Garage sales (mine ended yesterday) are interesting activities. A lot of work for minimum profit. Several over the years netted me a pretty fair return, but for the most part you have people dropping a quarter in your hand and waiting for change before walking off with your $80 deep fryer. It is, however, a good way to get to know your neighbors if new to an area, and an excellent way to clean out your garage culling out all those shower caps you’ve been collecting from hotels since you were in elementary school. People buy the oddest things. One older gentleman, probably pushing ninety, contributed to my cash box by purchasing a gift bag and a hat with Mickey Mouse ears on it for his fiance. Interesting.
Several people offered up general advice for having a sale. One lady said she put up a sign once her sale had concluded reading “garage sale over – please help yourself” believing this would be a good way to eliminate whatever items hadn’t sold. Unfortunately, she didn’t state specifically this did not include personal possessions in her garden such as large decorative milk cans and plants, or the folding catering tables she’d used for display. When she came out from eating her lunch there was nothing left standing in the yard but her oak tree. Spying her cat behind the fence, she said she was thankful to find him still there. Hmmmm. I will not be doing this. Boo the Cat might not be so lucky.
The first morning of my sale, a man followed along with his wife gathering this and that filling the bowl of a hat also for sale. Once his wife had her desired pile of goodies, we added them up and she paid for them. They turned to walk off without him paying for the collection in the hat. Vacillating between letting them go, and saying something, I finally mentioned politely they had overlooked what was owed, and shuffling back he begrudgingly peeled off eight ones from a huge wad of bills retrieved from his pocket. Someone mentioned they were dealers who frequented garage sales as a business. Really?
One of my least favorite traits in a friend or a mate is penny pinching. I do not mean frugality, that I admire, but truly miserly behavior. I shared space with a man back in the day who owned the first dollar his grandmother gave him for Christmas. He was quite well to do, undoubtedly because any money that came his way he held on tightly to. I often wondered if he enjoyed any of it. When he suggested splitting the check, it was in the most literal sense. If the check came to, say, $4.60, my portion of it would be exactly $2.30. Once I asked if I could share a few of his fries He chose four and handed them to me, and helped himself to four onion rings from my plate. If you are asking yourself why I continued to go out with him, you’d be three thousand and forty-two times behind me. I made the mistake of accepting an invitation from him to take a 7-day cruise departing from Miami with stops in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. His gift to me was to be the cruise itself, and I was to cover my airfare, this after dating well over a year. Although I am basically a bit old school when it comes to the gentleman paying if he is the one initiating a get together, I am not going to fight change. If that is the understanding going in, I am more than willing to pay my fair share.
Shipboard, most activities including the fabulous buffets appearing every fifteen minutes on deck, fall under the umbrella of the cruise package. Adult beverages, and purchases such as gift store items, or beauty salon/spa type charges accrued are extra. During the port layovers numerous tours and excursions are available varying in price for those interested in great shopping tours, snorkeling, or sightseeing. In Key West I sat on the wall at the Hemingway home site and actually got a glimpse of the famous cats lounging territorially about the lush tropical grounds. I did not actually see inside the gates because the tour required an outlay of $12, give or take, per person and my traveling companion found this too stiff a penalty to pay for viewing a small piece of history. Looking back I should have gone in alone, but I was young and still working out what being a full-grown person encompassed so I chose not to leave him but to climb the fence instead, an indication of my maturity level in my early thirties. Apparently, like a gooey biscuit, I was not done yet.
Key West itself was sultry and hot during midday, but I soon was caught up in its spell. Intimate bistros lined the streets emitting delicious smells to tantalize my nostrils. Before long my nose was sending urgent signals to my stomach requesting food be sent down, so I suggested stopping somewhere for lunch. As food was “free” shipboard, we passed all the colorful umbrellas, clinking glasses, and laughing patrons enjoying their meals, to instead have a hot dog by the pool on board along with several college students nursing terminal hangovers, and three octogenarian teachers from Tulsa, Oklahoma keeping themselves cool with decorative hand-held fans such as one might find in the Orient. I am woman hear me roar.
It was summer break that week so nearing the pool was nearly impossible. A ring of bronzed, tequila fueled college students held fast the borders of the glistening waters and even if you made it through their ranks once submerged you were liable to be taken out by an unexpected cannonball or a taut body torpedoing in from the water slide. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em was my motto, so I put my life on the line and took several turns shooting down the tube with them, and then retired to a chaise lounge to see if all my appendages were still permanently attached to my body.
Cozumel was our next and last port of call. Typical of a scruffy little Mexican port it was comprised of touristy shops, bars, and graffiti adorned buildings. Beyond the city limits, however, it shined like a diamond in the rough surrounded by the most glorious clear aqua waters. Gorgeous. Known for the Mayan ruins, I was particularly up for that excursion. These tours were expensive, making Hemingway’s mansion appear almost free. Sooooo, we took a $5 cab to the small town and dickered over the price of blankets and dolls to take home. In the end the most excitement we had on land was the cab ride and wading on the beach. Once again found ourselves shipboard sharing space with Olive, Ada and Jean-Marie from Tulsa, lovely ladies almost beginning to feel like family.
Life, in this small woman’s estimation is to be tasted fully and savored, not sniffed at or nibbled upon.
This bread is coarse and flavorful. I like to serve it hot with garlic butter or cold with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.
Savory Zucchini Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 Roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/8 cup Italian seasoning
3/4 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tomato slices, thin
1/8 cup Asiago cheese, shredded, for top
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, tomato, green onions, Italian seasoning, and cheese. Toss well to combine.
In separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and vinegar.
Fold into dry ingredients. Batter will be very thick.
Bake for 75 mins. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 12 mins. Invert and let cool for 40 mins. Slice and serve with butter, toasted, or with dipping sauces.