Archive for November, 2010

Thanksgiving…..Too Much Fun!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
I shopped ’til I dropped today….and I’m ready.  As usual, I got a head start on the big day earlier….even though there are only three of us this year, everything must be perfect…’s just the way I rock. 

So…I started setting the table.  Here it is, as an early work in progress:

Too Cool For School...Best Buy of the Trip!

A lovely new tradition, yes?  Is that not the best tablecloth you’ve ever seen? 

Some background:

On our way home from Costa Rica, Iguana Man wanted me to see his old stomping grounds in Acapulco.  And to meet one of his very best friends….the fabulous Frankie.   Frankie is the go-to guy there, who is just amazing.  He can find it, finesse it, arrange it, all with a belly laugh and a smile.  We got to Acapulco late in the day, where Frankie had secured us lovely accomodations right off the main drag.  Once we were settled in, it was off to dinner, at a gorgeous spot right on the beach.

Ah…the beach in Mexico.  As Iguana Man taught me, before our very first trip to Costa Rica…when one is on the beach…there are “Hey-Joes”.  The Hey-Joes are locals who will try to sell you anything and everything, from cheap jewelry, semi-nice ceramics, tours to the local tourist attractions (like zip-lining, surfing, horseback riding, etc.), drugs (!), and if you care to ask…anything else one might desire.

The Hey-Joes are everywhere.  We bought a beautiful Oaxacan hammock in Puerto Escondido from a Hey-Joe….$20.  Actually, we bought two….one on the way down for us, one on the way back for a friend.  Also in PE, we were approached by a Hey-Joe selling a “pulpa”…a still moving octopod in a baggie…If I’d had a place to cook it, I’d have ponied up a few pesos.

Back to the point of this tale, however.  In Acapulco (a cosmopolitan burg that puts Miami to shame, absolute shame)….the Hey-Joes are so pervasive that the better restaurants actually fence them off from the customers.  That doesn’t stop the Hey-Joes, however.  They mass at the gates, attempting to storm them, with all of their wares and a full-throated pitch.  It’s funny and sad at the same time.

So… we were, newly arrived in Acapulco, Iguana Man and Frankie partying down at their reunion.  All of us enjoying a spectacular feast and adult beverages.  When one particularly astute Hey-Joe spotted me (perhaps the lone blonde gringa in the city?)….and for a multitude of reasons, I know not why….started hawking (I understand a bit of spanish so I knew what was happening) tablecloths in my direction.  ???

And what to my wondering eyes did appear….very first one?  A hand-made Mayan calendar cloth.  How did this Hey-Joe know my table is round?  No se!  Or that we’d had such a fabulous time exploring the mesoamerican ruins in Central America?  Again, No Se!  But I saw the goods…and wanted it!

Being a good Hey Joe…this one froze the target (moi)…unfortunately for him, though…I had Frankie as my ally.  Iguana Man and I had a blast as Frankie harrassed (hell yeah, we enjoyed the Kabuki beach theatre immensely) this particular Hey-Joe….who started with an ask price of $100….and Frankie had us in stitches as he negotiated, shook his head NO! and walked away…again and again.

I left the restaurant, happy to have made the aquaintance of one of Iguana Man’s best friends, in his old haunt…with a gorgeous remembrance of the trip of a lifetime.   What could be better?  Meet an old/new friend, enjoy some of the most delicous food ever tasted, laugh one’s ass off at something so fabulous…and walk away with a usable treasure that will always refresh those memories in a second? 

Oddly, when I hauled out this beautiful and unusual tablecloth last week (who else in the U.S. of A. has one, I must ask), in preparation for Thanksgiving, the Iguana Man had forgotten the whole silly and wonderful incident!  Must be a chick thing, LOL.

A new tradition is born!  And tomorrow, I’ll put up a picture of our newest tradition, laden with an older one (all of that delish seafood!).

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friends.  All the best to you and yours…may you have a most wonderful day, with your family and friends (and may your football team win if they’re playing!). 

~ Blonde Gator

P.S.  I can identify the Big Mayan dude, a jaguar, a crab, a rabbit, and a monkey.  Maybe a butterfly and some hungry fish?   And those are just the motifs on the solid part of the table.  You know what?  My next table is going to be round, only twice the size it is now, so I can study all of my new “tradition” in detail.


My Thanksgiving Tradition(s)

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Since 1984, I’ve had an orchid, a Cattleya Pleiades, that blooms every year at Thanksgiving.  It’s a primary hybrid, which means both of its parents are naturally occuring in nature.  It’s one parent is the c. bowrigiana, which is the national orchid of Costa Rica.  I’m not sure what its other parent is….but the reference guide to find that info costs a bundle, and it really doesn’t matter. 

I’ve had this orchid for more than 25 years, and it’s only ever bloomed really early once (like two/three weeks), last year, and we had a really cold winter!!  I’ve divided it a couple of times, once to give a piece back to the grower, Mickey Carmichael, of Fort Lauderdale.  Mickey’s Orchids is one of the best growers in Florida (user friendly with fabulous, well priced plants), and this was the very first “flask” she ever bought when she decided to raise orchids commercially, but had mistakenly sold her last one. 

C. Pleiades, Thanksgiving 2010

I divided this orchid again a few years ago, and gave a piece to my friend Don.  He was expecting a small division, I shocked him with a huge plant, as I gave him an eight bulb division, which had three bloom spikes on it.  As you can see from the pic, this is a HUGE orchid…it stands 35″ tall at the top of these blooms.  This year, it has seven flower spikes, which have between a dozen and twenty blooms each.  I have to tie up the spikes, as they are so full of flowers that I usually get breakage due to the weight of the blooms on each spike.

C. Pleiades, Thanksgiving 2010

Here is a close up from last year, which I took using my (alas, now deceased) Panasonic.  This is one of my favorite photos, taken late in the day with gorgeous afternoon light….notice the little bug on the bloom.

C. offspring of c. skinneri

We’re currently discussing the other South Florida Thanksgiving Day tradition….Stone Crabs, Crab Stuffed Portobellos, Champagne, and Key Lime Pie.  Although the natives are thinking maybe a more traditional feast….it’s up to them, I don’t shop for it, I merely cook it. 

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

~ Blonde Gator

Oh My!!!

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The rumors and innuendo (and maybe the FBI) are flying.

Who knew what, when?  Who told?  Who leaked?  How much?  Who has an axe to grind?  The questions are legion.

It all boils down to this, marvelously depicted by OrlandoG8or on the GSMB.

Run Cam Run ~ OrlandoG8or

Now We Wait

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Buh-bye Charlie.  The next time we fire you, have the grace to stay fired, you twit.

~ Blonde Gator

I’m Still Alive

Monday, November 1st, 2010

It was touch and go there for a while, on Saturday. 

In Urban We Trust.  We don’t forget, and he won’t ever, either…..revenge is a dish best served cold. 

If you’re not a Gator, you’re Gator Bait!

P.S.  Here’s next year’s motivational moment for the 2011 Gator team (taken as our hero, Chas Henry, was about to kick the game-winning field goal in OT):

Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham...Keeping it Georgia Classy

 P.S.S.  My fellow Gator fan, gatorpe, on the Gainesville Sun’s message board, posted yet another reason why Gators loathe the Dogs.  Originally written by Frank Beard (apologies to him as I can’t originally source it). 

REASON #1: My dad was a 16-year-old freshman at the University of Florida in 1942, biding his time until he was 18 when he could sign up to join the Navy to fight the Germans and the Japanese. On most of the college campuses across the nation, the physically able athletes had already signed up to fight for their country in the weeks immediately after Pearl Harbor. Florida had gone 4-6 in 1941 but expectations were high that 1942 would be different thanks to season-closing wins over Miami and Georgia Tech and a close loss to UCLA.

Those hopes and dreams went out the window with the unilateral declaration of war against Germany and Japan.

The most able bodied of Coach Thomas Lieb’s football team were already in the military when the 1942 season arrived. Most of Florida’s team was made up of young guys waiting their eighteenth birthdays or who couldn’t pass the physical.

That wasn’t the case at Georgia, which had one of the two or three best ROTC programs in the country. Georgia was already loaded when the war broke out. By the time the 1942 season began, Coach Wally Butts had a roster full of stars who were enrolled in the ROTC program, including All-Americans like Flatfoot Frankie Sinkwich (he won the Heisman that year), George Poschner and Charlie Trippi, who would go on to become one of the greatest college football players in history. There was also a freshman on that Georgia team who was enrolled in ROTC. His name was Gene Ellenson, who had two Silver Stars pinned on his chest by General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. That’s the same Gene Ellenson who became a Florida legend as Ray Graves’ defensive coordinator.

When Georgia and Florida squared off in Jacksonville on November 7, the game was over by the first quarter and by halftime, it was total carnage. Butts could have called it off any time he wanted, but he kept pouring it on. Late in the fourth quarter Sinkwich and Trippi were still in the game pouring it on. The final score was 75-0. Georgia went on to win a national championship. Florida went 3-7 with wins over Randolph-Macon, Auburn and Villanova.

My dad went to his grave hating Georgia for the way Butts poured it on. I come about my hatred for the Bulldogs genetically.

And there you have it.  Why 18-3 is so totally satisfying.  To be continued (next year)…….

~ Blonde Gator