Cheeseburger in Paradise

We seriously considered driving to Fernadina Beach after work Wednesday so we could eat a cheeseburger at Tasty’s to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day, but after some thought decided that a five hour round trip drive for a cheeseburger was a bit extravagant.

Instead we did a little burger research trying to locate the best local cheeseburger. Starting with a little online research I was disappointed to find 5 Guys, Hardees, Krystal, Wendy’s, and Sonic listed among the top cheeseburger destinations in town. We weren’t looking to have a burger at a fast food chain.

Urban Spoon listed Blue Gator in Dunnellon as a top choice for a cheeseburger, but upon closer inspection, the reviews all referred to fish and shrimp dishes, not cheeseburgers. We’ll save Blue Gator for another time.

We surveyed friends and co-workers and got some good suggestions:

  • Terry’s Place – Their cheeseburgers are good, but we’re hoping to find something new and even better.
  • Ruby Tuesday – Again, we’re trying to stay away from a chain restaurant. Surely, there’s a local place we can try.
  • Tres Chic – That’s more like it…but, they aren’t open for dinner…and have they reopened after being closed all summer? Not an option this time.
  • The Lunch Box – Another place only open for breakfast and lunch, so we can’t try it this time.
  • The Dugout – Local, open for dinner, made the list of burgers of distinction in a recent article in the Star Banner.
  • 110th Street Grille – Local, open for dinner, named by more than one person as having good, different cheeseburgers.

We settled on the 110th Street Grille in Belleview to satisfy our cheeseburger craving, and we weren’t disappointed. I ordered the Cheeseburger in Paradise and just like in the Jimmy Buffet song, it comes with lettuce, tomato, Heinz 57, and topped with french fried potato straws with a big kosher pickle on the side. To be honest, I don’t need potato straws or Heinz 57 on my burger, but I wanted to try the cheeseburger Jimmy sings about, and it was a good choice.

John ordered the 100th St. cheeseburger which comes with bacon, lettuce, and tomato; another good choice.

I would have liked the burger better if served on the fresh baked hamburger buns from Terry’s Place, but overall I was pleased and will return for another cheeseburger. Although, I must admit, the grouper sandwiches served at the next table caught my eye. The next trip may be in search of the best local grouper sandwich. 110th St. Grille looks like a contender!

Ahoy, matey!

pirateArrr! Plannin’ somethin’ special for International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Nearly 20 years ago, t’ talk like a pirate day began as a joke between two buckos, but when Dave Berry wrote about it in 2002, t’ idea really took off.

Websites abound with pirate vocabulary, English t’ pirate translators, and pirate themed merchandise. On the Original Talk Like a Pirate Day website created by the day’s founders, John Baur n’ Mark Summers, visitors find everythin’ pirate. This year even Krispy Kreme donuts joined in t’ fun by givin’ away a free glazed donut t’ anyone who comes in and talks like a pirate, and if you dress like a pirate, they’ll give you a dozen free donuts!

Here are a few simple tips to follow so you can participate in the fun:

  • Arrr – insert in your speech to pause or show excitement
  • Ahoy! – substitute for hello
  • Drop the g at the end of words.
  • Use Cap’n when talking to your boss.
  • Refer to the younger set as lads and lasses.
  • Call your friends matey.
  • Instead of using the word my, say me.
  • Aye! Aye! – instead of yes.

After talkin’ like a pirate all day,  you might want t’ kick it up a notch and drink a little rum like a pirate while watchin’ Pirates o’ t’ Caribbean. Arrr!




Weigh-in Wednesday: Week 38

accomplishedIt took thirty-eight weeks, but I finally made it! With the Internet repaired, I could work at home again and that meant walking while working. The extra exercise made it possible for me to reach my second goal of the year.

When I met my original goal of losing sixteen pounds, I decided I could push myself a little more and set my sight on losing another ten pounds. Getting back to work and a regular schedule gave me the boost needed to reach the new weight.

It sure felt good when I signed on to Lose It the next day and realized that my calorie allowance had increased since I moved into the maintenance phase. I’m allowed an extra 400 calories a day under the new plan!

The new challenge…continue the habits that have gotten me this far. Log meals. Exercise. Skip soda and candy. I’ve got fourteen more weeks this year to make these eating and exercise habits a permanent part of my life.

Lake Weir: A Perfect Place for a Mini-Vacation

With all our travels throughout Florida bicycling, fishing, turtle watching, and visiting state parks, it’s good to spend some time relaxing at the lake.

Sitting on the porch. Reading in the hammock. Enjoying a cold drink on the beach at sunset.


Watching the storms roll in.


Skiing (actually serving as the spotter for the skier).

Swimming, fishing, watching the wildlife…what a great way to spend the day.

A day at the lake is a perfect mini-vacation any day of the week!

Live Everyday to Its Fullest

It’s easy to put off til tomorrow what we can and should do today, but when it comes to enjoying every day, there’s no time to waste. Make time for fun and friends.
This poem was written by Erma Bombeck, an author and humorist, popular in the 1960s-1990s. She wrote about everyday life in a way that always brought a smile. She seemed to be able to find a way to laugh at everything that went wrong in her daily routine as a wife and mother. IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER was written after she found out she was dying from cancer, and I think you’ll agree we can all learn a little from her words.
by: Erma Bombeck

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s’ More ‘I’m sorry’s.’

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it . . live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

I’m proud to say that I’ve never avoided doing something because I was worried about messing up my hair. I’ll eat popcorn in any room of the house. We use the fireplace and I don’t care if there are ashes left behind in June. I’ve shed a lot of tears watching television and movies, but I cry about real life as well…crying is something I do very well!

On the other hand, I agree with Erma about taking off work when sick, not so much for myself, but for my children. I was too quick to say, “You’ll feel better once you get to school.” That’s a mistake. I should have stayed home and snuggled in bed and pampered you while you rested.

Like Erma, I wish I’d paid more attention to events in my life. I remember telling Meghan before her wedding to take time to notice everything about her wedding day since I don’t remember anything about my own.

However, for the most part, I’d live the same life again. No big changes, and if one of Erma’s big regrets is not burning the pink candle, I’d say she lived her best life; but I love this poem because it makes you think about what you’re doing today.

You don’t want to look back at your life and say you’d live it differently. Listen to Erma, life everyday to its fullest.



Days Are So Precious

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.IMG_0290

Days Are So Precious

Days are so precious –

            When you’re 62 –

I know – do you?

Evenings are special –

            A time to renew.

I know – do you?

I need someone to reach out

           And hold me tight –

So what’s new?

Bettie Lou wrote this poem on September 17, 1989 on her 62nd birthday.

Thanks from Team B. Lou

Team B. Lou walked with hundreds of others last Saturday in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We participated in honor of B. Lou, my mother in law who died in 2010 after struggling with dementia.

Six of us walked the 2 1/2 mile course on Saturday getting our exercise for the day and participating a “brain healthy” activity.

And they're off!
And they’re off!

Our goal: raise $1000 in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission

To end Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for those affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Promise Garden Finish Line
Promise Garden Finish Line

I’m proud to announce that with the support of family, friends, and co-workers we exceeded our goal.

In fact, Team B. Lou was the 4th highest fundraiser in the Ocala walk…the top non-business team. We shattered our goal of raising $1000 by bringing in 154% of our goal or $1539!  John was even recognized as a top-earner and initiated into the Champion’s Club.

Thanks again to all who contributed to our team’s success!

Oh, and if you’re a procrastinator, it’s not to late to donate! Contributions can be added through the remainder of 2013 by clicking here.


Leftover Love

I can’t even imagine what Sarah will say when she hears about LeftoverSwap, an app that is planned for release this month. She gets completely freaked out when we share leftovers with friends and they share theirs with us. Sarah insists that leftovers are only to be shared with family…close family, but LeftoverSwap plans to change that.

Leftover pizza, anyone?
Leftover pizza, anyone?

LeftoverSwap allows smart phone users to take a picture of their leftovers, post it to the app’s database, and then the bartering begins. Not just friends and family, but complete strangers in your geographic vicinity can make a trade for your food, or maybe just take it off your hands to avoid being wasteful.

When I first heard about LeftoverSwap I was pretty sure this was a story created by The Onion, the parody news organization. No way LeftoverSwap could be real. Wrong…The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and Fox News covered the launch of this endeavor.

At, the app’s creators explain out the need for such a service spelling out the following benefits:

  • 40% of the food we produce goes to waste
  • 25% of us don’t know our neighbor’s names
  • 70% of us are overweight
  • 16% of Americans lack enough food for a healthy lifestyle
  • 99% of us don’t need a second helping of the beef lo mein

Apparently, they believe LeftoverSwap’s the answer to these problems. Although, I’m not sure I see the correlation.

I've got some wings and a BBQ pork sandwich.
I’ve got some wings and a BBQ pork sandwich.

I’ve signed up for the email signaling the official release of LeftoverSwap. Not because I intend to use it, but because I want to see what’s posted and how the trades occur. My prediction…this can’t be successful. What do you think? Would you be interested in a stranger’s leftovers?

Calendar Girl

The Oviedo Preservation Project, a volunteer run organization, attempts to make their community’s history relevant to its residents, most of whom are newcomers to Oviedo. They sponsor fun events such as The Rising, an event scheduled for October 26th this year with a 5K race, pancake breakfast, costumed actors portraying the city’s founding mothers and fathers, and a cemetery tour.

In the spring they host the Citrus and Celery Cook-off in honor of two crops instrumental in the development of the community with the Taste of Oviedo. Another day to remember Oviedo of old.

The Oviedo Preservation Project also produces a mini book in the form of a wall calendar each year. Community members submit photographs for this yearly project, and two of Meghan’s photographs were selected for the 2013 calendar hanging in my kitchen.

This week they announced the winners of the photo contest for the 2014 calendar and Meghan’s entry was selected as this year’s winning entry. Not only will it be displayed as the October image, but it will be used on the cover!

Meghan's winning 2014 calendar contest photo.
Meghan’s winning 2014 calendar contest photo.

Beginning at the Great Day in the Country on the 2nd Saturday in November, the calendar will be available at no charge. Of course, they accept donations. If you’re in Oviedo, pick up a calendar or check out all winning photos at the Oviedo Preservation Project’s Facebook page.

Congratulations to Meghan, my calendar girl!

Weigh-in Wednesday: Week 37

Thanks to Cox Communications seeing the scale display that magic number is another week away. For five days…three work days…no phone…no Internet…lots of stress. Working from home is wonderful when I have the tools necessary to do my job, but without phone and Internet it’s next to impossible.

To compensate, I worked from schools two days. That meant no access to my treadmill desk and no walking while working…a big hit to my calorie burning plan. And since I eat when stressed that was a problem as well.

No treadmill desk last week!
No treadmill desk last week!

Sure I drank the coke, ate the cake and cookies, over indulged in tailgate food; but I’m still blaming it on Cox!

Cox got me back online Monday afternoon so I’m looking for a better week. I’m back to walking and working. I’ll be watching the scale.