Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm a water baby

I love the water. I love everything about it. I like how it looks with the moon shining on it. I love how it sounds when waves are churning it. I adore the way it feels sluicing over my body when I'm in it. I know nothing about the signs of the Zodiac, but I know I should have born under the water sign.

Being near the water gives me a sense of peace. I feel at ease. It allows me to calm my mind and think about things that need thinking about. It opens my heart for deep prayer. I suspect some of its charm is that it drowns out the incessant ringing in my ears! I have tinnitus and I noticed yesterday that when I'm at the beach, I don't hear the ringing as the crashing waves drown it out! Yet another reason to love the sea.

We went to Ft. Myers Beach yesterday and it was a picture perfect day. I met a Weight Watcher friend and had a nice chat. They left for a boat ride and we took a walk on the beach. I saw all kinds of different shells and even a horseshoe crab. I think it might have just been the body, but was all in one piece. I studied it. I saw shiny shells and dull shells and tons of sea grape. I walked in the water and enjoyed the sun on my face. The breeze was cool, the sun was warm, the water cool & crashing. It was a great day.

Today I sat in the swing by our little lake here. Again, the sound lulled me. It just washes my cares away. It's cathartic.

I like it. I like it a lot.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Be all that you can be

No, we're not joining the military here! Today I'm going to wax religious. If that bothers you, stop reading now.

I'm a Catholic. I refer to myself as a delicatessen Catholic. I pick and choose which parts of the faith I believe in. I, for example, think birth control is a fabulous thing. I don't believe that if an infant dies before being baptized, he or she won't go to Heaven. There are a few other things that the Pope and I probably differ on, but I do believe in the crux of the religion. During Mass, we say the Nicene creed. It's what we believe. I believe each and every word of that creed. That makes me Catholic.

I get great solace from attending Mass. Yes, my mind wanders sometimes. I can't help it, it just does. I usually always get something from the sermon though.

I attend Sunday morning Mass with my friend Mary. I told her yesterday that I was going to go to Saturday night Mass this week instead. I went to a different church. That really messes with my mind. All these new people to look at and, well, just new stuff. Oh, there is Mona and Jim from the park. I didn't know they were Catholic! Oh oh oh there are 4 more people from the park. Geez we could carpool here. The cantor sounds kind of like a cat in heat. Ohhhh pretty! There is sun shining through the stained glass window and it lights up the Lord's table perfectly! Sorry, you see how crazy it gets in my mind??? There was a priest, a retired priest, AND a deacon. Wow...the holy trinity! Sounds like the beginning of a joke! Oops, hope I don't go to hell for that one. Anyway, back to the Mass at hand.

I'm not sure where my mind was during the sermon, but it wasn't on the priests words. It was all about the apostle Paul yesterday. Now, if you've ever listened to anything Paul wrote, you might understand my angst. I think he was on crack. Seriously. I really have trouble following any of his readings. So, usually, when I hear that today's gospel is by Paul, I just kind of zone out. I know. Bad Debby. I finally tried to pay attention, and to my chagrin, the priest was uttering the last sentence of his sermon. Oops again. It was a powerful one though I thought. He said he'd heard Mother Theresa speak once and she said....I think I'll go to a new paragraph here so it doesn't get lost.

"Have you done all you can do? Life is short."

My regular priest, Father Michael, brought 2 plants in one Sunday. One quite dead, and one lush and green. He held them both up and asked:

"How do you look in the eyes of God?"

So, am I doing what I need to do? Am I doing ALL I could do? Would God look at me and see a withered plant, or a lovely full green one?

There are things I could work on for sure. I shall start doing that. I live in a park with old people. Lots of them are lonely. I am sure I could ease that burden a bit if I put myself out a little. I could work on my attitude, my thoughts, my words. There are many things I could do to get my plant a bit greener. Make the world a bit better, even if it's just my little corner of the world.

We've got war and strife in the world. We've got money problems and employment problems. We've got aimless killing and anger in our midst. The world is going to hell in a hand basket. If we all just started doing a bit more, being nicer, being less angry, doing what it took, perhaps we could change the world. One dead leaf at a time.

How about you?

Are you doing all you can do? Life is short.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The best things I've ever had in my mouth

Now, now. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I saw a show on the cooking channel last night. It was a compilation of chefs telling us about their favorite things to eat. Some were weird, some fabulous looking. It got me thinking about the best things I've ever eaten.

I love food. I like the look of it. I like the aroma of it. I love the taste of it. I love the whole experience of eating food. It's not just taste. It's a whole package.

Some things I love, but won't make my top 10 list are the following.

ChiChi's seafood chimi's smothered in a lobster creme sauce with a dollop of sour cream on top. Oh the buttery, flaky, flour tortilla stuffed with moist seafood, that has been deep fried and then smothered in a fabulous sauce, just melted in my mouth. The rich cream sauce was divine. There was always a tiny bit of shredded lettuce and diced tomato on the plate. If you could get a bite of that flaky tortilla, some succulent crab and shrimp, all drenched in the creme sauce, AND a few strands of the lettuce and tomato, well that was just about pure bliss.

Bacon. Nothing better to my taste buds than perfectly crisp bacon.

Hot buttered popcorn. White corn, real butter, sea salt. Enough said.

Patty Caswell's peanut butter sheet cake. It's rich and buttery and peanutbuttery. I can eat piece after piece. Oh ya, life is good when peanut butter sheet cake is present.

My favorite dining experience of all times was at The Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans. It was a perfect sunny day. We dined outside on the patio. It was the Jazz Brunch. The ambiance, the food, the service, the company, it was all just perfect. It was Den, the boys, and I on one of our family vacations. The brunch lasted for 3 hours I'd think. I had eggs Benedict that was divine. I had gumbo and etouffee, both shrimp I believe. I had bananas foster with homemade ice cream that was sinful to look at, never mind to savor on my tongue. Their bread pudding was to die for. We ate crawfish until there were mountains of their little skeletons on the table. Joshua was best at that. The grits were creamy and tasty and the sausage they had was succulent. They had salads....please! Who are you kidding? I had prime rib that was hand carved and crusty warm bread with tons of butter. I'm sure I had more things, but those are what I remember the most. I'd say that was about 1993 or so. I've never forgotten that experience, or that food. Makes me smile to remember it now. We swore we'd never eat again. A few hours later we stopped at the Cafe Du Monde for cafe Au lait and beignets. Another experience I'll never forget.

Here's my top 10 list. They're in no particular order. I tried and tried to think of the best thing I've ever eaten and I just couldn't come up with THE best.

1. Paula's homemade macaroni and cheese. Oh my land was it good. She used shell pasta and welfare cheese. It baked a long time until it was soft and gooey and brown on the top and it was just a perfect comfort food. It's the best mac and cheese I've ever had in my whole life.

2. Fried dill pickles. Had them at a chef's convention at Boyne Mountain. Holy shit were they good. It was a crispy dill pickle wrapped in swiss cheese and ham and then dipped in batter and deep fried. We dredged this heavenly concoction through a mustard creme sauce. The sauce was made with dijon, heavy cream, mayonnaise, butter, everything that will kill you, but make you happy to die! God they were good.

3. Carrabba's hot crusty bread and their imported olive oil. Oh I love that stuff! The bread is soft in the middle and crispy on the crust. I dredge (not dip) it into the herbed olive oil that I've added a generous twist of sea salt to. I rarely order food at Carrabba's. I just like the wine and bread. It's an herb explosion party for my taste buds.

4. Aunt Lou's raspberry cobbler with ice cream. Oh goodness what I wouldn't give for some of that today. She made homemade pie crust that was flaky and yummy. The raspberries were plump and perfect. She usually served it warm with ice cream. Oh Lord that was good.

5. Mummy's head cheese. Yes, I know, it sounds gross. I loved it. We didn't use head to make ours. We used pig hocks and hamburger. It had so much flavor. Lots of herbs and spices. We'd slice it and eat it on sandwiches with pepperocini pepper juice. Those were the days.

6. Grandma Steinhause's dumplings and lemon cake. She might have been a child hater, but she could cook. Her dumplings would just melt in your mouth. They were the flat kind. Not the big puffy ones I make now. They had chicken fat in them which I assume is why they tasted so good. She made a homemade lemon coconut cake to go with them. Just a perfect compliment. Tart lemon, buttery dumplings. A truly satisfying experience.

7. Wild mushroom soup from the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It's by far the best soup I've ever had in my whole life. So rich and creamy and exotic. The texture was just perfect. Silken and buttery. We washed it down with a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild Cabernet Sauvignon, 1992 if you please.

8. My daughter in law Tara's caramel cheese cake with fresh raspberries. I think it was a turtle cheesecake. It was, and still is, by far the best cheesecake I've ever had. The sweetness of the caramel with the tartness of the raspberries. Just sumptuous. She made killer cheesy potato's that same day which made me a happy lady!

9. I had one bite of a steak from Ireland that was the best cow that has ever passed my lips. Ian ordered it and gave me a bite. It literally melted in my mouth. It was by far the tastiest steak ever. Since I didn't have the whole steak, I get one more dish from Ireland. We were staying at a B & B and the breakfast there was perfection. They made the best porridge. It was made with milk instead of water she explained. I had mine with Muscavado brown sugar, real maple syrup, and rich, to die for, butter. OMG what a way to start my day. I think of that porridge often.

10. Speaking of butter. Brit butter is fantastic. It's totally different from our butter. It's got so much more flavor. I buy crusty little bread loaves when I'm there and heat them in the oven. I slather them with lots of cold, creamy, Brit butter. Oh my it's so very good. I adore Yorkshire puddings too.....but the Brit's definitely in my top 10 list!

Sighhhh those were the days. I'm off to have a slice of whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of sugar free jam now. I think I'll splurge and have a cup of fat free milk too.

Oh happy days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

They'll get you in the end.

They always do.

Today's tirade is about bathroom tissue. I have to buy single ply as that's all our poor, old fashioned, toidy can deal with. I'm waiting for the toilet fairy to bring me a new, high rise, super flush. So far she's passing us by.

So, back to the tissue at hand. I was buying Scott tissue. It's single ply, 1000 sheets a roll. Yes, it feels like sandpaper. It accomplished it's task though. It costs about 60 cents a roll when it's on sale.

I was at Sam's a month or so ago and noticed they had a store brand of single ply, 1000 sheet paper. It came out to be less money per roll. Into the cart it went.

I have since noticed that even though the new tissue may have the required 1000 sheets (I haven't counted), the roll is about 1/2-1 inch narrower than the Scott tissue! Now I need a higher math degree to figure out if I'm getting a better deal with the narrower, cheaper, Sam's paper, or the wider, more expensive Scott tissue!

As I don't enjoy math, I'm going to do my own scientific experiment not using a calculator. I'm going to put a roll of the Sam's paper in the bathroom and see how many days we get out of it. I'm then going to put a roll of Scott tissue in there and do the same. Barring any unusual bathroom incidents, it should do the business.

You may now go back about your regularly scheduled day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Buttonwood Bay?

I winter in a 55+ active adult community. I'm not 55 yet, the vote is still out whether I'm adult or not & I've never been defined as active either. The most accurate word for my lifestyle was probably sedentary. You notice I said was. Why did I choose a community for oldies if I'm not one of them yet? Well, sit down, grab a cuppa, and please do let me tell you!

The most important feature of this park is it's location. It's in Florida. Now I don't know if you're familiar with a Pixie's natural habitat, but they like it sunny and warm. At least this one does!

Contrary to popular belief, pixies like to swim. No, their diaphanous wings do not get water logged. This park has 2, count them 2, swimming pools.

I like to do stuff too. This park has stuff! It has the usual shuffleboard, bocce ball, dominoes, bingo, bunco, and bridge. All things suited for the older person. So what does it have for the less than decrepit? Well, it's got card games galore. Poker, euchre, bid euchre, 313, 500, 99, probably every numbered game ever invented in fact! It's got pinochle, cribbage, the aforementioned bridge, and many, many more. We play for the big bucks here too my friends. The other night, I won second place in the bid euchre game and let me tell you I strutted away with a hefty $4.50!!! I won $6 at bunco Friday night too. Now you know how I supplement our pension!

My park has line dancing, square dancing, ballroom dancing, clogging, and even dancing in the streets! In fact, there's a dance here every Saturday night with some kind of live music. It's got tai chi, floor exercises, water aerobics, and a gym. We've got a drama club, a book club, a computer club, and of course lots of golf clubs!! We've got billiards, darts, horseshoes, and some gorgeous tennis courts. Lots more I can't even remember, but it certainly fulfilled my stuff requirement!!

The most important reason I chose this park was it's inhabitants. This is the biggest group of happy, friendly, outgoing people I've ever seen in one place! Yep, I love Buttonwood Bay!

Well, I'm off to drink my coffee here to give me strength for the day. I've got a big bid euchre tournament today and this really is for the big bucks. I won 2nd place at the last one and it netted me $55! I'm shooting for the $110 first prize this time!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's all relative

It's cold!

That's what you hear across most of the US. Temps in the minus double digits. Freakin brrrrrr for sure. I was talking to my friend the other day and it was -17F. That wasn't wind chill. That was just plain old, ball freezing -17F. I don't EVEN think so! That's why I winter in Florida for sure.

It's cold in Florida folks!! I get no sympathy either. I told a friend that it got down to 39 degrees last night. That was a heat wave, I was informed. Heat wave my ass! It's cold!

Here's my point. I bet you thought there wasn't one. There is. If you're where it does sometimes get -17F, you might not like it, but you're prepared. Your house has heat. Even if it's 'freeze the snot as it comes out of the nostril cold' outside, your house is warm inside. Yes, I'm sure when you go from the house to the car, before that car warms up, it's painful. Your car heats up though.

It's all relative.

I live in Florida. I'm used to temps of 80 or 90. My body thinks that is normal. I don't have heat in my house. Yes, you heard that right. Well, we do have a furnace, we just can't use it. We have a little electric heater. Here's the crux of the cold front in FL problem for me. The heater doesn't go into the bathroom! It would melt the tub. So, when the temps dip to 39 degrees at night outside, they dip below 50 inside. It's OK when I'm snug in my bed with my electric blanket on. That is cozy. I woke up this morning and it was 49.8 degrees in my bedroom. I was snug as a bug in a rug in my bed. When I had to get out from under that blanket and plop my butt cheeks on a below 50 degree toilet seat......well let me just say the sound that emitted from my lips could only be heard by dogs.

Speaking of dogs, Pixie is a pupsicle!

So, it might be cold where you are. I'll give you that. It is cold where I am. You have to give me that.

It's all relative.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Full of it

No, it's not what you're thinking. It's self confidence. I'm loaded with it. I always have been. I'm not sure why.

I was talking to my friend the other day. He's not American and we were talking about how American parents bolster their kids and that fosters self confidence. I believe that's a good thing. To a certain extent of course. I never understood parents telling their kids they were really good at something that they really weren't very good at. Let's take sports for example. I love my sons more than life itself but they sucked at sports. Not just one, all of them. I never told them they were good as that would have been a lie. I told them the truth though. I told them they were the heart and soul of the team as they were. There wasn't anyone that tried harder than my boys. They never missed a practice, they never quit what they started (another lesson I insisted on), they gave it their 100% all. I hope they learned from that to think well of themselves. I think it takes self confidence to keep doing something you love even if you're not very good at it.

My parents were never ones to say 'oh you did good' or lavish praise. That being said, I never really did anything that earned lavish praise. I just slid by in grade school as I hated school and, well, really, why bother? Mom would take me out of school and we'd go shopping or up to the cottage. School wasn't a priority. No praise there. I was fat so didn't participate in any sports. No praise there. I was a Girl Scout. Did a damn fine job with that...but not really a praiseworthy thing. I was loved for sure. Maybe just knowing that I was loved is what instilled self confidence in me. I just don't know, but I know I've always had it.

I was reading some Weight Watcher blogs the other day about the low self esteem and low self confidence that a lot of them have. It just got me wondering where mine came from. I mean really, when you're as big as I was/am, where do I get off thinking I'm just as good as anyone else? I might have been huge, but I never thought less of myself. My brain was just as good as the skinny bitch next to me, and in most cases, better. I wasn't shy to let them know that either. On many more than one occasion the words 'I'M FAT I'M NOT STUPID' left my lips. It was always met with awe. Like wow...I never thought you could think through all that fat!

When I looked in a mirror, I of course didn't like the whole package I saw, I still don't. I was never totally disgusted like some though. I could always find something I liked. I loved my long hair. I thought I had pretty eyes. Where did that confidence to think that come from? Why did/do I have it and not others? I so wish I could share it with them.

I read blogs of people that are so deserving of their own self love. I wish they could just stand right up there and feel proud for who they are. What they are. Fat is only one aspect. Ugliness is only one aspect. Why can't they see past that one little flaw and recognize the good in the rest of them? I would never make a psychologist for sure as I just don't understand. I so wish I did so I could help them.

How is it that if someone tells me I'm fat and ugly and stupid I can say 'Fuck you asshole' and not believe them? Yet, say that to another person and they believe it and that leads to a lifelong spiral downwards into self loathing?

If you know the answers to this, could you please patent it as I have some friends that I would buy it for. I want everyone to know they're worth their own love. We have to love ourselves as we're who is most important. We can't expect to command respect and love if we don't first give it to ourselves. There's some good in each and every one of us.

Today, if you're one of those people that have self doubt, self loathing, low self esteem, low self confidence, find one thing you like about yourself. Come on, you know there is one. Let yourself find it and bathe in it. Say it out loud when nobody is around. I like this about myself. Keep telling yourself that until you believe it. Then find another thing. Next time some idiot tells you you're fat or ugly or whatever, you can say 'Maybe, but my brain works like a steel trap' or whatever you found that you love about yourself.

Last time someone looked at me and said 'My God you're fat', I just looked at them and said 'No shit???!!! I didn't know that! OMG thank you for telling me.' They didn't know what to say then. I walked away, they looked like an idiot. I won. In my mind anyway, and that's what counts. What I think of myself. That's all that matters.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What are ya gonna do?

Earlier I was surfing happily about the Internet while having a snack. My snack consisted of a raspberry pudding dessert I'd made. The inevitable happened. The spoon didn't quite make it to my lips before the contents slipped off. A pile of red goo on my laptop. Could it have landed in some of the HUGE spaces of plain plastic? Nooooo it had to land right on the clicky buttons. How to get it off? If I use a tissue, it'll just work the goo deeper. It's on the mouse pad too, but that was easier to take care of. I couldn't let it sit there and dribble down into the internal workings of the laptop. I did the only thing I could. I put my lips to the clicky buttons and sssllllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpppppppppppp!

Problem solved.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

What did 2008 bring me?

Two new grandsons. Mason & Cole. Shoot, I just realized that Cole was born in 2007....darn those birthday's near the new year. Too bad, I'm still counting him as a good thing!

A summer job.

About 25 extra pounds I didn't want.

Our 30 year wedding anniversary.

The third anniversary of my fathers death.

The 26th anniversary of my Mom's death.

A party that I'd been planning since 1999!

My 50th birthday.

I thought it was a great year.

Here's to 2009. May it bring us all that is, happiness, and love heading the list.