The North Palm Beach Library is hosting author Tom Zappala on March 3 from 11 am - 12:30 pm. Zappala will read from, and discuss "his humorous new book about attending parochial school in the late 1950s and 1960s. Bless Me Sister, a slightly irreverent look at attending Catholic Grammar School, shows us a school filled with kids who had good Italian values, great parents and a rich culture - but they were city kids who were always looking for an angle. The Irish nuns who taught them were usually on top of the situation which leads to some humorous escapades." Zappala has also authored books on baseball. Find more information on Zappala and his books here.
2015 record year for Florida tourism
Did it seem a little more crowded around here last year? That could be because, according to VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State "welcomed a record 105 million visitors in 2015."
They reported: "Domestic visitors accounted for 85.5% of total overnight visitation, an increase of 8%. International visitation accounted for 14.5% of total overnight visitation, with an estimated 11.2 million overseas visitors and 4 million Canadians."
We agree with them -- what's not to like?
Easter Bunny gets a fast pass
Who wants to wait in a long line when it comes to getting your photo taken with the fab-n-furry Easter Bunny?
You don't have to because The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens totally understands we all need to save time for planning our Egg Hunt on the beach.
So, grab your basket of fake grass and eggs and hip-hop to the front of the line with their Fast Pass.
Bunny photos will be available available March 11-26, but March 24 is the last day to purchase your Fast Pass.
It seems easy enough. You purchase the pass, print it out and head to Easter Bunny Set at the Mall. Upon arrival, give your pass to one of Bunny helpers who will show you to the FastPass line. Your printed copy is required for access.
For information on package prices and purchasing instructions, go to the Gardens Mall Website, and look under Events.
We may see you there, but as you can see we also like to snap a few candid shots. When you live in South Florida, Easter outdoors looks extremely nice. --Pam
The many shapes of fur
There it was on February 20, a random post on Facebook.
Who knew there was a National Love Your Pet Day?
No one told me, and I had no celebration planned for my girl. No special treats or colorful hats were procured, and I felt bad about it until today when I saw another random post proclaiming today, National Toast Day.
Do we really need all these special days to love our dogs and toast?
Of course, my little fur-baby is the best, and deserves loads of love and attention every day because she is the best.
But, as constant Facebook posts confirm, most dog owners think they have the best dog.
So, all this made me wonder what exactly is the best breed of dog, and do I have it, like I think I do?
Is there even an answer to this question?
After many years of being without a dog (cats, yes), there came a day in 2007 when my heart told me it was time to cast an eye in the general direct of a canine. I had to have a dog, and a move to South Florida from Ohio made it seem all the more perfect.
My last dog had been a Lhasa Apso, named Pasha. She was a beautiful girl, and I loved her dearly.
However, I failed her when it came to training and knowing what she needed to be the best she could be.
This time, I promised myself and my patient spouse, would be different.
So, turning to a trusted friend who was armed with scads of animal care information, the research began.
Digging into the world of canines quickly made my head spin. There was so much to learn, but I knew the world of owning a dog had changed vastly since my days with Pasha.
The changes were for the better, it was obvious. So many excellent tools and products were available.
So, I pared it all down to what I felt would work in my world.
Whether you have a rescue, mutt,
large dog, tiny dog, short-hair,
long-hair, long legs, short legs...
they are all the best if we give them our best.
I wanted a puppy that was similar to my lifestyle. This meant being mostly calm and fairly easy to train. If you want to call it low maintenance, fine.
As I drilled into mounds of data on all breeds, my trusted friend, who knows me well, carefully guided me toward a breed I have come to love and cherish.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
After months of dedicated study, I was fully armed with the knowledge that these lovable creatures had much to give. However, in addition to the boundless love and companionship they offer, the potential for serious health issues are very real.
Pressing on, this time I was determined to give my four-legged beauty all that I had. I read everything I could find, hardback books and on-line data about the breed. Everything about effective and gentle methods of dog training, care and health, filled my head.
Taking that leap of faith has proven to be an indescrible, almost nine-year, adventure of pure joy.
So when I read of someone complaining, saying they don't understand why their Cavalier just wants to constantly be with them, I am astonished. Yes, they do want to be with you. Historically, this was what they did. They were the dogs of royalty. True lap dogs. Mine still thinks she is a lap dog, even though she overflows it a bit.
As a young girl with that beautiful Lhasa Apso, I was clueless, so I understand how it happens to people and pets.
That day, long ago, I walked into a home and picked out the cutest puppy and headed home, completely unarmed with facts about how to have a happy dog.
I learned my lesson.
I also learned that people will judge you, harshly, if you don't rescue a dog. My darling girl came to me via a lovely woman who had the mother and father as beloved family pets. They had one litter a year.
I also discovered that professionals can judge you harshly.
When our sweet Blenheim, only a few months old, had a serious health scare, the veterinarian specialist looked at my tear-stained face with an icy stare and said, "Why in the world would you get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?"
Fortunately, a more caring specialist at the facility deemed our girl fit, and the scare was just that. Our Cavi was fine. At the time, I was too stunned and emotional to tell that unbelieveably harsh Vet, why I got my Cavalier.
Was it because she has the sweetest face, the most expressive eyes, the kindest and most gentle nature, loves everyone, barks at animals on the television, wags her tail with abandon when she sees me, is a glutton and loves treats more than anything in the world?
Yes, all that and more.
There is absolutely no answer to what is the best breed of dog.
Whether you have a rescue, mutt, large dog, tiny dog, short-hair, long-hair, long legs, short legs...they are all the best if we give them our best.
My Cavi, is the best breed in the world.
For me. --Pam
Upcoming North Palm Library events
Mark for calendar for these upcoming events at the North Palm Beach Library:
Thursday, Feb 25 at 11:00 AM (90 minutes)
Illustrated lecture by Caroline Seebohm on the art and life of Palm Beach sculptor Ann Norton. Seebohm is the author of the book Monumental Dreams: The Life and Sculpture of Ann Norton. Q&A and book signing after lecture.
Saturday, February 27
Are you a cunning, resourceful team player? Are you great at solving clues? Then join us for the 11th Annual Mystery Night at the Library, Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 PM. Knowledge of books, authors, and library resources will be very helpful. Free Admission but tickets are required. Limited to 24 adults so pick up your tickets at the circulation desk now.
Annual Meeting at the North Palm Beach Library, March 23
The Annual Business Meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 23 at 6 PM. Guest Speaker is Eliot Kleinberg from the Palm Beach Post and his program will begin at 6:30 PM. The winning ticket for the beautiful quilt made by the Sand Dollar Quilters will be drawn at the end of the program so there is still time to get tickets!
Regatta setting pretty as a picture
While admiring the vintage boats at the the Palm Beach Regatta this weekend, we saw this gentleman on the Palm Beach waterfront capturing the moment in a painting, and doing a beautiful job. Read more about the Regatta here, including a tour of the Honey Fitz, the Presidential yacht used by five Presidents.
Let's appreciate dog biscuits
International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day is Feb. 23.
You learn something every single day, and so much of it can be traced right back to Italy.
Yes, those zany Romans were always up to something that still affects us.
Paved roads and sewers.
Fine, but there is an even more impressive contribution I just discovered.
Back in the day of cool strappy sandals, togas and crowns made of vines, they began the practice of tossing their favorite canines some yummy dog biscuits.
Our dog is thankful for their thoughtfulness.
Truth be told, their treats do not sound all that yummy, because it was called Bad-Bread. Simply put, bread that was not fit for human consumption.
We have come a long way since Fido was forced to choke down Bad-Bread.
Treats now come in fun shapes, every size from huge to tiny, and have (the packages claim) succulent flavors.
These days, for safety and health, we all take a moment to insure Rover's treats are USA made, and they look so delicious I almost want to sample them.
No, I have not nibbled on that iced cookie that looks like it came from my favorite bakery.
So, come Feb. 23, show proper respect, stock up on special treats for Fifi, and honor what started in Italy.
Oh, get some wine for youself. The Romans would approve. --Pam
Shrimp burger is giant in flavor
Sometimes you take a trip to the beach, the sky is gloriously blue, the waves are crashing to the shore with a vengence, and it makes a random day not quite so random.
Suddenly, the salt air causes images of scrumptious food begin to dance in your head. What, this does not happen to you?
When this happens to me in the Northern Palm Beach area, the only problem is deciding where to go to satisfy the palate.
Today we opted for the outdoor restaurant, Coconuts, at the Hilton on Singer Island.
The food and drink is always good, and the staff never fails to be welcoming, providing stellar service.
So, with my favorite crabcake sandwich firmly in mind, I took only a swift glance at their lunch menu.
Behold, a clearly marked "new" item, the shrimp burger, caught my eye. I had to have it.
The description is: "Blackened Shrimp Patty, Topped with Avocado Slice and Aji Amarillo Aiolo. Price is $14 and comes with your choice of fries, sweet potato fries, or Crunchy
Wheatberry Salad. For an additional $3 you may upgrade your side to a Caesar or House Salad."
I opted for regular fries.
My shrimp burger and fries arrived promptly, and the presentation was lovely.
The patty turned out to be a generous amount of blackened shrimp, not the shredded sort I had envisioned. The avocado was joined by a generous slice of tomato, red onion and lettuce. I definitely have a new favorite at Coconuts at the Hilton.
When the sky is so blue it looks like a painting, sitting at a high-top at Coconuts, a cool glass of fresh iced-tea in hand is not a bad way to watch ships floating on the horizon in the distance.
The new shrimp burger just makes it even more perfect! --Pam
Feb 15: A holiday I can endorse
Fabricated holidays such as Valentine's Day are just so fake and so much nonsense to me. If you live for that love day, I send you air-kisses. No judgment. Well, not much.
But, if my hopelessly-devoted-one (HDO) has to be prompted by commercial outlets, on a specific day of the year, to cough up the goodies, I will opt out.
Not so heartfelt is heart-day is my opinion. I prefer a card, chocolate or diamonds on a random day that has meaning because we just feel like it. It works for us.
So, every year on February 14, I give my HDO a knowing smile and we ignore all the red heart business.
But, there is a candy-kiss lining to all the glitz, flowers, chocolate, sappy cards and teddy bear love.
What is it?
Now, that is a day I endorse with all my heart (pun stays).
Popping into local stores the morning after the love fades and there it is. Mounds of goodies, patiently waiting to be snatched-up...at 50% off.
What did HDO find in his search today?
Lovely bottles of Pink Champagne (sparkling wine, but that is splitting hearts), buy one, get one free.
Normally we would not even cast a second-glance at pink wine, but a good deal we can not ignore. So, we have two chilling, and who knows where those bubbles will lead?
Love is all around, especially on the day after the designated LOVE day. --Pam
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"