Date Day With The Parentals

This past week, my folks drove all the way from the icy reaches of Pennsylvania  to our humble abode in sunny South Florida.  I took a day off work to spend a little time with them and we found some fun things to do.

First of all, we took them to Grassy Waters Preserve.  It’s a wetland preserve that both Mr. R. and I pass twice every day as we go to and from work.  We probably take the folks there every time they visit because you’re always guaranteed to see a gator or three.

This time, however, we were going to see an art exhibit by The Highwaymen, an event that has been advertised out by the entrance all month.  Here’s a link to a promotional video for the exhibit.

The Highwaymen is the collective name for a group of African-American artists who painted Florida landscapes starting in the 50s.  According to a sign at the exhibit, during that time an African-American farm day-laborer could expect to earn between $5 and $10 per day.  These artists could sell a painting for $25 to $35 each.  Which became a huge economic incentive for these guys to paint as many pictures as they could, often selling them while they were still wet.

However, don’t assume that because they were hastily done they were inferior in quality.  As I looked over the paintings on display, I was struck by the beauty, by the contrasting light and shadow, by the amazing colors.  We ended up buying a signed copy of the official poster of this year’s event, a painting done of Grassy Waters.

After we left there, we toodled around for a while before we ended up at the brand new, just opened Manatee Lagoon Discovery Center at the FP&L plant in Riviera Beach.  Manatees are drawn to warm water, especially on cold days, and the power plant puts warm water into the Intracoastal Waterway.  People have shown up for years to glimpse these gentle creatures.  FP&L finally realized that rather than fighting it, they should accommodate the curious animal lovers and so they built this terrific discovery center with a two-level observation deck.  Oh, and there’s a gift shop.

It was a cool day so it was a good bet that we’d see manatees.  And we weren’t disappointed.  I kept snapping pictures, unable to see my screen because the sun was so bright.

There are times when the lagoon is packed with the critters literally body to body, but the folks were thrilled by their first glimpse of manatees in the wild.

We ended our outing with dinner at Duffy’s on Clematis.  It was a great day to skip work and hang out with loved ones.

Saturday Night Serenade–All For You

I took a sick day this week to spend time with the parentals who rolled into town for a couple of days.  That’s how I caught this Sister Hazel performance from the Today Show on Thursday.  Who realized this song was nearly twenty years old?  Where has the time gone?

Anyway, we spent the day having a great time doing some cool things and I hope to get that post up tomorrow.  But out at dinner that night, we heard the song again, so I figured it was kismet.

Hopefully, you’re keeping warm on this nearly-March night.  Snuggle up with the one(s) you love and enjoy this harmony that’s every bit as amazing as it was back in the day.  It’s all for you!  Happy Saturday night!

Funky Date Day In Lake Worth

We are NOT in Daytona for the 500 this weekend.  Sadly, by the time we checked, the cheapest tickets started at $200 apiece.  So we didn’t spend over $4oo on tickets to our 6th Great American Race.  But we’re watching it on television.

On Saturday, Mr. R. and I headed a few miles down I-95 to Lake Worth for my first ever visit to the annual Street Painting Festival.  I’ve heard about it for years and Mr. R. has covered it for the local news but I had never been to this event.

On the way, we made a quick stop at the ATM.  And by quick stop, I mean that in the span of less than 100 feet and in busy traffic, Mr. R. went from 60 mph to a hard right turn in the F-150 Crew Cab.  While performing the classic reach-over grope, he quipped, “Most people wouldn’t have tried that.”  I agreed with him.  When I caught my breath.

Finally arriving safely a few blocks from the festival, we happily paid $5 to a nice gentleman in the parking lot of the Presbyterian church so we could leave the car in relative safety.  Directly across the street was an irresistible antiques shop in an old historic store front and we meandered through before walking to the street festival.

20160220_152654.jpg

We found the free event packed in its four blocks wide, six blocks long venue.  I was fascinated to watch the artists hard at work on their creations, some of which will turn out to be 3-D when they’re completed.  Add to the art the live music on several stages, a whole row of fair food, and a margarita stand, we had everything we needed for a perfect Saturday afternoon outside.

We left the festival with the general idea of finding someplace to sit and order dinner.  Mr. R. asked if I’d ever seen the Lake Worth spillway.  When I said that no, in the more than twenty years I’ve lived in South Florida, I had not, in fact, seen that particular attraction, we made a slight detour.

The purpose of the spillway is to regulate water levels in the various canals that perform flood control duties all across the area.  It’s also apparently a popular place to go fishing.  It was a cool thing to see and I was glad we made the quick stop.

From there we headed north planning to find the new grilled cheese place in Northwood.  Before we found it, though, we decided to stop at Relish, a burger place we’ve passed many times but never experienced.

20160220_175812

Okay, here’s the thing about Relish.  Ordering is complicated, something a burger joint should not be.  You have to place your order at the counter (strike one) where you have to first decide what type of burger you want.  They have more choices than I ever dreamed of.  The featured meat for Saturday was alpaca.  We both passed in favor of beef.

Next you have to pick two relishes (strike two) which I found stressful.  I didn’t know what I wanted.  I just wanted a burger.  We had to choose from things like tzatziki, bison chili, citrus remoulade, garlic aioli, etc.  I threw my hands in the air and made Mr. R. pick for me.  Next we sat and waited for them to bring our order.

20160220_181637

The dining room was warm and still and by the time our food was ready I was feeling overheated.  We ended up eating out on the sidewalk which turned out to be pretty pleasant.  Finally, against doctor’s orders, Mr. R. ordered a Moon Pie milkshake.  Not being a milkshake fan, I only had a sip and I must say it was delicious.

I don’t really see going back to Relish.  Next time, we’ll find that grilled cheese place.

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Valentine’s Day

Tonight, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, I had to post the most romantic song I know.  To me, this is absolutely beautiful.  It reminds me of how thankful and blessed I am to have my sweet who loves me more than I would ever have imagined.  We often lament that we didn’t find each other earlier, but I’m certain that the timing was what it was supposed to be.

I hope this Valentine’s finds you with the one you love and that you have the opportunity to appreciate each other.  Life is rough and it’s amazing to share the journey with the one who thinks you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Happy Valentine’s Day and happy Saturday night!

Sock It To ED

20160211_223440
Sock it to ED!

Yes, that’s me, folks.  Mrs. R. herself.  I posed in colorful hosiery in support of my bestie, Mo.  My girl Mo has suffered from an eating disorder for the last thirty years.  It’s only in the last few years that she’s become open about it, although I suspected for quite some time.

I can’t even pretend to understand what makes someone abuse her body like this but I know that it stems from a lot of self-loathing, from never feeling ‘good enough’ no matter what she does.  Thing is, Mo is absolutely the most beautiful person, inside and out, that you’ll ever meet.  But that’s something she has to realize.

From my perspective, it seems like she’s kind of gotten a handle on her ED.  I know it was great for her to just say, “Hey, I struggle with an eating disorder.”  She’s been very active for the last few years in the ED support community, participating in the annual awareness walk and she’s raised a great deal of money for the cause.

She’s also started a photography business, shooting weddings, christenings, and family portraits.  Mo is smart and funny and talented.  My life is better for knowing her.  And I have mad respect for her courage to be open about her struggles.

So if I have to wear silly socks and post it on social media to show my support, so be it.  You may know someone who struggles with an eating disorder.  You may be unaware that someone you know deals with these issues.  Consider posting a “Sock it to ED” picture yourself in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  Maybe someone won’t feel so alone.

Looking for resources about eating disorders?  Check the National Eating Disorders Association website.

 

Launch Day!

It's Launch Day! rannigan 2

My new book Rannigan’s Redemption Part 2: Running Rogue is out today on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Kobo, & Smashwords.  It’s the continuation of the story of the complicated relationship between highpowered Manhattan attorney Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn, the smart, spunky redhead he hired straight out of law school.

Michael Rannigan is running rogue. Since Maggie’s abrupt departure from the law firm of Murphy, Rannigan, & Metheny, he’s been in a tailspin. As he limps along in the new normal, he misses her more than he ever imagined.

Maggie misses Michael as well. But she makes the best of her new job at the District Attorney’s office. Occasionally they cross paths in court, each assessing the other. Like Michael, she finds herself making questionable personal choices.

When opportunity knocks for Michael he leaps at it, maybe as much to avoid Maggie’s absence as anything else. The fact that his decision impacts everyone else at the firm doesn’t slow him down at all.

Then comes news that shakes him to his core. Now that he’s burned all his bridges, who will be there to help him pick up the pieces?

20160209_155703-1

This is what I came home to today.  My sweet wanted to surprise me for Launch Day.  It’s reason #497 I’m the luckiest girl on the planet.

 

 

 

 

From The ‘Only In Florida’ File

From the local news today, this little nugget.  It was reported this afternoon that a 3 1/2 foot long alligator was in a nearby Wendy’s restaurant.  I’m sure you’re wondering, like I did, just how that gator got in Wendy’s anyway.

It seems that a 23-year-old dude from my neighborhood (of course) pulled up to the drive-through window and when the server handed him his drink and turned to get the rest of his order, dude tossed the critter through the window.

Needless to say, he was arrested, and more importantly the gator was returned to a local canal.

Yep.  That happened today.  You can click here for the video story.