Tag Archives: FP

HORNS & HALOS: WJCT, Alvin, Oprah and Landrum

28 May

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

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 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 http://www.oprah.com/.

Mama Wants a Cadillac

24 May

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


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.