Mid-Month Marvels: Frontline Foods

What a brilliant way to support healthcare workers and restaurants during COVID-19!

A recurring theme in this blog is the celebration of people and/or organizations that have a positive impact on their communities. What they do is not easy, but it’s inspirational, and we don’t hear enough about them. So I’ve decided to commit to singing their praises at least once a month. I’ll be calling it Mid-Month Marvels. If you have any suggestions for the focus of this monthly spotlight, let me know in the comments below!

Sometimes the simplest, most straightforward ideas lead to the most effective organizations. Here’s the concept: Healthcare workers are overwhelmed during our current pandemic, and restaurants are struggling to stay open due to social distancing. So why not come up with an organization that provides healthcare workers with meals from local eateries that are paid for by donors? Win/win! The emergency room staff gets a free meal, and the restaurant gets paid for their delicious food.

And from just such a thought process, Frontline Foods was born. As of this writing, it’s in 30 US cities, and could easily expand to others, so check it out. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities, and of course you can donate either to a local chapter, or nationally, so that the money will go where it’s most needed.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting this very worthy and brilliant organization, to show our healthcare workers and our restaurants how much we appreciate them! Thank you!

Frontline Foods

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Vancouver Food

One of the best things about Vancouver, Canada, is the food. It’s a city by the sea, and it’s very much an international town. That bodes well for seafood, as well as Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, First Nations, Italian, Greek… you name it, they have it in Vancouver.

I’m told the best things to eat during a visit are salmon and sushi. And I’ve read that the sushi is much more affordably priced than anything you can find in an American metropolis. I wouldn’t know, not being a sushi person myself. But the salmon? Yes please. And keep it coming!

Vancouver is surrounded by farm country as well, so if you have a chance to eat fresh, seasonal produce and dairy products, do so. You’ll notice the difference. Make yourself a picnic lunch and eat it in Stanley Park, while taking in the view. There could be no better dining experience than that!

Whenever I travel, I try to avoid chain restaurants. I like to support the local economy. I also know that starting a Mom and Pop restaurant is a risky proposition at best, so it feels good to lend them a hand whenever possible. Some of the most delightful meals I’ve ever eaten have been possible because of this practice. It’s not as much of a risk as it used to be, because we all have access to on-line reviews.

So, do your homework, and get out there and dive into the culinary richness of Vancouver. You’ll be glad you did.

Vancouver Food

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Real Cities

The other day I was looking up the hours of operation of my local library branch in my newly adopted city of Seattle, and I discovered it is open seven days a week. I have to admit I started to giggle. Jacksonville, Florida, with nearly twice the area population, can barely manage to keep its libraries open five days a week, and is constantly threatening to close branches.

My late boyfriend used to call Jacksonville a truck stop that got out of control. I agree wholeheartedly. Jacksonville isn’t a real city. It’s the place Yankees drive through without stopping on their way to Disney World.

Seattle is a real city. It actually has public transportation. Jacksonville’s buses to nowhere are pathetic on the best of days. And Seattle’s mom and pop restaurants outnumber its McDonalds. Jacksonville is actually the home of the very first Burger King, and fast food places seem to crop up over night like mushrooms.

Seattle’s downtown is packed with people. There’s a constant hustle and bustle. In Jacksonville you could fire a cannon down the center of main street most nights after 8 pm and not hit a soul.

I think the reason Seattle doesn’t feel like home to me yet is that I get a city vibe from it, and usually I only get that feeling when I’m a tourist and I’m visiting Paris or Amsterdam or Toronto. I keep expecting to have to head to an airport and fly back to Nowheresville sooner or later. And every time I remind myself that that isn’t the case, I’m thrilled beyond words.


[Image credit: sactrips.com]


My Gift to Myself

For many years now I have been setting aside 45 dollars a month to give myself a gift when I turn 50. Just a sort of thank you for having been on the planet for that long, for having survived with at least a modicum of sanity and good health, for having taken care of myself. By then I think I will have earned it.

When the time comes, I plan to take all that money and spend three weeks in Italy. First I’d like to rent a villa on the Amalfi Coast, and explore Pompeii and Naples. I plan to sit in the sun and do nothing at all. Just watch people, become a regular at a cafe, if only for a few days, eat good food, and bask like a lizard on a hot rock. I want Italy to soak into my skin.

Next, I will go to Rome, and not do as the Romans do, because I’m sure they don’t spend their time seeing all the sights and focusing on the history that surrounds them every day. I will be the typical tourist in Rome, and make no apologies for it. I want to see the coliseum, sit on the Spanish steps, eat entirely too much gelato, and tour the Vatican City.

After that, it will be on to Florence. Ah, Firenze! There, I will focus on the architecture. I want to take photographs, and maybe even draw what I see. I have no drawing experience. I’m sure these drawings will be horrible. But I will take them home and frame them because there could be no better souvenir than a horrible drawing that takes you right back to the very moment it was drawn every time you look at it.

But the bulk of my money will be spent, I’m sure, in Venice. I want to live there like a woman of the upper classes. I want a room with a view of the Grand Canal. I want to wear beautiful flowing clothing that I buy in the city. I want to eat at the finest restaurants. My focus there will be art. I will walk slowly through the galleries and savor the creativity. I want to slowly luxuriate in all the best and most beautiful things in life.

One cannot plan these things, of course, but if I’m not in a relationship at that time, I’d like to fall in love–just for a day or two, and preferably with someone who would be facing the same language barrier that I am. Communication has a nasty habit of ruining the fantasy. I simply want to be enveloped in an Italian aura, and then go home and have people remark that occasionally I get a smile on my face that no one but me will understand.

I’m looking forward to turning 50.