Road Trip To Sarasota

Hey everyone. On this past Saturday, I took a ride with Marco (my French brother) and Rosaria (my Italian sister) to Sarasota. Rosaria was supposed to have an interview and taste test for a management position at two Italian Restaurants there. The drive from Tampa took us around 1 1/2 hours.

Remember, the challenge for Rosaria is not her excellent culinary expertise and management credentials, but more so her ability to obtain a work Visa in the USA. She must find an Italian establishment who is willing to sponsor her Visa application. The restaurant has to work with a special lawyer and to follow certain protacol to justify why their business needs the special qualifications that Rosaria has that can’t be fulfilled by anyone else in the states. They have to also prove this by ensuring they had properly advertised the position for some time without getting any qualified applicants. Very time-consumming and costly and a bit risky for the restaurant if the work Visa ultimately gets denied. So as you can see…Rosaria really has to impress and find the right place willing to do the leg work and sponsor the Visa request.

So on Saturday we drove to Sarasota for the interview. However, when we got to the restaurant, we found out that the manager wasn’t actually there and was working at the other restaurant about 10 miles away because of a shortage of staff there. So we drove to the other restaurant. When we got there we waited patiently for a while as the manager was busy doing host duties and filling in as a waitress as well. She then said to Rosaria, I need you to come back at 8 pm too busy right now. So what could we do but come back in about 2 hours. So we went to a popular area near Lido Beach where there are many shops and cafes/bars and had a few drinks to kill time.

Okay, so we came back to restaurant and the manager said we had to wait till 9 Pm, so we patiently waited ! Then it was 9:30 pm and the manager finally squeezed in about 5 minutes and said to Rosaria that she would have her come back to do a week of work to be further evaluated and to determine if she was a good fit and that she (the restaurant manager) said woud pick up the costs for Rosaria’s travel and accommodations while stsying in Sarasota. So in the end, we figured our patience had paid off.

Since it was already 10:30 Pm and since we didn’t have much fun waiting around for so long, I suggested we take a quick detour to Siesta Key Beach, as I remember from my time there with Terry several years ago that the area had a pretty active night life crowd and since we were already in the area why not enjoy ourselves for awhile.

Okay…maybe Marco was having too good a time…he was really getting into the music!

Okay, so on Sunday evening the day after, Marco, Rosaia and myself met our new Italian friend Emelia at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa where we did a litte bit of gambling and then had a nice Chinese dinner afterwards.

Note: Enroute to the casino, Rosaria was a bit upset as she found out that the Italian restaurant owner that she had met in Sarasota the day prior was not planning to do as she had told Rosaria about having her come back to Sarasota for a week as a trial. The manager actually put out a new advertisement request seeking a fill for the position. Rosaria confirmed this with that manager. Don’t know why she lead Rosaria on. Not a way to do business ! That’s what lead to my idea (joke) while driving to the casino, about patnering and opening up the “La Fipa” restaurant of French, Italian and Polish-American cuisine. Just wanted to cheer Rosaria up.

Okay…about all for now!

Another Great Evening Dining with my French/Italian Friends!

Was invited once again over to Marco and Rosalia’s house for dinner this past Thursday night.

We were having a send off for another good coalition friend of ours “Karim” who was flying back to France the very next morning. I will miss “Karim” as he was also my workout buddy at the gym!

Of course, as always..the wine and other alcoholic beverages were plentiful and flowing!

Rosalia out did herself again. This time an Italian pasta dish with Salmon. Very delicious!

I need to get Rosalia to send me some picturers of her specialty culinary plates and the beautiful presentation of each when she managed 3 five star restaurants in Bahrain. They looked so professional! I know you culinary bloggers out there would love them!

Rosalia would like to open up a restaurant in Florida if Marco and her can get work visas. I told her that I would partner in the business with them, as it would be fun! Already have a catchy name for the upscale restaurant. “La Fipa” it stands for French Italian Polish-American cuisine! Had to get my ethnic heritage into the restaurant name! Would certainly get clientele’s attention. What a combo of ethnic culinary cultures! Would be unique. We will have to be very creative in our dishes! LoL!

On Thursday evening I brought Rosalia a nice “Memorial Day” centerpiece of red, white and blue flowers and also a store bought “homemade by someone else!” apple crumb pie which we easily finished after our delicious main course meal with ice cream of course!

Later that evening us guys went over to the game room and played pool for awhile. Before you knew it 1AM had arrived and time to call it a night or morning I should say!

P.S. “Karim” is planning to travel back here for a vacation with his wife and 2 kids, sometime later this summer. Once I know the dates I am going to try to reserve one of the furnished RV rentals in the park on MacDill if available for their accomdations which would be much cheaper than a hotel!

Have a great rest of your weekend! Happy Memorial Day!

My International Connection of Friends is Growing!

Hey All,

Had a great time at Happy Hour and Dinner on Friday with my Tampa Bay Adventurers Group. This is the first social event that I’ve attended with them since coming back to Tampa and after also being away for a month in Ft Walton Beach and Orlando.

Took Marco and his wife Rosaria to meet some of my TBA friends. They thoroughly loved it!

While there Rosaria who is from Naples meet another Italian girl “Emelia” who ironically is also from Naples who was a first timer to our group as well. What was the chances of that! If you know the culture if Italian women, once they bond they can talk together for hours!

The 4 of us (the 2 Italian women, Marco and myself then went out to dinner afterwards. It was a nice evening.

Also at the event, I made another new friend Rena from Russia (also a first timer) to the TBA group. She was very pleasant.

Rena is the girl in the middle of the photo above.

Then I met a really nice guy from Australia who was also a new member.

The Ausralian is to the left in the photo above with Rosaria and Marco (or as Rosaria calls her husband…Jean-Marc).

Very rare to have all these new International people all showing up for the first time at the same event. It was really cool…I love my International friends. Told you before how much I enjoy hanging out and conversing with them. Makes the world feel like one big happy family!

Was so good to also have so many of my TBA friends come up to me and give me a big hug and to let me know how much they missed me. Gave me a warm feeling.

Blog break…Extra, Extra…just as I’m sitting outside here now typing this post, a big bird flew above and pooped right on me! Guess that bird was not happy to see me like my TBA friends were and he let me have it! YUCK! LoL!

I guess a good time to end this blog here and clean the bird poop off of me!

I am supposed to go out with Marco and the 2 Italian girls tonight. Not sure where yet? I think maybe the Casino?

Have a great rest of your Memorial Day weekend!

P.s. So I nodded off into a deep sleep outside on a chaise lounge while on my stomach with my cell right below me. To my surprise when I opened my eyes there in front of me was a little albino frog sitting right on the screen of my cell looking up at me. I know it must have been Terry! Tried to do a “frog selfie” but it was impossible to do as the frog was sitting right on my photo icon! “Terry…you’re so bad!”


Keepsake of Lillia’s Last Heartbeats Prior to Passing Away at Tampa General Hospital..So Precious! Read last post first!

Please read my last post “Some Things Happen For A Reason” Prior to viewing this one.

The John, the Uncle of the deceased mother and child killed in the tragic accident last year, just sent this to me.

He also texted me this story below:

Enrico Serpe is an active duty combat medic stationed at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He’s also an Orlando firefighter and paramedic. He left the base that morning and was heading up Bayshore when all the cars in front of him came to a halt. He could see people stepping out onto the road. He parked, grabbed his medical bag and ran north.

He saw a group tending to Raubenolt as she lay in the grass. He didn’t think she could be saved. Further ahead, he saw a woman holding the baby. He heard people say she was breathing.

The little girl’s cheeks were blue. She had bruising on her body and a scrape on her head. He could hear her drawing slow, heavy breaths.

He held her, pressed his mouth to hers, and puffed. After a few breaths, her skin turned pink again.

Lillia’s organ donations saved 6 lives

Daughter of the Uncle painted this beautiful rainbow which now sits at the entrance to the neonatal unit at Tampa General Hospital as a remembrance of Lillia!

Some Things Happen For A Reason

yeaterdatHey Everyone,

Do you remember the post I did about 1 year ago where I told you how emotionally affected I was by witnessing a tragic accident along Bayshore Boulevard on Tampa, FL where a young mother and baby were killed by teenagers racing down the road.

I entitle that blog “Take Two, Get Two and now Weep for Three” The link from that blog is below.

Ironically, yesterday afternoon, I was going to forego my bike ride since I was invited once again to my French brother Marco and Italian sister Rosaria’s house for dinner. However at the last minute, I decided to go ahead and do my bike ride before leaving for my dinner evite and I am so glad did so!

As I was peddling along Bayshore Boulevard I saw a bunch of Television Cameras being set up right where the fatal accident occured one year ago on May 23, 2018.

There was a group of people gathering at the site along with one guy in a wheel chair. My emotions overtook me. I stopped my bike ride and asked the group if any of the family members of the victims were present. The guy in the Wheelchair in the attached picture below was the Uncle where the mother and baby had been staying at his home while the father was doing flight training in another part of Florida. So naturally he had the biggest emotional impact when the tragedy happened last year and was truly the last relative to see the mother and baby alive and how happy as they were as they wete leaving the house that day one year ago to take a stroll prior to this tragedy.

I entered into an emotional discussion with that Uncle, expressing how deeply impacted I was by that horrible fatal accident last year and how I think about his niece (the mother) and great niece (the baby) each and every day as I ride past where the tragedy occured. I told him that they did not die in vane and a result of this unfortunate tragedy, many vehicular traffic changes were made by Tampa that have potenially saved a lot more lives of the people who enjoy traversing along this boulevard every day on foot, bike, stroller, roller blades or skateboard. The speed limit has now been reduced from 45 to 35 MPH, many crosswalks with blinking lights are now in place so people can safely cross the busy street and police are noq always monitoring this area to deter potentual speeders.

I then discussed with the Uncle death in general and how I think about it these days especially when someone dies so young as his great niece. I told him about my deceased spouse Terry and how I try to look at early death at if God was giving the person a special accelerated promotion to go to the front of the line ahead of others to live eternally with him in heaven.

The uncle was very appreciative of my loving emotions and really perked up after I gave him another way to rationalize why God let his innocent niece and great niece be tragically killed at such a young age. Suddenly, I could feel the Uncle’s spirit becomming uplifted, as if my words and emotional discussion healed his grieve. He actually used much of what I told him when interviewed on TV as if I had written his script. I was so emotionally taken by all this as well. The uncle and his wife wanted my cell # so that they could invite me to their house for dinner in the near future as we definitely bonded. It was so ironic that I have completed a complete emotional circle pertaining to this event. First witnessing the tragedy, then feeling the strong emotions as I peddle each day by this site and now actually meeting and making friends with the victim’s family members and having a positive impact in helping to reverse the Uncle’s emotions that are now for the better.

I left the Uncle and group with a warm heart as I continued on my bike route and headed for home.

Link of original post that I did one year ago:

Small excerpt below from Tampa news:

“People gathered Thursday along Bayshore Boulevard, near West Knights Avenue in Tampa, to remember a mom and her little girl killed when they were hit by a car.”

Video on the news about the one year on-going Vigil yesterday.

Source: Vigil held for mom, daughter killed crash on Bayshore Blvd a year ago

The Uncle today just shared with me the vigil that was also held in Ohio by the husband/father and other family and friends there ss that’s were the family lives. That vigil was done simultaneously at the same time that the one in Tampa was held. So precious! He also sent me last years vigil here in Tampa. Link is at bottom.

The uncle also just sent me a you-tube video of a celebration remembrance celebration on what would have been Lillia birthday 2nd birthday. Aug 29, 2018

A tear jerker. Could have happen to any of our kids

Meals on Wheels

Hey Everyone,

As you know when I was away staying at my younger brother Randy’s home for about 3 weeks and then at my older brother Jan and sister-in-law Gail’s home for a week in April I ate decent meals.

I said at that time that when I returned back to Tampa, I would once again go back to eating my basic TV dinners every day.

However, since I’ve been back here, seems like I’m always attending one thing or another involving food and of course I’ve eaten several excellent meals prepared by my French sister Rosaria from Italy (who is Marco’s wife and a gourmet Italian cook).

Last night I went to a Potluck and Game Night at a club house hosted by one of the members within a meetup group I belong to. As always is the case, we had a wide variety of diverse food and it was plentiful!

As usual, at the end of the event there are so many wonderful dishes left over. Rather than just throw these items out, I selectively box up the good stuff, put it in my truck and then when I get back to MacDill AFB, I go into my “Meals on Wheels” mode. I begin driving around the base providing all the stand by crews located at the front gate, the ambulance services and the military police with a full buffet of great food and beverages to enjoy. They are always surprised and grateful to get these late night treats and I am happy to share it with them all.

Below are just a hand full of other photos from last night’s event.

Okay..about all for now. Have a great week!

Pronounciations While Speaking In A Foreign Language Can Often Be Misinterpreted!

Hey Fellow Bloggers,

For those who have never seen the video “An Italian Man Goes To Malta” you will love this.

My French brother Marco shared this funny video with me several weeks ago.

After chit chatting with my foreign French and German friends the other day many examples came up of how people often can misinterpret what one foreigner might be trying to say to another, just by a mere difference in the way one pronounces a foreign word or phrase or because of a difference in the meaning of the same word used in one country compared to another. Often times there can also be differences in the pronunciations or meanings of words even in different geographical sectors withhin the same country.

So be careful when traveling in a foreign country or when traveling within different geographic sectors of the same country as what you are attempting to say to another could be inadvertantly misinterpted and embarasing as is illustrated in this funny video!

Hummm… Wonder what my French friends thought of what I might have been saying when I attempted to kareoke in French on Wednesday night?

Have a great weekend!

Oh What A Night With My French and German Friends!

I was once again invited last night to another French Coalition function in honor of several French Coalition members finishing their tour of duty at MacDill AFB and now getting ready to head back home to France.

After the get together several of my French Friends along with my new German friend Marc and of course me, headed out for a night of Kareoking in Davis Island. We had a blast and closed the place down at 2 AM! I had a great opportunity to Kareoke in French! We had so much fun!!!

Enjoy the videos and pics from last night!

My new German Coalition Friends. Most of these guys are from Berlin. Marc, the guy to the left of me was a lot of fun. He joined some of my French friends and myself for a fun night of Kareoking at Davis Island after our French Coalition get together on Wednesday night. Marc is a party animal!!!