Oh, my! I feel—yes, definitely—it’s irritable vowel syndrome.

If I could, I would find repose with a view like Gwen Verdon. Although, there’s that fear of heights thing.

Don’t worry. It’s not contagious. I am increasingly persnickety; about the state of the world, modern discourse, and, hell’s bells, my favorite bakery is closed for renovation. Translation, I’m in a mood.

To combat my discomposure I walk, write, read—generally in that order—and in between all have many cups of tea and slices of toast. Except the bakery is closed.

Solution: since one must have really good toast with one’s tea to ease the mean reds, I got my hands on The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson. From a storage locker turned mill/atelier in Pasadena I scored sacks of freshly ground flour and a very nice sourdough starter. In only two days (the sourdough rise takes a while) I had crusty loaves of tangy bread.

As for modern discourse, it’s not winning any prizes.


I didn’t win this Oscar or write this book.

The book, by Benjamin Dreyer, is not only informative, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Colons are not merely introductory but presentational. They say: Here comes something! Think of colons as little trumpet blasts, attention-getting and ear-catching. Also loud. So don’t use so many of them that you give your reader a headache.

And there was this bit that I found particularly pleasing.


The song MGM head honcho Louis B. Mayer wanted cut from The Wizard of Oz because he thought it was slowing the picture down.

The “somewhere” is in the lyric; it’s not in the title.

I believe Mr. Dreyer might take exception to the use of boldface to signify quotations from his book, however, they look tidier in this layout, and you can click on either quote to buy the book from Amazon.

The state of the world?

A friend of mine remarked that gray is the interior paint color of the year. Which makes sense since things seem drained of light when anxiety is rampant. There’s plenty of dread to go around right now, so instead of pointing out the obvious I will only suggest, put down your devices and look up:

I did take this picture.

Things can be crazy beautiful.





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  1. March 9, 2019

    The book looks wonderful. In fact, I’m already on Amazon, perusing it.

    As for the Oscar, it looks so natural beside you, I assumed you had won it.

    • March 9, 2019

      I was reading the book while waiting for my annual checkup, and when my wonderful doctor saw it he recommended “One Summer: America, 1927” by Bill Bryson. I’ve already requested it from the library.

      • Laura P
        March 14, 2019

        That is a fabulous book … so many things you know but don’t really know.

  2. March 9, 2019

    I always think things are more beautiful when Vickie Lester is posting.

    • March 9, 2019

      Hello! I got the mister reading “Sermons and Soda-water” too, and I especially like that throughout the trilogy I saw no explanation of the title. What’s beautiful is that you told me it’s a quote from Byron. Now I have to read “Don Juan.”

  3. George Kapkan
    March 11, 2019

    One gust of wind and a marvelous photograph would have become a messy tragedy or have qualified Gwen for the first Darwin award! Gwone with the Wind (or Gwent with the Wind)… Less Sweet Charity, more Sidewalk Pastry! Wacka wacka wacka! Hey – who let Fozzie Bear in here?
    Oh, and how bizarre, I was reading some of the writer Peter Straub’s twitterings – I rarely stray into the twitterverse as it tends to confirm my fear that roughly 70% of Humanity has all the empathy of a psychotic knife-wielding face-hungry PO’ed chimp on a combined PCP/crack binge Making Apemerica Great Again! – last week and among his chums was…Mr Benjamin Dreyer! I’d totally forgotten about that and to look up his works; I must have that book sometime in the future as it appears fascinating. Thank you for reminding me, Ms Vickie! I hope you have been cheered and had your mind taken off the coming Armageddon… 😛 🙂

  4. George Kaplan
    March 11, 2019

    Um, I sent a reply and misspelt my moniker (I also just misspelt “misspelt” but we shall draw the veil discreet over that, as Hercule Poirot might say…)! It should be George *Kaplan* not “Kapkan” which reads like a dyslexic German’s attempt to spell “Can-can”! I hope my babblings have not been flushed down the digital lavatory! Merde!

  5. April 28, 2019

    Am reading Dreyer’s English right now and it’s every bit as fabulous as you said. Thanks for recommending!

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