Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!


Mary Elizabeth Whittingham 

June 9, 1956…Chicago, Illinois. A blank slate is born.

welcome to the world

A favorite writer of the little lady above.

Having had a wonderful day–cooling winds, blue skies, bright sunshine, a delicious, leisurely, lively lunch at Cafe Luxembourg–I just want to say thank you to the Universe for a chance to fill that slate with experiences so diverse and rich and exciting, and to live a life that has been so full of love.

dad, mom, beth chicago 1956

A young family starts out: elegance is a frame of mind. 

Protected and stimulated, I was able to meet the world with confidence and curiosity. There really was nowhere I wasn’t encouraged to venture.


I fell in love with good writing, European history, and American popular music.


“L’il Abner,” one of American musical theater’s so-bad-it’s-good Golden Age classics

I’ve made a profession in publishing; traveled to Ireland and England, Italy and Germany, Scotland and France, Iceland and Canada; and performed on stage in classic Broadway musicals and cabaret. I’ve loved being “Auntie Beth” as I’ve watched my brothers Charles and Philip and my sister Leigh rear their own families.


Mill Valley, CA 

I married a man who is decent, responsible, and intelligent–not to mention, handsome; our 28 years of marriage is my greatest achievement.

hiking new hampshire

The White Mountains of New Hampshire–I’d never have made the summit without him!

All that accounts for the first forty years…. The last decade has been dedicated to a creature so loyal, so entertaining, and so beautiful that I can hardly describe how much fun and joy she has brought into our lives.

french beret

Grace Georges Goehring, champion Pembroke Welsh corgi

This weekend, I’m going to a lecture by a high-school classmate on “Self-limiting Beliefs,” a subject I know something about first-hand despite all this love and encouragement, so I look forward to working on cultivating more confidence and courage as I step into my sixth decade.









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Surprises everywhere!

Roots that travel over rock (schist, the  geological foundation of Manhattan island, which ranges in age from 1.1 billion to 190 million years old)


and a beautiful turtle making its way patiently through the ground cover to the rowboat pond.


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Bryant Park


Now THIS is an urban renaissance. When I first came to Manhattan in 1978, the trash-strewn, vacant lot behind the New York Public Library was a no-go zone.


And today, it’s as vibrant as Central Park, as visited by tourists as Times Square, and my husband’s and my go-to drinking spot in the summer. Jackets and ties not required, unless you have a healthy self-respect.


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Mother Nature’s Notebook


My niece from Asheville, NC once said to me about NYC, “But you don’t have any trees.” How did we get that rep? We’ve got as much natural beauty here as…well, any other major city in America and for the next month I’m going to capture it in all its  variety and unexpected delightimage


The photos above are from my local farmer’s market. On a day that got to 80 degrees or hotter, I thought a ratatouille would be perfect. (And then I started stir-frying and boiling water to peel tomatoes and realized, “What was I thinking?!”)

There on the concrete playground, surrounded by high-rise condos and six-story walk-ups, hospitals and research facilities, traffic and delis and dog-walkers and a library- all the physical manifestations of a city–were fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We’ve got it all here, Elizabeth!

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Another “bon jour”

Crustless quiche made in the muffin tin makes for a small bite packed with protein: eggs, cream, cheese, onion, and bacon, bake once, enough for a week. Too much bacon, you say? Tell that to Miss Susannah Mushatt Jones, the oldest person on earth at 116 until her passing this week, who ate four strips a day! Rest in peace, Miss Jones, your work here is complete.


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Quel beau jour

Mon Dieu, what a little color can do!  A cute young colleague said I’m “very Michelle Obama today.” I heard a wolf whistle and a very respectful comment on the street. But the best compliment was from an old person with cropped gray hair, a t-shirt and a red plaid kilt who just smiled and held up her (his?) hand for a fist bump. God, I love NY!


This will need a good ironing each night after a day’s wear, but wrinkles or no, it makes me happy.

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Morning Meditation


With a view like this, who would close her eyes? So I don’t. I enjoy the myriad shades of green, the sun beams falling through the trees, the sparkling water, the busy birds. Probably too chaotic to facilitate a truly quiet mind,  but this immersion in nature is bliss in itself. 

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery


My mother and grandmother, not to mention my mother-in-law, were very talented with a needle (my mother made all these needlepoint pillows, on my dad’s couch in his NYC apartment today). I used to watch Mom at her sewing machine and my mother-in-law at her knitting and wish I could be that competent. I sleep underneath this elaborate crewel portrait of the Mayflower signed GKB 1940, for Gladys Kathleen Bragger, my mom’s mom, gone way too soon.


I love to sew, cross-stitch, do needlepoint, and knit. I’m not as talented yet, but there are years ahead to strive for their level of expertise. To all of these wonderful women, each of them so generous and dedicated, wherever they are, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Old Friends

are the best. I lunched this week with ladies who knew me before I was old enough to vote. Tonight I’m cooking from a cookbook I first used when I was filing my income taxes as a single working girl. Both give me the happy feeling of being carefree with exciting times ahead.


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Give Yourself a Hand…


A handmade show of support, that is! Why should you always give someone else the love?

One of the greatest inspirational authors of our age, Louise Hay, had healed her life and millions of others’ with the simple idea, “That which we constantly affirm becomes true for us.” Inspire yourself…congratulate yourself…love yourself and watch what happens.

I’m at 30 days in my promise of “30 days…30 handmade projects.” I have to admit, of course, certain days were less productive than others, but I cooked, sewed, knitted, cross-stitched, cut and glued enough to feel great! Why stop now?