My third year in Pensacola, I got a huge shock. My water/sewage bill jumped, jumped horribly. I knew we had used a lot of water in October and November of the previous year, because we had installed some new landscaping in October which needed watering in, but I had no idea why EVERY month my bill was so high.
Then the fourth year, the bill came and it was so low, I called and said “I think there has been a mistake.” I didn’t want to be getting a huge bill the next month to rectify the mistake. The wonderful customer service woman asked me if I didn’t know about “averaging.” No. I’m new. I don’t know about averaging, and I have never heard anyone talk about it.
She explained that in November, December and January, they average water use and then use it to estimate the sewage bill for the entire year, since they can’t separate water used for watering lawns and water used that goes into sewage. Most people, she explained, turn off their outside water around November. Evidently, horrified by my huge bills resulting from watering in the landscaping, I had been extremely careful in the last year, and was greatly blessed with much smaller water bills.
As it turns out, it’s not just new people who don’t know about “averaging.” There are a lot of people who have lived here their entire lives who don’t know about it either. Last year, aware of averaging, I watched for the announcement, which wasn’t really an announcement. In the ECUA newsletter, buried deep in one of the columns, was a mention that averaging would begin in November, depending on your billing, on or around the middle of November.
You can call ECUA Customer Service (850-476-0480) and find out close to when your meter is checked in November – for you, that is when averaging starts. Averaging runs November – December – January and measures how much water you use and uses that to compute your sewerage amount. If you are careful about your water use in those three months, you will lower your water bill for the entire year.
It’s still hot, hitting the nineties, but something is changing. You can see it in the angle of the sunlight, especially at sun rise and sun set, the directions have changed, the angles have changed, and the colors are richer.
Time to harvest the basil. This is not my garden, nor my basket, nor my garden, but the resemblance is uncanny, and this is a great photo for illustrative purposes.
We grow a lot of basil, pots and pots of basil. After early church, I hit the pots with my garden shears. I trim off all the little flowers on top (I’ve been doing this all summer, but I never seem to keep on top of it) and then I trim back the branches, laden with basil. I have an entire basket full of Genovese, which, after picking off the leaves, washing them and spinning them dry, come to 12 cups of basil.
Doesn’t everything go better with a little pesto? I love to smear a little on my BLT’s, I love to pop a spoonful into a soup, and oh my holy tomato, basil pesto on pasta, to die for. I know what I want to do, but I want to be sure I get proportions right, so I go to The Silver Palate Cookbook, it came out years and years ago and has a lot of basic but really really good recipes. So, how old is this cookbook? When I was looking at the Pesto page, there was a box that said “Pesto – the quiche of the ’80’s” or something like that which implied pesto was the newest, most wonderful thing – in the ’80’s.
“????” I thought.
Isn’t pesto one of those classics? Maybe it’s because we frequented Italian restaurants when I was going to high school in Germany, but I remember pesto. It’s not like quiche (which, by the way, is my grandson’s favorite thing), it’s no passing trend, pesto is classico!
I made all the batches with garlic, lots of garlic, about triple what the recipe calls for, and I roasted it before I tossed it in. One batch I made with almonds, one batch with sunflower seeds and the last batch with my all time favorite, walnuts. I labeled little snack bags, put globs of pesto in them, sealed them up, put them all in one big gallon sized plastic bag and sealed that up and put the whole lot in the freezer, to pull on on those days when I need a pop of flavor and a taste of the long hot summer.
Here is my variation on the Silver Palate recipe:
Basil Genovese Pesto
4 cups basil, packed, washed, dried in salad spinner (or whatever) still fresh and green
8 – 12 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted
2/3 cup really good olive oil
some salt and some pepper. The best thing is coarsely ground salt and coarsely ground pepper that you’ve ground yourself.
about 1/2 cup nuts. Pine nuts are classic, as are walnuts, but pesto is one of those dishes with a lot of variation based on what God’s great earth hath provided. I don’t even measure the nuts, just eyeball it. I used walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds in separate batches.
In a nice large food processor, put in nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, oil and then pack in 4 cups of basil. Process until you have a gritty ball. You won’t be able to see any leaves, but you will be able to see specks of white. Spoon into freezer containers in usable amounts and freeze.
Not a lot going on at Bonefish Grill on 12th Avenue in Pensacola, near the airport, at least at lunch time. We’ve been here on week-end nights when the wait is an hour or more for a table, but today, the place is almost empty.
We are seated, and service is, as always at Bonefish, superb. Some establishments really know how to train and how to maintain their high levels, and no one can ever fault Bonefish on service.
We went for appetizers and salads. Our son introduced us to Bang Bang Shrimp when Bonefish first opened, and it has been a big favorite ever since:
Since we had filled up on Bang Bang Shrimp, we both had salad to take home with us. What is not to love about Bonefish packaging :-) just a nice little extra touch.
We were frankly disappointed. We had been happy to discover Bonefish open at lunch, but disappointed at the limited menu selections, and the lackluster appearance of the restaurant. There was another issue. Sometimes in Florida, in some stores you will smell a smell that I can only describe as “these floors were washed with dirty water.” AdventureMan does not smell it, but it is so loathsome to me that it spoils my shopping, and, in this case, my meal. There was a very faint smell of that not-quite-clean smell, and it distracted me.
As mentioned, the service was, as ever, superb but we won’t be hurrying back any time soon.
A reading from today’s Forward Day by Day helps us to cope with the resonating horrors of that monstrous day. We are living in a world where we are more and more inextricably interconnected. Where I am living, I often hear people talk about how “Moslems are killing Christians all over the world!” and my heart breaks, thinking of the wonderful friends I have lived among is so many Moslem countries, their kindness, their hospitality, our long pleasant conversations. I learned so much.
I am glad we believe in a God who knows our hearts. I am thankful for grace, and forgiveness. When we talk about killing, we also need to take account for all the civilians we have killed, trying to bring about peace, trying to eradicate Al Qaeda, Al Shebaab, those who would harm us.
God asks us to love one another. He doesn’t say “Christians, you love just the Christians.” He shows us how to love the Samaritans, the lame, the blind, the mentally ill, the “other”. He tells us, clearly, to love our enemies. The Gospel that speaks the loudest is the gospel of our lives lived to honor him.
THURSDAY, September 11
Acts 15:8-9 [Peter said], “And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them…and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us.”
Thirteen years ago, this day became one of those days that divide time into what life was like before, and after; one of those days when you will remember, always, where you were, what you were doing—this time when you heard the news that airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center and thousands of people had died.
Job asks, “Does not calamity befall the unrighteous?” (31:3), but we learned, vividly, on September 11, 2001, that the righteous and the innocent suffer too.
Psalm 59:6 exhorts God to “show no mercy to those who are faithless and evil.” The terrorists who flew the planes on 9/11 forced us to confront the power of evil and challenged us to find a way to respond with forgiveness. Perhaps we can learn something about that in Peter’s response to the heated discussions about Jews and Gentiles, about who could be saved, and how: “God, who knows the human heart…has made no distinction between them and us” (Acts 15:8-9).
Then, as now, there were good people and evildoers on all sides, religions, and races. Now, as then, judgment and salvation comes only through the mercy and grace of God.
Big article in AOL news about Dan Gilbert going to Silicon Valley to pitch moving their offices to Detroit because it’s way cool.
While I appreciate his loyalty to Detroit, the things he is pitching all apply to Pensacola – AND. And in Pensacola you don’t have harsh winters. And in Pensacola you are minutes from one of the most beautiful sugar-white sand beaches, uncrowded, in the world. And Pensacola is family oriented. And Pensacola has affordable housing. And Pensacola has a way-cool culture, with parades, symphony, ballet, opera, theatre and restaurants, and world class National Naval Aviation Museum. And people spend thousands of dollars to come visit Pensacola when they could be living the dream – in Pensacola.
Dan Gilbert is a powerful man – in Detroit. Now he wants to convince Silicon Valley to move to America’s Motor City where they’ll have wide open offices, inexpensive living, and access to amazing talent.
Gilbert, the chairman of Rock Ventures and the owner of Quicken Loans, owns 60 buildings in downtown Detroit that house 12,000 employees. He is also an active backer in startups and has been inviting small companies to come bloom in Detroit over the past half-decade.
Why should you move to Detroit?
“The perception doesn’t do it justice. You have a huge talent pool,” said Gilbert. “And the people are way cooler.”
Gilbert believes that the Midwest work ethic isn’t a myth. He said that, despite the rumors to the contrary, the city has an innovative city government and, thanks to his extensive purchases in Detroit, there is space to spare for new startups. He is also working hard to reduce blight around the city, ensuring that city doesn’t look like it does in the popular “desolation porn” that characterizes the city.
The result is a smaller, more compact city that allows smaller companies to gain a foothold in the tech economy.
The city is, arguably, entering a period of renaissance. Thanks to Quicken Loans and Gilbert’s work in the city, most of the blight has been converted to cheap office space. While it does still seem like a wasteland to the average graduate, we saw a city reborn when we visited in 2012 and things are improving immensely.
In short, he said, Detroit is all about opportunity.
“We have great bones,” said Gilbert.
Detroit has good bones? Pensacola has office space, room to grow, a population of workers that can be trained to fill high tech jobs, several colleges, a university, and low stress living. It’s such an easy sell.
And these are wonderful, such send-ups of the Real Housewives series, dying laughing! These are the talented comedians on Saturday Night Live:
I just laughed myself silly! People are so funny and so creative, and you can see the dancers in the Aladin segment are puffing they worked so hard. This is a VERY witty group of people, and the Princes come off so creepy and pathetic!
Dragon Boat races! What fun! Oh wait – what exactly is a dragon boat? What is a dragon boat race? This is the first time we have seen this done, benefiting the Gulf Coast Kid’s House, but what is it? Organized by the Northeast SERTOMA (Service to Mankind), there are so many people involved, racers, helpers, supporters, cheering squads, food providers, live music, DJ’s, dogs, children, now this is a Pensacola kind of day. :-)
AdventureMan invited our grandson to spend the night, and after breakfast we headed over to Bayview Park, where the dragon boats were loading up with 20 rowers and one drummer/leader in each boat for the first heat of the race:
There was a drone flying over the races. I am guessing it was a local news drone, but I find drones creepy and intrusive. I think I would like crime-prevention drones, flying around neighborhoods looking for suspicious activity, but in general, drones creep me out.
I liked this team; they were called the Justice Dragons and were sponsored by a local law firm. Every team had distinctive T-shirts, but this team also had these colorful hats, which as the day goes on, they will seriously be thankful to have.
Coming in for a finish – I don’t know who is having a better time, the rowers or the audience. Hoots and hollers and bells and whistles and yelling . . . . there is a huge crowd at Bayview, and it is barely 8 in the morning.
By ten, it is getting steamy and we head home. There so many great teams and they are having such a great team. This is a really fun event, and they are having a lot of fun. How cool is that, having so much fun, meeting a lot of people and it’s all going towards a great cause?