Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worden Farm: Week 12 & 13 Farm Share - Strawberries!

Strawberries are at their peak and I was pleasantly surprised to receive this sweet batch in this week's share from Worden Farm in Punta Gorda, Fla. Sorry the photo's a little blurry but I can attest, they tasted just as sweet and luscious as they looked.

Saw strawberries on sale at Publix today, 3 for $5. Think I'll go back tomorrow and cook up some strawberry jam, not that I should be eating that kind of stuff, but how can I resist!

Say Thank You, I Love You, and Hello with a Cookie Delivery

Here’s a site to make Cookie Monster proud. When looking to send a special gift to say “thank you,” “love you,” or “hello,” I like to make an impression and what better way than with cookie gift baskets? My friend’s at David’s Cookies are a resource for that delicious sugary goodness offering cookie delivery of fresh baked goodies like chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin. Not only do they ship cookies, they also have luscious brownies, creamy cheesecakes, and delectable tarts. Yum!

I know the special someones in my life would appreciate one of these gift baskets full of cookies. Or better yet, for someone who really rocks my world, I’d enroll them in the Cookie of the Month club, which is also ideal for impressing business clients – just think, each time they receive a cookie delivery, they’d remember you! Much better than the end of year holiday gift that gets lost in a flood of others.

Frozen cookie dough is also available along with sugar-free products. In case you’re wondering, all products are Kosher Dairy certified Kosher so there should be minimal worry about shipping out a cookie delivery and offending the receiver (i.e.: in case their religion dictates the need for Kosher).

Check out David’s Cookies and arrange your own cookie delivery. When I visited the site, I could practically smell chocolate chip cookies being baked and imagined the David’s Cookies kitchen was preparing orders to ship cookies out to lucky recipients.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Resort Rentals International: Making a New Connection

I'm delighted to introduce a new client, Resort Rentals International. I'll be posting on their blog a few times a week and am excited about the opportunity since they have a diverse portfolio of accommodations in some incredible destinations ranging from Sedona to Virginia Beach and Key West to Mexico.

While I've visited many of the destinations they serve, there are still many beautiful places I haven't been. Maybe this will give me the opportunity to explore some new places. They're also offering some great discounts so when planning your vacation, give Resort Rentals International a chance to sleep with them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Flashback to My Biggest Dance: The Presidential Inauguration

Note: This is a reprint of what I submitted to my employer’s company newsletter. Enjoy!

I never attended a high school prom yet, I was invited to the biggest dance of my lifetime, the Inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. I was one of the nearly 2 million who attended the swearing-in ceremony on January 20, 2009, and witnessed history of the first African-American president. When I booked my travel to D.C. days following the November election, I underestimated the patriotic experience I would have.

Thanks to a friend whom I met during a 10-day humanitarian trip to Afghanistan in March 2006, she used her political connections to get us into parties, tickets into the swearing-in ceremony, and finally the Mid-Atlantic Ball, one of the official Presidential Inaugural balls where I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Al Franken (Democratic Senate candidate in Minnesota and comedian) while watching The Dead perform.

Immediately stepping foot in D.C. the Saturday prior to Inauguration Day, I was swept up in the patriotic energy radiating from the residents and visitors. The city was decked out in red, white, and blue, and everywhere I turned there were signs related somehow to the inauguration, ranging from the Metro ticket with Obama’s portrait to Pepsi’s ads incorporating such terms as “hope” and “yes you can have it” with the soda’s new logo.

My whirlwind trip included a party for young political leaders at a swanky (and overpriced) D.C. club, party hosted by the Actor’s Equity Association which was attended by screen and television celebrities, the "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial" concert broadcast on HBO, podcast taping of Slate’s Political Gabfest, the New York State Ball – in which New York Gov. David Paterson and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended, the swearing-in ceremony, and of course, an official ball in which Vice President & Mrs. Joe Biden and President & Mrs. Obama danced.

So what was it like being in D.C.? The energy was electric with an optimistic hope of change. It can best be summed up in a homemade sign someone made and brought to the Capitol lawn so others could their picture taken with it. “We Have Overcome,” it read.

Physically, the weekend was mentally and physically tiring and cold. I exercised patience when waiting to get into events. It took nearly three hours of standing in line alongside thousands of others to get into the swearing-in ceremony. I had plans on stopping by Rep. Tom Rooney’s (R-Fla.) office on the Monday prior to the inauguration but the wait to get in his building was about two hours so I passed. The Metro (subway/train) lines were at capacity on Inauguration Day and in order to control the crowd, the military regulated when passengers could board. The night of the ball was icy cold, especially wearing a gown and heels and having to walk a dozen or so blocks to and from the Metro. But being part of history made the whole experience worthwhile and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Shopping for the Cadillacs of Luxury Watches

Just because the economy isn't ideal right now doesn’t mean people can’t pamper themselves a bit with a designer purse or maybe one of the lovely luxury watches available these days. There’s no need to head to New York City and walk the streets to find these deals, shopping is easier in the 21st century and can be done online with the click of a mouse.

Looking for the Cadillac of watches, the Tag Heuer? Or what about the little timeless bling from Cartier? Better yet, try something modernly fashionable with Movado. My friends at The Watchery are the primary source for luxury watches and shopping can be done from the comfort of the couch.

I’ve been browsing the Movado selections and really like the Capelo (pictured). The citrus colors are refreshing and different. I love wearing eclectic accessories and these Movado watches fit that criteria. The Capelo design is classic with a hint of bling and the price seems all so right. Designer, luxury watches for 68% off? Okay, that’s still more than $400 but Obama has asked us to stimulate the economy, right? Using the stimulus check to buy some nice wrist candy is truly patriotic.

Don’t think something slim shady is going on here. These fabulous watches are new, authentic, and have their own serial numbers.

Checking out from The Watchery is easy. They accept the usual plastic suspects (AMEX, Disc, MC, Visa) but they accept Google Checkout and PayPal. PayPal – my favorite way to pay. They've also been on eBay since the 99 and have a very HIGH satisfaction rating.

Go ahead and take a gander, what’s your fave?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh, What a Weekend! in Miami

It's another Sunday night and I'm mentally preparing for another work week. I have a feeling it's gonna be a crazy one but I'm just taking it one day at a time. I had a most excellent weekend at the 2009 Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival and wish every weekend was that fun (okay, I do have pretty groovy weekends otherwise). It's going to take me a bit to upload photos and get some articles and blog posts about the experience, but above is moi cooking lunch for my table during the Barilla Interactive Cooking Lunch with Guy Fieri and Edmondo Sarti. Is there a funny story? Yes, a little one, but you'll have to wait. (And I promise by the end of March to post pix from Dinner in the Sky in Dec., and at least an article from Nov.'s trip to Mexico - along with more pix - and maybe an article about Oct.'s trip to Louisiana, maybe.)

I'm uploading pix to Flickr from the weekend, check them out here. And I promise, it wasn't a (totally) Guy-obsessed weekend :)

Check out my article about the lunch
, a first person account will be coming soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Food Network's SoBe Wine & Food Festival 2009: Harrah's Casino Night Hosted by Paula Deen

Hey, ya'll! I'm just getting back from Harrah's Casino Night hosted by Paula Deen out on South Beach tonight, one of the several Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival events.

My tummy is full - 2 months of gym workouts are out the window and my spirits are lifted with the sweet apple martinis thanks to Kettle One Vodka. Some of Paula's yummy dishes were served included BLT salad, creamed spinach, and oyster po boys.

Enjoy some of the images of the evening. As you'll see Guy Fieri (!!!!) made an appearance along with The Neelys. In this photo, Paula is referring to them as "her children" and said she's been watching them blossom.

Ain't that sweet :) Checkout my Flickr stream for more images (high res images available). As you'll see, I was spitting distance to Guy and Paula, not that I would spit on them. Tomorrow is the interactive cooking class with Guy.

Check out my article about the Barilla Interactive Lunch with Guy Fieri.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Punta Gorda Welcomes Tampa Bay Rays to New Spring Training Home

This is one of those posts where I'm gonna let the pictures do the talking. The Tampa Bay Rays reported to their new spring training home last week, the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte. Today, the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce organized a parade and meet and greet for the American League Champions.

Check out my Flickr set with images from the parade and meet and greet. I don't know most of the players' names, so help me out when you can!

In addition to being comfortable in their new spring training home and community, I hope these young men are appreciating and savoring the moment for what it is. As you'll see from the photos, some of the Rays players are doing just that.

And yes, I was in the parade, promoting a new campaign set to roll out soon.

SWFL Women's Expo this Saturday in North Port

A little bird told me...well, that's not true. It was Flamingo Fanny Mosaics who tipped me off to the Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009, SWFL Women's Expo. Between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the George Mullen Activity Center & Grounds in Northport, meet up with more than 150 exhibitors who have an interest in educating, enlightening, and empowering women. A schedule of speakers range from protecting yourself financially to belly dance basics.

Flamingo Fanny and her fabulous mosaics will be there (not necessarily belly dancing, I don't think) along with service organizations, businesses, art & craft booths, and local authors. Check out the Women's Outlook site for more info.

Second Annual SWFL Women's Expo
George Mullen Activity Center & Grounds
4956 City Center Blvd.
Nort Port, Fla.
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Admission: $3

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Petition for Clarence Center Plane Crash Victims

Over the weekend I blogged a bit about the Continental Flight #3407 crash in Clarence Center, N.Y., just outside Buffalo. And over the weekend, different support groups emerged on Facebook and throughout the Net for the Clarence Center community and the flight victims.

Something I'm asking you to pay attention to and take action is the ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition petition and request a new house for the widow and daughter of Douglas Wielinskis, the victim who was killed when the plane crashed into the family's house the evening of February 12, 2009. I cannot imagine the grief the Wielinskis are experiencing and my heart goes out to them, that's why I'm blogging about this Extreme Makeover petition.

Nothing will bring back Mr. Wielinski but some ABC Extreme Makeover magic and love will help Karen and Jill Wielinski move forward with their lives. I've seen message board discussions questioning whether they'll receive an insurance/lawsuit settlement to cover their losses and I've wondered whether they would want to stay in the same Clarence Center neighborhood. And, can a house be rebuilt on the crash site? Detail, details. I always get bogged down with the details.

If you have 30 seconds, sign the petition by following the link here. All that's needed is your name and email address, comments are optional. I was #49,198, how about you?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Worden Farm: Week 11, 2009 Farm Share: Potatoes!

This week's veggie share from Worden Farm in Punta Gorda, Fla., included gorgeous red potatoes, in addition to greens, lovely radishes, hearty carrots and a lovely avocado, which I made guacamole the way Mexico barb makes it - had all the ingredients in this week's share except lime and onion. Yum!

And, the grass-fed beef I ordered will be here on Saturday. Can't wait!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Continental Flight #3407 Crash Updates on My Laptop Thanks to Facebook and Twitter

The tight-knit community of Clarence Center, N.Y., a Buffalo suburb, propelled into the international spotlight because of Thursday night's Continental flight #3407 crash into a house. I grew up in this town (okay, I grew up in Lancaster but I was entirely educated in the Clarence school system).

Clarence Center: White Picket Fences
Clarence Center is what small-town America should be. Everyone knows each other because so-and-so's father went to school with what's-her-face's cousin ended up marrying you-know-who and started their own family. Graduating classes from 10+ years ago still congregate at favorite high school hangouts but this time they can legally drink and told the babysitter they'd be back by 10 p.m. (I'm kidding, no one drank in high school.) People look out for one another and are good to each other. Family values and family ties are important, strong, and tight. Bad things rarely happen here.

That's why I'm still shocked and stunned over last night's tragedy. Things like this don't happen in Clarence Center.
Facebook Reactions
Being the social media geek I am, I found out about the flight #3407 crash via Facebook. I started searching the Web for information but nothing was making sense so I flipped on CNN and started reading (and continue to read) accounts from friends and friends of friends who were providing Facebook updates as to what's happening.

I read and learned about: people hearing the crash; a mother and daughter running out of their house screaming and crying; at least one young woman who perished in the crash has eerie ties to Clarence, she graduated from the town's high school; and the disgusting odor hanging in the air.

Twitter & Buffalo Media
As for Twitter, I utilized it to primarily "outsource" my feelings about the crash. Other Twitterers used it to tweet breaking news or pass along information telephone numbers for families and residents.

I tried to use it to find new information and admit, I was disappointed in what I didn't find. But, seemed to carry the Twitter torch for Buffalo media. They posted tweets from the scene and continues to do so. Perhaps the difference between utilizing Twitter is the old/traditional school of media vs. new school.

Down here in Southwest Florida, The News-Press and NBC 2 Fort Myers are excellent examples of local media utilizing Twitter. Not only do these outlets post story links but they interact with Twitter followers and demonstrate they have personality and a life beyond the media world.

But this post isn't how Western New York media outlets can catch the social media bullet train, it's about remembering those who perished and for those who's lives will be forever changed by this tragedy. Some believe good comes from everything and I can't imagine what good will come from this. Stronger community bond? I don't see how because the community bond is already solid with cement.

Follow Me on Twitter @jenniferhuber

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Quirky, Kitsch Day Trip to Orlando: Feb. 7, 2009

Jim Henson's Fantastic World
Last Saturday was a happy day amidst the weeks of mourning. I headed to Orlando last Saturday with the initial intention of attending a reception celebrating the opening of Jim Henson's Fantastic World at the Orange County Regional History Center.

Mrs. Jane Henson gave a talk discussing how she met Henson (in puppeteering class at the University of Maryland) and how Henson fell into puppeteering (he was interested in television, his high school was looking for someone to do a puppet TV show and he took the opportunity, then checked out books about puppets). They later did a show, Sam and Friends, on the local D.C. news station and eventually national exposure. Jane seemed very modest and made it clear several times that she was the apprentice and ideas were Jim's.

I'm really glad I made the visit but disappointed I didn't spend more time seeing the actual Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit. The reception started at 6:30 p.m., after doing a quick change in the car, I arrived at 6:30 for some (more gelato - read on), and headed to the history center's second floor for the exhibit. About 10 'til 7 p.m., an announcement was made to head to the fourth floor for the talk. I figured there'd be time after the talk to see the exhibit but no! It was locked up, which was very disappointing. *sigh* But...

It was an overall fabulous, quirky, kitsch day. I met up with Paula (check out her blog or follow her on Twitter @vagablonde) and her mom, Pat. Paula and Keith (here's his blog or follow him on Twitter @heligypsy) have their home on wheels there until later this month. Keith's out in Australia on firefighter duty with a helicopter. Knowing what just happened over there, I felt a little guilty for having a beautiful, happy day. Let me finish telling you about it...

Beefy King: It's What's for Lunch
The three of us enjoyed a tasty (and admittedly, bad for the cholesterol) lunch at Beefy King (424 N. Bumby Ave.) in downtown Orlando. I had the reuben sandwich and onion rings (and passed on the orange milkshake, if I hit the gym that morning, it would've been a different story). It ain't fancy but kitsch, modest decor and yummy food.

Art-o-mat: Vending Machine Art
Afterwards was a quest to find the Art-o-mat machine at Sam Flax (1401 E. Colonial). An art supply store isn't really a typical place for tourists, but the machine makes sense. In short, the Art-o-mat concept is taking vintage cigarette machines and turning them into something useful, in this case, it's a vending machine for art by independent artists from across the country. For $5 and change (for tax), get a token from the cashier and select what interests you.

I selected folk art pottery animals (koala bears) and a decoupage story block with a witty little saying. Paula selected stamp earrings and a decoupage story block (okay, I admit she selected first and I wanted one, too). Pat selected a block painting and a sweet little print. Although I don't need more stuff, the concept is very cool and I'd play again if I find another one.

Mennello Museum of Folk Art
I'm a big fan of folk art and the Mennello Museum of Folk Art (900 East Princeton Street) wasn't really what I expected but it was quaint and worth the $4 admission fee. Exhibits are compact which makes the collection look small. Works by Earl Cunningham are absolutely stunning and vibrant.

Urban Think! Gelato Time
We headed back downtown for gelato. The original place we intended to visit was gone but luckily, Urban Think! Bookstore (625 East Central Blvd.) had a sign promoting their gelato so we popped in there for a tart, creamy bit of the Italian treat.

And then it was time for Jim Henson's Fantastic World followed by a drive back to Southwest Florida. All done in a day, can you believe that?

I referenced Sandra Friend's travel guidebook called Orlando & Central Florida: An Explorer's Guide during the quirky, kitsch day trip. I have Rob Smith, Jr. to thank for the recommendation on Beefy King.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Making a Promise to Myself: The Fight Against Heart Disease

Hate to say it, but family history says I’m a heart attack, or at least a stroke, waiting to happen, which is where my friends at the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, Chiquita, and Fresh Express, come into play to educate people about the fight against heart disease. See, my grandmothers suffered and subsequently died from strokes, my grandfathers died from heart attacks, and it’s pretty clear heart disease is a family thing.

Several years ago my bad cholesterol ranked high (but so did the good) and blood sugar indicated I was borderline diabetic. My physician put the fear of god into me so with the assistance of a nutritionist, I learned to change my eating habits, add exercise, and change how I live life to fight against heart disease.

One of the most important things the nutritionist, and more recently the Miss America gym trainer, taught me was to eat low on the food pyramid and reduce eating processed foods. I’m eating more fruits and veggies and when I enjoy Fresh Express and Chiquita products (because I don’t receive all the fruits and veggies I need in my weekly farm share), I can now help in the education and fight of heart disease by enrolling in the Fresh Funds program.
Fresh Funds is a loyalty rewards program where points are earned from purchasing marked Fresh Express and Chiquita products. Points can be redeemed for groovy prizes and better yet, be donated towards the education against heart disease.

Living a healthy lifestyle is difficult and takes planning and commitment, but I’m committed to the fight against heart disease which is why I visited to “Take a bite out of the odds.” I uploaded my image, wrote my brief story as to why I’m making this promise to myself, and how much I donated by buying either a Fresh Express or Chiquita product. I really did it, see the above screen shot of me?

And guess what? You can “Take a bite out of the odds” and join the fight against heart disease, too. Just visit to upload your image and tell your story. Heart disease is the primary killer of women, let’s go kick it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Worden Farm: Week 10, 2009 Farm Share: Veggies Fit for Yoda

Last week's farm share from Worden Farm in Punta Gorda, Fla., had the usual veggie suspects and oranges, but there was also this beautiful head of romanesco. I'm never heard of it and am amazed at how symmetrical each floret is on the vegetable which is in the Brassica (cauliflower) family.

I'm not sure why, but romanesco kind of reminds me of Yoda from Star Wars.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

One Potentially Good Thing About the Economic Recession: Chill Out

At heart I'm an optimist and I've been thinking about the good that can evolve out of the current economic recession and here is one of them:

Americans Can (Finally) Relax
I understand the current economic climate can cause stress. I feel it everyday with the pressure to produce more with less. I'm living in a county which recorded a 9.9% unemployment rate in Dec. 2008, which is well above Florida's unemployment rate of 7.8% and the nation's rate of 7.1% (Source: Charlotte County Economic Development, Jan. 2009 Economic Indicator Report). I heard about the State of California's "furlough Fridays" where employees are having to take two unpaid days off a month. Time off without pay sucks, I know, I was working in Everglades National Park during the 1995/96 federal government shutdown when U.S. National Parks were closed for about three weeks.

But let's look at the flip side. Maybe the economic recession will force companies, businesses, and agencies to three-day weekends and four-day workweeks. Would that be all bad? We'd have more time to recharge, relax, and reconnect with family or get other work done and that's priceless.

There would be time for a hobby or to work on an independent business. Maybe businesses would return to being closed on the weekends and we would live in a less-hurried world. We would have the chance to appreciate what we have and what really matters.

Plus, if businesses stayed closed for an additional day, they'd be saving money, not just in salary but with utility bills. And, three-day weekends would encourage more travel, which is an economic stimulus.

If this does happen, I only hope people wouldn't work on those days off, which I plead guilty to working during my time off. Are there other good things about the economic recession? Yup, stay tuned.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hey Jerrie! 91-Year-Old Gal Still Rockin' with an Oxygen Tank

You know I love the quirky kitsch side of life and I'm so glad this video has fallen into my in-box. Called "Hey Jerrie," it's a tribute to the 91-year-old female drummer (on an oxygen tank) Jerrie Thill and the latest by Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webbie award winning and nominated composer, artist, animator, director, pop culture freak, technologist, party thrower Allee Willis. Allee's also the original queen of kitsch... love her!

Check out the "Hey Jerrie" video below and I guarantee you'll be bebopping with Allee and Jerrie in no time.

Share the Love Longer with Carrabba's Dal Cuore Nights (and Maybe Win an Italian Cruise)

Is it a good thing or bad thing Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday (Feb. 14) this year? One thing's certain, Carrabba's Italian Grill is offering two nights of romance letting diners get a head start on the love-felt holiday. Certain to gain Cupid's approval, Carrabba's is offering Dal Cuore Nights, Feb. 11 & 12 ("from the heart" nights).

During Dal Cuore Nights, diners can savor romance while saving on the wallet with a yummy three-course prix fixe menu for less than $20 per person plus $10 off a bottle of wine. Each diner will also receive a Carrabba's Valentine with a heartfelt quote and one quote recipient will win a seven-night Italian cruise with MSC Cruises, how cool is that?

Let Carrabba's set the romance next week. All you need to do is get you and your loved one over there (and pay the bill). Find the nearest Carrabba's near you here. For Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda readers, Carrabba's Italian Grill is easy to find:

1811 North Tamiami Trail
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
(941) 743-5299

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'm Pleased to Present...

I was asked to post a photo of grandma and after sifting through hundreds of photos, I narrowed down my top picks and I chose this one. I imagine it was taken sometime in the 80s. (We discovered no one liked writing dates or locations on photos so are guessing dates on many of them.)

I chose this photo because it's the way I'd like to remember her with a sunny smile. I want to push away those images I have of her during her final days. Although her body gave up, her mind was still sharp and that was the most difficult for me and probably her. I'll always remember her strong, feisty will and spirit.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Flat Out Funny

My posts have been depressing lately, sorry, it's what I'm going through. Seeing this taped to the office soda machine made me laugh today and hope it makes you laugh, too.

The note reads:

"I want my 75¢ back this came out of the machine this way & the soda flat! Rod"

Wonder if Rod will ever see his money, probably not in this flat economy...

Another Angel Looking Over Me

After yesterday's post wondering why Grandma hadn't ended her journey, I received a call just after 6 this morning and I immediately knew what it was. Grandma was gone and finally at peace.

Due to my organization's bereavement policy, I went to work and plan on heading into the office at least tomorrow and Wednesday (I have to take days off consecutively vs. piecemeal). Any type of celebration of her life will occur sometime next week, maybe even next weekend.

Tonight was spent sorting through Grandma's "things." I realize things don't make up one's life, but the most revealing were newspaper clippings and photos she kept, dating back to when she and my grandpa were kids. The newspaper clippings were primarily about her experience as the head cafeteria lady (in charge of the menu and nutrition) in a school in the Sarasota School District. In the 1970s she was a leader by reforming lunches and offering nutritious options and making food from scratch. She had rid the school of bad sugars and ensured there were options for even the finickiness kid.

Sifting through the remnants of her life reminded me there was another dimension to her. Not only was she an amazing grandma who made the best everything to eat (and whom I owe my voluptuous figure) she was a community leader, mother, wife, and modern woman.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Eye Contact?

This is day 8 of Grandma's journey and according to the hospice lady, she doesn't have much time. But what does that mean? At this point, it's all relative because two weeks ago they said she didn't have much time.

My aunt (the nurse) said on Friday Grandma's in the condition to hang on for another week and the hospice lady said she had a similar patient who lived for 16 days. That's 16 days without food and water. The human body is amazing.

I've been up to Sarasota most days since a week ago last Wednesday (the day I returned from Obama's inauguration) and didn't see much difference Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday. She seemed somewhat responsive to voices and would raise her eyebrows or move her mouth as if trying to say something. But Friday was different. When I walked in, she opened her eyes and apparently, it was the first time she's opened them since her journey began. (Note: the term "journey" is the hospice phrase for "dying.") Her mouth also moved as if she was trying to say something but nothing came out.

Her eyes were glassy and just stared. Her head moved but her eyes didn't.

I wasn't thinking, "oh, she's getting better." I'm not letting myself believe that, but I had to wonder, does she know what's happening? If she does, I know she's thinking this isn't the way it was supposed to happen.

I truly thought she'd be able to will herself to die. That she'd be able to go to sleep and pass peacefully. That's what she wanted. Spending her finals days in a hospital hooked up to oxygen and pumped with morphine is not what she wanted. (Although, being pumped with morphine probably isn't all the bad for the dying.)

She said her goodbyes, put her life in order prior to her stroke, all of her children have visited, yet she's still hanging on. Is it because when we say "good night" and "see you tomorrow" she's thinking she needs to hang on? Tomorrow night, should I just tell her "pleasant dreams"? Or is it because no one can will themselves to die and nature just needs to take its course?

The hospice lady told Mom most patients pass when no one is around. She told stories of how family members would spend hours at a time with their loved one, yet when they take a break, the patient's journey ends. That's how my other grandmother went, with no one with her after family visited days on end.

I also wonder if they pass because they know no one is there and have given up hope. The flip side is, do they know they're alone and pass because it would save their loved one from seeing them die?

I'm starting to hate the hospital. The nurses and staff are extremely nice. Some come in and pray, one brings aromatherapy scents, they know the family and seem to care about our well being. The place is also very clean. Those aren't the reasons I hate it.

I hate pushing the elevator button for the 8th floor where Grandma is. I associate it with death. A patient on her floor expired over the weekend and the days are limited for the patient in the room next to her. I can't stand the smell - that distinct, sterile odor invading my nostrils as soon as I walk through the doors is repulsive. Ironically, it doesn't stop me (or others) from eating lunch, etc., in her room.

We continue to rub our hands with the disinfectant that's mounted outside her room. I'm not sure why. It's meant to prevent germs from entering her room but at this point, does it really matter?

Tonight, I'm remembering the happy times spent with Grandma and praying for her peace.

Worden Farm: Weeks 8 & 9, 2009 Farm Share

Weeks 8 & 9 of the Worden Farm share veggies are combined in this post. As you can see, more lovely, organic produce over the past two weeks. Last week there were a few new items, like banana peppers (at least that's what I call them) and kale. Honestly, I didn't think you could eat kale, in Yellowstone we used it for decoration. I have to cook it up and give it a try.
This week there are grape tomatoes along with these skinny eggplants. A regular-sized one was included too, along with these. At least I THINK they're eggplants. Haven't prepared them yet. With commuting to Sarasota nightly, there isn't much time to enjoy all this freshness but I'm lucky to have friends who can put them to good use.The grass-fed beef I ordered should be here sometime in mid-February, looking forward to that. I was planning on using it to feed the family while here, hope it works out that way.