Well, here it is the beginning of February in the new year and I am exhausted. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining, just simply stating a fact. I don’t know if there is a way to actually train for season in paradise. If there is, I have not yet figured out what to do or how to do it. I did try to train for the Naples Winter Wine Festival before attending the first time by increasing my wine intake on a gradual basis in order to be ready for consuming the copious quantities of delightful vintages over three days in January. That did not work out so well, if you know what I mean.
I do work out—lifting weights and doing cardio activity two or three times a week. Somehow, these diligent efforts do not help when it comes to hitting all the social activities Bob and I have on our calendars. I will give you an example of one recent week, beginning with January 14.
(Photo: Melanie Hembree)
Monday: This evening Bob and I were scheduled to be in two places at the same time—neither to be missed. The first was the Fifteenth Anniversary Party of Naples Illustrated, which was held at Masa in Mercato. That was a no brainer, because Masa and NI, of course, are awesome. Then we were slated to be at a media dinner for the new Osteria Tulia restaurant on Fifth Avenue South; also a no brainer … had to go. The problem was the events took place on opposite ends of town. Still, we managed it. We got to Masa just as the party started, were able to meet and greet several notables, slammed down a delicious margarita (love these drinks!), and then we were off and running down U.S. 41 to Tulia.
Masa margaritas (photo: Melanie Hembree)
We made it just as the cocktail hour was ending and everyone was sitting down to dinner. By the way, Tulia was terrific—everything, from the Sicilian meatballs to the pasta, all the way to the roasted pineapple for dessert, was delicious.
Tuesday: These nights are pretty much always booked, since that is the night our favorite blues band, Mudbone, plays at Freddie Rebels—which, by the way, is no longer Freddie Rebels. The new name is Weekend Willie’s, “Where every day is a weekend.” As I may have mentioned, the bass guitar player for Mudbone, David Johnson, also plays bass for the Aaron Neville Band and appeared on both Today and The Tonight Show within the last week. If you love great blues, Mudbone is a must.
Wednesday: We were invited to a big party at Pelican Bay, which we had committed to attend at the request of good friends and we had a delightful time.
Thursday: That evening we were guests of friends at the Jewish National Fund Dinner at Quail West honoring Myra Daniels.
Friday: We attended the opening night for Gulfshore Playhouse’s astounding one-man play, I Am My Own Wife.
Kraig Swartz in Gulfshore Playhouse's production of I Am My Own Wife. (Photo courtesy of Gulfshore Playhouse)
Saturday: Bob was the emcee for a rodeo event for Barron Collier High School.
Sunday: Again Bob’s talents were tapped, as he served as master of ceremonies for Naples’ Third Annual Pet Parade on Third Street South—a truly adorable event.
So that is just one week in season for the Hardens … and each week turns out to be just as busy. We love it all and look forward to each dinner, each performance and each event. However, I did realize our schedules were a little crazy when I discovered at yet another event just this week that I was wearing earrings that did not match—oops! Time to take a deep breath and as we start another week in another month of season.