Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's time to start thinking about . . .

. . . buying a new car.

Red car in showroomAnd thinking about shopping for a new car is not a happy thought. Oh sure, it would be nice to have a new car, but on the pleasure scale, dealing with car sales persons is barely one step above having root canal work done.

Our current cars are in fine shape but getting along in years -- 19 years combined. With an average age of 9.5 years we are sure to have some costly problems before long.

To get us started here's a list of links to automobile companies and another to some sites that compare new car featutres and prices. These should help us avoid entering a showroom for a while.

Car Companies

New Car Comparison Sites Comparisons
Edmunds New Car Comparisons

Fuel Economy Data
The EPA's Fuel Ecomomy Stats
2008 Fuel Economy Leaders

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Part 2

Now for some details of our trip to and from Montgomery.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we set off last Friday morning, about 10:30, for Montgomery, Alabama, about 175 miles north of Pensacola, via Interstate 65. Heading for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

When we passed by the Alabama town of Evergreen, it was almost lunch time and the halfway point of our drive. We decided to stop in the next town, Georgiana, and have lunch at the Georgiana Family Restaurant. We had eaten there before and liked it a lot. A typical southern country restaurant, open only at lunch time and serving "meat and two." That means a meat dish -- your choice of fried chicken, catfish, chicken fried steak, meatloaf -- and two side dishes such as collard greens, fried corn, black eyed peas, sweet potatoes, etc. Sometimes rolls or cornbread are included too. Drinks are usually extra. All of it is at a very reasonable price, between $6.00 and $8.00 each.

We were ready to eat but when we got there the restaurant was no longer there. And the building said "Georgiana Used Cars." And it had a sign saying it too was "out of business." Sadly, for us, Georgiana is so small there are no other restaurants except for a hot dog stand at the gas station.

Business card, The Chef's TableHungry, we drove up a side road the 15 miles to Greenville hoping to find somewhere to eat. Anywhere. Anything.

The side road was deserted and we decided to eat at the first likely place we could find in Greenville. Halfway through Greenville we saw a bright, fresh awning and a sign that said "The Chef's Table." The food was good (meat and three!) and the location interesting. There were several old, beautifully restored Victorian homes nearby just down from the village square with its brick city hall.

We had fried chicken, corn bread, greens, braised cabbage, blackeyed peas, chess pie, banana pudding and iced tea. The price was $7.98 per person.

About an hour later we had checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn in Montgomery with plenty of time for a shower, nap, and dinner before the show at ASF. We had already searched the Internet and made a list of likely restaurants, looking for a casual, nearby place with a local feel.

Chappy's Deli logoThe best casual dining spot close to the Hilton was Chappy's Deli on Perry Hill Road. It was just down the street a couple blocks and had a great menu of creative light meals and deli classics. Chappy's is a small chain with four other delis in the area. It's very popular with families and early on a Friday evening it was packed. But the large size of the place and the fast service meant there was no wait at all.

Then we were off to ASF to see West Side Story and we were pleased to find it was a excellent production in every way.

Sinclair's logoThe next day we needed a hearty brunch before seeing ASF's The Beaux' Stratagem at 2:00 P.M., so we ate at Sinclair's East. It was close to the ASF grounds and had great food.

The decor and furnishings are very nice and the food is well-prepared, not inexpensive -- reasonably priced for the quality -- but not cheap. However there is something strange about Sinclair's atmosphere -- the young staff dress like pigs. Sloppy tops, grungy blue jeans that don't look clean (maybe they are, but...) and a hostess wearing short shorts that were not appropriate with her more than ample figure. They must be be the owner's kids.

Like Chappy's this restaurant is part of a small local chain with two other Sinclairs' in the area. After the play, which we really enjoyed, we were on I-65 heading south for home at 5:05 P.M. It had been a quick trip and we got to see two excellent productions by one of the best Shakespeare Festivals in the country.

Krystal logoWe picked up our evening meal at the Krystal drive thru in Ft. Deposit. We each had a sack of burgers and a Dr. Pepper. We ate them while racing down I-65. For more information about the Krystal chain go to Krystal's Wiki page.

We arrived home at 8:30 Saturday night. The total mileage for the trip was 384 miles.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

ASF Main Building and the Carolyn Blount Theatre

Last Friday morning we set off for Montgomery, Alabama, about 175 miles north of Pensacola, via Interstate 65. We were going to see a couple of plays -- West Side Story (1957) and The Beaux' Stratagem (1707) -- at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We had been there once before and saw an excellent production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

ASF logo

The Festival hasn't done a lot of musicals in the past and although we trusted them to do a good job, we both thought they were very brave to choose such a challenging piece as West Side Story. It turned out that earlier in the season they presented Romeo & Juliette, so West Side Story made perfect sense. As for their production of West Side Story, it was wonderful. Broadway quality on all levels -- acting, dancing, singing as well as all the design and production aspects. ASF deserves to be very proud of this show.

The Beaux' Stratagem, by George Farquhar was also very well done, a fresh and bright production by the graduating MFA class.

Shakespeare Garden and AmphitheatreThe Alabama Shakespeare Festival is located in Blount Cultural Park, donated by Wynton M. Blount. It also contains the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Shakespeare Garden and Amphitheatre plus acres of open space groomed to look like the English countryside.

ASF's website
ASF's blog
West Side Story
The Beaux' Stratagem

Friday, July 11, 2008

Seasickness Remedies

Transderm ScopBecause we go on a lot of cruises, we often get asked by friends, family and even strangers, "Do you ever get seasick?" No, we have never gotten seasick, but someday we might, so we sail prepared.

There are two remedies we always take with us when we cruise. One is a prescription drug, Transderm Scop (Scopolamine). It's a small patch you wear behind your ear. The effects last for three days. You see many people on the ship wearing these patches.

Modern cruise ships are so stable that seasickness is rare, but even old sea captains get it sometimes -- after years on the sea with no problems.

BonineWe also pack a box of another drug that's helpful, Bonine (Meclizine). It is a non-drowsy version of Dramamine and you do not need a prescription to buy it. It's a chewable tablet and works quickly. It is also useful for dizzyness and other kinds of motion sickness.

There are a lot of other medications and folk remedies people use to avoid and/or treat seasickness. Here's what has to say about many kinds of seasickness remedies.

A post from January 2008 about staying healthy on cruises listed what we do to avoid getting the dreaded Norovirus and other shipboard illnesses. Click here to read it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Birthday Plants and a New Pot

My parents in Maine sent me a Lowe's gift card for my birthday. Thank you very much. I used it to buy some hibiscus plants for the backyard. Red, orange and yellow. Here are some photos I took today.
Photos of the hibiscus blossoms.
I replanted them in some large square planters and they are doing very well. Click on the blossoms to see a larger image.

I also used the gift card to buy a large decorative pot for the corn plant I mentioned in a recent post. It had outgrown its original pot and was getting top heavy. Often when it was windy it would topple over. The new pot is much heavier and won't blow over so easily. Also the corn plant has to come in the house for the winter so it's good to have a nice looking pot for it to live in.
New pot for the corn plant.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What's for dinner tonight? Part 4

Christmas Day Dinner Menu on board the U.S.S. Case, December 25,, 1926
Christmas Day Dinner Menu on board the U.S.S. Case, December 25, 1926 (from the holiday menu collection at the U.S. Navy Department Library).

I have kept a log of our evening meals since Saturday, January 27, 2007 (BBQ baby back ribs and Nassau Grits). The intention was to help with the daily questions, "What do you want for dinner tonight?" and "What haven't we had lately?"

When the list became too long I broke it up into six-month segments:
January through June, 2007
July through December, 2007
January through June, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 -- Lunch at Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House at the Island View Casino Resort, Gulfport, Mississippi, -- Joan & Billy, Beth, Jack and Ken; later, snacks for supper
Wednesday, July 2 -- leftover Kung Pao chicken, pepper beef, rice, wontons
Thursday, July 3 -- Salisbury steak, roasted potatoes
Friday, July 4 -- taco salad

Saturday, July 5 -- Quiche Lorraine (James Beard recipe), salad
Sunday, July 6 -- BBQ ribs, burgers, hot dogs here, with the Daughdrill's
Monday, July 7 -- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
Tuesday, July 8 -- KFC, coleslaw, biscuits
Wednesday, July 9 -- grilled NY strip steak, baked potato
Thursday, July 10 -- steak sandwiches, chips and dips
Friday, July 11 -- lunch at Joan & Billy's, southern veggies by Billy, chicken & dumplings, corn pones; later for supper, snacks and Blue Bell ice cream

Saturday, July 12 -- chicken curry, steamed rice, English peas
Sunday, July 13 -- chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, collards with bacon
Monday, July 14 -- lunch at the Red Barn BBQ in Milton; roast beef hoagies for supper
Tuesday, July 15 -- for lunch, chicken fried steak sandwiches; for supper, Caesar salad with shrimps on a stick
Wednesday, July 16 -- crispy fried chicken strips, rice, gravy, skillet corn
Thursday, July 17 -- spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, garlic bread
Friday, July 18 -- Road food, drive to Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery

Saturday, July 19 -- Road food, drive home from Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery
Sunday, July 20 -- charcoal grilled NY Strip steak, Sauce Béarnaise, mashed potatoes
Monday, July 21 -- BBQ ribs, baked beans, mustard coleslaw
Tuesday, July 22 -- Kung Pao chicken, rice, green beans
Wednesday, July 23 -- Vichyssoise, crab salad, corn on the cob
Thursday, July 24 -- leftover Vichyssoise and Kung Pao chicken, fried rice
Friday, July 25 -- Jack's birthday lunch at Skopelos on the Bay; snacks for supper

Saturday, July 26 -- bacon burgers, potato salad
Sunday, July 27 -- crab soup, Coronation Chicken on salad greens, grapes, coconut shreds
Monday, July 28 -- gazpacho, BLT sandwiches
Tuesday, July 29 -- Lunch at Madison's Diner; snacks for supper
Wednesday, July 30 -- Swiss steak, rice & gravy, English peas
Thursday, July 31 -- Panko-fried chicken strips, corn, macaroni Alfredo
Friday, August 1, 2008 -- chicken-fried steak, country gravy, mashed potatoes, collards

Saturday, August 2 -- grilled beef & veggie kabobs with rice
Sunday, August 3 -- batter-fried Gulf shrimp, salad
Monday, August 4 -- Number 1 Chinese take out
Tuesday, August 5 -- BBQ burgers, potato salad, coleslaw
Wednesday, August 6 -- Lunch at Hacienda Mexican Restaurant; snacks for supper
Thursday, August 7 -- leftover Chinese takeout
Friday, August 8 -- Lunch pork chops and two sides at Bailey's Farmers Market; sandwiches for supper

Saturday, August 9 -- Coronation Chicken on salad greens with grapes, papaya, toasted coconut
Sunday, August 10 -- Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, English peas
Monday, August 11 -- BBQ steak, Sauce Béarnaise, rice, green beans
Tuesday, August 12 -- KFC, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits
Wednesday, August 13 -- BBQ ribs, Nassau Grits
Thursday, August 14 -- bacon burgers, salad
Friday, August 15 -- taco salad with fresh pico de gallo

Saturday, August 16 -- shrimps-on-a-stick, potato salad, fresh corn
Sunday, August 17 -- shrimps and crabs and peach pie at Maria & Bill's
Monday, August 18 -- Kung Pao chicken, steamed rice, green beans
Tuesday, August 19 -- Lunch at the Red Barn BBQ; sandwiches for supper
Wednesday, August 20 -- leftover Kung Pao chicken, steamed rice, fried rice, green beans
Thursday, August 21 -- Roadfood: lunch at Felix's Fish Camp Grill in Spanish Fort, Alabama; midnight snack, burgers at Tradewinds Marketplace, in the Isle of Capri's Food Court, Biloxi, Mississippi
Friday, August 22 -- French dipped beef sandwiches, Corn Macquechoux

Saturday, August 23 -- Chicken Fried Steak, corn, mashed potatoes, country gravy
Sunday, August 24 -- red beans and rice, smoked sausage
Monday, August 25 -- Panko fried chicken, rice, gravy, green peas
Tuesday, August 26 -- salmon and corn bisque, smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, toast points
Wednesday, August 27 -- Quiche Lorraine (James Beard recipe), creamed spinach
Thursday, August 28 -- crispy batter-fried shrimp, potato salad, coleslaw
Friday, August 29 -- bacon burgers, corn on the cob

Saturday, August 30 -- beef kababs with grilled veggies, steamed rice
Sunday, August 31 -- Pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes, blackeyed peas
Monday, September 1, 2008 -- chicken curry, steamed rice, English peas
Tuesday, September 2 -- charcoal grilled N.Y. strip steaks. mashed potatoes
Wednesday, September 3 -- taco salad
Thursday, September 4 -- steak Béarnaise, asparagus, steamed rice
Friday, September 5 -- lunch at Nobusei Japanese Restaurant; sandwiches for supper

Saturday, September 6 -- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, creamed corn
Sunday, September 7 -- teriyaki chicken, seared green onions, rice
Monday, September 8 -- bacon burgers, potato salad
Tuesday, September 9 -- lunch at Commander's Palace in Destin, Florida; snacks for supper
Wednesday, September 10 -- Shrimps-on-a-Stick, coleslaw, fried potato wedges
Thursday, September 11 -- Hamburger Stroganoff, Noodles Mary Westbrook, green peas
Friday, September 12 -- Crab bisque, crab cakes, tossed salad

Saturday, September 13 -- Kung Pao chicken, steamed rice, green beans
Sunday, September 14 -- BBQ baby back ribs, baked beans, coleslaw
Monday, September 15 -- leftover Kung Pao chicken, fried rice, green beans
Tuesday, September 16 -- Lunch at Jesse's in Magnolia Springs, Alabama; snacks for supper
Wednesday, September 17 -- bacon burgers, home made guacamole and pico de gallo
Thursday, September 18 -- KFC, mashed potato, gravy, cream corn
Friday, September 19 -- chicken-fried steak, C.H. Guenther & Son's Pioneer Brand country gravy, black eyed peas with ham, collard greens with bacon and hot sauce

Saturday, September 20 -- beef kababs with grilled veggies, steamed rice
Sunday, September 21 -- taco salad, fresh pico de gallo
Monday, September 22 -- deviled crabs, noodles Alfredo
Tuesday, September 23 -- Lunch at La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, snacks for supper
Wednesday, September 24 -- Panko crusted fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn fritters
Thursday, September 25 -- Dinner at Coach 'n' Four Steakhouse, Pensacola
Friday, September 26 -- fried chicken Caesar salad

Saturday, September 27 -- Salisbury steak, gravy, Noodles Mary Westbrook, green peas
Sunday, September 28 -- Jesse's Whiskey Steak, baked potato
Monday, September 29 -- Coronation Chicken on spinach and iceberg lettuce salad
Tuesday, September 30 -- Lunch with Joan & Billy at Commander's Palace in Destin; snacks for supper
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 -- A Festival of Leftovers
Thursday, October 2 -- BBQ baby back ribs, mustard slaw, skillet corn
Friday, October 3 -- bacon burgers, Tater Tots

Saturday, October 4 -- crab cakes, noodles Alfredo, butter beans with smoked sausage
Sunday, October 5 -- grilled steak, Béarnaise sauce, baked potato
Monday, October 6 -- spaghetti with meat sauce, corn pones
Tuesday, October 7 -- teriyaki chicken kababs, steamed rice, asparagus Béarnaise
Wednesday, October 8 -- pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes, Chipotle applesauce
Thursday, October 9 -- chicken, rice, gravy, coleslaw, biscuits
Friday, October 10 -- chicken fried steak, country gravy, mashed potatoes, corn

Saturday, October 11 -- taco salad
Sunday, October 12 -- shrimps in Panko crumbs, coleslaw, fries
Monday, October 13 -- Kung Pao chicken, spicy shrimp, rice, green beans
Tuesday, October 14 -- bacon burgers, potato salad
Wednesday, October 15 -- leftover Kung Pao chicken, fried rice, green beans
Thursday, October 16 -- Hamburger Stroganoff, steamed rice, corn
Friday, October 17 -- steak Béarnaise and fries

Saturday, October 18 -- crab soup, crab cakes, broccoli
Sunday, October 19 -- Number 1 Chinese take out
Monday, October 20 -- poached chicken, rice, gravy, green beans
Tuesday, October 21 -- lunch was country style "meat + 2" at Wayne's Family Diner (formerly Carnley's Diner) on Pine Forest Road; snacks for supper
Wednesday, October 22 -- BBQ ribs, potato salad, coleslaw
Thursday, October 23 -- leftover Chinese takeout, homemade fried rice
Friday, October 24 -- northern fried chicken, fries, corn

Saturday, October 25 -- steak au poivre, cognac-butter sauce, mashed potatoes
Sunday, October 26 -- spaghetti and meat balls, corn pones
Monday, October 27 -- chicken fried steak, country gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds
Tuesday, October 28 -- Chinese Pie, steamed carrots
Wednesday, October 29 -- bacon burgers, fries
Thursday, October 30 -- Teriyaki chicken, steamed rice, green peas
Friday, October 31 -- A lazy cook's supper for two: Publix' Lobster Bisque, Stouffer's Creamed Chipped Beef on crisp toast points and Michael Angelo's Eggplant Parmesan

Saturday, November 1, 2008 -- beef kababs with grilled veggies, steamed rice
Sunday, November 2 -- baked crab on toast, asparagus with Hollandaise
Monday, November 3 -- NY Strip steak, Sauce Béarnaise, baked potato
Tuesday, November 4 -- Election Evening Gumbo (shrimp and crab) on white rice with New Orleans bread
Wednesday, November 5 -- Burgers, coleslaw, fries
Thursday, November 6 -- meatloaf, mashed potatoes
Friday, November 7 -- chicken on noodles, creamed spinach

Saturday, November 8 -- dinner at Outback Steakhouse
Sunday, November 9 -- Kung Pao chicken, steamed rice, green beans
Monday, November 10 -- BBQ ribs, sweet potato, coleslaw, baked beans, corn pones
Tuesday, November 11 -- leftover Kung Pao chicken, fried rice, potstickers
Wednesday, November 12 -- soft food for supper (recent dental work for everybody)
Thursday, November 13 -- Billy Daughdrill's excellent homemade gumbo
Friday, November 14 -- soft food again: Stouffer's Chicken à la King and Salisbury Steak

Saturday, November 15 -- teriyaki chicken with seared green onions, steamed rice, green beans
Sunday, November 16 -- filet steak, Sauce Béarnaise, potatoes au gratin
Monday, November 17 -- Burgers with hash browns (Rösti-style potatoes)
Tuesday, November 18 -- post-dentistry soft food
Wednesday, November 19 -- from Stouffer's: Baked Chicken Breast and Spaghetti with Meatballs
Thursday, November 20 -- more Stouffer's: Meatloaf and Lasagna Bake with Meat Sauce
Friday, November 21 -- Southern-style chicken and dumplings

Saturday, November 22 -- chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, country gravy, black eyed peas
Sunday, November 23 -- fried chicken, corn, stuffing
Monday, November 24 -- steak au poivre, hash brown potatoes
Tuesday, November 25 -- birthday dinner for Billy and Kim at Bonefish Grill (with Joan, Bill, Maria, Ross, Jack & Ken)
Wednesday, November 26 -- sliced steak in gravy, rice, succotash
Thursday, November 27 -- Thanksgiving Dinner at Bill and Maria's
Friday, November 28 -- Road Food, driving from Pensacola to Clermont, Florida

Saturday, November 29 -- Road Food, driving from Clermont to Ft. Lauderdale
Sunday, November 30 on board the Emerald Princess for 10 nights

Wednesday, December 10 -- Road Food, driving from Ft. Lauderdale to Gainesville
Thursday, December 11 -- Road Food, driving from Gainesville to Pensacola
Friday, December 12 -- bacon burgers, tater tots

Saturday, December 13 -- tortilla soup, Coronation Chicken on salad greens
Sunday, December 14 -- Kim's Turkey Fry, snacks all afternoon; sandwiches for supper
Monday, December 15 -- spaghetti and meatballs, Parmesan-garlic crostini
Tuesday, December 16 -- dinner at Siam Thai
Wednesday, December 17 -- chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, country gravy, corm
Thursday, December 18 -- sandwiches
Friday, December 19 -- Northern Fried Chicken, green beans with bacon, Tater Tots
Saturday, December 20 -- lobster bisque, chicken pot pies
Sunday, December 21 -- steaks, mashed potatoes
Monday, December 22 -- potato soup, bacon burgers, guacamole, corn chips
Tuesday, December 23 -- crab cakes, black beans and rice, skirt steak
Wednesday, December 24 -- Lunch at Jackson's Steakhouse; soup for supper
Thursday, December 25 -- Lunch, Eggs Benedict; Dinner, Kung Pao Chicken, steamed rice, green beans
Friday, December 26 -- leftover Kung Pao Chicken, fried rice, green beans
Saturday, December 27 -- black bean and rice soup
Sunday, December 28 -- burger for Jack; soup for Ken
Monday, December 29 -- KFC, coleslaw, biscuits, rice and gravy
Tuesday, December 30 -- crab bisque, smoked salmon with capers, lemon, green onions, cream cheese, salmon mousse and toast points
Wednesday, December 31 -- corn pones, Chinese Pie

Please leave a comment with a menu suggestion. Thanks!