oddly shaped puzzle pieces

2024 Florida Resolutions: Tomato Sandwiches and Road Trips

A cat cuddling a dog
Yes, that’s a cat. Cuddling a dog. Hobie Cat isn’t really into what we’d call “consent” and she’s beaten Banyan into submission. My 2024 Florida resolutions are as subdued as my hound dog is in this photo.
Photo by Cathy Salustri

Last night we went to dinner at one of our favorite Gulfport restaurants, The Pearl. We’d initially planned to ring in 2024 at a campsite far from idiots shooting off fireworks and petrifying Banyan, but 2023 left me feeling like a limp dish rag. I didn’t need to get away; I needed to not do anything for a few days.  That’s what we did.

After we ordered,  my husband,  known to you as either El Cap or Barry, said, “Well, how could 2024 be worse?”

I stared at him. He isn’t Italian, something Universe-tempting comments such as this illustrate.

“Well, let’s see,” I said. “The dog could become a serial killer. The house could get possessed by demons. Do we need a third possibility?”

He admitted he could see my point and we stopped any foolish talk of how 2024 could be “better.” I should have learned my lesson when I write that 2023 would at least be the “other side” because I was not wrong but also not specific enough in that desire.

So, bearing that in mind, here are my low-key 2024 Florida resolutions.

A hand holding a small vial of water from the Fountain of Youth tourist attraction in St. Augustine
2024 Florida resolution: more road trips, perhaps to the Fountain of Youth. I no longer scoff at the idea; some years, you need all the help you can get.
Photo by Cathy Salustri

  1. More Florida road trips. 

    The last time we camped was August, because everything went to hell after that for a few months. Two days ago an assignment sent me to Deltona for the day; this reminded me how much I enjoy seeing Florida’s back roads. (Shout out to SR 44 and the largest hawk I’ve ever seen not in captivity).

    When we bought the camper in 2021, we unintentionally shifted from “a day trip can be fun” to “let’s only go if we can take the camper!” I want 2024 to have more road trips.

  2. Tomato sandwiches.

    We buy the bulk of our produce from Little Pond Farm. They’re in the Central Florida area, organic, and irrigate with a pond on their own property, which is about as close as you can get to lower carbon footprint and keeping GMOs out of your food. They grow the tastiest tomatoes I have eaten in recent memory. 

    I started 2024 with a tomato sandwich using one such tomato. I want 2024 to have more tomato sandwiches.

  3. That’s it. There’s no number three.

    As I said, 2023 taught me a lesson about non-specific intentions. 

    Oh, wait. There’s a third one. I want to finish this damn puzzle my friend Nicole gave me as a birthday gift in 2022. At only 300 pieces, it sounded easy, but it lacks standard-shaped puzzle pieces and has no easily identifiable border pieces.

    oddly shaped puzzle pieces

    Photo by Cathy Salustri

So, there you have it. I may be taking a road trip to visit my mom in prison and not have enough money to eat anything but tomato sandwiches, but, hey, the puzzle should get finished.