STREETS AND ART IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA

On a perfect sunny day in St. Augustine, the street scenes south of King Street are always a favorite. Among other things, this means stepping into one or two or three or more of the wonderful galleries that live in that part of the historic city.

This interesting piece is front and center at Sea Spirits Gallery on Saint George Street.

The above pictured sculpture and following pictures can be found at Plum Gallery on Aviles Street. I love these pieces. The artist is Mindy Colton who lives on a horse farm in East Orlando where she has a studio. Her work has been exhibited at galleries in Boca Raton, El Paso and many other locations.

This historic building continuously occupied since the late 1500’s is home to a public research library. This will be my next stop on Aviles Street.

And likely, I’ll have more of Mindy Colton’s work posted in an upcoming blog.

OUT-IN-PAPERBACK

Titles of interest now published in paperback editions

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Small Great Things by Jodi Picolt

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

The Women In the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

And as you see, even more of your favorites are available. Get to it. Which will you pick up next?

“STORIES MOVE THE WALLS THAT NEED TO BE MOVED” -FROM NICOLE MAINES

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
Author: Amy Ellis Nutt
Publisher: Random House, 2016
Genre: Non-fiction
Paperback Edition: 262 pages plus Sources, Resources, Glossary, and Reader’s Guide
Source: Personal Copy

This book can be a difficult read because of the heartrending nature of the true story told, and the strong emotions a reader feels for children and family who must endure intolerance because a child is different. Wayne and Kelly Maines are parents of twin boys. From an early age one of the twin children, Wyatt, presents as a female. This is the coming-of-age story of a transgendered child and of her family. Perhaps telling this story was also difficult for the author.

Amy Ellis Nutt, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, writes a clear, compelling, factual narrative of the family and their experiences. She is never overwhelmed by the emotionality of the story. She demonstrates understanding, tolerance and respect toward all involved in the lives of the Maines family: parents, twins Jonas and Wyatt who becomes Nicole, and others they interact with in the state of Maine where they live. All the members of the family exhibit great courage in the face of an unexpected life experience.

Reading this compelling story, this reader felt a degree of shame to realize the fearful feelings I experienced in confronting this book. Stories of mistreated and misunderstood children often cause dread, fear, and strong feelings of unhappiness. I mourn for the children, the families and our intolerant society toward those who are different than others.

There is factual learning to be found in this presentation. The author includes new, important information about brain development. She explains terms and includes a glossary. She speaks of organizations, laws, schools, courts and more involved in this situation. Meaning, honesty and empathy are hallmarks of her writing. She creates a clear, readable text. As expected, different aspects of the story will appeal to different readers.

Nicole’s triumphant transformation occurs after many struggles. She and her family are an inspiration to others. This reader thanks the Maines family, so generous in sharing their story. It is a courageous and powerful book, but there is no discounting the fact it also takes putting aside fear and trembling for some to read it. I guess that calls for pride rather than shame. Hats off to this author Amy Ellis Nutt, the Maines family and most of all Nicole.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: SHRIMP AND WINGS FOR THE SUPER BOWL

Two recipes to anchor your Super Bowl Buffet. Often, favorites at our house in years past.

MIGHTY SWEET CHICKEN WINGS

2-3 pounds wings
1 10 oz. jar apricot preserves
1 bottle Wishbone Russian Dressing (red-oil type)
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix

Mix sauce and pour into a 9×13 pan. Lay chicken on top
Bake one hour at 350. Turn wings after ½ hour.

Add some Frank’s Hot Sauce if you must, or also very good if you use peach salsa instead of the preserves. Less sweet, more heat.

These wings are easy to prep, different and delicious!

JERRY LEIN’S CHEESE SPREAD WITH SPRIMP

4 oz. small shrimp, fresh (cook briefly) or canned, rinsed and chopped
4 green onion stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons Worceshire Sauce
16 oz. Kraft Cheez Whiz
2 tablespoons lemon juice – optional

Mix first three ingredients together well with wooden spoon.

Add the Kraft Cheez Whiz and mix.

Spread on Triskit crackers and broil to warm.

When you pass these around, folks love them. So little prep effort for such a great taste.

Enjoy the 2018 Super Bowl and the food. Maybe you will throw in one of these recipes that will seem new but some folks will know, not so.

READING THIS WEEK REMINDS ME OF THE OSCAR RACE IN AN ODD WAY

Haven’t been out to the movies as much as I would like. I’m even behind with my reading. What is the world coming to?

My reading this week brings to mind those newspaper/magazine articles we will see soon with regard to the Oscar Awards Race, in which the critics have boxes filled with Who Will Win, Who Should Win, Who Do I Wish Would Win.

Reading categories for this week:

Book I’m Reading:

The Other Einstein: a novel by Marie Benedict
It seems predictable and not very interesting. Am I right that Einstein is portrayed as manipulating and using the woman he supposedly loves? More than half the book to go yet. Will I keep reading? I’m starting to feel the pain of the “other” Einstein.

Books I’d Like to Be Reading:

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in Young America by Catherine Kerrison.
A few months, or years ago I read a book I very much enjoyed entitled America’s First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamole. It told the story of Jefferson’s oldest daughter Patsy from her viewpoint. The new book is just out and is a nonfiction study of Patsy and her sisters.

And

The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe
This author spent a year in a Denver High School. Oh, Colorado, home to gorgeous scenery, locally raised marijuana and an interesting mix of people. It is a state that often surprises. Ms. Thorpe is or was a magazine feature writer formerly married to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. She is the author of Just Like Us: The Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America, a nonfiction book I found fascinating and life-changing. (Another station on my spiritual journey – an insider item for my Northbrook Church readers) Reading a review of this new book, I venture to say there are issues aplenty to help us see all sides of this school situation as well as related realities in the lives of these high school students.

Book I Will Read

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
The cover blurb suggests if this book does not move me I have a lump of dark matter where my heart should be. This book is up next for the Florida Book Club. I’d better get crackin’ as my Dad would say.

THE MEAL I MISS MOST WHEN I’M OUT OF TOWN

You may be surprised to find out the favorite foods that Detroiters love. Detroit has a long list of celebrated foods: great burgers, pastrami, Buddy’s Pizza and more. That’s a post for another day.

Today a hat’s off to the food I miss most when I’m out of town. Little Daddy’s on Northwestern shines when a waiter sets this light meal in front of you.

Lemon Rice Soup can be ordered at almost any diner worth its salt in the Detroit area, but this place has the best! Thick, but not gloppy, oh-so-lemony, no boiled aftertaste and smooth with lots of rice.

Greek Salad in our city is uniquely wonderful. ( I order it in other parts of the country and it never matches what is served everywhere here in Detroit.) But this version of the Greek is the Tommy Salad, chopped with lots of dill and a dressing I love!

If you haven’t stopped at Little Daddy’s recently, I recommend it.

What food do you miss most when you are away from home? Do tell!