Views From My Eighties

Love, Food, and Life!

Doing Good By Stealth

I was accompanying Bill to an appointment with his Cough Doctor. As is my wont/want, I brought along my present project of needlework. I don’t relish sitting empty-handed doing nothing. (When we go to friends’ for dinner, it’s a selfless…
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Sixty-Seven Orbits Around the Sun

Sixty-seven years ago tomorrow I gave birth to my first child. It was then called “natural childbirth.” I conceived the baby when we were living in New York city (I was happily a copywriter at the great department store, Lord…
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With Whipped Cream on Top

Well, here I am fourteen hours into the new year…made coffee, tea, bacon, French toast, unloaded the dishwasher in order to load it up with last night’s dishes–I cooked an enormous Turkey Tetrazinni for our celebratory supper, marvelous but arduous.…
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Amazing!

Well, for a wonder, here we are bumping up against Christmas again! Where’d it come from, so all-of-a-sudden? And the end of the year approaches, too? Amazing. Here I am, a bundle of worries and a heap of concerns but…
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Feeling My Age

Seems to me that my late bout with unreality (or call it what you will) took its toll. I seem to have less energy. I walk in shorter steps and, walking, I’m more bent over than I used to be.…
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Mud Pies for Supper

I lie in bed in the dark morning thinking, “I’ve got chicken breasts to cook for tonight, how on earth am I going to cook them…?” I’ve come to worry about what I’m going to cook for supper, as I…
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Truth and Beauty, Part 1

Glenda, you left us too soon! Eighty-seven is nowheresville…you should have lasted another ten years. Reading Glenda Jackson’s obituary, seeing the clips from recent movies, past the sadness and regret I felt for her loss, I must confess to having…
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A Mother and A Daughter

Yesterday–or the day before, at some point on NPR–I listened to an interview with Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. The two were pitching their new children’s book, The Enchanted Symphony. Gifted women having a jolly time talking…
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Redemption!

Ok. Ok. I’ll just be blunt. Direct. No beating around the bush. Have you ever been so daft in love with someone you couldn’t bear the thought of him/her/them being kissed–much less made love to–by someone before you? I know…
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Back to Normal

Just to say that our house is back to normal. Bill’s been sickabed on two chairs (lovely old-fashioned expression, don’t know where it came from but it’s descriptive…actually he’s been in the plain old bed) for the last week. I…
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Bricks!

Hey, when something terriblewretchedmiserableuglyawfulhorribleunbelievableynasty happens to you–a ton of bricks falls on your head and there’s no unbricking the pain–what do you do? First, of course, I would imagine you try to understand where the bricks fell from and why…
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Fire!

Yesterday morning across the top of the front page of The New York Times was a color photograph of a burly man wearing a baseball cap backwards squatting, forehead pressed to the top of the head of a dark brown…
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A Cautionary Tale

Malka and I were on the phone schmoozing. We’ve known one another since the mountain, another universe, and since then she has also been graced with an extraordinary life. When laughing delightedly Malka said, “Oh, Sylvia, we’re so lucky!” I…
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Onward and Upward!

So guess what. Yesterday I began my eighty-ninth year on this planet. I’m 88 years old! (I came out backwards. Been scatterbrained ever since.) Recently the powers that be declared my birthday a national holiday. A meaningful one. Juneteenth is…
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Raised Consciousness

At first I titled this, “The New Consciousness,” but I daren’t because I’m probably out of the mainstream and this was going on long before I discovered it… “It” is how we who shop for animal products do so. I…
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Awash in Generosity

Generosity of spirit. How I cherish it. This past weekend I was awash in generous spirits. First it was at Macy’s. Our fifteen-year-old Peruvian grandson was invited to his first bat mitzvah on Saturday morning. For some reason I’ve been…
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Choices

When we realized we couldn’t have a weekend in San Francisco to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary (our dog-sitter was snowed in), Bill said, “I know. Let’s go in June and celebrate your birthday in Copenhagen! Then we can take…
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Mousy Fellow Mortal

Valentine’s night we went to one of the town’s favorite cafés for treats of delicious suppers and the live jazz of a friend’s combo. We were in a covered patio, seated at a small table close to the musicians, more…
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I Must Admit…

[N.B. A briefer earlier version was on my FB page…] I must admit it’s finally dawned on me that I’m getting—am already—old. Curious feeling. Not altogether real. But I had evidence of it on Christmas when I attempted to cook…
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Resources for A Happy and A Merry Caritas

Musing about gifts to the recalcitrant, I stumbled upon something really super. It just struck me that giving someone a donation to charity as a Chanukkah or Christmas present is giving twice—immediately to the friend or family member and then…
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Stuff

You see in our ‘70s-built house, my study is the room furthest from the source of warmth, a furnace in the garage. The designers of the house forgot about efficiently delivering heat to rooms down the hall. Bill’s study, adjoining…
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Win-Win HolidayGiving

Yesterday was Christmas Shopping Day at our house—principally for Bill. We ordered the red-wrapped two- and three-pound boxes of dark chocolate Nuts & Chews he’s sent to family since Mrs. See first shmooshed them out. All over the country, Park…
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Surprise, Surprise!

Suddenly it struck me yesterday as I was wending my way around the bedroom—“wending” because I had to be careful to step around the overflowing suitcases flopped open on the floor…what with this siege of COVID (I write this mid-October,…
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Being A Grown-Up

One of the reigning passions of my life has been travel. Since I was eighteen, I’ve seen much of France, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, glimpses of Mexico, China, Japan, India, Israel, Spain, Tanzania, Peru, Ireland, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Oman,…
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Flaws

This morning for no plausible reason I looked at myself in the mirror and thought I might take stock. List my flaws. I mean, after valiantly slogging along all these years and with a fair amount of travail, my body…
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Goddess of The Chase

It struck me when I realized that within the space of two days, I seem to have gained a friend—a kindred spirit—and lost the very same. Recently a reader of these scribbles who grew up with my little The Birthday…
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Messiness As Art

I’m putting my study to rights. I’m told Albert Schweitzer and Alexander Calder also had absurdly messy studies. That comforts me. I’m in good—nay, secure—company. No one can make fun of me. Except for decades friends have been taking pictures…
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More Word Play

Home again, and driving the winding road up the Santa Cruz Sandhills to fetch Uschi from her friends in Bonny Doon, I turned a corner and ahead of us crossing the road were three huge wild turkeys! Naturally I stopped,…
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The Annual Accounting

Writing indoors as torrents of rain shush down outside our windows–no drought here in Kauai as there is in Santa Cruz… And so the end of the year draws nigh…time to take stock…where’ve I been…where’m I going?…will I be able…
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Art Is Fleeting

All-time favorite greeting card from my high school days: “Time is long And art is fleeting… Happy Birthday to you Sweeting…” Speaking of “art is fleeting,” yesterday Maggie, my Yalie* granddaughter and I had a splendid excursion in San Francisco. More…
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Boxes of Memories

When my mother, Gloria Stuart, was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Old Rose in Titanic, occasionally someone asked, What was it like, growing up with a movie star for a mother? My answer: I didn’t. She wasn’t. She…
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A Liberating Idea

Came another letter from my old friend Mazie: So here’s a development, my girl. Pat’s best friend, Georgiy, the Russian professor—lovely man, I’ve told you about him—came for coffee. He’s been having trouble in his family. His older sister is…
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Filling in the Gap…

Welcome to my new blog. I hope it engages you…please drop by often. Regarding our lives since March, 2020, Bill and I have been very fortunate. Got through the quarantine surprisingly easily. Saw no one. Went nowhere. A friend put…
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Seeds In My Teeth

I can still see her, the petite French girl, chic in her off-the-shoulder summer dress pulling a chef’s knife from her purse. We’d met at a dinner party. I was newly married, working my way through French cookbooks, and as…
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Photo Credit to Gail Park

Sylvia Vaughn Thompson began writing about food, the garden, life, and love in 1957.

The next forty-four years while raising four remarkable children and her writer husband, Gene Thompson, she wrote 154 articles, eight books, designed a mountain chalet. After losing Gene, while keeping close to her nonagenarian mother, actress/artist Gloria Stuart, Sylvia lived alone with her German Shepherd, Lady, then Bichon-Poodle, Cakes. Kept on writing.

Then when she was seventy-five, Sylvia met newly-widowed eighty-year-old retired Professor (Literature, Film Studies), William Park. Sylvia, Bill, and their German Shepherd, Uschi, write, garden, cook, walk along the ocean–and watch a movie every night.

Wildly blessed.

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