Saturday, 26 July 2014

Surplus of carrots

Yesterday my pal Bob gave me a big bag of those "baby cut" carrots,

 ( see )

Bob always had a good store of them in  his home because his sweet Westie "Maggie"  (full name Margaret Rose -  after Q.E. II's sister) would eat one or two each evening as a bedtime snack. 

Sadly to  say Maggie is with us no more after her health rapidly declined,  as a result of kidney failure.

Today (Friday) I grated some of them and made a cold carrot salad with raisins, finely chopped pineapple and a bit of mayonnaise.  Went down well with some salmon which I had poached earlier in the day and then ate cold, and with some good tomatoes which I lavished with fresh basil.

I dressed the salmon with a simple sauce which I made with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I shall make some ginger carrot soup. May the food gods grant me patience as I peel and grate the ginger.

(I hate wasting food )

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Bob and Fish and Chips

Bob lives in the neighbouring community of Glen Oaks Manor.

I see him often as he, in an electric wheel-chair, walks his (Airedale?) Terrier "Scout" around the pond. Bob has a very loud voice  (as I have previously noted, like the sound of a Corncrake).

Scout, an otherwise friendly dog, has taken a strong dislike to my Penne, so Bob and I have learned to maintain a safe distance.

'Twas about two months ago that Bob invited me out for lunch.  We went to our local "Alma's Kouzine", and enjoyed Alma's fabulous savoury crepes.


Every now and then I get a craving for certain foods.  For instance, just a few days ago I wanted to tuck in to some good fish and chips.  My body and mind longed for this "British National Dish".


Soon after my return from England I saw Bob one morning.  He yelled across the pond "call me, let's have lunch again".  I had hoped that our earlier lunch was a one-off affair, but I promised to 'phone him.  We set a date for lunch today.


Have I told you that Bob is a ninety-two year old WWII veteran, that he and his wife Lilian have been married for 67 years, that they have three children and numerous grand-children, and that he grew up in Dorchester MA where his father was an "Irish Cop" in the (predominately Irish)  Boston Police Department?  Indeed his Dad knew James Michael Curley!


Off we went to lunch today.  Bob suggested "Kacey's Sea Food and More" - a restaurant about two miles away. I had never before been there.

Guess what was on the menu?  Yes indeed - Fish and Chips.

Of course I ordered them.  It was a good choice.  The cod-fish was fried to perfection in a crunchy batter. The chips were fabulous -  crisp on the outside and "fluffy" inside,  The sides were O.K. - not bad cole-slaw, and o.k. hush puppies.

(see )


As we ate lunch and chatted Bob said "I am mostly housebound these days". 

Then I "got it".  Bob is restricted in his movements; his horizons get smaller each month.

He has selected me, for whatever reason, to be one of his life-lines to the wider world.   I am honoured.


I promised Bob that I would make the next call, and that lunch would then be my treat at the Oasis Restaurant on South Osprey in SRQ.


I suppose that this is  a "retirement ministry".  I'll take it,  just so long as it comes along with great fish and chips!

He was restless and talkative and then he asked for a Psalm

He was restless and talkative - a new guest at the Prayer Service which I led at Resurrection House this morning.

I gently asked him to listen and not to talk.

His wife spoke up  "He is brain-injured" she said.

My stupidity made me want to crawl under a chair.

He moved across the Chapel to where another guest was holding a huge floppy bible.

He took the bible and returned to his seat.  He thumbed through it, and then asked his wife to find Psalm 13.   She did so, and he took the bible back to its owner and said "please read Psalm 13".

Here is the psalm (as printed in the Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer).

How long, O LORD?
will you forget me for ever? *
    how long will you hide your face from me?
How long shall I have perplexity in my mind,
and grief in my heart, day after day? *
    how long shall my enemy triumph over me?
Look upon me and answer me, O LORD my God; *
    give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," *
    and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.
But I put my trust in your mercy; *
    my heart is joyful because of your saving help.
I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt with me richly; *
    I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.
What more can I say, but that this morning I was taught by a brain injured brother.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Life's Moments (not always good).

(1) Please pray for my Palestinian friends in the diaspora:  Wafa, Leila, Hani (1), Hani (2), Nejwa, Matthew and Eric.  Their hearts are aching, their minds are numbed.

(2) Maggie was a sixteen year old Westie, the beloved dog/friend/companion of my pal Bob (and of Bob's departed partner Keith.

Maggie had to be "put down" today because of complications from her kidney failure.  That's tough for Bob (as all other dog owners will understand).

(3) My junior cat Adelaide has in recent days been yowling persistently by the back door  - her way of telling me that she wants to go out of the house.

I have occasionally given into her pleas and let her out, thus violating  the rules of our Condominium Association (and the rule of common sense - "think about the birds")

I gave in to her cries and let her out yesterday evening. (She  cuts a fine figure as she explores the great outdoors).

Then off I went to bed with never a thought about Adelaide.  When I awoke this morning I remembered that I had left her outside all night.

There she was at the back door, miaowing plaintively to be let back in. Goodness knows for how long she had sustained these nocturnal cries.

BUT she's not once "asked me" to let her go outside today!

(4)  And my new "specs" arrived at the Opticians' Office today (just one day after my ultimatum which yesterday led to a 50% refund on the cost  ---tee hee!).

Ultimatums and discounts aside, it is now much easier to read.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Life's good moments (2)

On my way home from the Dodge Store and Gas station yesterday [see "Life's good moments (1) ] I stopped by my local Publix Supermarket to pick up this and that.

I entered the Supermarket and saw that my very favourite clerk/cashier, a woman named "Lowie" was on duty.

In truth she saw me first,  and greeted me with her usual joyful enthusiasm. I said "when I have shopped I will come to your check-out even if it has the longest queue".

As it happened her line was very short so I was able to keep my promise.

She asked "Do you remember Kyle"?

Of course I do, he was a High School kid who formerly worked at this Publix Store. He was an inspiration for he worked with energy, skill, enthusiasm and general bonhomie.  His good mother Barbara also worked at this store, and she became one of my favourite staff members.

In due course Kyle graduated High School.  He opted for a career in the Air Force.

'Twas about nine months ago that Barbara told me that her son Kyle had been posted to Afghanistan. I promised to pray for him every day.

Then I lost sight of Barbara.  It transpires that she has been very ill.

Lowie brought me up to date. Kyle's  four year stint in the Air Force has ended.  He is now back at home and has been hired in a Management training programme at Publix. He is working at their Longboat Key Store.

I wish him good luck, but since his store is about ten miles away from my home I doubt that our paths will easily cross.  In the meantime I worry and pray for his good Mum Barbara.

Dammit  I do not have their 'phone number, nor do I know their last name.


If you read the saga of my new eyeglasses you will remember that there have been inexplicable and annoying delays (four weeks!) on the part of the Independent Opticians who work out of a local Target Store.

Last week I called them and said that I would cancel my order if it had not been completed by today.

So off I went to Target this afternoon. My new frames were in a basket labelled "hot order".  The Manager was sincerely sorry, but she had to tell me that the lenses had not yet arrived.

She asked if I still wished to cancel, but added that she would grant me a 50% refund  if I would "hang in there for a while".

That refund amounts to $133.  (Better than the  $75 refund which had been my mental "bottom line"!).

So I will be patient. With any luck the new frames and lenses which were billed for over $500 will cost me $133,  thanks to the excellent Eye-Med programme which is part of  my Episcopal Church Retirement Medical Insurance, and to a Target Optical Services Manager who offered me this decent refund.

Yours, from the almost 1%,


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Life's good moments (1)

When I got home from Church and from sharing Holy Communion with an at home parishioner this morning I noted that my car's gas/petrol tank was moving towards "fumes".

Certain as I was  that every gas/petrol station in the world would be closed on Monday morning, I drove out at 4:00  to get twenty bucks' worth at my local "Dodge's Store" petrol/gas pumps. (Best prices in this neck of the wood, and wonderfully friendly staff).

I entered the store since  I was being extremely old fashioned and was  paying by cash. Another customer, an apparently fifty-something man, greeted me with warmth, enthusiasm, and a big handshake.

It took me a minute or so before I realised that we knew each other because he had been a guest at Resurrection House (Sarasota's Day Shelter for Homeless people).   To be truthful I would never have recognized him, but he knew me.

Turns out that he is now back on his feet, and has had a full time job for a number of years. He said that he does not need the services at Res. House these days, but that he would be there again should he fall into need.

So dear folks

(a)  please remember that (despite what the newspapers may report)  many homeless people are anxious to work, and to find permanent and affordable housing,

(b)  that agencies such as Res House often give people the temporary leg up which they need,

(c) that only the wilfully ignorant believe all the scary myths about the homeless, and that

(d) a formerly homeless man brought joy to my heart today (this after a Church service which had been boring to the max!)
Dodge Store via Google Street View