Monday, October 29, 2012


Laurel Oak Country Club was the place to be last Wednesday night when SCENE Magazine launched their 2012 Women on the Scene issue.  Have you seen it yet?  This special issue is only published once every three years, so every time is a huge celebration of over 100 fabulous women who impact this area in a multitude of ways.  I am very proud to be the coordinator of all the special issues for SCENE, but I have to admit, this particular issue is always my favorite. 

Women on the Scene cover - Isn't it beautiful?!

We have a terrific team who puts these issues together including our editor, Julie Milton, art director, Michelle Cross, writer, Sue Englehart (Cullen), photographers, Rob and Kelly Villetto and Keith Millard.  It is quite the collaborative effort and we pull together what we think will be fresh and new each time!  You can go here to see the results -

Among others there and not photographed below were Marilee and Gary Roberts, Belinda Coffrin, Pat Mathews, Brandy Coffey, Dennis Stover, Marty Katz, Becky Bolletti, Loti Allen, Souad Dreyfus, Florence Conlan, Marsha Panuce, Kristine Nickel, Wanda Martinetto, Laura Leeming, Stephanie Hefner, and Stuart Roth.

SCENE editor and co-publisher, Julie Milton and me

Marilyn Schroeter and Marge Maisto

Vivian Kouvant and Gila Meriwether
Jane Kiebitz, Cindy Hill, Sherry Edwards

Michael and Grace Carlson

Renee Hamad, Peggy Wilhelm, and Barbara Collins

Stephanie Grosskreutz and Liz Carlson

Kathy Francoletti and Joyce Niederprum

Keith Millard and Sue Cullen

Karen Coblentz and Elizabeth Lindsay

Chris Voelker and Dr. Holly Barbour

Kelly Gettel and Aimee Cogan

Ashley, Susan Brennan, and Salena Wilhoit

Veronica Brandon Miller and Rob Villetto

Dr. Christine Cauffield and Jane Kiebitz 

Merry Williams and Michelle Pingel

SCENE's owners Julie and Ron Milton

Dr. Heidi Anderson and Christine Bolton 

Susan Samson and Darcie Duncan 

Estelle Crawford and Varinia Van Ness

Dan and Cynthia Downey and Liz Carlson

Dr. Mona Jain and Clint Monts de Oca
Alina Cemitier and Donna-Lee Roden

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Loving My Detroit Tigers

Illustration by Brian Todd/Detroit Free Press

Tonight kicks off Major League Baseball's World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I grew up in Michigan and am a die-hard Tigers fan. 

The Tigers somehow touch a cord deep in my soul.  I get teary-eyed just at the thought of them even being in the World Series, let alone what will happen when they win.  I know I will be a sobbing, happy mess.  And yes, I did say WHEN they win and not IF they win.  I have the utmost faith in my Tigers.  I know Justin, Miguel, and Prince are going to come through big time for me.

You know who I love best?  Tiger's manager, Jim Leyland.  He is an emotional guy, getting choked up on a somewhat regular basis, when talking about his team, the fans, and the city of Detroit.  He started out as a GM factory worker, making windshields at the plant where his dad was the superintendent.  He is Midwestern to the core, growing up in Ohio.  He just seems like a loyal, good family man and a terrific manager.

You know what else I love?  The Sarasota connection to the Tigers team - third base coach, Gene Lamont.  I have only met Gene once or twice and it was some time ago, about 20 years or more.  His wife, Melody was in my Junior League Provisional class, and I have worked on committees with his daughter, Melissa DeMore.  I love to catch a glimpse of Gene in the dugout or by third base, as it somehow makes me feel even more connected to the team.

My other favorites are Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, pitching phenom and last year's Cy Young Award winner and MVP, Justin Verlander, and the hulking home run hitter, Prince Fielder.  As you probably know, Prince's dad Cecil, was also a standout for the Tigers in his day.  I know they have been estranged, but I SO hope they are able to share this wondrous moment together.  If they aren't, don't tell me because it will make me too sad.  I don't want to leave out other fabulous players like Austin Jackson, Delmon Young, Alex Avila, Phil Coke, Doug Fister, and I am most certainly not going to leave out Papa Grande, Jose Valverde.  I don't care that he almost lost the first game of the ALCD series.  He has been just marvelous in many a game and I, like Jim Leyland, am not going to lose faith in him now.

I do miss the "Voice" of the Tigers, the late Ernie Harwell.  He was the Tigers announcer for 42 years.  He passed away in 2010.  I can still hear Ernie's voice in my brain.  I heard it as a little girl when my dad watched the Tigers and heard it as a big girl the first seven years we were first married and lived next door to my in-laws.  On lazy Sunday afternoons, my father-in-law would rest in his bedroom with the radio blaring, as he was/is a little hard of hearing, and the sound would drift outside and over to our house.  It wasn't annoying, it was comforting.  I still take the best naps with the sounds of a baseball game in the background. 

On Saturday night, the third game of the series and the first one not on a school night, my eight-year-old grandson, Brodie - the only other REAL Tigers fan in the family - and I will be donning our official Tiger baseball caps with the beloved old English D (Yes, I do own a Tigers baseball cap and I do wear it while I watch all the games), we'll eat pizza together while sitting on the couch, yelling and whooping it up, and we will engage in the doing what baseball does best, bonding families together and making magical memories - thank you in advance, my Tigers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sarasota Opera Curtain Raiser Dinner

Michael's Wine Cellar is such a beautifully romantic room, just perfect for the beautifully romantic music of the Sarasota Opera.  The Curtain Raiser Dinner is perpetually a very special, enchanting event.  I always enjoy attending every year. The wine cellar is aglow in charming candlelight and the intimate setting for only100 lucky guests is exquisite for listening to the performance of the studio artists - this year, Chelsea Basler and Matthew Hanscom, accompanied by Maestro Kristen Kemp.

The evening is an opportunity for opera lovers to reunite after the summer and to hear Maestro Victor DeRenzi, the opera's Artistic Director, share tidbits about the upcoming season.  This year the party also served as a bit of a welcome and homecoming for new Executive Director, Richard Russell.  Richard was flying back to New Jersey on Monday to pack his bags and move back to officially start his position this coming Monday.  It was quite evident the crowd was very happy to have him back at the Sarasota Opera, where he had been the marketing director for several years until a few years ago when he moved to New Jersey to take another position.

The food was beyond delish and I believe I ate every bite of everything I was served!  In fact, I think everyone at my table felt the same way.  Michael's staff was very attentive and were immediately there to attend to our every need.  It was a marvelously relaxing and entertaining way to end the weekend!

Also seen were David and Jacqueline Morton, Nancy Whitacre, Richard and Judy Baise, Bill and Bonnie Chapman, Pat Jones, Natalie and Sean McHale, Ben and Judy Handelman, Joey Frye, Carol English, Gudrun and Jorgen Graugaard, Bert Fivelson, Betsy Bagby, Joan Mendell, and Bob Coppenrath.

Richard Russell

Sandra Lindqvist and Jody Lippes

Bill and Monte Davis

Wally Kraemer and Joan Lovell

Estelle and Carl Crawford

Julie Milton and Gayle Guynup

Jennifer Sims

Frances Vitale and Gail Briley

Beet salad with Gorgonzola and pistachio vinaigrette

Entree - Filet Mignon with potato croquettes and asparagus

Dessert - creme brulee

The centerpiece

Monday, October 22, 2012

CANDance - Dancing with our Stars

Scott George, Community AIDS Network's Director of Development, was cool under the chaos of an over-sold ballroom, making sure everyone had a seat.  Always delightfully fun, this year's CANDance was no exception.  How fabulous is it to see our local celebrities dressed in all manner of un-dress, swinging in the air and shaking a little booty?

As you know, the CANDance is our local Dancing with the Stars competition.  This year's celebrity dancers were Jamie Ebling, Bambi Famous Kaine, Phil King, Dr. Kristen Paulus, Lauren McComb, George Quarterman, and Anne Weintraub.  There were two winners - one for the popular vote, which was Bambi Famous Kaine, and one for the most dollars raised, which was Anne Weintraub.  From all the Facebook postings leading up to the big event, I mean she was working it, I was pretty sure that Anne was going to wind up raising the most money and she did.

The videos that were played before each of the dancers performed were quite insightful!  Lauren McComb's pro, Tibor Varga, said the hardest thing for Lauren to learn was to keep quiet.  George Quarterman's pro, Tayna Vi, said George likes to stick his butt out and she had to work on that, while George said that all the rehearsals required a lot of Bengay and Advil.  Bambi Kaine said she was dancing for her best friend and sister-in-law who had died from AIDS.  Jamie Ebling's pro, Ivana Varga, said Jamie was a very go for it type of guy.  You would have been surprised to see Kristen Paulus come out in her long black leather coat and sunglasses - very Matrix-like.  Phil King said that on the TV version of DWTS, there always has to be on old person, and he was it for the Sarasota version, though he looked quite hip in  his rhinestone cowboy costume.  And finally, Anne Weintraub said it was hard for her NOT to be in control, but with 30 lessons, she got over it.  I won't tell you about some of the other things she said, as these is a G-rated blog, but suffice it to say, Miss Anne has quite the longshoreman's vocabulary!

I was seated next to an old friend of mine of 20 years, Heather Clark, and we ended up having just the best time.  I so wish I could share with you all of our witty and pithy remarks about the evening and the people we observed, but alas I cannot.  Not because they weren't G-rated because they were, with us being Junior League gals and all, but because well, you know.  But believe me, they were funny.  We were laughing our heads off all night!  You would have enjoyed sitting with us!

Michael's On East took on a luscious red glow with lots of red paper lanterns suspended from the ceiling, red tablecloths and red chairs.  Of course, what would a dancing competition be without the mirrored disco balls?  Not to worry, there were a cluster of the glittering orbs hanging over the middle of the black and white checked dance floor.

As always, Stephen Sieg was the producer of the show and the Bobs, Trisolini and Nosal, were the Masters of Ceremonies.  Brent Greeno did the lighting and Chris Kanozsay Dance Connection did the music.

Also seen in the crowd and not photographed below were Carolyn and Dr. Bob Johnson, Bev and Dr. Jim Marsh, Dr. Anne Chauvet, Eric Cross, Molly Schechter, Elle and Dr. Bill McComb, Roger Capote, Rochelle Nigri, Greg and Sanda Band, Ron Carter, Jim Neal, and Susan Jones.  I didn't Susan until I was walking out the door to leave, so I am sure there were many others I missed!

Tana Sandefur and Scott George

Jackie and Angus Rogers

Penny Hill

Last year's winner Rita Greenbaum with the trophy

This year's winner, Bambi Famous Kaine

Sal Diaz-Verson, Jr. with this year's fundraising winner and his wife, Anne Weintraub

Phil King and Marisu Miranda

Tayna Vy and George Quarterman

Lauren McComb and Kelly Gettel

Dr. Kristen Paulus and Jim Helmich

Salena Wilhoit and Heather Clark

Mary Ann Robinson and David Strattard

Dennis Stover and Bill Stover

Alice Rau and Myrna Band
Richard Day and Ray Peper

Mike Scialdone and Terry McKee

Wendy and Jerry Feinstein

Tamara Chapman and Kristy Cail

Michael Edwards and Helen Sosso

Charlie Ann Syprett and Rita Greenbaum

Robert Blattberg and Rebecca Donelson

Roland Moser, Renee Hamad, and Nati Shabat

Pam Daniel and George Augustin

Janet Hunter and Bob Nosal

Howard and Eileen Curd

Doug and Ann Logan

Drs. Hardy and Allison Silver Schwartz

Drs. Krista Toomre and Harold Johnson

Taxi Dances

Candle centerpieces

The entree - scallops and prime rib

The ice cream and toffee brownie dessert