Quiet Voice

A Creativity Book of Days

Immokolee tomatoes from Roy and Bette.

The two weeks before Roy and Bette came to visit Buck and me was one of the more miserable chapters in our lives together, something unexpected and generally unimportant that made a hell of an impact: we both got the flu. No, we don’t take flu shots. Haven’t for more than 35 years. Haven’t had the flu, either, until this year.

So will we change course and start taking flu shots? You betcha. That all-nighter in our local emergency room (on my account) was the convincer. Yikes.

Roy and Bette were already scheduled to drive up from beautiful Naples on the southwest Florida coast and stay with us for a visit and to attend Roy and Buck’s 65th Pensacola High School reunion. Buck and I were growing concerned over whether we would be ready for prime time with visitors, even such good friends.

We needn’t have worried. We were much improved by the time they arrived, plus at our age, afternoon naps aren’t considered strange at all, so we had a couple of hours each afternoon to rest.

As always, they brought bottles of lovely wine and a case of fabulous sun-ripened tomatoes from Immokolee, near Naples. Roy shared his recipe for roasted tomato soup and the photo above shows them just out of the oven. The next step is to chunk them in a food processor, then freeze flat in a zip bag until the urge for roasted tomato soup hits.

Sliced Tomatoes and Shrimp Scampi

We’ve enjoyed those tomatoes every which way. I’m even making a batch of taboulleh this afternoon and then baking another pan full for a future pot of creamy soup.

We send Roy and Bette a few pounds of stunningly delicious pecan halves from local grower Renfroe Pecans. The price has grown stunning over the years, too, but when Roy hands you a small pizza box that feels strangely heavy and you discover one of his luscious chocolate caramel pecan pies inside (made with pecans we sent at Christmas), you know that someday Renfroe will get those pecans up to the price they’re worth, but that day has not yet arrived.

Sweet, generous friends. Lou Lou Belle loves them, too.

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I listened to Mr. Michaelides novel via an audio version. I wanted to like it more than I did. To me, the narrator, Theo, is unsympathetic from the jump. The idea that two psychotherapists with personal links to the “silent patient” are at the same facility strains credulity. We never learn enough about what makes Alicia Berenson tick to develop any real sympathy for her. Early on, it’s easy to see that Theo is an unreliable narrator so that when the “big reveal” comes, it’s flat.



View all my reviews

Florida Anise Tree, a native plant

It’s 29 degrees here this morning. “Here” is near Pensacola, in what is called “the Panhandle” of Florida because of it’s long, narrow shape attaching to the rest of the state. We’re even in a different time zone: Central, while most of the state is in Eastern. Causes all sorts of aggravation for the citizens here when presidential and other elections are called while our folks are still driving to the polls.

This lovely Florida Anise tree lives around the banks of the natural spring that flows between our home and the gate, a distance of roughly a third of a mile. A culvert runs under the gravel road to allow the spring to go its way.

This morning’s cold snap is almost certainly the last before temperatures in the mid-seventies moving quickly higher become the daily norm. We’ve had a mild winter. The wild blueberries lining the road to the gate have been white with flowers for two weeks and the Louisiana irises I stuck in the stream bed twenty years ago to give them a fighting chance while we were gone all summer, have spread and will be a riot of yellow and lavender soon.

Lou Lou Belle and I run what I call “stick patrol” each morning, walking/running from house to gate about 6:30, picking up small branches that have blown onto the road during the night and tossing them into the deeper woods.

We arrive at the gate and dawdle until school buses, often in twos and threes, carefully negotiate the dangerous, blind curve right in front of the gate. One more day safe, at least here, in this moment, in this spot.

My last post here was in the third week of October, 2018, so I’m pretty sure that’s when I lost my balance and fell down an unexpected rabbit hole. There’s no time to tell the tale today, but as you can see by the change in this blog’s title, something is definitely up.

Stay tuned: more changes and a story to come.

There’s a nifty site I recently added to my Twitter feed that feeds creativity. It’s @mymodernmet. They have a store attached to their website, with links to cool things like tattoo socks with gorgeous birds and all sorts of other clever, often beautiful, creations. A day or two ago I saw a link to a free collection of Japanese wave and ripple illustrations by artist Mori Yuzan, done in 1903. For more information on the artist and the designs, check out The Public Domain Review’s page on them here. I downloaded them and printed on my regular (cheap) printer paper, then cut one in half to glue into my Moleskine daily calendar and saved the rest for later. I don’t know why I stuck an old piece of gold embroidery thread through stick-on hole reinforcers, but there you go. The quote, “You didn’t come this far to go somewhere else,” was clipped from a magazine somewhere, sometime. It’s a reminder to me to quit posting in this blog and get back to my novel manuscript. It’s working well, right?
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