Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

January Garden in Pensacola

AdventureMan, half way to his goal of becoming a Master Gardener, spent the last week cleaning out the pots and gardens in back, but couldn’t bear to get rid of these two valiant tomato plants which continue bearing well into January. We’ve had delicious tomatoes since August! Who know we would live in a place where you plant tomato seeds in June and continue to have fresh tomatoes growing into January?

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We also have a wonderful aloe plant, which got a little confused in the warmth of a couple days of December and sent up a flower. The first year we were here, the flowers came up in April, but Spring seems to be coming earlier and earlier . . .

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We’re having a little tree work done, and AdventureMan is studying pruning techniques, so as to judiciously and minimally trim back some of our fruit trees, and clear some of the dead branches off our huge oak tree. I’ve got two avocado trees that I’ve grown from seeds, in large pots now, and some basil plants that still appear to be doing well. I still remember the hedges made of basil, which grew year round in Qatar at the Ramada Hotel, and in Kuwait would go dormant during the brutal heat of summer but come roaring back once the heat moderated.

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January 6, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Doha, Education, Entertainment, Exercise, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Gardens, Home Improvements, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | Leave a comment

Downton Abbey Season 3 Starts Tonight

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I could give up TV almost entirely were it not for HBO, HGTV and National Public Television. Tonight starts season 3 of Downton Abbey – I cannot wait!

January 6, 2013 Posted by | Entertainment, Humor | Leave a comment

Epiphany and The Star of the East at Christ Church in Pensacola

“Pay attention!” AdventureMan nudged me, hard. I was trying to find the Star of the East that Father Neal Goldsborough had just pointed out on our Christ Church dome, but I couldn’t find it. And I WAS listening, I was paying attention, I just also wanted to see the star, the special star on our dome, signifying the star that the wise men followed to find the child Christ.

I see a lot of other heads swiveled to look up, searching the dome for that special star. It’s one of my favorite feasts of the year, Epiphany; I can hear those camels grumbling and sputtering as they clop across the hard roads, I can feel the bite of the cold in the deserts (yes, in the winter deserts can be bone-freezing cold), and I can imagine the wise man consulting as to exactly where that star is leading.

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Later after the service, a kind Christ Church parishoner shows us where the star is – painted with more gold, shining brightly just over the horizon in the dome of Christ Church. It is beautiful, subtle, and it makes me happy to know that one star is special.

In this photo, you can see the hanging lamp that obscured my view of the star during the sermon, and you can see a slightly brighter star in the center of the lower dome:

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A little closer, and the star shines even more brightly:

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January 6, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, color, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Pensacola, Photos, Public Art | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fresh Market Opens In Pensacola

People have been excited ever since the announcement was made that Fresh Markets was opening a store in Pensacola. Although it is one of the smaller Fresh Markets, if there is anything carried by Fresh Market that is not in Pensacola, and you want it, they can bring it in for you. 🙂

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It’s a wonderful shopping experience. Think about it – we live like kings, better than the nobility of medieval Europe. We have indoor plumbing (if you’ve ever had to use an outhouse in a cold country like Alaska, you will have a greater appreciation for indoor plumbing all your life), we have hot water, we have heat and air conditioning, we have more than enough clothing for any season. We live so high on the hog as to be wasteful and oblivious to our own wastefulness. Oops, I digress.

We have access to abundant fresh food. Even without Fresh Market, we have markets with clean, fresh vegetables, fresh sanitary meats and poultry, and goods in – and out – of season.

What is the height of luxury? Service. Beautiful displays. People who know their product and talk about it lovingly. It’s kind of like Disney does groceries; it’s a lot of fantasy, and probably a level of goods that goes beyond need into just-a-little-over-the-top, but isn’t it the nature of being a human to be looking for something novel and just a little better than the product you loved last week?

Fresh Market is a little like the Food Market at Herrod’s or Selfridges in London, all these little boutique-y spaces, with people who seem to love what they are doing and are happy to be of service. Publix does it well; Fresh Market takes it to a whole new level.

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The Flower Market:
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Gift Baskets:

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Fresh Veg Displays (artichokes!)

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What catches the eyes:

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There is a very large section dedicated to quick foods – sandwiches made to order, prepared soups, salads, pizzas, cheeses, cold cuts, and deli items with lots of salads. We particularly loved the seafood display, and AdventureMan was mesmerized by the dessert selections.

All in all, Fresh Market makes grocery shopping less of a chore and more of a little vacation. For the best experience, get there on a week-day, or at opening – 0900 – on the week-end, so you don’t have to fight for parking in a crowded parking lot shared with the new Marshall’s, Ulta, Stein Mart, etc.

January 6, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Florida, Food, Living Conditions, Marketing, Pensacola, Shopping | 2 Comments