Monthly Archives: June 2011

Father’s Day Fajitas

Got off to a slow start on Sunday for some reason.  Kind of foggy in the head, but when I got un-fogged I got to my first project of the day.  Making my Big Salad to take to Ele’s house for Father’s day.

I’m loving the pre-cut romaine lettuce in the bag.  I’ve been getting it at Sam’s and it makes life a lot easier!

With the salad ready in short order, I started on my next project…

This beauty, also from Sam’s…a seedless watermelon!

I counted the pieces I left on the rind as my breakfast!  Good one.  One container for us and one to share with Ele.  And we have another half to look forward to later in the week!  Yum!! :-)

At Ele’s, I helped her grill the steak and chicken for the fajitas.  Actually, I held the containers for her as she placed the meat on the grill.  She’s new to grilling but overall did a fantastic job or so the meatasauruses said!  I made suggestions on when to flip it since I know how Ralph likes his steak.

Inside, I did the veggie cooking.  Red and yellow peppers and onions to go with the steak and chicken.  Marinated zucchini and mushrooms for me!  Ele kindly had everything ready, I just had to turn on the stove and stir!  I can do that!! ;-)

Ralph, Patrick and Bill waiting for the eating to commence.  Alex was in the kitchen with Ele and Me talking cooking.  He thinks he might like to become a chef…Ok with us!  We love to eat!  Since Alex likes to cook, he’s going to come over to Ele’s house and we’re going to give him some pointers.  He’s excited and so are we! :-)

The first of my two yummy veggie fajitas!  Salad on the Side!

After dinner, Brownies by Ele!

Only one, but it was perfect!

Patrick, Alex, Bill and Ralph.  Two of the Best Dads in the world!

Alex cracking up Bill and Ralph with one of his acerbic comments.

It was a great day…we all left full and happy to have had the time to spend together.   Happy Father’s Day!

Off on a new adventure today.  We’ll see how it goes!

Happy Monday!

Things Adults Can Do If They Want (PG Version)

After Weight Watchers yesterday, Gail, Alice and I went off to breakfast at the Gateway Diner in Westville.  Like a dummy, I left my camera in the car so no photos.  I had scrambled eggs and sliced tomatoes and only one slice of toast with jelly.  I felt I was off to a good day with food and felt somewhat redeemed after my gain at WW.

Boring, ordinary day filled with doing laundry, some sorting of things and planning Father’s Day at Ele’s house with Ralph, Bill and the Boys.

Ralph decided he felt like a trip to BJ’s and I restrained myself from buying anything except Aleve.  The same cannot be said for Ralph.  DVD Man strikes again.  I don’t even know what he got, but there were several.

We had planned on grabbing something to eat…Ralph had suggested Barnes & Noble but strangely, I didn’t feel like it…that’s scary when I pass up Books and Coffee!!  My brain has been hijacked by aliens or something.  It must have happened when Turner Classic Movies forced me to watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at 4am on Saturday morning!  I didn’t watch it all but what I saw was actually pretty funny!

We hashed around a few places we might want to eat and we came to a joint decision on our best option…

Ice Cream Kids!!

Our favorite Escape spot.  See…When you’re an Adult…you can eat Ice Cream for dinner!  We tried to get Ele to join us, but she was at a graduation party.  That didn’t stop us.  Then Gail and Alice called and said they were going to a bar to meet a friend and I said we couldn’t, we were on our way for Ice Cream.  THEN…the was a motorcycle accident and the street was blocked!!  That didn’t stop us!! We parked at the corner store and were going to walk over when the police cars drove away, so we Finally got to Ice Cream Kids!

I felt restrained, somewhat.  I actually wanted one of those huge waffle cones but they don’t have them there…thank Goodness!  I settled for a medium combo of butter almond and key lime pie…

However…someone else did NOT restrain himself…

Yes, Boys and Girls…That’s Ralph with a banana split!!  He ate every bit of it too, except for the yummy walnut I snagged while he was talking to the owner, Bill.

So that’s how our day went.

I’ve got to get myself going.  I have a Big Salad to make for Father’s Day at Ele’s.  It will be fun! 

Happy Father’s Day to all of you wonderful Fathers out there.  Thank you for all that you do for your children!

Happy Graduation and Navigating a Steakhouse

Friday was our grandson Alex’s high school graduation.  I wanted to try to accomplish something, too,  on the sorting, packing end of life and I worked sorting clothes in the basement.  I’m trying to get rid of things we don’t wear.  You never know how many clothes you have but don’t use until you see the pile and start going through it.  I worked for about an hour, but if I concentrate on doing something everyday, we’ll get through this.

Because of weather, we weren’t sure if we were attending the actual graduation or not. Clear weather, graduation outside, yes we were going.  Rain, graduation inside, not enough seats, not going.  Either way we were planning on dinner out afterwards.

Ralph and I needed to get something to eat because we knew dinner would be late.  We decided on Ralph’s old favorite In A Pickle.  I had my usual caprese salad, romaine, tomato and fresh mozzarella.

Hadn’t had it in a while and I enjoyed it!

The weather stayed clear and we were able to go to the graduation itself.  It was a packed house and we had to stand the whole time but amazingly the ceremony was over in about an hour and a half minutes.  That was pretty good with a class of over 400 students.

That’s Alex with the long stride heading to pick up his diploma. I did not plan for the Big Headed Man to be in my shot.  He was clueless that there might have been anyone else trying to take photos!! :-(

Alex heading back to his seat With his diploma!  Without the Big Headed Man! :-)  Congratulations, Alex!!

The interesting bug on the back of the Big Headed Man.  If he hadn’t been so annoying, the Man not the bug, I would have told him it was there.  As it was, the bug was still there after the ceremony as he walked away!! ;-)

Alex-in cap and gown with Dad Bill, Grandpop Ralph, Brother Patrick and Mom Heather.  We’re very proud of him for what he’s accomplished.  He even won an award of $500.00!! Very cool!

We then headed to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  I wasn’t thrilled because of the whole “what does a vegetarian eat at a steakhouse” thing.  Plus they were VERY busy and we were told we had an hour wait.  It turned into about an hour and 20 minutes and by the time we got our food it was 9:45pm. 

Anyway, although I have no photo I asked for an entrée sized house salad.  It was actually quite good.  It had lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cheddar cheese and hard-boiled egg.  I had it with low-fat ranch dressing on the side and did the old dip the fork in the dressing routine.  It was quite good and I think from now on I’ll order that at a steakhouse rather than the Caesar salad.  More protein for me.

I was worried that eating so late and the effects of the whole week of being in Florida and then coming home would give me trouble when I got to Weight Watchers this morning.  Well, I did gain a pound.  That could be a result of eating late last night or possibly due to having been weighed on a scale in Florida last week and at home this week.  Possibly could have been all that potato salad in all the Greek salads I was eating.  Nevertheless, I think it wasn’t too bad under the circumstances.

I’m still 2 and a half pounds from my personal goal for WW.  I’ll work hard this week and see where it gets me.

Just got back from Verchio’s Produce and I’m now armed with plum tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe and pineapple.  I’ve got a Big Salad to make for tomorrow.  We’re having dinner at Ele’s for Father’s Day.  Bill and the Boys should be coming.  That will be fun.

So now to get some work done around the old homestead.  If I do something EVERY day…we’ll be there in no time!!

Happy Saturday!! :-)


What Boys Do When We’re Away

Wednesday night when I got home from the airport there was basically nothing easy for me to eat because Ralph was eating frozen pot pies (his request) which I had stocked upon before I left. 

He also ate out a lot too.  I was hungry so we took the long ride (3 blocks) to Picasso’s Pizzeria.  The staff is always nice there and the food is good.  I made it easy on myself and with an eye toward getting back on track on my eating I just had a large Garden Salad.

This is the local restaurant that has the delicious balsamic vinaigrette.  I’m not sure what they do to it, but it’s so good and when they deliver they send you Extra which I happily consume on my own salads. :-)

Thursday Ralph had a doctor’s appointment for a checkup and after that we decided we would take the ride (2 blocks!) to the Colonial Diner in Woodbury. Ralph ordered a Santa Fe Salad that had grilled chicken.  I ordered the Balsamic Spinach Salad.  It has spinach, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes.  It actually comes with chicken and sausage but of course I ask for it without.  No one has ever suggested that I get it on the side and allow Ralph to have it.  This time the waitress did.

Ralph ended up with SO much meat that he only ate half of his salad and had it to bring home for dinner.   He was glad to have leftovers for dinner!

My salad…

I ask for the dressing on the side and with some saltines on the side as well, it’s very tasty and filling.  I had coffee with it…can’t get enough of it now that I’m home!

While I was away, I could tell by talking to Ralph that he missed me.  He tends to be a joker though and decided to create a little gift for me when I got home.

You may remember my shrine that I created for myself for meditation.  You may remember the lovely picture of Buddha that I had there.

This is a close up for you to see the detail.  I love this picture.  It was given to me by my friend Tori who I met while working at Memorial Hospital.  She left several years ago and is now in the Marines!  I’m very proud of her and I’m excited that we have been able to reconnect on Facebook.

When I arrived home on Wednesday night, Ralph kept following me around each time I walked into the bedroom.  I thought he was just trying to not miss any of my chattering about what had happened on the trip.

Finally in exasperation he said, ” Have you looked at your meditation shrine?”  I told him I hadn’t and he suggested that I do that.  When I looked at it, I started to laugh hysterically!

This is what I found in front of my other Buddha picture…

Do you understand now why I go a little crazy sometimes?!?  Yes, that’s a Hershey Kiss dish he’s holding.  He likes to fill it and tempt me with them.  Sometimes it works!  I can’t believe the detail that he got in recreating it.   He’s amazing!

Stocked up on romaine, baby spring mix and watermelon at Sam’s Club last night.  Gotta keep this momentum going.  I’m hoping for a good result at Weight Watchers tomorrow morning.

Tonight is our grandson Alex’s graduation.  That’s very exciting.  I hope the weather holds out otherwise we won’t be able to go to the ceremony because it will be held inside.  After the ceremony,  I believe there’s another steakhouse dinner in my future…that’s always fun…:-( But I’ll work it out and we’re both so proud of Alex!!

Lots to do today, so Happy Friday!! :-)

Back Home and Ready to Go

I just checked and I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Tuesday!  I guess that’s not very long for some people, but I do try to post everyday.  The last few days were busy and it will take me a few days to catch up on everything we did in Florida let alone catching up with real life.

There will be a bit of jumping around in my telling of the tale so stick with me, Kids! ;-)

We had a relatively easy trip home.  We got to the airport on time, got to the RIGHT gate and even had time for a snack since we hadn’t had lunch.  I cannot believe how limited and expensive the food was at the Tampa Airport.  Philadelphia has so many more choices. 

Gail and I had a hard time find anything that was vegetarian friendly and ended up at Starbucks with huge, quite delicious cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese.  No photo, but along with an iced coffee, I was in heaven.  I realized that I might have been going through coffee withdrawal on this trip.  Not caffeine, just coffee.  No one else really drinks coffee just because they like it.  I’m doing much better now! ;-)

Whenever I return from a trip, I’m always happy to see this sight…

The Philadelphia Skyline.  Not a great photo from a moving car, but I knew I was home again.

Our last full day in Florida, we went to visit the Ringling Mansion , Ca’ D’Zan in Sarasota.  It was just incredible!  The pictures don’t do it justice but here are some of them.

Gail at the front gate heading into the visitor’s center.

Ceiling in the Ballroom…

That’s what I want in my house in New Mexico!  Just kidding but it was unbelievable!

Even the bathrooms were amazing…

The inside of every medicine cabinet was painted by a famous artist!  I must have taken about 100 photos so I’ll share some of them in the next few days.  There are too many for one post.

Tourists!!  Me, Gail and Alice

Me on the Tower…what a view!  Clearly, not a good hair day! (it was very windy up there!)

After a long day of touring we were all starving.  We decided that for our last day in Florida we’d go somewhere a little more special.   We went to Johnny’s Italian Restaurant in Clearwater.

This is the kind of place that makes you hungry when you walk in the door just because it smells so good!  The food was delicious too!

Johnny’s amazing bread served hot with herbed olive oil.  Trust me, although I had been trying to be good on the trip…I ate my share!

A very tasty salad that I was able to get with just balsamic vinegar.

Ziti Primavera.  Oh My Gosh!  This was wonderful and a bit spicy so I really enjoyed it.  It had mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli and garlic.  Delicious!  Probably qualifies for Things Bigger Than My Head!

We declined dessert because we couldn’t finish dinner!  An interesting thing about Johnny’s…there is a huge video screen and they run amazing aerial videos of Italy.  It certainly helps set the mood!  A very enjoyable dinner!

A few last photos of Ca’ D’Zan…the stove in the kitchen…

I could cook on that!!  (not so sure!)

Another shot of the front gate…I love this one…

Now to make a valiant attempt to get back into the routine of real life.  I’ll catch you all up on the rest of the adventures in a few days.  Now I have to focus on my most important task…getting sorted and packed and ready for the move.  You’ve heard that before, right?  The process must move faster!!!

Happy Thursday!!

Winter In The (Almost) Summer

This trip has been so busy that I’ll still be telling you all about it when I get back to New Jersey!

I can’t even remember where I left off.  It’s a good thing I’m keeping a journal of the trip so that I’ll be able to catch up when I get home.

I know there’s too much going on when I start to have peculiar dreams.  Last night I dreamed I was invited to Kim Kardashian’s wedding!  Now THAT would be interesting!

Sunday we spent  to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the Dolphin.  Winter lost her tail after being tangled in a crab trap.


The facility is amazing and the work they do there to rescue and rehabilitate injured marine animals is incredible.  Their focus is to rehabilitate the animals and have them return to the wild.  Those who could not survive in the wild have a home for life.  It was a great experience and if you’re ever in the Clearwater, it is well worth the time and effort.

After our visit to the Aquarium, we headed to the Palm Pavillion in Clearwater Beach.

I’ve heard about this from Gail and Alice for a long time but we’ve never gotten there.  It was well worth the wait.

This is only half of my lunch. I forgot the photo until half way through.  Seems to be my new issue, but I’ll work with it… :-(  I had the Veggie Flatbread.  It had hummus, zucchini, yellow squash, portabella mushroom, corn green peppers, red onion and Parmesan cheese.  It was delicious and just filling enough.  The prices there were quite good too.

Ray, Alice and Gail…Feed Us Now!

Gail, Me and Alice with Clearwater Beach behind us!

On the way back home, we stopped at an interesting spot in Dunedin.  It’s a wall where an artist paints portraits of pets who have passed away.

It is a fascinating thing and wraps around the entire building.  It’s a very nice tribute and it was interesting to see.

Not sure what the day holds today but I’m sure it will be interesting.  I can’t believe we’ve been here for a week already and still have 3 days to go.  We certainly have filled up every minute.  It’s been so much fun.  But I do miss Ralph and I’ll be Very happy to see him on Wednesday.

Happy Monday!

St. Petersburg, Olive Ya Olive Ya!

Still catching up on our Thursday adventure in St. Petersburg before I tell you about Friday and our Saturday adventure in St. Petersburg!

After being thoroughly enthralled by the Dali Museum, we knew that we were all hungry. Gail and Alice were not really familiar with eating options in St. Petersburg so we started to stroll along Central Avenue.  We were fortunate enough to come upon Moscato’s Bella Cucina

We knew we would like it the minute we walked in…it smelled Wonderful!

Tasty Bread…

…yummy olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The strangest photo of the tastiest salad goes to this!!

The Bella Cucina Salad.  It had romaine, spinach, fresh mozzarella, artichokes, roasted red peppers, black olives, tomatoes and cucumbers with balsamic vinaigrette.  It was delicious!  I have no clue what happened with the photo.  I took 2, one before I added Parmesan cheese, one after.  Somehow they morphed… I’m so confused.  If anyone knows about cameras, I’d love to know what happened.

Alice insisted I take a photo of her Italian Grilled Cheese sandwich.  Provolone, Pesto and Tomato.

I snagged a bite and it was delicious!

After lunch we only walked 2 stores down the street and we came upon the Kalamazoo Olive Company.  It was the most unique shop I’ve seen in a very long time.  The shop offers tasting of over 30 oils and vinegars sweet to savory in a very unique setting.  By the looks of the shop, it could be a coffee shop but the lovely urns hold incredible oils and vinegars in an amazing variety.

James the helpful and knowledgable owner.

My 3 treasures…Lime olive oil, Fig balsamic vinegar and Tuscan Herb olive oil.  I tasted these while there and they were all so tasty.  It was hard to decide.  They do ship everywhere, so please check the website and place an order.  Or if you’re in the St. Petersburg area, it’s well worth the trip!

We then moved on to Haslam’s Book Store in St. Petersburg.

  As a book lover this is the kind of place that I both love and hate to find.  I could have ended up with NO friends left after walking in the door.  I could have spent the ENTIRE day there.  In fact one of their ad calls them “Florida’s favorite rainy day destination.”  I would agree with that!

I could spend hours there, but we didn’t.

For dinner we headed to The Island Outpost in Dunedin again.  I went with the Greek Salad again and this time I took a photo first! ;-)

I swear, this was bigger than the first one I had!  I couldn’t finish it but it was good.

More adventures to catch you up on but that will come tomorrow.

I do want to share a piece of information which made me very happy this morning.  Gail, Alice and I went to a Weight Watchers meeting here.  I’ll cover more about the meeting later.  The Important information is that I lost three-quarters of a pound!  :-)

And I am now below a weight I haven’t seen in Years!  I can’t believe it with being on vacation for 6 days!  I’ve got 4 more to go and I am going to try to keep myself in line.  I have been tracking all of my food and getting a decent amount of exercise.   So I’d say I’m pretty happy! :-)

Not sure where dinner will find it us tonight, but I’m sure it will be fun!

Everyone have a great Saturday evening!! :-)

A Dali Of A Day

Our adventure for Thursday was a visit to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.  I’ve always been fascinated by his work and I honestly didn’t realize that the museum was there.  The link will give you more accurate information but the paintings there are all from one couple’s collection.  Amazing that one couple could amass such a collection.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the gallery itself but I did get some interesting shots in the general areas of the museum.

“The Rainy Rolls”

Some shots in the Garden

For Ele…some shots inside the Labyrinth.  I couldn’t get a shot from upstairs so this was the best I could do. :-)

The amazing outside of the Museum!

The gardens outside of the entrance to the Museum.


A Portrait of the Artist as a Triangle…

We all had fun.  Alice and I enjoyed the Museum…Gail sat out by the water and read (she’s not a Dali fan)  But it was a unique experience.

I’ll have more later on our Thursday adventures.  We packed a lot into one day.

Happy Friday!!  :-)

Too Much Sun Can Hurt Your Brain

After our trip to Madeira Beach yesterday, we were headed to one of our favorite spots in the area…The Whistle Stop Grill in Safety Harbor.  It’s only about 15 minutes from where we’re staying so it’s very convenient.

We’ve been there a number of times before and we like it because they have live music several times a week. They’re open year round, in the winter they just roll the walls down!!

Gail and I like it because they have several vegetarian selections and will adjust others to fit our preferences.  The sun must have gotten me because I must confess, I took no photos of the food and Gail has been taunting me about it ever since! :-(

We both had the same thing…the portabella mushroom and roasted red pepper sandwich.  The mushrooms are marinated and grilled with the peppers, topped with goat cheese and served on a Ciabatta roll.  It was delicious! :-)

I like this better than other portabella sandwiches I’ve had because the mushroom was sliced which made it easier to eat rather than just slapping the big old mushroom on a roll and then you have to struggle to keep it in the sandwich.  My choice of side was their black-eyed pea salad which is just the right amount of spicy for me.  I even dipped my bread in the juice it was so good. Yum…

We’ll be going back again and I’ll get photos the next time.  It was open mic night so the music was varied from several performers but still enjoyable. 

Not sure what’s on the agenda for Thursday.  But it’s always an adventure.  I’ll leave you with a few more bird pictures from our visit to Madeira Beach.

Off to see what the day holds in store…Happy Thursday!!

The Joy of Buoyancy

My friend Alice tells me that she has no trouble in the pool because she floats.  Whether she floats or not, she’s amazing and she’s taught me a lot about getting good exercise in the pool.

I love to swim, I’ve never been afraid of water and I think I’m pretty good at floating myself but she’s amazing… and loves to tell me that she floats!

This is Alice floating…

This is Gail floating…

There’s no photographic proof that I can float, but trust me I can.  I did ten laps of the pool yesterday and today plus 6  “walking laps”…

Alice did 50!!!

I’m a slacker I guess.  I’m impressed with what she accomplishes in spite of various health issues.  Most importantly, all three of us are having a good time and trying to keep our spirits up. 

We took a ride to Madeira Beach today.  I’d never been there before and I love a good ride even if we don’t really do anything.

On the way we stopped at Olga’s Restaurant in Clearwater.  It’s seems like a very popular place, it was packed. We were trying to stay on track with Weight Watchers.  Gail and I had the Egg Salad plate which gave us a scoop of egg salad, cole slaw and of course…potato salad.  Alice had the same except with chicken salad.  Again, I forgot a photo until I was half way through.

It was very good, especially the potato salad…Ralph would have loved it.

Speaking of potato salad, I couldn’t resist this next photo.

See…potato salad…in the Greek Salad…it really is a Florida Thing!  Now that I know how good their potato salad is…I’d order it here!

We did make it to Madeira Beach and it is loaded with tee-shirt shops!  Everywhere you look.  Instead of looking at them, Gail and I walked along the boardwalk, looking at the water and the birds.

My favorite shot…I was trying to get the heron and the pelican flew into the shot…Cool!! :-)

Pelicans are Gail’s favorite bird here in Florida.  They decorate the whole condo, along with the artwork that Ralph has done for her.  Here’s a shot of her with a really Big Pelican!!

And here I am with that same Big Ole Pelican!!!

It was fun and I love to take rides and look at the homes and hotels along the way.

Tonight we’re going to one of our favorite places…The Whistle Stop Grill in Safety Harbor.  We’re looking forward to it because there’s live music and the food is really good.  I can’t wait.  See you all tomorrow!

Happy Wednesday!