A Picnic for Ants

A revelation

Issued an invitation

To all hungry ants

Disturb not my lunch,

I’ll provide a crust of bread

Instead, to tempt you

Nibble and carry

To the depths of your abode

Tell your queen my name

Covid has resulted in the addition of many al fresco dining opportunities at local restaurants. My favorite place, Sweet Pea Cafe, in Tallahassee, serves up terrific vegan food and guests are invited to dine on picnic tables scattered about the outdoor area of the premises.

I dislike eating in my car, so even on the hottest days I gravitate to one of the shadiest tables and read as I eat. There’s only one problem: Ants. The ants also love the shady tables and they were interrupting my reading as I continually had to shoo them away from my food.

Rather than fight for my right to enjoy an ant-free lunch I decided to encourage the little guys to focus their attention elsewhere by providing a small bit of bread placed on an adjacent slat of the table. Now their antics provide a dinner show as they gather round the bread, sharing their information up and down the line, and taking pieces of their discovery back to their nest.

Once I’ve finished my lunch I carefully relocate the bread, or what’s left of it, to a space a few feet from the picnic table, hoping the attached ants will inform their brethren of its new location. Call me crazy, but it’s worked every time. I can read as much as I want while also getting a wonderful performance.

All pictures were found on Pinterest because I keep forgetting to snap photos when I’m there.

Peace, people.

Sweet Pea Specials

Since switching to a vegan diet I’ve become a frequent diner at Sweet Pea Cafe in Tallahassee. I have favorite dishes—the Caesar Wrap is one, and Rancheros is another, but I give a thumbs up to everything on their menu. It’s all vegan, all the time.

The specials board never fails to make me smile even if I’m not enticed to try what’s listed. I’m a messy person and sometimes the special isn’t suited to dining in one’s car.

Today’s specials were particularly inventive.

The BBQ Streisand was tempting, but I could well imagine the resulting bbq splotches on my tee shirt.

If you live anywhere near Tallahassee pay this little unassuming cafe on Tharpe Street a visit. Tell them Leslie sent you.

Peace, people!

For the Love of Dog

I don’t have a dog, but I absolutely love them. Maybe when Studly Doright retires we’ll adopt an older dog, but for right now we just like to admire the dogs of others.

This morning I attended VeggieFest at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee. There were all sorts of food vendors there selling vegetarian and vegan fare, along with folks hawking books on healthy lifestyle choices and others advertising yoga classes—I won a free class session. But best of all, there were dogs.

This is Pippa

And Pippa’s best friend, Bear.
Not a dog, but pretty cute.

The weather was cool, but sunny. I ate way too much. Hopefully dog petting burns up lots of calories.

Peace and love, people!

Get Thee Behind Me, Friend

Does your mouth sometimes work independently of your brain? Afterwards do you wish you could crawl into a hole and emerge only after everyone who heard you say what you said was stricken with total forgetfulness of your faux pas, a sort of word specific amnesia?

If you haven’t already deduced that I uttered one of the stupidest phrases ever then you will now.

Yesterday I took a good friend who, along with her husband, had spent the last couple of days with us at Doright Manor, to lunch at my favorite vegan place in Tallahassee. She is not vegan, but was willing to sample what I’d been talking about. Now, this friend is one of the nicest, sweetest, most considerate people in the world. Maybe in the entire universe. I can only aspire to be as kind as she is.

We stood at the counter to order and she proffered her credit card at the same time I did. She and her husband had bought our dinner the night before and there was no way I was allowing her to pay for her own lunch. So I physically blocked her, and to my ever lasting horror said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

Satan!? Had I completely lost my mind? My friend, and the clerk at the counter looked shocked, and I just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.

Now, the only thing I have to offer in my defense is that I’m reading a sci-fi novel about satanic possession in space. Oh, and that one of the regular specials at the vegan place is “Hail Seitan!* Although, it wasn’t on the menu yesterday.

I apologized, even as my friend laughed it off. But holy cow, I’m thinking of having a surgical procedure called a tongue-ectomy. I’m not sure it exists, but it should.

Have you ever done anything remotely as awful? Please tell me you have. I need to believe I’m not the only one. Heck, make something up if you need to.

(*Seitan, made from wheat gluten, mimics the taste and texture of meat.)

Potato, Potahto

Back in the spring of 2019 I began eating a mostly vegan diet for health reasons. Occasionally I’ll have shrimp in a salad, or an egg white for breakfast, and I still put honey in my tea, but 99% of the time I follow a plant-based diet that excludes dairy.

Since I’m not a great cook I eat a lot of baked potatoes, fresh fruits, and salads at home, but my favorite place to eat is Sweet Pea Cafe in Tallahassee where everything is vegan, including the yummiest baked goods ever.

In the beginning when I ordered a meal at Sweet Pea I was full of questions like, “Who’s seitan?” and “Isn’t Tempeh a town in Arizona?” To their credit the Sweet Pea staff answered these questions and more, and finally I found myself fairly knowledgeable about vegan foods. Well, I know what I’m getting when I order, anyway. I’ve become fairly fluent in Veganese.

A couple of days ago I was in line to order at Sweet Pea behind a young couple who were obviously vegan novices. I patiently waited while they asked all of the questions I had asked and more.

“What’s tempeh made of?”

“How about seitan? What’s in it?

“What’s in a falafel?”

“What kind of cheese do you use?

Seriously, this young couple was thorough in their quest to find out what everything on the menu was made from or of.

There was one question that I never asked, though that the male did: “And what are the potatoes made from?”

I looked up from my phone to find the person taking the order suppressing a smile.

“Potatoes. We generally make them from potatoes.”

He went on to tell him what kind of oil they’d be cooked in and that they were locally grown.

I just had to grin. Finally someone asked a question I could’ve answered even in my virgin vegan days. Potatoes are made from potatoes!

Peace, people.

Best of 2019 Top Five Countdown, Number Two

I underwent a major lifestyle change this year. After decades of eating whatever the hell I wanted my 63-year-old digestive system exclaimed, “¡No más!”

I’m still eating (mostly) vegan, but this post chronicles the beginning. And guess what?! I’m at my lowest weight in ten years and I feel great! More on this in the future.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/04/03/vegan-eats/

Peace, people!

Sunday, Lazy Sunday

Studly Doright played in a two-day golf tournament this past weekend, so I was pretty much on my own both Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t do much other than running errands and doing laundry.

On Sunday I took myself to lunch at my favorite little vegan spot, the Sweet Pea Cafe, where I enjoyed French toast with slices of bananas and strawberries, home fries, and grits. Normally I don’t care for grits, but these were primo.

Someone in the cafe was enjoying a mimosa, so after I finished my meal I decided to stay and sip on one while reading a book. Mmmm. So good. I took my time with the drink then drove home to Doright Manor where I promptly planted my butt on the sofa and proceeded to nap for the rest of the afternoon. I’m blaming the mimosa. I’m also thanking it.

Peace, people.

Snapshot #257

After writing yesterday’s post about southern foods, including fried okra, I took myself to lunch at Sweet Pea Café in Tallahassee. Look what was featured as their special! So yummy!

I call this one, “The Universe Responds, Y’all.”

Everything at Sweet Pea is wonderfully fresh and always vegan.

It’s Not Easy Eating Green

Following a plant based diet doesn’t exactly make one mean, but it does make one a bit difficult at meal times. I try so hard not to be all vegan-ish, but my brain now knows that my stomach is going to rebel if I don’t carefully monitor what goes into my mouth.

Our recent vacation to Tennessee was tough in terms of diet. The first two days we were in Bristol I tried to go with the flow and eat like an omnivore. My body did not like me very much; though, and reacted in ways I won’t detail here. I got everything under control by eating strictly vegan for the remainder of the trip. Yes, I might’ve been a tad difficult, but my digestive tract thanked me.

It’s time for me to accept that I operate much better on a plant-based diet. I’m going to stop fighting it and embrace the change.

Peace, people.

I Don’t Mean to be Difficult, and Yet

I tend to be an annoying person. One would think that since I’m aware of this tendency that I’d be able to temper my behavior and know when to cease and desist. One would be wrong.

Even in the midst of my most annoying times, and even as my brain is yelling at me to shut the hell up, I continue along the path of greatest annoyance. It’s a talent of sorts, I suppose.

Take my new dairy-free, mostly vegan diet for example. Any time I have an opportunity to dine with someone other than Studly Doright, I lecture myself about how to handle my food requirements.

“Listen, Leslie,” that’s what I call myself. “Just peruse the menu, and don’t make a big deal of your dietary restrictions. No one else at the table needs to hear what you can and can’t eat. Just order and be done with it.”

Easy enough, right?

Instead, once I’m in the actual ordering situation I’m all, “Hey, do the shrimp lettuce wraps contain any dairy? I can’t eat any dairy, and you do not want to be around me if I accidentally ingest anything with dairy. The gas emissions alone are enough to choke a grown man, and I’m not talking about an average grown man here. I’m talking about The Rock or even Chuck Norris in his prime. And then, the bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation are absolutely devastating. I’ve lost 22 pounds over the course of two bouts of digestive distress brought on, perhaps, by my intake of dairy products. And you know, I’m not technically a vegan; however, I know that vegan fare is totally dairy free, so it’s safe for my digestive system and won’t result in a bout of the squirts and the subsequent resulting hemorrhoids, so that’s why I’m asking about the shrimp lettuce wraps, in case you wondered, which you probably didn’t, but still….”

About half a sentence into the above ramble, my brain is calling me all sorts of awful names and warning me that I’m going to die alone, friendless, and unloved if I don’t stop speaking immediately. Do I listen? Naw. Stupid brain.

So, I’m having lunch with a friend on Thursday. My self lecture has begun, but this time I’m thinking about applying duct tape to my mouth and merely pointing at my food choices. That’ll work, right?