About Those Mushrooms…..

When we have leftover steak, one of the dishes we make is steak in mushroom sauce. It so happens Publix often carries a gourmet mushroom mix with something like six or seven different types. We can use any variety in the dish of course, but I always get this one if they have it in stock. I also very carefully push the mushrooms to one side for Hubby to have and me to avoid. This, as with a number of other foods, concerns Hubby as he continues to think I might someday discover a mushroom I like. I won’t say it’s impossible since I did finally find one method of cooking Brussel sprouts and that took me by surprise. Anyway, mushrooms are another case of not minding the flavor which is why I’m fine with having them in a dish as long as I can pick them out. It’s the texture I can’t handle.

When I’m at restaurant with Hubby it’s not a bit of a problem to order a dish with them because he’s happy to have extra. If I’m with anyone else, I politely inquire before ordering the dish and mostly there will be someone at the table who will take them. That also generally initiates conversations about who doesn’t eat what and there can be some amusing stories shared. I’m not referring to allergies which are rarely amusing – rather to likes and dislikes – and then there are those people who seem able and willing to eat literally anything. One guy I worked with who quite frankly could be rather odd swore he loved tripe, sweetbreads, tongue, and so forth. It might even be true and if so, he probably didn’t have too many people trying to swipe food from his plate.

Asparagus is another example of me never having been a fan. I could manage it lightly steamed with lemon juice or other flavoring. It was not until I had it roasted and grilled that I came actually enjoy it. Preparation can make all the difference at times.

The Paths Children Take….

I’ve posted in the past about how startled we were and what adjustment we went through when we came to accept the degree of our son’s passion for dance. I had an entertaining conversation with a woman I met last night during an event with the opposite side of the coin situation with their daughter. She has very definitely gone into a career that’s not for the fainthearted and not what most women choose. It is financially lucrative though which is also the opposite said of the coin with the world of dance.

Anyway, as I have also mentioned, my whole “female pioneering” aspect of being in the Army was not something my parents expected and until last night I hadn’t remembered this part. Back in the day, males could join the military at age 17 with parental consent and 18 without. Females, however, could not join without parental consent until age 21. Because of me finishing my undergraduate degree a year early, and having an August birthday, that meant I was not actually 21 until a couple of weeks after I was scheduled to receive my commission as a second lieutenant. It required my parents to sign their permission and while Daddy was puzzled, but practical about my choice, Mother expressed some reluctance. In talking through it, she finally agreed providing I didn’t tell “Mamaw” (her mother) she’d agreed. Not a problem, although as it turned out, my grandmother thought it was terrific and would brag about me to her friends. The fact of the matter was she was a feisty woman and had opened her own assay and tax preparation office at a time when that was not commonplace for married women. I don’t know the whole background of it – I’ll have to ask my aunt next time I visit – but as I recall, she always had that office. Daddy learned about tax prep by working part time for her during peak tax season because we didn’t live too far from them and forest fire threats were usually mild until the heart of summer.

A Little Gem of a Movie…..

A recent tweet I saw reminded me of a small, but intriguing movie, “Mindwalk”, done in 1990 or 1991. It isn’t likely to show up on cable, but can be found on Amazon, only in VHS. I’m not familiar enough with Hulu and Netflix to know if you can find it through them.

The tweet showed a great photo of Mont Saint Michele, a spectacular place to visit in France. For those who haven’t been there, it was a “tidal island” that could only be accessed by land for a certain number of hours when the tide was low enough. The first buildings went in around the 9th or 10th century and then others followed over time, to include a huge abbey. The village grew to a degree and ultimately became a tourist destination. During the peak of tourist season, it’s rather bustling, but in off-season, it’s very easy to be out at night and have a sense of what it must have been like long ago before there were crowds. Almost a dozen years ago, the French government set into motion a major project to build a bridge and relocate the car park so it is truly an island again.

Anyway, the movie is superbly cast with only three primary characters: Liv Ullman, Sam Waterston, and John Hurt. Ullman, a physicist, has withdrawn to live on the island (although I think her daughter is there, too). Waterston, an American politician, has lost a election and his ex-pat friend, Hurt, invites him to come to France for a bit and they travel to Mont Saint Michel. The trio meets and through the day and into the evening, they engage in conversations that become increasingly philosophical amid the backdrop of this extraordinary place. It is a quiet, wonderful little movie that is definitely one of those where, “Everyone talks a lot”, as our son used to say when he was about six. While intense emotions do come into play, they are not the rancorous sort that leaves you feeling drained. Although it is not a light movie, for us, it was thoroughly enjoyable.


Naked Magicians and Other…..

It’s true, although Hubby and I don’t plan to attend. I admit, when I first heard this I was waiting for the proverbial punchline. However, these two Australian guys have put together an act which is apparently quite popular. Based on the description, they disrobe on stage and then cleverly manage to perform magic tricks with very obviously “nothing up their sleeves”. It’s another of those comedy-infused shows which is the opposite side of the dramatic type. It’s also very much an adult show and not intended to be otherwise. I’m not sure if the word “bawdy” is used much these days, but my impression is that’s the appropriate term. They will be at the Seminole Theatre October 14th and several friends have tickets already. (http://seminoletheatre.org) I have no problem with the show and think it’s an entertaining idea – we just aren’t much into magic and comedy.

In fact, this is the fourth season for the theatre which means the director (who is superb) has had the chance to analyze attendance and actively seeks feedback. The 2018-2019 season is bigger than ever and has quite a mix – literally something for everyone. The way performances and events work is the theatre books the Showcase Series and then other performances come in through a variety of means. Local/regional groups book, attendees can refer ideas, etc. With another nice grant last year they were finally able to have film capability, so that medium has been added. There was an element considering the original Seminole Theatre was for silent movies and when the renovation was done to transform it into a performing arts center, film capability was initially held back. That was an economic decision since the retrofit could be managed without too much difficulty.

The season opened with Lee Ann Womack and a packed house. Not only was she as good as anticipated, the opening act of Andrew Duhon (a Louisiana guy) was excellent. We picked up his latest CD and Hubby is thoroughly enjoying it.

Capturing Memoirs…..

Among the presentations I routinely offer is, “Capturing Family Memoirs”. It is often a popular topic and especially applicable to my peer group. Many of us are reaching a stage where we are concerned about losing family stories we may have grown up with that haven’t been committed to paper. As our parents, aunts, and uncles pass away, if we don’t have those stories written, they disappear. I will make the point that capturing a memory first-hand doesn’t always mean it is an accurate portrayal; merely it is the memory of the individual writing/telling about it.

There are really only three significant points about writing memoirs and everything else is linked to those. Point One is people tend to bog down by trying to go in some kind of chronological order. Content is what matters. An early memory might branch into something related that happened later.  An event of special importance was likely to have happened at an older age. Capture the memory as it becomes clear, or as clear as you (or the individual you are listening to) can. Once the content is down, it becomes a matter of sequencing as part of editing. This can be critical  for older individuals who may be providing oral history. Allow him/her to simply talk so as not to interrupt the memory process. In general, questions can be asked later. Point Two is it doesn’t matter if the memories are captured in sentences, fragments, bullet points, etc. Smoothing those is also a function of editing. Point Three is perspective. Individuals will often recall the same event in different ways or something one recalls as incredibly important may have been forgotten by someone else. In some cases, there can be objective information provided to clarify a situation/event. For example, the whole ancestry industry provides access to dates, places, and names that might have been either forgotten or errors perpetuated over time.

There are other interesting aspects I discuss during the presentation, but the essence is for all we may have in common, in other cases, we do have stories of unique things/events or obstacles/successes dealt with that later generations may want to know about. Even if the plan is not to share it with others, writing for oneself can have value.

Now That’s a Lot of Beer……

Exit One Taproom in Florida City

Opening any type of customer-service small business comes with risk and being on the entertainment side is particularly so. After all, people do have choices and it only takes one bad experience for someone to decide not to return, and even worse is if they share that opinion. I’m not trying to sound negative for the newest offering in our community – I am merely pointing out is takes courage and a lot of work to make the leap from dreaming to throwing open the doors to the public. The best way to describe Exit One Taproom is fun and funky. It is a family operation – mother and daughter and dad. He is still a full-time police officer, so he’s doing double-duty most days.

The entire family loves beer and they have only craft brews – 43 of them in fact. About thirteen are draft and they cover a range of ales, lagers, pilsners, stouts, etc., They researched dozens of breweries and are able to stock some items you don’t generally find in this area. They are delightfully enthusiastic and very happy to discuss the choices.

What they’ve gone with as a set-up is not large, but they have picnic tables in front and can roll up the doors to have an indoor-outdoor effect when the crowds are big. Inside they have about 12-14 spots at the bar, some more picnic tables, a few high-top tables and two seating areas with love seats and chairs. For food, they opted to enter a partnership with no kidding – Tacos and Tattoos. The food truck is there and that, too, is a family business, whose owners are friends. They describe their food as Southwestern with a Caribbean flair. You can wait at the truck after you order or they will give you a number to carry to a able and will bring the food to you.

You can never predict how a new place will do, but we are hoping the best for them.  They are located at 10 NE 3rd ST #30, Florida City is open Tues-Sun at 4:00 p.m. with varied closing times. (It’s actually at Krome Ave and 3rd next to Shivers Glass for those in this area). You can go to http://exitonetaproom.com or call (305) 812-4764. You can also check out http://tacosandtattoos.com


So Many Ways To Miscommunicate…..

Serious content alert. Recent situations locally and certainly otherwise have brought to mind the class in Human Communications I took as part of my graduate work. Setting aside the potential for misunderstandings when speaking two actual different languages, the ability for people to get cross-ways over words is so common. For this post, I’m only going to focus on hearing the words “lie” and “liar” thrown out a lot.

People can have flawed memories of a conversation/event/something they read. People can literally hear/read something incorrectly. Two or more people can hear/read the same sentences/sentences and perceive what was said/written differently. In each situation, the listener/reader can be in error yet be convinced they are correct. The issue becomes when someone acts on that misunderstanding and is unwilling to acknowledge he/she could be mistaken.Reluctance to admit error also applies to the individual who may indeed have said/written something in a way open to multiple interpretations without realizing it.

None of the above scenarios include “lies”, but human nature being what it is, if something intense and emotional is involved, “That’s a lie or you’re a liar”, is often easier to say than to admit the possibility of personal mistake. Once those words are spoken, it tends to go in bad directions and it’s difficult to recover. Getting people to take deep breaths and step back from a situation is tricky. This is why having someone mediate can make a difference, although that isn’t always simple. Finding an individual who can objectively listen and effectively point out where miscommunication has occurred is only one factor. Steering/guiding the parties toward genuine understanding can be even more difficult.

In other cases, drawn-out discussions are not required. In the TV series, “Home Improvement”, the two brothers had become at odds over something. In the final part of the episode as they chuckled about it, the exchange was something like: “Glad we worked that out.” “Yeah, Jill [the wife] wanted us to talk about it.” “Nah, putting me in the headlock was better.”

The above example is not to make light of the topic. If you find yourself at the center of turmoil, look first to the possibility you may be in error. Then be willing to accept the other individual/individuals may be emotionally attached to their version and finding a way to “unhook” that is important. By the way, it doesn’t always work. Also, by the way, people most assuredly do often lie, but that’s the subject of other posts.

Separate, But Equal…

No, not the famous Supreme Court case. The reference is to my two different series of scuba-themed mysteries. I may have mentioned before I hadn’t intended to do a sequel to Shades of Murder, but one thing led to another. Nor did I intend for the character of Chris Green to be anything more than a great character I created for Shades of Truth. I can’t honestly recall when I started thinking about a spin-off series with her. I suppose it was because I had crafted the persona of Detective Bev Henderson in such a way that I wanted a character who was, shall we say – a bit “looser” in her views of life in general. Bev can be a bit judgmental and she won’t be traveling away from Verde Key.

When I wrote Deadly Doubloons, I wasn’t planning to do False Front and Georgina’s Grief back-to-back. It so happens the plot lines developed in my head and were more compatible with Chris than Bev. Then I certainly didn’t intend to get involved in the Small Town quilting series or the other non-fiction projects I did which ultimately caused Bev to languish for 11 years. In fact, I was startled when I looked one day and realized how long she’d been neglected. No, I don’t exactly think of them as real people; on the other hand, there is an element of that. I’ve been getting a fair amount of feedback about the murderer I developed for Shades of Deception, and yes, she is disturbing. It was an intriguing concept and I wasn’t sure how well it would work until I really got going with the story. The sequencing of events was rather tricky since four chapters in the first part of the book might not seem to be related until the reader approached a certain point. Not that those chapters were clues, per se, but instead wove a theme that came into focus later.

Getting Caught Up…..

Ah, I thought I was managing all my to-dos for my return and realized I missed a breakfast meeting on Thursday. That’s what I get for not putting something on my calendar once I schedule it. I suppose when the function exists to sync my calendar with making an appointment I should actually try that. I know a number of people who do so and they can seem to master it. On the other hand, as I have mentioned, I use a very limited number of the functions on my smart phone.

Anyway, if I can manage to get through tomorrow, things will be a little better. We’ve been struggling for over a year now to get the whole-house standby generator project completed – a process that should have taken about 4 months. I admit having Hurricane Irma thrown in last year was not the fault of the individuals who were part of the process. The constant delays at virtually every step, however, and more irritatingly, not keeping us advised of why there were delays were the source of our frustration. Ironically, with recent improvements to the power grid and underground wiring, we might never actually need the generator. In consideration of the high cost, that would seem to be a questionable decision, but it does provide a distinct degree of peace of mind. It also means we can look for a new home for the portable generator which does take up a fair amount of space in the garage. One load of old electronics did get carted to the appropriate disposal spot so that gives another couple of feet.

I do owe a follow-up email or two from my travels and I will get those done soon, although tomorrow is especially hectic. In fact, most of what I am doing today is because I simply can’t fit it all in tomorrow, even though I’ll be up early as usual. Ah well, it’s not as if this is the first time I’ve been super busy and I suspect it won’t be the last.

Home Again…..

Despite the travel with a lot of driving and what in the military we referred to as the “duffel bag drag”, of being in most of the locations for only one night, I did get to catch up with a lot of people. In two cases, I hadn’t seen the friend/friends for years so it was really nice. I have a fair amount to catch up on now that I am back. The next several days are jammed with meetings and tasks, but that was a known when I headed out on the trip.

For my last night one of my other high school friends and I had our traditional dinner at 2Johns Steak and Seafood in Bossier City. It’s a lovely restaurant in a somewhat unlikely location  which everyone has come to understand. Anyway, she recently celebrated her 65th birthday and the birth of her first grandchild on the same day which is quite convenient when you can manage that.

I took one of the early flights out of Shreveport and do greatly appreciate the people who open the snack bar at 4:30 a.m. I appreciate even more the fact whoever they have on duty always seems to be friendly and either a “morning person” or an accomplished actor. The free Wifi worked properly this time to allow me to clear out the numerous emails that I immediately or soon delete. We did have a hold on departure due to weather in Dallas and I was concerned about making the connecting flight. I had to walk quite rapidly and was grateful to be only three tram stops from my new gate. It was a smooth flight though and we landed a few minutes early. Hubby used the cell phone lot for the first time and it worked well.