So Arnold Has a Love Child

1 Jun


Arnold has a love child with the maid, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaults a maid. Anthony Weiner tweets his wiener to young co-eds while Bill Clinton used a cigar on a young intern and Mark Foley just used the male interns.  Spitzer hired hookers, Edwards hired his mistress and Letterman slept with those he hired.  Tiger Woods, Donald Trump, Jesse James, Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich and most of the Kennedy men.  The list really doesn’t really need explanation.

In most of the cases,  the women these powerful men go after are mostly the young, naïve or unsophisticated who sit in adoration of the men. And there you have it – the reason men screw around. There’s nothing left to make them feel powerful other than repeated sexual conquests. 

But Why? 

Men are crafty dudes. As a single woman until I was 34-years-old, I’ve seen a lot and heard many a line.  

Younger women think it’s about men actually wanting them and are perplexed when these men have really nice and gorgeous wives. Older women know that it usually has nothing to do with the women they betray or the women they seek. It’s all about the men satisfying their need to be adored.

Even the disgusting brute Dominique Strauss-Kahn kept shouting at his victim, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?”

A Message to Young Women

The age-old test our mothers told us about still holds true on all fronts whether you’re 19  or 49 years old: if he truly wants you, he will court you and wait. If not, he didn’t really want you in the first place.

There is also a message in all of this that will make many a woman groan, and that is that deep down all men need to be adored.

While we’re hauling laundry, bathing babies, walking around with ankle weights on to help regain the figure he married and just trying not to be devoured by life, our men need us to adore them. It is what fuels their psyches.

One of my sisters said about her first husband, “He needs a woman who will sit and watch him putt all day and adore him. That’s not me.”  That ex-brother in-law found that woman who does adores him, and they have been married for many years.

So What’s the Answer?

Men who have the world at their feet continue to risk it all and salivate after big-breasted chickies who bounce by and smile.  It won’t change. Men are hard-wired that way.

 There are, however, honorable men who protect themselves.

George and Laura Bush in love

President George W. Bush, before he was president,  incensed that a female campaign worker continued to pursue him, finally roared at her “Don’t you know I’m a married man!”  Other campaign workers thought his response somewhat harsh and embarrassing to the woman, however, Bush knew exactly what she was doing. She didn’t come back.

My own father refused to socialize after 6:00 p.m. without my step-mother at his side.  It wasn’t until he was in his 70’s that he would even go out to dinner with a group of men if she was out of town.

What Can We Do?

Ideally, all men would do exactly what President Bush did – admonish women who pursue them despite their marital status. 

Men and women should refuse to ignore this boorish behavior that many excuse as “their personal lives.”  News flash – someone’s “personal” character is indicative of their character in every other aspect of their lives.  And those who are in politics simply set themselves up for blackmail.

Don’t watch Elliot Spitzer’s TV show on CNN. Don’t go to any more Schwarzenegger movies.  Don’t vote for Anthony Weiner when he runs for NYC mayor.

What It Means

The behavior of  these men in the news and our response as a society is setting the standard for what we expect our daughters to accept. Is this what you want for your daughter?

Memorial Day Reflections

30 May

Remembering our brave military men and

women who have died in the line of duty.



wreaths at arlington cemetary at christmas

HORNS & HALOS: WJCT, Alvin, Oprah and Landrum

28 May halo pig

HALOS to WJCT for scheduling the documentary “Under Our Skin,” a story about the horrors of Lyme Disease and the medical community that has all but turned its back on its victims. The Infectious Disease Society of America has contacted individual PBS stations to boycott this important movie with negligible results. It’s billed as a gripping tale of microbes, medicine and money that exposes the hidden story of Lyme disease.  I have seen this movie several times at special showings in Jacksonville and it is eerily accurate as to the horrors victims like my children have endured.  I highly recommend everyone watch it on Thursday, June 2 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Comcast 211.
UPDATE: It will also show June 17 at 10:00 p.m. on Comcast 212 and on June 29 at 11:00 p.m. on Comcast 8 or Channel 7 for those without cable.


HORNS to Landrum Middle School in St. Johns County for changing graduation requirements a month before the end of the school year.  Eighth graders failing the high school course Algebra I were told they could pass eighth grade and retake the course in ninth grade. Then just a month before the end of the year those students and their guidance counselors were told by administration that the students would fail the eighth grade without a passing math credit. It’s suspected the school was pushing the class because it received extra funding from the state, and the state finally caught on. Schools understandably are doing all they can to secure enough funding to teach our kids, but this kind of late-in-the-year maneuver is blatantly unfair to kids. 

HALOS to Jacksonville Mayor-Elect Alvin Brown for turning down the traditional new car provided by the city for all new mayors.  Brown was just fine with the existing car the city already owns for the mayor. With many tough financial decisions ahead of him, Alvin Brown is showing great leadership by walking the talk of budget management.



HORNS to all the Oprah haters who poo-hooed this week’s grand finale of Oprah’s 25-year daytime TV talk show. Some people expect perfection out of those who reach such great success and celebrity. Even though she may not be like us in money and power, she is every woman in that she learned the very same hard lessons she shared with us over the years. We’ll miss her daily insight on television.

Basa Fish – Not Your Ordinary Catfish

26 May rolands2

If you’ve never heard of basa fish, listen up; it is a great fish for pan frying and is becoming increasingly popular.  My bottomless supply from Roland Seafood, the Mayport seafood company owned by my sister Priscilla and her husband Brad Roland, has kept me in fried fish.  

Priscilla, Ashley & Brad Roland fishing at the Jax Beach pier

I recently asked a girlfriend over for dinner and she answered with “What are you cooking?” 

 “Are you only coming if you like what I’m cooking or do your really want to know if I’m frying fish?” I answered. 

“Please fry me some fish,” was the pleading little answer I got back.

I pan  fry my basa to a golden brown in olive oil after first dipping it in egg, then dredging in Italian bread crumbs. My sister likes planko, and others like cornmeal. All work fine. Lime or lemon juice on top finishes it off nicely.

Truth be known, I had been eating it for over a year without even knowing what kind of fish it was. (That happens when you go to pick up seafood goody bags and don’t find out what’s in it until you get home. ) Then everyone kept asking what kind of fish it was. So I figured I best find out what kind of fish it was.

Basa has an interesting background. It’s a catfish from the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam, but it doesn’t taste like the channel catfish we’re used to in the South. It has a milder flavor and more delicate texture.  In an experiment done at the University of Mississippi, the taste of  basa was preferred 3-1 to domestic catfish.

Basa fish t is also sometimes labeled as bocourti. Basa feed off of plants whereas channel catfish are bottom dwellers and eat anything.  Basa is raised in cages but also  privy to an enormous amount of moving water unlike our farmed catfish. 

Basa sells at Publix frozen in a bag for $15.99 for 2 lbs (4 filets). Roland Seafood, however, sells basa for $3.50 lb., less than half the cost of basa at Publix.  Now that’s a good price.  

Roland Seafood supplies many of Jacksonville’s Asian restaurants with their seafood, so that’s one of the reasons they stock basa.  They are also a great source for shrimp, oysters, crab and numerous other fish all at equally low prices.

Lessons Oprah Taught Me

26 May oprah

 Oprah used her last show yesterday for what she called a love letter to her audience.

She talked about the lessons she learned from us, and reiterated the lessons she most wanted us to remember.Several of those lessons in particular of resonated with me. They took the tone of  her “what I know for sure,” regular feature each month on the last page of her “O” Magazine.

The first is that we are each responsible for the energy we create.  “You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.”

“All life is energy and we are transmitting it at every moment. We are all little beaming little signals like radio frequencies, and the world is responding in kind.”

The second is that we can all hear God’s voice if we listen.

“Because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me. … I know I’ve never been alone, and you haven’t either. And I know that that presence, that flow—some people call it grace—is working in my life at every single turn. And yours too, if you let it in. It’s closer than your breath, and it is yours for the asking.”

“I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It’s always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every decision. I wait and I listen. I’m still—I wait and listen for the guidance that’s greater than my meager mind. “

And the last lesson that really spoke to me was “Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”

“Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies.  In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You’re letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have.”

Those of us who respect the magnitude of what Oprah Winfrey has brought to us,   the success and influence she has achieved beyond imagination for a girl from her background,  and the way in which she asked us to apply that to our own lives – we salute you for a job well done.

To reach her entire last show message, go to

Mama Wants a Cadillac

24 May cadillac-2011-cts-v-coupe

This is a $70,000 car. A Cadillac CTS –V Coupe.  This will soon be my car, if only for a week. So how does a girl order up one of these babies?

Well I received an email about a writing contest for a blogging conference.  If I won I’d get to drive a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid for a week.  You might have noticed my friend Carrie McClaren posting about it over on her mommy blog  Carrie With Children. 

Well psssffff, who needs a contest?

Unbeknownst to me, Carrie and I were two great minds thinking alike; we both bypassed the little people and rang up our friends over at  Access Public Relations who manage the General Motors Southeast account here in Jacksonville. 

At first I wanted a Buick because I’ve always loved them, especially the Buick LaCrosse I recently test drove. (Carrie got a Buick Enlave for a week.)  But then my best friend since junior high breezed into town with her new-to-her Cadillac STS . 

So here we are hanging out, just two gals and their rides. That’s me on the left beside my chug-a-lug 2001 Ford Escape. And that’s Holly looking glam by her Cadillac.

I had fun accompanying Holly and her husband to buy her 50th birthday present – a 2-door Mercedes Benz SLK 320 convertible.  So I thought it would be a hoot, even for just a week, if I could “out car” her. I told Jennifer Symmes at Access PR that I wanted to upgrade to a Caddy and I wanted a
big bad ride.

 Jennifer wrangled me Cadillac’s showhorse, the CTS-V Coupe.  And don’t you know I’m going to be prancing when I get that thing in my driveway.

So stay tuned for the event. I don’t take possession for a couple more weeks, but I’m already planning a girls afternoon cruise to Fernandina Beach.

Holly made me promise to say she’s not old. Of course she’s not, she’s a year younger than I am. We are now the hot new Cadillac chicks changing the face of Cadillac ownership.

Oh, and Holly – a Cadillac CTS-V trumps a Cadillac STS.  

Review: Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation

24 May covergirlellen091908


I’ve taken notice of the commercials and magazine ads that feature the least  likely of cover girls – Ellen DeGeneres. She’s the face for Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation. It includes Olay’s Regenerist brand serum (that’s the white swirl in the make-up) and an SPF 22 sunscreen. 

So the other day I did something I oh so rarely do – I bought the product on impulse at the grocery store. 

My usual foundation in Clinique’s Repairwear which is an oil-free full coverage make-up. But I dropped a brand new $30 bottle on the tile floor a few weeks ago, and I’ll be damned if it was going in the trash. I scooped it up, broken bottle and all,  and dumped it in some Tupperware and kept using it. So my impulsive self thought she’d save 50 percent and go with the Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation for just $14.

Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation

The Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless comes in a round pot with a make-up sponge, which I highly recommend you use. I also recommended that you dab ust the tiniest bit of water on the sponge each time you use it because it helps create a smoother application.

I sense that my overall impression of the foundation is unique to me and more people will like it than I did.  And I did like it but just not as much as my Clinique.

I have very good skin that belies my plus 50 age, although it’s also extremely dry. The reason I bought this Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation is because of the Regenerist serum. As for the Regenerist serum, I slather it on my face every morning and night all by itself.  It’s also what I use under my regular foundation. 

The Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Foundation doesn’t have nearly the coverage as I’m used to. But most women probably prefer that. It simply didn’t look as good on me. 

But I chose to wear it to an outdoor party because I thought it would not bubble up when I sweat like my regular foundation does, and I was right. That was a relief. It’s probably because it goes on creamy and kind of dries to a powdering finish.  It’s also something I might put on when I’m going outdoors for other summer activities and not want a full-coverage make-up.  Again, I suspect the coverage it provides is more than enough for most women’s taste.

Buying a drugstore brand make-up is usually a risk because you can’t normally try out the colors beforehand. It’s a lot of guesswork. The advantage of being 50 plus, however, is that you have absolutely no qualms about tearing open the packaging to try the product. And that’s exactly what I did. I’m pretty good at identifying my colors now, so luckily I bought the one I opened. 

I would also recommend checking out CVS as it often has Cover Girl buy one, get one free promotions. Some of the larger stores also have special translucent discs that you can try to match your face color.

Final Verdict:  Try it, you’ll probably like it. And the price isn’t bad.

FOOD PORN FRIDAY: Lovely High Tea at Sweet Pete’s

13 May

 On Mother’s Day Weekend, my daughter Hayden and I attended a delightful High Tea at Sweet Pete’s in the heart of Jacksonville’s historic Springfield section.

Set in a whimsically restored old home on Pearl and 9th Streets, Sweet Pete’s is an organic candy shop and party venue owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Peter and Allison Behringer.  Peter is part of the beloved Peterbrooke Chocolatier bloodline  and last year he branched out on his own with this jewel in Springfield.

Owners Peter & Allison Behringer

High Tea was in the upstairs party room that was a decorated just as gaily as the rest of the shop, not to mention the view going up.


Lois Travis and Deborah Reid

Once upstairs, there were three dining tables  elegantly adorned with finger sandwiches, deserts , chocolate covered strawberries and a variety of adorable teapots and teacups.  

Two of the tables had families with children so well-behaved  that they are certainly welcome at any future high teas of mine.  Ours was shared with Lois Travis, a Ponte Vedra resident, and her daughter lawyer/artist Deborah Reid who wore hats in honor of the Kentucky Derby party they were attending afterward.

We started with lemonade, salad and finger sandwiches.  Sweet Pete’s does as well with sandwiches as candies; we were served curried egg salad, cucumber, ham and cheese turnovers, chicken salad and more. The believe that table favorite  was the round banana sandwiches drizzled with chocolate.

We had our tea with dessert; ours a traditional tea while the other ladies had lavender tea, and pretty green sugar crystals. We each had individual adorable teapots with matching teacups. Chocolate chip scones and biscuits were aplenty, as well as devine cupcakes with strawberry icing wrapped with a citrus cotton candy and lemon cakes. I’ve never been much of a cotton candy fan, however, this flavored  variety made at Sweet Pete’s was quite wonderful.

High Tea

Cotton candy is made to order downstairs with thirty flavors from which to choose.  ($3)  Some of the favorites are citrus punch, bubble gum, strawberry, watermelon, kiwi, grape, cider, rose, almond, chai, cheesecake, blueberry, eggnog,  pear, chocolate, raspberry, cashew, cinnamon and mango. I don’t know what it is about Sweet Pete’s cotton candy, after all it’s  

Cameron Speights Loves Apple Cinnamon

just sugar, but it tastes so much better than that stuff you get at the fair.  I’m also thinking I regret not trying the almond flavored cotton candy.

 Next to the cotton candy machine is the ice cream freezer case that offers a rotating assortment of flavors such as strawberry chocolate chunk, bananas foster, vanilla bean, java jive, deep dark chocolate and toasted coconut, as well as soy vanilla and chocolate. There’s homemade hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce and homemade whipped cream along with vegan caramel and chocolate sauces and rice milk whipped cream.
The one thing they can’t promise is the several adorable and grinning little boys who were there when we visited and whose great big eyes loved all the confections.

Deep Dark Chocolate Ice Cream for Roshad Reid

Almost all the candy at Sweet Pete’s is made on premises except for a few items such as the taffy that is made elsewhere on nut-free machinery.  Chocolate is their specialty, and it’s all natural.  Treats on the shelf rotate, but on our visit there were chocolate pizzas, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate covered potato chips, along with assorted small candies for sale individually.
Sweet Pete’s is one of Jacksonville’s fun go-to businesses for throwing a party. Whether it’s  in their upstairs party room or at a venue of your choosing, some of their themed specialties are the chocolate fondue party, chocolate lover’s party, old-fashioned taffy pull, chocolate wine pairing party, cotton candy party and the winter candy cane pull party. You can even bring in your own adult beverages for events.
Each month brings a new event theme, such as the Mother’s Day Weekend High Tea.   There are usually separate events geared for children and adults.
In July,  look for a magnificent celebration as Sweet Pete’s will mark its first anniversary while the house in which it resides turns 100 years old. Plans are still in the works, but they promise plenty of Sweet Pete’s cotton candy martinis and chocolate martinis to help celebrate.
I highly recommend you check out the Sweet Pete’s Blog !
Open Daily 10:30 – 7:00
Sunday noon – 5:00
Closed Monday
1922 Pearl Street
Jacksonville, FL

Sweet Pete's on Urbanspoon

It’s the Great Burger Quest!

10 May

         The Great Burger Quest wants to find the best burger in Jacksonville!

         So who makes your favorite burger?

         I’ll be selecting candidates from your suggestions.



Tell me who makes your favorite burger and why it’s your favorite. Leave a comment here, Tweet me, Facebook me, email me. Anyway you want.

There are only three rules:

1)   Must be a public restaurant

2)   Must be in Jacksonville or the Beaches

3)  Must be a ground meat patty between bread


The ultimate decision will be made by me and a cadre of guest diners!

FOOD PORN FRIDAY: Southern Cuisine Shines at Copper Top

5 May

Copper Top Restaurant has come back from the dead; the long-time Jacksonville Beach landmark, known for more than 60 years as The Homestead, has been resurrected – ghosts and all.  Now named after its famed copper top bar, it’s kicking it into high gear.

Locals so want this iconic restaurant to make it. It has changed hands (and quality) a number of times in recent years. Now that the economy is on the upswing, and what seemed like never-ending road work in front of the building is complete, owner Mike Pessagno is determined to bring it back to the quality of days gone by. The landmark had been “broken,” he says and wants to get back to basics to return it to what its dedicated customers loved about it in The Homestead days – but with fresh and interesting twists to the menu.

Set among oak trees, the historic log cabin restaurant is structurally the same except for some deep cleaning,  wall paint and a few touches to kick it up a few notches.

The menu contains favorites such as hand-battered fried chicken. It can no longer be made in a skillet because of increased health code requirements, but the down-home yumminess factor is still there.  Fried Chicken Dinners for one, four, six and eight are also still served.  There are also the requisite biscuits and cornbread with dinner, as well as family-style vegetables for the table.

Alpha Paytner Martini

My companion and I started with an Alpha Paytner Martini. $7  (As many know, Paytner was the original owner about 80 years ago and still haunts the place. But more on that later.) It’s made from citrus vodka, Island Blue Pucker Sweet and Sour Schnapps Liqueur and a splash of sprite. My first impression of it was “Wow, that fresh.” My companion remarked, “What the heck does ‘fresh’ mean?”  Then she tasted it and said, “Why yes, fresh is exactly what is. It went down easily.

Appetizers were Georgia Banks Braised Shrimp $7.95  and Shrimp and Grits Fritters $6.95

Georgia Banks Braised Shrimp

On our last visit to Copper Top my companion ordered the Georgia Banks Braised Shrimp and made such a fuss over how good it was that I had to try it. And it was my most favorite item of the evening. The shrimp were succulent and served along-side a combination of smoked bacon, sweet onions, Hoppin’ John and collard greens. For those wanting a small dinner, this and a salad would be plenty. The collard greens were superb. Pessagno says that a 90-year-old long-time customer of the site’s restaurants recently dined in and exclaimed that the Copper Top’s collard greens were the best she had eaten in her life. Now that’s a testimony.

Shrimp & Grits Fritters


The Shrimp & Grits Fritters are served with chipolte aioli and are chewy and flavorful.  I was thinking they would taste more like hush puppies, but  they had a moister consistency.

A basket of biscuits and cornbread is served with every meal.

Biscuits and Cornbread

 The size of the biscuits honor tradition, as well as the honey on the table for those who like it. The cornbread was also more moist than most of the dry cornbread that many restaurants serve. You can see bits of corn in it as well. I didn’t try the cornbread that night, but heated it up in the microwave the next morning for breakfast and it was the most flavorful cornbread I’ve ever had. This southern girl plans on getting some more of that.

The Iceberg Wedge Salad $4.50 was something else I had been seriously wanting to try, and it surely did not disappoint. So much more than its simple name, it is topped with a homemade zesty blue cheese dressing,  fried onions, gorgonzola cheese crumbs, tomatoes, chopped bacon bits with  crustini on the side, all with a balsamic drizzle.  Such a simple name for a salad with bold taste. I adored it.

Iceberg Wedge Salad


Our first entrée was the Slow Braised Short Ribs  $15.95.

Slow Braised Short Ribs

The short ribs come flavored with a wonderful Jack Daniels au jus reduction. (The menu lists them under the pork dishes, but they will be sure to tell you they are actually beef.) Tender and flavorful, they come as all entrees do with a choice of two sides from their ample list. My companion chose the mashed sweet potatoes and fried okra. A fried okra connoisseur, she was sure to inform the owner that one can tell a lot from a restaurant by the quality of its fried okra. She awarded it a gold star.

We also chose the Fresh Catch of the day $17.95. With a choice of snapper or grouper, we selected the snapper, grilled,  with a light lemon butter sauce.

The Fresh Catch - Grilled Snapper

The snapper was excellent with just the right amount of lemon butter sauce. The onion rings were as good as they get and even better with the chipolte sauce on the side.  Good to know info is that Copper Top purchases its seafood fresh daily, six days a week in Mayport.

Another entrée I didn’t get to taste but is high on my list for the next visit is the Paytner Pattie Melt $8.95. It’s a half pound of ground beef with boursin cheese in the middle served on Texas toast with sautéed onions and mushrooms.  Oh my.

We moved on to dessert, all at $4.95. Although I’m personally all  about Brownies a la Mode,  the Fried Oreos and Fried Brownie Bites, covered in a waffle batter and deep-fried, are what piqued my interest. We received a combination platter. The brownies by themselves would have been awesome as they were very moist. The fried version of both are evidently quite popular with children, and one can see why.

Fried Oreos and Brownie Bites
Copper Top also offers another kid favorite, to be sure –  a Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich that is also dipped in waffle batter and deep- fried. 

Our other dessert was the Georgia Sweet Peach Cobbler that we got à la mode. It was an interesting turn on a cobbler as the crust was more cake-like than pie crust.  We enjoyed every single bit of it.

Georgia Sweet Peach Cobbler

The Copper Top opened in February of this year complete with live music, seasonal patio dining and all sorts of great specials throughout the week such as $4 martinis on Monday and 50 cent oysters on Tuesdays.
One of the most talked about offerings is the Sunday Brunch Buffet $18.95 and includes bottomless mimosas. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the buffet is  in the main dining room with two carving stations,  fried chicken, two fresh catches, waffles, pancakes, omelets, the self-proclaimed best ever eggs Benedict, desserts and more.
Management had heard all the stories about the ghost of Anna Paynter being sited numerous times in the building through the years.  Mike Pessagno hasn’t seen her yet but did get the shock of his life, however, when he was in his second-floor office and hollerd out, “If there’s a spirit here, then give me a sign.”  He said that a shower than had not worked in forever suddenly came on and stopped as suddenly. 

Maybe that was just a sign from Anna Paytner that she indeed approves of the restaurant’s new incarnation.

Copper Top Southern American Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Open at 10 a.m. daily
1712 Beach Boulevard
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
(904) 249-4684