One Example of an American Jazz Genius

“Everybody in all countries tries to play jazz.” –Thelonius Monk

That is so very true. Jazz has always been appreciated and loved outside of its country of origin: the U.S.A. Look at how so many American Jazz artists had to go abroad, mainly to Europe, to make it! Even today, 2013, when visitors from abroad come to our shores, they want to visit jazz clubs in NYC like The Blue Note Jazz Club.

Jazz musician, Thelonius Monk, made the prestigious cover of Time Magazine on this day in history, February 28th in 1964. Before Monk, just a few other jazz musicians graced Time’s cover, so this was a big deal. Monk had a reputation for being eccentric with odd behavior that today might be categorized as Tourette’s Syndrome, Bipolar and other mental illnesses, so his career was erratic. A good biography to read on Monk is  Thelonius Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin Kelley. “Thelonious Monk is the gripping saga of an artist’s struggle to “make it” without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth century.” (  

 When you have the time, watch the Clint Eastwood (himself a lover of jazz and a composer/pianist) documentary that he produced on Monk, Straight, No Chaser on You Tube.  

Also, here are some really interesting articles to read: Monk’s Moods, The Book, Mental Health Matters, Thelonius Monk Makes the Cover of Time Magazine, Thelonius Monk: Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.



4 Reasons to Eat Home- Made Chicken Soup

Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

“Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.”-Ina Garten

 The following 4 reasons were posted by Head Health Nutter on August 31, 2010 on the holistic health blog titled: Live Lighter.

  • Cleansing. “Plenty of fluids” is often advised when you’re ill. A body full of attacking allergens (like a virus) and battling antibodies needs to be flushed in order to get healthy. To that effect, the abundant broth in chicken soup performs aptly.
  • Disinfecting. Chicken soup is generally fairly salty (with lower-sodium versions), so that when it goes down your throat it acts in much the same way as gargling warm salt water. In other words, it removes bacteria in the throat, mouth, and tonsils.
  • Clears sinuses. Much like other warm liquids (for example, tea), it can help to clear the sinuses with steam.
  • Strengthening. The lean protein in chicken and nutrients from added vegetables work to bolster your strength when your body is feeling drained of energy.

My husband was home sick for 2 days: allergies, cold, sinuses. I prepared home- made chicken soup, which is a staple in our home and a comfort food. You can use anything you have in the fridge. Since I didn’t have any parsnip or turnip (which I usually use), this was a very simple, basic soup: chicken wings (yes, I know, they’re fatty, but oh so good), lots of cut up carrots, chopped onion, chopped celery, a peeled and diced potato, fresh parsley and some salt and pepper to taste.  If you use frozen vegetables, then use the Goya Mixed Vegetables, which are the best and throw a handful in. Of course, you can add a little rice or Pennsylvania Dutch noodles.  Chicken soup can be frozen. I make small containers and keep them in my mom’s freezer which she easily defrosts and reheats.  

 I don’t know how the weather is where you are at this moment, but in NY it’s rainy and windy, a great day for home-made chicken soup! Be well!



8 Real Life and Doable Tips for Not Feeling Bored And For Not Depending On Others To Spare You from Boredom

  • Get Chores Done Early so you can…
  • Visit elderly relative or someone you take care of
  • Order books through the public library and read, read, read
  • Develop an interest you can pursue right in your home (Reading? Blogging? Research? Cooking? Music?

I guess I am lucky that I inherited from my 89 year old mom the gift of not feeling bored or the need to be surrounded all the time by people. It’s a blessing. Thank you, Mom!


3 Reasons to Celebrate Johnny Cash’s Birthday Today, February 26th, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. Cash. I’d like to remember you today with wonderful collaborations, most memorable is your collaboration with Bob Dylan on his “Girl from the North Country.” I also enjoyed your collaboration with your daughter, Rosanne Cash on “September When It Comes.”   And…of course…here’s Johnny with his true love, June, singing Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.”

Rest In Peace, Mr. Johnny Cash!


3 Real Life Tips for Helping Elderly Parents Care for Their Teeth

Mom had a flare up by her upper left teeth. We know from past experience that another dentist wanted to perform root canal, but at 89, mom is not going through that again. She did it once on one tooth, it went well, but it wasn’t something she wanted to repeat. So Sunday morning when she said it hurt to chew on left side, I told her to

  • STOP eating on left side of mouth.
  • Brush gently.
  • Use warm saltwater rinses.

Monday morning she called me very happy and said she had NO pain!  Now I know a miracle did NOT occur, but the above real life tips helped, momentarily.

I was able to get an appointment with our beloved and compassionate dentist in our hometown yesterday afternoon. His wife, who is also his dental hygienist and an equally beloved and compassionate person, took an x-ray, cleaned the area gently and put on some sort of seal. For now, all is ok. If mom has another flare up that doesn’t respond to good dental care and/or Amoxicillin, we’ll get her tooth pulled. We know a wonderful father and daughter team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons that we’ve used previously for oral extractions and implants.

I hope when I see mom this morning, all will be calm, her teeth will feel fine and no emergencies on the horizon. One day at a time folks, one day at a time!

3 Plays by Ibsen Worth Rereading (or reading for the first time!)

“The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.” -Ibsen

When I was a teenager, I read all of Henrik Ibsen’s plays. For some reason, I remember seeing Steve McQueen on Broadway in Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, but when I googled it, it said McQueen was only in the movie. (If you click onto “movie,” you’ll enjoy a clip from the movie with a good monologue by McQueen.)  I know I’ve seen a live production!   Henrik Ibsen was a man who truly stood alone, he spoke out on issues of the day through his plays. An Enemy of the People highlighted pollution. A Doll’s House highlighted women’s rights and a woman’s choice of staying married/striking out on her own and so much more. And…who can forget Hedda Gabler?  Oh well…On this day, 2/24/13 in 1876, Ibsen’s play, Peer Gynt opened in Oslo.  Henrik Ibsen’s plays are relevant today, check them out online or at your local library!  Ibsen demonstrated the role of freedom and was compelled to speak his mind and didn’t seek admiration or agreement, just freedom.

3 Reasons to Celebrate the Birthday of Renoir

 “Work lovingly done is the secret of all order and all happiness.” –Renoir

The French Impressionist artist, Pierre Auguste Renoir was born 172 years ago today in Limoges, France.  I never knew Renoir was born in Limoges, but I do know about Limoges porcelain.  Look at the above 3 paintings, what else is there to say! I do agree with Renoir about work. I hope all of you still working love what you do; it really makes a difference.