Saturday Night Serenade–I Feel Fine

Yesterday was a big day.  I hear there were some kind of goings-on in Washington, D.C.  I don’t know.  I took a bunch of six- and seven-year-olds to Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach.

Florida Power & Light (FP&L) has a power plant located right beside the Intracoastal Waterway not far from the Riviera Beach Marina.  It’s been there for years.   I don’t even pretend to understand exactly what it is that they do there, and I don’t really care to research it that deeply, but suffice it to say, something about what they do produces what they call “warm water outflows” into the Intracoastal.

On cold days, the manatees that inhabit that section of brackish water between mainland West Palm Beach and the island of Palm Beach are drawn to the warm water the plant puts out.  They’ve done it probably since the plant began operations.  And the manatees have always drawn crowds of people who want to catch a glimpse of the gentle giants in their natural habitat.

About a year ago, FP&L decided to accommodate the lookie-loos.  They built a beautiful new visitors’s facility called Manatee Lagoon.  They have a small museum complete with gift shop and cafe (natch), and while they’re open to visitors six days a week, they also offer educational programs for school kids.  And it’s all FREE.  Which is perfect.

I picked the date back in May, hoping that January 20 would be cold.  Seems a safe enough bet, right?  Average highs that time of year should be low 70s, but the mornings should be much cooler.  Of course, yesterday’s high was 81.  Yeah.

But it was an amazingly beautiful day, and the staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating.  They took the kids to a large meeting room and gave them pertinent information on their level, even allowing them to handle some manatee bones.  Then we were taken to the observation deck where, yes, thank goodness, we saw a couple of manatees.

So, like I said, big day yesterday, right?

This song has echoed through my brain all week.  It seemed the right one for tonight.  Mr. R. and I are still living in reno limbo.  We couldn’t really call our home relaxing right now, but it’s starting to come together.  Can’t wait to show you a week’s worth of improvement, but that’s another post for another day.  Hope you and yours feel fine.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Merry Christmas, Baby!

We’re two weeks away from Christmas and it’s a nasty December day here in south Florida.  The sky is gray and it’s been misting all day.  It’s not cold, really, the temp is 70, but it’s the kind of day that makes you want to stay home and avoid the rat race.

Which we didn’t today, because we needed to finalize our shopping so we can ensure all our loved ones have a holly, jolly Christmas.  Oddly enough, I found that other shoppers out there are not necessarily holly or jolly.  In spite of sparkly decorations, piped in holiday mood music, and huge bargains, folks are downright grumpy.  On the upside, I thought the clerks and cashiers were pretty pleasant.

But fighting our way through traffic on this wet, soggy day, only to be run over by other shoppers in their search for yuletide gold, we began to appreciate the miracle that is Amazon Prime.

So mission accomplished, we’re back in our decked-out abode, and I couldn’t be happier.  Tonight calls for a glass of wine in front of the fire, relaxing in the glow of the Christmas tree, with bluesy holiday music in the background.

I hope you enjoy Sheryl Crow and Merry Christmas, Baby.  Happy Saturday night!

 

October Stories–The Riddle House

Here’s another October Story from the archives.  Much of the post involves information I discovered as I researched this location.  Although I have toured the Riddle House several times since this incident, I have not experienced anything like the visit I describe here. 

There’s one final story I’ll tell later on.  And I have a new tale to tack onto that one.  Happy October!


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 Yesteryear Village, a collection of historic buildings, houses, barns, and artifacts dating from 1875 to 1945, comprising a “history park.”  Some of of the buildings and artifacts been moved to the fairgrounds from their original locations, while other structures and items are reproductions.

One of those original historic buildings is the Riddle House, an early 20th century farmhouse, and it was the object of my attention that day.  The house was built shortly after 1900 in downtown West Palm Beach on the edge of the Woodlawn Cemetery.  At the time it was known as the “Gatekeeper’s Cottage” and it was used as a funeral parlor.

There are various stories of tragedies that happened in relation to the home. According to news reports, a cemetery worker was killed at the house during an argument with a local man.  Some years later a man called Karl Riddle became city manager and he and his family moved into the home.  During the time the Riddles lived in the house, an employee hanged himself in the attic.  Over the years, there have been stories of strange and unexplained happenings and it is said that the Riddle family finally left because they found it too frightening to stay.  After the Riddles moved out, several business attempted to operate in the house but none ever remained very long, some blaming unexplained experiences for their departure.

Much later the house was known for a time as Dobbs House, a women’s dorm at Palm Beach Atlantic College, before being condemned by the city in 1980 and slated for demolition due to disrepair.   A Riddle relative wanted to preserve the historical value of the building and had it moved to Yesteryear Village where it was restored and is now occasionally open for tours.

It’s open for tours, for example, during the South Florida Fair, which brings me back to where we started.  I had heard the rumors about the Riddle House.  I also know that some paranormal television shows have been there to investigate, the most famous of which was the team from Ghost Adventures, which I consider one of the least reputable of that lot.

But I was excited to have the chance to check out the house for myself.  I made sure my camera battery was fully charged and as Mr. R. and I approached the house, I began snapping pictures.  We walked into the house and toured the first and second floors.  The rooms were roped off so that you could only peer inside the from the doorways.  I found the house charming, neatly restored and decorated with period furnishings, decorations, examples of clothing and accessories, and home fashions.  I took pictures in every room open to the public.  Notably off-limits was the attic.  I overheard some other guests touring the home talking about the hauntings and I had the feeling that the docents were absolutely over hearing about ghosts.

When we got home I loaded the pictures on my computer.  At first I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary and to be honest, I really didn’t expect that I would.

HOWEVER, these are the first three pictures I took as we walked up to the house.  Notice the right window upstairs.  In the first two pictures, it looks as though someone is lifting up the corner of the curtain to peek outside.  You don’t see that in the third picture.

We didn’t notice this while we were there.  It was only after we were home looking at the pictures that we saw the difference.  The obvious logical explanation is that someone is up there looking out the window.  EXCEPT that the room is roped off.  We looked into that room from the doorway.  The window is all the way across the room on the opposite wall.  You can’t get to the window without crossing the rope.  And there is a lady just in the hallway to make sure you don’t do that.

So…I don’t know.  It makes a decent October story.  I still have one more you haven’t heard…

Save

Rock You Like A Hurricane

Image result for hurricane matthew wptv

Well, gang, it’s starting to look a little scary.  For the longest time, hurricane forecast tracks have taken this storm over the eastern Bahamas.  But the latest predictions have it coming uncomfortably close to us.  In all honesty, it’s been a while since we’ve been impacted so it’s probably our turn.

Come Wednesday night and Thursday, we could all be hunkered down waiting for the whole thing to blow over, no pun intended.  Think of us, along with Vic and Vile & Arianna.  We’ll keep you posted.

Save

Saturday Night Serenade–Date Night Three-fer

Oh, my friends, last night Mr. R. and I enjoyed an amazing date night three-fer.  We attended the last performance of the Rock Hall Three for All Tour, featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Heart.  It was, to say the least, incredible!

Mr. R. is a huge fan of Cheap Trick, who were, in fact, the first concert he ever attended.  They came out first and rocked it with a full set of around fifteen songs, including all our favorites.  Not bad for a band whose lead singer, Robin Zander, is 63.  Keeping the energy high was Rick Nielsen, age 67, in spite of the fact that it was a sweltering September night in South Florida in which the Perfect Vodka Amphitheater felt more like a sauna than a concert venue.

Of all the Cheap Trick songs, I had forgotten about this one, The Flame.  It was as beautiful last night as it was nearly 30 years ago.

After Cheap Trick was my personal favorite and hero, Joan Jett, the baby of the group at age 58.  She came out kicking ass with Bad Reputation, and this video is from the tour.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again–when I grow up, I want to be Joan Jett.

Last to perform was Heart, who we nearly missed.  Friday nights are actually Mr. R.’s Sunday nights–he hits Saturday and Sunday with 12-hour shifts as a steely-eyed newsman.  We were in agreement.  Heart is nice background music.  Maybe we could afford to sneak out and get home at a reasonable time.

Seated next to us was a couple of Heart’s biggest fans who’d seen the Tampa gig the night before and they decided they’d drive across the state for one show more before they headed back to Lakeland.  The wife helpfully informed me that when Joan Jett had started playing the previous night, she recognized some of the songs.  How cute are you? I thought.

Our new friends really wanted us to like Heart, and we stayed for most of their set, leaving before we got stuck in the parking lot for 5 hours (it’s happened before, believe me).  In spite of my Scotch-Irish stubbornness (never tell me who I have to like), I found Heart exceptional.  The Wilson sisters, Ann, age 66, and Nancy, age 62, brought the house down.  You know how aging rock stars tend to cut corners on their boldest, highest notes?  Not Heart.  Ann attacked those bits with gusto, and Mr. R. and I were super impressed.  Here’s a clip from 10 days ago.  Amazing!

So I know the tour is over.  But I’m telling you, when you get the chance, you should see any or all of these acts.  Yes, including Heart.  Because you never know when you’ll get the opportunity again.

Have a very happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Labor Day!

It’s Labor Day Weekend, the official end of summer.  Doesn’t it seem like we were just celebrating the 4th of July?  I’m thrilled to at least have a nice three-day weekend.

Tonight’s serenade celebrates the working man.  And woman.  Hell, we all work hard.  So let’s take advantage of the time off and kick it old school with a little Huey Lewis and the News.

And just for good measure, I’ve thrown in the Dropkick Murphys and their Workers Song.  Because it wouldn’t be a holiday without a little jig-punk.  When you watch the video, notice the moshers near the front of the stage?  When the Murphs came to West Palm, I ended up being right there with them.  I just figured we had a good spot to watch the concert.  Who knew we’d have to fight like gladiators?

Tonight, I’m raising a glass to the working folks.  Because let’s face it, we’re the ones who make it all run.  Enjoy your holiday weekend and spend it doing what you love, with those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

If It’s July, It Must Be Shakespeare

July is always a bit of a downer for me.  That’s because past the 4th of July, my summer vacation is more than half-way over.

However…

Mid-July brings Shakespeare by the Sea, the annual performance by the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival at Carlin Park in Jupiter.  Each year, they choose a play by the bard and give it their own spin.  This year, they’re doing The Taming of the Shrew, and it’s set at the Kentucky Derby.  Which has me shrugging my shoulders a bit, but I’m happy to go along for the ride.

The play is performed at the Seabreeze Amphitheatre across the street from the beach.  Patrons of all ages are invited to bring picnic suppers, wine, blankets, and lawn chairs as they come to enjoy an evening of entertainment.

A couple of years ago, my folks were visiting along with my six-year-old niece, Lily, and I was so excited to take them to see Much Ado About Nothing.  They were not convinced that Lily would be content to watch a Shakespeare play.  But once we arrived and got settled, some of the actors came out and interacted with her.  When the curtain went up, she was riveted.

The event runs for two consecutive long weekends and is free, with a suggested donation of $5 to cover their expenses.  At last year’s performance of Hamlet, an actor performed a private sonnet in exchange for your donation.

I love everything about this video.  The actor is spot-on, his young audience handles the one-on-one attention with aplomb, and you get the feel of sitting on the hillside waiting for the play to begin.

So tonight, we take our picnic and enjoy opening night of The Taming of the Shrew.  I love this part of July!

shrew-with-sponsors
2016 cast of The Taming of the Shrew