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

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Autumn Afternoon in Abbie Land

I was just out walking around the backyard, camera in hand. It's 76 degrees on my outdoor thermometer and so green, it looks like May instead of November. After a long summer, at last a month with no air conditioning and only a handful of nights where we needed a little heat. It's perfectly lovely to be able to wear flip flops and shorts and not need air conditioning.

I took a few digital pictures while I was poking around the yard and posted them on Flickr so click here and you can view a quick slide show of my pictures taken at 3:00 this afternoon.

cherub 03

Not only has my muse flown off but my funny bone took a hike, too. I read in Newsweek that Aging Baby Boomers are now being referred to as "Abbies." I don't want to be no frickin' Abbie.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Friday Night Progressive Dinner

5:00 PM: Bang Bang and Amberbock at Bonefish

7:30 PM: Sushi and a Vodka Martini at home

sushi plate close

9:30 PM: Half a Hoagie and a glass of Paisano wine.

11:00 PM: Vanilla Ice Cream and Baileys Irish Cream.

And I wonder why I have to take Prevacid.

sushi plate

And no, I do not want to talk about Steve Spurrier beating my Gators.

Let's just think happy thoughts instead.

Friday, November 11, 2005


A thank you to all who have served or are serving our country this Veteran's Day. I am honored to benefit from all you do to protect the USA and further the cause of freedom around the world. You vets rock!

Heard on the 6:00 Local news and I am not making this up:

"Going to be REALLY chilly for the game on Saturday!
Temp at kickoff on Saturday at 12:30 will be 66 degrees.
Temp at halftime, 72 degrees. Dress accordingly."

I take it this means that students should wear Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts instead of a coat of orange or blue body paint and jogging shorts to the game when we beat the Cocks on Saturday. Wait a minute you foolish weatherman! The game is in South Carolina, not in Gainesville. You didn't even give the temperatures for South Carolina this weekend. No matter. The bars will be packed and the local TailGator parties will be perfect at 72 degrees.

I am still looking for my muse. Hope she shows up by Monday.
Have a good weekend. I'm off to Bonefish for Bang Bang Shrimp.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Missing Muse

If I can think of anything to write, I will write it here. As of 4:45PM, I got nothing. I'll try to unclog the old brain cells again later this eve.

Not sure why I can't get Blogger to accept a FLICKR badge of some of my Antelope Canyon photos. That's sort of the way my day has unfolded. Nothing seems to be working correctly.
Click this link and go have a look at some of my fave photographs of a slot canyon on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. I took these shots with my trusty old Mavica FD-83. I am really going to miss this old digital camera.


If you see my muse, please send her home. In the meantime, I think I will go look for her behind the Nouilly Prat.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Far Out

In my continuing search for eco-friendly products, I have discovered that you can now order hemp clothing, hemp accessories, hemp bed linens, hemp jewelry, hemp skincare products and even hemp pot holders. You can smoke it, cook it, eat it, write on it and more. Golly! I think I may have accidentally inhaled some hemp or something back in the 60's or early 70's. I cant' exactly remember because if you can remember the 60's, you weren't really there, or so I am told.

I am lucky if I can remember what I had for dinner last night. That's one reason I started taking pictures, so I can be sure I don't forget and cook the same thing every other day. Last night, I made my favorite chicken piccata with artichoke hearts and button mushrooms with lots of garlic and tarragon.


Click here for a recipe for my chicken piccata. Then, check out some of the hemp links in the yellow column to the right. You can learn about hemp here. Hemp is sort of cool. Who knew? I am obviously out of the loop.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Truth In Advertising

It's that time of year when many catalogues arrive in the mail. I like catalogue shopping but I usually look to see if there is also a web site. I find most catalogues that have a web site have unadvertised specials online. Anyway, a nice "Eco-friendly" catalog from a new source arrived and I started reading about the sweaters on the first page which were advertised as being available in "new low eco-impact colors." Guess what colors are low eco-impact? Natural, navy and cranberry.

Pretty interesting marketing and even though I am not sure why a sweater needs to be a low eco-impact color, I was intrigued and kept reading. Here's what I found in the postal version of the Gaiam Catalog:

"Planet friendly" turtlenecks. (still not sure why)
"Sustainably crafted, meditation inspired furnishings" crafted in Indonesia
"Pashmina wool cocoons" from hand-clipped goats.
"Clocks and calculators powered by water" Wouldn't solar be more eco-friendly?
"Decorative lamps (that) provide sunshine-like lighting" (no special bulbs required)
"Ottomans made of renewable plant fiber" Renewable plant fiber turned out to be grass grown in China.
"Eco-friendly beanbag" made of shredded foam - read further to learn it is recycled shredded foam from Taiwan
"Eco-chic Rattan" Who knew we Floridians have been eco-chic for years?
"Ingenious blow tube (that) makes fanning fires a thing of the past" [snort] These surely must be city folks!

I am all for eco-friendly products like organic foods, non-animal tested beauty products, safe cleaning products, natural remedies, etc. but some of these companies are really creative with their eco-friendly descriptions.

I was going to order from the catalogue, a pair of "leather-like shoes approved by the Vegan Society" but the "leather-like composition material" looked suspiciously like plastic.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Answer B

I usually do not use the F word in this blog. However, sometimes adults use the F word in real conversations and this was one of those times. I considered altering the spoken words but I prefer to tell it like it is and I don't think W4D can get dooced for something I write in my blog. If anyone tried to blame him for anything I write, it would be worth the fight. Still, if you do not want to see the F word, do not read this entry.

Last night during dinner, W4D and I were discussing when The Soprano's would be shown again on HBO. We really miss that program and HBO tortures us and millions of other fans by taking such a long hiatus after each set of shows.

"I remember a year and a half ago when HBO said The Soprano's would be back in November. Will you please go check the paper and see if maybe it starts tonight," I asked.

"I already checked and it's not on tonight. I even went by the web site late last week and they hinted that Carmela and Tony would get back together," said W4D.

"They already got back together. Remember the poke in the pool? Remember him letting her go ahead with the spec house after that?"

"The pool doesn't count. That was just a sympathy fuck."

"That wasn't a sympathy fuck. They made up or more likely, Carm is leading him on so she can really put the screws to him later."

"I know a sympathy fuck when I see one."

"Oh, you do, dooya?"

"Haven't you ever given me a sympathy fuck?"

"Do you want answer A or answer B?" I asked.

"You are telling me you never gave me a sympathy fuck?"

"Every time, dear, every single time."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mean Streak

How To Tick Off A Councilman:

Time the cocktail hour so you are making yourself a perfectly lovely Bombay Sapphire martini when he arrives home from work because you know full well that he cannot indulge since he has to attend a council meeting in less than two hours.


Make audible sighs of pleasure as you sip the Sapphire. When he starts to salivate, smile sweetly and offer him a choice of bottled water or iced tea.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Head Trip

Do you ever have days when you cannot keep your mind on what you are supposed to be doing? My head has been in Northern Arizona all day. Never having been in Arizona in November, I wonder what the fall weather is like? I bet the skies are really blue and the autumn light is crystal clear. I want a vacation, a change of scenery. I've been browsing some digital pix that I took a few years ago in northern Arizona. Here is a house made of rocks that has a boulder for a back wall.

Arizona rock house 1

The rock house is located near the Vermillion Cliffs, on the way to Lee's Ferry which is north of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. (I prefer the North Rim to the more touristy South Rim)

Arizona rock house 2

This area is within view of Route 89. I'd like to spend at least 6 months just taking pictures in Arizona and AZ isn't even my favorite state.

Arizona rock house 3

Strong shadows, rich colors.

Arizona rock house 4

These photos were taken in the month of May.

Arizona rock house 5

See the boulder that makes up the back wall?

Wish I was there right now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Congrats, Mr. Councilman

W4D and our friend Joseph won the two seats in our town election yesterday. As I predicted, it was a close election. There was only one vote separating first and second place. I used a privacy folder for my ballot. That tickled the poll workers who have known us for years but I didn't want anyone including W4D to be able to see my ballot. My vote is a private matter.

I Voted

Town Councilman is a volunteer position. At a nice little post-election reception last night, I overheard W4D ask, "How much money do US Senators make?"

He'd better not get a big head and go all political on me. Besides, he doesn't even know who I voted for and I am not telling.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

No Swine Before Its Time

It's Election Day. W4D voted soon after the polls opened at 7:00 this morning. He was the second person in town to vote. He's asked me to wait to vote until he gets home from work so he can walk me across the street to the Civic Center. It's all of 200 feet from here to there. I can't get lost and I am not infirmed. I think he wants an excuse to check out the "political climate." I do know that he is not allowed to discuss his campaign with me once we cross the street and leave our yard since he is within 150 feet of a polling place and he cannot legally press the flesh or espouse politics to influence any votes. We should walk in silence but perhaps, I can corner him behind a tree and whisper an offer of my vote in exchange for certain sexual favors. I should get something out of all this aggravation, shouldn't I?

In a town of less than 500 people, there are a surprising number of heated political issues. Our town is a unique Victorian enclave that is rare in Florida. A Designated Historic District, there is much discussion and many heated arguments about individual property rights vs. historic preservation. We also have some of the largest and most beautiful live oak trees in the South protected by a tree ordinance. That creates friction between the tree-choppers and the tree-huggers. Zoning and new development is the current bone of contention. Some years ago, we had the Great Pig Debates. It was eventually decided that any pigs and hogs living in town at a certain date could stay here until the end of their lives but no new swine could take up residence within the city limits. The Town Council "grandfathered" in the old pigs and ran the new pigs outta Dodge. These are the type of intense issues with which W4D, if elected, must deal. I am not kidding.


I don't believe the next few years are going to be an easy transition for our town. I wish W4D wasn't even running for this office. Still, he has a good attitude and I don't think he will be pouty if he doesn't win a seat on the Town Council. Unfortunately, I think he's going to be elected. With only one local item on the ballot and a rainy day, I bet a handful of votes will decide the outcome of this election. I imagine we will know the results by 7:15 p.m.