Where Did My Avocado Go?

What has happened to the large Hass avocados that we all know and love and make into our favorite guacamole dish? One of the main reasons for the shrinking sized fruits is the low winter rainfall, cool weather, and the dwindling bee activity. Did you know that the avocados spend more than a full year developing on a tree?

avocado bag

Trader Joe’s avocados-5 to a bag

In California, and elsewhere, the markets are selling avocados the size of a small peach, some weighing less than 3 oz. I was in Trader Joe’s the other day, and bought a bag of 5 small avocados nestled together like tiny lemons.

bowl of lemons

lemons the size of tiny avocados

avocado peach

avocado the size of a peach


avocado the size of a small teapot

3avocados in a row

three avocados in a row

Wholly Guacamole

  • Ingredients
  1. 6 avocados ( soft, but not mushy)
  2. 2 -4 garlic cloves, minced ( depends on how much you like garlic)
  3. 1 lime, cut in half
  4. 1 medium tomato, diced
  5. 1/2 medium onion, diced
  6. salt
  7. chopped cilantro (optional)
  8. 1 diced jalapeno peppers (optional) or 1 diced serrano pepper (optional)
  • Directions
  1. Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and spoon avocado into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add minced garlic and squeeze the juice from one-half of the lime into the bowl of avocado.
  3. Mash the ingredients together to desired consistency using the back of a large spoon or a potato masher (some like the avocado chunky, some like it smoother).
  4. Fold in diced tomato and diced onion, a couple pinches of salt, and the juice from the remaining lime half (Also add cilantro or peppers at this time).
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Uncover and taste.
  7. Add salt as needed.
  8. If you don’t give the resulting guacamole at least 4 stars, then you ain’t making it right.
  9. NOTE: The purpose of the lime is to allow any leftover guacamole to retain its “avocado” color as it sits in the fridge.

“This is a true Tex-Mex recipe concocted by a distant relative stationed at the Alamo nearly 160 years ago. According to family lore, he was out looking for some good tomatoes when Santa Ana attacked the now famous Texas landmark. Luckily, our relative kept this recipe in the lining of his coon-skin cap, and both he and his avocado dip lived to fight another day. Years later, near death from an infected Chihuahua bite, he looked deep into his son’s eyes, and with his last breath, uttered the familiar phrase “remember the…guacamole.””

recipe by mark h.



Shangri-La ~ Doris Duke an American heiress


Shangri-La: A distant and secluded hideaway, usually of great beauty and peacefulness.

At the young age of 12, Doris Duke became the richest girl in the world when her father, James Buchanan Duke magnate behind a tobacoo and energy empire and benefactor of Duke University, died. In 1935, returning from a honeymoon through the Islamic world, Doris Duke stopped over in Hawaii and fell in love with the people, the climate, surfing and the Hawaiian way of life. She was captivated by the beauty, the weather and the privacy Hawaii offered her from the public eye and the New York social scene.

Shangri La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and legendary tobacco heiress Doris Duke (1912–1993) had found hers in Hawaii, so she built a home there, and named it Shangri La, after the fictitious place in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon.


Doris Duke’s Shangri La mansion is near Diamond Head just outside Honolulu is now owned by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

She was also a major collector of Islamic art, assembling a collection of more than 2,500 pieces and exhibiting it throughout her Honolulu home Shangri La—a sustained effort of nearly 60 years.

1885097623421759328_7cfeb96b86_o480867714_1d7cdf5e5a_b 480868828_1b52031d6a_b 480866290_dcadbe9d02_b 377149_337016652990867_1167858493_n 251864_406291822741108_1508128130_n 480878401_585d0e5525_b 2666056684_6daac364ea_b 2665258991_503e82f037_b480864232_95a9599fab_b3420932289_944e0b5e42_o doris-duke-03 4280615968_bcb42cddd4_b Shangri-La-Hawaii Shangri-La-architectureSuzani dance


Doris Duke at Shangri La in 1966, photographed by Horst for Vogue.





“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride”~John F. Kennedy


“Two Bicycles” art by eileen tomson

Kids on the Block/Stars Foundation is a non profit organization using puppetry and other teaching tools to promote understanding and acceptance of all children and adults regardless of their differences.  Stars exists to serve schools and communities by providing prevention, intervention and treatment services addressing bullying, substance abuse, violence, and social and emotional barriers to success. My contribution to the charity auction, “Chairish the Kids” was a tricycle that I painted and designed like a garden.


The 13th annual Chair-ish the Kids Art Auction benefit features a live auction of one-of-a-kind chairs and chair-themed artwork, and a silent auction of additional artwork, gift packages and more. Proceeds support STARS Nashville program, Kids on the Block, which, through the use of puppets, educates students in Middle Tennessee about health and social concerns that affect their lives.

courtesy pressed word bicylces

courtesy pressed word photo





A Voice out of History “Keep Calm and Carry On”


I think it is rather curious how a phrase gathers momentum and becomes popular. One of these sayings is, “Keep Calm Carry On”. It would not be surprising to hear this from a chap in England, but how does this line, “carry on” across the country and become a critical mass?  The original origin of  “Keep Calm and Carry On”  was the third British propaganda poster commissioned by the British Government in 1939 during World War Two, the first two designs looked like this:


The Original British Government Posters

They used the crown of King George IV as the only graphic device and only two colors. The final designs were to be uniform in style and used a Special & Handsome typeface making it difficult for the enemy to conterfit. The third poster was never officially used, “Keep Calm and Carry On”, was held in reserve and only to be used in crisis or invasion, and remained unseen by the public .

The poster was discovered 50 years later in a second hand bookstore called Barter Books Ltd, in Northumberland, England. Opened in 1991 by Mary and Stuart Madley. The  bookstore was originally an old Victorian railway station. It was in the year 2000, that Stuart found the poster in a pair of dusty old books sold at auction. Mary liked it so much she had it framed and sold copies in their store.

“The design has become simple and timeless and commonly recognizable. Like a voice out of history, it inspires confidence in others during difficult times.”

This post is dedicated to my father, John Tomson, who served in the Royal Air Corp as a pilot during World War I and II, in London England.