Monthly Archives: March 2017

Breaking News:  The Rabbi is Back!

March 24, 2017

lieRabbi Rossel is back for a two- session class on Friday, May 5 (10:00-12:00) and Sunday, May 7 (4:00-5:30) on The BIG LIE.  Archaeology and critical study demonstrate how priests and rulers in ancient times massaged the truth, exaggerated here and there and at times relied on what has recently been dubbed “alternative facts”.


Come back in time to explore the age-old tendency of those in power to stretch the truth for their own purposes.

For more information, or to register, click here.

How Much Do You Know About…the Victorian Era?

March 1, 2017


The Victorian era (1837 – 1901) is based on the years during Queen Victoria’s reign. This time period is considered a time of prosperity, peace, and power for England. Professor Anne Saiken’s upcoming class covers all the Victorian mores and starts on March 20th, so we put together a quiz on the Victorian Era!


1. Victorians are known for wearing black clothing above all else. What is the main reason for this?

A. They attended lots of funerals.
B. Coal pollution stained their clothes.
C. Their prudery extended to colorful clothing.

2. In Victorian times how did most people avoid body odor?

A. Tub baths.
B. Sponge baths.
C. Perfume.

3. What country above all others were Victorians obsessed by?

A. Palestine.
B. Egypt.
C. India.

4. Which style of food was most appreciated in this era?

A. Plain.
B. Indian.
C. French continental.

5. Which dining places became popular for social gatherings and chatter?

A. Fish and chips restaurants.
B. Tea rooms.
C. Chop houses.

6.  By the 1860s, meals were placed on the sideboard and served one after the other. This was called:

A. A la Russe.
B. A la Francaise.
C. American style.

7. What were the most popular foods for Victorians?

A. Vegetables.
B. Sweets.
C. Meats.

8. What kitchen gadget would you most likely find in a Victorian kitchen in this era?

A. Electric mixer.
B. Apple peeler.
C. Wire whisk.

9. What food rose into prominence during this era?

A. Curry.
B. Fish.
C. Treacle.


1. B. Although Victorians did go to a lot of funerals, the main reason they wore black clothes was coal pollution. The burning of coal caused a black cloud to hover over most industrialized cities of the time. Anyone who wore light colors would find their clothes stained with coal dust. As an interesting sideline, the walls and ceilings of houses (after using coal for heat in winter) would be covered in soot, and this is the reason for the phrase “spring cleaning”.

2. B and C. Tub water turned cold very quickly, and in those days people still believed that exposure to cold would caused illness and death. So cleaning was accomplished by using sponge baths plus perfumes.

3. B. Victorians were obsessed with Egypt above all other countries. During this time, many archaeological projects took place with amazing discoveries, which only fueled the intense interest.

4. A and B. While curry was a national sensation, the Victorian era tended towards plain and simple food which was more to Queen Victoria’s tastes. The wonderful flavors inherent in French cooking were thought to overwhelm main ingredients.

5. B. Tea rooms became the important places for social gatherings and gossip.

6. A. The answer is a la Russe. which involves courses being brought to the table in sequential order as opposed to the French style in which all the food is brought out at once. 

7. B. and C. Victorians did not eat in very healthy ways. Both meat and sweet foods were popular for those who could afford them. People were not interested in vegetables.

8. B and C. You would definitely find an apple peeler, but the wire whisk, invented by Victorians and available, might not be as much in evidence. The wire whisk; however, became popularized by Julia Child in 1963. The electric mixer was invented a few years after the Victorian era ended.

9. A and B. Curry became very popular, but fish saw a big upswing due to the fact that there was ice to keep it fresh, and it could be transported long distances via railways.

Immerse in the History, Culture, Food, and Wine in the Heart of France 

March 1, 2017

Place François-Rude dite du Bareuzai in Dijon, wikipedia

Experience the Champagne and Burgundy regions in all their historical and cultural glory in Linda Kelly’s upcoming class “History, Culture, Food And Wine In The Heart of France.” We visited with Linda to get all the details.




WIH Reporter: What do we need to know about your class?

Kelly: The aim of all my classes is to help people become informed travelers. This particular class will spotlight the historic monuments, museums, culture, and gastronomy of Champagne and Burgundy. Both regions played a major role in French history.

WIH Reporter: Can you give us some examples of the role these regions played in French history?

Kelly: The Gothic cathedral at Reims was the site of royal coronations for over a thousand years. The town of Troyes prospered in the Middle Ages, thanks to its trade fairs created by the counts of Champagne. The walls of the city’s many churches glow with medieval and Renaissance stained-glass. Among the many châteaux featured in the course, the most fascinating ones belonged to the flamboyant Count Roger de Rabutin, who decorated the interior with portraits of kings, royal mistresses, and ladies of the Sun King’s court.

WIH Reporter: What can you tell us about the Burgundy region and about Dijon, its capital city?

Kelly: Burgundy was the cradle of the monastic movement which spread from Cluny and Cîteaux all over Europe. The Cluniac monks promoted a flowering of the arts-architecture, sculpture, and painting. To the Cistercians, we owe advances in agriculture, metallurgy, and the cultivation of the vine. The historic center of Dijon boasts a wealth of medieval, Renaissance, and neo-Classical buildings. Among the city’s many treasures are the ornate tombs of two dukes of the Valois dynasty on display in the former ducal palace (now the Museum of Fine Arts). The course will feature masterpieces of painting and sculpture commissioned by the dukes, who were great collectors and patrons of art.

WIH Reporter: What do you consider to be the most interesting events occurring in that region that still reverberate today?

Kelly: The death of Charles the Bold, the last Valois duke of Burgundy, during the Battle of Nancy in January 1477 was a decisive event in European history. His defeat put an end to the threat of the formation of an independent kingdom of Burgundy stretching from Burgundy to the North Sea. The map of Europe would have been different had the duke succeeded in uniting his northern and southern territories.

I have always been fascinated by the critical role played by the Valois dukes of Burgundy during the Hundred Years’ War.  During the reign of the mad king, Charles VI, the second Valois duke, John the Fearless, had the king’s brother killed.  Duke John lusted for power and control of the royal treasury.  His cousin, the king’s brother, stood in his way.  The murder of Louis d’Orléans triggered a civil war between Burgundians and followers of the dead prince.  Henry V of England took advantage of a divided France to inflict a humiliating defeat on the French on the battlefield at Agincourt.

WIH Reporter: What more should we know about your classes?

Kelly: Showing the historical background of a region makes travel more meaningful.  Anyone planning a trip to the area covered in the class, will benefit by the research I have done in planning my own trip.  I think that armchair travelers, who may not have immediate plans to visit France, will find the class intellectually stimulating & visually exciting.  My lectures are illustrated with hundreds of photographs taken during our travels by my husband, architect Frank Kelly.

Although I tend to focus on history, art, and architecture, I also talk about culture, cuisine, places to stay and restaurants.  Frank and I are fascinated by the French food culture.   We love to visit and photograph markets.  The market at Dijon will be featured in the class.

We will also go south of Dijon to the fabled wine road of the Côte d’Or leading to Beaune, renowned for its Hotel-Dieu, a 15th century charity hospital with a spectacular multi-colored glazed tile roof.  Southern Burgundy is a land of picture-postcard scenery, villages with lovely Romanesque churches, stone-walled vineyards, and fields of grazing cattle.

WIH Reporter: What other advice can you give us as armchair travelers?

Kelly: To experience the pleasures of the table in France, one doesn’t have to spend a fortune at a three-star restaurant.  We have had outstanding meals produced in less-renowned kitchens.  In short, Frank and I are unabashedly Francoholic.  I try to communicate this enthusiasm for France to the students in my classes.

Linda Kelly’s 6-week class begins on March 21st at 1:00. For more information or to register, click here.

Your Remodeling Journey

March 1, 2017

modelSusan Fruit’s upcoming class, “The Remodeling Revolution” goes a long way towards helping us to make sense of taking on a remodeling of project in the fast paced world of interior design and renovation. So, how does one choose from all the products? Susan Fruit will be discussing everything you need to know in her six-week course on home renovation. The class will feature PowerPoint presentations plus field trips to showrooms and client homes/works in progress.

Get started by taking Susan’s remodeling quiz to see how much you know about this topic!

1. What should be the main focal point in a kitchen?

2. What is the “hottest” product trend in kitchen countertop material?

3. How many inches should there be between a wall mounted cooktop hood and a wall cabinet?

4. What is the most important thing to do when converting a tile shower to a steam shower?

5. What is the “hottest” design trend in master baths?


  1. The cooktop hood

  2. Quartz

  3. 4” – 6”

  4. Slope the ceiling

  5. A large picture window with a motorized window shade

Susan’s class begins on March 7th at 10 am. For more information or to register for this information-packed class, click here.

From Stress to Serenity

March 1, 2017



In eastern philosophy, the lotus flower symbolizes rising from darkness to rebirth because the lotus flower blooms out of muddy water to produce beautiful untainted blossoms.

Do stress-causing situations, political news, and difficult people drain your energy and diminish your well-being? If so, it may be a good time to attend Liz Weiman’s upcoming class “From Stress to Serenity” starting on March 21st at 10:00 a.m..

We spoke with Liz Weiman to find out if it was really possible to overcome stress on an ongoing basis.




WIH Reporter: What would surprise us to know about the stresses in our lives?

Weiman: It is surprising to realize how much of the stress we experience is not caused by the upsetting event or the difficult person, but by our own thoughts about these apparent stressors. Once we carefully examine and begin to question the stressful stories we tell ourselves about the person or situation, we empower ourselves with a new freedom to effect real change, both in ourselves and in the world.

WIH Reporter: If stressful thoughts are the problem, how can we stop them?

Weiman: The first thing is to simply notice how often our thoughts involve stressful stories about the past or the future. By nature, thoughts about the past or the future are based in memory or projection, both of which can be permeated with fear, regret, and other negative emotions. Once we see how often our thoughts revert to past or future, and how they cause stress, we can begin to ground ourselves in various ways using the reality of this present moment.

WIH Reporter: What about the difficult people in our lives? They can be family or workplace associates that cause trouble for us. How can changing thoughts change them?

Weiman: We can’t control the behavior of other people, but we can open our mindsets to other perspectives regarding them. Einstein said that you cannot solve the problem at the level of the problem. By reacting in kind to the chaos and disorder caused by difficult people, we are engaging at the level of the problem, and often end up prolonging the situation. Instead, we can turn the focus back to ourselves, and begin to expand the lens through which we are currently viewing this person.

WIH Reporter: But in today’s world of overwhelming change and upheaval, is it really possible to move from stress to serenity?

Weiman: Rather than describe it as movement from one state to another,  I would portray it more as  connecting with the well-being and serenity that always resides within us. Just as we know that the sun is always shining, even when heavy clouds temporarily prevent us from actually seeing it, so we can access the unnoticed (but never absent) inner well-being that is always available. This shift in focus can be life-changing, allowing us to approach stressful situations from a more centered, serene, and compassionate place.

WIH Reporter: What is the format of your class?

Weiman: We use class discussion, video presentations, and handouts featuring the multi-faceted perspectives of behavioral science, psychology, eastern philosophy, and more. We learn specific ways to help overcome all the negative obstacles to peace-of-mind. Since this is a limited-enrollment class, the smaller group is able to share their struggles and their insights plus practice the techniques in a supportive and energy-enhancing environment.

Liz Weiman’s class begins on March 21st at 10:00 a.m. For more information, or to register, click here.