Fresh Market’s Christmas Blend Coffee

The holiday season starting at Thanksgiving to New Years’ day is my favorite time of year. There are so many things that add to the wonderful emotion I experience. These things make me experience feelings of happy, joyful, pampered and elegant. I am taking the next few blog posts to relive these wonderful things that bring me sooooo much pleasure and happiness.

The first item I love to have to start the season off is coffee, from Fresh Market. Fresh Market is one of my very favorite places to shop. I love walking through the doors and entering in to this sensory paradise.


On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I employ Fresh Market’s Christmas Blend ground coffee. Something about coffee that just makes my day.

The Fresh Market Christmas Blend Coffee

The Fresh Market Christmas Blend Coffee

The aroma of this coffee sends me back to a Norman Rockwell Christmas painting. The smells of Christmas are alive in this blend. There is cinnamon, vanilla and clove.

The Spirit of Christmas

I sit on the patio, watching the harness horses jog the track and image me riding, in the snow. This coffee is that good.

The Brilliant Game Plan

I am a little disappointed that an 80-year-old rain tree in Fort Lauderdale is going to be moved. Yes, the City of Fort Lauderdale commission voted 3-1 to move the tree and then voted 4-0 to approve the Marina Lofts project.

Even though I didn’t get my hopes of seeing the rain tree stay put, I got to witness one of the top notch marketing campaigns.  I found it brilliant on many levels.

I had a hunch the outcome of the City Commissioners’ votes were determined long before either the Planning & Zoning Board and the City Commission meetings ever began, and I seriously doubt there was anything anyone could have said during both meetings’ public comments that could have changed it.

Asi Cymbal, the President and owner of Cymbal Development, is a very savvy business man. Asi would never have let it come to a vote if he didn’t already know he had won. Asi’s Marina Loft’s project was too well funded and well organized to leave anything to chance. The public relations the Cymbol Development hired, executed a successful strategy from the onset.

After the Planning & Zoning Board meeting, Asi published a blog post titled; Why Cymbal won and protesters failed before key vote  that summed up the core of the plan.  Cymbol Development capitalized on the oppositions emotions and lack of organization.  It worked spot on.

Cymbal Development’s victory with the Fort Lauderdale Planning & Zoning Board, which I covered earlier this morning, was a textbook example of how to successfully get your point across.

Opponents of his project, however, did a miserable job of arguing their points (Cymbol, 2013).

Cymbol Development then took all their mistakes made at the P & Z Board meeting and corrected them.  At the P&Z hearing some of the supporters of Marina Lofts sounded more like star struck giddy school girls.  I got the feeling some of the supporters were there to win the affections of the young wealthy man, Asi Cymbol. Was this the Bachelor?  It became obvious that Cymbol was not going to let these errors happen again.

Before the City Commission hearing, Cymbol Development’s PR group planned and trained their supporters.  They fixed the silly mistakes of attempting to promote Asi Cymbol, the man and instructed their supporters to focus on the Marina Lofts, the project.  Flyers with talking points were handed out, food and drinks were provided and of course the team of handlers were in place.

Instruction, Talking Points & Guidiance

Instruction, Talking Points & Guidance

This piece of paper was marketing genius!  I love the instructions on if the supporter in the chamber seat needed to leave the room whether to go to the bathroom or get some nourishment they were to text or call a Cymbol team member so that at filler could save their seat.  BRILLIANT!   This was always done at boxing events to make the arena appear filled for television.

The pièce de ré·sis·tance came early into the morning hours when Cymbol Development finally announced they would scale down the larger tower by three whole levels.  Checkmate!  It was over the deal was sealed.

District 2 Commissioner, Dean Trantalis  was the only vote against moving the rain tree.  After the announcement of the the three floors being eliminated Commissioner Trantalis  voted “yea” to the Marina Lofts project.

“I was not entirely pleased with the project as presented, but we incorporated over 15 conditions, including a reduction of over 100 units. It still is not to my liking, but in the spirit of compromise, I accepted the final version.” ~  Commissioner Dean J. Trantalis

It is my belief that this whole publicity campaign was probably more about protecting the Mayor and the city commissioners that voted for it and making sure they wouldn’t look bad in the meeting.  It worked!  The plan was created and executed masterfully!


Cymbol, A. (2013, May 16). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Save the Rain Tree

I conducted a little experiment asking people to pick a picture(s) that would bring them to Florida. No surprise, no one voted on a picture of a building. The all picked trees and beaches . .. NATURE.

We live on tourism here in Florida. People come here for our nature not Cymbal’s promise of glass & cement boxes.

Please do your part to save the Rain Tree!

A Little Experiment




Sign the petition today! 

BOB, Our Little Cat Burglar

Bob, our cat, has picked up a bad habit as of late. Bob steals food…human food. While the house is asleep Bob ate a baguette, thru the wrapper. Bob has pilfered a cherry out of the bowl. Bob snuck a crostini from a plate. Bob stuck his head into a bowl of popcorn.

Bob has also jumped up on the counter, knocked over a pint of coffee cream and had a field day! The cream landed on the stove creating a messy situation.

Bob is working his way up on the crime ladder.  He is now nabbing jewelry.  Bob stole Katie’s earring from the table. He took my Mickey Mouse watch off the nightstand and hid it.

All Bob’s swiped booty goes to the darkness of the underside of the dining room table. Except the baguette which he left in the bread basket, tuned over so we could not detect the teeth marks readily!  The shock of that was detected when Katie and I were preparing bruschetta.  Needless to say I had to run out to the grocery store to replace it.

Bob is the baby of the family.  He is going through the terrible twos!  This life of crime doesn’t look good on Bob.  Bob needs a scared straight intervention.

Bob is now relegated to sleep locked in the bedroom with me! Bob is not happy. Our Little cat burglar!

Who me?

Who me?

FPL Smoke Stacks Come Down!

I have to share this wonderful video taken by Matthew Busa as he sat on a plane on Fort Lauderdale Airport runway. These stacks were part of Fort Lauderdale’s skyline. FPL imploded them this morning to make way for a cleaner energy facility. This was history!

Toilet Humor

Tim Smith wrote a blog post referring to the former City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor, Jim Naugle last week.  I started thinking back to the Flush Naugle campaign of 2007.   Remember Naugle’s robo-toilet idea,  that would have a timer on the door.  When your time allotment was up the door would automatically open.  “Flush the guy who wants innocent people to be sitting there and have a door open for all the world to see because of his unwarranted paranoia.

With that silliness in my mind, I received a text message from my daughter.  It read

There are automatic doors on the toilets on Portobello Rd.  Dad needed to go pee so he pressed the button and the door opened to where everyone was and a poor girl was sitting on the pot taken a poo.

I will elaborate so you can get the full humor of this story.  My daughter, Katie, her dad, Gary, and good family friends, Denise  and  Lindsey went to Portobello Road Market in London.

Katie’s dad had to use the toilet. He found one of those automatic door cubical kind of johns. The sign on the door read vacant.



He pressed the button and the door opened to expose a woman on the potty.

woman on toilet

Now all the people in the market street had a view stood pointing and laughing.

I texted my daughter back to find out what they did and she reply:

We ran while dad stayed to make sure it shut.

My daughter and her friends abandoned her poor old dad to apologize to a horrified woman with her dress up and knickers down.

Gary said she was trying to do three things at once (grab her panties, hold her dress & hide her bits and pieces) with a look of horror on her face.

Shocked 2

Gary stay until the door shut again.  She probably will never forget his face.

We laughed so hard at this story.  It will go down as one of Gary’s best stories.  I am sure the woman is not laughing … yet.

Gary also stated those door open fast and close very slowly.



Moving Forward

With the move behind me, I can concentrate on moving forward.  Positive things are surrounding me that keep life running smooth.  With my new surroundings I am prepared to face all the new tasks.

I woke up to the sounds of ducks, and harness racing horses jogging the track.  I always found peace in hearing the clomping hoofs of horses.  I could always hear the horse pounding hoofs as they left the gate in my bedroom in Vernon, New York.  The sound was calming is a way.

I will take my lead from the horse and move forward with steadiness.  I know my destination.  I will not be distracted by the distance sounds.  I will look only forward!





Was this the Bachelor?

The Planning and Zoning Board held a special meeting on the Marina Lofts apartment project that proposes to move the old massive rain tree to make room for the development.

The board met on Wednesday, May 14 at City Hall.  There was an overflow of people attending this meeting.  Not all could fit into the chambers and had to find an alternative area to watch the show…I mean meeting.

Marina Lofts is a proposed development by Cymbal Development of Miami of two 36-story towers and a 25-story building with more than 1,000 rental units. The site is on the south side of the New River between the Florida East Coast Rail Road tracks and Southwest Fourth Avenue.

Cymbal Development is the company of Asi Cymbal.  Asi is a handsome young man with a big fat wallet and tells of spreading the wealth.  He dresses the part of a wealthy developer.

Asi Cymbal

Asi Cymbal

I was watching the meeting via live feed from the City of Fort Lauderdale’s website.  It proved to be a very entertaining meeting.   After listening to a speaker after speaker come up to the podium to state their case I got confused.

Near the end of the evening, the speakers started to sound like they were vying for the young Asi’s affections.  I could not help thinking I was watching some twisted version of the television show, The Bachelor.

One after one these girls would come up to the podium and read off their resumes.  Some very very qualified in the education department too.  We heard about their lifestyles, and their dreams for the future.  They pronounced their admiration of Asi, and how he took the time to talk to them on the group date…I mean…meetings.

I thought I picked the winner until a man jumped up to the podium.  That was it!  He sang the song and brought the tears.  It was emotional and mushy moving!  I don’t know the guy, but he stated he was head of the Visioning Committee during his plea presentation.  Probably a real nice guy but his emotional breakdown was a tad scary.

After this man’s time was up he and Asi embraced.  There were high fives all around.  Boy if Asi didn’t give him the rose then something was fixed.  The other girls left the building, but I heard one left her glass slipper behind for Asi to find.

Well the big winner was Asi Cymbal.  The planning and zoning board vote unanimously to approved the Marina Lofts project.  Asi received the final rose.

The Final Rose

The Final Rose

Now we must wait for the After the Rose episode of the Bachelor, Marina Lofts project.  See there is the pesky old rain tree in the way.  The commission of long ago voted to protect this rain tree, but it seems somebodies want to move that tree to a small lot.  So I will stay tuned in to find out what will happen to Asi and his project.

All kidding aside, I believe Fort Lauderdale should never resemble Austin or Portland. It is unique and should be kept unique.

The empty River Walk restaurants and retails shops is a big indicator of why more should not be built. Fort Lauderdale beach has empty buildings, and the decision to build more with retail below is ridiculous.

Unique business like the Riverside Market should be encouraged to do business here. They should not have to be dragged through the mill by a big buck political donor.

There were more people in the meeting that never voted in any city election.   I saw self-promoting leaders of neighborhoods not even involved with this project speak on the behalf of the big bucks.  Did they not think about their fellow neighborhood associations that have valid concerns?

Make these 5 hold up the history of Fort Lauderdale and engage the residents that are here now.  The millenniums will have a say soon enough.