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My Favorite Things

My favorite things....jpg

It began many years ago when I discovered the magnificent way books used to be made: leather, gold-tooled covers and spines, rich vellum paper, and marbled inside pages. The page layouts were always unique and charming, often with brilliant drawings, and wonderful fonts. In Window Friends, Kaitlyn is sharing with Sarah why old books hold so much allure and explains why even the fragrance of old books is enticing. 

“Did you know that when book glue, ink and paper all breakdown, they produce an aroma somewhat like vanilla…”

Beyond the look and feel of antique books, it’s the idea that someone else, or possibly a number of people, have held this same book in their hands and read the very same pages I am reading. I find that enchanting. My collection is outgrowing my bookcases, and I’m reminded of a sign I saw recently. “Too many books? More like not enough shelves!” That about sums it up! Next time you’re in an antique shop or thrift store make a treasure hunt of finding some vintage books and take a moment to appreciate the artistry and old world craftsmanship.


The odd question is why I find clocks so fascinating? I can hardly go anywhere without noticing clocks, whether in a shop, airport or rail station, or even in someone’s home. While the inner workings of clocks would hold anyone’s imagination, I seem to be drawn more to the artistic element. All of the clocks in the photo are from my home. Seriously. And there are more that didn’t make the cut. Their origins have been diverse- some were gifts from friends, some belonged to my mother, a few antique clocks were my grandmothers, and a few I actually bought myself. Each one has history and a story. 

I’ve read that people who like clocks might be perfectionists. While I’m a tiny bit OCD I don’t think that applies to me. Some say it is a sign that a click person likes to be organized, well-planned and on-time. While those are lofty goals, I have yet to connect much with those theories either. There is a line of thought that the ticking of clocks means the ebbing away of our lives, one tick at a time. Nope - cannot relate much to that either. So what is the undeniable connection I have with clocks? 

Then it hit me. As a little girl I used to stay quite a bit with my grandparents in their old adobe home on thirty-two acres, about twenty miles west of Los Angeles. The Ranch, as we called it, had once been rumored to be the hideout for Pancho Villa in early California history. By the time I visited it was a fun, adventurous place to play and explore. My grandmother was delightful and I had the run of the place, even the old adobe barn, until it was time for her to take a rest. Everything stopped. She never admitted to napping, though light snoring might have said otherwise, and I was always to join her in laying down on the antique spool bed. Being a child, an afternoon nap was of no interest whatsoever, but I didn’t want to disturb my grandmother, so I would be very still and listen to the clocks ticking. I remember it being an incredibly comforting time. I would watch the back and forth movement of the pendulum in her antique clock, with its metronome-type sound. There was a peace and relaxation, and a sense of being safe and happy and loved. Guess that is a pretty good reason clocks are one of my favorite things.


There must be as many books about fly-fishing as there are stars in the sky! This is by
no means a comprehensive list, rather a smattering of a few considered classics. They are
broken into two groupings, Essays/Fiction and How-To’s. Let me know of others you like!

-A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
Widely acclaimed as an American classic, semi-autographical about growing up in Montana

-The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane
A collection of essays taking the reader on all sorts of exciting fishing trips
-Another Lousy Day in Paradise by John Gierach
Any book by John Gierach is a favorite among fly-fisherman around the world.
-A River Never Sleeps by Roderick Haig-Brown
This is a collection of beautiful essays about fly-fishing adventures.
-Hemingway on Fishing by Ernest Hemingway
You will find even Hemingway struggles to share his feelings about fly-fishing. This is said to be one of his most vulnerable works.

-Trout Magic by Robert Traver
The author has the charm to be someone you would want to hang out with and simply listen to his fishing tales.
-The River Why by David James Duncan
This book will create an overwhelming desire to live on a river and fish your days away.

-The Essence of Fly Casting by Mel Krieger
Detailed instruction and dozens of photos to teach the essentials of fly casting.
-The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide by Tom Rosenbauer
Great overview book for those new to fly-fishing
-Little Red Book of Fly Fishing by Kirk Teeter and Charlie Meyers
Details lots of topics from the importance of your pinky finger in accurate casting to high sticking.
-50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die by Chris Santella
Covering the globe’s most beautiful places to fly-fish.
-Fly-Casting Fundamentals by Lefty Kreh
Primarily aimed at novice fishermen, but good refresher for all levels.
-Fly Fishing Advice from an Old Timer: A Practical Guide to the Sport Its Language by Ed Quigley
An entertaining book with wonderful advice.

And for history buffs, the following book originally published in 1839 with the impossibly long title is absolutely fascinating. Author Thomas C. Hofland was a noted artist as well as expert fly- fisherman and would sketch many of the places he fished –

The British Angler’s Manual or the Art of Angling in England, Scotland Wales and Ireland: With Some Account of the Principal Rivers, Lakes and Trout Streams in the United Kingdom; with Instructions in Fly-Fishing, Trolling and Angling at the Bottom and More Particularly for the Trout by Thomas C. Hofland

Another historical masterpiece –
The Compleat Angler by Isaac Walton
First published in 1653 in London, Walton continued to add to it for a quarter of a century. According to Penguin Random House, “More than an engaging guide to the subtle intricacies of the sport, Walton’s reflective treatise is a graceful portrait of rural England that extols the pleasures of country life.”


[I’m the one with the magic wand wishing I had the ice cream instead...]

So here’s the scoop...since I was quite young I have had a thing for ice cream. Not just running after the ice cream truck (who’s jingle song it turns out was dreadfully racist) but really, really loving ice cream. The anticipation of a bowl of ice cream every night after dinner never got old. My mom used to toast chopped nuts in a little butter with a dash of salt and sprinkle them on top of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate sauce. Heaven on earth. One day she thought it would be a good idea to teach us how they made ice cream in the olden days when she was growing up in east Texas. A hand crank ice cream maker showed up soon after. Have you ever cranked that blasted handle for what seemed like two days before the ice cream was frozen enough? If offered the opportunity, I suggest you pass unless you are on an arm strengthening workout. It was seriously hard work, and I couldn’t imaging the result being worth it. Well. I was wrong. Homemade ice cream surpasses anything store bought. It’s a whole new level in wonderfulness. Mom then acquired a recipe for Buttermilk Pineapple ice cream, which held no allure as the thought of buttermilk made my face wrinkle in a dramatic cringe. Once again, I was wrong. It is an amazing combination of sweet and tart and shouldn’t be missed. I promise to post the recipe on my website soon ( In addition, Mom bought an electric ice cream maker! A giant leap for mankind!

My ice cream obsession might have been fueled by living across the street from the Baskin family when I was quite young. You might know the name better when it is combined with Robbins. Yep, Baskin Robbins–and they had a large, upright freezer in their garage. Imagine the possibilities! To be totally transparent, I will admit I had a significant crush on Richard Baskin. Keep in mind that Richie was nine years old and I was five. It was unrequited, as most first crushes tend to be, and I’m quite sure he never knew. At that tender age, I remember him being so handsome and his older sister, Edie, being tall and beautiful.

A few facts about my favorite dessert that you may not know:
• The first people to eat frozen milk-like confection were the Chinese emperors of the Tang Dynasty between 618 and 907 AD.
• In 1751 The Art of Cookery was published in London by Hannah Glasse and was thought to be the first publicly revealed recipe for “ice cream” along with the trick for making it (ice and salt in the freezing container).

• In 1790 George Washington is said to have spent $200 to satisfy his craving for ice cream. Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln were also great ice cream fans.
• Chocolate ice cream was invented before vanilla. Vanilla was rare and expensive.
• Zhong Xue Gao is a luxury ice cream brand in China, dubbed the ‘Hermés of ice cream’ due to its high price. In addition, it doesn’t melt. Ever.
• Ice cream is a big source of Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, D, and E. In addition, it contains vitamin K which prevents blood clotting, as well as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. Sounds like a health food to me.
• A ‘brain freeze’ is the result of the nerve endings in the roof of your mouth sending a message to your brain of the loss of heat. It is medically known as sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
• The average American eats 45.8 pints of ice cream per year. This might be the only area in which I am higher than average!

With all the craziness in the world, don’t miss the pleasure of a little ice cream. Unless, of course, you are lactose intolerant or have other aversions to ice cream, sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt or sherbet– in which case, you have my sincere sympathy. For the rest of you, watch for Mom’s Buttermilk Pineapple recipe soon on and ENJOY!

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