Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend 3-Way: Paradise

Mistah and I are leaving the Keys today. And this time we really mean it.

It's hard to leave, it really is. Because, well, it's Paradise.

Which begs the question: What's Paradise for you? Where would you live -- at least part time -- given all the money in the world and all the tea in China?

Mountains? Oceans? Prairies? Do tell.

There are many places I consider Paradise. St. John, USVI springs quickly to mind. Southern California's no slouch either. And Far West Texas and those southwest deserts are gorgeous and dreamlike and spectacular.

But given my druthers -- whatever that means -- there is really no place for me quite like the Florida Keys. Quite like the lower Florida Keys.

Camping can be tough in the Keys -- the mosquitoes, the no see 'ums (which, incidentally, *I* can see), the wind, and this year, the rain.

But it's also full of mind-bending beauty, warmth, sun, water wherever you look, palm trees and coconuts and the one spot in the continental USA that is truly tropical. And the peeps? You've never met such a collection of freaks, windbags, and warm-blooded creatures so happy to be warm. It's hilarious.

And the Westy? Loves the Keys too.

And no, I'm NOT done talking about the Keys yet. Not for a long time...

Well, the simple answer is that it would most definitely be a beach. If my druthers were cooperating, I’d live very close to where I am now, just about 10 miles further west. And with a big backyard. Hawaii is my happy place, its appeal is similar to St. John and any other island I’ve ever visited – the very fact of being an island makes for a certain kind of feel in a place, doesn’t it? I do like that island vibe. I think I would very much like the Greek islands, all that white sandstone and crystal water and greek food. So my paradise is an island, but my goal is OB.

Prairies, Ellie? Really? Well, not so much for me, but thank you anyway.

I’ve never actually been to the lower Florida keys, so I don’t know firsthand how lovely they are, but they must be pretty spectacular if it’s/they're your very favorite place! I’m sorry you’re currently driving away from them. But I'm sure you'll return again when you have enough Chinese tea.

Like both of you, I tend to yearn for places that are warm and on the water. I love the Greek Islands (I swear I wrote this before I saw your mention, Jacquie). The pace of life is slow and the food and drink are good, and it’s gorgeous, and warm, and often whitewashed, with craggy hills, and amazing oh-so-lovely views. The Italian Island of Capri is worthy of mention for these same traits as well (how could I not mention Capri, right?)

I also love Mexico. There are a ton of great, paradisiacal spots in that country, with all of it’s amazing coastline. And what a ton of spectacular resorts to choose from. A week/month/year at Las Ventanas al Paraiso would be very, very paradisiacal indeed. (But so far, I’ve only made it for a lunch at the tequila and ceviche bar.)

I also loved Costa Rica, a verdant, ecoconcious paradise, and think Brazil is amazingly beautiful and hip and so much fun to kick around in. But there are so many other places that I've not yet been to that are calling. The top two that come to mind are the beaches of Goa, India (Gotta go to Goa!) and those of South Africa.

Anjuna market, Goa photo by David Airey

So, if I end up with all the money in the world, you can look for me there.

Friday, February 26, 2010

friday hodgepodge: my family is weird

Exhibit A:

Each individual is weirder than the next.
Exhibit B:

el weirdo
He asked me if I could tell that it was fake.

Exhibit C:

This is one of those magnetic notepads, it's been hanging on our fridge since January 27 of 2009, next to a photo of the world's most adorable toddler:

Just randomly weird.
Weirder still? Exhibit D:
This is the treat that Moki got on her Completely Random Appreciation Day:

the hell?

Exhibit E: ..
That little toddler grew up to be a girl who does glitter glue crafts on her unmade bed:

weird, yet typical.

Exhibit F:

oh, honey.

That weirdo recently earned the right to serve as chef during a school presentation about Brasil. He took the role very seriously, and was seriously pissed that he was forced to cut the onion with a degrading butter knife.

You don't think that's weird?
Look at his apron...
It says "cookin' with Elvis"
My family is weird.
ps: Happy Birthday, Buddy Boy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mini me

My car has seen better days. Although I could, and likely will, drive it into the ground, a new car would be so nice, and new, and now. So I’ve begun to dream, and scheme.

And I know what I want.

I want this:

or this:

or one of these:

(so hard to choose!)

I check them out whenever I see one. I bend down and look right into those windows. I debate color choices as they whiz by on the freeway.

They’re so tiny, and quick, and cute, and easy to find parking for. Arriving late at yoga would no longer be a dilemma, I would spend way less at the gas pump, and my life soundtrack could become a running loop of Extreme Ways.

Ah, can’t you just picture it?

Sure, it might sometimes be a little intimidating on the freeway.

But, hell, what other car can do this?

I can completely feel it.

But.......... then I remember these minis:

They just will not fit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Keys Time

I want to tell you all about our magical time at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys.

I really do.

I want to tell you about spending days on the beach . . .

. . . the prettiest beach in the Keys.

I want to tell you about running into old friends . . .

. . . and meeting new friends.

I want to tell you about all the rain.

Boy has there been a lot of rain. But that does not stop the hilarity.

I want to tell you about double-Westy-camping . . .

. . . and, oh, did I mention days at the beach?

. . . and happy hours at the beach . . .

. . . and sunsets on the beach.

The Keys are righteously famous for their sunsets.

I want to tell you all about our time at Bahia Honda, I do. But, it's our last day in the Keys, and the rain may stop and the sun may come back out . . .

. . . and the beach is calling.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

what if Baby likes the corner?

I went out for a night on the town with mah sistahs* last weekend as part of a very eclectic and fun series of our own birthday celebrations this year. Although we’ve had only marginal luck with our downtown sojourns thus far, we went for it again in honor of Missy's mermaid hair, and our good time was neither sullied nor spoiled by the fact that our teetering high heels stepped squarely into the Twilight Zone.

After enjoying a delightfully decadent dinner, we stopped in to a few clubs,* looking for a perfect mix of music, drinks, and dancefloor that seemed to be mutually exclusive. But we were steadfast in our determination, and at one point we walked past a lively group who was also celebrating a birthday, and when they beckoned us to join them in their lair, we agreed.

It was, as Tammy described it, a very urban* bar. We looked around, shrugged our acceptance, and headed to the dance floor. But I was ill prepared to shake my groove thing without a drink in hand, so I stopped at the bar for cold beers. I joined my friends on the dance floor and handed over the lovely cold bottles, took a swig and was ready to get my boogie on*. I was immediately tapped on the shoulder by a big burly bouncer and scolded that there were no drinks allowed on the dancefloor. What the????**

We found a good spot on the sidelines where we could shimmy and drink and watch the peeps. And that dancefloor was good watching! So, dancing now involves a lot more butt action than it did back in the day.** But I’m no prude, and although Baby was technically put into the corner, I could still bounce and groove along with a semi-smile on my face while keeping a close eye on all those gyrating butts.

However, butt dancing was not the only action going on all up in that hizzie*** I really don’t think I can tell you about what we soon noticed was transpiring in an area entirely too close to my little circle of sistah-love. I can’t even type it, because my hands are too busy flapping in front of my horrified face in the universal expression of EWWWWWWWWWW, trying desperately to block out the vision that is forever emblazoned in my memory. Suffice it to say that the action was ….. intimate, and the setting was so, so, so, so NOT.

Wha-wha-wha-wha-WHAT THE HELL?!?!

It was like a train wreck, we wanted to look away, but we couldn’t. We all just stood there looking like this

(but with make up, and good hair)

I can’t talk about it anymore. I need to go wash my eyes out with bleach. Again.

We were not long for that place, and since none of us can recall the name the bar with any certainty, it is entirely possible that the whole thing was some crazy shared hallucination. Right? Yeah. Let’s go with that.

On our way home, we passed another bar and were once again lured inside*, but this time it was the sound of Pour Some Sugar on Me, and the enchantment of an 80s cover band!** We went home cleansed of those horrific visual images and hoarse from the singalong encore medley of Sweet Caroline, 867-5309, and Don’t Stop Believin.’

*See how hip I am?

** See how unhip I am?

***What the fuck am I talking about?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday moaning

So this is the first of my Monday moaning posts. There will be others to follow.

I find Monday posts the most difficult to do. You’d think this would not be the case, coming after the weekend, as they do, but somehow the weekends slip away so fast, and bam, it’s Monday morning.

And not a damn thing prepared.

But, as you know, I’m pretty good at whining. I’m definitely the whiniest of the three of us here at M&Y&E. And to my dismay, even when I’m trying to make light of certain situations via a post, the comments often let me know that my attempts at humor have failed, as I’m receiving heartfelt advice, not laughs.

So, I’ve decided that since I am such an accomplished whiner, I can showcase my talent on Mondays.

Today’s subject: front-loading washers and dryers. Why do people buy these??

There are claims that front-loading washing machines clean better, are more energy efficient, and use less water than conventional top-loading machines (or so I just read on some washing machine review webpage). But is this true? And really how much better are they?

Better enough to trump their complete inconvenience (and higher price tag)?

If you’re taller than 2 foot 6, loading a front-loading washer is not comfortable, or preferable. You’re bending way down to shove your dirty laundry in. But worse is when you go to switch your now-clean laundry from the washer to the dryer. Just try to do it without half of it ending up on the dirty floor. (What? You say you laundry room floor is not dirty? Well find something better to do with your time, seriously.)

Unless you gingerly extract each and every piece of wet heavy clothing individually before placing them in one by one in the dryer, you’ll find scads of your clean rags on said floor.

And honestly, whose jeans are not corkscrewed around each other, socks weaved between, with bra straps braided in for good measure?

At least with a top loader, you lift the spaghetti mess up and out, so items that do manage to break free from the textile wreath land on the washer, not on the floor.

What we need are efficient top loading washers and dryers. What were they thinking?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend 3 way: take it away

Mmm. Take out. It's easy, it's fast, and there are no dishes to clean up afterward.

I'll admit that it's not the most environmentally conscious way to dine, but we all do it, right? At least occasionally?

Friday nights seem to scream for takeout. At least at my house. But what about you?

When do you order out and what's your poison? Greasy New York-style pizza delivered? Cliched Chinese takeout? (Who doesn't like those containers??) Sushi from your local sushi bar? Or do you prefer French?
Tell all.


I love take out pizza -- we usually get it from the Recovery Room (the pizza- and Italian-restaurant near the hospital; get it?) and eat it on our deck with My Girl Nancy and her family after a day at Watch Hill. With a giant salad. Yum.

I also love take out Indian. There's an Indian place right around the corner from the Tavern, and the peeps bring the Indian food in, and eat it at the Tavern tables. The smell will absolutely drive you stark raving mad, and you will drool into your beer, until you get some of your own.

But my favorite take out? Was last night. We were at No Name Pub, on Big Pine Key, and were talking to a young couple from Columbus, Ohio (hi Lisa!). They ordered a Mexican pizza (chili, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pepperoncini), each had one piece, and when they were asked if they wanted a box to take the rest home, said "no". I said, "Whatta you crazy? That'll be perfect in your Key West hotel room for late-night snacks tonight!" They said, "We don't eat leftovers." I said, "Whatta you crazy?" They said, "Do you guys want it?" I said, "You better believe it!"

It didn't make it out of the parking lot.
I love it, Ellie!! It actually looks a lot better in the photo than it sounded. Lettuce?
My favortite take out is Mexican. I don't really do it all that often, but it's so worth it when I do. I really, really love the queso-mush from Santana's. It's a big cheesy, mushroom mess that comes with chicken or beef. I do the chicken more often, but I gotta say, the steak is good too.
I'm also partial to the pinnapple fried rice that we get delivered from Ivory Thai. We order extra cashews, and I tend to cherry pick them all, or as many as I can get away with anyway.

I like take out, but I like eating out even more! Our most frequent take out meals are from Rubio's and the Greek restaurant up the street. We used to be religious disciples at the church of the taco shop, but our pilgrimages have become less frequent in recent years. When Ellie and Bill are in town, however, our carne asada intake increases exponentially!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Secret Spot

There's a Secret Spot in the Florida Keys.

To get there, first you have to cross the Seven Mile Bridge.

If you're smart, you'll listen to the Flower Duet from Lakmé while crossing; that's what we've been doing for years and years and years, and it works for us.

Taking photos of the old Seven Mile Bridge is really fun too.

Who says Mistah is the only photographer in this family?

Once you get to the Lower Keys, take a right, then a left, then go down this lane.

And you'll arrive at a really cool, really unique campground.

Wicked cool.

The Key Deer are everywhere, but that is not what makes the secret campground so cool. Because although Key Deer are cute, they're ubiquitous.


No, to discover what makes The Secret Spot so cool, enter through the gate . . .

. . . and arrive in the Enchanted Garden.

It is Enchanted . . .

. . . it really is.

It's one of those places where you feel calm and happy and peaceful.

The Secret Spot makes you want to pour yourself a glass of wine and amble around, checking out at all the flora.

Even Buddha is there, enjoying the proceedings, in all his glory.

Really, you ought to come down and visit The Secret Spot. The clouds are mesmerizing . . .

. . . the fire always burns warm and bright . . .

And the Keys sunsets? Always perfect.