No Big Celebration This Year…..

Although the City does a really nice Fourth of July celebration nearby, I’m not going this year and not sure if Hubby will go shoot the fireworks as he has done in the past. We’re also not inviting the neighbors over, but we haven’t done that for a few years anyway since we’d been attending the big City celebration instead.

We do have hamburgers planned and will time that for early if Hubby does go to shoot the fireworks. He was supposed to work all day and the class was cancelled which is part of why he isn’t certain yet of what he’ll do. I don’t think he’s gotten a text from the paper about it, but that could be because they assume he’ll be there. Anyway, we’ll see how the day goes.

I enjoy the big event with what is usually plenty of rousing music and people dressed in a variety of red, white, and blue. They have fun activities for the kids, too. The “melting heat” of early July in South Florida can be managed with appropriate hydration – especially making sure to have a water in between the nice cold beers. The jammed traffic in trying to get home is mostly what I don’t have the energy for this year. We can see the high-shooting fireworks from the house and in general, we actually see three different displays as Florida City does one as well and if the sky is clear, we can catch the one from Key Largo. There are usually multiple families who do a lot of fireworks in this and surrounding neighborhoods, too. Not sure what the kids are planning up in Northern Virginia as they had a week-long trip to Maine recently and their month-long summer intensive dance session starts tomorrow. I suspect they’ll stay in and watch specials on TV.

A Cajun Flair……

We usually have pasta on Thursdays and like tonight, it will be a second meal for the chicken Hubby grilled on Tuesday. In these cases, our default is chicken Alfredo, but for some reason, when we were discussing it – and it may have been because we weren’t sure if we had as much leftover chicken as we needed – the idea of getting Andouille sausage and going Cajun came up. The other idea was for “rattlesnake” which means adding jalapenos. In the strictest sense Cajun cuisine includes red peppers and hot sauce for heat, so jalapenos makes it a sort of hybrid dish. We’re okay with that and the result should be good.

We do use prepared Alfredo sauce and always depart from classic because we add onions and often sweet peppers as well as sometimes sun dried tomatoes. We enjoy the extra flavors and it’s not something we serve to guests as you never know when someone is a “classicist” about such things. We will include a little Cajun seasoning, too for tonight. We picked up a different brand when we were in the cute little Abita Springs market on the trip to Texas and Louisiana. We normally keep Emeril’s and/or Tony Cachery’s as our staple. In fact, I brought another container of the new one for a friend and they’re enjoying it. Naturally, it would have to be a brand not likely to be found around here. Ah well, that’s part of what makes it a treat.

Such A Long Gap……

I think things may be stabilizing a bit although that doesn’t mean less busy. Among the issues for the past week-plus was a potential problem that required two extra optometry visits. Let me start by saying I’ve been fortunate to have anything other than the occasional painful stye. I do spend a lot of time on the computer and right after Memorial Day I was experiencing what seemed to be shorter times between when I would need a break from looking at the screen and my left eye watering. I wasn’t experiencing any pain. I overdue my annual exam and took that as a sign. The optometrist I’ve seen for years has really cut back her time and I had the new doctor; a very pleasant young lady. They have the type of machines now where your eyes are scanned and photographed from all sorts of angles. Nothing unusual showed up and my prescription didn’t even need to be changed.  The doc gave me mild steroid eye drops for a week with a follow-up. The drops seemed to help and when I returned, she did notice a small cyst in my lower left lid, although I was still not experiencing pain. However, that’s outside their expertise and I was referred to a specialist. Great, just what I needed along with everything else. In not wanting to travel to Kendall, I had to delay the appointment for when the specialist would be in Homestead. It isn’t that I was overly concerned so much as it was I also couldn’t take a chance.

Fortunately, other than the waiting time to be seen being frustratingly long and mild dilation being involved, the cyst is small enough it should resolve without further treatment. (Obviously I let her know if that changes). I was very glad, but there was a different aspect that surprised me. She noted I had some crusting on my left eyelash I hadn’t thought was unusual. She then explained I should wash my eyelashes 3-4 times a week with baby shampoo. Say what? Apparently this is commonplace and having now purchased baby shampoo for the first time in decades, we’ll see how it works.

Another Memory Stirred….

Last week I attended/covered/sponsored the annual Chamber of Commerce Ladies of Legacy Luncheon. As usual, it was quite a line-up with four panelists and the moderator, topped by the Mayor of Miami-Dade County (first female). The Mayor of course could only stay for a short time and spoke about her “journey into leadership” before the moderator posed questions to the panelists. They represented a mix of profit, non-profit, and government.

Not surprisingly, in listening to them, another memory was stirred about my days of “being the first female to…..” As I have posted before, while I held seven such positions over the course of my career, the first most significant from a “ground-breaking one” was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. That’s because it was a huge installation with a long history and therefore, when I took command of the large maintenance company (right around 300 personnel), it gained a lot of attention. We would also periodically be visited by different general officers, who were almost always unaccustomed to a female being in this position. Not to say they disagreed with it; merely it was a surprise. One time, it was a three-star general I think and during the course of discussion he asked something like, “How long did it take your people to accept you as the commander?” Now, based on his tone and body language, I understood he was actually curious; not trying to put me down. I said something along the lines of, “Not long, sir, everyone got used to it pretty quickly.” We went on through the tour and about an hour after I returned to my office, the Colonel (who was the rank about my direct boss, the Lieutenant Colonel) called me personally to make sure I wasn’t disturbed by the General’s question. I knew the Colonel had been supportive of my selection from the beginning and I assured him everything was fine. It was, however, another interesting moment of “affirmation”.

Sporadic Postings for a While…..

I am in a current situation where a complicated issue has landed in my lap along with everything else I am juggling. This happens to be a time of year when a few annual “extras” are due. Everything is manageable, although does require time. I will post as I am able.

We are in our rainy season and frequent afternoon deluges add an extra dimension to being out and about. On the other hand, after a very rainy morning, then a long stretch of sunshine followed by another round of rain – short intense part, then regular rain –  there was a lovely rainbow and a fainter one above it. I haven’t seen a double in along time.

Which reminds me, if you have time, pop in to read my short story, “Drizzles and Drenches”, it was a fun one to write.  

Hmm, you might have to cut and paste the above link.

Memorial Day Traditions…

I had hoped to get a May dive in, but it looks like that isn’t going to happen. With two different events to participant in on Saturday and two to cover today for the paper, the timing was going to be really tight. Getting away tomorrow meant juggling lots of things and turning my stories into the paper later than I like. On the other hand, it was doable.

Memorial Day, however, is also immensely popular for diving and Hubby is in the midst of  7 or 8 day stretch of teaching. The boats have been crowded and the simple fact is, the spaces really do need to go to clients. So, I’ll pass for tomorrow and take care of my long to-do list. Maybe, maybe I can mange June although at the moment, it seems to already be filling up.

Anyway, my morning started with the Veterans of Foreign Wars having their ceremony at the local cemetery where volunteers take small flags and stick them into the ground of veterans’ graves. We did have rain for a while although people still turned out and Mother Nature did relent before the speech parts were completed so the movement among the graves could be done in sunshine.

The noontime event shifted to the American Legion where the Boy Scout Troop they sponsor has the flag retirement ceremony. This is where the flags are cut and burned in accordance with established protocol. They do this two or three times and year and people can bring their old flags at any time to be stored until a ceremony is held.

Under the circumstances, we haven’t invited anyone over for dinner tonight which will be burgers. We have some corn on the cob in the freezer we need to use, too, and that’s a nice traditional Memorial Day food. Oh shoot, I just realized I forgot to pick up an apple pie. Ah well, I can make the claim we didn’t need dessert.

A Sports Weekend….

One of our “community support” activities Sunday was attend the ribbon cutting for the Homestead Football Club; the semi-pro soccer club we now have. What we didn’t know  was the Mayor also attended another “sports debut”. Here’s that part from his FB post. “This weekend saw a showcasing of two new athletic opportunities for the youth of our community.The LuMaDe Girls Beach Volleyball League held a public event at the sports complex following a day of tournament play among 15 teams. The gym at the former YMCA site is their “home field” and I am certain in the coming years, we will see some of these young ladies compete in the Olympics.” (Then he talked about the FC)

When he was telling us about volleyball while we waited to go onto the field for the Football Club ribbon cutting, I was reminded of school volleyball where at my height, playing the net was certainly not good. I was good at setting up though and could manage a decent serve. Soccer was not in our schools back then although I suppose they might have had it in other parts of the country. It was popular by the time Dustin came along, but the one time when I managed to get my act together and take him at maybe age five for open registration, it didn’t go well. It was one of those situations where he seemed to be maybe the only kid who hadn’t tried the game before and I wasn’t any help. He said he wasn’t interested in going back and I didn’t press him. When we moved to Maryland, he played Little League baseball for a while with his friends. Karate was what he took to later rather than team sports.

Anyway, having more sports opportunities for all ages is good and there is a plan to increase the number of soccer fields here as they can’t currently accommodate all the teams that want to play.


An Evening Remembering……..

For those who regularly follow the blog, I’ve written previous posts about the USS Spiegel Grove, the 610-foot Navy Ship (LSD Class) that for quite some time was the largest ever ship deliberately deployed as an artificial reef. It’s an amazing dive off Key Largo and brings divers from all over the world. On Sunday, Hubby was on a special dive where a plaque was installed on the ship. He was covering it for the paper although since Horizon Divers provided the boat, he would have been able to go anyway. It was one of those very special moments because everyone on board had either been directly involved in the project or has many, many dives on her.

Last night, May 17th, was a reception with a lot of artifacts on display and quite a few for auction from the History of Diving Museum who has a special exhibit up for the month of May. There was both a film and a slide presentation as well as a panel of seven individuals, who were significantly involved in the project. It was a bit of a long evening at two hours on a weeknight, but good to see so many people turn out. We had a chance to catch up with a few friends during the reception and while I didn’t learn much new from the panel and M.C./moderator, there were some insights I hadn’t heard before.

In my book, Islands in the Sand: An Introduction to Artificial Reefs in the U.S.A., I devoted a chapter to the Spiegel Grove and later, my friend Don Altemus asked me to co-author a photo book with his photos and my writing. Groupers and Gunmounts: Inside the USS Spiegel Grove was where I learned the story of the ship itself and met some more great people during the process. The History of Diving Museum carries the books.

Triple Booked Again…..

I genuinely do try to not schedule more than two events in a single day, but there are times when things converge. In the case of tomorrow, the third event popped up while we were on our trip and even if I had known prior to leaving I would have been committed anyway. The day will begin at 10:30 a.m. as the longest event (an annual one) I always cover in a dual role. It is somewhat related to Homestead Center for the Arts and I write the article for the paper. I will then dash home to change clothes to run by another annual event; Military Appreciation Day. Hubby is very much involved in that one and will be at the venue part of this afternoon for set-up and all day tomorrow through closing. The time on that means he can’t attend the third event which is part of the housing area we live in. That is close by though and I would ordinarily walk to it, but my plan is to drive because as soon as it’s over, I will go to Krab Kingz where I will order take-out for dinner.

Although we had discussed doing a slow cooker meal, the back-and-forth timing is likely to be a bit tricky, so carry-out will be easier and we haven’t had seafood yet this week. As I think I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had this “plus-up” of seafood places and the Krab Kingz is the one run by a very lovely couple who were the first in place. We have tried the other two which are more sit-down and therefore have a certain type of appeal. I do like to support Krab Kingz though and this will work out well.

Catch-up Time……

The trip back from Abita Springs went as smoothly as these things do with no rain, minimal construction, and the few accidents we saw didn’t affect the traffic flow on our side. We did call it quits after nine hours of driving and spent the night in Ocala. They have a couple of “motel clusters” although the only sit-down restaurant within walking distance where we were was a Cracker Barrel. A while back they started serving beer and wine although the choices are limited. Still, it works.  I had chicken fried steak and Hubby did a trout dish which I should have done myself considering everything else I’d been eating during the trip. Anyway, we did make it back Friday afternoon. I built in an extra day for being gone until Saturday since I wasn’t entirely sure how the trip would unfold between travel and tasks.

I managed to keep up with only minimal emails and am therefore spending much of the weekend catching up on the things I wasn’t able to handle before I left and a few I postponed as they came onto my “to-do” list during our absence. I did actually unpack the suitcase yesterday and start on laundry. That has been known to languish for as much as a week after a return.

While it is Mother’s Day, I think I’ve explained before we don’t go out for these occasions any longer as it tends to be rather crowded. Hubby picked up containers of lobster bisque which we will have as a starter, then he’ll grill the mahi at the same time I make the Everglades sauce we enjoy. Several months ago he started buying the frozen “crispy green beans” and later the carrot version. Since he had a rice dish last night we’ll probably do potatoes along with the beans in the oven for sides. We do still have a bottle of champagne in the fridge.