1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Occupy Destin(ation)--A Christmas Visit to the Redneck Riviera

Peanut, the Christmas tree occupier

Peanut occupied the space beneath the Christmas tree where the presents usually go. Her food and water bowls were full, the litter box was clean and ready for use, so what did she care that the presents were loaded into the car instead of piled up on the tree skirt? She didn't so much as wave a paw as we shut and locked the front door behind us.

Instead of the usual gathering at one of our homes, this year for Christmas we decided to occupy Destin, also known as the World's Luckiest Fishing Village. This being the off season, hotel rooms were cheap. We stayed at a fairly new, very nice one not far from Harbor Walk, and the cost was only $59 a night (plus tax). You don't have to wait for your ship to come in to enjoy a weekend stay here in winter.

There were plenty of things to see and do to keep a busy boy occupied and still for a few minutes.

Grandson would gladly have lent a hand in this catch but perhaps not so eager to help with the cleaning of the fish. He thinks he's already old enough to go on a deep sea fishing trip. Maybe next year.

We were fortunate to have a warm, sunny day for Christmas Eve. Grandson's other grandma had come for a week-long visit and said this was the first really nice day they'd had all week.

One of Grandson's favorite places to go in Destin or in Spanish Fort, Alabama is Bass Pro Shop. His daddy has been to the original, flagship store in Springfield, Missouri. He was just as fascinated by the fish swimming around the huge tank there, even though they were bass and catfish instead of redfish and jack cravelle.

While Grandson went down for a much-needed nap in his parents' room and his other grandma prepared a wonderful Peruvian meal for us, Daughter, SAM, and I took a walk on the beach. You can find snowmen even here in Florida, though they tend to sag a bit. Sand doesn't pack as well as the stuff the real ones are made of.

Sometimes they decide to get a suntan on the beach. This one was sans bathing attire. I guess he doesn't know this ain't the French Riviera. It's the Redneck Riviera, buddy, and they don't allow that kind of thing here. Count your blessings...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Sandy Claws' Rides Again

Father Christmas (Santa Claus?) Bearing Gifts by Goat
(picture from article about Santa Claus in Wikipedia )
Now that the kids are grown and (mostly) moved away from the family nest--wherever that happens to rest at the moment--I miss those bedtime stories we used to enjoy together. Winter nights are especially difficult. The early onset of darkness and its companion COLD keep us inside with hours to go before we sleep.

Shall I read to you, dear? Television has no more allure. We've both exhausted our gender-determined word allowances for the day. Let's open a book--novel idea!--and see if we can kill a little time, dispel the darkness, find some meaning in life, ignore that bottle of French brandy sitting on the counter...

So we climb into bed, and I open a new favorite Christmas story. It's Bret Harte's short story "How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar." I found it in one of the red-bound, Black's Reader Service Company books that Mom gave me from Dad's extensive book collection. Now you might think it's a strange one to choose from a veritable treasure trove of stories concocted about the old fellow over hundreds of years. I guess I like it because it's not your traditional sappy story. It's written by a man whose genius captures his fellow Americans, male and female, simultaneously as the fools they are and the heroes that they become. I have to wonder. Are we really as complicated and conflicted as that? Not so easily pigeon-holed or neatly wrapped and ribboned as social and political scientists would have us be?

Better not think too much. "Do not all charms fly/ At the mere touch of cold philosophy?" (Keats, "Lamia")

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jane Austen: No Swooning Allowed

If not for SAM's cold--probably contracted whilst celebrating at Walk2Write's post-graduation party last Sunday (a bitterly cold day) on the patio of a local Mexican restaurant, somewhat warmed by propane heaters but still drafty--a visit by the irascible sister-in-law would be imminent this weekend. Fortunately, or not as you might imagine, the weekend was saved, and there was another celebration of sorts. Walk2Write was alerted to the fact that today is the 236th anniversary of Jane Austen's birthday. Love and Friendship was read and enjoyed for the first time ever by yours truly and SAM, whilst on the deck of their tree house, warmed by the afternoon sun and each other's company. It doesn't get any better than this and probably shouldn't.

Merry Christmas and may God bless you!

Friday, December 9, 2011

'Press On,' Literally

If you have been following yours truly since the beginning of this blog, you know that the journal and the journey began with a dream. The dream may have been put on hold for a while, but the journey continued. I didn't want to talk about the dream anymore; it went into a box and was sealed up for a while.

Then we moved to Tallahassee, and the most amazing thing happened. The dream was so strong that it broke the seal on the box and danced around in my head again. Its rhythmic beat would not be still. So I let it play out, the whole song, the whole dream. Only I didn't want to share it again with ya'll. I kept it close to the chest and piled on the layers. Call it superstition if you like. I prefer to call it intuition.

School is now over, and the test has been taken
My faith has been tested, but it wouldn't be shaken
The reason is clear
If you choose to look here

"Press On" were the words
That I heard in my head
"Press On" were the words quite real
The words that often were spoken
The words that heal
The broken...


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Walk2Write's Lasagna Theory of Social Penetration or How to Break the Ice

By now, most people are aware of the Onion Theory of Communication or Social Penetration Theory. As someone who enjoys preparing and eating good food, I have to wonder why the theory, originated by social psychologists Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor in the early 1970s, relies on the lowly onion to reveal such a complex idea. Maybe because it's now such a universal root, cultivated and eaten throughout most of the world? Given the current globalization and resulting complexity of everything, including cuisine, perhaps the time has come for consuming a new, more elaborate metaphor: Walk2Write's Lasagna Theory of Social Penetration.

I've been preparing this dish for more than 30 years so I know a thing or two about how it can spark a conversation and cement relationships. We (SAM and I) were newly wed, and it was the first dish I prepared for "important company," namely SAM's first boss and his wife. It made a favorable impression on them, and I was even asked for the recipe. I was overjoyed that it turned out so well, but why should I have been surprised? The recipe has only failed me one time, and that was when I prepared it in someone else's kitchen using her not-so-fresh ingredients. Yes, the quality of the ingredients make a big difference, so don't even think about using ancient pasta or cheese that's a little green around the edges. Conversation will fall flat on its face in a hurry.

The recipe (discourse) begins (I hope!):

1 pound of lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken
1 medium size onion, chopped finely
1 green pepper, chopped finely

Combine the above ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat until most of the moisture has evaporated. This step is important, and I'm guessing it's because the other ingredients' unique flavors would be lost in excess vapor when they are added later on. Have you ever noticed how the same kind of thing happens when someone or a select few dominate the conversation?

Add to saucepan:
28-32 ounces crushed tomatoes
12 ounces tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
A few bay leaves
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. dried chipotle or other red pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup honey (more or less depending on how acidic the tomatoes are)

Simmer for at least one hour over low heat with the lid slightly ajar. Remove bay leaves if you can find them. If they're as old as the hills, they can crumble and get lost in the sauce. It's sort of like what happens to an elderly statesman these days in a room full of freshman lawmakers.

Prepare a 13 x 9-inch glass pan by coating it liberally inside with olive oil. Ladle enough of the sauce in the pan to cover the bottom of it. Arrange dry lasagna noodles (I use whole wheat pasta) over the sauce to cover it. Reserve the rest of the meat/tomato sauce for the final layer.

32 oz. small curd cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spread just enough of the above ingredients to cover the noodles. Cover with grated mozzarella. Repeat with another two layers (noodles and then cottage cheese mixture) but without sauce and without mozzarella. The final layer will consist of noodles, cottage cheese mixture, and the remaining meat/tomato sauce. I haven't mentioned the exact quantity of noodles required for the recipe because it varies. The brand you buy, the size and thickness of the noodle, the number of layers you decide upon: all of these factors determine how much you will use. It's much safer to speak in generalities at first anyway. People think you're weird if you get too specific or seem to know everything about a subject. There's no room for discussion. They think you think you're an expert, and the relationship is over before it begins.

Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil (necessary to cook the dry noodles). Bake in 375-degree (Fahrenheit) oven for at least one hour, maybe 1 1/4 hours, depending on the number of layers. Uncover pan (carefully! the trapped steam is very hot) and add enough grated mozzarella cheese to cover sauce. Return pan to oven and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for another 15 minutes or until cheese browns.

This is a dish suitable for guests, best served with a mixed green salad, some French or Italian bread drizzled with olive oil, and a bottle of dry red wine. Of note, it also works fairly well with the Chronobiotic nutrition plan that SAM and I are trying. It's a "shrub" dish (please see my earlier post). The eggs and the onion are the only exceptions to the rule of "shrub" since they're both considered "roots."
Peanut, the Skate-on-the-Stairs Cat
I must say that since I started on the Chronobiotic plan I've gotten a little lighter on my feet, to the tune of about four pounds, which is a very good thing. Peanut certainly keeps me on my toes, and I've gotten more adept at sidestepping things in my path. That includes conforming to the Onion Theory. I'd rather talk about lasagna.

The laminae have more stamina
The lamellae aren't as smelly
These layers are oh-so nice
When you're trying to break the ice