Saturday, April 28, 2007


Here is one of my all-time faves:

I know of no single factor that more greatly affects our ability to perform than the image we have of ourselves.

--Tim Gallwey, from The Inner Game of Tennis

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Today is the 22nd birthday of my oldest child, Tristan. I wish that I could give her a big birthday hug, but that pleasure will have to be deferred.
Tristan is a senior at the University of Indianapolis. She will graduate on Derby Day, with dual degrees in communications and religious studies. She also has a minor in English. She plans to attend law school next year.
Tristan has attended U-Indy, as they call it, on a scholarship for being on the university's competetive speech team. She is currently in Georgia for her team's national competetion.
It would be an extreme understatement to say that I am proud of Tristan. "Teej," "Trist-Mist" and "My little Pebbley-Poo" are some of my favorite nicknames for her. She is a warm, energetic and thoughtful person. Just to think of her, or to mention her name, causes me to smile. I wish her the happiest of birthdays, across the miles.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Famous quotes are, to me, often very thought-provoking and inspiring. They are so powerful because they seem to distill down, into a few short words, thoughts that reveal great truths about our human propensities and condition. I often try to share my favorite quotes with my children--who are really not kids anymore--but I sometimes wonder if they think that I am being corny for doing so.

Anyway, I thought that I might begin sharing with the CoffeeSpoons readership some of my favorites. I hope that you will find them to be useful. Henceforth, I will probably try to just give you the quote, without further preamble or explanation. Just know that, when I leave you with a quote here, I am giving you a gem that I have found to be particularly meaningful and useful in my life. The quote for today:

The first and the best victory is to conquer self.


Friday, April 13, 2007


Over three months ago now, on January 11, 2007, I decided to give a try to a vegetarian diet. I had just consumed a carnivorous meal when I happened to read a column by Bryant Stamford that espoused the virtues of a plant-based diet. On his advice, I purchased The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. That book advocates a vegetarian diet, indicating that such a diet can dramatically reduce the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Soon after I began reading the book, I became convinced of the health hazards that are inherent in the normal American diet of meats, eggs and dairy products.

For me, the transition to a vegetarian diet was not as difficult as it might seem. Although I have always loved steak, chicken and fish--and consumed them liberally for 45 years--I've also always enjoyed fruits, vegetables, and salads. Once I swithched to a vegetarian diet, I began to feel better than ever. I started feeling more energetic and healthful almost immediately. Now, having consumed no meat for over three months, I am willing to declare it: I am a vegetarian.

Since I eschewed the consumption of meats and dairy products three months ago, I have lost 20 pounds. At the same time, I have continued my strength-training exercises, and I am stronger than ever. (Well, O.K.--I admit that I might have been a bit stonger twenty years ago, but you know what I mean.) My blood pressure has been reduced very significantly and, although I have not had it checked recently, I would be willing to bet the house that my cholesterol level is way down as well.

As time goes on, I will continue to report on my conversion to vegetarianism. For now, I would encourage anyone reading this post to consider the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


My youngest child, Collin Matthew, is a 16-year-old sophomore at Providence High School. He spent the last week in and around La Garenne-Colombe, France, just outside of Paris, as part of the Clarksville Sister Cities exchange program. It was his first time abroad. While in France, Collin stayed with a French teenager and his family. Upon his arrival home, Collin graciously agreed to answer some questions for the readers of CoffeeSpoons:

CoffeeSpoons: What was your favorite experience in France?

Collin: My favorite experience was interacting with the people. I enjoyed seeing how the French culture is, compared with American culture. It was really very interesting.

CoffeeSpoons: What were some other highlights of your trip?

Collin: I loved seeing the Eiffel Tower, L'Arc De Triomphe, and all of the famous historical sites of France. Also, going to the Beaches of Normandy was really special.

CoffeeSpoons: What, if anything, surprised you about France or its people?

Collin: Their eating habits were really different than ours. Whereas in America we tend to snack a lot, they tend to pretty much stick with eating three meals, but they really eat a lot in those meals.

CoffeeSpoons: What other differences did you observe between the French culture and ours?

Collin: They seemed to be a lot more to themselves out in public. They are a little quieter. They used public transportation a whole lot more than we do. I also noticed that people take their dogs everywhere.

CoffeeSpoons: I've heard that the French can sometimes be rude to American tourists. Did you find that to be the case?

Collin: Not really.....They were very hospitable to me--very giving. Our hosts were very thoughtful, and they wanted us to see everything. There were a few incidents when we encountered rudeness, but I'm sure that would be the same anywhere you would go.

CoffeeSpoons: What did you miss most about home while you were there?

Collin: My family...My friends...People speaking English on a regular basis.

CoffeeSpoons: What was the food like?

Collin: The food was different. One time, we were visiting a school and we had lunch there. They served us a large piece of fruit--something like a pear--that was cut in half and had a big piece of sausage stuck in the middle of it. I asked one of the French kids what it was, but he didn't know. That was strange...but I ate it.
It was pretty good. Their McDonald's and Pizza Hut were better than ours, tasting-wise. They had the same menu items, but they just seemed to taste better. I will note that the pizza had a French cheese, in the center of the pizza, that was very good. I also noted that they ate their meals in courses. We had bread first, and then the main course, with whatever sides they were having. Then they had cheese and yogurt, followed by dessert. They had really good food.

CoffeeSpoons: I've heard that there's less obesity in France than in the United States. Did you find that to be the case?

Collin: I didn't see as many overweight people there. And that really doesn't surprise me. With the amount of walking that we did, I can imagine the amount of exercise that the average Parisian gets in a given day. I also saw many people riding bikes. Every morning, I had to walk to our group's meeting place. I think that walking and exercise are a big part of the culture there.

CoffeeSpoons: Did you run into any wild women in France?

Collin: [Pause...coy smile...] Uh...I'm not sure if I would say wild...The women were definitely intriguing. They were very nice and interested in America.

CoffeeSpoons: Would you like to go back to France sometime?

Collin: Definitely! Going to France was one of the best experiences of my life. They family with whom I stayed was wonderful. They said that they would like to have our whole family come back to visit them.