I’ve thrown open all the windows. The hyacinths are in full glory in the window boxes, and when the breeze blows, the scent fills the house.
When that happens, I simply have to stop what I’m doing and just inhale.
Even though my pots of Tulipa Abba are in splendid bloom on the porch, it can still get cold at night. Soup is a great way to . . .
After I write this post, I will go up to my cutting garden where I planted my older bulbs and pick an armload of tulips to arrange for the house. I’ll stop for a minute to look at the clouds over the mountain ranges, the sun setting over the foothills to the west.
Still, I might be thinking about Vivienne and Lili, imagining one of them at a window like this one on the right, but not quite, because Vivienne’s house is a bit more crumbling, its stucco a faded rose color and there are the cracks, the patina of age. And besides, Vivienne’s house only exists in my imagination and now, well, in yours.
There are several ways to listen to this story. You can take some time out—each episode runs about 35 minutes— sit by your computer or lie on your sofa, or you can download this onto any mp3 player—an iPhone, an iPod— and listen on your car radio or while you’re walking the dog. I preview each . . .
It’s a Thursday night after a couple of really terrifying weeks. I can’t even believe what the Japanese people have to face. Other than sending money to the Red Cross, I don’t know what to do.
If, like me, you feel the need for a little escape from real life, here’s what you can do. (Well, after you figure out the best way YOU can help Japan.)
Start chilling a martini glass in the fridge for your margarita.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes, so . . .
Next week I will complete one of my New Year’s Resolutions — to self-publish my novel Palace of the Blue Butterfly.
You know, chicas, I always thought I’d forever be the one to play by the rules and stick with the traditional, accepted route: write queries, wait, get an agent, wait, etc.. And then, I reached a certain age — Ladies, can I hear an AMEN!?! — when playing by the rules didn’t interest me so much. Look, I figure everything I have in life comes from the fact that . . .
Dave and I are taking off for a week to see our beautiful daughter in Santa Fe! An added plus: my friend Frances is coming up from old Mexico, and she’s bringing my business cards for Palace of the Blue Butterfly.
The talented Mexico City graphic artist Daniela Garces made them for me. She knew instantly what I wanted—a section of the Mural of Tlalocan that shows the Rain God Tlaloc’s wife. Her name — Quetzalpapalotl — translates into Blue Butterfly.
Notice how the artist etched Tlalocan into the right hand side of the card? Pretty cool . . .
Okay, I admit it. I’m longing for spring. I want to look out my kitchen window and see the bush lupine blooming by the fountain.But as it is we’ve had snow, and while it is really beautiful, I want to feel that first balmy spring breeze, pick daffodils for the table and start planning the vegetable garden. Sigh…
And I want to see my steer Big Mac hoof deep in high, green grass. Isn’t he sweet? He’s kind of like a house cat only 1000 pounds heavier . . .
I got hooked on Deanna Raybourn’s book Dark Road to Darjeeling in Puerto Vallarta. The novel follows the adventures of Lady Julia Grey and her husband, private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane, as they try to solve a murder in the tea-growing region of India in, well, in Darjeeling.
For fans of the British mystery, this has it all. A fabulous cast of eccentric ex-pats — a stiff- upper lip, aristocratic spinster devoted to maintaining the standards of the realm, a dotty minister and his bohemian wife who scandalizes the local society, a strange recluse who dabbles in the occult, two English sisters who’ve suddenly appeared and have rented a rose-covered cottage—the emblem of all things English—but who may not be as innocent as they appear, men whose inheritances may be in jeopardy, and no shortage of others, all of whom may have cause to commit murder.
And of course, there is the intrepid Lady Julia and . . .
Set in San Francisco in the late Thirties, City of Dragons PI Miranda Corbie witnesses the murder of a young Japanese man in Chinatown during the Rice Bowl Festival. The police want to shove the murder under the rug, but Miranda — for reasons of her own — pursues the case. You can practically feel the cold fog rolling in under the Golden Gate Bridge in this novel, hear the mournful fog horns, and feel yourself being jostled by the crowds in Chinatown with the strange sounds of Mandarin and Cantonese all around you. Miranda is a tough-talking broad, chain-smoking and bourbon-drinking. She gives Sam Spade a run for his money.
City of Dragons carried me back to a time in my life in the early Seventies when I lived on the top floor of a Basque Hotel in North Beach. The cable car clanged under my windows, and I had a view of the San Francisco Bay.
The rooms on that floor were all filled with women who wanted TO WRITE; typewriters clicked contstantly behind closed . . .
I’ve got the swimsuit packed, the pareo, the hat, the sandals, the sunscreen. Also, I’m throwing in a super expensive bottle of La Mer Body lotion I picked up at the Duty Free Shops at SFO on the last trip, and three bottles of Jo Malone scent— my own personal combo— Pomegranate Noir, Amber Lavender, and 154. Okay, so I do have a couple of nice outfits for dining at Trio and Café des Artistes, and a couple of Capri pants and tee-shirts for the more serious shopping expeditions. But mostly, I intend to slather myself with various . . .
The whole story broke when I was in Mexico. As we all know by now, I’m an insomniac, so when I woke up at two or so in the morning in a room not unlike the one my character Lili in Palace of the Blue Butterfly would also wake up in, I grabbed my I Pad and clicked on the New York Times. Well, not first thing. First, I lay there listening to the sounds of the city around me, feeling the winter cold in the high-ceilinged 19th century building. After I was pretty sure I’d gotten the setting right in my book, after I’d sort of . . .