How you Roast Marshmallows says a lot about you!

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Group Fun Roasting Marshmallows!

Whoever thought that roasting and eating marshmallows was a simple proposition has missed the point. While watching my friends, I decided there definitely are styles and preferences when it comes to this almost lost art. See what it may tell others about you.

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The golden brown marshmallow.

Do you roast your marshmallow a light golden tan and then take pleasure in putting the whole mallow into your mouth and sinking down on the sweet warm center? That puts you in the sensual category. You want to cut to the chase and get down to business as soon as possible. Once you get what you want, you savor each perfect creamy bite.

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Yum — the succulent center!

Or do you fancy a crisp outer covering with a tinge of black? Do you delight in the crust and pull it carefully off the barely warm ball that still clings to the roasting stick? And while you devour that first crunchy mouthful, do you carefully turn the mini-mallow over the fire until it, too, turns dark and crispy? Then you pop its succulent remains into your mouth while grabbing a second marshmallow and repeating the same procedure all over again.

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The crunchy black outer covering.

If this describes your style, you love the process even more than the finished product. You are fun-loving and adventurous. You like being around people and are usually willing to wait for gratification and pleasure. You like to get involved and tackle life’s challenges with zest.

The third type of roaster has distaste for anything sticky or messy. Cautiously they pierce their mallow (or wiener as the case may be) with a stick and then proceed to wipe their chalky fingers on the nearest item available; usually their partner’s pants or on someone else’s shirt.

They stab at the fire a few times trying to find the perfect “hot spot;” and in the process, drop their mallow (or wiener) into the fire where they snatch it back just in time, but not before it’s partially covered in ash. Is this you?

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You’re obviously not a rugged wilderness person. When you finally get your mallow roasted, you seldom want to eat it. But give you a snack from the Ritz or hordevores on a toothpick and you’re happy as a clam. Better yet, give you a dish of crème brû∙lée and a spoon and you’re all smiles.

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But he’s sooo cute!

You’re a high flyer that disdains the lowly practice of roasting marshmallows or wieners. You’re willing to give it a half-hearted attempt and simply go along to get along.

There may be other roasting styles and personality types I’ve missed. If you have a unique story to tell, I’d love to hear it!

Don’t Mess with Mother Nature. She always wins!

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Florida is the lightening capital of the world, or so they say. In truth, it is the lightning capital of the United States; and Central Florida from Tampa to Titusville has the added distinction of being known as “Lightning Alley.”

There are more lightening deaths and injuries per year in Florida than anywhere else. That’s why when the thunder rolls and the sky darkens, you’ll find me running for cover. If we’re out walking, we scurry home. If we’re in the car, we find a temporary stopping place. I believe Dorothy literally when she said in the Wizard of Oz “There’s no place like home.”

But unlike the girl from Kansas, I don’t have any magic shoes to click and whisk me home. What I do have is common sense. Most year-round residents do. It’s the poor tourists that are hit by lightening more than any other group. Either they’re not familiar with our warning sirens or they don’t take them seriously.

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The most recent lightning mishap occurred on Fort Myer’s Beach on a cloudy day. In this case, it was Local residents not tourists, a group of family and friends, who were seemingly unaware of the weather’s potential danger. Instead of heading for cover, they continued to play on the beach. Out of the blue, a flame thrower struck one man in the head killing him instantly, and another lightning rod hit a young man, who ended up in ICU in a comatose state; his girlfriend standing nearby was burned. The prognosis for him was not good. The wagging tongues whispered what everyone feared: death or brain damage; quite possibly paralysis. The girlfriend was listed in fair condition.

Miraculously, the boyfriend eventually walked out of the hospital wiser but saddened by the death of their older male friend.

According to Naples Daily News, “Earth Networks’ Total Lighting Network detected 4,556 lightning flashes and 715 cloud-to-ground strikes within a 10 mile radius of Fort Myers Beach on Tuesday, between 11 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.

 “Within 50 miles of the Fort Myers beach, there were 16,622 flashes, with 2,372 cloud-to-ground strikes. “The first lightning strike within 10 miles of Fort Myers Beach happened at 12:11 p.m., just less than two hours before the deadly strike. 

“Another strong storm cell, featuring a significant amount of lightning, developed just north of Fort Myers Beach about 69 minutes before the fatal strike.” 

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If you’ve never witnessed a Florida lightning bolt spread its fiery veins across the sky and throw its jagged spear of flames to the earth you’re in for a surprise. It gives new meaning to the expression: “Don’t mess with Mother Nature.”

Remember the old movies during the fifties when the announcer said: “Duck and Cover.” These sentiments were repeated in every classroom across the country and in short film clips at local theaters. Ironically, these drills were performed to protect citizens from threat of nuclear attack or falling bombs. In those days, people headed underground for homemade bomb shelters or to public places that were designated safe. 

Perhaps we should resume these safety drills considering the number of natural disasters that occur each year. We should be prepared and protected from tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods; and in today’s modern world from terrorist attacks, street riots and sniper fire. We live in a precarious world with an environment that is powerful and unpredictable.

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In the case of lightening, you don’t want to be the only target standing in an open field, golf course, beach or street; a human tree exposed and vulnerable. Perhaps when the skies threaten, we should all duck and cover and seek protection.  When the thunder sounds, those are your marching orders to head for safety!

I’m not recommending living a reclusive life tucked away from all danger. But I am saying we must know the risks and how to protect ourselves. Living smart means keeping your eyes and ears opened and staying attuned to the warning signs posted on the ground, in the airwaves, and on the news.

What can’t you Buy on the Internet?

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"Lady Luck" 11 x 14 in box frame

“Lady Luck” 11 x 14 in box frame

You can find almost anything on Amazon.com from their mainstay books to clothing and furniture items. If you want it, you can find it on the Internet. E-Bay still holds sway for many who want cut-rate prices and a chance to bid on rare or longed-for items. Bargains are what it’s all about.

I sell on Etsy and find that buyers are comparing prices to find the quality they want at the lowest cost. I get several inquiries before an order lands. Sometimes I offer free shipping in order to beat the competition, but then the profit margin is slim.

Popeye trinket dish

Popeye trinket dish

Mainstream book stores such as Borders, Barnes and Noble and Best Buy have been added to a long list of closings that have either happened in some locations or are about too. There is an alphabet soup of sad failures affected not only by the economy, but by internet buying habits.

Here are a few more: Aldi, Big Lots, Blockbuster, Bloomingdales, Best Buy, Bath and Body Works, Coldwater Creek, Dillard’s, Hallmark, the Gap, Kirkland’s, J.C. Penney, J. Crew, Hooters, JoAnn Fabrics and this only takes us to the letter “F.” There are many more companies going broke from A-Z.

What is behind this phenomenon? For one thing, people have less time. A friend of mine needed a small light bulb for an overhead projector. He went to several Office Supply stores and hardware stores in the area to find this size specific light. When he came back empty handed after having spent two hours and a sizable amount of gas, he searched online. Voila! He ordered three bulbs at $5 each and then paid an additional $18 in shipping just to get them here before his scheduled event. In today’s world, time is money.

As an artist, I’ve had difficulty getting the brands of acrylic and oil paints I want from the usual hobby stores here in town. I always find what I want online and with more colors and choices. My order arrives within a week, and the cost is either the same as locally or cheaper.

Olive Oyl hand puppet

Olive Oyl hand puppet

When I shop, I have a clear image in mind of what I want and need. I dislike store hopping which may consume large chunks of time I don’t have. I can go online and search for exactly what I want and find it in a matter of minutes.

The rate of book store closings is alarming. Again, I can download a book to my Kindle without leaving home. I can even do it from work. How easy is that? Even Libraries have learned how to adapt to the changing market. Their big draw is that their items are FREE. The drawback is you still have to return most of what you borrow and they still charge overdue fees.

While dining at a restaurant, I admired the pearl tie that our waitress was wearing. “Where’d you get that lovely necklace,” I asked?

“On the internet,” she replied with a smirk, “for only $7.99, plus shipping.”

There’s the catch! Sometimes the shipping may cost more than the item you purchase. The profit has to be built in somewhere, and shipping and “handling,” is one way. Handling includes the cost of the packaging, gas to take it where it can be mailed, and any other costs the manufacturer wants to attach to it. We are willing to pay for it because the item is cheap, and we want our purchase in a hurry.

The internet has opened up a new world of things to choose from. We no longer have to settle for what’s on sale or the usual end-of-season junk. We can click on “Search” and find exactly what we want at a price we can afford.

Popeye - Olive Oyl salt 'n pepper shakers

Popeye – Olive Oyl salt ‘n pepper shakers

What will happen to retail stores that must stock a huge inventory in order to compete? They will either find a way to adjust to the new market or go under. Most stores have online sites where customers may browse and purchase what they are familiar with. A sizable portion of sales comes from this source, especially during the holidays.

There’s a lesson to be learned for all of us. In a changing world, we need to adapt to the fluid market if we’re going to stay in business. In our personal lives, we also need to go with the flow of changing rhythms and trends if we’re to stay afloat. Otherwise, we may end up on that alphabetized list of failing businesses and fractured families.