Travels with Penelope

Travel, Food, Wine, Spirituality and Everything Else

May 9, 2018 Take a Look at Delaine!

Dear Readers,

Some of you may have received this information earlier in a personal email. If so, you can skip this one. Otherwise, read on.

After long consideration I decided to support Delaine Easton for governor. I have known her personally for some time and feel that she is what we need in the next administration. She has a wonderful background, knows her way around the government block, and has no “women” issues to boot. She won her second debate last night.

If you have yet to make a decision on a candidate, I sincerely you will take a look at the debate.

Delaine Eastin for Governor 2018
Dear Penelope —

Last night, during NBC’s statewide debate, Delaine once again showed Californians why she is the best person to lead our stateWatch it here, and share with friends. Instant reactions:

@BullGooseParty Wow, literally every tweet about #CAGovdebate is praising @DelaineEastin! Could be a moment!

This from the Associated Press’s Juliet Williams – @APJWilliams @DelaineEastin has been a valuable voice in tonight’s #CAGovDebate — a more aggressive counterpoint to the Reps than the top 3 Dems.

As @Katiefward said ‘She was by far the most inspiring candidate’

Or this from @perryanthonyj Incredibly articulate, no mud slinging, and a clear vision

Twitter followers jumped by over 10% and new volunteers and donors came on board.


It’s time to translate this new support and enthusiasm into votes. Now. Because ballots are arriving.

April 17, 2018 That Day!

It’s here again!

It has been a few months since I have posted. The message  from the Stoics offers me an opportunity to ease back in to blogging, and to share some intriguing thoughts on of all things, taxes!

Hope the day bodes well for  you!

October 16, 2017 Home from China

I am back from China.

To get here, I caught a non-stop flight out of Wuhan to San Francisco. China Southern was comfortable, the food acceptable and I had great company. Yuan returning to her home in Palo Alto after visiting family in Wuhan sat next to me. Never chatted so much on a long flight!

Currently, I am working on a post about the trip.

Since I have been back the schedule has been wall to wall with this and that.

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August 29, 2017


Over the past few weeks I have taken a vacation from blogging.

The time has been filled with restoring the back garden and testing my new Silk Road cookbooks. One of my granddaughters came to Davis for a long visit. We baked cookies, made art, and drummed among some other activities.


Oh must not forget that due to my friend Anne,  I also had a chance to see Lady Gaga in Sacramento! All I can say about the concert is Wow!

The vacation continues tomorrow with a trip to China. This will be the first time I do not take my computer and blog from along the way. The computer has become such a friend, it feels strange to be leaving without it. However, my partner and I are touring the ancient Silk Road (explains the new cookbooks) and I want to focus on what is along the pilgrimage. I will take copious notes and share all of it when I return.

For those who live in Texas, my thoughts and light-filled intentions are with you.

I will be back in October!

July 31, 2017 Bikes and Tea in Hangzhou (China Journal)

As I was sitting on the deck of our home in Davis and about to open the notes in my China journal I was distracted by a play of light on the wall behind the pond. The sun peaking through disciplined spaces along the overhang created an ephemeral piece of art that rivaled much of what I had seen during my years as an art critic. Abstract expressionism at its best! A fleeting frame of light walling off transient flickers led my mind into unbounded space. It felt so good to be back.




After slowly working my way through my journal notes from the last trip to China, I realized that I had better conclude soon as the next trip is beginning to rise on the horizon. So, back to the journey through Hangzhou with Jing, our guide.

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July 22, 2017 Hangzhou (China Journal)



The problem with having an itinerary with reserved guides and hotels is just that. An itinerary has to be honored. Just when I had begun to feel at home in Xi’an and wanted to hang a bit longer, a plan to visit Hangzhou another ancient capitol, city of silk and hand fans, lay waiting. Sadly, I paid my goodbyes to Lily and our guide Liu Li. I felt like I was leaving close friends.

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July 12, 2017 Longmen Grottoes, Shaolin (China Journal)


As a young graduate student of religious studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, I remember reading about how  the ancient Silk Road created a way for several countries to exchange not only silk, but other goods, culture, mythologies, philosophies and spiritual traditions. One of those traditions Buddhism, brought to China by monks from India traveling the Silk Road established a strong center in the city of  Luoyang. Considered to be one of the cradles of Chinese civilization, today Luoyang thrives as an industrial town. Nearby, the ancient Buddhist caves known as the Longmen Grottoes line the cliffs at the gate of the Yi River.


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June 30, 2017 Jade Valley Winery – Zhonnguo (China Journal)

I have not posted on my trip to Zhongguo for awhile, but I think of it almost daily. When I do not, I am reminded by the news articles and reports on China that seem to make their way across my desktop with remarkable regularity.

Today, our day trip from Xi’an to the Jade Valley Wine Resort in Lantian County came to mind.


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June 13, 2017 The Glass of Wine

 I am interrupting my travels through China journal to bring you breaking news. After several years of touring wine regions around the world, my partner and I hatched an idea for a book. That idea has finally born fruition.  It is in production and although it can be ordered now (in time for Christmas), it won’t be available until October-November.

The Glass of Wine

ISBN: 978-1-119-22343-6
250 pages
October 2017

Norton Shopping Guarantee

The Glass of Wine (1119223431) cover image
 Wiley Authenticity Guarantee

Books supplied direct from are 100% authentic, 100% brand new, and 100% Wiley – the trusted publisher of academic, scientific, and professional books since 1807.


The first book to focus on the role of glass as a material of critical importance to the wine industry

For centuries glass has been the material of choice for storing, shipping, and sipping wine. How did that come to pass, and why? To what extent have glassmaking and wine making co-evolved over the centuries? The first book to focus on the role of glass as a material of critical importance to the wine industry, The Glass of Wine answers these and other fascinating questions.

The authors deftly interweave compelling historical, technical, and esthetic narratives in their exploration of glass as the vessel of choice for holding, storing, and consuming wine. They discuss the traditions informing the shapes and sizes of wine bottles and wine glasses, and they demystify the selection of the “right glass” for red versus white varietals, as well as sparkling and dessert wines. In addition, they review the technology of modern glassmaking and consider the various roles glass plays in wineries—especially in the enologist’s laboratory. And they consider the increasing use of aluminum and polymer containers and its potential impact on the central role of glass as the essential material for wine appreciation.

  • The first book focusing on the role of glass and its central importance to the wine industry
  • Written by a glass scientist at UC Davis, home of the premier viticulture and enology program in North America
  • Interlards discussions of the multi-billion-dollar glass and wine industries with valuable technical insights for scientists, engineers, and wine enthusiasts alike
  • Illustrates the wide spectrum of bottles, carafes, decanters, and drinking glasses with an abundance of exquisite full-color photos

Both an authoritative guide and a compelling read, The Glass of Wine tells the story of the centuries-old marriage between an endlessly fascinating material and a celebrated beverage. It is sure to have enormous appeal among ceramic and glass professionals, wine makers, and oenophiles of all backgrounds.

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Author Information

James F. Shackelford, PhD,is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC Davis. He is a member of the American Ceramic Society and ASM International and a Fellow of both societies.

Penelope L. Shackelford, MA, is a former teacher who has served as an arts writer for Davis EnterpriseArtweek, and other national arts publications and as Associate Editor for Arts for the journal Multicultural Education.

June 7, 2017 Terracotta Warriors – Zhongguo (China Journal)




Dear Friends,

Back from a wonderful trip to Japan I am finally able to resume sharing the wonderful pilgrimage I had to China last month.

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