New Glasses And Meaningful Moments At Pearle Vision

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pearle Vision. All opinions are 100% mine. My kids are always up for an adventure, even when said adventure is Mom announcing on a Saturday morning that we are off to get Mom and Dad’s eyes checked. It might not sound exciting to you, […]

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60 Years Of Dove Beauty Must Have Event

I’ve long been a fan of Dove products. From Dove shampoo and conditioner to Dove antiperspirants and, of course, Dove soap, Dove products have always been in my life. After years of relying on Dove products as part of my daily beauty routine, I still love them. As the mother of three daughters, I also appreciate Dove’s commitment […]

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Create a Blog

When: Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 12:30 AM – 1:30 AM

Where: South Trail Branch at South Trail – Computer Lab

Learn how to create an easy to use website where you can publish your thoughts, comments or pictures so you can share with family and friends. Recommended Audience: Adult

#tec101 #officetraining

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Photo courtesy the Mushroom Council)

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Photo courtesy the Mushroom Council)

This Cream of Mushroom Soup was developed by chef Billy Parisi, a fantastic food content creator. He developed this recipe for the Mushroom Council. Florida mushrooms are in season year-round. These nutrient-dense vegetables go with nearly all of your favorite meals. To clean mushrooms, brush off any peat moss with your fingers or a damp paper towel, or rinse the mushrooms briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Do not soak mushrooms in water as they easily absorb moisture. If the stem is tough, trim it before using. For shiitakes, stems should be removed before use. For portabellas, gills may be removed upon preference, as they store a large amount of moisture. Many people prefer to keep the gills intact for more flavor.

Parisi’s recipe is a umami-rich meal option that will work for week night dinners or Super Bowl gatherings.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Yield: Makes 1 gallon

8 slices bacon, chopped

1 small diced yellow onion

6 small diced stalks celery

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pint button mushrooms

1 pint baby portabella mushrooms

1 cup shitake mushroom caps

1 cups oyster mushrooms, stems removed

1/4 cup flour

1 cup chardonnay

64 ounces chicken stock

2 cups of heavy cream

2 tablespoons freshly-chopped parsley

Coarse salt and cracked pepper to taste

Fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish

Croutons for garnish

1. In a large pot on high heat render the bacon fat until the bacon become crispy.

2. Remove the bacon and set aside. In the same pot, combine onions, celery and garlic and saute for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat or until lightly browned.

3. Add the mushrooms and cook 20-25 minutes or until the mushrooms are browned.

4. Sprinkle the flour on top and then stir until it has been completely incorporated.

5. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone.

6. Add the chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil. Cook and stir until mixture thickens.

7. Puree the mushroom soup until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender.

8. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the cream and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

9. Garnish with croutons, bacon, fresh thyme and Parmesan.

Musings on gender

gender 1

Once upon a time, one’s sex was a simple matter. No longer. As a physician, I can only shake my head in dismay at the direction of the national conversation on gender issues. We have taken a rare medical issue, mainstreamed it, and politicized it to the point of passing absurd legislation that rolls back established societal norms and makes it next to impossible to have a reasoned discussion. When will we learn?


Gender is a biologically determined feature of all sexual beings. It is not arbitrary or fluid nor is it determined by feelings or opinion polls. Even though some lower animals, such as some fish and amphibians, can change from one gender to the other, those that do harbor the biological features of both genders. You cannot extrapolate this to humans except in rare cases noted below. For humans, gender is genetically determined by the transmission of an X chromosome from the mother to her offspring and either an X or a Y chromosome from the father. If the child is XY, it is male; if XX, it is female. It really is that simple. This is not to say that errors in the biologic/genetic process of gender determination do not occur. Few things in nature are 100% without some exceptions. Humans are imperfect and errors in genetic inheritance do occur, although they are relatively rare.


The incidence of true intersex, individuals whose genetic gender and physical appearance do not line up and whose genitalia cannot be strictly classified as male or female, is a very low 0.018%, as far as we can tell. A person may possess different combinations of chromosomes, such as an XXY,  XXXY, XXY, or XXX. The first two are associated with a number of obvious physical problems, mental issues, or both. XXX and XYY chromosome carriers tend to be pretty normal for the most part. Despite these errors, there is no question of gender. If you have a Y chromosome, you are male and if you don’t, you are female.


Some homosexual males may behave effeminately, but they are unquestionably genetically and physically male. The converse applies to lesbian females. Bisexual individuals can be of either sex. Such individuals are identified by their sexual proclivities; their gender is not in question.


The transgender issue is therefore not so much a discussion of biology as it is one of identity. We are talking here about a genetically and biologically normal male who believes he is female or vice versa. Now, you have left the realm of medicine and entered the area of psychology, identity, socialization, and belief. Here, there are few absolutes.


gender 6It is instructive in studying transgender to examine the problem of anorexia nervosa. This is a known medical condition which can kill an otherwise healthy person. It almost invariably affects girls. The problem is not a metabolic or anatomical defect. It is a mental condition characterized by delusional thinking. A delusion is a firmly held belief that runs counter to reality. A young woman with anorexia can be rail thin but when she looks in the mirror, she sees a fat person. She may literally starve herself to death believing all the while that she is fat. If we dealt with anorexia the way we deal with transgender, we would be encouraging this delusion, maybe even giving them diet pills or offering them liposuction!


In my own profession of plastic surgery we have a known psychological disorder called body dysmorphic disorder. In this condition, people with normal physical features see themselves as ugly or even grossly disfigured and seek repeated surgeries to correct this. The treatment of BDD is not surgery, it is psychological or psychiatric treatment.


Some have advanced the position that we should deal with teenagers struggling with gender related issues by allowing them to use bathrooms of the opposite sex and providing them with hormones to suppress their normal hormonal changes until they are old enough to have surgery to change to them to the gender they identify with. This is so ludicrous as to evoke disbelief but our culture of self and “affirmation” has gotten to the point where supposedly intelligent people are promoting such an approach.


Studies have shown that the 80% or more of gender-confused teenagers soon settle into their biological gender without further conflict. The idea that teens wrestling with gender issues should be offered hormones to delay puberty so that future gender reassignment surgery will be easier is a monstrosity right up there with eugenics and frontal lobotomies. If advocates of protecting the rights of a confused, “transgender” teen boy by allowing them to use the girls bathroom succeed, I cannot help but wonder about the rights of a teenage girl when she is told she must share her restroom with this individual. There must be a better way to deal compassionately with the latter while upholding the right of the former to exclusive use of a bathroom for her gender.


gender 4Experts in child psychology and development cite numerous examples of cases in which supposed transgender was an effort by the individual to avoid the assumed demands and responsibilities of their biological gender or to escape perceived consequences of remaining in that gender, e.g. in some cases of abuse. The solution in such cases is clearly not to change their gender but to deal with the issue underlying this.


No less of an authority than Paul McHugh, MD, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital ( which pioneered sexual reassignment surgery in 1965, then discontinued this in the 1970’s, only to resume recently), has weighed in on this issue. Dr. McHugh asserts the immutability of sexual gender and of the futility of trying to change such a fundamental aspect of the nature of every person. Surgery does not turn a man into a woman or vice versa; it only creates a feminized or masculine version of the opposite sex. He questions the wisdom of gender reassignment and cites a 2011 study of 324 people who underwent sex reassignment surgery with a follow up of thirty years conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where the culture is very favorably disposed toward the transgendered. This study showed that ten to fifteen years after sexual reassignment surgery, suicide rates among the transgendered rose to twenty times that of comparable peers. That is a pretty sobering statistic.


gender 3And, what of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, arguably the modern poster child for the transgendered? Dr. McHugh provides some interesting insights into that situation and closes with the hope that Caitlyn will receive competent long term follow up and appropriate therapy given the admittedly guarded prognosis in transgender individuals achieving a long term, stable degree of happiness.


I think we abdicate our responsibility as physicians if we do not speak up against political correctness when it goes against good science and sound medical practice, and urge caution in moving too quickly to affirm a pathology that is rare, poorly understood, and will self-correct in most people if we do not encourage it. The forces arrayed against a medically sound approach to transgender are great. Already, state and federal governments are exploring legislation that would prevent medical professionals from providing counseling to teenagers with gender issues if that counseling “can be construed as challenging the assumptions and choices of transgendered youngsters.” Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, has stated, “as part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy (to be clear, this is to realign their thinking with their biologic gender) for minors.”

Once gender becomes a matter of opinion or belief, it opens the floodgates of confusion in what should be, 99% of the time, a simple matter. Only politicians could turn a disorder in need of compassionate treatment and a strong dose of reality, into a civil right in need of defending.

Dr. McHugh’s closing statement is telling. He states, “Gird your loins if you would confront this matter. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.”

Safety Campaign for Bicyclists, Pedestrians and Drivers

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), through a Task Work Order with the University of South Florida, has partnered with law enforcement agencies for support to enhance a comprehensive safety campaign that promotes safe pedestrian, bicyclist and driver behaviors in high priority counties throughout the state. These agencies will conduct high visibility enforcement (HVE)  campaigns in conjunction with other education efforts to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe on Florida’s roadways.

The City of Orlando Police Department has been awarded $49,248.00 from the University of South Florida to conduct these high visibility law enforcement campaigns. The funds are limited to overtime and other allowable expenses as required in the Letter of Agreement and Contract, specific to improving pedestrian and bicycle safety in the City of Orlando.
The Agreement will be with the University of South Florida Board of Trustees for the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research. Expenditures will be reimbursed by the University of South Florida under the terms and conditions of FDOT project. The agreement will run until May 2017. 

The Bowigens Beer Company is small, but offers good beer

Two Bowigens Beer stickers.

The servers gave me (and everybody else) a couple of stickers, however I have yet to decide what to do with them.

The only thing I knew about Casselberry before visiting the Bowigens Beer Company was that the city was a few minutes from Altamonte Mall. Now I can say that Casselberry is home to the aforementioned craft brewery, which my friend Ryan and I visited on Saturday night.

Look for the big furniture store, come for the beer.

An exterior view of Bowigens.

That’s what the beer company looks like from the outside. While the chalk sign is nice, the “OPEN” neon light is a bit much.

When I initially arrived at the brewery, located at 1014 FL-436, I actually missed the turn because I was too distracted by the presence of a humongous big-brand furniture strong. A brewing company that’s next to a furniture store? I thought. But after making a U-turn a quarter-mile past and making the turn (and succeeding in doing so), was much better.

In fact, Bowigens is in a great location. No, I’m not saying that people are going to get a beer or two after shopping for a couch and a recliner. However it’s right next to a fondue restaurant, and there’s a wing place and an Italian restaurant in the same plaza. And as a bonus, there’s a bank branch in the same plaza with a walk-on ATM. All-in-all, despite a relatively awkward location, the beer company is in good hands for a place that doesn’t serve food.

It may be small, but at least you won’t have to stand.

A problem I have with relatively small bars is that the spacing is usually so tight that it feel like I’m flying a low-cost regional airline. But tight legroom and piss-poor furniture this is not. Except for the Winter Holidays-style lighting arrangement, the place was pretty well decorated. And a more important thing for me, at the very least, is the furniture arrangement. A lot of craft brewery taprooms I visit don’t arrange furniture logically. In those cases there’s so much open space that you might as well go to the nearest mall and walk to your nearest department store. Thankfully, Bowigens leaves just enough room to sit and there’s just enough distance to the bathroom.

While I would have appreciated more TVs (especially convenient if there’s a sports game on), the fact that there’s two TVs is better than just having one. Otherwise, the only other entertainment is the window that overlooks the brewing equipment and your smartphone because thank goodness this brewery has WiFi. And as Ryan did that night, he was allowed to bring outside food.

Two beer flights and seven original creations on tap? Challenge accepted.

A picture of Bowigens' beer menu.

The fact that whoever drew the menu even drew the social media icons was a pretty cool added touch.

While Ryan was a little more selective with his beer choice, I opted for two flights. The fact that the the cost of a beer is the same price as the most expensive beers (the Wee Do What Wee Want and the Phat Sparrow) was something I appreciated. What was a little disappointing was that when I went there, they only had seven of their original beers on tap (and three guest taps). At the flip side, I could try out a beer I liked a second time. Here are the beers I tried that night. And regardless of what is the correct way to name a style, I am only going by the name of what the menu said.

A beer flight at Bowigens.

The first beer flight. From left to right: Kimberry (American Wheat Ale), Bow 9 (Citrus Pale Ale), Hidden Track Series: Gose (Gose), Lost Anchor (IPA)

Kimberry – A very pleasant berry scent introduces to a bend of a heavy hop profile and a good amount of bitterness. If this American Wheat Ale was a little bit more carbonated this would have been perfect.

Bow 9 – Oh wow was this bitter! This Citrus Pale Ale had a golden color and a subtle citrus scent at first, but for a citrus-based beer this was way too bitter for me to enjoy it as a whole.

Hidden Track Series: Gose – This Gose was actually more spicy than I thought, because I was expecting mostly saltiness. Thankfully, this Gose isn’t too salty that I feel like I’m swimming in the ocean. In my opinion, this would go best with food.

Lost Anchor – There wasn’t anything too special about this IPA. Lots of bitterness, some citrus undertones, and crisp enough to warrant finishing up.


The second beer flight. From left to right: Kimberry, Phat Sparrow (Double IPA), Toasted Almond Brown Ale (American Brown Ale), Wee Do What Wee Want (Wee Heavy)

Phat Sparrow – For a having 97 IBUs, it wasn’t that bitter when I tried this Double IPA. There’s some malt characters in this one but nothing is too overpowering. The overall finish is pretty dry after the swallow so keep that in mind.

Toasted Almond Brown Ale – There’s a little less head on the Toasted Almond than I anticipated but a slight blend of almond and chocolate is definitely there. Depending on my mood, one of these might be a good alternative for a cup of light coffee.

Wee Do What Wee Want – Like the Toasted Almond, I was pretty surprised that the head is on the low-side. But a deep, malt flavor with that ever slight bitterness (thanks, 28 IBUs!) makes this a very drinkable beer (especially if one had a rough day).

Because Oktoberfest was around the corner, I asked the servers if they were doing anything for that occasion. Although they said no, they did tease me that it was almost time for the Jack-o-Latte. A pumpkin ale with coffee beans? That might just be enough to sit out of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) fever happening right now.

And with another beer adventure coming to a close, I’ll make sure to bring some food the next time I visit Bowigens.

Ivanhoe Village Getting Two New Signs

WorksScapes has put in a request for a Major Certificate of Appearance Approval for 2 new High-Rise Signs Totaling 134 sq ft on their building at 1173 N. Orange Ave (MAP) in Ivanhoe Village.

All aspects of the new signs meet current sign codes. 

The change decreases the size of their company name and tops it with a 2-tone “W.”