every year.

I grew up in Beverly Hills, but on the wrong side of the tracks, south of Wilshire. It wasn’t where the stars lived, even though our house was located only a half mile from the Hilton, the current site of the Oscar Nominees Luncheon and the Governor’s Ball. My father was a B-movie producer, but most people might grade his movies with a D. He was a joyful, glass-completely-full kind of guy, who was thankful for everyday of his life on this planet.

Southern Fried Shape Up

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by Julia Fowler

The "Southern Fried Shape Up" has arrived just in time for you to look good this holiday season!


The Dixie Download Episode 2

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by Julia Fowler

We think this new episode by Julia Fowler is hilarious!! 
Make yourself a plate of James Moore’s amazing biscuits and gravy and pull up a chair...



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