Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thrifting Is The Bomb!

Once when I was driving down the street I saw this old geezer on one of these bikes with three wheels. I decided then and there I needed one of those. Imagine bringing home the bounty from the farmer's market in that basket. Or the groceries. To me, that bike looks like a symbol for a peaceful, bucolic life that involves leisurely trips to flea markets or a nice Sunday morning ride to brunch with friends. In other words, a life I only know about from my fantasies.
We have been watching for bikes to leave at our house in Florida for renters and family to use and hit the jackpot on Saturday at a yard sale. Here is our find:

And all for the princely sum of three dollars! Of course its' tires are flat and it needs a little TLC but all in all I'm quite happy with it. Travis McGee and I schlepped it home in the trunk of the car with the deck lid bobbing up and down and the bike tied in with a plastic bag and hanging half out the back. Good times.
What was your last thrifty bargain?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One More Thing The Frugal Maven Didn't Need To Start Eating

On my vacation, which I swear I will quit talking about sometime soon, I had shark kebobs, a new food to add to my ever-growing list of things I love to eat. They were fantastic, with a great texture and sweet yet meaty taste. I felt slightly bad eating poor little sharkie since I know nothing about sharks, 20 years of Shark Week specials notwithstanding. After eating it, which was not the right time but oh well, I decided to find out what I could about the Blacktip Shark who gave his or her literal all for my happy lunch.
Here is what I now know about these creatures:

  • They are found mostly in Atlantic waters from South Carolina to Texas.
  • They grow to about 6 feet.
  • Their children are called pups. Sweet!
  • They mature in 4-6 years and have litters of 4-6 pups. This means they mature faster and have more offspring than most sharks.
  • They regrow their teeth throughout their lives.
  • 28 shark attacks but no deaths have been attributed to blacktips since 1580.
  • A female blacktip in captivity was found to be carrying a near-term shark pup when she was autopsied after death. She was the second shark to be verified as having fertilized her own egg without any male participation, a process known as parthenogenesis and an excellent argument for evolution.
  • In Hawaii some families consider blacktip sharks to be their guardian spirits.
  • Any recipe for swordfish is useful for cooking blacktip shark meat.

Now you also know some new things about sharks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quantum Of Solace - Eye Candy For The Discerning Woman

I will not pretend in any way that Quantum of Solace, the latest movie in the 007 franchise, is a great movie or even a good movie. The entire plot could fit on the head of a pin. Who are they chasing? Not sure. How does it tie in to the last movie? Couldn't tell ya. It really doesn't matter, though, because what us hetero girls get in a James Bond movie is a fantasy wrapped up in a badass and smoothed over with a luscious coating of steamy hot. Daniel Craig brings a depth to Bond that has never been seen before and that includes the considerable efforts of my talented former husband, Sean Connery. Until Casino Royale I would have said that Dr. No was my favorite Bond movie. Sean was singularly fabulous in that light blue polo and khakis getting all snuggly with Ursula Andress, who wore the single best bikini (with fish-killer knife accessory) ever recorded on film. It's a tough call between these two, but I think I may have to go with Daniel Craig and Casino Royale. Besides being iconic as the backstory of the Bond franchise, it is actually a good movie with a plot and fleshed out (for a spy movie) characters. Jeffrey Wright as Felix Lighter is a welcome addition and continues his role, however small, in Quantum. I hope to see more of him as well as the queen of tough, smart women, Judi Dench as M, Bond's boss, mother figure, adversary and friend.

I love that we still have Bonds to enjoy. Who is your favorite? No Timothy Dalton votes are allowed. For your enjoyment we have Bonds on the Beach:

Bonds On The Town: And a little Pearce Brosnan for good measure: Happy 007 day to you all!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunrises Cure All Ills

This is the sunrise that shone over the Easter Sunrise Service we attended on the beach. Perfection.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My New Old Favorite Writer For Beach Reading

I have been on vacation as you know for the last week and let me just tell you that it was wonderful! Back home now I'm trying to make up to one dog and two cats who didn't get to vacate with us. This means that I must snuggle them all and divide the attention equally among them. The other pup is in Florida with Travis McGee who got the lovely job of cleaning and painting and scrubbing the house while I got to fly home on a 2-hour nonstop flight and take a big long nap this afternoon. I do have to appear at work at 7 am tomorrow so I would still happily trade places with him.
I managed to do my favorite thing in the world while en vacance which is reading a novel uninterrupted. I revisited my old friend Sue Grafton by rereading M is For Malice. It's a pretty good read and I love Kinsey, her heroine. I also started Middlesex which promises to be interesting but seemed to be just a little too smart for a beach read.
This brings me to my new favorite novelist, Carl Hiaasen. He's a Florida native and a columnist for the Miami Herald who writes vivid characters and plots based on the lowlifes and victims that populate South Florida. His writing reminds in so many ways of John D. MacDonald, author of my beloved Travis McGee series. He has a canny ability to develop characters who are beyond the pale morally and end up as sympathetic heroes. He also writes about the louts and con artists that deserve to get theirs. When the comeuppance finally happens there is always a sigh of relief and release of tension as you never know up to the last minute how Hiaasen is going to end his stories.
I started with a book I picked up at the Goodwill, Lucky You, about a woman who has one of two winning lottery tickets and wants to use her money to acquire a piece of land that is destined to be paved over along with the rest of Florida. Hiaasen weaves the environmental destruction of Florida into every novel of his that I've read and does so with little preachiness. The lottery winner lives in a small town known for its' religious miracles including a weeping Madonna statue and a oil stain on the highway that looks like Jesus. This book is an excellent read that I would have deemed a winner just based on the use of the term "apostolic cooters" to describe a tank full of tiny turtles that are painted with the faces of the apostles on their shells. It doesn't get any better than that.
Thanks to the Goodwill again I left Louisville with Stormy Weather, a novel that features the destruction left behind by hurricane Andrew and the passel of gritty, thrill seeking and morally ambiguous characters that come out of the woodwork to reap the benefits of tragedy. It was a completely enjoyable read and after finishing my second Hiaasen book I realized that his ear for dialogue is pure genius. His plots turn on the thinnest of circumstance but even the most minor characters are graced with fully fleshed out personas and are rarely wearing an absolute white or black hat.
After a tour of my regular Melbourne thrift stores I found Skinny Dip, a novel that opens with a woman being tossed overboard from a cruise ship by her idiot husband on their anniversary. From the first laugh, about four sentences in, I found myself regularly laughing or at least smiling at the dialogue and cast of characters including Tool, a strongarm for a corporate farmer who befriends an old lady while stealing her pain patch in a nursing home, and Chaz, the aforementioned husband who executes the perfect crime only to watch it all unravel at breakneck speed while trying to exercise his sex addiction, the only thing he's ever really been good at doing. There is also a recurring character in two of the books I've read who is always welcome as he is a mentally ill/hermetic eccentric who wears a shower cap, eats road kill and was formerly the governor of Florida. I would say you can't make this stuff up but obviously someone has and my fuzzy vacation brain was the better for it. Give Hiaasen a try. He manages to make his point about the environmental tragedy that is his beloved home state while entertaining the masses and making us laugh.