Monday, October 15, 2007

Boy do I feel bad

Every year right before the holidays begin or in between them, my neighbors ask me to come over and feed their little bird Cassie. It's not like it is a lot of work or anything. It's just that having to remember and go over and do it that bugs me. During the summer, I have to work it in before the afternoon rains begin. Well, she emailed me last week about doing it near Thanksgiving. I really did not want to do it. I have no reason to feel that way other than, I just didn't want to be bothered. I emailed back that I really didn't want to commit this time. One reason was because I don't know what we are doing for Thanksgiving. I've had several family members throw stuff out and since I am the one that normally has to cook, I've been happy to hear the other suggestions. Either way, I know I will have to cook some stuff and I just didn't want to add to that, the whole bird thing.

Well, yesterday, Bill came out with his bird and I don't know exactly what happened but, the bird's wings were getting a little long. A fact that he had noticed and just mentioned to his wife. (Who just found out not to long ago that they are expecting twins. They've been trying for three years and she has numerous miscarraiges, etc.) To make a long story shorter, the bird flew up into their tree.
I guess he couldn't or didn't know what to do as far as climbing the tree; it is a type of oak and Bill, although 49, is in pretty good shape. But, he got the bird to fly out of the tree and it went in one of mine in the back yard. No way to climb mine! It is an umbrella tree. So, he says to shoot water at it in hopes that it will come to him. No, it flies further to another yard in a higher tree where it wound up spending the night. We were all out there for about five hours yesterday.

This morning at seven, I got up and went outside and could hear her. She was screaming her head off. Scared and hungry no doubt. Bill was already around the block standing in strangers front yard shaking the food container and calling her. I stood with him for about twenty minutes. We couldn't really see her but, we sure could hear her. He said he was going to take the day off from work and hoped she would eventually come to the sound of his voice. And with that, he had an epiphany that if he went back to his yard or mine, she would hear him and maybe come toward home rather than away. We walked back and I came in my house and he stayed outside calling her.

I don't normally get up super early because we are up till almost two with Lori's work schedule but, I needed to be at my mother's early and I was, sad to say, worried about the bird. I told Lori last night that I hope the Hawk that has been hanging around here for the past year doesn't get her. Lori replied that it wouldn't because birds sleep at night and Cassie probably went to sleep when the sun went down.

While ago, Lori was going to leave for work and I walked out with her. Bill was next door and walked over. I didn't hear Cassie which I had just mentioned to Lori was odd since she was very loud all morning. So when I saw him coming to our fence I asked him he had gotten her. He said, Nope! The Hawk did. He went on to say that he had finally found a spot where he could see her and he was pretty sure she could see him. He started calling her and she started her loud calling and out of the blue the Hawk flew in. Before he could pick up a rock, his pellet gun or anything (Not that he could have shot that high or far) the Hawk swooped in and there was a lot of rustling and the Hawk flew away with her. Bill is devastated. He saw it all and couldn't do anything. He started choking up just telling us. He's had her since she was a baby and long before he and Natalie married so the girl was at least six or seven years old.

Anyway, now I really feel bad for not wanting to feed Cassie. Errrrrrr.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weekend so far.

The article begins, 'fall harvest has begun, the leaves are turning radiant colors, and the air is crisp'....yea right. Everywhere but in Florida. Today, it is 91 degrees and the trees are still green. Whateva!

Went to a great little restuarant last night on our way to Dane's show in Tarpon Springs. Actually, it was right around the corner from where the show was being performed. It was called 'Mama Maria's Greek Cuisine' and it was authentic Greek cuisine. We weren't looking for something super filling but, you know how you start scanning a menu and it all starts looking good? Well, that happened. Luckily for us we didn't have a lot of time to eat before we had to be over at the show so we settled on sandwich platters. Why did I think it was going to be a small platter with a sandwich and potatoes or chips or something and be over fast? They started by bringing us a basket of warm bread. Then a cup for each of us of Avgolemono Soup. It looked and tasted like a cream of chicken soup with chicken in it, Orzo pasta and lemon. Oh my goodness, I could have eaten twenty bowls of that stuff. To bad we only got a cup of it with the sandwich platters. I had the standard Gyro Platter which came with a choice of Greek oven potatoes, rice pilaf, vegetable, pasta or french fries. I ordered the Greek oven potatoes even though I didn't know what they were. I mean, I've never met a potato I didn't like so, I figured I'd be set and that they would be healtier for me than say, french fries. Well, turns out, they were huge!! I mean, I got like four halves the size of two baked potatoes cut in half!! So much for watching the carbs. Not that we were with the bread and beer but, I like to pretend that I'm trying to do what's right. They were so creamy it was like taking a bite of a mashed potatoe! Mmmmm. Of course we had to have some Greek Beer too. They only served Mythos which tasted like a Heinekin without the after taste. We each had two of those. (Oh, before I go on, I forgot to mention they bring this basket out with lots of bread BEFORE the meal?) Lori ordered the pork kabob platter. All I know is there was enough lamb and beef on my plate to feed three people. The same for Lori. We just looked at each other when it arrived. I mean, by that point, we had already put away one beer each, the soups, and what was equivalent to a small loaf of bread. My meat was piled on with red onions and huge slices of tomatoes, a small container of that sauce I love and of course the pita. But, it was wonderful. Desert for me was the standard Bakalava. I love that! Mmmmm. Lori ordered the Souvlaki platter which was marinated pork tenderloin -she gave me a few piddly pieces. It was very tasty but, I had pork the night before so, I wasn't that interested in it. Of course the real motivation behind that was, she wanted some of my lamb! Of course her sampling of my lamb in no way measured up to the two little pieces of pork I had received. I did have a lot but, I'm just sayin. For desert, Lori ordered.....Yalahtobouriko. I'm taking her word that is how it is spelled. We had to get the deserts to go because we were stuffed. The waitress even told her how to warm them up so that they would taste like they do when they first leave the oven. I didn't know what they were but, Lori said they were like a cream filled pastry. Figures, I don't like cream filled pastries. Hmmmm, think I was going to share the baklava later? No chance. lol We paid the waitress and got up to leave. The owner...and this has never happened to us before, ran out the door in front of groups of people to thank us. If I hadn't of counted the money three times I would think I had overpaid big time or something. lol Lori said probably any tip was more than they get since it is probably locals or family that comes in there. lol It was endearing to say the least. They also had live Greek music. (as opposed to dead. just kidding. Made me think of those queries posted by Tinacious and I could just hear her saying; "Why do they call it 'live music- is it better than dead music?)

We left for the show where we watched Dane's band perform. I'm always awe struck watching him play guitar. He plays riffs like Jimmy Hendrix and nobody can duplicate them. He rights the music as well as wonderful lyrics to all the music they play. He is awesome. He works a crowd and he makes everyone feel like they are special to him which they are. He told me once that success at a show to him meant gaining a new fan even if it was only one person. He dances all over the stage and will randomly solo in front of each person that comes to the edge of the stage to see him. His drummer is excellent too and is funny because he doesn't know the songs by name. He has them named by the way he hears the drums in his head. Like a song titled say, Monster would be Bumble Bee to him. So Dane and Josh have to recite the name of the song on stage and then one has to turn and to Alan and say the other name. Very odd. But, his singer....I should say well, not on the same level. I don't mean to sound unkind because he has improved quite a bit since the beginning when he really stunk. Now he is only off key about 80% of the time. Why is it noone notices?! It is to be sure, dreadful. Made only worse when he goes from singing a verse and then into screaming (or screatching is what I like to call it.)He does play the guitar very well. Eventually something will give. I'm hoping a REAL singer will come along and Josh can continue with the guitar and backup vocals. Over all it was a great show and they perfomed a new song which I really liked. I forget the name of it. I am bad with names so I won't attempt it. I'm still hoping he will perform his "There's a Beast in the Rose Garden" some day. It is not what you would call a metal song. He plays it slow on guitar and Dane actually sings it...on tune! Which, is surprising because Dane doesn't sing all that well but, he is 99% better than Josh. Dane also wrote the lyrics and music . I have the lyrics here for my blogs namesake:

There's a Beast in the Rose Garden,
and she's painting the moon red tonight.
With a distorted smile she starts to weep.
I can't help but dream of your screams..tonight.

There's a beast in the rose garden and she's
turning broken halos into glass again.

Have you ever looked into deception's eyes
Or tasted her apathetic kiss?
She's just a requiem for your happiness.

You're everything I hate
The thing I can't resist.
You're deception's kiss.

Violently and beautifully
She crawls through your window
to dissect your heart over
and over again.
All to well, she's done it all to well.
All to often. And all to swell.

Have you ever woken up to a distorted smile?
A nightmare ended through a violent beauty.
I can't help but make you laugh.
I can't help but make you cry.
With a dagger to your heart
She makes you laugh as you cry.
copyright,2007 by Dane Giddens/Adavera

Maybe he'll get around to performing it before I am to old to go and see it. lol Lori is not much into going because she hates the loudness of the music and the smoke in the bars. But, he is my son and I feel I have to be supportive. It is sad that the other two guys never have that kind of support.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cruise Part two

I guess I mentioned just how much food was on that ship....not sure but,if I didn't, I will say there certainly was food. As much food as there was water!

I'm going to post our dining schedule; with the name of the restuarant and the ype of food. The only menu to speak of that we have is also listed at the bottom. Sheesh! After reading this agian, I'm starving!

Saturday Lumiere’s
Evening Attire: Cruise Casual
French Dinner
Drink of the Day: Bay Breeze

Sunday Animator’s Palate
Evening Attire: Cruise Casual
Show and dinner
Drink of the Day Rusty Anchor

Monday morning was Mickey’s Island Jam Breakfast at Parrot Cay
this was a wonderful breakfast and is where we took the pictures of the characters in all their Caribbean outfits.

Monday Parrot Cay
Evening Attire: Formal Attire
Island Dinner
Drink of the day: Calm Voyage

Tuesday Lumiere’s
Evening Attire: “Cruise Casual”
Master Chef: French
Drink of the Day: Land Ahoy
Saw Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story

Wed Animator’s Palate
Evening Attire: Pirate or Cruise Casual
Pirates IN the Caribbean dinner*
Drink of the Day: Pineapple Mojito

Thursday Parrot Cay
Evening Attire: Semi-Formal
Captain’s Gala = Lobster
Drink of the Day: Panama Hat

Friday Lunch
Castaway Cay
Cookie’s BBQ -steak

Fri Lumiere’s
Evening Attire: Cruise Casual
Dinner: Til We Meet Again
Drink of the Day: Apple Madras

*The only menu that we have is one that was printed to look like a giant pirate’s map, that they actually gave you to keep. So, let me tell you what was on that. Bear in mind you can have any thing on the menu, even more than one entrée, appetizer, etc., it’s whatever you can eat.


With a full salsa and honey-lime tropical coleslaw

Filled with Cheese covered in a tomato and green chili sauce

Fresh island pineapple with a coconut covered banana and orange glaze

Crabmeat, shrimp, and salmon mixed in pearls of couscous with lemon grass
Infused vinaigrette.

Soups & Salads


Romaine lettuce mixed with garlic and Parmesan Ashavings with Jerk-spiced Croutons

Strips of jerk spiced chicken on fresh garden salad with plantain chips

With baby greens and raspberry vinaigrette


Served on strings of pasta and fresh creamy tomato sauce
RECOMMEND: Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio, Italy

On soft herbed polenta, roasted onion and tomato stew with a light barbecue glaze
Recommend Spell Bound Chardonnay, California

With rice and beans and fried okra on a rich spiced glaze
Recommend Louis Jadot Pinot Noir, France

With crushed onion potatoes, sweet carrots, roasted broccoli on mild red curry sauce
Recommend Fess Parker Chardonnay, Santa Barbara

With sour cream chive smashed potatoes and sugar baked carrots with a deep red wine glaze
Recommend Satori Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy


All of the above are served with garden vegetables and your choice of
Steamed white rice or baked potato


Filled with Caribbean rice and light coconut curry sauce
With Jamaican vegetable stew


(Absolute mandarin, peach schnapps, cranberry juice)
(Apple pucker, peach schnapps, Malibu pineapple juice)
(Midori, captain morgan rum, passion fruit, cranberry juice)


On a macadamia barnacle bottom
Meringue chest filled with tropical fruit and berries surrounded by a vanilla sauce
And fall into a rich dark chocolate sauce
Found with caramel rum sauce and vanilla ice cream flambéed by your head server in the dining room
Containing rum and raisin ice cream, Caribbean cake, and a rum caramel sauce


(Irish whisky and whipped cream)
(tia maria, meyer’s rum and whipped cream

PORT : QUINTA DO NOVAL (10 year tawny)

With whipped cream and mango compote
With raspberry sauce

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Productive Week

It's been a fairly productive week. Finally got off my duff and went in for one of those free Lasik consultations to see if I would be a candidate for surgery. My eye doctor told me I wouldn't be. He said that my eyes were dry and that my prescription had changed, blah blah blah. Pretty much the same thing he told me last year and the year before that. Even though I am Nearsighted (can't see clearly far away) I am no where near coke bottle density in the lense department. So, I decided to strike out on my own and at least see what they had to say.

Turns out that I AM a candidate for surgery. Even the diabetes was not a problem. I had only one question. My eye doctor told me that I have astigmatism that actually works for me. He said in most people, they wind up beginning around the age of 40 needing reading glasses. Because of the way my astigmatism worked, I may never need them. Kind of like a built in regulator which means my astigmatism is a good thing. So, my question was, if I had the surgery, how long eventually before I would need reading glasses. I wasn't prepared for the answer. The Lasik doctor said, "Immediately." Oh HELL no! What would be the point of that?! My eyes aren't that bad over all and most of the time around the house, I don't even wear them. I do wear them out and of course to drive. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. I mean, I didn't even need glasses till I was like 42 and that was because I had to travel with my job and I couldn't always read street signs till I was right there on them. Anyway, their solution? MonoVision surgery. Hahahahahahaha That is where you have only one eye operated on. They would correct the nearsightedness in the right eye (since I am right dominate) and leave the left side so I could read. Turns out, that I would eventually need reading glasses only one lense would be clear glass and the other prescription. Now, how F'kd up is that?! And the price for this one eye? Right at $3000. Yep, I hear ya. That was pretty much my response too. Dang if I'm going to pay that much to mess myself up. I would rather be able to read my prescription bottle, the directions on a TV dinner, see my honey's face rather than a stop sign three blocks away. Call me stupid but, those are my preferences. Anyway, it was a learning experience and I'm glad I went.

I also scheduled my seminar for the Gastric Bypass this week as well. I've already gone through the six month required diet which thanks to the two cruises and various other weekend jaunts, I blew. I have to attend the seminar, meet with a nutritionist, meet with a psychologist (which I so can't wait to do!!! LOL) , labs, xrays and then get the letter from my primary care physician. He has already written out the script for the doctor so, hopefully this stuff won't take a year to do. Anyway, this was a productive week for me. I am a huge procrastinator so, for me I got a lot done.

Went to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Saturday. It was awesome as usual. Had the best four layered frozen Margarita's in Mexico!! They even had Oklahoma (I know it's not a country but, they do these odd things some times.) and I had some seared Buffalo steak with scalloped wild onions and their Three Sister's soup. The Indians called zucchini, corn, and beans the three sisters. In Spain I had some Spicy Calamari Stew with Saffron Rice, Curried Butternut Squash soup in India, Authentic Pistachio Baklava from Turkey, Quiche au Fromage de Chevre in France, Spanakopita and a Greek salad in Greece and Arroz con Pato in Peru. And of course, all kinds of wine; red and white, frozen Margarita and a 12th year anniversary Festival Beer that was wonderfully smooth. Then we went to Le Cellier's for dinner where I had a huge 12 oz steak. I know. Not hard to blow a diet when there is wonderful cuisine staring you down.
I don't know why they have to make food taste so good. lol

That's it for me today. My eyes are finally back to normal following those dilation drops which make me feel yuck. So, I'm going out to work in the yard. Heard there was a cool front coming in this weekend. We should wake up Saturday morning in the mid to low sixties according to my mother. Of course it will heat up as the day goes on but, not get as hot as these 92 degree days.

Saturday is my daughter n law Joyce's thirtieth birthday and we are all going out for Sushi. I still haven't bought her a present. I just don't know what to get. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our Cruise

Okay, here is the link to the pictures I took on our cruise. I started writing down some thoughts but, it was over whelming. I am not a very good writer because I get lost in details. Let's just say we went, we had a wonderful time, you should all do sometime and that was it. We came home. Naaaa, didn't think that would float.

Okay, I'll try to start it but, I know I won't be able to finish and then you will have looked at the pics and will be done. But here goes nothing.

We left here Saturday morning around 10:30 for Port Canaveral which is almost across from us. It is on the East Coast of Florida. We were a little later leaving than normal because we stopped to let my mother know we were going. I know I know. I waited till the last minute so she didn’t develop some ‘mystery’ disease and try to inflict tons of guilt. It worked out well. She was stunned but, she had a week to get over it and I had made arrangements for people to check in on her and had already prepaid her lawn service, bought extra groceries for her and had all her medicine portioned out for the next two weeks. It takes about two hours to get to the cape and the ship wasn’t scheduled to begin boarding until 1:00 so we were fine.

I don’t know what I covered with the last cruise so bear with me if I repeat myself.
Disney mails labels with your stateroom number on them weeks before you leave. This speeds up the whole process of checking in. They are also all color covered so the porters immediately know which deck to go to. When you arrive and before you ever park your car, you pull up to a terminal where the porters remove your luggage and all you have to do is park. Which in my case was certainly no sweat as the handicap parking is right at the front entrance where you enter to pass security. Once you get through there, you head over to check in and turn in your paperwork that if you were smart, you printed on line and filled out before arriving. Because we had cruised with Disney before we had some sort of VIP status of being in the “The Castaway Cay Club” which mean that we were able to get in this super short line to be processed.

As you enter the ship, they take your family picture. I think we purchased it on the first cruise but, not this time. Those photos add up. Besides, we don’t need a butt load of photos to remind us how fat we’ve become. After the pictures, you enter the main lobby of the ship and there are crew members lined up on either side. One steps forward, gets your name and over the microphone announces, “Disney Magic Welcomes Lori and Darlene” and then they all applaud, shake your hand and smile as you walk past them…kind of like being on a celebrity run way. You just feel so dang special you can’t help but smile like an idiot and turn five shades of red. At the end of that line, one crew member steps forward with the greeting, “This way for lunch.” Another thing about Disney that I doubt other ships do; as you enter and leave a dining room you are greeted by a crew member holding a container of sanitizing wipes. The ritual quickly becomes second nature. You also do it when you leave and before you reboard the ship after a shore excursion. You’d be hard pressed to get ill from germs like has happened in some cruise ships. Lunch was at Parrot Cay, a tropical carribbean type resturant with a huge buffet with everything from seafood to cold cuts and everything in between like chicken wings, roast beef, ham, etc., They also have cold sweet soups that I adore like their chilled Orange and Mango Soup. And the deserts, which I didn’t eat any of because I stuffed myself with the soup, were plentiful.

We finished lunch around 2:00 and headed for our stateroom on the seventh floor. It had a private verandah like the one on the first cruise, but this one had a clear plexi-glass wall so you could look out over the ocean while you’re sitting on your couch. The one we had before, it was a solid color so you couldn’t see anything unless you looked over the rail. On the first cruise I was actually afraid when I heard Lori had booked a stateroom with a verandah. I don’t know why but, I had this ridiculous thought that a big wave would rock the ship and I’d go flying over the edge and the ship would go on by before they ever noticed I was missing. No chance of that since they make the rails to come up to the middle of your chest. I just have a vivid imagination. Anyway, now it would be hard NOT to have a veranda. I think we would feel like we were in a submarine or something. When we got to our room, our luggage was already outside our door. They are so efficient and quick that no one ever waits for luggage. And so begins the awesome quick personalized service. We never see anyone coming in or going out of our room yet, the bed is always made and then turned back at night with chocolates, orgami animals and the next day’s schedule. Buckets of ice stay magically full.

After video taping the room and the view from the port, we got ready for our little drill. This is always important and is required by law before a ship can leave port. I feel sorry for the little people...the two and three year olds that have to wear what looks like a body suit. It is huge and they can’t move at all. I think it is meant for them to lie on their backs or something.

After that drill, you are free to do as you please. They have a sail away party on the top deck and of course more food. With Disney, you choose before the cruise, which dining time you prefer. We are late eaters so we always choose the last meal which is around 8::00 pm. There are three theme restaurants and you rotate to a different one each night. You keep the same waiters and you are assigned to a table with people who will be your dining companions every night unless one of you decides to do room service or eat at Palo's which is an adult's only Italian cuisine restuarant.

Sunday morning we arrived in Key West. We ate breakfast up on the top deck so we could watch for the end of Florida to draw near. Breakfast was another buffet style with everything on it. I had a half of bagel and lots of salmon with capers, red onions and cream cheese. I love that. I also actually ate some oatmeal. Figure I should do something healthy since it was the ONLY thing healthy I was doing. I think I also ate some eggs, hash browns and bacon. Yes, excessive but, no toast. :D I also had coffee, orange juice AND chocolate milk….but, that is what you do on a cruise.

One of the first pictures I took was of a Coast Guard boat coming along side our ship. I still don’t know why they escorted us in. Could be we were close to Cuba…could be the Disney Magic is actually registered in the Bahamas and as such is a foreign ship. Who knows. They didn’t shoot us even though if you look closely you can see the machine gun on the front bow. I was totally enthralled with them. I took a gazillion photos and I filmed them. They would hang back and then rev their engines and fly down the side of the ship. I went to the other side and there was one there too. I went back down to our room and shot these pics from our verandah. I also took a picture of an island that is out from Key West. I don’t know it’s name but, it is full of new homes and they all have the same thing in common….no garages. LoL I guess they all arrive by boat.

When we docked we got ready for a long walk. I wanted to go to the Hemmingway House which we had skipped the last time we were in Key West. My mission was to get a picture of the solid white cat named after Spencer Tracy. Once we cleared the docks it was only about 10 blocks away. I can’t walk fast so, needless to say it took a while. We finally stopped and had lunch at Sloppy Joe’s and then went on to Hemmingway. Gotta have more food in order to keep our strength up. On the way back we took a few pics of some of the neat stuff in the stores. I'll let you go ahead and look since you read this far. Hopefully this link will work. If not, don't blame me. lol