So Long, September Attempt at Five to Try, Part I

It’s officially the halfway point of October and guess what? I’m writing about my September Five to Try (a name that’s not exactly fitting for September, but I’ll explain shortly). This creative challenge has been much harder than some of my other creative experiments I’ve taken on the past couple of years – taking a photo every day…writing a paragraph a day for a continuing short story throughout the year, which I tackled and completed last month, a little prematurely but simply out of necessity for the sake of the story.

Squeezing in “new” experiences hasn’t always been easy and this month, I even had two of them fall apart completely due to outside forces that apparently didn’t feel compelled to let me “try” them.

So I bring you, the late but always insightful look (okay, maybe not always but my intentions are sincere) at September Five to Try…better known as Three to Try and Two I Tried to Try.

Five to Try for September #1 – Yogurbella

I love a tasty treat, though typically there’s chocolate involved, but I’ve been trying to find lower fat means of incorporating yummy fruit-related fare into my dessert vocabulary. Lo and behold, I found Yogurbella at International Plaza and its de-lish Berry Bella smoothie.

First, a reminder – I don’t receive a damn thing in compensation from places that I go to and compliment, so please remember that. Likewise, I’m not afraid to let a place have it for not living up to my expectations (read my Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches review from July for proof of that.) So I first want to say that the crew over there at the Yogurbella shop at International Plaza are some of the nicest, friendliest ladies you’d want to meet. And for an inexperienced yogurteur like me (yes, I just made up that word), they were helpful and patient. I also appreciated them letting me hang out in their establishment for about 90 minutes as I awaited a networking meet-up and did my story planning on their wifi. And I’ll do anything to avoid a Starbuck’s (always my main objective).

The Berry Bella is one of their most popular smoothies, made with mixed fruit, primarily strawberries – yum, my favorite! – and of course, their delicious frozen yogurt…and apple juice (take that, Dr. Oz). It is superb! It’s very refreshing and filling, not exactly cheap, but worth every single deliciously slushy swish down the windpipe.

 I will be returning there again, I’m sure of it. And if you go sometime soon, be sure to chat with the nice women who run the place.

 Five to Try for September #2 – My first Democratic Club meeting

Okay, I didn’t actually join, so it may also be my last, but I’ve always wanted to go to some kind of event such as this and given I live in Pasco County, where I’m convinced there are exactly four Democrats living here that I’m aware of (my husband, me, and my friend Kim and her husband), I really didn’t think there even existed any form of a Dem club out this way in GOP land. Sure enough, I found it and best of all, it gave me an opportunity to see one of my local idols. Sigh. Rob Lorei.


Now, if you don’t know Rob, then I assume that A) you don’t listen to WMNF; B) you’re not a big PBS viewer either; and if you’ve lived in the Bay area for a good 15-20 years, C) you’re clearly living under a rock tucked under Ballast Point Pier somewhere.

 Rob’s cool. If Joe Maddon, skipper of my beloved Tampa Bay Rays had a PBS show, he would in fact  evolve into the one and only Rob Lorei.

 It turned out that I learned of an speaking engagement by the host of my nerdilicious news favorite “Florida This Week” on WEDU Friday nights at 8:30PM and Sundays at noon. Unfortunately, I’m usually at home on Friday nights watching it, because I have no life, but that is a conscious choice…remember that! Yeah, that’s right. It’s a choice.

Anyway, Lorei was scheduled to speak at the West Pasco Democrats Club meeting in early Sept. so I thought – hey, this is a great time to try out my first Dem Club meeting and see a local news celeb in the process. I quickly realized upon arrival that apparently all of the Dems are on the western side of the county and that they’re all about 20 years older than me (and I’m being kind here). It was fun at age 41 to still feel like the youngest person in the room. It’s been a while.

I appreciated some of the thoughtful questions and insightful observations from some of the members. They cut their meeting short and we skidaddled, too, but it was just wonderful to be surrounded by some likeminded folks. I’ve become quite used to being the odd duck on the perimeter of a conversation where in most classes I don’t even speak the language and since I’m not a fan of confrontation, typically a quiet odd duck at that. Here, you felt like if you wanted to, you could speak your mind and even if you didn’t quite agree with each other, folks would be willing to listen to their opinion. I’m glad we went but most of all to get to see Lorei in live action. (Here’s a story about his visit to the club meeting.) I had hoped to meet him afterward and didn’t get the chance but if anyone knows him and wants to send him this link, I’d certainly appreciate it. I really just wanted to tell him this:

Rob, thanks so much for being one of the good guys out there in the community, helping the rest of us stay up to date on critical, relevant information that not everybody wants us to hear. Thanks for looking out for us. Thanks for always being professional, direct with your questions and asking those things that all of us have been itching to ask the powers that be. Thanks for showing what a real journalist is supposed to look like.

And with that… we move on to September Five to Try #3… next time, when my September experience continues…stay tuned!

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