Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween in Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida

Mrs. Phred has been preparing for the costume party all week. She's going as a 1920's flapper complete with foot-long cigarette holder, pink boa and long pink gloves (none of these shown below).

I've invited several couples over to the RV to try out my new Red Snapper recipe. It seems to be hit and miss for some reason, ranging from excellent to just OK. Basically you fry the snapper in 3 ounces of olive oil, 3 ounces of butter and the juice of a lemon. You serve the fish with a garnish of chopped parsley and sliced toasted almonds and salt and pepper to taste.

I think the variability had to do with cooking time. No more for this recipe...I have a Tuscan recipe that's foolproof...I'll be going out into the middle grounds again for more snapper Friday...

My salad cannot go wrong. Make a bed of baby spinach leaves and arrange cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges, raisins, pine nuts and goat cheese...serve with raspberry balsamic vinegar...yum! I stole this from a restaurant in l'Orange in France...Say what you will about the French...they know how to eat...and cook...

Friday, 29 October 2010

Our Daughter-in-Law

New York City, 1991

In 1991, it became apparent that our son, Ken, and Carie were heavily involved, so...We decided to take them both to visit Ken's Aunt Jil and Uncle Tom in New York City over the Christmas break of 1991.

We never could have guessed that we would end up with seven lovely grandchildren and that Carie would have the energy to home-school them all in Latin, Greek, Piano, mathematics, and other subjects.

So what we have here, on this blog, are pictures of Ken and Carie as they prepared to graduate from FSU about a year before they were married.

We all walked from Jil and Tom's loft by the World Trade Center to the Brooklyn Bridge on Christmas morning. There was no traffic in lower Manhattan and about a foot of snow with no footprints or tire tracks.

Seven grandchildren...all well-educated and well-behaved...what a blessing! and what an amazing daughter-in-law...

Christmas Eve 1966

Miami, Florida

I have no clear recollection of the flight between Seattle and Miami with Mrs. Phred, although those were only my 2nd and 3rd rides on a real jet. I was in navigator school in Tacoma and my divorce from Wifezilla #1 had become official so we decided to give it another try. I remember that I had an ashtray of my own on the flight and that no one screened me to detect the pint of Wild Turkey in my sports coat or the 1911 AIA Colt .45 in my shoulder holster.

The Rabbi had Christmas Eve free so we picked that as a date to do the deed. Nobody briefed me on the traditions, so when the silver cup of wine came around, I chugged it leaving none for Rabbi Narrot or Mrs. Phred, but they both covered for me.

At the wedding dinner, my mother-in-law asked me in a whisper that everyone heard if I had been circumcised.After a moments thought, I answered, "No, but my brother has", at which point all eyes turned to him.

In the picture above. my mother-in-law, Frieda, and sister-in-law, Jil, are at our left. Frieda was an extremely intelligent and interesting conversationalist. She had the knack of talking to complete strangers, like Bill Bailey, for hours. Her Masters Degree was from Smith. Her last job was counseling economically disadvantaged males about vasectomies, which required her to learn a whole new basic language about certain body parts.

My brother, David, and Mrs. Phred's sister, Jil, are in this picture to our right. We woke up the next morning (Mrs. Phred and I, not my brother or her sister) in a hotel room on Miami beach in separate single beds. My father-in-law reserved the room. That might have been his little joke...

Faded Memories

Sarasota, Florida

We've moved all the remaining stuff in our storage unit from Tampa to just outside the park here in Sarasota. It took two trips with the U-haul trailer. We gave boxes of clothing, books and other stuff to Goodwill and managed to find takers for the washer and dryer and some other furniture.

One sticky problem is several boxes of photographs and slides that we've taken over the 45 years we've been together. There are thousands of Pix. It doesn't seem right to just pitch them...what to do? It took me two hours to scan in these nine pictures. I think the one above and below are on the nude Club Med beach in Martinique in 1985...25 years ago. Sometimes Mrs. Phred had big hair.

We're sitting in our living room in Tampa  in the shot below. The wall color leads me to think it's about 1990. Some of the pictures have turned purple....others have faded badly....that whole color photo thing before digital didn't age very well.

About 1980...I'm between jobs (my own CPA firm and going to work for 25 years for the American Cancer Society)....I'm putting on 2,000 square feet of shingles...

Wow...1967 in Tacoma...Mrs. Phred is going to the formal Officer's Christmas Party. I bought the picture in Bangkok and the furniture in Cebu City in the Philippines...The woman I picked up in 1965 at an FSU cast party in was "A Man for All Seasons"...

More camping out sometime in the 1970s....The other disposal problem is all the beer and wine making equipment...the Sauvignon Blanc kit had turned to dark vinegar and the John Bull kit seemed to have an expanded can since I stored it five years ago.....I think I'll pitch the beer too...I'm worried about botulism...that still leaves all the physical equipment to dispose...I think goodwill would just be confused if I gave it to them...Botulism causes paralysis...they have to put you on a ventilator for weeks if you live...

This is about 1992. We still have the 85 Mustang, but the dogs are a clue that it's on it's last legs

Bill Bailey gave me this ratty leather jacket. It has a place for a badge and extra ammo clips. No telling when.

Driving the old van on a long summer camping trip with Mrs. Phred and Phred, Jr. Date unknown.

Mrs. Phred picking her way...

Only about 9,991 photos left to scan....sigh!!!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Paradise Spoiled

The Gulf of Mexico..Middle Grounds

Captain Hubbard has been running fishing trips out of John's Pass since 1928. The population of Florida in 1928 was less than 2 million. It was before air-conditioning and when clouds of mosquitoes would eat you alive if you ventured out after dark. Inside Hubbard's shop there is a tank of lobsters. You can pay two dollars and maneuver a claw and try to catch a lobster. Outside there is a hurricane stimulator. For two bucks you can experience a 76 MPH hurricane.

Back in 1953 when I moved to Tampa, It was covered with swampy areas, orange groves and ponds. Once I walked back into a swamp and caught a 13 pound large mouth bass on a rubber eel. All those natural areas of  beauty have been filled in and covered with tract homes. The population of Florida has grown to 19 million and the old empty two lane blacktop roads of the 1950s have become bumper-to-bumper six lane gridlocks.

My father took me out into Tampa Bay in the 1950s to gather endless clumps of oysters in burlap bags. I had a friend named Buddy. When we were 13 we would hitchhike out to the causeway, buy some shrimp and end up with a big stringer of trout that lived in the sea grass. Once we rented a boat and motor. You could see down 20 feet in perfectly clear water and see the stingrays swim away as the boat shadow passed over.  We could hitchhike back home with the stringer of trout...the "stranger danger" thing was not there then...I'm not sure why it's here now.

By the 1970s, pollution of the Bay was so bad that all the sea grass and fish had disappeared. We would ride our bikes along "Bayshore" and see clumps of things at low tide  that looked and smelled like feces...a friend in a big CPA firm told me that it was only "malodorous substance".

So...anyway...Captain Hubbard has been running fishing trips since 1928. The "overnight" departs at 8 PM on Friday night, runs out 120 miles and starts fishing in the "Middle Grounds" at 4 AM. You fish for the next nineteen hours and then  run back to shore, arriving 6 AM Sunday morning. I met a few interesting people (Rusty and Curt) and caught about 30-40 pounds of Red Snapper. Back 50 years ago, you could go out a couple of miles and get a good catch. Now you need to go out to the middle grounds.

Mrs. Phred liked the Red Snapper I cooked for her last night...very fresh...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Monday, 11 October 2010

A Day on the Water

Offshore Sarasota
Chris and Al were kind enough to invite us onto their boat Sunday.

They have it docked right next to Marina Jack's in downtown Sarasota.

The boat is over 40 feet long. I find it hard to imagine all the work that Al has put into maintaining all the systems, electronics and paint.

I'm not sure that I've ever been on boat this size. It kicks up a tremendous wake after Al skillfully threads his way though miles of channels and sandbars.

The sheer wealth on display along miles of Sarasota shoreline (and other Florida beaches) is always mind-boggling...

Mrs. Phred enjoying the salt breeze.

Al and Chris invited four couples for the cruise. They served pizza and other munchies back at the dock.

Looks like its still lobster season in Florida. I was pleased to learn that the over 65 fishing license in Florida is free....They call the additional lobster stamp something like a "crawfish" permit.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Second Childhood?

Sarasota, Florida

The sand volleyball with the grizzled old guys for two hours this morning was fun. They rag a lot on each other but generally encouraged me as a newbie and gave me some pointers on serving..

I admit to hoping sometimes that they wouldn't hit the ball to me, but I think that feeling will go away in time. I didn't embarrass myself, but it reminded me of being eight and standing in right field hoping the ball would go the other way...

I spent the afternoon at the pool, reading the new Steven King book about the impenetrable dome that mysteriously appears over a small Maine town...kind of a "Lord of the Flies" for adults in the Twilight Zone...The big pool and the park are still fairly empty although the weather is really nice this time of year in Florida. It might be the best month other than April. I had a "belly buster" hot dog with fries for lunch.

In the evening we cranked up the round robin social doubles tennis. Mrs. Phred has just had my racket  restrung and a new wrap on the handle. It feels very sweet.when I whack the ball.

Hopefully, I'll be able to schedule something more blogable soon... maybe a SCUBA trip in the Gulf Stream or an overnight fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico?