In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Lazy Woman's Guide To Thanksgiving Dinner

Since we had no one visiting us this Thanksgiving I saw no reason that I should spend the day cooking a big dinner for just the two of us. Lucky for us one of our favorite restaurants has a tradition of being open and offering a full menu on Thanksgiving Day. So we drove into Bradenton to Mattison's Riverside which is on the Manatee River, has a beautiful view, and the food is top rate. Mattison's is right beside the Blue Dolphin Marina and I love looking at all the fabulous yachts and sailboats. Soon they'll all be lit up with lights and decorations for the holidays and the annual Holiday Boat Parade.  





This was the view from our table. It was so warm today, some people chose to eat outside on the patio.

Though they were offering the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and dressing, we decided to order off the menu instead. We had delicious filet mignon with a port wine glace and bĂ©arnaise sauce and scrumptious garlic mashed potatoes. And for dessert I had my favorite peanut butter pie- creamy peanut butter mousse with an oreo cookie crust topped with chocolate ganache, whip cream and fresh strawberries. 
 

As we left the restaurant, the sun was setting coloring the sky a brilliant blue-

And to the west the sunset was just beginning to color the sky.

To the south we could see the city holiday decorations lit up for the first time of the season.
I didn't forget the dogs- I made sure I saved and brought home some of my filet mignon for them, which they immediately gobbled down. All in all, it was a great Thanksgiving. I hope however you spent yours it was a great one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Day on Anna Maria Island

Real Old Man is on vacation this week so today we wandered the island. It was a beautiful day to be out walking- 80 degrees and sunny with a few clouds meandering across the sky. A perfect weather to be out walking. Wish I could have brought you along with me, but we can pretend I did by way of these photos.


Anna Maria Island is actually three little towns- the south tip is Bradenton Beach, then Holmes Beach, and the northern tip is the town of Anna Maria.

Click photos to see full view


We spent today in Bradenton Beach. Over the past weekend the Beach House restaurant hosted a sand sculpture exhibit created by kids. So we started there- here's a photo of the Beach House which is on the Gulf side of the Island





The theme of this next one was recycling and it was fantastic.









We wandered the beach for awhile and then decided to doing some shopping on the east side of Bradenton Beach on Bridge Street which is along Sarasota Bay. It's a lovely part of the town and even the alleyways are landscaped.


                         




I love this condo building- it's called the Old Bridge Village. The landscaping is so lush and gorgeous.







The condos face Sarasota Bay and what a view they have-








I stalked this Great Egret for awhile...




As the Great Egret wandered the shoreline he met up with the smaller Snowy Egret in the left corner of this photo.



And my favorite- the pelican! I love this strange looking bird and can sit for hours watching them plunge into the water to scoop up fish.



For years now I've seen this houseboat anchored in the Bay. I've never seen the people who live on it, but love all the potted plants they always have sitting around on the boat.

We did a bit of shopping but all I bought were a pair of ear rings. I'll save my serious shopping for when we go to St. Armands Circle in Sarasota later this week. I love shopping there! I can spend some serious money in those shops.

We met friends for dinner at a place on the Gulf side and had a great view of the sunset. But I was too lazy to get up and take photos. All in all it was a great day- life is good...



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue Moon...

Some photos I took of tonight's blue moon. Click each photo to see full size version.



 According to EarthSky, a blue moon is "the second full moon in a calendar month, or it can be the third of four full moons in a single season." Tonight's Blue Moon is the third of four full moons between September 22nd  autumn equinox and December 21st winter solstice.


Blue Moon is also the title of classic ballad written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934.  One of the first singers to record it was Connie Boswell in 1935:













It's been recorded by many singers including Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Elvis, Sam Cooke, The Marcels, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and so many others, too many to list.  One of my favorite versions is done by Chris Isaak:










Is there anyone who hasn't heard a version of this romantic song and slow danced to it? If you haven't- grab your special someone and dance to it under tonight's moon.  And if there isn't someone special with you tonight, dance by yourself - maybe the moon will hear and bring you the person of your dreams before the next blue moon...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Crock Pot Recipe and Bitch Gave Me The Stink Eye...


Every year I swear I'm not going to do this, but every year I do. During our long hot summers, we eat a lot of salads, grilled chicken and lean meats. One reason being is it's just too hot for heavy meals, plus wearing swim suits and shorts is an incentive to eat lightly. A bulging belly, a fast ass and thighs rubbing together can't be hid under clothing when it's 90 degrees and 90% humidity. But once it cools down for the winter the days get shorter, the nights longer, and the meals get heavier. Unfortunately, so do I.  So every spring I have the same 10# to be lose once again, and after I lose it I always swear I'm not going to gain it back again the next winter. I lie to myself a lot-LOL Just in case you want to get a fat ass with me, here is one of Real Old Man's favorite recipes.  

Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients:
1 lg. onion
1 tbs minced garlic cloves
4 pound lean ground beef
 corn tortillas
3-4 package taco seasoning mix
3 cans cream mushroom soup
4 cups shredder cheddar jack cheese
3 cans diced green chilies


Sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1 cup tomatillo salsa
1 can sliced black olives

Directions:
1. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in skillet.. Cook and stir until  browned.  Drain fat.  Add taco seasoning ( 3-4 envelopes depending on taste) and water to meat. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.

2. In a bowl stir together the  cream of mushroom soup and green chilies.

3. In the  the bottom of a slow cooker place a layer of soup mix, a layer of tortillas, a layer of the ground beef, and then a layer of  shredded cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of stuff, ending with a layer of tortillas on the top. Top with remaining cheese.

4. Cook on high for 1 hour, then set on low and allow to cook 4-6 hours.

Mix sour cream, tomatillo salsa and black olives together to spoon over each serving of casserole. 

I have no idea how many servings this makes but it's a lot. I always freeze half of it. And I have no idea how many calories or grams of fat but again- it's  a lot.  But damn it's good ;)


And speaking of good... my girl, Isabella, who is usually so sweet and tolerant had a little hissy fit tonight. About an hour ago she was sleeping in her bed right here beside my desk so I thought I'd take a picture of how cute she looked. The minute I turned the camera on and pointed it at her she raised her head and looked at me as if to say "Bitch, leave me alone!". I ignored her and took her photo. And as I got ready to take another one, she growled, jumped up and went to the living room to nap undisturbed on her couch. I couldn't believe she growled at me! Hell, she let's me dress her up and has posed for hundreds of photos. If she wasn't spayed I'd swear she was pmsing.  



I was asking some of the gals on Twitter this week what "stink eye" meant. I do believe Isabella just gave me a perfect example of the stink eye in this photo.

And then she was gone....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is It Because We Don't Lick Ourselves?

As I was bathing the dogs yesterday it occurred to me that humans must be one of the foulest smelling species on earth. My Isabella can  easily go three weeks between baths without emitting any offensive odors. It's amazing when I think about the things I have to do daily to avoid reeking like rotted meat... I shower, shampoo, slather myself in scented lotions, apply a generous layer of antiperspirant to my arm pits, dress in freshly laundered clothing, brush my teeth approximately 3-4 times a day, and wash my hands umpteen times. And during the hot Florida summers I might even need to take another shower at the end of the day before I put on clean pjs before going to bed. Just to get up the next day and do it all over again.


We humans spend big bucks on hygiene products and time devoted to controlling our body odors, but dogs just give themselves a few licks a day, chew a couple of Milk Bones, and they smell just fine.




Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Secret Garden-

Every freaking day of the past week I had contractors here tearing out a bathroom and rebuilding it, plus putting in new subfloors in one of the bedrooms. Five days of listening to saws, drills, hammering, banging, pounding, plus dust and fumes from adhesives. Five days with approximately 3-4 hours of sleep each night. By Friday morning my my eyes were swollen and red as I got through the day in a stupor. My voice was hoarse and my lungs were burning from the fumes and dust. To make the week even more miserable add in being shut up in my studio with two bored and pacing dogs that felt the need to bark at all the racket the workers were making. Let's just say the week sucked big time.

Then today was spent cleaning up the mess, washing everything down, vacuuming, and dusting. Once that was done, I decided I needed to do something calm and peaceful like watering and tending to my plants, then relaxing on the lanai. Nothing brings me more joy than wildlife, plants, and the beach.


So I rearranged plants, removed dead leaves, and watered. Then I enjoyed a couple cups of coffee sitting out there listening to nothing but birds and the sea breeze making the the palm trees sing. I love to listen to the trees sing with the breeze rustling through the fronds. When I got bored with sitting, I grabbed my camera and took some photos so you could experience sitting on the lanai with me.

Click each photo to see full size and details. These are on the left side of the lanai as you face the front door-



This is on the left side

Different kinds of philodendrons on left side by the door

I have four Christmas cacti that in about 6 weeks will be covered in blooms. I have a 2 red ones, gold one, and white one. Here two of them...

 








This a piece of driftwood covered with different kinds of air plants hanging from the ceiling. I love these plants- they need no soil, with only occasional misting. And they reproduce like crazy, the mother sending out pups.




On the outside of the lanai there are numerous plants. The hibiscus is blooming 



When I glanced up at one of the palm trees I noticed the crescent moon right above it. It was about 4 in the afternoon and the moon was faint but clearly visible.
 


 And then I saw some buzzards circling overhead. Good thing I'm not superstitious or seeing buzzards hovering around a senior community could be worrisome-lol


And here is the outside of the lanai front door. Look who's peeking out the door- 




And another little face peeking out


Stop by some day and have a coffee or cocktail with me on the lanai!