Saturday, February 19, 2022

Microadventure #8: Pelican Cabaret Singers at Sun City Center

This microadventure really started with a macroadventure that involved me singing on stage under the tutelage of Faye Nepon. Through that performance, I was introduced to Faye's sister, Cyd Charrow, who is part of the Pelican Cabaret Singers.

When I heard that the Pelican Cabaret Singers were going to be performing not too far from Sarasota, I absolutely wanted to attend!

The performance invitation read:

The Pelican Cabaret Singers will perform after a delicious lunch by Banquet Masters in Community Hall on Saturday February 12.  The doors will be open at 11:30 a.m. to view raffle baskets and socialize;  lunch at noon;  followed by a performance by the Pelican Players Cabaret Singers.

I was told that the performance would be in "Sun City Center" which sounds like a building, but as it turns out, it's actually the city name of a 55+ community.  Though this created a bit of confusion for both me and my GPS, I eventually figured out that this little city was very close to Ruskin, the place that Kellie, from Microadventure #5 lives.  Kellie had said she'd be happy to meet up for microadventures, and she likes theater (we both love "Beauty and the Beast" and Disney music) and happily accepted my invitation to join me!


I'd been eating very healthfully since the beginning of the year..  including no desserts, sugar, or chocolate.  However, I could not resist completely indulging at this delicious luncheon.

There was a buffet-style with salads, veggies, chicken, and lasagna.


Check out the dessert table! Though I started with the carrot cake, I admit, I went back for samplings of the cheese cake and chocolate cake. It was Valentine's week after all..


The program included some fun show tunes that I hadn't heard in years.  The audience couldn't help but snap their fingers or sway to the beat on some of these old favorites.  "King of the Road" brought back happy memories - Glenn Campbell on the record player when I was a kid.


Cyd's performance was "Gimme Gimme" from the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie."  I haven't seen that play yet, but after watching this performance, I'm putting it on my list! Cyd did an awesome job! 


It was such fun to see this performance and share it with Kellie.  Musical theater, delicious food, and new friends! What a treat!

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Microadventure #7: Exploring Sarasota and the Art Ovation Hotel with Samar

I met Samar at Mutual of Omaha where we were both working as Agile coaches through her sister, Sally's company, Agile Transformations.  A week or so ago, Samar texted me and told me that she, Sally, and the whole gang from Agile Transformations was going to be at a conference at the Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota!

I picked Samar up at the Sarasota-Bradenton airport at around noon and we had the whole afternoon together! The weather was beautiful and sunny - the first in several days - so we had a nice long walk, ending at Marina Jacks, enjoying a delicious lunch on the patio.  We even saw several dolphins as they surfaced


The streets of Sarasota are adorned with these pretty painted bicycles


Lunch at Marina Jacks

Samar is a wonderful and wise friend. We reminisced about the days when we were working at MoO with our friend and fellow-coach, Ryan, and talked about how all 3 of us have succeeded in having the dreams we were hoping for come to pass..  both personally and professionally.

Ryan, me, and Samar in 2018 in Omaha

When we got back to the Art Ovation, we were able to take a tour and hear about the art that was on display as well as hear about the artists.




The hotel was unique with lots of artsy touches throughout. Even the rooms had sketchbooks, colored pencils, and other interesting items... all for sale (at very high prices!)



I especially liked the rooftop that had a bar, infinity pool, and cozy outdoor furniture.


Sally (Samar's sister) didn't get into Sarasota until about 5:30pm. I'm glad I got a chance to see her, too.. She's one of the most respected Agile leaders there is and I feel so lucky and proud to know her personally.

Sally, Samar, and me!

So ends another unplanned microadventure.  A couple of weeks ago, I had no idea that Samar would be in town. How fortuitous that the conference was here in Sarasota and that we were able to spend such a gorgeous day reconnecting!

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Microadventure #6: Bird-Watching at Oscar Scherer State Park


This week's microadventure has been every bit as much about the "who" as the "what" and "where."  Yes, bird-watching at Oscar Scherer State Park was a new, unique experience for me. I'd never really been exposed to the world of bird-watching, and Eva is quite a serious birder! It was interesting for me to learn about the "Big Year Challenge" in which birders find and log as many different species of birds in a particular area during a year.  That kind of thing is SO up my alley.

On this hike, we were in hot pursuit of the Florida scrub-jay, which, unfortunately, we were not able to find. 


Though we didn't find the illusive jay, Eva still captured some worthy bird photographs. She recently started a new business, evasbirdsiview.com with her wonderful bird photography captured on shirts and greeting cards.  She even gifted me with the pretty pick-me-up Pelican greeting card. 


As I said, though, this microadventure, was extra special because of the women who I shared it with. Becky had invited a group of girlfriends, Eva, Feli, and Georgette, to spend the weekend with her. These ladies have known each other and been close for over 50 years, though they've been geographically scattered.  Eva and Feli are cousins and they are all as close (or closer) than sisters and their love and support for one another is apparent.


They all share a love of singing and I enjoyed an evening of untethered joy on the first night of their reunion as Eva and Becky got out their guitars and sang together. 


On that first night, Becky's sister, Susie, joined the reunion, singing harmony.


But the highlight of the weekend was hearing and recording a song that Georgette and written long ago, "Any Way She Can" and she and Eva had put to music. The lyrics of this unique love song are a powerful testament to the long-time love and friendship that all these women share.  Eva's daughter is in the music business, so I hope she's able to get this in front of the right people. Both the music and lyrics are enough to make me tear up whenever I hear it.


So, again, this week's microadventure was much more than a hike in a park..  it was about being accepted and welcomed into a special sisterhood weekend, giving me a peek into the lives of these unique, talented women who have gone "any place, anywhere, any way they can!"



Monday, January 31, 2022

Microadventure #5: Ruskin and Apollo Beach with Christine and Kellie

Say what you will about Facebook, but I find it an awesome tool for staying in touch with friends from around the world.  Just like in Microadventure #4, I, once again, discovered an old friend was in Florida.  This time, the friend was Christine, someone I'd met in 2017, the year I was working at Mutual of Omaha. Christine was vacationing on her own in Tampa.  I gave her a call and found out she only had one day left of her vacation and she'd made a new friend, Kellie, at the airport, who she had plans to meet up with.

Two friendly, single, independent women make perfect Microadventure Buddies! I asked if I could tag along, and received a welcoming thumbs up!

We all met at Kellie's beautiful new home in Ruskin, FL, which turned out to be exactly the half-way point between Sarasota (where I'm staying) and Tampa (where Christine was staying).  

The Gulf Coast is going through a bit of a cold, rainy, cloudy spell right now, so the weather wasn't exactly the tropical paradise that one would hope for, but still nice, compared to the weather most of the rest of the nation was experiencing.

Our adventure started with a lovely hike at the Wolf Branch Nature Preserve in neighboring Apollo Beach, FL



 

I just love those big trees with their draping Spanish Moss creating romantic canopies. Bailey, Kellie's dog enjoyed the expansive trail, too, and was always ahead, scouting the way for us.

Our next stop was the Manatee Viewing Center, offering up more pretty walkways, gift shop, an opportunity to pet stingray, and, of course, the main attraction - a manatee viewing area.  The manatee are supposed to be more observable during rainy, cold days, but, unfortunately, we didn't see any.  However, I discovered, you can use Webcams to see them via your computer from anywhere, too!  This worked a lot better than the live viewing! They were all over the place!



You can zoom in and adjust your camera, so it's very cool!  

However, of course, being there in person was very fun and I loved seeing all the stingray swim by in the stingray petting area.




Our final stop was the Sunset Grill and Beach Bar, a cute lunch spot on the beach.  You can't go to Apollo Beach without going to the beach, right?  Even though it was a bummer that it was a rainy day, it was fun to listen to the live music and enjoy some warming seafood bisque soup.




Awesome Microadventure!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Microadventure #4: Geoff Coe's Wild Images at Sanibel Art Show

 




This week's Microadventure was a spontaneous trip to see an Art Show in Sanibel with Becky.

On Friday morning, I saw a post on Facebook from an old colleague from the Sun days, Geoff Coe.  I knew Geoff was somewhere in Florida and I'd seen many of his posts with his stunning photography.  In his post, Geoff said he would be at this art show on Friday and Saturday from 9-4pm.

The weather was a lot cloudier and colder than usual, and the forecast for Saturday was even worse, with rain predicted. If we were going to go, the sooner the better!

Lucky for me, Becky is an up-for-anything kind of gal-pal, and she generously offered to make the 2+ hour drive with me to go see the show.

It was wonderful to see Geoff again after so many years and hear about his business, Geoff Coe's Wild Images. The photographs were amazing and stunning to see in person.

Geoff's booth was very busy. I found out he'll be in Sarasota, too, a couple of times this summer, so I'll get to see him again!

Unfortunately, the weather was too cold to get out to the beach, but I still had fun having the afternoon with Becky. Even though I've been living with her all month, Becky and I have each been so busy, we've hardly had any time to do something together! It's always good to get some one-on-one time with the wise and wonderful Becky Burns.

After enjoying our fill of the art show, we meandered next door to a very fun and funky restaurant, Island Cow, for an early dinner before heading home.






Thursday, January 20, 2022

Microadventure #3: Mini-golf at the Fish Hole in Lakewood Ranch



Every day is a sweet adventure here in sunny Florida so it's hard to choose just one to blog about. However, since one of my "requirements" for a microadventure is that another person is with me, and John invited me to play miniature golf tonight, it's my pick for  Microadventure #3!

We met up at The Fish Hole in Lakewood Ranch, a winsome little town about 20 minutes North of Sarasota.  The evening air was clear and beautiful, in the mid 60's (while back home in Colorado it's a frigid 27 degrees.)


The decor was full of whimsical fishing gear and signs and even a little bell to ring to show you were having fun. We were the only patrons in the whole place so we had the sole attention of Aaron, the helpful kid at the front desk! It was as though we were royalty or celebrities having a private party in this colorful, bright attraction! No lines, no kids, no waiting, no worries!





Each hole featured a different type of fish with facts and information about the fish. You know how I love themes and the whole place was very fishy!

But, of course, the game here is putt-putt golf, not fishing. John brought his custom-made putter and he said that putter has been in many-a-mini-golf-course. 

He shared the putter with me and it must have brought me good luck because it was the best game of mini-golf I've ever played! I even got a hole-in-one on two different holes! 



John was ahead of me for most of the game, but we ended up with exactly the same score! 26 each - only 4 over par!

After we finished, we strolled on Main Street which was lined with plenty of shops and dinner restaurants to choose from. Everything looked clean and new and very Disney-esque.  Straight from a fairy tale!


We ended up choosing a Mexican restaurant, eating out on a patio and enjoying the musicians and all the delightful smells, sights and sounds of the beautiful evening.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Microadventure #2: Venice, Florida

I am having so much fun here in sunny Florida! Every day is a "microadventure" but the one I'm going to blog about is my Saturday excursion to Venice, Florida!

Venice is a quaint little beach town about 30 minutes south of Becky's townhouse in Sarasota. As I mentioned, the challenge I've set for myself with these microadventures is every week to see a new place with another person and blog about it.


For this adventure, my "other person" was a very handsome and sweet Bumble date, John, who was an excellent tour guide as he's lived in Venice for many years.  



We met up at Centennial Park on Venice Avenue. John showed me this super-cool Kaleidoscope Spinning Flower Pot!  Check it out!


There was 60's music playing at the gazebo and an older couple was dancing out in the park. It was like a scene right out of Norman Rockwell. John said that music is often playing in the park and I made a mental note that I wanted to come back to hear more.



We were both hungry, though, so we left the park to eat at T.J. Carneys, a yummy pub with a fun vibe. The elegant woman who showed us to our seats looked to be in her 80's, still with plenty of pep in her step! John ordered up a French Dip, and I, still motivated by my January healthy eating goals, had a delicious "Summertime Salad." Ah!  How awesome to have "summertime" in winter!



After lunch, we strolled the quaint shops along Venice Avenue, full of beachy treasures. I loved browsing and admiring the decor in beautiful shades of teal, pinks, and blues.  There were all sorts of unique finds, like some cool aqua jelly-fish-shaped lampshades!



Unlike most guys I know, John didn't mind shopping at all..  he was even the one who suggested it! He especially enjoyed this store that was full of shells and sharks teeth! He was very knowledgable about the different types of shark teeth and it sounds like he's quite the collector! He told me that the best beach to find shark teeth was nearby Nokomis beach.



Venice Avenue not only had super-cute shops and restaurants, but the streets and outdoors were filled with whimsical painted mermaids and seahorses. I asked John to get one of me posing with the pretty purple mermaid to send to my sister (she likes mermaids like I like flamingos.)


And speaking of flamingos...   you KNOW I had to get a picture of this guy, still dressed up for Christmas!


When we got to the end of the downtown row of shops, John told me that the beaches were just a little bit further!   We both went in our own cars, caravan style, with our phones on and John still being a personal tour guide as we headed for Venice Beach and Fishing Pier.


The weather was perfect..  sunny and in the 70's. Everywhere I turned, there was beauty -- in the sky, the shore, the water, the pier. 

This gull was proudly holding a shrimp he'd caught for photo-snapping tourists like me! At one point, he dropped his shrimp, and John retrieved it and he picked it right out of his hand as though he were a pet bird.


Our final stop was Nokomis Beach. John had some other errands to run, so this is where we said our goodbyes. It was close enough to sunset that I wanted to stay and enjoy the beach a little longer. I didn't find any shark teeth, but the beach was just full of beautiful shells, perfectly in tact!


I never get tired of looking at this scene. It fills me with a sense of awe and peace. 


When someone asks, "What is a perfect day for you?" I would have to answer it's a day like this one!