Mr. Mouse and Beach Street

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Daytona is famous for the beach, racing, and Bike Week ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­. Water in shades of blue turquoise continue to roll across the flat beach front  that initially attracted John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford to race cars here and Bike Week is now world famous however, Daytona is simply a nice small town where I discovered and fell in love with Mr. Mouse.

My sister, Mel and her friend, Ellen, came to escape single digit temperatures in the North and had visited Flagler Beach, New Smyrna, and CiCi and Hyatt Browns Art Museum, so I suggested lunch at the Dancing Avocado on Beach Street in Daytona. Having been there before, I knew there was shaded outdoor seating.


Although reports that Homeless plague the area discouraging shopping, I frequently attend a writers group at The City Island Library and have not experienced problems. Beach Street is quite nice and home of the famous Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, as well as my favorite Used Book Store, Abraxas.

Parking is easy to find, and free.

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A recent Daytona Beach News Journal article by Mark Lane reminisces about the area in the 1960s and details his family’s arrival in 1962 as engineers for General Electronics Apollo Support Program. Lane talks about the music scene, segregation (“He didn’t share a classroom with black kids until seventh grade”), and Beach Street as the place to shop.

So we headed to Beach Street and the Dancing Avocado.

As we drove, I explained to Mel and Ellen that although we were driving on Beach Street they would not be looking at the Atlantic Ocean. The view was of the Halifax River.

Mel asks, “So where is River Road?”

I responded, “ The east side of the Halifax is called River Road, lots of big expensive houses and part of The Loop.  My guess is Floridians went to the beach along the river because back then, there was no bridge to the Oceanside.”

“Really?” Mel was amazed.

It was a cool fifty-five degrees so we sat inside at the Dancing Avocado and selected Veggie Burgers and Symphony salads made with carrot curls, sprouts and sunflower seeds.

Afterwards, we perused the shops and I confessed my search for a vintage cookie jar. Something to fill in an empty counter top space, as we entered “Sisters Décor & More.”

13321656_1709493119301735_5649400088070015355_nThe store was stacked with floor to ceiling shelving and cluttered with previously owned items. Ellen spotted an Old Mother Hubbard jar and drew my attention saying, “She’s kind of nice.”

I moved closer for a better view, and responded lackadaisically, “She doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t know what I’m looking, I’ll know when I see it,” and turned around.

In the corner, his nose pointing towards me was Mr. Mouse.

There was no discussion, no debate. He was perfect  I loved his extremely large ears, his small beady eyes and spidery whiskers.

At home, Mr. Wonderful was unimpressed with my new purchase, not even the $19 price tag! He thought his ears too big, I thought them just right, although he believed an open stack of saltines would nestle easily in its long snout.

I love Mr. Mouse’s small beady eyes and spidery whiskers, and the way he sits on the counter oozing personality.  Mr. Wonderful . . . not so much and roams the house saying, “Eek, eek! I see a mouse.”

. . . . just saying

Mr. Wonderful, aka, Bob is my husband of 46 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hobnobbing and Sailing

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Some would say I am MIA, not having published a blog post since January. I apologize. We did move and I could use unpacking and decorating the new hut as an excuse. But the truth is, I am struggling creatively. In the past an obscure word or thought would dance in my head until I put pencil to paper. Recently I have only pondered what to eat for lunch and how to get a better night’s sleep.

This morning however, the word hobnob and music from Gilligan’s Island interrupt my thoughts. While Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning asks questions about Google and mobile websites, I hum  “What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?” When Gayle King comments about a lost wedding band returned to a Boston marathoner I blank out, and say hobnob aloud.

You see, I have been hobnobbing. To be more specific, I just returned from a Road Scholar trip called, “Day Sailing for Beginners.” And yes, I feel like I am swaying on land and extremely dizzy when bending over.

Road Scholar educational adventures are conducted by Elderhostel, a not for profit world leader in lifelong learning. The trip description read, “Have you always wanted to experience the freedom and pleasure of sailing? Then this small-group program is for you.” The adventure included five days of sailing in Boca Ciega Bay (St. Petersbury, Florida), three meals a day and lodging for $935. A bargain! I stopped reading and mailed my check. Realizing “learning” to sail, not sailing, was the trip focus, while reviewing the trip itinerary and recommended reading list. I was still game. What the heck, I earned a knot-tying badge as a Brownie and know how to swim.

The small group of nineteen consisted of twelve women and seven men. The refrain “Ear-ly in the morning,” from the song, intrudes my thoughts as I now write, and recall the trip orientation and dinner on Sunday evening.

There were three couples, of which one were in their eighties and married sixty-five years. Seven of the participants were from Florida, four from New York and the rest scattered between Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont.

Not everyone was retired. Their backgrounds were eclectic, varying from kindergarten teacher, geophysicist, law professor, computer programmer, and commercial farmer. Many had traveled extensively and lived in other countries. Several enjoy ballroom dancing. Two disclosed they had built sailboats in their youth then reluctantly admitted the boats sank.

We all lacked sailing experience when we entered the lecture room at Eckerd College,  to met, the lead instructor. He earned his facial wrinkles not by smiling but from numerous sailing certifications and dedication to the sea. Attractive, although, his nose was clearly designed to hold glasses on his face, his full head of white hair streaked with yellow suggested he was older than he looked. He had skinny knees and I speculated his mustache had been penciled on after shaving. He shut the lecture room door quickly, and a no-nonsense approach sprinkled with infinite patience was quietly revealed. He stood alongside a podium, a smart-board marker in his hand and said, “I am Richard, your Captain.”

Learning to sail was a wonderful experience. The learning curve was high however, and on Wednesday, I vowed to either do more new learning or abandon all learning that is new completely when my brain twisted Jibe and Gybing. That night a fellow crewmember stayed up late replacing the words in “What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor,” with nautical terminology.

A Brit, she shared her, “Sea Shanty in Honor of the Inestimable Captain Richard,” in the morning, and instructed the group to repeat each line three times then follow with the refrain “Ear-ly in the morning.”

Reef him to the boon vang, til he’s bowlined
Moor him to the jib sheet til he’s cleated
Winch him in the pulpit til he’s port tacked

There are numerous other stanzas calling for wrapping, lashing, tying, and dragging Captain Richard about. The group loved her rendition and ignored the implication of  bondage.

I am still dizzy when bending over and debating if it is a side effect of new learning or a brain tumor. I have doctor’s apppointment next week.

. . . . just saying

Stetson Mansion Showcase of Quilts

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 Thanks to my friend Christine (who writes Pudbudder), my interest in quilts and sewing is rekindled.

Christine dragged me around to participate in the Central Florida Shop Hop. It is fun, if you live in Florida where the steering wheel is too hot to handle in July and August.

What is a Shop Hop?

It is a clever way to attract people to Quilt Fabric stores. Customers pay a five dollar fee for a passport and list of twenty-eight stores where they receive a free fat square of fabric when they visit. Quilting is now considered an art form. The stores are different and each a unique aesthetic experience.

At the Byrd’s Nest a Quilter explained why their business is booming. She incorporates a silhouette of the owner’s dog into a custom-made quilt. The quilt she worked on was constructed from beautiful mosaic black and brown fabric for a chocolate lab owner.

In our travels I learned about the Showcase of Quilts at Stetson Mansion. I have been to the Stetson Christmas tour and was eager to see quilts displayed throughout the mansion. I snapped some pictures, however, the tour was so interesting; I stopped to fully listen.  You will see those pictures below.

The Stetson Mansion is the restored summer home of John Stetson, maker of the Stetson Hat. TripAdvisor named the mansion one of  three hundred must see attractions in the United States, more popular than Disney. Orlando Disney is near Deland.

Tours are by reservation only, as the owners live at the mansion and maintain the property themselves. The cost of  renovation was contained by contributions from over three hundred sponsors, secured through letter writing. Over time, the campaign mailed some sponsors one hundred letters to obtain commitment. The renovation scheduled to take years was completed in eighteen months. Their story is enchanting and the the manison a definite must see.

 

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 Dawn also posted some pics!

                                                        . . . just saying

 

http://time.com/3029819/lucy-movie-review-luc-besson/

Happy Passengers At Wrong Airport

imagesWhat, Me Worry?
Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Newman

“How Could That Happen?” I say aloud, but really talking to myself.

Mr. Wonderful* replies somewhat distracted, “How could what happen?”

He is lounging in his favorite sunny spot on the couch doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with an ink pen. I sit nearby, viewing a you tube video on my laptop.

“How could an airplane land at the wrong airport?”

“I haven’t a clue,” he says mimicking Brad Hawkins, a spokesperson for Southwest who said, “There is no explanation.”

Evidently, wrong airport landings happen.

In this particular incident the pilot brought the plane to a screeching halt to avert falling onto the interstate.

Brad announced that Southwest would refund tickets and provide future travel credit, whatever that means.

Passengers, waiting for bus transportation to the right airport, smiled and called the pilot a hero.

How could Southwest make this blunder? I love Southwest; there are no fees for checking luggage, or to change a flight. Plus, on the flight home from Albuquerque New Year’s Day, the flight attendant sang to us.

“Whatever happened to air traffic controllers? Don’t they tell pilots when and where to land. Remember, when Regan threatened to fire all of them, did he?

“Claudia, that was in 1981, they’ve probably been replaced with technology.”

“Like a GPS or Bluetooth.”

“I haven’t a clue. What’s a six letter word for gabardine?”

“Fabric, that’s what happened.”

“What’s what happened?”

“Technology, automation and pilots forgetting how to fly, there are two articles online. Do you think the pilot was texting or taking a selfie, maybe he fell asleep like the conductor of that Metro-North Train?”

“That conductor is not being charged; neither drugs, nor alcohol were involved and falling asleep isn’t a crime.”

“Not even if you’re driving a train?”

“Guess not, the investigation of the wrong airport thing should be interesting.”

“Technology is to blame; those stupid voice commands don’t work. You know what happens when we use it. We say phone Janine, and the Blue Tooth repeats, ‘phone Judy’.  We say no, it says ‘phone Janice’, we yell louder NOOOOOOOOOOO Phone JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJanine. The automated system phones Judy. We disconnect and try again. This time the commands say press one to phone Judy, press two to phone Janice and Janine isn’t in the mix. We hang up, grab the cell, and dial Janine’s number. I’m sure that’s what happened to the pilot.”

“Right Claudia, you’re right, you’re always right.”

“No think about it, replace Janine with airport code BKG, Judy with MGC and Janice with KBGB and you’ll see what I mean. The pilot’s ‘automatic pilot’ kicked in and he landed the plane without any annoying automation.  No worry it was the wrong airport, the passengers were happy.”

. . . . just saying  

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of 43 years.

Eating Moose

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                                                    Aging & Attitude

Eating Moose


Miss Eva giggles, when her mom, Sasha Martin, announces they will be eating moose. The little girl’s flirtatious glance causes Sasha to clarify and add, banana mouse. This week the country is Sao Tome and Principe, and the menu Sweet Potato Frittata, Cod Fish Feijoada and Banana Mouse with Chocolate Shavings. Miss Eva started eating  international cuisine as a toddler, has a sophisticated palate and would not be surprised if moose were on the menu.

Do you dream of world travel? Not Sasha Martin, she turns dreams into travel around the world without leaving Tulsa, Oklahoma. I discovered Sasha and Global Table Adventure listening to NPR. Global Table Adventure, a way to experience the world, educate her daughter and take her picky husband with her, is her brainchild.

Tag lines reveal the mission and nature of her character.

Imagine if it were possible to create peace one bite at a time.

Let’s eat out way around the world.

Cooking the world A-Z

Catchy phrases like “stove top travel” and “I’m giving you the recipes, facts and reviews,” lure you to culinary delights. With eyes closed you can experience being there.

Sasha is focused, and organized; the website user-friendly and the pictures fabulous.

A student of the Culinary Institute of America she tackles a list of 195 countries alphabetically. If only I had discovered the adventure sooner,  she has explored 151 countries.

Travel Tuesday, tells about the country and culture, Menu Wednesday reveals what to cook, Thursday shows techniques and Fun Friday includes tidbits and polls. Saturday the family cooks and dines and the following Monday is meal review with photos and occasional video.

There is an Interactive Map, Adventure Status, and Global Gift Guide of twenty items with links to the manufacturers if you like to buy. Everything from Fred M Matroyshkas dry measuring cups, to Buddy Trainer Chopsticks, a set of two for $5.99.

The journey is real and sincere.

Proverbs are included this year, and Sasha tells of a recent visit with a friend  to share the wisdom.

If I am a prince and you are a prince, then who will lead the donkeys?” – Saudi Proverb

Sasha captures their conversation by concluding; “May we all let our hair be wild.”

I agree.

  … just saying

My Most Embarrassing Moment

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 Wet & Wild

Aging & Attitude

   My most embarrassing moment occurred the summer of 1986 on Long Beach Island, a well know vacation spot for families from the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia area. The drive along the Garden State Parkway to exit 63A and over the Manahawkin Bay Bridge, affectionately called The Causeway by locals, is a true Jersey experience. The unique bridge lights, famed Strand of Pearls, are memorable viewed at night.

Called LBI, the island known for its beach umbrellas, sand castles, and surfers, has no boardwalk, and is minus the frenzy of other nearby beach communities like Seaside Heights, famous for Snookie and the TV show “Jersey Shore.”

My husband says his most embarrassing moment was asking a cousin when her baby was due and she responded, “I’m not pregnant.”

His experience pales next to mine.

Makes you wonder what is behind embarrassment.

My children and husband watched the incident.

In 1986, my son was eleven, my daughter, nine, and me; I was thirty-eight years old. I do not know the age of the pimpled face teen.

The week was uneventful, no rain or black flies, and the mosquitoes only came out at night. Our friends and their two kids visited a few nights, and we went to the Wet & Wild slide in Beach Haven.

Recently, I Googled  Wet & Wild on Eighth and Bay Ave, and it is renamed the Thundering Surf Water Slide, but the giant pink bubble gum colored slide remains the same.

The kids enjoyed Wet & Wild so much we went back. My husband, not up for the wet and wild experience, joined other parents in the gallery to cheer and applaud when the ride ended. I was eager and grabbed a rubber magic carpet for the ride.

For the vacation, I purchased a hot turquoise one-piece swimsuit; halter-top, knotted behind the neck and perfect for swimming.

After several carpet rides, I was starting to enjoy myself, you know let loose, when the embarrassing moment happened. To this day I am thankful my husband was standing in the gallery, keen-eyed.

I landed in the bottom pool with the heavy magic carpet on my head, choking on water. My eyes opened to Pimple Boy staring at me like he is stoned.

I managed to remove the mat from my head and stand, then heard a voice call my name. Once my husband had my attention he pointed to his chest.  I looked down. Yes, I was fully exposed and playing to a full crowd, about twenty people.

Pimple Boy popped more zits and I scurried to hide and put things back in.

I sort refuge behind the stairs, where my two children where hiding, and exclaimed out of breath, “The most embarrassing thing just happened.”

In whispered tones, they mouthed, “We know, Mom.”

I wonder what Pimple Boy’s most embarrassing moment is.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

                                                         …just saying

Homeless in Apalachicola

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Aging & Attitude

   My head turns with the slam of the restaurant’s screen door and I watch a woman my age, seat herself at an empty table for eight. It feels odd and she is toting too many bags.

Uninterrupted, our waitress listens to our comments and says, “Um, one got me bad the other day. I’m still scratching,” and puts menus and glasses of water on a blue tablecloth, its wrinkles accented by a small vase of pink plastic flowers.

“I’m Rachael, and I’ll be your server.”

We are in Apalachicola, a small fishing town located in the Florida Panhandle, and were sitting outside to watch a river sunset when the no-see-ums attacked and forced us indoors.

Always intrigued by the name, Apalachicola, Mr. Wonderful has surprised me with a stay at The Coombs Inn, a Bed & Breakfast.

“Where are you all visiting from? Rachael inquires, a pencil and spiral assignment pad clutched in one hand. She is wearing an orange t-shirt with Caroline’s Restaurant in cursive letters angled across her chest, and looks as incongruent as the wrinkled tablecloth.

“Ormond Beach on the east coast. We’re retired.”

“Now that’s a long haul, first time in the Oyster Capital? I bet you want a dozen fresh oysters.” She says with the enthusiasm of one who had a good night’s sleep.

We agree and Rachael says, “I’ll get that started and be back for your order, take your time now, no hurry.”

Apalachicola is a curious mix of old and new. A throwback town that looks loved and lived in. The Victorian homes are restored; most with tin roofs. The retail signs are not deliberately retro, just never replaced. You can enjoy gelato made with Florida mango, at the Apalachicola Chocolate Company on Avenue E as long as you get there before 5PM, after that all shops close.

The only new construction is The Water Street Hotel and Marina tucked at the end of Water Street alongside the commercial oyster boats. The smell of gasoline is strong as weathered oystermen smoking cigarettes, and wearing yesterday’s clothes fuel up.

I watch the woman actively arrange her bulging shopping bags, as another waitress slips beside her. I hear no conversation, suspect it is hushed and my curiosity heightens.

The woman’s bags are not new. The retail logos on several are disappearing.

She is served a class of white wine, instead of being asked to leave or move to a smaller table, and stoops over a menu as though she needs glasses. All day travel or slept-in creases distinguish the back of her jacket.

Rachael brings the oysters, takes our order and hightails it back to the kitchen.

Mr. Wonderful continues talking, reviewing the day; a visit to St. George Island and the lighthouse.  Our conversation with the museum volunteer who informed us there are eight hundred and some year round residents on the island now, and house prices have dropped five hundred thousand to one million dollars. Yes, dropped, she reaffirmed and suggested we visit the Nature Center, which is free and contains a beautiful mural of the Gulf area.

Rachael returns with house salads and casually asks, “Have you been to Panama City or Mexico Beach?”We have and recount their beauty. The blue-green gulf water rolls in to smooch the shore,its sand the texture and color of boxed table salt, unlike the ocean waves that slap the eastern coast to prove who is boss.

Realizing we have our salads but no silver, I look around to rob some from a nearby table. Surveying the area, I notice the woman stand abruptly and leave carrying her bags, the glass of wine untouched. I surmise she cannot pay and has come to her senses to explain the abrupt departure.

“Did you see that woman leave?” I ask Mr. Wonderful

“No. What woman?”  He answers.

“The one sitting by herself with all the bags, looks homeless.”

Rachael’s arrival with the entries interrupts our conversation and we ooh and aah about the fancy plating.

My meal is broiled grouper, shrimp, and bay scallops in reduced teriyaki sauce topped with wasabi, and sides of mixed vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. Mr. Wonderful’s dinner is broiled scallops and a crab cake in lemon butter sauce, asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes.

We are enjoying our meal when I notice she’s back, without any bags.

Keeping my head down to control my confusion I say, “Look, look in the corner, it’s her.”

“What are you talking about?” Mr. Wonderful says with food in his mouth.

“Maybe she’s staying at the motel next store and went to put her bags in the room. She’s probably mentally ill. Or even run away, had enough of everything,  I start to speculate when I notice her perfectly manicured hands flip open an iPhone, and conclude . . . maybe newly homeless.

The dinner is memorable, and the day outstanding.

I could do homeless in Apalachicola.                                                                                                                             . . .just saying

Peace On Earth

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Peace on Earth

Aging & Attitude

We ride the noon shuttle from Lake Buena Vista Embassy Suites to Epcot planning to stay for the fireworks.  By 7PM, everyone is spent, having ridden Test Track, Mission Space, and Space Ship Earth. Then snapped pictures with Disney Characters; Minnie, Mickey, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto at Epcot Character Spot, viewed the indoor Aquarium, Turtle Talk with Crush, visited several countries and went to Italy for dinner.

It did not help that the shuttle broke down on Route 4 delaying us some.

The weather is wonderful, slightly overcast skies, but not gray and the lines at the park manageable.  The spectacular Christmas decorations dazzle us.  The landscape appears luscious in multi-shades of green with red Poinsettia accentuating the differences.

“Look at all the people.  This is really a phenomenon.” My husband marvels, surrounded by an international crowd of young and old who traveled to Disney.

It is not just for the rides.

Inside the Magic Kingdom great things are possible.  The world is beautiful, goodness, joy, and merriment abound. But Mr. Wonderful’s feet hurt. He and most of the group are ready to leave.

My feet hurt too, however my grandson and I decided to stay.  We will ride Soarin’ and watch the fireworks scheduled at 9:30pm.

Soarin’ is a multi-sensory attraction that simulates a hang-gliding flight over California’s Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood Creek, Monterey, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, San Diego, Malibu, Los Angeles, Anaza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Camarillo, and feels like the real deal.

The wait at Soarin’ is sixty-five minutes.  My grandson, days away from being a teen, waits patiently in line participating in the wall games while I chat with a couple behind us from Chicago.

We discuss the scheduled 9:30pm fireworks and my confusion, “Doesn’t the park close at 9:30pm?  They assure me we will see the fireworks; which they saw at 8pm the night before.

Our sixty-five minute wait was almost up it was 7:55pm.

We are ready, to quote Disney:  “Feel the wind in your hair. The air fills with the scent of orange groves, evergreens and the sea breeze. Your feet dangle free. Dip down so close to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, you think your toes will get wet. Then return to the sky and continue on Soarin’ to a fantastic finale where fireworks burst into sensational colors around you.”

The five-minute ride surpasses the sixty-five minute wait, and the probability of only moving in place. You think your toes are wet for a moment.

We exit excitedly, anticipating rockets and roman candles sparkling across the sky.  Rushing towards the lake Dominic prompts me, “Nana, ask someone.” People are skirting the area sitting on stone walls.

An attendant explains, “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth glitters, gleams, and glows over World Showcase Lagoon in perfectly synchronized splendor”, is a Holiday Special, different from the nightly fireworks and tonight’s closing event, and definitely starts at 9:30PM.

We can relax, purchase a snack, and find a viewing spot.

I watch my grandson say goodbye to childhood, confident and mature ordering a pretzel, opting for cinnamon and sugar (plain salt are sold out) and yes he will pay the extra dollar for cheese.  He casually counts his money, smiling, engaged in conversation, so like his dad, gentleman style.

IlluminNations” started, “featuring breathtaking fireworks, brilliant bursts of fire, laser light effects, dramatic fountain barges, a stirring musical score” that manipulate emotions, accompanied to a symphony rendition of “Let there be Peace on Earth” and left us feeling joy, hope, love, and peace.

We turn to our neighbors, tears in our eyes; shake hands, offer peace, and I think, let it begin with me.

                                                                ….Just  Saying 

                                                                                              Merry Christmas

Lady Gaga & Eataly

Lady Gaga & Eataly

The morning air is a crisp forty-three degrees and the day promises to be sunny.  A Canadian guest also staying at Comfort Inn cautions my husband, “I wouldn’t go outside dressed like that.”

Mr. Wonderful is wearing a short sleeve t-shirt, Dockers and moccasins without socks. We are 497 miles from warmer weather and plan to be home in Florida for afternoon coffee and cookies.

We choose Comfort Inn because of Bonus Points; for every three nights stayed, we get a night free, a good deal. It is seven in the morning. We anticipate a hot breakfast, seeing steam rising on hot trays and an attendant busy in the kitchen.

We have been away nine days visiting our daughter, family and friends in the New York City area and saw it all, including Lady Gaga’s Workshop and Eataly.

Lady Gaga?

Well, Tony Bennett is a favorite of mine. Bennett, an artist and big fan of Lady Gaga after singing together, plans to draw the diva, nude. Their duet, “The Lady is a Tramp”is exceptional. Gaga really can sing. If Mr. Bennett loves and respects her, so might I, and we head to Barney’s to check it out.

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The elevator door opens on the fifth floor to an oversized Lady Gaga turned spider and mini shopping areas with motorcycle jackets $625, stiletto Christmas stockings $65, Swaronski tea-cups $65, and  bouncing balls $9. The array of items is huge and unique. It is a shopping experience not an interactive workshop, raising funds for the charity “Born this Way”.  Perhaps because we expect over the top it is underwhelming, merely interesting and amusing. Robin Roberts, “Good Morning America” met Gaga and previewed the products.  The interview can be read at,  http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/lady-gaga-barneys-york-95-chocolate-shoe/story?id=15005951

After checking out Bloomingdale’s windows we head downtown and stumble upon Eataly.

OMG, if you are anywhere near 24th Street and 5th Avenue anytime soon, you must, absolutely must, visit Eataly.  Eataly is the brain child of Oscar Farientti who partnered with Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and son, Joe Bastianich to create an Italian eating, dining and shopping extravaganza. Farientti has numerous stores in Italy and Japan but only this one in the United States.

Customers roam the block wide store enticed by smells of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, prosciutto, sfogliatelle(shfooyadell’) and espresso.

The website http://eatalyny.com is thorough, user-friendly and worth the time to become familiar with this open-court environment. The tool bar leads to information about the partners, eating with menus, cooking lesson schedules and descriptions, shopping, shipping and more. You can order books, housewares, cheese, pastries, produce, and beef via tabs, The Market and Shop.

A Walking Tour,  guided tour that includes sampling of focaccia, pizza, mozzarella, gelato and chocolate is $35. Cooking lessons are $100. There are twelve different eating opportunities under Eat, that include; formal dining at Manzo to LaVazza Bar (Birra & Wine) to Gelateria (yes to die for gelato) and Caffe Vergnano(coffee bar).

It is an overwhelmingly scintillating experience similar to Tony Bennett sketching Stefania Joanne Angelina Geimanotta, aka Lady Gaga, nude….just guessing.