Pleasures

Graeters Ice Cream:

The Best. I no longer bother with ice cream, unless I am in Milwaukee, where Dario and I reverently and seriously make a pilgrimage to Kopp’s Custard. Graeter’s Black¬†Raspberry¬†Chocolate Chip is sublime and has replaced all other ice creams in my life. Unbelievably, they ship! It’s possible to enjoy this treasure anywhere. Their other flavors are delicious, too, but something about the BCC holds me captive. During the holidays, shipping makes a fabulous gift, and the peppermint, which is seasonal, seems to be an old fashioned classic that delights people.

Felix the Chef’s Dazzling Homemade Cookies:

My godmother introduced me to chef Barb Felix, who cooked for us on the 2 films I shot in the beautiful Bay Area. Her strengths are many, especially as a pastry expert. What began on set as “Pie Day Friday” became “Every Day Is Pie Day.” She began this cookie service in her home, making the most dazzling to look at and delicious to eat cookies. My Nana, when I sent her some for Christmas, who herself is a legend in the kitchen, fretted between using the cookies as art, or eating them! Barb offers special designs for each month, as well as offering custom services. And, yes, she ships, too!

Pandora Radio:

This app is a “wow.” I entered “Life is Like a Mountain Railway,” one of my favorite old mountain spirituals. My great granddaddy, Pop Wesley, was a railroad man in eastern KY and a deacon in the Methodist Church. On his death bed, he asked my Daddy to sing it with him “one last time.” I loved hearing my mother and sister sing this when I was little. Imagine my pleasure when Pandora brought up every recorded version of the song, and intuitively found other songs it thought I might like, based on my entry! I have synched Pandora on all my Apple products and am lost in my own world of favorite bluegrass every single day.

Anthropologie:

Not just my favorite store, it’s really my only store. Beautiful, whimsical, practical, nostalgic and modern, it hits all the right notes and keeps me dressed precisely as I like to be: in dresses and skirts, easy easy easy, comfortable and what I think is really pretty. At Dario’s races especially, folks ask, “Where do you get all these great dresses?” and the answer is always “Anthropolgie!”Going into its stores is a wonderful experience, and the online experience is incredibly easy. Anthropolgie has generously supported my work with YouthAIDS, another reason why I value this relationship. My Mom values it, too, because she knows any little thing she picks up for me from Anthro, I am going to love!

Cornell Ornithology

This web site is a gem, and provides easy to understand birding basics, searches, bird song identification, tips for attracting and keeping a healthy variety of birds to your area, the essentials of helping count birds, and galvanizing information about threats to the magnificent birds who make our world so rich and beautiful. Visit it today!!

Lola Bonobo Orphanage, Kinshasa, DRC:

In 2008, I visited DRC extensively, it was a shattering and enlightening trip. One day, when I was nearly crazy from the trauma and grief that has ripped this vast country apart for decades (5.4 million dead, mass rape and torture continue daily), in desperation I visited a Bonobo sanctuary I had heard about. Largely deforested, I needed to get out of Kinshasa and connect with nature and animals to restore my own peace of mind.

At Lola, a male bonobo solicited, meaning, he was trying to get me to play. I could not believe it. We ended up frolicking for an hour. He blessed me with an incredible experience, rare and heart-expanding. He would run, roll, sit, wait. I would imitate him: run, roll, sit. He would then laugh with unmistakable pleasure and joy. This went on and on, running, playing, jumping, and sitting on either side of the fence, fingers intertwined, kissing. He was mischievous, tender, playful, and in general, an angel from God that soothed me deeply.

Imagine my pleasure upon reading Vanessa Woods’s recent release, Bonobo Handshake, and being put in touch with her by my professor, Diane Rosenfeld! I immediately emailed Vanessa all my pictures of my “boyfriend,” asking with my heart in my throat if she knew him. She responded immediately: “That’s Keza, and he doesn’t even like people!”

I felt even more special, sitting at my desk, weeping with joy.

Here is an entry by Vanessa, with a movie about Keza’s rescue and placement at Lola.

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