Archive for2012-10 to 2013 – Fall and Winter in Fun Florida

Cramming it all in

With a week to go, we’ve been cramming in lots of fun activities. This weekend we had a good time at a Michigan Club Kentucky Derby Party and a brunch celebration of Richard ending his chemo treatments.

I’ve been packing and feel everything is just about ready to move from the “staging area” into the truck. The little bit that’s left to be done can be completed last minute.

This afternoon we’ll attend a bar-be-que and go to our last line dance class. Tomorrow we’ll have fun at karaoke at the South Club. Wednesday evening I want to go to Little Harbor to take in a lovely sunset and enjoy their wonderful burger specials. Thursday is our last Rockin’ Rendezvous and good-bye to lots of folks we only see at the Club House. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I plan to hang out at the pool. Sunday evening we’ll attend an Oldies But Goodies Dance with music by our favorite group, Flash Back.

We leave a week from today.

Already I’m counting down to the return trip.

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Too close for comfort

Our departure from Florida will occur May 13th, two weeks from tomorrow. I have a lot of cleaning and packing to accomplish.

Wish I liked cleaning and packing like I do being at the pool but I find the lure of warm water and friends hard to resist.

Between now and the 13th, we have a couple parties and dances. Maybe we just won’t find time to leave.

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Fun weekend (and it’s only half-way through)

Yesterday a bunch of us (close to 30 folks) gathered at the bowling alley on Big Bend Road in Riverview for a birthday party for two of our good friends: Shelly Brooks and Ron Ringenback. It was fun although both John and I bowled lousy!! From there, we went from the alley to Asian Fusion in Apollo Beach for a lovely buffet. It was a totally enjoyable time!

Today was cloudy and overcast. John played pickleball this morning and I should have gone to the pool, but instead we went shopping and didn’t get home until mid-afternoon. After getting home, I worked on the workshops for the Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest and the website for that club.

I need to focus on scheduling workshops. It’s a huge job and I really need to apply myself.

Tomorrow night (Sunday), we’ll enjoy an Oldies but Goodies dance with a bunch of our friends. Monday and Tuesday we have pool parties. It’s all so much fun.

This is why I love our time in Florida.

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Toilet seats (probably TMI)

Many women complain when their husbands or other males leave the toilet seat up. Most ladies have had the unpleasant experiencing of “falling in” when we expected the seat down, and it was in an “up” position. The hard, cold porcelain greeting us (or worse the water in the bowl) is a rude awakening (especially in the middle of the night.)

At our house, it’s not a problem. After we both listened to an explanation of the micro-fine, germ-laden mist which envelops the bathroom, when a toilet is flushed, we both vowed to put the seat COVER down before flushing. So if you come to our house, you’ll find the cover is always down. To me it seems strange now to see the innards of the toilet bowl.

When I use the “facilities” in friends’ houses, I lower the cover out of habit before flushing. I’m sure John probably does the same.

It’s an excellent habit to develop. That way both the males and females have a responsibility to “put the seat down.” And, more importantly, your bathroom will have fewer nasty germs.

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The Dove Experiment

This is an interesting study:

Dove soap did an experiment.

A former forensic artist for the San Jose police department met a series of women and asked each to describe the way they look. He had no way of seeing them behind a curtain. He prompted them to detail everything: hair length, facial structure, their most prominent features. He then sketched each participant from their self-description.

Each woman was asked before the study to get to know one of the other participants. The forensic artist then prompted each woman to describe the other’s face. The results are fascinating.

We’re so critical of ourselves. This should be a lesson to each of us.

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Missing from the Landscape

Today, as I walked to the pool, I noticed the grass beside the sidewalk. I’m not referring to lovely thick green grass like that on golf courses; I’m talking about the stuff that survives in high traffic areas next to sidewalks here and there.

I noticed large patches of green (probably about a foot or more in diameter). In Michigan, those clumps would have been made up of sweet green clover. At first (from a distance), I thought I was approaching a clover patch and looked forward to hunting for a four-leaf (which I frequently do when I spot clover in Michigan.) But this morning, the weeds which filled the area were strange to me. These were multi-leafed, growing much like clover, but many leaves on straight stems.

There is NO clover that I’ve seen in Florida.

I miss Michigan vegetation. Down here we have no spring flowers (lilac, tulips, crocus, daffodil). There are no maple trees, Michigan oaks, elms, birch trees, willow, white pine and spruce. None of those grow here in our central area of Florida (or, if they are here, I haven’t spotted them.)

In Florida we have a native tree called an oak complete with acorns, but the leaves don’t look at all like the lobed leaves of a Michigan oak tree. Our Florida oaks are often festooned with Spanish moss which sways like a dancer’s skirt but these aren’t the oaks of my youth.

And here in Florida, we have a whole host of palms which could never survive in Michigan, but I can’t begin to identify any of the various sub-species of palms.

I need to go back to Girl Scouts or summer camp. In summer camp, we were required to identify lots of trees by their leaves and as a Girl Scout, I won a merit badge for identifying trees.

Maybe with that incentive I’d learn the difference between date palms, fan palms, queen palms, royal palms and areca palms.

I somehow feel that if I could identify the vegetation here in Florida, I’d feel even more that is my home permanent home. Afterall, I can tell you about the maple trees I climbed as a child in Midland, or the white pines that have grown with unbelievable speed at our place in the U.P. But I can’t tell you what the “red bottle brush” is actually called. I just know it’s pretty.

It’s kind of a trade-off. Down here, in addition to the palms, we enjoy colorful hibiscus, birds of paradise, gardenias, and many sensitive plants that we use as “house plants” in Michigan but here in Florida grow outdoors.

Bottle Brush Tree Flower:
bottle brush flower

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Suggestion: Another Blogger

I know at least one friend who pops in every morning to see if I’ve added to this blog known as “Sharon’s Blog.”

Like my friend who visits my blog and enjoys my posts, I look forward to some blog posts written by a friend: Judith Lindenau. Judith’s daily blog draws me in. She writes beautifully. Some of what she writes (unlike my posts), is fiction, but it’s all well done. I’m hooked. I’ve signed up for reminders that tell me when she’s posted and I never miss her writings.

I strongly recommend her to those who appreciate interesting, brief essays. You can find them under the title Mice in the Cupboard.

I can almost guarantee you’ll love Judith’s blog. She has a home in Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas. Many of her posts have to do with her life there. I truly believe that you’ll enjoy her beautiful, descriptive prose. Try her. I think you’ll be hooked too.

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Very relucantly we’ll soon be leaving Florida (probably about May 13th.)

I’m starting to make my lists of things I must remember to do before we leave. I’m also preparing packing lists.

About two weeks before we leave, I’ll start a “staging area.” Some stuff has to wait until last minute to be rounded up, but there are always lots of items I don’t want to forget. This year I’m determined to to leave most of my clothes here in Florida. The stuff I haven’t worn this season will go back with me (or I’ll purge/donate it). I don’t want to forget that I need about a dozen nice casual outfits to wear while we’re at our big festival in July.

Of course this year wasn’t like last. We didn’t have any severe cold requiring a “winter wardrobe.” Most years I’ve worn my Michigan heavy jacket a few times, but not this year. (I may take it back to Michigan with me because reports are that spring is refusing to arrive and it’s still threatening to snow!)

My overly-full closet is crowded with stuff that just hangs there unworn because it either doesn’t fit or isn’t in style. I’d love to lose about 20 pounds, but I’m no longer saving clothes with that in mind. Instead I want to reward myself, if I get back to a smaller size, with new outfits. So as I pack, rather than just pushing unused stuff to the back of the closet, I’m going to purge a lot of items.

On the topic of weight, I will readily admit that I didn’t do what I’d promised myself before I left for Florida. I thought that coming here, where I’m dressed in skimpier attire and I’m more active, would help me lose weight. But I hadn’t counted on the potlucks, the party food, the wine and beer, and the dining out experiences which have occurred every few days.

I have no will-power when it comes to those dining events that make up so much of our social life here. I hope, when I get back to Michigan, I can concentrate on a diet and shed some weight. With the incentive of looking better in the fall for Florida and approximately 140 days in Michigan, I hope I’ll do better than I have this winter. (I’ve gained nearly five pounds over the past six months!)

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Playing the Marimbula

9NoteMarimbula.jpgLast July, when we were at our big dulcimer festival, we bought another instrument for me to play, a marimbula. I didn’t want to give up my autoharp, but we felt the strong beat of the marimbula would enhance our music.

The photos to the left are of a marimbula. It sounds like an upright bass but easier to tote around. The thought, when we bought it, was that I could learn how to play it with our Florida group, Kings Strings.

(Kings Strings is made up of four of us: Wayne Conklin and my husband John play hammered dulcimer, and Linda Conklin and me are on autoharp. John occasionally also plays tenor banjo, Wayne sometimes sings and adds ukulele, and Linda sometimes plays Irish drum aka a bodhran, in addition to her autoharp.)

I’m really not very musical and definitely lack confidence. I was easily discouraged when John picked it up and played my new instrument perfectly, while I was struggling.

We brought it with us when we came south in October but I only played the autoharp and the marimbula sat idle in our dining room.

At a recent practice, the Conklins convinced me to try playing the marimbula. We needed the beat and that instrument would help. With their encouragement I made the effort. I’ll admit, it sounded pretty good so I practiced after that and prepared to play three or four tunes with our group, when we performed for a pizza party on April 4th. (I picked tunes with a Latin beat.)

The day of the performance arrived. I was tense and John didn’t feel well. Tension and illness don’t help a performance. The last minute run-through went smoothly but a good dress-rehearsal is said to be a bad sign.

During our show, although my playing of the Marimbula was successful, I was concentrating on the marimbula so intently that I lost it on the autoharp. I’ve never played worse (on the ‘harp). In fact all four of us had problems on one tune or another.

The audience may not have known that we weren’t playing as good as we usually do. We were disappointed but our audience loved us.

Since that night, we’ve had gobs of favorable comments. Audiences don’t notice small flaws and I think folks felt supportive of my playing because I told them it was my first public exposure with my new instrument. That helped get them on our side.

Next time I’ll feel more comfortable with my big baby, the Marimbula. I am determined to do better!!!

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Crowded Pool!!!

Today I planned to spend the whole day at the South Club pool. We haven’t been at the pool much over the past month because of the huge crowds and our busy calendar. As I planned for today, I hoped that the spring break grandchildren and other guests would have headed back north. I also expected that many snow birds would have left for their northern homes.

My plans were for a quiet day at poolside reading and soaking up the wonderful Florida sunshine.

I walked to the pool before 10:00 a.m. By arriving as early as I did, I had managed to secure two lounge chairs in my favorite shady corner. John joined me when he finished playing pickleball.

As it turned out today’s crowd was huge. By noon it was totally packed with no extra loungers or chairs.

At one point about 1:00, I was in the pool. When I got out, a crowd of ladies had “moved in.” They brought in chairs so close they were touching our chairs in a circle around us. Sure, when you go to a crowded pool deck, you expect to be close to other chairs and people, but these ladies squeezed more chairs into the space normally alloted for two lounge chairs. Instead of the two of us, all of the sudden there were six!! We had folks inches on three sides of us. It became impossible to read because they were talking (loudly) over us. (One lounge chair by our feet, one beside and one behind us.) I couldn’t even get out of my chair because we were blocked in. John felt they were intentionally trying to make us uncomfortable so we’d leave. That made me more determined to stay.

I’ll be darned if I’d give up our chairs and give them a victory for their rudeness.

One of the ladies informed me that she usually sat where I was sitting. (Actually for about SIX years, that corner has been recognized as “our spot,” although any time we arrive after others have claimed that area, we find another place. That’s how it is. No spot at the pool is for anyone’s exclusive use!!!)

A year or two ago, I found myself in the position those ladies were in. I tried to slip in behind others where there wasn’t much space. But before I located my chair I asked the close-by people if it was ok, and I said, “If I’m too close, let me know.” Then I tried to be extra quiet and not “invade” their tranquility. I shut off my phone, I didn’t talk loudly. I was respectful. I honored the fact that they had arrived first.

These ladies didn’t even acknowledge us. They just moved in around us and all of the sudden our quiet afternoon was gone.

We headed home about 3:00.

So tomorrow I’m going to try again. I’ll go even earlier (9:00-9:30), aim for my favorite spot again, and hope that I’m not crowded out. From their conversations, I have a feeling that the one who was most difficult, may be leaving for a northern state soon, maybe even tomorrow morning.

I’m glad we have a month before we leave to get over this negative feeling.

John said, “Don’t dwell on it. Ignore them. They were inconsiderate.” But I was disappointed.

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We’re looking forward to next week. By then most of the Easter/Spring break house guests who come down to Florida to visit relatives in our community should have returned home. We’ll have our pool back.

We had a cool spell during a lot of March (especially toward the end of the month) but it is now warm/hot and lovely.

Today we didn’t even bother to go to the pool because we know it’s packed!! When finding a parking place is impossible, you know that there won’t be a place to sit.

Actually this week we have a lot to anyway. Our music group, Kings Strings, is playing for Manchester’s pizza party on Thursday and Saturday John’s chorus is offering a concert. Both of those events will require practice and prep. That doesn’t leave a lot of free time.

I do see a totally open day on Friday. And after Saturday, I vow to devote several hours each day to pool time! We have a lot of late afternoon events on our calendar, but if I’m at the pool by 9:00, I can get at least five hours in each day before we hit our scheduled stuff.

It’s time!!!


Friday (April 5th) –

Wouldn’t cha know it. Finally have a free day and it’s not pool weather. We’ve had rain showers all morning. Now it’s windy and only 68 degrees. (A cold front is coming through.)

Tomorrow and Sunday should be lovely.

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Kleenex as a siphon

Tuesday/Wednesday night/early morning (probably about 1:30) I got up to go to the bathroom, came back, took a drink of water from the glass I always leave on my night stand. I pulled a Kleenex from the box beyond the glass of water and went back to bed. All of this was done without turning on a light but that’s nothing unusual.

About dawn I went to reach for my glass of water. There was a wet Kleenex in it! Strange!! When I took the soggy tissue from my glass, it was still hooked to another and another and another in the box. All wet!

Apparently when I’d pulled a Kleenex from the box at about 1:30 a second one had stuck to the first and dragged across the glass of water so the leading end was in the water, but it was also still connected to those in the box. In the the next five or six hours, the Kleenex tissue between the glass and the box had acted as a wick. The water leached back from the glass into the nearly-full box of Kleenex. In the end, the glass was empty, the box was full of wet tissues.

Who’d have ever imagined that could happen?

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We are having an annoying problem with squirrels.

This area is landscaped with lots of native oak trees. (In fact, in order to clear the land, the original developers had to commit to keeping the native trees and planting more oaks.) This year, acorns were really plentiful. We crunched through them for months and keeping driveways and sidewalks clear of them was impossible. The street was orange from their crushed shells.

With the acorns, come squirrels. It’s not unusual to count a dozen or more of them at any time. You look across the ground and they are moving. The furry critters are fun to watch as they chase up and down trees and around the grassy area between us and the pond behind us. But their “play place” includes our screens. Our lanai screens are a favorite spot for them to chase up and down, but our new sliding door screens have also been an attractive for these furry creatures. They flatten themselves against the screen and can move easily across it.

We’re concerned that they’ll do damage. I’ve noticed they leave their tracks on the screen on the new doors and we’re not happy!! Our plan is to remove the new screens from their tracks and store them in the garage when we head back to Michigan but that doesn’t protect the lanai screens.

I want to buy some squirrel repellent (spray). I definitely plan to buy some but with our luck, they’ll love the smell.

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Cool Springtime Today Only

We’re in for a cool day today with a high of 67 but after that, in the long-range forecast, I see only one temperature below 70! Hopefully this last segment of our 2012-13 winter in Florida will be lovely until we leave. Unfortunately our return to Michigan seems like it’s approaching much too fast.

We will be leaving about May 13th.

Soon I’ll be starting to pack up our “stuff.” I’m already working on lists. This year I vow not to drag as much back and forth. Eventually I’d love to fly back and forth rather than taking our truck but haven’t convinced John yet (although at least he’s now “thinking” about it.)

John feels it’s cheaper to drive our truck down, but I really doubt it. We could save the cost of five nights in motels (going and coming), meals on the road, and the storage area here in Kings Point where we store the truck, not to mention the wear and tear on us as well as our vehicle when we drive down on the very dangerous highways. I-75 is over-run with semis that make the trip truly scary.

True, if we fly down, we’ll need airport shuttle service to and from the airport and the cost of our flights. There’s also the problem of getting Charlie, our bird, to Florida but he’s getting really old, and we could always take him in a small cage under the seat in the plane.

A bigger problem might be our musical instruments. I hope I can find a way that the instrument problem can be resolved.

There are a couple solutions I can think of: We could use our extra instruments which are currently in Michigan when we’re in Michigan. Next season we can leave our favorite instruments in Florida. With instruments in both locations, we can consider flying down the following year (in October 2014). It’s the sort of change that we’ll have to plan for. The other choice would be to wait and when we decide to start flying, we can box up the instruments and ship them down (at a cost of approximately $30-$40 per instrument).

I think we need to seriously start working out the details so we can fly. John’s not getting any younger, and flying is so much safer than 1,300 miles each way. If I can convince John, we’ll need to start the long-range plan by bringing back stuff in the truck from Michigan to Florida in October 2013.

Mailing stuff is always possible but I’d hate to have to pay the postage to get things like my favorite dinnerware serving pieces which I’m missing here in Florida. I need to carefully review both places for items that need to be relocated and bring down as much as possible in October when we come back here.

The only maybe insurmountable problem I see will be our wine supply. We count on enjoying John’s wine over the winter. (I wonder if we could ship our grapes or the grape juice to Florida at a reasonable price so he could make the wine down here. It’s something we can look into.)

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Warming up!

A very good day!! We went shopping and ended up at Goodson Farms where they have the best pressed Cuban sandwiches and large fresh strawberry shortcakes you can imagine. Today the Cubans and shortcakes were better than usual. It had finally warmed up and tomorrow will probably be a pool-day!! (mid to high 70’s) Came back and spent the afternoon compiling the info for our accountant so she can do our income taxes. (Feels good to have it ready to go to her.) Now we’re enjoying a glass of John’s homemade wine. Definitely a good day.

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Rambling thoughts

In the past, I have written a couple posts about how it’s difficult for snowbirds to keep stuff from spoiling when you leave it behind and head to your up-north home in the spring. Expiration dates are our enemy.

Here’s my earlier post: “Expiration Dates”

We have recognized the value of taking things like batteries and vitamins back and forth or storing them in the refrigerator. Shelf-life is greatly reduced in Florida’s summer heat. But this week we discovered that those hot summer temperatures cause other problems that we hadn’t considered.

A few years ago I bought three Vellux blankets to be used on our beds here in Florida because they were inexpensive, light weight and looked lovely. Recently I’ve realized that those blankets are falling apart. They should have lasted longer!! The velvety stuff is pealing off the foam core. The sluff-off was ending up all over our bedroom floor and every time you pulled the blanket up, more came off. Obviously those blankets that are loosing their skin must go! I’m sure the problem is a result of the heat in our condo over the summer months. (We run a humidistat which makes sure that we don’t have mold conditions, but the temperatures are generally in the mid-80’s from May-October.)

I’ve been looking on-line and had found some that were lightweight fiber fill “down alternative” blankets with bindings all around. Their average price was about $79 so I’d hesitated. Yesterday I bought one at Sam’s Club for about 1/3 that price. Now I wish I’d gotten a couple more. Sam’s is in Riverview so we don’t get there often, but it would be worth another trip back. I’m afraid even if we hurry back, they may not have them because they were a one-time offering. I’ll see if I can talk John into making the trip Thursday.

Speaking of “going back” to places, I left my reading glasses in a restaurant last night. They aren’t worth a special trip back, but we’ll go right past the place when we go to pick strawberries in a few weeks. (I’m anxious for fresh strawberries and hope they’ll be priced as in the past at four quarts for $1.)

Our Florida weather has been annoyingly cool. No pool time. It has been in the 40’s in the mornings and yesterday, even at it’s warmest, it hovered only around 60 degrees. Today it might get up to the mid 70’s, but then until the weekend, it’ll be back into the low 60’s. Thank heavens, it should warm up in about three days and stay that way – hopefully until we leave in May!! I sure hope so!!

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We made it!

John and I celebrated our birthdays over the past few days. John’s was Friday. Saturday we had a joint party and yesterday was mine.

The party was fun and successful with 20 good friends collecting to enjoy an evening of food and dancing. Being together was the fun part!!

We’re both nearly over our bug. Since I got it later than John I was still fighting mine when he was feeling better but I am about back to normal now.

Tonight we’ll have fun at a karaoke evening at the clubhouse. Thursday night we’ll all attend a fun “lip sync” show.

We will be leaving for home in about two months. Need to enjoy every minute of the time we have left here in paradise!!

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My turn to be under-the-weather

Wednesday I felt like I was coming down with something and by Thursday I had no voice and knew I was on the edge of not feeling well. Friday I did go to the pool for the day but Saturday I was even worse so I stayed inside and didn’t venture out at all. Today (Sunday), I’m better. My voice is still husky and I had about an hour of coughing this a.m. but I feel that I’m doing better. Got to the pool at about 9:30. Water felt wonderful. Hopefully I can shake it.

I only stayed at the pool until about 1:30. One symptom of this bug is being really edgy. Friday I stayed too long and the chatter from those seated close to me annoyed me like nails on a chalkboard. By the time I left I was ready to scream. Today I left before I reached that point. Our house is comfortable and peaceful.

I must get feeling better!!! March 1st, Friday, is John’s 75th birthday. My 71st birthday is Monday, March 4th. On Saturday, March 2nd, we’re going to have a joint party at Alpha Pizza House in Apollo Beach. We’ll arrive at 4:30. Alpha House will have music in the lounge from 5:00-8:00. We’ve invited a bunch to join us there. Should be a fun time, if we both feel up-to-it.

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What’s Up?

I’ve been pretty quiet lately. We were kind of “hibernating.” John wasn’t getting over his “bug” so we tried staying inside, especially since it was pretty chilly. But now it’s beautiful again with blue skies, puffy clouds and warm temps.

Yesterday the Michigan Club held a huge pizza party. (I was the chairman for the third year.) We were set up for about 160 but ended up with about 140. Our entertainer was John Cortese, a really fun 88-year-old who does a patter of senior humor. He got a standing ovation (he said it was his first).

The pizza (ordered locally from a mom and pop local pizza shop) arrived on time and HOT!! And the salad Richard made drew rave reviews.

Last year we ran out of beer so we doubled our order this year and also didn’t allow before-the-party drinkers. As it turned out, we had twice as much beer as we needed. Today we discovered that the store has a NO RETURN policy, even though the keg was untapped and always cold. Hopefully we can sell our unopened keg to a club that’s holding a party within the next month. The party store will allow us to keep it refrigerated until it’s needed so it’ll be perfect. If the club won’t buy from us, we’ll have a huge party of our own!!

Unfortunately while I was so busy working yesterday, I wasn’t feeling well. I pushed myself and accomplished what was necessary and it was a successful event, but today I have no voice. I actually don’t feel as bad as I sound. I would have headed to the pool to soak up some rays, but I figured that lazing around here might get me back to normal sooner, so I’m inside and in an hour, I’ll get ready so we can go to the clubhouse to dance with our friends.

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John’s still not well

John slept most of the day. He’s definitely not well…

We had an invitation to a dinner party starting at 5:00 p.m. at Bob and Judy’s. It was supposed to be the prelude to a Baby Boomers Club Valentines Dance.

John rallied enough to clean up and go to the dinner, but immediately afterward, we came back home and he’s now sleeping. No sense going to the dance alone. It wouldn’t be fun. So we missed the dance, but hopefully he’ll get over this bug and there’ll be many other dances.

In fact, we have one another fancier dance Tuesday so we’ll get to shake our boody then. I just want him to fell better.

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John’s under the weather

John’s has been suffering from a cold (or some bug) for several days. This fall and winter he was doing really good. He usually toughs through anything and keeps on going but this virus(?) has knocked him for a loop. It started a couple weeks ago with a sore throat but until Wednesday he felt had it under control and was improving. He even played pickleball Monday and Tuesday and claimed he was over it, but then he had a relapse and has been suffering for the past couple of days. Thursday we went to the Tampa racetrack, but he should have been home in bed. Yestreday he slept much of the day but I can’t keep him down. He insisted on going to town in the afternoon to “get out” saying he could do what he wanted faster without me, so he wanted to go alone. When he got back, he admitted it had been too much but last night and today he’s been taking it easy. We have nothing on our calendar until tomorrow evening, so I’m hoping he’ll just rest and get over it. He needs to just let me baby him and rest but my guy doesn’t do well in this situation. Glad we have nothing planned today so he can devote his energy to getting better.

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What’s been happening?

It’s February and we have less than 100 days left before we head back to Michigan. We feel like we have to hurry and crowd lots into our precious time.

Last Friday we went to Busch Gardens. It was a little chilly when we started out, but all-in-all not a bad day weatherwise.

The shows we attended were awesome! We saw Chubby Checker at 11:30, the ice show at 1:00, and at 2:00 we took in “Let’s Get Loud.” Chubby and the ice show we’d seen before, but this year they were even better. Chubby got the audience totally involved and it was truly fun.

Saturday night we attended a country dance (hoe-down) with Bill and Donna. Totally enjoyable.

Sunday was “Super Bowl” Sunday. We’d planned to go to an Oldies but Goodies dance but at the last minute we decided to stay home. Good choice!

Monday, 22 of us went to Little Harbor to celebrate our friend Dave’s birthday. We had a chilly dinner at Sunset Grill. We were very cold by the time we headed home but the warmth of the group made it a good time! And the sunset was lovely!!

This week we have a full schedule: Today I’m going to the pool and, since it’s finally warming up, I hope to get there most every day this week to soak up the sun. We’ll go to Karaoke tonight at the clubhouse. Maybe we’ll make it to Busch Gardens either Wednesday or Friday to see Paul Revere and the Raiders, but if we don’t go, we have a dance class Wednesday evening and/or spaghetti evening at the Ruskin Elks. We have tickets for a day at Tampa Bay Downs racetrack on Thursday. Sunday our plans include a dinner party at the home of friends followed by a dance. It should all be fun!

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Problems staying a Michigan Resident

I had planned to spend the day at the pool but instead I spent nearly THREE HOURS trying to straighten out our Michigan license tabs (which must be renewed on March 1st). WHAT A MESS!!

We have three cars (two which we’d put in insurance storage mode) and that presented a problem since apparently we can’t re-license a car that’s covered only by storage insurance. Finally, with the help of our long-time insurance agency and restoring insurance, I was able to get everything straightened out. But what a mess!

We’re very honest folks who wouldn’t dream of driving an uninsured vehicle, but no one is driving our car that’s sitting in our garage in Saginaw nor our truck that’s covered with a fitted fabric cover in the RV storage area here in Kings Point. When I started this licensing/taging chore, only our Florida car was insured because it’s the only one we drive: a 2005 black Jag. We had planned to activate our GMC truck’s insurance when we’re ready to drive it back to Michigan.

I have found that folks who divide their time have challenges. Six months in another state, and you’re no longer eligible to be a Michigan resident so technically you need to re-register your cars in the other state and change your drivers license. We are very close to the line but it shouldn’t be that cut and dried. I feel where we consider “home” should definitely tilt the six-month rule. We should be able to choose where we want to call home. John is a Michigan resident with a Michigan drivers license (while I’m a Florida resident with a Florida license).

There are lots of us snowbirds and we’re being asked to walk a tight wire between states to stay legal residents.

Hey, this is the U.S.A. aren’t we’re united?? Aren’t we’re one country?? Having to struggle to maintain residency requirements in the state we want to call home is dumb!!!!

And this car tagging deal is annoying. We have worked it out, but it’s not easy.

At least the check to Michigan Secretary of State office is in the mail with all the proper proofs so we should with be ok our license plate tabs this year.

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Too much fun!

We have actually been “activity weary.” We had so many things to do that we were worn out. There was a lull immediately after the holidays and then a flurry of non-stop activities began. We had a Baby Boomers meeting followed by a wine and cheese party on January 13th. On the 15th, a Sock Hop at the Clubhouse. The 17th, an anniversary dinner at a restaurant with friends. The 18th, a dance/performance at the Community Hall in Sun City Center featuring the Hub Caps. Saturday, the 19th, we attended the lovely Michigan Club Sno-Ball dinner dance (the nicest evening of the year). Sunday, the 20th, there was a Chile Cookoff (contest) at noon, and in the evening an Oldies But Goodies dance. Tuesday, the 22nd, we went to a fun Karaoke evening at the clubhouse, and on Wednesday the 24th, Rockin Rondezvous at the clubhouse where we met-up with a crowd of friends. The 25th (last night) we had a dance class/practice from 5:00-8:00. We wore out about 7:30.

John’s had a cold so his energy level is down. He hasn’t played pickleball for over a week. It’s also been quite cool in the mornings, so staying in made sense. It’s now warming up, so I’ve been at the pool the past couple of days.

While all of the activities were going on, we continued with our condo improvements.

Here are two photos of the external changes we’ve made:

The view on the left was taken when we bought the condo in October 2008. It had been on the market for several years and was very unattractive. On the right you see the improvements we made: new small door, new light fixture, new sliding doors (x3), new window on the end (above the round table), removal of the ugly awning, and newly poured patio area with a connecting door from the existing lanai. Only thing left to be done is the installation of the eves troughs over the sliding doors. (And yes, our association also repainted and re-roofed our building.) No longer an eye-sore.

We’re finding the patio area is really a nice place to sit in the sun.

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Not going any further on the eight-hour plan

I’ve given up the “eight-hour” diet. It didn’t work for me. I didn’t lose an ounce (maybe gained about a pound) even though I stuck with to it religiously until yesterday (about two weeks total.) But I’m not “giving up” the idea of losing weight. Instead I’ll try a different approach.

The eight-hour diet was entirely too easy. I lived my life as I desired. My only restrictions were time related. I did eight hours healthy eating, and 16 hours without any food. But that’s me anyway. I don’t like breakfast so starting at 10 a.m. or even 12 noon wasn’t at all unusual. And we rarely stay up late so ending our food consumption eight hours later than the start, was a snap. It really wasn’t a break in my regular consumption or attitude. I just ate and figured that by watching the clock, I’d lose. I didn’t.

I am certain if I went back on the Weight Watchers “old” Point Program, it would work for me. But admittedly it was WORK when I did Weight Watchers Points before (about 12 years ago). I made it the target of several months of my life. (I thought about little else.) After three months of religiously following the journal practices and limiting myself to minimal “points”, I was more than 20 pounds lighter and could again wear a size 6. But now I enjoy my life so much more completely that it’s hard to think of changing the focus. Guess I need to start “journal-ing again” (which means writing down every bite and sip which passes my lips.) This time I won’t aim for size 6. Maybe a comfortable 8 would be acceptable. No more going “over-board.” I don’t want to become as obsessive as I was before. Will it work with a more relaxed attitude? Who knows?

I just didn’t like the way I felt about my life’s focus when weight-loss was my primary concern. It was like watching what I ate was more important than anything else. I didn’t relax and enjoy my surroundings. But to make my life perfect now, I guess I must seriously confess that I must lose 15-20 pounds and work toward a 20 pound lighter target weight. I need to exercise and move more. I don’t want to be skinny, but I would like to like my reduced shape.

My previous weight loss stuck with me for over 15 years. If I lose this time, it’ll be the last time I need to do it because I’d then be 85! At 85, I promise won’t worry about being tubby!!!

(But I think I’ll wait to start my new effort until after the weekend. We have just too many parties, dinners and dances this weekend.)

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Day Five….

I weigh myself morning and night. This morning I was 1/2 pound lighter. Not much but maybe it’s the start of a trend.

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Fourth Day …

I’ve GAINED a pound (or maybe more) over the past four days. Looks like this diet plan isn’t for me. I’ll give it another day or two, but I sure don’t recommend it at this point.

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Third Day …. No positive results yet

I’m into the third day of my 8-hour diet and so far NOTHING!! It isn’t hard for me to stick to the schedule, but I’m still waiting for the desired results. I haven’t cheated at all and somehow I feel I’ve eaten healthier, but no weight loss yet.

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My weight-loss plan

Yesterday the Today show mentioned a new diet plan.

It is claimed that people can lose weight by eating anything they want, but only during a set eight-hour period. This is usually called the 8-Hour Diet. The authors of the plan feel that staying up late, and eating around the clock in our 24-hour culture is responsible for the country’s high rates of diabetes and obesity. According to an excerpt from the book, ‘Our bodies can’t process the food we eat [after hours], and those calories end up where they shouldn’t – around our bellies and butts.’

It’s suggested that you eat whatever you want during eight hours but fast for 16 hours. You can choose when you want the eating period to start. Fasting for 16 hours will shrink your stomach allowing you to feel full faster.

Obviously if you eat healthy, you’ll do better. They even have a “power foods” list which they suggest incorporating.

Exercise is encouraged (especially for a minimum of eight minutes at the end of the fasting period).

I’m going to try it. I’ll personalize the plan to fit our life style. Each day I’ll try to look ahead and will set my eight hour period to match our planned activities.

If something unforeseen causes me to eat later than anticipated, the next day I’ll start the plan later.

Example: Last night we had dinner later than usual because we went to line dance lesson. It was about 7:15 when we ate dinner. Since I’d had toast at 10:30 a.m. our evening meal was ready beyond my eight hour period which should have ended at 6:30. So I’ll hold off my first food today until after 11:30 and stop eating at 7:30.

Tomorrow we have plans to go to a birthday party which will include dinner and it starts at 5:30. I think I’ll have the eating period start at noon and end at 8:00.

Thank heavens I can drink non-caloric beverages (including coffee) during the fasting period. Lots of water is encouraged.

I’ll keep you posted on how it works.

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2013 Resolutions

1. I vow to LOSE weight which means I will be healthier with more energy. I won’t state a number of pounds, although I have an in-mind goal. If I write down what I eat, it’ll happen.

2. I really must to do more eye exercises so I can see better close-up.

3. I want to walk more and go to more exercise classes. Dance classes count.

4. I vow to always keep our lovely condo in show-off shape and make sure our friends feel welcome to stop in any time. (And when in Michigan, I’ll try to do the same. In fact, in Michigan I promise to purge!!)

5. I will enjoy our wonderful life more. I will go to pool every chance I can and savor every minute.

These resolutions will be tough to stick to but I’m determined.

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Photos here in Florida

I’ve added all of the photos I took with my Panasonic camera to Picasa (an on-line photo service). That means they’re safe so I never have to worry about losing them and also they’re available for friends to view. There’s a link at the top of the rightmost menu or you can click here: 2012-13 Florida Photos. I’ll be adding more until we leave for Michigan in May.

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Before and after the new doors

Our doors were installed a week or so ago and it really made a difference. Top one shows the before (with older chairs too), below the new doors (and our Christmas tree).

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Christmas was grand!

We had a very nice Christmas!

Celebrating started Christmas Eve with a houseful of our close friends. (Some folks were out of town with their families, but we had about 20 who stopped in.)

We’d spent several days preparing. The lasagna was just as we’d hoped, and we had prepared lots of other stuff (rum cake, chicken wings, homemade candy, carmel popcorn and more). Our friends also contributed: meatballs, brisetta, strawberries, breads, chocolate cake, brownies, and other stuff. We were all pleasantly full. Everything was great!

After we ate, Ron entertained us with vocals (and John even helped him on one). Stephen offered us some humor and explanations of the Jewish religion. We had a group Christmas sing-along. And after doing some Christmas a non-Christmas tune (Sweet Caroline), someone mentioned line dancing, and the Country music started. The living room was ample for the whole crowd to dance (and we could have held twice as many, if we’d rolled up the area rugs).

The bar stayed open, and the crowd didn’t leave until nearly 10:00 (which is unheard of here).

Christmas was quiet but pleasant. (Beautiful weather).

At 4:00 we went wirh four other couples to our favorite spot on Tampa Bay, Sunset Grille at Little Harbor. We enjoyed a fabulous buffet with anything you might want. After enjoying a wonderful dessert table, we all headed over to Sherry and Bob’s.

Some of us played a card game while others chatted and watched TV. We ended up the evening with three kinds of pie! (And I’d lost 30 cents!!)

While at Little Harbor, we all were mesmerized by the wonderful sunsets.

I took a gazillion photos.



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Holiday Events!

We’ve been enjoying lots of holiday parties. Saturday night was the Baby Boomers dinner and dance. Great times! Tonight the Michigan Club Christmas dinner.

It’s all been fun but we’ve also been distracted by the renovation of our condo.

The contractor started to install the new doors the middle of last week, but the first day was cut short because an electrician had to be called in to move an electrical box under the window and he couldn’t do it until the drywall was removed.

Finally Friday the doors were put in and they were better than expected. But during the cut-down of the block wall below the windows, an unbelievable amount of dust was generated and coated everything. Saturday the stucco guy showed up and did the outside work. Monday the trim on the doors was completed and the side window installed. The concrete guy has set the molds for the pouring of the patio which will happen on Thursday. Late afternoon (Monday) we started deep cleaning up to see if we could get rid of the dust and dirt. We’ve worked in small, manageable areas to get it all purged of the heavy dust layer.

Things were really looking great until this afternoon when our vacuum plugged up and then broke so the cleaning ground to a halt.

We are trying to get ready for our house full of friends on Christmas Eve but in order to get the place in order, we need to first vacuum and then scrub. (We’re using a carpet cleaner to do the heaviest of the scrubbing.) But with a broken vacuum it’s not possible. Hopefully John can get the vacuum going again tomorrow.

We have several appointments tomorrow and Thursday. But Friday-Sunday we should be able to work non-stop getting the house in order.

It’ll all come together. I’m confident.

Before and after photos will follow.

It’s encouraging because even the golfers have been stopping to tell us how great the new windows look and they’re only seeing them from the outside. We’re both really pleased!!

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The past week…

Obviously I didn’t win the power ball lottery.

But let’s see.. what’s been happening in the Skaryd household?

We saw the movie Kings Speech, attended a fun Kings Point 40th anniversary concert, took some dance lessons/classes, enjoyed karaoke on Tuesday. John had a chorus concert Wednesday (good job) followed by an afterglow party, Thursday a bunch of us had a lunchtime surprise birthday party for a friend (Marlene) and Rockin Rondezvous in the evening.

This morning I didn’t feel well (a cold and tooth ache). At 2:00 I had a dental appointment for 2 1/2 hours! I’m exhausted. The dentist (new to me) didn’t have to do the root canal which I’d expected but instead he removed a poor fitting crown (put on by my up-north dentist) and took care of a major problem which had developed under the crown. Then he had to rebuild the area and do a new crown. All in all it cost $1,360! (Some should be covered by insurance.) It was so nice to enjoy dinner without the tooth pain I’ve endured since late October.

I’m relieved to have it done.

This weekend we don’t have a lot on Saturday — just the golf cart parade followed by a winter festival in Sun City Center.

Sunday will be busier. The Sun City Center Methodist Church will feature it’s annual Christmas Contata at 10:55. We’ll go to one of the services. Then at noon we’re invited to a Christmas brunch. The host and hostess are at the opposite end of our condo (roof-mates). All of the neighbors are invited. I’m sure we’ll enjoy a lovely time.

Our Oldies but Goodies dance will be held Sunday evening with our friends. I’m looking forward to it.

I felt really rotten last night and credited a cold, but right now I am much better. It may just be allergies.

Life is good!!

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Power Ball

Today I wasted $4 buying two Power Ball Lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. The jackpot is over $550,000,000 for the winner(s). Of course the odds are astronomical, but it got me thinking.

What would I do with multi-millions?

I love our homes, so I really have no desire to move, but John said, he’d want to buy a bigger condo here. (Up north, I doubt if we’d move, but we’d certainly renovate our kitchen.)

I’d hire a full-time cleaning lady (both here and in Michigan) who would get things organized. And of course new furniture selected by a decorator would enhance our places.

Cars? I guess in Michigan, I’d want to get rid of our Malibu, but I do like our Jaguar here.

Toys? Maybe a tablet computer, but not jewelry, nor clothes (well maybe a few fashionable items).

I’d donate a sizable amount to our church here in Sun City Center, and to worthwhile causes like the local hospice and the Emergency Medical squad.

I would take care of my daughter, Kelly, (who has vowed that she’d be there to take care of me, if it is ever necessary.)

We don’t want to travel (although I’d probably fly out to visit Kelly in California) a couple times a year.

But day-to-day, I can’t imagine changing our lives. I love our community. I totally enjoy our friends. I wouldn’t want to ditch our life for something else. The way we live is perfect for us!

Now if money could guarantee good health. Unfortunately we’re not young and our we’ll be lucky to live another 25 years. Not long enough!!

But it’s fun to dream about what changes $550,000,000 would bring to our lives.

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Home Alone

Kelly Left Saturday.

Life should settle down, but now that Thanksgiving’s over, we’ve REALLY been busy.

Sunday night was the Oldies but Goodies annual meeting and dance. Monday karaoke at the clubhouse followed by a dinner at the home of Renay and Tom and today (Tuesday), there was a pool party with a great band.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. Our plan is to go shopping in the a.m. and attend a dance lesson in the afternoon/early evening. Thursday it’s Rockin Rendezvous at 5:00 and a free movie (“Kings Speech”) at 7:30. Friday we can attend a dance lesson. Since we have nothing going over the weekend, I plan to get busy and decorate our place for the holidays.

I love our time here! I don’t think I’d want to stay year-round, but I don’t think I’ll be ready to go home in May. We’ll see.

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Last day

I’m going to miss Kelly when she leaves. We’ll drop her off at Tampa International at about 4:00 this afternoon.

It’s been so much fun to have her here.

We shopped yesterday (black Friday) but not the traditional big box stores. Instead we went to re-sale and consignment shops. Her taste and mine are very similar. We laughed when I got “caught” in a top that had two fastened-together pieces which had to be put on with all the sleeves/arm openings lining up. Needless to say things didn’t work and I was tangled in a unmanageable mess. (That was one item which stayed at the store. I couldn’t imagine going through that each time I wanted to wear it.) But we got some cute things and didn’t spend much. Most importantly, it was fun and a memory I’ll have even after she’s left!

Today we have carefully planned out the time needed to get her to her flight.

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Kelly’s visit

I’m really been enjoying my time with my daughter, Kelly. She’s totally easy going and fun. We have enjoyed a nice dinner Sunday evening, going to a line-dance lesson Monday, some lazy pool time Tuesday, shopping at the Red Barn Flea Market Wednesday, watching the sunset and dining last night at Little Harbor, and today we’re having a great Thanksgiving. Our dinner will be fantastic. A 12-pound turkey is in the oven and it’ll be ready about 5:00. In addition to the turkey and dressing, we’ll have mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, cranberry sauce, relishes, rolls, pie, wine. If the smells indicate anything, we’re in for a wonderful meal.

This morning we served dinners to the community at our church. Kelly pitched in and helped too.

This evening we’ll wind up at Richard and Shelly Brooks. They had invited us to dinner, but since we’re cooking here, we’ll join them for some socializing.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

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Mother-Daughter time

My daughter Kelly’s visiting us from Monterey, California!! She arrived yesterday afternoon, the airport pick-up took more time than we’d planned because of a delay in the luggage area. (For some reason it took almost an hour for the baggage to be delivered to the waiting debarked passengers).

Therefore we were late arriving for a Sunshine Kids dinner at the North Clubhouse, but the meal was lovely and it gave us a chance to unwind. I got to introduce Kelly to our friends.

After getting back to the condo, we had a relaxing girl-time evening. John was watching a football game so we sat on the bed in the master bedroom and talked and talked. It was very nice to feel relaxed and have time to share thoughts. At about midnight John went to bed, and we moved to the living room where we watched HGTV for another hour. It was fun seeing how our selections were similar and our attitudes the same. At 1:00, we headed to bed.

Today we will go to the line dance class and a little shopping. Don’t know if we’ll have time to get to the pool.

Kel’s still on West Coast time, so she’s sleeping in, but that’s fine. I’m sure she’ll keep me up tonight late.

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Good times never seemed so good!

Last night we gathered at the clubhouse for an evening of fun, music, dancing and friendship. What a wonderful bunch of folks!!

We ate and chatted and enjoyed dancing of every genre.

When he arrived, our friend, Richard, was enveloped with affection and support. (He’s recovering from a colonoscopy.)

Many of our group were there. We had a great time!

At one point, Caroline was nudged into the center of a circle while we all sang “Sweet Caroline” to her and shouted “Good times never seemed so good!” It’s a general heartfelt feeling.

We are definitely living the good life.

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Our tiny visitor

Our tiny bird (about 4″ tall) has continued to hang out at our living room window. She doesn’t bump into the glass. She just flies up and perches on the cross pieces and sills. This has now been going on for five days. Really unusual.

She’s become a fixture. I want her to continue visiting us.

After exploring various bird websites, I think I’ve identified her as a female prairie warbler.

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So much fun that there’s no time to blog about it

We’ve attended dance classes, a karaoke evening, garage sale, presentation of all the clubs here, Rockin’ Rondezvous, and a fantastic Halloween party at the home of the Coopers. We’ve enjoyed lots of fun stuff here in Kings Point, Sun City Center.

The weather cooled down so we haven’t been at the pool much, but life’s grand and we’ve had a fun time.

But for the past couple of days we have had a tiny guest knocking at our window.

A little bird, part gray and part yellow came to our great room window early yesterday (Thursday). He flew at the window, but landed on the sill instead. It wasn’t like he’d hit it and was injured. He just flew up and then settled back onto the sill. He’s flown away many times, but always returns. So today was the second day, and he was there all day. I have a feeling he’ll be back tomorrow. We don’t know what’s wrong with him. He doesn’t appear hurt, but doesn’t leave. He keeps watching us through the window. And it’s not just one window, he’s moved from the living room to the bedroom, to the side living room window, the glass door, and back to the great room window.

What a cutie. A friend said maybe he’s a pet, but we tried to approach him and he doesn’t appear to like people.


Saturday – He’s back! It’s day three of enjoying our little guy who is still watching us most of the time. (BTW the photo doesn’t really show that he’s yellow with dark patches. It’s obvious that he’s very young and his color is just beginning to show. In fact, around his beak, you can see fine down feathers.)

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Busy (FUN) Week

Last night (Tuesday) we went to a pool party at the South Club pool. Lotsa fun.

This afternoon (4:00-6:00) there’ll be a Michigan Club Wine and Cheese Party.

Tomorrow we’ll hope that Bill and Donna Markland will hold an “early hour” Rockin’ Rondezvous evening.

Friday we’ll take some couples country lessons.

We’re with our friends at all of these events. Soooo much fun.

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Sunday, Sunday

Nothing planned for today. John’ll probably play pickleball.

Tomorrow we hope to sign the contractor with the “window guy” we’ve selected to do our renovation project. We’ve talked with multiple contractors and have revised our thinking about what will work best. We’ve settled on a project which will take out the 12 small crank open windows and put in three eight foot tall sliding doors. The 8 small windows on the side would also be taken out and replaced with sliding windows. Then on the outside, there’d be a five-foot wide cement slab added which would run from between the bedroom window and the new doors, around the corner and abutt the current screened in lanai. There will be a door added at the end of the current screened area. The roof of the current lanai will be extended about eight feet to be flush with the corner of the condo. (The new roof will replace a current ugly awning which helps protect the side window from golf balls.) We’ve made quite a few changes to our place since buying it. Here’s the floor plan showing the current and proposed changes:

Our Kings Point condo floorplan

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More and More Fun

Tonight we watched the Tigers take the American League Championship. Wow!

We were in the South Club for Rockin’ Rondezvous. Being with friends is always fun, but tonight was more so. We watched the game while dancing. Loved it!

When the tigers scored their second run, the whole place erupted in a big roar.

It was a fun night.

This whole week has been good. Today I was at the pool most of the day and the weather was flawless. Temps about 83 degrees, breeze light, skies blue, humidity was fairly low. Couldn’t be better.

It was a very good day!!

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Our second week

We had a good week. Can’t complain about the weather. Hot and humid early in the week, but that’s changed. Actually yesterday was windy at the pool, which made it chilly when you exited, so we didn’t go in.

Friends have been arriving and more will be pulling in next week.

Tomorrow John has plans to go to a model airplane fly-in and we’ll attend an Oldies but Goodies “dance” Sunday night.

Next week will be busy!

Monday I have a dental appointment (10:45), John has his chorus (1:45-3:30), I have a line-dance class (3:00-4:00) and we have a potluck (4:30).

Tuesday afternoon I have an appointment with my eye surgeon and in the evening we want to go to an Octoberfest party at the clubhouse.

Wednesday our association has a meeting and in the evening there’s a line dance which we have never attended, but it might be fun.

Thursday we’ll have another Rockin’ Rendezvous which is our weekly clubhouse gathering. (This week’s RR was a disappointment.)

It’s so much fun here! True we’ve been doing a bit of “work” too. The condo was rather dirty and slightly overgrown when we arrived so is taking a bit to get it spiffied up. And John has been doing some chores but he gets in a little pickleball every day, and I spend lots of time at the pool.

Life is soooo good.

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More and more fun!!

We’ve been here since Thursday evening. Friday through Sunday we were busy settling in. I got in a little time at the pool, and John played pickleball nearly every day. I cleaned a little and unpacked, but it was enjoyable work.

Monday we met with a contractor to discuss the renovation we’re contemplating to our great room.

After we’d met with him, we took off for the North Club where we applied for new Kings Port badges. John then went to chorus and I shopped a bit then took in the beginners line dance class. It was FUN! I found that the steps came back and before long I felt comfortable, although I need to build my stamina. I truly enjoy the exercise line dancing provides.

Tuesday another contractor came by to give us an estimate. At about 4:30 we were at the South Club for our Taco Tuesday lunch/dinner. At 5:00 karaoke started and by then the crowd had arrived. We enjoyed the evening. The singers weren’t awesome, but it was really FUN! One guy in particular had the crowd dancing with him and we totally loved it!

Of course John and I danced a few dances. While dancing, I asked him if he was having a good time. I didn’t have to wait for his positive answer. It’s obvious that we’re both enjoying ourselves!

I feel the years falling away. And with the exercise I’m getting hopefully I’ll get in better shape. I didn’t lose as much weight over our last month in Michigan as I’d promised myself (only about five pounds). I still need to lose about 10-12 pounds! We eat more big meals here, but I also move lots more. And I’ve vowed to enjoy fewer glasses of wine. I’m even thinking about going to an exercise class with Inga!

Today is Wednesday. John spent the morning playing pickleball and I went to the pool. We enjoyed a nice chat with our friends Shelly and Richard who’d just gotten back from Michigan last night. At a little after 1:00, we headed back to meet with yet another the contractor.

We’re waiting to hear their prices before we decide who to use. We’re leaning toward a three phase project: 1) The window in the living room would be taken out and a three-panel sliding glass door would replace it. The current small door would be covered over. 2) The lanai roof would be extended about 8′ further and that would become a covered patio area which would give us a place for our grill. 3) The side window would be replaced with sliders. We’ve asked for the prices on all three projects but it may mean two different contractors. We’ll see. Here’s what it looks like now.

The way the west end of the great room looks.

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We made it..

We pulled into our place in Kings Point about 8:00 last night (Thursday October 4th) so we’ve been “home” for 24 hours. The last hour of travel last night took us through thunderstorms that were blinding and heavy rain made it incredibly hard to see the road. We had trouble from Dade City to our Sun City exit. Thank heavens there was a confident big van running ahead of us and he had his hazard lights on. We got behind him and made it through downpours that came down so hard that it was unbelievable.

On our way into Kings Point we grabbed a Hungry Howie’s Pizza and enjoyed it and a beer in our condo. That’s pure pleasure when you’ve driven 1,300 miles to get to your destination.

Today we were both pooped. No pool today. Lots of unpacking. We definitely have more to do, but we’re feeling sorta settled-in.

The place was in good shape. Everything working. No problems. Few bugs, but that’s to be expected and the bug guy will do his thing Tuesday (earliest we could get him).

Tonight we made it to the Baby Boomers wine and cheese party. It was mainly a business meeting, but we’re glad we went. Got to visit with Robbin, a good friend, and made two new ones (Don and Elsie).

We still have more “putting away” to do, but tomorrow I plan on lots of pool time. I’ve waited for six months to go to the South Club Pool, and I’m going to be there even if everything isn’t done. We want to do some shopping, but do we shop first or pool first? I think I’ll head to the pool early and then about 11:00 go shopping.

Hope it cools down a tad. It’s been sweltering with 90+ degree temps and equal humidity. But we know we will enjoy the weather here more than in Michigan.

Spent a good deal of time today looking out the window and I’m in awe of the view even in the middle of the day. But in the evening, the sunsets are amazing. Unfortunately evenings for the next few days promise to be over-cast or raining. So I have to be content with just a pretty blue sky, and the ponds.

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We’re on the road south. Left Michigan yesterday a.m. and made good progress. We changed plans in route and ended up staying in Knoxville, TN, at a Quality Inn.

We did have one out-standing thing that happened was when we first got into Ohio. We stopped at a rest area and ran into good friends, Sharon and Sonny Hall. I’d missed visiting with them this summer when we were at Evart because they left early because of the high heat. It was fun chatting with friends so unexpectedly, even if it was a brief visit.

This morning we got a message from our good friends Richard and Shelly. Unfortunately Richard just discovered he needs major surgery, so he’s going to have it in Florida. That means they’ll be arriving Monday, which is earlier than they’d planned. Wish the reason was something more pleasant.

It looks like we’ll be arriving at our condo before dark tonight which will make it good for unloading what needs to be unloaded.

The traffic has been fairly heavy all the way.


We’re in southern Georgia. We should cross into Florida about

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