Saturday, 13 June 2015

Have I joined a food trend? (Smoothies).

Do you remember the food trends of recent years?

There was the "sun-dried tomatoes" phase.  Every darn dish had to include them.

Then the popular culture moved to "roasted vegetables" as the thing to eat.  (That  may be a keeper.)

I must also mention kale and quinoa as trendy foods.

I prefer not to mention the days of sickly-sweet cupcakes as the food du jour, but they too had their day.  The middle-class American world and her husband  were convinced that cupcakes would save civilization. (There is still a ghastly "reality" show on the "Food Channel" which has something to do with making 1,000 cupcakes).

"Starbucks", that overpriced haven for the in-crowd is now pushing "frappuccinos" as the thing to drink.  Starbucks knows nothing.  We had frappes in New England long before Starbucks was a gleam in its father's eyes.

And now there are "smoothies". 

"Smoothies" are trending, (or were trending yesterday).

Intelligence has it that many of them are over-burdened with sugar  (now that's an all-American essential ingredient).

But I ask myself  (and you): "Have I joined a food trend?"

For you see, I bought a "Tuscan Cantaloupe" the other day.  It is ripe, sweet, and ultra juicy.

I took some of this (de-seeded and de-skinned) cantaloupe  and liquefied it in my blender. I added some Greek Yoghurt.

Oh my goodness it tastes so good.  And I think that it is reasonably high on the healthy food scale.

I ask you:

Did I make an old-fashioned  and by now passé  "smoothie"?, -

or am I the author of a new food trend, i.e. :"Tuscan Cantaloupe and Greek Yoghurt  Health Food",  -  a.k.a. "The Povey way to healthy Mediterranean eating"?

I am certain that you will let me know.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Auto Insurance and Internet. (MetLife and Comcast). @#!!#***

My auto insurance falls due next month.

1. I am (according to my driver's licence) a Florida "Safe Driver".

2.  I have not made a claim in years.

3. My car is nine years old, going on ten.

Despite this my premium for 2015/16 is more than $100 more than it was for 2014/15.

I checked this with my insurance agent A.A.A.  (American Automobile Association).  Their clerk called MetLife (my insurance company).  She was informed that this increase is because "there is a general increase in insurance rates)

 More about this below at ***


So, being smart, I went on-line to get a quotation from one of the Auto Insurance Companies which assure us, via their T.V. ads. that "this company will save you money".

( For U.S.A. readers, it was not the company which uses an animated Gecko to peddle its' wares. It was the one which, (let the American reader understand), whose name will remind you of the era of President Theodore Roosevelt).

So I submitted my request for a quotation, using the same insurance requirements which I presently have.

At first I was delighted.  The quotation was for just over half of what I currently pay.

Whoop-de-doo until I read the fine print.    This "bargain" quotation was for six months only, not for a year.

This stinks!.  How can I trust a company promising  savings;  which at first blush seem to be attractive; but which fails the truth test when the potential customer reads the fine print?

It all feels like a shell game, or a con game.


Conservatives in the U.K. and the U.S.A. are for ever extolling the virtues and benefits of the free market.

I ask "is there such a thing?".   Or is the mythical and magical market weighted and biased against the ordinary and average consumer?


***  How and why is it that MetLife can decide upon a "general increase in insurance rates", without a word of explanation to its customers as to why this is necessary?

I ask the same question about my internet service provider COMCAST, (a monopoly where I live), which every year "ups" its  monthly charge, sans any improvement in service, or any explanation of why the increase is necessary.

My guess is that MetLife and Comcast are companies which are more devoted to profits than they are to customer service.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

I was wrong (and you heard it from me first)

I wrote this on my blog a couple of days ago.

On Wednesday I am to have dinner with a women I hardly know.  She is a friend of a friend of mine. She endures a lot of pain and loneliness.  Her best friend is away for the summer.

She phoned me with her invitation.

"Darn", I thought, "that's the last thing I want to do, have dinner with someone I hardly know".  But I accepted her invitation.

"The last thing I want to do"

Oh damn,  I was so wrong!  I had an utterly delightful visit with a very fine woman  (and good food to boot at the Retirement complex where she lives).

The Food.

Decent salad bar.
Wonderful entrée  (lamb chops - four of them), with cooked but still crunchy vegetables.
A delicious cookie for dessert/afters.

The company and conversation.

I had met this woman a couple of times, but had forgotten so much about her.

She was born in Trinidad of Venezuelan parents. Spanish is her first language.

The family moved to N.Y.C. (legally)  when she was seven.  She found it easy to learn English.

She had planned to be on the stage, but got diverted into a stellar career as an "Air Hostess"  with the late and lamented Pan-Am airline.

After service with Pan-Am to central and south America;  to the far east; to the Indian peninsula; and to Europe she transitioned into management where her career flourished.  She was smart enough to take early retirement just before Pan-Am went belly up.

She married a wonderful Egyptian man, (now deceased).

Four years ago she sold her NYC apartment and moved to SRQ.

She is smart, lively and funny.  She engages in splendid conversations about a wide range of issues.  She "gets" and responds to my off-beat humour.

In short

I had a perfectly wonderful evening.  I am grateful for my growing friendship with this fabulous woman (who also happens to be an Episcopalian -   now, that's a bonus!).

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Just call me Giovanni Michele Poveglia

Thanks to my nephew Dan Povey who discovered this, I am now happy to invite you for a vacation on our estate: the Italian Island of Poveglia.

Poveglia, Italy

The following description will entice you.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The second half of life

Just a few days ago I sent the following (by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan), to some of my friends in the second or third parts of their lives. (My friend Kim H  had first posted this on Facebook)

Richard  Rohr from "Falling Upward."
"Just remember this: no one can keep you from the second half of your own life except yourself.
 Nothing can inhibit your second journey except your own lack of courage, patience, and imagination.
 Your second journey is all yours to walk or to avoid.
 My conviction is that some falling apart of the first journey is necessary for this to happen,
 so do not waste a moment of time lamenting poor parenting,  lost job, failed relationship, physical handicap, gender identity, economic poverty, or even the tragedy of any kind of abuse.
  Pain is part of the deal.
 If you don't walk into the second half of your own life, it is you who do not want it.
 God will always give you exactly what you truly want and desire. So make sure you
 desire, desire deeply, desire yourself, desire God, desire everything good, true, and beautiful.
 All the emptying out is only for the sake of a Great Outpouring.
God, like nature, abhors all vacuums, and rushes to fill them."
It's one thing to share words such as these.  It's another thing to believe and live them.  I write so because I have been on the verge of the pity pot in recent days.
(1)  Last Saturday I was with by (almost) 91 year old friend Ben.  He has advanced macular degeneration, and my task was to write the checks for his bills, so that he could sign them, and we could place them in the envelopes etc.
Then I gave him a bonus.  I drove him to Total Wine so that he could re-stock his liquor cabinet.  No big deal for me - a blessing for Ben.
(2) Today I drove my late 70's friend Bob to surgical centre for his cataract surgery, and met him there after the surgery.    Glad to do it!
(3) On Wednesday I am to have dinner with a women I hardly know.  She is a friend of a friend of mine.She endures a lot of pain and loneliness.  Her best friend is away for the summer.

 She phoned me with her invitation.

"Darn", I thought, "that's the last thing I want to do, have dinner with someone I hardly know".  But I accepted her invitation.


Those three happenings propelled me to the pity pot.  I am one of the youngest retirees in "our set", and I began to muse "but who will take care of my when I am old and frail?"
"Grace" drew me back.  For this afternoon I heard from my dear friend Gwen, who in her late eighties,  is about to take another trip to  Iona  (where her soul lives), despite the worries and concerns of her anxious daughters.  (Their anxiety is rooted in deep love).

The Richard Rohr article had strengthened her conviction that another trip to Iona would be an essential

 I replied:  "My dear Gwen, go  for it.  Should it be the case,  it would be better to die joyfully on Iona than to rust away in Lenox, MA".

Gwen's embrace of her second-half journeys give me reason for hope.  I know that if  I do not walk into the second half my life, it sill I who will not want it.

BUT if  I enjoy that walk, there will most certainly be companions on the way.

God grant that I will also enjoy courage, patience, and imagination.