top of page

A R C H I V E D...S U N D A Y...M O N T H L Y S 


I live in a certified Dark Sky Community. If you don't know, it's a legalized community dedicated to the preservation of the night sky. I had never heard of such a thing and when I finally did, I was a little spooked. That's because it's dark! We don't have street lights - and porch lights are to be turned off at 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on weekends.)


Our landscaping and pathway lights must have "hats" (little caps that prevent light from shining upward) - with 12 volts or less. A Dark Sky does not necessarily mean a dark ground, though. Smart lighting that directs visibility where needed is still encouraged.


I was also spooked thinking that such darkness would invite crime. But studies in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia show the opposite effect. The idea is that criminals can't see in the dark, either, and would have to shine a flashlight - bringing attention to themselves.


I've learned a few other things as well:

For billions of years, all life has relied on Earth’s predictable rhythm of day and night. (Well, I sort of knew that.) It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals.



Too much artificial light at night negatively affects humans, wildlife, and plant life. It disrupts our biological clock and prevents the release of melatonin - which induces sleep. Animals and plants depend on the earth’s daily cycle to govern sleep, reproduction, nourishment, and protection from predators.

Light pollution radically alters nocturnal animals' nighttime environment by turning night into day. Birds that migrate or hunt at night navigate by moonlight and starlight.

Artificial light can cause them to wander off course towards the dangerous nighttime landscapes of cities. The more I read about the deadly effects on animals, the more upset I became. I'm one of those people who carefully entices a spider onto a piece of paper and carries it outside - and cried when I discovered a little lizard that froze to death in my backyard last winter. So... I won't go on.

Instead, I'll mention the obvious - a Dark Sky Community produces AWE-some night sky sparkle and forms spectacular patterns.



T H E...O L I V E.. O I L ..C L U B



We all know by now that olive oil is one of the healthy oils. Along with its heart-healthy attributes, new studies show it may also help to reduce dementia. Bioactive compounds called "phenols" are responsible for many of its benefits. The highest phenol content occurs closest to olive harvesting and then decreases with age - within three to six months after bottling. (Refined olive oils are stripped of phenols during chemical production processes.)


Fresh-pressed is the best way to go but an impossible ambition for American consumers who purchase Italian, Greek or Spanish olive oil as it can take up to a year to reach our shores. Once here, it wastes more time sitting at our docks before eventually making it into our stores.


Knowing this problem, many labels omit the oil production dates. We insist on fresh milk, fresh eggs, fish, meat, fruit, and fresh veggies. So, why not fresh olive oil?

I found a solution...


Because of climate differences around the world, annual harvest dates vary. For example, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Tunisia, Israel, and California press from our late summer to early winter. Argentina, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand press from our winter to early summer.  

T.J. Robinson is an award-winning chef, food journalist, and founder of the Fresh Olive Oil Club.


It's a long backstory that you can read on his website, but the gist is that he was invited to a Sicilian harvest and once he tasted fresh olive oil, he never looked back.


Knowing the damage that occurs overt time, Robinson made contacts and contracts until he was able to import fresh olive oil via air shipment.

Robinson travels the world four times a year to sample hundreds of fresh-pressed olive oils from artisanal farms right at harvest time in each olive-growing region. (Nice business model, right?) He picks the top three oils, puts them on a jet plane and, after they land in America, has them bottled by hand and rushed to the doors of his Olive Oil Club members. Members receive three bottles (two sizes from which to choose) four times a year.

Two Membership Options:


#1: Three 16.9 oz bottles for $139 per quarter. Free shipping and handling.

#2: Three 8.45 oz bottles for $99 per quarter. Free shipping and handling.


Each shipment includes the "Pressing Report" (great name) describing the producer, olive varieties, regions, harvest and delivery details, and tasting notes to compare with your own tasting experience. There is also a tasting party plan and pairing suggestions.  


No minimum number of quarters and you can cancel your membership at any time. Every shipment is protected by a 100% money-back guarantee.


FINAL NOTE: When buying olive oil off the shelf, read the label but be leery. "Imported from Italy" may include olives from other parts of the world, adulterated, or otherwise substandard olives. Because of this, California olive oil is a better buy as olives are grown in the Golden State and come to market fresher than international products.

FINAL FINAL NOTE: I'm a purist. If olive oil is fresh, then infusing it with herbs or other flavors only dilutes its deliciousness. I vote "no." Same with vinegar.

You know I'm going to include a recipe!


 Roasted Peppers


2 lbs assorted peppers - slice large ones, keep small ones whole

8 oz burrata or mozzarella

fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper to taste



1 tablespoon Calabrian chili

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4th cup olive oil

splash of lemon juice & zest

salt and pepper to taste 

  • Preheat oven to 400. Put peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

  • Cook 40-50 minutes until soft and charred. Set aside to cool.

  • In a small bowl, mix chili, lemon juice, zest, Dijon, olive oil, salt and pepper.

  • On a serving platter, layer roasted peppers, add cheese.

  • Finish with basil, dressing, salt and black pepper.


Or... if you're lucky like me, you have a neighbor and chef-owner of an award-winning pizzeria who surprises you with homemade sourdough. Just slice (or tear) and dress with your delicious, heart-and-brain healthy olive oil.


A.. F I N A L.. W O R D ..A B O U T ..O L I V E ..O I L


My wrinkleless grandmother had no particular skincare routine other than using soap, water, and you guessed it ... olive oil.


It was her moisturizer. No doubt she bought it at Napa Valley Olive Oil - the one on Charter Ave.


It's the original olive oil company established by Guglielmo (William) Guidi in 1931.


A.. D I F F E R E N T.. 1 %


During his days as a journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle, Mark Twain is thought to have said, "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you do, you're misinformed." So true today!


I stopped following all media a couple of years ago and now opt for podcasts - ones that carry two-hour episodes featuring diligent, probative, and comprehensive researchers, scientists, journalists, and analysts.


To counter all that reliable but glib info, I also tune into comedy specials, history seminars, watercolor tutorials, and a few health shows. Recently, I came across another podcast right up my alley. I fear, though, that it might not be the alley

of 99% of you. But here goes...


I love mystery novels especially old ones with a lot of sentient ambiance. Who better to read than Agatha Christie for this? And so, I was thrilled to find "Tea & Murder: An Agatha Christie Podcast" hosted by Rebecca Thandi Norman, an American writer and editor living in Copenhagen. She has read all of Miss Christie's 66 novels and 15 short stories - and multiple times. 

This is an easy-listening podcast where you can multi-task indoors or out. (I can never just sit and watch or sit and listen.) Each episode features a guest, a fellow Christie fan, who chooses one book to read before the interview. The guest and Norman then discuss the book - its storyline, characters, settings,

etc. Norman also adds insight such as the reason Christie wrote it, where, and under what circumstances.


If this is your cup of tea (yes, pun), tune in.


Ask a Design Question.

Request a Future Topic.


Add a Friend to the Mailing List.


bottom of page