Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

5 Stars for Bonnie, at Pensacola’s Fish House

It’s another rainy, stormy day in Pensacola, and we decide we want to have comfort food for lunch. That narrows our selection down to three places – Tudo’s, 5 Sisters, and The Fish House. We decide this is a good day for The Fish House – maybe we can get in without a wait, with all the people heading out to Pensacola Beach.

We have to wait in the car, once we get there, because the rain is coming down in buckets, and the wind is blowing it sideways.

Our windshield looking at the Fish House:

Once it abates a little, AdventureMan gets his umbrella, runs around to my side of the car, and covers us both as best we can as we run up the steps and inside the restaurant.

Things can change in a heartbeat, we think, watching out the window next to the table where we are seated. Today is the Blue Angel’s Day at Pensacola Beach, but with all this thunder and lightning and we can’t imagine how this can work.

“There is always a bubble over the beach,” Bonnie, who has a sweet smiling face, informs us. Even when it is raining in Pensacola, most of the time it is fine out at the beach.”

That’s a comfort, because the rain is really coming down.

We order, and when our order comes, AdventureMan’s pizza is covered with cheese. That is a good thing, if you are a normal American, but not such a good thing if you are us. We’ve eaten pizza for so long overseas that we aren’t used to the gooey layers of cheese covering most American pizzas. AdventureMan scrapes it off, and eats the pesto and tomato topping underneath. (My Grits a Ya Ya are divine.)

Bonnie is dismayed.

“Can I take it back and have it done the way you like it?” she asks.

“No, no” we assure her, it’s our fault, our idea of pizza is different and we just forgot that momentarily, we are fine.

She couldn’t let it go. She felt so badly seeing all his piles of melted cheese.

“Let me buy you dessert,” she tried.

“No, No, Bonnie, this isn’t your fault or the Fish House fault; it’s our fault for not remembering that pizzas here come with more cheese. It’s not you’re problem, we are happy with this nice table and a great waitress. We don’t fault anyone for this.”

She brought the bill. As we handed the payment to her, she handed us a small take-away box.

“I want you to have this,” she insisted. We opened it when we got to the car. It was a piece of their special blueberry cheesecake, garnished with a flower.

You know me. I complain about bad customer service. It’s only fair that when we get superb customer service that we tell you about that, too. Bonnie was superb. She has mastered the art of customer service. She is a reason people come back to The Fish House. 🙂

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Restaurant, Weather | , , , , | Leave a comment

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Determined

From BBC News:

Scientists have assembled a “timeline” of the unseen progress of Alzheimer’s before symptoms appear.

A team at Washington University School of Medicine looked at families with a genetic risk of the disease.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, they say signs appeared up to 25 years before the expected onset of the disease.

UK experts said the ability to detect Alzheimer’s early would give the best chance of successful treatment.

‘Key changes’
The 128 people in the study, from the UK, US and Australia, had a 50% chance of inheriting one of three mutations that are certain to cause early Alzheimer’s, which often develops in people’s 30s and 40s – much earlier than the more common form of Alzheimer’s which generally affects people in their 60s.

Those who carry the mutations will go on to develop the disease.

The researchers looked at the age the participants’ parents were when they developed the disease – and therefore how many years it was likely to be before they too showed symptoms.

The ability to detect the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s… would enable new drugs to be trialled in the right people, at the right time”

They underwent blood and spinal fluid tests as well as brain scans and mental ability assessments.

The earliest change – a drop in spinal fluid levels of the key ingredient of Alzheimer’s brain plaques – can be detected 25 years before the anticipated age of disease onset, they suggest.

At 15 years, raised levels of tau, a structural protein in brain cells can be seen in spinal fluid – and shrinkage can also be detected within parts of the brain.

Changes in the brain’s use of the sugar glucose and slight memory problems become apparent 10 years before symptoms would appear, they suggest.

Researchers also tested other members of the families without the inherited mutations – and found no changes in the markers they tested for.

Prof Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This important research highlights that key changes in the brain, linked to the inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease, happen decades before symptoms show, which may have major implications for diagnosis and treatment in the future.

“These findings are a good indicator that there may be key changes in the brain happening early in people who develop non-hereditary Alzheimer’s disease, but we can’t be sure. Further research into this complex condition is needed to confirm a definite link.”

And Dr Eric Karran, director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “These results from people with the inherited form of Alzheimer’s seem to be very similar to the changes in the non-genetic, common form of the disease.

“It’s likely that any new treatment for Alzheimer’s would need to be given early to have the best chance of success.

“The ability to detect the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s would not only allow people to plan and access care and existing treatments far sooner, but would also enable new drugs to be trialled in the right people, at the right time.”

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Aging, Family Issues, Health Issues | Leave a comment