Author/Arts, Lifestyle, Travel & Nature Writer/Speaker
LONNIE BURSTEIN HEWITT has been helping other people tell their stories for most of her life. As author of "The Little Red Writing Book: A Practical Guide to Writing Your Own Life Story," she was called "a Lonnie Appleseed for lifestory writing" by the San Diego Union-Tribune, and was a featured presenter at the national AARP convention in 2002.
Lonnie is also co-author of two other books, including "Cool Classics," a collection of short plays for students of English, and "Walking San Diego: Where to go to get away from it all," a nature/history guide which has been a bible for area residents and visitors since 1989.
After 24 years in San Diego's North County, she still calls herself a West Coast New Yorker. Born in Brooklyn in the first wave of the baby boom, she began her writing career as a lyricist, collaborating with Jerry Blatt, musical director for Bette Midler, on Sesame Street songs and musical shows. "Have I Got One For You" was their first joint venture off- Broadway. Their second, "Tricks," with co-writer/director Jon Jory, was produced on Broadway. "In Fashion," also in collaboration with Jory, was filmed for television and recently reissued by PBS-TV. "Tiki-Tiki," a Canadian-Russian- American animated feature film for which they wrote music and lyrics, is now being edited for re-release.
These days, Lonnie writes about lifestyle, nature and travel for publications as diverse as the Christian Science Monitor, San Diego ZooNooz, and Hadassah Magazine. Returning to her first love, the theater, she created "Tales from the Far Side of Fifty," a show acclaimed for its honesty, courage and humor, in which women from 55-90 share stories from their lives. For her work as writer/producer/director of "The Far Side of Fifty," she received a Senior Artist Project grant from the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation and a Making a Difference for Women Award from Soroptomists International. She is now on the board of Coming of Age, San Diego's First Film Festival on Aging.
A popular speaker, Lonnie is widely praised for her blend of empathy, enthusiasm, and laugh-out-loud humor.
Excerpts from ARTICLES & REVIEWS:
TRAVEL: 'Tis the Season to be Pampered (La Jolla Light-Dec. 2008)
The word "spa" comes from the name of a small town in Belgium, famous since medieval times for its healing hot springs.
Rancho La Puerta may not have hot springs, but it's certainly healing, and hot enough for SpaFinder Magazine to call it the #1 spa in Mexico. Just over the border in Tecate, the Ranch is 90 minutes away, but it feels like a whole other world. Since 1940, it's been promoting good food, good health, and a good balance of exercise and relaxation. It's considered the original mind/body fitness spa.
The Ranch's motto "siempre mejor"—always better—must be working: two-thirds of its guests are returnees.
Stefania Pietraszek, mother of two teenagers, has been coming down from Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. "It's such a soothing environment," she said. "I feel rejuvenated every time. I usually come with a girlfriend and get my annual facial and a few massages. I never have time for those things at home."
Though most of the guests are women, men also enjoy it. Arizonans Ira and Cheryle Hitzen-Gaines have been here 37 times since 1990. "I think that's a record," she said. "It's been a life-changing experience," her husband added.
That's what the folks on the staff have in mind. They call it "Bringing the Ranch Back Home."
"The Ranch empowers people," said head nurse Barbara Abrahams, who came to work here 20 years ago and never left.
Jill Thiry, from San Francisco, put it nicely: "We arrive tense and stressed, but by the third day, everyone's smiling. If the world could be more like the Ranch, it would be a much more pleasant place to live."
"Chocolate City" (Del Mar Times-June 2008)
If you're a chocoholic—and who isn't?—why not go straight to the source? To Mexico, where many say chocolate was first discovered several millennia ago, long before the Spanish conquest.
Made from a paste of ground seeds from the cacao tree, chocolate was originally a drink reserved for nobility in the glory days of the Mayans. It wasn't sweet, but spicy, with chilies ground into the mix. It took the Spanish to think of adding sugar, centuries later.
If chocolate was born in Mexico, its sweet heart is Oaxaca. Located in a southern valley surrounded by mountains, ancient ruins, and indigenous crafts villages, Oaxaca is famous for all kinds of chocolate delights: drinks, candy bars, ice cream, and especially mole (rhymes with olé!), a rich blend of herbs and spices that takes chocolate to a new level. Mole dishes are complex and spicy, featuring chicken or other meats bathed in luscious sauces that taste nothing at all like Hershey's syrup. In fact, Oaxaca boasts at least seven different types of moles—red, yellow, green, and the best-known mole negro, which has the most chocolate and the richest taste.
"Curiouser and Curiouser: A Quirky Museum of the Real and Unreal"(Christian Science Monitor-March 2005)
On the seedy side of Venice Boulevard, in a neighborhood almost untouched by L.A. chic, is one of the strangest little museums in the world.
Behind an unassuming storefront is the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which has nothing to do with the age of dinosaurs... Though it claims to be "a hands-on experience of life in the Jurassic," it's a wildly eclectic assemblage of natural and manmade wonders from the 16th through the 20th centuries, highlighting odd points where art and science intersect.
It's really a funhouse for thinking people.
Inside is a treasure-cave of curiosities, from tinkling medieval mobiles to micro-miniature sculptures carved into sewing needles to a display of unusual (and possibly apocryphal) folk remedies, including an hors d'oeuvre of mice on toast, identified as a bedwetting cure.
Where do these exhibits come from, and are they what they claim to be? They're all carefully labelled, but. . .how can you be sure?
"Sands of Time" (Arizona Tribune, Feb. 2002)
I am not now, nor have I ever been, a skier. The actual number of times I've been on skis in my life is three. Snow is something I prefer to admire from a distance, preferably from somewhere with a temperature of 75 degrees.
And yet the thought of skiing has always seemed so appealing, the idea of gliding along through a pristine landscape, with a healthy glow on my face and the wind
in my hair.
Which is why I find myself, along with my husband, Maurice, and a dozen others, trying on ski boots in the middle of the desert on a November morning, staking my claim to a pair of cross-country skis and poles.
The place is the Mojave National Preserve, 1.6 million acres of jagged mountains and vast desert washes in San Bernardino County, established in 1994 under the California Desert Protection Act. The big draw is the Kelso Sand Dunes, also known as the Singing Dunes, down which it is possible to ski.
"Santa Barbara's Gardens"(North County Times, Oct. 2003)
...Lotusland is actually a series of gardens, its 37 acres lovingly planted with an assortment of rare trees, succulents and flowers...At every turn, there are new surprises: fat- trunked Chilean wine palms lead the way to a pool fringed with abalone shells...The lotuses bloom only in summer, but the setting is lovely year-round.
"One Super City" (Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 2003)
...San Diego's once-shabby downtown has hit the big time, with luxury buildings going up everywhere. But even locals like to do the tourist thing: park on Harbor Drive and walk along the Embarcadero, San Diego Bay's waterfront, with its array of yachts, ferries, fishing boats, cruise ships, and aircraft carriers...At night, the hottest scene is the Gaslamp Quarter, where Victorian kitsch meets postmodern sav vy.
"Walking with the Wildman"
(San Diego Union-Tribune, October 1999)
It's a beautiful summer Sunday in Manhattan, and I'm standing on the corner of 103rd Street and Central Park West, watching a large cockroach stagger across the sidewalk, wondering if I'm in the right place.
Across the street, a thin, bearded man in baggy pants, a patched and faded handpainted T-shirt and a safari hat emerges from the subway, carrying a backpack. It's "Wildman" Steve Brill, a naturalist who's been leading field trips through New York parks since 1982, introducing city folks to the joys of wild edibles and the wonders of local ecology.
In a few minutes, right on schedule, fourteen walkers assemble. We are a cross-section of the city's residents: a poet (midwestern) from Brooklyn, a retired fireman (Italian) from the south Bronx, a widow (Korean) from Queens, an African-American couple from Staten Island, a young mom and her cub-scout son from West 83rd Street. We take off, skirting a bit of broken glass, into the amazing greenery of Central Park.
LIFESTYLE: "Just Say Shal-ommm" (San Diego Jewish Journal, May 2010)
...Is there such a thing as a Jewish meditation tradition?
Absolutely, according to Rabbi Wayne Dosick, author of "Living Judaism" and "The 20-minute Kabbalah" and spiritual leader of the Elijah Minyan, which has been holding services in members' homes for the last 18 years.
"There's a long tradition of Jewish meditation," Rabbi Dosick says, "but like all wisdom and mystery schools, it was generally restricted to those in the know."
He mentions the work of the late Aryeh Kaplan, a Bronx-born Orthodox rabbi, physicist, and Kabbalist who wrote about the ancient use of mantras and visualization, suggesting that meditation techniques were practiced by patriarchs and prophets to reach higher realms, but considered too esoteric and dangerous to teach to the masses.
So the writings of rabbis and scholars like 13th century Abraham Abulafia, founder of prophetic Kabbalism, and the 18th century Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement, and his grandson, Nachman of Breslau, who encouraged Hasidim to search for their inner tzaddik (righteous person), were largely surpressed.
In our more egalitarian times, Jewish meditation is no longer restricted, but still not widely known. Most of us aren't aware that it isn't necessary to go out of our own traditions to find a practice that quiets the mind and soothes the soul.
"The whole point of meditation is to find a quiet place within yourself so you can connect and communicate with God, so we use the words and forms of Jewish prayer as a framework to create a personal relationship," says Rabbi Dosick. "Moses did it when he saw the burning bush, and stood in silence before it. The key is not only talking to God, but listening when God talks to us..."
"UCSD Music Prof Exhibits HIs Digital Art"(La Jolla Light/Del Mar Times, April 2010)
It's not every day you get to see a cutting-edge art exhibit by a world-famous violinist. But János Négyesy is not an everyday sort of person.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1938, he never knew his father, who was taken away by the Nazis when he was less than a year old. He started playing the violin at age four, and his first public "concert" at kindergarten graduation changed his life.
"Everyone started applauding before I even started playing," he said. "I played a little one-minute piece, and then they applauded even more. I thought: 'This is it!'"
With a combination of good luck and cheerful determination, he managed to outwit the secret police in Soviet-occupied Hungary and take advantage of an offer to study with a renowned music teacher in Germany— despite having his passport confiscated and leaving home with less than $5 to cover the trip.
After years of "softly listening to Schoenberg behind closed curtains" in Budapest, where the work of "new music" composers like Schoenberg and Stravinsky was banned, he was free to embrace the avant-garde in Germany, and added experimental pieces to his classical repertoire.
His studies and talent paid off, and in 1970, he became concertmaster of the Radio Berlin Orchestra, under famed conductor Loren Maazel. He performed with Pierre Boulez and John Cage in Paris, began building an international reputation, and was invited to come to UCSD as a Visiting Associate Professor in 1979.
He turned down the offer.
"I told them I didn't want to teach," he said, "but they called me every day for 10 days. The weather was terrible in Paris that fall, raining cats and dogs. I found an old U.S. travel guide I had from 1931 and looked up San Diego and it said: 'Best climate. Hotels $1 a night.' So I came, I thought, for a year, and they gave me a place on Coast Boulevard. It turned out to be a long, beautiful year."
In fact, the year never ended. Négyesy is one of the longest-term faculty in UCSD's history, and still lives in La Jolla, though he now lives closer to the campus, with his wife, Finnish violinist Päivikki Nykter, a former student of his. They've been making beautiful music together—both classical and experimental—since 1993.
An innovative musician, most recently with computer-processed music that he performs on an electric violin, Négyesy has an impressive following on campus and in the community. There's always a full house for the quarterly Soirées for Music Lovers he's presented since 1987, featuring classical music played by "Négyesy & Friends."
And then there's his art, the silent counterpoint to his music. He's been painting on a computer for the past twenty years.
"I start with a blank canvas—a screen," he said. "I work just like a painter, except I have clean fingers. The big difference is: I can undo without leaving a trace."
For a long time, he said, he was deaf to his paintings—an interesting confession for a musician.
"You have to learn to listen to your pictures when they say: 'Shut up! I'm done!' At the beginning, I ruined many pictures by not stopping soon enough."
Clearly, Négyesy has learned to listen to his pictures. Each piece features bold, fluid strokes of color, with no pointless extras, so his playful personality comes shining through. And each is created in one sitting—he doesn't get up until it's done...
"Small Farm Conference Offers a Taste of San Diego" (La Jolla Light/Del Mar Times, March 2010)
Where do you buy your food? Does most of what you eat come from California, or from China? Do you actually know any of the growers and purveyors of the food on your plate?
For over 20 years, the California Small Farm Conference has been trying to encourage the state's small-scale farmers, whose lives have grown harder every year. Since their home base is Davis, annual conferences usually convene in Northern California, but this year's chosen venue was the Marriott Del Mar.
"We thought San Diego County was a good place to gather, since it has the most small farms in the entire state," said Carle Brinkman, Regional Manager of the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association...
About 500 farmers attended the 3-day conference, which included visits to local farms... One of the visits was to the Carlsbad Aqua Farm, a popular source of sustainably raised mussels, clams and oysters which has been owned by John Davis of Del Mar since 1990. Now in partnership with Norm Abell of Acacia Pacific Investments, Davis has expanded his product line to include abalone and gracileria pacifica, a type of algae that mollusks and humans like to eat. The abs are slow-growing, but not the algae, whose refreshing, salty crunch is featured in Hawaiian poke. And since both abs and gracileria are raised in freestanding tanks, they can't be affected by the infamous red tides that halt shellfish production. In other words, a small farmer may gain strength by diversifying.
"In aquaculture there are no horizons," Davis said. "Whatever you can dream, you can do..."
"Music, Music, Music" (La Jolla Light/Del Mar Times, January 2010)
. . .The biggest, juiciest blues singer around is certainly Candye Kane. . .The New Yorker called her last appearance in the Big Apple "a powerful, life-affirming performance," which is what all her performances are. Brought up in a defiantly dysfunctional blue-collar family, Candye was a teen-mom, a stripper, and a supersize cover girl who used her down-and-dirty life experiences to craft her tough-but-tender singer/songwriter persona.
To add to her blues credentials, she recently managed to survive pancreatic cancer, dropping 100 pounds in the process. "The love and collective good feeling from my fans around the world is why I'm still alive," she said.
On her latest CD, Superhero, the title tune lets you know where she's at: "I've always been a fighter/When bad times come around/I'm not gonna take it layin' down."
Featured in Candye's band is her Superhero co-producer, 27-year-old guitarrista suprema Laura Chavez. They'll make you feel like dancing, and falling in love with life and yourself.
"Om, Sweet Om: Yoga Sessions Strengthen and Soothe" (La Jolla Light, November 2009)
Yoga. The word means "union" in Sanskrit—the union of mind and body, you and the universe. It's a practice that goes back thousands of years, a series of exercises to strengthen the body, deepen the breath, and quiet the mind.
Fortunately, as we hurtle toward the holidays, there are many classes around that can act as decompression chambers, and leave us with a peaceful, easy feeling no aerobics class can match.
Less than a year old, Haute Yoga is the hot spot in Solana Beach. Though many of its classes are "hot yoga" style, taking place in rooms heated to 105 degrees, there are more temperate possibilities like the Slow Flow, taught by Beth Kupanoff, who first studied yoga in college, and swears by its benefits.
"Yoga has kept me sane, flexible, and able to keep breathing each day, no matter what happens," said Kupanoff, whose teenage kids sometimes come to her classes. . .
Just down the road, Asana Yoga will officially open its doors in mid-November. A small studio emphasizing personal attention from caring instructors, Asana brings a quiet sanctuary to the heart of Del Mar—including daily meditations.
Owner/instructor Meredith Hooke came to yoga from the high-stress world of high finance. "Meditation saved my life," said the former hedge-fund trader. "Yoga helped me so much in the corporate world. Now I want to create a space where others can find peace and happiness in themselves."
In La Jolla, Lululemon, part of a forward-looking international chain that sells yoga apparel and fosters healthy living, is offering free Saturday-morning yoga classes, with different local teachers or studios featured each month. Counters and racks are rolled back, and as many as fifty yoga aficionados may show up for the hour-long sessions—a great way to start the weekend.
But the big news here is the opening of La Jolla Yoga Center, the grand dream-come-true of Jeanie Carlstead, who has assembled a group of 40 top-quality teachers, and will offer 90 classes and workshops in her 6000-square foot studio. They even have Kids Yoga and Yoga for Golfers.
As yoga teacher, mother of four, hotel owner, and member and past president of the philanthropic group Las Patronas, Carlstead has a history of community service. Dedicated to the principles of yoga, she combines strength and relaxation, self-acceptance and a wholehearted openness to the world.
"You can be strong and not harden," she said. "Yoga teaches us not to fight reality. We learn to engage in life right where we're at.". . .
Many yoga classes end with the traditional expression of greeting and gratitude Namaste, which means "The light in me honors the light in you." Namaste, everyone. It's yoga time.
"Casual Luxury: The Ultimate Bachelor Beach House" (Décor & Style, August 2002)
"I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out," says the owner. "It's like a vacation to be here."
"It's always great to see a house you've worked on used by your client in every way you meant it to be," adds the designer. "He really enjoys it as much as I hoped he would."
"Family Matters: A Present of the Past"
(Hadassah Magazine, September 1999)
My stepfather has a favorite story—about riding freight trains cross-country at the height of the Depression. I've heard it a dozen times, in the same broad outline. It was the major adventure of his life.
So last year, for his 80th birthday, I put it in writing. I interviewed him for an hour and spent hours more at my computer, typing his words out, giving the story shape.
When I handed him "Hank's Story: To Be Young, Jewish, and Broke," he was thrilled. "Sometimes I wonder what I did with my life," he told me. "Now at least I can see where a year and a half of it went."
I was thrilled too. I'd finally felt the heartbeat of the story. I'd never known the details, that right after high school graduation, he said he was going on a picnic. His mother made him a sandwich, he got on the subway and just took off. There were no jobs, he was young and restless, and his best friends were with him: Meyer, the orphan who couldn't be bothered with high school. Dov, who (like Hank) was a whiz on the basketball court. Three skinny Jewish kids from Brooklyn who'd never been farther from home than East New York. All they had was a couple of dollars between them. Hoboes in 'tstisis' who wanted to see the world.
NATURE: "Who Gives A Fig?" (San Diego ZooNooz, June 2008)
About 2500 years ago, a spiritual seeker who would come to be known as the Buddha sat down under a fig tree in northern India, vowing not to move until he had achieved enlightenment.
There are over 800 species of fig trees around the world, but the one that sheltered the Buddha is known as the Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa. Also called the Bodhi tree, from an ancient word for "awakening" or "wisdom", Ficus religiosa has heart-shaped leaves—an appropriate detail for a belief system that emphasizes heart-centered compassion. A very long-lived tree, it is sacred not only to Buddhists but also to many Hindus, who believe that making offerings to it can bring rain and new growth to parched land, and bless infertile women with children. A variety of healing properties are attributed to the Sacred Fig. Its bark, leaves, and roots have traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory, a laxative, a cure for snakebite. . and an aphrodisiac. A cutting from the original Bodhi tree is said to live on in Sri Lanka—and estimated to be about as old as Buddhism itself.
"Growing Native: Fire-Resistant, Water-Wise"
(San Diego ZooNooz, March 2004)
...Drought has always been a fact of life in Southern California, and so has fire. Native plants have to be tough enough to deal with hot, dry summers that continue well into autumn, and frequently follow rainless winters and springs. They're equipped to survive not only the lack of moisture, but the errant sparks that set their communities aflame. Many hoard water in their small waxy leaves and deep roots, or go dormant to keep from dying of thirst. Chaparral plants are, above all, opportunistic. Like the area's original human inhabitants, they take advantage of whatever comes their way. Not a drop of dew or rain is wasted, and even wildfires provide benefits...
But there are fires, and fires. The firestorms of October 2003 were the largest in state history, a deadly combination of human carelessness and the natural force of a quartet of conflagrations fueled by drought-weakened trees, dead wood, and leaf litter, whipped into a frenzy by the Wicked Winds of the East. Hundreds of thousands of acres burned, here and in neighboring counties, and a sixth of our precious wildlands were destroyed.
It's hard to find much that's good in the aftermath of this fire. But true to form, only weeks after the devastation, tiny green spikes were poking up from the ash-covered earth. Though Lakeside's live oaks will take years to make their comeback, and Cuyamaca's pine trees will take decades, this spring will be a time of rebirth and renewal...
Take a tip from the chaparral shrubbery: make the most of what nature offers. Let the sun warm you, let the rain quench your thirst, let the dry times teach you the value of each drop of water, let the fire clear out your dead wood and give you the strength you need to start a new life.
"Ferntastic!" (San Diego ZooNooz, January 2002)
If you think your sex life is complicated, consider the ferns: their main form of reproduction is positively baroque. They begin by producing minuscule spores, which, as soon as they mature, will be tossed from their protective spore-cases and sprinkled like dust on the surrounding turf. If the ground a spore lands is suitably moist, it will grow into a barely visible mini-plant with a heart-shaped leaf. This intermediate stage of development, not recognizably fern-like, is called the gametophyte. It contains both male and female organs, and produces sperm and eggs. Rainfall swells the male organ to the bursting point, releasing a torrent of sperm that start purposefully swimming toward nearby eggs, eager to merge. Any fertilized egg is capable of becoming a sporophyte, a new adult fern.
All this is, at best, a scattershot process: though a fern may drop hundreds of billions of spores in the course of its life, very few end up in the right spot at the right time. Ineffectual as this system may seem, it has somehow persisted for millions and millions of years. And some ferns have come up with creative alternatives: where water is scarce, a species may bypass the sexual stage and go straight to the sporophyte. Others, infertile, reproduce vegetatively, rhizome to rhizome.
It's unlikely that you'll be able to follow the complete course of fern reproduction unless you have lots of patience, a laboratory, and a very strong lens, but you can do a little field observation. Next time you pass by a neighborhood fern, check out the backside of one of its fronds. If you see rows of tiny green, red, or black lumps, those are the spore cases, and you know that a new generation is on the move.
"Nature News: A monthly guide to what's happening in the real world" (signonsandiego.com/ January 2001)
Forecast: Lagoons will be just ducky this month (see below) and the desert-like weather--chilly mornings and nights, warmer daytimes--will be perfect for hitting the trail. Could be snow in the mountains, but winter rains should be late if they come at all. Looks like another dry year ahead for San Diego. Save water: shower with a friend.
Birds: This month, check out local divers and dabblers-- ducks, that is. Dabblers, like Mallards, Pintails, and Teals, can be spotted in shallow waters with their tails in the air as they sift through the mud for seeds, insect larvae, and other hors d'oeuvres. Divers, like Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads and black-and-white Scaup, are heavier birds found in deeper waters, where they have to go down to scope out the seafood smorgasbord.
Blooms: Selaginella. It sounds like an Italian pop group but it's actually a small mossy plant that's been around for millions of years. Also called resurrection plant, selaginella looks dead most of the time but the slightest drizzle turns it bright green and brings it back to life. Even heavy dew will do it. Look for selaginella--which resembles a bunch of tiny brushes--making a new year's comeback along the Sunset Trail at the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary.
RESTAURANT, THEATER & BOOK REVIEWS:
"Cedros Ave. Turns Into A Garden of Eatin'" (La Jolla Light, October 2009)
For over twelve years, The Cedros Design District in Solana Beach has been the go-to place for fine art and chic boutiques. But when it came to eating, there were fewer choices.
Not anymore. In the past several months, three new cafés have opened, the realized dreams of first-time restaurateurs with a passion for healthy food and warm hospitality.
A sweet spot for breakfast and lunch is tiny Lockwood Table, where folks drop by for steel-cut oatmeal, homemade soups and specialty sandwiches. Many bring their dogs, who love the place too.
"Short or tall, furry or not, we're all treated like family," said Debra Summers, who comes in often with Roxy and Koko, her canine companions. Local building designer Mike Corless is another Lockwood fan. "I've eaten almost everything Alicia makes, and it's all good," he said.
Owner/chef Alicia Douglas shops for produce at the Cedros Farmer's Market, and only works with local suppliers. She also features options for special-needs foodies, like gluten-free wraps.
Lockwood also delivers—by tricycle—a real plus for neighborhood business people. Coming soon are dinners to go, and a partnership with trainer Daniel Shamburg who will bring his Beach Boot Camps to the Table for a high-protein, post-workout meal.
Little more than a scone's throw away is Twisted Tart, a fair-trade coffee and yogurt shop. Known for high-quality frozen yogurt with live, active cultures, TT offers six changing flavors, including non-traditional ones like green tea and cappuccino.
"Everyone says it's the best yogurt they've ever tasted," said Jay Chevalier, who co-owns the place with his wife, Ginna. . .
On the north side of Cedros is the largest, most ambitious of the newbies, a renovated cottage that is now Claire's on Cedros. Besides being the most eco-sensitive bakery-café around, co-owners Claire Allison (the culinary one, original creator of Milton's Multigrain Bread) and Terrie Boley (the entrepreneur) began reaching out to the community before they even opened.
"We started by serving free food to family and friends, getting their feedback while we trained our staff," Boley said.
"Word of mouth spread, and we fed the neighborhood for weeks."
Everything at Claire's is made from scratch, and their croissants, multigrain pancakes, inventive omelets and fresh-roasted turkey sandwiches are attracting a widening clientele.
Maura Johnson, the café's interior designer, likes the place enough to stay on as a waitress. "It's so comfortable, I want to stick around," she said.
"We're a team here," said Claire, on a short break from the kitchen. "And we like people to linger. It makes us happy to know we've created a place where people want to hang out."
"How I Learned to Drive"
(sandiego.sidewalk.com/ October 1998)
"I was 16 before I realized that pedophilia did not mean people who loved to bicycle," says L'il Bit, the heroine of Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Let's face it: the P word is what this play's about. But it isn't a clear-cut victim/abuser thing. It's really about a relationship-a twisted relationship, yes, but one with some love in it-and also about family, memory, forgiveness and finding the strength to drive on.
"Woman Hollering Creek & Other Stories," by Sandra Cisneros. (Union-Tribune, May 1991)
These stories vibrate with life, they breathe and laugh and weep like real live Latinas...These women are not just lovers; they are survivors. Reading their words is like eavesdripping, or being a tourist in a foreign but familiar country, somewhere inside and alongside our own.
To learn more about Lonnie's work, including articles, reviews, plays, lyrics, and anything involving the written or spoken word, or to commission new work, email Lonnie now at email@example.com/