Slow Day

I took the day off today. Didn’t do much but make a grocery run (for a good deal on steaks). I also got around to spraying my plants with ‘insectisoidal soap’. I’ve been trying to grow a garden since I’ve been home so much.

I stick to plants that don’t really need much care. I have a big lemon tree, lime tree, orange trees, pineapples, grape vines, pomegranate, raspberries, asparagus, and I’m even trying cucumbers and green beans this year. Last year something happened to kill off my pomegranate, raspberries, cucumbers and a couple of grape vines overnight.

I tried calling the county agricultural agent (which was pretty useless, they can’t tell much over the phone but insisted it was something in the soil and so nothing I could do about it). I tried researching online but can’t really find anything that really describes what’s happening to my plants. So, I just went to the store and bought stuff that’s supposed to help.

Yesterday I noticed some sort of infestation on my lemon tree. First time I’ve seen it. I sprayed it down pretty good and keeping my fingers crossed it will help. I also sprayed the pomegranates and cucumbers. I think the cucs are already beyond help, but maybe the pomegranate can be saved. IF this stuff works.

Any gardeners out there?

Girls Gone to Galveston

Hey! We just got back from Galveston. It was a long day.

I’m not a morning person, but got up early to finish getting my photos ready to take up to the gallery in Galveston. I had to sign them, figure out the best mat to use with them and then figure out which frame fit best. It took a while.

I loaded up my truck and headed to the beach to pick up my friends. I didn’t think we could all fit in the cab with my big painting (49″ x 44″) in the back seat, but we managed to fit all the artworks in the back seat and all 3 of us in the front.

Lucky, I found a spot to pull up close to the shop for long enough to unload my stuff. The lady who I’ve been dealing with wasn’t there. I left my big painting there and traded out a few others. I took the rest of the stuff I brought across the street to a new place (Metamorphosis) that I learned about last time I was in Galveston.

My friend was talking to the owner about making a sign for the place while I was busy across the street. I brought in my photos and set them out for the lady to pick which ones she liked and thought would sell. She liked all of them. 🙂

So far, nothing has sold. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My friend is really hoping to get the sign job too. She’s been a ‘starving artist’ for a long time. Somehow I never thought that’s where I would wind up in life.

I do enjoy it, but like my BFF always tells me, “somebody always has to buy the beans”. For that to work, somebody will actually have to buy some of my art one of these days.

We tried a new place for lunch (recommended by the coffee guy). It was a pretty interesting little deli type place called Old Moon. We sat upstairs where they had a couple of nice comfortable couches to relax on. We ate our lunch surrounded by cool old photographs and paintings of dramatically lit cats (and dogs) dressed to the nines.

I had a Monte Cristo sandwich, it was really good. I’d never had one like the way they made it before. It had a little bit of honey on it, on the outside of the bread. Nice touch, but made it a little sticky to eat. I didn’t try a pie. They looked delicious, but I always eat slowly and I didn’t want to keep my friends waiting any longer. I did try a brownie and it was really nice. I even saved some for dessert tonight. 🙂

Check out the painting. Cool dog, huh?

Court

Hey! I’m really glad so many of you responded to my post yesterday about going to court in support of raw milk and ‘food freedom’ in general. It’s great to know that people really do care about some of these issues and I’m not just beating my head against the wall. I’ll have to update this again later. Today’s court session was not exactly clear to me as to what was going on. 😦

It looked to me like the entire courtroom was packed with raw milk supporters. We all had little white stickers on our shirts to show our support.

A few minutes after the appointed time, they called out names. People were coming a going up to the front of the room where the ‘official people’ sat around behind desks and computers (the judge was not in the courtroom yet).

I didn’t know the name of the person charged or exactly what the charges were. Sorry to say, I still don’t. I did see the lady and the gist of what I heard of the charges against her was: ‘unsanitary conditions’ and something to do with not being ‘licensed’ as a food business.

OK. Here’s the story. Her friends asked her to go to a licensed dairy farm and pick up some milk for them. They gave her money to pay for it. As far as I could tell, they did not pay her anything for going to get it. So I’m still very confused as to what she did that was actually illegal or what possible reason could there be for making anything she did illegal?

It is legal to buy raw milk in Texas.

At this point, all I can say is that the lawyers seemed to think they got a good result today. There was a LOT of local support for the whole raw milk thing. People whole heartedly support the idea of “food freedom” and their rights to choose what they want to be able to eat, drink, grow, smoke, buy, sell, etc.

I’ll report more on this later. I’ve been promised more information from people who are more involved in this than I am. In the meantime, check out the links towards the end of yesterdays post.

I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to repeat my HUET course (again- for about the 5th time). It doesn’t actually expire, but almost all companies insist on repeating it every 3-4 years anyway. Are they really expecting their helicopters to crash that often? What is it that they think we forget in the class that we must repeat it so often? Is it really that hard to remember to open the window and climb out of the thing?????

I really, really wish the people who insist on forcing all this ‘training’ on us would get their shit together and figure out one acceptable class for all this crap! Instead, each company insists you take their class (which is pretty much exactly like the other guys class).

Companies that work in Europe don’t accept USA typical courses, nor do they have a ‘gap closing’ course, so if you want to be eligible to work anywhere outside of the USA, you are forced to pay again, for the exact same ‘training’ you’ve already paid for except for a grand total of 1 hour of something different.

I’m too tired tonight to get into it. I had a long day of running around Houston. I’ll write it up tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll still be ticked off enough to explain. 😉

Going to Court Tomorrow

Hard to believe we’re still wasting our resources prosecuting people for this sort of thing. I mean really!?

If I asked you to go pick up a gallon of milk for me and gave you the money to pay for it, do you really think you should be hauled off to jail for doing me a favor like that?

REALLY???

I think this whole thing is just one more example of a completely out of control government that has taken over damn near everything in this country.

I am sick to death of hearing about this sort of shit happening every day, right here in this “free” country. I am so, so tired of all the people around me spouting out the supposed wis(h)dom that “we live in a democracy”, so we just have to put up with whatever stupidity ‘our leaders’ decide to manipulate the majority of the pubic into going along with.

NO WE DON’T! We DON’T live in a democracy, we live in a Constitutional Republic! And we DON’T have to put up with this kind of ridiculously stupid shit they’re trying to shove down our throats and call it ‘the law’!

Here is a quote from the email I got…

After several delays, Harris County is pressing forward with the prosecution of a woman who picks up raw milk from a licensed farm for herself and others.

 

We ask that if you are in or near Harris County, please support this woman & local food consumers by appearing at the trial in Pasadena next Wednesday, June 14. Details are below.

 

While the Texas Department of State Health Services initiated the harassment of raw milk farmers and consumers last summer, it later stated that it will not pursue customers who are making legal purchases, nor the people they hire as agents to pick up milk for them. (Read more here .)
But Harris County is still pressing forward with the trial to prosecute this courier.
The County has been given the written agreement, signed by individual customers, in which they made the woman their agent and asked her to pick up milk on their behalf from a licensed, inspected dairy. Not one customer has gotten sick and no one has complained.
People pick up groceries for each other all the time. Every day, FedEx and UPS deliver food ordered online. UberEats and numerous others provide home delivery of food. None of these hold food establishment licenses. Yet the County claims that this raw milk courier has to have the same license as a restaurant or food truck.
While the prosecution is motivated by anti-raw milk bias, the legal principles are not limited to one product —   the regulation cited by the County applies to all foods.

Can you help defend this woman —   and, in the process, defend your right to ask someone to pick up food from a local farm for you?We need as many people as possible to be in the courtroom next Wednesday, to send the message that the raw milk courier has the support of the community. 

The judge and jury need to see that local food supporters are not a fringe group —   they are just regular people who want to provide healthy food to their families.

 

 
TAKE ACTION: Come to the trial!
WHERE: Justice Court, Precinct 2, 101 South Richey, Suite B, Pasadena, TX 77506
WHEN: Wednesday, June 14, at 1 p.m.
WHAT: After you enter the building, turn left to go to Judge George Risner’s courtroom at the end of the hallway. Enter quietly, and take a seat.
PLEASE be respectful of the proceedings. Any disruption will hurt the cause, so no signs, no verbal outbursts, no applause or groans, etc. You can do the most good by conducting yourself in a calm, professional manner.
They will have lapel stickers available so that you can identify yourself as a raw milk supporter. We want a large, visible show of support for the raw milk courier!

I plan to be there tomorrow. I will do what I can to support this woman and anyone else in similar circumstances. I fully support the people’s right to eat, drink, buy, sell, and use ANYTHING as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. Anybody in the Houston area, feel free to join me. 😉

I also strongly support the fully informed jury amendment and the idea that all jurors, in EVERY case, are there to judge the law itself- NOT just the facts of the case- no matter what lies the judge and legal system may say about it. That is, in fact, the entire purpose of the jury! What is the point of having a jury if they are only supposed to follow the directions of the court?

I admit, I don’t really pay much attention to eating right. I eat a lot more junk food than I should. I don’t spend extra money on organics or shop at farmers markets (I hate getting up so early!). But. I most definitely DO support the rights of the people who do want to pay attention to healthy eating and who want to make their own decisions about what to do with their lives, their bodies, their health, their time and their money!

I will go to court tomorrow to show my support. I hope to see a lot of others there doing the same. I hope to see that we can at least show the judge and jury that there IS a lot of community support for this. The right to choose, the right to live as you want (as long as you don’t hurt anyone else), the right to healthy food, the right to run a business, the right to freely associate, the right to freedom!

Want to know more about raw milk? Check out a few of these links…

http://ij.org/case/florida-skim-milk/

Food Freedom Project- Institute for Justice

Texas Real Milk

http://www.foodrenegade.com/texas-forces-raw-milk-dairy-dump-700-gallons-of-milk/

Modern Wheat Is The ‘Perfect Chronic Poison’ Says Expert

I keep hearing more and more about all the crap they’re doing to our food. It’s probably too late for me, but I sure wish I knew more about a lot of this stuff years ago (especially about sugar).

May 22, 2013 by NATASHA LONGO The world’s most popular grain is also the deadliest for the human metabolism. Modern wheat isn’t really wheat at all and is a “perfect, chronic poison,” according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat. Approximately 700 million tons of wheat are now cultivated worldwide […]

via Modern Wheat Is The ‘Perfect Chronic Poison’ Says Expert — 2012 The Awakening

N is for New Orleans- #AtoZChallenge

51b8d-n

“N” is for New Orleans, a city like no other. It’s one of my all time favorite places to visit. I first started going to New Orleans back in 1978-79.

I was in the Ocean Marine Technology Program at Brazosport College. It was a 2 year program where I would be able to earn my AB and QMED certificates from the Coast Guard. One of the things we had to do was to take fire-fighting training. We also had to take a ‘Spring Cruise”. We combined them and took a couple of boats up to Delgado Community College in New Orleans to take their fire-fighting course.

That’s me, 2nd from left, back row

I was 17 at the time and the youngest in class. We had a nice and easy trip up, the weather was fine and we all got to practice our celestial navigation skills. We all looked forward to seeing New Orleans and we were not disappointed. We all had a blast and will always remember getting underway bright and early after a late night out on Bourbon Street. 😉

I used to go home to Florida to visit family a couple of times a year and always stopped in New Orleans if I could. I liked to hang around the French Quarter and recharge my batteries for a day. Maybe longer if I met up with some ‘cool’ people. 😉

Years later, when I got older and had to slow down on the partying, I started to enjoy more of the city than Bourbon Street. I’ve gone for conferencesworkshops and training, and layovers for traveling to and from work offshore. I always try to spend a little extra time just to relax and enjoy the city.

It’s so easy. New Orleans has it’s own special vibe. They say it’s got “soul”. Yeah, I agree. It feels sultry, hot and humid most of the time. It almost oozes history. You can see it in the architecture all over the French Quarter. It smells delicious. Chicory coffee, beignets, seafood gumbo, salty oysters, and boozy concoctions around Bourbon Street.

The food is amazing! Classic French, Creole, Cajun and all combinations thereof. Soul food, muffaletas, po-boys, fresh seafood, fine steaks, you can get all that and more. Some of the best cooks in the world call New Orleans home.

New Orleans is a city of music. Jazz, Cajun, Creole, Rock, Soul, Blues, it’s all there. All over the place. I love wandering around the French Quarter, finding musicians playing out in the streets. You can almost always find some around Jackson Square or Royal Street. Then there are the second line parades. It’s always fun to join in the party. Where else can you get that?

New Orleans has so many parades, parties and festivals. I love it! I wonder if I would ever get anything done if I actually lived there? 😉

M is for Monkey Bread- #AtoZChallenge

M” is for Monkey Bread! Yummmmmm!!

I tried this recipe last week. I had to make some adjustments since I didn’t have exactly what they called for. Also, since I am only cooking for myself now, I didn’t want to overload the place and wind up throwing most of it away. So, to start with, I cut their recipe in half. I only used 1 can of (Kroger brand) biscuits, and halved everything else except the walnuts and raisins (I like both of those things). 😉

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated Original biscuits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
1/2 cup raisins, if desired
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Steps

  •  1 Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  • 2 Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces.
  • 3 In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
  • 4 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.
I didn’t have a bundt pan (fluted tube pan), so I just used a round cake pan. It was just big enough to fit with the recipe cut in half. Mine may not look as good as theirs, but it still tasted wonderful and it made the whole house smell delicious for days. 🙂

Organic Gardening

I’m re-blogging this post (click the link below)-these guys have some cool ideas about organic gardening. I’ve never had much of a green thumb, tho I used to try pretty hard to keep a jungle of plants around. My idea of organic gardening is just to plant it and leave it alone (no fertilizer, no pesticides, etc). I’ve learned not to count on anything but trees! My lime tree sprouted up like a weed and is extremely productive. Same with the lemon tree. Oranges are coming along. Grapes are doing so-so.

Last year I tried cucumbers for the first time in ages. Something got to it. One day it was gorgeous, next day it was dead as a doornail. Same thing got to my grapes, raspberries and mint. 😦

I’m going to try the cucumbers again and probably try the pomegranates and blueberries again (tho I just found out they don’t like our dirt around here so maybe not). I have one struggling bush left, I didn’t know they needed 2 to produce.

I’ve been working in my yard when the weather’s nice and I’m not busy with something else (like work, or photography, or blogging, etc). I have most of the front yard ready and about a 5th of the back yard done. I need to get it all done soon, before it starts getting hot. I won’t go outside in the summertime here if I can help it. 😉

If I ever get the yard cleaned up, I’ll pick a few plants to try out this year. Anybody have any suggestions for plants that grow well on the north Texas Gulf Coast? They’ll need to be extremely self-sufficient, since if I ever do get a real job again I won’t be around to tend to them for months on end.

Here’s hoping for that! 🙂

Photo: Via Pinterest Keyhole Gardening was introduced in Africa by the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE) to help ailing and frail Africans grow their own produce with minimum effort by means of a specialized raised bed. The bed, which is waist high and in the shape of a keyhole, allows for standing […]

via Five Notable Organic Gardening Methods — Garden Variety

Fishing: Istanbul

I saw this post come up in my Reader from the Daily Post, re: Fishing. I thought I should be able to come up with something. 😉

Here are a couple of photos from my recent trip to Turkey. The people around Istanbul love to go fishing all around the Bosphorus. I went one day to walk across the Galata Bridge, just to see what they were catching.

It was a beautiful day. I walked from my hotel near the Blue Mosque around Topkapi Palace and down to the waterfront. I watched the ferries come and go and the fishermen all along the quay. They were using bread as bait, and seemed to be doing pretty good.

I walked up to the bridge and crossed over on the lower level. It’s full of restaurants, famous for fish and seafood. I try to avoid seafood as much as possible, just because I’ve had to eat it day after day for months on end and never know when I might have to do that again. 😉

The waiters had no idea of my aversion, so they continued to call out. Trying to convince me to step up and try their specialty (looked like pretty much the same at all of them). I probably should have stopped to see what all the fuss was about. I’m sure a few must have wondered why I was hanging around if I didn’t like fish. I don’t like to eat them anymore, but I still do love to catch them (and I like to watch other people catch them too). 😉

On the way back, I crossed on the upper level. Between a gauntlet of fishermen casting their lines and masses of traffic- cars, trucks, busses, and pedestrians- crossing the bridge, it was an interesting experience. I was glad to get back down to land and away from the traffic.

I descended to a plaza, right next to the bridge. It was full of more fishermen lined up along the water and in between dozens of small barges, gaudily decorated in red and gold. All selling ‘belik-ekmek’ (fish sandwiches) and doing a brisk business.  Waiters dressed in ‘traditional’ Turkish costume, hustling with trays full of tiny cups full of coffee, tea and shalgam– the weird spicy sour drink thats specially for the fish.

I’m not sure what kind of fish they were catching (or selling), I didn’t actually eat any. Here’s a picture, does anybody know what kind they are?

Ongoing Arts

It’s been a busy couple of days around here. I got an email last week about today’s Sunset Sip going on tonight in Freeport. I was interested in entering some of my art in the show. I found out the information I needed a couple of days ago.

I spent all day yesterday getting my photos ready. Signing them, matting them, and framing them. I met the lady in charge of the operation (Jennifer) yesterday afternoon in her Freeport office. She has some stunning artwork from previous events decorating the place.

She kindly showed me to the Heritage Ballroom, and then helped me set up in the entry. I brought my big painting of the underwater scene I had painted one winter when it was too rough to go outside on the tanker. I’ve had it hanging on my living room wall ever since. I do really like it. I think it turned out pretty good, especially considering I was using the ships deck paint (and a little wonky from the fumes on the last part- after I had to move it to my room).

Most of the rest I’m bringing are photos. I’m also in the show at the Brazosport Art League  Gallery next to the college. I’ll pick up the ones I have there now and bring a few more to enter there.

Once I do the trade at the BAL Gallery, I’m headed to a photo shoot with the Brazoria County Models & Photographers out in West Columbia for the Day of the Dead. That should give me some awesome photos! The models are all great to work with and I always have a lot of fun. I hate to cut it short, but I’ll have to, in order to get back to Freeport in time for the Sunset Sip.

I’m looking forward to this event. I’m sure to meet lots of interesting people. I hope I get a chance to wander around and check out everyone else’s work. They’re having a zydeco band, a brewery, a winery, and all kinds of food.

I’ll have to tend to my booth, so not sure how much time I’ll have to look around. After all, I do really want to sell some things too.

PS- if you like my work, please let me know. I can have it uploaded and put on all kinds of things. Check it out…https://society6.com/captainjillsjourneys/collection/jill-friedman

Galatoire’s 33

Looking for a nearby place for lunch today, we wandered into this place after a couple of false starts. One of the ladies from the travel writing workshop was specifically looking for Galatoire’s and so we figured we would go ahead and try it out. It’s right around the corner from our hotel, at 209 Bourbon Street. Only took about 5 minutes to walk.

It’s definitely not my usual kind of place. I’m not one to enjoy spending big bucks on food and drinks. In fact, I much prefer the opposite end of the price scale. My favorite place to eat out at home is Chinatown where the all you can eat buffet is less than $15 including drink and tip!

I figured I might as well go ahead and try it since it really was a super deal. Looking at the normal prices where a ribeye goes for $44 and side of onion rings is $7, the fact that the entire lunch cost only $20 today was enough to convince me to give it a try.

The other ladies I was with both really enjoyed their meals. I’m not much for seafood (or creole/cajun either) so I was pretty much out of luck for the special. I sure wasn’t going to choose anything off the regular menu tho I definitely prefer steak over fish any day! I decided to try the ‘broiled drum casino’ in the spirit of exploration as a travel writer. 😉

The appetizer was ‘roasted beet risotto’. It was really very good. Not what I was expecting, but nice. It tasted more cheesy than anything else to me (might have been the truffle oil). I really couldn’t taste any beets at all.

The fish was very well done as well. I really liked the sauce. It was creamy and cheesy also. It tasted smokey and salty from the bacon. Very nice. The drum was cooked just right and tasted nice and fresh. I’m sure if I liked fish better, I would have just loved it. I did enjoy the broccoli. 🙂

I chose the Bananas Fosters Cobbler for dessert, it was excellent. Too bad by that time we were in a real rush to get back to the hotel before the next session started.

It’s not my kind of place, but I would recommend it if you’re out to impress. The service was excellent and so was the food. I thought the prices were sky high, but not out of line with similar restaurants.

Johns Pass Seafood Festival

I was reading the latest National Geographic Traveler magazine and I happened to notice an ad in the back for the Johns Pass Seafood Festival.

It caught my eye because I grew up there. They just started having the festival when I left to go to school and then moved to Texas.

Johns Pass Florida

Johns Pass Florida

It looks like it’s grown quite a bit. I wonder if any of my old friends would still be around? I used to know all the fishermen. I wonder how many of them are still left? The city was doing an awful good job of clearing them out when I left. Not ‘appropriate’ for the tourist trap they wanted to create. 😦

The Seafood Festival is kind of like the St Patricks Day Parade is here, everybody comes back from wherever they’ve been to have a good time and catch up with old friends. At least we do still have a real community to gather together at Surfside. I can’t say the same for Johns Pass. They destroyed what we had- a REAL community, of REAL fishermen- to replace it with nothing but condos and fake shit! All for the sake of the tourists.

I’m glad someone’s making money off it. (NOT)!

It’s from October 27-30 this year. I don’t have anything planned then. I keep hoping like hell I’ll get some real work, so I’m not planning much very far ahead of time. Also, I’ve already planned a couple of budget busting trips. I think I’ll skip Florida again this year. It makes me more sad than anything to go there now anyway. 😦

Zydeco Festival

Last Saturday I went up to Houston for the Zydeco Fest. I’ve been having a hard time getting motivated to do much of anything around here. Just too much stress to enjoy the time at home. Weird, isn’t it? When I’m offshore working, I can’t wait to get off and spend time at home. Now that I’ve been home for so long without work, I can hardly stand it.

If I wasn’t so worried about finances, I would be off traveling somewhere. Since I have to be here to jump on any job offer that comes by (no matter how bad), I can’t leave or do anything really.

I had finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel last week (or thought I did), so I decided to go have a little celebration. I’ve always loved zydeco music, all kinds of music really- except rap and opera. I used to go up to Houston every couple of weeks. I’d go catch a live band, spend the night, and do a museum or something on the way home.

I got a late start last week and didn’t get to the show until about 5. They had it right downtown at Jones Plaza. I found a nice hotel only a couple of blocks away and not super expensive. The worst part was the parking fees! At least by the time I got to the show, it had cooled down a little. It was still hot! I didn’t bring anything to sit on and what few seats there were were already occupied.

I just walked around, looked over the little shops people set up- selling food, drinks, t-shirts, etc. They had a couple of food trucks parked by the entrance and more cooks scattered around the park. People were picnicking and enjoying the sunshine with their families. Old folks and babies, the whole range of ages loved the music. Everybody was dancing and having a good time.

I got there in time for the last part of Lil Nate and the Zydeco Big Timers. I saw Marcus Ardoin and the Zydeco Legend, and finished the night off with Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws (all the pictures are of Step and his band).

  

I didn’t find out til I was leaving the Zydeco Fest, but they also had a Gay Pride parade that evening. All the crowds from that were thronging the downtown streets right around the time they were shutting down the Zydeco Fest. It looked like it must have been a lot of fun. Everybody was in a good mood and from what I could see of the costumes, they all had a great time.

Houston needs to get a better way to let people know what’s going on around town!

Here’s a little music to tide us over til next year’s zydeco festival. 🙂

Another Party!

Attending the travel bloggers exchange (TBEX) has been a real eye opener. I’ve been busy since the moment I arrived at MSP (airport). I’ve been learning a lot, meeting tons of interesting people, going places, seeing things and attending dinners and parties every day!

TBEX actually started on Monday, with a full day of conferencing. It was held at the Radisson Blu at the Mall of America (a great location). Afterwards, we headed downtown to a party planned for us at the First Avenue. This is a famous Minneapolis club, where many great musicians have played. For the first hour or so, they played music by Prince (who used to play there) as we mingled over munchies provided by Common Roots Catering (thanks!).

 

Live bands played in another part of the place. Ness NiteLydia Liza and Joey Joey Michael were scheduled to play. As the drinks went down, the dance floor filled up and things got more lively. I had a  nice view from above of dancers showing their stuff. The big screen behind them showed scenes of Minnesota. I heard more than 1 complaint of sore muscles the next morning.

 

Remembering that I had another full day of TBEX and an early wakeup call, I left by midnight. It was easy to find our way back to the METRO, even tho the guides who helped us find our way earlier were gone. Comparing notes on the ride home with a dozen other bloggers was fun. We all agreed it was a great way to spend an evening out in Minneapolis. Thanks to all who made it happen! 🙂

Red Wing

It’s been another crazy day here in Minneapolis. Up early and busy all day attending presentations, meeting people from all over the country, speed networking, and picking up information from various travel related businesses. I’ve been running non-stop since I got here.

Yesterday, I was treated to a tour of the historic town of Red Wing by Erica from Explore Minnesota, along with 3 fellow bloggers. It was a great way to spend the day. A nice drive through rolling hills, farms, lakes and rivers. It took about an hour or so to get to get there. We crossed the Mississippi River, drove through town and headed to Memorial Park atop the bluffs.

We had about an hour to enjoy the view overlooking the town of Red Wing and the Mississippi River. I spent my time wandering through the park, enjoying the cool fresh air. I learned some interesting Minnesota history (first ski jumping in America began here), by reading the ‘interpretive signs’ while following the path of the ‘disc golf course’. This park would be a great place for a picnic. 🙂

We were on a ‘schedule’ so we headed back down to town. The historic downtown was very pretty. Lots of old stone buildings, flower baskets and American flags hanging from the lampposts and shady trees fronting quirky little shops. Our first stop was the Fair Trade Books store.

They have a great ‘marketing strategy’. On your first visit to their store, they give you a free book. 🙂

They pick it out for you (they ask first what kind of books you like). The only catch is, you have to say “books make great gifts’- loud enough for everyone to hear. 😉

My free book was “Lieutenant Hornblower” by C.S. Forester. A very popular series featuring naval hero Horatio Hornblower. I haven’t read any of this series yet, but it’s right up my alley. I bought “Dead Wake” by Erik Larson (about the Lusitania) while I was browsing around. I can hardly wait to start it.

really liked this little bookstore. It’s right downtown, in an interesting old building with architectural details like high, patterned metal ceilings. There are cozy chairs and tables where you can linger a little longer making up your mind on the reading material.

They were very knowledgeable about all kinds of books, helpful and friendly (even to dogs). It’s an independent bookstore, but more than just a bookstore. They’re very community focused, they have all kinds of other things going on. Not only the ‘usual’ book signing events, but ‘open read’ where you can come share your writing with others, game nights, and open mike nights. They share other local events and even have an ‘arts and entertainment auction’ coming up on July 1. 🙂

From the bookstore, we headed to the shoe store. The Red Wing store, home of the “World’s Largest Boot“. I wear Red Wing (steel toed) boots all the time for work, but I didn’t know anything about this giant boot- or the shoe museum upstairs– until this visit. Since I already have a half dozen pairs of Red Wings in my closet, I passed on the shopping and spent my time in the museum- which actually was pretty interesting. If you’re into that kind of thing. 😉

 

We were all ready for lunch so we headed across the construction zone* on the main drag to the St James Hotel.

It’s located in a historic building (1874-1875) next to a pretty little park with a fountain right downtown and convenient to everything. We sat at the rooftop patio to enjoy the view over the park, train depot, and glimpses of the river.

 

Sunday brunch was tempting. The buffet was loaded with fresh strawberries and cream, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, apples, bananas, and pineapple slices. There were fresh cinnamon buns, french toast sticks, blueberry muffins, waffles, biscuits and gravy, cold cuts and cheeses. Cereals, yogurt and oatmeal were out if you didn’t want to splurge. There were chocolate cakes and dainty little squares of petit fours if you did. There was an omelet bar, with eggs cooked to order with your choice of ham, cheese, onions, or peppers added. Next to that was a ham sliced to order. Yum!

If you could eat your way through all of that, you were welcome to go back for more. 🙂

We all enjoyed our meal there. The food was great, the service was fast and friendly, and the prices were reasonable. It’s worth a try if you’re in the area.

On the way back to the car, I just had to stop in the chocolate shop I had noticed on the way over. The Red Wing Confectionary makes the cutest little chocolate critters.

They also had a great selection of other sweets, including taffy, jelly beans, chocolate covered cherries, gift boxes, ice cream and a large menu of coffees and other hot (and cold) drinks.

After tasting a free sample, I made up my mind and bought a few things- sea salted caramels, chocolate covered cherries to share, and a small gift box.

Next stop was the “Uffda” Shop– full of Scandinavian stuff. Enough to make you think you somehow landed in small town Sweden instead of Minnesota. They had everything from sweaters to socks, snacks to snowmen. Lots of beautiful decorated china, crystal and jewelry. A great place for Christmas shopping.

 

We headed back to the city before we spent too much money. The drive back was just as pretty. Rolling farmlands, green fields, and hills passed by quickly. We got back just in time for a quick nap before the ‘Opening Night Party” at the Nickelodeon Universe. 🙂

I’ll have to tell you about that tomorrow. Stay tuned. 😉

In the meantime, check out what my fellow bloggers had to say about our journey through small town Minnesota (and other things).

www.travelwithsara.com, https://twitter.com/TravelWithSara

https://twitter.com/PrairieStylFile, http://prairiestylefile.com

https://twitter.com/SheilaShttp://www.sheilasguide.com

* to ease the pain of the construction, the town has been promoting Hard Hat Thursdays.

Quick Cherry Turnovers Recipe

Today was kind of a slow day around here (other than the usual computer issues I’m having of late). I took the time to do a little bit of ‘experimental’ cooking.

Since I live alone, I don’t usually cook much. I normally eat soup & sandwich for lunch and then I’m not really hungry til late. I try not to eat anything then, but just go to bed.

Today, I made some ‘pigs in a blanket’ (sausage wrapped in crescent rolls) for breakfast. Since I was baking, I thought I might as well throw something else in the oven. 😉

I had this recipe floating around for a while for these little sweets made with the same crescent rolls, but stuffed with cream cheese and cherries (or apples, etc). It looked really easy and so I decided to try it.

Here’s what they looked like before putting them in the oven…

And, here’s what they looked like when they came out…

 

Maybe not as pretty as the ones in the recipe I copied from, but I didn’t have any confectioners sugar. They tasted alright without it.

Here’s the recipe I went by (with some of my own modifications- I used the dough sheets instead of crescent rolls, no confectioners sugar for icing, I added cream cheese to the filling). They were really easy to make. Next time, I might try different fruit for the filling (apple, raspberry, strawberry, etc).

Refrigerated crescent rolls let you make these fruit-filled pastries in a hurry. My family loves these turnovers for breakfast, but they’re so delicious, they’ll be welcome any time of the day. Feel free to experiment with other pie fillings as well. —Elleen Oberrueter, Danbury, IA

Source: Quick Cherry Turnovers Recipe | Taste of Home

How Much Roundup Are You Eating?

Too much! The US really ought to ban this stuff, it’s terrible! Read more from ‘The Awakening’ blog below…

Worker spraying strawberry fields with pesticide PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL GREBLIUNAS/GETTY By Leah Zerbe June 19, 2015 Pesky weeds popping up in your yard? Here’s what to not reach for—Roundup. While the active ingredient in the popular weed killer, glyphosate, has been marketed as safe and even “biodegradable,” the science is pouring in, and the results […]

via How Much Roundup Are You Eating? And six more disgusting facts about this popular weed killer. — 2012 The Awakening

A Diet of Worms

It’s been a while since I’ve seen these posts from Monkey Fist. I used to share them with my blogger friends when they came out. I always really enjoyed them. There’s always lots of interesting little tidbits, mostly relating to nautical things, but combining with others like movies, cultures, foods, etc.

Here’s the latest announcement via gCaptain

 …happy to announce the return Maritime Monday with Monkey Fist, a smack-talking, potty-mouthed, yankee-hating, Red Sox fan in Portland Maine. Each Monday she will bring you the best in nautical art and history, folklore, bizarre happenings, and all-around wacky content from around the web. Be sure to check […]

Source: Maritime Monday: A Diet of Worms – gCaptain

I hope you enjoy these too. Let me know. 🙂

Sopa de Fideo (Mexican Noodle Soup) Recipe | SAVEUR

The thin vermicelli-like noodles called fideos add starch and body to this elemental Mexican tomato soup.

Source: Sopa de Fideo (Mexican Noodle Soup) Recipe | SAVEUR

Meyer Lemon Loaf with Blood Orange Glaze

Lemony slices of loaf cake with a sweet blood orange glaze. This Meyer Lemon Loaf with Blood Orange Glaze is the most amazing breakfast for winter.

Source: Meyer Lemon Loaf with Blood Orange Glaze