Saturday Night Serenade–Superstition

Happy October!  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but between our anniversary, my birthday, and Halloween, I LOVE October!

For the first October song, I’m choosing Superstition by the amazing Stevie Wonder.  That funky bass line just draws you in every time.

And it’s perfect for the countdown to Halloween.  I mean, check out the lyrics.  And may I be the first to admit that I’ve been singing it wrong for all these years.

Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your pastWhen you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the wayVery superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way, yeh, yeh

Very superstitious, nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way, no, no, no

It made me wonder…
Are you superstitious?  I don’t consider myself to be.
Once I visited San Antonio with my mother and we went to this glorious Mexican restaurant down by El Mercado.  We were seated outside at a table covered in tile mosaic.  There was a hole in the center of the table where an umbrella might go.  My mother salted her dinner and when she set down the salt shaker, she accidentally dropped it through the hole.  The glass shaker shattered once it hit the ground and salt spilled everywhere.
A Hispanic lady at the next table saw what happened and brought us her salt shaker, miming tossing salt over her shoulder.  When my mother reached for the salt, the woman shook her head vigorously then set it on the table rather than passing it directly.  To appease the woman, my mother went ahead and tossed some salt over her shoulder and life went on.  But I’ve always thought that was a strange experience.
Are there any things you do for good luck?
I just want to be grateful for the good things in my life.
I hope you’re enjoying this fall evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.
Happy Saturday night!
P.S.  I couldn’t resist this version by another Stevie, the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan.

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Saturday Night Serenade–Breakfast Date

Last Sunday, Mr. R took me to breakfast at one of my most favorite places on the planet.

Howley’s is a West Palm Beach institution, an establishment that describes itself as “Hip diner slinging comfort chow amid ’50s decor with a pressed-tin ceiling, full bar & jukebox.”  It has had the same motto, “Cooked in sight, must be right,” since the place opened in 1950.  After years of neglect, it was taken over by Subculture, who lovingly restored it into the joint it is today, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7am to 2am, except Friday and Saturday when it’s open until 5am.  I may or may not have rolled in drunk in the wee hours of the morning and ordered a grilled cheese and fries to soak up a little alcohol before heading home.

Howley’s is so much more than just a diner.  The place has an open, funky, creative vibe.  Art on display on most available surfaces is for sale.  I have to confess, I had my eye on a pair of photos on canvas–black and whites of a Creature of the Black Lagoon action figure with a surfboard on the beach and on a pier looking out over the water.

There’s even a fantastic outdoor mural by local artist Amanda Valdes on the south wall.

The staff is young, tattooed and pierced, and gender fluid.  Oh, and by the way, the food is great!

Sunday, shortly after we were seated in a retro-style booth, our server, a thin, much tattooed, delightfully gay man came to take our order.  When I started with a mimosa, he drew a heart on his chest and declared that he and I are soul sisters.  As he left to get our drinks, I couldn’t resist.  “I LOVE this place,” I told Mr. R.

We enjoyed our breakfast to a soundtrack of music in keeping with the vibe of the place.  When Still Feel It by Portugal. The Man came on, our server friend (my soul sister), who was helping a nearby table, broke into a fabulous shimmy.  I LOVE THIS PLACE!

I love it so much, in fact, that when I set my award-winning book, FOR SPARROW, in West Palm Beach, I featured Howley’s.  Yes, the book title is a link, just in case you’re looking for a great read.  😉

I hope you like this song.  Fun Fact: It’s the song in the latest Coppertone ad.  It just feels like summer to me.  And funky diners.  And happiness.

Enjoy this balmy summer evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Kiss Me, I’m Irish

I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day!   On my bucket list is to pay someone to play Galway Girl in a pub in Galway on St. Patrick’s Day.  So far, this first video is as close as I’ve gotten.  It’s a joyous street celebration!

Tonight, in celebration of all things Eire, I’ve assembled some of my favorite Irish music by some of my favorite Irish bands.  If you’re not familiar with them, it’s a sampling of what’s out there.

To me, the perfect place to celebrate the day is in an Irish bar listening to traditional music.  A few St. Patrick’s Days ago, Mr. R and I spent hours at the James Joyce Irish Pub, a wonderful bar in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood.

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We listened to great music and tossed back way too many little green shots before we staggered back to our hotel in the wee hours of the morn.  At one point, Mr. R paid the guy to sing Dirty Old Town.  Here it is by The Pogues.

You can’t celebrate the day without Irish Rover.  This traditional version is by the Dubliners with The Pogues.  Just ignore the bad teeth, it’s brilliant.

The Dropkick Murphys are undoubtedly my favorite jig-punk band, and I was thrilled to go see them last time they came through town.  This is Rose Tattoo.

Again,  here are The Pogues, with If I Should Fall From Grace With God.  Does it seem like  the Irish have something of a fixation on death?

Finally, and if you’re still here, you’re awesome, here’s a set from my favorite Irish band, The Prodigals, at their home bar, Paddy Reilly’s on the lower east side of Manhattan.  I actually DID get to see them here once, and it was magical.

Pull up a stool and raise your pint glass.  Sláinte, hug those you love, and have a happy Saturday night.

Saturday Night Serenade–Oh, For A Pint On A Fall Night

Happy November!  Can it be possible that the holidays are right around the corner?  Oh, it CAN be–judging by the sudden onslaught of Christmas displays in the stores and the commercials on television.

Last weekend was cool here in south Florida.  A/C was turned off, windows were opened, a fresh breeze whisked away all the stale air from the house.  We even had a fire in the fireplace a couple of nights.  This weekend is more or less back to normal for this time of year–bright sunshine and low humidity with high temps around 80.

But last weekend put me in a mood.  I want to escape to a pub in Galway, and sip a pint of Guinness while listening to a local band.

I love this song by Ed Sheeran, and I adore this video even more.  Join me for a pint, and celebrate this beautiful fall evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Ready To Feel Good

It was a week.  I can’t complain, not really.  We had a Cat 5 hurricane barreling toward us, and ended up losing power for only about 15 hours.  No damage to the house, just a lot of tree branches and debris down in the yard.  Parts of the Keys are devastated.  I almost feel guilty for feeling relieved.

Local news was 24/7 hurricane coverage for a good five days, warning us of doom, gloom, and imminent disaster.  We had no idea what was going on in the rest of the world.

When the electricity and internet were back up, I was ready to go back to normal life.  Not so fast, though.  Not everyone around here has had their power restored.  We were apparently among the very fortunate.  And the county just lifted the curfews they’d enacted.  For quite a few days, there was no going anywhere from dusk to dawn.

View of the Jupiter Lighthouse from Square Grouper, after Hurricane Irma.

Cabin fever forced Mr. R. and I to go exploring on Wednesday.  On the most off chance, we cruised by one of our favorite watering holes, knowing that because it’s on the water, it would definitely be closed.

It wasn’t.  Precious few people knew, so it was blissfully uncrowded and we spend a nice hour decompressing toward normal.

I’m ready to feel good again.  So for tonight’s serenade, I’m bringing along Ed Sheeran with Castle on the Hill.  I love this song.  It makes me feel happy.

I hope you’re enjoying this September evening.  Is it cool where you are?  It’s still steamy hot here.  Hug those you love, and maybe consider donating to hurricane relief.  Between Texas and Florida, there are a lot of hurting folks out there.

Happy Saturday night!

I Love This Place!

Mr. R and I went out for dinner last weekend to celebrate the closing of his first real estate listing.  Unsure of where we wanted to go, we looked online to find some options.  We really wanted to try someplace we’d never been before.

We landed on Cool’a Fishbar at Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens.  The menu looked good, and the prices were moderate.  The website offered us the opportunity to make a reservation, which we did.

When we arrived about 10 minutes early, we were seated immediately in a large booth.  The interior is upscale indoor tiki, with lots of dark wood and woven rattan.  Our server, Steven with a ‘v’, was both friendly and efficient, and extremely knowledgeable about the menu, which boasts fresh, locally caught seafood.

We ordered coconut shrimp as an appetizer, and I opted for Cool’a’s signature drink, a strong rum and citrus concoction.  I cannot tell a lie, I had two.

For dinner, Mr. R ordered the Mediterranean Seafood bowl–a mixture of shrimp and scallops with tomato, spinach and feta cheese, sauteed with white wine, lemon, butter, and oregono over angel hair.  I chose the Island Grilled Salmon, which was topped with crabmeat and a Hawaiian aioli.  My entree came with two sides, and I had the mixed baby greens and the Cool’a potato, a heavenly kind of au gratin served in a ramekin.

EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, was delicious.  We ate like we’d just tapped out of Naked and Afraid.  Across from us, a couple shared a slice of Key lime pie.  I wanted some so badly, but I was too full to even think about it.

Suffice it to say, we’ve found a great new place to go for date night.

*The first three photos are taken from the Cool’a website.  The last one, of my dinner, is mine.

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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.

book club pano

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!