Mother’s Day Surprise

I surprised my mom and went to visit her in Florida for three days.

We had a ball.

Lunch at Rosemary in Sarasota.

Then my mom took me to her favorite museum in Sarasota.

Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy

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Selby Botanical Gardens and a Chagall exhibit

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DRUM CIRCLE

SUSHI

A Mother’ Day Breakfast at BLU Island Bistro with my mom’s fav chef Alan fit for a Queen and her Mimosa

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An unusual Benedict with tomato and mozzarella and basil hollandaise drizzled on it.IMG_0890

3 different sausages and cheese for the Princess…IMG_0891

And a dog with an armadillo haircut…

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A Daytrip home to Sanibel…

Mandatory plate of oysters from Sanibel Grill

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Making sure the bookstores are stocked with Peri’s Sanibel Island Adventure….love seeing that on the shelf at McIntosh Books & Paper on Palm Ridge Road,

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AND the Island Cow, Bailey’s, and Amy’s Something Special…

A beachwalk with Shelley, a visit with Joyce and then the journey back North…

Chef Tony’s Suncoast Cafe at the Venice Airport for breakfast…

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Omelet with cheese, bacon, spinach, tomatoes and secret spices…

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Mom gets a Cuban burrito….

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Mom tries to dig me up a shark tooth….

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Are we in Ireland? Nope…Venice Beach, Florida…

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Mani-Pedi for summer…

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Mom takes me to her yoga class where they are more flexible than in mine and talk about food through the entire class….

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We shop. I meet some Venetian friends, we eat seafood at Captain Eddie’s and it is sadly time to head back North.

Thanks for the great weekend, Mom! I love you!!!

WEST COAST IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

 

 

I flew into St. Pete and let me tell you the airport reminded me of flying into Bangor, Maine. Small and easy to navigate. I was outside in 5 minutes if it took me that long from gate to door, I would be shocked.

My friend “L” greeted me and I immediately got into her car and started stripping off my layers. I was in Florida. The warmth and sun made me smile.

We went to meet my mom to do a dog transfer. L had made a picnic lunch for the three of us to eat grapes, hummus, crackers and cheese along the water’s edge. It was perfect. My mom took the dog and L took me to the beach!

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I can’t tell you how perfect that is to me. I have visited a lot of folks at the beach and they take you all over the place before they take you to the place you want to go more than ANYWHERE….the water! Not L, we went to the beach! Then we went back to her condo. Her hubby had gone to L.A. so we could have girl time. It was so much fun and so relaxing and I had never ever been in that part of Florida.

Out their window, they looked at water. Not the ocean, but more interesting in that it was waterways and cute Florida cottages.

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I went to the pool and walked in the water for an hour. I meet a really nice Israeli woman who lived in Morocco and then a bunch of Canadians. Nice, nice people.

Then we went to watch sunset with her brother. My family’s sunset tradition is to take cocktails to the beach at sunset hour with your pooch. Their family tradition…She and her brother eat a Ghiradelli chocolate together. Too cute!!

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We went back to her place for homemade soup and to relax. I was tired.

Next day, we drove up the beach. We drove up Route 699, which becomes Gulf Blvd. I was fascinated seeing all the “old Florida” architecture. It is truly charming.

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Our first detour was to go to Sunset Beach on Treasure Island. Apparently, there is a group that gathers at someone’s beach cottage weekly and they all go swim in the ocean, come back, shower and congregate for coffee. The homes are small and close together and rather pricey, but there is such a neighborhood feel there.

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Then we went further up the road passing through Madeira, Reddington, Indian Rocks, Belleair Beach, and we went to Clearwater. We kept crossing bridges, passing restaurants, cafes, shops and it was like stepping back in time. Clearwater was high-rise city. The rest were very old Florida in feel. It was really fun!

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We stopped in a restaurant my mom had eaten in and liked called Guppy’s. It was so nice to eat outside.

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I started with the Lobster Bisque. I am a sucker for bisque. Crab or lobster. I am not too picky. The bisque was rich and thick with chunks of lobster meat and topped with fresh cream.

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L ordered the Open Face Brie sandwich with Brie cheese, Granny Smith apple, Argula, Dijon Mustard, Tomato on a Rustic Ciabatta roll. It was delicious. You can even see all the layers.

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I ordered a blackened Grouper and dipped it into Crabmeat Guacamole.

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The guacamole is amazing! It contains Blue Crab, Avocado, Tomato, Cilantro, Olive Oil, and Garlic.

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After lunch we drove back down the Beach Road and went past the famous Don Cesar Hotel

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and then to Pass-a-Grille, because if the houses weren’t so exorbitant; my mom would have moved there in a nanosecond.

Here are some pictures that capture the essence of Pass-A-Grille.

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Then we went home and changed clothes and went to L’s favorite beach bar. It is called Jimmy B’s and it is a bit foreign to me, because we really don’t have many beach bars on Sanibel, or at least none as extensive as this!

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I’m not usually a drinker, but I am a sucker for a good Pina Colada (especially when it is made with ice cream) and theirs were pretty darn tootin’ good. We met up with L and her hubby’s friends Tuke and Pat

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and then (the best part for me) was that my cousin Kathy and her husband Dan came and joined us.

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It was so fun to see them down at the beach!

Here is a pic of L and me.

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After the bar, my belly didn’t like the pina coladas. Too sweet! We went to L’s friends Don and Lisa’s for dinner. I met Don and Lisa when they came to Cincy to visit, so it was fun to see them again. They live in a high-rise in downtown Chicago that dwarfs our 180-unit building. They have 945 units, but they also have views of Lake Michigan and the foods of Chicago out their door!

Lisa is a great cook. She was so sweet to make the bulk of her dinner to suit my diet needs. She also introduced me to the great spice shop in downtown St. Pete.

She and Don had gutted their St. Pete condo and moved out for a year while the work was done. They did a great job, but since I was there at night I missed their spectacular views. Next time.

The following day, L, her friends Pat, Lisa and I went to explore a little town called Gulfport. It’s my cousin Kathy’s favorite place in St. Pete.

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On our way there we drove by Stetson Law School. I had contemplated going there but decided studying law in Florida when the sun was shining and the beach was nearby was not a good idea. That is why going to graduate school in Cambridge was wise and going to law school in Cincy was even wiser!

After Gulfport, L had to pick up her hubby at the airport, so she dropped me off in downtown St. Pete. I wandered around town. Pretty downtown area on the water with the boats and lots of outdoor restaurants and shops.

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Then the skies opened and I ran into a gourmet food market until L and Jerry came back to get me. Me in a gourmet market? Heaven.

We went to a small airport downtown and grabbed a snack at the airport restaurant. Jerry told stories about learning to fly out of this airport. It was so cool. Then he dropped L and I at the Dali Museum, while he went antiquing.

The Dali Museum was really cool.

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There was a cool Disney/Dali exhibit. I had to see it to make the connection and then I was astounded that I didn’t figure it out earlier. After, we stopped at Publix for dinner and headed home.

The following morning L drove me to meet my mom. My mother went to Florida Southern her freshman year of college before transferring back to UC/DAAP. When I was about 5 years old, my folks and I roadtripped to Palm Beach via Lakeland, Florida, but I couldn’t appreciate the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at such a young age. My mom wanted to show me her school, architecture and share a little of her history with me.

On our way there we passed the World of Dinosaurs. Don’t ask…I do NOT know….

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We stopped to see a Polytech College my mom stumbled upon in one of her Architectural Digest magazines. This structure was so unexpected to us…

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And then here are the pics that captured the school and the town of Lakeland, Florida.

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Afterward, we drove to Sarasota. Our first stop was to the Ringling Museum. My mom wanted me to see the Walker house model that has been recreated to scale of the original that resides on Sanibel. It was so fun to see a Sanibel house in a museum setting.

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By the way, the Walkers are part of the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Then my mom wanted me to see an up and coming neighborhood called the Rosemary District with all its bungalow-like houses.

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Plus, one of her favorite art galleries.

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Then we went to Venice to see her new home.

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I was so excited to see my Doodle Bug!!

 

Then we took Dulce to the Venice Dog BEACH…..an area of the beach designated dog friendly.

 

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We went to dinner at a restaurant called FINS out on the beach.

FINS view from restaurant

We sat outside and their outdoor heating system really warmed us up for a fabulous sushi meal.

FINS sushi

Hamachi Jalapeno

Hamachi, scallions, yuzu aioli, crunch, and asparagus topped with jalapeño masago and fresh jalapeño

 

Super Grouper
Tempura Grouper, cucumber, and avocado topped with togarashi sesame salmon, scallions and tobiko

 

And our favorite was Spicy Fin! Actually, we ordered a second roll of this!!!

 

Spicy Fin
Spicy tuna and salmon, togarashi, tempura soft shell crab, scallions, avocado and tobiko

 

The following morning my mom took me to the Venice Farmer’s Market.

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Our first stop was to visit a friend (Lizzy @ Venetian Coffee Roasters) who has a coffee shop and makes cold brewed coffee. It was the first time I had ever tried it. It was good. It doesn’t have the bitterness a lot of coffees have.

After the market, we went to wander around Venice and we went shopping.

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I got three awesome dresses that I can’t wait to wear in warmer weather!

Then we went to a yummy rustic BBQ joint called GOLD RUSH.

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I ordered a slab of ribs and I was happy as a tick on a hound dog. (I just learned that expression. This is my first time to use it, and I love it!)

 

Then it was time for me to hit the road and head to my Beloved Sanibel. Dulce hopped in the car and was ready to go, but she was coming later with mom! It was a real struggle getting her out of the car.

 

The rain came down in sheets, but I got caught up on calls and went to my friend Margot’s house.

 

It was so nice to have that time with her and have the opportunity to visit with her mom, Bess.

 

Margot and I sat and talked for hours. It was fabulous, because the next morning I had to drive them to the airport to head back to Tennessee.

 

I went to my friend Joyce and her boyfriend Don’s place. Joyce told me that I was not allowed to talk during the Superbowl or the ads. She kept saying, but I know you will want to watch the game. The funny thing is she NEVER stopped talking. I had to laugh. Only Joyce. I love her to pieces.

 

The following morning, I drove back North to pick up my mom and Dulce and bring them back to Sanibel. We stopped at CRAVE on our way to the island.

 

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We both love this place. It didn’t disappoint.

 

We shared a Spinach Southern Salad that had peaches, blueberries, blackberries and blackberry vinaigrette. I took off the onion rings on top. I couldn’t eat it fast enough!

 

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Then we split a shrimp, crab, asparagus, shiitake mushroom, broiled tomatoes omelette with hollandaise on top.

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We stopped to get gas and suddenly out of the bushes came these chickens across the gas station to greet all of us pumping gas. No joke! I can’t make this stuff up!

 

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Finally, windows come down as we cross the Causeway and sniff the Gulf air.

 

We took Peri the Pelican on a photo shoot around the island. We visited with friends.

 

Then it was time to go to our favorite restaurant for dinner.

 

SANIBEL GRILL.

 

Favorite meal. Crunchy Grouper Basket. The fish that taught me to eat and LOVE fish!

 

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And the best key lime pie!!!

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Next morning, I went to meet my friend Carol for breakfast at Normandie over at the West Wind Inn. She has this amazing granddaughter who is in remission after brain cancer. She is a trooper! And she has an amazing grandmother…actually two of them! Carol and I have a ball together. She is such a cool lady! I love hanging out with her. I had a small breakfast of plantains and bacon, because I knew I had a lunch to go to shortly after it.

 

Then I grabbed my mom and we went to meet her beach/dog friends (and hopefully my friends too!) AND their pooches for lunch @ Overeasy!

 

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Then my mom and I went wandering around the island. And then we went to meet our above friends for a beachwalk as we had done the night before at sunset. Red tide was happening so we didn’t walk as far or as long.

 

That evening my mom and I went to The SANDBAR. My friend Brian runs the place and told me I should try the Tilefish with coconut panko, mango, and sweet chili on top. I knew Brian would take care of me, because he fears what I will write in my blog, which is a hoot, because he is the ONLY person on the planet that worries about what I write. Brian, it was delicious!!!

Here is Chef Brian…

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And here is his Tilefish…

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And so was the Banana Foster cheesecake. That was killer!!!

 

Next day, last day on Sanibel….sadness…we hung out with friends. We walked on the beach and we let Dulce run wild. We walked with our friend Shelley. Then we went to a Restorative Yoga class with Shelley. My back has been giving me fits since New York, and that yoga class corrected it. It was amazing!

 

Then we met Shelley’s husband and the four of us went to Starfish for sushi. I love sushi. It makes me happy! It was great to catch up with Shelley and Bill. It had been awhile since I had seen them.

 

Mom and I had to share her favorite @ Starfish.

 

GREEN DRAGON.

Starfish-Green Dragon

 

Next morning, I hung out with Joyce and the dogs. My mom and I left “our Sanibel” and Sanibelian friends and went to meet her childhood friends, one of which was a close friend of mine in New York and again here in Cincy.

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Then it was time to fly home. I sat next to a lovely lady from Indiana, who spoke so fondly of her granddaughter. At the end of the flight, I gave her my business card and told her to go to my website and see if she could find a book her granddaughter would like, and if she did, she should email me and I would mail it to her.

 

Well, this gal from the plane named Debbie. Long story short. She is friends with one of my Sanibel friends, who grew up and now lives in Indiana. Actually, an old neighbor from Sanibel. Well, Debbie, discovered I had written some books about cancer and she invited me to come speak and sell my books at a Relay for Life that she runs in Indiana. Pretty cool. Funny how life works sometimes!

 

The following morning I had to go to the market for food and because I was craving those roasted plantains and bacon. Not as pretty looking as the ones I ate on Sanibel, but they sure tasted every bit as good! YUMMY!

 

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Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

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….