Saturday, May 17, 2014

How old do you THINK I am?

Dad and his Soul

87 years old and he still climbs ladders every day as he does something to this property or that property.

That frightens one side of me. But, the other side of me takes some comfort in the fact that my dad is still so fit and active.

Unfortunately, no boar hunting last week.
The Birds.  The last thing I saw.  Period.  
Just a couple visits to the beach, a few chores, and an excursion to Ave Marie, Florida.

Ave (That's ah vay, not avenue or Oy Vay) Maria may become my new home away from home in Florida.  Resort-like facilities where the Sister O'Flaherty Home for Sponging Brothers will soon be under construction.

Ave Maria Church, Florida
With ambitions not unlike Disney World, developers are creating something out in the middle of nothing, centered around a dramatic church, a university, golf, pools, and, according to one resident, four types of people:

a.  "Snow Birds" = Northerns who come during the season to avoid the snow.  Sister O'Flaherty will be in that category.

b. "Snow Flakes" = Northerners who come back and forth.

c.   Permanent residents.

d.  "Frogs" - people who come here and croak.

The nice resident who imparted this info was a pioneer - there since 2010. Growth is happening, he notes.  They now have a gas station and grocery store to go with a couple of modest restaurants among the businesses around the church.

His Holiness Pope Francis
People who are not over 55 and Catholic might be concerned by the lack of diversity around Ave Maria.  I'm sure there are many people under 55 at the University, and one resident estimated that only about 60% of current residents are Catholic.  I, too, suspect that the religion will not be the draw in the future, despite my feeble attempts at humor here.  People who like destination resort living without the need for schmanzy restaurants will like it here.

Speaking of schmanzy restaurants, Dad, Gloria and I met Ed and Judy for dinner one night in Naples.  It's always good to see them. (Ed draws out my Republican roots - the Dinosaur Republicans who believe in an efficient and limited government.)

Bottom line: it's great to visit Dad and Gloria and see how active they are.  I wish I could travel there much faster than 50 hours on the road or 12 hours by air.  

May 12 - 16, 2014
"Ave" is Latin for "Hail."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Zara, Boston, Sudbury, Amherst and colonial roads in between.

Newberry St.(click to enlarge)
Boston parks, Newberry Street, colonial countrysides, old brick, family, family, and family are the take home images from our trip to Massachusettes. 

Late Wednesday, we arrived at Steve and Linda's house for a visit to catch up on everything.  

Public Garden
Thursday, we walked and walked around Boston:  Boston Common, Public Garden, Isabella Gardner Museum, Newberry Street.  We hung out long enough to meet the (travel weary) West Coast Friedlands for dinner on Newberry St.  

Friday we drove 1.5 hours with Sean and Daniele to rainy Amherst, with a stop for a great lunch with some of the others in Northampton.

Accosting Zara in Amherst
Celebrating Zara and Reilly’s graduation from U. Mass. Amherst got us driving through miles of rolling, woodsy roads through towns founded in the 1600s and 1700s.  Grand old houses and churches highlighted nearly every stretch. 

Lots of quality time with the Friedland gang: Saturday in Amherst for more ceremony and dinner.  Sunday brunch and croquet at the East Coast Friedland house. Lots of eating.  But, no Dunkin’ Doughnuts, despite their stores being everywhere. Lots of other eating.  Did I mention eating?
Garden in the Woods 
Daniele, Scott, Lori & Sean

Seeing all of the grads and families at the school was uplifting.  Lots of positive energy shooting out in all directions: accomplishment, pride, potential, joy. . . . I’d love to see more focus on these positive stories than the typical news of negativity.
Saturday Night Celebration in Amherst

deCordova Sculpture Garden
Concord, MA 

click here for more photos
May 7 - 12, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

Stammtisch Restaurant, Portland

Restaurateurs Dan Hart and Chris Navarra know how to make people feel at home, feed us well, and give us good bier and cocktails.  I love their new place they named Stammtisch.

On this Monday night, there was a good crowd of people ranging from 20s to middle age.  Mostly younger.  I expected a wide array of biers, but the quality of food and cocktails surprised me.  

I had the braised trout with vegetables and a wine butter reduction sauce.  It was perfectly moist, flavorful, and not one single bone.  My better half just had a pretzel, but she raved about that, too. 

After my bier, I had a gin cocktail that exceeded the standard I'd expect from Secret Society.  Only this German recipe I had not seen before:  gin, obstler, riesling syrup and lemon. 

On top of it all was a very accommodating and friendly staff in the newly-redecorated, warm setting.  The policy of sharing tables "forced" us to have a great conversation with another couple.  

Stammtisch is a terrific new place.

Stammtisch on Urbanspoon