Trick or Treat Date Night

Downtown West Palm Beach is a terrific place for outdoor activities.  For example, every May the city hosts SunFest, an art and music festival along the Intracoastal waterfront that lasts the better part of a week. There’s a juried art show and performances by local bands and national acts, too.  We’ve seen performers like Train, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and last year, we missed Kid Rock but caught the Dropkick Murphys.

And because for every Yin there is a Yang, each October the city celebrates MoonFest, a free one-night Halloween bacchanalia that shuts down several blocks of Clematis Street.  Costumed revelers enjoy live music by local bands on the handful of stages placed along the way in the middle of the street and there are vendors selling everything from beads to t-shirts to alcohol.  There’s a costume contest and the bars and clubs have special indoor events as well.

Mr. R. and I have enjoyed ourselves at a few MoonFests in our day.  Who doesn’t love to dress up in costume and barhop with thousands of your closest friends, listen to all kinds of music, and, let’s face it, drink a little?

Mrs. R. & Mr. R. at Roxie's Pub, Clematis Street, West Palm Beach
Mrs. R. & Mr. R. at Roxie’s Pub, Clematis Street, West Palm Beach

One year, Mr. R., who at the time was sporting the shaved head look, painted his whole head orange and black, and went as Jack Lantern, International Gourd of Mystery.  I went as a dark fairy.  Word to the wise–if you plan to join throngs of people out on a crowded street, deep-six the fairy wings.  You could put out someone’s eye with those things.

Several years ago, on our last excursion to MoonFest, Mr. R. went as a Chili Miner (if you keep up with the news, you can figure out just how long ago that was) and I went as a drunk flapper.  Well, I didn’t start out that way.  It’s just sort of how it ended up.  Probably those last five shots had something to do with it.

We haven’t made it out to MoonFest since then, though.  It’s not because we didn’t have a good time–we had a blast.  But MoonFest changed after that Halloween. Apparently, at some point after we staggered on home, there was some kind of a ruckus and somebody ended up getting hurt.

Enter the nannies (don’t get me started) who “just want to keep it safe for the public.”  It’s no longer a free event.  Not that it’s super expensive, it’s about $10 a ticket.  But it’s irksome that you need a ticket at all.  Because all that $10 gets you is in.  You still have to buy your food and drinks, and you still have to pay covers at the bars and clubs.

Additionally, of course, how do the powers that be make sure that everyone attending the event has a ticket?  They erect fencing and gates all around the area.  MoonFest has lost it’s ‘block party’ feel, which for me was a huge part of its appeal.    Now it’s just another money-making event for the city of West Palm Beach.

Why can’t we have anything nice?!

One Final October Story–Once Upon a Time Mr. R. Lived in a Haunted House

One more time…A scary story to celebrate Halloween Eve Eve.

Adventures in Date Night

No, honestly.  I know what you’re thinking.  Even I didn’t believe it at first.  He tried to tell me.  I just thought he was messing with me.

Before Mr. R. and I got married, he rented a house with two other guys for a little over a year.  It was just a regular older house in a normal neighborhood and it was owned by a personal friend of Mr. R.  There was nothing remarkable about it, in fact, it needed quite a bit of updating, but it was a nice size with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.  It also backed up to a large lake and had a nice pool in back between the house and the water, these two features being really the best of the whole place.

I vaguely recall Mr. R. mentioning to me that there were times when his roommates were out and he felt as…

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October Stories–The Riddle House

Rerunning another October story before Halloween…

Adventures in Date Night

I’ve said it before, I’m not really into ‘ghostie’ things.  But it’s October and I’m still in the mood for spooky stories.  The ones I’m sharing with you are true.  This story was originally posted on an old blog I used to write.

February 8, 2013

On Saturday I had the opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  On the closing weekend of the South Florida Fair, I was thrilled to find out that Mr. R. and I had been given free tickets.  I’m not much of a rider of fair rides, but I love to walk along smelling the fair food, checking out the livestock (one day I will have chickens), and of course, I needed the annual hand-dipped corndog with loads of mustard.  But none of those were the main reason I was excited.

Situated at the fairgrounds is an area called…

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October Stories–I Just Wanted to See Hemingway’s Chair

Adventures in Date Night

I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer.  Before heading home, we drove south just to sightsee a little.  You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right?  Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store in Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).


Aside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me.  According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway.  Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.

And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman. …

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One Final October Story–Once Upon a Time Mr. R. Lived in a Haunted House

No, honestly.  I know what you’re thinking.  Even I didn’t believe it at first.  He tried to tell me.  I just thought he was messing with me.

Before Mr. R. and I got married, he rented a house with two other guys for a little over a year.  It was just a regular older house in a normal neighborhood and it was owned by a personal friend of Mr. R.  There was nothing remarkable about it, in fact, it needed quite a bit of updating, but it was a nice size with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.  It also backed up to a large lake and had a nice pool in back between the house and the water, these two features being really the best of the whole place.

I vaguely recall Mr. R. mentioning to me that there were times when his roommates were out and he felt as if he were not alone in the house.  I completely blew this off.  I am an educated, logical person.  There is always an explanation for everything.  I just thought he was trying to creep me out.

We spent many Saturdays hanging out at the house, sometimes swimming in the pool or fishing off the dock, lots of nights watching television in the converted sun porch just off the dining area.  I never noticed anything weird.  Never even thought about it.  Until…

One night we were watching television and I left the room.  As I headed through the darkened dining area, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  My heart jumped and I stopped immediately, looking to my right, the direction of the movement.  Mentally, I scolded myself.  You saw yourself in the mirror, I thought.  There was a mirror on the wall and that explanation made total sense.  Except…I was about 10% certain that myself was not what I saw.  I shook my head and went about my business.

After that, from time to time as we watched television, I was almost certain that I saw movement in the dining area.  Let me describe a little of the design of the house.  The tv room and dining area were separated by double french doors which were always left open.  The double opening was flanked in the tv room by the multi-paned french doors pushed flush against the wall.  The panes of glass reflected light and color from the television, not to mention the lights of the boats passing outside on the lake.  So it made sense that the movement I saw was the reflection in the glass doors from the television and from outside.  Except…There were times I was sure the movement I saw was not on the sides of the doorway in the glass, but in the empty space of the doorway which would be the center of that room.

Mostly I just tried to ignore it, sure that I was being silly.  And there were long periods of time when nothing unusual happened.  I would forget about it, have no expectation of anything at all.

Until the night I had an experience that I could not explain in any way.  Once again, we were watching television.  During a commercial, I glanced out into the dining area to where my purse was hanging on the back of a chair.  Oddly, in the space between the top of my purse and the handles hanging on the chair, I saw a tiny red light, like the ready light on something electronic.  That’s weird, I thought.  What in the world is it?  My first thought was that it was my phone.  But I realized it couldn’t be my phone because: a) my phone didn’t have a red light like that; and b) my phone wasn’t sticking out of the top of my purse, it was in the pocket in the end of the purse which was the reason I bought that purse to begin with.  That’s so weird, I thought, and I looked back at the television without thinking about it beyond being perplexed.  When I glanced back out at my purse, the red light was gone.

I was properly freaked out for the first time.  Mr. R. realized something was wrong, but I’m from the school of thought that says, If I don’t say it out loud, it didn’t happen.  I made him sit beside me, and it was only after the show was over, when we went out onto the back deck that I told him what I’d seen.

He told me a few more stories, and now, of course, I was all ears.  The master bedroom of the house was separated from the master bath by a short, narrow hallway between his and hers closets.  Mr. R. said that once he’d been on his way into the bathroom when he’d suddenly changed his mind and turned around in that area between the closets.  As he abruptly turned, he said he saw someone standing there, then instantly he didn’t see someone.  His sense at the time was of someone who was lonely and desperately wished to be ‘one of the guys’.  He told me about many times when he’d been in the kitchen cooking and he’d felt certain that someone was just behind him, looking over his shoulder.

After that experience, I was very aware of the nights when we’d hear thumps and bumps of unexplained origin.  I chalked a lot of those up to the wind getting under the eaves, but that only explained some of the noises we heard.

One night, after his roommates had left for the evening, Mr. R. and I were in the house by ourselves.  We were sitting together on the sofa just chatting about nothing in particular when we heard, from the other room, someone clearing their throat.  “Ahem!”  We just stared at each other.  “You heard that, right?” we said simultaneously.

One of the last things I experienced in that house happened as we were making dinner one night.  Mr. R. left the room, leaving me alone in the kitchen.  I heard, from another part of the house, a loud sort of boom, bang, crash as if a stack of pots or something had fallen.  I moved in the direction of the noise, the direction Mr. R. had gone, saying, “Hey, are you okay?”  I met Mr. R. coming toward me saying, “Hey, are you okay?”  We’d each thought the other had knocked something over, yet neither of us had.

As a result of the strange things I experienced in the house, I became somewhat interested in investigations of the paranormal.  No, I’m not going out to buy a bunch of electronic gizmos.  But I have come to appreciate the TAPS investigators from the SciFi show, GhostHunters.  The reason I like them is that they set out to disprove paranormal activity, to find logical, rational explanations for odd things that people experience.  One thing I learned from them is that high electromagnetic emissions, such as would be present in an older home with faulty wiring, can cause various physical reactions including feelings of unease, of being watched.  I absolutely believe that explains some of what Mr. R. experienced in the house.  And then, every once in a while, the TAPS team comes across something that really defies explanation.  I can relate to that, too.

Now, a little history on the house.  These are things I know to be true, they can be verified in the news and by talking to the family members who owned the house.  Some years before Mr. R. and the boys rented the house, the family experienced an unfathomable tragedy.  A teenaged son was murdered in a violent robbery at the fast food restaurant where he’d worked.  The mother, utterly devastated by his death, hired a psychic to come into the house and give a reading.  The psychic told the mother to place some of the boy’s personal belongings around the house to encourage his spirit to stay.  Turns out, there were some skateboards and other things placed in the attic and other spots around the house during the time Mr. R. lived there.  Now, normally I’d say that whole business is a load of crap.  But things happened there that I can’t explain.

All of that to say this–I’ve always believed that the things that happen in this world have logical, rational explanations.  I still believe that.  Now, I also have to concede that some things simply defy rational explanation.

It gets real when you experience something for yourself.  Take, for example, those photos from the Pilar in Islamorada.  Or the photos from the Riddle House.  I’m much less certain that I have it all figured out.  Still, I’m okay with that.

I wouldn’t spend any time alone in that house, though.  Nope.

That Really Chaps My Behind

Don’t you absolutely hate when strangers get all up in your business in the name of moral vanity?  Remember when Nanny Bloomberg decided that large soft drinks are bad for us, so he got legislation passed prohibiting their sale in New York City?  Because obviously we are not capable of making good decisions on our own.

I stopped by the supermarket one day after work to pick up some microwave popcorn.  My students had earned Fun Friday and I planned to show a movie and give them popcorn.  The woman in front of me at the checkout stand saw the boxes in my hands and said, “Oh, you shouldn’t buy that.  I saw a report on television that said it’s bad for you.”

Let me tell you, if I hadn’t been exhausted and ready to just get home, I would have gone back and grabbed five more boxes.  I come from a long line of Scotch-Irish ancestors who don’t cotton to being told what to do and how to do it.  I simply narrowed my eyes and glared at her until she turned back around.

breaking badMr. R. and I came late to the Breaking Bad party.  We’d heard all the fuss and had kind of ignored it until last Christmas.  We both had some time off and thought maybe we’d check it out on Netflix.  A week later we were completely caught up to the middle of the final season.  By the time the last half of the final season ran, we were sitting on the edge of the sofa biting our nails along with the rest of the planet.  That scene with Walt and Hank in the garage?  “…tread lightly…”  Holy schneikes!

When the Breaking Bad collectible figures came out last week, Mr. R. sent me a text with a photo of them stating that he knew what he wanted for Christmas. I mentioned that he might want to write a letter to Santa.

breaking bad toysThen…dunh-duhn-DUNH!  Some panty-waste do-gooder mom from Florida (and I take extreme exception as I am a mom from Florida) took it upon herself to start a petition demanding that Toys R Us remove the figures from store shelves.  And guess what?  Toys R Us caved.

Here’s the thing.  They aren’t toys meant for kids.  They’re collectibles for adult fans of the show who are historically willing to drop lots of money on such items.  And clearly Breaking Bad is not a kids’ show.  But keep in mind, the show does nothing to glamorize or glorify drugs or their use.  If anything, it serves as a cautionary tale testifying to the fact that there are no short cuts in this world.  If you don’t like the figures, don’t buy them.  I don’t see you having fits over Grand Theft Auto.  Now here’s the hard part–supposing little Johnny accidentally wanders into the Breaking Bad section and wants to buy a Jesse Pinkman, you, his parent, tell him, “No.”  Scary, right?

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston tweeted some comical sentiments about the whole fiasco, but fellow Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul decided to do something about it.  He started his own petition to convince Toys R Us to keep the collectibles on store shelves.  I signed it as quickly as I could.  If you’re of like mind, click on the link and sign it, too.

The world needs fewer nannies.

Oh, Thank Heavens!


I’ve done a plethora of pondering recently, a wealth of worrying, a crap-load of cogitating. Celebrating a big-ass milestone birthday will do that to you.

But I think that ultimately, it’s just a number. Aside from that, nothing is different. I’m blissfully wed to my happily ever after. My kids are happy, productive, independent human beings. We have our slice of the dream. I’m still the luckiest girl on the planet.

Think I’ll leave growing up to somebody else.

Having a Better Day Than This Guy

wpid-20141022_151401.jpgYes, that’s a pickup truck.  Yes, the wheels are in the air.

I saw an accident on my way home from work today.  And by ‘saw an accident’ I don’t mean that I saw the wreckage along the side of the road as I passed by.

I mean, I saw someone stop and someone behind them not stop.  There was a massive explosion of debris flying all around.  The second vehicle flew up, executed a half-twist in mid-air, and came to rest on its roof.  The first vehicle ended up two lanes over, pointing in the opposite direction of travel.

I’ve never seen anything like it.  I mean, maybe on every episode of CHiPs or The Dukes of Hazard.  But never with my own eyes.  I sat stunned for a moment.

Luckily for the driver of the truck, a handful of commuters slammed their own vehicles into Park and ran to render aid.  Just after I snapped this photo, those guys got the door open and, along with a Sheriff’s deputy, they pulled out the driver who walked away from the mangled truck to the sidewalk, looking dazed but not obviously injured.

And yes, I snapped this photo.  Is it ghoulish to take a picture of an accident?  I wanted to send it to Mr. R., my steely-eyed newsman who works for a local television station.  I knew he’d want to get it on the air.  And that’s what I did.

I’m impressed by the number of people who stopped to help.  It sort of makes me want to step up my game, to be honest.  I’m not sure what I could have done, but maybe I should have thought of something more useful than contributing to live, local, latebreaking.

To Which I Say, “Oh, HELL No!”

wpid-139354352666114167500401197_0226_fivewives_101_supertease.jpegDon’t mind me.  I’ve been grumpy all day.  The latest thing to annoy the living crap out of me was a commercial for this show.  I’d never heard of it before but apparently it’s been on for a while.  So dude has five wives.  There are scads of kids.  And wacky adventures ensue.  Unh hunh.

The advertised episode teases that all is not quiet on the Western front.  It’s not all bliss at the OK Corral.  Five wives seem to be fairly demanding.  Who’da thought?

It’s the guy who really rubbed me the wrong way.  Each wife wants undivided time and attention.  Apparently there isn’t enough of homeboy to go around.  Something he might have thought of about four wives ago.  Just saying.

But dude is all, “I’ve got to keep it fair.  I’m proposing double dates.”  That’s going to go over well.  How awful to have five women vying for your attention.  How does your ego stand it?  Maybe they could have a competition to win extra time.  I don’t know, maybe fire-building like on Survivor.  Or trivia questions like on Jeopardy.

I think the bigger question might be Why is this on television?  Who is watching these shows, because I know there are other ‘reality’ shows featuring polygamy.  In what way is this interesting?  I’m only writing about it because I’m peeved.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m don’t mean to criticize the way someone else wants to live.  If every participant is happy, who am I to bash their deal?  Like a good friend of mine says, “To each his own.”  Whatever blows your skirt up, I suppose.

All I’m saying is that for me, this is not a thing.  I don’t want to share my TicTacs, let alone my man.