What Is Your Word?

I had a text conversation with my friend Tammy last week. She asked me out of the blue the following question: If you could choose one word to set your intention for 2017 what would it be?

I had to think only a moment before I answered her: TENACITY. As in never, ever, ever give up. Never give up on what, you may ask? My writing most definitely, but it applies to all areas of my life – my career as a librarian, my marriage, my family, my friends, my spirituality, my creative endeavors in general. Writing a book and getting an agent has really taught me this lesson well and I can see it working in different ways that are surprising and wonderful to behold.

I thought it was a random thing to ask, but a very good question. Imagine my surprise when a week later I received a package in the mail containing this:

2017-02-05-09-03-50The bracelet comes from myintent.org. You can customize your bracelet to say any word that means something to you. It’s a really cool idea because every time I look at it I remember my determination to do the things I am passionate about. It also reminds me what an awesome person Tammy is.

We gotta say goodbye for the summer…

The Friday morning breakfast club met this afternoon for coffee. It was our last time together until the end of August. As early as Tuesday we all go our separate ways for the summer. It was bittersweet, because I love these people so much and yet I am raring to get on with vacation.

The weekend started out with a birthday party. Miss Tammy, my rainbow girl, turned the big 5-0 this week. There was a long table of us at Wyld’s Cafe in Bonita Springs to help her celebrate. There was great food, fantastic company and a decadent chocolate cake from Norman Love to complete the night.

Because cake is so important...

Because cake is so important…

Like I said, this afternoon we all met for coffee to say our goodbyes. Tammy is off to the Jersey shore for three weeks before she and Diane jet off to Peru to see Machu Picchu. Then later they will be joining family in Seattle and perhaps do an Alaskan cruise.

Of course, Kosta and I are set for our trip to Europe. 18 days! And dear Cary will be stuck at home, keeping the breakfast table saved for us until we return. Don’t think we’ll forget you! There will be a special present for you, our keeper of the Eternal Breakfast Flame.

Summer is going to be full-throttle, but so much fun. Before you know it the end of August will be here and everyone will be back. And I can’t wait to hear all about the adventures.

Of course, our day was marred by the horrific news out of Orlando. I don’t understand why this keeps happening. I suppose my head does, but my heart cannot fathom why. All those fallen and their families are in my prayers. Other than that I don’t have the words to convey my heavy heart.

My rainbow girl

imageThis is my friend Tammy. She is a total nut and I love her dearly. I recently knit her a pair of socks. You can see them on her hands here. The reason I chose to make rainbow socks was because Tammy reminds me of a rainbow: bright, beautiful, positive, and something I am always glad to see.

I think she likes them. She was also presented with a matching rainbow sweater vest from our friends Ingrid and Tara.

You go, Rainbow Girl.

Ramblin’ Palates at the Bubble Room

The Bubble Room is an institution on Captiva Island, just of the coast of Southwest Florida. I know its been a while, but look at all the fun we had on December 6. True, there were only 4 of us (we were missing Cary and Di!) but we had a blast. Observe:

The Bubble Room

It doesn’t look like much outside, but inside you’ll find a wonderland of themes rooms most of them adorned with toys from the 20’s to the 40’s.

Lunch is served!

I don’t remember what everyone had, but I had a Pita Fonda. All the items on the menu were bad puns on old time movie stars.

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Me and my Pita Fonda. It was quite delicious.

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My husband peering around his Turk Douglass.

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Tammerooni with her scrumptious lunch.

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I texted this one to Di–who is married to Tammy. I asked her if we should be worried. She said she was on her way home.

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All the waitstaff dressed in kitschy scout uniforms. This is our waitress presenting another table with the dessert offerings.

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Oh baby. I only ate half my Pita Fonda in anticipation of this platter of diabetic coma.

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Just had throw this in here. My husband isn’t a self-proclaimed happy jackass for nothing.

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Kosta and I shared this. And even though I say we shared it, we did not manage to finish it. This was the orange crunch cake which is the signature dessert at the Bubble Room. I cannot begin to describe how outstanding it was.

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After lunch we explored the restaurant a bit more, as we were encouraged to do. Here is sweet Val waiting for her prince charming to join her in the Tunnel of Love.

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Of course there was more fun to be had outside. Tammy doesn’t even need to be hopped up on sugar.

 

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See? She’s so shy. I wish there was some way we could coax her out of her shell.

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There was a Bubble Room git shop next door. Look at my handsome prince!

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I didn’t get a lot of good pictures of Val, but I think this one shows her good side. What do you think?

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But hold on, the party ain’t over yet. On the way back across Sanibel Island (the only way in and out of Captiva) Tammy saw a sign and turned sharpish into a parking lot. We had just stumbled upon a new Bennett’s Fresh Roast. These folks roast their own coffee and make their own donughts on site. So what if we already consumed 5000 calories each? Dooughnuts are not a foodstuff to be taken lightly.

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See what I frickin’ mean? The plain glazed belonged to Kosta. I had the other one — the almond frosted coconut.

I don’t know what this is. Maybe we need to get her evaluated.

That was our day: sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, goofiness, and then a wicked case of the hiccups on the way home for me.

It was totally worth every one.

 

 

The Ramblin’ Palates in LaBelle

I have a fantastic circle of friends. Every week on Friday mornings a group of us meet for breakfast at a local diner. It’s not a strictly defined group, there are some that come once in a while, but there is a core of us that is Always. There. We never miss it.

The Ramblin' Palates are ready to go!

The Ramblin’ Palates are ready to go!

Here we are. From the left is Cary, me, Kosta (my husband), Di, and Tammy. The only one missing is Val, but we met up with her on our way.

It just so happens that this core group also happen to be foodies. Which is how the Ramblin’ Palates came to be. We decided that every month or so we would journey to a restaurant out there in the state of Florida that has a reputation for great food. Today we took a trip north and inland to the little town of LaBelle, FL for lunch.

We have so much fun together. There is much laughter, usually near to the point of someone wetting themselves. On our drive to LaBelle we took two cars because there were to be six of us. But fifteen minutes into the journey Tammy calls us and to inform us this is unacceptable and that we must all ride together. So we drop our car in the Target parking lot and squeeze into Di’s SUV. We thought it was a tight fit then, but when we got to Ft. Myers and picked up Val? Let’s just say it may have been slightly illegal how there were four of us crammed in the back seat.2 Peas Cafe sigh

We arrived in LaBelle at the The Two Peas Cafe. Tammy had lived in LaBelle during high school so she knew the ladies who owned the place. They are famous for their pie, which is the most important food group, in my humble opinion. I will take a piece of pie over all other sweets. My mother makes me a birthday pie every August. The day after Thanksgiving can always be counted on as being outstanding because there is always pie for breakfast. You get the idea.

The restaurant isn’t fancy, but the ladies who work there are welcoming, friendly, and the food was awesome. Since October it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Two Peas Cafe was awash in pink. There were t-shirts, pink hair, and pink ribbon cards that could be obtained by making a donation.

Save 2nd Base

Save 2nd Base

Di made a generous gift to the fund and we all wrote on ribbons for our loved ones who had cancer. Some survived, some did not. But all of them were fighters.

Lunch was excellent. After perusing the menu Cary and I decided to split entrees. I ordered the fried green tomatoes and she ordered the garlic cheddar burger and we each ate half. The burger was good, but the tomatoes were out of this world. Tangy, crispy, and lightly battered. YUM.

fried green tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

 

Everyone was happy with their meals:

Kosta and his Patricia Melt

Kosta and his Patricia Melt

Cary and Di with their burgers

Cary and Di with their burgers

Val and her Hoppin John

Val and her Hoppin John

Tammy and her BL Fried Green Tomato sandwich.

Tammy and her BL Fried Green T sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poor Tammy. She’s so painfully shy.

Dessert was divine as well. All of us save Kosta had the coconut cream pie. Di, whose family is from Kentucky, informed us the proper way to pronouce it is “cokernut.” To think I’ve been saying it wrong all these years!

Cokernut Cream Pie

Cokernut Cream Pie

Kosta decided to be the rogue (Black Sheep is his middle name) and had the last slice of apple pie in the house. It was served up like this with the rest of our pies:

apple pie beforeAnd then one of the owners saw what he had and squawked in dismay. She told him, “Honey, give me that pie and I’ll show you how a fat girl eats it.”

She took away the sweet little slice, plump with apples and fragrant with spices. When she returned it was warm, had 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, and was drizzled with caramel sauce:

apple pie after

What was once an ordinary piece of apple pie was now transformed into a hedonistic, diabetic-coma-inducing masterpiece.

You know he ate the whole thing. Minus one bite that I stole.

The pie doctor

The pie doctor and one of the Two Peas

The self-proclaimed “fat girl” told us the story of how Two Peas Cafe got its name. The two women who own it have been best friends their whole lives. They were often likened to two peas in a pod. Regardless of good, bad, or the inveitable trouble they landed it, the two peas stuck together.

A delicious meal and PIE. What could be better?

The fun didn’t end there. After lunch Tammy and Val took us on a driving tour of the little town of LaBelle. We saw where they used to live, work, and go to school. We saw the church that has a tree planted in their mother’s honor. And then we turned a corner and found a pumpkin patch complete with corn maze! Naturally, a clown car crammed with adults hopped up on sugar needed to stop.

pumpkin patch

The Ramblin Palates before the mayhem…

Uh... guys? Thats a beanbag toss... not a--never mind.

Uh… guys? Thats a beanbag toss… not a–never mind.

 

Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn

The two ladies who were staffing the pumpkin patch must have thought we were all newly escaped from Happy Acres. There were several occasions when one of us had to walk away or risk peeing in our pants from laughing.  When we were posing behind the candy corn, I distinctly remember my husband shouting at Cary: “Don’t pee on me! Don’t pee on me!” Which of course, was not exactly helpful to someone with a terminal case of the giggles.

I’m sure the two ladies were glad to see us go. Especially since we didn’t buy any pumpkins.

The last stop we made in LaBelle was the Harold P. Curtis Honey Company.  They have been in LaBelle since 1954 and they sell all sorts of varieties of wonderful honey. Since the last time I was in LaBelle they have had an outstanding mural painted on the side of their building:

Harold P. Curtis Honey Co. LaBelle, FL

Harold P. Curtis Honey Co. LaBelle, FL

We popped inside for a look around. They have wildflower and orange blossom honey, as you would expect in Florida, but they also have mangrove, seagrape, and palmetto honey too. We all tasted the different kinds and Kosta bought some seagrape honey to take home.

So we packed ourselves tightly in the car and headed home.

The view from the back seat.

The view from the back seat.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s adventure!