“I’ve got a Master’s in life.” My friend laughed when she said it, but I had to agree.

I spent a lot of years worrying about how I was going to get those pretty little letters behind my name. And after 12 years of ‘on again, off again’ college and an assorted training I have to say this…

I too have a Master’s in life. I got that Master’s mainly outside of the classroom, although classes in Philosophy, Psychology, World Religion, Literature and, oddly enough, Algebra certainly helped.

Now I’m not saying to NOT get a higher education. By all means, do so if you can! I miss those hours spent drinking up knowledge and pushing my brain to understand statistics and advanced algebra as much as I do dissecting poems and contemplating the nature of humanity. And if you knew me from high school (where I railed against those hated math classes with splendid regularity) then you will see what a jump forward that was for me.

Instead what I am suggesting you do is…LIVE.

Live as if you may die tomorrow.

Learn as if the world is depending on you for your knowledge.

Love deeply and without regret.

Experience a world outside of the daily hum of existence.

Taste new foods and new cuisines.

Meet new people.

Dig your hands into the soil and grow a vegetable or fruit for the first time.

Listen to classical if you like rock, jazz if you like country, gregorian chant, and celtic and so much more.

Drive somewhere different – out of your way, into a new corner of town

Write an essay, a poem (it doesn’t matter if it rhymes or not), or heck, even a manifesto on what it means to be alive!

Make today different and do not fear change or the unknown. Put away regret for another day and turn each mistake into a learning experience. Get a Master’s in life and then nothing and no one will ever hold you back from tapping into the joy of the you inside.


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 or 6 medium russet potatoes, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary leaves
  • 3 green onions, light green and medium green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • Cooking Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with softened butter. Combine the half-and-half and the cream in a large measuring cup.

    Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes very thinly. They’ll cook better that way. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the half-and-half/cream mixture and set aside.

    In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.

    Cut the bar of cream cheese in half and add the halves to the skillet, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.

    Pour in the remaining half-and-half/cream mixture and stir to combine.

    Add salt and pepper and stir. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Do not under salt! Add the rosemary and green onions and stir to combine.

    Finally, add ½ cup of the grated parmesan and stir to combine.

    Pour the cream-soaked potatoes into the baking dish. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the top and spread it evenly over the potatoes. Scrape out the skillet to get every last drop.

    Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup grated parmesan generously over the top and bake the potatoes for at least 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbly.

    Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives, then cut into squares to serve.