Diane Sawyer Newsletter/Blog #13 November-December 2013

Diane Sawyer Portrait

Hello to all my loyal newsletter readers and thank you for your kind comments. This is such a busy season with limited time to read or write that I decided to combine the November and December newsletters. I’ll be back on track with a monthly edition in January 2014. That’s the first time I’ve written the actual numbers of the approaching year. Let’s hope it’s a good one that grants all our hopes and dreams for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our country.

Fondly,

Diane Sawyer

 

Writing News

 Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella Murders Montauk Cave

 Enjoy the hardcover, paperback and e-book editions, available on Amazon and other on-line sites. Happy Reading!

THIS WEEK AMAZON SENT ME SOME VERY EXCITING NEWS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU:

My novel, The Treasures of Montauk Cove, is now included in Amazon’s Local Deals Mobile App from December 13, 2013, through January 9, 2014. Customers who have the App will be able to redeem the offer to buy the Kindle version of The Treasures of Montauk Cove for 99 cents. If you have the App, you might wish to check out the offer. I don’t have a Kindle so I can’t be of any help to you, but good luck and happy reading.

 

This and That

A few things to think about at this time of year:

November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.

Emily Dickinson.

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

A magical thing

And sweet to remember.

Oliver Herford

 

The gardening season officially begins on January first and ends on December 31st.   Marie Huston

 

All the leaves are brown

And the sky is grey

I went for a walk

On a winter’s day

I’d be safe and warm

If I was in L.A.

California dreamin’

On such a winter’s day

The Mamas and The Papas

 

Travel

In the summer of 1995, my daughter Barrie and I took a mother-daughter trip to France. I turned our experiences and impressions into a journal, calling it Travel Tales, with the sub-title The Adventures of Barrie and Mom in France. I hope you enjoy this episode, which took place near the end of our very first day. It’s called

“Evening Descends on Ile de la Cité”

On this sultry Paris evening the Latin Quarter bustled with students bent forward beneath the weight of their backpacks. Couples strolling toward the banks of the Seine stopped to enjoy a moment of passion, then several minutes more. Parents with toddlers riding on their shoulders joked with parents pushing babies in strollers. And tourists like my daughter Barrie and me, guide books in hand, meandered through the crowds emerging from cafes, bookstores, and hotels. We’d all come to the Ile de la Cité, the island located between the elegant Right Bank and the vivacious Left Bank, drawn to Notre Dame and her timeless mystique.

For Barrie and me, Day One of our mother-daughter vacation in France had turned into a roller-coaster ride. There were a few “downs,” (a bomb scare in the metro, a poor exchange rate, our luggage weighing more than we remembered) offset by numerous “ups” (friendly people, inexpensive hotels, a bargain museum pass). We arrived at Notre Dame at 8 o’clock, wondering what the evening held in store for us.

In the shadow of the gothic cathedral, Barrie and I crossed Parvis Square. We checked out the wares of vendors who sold soda, beer, and bottled water to accompany loaves of crusty bread stuffed with camembert or gruyère cheese. A teenager with blue spiky hair and a ring in his nose brushed past us. He pointed to a croque-monsieur, a scrumptious sandwich grilled to golden perfection with ham on the inside and cheese on the outside. “Eeez zee verrrr-ree best,” he confided. We ordered and debated whether he came from Brooklyn or the Bronx.

Savoring every morsel of our sandwiches, we turned toward the street scenes unfolding around us. With quick charcoal swirls and dashes, a caricaturist captured a fidgety child’s impish grin, crinkled eyes, and unruly cowlicks. The proud papa applauded the masterpiece, rolled it up, and tucked it under his arm. Roving entrepreneurs held up miniature Notre Dames and Eiffel Towers. Other merchants, stationed beside spindly-legged tables, displayed souvenir plates and mugs and plastic gargoyles dangling from key chains.

A mime, dressed in traditional black and white, mesmerized a group of curious children. With a red carnation pulled from behind his ear, he beckoned them toward the cathedral. The children, with their shoulders scrunched up to their ears and their eyes wide with wonder, tip-toed after him. They turned toward their parents for approval and clapped their hands over their mouths to stifle their laugher.

A clown wearing a shimmering striped suit dumped out a pile of fruit from the pointed hat that covered his cotton-candy hair. He began to juggle apples, oranges, lemons, and bananas. His foot pumped a lever attached to a drum. As a drum roll resounded, he caught the apple in his mouth and bit off a chunk. He rinsed his hands in a bucket of water. When he dumped the bucket on top of a man’s head, confetti rained down. The man’s family laughed.

An organ grinder with a squeaky voice serenaded his donkey. The animal brayed loudly. It nodded its head, shook the wreaths of paper flowers festooned around its neck, and sauntered away with an old-fashioned wooden cart in tow. The passengers, a young boy and girl, giggled and waved.

Barrie and I approached Notre-Dame’s three magnificent doors. To the left, the Portal to the Virgin depicted Mary’s heavenly coronation along with the signs of the zodiac. The Last Judgment, the Resurrection, and the Weighing of Souls occupied the center door. To the right, the portal of Saint Anne featured the Virgin holding the holy child.

I nudged Barrie. “You never sat that still when you were a baby.” Barrie rolled her eyes. Before she could drag out each letter of “Mom,” I pointed to the famous rose window above the three doors. “It’s 31 feet in diameter,” I quoted from our guide book. Barrie noted that the Crusaders had prayed inside the cathedral and that Napoleon had been crowned Emperor there. Feeling the tug of history, we gazed at Notre Dame’s ancient stones, the silent witnesses to countless events.

“This is paradise,” Barrie marveled.

“And you’re my angel,” I replied, taken with the moment.

“This really is paradise,” Barrie explained, pointing to the parvis, the church square. “This square,” she quoted, “represented paradise to the medieval audiences who watched actors perform mystery plays, right here in front of the cathedral. The word parvis comes from the word paradise. Isn’t that cool?”

“Definitely cool,” I agreed.

We turned toward the grinding, grating sounds behind us. A group of street skaters had begun to entertain a gathering crowd. With swift strides, they dove down the street, crouched, careened off their makeshift ramp, and soared into the air before the open-mouthed spectators. A bare-chested daredevil with protective pads on his knees and elbows, hurdled off the ramp, flew high, swung his knees to the left, his arms to the right, and sat for a split second on a cushion of air. He landed, fingers spread ready to break the fall which never happened, then skated away. One after another, the two-dozen skaters lined up, hand in hand, and saluted the spectators. Bursting forward, the skaters shot in and out of a maze of squashed soda cans, clipping a few cans which spun into the air then clattered to the ground. At breakneck speed, they whipped back to the ramp and dropped hands. Seconds apart, elbows pumping hard, knees and head bent low, they raced to the ramp. They executed no-holds-barred leaps embellished with twists and turns and say-your-last-prayers expressions. Like jack rabbits, they scurried out of the way just as the next jumper crashed onto the pavement. When the last had landed and we could breathe again, these French charmers passed the hat and collected their hard-earned francs.

The sky shimmered and turned violet, then gray. Lights began to flicker. Barrie and I lined up beneath the Bat-O-Bus sign for a ride on the double-decker Parisian boat, the bateau-parisien. We boarded and chose our seats on the top deck which promised the best view. A guide’s lyrical voice greeted us as our boat veered away from the guay toward the middle of the river. In several languages the guide narrated the history of the well-known landmarks that we passed by.

Darkness descended and the boat glided beneath the Seine’s bridges. One bridge flaunted golden statues that reached for the sky. We glided along the dark waters. Picnickers at the river’s edge gathered up the remnants of their meal. Barges tied to the river wall displayed motor bikes, laundry, and tables peeking through the branches of potted trees. The people remained below deck behind Venetian blinds or curtains. Traffic hummed in the distance.

Our boat returned to Notre Dame. Darkness settled in. Silence reigned among the passengers, as if mere words would spoil the impression. Slowly, as if in a trance, Barrie and I exited. Before heading away, we gazed at Notre Dame’s majestic façade, her flying buttresses, her statues, and her stained-glass windows.

Glad we had chosen a hotel in the area, we promised to pass by the magnificent cathedral every day.

“This has been one of the best days of my life,” Barrie said.

“For me, too,” I replied.

She kissed me on the cheek. “There’s no one else I’d rather have traveled with.”

“Me either.”

I hugged this beautiful young woman by my side. My daughter. My best friend. My adventurous travel buddy. The sweet light of my life.

Standing there before Notre Dame, the heart and soul of Paris, I couldn’t resist the urge to thank God for my many blessings.

************

 

Cooking Delights

Three-Way Crock Pot Chicken

serves 6-8

My neighbors, B and C, gave me a recipe for Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken, an all-time favorite of theirs. It is delicious! The second time, I made minor changes and omitted the barbecue sauce. If you are a barbecue fan, add the barbecue sauce, call the dish Barbecue Chicken, and serve it with rice or pasta. If barbecue is not your thing, omit the barbecue sauce and call it Chicken Cacciatore, and serve it with rice or pasta. For something different, omit the rice or pasta and serve the Chicken Cacciatore over thick slices of peeled boiled potatoes and call it Chicken Cacciatore Irish Style. Good things come in threes, including this recipe. Enjoy this easy and delicious dish, ideal for family dinners or company. Thank you, neighbors!

 

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, filleted so that you

end up with 12 thin breasts

3-4 tablespoons flour for dredging

cooking spray

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season the olive oil

28 oz of canned diced tomatoes, undrained

3-4 cups chopped pepper (red, yellow, orange), onion,

celery, and carrots

(maybe ½ cup honey barbecue sauce {see above})

{maybe rice; maybe pasta; maybe potatoes {see above})

 

Preparation:

  • Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in frying pan. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour on both sides, shake off excess flour, and cook in hot oil for 2-3 minutes each side. Place in crock pot in layers.
  • Add more oil and spices if necessary to fry pan and sauté vegetables, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes. Add to crock pot, layered over the chicken.
  • Pour canned diced tomatoes and juice into fry pan and stir, dislodging any cooked-on pieces of chicken or vegetables into the juices. Pour over chicken and vegetables in crock pot.
  • Cook on High for one hour and then on Low for 4 hours. Serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes. Remember: Variety is the spice of life. Bon appétit!

 

Merry Christmas to my Christian friends.

A belated Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Fondly,

Diane

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