Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Cioppino at Franco’s in Pensacola

I didn’t even know this restaurant existed until I went for a group meeting there a while back. It has the feeling of having been a long-time favorite for many Pensacolians, so when we ordered the Cioppino, we were astonished at how good it tasted.

Often, in restaurants, we will hear someone ask the waiter “Is it spicy?” The waiter will reply something like “There is a little bit of horseradish in the cocktail sauce, but you don’t have to use it.” And, of course, there is a bottle of hot sauce on every table, down here, ubiquitous as salt.

We both has the Cioppino; it was delicious. It had bite! As we washed our hands, we could hear loud chatter – in Italian – coming from the kitchen, always a good sign in an Italian restaurant.

Service is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.

We look forward to going back, but we wonder if we will ever be able to order anything but the Cioppino – you know how you look over everything and then say “oh, I know it all looks so good, but I LOVE their Cioppino!”

December 20, 2011 Posted by | Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola | Leave a comment

Subject: Emergency Message for U.S Citizens 21-2011 Demonstrations

Kuwait City, Kuwait
December 19, 2011

Subject: Emergency Message for U.S Citizens 21-2011� Demonstrations

Please circulate the following message without additions or omissions
immediately to all U.S. Citizens within your area of responsibility.

A sit-in to demonstrate solidarity with the Bidoon (stateless people) is
scheduled potentially for 8:00pm at Determination Square on Monday, December 19
in downtown Kuwait City. There are also reports of possible demonstrations in
support of Bidoon rights tomorrow afternoon at Taima in the city of Jahra around
3:00 pm. An increased police and security presence is expected in these areas.

Spontaneous and/or planned demonstrations do occur in Kuwait in response to
global, regional, and local developments. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid
areas where demonstrations are ongoing and exercise caution if within the
vicinity of large gatherings.

Please stay current with media coverage of local events, be aware of your
surroundings, and continue to practice personal security awareness.
U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad should enroll in the Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program (STEP) at the following website:
U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate at their destination. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for
the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
Updated information on travel and security may be obtained from the Department
of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or,
for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at
1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For further
information, please consult the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at where the Worldwide Caution and Country Specific
Information can be found. In addition, the Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to
review “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which includes valuable security information for
those traveling or living in foreign countries. You can also follow the Bureau
of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Street, Block 6, Plot 14,
Bayan, Kuwait. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance in
Kuwait, you may reach the U.S. Embassy by calling +965-2259-1001 and requesting
the duty officer.

U.S. citizens in Kuwait who would like to receive future Emergency and
Informational Messages from the Embassy directly by e-mail may sign up for this
service by sending an e-mail to the following address:

This message may be accessed on the Embassy website,
Please note that the Consular Section is closed for U.S. and most local
holidays. The current holiday schedule for 2011 is posted on

December 19, 2011 Posted by | Kuwait | Leave a comment

The Best Gingersnaps Ever

I knew what I was going for. Not the pallid ‘snaps’ that pass in the stores, no, the real gingery cookies, with real snap.

I went to my old faithful, a book I got back many a year ago when I was a new bride, the Joy of Cooking. It is a great edition, and you can see, it is falling apart. I can’t part with it:

Here is the Gingersnap recipe, altered slightly because I wanted guaranteed ‘snap.’


(Makes about 10 dozen 2 inch cookies)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cream 3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar

Stir in:

2 well beaten eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vinegar

Sift and add:

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 – 4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves

Mix ingredients until blended. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes. As the ball melts down during cooking, the cookie develops the characteristic crinkled surface. At 12 minutes, take the cookies out, sprinkle top with the decorator sugar (bigger chunky sugar that won’t melt down into the cookie) and return to the oven for 5 or 6 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool.

Mine are not the prettiest – next year I will know to leave more room between the cookies – but they are the BEST gingersnaps I have ever made. They have a little soft chewiness, and a little crispiness, around the edges. They are SPICY!

The original recipe, in the Joy of Cooking, uses a little less spice and a marshmallow topping. The Joy of Cooking is a wise investment, and if you can find one of the older ones in a used book store, you will have a treasure house of old, tried and true recipes. The authors are Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, and my edition is a Signet Special, first edition, printed in 1973.

December 19, 2011 Posted by | Books, Christmas, Cooking, Holiday, NonFiction, Tools | Leave a comment

Mary at Christ Church, Pensacola

Today was all about Mary, at Christ Church in Pensacola, about the brave young woman who said “yes” to God and conceived out of wedlock, and had to explain about how God sent a messenger angel and the Holy Spirit impregnated her – and who can help but think, as a parent, how hard some of this would be to believe? Brave little Mary, who said “yes.”

There is an ikon of Mary at the front of Christ Church:

I bet you can guess why I love this ikon, why it makes me smile . . . Mary, and her baby boy, are brown! They look like people really look in the Middle East, not Botticelli blondes with big blue eyes, dressed in Italian silks. I also love the way this Mama snuggles her precious little baby to her cheek; he is a baby, this King of Kings, and I like to think he grew up with a lot of cuddling and snuggling.

December 18, 2011 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Christmas, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Pensacola | Leave a comment

Congratulations, Pensacola’s Arielle Langhorne!

From today’s Pensacola News Journal:

Pensacola children’s photographer Arielle Langhorne won three awards in an international competition sponsored by The National Association of Professional Child Photographers.

She received third place in the seniors category, second place in the maternity category and a recognition of merit in the babies category.

Langhorne specializes in photography of newborns, children and late teens. Her images were among thousands submitted to the competition and judged on the basis of impact, technical merit, composition and creativity.

Her work can be seen at www.

Her work can also be seen at The Most Beautiful Baby Ever; she took the first studio photos of the Happy Baby.

Wooo HOOOO, Arielle, how wonderful for you to receive international recognition!

December 17, 2011 Posted by | Beauty, Pensacola, Photos | Leave a comment

Lessons and Carols December 18th, 5:00 pm at Christ Church, Pensacola

Here is the write-up from the Christ Church website about the annual Lessons and Carols festival, a tradition in most Anglican and Episcopal churches, and an exhilarating treat during a busy season:

December 18, 2011, 5:00 pm, in the Church.

Each year, the Christ Church Parish Choir presents A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a uniquely Anglican Christmas celebration. The Festival at Christ Church is notable because the Choir devotes itself to cultivating the carol literature that is at the heart of the most notable celebration in the world, that of King’s College Cambridge. The fine readers in the choir share scripture readings between the carols, and prayers open and close the service. Several congregational hymns are also included. The service is free and open to the public.

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a format for a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus that is traditionally followed at Christmas. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music.

The format was based on an Order drawn up by Edward White Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury but at that time Bishop of Truro, in Cornwall, for use on Christmas Eve] and that a key purpose of the service was to keep men out of pubs on Christmas Eve. (24 December) 1880. Tradition says that he organized a 10 pm service on Christmas Eve in a temporary wooden shed serving as his cathedral

The original liturgy has since been adapted and used by other churches all over the world. Lessons and Carols most often occur in Anglican churches, but also in some Roman Catholic, Lutheran parishes, and Presbyterian institutions. However numerous Christian churches have adopted this service, or a variation on this service, as part of their Christmas celebrations. In the UK, the service has become the standard format for schools’ Christmas carol services.

The best-known version is broadcast annually from King’s College, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve. It features carols sung by the famous Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Groton School of Groton, Massachusetts, has performed the festival longer than any institution other than King’s, holding its first Lessons and Carols in 1928.

LOL @ for keeping men out of the bars on Christmas Eve! Holy Smokes!

December 17, 2011 Posted by | Christmas, Community, Cultural, Entertainment, Living Conditions, Music, Pensacola, Spiritual | 1 Comment

“The Great Day of their Wrath has Come, and Who is Able to Stand?”

It is my very favorite church season of the year, Advent. I’ve always loved the waiting and the hoping, the preparations, the joy of imagining the coming of this little baby. You’d think that our readings would reflect this ummm. . . errr . .. reflective season, but no! It’s all Zachariah and Amos and Revelations with their horrific visions.

When I read today’s reading from Revelations, I wonder if the horses are not already loosed? We know that our time and God’s time are very different, and it seems to me that those fearsome horses have been hanging around for quite a while.

Revelation 6:1-17

6Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures call out, as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come!’* 2I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.

3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, ‘Come!’* 4And out came* another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another; and he was given a great sword.

5 When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, ‘Come!’* I looked, and there was a black horse! Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand, 6and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s pay,* and three quarts of barley for a day’s pay,* but do not damage the olive oil and the wine!’

7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, ‘Come!’* 8I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed with him; they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth.

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; 10they cried out with a loud voice, ‘Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?’ 11They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow-servants* and of their brothers and sisters,* who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.

12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and there came a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15Then the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’

December 17, 2011 Posted by | Christmas, Cultural, Poetry/Literature, Spiritual | | 1 Comment

Pensacola Nutcracker

AdventureMan and I had a truly wonderful seasonal adventure tonight, as we attended the opening night of the Ballet Pensacola production of The Nutcracker. All over America, ballet companies pay their bills by putting on this annual favorite, but Pensacola has a knack for making it fresh and new every season.

I am sorry, this is the only photo I have that turned out halfway decent, and AdventureMan was poking me and huffing about my rudeness because my little camera will shoot in low light, but I brought the wrong one, and this one doesn’t have an viewfinder, so it’s ‘making too much light’ to quote AdventureMan.

The sets and costuming are wonderful. The sets were lush and colorful; the costumes fresh and delightful. The snowflakes really sparkled, and had sparkly silver hairpieces that looked light, stayed in place, and captured the sparkly lightness of real snowflakes; it was one of the highlights of the ballet for me. I also loved the coffee costumes – sort of Middle East-y if Middle East dancers wore sparkly pinkish scarves and tinkling belly dancer wraps around their hips. The costumes were delightful, and the dancers seemed to be having a lot of fun.

The tiny angels were hilarious, and oh, my stars, the sheep! You must go, you must see the sheep! This is one sweet production, a treasure of the season, and you might still have a chance to buy a ticket for the Saturday night performance at 7 or the Sunday afternoon performance, both at the Saenger Theatre on Palafox. Children are DRESSED; this is the South, and this is The Nutcracker Ballet!

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Christmas, Community, Cultural, Entertainment, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola | Leave a comment

Hardware for Women in Pensacola

Sign along Palafox, a main shopping street in Pensacola:

A little closer:

Yes. It’s a jewelry store. I LOVE their creativity – great advertising 🙂

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Communication, Cultural, Humor, Marketing, Pensacola, Shopping, Tools | Leave a comment

The Tourist; Olen Steinhauer

Haven’t I read this book before? Or didn’t I see a movie, The American, with George Clooney? You know, depressed assassin? Thinking about suicide? In some villa along the Mediterranean or is it the Adriatic? Some enigmatic handler, and who do you trust? And then The Tourist swerves off in another direction and while this particular thread of plot is new, it still seems vintage LeCarre, only maybe a little less solid information. Lots of jumping from place to place with little motivation, lots of shifts in trust, and betrayals.

While I like books where reality keeps shifting, this one had a few too many shifts for me. I have a feeling that spying is a lot less about fast cars and shooting someone so they won’t give away a secret, and lot more about the dull, painstaking work of stitching together swatches of information in ways that form a meaningful pattern, trying hard not to create patterns that don’t exist. I imagine that there is a big problem today with the huge volume of information, sifting through to figure out what matters, and what is mere distraction.

This book is a good airplane read, holds the interest, but give me LeCarre for the grim grey world of spies and their work any day.

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Crime, ExPat Life, Fiction, Travel, Work Related Issues | 2 Comments