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
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