Monday, August 31, 2015

Great way to end the month

with a visit from my son and having the whole family here together.  E is doing good but tends to over do so we are taking today morning walk, no weeding, no cleaning...just relaxing.  That is today...yesterday we did all of the above to excess plus had a great time with the kids.

I picked Rob up in St. Pete around noon on Sat. and, poor guy, he has been cleaning up our tech messes ever since.  The good news is once a part comes in and Chris installs it for us, E can have his big desk top computer back and I get the new lap top we got when we thought the desk top was dead.  My phone no longer tells me I have no memory left and my tablet loads much more quickly...yea, Rob!

Now, on to more fun things...swimming

Playing with Legos with Uncle Rob

After dinner tom foolery

Reading to dolly

And waving hello to our Beach Buddies from Week 29 at Estero Island Beach Club...

Hope your Sept. is a good one and happy last day to the dog days of August!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

And all I wanted to do was

take a quiet, peaceful morning walk.  I've skipped a couple of days walking due to the temps and humidity here.  Today, I headed to my favorite walk , Spring Bayou, early hoping to evade most of heat.  I made it no further than a couple of blocks from where I park when I ended up embroiled in a bit of a to do.

An older gentleman asked me if I would take a look at a manatee in the bayou and tell him if I thought it was behaving abnormally. problem and yes it was.  First, I've been walking this bayou for the past 8 years several times a week and have yet to see a manatee there this time of the year.  Dolphin yes...manatee, no.  It is far too warm for them at the bayou during the summer months.  And the poor thing was breathing strangely as if it were struggling for breath. 

The gentleman, Bob, asked would I call Wildlife (the number posted for calls at the bayou) as, when he had called, he felt he has been "dismissed".  And I call.  And was also "dismissed".  This was perfectly normal behavior for a, no.  Described what I saw (manatee is 'bobbing' in the water, surface breathing several times a minute and not showing its tail at all.  I was told a biologist would call me back.  Never happened. 

Fast forward to other people calling as well and the Tarpon Springs Police show up...bless their souls.  They are not trained for this.  They put in a call as well.  I get a call back on my cell from the same person I had talked with before and she wants me to take a picture.  Asks me how long it (no clue, can't see the tail).  Another woman had already done that and sent the photo to her at Wildlife.  Would I describe the behavior of the manatee...yes, once again I do so.  Now I'm told the manatee is giving birth.  The woman who sent the picture gets on my phone, tells the Wildlife she has seen manatee give birth and this one is NOT. 

Now, throw into the mix one of our homeless people, a very thin gently dillusional barefoot woman who has told us all God has sent her to be a blessing to the manatee, that she has called the manatee to her (there are now 2 manatee, the second one circling and nudging the ill one), and that instead of rousting the homeless sleeping on a park bench, the police should hug them. She tells us the manatee have names, Miracle and Hope.   The one policeman to whom she addressed these remarks was less than amused.  As those of us are trying to communicate with Wildlife, this poor soul is in our faces telling us she has blessed and cured the manatee and we should all stop talking so loudly.  Wildlife is telling me she can't hear me, could I speak up.  A no win situation as trying to explain to our homeless guide is not working.

I had to leave...I had left poor E for over an hour now and had only walked 15 min. of it .  I did what I could as did Bob, my new friend, Pam and her husband and the Tarpon Springs police who were unfailingly polite through out the entire lecture from our homeless woman.  I may never know the fate of the poor manatee.  If anyone from Tarpon Springs hears, please let me know. 

Just another day in my life.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My fascination with alleys

stems back to my childhood and all the summers I spent with my Nana in Waterloo, Ia.  There was an alley that ran from my grandmother's house down to my cousins' grandmother's house and a block or so more.  The alley was was cinders and provided not only trash pick up but entry into garages, none of which were on the street. 

I loved walking down the alley (or, at night, racing down it).  It was like a sneak peek into the lives of our neighbors.  The Cusamanos on the right of my Nana's house, had lots of kids and a bit of a ramshackle back yard.  I loved their place full of tents and tree swings.  The Stones, who lived on the other side were a bit more upscale.  They had the only maid in the neighborhood.  Their back yard was a bit on the sterile side.  Down the alley was where 2 sisters, my summer friends, lived.  The Willisons had the most beautiful back yard with a grape arbor and a garden with a lily pond if I remember correctly. I always knew when I was getting close to my Nana's house as the profusion of roses she had planted on her fence and the gate to the alley permeated the way.  Her garden was lovely until I had to help weed. 

All these memories have sent me exploring the alley ways of my town, Tarpon Springs, and I have enjoyed my ramblings even more than usual.  I have discovered one alley way downtown that leads behind both houses and businesses and past some delightful graffiti, brilliantly colored and executed.  Another alley way leads behind houses towards a bayou and winds hither thither and yon.    If I discover more, I'll report back. 

E has taken to some "rambling" himself.  It has been a week since his surgery and he has started his walking part of his recovery.  For the past two days, he and his walker (whom we should really name) have traversed up to half a block.  The goal for this week is to the entrance to our street and back.  Wish him luck.

Have a wonderful week and try some exploring in your home town.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Busy few days here in Paradise

As most of you know, E went into the hospital on Monday for his back surgery.  The previous week was spent getting tests done, meds changed, and 3 doctors signed off on the operation.  The surgery was more extensive than anticipated but the results should be awesome.  There was a piece of cartilage pressing on a nerve to his right leg which was removed along with assorted other protrusions.  The recovery is 6-8wks with rehab starting week after next.

Today is his second day home and the biggest challenge is keeping him down.  He wanted to go grocery shopping and I had to put my foot down.  1.  he is not suppose to drive for ten days  2.  he is not to lift anything over ten lbs. for at least 2 wks 3.  he can't get in or out of our compact car easily

So, when our friend, Bob, comes by later for a visit, I'll head up to the grocery store then swing by the hospital and pick up a jacket I left, then by Jo's condo to see if we left E's cane in the back of her car that we borrowed to get him home from the hospital yesterday.  Hope Bob is ready for a long

I do get a couple of hours here and there as he does take about 3 nice naps a day...bless those pain meds.  I also keep him out of the kitchen when I am cooking,  Kibitzing is not allowed.  I know lots of people get joy from preparing food but I am not one of them.  My idea of cooking is to either order out or prepare something that takes less than a half hour start to finish. 

Will post here and on facebook as to E's progress and thanks to all who have kept us both in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Tomorrow is the day

Our Papa, the love of my life, friend to so many, is undergoing back surgery.  For the past few years, his back has been giving him more and more problems, pain and prohibiting him from living the life he wants to live.  So, after trying exercises, meds and rehab, we have reached the decision to have it dealt with surgically.

We have not entered into this lightly and have spent the past week with E undergoing heart tests etc. to the point where there was a mere fraction of the week not spent in a drs. office.  We are being positive and putting our trust in the surgeon's hands. 

We had the Grands (and their folks) over for swim and lunch and hopefully, the next time we can all gather for one of the family events, Papa can fully participate.

Our friend, Bill Frazier, has just undergone knee replacement surgery.  We have scheduled a Caribbean cruise with the Fraziers for early get well soon, both of you guys! 

For those of you have called or texted, thanks! Your good thoughts are so appreciated.  Increase them ten fold tomorrow, please.  And God, grant me the patience I shall need being a goofer and a coach in the days ahead.  Gene is NOT a good patient; we have been there, done that before.  Thinking of bungee cords, or is that illegal?

Off to share a glass of wine with my honey. 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

July 4, Tarpon Springs' Style

It has become a tradition that the Grands, their parents and Nana (Papa stays home and cooks)head to Craig Park on Spring Bayou for the town's annual Family Picnic.  There is live music, games and crafts for the kids, a water slide and a bounce house along with hot dogs, soda, water, popcorn and...yum! sno cones.   And we got to ride a fun little train.

 Craft time: they kids made patriotic fans and got some great "tats".

 Hot diggity dog ziggity boom...what you do to me....I am just teaching the kids this old song as their favorite food is HOT DOGS!

 Colvin was taking a break before he dug in.
 And Leighton found a great seat!
 And, as good as the hot dogs were...the sno cones were the favorite!

E and I had company over for dinner (our friends Susie and Doug) and, after they left, once again we talked ourselves out of heading down to the river to watch the town's fireworks but we saw a few from both the back yard and the front.  We watched the Macy's fireworks on tv and I stayed up late finishing the History Channel's Sons of Liberty series...very impressive.

Hope your July 4 was as wonderful as ours and blessings on our wonderful country.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Food Lover's Paradise

And we showed little to no restraint during our four days in New Orleans.  Because we could not check into our room, we checked our bags at the front desk and headed out on foot. As I had not taken time before we left for the airport at 5:30 am to eat, I was starving.  And there is no place better than New Orleans to have an appetite.

Our first stop was the Market Cafe where we had the best Bloody Mary's, or salad in a glass as my friend, Pam Bennett calls this drink.  We also had a side of the roasted potatoes.  Since we had luncheon reservations at NOLA's, we didn't want to have the breakfast buffet even though we were very tempted.

We shopped our way through the Farmer's Market, toured the Maigny and had a second Bloody Mary at one of our favorite Quarter bars, The Gazebo, where we regrouped and listened to great jazz.  

We wandered some back streets meandering our way to lunch at NOLA's.  The hardest thing to do was make a decision on what we wanted to eat.  If we were not hungry before, we were by then as we had walked up a good appetite. 

 We ended up ordering Shrimp Remi as an appetizer, a panini for Gene and Shrimp Grits for me.  Gene tried the Aperol Negroni and I opted for a Sazerac, my first and I really liked it.  The food was, of course, simply amazing and we ate slowly to make the experience last.  We got talking with a couple next to us and it turns out the young mom taught in the same school district in St. Louis from which my daughter attended high school.  Small world.

We met up with Steve and Dee Dee back at the hotel and we unpacked while they grabbed some lunch at what was to become a fun evening drinking place, Pere Antoines, just around the corner.  The gal who tended bar was so warm and welcoming, we returned there a couple of times more during our stay.

Later that evening we headed to a lovely restaurant near our hotel to watch the Derby and have an appetizer or two along with libations.  We loved the atmosphere at Muriel's.  The fried green tomatoes were wonderful and enough to serve us for our dinner that evening.  After a roam up Bourbon, it back to our rooms and sleep.

The Place d'Armes serves an ample Continental Breakfast with croissants, assorted Danishes, fruit, juice and coffee so we ate in the courtyard of our hotel and discussed the day's plans.  Where to eat next!

We worked up that day's appetite with some retail therapy on Decatur, pausing briefly at The Gazebo for New Orleans style "lemonade" and something wonderful called an ice cream daiquiri.

 Sunday was the Cajun Zydaco Festival in Louie Armstrong Park and, while Gene rested up, Steve, Dee Dee and I headed over to the festival about 7 blocks away or more.  Lunch was red beans, rice and Cajun sausage eaten in the shade of the park.  The Zydaco music was great fun.  We made Lafitte's Black Smith Shop for a beer our last stop before heading back to the hotel.  We had dinner reservations at Delmonico's to celebrate our anniversary and my b'day and celebrate we did.

The Boudin Balls and the Grilled Oysters as appetizers were so good, we ordered seconds on the oysters.

 I had the Drum, Gene and DeeDee had the swordfish, and Steve had the Pork Chop.  Dee Dee has the bisque and said it was the best ever.  We shared a serving of grilled brussel sprouts and had Banana's Foster and a berry cobbler to share for desserts.  Stuffed and sated, we took a cab back to our hotel and rested for the next days epicurean adventure.

Now it is close to a cardinal sin not to have beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde and , not wanting to insult anyone nor sin more than we already had, we headed out Monday morning for our share.

The best part of these little treats is how the powdered sugar sticks to the roof of your mouth long after the donut like creation is gone.  We followed this up with more walking, shopping and, before we knew it, it was time guessed again.

Steve and DeeDee are avid watchers of Dives Diners etc. and try to eat at one of the featured restaurants as they travel.  This little house is located in Treme and while was on St. Anne like our hotel was over a mile or two away so we took a cab.  The place has been in the same family for generations and is currently run by the grand or maybe great grand daughter of the first owner, Willie Mae.  There is very limited seating and by the time we got there about 45 min. after it had opened for the lunch crowd, the line outside had formed. 

The dish of choice and the one Willie Mae's is most famous for is the chicken so that is what we all still my heart.  THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER. 

I chose a side of rice and green beans....yum.

We read, napped, roamed a bit after we got back and had drinks pool side wiling away the afternoon and digesting our excellent lunch.

We headed back to Pere Antoine's for early evening drinks and discussed where to dine.  We were dodging some rain showers so wanted to stay close to home.  We ended up at an old favorite, The Coffee Pot and, needless to say, we all ate light.  Steve and I had the sampler of some New Orleans standards, DeeDee had one of the bisques and Gene chose a hamburger.  We had dined here often in the past and always sat in the courtyard.  The rain forced us indoors and it was not quite the same.  The food also was not a authentic as we remembered it but good never the less.  Steve and Dee Dee had an early departure as they drove from St. Louis and wanted to be rested so we headed home again after one more stop.
We all ate the Continental breakfast the next morning, wished the Schmidts' a safe journey homeward.  Gene and I packed up our things and I walked a bit doing some last minute shopping and exploring while Gene enjoyed the courtyard in front of our room.  It was my birthday and all I wanted for my last meal in New Orleans was a muffalatta from Central Grocery where they were invented.  I picked up a half which could feed a small nation and stopped for a bottle of wine at the grocery a block or so from the hotel.  BLISS and the perfect birthday!

And then it was time for our cab ride to the airport and a fond farewell to one of our favorite cities!

I may have one more post with some random shots not included in the previous N.O. posts and will decide when I get a chance to finish downloading more pics off my phone.  Meanwhile, Bon Appetite

P.S.  The recipes for most of the menu items from NOLA's and Delmonicos are available with a search for Emeril and a look at menus from his restaurants.  So far we are gathering ingredients for Boudin balls and the grilled oysters.  I'll let you know how they turn out.