Murder, mystery, writing

My bedtime stories are murder mysteries. It started with the British writer Dorothy Sayres and her Peter Wimsey series – Lord Peter Wimsey, a debonair style and an easy manner – gracefully transporting a reader back to another era. Because I live in Cuenca, Ecuador, when I reached the last page, I had to rely on a traveler bringing a book into Carolina Bookstore and wanting to exchange it – and hoping that book was written by Dorothy Sayres. One day I almost did a dance around the store when I spied the name Dorothy Sayres; because, yes, there on a bottom shelf was a thick Peter Wimsey hard cover book with a number of short stories. Never mind that I was already carrying three bags of mostly fruit – pineapple, papaya, mangoes, avocadoes, tomatoes, along with a few pounds of onions, I’d no intention of leaving that book behind. It turned out that it was worth the extra burden. I can’t imagine how anyone could write a more gentle murder mystery than Dorothy Sayres did.

So then, the time came to choose another mystery writer. And it was when I visited Otavalo that I came across a small shop with a smattering of books, and only a few written in English. Though there stood out one book by the writer Dorothy Gilman – one book from her Mrs. Pollifax series. I always need a book – not just any book –  so I took a chance on Mrs. Pollifax, and she was a delight. Well, imagine a widow in her sixties, bored with garden clubs, and one day becoming so utterly bored that she somehow manages  to get a job with the CIA. Dorothy Gilman has Mrs. Pollifax traveling around the world (this writer  was a world-wide traveler) as a CIA special agent. And that she has a brown belt in karate adds to her charm. Neat, eh? And so, little by little, I managed to find five Mrs. Pollifax books at Carolina Bookstore in Cuenca. Good bedtime murder mystery reading! But, all things come to an end, and the getting of more Mrs. Pollifax books, or any book by Dorothy Gilman, in Cuenca reached that end.

And in lieu of not finding any more of Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax, I decided on the well-loved and respected murder mystery writer P.D. James., and her Inspector Adam Dalgliesh series – it was time I introduced myself to him. She, P.D. James, is a descriptive writer, and every step of the way, a detailed one, and very quickly the reader gets pulled into Inspector Adam Dagleish’s life and . . . job. P.D. James, I like her style!

I’m now on the hunt for another murder mystery writer – one having that certain indescribable something. Here in Ecuador I’m slowly developing the fine art of patience! – but, when it comes to finding a great murder mystery writer, patience thins quickly!  ; – )


the mutter museum, di bruno, dandelion restaurant/pub, parc restaurant, la colombe

Did I hear you say you’re coming to Philly? Well then, let’s plan a lovely day of maybe a museum and a few places to eat and people watch at the same time.

There’s the Mutter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. I haven’t been there yet, but whenever I walk by on my way to Trader Joe’s, there are usually people entering and leaving. The grounds around the museum are lovely, and that includes the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden with benches for relaxing in a delightful and peaceful setting.

Is there a question about going to the Mutter Museum, or eating before going? All right, let’s think about where to eat — perhaps at Di Bruno at 1730 Chestnut Street. There is an upstairs cafe and “weekend brunch is from10:30am to 3:pm and lunch daily from11am to 3pm, to go or to enjoy in our casual cafe.” There’s plenty of space upstairs for sitting, relaxing, and eating. Downstairs has a wonderful selection of prepared foods, including soups and sandwiches. I’ve become addicted to the Di Bruno caprese sandwich. Top-notch ingredients of tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese on panini bread is simple and delicious. The website shows that that’s not all there is at Di Bruno:

Another place is Dandelion Restaurant Pub, at 124 South Street. It can be seen from the door nearest the Di Bruno meat section; it’s on a corner across the street. Here a hearty English breakfast is served. Have you had one of these? After consuming there’s usually no need to eat until evening. Dandelion offers an excellent selection of beer, a menu that will appeal to different palates, and afternoon tea which is from 3:00 to 5:00. And the person at the desk said, with a lot of pride, that “they serve the 2nd best hamburger in town.” It’s a charming restaurant/pub. Just is case you’re interested, they know how to make a really good campari and soda with a twist of lemon. Indeed!

Another eating establishment is Parc Restaurant Bistro & Cafe at 227 South 18th Street. It’s two blocks south of Dandelion, and is across from lovely Rittenhouse Square Park. On a warm, sunny day it’s a fight to the finish:-) to get an outside table facing the park – to people watch, enjoy the greenery, and soak up the sun. If no outside seating is available, you’re still a winner because eating inside and enjoying the decor and ambiance is a pleasure, too.

The coffee at Parc is good, however, if you want to go elsewhere for an equally good cup of coffee there’s la Colombe at 130 South 19th Street. It’s opened till 7pm. Sometimes the dessert is sold out, but there’s always the coffee and the friendly staff. La Colombe is a walk along Rittenhouse Square Park (on the side of Barnes & Noble Bookshop) to 19th Street – cross the street and turn right. Order your cuppa coffee, take a seat, relax, and enjoy.

Rittenhouse Square Park



Is it time to see the Mutter Museum after a delicious lunch? — it’s a  short walk if you stayed in the above neighborhood.

Enjoy! Enjoy!

Let’s all have a wonderful day today.

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“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein, 20th Century Nobel Prize winning physicist
(As heard on the CD, The Power by Rhonda Byrne)

Marilyn Tam, Robert Holden, and Happiness


Yesterday was a beautiful sunny and warm kind of day that makes people very happy. And today looks promising.

I think, and maybe you do, too, that even the spelling of the word happy looks, well, happy, and I’ve noticed that lately a lot of people are giving that word a great deal of attention. For instance, next to me is a happiness book, and the way it came to me was via my daughter Emi. She recently visited Philly – she arrived with a bag looking like it weighed more than her, and in that bag was a book called the HAPPINESS CHOICE by Marilyn She had bought it at the well-loved by many, Strand Book Store in NYC at 12th Street and Broadway. And when Emi left to catch a Bolt Bus back to NY, the book was somehow left behind, so I got to read it

It seemed like a light-weight, and fast read, but it’s not a book that wants to be read in quite that way. One wouldn’t think that someone who came from a background of abuse, and devoid of any real nurturing, would eventually write the HAPPINESS CHOICE. But it appears that Marilyn Tam came into the world with the ability to understand, to forgive and forget, and to go on to create an extraordinary personal and professional life.


The following is from the HAPPINESS CHOICE by the happiness guru, Robert Holden:

Your Heart’s Prayer
Before you dedicate your life
to a person, a marriage, a family;
to a corporation, a political party, a peace campaign;
to a religion, a revolution, a spiritual path;
make one other dedication first.
First dedicate yourself to LOVE.
Decide to let Love be your intention, your purpose and
your point.
And then let Love inspire you,
support you, and guide you
in every other dedication
you make thereafter.

Make sure you have a happy day!

alejandro junger, m.d., film makers james and laurentine, dr. richard schulze, natural news, well being journal

Is there anyone who doesn’t want radiant health with lots of energy? Do you think this is a silly question? I don’t because a lot of the food we eat is chosen carelessly, and often it’s devoid of nutrition, loaded with toxins, dissipates our energy, and can make us feel and look not quite right. So, taking time to learn about the non-foods that find a way into our bodies helps speed us along on the path to health. Change can be difficult, it’s true; it can also be rewarding. Change tends to be especially difficult when we don’t have a clear understanding of the why and the how-to of it, and exciting when finally we do.

If you haven’t already clicked on to the following, there’s a very good chance you’ll be delighted when you do. Dr. Alejandro Junger sent out an eletter about a documentary film by filmmakers James and Laurentine. I think you’ll really like and appreciate it and the website

And . . . in his book CLEAN he mentioned Dr. Schulze’s website We can access many interesting healing stories from people who say they’re forever grateful to Dr. Schulze for giving them their health back. His website also is packed with possibilities that can lead us to change (not overwhelming though; I don’t do overwhelming). And . . . Dr. Schulze on his website mentioned the following
– also too good to pass over.

We’ve not a thing to lose in checking out these websites, and a whole lot to gain. All we have to do is read, learn, appreciate what they offer, and be happy they’re available. I’m familiar and delighted with all of them and trust you’ll be too.





So, let’s toast to change and to our very good health.

“Doctors who . . . parlay a mere risk factor like cholesterol into something more are misleading the public as well as themselves. . . . Thousands of people die of heart attacks every year who have ‘perfect’ cholesterol. The reverse is also true: people with horrendous cholesterol levels live to advanced old age without suffering any heart problems.” – Deepak Chopra, M.D. In “Healing the Quantum Heart” from Give Yourself Health: Thoughts, Attitudes and Your Health, available at PDF at in “Products/Services” – from Well Being Journal

20120610-214124.jpg and


If I prepared the scrumptious looking Paleo Coconut Macaroons recipe from for myself, they’d be gone in a flash. I’ll wait till I’m ready to bake for a few people. Then we can enjoy the macaroons together. Until then, I’ll look at the picture every so often.

If you’re looking for different breakfast ideas and haven’t seen the offerings of MAKE – A Better Breakfast April 19 by Dr. Frank Lipman at click on and be delighted. The menu is a feast for the eyes – healthy, nutritious, and from the pictures, I would say delicious. Included in the recipes is a Chia Seed Pudding. Last week Sumi and I wanted to make it; we were so eager to taste it. But, alas, we were busy – nicely busy. Perhaps on the next trip.



Sometimes we happen upon a website that simply grabs our attention and doesn’t let go. For the past month for me that website is with Bob Olson. He has been researching the spirit world for twelve years, and in a video on his website, “From Private Investigator to Afterlife Investigator – The True Story” he talks about how he, a skeptic who has a degree in criminal justice and wanted to work for the FBI, or an organization of that ilk, became a private investigator instead, and “fell into” becoming a psychic medium investigator after the death of his father. It’s been written many times that there are no accidents, and it’s obvious that his years as a PI prepared him for his years as an afterlife investigator. It greatly helps to know his background, he said that he stopped counting after interviewing 300 mediums before agreeing that the spirit world, and all it implies, is a very real world. After one reading with a medium, “concrete convincing evidence came through,” and, he said, “that’s when I realized that there’s more to life and death than I ever realized.” Of course, it’s not mandatory to listen to the video in which he discusses his background, though it’s engrossing; however, your belief will be strengthened, and you’ll feel confident and comfortable in taking in his words because you’ll understand that he knows what he’s talking about.

There is a video on afterlifetv titled, What Happens In The Afterlife To People Who Commit Suicide.” it’s an exceptional video, and it can help anyone who is grieving for a loved one who has passed on in this way reach a new understanding.

Also are “two resources for locating legitimate psychic mediums,” and they are: and

When I was young there was an old cemetery not far from where I lived, and I would take a book and go there. Reading the book took second place; reading the names and dates on tombstones took priority. It’s okay; you can call me odd. Though I’m betting that there are a lot of people who feel the same as I do. I feel comfortable in cemeteries and feel that life and death are nicely connected. All we need do is look at the beauty of the world – not necessarily man’s creation, but God’s.

May your dreams be sweet tonight.

“. . . Many years later, Dr. Alexis Carrel – then a famed surgeon awarded the Nobel Prize for his medical research and discoveries, wrote, ‘We must liberate man from the cosmos created by the genius of physicists and astronomers, that cosmos in which, since the Renaissance, he has been imprisoned. We now know that we . . . extend outside the physical continuum. . . . In time, as in space, the individual stretches out beyond the frontiers of his body. . . . He also belongs to another world.'”
– Divine Interventions by Dan Millman and Doug Childers

food intolerance


Have you heard of Elana’s Pantry? If not, click right here and treat yourself to, well, you’ll see: If you have an intolerance to any food, maybe you’ll let Elana’s Pantry guide you.

Are you sensitive to wheat, soy, corn, or have celiac disease, or in a situation of always having to be on the look-out – closely examing almost every food item in case it contains the above ingredients? Rest assured support in the form of very appealing cookbooks and websites is in your midst, and enjoyment of eating comfortably without any accompanying distress is in your hands – Elana’s Pantry will prove that to you.

I’m glad I had the presence of mind to jot down her website address because this week after preparing almond milk from 1 cup of almonds (It was a very satisfying activity), I looked at the lovely creamy almond pulp left over from straining, and my question was: What to do with it? That’s when I remembered the Elana’s Pantry website. It was a nice surprise to click on and see mouth-watering recipes for the almond pulp, and so many other kinds of recipes. Definitely it’s no ordinary website; it’s dedicated to helping people.

Also, should you, or anyone you know, have a wheat intolerance, the January/February 2012 issue of Spirituality & Health magazine: has an article titled “What Went Wrong With Wheat” By Matt Sutherland. It’s definitely well-worth reading. As a matter of fact, the entire magazine is.

When looking through some notes on this subject, I found an important article in titled “Goodbye Gluten – Digestive troubles are among myriad health risks for people sensitive to this problematic grain protein.” by Linda Melone. In it she cautions about buying packaged gluten-free foods because they’re “not necessarily healthier than those made with wheat.” as they can cause a rise in blood sugar due to the starches used. The article is chock full of helpful information. Also, the following are not-to-be-missed websites:

We’re always learning in this ever-changing world; it’s a fascinating one, indeed.

Let’s have an outstanding day.


At this time of the year many of us, for different reasons, leave the bright lights and merriment of our own hometown to travel abroad. We go for various reasons: we don’t want to be alone in familiar surroundings, we’re thinking that, at this point in time, we’re not compatible with family, we’re grieving and want to get away, or we simply enjoy the sheer pleasure of traveling. I’ll be going, too, in imagination – to a sweet, small country called Ecuador where celebrations in the streets are happy, lively, and colorful. If you haven’t yet formulated your traveling plans, you might want to consider Ecuador.

I’m reminded of Ecuador for two reasons: I receive information from International Living and lately their focus has been on Ecuador, and I’m in the midst of organizing papers and came across a box filled with memories of five months spent in a beautiful place; a place so enjoyable that it’s perfectly understandable that people from different parts of the world are wanting to buy and live there.

Ecuador’s centuries old buildings and cathedrals have plenty of history. And now I’ll generalize and say that the people are kind and helpful, the hostals are clean and have a nice array of travelers, it’s easy and pleasant to get around (a little knowledge of Spanish is helpful), the food is excellent – north, south, east, west – there’s plenty to admire, fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful in the large markets, it’s inexpensive, and additionally, this is a chance to buy a Panama hat. If you haven’t read THE PANAMA HAT TRAIL by Tom Miller you might want to take it along. It’s a good book about Ecuador; it’s witty and informative.

I’d like to tell a simple story because it was a sign of how it would be for me in Ecuador – one helpful person after another. In Quito, the capital, I checked out of one hostal for no particular reason other than another was highly recommended. I wandered the unfamiliar streets and wondered where oh where could this place be. Suddenly next to me stood a high school boy. He asked in English if I needed help. That sounded like an offer, and it was too good to refuse. He took my suitcase, and away we went walking and talking right to the door of the lovely mother and son operated hostal. He wouldn’t accept a tip. He said that he wanted to practice speaking English. Very nice, I thought. Though being an American, I’ve yet to understand how people know one when they see one. Quito, the capital, has what many big cities have, its own history, museums you don’t want to miss, historical sites, and culture. The following are a few places to consider:
and Hassan’s Cafe, located at Reina Victoria No 24 399 Y Colon, Tel.: (02) 223-2564
You’re probably saying, I’m not going to Ecuador to eat Lebanese food. And I’m saying, Ah, but this is very tasty Lebanese food, and it’s a good chance to mingle with the locals.

Let’s leave the big city of Quito for the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca; we can always return. In Cuenca many of the hostals have wonderful old, big, beckoning courtyards. It’s a joy to walk along the streets and come upon small museums, old and well-used churches, restaurants, markets, the Tomebamba River, etc. and finding history in all of it. it’s a walking city and with a map, quite easy to navigate. One of the places I stayed at was the utterly charming Inca Real. Finding a hostal or hotel is not a problem, or, if staying a while, an apartment for $200-$250/month with kitchen and full bath.

A good guidebook and intuition helps when walking along Cuenca’s streets. Eventually Raymipampa Restaurant on the main square will appear just when it’s time to eat. And also El Maiz Restaurante although it’s a little out of the way, is not to be missed,

Now for a hair-raising bus ride from Cuenca south to Loja and then Vilcabamba. It’s worth the bus ride because it’s a chance to see the land and the people in a different way, and that’s all I’m saying. Loja is a good stopover for the night. Time to get acquainted with this interesting old city, and find a place to stay, and enjoy the evening before leaving for Vilcabamba tomorrow to savor the mountains. It’s tomorrow already? To the beautiful mountains by taxi or bus. Perhaps staying at Le Rendez-vous Hostal owned and operated by a couple from France who built it after touring South America and deciding to make Vilcabamba their home. Time to hear about what’s happening in Vilcabamba from Serge and Isabelle. Or check out other places to rest and revive; what makes one person happy, doesn’t necessarily make another. – a soft mattress, a hard one, maybe a hammock; it’s all there waiting.

So much to see, the coast, the city of Guayaquil, the Galapagos, the Amazon, and north to Ibarra, Otavalo, Cotacachi, etc. Ah, yes, another time, perhaps.

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The pleasure in traveling consists of the obstacles, the fatigue, and even the danger. What charm can anyone find in an excursion when he is always sure of reaching his destination, of having horses ready waiting for him, a soft bed, an excellent supper, and all the eases and comfort he can enjoy in his own home! One of the great misfortunes of modern life is the want of any sudden surprise, and the absence of all adventures. Everything is so well arranged.
– Theophila Gautier, WANDERINGS IN SPAIN

spices herbs plants

Many of us have just begun to realize the huge benefits of spices, herbs, and plants and allow them into our domain. They’ve always been there for us to learn about and use, though it seems many of us weren’t ready. However, judging from all the information available to us in this decade, we are ready now, right? In the light of that, let’s pay homage to a few spices, herbs, and plants.

I feel that the book, The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm, is a labor of love, and I highly recommend it. Lot and lots of information can be found in the easy-to-read, rather thick book. If I had a bookshop it would be openly displayed, and I’d amuse myself by watching how many people would stop, look, and happily buy.

Turmeric is “antibacterial, antiviral, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, and a diuretic,” – the list goes on. The above-mentioned book tells us about the benefits of turmeric. I take it stirred in R.W. Knudsen organic tomato juice, along with a dash of cayenne pepper, these three ingredients seem to agree with each other and produce a smooth-tasting drink. There’s no doubt about all the benefits, we just need to read and understand and be comfortable with what we’re ingesting, and think about the right dosage for our body. It’s certainly essential in the cuisine of India, not only in curries, pick up a cookbook and find that page after page turmeric is used.

Cayenne Pepper: The following website suggests a passion for cayenne pepper and to click on and read about its innumerable benefits is to know the why of the passion. it’s written that it “was compiled by Dr. Schulze’s”

The Spice Terminal at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia has cayenne pepper from Africa that’s 1,000 times spicier than what we’re accustomed to, and the person behind the counter said to take it very, very, very sparingly. I didn’t dare touch it, I’ll be back when I’m ready though. When I first began ingesting cayenne pepper I went into coughing fits at each attempt, and I often caught my “dear ones” rolling their eyes and saying, “Why are you doing this?” and “Stop taking it.” I couldn’t though because I knew that the benefits far outweighed the coughing time it took to get used to this spice. Now I happily shake it on fried eggs, into soups and stews, on cooked pasta, and stirred into drinks, etc. Indeed!

Just to let you know, the high quality of the teas at The Spice Terminal are irresistible, and lifting the glass lid off one of the containers of tea and having its wonderful fragrance come rushing out, is to be hooked, and then the words come tumbling out, “Excuse me, may I have half a pound and how much should I use when brewing a pot?”

Cinnamon, too, has healing properties that are many, put a piece of bark in your coffee cup, add it to the water you’re taking out with you for the day, sprinkle the powder on toast, in yogurt, – you’re limited only by your imagination. Let’s remember to pay attention to using the right amount and not go overboard. Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D sums up the benefits of cinnamon very nicely in the September/October 2011 Well Being Journal, under the title The Healing Remedies in Spices.

Gingerroot remedies has a long list, too. I’m looking at a book by Mark Stengler, ND on Natural Healing, and there are three pages about the healing properties of ginger. I think that that says something about this rhizome – “a stem that runs underneath the surface of the ground.” I’ve subscribed to Mark A. Stengler’s Natural Healing newsletters; he’s “in private practice in California…adjunct associate clinical professor at the National College of Natural Medicine, Portland Oregon…author of many books….”

It boggles the mind to learn just how numerous and beneficial herbs are (along with spices and plants). The simple title of a book by Maria Treben, HEALTH THROUGH GOD’S PHARMACY, gives us an idea, in few words, of the power of herbs to heal.

Triphala and constipation . . . in the book SPONTANEOUS HEALING, Dr. Andrew Weil, wrote . . . “Another Ayurvedic preparation, called triphala, is the best bowel regulator I have come across . . .” and, he continues, “it’s much better than Western herbal remedies for constipation.” The mixture of three herbs can be found in capsule form in health food stores.

Have you been to the Indian grocery store Kalustyans Foods in Manhattan? To see the array of spices, herbs, foods (upstairs, downstairs), etc. is a real treat. Triphala can also be found there.

Aloe Vera, I would be here all week if I had to summarize all the benefits of just these few spices, herbs, and plants, so again I’ll call upon a professional, Scott E. Miners, the Editor of Well Being Journal wrote about Aloe Vera and Digestive Health, along with Topical Healing Powers of Aloe Vera – Personal Stories of Healing, in the September/October 2011 issue

Snake Plant, this plant is wonderful and I talk to mine and thank it for doing what it does. It’s “the only plant that produces oxygen and removes carbon dioxide at night.” For the technical aspects of air purifying with

I’m a novice and there’s much to know. I find it all so fascinating, and so slowly, cautiously, and happily I’ll continue to explore and learn about the amazing world of spices, herbs, and plants – those that the Divine One created for the benefit of all living beings. You, too?

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Lots of renovating went on at Reading Terminal Market; and, along with that, the owner of The Spice Terminal closed after many years — and so no more cayenne pepper from Africa and the whiffing of the fragrant teas in that space.

dolores cannon, john mccarthy, ted j. cibik

Three websites to ponder:

There’s a woman out there who has an incredibly interesting story, and listening to it was quite entertaining. If you have about ten minutes to watch her video, what she says might leave you wondering about certain things. Then again, some on google call her a fraud, and others can’t seem to say enough wonderful things about her. So, is she is or is she isn’t a past-life regressionist doing what she says she does? And is she authentic in her writings?

And there’s a very simple to read website having a kind story along with information we can use. The message can show us how to help Mother Earth by reading Earthwalker Blog, Earth Helpers, 21 Ways to Help, and About the Ecozoic Handyman

And there’s a place in Pennsylvania having 30 private acres, and it looks liike very good energy can be found there. It’s website heading says, “Ancient Health Concepts In a Modern World.”

The sky is dark; the evening is young, let’s enjoy.