Monday, December 26, 2011

It's the end of the REBUILD Project

The final step in the house's wind mitigation rebuild was today's installation of new impact-resistant garage doors.

Assembling the new garage doors.
Installing the new impact-resistant garage doors.

We got a call last week to expect the installers on Monday between 8:00 and 10:00 A.M. They arrived at 9:45.

As with all the REBUILD Northwest Florida work, replacing the doors was a noisy process. And this procedure took longer than the earlier ones. The two installers were here over six hours. It seemed that one of them was a trainee and he was doing a solo installation of one of the doors.

Reinforced garage door panels.
The new, reinforced door panels -- ready to install. They are much stronger than the old doors.

Almost all of the retrofitting is invisible. You can see the new garage doors but the old doors were in great condition, so the new doors look about the same. The rest of the work was inside walls, under soffits or in the attic. Invisible.

Final inspection comes next.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane shuttersThe hurricane shutters are installed and stored away in the garage. We are ready for the next big storm.

At 9:30 A.M., right on time, an installer arrived. A few minutes later another one appeared. After lots of very loud drilling of holes and the placement of anchor screws they were finished right at noon. Done.

We have a total of ten windows, including a set of French doors leading to the backyard.

The shutters consist of overlapping galvanized steel panels, about a foot wide and as tall as the window plus a few inches to fit over anchor pins. The panels are attached at each end with washers and wing nuts.

The panels stored away in the garage.When not covering the windows the panels fit together in one neat cluster in the garage. The footprint for shutter panels for all ten windows is amazingly small, about a square foot.

Now there's one final step, we get new, reinforced garage doors.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

REBUILD Northwest Florida, continued

The last work done by the REBUILD folks was on December 1. Since then no one had called regarding the last two steps in the retrofitting of the house. At 5:30 P.M. today we got a call from the people who install the window covers: they can come tomorrow morning and start work between 9:00 and 10:00. It should take about three hours.

They must have had a cancellation.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Reinforcing the Roof, Day 3

A pickup truck, with a crew of two men, arrived with a big trailer
full of hoses, heaters, pumps and goo.

Today there's another crew here to inject a foam adhesive sealant into all the roof-to-wall connections. This is done with pressure hoses. They got here a little after 1:00 P.M. and spent an hour assembling hoses, heaters and goo. The goo apparently has to be heated then sent up a hose to the guys in the attic.

There should be no discomfort to the residents of the house. The fumes are totally safe to breathe. But "it would be a good idea to air out the house for a couple of hours" after they are finished. They were finished around 4:30.

The installers were wearing hazmat suits and they were breathing through respirators.
Two more steps and we will be finished with REBUILD Northwest Florida:
(1) new, reinforced garage doors;
(2) shutters on all the windows and over the French doors to the backyard.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Retrofit Continues, Day 2

Monday's crew reappeared 7:05 this morning ready to put the soffits back up and finish the other two projects they started. There was talk on Monday that they might be back yesterday afternoon to finish up but they didn't have time.

We needed Monday's work completed today because the roof deck attachment people want to start tomorrow afternoon. They cannot begin until the current roof work is finished.

Hurricane Strap
The photo above shows walls, roof beams and a hurricane strap. After they removed the soffits, the ends of the roof beams and the top of the wall were exposed. The strap was securely attached to both with screws. This isn't exactly how our roof beams look. I got this photo from Google. But the concept is the same. And the strap is the same.

(1) We have a new front door. This one is wind and impact resistant and it works beautifully. And locks easily. I mention this as we had planned to get our handyman to replace the old, rusted and cranky front door that was getting very hard to open.

(2) All the roof-to-wall connections along the non-gable ends of the house have been reinforced with metal clips and big thick screws. All the soffits are back in place and the wood trim to cover the joins has been painted with white primer. Very neatly.

(3) Up in the attic they added lots of wood 2 by 4's for bracing and more metal clips. This was done inside the house, to reinforce the gable ends.

Today's crew was done by 11:30. At 1:00 P.M. tomorrow another crew should arrive. They will use adhesive spray to glue the roof to the walls between the newly reinforced beams.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Mitigation Day!

Or more likely Mitigation Week...or Month.

Workers from REBUILD Northwest Florida are here to retrofit the house, especially the roof and windows, to withstand a Category 3 hurricane.

Logo: REBUILD Northwest Florida
Their website says, "REBUILD Northwest Florida coordinates construction management services for its Residential Wind Mitigation Retrofit Program in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties."

The workers arrived early, about 7:30 A.M. and we expect this phase of the rebuild, or Mitigation, as we have learned to call it will take a day or two. The front door and its framing are getting replaced by one worker. Two more are removing the soffit around the edge of the roof -- from the outside. Later they go into the attic to install metal clips and wood braces to reinforce the attachment of the roof to the walls.

It's very noisy.

Last spring Jack applied for this and it took many months for estimators to inspect the house and get the application approved.

The homeowner pays 25% of the total cost. The balance, up to $15,000 is paid for by several organizations including FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency; Florida State Emergency Response Team and Escambia County Local Mitigation Strategy. I love the latter's slogan: "A Partnership for a Sustainable & Disaster Resilient Community."

In the next few weeks work will include installing stronger garage doors, foam sealant around all the new construction and removable hurricane shutters for the windows and doors. We expect the whole thing will be done by Christmas.

Monday, October 17, 2011

In Sarasota Visiting the Ringling Museum

Main Entrance to the Ringling Museum

At the Ringling through January 29, 2012, there's a stunning poster show organized by the Cincinnati Museum of Art and the Ringling Museum. All the posters were printed by the Strobridge Lithographic Company. Posters shown were mostly from the 1880's to the 1920s. You can learn more at the Ringling Museum's website.

Tomorrow we return to see Ringling's new Tibbal's Learning Center with Howard Tibbals grand miniature circus.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Circus Comes to Town

Cole Bros. Circus TigersCole Bros. Circus of the Stars is in Pensacola for the weekend. Out at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds.

Beautiful new tent, 12 huge tigers and much more. It's "The World's Largest Circus Under the Big Top." With free children's tickets. And free parking, too.

Free children's ticket

Saturday, September 24, 2011

James Beard's Quiche Lorraine

The James Beard Quiche
The only quiche I have ever made is from the old paperback James Beard Cookbook. First published in 1959, it is still in print. The copy I have now, my second, is from 1979 and it is the 26th printing.

Here's a link to the original recipe for his Quiche Lorraine. Lots of eggs, cream and crisp bacon. I have adapted it slightly. I use a frozen pie shell, the 9-inch deep dish size. And usually I don't have real Gruyère cheese on hand so I use a blend of fresh grated Parmesan and Vermont white cheddar.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Celebrate the First Day of Autumn...

The traditional red tin...with Nyåkers Ginger Snaps. Possibly the best cookie I have ever eaten, they are made in the village of Nyåker in the north of Sweden.

World Market has a big stack of them. There's a new seasonal tin with brown and orange fall leaves. I am sure the festive traditional red tins will be there before Christmas. Check out this link to the official Nyåkers Pepparkakor web site.

Here's what J. S. Marcus said about these cookies in the Wall Street Journal on December 12, 2008:
The farther north you go in Europe, it seems, the more cookie-like becomes the gingerbread.

Panforte, gingerbread's Italian cousin, is dense and gooey and chock full of dried fruit; think fruitcake-flavored candy. Lebkuchen, Germany's contribution, really is a bit like bread—sweet and airy and chewy all at once. Swedish "pepparkakor," or gingersnaps, are thinner and less sweet than other variations, and that makes all the difference.

Pepparkakor—literally "pepper cookies"—are a highly spiced version of a simple rolled cookie: just flour, shortening and sugar, flavored with cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Eaten year-round, pepparkakor are especially popular at Christmastime. At their best, they have a rich but delicate crispiness, with just a trace of sweetness, allowing the punch of the spices to stand out.

The thinnest and richest of all come from the north of Sweden, from a firm called Nyakers, named after the village they're made in. One of a few premium Swedish brands, Nyakers pepparkakor are a featured brand in the food halls of Stockholm's NK department store. They can also be found on many Swedish supermarket shelves and are distributed to Scandinavian specialty stores and gourmet food shops around the world (

Christine Olson-Giebel, a Wisconsin native of Scandinavian descent, discovered Nyakers after she moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where a Swedish acquaintance offered her a sample. "I bought them immediately," she recalls. Although she had grown up eating gingersnaps, Nyakers' version was a revelation. "I like that they're incredibly thin and crisp," she says. "They're like catnip for humans."

She also recommends using the cookies as the lone ingredient in a fine cheesecake crust. "You just put them in the blender, turn it on, and you're done," she says.

Nyåkers ginger snap

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Joey's Mane

Recently we noticed that Joey is developing a mane. It's rare in house cats but sometimes happens with cats who have long or medium-long hair. Maine Coon cats can have manes. Joey is not of that breed but he definitely has a mane.

Joey the Cat's mane

Joey the Cat's mane

Joey the Cat's mane

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nachez, Mississippi Visitor Information

Natchez Historical MarkerNatchez is just 350 miles west of Pensacola -- an easy drive and a nice place to spend a few days. Check back soon for updates. No definite travel plans yet -- just listing some Natchez web sites.

(According to Google Maps)
--- Via Hattiesburg, Collins and Brookhaven
      306 miles, 5 hours and 5 minutes
--- Via Hammond and McComb
      336 miles, 5 hours and 15 minutes
----Via Baton Rouge
      348 miles, 5 hours and 26 minutes

Natchez Visitors' Guide
Natchez Wiki
Friends of Our Riverfront, Natchez

Connelly's Tavern
Natchez Trace Parkway
Rosalie Mansion
Stanton Hall
Things to do in Natchez
Trinity Episcopal Church's Stained Glass Windows

Big Momma's BBQ
Bowie's Tavern
The Carriage House
Cotton Alley Café
The Castle Restaurant & Pub
Fat Mama's Tamales
Magnolia Grill
Mammy's Cupboard
Monmouth Plantation's 1818 Restaurant (when you get to the site, scroll down for 1818 Restaurant information)
The Pig Out Inn Barbeque
Slick Rick's
Roux 61 Seafood and Grill
Under The Hill Saloon
Uptown Grocery

The Caboose, McComb, Mississippi
The Dinner Bell, McComb, Mississippi
Dixie Springs Cafe & Lounge
Justin's On The Lake and Turtle Island, Summit, Mississippi
Nikki's Country Buffet, Vidalia, Louisiana
Old Country Store, Lorman, Mississippi, 34 miles north via the Natchez Trace

Eola Hotel
Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, Natchez
Hampton Inn Natchez
Magnolia Bluffs Casino
Natchez Grand Hotel

Natchez Democrat

Natchez Trolley, c1890
Natchez Trolley, Under the Hill, Late 19th Century

Monday, August 15, 2011

World's Largest Refrigerator Magnet?

Refrigerator Magnet
This is one of the magnetic signs that was on each side of Jack's car in Peru, Indiana's Circus City Festival Parade on July 23, 2011. Earlier this week it was briefly the World's Largest Refrigerator Magnet.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Ken's Trip To Maine -- August 2011

Katie & Chris
Just Married: Katie & Chris

Thursday, August 4
I flew out of Pensacola at 11:00 A.M., changed planes in Atlanta and got to Portland at 5:45 P.M. I was in Augusta by 7:30 and visited with my parents until 9:00 when I went over to the Civic Center Inn to check in.

Friday, August 5
A quiet day resting up from all the traveling.

Saturday, August 6
Early in the afternoon we drove to Freeport to meet Carol at the Freeport Inn. On the way we went down Freeport's Main Street. It was jammed with tourists and shoppers. The town really looks nice these days.

We got to the wedding venue 4:30. The weather was perfect, the site was beautiful. The wedding began at 5:00; over at 5:10. Loved that.

The lawn decorated for the wedding at Glisland Farm Audubon Center

Click here for more photos.

Sunday, August 7
It was very rainy in the morning. After we chatted for a while at the hotel with all the family we set out for Augusta. We had breakfast at the Fairground Cafe in Topsham. It's a few miles north of Brunswick and Freeport. Wonderful pancakes.

Monday, August 8
For lunch we had takeout from The Red Barn restaurant on Riverside Drive in Augusta. Great shrimps, fries, fried fish and onion rings.

Early afternoon I headed to Portland to spend the night because I had an early flight in the morning. In Brunswick I got off the Interstate and took little coastal roads through tiny villages.

I originally intended to go to one of Portland's harborside restaurants and have a Maine lobster. After listening to Portland radio traffic reports I was less interested in driving into the downtown area. And back out to the airport during rush hour. There was a lot f traffic congestion in Portland, apparently more than usual.

When I got back to Route 1 just south of Freeport I decided to find a lobster somewhere out of downtown Portland, then drop the car and go directly to my hotel. As I passed the Freeport Inn, where we stayed on Saturday night, I saw the Muddy Rudder seafood restaurant. Perfect. Lobster and corn both cooked just right. And I had an easy drive from there to drop off the car.

Tuesday, August 9
Got up very early to catch the hotel van to the airport for my 7:00 A.M. flight. Huge, slow crowds at airport security, at 5:45 A.M.! Happy to report the flights were all on time and I got to Pensacola at 10:30.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Road To Peru, Day 8 -- Final Day

Logo: International Circus Hall Of FameOn Sunday morning we headed south. We were in no hurry to cover the 800+ miles to Pensacola. If three nights on the road suited us better than two we would get home on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Shortly after we left Peru we stopped for breakfast at a Bob Evans Restaurant in Kokomo. This fueled our 305 mile Sunday drive, getting us to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Next to the hotel was a Bob Evans Restaurant where we had our dinner. Two Bob Evans' in one day! It is always a favorite when we are on the road. There is none near Pensacola.

Monday, Day 7, we drove to Birmingham, Alabama. It was an easy 275 miles. All along the way on this trip we listened to audio books. On the way north it was Patti LuPone's A Memoir read by Ms. LuPone herself with great flair and a good deal of attitude. Coming south we listened to Seth Rudetsky's Broadway Nights: A Romp of Life, Love, and Musical Theatre. And when we got tired of the talking books we had XM Radio -- all Broadway, all the time, channel 72. Tired and hot when we arrived in Birmingham, we ate at the Outback Steakhouse in the hotel's parking lot.

Bates House of TurkeyTuesday was Day 8 and we were only 260 miles from home. Lunch was at the Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama. Yes, all they offer is turkey, but many, many different ways. After picking up the cats we were home by 3:00 P.M.

The total mileage for the trip, including side trips and getting lost looking for local restaurants, was 1,690 miles.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Road To Peru, Day 5

Logo: International Circus Hall Of FameYesterday, Friday, we got to Peru around noon. It was just 90 miles from Greenwood so it was a short drive. We had lunch at the Circus City Grill and then checked into our hotel -- the Circus City Inn.

Peru, Indiana: Circus Capital of the WorldEvery July the City of Peru, The Circus Capital of the World, hosts the Circus City Festival in honor of its circus heritage. There is a circus at the Circus Hall of Fame, the youth circus in town, a huge parade with antique circus wagons and the Hall of Fame's induction dinner for new honorees.

Mid-afternoon we were picked up by Wayne Scheiner who took us over to the Circus Hall of Fame Museum and gave us a guided tour. What a treat to see all those old wagons and other historic memorabilia. There's a slideshow coming up at the end of this post that has photos of the museum and much more.

Back to the Circus City Inn for a rest and cleanup before going to the Peru Amateur Circus. What a fine show and what talent and practice. The "Children of All Ages" were not only in the audience but in the show itself! What a wonderful showing of civic pride.

Saturday started hot and got hotter. Because of Jack's honor this day we rode in the parade. First in a Mercedes convertable -- later in a golf cart when the battery in the former gave out. We made the journey and did not falter.

Back at the hotel after the parade it was time to cool down -- lunch at the Circus City Grill, a shower and a nap before getting ready for the evening's events.

Jack's PlaqueIn the evening we went to the Circus Hall of Fame dinner at the Siding Restaurant and Jack gave a speech after. It went over very well. And he got this beautiful plaque.

Here's a link to some photos of what went on in Peru and at the Circus Hall of Fame Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Road To Peru, Day 3

Logo: International Circus Hall Of FameToday was the third day of our drive north on I-65 from Pensacola, Florida to Peru, Indiana. Peru is the home of the International Circus Hall of Fame and Jack will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.

Most of the way to Peru we travel along Interstate 65. And nearly the whole length of it, too.

First thing Tuesday morning we took the cats to the pet hotel where they will be for the next week. Then we headed north.

Tuesday we managed 345 miles and spent the night in Athens, Alabama. Dinner was at Logan's Roadhouse, right next to the motel.

Welcome to Tennessee highway signWednesday we crossed Tennessee and moved on to Elizabethtown, Kentucky gaining 235 miles and losing an hour by entering Eastern Daylight Time.

Back Home Country Store & Restaurant, Elizabethtown, KentuckyThat night we ate at a pleasant local place, Back Home Country Store & Restaurant. Good country food, if a bit salty. As we progressed northward we found the food got saltier along the way. Not everywhere for sure, but at most of the places where we ate.

Today, Thursday, we went 150 miles getting into increasing heat. Temperatures were in the high 90s with discomfort levels of 110 to 115. So once we got to the motel we chose to eat nearby. Lunch at the Fireside Brewhouse and dinner at Little Mexico III. Both were in the mall a little bit up the street from the motel. Good local food.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Along the Wabash River

 Peru, Indiana and the Wabash River, 1910.
Peru, Indiana and the Wabash River, 1910.

Friday, July 01, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight? Part 10

Menu board: Le Tableau Bistro, East Village, NYC -- now closed
Menu board at Le Tableau French-Egyptian Bistro, NYC

Ever since Saturday, January 27, 2007, I have kept a log listing nearly all of our evening meals. The intention is to help answer the daily questions:

(1) "What do you want to eat tonight?"
(2) "What haven't we had lately?"

Eventually the list became too long to navigate easily. So I broke it up into six-month segments:
January through June, 2007
July through December, 2007
January through June, 2008
July through December, 2008
January through June, 2009
July through December, 2009
January through June, 2010
July through December, 2010
January through June, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011 -- burgers with tomato, lettuce, avocado, secret sauce and fries (getting ready for the 4th of July celebrations)

Saturday, July 2 -- shrimp and crab cocktail, horseradish sauce, tomato salad, potato salad
Sunday, July 3 -- fried chicken, coleslaw
Monday, July 4 -- charcoal grilled rib eye steaks, twice baked potatoes
Tuesday, July 5 -- Thai take out from Siam Asian Diner
Wednesday, July 6 -- burgers with tomato, lettuce, avocado, secret sauce and fries
Thursday, July 7 -- chicken salad sandwiches, stuffed celery sticks
Friday, July 8 -- poached salmon, grilled ahi tuna, mango salsa, steamed rice

Saturday, July 9 -- pork chops, rice, gravy, Chipotle-cinnamon apple sauce
Sunday, July 10 -- roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce
Monday, July 11 -- chicken breast, mashed potatoes, fresh pineapple
Tuesday, July 12 -- dinner at Bonefish Grill
Wednesday, July 13 -- burgers, bacon (Nueske's of course), lettuce, tomato, secret sauce, fries
Thursday, July 14 -- baby back ribs, mashed potatoes, corn
Friday, July 15 -- steak, asparagus, Bearnaise sauce

Saturday, July 16 -- Hot Brown sandwiches
Sunday, July 17 -- Chicken Parmesan, mashed potatoes, green peas
Monday, July 18 -- On our way to Peru, Indiana and Jack's induction into the Circus Hall of Fame -- road food for the next week.

Tuesday, July 26 -- sandwiches from Jersey Mike's
Wednesday, July 27 -- fried chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots
Thursday, July 28 -- bacon burgers, secret sauce, fries
Friday, July 29 -- Chicken Parmesan, rice

Saturday, July 30 -- Teriyaki pork chops, rice, gravy
Sunday, July 31 -- spaghetti with meat sauce

August 4-9 Ken off to Maine for Katie and Chris' wedding

Tuesday, August 9 -- fried chicken, black beans & rice
Wednesday, August 10 -- bacon burgers, salad
Thursday, August 11 -- charcoal grilled beef and veggie kababs, steamed rice
Friday, August 12 -- Chicken Parmesan, mashed potatoes, collard greens

Saturday, August 13 -- turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce
Sunday, August 14 -- sandwiches from Jersey Mike's
Monday, August 15 -- spaghetti with meat sauce, salad
Tuesday, August 16 -- lunch at the Hacienda Mexican Restaurant; sundaes from the DQ for supper
Wednesday, August 17 -- Kung Pao Chicken, steamed rice, green onions, peanuts, crispy noodles, green beans
Thursday, August 18 -- burgers, lettuce, tomato, secret sauce, fresh corn
Friday, August 19 -- fried chicken, coleslaw, corn and tomato salad, peach shortcake

Saturday, August 20 -- shrimp and grits
Sunday, August 21 -- Thai takeout from the Siam Asian Diner
Monday, August 22 -- chicken fried steak, country gravy, mashed potatoes, cream corn
Tuesday, August 23 -- Chicken Parmesan, creamed spinach, noodles Alfredo
Wednesday, August 24 -- home made lunch -- Billy's Shrimp Creole and Joan's Buttermilk Pie with blueberries; snacks for supper
Thursday, August 25 -- pork chops, chipotle/cinnamon applesauce, potatoes au gratin
Friday, August 26 -- batter fried shrimps, seafood cocktail sauce, Insalata Caprese

Saturday, August 27 -- Lunch in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Beau Rivage Casino's Terrace Cafe; a light supper at home
Sunday, August 28 -- crispy fried chicken fingers, fresh corn on the cob, batter-fried scallions
Monday, August 29 -- burgers and fries, skillet corn
Tuesday, August 30 -- fried chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, coleslaw
Wednesday, August 31 -- takeout from Tu-Do Vietnamese Restaurant, peach short cakes
Thursday, September 1, 2011 -- spaghetti with meat sauce
Friday, September 2 -- lunch downtown at The Wine Bar on Palafox; snacks for supper

Saturday, September 3 -- green and black peppercorn crusted, bacon wrapped, filet steak with twice-baked potatoes
Sunday, September 4 -- Chicken Parmesan, rice and gravy
Monday, September 5 -- pork chops, mashed potato, applesauce
Tuesday, September 6 -- sandwiches from Jersey Mike's, chicken soup
Wednesday, September 7 -- fried chicken, mashed sweet potato, cranberry sauce
Thursday, September 8 -- burgers
Friday, September 9 -- Chinese Pie

Saturday, September 10 -- take out from Siam Asian Diner
Sunday, September 11 -- crab cakes, salad
Monday, September 12 -- French dipped roast beef sandwiches, coleslaw, potato sticks
Tuesday, September 13 -- lunch at Chow Tyme Chinese Buffet; snacks for supper
Wednesday, September 14 -- Chicken Parmesan, Noodles Alfredo, fresh corn
Thursday, September 15 -- Monte Cristo sandwiches, fruit salad
Friday, September 16 -- Bill D's roast beef birthday dinner

Saturday, September 17 -- charcoal Teriyaki- style BBQ beef and veggie kababs, steamed rice
Sunday, September 18 -- sandwiches from Jersey Mike's
Monday, September 19 -- burgers, corn on the cob
Tuesday, September 20 -- take out from Siam Asian Diner
Wednesday, September 21 -- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy
Thursday, September 22 -- steak, sauce Bearnaise, twice-baked potatoes
Friday, September 23 -- James Beard's Quiche Lorraine, salad

Saturday, September 24 -- chicken hash ('21' Club recipe), rice, creamed spinach, key lime pie
Sunday, September 25 -- burgers and fries
Monday, September 26 -- Vichyssoise (adapted from Julia Child's recipe), fried chicken, potato salad
Tuesday, September 27 -- lunch at Shark Fin; snacks for supper
Wednesday, September 28 -- Cajun shrimp over cheese grits
Thursday, September 29 -- French Dipped Roast Beef Sandwiches, coleslaw
Friday, September 20 -- grilled "cowboy" steaks at the Coach-n-Four Steakhouse

Saturday, October 1, 2011 -- fried chicken, roasted garlic with olive oil and potatoes, corn
Sunday, October 2 -- spaghetti, meat sauce, salad, garlic bread
Monday, October 3 -- Thai take out from Siam Asian Diner
Tuesday, October 4 -- pork chops, cornbread stuffing, collard greens, applesauce
Wednesday, October 5 -- tempura shrimp, coleslaw, fresh pineapple
Thursday, October 6 -- lunch at La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant; snacks for supper
Friday, October 7 -- guacamole & chips, Chicken Parmesan, rice and gravy

Saturday, October 8 -- burgers & fries
Sunday, October 9 -- steak and little red potatoes
Monday, October 10 -- take out from Sonny's BBQ
Tuesday, October 11 -- tacos

--- Road trip to Sarasota, through Thursday ---

Thursday, October 20 -- soup and English muffins
Friday, October 21 -- Chicken Parmesan, rice, gravy, corn

Saturday, October 22 -- beef and veggie kababs, rice
Sunday, October 23 -- burgers & fries (scratch), tomato, lettuce, bacon, secret sauce
Monday, October 24 -- Thai take out from Siam Asian Diner
Tuesday, October 25 -- spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread
Wednesday, October 26 -- chicken, mashed [potatoes, green peas
Thursday, October 27 -- pork chops, applesauce, cheese puff
Friday, October 28 -- beef stew and hot biscuits

Saturday, October 29 -- Kung Pao Chicken, steamed rice, green onions, peanuts, crispy noodles, green beans
Sunday, October 30 -- burgers
Monday, October 31 -- English muffin pizzas, soup
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 -- turkey, cornbread stuffing with pecans, mashed sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce
Wednesday, November 2 -- lunch at Chow Tyme Chinese Buffet; soup for supper
Thursday, November 3 -- goulash, noodles, tomato salad
Friday, November 4 -- Chicken Parmesan, mashed potatoes

Saturday, November 5 -- French dipped roast beef sandwiches, red beans and rice
Sunday, November 6 -- beef and veggie kababs, rice
Monday, November 7 -- burgers, bacon, cheese, tomato, lettuce, secret sauce
Tuesday, November 8 -- lunch at The Fish House; snacks for supper
Wednesday, November 9 -- beefy beans, creamed spinach, garlic bread
Thursday, November 10 -- fried chicken, rice, gravy, black eyed peas
Friday, November 11 -- pork chops, mashed potatoes, country gravy, corn, applesauce

Saturday, November 12 -- Kung Pao Chicken, steamed rice, green onions, peanuts, crispy noodles, green beans
Sunday, November 13 -- Thai take out from Siam Asian Diner
Monday, November 14 -- Burgers
Tuesday, November 15 -- Chicken Parmesan, rice, gravy
Wednesday, November 16 -- Bacon-wrapped filet steaks with twice-baked potatoes
Thursday, November 17 -- lunch at Five Sisters Blues Cafe: supper was Tortilla Soup with corn chips, avocado and sour cream
Friday, November 18 -- beef pot roast with veggies

Saturday, November 19 -- Kim's birthday party at Bill and Maria's: fried turkey, German Chocolate cake
Sunday, November 20 -- roast beef hash
Monday, November 21 -- Kung Pao Chicken, steamed rice, green onions, peanuts, crispy noodles, green beans
Tuesday, November 22 -- chicken fried steak, country gravy, collard greens, mashed potatoes
Wednesday, November 23 -- lunch at La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant; soup for supper
Thursday, November 24 -- Thanksgiving Dinner: black and green peppercorn-crusted, bacon-wrapped filet steaks with cream and pan juice reduction, baked potatoes, green bean casserole and Cambria Pinot Noir from Santa Maria, California -- and pecan pie.
Friday, November 25 -- chicken and shrimp gumbo

Saturday, November 26 -- Birthday lunch for Billy at Bill & Maria's: Court Bullion, Pineapple Upside Down Cake; eggs and bacon for supper
Sunday, November 27 -- Chinese takeout from Publix
Monday, November 28 -- pork chops, chipotle applesauce, green peas
Tuesday, November 29 -- fried chicken, creamed potatoes with horseradish, carrots
Wednesday, November 30 -- chicken fried steak, country gravy, steamed rice, corn
Thursday, December 1, 2011 -- leftover chicken and shrimp gumbo
Friday, December 2 -- Chicken Parmesan, Noodles Alfredo, grilled asparagus

Saturday, December 3 -- lunch at Chow Tyme Chinese Buffet; soup and sandwich for supper
Sunday, December 4 -- N.Y. strip steaks and baked potatoes
Monday, December 5 -- fried chicken, mashed potatoes, black eyed peas
Tuesday, December 6 -- spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread
Wednesday, December 7 -- chicken pot pies
Thursday, December 8 -- sandwiches from Jersey Mike's and soup
Friday, December 9 -- Chicken Parmesan, rice, gravy, Cheesy Corn Bake (Jack Stack's Kansas City BBQ recipe)

Saturday, December 10 -- steak and baked potato
Sunday, December 11 -- Thai take out from Siam Asian Diner
Monday, December 12 -- French dipped sandwiches, cole slaw
Tuesday, December 13 -- pork chops, rice, black beans with ham, applesauce
Wednesday, December 14 --
Thursday, December 15 -- crab cakes and shrimp cocktails
Friday, December 16 --

Saturday, December 17 -- Kim's Cajun Turkey Fry
Sunday, December 18 -- hot turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes
Monday, December 19 -- Publix fried chicken, coleslaw, stuffed Peppadews
Tuesday, December 20 -- Beef Stroganoff, noodles Mary Westbrook
Wednesday, December 21 -- Chicken Parmesan, roasted little red potatoes with garlic
Thursday, December 22 -- Chinese pepper beef, steamed rice, green beans, egg rolls
Friday, December 23 -- Christmas lunch at Jackson's (Jack's treat); snacks for supper

Saturday, December 24 -- Christmas Eve eggnog and snacks party
Sunday, December 25 -- Kim and Bill fried up shrimps and oysters for Po' Boy Sandwiches with lots of potluck sides from everybody else -- at Kim's
Monday, December 26 -- Stouffers Creamed Chipped Beef on toast
Tuesday, December 27 -- lunch at Chow Tyme Chinese buffet restaurant; snacks for supper
Wednesday, December 28 -- Chicken Piccata, mushroom cream gravy, steamed rice
Thursday, December 29 -- bacon-wrapped, black and green peppercorn-crusted filet steaks, twice baked potatoes
Friday, December 30 -- fried chicken, potatoes

Saturday, December 31 -- Grillades and grits, black eyed peas

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you are eating tonight.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Alaska Cruise, May 2011, Distances Sailed

Seattle to Juneau
876 nautical miles = 1,007 statute miles = 1,621 kilometers

Juneau to Skagway
94 nautical miles = 108 statute miles = 174 kilometers

Skagway to Glacier Bay
113 nautical miles = 130 statute miles = 209 kilometers

Glacier Bay to Ketchikan
293 nautical miles = 337 statute miles = 542 kilometers

Ketchikan to Victoria
573 nautical miles = 659 statute miles = 1,060 kilometers

Victoria to Seattle
76 nautical miles = 87 statute miles = 141 kilometers

Total distance
2,025 nautical miles = 2,329 statute miles = 3,750 kilometers

NOTE: 1 nautical mile = 1.15 land miles = 1.85 kilometers

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alaska Cruise, May 2011, Fly Home

Fly Seattle-Dallas, Dallas-Pensacola
Our flight to Dallas is at 9:20 A.M. Nervous about getting from hotel, to van drop off, to multiple elevators and walk ways, to ticketing and to our gate on time -- we decided to get the 7:00 A.M. hotel van instead of the 7:30 we originally planned on taking.

This meant we had plenty of time to be really critical of the ghastly Seattle Tacoma Airport. It's too big and too spread out. There aren't enough people movers or motorized carts. But there's lots of really good art, including a 9 by 27 foot Frank Stella painting, from his signature "Compass" period.

The flights were smooth. The attendant on the Seattle to Dallas leg was a grump. In Dallas we got a wild and wonderful cart ride from Terminal B to Terminal C, via secret chrome elevators and elevated walkways. Who knew? We arrived on time in Pensacola but waited nearly an hour for our bags.

All was fine at home and we picked up the cats Monday morning. They were fine as well.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 8, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

We left the ship just before 9:00 A.M. Baggage claim was chaos, in some ways worse than embarkation. Princess did fine -- our bags were where they should be. The Port of Seattle has poor signage and doesn't expect their vendors to extend much in the way of courtesy to the arriving or departing passengers.

We headed to Alamo's car rental kiosk. The person there was not listening to anyone's questions and caused us to tote our luggage a long way. We had a very helpful porter but he put the bags where she told us to. Then she pointed to the other end of the pickup area and said the van will pick up the bags (way, way) down there and there's no one to help you. Again, no signage for the pickup area. After more than an hour a van arrived and we were taken to Alamo's counter at the Hilton. Again long, slow lines. Very slow.

Finally we got a car. Drove south to see some sights and have lunch. Then we checked in at our hotel. It was early afternoon. Good luck, it was a great hotel, we found it by accident, the Holiday Inn Express SeaTac. Excellent room and free popcorn, too.

Early evening we went for dinner and to drop the car at the airport. While at the airport we confirmed our route for the morning. It seems that if you are on foot you cannot cross the street from the "parking garage". I put that in quotes because it's where all vehicles have to take departing passengers, except those coming by private cars.

Seattle is supposed to be so "green" but if you go to the airport by private car you are rewarded. Punished if you come by taxis or hotel vans or if you have just dropped off a rental car. You must find and take an elevator up to a "sky bridge" then cross over to the main building, then another elevator to find ticketing. Not very user friendly.

Good news -- yes, we did get upgraded to first class on American's Seattle to Dallas flight tomorrow morning.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 7, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Our first, and only, foreign port of this cruise. We arrive at 7:00 P.M. and leave at 11:00 P.M. And then on to Seattle, 76 nautical miles away, for disembarkation tomorrow morning.

Why bother with stopping in Victoria at all if we'll be there only four hours? Well, we have to visit a foreign port because of an U.S. maritime law from 1886. Basically the law goes like this:
In order to embark in a US port and disembark in a US port, the vessel must visit a foreign port.
The original law was much more stringent than this but there have been many modifications and reinterpretations since 1886. For instance the 1886 version said the foreign port had to be a "distant" foreign port "outside of North America."

The cruise south was pleasant and the sea was calmer. Mid-afternoon the sun came out and it was warm and there was great visibility.

Victoria at sunset looked like a beautiful city. We stayed on the ship and packed our bags. We put them in the hall before bed and hoped to see them at baggage claim tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 6, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

We left Glacier Bay about 3:00 P.M. yesterday heading south and got to Ketchikan about 7:00 this morning. The distance is about 300 nautical miles. There's a light rain but it's warmer than yesterday.

Sunrise here today was at 4:20 A.M., sunset at 9:09 P.M., 16 hours and 49 minutes of daylight.

Cruise ships dock right in the middle of downtown.There are shops right beside the ship so we bought some gifts and had some things shipped.

At the left is a photo of Holland America's Westerdam looming over the downtown docks, taken from the Golden Princess by the Terrace Pool.

Shops by the Dock
Dockside shops in Ketchikan make it easy for shopper tourists.

Tonight is formal night and that's a good reason to eat at the Crown Grill again. But the food there is so good we don't really need a reason.

Getting wet outdoors in Ketchikan must really be fun.

We were on our way to Victoria, British Columbia at 12:30 P.M. The distance is 573 nautical miles and it will take until 7:00 P.M. tomorrow to get there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 5, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

Alaska's State FlagGlacier Bay
We have now sailed about 1,200 nautical miles since we left Seattle. Today we cruise around Glacier Bay and stop to see several glaciers up close. A cold, but light rain is falling off and on. Lucky for us there's no wind.

Yesterday we got a note from Captain Vincenzo Lubrano inviting us to visit the navigational bridge tomorrow morning. It's always a treat to visit the bridge but today is extra special since the Captain, the local pilot and the Captain's team will be actively maneuvering around the bay and showing us glaciers.

Cruising Around Glacier Bay
Cruising Around Glacier Bay

Throughout the day park rangers are on board and announcing details about what we should watch for and pointing whales and bears.

There are 12 glaciers in Glacier Bay. At the top of the park, the northwestern end, is the Grand Pacific Glacier (and Canada). The Grand Pacific has been receding for many years and is now heading inland. Along the shore of the bay it has left a huge moraine of dirt and rocks. You cannot see the glacier from our ship.

To the left is Margerie Glacier. It rises 250 feet above the bay and 100 feet below it. The ship pulls up close and then slowly turns around so everybody get a good view.

For more photos click here for a slideshow of photos we took in Glacier Bay.

We then continued around the bay and in Johns Hopkins Inlet we stopped to see another tidewater glacier, Lamplugh Glacier.

Lamplugh Glacier
Lamplugh Glacier

Breakfast was from the International Cafe and eaten in our cabin -- self-service room service. Lunch was regular room service and dinner was in the Donatello Dining Room.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 4, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

Alaska's State FlagSkagway
Sunrise here today was at 4:07 A.M., sunset at 9:50 P.M., 17 hours and 43 minutes of day light.

We had a quiet morning on the ship and left for the White Pass & Yukon Trail Rail Road train ride at 12:30. We got back around 4:30.

White Pass & Yukon Trail Rail Road
OK -- I didn't really take the above photo, but our train
went along this very section of the track.

Getting good photos from the train was difficult: the train was moving, the track is old and bumpy and the windows are very reflective. I have lots of photos that have wonderful scenery around the edge of the picture and a big, clear reflection of the camera taking up the middle.

The trip, lasting nearly four hours, was wonderful with thrilling scenery. We climbed to nearly 3,000 feet and went along the edges many steep cliffs. In some places the snow beside the tracks was higher than the train cars. After we entered Canada we turned around so everybody got the other view on the way back.

Here is a slideshow of some photos we did take.

Breakfast was in the Horizon Court. Lunch was just snacks because dinner was going to be the Chef's Table event at 6:45. As always at the Chef's Table the wines and food were remarkable and this time the appetizers were all new and my favorite part of the meal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 3, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

Smooth sailing last night up the calm inside passage. So far we have traveled 896.5 nautical miles north from Seattle. The total for the cruise will be a little over 2,000 nautical miles. We are very tired today, feeling the jet lag and the time changes.

There's also a lot more daylight than at home. Sunrise in Juneau was at 4:16 A.M., sunset at 9:36 P.M., for 17 hours and 20 minutes of daylight. In Pensacola today sunrise was at 5:50 A.M., sunset at 7:42 P.M. and there was 3 hours and 28 minutes less daylight.

Heading for Juneau's cruise ship dockOriginally we had planned to take a bus to visit the Mendenhall Glacier but the weather was damp with little visibility. We stayed on the ship and relaxed. Room service for breakfast and Donatello Dining Room for lunch, tea and dinner.

We also spent some time today getting caught up with email and checking out the ship's library. In addition to books, the library also lets you borrow board games. Anybody for "Candyland?" And for a very small charge, I think it's $7, you can buy a needlepoint kit to make a Princess logo glasses case. In nine cruises I have never seen one of these cases or anyone making one.

Downtown Juneau, Alaska from the Golden Princess
A chiily day in Juneau. Nobody's at the pool.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 2, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

Alaska's State FlagAt sea
A restful day at sea as we head north into the Inside Passage and on to Juneau in the morning.

The sea isn't very rough but the stabilizers are on most of the time because of the light chop. Weather is damp and gray with temperatures in the low 50s. It's a good day to read, relax, get to know the ship and nap a bit. Most of the time we can see land, far away snow-capped mountains with cliffs along the shore.

At noon today we were half way to Juneau. So far we have gone 450 nautical miles since we left Seattle. We had breakfast in Donatello Dining Room. It has waiter service and everything is cooked to order. Lunch was in the International Cafe in the Atrium. Very good choice of soup, salads and sandwiches and best of all great coffee and French pastries. Excellent food. Tonight is "formal" night and we don't dress up. Dinner was in the Crown Grill Steak House. Excellent as always. And well worth the $25 per person cover charge for the peace and quiet and fantastic service and food.

Life Preserver, Golden Princess
"Hamilton" on the life preserver indicates the ship is
registered in Bermuda.

Ceiling Light in the Atrium by the Panoramic Elevators
This pink flower is a ceiling light in the four-story atrium.
The blossom is huge, about 12 feet across.

Alaska Cruise Handbook by Joe UptonWe have been reading the Alaska Cruise Handbook by Joe Upton. It came with a handy fold out map of our route. There's a mile-by-mile numbering system in the book and on the map that Princess uses as well so we can follow along when announcements are made on board. When we get to Glacier Bay National Park Rangers join us on the Golden Princess to answer questions and point out interesting things via the ship's loud speakers and TV channels.

Tonight we must set our clocks ahead one hour -- we will be in the Alaska Time Zone.