Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The Colonel, Spud and I partook of the state tree a couple of days ago when we attended the 14th Annual Florida Frontier Days.
Every year Frank D. sets up his tent and cooks "swamp cabbage" made from the heart of the Sabal Palm.
Swamp cabbage does not taste like cabbage. It has a mild flavor and is tender to the bite when cooked properly.
Frank's swamp cabbage is delicious. It is made with pork in a clear broth.
When you eat swamp cabbage you must always have some Everglades Seasoning on hand.
Frank had some at the ready as he scooped out three servings for us.
The Sabal Palm is a tasty tree. I am glad I live in Florida and not Alabama...their state tree is the Longleaf Pine...although I have heard that many parts are edible...right Euell Gibbons?
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Colonel found this the other day...the fossilized tooth of a Snaggletooth Shark. Here it is in situ.
He marked the spot with a flag.
The tooth, as you can see, measured roughly 2 inches.
This is where The Colonel found the fossil (note the little white flag near the base of the oak trees). He found it in our own driveway!
Our driveway is made of crushed (fossilized) shell. We have had a couple of days of heavy rains (of nearly biblical proportions) and the rain uncovered the shark's tooth.
Not seven steps away I found a partial tooth of a Megalodon (ancient, 67-foot long shark).
With a few more rains who knows what we will find...maybe a Mastodon tooth!
The doors were opened at 10:35. Once inside the doors, we followed the line to a table and at the table were two women who handed out plastic bags for us to put in a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings, a CD of an introduction to the stories and poems of Mr. Poe and a reader's guide to his works, all free.
With our bag of goodies in hand (as well as our golden tickets), we crossed the thresh hold of the theater door and handed the tickets to the man. He tore the tickets in half. I wanted to say to him, "Hey, what if I wanted to put my ticket in a scrapbook fella?" but I didn't want to cause a scene and hold up the line, plus I haven't had a scrapbook since I was a girl.
We easily found our seats...and great seats they were! Row C, seats 101 and 102. Just three rows away from Stephen King. Nice.Darling Sister-In-Law in her seat. Look how close we were sitting.
The minutes were ticking away as more people found their seats.
The lights dim and a gentleman steps out on stage. He is meant to represent Edgar Allan Poe. He speaks a few words and tells some jokes. Darling Sister-In-Law and I do not find him convincing nor amusing. We've come to see Mr. King.
Mr. Poe exits stage right and next on stage is the Editor of the Charlotte Sun newspaper. She will act as moderator and will ask Stephen King questions.
She tells us, before Mr. King gets on stage, that we may not take photos during the program. This does not stop several people from doing so, myself included. (No Mom, I wouldn't jump off of a cliff if everyone else was doing it). I refrained from snapping photos until the tail end of the program (and then only upon Darling Sister-In-Law's urging) but did not use a flash like others did (so the quality of my photos is poor...Cosmic Karma?).
The editor readies the audience for Mr. King by naming some of his many books and she quizzes us by giving a clue about a book and we have to shout out the title. Hello...of course we know our stuff...the fact that we are there should render a quiz a moot point...but it was fun anyway.
The editor finally introduces Stephen King and we give him a rousing welcome with applause as we leap from our seats. As we clap, he smiles and waves and walks across the stage to his wicker chair and sits down. We all sit down. It is so quiet now you could hear a pin drop.My first impression of Stephen King is that he is tall and thin, almost to the point of being lanky. He looks quite ordinary, not at all flashy or famous looking. He was very much at ease and was funny as he answered the moderator's questions or went off on a different tangent altogether. Darling Sister-In-Law and I both agreed he seemed like he would be a fun guy to hangout with.
Stephen King said lots of things scare him and one of the reasons he writes scary stuff to be able to turn it around and scare someone else. Some of his writing material comes from his imagination and also from reality. The Pet Cemetery idea can be traced to the death of his daughter's cat and its burial in an animal-friendly cemetery behind the King house in Maine. The plot for the book also was inspired by a near-death incident on the same road his daughter's cat was killed. His youngest son was 2 years old and made a dash for the road and Stephen King tackled him at the shoulder of the road just as a huge truck zoomed by three seconds later.
King spoke about who influenced him as a writer. He mentioned Robert Bloch, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury and to some extent Edgar Allan Poe.
In 1975, King put his own twist on Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". He retitled it "The Old Dude's Ticker". The story features a Viet Nam veteran suffering from combat fatigue and uses language reminiscent of the 1970's. It has never been published. Mr. King told us about it and then said, "If you beg and scream, I've got it in my pocket, I can read it to you", as he reached for his jacket pocket. We all cheered and applauded. "You really want to hear this story?", he asked. We cheered and clapped even louder.
With an animated voice and matching hand motions he read us his story. Not only is he a great story writer, he is a great story teller too. He read the story like he was in a play.
I think that was the highlight of the hour-long event for me, having a "bedtime" story read to us by Stephen King himself.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Commander Herbert walked up to each cadet, inspected their uniform and questioned them about military protocol and current affairs.
When the inspection was complete it was time for the parade pass and review.
Spud in the white hat
The cadets walked in formation past Commander Herbert as the rest of us watched from the bleachers.
One hour later, when the inspection and review were done, Commander Herbert proclaimed that all of the cadets had passed the inspection with flying colors. The cadets were dismissed from ranks and smiled with the knowledge of a job well done.
The Colonel and I congratulated Spud and smiled because we were full of pride for our son and his fellow cadets.
Nope...we wouldn't have missed this for the world!
Spud is second from the left.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Why wasn't the gravy thickening? I had dinner to serve to a hungry dad and siblings!
This was ridiculous, Mom's gravy never took this long to thicken. What was wrong? Stupid gravy!
Still stirring away, I sense someone looking over my shoulder. Turning (and still stirring) I see my dad's face, then I hear him say, "Did you put any flour in it before you added the milk?"
Flour? What? I must have missed that step when watching my mom make her gravy on some of those past Thursdays.
" Guess the gravy's off."
This significant, emotional event ensured I learned that making a roux is a step that is never optional when making gravy.
I can now make a decent gravy but have pretty much given up on ever being able to make a palatable brownie to save my life.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
We girls watched old movies together like Sabrina with Bogart and Friendly Persuasion with Gary Cooper and ate real popcorn, not microwaved. The whole family took Jersey Girl to dinner one evening at the Icehouse Pub (we were thinking of you Uncle Jim!)
As we were strolling the beach I happened to see a woman ahead of us who was also looking for shells. I thought the color of her hat and jacket against the beach and water made for a nice blog shot.
I followed this woman at a distance, using my zoom, snapping away, trying to get a good shot. I felt like I was stalking her; like she was a Hollywood starlet and I was the Paparazzi. I must have been snapping away so much that Yam decided she needed a picture of me, taking a picture of the lady in the pink hat.
I don't know how many photos I bagged before I finally introduced myself and asked the pink hatted lady if she wouldn't mind posing for a couple of shots for my blog (I wasn't getting the shots I wanted via zoom and needed to be closer to her and I thought she might think me creepy and stalkish if I did not introduce myself and ask permission to snap away at close range).
I told her I loved the color combination of her pink hat and peach jacket against the sand and surf. She was very accommodating and took my direction well (LOL). During her "photo shoot" I discovered she was vacationing that week and that she hailed from Minnesota.
Here are a few of the shots I bagged...
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
After our museum tour, we took a little tour of the beach of Delray Beach. We walked to the beach through a beautiful tunnel made from a canopy of sea grapes...
The beach was lovely...I let the pictures speak for themselves.
We continued up the coast and made our way to Jupiter. There we visited the Jupiter Lighthouse and its museum.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the lighthouse. It was designed by George Meade (later general of the Union Army of the Potomac). The Colonel and I walked up the 105 steps to the top of the lighthouse and were treated to these gorgeous views.
The Colonel took this shot of the lighthouse's Fresnel lens. This is the original lens which was made in Paris 150 years ago.
Walking up to the top of the lighthouse and back down made us tired and hungry so we checked into a cute little hotel and asked the man at the desk where could we find a good seafood place for dinner.
This was the view from our room's window.
The man told us the Hog Snapper was a good place to eat. It was.
We had a somewhat restful night considering the bed was queen-sized and we were obliged to use the hotel's pillows (We sleep on a king-sized bed at home now but slept on a queen for 20 years and the hotel's bed looked sooo small to us and I don't know why we forgot to pack our own pillows this trip. The hotel pillows were as thick as a whale omelets!)
After our continental breakfast at the hotel we began our way back home. On our way we stopped in America's Sweetest Town and visited their little museum.
The Colonel and I enjoyed our mini vacation and we want more of 'em. We've got a few ideas on where we'll go next. Stay tuned.