Friday, September 30, 2005

Kill Bill

Florida's new "Stand Your Ground" law goes into effect at midnight. According to the new law, any citizen under attack “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.”

Apparently, this means we can shoot people when threatened. I thought we already did that. Oh, "legally" shoot them. Now it makes sense.

I'm all for self-defense. We Floridians used to have to wait until someone broke in to shoot to kill. Of course, everyone knew that if you accidentally shot a burglar before he fully entered, (yes, "he" is a sexist comment) you had to drag the carcass over the threshold into your house and put a baseball bat or candlestick in his hand so you could show you were in mortal danger and not have to mess with a trial, only the civil suit the surviving burglar would surely bring against you. Therefore, it paid to shoot straight. But now, we no longer have to flee, avoid, or pose the attacker before popping a few rounds into them. Now, we can shoot first and ask questions later.

If we hear a sound at the window late at night and feel scared, it's okay to shoot. Note to Kids: Make sure you take your keys with you when you go out. Don't do like my daughter did when she was a scatter-brained teenager and would forget her house key and scale the veranda, slipping in the upstairs bedroom window because she didn't want to awaken her parents.

We can now shoot potential car jackers, if threatened. I wonder how many window washing bums earning their daily beer stipend will get plugged? "Officer, he was coming right at me with a weapon that was disguised as a squeegee. I was scared and threatened."

Rush hour could become a fiasco. What if I flip someone off for driving like an eejit and they pull a gun? Should I shoot them before they try to shoot me for my threatening gesture? What if some near-sighted, old raisin takes the parking space I am waiting on at Target? Can I put him out of his geriatric misery? What if I rear end some yuppie kid's Beemer when he slams on his brakes without warning? Oops. Bad example. The kids don't even know that their cars come with brakes. Okay, what happens if someone crunches into my beloved Carmela? Can you say "road rage," with live ammo?

There's some extremely intense state rivalries in Florida among our college football teams. I hope that rivalry doesn't escalate to Deadwood-like proportions. Shoot-outs at the interstate games could cause the loss of dozens of Gators, Semi-noles and Miami Hurricanes every football season. And think of the Referees at those games.

"Get some glasses, Ref." Bang!
"Go back to pickin' apples." Pow!
"Like hell he was out of bounds." Blammo!
"Do not threaten our chance at a National Championship run."
"Kill the Ref" could take on a totally new meaning.

I live out in the country where everyone already owns a shotgun or two. The law now allows us to use a knife or pepper spray in addition to our guns. I'm in the market for a Bowie knife like Dan'l Boone wore and a few hairspray-sized canisters of pepper spray. I am going to have to get a bigger handbag. If I were you, I'd just stay away from Florida until the gunsmoke clears. I'm armed and dangerous.

Stay Away!
Silly? poster obtained from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Faded Guilt

I've been trying to stick to a high protein diet for several weeks. I have successfully cut down my protein portion to a piece of steak, fish or chicken no larger than the size of my palm. I have been eating plenty of salad and fresh veggies as usual but earlier this week, I ate some rice and then last night, a baked potato. I even put sour cream and butter it. Yum!

Steak Diet

I hate that I feel guilty for eating rice or a baked potato.

Have you discovered gypsy peppers in your local market? These colorful peppers are a new hybrid pepper that we have been buying for a couple of years. They turn from shades of yellow to orange to vibrant scarlet. The gypsies have no heat, a very thin skin, cook quickly and are much sweeter and smaller than bell peppers. I love the bright colors, the size and flavor of them. They have hardly any seeds and they last a really long time when freshly refrigerated.

To saute gypsy peppers, first rinse and dry them. Make sure there is no water on them or you will make the hot oil splatter. No need to slice them or cut off the tops - the tops make clever little handles when you eat them. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add a splash or two of good oil that has some flavor. I prefer high quality olive oil and always heat the pan before adding the oil. If you add oil to a hot pan, you will find that foods don't stick as easily. So, you've added the perfectly dry peppers. Now toss them around in that hot pan with the oil, searing them for 4 or 5 minutes. Remove them to a plate and season if you wish.

Since my diet is now kaput, I had grits for breakfast and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I've been thinking of pasta all afternoon. The guilt of that potato last night is fading fast.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

FOG and SMOG at Wedding

Michael and Lesli's wedding was celebrated over the weekend. It was a lovely and joyous occasion. We have a big, blended family and everyone gets along very well. I've tried for three days to think of an angle on it but there is none. There are not any silly or embarrassing stories to tell, no faux pas to relate.

W4D, my DH, is the FOG (Father of the Groom). That makes me the official SMOG (Step-Mother of the Groom). I've always liked W4D's first wife, the MOG. Also present was the former stepfather who has been a friend for too many years to count, plus his current and former spouses; the husband of the MOG, our daughter plus all the other adult children who all are brothers and sisters in one way or another. Add all the spouses and the intendeds of the offspring plus the grandkids and you have the somewhat complex, extended Family of the Groom. The FOB (Family of the Bride) took it all in stride and never let on if they were confused by who had been married to whom and in what order. A good time was had by all and everyone who is snuggled under the crazy quilt of our extended family is delighted with the marriage of the Michael and Lesli.

I am looking forward to the wedding photographer's pictures since my old digital camera doesn't do well with flash photography. I'm also not a good people photographer. I do better with jewels and food because brooches and brioche don't move or blink. While we wait on the real photographs, here is a blurry digital of the first kiss.

The Kiss
"You may kiss the Bride."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blink, Blink, Blink

I'm back. Took a mental health day yesterday. I did not work nor cook nor go near a computer. The wedding last weekend was great and I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

It's been a busy week. W4D and I were driving home after a very long day. We finally got home to find people standing in our driveway so that we were unable to turn and pull onto our property.

We had been out for hours and my bladder was about to burst. W4D was ready for a little relief, too. We were impatient, wanting to get into the house pronto and take care of business. Blinker on, stopped and waiting to turn for what seemed like the longest time, these two ladies continued to block our entrance while they let their leashed dogs weedle and sniff about in our mulch driveway.

"Jerk wads, jerk wads, jerk wads," I chanted as I crossed my legs in the car. I really had to go and these lolly-gaggers were blocking my passage.

DH said, "Do not call those people jerk wads."

"Why not," I asked.

"Because, they are my constituents."

"Then what should I call them?

"Jerk Wad Constituents."

Friday, September 23, 2005

See It Like a Native

The wedding weekend has arrived so this will be short and sweet.

Check out the beautiful nature photography of Katherine Pierce who donates her profits to the American Cancer Society. I love her local photographs. This is where I live and what I see each day in North Central Florida.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas and Louisianna. I saw the Mayor of Galveston on the news this morning. She is one organized woman. She and her police force are going to ride out the storm on the island. I wish no one had to put up with hurricanes. Be safe.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Amphibian Assault

Finally! Today is the first day of autumn. Fall is my favorite season even though it won't feel at all like fall here for at least another two to four weeks. We have rain today as Hurricane Rita sucks up all the tropical moisture and pulls it across the Gulf. I'm tired of hurricane worries and summer heat. I want cool breezes and low humidity. I long to be able to bake a pie or cook a roast in the oven. I want fried apples, roasted parsnips and pumpkin pie. In the meantime, we are suffering, still eating summery foods.

Crab and Shrimp

This morning I took a shower with a little frog about the size of a quarter. I was already wet when I noticed him so I decided just to finish my shower and then free him outside. He was fairly calm, staying put in the corner until I started shaving my legs and then he started jumping and hopping all over the shower stall. Perhaps he didn't like my shower gel. I was being careful for I didn't want to step on him. I didn't even mind when he started jumping all over the shower and bouncing on my legs but when he landed on my butt cheek, I squealed and dropped the razor.

The Actual Keister Culprit Croaker

After I took his photo, for which he refused to sit still for longer than a second, I tossed a hand towel on the little guy and released him outside. I wonder how he found his way into the shower? There are no open windows downstairs in this house. To get in the shower from outside, he would have to wait until a door was opened, hop in un-noticed, travel at least 40 feet, round a few corners and navigate three interior doors. He'd have to have the shower destination in mind and let himself in there. This leads me to believe that Froggie might have had an accomplice.

Revenge is mine, sayeth Flaurella.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Peaches are Hot

W4D was reading my blog from work.
He usually sends one-line emails several times a day.

First email: "I like the look of that peach."

I just knew he had one eyebrow crooked when he wrote that so I replied, "Yes, I knew you would and I know why you do."

An hour later, a romantic proposal arrives via email.
"Would you like to go to Lowe's or Home Depot with me after work."

"No, thanks, I'll pass."

Who says romance fades after you are married?

I switched handbags today. Found all sorts of lists and receipts tucked into the zippered compartments as well as some lint-covered Tic Tacs and coins rattling around in the bottom of the bag. The oddest thing I found was a Mammo-Wipe. I had a mammogram in April so why is there a Mammo-Wipe in my purse? Did I only use one at the time? Why would I save a wipe? What did I plan to do with it? Why did I put it in a hidden zippered compartment? These questions are bothering me.

No matter, I am going to put the Mammo-Wipe and a mint on DH's pillow tonight. When he goes upstairs, I will stay down here and listen for the reaction.

Old married folks are easily entertained.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pesche Dolci

It's been a great year for Georgia peaches. They have been extra sweet and juicy. The very essence of summer flavor is a fresh peach.

The first summer peaches

I had planned to grill this last batch but when I cut into one, it was so perfect, so sweet that I ate it on the spot and couldn't bear to use them in any recipe. Well, I did enjoy a few slices in red wine the last couple of evenings (as is the Italian custom), but cook with them? No way. Not late summer peaches.

Peach Pit
Juicy late summer Georgia peach

This summer, I started saving the little packing label stickers that come on individual pieces of fruit and produce. I stuck them onto the tiles behind the sink. I realized this was a problem when I could no longer clean the tiles without ruining the stickers so I had to scrape them off and start over. I started sticking them on the inside of the coffee cupboard. Does everyone have a cupboard where you keep the coffees and the filters and about a zillion coffee cups even though you almost always use only the same two mugs? Anyway, the coffee cupboard isn't a good spot for my fruit stickers. I need to find something I can cover with little produce stamps. A picture frame? A recipe box? Something unique. If you have any ideas, let me know.

The best peaches I've had this year were from Lane Packing Company in Fort Valley, GA. Check out their web site for some pretty pix of peach blossoms and fruit. The end of peach season is the only sad thing about the end of summer. I will not miss summer but I will surely miss Georgia peaches.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dangerous Self Diagnosis

It's official. W4D has tossed his hat into the proverbial ring. I think any dude who wears a hat this cool should be a politician. Besides, DH would make a very fair and informed town councilman.


W4D has had this hat for 22 years but you can buy a dandy Scrooge hat at
Berkley Hats. They have all kinds of cool hats that make me wish I was a "hat person." While I'm not a hat person, I do have a tuffet and a wardrobe of tiaras. How many couples do you know that own a top hat and a tuffet? It occurs to me that perhaps we are eccentric.

Some not quite terrifying news this morning, Robin the Wonder Dentist says I don't need a root canal and that while I will require a crown, there may be enough tooth left to secure it and if not, I can have a pin instead of a rod. I have a couple rods already in my jawbone so a pin sounds better if it comes to that. I didn't even ask the gory details. The less I know, the better.

On the way home, I stopped at Cloud Nine Spa to have my nails done for a Katrina Relief Fundraiser. I felt guilty doing such a fussy girly thing when people have lost everything but I needed to have a manicure before the wedding anyway and why not donate that money? Normally, Cloud Nine is closed on Monday but everyone was there working for free and 100% of the money collected from services and tips today goes to Katrina Relief. I left a big tip and even bought a bake sale item. People were also giving blood but I didn't think I should drive home already ditzy on dental Xanax after giving blood. Besides, the Blood Mobile will be right here at the park across the street in town tonight. They always want DH's blood since he is Type B. I'm just a normal old A Positive but my blood is very rich in iron, cabernet and tranquilizers. I bet some old rheumy wino with tourettes would benefit greatly from a transfusion from me.

Feeling a little tacky for making that last comment, I looked up symptoms of Tourette Syndrome and found that I have the following in common:

  • Obsessions and compulsions (ask my husband)
  • Quick temper, mood swings, over-reaction (My husband would really like to discuss this with you)
  • Echolalia -the urge to repeat other's words (loudly and repeatedly, I might add)
  • Echopraxia -the urge to mimic other's actions (obnoxiously and wickedly)
  • Palilalia -the urge to repeat your own words or thoughts (ad nauseum!)
  • The person with Tourette Syndrome is always warm and has an unusual sensitivity to heat. In hot weather, the person boils, in cold weather they wear much less heavy clothing than would be expected. (verified by everyone who knows me)
  • Heightened sensitivity to light (especially flickering light but I have mostly 25 watt bulbs in my house and slip around and turn down others' lights when I visit my friends)
  • Polydipsia - Excessive water drinking. Excessive and constant thirst usually associated with disease i.e. diabetes. (Do alcoholic drinks count?)
  • Sleeping Difficulties - Many of those that we experience with Tourette Syndrome seem to either one; sleep long and too much, or not very much at all. They may even fight sleep until exhaustion takes over and they don’t have a choice. I rarely have met any in-between. (I can never EVER sleep more than 3 to 4 hours a night without help.)
  • Tourette women go bra-less because they are too uncomfortable otherwise. (It's a tactile torture thing and I have been known to rip them off while screaming obcenities. Unless it is a wedding or a funeral, I refuse to wear one and when I must, it comes off ASA I am back in the car)
  • Tactile offenders could be: stiff tags, stiff fibers (e.g., jeans), seams in socks, waistbands and belts, jewelry, hairbands, synthetic fibers. (I cannot wear socks, scarves, hats, hairbands, etc. I cannot bear being bundled up in anything, no matter how cold it is)

OMG! I have Tourette Syndrome. That explains a lot.

Friday, September 16, 2005


My Snaggle Regimen
No smiling.
No kissing.
Do not touch me.
Do not even look at me sideways.

My Five Day Snaggle Diet
No hot foods
No cold foods
No solid foods
If I can't eat it, I'm not cooking it.

Afraid to chew.
Straws are my friends.

I even bought some JELL-O.
Then I researched gelatin and now I am not sure I want to eat JELL-O. Gelatin is made by boiling down collagen (a protein) found in the connective tissues of animal skin, ligaments, and bones. Bones consist of calcium phosphate and a load of stringy proteins, which is why bones are harder to crack than limestone. If you boil bones in acid to dissolve out the calcium phosphate they go all floppy and jiggly. There is a description of how to make gelatin here if you dare to read it. And you may be wondering if JELL-O is Kosher? And don't even think about marshmallows.

Maybe I'll make pudding.
Chocolate pudding sounds good.

Dental evaluation on Monday.

BTW, my dentist says I can eat anything I want but I am afraid.
(at least it doesn't hurt, at least it doesn't hurt)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Horror!

Yes, W4D is somewhat spoiled. He does eat well. And, he always compliments me on whatever I serve him for dinner. He wasn't wild about the vodka sauce from a jar but he did praise the fact that I put a meal before him in my post-dental drug haze. Usually, he brings home "go food" after I have been to the dentist. He asked the night before what I wanted and I told him nothing since I wanted to drop by the new market that opened this week. The Lubricator also always does the dishes. I don't clear tables or wash dishes, or scrape broiling pans, or break my nails scrubbing pots. I just cook. I do the fun part. W4D does the clean-up. I like it that way.

I enjoy all the emails you folks send. It appears that my DH, The Lubricator, and food are the most popular subjects. Hmmm. Come to think about it, that's what I write about mostly anyway so that makes sense. I did want to thank you all for the encouraging notes and kind emails you send. I try to answer each one. For those that don't have my email address, you can email me at "flaurella at alltel dot net." You will need to write it like a real email address since I can't write it out the normal way or the Spammers will bombard me.

OMG!!! As I was writing this, I was eating a BLT sandwich. My #5 pre-molar just cracked right in half. I, of course, totally FREAKED OUT. I jumped up, broke into a cold sweat and had to sit down again quickly before I passed out. I called DH who offered to come home. Sweet of him, but what can he do? Then, I called my regular dentist's office and asked them to see if I have had a root canal on number five. Nope, just a filling. I have asked my dentist, (Robin is the greatest dentist in the whole world) to call me when she gets a spare moment. She can always calm me down. So far, it doesn't hurt and aside from being nauseated from fear and having an anxiety attack, I am doing okay. :::shudder::: Don't even suggest I look in my mouth with a mirror. I can't bear the thought. Besides, I have half a tooth lying here on my desk and that is gruesome enough.

I have to go out for events the next three days and nights so I'll have to learn to keep my mouth shut until I can get a temp crown. Plus, my dentist is closed on Fridays so that means I have to wait until at least Monday. The wedding is not this weekend but next weekend. Whaaaaaa. It sucks getting old and having your teeth crumble. I can't believe I will have to go through more dental trauma so soon. (at least it doesn't hurt, at least it doesn't hurt, take a deep breath, at least it doesn't hurt)

Furthermore, I didn't get to finish my BLT. That was a treat that I had been wanting for weeks. I guess it is gonna be a tepid liquid diet for me for the next few days. Room temp coffee. Lukewarm soup. Stirred, not shaken, martini's with a straw. Bourbon neat. Woe is me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Do you remember the line from the 1973 sci-fi classic film Soylent Green where Charlton Heston realizes what's going on and screams, "Soylent Green is people!"

I have discovered what constitutes comfort food in my house. "Comfort food is carbs!" Specifically: mashed potatoes with lots of butter or gravy, escalloped potatoes, mac and cheese and carb-laden pasta.

I never cook the evening after I have been traumatized by anything dental. I do however love to shop while under the influence of Xanax so I always cruise a few stores and drop by the bookstore. Unfortunately due to the drugs, I am never able to remember the titles of the books I am wanting to read so I mostly browse and enjoy the ambiance. The bookstore nearest my periodontist is a small, independent one and they have cute gifts like pottery, hand crafts, lovely stationary, fragrant potpourri, incense and great chocolates. After having someone's fingers in my mouth, I always like to reward myself by eating chocolate.

After I left the bookstore and started savoring my hord of dark chocolate and pecan pralines, I drove to the market where I loaded up on healthier fare like shrimp and snow crabs and steaks, fresh veggies and fruit, and I will admit, more chocolate. For supper, I picked up some fresh cheese ravioli and some vodka sauce, ::::gasp:::: in a jar. Nope, I do not cook after anything dental. I have been traumatized and I must recline on the sofa after such an ordeal, not cook. However, I did boil the ravioli and heat the sauce and I even sprinkled it with some fresh basil from garden and made a salad but that is not cooking - that is just plating pre-made stuff.



I thought it was an okay dinner but spoiled Mr. W4D turned up his nose. When I asked him what he thought of it, he stammered and said he guessed it was okay as he pushed it around his plate.

"What's wrong with it?" I asked.

"It's not very tomato-ey and I can't taste the vodka."

"Of course you can't taste the vodka. You aren't supposed to taste the vodka. You taste the tomatoes and cream and the spices and the olive oil. Vodka doesn't have any taste and besides, the alcohol evaporates during cooking."

"It tastes too mild and it's not dark red like tomatoes should be."

Restraining myself, I did not whisk the plate away from the complainer. Instead, I plotted how I will serve him a can of
Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee ravioli next time I go to the dentist. He can heat it himself.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Our household is all a-twitter. The Lubricator has decided to run for a seat on the Town Council. People are actually phoning the house, encouraging him to toss his hat into the ring. Mind you, DH doesn't own many hats except for some straw Panama's and a lot of Gator baseball caps. Oh, wait! I forgot that he has a felt top hat like the Mad Hatter wore. That is the hat he should toss when he decides to offically become political.

He has asked me if I will be his campaign manager.
What!? LOL!
No way, Dear!

He then asked if I will be his treasurer.
Ha! Again, no way. It irks me to think this will cost us money.

What I did offer to do was to check his spelling and grammar in any campaign or council letters he writes and proof any correspondence or speaking notes.

I did not agree to be nice to people when they start calling here at all hours of the day and night because their cat is stuck in a tree or their water facet is dripping or a streetlight burns out. I have to answer the phone for business and I insist W4D publish his own cell phone number so I do not become his phone bitch.

Are you reading this, Mr. Man? I bet we will have to disclose our income (embarrassing since DH is an underpaid State employee) and perhaps our party affiliation. Hmmm.... maybe we have already done that since The Lubricator already sits on the Land Planning Committee/Council or whatever they call it. I hate politics. Lubie, are you sure you want to really do this thang? No matter what position you take, half the peeps in town are always going to be upset with you. The phone is already ringing off the hook. Sheesh.

I wish I had some meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Instead, I will take my dental pre-meds, four horse pill Amoxycillin and those most appreciated amnesia-inducing Xanax before I turn on the answering machine and head off to see Dr. Dick.


Monday, September 12, 2005


It appears that LT. General Honore has the situation in New Orleans under control. I am betting that Mardi Gras will bring in the usual tourists next year and while many other areas of the Crescent City will take a lot longer to re-build and repair, New Orleans will be mostly restored within a few years. I am also thinking that Casino money will help re-build Biloxi and Gulfport. I hope that the smaller communities along the Gulf also get the help they need to re-build their homes and their lives. I cannot imagine what Southern Mississippi will be like without all the beautiful old homes.

W4D goes to his GATOR Club meetings every Thursday this time of year but this week, we "Swamp Women" are going along with our husbands to the FGTC Gator Club to hear Danny Wuerffle speak. We'll be donating to his Desire Street Ministry in New Orleans. Read this article to learn more about the good work our Gator Heisman winner, Danny Wuerffle, does in New Orleans. It's a great cause and will benefit one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. Those wanting to help can send checks to: Desire Street Ministries, 1716 Mangum Rd., Houston, TX 77092 or donate online at

Sunday was Remembrance Day for 9-11. I think those powerful beams of light radiating up from Ground Zero are the most beautiful monument imaginable to those who lost their lives four years ago. As I understand it, they only light those beams of light one day per year on September 11th. I hope I get to see those lights in person one day. I know I will never ever forget the events of that day. After four years, I can almost think about it without crying. Almost.

Amidst all the sad situations in the world, there are still some joyous happenings, like the pending wedding of my step-son Michael and his lovely bride-to-be, Lesli. This weekend, I attended a shower in her honor at the Empress Tea Room in Tampa.

Here's a picture of Lesli with her hat of bows. Isn't she darling?

Lesli in her Shower Bow Hat

I didn't get very many decent photos since the light was shining in the windows at a poor angle for photography but I'll try to post a few more soon in an album on FLICKR.

I surely did enjoy the harpist who played for us throughout the event.


My daughter has always said she wants a harpist at her wedding reception and I heartily agree. I wonder how long it takes to learn to play a harp? I would probably have to cut my nails, eh? Sure would love to have a harp sitting in the corner by the piano though. I guess I will have to leave the harp playing to the professionals for the time being. Perhaps, I will purchase a harp CD or two. The harp is so relaxing. I definitely need some harp music in my life. Maybe we all do.

I visit the periodontist tomorrow. That means a script of Xanax so they can get me in the chair as I am extremely dental phobic. Xanax is my amnesia drug of choice. It makes me forget the trip to the dentist afterward so that I can keep going back. It also makes me a complete blabber-mouth so don't believe a word of what I write here tomorrow. I will be doing drugs, junking out on Xanax, in pharmaceutical oblivion, so pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain on Tuesday.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blue Streak

I was home alone at my work station, doing my usual mix of tasks plus chatting with customers on the computer, answering their questions via email and the phone.

Answering customer questions mostly consists of copying and pasting what is already posted on site or reading aloud the site descriptions. After 8 years, I have noted that lots of women don't bother to read product descriptions. I'm not sure if men read them either but men don't ask any questions except, "How fast can you get it here? Will you overnight? My wife's birthday is tomorrow."

I field questions all day long. Ladies call to ask how wide a bracelet is when it says it is 1 inch wide right in the description. Women call to ask if a 16 inch necklace will fit them. They need me to tell them to measure their necks. Lonely older people phone just to talk about items from their past. Lazy people who don't want to do their own research call to inquire how much their own vintage jewelry is worth or to get free appraisals. I find much of this intercourse irritating but I am always polite. Some callers are very long-winded. Some don't listen to the answers to their questions. Some won't shut up long enough for me to even answer their questions.

So I was as usual, doing about half a dozen things at once, including answering the phone, watching the hurricane weather loops on my desktop, paying scant attention to two different channels on two different tubes, feeding doggie cookies to The Bubba, typing, surfing, writing orders, whatever else I could fit in when my patience ran out. I wonder what it is like to only do one thing at a time? Women have always been excellent multi-taskers and it took some nerd dude in the information age to come up with a term for it, but before I get off on another rant...

At 4-ish in the afternoon as is my custom, I took a little break. The phone comes off the hook and I take a few minutes to myself about this time every day. I stretch my legs and usually have a loud and colorful conversation with myself.

Just myself.
Out Loud.
Really vocal.

You might say that I was sort of screaming vile oaths and cussing like a sailor to de-stress and congratulate myself upon my amazing powers of self-restraint. I get tired of having to be nice all day. I like to swear. It's good to get the foul mouth wound down before the evening begins so I have taken to cussing up a blue streak most afternoons. I enjoy neutralizing my frustration as I string tacky words into combinations that would make a teamster blush.

I was enjoying my personal little screaming fit. I didn't hear the door open as W4D let himself in.

"Wow. Who are you talking to?" asked the Lubricator.

"Ummm..... No one. You're home early."

"Who's here?"

"No one is here."

"Were you cussing someone out on the phone?" W4D asked as he peered around the corner and looked into the office, then the hall.

"Nope. Just practicing my cussin."

W4D, a confused look on his face asked, " You swear like that when there's no one around?"

"Yep. What of it?" :::glare::::

"I think I'll take the dog for a walk."

"Excellent idea."

I cooked W4D a pork chop, fresh Brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes slathered in butter.

comfort chop
Comfort food for DH.

I ate sautéed asparagus, mushrooms, a sweet pepper and grape tomatoes for myself.

Natural Diuretics
Diuretic veggie dinner.

Yes, there are two slices of baguettes there. I should be thin as a rail but I am not. I think one can inhale calories.

So be it.

I'll just keep cussin.'

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wring It Out

My glasses were not ready yesterday so I get to make yet another trip into town today. I keep cringing at the thought of how much the gasoline is costing for all these daily trips back and forth to the "big city." We try to combine my chores with DH's work schedule so that both if us do not need to drive to town every day but it doesn't always work out. Besides, the man cannot go shoe shopping for me, or purse shopping or get my nails done for me, can he? ha!

So, off to town I go once DH gets home with the non-gas guzzler vehicle. He's soon to be off with his buds tonight for GATOR Club anyway so I will go have my new specs adjusted and make sure they fit correctly and then I will pop into our brand new Publix Market that opens today. I need some bananas and some asparagus and some mushrooms. Those are foods that are natural diuretics and all this comfort food has made me puffy. Seriously, a couple of days of eating bananas, asparagus and mushrooms will get rid of the water weight so I'll continue to cook the comfort foods for W4D but I am going to try to wring all the water weight from my bod before the weekend.

Asparagus is a natural diuretic

A couple of suppers of sautéed mushrooms and asparagus will be delish. Bananas and skim milk for breakfast won't be at all hard to swallow. W4D can eat his usual whatever it is he eats for breakfast and I'll even make him pork chops for supper tomorrow. Hmmm... I wonder if I could arrange my asparagus spears and mushrooms in a bed of mashed potatoes? Nope. I probably shouldn't do that. When I get back from town, I'll just eat my veggies and be a good girl after I have a nice martini - or two.

Martini and Wontons
My reward after shopping

Don't forget to click here if you can give to the hurricane survivors along the Gulf Coast. Look below at the list of countries that have sent aid for hurricane victiims to the USA. How wonderful that they want to help! Thank you for your generous donations to the USA.
the Bahamas

Dominican Republic
El Salvador
New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
South Korea
Sri Lanka
United Kingdom

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tranquilized by Taters

I'm off for a day of beauty. Hope to pick up my new rimless specs after my manicure and pedicure. Had the hair foiled last week and getting the teeth buffed and shined on Tuesday. This old age maintenance stuff is hard work.

Just finished a large soothing lunch, a fried turkey Manhattan sandwich on wheat bread, complete with peas and yet again, calming mashed potatoes. Note the copious amounts of gravy.

comfort sandwich
More Comfort Food

Here's a list of charities that need your assistance to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

And, here are two excellent hurricane blogs that I have been following. Start reading about August 28th and read the first hand accounts.

Hurricane Blogs

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Less than three weeks to the wedding! Here is one of the proofs of the engagement pictures. Instead of a guest book, Lesli and Michael are going to have a matted picture or photo collage on an easel for everyone to sign and then they will frame it. I thought this was a lovely photo of the happy couple. Isn't my new daughter-in-law pretty?


This week is comfort food week in our house. Sad and stressed over the destruction in the Gulf states, jittery about wedding details, I have decided to cook basic foods that calm and remind us of meals like our mothers used to make. How about good old pot roast? Usually, I prefer pot roast cooked with potatoes and carrots, celery and onions but the broccoli and cauliflower has been really nice this month. Since it is so good for you, when the price it right, we eat it as often as possible. This is basic pot roast like my mother used to make with veggies on the side. Sometime soon, I will have to make the Italian style pot roast that my mother-in-law taught me, too.

comfort food

Pot roast is very easy to make and you always end up with the best drippings for gravy, Sometimes I make flour gravy but corn starch gravy is always velvety smooth and easy.

Easy Cornstarch Gravy

Remove cooked roast from the roasting pan and place pan on burner over medium heat. Always let meat set up a bit before you cut it. Letting it sit a while allows the hot juices to settle back into the meat. If you cut beef, pork, fowl, etc. too soon after removing it from the oven, it will become dry. While the meat sets up, you make the gravy.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water or broth to drippings in roasting pan. I like to include a little Kitchen Bouquet in that one and a half cups of water or broth to make the gravy rich and. brown. Buy it at the market or make your own by warming a heaping Tablespoon of dark brown sugar in a small pan. Don't burn the sugar but keep stirring it and get it hot and when you can smell heating, before it is ready to caramelize, add a hearty shake or two of Worcestershire sauce (about a TBSP) and about 3 Tablespoons of water. Stir and warm until the brown sugar dissolves and all is smooth. Yes, it is easier to just use store bought Bouquet but you can make this homemade concoction very quickly if needed. If you pour the Kitchen Bouquet or the sauce you just made into a measuring cup first, then just top it off with water and or broth to equal 1 1/2 cups.

Back to the roasting pan -- If there is a lot of fat in the pan, spoon off all but about two Tablespoons, then cook the remaining drippings with the water and bouquet mixture, constantly stirring over medium heat to remove the brown bits in bottom of pan.

Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water in a measuring cup, stirring until smooth. Note! Always mix cornstarch with a cool liquid. Stir into the drippings pan, slowly bring to a boil and boil until thickened (about 1 minute more). Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper if needed. You may strain the gravy as I often do or serve it homestyle with all the good bits from the roast still in the gravy. Making gravy is easy but I had a lot of trouble with it when a newlywed. Practice makes perfect!

While I am thrilled to see all the donations from caring people for the hurricane victims, they still need more help. Click here for some suggestions on how to help those who lost everything due to Hurricane Katrina.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Creamed Corn

Lawty! I love Florida NCAA football. Year after year my UF GATORS, the FSU Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes play the BEST football in the USA. Oh sure, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, UCLA, and Ohio State (note: I did NOT mention Tennessee or Jawja ) and other umm... good teams come and go but we have bragging rights here in Florida. No other state has three terrific teams in the top 10 year after year after year. We Floridians love our NCAA football.

Some of the best college games in the whole country take place between our Florida teams. The interstate rivalry here is intense. It's not easy for me to root for FSU or Miami but I have a preference in the FSU vs. MIAMI game tonight -- may not happen but I am watching and I know this will be a great game, no matter the outcome.

Speaking of football, we have had Corn Huskers :::gasp::: move into our little town. Their cars all have huge red Nebraska Husker logos on them and as far as I know, no one has spoken to them yet. They bought right across the street from the post office so everyone knows they are from Nebraska. I think they would make new friends faster if they were not so blatant in their loyalties. It's okay to be a Husker - at least it is better than being a soccer fan or a hockey fan living in GATOR Country -- but it's not something I would broadcast to the whole population here; all 438 assorted Florida football fans who reside in the mighty metropolis of McIntosh, while trying to join the community. It's a better idea to let us get accustomed to alien loyalties slowly, after we meet you and decide you are good, kind but mis-informed, transplanted peeps. Regardless, welcome Nebraska fans to the heart of GATOR Country. Eventually, we will all take off our sunglasses and you will be able to see us glancing your way with somewhat tolerant smiles on our faces. After all, we know you like college football so that's half the battle right there.

Concerning intolerance, I read the most disturbing and infuriating religious explanatory article after Katrina collided with NOLA and have been fuming about it for days. The saddest part is that these morons really believe this shit.

READ THIS LINK if you want to get pissed off. (It's a long article but read it all if you can stomach it)

My Maker and I get along just fine but I can't help but wonder how some folks can be so small minded, such totally uneducated assholes, that they can read, support or author such total bullshit. I promised myself that I would not get into religion or politics in this blog but the above article so infuriated me that maybe others need to see what some people think is truth.

Back to football.... We had a rollicking good TailGATOR kick-off party at John and Barb's on Saturday afternoon. After the first Florida touchdown of the new season, DH presented me with a wonderful grinning GATOR ring made by bench jeweler, Paul Spivey of Calico Gator 2. Love my new GATOR ring! I can't believe W4D kept it a secret.

This week is comfort food week at my house. I just wish I could feed all the Gulf Coasters who need a good, comforting meal this week. We've sent our donations, putting our money where our mouths are - so to speak.


A good, home-cooked meal can make anyone feel better, at least for a while. Tonight, it is rainy and the first day in 54 straight days that it didn't get to or above 90 degrees here in North Central Florida. The comfort food Of The Day is Italian sausage, peppers and onion sandwiches. W4D bought poppy seed spolettes. Not my personal fave but they will do in a pinch.

Sausage Sandwich

Tonight, we are sort of tucked in, waiting to go back to work tomorrow. Our thoughts are with the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. All Americans are wishing you a speedy return to a life of normalcy. We grieve with you for your losses and we will help you regain your lives.

Here is a list of worthy organizations to which you can direct your generosity. Click here for a list of rules to follow before you open up your wallet. Please be generous.

Friday, September 02, 2005


This has been a very long week and it is finally time for Gator Football. For all the anticipation, football season sneaked up on me.

Our Gator Quarterback made the cover of Sports Illustrated and we are all looking forward to our new coach and the new season. This is Gator Country!

SI - Cover 2005

I asked W4D how he thought our GATORS would do this season.

"Tennessee will be tough but we are going to win it all."

"Get real! Urban is a good coach but I think you are not being realistic."

"I am telling you, we are going to win the National Championship."

"You say the exact same thing every year."

"Well, this year it is going to happen. If you ain't a GATOR, then you are Gator Bait."

I admire his spirit but in the face of the disaster along the Gulf Coast this last week, football doesn't seem so important. I'm exhausted, drained, and wiped out and we didn't even have to deal with Katrina. The devastation and suffering is staggering. I have faith that Americans are going to help each other. There are local telethons all over Florida and the South raising money for the victims. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every able American gave one day's salary to help?

Red Cross Hurricane Disaster Relief
-- or --
Salvation Army Disaster Assistance

In the meantime, perhaps a little diversion will be a good thing.

g8r disk

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Tea Time

Been chatting today about kids going back to school. I cried when our daughter went to kindergarten and again when she went to the first grade. I drove her to a private kindergarten but first grade was different. She went to a public school and caught the school bus across the street in the park on our corner. I remember her excitement. Kaitlin could hardly wait to ride that big yellow school bus! I walked her across the street to wait on the bus and when it came, she ran right up the steps without even looking back. ::sniff::

1st grade girl

In the scan above, Kait had painted her lips with a red marker. She had insisted on wearing lip gloss that first day of first grade but after the fact, she didn't think it her lips were red enough so she "fixed" the photo. This is funny because today, at 21, she rarely wears makeup. The last time I saw her wear lipstick was for her senior prom.

Okay, so it was 15 years ago, and the memory is still fresh in my mind. Just as fresh was how I had to pull off the road and sit and bawl my eyes out for 20 minutes after I had dropped her off at kindergarten that first day. Come to think, I cried when she started college, too. Who knew I was such a sap?

Back to first grade... My lady friends came over to help me wait on the school bus that day 15 years ago this week. It was wicked hot and muggy and I was weepy all day. Someone decided we should have a little "tea" while we waited. Then someone decided we should put on vintage hats and velvet wraps and furs as we sat on the veranda with our teacups. Surely you must realize that we wouldn't have done this if we really had "tea" in our teacups. I can't remember what we were drinking but we all got schnockered sitting on the porch sipping whatever out of our teacups waiting on the bus. By the time the bus got here, a group of crazy drunk women ran out into the yard in our shorts and tea shirts with our silly hats and vintage wraps and started applauding and whooping when Kaitlin got off the bus. She wasn't allowed to cross the street by herself yet so we all trooped across and brought her home to sit on the porch with us and tell us all about her first day.

Tea Time

Kait always says that day is indelibly etched in her mind. I can't imagine why. But, I bet you have figured out why we gals always refer to the afternoon happy hour as our tea time.

Please! Visit right now and donate to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.