Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!

Another year is coming to an end. It's been an exciting one, with several trips, visitors from various places, lots of cooking in my kitchen, and many delicious meals at home and out. I've continued to document all my activities. I hope to keep on going in 2020. You can see my posts, past, present, and future at
Below are a few highlights of our travel from 2019. First: a photo taken in Tahiti during our spring trip to French Polynesia with National Geographic-Lindblad tours:

Second, from our birding trip with Field Guides, Inc. -- California in September:

And from our trip to Costa Rica in December:
Sunrise from the bridge deck of the National Geographic Sea Lion.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year, 2019

Wishing everyone a great New Year! I'm still blogging food, books, travel, and random thoughts at

In the past year, to update the travel theme -- we took three big trips: to Israel in spring, to the Pacific Northwest in autumn, and to Paris for Thanksgiving week. A brief summary in photos:

Kiryat Ono, Israel. Passover Seder at Janet's house.
British Columbia, Desolation Sound.

Paris. Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens.

And here at home in Ann Arbor, I'm taking photos of street art and murals, like this one on Liberty Street.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Still Blogging Next Door at Mae's Food Blog!

Once again, greetings for a new year! I've continued with my decision to maintain only one blog, maefood.blogspot.com. I hope you join me there during the coming year.

My best to everyone for the coming year!

Highlights of 2017 included two splendid trips to South America in February and October, a road trip to Arizona for a guided bird tour in June, various visits with family, cooking and enjoying good food, and reading many wonderful books. I hope you stay with me on my food blog for another year.

Here's a photo of the most remote place we visited in 2017: Cape Horn as seen from the National Geographic Explorer.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another New Year

One year ago, I decided to close this blog and consolidate food, travel, and other blogging into my food blog. I completed almost 350 posts on many subjects, including trips that we made in almost every month of the year. You can continue to read this blog in the coming year:


After the 2016 election in November, I began to feel a desperate need for heroes in American life -- and yes, I agree with Brecht who said: "Unhappy is the land that needs a hero." So in addition to my food blog, I returned to my hero blog where I have, in the past catalogued secular Jewish heroes. You can read it here:

Meanwhile, I'm still an occasional Mona Lisa collector. Enjoy New Year's Eve 2017 as Mona Lisa celebrates... and recovers. Images from a blog post I did long ago:


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The End of This Blog

I'm still blogging at maefood.blogspot.com ...

Black Raku Tea Bowl, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, from our visit there last month.
I'll be continuing to write about many interests including Japanese art and literature, international food, and travel.

I started this blog in April, 2006, when I was about to leave for a month in Israel. On a previous stay in Israel, I had recorded my impressions in a series of emails, which I collected later, and I realized that a blog would be a better way to let friends share my experiences.

Later that summer, I decided to separate my blogging activity into specialized streams: particularly, to separate food posts. Thus I began my food blog. Now I intend to re-integrate all my blogging into a single stream: my food blog. In 2016, I'll include posts about travel, wildlife, and reading there even if they aren't about food.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Favorite Poetry

In today's New York Times Book Review: "What's your favorite poem?" Responses to the question are from a number of well-known writers.

I'm not much of a poetry reader, but several of the poems listed are also among my favorites. Here are some of the beloved poems from the article, and my own memories of them:

TA-NEHISI COATES: Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage.” I reread this poem just now. It's an incredibly powerful evocation of what it would have been like to be a captured slave on a slave ship in the Middle Passage from Africa to the new world. The poet Robert Hayden was a neighbor of ours for a few years in the 1970s and I remember greeting him as he walked his dog named Sadie. This adds to my appreciation of the poem.

ALAN CUMMING: Yeats’s “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.” Another that I remember loving a long time ago when I took a course about William Butler Yeats.

KATIE COURIC: John McCrae's “In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row” is her favorite, and she also mentions a poem I often recited when I was a child: “The Swing,” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

MO WILLEMS: Dr. Seuss’s “Hop on Pop.” What a great choice. What parent or grandparent doesn't love to remember reading this to small children and then seeing them learn to read it for themselves!

I suspect that you might find some of your favorites in this engaging list!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"Ungifted" by Gordon Korman

My book club is going to discuss Ungifted by Gordon Korman. Though we are all adults, we're reading a YA book, so I have written some questions that seem usable by an adult discussion group. I enjoyed the book and found it very amusing. though somehow the questions seem rather serious.

1.         Since we’ll get around to it eventually anyway, who wants to tell a story of their own Middle School/Jr. High experiences?

2.         Alice who is 12 and liked the book suggested two discussion questions about Donovan Curtis, the central character:

     A.          If he would stay at the gifted school would it be good or bad for him?
     B.           Why did Donovan’s sister feel so comfortable with the gifted kids?

3.         Donovan’s perceptions of the differences between the schools are a key element of the book. Sort of typical, a passage written by Donovan:

“Classes at my new old school weren’t better, exactly, but at least I understood what was going on. I’d been faking it for so long at the Academy that it was startling to suddenly know actual answers. I even raised my hand a few times in math, until Sanderson bounced a spitball off my skull and hissed, ‘Dude— this isn’t the Academy!’

“And I couldn’t help thinking, No, it sure isn’t. You can see it in the paint  job, and taste it in the bad cafeteria food. You can hear it in the dead air that hangs in the classroom when the teacher asks a question. You can smell it in the sweaty gym socks— so different from the synthetic-oil aroma of a set of Mecanum wheels.”  (p. 215).

A.         Do gifted kids in our society really get treated better to the extent that the book implies?

B.         In this and many other passages when Donovan describes the situation at the school, the relationships between the teachers and students, the attitudes and social pressures among the kids, and much more, he’s incredibly perceptive and his observations are amazing. Is this convincing? Is he a believable observer?

4.         Did you find the portrayals of the kids/teachers/administrators excessively stereotyped? Is there balance between the predicted behavior of  the “gifted” and the “ungifted” and their self-awareness as revealed in their alternating narratives?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mysterious Maps

botanical-garden 1
Here's a perfectly nice map of the Matthaei Botanical Garden near the point where you enter the woods.
Note that West (Dixboro Road) is at the top.
botanical-garden 2
After you have walked for a while, you find another map. They must want to mess with your head --
this map is reversed from the first one. You can see that West/Dixboro Road is at the bottom.
We had a very nice walk in the gardens again on a beautiful morning this week. I just wonder who designed those maps!

botanical-garden 3

Sunday, November 08, 2015

A Quiet Botanical Garden

In the woods at Matthaei Botanical Gardens this afternoon it was very quiet. The fall colors have become very subdued.
Only a few other people were walking in the woods.
Inside the greenhouse. 

Insect-eating plants seemed to be waiting eagerly for prey. 
I always love the indoor goldfish pond.
On the way home we stopped to watch the swans on the river in the very late afternoon sun.