When We Lose A Star…..

Not that one can argue with being handsome, famous, wealthy, and living until almost 90. Yet, I was sorry to hear about Roger Moore’s death. Although his James Bond was played differently from the great Sean Connery, it was a winning approach. I don’t how much that was his choice or how much direction and it doesn’t really matter. Actually, the role I loved him in the best was as Simon Templar in the TV series, The Saint (1960s). I’ll have to see if those are available on DVD and put in an order. We do still have some of our greats around and I usually enjoy the movies that provide a role for them as the aged actor. I also admit, one who returns to the screen is an occasional surprise since I didn’t realize we still had him/her with us.

It is not that genuine celebrities (someone who accomplishes something of note rather than simply being the product of spoiled wealth) are more valued humans than the rest of us. It’s that as an actor, artist, musician, etc., they may very well have created one or more special memories for us – spoken lines we remember forever, recorded a song we still play and cherish, crafted a painting that speaks to people for centuries, made an astounding play in some sport that seems almost impossible. Do I think we give far too much weight to celebrities? Oh yes. It has spawned the everyone wanting their “fifteen minutes of fame” to a degree that is well beyond what it should be. With that said, there are many celebrities who do wonderful good in addition to whatever joy/pleasure it is they bring in the matter of what has made them famous. So this afternoon, I shall definitely offer a toast to Roger Moore.

And Yet Another Insurance….

People who are considering relocating or arenew to the area often aren’t fully aware of certain financial matters. Florida does not have a state tax, yet state income has to have sources. That generally is done through additional fuel, property, and sales tax as well as perhaps higher cost for certain services. Those are the sort of “second-level” costs to be aware of. Home insurance is another. Everyone is accustomed to paying home insurance and often flood insurance. What people don’t necessarily know is the additional polices that can be applied regionally. For us in a water-bordered peninsula state with a six-month long hurricane season, that means windstorm (hurricane) insurance. So, if you have a mortgage (set aside any PMI aspect), you are required to carry separate hazard, flood, and windstorm policies. Not long ago we were notified sinkhole insurance is an optional policy. Before that raises a chuckle, much of Florida has a limestone base and in central, north, and west Florida, there are cave systems. Those equal large (sometimes massive) holes underground. That also makes for potential sinkholes fully capable of occurring suddenly and destructively such as the ground collapsing under part or all of a house. It is common enough that insurance companies are now issuing special policies. In response, there are also now companies that specialize in sinkhole mitigation. These are construction companies that have worked out the warning signs in a house and can come in to perform certain tests and strengthen aspects of the house accordingly.

At this point, coverage is optional here and we are not in one of the counties known as “Sinkhole Alley.” Hopefully, that won’t change.

 

When Politics Really Did Mean Murder…..

My husband hates the Jeopardy category of “Royalty”. Other than Cleopatra, Rameses, King Tut, King Herod, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, George III because of the American Revolution, Queen Victoria, and Princess Diana, he hasn’t a clue and doesn’t want one. I’m not an expert, but I often manage the category until it gets into the obscure stuff (of which there is a great deal). We are currently watching “The White Princess” on Starz after having watched “The White Queen” last year. The shows about the War of Roses and rise of the Tudors are actually fairly accurate which is saying something for Hollywood. As I pointed out though, this is a situation where you don’t have to make too much up. There was enough violence, sex, betrayal, and intrigue to make any writer/producer happy. We look at today’s “dirty politics” – which I do wish were less nasty – yet in the end, no one’s head actually gets chopped off and children aren’t murdered because they will have a claim to the thrown. That is not to say terrible things aren’t happening in the world, but within most countries, the “political blood-letting” is figurative.

I tend to prefer non-fiction written in an engaging manner since history reads like so much fiction. I do like historical novels although I am more demanding than hubby when it comes to wanting historical accuracy. I don’t know that I have a favorite period – I mean who didn’t enjoy the Clan of the Cave Bear series – even though I haven’t read (or watched) Outlander. That’s more because I’m not a big time travel sub-genre fan. Anyway, Hubby more or less follows the story line of The White Princess as long as he doesn’t have to figure out whom is whom. He boils it down to who is on the throne and if they can stay there. His view is anyone who isn’t in power is trying to get there and that does pretty much sum up the situation.

Relax With a Short Story….

If you’ve never roamed around my website into the Short Story Archive, I invite you to do so. For whatever reason, this morning, I suppose because it’s Mother’s Day, I was struck by a desire to go and look at one I did which has a unique twist to it. “Mamma in Moonlight” http://bit.ly/174Vq6v is actually a prequel to, “The Frequent Bridesmaid” http://charliehudson.net/stories/story200606.html

This is not normally something I do. I originally wrote, “The Frequent Bridesmaid” and some time after that, I ran across a writing challenge (I think it was),  where you were given the first line and went from there. In this case, the first line was, “Mamma has always had a love for possessions.” I don’t recall why that one struck me as it did, but I realized it could match with the previous story. It is what I refer to as “drippingly Southern”, and yes, I know there is no such word. This falls into the category of words that should exist and as a writer you can sometimes get away with such antics. Although I do behave when a book or other publication is involved, I’ll exercise my right in a blog to step outside grammatical boundaries in this case.

Anyway, if you want to sit and relax with a couple of short stories, you can take them in either sequence. Have a great day. Circumstances are such that I’ll be working most of the day because in the freelance world, deadlines don’t really respect weekends or holidays. I will stop around 4:00 and will celebrate Mother’s Day after that.

A New DC Dining Experience……

In general if the wait to get a table at a restaurant is an hour, we don’t bother. However, it was a Friday night in DC and we were intrigued by the menu and look of Farmers and Distillers, a place we were not familiar with. (http://farmersanddistillers.com/about) We put our name on the list and decided to go to the bar. It was pretty crowded, too, and perhaps in an omen, a couple left as we walked up. More kindly, a trio gave up one seat so we could be together. I will begin with the bar which was quite large and designed as two-sided. Three bartenders serving the front where the stools were and two taking service orders for the back, plus a dishwasher, all of whom were quite busy, gives you an idea of the size of the place. The front bartenders also had flair with competition-level movements, friendly smiles, and not rushing us as we took in the wide variety.  You can read the entire background at their website, but the concept adds a twist to the “farm to table” and sustainable sourcing trends. The distilling aspect includes whiskey, vodka, gin, pisco (South American sugarcane-based liquor similar to rum) and of course craft beers. Even the ice was unusual. I know that sounds odd, yet true. Rather than standard cubes, there were ice chunks and therefore did not melt as quickly as most cubes do.

Okay, onto the food where the choices were almost as difficult. Since we’d done burgers for lunch, we were leaning toward seafood although the description of the lamb and pork chops was tempting. The oven roasted shrimp with crab called to me and as soon as Hubby saw cioppino, that settled it. We shared a lovely salad and the round loaf of fresh bread was excellent. Price-wise, it was not out of line with DC restaurants, although being a moderate-priced restaurant is a relative term.

Anyone who is familiar with service in our area is aware that good service is the exception rather than the rule. It varies from erratic to terrible and that includes a number of high-end places. It is a topic of discussion among most diners and newcomers are often startled. Many of us think it might be due to the large number of tourists who tend to not be regulars, but that really is the subject for a future post. Service at Farmers and Distillers was as good as everything else. The manager stopped by our table and we passed on all our compliments. If you find a Farmers and Distillers anywhere you are traveling, we highly recommend it.

Whirlwind Trip….

The annual trip to D.C. to see son’s performance with Bowen McCauley Dance (http://www.bmdc.org) was shorter than usual,but it’s the way the timing worked out. We crammed everything in and even though Mother Nature could have been nicer, the rain did go away for after the show and wasn’t too awful prior to that. Hubby didn’t get to spend the day taking great photos. He did, however, make it to the Spy Museum and into the National Portrait Gallery and enjoyed them both.

I was able to catch up with old friends and the performance was terrific. Amelia was as good as one can possibly expect a two-year old to be during an hour-and-a-half event with an intermission. She has been going to performances since she was tiny and she understands to watch, listen, and use an “inside voice” or whisper for the little bit she wanted to say – mostly “Daddy dancing”.

It was at the Landsburgh Theater this year instead of the Terrace Theater so we learned a new section of D.C. Traffic was of course as bad as always. We found some new restaurants as well, one of which I’ll blog about tomorrow. We dined before the show at Carmines which is also where the Gala after was held. I have no idea how many people the place can actually sit, but it is huge and has multiple rooms. Meals are served family style and the servers help guide you through the menu depending on the size of your party. A couple could dine alone as long as they have the ability to take leftovers.

We had early lunch with the kids at the airport and since Amelia loves to walk around, I let Hubby and the kids have coffee while Amelia and I got a little exercise. She enjoys climbing steps and then the escalator caught her eye. That was a little trickier, yet manageable. Anytime someone was behind us, I checked to see if they needed to pass. Flights were pretty good both ways so no complaints there.

Tweaked Menu, Right on Target…..

Grand Opening of Pub 935 at Capri in Florida City

Pub 935 opened a couple of months ago to quite a stir as something innovative in Florida City/Homestead. I’ve posted here, on Facebook, and Tweeted about it. As happens, there was a fairly quick reshuffling of staff, then talk of a revised menu. I wasn’t overly concerned although I was interested to see what was going to happen. I got the answer yesterday afternoon and am happy to report it is just as good, if not perhaps better. Hubby won’t have a chance to go for a few days, but I will get him there before too long.

Shrimp and grits and the wonderful skirt steak are still choices as are some of our other favorites like the great flatbread. Lasagna and Italian Nachos have been added. Not that I am a Little Neck Clam person, but for those who are, that inclusion met with full approval. The clams are done with andouille (or maybe it was chorizo) sausage, fresh tomatoes and some lovely herbs. There is also an option for a whole or half muffuleta sandwich. As the two of us familiar with the popular New Orleans fare explained, half is quite large. I am no more a fan of those than clams, however, the individual who ordered it was quite happy, took our advice of the half and took half of that home.

We do have another chain restaurant opening nearby soon, a Texas Roadhouse Grill, and while I enjoy those and wish them well, the family-owned Pub 935 is a big plus to local dining. It is in what was formerly called the King Richard Room of Capri Restaurant at yes, 935 Krome Ave, Florida City. (Many people refer to it as in Homestead)

Why I Love Entrepreneurs……

I posted about Joe’s Famous Hamburgers a couple of years ago. He makes a great burger and his decision to branch out into something brand new after being downsized from a company was the kind of story I enjoy. We would stop by occasionally and a few months ago we noticed his bright red food truck was no longer in the familiar spot. I was sorry to see that, but there are lots of reasons for a food truck to disappear just as there are for any other restaurant to close.

Surprise, surprise – last week I was passing the newly opened K&G Cycles store and there was Joe’s truck in their parking lot. I didn’t have time to stop, but really slowed down to make sure it was him. Yes! I told Hubby and he agreed we would have to pop by soon. I had a bit of an odd schedule yesterday and it was right at 11:30 when I was practically next door to K&G Cycles (more about that in a future post). I pulled into the parking lot and saw the Open light on in Joe’s truck. I walked up to tell him I was glad to see him and immediately called Hubby to see if he was making lunch yet. I knew he probably wasn’t and sure enough, he was on his usual schedule. I told him I was bringing burgers home. Joe and I chatted briefly about how the other location had become too pricey in rent and he hadn’t been able to get a permit to re-open until K&G Cycles had their Occupancy Certificate. The only drawback to Joe’s is there are only two picnic tables, both uncovered. But if you’re doing take-out, you’re all set. He’s definitely not fast food, so don’t be in a hurry. It’s worth the extra time though. He has other sandwiches and hot dogs and some day I might go for something other than the burger.

You can find Joe on Krome Ave in Florida City near the Cracker Barrel. He’s on Facebook, too.

Size Really Doesn’t Always Matter…..

The town of Weeki Wachee, Florida is known for their mermaids and I will admit when we saw the booth for Mermaid Rum at the Miami Rum Festival on Saturday, I did not initially think of Weeki Wachee. After all, sailors have talked about mermaids in lots of places and rum is more associated with the islands of the Caribbean.

The delightful couple we spoke with, however, a) do make a pleasant rum, and b) have an interesting story. They are on 80 acres and are an artisan distillery. They make both rye whiskey and rum. Their website is https://www.wildbuckwhiskey.com/home and we chatted with them for several minutes. One of the reasons the rum festival is fun is you do have a combination of the really big guys – I mean, who doesn’t know Bacardi? – but you also have the chance to meet representatives from lesser known companies. In some cases, it’s merely a different distiller from a well-established rum area such as one in Barbados you perhaps weren’t familiar with.

In the case of Mermaid Rum, they are fairly new and Florida isn’t a household name when it comes to making rum. With that said, the idea of craft brewing appeals to us and we will definitely add them to our list. I hope we can manage a trip up their way as well to learn more. What we saw was impressive.

The Way The Calendar Fills Up…..

In those moments when calendars start filling up, you sometimes have to start juggling. This past week was a good example. Every year our friends who have a wonderful rum consulting business hold the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. We haven’t been able to attend the past two years and made arrangements early enough this year. Despite the fact it’s within easy driving distance, we of course get the overnight hotel package for rather obvious reasons. It is a terrific festival if one is into rum. Hubby is more so than I am, although I will say estate/sipping rums are a very different level than standard mixing rums. Anyway, the point is that for the first time ever, Homestead Center for the Arts is holding a Celebration Expo (http://celebrationexpo.org or http://bit.ly/2pB6nfa for more info). The original date of January had to be slipped to April, and when the 23rd was selected, I wasn’t really supposed to be very involved. Let’s just say that changed. Okay, for everything I agreed to do except Thursday night we had the Chamber of Commerce Awards event which I was also a part of. I have three standing board meetings the third week of each month and one of them in particular requires extra prep. Ordinarily I would do that a couple of days prior, but since last Saturday was also the Book and Art Fair and Hubby couldn’t be there to help, that had my focus. All of which translates into me having to use last Sunday for prep for Monday’s meeting and let us not forget another deadline I had.

In other words, this is a convergence when my usual busy schedule is even more so and at the moment, I am supposed to have a little let-up come Tuesday. In the meantime, we adjusted our plans today/tonight to make everything align properly. Two other looming events were pushed into June, and that does help with the two trips on the schedule. One is personal and one is business combined with personal. I’ll get into those later. Ah well, that’s just how it goes sometimes.