Thursday, April 30, 2009

a round tuit

Mary planted my scallion seeds for me. I was procrastinating on it because “I just hadn’t gotten a round tuit” as they say. I got the scallion seeds because I like scallions plus they grew wild in the front yard when I was young. My mother would ask me to go pick some “wild onions” as we called them and I would go out to the yard and start pulling them up. My mother thought that it was novel to have wild onions growing in the yard and anytime you wanted some, just go out and pick them. They were smaller than the scallions that are in the grocery store but very tasty. My mother would clean them and cut off the roots and put them into a small glass of water for the supper table. Now that is growing up in the country is all about. The onions were there every year. We didn’t have to plant them, they just kept replenishing themselves. And evidently they braved the harshness of winter just fine. The seeds that Mary planted were so small. I thought that the scallions would grow from bulbs. I looked all over the various seed racks at WalMart but didn’t see any bulbs for planting, just seeds. I seem to be having a tough time: no hummingbirds came to drink at the hummingbird feeder, no cardinals came to feed at the bird feeder, no squirrels came to the bird feeder to steal the birdseed, and my sunflowers are never as big as the Rider’s sunflowers. I hope that the scallion seeds germinate and grow into huge luscious scallions. However, to every cloud there is a silver lining and I put some of the hummingbird nectar into a small old cat food can and the ants love the nectar. They are lined up at the edge of the nectar drinking away like hogs at the trough. But that is the good news. Remember, the old saying “I have good news and I have bad news”? Well, the good news of the ants drinking the nectar is followed by the bad news that the ants are fire ants who will definitely “bite the hand that feeds them”. The term “sugar sand” sounds so nice and sweet. But it is basically beach sand and that is the soil that we have here. So imagine trying to grow plants in beach sand that has no nutrients in it. I think that is the problem of trying to grow things in the yard because the soil here is sugar sand. Gotta go. Everyone have a nice day. Today the air conditioning man comes for the spring tune-up of the central AC unit. We want to make sure that we have a nice cool summer here inside the house. Adios amigos. Lew

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dumb and Dumber

Idiot. Complete idiot #1, a.k.a. Lew. Place: Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1970. Location: dry riverbed of the Salt River where the storm drain of the city empties into the dry river bed. Idiot climbing down the storm drain cover grate: me. Why would I be doing such a thing? Young and dumb. Thinking that this would be an adventure.

Good idea, my accomplice Rick is pretending that he is trapped behind the grating. This cast iron grating was extremely heavy and very difficult to move. The water was very clear and did not have any odor to it so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Accomplice: idiot #2: a.k.a. Rick, a coworker of mine. Why was he idiot #2? Because he followed idiot #1 on a zany adventure. The movie “Dumb and Dumber” comes to mind. The cement pipe was so large that it was very easy to stand up in it. My concern was a sudden storm while we exploring the storm drain pipe.

Here is water gushing in from a side drain pipe. I would estimate that we went several miles up the drain pipe because we ended up under downtown Phoenix. Never really had much problem with carbon monoxide until near the end of our adventure. Breathing became labored and I figured that it was due to carbon monoxide from the car exhausts on the streets above us filtering down since it is heavier than air. This is when we decided to turn back because of the heaviness with the breathing. It was a grand adventure which most people wouldn’t do. At least sane intelligent people. I was always exploring; abandoned mine shafts, ghost towns, treasure hunts for buried treasure, etc. I was very active when I lived in Phoenix, Arizona. There were times when I would even brave the summer heat but not for long when the temperature would hit 118 degrees. It was a good time in my life. I worked hard (62 hours per week routinely), had fun with my adventures and enjoyed attending college at Arizona State University. I had the energy of youth. Now I have a lot of wonderful memories and tales to tell. Everyone have a nice day and may today be an adventure for one and all. Lew

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yesterday, Mary and I went to visit the Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine. It was really quite impressive by its artistry and its scale. It is located in Kissimmee near Downtown Disney. The three sets of doors behind Mary are massive brass doors with brass religious scenes in relief in the panels of the door. There are numerous panels in each door each with a different scene.
The interior of the church was spectacular as well but I wish that it had more of the gothic Notre Dame cathedral or St. Patrick’s cathedral theme to it.

It was interesting that there was a colonnade of columns running down both sides of the church with Romanesque arches between them and carved capstones on top of the columns. This is more of the style that I find pleasing. The church in my hometown had this same design with the colonnade but on a much smaller scale. Between the stained glass windows were classical paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross which was always my favorite mass traditionally held on Friday nights. There is so much to describe but should be seen in person to be fully appreciated. A nice church which seats two thousand people at a time.
Mary and I spent quite a bit of time at the church taking a leisurely exploration of both the interior of the church and the exterior grounds which contained other structures. When we had finished, it was lunch time and we went Panera’s for lunch. Panera’s is sort of an upscale sandwich restaurant. I had my favorite which was a cheddar broccoli soup in a bread bowl. The soup was thick, heart, and savory. In other words, it was pretty good. Mary had a Sierra Turkey sandwich which was smoked turkey breast with chipotle mayonnaise, field greens & red onions on Asiago Cheese Focaccia bread. She enjoyed it.
After lunch we returned home and watched part of a DVD movie from the library. It was a rather casual and relaxing day. Today we get to see an exhibition of paintings by the Highwaymen. I like their paintings because of the splash of color in their paintings and rural Florida themes. Everyone have a great day. Lew

Monday, April 27, 2009

war monger

This is an early Lew. A group picture of my squadron of the Air Force ROTC which stands for Reserve Office Training Corps. I was attending the University of Miami at the time. I wanted to be a navigator on a B-52. Can you spot me in the group picture? Back row, number 6 counting from the right. Such a serious expression. It must have been my war face as they call
They were a great bunch of guys but I wonder how many of them came back from Vietnam. Oh, to be young again. Our uniforms had to be just so. The shirt had to be tucked together at the sides and not in the back. Since at that time in my life my shoulders were wider than my waist there was quite a bit of shirt to tuck together at the sides. One of my squadron buddies told me of a tailor near the university that knew just how to trim the shirt in so that there would be very little if any at all tucked in at the sides. He did the shirts for everyone. After he finished with my shirt it looked very neat. If you enlarge the group picture you can see the battle ribbons above my left shirt pocket. I don’t have the battle ribbons anymore and I think that I have one of my two chevrons left, I gave one to my daughter but I don’t know if she still has it. I got to fly a large airplane whiled in the Air Force ROTC. It was a large twin engine transport plane and we were flying all around over the city of Miami at night. It was neat to look out the left canopy window and see the left engine and then turn my head and look out the right canopy window and see the right engine. Yep, both engines were still there and not on fire like you see in the movies. It was a good time and we all have a high point in our lives and my time at the University of Miami was the high point of my life. Everything was going great and nothing was going wrong. I was working weekends as an x-ray technician, getting and education and having fun at Suntan U as they called the university then. By the way, this picture was from my University of Miami yearbook. Today Mary and I are going to the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe which is a Catholic shrine and church. I have never been there but the pictures that I have seen of it are quite impressive. Everyone have a great day. Lew

Sunday, April 26, 2009

sinking feeling

Isn’t there a song lyric that goes “I’ve got that sinking feeling”? Well, close enough anyway. This picture is from when I worked in Sanford. I was driving down a street when I saw the sinkhole form but it did expand while I was there. Of course, I called the police and that night I saw the sinkhole on the news so a film crew must have shown up after I left. Kind of scary how the ground can just open up like that. Never a dull moment here in Orlando. If it isn’t sinkholes, then it is hurricanes. Today is Sunday which is medium breakfast day which will consist of a bowl of grits, blueberry muffin donuts, and maple sausage. A bowl of grits, I guess that lets me know that I am in the deep south. When I was growing up in New York, we didn’t know what grits was. On our first vacation to Florida and we had a breakfast of eggs, toast and grits at a restaurant, neither my parents or I knew what to make of the grits. The waitress explained to us about grits. My dad asked if they had any hash browns and the waitress said that they only had grits. We tried the grits and we all liked them and I still like them to this day. But I must admit that if I had a choice between grits or hash browns, I would pick the hash browns. Mind you, I like grits but I love hash browns. See the difference? Sort of like an old television commercial for Stove Top stuffing where the mother asks the family sitting at the table whether they would like to have mashed potatoes or stuffing and the family all yells “stuffing” in unison. I am not sure what is on the agenda for today but there is always something. After all, I live in Orlando, tourist capital of the world where there is always something to do. And when I can’t think of anything, then there is always Downtown Disney to take a nice stroll and there is a McDonalds there so inexpensive food is available. There is also a quasi-church near Downtown Disney. I say quasi-church because it is not a part of the archdiocese and so it is not really a Catholic church. It looks just like a real Catholic church but it can’t be so I use the term “quasi” But the grounds are beautiful from what I have seen on their website. That would be nice to visit since it is Sunday. There is a bread store that we go to at Hiawassee and Silver Star and after we have made our purchase and are leaving the woman always says “Have a blessed day.” So being Sunday, I will borrow her phrase and say, Have a blessed day. Lew

Saturday, April 25, 2009

pet buddy

I have given up on the hummingbirds because I haven’ seen any and the level of the red colored nectar has not gone down in the hummingbird feeder. I have moved the humming bird feeder to a different location and put this bird feeder called Pet Buddy in its place. There are lots of red cardinals around the property and perhaps I will get to see them at the feeder. I am worried that the cardinals are good sized birds and I wonder if they will have any trouble feeding at the feeder. There are also finches in the area and thanks to the numerous squirrels I am sure that the bird food will not go to waste. But if the feeder fails to attract birds, it may just be simpler to go to Michael’s, the arts and crafts store, and buy a couple of those realistic fake birds (oxymoron?) and tie them to the feeder with string. This is Saturday which is big breakfast day and Mary is going to make fried eggs, bacon, and blueberry doughnuts. The blueberry doughnuts are made from blueberry muffin mix which makes for guilt free doughnuts. She puts the blueberry batter into a doughnut pan so that they come out looking like doughnuts. Hot doughnuts with breakfast. Now isn’t that a treat. Today we will be going to the library to check out some more DVD’s. I have also ordered Lords of War starring Nicholas Cage from the library for home delivery. It will be coming from the main library in downtown Orlando. That main library is absolutely huge and has anything and everything a person could want. They even have a restaurant inside the library where you can get something to eat and drink. How’s that for a library. Gotta go, pretty soon it will be blueberry donut (muffin) time. Have a yummy day like I am about to have. Lew

kitty, kitty

Kitty, kitty, where’s the kitty? There she is peeking down at me from the camphor tree. This cat loves to climb the trees. She literally runs up the tree and runs down the tree with ease. The first time that she went up this tree, she didn’t know how to get down and I had to help her. But she has mastered those skills now. There are numerous feral cats in the neighborhood and we were worried how they would accept her so we kept her in the house until she was old enough to defend herself. Once she had her hysterectomy we let her go outside any time that she wants. (when it costs $35 you call it spaying, when it costs $200 you call it hysterectomy. Same thing, only the price and name are different). She loves it outside and spends most of the day outside. She is very eager to go outside first thing in the morning as the sky is barely turning gray. And when she gets impatient, she will sit outside the bedroom door and meow a mournful cry until I get up and let her out. This poor little sick and starving feral kitten now has the good life. She has gone from not having enough to eat to having all that she can possibly eat and then some which has made her a picky and finicky eater whereby she picks and chooses the best parts of her food to eat first. She has high quality dry cat food available all of the time which she likes. She also gets canned cat food twice a day which she likes to lick up the juices first (the best part). Last night she had lots of fresh snapper from the dinner table which she liked (what cat wouldn’t). Yesterday was Friday and we always have fish on Friday. It is probably the cat’s favorite day for table scraps. Would the word “serendipity” be the correct word for what happened when Mary found her and took her in? Or would “lucky kitty” be more appropriate? Does Villager remember the dog called Lucky who I gave my lunch of Kentucky fried chicken to one day? The sky has turned from gray to blue so it is time to do go. Enjoy the day because the summer heat is coming and it will make you a believer in global warming. Ever see the movie The Day the Earth Caught Fire? Hot, hot, hot! Take care. Lew

Friday, April 24, 2009

Benny the bunny

Mary took her pet bunny, Benny, for a walk around the front yard yesterday. Yep, Benny the Bunny. She got a special harness for the bunny because unlike a dog, the rabbit doesn’t come when you call it. In fact if it ever got loose I am not sure that we could catch it because the rabbit is just too fast. I guess that it would be another classic race between the tortoise and the hare with myself in the role of the tortoise. The rabbit always has a good time on these walks. He runs and Mary runs along behind him. Then the rabbit stops to chew. He likes to chew through the stems of plants. He doesn’t eat the plant, he just chews through the stem near the base and let it topple over. Then it is on to the next plant. Sort of like a mini lawnmower. Have a nice day. Lew

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This blog is for my friend seaside. When making a spinach casserole you want to make sure that you use Popeye brand canned spinach. Why? Because who else would know more about spinach than Popeye? And besides, don’t you want to grow up big and strong? By the way, they sell Popeye canned spinach at Wal-Mart. Both whole leaf and chopped leaf. We eat Popeye spinach from time to time and it is pretty good. Plus Popeye has a famous saying which I take to heart, “I am what I am.” That saying has a lot of meaning to me and I could write for hours on it. Basically it means that I am not perfect and people should accept me as I am. I cannot please everyone and so I just have to be myself. I make no excuses for the way I am because that is just the way that I happened to turn out. For me the Popeye saying takes away the guilt if I don’t live up to the expectations of others because, in general, I am happy with myself. Everyone have a great day. Lew


This is a picture from the package containing the gladiolus bulbs. Red white, and blue. Sounds very patriotic. Mary is confident that they will do well because they are bulbs which have their own food supply to get started rather than tiny seeds. Plus she dug a hole larger than the bulb and filled the hole with Miracle-Gro potting soil (the best) after placing the bulb in the hole. She moved three of the periwinkle plants that were growing next to the backdoor of the house to under the camphor tree (the one that smells like a giant cough drop). The periwinkles were getting too big and were becoming a pest which I think makes it a weed. I believe that anything that grows where it isn’t wanted to grow is suppose to be considered a weed. Mary also had planted some seeds from a cantaloupe that we had eaten and they have sprouted up quite nicely.
Last night we had stuffed peppers for supper, but with a twist. No rice. Mary left the rice out of the hamburger mixture and just used straight hamburger. It tastes much better this way. We had mashed potatoes and some Italian bread with the meal. By the way, the mashed potatoes were real potatoes done the old fashioned way; peeled, cubed, boiled, and laboriously mashed by hand. They were good. I can’t remember the last time that I went to a restaurant and had real mashed potatoes. And a strawberry fig Newton for dessert followed by a Klondike ice cream bar later in the evening. And of course, the seeds from the green pepper were culled by Mary and are drying. When dried, they will get planted also. If we keep growing all these varieties of veggies, we may have to open a vegetable stand. My dad had actually opened a small vegetable in Catskill, New York. It was one of these small vegetable markets and he had vegetables stacked on wooden boxes in front of the store. I use to have a picture of him and my mom standing in front of the small store. He had a white apron on and with his dark wavy hair, I thought that he looked Italian (he was actually half English and half Scotch) and the small vegetable store looked like something from Little Italy in New York city. He had a black van. My mom was the bold one in the family. One time she was driving the van and it stalled at a traffic light. She tried to restart the van but the engine must have flooded. The guy in the car behind her started blowing his horn with impatience. She kept trying to start the engine to no avail and the guy behind her kept blowing his car horn emphatically. Finally my mom got out of the car and walked back to the car behind her and told the guy that she would sit in his car and blow his horn for him if he would go up to her car and get it started. The guy got the point and didn’t blow his horn anymore. He didn’t help her but at least he stopped the incessant, nerve wracking horn blowing. A true story like so many true stories that we all have to tell.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And here is the transformation. Gone is the leather hoodlum motorcycle jacket. This picture was taken a couple of years after the hoodlum picture shortly after I arrived in Miami, Florida. This picture was taken at the Miami zoo when it was just a small zoo with an admission of 10 cents. Boy, we won’t ever see those prices ever again. When you arrived at the zoo, you just put a dime into the slot of a turnstile and you were on your way into the zoo. So here I have a dress shirt on with a sweater over it, dress slacks, penny loafers and white bobby sox. I guess that I just couldn’t get more preppy than that. They were good times and I have fond memories of them. The peacocks just loved graham crackers and the birds roamed freely everywhere begging handouts from the visitors. Have a good day. Lew

you talk'in to me?

“You talk’in to me? Are you talk’in to me? Well, you’se must be talk’in to me cause I don’t see anyone else reading this blog.” A fractured movie line from Robert DeNiro in the movie taxi. Yeah, that’s me in the picture, a New York Hoodlum. But as you can see by the date on the picture, it was a very long time ago. This was taken in the lobby of my high school. At that age I thought that I would stay young forever. By the way, that was a real leather jacket, not the cheap naughahyde or plastic stuff they have today. I stopped wearing the leather jacket when I started college and saw that a leather motorcycle jacket was not the correct thing to wear. Do you think that Henry Winkler used me as his inspiration for the character The Fonz? Actually, this was the style in New York at the time for the rough and tumble “tough guys”. So what did I metamorphose into? Check my next blog, you just won’t believe it is the same person.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Elvis sighting

When I lived in Miami, this is my next door neighbor with Elvis. It was an amazing sighting. Elvis lives! Playing Elvis was a lot of fun and I had a ball with it. I went to several houses that day including a party. I have never regretted doing it and would do it again in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. What do you think of Elvis? Lookout Las Vegas, here I come. Perhaps I could be one of the Flying Elvises. The Flying Elvises is a group of parachutists who sky dive in Elvis costumes. You can see them perform in the movie Honeymoon in Vegas starring Nicholas Cafe, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan. Watching the movie is worth it just to see the part with the Flying Elvises. Long Live the King.

blue flowers

These are some wildflowers which are growing among my southern jasmine vines. You can’t see the southern jasmine vines because I have cropped them out of the picture to make the blue wildflowers larger in the picture. Isn’t that something, a “blue-belly” Union soldier type from New York growing southern jasmine in the deep south. This picture unfortunately does not do the wildflowers justice. They were actually a much more intense blue than in the picture. My cameras has a resolution of 2.1 megapixel with a little itty-bitty teeny-weeny lens, whereas Seaside has a professional looking camera with a 7.2 megapixel resolution and a monster lens that you normally only see on the old fashioned 35 mm cameras. Got to get me one of those. Today is a routine trip to the doctors office. I am giving the nurse practitioner a try. This will be my second visit to her. She seems to spend more time with me and explains things in more detail. I get more attention and information from her than I do with the doctor who is in-and-out of the room in a hurry. Plus, I don’t have to wait two weeks to get an appointment with her. I guess for minor problems, the nurse practitioner will be satisfactory. The weather is nice and I wish everyone a day full of merriment and joy. If you need a little help with the merriment and joy part then just come to Orlando and give Disneyworld a whirl and you will have a day full of merriment and joy. Take Care. Lew

Sunday, April 19, 2009

dive, dive, dive!

You may see these from time-to-time in stores with boxes of merchandise piled up on them. The employees call them U-boats because of the “U” shape to them. I would always chuckle when I had to use them because I felt like a WWII submarine commander since after all, I was in charge of a “U-boat”. I wanted to yell “dive, dive” just like I see in the movies. Sometimes when I had stock to take out and put on the shelves, all of the U-boats would be in use. This happened to all of the employees rather frequently because there just wasn’t enough of the U-boats. Some of the employees would take one at the end of the day and hide it so that there would be one for them to use for the following day. Well, this only made the shortage even worse. When I needed a U-boat and none was available, I would start looking in all of the available hiding spots where someone would be likely to hide. I would invariably find one that someone had hidden. Oh my, the games people play, an adult version of “hide and seek” in a manner of speaking. But it was all part of working there and everything was taken in good spirit. I always believe that the attitude of the employees comes right from the top and our manager Steve was so good that everyone was happy, even when there was hoarding of the
U-boats. Have a nice day and I wish everyone to have a manager as nice as Steve. Lew

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Highland, Highland, Highland

Highland, Highland, Highland! This picture is of the Highland motel. The Highland motel is located on Highland avenue in Hollywood California. What a coincidence since I am originally from Highland, New York. The Highland hotel was very nice because it was only two blocks north of Hollywood boulevard. This was convenient because it was on a short walk from the motel to Hollywood boulevard so that we could play tourist. Each year I would return to Hollywood and each year we would stay in the Highland motel. They also had a very nice free continental breakfast. I enjoyed getting up early in the morning and going out of the room and sit in a lounge chair by the side of the pool and read a good book. The Highland hotel was also about two blocks south of the Hollywood Bowl. From the hotel, I could hear the music from the concerts that were being held there. The entrance to the Hollywood Bowl is located guessed it.....Highland avenue. I always enjoyed walking down Hollywood Blvd. and looking at the movie stars names and star embedded in the sidewalk. And so many of the grand old movie theaters. Especially Graumans Chinese theater which is huge inside. It was all so glitzy and yet all so fun. Then one year we went to Hollywood and we couldn’t find the Highland motel. We drove up and down Highland avenue looking for the Highland motel. No luck. We finally concluded that the large empty lot on Highland avenue was the site where the Highland motel had been located. We were going to see Sam Harris star in the musical Hard Copy at the Pacific Coast Playhouse located in West Hollywood. So we stayed in a motel on Sunset Blvd. instead. Sam Harris was the singer on Star Search who won the first $ 100,000 grand prize in the singing category. It has been a while since I have been to Hollywood, California. I have to stipulate Hollywood, California because there is a Hollywood, Florida. Tonight Mary made barbecue chicken and barbecue beans for supper. Also, both cinnamon raisin bread and potato bread were available on the table also. I had a slice of the potato bread because of its taste and rich yellow color. I am not sure what is on the agenda for tomorrow. We will have to wait and see and if we go anywhere it will be a spontaneous event. Everyone have a fine day. Lew

No hummingbirds at my hummingbird feeder yet. Reminds of that very old Maytag commercial about the Maytag repairman being the loneliest person because his phone doesn't ring with people calling to get their Maytag washers repaired. A cute commercial. Well, my hummingbird feeder is getting lonely also and could use the company of a hummingbird or two. The picture above is from the package of hummingbird nectar that I bought for the feeder. Today Mary is going to do a little grocery shopping. I will probably go to Barnes and Noble. There is a textbook that I want to get. Barnes and Noble have this book club of sorts that you can join for $ 25 and then you get 40% savings on books that you buy there. There is a textbook that I want to get on the physics of diagnostic x-ray. It is a good book but like all textbooks, it is expensive and so the 40% discount will be quite a savings. On Tuesday I will be going to a medical job fair at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Kissimmee. There are going to be around 40 vendors there. I am not looking for a job but since it is free I would like to go to see it. Plus the vendors there give away all sorts of novelty items like pens, key chains, coffee mugs, and even Gideon bibles. Plus it is at the Gaylord Palms which is elegant. You are just surrounded by luxury when there. Gotta go. Have a nice day to one and all. Lew

Friday, April 17, 2009


A Mayan pyramid at the Mexican pavilion at Epcot at Disney. The interior was a really nice Mexican restaurant with a boat ride also. I never tire of Disney. It is such a fantasy world where for a period of time you can just forget all of your troubles and just have the time of your life. I am lucky to be living in Orlando because I can go anytime I want. Downtown Disney is nice because it is free and you don’t have to pay for parking. They have a lot of nice restaurants in Downtown Disney with all the price ranges from low to high. My favorite is the Rainforest CafĂ©. Downtown Disney is such a pleasant place to stroll around and do a little shopping. How lucky I am and I both know and appreciate it. As they say at Disney, "Have a magical day."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

hummingbird feeder

Yesterday I rehung my hummingbird feeder in a camphor tree in the backyard. I moved it to a lower limb and a spot where it can be seen from the window. I had also done a leak test on the feeder to make sure that the nectar won't leak out. The nectar is a pretty red in color. It is in a camphor tree. A few days ago I picked up a dead branch and snapped it in half. I smelled the freshly broken ends and sure enough it smelled like a cough drop. No luck on seeing any hummingbirds yet and the level of the nectar has not dropped. I hope that the cough drop smell doesn't drive the hummingbirds away. I will change the nectar weekly until my supply of nectar mix is used up. It certainly would be nice to be able to watch the hummingbirds feeding. What we lack in hummingbirds, we make up for with beutiful bright red cardinals. Have a nice day. Lew

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

chocolate milk

This is another story from my days at the SuperSaver grocery store. I worked in various areas of the store at different times and one of my areas happened to be stocking the dairy case. On my first trip into the dairy room I saw this notice pictured above on the door. I asked the person whom I was taking over the job from about the sign. He said that someone was going into the dairy room and drinking the individual pint sized containers of chocolate milk and tossing the empty containers into a particular corner of the dairy room behind some boxes that were piled up there. The boxes were eventually moved and that was when all of these empty chocolate milk containers were discovered, lots of them. I laughed because the sign had at the bottom “(this includes chocolate milk)”. So the sign was meant for one particular individual. I figured it had to be a delightful young man who had a thirst all the time and was always bumming quarters off of me to get sodas from the soda machine with. He was a good natured young man and I didn’t mind “lending” (giving) him a quarter every now and then. My friend who was showing me the dairy cooler said that he thought that it was the same young man. What I found humorous about all of this is that by putting the bit about the chocolate milk on the notice he was pointing a finger at the young man. Unfortunately, the young man continued his errant ways and was caught by the manager in the act of drinking one of the chocolate milks. The manager had no choice but to fire him since the notice specifically referred to chocolate milk. But the really sad part is that the small container of chocolate milk was out of date and going to be thrown away that day. When merchandise goes out of date and has to be thrown away it is called “shrink”. I guess that they use the term “shrink” to refer to this because it shrinks the stores profits. None of the food is given to the employees but rather thrown away. Rotisserie chickens that are not sold are thrown into the large compactor/dumpster. Perfectly good chickens. Put those rotisserie chickens in the employee’s lounge so that the employee’s could eat them? Nope! Toss them out. What a waste. Once I saw the girl from the bakery with an absolutely huge German chocolate cake. I mean a really big one heading for the dumpster with it. I said to her “You’re not really going to throw that German chocolate cake into the dumpster, are you?”. She said “Yep!”. And I was dismayed as I watched her just toss it into the dumpster. I have checked with employees at other grocery stores and it seems to be the policy everywhere. A German chocolate cake. It just broke my heart. It really looked yummy. Well, everyone have a nice day and enjoy.

old house

I saw this old and tired house and thought how sad because at one time it was someone’s pride and joy. I try to imagine how nice it must have looked when it was built and the first owners moved in. A white house with a pretty blue trim. How proud and happy they must have been. Much the same as we are when we buy a brand new car right off the showroom floor. The car is so shiny and everything on it is in perfect condition. Then time passes and after ten years or so that nice shiny car now has faded paint, some scratches, and maybe even a dent or two. The carpeting inside the car as well as the upholstery on the seat is worn and faded. This car that was the apple of someone’s eye when it was brand new is now soon to be heading to the scrap metal heap. So too with this house. Once a nice brand new house and now worn and tired and in need of repair. It served its owners well keeping them warm in the winter and dry when it rained. And now no one wants it and it will be torn down. The design of the house is similar to that of a “cracker” house. Sadly, the house was torn down and now a vacant lot is what is left. What stories that house could have probably told, if houses could speak. In a year or two, most people won’t even remember that a house was even there. Except me, I will remember. I know that this story is similar to The Old Barn. If you want to read a very touching story and hear some equally touching music then try visiting the site, I am sure that you will like it.

After this sad story, please try to have a nice day. Lew

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the axe

This is the freezer at SuperSaver where the frozen foods were kept. The room was incredibly cold, way below freezing to keep all of the frozen foods “rock hard”. Without a heavy coat I couldn’t stand to be in there for more than about 3 minutes, and I one who likes the cold. There is an axe on the door. The purpose of the axe was to be able to chop your way through he door if you ever got stuck in there and the door wouldn’t open. One day some of the guys shut the door and made the handle inoperative while one of their coworkers was in there. This was done as only a joke and they were going to open the door in a minute or two. The person who got locked in the freezer was a long term employee of the store and realized that he had only a matter of minutes to get out before he would freeze. He immediately grabbed the axe and started chopping away at the door. The perpetrators heard him and knew what he was doing and immediately opened the door. The chop marks from the axe remained in the door as a reminder to everyone not to play potentially dangerous jokes. “All’s well, that ends well” as they say and that is what happened, but it must have been a moment of terror for the person in the freezer. A true story for your entertainment. Lew

dust devils

Here is a picture of my parents taken on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. As you can see, Phoenix is definitely a desert environment. This picture was taken in the summer and was the first time that my parents had been to Arizona. The heat in the summer is terrible. My dad said that when he got off the plane at the Phoenix airport that the heat hit him like a wall. He was coming from Miami which is hot in the summer but nothing even close to Arizona. I have to explain that in those days (late 60’s) when you got off a plane in Phoenix, they would push these metal stairs on wheels up to the side of the plane and you would walk down the metal stairs to the tarmac and across the hot asphalt tarmac to a the airport terminal. Since it was summer and hot, that is the time for the updrafts of air called “dust devils”. They look just like small tornadoes. I use to love going out into the desert and chasing them with my jeep. I would try to drive into them with my jeep. They weren’t strong enough to pick up the jeep but they would give it quite a shaking from side to side. One day while my parents were visiting and I was driving down a street with my dad in my jeep a dust devil happened to strike the jeep and shake it. My dad excitedly said that we had been hit by a tornado. I explained dust devils to him. I waited for the mid-afternoon when it is the hottest and there are plenty of dust devils in the arid desert region around Phoenix and took my dad in the jeep to see them. And there were plenty of them. Several at a time. I offered to drive the jeep into some of them but he looked nervous and declined. I think that he still thought of them as tornado’s which is exactly what they looked like. Both my mom and dad had a good time but I think that they were glad to leave for Miami and get out of the intense heat of Arizona. I know the expression that “it is a dry heat” but when the temperature approaches 120 degrees, it doesn’t matter whether it is dry or not, it is just plain hot. Everyone have a cool day and enjoy.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I saw this on the ground in the backyard. It is fungi growing on an old tree stump that was cut close to the ground. I was stunned by the beauty of it. I mean I know that it is only a fungi but the colors were so intense. The surface of the fungi had a leathery appearance to them. Beauty exists everywhere and you just never know where it is going to pop-up. Yes, I am one of those people who stops to smell the flowers. This is just part of my long-standing appreciation of nature. I just wish that the bush called forsythia would grow here in Orlando but I am told that it is a northern plant. I also have a fascination with wildflowers. Typically the flowers are small but the colors are usually very intense. By the way, I don't have weeds in my yard. I prefer to call them wildflowers. They are just too pretty to be weeds. Everyone have a nice cool day.

SuperSaver. What a great name. After all, who doesn’t want to save money. I grew up as a child in the grocery business with my father being a store manager of a chain grocery store called Grand Union. So as a child I had lived and breathed everything about the grocery business. When I became 16 years old, I started working part-time in a grocery store (not my fathers) and continued working part-time for a number of years. I guess that you could say that the grocery business was in my blood. Although I chose a career in the medical field, I kept fond memories of the grocery business. And so it was natural that after retiring I would gravitate back to the grocery business. I got a part-time job in this SuperSaver store pictured above. The manager's name was Steve and he was absolutely delightful. Always cheerful and always had a kind word or a friendly greeting. He had brief morning meetings with the crew and the meeting always ended with a peppy motivational saying and cheers and applause. The girl who worked in our bakery had been a cheerleader and she would make a cheerleading style of jump into the air when everyone was cheering. I have to say that Steve the manager definitely evoked a team spirit and it was very pleasant working there. All of the crew members were happy and got along with each other as friends. Unfortunately, the store closed after about a year. I miss all of the friends that I made there. The crew got scattered over various grocery stores in the area and I run into them from time to time and we talk about the “good ole’ days” and try to keep up with what is happening to whom. I made a lot of fine friends there and had a good time. And I hope that this is a good day for one and all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Villager was right. She gets a lick-and-stick gold star. I did not catch a 12 pound bass. Not even a 12 ounce bass. Actually what I caught was.................well, nothing, as much as I hate to admit it. But as evident in the picture above, I have done better in the past. A barracuda. But we had a good time and had our little picnic at lunch time. Mary had sliced the remaining deviled eggs and made deviled egg sandwiches out of them. They were really good. We had some nice ice cold cans of soda with us also. After having spent quite a bit of time there without a bite we left. Especially, when Mary saw a bird scoop a fish out of the water. As we were leaving and walking down the boardwalk, a man and his wife coming towards us asked me if I had caught anything. I said a 12 pound bass but that I had let it go. He got real excited and said “Really?”. I told him “no, not really” and told him that I hadn’t gotten anything. We returned home and watched the movie Sink the Bismarck which was pretty good. Have as good day. Lew

This is a picture of one of the artillery cannons that was doing the firing in the civil war reenactment. They actually fired it in the same manner as back in that era. It was really a fun event to see. Today is a day of fishing in Lake Apopka here in Orlando. I am still trying to catch that 12 pound bass but I think that I would have a better chance at winning the lottery. But then there is pleasure in just plain fishing and practicing my casting. Mary is going to make deviled egg sandwiches along with chips and soda so it will be a picnic of sorts as well. The weather should be nice for it. Gotta go. I think that a 12 pound is waiting for me and he is getting hungry. Everyone out there have a really nice day. Lew

Saturday, April 11, 2009

deviled eggs

Today was a pre-Easter day. We celebrated with hard boiled eggs. Well, sorta! The eggs started out as hardboiled and then Mary converted them into deviled eggs. Yummy. Mary used her own secret recipe for the yellow part. We had some for breakfast along with maple-flavored sausage and guilt-free doughnuts. Guilt-free doughnuts? How can there be such a things as guilt-free donuts? Mary takes a raspberry muffin mix and pours it into a doughnut pan. And presto, guilt-free doughnuts that are really muffins. A light dusting of powdered sugar and we had warm “donuts” fresh from the oven. A good breakfast is a good way to start the day. The picture above is a civil war reenactment that was held south of Orlando. The blue and the gray were going at it again. The cannons that they had were incredibly loud. I couldn’t imagine a hundred of them firing at the same time as likely occurred during the actual battles of the civil war. The explosion above was suppose to be that of a cannon ball exploding. The bleb of the explosion is quite spectacular. If you look just above the tree you can see a small object flying through the air. Actually, it is not a small object at all but a very large drum flung into the air by the explosion. It was warm this day and I felt sorry for the re-enactors because I knew that they had to be hot in their heavy clothes of that era. They had numerous tents set up where they were selling all kinds of things related to the civil war. A good time was had by all. Gotta go. The cat is calling and when she wants something, she wants it NOW or she will drive me crazy with the constant meowing. She probably wants to go out and be with her boyfriend Tony the cat. Have a nice day everyone.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today was flower planting day. I went to Lillian’s wedding who is both a friend and a former co-worker of mine. She had a lovely wedding attended by lots of people. At the catered reception there were party favors at each persons place setting with an assortment of item. One of the items was a package of flower seeds. So today I planted them in a very rich potting soil and we shall see what type of flowers will grow. It reminds of that famous line “From this acorn a mighty oak will grow.” Did I get the quote right? I think that I am close but not exactly right on. Here in Florida with all of the rain and sunshine, most anything will grow with. In a future post I will describe the wildflowers (a.k.a. weeds) growing in the yard. In the meantime, as we use to say at Disney, “Have a magical day!”.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Animals are so sweet. They ask nothing and give so much. Here is a kitten which my wife found in the backyard. It's mother was a feral cat. Once my wife had picked it up, it was for keeps. The kitten was much younger than in this picture. A trip to the veterinarian for a check-up took care of an eye infection that it had. I was worried that being a feral cat, that it would grow up to be wild. My fears were for naught. It is an adorable and loving cat and likes to be with us all the time. Sometimes, you just get lucky and we got lucky with this kitten. She has gone from a life of probably near starvation to a life where she has the best foods, a place to sleep on the couch with her own blanket, a soft cushiony bed on the floor, and a jillion other things that she would never have gotten if she had remained wild. Oh yes, she likes to spend most of her time inside the house where she doesn't get wet when it rains, where it is warm in the winter, and air conditioned nice and cool in the summer. Definitely a pampered kitty. Here she is lying on my scanner next to my computer. Anyone have a similar pet that just showers you with affection? Everyone have a nice day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Benson's

The Benson’s. Not the television show but the family that lived across the street when I was a young boy growing up in the small town style of life. The family consisted of; James, the father; Helen, the mother; Mimi, the daughter who was several years older than me; Jimmy, the son who was a year younger than me; and Betsy, another daughter who was a toddler. Helen looked just like Aunt Bee of the show Mayberry with her print cotton dresses and ever present apron and had the quiet personality of Edith Bunker. She was a stay at home mom whereas my mother worked. Each day for lunch she would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot tomato soup for her children. Around 11:30 I would start hanging around with her children in the hopes of being invited to lunch, which she always did. To this day, I still enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with tomato soup. She was such a kind woman and I have fond memories of her kindness. But it was the father James that I wanted to mention. I only met him a few times. A tall imposing man who had been a member of the New York State troopers. He had left the troopers but I don’t know why. Perhaps for a better job. I entered the Benson house one day and he greeted me and told me that he wanted to show me his office/study which was the room to the left as you stepped through the front door. In the picture, it would be the window to the left of the door (naturally). In the room was a desk facing the front window. But hanging up on display on the opposite wall was a neatly pressed jacket of a New York state trooper. He told me that he had once been a New York State trooper. He just beamed with pride when he told me that. He then showed me a picture on the wall of a group of about thirty New York state troopers posing for a group picture. He told me that it was the troop of officers that he had belonged to. Once again he was beaming with pride. I don’t know what kind of work he did after leaving the state police but what impressed me as a young man of about ten years of age was the expression of pride on his face. There was so much of it that it was unmistakable to a young lad and made a lasting impression in the young boy’s memory to return on occasion in later years. Sometimes I find it amazing how the littlest of things in life can leave a lasting impression. So here is an insignificant story from my past that for some strange reason comes to mind.