Got Behind Again……

So much for a calmer week. I’m not going to get into how the week became so jammed, but it’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last. Hopefully, the extra things thrown in will have positive results and we’ll leave it at that.

Skipping forward to the Food and Drink part, that’s not the usual sharing of a recipe. The oldest (or second depending on how you count a couple of factors) continuously serving family restaurant in Miami Dade County will change hands next week. We’ve know this if coming for a while as a couple of different offers have been working. The Capri in Florida City was opened in 1959 and carried on by the second generation. As I have posted before when it comes to family businesses, it is common for the third generation to be the one that walks away, or in some cases, fails. This time it’s that the third generation did work in the business for a while and have chosen not to continue with it.

COVID was so difficult for businesses and the Capri was determined to try and provide some normalcy during the months of closures and ever-changing restrictions. They complied with each new edict and we patronized them even more than usual in support of their efforts. The government financial support was no where near what has often been lauded although it was of some help. The follow-on inability to get staff is what was an added difficulty. And so, there comes a time when you make a logical choice even if it is not the one you would have preferred.

For all of its years, this was the special occasion restaurant and hundreds – probably thousands – of special memories were made. It was also the “nice” restaurant where celebrities and VIPs were taken when they were in town. While we will very much miss it as a place, we hope the family taking it over will be successful in their own way.


When Not Winning Isn’t Losing…..

Musing content alert. I was watching an episode of “Brokenwood Mysteries” the other day – I watch DVD while I’m on the exercise bike – and it was centered around the murder of the local rugby team coach. As always, there was more than one story line. A somewhat catalyst (although not the true motive) for the murder was the fact the team had lost fifty straight games. In teasing one of the players, his comment was, “Hey, us not winning doesn’t mean we’re losers.”

That sets up the duality of, “It’s isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts,” as opposed to, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Competitiveness runs the gamut from individuals who feel no reason to compete/are afraid to, to the far end of those who will do anything to win. The saying (more or less) of, “The first automobile race occurred ten minutes after the second automobile was produced,” speaks to the human nature to compete. It motivates and allows/encourages people to reach for a higher level in whatever. As with most things in life, balance and moderation are key. Team sports teach much to an individual; such as how to do your best and how you can often do more than you think. Training and practice can improve your performance (again in whatever). In many situations though there can only be one winner. That’s the valuable lesson of understanding that not winning is not the same as being a loser.

From another context, the idea of “participation trophies” and not keeping scores comes with the risk of not learning that valuable lesson. I firmly believe in participation acknowledgement and instilling in the “winners” the need to do so graciously.

D-Day To Remember……

Someone should be running “The Longest Day” today; the movie that until “Saving Private Ryan” came along was arguably the premiere movies about WW II. I still prefer, “The Longest Day”, but that’s merely an age-and-time thing. I only have it on tape so will record it although I should just go ahead and buy the DVD. Anyway, by telling the story from both the Allied and German perspectives, there are intriguing points made (many historically accurate) and marvelous moments encapsulate the extraordinary day that shifted the war. Yes, it was almost another year (May 1945) before the war was over and thousands died in the battles following June 6th; yet that day was the “beginning of the end”.

The cast of the movie included virtually every major American male actor, a number of British ones, some German, and a few in minor roles who would later become iconic such as Sean Connery.  For those who need a quick history lesson, the planned invasion (Operation Overload) was indeed the largest force assembled in modern history and there was always the issue of crossing the channel at the narrowest point – the logical approach – or taking a greater risk of selecting another path. The German defenses were formidable and in deciding on the riskier Normandy option, a major deception campaign with multiple pieces was developed and launched; all designed to reinforce the belief that the invasion would occur near Pas de Clais. In the movie, as events begin, that continues to be the core issue. When paratroopers make their mostly successful drops (despite the horrific cost at Saint Mare d’Eglise) and members of the French Resistance play their parts, a few German officers draw the correct conclusion. In one of the memorable lines, a highly placed German commander says, “No, no; Normandy is a diversion. The invasion will come where it has always been expected.” He does plan to shift the reserves German tank battalions (Panzers) as a precaution. This is denied by Berlin. Would the outcome have been different had the Panzers been added into the fray? Perhaps; perhaps other factors would have offset that.

In any case, there is another scene I can watch endlessly. The order is given to launch the Allied forces and there is a shot of the armada moving through the pre-dawn hours. On board one of the Navy ships, the Captain stands with one of his officers, looking at the blips on the radar screen. He says something like, “The biggest armada the world has ever seen. You remember this; you remember every bit of this. The world is going to talk about this day long after we are dead and gone.”

So Much for Catching Up….

We did have the Homestead Center for the Arts Art and Artisan Show Saturday an rain was not an issue. Heat and humidity were other matters as even for South Florida, it was higher than normal for this time of year. We had a great mix of vendors and while we would have liked more attendees, it was in a good range. We had some wonderful volunteers, too which made a big difference.

This week was supposed to allow me to catch up a bit as I had to focus a great deal on last week for prep and of course Saturday was consumed with the show. I did some work yesterday as well although not as much as I needed to. Then a few extra things have been thrown into the mix and there you have it. At this stage I’m keeping my fingers crossed for no more curve balls. In all fairness, the extra tasks are better than having some kind of medical emergency, so there is that to be grateful for. Hubby has had a couple of days and was able to get the grocery store taken care of which is always a help. He’s back at work tomorrow through the end of the week and we are going to try and keep the weekend clear. I’m not sure we’ll manage, but there is a good chance. May is Military Appreciation Month which comes with several annual events we’ll have to cover for the paper and Hubby is involved in one on the 20th. I may get pulled into it, too; that remains to be seen.

Anyway, here’s hoping someone out there has an uncomplicated, relatively calm week ahead.




That Conversation About “The Trades”…..

It has been a while since I posted about this topic. Last evening, I attended a Scholarship Awards dinner and sat with a young lady and her mother. The student will be attending Florida State to major in Computer Science and is the first to leave home. The mom has some concern of course although that’s not the point of this post. The mom is proud of her and mentioned she only did one year of college as she became pregnant and was then able to get a good job while she raised son and daughter. That led to commenting her son isn’t looking to go to college, and prefers to work with his hands. I explained I was a big proponent of the trades rather than, “everyone should go to college”. This has been my position for years, strengthened by the inexcusable cost of college and the proliferation of degrees that aren’t remotely marketable. Now again, college graduates (especially anyone in liberal arts) often don’t go to work in their field of study, but apply the skills learned in other areas. The idea that someone who majors in something like Women’s Studies should also be able to find a high-paying job in that field is where things generally go awry.

Getting back to the point of the trades though. There is a shortage throughout the country of electricians, etc.,., and while Vocational Tech (VoTech) fell out of favor in many high schools, that seems to be changing. Major IT companies have long partnered with schools to provide the option to take courses in high school that can result in graduating with a technical certification of some type in addition to their diploma. That can lead to an entry level job that pays well and allows for upward mobility. In other cases, more training is required, but technical colleges usually have certifications that require only one or two years to a career. Costs are significantly less and again, job placement assistance is often included. Starting in a trade doesn’t mean being “stuck”; it can also mean that in the process of working as an electrician or whatever, the individual may well decide they do want to go on to college, or into business for themselves one day. No, not everyone is suited for a trade, but it should be encouraged for those who are.

Better To Ask Forgiveness…..

A recent conversation brought this to mind. The saying of, “Better to ask forgiveness than permission”, is another of the things people frequently use incorrectly. Generally, they say this somewhat cavalierly because they leap to the conclusion forgiveness will automatically be given. In the real world, that is most assuredly not the case.

The first time I heard this expression was as a young second lieutenant in the Army. The desire to cut through bureaucratic layers/red tape is the usual reason this approach is taken. A few years after when I was a senior first lieutenant/soon to be captain, a boss elaborated on the concept. He was not an easy guy to work for, but this was one of those pieces of advice I took to heart and have passed on to subordinates. He said that if I choose to disregard a regulation or a policy – of which there are many – to remember this: a) There are legal aspects that underlay many regulations. Learn the difference and never break a law; b) Take time to learn the regulation/policy or listen to someone who does know it – there are usually “experts” in these things; c) Have a  logical reason for disregard and have a persuasive argument if called to task; d) Understand there may be adverse consequences to the choice and accept responsibility if it turns out that way

In my career, I never knowingly broke a law although I admit there may have have been some early on I wasn’t aware of. There were times I did the deliberate disregard after being advised to follow the regulation/policy and it worked out just fine – maybe a butt-chewing, but forgiveness. There were  a few notable times of adverse consequences and I have the figurative scars as a reminder. The advice works just as well in the civilian world as in the military.


Gotten Behind Again and Other….

February is that oddly short month that tends to throw everyone off. Couple that with some extra items/tasks thrown in and it does seem to truly “fly by”. Anyway, it seems as if everyone decides to then schedule virtually everything else in March with hardly a day in the coming month without some event or needing to prepare for an event. This is Women’s History month which accounts for part of it. Then there are two major fundraisers for two different organizations – okay, technically three, but one of those sort of wraps it in with the Woman’s History angle.

We do have some awesome women around and it’s always good to celebrate Sisterhood. By that I mean the genuine kind; not the thin veneer slapped on to fit a specific occasion. I looked up some different quotes and hadn’t seen these two before. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie. Also, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand.

Quite some time ago, I did a post (maybe more than once) about how from my perspective genuine sisterhood includes understanding that choosing to be a “traditional mom” has a special place, too. I don’t dispute we appreciate Marie Curie’s accomplishments and Ayn Rand had a tremendous influence on me in my early twenties. Not everyone is going to be a groundbreaker/pioneer or famous. And not every woman actually has a choice to be a “stay at home” wife or mother instead of juggling job (or career) and family. To insist though that it “doesn’t count” unless you are juggling both is inappropriate. Shifting gears, I am also heartened to see when girls/young women look at IT and the trades as a path. This is still an area where women lag behind and we’ll see what the future brings with it.

Gap in Writing…..

In the strictest sense, it is not that I have an actual gap in writing as I’m still doing one, often two, occasionally three articles a week for the community paper. Since 1997, I was publishing at least one book per year and frequently a novel plus a non-fiction (a few co-authored). For those who may be less familiar with my writing, I have three series in novels and some stand-alone as well as the non-fictions. When people ask me how many books I’ve written I have to pause for a count. It comes up to 15 novels, 3 non-fiction, and 4 co-authored (  I have mentioned before that swapping between a novel and non-fiction near simultaneously was never as issue for me as they are distinctly different in approach. Okay, not an issue from a writing perspective; time management was another aspect.

Anyway, a series of things – again as I have either mentioned or alluded to in the blog – have occurred over the past two years to result in me not having an active book project for the first time in decades. This fall into two categories; 1) real life does interfere sometimes, and 2) priorities can get shuffled around. Part of it is the “Small Town” Quilting series was pretty much intended to be a short run of four books and I closed that out. I have now completed four books in the “Shades” and “Chris Green” series and while I haven’t closed either out, the idea I have for “Shades of Remorse” is a bit tricky. I have to use a technique I haven’t done before and I am not yet clear on how I will do it. I am getting closer though and think I’m ready to tackle it later this year which will put publication in 2024. With that said, I now also have to do some of that re-prioritizing of the time management part.


Becoming That Age…..

Semi-emotional alert. I say “semi” because some of this is simply recognition of our aging and some is more difficult. When I wrote, “Your Room at the End: Thoughts About Aging We’d Rather Avoid”, (Charlie Hudson’s Books) I did sequence it to where the most intense part was upfront as the whole idea was to deal with those things first. Part II is lighter in general. A conversation the other day with five or six of us discussing upcoming birthdays is part of what keyed this post. We all have various issues although we are also in pretty good shape. One unfortunately is going through a terrible bout of arthritis and they are working a treatment plan for her. We all of course can’t do the kinds of things we were able to 20 years ago and except for one of us, we take at least a couple of regular medications. Joints are stiff and so forth.

One husband passed away not long ago; not unexpected considering overall health issues, but there was not lingering illness and most of the family was able to gather in order to say good-bye. There will be a memorial at some point and will no doubt include many stories of what was a life well-lived.

A couple of other friends have moved away to be closer to adult children understanding the time will come when proximity will be better for everyone. We miss them while recognizing the practicality of the decision. One, not involved in this particular discussion, recently did the opposite of relocating an older parent and that has come with some “bumps along the road”. It does seem to be stabilizing though.

For other friends, there are some “routine” things they once took for granted and can no longer do. This is tougher and it’s rarely easy to adjust to. The phrase, “Growing older isn’t for sissies”, exists for a reason.



Musing ahead alert. There is an awesome principal at one of our charter schools which is a grades 6-12 academy and we have covered them a few times for the paper. We deal with a lot of the schools and when the principal reached out to the paper a few years ago, I wasn’t impressed with the location for reasons I’m not going to detail here. However, it was another one of those situations where I was so glad I went because the principal has made it her mission to provide what is in essence an educational opportunity oasis to students. We have some of the widest school choices in the country and charter schools are a major part of that. (I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of charter schools here)

The particular charter school company this school belongs too seems to be especially good and this principal is determined she will bring in every advantage she can for the students no matter what path they choose. Here is the link to the article we did last week, bottom of the page:

Going back to STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curriculum which is all the rage (I mean that in a good way). STEAM is one of two things where A is either for Aviation or Art. As I have posted numerous times, trying to make a living in any of the arts is usually difficult, yet when the passion for art in whatever form exists in an individual, it is equally difficult to balance the need for a “practical” choice and fulfill the passion. Deriding or trying to suppress the passion is not something I recommend based on our experience. If I could go back and change one thing when son was in college, I wish I had accepted his request to swap to theater major with dance minor (major wasn’t offered). Insisting he do something more “practical” did not work for any of us.