Bike Week ‘Jewel For Sale?’

 

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We did not go to Bike Week this year but have before. These pictures were taken ten years ago, and yes everyone was and does look younger.  We did not stay away on purpose, simply had other plans.

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We get to hear the roar of bikers sitting at home. They travel The Loop, a scenic ride along A1A down Old Dixie Highway in Ormond Beach and down Beach Street then across International Speedway bridge and back on Main Street, Daytona. There are state parks and protected acres of land along this route.  However changes will be coming to Daytona Beach. The front page headline, ‘Jewel’ For Sale? by reporter Eileen Zaffiro in the News – Journal reads, “City leaders are quietly working behind the scenes to get state restrictions on downtown riverfront property removed so they can ink deals with private developers interested in public land.”

What happened? If this is public land, how did it become private? It was Rick Scott and his Cabinet who lifted all the deed restrictions on 97 acres in Daytona, before leaving office in December of 2018.  A sneaky move, I my opinion, when the public was not looking.

Moving here I was perplexed by this mystery Floridians call, “the powers that be,” but now I get it.

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This year, the hub center for bikers was moved to Rt. 1, where The Iron Horse and many other biker bars are located, because of construction.

Brown & Brown is constructing an office building for their Insurance company in downtown Daytona. Hyatt and CiCi Brown have offered to donate 15 million dollars to beautify Riverfront Park on City Island, one of the properties who’s deed is now State unrestricted and awaiting City determination.

The historic Jackie Robinson Ball park and a county library are on the 22 acre island  public park, and if “the powers that behave their way, could be surrounded by high rise condos and hotels. It is a very beautiful spot.

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So who are these powers? They are not named in the article but City manager Jim Chisholm is quoted, “We had meetings with the City Commission when it was talked about. It was not a secret. Everybody who was paying attention knew about it.”

Residents of the area Mary Anne Jackson-Trumbull and Mary Welch who rarely miss Commission meetings say they did not know about the push to snuff out the deed restrictions. Go figure!

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The area is changing and too fast for residents to protect 97 acres from the drastic results. Please know when there is new construction here the property is stripped of all trees to lay electrical, telephone and irrigation lines underground. It is ugly and environmentally wrong.

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Mr. Wonderful says this is a great picture of me, but I am feeling very very sad.

. . . . just saying

It’s a Cray, Cray World

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It is a crazy, crazy world and I believe the reason for my deep frying corn fritters to bring to our community gathering. The invitation or flyer called the event a cocktail party for neighbors, and please bring an appetizer for the sharing table, your own chair, and BYOB. I wanted an appetizer that would hold up under Florida’s afternoon sun. The event was from 3 to 5PM.

Corn fritters were a staple in my childhood household and one I occasionally prepared for my family, more like a pancake drizzled with maple syrup and served with breakfast sausage and applesauce.

It is a crazy, crazy world. I was in search of some sanity after reading; the House passed a 700-page bill to make registering to vote easier. How can it be easier if it is 700 pages long? My brain stuck on the word easier started to spin, however I continued reading. An amendment requiring states to make it possible for 16 and 17 year olds to preregister for federal elections passed and has me befuddled, and evidently, there was an attempt to lower the voting age to 16 years of age that did not pass.

That is when I decided on corn fritters, and rather than search on line for a recipe  grabbed my well used Lafayette Cook Book and easily found a simple recipe submitted by Joan Smith. The cookbook, “a nostalgic look at Lafayette, New Jersey, through recipes, pictures, and stories was a fundraiser for their Preservation Foundation in 1989.  

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I followed the recipe, frying them and sprinkling with confectioner sugar, thinking.

It is a crazy, crazy world. Almost all Members of the House (407) voted to condemn religious, racial bigotry and hatred rather than remove Rep. Omar from her committee assignments implying that only 23 House Members believe we can say whatever we want, regardless of who is offended in America.

The spread of food at the party was colorful and delicious;  toothpicks filled with tortellini, olives and cherry tomatoes, taco pie, red and green jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, Swedish meatballs, and lasagna, made by lining muffin tins with the noodles, the filling inside, and of course, pigs in a blanket.

We had a good time and leaving grabbed my plate with three remaining  corn fritters.  

It is a crazy, crazy world. This morning a photograph of President Trump signing a Bible was featured in our local newspaper, an article discussing mixed opinions about his nonchalance as well as the fact that other presidents have signed Bibles, accompanied the photo. I wonder, who is manipulating who? Or is it whom?

What the heck, it is a cray, cray world and I will just eat the last of the corn fritters.

. . . . just saying

 

Dude, It’s Cool!

 

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Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

I was the last to arrive and quickly slid into the remaining seat on the bus. The driver closed the door, checked both side mirrors for traffic then pulled away from the building of Betty’s Shuttle Bus Service. The van was eight-passenger, but there were seven of us. The man behind me took up two seats and I wondered if he had paid for two, making the fifty-mile trip to the airport express, or if we would be stopping along the way to pick up a final passenger.

The girl next to him, a Laura Dern lookalike, squirmed in her thin body staring out the window.

Way in the back was a teenager dressed in shorts and a Feed the Hungry t-shirt, plugged into his cell with an almost empty backpack on his lap. Along side of him sat either his girlfriend or sister. They pushed against each other with their arms in a familiar but not happy way. The significantly older passengers in the middle seat; a man and woman about my age, looked like each other; but could be a couple. It was hard to tell.

No one spoke as the radio blared Kenny Rogers’ song, “Know When to Hold Them.”

At 6:35 AM, the sun was just rising and promised a hot day.

However, heads began to shake disapprovingly with the top of the news report of President Donald Trump’s latest tweet and lead in; Trump lashes out again at  . . . . .

The elderly man in the middle seat removed his Yankee baseball cap, scratched his head, and turned to the woman along side of him, “What is wrong with that man?” he asked.

She crossed her arms around her thick waist and gave her breasts a supportive boost, “I don’t even know what a tweet is, but I’m embarrassed for him.”

“He’s a bully!” The Laura Dern lookalike stated emphatically.

The man taking up two seats wiped beads of sweat from his brow with a dirty handkerchief without comment.

The kid in the way back removed his ear buds and called out, “Dudes, Trump’s cool, that’s what people do, no worries.”

I rummaged through my tote bag looking for nothing.

Remember the days of white wonder bread, spread with margarine and sprinkled with real sugar? That was an after school snack to enjoy once changed into play clothes; my play clothes were: woolen Jamaica shorts, argyle socks and white Ked sneakers.

It was a time of hot dogs, English muffin pizza, Bologna sandwiches, Kool-Aid, powdered milk, and the introduction of frozen vegetables and no real worries.

. . . . Just Saying

Not Really Italian Bolognese

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My husband’s cousin and her husband are in Florida visiting and will be coming for dinner. We have not seen them in ten years. I am making Bolognese Sauce, which might be bold since according to my husband, aka, Mr. Wonderful, I am not really Italian. He is right. My father’s side was Irish, English, German; my mother’s side all Irish on her mother’s side and all Italian on her father’s, at best, I am one-quarter Italian.

However, when my friend Marshal returned from Italy, where evidently all he ate was Rigatoni with Bolognese sauce; and now in withdrawal, I sent over a pot of sauce. He phoned to say, “Claudia, you make the best Bolognese sauce I have ever had, can you teach me?”

The next Sunday, I went to his house with my “Not Really Italian Bolognese Sauce” recipe written down in my head. Like many cooks I rarely follow a recipe exactly and make changes according to what is in the pantry.

Start with what is referenced as the trio; equal amounts of finely chopped onion, celery and carrot sauteed in pan lightly covered with olive oil. The pan needs to be hot enough that you hear or see a piece of onion sizzle. This takes about five minutes. Remove the trio from pan and brown two pounds of chop meat. Remove chop meat from pan, discard any liquid and brown or scorch at least 2 TBSP of tomato paste. You’ll smell the scorching.

Then add the trio back into the pan, de glaze the pan with ¼ cup white or red wine, add the sauce, meat, dried spices and whole garlic and simmer, for several hours. If you like thick sauce leave the pot cover off, for a thinner sauce leave the cover on.

Not Really Italian Tips

  • Use jar sauce, low in sugar or two cans of crushed tomatoes and or add chopped fresh tomatoes.
  • Add a whole carrot while sauce simmers then remove before serving if not sweet to your taste
  • Add whole garlic to sauce when simmering. I don’t chop or brown the garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Basil and 1 or 2 dried bay leafs, even dried basil will make the sauce bitter if you add too much
  • Red or White Wine whatever is open

. . . . Just Saying

Aspetta and The Italian Bulldozer

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Port of Civitavecchia

We will be traveling soon, a cruise on the Azamara Pursuit, to seven coastal cities around Italy. We will fly to Rome and board the cruise ship at Civitavecchia.

 Therefore, I have homework; a refresher course on geography and the weather, deciding what to pack and wear; and what to see at each port.

I have also found it helpful to read novels set in our travel location and previously read “Under the Tuscan Sun,” by Frances Mayes, and found one by my favorite author, Alexander McCall Smith. He is known for the “The #1 Ladies Detective Agency” series featured on PBS.

The title, “My Italian Bulldozer”, grabbed my attention, and when the main character, Paul, describes Tommy, the man his significant other ran off with, as a tattooed MESOMORPH, I knew Tommy had a fat neck before viewing the Kindle definition; a compact person with muscular body build.

Alexander McCall Smith transforms the mundane with insight, i.e. “the past has a bigger shadow than people believe,” and Paul takes off for Tuscany. I am hoping to  get an education about Italian wine.

Northern Italians are fair, and that is why my mother says I have blonde hair;  her side of the family, the De Salvo’s, were from there. My husband says I am not really Italian.

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Amalfi

The first port  will be Amalfi, then Sorrento,; Taormina, Brindisi, Trieste and final port, Venice.

Really Italian, or not, growing up, we thought we were.

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Sorrento

On Saturdays, my grandfather, Achilles DeSalvo, would take the train from the Bronx to  Long Island, wearing a sharkskin suit, a pressed handkerchief in his breast pocket, shoes with a spit shine, and hat, arriving around noon. After lunch he sat in the living room to read the newspaper and smoke a cigar. We gathered at his feet and watched his manicured hands unwrap the cigar then present the cigar band as a ring to one of us. Next, a Mounds bar was divided into four parts for all to share. After reading the newspaper, he phoned his bookie.

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Taormina

We called our grandfather Pop-Pop and and the only Italian that past his lips were the words aspetta, meaning wait and capisci, asking, do you understand? Other than his sharkskin suit, he wore, pajamas, or a guinea t-shirt with his trousers.  His father, Alfonso DeSalvo, came to America from Abruzzi, to be an American, owned a tailor shop in Manhattan, and English was spoken in their home.

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Trieste

I may not be that Italian, but have a real Italian name, Claudia Chianese. My husband’s family came from Naples, my best guess is from Casamiccola. There were many Antonio Chianeses sailing from Naples, or the equivalent of looking for John Smith in the USA, it has been difficult to know for sure.                                  

 

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Venice

Aspetta, our cruise will end in Venice, capisci?

. . . . just saying

Errands, Errants or Creative Excursions

 

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The other day after announcing I was going out to get a few things, my husband inquired, “Where are you going?” I drew upon my friend Claire’s wisdom and answered, “To do some errands,” and was out the door before he could ask, “When will you be back? Did you make a list?”

His questions were simple, and deserved simple answers, however, it seemed tedious to explain; I was going to deposit empty egg cartons and a wad of plastic bags in Publix Market’s recycling bin, then instead of having a colonoscopy was dropping a stool sample off at the lab, swinging by the hospital to leave dated issues of Southern Living Magazine in a waiting room and probably get gas, to which he would have responded, “You can’t get gas at the hospital.” 

A discussion as to why I was not discarding Styrofoam cartons, plastic and old magazines in our recycling, and why not have a colonoscopy, it had been ten years, would have been lengthy, and besides he would predict I would be back in an hour, leading to another explanation as to why that was not necessarily so. That would lead to a discussion of the differences between us, and how we manage to stay married, neither one of us knows.

Eventually, it would have come out that I might possibly check out the Hospital Gift Shop because you never know; get coffee, and walk on the beach, or stop at an antique store, a small table would be nice in the guest room. I was not just going out to do errands.

Which got me thinking about the difference in errand and errant; an errand is a task, duty, chore or job; a short trip somewhere to do something on behalf of somebody else and an errant is wandering from an intended course, not reaching an intended destination, looking for adventure; wayward, sinful, naughty, misbehaving, delinquent.

Therefore, the difference in errand and errant is bigger than d or t and in the hope of maintaining a happy marriage, now will be called a creative excursion because although my going out is task orientated I an still looking for adventure.

. . . . just saying

Take The D Train

The D Train is part of the New York City Subway System and runs from Coney Island in Brooklyn to 205th Street in the Bronx. When my friend and I discussed a meeting place The Bronx Botanical Gardens was ideal, there was an Orchid Exhibition. The pictures below show the beautiful flowers and perfect sunny day we enjoyed. We decide, she would drive in from New Jersey. I was visiting my daughter in Brooklyn and would take the D Train.

It was a ride down memory lane for me; I was born in the Bronx.

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There are five boroughs comprising New York City; Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx. Jerry Seinfeld uses humor to emphasize the mystery of why The Bronx is the only borough with that prefix, and the truth is no one knows, you simply say, The Bronx.

20160311_112654My Friend, Betsy

I was born in The Bronx,  moved to Long Island at a young age, and spent my teenage years in Hensonville, New York, but returned as a newlywed to a fifth floor walk-up apartment across the street from where I was born, on Hull Avenue in The Bronx.

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I miss The Bronx.

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The D Train leaves Brooklyn by crossing the East River via the Manhattan bridge; travels along Sixth Ave on the east side of Central Park stops at 59th Street and Columbus Circle, next stop Harlem at 125th Street, and down the Grand Concourse; Yankee Stadium at 161st, Kingsbridge Avenue, then Fordham Road, next to the last stop 203rd  is on the Concourse, then the train crosses Bedford Park to the final stop; 205th & Bainbridge Avenue. It is a short walk from there to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens.

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Bainbridge Avenue is  where my grandmother lived and when visiting her we would take the D Train to Radio City Music Hall wearing a green winter coat with a black velvet collar, a white fur rabbit muff to keep my hands warm and Mary Jane shoes.

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My Aunt lived at 3042 Grand Concourse the 203rd Street stop. The street was Grand not only for its size ( four lanes with a divide) but for its elegance. Aunt Carol had a Baby Grand Piano in her apartment. We traveled down town to Broadway Theatre Shows wearing cardigan sweaters and white kid gloves. Now the Concourse is not so grand with bedding hanging out apartment windows, I  guess to dry.

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I  miss The Bronx and wearing mini- skirts to work at the Plaza Hotel, before Trump owned the landmark hotel. The year was 1968 and I took the D Train to 59th Street then walked five blocks to the Plaza to work as a file clerk, earning sixty dollars a week. Subway tokens were twenty cents each. On pay day, I would buy a roll of ten and save the rest to return to college, which I did after purchasing a gold crepe blouse and matching bell bottom pants at Alexander’s on Fordham Road.

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I still miss The Bronx and our fifth floor walk-up apartment. We took our kids on the D Train to Radio City Music Hall, the Bronx Zoo every Tuesday, the free day and of course a Sunday walk through the Botanical Gardens.

. . . . just saying

 

 

The Ten Year Challenge

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You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the “Ten-year Challenge” or like me, learned late in the game of the latest social media meme.

What is a meme you ask? Again, I am learning after the brou ha, ha. Merriam/Webster.com defines a meme as an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation. In other words, the latest craze or fad proliferated by social media.

Richard Dawkins, the British Scientist, first used the word in 1976 as “a unit of cultural transmission” to describe behavior. He was not talking about the flu.

The latest meme, the Ten Year Challenge, started on Facebook as a mindless past time; the craze took to Instagram and everyone jumped on the wagon, environmentalists reviewing how the past ten years have aged nature, and intellectual types, like John Dickerson of CBS News, talked about the benefits of aging on character, mind, and moral responsibility, although there was no mention of the President.

While celebrities are flaunting their good looks and comparing themselves in their twenties to their thirties, I wonder how I will look in ten years when eighty. Will I recognize myself?

The fun however, was short lived as suspicion arose that Facebook’s real purpose was for facial recognition, then lead to rumors they are colluding with Russia, and hint of a Muller investigation. The President did not comment on Twitter nor post before and after pictures on Instagram, while Sara Huckabee rolled her eyes and quietly said the rumors are unfounded and fake news.*

Investigations aside, facial recognition is becoming a scary issue for me. Life expectancy for a person my age is eighty and increases with age. My mom is ninety-five and still alive, factor in modern medicine and there is a good chance I will live another twenty-five years. Will I recognize myself?

Probably not, so I am working on a ten-year plan for Elderhood, you know like childhood when you wore diapers and had temper tantrums when told what to do.

The solution, I am going to lean in and embrace Elderhood; lose five lbs, travel more and write everyday.

 . . . . just saying.com

 

*Really fake news and not true, I made it up, unless proven otherwise

 

Make Your Bed Exercise

 

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 If we cannot change the behavior, can we change how we view the behavior?

One year ago, while struggling to make our Queen Size bed I questioned when did this bedspread become so heavy?

The task had become tedious, requiring walking around the bed about ten times to achieve a wrinkle free look, all the while complaining. I did not have the strength to flip the comforter across the bed.

I recalled working as a waitress/chambermaid at the Green Gables Hotel in Hensonville New York, how we would run upstairs after serving breakfast, to strip and remake beds, each bed taking approximately five minutes. We were back downstairs before the quest left the dining room. The year was 1964, and I was sixteen.

Bob, my husband, said, “Don’t make the bed. It’s only going to get messed up again.”

He is right, however I am a tidy person, an unmade bed was not an option. Call it a routine or habit started in childhood, you dressed and made your bed before breakfast.

I prefer the clean orderly picture a well-made bed creates and remember as a Mom of toddlers tripping over Lincoln Logs, Match Box cars, baby dolls, and diapers in the living room to find refuge in my bedroom and look at a tidy bed, knowing hospital corners were concealed under the spread.

Now, I was not only older, but weaker.

Consequently, I signed up at a gym, even hired a personal trainer, and started treating the task of making a bed a challenge.

The results were slow but steady, considering I wanted to avoid pain and think sweating is highly over rated.

However, in July, we traveled north to escape Florida’s heat for four weeks, and I was at risk of becoming a statistic, most people (80%) stop going to the gym after five months.

13ff6543-74a7-4938-811f-97e6d4c24c9a_1.db6bc136ad0b6ef50bc16d0a248f0d17Luckily, I discovered a PBS program, Classical Stretch. by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White.  Her exercise program is amazing. I even bought her book, “Aging Backwards.” my friends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about her so I have stopped.

However, just listening to her talk while she exercises gave me a new perspective on aging.

She says the notion that muscle atrophy is synonymous with aging is false. The breakdown of muscles, muscle atrophy, is not caused by aging but by lack of use, and can happen at any age, but happens more quickly as we age. She references research to support her exercise approach to counter the premises that muscle atrophy is a side effect of aging.

So making a bed is more difficult at seventy, than at sixteen years old, not because of aging, but because of less activity. Miranda says in layman’s words, muscles not being used are programed to die.

Which came first the chicken or the egg or in this case, aging or less active? It does not matter, the solution is to exercise, all six hundred and forty muscles.

Since doing Classical Stretch, a twenty-three minute program, five days a week I have stopped taking naps and can make the bed in less than five minutes.     

. . . . just saying

 

 

Gray Hair and Feeling Maudlin

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Now that the Christmas tree is back in the box it came in, and the furniture in its proper place, I am excited to start the New Year. Our grand-kids will be visiting this week and my husband, Bob, and I plan to visit Italy in the Spring. The temperature today is sixty-five, and its sunny. Life seems good when Bob mumbles something from the living room.

After forty-seven years of marriage, I am not certain if the mumbling is to annoy me, or he has forgotten I cannot hear with the water running and question what he said, “Really? Alex Trebek is going off the air because he shaved his mustache?”

Bob is watching Jeopardy, and raises his voice to shout, “No I don’t like Alex Trebek with or without his mustache.”

There is something discerning about his tone. I turn off the water, grab a dishtowel, and join him on the couch. “I thought you liked Jeopardy.”

He continues grumbling that if the show had more categories about sports, he would know every answer, and that Alex Trebek is cheap, not giving every contestant all their earnings. I agree, second and third place contestants receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively not their final Jeopardy winnings.

Understand, Bob can be grumpy. He sports a tattoo; one of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy, however this seems unusual, and I ask, “Are you feeling maudlin?”

He replies emphatically, “Yes! I just don’t know what else can go wrong!”

Surprised by his reaction, I am concerned and say, “Has something happened?”

Now, Bob has had numerous medical challenges and I joke, “He has no pancreas, no spleen, no gallbladder, no thyroid and no appendix but a full head of hair and all his own teeth.” He is a healthy man. So I ask again, “What is it?”

Hesitantly he says, “Today after golf, I showered, and like I always do, combed my hair, head down over the sink, but when I stood up the sink was full of gray hair. I am losing my hair! I can’t believe something else is wrong.”

No wonder he is feeling maudlin, the salt and pepper hair makes him look younger. However, I laugh and through uncontrollable chuckles explain the gray hair is mine, combed into the sink while cleaning my hairbrush that morning, and evidently forgot to wipe up.

“So I’m not losing my hair,” he says and relieved joins me in laughter.

I am reminded of a Betty Davis quote, “Old age is not for sissies.” She is right.

                                                                        . . . . just saying