Appalachicola, Ratatouille, and Other Large Words

Ratatouille!  That’s what I said to my daughter this afternoon.  I had eggplant and squash from Crabtree Farms, thankfully still good since we forgot to take it on our trip.  We diced and sauteed the eggplant with fresh rosemary and onion, then layered eggplant, squash and canned diced tomatoes with a sprinkling of oregano and shredded mozzarella.  It’s at the “something in the kitchen smells good” stage.  Since daughter and I did all the slicing and dicing together, I didn’t have to stand up with the stiff back for very long.  I like team cooking. 


Meanwhile, some beach reports.  This is the complex we stayed in:  short strips of two-story townhomes.  The beach was across the street on the other side of the high rises you see.  Our balcony and patio faced the golf course, with enough greenery in between for privacy, but still a nice view of that pristine golf grass.  I only saw one golfer the whole week.  The complex was only half-full; it was pleasantly quiet. 


The roadtrip to Apalachicola with my daughter was the highlight of my trip.  The scenery along Highway 98 was so beautiful that I had to stop and take this photo at Mexico Beach.  We drove from Sea Crest Beach to Panama City, through Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe, past the guarded gates of Tyndall Air Force Base, through a forest (complete with bear crossing signs), and finally over the bridge into Apalachicola.  The downtown has four or seven square blocks of restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, and cafes.  Some of the buildings look like this Owl Cafe:  nice old construction.  You can tell that I know less than squat about architecture, since I have no idea what this is typical of.  It just looks old.  As does the yarn store, Downtown Books and Purl:  .  Is that not a lovely facade?  I was enchanted before I entered, and absolutely enticed into the back of the store where all the yarn and knitting accessories are beautifully displayed.  The owner told me that she tore out the storeroom to make the knitting section, as she desired knitting supplies for herself.  It is ridiculously far to the next LYS.  I was astonished that her shop held so many yarns (fabulous brands) and a huge supply of needlecraft books and ample needles and accessories in the allotted space.  The front of the store was just as well-supplied as a book store, and Dayna found a book in short order.  I purchased four skeins of Araucania Quellon (viscose and cottton) from the sale bin, and two skeins of Pima Fresca (Queensland Collection, 100% cotton).  Interesting that even in a smaller shop, there was something (the latter yarn) totally new to me.


We had coffe and Italian ice at a Mexican coffee shop after our bookstore visit, then cruised through a number of shops.  We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but we struck gold in a cooking store.  I found cool utensils that combined a slotted spoon with a spatula and got one for myself and a left-handed one for my sister.  No worry, she doesn’t have time to read my blog.  It’ll be a surprise when I see her at reunion.  My sweet child bought a set of bands to place around glasses or cans with names on them that would keep you from ever losing your drink.  The names were very descriptive, like “Bedwetter” and “Slut”, the things you could only call your nearest and dearest friends, and only with great affection.  Especially if you’re 20.  I also purchased silicone egg cups for poaching.  Oh yeah, living it up!


I was into my fourth day of the steroid taper when we were in Apalachicola.  I walked around town without too much difficulty.  The next evening it all stopped.  I sat down at the table in a less than desirable restaurant, and when I rose I was stiff from my waist to my ankles.  That’s how it goes.  Stiffness equals inflammation, inflammation signifies a flare. 


But first, a word about the restaurant.  There’s a shopping and recreation area called Pier Park right off Panama City Beach.  It’s just the kind of place to attract every family vacationing in town.  All the restaurants were enormous-cattle drives to food, barns with tables, quantity over quality the word of the day.  We chose the one that seemed to have the shortest line.  Reggae Joe’s?  I really don’t want to remember the name.  After 30 minutes we were seated at a table in the midst of the mahem.  I watched, mesmerized, as an idle busboy chewed his knuckles and then wiped his hand on his shirt, eventually going to bus a table and wipe it with a cloth.  I prayed that he hadn’t bussed our table and shared his Adenovirus or Haemophilus influenzae with us.  The music was loud, the talking louder.  Dayna had poorly fried calamari, Chris fared better with his appetizer, as there wasn’t much they could do to a raw oyster.  We waited so long for entrees that I began to get to that place where it didn’t seem to matter if I ever ate again.  When they finally came, my salad was more interesting in print than in presentation.  The Caribbean salad with grilled scallops featured mushy fruit and a few slices of rotten black avocado.  I ate what I could and showed the remainder to the waiter, who found a manager and didn’t charge me.  I was happy to leave. 


Anyway, the flare symptoms were expected and I had lots of help from my travel partners.  I didn’t have to tote a bag or pack up the kitchen and could have come back without driving, if I hadn’t insisted.  Sometimes the driver’s seat seems more comfortable (and maybe the activity more distracting) when I’m not feeling well.  We stopped at a lovely Waffle House on the way back and had a meal that was way better than the one at Pier Park.  Next move will be to talk to my doc tomorrow.  We need a plan. 

And tomorrow, I can talk more about knitting on the trip and beyond.




3 Responses

  1. Wow, it sounds like your vacation was relaxing…I am glad the flare is easing up a bit too…

  2. Welcome back!

  3. Am I the busy sister that is to busy to read a blog? Well, this morning I read it and I want to know if the slotted spoon is mine. Is it mine? I’ll be at the family reunion to claim it. Haha I surprised you! I can be unpredictable you know.

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