famous people famous places

My new book, Famous People Famous Places, arrived in yesterday’s mail.

I am very pleased with the printing and very moved by the photographs.

Photographs of New York City/Times Square and Hoboken, New Jersey, 1980s.

I had two copies printed at BLURB. Self-published. Now I need to find a publisher.

Here are a few spreads:

adventurers and explorers

Susan and I were watching Rick Steves “France’s Loire: Valley of a Thousand Chateaux.”

It was a fascinating show illustrating both the beauty and opulence of the castles. Some of the castles facts are staggering:

  • The biggest château in the region, Chambord, is huge — six times the size of your average Loire palace, more like a city than a château. It’s surrounded by Europe’s largest enclosed forest park, a lush game preserve teeming with wild deer and boar. It began as a simple hunting lodge for bored blue bloods. But starting in 1518, François I — with the help of 1,800 workmen over 15 years — made a few modest additions to create his “weekend retreat.”
  • Only 80 of Chambord’s 440 high-ceilinged rooms are open to the public — and that’s plenty. To see what happens when you put 365 fireplaces in your house, climb up to the rooftop and wander through a forest of chimney spires.
  • When the Revolution hit, in 1789, many palaces were trashed — some were even burned to the ground. But many survived. Some were lucky. Some had fast-talking owners with friends in high places. And others, like Cheverny, had a reputation for being good to their workers. And back then, a big part of château life included hunting — and still does. The marquis hunts twice a week in season. Feeding time for his hounds is 5:00 daily. The hounds — half English foxhound and half French Poitou — get worked up knowing red meat is on the way. The master moves them out, and spreads out the feast. The excitement is palpable. The trainer, who knows each of the 70 dogs by name, opens the gate and maintains discipline as the dogs gather at the concrete table. It’s an exercise in canine control. Finally, he gives the signal…and its chow time.

Susan asked me if I ever thought of living during another time as we watched the show. And I answered “I don’t think I have ever dreamed about living during another time. I am happy here and now.”

“But what about doing something in another time, Bruce?”

“Oh,” I said. “I think I would have enjoyed being an explorer, an adventurer. Margo Polo. Magellan. Francis Drake. Daniel Boone. Lewis and Clarke. Howard Carter. Jacque Cousteau. And if I was a woman: Isabella Bird, Sacagawea, Amelia Earhart, Nellie Bly, Beryl Markham. To name just a few, Susan.”

As I thought about adventure and exploration, I came to the conclusion:

“I am an explorer. I am an adventurer.”

On every hike I am always on an adventure. Here at Mt, Evans outside of Denver, Colorado:

When I work in my garden, I am always an explorer. Here, look at the beautiful black swallowtail butterfly I found in my garden:

If you listen you can hear the hummingbird’s wings as it hovers over a zinnia in my garden:

Look at the spider web I found in the park down the street from where we live:

Helen Keller said: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

I choose adventure!

Lent contemplation

When I woke up Wednesday morning I read:

“On this Ash Wednesday, I give thanks for this holy season—a time of deep, prayerful contemplation. With faith, I commit to deepening my spiritual understanding and more fully expressing my divinity. I solemnly ask which habits or thought patterns are keeping me from being the person I want to be. I take time in the Silence to sit with this question, open to whatever wisdom comes to me.

“As I consider what to give up, I also think of what I am giving to. I release old thoughts and patterns of behavior and welcome a new way of living. I release negative thinking to give myself the gift of positivity.

“I make a sacred commitment to the process of allowing the pure expression of my Christ nature to shine brightly through and as me.”

I love this. Deepening commitment. Silence. A new way of living. Positivity. Wisdom. Light.

I believe I have been given a gift from God to express my divinity by seeing and sharing beauty, by being of service to others, by being my true self and finding ways to bring light to truth.

My mission is to connect with people, inspire people, and build community.

With connecting with people and sharing with people in mind, I look forward to the day when Susan and I can continue our volunteer work in town with 3rd and 4th graders, which has been on hold for one year because of Covid-19.

Later during the day on Wednesday, I went food shopping and saw this in the grocery store:

I couldn’t help but wonder what chocolate candy, chocolate bunnies (I do see a chocolate cross!) and peeps have to do with Easter. I’ll have to look into this.

Meanwhile, it is lightly snowing now and time for me to read a few pages in some new books:

Thai Sweet, salty and spicy shrimp

I made this for Valentine’s Day. So delicious. Based on a recipe from The New York Times.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

PREPARATION

  1. Pat the shrimp very dry and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium (10-inch) nonstick skillet, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook until pink on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  3. Add the peanuts, scallions, lime juice and red-pepper flakes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Note: I used cooked shrimp so I only had to heat for a few minutes.
I used Rice Wine Vinegar.
I used a bit more nuts than what it calls for.
I used chopped red onion instead of scallions.
I used juice of one whole lime.

I served it with Curry Rice:

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp curry powder / Garam Masala
  • 2 cups Jasmine / Basmati rice
  • 4 cups stock / water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the rice then pour in the water/stock and season with salt.
  • Allow to simmer until most of the water has been absorbed then stir in the peas.
  • Cover with a lid then turn the heat down to its lowest setting.
  • Allow to cook gently for 5 minutes then turn the heat off and allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked, fluff with a fork, season to taste and serve.
  • NOTE: I added some nuts and chopped red onion along with the peas.

Here Susan and I am about to enjoy the special dinner.

An Anniversary

 

Valentine\’s Day is around the corner and I like to share with you a love story.

Fourteen years ago on February 9, Susan and I met at the bar at the Apollo Grill in Easthampton, Massachusetts which was inside Eastworks where I lived and had a photography studio and art gallery.

And as they say, \”the rest is history.\”

The photo is from two years ago when we house-sat for our friend, Helena, in Hamilton, Ontario.

You will enjoy reading all about that wonderful trip in a witty and photo-filled post here: