Monthly Archives: April 2016

Snake! Menopause Courage?



I’ve read that post-menopausal women are braver, bolder, gutsier. Oh please, please, pick me!

The book is still out for this menopausal woman. What about you?

I was hoping this newly delivered bravery would just wash over me. Not so.

I did make steps up in bravery with my cancer and the death of my mom. In serious times, when you have little choice as to what will happen, bravery not only gets you through, but it enables you to appreciate the power in the pain, the miracles in the horror, the grace in the gravity. Whence the bravery? My inner soul? God? My dear family and friends? My ability to sometimes see the whimsy amidst the woe? Not sure.

But whatever bravery I’ve garnered in recent years, I’ve only taken baby steps with snakes.

Cliff loves snakes! He has a deep appreciation for these creatures. And so, I am working on snake courage.

On our lovely Hillsborough Riverwalk in April, the black snakes come out, especially in one section that is darker and more wooded than the rest. I can handle a snake yards ahead of me. I like warning. But I don’t want to chance upon a snake, and I am creeped out that they crawl up tree trunks and dangle from branches.

But this year, I forced myself, a few times, with eyes wide open, to go down that snakey path. Didn’t see any, but wasn’t I at least a little bit brave? Progress!

Cliff says the black snakes aren’t on the path or in the trees anymore. They’re off in the woods after mating, doing other important snake things.

It’s amazing how brave I have now become.

Photo courtesy Clifford Younger.

LuLu’s Kitchen: A Cookbook Giveaway




A brand new cookbook from Lucy Buffett. Here’s the scoop from the publisher:

Updated with a new introduction and amazing photography, the bestselling, self-published cookbook by Lucy Buffett (chef sister of Jimmy Buffett) includes amazing recipes from her destination restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Like her brother, Jimmy, Lucy Buffett celebrates freedom, relaxation, and seaside decadence in her own art — cooking. This previously self-published book (formerly titled Crazy Sista Cooking) has sold over 70,000 copies without marketing or much trade distribution.

Packed with more than 120 signature recipes from Lucy’s famous Gulf Coast restaurant, LuLu’S Kitchen is the next best thing to being there. Tucked inside are humorous stories, and plenty of wit and wisdom from Lucy’s own kitchen. The book features party menus, Buffett Family favorites, and lots of telling it like it is. Renowned novelist Tom McGuane contributes engaging essays that blend smoothly with the spicy dishes and distinctive drinks.

Recipes include soul-satisfying Southern delights like West Indies Salad, Perfect Fried Shrimp, Blackened Grouper Sandwich, Garlic Cheese Grits, Silver Queen Succotash, and Heavenly Fried Crab Claws. And there’s a whole chapter on 25 specialty drinks, including “Bama Breeze” and “LuLu’s Painkiller.”

Giveaway: The publisher is offering a copy of LuLu’s Kitchen to one lucky Friend for the Ride winner. For a chance to win, please enter a comment before May 15. Thanks!


Lucy Buffett
 is a restaurateur of the award winning, fun-loving LuLu’s which serves more than one million guests a year at two locations, one in Gulf Shores, Alabama and the other in Destin, Florida. Lucy has also been recognized for her tireless work on behalf of sustainability and the environment. However, the greatest passion of this self-proclaimed gypsy rebel and reluctant entrepreneur is cooking good food for the people she loves. LuLu’s Kitchen: A Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life (formerly Crazy Sista Cooking) is her first cookbook and is full of recipes and stories that made her restaurant the famous destination it is today. You can find more information on Lucy at


The Bird Bucket List


Lilacbreasted Roller; Coracias Caudata; South Africa

I’ve yet to make my bucket list. Perhaps because I find the project overwhelming. There’s lots to do in the world!

So when Cliff sent me this article on the Bird Bucket List, I thought, wow, now that I could do. Bucket lists by category. Here’s a Bird Bucket List I made, composed of one bird of mine and the Bucket List Birds of friends.

At the top, from Ken, who has traveled the world, you see the lilac breasted roller.

Gail chose the the snowy white owl.

Mini, a 25-year-old Snowy Owl injured as a young bird, peers out from her enclosure at the Raptor Trust, a bird sanctuary and rehabilitation center about 30 miles west of New York City in Millington, New Jersey in this December 12, 2006 file photo. The elusive snowy owl, rarely seen outside the Arctic, is turning up more frequently in the skies of North America than it does in the pages of a Harry Potter book, data from the National Audubon Society suggested on January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT)

Susan selected a bird from my childhood turf, the Baltimore oriole.


Nancy wrote, “Since I am not much of a ‘birder,’ I would go for birds that are names for sports teams – Baltimore Orioles (and Ravens!), Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons. Georgia Peregrine Falcon (below).”


Jan chose the a male painted bunting.


Judy picked a puffin.


Johnna selected our American symbol, the bald eagle.

images (1)

Nell wrote, “My mom always wanted to see a road runner before she died, and then she did!”


Somebody chose the blue footed booby, but sadly, I can’t remember who. But look at those gorgeous feet!

Blue Footed Booby

And Cliff longs to see a bird he’s heard often but never seen: a whip-poor-will. Oh and here’s a tip. Don’t tell someone his bucket list bird is ugly. It doesn’t sit well.


And as for me, in memory of my dad, I am putting the albatross at the top of my Bird Bucket List. Dad talked about seeing these magnificent birds from the deck of his destroyer during World War Two.


What about you?

Let’s add to the list. If you send me a bird, I’ll find a photo and post it.

Pat suggests the cedar wax wing. Lovely colors!


Phyllis would like to see (up close) the Hawaiian stilt. She writes: “I think that we saw some of these amazingly long-legged birds (in relation to their body size) in a low water pond-like area in Maui. But, they were so far away we couldn’t quite tell!”


From Robin, the frigate bird. Gorgeous!



Menopause Words and Worry



I found these wonderful words on the wall of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. Let’s pretend the MOMA posted them just for us! The words happily reflect the upbeat changes that often sweep in once the menopause roller coaster slows down.

Recently, I’ve been reading lots about controlling our thoughts. As a younger woman, thoughts ruled me. I didn’t figure I could rule them. This thought about thoughts is a new thought for me.

Psychologists suggest we can rewire our brains. Check out this intriguing article. 

I’ve been exploring the thinking of Byron Katie, who writes:”Life is not difficult; it’s your thinking that makes it difficult…If you don’t love where you are, I invite you to question your beliefs.” (From A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are.) 

I like her four questions for analyzing every negative thought:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know that it is true?
  • How do you react, what happens, when you believe this thought?
  • Who would you be without the thought?

Learn more about Byron Katie and her program, The Work, here.

Mind Power expert John Kehoe makes this great analogy:”You wouldn’t allow stinking garbage to build up in your house without taking action. Likewise don’t let negative thinking build up in the inner sanctuary of your mind.” Kehoe gives some concrete tips on how to eliminate negative thinking in this article.

What about you? Have you been successful at re-framing negative thoughts or worries?

P.S. I worried (Ha!Banish the word) about the word “furious” in the photo. But one definition is “full of energy.” Let’s all be furious  and happy together.

Giveaway Winners: Congratulations to Miriam, who won Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic;  Judith and Janet, who each won two pairs of  Confitex Underwear; and Rose, who won the Mighty Nightie. More giveaway announcements soon!