Dannebohm appointed as Executive Producer of “Song of the Century”

Kansas native and rookie producer aims to take upcoming documentary Over the Rainbow.

NEW YORK, NY October 23, 2017 — Filmmakers Ryan Jay and Aaron Harburg announced today the appointment of J. Basil Dannebohm as executive producer of, “Song of the Century,” a new documentary film revealing how “Over the Rainbow ” came to be and detailing its ongoing legacy; beyond Oz, crossing all cultures and generations, inspiring hope in the best of what the world can be.

“Basil demonstrated a love of ” Over the Rainbow” that was immediately palpable,” said producer Aaron Harburg. “His extensive expertise across multiple industries, especially in public relations and media, made him a perfect fit to ensure the project would come to fruition.”

Harburg is the great-grandson of Yip Harburg, the Oscar winning lyricist who penned “Over the Rainbow” and the other iconic songs from “The Wizard of Oz.” Yip’s songbook also includes familiar classics such as “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” “April in Paris,” and “Paper Moon.” For over a decade, Aaron has been producing video and media for the technology sector. His clientele has included everything from small startups to fortune 500 companies like Mercedes Benz, as well as major federal agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He has produced a number of short films included a winner of the LA Independent Film Festival.

“Our movie is a passion project, a labor of love, inspired by the opportunity to share with the widest audience possible, the last untold story about the making of “The Wizard of Oz,”” said “Song of the Century” director, Ryan Jay. “When Aaron & I met Basil, we instantly clicked on all levels. His interest in Oz is only surpassed by his impressive resume. We are proud to have him on our team.”

As a producer and director, Jay has worked on major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, among others. He is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated TV & radio film critics. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, “The Wizard of Oz,” Ryan has become recognized as an Oz historian, interviewing the casts and filmmakers of many Oz films, publishing articles, and presenting multimedia lectures, celebrating the legacy of Oz, to audiences from around the world at comic cons, universities, theaters and museums.

“The Wizard of Oz” is among the most viewed and best – loved films in history, featuring the crown jewel of all movie songs: “Over the Rainbow.” It is ranked the “Number 1 Song of the Twentieth Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This will be Dannebohm’s first time serving in the role of executive producer. Over the course of his career as a writer, speaker, and consultant, the Honorable J. Basil Dannebohm worked with an international clientele from a broad range of industry including: technology, real estate, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, religious and non-profit organizations, film festivals, tourism and entertainment venues.

Accustomed to a fast paced, jet setter, on-the-go lifestyle, Basil’s way of life took a dramatic turn in the summer of 2012 when he was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

Trading the corporate world for his, “new normal,” Dannebohm focused his attention on speaking engagements where he would address such topics as economic development, social media engagement, and collaborative approaches to business and community. Basil’s presentations have been enjoyed by audiences nationwide. Known for his straight forward candor and often humorous approach, he has a distinct style of presentation that’s anything but boring.

In 2015, he briefly served in the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 113th District. While his time in politics was cut short due to his health, Representative-Emeritus Dannebohm stood for his convictions and his constituents, even when it meant going against the “platform.” His political career caused Basil to be admired by some and sharply criticized by others. From his point of view, the experience could either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone in life’s journey he chose the latter.

“Needless to say, I’m honored to be presented with this opportunity, and at the same time, aware of the massive undertaking of such a project,” said Dannebohm. “The song “Over the Rainbow” has been covered by countless major artists in the last century. It is, in essence, more than a song – it’s an international anthem, known and loved around the world. For me, this project is beyond special, it’s personal.”

Born and raised in Kansas, the project has particularly special meaning to Dannebohm, who considers Dorothy Gale, “The beloved daughter of the Sunflower State.”

Harburg and Jay are bringing Dannebohm up to speed on the project already in production. As filming moves forward, the team will lean on Dannebohm’s expertise to ensure a successful roll-out.

“We’re lucky to have Basil,” said Jay. “He has this uniquely special gift to make amazing things happen. For a documentary about a magical song, we needed a magical man – we’ve found that in Basil.”

For more information about the documentary, visit www.songofthecentury.com

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Annual Lenten Retreat to focus on “rebirth”

Two Catholic sisters with two amazing stories hope to enlighten and inspire “busy people” in the heart of Kansas.

PRAYER TOWN, TX — As a teenager, like many of her peers, Jenica Thornby struggled with some of the most basic questions concerning human life, including what life was about, who she was, and what she was living for. She had a daily high school routine – without fail, she spent her lunch hour studying in the library. One day in late April, however, she was overwhelmed with a strangely intense intuition to forego her daily visit to the library and instead, leave campus. Little did she know that strong intuition would change her life forever.

She was a 16 year old sophomore at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999, the day two of her schoolmates opened fire killing 12 students, one teacher, and wounding 23 others.  Jenica narrowly escaped being in the library, the center of the tragedy, by trusting that inner prompting that urged her to leave school that day, only minutes before the shooting.

“What made me leave school that day?  I always went to the library,” Jenica wondered. “I remembered being told, ‘God must have a plan for your life!’”

He did.

But for Jenica, the journey to conversion wasn’t easy. There’s much more to the story.

At the invitation of former state representative, J. Basil Dannebohm, Sister Mary Gianna will bring her incredible story to Salina, Kansas.

Who’s Sister Mary Gianna?

She’s Jenica Thornby, the girl at Columbine High School, who was searching for purpose and meaning in her life. She found that purpose and meaning and joined a congregation of sisters known as The Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Accompanying Sister Mary Gianna on her visit to Kansas will be Sister Elizabeth Ann, the community’s Mission Advancement Director. She, too, brings an inspiring testimonial and an superb musical talent.

The sisters will serve as retreat directors for Dannebohm’s “busy person’s retreat,” held on February 10th, as Western Christendom prepares for the Lenten season. The 3 hour retreat, takes place from 9am to 1pm at the Dannebohm residence and is an opportunity for participants on a limited schedule to enjoy the spiritual benefits of a retreat. Participants join in prayer, listen to moving testimonials, receive practical guidance, and conclude the experience with a luncheon. Those seeking one-on-one spiritual direction will have the opportunity to visit with Sister Elizabeth Ann after lunch. The retreat is Christian in nature, Catholic in tradition, and open to all denominations, indeed, all individuals searching for meaning in life. There is no charge to attend, however, reservations are required.

The theme for this year’s retreat is, “rebirth.” Both Sister Mary Gianna and Sister Elizabeth Ann will share personal accounts of the “rebirth” they experienced, finding purpose and peace when they opened their hearts and minds to God’s Will. They aim to provide participants with practical advice for finding peace, and experiencing a closer relationship with God in an incredibly busy and broken world.

A native Texan, Sister Elizabeth Ann grew up in a broken home.  Her grandmother, who raised her Protestant, taught her to find peace and joy in the midst of suffering by having a strong relationship with the Lord. She found that joy especially through music, which she pursued as a career as a professional double bass player and orchestra director.

One day at the post office, she met Sister Rita, a member of the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a beautiful friendship emerged. In 2002 Sister Elizabeth Ann entered the Catholic Church.  Two years later she discovered her vocational call and joined the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Eventually my desire for worldly things diminished and my sole desire became to be closer to the Lord,” Sister Elizabeth Ann recalled. “Then I read in a book ‘sometimes we don’t know our vocation until we meet

the person or the people we are supposed to spend the rest of our life with.’ I found the people then discerned my vocation.”

The Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are a Franciscan contemplative community of women with evangelistic apostolates. The sisters seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus the Lord through the profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They also make a promise of fellowship in the Spirit with all members of the institute. Since its inception, Mother John Marie founded the institute in the charismatic tradition. They follow the rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi and their own constitutions. Like Saint Francis, the sisters find a rhythm in their own lives from intense prayer to evangelistic outreach and back to prayer again. They minister to the spiritual needs of people of all ages world-wide through retreats, vacation bible schools, door to door evangelization, parish missions, foreign missions, prayer ministry, spiritual direction and ministry to charismatic prayer groups.

Since leaving office, Dannebohm has distanced himself from politics entirely. Dismayed by the ever increasing, intense division partisan politics has caused in government, religion, and the private sector, he focuses his attention on promoting understanding through dialogue. He hosts several events throughout the year, drawing impressive crowds that include live bands and an impressive array of special guests and speakers, who share Dannebohm’s vision.

“One can’t help but notice the uptick of hatred and division that seems to be taking a grip on our world. I’m not certain why it exists. I think part of the problem is that the internet made some people comfortable hiding behind a vague username, degrading one another,” said Dannebohm. “Over the past few years, that has evolved into a deranged sense of confidence and a delusion that it’s somehow okay to take an agenda of hatred and falsehoods to the streets – sometimes literally. A lot of people wonder how this increase in hatred happened, I’m more concerned with doing my small part to ensure it ceases. At this, and every other event hosted at the Dannebohm residence, all are equal, all are loved, all are friends. At these gatherings, our differences are set aside and our humanity is celebrated.”

To register to attend or for more information about the annual Lenten “busy person’s” retreat, email: mail at dannebohm dot com.

Even amid our shortcomings, a child is born

“… and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:7)

How symbolic that there was no room.

Mary was a young, pregnant woman. Joseph, her spouse, was an older man and not the father of her child. They were a poor. They were Middle Eastern, refugees at one point, in fact.

If Jesus were born on December 25th, 2017, I fear there would be no room. I’m not referring to “room” in the sense of a suite at a local Holiday Inn. Rather, I am referring to “room” within our hearts.

Without knowing the miraculous circumstances, would we rush to judgement, dismissing Mary as promiscuous, perhaps going so far as to label her with hurtful names? Would we be inclined to question Joseph’s motives because he married her? Because they were poor, would we simply write them off as, “lazy individuals who, were having a kid so they can live off the government?” Would we be overwhelmed with a sense of paranoia and suspicion because they were Middle Eastern?

It would only get worse as Christ grew up. As a child, his schoolmates would make fun of him after overhearing their parents talking poorly about his parents and their financial circumstances. As an adult, anything he said would be scrutinized as radically liberal or staunchly conservative. As a result, those that didn’t agree with his teachings would label him one way or the other, dismiss him, and slander him – doing everything within their power and pocketbooks to ensure he was silenced. And lest we forget, he’s middle Eastern, so he would consistently be labeled as a terrorist by his nay-sayers.

Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have it easy either. The same judgements cast upon their son would be cast on them, perhaps much worse. All because a sad majority of insecure people would cast narrow minded judgements and believe rumors instead of taking time to learn the truth – the miraculous, glorious truth.

Truly, Christ’s birth, sufferings, and death would not be much different today than they were over 2,000 years ago. And yet, as we read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

How loving, forgiving, and awesome is God that even amid all of our judgements, condemnations, rumors, hatred, ethnocentrism, and cruel nature, He would still desire for us the rewards of eternal life?

In fact, Jesus will, in essence be born on December 25th, 2017 – and every day thereafter. If we are indeed, “one body in Christ, created in the image and likeness of God,” then each child, born each day, is indeed, a child of God. Whether that individual is born of a single parent or a traditional family, black or white, rich or poor, healthy or disabled, Democrat or Republican – as a child of God, he or she should be given the same love and respect we give Christ. Our role is not to judge, or role is to love. And as we read in Matthew 25:45, “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.‘”

The unfortunate affects of hyper-partisan politics have damaged our government, the private sector, and indeed, the pulpit. As 2017 comes to a close, how hypocritical and yet spiritually necessary it is that we find ourselves packing churches, shopping malls, and our dining room tables – all of which to celebrate the birth of a savior, who, if born today wouldn’t stand a fair chance at life.

As we call to mind the miraculous event that occurred on a cold December night in a stable near Bethlehem, may our hearts be warmed with love, compassion, and understanding. May we seek to lead lives free of judgement, gossip, hatred, and bigotry. May we genuinely find room in our lives for Christ – and all of God’s children. Not just in our religious rituals on this special holiday, but in our daily routines.

May our hearts be ready for Christ’s glorious second coming. So on that day, he can look into our eyes and say, “I came as a guest and you received me.” (Matthew 25:35)

In a world so crowded with noise and hatred, make room for Christ. Always make room for Christ by showing compassion to those who need Him most.

Rejoice!

For even amid our shortcomings, a child is born.

J. Basil Dannebohm

24 December Anno Domini 2017

The Songs You Know, The Man You Don’t

Academy Award winning lyricist’s great-grandsons bring an incredible story and performance to the Dannebohm Residence.

You know at least one of his songs, but you more than likely don’t know his name. He was a major contributor to the great American songbook. He was an Academy Award winning lyricist. He was a human rights advocate. He wrote the lyrics to “Over the Rainbow” and all the iconic songs in The Wizard of Oz, also with hundreds of others including standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Known for the social commentary within his lyrics, as well as liberal sensibilities, he championed racial and gender equality and union politics at a controversial time with art and heart. His name was Yip Harburg and on Monday, December 4th, 2017, guests of the Dannebohm residence enjoyed an evening of songs and stories in a house concert featuring two of Yip’s great-grandsons.

“Yip penned words that have resonated across two centuries and every continent. His lyrics embodied the universal urge in the human spirit for personal and cooperate harmony and fulfillment,” said great grandson, Aaron Harburg, who is currently producing a documentary titled, Song of the Century, which details the untold story of Yip’s creation of “Over the Rainbow” and the other songs from Oz.

“Yip’s work points people toward hope. He understood the human need for it. I want to carry on giving that hope,” said great grandson, David Harburg, an Ann Arbor based artist who has been working on revitalizing the songs by his great-grandfather.

The evening was hosted by Ryan Jay, one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated TV & radio film critics. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, The Wizard of Oz, Jay has become recognized as an Oz historian, interviewing the casts and filmmakers of many Oz films, publishing articles, and presenting multimedia lectures, celebrating the legacy of Oz, to audiences from around the world at comic cons, universities, theaters and museums. As a producer and director, Jay has worked on major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, Nickelodeon, and others. He serves as director of Harburg’s Song of the Century documentary.

“Among the cumulative creative forces behind The Wizard of Oz, Yip Harburg stands out as one who helped connect emotional dots between the story, performer and song,” said Jay. “To use the phrase of another beloved Oz lyricist, Stephen Schwartz, whom also counts himself a fan of Yip’s, his legacy has changed us, “For Good.””

The event included a less known and rarely performed Christmas song written by Harburg entitled, “Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus.”

“The song was written for the Broadway musical, Flahooley, said David Harburg. “It’s a really catchy Christmas song that, frankly, needs to be revived and counted among our favorite Christmas carols.”

The Harburg brothers hope that attendees of the presentation found a little Christmas spirit in the music and message of their great grandfather.

“The holidays are a special time for creating new memories,” said Jay. “Listening to the Harburg brothers share their stories and sing their great-grandfather’s songs leaves you with a joyous feeling, perfect for this time of year.”

Annual Christmas Reception held on December 3rd at the Dannebohm Residence

Toasts, blessings, goodies, cigars, and a visit from Santa Claus made for an evening of holiday memories.

On Sunday, December 3rd, 2017, the Dannebohm residence was full of holiday cheer with 77 guests on hand for the annual Christmas reception. Attendees were greeted by the warmth, crackle, and smell of the fireplace and a home adorned for the holidays with 8 Christmas trees, 5 Nativity scenes, hundreds of feet or ornately decorated garland, 4 wreaths, 7 Santa Claus paintings, and numerous Christmas “accessories “ including elves, snowmen, poinsettias, and porcelain trees.

The 2017 theme for the invitation-only Christmas celebration was, “Who Says There Ain’t No Santa Claus,” taken from a song title of the same name featured in the Broadway Musical, “Flahooley,” the lyrics of which were written by “Yip” Harburg.

Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg was a popular song lyricist who worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (with Jay Gorney), “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow.” He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He championed racial and gender equality and union politics.

Among the honored guests at this year’s reception were two of Yip Harburg’s great-grandchildren: Aaron Harburg and his brother, David Harburg.

Aaron Harburg is currently producing a documentary entitled, “Song of the Century,” which focuses on Yip’s work on, “Over the Rainbow.

David Harburg is an Ann Arbor, Michigan based recording artist who has been working on revitalizing the songs by his great grandfather. David is hoping to bring some of “Yip” Harburg’s work into the 21st century, as well as share some works of his own.

Each year, a charity is chosen and those on the guest list are asked to bring a monetary donation in the form of a check. This year’s charity, at the request of the Aaron and David Harburg, was Children Waiting Everywhere, a 100% volunteer, 501(c)(3) foundation dedicated to serving our brothers and sisters around the globe by sharing blessings and empowering them through education and self-employment. The organization serves one community, one family, and one child at a time, contributing to projects in microeconomics, education, and health. They are building up the lives of children waiting everywhere.

Three toasts were offered at the reception: one representing the past, one the present, and one the future. A nod to the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future who visited Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol.

Larry Hatteberg offered a toast to the past, reminding guests that while we cannot turn back the hands of time and correct our mistakes, we can honor the memories – people, places, and things that bring us holiday joy.

A Kansas legend, Hatteberg began his television career with KAKE-TV on May 23, 1963. Larry has received more than 130 local, state and national awards for news photography and reporting. His “Hatteberg’s People” video series has profiled over a thousand Kansans since its inception in 1974. He grew up in Winfield, Kansas, and graduated from Winfield High School. He attended Kansas State Teachers College and Wichita State University before starting at KAKE TV, where he worked for 51 years before his last newscast on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Today, Hatteberg hosts his classic segment, “Hatteberg’s People” in a new half-hour show on KPTS. Each week Hatteberg presents his classic stories about interesting and extraordinary Kansans and then updates us on where those people are now.

Ryan Jay offered a toast to the present, which reminded guests to celebrate the here and now. We cannot change the past, we cannot predict the future. However, at that moment, in that time and place, guests were creating special holiday memories.

Jay is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated film critics and Oz historians. Ryan has worked as a television producer of major pop culture and entertainment programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and even The Jerry Springer Show. In addition to his work as a film critic, Ryan emcees numerous events nationwide.

Sierra Scott offered a toast to the future, which reminded guests that in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, we should strive to live each day with the same joy we experience on Christmas. Guests were reminded to be generous in kindness, patience, and love toward all of humankind.

Scott is the current Ms. Woman United States titleholder. Ms. Scott is a popular TV news anchor with 29 years of broadcast experience. She is the former co-host of “The Brett and Sierra Show” and “It’s All Good with Sierra Scott”. She now hosts “Positively Kansas” on KPTS. An award winning journalist, Ms. Scot is an alumnus of Leadership Kansas and serves on the board of eight charity organizations. She was Miss Missouri 1989. Sierra’s documentary on Darfur called “Destination Darfu, the Untold Story of Peace and Hope” premiered at the United Nations and was screed at the Toronto Film Festival.

The “adult-only” celebration included a visit from Santa Claus, an opportunity for “grown-ups” to re-connect with their inner-child. The garage of the Dannebohm residence was transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with Santa’s Workshop, where guests received a “grown up” goody bag and photo with Kris Kringle.

In addition to a festive Yuletide celebration, the evening served as an opportunity to officially bless the Nativity Scene on display at the residence through the holidays. The Reverend Robert Schremmer, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, presided over the ceremony. Schremmer was assisted by the Reverend Canon Phyllis Flory from the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. Dan Stremel served as lector. Accompanied by Curtis Sander on the organ, the ceremony began with guests singing “Adeste Fidelis” and concluded with guests singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World.” In addition to blessing the Nativity scene, Father Schremmer and Reverend Flory also dedicated the newest piece in Dannebohm’s art collection, “Regina Angelorum,” by artist Erika Molina Poling. The painting is a triptych consisting of 3 panels, each 24” x 48” depicting Mary, Queen of the Angels. For the dedication ceremony, Aaron Harburg chanted the “Salve Regina” in Latin and David and Tihomira Green sang a beautiful rendition of “Mary, Did You Know.”

Guests were treated to homemade Christmas candies including: peanut butter bon-bons, cherry mash, fudge, and peanut clusters. They also enjoyed homemade Christmas cookies and other delicious snacks. Live holiday music by Curtis Sander and David Harburg added a special cheer to the festive environment.

Tobacconist DC Hannah from Salina Cigar Company hand rolled cigars for the event. Hannah’s cigar rolling station was a popular spot as guests watched him meticulously create cigars of outstanding quality. The cold winter air didn’t stop cigar loving guests from taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary, freshly rolled cigar around the fire pit in the back gardens.

Casey Joy, a self taught artist currently residing in Derby, Kansas, had a beautiful assortment of art available for sale in Santa’s workshop. Painting as a form of therapy is a passion of hers as well as reaching out to those in the community around her and encouriging others to bring their own creative light into the world. She believes art is an act of defiance against the darkness, and she’s striving to leave a bright trail in her wake.

Artist Joshua Krannawitter was also on hand to sell his creations in Santa’s workshop. Krannawitter, who resides in Halstead, Kansas, J. Krannawitter is best known for his unique paintings done entirely with spray paint. Joshua does live demonstrations, creating everything from familiar Kansas scenery to distant alien landscapes.

While the Christmas decorations will be taken down and stored after the holidays, the memories created will be long lasting.

Love for Las Vegas

Last night, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Contrary to the popular slogan, what happened in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas. This senseless tragedy affects all of us. Today, we mourn with Las Vegas, we pray with Las Vegas, we remember with Las Vegas.

More than 50 people were killed and more than 400 were injured when a gunman opened fire into an outdoor country music festival from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel on Sunday night, police said.

Country star Jason Aldean was onstage performing at the time. The audience was singing, dancing, and having a great time – living life to the fullest.

Then, in an instant, that celebration of life was cut short by a gunman, a coward identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada. Investigators are fairly confident this was not an act of terrorism.

Analysts from both the left and the right will offer their opinion on why such a tragedy occurred.

Today is not the day for that.

Today we should focus on love.

We should keep close to our hearts the friends and families of those who perished last night. We should keep close to our hearts those who suffered injuries and their friends and families. We should keep close to our hearts the brave men and women of law enforcement. We should keep our own friends and families, and others in our communities close to our hearts.

Today we should refrain from analyzing hate and casting blame, and instead focus on spreading love, especially to our brothers and sisters in Las Vegas.

May we be reminded of the words of Francis of Assisi, “Where there is hatred let me sow love.”

Good morning. Make today beautiful.

Eat, drink, live, love!

Here at the Dannebohm Residence it’s a beautiful autumn morning, a cloudy Monday, met not with gloom, but rather with in anticipation of the week ahead.

Vincent scrambled some farm fresh eggs. I steamed kale and toasted bagels – we had breakfast, then moved to the out of doors, where the temperature is mild, the winds are calm. The gardens are alive with butterflies and the sound of the fountains bubbling, and birds chirping – speaking through their color, the leaves of the trees show signs they will soon fall. Vincent is enjoying a cup of Earl Grey and a pipe. The aroma does a beautiful dance with that of my coffee and the faint scent of rain in the air, forecasted to arrive at any moment.

Enjoying moments like this are essential. Soon, creativity will commence – Vincent will paint, I will write. The house will be filled with beautiful music.

Creativity carries over to the table. Autumn days such as this make me think about what to serve for dinner on what will likely be a gorgeous evening.

This evening, served by candlelight, a rustic stew, made with venison and andouille sausage, with hearty chunks of vegetables including red potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, onions, string beans, portobello mushrooms, fresh garlic, parsley, Himalayan salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a hint of curry. Slow cooked in a Sean Minor 2014 Central Coast Pinot Noir.

Served with boiled eggs, aged cheddar, a side of quinoa blended with feta and kale, a salad made with artisan greens, and for dessert – bread pudding, topped with an apple, pear, and mixed berry compote, served with Saigon cinnamon ice cream.

Wine selections for this evening will be a Bordeaux with the meal and a Brut Champagne with the dessert.

Following dinner, weather permitting, a nice scotch and a cigar outside by the fire are in order.

Today only happens once.

You’ll never have this moment in time again.

Make it beautiful.

Eat, drink, live, love!