Friday, September 2, 2016

The Next Leg

Well, that week sure went by fast!

Ken and I were talking today about how when we first get here, it’s like the week stretches out in front of us and it feels like forever. Once we hit Wednesday, it just zooms by. Next thing you know, we’re packing up to leave!

It was a fun but very low-key week. Our biggest activity was going to the Speakeasy on Monday and the rest of the time was total vegecation. Even though I don’t work anymore, I told Ken that it was still a true vacation for me because I didn’t have to do laundry or cook meals or take care of any of those little tasks that consume a day. I got to sit out on the balcony and get some serious reading in. Very enjoyable!

Our activities were curtailed a bit by Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hermine. Although it hit on the Gulf Coast (we’re on the Atlantic Coast), we still got the outer edges with some heavy rain and even a tornado warning! The lights in the condo flickered a few times but we never lost power. I was saddened to hear that one person died due to the storm.

We got to hit our very favorite places, including the Sea Shack, Norwood’s, Oceans Seafood, The Breakers (my favorite burger ever!), Toni and Joe’s, Bethune Park to see the manatees, and JB’s Fish Camp. Ken also got to golf one morning and I got to drive the cart, and I had two new bird sightings on the course: a roseate spoonbill and a wood stork! Yay!

It was no surprise that today, the day before we leave, we had the nicest afternoon we had all week. There was actual sunshine and even a beautiful rainbow over the ocean, very close to shore. Hard to believe that just yesterday we were under a tornado warning!

Our next stop will be Newnan, Georgia followed by some activities in Senoia, Georgia on Sunday. Some of you might know the significance of that! I will post more about it soon. I am very excited!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Let the Music Play

Stay with the music
Let it play a little longer
You don’t need anybody
All you need is now

~~ “All You Need Is Now” by Duran Duran

I think this is the first time I’ve ever spent my birthday on vacation and it was truly a special one!

For one thing, I got many wonderful wishes from family and friends on Facebook, including some fun memes ranging from this one to Donald Sutherland from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” to a picture of Simon and his tight white pants. (So many others were hilarious, but I can’t list them all!) All the wishes made me smile and I enjoyed them very much, so thanks to everyone!

Second, we got invited to a party in Orlando! To make a long story short, we saw one of our favorite entertainers from New Orleans, Gypsy Elise and her husband Ryan on Sunday. They moved to Orlando about a year ago and play gigs in the area. They were at one of our favorite new places in New Smyrna Beach, the Treehouse Bar at Norwood’s restaurant (a great, old-school place with amazing food). Gypsy and Ryan used to have monthly speakeasies in NOLA, where Gypsy cooked up a feast for everyone and those with artistic and creative talent would perform a song or two. We never made it to one in NOLA but happily, Gypsy and Ryan are continuing the Speakeasy in Orlando and were kind enough to invite us!

We made our way to Orlando (about an hour away, a little longer with traffic) and we had an absolutely wonderful time! We got to meet their son, JR, who is adorable and seemed to have fun playing soccer with me in his room. Gypsy gave me a super cute crossbody purse and had filled it with 54 packets of taco sauce for each of my 54 years. Ha! Another guest, John, brought me a container of 54 tea lights (with one to grow on). Almost everyone was a stranger to me but I felt welcome and at ease, and for an introvert like me, that is NOT easy!

Gypsy had put out an amazing spread of beef bourguignon, potato salad, regular salad, a fruit and cheese platter, some other things I think I’m forgetting, and for dessert, a pear upside down cake. Everything was delicious! After everyone had gotten their fill, the music started.

A London-trained pianist named Julian played ragtime, Chopin, and a rendition of “Rhapsody In Blue” that gave me chills. He also played some impromptu duets with Ryan (who is also an amazing player) including a funked-up version of “Heart and Soul.” Ryan played other songs on his own like “St. Louis Blues” and a fun snippet of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” at my request, one that we all joined in singing. There was a lovely duet with Nathan who played the saxophone. Julian’s girlfriend (I’m sorry I didn’t catch her name!) sang “My Funny Valentine” and “Over the Rainbow” with Julian’s accompaniment. A very nice woman named Shondra read her poem and it was excellent. A guy named Swami (not his given name, haha) read his short ode to jazz. And of course, Gypsy herself sang a medley of songs, including the New Orleans classic “Iko Iko.” Gypsy and Ryan broke out the tambourines for us all and it was fun to play along even when you don’t have a whole helluva lot of talent! (Note to self: I need to buy a tambourine.)

It was a lovely evening, and I am always blown away by the talent that is out there. There is nothing more wonderful than sharing the joy of music with others. Unless it’s sharing the joy of food with others. Put ‘em both together, and it’s magic! Something that struck me as I watched these talented people (and something I’ve seen in many other talented artists) is the way the music transports them. The smiles, the concentration, the joy. I may not have that talent, but I feel that sometimes when I play the piano, and I certainly feel it when I see others playing so beautifully.

Thanks again to Gypsy and Ryan for their hospitality, and thanks to everyone for such a fun night. It was an unexpected treat and made my day feel special!