As if I didn’t already have enough to do …

Why is it that passion often overrides common sense? About six weeks ago I was approached by someone whom I believe will become a good friend. She asked me about designing a website for a local non-profit. Our local art center, in fact. A place I would love to call home and I’m not even an artist. But, something draws me there. Maybe it’s the people. Maybe it’s the building. Maybe it’s how I feel when I’m there – surrounded by the art of local artists, the almost musty smell … the kind of smell that reminds you of what once was. It’s a good smell. Comforting and yet, refreshing. High ceilings, wood floors, and the ever-present art on the walls. It’s a simple place. A place where one can breathe one of those enormous cleansing breaths that make you realize you’ve been holding your breath for too long. Our stressful lives can do that. Breathe. Suck in the aromas of yesteryear and let your creative juices run through your fingertips – maybe someday something you’ve created will find its way to the walls of the Ann Rudd Art Center in Ozark, Alabama.

So back to passion vs common sense. I knew I already had a full plate with working part time, volunteering for the Ozark-Dale County Humane Society (ODCHS) as their treasurer and calendar fundraiser chairman, handling my aging mother’s monthly financials, grandchildren, yoga, meditation, cooking, cleaning, blogging, walking/hiking with my dear husband, Tom, and there are always those grandchildren. Life is good. Busy, but good, very, very good.

But, I have a passion to help and I love to design websites and help non-profits develop a presence. So, there you have it … I’m hooked. And, it’s not always easy but I’m up for the challenge and like ODCHS, the people are awesome … so there you have it.

And, no … I cannot design a site for you. But, ask me another day.  Who knows?

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7.3.2015 Let’s eat out

My husband, Tom, and I enjoy eating out. Of late, we have become more critical. Perhaps it’s because we’re in our mid to upper sixties. Perhaps it’s because we expect whatever we order to be better or at least different that what can prepare at home. Granted, we aren’t eating at restaurants who offer an obscure cuisine  – but more common fares, like steakhouses, Chinese restaurants, and Mexican restaurants.

Today we ate at a new steakhouse restaurant in a nearby town. Because my husband loves, loves, loves steak, I thought it would be a nice treat since we’ve been pretty busy lately. The parking lot at 11:15 in the morning, a mere fifteen minutes after they unlocked the doors, was packed. We walked in and were immediately greeted with loud music (a pet peeve of mine) and a cubby lined with hard benches for those who had the foresight to arrive earlier than we did. I was given a buzzer and told it would be about fifteen minutes. I didn’t buy it, but we decided to wait anyway. There were menus available while we waited – what a good idea! – and I began to peruse what was available. I quickly found the salad section and, though the name was different, I found one of my favorites – Black and Blue Salad – strips of perfectly cooked steak, fresh lettuce (I prefer a spring mix or other healthy green), tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, and croutons. My dressing of choice would be some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper. The restaurant had their take on my beloved Black and Blue and it was pretty standard, dare I say blah? The steak was unseasoned, the Romaine lettuce was fine, but as I said I prefer a healthier green, but was grateful it wasn’t head lettuce. The tomatoes were sadly not very tomatoe-y … with all the local farmer’s markets, I was shocked at the pale color of the minutely diced hothouse variety of tomatoes. After having tomatoes from roadside stands that dot the entire community, I was pretty bummed by the flavorless tomatoes I was served. There was plenty of bleu cheese, for which I am eternally grateful – it is my go to cheese! There was a smattering of croutons which had more flavor than I expected. I think the salad dressing was the biggest disappointment – the menu said homemade and again … blah, blah, blah. The menu said it came with Italian, but I was served creamy Italian which I would have changed. I hate creamy Italian and theirs was, by far, one of the worse I’ve ever had. No flavor. I don’t think I’ve ever – in my entire life – had to add salt and pepper to my salad dressing!!!

So, let’s move onto Tom’s experience. First of all, when the waitress arrived, she asked if he wanted to order an appetizer, he surprised me by saying, “Yes.” We rarely order appetizers, preferring to save our caloric intake for our meal. He then ordered a steak (no surprise there!) and selected his two sides – a side salad and a baked sweet potato. We were a little taken aback when his side salad arrived before his appetizers. The appetizer arrived before he finished his salad and very shortly thereafter, his steak/potato and my salad arrived. He pushed his appetizers aside to eat his steak. He told me the appetizers were pretty greasy and again, not much flavor. In their defense, all the food in the appetizer combo were deep-fried and covered in cheese. Tom would have eaten more than one of the potato skins and more of the hot wings had his meal not arrived. We thought it was odd to receive his salad before the appetizer and that his meal was served before he could even finish the appetizer.

But, his steak was perfectly cooked, though seriously lacking seasoning. And, the butter for his sweet potato was nothing except processed grease … why do restaurants insist on serving a Country Crock-type of margarine instead of real butter? I’d pay extra for real butter.

So, there you have it … oh, I could have prepared a fabulous dinner for six with the money we spent on lunch today.

When we left, I asked Tom to rate the restaurant on a scale of one to five, five being awesome. Tom = 2 / Me = 2.5

A Facebook friend suggested another roadhouse … we’ll try that one next.