Monday, July 27, 2009

What Makes Us "Us?"

Last Thursday my Darling and I drove south to Cape Canaveral for a short vacation and to attend a party with some people I only know on line.
Before that strikes you as totally odd, compare it to meeting people at a Sci-Fi Convention or book convention that you've only known through your list-serv. Same thing. We started by sharing an affection for a radio show out of Orlando and ended up liking each other for who we are.
The Darling and I touristed around a bit before the day of the party and generally enjoyed one another's company. On the night before the event I executed what I thought (at the time) to be a good plan - shower, exfoliate, moisturize and have Darling apply fake tan to my white person. After all, brown fat looks better than white fat, right?

I was browny-orange the next morning. Browny-orange, overweight and only know two people who will be at the party and met them just the day before. Of course, I knew them on line so I'd be OK, right?

This is when I knew that I had finally grown into the me I am supposed to be. I was "Ok" with it. With streaky orangey-browny fat, jello shooters that splashed out of their cups and into the trays that held them, making a salad in a hotel room, showing up at a party of sixty-plus people, I was OK. I've finally reached that place where I can see my flaws and foibles clearly and not allow them to cover me with embarrassment.

I had to take off the shirt I'd bought as a swimsuit cover because my fake tan was sweating off into it, leaving browny-orange horizontal streaks on its pretty lime sherbet surface. I bounced my plump patoot through the party , talking and laughing, riding on a boat and jumping into the Atlantic, cooling down in an inflatable kiddy pool, kissing my husband often and hugging old friends who were new faces.

All the while I didn't worry about the 'outer me' others saw. I laughed at my orange streaks, rinsed out my shirt, gave my skin a scrub before immersion into the kiddy pool to avoid polluting the waters, and talked to people who were all beautiful to me. I could see what made them who they were without giving much credence to what their appearances "said."
Their voices were the reflection of the people they were in the little world we cohabit because of our hobby.

Although I won't be able to think of Christine and Molly without thinking of halos of red or blond cherub-curls framing dancing eyes, or Mo without her tilted teal eyes, if I had to paint them the resultant pictures would be swirls of color that spoke of their souls. Billy would be the shape of swirling, high clouds and the blue he loves to fly through.

Being totally comfortable in my own skin - flaws and all - just ONE advantage to aging.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Well, here I am trying relationship marketing again.
I really like the stuff this time and especially like the price and low environmental impact.

I had tried Monavie before for health and to try to make little $$ but man, it was expensive and shipping costs were high.
A friend of my husband's (who can touch straw and turn it to gold) told me about this new stuff that has great anti-oxidant levels, low environmental impact, low shipping and lower cost so I had to try.
Husband and I like it and drink it daily - you can dump the powder into a bottle of water or do what we do and mix it with water and Sobe Life Water zero calorie Acai Fruitpunch.
I actually feel better than I did when I was slurping Monavie but that's just me. MV is a fine product and if you are using it or considering using it, you are contributing to your good health.
Zoelife is made of high-anti-oxidant, high nutrition vegetables and fruits distilled into a pure powder that you add to water or juice or whatever suits your fancy. I mix mine with the Sobe and drink it in the morning, Husband likes his at night.
Go look at and check the product out.
Let me know if you're interested and I can tip you to saving money (at least $25) on your first order and further orders if you want more.
If you have picky eaters who don't get their fruits and veg every day, this is one way to be sure it happens for a family of four for about $140 a month.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fun with Facebook - Gourmet Sandwich Supper

Well, I finally created a Facebook page for myself.
I had missed my 30th class reunion and thought perhaps some of those kids might be on Facebook and went at it!

I've assembled a nice little handful of friends from then and now and my homepage has a mix of updates from the now-conservative people with whom I went to high school and the free-thinkers who are now a part of my life. I wonder what life experiences took some of these light-hearted teenagers and turned them into their parents...but then again, I've become my mother to some degree as well. Thank God!

I had been in Port St Joe one day last week and ate lunch at a charming little restaurant that mainly caters. I had a Guadaloupe's Steak Sandwich and decided to try to add my own twist and replicate it at home. I had also been thinking about our visit to the Columbia in Celebration last year and their Spanish Soup. Here are my versions; they came out wonderfully and made for a good supper on this rainy Saturday night.

Grilled Veg and Beef Sandwich

2lb pot roast or other roast, tenderized and marinated in Publix' balsamic vinaigrette dressing for at least half an hour

1 small eggplant, thickly sliced long-ways
2 zuchinni, 2 yellow squash, sliced same
1 large red onion, sliced thickly
1 5oz pkg sliced fresh portabella mushrooms

Drizzle vegetables with a little good olive oil, season with a sprinkle of Cavendar's, sea salt and oregano. Grill all over low heat until done.

Let the meat rest, then slice very thinly against the grain. Layer grilled vegetables, meat and a few slices of mozzerella on a piece of flatbread, drizzle with olive oil, top with second piece of bread; repeat. Warm in a 300 degree oven for about ten minutes.

Spanish Soup
This is a variant of the Spanish Soup at the Columbia Restaurant.
2 cans garbanzo beans, or more
2 medium white onions, finely diced
2 can chicken broth - use a 32 oz can
3-4 medium-large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (1/2 inch)
1 ib or s of country sausage, sliced like fat pepperoni
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp Cavendar's

Tablespoon or so of good XV olive oil

Increase any ingredients to suit your taste!

Put sausage slices into heavy bottomed pot on medium high, begin cooking, add onion after sausage begins to brown. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent. Add rinsed garbanzo beans, chicken broth, cup of water, potatoes, salt, paprika and Cavendar's and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add olive oil, cover and cook stirring occassionally for 15 minutes. Add garlic, stir, taste for seasoning and cook for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are falling apart a little.
Adjust everything to your taste - I find the most important things are the quality of sausage and seasonings. If you can't get good quality country sausage buy smoked turkey legs or a smoked ham hock and start working some rubbed sage, thyme and Vigo ham base into the soup.

Cut the sandwiches into quarters, serve with soup. Good stuff!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Short Post - cats

My sweetie kittens have grown enough to become interested in toys and no longer depend on my lap for adventure.
They tumble around over each other and the stuffed mice and tiny scarecrows full of catnip. They play until they drop - and they drop in a furry pile of gold, brown, grey and white stripes.
I am tired and so are they so I'll retire and cuddle with the big cats. The babies aren't ready to sleep with people yet:)

Just a short post on comments

If you try to post comments, you have to enter that weird letter thing AND select a profile. To make life easier, select the Anonymous profile from the drop-down box and sign your comment if you wan me to know it's you:)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The heat and the sun, they free me - and in my mother's presence, I am renewed...

Thursday I left my west Florida town to drive to my mom's house on the farm, south and east of here in a part of the state where the earth is rich and palms grow alongside oaks.

I was tired, mentally and physically, and just needed to be with my Mama. Anti-anxiety pills, visualization and meditation can only do so much. I've watered my garden, talked to my plants and sung to my kittens and cats. Even the solid comfort of my husband's company can't polish the rough spots of my soul that are smoothed and soothed by being in my mother's presence.

The further east I go the richer the fragrance of the soil becomes and the healthier the shade of green of the wild growth along the roadside. I take the back way to the farm down two-lane roads to avoid traffic and see the water-meadows, full now of reedy weeds with yellow pom-pom heads, and the road-side stands selling tomatoes and melons. The last of the two-lane roads before US 19/27 is used so little that the asphalt has shifted and cracked along the pollen-yellow center line and allowed a tiny patch of grass to sprout.

The road leading to Mama's bright, happy house winds over a hill and past a pond, often past pigs grazing on the right of way under the watchful eye of a billygoat. They belong to my uncle and are probably the most relaxed livestock in the Southeast.

She greets me in the driveway and we drag all of my pack-for-two-weeks-for-three-days stuff into the house, passing the stinky black lab and lazy farm cats up the garage stairs and into the kitchen. A little tiny grey kitten is staggering across the floor of the garage and Mama says that it is the only surviving member of Princess' last litter; Princess is a long-limbed black and white beauty who has been (up to this point) a very good mother. Princess won't nurse this baby.

We bring the baby in and take turns holding and feeding her with a small syringe, talking all the time of what we'll do next, where we'll go, what is happening with family, all comforting topics and I feel my neck muscles loosen for the first time in weeks.

We spend the next few days tumbling from the farm to town to my favorite aunt's house, feeding the kitten (who sleeps in a snuggie bed at the bottom of my bed), talking and laughing. Mama is so easy to be with, open and loving and sharing. Her grace is everywhere and she believes that Princess will go back to being a good mother and at least groom the baby. She will groom, but roughly so we bring the little thing back into the house.

The sun is high and strong everywhere we go and the heat in some places is stifling. We go to a place Mama and Aunt KayKay call "The Place with Pretty Stuff." I don't think it even has a real name. It is a couple of acres just off the highway with a blacktop apron full of cement statuary and metal sculptures and two large metal buildings with no A/C or fans but stacked with fascinating merchandise.
Mama wants me to pick a sink from the vibrantly patterned collection in the first building. The sinks are from Mexico and painted ceramics; most are a palette of flowers, some are dominated by sunflowers or tropical fish. I am drawn to one with pale blue calla lillies on a darker blue, a simple pattern with touches of matte gold and buff. Peaceful.
Mama and KayKay are clearly surprised, it almost seems as if bets were taken as to which I'd choose:)
KayKay pushes the sink I've mentally dubbed "flowerpower" for the rainbow colored flowers and their flow from one to another. "I thought you'd like this one, it looks like your plates from your first wedding!"

I say, "No, that's who I was then. This is who I have become."
And that's true. I was once a wild melange of red and orange and purple and green and a yellow that would hurt the eye. I've changed, found who I should be, and I am much more peaceful. There is still some yellow in me but it is the soft yellow of fresh butter, sometimes even the icy yellow of a cut lemon, but I am mostly blue and green.
When I am feeling best I am the color of a richly blue summer sky wrapped around the deep green of spring pine-needles. I had dulled down to the occasional fitful grey-blue of February skies and no green at all before I went to see Mama.
We walked across the lot, Mama in her sun hat and the rest of us bare-headed and only me fair enough to be in danger of burning or fainting from heat. At least as far as Mama is concerned. I am still her baby even on the shady side of 40 and that is a comforting thought at any time.
The salesman wants to show me everything and talk the whole while. He knows where every breeze pops in the complex. Mama catches him talking to me at the back of the first building, me between a power pole and the building's corner. He said there was always a breeze there and the prevailing winds proved him true.
The wind snatched my damp hair from my neck and sent it out like a flag behind me.
I was still growing redder from the direct sun and I think Mama could feel my skin heating even from ten feet away. I was happy - hot sun overhead, heated air around and a breeze to keep my hair moving.

"Sweetheart, you need to come into the shade before you faint."
It was so very hot, and her words were sent with the warmth of love, but they splashed on me like the cool water from the porch spigot at the old farm house.

I love the heat, its depth and thickness; the wealth offered by the sun to my skin and my self, and the cool places my mother provides when the heat is too great for me, when being a grown-up is just too hard.

We kept sharing the feeding and petting of little Possum kitty, so named for her genrally odd appearance and, in my case, in hope that an ugly name would drive the bad spirits away from stealing her. She can't hold her head up too well and walks like a drunk so she needs as much Mama attention as she can get.

I drove back west today with a full heart and a smooth sould. My fingers always want to add a 'd' to "soul" so there must be a reason. Maybe I have a 'sould,' a sun-soaked vitamin-d soul instead of the garden variety white bible toting soul:)
I came home with the happiness I'd been missing.
It's the stuff that lets me do laundry with a good attitude, read deadly dull work crap so I can get to the good stuff that makes me think (it's like shelling nuts, the work to get to the good).
I am happy, peacefully happy. I plan to walk in the sun again tomorrow and to talk to my mother on the phone to soak in some extra food for my heart.

Sometimes a girl just needs her Mama.