SUZYMOBILE's SparkPeople Blog SUZYMOBILE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community How to read The Travelers I admit it. Google+ and Google's are not the most intuitive of sites. I ended up using Blogger as an engine because it was the simplest for my beginner skills to handle. <BR> <BR> Anyway, for those of you who might, like Beth, be trying to read in sane chronological order, the best way to do so might be to scroll all the way down to the dark-grey area and click on Blog Archive. <BR> <BR> Also, at this point, you will see a running counterpoint from Morticia Addams in the Commen... Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:46:47 EST More traveling Approaching 1,400 hits now. I'm shamelessly reminding you to take a look. <BR> <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> By the way, since leaving Italy I'm quite sure that I've lost weight. I know this because I can see it in the mirror and feel it in the fit of my clothes. We had a scale in our room in Hua Hin, Thailand, and this woman who used to hop on and off the scale three times in quick succession every morning didn't touch it. Not once. <BR> <BR> The secrets of ... Tue, 16 Dec 2014 02:17:48 EST The travelers Wow, at this point my trip blog has had 957 hits from readers in 6 countries, including the Netherlands, France, US, Indonesia, Thailand, and the UK. If you want to catch up with it, it's at <BR> <BR> <link> </link> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 00:56:43 EST Travel blog If you'd like to read a few fun entries from my trip blog, they're at: <BR> <BR> <link> </link> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:58:12 EST Beauty and the beer Okay, now I'm bombarding you with stories, as I will be doing for the newspaper. I have a whole cache of them prepared for when we're gone, so here you go with the next one <BR> <BR> ________________________________________<BR>____ <BR> <BR> How does one control a boisterous biergartenful of customers, during peak World Cup action, with Germany whupping Argentina? <BR> <BR> Worse, try managing a crowd of opinionated German diners, each of whose mother made the perfect potato pancake acc... Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:06:10 EST Sometimes a cigar is more than a cigar <img src=""> <BR> What favorite place might you leave not smelling as good as you feel? If you’re a cigar aficionado--a cigar bar. <BR> <BR> Pity the poor cigar smoker. Venues for smoking are few, and that stinky stogie compels even liberal barkeeps to fling up “No Cigar Smoking” signs. Smoke a cigar in the comfort of your family room, watching college ball with a Yuengling in hand? “Are you kidding me? If I’m lucky, the better half ... Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:55:30 EST Home is at Royal Thai “Where you going, Kayoon?” <BR> <BR> “To the market! I need more candy!” <BR> <BR> Was this the whine of a chubby kid, giddy with a little extra allowance? Hardly. It was the excited cry of a 12-year-old Bangkok entrepreneur. <BR> <BR> Kayoon (June) had spread newspapers on the floor, laid out an array of brightly wrapped treats for sale, and experienced her first taste of business success. She had exhausted her stock, made a 104-baht ($5) profit, and was already darting down a crow... Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:33:30 EST There's always a way Reclusive local personality Snook the Cat, of the new Snook’s Bayside Bar & Grill at Englewood’s Royal Palm Marina, has granted a rare interview to Sue. <BR> <BR> Sue: Now that the “Zeke’s” name has gone to Zeke’s Uptown on Dearborn Street, what’s it like having your name on Bayside Bar & Grill? <BR> <BR> Snook: Frankly, it should have borne my name all along. <BR> <BR> Sue: Snook, you’re no stranger to the Sun. Readers might recall how you fell overboard and were rescued by Billy and c... Wed, 3 Sep 2014 18:29:38 EST What bird is dumber than a chicken? Okay, so chickens have pecking order. And they're smart enough to run about even after decapitation. So, it's EASY for another bird to be dumber than that. And that bird is ... (drum roll!) ... the mourning dove! <BR> <BR> These creatures are the cows of the bird class. They never look up, merely grazing placidly until they're picked off by a hawk, leaving behind only a flurry of feathers. <BR> <BR> So, guess what? A mother dove has decided to leave two of her grown babies under the hed... Wed, 3 Sep 2014 18:24:54 EST GramCracker Cafe The GramCracker Café didn’t get its name from Nabisco. A couple who are themselves a gramma and a Florida cracker concocted it. <BR> <BR> The prerequisites for being a gramma are pretty easily met—just have a kid who has a kid, maybe even bake pies all the time. But what does it take to proclaim oneself “Cracker”? <BR> <BR> Lynne Miller, co-owner with husband Steve of Englewood’s GramCracker Café, is a gram by both measures, but can never—due to a technicality—be a cracker. She wasn’t ... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:37:33 EST A Hurricane Charley remembrance Over time, it occurs to you that your neighborhood seems like Restaurateur Row. You smell aromatic Thai spices wafting over the back fence, notice an eatery’s logo on a car parked up the street, are suavely greeted at the entrance to his family’s restaurant by a local kid you’d seen shooting hoops in his driveway that morning. <BR> <BR> That so many neighbor families own restaurants is a measure of the health of independents in this town full of big-box chains. Many of these families were... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:36:21 EST I have been remiss ... it's more than a game! Some of my friends were missing these little stories. <BR> <BR> It’s nearly 7:00 Wednesday night at Chubbyz in Port Charlotte. All eyes are riveted on the back of the dining room, where bartender Clare Donaldson wields the microphone to launch Big Dog’s Live Trivia Challenge, with husband Gene (said “Big Dog”) by her side. <BR> <BR> The crowd roars as each team name is announced. Sixteen teams in full regalia—with names like Betty’s Kids, The Cat’s Meow, It’s Only a Game, Here for the... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:34:38 EST Yo ho ho and a tankard of soup No matter how you look at it, 20 years in the restaurant business is a long time. When a whole family persists at it for more than half a century, it’s a saga. <BR> <BR> The Arbuckles of Venice and Nokomis are, variously, creative, eccentric, dogged, gregarious, flamboyant, occasionally overextended, and rarely boring. <BR> <BR> It all started with an eighteenth-century Cape Cod sea captain’s house that looked like something out of Christmas in Connecticut. In 1958, when Bill Arbuckle ins... Thu, 7 Aug 2014 14:40:00 EST Always worth the journey “Well it’s a little far out, but it’s always worth the journey. <BR> A little spot up the river where the real adventure begins.” <BR> <BR> --Jim Morris, “Nav-a-Gator Afternoon” <BR> <BR> Any cool place in Florida is a little far out (pun intended). Key West, for example, requires at least 100 miles of driving. <BR> <BR> People say the Nav-a-Gator Grill, nestled on a shady bend of the Peace River in Arcadia, is like Key West used to be--with the advantage that it’s not that far away. ... Sun, 3 Aug 2014 10:37:23 EST Calling Bobby Flay Male forays into cuisine once took place only grillside, spatula and fireproof mitt in hand, in a “Stand Back, Dad’s Cooking” apron, flipping burgers and franks to BF Goodrich consistency. Today you’re just as likely to hear one ask, “What do you think? Does my grilled caponata need more pine nuts?” <BR> <BR> Men are doing more cooking these days. It’s always “Oh, Butch does all the cooking at our house. I don’t even know where the salt is any more.” <BR> <BR> But why? Are all these guy... Sun, 3 Aug 2014 10:35:09 EST My new media home I've got a little more room to stretch out in the local paper's daily "things to do" supplement, plus the luxury of photos. It's kinda like moving from an army cot to a king-size--with a view. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>charlotte_sun/Default.aspx?href=SCC%2F<BR>2014%2F07%2F09&pageno=38&view=document </link> <BR> <BR> And a surprise of a welcome from my new editor, who is a dream to work with! <BR> <BR> <link><BR>charlot... Wed, 9 Jul 2014 18:27:06 EST Pirates of the Caribbean UPSTATE NY, CIRCA 1968: You tell the in-laws you‘re moving to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and you might as well announce you’re leaving for the moon. Barbara Farlow’s mom inquires, “You’re going WHERE?!” <BR> <BR> The late Dave Farlow’s son Keith says the late sixties were the “renegade days” for his parents—as they were for many American expats. “Back then, there weren’t even grocery stores on St. Croix; they had to buy produce off a boat from Puerto Rico.” <BR> <BR> The enterprising ... Fri, 4 Jul 2014 15:00:49 EST Not fired after all Editor’s Note: Sue Wade is being promoted to Let’s Go! on Wednesdays and, starting next Friday, David Morris will move into this spot. <BR> <BR> "Let's Go!" is a weekly arts and entertainment magazine blown into each copy of the paper, so although I won't be emblazoned on the front page every Friday, I'll have more space and photo opps in Let's Go! Fri, 4 Jul 2014 14:59:52 EST Garage sitting ga&#8729;rage sit&#8729;ting noun \g&#601;-&#712;räzh, -&#712;räj ‘sit-ting : phenomenon in which people sit on lawn chairs in the shelter of a building or part of a building in which a car, truck, etc., is kept <BR> <BR> There are front porches up north. People sit on them watching the world go by, smoking outside to keep their houses clean. If you walk around the neighborhood, you can bet these folks will be out. They count on passersby to keep life interesting, and they’re a fine sourc... Tue, 1 Jul 2014 20:05:27 EST Next-to-last column So it was a good run for five months. My editor called to let me know that they're putting a consumer advice column in place of mine next month. I'm crushed, of course, but I'll lick my wounds and get over it one day. Meanwhile, here's today's story. <BR> <BR> ________________________________________<BR>__________________________ <BR> <BR> <BR> B.B. King has said a lot of things about the blues, like “The blues was that problem child that you may have had in the family … but you loved h... Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:42:05 EST It's about the destination One patron of the Pine Island roadhouse now called Flatheads likes it so well that he refuses to leave. <BR> <BR> Before Flatheads opened, Tami O’Hanlon claims, “I’m all alone, on my hands and knees, cleaning up. I hear something slide across the bar, so I go, ‘You need anything?’ Then I hear another slide and think: Somebody’s in here with me! So I come up from behind the bar with mugs in both hands to slug him with. I see this scruffy, weathered old man with long grey hair sitting right... Sun, 22 Jun 2014 10:43:22 EST One life at a time This is a long version of a story that will run as a shorter column in a couple weeks. I called this version "Loose Caboose Freight" and the shortened version "Loose Caboose Model"--for train types, get it? Enjoy! <BR> <BR> Inside Boca Grande’s historic train depot, The Loose Caboose restaurant feels cool, smells like sweet cream, and is as richly paneled as any Gilded Age waiting room--which it was until 1958, when the passenger train stopped running. Once the place started dishing up ice... Thu, 5 Jun 2014 12:11:00 EST Little dramas If you pay attention when you’re out for a walk, you might be struck by all the little dramas going on around you. <BR> <BR> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <BR> <BR> A chickadee looked up at me as it lay limply in a neighbor’s driveway. A tougher woman might have crushed its head with a rock to put it out of its pain, but hoping it was just stunned and would fly away, I walked on. When I next passed by, it was dead, its feathers fluffing in the wind. <BR> <BR> A week later, I was passing ... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:29:15 EST The sea hibiscus Remember those two dozen trees that I grew from seed and put in the ground a couple of years ago, after being entranced by the amazing blooms on their mama tree? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I'd been hoping to see a blossom out of one of them in my lifetime and had nearly given up, when my biggest baby produced this on Easter morning. <BR> <BR> It starts the d... Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:49:45 EST Ocean State south Forgot to post this, especially for any Rhode Island Sparkers out there. You're a small state with a complicated coastline that seems the equal of Florida's in length, so you deserve a shout out. <BR> <BR> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <BR> <BR> A deli isn’t always a deli. Sometimes it’s a shape-shifting roadshow with New England fair food and its own troupe of troubadours. <BR> <BR> Your first hint that this deli with the Boar’s Head sign has morphed,... Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:23:37 EST What got Doxie For any of you living in the Gulf Coast area, beware of the walking stick bug, also called the "stick bug." Our regular vet is fairly certain that's what got Doxie. These three-inch-long sticklike bugs are very hard to spot, but when threatened, they shoot out a caustic acid that should be flushed out immediately by human or dog owner, or it will cause a corneal burn. The vet shared with me an article that described a situation almost exactly like Doxie's. Dog yelps, rubs face, then hours... Mon, 7 Apr 2014 17:21:10 EST Nurse Suzy "Yipe!" said Doxie, while nosing around our tree, and at once threw her face on the ground and began rubbing it. I checked it carefully, couldn't see anything, and she subsided with the rubbing. So I figured whatever it was would work its way out. <BR> <BR> By evening, her eye was weeping. I gave her hot compresses, which she gratefully accepted. Good girl. <BR> <BR> This morning, the whole thing was swollen shut, and she was kicking and scratching at it. So, enough. Time for the e... Sun, 6 Apr 2014 12:09:27 EST Hey, This Is Florida If you tell them you’re going to Englewoods on Dearborn (henceforth EoD) for the first time, friends will feel compelled to tip you off: “Don’t stop at the front. Keep going, all the way to the back.” <BR> <BR> They needn’t worry. If the jamming of The Copperhead Band covering ZZ Top’s “La Grange” and the twinkling banyan tree lights don’t seduce you into the way-back courtyard, someone will surely grab your hand and seal the deal. “Aren’t you gonna come in and dance with me?” a delightfu... Fri, 4 Apr 2014 13:19:46 EST Don't wave at the blind guy The neighbors tell me I should join the Neighborhood Watch. They see me walking up and down the streets, five miles every single day, more than the local sheriff drives around here. I sure couldn’t have done this all year in New Hampshire. <BR> <BR> I still haven’t joined. Mind you, I don’t have anything against Neighborhood Watches. They’re great. They give the neighbors something to do, they sometimes throw parties with pizza and special guest speakers (i.e., local sheriff), they keep y... Sat, 29 Mar 2014 10:15:00 EST Taste the Islands <link><BR>charlotte_sun/Default.aspx?href=SCC%2F<BR>2014%2F03%2F28&pageno=1&view=document </link> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:57:52 EST Blogging hell Tonight I decided to suck it up and try to set up a blog at one of the major free blogging sites. <BR> <BR> WordPress wouldn't even acknowledge that I existed. <BR> <BR> Tumblr refuses to recognize my password unless I ask to reset it, and then do so, using the very same password. <BR> <BR> I'm not sure that what I've entered looks like what I intended to those who read it. <BR> <BR> I may go back to paper and pencil. <BR> <BR> At least my SparkPeople blog works perfectly seamlessly. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:41:20 EST Crossroads <link><BR>charlotte_sun/Default.aspx?href=SCC%2F<BR>2014%2F03%2F21&pageno=1&view=document </link> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 13:22:38 EST An article for the Morgue I have different folders on my computer, Published for published stories, The Can (to be published), and The Morgue, for killed story ideas that I don't want to completely delete. I've been pursuing the story below because I've grown fond of what I'm afraid is the IDEA of this family, rather than the reality, which has turned out to be somewhat ugly and unpleasant. <BR> <BR> I spoke with the restaurant bartender, Hope, who told me her dad didn't speak English but agreed to take my card fo... Tue, 18 Mar 2014 11:25:10 EST A St. Pat's Day Card Is a bar’s testosterone level directly proportionate to the size and number of its bouncers? To solve this word problem one might stop by the PaddyWagon Irish Pub in Port Charlotte on a Saturday evening. <BR> <BR> Pairs of young men sit curled around beers along “the wood.” Two of them, from Ohio, somehow end up sounding Irish in this setting. A gaggle of blonde girls laughs like tinkling glass at the far end of the bar. A grey-ponytailed retiree from Lynnfield, Mass., shoots pool with tw... Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:00:58 EST Friday's story Again, you guys are getting the uncut version: <BR> <BR> Thai women are a force of nature. Just ask my husband. His ex is one. (She’s actually quite lovely and leaves us alone, but she was rough on servants and … well … that’s another story. …) The stereotype that Thai women have sweet manners, love to care for their family, and meekly follow their husband’s wishes is pretty much just that. After all, there are tales of Thai warrior queens riding to battle atop elephants, and their prid... Sun, 9 Mar 2014 19:53:52 EST A little test, for Umami My SP friend Umami had trouble posting a link to this song (see her blog), so I thought I'd see if a YouTube link worked, which it seems to. Cute little upbeat song, too, especially if you're stuck in the winter doldrums. <BR> <BR> <link> </link> Wed, 5 Mar 2014 10:22:32 EST One big crazy family Oh hell, I'm gonna share my unedited story with you guys, because my editor mucked up the ending of it. You can take me unedited, I think. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Picture a screwball comedy with a family making fireworks in the basement while all holy Toledo breaks out upstairs and the hero lopes about with a pet leopard on a leash. Now put all that on Lemon Bay, and you get the zany energy and family feeling of Zeke’s Bayside Bar & Grill at Englewood’s Royal Palm Marina. <BR> <BR> “Yeah,... Sun, 2 Mar 2014 17:05:06 EST A Spark Activity Tracker Mystery You all might have noticed that I lost my old SAT and ordered another one, which arrived this week. But I was without one for about ten days. <BR> <BR> Just today, I went back into my records to total up my estimated mileage for those ten days. As I flipped through the data, I saw two SAT notifications of "19 minutes Unspecified Event, 2:09 AM" (19 minutes, 440 steps, .2 mile) and "28 minutes Unspecified Event, 11:07 PM" (28 minutes, 642 steps, .26 mile). This would be a ridiculously sl... Sat, 22 Feb 2014 10:24:00 EST A different kind of story <link><BR>charlotte_sun/Default.aspx?href=SCC%2F<BR>2014%2F02%2F21&pageno=1&view=document </link> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:18:45 EST The Portofino Paradox Here's one that will never see print, because it was a little too controversial in this small town. The point of the story, buried deep between the lines, is that the owner is delusional, spends money unwisely (i.e., the million-dollar unused salon), and his food, handled by an old crony who can't cook, sucks. That he has failed at the restaurant business over and over, yet somehow persists in his delusion, is the real paradox. <BR> <BR> All yours, SparkFriends! <BR> <BR> There’s a paradox... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 12:42:23 EST For Morticia Morticia just reminded me that I hadn't posted her favorite small-town paper today. Note how well my shirt works on this morning's paper! About once a year the color will be perfect, eh? <BR> <BR> I prefer my own opening for the story, but my editor found it distracting. (Men!) He thought it would work better if the damn dog had given birth in the restaurant, but then the board of health would have been down on them. <BR> <BR> "Alternately snarling at Boomer, who had gotten her into this... Fri, 14 Feb 2014 17:01:51 EST Friday morning It's a unique experience to find myself face down in my neighbors' driveways every Friday morning. No, no, not what you think. That's when my front-page column comes out. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>charlotte_sun/Default.aspx?href=SCC%2F<BR>2014%2F02%2F07&pageno=1&view=document </link> Fri, 7 Feb 2014 10:14:09 EST First column Here's a link to my first REAL story, from the Charlotte Sun, Vol. 122, No. 31, January 31, 2014, p. 1. The Rodney story was under my editor's byline, but quoted me liberally. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>charlotte_sun/LandingPage/LandingPage.<BR>aspx?href=U0NDLzIwMTQvMDEvMzE.&pageno=<BR>MQ..&entity=QXIwMDEwMA..&view=ZW50aXR5 </link> Sat, 1 Feb 2014 11:19:34 EST News at 8 Promised news about how I got to be a published writer--that Holy Grail of any kid who has been bitten by the writing bug at the age of ten. It do take a while, folks. And I have SparkPeople to thank, for providing a nice, private place to blog away in peace. I got to indulge myself, for years inflicting tales (often having nothing to do with diet or exercise, sometimes having to do with cats and socks) on other people. They seemed to like what they read, but I felt like it could have bee... Mon, 27 Jan 2014 20:43:37 EST Bee Movie I’m pretty content with most things about Florida, but one of my least favorites is that everything here seems to make me ITCH. <BR> <BR> The dogs get poison ivy juice on their claws and later inoculate me with it. <BR> <BR> Deep Woods OFF!® is fairly effective, but not against all mosquitos, some of which are small biplanes that leave bites the size of a dome light. <BR> <BR> We were chased from a potential home purchase in Rotonda by a swarm of no-see-ums that pursued us into the rea... Sun, 19 Jan 2014 15:31:48 EST Plant from Mars has a name! I'm persistent to a fault. After hours of hunting for Plant from Mars online, I stumbled upon a nursery in South Carolina called Woodlanders, which specializes in unusual plants, and wrote to them via their Contact Us link. I apparently asked the right guy, because Bob McCartney wrote back to tell me that a contact in Gainesville told him it is Acalypha wilkesiana forma circinata, more modestly known as Jacob's coat. Like my sea hibiscus, it hails from Southeast Asia and has many medicinal... Mon, 18 Nov 2013 16:55:03 EST Legos for Scooter Downtown Disney has some awesome Legos too: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 16 Nov 2013 16:31:24 EST Brilliant marketing <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Speaks for itself, no? <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> In other words, the answer to "You will discover the likely reasons why you have [all these problems]" is the likelihood of your being irresistibly drawn to FREE PANCAKES & EGGS in the first place. The "'cutting edge' solution to provide you with relief" is, of course, not eating this sort of stuff. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:53:07 EST Mother and Child Reunion: Part 2 Once we got safely home from Ft. Myers, Delia stepped over our threshold and was warmly greeted by both puppies and Bill. Despite my fears, there was no awkwardness. <BR> <BR> How delightful that she could wander around the house, looking at both things she had grown up with as well as new ones. "What a wonderful room!" she enthused about the living room. "Oh, I remember this!" "Everything is so NEAT! How do you keep your silverware drawer like this??" "I have a bathroom all to myself??" It ... Tue, 12 Nov 2013 17:30:39 EST Mother and Child Reunion: Part 1 It's been a long journey for my daughter and me. Because of her father's embittered response to our divorce, it has been thirteen years since she has set foot inside my home. We've seen a lot of each other, but she held back from coming into the home that Bill and I share, and spending time with Bill. Everyone told me, "She'll come around in time. She'll appreciate what a good guy Bill is. Kids mature. You'll see." It was so hard to believe that I resigned myself to our leading separate live... Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:23:19 EST