Mail from home and other odds and ends


(This, on the frig. If you’re in one of those Super Tuesday states, it would be a great day to VOTE!)

Have I mentioned the nature of the United States Postal Service as it operates in Chicago? It’s unique. Mail is delivered on even numbered Wednesdays, every other Friday and the first Monday of the month. Very important mail is hidden inside the neighbor’s Victoria Secret catalog. No mail is forwarded. There are clear indications that the mailman “goes postal” at our mail slot; much of the mail that is delivered is shredded, with half the envelope on the rainy door mat outside and the other half in tatters on the inside. After that, the mailman is tuckered out and he can frequently be seen napping in his truck outside, while blocking access to the alley drive.

Rather than ask this gentleman to do more work, we’ve opted to have our neighbor MAIL our mail to Florida during the winter. We buy prepaid flat rate boxes and once a week she sifts through all the catalogs for hidden tax documents and bank statements and sends it off. Down here, we get pizza coupons in the mailbox 5 days a week and then, on Thursdays, the doorbell rings and our pleasant mail person here hands me an eight pound box of mail. It’s a process, of sorts.


(this pile includes my ABSENTEE BALLOT. Rich says they don’t even count them unless it’s too close to call. Too costly. Sigh. I voted, in any case.)

Last week, I got this e-mail from my neighbor, word for word:

There was a package outside your door from Jane in Indiana that was marked perishable – so I ate it. Hope you don’t mind. What I actually did was put the entire package in your refrigerator. Will you ask Lee to mail it?

Killed a rat last Monday night. First one we’ve seen in a year. Big, big sucker, really had some heft to it when I gift-wrapped it for the trash. The previous Sunday, Donna exited the garage ahead of me and the beast damn near ran over her foot. I knew it right away because Donna shrieked in a way I never heard before, and never want to hear again.

Some good snow on the ground, real purty, and you probably already know it’s been colder’n shit, which doesn’t sound logical but you know what I mean.

Hope all is well with you.

We miss these neighbors, a lot. They’ve already been down once earlier in the year and we’re hoping they’re coming again. Anyway, Lee did mail the package from Jane along with the week’s mail and this is what came:


As though we needed 3 pounds of the most delicious, delectable peanut butter fudge with strong overtones of caramel. Oh my, oh my, oh my. I’m headed over to Jane’s to explain the delay in thanking her. The mail thing and then the time it took to recover from the sugar buzz.

Amy and Judy had a lovely time; me, too. The original plan was for a long weekend but as Judy sort of melted into the porch furniture and announced that she was relaxed for the first time since Fred had died I urged her to stay. Then Amy was jealous so she stayed too and we had even more wonderful time together. Amy wanted to see the manatees and we went every day, sometimes twice, down to the Bayou. I kept track of the tide schedules, too. No manatee. Yesterday I went down and there were nine, of all shapes and sizes, lolling about right at the wall. Hopefully, it’s been so long since I updated that no one, including Amy, comes by to read anymore.


(contains important dietary fiber and vitamins. And something called Hynotique)

Anyway, while Amy and Judy were here we didn’t eat just fudge. We ate some local fruit, too. Star fruit, scavenged from the neighbor’s tree, is extremely high in fiber. And shellfish, with it’s heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and long considered “brainfood”, figured heavily into our diet. Now that they are gone, I’m eating the contents of my earth boxes in an effort to lose weight. Speaking of earth boxes, I need to bring you an update on another blog friend, met “live” for the first time the other day. She’s wonderful and I see dinner in our near future.


(AllUCanEat, Tuesdays at the Fourth Street Shrimp Store)

I mentioned that both Mr. and Mrs. Hannibal were back on the scene. This is their 4th year but this year they are having to rebuild. The branch that normally holds their enormous nest came down in a storm. I was concerned that they might move on but they haven’t. The days are full of calling and crying to one another as they bring small branches to the new nest. It’s quite small for them, probably a work in progress. Mrs. Hannibal is huge and frequently puffed up and that leads me to think she is close to laying eggs, if not actively doing so. This is the week when she usually does. I’ll try to get some better pictures of them soon.


(There’s some heft to the missus these days. McCloud is laying low, as usual)


(working on the new nest, right near the site of the old one that blew down.)


(all that effort requires nourishment)


20 responses to “Mail from home and other odds and ends

  1. It’s good to hear from you again and all that you’ve been doing. It sounds like your friends had a wonderful time. I know that being with you must have been good for the soul.

    Oh, fudge! It looks wonderful.

    I’m going to come over to St. Pete Thursday afternoon to attend a support group in the evening. Can I take you out to supper?

  2. Happy Super Tuesday ๐Ÿ˜‰ I work with a gal who brings peanut butter fudge about once a week, on a whim. Nirvana.

  3. Ummmmm…that fudge just woke my tummy up with a grumble!

    And then the crab legs?! Have mercy.

  4. You’re back! I missed you.

    I love fudge. But for God’s sake don’t send me any.

  5. I can’t visit you in FL but I can mail you a birdhouse. I think you’ll have to put it up far, far away from the Hannibals, por favor.

  6. That fudge does look delectable. As does the food! If you are back in Chicago when I come…we must eat like that, or something like that. I don’t know.

    So I thought you’d find it funny that since we’ve met, its been like the 6 degrees of Vicki. Or I should say Vicki’s son. Or maybe you. The whole 6 degrees thing has me confused and I was never good at it. I realized in the past few months that two of my music friends are actually two people in D’s band. Yeah…it took us awhile to put two and two together. Of these things…we’re not too bright I guess. But put us on a stage and let us play some music ๐Ÿ™‚ and we’re good to go.

  7. Meeta- that doesn’t surprise me. I was talking about you to Dan and he seemed to know who you were. ๐Ÿ™‚
    And no, we can’t eat like that in Chicago. Not without remortgaging the house. Endless crab is 23.00 here. One crab claw is 26.99 in Chicago.

  8. Star fruit IS some punkins. Got to remember to lay some in.

  9. Those are some good looking crab legs, but I bet you wish you were here in 16 degree weather eating paczki instead.

  10. Star fruit, shellfish and peanut butter fudge? Sounds yummy to me. It’s King Cake here tonight.

    So, you didn’t get to vote in your primary?

  11. Karen- No. It was no contest in Illinois, so I guess they won’t go to the expense to count my vote. But I DID cast my ballot. King cake is a wonderful tradition to mark the beginning of the lenten season. One of my very favorite bloggers (who no longer blogs but sometimes comes by to leave a fiesty verse or two, I wonder where she is?) always has King cake.

  12. I had King Cake today and also other yummy Cajun dishes. That fudge looks delectable. You had already told me about the hit or miss postal service in Chicago. Florida would be delightful this time of year. Alison and I both voted in the primary; she was so excited. Now my husband tells me that our state has caucuses(sp?) so I’m not sure our votes even count. We won’t tell Alison though. We both voted for the same person too!

  13. I voted. Happy Super Fat Tuesday (how’s that for mixing your metaphors?). Glad to hear you are alive and well and eating fudge. Although, I must say fudge is fine and all but the seafood picture made me whimper.

  14. Love the pic at the top! But all the food pix and mentions are making me lose my resolve not to eat anything more tonight. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  15. We have our neighbor mailing us our mail too, but she doesn’t write notes as funny as the one your neighbor sends.

    I like Mr. and Mrs. Hannibal and their nest-building endeavors. It occurred to me while reading this that the two different Red-shouldered hawks we have been watching in our neighborhood are probably a pair. We don’t see them together, but they are definitely hunting the same areas of town.

  16. There’s no sensible reason for that crab to cost more in Chicagograd. Those are not native Florida crabs, they’re Bering Sea critters and Chitown is closer to the source.
    Your hawks are great neighbors. Good to have you back.

  17. I’m excited to see your hawks back!

    None of my friends ever send fudge. boo.

    Thanks for asking Vicki – the weather was just big and dark with rain; no tornadoes here.

  18. I know where the manatees went. They traveled over to the other side of the bay near the warm water discharge from the power plant. Nathan flew Prof. Carlson over to monitor the grass beds and to see how many manatees they could see from the air. Nate said there were hundreds. The manatees are not traveling south as much as they used to since they have the warm fresh water area. They said the grass beds looked good and were ample for now for all the hungry manatees.
    Also, have you been to the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa? I just visited on my short stay in Palm Harbor. It was wonderful. My daughter is a member.
    Saw some beautiful, thankful cats.

    I LOVE the 4th Street Shirmp Store…

  19. PS You can’t get rid of us that quickly.

  20. I was also going to suggest seeing the Manatees at the Big Bend Power Plant in Hillsborough County, Apollo Beach to be exact. Take I275 south over the Skyway (stop and pick me up) and then, get off on US 41. Go north on US 41 past Ruskin (started by socialists and named after John Ruskin) through Apollo Beach to Big Bend Road. You will see hte power plant on your left. Head towards it and follow the signs to the Manatee viewing area. Its a cool place this time of year, well, cool to us, warm to the Manatees.

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