Wednesday, January 02, 2008

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #48 -- 2007 in Review


This blog serves as my well organized journal and has enabled me to look over the past year and savour the highlights.

1. My mom’s health. She gave us a pair of serious health scares in 2006, but her health has held steady this year. Which is great news, because she's still my mommy.

2. My cats. All three of them are healthy and happy. These are my babies, and I'm grateful that they're fine.

3. The 2007 NL Central Division Champion Chicago Cubs. What an amazing season! What a terrific cast of characters! These guys were a gas and a giggle and spring can't get here fast enough.

4. Elizabeth Edwards’ book. This book had a tremendous impact on me. Her unflinching honesty and her willingness to face and share her pain … how she embraces others when she needs help … Maybe I just picked up this book at a time in my life when I was receptive to her message, but I know I'm a different woman now than I was when I began it.

5. My three mini-getaways. I got away more than once this year, each trip for just a few days at a time, and all three trips left me feeling rejuvenated. I just got back from Key West, in November I visited Lincoln's Springfield, and in the spring I went to Chateau Elan. I recommend all three destinations to everyone!

6. Greg Maddux finds a home with the Padres. He's got a contract to play another year and in the NL, too!

7. Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards. As I write this, the Iowa caucus hasn't happened yet. If I was a caucus goer, I'm not sure which one I'd support. But I do know this: I could proudly cast my vote for any of these three. (Biden, too.) It's a good and hopeful time to be a Democrat. I feel optimistic for my country again.

8. Getting my health in order (somewhat). OK, so I look like a fat pigeon. But there is still a bright side: My anti-depressants are working, my skin is finally clear, my teeth and gums are in good shape, and my cholesterol is in line.

9. Waitress. Last year it was Little Mary Sunshine. This year the “little” movie that captured my heart was Waitress. It’s out on DVD. Rent it!

10. Memory Almost Full and Magic. Two of my all-time favorite artists came out with personal and introspective new music this year. For me, the highlight of Paul McCartney's CD was "That Was Me." And the Boss touched me with "Long Walk Home."

11. Jersey Boys. This multi Tony winner deserves all the awards and praise it's received. For all that I know of The Four Seasons' songs, I knew nothing of their colorful and very dramatic beginnings. It's both gritty and glitzy and very well staged. If you can get a ticket, GO!

12. Good friends. This is the family I chose. I adore each and every one of them, and I realize -- and am grateful for -- each time they've kept me afloat in 2007.

13. All that this blog brought me. I feel like a real member of the blogosphere, and want to thank all of you who visit often, listen, comment and send positive wishes my way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And now I raise my glass in a toast to a terrific 2008! And thanks to Boho Rap for the new banner.

Include your link in the comments and I'll add you here:

1) Susiej shares 13 easy yet thoughtful tips for writing the perfect thank you note
2) Look to Pjazzypar for 13 very funny quotes from comics
3) Ellen B gives timely props to a great American character
4) Malcolm shows us how Bo Diddley is relevant today
5) Sandy Carlson looks back on the role of faith in 2007
6) Nicholas tours his DVD collection
7) Greatfullivin takes on criticism
8) Robin prepares us to battle coughs and sniffles
9) The Pink Flamingo wouldn't load for me. But go visit and let me know what she says.
10) Nicole Austin has a wise and witty TT about (sigh) men
11) The No Nonsense Girl has ambitious plans for 2008
12) Jenny McB is back! Check out her thoughts, musings and "resolutions."
13) Janet has a new look
14) Lori's TT is the most popular resolutions, and I just know yours will be among them
15) Army Wife shares her poetic side
16) Wacky Mommy brings us along to Costco
17) Damozel updates us on 2007's real news stories (meaning, no Britney or Paris)
18) Natalie reminds herself (and us) how to be healthier and more fit in 2008
19) Joy Is My Goal needs our help! She got $$ for Christmas and can't figure which of these 13 things to spend it on.
20) Yen has a movie TT, and you know how I love movie TTs!
21) Deanna shares her collection of Disney toys
22) Nadiah lists her plans for 2008
23) Patti has a TT brought to us by the letter A
24) Emerald City Guy has some new year's resolutions that are uniquely his
25) Harlekwin (she who designed my new TT banner) shares her plans for 2008
26) Danielle is planning for Valentine's Day already
27) Karen -- Georgia Angel shares her wish list
28) Linda R. Moore introduces her roadmap to a successful 2008

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

In praise of Captain Tony's

This is my favorite bar in Key West. That's saying a lot, because there are many, MANY bars on that island. Yet for me, nothing sums up the mood of Key West more than this old bar.

In the 1930s it was the original site of Sloppy Joe's, Hemingway's favorite haunt. But this bar had a rich history even before Papa arrived, and it all has an impact on the place's unique vibe.

First of all, there's a tree growing in the middle of the place. Really. The first building known to be on this site was a morgue. The tree was "the hanging tree," where those found guilty met their demise. Locals believed that removing the tree would disrupt the evil spirits that died there, so the bar (complete with cigar store and bordello) was built around the huge tree. Forget hurricanes. The hanging tree has survived at least since the 1880s. I guess Mother Nature doesn't want to disturb the evil spirits, either.

As if drinking in a dark, breezy establishment with a tree growing in the middle isn't strange enough, let me describe the decor. All the chairs and most of the barstools are torn, with stuffing showing. The walls are covered with business cards, many of them curled and yellowing with antiquity. There are bras hanging from the ceiling (some are autographed) and license plates from "the mainland" nailed to the rafters. No, I don't know why. 

I used to try to figure out what the hanging tree, the bras, the business cards and the license plates have in common. Then I gave up. 

It's just Key West.