Healthy eating. Before my trip to the East coast this past summer, I was eating no pasta, no bread, no rice (except with my sushi) and it has been a slippery slope ever since. My body and my weight like it when I stay away from those starchy foods. I feel icky, bloated and just rotten when I eat them, but sometimes the pull to them is so great! After my truffle oil French fries that I was COMPLETELY convinced clotted in my leg causing a lovely hematoma, and causing serious havoc. I decided I was going to start back to eating healthy, and today was the day! My doc friend from Cincy called to check on me as he was out running errands. He didn’t seem worried about my leg. My doc friend from Phoenix had texted me the night before. I still was shocked by how and why this would/could have happened.
For breakfast, I had fruit with yogurt and two cups of coffee. Then I sat on the couch with heat on it most of the day. I had decided that the docs were right and I needed to take it easy. I don’t take it easy well.
I then went down to the pool with my mom. Her cure all, is to put weights on your ankles (No, this is not a joke. I am dead serious!) and float on a noodle in the pool and it will elongate your body and pull everything back into place. I did that! It felt great! I was however still in terrible pain when I attempted walking.
That night, I had to go to the beach, even if only for a few minutes. How could I be home on Sanibel five minutes from a beach and not go? That is sacrilegious! So, we went. We walked for a minute. Dulce bounded down to the water and hopped through the waves and looked at me begging me to join her. I couldn’t do it. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.
We came home and my mom cooked Salmon marinated in French dressing and sautéed spinach. I could immediately feel my arteries clearing. They were so psyched to have fish coursing through them. I immediately felt better and healthier. I felt lighter. I desperately had needed the fish. It was so good.
For dessert, my mom has this box of Asher dark chocolate covered pretzels. I had one. They are so yummy. She covets them. Or I may have had two!
I went and crawled into bed and slept so soundly.
My mother’s Sunday ritual has become to go to an EARLY breakfast with friends and then to the seasonal Farmer’s Market. We opted to sleep in the morning, eat at home and go to the market. Mostly, because my foot hurt so terribly, I could barely put weight on it.
My mom ditched me in the parking lot to make a mad scramble for the fresh salad and fish ladies. I sat in an unusually long line and waited for cars to depart. A gentleman signaled to me that his car was in front of me on the right. The man in the car immediately in front of me saw him and began to back up for the space. I had to move or he was going to hit me. In the truck behind me, the driver lifted her arms and gave me a look that said it all. “WHAT THE F*&# ARE YOU DOING?” She honked to me and waved and signaled to me that car I was in front of was leaving and she would allow me to back up so I could take that space closer to the market. Sometimes karma really does work!
The bottom of my foot was in sheer agony. I didn’t know if I would make it around the car let alone around the market.
I caught up to my mom who looked like she was attending the Tokyo Fish Market in search of the perfect tuna. She grabbed her fish and excitedly told me she bought peel and eat shrimp for cocktails, hogsnapper, and snowy grouper to eat the next two nights. My heart, my arteries, my leg clogged with truffle oil fries was thrilled. SO THRILLED. I was craving healthy food.
We looped around the market twice, which is usually what I would do to see if I knew anyone and see all the wares, but today, this was the equivalent to walking barefoot on a shelly beach. I was not having fun!
My mom excitedly asked what I wanted for a vegetable. “Can’t we eat the leftover spinach?” I inquired. “Not enough left,” she said. “There are three different veggie people here go find something you like!” She had no idea that with each step I took, I was in agony. As my Southern friends would say, “Bless her heart!” Actually, bless mine!
We decided to try a zucchini that was small and round like a baby pumpkin and we bought a portabella mushroom to sauté in a pan. Can’t go wrong with a portabella mushroom cooked in butter with onions. Ooh baby, baby!
Then my mom spotted the French crepes. Today, was going to be my first day without bread, rice or pasta in far too many days. But there was the crepe man screaming come to my booth and have a touch of Paris with his French attire, his red, white and blue colors…and his chalkboard read: Crepe with Ham, Cheese & Egg. I hesitated, but not for long. I could see that my mom had floated back to Paris and was standing in front of an identical crepe man in Paris. The only difference would have been me ordering for us. I would have said, “Bonjour Monseiur! Une crepe avec jambon, fromage, oeuf, si vous plait. Translation. ‘Hello, Mr. One crepe with ham, cheese, egg, please!’ Gosh, I miss Paris!
Five minutes later, we were eating the crepe. More like devouring it! It was magnificent! Or as the French say, ‘Magnifique!’
We went home and I weighted down my legs and crawled into the pool and hung on a noodle. I so desperately wanted the weight to pull my body into proper alignment. Chiropractor? No, I just put weights on my ankles and hang on a noodle in a pool.
I went upstairs to go to the restroom and sadly return to the couch. I couldn’t get out of the bathroom. I couldn’t walk. I thought about getting on my knees and crawling like an infant, but scared it could hurt my injured leg. Plus, after watching my four-legged sister ( I know she is a girl, but apparently she is the dominatrix)… hump the hell out of Dude the boy dog. I knew she would take anything that crawled, and I really didn’t want to be her next humping victim. Instead, I yelled for my mom to come get me.
I realized that my bruise had gone from bad to worse and the pain in my foot had followed. Here I am, fairly young, and I am going to need to find a cane to get around. I also realized it was time to call the one doctor that I loved and trusted like a father. It was time to call one of my best friends from graduate school. A retired surgeon in Charlotte named LG.
I knew whatever LG said would help me. Calm me. Reassure me. Basically, I had to stay off that foot and when I had to walk. I had to wear my tennies for good support.
I couldn’t help my mom prepare the Hogsnapper with a tortilla crust that was so light and yummy. I couldn’t help her sauté that portabella mushroom with onions in butter, but I could help her eat it. And then I had to have one Asher chocolate covered pretzel for dessert. ONLY, because I knew it would make my leg and foot feel better!
We woke up to another beautiful day! I love that this house is on stilts. The view is so much better with height. I keep looking for this enormous alligator to swim by but I have yet to see him.
For breakfast my mother took the remaining sautéed portabella mushroom and scrambled them with Swiss cheese.
Then I went to my book signing at THE BOOK NOOK. The store is located on Palm Ridge Road on Sanibel and owned by two sisters Melanie and Jan and their dog Shiloh. They are such nice ladies. They moved down to Sanibel from Dayton. The shop has been there a long time and perhaps needed a facelift. My mother went in and did some painting and they allowed her to implement some of her decorating ideas. I think she did a great job. Now the sisters are going to paint a few walls in various bright colors. Another convert to my mother’s love of bright colors. And it is so perfect for Sanibel. I think the more they do to that shop the more it will become a focal point for visitors.
The books in the book signing included the following:
Turnaround Kids. I wrote this story for kids that have parents going through a divorce, or have gone through a divorce, and the kids go back and forth between the parents’ homes. The kids feel like they are constantly “turning around”. This is a book that hopefully will do a variety of things. It will teach kids that it does get better. They are not alone. And perhaps with humor and tactics to cope with it.
Women in Pink. It is a story about five women ranging from 28-80 years of age that meet in the waiting room in the radiation department for breast cancer. The woman are from different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicity and they bond through this experience, and realize how much life they have in them, and all the good things they can do.
This is a book that women who have been through breast cancer can relate to it. Women who are going through it can know what to expect, and women who have friends going through it can learn what their friends are dealing with, but this is not a tearjerker. This is a fun book. There are moments that are challenging, especially for one particular character, but this is a feel good story. I was sad to leave these women when it ended. And you may see them all again!
Peri’s Sanibel Island Adventure. Is a story of Peri the pelican and his adventures around Sanibel and Captiva Islands and all his animal and bird friends. It serves as a travel book for kids coming to the islands.
Peri’s Paris Adventure. Peri has wings and he wants to explore the world. His first stop is Paris. He learns a little French, where to go for hot chocolate, and all the sights to see.
I saw a friend at the book signing named Lynda. She bought Women in Pink for a friend about to go through breast cancer. She asked if I was practicing law. I told her no. She held the book, my book, in her hand, and said, “This is your passion!” I said, “Yes!” She smiled. I smiled. It felt great!
After the book signing, my mom owed me a caramel milkshake. She lost a bet in Cincinnati. OH MY, MY, MY it was good. She said are we going to save some for later? I said, “Do you know me? It will be gone by the time we are halfway home. You better take lots of sips, Mom!”
After a book signing, a caramel milkshake, and a throbbing leg, it was nap time!
I woke up and we went to the beach for sunset. This has been a ritual for us since we started coming to the island thirty years ago. I love sunsets on the beach. I could barely walk. I was hobbling along with my mom’s bright painted cane. She doesn’t use it, but she has it for emergencies.
We went to dinner at a place called THE SANDBAR close to my mom’s house. We walked in the door and the manager, Brian, looked at me and said, “Erin, what in the hell did you do to your leg? You are on a cane? How long ago did you hurt yourself?” I replied 4 days ago?” He asked, “Have you been to a doctor yet?” Nope,” I responded. “Why?” he asked. “Because it has only been four days.” He just looked at me and said, “GO TO A DOCTOR, ERIN!!!”
Brian and I became friends when he was working at my favorite restaurant on the island called The Sanibel Grill, but I call it The Grill. I was working at the Chamber for Sanibel, and they were a client, so I talked to him on the phone frequently and would see him in the restaurant. Since then, he has jumped ship and is at this Sandbar joint.
My mom and I ordered a crab bisque to share for an appetizer, which was tasty. I really love bisques! There is something about that creamy flavor mixed with seafood that I really adore.
I limped to the kitchen to ask Brian what to order and told him I was contemplating the Mixed Grill. He told me it was a good choice and the scallops are so yummy. So, the Mixed Grill was grouper, shrimp and scallops bronzed. Bronzing is when they lightly blacken the fish. I didn’t know that or I had forgotten it. I thought the seafood was very good and the veggies were steamed perfectly for me. I find that a lot of places barely cook veggies and I like mine a little more done but flavorful. I am not the biggest haricot vert (aka green bean) fan, but these were delicious. I ate them all!!! And he brought us a sample of a scallop dish he was featuring that night. It was delicious!
As we were leaving, we somehow ended up talking to the hostess. We ended up talking about 9.11. My mom told her about my 9.11 Journal that was published. She and her husband were New Yorkers! He was a psychiatrist and went into the city to help people during 9.11. She said the Giants football team came into the city and went to the piers where people were going to deal with their post stress traumatic experiences, and these professional football players talked to them. Played with their kids. She said they were amazing. That was a story I never heard. I bet there were a lot of stories like it out there. But I was truly touched by the generosity of these giants all puns intended that demonstrated their soft sides in many great ways.
After swapping 9.11 feel good stories, we went home. I propped up my feet and placed my mom’s yoga toes on them, which divides and soothes toes and I ate a bowl of watermelon. I am trying so hard to eat right after my glutton-filled time with my mom in Cincy.
I then went back to my bedroom and at this point I am willing to do almost anything to make my feet and legs right and pain free. I lied on the bed in the yoga position known as the butterfly. I spread my legs apart with the soles of my feet together in hopes that this would open up my hips and free whatever in the world was aching my legs and feet so terribly. It seemed to help, but then again I am the eternal optimist. I read my book and then fell fast asleep.
On Tuesday, I woke up and defrosted some of my friend, Annie’s husband, Henry’s bananas. They have a banana tree in their backyard. These bananas are so sweet and so bloody good. She gave me a batch that she picked and froze. I always ask them for some, because I just love them! I put some Noosa blueberry yogurt on top and it was so yummy and HEALTHY!
I went out to visit my book people. These are the kind, generous, supportive folks that sell my books. I went to Suncatcher’s to see Dan and see how sales were going. Then I went to visit Susie @ McIntosh’s and this gal Rebecca that worked there was so nice and friendly and so helpful. I was quite impressed. Thanks Rebecca for all the great ideas! I knew the Bailey’s gal I wanted to see was not in yet. I had already been to BOOK NOOK!
I went to meet Annie at Jerry’s for lunch. Jerry’s is a local market on the island and they have a restaurant in there under the same name. The restaurant just got a much needed and welcomed facelift. It looks great. The view out their windows is jungle like filled with palm trees and exotic birds. It is really nice. I ordered the Greek omelet, which consists of spinach, feta and homemade sausage. They took it off the menu, but they still let me order it. Thanks guys! I love it.
I then went back to the pool. I put two weights on each leg and took a noodle and went to the deep end and let my weighted legs hang. I am so convinced that I can somehow right my wrong by yoga or stretching out my body. It has to help. I hope.
My mom and I went to the beach for sunset. We met out friend Ellen and her three dogs: Sadie, Tess and Bella. Dulce was so excited to make new friends. She hopped, skipped and jumped. Tess, Bella & Sadie who had just come from Chicago to Florida for the winter were far more mellow than Miss Dulce. The two gals stood and talked and I sat right down on the beach and let the dogs surround me. I wanted off my leg and needed to be off it, but I relished this, sand beneath me, sunset over the water in front of me, and dogs all around me. Can you say HEAVEN?
We went home and my mother cooked up the Snowy grouper. I remember eating grouper, but it wasn’t till the last few trips that I had suddenly noticed it is no longer just grouper it is Snowy grouper, black grouper, or scamp grouper. I don’t recall when it became so specialized like medicine and the law. It is fish. I know I am a foodie, but really? Then inspired by Mayday in Cincy, my mom made a spinach salad with a hard- boiled egg, bacon and I made the warm vinaigrette to go on it. YUM! And again, healthy. And again, my arteries were thrilled to have such healthy food coursing through my body and alleviate the glut of the grease from the fries. The greasy fries that caused my leg to be injured. I know it was those fries!
Then we cooked that round, yellow baby zuchini and we both took a bite and looked at each other. YUCK! The only cure for that is a bowl of Queenie’s Cookie and Sweet cream ice cream and a round of RumiQ!
Next day, my mom and I began to hang pictures in my bedroom. We gave it a Charleston, SC feel crossed with a Carribean feel or that is what the artwork expressed.
I had gradually unpacked bags of clothing and tucked them into drawers. It appeared that my room had come together. My clothes are so dated that it is embarrassing that I am still wearing attire that dates back to 1983. Yes, 83!
I made of bowl of the remaining Henry bananas. I should have asked Annie for more but forgot. I feel a little guilty asking for them, but they have a tree full of them and she got me hooked on them so now she has to honor my habit. Not really, but I love them. They are like eating candy!
My mom and I finally decided that we had been together for almost three weeks and even though we talked sporadically about the books, we needed to sit down and really hash out some plans for them, the illustrations and general brainstorming.
Then a friend gave me the name of the guy who owns THE ISLAND COW or as the locals call it “THE COW” and I called him to see if I could sell my books in front of the Cow the night of luminaries. He said yes. He was such a nice man, and I was so appreciative because he gets so much foot traffic! But, he shared a children’s story idea with me and I have to tell you, I really loved his one idea for a kid’s book. It was so creative and so clever. I hope he reads this blog post and it inspires him to do it! So, if any of you are near The Cow on Friday, December 6 during Sanibel Luminaries….I am selling my books! Come on by….
I hung up the phone with him and then my mom and I went to meet at Gramma Dot’s down at the Marina. Gramma Dot was once a Grandma. She actually lived across the street from one of our old houses. Gramma Dot’s restaurant is special because it is one of six restaurants you can eat in on Sanibel that you can see water. The others include: Thistle Lodge, Mucky Duck, Mad Hatter, The Green Flash and Island Inn.
Gramma Dot’s is comparable to eating on a screened in porch and your view is water and boats when at Dot’s. They are known for a few things. Great grouper sandwich, great Saratoga chips, great Clam Chowder, great Key Lime pie and the signature to it all is the orchid flower on each plate. I ordered a Caesar salad with blackened shrimp. Yum.
On the way home, my mom sarcastically asked me if I wanted a caramel milkshake. I said YES! We went, and it was good, but not as good as the first one.
Then we went home and lounged around the pool. Well, I put weights on my legs to see if I could alleviate some of my leg and foot pain.
One of my favorite things about coming to Sanibel is playing tennis with my tennis friends over at Beachview Tennis. The gals are all older than me, but they are in better shape than me and they play better tennis than me. They are really fun to play tennis with and they are just great, fun, easy to be around!
Well, they got a little group together for us to meet at a new restaurant on the island called THE BLUE COYOTE. We went and I am not a drinker and for me to pretend I am is pretty laughable. However, with this leg pain, I am not going to turn down a drink. I ordered a Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic. It came to me with an accompanying message that it was a bit heavy handed. I asked for more tonic water and the bartender accidentally added soda water. I asked him if he could doctor it and make it better. He returned with THREE Gin & Tonics!!! THREE! I ended up drinking 2 and I gave one away! The ladies were mad at the service except for Joyce, who repeatedly reminded everyone that it was opening day. And she was right!!!
My mom and I left there and went to the Sanibel Grill or as we call it “THE GRILL” so I could get Crunchy Grouper basket. This is where and how I learned to eat fish. it opened my eyes to other fishes and other preparations. Now, I love fish! I usually get oysters, but tonight, I just wanted some crunchy!
The waitress Becky who has been there for years despite her young age, chatted with us, showed us pics of her adorable daughter Audrey and her hubby is a Wally, same name as my dad. Becky told me there was a Book Fair at the local Sanibel Island School and I should talk to the media specialist there named Libby and that she is FABULOUS! Ran into another gal at the restaurant from the school and she said great idea, so I called Libby the next day before my flight back to Cincy! She said I could read to the kids the following week at the fair. I could have gone back to Cincy and immediately come back to Sanibel (oh this is so confusing, isn’t it?), but because of my stupid, injured leg I was not allowed to turn around that fast and head back to Sanibel. Oh so sad. Libby is going to hopefully arrange for me to read to them before Christmas break!
I was so excited. My mom was so excited. So, we went home and chatted and took two spoons out of the drawer and shared the last few spoonfuls of Queenie’s Cookies & Cream ice cream! A perfect end to a great trip!
I then went into my room and packed. After years of traveling, I have learned you pack at the end of the day, so you do not waste precious time that you could be at a beach, in a museum, or playing tennis. That is the best time to pack. Do it when the sun is not shining!
The next morning my lovely little four-legged sister Dulce came crying to my door. I opened it up and she came flying onto my bed. This is her ritual. She is so excited to see me that she grabs a toy or in my case a sock of mine, she prefers new socks that she can puncture holes in with her teeth, and she prances back and forth with her tail wiggling FIERCELY. She comes close enough for me to try to get the toy/sock out of her mouth and then she prances away. What it looks like is a kid with a lollipop saying to you, ‘Do want it?’ And you go to grab it and they pull it from you before you can grab it and shout: ‘PSYCH! Just kidding.’ You go to grab it again and they repeat the ritual AD NAUSEUM until you grow bored of it. Well, this is what Dulce does and it sounds annoying, but she is so flippin’ cute. I find it utterly adorable!
I am now awake. She has instantly converted my mom and I, two late sleepers, to early risers. I half awake go plop myself on the couch and lean against my mom’s shoulder.
“Do you want to go to breakfast?” she said. “Yes!” I replied.
Because I wanted to see the guy at The Cow, we chose to go there. I had been dreading going to the Cow because MANY, MANY years ago long before the current owner owned it, I had two bad meals there and had written the place off. I always thought it was a shame because as for ambiance….it is awesome, so cute, so inviting, so islandy and such a great idea for a restaurant in paradise.
My mom read the menu and peered over it and said, “Why did we stop coming here? The menu looks great AND we can bring your sister with us! It is dog friendly.”
We both ordered an omelet with shrimp and covered in hollandaise sauce. It was really yummy. Dulce had a scrambled egg and my mom added her dog food to it and she loved it!
Sadly, the owner wasn’t there to talk books!
We left there and immediately went to the beach for my last beach walk. I just love the beach. The beach does something TO ME and FOR ME!
Then we went home and I floated around on a raft in the pool till it was time to leave.
I wasn’t as sad to leave as I usually am because I knew I would be back in a few weeks.
My mom dropped me at the airport and that is when the comedy of errors began.
I first went to the ticket counter and told the gal I was flying to Cincinnati. She told me Air Tran didn’t fly to Cincinnati and I had a small panic attack.
We finally figured out that I was flying to Dayton. Whoops! Kinda a big difference!
Then I went to the Concourse I ALWAYS fly out of to go to Cincy. Concourse B. I waited in line. Got to the front of the line and the man said you are at the wrong Concourse. I had to take my bad leg and drag it to Concourse C.
What else could possibly go wrong? The air thingy…the thing that blows out air. I hate it. I always turn them off immediately. Well, mine would not turn off and not only was it blowing air on me full force and each turn made the air pressure stronger, but it began to mist on me. The flight attendant said that for some reason that particular air thingy created a light rainy mist. I turned to ALL the folks sitting around me watching me get a shower and in my AIRPLANE seat and said, “I am so sorry you are all missing out on the facial.” They laughed. Funny for them. They were dry.
I proceeded to eat half of my leftover fish (bronzed, blackened and deep fried) and green beans from three different meals and half of one of my mom’s Asher chocolate covered pretzels for lunch saving the remaining fish, beans and pretzel for dessert.
The man sitting next to me across the aisle noticed my Red Sox World Series shirt, which had now turned into my traveling shirt and he reached into his bag and produced a gold baseball and handed it to me and said, “Look what I got in Ft. Myers!” Across the ball it said, “2013 World Series Winner-BOSTON RED SOX!” I told him it was very cool. I asked him to explain how a Boston Red Sox fan was wearing a Gators hat and carrying a Florida State bag?” It made no sense to me at all. U of Fla and Fla State for non-football fans, they are bitter rivals. And what is someone who has two Fla schools doing being a Sox fan? (Red Sox summer training camp is located in Ft. Myers) There are so many teams between Fla and Boston. Why the Sox? He told me the bag was a Washington Redskins bag. He is a Redskin fan, but he lived in Boston and visited Fla. I told him I had lived in Boston and loved it and that I had gotten a bad hankering for cider donuts and made them the previous week and the New England ones were so much better and I was downright envious that he could get them all the time in the Fall! I think he and his wife actually drooled when I brought up the cider donuts. Then we talked about where you can get them on the East coast. All the apple orchards, farmer’s markets. Then I drooled at all the fond memories of going to this when the trees were yellow, orange and red. SUCH A FOND MEMORY!!!
I had a layover in Baltimore or as the Baltimore folks called it when I lived there…BAWLMER! We landed and said our goodbyes.
I was taking the same plane from Bawlmer to Cincy, I mean Dayton, but I had to leave the plane. I asked if I could leave my suitcase on the plane. No, I had to take it. I hate terrorists! They really have screwed up a lot of nice amenities for people over the years!
I went and sat at my gate and people watched. I love to people watch at the airport. BEST place to watch folks! I love to make up funny stories about people. For example: “He (the hubby) looks happy as a lark and his wife is thinking what the hell was I thinking when I walked down the aisle with you! I am going for some young blood! Look at the pilot over there! Come to me baby! Yowsa!”
I made phone calls and then I kept noticing people walking around with this EXTRAORDINARILY large container of yogurt. They were not getting the petite size. They were going for the big bowl and smiling about it.
They called for my flight to start boarding. I decided that I was going to get some yogurt. I asked the guy at the flight guy at the gate desk if I had time to do it. He said, “Yes, if you bring me back a tester size.” The comfort level that people have with me instantly sometimes is BIZARRE!!!
So, I went to the yogurt people and they said , “No it is not yogurt! IT IS ice cream and it only comes in one size, but it is ONLY 70 calories…I didn’t check to see if that was 70 calories a bite, an ounce, or a container. However, I put Oreos on it. After Queenies Cookies and Cream…I wanted the Oreos. Well, even if it was 70 calories for the small bucket of ice cream that could have fed 10 EASILY…I added the equivalent of roughly 5 Oreos, so now it was 570 calories.
I went in the plane and everyone was looking at me and I said, “I know, I know. It is so large I should have brought 10 spoons.” Laughter. I sat down and the man next to me offered to hold my water and ice cream while I got settled.
He and his wife were lovely. They were from New Hampshire both retired. He was a woodworking teacher in a high school and she did Urban Planning work on the federal level for VT, ME and NH. We talked all the way to Dayton. I asked them about their jobs, the woodworking convention they were heading to and then we exchanged info and they sent me a few nice note afterwards. People are nice if you are nice to them. Sure makes life more interesting!
I went outside called my father and Uncle who had driven to Dayton to pick me up in my Uncle’s Prius to save money on gas. I had a board meeting in an hour and I was quite certain I would be on time if not 10 minutes late. BUT…my dad and Uncle went slower than molasses never going 1 mile above the speed limit. I sat in the back and ate the rest of my fish and beans and listened to two identical twins talk about healthcare and my bad smelling fish.
I arrived home for my board meeting and that is when the entertainment really began!
Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….