Alesia: a family based Vietnamese-French resturant

If you like tasty pho, French pastry and delicious coffee, Alesia will soon be one of your favorite spots for lunch.

Alesia serves delicious French Vietnamese dishes based on original homemade family recipes of the The Lye family.

The Lye, a Vietnamese man, relocated to France after the 1975 fall of Saigon. His two daughters Erika Ly-Hsu and. Sandra Ly-Flores grew up on his flavorful complex broth-based dishes. The two sisters enlisted the support of their husbands to join their venture as partners, added their father as a founding chef and their mother as dessert chef.

Our meal today is pictured below, Bun vermicelli noodles with herbs and lettuce topped with egg rolls and vegetable pho. The vegetable pho broth is as rich as the bone broth and has lots of baby bok choy and mushrooms.

Our meal today

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Alesia is located at 7204 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL

Special thanks is given to Kara VanDooijeweert. Her article in “I Love the Burg” provided background history on the establishment. For additional information on Alesia see:

website: https://www.alesiarestaurant.com/,

Instagram: @alesia_restaurant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alesiarestaurant/

Spanish Point

Selby Botanical Garden Spanish Point is located on the Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey, Florida – south of Sarasota and north of Venice.

A beautiful cool sunny day in Florida beckoned us outdoors. So off we head to Spanish Point to spend time with a friend we had not seen in several months. Spanish Point’s history unfolded as we walked nature trails that wove through homestead buildings and archeological sites.

Spanish Point provides a little of everything on a small scale. By meandering through accessible nature trails, Spanish Point gives a brief glimpse of pioneer homestead seashore operations (1870s), an archeological indication of habitation from 5,000 to 1,000 AD and of course a butterfly garden.

Zebra butterfly
First thought the red object was a berry. Closer examination revealed it was a bug. So a quick step back, since we didn’t know what the creature was and are too familiar with biting insects.

The Selby Spanish Point campus is a 30-acre environmental and historical complex composed of native and introduced botanicals, marsh and bay ecosystem, homestead houses, prehistoric mounds and archeological dig.

Choke berry

Findings indicate prehistoric habitation of the site began about 5,000 years ago. Using the abundant resources provided by the Gulf of Mexico, prehistoric people living on Tampa Bay’s shoreline transitioned from nomadic hunters and gatherers to settlers. The site’s archaeological records indicate the prehistoric settlers disappeared sometime prior to 1100 AD.

In 1867, the John Webb family from Utica, New York established a homestead on Spanish Point overlooking Little Sarasota Bay. He gave the name “Spanish Point” to the land he settled to honor the Spanish trader who advised him of its elevation. The Webb family built their homestead house, planted citrus, sugar cane and vegetables and built a citrus packing house and boat yard. In the early 1900’s, the Webb family sold parcels of the homestead to new settlers.

Frank and Lizzie Webb Guptill House is furnished to depict the Florida pioneer era
The lawn of the Gupill House slopes down toward the Boat Yard.

Then in 1910, a wealthy Chicago socialite, Bertha Palmer (widow of Potter Palmer) purchased 350 acres around the Spanish Point homestead as well as thousands of acres for cattle ranching, citrus groves and real estate development. She preserved the pioneer buildings and connected them with lavish formal gardens and lawns. After her death in 1918, her family maintained the property and encouraged its nomination for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1975, it became the first site in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register. In 1980, the Palmer heirs donated Spanish Point to the Gulf Coast Heritage Association. In May of 2020, it became a companion campus of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens of Sarasota.

Miniature aqueduct built by Mrs. Bertha Palmer to provide water to cascade over shells.
Snake plant: none of us had seen it bloom.

For me, I simply enjoyed spending a beautiful crisp, cool sunny day walking in nature with friends.  One of those days where you want to point your face to the sun, hold your arms out and thankfully say “What a Gorgeous Day.”  

Overlooking Little Sarasota Bay, surrounded by nature , Spanish Point is a perfect setting for a picnic lunch. Plenty of places to eat your sandwich or fruit and nuts and quietly contemplate the beauty of nature.

January cleanse

How many of you have done a cleanse? To start the new year off right, my partner and I did a 5 day program incorporating herbs and probiotics with a diet of raw fruits and vegetables.

Nancy’s fancy arugula, corn and blueberry salad

The object of a cleanse is not to lose weight, although Nancy lost 5 lbs., but to give your digestive system a rest and refresh. I found that my holiday bloated belly is remarkably flatter. We both felt well with a few side effects, we both had a headache the second day, probably coffee withdrawal. I felt some activity in my lymph nodes that subsided by the fourth day..

Typical breakfast: Dragon fruit, orange, banana apple and raspberry
Nancy’s Five Fruit breakfast
Mid morning snack

One of the pleasures of this program is you get to eat every two hours and we enjoyed so many colorful fruits and vegetables. You’re meant to eat them all raw, but I made one meal of very lightly sauteed zucchini noodles with raw tomatoes and basil. My favorite salad was kale, apple and carrot in a lemon olive oil dressing with sesame seeds. I blended a small avocado in the dressing for extra fat. Remember, the goal was not to lose weight and I added fat wherever possible. I sometimes added blue cheese dressing, which has the added benefit of being probiotic.

Kale, apple, carrot salad topped with blueberries
A hot meal: sautéed zucchini noodles with fresh tomatoes and basil

We found that our salads and snacks were easily portable when we were going to be away from home for most of the day.

Lunch on the go, picnic in the park

It’s really important to drink a lot of water, at least as many ounces as half your weight in pounds. So 140 pounds translates to 70 ounces of water. We drank Golden Milk for our morning beverage and it was such a treat I may not go back to coffee. Golden Milk powder is a blend from Spice Walla, a gift from my daughter in Asheville.

So tomorrow we add back in protein, but we plan to exclude meat and dairy for a while. We’ll get our protein from protein powder (soy and plant based), nuts, beans and eggs. I’m looking forward to continuing the good habits we’ve established with our New Year cleanse.

For more information on ways to improve your health, check out my website: https:/pws.Shaklee.com/Deidre-lines

Build your immune system

What is our best defense against highly contagious viruses?   Most people agree that being vaccinated is a responsible action.  We can also wear masks, stay away from crowds and wash our hands frequently.  All of these actions are recommended by health authorities. 

I think these actions are good and I recommend them, but what are we overlooking in this situation?  Our bodies are designed to protect and defend themselves at the cellular level.  What else can we do to help ourselves stay healthy?  Lots of things! 

We can start by understanding how our immune systems work and providing the necessary building blocks through nutrition.   We need high quality, easily digested protein to make cell defenders. We need antioxidants to neutralize free radicals caused by inflammation, stress, infection and aging.

Let’s start with just that combination of nutrients.

If you have a good balance of amino acids (proteins), your body can more effectively regulate the production of T cells (lymphocytes), B lymphocytes, NK cells (natural killer), and macrophages (act like pacmen to eat foreign invaders).  Protein is also essential to the production of antibodies.

Other important contributors to a healthy immune system are antioxidants.  Antioxidants destroy free radicals and help protect the structural integrity of the cell.  In other words, they keep the protective coating of the cell intact so invaders can’t get in.

The immune system is a highly complex system that is not so simply explained, but we can start with these two important aspects.  We can ensure that we get high quality, easily digested protein.  I supplement with a soy or plant-based protein every morning to kick start my day.   Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants and are abundant any time of year.   It’s best to buy local in season produce, but let your senses guide you.   Look for bright colors, red, yellow, orange, purple and of course green.

For more information on how to improve your health, check out my website: https://pws.shaklee.com/deidre-lines/

Sautéed zucchini with fresh tomatoes and basil
Oranges are in season!
My favorite protein for morning smoothie

Little Guatemala in Western Carolina

With Christian Ramazzini at Little Guatemala

The culmination of a relaxing vacation was a stop in Morganton NC to see old friends with an exciting new venture. Erica and Christian Ramazzini renovated a building at 810 East Union Street into a charming cafe serving freshly roasted Guatemalan coffee, pastries and Guatemalan street food like tostadas. You can also purchase traditional craft items, clothing, coffee beans and handmade bean to bar chocolate displayed in the storefront. You can sit inside or on the spacious back porch.

Mouthwatering pastries and savories
Mi amigas especial Nancy Neely and Marilia Carter

Most impressive is the indoor soccer field in the adjoining building. There are bleachers for spectators and an area for concessions. You can rent a slot of time for your event, after-school program or summer camp.

Check out Little Guatemala at littleguatemala.com or call 828 448-5934

In the Field

Just imagine, of all the places to be in the universe…
In the Field

I died there; birthed there
Lived anew; bore anew …
I killed and was killed
Tried and failed and tried again
I won and I lost, was lost, yet learned my way,
Loved and was abandoned, loved and was full of joy …
I left and returned, was unforgiven and forgave.

Walked a mile without shoes
Ran nowhere
Wore out shoes
Chose shoes of various colors
Was chased, outcast, or was embraced
Glamoured under the mantle of one after another
And always seemed to recover each time with my own face.

Vast, in yellow wildflower, poppy in innocence, or swaying humble wheat
Between the Wood and the Vale
Stretched yet subtle like canvass
Inviting as a stage
Welcoming as familiar warm water vapor shapes everchanging high in a cool blue sky …
And real as any past present future potentiality
Where I reside with you in all things. 

Akashic Field

Where Has the Civility Gone?

I have had countless conversations with people over the last few years about this very subject. I have witnessed and experienced in my own life, the severing of ties of friendship over ideology, especially since the opening of Pandora’s box called Trumpism. While Donald Trump has been the catalyst for fully opening the doors and windows to this energy, he is not the creator of it, he is simply the byproduct of energies that have been festering for decades and generations.

We are a spoiled lot in this country of the United States. On the whole, most home-grown Americans have little idea how the rest of the world lives, save a few movies and television programs. Many of us consider it a major calamity if our washing machine breaks down while many in this world barely have the opportunity to find any source of water to drink, much less wash what clothes they have.

We are embroiled in a battle of cancel culture versus grievance culture, with both sides screaming to be heard above the other. We are quickly losing the civility of conversation and understanding which have been the underpinnings of the origins of this experiment called the United States of America.

I have been reading a marvelous book by the historian Clay s. Jenkinson, titled Repairing Jefferson’s America. The cancel culture has been calling for the removal of not only statues of the Confederacy, but statues of Jefferson, including the Jefferson Memorial, and even Mount Rushmore. Like most people, I  abhor racism and all things alluding to the denigration of any race of human beings. But I do not believe that erasing our past is how we make for a better future.

In the book Repairing Jefferson’s America, Mr. Jenkinson goes on to explain that if we want to understand America, we must try to understand Jefferson. With all his inconsistencies and his paradoxes, he mirrors the inconsistencies and the paradoxes of the American experiment. Is it not better as he suggests, to engage in a continuous national conversation about Jefferson, about the Founding Fathers, many by the way who were slaveholders, and those very inconsistencies, than to turn away in disgust?

Mr. Jenkinson also writes; “We don’t fix America by erasing things we now find intolerable. We must attempt to be fair, reasoned, deliberate, and contextual in exploring our troubled history. Like it or not we are the heirs of generations of imperfect men and women.”

Rather than have a serious, civil, national conversation, we are embroiled in multiple sides seeking the advantage over each other. Back in 2020 when covid started to impact our lives, I said this was the moment that would become a mirror to us all, waiting to see which part of us was going to show up. I truly was not expecting the level of anger, divisiveness, and sheer disdain for each other that came to the surface. The all too present racism that many thought had disappeared simply came back with a vengeance, in part fueled by the rhetoric of a President more interested in his own interests than in the welfare of the country. Some of you will disagree with that statement- you are entitled to your opinion as well. This is not a commentary on Trump, it is a commentary on who we truly are as human beings, as Americans.

Mr. Jenkinson also writes; “The behavior of the most extreme partisans of our culture is pushing us in the direction of the Roman Republic in its final days. Beyond this, the partisan paralysis of the U.S. Congress has left us without a national healthcare policy, national emergency policy, national energy policy, national immigration policy, or national education policy. Our infrastructure is deteriorating. Great nations find ways to address their fundamental problems.”

While we attack each other over masks and vaccines, people are dying not only of covid but of neglect and of institutional racism. The media is certainly complicit in fostering this dissent, after all, it’s good for ratings and for their coffers. But in the end, WE are responsible for how we act and react. It is sad indeed that most people do their “research” and get their information on Facebook as if it is the bastion of truth.

It is not lost on me that every side has an agenda, every side wants to be heard. What is disheartening is that people think that a meme on Facebook and other outlets of information is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. One post on Facebook made the statement that nurses not being allowed to work in a hospital without being vaccinated was tat amount to living in a communist country. Meanwhile, this same person was and is a supporter of a former President who not only admired but defended and attempted to mirror the very head of communism, Putin. This same former President that tried to overturn a legitimate, legal, constitutional election, who rallied and fomented an attack on the Capitol, and in the face of incontrovertible evidence, his supporters in Congress are doing all they can to revise history. Not so different from state after state in GOP control are doing all they can to erase America’s history of racism.

It may appear that I am taking sides here, and in some ways I am. But my purpose for writing this is not about taking sides, it’s about coming together and acknowledging our difference without anger, without violence, without destroying history. We need history so that we may learn from it, grow from it, and change things for the better for ALL people.

As we are dealing with a resurgence of covid, we are coming into a time of enhanced divisiveness and violence over masks and vaccines. Meanwhile, while we fight over masks, fight over the efficacy of the vaccines, let me remind those who protest the vaccines that if it were not for vaccines for polio, malaria, smallpox, and Diptheria, many of you would not even be alive.

I close this rambling to simply say this: I believe America is on the precipice of great change. It is up to each of us to determine what that change is going to look like. Do we come together in respect and civility with the common goal to improve our country for ALL people? Or do we continue the decline, thinking the more we argue, fight and disrespect one another, the better we will be?

Deep within every person is as Lincoln said, “the better angels of our nature”. I pray that each of us connects with those angels, allowing us to come together in a common cause to not only save ourselves but each other.

May you live in peace and the grace of all things good.

Michael

http://www.mntmyst.com

Craggy Gardens

Pinnacle of Craggy Gardens

The view from the pinnacle at Craggy Gardens, NC is spectacular. It’s an easy climb up a well worn path reinforced with stones and timbers. It takes about 30 minutes to drive to the trailhead from the Blue Ridge Parkway just east of Asheville and then about 30 minutes to reach the summit. That’s if your companion doesn’t stop every few feet to capture an unusual flower with her camera. The gardens in the name must refer to the variety of wildflowers growing along the path abuzz with what appear to be little bumble bees and honey bees.

The lovely Nancy in her element

We were welcomed to the pinnacle by a charming volunteer named Matthew, who explained that we were looking down onto the Asheville Watershed, an important source of water for surrounding areas. Matthew turned out to be a kindred spirit from St. Petersburg. He graduated from Boca Ciega High a year after me and recently moved to Swannanoa. We passed through Swannanoa on the way to the Red Rocker Inn in Black Mountain and I could see how one would be tempted by its lush beauty.

Kindred spirit at the pinnacle

At the Temple of Truth

The Reverend Diane Scribner Clevenger on the left

I’ve found a quiet place to reset on Sunday morning. The Unity Temple of Truth at 511 Prescott St. S in St. Petersburg FL has a service at 10 am that is just what I was looking for. We start with a meditation and reading from the Daily Word, a devotional guide published by Unity. The hymnal has classic, easy to sing hymns along with the Lord’s Prayer. The closing hymn is always “Let there be Peace on Earth “. There are different speakers each week. Last week, the Reverend Linda McCleod assured us that not only were we loved, but we were necessary on the planet. This week, the Reverend Diane Scribner Clevenger focused on the power of understanding from the heart. I purchased her book, Pray Attention, a nice little portable workbook with sacred meditations and a downloadable audio track.

This community is small and welcoming while maintaining safety measures as we emerge from the Pandemic. My mother had not been attending in person church and I felt comfortable to bring her as well.

Both Rev. Diane and Rev. Linda have daily live meditations on Facebook. I recommend you check them out.

From the Couch: A Different Kind of Travel

What’s ‘e Matter You, ey?

You are ‘e matter, that which occupies space and possesses rest mass. what is matter – Bing

Vitruvian Woman

One More Minute, please.

You can think You are at rest, but the matter in You is not. The matter in You is always moving.

“E equals mc squared may be the most famous equation in the world, but what you might not know is that it isn’t the whole story. It just describes objects that have mass and that aren’t moving. The full equation is E squared equals mc squared squared plus p times c squared, where p represents the momentum of the object in question.” The complete formula of Mass-energy equivalence explained | Britannica

And of course, that mass of You on the couch is moving atop the mass of the planet hurdling through space…

You Should Feel Better About Yourself Already

Remember, You always have momentum (the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity — motion is determined by dividing the distance covered by the time it takes to travel that distance. how do you measure movement – Bing

About that Minute…

If You are always moving in some way, even if just molecularly, your matter is subject to the effects of time, irrevocably following the arrow of time from the present into the future…

This is why your Beauty is timeless, but You are not.

Keat's urn

“…O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

“Physicists define time as the progression of events from the past to the present into the future. Basically, if a system is unchanging, it is timeless. Time can be considered to be the fourth dimension of reality, used to describe events in three-dimensional space. It is not something we can see, touch, or taste, but we can measure its passage.” What Is Time? A Simple Explanation (thoughtco.com)

Time isn’t Matter, but Time Matters

KILTED SPIRIT LIVE : COVER’S BOB DYLAN :TANGLED UP IN BLUE 🏜😎👍✌ – Bing video

But I digress. I think, therefore I am…confused. Things just are as they are. – Helen’s Irreverent Blog (wordpress.com)

(Back To) The Here and Now (?)

quantum mechanics | ZenGut (sigh)

“Real” Science

do thoughts have mass – Bing – apparently it depends on who You talk to

How Much Does a Thought Weigh? | NOVA | PBS

Here’s A Thought

You are more than the sum of your parts (first attributable to Aristotle, they say, back in the day Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Worth Your Weight in Gold

😊

So, Chin Up! See You next time with a whole new ballgame: Light.

Other reading: top 5 philosophers of all time – Bing

Fun fact: a ‘jiffy’ the amount of time light takes to travel one fermi (about the size of a nucleon) in a vacuum. Unit of time – Wikipedia