Monday, February 28, 2011

Pelicans in Jupiter Inlet: The Dog Ate My Homework

Innocent until Proven Guilty
True story for you, my imaginary reader:
We were standing in line waiting to board a boat to tour the Intracoastal and Jupiter Inlet, FL, when the older man ahead of us took his camera out of his pocket. When he did, his boarding pass for the boat flew out of his hand, caught by the wind. It fluttered down to the water, and within 2 seconds, a pelican had eaten it! Later, the pelican decided it was not fishy enough, and spat it back out.
Worse still, the guy had to go back to the sales office and explain how a Pelican stole his boarding pass, and risk being sent for mental evaluation.
Your Imaginary Friend,

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Do You Do When You Need A Quick Dose of Sunshine?

Dear Imaginary Readers, with pale skin like mine,
Sometimes, it is a grand idea to get out of town, hop on US Airways, and get to Jupiter, Fl, tout suite! That is exactly what my husband and I just did. We flew into Palm Beach airport, and stayed at the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa, about 30 minutes north of Palm Beach.
We took a couple of fun boat trips: Loxahatchie State Park, with its river cruise and gator sightings, and Jupiter Island Manatee Cruise, which had no actual manatees. False advertising!
Both cruises featured osprey. On the river, we saw an osprey up in a dead tree, chewing down on a fish it held in its claws. My oh my!
Despite our cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway having lacked in manatees, it was very fulfilling. We saw the homes of Tiger Woods, (OK, he is really private, so we saw his shrubbery and boat), Bill Gates, the heir of the Johnson and Johnson fortune, Burt Reynolds' home, on sale for only 7 cool million, and many many more. Greg Norman, the Aussie golfer, the owner of Searle Pharmaceuticals, the inventor of this and that, the former Doris Duke residence...the list was lengthy. Let's just say that none of them were artists! Much less, starving artists. Hmm...
My husband is sporting a lovely golden tan, and I am sporting a streak of sunburn.
Jupiter has a lovely lighthouse, and across the inlet, you can eat mediocre food at the Crab House, while viewing the lighthouse and  the bridge that goes up and down twice an hour for the local boaters to pass beneath.
For all the costly wonder that is Jupiter Island, and the billions of dollars available to spend on good food, you would think that Jupiter would have some tasty restaurants. We did not find any.
Better to get your feed bag on in Palm Beach or West Palm Beach.
In West Palm, try Bellaggio in CityPlace, an upscale shopping and dining center.
In Palm Beach, try Ta-boo on Worth Avenue, and Cucina dell Arte on Poinciana. Both are upscale eateries with good food.
More entertaining still are the people who populate them: the rich and elderly, the bejeweled botoxed, the plastic surgeried, the old men with the pretty young ladies, etc. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes in Palm Beach. (Is that so wrong??)
As for the Jupiter Beach Resort, the food is ho hum, as is the service, but  the actual property is very pretty. It is also smack dab on the ocean. There are some curious rock formations on the beach, called Anastasia stone.
In fact, on Jupiter Island, the Nature Conservancy has established a place where one can go view the Blowing Rocks, where plumes of water shoot up, as the tide forces water under the rocks and into the small blowholes that erosion has created over many years.
My favorite things about our hotel: It is right on the beach, it has the prettiest elevators EVER, and the lobby and bedrooms are quite beautiful.
I was amazed that US Air only charged us $200 each for our airfare, in the high season for Palm Beach. Other destinations were much pricier in South Florida.
If you like ethnic food, you may be out of luck down here. The choices are seafood and Italian. That's about it, folks!
Patsie's rule of restaurants: the prettier the view, the more mediocre the food.
As for the weather, that may have been the highlight of the experience. It enticed us to stay outdoors all day. Jupiter's  high of 82 was also sunny and not humid. Ahh. Nice breezes, too.
On our last full day, we drove to see the seventh largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Okeechobee. When you look at the map of Florida, you will notice a very large lake in the lowest third of the state. It looks to me like a thumb-hole on a palette. But then, that is my artistic predisposition coming through. 
Another gator sighting! And some cool-looking birds. Water for as far as the eye can see. But the elusive manatees were still hiding.
Your imaginary friend,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Tiny Lovebug: Cute Stuffings!

Parker Visits His GrandmotherThis weekend, baby Parker came on over to his grandparents' house, He is so cute...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Istanbul in DC, Minus the Belly Dancers

Dear Imaginary Friend,

Did you just ask me, where did we go out to eat tonight? Well, I am glad that you asked. We dined at Agora, a DC Turkish restaurant. Not only is Turkish food served, but also Turkish wine and cocktails. It was delish!
The wine was so nice and low in acidity. I had no idea that wine grapes were even grown there. I feel dumb!

My favorite dish is a cold eggplant appetizer called "The Iman Fainted." At least, that is the English translation. It was so tasty that the Iman passed right out. I almost swooned, too.
Yummy. Also dynamite was their homemade hummus. Their dishes are served in mezze form, small plates that give you a taste, but not a true entree. Two or three will do you.

Then we visited the frozen yogurt place named Yogato, in the same block of 17th Street near Dupont Circle. It was really good, and way healthy. If you can stand on the ball of one foot with your eyes closed for 15 seconds, you get a free frozen yogurt. I thought that all my years of yoga would help me score a free fro-yo, but no such luck.

Dupont Circle has a lot of young hangouts, where the fabulous go to eat and carouse. Very cool.
Check out Agora. If you are cool enough! ;)

Your harem girl,

Friday, February 18, 2011

How Do You Know That You Are Going to Be an Artist When You Grow Up?

1. When your favorite childhood memory was admiring your box of 64 crayons, and the names of all the beautiful colors. How perfect they were when they were new!
2. When you walked into a fabric store, and you found the colors of the thread spools mesmerizing.
3. When art is all that you want to do.

Bathroom Mural of Hawaii, Acrylic
When I was little, I used to watch the Romper Room show. There was a lady on the show named Miss Ginny. She was so pretty, and so nice to the kids on the show. I was inspired to mail to her some looseleaf cutouts that were basically a bunch of squiggles. She wrote back to me, "very good", and I was hooked on art then and there.

Thanks, Miss Ginny, for my first positive feedback! If she had written, "you are a loser," something tells me that I would have hesitated to pursue my passion. Then again, the rebel in me might have said, "I'll show that Miss Ginny!"

My intention is prove myself worthy of Miss Ginny's opinions.

Your painter friend,

Egypt, What the Heck Happened?

Dear Imaginary Friends,
Today was supposed to be the day that Carlo and I flew to Egypt. By now, we would be checking into our hotel in Cairo, built around an old palace. We were going to see the Nile, and the pyramids, and a zillion other amazing sights.
And what happened instead? Instead, we are sitting at home, with $600 of Egyptian money that our bank, BB and T, does not want back.
There was a revolution, and we were not up for that.
And now it seems that the entire Middle East is going through some tumultuous times. Power vacuums are  very dangerous things. Change is always iffy.
Being safely at home is preferable to cowering in a hotel room, but, still....
And we bought travel insurance. But the fine print says, "does not cover civil unrest."
The very classy river boat company Uniworld gave us the option to transfer our payment to a new vacation, so we did.
We decided to play it safe this time, and check out Germany instead. Here's hoping that some mysterious political event, or exploding volcanoes, locusts and pestilence do not invade Germany that week.
There is always the plague to revisit!
Yours very bummed,

The Fire Hydrant, Oil, 10 x 8", now on display at A Show of Hands

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Philadelphia Flower Show

Dear Imaginary Gardener Friend,
Are you a big fan of horticulture, gardens, etc.? No? Well, put down that root beer and those Cheetos, regardless, and come on out to the Philadelphia Flower Show, with its extravagant array of floral displays, plants, containers, and gadgets for sale. It is a feast for the eyes, and a challenge to the mind. 
Snow outside? No worries. It will seem like May inside with flowers blooming at every turn.
Lectures are offered all day long. And, no, they are not about the significant evolution of the dung beetle. You wish!
This year, the theme is Paris, and you will marvel and scratch your head at how the floral designers transported the flavor of Paris out of a spare-looking convention center, and brought Spring to cruddy and cold Philly.
When? The second week of March. You know, you could spend big money, and fly to London's Chelsea Flower Show, but why don't you save your clams and drive to Philly?
And yes, there are cheesesteaks available for sale across the street.
Your Imaginary Friend

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rasika Indian Restauarnt

Dearest Imaginary Foodie Friend,

Ohh, yum. Carlo, my intrepid husband, and I had the best meal at Rasika this past Saturday night. The piece de resistance was an appetizer called Palak Chaat with flash-fried spinach, tomato onion, cilantro, tamarind chutney and mascarpone. It was out of this world tasty! Sounds so weird but tastes so right.

Rasika is located in Penn Quarter in downtown Washington, DC, and it is worth planning ahead to make reservations.

After you eat the slightly spicy food, indulge at Pitango's around the corner for some gelato. Get a scoop of the darkest chocolate and a second scoop of mandarin orange. Your mouth will die and go to heaven, and the fire on your lips from eating Indian fare will be quelled.
Our Family dining in Buenos Aires

Your little foodie friend,

My Special Valentine: Go Out and Get Hugged by Your Special Sweetie

Parker, a Redskin Fan, and my sweet Valentine

Happy Valentine's day!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Having a Moment: Cute Stuffings

Virginia and Parker: Mama and baby, Having a Moment

The bond between mother and baby: all smiles.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Parker the Snuggler

How does a baby of 4 months sit up? You put them in a contraption like this. He says, look at me, all grown up!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bayou Bakery, 1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA

Dear Imaginary Friends,
If you are stuck in the icy depths of the Washington, DC, area, and need a little spot of Nawlins sunshine, come on down to the Bayou Bakery. It has very tasty gumbo, muffalettas, pralines, beignets, cafe au lait, and the whole durn Creole/Cajun shebang.
"Cherry Pie," Oil, 8 x 10"
The decor is cute, with a see ya later, gator sign, and old painted shutters in various pastels. The prices are so low, you would swear they were paying you to eat there! OH, my. What a deal. A taste of the Big Easy, it is a casual establishment, where one orders at the counter.  The Bayou Bakery has an old school charm.

It is the next best thing to flying to New Orleans.

See ya there, cher!
Your Imaginary Friend,
Cajun Patsie

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Come On, Spring! I Paid Good Money To Live In This Universe

Daffodil Study, Oil
Dear Imaginary Friends,
What would you like as your Valentine's Day Gift? I will hereby attempt to purchase it for you. You did say the best things are free, right??
And since fair is fair, I will share what what I really want: Spring time!
Cruddy weather, go away. Go to Siberia, and lurk there for eternity. Just get the heck outta my zone. I will gladly pay good money to not live in the tundra any more. Dirty snow, making curbs impossible to cross, slippery driving. Yech.
I love the flowers, the air, the smiles on faces, the neighbors popping out of their homes like Prairie dogs. I love the tender green leaves, on trees so hopeful.
Bring it!
Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Atop Stone Mountain, GA: It is a long way down!

Not For The Faint of Heart
Dear Imaginary Friends,

What is more exhilarating than the top of Stone Mountain, overlooking Atlanta?  It's windy! Barren! A beautiful view! Do you have a fear of heights? Then maybe you don't want to take the tram up the mountain. It is a long way down, a slippery slope indeed. We visited last March and were charmed by Atlanta. Also worth visiting: The Coke Museum, where you can taste the strange flavors popular in other countries; CNN; and the High Art Museum. Speaking of Coke, there is a version in Italy called The Beverly. It tastes so bad, that you just have to try it! A cross between cough syrup and Dial Soap....

Debbi, Patsie and Virginia at the Coke Museum
Atlanta is very spread out, and contains many charming individual communities like Roswell and Decatur. Somewhere in Atlanta are "The Real Housewives of Atlanta", although we luckily did not run into them. Lordy, where are all those ladies going postal on each other? All the ladies that I have met in Atlanta are super classy. They never pull each other's hair.

Your itinerant friend,

PS My favorite gift shop in the area is the Painted Monkey in Roswell, GA.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pillow Talk

Lindsay Talks to Parker About What Is Really Bothering Her
Lindsay and Parker discuss Mubarak's future in Egypt, and the true meaning of democracy. Parker is optimistic that this is the dawn of a new day for the ancient civilization. And he prays that his grandparents will get their money back for their expensive airfare.