Curious Tidbits

© 2012 Tami Stewart Contact Me

Lean On Me

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When something punches you in the gut, when your hopes are dashed, when life shocks you, my advice is to take a nap, then send an email to all your friends – just the good ones who’ve loved you in all your craziness, who will listen, not judge, and will send their love in writing as talking is too hard when trying to just breathe.
It used to be that a written cry for help would take days, months, perhaps never to reach the intended but now in a click I can reach the ones I love and who love me. Gosh, I love the Internet.
But best of all, I love that I have those who stand by me through thick and thin, hell and high water, sickness and health – there is no greater treasure!

Being!


Sea
The strangeness of being. Why are we here? Being seems a very bizarre & fragile sort of thing. Reading and education offer various opinion options for which I acknowledge the possible but the unknown remains. Wispy clouds of possibility too numerous. Certainty is temporal and circumstantial. Allow mystery and gentleness be the guide. Here we are, so now what?

Who gets to live?


Rolande
Who gets to live? It makes no sense. Life makes no sense; it never has, although industries are legion to convince us otherwise. Attending seminary, allowed me to contemplate the mystery of existence and how others through history have struggled with the universal questions. I imagine it is the quest of the philosopher to ponder the unknowns of humanity, as they are myriad. One I contemplate today is the vexing mystery of who gets to live. It reminds me that while I move through today, I will ask for courage to love better and be kind as life can be very very hard.

Who has time to cook?


migrant_mother
In all this ruminating on food, my mind always returns to the single Mom with two kids (or one or three). One lady in particular stands out and I remember all the juggling and working and straining she did to care for her children, manage a crazy, delinquent ex-husband and work a demanding 60-hour a week job. She is good and kind and wanted the best for her children but with absolutely no village to help in the raising.
Corporations transferring people hither and yon leave people with few community girders. Having moved so often I know how hard it is just to find a decent dentist, much less someone you can trust with your children. How is she supposed to add cooking to all the other duties? And don’t get me started on the lady with two jobs; has Ted Cruz ever met these people?
My feet will always be in two places, one in this yachting world of wealth and the other with those who struggle. Money does not equal happiness but it does give you the freedom to choose and that is a beginning of opportunity.

Swimming with Dolphins

Dol1
There are no words, at least none that precisely describe the mystery of swimming with wild dolphins. Captive dolphin programs, incite a haughty disdain, is that using the same word twice? Perhaps that will emphasis the offense at swimming with captured animals but I do go to zoos. Perhaps, I’m convinced a being as seemingly free as a dolphin or a whale should be left to swim free but where would we be without a zoo to see animals we could never see in the wild? I delight at feeding the giraffes at the Miami Zoo.
Ah, the complications of modern life and thinking too much. But as always I digress. So I checked out thesaurus.com to find a word or a series of words that express my heart when swimming with these dolphins.
Perhaps, ineffable meaning ‘too great for words’ will have to do. Perhaps.
Bimini is an island in the Bahamas about a 15-minute plane ride from FLL. The fast ferry was not running as the season ended which is the perfect time to go. For about 15 minutes, I witnessed a 20 something gathering at the beach and although I admired the enhanced figures of the women (I don’t swing that way but women always attract my admiration, perhaps a bit of jealousy?) Their loud and crude exchange messed with my Zen. Quickly they departed for which I gave thanks for their departure and that it ‘low’ season, can’t imagine hundreds of them. Eck!
But it’s the dolphins that brought me to Bimini. Two or three or something years ago (must keep better records) Robb and I visited Bimini and experienced the spotted dolphins. In late April, Robb returned to Bimini with the Shannon clan to repeat the wonder. Robb’s son, Geoff and I could not attend in April so we went again this weekend. It’s nature, one never knows what will happen so during our boat trip out I was nervous – my miser brain could not conceive of spending all that money for naught but 15 minutes in dolphins were spotted. And for the next two hours we followed wild dolphins. We were pulled on a tow lined to stay with them and then let go to move with the pod. We were informed that the younger dolphins, distinguished by their low spot count, are more amenable to play but it was one very dappled dolphin that most left me speechless. The dolphins were everywhere, over, above, spinning under me, less then an arm length away. When asked by the Captain if I felt part of the pod, I thought ‘hell no’, they are effortless in the water, fearless and rapid with a twitch of the tail they are gone as I lumber and gasp trying to catch up.
For over two hours, we followed them and I was mesmerized. No words that I know or can discover can communicate what it is like when a dolphin looks you in the eye.

*Sadly the GoPro was left at home but these Google images give some idea of the experience.
Dol2

Portland Ethos

Small
Portland Ethos – Sustain our Precious Earth –
Perhaps this impression is only ½ developed as I was sequestered in the southeast section – Portland is referenced as four quadrants –
But I left Portland with the conviction of these city’s efforts to foster reuse, recycle, and better yet don’t buy it!
Returning to the FLL, I looked around for efforts to save the plant but they did not seem to be as ubiquitous as Portland’s. I’m feeling generous but the only thing I see in FLL is an effort to save the turtle nesting sites and an occasional recycle bin – paltry!
And returning to FLL to work in a boatyard is the height of despair for our natural world.
Boatyards are horrific places of toxic morass. And in this particular boatyard, 80% of the vessels are created for personal leisure. Nowhere in this boatyard is a recycle bin and nowhere do I witness an attempt to manage our dwindling resources. Yesterday I witnessed a Captain on a HUGE vessel (180 ft +) drink a small Fiji water bottle (more on that later) then throw it on the ground and walk away. Granted he threw it into a puddle of noxious bottom paint + other draining toxins but he is one given the opportunity to stand in awe of our oceans. How do we connect this man’s choices to either destruction or nurture of that which his industry is built? I pondered throwing the empty water bottle in his face but I didn’t think that would help, but it would make me feel better.

Portland Cooking - Day 4


Portland Day 4 – Presentation Day.
The previous four days, focused on a specific protein but included plating ideas. Kimi fascinated and inspired me with her daily riff on taking the protein to plate. I’ve ‘learned’ to cook alone, off google and recipe books but I learn best when I stand next to someone whose experience and hard work results in seemingly effortless creativity. Kimi spent years working to make it ‘effortless’. And Day 4 was specific to the plate.
How fun is that? We also practiced a few skills that I lusted after. Parmesan Bowls. Spread some grated parm on a silpat, bake, then drape – viola. Crispy edible bowls for Caesar.


Bowls

Chocolate Bowls – Edible conveyance for fruit.
Chocolate Bowls

Freeze dried strawberries = red ‘snow’ – how’s that for coolness.
Dessert

And chocolate dust; kalamata olive dirt
Kimi’s creativity wacked around that kitchen like a bouncy ball. Now that’s worth the price of admission wouldn’t you say?
But the tool of the week is:
Benriner Cook Helper Slicer
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I wish a picture could convey what this little gem can do!
Okay there are a hundred of these things online, this is just the one I found and immediately purchased. I remember seeing one on a boat and wondering what the hell? Dayworking you really don’t have time to ask questions so I had to quickly move on. Kimi produced the big reveal. How cool is that? Endless hours of food crafty coolness.

Portland Cooking - Day 3

Chicken
Portland – Day 3 – Poultry
How does one make poultry sexy? Tastes like Chicken. Can you carve up a bird, salvaging every juicy morsel? Did you know Chickens have an oyster? Yep. And do you have a backyard garden with pineapple sage to sprinkle on top? OK, not directly related but look at this cool pineapple sage, I didn’t know such a thing existed.

Pineapple Sage
So Kimi and I spent an entire day talking about and playing with poultry to include a visit to a duck farmer as I’d been hearing an awful lot about duck fat. Perhaps duck is the new bacon? Something I read even said that duck fat is ‘healthy’ fat as it does not seem to infiltrate the duck meat only surround it. Interesting chatter but really? A bit of a leap.
I like chicken. I like to eat chicken. When I’m pondering the long lists of personal dos and don’ts about food, chicken is acceptable. In other words, I’d kill a chicken & a duck & probably a turkey but not one in a cage but one that has been allowed to run around in freedom. But yes, I can afford it and usually pick spinach or rice anyway.

Kill

One of myriad of tasks related to cooking is the unrelenting task of what the hell to cook? My friend Ann remembers when Monday was meatloaf, Tuesday was spaghetti and Friday was fish, you get the picture – variety was not the issue. With the advent of the modern emphasis on choice and freedom, variety is the issue. When reviewing job listings, chefs are often asked to provide the daily – ‘Wow’. Seven-day charter a daily ‘wow’ is doable. But day in, day out, it becomes tough to continue the daily ‘wow’. One chef was told during an interview that she could not repeat a cocktail hors d’oeuvre for a year – that’s right 365 different fresh hors d’oeuvre 5 p.m. chef is up and ready for her close up.

Ok, back to chicken. So chicken offers variety and it’s a hellave lot easier to find in Panama then the good old U.S.A. beef.

But does everyday, every meal have to include a dead animal? Is that where meal planning must begin?

Portland Cooking - Day 2

Beef
Portland – Day 2 – Beef Day
Okay so fish day was a very long day but beef not so much. Kimi and I are sort of not into beef, me because I equate cows horrendous environmental and digestive destruction – trendy paleo diet be damned. But those big shiny white boats love them some cow so beef day it is. Kimi did provide exceptional information on grass fed beef, which is the superior environmental choice although spoiler alert many people are so accustomed to corn, fed beef that the grass fed can be an Ew! Little butter, little garlic no more Ew! We worked on fabricating a tenderloin then cooking it all up and yummy. Ho hum, informative but it was the brussel sprout fritters that lite our fire. My first attempt at the fitters failed so I asked Kimi for a do over, note to self, when you triple the amount of brussel sprouts in a recipe, triple everything else too. I know some of you are whipping out your Ew! on this one but don’t knock it until you try it. Kimi and I had trouble leaving the house for the full throttle gorge. Dude we handled the beef but the brussel sprouts are the addiction.
Brussel Sprouts

Portland Cooking - Day 1

Salmon Cut
Portland Cooking Day 1 – Fish Day –
As I’m privileged to cook on the water, fish is available and fresh. And as I understand the destruction of the oceans and the privilege of access to fresh fish, I deeply desire to make fish a priority within my culinary repertoire.
Fish give their lives so I might live, so please do not screw it up. Kimi and I spent an inordinate amount of time at the fish place talking about freshness, sustainability and what the heck is that? A highlight was the Salmon tasting, comparing King aka Chinook Salmon with Sockeye and Chum (yes there is a salmon called chum), guess who won? Hands down King maybe that’s why it costs so much?

Salmon

But Portland being Portland of course we stopped by Kimi’s friend at Flying Fish who is working with local fisher people to provide fresh and sustainable fish for the everyday person. His passion is contagious. We bought a big old Salmon from him and several smaller varieties, as it is time for Tami to learn how to filet a whole fish. Why? On big shiny white boats there is always some dude (dude being genderless) who will perform this chore on the back deck. And I already have enough to do. But a gal should know how to filet a fish, so I did me some fileting and learned to honor the gift and conserve every scrap.
My goal for cooking with Kimi is to start with the whole and take it to plate. So we started with the whole and ended up incredible. One stand out was the trout dusted in almond meal with cherry compote. Part of the lessons was terminology so is compote the correct term? It was cherries, heated with a bit of vinegar and plopped on top. Portland was smack in the middle of cherry season and just a bit of heat turned this ripe bloom of bodaciousness into scrumptious lusciousness. The cherries were Plato’s notion of the form, i.e. when Webster defines cherry, a picture of Oregon cherries is right there.
Cherry

But the cherries were there; going from tree to table in maybe a day, try doing that in Florida. Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck offered a very poor substitute.

Chef Kimi Reid

Kimi

M
eet my friend Kimi, she sends her love out to all through food and nutrition and kindness.
Robby and I met Kimi when she welding her talents in this crazy yachty land. She joined us for wine and entertained us with the trials of poaching eggs. Yachting is tough on all relationships, as we move, move, move and are consumed with the people right in front of us: other crew and guests. But I followed Kimi’s travels via FB and occasional emails. Since meeting Kimi, seeing her food mastery and kindness, I dreamed of learning from her vast store of knowledge. Robb constantly encouraged me to take more classes, take more classes, which I did but in the back of my mind was Kimi, her experience and skills perfectly matching the needs of a wanna be yacht chef. Cooking on boats is very unique, no budget, no helpers, nothing the same any day, shopping in places where you don’t even know the language and the pictures often don’t help. Unique, not bad, just unique. Kimi’s experience is the full meal deal: Le Cordon Bleu, restaurants, food styling, yachts, personal she brought the full spectrum to the table and she was nice (definitely NOT a push over – just ask about the trophy wife exchange – strong and powerful and nice). And I need more nice people in my life as I’ve often been told I’m not nice, just honest. Well, alright give me some Kimi. So off I fly to Portland, who doesn’t want an excuse to go to Portland?
So off I go WITHOUT checking weather.com, oh my, oh my. All I’d packed was pants and I don’t even like pants but Robb said in June it was cold, cold, so very cold so I packed pants. Landing in Portland, I said find me a TJ Maxx it’s hot up in here! You could tell all the people from Portland as their legs were shiny white, translucent even but my legs you could not see as I only had pants. Find me a Target immediately. So began my adventures in Portland
.
Mt Hood

What Type of Garden are You?

My Girlfriend and her young pal – came up with this game:
Ri C

One person thinks of a person and the other must ask questions to figure out who the person is. Questions like:

If the person were a flower what kind of flower would they be?
If the person were a sandwich what kind of sandwich would they be?
If this person were an animal what kind of animal would they be?

You get the picture right?
This game is way over my reasoning abilities. What the heck?

Okay, I will say there was wine involved, which immediately impairs all sorts of my facilities but the game made an impression. So when I toured a few gardens in Portland the game was ringing in my memory. The gardens did ‘speak’ to me. The Japanese Garden, although extremely peaceful and serene and green it was just too not me.
Jap Gar

Then the International Rose Garden was up with 10,000 test roses abundance of color and smell and beauty. Closer but just not quite.

Rose Gar


Then as I randomly drove around Portland astound by the beauty of the flowers, I found a deep purple home that spoke to my soul – ahhhh!! The garden is a mess of size and style and color, everything everywhere. Now that is just right me!
Chaos


Off to Pull those Weeds!

How many landscapers does it take to pull a weed?
So I return to my home to again ponder the dilemma of landscaping. Is the use of pesticides in home yards universal? Every landscaper I speak with tells me I cannot pursue beauty without pesticides. How did our obsession with our bodies, i.e. the shooting of toxic chemicals in our foreheads mentality dribble off on to our yards? You might think this is a leap BUT there are those who consume chemicals (let’s pick on Coke – I mean Coke can clean a toilet so it must be ok to drink right?) So isn’t pouring Coke into our bellies similar to pouring Roundup in our yards? And Roundup is as ubiquitous as Coke, have you been to Lowe’s lately? Horribly oppressive, frightening, baffling. But if you don’t get onboard to the chemical bandwagon all landscapers will look at you, shake their heads and refuse to return. Discouraging!

I highlight just a snippet of a recent op-ed in NYT which makes the point it better then I….

“…The United States Fish and Wildlife Service says homeowners use up to 10 times more chemicals per acre than farmers do. Some of these chemicals rub off on children or pets, but most are washed with rainwater into our streams, lakes and rivers or are absorbed into our groundwater. These are the sources of our drinking water, and tests show these chemicals are indeed contaminating our water supply.
A study by the United States Geological Survey released in 1999 found at least one pesticide, and often more than one, in almost every stream and fish sample tested, and in about half of the samples drawn from wells throughout the country. These pesticides are going from our lawns and gardens into our drinking water and into our bodies…”
Reported by Diane Lewis a physician and the founder of the Great Healthy Yard Project

Summer Vaca Activities

So I take time off from work to work NOT complaining, thrilled to get some house projects off the dream list. Not all projects are exciting but one has been hankering after my heart for a year or so – time all blends together when you are unemployed.
The contractor who remodeled all three bathrooms, built my beloved shed, repaved my patios and several other labor intensive projects is a fellow Texan – of course. What a gift this person has been, an honest, reasonable contractor who does what he says when he says and communicates effectively. According to word on the street, people like him are anomaly, how I got so lucky I’ll never know…..
When someone remodels your home, they are all up in your business. He sees the mess, hears the financial struggles, talks through the decisions, counsels on why the towel rack cannot go there and coordinates the tear and repair on the biggest purchase, I’ll ever make. So he and his fellows got to know me and my ways, fairly well.
One day when he and his crew were cleaning out the business storage unit, up cropped two very old & dusty stained glass windows. A passerby attempted to make a bid on taking them home but the Tile Expert, reminded my friend that the stained glass colors were all mine and would match 918 to a T. Praise be for thoughtful crew.
Anyway, that’s how I came to own two old, like really old, stained glass windows from a church in Ohio. They needed work and as time is precious and too many other projects got in the way, the stained glass windows were stowed for ‘later’. Well, it’s later.
Scrapping off 14 layers of paint, old caulk and sanding down to that beautiful wood.
A little of bit of silver caulk and the windows were ready to for their close up.
The project is not all the way done, the hooks need to be painted to blend into the ceiling, the window needs to be cleaned, and the outside foliage requires replacement – bye but oh my, oh my. Nothing like a dream come true.

Stained Glass

Curious Miami

Under the heading of “Sightings to Ponder”
So many questions, so little time.

Van

The Best Gift Ever!


Brice
So I jumped ship. Amusing throwing all your crap into a dock cart and running down the dock to sanity. I still smile about my willingness to just say Yes! to walking away. Lucky me. When I count the fortuitous confluences allowing me to say yes, my raucous, freedom loving, Uncle Brice looms large. He died a couple of years ago and his beneficiaries were left entangled in a web of lawyers being very suspicious. 7 Beneficiaries + 9 Lawyers = Years of Fort Worth, Texas Crazy. BUT the final check was due to arrive shortly after my run to sanity. And arrive it did. My kind hearted raucous Uncle Brice delights that monies from his estate allowed me the freedom to give the finger to darkness. Wherever he is, I hope he is dancing the tango, surrounded by loving partners.

So I ran home. My house is HUGE, from my standards, great rental potential and wonderful for a safe place to run to (but too big – see later post). Me, myself and I. And a few repair people, and a couple of landscapers and me, doing my homey thing. Creating a nest of nurture, for others to enjoy while I keep doing what I love, soon. But not right now, not yet. I determined that the gift of time is appropriate at this juncture. A treasure. An absolute treasure is time. So thank you Uncle Brice for the best gift of all – time.


The Top 10 Reasons I Jumped Ship


May 1 2014

O
r as Jodie says, pulled a runner.

It is incredibly difficult for someone like me to pull a runner. My genetic code is ‘finish the job’, ‘see it through’, ‘you can do it’. Abandoning ship is the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever done so my guilty conscious forces me to recognize the legitimate reasons behind such a dramatic action. Intellectually I completely understand the whys but there is that little part of me that says, ‘you gave up’. Yep I sure did.

10. The coffee was a complete and utter horror – that is last only b/c I can significantly improve the state of things with a lovely French Press – life is too short for bad coffee!

9. Ugliest uniforms known to yacht. Don’t get me wrong I love the concept of a uniform, no thinking, just whip it on, braid the hair and I’m ready for my work day but these were particularly hideous.

8. White Rice, white flour, white potatoes. First off, rice was considered ‘peasant food’ and certain people in power did not eat it. Guess I’m a peasant and brown to boot. Food is energy, energy is critical for anyone to keep going and if the job requires 14 + hour days, then you better put the most nutrition packed food in me so I can keep moving.

7. Crew Carpet that was absolutely filthy. I sleep in white socks; my feet are the only part of my body that ever gets cold so I usual wander out in the a.m. in my socks until the first cup of joe is consumed. Well, my socks became black with muck! Ewww! Now you know owner carpet cleaned regularly but crew carpet? Hm? Made me wonder about crew care?

6. 409! Need I say more? Yes, people are all addicted to their cleaning products and waste gobs of money and resources and storage space but 409? Made me hack gross with every spray.

5. The amount of Diet Coke consumed. I am very suspicious of soda.

4. Amount of Sugar on vessel. Suspicious of soda and firmly convinced sugar is going to kill us. So much sugar was present, it crowded out everything else. Boat of death!

3. Within 48 hours of my arrival, a horror of a descriptive phrase popped into my head. It was so bad, it shocked potty mouth me! As everyone is aware, much of what I think pops out my mouth and the more tired I am the more things pop out. Stupid people I can ignore but mean people? Really, really hard not to alert them, maybe they want to change? It’s the therapist in me.

2. TMI Alert!!
My body shut down and did not pump and run effectively on all cylinders, if you know what I mean. My body is my power, it stands strong despite what I’ve thrown at it and when it screams, I listen.

1. No healthy snacks or snack time. Nope, we were supposed to eat breakfast before shift, lunch at noon hastily consumed so we could get right back to work, then dinner at six. Hm? When I tried to sneak some broccoli in at mid day, I was lectured and the broccoli was thrown out. Honestly this action by the Chief Stew put it over the top, the proverbial broccoli that broke the camels back. From lecture to off the boat took approximately two hours. Do not mess with this girl’s broccoli.

So now I can wash my hands of the guilt. I will forever remember my list of ten and know without one iota of doubt that running was the only sane option!


Mean People Suck!!

So with great fanfare last week I announced my acceptance of a job offer offering a ride to Indonesia. Thrilled I loaded up with skin care & bathing suits and got ready to rock. As you know from a previous email there were pros and cons but I failed to mention a big Con. The darkness that roamed the vessel. It struck with fierce regularity and contempt. The counter balance was a Hannah a kind teacher, temp stew who partnered with me to get it all done. BUT when I was told to iron for 15 min to complete my 7 a to midnight shift with full knowledge that the next day brought a 7 a to 3 a shift with no breaks. The next day my broccoli snack was thrown out at 10 a.m. as I was supposed to eat a sugar filled white flour muffin prior to my 7 a shift start - we were “too busy” to eat, this is not the experience I sought. A ride to Indonesia was not worth nutritional and spiritual destruction. I mean who throws out lightly steamed garlic broccoli?
So I pulled the most unprofessional departure in the history of Tami.
When interviewed I was asked why I wanted to work on this vessel when it was known to be tough. My response, ‘mean, thoughtless people are tough not the work’, well I guess I was true to my word.
After a quick Laurie to the rescue, I’m happily ensconced in my home, with a glass of wine, anticipating an amazing cup of joe in the morning.
Don’t ask me what is next as I do not have a clue. In time it will all be revealed but for now I’m swimming in my hot tub and enjoying the flow.

New Job Accepted

Pros and Cons after Second Whole Day.

Pro

Bottom Bunk, which is helpful as I usually need to pee at least once during the night – and no this is not due to recently turning 50 but me drinking too much water.

Sharing a room with a person who is reportedly NOT chatty but since she is out getting an operation on the recently discovered cysts on her ovaries we have yet to really meet. Don’t know when she will return.

Training with a delightful stew who is temp but at least she has been here three weeks to my two days.

NOT Cooking!! Cooking is a high stress job and doing it in remote locations is even worse.

Mindless duties I could do in my sleep!

Mushy pillows.

Crew dinner out at a hip new Miami restaurant.

Hamburgers for dinner last night – see I told you cooking is a high stress job when you have picky eaters like me. Plenty of salad available. Whew! Revealed to cook that I was a crazy veggie person without a major dustup. He did tell me to get off the boat but I think he was kidding. Maybe?

Drinking in moderation is allowed and fairly decent wine is purchased by boat but I’ve been too pickin’ tired to partake.

What I consider gobs of storage space, I know it’s all relative but I am impressed.

Leaving for Bermuda on the 9
th, then Italy, then Croatia then Indonesia, then? Absolute Bliss



And not to be too Pollyanna, I must add a few cons…

Con
Absolute crap coffee but anything would be after a Jura Impressa.

Working 8 to 5 or 6 or whatever with no breaks, yep no breaks.

No phones allowed during work hours, so no audiobooks. Screw all those people who want to surf FB, I just need a good book, maybe I can sneak it in later.

Can’t think of anymore at the moment as I’ve only had crap coffee, which leaves me witless.

The What ifs

7 May 14

Created on Feb 13, 2014 & posted on May 7, 2014. I did it.

I
want do something that scares the crap out of me. Not swimming with whale sharks, doing that in June, that’s physical, scary but not a core fear. Not jumping out of plane, again physical, no problem.
People would describe me as brave but I’ve met people who are truly brave, I can list so many, people who walk away from what is safe and known, to fly toward the future with arms wide open.
It is in the possibility that holds the fear. It is the what ifs? And my greatest fear as crazy as unrealistic as it is, not having the money to support myself, being vulnerable to poverty, which for me, means enduring what? Poverty leaves you unable to walk away, to run from what is decent to what is better, maybe, it is the maybe that is scary. It is walking against the messages that you hear, your old, your crazy, you aren’t good enough, what if what you walk to is worse? The fears of the what ifs. Lord help me be brave in the face of the what ifs…..

Today's Food Query

Fennel
How much of the fennel does one use? I love fennel it offers this marvelous taste twist. Looking for food layers and the fennel sautéed with a bit of butter, onion and garlic makes a delightful ‘relish’ to top anything! BUT how much of the fennel can one use? Is it like leeks, where all the bottom portions are tasty but the higher you head in the green it tastes like wood? Or is it an onion like entity where one can gobble the whole thing without a change is taste? (well not the stringy root part but you get what I’m saying right?)
My mission is to seek flavor so I’m a wonderin’

Orchida Blanca Planta

Orchid
Say that repeatedly with a Spanish accent. That was me in Cartagena driving around with a taxi driver, all over the city, ‘orchida blanca planta’. It always makes me giggle when I say it. As they say yachting is a glamorous adventure.
The boss likes her orchids white and real. Unbelievable amounts are spent on fresh flowers on yachts but my boss keeps it simple, white orchids please. So I’m the white orchid expert, sort of, they are so easy to grow. Benign neglect is how the Head of the Orchid society of Miami describes it. White ones last the longest so that is another plus, very sad to watch the blooms go bloop. Had mover, shaker high-powered boss, who bought fakes because it made him sad when all the orchid blooms fall off – who knew his heart was sensitive to the death of the bloom? Here we just donate the non-blooming plants to a local tree, tie it up and hope for the best.
What fascinates me is the satisfaction I get from walking by my orchid arrangements in full bloom, like I had anything to do with their beauty. I provide a picture above for review. We have multiple vases on the boat but the boss keeps it simple, she likes certain ones and those are the ones we use. Easy, easy. In Miami there are several roadside pop up stores that sell orchids from $8 to $12, beautiful ones. I cringe when I seem them at Home Depot or Whole Foods for $20+. I’m a penny pincher to the bone, well sort of, on certain things, says the lady who types on a MacBook Pro. But me I stop off to visit the lovely Sierra Leone man who always tries to interest me in the yellows and purples, when I repeatedly told him, nope boss likes white. For Valentines Day, he gave me a purple, as he knows I like them. So I don’t really have a flower budget but I created my own - $40 a month depending on vessel use which offers either two or three arrangements, which I do myself. Then while shuffling around the boat, I see them and think how cool am I that I ‘grew’ these flowers. It’s a delusion. I know, but a self-esteeming sort of one so I like it. I’ve learned to care for and arrange orchids. Put that line on my resume!


Today's Food Query

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So they ‘discovered’ that the various colors on the Fruit Loops cereal do not taste differently. Ok, don’t really care about that as I was more of a Tony the Tiger fan myself.

My true query is:

Is eating a bowl of Fruit Loops better then eating nothing at all?

These are things I ponder!

What were you doing at 19?




Justin-Bieber-Mugshot-Free-Bieber-Sign-Outside-Jail-Miami-Florida-01232014-01

So Justin Bieber came to Miami. Who knew? So many ‘famous’ people come here to play; normally us little people are completely oblivious to it. But Justin pulled a naughty and was caught drinking and dragging racing. Oh my the Hullabaloo.
The yacht I’m on is a 112’ Westport, with what is described as a “country kitchen” meaning the galley is a big room with a large table where are guests eat breakfast and when no guests are on board crew congregates at the table before the day begins. We watch CBS Morning News, then the Today Show. Often both are taped so we can speed through the commercials. So we all participate in the “news” of the day and today was Justin Bieber day. Oh my did that boy mess up. But I have to give it to him, I think back to when I was 19 and the crazy I got up to, Yikes! The difference is I didn’t have money or fame or any particular talent that would get me recognized. But I will say, that when I was19 and was able to rent a yellow Lamborghini, I’d be dragging racing too. But I don’t think I was ever stupid enough to tell the cops, what the heck I had ingested. Just put on a big smile, draw out the Texas accent and giggle – got me out of more tickets then I can count.


What's for Lunch?


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The hardest thing about my job is feeding the crew. Moms know this to be true. Many Mommas (and some dads) work hard to serve yummy, hot, nutritious food day in, day out. Just like crew some kids are grateful, some not so much. My crew is small with the majority of time only four to feed, including me but I don’t really count. I can eat the same thing day in, day out, whatever give me something healthy, filling and move on. And I control the plate, which is amazing power in itself. I hear stories of other crew getting the best food ever (certainly better then mine) or only ham sandwiches or the worst sin of not enough. My responsibilities include other things, accounting, inventory, crew management but the main deal of the day is
“What the heck is for lunch?”
Eh Gads, I haven’t a clue.

What 91 looks like!


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Robby’s Dad turned 91 on 26 January 2014. If I’m able to make it to 91, may I still be interested in all that goes on to include but not limited to:
Travel, Food, the New York Times and Books!

Evil Exists

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Saw this magnet, come card, in Fresh Market yesterday as I hurried through seeking more garlic, always more garlic on this boat. It stopped me cold. My background always leaves me suspicious at these bonne mots. My gut says, yeah right, “Do more of what makes you happy”, well some people need to be told, stop doing what makes you happy because what makes you happy is Evil! Take that all the Bernie Madoffs, Wolves of Wall Street, Pedophiles......Sometimes I just want to say to these, self esteem fascinated, affirmation obsessed world, ‘HEY, wake up to your darkness, we all got it, no matter how hard we try to avoid looking it in the eye, it’s there. It may not be one of those “BIG/Venal evil, like having a penchant for stealing from others – their livelihood, their innocence, their lives” but what about those ‘little’ ones like the gossip spread, the arrogance toward others, or just being mean because we can. Evil is evil big and small, innie and outie, and creeping through like the Grinch who stole Christmas. Take that! Stupid fridge magnet!

Source of Bliss

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I
purchased a bit of bliss for a birthday present and wondered who came up with this ingenious branding bulls@*t?
Commercial Break – I don’t completely spell out foul language in this blog in deference to my readers of the Evangelical persuasion. Except ‘hell’ I’ll spell out ‘hell’ as a friend I knew a few years ago, said ‘hell, is a location NOT a curse word!” Amen to that.
Anyway, bliss in a bottle? Ahhh, the grand illusion. Whether it is Scotch, Chardonnay, beauty product or chocolate syrup, bliss cannot be found in a bottle – This I know for Sure – a la Oprah! Although I’m not past layering on the yummy smelling, luxurious lotion and praying for Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman skin any of those red-haired Aussies who luminesce on screen – Grr!! Hisss, Hisss, green monster of jealousy.
My more rational strong self knows that bliss ONLY comes from knowing God gave me the wisdom and strength to take the next step in this crazy, hard fought existence, holding tightly to the FACT that there will be love and laughter in my future!
Find your Bliss! – Please don’t put that on anything as my next post will explain…….

Sunset Today

Pano

What we are doing today…..
There is a little island off downtown Miami, called Fisher Island, I’ve mentioned this haven before. Today we are here, the weather is just crisp and the sunset is resounding! Had to say, it’s my lucky day. Back to making cookies.