Half Moon over Leafy Green

Half moon rising in the East

Today was sparkling clear with the crisp chill of a Northeast autumn, our version of a winter day. We set out for downtown St. Petersburg with high hopes for a parking space and outdoor seating on the sidewalk in front of our favorite raw food restaurant, Leafy Greens.

And the Gods were smiling upon us. Two of the three outdoor tables were up against the wall and we dragged them out in the sun. We had a northeast wind of up to 20 mph, so several of us ordered the delicious fresh tomato basil soup. I recommend their raw tacos housed in romaine boats with walnut, crunchy veggies and hummus filling and a spicy sauce. Helen ordered the red lentil curry which she enjoyed but suggested they kick up the seasoning a bit. The avocado toast has the most delicious bread. Anthony was our chef and waiter and balanced his tasks with grace. We all felt like old friends before we left.

We’ve lived in this city long enough to know better, but we blithely headed to our next destination: Williams Park for Localtopia. We had the good sense to avoid the long lines for the food trucks, and were not expecting a line down three city blocks to get into the park. There were two issues, the bottleneck at the gate for COVID screening and the capacity limit for the venue. When we realized that the people waiting were waiting for spots that would only open up if people left, we abandoned our plans for the afternoon. We were disappointed to miss the headliner, Ariella. Maybe we’ll catch her later at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota or the Clearwater Jazz Festival at the end of February.

We consoled ourselves with a walk in the park at Seminole Lake. This was the spot where I saw my first roseate spoonbill and I was hoping to see another but none were about. There were the usual variety of shore birds and a sweet duck couple.

Ladies first

Finally we stopped at Sprouts in search of evaporated coconut milk, which my hairdresser says is the best coffee creamer. We stocked up on their brand of coconut cream as well. Lots of yummy coconut for healthy brains! Of course, foodies that we are, we couldn’t resist the BOGO gluten-free crackers and Lilly’s stevia sweetened chocolate. And Plant City strawberries 3 for $5!

Our favorite band

Nick and Ari

This is my all time favorite musical group. They were called Ari and the Alibis, but they are now going by Ariella, whether it’s the full band or just Ari and her husband guitarist Nicholas Kraster. Ariella McManus leads the band with vocals, many her original songs. The following story of love and redemption is one of my favorites, Don’t be Afraid from the Home album.

Don’t be afraid

The group is based in Sarasota, but play all around the Bay Area. The photo above was taken at the Hideaway in St. Petersburg by Lenore Duensing, a brilliant photographer that was nice enough to share her front row table with us. I’ve also caught them at Caddies, both Gulfport and Sunset Beach locations and the Ale and the Witch in St. Petersburg.

Check them out at Ariellamusic.com

On the way to Mt. Dora…

Road trip! A short one, but full of promise. Mt. Dora is one of Florida’s hidden gems so we’re off for a ride in the country. It’a about two hours away from St. Petersburg but of course it took us longer. Our first stop along the way was a tantalizing produce stand in Okahumpka, preceded by hand painted signs , Strawberries, Tangeloes, Mangoes. So we bought strawberries, tangeloes and mangoes after the lovely Kristin offered us a sample of each.

We were almost there when we saw a pretty building with a sign, German Bakery. We decided it was necessary to take a bathroom break and maybe get a little snack. We left with spinach and broccoli quiche, apple strudel and a chocolate almond pastry.

Because we dawdled on the way, we were 5 minutes late for our golf cart tour of historic downtown Mt. Dora. We called and our charming new friend John met us on a corner and helped us find a place to park on the crowded narrow streets. One of the nice things about Mt. Dora is they don’t have parking meters. We were glad to see that the Van Gogh house was still starry starry, she persevered and won!

Our tour guide John was very knowledgeable and gave us the lay of the land so we could find our way back to the area off Tremain St. where we could walk along the lake at sunset. On the way we stopped at Tony’s Chowder House on Donnelly St. (also recommended by John). Our waiter treated us like guests in her home and guided us through the menu when we had trouble choosing from so many delicacies. We settled on their specialties: creamy clam chowder, spicy crab cake and juicy lobster salad with fresh Cole slaw.

Here are some pretty shots taken from our final destination of the day, Granthum Point Park.


🥀     🌿    🥀    🌿     🥀

“I am the pain in your head, the knot in your stomach, the unspoken grief in your smile.
I am your high blood sugar, your elevated blood pressure, your fear of challenge, your lack of trust.
I am your hot flashes, your cold hands and feet, your agitation and your fatigue.
I am your shortness of breath, your fragile low back, the cramp in your neck, the despair in your sigh.
I am the pressure on your heart, the pain down your arm, your bloated abdomen, your constant hunger.
I am where you hurt, the fear that persists, your sadness of dreams unfulfilled.
I am your symptoms, the causes of your concern, the signs of imbalance, your condition of dis-ease.
You tend to disown me, suppress me, ignore me, inflate me, coddle me, condemn me.
I am not coming forth for myself as I am not separate from all that is you.
I come to garner your attention, to enjoin your embrace so I can reveal my secrets.
I have only your best interests at heart as I seek health and wholeness by simply announcing myself.
You usually want me to go away immediately, to disappear, to sleek back into obscurity.
You mostly are irritated or frightened and many times shocked by my arrival.
From this stance you medicate in order to eradicate me.
Ignoring me, not exploring me, is your preferred response.
More times than not I am only the most recent notes of a long symphony, the most evident branches of roots that have been challenged for seasons.
So I implore you, I am a messenger with good news, as disturbing as I can be at times.
I am wanting to guide you back to those tender places in yourself,
the place where you can hold yourself with compassion and honesty.
If you look beyond my appearance you may find that I am a voice from your soul.
Calling to you from places deep within that seek your conscious alignment.
I may ask you to alter your diet, get more sleep, exercise regularly, breathe more consciously.
I might encourage you to see a vaster reality and worry less about the day to day fluctuations of life.
I may ask you to explore the bonds and the wounds of your relationships.
I may remind you to be more generous and expansive or to attend to protecting your heart from insult.
I might have you laugh more, spend more time in nature, eat when you are hungry and less when pained or bored, spend time every day, if only for a few minutes, being still.
Wherever I lead you, my hope is that you will realize that success will not be measured by my eradication, but by the shift in the internal landscape from which I emerge.
I am your friend, not your enemy. I have no desire to bring pain and suffering into your life.
I am simply tugging at your sleeve, too long immune to gentle nudges.
I desire for you to allow me to speak to you in a way that enlivens your higher instincts for self-care.
My charge is to energize you to listen to me with the sensitive ear and heart
of a mother attending to her precious baby.
You are a being so vast, so complex, with amazing capacities for self-regulation and healing.
Let me be one of the harbingers that lead you to the mysterious core of your being
where insight and wisdom are naturally available when called upon with a sincere heart.”

Author unknown

Strip and Shake- Breakfast on the run

Another busy day. To make sure I get my (you guessed it) protein and fat, I beefed up my soy protein shake with frozen strawberries, pecans, and coconut cream. Sprouts brand coconut cream is super creamy. Prepackaged supplements get me out the door on time!

Check out Meology at https://pws.shaklee.com/deidre-lines

What’s for dinner-Fried Rice

Remember the chicken tenders and brown rice from the other day, it’s time to rethink another leftover dish. Fried rice is the obvious solution. My Chinese “mother “, a woman I worked with years ago, taught me this technique. First you heat some good quality oil in a wok type skillet. We used to use peanut oil, but have switched to avocado oil to make sure no one goes into anaphylactic arrest. Beat 2 or 3 large eggs and pour into hot oil; it should start to puff up immediately. Quickly add your leftover cooked rice and mash with a spatula until rice is coated with egg and begins to brown. You can add any leftover meat or vegetables. I chopped some raw carrot and parboiled with some mixed frozen veggies. I sliced the two cooked chicken filets and seasoned with dark miso paste and fresh ground pepper. Toss everything until warmed through and you have another quick, easy supper.

Grilled Tuna Steak-Day 2

My children will tell you that they ate a lot of tuna casserole. Those were the days that one fed a family of four on a 3 oz. can of tuna fish. I used a can of mushroom soup and usually baked it with crumbled potato chips on top.

My tastes have changed a bit since then. For my updated tuna casserole I sautéed some chopped onion and celery with a clove of garlic. I made a roux with butter and cornstarch and gradually added in organic vegetable broth. I broke up one of the leftover tuna steaks, about 3 oz., and added to the sauce. I added about 2 TB dark miso paste and some Worcestershire sauce. I had parboiled some rice noodles and mixed them into the sauce. Some fresh ground pepper brightened the savory flavors. I topped with some peas and a handful of micro greens. Pretty tasty, next time I’ll make sure I have some fresh mushrooms on hand. To complete my comfort food meal, I scooped up some Terra chips, Sweets and Beets.