SUZYMOBILE's SparkPeople Blog SUZYMOBILE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 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 How the Garden Grows A couple of weeks ago, we put in place my birthday present--an arched trellis that I've been planning as the entryway to my sea hibiscus boulevard. (Last year I grew the sea hibiscuses up from seeds gathered off the mother tree up the road. One of the babies is already as tall as the gutters. They're well on their way to becoming the living fence I had in mind.) <BR> <BR> First, one turns the corner past the Mexican petunia bed on the left and the heliconia, ti plant, and Plant from Ma... Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:31:55 EST Requiem I’ve known Bill for nearly fifteen years now, but his 1996 Isuzu Hombre truck is even older than our relationship. One sometimes wonders about a man’s attachment to his vehicle. He has been as reluctant to say goodbye to the Truck as if it were an old girlfriend. I have no problem with this, except that it has become a HIGH-MAINTENANCE old girlfriend. <BR> <BR> And it doesn’t like me much, even though I’ve saved its sorry ass a few times. Although Bill swears it is easy to drive, its s... Sun, 6 Oct 2013 17:47:48 EST A quiet birthday at home, with photos I draw the line at party dresses for my girls, but they did have a nice celebration at home with BFF Rosie, Aunt Gilda, and Uncle Bobby. <BR> <BR> They got a lovely card, which they read with great interest. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And a new squeaky toy from their friend Rosie. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> "Thank you, Rosie!" <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos... Mon, 2 Sep 2013 16:40:46 EST Mike When we first moved to Port Charlotte, we lined up various helpers—Dominic, the pool guy; Rodney, the handyman; Bucky, the roofer; and Mike, the lawn guy. Some of you may remember the story of Rodney, who probably resides in jail today because of his larcenous activities. But you haven’t heard about Mike, and you really should. <BR> <BR> Our realtor put us onto many support people, from roofers to septic tank cleaners to exterminators, but the lawn care guy he recommended just never return... Sat, 10 Aug 2013 18:18:03 EST Dinner alone! Bill's off on an all-night fishing trip, so what do I do? <BR> <BR> Luxuriate over a dinner out by myself! <BR> <BR> The view and the dinner: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I won't even feel guilty about popping the barking dogs in their crate for an hour and sitting at a bar overlooking the marina all by myself! <BR> <BR> Aaaaaah! Tue, 16 Jul 2013 18:59:31 EST My walk proves profitable again Why do people throw out what they do? As I made my way home from my morning walk, I came upon these little fellas sitting in a box by the side of the road. "Please don't leave us here for someone less worthy to take home with them!" they bleated. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, though they were not insignificant in weight, I obliged, and carried them the last mile to get them into our house. <BR> <BR> Ever since, I've been ... Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:06:37 EST Roly and Doxie Take a Vacation We weren't the only ones to go on vacation last weekend. Normally, Roly and Doxie would sleep over with their little friend Rosie, but since she came down with canine myasthenia gravis, she just doesn't have the long-term stamina she used to. (Don't feel dumb. I didn't know what HUMAN myasthenia gravis was, let alone that dogs got it. The good news is that it can be controlled with inexpensive medication.) So, we had a few tense, embarrassed moments in which I asked Gilda if the girls co... Sun, 7 Jul 2013 11:46:09 EST Now that I have the time ... I'm on vacation, so I feel obliged to blog ... now that I have the time. Usually I feel as if I have to be inspired before writing anything, but they say writers just put pen to paper or fingers to keys any old time, and see what comes out. Let's see what comes out today. <BR> <BR> Our trip to Key West was slower paced than I'd have preferred, but maybe this was just as well, given that the first thing I did on it was fall down. Our male company has, like, four diseases, so he can't walk ... Fri, 5 Jul 2013 11:53:43 EST The Fall You might have noticed, in my status feed, that I took a fall last week. I have to admit that it felt like the height of foolishness. What fall isn't, when you think about it? Nobody ever wants anyone else to see you doing it. And falling down is, let's face it, graceless. <BR> <BR> We'd just arrived for vacation in Key West, and I was ridiculously determined to get in a walk after being stuck in a car for 6 hours. Unfortunately, the road going by our hotel was, instead of a lovely, palm-... Tue, 2 Jul 2013 16:40:39 EST Hold the Mail I posted a couple of days ago about a recent discovery on my morning walk. I know that Vic and Linda have returned to Vermont for the summer, but I saw their mailbox hanging open that morning, with an array of twigs sticking out of it. On closer inspection, this is what I found: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The back of the box is open as well. If Gilda or my former officemate, Sharon, had seen this, they'd be in a caregiving fren... Mon, 6 May 2013 09:54:18 EST The Pillar I neglected to tell y'all that we went with Bobby and Gilda to an auction of postmodern 1950s and 1960s artsy stuff in Sarasota a few weeks ago. <BR> <BR> We found a lot of things to bid on, like a four-foot tall papier mache cat with a bowtie and a goofy grin; a collection of 1960s sepia proof sheets of more than 200 nude sketches suitable for framing and papering a room with, which offended Bobby's West Virginia sensibilities but fascinated Gilda, Bill, and me; a folk-art alligator table;... Sun, 5 May 2013 11:05:37 EST Having a goal We all know how important goals are at SparkPeople. If you don't set 'em, you don't get 'em. I even have a daily goal of envisioning my goal, whatever it may be at the time. Of course, I go along for spells of time having no idea what my "goal" is, but then something comes into focus and I aim for it. This is a good thing. <BR> <BR> On a more practical level, my daily morning walk (now 4 miles long) becomes more motivating and entertaining if I have a goal other than a fresh cup of coffe... Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:49:20 EST Like owner, like dog Some say that dog owners choose animals that resemble them. Not only do Rolly and Doxie share their owner's astrological sign, one of them bears somewhat of a resemblance, in demeanor and facial structure. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 15:14:30 EST Boston Growing up in the Boston area, "Boston" holds a special place in my heart. I may never have run it, but my ex did, four times, and his father did many times. It can be a family tradition in Boston, with generation after generation cheering and running. The 8-year-old who was killed could have been a marathoner one day. <BR> <BR> I've stood on the course cheering the runners more times than I can count. I've driven over the course, imagining each water stop as if I were running it; watched ... Tue, 16 Apr 2013 10:15:07 EST Mole crickets I sometimes gather helpful and comforting pieces of information on my morning walk, especially if I go out a bit later than usual and run into neighbors. I find out, for instance, which houses have sold and which states their new owners hail from. I see new lawn statuary, like the Chinese dragon bearing a Japanese lantern on its head at Tommy's house. And I get to ask Ron and Jan about lawn pests--in their case, lingering fire ants. My latest worry was whatever is causing the mounded-up ru... Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:33:47 EST