Our Comfort Zone… The Best Things Never Change!

Bring us back to the Beatles, rotary phones, bean bag chairs, lava lamps, and incense. This, mixed in with bell bottom pants, flower shirts, and an occasional bottle of cold duck… and you have the perfect recipe for time travel.

When we travel back in time to our “Comfort Zone” you will notice the lifting of certain stress enhancing factors that have magically disappeared. No more cell phones, lap tops, or any other communicative devices. We actually have to speak to each other face to face. No Zoom calls, Face Time, or any other technological short cut. Also, none of those four hundred calls a day about life insurance, car insurance, reverse mortgages, hearing devices, cremation, or warranty extensions. As Martin Luther King would say, “Free at last, we are free at last.”

The best things that never change are our commitments to our family, appreciation of natural beauty, treasuring the arts (music, poetry, stories, books, art, etc.) and finally the random acts of kindness that bring an unexpected smile to our mind, heart, and soul.

Sometimes to achieve this time travel we must venture to the unspoiled wilderness that offers no expression but the faint utterance of change that slowly turns creeks to rivers and crevices to canyons.

The unmitigated evaporation of tension when we are in nature supplies us with an ability to drink in the sensory experience. We connect to this powerful force drawn to its subtlety and energized by its host of dynamic interludes. Within this network of natures symphony of sounds is the prelude to our understanding of the peace that becomes our internal voice.

When this perfect storm arrives we become enriched as God intended. So simple, so subtle, so beautiful. In this state we can accomplish anything… the worthwhile formulation of an uncomplicated theory.

This theory that is inside all of us is the strength that becomes our comfort zone. This places us in a picture that is constantly changing, within parts of us that will never change. No travel required but the six inch distance between our ears.

The Waves the Waves

Occurring and Occurring

Always Threaten to Drown Me…

Until I Realize

I am the Ocean.

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Magic in Nature, Bidwell Park, Chico California

magic in nature bidwell park chico pazaz bakeware
Magic in Nature – Bidwell Park

Last weekend I literally strolled through Bidwell Park. The reason I “strolled” through the park is because I didn’t want to miss one tree, one flower, one butterfly or any part of the creek that meanders through the park.

The beauty was breathtaking. Each turn revealed a new path with 200 foot Oak trees, Birch, Western Sycamore, Northern California Black Walnut, and the mighty Redwood. Then to frame these majestic trees are the flowers; California sandwort, Bird’s eye gillia, bladder parsnip, California buttercup, wild cucumber, and Ceanothus ( a shrub that blooms in clusters of white or blue flowers) very fragrant. There are hundreds of varieties of trees, flowers, insects, and animals that shall be revealed when you journey to this magical place.

Along the trails by the creek you will find convenient places to rest with park benches and tables (with some spaces even having a grill to barbecue). The canopies of foliage are so thick in some places it is difficult to see the sky. I have really never been in a park so encompassed with wild life (except a zoo) that if you blink you will miss some part of the experience that is inches from you.

As a college student we spent many a day driving through the park, hiking in the park, or passed out in the park. I remember the first time I ever spent time in Chico, going to the park, and attempting to tube down the creek eventually leading to a picnic lunch…so peaceful and tranquil.

Fast forward to today and the same energy that is beauty, solitude, and the wonder of nature captivates your senses. The only difference I see is that today the majority of young people are engaged with their phones while the older students that never left Chico (the smart ones that found a way to stay) walk leisurely through Bidwell Park taking in the nuances created by light, sound, and imagery.

In July of 1905 Annie Bidwell donated approximately 2,500 acres of land to the City of Chico. Since that time, the City has purchased additional land, such as Cedar Grove in 1922, and 1,200 acres of land south of Big Chico Creek in Upper Bidwell Park circa 1995. Bidwell Park ranks 26th as far as the size of municipal parks in our country.

As many of us know the original Robin Hood (The Adventures of Robin Hood) with Errol Flynn was filmed in 1938 in Bidwell Park. The park simulated Sherwood Forest, and the movie (a box office hit) also stared Olivia DeHavilland, Basil Rathbone, and Claude Rains. When King Richard the Lionheart is captured, his scheming brother Prince John (Claude Rains) plots to reach the throne, to the outrage of Sir Robin Locksley (Errol Flynn, the bandit of Sherwood Forest). Rounding up his band of merry men and eventually winning the support of the lovely Maid Marian (Olivia de Haviland), Robin accuses Prince John of treachery. When the escaped Richard returns covertly to England he joins forces with the King to prevent Prince John from taking the crown.

Today as in yesteryear the park adds a level of peacefulness created by the visionaries that established the park and the town of Chico. With the beloved University so many hold dear to their hearts it is not uncommon to witness the camaraderie between generations because of the bond between Bidwell Park, the town of Chico, and the University… so rare.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kitchen tools.

Sigma Nu Fraternity

When I was a little, ok a lot younger, I joined a fraternity at Chico State University. I had vowed not to join an organization like this after my experience with the Sportsman Club at San Rafael High School. That experience which included a myriad of humiliating, exhilarating, and sometimes painful forays into the realm of “I can’t believe I just did that?”, made me want to run upon the very mention of pledging. I did however get to wear the Sportsman jacket (bright burgundy with white wide lines accented with gold) which only a handful could claim in a high school of 2,000 students.

I was well into my second year when my roommate (Tom Gauldin) became friends with the neighbors upstairs in the apartment complex. Those two gentleman were Mark Finocchio and Brian Machado members of the Sigma Nu fraternity. We would play music for them periodically when they would entertain female guests over for dinner. Tom played the guitar and I play the violin. This was a wonderful time, carefree, just going to school and playing music.

Well, as fate would have it Brian and Mark asked us if we’d like to play at a talent show at the frat house. We said yes not knowing that this seemingly innocent acceptance would lead to a life changing moment in time. I believe we won the talent show or perhaps we could have tied with the monkey and organ grinder… things are a bit fuzzy regarding that circumstance. However what isn’t fuzzy is what happened next.

Tom and I were asked if we would like to pledge the fraternity. Tom gave a hard no and I said I’d have to think about it. The only reason I had to think about it was because the guys in that frat at that time were some of the best people I’d ever met. Well, after a window I was given to accept I capitulated and accepted the bid to join. I was the last one in my pledge class of 25 strong to accept hence my IK (Pledge number) was 91. We had such a great group of pledges that ingested even more energy into the fraternity at a time it was already thriving. The frat had only been started less than two years before and had the energy and drive to build a base that has lasted to this day and will continue well beyond my lifetime.

I won’t go into the stealing of an actives car when we were dropped in the middle of no where or the many keg parties along the way. I will suffice it to say that our chapter (Sigma Nu Iota Kappa 194) was built on a foundation of strength that has endured many challenges.

The beauty of this group of men is that today I can go back (having pledged some 40 years ago) and still feel the commitment, honor and integrity that made it so appealing to me when I was younger. Without judgment I am received as a respected member of a legendary time. The events of the past are brought up to enhance the current members belief in a group that created the perfect storm of influence that now has grown to a thousand members.

I am writing this blog because this weekend I am going to my fraternity reunion. I so look forward to spending time with the brothers I love in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Chico California.

I feel so blessed to have made a choice that has been one of the most rewarding of my life. I can’t thank Brian and Mark enough for being the catalysts to share their fraternal experience that has enhanced my life through these four decades.

As we reach our twilight years (which have come so rapidly) we now are witnessing some of our closest brothers passing away. This weekend will also be a tribute to those that have gone on to the “Chapter Eternal”. Several founding fathers and others way too young with so much life left are no longer here. The sadness I feel when I think of these men sits on my shoulder like a sleepy silent storm.

They now live in our minds, hearts, and our souls… though not in life.

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Unforgettable, PAZAZ™ Style!

Perhaps it was the wakening sunrise on Maui viewed from the east volcano known as Haleakala (House of the Sun), or the magenta sunset gazed upon in Uruguay from the beach in Colonia del Sacramento… those “unforgettable” moments in our lifetime that have taken our breath away.

“Unforgettable” takes on many different forms. There are the natural wonders as described above that etch a place in our memory but there are a host of other moments that are significant that cannot be dismissed as “unforgettable”.

The humanity of connection that lifts your heart to a place its never been… or the out of body experience you wish in that moment would never end. Fill in the blanks for all those wonderful moments that shrink the universe into a simple equation that fits in your breast pocket close to your heart.

It is the slide projector of life that plays each “unforgettable’ encounter, acquaintance, involvement, and participation in a reel that is called upon either when you’re awake or in a dream state that beckons an inner smile or a gasp for air. In either case we learn and take notes so that we can either duplicate or run from that episode. Sometimes, by chance, (when we live in the moment) an unsuspecting incident triggers a sequence of events that opens or closes a door. It is within that

framework we build upon our character to strengthen our resolve as we find the meaning connected to that event.

Certainly the birth of a child ranks at the top (for most) of those “unforgettable” moments. The first cry of that baby, the first time you hold your child, the first time you see your parents glow with the love for that new family member. What a wonderful moment to play back in time. That moment is especially significant as you come to realize the unconditional love your parents had for you (if you are so blessed) now transferred to that little baby.

Then there are the near death experiences. One step either way or being in the wrong place at the right time to escape by the skin of your teeth. Or, (as in my case) driving off a cliff and surviving. That was certainly an “unforgettable” moment. Then there are the first time moments that seem to be significant as discovery and exploration can lead to the promise of delight.

The first time you taste a wine from the Domaine Romanee-Conti (DRC), Kobe beef (from Japan), or the Tristen Lobster Tail from off the coast of South Africa as your taste buds explode with the delight of an experience by which all others would be judged. Now that is ‘unforgettable”!


By PSoMAS Wiafe

Why is it titled;


Will it be a poem that

Brings forth memories?

Or is it to instill

Sorrow and sadness?

Perhaps its to reflect.

To gaze into the poets


No no,

It can’t be.

Can it be to relate with us?

As we pass each other as


Doing what we know;



Sleep, and


Does it traverse deeper

then that?


Such a compelling word.

At times quite daunting.

Now back to the question

at hand.

Its nothing.

Its not a poem for one to


Not to omit feelings.

There is no purpose.

And yet I wrote and

You read until the end.

A poem of nothing.

Yes yes,

That is quite unforgettable.

The best part of things that are “unforgettable” live in our memories to garner strength, delight, and wisdom. They are the notches in life’s belt that takes us off the Ferris Wheel for that brief moment. That is when we experience the delight in our lives that makes each breath a significant step forward that leaves a footprint that will last a lifetime… Or for as long as forever is.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kitchen tools.

Contrast to Conformity

In music the low notes turn high notes into show notes. In food the contrast of spice, sweet, savory, soft, and crunchy turn ordinary into the sublime. It is contrast in almost everything that brings that sensory experience to life. It energizes the music and brings excitement to the culinary dish leaving your taste buds begging for more.

Listening to Dizzy Gillespie with Charlie Parker turning “A Night in Tunisia” into a harmonious interlude that weaves the rough/sultry staccato beats of Dizzy’s trumpet with the perfectly timed alto sax riffs of Charlie Parker. These two will take you to another dimension. A dimension of light and sound that plays upon your intellect and dances across several mood swings into the totality of an alternative universe that is genius.

Down Beat Magazine gave Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker the distinguished awards of Best Trumpet player and Best Alto Sax player in 1951. The two of them performed “Hot House” when accepting their awards. They were encouraged to speak but instead Charlie Parker said, ” Music

speaks louder than words.” Then they went on to play (standing next to each other) synchronized, astonishing, note for note, a perfectly timed exhibition of the same notes from two different horned instruments morphing into trading fours. Trading fours is an extended acronym known by musicians when one player plays for four counted measures and then the other seamlessly takes the mantle for another four. This contrast of elements seems to pit one instrument against another but becomes as one when the goal is perfect harmony.

In the culinary world grilled F-1 Steaks (50% Wagyu and 50% Black Angus) expand the horizon of flavorful beef. This wonderful product accompanied with sauteed spinach over a nest of creamy parmesan mash potatoes delivers the flavor profiles of three different elements moving our taste buds from contrast into conformity. This perfect harmony blends a host of components that include the unami flavor, almost sweetness from the Wagyu beef to the bitter spinach and then the dry hard salty parmesan mash potatoes. Contrast to conformity is the substantive dialogue that makes the epicurean journey a path only taken by those that are open to the road less traveled.

A blank parchment is lifeless until a pen generates a melody or a chef creates a recipe. The contrast of thought that leads to a miracle is the simple first measure of a song or the vision of a dish that inspires the gastronomic expression that becomes a signature dish.

The contrast of “Blue Rondo a la Turk” written and composed by Dave Brubeck with its 9/8 time with one side 4/4 time is a perfect example of chaos and contrast. However, the results live in a harmonious tune that has become a trenchant expression reveling in this case in the conformity of the driving piano backed by the pounding of drums and the blaring sax, supposedly contrasting sounds.

Within that road of contrast we see music and food bringing different groups to the proverbial table. A table that includes all people with diverse backgrounds enjoying the skill set performed by artists that paint a musical or culinary picture on a blank canvas. This cacophony of sound becomes a rich musical dialogue that expands the horizons of possibility. Those willing to open and discover the richness of diversity through contrast often results in the conformity of appreciation.

This conformity and appreciation is the substance of peace that applauds diverse expression. Food and music should be the dialogue that connects us. Perhaps we can’t agree on the flavors or the sound but we can agree that there are dishes that we have eaten that we wish would never end. There are also songs that take us to a place and a time that infuses us with a soulful feeling we could not live without.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” Kitchen tools for the discerning Chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING tools

Visionaries In Our Lifetime

Since the 50’s our country has led the way in technological advances the world has adopted. There has been the television, computer, cell phone, and who could forget the internet. Thank you Al Gore!

This leap in technological adaptations has morphed luxuries into necessities. Can you imagine in the 70’s needing anything but a calculator and a rotary phone? Now, we need the computer to access limitless data so that information can be realized in the blink of an eye.

When I was growing up the typewriter was the only way to produce a (legible) report for school. Then they introduced typewriter paper that you could erase mistakes. When I was done it looked like someone had physically assaulted the paper. There were so many visible eraser marks it looked like a tattoo gone horribly wrong. This led to me taking a typewriter class so that my mistakes could potentially be cut in half or visibly eradicated. I barely escaped that class with a passing mark. You’d think that playing the violin would help my fingers glide across the keys like Chic Corea or McCoy Tyner performing rippling signature runs with harmonic brilliance. That was not the case!

Other technological advances in security, headphones, and Alexa where you can ask a question or request a song… is mind blowing. The visionaries that have produced these technological advances stand on the threshold of a precipice that teeters on the edge of societal evolution.

Here is a short list of some of those innovations:

The Internet (1990)

Photoshop (1990)

Portable GPS (1990)

Caller ID (1990)

Cloning (1996)

Email and text messaging (1992)

Netflix (1997)

Drones (1994)

I Pad (2010)

Google (2011)

Amazon Alexa (2014)

If you put all the innovators/visionaries side by side (the who’s who of technological advances) the one name that stands out from the rest is Robert Elliot Khan an American electrical engineer who along with Vint Cerf first proposed the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol, the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the internet.

In the course of IT history certain men have breathed life into groundbreaking technologies that most users now take for granted. In addition to Robert Khan here is a list of perhaps a more obscure group of innovators/visionaries in the last three decades that have produced innovations we now take for granted:

Douglas Engelbart – Inventor of the mouse

Norman Abramson – Inventor of the first wireless local area network (in Hawaii)

Jack Nilles – Creator of the “work from home” Telework model adapted by millions of businesses around the world.

Marty Cooper – Inventor of the Motorola Dyna TAC mobile phone that has led to the smart phone

Gerald A. Lawson – Created the first cartridge-based video game system

Nathaniel Borenstien – Inventor of the e-mail attachment

Robert Metcalfe – Inventor of the ethernet transmitting data at a much higher bandwidth and speed

Tim Berners- Lee – Inventor of the World Wide Web to communicate with one another instantly by computer.

Dr. Fujio Masuoka – Inventor of Flash memory. Flash memory now accounts for 95 percent of the blank storage media market.

Ken Thompson – King of the operating system technology. All operating systems are built on this mans legacy.

Normally we would think of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others that have paved the way through technology to affect the way we learn, produce, and purchase. The above list are the silent giants that have brought us to this point of technological adaptivity.

Perhaps there will be an innovator that re-connects humanity through the application of contact. It seems that without contact (which invigorates our souls) we are left without the compassion that is necessary to form the communities that strengthen our family units as a basis for our inner resolve.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kitchen tools.

Spring Is About To Spring, PAZAZ™ Style

spring is about to spring pazaz style

Across the world the beauty that is Spring will bare it’s magical fruit. From the wildflowers that blanket hillsides and valleys to the pungent, tropical, and citrus smells that add to this sensory experience… we welcome Spring.

The envelope opens from a harsh Winter that encased us in blankets, coats, and gloves to the unveiling and wonder of natures bounty. I remember from my days in California the roadsides covered in golden poppies, lavender, and lupin. Then, in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma rows upon rows of bright yellow mustard in contrast to the budding grapevines laced in green leaves and white blooming flowers.

In contoured gardens there are tulips, geraniums, daisies, Easter lilies, and the first vivid recognition of Spring, the daffodil. This multitude of colorful expressions beckon one to stand in awe of God’s artistic palate. Every neuron explodes into action as our receptors take in the sounds of birds, the smell of flowers, and the sunlight that brings this all to bare.

This wonderful time of year also sets the stage for ingredients from food to wine. This procession of nutrients provide the building blocks for our anatomical structure. All of a sudden and yet with a predisposed conclusion the culinary landscape vaults into view like the small framed Cirque du Soleil acrobat that briefly disappears from sight… then reappears in the blink of an eye.

Framed with an expression of disbelief we trust our memory that this will occur and yet are still captivated by its grandeur. Farms, wineries, and all other manufacturing facilities leap to service unwinding from the hibernation of Winter. Restaurants fulfill the expectations of their patrons by unveiling culinary treats only days before plucked by the roots and served farm to table.

To pair with these fresh fruits and vegetables are the wines that compliment and enhance the dining experience. White wines for the most part feature subtly. To give you examples here are the most popular white wines:

The composition and variance of the varietal Riesling (from dry to sweet).

The sometimes austere Sauvignon Blanc with nuances of grass and lemon.

The vanilla and buttery oak enhanced Chardonnay witnessing a spectrum of flavors that compliment any light spring food offering. These are but three (all be it the most popular) white wines out of literally a thousand different white wine varietals.

To build upon the Spring theme of variety and new beginnings are the red varietals that also compliment the bounty of this new season. Like the white wines described above these are but two of thousands of varietals of red wine. Perfect pairings which enhance the wine and food include red wines being paired with mushrooms, pastas, game, and cheeses. These red wines span the gamut from the lighter Pinot Noirs to the full bodied Zinfandels. Each flavor in every wine reveals its terroir, climate, and grape clone origination adding fine drawn delicacy that paints a flavorful picture on a blank epicurean canvas.

Simplicity is the key word to produce excellent Spring cuisine that show cases both the food and wine. Wild Caught Sea Bass pan seared (using the PAZAZ™ kitchen tools) topped with a home made mango salsa placed over a nest of greens with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and artichoke hearts lightly seasoned with a cranberry/pear vinaigrette. This will send your palate into its happy place where meals become memories.

The ingredients are the most important factor as you delve into the many recipes that feature soups, salads, pastas, and proteins. Of course since you are taking time to carefully pick out these culinary delights you must also take care and time to research the wine selection that will bring this dish to life.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kitchen tools.