Today is Earth Day. What are you doing to honor our planet?
I’m a vegan who uses almost exclusively natural products and recycles every damn thing in her apartment. Everything, even, like, cereal boxes or any packaging food comes in at the grocery store. I read the ingredients of everything I buy and try not to buy grocery items with, say, palm oil, in them because to get that oil, we’ve got to chop down trees, the habitat for many other animals including endangered orangutans.
So obviously I give a shit about Earth Day and wish people thought about this kind of thing every day.
What do you do? Today and everyday. What do you now and what are your goals?
I really want to know. It’s not a rhetorical question. Go ahead, brag. Or confess, as the case may be.
Okay, I’m back in D.C. and ready to tell you about my two week trip to Florida. On the first Saturday I was there, a group of us trekked over to Plant City for the ultra-rednecky Florida Strawberry Festival. Here’s me and my friend Carrie:
(I had to buy an $8 pair of sunglasses at Big Lots on the way to the fair because that Florida sun will burn your eyes clear out of your head).
Although the festival features plenty of rides:
and game booths, mostly what we did was eat. Here’s a picture Carrie took of my lady friend and her best friend sharing some nutritious fried dough. Or a “gut buster.” Good question: What name do you call this delicacy?
As we left the carnival, we took pictures of all the interesting things you see when driving to and fro Plant City. For example, these flags in one resident’s front yard:
And some of these gigantic dinosaurs that entice drivers to make a stop at the famed Dinosaur World:
And perhaps most curious, the Stonehenge-like monument built of vintage AirStream trailers:
After the Strawberry Fest, we headed over to the gay carnival in Ybor City where our group ate some more, hit each other repeatedly in the bumper cars, and I laughed uproariously at this bear ride:
A bear ride at a gay carnival: get it?
After the carnival we went to The Grass Root, a great vegan and raw food restaurant in Tampa. Yum! I love their onion bread.
That night some of us went to the Ten Pins bowling alley on Pass-A-Grille beach and entered the big karoake contest. A bunch of my friends sang and the crowd loved them. However, the same crowd was flummoxed by my friend Eve‘s faux drunken rendition of “The Greatest Love of All,” which had her hobbling around with a martini glass (filled with water), warbling the lyrics. Eve proceeded to take a beer off someone else’s table and swig it, kick off her shoes, and for the big finale, fall flat on her behind. The whole time Eve was “performing,” the alley’s owner, an older woman, was pacing back and forth, frantically telling everyone in Eve’s group to “Make her stop!” I told her Eve wasn’t really drunk and it was just a joke, like on Saturday Night Live, but she was furious. Eve and she continued to bicker all evening after that with Eve, at one point, accidentally insulting a mentally disabled woman. True story.
Needless to say, no one in our group won one of the three cash prizes that night.
But, what a lively beginning to my epic trip home!
I watch it every year. Tonight we’re having our annual Academy Awards “party.” It’s a bit more intimate than in years past since we only have a half dozen friends in D.C. We prepared a small feast (with vegan truffles!) and our friends Dustin and Bray are coming over.
Watching the Oscars with my mom was a tradition that continued well into my adulthood. My more recent Oscar memories run the gamut: in 2006 I had been in an intensive care unit for quite a long time and doing really badly. However, that did not stop my nurse from whisking me upstairs to a private room on the eve of the Oscars so I wouldn’t miss the ceremony. It was a welcome break from the sound of medical machinery beeping and people screaming “Code blue! Code blue!” on either side of me.
At one of our huge Oscar parties in Florida, I was the lucky winner of the Oscar bet game –I guessed the most winners– and took home the distinguished prize: an autographed picture of Loni Anderson. It was made out to a couple (“To Susie and David”) that none of us knew.
Do you watch the telecast? At a party or by yourself?
I had such a fun weekend. My friend Ginger has been here and Saturday a group of us spent the day in Baltimore, a city that I’m crazy about. We had lunch at Yabba Pot, a great vegan restaurant:
Then we visited Ginger’s Uncle Dudley, a writer whose huge apartment is covered head-to-toe in folk art and “outsider art”.
Paintings were hung on every inch of the wall, salon-style (and still more were in stacks leaning against walls). It was thrilling. I recognized work by Ned Cartledge, Ruby C. Williams and friend-of-a-friend Carrie Price among the lot.
Then the five of us walked around Hampden, the hipster section — and incidentally my favorite part –of Baltimore. Will someone please explain to me why the word “Hon” is on every sign and bumper sticker in Baltimore? For example, “Come here and pray, hon!” on a church sign. And cafes and bars with the word “Hon” in their monikers. I understand that it’s some kind of Baltimore-ese.
The city is also not afraid to capitalize on being the home of cult director John Waters, as evidenced by this gigantic pink flamingo above –where else? –Cafe Hon:
On Sunday night, Ginger, who’s an actor, hooked us up with tickets to see The Dog In The Manger, a funny 17th century Spanish play about love and class, at D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company Lansburg Theatre. My lady friend was most excited because she recognized Michelle Hurd, the lead actress, from her brief stint on Gossip Girl. (She also played a detective on the first season of Law & Order: SVU. Not that I checked out her IMDB page).
We finished off Sunday night by dining at Clyde’s, an almost anachronistic restaurant. Here’s the description on its own web pages:
The grand Victorian saloon recalls Hong Kong’s Empire-era opulence and celebrates the sporting life in an impressive collection bronze sculpture and oil paintings.
And it doesn’t even mention the large tiki statues in the faux jungle greenery.
How about you? Was your weekend good?
I’m pretty sure I’ve just dug up the first piece I ever wrote for the St. Petersburg Times, where I worked for 16 years. Wanna read it? Click here.
The editor of the piece decided to change my correct spelling of Buddhist to the arcane spelling. That still annoys me, 15 years later.
Tuesday’s episode of Oprah is an investigative show that takes viewers behind the scenes to see the conditions on “free range” and factory farms where meat and dairy are produced. These are the farms that provide the food you feed to your families.