Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #8

It’s the end of July.  Normally around this time, I’d be panicked thinking about going back to work.  My living room would be filled with piles of composition books, spiral notebooks, folders, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, pencils, and all the other back-to-school paraphernalia.

This year is different.  Since school ended in June, I’ve been working seven days a week on my new full-time career.  And loving every minute of it.  I don’t mind hard work when I believe in what I do and have the freedom to do it in the way it should be done.  Teaching hasn’t been that way for a long time.

Last school year was spectacularly bad, and more than half the staff of my school has found other positions.  A few, like me, have found new careers.  Since that’s the case and we’ve all gone our separate ways, I’m making it my mission to see that we all stay in touch, and to that end, my bestie Mo and I started a group on Facebook.  We call it a ‘book club’, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the code word we used last year when we needed to share ‘ears only’ information (told you it was a bad year), and it’s by invitation only.  The main purpose is to have a communication platform–we’re planning to get together for lunch once a month to stay in contact, keep up with everyone, and encourage each other in our new endeavors.

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Yesterday was our second meeting, and we had a blast.  We’ve decided that ‘our place’ is an outdoor bar on the Jupiter Inlet called Square Grouper.  The vibe is island casual, with sand for the floor and palm fronds for the ceiling, with a view of the Jupiter lighthouse across the inlet.  Oh, and did I mention that I’ve made it a setting in my new book, due out in September?  It’s a place to go when you need to decompress.  There’s nothing like the lull of the water and the gentle ocean breeze that lets you sit back and relax.

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Which is exactly what we did.  Before we left yesterday, we made plans for our August meeting.  I offered to change up the venue, but everyone wanted to come back to this little slice of paradise where it’s always 5:00.

And that brings me to tonight’s serenade, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.  It’s a great summer song.  It also happened to be shot here, at Square Grouper.  The video is old–the place has put in a few upgrades, but they’ve maintained the tranquil, island-time essence that brings everyone back.

Tonight, I’m grateful for good friends, cold drinks, a gentle summer breeze, and life in general.  I hope you’re well and enjoying your summer.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #7

Summer road trip, anyone?  Mr. R and I headed over to Tampa last weekend for an Indie author book convention.  The event featured Indie authors from all over the world, and was held at a party space called Chic Venue.

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It was pretty inside (okay, Mr. R called it gaudy) and as soon as we arrived, we set about putting our half of the table in order.

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I shared the table with a lovely author named Harmony Stalter.  She was super nice, and displayed two books, one of which she called a ‘second-chance romance’, and the other a murder mystery.  Which probably explains the jar with the (fake) heart and the other one filled with eyeballs.

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She later apologized for the gruesome display, but I replied that her jars probably accounted for most of the people who stopped by our table.  The event ran from noon to 6:00, and traffic was slow.  Even so, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of great writers.  I’m even making plans to return next year.

As Mr. R and I headed home, we stopped in Ybor City, my favorite part of Tampa.  It’s the historic Cuban district, and probably where we should have had the author event.  I’ll push for that for next year.

Anyway, we found street parking and strolled toward the loud live music coming from down the street.  It emanated from Gaspar’s Grotto, a place we know well.  It’s where you go when you want the absolute best Cuban sandwich you’ll find anywhere.  So with cocktails on the table and  sandwiches ordered, we relaxed to live music and reflected on our day.

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It was our summer road trip.  Which brings me to tonight’s serenade, Love Shack, the ultimate road trip song.  And it makes me wonder…  We told you about our trip.  Where have you traveled this summer?  I’d love to hear all about it.

In the meantime, hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

 

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Joan Jett

Oh, my gosh, did you think we’d NEVER get to this weekend?  The work week was fraught with stupidity on so many levels, it’s such a relief to have two days to simply think my own thoughts, make my own mistakes instead of someone else’s…

Mr. R and I had a good time at the Improv last weekend.  We were running a little late that night, which might have been a little bit my fault.  Hey, looking this amazing doesn’t just happen, LOL!  But when we made a wrong turn, it worked out better than anticipated, because we ended up in a little parking lot only a block away from the club, so we were seated in plenty of time for the show.

Before the opening act, we placed our first order in compliance of the ‘two-drink minimum’ and sipped contentedly as the first two comedians ran through their sets.  The headliner was Andrew Schulz, and we laughed a lot.  I’m including a snippet from his act, although this clip is from a performance in NYC.

We had such a great time.  Long ago when we first started dating, Mr. R and I visited a comedy club in Boca several times.  Once, on the 45-minute drive back to northern Palm Beach County, Joan Jett came on the radio and, with the windows open and the music blasting, we joined in with a LOUD, slightly tipsy rendition of I Hate Myself for Loving You.

I love collecting memories like that.  They remind us of what we have together.  I hope this weekend finds you well, and that you’re able to make so great memories with those you love.  And remember, it’s a 4-day work week.  Yay!

Happy Saturday night!

P.S. I wanna be Joan Jett when I grow up.  Just so you know…

Saturday Night Serenade–Tender Is The Night

It’s been a pleasant, mostly lazy summer week here at Chez R.  Mr. R. again had the week off and we enjoyed the time, running a few errands and pulling off two major projects.

Yes, we’ve lived in this house for five years.  So maybe it took us five years to find drapes we liked.  No, actually, we finally just bit the bullet and decided that anything was better than the old vertical blinds that came with the house.

When we moved in, there were ancient used-to-be-white plastic vertical blinds that someone had painted RED on one side, matching the RED accent walls that we painted over a couple of years ago.

Introduce the crummy plastic slats to years of sun damage and one 85-lb land shark, from the street they looked like the grin of some deranged snaggle-toothed six-year old.

In addition to the drapes, we rearranged the living room/dining room, essentially swapping places.  That doesn’t sound like such a major project except that it was much like trying to work one of those little plastic tile puzzles, sliding this piece that way so you can slide the next piece…

The end result is that we have lovely drapes and the nasty verticals are currently sitting at the curb.  And, I am now writing at my awesome new roll-top writer’s desk rather than at the kitchen table.  I pretty much feel like I’ve arrived.

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In celebration of this week’s accomplishments, Mr. R. and I found ourselves at Yardhouse for a little mid-week dinner date.

And that’s were I heard this song.  You were waiting for me to get around to the song, weren’t you?  I forgot how much I love Jackson Browne.  Here’s a live version of Tender is the Night.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying this hot (tender) summer night with the one(s) you love.  We’ll be here marveling at the difference in our humble abode.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–All In The Name Of Progress

Last evening, Mr. and I spent a lovely date night at one of our favorite places, Guanabanas in Jupiter.  I’ve mentioned Guanabanas before.  It’s a little outdoor restaurant/bar along US1, between the road and the Loxahatchee River, all lush tropical plants, sail shades, and tiki huts.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening; the sky was a crisp, clear blue, there was a light breeze, and the temperature was in the high seventies.

We had what we decided was the best table in the place, a high-top in the bar area across from the tiny stage and backing up to the waterfall.  Settling in after a long work week, we nibbled on their smoked fish dip and shrimp fritters as he sipped his Arnold Palmer and I opted for their Cat 5 hurricane, which, like its namesake, will knock you on your ass.

It was such a pleasant way to end the week, but I couldn’t help but feel worried.  Making our way to the place was quite a hassle.  There is extensive roadwork being done in the area and we found ourselves dodging orange barrels and road workers as they were ending their day.  It seems that someone finally realized there is a shit-load of money to be made by developing the waterfront area there in Jupiter.  And to that end, they began making road improvement (read widening) efforts even before their plans to purchase a huge chunk of property and build a massive commercial abomination were ever approved.

The developers don’t seem worried.  It’s the old Golden Rule:  He who has the gold makes the rules.  And while the fate of Guanabanas is uncertain at this point, there’s another Jupiter waterfront treasure which seems destined to become what was.

The Square Grouper* is a tiny outdoor tiki bar hidden away down a back street, a stone’s throw from Guanabanas and right on the Jupiter Inlet.  It’s a place where locals hang out, maybe because it’s not easy to find.  I love this bar.  It’s completely outside, right on the water.  The floor is sand, palm fronds from a small forest of trees shelter patrons from the sun, and there is a tiki stage that almost always features live music.  You can sit listening to music, sipping on something rummy, and watch pelicans and stingsrays and paddleboarders…  It’s paradise.  For now, anyway.

I’ve seen the proposed plans for the urban monstrosity developers want to build there.  It will be all concreted over and there will be shops, restaurants, and high-rise, high-rent condos.  If there is something left of Square Grouper, I can guarantee locals won’t darken the door again.  We made a point of taking my son there when he was home a few weeks ago, mostly because, as I told him, there’s no guarantee it will still be there next time he’s home.

Which brings me to tonight’s song.  I’m pretty sure I’ve posted Five O’Clock Somewhere before; it’s a great song.  But if you’ll notice the part where Alan Jackson is at a bar, it’s Square Grouper.  The video is old; they’re spruced up the place a bit since then.  But having once been a resident of Jupiter Island, Alan Jackson was known to just show up at the place and play a set every once in a while.  It’s that kind of place.  That’s what we’re losing.  Which is sad.

But for now, pour me something tall and strong.  It’s five o’clock somewhere.  Happy Saturday night!

*Square grouper–a bale of marijuana found floating in the water or washed up on the beach, having been tossed overboard to avoid legal entanglements.

Saturday Night Serenade–Low

Tonight’s serenade is by request from Mr. R.  Seems he’s had an ear worm all week long, been unable to get it out of his head.

The song takes me back to when we first started dating over ten years ago.  We’d hang out at Respectable Street, known as Respects by those who frequent the place.  It’s a club down on Clematis and it doesn’t get hopping until after midnight.

Respects is a cave of a place, housed on the bottom floor of a nearly century-old downtown building with hardwood floors, dark walls, a banquette of seating along one side, a huge dance floor  fronting a medium-sized stage, and an LED-lit glass-block bar with a right angle in the middle as it straddles the junction of two walls.  Out back, there’s a small courtyard with its own DJ where the Sleestacks and Orcs hang out.

We always had a great time at Respects.  It’s the kind of place where all folks are welcome.  You see typical club-goers wearing the latest trends, guys in jeans and polos, Goth girls carrying tiny coffins as purses, lesbians in comfortable shoes, and everything in between, and everyone always gets along.  I love that about the place.  There was one night when we were there at closing time, around 4:00 am.  The lights came up and for no apparent reason, everyone gathered around the bar and sang Strawberry Fields Forever.

All of that to say, Low by Cracker brings back some fond memories.  “You realize that this song came out in 1993,” I helpfully informed Mr. R.

“No way!”

“Way.”

Where does the time go?  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.