Archive for2008-12_2009-01 Xmas & Jan. in Florida

Lip Sync at the South Club, Kings Point, Sun City Center, FL

I took a series of videos January 13, 2009, at the South Club of Kings Point in Sun City Center. The event was a “lip sync contest.” There were lots of great acts. I don’t know who won, but I’ll find out. The following nine acts competed. All deserve our applause.

Sun City Center is an over 55 community. The energy of these acts shows that these folks may be “seasoned citizens” but they’re from over the hill.

The Blues Brothers were the first act. They did a super job and set a high standard.

Sue did “Middle Age Woman.” This was a repeat of an earlier performance. It was just as fun this time. We loved it! “I’m a Middle-Aged Woman” was written by Lisa Koch ©2005 Mamajune Music (BMI)

Donna had fun with “the Name Game.” Can’t imagine remembering the lyrics.

“I Had the Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing” had all the right “moves.”

“Don’t Worry…. Be Happy” had us all smiling.

“Slow Hand” by the Pointer Sisters and Conway Twitty was fun to watch.

Linda, who is a “great grandmother,” did a super job as “Dolly.”

Bill and Donna Markland did “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” (recorded in 1960 by Brian Hyland). Bill in his polka dots was unbelievable!!

Bad Girls were really “bad”! This trio had so much energy that they were definitely loved and appreciated.

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Cool Down

Florida weather is “cooperating.” Since we have to head north the day after tomorrow (Wednesday), the lovely weather has changed. (I’m sure it’s happening so we won’t feel so bad when we leave.)

Today was gloomy and only about 67. It’ll be downhill from here.

But somehow I doubt that this temperature change will prepare us for the temperatures we’ll face in Ohio and Michigan. The predicition for Thursday night in Sharonville, OH, where we’ll overnight, is for a one degree over-night low and only about four degrees for an over-night low Friday night when we arrive home.

Tomorrow night is a “lip-sync” evening at the South Club. It is planned for the outdoor (covered) patio. The forecast for tomorrow night is about 60 with rain. Yuck.

I’ll post videos of some of the lip-sync acts here. It should be fun.

Saturday January the 24th, our dulcimer club will be hosting the “Snowfest Concert” in Frankenmuth, MI. We’ve done this 15 years! It’s always lots more fun when it’s cold because the ice and snow sculptures hold up. Also folks come in to warm up so our audiences are larger. So for years I’ve prayed for cold temperatures for that Snowfest weekend. Yes, it’s hard to imagine but I’ve wanted it to be cold. I guess we’re getting our wish.

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Beautiful weather

Today I sat poolside and read a book. Didn’t go in the water, but John did (as well as lots of others). It was a clear beautiful day with the bluest skies you can imagine. Temperatures were in the mid 70’s. The sun was warm.

We’re officially “short timers.” We have only three days before we “hit the road” to go back to Michigan. (We’ll leave here January 14th).

We thought today was the last nice day we’d experience before we leave, but the forecast for tomorrow was revised and now it looks like it’ll be about 78-80 by late afternoon.

We need to host the Frankenmuth Snowfest, on January 24th. We want to return to Florida before Super Bowl Sunday so our plan is to leave on the 14th and return on the 28th. We want to attend a Super Bowl party which sounds like fun.

So tomorrow will be a pool day. Monday is forecast to be cool and rainy. Tuesday evening the South Club will host a “lip sync” contest. We’ll leave Wednesday. At least we don’t need to spend much time packing. Most everything will “stay here” until our return.

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“In Heaven there is no beer”

“In Heaven there is no beer,” is the line from an old German polka.

We do like beer. It’s one of the things we have really enjoyed about the two year passes we purchased for Busch Gardens. We definitely took advantage of the two small free beers Busch Gardens provided in the hospitality house each visit.

We just heard that the “free beer” is being eliminated at the end of this month.

John says it’s all my fault.

The last time we visited Busch Gardens (December 23rd), I tried going back through the line for a free beer three times and got caught!! It wasn’t that I’m such a lush. I had one about 12:00 and then at about 1:00, I got my second one and carried it the full length of the park to go to the Dessert Grill to enjoy with our lunch and a show. But unfortunately when I sat the glass down and it tipped over! My second one was therefore all over the bench and floor. I cleaned it up but sure didn’t get to consume it. About 3:30, we were back at the hospitality house and I went through the line again. The server said “Haven’t you already had two?” Out of all the thousands of people he served how did he recognize me?

I probably looked guilty but honestly said, “Who ME? No, I only drank one.” He served me.

John, who loves to tease me says my greed is the reason they will no longer have free beer.

Funny thing is I do feel guilty.

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What’s missing?

Florida has beautiful weather but there are some things missing that we take for granted in Michigan:

  • Koegel Viennas (the best hot dogs around)
  • Vernors Ginger ale (occasionally we can find it, but not all the time)
  • Mosquitos, ticks, or black flies
  • Dandelions or ragweed
  • Birch trees, maple trees, white pines
  • Good vine-grown tomatoes (they’re harder and just not as sweet in Florida)
  • Wonderful corn on the cob
  • Super sweet muskmelons (aka cantaloupe)
  • Michigan apples and sweet cherries
  • My mom (who lived in Florida from the early 1980’s) would to annually spend several weeks in Michigan. She always planned her trips in late July and August so she could bring back fruits and vegetables. Now I understand why.

    Of course Florida’s citrus fruits are totally awesome! And some of the strawberries are as good as Michigan’s.

    Obviously I’m not really complaining. I love the weather and understand that harder tomatoes ship better. It balances out. And I sure don’t complain about the lack of mosquitoes!!

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    Butterflies and Chameleons (Geckos)

    Today at the pool John spotted a tiny chameleon (gecko). It was only a little over an inch and a half long even with its long tail. The tiny lizard jumped to his leg and when I held out my finger, he was willing to jump aboard and stay for quite a while.

    butterfly on my finger
    It reminded me of July 2007 when a butterfly fell in love with me. A monarch stayed with me for more than an hour. It sat on my shoulder, my finger, and in my hair. I walked around with it, went inside our trailer, and it wouldn’t leave me. You can see it on my finger in the photo above.

    It was a surreal feeling. The gecko was that way today. I walked around with this tiny, normally very shy critter enjoying the ride. Must be my perfume.

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    New Years Resolutions

    Last night (New Year’s Eve) we went to our neighbor Linda’s for a pleasant evening. Linda is a real sweetheart. We enjoyed lots of muchies and some good wine. She’s an excellent hostess.

    Sue Sussman, was also back from Mexico and joined us. It was very nice evening.

    We ended up calling it a night about 10:30 or 11:00.

    This year, I resolve to be more physically active, especially down here in Florida where there are no “snow days” to provide an excuse. I’m also going back the Weight Watchers program I used about four years ago. I’m not at this point I’m not saying I’m on a diet, but I’ll “journal” what I eat and try to follow a Weight Watcher point plan. I’ll see how it goes.

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    My Prayer

    Selfishly I have a wish for 2009. A year from now, I want 2010 to come with all the friends I have now alive and well.

    This year has been a rough year for us. In August, we lost Jay Morris, a good friend who lived in Florida and contributed greatly to the fun we enjoyed when in the sunshine state. In September, I lost my mother, Ruby Hoagland. She was a lovely lady but alzheimers had robbed us the past years.

    Also we lost Bob Taylor, our best Florida friend this week. He died on December 23rd but we didn’t learn of his death until Christmas morning.

    So my prayer is that a year from now, when we are heading into 2010, want all of our friends to be alive and well. No more losses. We need everyone of you in our lives. One year at a time. We want you to thrive and enjoy life with us.

    As we get older, our friends’ lives are more fragile. We know that many of those closest to us are in their 80’s and 90’s. Their lives are all that much more special. We just hope they all continue to be well.

    That’s our prayer. Our wish.

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    Our ‘Gator

    No, we haven’t seen him, but we understand there’s a three-legged ‘gator living in our pond. We’ve been told he likes to sun himself on the bank of the pond which is viewable from our living room window.

    In fact, the report is that EVERY pond here in Kings Point has at least one ‘gator and many have three legs because they fight with each other, and loosing a leg is often the result.

    So in addition to watching the golfers out on the course, we’re alert to the possibility of a big critter!

    Last night we went to the karaoke evening at the South Club. It was fun with a lot of our friends present: Rachael and Jerry, Elsie and Frank, Jane, Marty, and others. The vocals were often “off-key” but we appreciated everyone’s effort!

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    Another Sunset

    our view

    Above is another sunset photo taken out the window of our living room. We have such a lovely view. Actually at this time of the year, the sun sets a little left of the ponds behind our place. But the sky is often just ablaze with color. This one was taken Christmas evening.

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    Bob Taylor

    The plans for Bob Taylor’s memorial service are as follows:
    Bob, who was born 3/12/1931 will be honored with a memorial service, 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 5th, Sun City Funeral Home, 1851 Rickenbacker Dr.,
    Sun City Center, FL 33573

    There will be a burial service at Bushnell Military Cemetary, Bushnell, FL, at 2:30 p.m.

    Those of us who loved Bob will want to remember this fine man who was a gentle, thoughtful, considerate friend who loved life.

    Join us at the 11:00 service.

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    Christmas 2008 – Sadness

    This morning as we were planning our Christmas dinner (which we knew would be way too much for two), I stopped and called our buddy, Bob Taylor, to see if he would like to join us. There was no answer so I left the message on his machine.

    When I hadn’t heard from Bob by noon, I called him again. His son-in-law answered the phone and asked how well I knew him. (I thought it was a little strange but figured he was screening Bob’s calls.) I explained that John and I think of Bob as our best Florida friend.

    It was then that he told us the sad news. Bob died. It must have happened suddenly Tuesday night as he was heading to the bathroom. He wasn’t found until today (Thursday – Christmas Day). When he didn’t answer the phone for a couple of days his daughter (Laurie) became concerned. Apparently it was sudden with no suffering.

    Ahhhh but we’ll miss Bob. He was a sweetheart. He loved to entertain us and often had us over for dinner, or we’d reciprocate and he’d come to our place. He threw himself a fantastic 76th birthday party in March 2007. We always saved him a spot near us at Rockin’ Rondezvous. He was always respectful and generous with his lady friends.

    He called us about a week before we got to Florida. He wanted to know if we were “home” yet. We explained that we were in Michigan. He said he was lonesome and hoped we’d hurry down. We assured him we’d arrive by Saturday, the 20th.

    As promised, we called him. Early Sunday he joined us at the pool. We sat and talked about everything from investments to our up-coming plans. He wanted me to go help him pick out some living room furniture after Christmas.

    He phoned us Monday to tell us he had some information he’d rounded up for us about investments. We could pick it up if we were in his neighborhood. Sadly we didn’t get over there.

    Tuesday we were at Busch Gardens. He was in our thoughts there. We talked about bringing him with us next time. We knew he couldn’t walk around the huge park, but we could rent an electric cart for him.

    We both loved him like family. It was a genuine, mutual affection.

    It won’t be the same without Bob. He was the first house guest to visit our new condo. Our first dinner guest. Our best friend.

    Here are some of the many photos I took of Bob since we met him in 2006. (And no, he hadn’t grown a black mustache. That was his Halloween look. He was Charlie Chaplin.)

    Buddy Bob Taylor

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    Christmas Eve

    Today we finally registered and licensed the Toyota that was given to us by the lady who sold us the condo. It’s not a bad car. She maintained it religiously. We jumped through the hoops that were necessary to register it. (It took messing with the insurance company, two trips to the registrar’s office, and lotsa $$$’s.)

    We were until about 3:00 getting it all done plus we needed to pick up some extras for tomorrow’s dinner.

    We spent the remainder of the afternoon at the pool. It was a perfect day. In fact on the weather report, it stated lots of the areas around here set “record highs.” It was about 82 in Sun City Center but sorta breezy. Still it wasn’t bad!

    Tomorrow the prediction is for about 80 degrees. Sounds like pool weather to me.

    We’ll fix a huge turkey feast tomorrow for the two of us. We’ll plan to eat mid-late afternoon. If we find any lonesome folks without a place to go, we will invite them over. (Bob and Paul may be alone.) We’ll fix a 11 pound turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing gravy, two types of cranberrys, vegetable, homebaked bread, relishes, and pumpkin praline pie with ice cream. It’ll have to be enough although Willow (our 5 pound dog) will want her share and she has quite an appetite.

    It’s sure different than snowy Michigan which has always signified Christmas. But this is the start of new traditions.

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    Wearing White after Labor Day

    My Grandma Brophey was firm about the “no white after Labor Day” rule. There were other guidelines by which she lead her life, but white after Labor Day was a firm resolution. She’d never have dreamed of violating it.

    In Florida, life’s different. When down here, I wear white more often than any color regardless of the time of year. Even on a cool day, I’ll slip on a brightly colored cardigan over a white camisole with a pair of chrisp white slacks. White fits the Florida life-style.

    I remember seeing a family in a restaurant in Ruskin, FL. They were in all dressed in blacks and dark colors. I just “knew” they were out-of-state folks on vacation. They stuck out.

    So, Grandma, when you look down from Heaven at me running around in the middle of December wearing white, please don’t shutter or think I’ve gone mad. I’ve just adapted.

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    First day back

    The windows are open and a breeze is coming in. Charlie, our cockatiel is loving his communication with the outdoor birds.

    We spent the afternoon at the pool. It was wonderfully warm and sunny but tomorrow it’s only expected to be into the 60’s. We figured we better take advantage of the temperatures. It sure felt good.

    Accidentally our back door open came open and one of the little geckos came in.Gecko
    We have a whole slew of them living in the shrubs around our condo. This one was bright green. Our buddy Bob has one who lives inside. He says they catch bugs so he likes having them around. I don’t know, but having a critter who looks like a mini alligator roaming the house isn’t my idea of insect control. But the geckos do have a charm. I love having them scurry ahead of me as I walk down the sidewalk. But not across my living room.

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    We’re Here (in Florida)

    We arrived about 3:00 this afternoon (Saturday, the 20th). It seems strange to have 75+ degree temperatures as I decorated the condo for Christmas.

    Always before we’ve cut a large live tree and hauled it home. We compromised and just brought a small artificial tree and it’s now gracing our living room. We have a poinsetta, a lovely Christmas centerpiece on the coffee table, and about a dozen candles. In the windows there are candle style lights. Out on the lanai we have a tiny ceramic tree that was Mom’s. The dining room is festive with Christmas placemats and lots of candles.

    We’ll have a nice dinner Thursday and hopefully we’ll get in lots of pool time.

    It’s not our traditional holiday, but that’s ok. It’s the start of a new tradition.

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    Near Lexington-Richmond

    There’s no snow on the ground and the temperatures are about 47. We’re in Kentucky headed south. It takes a while to become accustomed to the change in temperatures. But it’s not the temperatures that tell me we’re in the South, it’s the “Ya’ll’s.” Our server at dinner tonight kept asking if “Ya’ll got everything you need?”

    It’s strange that we hear the accent and think “this is the SOUTH” — but in Florida, there are no accents and that’s even further south.

    But here in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, the charming accents let us know we’re not in Michigan any more.

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