Saturday, December 31, 2005

Leap Into 2006

As you welcome 2006 tonight at midnight, don't forget to add an extra second. On Dec. 31 of this year, an extra second will be added to the atomic clock as it leads into 2006. The extra second, or leap second, will be added to account for a slight change in the rotation of the Earth.

Five, four, three, two, one, one ...

Happy New Year!

Have fun, be safe!
Flaurella will be back next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pink Petal Footsies

Silly Slippers

Here's the infamous pink slippers from my sister. Aren't they a hoot? I scuff around in them but I have a hard time keeping them on. Every time W4D sees me in them, he laughs out loud. I am not sure if he just thinks them funny or if he's laughing at me trying to keep them on and tripping over them.

I'm thinking about dying my hair pink to match.

And yes, I am still here and I am working and I'm not happy about it.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Raspberry Woman

The Lubricator is taking the week off so I might take a little off, too. Time, that is. We may go chasing the snow or head to the beach or something.

Our Christmas was relaxing and very laid back. Santa wore his shades...

Santa in Shades

...and left under the tree for me, 12 Sparkling Days of Christmas in a shocking pink box. I have promised myself to have no more than one bottle per day through Epiphany. One should show a little restraint even if it is the holiday season.

by the case

Along with the case of raspberry Sparkletini was a bottle of raspberry vodka and a pair of raspberry colored, peppermint stripe pajamas. I guess The Lube thinks I will be spending much of the winter passed out in a raspberry-induced haze. Hey, at least I didn't get a Raspberry Beret, the kind you find in a second hand store. However, I did receive from my sister, the most totally outrageous "Diamond Girl" slippers that are covered with hot pink silk flower petals. I'll post a picture of them later.

I'll be in and out this week. Quite possibly, far out.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve

Holiday Flowers

There are not enough hours in the day this time of year so just in case I don't make it back here before Sunday, I wish you a joyful holiday and a Merry Christmas. Whatever you celebrate, I wish you peace.

Father Christmas

I'll keep adding seasonal photos from around Flaurelland as time permits.
Click here to view my Christmas Set of all the seasonal pictures to date. You can also cycle through the photos automatically if you set the photos to run as as a slideshow.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Alas! Woe is Me!

Oh, dear.

The Flaurella, she is too, too tired to blog. She is so exhausted that she cannot type without beaucoup errors that make it not worth reading to the legions of crack addicts who visit the Flaurella for their daily fix. Forgive the kindly and gentle Flaurella, if you please. She will return tomorrow or sometime soon with more holiday photos.

In the meantime, Sparkle On!
2 days Until Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

3 Days Until Christmas

Lots of new photos added this evening on this shortest day (light) of the year. Winter has officially begun this afternoon and it is plenty cold here in North Florida where we are expecting a freeze tonight with lows in the 20's. Nope, this isn't yer touristy, bikini-all-year-long South Beach, thankew verra mush!

Click right here to view the Christmas slide show of pictures I've taken this week. Check out the sky here at dusk. Deep, deep blue and so peaceful.

Tomorrow, the days start getting longer again. Thank goodness! This gal needs a lot of daylight and sunshine. I'm off to wrap presents and have a religious experience with a little Kentucky bourbon. W4D can hand me pieces of tape and keep my glass full for I am bound and determined to start and finish all the gift wrapping tonight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

4 Days Until Christmas

An esteemed reader emailed his thoughts about male and female veggies and referred to me as:

Sovereign of North Florida,
Blogger of the Internet,
Defender of the Appletini,
Protector of All Things Italian
and the Matron Saint of Porch Oranges.

That pretty much sums me up, Doc!
I am going to use that as my profile.

Thanks Dr. P.
And PS...
There's a lot of truth to many old wives' tales
so be a good do-bee and sex your eggplants!

Here's some pix of one of the Christmas trees near my work station. Click the photos if you want details or larger views.

The Pink Tree

Pinkish Christmas


Strawberries and Snowflake


Vintage Ornament

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas in the Kitchen

About 7:30 PM last night, I thought I heard a little tap on the door. The Lubricator went to see about it and called to me to come to the front of the house. I'm glad I didn't holler out WTF like usual when he called me for it was the church carolers, here to sing for us.

When DD was living at home, she always caroled with the church so I knew when to expect them. Not so this year. The weather was awful all weekend so I was surprised to see them loaded onto the hay truck in the rain but in fine spirits.

I have a friend who raises Clydesdale horses, you know, the Budweiser horses. Some years ago, we took a huge draft wagon full of friends, pulled by a hitch of two giant Clydesdales and went caroling for hours. It was quite cold but we were in good voice and high spirits, just not exactly the same kind as the church carolers.

During this week before Christmas, Flaurella is going to be brief on words and long on pictures. I'll at least try to make time to post photos of something seasonal every day.

Here are some pictures taken in the kitchen. The kitchen tree is decorated with all wooden figures and toys, red feather birds, plaid ribbon, American flags and red tulle. It sits on an old oak Hoosier cabinet by the back porch window and it hasn't quit raining here in weeks (well, it seems like weeks) so things look a bit gloomy.

Father Christmas

The Kitchen Tree


Little Nutcracker Ornament

Little Dude

Friday, December 16, 2005



I could eat eggplant at least every week. Cooked just right, there is nothing so delicious. I like to use the uniform center slices for fried eggplant or eggplant parmesan. When you are already sautéing eggplant, it is easy to chop up the smaller pieces and whip up a little caponata at the same time. Caponata is Italian eggplant appetizer. My mother-in-law always called it caponatine.

First you need to sex your eggplant. I've discussed this before but in case you missed it in June, here's the skinny:

To determine the sex of an eggplant, you will need to look at the bulbous end. Check out the navel" there on the fat end. If the scar indentation is round, it is a female eggplant. If it is oblong, it is male. Since male eggplants have less seeds, always try to buy the manly veggie."

This is a male eggplant.

Cube the extra and leftover over pieces of your eggplants or just devote a whole eggplant or two to your dish. I prefer cubes about a half inch in size but you don't need to be exact, just roughly cube the eggplant. Don't peel it. Salt and pepper and let the cubes sit a minute or so while you get the other veggies cooking. Sautee in your best virgin olive oil, chopped sweet red, green or yellow bell pepper and some chopped onion for a couple of minutes before adding some chopped fresh tomato and the cubed eggplant. If you have extra tomato gravy (that's spaghetti sauce to the non-Italian), you can add a little of that in addition to the tomatoes. Add some coarsely chopped black or green olives, but not both, just one or the other. Don't chop anything too finely for this is a rustic dish.

I cook on high heat because I like fast results but you could cook this on medium heat if you are worried about over-cooking. Shake and flip the contents of the pan -- or if you are chicken, stir with a wooden spoon. After about two minutes, add some finely chopped garlic and continue cooking another 2 minutes.

Add your herbs. An Italian herb mix will work if you don't have fresh oregano, thyme and basil. Fresh chopped parsley should be added if you have it. Add herbs to taste. I like a lot of herbs. As soon as the herbs are added and distributed, add a splash of red wine. Never buy cooking wine. Just add some of whatever red you are drinking. You should always drink wine when you cook. Heck, you could even add some white wine but red is better. Drink red wine, please. So add some of your red wine. Save the white wine for when you are cooking fish.

By now, your caponata is done. Turn the gas off or remove from burner if using an electric stove. (Don't get me started on electric stoves, I dislike them). Caponata is better at room temp or slightly chilled so if you can wait, chill it for a little while or save it for the next day's appetizer or hor d'oeuvre. Store it in the fridge in a crock or small bowl and cover tightly.

When you are ready to enjoy a little caponatine, make your toast by mixing a pat or two of sweet cream butter (not margarine) and a little splash of good olive oil in a skillet. When the butter's melted and you've swirled the olive oil and butter together, add some thinly sliced French or Cuban bread. Bread that is the size of a baguette is best since these are appetizers. I butter one side and not the other and the buttered side gets rubbed with a cut clove of fresh garlic when I turn it over. It's toast in a pan. Very easy.

Serve the toast warm or at room temp, whichever you prefer. When ready to serve, top each little toast, butter fried side up, with a heap of caponata. Serve with wine or your fave cocktail.

Bruschetta Caponatine

And, if you wonder why this entry is entitled "Caponatine," that is what my MIL always called it. "Cap-uh-Nah-TEEN" means "a little" caponata. I dare you to try to eat just a little.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Parlez-vous français ?

This is what happens to French women when they lose their tweezers and wear a saggy French Santa beret. Click here and enlarge your browser window to be sure and view full size. You too, can make a saggy hat to wear to all of your holiday Soirées since the pattern is at the bottom of the photo. Those are some bodacious eyebrows, aren't they? Oh, and be sure and wrap your neck up in feathers, too.

Did you know they now have Christmas Peeps? I found these at Target. I plan to eat a couple and then blow up the rest in the microwave.

peep snowmen

Bah Humbug!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hell's Bells

I took the afternoon off to see RENT. I hate to admit what a sorry, soggy mess I was the last hour of that musical/film. It was so formulaic that I was embarrassed to be so moved. Trying not to sob out loud is far more difficult and exhausting than just going ahead and crying. Misery loves company. DD and I just love musicals and our men are glad that they don't have to attend them with us.

My Darlin' Daughter (DD) took me out for drinks at the Brownstone afterwards. The traffic across town was brutal and my eyes were still red-rimmed and puffy upon arrival. After three Long Island Iced Tea's, I felt just a bit better until I arrived home to a hungry Beastie Boy and W4D, (What's 4 Dinner?), whom I might add, already knew the answer to his constant question since I had left him a note. After I had a couple of up and dirty vodka martini's to soothe the traffic trauma of the day, I made boneless filets of lemon chicken breast with cheese sauce on plain boring white rice with sauteed fresh zukes and red peppers. It was very tasty and plenty colorful, if not a full course meal. Whatever. Sometimes, the manly man must suffer when the wiffey goes out to play.

Does anyone have a straight husband who likes to attend or view musicals?? No? I am considering searching for such a man-beast. If I could find one who might consider driving me to and from musicals during rush hour as well as shaking my toonies upon arrival at home, I might stay out of the bars.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Kanga Me Down

We have returned unscathed.

The Lubricator arrived home a bit early this afternoon so we could go Christmas shopping. We braved the traffic and battled the crowds. It wasn't pretty.

We lasted exactly three hours before we decided we must have sustenance in the form of expertly prepared seafood and martini's. Unfortunately, our fave restaurant was packed three deep at the bar and had no tables in the dining room so we gave up and headed for the liquor store where we gave our Kentucky friend, Evan Williams, a ride home. As we whipped through the liquor store finding Evan, The Lube grabbed a bottle of Sparkletini and some Shiraz Jackaroo while I dialed the world's highest volume Domino's for Twofer Tuesday Pizza.

At this moment, I am drinking Aussie Jackaroo, snacking on pepperoni, mushroom and sweet pepper pizza and watching "Dog, The Bounty Hunter" on A&E. If the damned phone would stop ringing off the hook, I would be very contented since I have almost all of my stocking's stuffed.


I love wines from Oz. The vineyard names and labels are always clever and I have never met a bottle that I didn't wish lasted longer. Try buying some Australian wine. The reds are especially rich and ballsy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dodging Bullets

I survived another birthday. I plan to continue celebrating this week and maybe next as well. Face time is pretty scarce in my household lately. It seems W4D is either out of town or towned out.

As a perfect example of small town politics gone awry, there is yet another council meeting tonight. That makes 2 per week since November 2nd. The Council usually only meets once per month. I guess they are giddy with power and can't stop taking meetings. Maybe all that hot air that's blowing around will bring us a warmer winter and help lower the heating bills.

I overheard W4D on the phone over the weekend, "I got through another council meeting without anyone shooting at me."

Well, you sure are giving them plenty of chances. Knock off the stupid meetings. It's the friggin' Holiday Season. I know of 5 spouses and one significant other who are getting damned sick and tired of eating dinner alone. Best pick up a burger or something on your way home because I am not going to rush to try to serve dinner at 6:00, nor am I going to wait until 10:30 p.m. to eat. Dinner is at 7:30 unless it is the first Thursday of the month. Period.

I can't imagine how this town got along for 125 years without all these meetings. There are only 12 days until Christmas but there are 1421 days until I am no longer married to a Town Councilman.

Two Million, Forty Six Thousand, Two Hundred Minutes of dodging bullets to go. (I'll stop making references to this song only after I see the film.)

And, just because I like them and think they are pretty, here are some Nandina berries from my yard.
They remind me of tiny oranges.

Friday, December 09, 2005

La Bonne Vie

My birthday weekend has arrived and life is good.

On the political front, a compromise has been reached on our town construction moratorium. My Mata Hari persuasion mission may have succeeded or maybe it had something to do with a packed house at the council meeting last night. I can watch all the action from the comfort of my veranda and that was the largest turn-out I have ever seen for a meeting, especially since it was a blustery and rainy night during the holiday season. The Civic Center was packed and the meeting lasted three and a half hours. I didn't ask any details yet but apparently both sides were mollified. As predicted, two for, two against and one vote to tilt the table. I hope this means an end to the constant phone calls and stress. It also means that W4D doesn't have to move into the guest room.

Looking forward to a formal dance and supper party tomorrow. To get in the mood, I am wearing one of my tiaras today. Every gal should own at least one tiara. They surely do help one get past birthdays. So do flowers! And I just received a gorgeous bouquet from my friend Kathleen, in Arkansas. Thank you, Sweets, I love them! You made my day bright.

beautiful birthday flowers

birthday flowers

The Lubricator is good about keeping me in fresh flowers, too. I know he will arrive bearing gifts and flowers and special treats tonight. This birthday weekend is getting off to a fine start and we'll celebrate for at least three days.

I always miss my mother but especially on my birthday. When she was expecting me, her first, my parents lived in Dania Beach, Florida, just south of Ft. Lauderdale. At the time, Dania was a little country town of a few hundred people.The Everglades came all the way east of where the interstate is now. Dixie Highway (1A) was a two lane road that ran along side the railroad and there wasn't much west of Dixie except cows, horses and alligators.

There was one doctor who treated people and sometimes, the local livestock. His name was T. Slye Gatewood and as Mother's time got closer, she worried about having a "horse doctor" deliver her baby. The first week of December, she talked Daddy into taking her north to her mother's house where her family doctor, could deliver her baby instead of old T. Slye. The family doctor was Dr. Hyde and as far as I know, there was no Dr. Jekyll. Anyway, there came a very heavy snow the day I was born. I have a photo of that day and there is two feet of fresh snow on the ground. I've always thought that must be why I am so fascinated with the white stuff. I always wish for snow on my birthday and it never happens. Instead, I get flowers and jewels and champagne and parties and hugs and fun. Yep. Life is good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Strange Bedfellows

I do not attend our town meetings and I refuse to discuss town politics with my friends and neighbors but I am not above trying to sway the opinions and vote of my town councilman. W4D and I are not in agreement on a building moratorium that comes up for a second and perhaps final reading this evening. I have been working on him for a week. I tried reasoning. I tried citing examples. I offered some well-thought, feasible compromises that he might present to the Town. I pleaded and cajoled. I ranted and threw a tizzy or two. I even cooked his fave Italian foods as a form of bribery. He listened but I have a feeling that he didn't budge so last night in the final hour, I pulled out the big guns. I took my councilman upstairs and did my Mata Hari routine.

We'll see if that worked later this eve. If it didn't, the Councilman may not be gettting any favors from me for quite some time. I am thinking of creating my own moratorium and I'll be sure to remind him of that right before he leaves for his meeting tonight.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Soul Food Flaurella Style

Good Grief.

I spent the day getting a massage, pedicure, manicure and started my Christmas shopping. I even went into The Mall which is someplace I try to avoid. I feel like I totally wasted a day spending beaucoup money everywhere I went. It's after 6:00 PM and I haven't even thought about blogging but, T'is the Season, so I am a little late.

I won't be able to think until I've had a nice Bombay Toonie so instead, here's what I made for supper last night:

Sautéed Mahi Mahi
Fresh Steamed Asparagus with Lemon Butter
Slice of Fresh local Tomato
Salad of Baby Greens with Balsamic and Strawberries
Garlic Toast

Yes, I promised I would be eating strawberries every day for a week and I am sticking to that promise. It was raining out and I didn't feel like grilling under an umbrella so I sautéed the Mahi in fine olive oil on the stove and seasoned with a little fresh garlic and something called "Soul Food Seasoning Salt" that I bought for a dollar at The Mart of Wal. To me, it tastes just like any other seasoning salt although it is a little more blonde than other seasoning mixtures. I have no idea what the ingredients are but W4D liked it a lot and it did give the mahi a nice golden color and subtle flavor. For a buck, how can you go wrong?

Mahi Dinner
Mahi Mahi Dinner last night

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Take the Red Pill *

I'm in the mood for red this week -- red clothes, red jewelry, red leaves, red cocktails, anything and everything red!

Here's a photo I took yesterday of the red Virginia Creeper on our fence.


The leaf color in North Florida is at the peak this week. Mostly red and orange since the yellow leaves have already turned or dropped. We do have a change of seasons here and the first week of December is always the most colorful. Check out some more great local color pictures here by my Flickr pal, Photo707.

I have created a cocktail masterpiece that is totally delish! Try pouring an ice cold glass of Verdi's Raspberry Sparkletini and then adding a splash of Absolut Citron vodka. The lemon flavored vodka not only adds a hint of lemon but gives the spumonti a kick. You don't need a full shot, just a nice splash. No need to stir.

sparktini cocktail

I bought two huge baskets of fresh strawberries at the outdoor market on Sunday so I used some to garnish our cocktails. I would prefer red raspberries but strawberries are plentiful and cheap and they sure do taste good soaked in sparkling wine and vodka.

sparktini closer

More cocktail libation pictures here.

I bought far too much fruit this weekend. Tangerines, lemons, pineapple, oranges, apples and strawberries surely do make the kitchen fragrant. Theola also sent home some more porch fruit with W4D, this time grapefruit. I guess they ate near 'bout every kind of citrus on that porch.

The only kind of fruit I don't have is what I am craving. I'd love a ruby red pomegranate. Those sweet and tart little morsels are wonderful on a salad. Until then, I guess I will have to use up all these strawberries.

* From the Matrix, 1999:
"You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Santa Dog

No matter what you think after seeing these pictures, I swear we are not the type of people who routinely take our dog to have pictures made professionally. But, this is our beastie's 16th and probably final Christmas and we were at an Open House gathering celebrating our vet's new, state of the art building and they were making complimentary Santa pictures with all the pets in attendance at the party.

Every family or person brought at least one pet and in addition to the live music and BBQ and treats for the animals and their humans, there was a lot of good natured sniffing and posturing going on. The dogs and the cats enjoyed sniffing each other, too.

Most of the critters had their photo's taken for the holiday. We'll get the professional one later but here are a couple that I snapped while they were getting The Bubba posed for his portrait with Santa.

Santa lap dog

Santa dog

19 Days until Christmas!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Conversation overheard between a middle aged man and woman in the garden department of a popular chain store...

Man: "Hey, look at this nice statue."

I was standing within earshot so I turned and sneaked a peek. Curiosity, the cat and all that.

Woman: Tilts head at garden statue of mermaid, " Why would we want that?"

Man: "It would go really good with that statue :::mumbled::: has."

Woman: "Which statue?"

Man: "That naked statue with the bare boobs and the blanket."

Woman: Looks puzzled, "I don't know what you mean."

Man: "You know, the Vino Ga-Myla."

I can see the lady thinking. Her brow is furrowed.

Woman: "You mean the Venus de Milo?"

Man: "Yeah, that's it."

Woman: "That's not the Venus de Milo, that's just a statue of a partially naked woman."

Man: "Oh. (pause) Well, this would still look good with it."

Woman: "You want to buy this for them for Christmas?"

Man: "No, I was just thinking."

The Vino Ga Myla? I burst out laughing and they looked at me like I was insane.

I really shouldn't eavesdrop.

Seasons of Love

This time last month, I googled "jerk wads" and Flaurella came up #1 of about 282,000 entries. Today I googled jerk wads again and Flaurella is #2 of 352,000 hits. That means that jerk wads added 70,000 entries in a month. That's 2333 new jerk wads a day or 852,249 new jerk wads per year. If you round it down to "Eight hundred fifty-two thousand, two hundred jerk wads," you can sing it to the tune of "Seasons of Love," from Rent.

How do you measure a year in the life?

Click to listen to their version.

Flaurella: September 2005
"Jerk wads, jerk wads, jerk wads," I chanted as I crossed my legs in the car.... DH said, "Do not call those people jerk wads." "Why not," I asked. ... 2005_09_01_flaurella_archive.html - 112k
Cached - Similar pages

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Solid, Like a Rock

Sanne wants to know if that is snow in the photo. No, not snow, it is coquina rock. Coquina is the native sea rock in our area. It bleaches out in the sun and is full of tiny pastel, purple and pink shells. As it ages and dries over the years, it becomes very hard and durable. Historically and even today, it is used for buildings and many people use it for landscaping accents.

History of Coquina Rock

What is it?

Google Images of Coquina

My sister and I are sitting in the rock garden.
sis and me
This photo makes me feel very old. Sheesh.

I think I'll throw caution to the wind and have a bubble bath and a little champagne in the middle of the afternoon. We stayed in celebrating last night but tonight, we are going out on the town.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On This Day In History

Long ago...

Our Wedding

Me: Well, after three years, you finally got me to wear your ring. I'm yours and I only had to take two Valium to get through it all. You didn't even notice that I had the word "obey" removed from our vows

W4D: Yeah, I thought your eyes were a little ummm... dilated. :::shrug::: Obey? No need to obey, my little mo chuisle! (W4D always pronounced it "muh kush-lah") You are my wifey now, all mine! Look how happy you have made me!

Me: See me smiling? I am happy, too! That is one wild head of hair you have there, Mr. Man. Glad you got a haircut for our special day. I really dig your white and beige, plaid Pierre Cardin suit. I am so lucky to marry such a snappy dresser.

W4D: No, I am the lucky one. You are one groovy chickadee. I can fit my hands completely around your tiny waist and you look just like that actress on Green Acres.

Me: Nothing will ever change. We will always be young and skinny and happy.

W4D: Let's drink more champagne.

Me: Okay, I think my Valium is wearing off.

One out of three isn't so bad.
Happy Anniversary

Monday, November 28, 2005


W4D's cousins have recently started an email list to catch up with each other's lives. They are scattered all over the country and it's been great hearing from so many relatives that we never get to see. They all seem to be leading such rewarding and interesting lives. I always think of the cousins as young and was quite shocked to learn that they are all older now. Not sure how this can happen when I didn't get any older at all.

For the benefit of our cousins are reading this blog, Welcome! Here's why I call Frank, "W4D" and "The Lubricator."

Same Old, Same Old

The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Oil

Does anyone remember a few years back, we talked about all taking a trip to Italy together? We briefly bantered about the idea that in five year's time, we would all charter a plane, rent a tour bus and do a big Italian Tour together. Remember? At the time, I thought the tour bus sounded pretty senile, the way old people travel. I was thinking, okay, we can do a charter flight together but "they" can do the tour bus thing. I am going to rent a sports car and zip around the countryside. I can meet up with them at night, whatever.

Oddly, that plane charter and tour bus Italian vacation sounds right up my alley now. I don't need to drive and I think I would like being chauffeured. Promise me golden days in Tuscany, a room with a view on the Italian Riviera, a translator in Rome, a gondola in Venice and a trip over the Dolomites and I am all yours. I'll drag W4D along, kicking and screaming. ::chortle::

Here's a photo of your parents. Does everyone have a copy of this one? I didn't pull it out of the frame to see if it is dated but I can guess within a year or two. If anyone knows the exact date this was taken, please email me via the Cousin's List, or leave a comment on this blog.

Click photo to view larger

Hugs from your young, Country Mouse Cousin,
Flaurella ~

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sold Out

I saw a college-age woman getting out of her car in the parking lot at our fave liquor store with a long striped, knitted muffler wrapped around her neck. It was a sunny 72 degrees outside and perfectly balmy. I couldn't understand why anyone would wrap up their neck on such a perfect afternoon. Maybe she had a lot of hickies or something.

We were there to buy our traditional November bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau. The liquor store was completely sold out. While we always complain about the Nouveau and sneer at the immaturity of the wine, it is a tradition, an autumn ritual, plus we like the colorful labels. It was rather disappointing to realize that we couldn't snip and snipe about the fruity stuff this year. Searching for a substitution, I wandered through the wines and found something called Bosca Verdi Italian Sparkletini. There were a couple of flavors, it effervesced. It was Italian spumonti so how bad could it be?

We opened an ice cold bottle of the Raspberry Sparkletini yesterday morning while we were preparing the Thanksgiving Day feast. It was bubbly and sweet and light, perfect for when you want to hit up the alcohol before noon. I don't care if all the Beaujolais Nouveau in Gainesville, Florida, is sold out. I shall instead drink Italian sparkling wines this autumn. To hell with the French Kool-Aid.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pie, Oh My

It was a lovely Thanksgiving. Here's a photo of the sunset this afternoon, the end to a beautiful day.

Thanksgiving sunset

Maybe I will post some more pix on Flickr later tonight. Right now, I think I finally have room for pumpkin pie. If my mother were still alive, she would have also made pecan pie and mincemeat pie in addition to pumpkin. Mother made the best pies.

It's early to bed tonight for I plan to hit the holiday sales by daybreak. Maybe. Maybe not. Right now, I just want to think about pie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dirty Turkey Talk

This list has been making the rounds for years. Not sure who originally wrote it but it wasn't me. I am all sweetness and light and would never say such things, unless it is Thanksgiving.

That's the biggest one I've ever seen!

How long do I beat it before it's ready?

Talk about huge breasts!

Just spread the legs open and stuff it in.

How long will it take after you stick it in?

You'll know it's ready when it pops up!

Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.

I didn't expect everyone to come at once!

Just wait your turn, you'll get some.

It's a little dry, do you still want to eat it?

Whew, that's one terrific spread!

I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.

Are you ready for seconds yet?

Don't play with your meat.

You still have a little bit on your chin.

If I don't undo my pants, I'll burst!

Wow, I didn't think I could handle all of that!

It's Cool Whip time!

Count your blessings and have a
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Choked Up

One of my fave foods is fresh artichokes. They are easy to prepare, elegant and versatile. W4D's family ate them Italian style, stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese and herbs. I like them dressed in lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Sometimes, I put a spoonful of cold dip or warm cheese sauce in the center. Occasionally, I slice whole artichokes vertically and scoop out the thistle and fill that part with crab. The tiny ones make elegant cocktail hor's dourves. However you prepare them, artichokes make a nice presentation. This is how to prepare a basic artichoke for stuffing, filling or just plain eating!

Buy the heaviest artichokes for the size. Look for ones that have fresh green leaves. The center top should be tight. The stems are going to be cut off so it doesn't matter how long the stems are.


Use a sharp knife to cut the stem off flush at the bottom of the artichoke. Peel off the bottom row of leaves for they are too tough to eat. Your artichoke should sit flat and is now ready for trimming. Use your kitchen shears to trim the top 1/4 off each leaf, starting at the bottom and going around and up until you get to the part up top where all the remaining leaves come to a point. This is the part above the thistle. Now, lay the artichoke on its side and cut the sharp points off the center of the artichoke. You can cut a lot off or a little. Cut off more if you are going to top the artichoke with a sauce so that you will have a larger level plateau area to hold the topping.


As soon as you cut artichokes, always sprinkle them with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown at the cuts. I just put them right into a large pot with about an inch of water in the bottom and liberally sprinkle them there with lemon juice since I always cook artichokes with a little lemon juice anyway. Cooking with lemon juice keeps the artichokes green instead of turning them brown so add another TSP or so to the water in the pot. You can trim them an hour or two early and then after sprinkling them with lemon juice, just cover the pot until ready to cook.


I bring the water to a quick boil and then turn down the heat to a medium boil and cook the chokes for about 20 minutes or until fork tender and drain. Serve hot or chilled. I'm making peppered pork tenderloin and brown rice to follow our first course of artichokes tonight. Since eating fresh artichokes takes some time, I like to serve them as their own course so the rest of the dinner doesn't get cold. Don't be afraid to cook fresh artichokes. They are easy to prepare. There's some nice artichoke recipes here, compliments of the Artichoke Growers Organization.

Monday, November 21, 2005


The right proper and very reserved Presbyterian Church across the street advertised a revival last week. I haven't been to a revival since I was thirteen and went with some Southern Baptist friends to an old-fashioned foot-stompin,' kiddie-pool dunkin,' Holy Ghost gathering under a big, blue-striped circus tent in a vacant lot where we all got free fans from a local funeral home sponsor. From a religiously conservative family, I was totally amazed when so many in the congregation became possessed by the spirit, suffering spasms and twitches and talking in tongues. Lawty Mercy! It was a sight, just like you see in the movies!

I had high hopes when I read about the Presby Revival but it was apparently somewhat more subdued, being held inside the picturesque 1890's Eastlake style church, during the middle of a quiet week in November. A banner outside promoted harmonious singing and spiritual restoration Monday through Thursday nights but I never heard even a hint of enraptured commotion nor saw more than 6 cars.

I think their timing was bad. Revivals are usually held in the summertime and end on a Saturday night, I think because it keeps people out of the bars. Anyway, I was out taking pictures of the beautiful stained glass windows during prime revival time and I only heard a single sweet soprano voice singing a hymn... no clapping, no foot stomping, no affirmative amens, no joyous halleluiahs. What a let-down, but at least the lights inside made the windows glow four nights in a row. If that was my church, I'd set a timer that turns the lights on every single night.

I can see four churches from my house. This is the view of the Presbyterian windows from my yard.


Click here to see more.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Rest of the Story

W4D says I should have continued on and told the whole story about the porch oranges and that I totally missed the point. I told him I preferred it my way and he should start his own steenkin' blog.

Anyway, the porch oranges grew by the porch because Theola's house sits in an old orange grove and her father and uncles used to sit on the porch and spit out the seeds of the oranges they ate past the edge of the porch. Hence, porch oranges sprang forth and now produce their own fruit.

I prefer to be succinct. Get your own blog, Mr. Man.
Then you can write your own stories any way you wish.

Let's see you use "hence" in a sentence.

No, "The hence man wears a mask and carries an axe," doesn't work for me.

Furthermore, kindly stop buying bananas...


...or at least, start eating them before they get too ripe and I have to feed them to the staghorn fern. We've had this staghorn fern for 22 years and I've never fertilized it. Grew it from a pup, a single frond, and it is now over 5 feet tall. I give it a banana every couple of months. It digs the potassium.


I am going to enjoy this perfect fall weather and the cool temps we are having this weekend. It's supposed to frost or freeze here early next week. Oddly, we have another hurricane trying to form down in the Caribbean. Check out the current radar loop. If we have a hurricane for Thanksgiving, I am moving to South Dakota. Don't ask me why. I've never been there but they don't get hurricanes in November, just snow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fruit Fix

I have some papaya in the fridge. It's very ripe so I need to eat it today.


W4D's friend at work brought him some freshly picked oranges, the first of the season.

Porch Oranges

W4D asked her was kind of oranges they were.

Theola replied, "Porch oranges."

"What are porch oranges?"

"Oh, you know, the kind that grows by the porch."

They look like Satsumas to me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chew and Click

A nice little supper of my favorite salmon last night, started with a tart lemon drop martini while I prepped dinner. W4D pulled a bottle of Australian Chardonnay Semillon out of the depths of the fridge. That deep bottom shelf is his domain and I rarely even look down there to see what it contains. Was glad it was an Australian wine for I never met one I didn't enjoy and W4D says they are a good value.

Rosemount Estate

Anyway, the moon was full and bright and it was a perfect balmy night to be out on the deck grilling so I decided to grill both the salmon and the asparagus. I sprinkled the stalks with virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper, lined them up on the hot grate and placed two pale coral slabs of salmon beside the veggies and went in check on the oven where the basil and tomato polenta I had already fried in olive oil was holding on warm. I had also already made a cooked chutney of sorts, of chopped tomatoes, caramelized onions, basil flavored olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar, so I gave it a stir and turned the heat as low as possible while we waited about 10 more minutes for the fish to cook. Time for another lemon drop.

It was a late dinner and we dug right in before we realized that I had forgotten to take my usual photo so I just grabbed the camera, clicked and kept right on eating.

Salmon, Polenta, Asparagus