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!


Friday, December 31, 2010

A Day Shopping on Anna Maria Island

The freezing weather finally moved out of Florida yesterday so we went out shopping. Though it was cloudy all day, it a warm 72 degrees- perfect! We won't know for weeks to come what plants we'll lose from the record breaking hard freeze that hit us two nights in a row. Some look really bad, but hopefully come spring when we trim the dead stuff off, they'll rebound. But some I'm sure we'll lose for good. But anyway, we were both ready to get out of the house and cruise around the island. I took some photos in my favorite shops just to give you an idea of the kind of things I like.

And when we were done shopping, we spent some quiet time on the north end of the island that faces Tampa Bay. My mother's ashes are out there- her favorite place...

This is the Anna Maria City Pier- It's been around so long it's an institution. You can fish off the pier as you drink a cold beer, eat delicious iced buckets of peel and eat shrimp, and the best grouper sandwiches in the world.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

I was digging through a closet for the dog's Christmas stockings and ran across this Santa I made years ago. I just love this old guy, so I sat him in the window
and he looks so Christmasy with the outside lights in the background. I couldn't find his bag of toys- I think I made a little doll, stick horse, some other things that filled his bag.

All we have left to do is hit up Petsmart for new toys and chewies to fill the dogs' stockings. By every December the dogs' toys are so ratty and tore up it's definitely time for replacements. Just when they get to the point they can't survive one more washing, Santa delivers all new ones.  And we need to make a trip to the liquor store. We are going to a Christmas Eve dinner party and are supposed to bring something Italian. The hosts are Italian and top notch cooks, so there's no way I'm going to try to cook an Italian dish. So we'll take a bottle of Galliano and Frangelico, or maybe Tuaca and Amaretto, and maybe some finger foods. We went to this same party last year, and the food was to die for!

We only have one must do Christmas Tradition and that is to watch Darlene Love perform on David Letterman's last show before Christmas. Since 1986 Darlene has appeared on Dave's last show and sings "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" accompanied by Paul Schaefer and the CBS Orchestra. We've never missed it. Usually there is also a full choir plus additional strings and horns. I swear every year the arrangement and her performance gets better and better. A few years ago the show was a repeat due to the writer's strike, but we still watched it because it's our tradition, dontcha' know? This year Dave's last show before Christmas is Thursday night. If you happen to be watching, you can be sure Real Old Man and I are watching, too.   Here's a You Tube video of one of my favorite Christmas appearances by Darlene on the show: 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another Trip Around the Sun...

Today I completed yet another trip around the sun.  The older I get, the faster these trips zoom by. I used to hear old people talk about how fast time flies but didn't give it much thought. But now that I'm a "senior" I know exactly what they were talking about. I think the older we get the more aware we are of our mortality, we realize that "tomorrow" isn't a given. Real Old Man and I are at a really great point in our lives so I want to hang on to each day, wringing every second out of it.

It's amazing when I think of all the changes in the world that have taken place during my lifetime. As a child I learned the drill of "duck and cover". Somehow putting our heads down would protect us from the nuclear bomb the evil Communists were going to launch at any minute. Luckily we never had to test whether duck and cover would save us or not.

When I was kid, girls were never allowed to wear slacks (let alone jeans!). We could only wear slacks in the winter and only under appropriate dresses or skirts. And speaking of skirts- I remember my favorite poodle skirt with the big felt poodle on it. Then came the 60's, the British music invasion, Viet Nam, war protests, civil rights marches, women's lib, the birth control pill, hippies, flower power, free love, and total social upheaval.  We went from poodle skirts, bobbie socks and penny loafers to wig hats, vinyl mini skirts, and go-go boots. Of course we good girls weren't allowed to wear mini skirts so as soon as we got out of the house, we'd roll up our skirts to make them as short as possible.

It was a crazy time that often left a deep divide between young adults and their parents. We openly questioned the values our parents grew up with and tried to pass down to us- we questioned their politics, social values, religious beliefs, racism, women's roles... basically everything our parents believed. We  wanted a world different than theirs. In some ways we succeeded, and in many ways we still have a long way to go.

And the change in technology- mind boggling. I remember my first telephone as a young adult living in rural Ky. It was the old rotary dial type phone and I was on a party line with 5 other homes. Now my twitter friends tease me because I haven't upgraded from a mere cell phone to a smart phone. We listened to music on transistor radios and 8 track tape players. There were three TV stations ABC, CBS, and NBC. The quality of the picture you received was determined by how close you lived to a major city and the position of your rabbit ears or the big antenna sitting on your roof. Now I get 100's of channels on cable, watch shows on demand, and pay per view movies. My cable allows me to watch one show as I record two others to view later.

For most of my life I had a daily newspaper delivered at my door. I kept up with national world news by reading the newspaper and watching the 6 o'clock news. I finally stopped subscribing to a newspaper 5 years ago. I now get my news on-line and on TV. By the time news hits the papers, it's old news. But Real Old Man still picks up a Sunday paper for me just for the crossword puzzle. Yes, I could do the puzzle on-line, but something about holding the newspaper and using a pencil still appeals to me. Some things I'm not ready to let go of yet. And though I'm writing this blog entry on my desktop computer, maybe by next week I'll be courageous enough to take that new laptop ROM gave me for my birthday out of the box and go wireless...

And on that note- I leave you with my favorite birthday song by one of my long time favorites- Jimmy Buffett's Trip Around The Sun-

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Laughed My Ass Off When I Looked Out My Window-

... early this evening. There was my neighbor watering his back fence line wearing a black stocking cap, bright yellow sweatshirt, large flower print shorts, and flip flops. I grabbed my good camera with a decent zoom and grabbed these photos through the window.  It was like he dressed for cold weather from the waist up and warm weather from the waist down. As I pointed out to Real Old Man, he put some thought into this outfit. Notice that the black stocking cap matches the black background of his shorts, and his yellow sweatshirt goes with the yellow flowers on his shorts.

 And one last glimpse of the fashionable gardener as he watered along the back of his shed...

 Last night I finally got around to making the Chewy Cinnamon Bars. The recipe was in the previous post.

I didn't cut them out and roll the bars in the powdered sugar- I just sifted some on the top. OMG! They are so frigging good.

In fact they are so good, we don't want to share them with the dogs, so I baked them some of these slice and bake sugar cookies.

Either my knife wasn't sharp enough or the dough was too soft, because when I tried to slice the dough I just ended up with these mangled blobs. And when I baked these blobs, they became cookies that look like huge anemic cow patties. I swear they are each about as big around as my face. Only I would manage to screw up premade refrigerated cookie dough. But the dogs pretended not to notice and haven't said a word.

PS- Please check out the Christmas tree on this blog. It's absolutely gorgeous! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sarah Palin Killed My Baby Reindeer & Who Ate the Cookies...

Evidently Sarah Palin has killed off all the caribou in Alaska, and now she's gunning down reindeer in Florida. She's truly evil. What kind of person kills reindeer? Maybe Real Old man can revive the little guy after the the wind and cold moves on. Got down in the 30's last night and supposed to get in the 20's tonight. That should finish killing off the grass and the landscaping. I'm trying to talk ROM into moving farther south, somewhere cold fronts never reach.

I don't know why but all I want to do when it's cold is eat and watch TV.  Which brings me to the subject of cookies.... A friend stopped by yesterday with a plate of an assortment of cookies and one in particular was so freaking good!  In fact they were so good ROM and I argued over them. After we'd both had several with our evening coffee, I told ROM we needed to stay out of them (remember how he ravished and devoured the Magic Bars?) It was a short while later we had this exchange...   

ROM: I see you eating another cookie. I thought you said we couldn't eat any more cookies tonight.

Me: Nuh uh -am not.

ROM: You are, too!

Me- I'm just looking out at the dead baby reindeer. I think Sarah Palin shot it.

ROM: Don't change the subject...I can see your reflection in the glass! And your hand shoving a cookie in your mouth.

I turn around and show him my empty hands...
Me: See? No cookie!

ROM: Of course there isn't now, you just shoved the rest of it in your mouth and swallowed it. Let me smell your breath. I bet you have cookie breath.

Me: You need to worry more about Palin killing off your livestock than who is or isn't eating cookies.

Anyway, last night my friend e-mailed the recipe to me and I wanted to share it with you all. They are sooo good! Sorry, I don't have any pictures. I really did eat the last two. But it serves ROM right for being such a pig with the Magic Bars. I'm going to make them tomorrow and I'll take pictures then.

Chewy Cinnamon BarsIngredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds
confectioners sugar
Preheat oven 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, beat until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cinnamon and salt, add to butter, sugar and egg mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cut into small bars while warm; roll in confectioners sugar.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Load Me in the Pick Up Truck and It's Freezing in Florida...

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you about one of my neighbors that I felt shouldn't be driving? Early Sunday afternoon the EMS arrived to transport him to the hospital. But I was afraid he was going to have get off the gurney, put his cowboy boots and hat on, and drive himself to the hospital. The EMTs couldn't get the first ambulance's back door to stay latched so they had to call a second ambulance to transport him. It ended up taking over an hour to finally get him on his way to the hospital. I'm assuming he wasn't on the verge of dying because they sure took their sweet time. I haven't had a chance to talk to his lady friend today to see how he's doing. I told Real Old Man if I ever need to get to the hospital in a hurry to forget calling an ambulance, just load me in the back of his pick up truck.

I just hope he doesn't have to load me up in the back of the pickup today- it's so frigging cold and windy. We reached our high of 52 earlier today and now the temp is on it's way down, down, down... We're under all kind of weather warnings for tonight- wind chill warnings, freeze warnings, and a high wind advisory for today. And that wind is whipping everything around. Right now we're having 35 mph winds blowing Xmas decorations over (my baby deer and the sleigh are on their sides), blasting the palms trees, and frustrating people who are out trying to cover their plants to protect them from the freezing temps coming tonight. I was watching a guy down the street trying to cover some plants and as fast as he'd get the cover over the plants the wind would rip it back off before he could anchor it with bungee cords.

Look at these wind chimes- that baby is singing an angry song today! And my poor plants are getting a hell of a whooping.

I know you northerners think we Floridians are big wuzzes when we bitch about the cold, but we aren't prepared for this kind of shit. We'll have to worry about pipes freezing, losing all our landscaping, and then there's the citrus and strawberry farmers... they'll be out all night spraying their crops hoping to save them from the freeze. 

Now I need to go stir that big pot of chili I have simmering and later I'll make cornbread to go with it. After I finish carrying in some of my patio plants and cover the ones that are too big to bring in...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pretty Lights, Sandman, and Why Are Your Pants Down?

When we got home tonight, from yet another party, this is the view out one of my windows. Looks so pretty to look outside and see lights softly twinkling in the dark night. We have lots of lights, a wicker sleigh, wicker deer and more lights- and that's just the view from inside the house. There are lots of lights on the house, too.

I felt kind of bad about Seaside Santa sitting inside all by himself, so I started creating a sandman earlier today. One thing I will never have is a snowman decoration. Every old fart around here have a variety of  snowmen decorations, even the big inflatable ones- which is just ridiculous. Snowmen in Florida? Get out!  So I started making sandmen last year, but gave them all away..

But I still have this tub of sterilized sand I brought home last year from one of Anna Maria Island beaches. Soon I'll have a Anna Mari Island sandman to keep old Seaside Santa company - until the holidays are over and he reverts back to the Old Salt.

As soon as we got home tonight, we peeled out of our clothes and got into our comfy and warm flannels. Damn, it's still so freaking cold. We've had the heat on all week which I hate because it dries the air out so bad. I end up with fly away hair and our clothes have static electricity. Which led to this scene a half hour ago....

I walked into the living room and there was Real Old Man standing in front of the TV with his flannel pants down around his ankles. He was standing there watching TV and vigorously rubbing his legs. Being the curious person I am, I had to ask him what in the hell he was doing. That led to the following exchange....

Me- OMG! I wish I had my camera ready

ROM- Why?

Me- Because I would have taken your picture just now with your pants down.

ROM- Why in the hell would you take a picture of that?
Me- I could have posted it on Twitter and told them that you pull your pants down every few minutes and make me say nice things about your wanger.

ROM- Why in the hell would you do that?

Me-  It would be frigging hilarious!

ROM-  But I had my underwear on and wasn't showing my wanger.

Me- Wouldn't matter- it'd still be a hoot.
A few minutes later....

ROM- You would never take a photo like that and post it on Twitter would you? Or ever say I made you look at my wanger?

Me- I'd blur your face and wanger
ROM- Stop saying that! I was not showing my wanger. And I have never asked you to look at my wanger! My flannel pants have static electricity and I was just putting lotion on my legs so my pants wouldn't cling. Which I wouldn't have to do if you used dryer sheets. So it's your fault... 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Old Sea Salt Become Seaside Santa and Who Gonna Check Me, Boo?

When the first Christmas came around shortly after we moved in here and we were still filled with delusional optimism that we'd have this place completely renovated within one year, I said I wouldn't decorate for the holidays until the renovations were completed.

We eventually realized that basically gutting the inside of a house and rebuilding it was going to take a lot longer than a year. Especially since we had never before done anything more than repaint rooms. Why we thought we could gut a house and rebuild it ourselves, I have no idea. And we couldn't be content just replacing everything, we decided to eliminate walls to have an open living area, move walls back to make rooms larger, make our own copper ceiling tiles, create an old world kind of plaster texture on a couple of the walls, and well, you get the idea.

Every project that we thought would take a week to do has ended up taking months because we didn't know what the hell we are doing. Which has resulted in numerous do overs. And threats of divorce, genital mutilation, weeks of icy silence, and homicidal fantasies. What started out as a fun adventure has turned into a never ending renovating nightmare. But now that the fun has worn off and we're several years older, we're swallowing our pride and hiring people to do some of the projects. But I digress..

What were we taking about? Oh, yes- decorating for the holidays. I've stuck to my vow of not decorating for the holidays until the renovations are done, so this Old Salt guy I sculpted a few years ago becomes Seaside Santa every December. I dusted him off today so now my holiday decorating is done-  

After dusting and transforming Old Sea Salt into Seaside Santa tonight, I decided to take Isabella for a walk and that somehow made it necessary for me to give Real Old Man a crash course on RHOA.

Me: I think I'll walk Isabella over on Sun Lane to look at the holiday decorations.

ROM: That's the non dog area, you can't walk Isabella there.

Me: I'm a grown ass woman and I'll walk my dog where ever the hell I want! Who gonna check me, boo?

ROM: The Home Owners Association will check you, boo. They'll write us a warning letter, and then you'll write a smart ass reply back to them.  And why are you talking like a young hip black woman?

Me: Because that's the way my friends in Atlanta talk. It's cool.

ROM: That NeCe, Sharon, and the Coated Candy woman from Atlanta are not your friends.

Me: Shows what you know. You don't even know my friends names. It's NeNe, Kandi and Sheree. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, boo. I'll be back when I'm done with my walk.

ROM: You just combined ancient slang with new slang. That sounds ridiculous.

Me: Isabella and I are going on our walk.

ROM: Well, wait a minute. Let me put my shoes on. Emmy and I'll go with you. I've been wanting to see the Synder's light display. I think that old bastard put more up yesterday. I swear he's trying to compete with me... 

It's just how we roll...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cookies, Overly Large Nostrils, and How Fat Can ROM Get?

I've been doing some of my holiday baking the past couple of weeks, but Real Old Man (ROM) devours everything as fast as I bake it. Since he and the dogs had eaten all the cookie balls I decided to bake Magic Bars today. I gathered all the ingredients- with two dogs at my feet waiting and hoping I'd drop something edible- got to work...

Magic Bars Ingredients:
1/2 cup  unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups  graham cracker crumbs
1 1/3 cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1 cup  semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 - 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven.
Have ready a 9 x 9 inch  square baking dish. Chop up butter and place in baking dish, melt in microwave.  Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the butter. Sprinkle the coconut over the crumbs. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the coconut. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate chips. Finally, drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over all the ingredients. Don't mix the ingredients together, just layer them.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until coconut is
lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares.

Of course dogs can't eat chocolate, so I had to bake something else for them. Since they'll eat just about anything, my recipe for their cookies was pretty simple:

Took this photo just before she took the tip of my finger off. She doesn't seem understand the concept of posing and looking cute before getting a treat.

But my sweet Isabella gently nibbled at hers as I took her photo.. damn, that dog has huge nostrils. She has an unusually large butthole, too.  Sshh... don't tell her I said that, she'd be crushed. It's just one of those things I can't help but notice.

After Real Old Man got home today, he had his usual coffee and snack. When I later went into the kitchen, I swear I about shit a brick when I saw what his "snack" had consisted of-
He had the nerve to be insulted when I asked him if his goal was to hit 300 lbs. by New Year's Day.