Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shrimp, sea beans and kumquats

My recent weekend with friends to Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan this month included eating shrimp, being introduced to sea beans and kumquat pie. It was a beautiful day to be at the National Shrimp Festival, and the smell in the air on the Gulf Coast made it impossible to not want to try something I hadn't had before. With all the shrimp, I couldn't help but think what was the name of Forrest Gumps' shrimp boat?  (The answer is below).

There were plenty of vendors cooking shrimp and other sea food fixins'- you could have shrimp on a stick or in a plate with lobster, gator, crab, oysters, coconut, onion rings, and the list went on and on.  Below you can view a display of enticing food behind screens at one of the busy food vendors and menus on overhead signs. I managed to snap these photos when I wasn't eating my fill.

Sea beans, also known as 'drift seed' or 'drift fruit' are not edible,  and interestingly, these beans are from trees and had probably floated hundreds, if not thousands of miles riding ocean currents before washing up on the shore of Fort Morgan, located just a few miles from Gulf Shores.

Below is the sea bean collection my friend proudly showed she had found while combing the beach.  You can see a couple 'sea beans' have been made to wear as a necklace.

 I've walked on a few beaches at San Francisco, Daytona Beach, Siesta Key Beach at Sarasota, Florida, and Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle in North Carolina looking for seashells, sea glass, drift wood, or anything that looked interesting. I don't remember seeing anything looking like 'sea beans', nor had I ever same upon any large, whole sea shells, but plenty smaller ones. Other treasures like a lost diamond or gold ring, or maybe even a message in a bottle, or some other treasure brought in by the tide and left in the wrack,  I was never fortunate to find, I'm sure others are luckier in their treasure hunting on the beach,  but not me.  This weekend was the first I'd heard about sea beans or even saw sea bean jewelry or heard there are collectors and traders and actual sea bean conventions. Imagine that!   I've also discovered that there are also edible 'sea beans' which I am going to be looking in the produce idle for this green 'veggie' the next time I grocery shop. I have to try some- might be crunchy in a green salad.

And then, there was kumquat refrigerator pie for dessert. My first and certainly not my last. I think it's up there with key lime pie for a light, warm weather to cool you off dessert.  Aside from getting the seeds out to puree the cute, little kumquats, it was a cinch to make. Five ingredients- pie shell, kumquats, lemon juice, condensed milk and cool whip.   I found the recipe online for this kumquat refrigerator pie.

I never would have imagined kumquats make such a delightful pie. Delicious. See what a nice pie I had below.

All in all, I think it was a super weekend! Any weekend around friends and food is good!

Answer- Forrest Gump named the boat 'Jenny'.
Then later, he had a fleet of Bubba Gump Shrimp Company shrimp boats.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chaz, not everything is changeable

In the news recently is Chaz Bono, formerly Chastity Bono, the used-to-be-daughter-but-now-son born of Sonny Bono, now deceased, and his wife at the time, Cher.  I remember cute, little Chastity on TV back in the 70s, at the end of her parents' hour long comedy show being held in Sonny's arms. They made a cute family standing together being viewed by millions every week.  Chastity really was an adorable little girl. In all probability she could've grown to be a very attractive woman,  but rather today she/he chose the path to be altered to the opposite gender, and now looks like a heavy-set male with soft, feminine facial features and womanly hands.
Here's an interview with Chasity/Chaz about transgender change

I was thinking.........

Chaz can't change her bone structure , but the fat and soft tissues around bone can change with hormones, exercise, and weight loss or gain.  Compare the bone structure of a man's to a woman's, For instance, compare pelvic bones. Compare the rib cage and torso, the neck, the head, feet, and facial structures underneath soft tissues give either soft female and male features and characteristics.  All different.  Mind you sometimes the differences can be very subtle, but for the most part, if you study forensics or anatomy, those differences help determine the gender of a body.  Chaz wants to be a male, but she/he can't change everything about her/his body and be a real male.

      See the differences of a man's vs woman's hand?

Photo credit: taliesin from

Hormones do play a very important role in gender and sex of the human body.  For some time, Chaz has medically been injected with more male hormones to overpower the female hormones in her/his body giving the obvious, male physical  characteristics like a deepened voice, bulky muscle mass and male hair growth patterns.  But you can't ever change the fact that Chaz was a normal healthy, female first, with chromosomes of a female. That can't be undone or forgotten or changed.  Chaz will have to continually take hormones to keep displaying male physical characteristics.

 I was thinking if this might be confusing to her/his body and brain?  Only Chaz knows or will know.

No matter what the brain thinks it wants, however you were formed in uteri, is the 'original' material you will always have to deal with and consider. That is a fact that can't be overlooked, erased or ignored.  Mankind with just enough knowledge to deviate some degree away from the 'original' and try to act like God, can never make a new 'original'.  Chastity was female when she was born, and as long as she/he is occupying that body, she/he is locked into what God created her as in uteri. and that fact stands no matter how many hormones or operations she undergoes.  She/he has undergone drastic physical changes, but Chaz will never in her/his lifetime experience being a complete male.  She/he can only be less feminine, but never a full man.

The photo below shows typical male and female physical characteristics- a male has a stronger angled jaw and brow bones, heavier, thicker facial hair, a longer torso, larger ears ,an Adam's apple, and a narrower pelvis.  A female typically has softer facial features,  a shorter torso, and a wider set pelvic bones.

Photo credit: azrikhan from

I wonder what sort of medical challenges Chaz, or anyone who's undergone gender-switching, will have to contend with in the future?

God has the title 'Creator' all to Himself. He alone makes the original and no one can alter that fact.

I am not making any statements against any one's personal wishes. I wish the original Chastity, altered to be Chaz, the best.

Here is more interesting content can read about on sex reassignment/transgender change.