When I was a freshman at F.S.U., I was on the way to a Football Game in the Fall. My date and I stopped by a store to get something to drink (I believe it was Mad Dog wine-yuk!) and there was an older woman there, dressed in her game day finest, who asked her husband:
Did I miss the Indian? I don’t want to miss the damn Indian.Game Day Lady.
The Indian in question was the person at the beginning of the home games at F.S.U., dressed like a Seminole Indian, who would ride on to the field on horseback and throw a flaming spear into the ground to signify the start of the game. To my chagrin, I have found that I have become that old lady.
I HATE to miss the beginning of the Cane’s Football games, when they burst out of the locker room amid smoke and pounding music, I won’t watch a movie in a theatre if I’ve missed the beginning and I even want to hear the opening of my CBS This Morning Show, where a trumpet plays the theme song. I have grown attached to these initiations and rituals and feel disappointed if I miss them.
I don’t feel the same about the endings, however. I’ve left plenty of UM games at halftime, have walked out of movies I hated (Michael comes to mind) and don’t always watch CBS This Morning to the end, although I try. I’ve been thinking a lot about beginnings and endings lately, as it pertains to my life.
Jane Fonda said:
I divided my life into three acts of 30 years each, because every 30 years, I tend to change.Jane Fonda
So, I guess I’m in the third act of my life and thinking about how I want it to go. I want to write more, spend more time with people I care about and become more of an activist. Like, when the lady next door who’s building her McMansion too close to our house goes to a hearing, I’m going to voice my displeasure that she gamed the system, by building first and asking forgiveness later.
And our Keys condo socked us with a huge assessment last year, which was a major hit, but Zeke and I agree we can’t complain if we never go to the monthly meetings (now on Zoom) and voice our opinion. So, basically, where I see injustice, I want to be a voice against it and not just personally, but overall. Now I sound like I want to be Wonder Woman, but of course I mean in whatever small way I can.
I got my Ancestry.com results and I was surprised to find I was almost as much Scottish (24%) as I am English (26%). Maybe that explains my frugality! My mother swears I act as if I was born in the Depression. I’m 15% Irish and 12% Southern Italian. In my 23 & Me results they said I was 13.9% Italian and Ancestry was more specific about the region in Italy, so I feel it gives more detailed results. I’m also 11% Welsh, 6% Swedish and 5% Aegean Islands and Greek, with 1% Nigerian. 23 & Me didn’t show me having any Nigerian DNA, so this is an interesting development. I feel a trip to Scotland, Wales and Ireland on the horizon, to go explore my roots.
I think third acts are also about exploring our past and looking to the future and what we want our legacy to be. How do we want to be remembered? And what do we want to do with the rest of this one precious life we were given?
My days in the Keys (Sunday through Wednesday) were peaceful and blissful. I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life Monday night (glad I skipped Final Jeopardy!), went paddle boarding Tuesday after a long hiatus, caught up on my reading and watched the heck out of Grace and Frankie. I ate out at two favorite spots- Key Largo Fisheries and Num Thai with a Mahi Cuban sandwich and Red Curry Chicken with Rice. Most of all, I felt like Greta Garbo- “I want to be alone.”
The food I made was simple; an Asian Chicken Soup with Noodles and Egg, a Spring Pasta with mushrooms, peas and onion, a recipe from Parade for Spicy Chicken Tacos on Tuesday. More than anything, I wanted comfort. I also tried a Tik Tok sensation for an easy, low calorie snack called Lettuce Chips.
They are basically Romaine Lettuce you tear into “chips” and dress with lemon juice, red wine vinegar and Himalayan salt. Well, I didn’t have red wine vinegar or Himalayan salt, so I used Apple Cider Vinegar and Kosher Salt and I have to say… they weren’t bad. You would never confuse them with actual potato chips, but they have the crunch, the salt and vinegar, so reminiscent of salt and vinegar chips and of course, so much healthier for you! Plus, calorie-wise, it’s zero calories vs. 160 for 11 Lays Wavy potato chips. So, it’s worth a try.
I returned Wednesday for a birthday lunch at North in Dadeland. I’d never been, but the Italian Salad I got was very good, as was the Cacio y Pepe Pizza. Thursday night a rain storm woke me up and, unable to sleep, I decided to make a recipe for Benne Cookies out of the New York Times Food section at 3 a.m. I like to try cookie recipes for meetings or parties I’m going to; that way I get to try them, but am not left with a cookie jarful at home to tempt me.
I took these to The Villager’s meeting at the Coral Gables Art Cinema Friday morning and they were a big hit. “Who made the Sesame Cookies?” someone asked. I proudly raised my hand and some ladies who hadn’t tried them, went down to grab a sample. This cookie is different than most. It’s buttery, nutty and crunchy, with a delicate flavor to it. Since I didn’t have enough white sesame seeds, I used black ones for half the seeds. Did you know sesame seeds can be white, yellow, black or red? I did not. They are also one of the oldest oilseed plants known, having been cultivated more than 3000 years ago.
I went from The Villagers Meeting to the End-of-the-Year Tennis Party for my Beta tennis team. I brought Meringues and the rest of the sesame cookies, as I want to get these babies out of my house! Too tempting and I have to get into Beach Body shape for our upcoming trip. Our tennis team didn’t have the best season, but it was a nice get together.
Friday night, we had a simple appetizer of Beef Carpaccio for Happy Hour at home. Zeke had gotten pre-sliced and plated Beef Carpaccio and I topped it with marinated artichoke hearts, sliced Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sprinkled it with truffle salt and served it with toasted French bread. This is reminiscent of our favorite Beef Carpaccio at Blu, an Italian restaurant in South Miami that closed a couple years ago. You can buy the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio at Meat and Bone for $14.99. It makes an easy, yet impressive appetizer.
I had a Baby Shower Saturday at Deering Bay and friends came over for dinner Saturday night. I made a Poblano Chili Souffle, a delicious dish that I can NEVER give the recipe out for, as I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Since it was a Mexican dish, I had Tortilla Chips with Red Salsa, Guacamole Autentico and a Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde, all Trader Joe’s products. I can definitely recommend the Guacamole! It was slightly spicy, chunky and smooth and tasted homemade. Dump it into a molcajete and garnish with some chopped tomato, onion and cilantro, and your guests will think you knocked yourself out.
To go with the Poblano Souffle we grilled Pork Tenderloin and I made a Mexican inspired Salad with Romaine, Jicama, orange bell pepper, Pickled Red Onion and Pumpkin Seeds. It was a riot of colors and flavors and I dressed it with a Cilantro Lime Dressing from the Serve It Up! cookbook. It was delicious! Martha brought a homemade Flan for dessert.
Sunday, I was very excited to take my great niece Grace to Frozen, presented at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, my Alma Mater. When I got the email about the play, I’d thought about taking her, but never got tickets. Well, the production got postponed twice, so when I had a second chance, I got tickets. She’d planned her outfit for days and looked adorable; she was so excited. I asked her if she’d ever been to a play before and she said she’d seen Frozen at Disney World and “it snowed at the end.”
I told her not to expect that at this play and, it didn’t snow, but it was magical in its own way. We didn’t linger long because Grace had a Tea Party Birthday to get to.
Being back in the cafeteria where I sat my Freshman Year to get my homeroom assignment, ate many mediocre lunches, made friends and performed in a couple productions on that same stage, flashed me back to my High School years at Lourdes. So much time has passed, but I’m essentially the same person I’ve always been.
I still love cooking, Elvis, reading, writing and traveling. It will be my 45th High School reunion next year. And this English, Scottish, Irish, Italian, Welsh, Swedish, Greek and Nigerian, Heinz 57 Lourdes Girl will be ready for it! I don’t want to miss the beginning or the ending of this story. While I’ve always liked beginnings, I’ve also favored sunsets over sunrises.
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all It’s time to see what I can do To test the limits and break through No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free.Let It Go, Frozen
Up Next: Benne Cookies