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!!!

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Sometimes I am a rambler….

 

I am living in an unruly sandbox. There are kids that are playing so nicely in the sandbox and they are sharing their toys and their fruit punch and cookies. Then there are these problematic spoiled children who are never satisfied. Always want more. You give it to them and they beg for even more! They throw their toys. They throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. They want everyone to do what they want to do and do not understand, nor respect the individuality of the other children. It is so difficult to have such diametrically different children in the same sandbox. It is so hard when one group is so sweet and kind and plays so well together, and then there is another group that is constantly so disruptive. This is the dilemma. The irony is they aren’t four year olds, but rather 60-70 year olds and it isn’t a sandbox it is where I live.

 

Here are my issues. How can people with SO MUCH MORE life experience than me, not think, life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff. When me, almost half their age gets it. A friend said because you are a cancer survivor things are clearer for you, but to me as one ages, one does realize the important stuff and one hopefully loses the shallow, petty stuff. My mom teases me that all my friends are in their 80s and I should be with younger people. Here is my feeling. I have younger friends who are like-minded and great people. The 80 year-old chicks are great because they are like-minded too! They don’t care about make-up, haircuts, and where to buy a pair of hip blue jeans. They just enjoy life!

 

Am I petty crap free? No. Am I caught up in some of it? Hell, yes. Sometimes. Ya’ll know I am a snot and I don’t eat anything, but Graeter’s ice cream, I rather eat in a grungy diner than a chain restaurant. I rather be on a plane than in a shopping mall, and I like my men brown haired, brown-eyed and furry. No hair on the chest is a DEAL BREAKER for me!!! So, yes, I can be petty. So, this is my roundabout way of saying, I am not perfect. I can be a snob, but at least I am a nice one, and I can play well in the sandbox. And my feeling is, if you can’t…you should leave the sandbox and move to a house or a remote farm, or another sandbox where everyone prides themselves in peeing on their Wheaties or pride themselves on the size of their packages or Pradas, but if that is your thing, you do NOT belong in MY SANDBOX! Go find another one!

 

For me, it is about getting one’s priorities straight. Someone is mad about semantics on one hand, and my dear friend Sue, who is what I call my radiation nurse friend. She is not much older than me, maybe 10 years IF that and her brother of comparable age had a massive heart attack and died. Healthy man, breathing the Colorado air, and this sweet soul passed. THAT makes someone realize the preciousness of life and how fast and easily it can be taken away!

 

My funny retired Episc. Priest friend had a moment a few weeks back where the straw that broke the camel’s back, broke his too! He had had enough of bad sandbox antics and bolted. Rightfully so. I decided the cure was to gather a group of his close friends and surprise him at his door with a cocktail in hand and a laugh or two. We had a ball. Two hours later, we parted with him smiling from ear to ear and all of us feeling that we had done our part and had a ball doing it.

 

My friend Kate told me she had discovered the best chicken wings in the city of Cincinnati. I thought I would go, but I wasn’t expecting them to be that good. My silly weakness…I LOVE wings! I will not eat Dijon mustard on my hotdog. I only eat cheap, bright yellow mustard on hotdogs. My stepdad used to say only low class, blue collared people eat ketchup and to me, I say, “BRING IT ON!” A world without ketchup is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peany boo. It is just so wrong! I went to New York for my 21st birthday and my mom took me to the famed 21 Restaurant and I ordered a $21 hamburger, but I didn’t ask for ketchup because that would be tacky. It was the worst burger I ever ate, because it needed the ketchup! Well, a world without ketchup and cheap French’s mustard is not a world for me, and I crave. CRAVE chicken wings. Kate is a huge Steelers fan and she goes to some bar on Short Vine to hangout with her Steeler fan buddies. The place is called Martino’s and she claimed the wings were the best.

 

I knew my fitbit would throw a fit if I ate much else that day so I planned my caloric intake. I was expecting the wings to be these little and dainty things, but they were HUGE. I think you get more than the wing, or those aren’t chicken wings, maybe seagull wings. Either way, they were really good! Kudos to Martinos on Short Vine. Thanks Kate!

 

I have been involved in WCET since I was a kid. My mom was very involved in Action Auction and I was attached to her right hip, so I went. They put me in dresses and I modeled and I just had a lot of fun there.

 

Fast forward thirty years, I am back there and I am usually a regular there, but not of late. I needed to change it. They needed some help so I sent an email to friends and family and my cousin Debby agreed to go with me. We answered phone calls and one of the bands that was playing and helping us raise money was called Dukes of September. They were so awesome!! The trio consisted of Michael McDonald, who has the most gorgeous head of white hair, Boz Scaggs, and Donald Fagen from Steely Dan. They play their respective hits and they were awesome to watch! Highly recommend them! And ya’ll know I am not a music person. Check them out on this utube video.

 

And I have decided that I am going to use the word ya’ll, so get used to it. I lived in the South for two years and refused to adopt it, because I didn’t think it was “cool”, and after years of saying, “YOU ALL, or you guys, it is just so much easier and so I am changing my mind and adopting it.

 

While I was at CET that night, I received a text message from my dear friend Jules in Indy. Jules and I became friends because her grandparents and my stepgrandmother lived in the same condo complex. It was such a cool place. My favorite space on Sanibel although the smallest, we had a 40ft. screened balcony that looked out on the gulf. I lived out there.

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But I digress, so Jules and I met at the pool(next to tennis court) in the middle of the condos. She and her family are Indy folk, Indy farmers, salt of the earth people. Would give you the shirt off their back people. Her granddad told me the keys to the Cadillac are inside the door; feel free to come get them if you need a car to go to the market. First day I met him! How is that for super duper nice!

 

Well, we had a lot of interesting neighbors in there, but I met this gal named Betty and her kids and grandkids called her Beebo, so did we. When we met she was 68 years old, her husband was dying of cancer. She had eight children, technically seven; she raised a kid’s kid. I loved her. I would go visit her daily for hours. She was a bit of a spitfire. Jules had texted me at CET that night to tell me she had died at the age of 90. We both loved Beebo. Heck, we all did.

 

She was a TN woman, apparently a real beauty. She was supposed to be pinned to one man and she met Doug as he was heading off to the service and against her mother’s wishes, they married. They wrote incredible love letters back and forth. He came back and she worked so he could study to be a doctor. They moved to Battlecreek, Michigan.

 

She would talk to me about Doug, the romance, her military pen pal before him, who had died and she had saved the letters and dreamt of turning it into a book. I encouraged her to do it, but she never had the guts. Instead, she pushed me to be a writer. She was a sweet lady, and she will be missed, but I know she is thrilled to be in heaven with her Doug!

 

I am sometimes a bit delusional. I thought writing was going to be all about writing. I thought I would write these great trashy novels and they would fly off the shelves without my having to write about handcuffing men to beds, using whips and chains and apparently this is not true. I had HUGE dreams of grandeur with my book signings having long lines like Rick Castle does in the t.v. show Castle. It is so not like that…yet! So, I had to take my books and pedal them. Everyone I talk to tell me I need to be in Blue Manatee in Oakley. He not only does NOT want my books, but I have been there COUNTLESS times to pick them up and they can never find them, and I leave messages and get no responses. I must confess, I find that terribly unprofessional. You don’t want them, say I DO NOT want them, put a post-it on the books and leave them at the register for pick-up. How hard is that?

I went to dog places, to see if they would take the Urban Leash with all the dog stories. They say, very nicely, it will not sell here! No one buys any merchandise here! They bring the dogs in for doggy daycare, they leave, they come back and they take the dogs. They don’t buy anything. Do you think Petco or Petsmart would? I am just not sure!

 

In other words, it is a lot of business (which I love), but it is so much more business than writing and I had never really thought that through or considered all the legwork that goes into it all, and I must confess, I am scared of my spreadsheets. They intimidate me! I have the math intelligence equivalent to a third grader, maybe 4th. I used to say kindergarten, but I think I was selling myself short. I am terrified of screwing them up! Books coming in and going out, dating it all, what percentage they are taxed in OH vs. FL. Retail cost vs. what my profit is. It all sounds so cool till I realize, I am scared of messing it up! And people don’t always pay on time, never thought about that one! Isn’t life so interesting?

 

My friend Josh and I go back to Kindergarten. I don’t even want to do the math on that to tell you the years, plus I need fingers to count and do a subtract this and add that in my head.

 

His daughter who is getting into all these colleges: Stanford, Harvard, etc. Really cool. I remember when he called to say they were pregnant with her and now she is going to college? And I tell him it is a testament to you, and he credits her! WOW, that is cool!!! He was so amazing with her as a child. I remember him saying, “What is this? It is an apple. What letter does apple begin with? An A, what else begins with an A,” and so on and so forth and here he attributes it all to her. I am impressed with both.

 

He looked at me and said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. Why are you still here in Cincy? I came back for law school never ever wanting to leave NY. I was going to stay for love, but he dumped me when I got sick, so then I was staying for the fabulous Cincy medical community and now, I stay because of my aging dad and the fact that I love where I live so much and my friends.

 

Again he asks, Why are you still here?

 

I don’t know where to go? I think I should go back to NY because that is my favorite place, but do I want to live in a shoebox-sized apartment and give away all my things? Then I think…things…but I have so many memories tied into my things. Furniture I can part with, but that crazy cheese plate that weighs 50 lb. that I literally dragged back from Ireland, or my hammock that I love to take naps in or the mosaic mirror I made and things comparable. Too hard to get rid of those “things.” I made a nice salary and worked like a dog in NY, and was almost too tired to enjoy it. Dating there sucks the big one! Then I think I don’t want to date. If I do want to date, maybe I should go to the West where the stats are in my favor. I love a man that is a man, but do I want a man that is that rugged? I want a man with culture, some sophistication, a man who wants to travel and to eat and not just burgers and weenies, but if he wants to eat other things he may be A BIG WEENIE. What if they aren’t New England classy like that out West? Then I think, but you don’t want to date, so go where you will be happy.

 

Playing tennis makes me happy. Maybe California? Too far and too plastic for me. San Fran to pricey and back to the shoebox apt for $3K/month problem. Maybe the South? Where I can find a Southern man, who calls me dahling with that accent. I don’t want a big drinker. Been there done that and those Southern gents drink A LOT. Can I do a small town or do I need a big city? Do I go to Miami? Too much like L.A. I don’t like the Southwest, because I like trees and grass too much. I can’t survive on rocks and cacti. I don’t like the Northwest because I like the sun too much. Chicago is too cold. Florida is too old! Maybe Sarasota. Love Sarasota. Nice people, culture, tennis. Is it big enough for me? Then I hop across the pond. And I go through U.K. and Europe in the same way as the States, but the difference being can I deal with my boyfriend, husband cheating on me, and in France or Italy that is such a big possibility, and then I get to no, and think next! Oh and yes, that language barrier thing. I am not so hot with English and my French is lousy! So, this is what happens in my head when someone tells me to leave Cincy. Where should I go? I know I don’t really belong there/here anymore and I don’t fit in there/here well anymore. But I do like it, I love my friends, and I love my condo and I love being near my dad, and my adopted mom found her birth mother’ family and they are in Cincy and they ROCK!!! I love them! They are so great! I just don’t know what to do…

 

Josh was great, he said, “You need to live your life! You need to be where you want to be and are happy! I just don’t know where that is! I mean I do, but NY had a terrible winter, and do I want to schlep groceries for multiple blocks, and little things like that!

 

You ever have days like this?

 

STOP THE MADNESS!!!

 

And then I just sit down and laugh at myself and that is all I can really do! I will figure it out tomorrow or next week! Maybe.

 

 

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….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vichyssoise to Hotdogs, A Band by the Water to A Meal by the Bay

Vichyssoise to Hotdogs, A Band by the Water to A Meal by the Bay

 

So, as I told you, I was given a Fitbit for Christmas and it has been really interesting. I think it has curbed my eating and caused me to be more active and that is fabulous! Now, I must confess, I am on vacation so I am not following the fitbit or utilizing it to the best of my ability. I am going to “use” the excuse that I need to try foods to entice you all to read my blog and I need all that food to nurture my soul. Are you buying this? So, this little fitbit is curbing my eating and it is causing me to be more active but almost daily it frowns at me and sometimes sticks its tongue out at me, and yes it can and it is always saying, “WHOOPS, you are 700 calories over.” It is shocking it didn’t say you are 700 calories over AGAIN, ERRRRIIINNN!!!

I had another book signing at Bailey’s. I know it is a grocery market, a hardware store and a catch all for random things that tourists may like or want, and it is a Sanibel institution, but why do people come buy bananas, milk, sandpaper and not my book? I don’t get it! I don’t care if you don’t have kids who will read it, or kids at all, buy it as a souvenir of your trip to paradise, or because you don’t want to forget seeing manatees, eat red velvet cake or buy it for your coffee table. What a great conversation starter! Of course, these are all great things I should be saying to entice folks to buy my books. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say I don’t care if you have kids. I don’t…but I shouldn’t say it. But for some reason, I am a great talker, but I am a shy thing when it comes to peddling my books. I become UNBELIEVABLY shy!!!! I REALLY need to get better at it!

An old friend from Cincinnati, named Katie, who I have known since I was 5, her folks left our town and moved to another town and then sent her to private school and somehow we managed to stay in touch over the years. We have gone years without seeing each other and talking and yet, when we do, we pick up where we left off. At one point, we were both in Washington, D.C. at the same time. Well, she stayed and I left and her folks started going to Naples and I am up the road at Sanibel. So, when we can meet up in Florida, we do!

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We met in this shopping restaurant center called Mercato down in Naples. I arrived first. I know shocking since I am always 5 minutes late. I went to the bathroom and all the power went out. It was pitch black. I thought great! Stuck in a bathroom. Fun! Lights came back up and I went outside to wait for Katie. The waiter came shortly after she arrived and told us, he couldn’t grill. We said, “Great! We want sushi.” He said he couldn’t serve us sushi. We said, “Your power is out! You need to get rid of fish before it goes bad. This is a no-brainer.” BRING IT ON!!! He said no. Katie and I left and went to the Ritz at Naples and ate in the restaurant on the beach. The Ritz in Naples is AWESOME!!! It was a windy, rainy day. We sat under umbrellas, watched the waves crash on the beach, drank the BEST Arnold Palmers’ and I ate a $19 hamburger. It was really good. Not sure about NINETEEN DOLLARS good, but it was good and I didn’t eat the fries, because I am scared they will give me a hematoma again. THAT or my fitbit will make me walk the 45 miles home from Naples.

We had a ball and said that we would make a point of getting together when our paths cross down here.  Katie is a great person! We were talking about people, life, work and she so gets it!!!

I left Katie and went to meet another childhood friend Josh. He was staying at the Naples Waldorf. My friends lead such posh lives and I am their hippie, bohemian-like crunchy friend.

I walked into Josh’s hotel and he was talking to someone who was married to a gal from our hometown. Josh said there were 4 others from our hometown of 10,000 staying at THAT hotel. Why and how did they all end up at the same hotel? Did the Cincy Enquirer advertise that hotel and they all went?

Josh told me if I came to Naples to see Katie, who I am not as close to as him, I had to see him. I thought we both live in Cincy, can’t I see you there and I don’t even see you there much! So, here we are at the bar at the Waldorf Naples. I ordered a Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic and he ordered blue cheese potato chips. I had 4 chips. BIG MISTAKE. Normally, when I start…I can’t stop, but I did! They were so yummy. He started talking to the guy on the other side of me. We all started talking football. He was with his son. He was HOT, HOT, HOT! Okay, maybe overkill. He was sexy. Salt and pepper hair. Great smile. Pretty eyes. And he asks where we are from and Josh says, “We are from Cincy!” THIS IS TRUE, but now he thinks Josh is my husband! This is a major bummer! He talks to us like we are a couple, but never says anything for us to have the opportunity to say no. The wedding ring is because he is married to another gal, but I am available. And Josh is on his cell phone, texting, ignoring me, and we looked married. Finally, Josh says he has to go. We leave cutie pie and his son, but I can’t go back to him. Can you imagine what he would think??? Yikes! He would think I was cheating on my hubby. OH the travesty of it all.

I went with a friend named Birgie to lunch at Doc Ford’s. I love their Clam Chowder. They must pour a lot of cream and butter in it, because it is GOOD! I then ordered a shrimp quesadilla. It wasn’t very big. It was good. Not great. We had a nice lunch. I came home and put the calories of that sweet, innocent, little shrimp quesadilla into my fitbit food log. It was 800 calories. THAT was just the damn quesadilla!!!! I had to walk the dog around the block, play tennis, ride my bike for 30 minutes and I still didn’t break even! Quesadillas just went on the same list as the truffle oil French fries!!! They are a BIG no no.

Okay, so Queenie sent out an email about New Year’s Eve at her boyfriend, Jensen’s marina. My mom and I hemmed and hawed about going and then we went. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! It was a little peace of heaven.

First, let me explain Jensen’s. Three brothers and they own a marina with cottages and it is like stepping back in time. It is quintessential old, Florida! They are so nice, down-to-earth and hippie-like guys!

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They created a makeshift stage at the water’s edge at their marina. Let me set the stage for you. Captiva Island, which is like Sanibel on crack. It is serious hardcore island paradise. Swaying palm trees, moon glistening on the water, lawn chairs, and we are watching these country singers who wrote songs for Dolly Parton sing and strum their guitars. I am not a country singer fan, but they were good. They leave the stage and then THE TROUBLESTARTERS took the stage. They are so great! So fun! This sexy lead singer starts to sing a song. “She put her Louisiana lip lock on my Alabama porkchop!” We all howled with laughter! The crowd was such a mix of these super duper aristocratic folks, mixed with 60s hippies, true blue beach bums and we all were singing. And then I had to dance. A little girl was out there with her stuffed animal dancing and wishing for someone to dance with her and so I went to dance with her and then Queenie came out and then a little boy. I am sure my mom thought how did I give birth to a child that would get on a nearly empty dance floor and boogie like it was the end of 2013? I tried to get my mom out there but she is far too shy!

We came home and made burgers with bernaise sauce on them and then Louise, my grandma’s cook’s cauliflower recipe. Oh yummy in my tummy. We fought to stay awake. At 11:45p.m., we drove down to the beach and walked to the water’s edge and watched the time till midnight tick away on my Mom’s iPhone. We kissed each other and then the dog! It was Dulce’s first New Year’s with us! I think she liked it!

Birgie decided to throw a New Year’s Day party on the Causeway (bridge to Sanibel) at “the crack of noon.” Love it. Crack of noon! We sat in chairs near the water’s edge sipping mimosas and nibbling on cabbage salad for good luck!

I went home and napped. Yes, I nap down here. I went out for my ritualistic sunset beach walk. I went to the next party. My friends’ Arla and George do a New Year’s party every year on New Year’s Day. She makes three different kinds of soup, gets a big ham for ham sandwiches and the room is filled with ALL of us Beachview tennis players. It is great fun! I love my tennis buddies!

At the party, this lovely woman named Anne asked me to hit with her for 30 minutes on Friday. She is a nice player. I said yes. Remember this for later in my blog.

Being a foodie and a Frenchie, my mom was so excited to take me to a French restaurant in Ft. Myers called Blue Windows. We ordered a bunch of food and shared it all. You know how sharing goes with my mom aka Skin and Bones. She eats two bites, gets stuffed and I clean the plate. First, we ordered Vichyssoise, which is a cream based soup of potatoes, leeks that is chilled and served with chives on top. It was yummy. Then I ordered frog legs, because I had the MOST amazing frog legs in Paris. The place was called Apicius. It was in an old elegant home (aka former private mansion) off the Champs Elysee. My memory is that they served me a bucket albeit a fancy bucket FULL of frog legs and they melted in my mouth they were so good! Now, these were not as good, but it is hard to keep up with the likes of chef Jean-Pierre Vigato in Paris! So, I wasn’t crazy about the frog legs. I was crazy about the green salad with duck breast on it. The duck was divine! Then we split a veal in Calvados sauce. It was good. I didn’t love it the way I hoped I would, but it was good. We decided against dessert. I was a little sad to not try the dark chocolate lava cake. That sounds like something I would have loved till 3am when the caffeine in the chocolate cake would have kept me awake.

My mom and I are driving home and Skin and Bones suggests we try a famous Ft. Myers ice cream institution. We stop at this little joint called The Loveboat on San Carlos. We were worried it would be closed. It wasn’t. It was packed! There must have been a little more than thirty people in a space the size of the upper deck of a double-decker bus.  There were a multitude of flavors. I kept wondering how good could it really be? My mom is a little (READ: A LOT) obsessed with salted caramel things. We ordered salted caramel bacon with bits of bacon in it. The salted caramel was delicious. The bacon was initially off putting but it grew on me. I would have been fine without it. We ordered a small. It was HUMUNGOUS! It was so dang gone good! We still have some leftover in the fridge. I would have finished it by now. Skin and Bones is still working on it.

We were driving home from Loveboat and a cop started to follow me. I said to my mom, “I hope he doesn’t pull me over for overeating and under the influence of salted caramel bacon ice cream!” I can see it now! Ma’am, you are driving erratically!” Well, I was trying to shove spoonfuls office cream in my mouth while driving!” “Ma’am, Have you had too much…”

“I couldn’t stop! The ice cream was too good! I know…I have a problem…”

My friend Annie invited me to a group that I thought she called CLUSTERS, but it is really called Questers, but they aren’t an official Questers group. It is a small group of gals that get together to talk about antiques. She thought as an antique collector and growing up going antiquing, I would love to go! Her friend Carol was talking about Scrimshaw. She is a Cape Coder and she and her hubby collect it. She talked about the history of it, and how and why they made it. It was really interesting. Her home was spectacular. It had great spaces, great trinkets, great details,  and great collections. It is a real hidden gem on the island. In addition to antique talk, we just sat and talked. They meet monthly. Each month, a person talks about something they are passionate about and tell a little about it. They invited me back and I enjoyed it so much that I would definitely go!

So, this nice gal, Anne, another Cape Cod gal asked me to play tennis the other night at the New Year’s party. She just wanted someone to hit with her for 30 minutes, because she wants to get ready for a match this week. I say this ONLY for what I will say that follows. I think Anne is in her 80s and if I am wrong, a thousand apologies to her. She is in PHENOMENAL shape! We played for almost an hour and a half, and she didn’t break a sweat. She was worried about stamina and I needed an I-V, a shot of Gatorade, and a nap! I finally told her she wore me out and I needed to stop. I was sore, tired, but deliriously happy. I could tell she was bummed to stop, but the woman wore me out. I hope I have half of her stamina at some point in my life!

I have seen so much football in the last few weeks. I can’t tell you how much football I have seen. I watched the Colts pull out a win to Kansas City. We watched the Saints pull out a win to Eagles. We watched the Rose Bowl, we watched the Orange Bowl. We watched the Bengals lose in their first playoff game and they have not won a playoff game since 1990! And after all of that my mom looked at me and sadly said, “Do you not love football, because I made you watch so much as a child?” I like football. I like when it is good. I just rather watch a trashy movie! What can I say? THAT is where I am a girly girl.

The girly girl and foodie in me was thrilled when my mom said, “Wanna go to Bay House down in Naples for Sunday brunch?” My answer was….well, not publishable…it was a big, fat YES! Their food is so yummy. The ambiance is not bad either. They face a river, the chef is yummy. I mean he cooks yummy. I don’t think he is yummy personally, but if he can cook like that…maybe he is! My mom ordered an Irish breakfast that was served in a Creuset-like baking dish. She had stewed tomatoes, ham, the most amazing boxty-like potatoes with a fried egg on top, and then blood sausage. My mother is over the moon about blood sausage. I really liked it when I tried it in Ireland till I knew what it was and haven’t eaten it since! Oh well. Now, I had something called a Sea BLT. It consisted of lobster, shrimp, crab tossed with corn and bacon and a smoked bacon vinaigrette it was all sitting on top of a fried green tomato and a bed of arugula. It was so yummy and pretty. Here’s a pic of my breakfast and then my mom’s.

Sea BLT

Sea BLT

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And here is my view from our table….

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I had to change my grip on my tennis racket. It was falling apart and it was time to be changed. I tossed the old one in my bathroom trash and a little later I couldn’t find my 4-legged sister. She was in my bathroom chewing on my tennis grip. I went to take it from her and she ran out the door with the long grip dragging out of her mouth. She looked like she was in the Chinese New Year parade and she was dragging silk that was flowing from her mouth and blowing in the wind.

Today, I went back to the court to play some tennis with Anne, a gal named Connie from Sioux Falls, North Dakota and a gal named Lynn from Annapolis. Connie said it was -60 back home. She had to be thrilled to be here. Lynn was a hoot and such a fun and easy tennis partner. You’ll love this…when people hit a shot and you aren’t sure if it is going to go long..I said how do you know? She said, “If it is titty high, let it fly by!” She had another one, but I can’t remember it. We all had a ball. It took us an hour to play one set and it ended in a tie-breaker. We were so well partnered, we played the same teams for the second set.

I LOVE playing tennis!

Tonight, my mom and I went to Schnappers for carry-out hotdogs and French fries. It is this amazing hotdog joint on the island with killer hotdogs and even better French fries. We took Dulce for the ride. When we got home with the food, Dulce was practically in our laps to get a taste. Of course, we bought a dog for her too, and my mom says I spoil her?

Okay, I do, but I can’t resist.

Well, back to the end of the Florida State v. Auburn game. Go Auburn!!! I cannot believe FSU pulled that one out! I know they were supposed to, but I was hoping they wouldn’t! Sorry Temple & Seth! Seth, you lucky dog being there! Fun game! I can’t believe FSU did to Auburn went Auburn did to Bama!

Until we meet again…..

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

Cincy to Sanibel , Beaches and Doggies, Oh MY!

So, it is cold and blustery up North. Go grab a coffee, a cappuchino, a hot chocolate and curl up with my latest blog!

 

HAPPY HAPPY GOOBLE GOOBLE DAY from sunny Florida! It is chilly here but NOTHING like up North…I wore one sweater, two jackets to the beach this morning with a scarf!

 

I came home warm and sat on the couch with Dulce, mom and I drank hot chocolate as we watched the Macy’s Day Parade.

 

Well, thank you for all your notes and well wishes about my truffle oil French fry accident that caused my hematoma in my leg. I am kidding. The doc didn’t believe it was caused by French fries. I am still not sure she is right!

 

I must confess my blog is behind me by two weeks so one minute you think I am in Sanibel, and I am in Cincy. The next you think I am in Cincy, and I am really in Sanibel.

 

My mom didn’t like my last blog. She said I talked about really mundane things and you all could careless if I ate bananas with blueberry yogurt on them or not. So, I am going to try to trim the fat, in addition to catching you all up so you live in the same time speed as me. So, we are going to the do the National Lampoon, Chevy Chase version of the last two weeks!

 

I came home from Sanibel and went to the doctor. It was a hematoma. It probably was a result of the combination of driving 8 + hours, walking in bad shoes, getting a leg cramp and bending funny. I asked her if it had ANYTHING to do with the truffle oil fries.  She laughed and looked at her assistant and said, “I LOVE THIS GIRL!” Then looked at me and said, “NO!” I still haven’t had a fry. What a great way to temporarily stop eating French fries.

 

She suggested that I stay home and do nothing for the next few days, except take Alleve, elevate my leg and keep heat on it. I spent Saturday and Sunday doing just that and catching up on my junky television shows. I have friends that love reality shows. I detest them!!! I hate all that crap! But I love another kind of crap…SCANDAL, REVENGE, NASHVILLE, BLUE BLOODS, CASTLE, WHITE COLLAR, GREY’S, ELEMENTARY, THE GOOD WIFE, THE MENTALIST and I am sure I am leaving something out. I watched three weeks of those shows in TWO DAYS!!! It actually was pretty darn awesome. I couldn’t do anything else…so why not!

 

Monday my father called and announced that he and my Uncle had decided to take Veteran’s Day off and my stepmother was at a volunteer job and it would be a good time for us to go to lunch. He wanted Mexican, because she won’t eat Mexican with him. Sadly, they were all closed so we went to Dewey’s and had salad and pizza. The waiter told us there are no calories on holidays! Yippee! “Let’s go to Graeter’s then,” I said.  We planned to share a mocha chocolate chip dip. We walked in the door and heard someone saying, “BOBBY & ERIN!” I said, “It is ERIN & WALLY! My dad has an identical twin named Bob. NO ONE can tell them apart.

 

It was Kathy Graeter , who played tennis with my Uncle for 24 years and still can’t tell them apart. She came and sat with us. My dad asked her about business and how it has grown so much in recent years. They are even putting one across from Holtman’s Donuts on Vine Street. I think they should partner, and give ice cream to stuff inside the donuts and in the reverse, donuts to crumble on the ice cream? Just a thought. I also learned that one can get Graeter’s in Publix in Florida. Wonder what this expansion is doing for the shipping business? I love that I can go to my mom’s and not have to miss my Graeter’s!

 

I went home and got ready for a retired minister in my building who asked to come over for tea and to discuss “issues” with me. We had a nice visit, but no building issues were discussed. We just chatted. I can tell he was a real looker in his day. A real lady’s man and charmer too! I was told to not trust him, but he seemed harmless. I will keep you posted.

 

The politics in my building at the moment are becoming a bit intense. Everyone has their nose in everyone’s business. We keep needing to reiterate AD NAUSEUM….let people do what they want to do! Leave people alone! People will do what they want to do and they should. It is called FREEDOM!!!

 

A gal in the building came to discuss some of these issues with me. She seems to be on the right track! I hope the problems go away before it divides the building. It is so interesting to me. I grew up in the same house from baby till college. I have lived in apartments ever since, with a few exceptions of homes. I had no idea how there are people that were meant to live “city life” in condos and apartments and others that are incapable of playing nice in the sandbox. Everyone has their thing…I am just a city girl at heart!

 

The following day, I went and met my friend Mindy and her awesome kids: Brady, Ruby & Herwyns at the OM Café in Clifton for turtle drinks. Okay, hot chocolate with caramel sauce. Need I say more! Definitely try THAT at home!

 

Some of you know this, others don’t. I am a VERY proud breast cancer survivor! I went through a pretty toxic chemo. I lost all of my hair and the silver lining was that it came back curly with these AWeSOME and SERIOUS blonde streaks, so guess what? I didn’t want to cut it. I finally broke down last week and got it cut. It was starting to look like Andre Agassi’s hair and real skunk like at the ends. I did lose a lot of the blonde. Such sadness. Remedy, I am down on Sanibel (NOW) and I am going to do everything in my power to let the sun bleach it blonde for the winter. I will be walking around with crusty hair from lemon juice, or dunking it in chlorinated pools, whenever I pass a pool, you name it. I will be doing it.

 

 

Friday, I met my friend Stacey. Stacey and I went kindergarten through 12th grade together. I always, always liked, trusted and felt completely comfortable around Stacey, and she used to do this dog name thing that used to make me laugh till I cried. We lost touch after high school, I saw her once in Boston with her hubby and another high school friend and then lost touch again. When I moved back to Cincy, I found her. She is now one of my best friends. So, we met at this awesome sushi place she and her hubby discovered when moving back to Cincy from Chicago called MEI. They do a miso soup, salad and two sushi rolls for $10, and it is really good.

 

I left Stacey and went to Barnes & Noble, because I was told they have a section for local writers and I should go talk to them about taking my books. It looks like more Ohio authors than Cincy writers, and it looks more non-fiction than fiction, but I will do the paperwork and see where it lands me. They decide on a national level, so I guess there is a chance that it would go into all B & N stores on a national level, which would not hurt my feelings at all.

 

I then went to Trader Joe’s to find roadtrip snacks so I do not have the challenges of KFC and Dunkin Donuts or the upset belly again. I bought Wasabi almonds. I bought a trail mix of Chocolate, Cranberries, Cashews and Pistachios. This time I was determined to do it right.

 

I also went and bought a pair of compression socks. I am sure if I didn’t wear long pants I would have reminded someone of their granny with what looked like knee high panty hose.

 

That night, I was invited to a restaurant called RUTH’S in Northside that is located in the Can Lofts.  The people doing RUTH’S were the folks that did the beloved MULLANE’S that used to be downtown. My friend Mary Lou was retiring from being an OR Nurse and her friends asked me to be a part of her celebratory dinner. It was a lot of fun! I had a great burger and they made homemade pies. I had apple, which was yummy, but a friend had raspberry and that was divine. The place was hopping. It was crowded from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. Northside sure is a mecca for foodies!

 

I left there and rushed over to the Clovernook Country Club because I had been asked to dinner there and thought I could go join friends after my dinner, but they were gone. It felt so college-like going from one festivity to another one.

 

 

Saturday and Sunday, I geared up for my long drive to Florida by resuming my sitting on the couch for an inordinate amount of time! I had taped Law & Order episodes and sat there, leg in air, heat on it and watching the telly.

 

I finally took a break to go to the pharmacy. I had two prescriptions that I had been sparingly using for ELEVEN years. One was for cankers, which I get when I eat too much fruit, another for my itchy ears, which I seem to have WAY too often. Well, I mislabeled them. With a Sharpie I wrote CANKERS on one and EARS on another one. It wasn’t till I saw what my mom was putting in her ears that I realized that I was putting the canker meds on my ears and the ear meds on my cankers. So, I went to the pharmacy to confirm. He was more upset that I was using SUCH outdated meds than the fact that I reversed them. Everyone else laughed. He tried SO hard not to laugh….Yes, I DID go to Harvard! See, this is why I usually don’t tell anyone, that is so bad that I did that!

 

I came home from the pharmacy and a neighbor cornered me about the board and issues and then another one. I thought I always wanted to be in politics, with the exceptions here and there, but this is too much!  

 

I then went to visit my dear, dear friend Edie and her hubby. Edie has been battling cancer at the ripe age of 80+ and she has done it with so much humor, integrity, strength, and perseverance. She is such a great lady and her husband, such a nice fella.

 

Monday I went to sit with my friend Mare at chemo. She has 3 chemos left out of 12. She looks fabulous for this horrendous chemo she has endured. The doc says she never will get over the chemo or stop. She tries so hard to not let it get her down, but it is hard. She feels bad that I come sit with her because it is so depressing but it is only depressing when I first arrive and then I focus on her and forget where I am! Plus, so many nice folks sat with me during chemo, I think it is good karma passed on!

 

Wednesday morning, I went to Sidewinders and ordered a large Mexican latte and drove to Atlanta. I stopped at Temple’s and hung out with her and her children during Atlanta rush hour. Once rush hour was over, I left and went to Forsythe, Georgia and met my Cincy neighbors Roy & Carolyn in a Waffle House for dinner. It was so perfect. I had a ham and cheese omelet, I ate cinnamon and raisin toast with Apple butter. I know, no bread, but I was on the road. Excuses, excuses, and look I did a chain restaurant and didn’t complain! It was so great to see them and it broke up the trip and gave me a second wind to drive 2.5 hours more.

 

I walked into a hotel in Valdosta, Georgia near the GA, and FL. Border. Nice Drury Inn and crashed there. Nice breakfast. Drive thru at Starbucks was next door. I went and got a Chai latte and drove the rest of the way to Ft. Myers. I returned my books on DVD to Cracker Barrel. Do ya’ll know about this…..go to a Cracker Barrel and get a book on DVD…listen to it and return it to another Cracker Barrel and pick up another one. SO great! I had this awesome Harlan Coben book I listened to over 17 hours!

 

Then…I went to Norman Love, or Norman, my love, google him (http://www.normanloveconfections.com/) one of this country’s top chocolatiers! So amazing. I bought 2 dark chocolate bars. Then I went to TJ Maxx’s for a bathing suit. Didn’t find one. I guess I am stuck with my 1996 Ralph Lauren bathing suit that is like a Timex watch. It takes a licking and keeps on lasting. BARELY!

 

I arrived home just in time for sunset. I grabbed my mom and the dog and off we went.

So, nice to be home! So nice to see the sunset over the water.

 

My mom made Salmon & Spinach for dinner. Still working on clearing those arteries!

 

Next day, I went to find THE ISLAND COW guy to talk books, I went to the CVS to get a passport picture, because my passport is due to expire soon and I am NOT going to be in the percentage of Americans that DON’T have a passport. What if I met the man of my dreams and he wants to whisk me away to Paris or Venice and I have to say, ‘ No, my passport is expired!’ I don’t want that to happen. Now, that would be a travesty!!! Plus, I have so many friends that aren’t Americans and they ALL know that a lot of Americans, don’t have passports, don’t leave this country and that is a shame….We ALL need to see the world!!

 

I left there and went to the post office to mail in my passport. Laura behind the counter asked how long I am home and talked about her cool art. This Sanibel is a lot like Mayberry. I love NYC and I love Mayberry.

 

My mom and I went up to Captiva Island to meet my friends Karen & Bill at a place called Key Lime Bistro. We sat outside surrounded by palm trees and I realized why they call this paradise. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes, I don’t!  It was like a scene out of an islands magazine.

 

My mom had arranged for us to walk with her friends Tom & Sylie and their 4 dogs. Two greyhounds named :Rumo & Ralla, and two bearded collies named: Winnie & Cookie.

 

Tom & Sylvie are from Germany and have a place on Sanibel. Sanibel is a mecca for Germans and Brits. Don’t know why…it just is…

 

Tom went to Business School in Cambridge at Harvard Biz School and so we talked Harvard, Cambridge, Boston and that was a lot of fun!

 

Then Ellen from Chicago came out with her dogs: Tess, Sadie and Bella and we all walked.

 

We ran into Tom & Anne and their poodle Cleopatra.

 

Imagine this…these adults, and then NINE dogs!!!!

 

It is doggy heaven here! I love it. I love the down-to-earth people.

 

 

We came home and made a big tossed salad for dinner. It was nice to be back home on Sanibel, especially since it was going to 25 degrees in Cincy.

 

75 degrees, sunny, beach, dog, mom, friends on Sanibel vs. 25, cold, bleak, and no friends wanting to go out in Cincy. No brainer.

 

I had a book signing on Saturday at Bailey’s. I saw so many folks I knew. I sold a little more than a handful of books, but the folks I knew coming through the market was enough to entertain me most of the time.

 

I returned the leashes I borrowed from ISLAND PAWS the dog shop on Sanibel. The gals that own it Liza and Tracy are so great!!! They were kind enough to let me borrow leashes to photograph for the cover of my new book called THE URBAN LEASH, which is a fiction book for dog lovers! Stories of a dogwalker. Hopefully fun and funny! Thanks Liza and Tracy! The book just came out on amazon.com. Click on link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Urban-Leash-Erin-Moss/dp/1494269562/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1385673796&sr=8-2&keywords=Erin+Moss

 

 

Another kid’s book is out as well! It is called THE OLD OAK TREE and it teaches kids the importance of respect, boundaries and the difference between wrong and right. Also on amazon.com under the name E.M. Holzman. Click on link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Old-Tree-E-M-Holzman/dp/1494283271/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385673854&sr=8-1&keywords=E.M.+Holzman

 

 

Then I went for a sunset walk with my sister Dulce and we were meeting my friend Joyce and her dog dude. We went to her boardwalk and met this nice couple from NJ named Marty & Dot. I told Dot my favorite character in my book, Women in Pink is probably the gal named Dot.

 

Marty & Dot live on a farm with horses 40 minutes outside of Manhattan. Is that the best of both worlds or what? Country and City so wonderfully close together.

 

I came home to Cobia dipped in butter and lemon with a side of mushrooms. My mom asked if 3 mushrooms would be enough for me? I said try 5…3 are you kidding me? The woman eats like a bird. I am not talking Portabellas. I am talking button mushrooms. Would 3 be enough for you?

 

Sunday we went to Overeasy Café, also owned by the ISLAND PAWS people. It was a cast of 8 friends and three dogs. The dogs get food ordered for them as well. NO JOKE!

Then I got to see a friend of a friend that I ADORE….named Jim. An appeals judge from Kansas. Love this guy! So psyched to see him. Hello Jim!!

 

Farmer’s Market was the next stop and another group of friends there. And more dogs….My mom just left me in one spot and I was able to mingle. So much better than the last time I was there and unable to walk. And you wanna talk dogs…had to be at least 20-30 there. My Dulce was in heaven. She really hit the doggy lotto. She went from who knows what, to a rescue, to eating breakfast in restaurants, letting the wind blow in her fur in the convertible, to eating fish, chicken, etc. and to having the opportunity to come across so many doggy friends and walk with them on the beach daily at sunset. Rough life!

 

After market, I went back to Joyce’s. I went to talk books with Marty & Dot (her neighbors) and she kindly bought 5 of my books. Since we both were in NY for 9.11, we shared stories. Two I want to share with you, because as we discussed these stories need to get out!

 

Their daughter or daughter-in-law had a kid who had a best friend and they wanted to walk into school the first day together. Dot and Marty’s kid were late with their grandson and it caused the other mom to be perturbed and late for her job as she and her son waited. She left her kid at school. She went to catch a train. It had left. She drove 5 towns up the road to get another one. She called her boss to tell him she was super late, but she would be there. He said don’t come! A plane just went into our building BELOW our floor. We are stuck here. Go home and be with your family. If she had been on time, she would have been up there and died. Sometimes things that seem annoying really do happen for a reason. It saved her life!

 

Second story, profound in a different way. I never would have thought of this, but it makes sense. Marty said there was a commuters’ parking lot near where they lived that after rush hour emptied. The night of 9.11, half the cars that usually would have been gone, were still there. So sad. Scary.

 

 

I came home and that night my mom and I went to dinner with some dear old friends from TN named Max & Margot. My friend Joyce always calls them M &M.

 

We went to this restaurant on the island called TRADERS that a lot of folks think is the best. The ambiance is great and so is the food, EXCEPT that they have NOT changed the menu in ELEVEN years and we are all a little…okay a LOT bored with it.

 

I did have the special. Sea bass crusted in no idea what over a bed of risotto. VERY good.

 

Monday was a work day! My mom and I worked on books ALL DAY LONG!!! Won’t bore you with details. LONG, LONG day! And  I love her, but man OH man, can she be bossy!!!

 

Here is where I need your help. 2 things.

 

1)    I am looking for a company to make my Peri the pelican stuffed animal. I have a prototype, but I need someone to sew them for me. There are 2 catches. 1) I want it made in America, NOT China. 2) I don’t want to have to make 1000. I just want 50 to start. Any ideas?

 

2)    My next teenage novel to come out is titled STEPMONSTERS. My mom (my illustrator) and I are stuck on the artwork for the title. Here is what I want to convey. A stepmonster looks normal on the outside but is devious and underhanded on the inside. I need a cover to convey this. I am thinking a woman is holding a child’s hand and he/she is holding a balloon and the monster is reaching over her head with the other hand and is popping the balloon. So, here is an idea but I need the same concept but something more appropriate for a teenager. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

 

 

After a hard day of work, that night my mom made us Salmon BLT on open face sandwich. YUM! My mom used mayo, but I acutally think thousand island instead may have been really tasty. May have to try that!

 

Yesterday, we ran errands. Bookstores to drop of booksigning posters for the doors, Noah’s to see what is the latest and greatest there and donate things, and then we went and got that caramel milkshake. Yum. I know, Erin, step away from the caramel milkshakes. And what is even worse…I think the way to make one equally as yummy is Haagen Daaz Dulce de Leche with milk in a blender. Again, please try this at home.

 

Last night, the clouds and the sky grew dark, the waves on the beach were fierce and the wind blew and all us doggy folks from Santa Barbara, CA., to Germany to Cincy to Sanibel all congregated on the beach and chatted. Did I tell you how nice it is to be home?

 

This morning was glorious. The storm that is nailing everyone for Gooble Gooble Day was supposed to pound us. It did a bit last night, and it was due to linger today, but it didn’t. BEAUTIFUL morning. I took Dulce for a two-mile walk on the beach. My first REAL walk since before HALLOWEEN, but I wanted to see how the leg was and I even ran a minute or two here and there so she could get some exercise. It was heavenly until the wind whipped and either the sand or the salty water caught her square in the eye and she couldn’t open it and scratched at it. I was a mile from the car. I walked fast seeing her tremendous pain and knowing from personal experience how much that hurts. I stopped in a hotel on the beach and caught some super nice lady out front who was kind enough to bring me a glass of water. I dumped it on Dulce’s eye. No luck. I was pained to see her hurt so much!

 

I got her home and under a hose because it was salt or sand in her eye and she was scratching it with a salty and sandy paw. So I cleaned the eye and the paws. My mom was their with eye drops and now all well in the world. Dulce has been super mad at my mom because she keeps threatening to send her back to the rescue place. But since my mom was their with the drops, she seems to have forgiven her. I still think I am Dulce’s favorite. Don’t tell my mom!

 

I hope you all have a wonderful, happy food filled Gooble Gooble Day!

 

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….