Diane Sawyer, Blog/Newsletter #29 May-June 2016

Diane Sawyer Portrait

Hello to all my loyal newsletter /blog readers. Welcome to my new readers from the St. Petersburg South Community Library, whom I met at the Friends of the Library monthly book sale. Welcome also to my new readers from the Fordham Alumni Chapter who volunteered in the St. Pete community.

Diane Sawyer

Writing News

Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella MurdersMontauk Cave

  • Amazon’s marketing specialists are busily promoting my five novels, pictured above, in the USA and many foreign countries too. Happy reading!
  • Check out my author page at Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/dianesawyer.
  • Visit my web site at  http://dianewsawyer.com   (The middle initial “w” must be included.) Thank you, Roy Baker, friend, web designer, and photographer, for setting up my web site. My previous blog/newsletters are there. The hardcover, paperback, and e-book editions of my novels are available on Amazon, other on-line sites, and also via my web site (by clicking on the photo of the book cover).
  • Newest news: My recently completed novel, The Tell-Tale Treasure, a cold-case missing-person mystery, set in St. Petersburg, FL, is on schedule, advancing through the editing process with my publisher and her staff. Currently the cover is under discussion. Stay tuned for more news in my next newsletter.

This and That

Many of you tell me how much you love puns, so I did a bit of research. The word pun is also known as paronomasia, meaning a form of word play that suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words of similar sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. By the way, the British seem to love the double-entendre. Note the following from Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carrol:

“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.

“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle, “nine the next, and so on.”

“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.

“That’s the reason they’re called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”

***The British pronunciation can also make for interesting puns. For example:

I tried to come up with a pun about famous German philosophers, but I Kant.

***Three more puns:

Why do we still have troops in Germany?   To keep the Russians in Czech.

An elephant’s opinion carries a lot of weight.

A horse is a very stable animal.

***I don’t know who did the judging, but on the Internet, these were voted the best puns in the world:

I’ve been reading something very interesting—Stephen Hawking’s latest book about antigravity. I just can’t put it down.

Ancient humans, venturing across the ice bridge to North America, got lost quite often. They found it very hard to keep their Bering Straight.

Travel

In going through my travel folder, looking for a destination to describe, I realized all over again how traveling solo can lead to wonderful friendships. I had traveled in the US with my husband and two young children, later enjoyed many Caribbean cruises with my husband and two trips to France and Italy with my daughter. In 1997 (twenty years ago!) I decided to try solo travel. I signed on to a group tour of Turkey with a travel agency and met the group at the destination, Istanbul. Some in the group, including me, had opted for a 10-day tour; others had booked a longer tour. Back to my travel folder. I came across several postcards from Marj, a writer from California, who always had something interesting to say, and had researched a great deal before arriving in Turkey. She sent me postcards to describe what had occurred on each of the additional days, and explained the picture on the postcard, typically an item from a museum. She wanted me to experience those extra days in Turkey. What a good friend.

A few highlights from the postcards. The group traveled to a region called Capadocia: They stopped at the Sultan Han Caravansaray on the Silk Road. Apparently, the sultan built the Carvansarays about 14 miles apart, a day’s journey by caravan. Travelers could stay 3 days for free, but their goods were taxed; the gate is high enough for a man mounted on a camel to enter; the camels stayed inside in “dorms” with the travelers. One of the postcards showed a magnificent gauntlet attributed to King Midas, known for the “golden touch,” a blessing and a curse, since everything he touched, including people he loved, turned to gold. When Midas begged the gods to free him of the curse, they told him to wash himself in the river until it was gone. Finally, after many washings, he was free. The happy ending, Marj noted, is that the people downstream panned gold for several years.

The group traveled over the mountains to Konya, a region known for the Dervish Order, often referred to as the Whirling Dervishes. Marj pointed out that the whirling was a manifestation of union with God. The right hand faced upward, reaching to the light of God. The Dervishes, the “door openers,” transfer light to those who have fallen away. The music of flute, drum, and a stringed instrument like a zither accompanied them. What surprised the group was that the dancing was sedate and prolonged, not frantic as often described.

Another post card featured a bronze bull statuette, housed in The Museum of Anatolian Civilization. Also on view was a reconstructed Hittite room with bulls’ heads mounted on the walls, and a clay cuneiform tablet from Nefertiti to the Queen of the Hittites as an expression of friendship and an inventory of the gifts that cemented that friendship.

Let me return to the friendships made when traveling solo. My assigned roommate during the Turkey trip was Beth, formerly a professional basketball player, and currently a business executive. We got along very well. She came to visit me and my family in St. Pete and enjoyed the Peru exhibit at the International Museum in downtown St. Pete. When I signed up for a trip to Peru with a travel agency, she decided to join the group and meet me there. That turned into a wonderful trip, especially exploring Machu Picchu and flying over the Nazca Lines. Last year, she and three generations of her family who had been visiting Disney World in Orlando, met my husband and me for lunch in a park in Tampa, before they headed to the airport and home. Photos, Christmas cards, all of that continues. The third person in our little Turkey group was Phoebe, who lives in New York City. We still send Christmas cards and have remained friends. In Turkey, Beth, Phoebe, and I often merged with another little group, headed by Jane and included her friends from home.

One day, several years ago, I received a phone call from someone I didn’t know, named Billie. She was a friend of Jane’s. They, a group of 6, 4 adults and 2 young adults, were taking a trip to Morocco, and one had to back out suddenly with only weeks before the departure date. Would I be interested in filling in? After she explained all the many cultural aspects and the entertainment—tours to restaurants with dinner shows and audience participation, an exciting visit to the edge of the desert for a remarkable extravaganza, including feats of wonder on Arabian stallions, and a specialty dinner served in tents—Billie asked if the trip appealed to me. I said yes, completed all the required arrangements, and later flew to New York where I met the five of them. It turned out to be a great experience in a gorgeous, exotic country. We got along very well and that made the very special trip extra special.

Last, but not least, just a few years ago when I took a “solo” tour to England, I went three days early, stayed at the hotel where the tour group would meet, and treated myself to a visit to the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert museums plus many other wonderful places. When the rest of the group arrived, the “solos” were assigned roommates (or they could remain “solo” if they preferred). My roommate was Evelyn, an experienced traveler, who, as it turned out, lived less than an hour from me in Florida. We had a great time. Several years later, we ran into each other on a cruise through the Panama Canal. She was traveling with her husband and I was traveling with mine. We caught up on what we had been doing and agreed to travel together. Back in Florida, we eventually decided on Guatemala and joined up with a tour group. Another wonderful experience. Another good friend.

I think you’ll agree with me about traveling. The people you meet are as wonderful as the destination. Happy travels!

Cooking Delights

Yellow Rice Salad

Beautiful to look at…Wonderful on a hot summer day…

Just add hamburgers, chicken fingers, hot dogs, or grilled fish.

Ingredients

1 8-oz package yellow rice + amount of water listed on package directions + 2TBS olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp (or more) lime juice

1 package, 15 oz. whole kernel frozen corn, prepared according to package directions

1 can black beans rinsed and drained

Steps # 1 and 2, basic preparation; Step #3, go creative

  1. Place rice, water, and olive oil in pot, bring to a boil, cover, simmer 21-24 minutes.
  2. When all the water is absorbed and the rice is partially cooled, add cumin, lime juice, corn, and black beans. Cool completely and store in refrigerator.
  3. Turn this salad into a colorful dish by adding any of the following to the cooled salad: *1 tsp chili powder, 1 small onion chopped, 1 red pepper chopped, 2 tomatoes diced.

***

Grapefruit Appetizer

This wonderful summer recipe, dating back several years to when we had a grapefruit tree in our yard (before a nasty fruit fungus destroyed it) and we found this creative way to enjoy the fruit: For 4 people, cut 2 grapefruit in half, place them cut-side up on a baking pan, top each of the cut sides with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a spoonful of Cointreau (orange liqueur). Broil for 1-2 minutes or more, checking very closely. Careful, they burn easily. Serve warm.

***

A favorite entrée from those “Grapefruit Days”: Sautéed Chicken with Grapefruit Sauce

1/3 cup all-purpose flour; salt and pepper to taste

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied

1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

2 onions or shallots, finely chopped

½ cup chicken broth  +  ½ cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

11/2 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 ½ tablespoons dry tarragon)

 

Preparation

Mix flour, salt and pepper.

Dredge butterflied chicken in flour mixture; shake off excess flour.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Sautee chicken in oil; turn and continue cooking until chicken is cooked completely and is browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside; keep warm. Add butter to pan and wait until it melts; add onions and cook 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth, grapefruit juice, and mustard to pan; bring to a boil, and stir until chicken pieces stuck to pan are loosened and sauce thickens. Add tarragon and stir 1 more minute. To serve, pour sauce over chicken. Serve with rice, vegetables, and salad.

Bon appétit!

Fondly, Diane

@ Copyright 2016 by Diane Sawyer. All rights reserved.

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