awellseasonedbook

~ There Is Beauty In Geometry.

Forget the Super Bowl…Hurrah for the Marmota Monax!

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There are few things as powerful as the Groundhog. American culture has merited this weird critter as being capital in the weather reporting industry.

What’s this though?  You’ve never heard of Punxsutawney Phil?

Oh dear friends! He’s ever so not-important, but we Americans sort of like him.

On this celebrated holiday, where most Americans say, “Today is Groundhog’s What?” The rest of us sit on the edge of our couches, biting our fingernails and gnashing our teeth, watching about ten old white guys dressed in tuxedos, twirling colonial beards, huddled over a tree stump, manhandling a groundhog and forcing him to passive-aggressively analyze the weather.

Our American angst is around if we will have more winter or if we will have an early spring.  Apparently all the technology in the field of meteorology is nothing compared to Phil. If he sees his shadow, he gets scared and scrambles back into his hibernation leaving all 49 states (yeah, Hawaii you’re out…we all know – ALOHA – so stop rubbing it in) with heads drooping and hopes shattered, BUT if he doesn’t see his shadow, women immediately get online and order bikinis and men begin to oil their lawn mowers and fill the fridge with beer.  No judgement please, you can’t argue with culture.

This groundhog’s name is Punxsutawney Phil. I always imagine Phil…smiling at the camera, flashing his American-brace-faced-blingin’-funky-marmot-toothed-grin – DING! – and winking like….”Yeah, You know it’s true. I got you all in my pocket!  Sucka Americans!”

How?  What?  When?  Why?  Where?  And who gives a flying —-?

Well, I give a flying —-.

Yes it’s true. I hold Punxsutawney Phil dear to my heart because my heating bill is sky high and my crybaby attitude is sick to death of winter.  California and winter is like oil and water. Ayeeeee – No Bueno!

In all my Groundhog’s Day glorification I discovered American’s Hat, “OHHHH CANADA!” has a similar marmot friend named Shubenacadie Sam.

WHAT???  How have I lived to be 39 and not known this information?

Canada – Respect.

…and now I’m off to buy my own bikini (but I’ll probably buy a good book instead, being that I lack the focus it takes to online shop.)  Happy Early Spring!

~Mary

 

 

Zee Poppins

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It’s not often that I find myself hearing a classic movie reference dropped throughout my work week, however over the past couple of weeks I have…on 3 separate occasions…heard the reference to the classic movie Mary Poppins being made in passing.

As I am trying to remain impartial to the fact that she and I share the same first name, it’s a good exercise in self-reflection and even more so…humility.

So, I started thinking about the role of this Mary…the most British Nanny…the archetype of caregiver and maybe one of the best well-known characters representing order in the midst of chaos, keeping it above the line, prim and properness, and one well-dressed dame. She’s great! (still remaining impartial)

I do wonder however, what the character of Mary Poppins might have looked like had she come from another country.

So, let’s have some fun…just for fun’s sake!

Let’s imagine the winds starting to change direction and in blows

zee Marie Poppins à la française.

We can assume a few things:

  1. She would NOT be carrying a carpetbag, but rather a very small clutch.
  2. The handle of her umbrella would likely be a Phoenix and would ignite each time she spied a fabulous pair of heels.
  3. Her scarves would change more than emotional swings of Mr. Banks.
  4. Her sidewalk chalk adventures may involve some type of femme fatale approach with Dick Van Dyke…ohh la la!
  5. Lastly, the animated penguins would not be serving tea, but rather a great cabernet sauvignon.

Voilà…zee Marie Poppins!

Because why not?  Everyone loves the French.

A great little article to check out by zee French:  https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/bifaceted-mary-poppins/ 

~mb

 

 

 

13th Century Dating…

 

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Today I was given the challenge to report on 13th century gardens of Eastern Hungary.

Not only is that not going to happen, it’s also a safe bet that I won’t be reporting on 13th century gardens of Western Hungary either.

Lucky for me, I did start to wonder about gardening in general, which drove my thoughts to spring, which pushed my mind to summer, and before I knew it, my teaching year was over and I was envisioning myself laying somewhere on a sunny beach.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but I do think having a clear pathway toward  a bright warm spot in the back of the winter mind is an important part of warding off cold pessimism, snowy doubt, and the chilly spiral of the unknown.

A great motto: No regrets.

Therefore my dear friends, I fold. I will go ahead and appease the inquisitive nature of this question.

Results: My analysis of 13th century gardens in Hungary hailing from north, south, east, and west is this: It’s a topic that will quickly turn a first date into a last date…(unless you got the goods baby…then I’m all ears!)

Oh Happy Day in a 21st Century West Coast California Coffee Shop!

~mb

 

 

Shup…2015

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Hey! Music Link Below

Here we go…countdown time for us all. There is a highly caffeinated vibe moving through the minds of mankind.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

So much to do on a day like today…and then…really nothing at all.

This got me thinking:

Why don’t we try to shake things up a bit and bring in the 2016 New Year

with minimal expense,

minimal energy loss,

and minimal calorie intake (ok, that may be pushing it too far).

So what if you don’t get the tattoo and so what if you don’t make any resolutions.

Maybe let’s explore the idea of closing down 2015 with a quiet HEY!

Bring it in with a soft start because if 2016 will be anything like 2015…it’s going to be a hell of a year!

Shhhhh…..HEY!!!

Hey! by Kadebostany

https://www.youtube.com/embed/kMA9JA8bGCs?feature=player_detailpage“>

love, love,

~mb

 

 

Multiple Resolutions

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New Years 2016 is right in our backyard and so it’s the perfect time to start preparing resolutions.  This got me thinking about how the word resolute manifested into resolution.

Ok folks, let’s crack this egg open, take out our dictionaries, and see what we can find…ça va?

Resolute: admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something

The beauty of this scaffolded word is hidden fast in an admirable decision made with purpose.

Before we all get out our scratch paper and dive into our astrology 2016 books…let’s pause and take a second to find our purpose.

Is it a purpose for tomorrow?

Is it a purpose for next month?

Is it a purpose for the year?

Is it a purpose for life?

Will we be resolute in our resolutions?

The coming new year is alive and fresh, untampered with (yet), and full of changes and surprises.

For me…I think I will be resolutely resolute in the move from dissonance to consonance.

How is that for multiple meanings?  ;-)

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With love,

~mary

,

Brioche Beginnings

  

Zee French Toast

  

Poms and Persimmons

  

Reasonable Seasonable Magic

Not everything can be looked at through a reasonable lens. Sometimes there are things you just can’t explain.

What do we do then? Well that’s easy…nothing.

So it’s Christmas Eve here in the states…and it’s all jingly-jangly and buzzy. People chatty and relaxed.

This time with our friends and families is a carved out space full of treasures. Time to drop the reasonable and time to think about the precious moments that the year held.

Time to forget all the madness and attract the qualities of the season.

I mean after all…Christmas magic is nothing to take lightly and why would anyone want to pass up the golden opportunity to imbibe on even a smidgen of magic.

Time to eat, drink, and be very merry…and get your magic on!

~mb

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(http://kiloby.com/the-myth-of-the-magic-bullet-and-short-and-long-term-fixing/)

Dance of the Sugar Plum Dum-Dum

Today people are walking with a strong purpose.

They have their wrapping paper tubes in hand, wielding them like Christmas swords from the Nutcracker.  I see traffic fighting faces all scrunched up with wintery cheeks flushed from the cold weather and I think…the countdown is on for us Christmassy folks here on planet earth.

Today I saw a lady sporting a fabulous Nutcracker sweatshirt! Just imagine!  She was rockin’ the red jersey with the bad white print and I thought to myself…Oh poor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I’m so so sorry!

Classical music….Tchaikovsky…..Beauty…..and ugly sweatshirts…..

NO NO NO!

This got me thinking about our interpretations of the classics.

Remembering the beauty is a dance that not many can follow, but surely we can do better than a crappy sweatshirt!  Right?

Now…let’s all get back to walking with a strong purpose!

~mb

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Boiling Brains

The world through the eyes of a child is less simple than we think.  In fact we have no idea what is boiling in their little brains.  If we could hear the raw material that their developing language suppresses I bet we would find a down right Christmas miracle.

This got me thinking:

What amount of knowledge hasn’t been discovered yet simply because the language isn’t there?  How much gets “conditioned” into our minds as we grow and develop?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…light Wednesday talk.  But still…I wonder.

So now that you have had a daily dose of ….hmmmmm?

Try having a snowball fight…plan Christmas dinner…or go make love.

Good luck,

~m

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A Courageous Little Boy

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself.  Aloud.” Coco Chanel

Last week, as I was teaching, I discovered my third grade class had a giant fear of plagiarizing their essays. They had terror in their eyes at the thought of a possible writing SWAT team coming in and locking them up, so they were being extra cautious with every little detail.

Finally one little guy came up to me and showed me his paragraph. He was struggling with a sentence. He said he wanted to say EXACTLY what the article said and he felt like the article he was reading had robbed him of his thoughts and writing abilities.

I read over his work and I said,

“No, you did a great job! You did exactly what you were suppose to do. Nice work…but I am noticing that you wrote the wrong date on your paper. The event took place in 1776 not 1832.”

This student looked me square in the eyes and said,

“Yeah, I know Ms. Bedient…but I didn’t want to plagiarize.”

Ohhh sweet boy!  I had to smile and laugh! It was adorable and sincere, intrinsic integrity, courageous to the point of rewriting history to take the high road.  He was thinking for himself (and yes, I will keep it our secret from the founding fathers)

After a freezing day in Sonoma County, I can smell the warmth flowing from chimneys. We work, we stress, and at the end of the day we still can warm up in the comforts of a loving space, a tasty meal, and bask in our own courageous acts from the day.

Good luck,

~mb

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Luc, Je Suis Ton Père!

Too much in a day is a great thing…but wait.

I had a thought today about the upcoming holiday season.  It’s exhausting.  There it is.  We throw up the tree, nail some lights on the house and we drink like fools.

How often do we get a second to just bring it all back down to reality?  An opportunity to reach out, gather our wits about us, and breathe?

Today, as I was desperately trying to find parking at my coffee shop, I found myself being bombarded by bobbing Santa Claus’ on rooftops of businesses, windows painted with fake snow, stores wrapped like presents, and I swear to God there are Christmas Carolers patrolling the streets.  Storm Trooper Style.  In California it’s a bit funny because people are still in shorts and t-shirts.

Let’s all just bring it down folks…Pace yourself.

We’re only at the beginning….I mean…

…What Would Luke Skywalker Do? WWLSD???

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And Then There Was Paris

Once Upon a Time…

  

Shadow Art

  

Skylines of Northern France

  

Violette

  

The Dance

  

Wandering Paris

  

Translating Life

Has someone ever told you a story or a fairytale in a language you didn’t fully understand?

Here and there you caught bits and pieces of the story, but the main idea got mixed up and lost by your lack of language.  In the end you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

The good news is… the real story is yet to be discovered on some other sunny day.  Not bad.  You keep the dance and mystery of the plot.  Not bad.  It’s something quite delicious and quite frustrating all at the same time.

Somedays life feels like a story you can’t fully translate.  You catch moments here and there.  You can hear some parts very clearly, but the whole story is still building somewhere off in your future…to be discovered on yet another sunny day.

So what do we do when we just don’t get the translation?  Do we study harder to make the connections or do we let the magic of time fill in the blanks for us?

…and they lived happily ever after.

~mb

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(http://larawhatley.com/2015/03/08/review-winners-curse-and-winners-crime/)

 

Shifting Gears Like An American

Black Friday is a day after feasting which can feel a little flat on the home front. Everyone is still crawling out from their carb-comas, but we all press on to spend money and shift into Christmas mode.  Determination flashing in the eyes of present buyers, elbows throwing, and watchdog faces as prices are slashed and bank accounts drained.

This got me thinking about how we all shift into next gear.  Americans go from Sloth to Storm Trooper in a matter of 24 hours!  You know…turtle first, slow jams second, steaming along third, and fourth…damn, fourth gear is a doodle for all of us…but we do it!

Every Single Year…we do it!

Throughout the day we upshift, downshift, we roll our windows down to flip off the jerk that cut us off, then we roll the window back up and turn the music on, cruisin’ on down the road.  We’ve learned how to block out the nasty and inhale the beauty.   Around us life feels …electric!

It flows, it laughs, it turns bi-polar at times, and it loves…Here come the holidays.

Vroom, Vroom!!

~mbScreen Shot 2015-11-27 at 3.25.51 PM

A Virgo Thanksgiving Plan

Calling all Cooks…Make your plan…get Organized…Virgo Style.

Here we goooooooooo!

I wish you the roastiest turkey, the tastiest dressing, the fanciest pumpkin pie (which mine always tastes amazing, but girlfriend is still working on her presentation) and the happiest day.  I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

Step 1:

Breathe through the prep and think of all the smiles from your grateful household.

Step 2:

While watching the Macy’s Day Parade iron your tablecloth.  I mean…you can always be doing something, right?  Also, feel free to cry when Santa rolls up in his sleigh.  Why?  Because it’s Santa.  I repeat Santa!  Zee ol’ Kris Kingle.  Respect.

Step 3:

Then throw down some football, toss back a couple of beers, open a few bottles of wine, be confused as hell if you’re not a football fan and if you are a football fan…well, you’ll probably show your ass…so do what you do best baby!

Step 4:

Inhale all the great Thanksgiving smells, light a candle, say a prayer…feast like the King or Queen you are…truly…get down with your badass foodie self.

Step 5:

Nap?  Walk? Laugh!!!

Step 6: (Important)

Don’t forget to…Kiss the Cook!….SMOOOOCH!

~mb

 

~m

 

Starting the Day

  

A User’s Guide to: Thanksgiving Eve

This Thanksgiving Eve many blogs come alive.

The chef in us cannot fight against the meditative spirit that calls from a festive kitchen. Fridges full of goodies, spirits flowing, and chatter around the cook’s kitchen are suppose to fill the celebratory air and I love the idea of the increasing blather that roars and fades in the midst of a roasting turkey.

Thanksgiving in America.

Once a year the biggest food holiday happens in the United States of America.

Yes, this holiday is ridiculous.

Yes, it’s absurd.

Yes, it’s controversial.

However, every culture has their funny tradition no matter where you’re from.  If one can just push out politics and gluttony and rejoice in the knowledge of family, friends, and love…any person from Europe, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, South America, or Australia will discover the love of this American holiday.

America.

We don’t bite, but we do fight, and we love above all. Our USA mix of culture, our fascination for the exotic and appreciation of art, our engineering minds and our big dazzling orthodontic smiles, a combination of the action-based hot mess we all are…well…we’re not so bad.

In fact we are great! We are the mix that signifies America.

Thanksgiving is being grateful for what you have, for what you have discovered, and what could be.

Even the most beautiful things can be found in our cemetery of life and Thanksgiving is one of those beauties:  sunshine, cinnamon, a wealth of opportunity, and the smell of sizzling sausage and onions.

So good luck.

Watch your oven carefully. Kiss the cook and pour wine for others before serving yourself.  If you show your appreciation for those you love and for those who love you…I promise the food will taste better.

Cheers to all the cooks and all the food lovers.  I hold you dear to my heart and finally a helpful tip:  Always start your pumpkin pie the night before the big day.

With Festive Love,

Mary

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10 Reasons to Not Get a Gym Membership

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This morning I find myself sitting in the dark looking at the early morning sky in Northern France. I’m not sure if I’m on the wrong side of jet lag or the right side of jet lag, regardless I’m awake and I’m ready to go on my run.  Problem:  It’s my first day here and I have no clue where to go jogging. So with headphones on, coffee brewing…and while zee Frenchy France sleeps, this American girl will watch the sun rise and write about running. (It’ll have to do for now until I get my mental map)

Morning thoughts:

Have you ever thought about purchasing a gym membership? Maybe you did and loved it or you did and hated it, but for me every time I ask this question I always come to the same conclusion:  Non!

10 Reasons for NOT getting that gym membership:

  1. Gyms are smelly…ewwww.
  2. Treadmills have a mind of their own and they WILL plot your death.
  3. The scenery never changes no matter how hard you run, how fast you run…you see nothing…creativity killer.            (bang!…you dead.)
  4. I have to pay to run?…seriously…my money? To run? I sit here and laugh…
  5. Your less likely to get sick…germs. Another ewwww.
  6. Often I find that those who go to the gym are big show offs and no one likes a show off. Kindergarten 101.
  7. You have no moral obligation to look like da bomb for the birds and squirrels.  They don’t care that you forgot to put on your most blingin’ running pants. They don’t …don’t fool yourself. So dig out that sweatband and slap that puppy on your forehead with your best fashionista foot forward.
  8. You get to enjoy the seasons! Running the streets have a distinct flavor depending on what season you are running in. Spring’s blooming flowers, summer heat, autumn’s dry leaves, winter’s hickory chimneys.
  9. You never know what is going to happen when you are running on the streets and that in itself is pretty exciting. Just think of the possibilities: killer bees, barking dogs, people hanging their Christmas lights, people falling off ladders while hanging their Christmas lights, kids practicing their instruments, sprinklers turning on, rubbernecking fools, and so on and so on…the possibilities are endless!
  10. Dinner! You can smell all the good foods floating out of neighborhood kitchens when you stick to the streets.

So there you go! I have just single-handedly saved you a minimum of $1,000 for the upcoming 2016 year. You can send your payments to: … Nah… spend the extra cash on Christmas gifts for your kids, your honeys, your work colleagues, or take a trip to France…because the food is damn good here!

(Really, it’s not a urban legend. France + Food = Yum!)

With Love From Lille,

Mary

Poem: The Hermit Crab

https://enteroctopusdofleini.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/coenobitidae-the-hermit-crabs/

Gritty grit sifted by the winds

fills our time and moves our minds

while he scuttles across new shores.

Determination

mixed with the casual melody of space

and the fulfilling registry of harmony awakes.

Winter’s soft chirping song bird

sits on the branches of solace

watching his pursuits across stark beaches from a far.

Distant

from Summer’s existence,

Far

from Spring’s sun,

the cycle of Mother Nature rotates away from bumpy claws.

Sugar-coated sands, candied, and encapsulated

by the hourglass worn ’round the necks of Shakespearean witches…

toil, toil, toil…he moves.

The gritty grit slows his stride.

The sandy pace of innocence.

The progress of the slow-moving hermit crab

pulling himself along northern beaches

goes unnoticed.

https://enteroctopusdofleini.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/coenobitidae-the-hermit-crabs/

Pizza Time

What Passes In the Clouds

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com

The Left brainer.

The Right brainer.

The No brainer.

Logical calculations.

Emotional manifestations.

A magical spring welling up.

The ticking tides following the moon.

A rolling thunder washing over the rocks.

We gaze at runes and architecture.

What passes in the clouds

of right and wrong

and wrong and wrong is

right

and Right.

(Photography by:  https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com)

A Rush

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Resistance

be still

for you are

only a thorn

under the nail.

A version of

Sun

filtered through

the driving rain.

Calling out

between antennas

watching

and reading

the predestined

Language

that only belongs

to those who seek.

Our valley of tears

are merely

placid lakes of

ideas.

The streams,

the melting snow,

no longer ice.

Flowing.

Fountains.

Of thought.

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