Saturday Night Serenade–Ode to Irma

Confession…
I’m writing this post on Thursday.  On Saturday, we’re supposed to be under tropical storm conditions, then Sunday (as of now), we’re supposed to have a Cat 4 hurricane pass right over our heads here in north central Palm Beach County.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this isn’t our first rodeo.  Coastal areas are going to be under encouraged, if not mandatory, evacuations.  We’re about 15 miles away from the coast, so we’re just going to batten the hatches and hunker down.

Roads, and I mean I-95 and the Florida Turnpike, are crowded with folks seeking higher ground.  But the storm is supposed to ride up the entire peninsula, so unless you’re planning on heading to Omaha (which we considered–our son and his wife live there), you might as well stay put.

I should be nervous.  I’m certainly taking the situation seriously.  We’re securing valuables, packing up some changes of clothes in case we need dry things, storing water, digging out the battery-operated and solar lights, etc.  It’s pretty much a given that we’ll lose power and wi-fi.  We have a well, so we’ll lose water until the electricity is restored.

But I’m feeling cheeky.  So tonight, we’re Riding the Storm Out.  And, as a two-fer, we’re going to Rock You Like a Hurricane.  We’ll keep you posted, and we’d appreciate your prayers, if you’re so inclined.

Hug those you love–I know I will.  Happy Saturday night!

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!

 

Rock You Like A Hurricane

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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.

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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!

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2016 cast of The Taming of the Shrew

Only In South Florida–Your Moment Of Holy $#!t

This unbelievable video was shot this week by a local paddleboarder.  The location is uncomfortably close to where we go to the beach.  It’s the beach where my boy and his lovely bride were married last May.

I mean, you always know sharks out there, right?  But seeing this is a huge reminder.  They’re OUT THERE.  Which is why I prefer to enjoy the ocean from the sand.  Yep.  The sand is just fine for me.

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.

 

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.