Archive for2009-1216 to 2010-0412 – Winter Warmth in Florida

Last Day

  • Willow: a bath
  • Charlie: cage cleaned
  • Easter Lilly: planted outside
  • Laundry (multiple loads): washed/dried
  • Truck: packed
  • Refrigerator: purged
  • Condo: totally cleaned
  • Still lots to do, but we’ll be ready to pull out at about 8:30 tomorrow a.m.



    Last night I won a one cent reservation at the Red Roof Inn in Kennesaw, GA, for tomorrow (Monday) night and today (about noon) I won a similar one-cent booking at the Red Roof Inn in Miamisburg, OH for Tuesday. That means we’ll only have to spend TWO CENTS for our over night stays. Looks like gas will be expensive, so it’s good we’re getting a break somewhere.

    We spent a couple hours at the pool today for final good-byes. Everything’s ready to go. There are a few chores that have to wait until morning, but for the most part, we’re ready to go.

    Comments off

    Packing again

    I promised that this year, at the end of the season, I’d leave everything here in Florida. I said that all clothes would stay. If I felt I was missing anything, I’d buy it in Michigan. In fact someone said to me, “You shouldn’t take your clothes back and forth because you’re used to two distinct seasons and, if you haul your Florida clothes back, you’ll wear them 12 continuous months. It’s better to have your ‘Florida identity’ and your ‘Michigan look’.”

    But it isn’t working quite as I figured. I am taking one big zipper bag of clothing back with me (some of my favorite items) and a plastic bin for techie stuff. John will put his summer clothes in a large plastic bin, and John always brings back a good suit (just in case). Between us, we bring back quite a few pairs of shoes. We must pack music books and I always like to bring back a few paperbacks (because I buy them five for $1 down here).

    Although I tried to talk him out of it, John is hauling back his bike (which also has a motor). He also needs his oxygen generator (in case his condition worsens). Those are bulky items.

    So we’ll have a full truckload again.

    In the truck cab, there needs to be a place for Charlie, our cockatiel, and our music instruments (dulcimers, autoharp, banjo, and sax). We’ll both have our travel items (tooth brushes, changes of clothing, etc.) We’ll bring snacks and stuff for lunches.

    After we have everything packed, I want to go through and polish up the condo and make it perfect so when we get back here in September, it’ll look grand. The screened lanai will be empty (because we’ve moved everything into the garage. (When we got down here in December, the lanai furniture was filthy.)

    I’m sure we could be ready to leave tomorrow (Sunday), but we’ll take our time and be ready to pull out before 8:30 a.m. Monday.

    I’d love to just go back without going through all this hassle. I thought this year would be simplier but it’s still a major chore.

    This afternoon (5:30) we have tickets to a poolside barbeque. There’ll be live music, lots to eat, and many of our friends. It should be a fun way to wrap up our season. We will try to get to the pool tomorrow too.

    During the 1,300 mile trip back, I have lots to do on my computer. I hope to organize the workshops for the July Evart festival, and also I hope to edit the videos from the lip sync contest which was held a couple of weeks ago. With 20 hours of travel time, I hope to accomplish a lot.

    Comments off

    Near the end of Spring 2010 in Florida

    Tonight was the last “Rockin’ Rendezvous” of our spring 2010 Florida season. We sat with a fun bunch: Brenda and John, Nick and Pauline, Bobbi and Jerry, Bill and Char, Joann and Merle and others. We hated to leave. There were hugs and fond expressions.

    The people we know here in Kings Point are the nicest folks we’ve ever met. They come from all walks of life and every stratum. They’re non-judgmental and caring. They’re expressive and relaxed. I can’t imagine how I would ever have met so many folks from other parts of the country and other walks of life without the common link: Kings Point. We’ve met lots of policemen (even chiefs), accountants, beauty queens, realtors, doctors, dentists, and educators to name a few.

    We’re all fortunate to have grown up in the 1950’s and 1960’s when life was easier. Times were better. Folks as they reached maturity were more successful with more opportunities.

    We all worry about our children and our own health. We are concerned about politics and world situations. But most of all we are care about each other.

    I find myself worrying about our Kings Point acquaintances. Within this community, there are lots of caring folks who look out for each other. No one is really alone. We respond to our neighbors and friends.

    So here we are ready to go back to Michigan Monday. In Michigan, we have a lovely home and friends (especially our music friends), but somehow the closeness we encounter down here will be missing. I will find myself counting down the months, and then the days, until we can return. Someday I hope I don’t have to leave Florida at all. To me “Going Home” no longer means “heading north.” Now we’re “leaving home” when we head to Michigan. Florida has become my residence.. this is where I want to be.

    Comments off

    Feels Finished

    The condo is getting back in shape. The crown molding and the soft brown walls really make the place feel more welcoming.

    When we first moved in, this is how it looked:
    When we first moved in

    Now here’s the same room:
    Newly painted with crown molding (and the new door)

    I’ll take some more from other angles, but right now we’ve started packing. The “staging area” is the dining room. That means I can’t take a photo of that room until the stuff we’re taking back with us is in the vehicle.

    We’re going to Bill and Donna’s Elvis party today. It should be fun!!


    It was fun! We totally enjoyed Bill and Donna’s potluck and party. It was well-attended and the weather was grand. Elvis planted a kiss on my cheek as well as most of the ladies’. He’s a talented performer so the show was excellent. And the food was much better than previous years. Folks out-did themselves. Bill and Donna are a real social asset to Kings Point. Nice folks and very generous in every way. Glad we know them.

    Comments off


    When we’re here in Sun City Center, we attend the Methodist Church. We don’t make it every week, but we’re beginning to feel it’s “our church.” The 9:30 service included a lovely choir, a hallelujah choir, an orchestra, a three piece group (drums bass and piano), and handbells. All were excellent. We’ve met the music director several times and he’s really a unique asset. It was a lovely Easter service.

    The crown molding contractor is nearly finished. He’ll stop by just to finish up one seam tomorrow. Now that he’s wrapping things up, it’s time to get the place back in order. We’ve lived for ten days with the living room furniture pushed into the center of the room. And the dust!! You could trip over it.

    When we weren’t cleaning today, we spent our time poolside. Surprisingly it wasn’t as crowded as it had been yesterday and Friday.

    The clean-up from the construction and painting is a big job. The ceilings in all the condos here have what is called “popcorn finish.” In order to install the molding, the “popcorn” had to be scraped off. It came off as light, white beads and a chalky dust. Add to that, the dust from sanding the joints, and it made a mess! All the furniture was white with a thick layer.

    A strange way to spend Easter, but getting this place back in order was a priority.

    With only a week left down here, we want enjoy the pool and we have a bunch of fun stuff planned:

    Tomorrow our Michigan friends, the Conklins, are coming over and we’ll enjoy lunch at the clubhouse. Tuesday, there’s a street party on Inverness Greens Drive (Bill and Donna are the host and hostess), Wednesday John is going fishing with six guys out on Tampa Bay. Wednesday night we are planning to go for spaghetti at the Elks in Ruskin. Thursday is our last Rockin’ Rendezvous. Saturday we have tickets for a pool bar-be-que and party.

    Sometime we have to find time to pack for our trip back to Michigan.

    The weather is flawless. Life doesn’t get better than this.

    Comments off

    We always under-estimate the length of a job

    The contractor (his name is also John) is doing a really good job on the crown molding but it’s taken him several days longer than he thought. I believe he started Monday and here it is Saturday and he still has another day’s work. He’s fussy so it takes longer, but the job is very time consuming. Now if we could replace the great room picture window with one that allowed a better view and if we could upgrade our kitchen counter and cabinets, we’d have a really classy place.

    Tomorrow is Easter. The contractor John is going to come over after church and finish up. The dining room is all that’s left.

    Comments off

    Neighborhood House Party

    Tonight we enjoyed one of the nicest evenings that I’ve experienced during our time in Kings Point. We went to a house party within our association — nearby neighbors on the court next to ours. It was a lovely time!

    They provided us with wine galore, and lots of tasty treats.

    The best part was getting to know our neighbors better. The host was Rog Benning with the help of his lady, Norma Lindfors. They had selected about a dozen very compatible friends. It was a fun evening.

    Norma is a person I want to know better. She’s totally charming. I felt an immediate bond. I also completely enjoyed, and was fascinated by, the outgoing personality of Terre Cochran, the wife of our association president, Norm. She is cute and fun. Others were also compatible. It was tough because I wanted to get to know them all better. What an interesting bunch! The evening was too brief, and the opportunities for deeper friendships too short!!

    Our plans had been to stay at the party from 5:00-6:30 and then meet-up with our Rockin Rendezvous friends but we scrapped the idea of leaving and stayed ’til the end. We didn’t get home until nearly 8:30. It was too enjoyable to leave.

    I’m going to be so sorry to head home. I can’t imagine a nicer bunch of individuals and to think we’re lucky enough to live near them all.

    During our conversations this evening I came to the realization that there are lots of “experiences” I haven’t shared with this blog. I’ve never talked about my brain tumor, nor the fire in our building and how it prompted our music life. I have shared the true tale of how I found my brother, Jim, but there are several other experiences that have shaped us. Many of these experiences are more dramatic than what one normally expects from life. I realize I need to document them and make sure they are posted here. They are the things that shape a person and much more interesting than talking about geckos and Rockin’ Rendezvous evenings. So stay tuned… I’ll do some true tale telling as soon as possible. (And I also need to work with the videos from the Lip Sync show.) Too much to do, too little time.

    Comments off

    Lost stuff

    I lost the remote to my new HD video camera. It’s not something I think I’ll use much, but I tried it out today and then it promptly lost it. I’ve searched the entire condo. Traced and re-traced my actions. It’s no where to be found. How can it be lost?

    I’m not the only one. Last year, after we’d moved into our new condo, we got ready to go out for the evening. John was ready first. He picked up his keys which included the condo, mailbox, golf cart and car keys and went out to the lanai to wait for me to finish getting ready.

    I was soon ready and we prepared to leave but John was no longer holding his keys. They also weren’t on the lanai and we have never located them.

    Finding something that’s lost becomes my obsession. I can’t think of anything else. I go back over all my earlier actions, but in this case, it hasn’t done any good.

    It’s now getting darker so I’ll wait until morning and start over. One way or the other, I’ll find the !!#@!*^ remote!! (In clearer terms that’s a blankety blank blank blank remote.)


    I found the remote!!

    It had slipped down deep inside the loveseat against the wood frame. It was between the T-shaped cushion and the front of the arm. Because it was flush with the wood, reaching down inside the couch, the remote felt like it was part of the frame. This remote is only about 1.5″ x 3″ and only about 1/2″ thick so it was easy to conceal. That was the first place I had looked, but I couldn’t see it.

    This supports my theory that lost items are usually where you originally thought they’d be. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked for something and then expanded my search only to find it in the first location. That’s what happened this time.

    At least it’s no longer missing. It drove me crazy.

    Comments off

    Lip Sync At Kings Point

    Tonight I videoed all the acts at the Kings Point, Sun City Center, Lip Sync fund raiser. It’ll take me quite a few days to edit what I recorded. Each act can take me an hour or two to edit appropriately and “pool time” is much more important now since we are “short timers.” (We’ll be leaving for home in a little over two weeks.) In fact, I might wait until my three-day trip back to Michigan to do the editing because I can do all the videos over those three days while traveling the 1,300 miles. Please understand and be patient. The videos are really good (I’ve checked) so it’s worth checking back. The latest date could be April 18th. That’s only if we have no gloomy days and I’m at the pool enjoying Florida sunshine every day.

    In the mean while, you might want to check out the 2009 lip sync show:
    2009 Kings Point Act 1
    2009 Kings Point Act 2
    2009 Kings Point Act 3
    2009 Kings Point Act 4
    2009 Kings Point Act 5
    2009 Kings Point Act 6
    2009 Kings Point Act 7
    2009 Kings Point Act 8
    2009 Kings Point Act 9

    Keep checking back. I will try to get the videos from tonight up on You Tube. You’ll be able to find them on by using “Kings Point” and “2010 Lip Sync” as the search. I’ll also have them posted here to my blog. It might be easier to find them here.

    Comments off

    Thinking of 1960

    I graduated from Midland High School in 1960. Our class will hold its 50th class reunion this September.

    I have created a website for the class of 1960 reunion.

    In an attempt to get in the mood, I have spent some time on-line to check out statistics such as the 1959 and 1960 Michigan Class A Football Champions. I had always been under the impression MHS won the State Championship the year I graduated 1959-1960, but discovered we were only the Arrowhead Conference Champions in 1960 and NOT State Champs:

    “Arrowhead Conference”

    We were the State Championship in 1957-58, which was when I was in 10th grade.

    1957 High School Football Associated Press Standings

    I started doing more web searches and located this site which includes lots of old photos of tourist attractions from that era: 1950’s and 1960’s tourist destinations. I was reminded that the drive-in movie was called the “Sunset Drive-In” that there were two theaters in town: the Frolic (downtown) and the Midland Theater (on the circle). The Frolic Sweet Shop was next to the theater, and there was a very small hamburg restaurant in the same block as Girnell Brothers Music Store. The restaurant sold yummy crumbled hamburg on a bun. But can anyone recall my favorite drive-in restaurant. It might have been “the Pixie.” That somehow sounds familiar. It was located about where the Boulevard Lounge is now (on the Circle Boulevard). Dog and Suds, on the north side of “the Circle” was big back in 1959-1960, but I’m looking for the name of that drive-in located on the Circle Boulevard until about 1960. Can you remember? The cars would cruise the drive-inns. Those businesses started to fail when McDonald’s opened on Saginaw Road near Haley Street and charged only about 12 cents (or maybe it was 14 cents) for a burger and about a dime for fries.

    The story of “the Music Box” is interesting, but unless you were part of that era and attended, it’s impossible to describe. Here’s the history I found: the Music Box at Prudenville, Michigan:

    Music Box

    I would make the 100+ mile round trip to “the Music Box” every Saturday night, winter or summer. It was my obsession for several years.

    While working on the website for the class, I discovered that a high school boyfriend, Mike Cauchy, had passed away in 2007. (And here I though he was still broken-hearted and missing me.) We’d lost touch with each other about 35 years ago. Since then, I’ve met my wonderful husband, John, and have absolutely no regrets, but I was still sad to hear about Mike, who at one time was the love of my young life.

    This whole reminisce experience has me playing music from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I found that the 1960’s tunes that were listed came late in the decade so they weren’t tunes I’d associate with my teen years. Those from fifties, especially 1959, were the ones that really brought back memories. Music by: Ricky Nelson, Elvis, Bill Haley, the Big Bopper. I loved Shirley and Lee. Buddy Holly’s stuff were among my favorites.

    I remember buying my last 78 RPM record (“Heartbreak Hotel,” by Elvis). I remember ordering my first 45 RPM of “LaBamba”. Favorites: “Come Softly to Me” and “Slow Walk”.

    I was so into music. I think it was in my junior high school (7th-9th grade) that I used to bring in my small 45 RPM player and blast out the latest tunes over the cafeteria PA system during the lunch hour.

    Here were some of my 1950’s favorites:
    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (The Platters)
    My Happiness (Connie Francis)
    Stagger Lee (Lloyd Price)
    Donna (Ritchie Valens)
    Venus (Frankie Avalon)
    Charlie Brown (The Coasters)
    Come Softly to Me (The Fleetwoods)
    The Happy Organ (Dave “Baby” Cortez)
    Dream Lover (Bobby Darin)
    Personality (Lloyd Price)
    A Big Hunk Of Love (Elvis Presley)
    There Goes My Baby (The Drifters)
    Sleep Walk (Santo and Johnny)
    (‘Til) I Kissed You (Everly Brothers)
    Mack the Knife (Bobby Darin)
    Put Your Head on My Shoulder (Paul Anka)
    Cathy’s Clown (The Everly Brothers)
    Teen Angel (Mark Dinning)

    About 1958 I had a best friend, coincidentally named John but not my husband. Before I could drive to “The Box,” John would take me. He was a sweet guy. We lost touch with each other, but he contacted me a couple years ago. It’s nice to know that he’s also happily married and enjoying his life.

    He named his daughter Sharon. Isn’t that sweet?!

    Comments off

    Four weeks and we head back to Michigan

    On the 12th of April (four weeks from today), we’ll be heading home. I sure hope that we’ll have grand weather between now and then.

    We did get to the pool this past weekend a couple times. I was careful not to over-do it, but I do have a little suntan. Hopefully within the next four weeks, it’ll deepen. Today’s not very warm (67 high), and for the next three days that’s about all we can expect, but this weekend it’ll be beautiful.

    Comments off

    Water = poop

    My friend, Sharon Hall, just sent this to me and I had to share it.

    This is interesting! And to paraphrase W.C. Fields, 
    I don’t drink water, because fish poop in it.. 
    To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine… and those who don’t. 
    As Ben Franklin said: 
    In wine there is wisdom, 
    in beer there is freedom, 
    in water there is bacteria. 
    In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter 
     of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of 
     Escherichia coli, (E. coli) – bacteria   found in feces. In other words, we are consuming 
     1 kilo of poop.. 
    However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine & beer 
    (or tequila, rum, whiskey or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification 
     process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting. 
    Water = Poop, 
      Wine  = Health. 
    Therefore, it’s better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of shit!. 
    There is no need to thank me for this valuable information: 
    I’m doing it as a public service! 

    Comments off

    Staying ahead of advancing technology

    It’s tough to stay up on technology.

    I’ve given up trying to stay up with cellphones. I don’t have an I-Phone, and my old flip phone still has an antenna.

    My computer runs Vista and not the newer “Windows 7.”

    My Pansonic Lumix DMC-FZ-18 digital camera is pretty darn good, but probably there’s a better one now. I use a great Edriol R-09 digital recorder but it’s a couple years old.

    I just brought a digital/video editing program which is version 2 and found out the more current version is version 4.

    I have Skype installed, but admittedly I’ve never used it.

    I run Office 2007 but here it is 2010.

    Is it possible to stay “up-to-date”?

    Today I bought a reasonably priced JVC camcorder. I could have spent twice as much and probably I’d have been happier, but sometimes a person must compromise and settle for less than the latest and greatest because of finances (and common sense).

    On March 24th there’s a lip sync show here at Kings Point (Sun City Center). Some of the participants have asked me to video them again so I can post them to I posted the videos of the acts in January 2009 here: 2009 Lip Sync videos. The camera I’ve been using didn’t let me zoom while videoing so hopefully my new one will allow me do a good job for them.

    It’s tough to be a geek, but I love trying to keep my reputation.

    I’m 68 years old. I guess I need to accept the fact that I’m over-the-hill when it comes to being a techie-geek, but for my age, I feel I do pretty darn good!!

    Comments off

    It’s all the fault of the weather

    Before I came down to Florida I promised myself that, once I got down here, I’d walk a lot and tone-up. I’d even like to lose about 10-15 pounds, but I don’t want to be as drastic about my weight-loss as in 2002. I lost 20 pounds and looked older and wrinklier. But getting in shape was my plan for this trip.

    Now I’m here and it hasn’t happened. I’m afraid to get on the scales, but I’ll bet I’ve gained because we’ve been eating too good. It’s been cold so “comfort food” has been our mainstay. When it’s hot, we do salads and lite meals.

    It’s all the fault of the weather. If I’d been able to “get out” I’d have kept my promise to myself. Every day that it’s been warm, I’ve walked to the pool (sometimes multiple times), but there haven’t been enough of those wonderful days.

    I haven’t walked every day, but I will, if “Mother Nature” will cooperate.

    So I can blame my lack of resolve on the weather.

    Comments off

    Wow! Perfect Day!

    Temperatures in the mid-to-high 70’s. Blue skies. Moderate breezes.

    We’ve waited so long for a day like today.

    I walked over to the South Club pool at 10:45 a.m. and selected a couple of lounge chairs. John arrived before noon.

    At about 12:30 (leaving behind our towels to hold our seats) we both took off for the North Clubhouse where they had fired up the grill for burgers. I was back at the pool by about 1:45, John came back shortly after that.

    The water was warm and the sunshine welcome. The pool was packed and we saw lots of friends.

    Tomorrow it may cloud up and rain. But the temperatures are going to stay in the 70’s until March 22nd and then it’ll move into the 80’s!! I can take it.

    Comments off

    Rose’s Jam Video

    Here’s the video of Rose Wark’s gathering Sunday, March 7th, 2010, at White’s RV Park, Zephyrhills, FL.

    It was a big group with lots of Michigan friends. We were there and enjoyed the day!!

    Comments off

    First pool day in weeks!

    It was only about 70 degrees when we headed to the pool today. Our favorite chairs on the shady side were a little too cool so we moved into the sun, but that was too hot and we feared sunburn even with sun screen. We were back and forth, covering up when in the shade and when in the sun to avoid a burn. It was almost laughable.

    Tomorrow it should be about the same, but Wednesday-Friday it’ll probably be about five degrees warmer. Then next week from the 14th to the 18th, it’ll be a little cooler before it warms up maybe in the high 70’s or 80’s.

    For tomorrow, we plan to hit the Kings Point Spring Festival in the morning. We’ll be at the pool by early afternoon. At 5:00 tomorrow night, we will enjoy a Karaoke Tuesday. It’ll be a full fun day.

    Comments off

    Interesting test..

    Count every “F” in the following text:


    How many are there? Don’t cheat. Count before you read on.

    Did you count?

    Ok, here’s the answer:
    Most folks will say three. But there are SIX! (Your brain overlooks the “f” in the word “of” and there are three ofs in the sentence.)

    Comments off

    I’m older

    Yesterday (Thursday) was my birthday. I’m now officially 68. I don’t feel it and I’m always a little surprised that, when I say I’m that old, no one argues with me any more.

    Last night we went to Rockin Rendezvous. It was fun and we stayed longer than usual.

    Today we got up and headed to Busch Gardens to enjoy the Osmond Brothers’ show. They were great. One of the best performances we’ve seen. They are really talented and their show was fun. We sat in the midst of the Brothers’ Fan Club. I didn’t realize how fan club members stay in touch. They were a “family” of folks who follow the performances from city to city. They babbled excitedly about up-coming shows in Las Vegas and Branson.

    It was fun.

    Tomorrow I need to polish up the place so it’ll be ready for company Sunday. Our friends, the Conklins, will be stopping over and Gwyn Besner will stay with us from Sunday until early Tuesday.

    Comments off

    Overnight Guests, John’s Birthday and Tuesday

    We had over-night guests Wayne and Linda Conklin. They arrived Saturday and stayed over until Sunday afternoon. We played a little music, ate a lot of food and yacked.

    Sunday we took them to meet, Dale and Trudy Province, who were our neighbors when we lived on Fallow Court, and Trudy is also a real estate agent.

    Wayne and Linda have a place in Sarasota but they are interested in re-locating here. I don’t know how it’ll work out, but I felt it was best to have them meet Trudy so she can deal with them directly.

    After the four of us returned from our visit (Sunday afternoon) with Dale and Trudy, we had another super meal and then Wayne and Linda left.

    Monday was John’s birthday. We enjoyed a pleasant morning then went to lunch. After lunch, we shopped a bit and headed to Apollo Beach to see the manatees. There were a lot of them. It was a warm balmy day but those big water creatures were still hunkered down around the power plant waters to stay warm so I’m sure Tampa Bay is cold.

    We stopped at a few bargain type stores and got home about dark. Neither of us wanted dinner. John said it had been a good day. I hope it was for him.

    I got him a silk washable sport shirt with a subtle palm pattern and he enjoyed sweets galore when we were at lunch.

    John finished the installation of the over-the-oven fan/microwave this morning.

    The decorator came about noon and we reviewed a lot of ideas we’re bouncing around. She brought along a contractor. They came up with some great ideas. Depending on cost, I think we’ll probably go with the renovation of the master bath. After that is complete, we may consider a kitchen renovation and/or she’d love to paint our place a lovely color like a pretty sandalwood. (All the walls are currently an eggshell color.) If we did that, we’d also add crown molding. She said she can make this place a high-end show-place. I’d like to see us get started. It would disrupt things for a couple of weeks; probably the last week of March and the first week of April.

    Comments off

    What to do Thursday & Friday when it’s COLD Outside

    Yesterday we found a deal on an over-the-range microwave and fan. Our old fan hood was super ugly. About six to eight inches deep, an almond colored hood with a bare bulb exposed and didn’t do anything but make a horrid noise. The kitchen is what you see immediately when you come in our condo. It glared and said, “Old, tacky, and as bad as a fan can be.”

    Of course the installation didn’t go as planned, and John’s still working on it.

    By late afternoon yesterday, I knew he’d spent as much energy as he could. He was winded and feeling exhausted. So I made him quit and we went to Rockin’ Rendezvous, our regular weekly gathering at the clubhouse. It was a typical Thursday night. Lots of fun, lots of friends.

    Today he’s back trying to finish the installation of the microwave.

    With the weather being really cold, it’s good to have an in-the-house project. And since our friends, the Conklins, are coming over tomorrow and Sunday, we have lots to do to get ready – the microwave had to get in so the kitchen would be presentable.

    Tomorrow a.m. I’ll be hustling. I keep all of my clothes in the guest room. That means I need to move enough of my stuff to the master bedrooms so I can get by for the two days they’re here. And since John does his music practicing in the guest room, all the instruments need to be moved out. We’ll probably put them in the living room area where we’ll play music with the Conklins.

    This afternoon at 4:00 residents who want to take advantage of the Annual Kings Point Garage Sale which is held in the main clubhouse will be lined up. Last year we purchased a scrawny artificial plant (which needs to be replace with something nicer), and a few other decorative items. Previous years, we’ve purchased wine glasses, our dinnerware, pictures, frames, waffle iron, some extra sheets and towels, throw pillows, and lots of other little things at bargain prices. We’ll be there today see if we can uncover some treasures which will enhance our place.


    We didn’t buy anything major at the KP Garage Sale today. We were fortunate to find a few cheap items: six paperback novels ($2), a colorful cloth tote bag ($1), a food chopper ($.25), a food grater ($1), a new cotton zipper-front summer weight robe ($2), a bright fuschia basket style handbag ($1) and a padded bike seat cushion ($2).

    John successfully installed the microwave although the electric outlet box for it will be put in when John can buy one and until then, we’re using a heavy-duty extension cord, but only when we use the unit, so most of the time it doesn’t show.

    We’re amazed how the addition of this one appliance has made the kitchen look renovated. The old hood was so bad that, when you walked in the room, it shouted “Replaced Me.” The new one matches the black, smooth-top range and black oven front. It’s current styling makes the whole kitchen look more “today.” It was a small purchase, but it did wonders.

    We will be having a decorator come Monday and advise us on the master bathroom and some of our other potential renovations.

    Comments off

    Full day!

    We headed to Busch Gardens this morning and arrived before it was open (at 10 am). It was pleasantly warm (about 70) and sunny when we left home.

    We enjoyed Chubby Checker’s show but it wasn’t as entertaining as John Davidson’s had been last week. He barely said anything. One tune after another, but no “getting to know him.”

    We feel the chatter is a huge part of seeing these “older” performers. They need to get the audience to accept them as friends. In the case of Chubby, he sang well, and did a pretty good twist, but it was like he was there to perform and not to get to know us, or let us know him. It didn’t work for us.

    After the show we went on a “ride” called Rhino Rally. We rode in a jeep-styled truck through animal areas. We even went through streams and ended up being swept down a “river”. It was fun.

    On our way back, we stopped and listened to the a lecture on the care and feeding of alligators by one of the animal experts. As the talk was ending the rain started. We took the tram to our car (even though we were parked as close as guests are allowed) because it was really coming down.

    By the time we got back to Kings Point it was pouring. The temperature had also dropped a good 10-15 degrees.

    We had only a couple hours before we had to be ready to go to the Michigan Club potluck dinner. It was a nice event.

    A crammed day, but we loved it.

    Comments off

    Yes, I’m a senior citizen

    I’m the life of the party…… even if it lasts until 8 p.m.
    I’m very good at opening childproof caps… with a hammer.
    I’m usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going.
    I’m awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.
    I’m smiling all the time because I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.
    I’m very good at telling stories; over and over and over and over…
    I’m aware that other people’s grandchildren are not nearly as cute as mine.
    I’m so cared for — long term care, eye care, private care, dental care.

    I’m not really grouchy,
    I just don’t like traffic, waiting, crowds, lawyers, loud music, unruly kids, Jenny Craig and Toyota commercials, barking dogs, politicians and a few other things I can’t seem to remember right now.

    I’m sure everything I can’t find is in a safe secure place, somewhere.
    I’m wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that’s just my left leg.
    I’m having trouble remembering simple words like…….
    I’m beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
    I’m sure they are making adults much younger these days, and when did they let kids become policemen?
    I’m wondering, if you’re only as old as you feel, how could I be alive at 150?
    And, how can my kids be older than I feel sometimes?

    I’m a walking storeroom of facts….. I’ve just lost the key to the storeroom door.

    Yes, I’m a SENIOR CITIZEN and I think I am having the time of my life!

    Comments off

    Two nice days but that’s it

    Today and yesterday I spent the afternoon at the pool. (But I watched to make sure I didn’t get too much sun.) Tomorrow, maybe there’ll be some mid-day time when it’ll be comfortable, but by evening and for the foreseeable future it’ll plummet into the mid-low 50’s.

    This week promises to be crowded with activities so we have lots to do.

    Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the every-other-week karaoke which is always fun, Wednesday is a Michigan Club gathering and potluck (for which we bought tickets — they’re buying the meat), Thursday we have our 9:00 a.m. Nantucket V Condo Association breakfast at Bob Evans and then Rockin’ Rendezvous at 4:00.  And Friday is the Annual Kings Point Garage Sale starting at 4:00 in the main club house.  It is open to the public on Saturday.   We want to be there in line Friday because there are bargains galore to be had. 

    But either Wednesday or Friday we also plan to see Chubby Checker’s show at Busch Gardens. Looks like we’ll aim for the show which is presented at11:00 Wednesday so we can be ready for the bargains on Friday.  (But that means tomorrow we’ll need to prepare a dish to pass for Wednesday night.)

    We may have house guests this weekend. Our Michigan friends, Wayne and Linda Conklin, may spend the weekend with us.  But also we’re anticipating Gwyn Besner, who is a fun Traverse City music friend. I think she’ll come Monday and Tuesday, but we’re not certain.

    When we look ahead into March, this cold spell appears to be stuck with us.

    But today there was a sign that nature will bring us back to what is normal. A tiny gecko scurried ahead of me as I walked down the sidewalk. That’s the first one I’ve seen since our first cold spell in early January. I love those little critters and I’ve missed their presence. Hopefully they won’t be frozen out again this season.

    Comments off

    Marginally Warmer

    The temperatures might nudge up to 70 today. Tomorrow it’ll maybe even move a degree or two higher. Sorta windy, but at least a little warmer than it has been.

    I plan to slip into a swim suit about noon and go find a warm, sunny spot at the pool where I can read a book and feel like we’re in Florida. Sadly March doesn’t look much better than it has been, even 15 days out it’ll only be in the 60’s for day-time highs.

    Our friends the Conklins would like to come over for a day or two, probably next Saturday and Sunday (the 27th and 28th). Gwyn Besner said she’ll stop by in about Monday and Tuesday (?) the 1st and 2nd of March. John’s sister, Suzie, may come for a week in late March.

    Next week we have a calendar full of opportunities for fun: Tuesday karaoke, Wednesday a Michigan Club potluck, Thursday breakfast with our neighbors and Rockin Rendezvous in the evening, Friday we will go to Busch Gardens to see Chubby Checker.

    Even if the weather doesn’t provide Florida warmth for us, the number of activities we have scheduled will keep us busy enough so we’ll be on the move and that’ll generate “heat.”


    It actually got quite nice (mid 70’s). We spent more than four hours at the pool. Ahhhhh! Sunshine!

    Comments off

    Michigan Gathering

    Today we’ll enjoy a lunch at the Moose Lodge on Anna Maria Island with four other Michigan couples.

    We had planned to get together with our good friends, Wayne and Linda Conklin, and today was selected with plans to meet at the Moose on the Island. Then we heard that the Bakers (Cindy and Mike) are renting a place on Anna Maria, so they were invited to join us. Coincidentally Peg and Bruce Earl are staying with Bruce’s cousin (the Howards) in Sun City Center (about three miles from us). They arrived yesterday and will be staying a week. So the Earls and the Howards, were included.

    John’s the only “Moose member” so we’ll arrive early and sign everyone in.

    The Lodge is right the Gulf but if it’s in the sun, it might even be warm enough to eat outside. (It’s only going to be 67 but with a feels like temperature of 70.)

    In Michigan, we see these folks mainly at dulcimer festivals, but it’ll be fun to get together 1,300 miles from home.


    The beach was lovely, but the Moose Lodge wasn’t grand. It was a very simple, rather crowded structure with a small parking lot. Nevertheless we had a nice afternoon and the food was good.

    Comments off

    “Early” to Bed

    The other night, a comedian speaking to a Kings Point audience, referred to 9:30 as Sun City Center’s midnight. He was correct. Activities for this senior only community start early and end early. By 10:00 p.m. the streets are empty.

    Tonight we’re going to Rockin’ Rendezvous. It starts at 4:00, but you better be there by 3:45 or you probably won’t get a seat. Before 7:00, it’ll be over. We’ll be safely home before that.

    Even our big dances generally start at 7:00 and end at 9:00, although occasionally 9:30.

    Dinners start at 5:00 or 5:30.

    The golf cart gate into the community is locked at sundown for good reason because Florida law doesn’t allow you to drive a golf cart on city streets after dark, so anyone with a golf cart should get inside our gated community which is exempt from those laws and where driving after dark with headlights is allowed.

    So our schedule is very different when we’re here in Florida. We go out early. We get home early.

    When it’s nice out, I love getting up early and going to the pool in the morning. Hasn’t been nice enough to do that since we’ve been down here this time.

    In our community here we’re like the chickens.

    Comments off

    John Davidson — great performance

    John DavidsonToday we went to Busch Gardens to take in the performance of John Davidson.

    John Davidson was a TV personality you may remember from the John Davidson Show in 1976 and specials of the show after that, Hollywood Squares in 1986-1989, the $100,000 Pyramid TV show in 1991, and lots of other TV appearances.

    We didn’t know what to expect. John can sing, but it felt like they over-amplified him today, nevertheless we loved his performance!

    He was funny, personable, and a true entertainer.

    We were in the third row from the floor which put us right at stage level and arm’s length from him. We felt like he played to “us”. It was great!

    He really was sharp and on his game. He kibitzed with audience members, wooed the ladies, sang with the guys, and left the audience wanting more. What a showman!

    It was great fun!

    We left John Davidson’s 11:00 show and were inspired to renew our Busch Membership for two additional years. We can attend as often as we want. We generally go at least a half dozen times a year. It’s a bargain with an annual membership.

    About 1:00 we had a good lunch at the Desert Grill. We stayed for the 2:30 show of “Let’s Dance” featuring Burn the Floor.

    Let's DanceDancers from around the world presented contemporary ballroom dance with the Foxtrot, Tango, Jive, Swing, Mambo and more. It was an excellent fast-paced dance show. The costumes were fantastic. It’s hard to imagine how they keep up that level of excitement with multiple shows a day.

    Next week we’ll be back at Busch Gardens because Chubby Checker will take the stage there and the following week it’ll be the Osmond Brothers. As long as it’s not pool weather, it’s good to have this to look forward to.

    Thank heavens it’s only about 25 miles from our condo.

    It was rather cool today. We made the mistake of taking the aerial tram and about froze. It took the rest of the afternoon to warm up. At one point we stopped in the rest room and found that they had heaters going. It felt really good. It was hard to leave.

    I always love the foliage at Busch Gardens – it’s a large point of our enjoyment. Sadly there was a lot of frost damage to the flowers and plantings and a lot of the flower beds were covered to protect from the past several nights’ frost. Hopefully they’ll have recovered before we go back to Michigan in April.

    We met some folks who sat in front of us in the John Davidson show. Nice people from Canada. John Davidson sang one amorous song to her (close-up) and it was really fun. She was a super good sport.

    Comments off

    Going to “the Ball”

    Tonight John and I will go to the Kings Point Ballroom Dance Club Annual Dinner Dance.

    It’s a formal affair. The ladies will wear ball gowns, many of the guys will wear tuxes or white dinner jackets. We’ll be under-dressed. John will wear a black suit. I’ll wear an ankle length black dress with flowing sleeves embellished with a few sequins. But it’s certainly not a ball gown.

    By next year, we’ll be better prepared. I’m going to shop for a lovely dress and find a tux for John (getting him to wear it may be a little harder). But tonight we’ll be appropriate enough so we won’t “stand out.”

    I probably should have made an appointment to have my hair creatively styled, but I’m most comfortable with my one style so that’s what folks will see.

    This afternoon I’ll take the appropriate amount of time getting ready. I’ll do my hair carefully and try to make sure my make-up is it’s best.

    Furs are also very appropriate here for this type of affair and since it will be cool tonight, I will wear mine. It was my mother’s but it an attractive mink jacket/cape and it’ll be warm.


    We’re home. It wasn’t that fancy. John’s suit matched a most of the men’s attire (a few tuxes and dinner jackets were seen but certainly not a majority) and my black dress with flowing 3/4 sleeves, a few sequins, and a draped neck was perfect. I couldn’t have picked a dress which would have been better. Yes, some were glitzier. Some even wore strapless evening wear, but my longer than ankle length black dress was dressier than most and fit right in. I shouldn’t have been worried.

    The fur was a nice touch. About one out of four of the ladies wore furs and John mentioned mine was definitely the prettiest one we saw.

    It was a nice evening.

    Comments off


    If you’ve followed this blog, you know I love to write.

    I always had the idea that someday I’d write a novel. I even did an outline – or two. It never happened.

    I have several “chapters” ready, but I haven’t finished my story. In the case of that tale (which I never named), I don’t know how it ends. It flows easily to a certain point but then I get stuck (writers’ block?)

    But this blog is easy. It flows along and gives me a chance to just “talk” about topics that pass through my mind.

    I’ve talked about love-bugs, geckos, Florida weather, the different attitude down here in FL, caring for my mother through Alzheimers, Busch Gardens, hula hoop contests, my ancestors, what it’s like to have a husband who has been diagnosed with (what is considered to be a terminal) illness, changes to our house, fun with our friends.

    If you’ve followed this blog from the beginning, you were with us when we drove out west pulling our 5th wheel in 2006. We took six weeks and it was the beginning of “” You can still read those postings under the heading “2006-04 and 05 – West Coast-Trip” which is to the right under the heading “Categories.” The blog idea had worked well while we traveled. After we got home, I stopped blogging for a month or so until folks complained so loudly that I started up again. I didn’t know what to write about so I just put down my thoughts, whatever they were.

    I’ve often wondered what things interest you, my audience.

    Do you like personal stuff? Do you feel that I get too involved with my life down here in Florida? Do you want to hear about music stuff or thoughts of the past? I wonder which of my posts was the most popular?

    This blog:, gets over a quarter million hits a year!!!!!

    I’d love to hear from you and there is a “comments link” to the right under the “menu” heading, where you can post what you’d like to tell me. You don’t need to sign your comments (although you can if you wish). It takes a couple clicks to get you into the comments area, but that’s only so that internet spam robots can’t leave porn links as they do whenever you allow freely open posting with merely one click.

    Comments off

    Brown Grass

    The sunshine state is still pretty “brown.” The frosts in January killed a lot of the grass. Some has started to green-up, but other areas are definitely dead. The lawns remind me of late August in Michigan after a hot summer if a lawn hasn’t been watered. Our bushes and other vegetation haven’t recovered. The dry sticks stick up from the hybiscus and the bougainvillea. They haven’t started to leaf-out yet but we hope they’ll come back. Half of my poinsettia has died.

    And apparently there are a lot of dead fish in the ponds. The buzzards are plentiful as they “clean” them up.

    We don’t see any geckos. There are few bugs. They all croaked when the temperatures were below freezing.

    Michigan has a lot heartier insects, shrubs, flowers and grass.

    Comments off

    Family Fables

    I’ve already written about my great grandmother. Her story is entitled, “Grandma”. She’s my life inspiration.

    But I guess it’s time for the tale of Grandpa Brophey, her husband.

    He wasn’t inspirational, but definitely interesting. My great grandfather was Patrick Robert Brophey. Pat Brophey was as Irish as the name sounds. He was a heavy drinking rascal, an alcoholic. Drinking messed up his life, but his stories still need to be passed on.

    I remember the tale of how he’d had the first car in Midland County. Our family album has a picture of that vehicle.

    I never knew if I should believe the claims of having the “first” motor car, but John and I have a good friend, Jerry McCullen, a 92-year-old member of our music club. I happened to mention that my grandfather claimed to have the first car in Midland County. Jerry asked if my grandfather was Patrick Brophey. He said his mother always told him about Pat Brophey coming to Coleman, MI, and taking all the ladies for a ride in the first car in the county. She was impressed.

    I thought the car was DeSoto. (I could be wrong about the make because DeSotos weren’t distributed until about 1929 and I thought the car was purchased and Grandpa drove it into town about 1923.)

    But the legend that he had the first car has been confirmed. Jerry McCullen’s memory has proven that it was true.

    Another story was told by several relatives. It seems when my grandfather was young and successful, before alcohol had taken over, he was recognized in the community of Midland (MI) as a prosperous business man. One day he was approached by the town eccentric. The fellow wanted to know if Grandpa would like to go into business with him for $1,000 for a 50/50 ownership of a company he envisioned. My grandfather said no. The fellow countered with another offer, “$500, Mr. Brophey and we’ll be 50/50 partners.” My grandfather still declined and said, “No, Mr. Dow, I’m not interested.”

    The eccentric fellow, Mr. Herbert Dow, went on to build the Dow Chemical Company – without my grandfather’s financial help.


    The other stories Grandpa told were of the “old country.” He told of Irish “wakes” which were traditional when someone died. Those occasions became heavy drinking times where the deceased was often taken from the coffin and propped up at the table to be “part of the party.”

    Yes, my Grandpa Brophey was an alcoholic who was responsible for lots of unpleasant family situations. He was the opposite of Grandma who was a saint. But at one point Grandpa had earned respect as a Midland, MI, businessman and he was loved by Grandma, even if she didn’t approve of his drinking. When I asked her once why she didn’t “leave him” she just replied, “He’s my husband.”

    Comments off

    Coldest Florida Weather on Record

    When they talk about SNOW falling in Florida, you know the weather is strange. But we’re not alone. Our central Michigan area usually only has a few inches of the white stuff but they’ve had to dig out from 12 inches a couple of times so far this season and more is coming.

    The average high temperature in Sun City Center for this time of the year is about 72 degrees. We have only seen 70 degree weather three or four times since we got down here in December!! Looking ahead, the next 10 days will continue to be in the 50’s and 60’s.

    It isn’t fair. John’s health has been so bad but now he’s feeling pretty good but we don’t know for how long. He deserves sunny skies and warmth. We need to be able to get outside and enjoy our time down here in Florida.

    Right now it’s raining hard and it’s only about 50. This is definitely not what they mean when they say the “sunshine state.”

    Comments off

    Being a Long-Distant Mom

    My nearly 48-year-old daughter, Kelly, is currently facing a rough spell. I know she’ll cope and bounce back, but her life is currently filled with challenges. Kelly lives in California, in the Monterey area (a town called Seaside). She left Michigan about 25 years ago. We’re in Florida and Michigan. She’s across the country.

    About four or five months ago Dave, her husband was “laid off.” He’s a highly skilled construction foreman and has never had a problem getting a job but it was a scare to have him “out of work.” Actually it didn’t last long. The Monterey aquarium heard he was available and hired him to work independently for them. (The construction company he worked for had some jobs at the aquarium so they were already familiar with Dave’s skills and work-ethic.) It’s a temporary job, but he’s hoping that the economy will turn around and he’ll continue to be employed.

    A week or two ago Kelly was notified that her long-time at the YMCA would end as a result of total reorganization. She’s been working there for over a dozen years and has been responsible for several sites and school-age programs. She has about a month of employment left.

    As if that’s not tough enough, she’s been quite ill for a couple of weeks with a bronchitis. Her cough hasn’t gone but she’s feeling somewhat better.

    In an attempt to be helpful, we volunteered to get her a laptop computer. She hasn’t had one for some time and has just used her work computer for all work of that nature.

    I found a HP laptop which looked perfect and bought it on line from Office Depot, but I didn’t realize that it didn’t have a DVD or CD drive. So I dealt with the local store and got an external one for her.

    But now she needs to get Microsoft Office installed. There’s a 60-day trial on line, but it requires the use of high speed internet which she doesn’t have.

    She was ready to get hooked up to AT&T high speed, but it required the purchase of about $100 worth of equipment. Costs just seemed to add up and she needs to watch her expenses.

    I have the ability to set up a computer but Kelly’s not a techie. Her son (my grandson) Jeremy has inherited my love of computers. He’ll be home on leave for the next three days before he “ships out” with the Marines to Japan. Kelly is hoping he can make sure everything is purring on her computer while he’s home.

    I’m anxious for her to get hooked up because then we’ll be able to use Snype (which is a free video phone system).

    Today she’s going through the interview process for a different job and she’s concerned about that. I want to support her in every way. It’s tough try to fix things when I’m so far away.

    Comments off

    Expand/enhance or buy something else??

    Our Kings Point condo floorplan We enjoy our condo but we’re realizing that there are some changes we’d like to make.

    I think it would be lots easier to make these changes than to move again. But maybe it’s not cost-effective to upgrade our place. We know we need to weigh the pros and cons.

    We need to decide if this is our “permanent” Florida home, or do we want to buy something else. If we spend money on our current condo, it’s doubtful that we’ll ever get any financial return on our expenditure. Improvements should be an investment in our own enjoyment. All the condos which are styled the same are worth about the same when it comes time to sell. If a unit has extensive renovation, it’ll still sell for the same price as the unit where nothing has been done. Maybe improvements would give us a slight sales advantage over other similar units if we ever want to sell, but it’s not wise to do it with the thought that we’d “make money” if we sell the condo. It doesn’t work that way down here.

    Maybe we should look for a different unit and sell this one without spending more on it. But this unit has several pros that make it more desirable to us: (1) the view is fantastic and we haven’t seen many better; (2) any unit would have some shortcomings we may end up with a new “needed improvements” list; (3) this unit is very conveniently located; (4) our current unit has a very large, open living area which is unrivaled; (5) it’s unlikely that we could sell this condo now without taking a hit price-wise; (6) there is nothing available that we really like better; (7) our lot gives us not just a “view” but also space around our condo – others almost bump into each other; (8) we would hate going through another move and it does cost to move.

    If we decide to stay put, what we put into the unit should have nothing to do with what we could get out of it. We would be doing it for us, not for a monetary pay-back.

    Comments off

    “Florida is a State of Mind”

    “Florida is a state of mind,” was the heading of an article in the Tampa Bay Tribune today by writer Steve Otto. The story complained about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comment that “Florida is for old people.” Mr. Otto wrote to debunk the myth that only old folks inhabit Florida by pointing out that it’s a big draw for families and has many wonderful features.

    He is right, but I do see Florida as a place where a lot of the people are older. My view is skewed. I am in a 55+ community, yet I agree with him completely, “Florida IS a state of mind.”

    It’s a “feel-good” place. It’s a place where citizens are quick to make lasting friendships. It’s a place where folks from all U.S. regions blend into a wonderful cohesive community.

    Sun City Center, our community, is a place where folks sing out to “Sweet Caroline” and do the arm gestures to “Y-M-C-A” at our weekly Rockin Rendezvous gathering without feeling self-conscious. It’s a place where 90 year olds get out and shake their booty with abandon. It’s a place where we all show up on a hot day at the pool in bathing suits despite our body type. It’s a place where this Friday I witnessed lots of “old folks” on stage dancing “show-girl style” in “the Follies” and we paid $12 each to witness their performances which we felt was a bargain price!

    Florida is a place where those who are advanced in age feel years younger than “up north.”

    I feel the years fall away when I’m here. Florida is definitely a state of mind.

    Comments off

    Lots of legs

    2010 FolliesThis is the third year John and I have attended “the Follies,” a stage production featuring local talent from the Sun City Center, FL, area.

    The show was filled with excellent vocalists, and lots of dancers (tap, clogging, and show dancing). Since this is a “senior citizen” community, most of the performers are well over 55. In fact, I’m guessing that many of those in the chorus lines are in their 80’s.

    We were impressed with their energy. And, some of those ladies had dern good looking legs. You can see what I mean in the photo.

    The funds raised from ticket sales to these shows provide college scholarships for kids studying “the arts.”

    Many of the vocalists have had professional training in their “earlier” life. Surprising, none have that “old” quality to their voices. They are all vibrant and enjoyable.

    The chorus lines wouldn’t compete with Las Vegas showgirls, but they can still move beautifully and their legs are still impressive.

    They did a great job!

    Comments off

    A feeling of “anticipation”

    I realize that down here in Florida, we’re always anticipating a good time and fun with friends. We are “anticipation” junkies.

    We always have stuff on the horizon. It’s never more than a day or two from an event we’re anticipating.

    True, the weather has been cold and lousy, but we always know that, in a few days, we’ll do something noteworthy.

    Tomorrow we have a condo owners center-of-the-court meeting. Thursday we have Rockin Rendezvous and Friday the Follies. Sunday we’re invited to a Super Bowl party at Brenda’s and John’s. Monday we have a Pelican Players election and meeting.

    Next week some of our northern friends are coming down and will arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday and leave Thursday.

    I wish we lived at this tempo year round. But I know that, if we were here in June, July and August, we’d complain that “everyone’s up North.”

    So we’ll do it the way we’ve been doing it – about six months in Michigan and six months here. We divide it up fairly equally. Starting with the winter months we stay four months here in FL. We arrive in mid-December just before Christmas. and stay until mid-April, then five summer months in MI (mid-April until mid-September), two fall months in FL (mid-September until mid-November), one fall-winter month in MI (mid-November until mid-December.) That’s our year = 12 months.

    Life is never dull. We love the excitement of up-coming events on our calendar. Life’s great!

    Comments off

    Kinda Quiet in Kings Point

    We went out to dinner Friday night with KP friends (Mel and Jean). They had us over for a glass of wine before we headed to the restaurant and we got to see their lovely condo. They’ve made some changes to theirs that gave us some ideas.

    We’ve kind of decided that, rather than making changes to ours, we’ll more than likely sell this place and buy something larger with all the bells and whistles. We’d like a larger master bathroom, enclosed lanai, more storage, and newer appliances.

    Our condo is very nice, but we know, if we ever sell our Saginaw place, we’ll definitely want one that is bigger down here. We would probably have a tough time selling ours now without taking a beating so now is not the time. But when things start moving, we’ll start looking. We’ll try to stay on top of the economy and keep our eyes open.

    Saturday (yesterday) we were busy all day. Got up fairly early and headed out. Stopped at Bealls for a little shopping and then drove on to Temple Terrace to the Big Top Flea Market. I got a lovely orchid. We headed back to Brandon to pick up a prescription at Costco. At noon, we stopped at Goodson’s Farms for a wonderful strawberry shortcake.

    Last night we went to the Michigan Club Dinner Dance. It was a fun evening. We sat at a couple with three other couples. The decorations were really out-standing, the food good. It was a nice evening.

    Today is a lazy day. Too cool for the pool, nothing needs to be done. I’ve been updating websites, and doing laundry. Wish it would warm up for an extended period. We get two or three days of warm weather, and then it cools down into the 60’s for a few days. Seems it’s been a consistent pattern that will continue for the next few weeks. Bummers.

    Comments off


    Today should be about 70-72 which puts it at pool temperature, since the sun should be out all day.

    I’m having my hair cut this a.m. Tonight is the weekly Rockin Rendevous gathering at the clubhouse. All in all it should be a fun day.

    Comments off

    Quiet, cool day

    Good day to work in the yard. We clipped off some of the frost-damaged plants but then tonight the newspaper and a tv program said Florida home-owners should wait until mid-February to do any trimming. We’re waiting to tackle our bougainvillea plants. They were so lovely but now they’re dead looking. I’m sure they’ll recover. We want to “trim them back” too but we’ll wait to see how they do.

    Comments off

    How would you recognize me?

    Because I’ve had the website for many years, I’ve become a spokesperson for the ODPC Evart Funfest. I’ve been fortunate to be able to introduce lots of folks to our great event(s). I try to make sure they feel welcome, and always recommend that they “look me up” when they get to the festival. One question generally comes up when I’m dealing with these folks I have yet to meet. They’ll say, “How will I know you when I see you?”

    My response has been: “I’ll be the small lady with the dark hair wearing a big hat and a long skirt.” That look has been my trademark. I was easy to spot.

    But over the years I’ve tired of long skirts. I now wear capris or shorts a good share of the summer. My hair isn’t as dark and I’m certainly not as small.

    But my hats, although I no longer take a gazillion to the festival, are still part of my “look.”

    Here in Florida, I wear big hats at the pool. I don’t wear them other times, but at the pool they serve to keep the sun off my face.

    Today I went to a dermatologist (at the insistence of a friend who said that “as much time as you spend at the pool, you should be checked for sun damage.” ) The doctor said I’ve been doing something right.

    I have always thought I had kind of ugly skin but this doctor praised it. (And wow Dr. Patrick is cute. Way too young, but very good looking!)

    I told him that I wear big hats and make-up with a spf 20, and we are careful not to get burned. He said I should continue doing whatever I’ve been doing. My big hats paid off.

    I rewarded myself with two new ones.

    We also brought home five new large plants from Home Depot to help make the backside of our condo look better. When we have them planted, I’ll post a before and after photo comparison here. I’m sure you’ll agree that the plants, the new light fixture, and the replaced back door make the golf course side of our condo look unbelievably better. (It was the pits when we bought it!)

    I should mention that yesterday we had a couple and a single friend mention to us that they’d like to visit us in February and March. Having a condo in a lovely Florida community with an empty guest room is a good formula for popularity. Hope they like it as much as we do.

    Comments off

    Saturday Review

    This week has been glorious.

    We’ve had the kind of January weather that only Florida can brag about: Sunshine, moderate temperatures, but some heavy rain and moderate humidity.

    Today promises to be 78 with lots of sunshine. We had considered going to Busch Gardens but decided to wait until Wednesday when it’ll be sunny but cool (60’s). Today will be a pool day.

    We went to a nice Tuesday evening Kings Point Dance Club dance and sat with three other couples. It was a very pleasant evening.

    Wednesday John had a re-do of his six-minute walking test but this time took into consideration his poor finger circulation when putting the oximeter on his finger. The best flow seemed to be his pinky and he aced the test, actually doing better at the end of six minutes than at the beginning.

    Thursday evening at Rockin Rendezvous, we enjoyed the company of Brenda and John and Brenda’s adorable 82 year old mother as well as several other friends. It was a fun evening. Too loud, but really a good time.

    Friday we had a condo association meeting in the morning.

    We’ve been at the pool most afternoons for the last half of the week. The weather keeps getting nicer. Today and tomorrow should top it off perfectly. We may have cooler weather early next week before it goes back into the 70’s. Admittedly I haven’t been going in the water, but instead enjoying the sunshine. Today I hope to be floating around the pool on my “noodle.” Life doesn’t get much better than that!

    I wanted to mention the frost damage which is obvious around our part of Florida.

    The grass is totally brown, many shrubs have been damaged and look dead. There are no flowers. Hibiscus and bouganvilla were especially hard hit. My poinsetta is half dead. But sadder, there are no geckos. (Those are the little lizards properly called brown anoles.) Usually they scurry ahead of us as we walk down the sidewalks, but they are missing. I know they’ll come back, but I miss their presence.

    We haven’t had any love-bugs. Either the frost or the season, but I’m sure they’ll return too. Even the ants were killed off.

    Comments off

    What awesome weather!!

    After working on the Original Dulcimer Players Club invitation to workshop leaders letter (I’m the workshop leader chairman), we got on our golf cart and headed into Sun City Center about 10:45 this morning….”the Sale” was on. We didn’t buy any real bargains, but it’s always fun looking. We had our lunch at Mickey-D’s, did some grocery shopping, and headed home. By about 1:30 we were at the pool. It was sunny, mid 70’s and glorious. We saw friends who we’d missed since April, and we relaxed. (We read and then nearly fell asleep which isn’t something I usually do during the day.)

    Oh, I nearly forgot to mention last night’s Kings Point Dance Club dance at the main clubhouse. It was a very nice evening. We danced to good music. It was fun. John, who has limited breathing abilities, did a great job. We weren’t “up to speed” because dancing takes conditioning, but we did ok.

    Our table of four couples will continue to be seated together. They’re a good, compatible bunch. Hope we get to know them better. Next month is the KPDC “formal” dinner dance. Men are encouraged to wear white dinner jackets or tuxes and ladies formal dresses. Unless we go shopping, I don’t have a formal dress nor does John have a dinner jacket/tux, but we’ll make do. I’ll wear a black ankle length dress with a lightly sequined elegant top. John has a new black suit. We won’t be as high end as some, but I’m sure we’ll be acceptable.

    Comments off revision complete

    I finally put the finishing touches on Everything is working. I love the teal color scheme, (but I can switch to 23 different colors.)

    This morning John and I went to “the sale” (the “Nearly New” fund raiser that is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings.) No big purchases. John got a quality duffle bag, I found a black two-piece cardigan/shell set. I also bought five more soft-cover books ($1 for five). On our way home, we stopped at Taco Bell and were back at the condo by 12:30. We had planned to go to the pool, but it looked like it was going to rain, so we watched a movie instead. After the movie, it still hadn’t rained so I walked to the pool. It was empty. I read my book and relaxed. Back home by 4:00. Football playoffs will occupy John today and tomorrow.

    So nothing exciting happened. Barely enough to waste the key strokes describing. If things don’t get more exciting, I’ll have to start making up reports.

    But just getting outside, even in the golf cart, is refreshing. Monday it’ll only be 65, but most of the next 15 days will be high 60’s to high 70’s. I can take it.

    Next on the agenda: Get some plants for the back-side of the condo. Trim away the frost damage. Find the right furniture for the end of the living room.

    I love it here!

    Comments off

    This is more like it!

    Today was sunny and lovely.

    I helped Diane, my artist friend, start her website. I felt a little overwhelmed because she’s sharp as they come and I usually work by “trial and error.” But our two-hour session flew by. She left with lots of instructions. I am sure, with patience, she’ll be successful.

    After Diane left, we headed to the pool and soaked up some sunshine. Had a lengthy conversation with Dotty, a recent widow. I’d like to get to know her better. It was in the low 70’s but by 4:00 it had cooled down, so we went back home. But even a couple of hours in the sun will help us break out of our “cabin fever” mode. Tomorrow it should be about 77 but then rain later in the day.

    John has a noon-time appointment tomorrow with his pulmonologist’s physician assistant. I really think the sunshine would help him more than the P.A. but he’ll meet with her and I’ll be there to make sure he digests her instructions.

    Sadly my daughter, Kelly, today let me know she’s being “laid off” from her managerial job at the YMCA in the Monterey Peninsula, CA. She’s been there for 15 years, but the whole place is being reorganized (to save money). She’s such a great young woman. I’m sure she, and her husband, Dave, will find a way, but in this economy, being out of work is tough.

    By the way, last night’s Rockin’ Rendezvous was a ball. We sat with some of our favorite friends including Brenda & John, Pauline & Nick. Marlene & Jim and Ellie & Joe. What a fun bunch. An evening like that makes us 10 years younger.

    Comments off

    Nice day…

    We’re still going by car, not golf cart. Even though it had warmed up some, today was a tad too cool to go in an “open air vehicle.”

    We went to “the sale” this a.m. Didn’t buy anything except five novels for $1. John did better. He got a brand new jacket for $4 and a few other items. It was nice to be back in the swing. We hit Publix and a few other stores but we were home before noon. Nothing great. Nothing exciting.

    This evening, we’d planned to go to Ruskin. We were supposed to pick up a prescription from our vet and then go to the Elks Club for spahetti dinner but somehow it got messed up so when we called the vet we found the script wouldn’t be ready to pick up. We therefore cancelled our spahetti dinner plans and just stayed home. Our dinner was better here anyway (John is a wonderful cook) so I’m not complaining. We’ll get Willow’s prescription tomorrow. But it won’t be spaghettii!

    I spent a good share of the day cleaning. Even in “sunny Florida” our condo requires some “up-keep.” I hate cleaning. I’d love a full-time house-keeper, but for now, the job falls to me and today I took time and did a good job on 1/2 of the condo. Tomorrow I’ll finish it.

    Tomorrow night Rockin’ Rendezvous. Love Thursdays!

    Comments off

    Tuesday Tuesday

    Lazy day. Got up with frost so heavy it looked like snow. Temps in the 20’s. We watched a couple of TV movies while I worked on my computer, straightening out a couple of glitches and setting a couple of pages up on my site.

    Tonight at 5:00 a karaoke evening started at the South Club. It was fun. We had Philly cheese steak sandwiches and enjoyed a fun time listening to talented folks.

    We were home before 7:00. Nice night.

    The folks at Kings Point are so nice. As an example, tonight there were vocalists who were totally “off-key” but they were warmly appreciated. Folks just aren’t critical.

    I had a Michigan friend mention that she’d love coming to visit us but she felt she was too out of shape to go to the pool. Heck, at our pool no one notices a paunch. No one cares about a couple dozen pounds over-weight…. or 50 or 100. She’s in the wrong mind-set if she thinks anyone cares. In fact it almost seems too prideful to think anyone would care.

    I love the attitude down here because everyone is appreciated for the person they are. It is evident that folks aren’t hung up on size, shape or the ability to hit a key when singing karaoke.

    Comments off

    Cool Monday

    This afternoon we went to the Pelican Players’ potluck. It was good to get out of the house and, although the entertainment had mixed reviews, it was a nice event.

    I’d worked on my website revisions all afternoon and additionally I’m trying to get prepared to help an artist friend (Diane Simon) create a distinctive, high-end website. So I was busy all day. John was bored.

    It’s only been a high into the 40’s for the past few days but it should warm up by the weekend. Can’t wait.

    We have several commitments this week. Tomorrow it’s a karaoke evening at the club house and then on Wednesday we have “the twice as nice sale” (which has been cancelled several times because of rainy and cold weather). Thursday we have a Rockin Rendezvous. Friday, I’ll meet with Diane to help her with her website. All it all it should be a busy and fun week.

    Comments off

    No dance today

    The dance today went on without us. Football won out. John wanted to watch the playoff games so we stayed in. Somehow venturing out when it’s 30-40 in Florida isn’t very inviting. Tonight… cold again. But the forecast out about a week shows much anticipated improved temperatures.

    Comments off

    This week in a nutshell

    Besides working on my computer most of my time, we also went to John’s new pulmonary specialist (Dr. Graves) Tuesday. He was better than we could have hoped for. We were really impressed with him.  (I wish we could take him back to Michigan with us.)

    He actually talked about John’s disease (which is something his Michigan doctor never does).  Dr. Graves said that Prednisone shouldn’t be helping John as much as it is so he wonders if the diagnosis is accurate.  He is having John’s biopsy sent to the Mayo Clinic and he’ll review the blood tests which have been done. 

    We were feeling great after hs first comments but then he had John do a 6-minute walk test and John’s oxygen levels fell into the 70’s.

    The doctor then ordered an oxygen generator for John at night. That really crushed John’s optimism.  All of the sudden, he felt things are really getting worse.

    Because of my computer problems, I haven’t have as much time to keep up this blog.

    We did have a good time Thursday night at our weekly Rockin Rendezvous at the clubhouse. All of our Florida friends were back and it was a fun time. We saw Susie S., Richard, Bill and Donna, Brenda and John, Pauline and Nick, Evelyn and Joe, and it was fun to feel that everyone was “back.”

    Friday morning we tried a Yoga class which was a tad too advanced for us.

    Next week we have a potluck Monday, a Club house karaoke event on Tuesday, Thursday we’ll have another Rockin Rendezvous, and Friday we’ll return to yoga.

    Tomorrow we may go to a dance class.

    I hope the activity next week will elevate John’s mood. With the cold weather curtailing the outside stuff we look forward to, he has cabin fever. He doesn’t mind Michigan but he is bored by Florida when the weather is lousy.

    Comments off

    100% up and running

    Tuesday I was able to get my Vista/Vaio system on my computer totally restored, but that only means my computer had gone back to original factory settings with no programs installed at all.

    It’s taken me four additional days to get all additional programs I use re-installed. That’s what took the time. I’m now for all purposes 100% up.

    I carry a box of DVDs/CDs and paperwork for reinstalling programs, but some programs (like MailWasher, Pegasus, Arles Website program, and others) require that I get a new registration key and start with a fresh download.

    Every download takes time. I keep accurate records of purchase dates, and the email address used when I bought the original copy.

    I wish I could pass on all I’ve learned from this computer crash, but it’s tough to pass on all I now know.

    My fresh promises. I will keep current back-ups of all “files”. For CDs/DVD programs, I’ll keep matching registration keys. I’ll make sure I also keep a copy of my “desktop.” (It’s hard to remember all the programs you run.) I’ll make sure I create frequent “restore points.” I’ll make any back up disks recommended by my computer manufacture.

    I have my “favorites” on Internet Explorer but not on Google Chrome.

    I realize there’s one program I haven’t heard from (my registry program) but I’m happy and if nothing else is available, I’m content.

    Comments off

    Day #2 of my computer drama

    It still isn’t working. I’ve tried everything.

    I got a price of $80-$120 from a repair person to work with the hard drive and restore the data to DVD back-ups but then I’d have to re-install all the programs and add the data from the back-ups. I figured I can do that myself.

    So I got busy and downloaded all the stuff I was missing from December 8th which was the last time I did a back-up. (I found the way to get into the hard-drive and copy it to DVDs and CDs.)

    I backed it all up and now I’m re-formatting.

    John watched with me as it flashed through the screens. I’d hold my breath to see if it would work. (Sometimes it did and sometimes I had to start over.) When it worked, we’d both let out a celebratory yell. He got an idea of what a rush it is when things work correctly.

    Even though this whole process has used up a lot of time, I will probably end up with a computer that is works more smoothly.

    Now I have current (as of yesterday a.m.) back-ups of everything that was on my computer including my desktop which includes all the programs I use so I’ll know what needs to go back on the hard drive). It’ll take major time, but it won’t take long to get the basic stuff up.

    I’ve also restored most everything to John’s computer (my old one), so I can use it until things are working correctly.

    This sort of activity does stretch your mind. And I understand, it helps to keep you younger and more alert.

    Comments off

    Things were going too good

    My Sony Vaio has purred along for a little over a year. In fact the service plan I had with the purchase ended the 26th of December.

    This morning I worked a bit on line and updated the ODPC site and did a few other things before I decided to check and see if I was up-to-date on my Windows Vista updates. (I have it set for automatic up-dates but sometimes, for some reason, the up-date doesn’t install correctly.) There was a suggested up-date for Windows Internet Explorer and also a Windows Vista up-date. After the download and install, as normally happens, the computer asked re-start to finish the install.

    It wouldn’t re-start. That was about 10:30. It still hasn’t started.

    I have a call into a local computer service to see if they can offer a suggestion.

    Unfortunately, because I’d been busy, I hadn’t bothered to do a back-up.

    It looks like the only thing I’ll really lose are my holiday photos, and this month of up-dates to my calendar.

    I know I should have backed up my computer. I just grew complacent because everything was working so well. Dern!!!

    Comments off

    Busch Gardens Gala

    Busch Gardens Ice ShowToday was the last day for the Busch Gardens Holiday Ice Show and last weekend for the rest of their holiday presentations. We’d wanted to go on the 23rd, but Willow wasn’t well enough to leave for the day. She’s much better now, so we decided to go. I’m so glad we did. The shows were exceptional.

    We planned out our day: lunch at the Dessert Grill while enjoying their holiday variety show, then at 2:15 we’d go to the ice show. On our way home we’d get John’s electric bike which had been “on order.”

    The day started out comfortable at about 65-67. I had on a light sweater, but was actually a little too warm. John wore a long sleeved shirt over a tee shirt, but he shed the long sleeved shirt for most of the morning. But while we were going to “the Grill” it started raining and really came down. (Luckily we had umbrellas.) By the time we’d left the variety show, the temperatures had dropped 10+ degrees. It stopped raining before we went to the ice show, but it got even cooler.

    John had his long sleeved shirt back on, but he could have used the heavier jacket he’d left in the car. I had added light a jacket but was still chilly. We left about 3:00, cold and damp.

    We got John’s bike and did some other shopping. We were home before dark.

    I’m really glad we went to the shows. Both were first class. The costuming was excellent and the talent exceptional

    We always sit near the front. (We were in the center of the fourth row for the ice show and at the first table for the variety show.) During the variety show, an attractive Marilyn Monroe-style vocalist stopped at our table and sang to John. She ran her fingers through John’s hair and really messed it up. He loved it! Pays to get there early and get good seats.

    Comments off

    2009 Ends quietly

    John and I spent the day at the pool with friends. It was a fun place to be and the temperatures, although they fluctuated, ended up in the mid-70’s, lots of sunshine, and very comfortable. I walked both to and from the pool. (Good exercise.)

    We came back about 4:30 and by 6:00, after a light dinner, we headed to the South Club for a New Year’s Eve celebration. None of our close friends were present so we didn’t stay long. A couple hours of drinking, dancing and “celebrating” and we were ready to head home.

    We’re here now. It’s 9:00 and we’re watching TV. The door is open and a nice breeze is coming in from outside. It’s about 65 out there.

    Can’t think of a better way to end 2009.

    Comments off

    Heat or A/C??

    Last night with the heat on and the setting at about 62, the heat came on several times. John moved the thermostat setting up a few degrees when he got up. I think it was probably set at about 70. Today, it warmed up outside, but with everything closed, I was oblivious. Finally, early in the afternoon, I opened the doors and realized it was warm enough to go to the pool so the heat was shut off. Most of the afternoon, I left the door open, and soon it was 76 in the condo, so I turned the A/C on.

    At this time the heat temp is back on but it’s only set to 61. It’s still 74 in here so nothing is running. But I’d love a system like our car which just automatically switches and keeps you at a temperature without having to decide if it’ll require heat or A/C to achieve that temp.

    Over night tonight the low is heading into the mid-50’s. (No heat nor air required overnight.) Tomorrow it should be warm (mid to high 70’s), so I want to go to the pool (A/C? Maybe?), but by evening it’ll be chilly. (Maybe it won’t require heat because it’ll only be about 61 for a low.)

    New Year’s Day it’ll only be a high of 64 but a low of 41. The heat will definitely be back on by the 1st, and I can guess that it won’t be off until at least after the 8th of January. We need a programmable thermostat. Low of about 60-63 over night. High of about 70 when on heat, and about 76 for an A/C setting.

    Comments off

    Making Plans

    Last night we had a good time at the South Club while folks karaoke’d. We would never take the mic ourselves, but it’s fun watching others and sometimes the whole place “got into it.” Tunes like “Sweet Caroline” and “16 Tons” had everyone singing.

    Today, I hope we can put up the second fan. (We took a break yesterday.) John didn’t sound as if he was interested when I suggested the fan installation, but hopefully he’ll change his mind.

    It’s actually quite nice out. Maybe we should pretend it’s warm enough and go to the pool.

    Tomorrow (New Year’s Eve) we’ll go back to the South Club to bring in the New Year. If we get tired before midnight, we won’t have anything invested. It’s just a Rockin’ Rendezvous evening. They should have the grill going so we can eat there, have a drink or two, and dance a little. If nothing is happening, we can go home.

    Then on Friday (January 1st), we’ll go to Busch Gardens. It’s the last day for their ice show and Christmas shows so we want to be sure to go to it.

    We were going to go before Christmas but Willow was so ill that we were afraid to leave her. She’s now much better and we feel we can go for the day.

    Comments off

    Look Up

    our new fanJohn installed one of our two new ceiling fans today. The other one will be installed tomorrow.

    The ceiling fans, which were in place were perfectly adequate, but they were like the thousands of other fans the construction company installed when they built these condos. The light fixtures in the dining rooms, the fans, and several other items are “standard.” You go into any of the condos in Kings Point, and you’ll see the same ceiling fans and light fixtures.

    Last spring we replaced our dining room fixture with a stained glass, bowl shaped one, and a matching foyer light.

    The plain white five-bladed fans will continue to be just fine in our two bedrooms but our living room deserved something nicer. If you look at the photo, you’ll see the old one in the foreground is plain white. The one from the ceiling near the “tree” is the new pretty palm leaves.

    We have sort of a tropical theme in our living room. It’s comfortable and pretty, but we do need to do something about those worn and uncomfortable recliners. They must GO!

    Comments off

    New Year’s Eve Flexibility

    Before we left Michigan, we thought we’d go to a New Year’s Eve party put on by the Oldies But Goodies club at the Sun City Center main community building. When we got here, we found it was a sell-out.

    Since it appeared the party wasn’t possible, we made tentative plans to go to the South Club just a block or so from us. There won’t be a formal “party” but hopefully some folks we know will attend. They’ll have music and munchies.

    Last night we got a call from a lady who had extra tickets for the Oldies But Goodies party. But we decided to pass on that opportunity. We have already adjusted our thinking. Going to a big party and sitting at a table with folks we don’t know doesn’t sound all that desirable. The $70 would have included “heavy hors d’oeuvres” but it was byob. $70 plus a new dress sounded like it was a budget stretcher.

    But a bigger consideration is that John has good days and some days when he doesn’t feel up to par. Expensive party tickets would make John feel as if he was “required” to hang in there. Maybe that won’t be the best thing for him. We probably won’t dance as much as we used to and that means being at a compatible table is even more important.

    The informal South Club gathering will be just fine, or maybe we’ll just stay home, or maybe we’ll get together with friends like last year. We’re flexible.

    We also have two other big parties to go to during January and February and several dances. For those events, we will be at tables with friends. That will fill our “quota” of fancy “dress-up” opportunities.

    So New Year’s Eve we’ll just go over to the South Club and come home when we feel like it. We won’t have the lovely hors d’oeuvres which would have been included in the $70 tickets but I don’t need the calories.

    With John’s illness, I’m learning to make adjustments and be flexible. No sense it stressing him.

    Comments off

    Willow’s her old self

    Tuesday, the 22nd, Willow nearly died, but she’s her old self now. She’s hungry and playful. Talk about a turn-around. And to think we nearly put her to sleep (at the vet’s suggestion). She’s sure doing well.

    Comments off

    Revision is up!

    I love working with web site design. My website at has been totally revised. Actually it’s not 100% finished, but the main part is up. I will have to blend some of the sub-site pages, but there’s no rush. I’m pleased with it.

    Comments off

    Glorious Christmas feast

    We just finished a lovely dinner: ham, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, fresh baked bread, green beans, ambrosia salad (with tangerines, pineapple, bananas, coconut and mini marshmallows in sour cream), several relishes and hot apple pie. It was all very good. After we ate, we went for a golf cart ride through all the golf courses since all of the paths are open to everyone on Christmas Day. (The rest of the time you must be a member of a golf club to use the paths.)

    Last night, Christmas Eve, we went to a party at Dale and Trudy’s condo. They’re the ones who used to let me know that Mom needed me when she first started displaying symptoms. They lived one condo over from Mom’s. We were their neighbors until we had to move from Mom’s condo. Trudy, who is a realtor, helped us find the condo we bought.

    Comments off

    Christmas dinner planned.. Willow better

    Today we shopped for our Christmas dinner. We were supposed to have spent the day enjoying Busch Garden’s wonderful Christmas ice show, but we were too concerned about Willow to leave her for the day. So we stayed home. Willow slept all day today but was much improved from yesterday’s major trauma. This evening she walked a few feet then went back to her bed.

    We planned our holiday dinner: a ham, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, fresh baked bread, ambrosia salad, relishes, green beans, apple pie.

    Hopefully tomorrow we can go to the pool. It was just a tiny too cool today (70 or so). Tomorrow it’s supposed to be close to 80.

    Comments off

    Willow in crisis

    Willow, our tiny dog, wasn’t doing well this morning. She’s been up and down over the past few weeks. Yesterday she looked really good but not today. Because, when we called the vet, she was in critical condition, our veterinarian took her in as an “emergency.” He’s really good with her but there’s little that can be done. She was put on oxygen and nitro. We waited to see how she was this afternoon. By late afternoon, she was doing better. We were able to bring her home.

    The time will come when we’ll have to make “the hard decision” but it looks like she’s made it past this crisis. The vet warned us to be prepared because her heart is shot. Willow is now sleeping peacefully. She’s on meds galore. Her heart is crowding her lungs, but she’s comfortable and no longer in distress. We’d have given our permission to end her life if it was hopeless, but she proved she’s a fighter and deserves to keep on going.

    Comments off

    Today we’ll rest

    Since our arrival, we have been on the go constantly:
    Thursday – Rockin’ Rondezvous at the South Club House.
    Friday – a Marcille Wallis and friends concert at the United Methodist Church.
    Saturday – a funeral, funeral luncheon, and evening neighborhood party.
    Sunday – a dance club dance.

    Now we will have two days of leisure.  This afternoon or tomorrow we’ll probably go get our H1N1 vaccinations.

    Wednesday we’re going to Busch Gardens for their Christmas ice show,

    It’s really cool today (high of about 62 and lows in the 40’s over night).  But by Wednesday it’s supposed to be 75.  Thursday (Christmas Eve) scattered showers are predicted.  I think we’ll just laze around today. No need to do anything. John’s tired. (He did fine at our first dance last night.)

    Christmas Eve Day it’ll be about 76 and we have an invitation to a house party at Dale and Trudy’s that evening.

    Christmas Day it’s supposed to be in the mid-70’s but possibly thunderstorms.  Then it’ll chilly down again for a few days.  I hope we can go to the pool.  (That’s the tradition we started last year.)

    We haven’t decided what we’ll have for our Christmas dinner: ham, turkey, roast beef???

    Comments off

    Chilly and cool

    Looks like it’s heading to a cool Christmas. I so wanted to be in the pool on Christmas day and maybe we will but it’ll be cooler than last year!

    Last night we attended a concert held here in Sun City Center (FL) at the Methodist Church. It was Christmas with the Celts featuring Marcille Wallis and her group of four wonderful musicians and two exceptional Celtic dancers.

    Matt Miller, who accompanied her one year when she came to the Funfest, has really matured into a great fiddler. She had an excellent guitarist, Michael DeLalla; a talented whistle/mandolin/vocalist; and Robin Hendrickson on bagpipes. The whole group was super! Each musician was outstanding. What a treat!

    The act opened with the musicians and dancers coming down the center isle lead by the bagpiper. It was dramatic and stirring.

    The Irish/Scottish dancers added a great touch. Their energy was contagious.

    One of Marcille’s first pieces was a solo with guitar back-up of “Oh, Holy Night” which was awesome. She is really a very appealing showman who captured the audience. Her playing was excellent and those in the group really provided wonderful foundation for her dulcimer as well as individual solo numbers which featured their unique talents.

    She told the audience about the Evart Funfest and what it’s like to go to sleep at 2:00 a.m. to the sound of hammered dulcimers and wake up at 6:00 a.m. to the sound of dulcimers (maybe even the same players).

    She and her group visited the same church in February and we were fortunate to attend then too. We liked them last time but this time show was even better!

    This a.m. we will attend the funeral of Joan Thate. Bob Thate is our association vice president and all round nice guy and helpful neighbor. Joan has been ill for some time and in a nursing home. It’s a sad time for Bob. We didn’t know Joan very well, but she seemed like a lovely lady.

    This evening we’ll traverse three condos south from us to a neighborhood holiday party.

    Comments off

    A Christmas tree for the Skaryds!

    We found a 7 1/2 foot artificial tree today for merely $25. It’s lovely with 1,450 tips and 800 lights. The couple selling it no longer spend their Christmases here so they decided to sell it. It’s really nice.

    Our Sun City Center Christmas tree I’m a person who vowed never to have an artificial tree, but my allergies have gotten so bad and, with John’s lung condition, a real tree (complete with molds and fungi) would not be wise.

    I need to get some silver, white or gold balls to make the tree look “complete” but it’s ok for now.

    It took a couple hours to “assemble” the tree but it was worth it. It’s lovely!

    Over the years I have made crocheted Victorian ornaments (lacy with pearls). They are the only ornaments I had to use, although I plan to get more plain silver, gold, or white balls to glorify the tree.

    We went to Rockin’ Rondezvous tonight but felt a little isolated. Most of the folks we usually sit with are with families over the holidays. We did see some old friends and made plans to sit with Linda and Bob Sunday at the “Academy” dance.

    We were home by 6:00. I haven’t been feeling up to par and I’m exhausted. (I’ve had a intestinal bug since about Tuesday.) A quiet evening should help restore my energy.

    Tomorrow night we want to go to a Marcile Wallis concert at the Methodist Church. Saturday a funeral during the day and a party at night. Sunday the Academy dance. Sad for our friend/neighbor/vice president of our association who lost his wife Tuesday. But the concert and the dance sound like fun.

    John tried dancing tonight for the first time since he’s developed his lung problem. He did fine. We didn’t do anything too strenuous but we got out there and shook our booty a little.

    Comments off

    First day in paradise

    Flowers welcomed us When we arrived yesterday and opened the door from our living room toward the golf course, here’s what we saw. We’d planted a small flowerless poinsettia last year. It had been a luncheon centerpiece and door prize in about a 4″ pot. This year it’s magnificant. What a lovely Christmas-y greeting.

    Today we’ll unpack and clean. I have a beauty salon appointment at 10:00. John will go with me and shop for groceries.

    But we have a slight problem: Last night our next door Saginaw neighbor, Connie, called us.

    We’d purchased a device called a “Honeywell Winter Watcher” which allowed us to plug in a light which would be visible in case our house temperature fell below 45 degrees. Connie had agreed to monitor the light. (She can see the window where we placed the lamp from her kitchen window.)

    Last night she got home and the light was on. It was only 17 degrees outside when she called us. She doesn’t have access to the house but she wanted to advise us that the “warning light” was on.

    Last week we had the furnace serviced so we”re fairly certain it’s just a problem with the way it was set. Maybe John didn’t leave enough of a range between the furnace setting and the setting on the “Watcher.” But we won’t know until John’s friend, George, can go into our house and check to make sure everything is working. We may have to have the thermostat replaced. Whatever it takes, hopefully George can handle it for us. We’re a little far to have a problem like this develop. It obviously bothered John all night. He slept very little.

    Today is Thursday. I didn’t feel well Tuesday and Wednesday with a major digestive problem. It wore me out, so I was exhausted and slept like a rock.

    So hopefully there’s no problem at home. As soon as John can reach George and have him check things out, he’ll feel better.


    Friday George was able to go into our Saginaw house and check out the warning signal. But everything was fine. The device was just set too close to the thermostat setting. Moving the dial on the light to a lower setting turned it off. Now we can be fairly certain that the light won’t come on unless the lower temperature is reached.

    Comments off

    Sunsational in Sun City Center

    We arrived at our condo about 12:30. Temperatures were in the 80’s. Before we went inside, we were welcomed by a couple neighbors and more stopped by shortly.

    The afternoon was spent “settling in.” Next year it’ll be easier if I stick to my vow to leave everything here and just travel (not move) back and forth. No more bins of clothes. No more suitcases which require a man and a boy to move. I want to travel light.

    But this time, we came with a full truckload and I spent much of the day unloading and unpacking. There’s still more to be done.

    I also took time to “decorate for the season.” There’s a lovely Christmas centerpiece on our coffee table, a small Christmas tree on the table by the window. I put a wreath on the door, Christmas placemats on the dining room table and lights in the window. My mom’s small ceramic tree is on the lanai, greeting visitors. There are liberal candles around the condo. It looks nice.

    The condo was in good shape except for the split leaf philodendron which we always battle or it over-grows the walk-way to the front door, and a dead hybiscus behind the condo toward the golf course. The front door and lawn furniture on the lanai were covered with black mold. I scrubbed it off the door, but it will take even more elbow grease. We’ll finish cleaning, dusting and vacuuming the place tomorrow. Right now it looks great and we feel “at home.”

    It’ll be cooler in a few days… much cooler, but looking ahead it looks like, in about a week, it will return to the weather which greeted us today.

    Already our calendar is filling up. We have plans every night starting tomorrow night through Christmas Eve except for Monday and Tuesday. I don’t know what we’ll do after that, but we sure have a full calendar for the next week.

    Comments off

    Visiting Valdosta

    It’s now 7:30 p.m. We are settled in to our motel in Valdosta, GA. We made it by 4:30. The room is nice. We ate a light dinner, and now we’re relaxing.

    This afternoon there were some light showers (more like mist) in the Atlanta area. Temperature got up to 72. It had quit raining by the time we got to Valdosta.

    Unfortunately Sun City Center’s forecast doesn’t look all that great for next week. It’s in the 80’s today, but by next week there’ll be a few days in the low 60’s. (Then it turns around and heads back into the mid-70’s.)

    I tried one of my techie tricks tonight from our motel. I brought along my “Magic Jack” device and a phone. Using the high-speed wi-fi which is available here in our room with the Magic Jack, I can make unlimited phone calls at no charge. (Magic Jack is an “internet” phone.) The audio quality was very good. I could switch our home phone forwarding to the Magic Jack and we would be able to seamlessly receive our calls, but since we’ll be at our destination tomorrow, and the calls are going to our cell, I didn’t bother.

    We’ll be on the road by 8:00 tomorrow morning and should pull in to our condo about 12:30.

    Comments off

    We’re passing through Knoxville, TN

    We’re enjoying another day of clear roads (knock on wood), with fairly mild temperatures (54 at 9:10).

    Last night’s Red Roof in London, KY, is the nicest one we’ve stayed at. (We like Red Roof’s because they’re the only chain that doesn’t object to Willow nor charge any extra for her.) This morning the free breakfast consisted of waffles, toast, cereals, bagels, hot grits, juice and coffee.

    Tonight we have two reservations so we can be flexible and either stay in Macon or Valdosta, GA. We’ll decide as we get further south, but since we got an early start this a.m., chances are we’ll drive on to Valdosta. (We’d probably arrive about 3:00 in Macon, and that’s too early to call it a day.) By choosing the more southerly stop, we can make it to Florida tomorrow and have lunch at the condo rather than another lunch stop on the road.

    Comments off

    Somewhere in northern Tennessee

    We’re enjoying another day of clear roads (knock on wood), with fairly mild temperatures (54 at 9:10).

    Last night’s Red Roof in London, KY, is the nicest one we’ve stayed at. (We’re locked into Red Roof’s because they’re the only chain that doesn’t object to Willow nor charge any extra for her.) This morning for breakfast they served waffles, toast, cereals, bagels, hot grits, juice and coffee.

    Tonight we have two reservations so we can be flexible and either stay in Macon or Valdosta, GA. We’ll decide as we get further south, but since we got an early start this a.m., chances are we’ll drive on to Valdosta. (We’d probably arrive about 3:00 in Macon, and that’s too early to call it a day.) By choosing the more southerly stop, we can make it to Florida tomorrow and have lunch at the condo rather than another lunch stop on the road.

    Comments off

    Click here to go to the Skaryd's Biography and a link for emailing.