A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

We can dramatically increase global food availability and environmental sustainability by using more of our crops to feed people directly and less to fatten livestock.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
—Michael Pollan

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
—Craig Claiborne

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed food.
—Michael Pollan

Cookbook Author Joan Nathan’s 70th Birthday Party

Author Joan Nathan

My friend, the cookbook author Joan Nathan, never does things by half measures. When she celebrated her seventieth birthday, she did it with panache! Not only was there a star-studded birthday dinner given in her honor by her oldest friend in Washington, DC, Carol Goldberg, but Joan headed another dinner for her favorite food distribution organization, Martha’s Table, and followed the weekend of celebration with a brunch at her own home for so many friends, colleagues and foodies that the invitation warned that without reservations, there might not be a place at the table.

I was sorry that I didn’t make Joan’s weekend-long party. My life in Vermont has become so vibrant that a weekend away wasn’t possible, but I had an opportunity to join other friends, including Alice Waters and my stepmother, Judith Jones, to help Joan’s children, David, Merissa and Daniela, “roast” Joan with a cookbook only her friends could produce. Here is my contribution to this wonderful cookbook. Happy birthday, Joan. I hope you’re still shining, laughing, and generally carrying on with all the curiosity and old soul wisdom you bring to every occasion!

_______________________________________________________________

Quiches, Kugels + Couscous by Joan Nathan

 

In my next blog post I will review Joan’s latest cookbook, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous”, the most recent of Joan’s cookbooks to live by: “The New American Cooking”, “Jewish Holiday Cookbook”, “The Foods Of Israel Today”,” The Jewish Holiday Baker.”  For more information about Joan and her cookbooks, go to her blog, www.joannathan.com

_______________________________________________________________

 

Dinner party

Guests at Joan Nathan’s 70th Birthday Party in Washington, DC

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Joan Nathan?
(To be accompanied by the music to the song “Maria” from the “Sound of Music”)

I first met Joan when I arrived in Washington, DC, a middle-aged bride attempting a new life in a new city with a new husband. I’d heard about her for a number of years because my stepmother, Judith Jones, was her editor, and I’d read a cookbook or two, admiring the panache she brought to the art of cooking. 

But, when I met her, I found myself in the sway of a force of nature, not an astute cookbook author. In fact, very soon, I began to doubt that this was the same Joan Nathan who’d authored a series of cookbooks on Jewish cooking and was, in the throws of writing a cookbook about American cuisine.

My cell phone would ring without warning and conversations, usually begun with a question, “What do you think, should I….” would pepper my daily routine. I’m not saying every day but often enough to make me feel a little like Wikipedia. It would be Joan calling as she drove toward Restoration Hardware or one of the stores in Chevy Chase, or Joan as she sat at her desk in her home office, trying to come up with the right phrase for an article, or Joan, as she was headed for the train or plane, on a trip to New York, Providence, Paris, or Jerusalem, or Joan, as she worried about David, Merrisa, or Daniela. It was Joan, unmistakably Joan, even though I don’t think she ever mentioned her name. Of course it was Joan!

And, I learned to love this woman, a new friend, who I felt I’d known forever, who invited me to her women’s dinners, and her family parties, who called me up just before the first Christmas I spent in DC asking me to make Christmas cookies, a tradition we continued until, years later, I moved to Vermont. It was Joan who charged into the fray to help me save the Youth Garden at the National Arboretum, and followed that up with a phone call to Alice Waters to get the Youth Garden children involved planting the first vegetable garden on the Mall, the garden I’m sure, that inspired Michelle Obama, years later, to create a national vegetable garden on the White House lawn.

It was also Joan, who, announced one day, that she was going to Jerusalem to oversee photos for her book on Israeli cuisine and “ ….if you want, you and Judith should come. Come, it will be fun. We’ll have a great time….” End of conversation. Of course, you had to know it was Joan. So Judith and I packed our bags and found ourselves, very soon, in The King David Hotel, an hotel that I still consider one of the best in the world because Joan knew the entire staff and we were completely surrounded by tall, warm, uniformed gentleman who came and went at our beck and call–bringing newspapers, meals and local information, I should hastily add, lest my readers be left with the wrong impression…. 

Joan Nathan, Bronwyn and Judith Jones

Joan Nathan, Bronwyn Dunne & Judith Jones

That trip was the best trip I’ve ever taken, with remarkable moments too complex and amazing to truly describe. The country just opened up to my friend, that force of nature, Joan. Her years living and working in Israel had made her close to a “rock star” when she made her frequent return trips “home.” Judith and I bathed in her ambient light and congratulated ourselves for our good fortune in being part of her entourage. 

Close to the end of our trip, we traveled north and found ourselves in a mountain village. Joan had heard of a bread maker who used flat stones and an open fire to bake her bread. We drove up, up, up, out of the mid-country plain of fertile fields and bustling towns, into the heights of the country where sheep and goats grazed happily, but the rest of us wished we had brought our hiking boots. There, in a small farmhouse we found our baker. Same story, same Joan. The door of the farmhouse opened. “Hi, I’m Joan. We’re looking for a woman who bakes bread on flat stones. Can we come in?” And like every door before on this magical trip, it opened wide and we were soon drinking strong coffee and talking energetically about the science of baking bread, our photographer taking photos of the process as it unfolded.

Later that day we stopped at the banks of the Dead Sea, and worried about it’s receding water line, much lower then the last time Joan had been there. Stones rimmed the edge of the biblical body of water and suddenly, a new thought occurred to our leader. “Why not take home some really flat stones? We can try out the bread recipe at home,” said Joan.  As I helped to find the flattest stones, I thought about open fires along the ridge of Rock Creek Park, but said nothing. And, when a day later, Judith and I went back to the States without Joan, we found ourselves trying to explain to the customs and security officers why we had large flat stones in our suitcase. It was a temptation to just say, “It’s Joan… you know, Joan Nathan? The cookbook guru, the force of nature? We’re baking bread. Why not? It could be fun…. what do you think?”

We love you, Joan, and we love the “problem” you present to us, the problem of your wonderful connection with life and people, and, yes, the very stones of life, that has always made us both feel that we need to do more and connect more and just live as fully as possible!

Happy birthday and many, many hugs,

Bronwyn and Judith

Posted: 2-15-2013

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Author Joan Nathan

My friend, the cookbook author Joan Nathan, never does things by half measures. When she celebrated her seventieth birthday, she did it with panache! Not only was there a star-studded birthday dinner given in her honor by her oldest friend in Washington, DC, Carol Goldberg, but Joan headed another dinner for her favorite food distribution organization, Martha’s Table, and followed the weekend of celebration with a brunch at her own home for so many friends, colleagues and foodies that the invitation warned that without reservations, there might not be a place at the table.

I was sorry that I didn’t make Joan’s weekend-long party. My life in Vermont has become so vibrant that a weekend away wasn’t possible, but I had an opportunity to join other friends, including Alice Waters and my stepmother, Judith Jones, to help Joan’s children, David, Merissa and Daniela, “roast” Joan with a cookbook only her friends could produce. Here is my contribution to this wonderful cookbook. Happy birthday, Joan. I hope you’re still shining, laughing, and generally carrying on with all the curiosity and old soul wisdom you bring to every occasion!

_______________________________________________________________

Quiches, Kugels + Couscous by Joan Nathan

 

In my next blog post I will review Joan’s latest cookbook, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous”, the most recent of Joan’s cookbooks to live by: “The New American Cooking”, “Jewish Holiday Cookbook”, “The Foods Of Israel Today”," The Jewish Holiday Baker."  For more information about Joan and her cookbooks, go to her blog, www.joannathan.com

_______________________________________________________________

 

[caption id="attachment_2003" align="alignnone" width="515"]Dinner party Guests at Joan Nathan's 70th Birthday Party in Washington, DC[/caption]

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Joan Nathan?
(To be accompanied by the music to the song “Maria” from the “Sound of Music”)

I first met Joan when I arrived in Washington, DC, a middle-aged bride attempting a new life in a new city with a new husband. I’d heard about her for a number of years because my stepmother, Judith Jones, was her editor, and I’d read a cookbook or two, admiring the panache she brought to the art of cooking. 

But, when I met her, I found myself in the sway of a force of nature, not an astute cookbook author. In fact, very soon, I began to doubt that this was the same Joan Nathan who’d authored a series of cookbooks on Jewish cooking and was, in the throws of writing a cookbook about American cuisine.

My cell phone would ring without warning and conversations, usually begun with a question, “What do you think, should I….” would pepper my daily routine. I’m not saying every day but often enough to make me feel a little like Wikipedia. It would be Joan calling as she drove toward Restoration Hardware or one of the stores in Chevy Chase, or Joan as she sat at her desk in her home office, trying to come up with the right phrase for an article, or Joan, as she was headed for the train or plane, on a trip to New York, Providence, Paris, or Jerusalem, or Joan, as she worried about David, Merrisa, or Daniela. It was Joan, unmistakably Joan, even though I don’t think she ever mentioned her name. Of course it was Joan!

And, I learned to love this woman, a new friend, who I felt I’d known forever, who invited me to her women’s dinners, and her family parties, who called me up just before the first Christmas I spent in DC asking me to make Christmas cookies, a tradition we continued until, years later, I moved to Vermont. It was Joan who charged into the fray to help me save the Youth Garden at the National Arboretum, and followed that up with a phone call to Alice Waters to get the Youth Garden children involved planting the first vegetable garden on the Mall, the garden I’m sure, that inspired Michelle Obama, years later, to create a national vegetable garden on the White House lawn.

It was also Joan, who, announced one day, that she was going to Jerusalem to oversee photos for her book on Israeli cuisine and “ ….if you want, you and Judith should come. Come, it will be fun. We’ll have a great time….” End of conversation. Of course, you had to know it was Joan. So Judith and I packed our bags and found ourselves, very soon, in The King David Hotel, an hotel that I still consider one of the best in the world because Joan knew the entire staff and we were completely surrounded by tall, warm, uniformed gentleman who came and went at our beck and call–bringing newspapers, meals and local information, I should hastily add, lest my readers be left with the wrong impression…. 

[caption id="attachment_2007" align="alignnone" width="516"]Joan Nathan, Bronwyn and Judith Jones Joan Nathan, Bronwyn Dunne & Judith Jones[/caption]

That trip was the best trip I’ve ever taken, with remarkable moments too complex and amazing to truly describe. The country just opened up to my friend, that force of nature, Joan. Her years living and working in Israel had made her close to a “rock star” when she made her frequent return trips “home." Judith and I bathed in her ambient light and congratulated ourselves for our good fortune in being part of her entourage. 

Close to the end of our trip, we traveled north and found ourselves in a mountain village. Joan had heard of a bread maker who used flat stones and an open fire to bake her bread. We drove up, up, up, out of the mid-country plain of fertile fields and bustling towns, into the heights of the country where sheep and goats grazed happily, but the rest of us wished we had brought our hiking boots. There, in a small farmhouse we found our baker. Same story, same Joan. The door of the farmhouse opened. “Hi, I’m Joan. We’re looking for a woman who bakes bread on flat stones. Can we come in?" And like every door before on this magical trip, it opened wide and we were soon drinking strong coffee and talking energetically about the science of baking bread, our photographer taking photos of the process as it unfolded.

Later that day we stopped at the banks of the Dead Sea, and worried about it’s receding water line, much lower then the last time Joan had been there. Stones rimmed the edge of the biblical body of water and suddenly, a new thought occurred to our leader. “Why not take home some really flat stones? We can try out the bread recipe at home,” said Joan.  As I helped to find the flattest stones, I thought about open fires along the ridge of Rock Creek Park, but said nothing. And, when a day later, Judith and I went back to the States without Joan, we found ourselves trying to explain to the customs and security officers why we had large flat stones in our suitcase. It was a temptation to just say, “It’s Joan… you know, Joan Nathan? The cookbook guru, the force of nature? We’re baking bread. Why not? It could be fun…. what do you think?”

We love you, Joan, and we love the “problem” you present to us, the problem of your wonderful connection with life and people, and, yes, the very stones of life, that has always made us both feel that we need to do more and connect more and just live as fully as possible!

Happy birthday and many, many hugs,

Bronwyn and Judith

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Author Joan Nathan

My friend, the cookbook author Joan Nathan, never does things by half measures. When she celebrated her seventieth birthday, she did it with panache! Not only was there a star-studded birthday dinner given in her honor by her oldest friend in Washington, DC, Carol Goldberg, but Joan headed another dinner for her favorite food distribution organization, Martha’s Table, and followed the weekend of celebration with a brunch at her own home for so many friends, colleagues and foodies that the invitation warned that without reservations, there might not be a place at the table.

I was sorry that I didn’t make Joan’s weekend-long party. My life in Vermont has become so vibrant that a weekend away wasn’t possible, but I had an opportunity to join other friends, including Alice Waters and my stepmother, Judith Jones, to help Joan’s children, David, Merissa and Daniela, “roast” Joan with a cookbook only her friends could produce. Here is my contribution to this wonderful cookbook. Happy birthday, Joan. I hope you’re still shining, laughing, and generally carrying on with all the curiosity and old soul wisdom you bring to every occasion!

_______________________________________________________________

Quiches, Kugels + Couscous by Joan Nathan

 

In my next blog post I will review Joan’s latest cookbook, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous”, the most recent of Joan’s cookbooks to live by: “The New American Cooking”, “Jewish Holiday Cookbook”, “The Foods Of Israel Today”," The Jewish Holiday Baker."  For more information about Joan and her cookbooks, go to her blog, www.joannathan.com

_______________________________________________________________

 

[caption id="attachment_2003" align="alignnone" width="515"]Dinner party Guests at Joan Nathan's 70th Birthday Party in Washington, DC[/caption]

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Joan Nathan?
(To be accompanied by the music to the song “Maria” from the “Sound of Music”)

I first met Joan when I arrived in Washington, DC, a middle-aged bride attempting a new life in a new city with a new husband. I’d heard about her for a number of years because my stepmother, Judith Jones, was her editor, and I’d read a cookbook or two, admiring the panache she brought to the art of cooking. 

But, when I met her, I found myself in the sway of a force of nature, not an astute cookbook author. In fact, very soon, I began to doubt that this was the same Joan Nathan who’d authored a series of cookbooks on Jewish cooking and was, in the throws of writing a cookbook about American cuisine.

My cell phone would ring without warning and conversations, usually begun with a question, “What do you think, should I….” would pepper my daily routine. I’m not saying every day but often enough to make me feel a little like Wikipedia. It would be Joan calling as she drove toward Restoration Hardware or one of the stores in Chevy Chase, or Joan as she sat at her desk in her home office, trying to come up with the right phrase for an article, or Joan, as she was headed for the train or plane, on a trip to New York, Providence, Paris, or Jerusalem, or Joan, as she worried about David, Merrisa, or Daniela. It was Joan, unmistakably Joan, even though I don’t think she ever mentioned her name. Of course it was Joan!

And, I learned to love this woman, a new friend, who I felt I’d known forever, who invited me to her women’s dinners, and her family parties, who called me up just before the first Christmas I spent in DC asking me to make Christmas cookies, a tradition we continued until, years later, I moved to Vermont. It was Joan who charged into the fray to help me save the Youth Garden at the National Arboretum, and followed that up with a phone call to Alice Waters to get the Youth Garden children involved planting the first vegetable garden on the Mall, the garden I’m sure, that inspired Michelle Obama, years later, to create a national vegetable garden on the White House lawn.

It was also Joan, who, announced one day, that she was going to Jerusalem to oversee photos for her book on Israeli cuisine and “ ….if you want, you and Judith should come. Come, it will be fun. We’ll have a great time….” End of conversation. Of course, you had to know it was Joan. So Judith and I packed our bags and found ourselves, very soon, in The King David Hotel, an hotel that I still consider one of the best in the world because Joan knew the entire staff and we were completely surrounded by tall, warm, uniformed gentleman who came and went at our beck and call–bringing newspapers, meals and local information, I should hastily add, lest my readers be left with the wrong impression…. 

[caption id="attachment_2007" align="alignnone" width="516"]Joan Nathan, Bronwyn and Judith Jones Joan Nathan, Bronwyn Dunne & Judith Jones[/caption]

That trip was the best trip I’ve ever taken, with remarkable moments too complex and amazing to truly describe. The country just opened up to my friend, that force of nature, Joan. Her years living and working in Israel had made her close to a “rock star” when she made her frequent return trips “home." Judith and I bathed in her ambient light and congratulated ourselves for our good fortune in being part of her entourage. 

Close to the end of our trip, we traveled north and found ourselves in a mountain village. Joan had heard of a bread maker who used flat stones and an open fire to bake her bread. We drove up, up, up, out of the mid-country plain of fertile fields and bustling towns, into the heights of the country where sheep and goats grazed happily, but the rest of us wished we had brought our hiking boots. There, in a small farmhouse we found our baker. Same story, same Joan. The door of the farmhouse opened. “Hi, I’m Joan. We’re looking for a woman who bakes bread on flat stones. Can we come in?" And like every door before on this magical trip, it opened wide and we were soon drinking strong coffee and talking energetically about the science of baking bread, our photographer taking photos of the process as it unfolded.

Later that day we stopped at the banks of the Dead Sea, and worried about it’s receding water line, much lower then the last time Joan had been there. Stones rimmed the edge of the biblical body of water and suddenly, a new thought occurred to our leader. “Why not take home some really flat stones? We can try out the bread recipe at home,” said Joan.  As I helped to find the flattest stones, I thought about open fires along the ridge of Rock Creek Park, but said nothing. And, when a day later, Judith and I went back to the States without Joan, we found ourselves trying to explain to the customs and security officers why we had large flat stones in our suitcase. It was a temptation to just say, “It’s Joan… you know, Joan Nathan? The cookbook guru, the force of nature? We’re baking bread. Why not? It could be fun…. what do you think?”

We love you, Joan, and we love the “problem” you present to us, the problem of your wonderful connection with life and people, and, yes, the very stones of life, that has always made us both feel that we need to do more and connect more and just live as fully as possible!

Happy birthday and many, many hugs,

Bronwyn and Judith

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Author Joan Nathan

My friend, the cookbook author Joan Nathan, never does things by half measures. When she celebrated her seventieth birthday, she did it with panache! Not only was there a star-studded birthday dinner given in her honor by her oldest friend in Washington, DC, Carol Goldberg, but Joan headed another dinner for her favorite food distribution organization, Martha’s Table, and followed the weekend of celebration with a brunch at her own home for so many friends, colleagues and foodies that the invitation warned that without reservations, there might not be a place at the table.

I was sorry that I didn’t make Joan’s weekend-long party. My life in Vermont has become so vibrant that a weekend away wasn’t possible, but I had an opportunity to join other friends, including Alice Waters and my stepmother, Judith Jones, to help Joan’s children, David, Merissa and Daniela, “roast” Joan with a cookbook only her friends could produce. Here is my contribution to this wonderful cookbook. Happy birthday, Joan. I hope you’re still shining, laughing, and generally carrying on with all the curiosity and old soul wisdom you bring to every occasion!

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Quiches, Kugels + Couscous by Joan Nathan

 

In my next blog post I will review Joan’s latest cookbook, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous”, the most recent of Joan’s cookbooks to live by: “The New American Cooking”, “Jewish Holiday Cookbook”, “The Foods Of Israel Today”," The Jewish Holiday Baker."  For more information about Joan and her cookbooks, go to her blog, www.joannathan.com

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[caption id="attachment_2003" align="alignnone" width="515"]Dinner party Guests at Joan Nathan's 70th Birthday Party in Washington, DC[/caption]

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Joan Nathan?
(To be accompanied by the music to the song “Maria” from the “Sound of Music”)

I first met Joan when I arrived in Washington, DC, a middle-aged bride attempting a new life in a new city with a new husband. I’d heard about her for a number of years because my stepmother, Judith Jones, was her editor, and I’d read a cookbook or two, admiring the panache she brought to the art of cooking. 

But, when I met her, I found myself in the sway of a force of nature, not an astute cookbook author. In fact, very soon, I began to doubt that this was the same Joan Nathan who’d authored a series of cookbooks on Jewish cooking and was, in the throws of writing a cookbook about American cuisine.

My cell phone would ring without warning and conversations, usually begun with a question, “What do you think, should I….” would pepper my daily routine. I’m not saying every day but often enough to make me feel a little like Wikipedia. It would be Joan calling as she drove toward Restoration Hardware or one of the stores in Chevy Chase, or Joan as she sat at her desk in her home office, trying to come up with the right phrase for an article, or Joan, as she was headed for the train or plane, on a trip to New York, Providence, Paris, or Jerusalem, or Joan, as she worried about David, Merrisa, or Daniela. It was Joan, unmistakably Joan, even though I don’t think she ever mentioned her name. Of course it was Joan!

And, I learned to love this woman, a new friend, who I felt I’d known forever, who invited me to her women’s dinners, and her family parties, who called me up just before the first Christmas I spent in DC asking me to make Christmas cookies, a tradition we continued until, years later, I moved to Vermont. It was Joan who charged into the fray to help me save the Youth Garden at the National Arboretum, and followed that up with a phone call to Alice Waters to get the Youth Garden children involved planting the first vegetable garden on the Mall, the garden I’m sure, that inspired Michelle Obama, years later, to create a national vegetable garden on the White House lawn.

It was also Joan, who, announced one day, that she was going to Jerusalem to oversee photos for her book on Israeli cuisine and “ ….if you want, you and Judith should come. Come, it will be fun. We’ll have a great time….” End of conversation. Of course, you had to know it was Joan. So Judith and I packed our bags and found ourselves, very soon, in The King David Hotel, an hotel that I still consider one of the best in the world because Joan knew the entire staff and we were completely surrounded by tall, warm, uniformed gentleman who came and went at our beck and call–bringing newspapers, meals and local information, I should hastily add, lest my readers be left with the wrong impression…. 

[caption id="attachment_2007" align="alignnone" width="516"]Joan Nathan, Bronwyn and Judith Jones Joan Nathan, Bronwyn Dunne & Judith Jones[/caption]

That trip was the best trip I’ve ever taken, with remarkable moments too complex and amazing to truly describe. The country just opened up to my friend, that force of nature, Joan. Her years living and working in Israel had made her close to a “rock star” when she made her frequent return trips “home." Judith and I bathed in her ambient light and congratulated ourselves for our good fortune in being part of her entourage. 

Close to the end of our trip, we traveled north and found ourselves in a mountain village. Joan had heard of a bread maker who used flat stones and an open fire to bake her bread. We drove up, up, up, out of the mid-country plain of fertile fields and bustling towns, into the heights of the country where sheep and goats grazed happily, but the rest of us wished we had brought our hiking boots. There, in a small farmhouse we found our baker. Same story, same Joan. The door of the farmhouse opened. “Hi, I’m Joan. We’re looking for a woman who bakes bread on flat stones. Can we come in?" And like every door before on this magical trip, it opened wide and we were soon drinking strong coffee and talking energetically about the science of baking bread, our photographer taking photos of the process as it unfolded.

Later that day we stopped at the banks of the Dead Sea, and worried about it’s receding water line, much lower then the last time Joan had been there. Stones rimmed the edge of the biblical body of water and suddenly, a new thought occurred to our leader. “Why not take home some really flat stones? We can try out the bread recipe at home,” said Joan.  As I helped to find the flattest stones, I thought about open fires along the ridge of Rock Creek Park, but said nothing. And, when a day later, Judith and I went back to the States without Joan, we found ourselves trying to explain to the customs and security officers why we had large flat stones in our suitcase. It was a temptation to just say, “It’s Joan… you know, Joan Nathan? The cookbook guru, the force of nature? We’re baking bread. Why not? It could be fun…. what do you think?”

We love you, Joan, and we love the “problem” you present to us, the problem of your wonderful connection with life and people, and, yes, the very stones of life, that has always made us both feel that we need to do more and connect more and just live as fully as possible!

Happy birthday and many, many hugs,

Bronwyn and Judith

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