Posts Tagged ‘Eiffel Tower’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 16, 2020

Here’s wishing you a great weekend and thank you for checking out what’s on my mind this week.

I’ll go ahead and get the heavy stuff out the way and move on to happier thoughts!

“SEXUAL PREFERENCE” & “CHOICE”

Those two terms, when talking about people in the LGBTQ community, are outdated and if you use them, it shows you’re misinformed and out of touch!

It’s especially alarming when an unqualified candidate to become a Supreme Court justice uses them!

I never made a “choice” and “preferred” to be discriminated against as a gay man and to be a “second class citizen”!

When did you choose to be straight?  You don’t remember? 

Of course not, it wasn’t a choice!  You were “born this way”, just as I was “born this way”!

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DISGUSTING?

What kind of world do we live in?

It saddens and angers me when some in the “basket of deplorables” (yes, I said and I own it!) plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer!

Just look at this disgusting group!

I agree with Governor Whitmer that “words matter” and they are domestic terrorists!

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was also targeted.

Ironically (???), both are Democratic governors!

I know there have been assassination attempts and plots in my lifetime against American presidents and politicians.

However, this insanity has to stop. I hope the first step is taken November 3, 2020!

“THE BOYS IN THE BAND”

The latest Ryan Murphy television event debuted a couple of weeks ago on Netflix and it’s fantastic, caustic, and catty!

It’s a remake of the 1968 Off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley, which was made into a 1970 movie directed by William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”).

Before adapting this into a movie, Murphy brought a revival of the play to Broadway in 2018 with the same cast members — Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Robin De Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington, Charlie Carver, Tuc Watkins, and Brian Hutchinson.

Jim Parsons deserves an Emmy nomination in 2021 and my favorite character in the movie was the flamboyant and effeminate Emory, played by Robin De Jesus.

My best friend asked me which characters were us in our younger days. For me, I’d say a combination of Bomer’s (chill, but not depressed) and Carver’s (naive, but not an escort) characters.

However, in my 20s, I didn’t have the sexiness of either! 🙂

GRADE: A

RAINBOW OREOS

There’s a new Oreo cookie, but you won’t be able to buy it in stores!

OREO and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) are releasing the limited edition rainbow cookie in celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month.

The cookies will be given away to fans as a “reward acts of allyship for the LGBTQ+ community”.

The cookies are part of the new Proud Parent platform, “a long-term campaign shining light on the importance of a supportive family in fostering greater LGBTQ+ acceptance.”

“LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE”

This eight-episode Hulu original series is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 critically acclaimed novel. It’s great!

While Reese Witherspoon (Mia Warren) and Kerry Washington (Elena Richardson) are amazing in this series, it’s the young stars that carry much of the weight in this drama that takes place outside Cleveland, Ohio.

Lexi Underwood, Mia’s teenager daughter Pearl, Gavin Lewis (Moody), and Megan Stott (Izzy), two of Elena’s kids, are incredible young actors.

You’re captivated by them in every one of their scenes.

And, your heart breaks whenever Huang Lu, who plays Bebe Chow, a co-worker of Mia’s in Shaker Heights, is on screen.

Not to be outdone by the female leads and the younger cast, Joshua Jackson’s tighty whities got a lot of press from that one scene! 🙂

Jackson handled the attention like a star, “Who knew that all these years what was missing from my career was parading around in my tighty-whities… I’m in my 40s now. I enjoy getting objectified!”

Now, I’m going to read the critically acclaimed book.

GRADE: A-

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month!

UNTIL #PUG2021, THIS WILL DO!

With Covid-19 and things, I’ve pushed back getting my pug until the spring or summer of 2021.

So, #Pug2020 is now #Pug2021. Until then, this will have to do! 🙂

CHICAGO CURIOSITIES

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

It was autographed by McNamee to Ann and Bill and a gift from Doug! I guess they didn’t want it anymore! 🙂 I picked it up at a yard sale.

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting factoids I learned. *Keep in mind that this is a 29-year-old book and the stats may be outdated. I didn’t check for their current validity — that’s another benefit of Google if you choose to check!* 🙂

  • The suburbs once had a Romeo and Juliet in the pioneer days! In 1845, “Juliet” became Joliet and “Romeo” was renamed Romeoville in 1895.
  • One of the nicknames of Mayor Jane Byrne, the first woman elected to the office, was “the Snow Queen”.
  • After the “Chicago Blizzard of 1979”, Byrne used the ineffectiveness of Mayor Michael Bilandic to clear away the snow and it helped her beat Mayor Daley’s “Democratic Machine”!
  • In that 1979 election, Byrne received more than 700,000 votes (82% of the votes cast). No other mayoral candidates have gotten that many votes in an election since!
  • While it was costlier, “The Great Chicago Fire” (1871) was not the deadliest fire in the city. On December 30, 1903, 602 people were killed in the Iroquois Theater Fire.
  • In its 105 years of operation, more than a billion (that’s with a “B”) creatures were slaughtered at The Union Stockyards. Its busiest year was 1924 — it received 18.65 million head of livestock! This help earn Chicago the nickname, “Hog Butcher for the World”! (Now, I’m going to read Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, “The Jungle”.)
  • The Hostess Twinkie was invented in Schiller Park in 1930 by James Dewar. Dewar ate two Twinkies each day and lived to be 88!
  • Other foods that got their start in Chicago: Cracker Jack (19 tons a day made at the plant in Northbrook), Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Roll Pops (20 to 30 million pieces made daily at the Cicero plant), and Vienna hot dogs (104 million made in 1991 on Damen)!

MY FAVORITE BIRTHDAYS

While I had a birthday earlier this week, it was just another day of work, walking, and reading. My sister is making a birthday dinner for me this weekend! 🙂

As I reflect back, my four most recent favorites were in 2011 — my last with my golden retriever, Miss ABBA.

In 2012, I enjoyed an endless mimosa brunch topped off with carrot cake at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

That night, I partied with Madonna! Actually, she was on stage and I was hanging out with 13,000 of her friends!

My most memorable birthday ever (and I doubt this will ever be topped) was in 2014, when I turned 50.

At midnight, I was sipping champagne sitting at a stage table at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France after a dinner cruise on the Seine River and looking out at a foggy city from atop the Eiffel Tower!

The next day, it was off to my dream birthday destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

And, in 2018, while in Morocco, my tour guide and my group surprised me with a birthday cake!

While this birthday was uneventful, here’s to many more healthy and more exciting ones in the future — like, seeing Kylie Minogue in concert in some fun foreign city in 2021 for the “Disco Tour”!

If you haven’t seen the two new Kylie videos from the upcoming “Disco” album (November 6, 2020), here they are!

If you love disco or dance music, these will make you happy! 🙂

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

The Way to a Man’s Heart…

It’s no secret that I love food — whether it’s eating out or entertaining at home.

When it comes to entertaining, I think cheesecakes are my specialty!

Why cheesecakes specifically and not just cakes? Because just the thought of decorating a cake with frosting is a nightmare for me — I wouldn’t even attempt it for guests!

Here are some of my favorite cheesecakes I’ve made over the years!

Anthony's Cheesecakes

Once it’s safe again to eat out and socialize, I can’t wait to embark on a new beginning in a familiar state. 

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite dining experiences (so far) and I’ll conclude with the most magical meal ever!!!

Since I’m now living in central Illinois, I’ll start off with a beautiful and tasty appetizer I had in May 2012 at Destihl in Champaign, Illinois, as I was passing through on my way to Indianapolis, Indiana.

At the time, I wrote, “Not only was it very tasty and refreshing… I was so mesmerized by the presentation.”

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It was “Watermelon & Feta” (cubed watermelon, house olives, feta, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, and micro greens) and “Shrimp Ceviche” (shrimp, cilantro, lime, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado mousse).

The meal was so delightful that I dedicated a whole blog entry to it!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/destihl-my-beating-heart/

But, back to the beginning! 

Growing up poor in western Kentucky, we really didn’t get to eat out much. Our Aunt Norma would occasionally treat us to burgers, chili pies, and cold mug root beer at K & N Drive-In in Mayfield.

On the rare occasions our father did take us out, there was a roadside joint just outside Mayfield called Jack’s Drive-In. Basically, it was a carry out place with some picnic tables.

While it had the best cheeseburgers, my favorite sandwich was the fried veal patty!  Who knows what it really was!!!  And, I wouldn’t eat either of them now since I don’t eat beef anymore! 

My first server job was at the Happy House Restaurant in Mayfield in the 1980s.  One of the specialties was the “House Tea”, which was very sweet tea with special touches — a combination of fruit juices!  Delicious!

They also had the best desserts (Kentucky Derby Pie was my favorite), prime rib at night on the weekends, and the Copenhagen.

It’s an open-face turkey sandwich with a spinach mayo dressing!

But, my favorite restaurant in western Kentucky is Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, located in the Land Between The Lakes area.

It’s the only reason I go back to Kentucky!

They’re well-known for the amazing thick pork chops and appetizers like the beer-battered cheese sticks and the blooming onion!

Their homemade desserts are incredible — the meringue on the pies is whipped a mile high and the Sawdust Pie is just out of this world! 

Luckily, they’ve shared that recipe and I make it on special occasions!

My favorite meal ever, from a fresh, flavorful experience, was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

This was brought out as our “salad” before the entrees — and this was just for two people!

I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since I love lists, I’ll highlight a couple of other dining experiences and restaurants.

My favorite entree was in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016, at Tavernpointe in Midtown.

It was a Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, and pico).

And, my favorite brunch or buffet is Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas!

Can you say, “Bottomless Mimosas”?

That was my brunch on my last visit in December 2019.

It was a 4.5-hour meal. I outlasted the lunch server and the evening server kept the mimosas flowing!

And, yes, I savored every bite of all four courses! I don’t waste food. 🙂

In addition to the great restaurants and meals I’ve highlighted, there was also a dinner cruise on the Seine River in Paris, France, that ended with a visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a stage-side seat at the historic Moulin Rouge sipping champagne as I turned 50!

As I wrap this up, I now want to share details of the most magical dining experience in my life (so far)!!!

It was on my first solo international trip to Morocco for my birthday in 2018. Marrakesh was my favorite city I visited in this northwestern African country.

My own “Crazy” (rich?) “Asians” (Pom, Sheila, Po Po, and Izzy) made the evening and my time in Morocco so memorable and fun.  

I met these wonderful ladies at the beginning of the trip and I shared a lot of time with them — an incredible group of friends!

Our evening started off with with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakesh at sunset and a jaunt through the crowded souk (an Arab marketplace or bazaar) in the Medina (the old quarter of town) on the way to dinner.

Once we were dropped off from the carriage ride, we made our way through a series of alleys that looked like a deserted, bombed out part of town!

But, at the end of the maze was the incredible and gorgeous Lotus Privilege Restaurant!

Once we stepped inside, per custom, we washed our hands with warm water from a elegant silver tea pot.  We were then handed a tasty drink and took in the spectacular scenery.

I’m not being vain here.  I just couldn’t choose which beautiful backdrop to share!

Our three-course meal started with a tasting menu of incredibly colorful and tasty Moroccan salads.

This was followed by entrees of either cockerel (chicken), veal, or fish Tagine (my pick), and three choices for dessert. 

I chose the pastilla with light cream and crushed almonds with fresh mint!

And, we were treated to live, energetic African music and an elegant, gorgeous belly dancer!

What a memorable evening!

And, while there are still many places I still want to visit (Greece, Cambodia, and Vietnam), I’d love to go back to Morocco!

As we head into the summer and life returns to the “new normal”, I can’t wait to find delicious food and fun experiences in central Illinois!

Anthony

Move Forward & Stop Looking Back

Birthdays are interesting annual events.  Some people count down to the big day and some would rather it pass unnoticed.

As life goes on, the way we celebrate the natal day changes.  As a kid, we’re excited for a cake, a party, and gifts.

That’s me celebrating my first birthday with a cake that ISN’T chocolate! 😦

October 13 1965

In retrospective, I’m grateful I got to celebrate that birthday.  When I arrived six weeks early, in the fall of 1964, I weighed about three pounds and I wasn’t expected to make it.  The survival rate for preemies back then was only 28%!

For many, becoming a teenager is exciting and to others, it’s a terrifying time. Then, there’s 16, 18, and 21.

After that the pressure settles in as 25 nears and you become frantic at 30 feeling as though your youth is gone.  It’s time to evaluate where you’re at in life and where you’re heading.

Anthony2

I survived college, partying, and finding myself in my teens and 20s, starting my career in my 30s, finding love in my 40s, and losing it in my 50s.

There are days of bitterness and anger, but many more are now filled with uncertainty — not only of what lies ahead down this road of life we travel, but mortality!   Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

While the average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.7 years, my beautiful mother, Dessie, didn’t get anywhere near that.

She died at 47 (in 1990).  My father died three years earlier at 55.

Time

I’m optimistic that I have many years left since I’m physically and mentally healthy.  I just have to work on becoming emotionally and mentally happy!

My next birthday is right around the corner (October 13).

If you send birthday wishes to me via Facebook, I’ll get around to responding to them when I can since I’ll be out of the country!

I’m marking another continent off my travel list!

travel.jpg

This will be the fourth continent I’ve visited — following North America, Europe, and Asia!

To help you narrow it down, I don’t think I need to visit Antarctica and going to South America isn’t high on my travel “bucket list”.

Final clues before you see the pictures on Facebook when I have internet:  It’s north of the Equator (never been south of it), 99% Muslim, and it’s ruled by a King.

Birthday Trip 2

And, in August, Madonna spent her 60th birthday there.  I’m sure that her arrangements were on a grander scale! 🙂

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P.S. I share my birthday with Sacha Baron Cohen (47), Nancy Kerrigan (49), Fox Mulder (57), and Marie Osmond (59).  Oh, I can’t forget my dear friend, Crystal Craddock-Posey!

With that being said, I want to share some of my favorites birthdays of the past with you.

BIRTHDAY 2016

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BIRTHDAY 2014

For my 50th birthday, I wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel.

When booking the trip, the connecting flight was through Paris, so it was decided to spend three nights in Paris and four in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday, I was treated to a Seine River dinner cruise, a view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, and sitting stage side at the historic Moulin Rogue sipping champagne at midnight as I turned 50!

Anthony 50

Days later, in Tel Aviv, I had the best meal ever at Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea!

Benny The Fisherman

BIRTHDAY 2012

The day started with an incredible brunch at the Stratosphere (back when it was good) in Las Vegas and ended with seeing Madonna and the incredible “MDNA Tour”.

Champagne

Madonna MDNA

BIRTHDAY 2011

This would be the last one with my best buddy in the world, my beautiful golden retriever, Miss ABBA.  It was a warm fall day in the Quad Cities and we spent it outside playing.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

BIRTHDAY 2009

2009 Gifts

As I head into my 55th year and beyond, I’ll live by the words of Kylie Minogue and her life affirming hit “Golden” (which chronicles her turning 50 earlier this year)!

Kylie Golden 1

Kylie

Kylie Golden 2

My one goal for 2019 — seeing Kylie’s “Golden Tour” here in the U.S.!

Here’s to future!

Claire

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 26, 2016

It’s now the last weekend of August.  Where did summer go?

While we still have about four weeks of summer left, Labor Day is fast approaching and, for some, that’s the unofficial end of the summer season.

If you’re ready for fall (and winter), then the first story in my “Random Friday Thoughts” is just for you.

Even if it’s not for you, if you live in the Quad Cities or nearby, please read it and take it to heart.

THE BOY THAT CRIED WOLF

It’s still summer, but we all know that fall is getting closer since our low dropped to 53° this past Monday in the Quad Cities.

While there’s plenty of warm weather left and time for several tropical systems to develop in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, colder weather is spilling in well to our northwest and some long-term computer models even paint a little snow over western Canada by September 1st. 🙂

Sept 1.jpg

This is a perfect time to clarify a couple of things and I’m sure you’ll hear me reiterate this again during the winter months!

We know there are some local forecasters across Iowa and Illinois that cry wolf and dramatize every potential snowflake to get Facebook likes, shares, and blog hits!

Snowflake

That’s not me!  While I love for people to read what I write and comment on it, I’m not going to sensationalize a forecast to get you to watch me or brag about the number of people that click on my page.

With that being said, when you see astronomical snow forecasts a week or so ahead of a potential snow event (which is stupid from a forecasting standpoint), just ignore them!

However, if you insist on looking, don’t make the mistake of asking me about it!  If I think there’s a chance of seeing a decent snow, I’ll definitely be telling you.  But, I will not justify another forecaster’s sensationalism!

Again, I know I’ll have to mention this again this winter.

2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS

I’m so proud of all of the athletes on Team USA that won gold, silver, and bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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I’m just as happy for those that made the team that didn’t win medals, too.

I didn’t watch the games, but I did follow the medal count as Team USA won more gold and more medals overall than any other team in the world.

All of those performances shined brighter than the adolescent ignorance and shame brought on by gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte and his three friends who claimed they were robbed at gunpoint.  Lochte now says his story was “over-exaggerated”.

Speedo Ryan.jpg

SPEEDO FALLOUT

No, there’s no photo of a “wardrobe malfunction” with Lochte and his Speedo.  However, there is fallout from his lies.

Speedo USA ended its sponsorship of him earlier this week.  The company will still donate a portion of his fee ($50,000) to the global charity “Save The Children” in Brazil.

Sppedo Short.jpg

RALPH LAUREN FOLLOWS SPEEDO

The hits against Lochte didn’t stop with Speedo.  Ralph Lauren and two other companies cut ties, too.

The fashion company says, “Ralph  Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody.”

It added, “Ralph Lauren’s endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the company will not be renewing his contract.”

Lochte, stuff that in your Speedos!

STILL NOT READY!

The Dixie Chicks debuted on the Billboard County charts in 1997 with “I Can Love You Better”.  From 1997-2003, the Texas trio charted 16 Top 40 hits with 14 of them reaching the Top Ten, and six topping the charts.

Then, in 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a foreign crowd that she was ashamed that then President George W. Bush was from Texas.  The fallout at country radio was swift, but not like Taylor!

“Travelin’ Soldier” was at the top of the country charts when Natalie’s words made is back to America.  Cumulus radio stations banned the Chicks and the song dropped off the charts in two weeks — from #1!

The Dixie Chicks returned with a new album, “Taking The Long Way”, in 2006.  It topped Billboard’s Top 200 and Country album charts, sold over two million copies, and won a total of five Grammy Awards.

They’re back on tour now, their first since 2006, and Natalie still has more to say!

Natalie

I’ll be seeing Natalie, Martie, and Emily for the second time in less than three weeks when they play the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois, on September 15th, on the “DCX MMXVI World Tour”.

I’m currently listening to all my Dixie Chicks CDs again to rank my 20 favorite songs before the concert!

If you want to see the April 2012 blog I wrote about them and the war with country radio, here it is.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/a-nation-at-war-abroad-on-country-radio-as-a-statue-topples/

DO YOU LOVE COTTON CANDY?

I love cotton candy and I eat it every time I go to Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.  cotton candy

However, I thought of it in a different way recently reading an interview with Jennifer Lawrence talking about her upcoming movie, “Passengers”, with Chris Pratt.

Lawrence says (referring to Pratt), “He’s a bag of Gummi Bears.  He’s human cotton candy.”

Three things crossed my mind:  (1) “human cotton candy” sounds like something Hannibal Lecter would make if he was slumming for a dinner party dessert, (2) I do like cotton candy, and (3), I’d like it even more if it comes in the shape of the new and improved Chris Pratt body!

Chris Pratt.jpg

“BREAKING BAD”

I have another thought about winter today.

I know the most critically acclaimed show of all time (Guinness World Records, 2013), “Breaking Bad” concluded its five year run in the fall of 2013.

Ray and I were finally going to binge watch it when we got snowed in this winter, but we started it this week and after just three episodes, all I can say is “it’s incredible” — even if we saw Walter White (Bryan Cranston) too many times in his tighty whities. 🙂

Now, if we start seeing Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in his, that’ll be different!

While we’ll still be watching “Breaking Bad” this winter, we also have “House of Cards”, “Justified”, and “Tyrant” to binge watch on when the days get short, the air gets colder, and the snow piles up.

Snow Saturday Morning

A BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR ME???

At my age, I don’t really make a big deal out of my birthdays since I’ve already passed many of the milestones (13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, and 50).  Okay, I still have many years to go before retirement and social security.

For my 50th birthday, Ray treated me to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, a trip to top of the Eiffel Tower, and a show at the world famous Moulin Rouge, where I was sipping champagne and watching very risque and sexy performers at the stroke of midnight!

AP R Moulin

But, this year there’ll be a fun birthday present that I might just have to buy for myself.

One of my favorite bands of all-time, Erasure, is releasing a mammoth boxed set called “From Moscow to Mars”.  If you’re a die-hard Erasure fan or a fan of 1980s music, you’ll know where that title came from.  I know, you’re racking your brain now!

Check out this incredible video teaser!

Who knows how much that 13 disc set with over 200 tracks will cost, but I think I’m worth it!

AND THERE’S MORE….

If that wasn’t enough, Michael Buble is back, too, with a new album, “Nobody But Me” on October 21st.

Michael Buble To Be Loved

His last album, “To Be Loved” came out more than three years ago and his last tour ended in March 2015.

Michael has been spending more time with his wife, Luisana, and their two sons, three-year-old Noah and seven-month-old Elias.

The first single and the title track came out last week.

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS OFFERING

Christmas is still four months away, but it’s that time of the year when details of upcoming holiday albums emerge.

Already, I’ve talked about a duets Christmas album from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and a new holiday album from Kacey Musgraves.

Illinois native and country hit maker Brett Eldredge will also be releasing his first Christmas collection this fall.

The album will feature classics and a new song called “Glow”.  It’ll also have a “big band and swing sound”.

Until we get the track listing and that first video, here’s Brett from the 2014 CMA Country Christmas special.

And, if it’s too early for you to listen to a Christmas song, here’s Brett with one of my favorite songs of last year, his #1 country smash, “Lose My Mind”.

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

50th Birthday Plans Revealed!

A milestone birthday is coming up for me in less than two months.  I’ve been living my life planning on this for almost 50 years now.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

My mother didn’t get that opportunity and my father barely made it.  She died at 47 (in 1990) and he passed away at 55 (in 1987).

So, what’s a few wrinkles and a head full of gray hair?  I never had a six-pack stomach, so as I get old/older, I don’t have to worry about losing that.  And, I can’t be all that disappointed that I have to work a little harder to keep the slowing metabolism in check.

AP 1st Birthday

While I definitely love cake, even that boring white cake for my first birthday in 1965 (Happy Birthday Crystal!), there’s a chance that I won’t have a cake this year — unless I have it early or late.

Since you only turn 50 once, Ray and I decided to make both of  our “nifty fifty” birthdays memorable.  Last year, he celebrated with a Danube River cruise that allowed us to spend a day in Zurich, Switzerland, and to visit Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany.

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Since then, we’ve been saving our pennies (okay, mostly dollars) to make another international trip to celebrate my 50th.

However, the second part of that trip may now be in jeopardy due to missiles, bombs, bullets and bloodshed.  While we’re not changing the itinerary just yet, a back-up plan is being considered.   More on that shortly.

When we started planning the trip, it was going to be an overnight flight from the United States to the Mediterranean destination of my dreams with a plane transfer and four hours of sit-time in Paris, France.

Dreams of wine, cheese, and pastries began filling my head.

Pastries

At that point, we decided instead of spending seven nights on the Mediterranean Sea, we could spend three nights in Paris and hit two continents!

Picnic

So, now I plan on spending my birthday sitting in a park having a picnic of wine, cheese, fruit, bread, and pastries in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower — rain or shine!

eiffel-tower-at-night-with-moon

While Ray and I each paid for the trip, I already know what my birthday present is from him — a Sunday evening that includes a three-course dinner cruise on the Seine River, a one-hour visit to second floor of the Eiffel Tower to look out over Paris, and an evening at the world-renowned Moulin Rouge!!!

Now, about my original 50th birthday destination spot before Paris crashed the party!  I’ve always wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel, the fifth most visited city in the Middle East on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Tel Aviv is known for its dynamic atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture earning it the nickname, “party capital”.

It’s also known as “The City That Never Sleeps”, “The Bubble”, and “The White City” (for the more than 4,000 buildings built-in a unique style from 1930s German-Jewish architects and, yes, the buildings are white!).

Tel Aviv

Since Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial capital and is compared to New York City, it’s also nicknamed “The Big Orange”, because of the famous Jaffe (now a part of Tel Aviv) orange — a very sweet, almost seedless fruit similar to the Valencia orange.

We booked this trip back in January, but once the Israel-Gaza conflict started back in early July, which has led to bombings and missile strikes that have claimed more than 2,000 lives, mostly in Gaza, we thought about choosing another destination.

However, Tel Aviv is still the safest city in Israel and we’re still going.

So, that is how I plan on spending the last days of my 40s and the first few days of my 50s.

In the words of French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement, Victor Hugo, “forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age”.

Anthony