I live in the middle of a desert, with endless weeks stretching ahead before I can reasonably hope for a cool breeze.  And yet, today, the heavens winked in my direction.  It rained in torrents for at least an hour and swept in a cool dry breeze.  I felt for the remainder of the afternoon, that I was living one of the lovely summer days we have on occasion in Massachusetts.

To add pleasure to perfection, I had the opportunity to interview Katie Brown of PBS’s The Katie Brown Workshop on the phone today.  She is incredibly real, funny, and open, and loves so many of the same things I love. It was like talking to a best friend, or even a sister.

At one point in our chat, she described one of her viewpoints as sounding “traditional and geeky.” We must be kindred spirits.

She is in New York this week, promoting a campaign sponsored by Splenda to donate $50,000 to Meals on Wheels, plus an extra $5,000, in what they are calling the “Apple Pie Initiative.  Since the Fourth of July, Katie, Splenda, and Meals on Wheels teamed up to deliver thousands of slices of pie to some of the nation’s hungry.

If you would like to help with this cause, you can participate by sending slices of virtual pie to your friends on facebook. If 25,000 pie slices are sent through cyberspace by Labor Day, Splenda will donate an additional $5,000 to Meals on Wheels. So don’t hesitate to create a virtual pie, and send it along to all your friends  (By the way, that blackberry mascarpone tart, is my little virtual pie for all of you, and if you want the recipe, click here).

After a long day of being on Good Morning America, and attending to other business in the media, she was kind enough to let me interview her on the phone. I confess it felt less like an interview, and more like we were gabbing on a lunch break.

We talked about Meals on Wheels first, a charity that delivers food to people who are sick or living in shelters, and seniors with limited mobility. She discussed how happy it makes her to get behind a cause she believes in so strongly.

She loves what her friend Mario Batali says—that hunger is the one disease we can cure.

After we discussed the important business, we got to talking about all kinds of things.  I’ll share a few of the things that stood out, since if I tell you everything, I’ll be typing all night.

Katie grew up in Michigan, and one of the things she relishes most about her childhood is the time she spent outdoors in the “Four seasons of beautifulness” that was all around her there.  She said her connection to Mother Nature and the earth gave her grounding and a centeredness.  She hopes she can pass on a similar love of nature to her daughters.

She wants to teach her children to dream big, lofty dreams, to take a big bite out of life, and not be intimidated, yet at the same time maintain a sense of being in the world but not of the world.

Katie has had several cookbooks published and said it is her favorite thing she gets to do in her career.

As talented a chef as she is, what I love about her is she is quick to share she isn’t above taking shortcuts to get dinner on the table. She loves things like bagged salad and coleslaw mix.

She has inspired me to be more organized. She was not born organized (like me), but says how essential it is to being a successful working mom.

Katie is one of those people who has gained wisdom through striving to have a fully realized life. Now if I could just spend the next few years as her shadow, I could learn all I need to know.