Tropical Breezes to Frigid Temps, Good Food to Good Friends

I am from Cincinnati. I grew up in a small town outside of Cincy called Wyoming. I tell people I am from Wyoming and they look at me and say, “That is so beautiful!” Then I realize they think Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and not my Wyoming in the state of Ohio.

 

People rarely leave Cincy. They see no point. And for a long time, a large influx of people didn’t flock to Cincy, unless they were Proctoids that is what the locals call the P& G folks.

 

I also lived in Boston and New York and I saw a large influx of people move into those very transient towns. The best parts about transient towns are there isn’t the snobbery of I have lived here for multiple generations. (I am third generation Wyoming, but that is not the point except to make you laugh.) Unlike Wyoming, Ohio, great place to be raised, but I never met new people!  In Boston and New York, I was constantly meeting new people. Even today in Cincy, I don’t meet people here like I did in those big metropolitan cities, or for that matter on my mom’s little island of Sanibel. Sanibel is a microcosm of New York or Boston. Very few are from Sanibel and there is a constant flux of new people there. I LOVE IT!!!!

 

I went to pick up a bike at South African Sue’s house, and she was at the neighbor’s house painting. She came out and said, “We are in each others pockets.” Love the expression! She took me behind her neighbor; Dorothy’s home and she had turned the space under the stilts of her house into another room. Actually, it is a multi-purpose room. She has an artist studio there and a lounge area complete with swings! It was brilliant! I will show you pictures!

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Dorothy is from Scotland. I love Scotland. It is so incredibly beautiful, but she is now a full-time Floridian. A creative soul. She created a mural on the outside wall, underneath wall and used objects from the sea, trinkets from tourist shops and she took a coconut and turned it into a fish. Oh yes, I brought a coconut home so I could make a fish too!

 

I told you I went to that antique group gathering. Carol and her husband are from the Cape. This needs to be distinguished down in Florida. To me, Cape means Cape Cod, but to Sanibelians it means a little town called Cape Coral. Carol and her hubby are Cape Codders. I read a book by an author named William Martin. He wrote a book called Harvard Yard and it was a fascinating historical fiction novel that begins with John Harvard back in Britain and how Harvard came to be. I loved the way he wrote so much that I picked up another book of his called Cape Cod. I told Carol about it and suggested she may enjoy it and she said that “Bill” Martin is her husband’s favorite author. They have met him. It was so fun to talk to them about it.

 

My friend Annie invited me to a gallery opening at the Watson Gallery, and they had some very interesting work from a variety of artists in multiple mediums. I love writing, I do consider it to be an art form, but I must confess, I wish I could also be an artist too. I would love to be able to look at something and capture it on paper. That so intrigues me!

 

My mom and I went to Sea Star for sushi after the gallery opening. We had a green dragon and damn if it didn’t look like a green dragon. The dragon roll consisted of fresh sushi wrapped in avocado to give it that green color and then it was shaped like a dragon. We had another sushi roll, but it was not as tasty or as dramatic in the presentation.

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The hostess was a gal we knew on the island for many years. She owned multiple restaurants, a jewelry and art gallery and here she was! She asked what we were up to these days. My mom used to have her painted furniture in her gallery and we said books. I said, “I write and she draws!”

 

She came back a little later and said that a gal at the next table asked if I was a famous author. I REALLY thought she was pulling my leg! I said and you said, “No, its just Erin!” Well, the lady wanted to meet me. I went over and shook her hand and introduced myself. I have no idea how she would know I wrote. I don’t have my picture on my books. But this woman was GUSHING over me and almost in tears with excitement to meet me, and I thanked her repeatedly and told her I was so touched, but what she didn’t know, was I was gushing over being gushed over! I feel like I am talking in tongue twisters today! Anyway, it was too much and I LOVED it!!!! It was so sweet! So flattering! So bizarre for little Erin Holzman from Wyoming, Ohio not Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but O-HI-O!

 

When we were finished. I saw some tennis friends and I went to say hello and they were dining with a couple that the minute they heard my name and that I was a writer they said, “YOU TOOK CARE OF AMY THE DOBERMAN!!!!” This island is smaller than Wyoming! And notice…one minute you are a famous author and the next a dog sitter! Such is life!

 

And as I left, I saw Mark the guy who sat next to me on the trolley on the way to the tree lighting at Tweenies. I have now seen him more than I have seen people I plan to see! Stranger on a trolley. Isn’t there a story in there? A love story? I am not on Sanibel, so I am save in saying he was a sexy thing….

 

One thing that did rub me funny is that someone told me that they could never live in Mississippi, because it must still, to this day be a backward cracker ass state! Well, I almost went to Ole Miss for Law School. The idea of living down in Natchez is very romantic to me, and I have a friend named Edgar who is from Mississippi and I have a few friends that are from those parts and they are lovely! And to this day, a man calling me darling with a Southern accent makes me weak in the knees. Actually, it almost brings me to my knees! So, off I went to have breakfast with Edgar and his Mississippi Mama named Charlye Sue. How hip is that spelling for a MS gal!

 

I left brunch and went to a book signing at THE BOOK NOOK. It is the 5th Anniversary for Melanie and her sis Jan to own the Book Nook so they are doing book signings for the next few months! Go check them out!!! The bestseller that day was my novel THE URBAN LEASH! It is a light read that is a fun read for the dog lovers in your life! The other authors were interesting. A gal from CT (Marya Repko) who moved to the Everglades and wrote some historical pieces for kids and adults. A man (Neil Volz) that helped bring down Abramhoff in a huge DC lobbying scandal. He happened to have grown up in the next town over from me in Cincy and we had a mutual friend. Six degrees of separation! Then another fella (Rick Weber) who wrote about a courageous woman who endured a disease that should have robbed her of her life young but she persevered and lived much longer than ever anticipated.

 

I left the book signing and raced over to the tennis court. It was not enough that Anne in her eighties kicked my tushy ALL over the court….for 1.5 hours the previous weekend and then in a tiebreaker a few days later. Well, it happened AGAIN! Sioux Falls Connie teamed up with Cape Cod Anne and played against South African Sue and me. We went into a tiebreaker and three sets later and 2.5 hours later. We were finished. I seriously don’t think Anne broke a sweat. It was SO much fun! We had a ball out there for the second time! I am going to miss them and the tennis A LOT!!!

 

I left the courts and raced over to Joyce’s with Dulce who I picked up so she could have a play date with Dude (her shitzu boyfriend). Joyce keeps telling me when she dies, I get Dude. I hope he comes with a trust fund! Just kidding….kinda! Play date for my sweet little sis consists of her being a dominatrix and humping the hell out of the poor little Dudster! Oh to be young!

 

Dinner that night was at my friend Edie and Hunt’s home. It was such a great surprise to walk in and discover Cape Cod Anne and her hubby Ernie there as well. It was such a nice and fun evening! Edie and Hunt’s home is beautiful. Each room is a different color. I am going to make up color names but just to give you ideas. One is Raspberry, another is teal, and another is apple green. They probably have every well-known Sanibel artist work in their home. I just love it! It looks the way a beach house is supposed to look!

 

Edie is a former model and a creative soul. Her dinner was a testament to her creativity and love of color. She began with steak that had a yummy Key West marinade on it. Then there was a corn dish, which I was not so sure about till I tasted it, but I really liked it. The salad was a work of art. It was beautiful. It was laid in rows displaying crumbles of Gorgonzola, next to a row of avocado, next to a row of tomatoes and then potatoes. It was delicious. The best part was the homemade banana cream pie. I am one of those odd ducks that does NOT like banana in ANYTHING!!!! I love bananas, but turn down banana bread, banana muffins, but this pie was magnificent. And a cute story goes with it. When Edie married Hunt, his mother gave her a cookbook of all his favorite recipes, and that was one of his favorites. I thought it was an awesome gift! She says she still uses it all the time! And that pie…I so wanted a second piece, but I behaved!

 

She was offering up her raspberry colored sofa as well. I wanted that too, but had visions of me driving North on 1-75 with that on my roof and either the car or the sofa not making it!

 

I went to the Children’s Education Center of the Islands to read my Peri’s Sanibel Island Adventure to the preschoolers. I took my mom along with me and she played with a pelican puppet for the kids. The kids were so great! They knew so many of the animals indigenous to Sanibel. I didn’t know what an armadillo was till I saw one in a Clash video on MTV in the 1980s for their hit song ROCK THE KASBAH and then my stepdad brought me a real stuffed one back from Mexico. I named him Godfrey. I was impressed with what these little kids knew and had seen!

 

Then I went to the Sanibel School and met with the media specialist a really nice gal named Libby. Some artist from Cape Coral had come to the school and painted murals of the wonders of the world on the walls. I LOVED it! I thought as a child it would inspire one to want to explore, investigate and see all these places that graced those walls. I looked at the pictures and I had been to so many of those places!!! I am so lucky, but when I was the age of these children, I wouldn’t have known what half of them were, or where they were! The best way to learn geography is to travel. The best way to meet people is to travel. The best way to learn new cultures is to travel. The best way to appreciate how incredibly lucky we are in this country is to travel OUTSIDE of it! And here were these murals of Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Egypt, and so much more inspiring these children to do just that!

 

They are having a book fair in April that Libby was kind to invite me to attend. I can’t wait!

 

My mom’s car was having a computer glitch or meltdown. We had to make the long journey back to Toyota. It is so flippin’ far away, it may as well be in Japan. And if it were, I could have killer sushi for lunch, but I digress!

 

Our cousin Lynnie called and suggested we try a pizza joint in Ft. Myers that she had heard about on the radio down in the Keys! Why are they talking about a joint on the West coast down on the East coast? She heard they served Snake pie!!! Snake on a pizza! Well, it turned out to be gator. Either way, my mom and I were not trying it!

 

Instead, we went to this hole in the wall joint my mom discovered many years ago called JALAPENO’S! It is authentic Mexican food. I had two enchiladas with green Verde and a very large Horchata (rice drink that is sweet and yummy) that I drink so fast it is frightening. My mom took a pic for you! She had the tamales. I am not a tamale girl.

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Driving home from Japan, I mean Toyota; I see Joyce walking the Dudster and ask her if they want to join us for sunset walk on the beach. She said no, but Dude wanted to go!

 

Off we (DUDE & I) went to pick up my sister, Dulce and my mom. Dude was terrified of the water! Joyce kept telling me to not get in the water and not let Dulce in the water. Toxins, toxins, she yelled. But it is the ocean. She trained Dude well. He wanted NO part of it!! My friend Jules calls it the world’s largest toilet. Lovely, but it is the ocean, so Dulce and I go knee deep and if it was warm, I would be in it! Dulce gets in it. She loves it! I love the water! The ocean! It is like giving up bacon! It AIN’T happening!!!

 

We went to my favorite restaurant on the island. Sanibel Grill. I ordered the same thing I ALWAYS order. Oysters on the half shell to start. Yum! Yum! Yum! Crunchy grouper basket. Highly recommend it if you are trying to get your kids to eat fish! Can’t go wrong with deep fried fish in tartar sauce.

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Then I ordered something that I used to love and have not eaten in over THREE years!!!!

I was the lucky soul that lost her sweet tooth going through chemo and craved veggies. Kinda wish it stayed that way! But I lost my taste for key lime pie. It tasted like sour milk during chemo and immediately after! So, fast forward 3 + years, my mom says you have been on this island for 6 weeks and you have not had Key Lime pie. Are you really going to leave without a slice??? I had one. I am happy to say, it was yummy. Maybe I should have not tried it and taken it off my list of options, but what the heck! You only go around once! ENJOY IT!!!

 

I know this is not the type of thing I should/would normally post in a blog, but I will be tactful. I always tell you how fortunate I am to have such fabulous friends. I DO have fabulous friends!!! However, things happen. Friendships change. People change. You never know what bee will get caught in a person’s bonnet to make them go haywire or batty as a tadpole. It happens! People can be strange, fickle, and odd. I lost some dear friends because of a communication error. I was very saddened by it. This couple was like family to me. I wrote an apology note. Okay, I asked what I did wrong, and then apologized if I did anything wrong, and told my friend that I was so sorry there was a rift, and it was a REALLY nice note telling them how much they meant to me. She wrote a scathing note to me in response. The reason it is in the blog is for this….People make mistakes. We are all human. No one is perfect. I think we treat people the way we would like to be treated. When we fuck up, we apologize. I think holding onto anger and hatred only hurts ourselves.  Imagine how much happier we all would be if we would let so much go? Okay, enough Dalai Lama talk. Back to levity.

 

Went to my last Farmer’s Market. I had my last pain du chocolat (chocolate croissant) and spoke French with the man that sold it to me. Then went to breakfast with my mom and friends Max and Margot and had a scrumptious shrimp and Havarti omelet at Sanibel Café! Coffee SUCKS!!!!! Richard, buy better coffee!!! It was awful!!!

 

I went for a long bike ride. I spray painted my wooden lobster red. I was ready to head North. Sorta! I wasn’t ready to leave the awesome weather for the frozen tundra, but it was time, and I decided to break it up, and move kinda slowly.

 

First day, I drove 2 hours out of 18. I know, that is REALLY slow. I stayed with my friends Roy and Carolyn in Sarasota. They took me to Marina Jack’s for dinner.  It is a restaurant that looks out on the water. I went with my step grandmother and her friends years ago. I have fond memories of it. The ambiance is awesome!!! Best place to eat for the view in my opinion! But the food as I remembered was not stellar. The clam chowder was yummy, but my grouper Reuben didn’t have a lot of taste. Sorry, but true. But I still loved it!!! That place is special to me! I was glad they chose it!

 

Carolyn and Roy took me on a tour of their park. We drove around in a golf cart. We visited their friends who just moved down from KY, and were so nice! Then Carolyn and I went swimming and hot tubing and it was so nice. We walked up and down the pool lanes chatting like we do in the summer in our pool in Cincy. The pool temp was 86! I hadn’t been in a pool for weeks. My mom stopped heating hers when she received an exorbitant bill. We hopped from the pool to the hot tub and back. It was great!!

Roy and Carolyn are such nice people. I just really think a lot of them and they are just nice to be around. They live in my building up North!

I woke up the next morning and had breakfast with Carolyn; Roy joined us, and then took off for Atlanta. I listened to my first ever Danielle Steele book. Nothing like a good romance.

 

I arrived at my friend Jill’s house. It was a beautiful home. Jill was a model. She looks like Christie Brinkley. I wanted to ask her if she did Botox, because she had not aged AT ALL!!!! That is so unfair, but psyched for her. I knew she didn’t do Botox, but how can one not age? Oh wait, my friend Stacey is like that too!

Jill married this really nice man named Hal and they have a daughter named Lindsey! Sweet as pie. I can’t forget Bella the dog.

Jill and I lived in Atlanta at the same time and have been friends for 21 years! I haven’t seen her in years. She was one of my best friends when I lived down there! I just love her! She is a good soul! She popped into Cincy a few summers ago, but other than that it has been ages. We picked up where we left off. It was awesome. It was as if no time passed. We were two chatty Cathys! We used to take walks and jogs around this golf course near where she lives. We went back for old times sake. One day back in the 90s, we were walking and this totally cute guy was checking out Jill. He walked past us and I started jumping up and down next to her and said, “Take the little one! Take the little one!” Hopefully, he didn’t hear me, and if he did. He didn’t come back for me. Still makes me laugh. Fond memories of Atlanta. Last night in Atlanta, we went out to TAKU for a yummy sushi dinner! Hal told me to try the spider roll and he was right! OH YUM!!

 

Jill is an artist and a prolific artist and a damn good one. She has created almost a map in some of her paintings and the way she has created it is so clever and I think it would sell like hotcakes to the right markets with the right amount of cash flow. She truly is talented.

 

I was supposed to meet my friend Alison, but she and her son were home sick. I was sad to miss her. I love Alison. When I lived in Atlanta, I used to say she is one of my favorite female friends EVER. She was always such an inspiration in so many ways. I loved the way she treated people. She was always so kind, so generous, so respectful, she didn’t discriminate, and she was always so down-to-earth. She was so bright but never boasted of her Ivy League education or her time in NY or Paris. She was just this warm and wonderful human being. I have been fortunate to meet so many extraordinary people since I left Atlanta, but Alison will forever remain on the short list of truly special friends. And her kids are just so cool too! So, I was sad to miss her!

 

I did drive through my old stomping grounds of Buckhead. My old apartment building (3-stories high) that looked like a New Orleans relic has been torn down and replaced with a fancy high-rise condo.

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I drove past the Peachtree Road house from Anne River Siddons book and my first writing assignment was a tea at that house with Anne and many others. The house is gone. Again, replaced by a large high-rise!  I took the back roads to Virginia-Highlands where I used to work at Murphy’s and where I met my friend Jill that I was staying with down there. Landmarks had changed. I went to turn left at Fat Matt’s Ribs, but didn’t see it because a Subway obstructed it!

 

Atlanta has grown so much since I left there. I always try to imagine going back. I don’t think I could. Jill said if you want a man down here, you must import like she did. When I lived there we used to say, “If he is good looking, smart, rich, successful with a great personality. He must be gay!” Not that I am looking for a man, but it would be nice to have the ratio a little more to my favor.

 

After two cold days in Atlanta, it was time to head back to Cincy. I stopped at a Starbucks on my way out of town and met my friend Temple who was one of my best friends down there and still is one of my closest today! We sat and chatted for an hour and then I went home. I left Sanibel and it was 78 degrees and Cincy was 30! I can deal with the cold if there is sunlight. I love snow! As long as it doesn’t interfere with my driving. What a difference a few states make, but at least the sun was shining.

Until we meet again…..

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Tropical Breezes to Frigid Temps, Good Food to Good Friends

  1. You put me in your blog!! Even though I was so lame – but you are lucky not to see me – I got much sicker. Hope the next time we are in the same place is sooner rather than later – xox Al

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