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Monday, December 26, 2011

End of the Year Nostalgia (Me)

Another year coming to a finis. Man, they go faster and faster. And this is the time of the year I get very wistful, remembering, counting my blessings, and going over the 'jewels' of my life -- things personal and public that affected me, made me who I am.

Decades ago, I was dining at Gino's, a famous Italian restaurant in New York City. The waiters, at that time, had worked there for decades before, authentic Italians with the greatest service in the world. Sinatra waltzed in with new wife, Barbara and a huge entourage. They sat at a long table, and Frank was obviously drunk. He ordered pasta and when it was served, he turned on the waiter and snarled, "what is this? Fucking Campbell's tomato soup?" The world stopped. Gino's went as silent as church, but Mrs. Sinatra, like a long time pro, quickly handled things, got her table talking, got the agonized waiter in her grasp and whispered to him, his head bobbing and nodding, a small smile finally returning. And it was over. The red-faced, awful Mr. Sinatra sat glumly like a spoiled child, head down for most of the meal, and never said another word. Barbara paid the bill, and swept the party back out to the sidewalk without dropping a beat. My respect for her knew no bounds. Him? I was not a fan for a long, long time.

But at the end of a year, we start also thinking about forgiveness. I have a few left on my Bucket List to forgive -- but this year, I decided to let Frankie off the hook. So what if he played with the Mafia. So what if he treated women like shit. The things going on in the world today from Madoff to corrupt Congressmen to illegal wars to John Edwards (a man I was going to vote for President!!) Ah, it makes me weary to think about the condition of the world...Frankie's sins look relatively tame to me. His music still brings me to my knees, and Frank, I'm over it.

Here's one of my favorites, dedicated to someone else no longer on my list:




So, my friends, who are you going to forgive this week?


##

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Loose Fish Chronicles - Six Chapters published by Wordrunner eChapbooks.com

I was thrilled last summer when Prime Number accepted the first chapter of my memoir in stories, The Loose Fish Chronicles, to be published.

Now I'm very excited again as Wordrunner eChapbooks.com has accepted SIX chapters of the memoir, PLUS hot links and actual photos from my life in the 60's in New York City where these stories are based.



Here's the announcement, if you didn't get an email:



Wordrunner eChapbooks takes great pleasure in announcing publication of our winter 2011, memoir/personal narrative echapbook: Beverly A. Jackson's The Loose Fish Chronicles: Excerpt From a Memoir in Stories.

Jackson's memoir gives us early 1960's Greenwich Village from a young woman's perspective. The stories are starkly honest and the language glows (she is also an accomplished poet and painter) in their examination of a young woman starting adult life in the New York neighborhood famed for worshipping the arts and rejecting conformity. Greenwich Village became the epicenter for the enormous cultural shift we now refer to as the "Sixties," yet, even there, attractive young women were still expected to hide their own intelligence and talent.

These stories are a wonderful read on their own. But we are also, for the first time, honoring the "E" in echapbook. Hyperlinks to photos, videos, background articles, and Beverly's poetry and artwork add a kind of immediacy that only web-based publication can provide. Please immerse yourself in The Loose Fish Chronicles at www.echapbook.com/memoir/jackson. You may also download a pdf version to print and read at your leisure.

Thanks to Marko Fong, who edited this echapbook with great care and enthusiasm.

Let us know what you think about it. Visit the Wordrunner eChapbook Facebook page to comment on any of these stories.

The mid-March, 2012 echapbook will be a fiction collection, featuring one author. Submissions are open January 1 through February 21. Guidelines will be posted after December 26 at www.echapbook.com/submissions.htm. We look forward to reading your work.

Thanks to all our readers for your ongoing interest.

Jo-Anne Rosen, Publisher/Editor
Wordrunner eChapbooks
www.echapbook.com
echaps@wordrunner.com

Christmas in the Park (Me)

Even the grocery store was mobbed yesterday. I had to pick up some sour cream for the Chicken Paprikash I'm cooking today. Neighbors are coming for dinner tomorrow. And then this holiday weekend will be over~. Thankfully.

Last night I drove around my neighborhood, a rather upscale mobile home park that sits on three man-made lakes. And beautifully landscaped with palms, Hong Kong orchid trees, hibiscus and bougainvillea. There is, apparently, some Xmas Eve tradition in the park of putting out luminaries in front of the homes and up the driveways. They make them out of plastic gallon jugs or small white bags, with candles in them. I must say it was quite pretty. A little village of Xmas lights and luminaries.



The dogs and I drove around and admired the light show,(nothing so grandiose as those shown on TV where millionaires are using 200,000 lights to create a public traffic nuisance with their excesses) and as we returned home, a golf cart came down the street. It was all decorated with tinsel, red bows and holly wreaths. Santa Claus and (? Mrs. Santa Claus) both dressed in big red suits, white beard on the Mister, and a bluster of "Ho Ho Ho's" as they stopped at a house and their friends came out to greet them. Possibly another tradition for that particular resident? It was amusing. Ho Ho Ho.



When you think about it, Santa and his elderly wife are likely retired in Florida and living in a mobile home. They surely couldn't afford much more, the way they give. Also, that North Pole cold doesn't work for old bones and arthritis, I can assure you.




So, today I cook and sip the Malbec, and watch old movies and wait for it all to go away. Not a bad Sunday. And the weather is glorious!

But for those of you who celebrate, I hope you do it up well! Ho Ho Ho.

##

Friday, December 23, 2011

Biscuits and Bah Humbugs (Me)

Well, it's that time of year again--the hours of my annual angst. Some people just don't do holidays well, and I'm not sure there's an explanation for it, or at least none that wouldn't be obvious. The childless, family-less, financially insecure, or even idealists-against-rampant-Capitalism all likely suffer at Yule Time. I qualify for all of the above. But.

I do try. Less and less, perhaps, but I try. This is the first year I have not put up a (at least) fake tree with lights and a wreath. I gave away all that paraphernalia when I left Asheville, and don't intend to buy more. But I wistfully appreciate the other houses all decked out around me.

This morning, in a fit of celebratory optimism, (I DO try) I decided to make biscuits for breakfast. Something that I recall very fondly that my grandmother used to do for me when I lived with her as a child. She served these southern style light-as-air 4-inch beauties with butter and honey, and I would eat until I burst. It is one of my fondest food memories, and my Granny could cook. Originally from Arkansas, she whipped out the best fried chicken, gravies, biscuits and pies that I ever tasted.



So, I had this packet of Bisquick biscuit mix. Don't laugh, it's not bad. It's NOT Granny's biscuits but it passes and it's quick and simple. You preheat the oven,
mix and dollop onto a baking sheet, and voila, biscuits.



What I didn't realize, however, is that last night's baked yam had run juices onto the floor of my oven, and actually caught fire and about halfway thru the cooking time of the biscuits, smoke started to waft from the oven, which then set off my fire alarm (those little round suckers stuck to the wall are LOUD) which in turn set both of my little dogs off into a running, barking frenzy -- the alarm probably hurting their ears -- and me, like a maniac, running around opening windows, throwing a towel over the alarm, and trying to hush the dogs...well, it was a picture.



All's well that ends well. The fire went out, the smoke cleared, the alarm finally shut up, ditto the dogs, and the biscuits weren't ruined. The oven awaits a good scrubbing. But none of this aided in de-bah-ing my humbug.

##


And if you are wondering (as I was) what the hell a humbug is, here's Wiki to aid us:

Humbug is an old term meaning hoax or jest. While the term was first described in 1751 as student slang, its etymology is unknown. Its present meaning as an exclamation is closer to 'nonsense' or 'gibberish', while as a noun, a humbug refers to a fraud or impostor, implying an element of unjustified publicity and spectacle. The term is also used for certain types of candy. In modern usage, the word is most associated with Ebenezer Scrooge, a character created by Charles Dickens. His famous reference to Christmas, "Bah! Humbug!", declaring Christmas to be a fraud, is commonly used in stage and television versions of A Christmas Carol and also appeared frequently in the original book.

P. T. Barnum was a master of humbug, creating public sensations and fascination with his masterful sense of publicity. Many of his promoted exhibitions were obvious fakes, but the paying public enjoyed viewing them, either to scoff or for the wonder of them. A famous humbug took place on the arrival of the actress and theatre manager Jenny Lind to America, just outside the showplace of P. T. Barnum, the New American Museum, in 1850.

Another use of the word was by John Collins Warren, a Harvard Medical School professor who worked at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Warren performed the first public operation with the use of ether anesthesia, administered by William Thomas Green Morton, a dentist. To the stunned audience at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Warren declared, "Gentlemen, this is no humbug!"[1]


##


And finally, here is a true Season's Greeting -- my video card of Scrooge and the
Boys rocking around (apparently) somebody else's house!

XMAS CLICKY

Season's Greetings, friends!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

B-17 Down - Revisiting Brittany (Me)

Dear friends who have a loved one lost in 1942 (in the same air fight with my father), invited me to return to Brittany. I cannot go (sob!) with them but it brings that solo 2008 trip back to me in warm waves of memory and gratitude.

The first chapter of my memoir (published by Prime Number last summer) addresses the trip I made in 2008 to Brittany, and the current editors of Wordrunner echapbooks.com who are publishing six chapters this month found the footage below, to use as a hot link, and they also linked to Prime Number.

I admit that this bit of footage brought me to my knees. I wonder who took it, and when. I'm off to do some research. (the music is..well, unfortunate, but understandable.)



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Season's Greetings!

For all the folks away from home, and all the folks who have no home, and all the folks I love so dearly, Happy Holidays.

Here's my favorite clip of the season.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bear Call Woes (Wall Street)



I had just decided, in this crazy stock market of ours, that Bear Call Credit Spreads were my strategy of choice. I loved them for a few reasons.

1. You get your money up front, rather than when the trade is over. (Of course it
isn't really your money until the trade is over and you've won. But the cash in your hand...a bird in the hand, so to speak, is psychologically pleasing.

2. Because you're trading a bearish (downward) trend, it is EASY to find good candidates in this market of ours which has been more often falling.

3. Time is your ally in this trade. In stock options, time decay is usually the enemy, each day subtracting pennies from the value of your option. But with credit
spreads, because you are shorting (selling) an option, the time decay is on your side,
since the short call is your primary leg of the two-leg trade.

I found First Solar (FSLR) which has been in a death fall since last July, and began making bear call credit spreads on a weekly basis. (it has weekly options; not all stocks do). It looked like a cash cow, week after week. And I was feeling ever so confident.

THEN, last week, the market rallied and the FSLR stock price soared up, right through my short call strike price of $48. This is exactly what you do NOT want to happen in a bear call credit spread.

So, this was an expensive learning lesson, all around. First of all, if you don't buy back your short call when it goes in the money, you will/could get assigned, and if that happens, you will lose your maximum loss. So, it is important to buy back the option, but that still incurs losses.

Credit Spreads are the most difficult of the spreads to make adjustments on, and since these are weekly options with little or no time left, it's impossible--one thing I learned.

In addition, there is a timing issue with your brokerage. If your short call goes in the money, your broker will start warning you about it, and IF you do not buy it back, putting it out of jeopardy, the brokerage will do it for you! Without your permission! So, it doesn't get assigned. (Assignment means buying the actual shares of stock, usually thousands and thousands of dollars. If your fund is not flush, you can't pay for this stock, so the brokerage prevents you from getting assigned in the first place.)

But here's the real quandry: Let's say my short call is $48 and the stock goes up to
$47.50 on the day of expiration. One would think you might squeak through, and WIN the trade if the stock doesn't go up to $48. BUT, there is one hour of after-hours trading after the market closes, and if that stock moves between 4 pm and 5 pm, you have NO control over your option. You can no longer buy it back, and your broker will do for the maximum loss.

I called around to different brokers to find out the RULES for this assignment business, and surprisingly got different (and some incorrect) answers, depending on who I asked. But my mentor assured me that if I go to CBOE, I will find their rules and the 4pm to 5 pm trading window is the one that is enforced. So, what I learned is to make sure I get out of that trade before expiration, and asap if the trade turns against me.

I lost a lot on this last trade. The bear call woes. But I have this strategy etched on my heart now. I'll never forget how it works. (I can't say that for all the other spread strategies I'm studying).

##

Saturday, November 26, 2011

She's Alive - Ecology in Art (Main Street)

This video made me uncomfortable. At first, because it seemed so 'contrived' to make its point, but then as I watched,all the more uncomfortable because the point was so well taken, and I was ashamed. And before seeing this, I didn't realize how Dian Fossey had died. Her dedicated work with gorillas made her one of my heroes in my early years.



Video
Be sure and watch it full screen!


This is a non-commercial attempt to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless 'consumers' are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (www.sanctuaryasia.com).

Content credit: The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand's incredible film HOME http://www.homethemovie.org/. The music was by Armand Amar.

"When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate on the preservation of the future." – Gorillas in the Mist

Monday, November 14, 2011

Starling Murmurations - (oh my!) (Me)

This is just too gorgeous not to share. Especially if you're a bird lover like me!

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.



Video of a massive starling flock turning and twisting over a river in Ireland has gone viral, and with good reason. Flocking starlings are one of nature’s most extraordinary sights: Just a few hundred birds moving as one is enough to convey a sense of suspended reality, and the flock filmed above the River Shannon contained thousands.

What makes possible the uncanny coordination of these murmurations, as starling flocks are so beautifully known? Until recently, it was hard to say. Scientists had to wait for the tools of high-powered video analysis and computational modeling. And when these were finally applied to starlings, they revealed patterns known less from biology than cutting-edge physics.


Starling flocks, it turns out, are best described with equations of “critical transitions” — systems that are poised to tip, to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling in a flock is connected to every other. When a flock turns in unison, it’s a phase transition.

At the individual level, the rules guiding this are relatively simple. When a neighbor moves, so do you. Depending on the flock’s size and speed and its members’ flight physiologies, the large-scale pattern changes. What’s complicated, or at least unknown, is how criticality is created and maintained.

It’s easy for a starling to turn when its neighbor turns — but what physiological mechanisms allow it to happen almost simultaneously in two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds? That remains to be discovered, and the implications extend beyond birds. Starlings may simply be the most visible and beautiful example of a biological criticality that also seems to operate in proteins and neurons, hinting at universal principles yet to be understood.

(from:http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/starling-flock/)

Alligator Defense (OMG!) (Me)

My neighbor called me yesterday. Our resident alligator was hovering just at water's edge in her yard. I walk my dogs out there daily, so she was giving me a heads up to be especially cautious. I hate these critters living so close to me. I went out in the yard and hit a tree loudly with a pole, to make noises, and that damned gator didn't budge. Just sat there, big eyes staring at us. It got me to thinking about what I would do if one ever attacked me(or godforbid, my dogs). So I did a little google search and came up with this: (terrifying thought...but still, better to know...)



Fight back if you're attacked. While the normal behavior of crocodilians is to bite a potential meal (you) and hold on until forcibly removed, they will sometimes (particularly when defending young or territory) deliver a single, quick defensive bite and then immediately let go. If this occurs, just try to get away from the animal as quickly as possible. In predatory attacks, however, as well as in some defensive attacks, the animal doesn't let go and will often try to drag a person into the water or underwater. Crocodilians can stay underwater for much longer than humans can, so the only hope of survival if you're attacked in this manner is to fight back and get away. Simply struggling and trying to pull free is usually futile and may induce the animal to go into an underwater death roll, during which an arm or leg stuck in the crocodile's mouth will likely be ripped off. A purposeful, deliberate attack on the animal is therefore a better option.


Go for the eyes. The most vulnerable part of a crocodile's or alligator's body is its eyes. Try to hit or poke the eyes with whatever you have handy: an oar, a stick, or a knife. Even your hands can be effective weapons if you can hit the animal's eyes. A Florida teenager recently escaped an alligator that had dragged him into the water by jamming his thumb into the alligator's eye.

Go for the nostrils or ears. While not as sensitive as the eyes, the nostrils and ears can be effectively attacked. A hard blow or a cut to either of these areas may cause the animal to release you. Many people have been saved from a crocodile's or alligator's jaws when other people have hit the animal's snout with a pole or club.


Go for the palatal valve. Crocodilians have a flap of tissue behind the tongue that covers their throats when they submerge in water. This flap prevents water from flowing into their throats and hence prevents the crocodile from drowning when its mouth is open. If your arm or leg is stuck in a crocodile's mouth, you may be able to pry this valve down. Water will then flow into the crocodile's throat, and animal will most likely let you go. Hard strikes to this valve may also cause the animal to release you.


Get medical attention promptly. A crocodilian's mouth harbors a tremendous amount of bacteria, and infection is almost guaranteed if a bite is not treated promptly.

##


(An excerpt from http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-an-Encounter-with-a-Crocodile-or-Alligator)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Backyard Ibis Party (Me)

Just glanced outside, and the little ladies of the lake have gathered to gossip and check out alligator action. The ring leader, Miss Sassy, said, "Okay girls, let's give this place the once over."



"How about we sing a chorus of "See You Later, Alligator" -- All together now, one, two, three.."



"She always thinks she's leading the flock. I'm just going to sit this one out."



"Well, if you're going to be stubborn, I'm going to ignore you. Go on, ruin our song."



"Don't try to use child psychology on me."



"I can't hear you. La La La La La"



"Uh oh, I think I see something over there?"



"Where? Where?"

"Point your beak, I don't see it."

"Oh, there's something!~"

"It's just Mrs. Egret.."



"You silly Iboos, get out of the yard, don't you see the Gator coming?"



"Okay ladies, it's time to hit the road."



"And you'd better make it snappy. I'm ready for lunch!"

##

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Whipsaw Stock Market (Wall Street)

I am loving my classes at OptionsAnimal. I passed my Level Three test and am now studying bear call and bull call spreads in Level Four. It is very exciting to be doing this in a controlled, campus-style type of education, with tests required to move to the next level. It is VERY different than watching videos and thinking, "oh yeah, got that," and then forgetting it two days later. The "live" classes, the archived DVD's, and the Community make it all very educational. And I am meeting other traders, more advanced than myself, who are helping me and explaining things personally when I have doubts or questions. A gift!

One of those traders is Kris Maynard, who has not only introduced me to a "mentor" - a trading guru who lives right in my neighborhood - but is directly helping/ corresponding with me. This is the information he shared with me this morning, but written yesterday when the market dropped like a stone on news from Italy.

I have just been reviewing the past 12 1/2 weeks of market activity, specifically focusing on the DJIA.

We have had 62 trading days of which only 2 were basically flat. 36 days were up and of those 22 days were up greater than 100 points. There were 7 days in which the DOW had an advance of 200+ pts. and 2 in which the DOW was up over 300 pts.

Down days, although fewer at 24, had a much higher percentage of severely down movements (18 days) with the average down day amounting to a decrease of 190 pts but there were 2 days of more than a 400 pt. decrease and 2 of 300.

The longest winning streak was 5 days (SEPT 12-16) and the longest losing streak was 2 days. No wonder we have been feeling whipsawed. This has made trading a trend almost impossible, at least for me. Even so, the average is up 688 points over that time - but we could lose a great deal of that today.

The point of all of this is, while we must remain cautious on the up days, there is some gratification that the down days have been unable to create momentum beyond a 2 day streak, and overall, the market is up during this very demanding period of trading. It has required us to sharpen our skills as traders which will serve us well in the days to come.

I see no reason at the present to believe that this craziness will end anytime soon.

# Amen, Kris. I don't see it ending soon either!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Naples Sunset Cruise (Main Street)

Went with neighbors down to Naples Bay and took a sightseeing boat out the channels to watch the sun set over the Gulf.

The biggest surprise was how chilly it was on the water, when we've been having balmy warm days ever since summer ended. We all wrapped up in blankets during the trip, as the wind whipped and made one forget the Floridian sun.

The channels of Naples Bay are lined by waterfront properties that we were told (tour guide) that start at about $5 Million and go all the way up to in excess of $100 Million, per house. It is truly hard to conceive of this much wealth in a small town like Naples. When you add to that the many, many, many luxury towns up and down both coasts of Florida, Boca Raton, Sarasota, Bonita Springs, Palm Beach, too many to name, we are talking about wealth that staggers the imagination. The real kicker to all this was the fact that these homes are purely and simply vacation homes which are occupied for only a few weeks of every year.



We saw homes with tennis courts, Olympic sized pools, entire floors screened in, yards with acres of rolling grass and ancient trees, one home built on three lots, it was so enormous. The 'concept' of big money is something we all are familiar with -- Occupy Wall Street will be sure to remind you, if you forget (and rightfully so, in my opinion) -- but to SEE this lavish display, one enormous mansion after another, was quite a different perspective.



Most of the homes had yachts or motorboats anchored on their private docks. Even the boats were elevated out of the water, for seasonal use only. We didn't see one human being in any of the houses or yards during the whole trip, though the guide assured us that the properties teem with gardeners, housekeepers and maintenance people during the day.



I love America, and making it big is the American dream. So I don't begrudge the wealthy. But in times like we're currently facing, it would be callous of me to ignore the shrinking middle class, the even more impoverished poor, and my own dim circumstances without wondering why the wealthy fight the concept of a more fair distribution of the wealth. Why fight taxation when homes like this stand empty, merely status symbols that do nothing for their owners nor their status. Not even a contribution of $1,000,000 by each of the homeowners in houses valued at more than $5 Million dollars -- by every wealthy family in America - would help end our financial crisis in this country. Actually, there are approximately 3.1 million millionaires in the U.S. and under 500 billionaires, so that wouldn't pay off the $16 Trillion national debt. But an increase in their taxes on an ongoing basis would go a long way to helping. When I worked as an accountant, most of my jobs were for wealthy men, and I can vouch that most of the truly wealthy pay very few taxes. There's a huge industry, bigger than you can imagine, working to make sure there are loopholes, write offs, and tax shelters for the rich. The 1%-ers take their clients on trips and to country clubs and yacht clubs like this one, and write it all off as business expense.


Naples Yacht Club


But, besides a mental review of what's wrong with this country today, we also saw dolphins in the water. They like to ride the waves, and are a joy to behold.



When we stopped where Naples Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, there is a tiny beach, many pelicans, and our guide said this spot is the only one on earth where crocodiles (salt water) and alligators (fresh water> cohabit. The Gulf was choppy, and when the sun sank down below the horizon, it was easy to forget our politics, our problems and how brief time our time on earth is to enjoy it.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Halloween (Main Street)

I remember a couple of really memorable Halloweens. One in New Jersey when I was married, we lived in a wonderful old victorian, and set up the dining room table with bowls of candy and apples. Our next door neighbors came over, and we put them under sheets in the living room. Hubby and I were dressed as Dracula and a witch. All the lights out, and the kids were allowed to come in one at a time. Candles, 'ghosts' boo-ing in the living room, and the kids shrieking and loving it. We had a line outside, and repeat customers. We had to let one little girl come in with her older brother, she was so young and scared, almost in tears at the door.

In between door bells, we adults had a martini, so the kids weren't the only ones celebrating.

This looks a little like my ex, in fact.



We all had so much fun, but what made it memorable...toward the end of the evening, a mother showed up pounding on our door demanding to know just what it was we were doing to these children, one at a time.

My husband's fist was balled up, and I had to step in front of him to prevent an assault. This was back in the 60's, NOT in this day and age of epidemic pedophiles, so the insult was searing.

The other Halloween I recall was decades later, in Blue Lake, California, a small logging town up near the Oregon border. I found a salt/water/flour recipe for "permanent" cookies, which you can then paint/decorate. But instead I made 'witches fingers' with long pointy fingernails (which I painted black). The dough bakes up almost flesh colored, and I cut the appropriate knuckle wrinkles into the fingers before baking. I put a hole at the finger end, and put ribbons through the hole, to wear around the neck. They were quite real looking, but oversized. At the door, when the kids came, I told them (in groups) the story of the witch trying to get in to my house, but that I had slammed the door on her, and her fingers fell off. I asked if anyone wanted one of the witches' fingers. Of course they all did, and I only wished I had cooked up more of them that year. The whole neighborhood was full of children with fingers dangling from their necks. Much fun!

Just did a google - somebody else made edible cookies, and here's their photo...close enough.

Get creative, have some fun. Be careful out there.

Boo~!

##

Friday, October 21, 2011

Absent Without Leave

Guess it's time I get back to blogging. I was afraid to blog because I moved to Florida and I was not supposed to move to Florida until my N.C. home was sold. Therefore the reverse mortgage goons started pursuing me, and threatening foreclosure, and of course I fought back. (I'm still fighting back; they got too much interest when the house finally closed this month). But I was assuring them I had NOT abandoned the house and was just trying to sell it while I was ...uh...vacationing in Florida.

Anyway, now I can breathe again and perhaps blog some posts from time to time.

The Naples weather turned cool this morning. It is SO strange to put on a sweat shirt to walk the dogs. Normally one is looking to take off clothes here. Tropical warmth and humidity. But I love it.

##

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oxford Club Seminar - Miami Beach 2011 (Wall St.)

Off to Miami for an all-expenses-paid financial seminar as a guest of the esteemed Oxford Club, a perk for my new membership, last year. I was permitted to bring a guest, and one of my Trading Divas, Ghislaine, accompanied me. We had speakers who were articulate, smart, funny and professorial. We both learned a lot. It was done with excellence and I only wish it had been longer.


Our accomodations were at the famous Fountainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach.


I hadn't been to this hotel since the 50's. It is vastly changed since then.


Our room was large, with double queens, and great light, and art!


Ghislaine and I favored this piece.


More art and a complimentary computer.


A view from the 5th floor of the hotel. The yacht basin.


Here I am beside the Fountainebleau pool.


There were other eyebrow-raising ladies around the pool.


Our first evening, we took a stroll on the boardwalk.


There were many big cruiselines on the horizon.


Ghislaine on the boardwalk.


Hard to believe this was February weather. About 73 degrees


View of Miami Beach from the end of the boardwalk.


We found a good cafe outdoors at the Eden Roc Hotel next door.


The gulls are always wonderful to watch.


We watched people watching waves.


We then crossed over to Collins Avenue to see the Boat Show.


Lucky Lady Sheila.


Another entrance to our Hotel.


The boats in the Boat Show were spectacular.


The white of them all hurt my eyes. They sparkled.


I had no trouble understanding this yacht.


TLC given to these million dollar babies.


I'd forgotten the magnificent palms of Florida.


This old lamplight stood in front of one of the residence hotels.


At the Eden Roc, a water faun caught our eye.




Oxford Club Seminar


Seminar room during one of the breaks



Ghislaine about to sample her Valentine's candy