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A Standdown Day; “I Would Prefer…”; “Ma’am, Step Away From That Stove”

My Lovely Bride had what in the Navy is euphemistically called a “standdown day” after her full day on her feet at her S.O.A.R! Workshop. We had late reveille (0745), a healthy breakfast of granola and strawberries (darn, I was hoping for bacon and eggs), and then a “mellow bike ride” for MLB to regain her strength. Then off for an hour-plus hike through the woods in afternoon heat at Carney Island County Park near Lake Weir. (“But what about my nap, Sweetheart?” “Stop whining, Ty, and get your boots on!”)  

Those of you who have attended Suzanne’s S.O.A.R! Workshop know that one of her points is learning to avoid demanding specific behavior by others by saying “I would prefer that (the obnoxious driver who just cut me off hadn’t done that)”. Another is using the phrase “Isn’t that interesting!” rather than having a negative reaction to external events not under your control.  One of her attendees just reported the following dialogue over dinner: Husband: “Darling, I would prefer that we have sex every night.” Wife: “Isn’t that interesting!” (Upon hearing the report of this exchange, I almost lost a mouthful of coffee through my nose.)

While on our hike, we saw tracks of deer, raccoon, and coyote, but no wildlife. (I think they were catching up on lost sleep…) Then I looked up, and Eureka! There was a beautiful bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Greek hali = salt/ocean, aeetus = eagle, leuco = white, cephalis = head) soaring far overhead. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my good camera with a long-range zoom lens on the hike, but it was positively identified as our national symbol. 

Bald eagles are one type of sea eagle, and the state of Florida is blessed in having the largest population of bald eagles outside of Alaska. Bald eagles build the largest tree nests of any species ever recorded. Here in Florida, eagles prefer pine trees and even nest in mangroves down in the Keys. The eagle’s eyesight is far better than ours; they are able to spot a rabbit moving at a mile away. For blinking, they have an inner eyelid called a nicitating membrane, which slides across the eye from front to back, wiping dust and dirt from the cornea.   

I have a particular affinity for eagles, because the radio call sign of USS JOHN RODGERS (DD-983), the Navy destroyer I had the privilege to command, was “SEA EAGLE”. 

We have a lawyer friend who shall go nameless (for the moment) for her protection from global ribbing (and mine to avoid a lawsuit) who is purportedly “not a cook”. When invited to meet her and friends for dinner, Suzanne asked if we were eating at her house. The LIQ (lawyer in question) replied, “Well, I guess I could try to cook.” Suzanne replied in a stern voice, “Ma’am, step away from that stove!” The LIQ tells a story about preparing her first-ever dinner for guests years ago; after marinating the chicken for several hours, she baked it in the oven, and just before serving it, dumped the original marinade with raw chicken juice over the chicken for extra flavor… how do you say “salmonella” in Latin? (Maybe Martha Stewart should be given a chair as Guest Lecturer at Georgetown Law to broaden the horizons of our elite barristers; she could advise them on preparing gourmet cuisine as well as avoiding felony convictions.)

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