Archive for2014-10 to 2015-05 – Grand FL winter

A couple off days

Thought we were both getting better but Saturday John had a relapse. He was totally under-the-weather Saturday. Sunday he improved and today he’s much better!! So glad! We have only until Sunday, May 3rd, before we leave for Michigan. There’ll be a lot of packing and final prep-ing. Actually, we could throw the stuff in the truck and be ready to go in a couple hours. Glad we don’t have to do it all at once and since we’re going to have a couple rainy days, it won’t be hard to stay inside and finish everything.

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Feeling good – But John’s still not up to par

We’ve had a busy week. A fish dinner at the Moose Friday, a dinner party Saturday, a birthday party and dance Sunday. We were looking forward to another fun night tonight. But unfortunately we missed the birthday party for two of our favorite friends (Shelly and Caroline). This afternoon I came home from a dental appointment and John was in bed. He hadn’t been feeling good, but it got worse as the day went by (stomach upset). He was still willing to go, but for once he listened to me and we stayed home. We had potato soup instead of great “Sunset Grille” food, but it’s best that we stayed home. (Sunset Grill at Little Harbor is our favorite place to go because of the view of sunsets on Tampa Bay but was raining so we’d have been inside anyway.) We hope to see Shelly and Caroline Wednesday night at the Lattitude dance and maybe we can go to Sunset Grill Friday or Saturday of this week. Should be prettier weather.

(At least one of us feels back to normal. The hacky cough still bothers me, but I feel fine!)

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It’s been too long

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting to my blog. I love writing and I’ve missed this outlet, but we’ve been “under the weather.”

The last time I wrote was March 18th. Today it’s April 18th. I need to catch up. I have no real excuse. A bad cold bug hit me about the first of April. It seemed to hang around mainly in the form of fatigue and lethargy. John got it too about a week after mine started so we both coughed and blew.

By Easter, April 5th, I wasn’t 100% but joined our friends Linda and Wayne Conklin for a nice dinner. John’s spring chorus was very nice on April 8th followed by a fun “after-glow party.” April 9th we attended a dinner at Cypress Creek organized by our Maine friends. More than thirty folks attended. We went to the Michigan Club’s appreciation dinner on the 10th. It was a lovely meal with lots of wine! The 12th our friends, Linda Ringenback and Marilyn Enge, hosted a farewell potluck in the North Club gazebo for about 60 good friends. Fun time! Wednesday, the 15th, we attended a Nantucket V Association luncheon.

Although we were going to these events, we were dragging. Our energy level was so low that we only participated in the events we felt we couldn’t miss and cut them all short so we could conserve our strength. We tried to stay in whenever possible and just veg.

Yesterday I finally felt good enough to go to the pool while John played volleyball and last night the two of us went to Ruskin for a fish dinner.

Tonight the Baby Boomers had a members only evening which included dinner and dancing. We were with friends the Brooks, Enges, Coopers, Ringenbacks, and us. Really fun. What a great group and I can honestly say I felt good!

So now that I’ve caught up on what’s been happening, tomorrow I can write some thoughts and fun stuff. I would like to get to the pool tomorrow morning. It’ll be hot (nearly 90) so the pool sounds delightful. I’ve only been at the pool twice this month! With only two weeks to go, I want to take advantage of our remaining days.

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John’s still not up to par but better…

We’ve been taking things easy as John regains his strength from his cold. It’s taken a while. I can see a gradual improvement, but he still gets really winded after any vigorous/or semi vigorous activity. I’m doing fine. Feeling better than I have for months.

Last night we attended the Michigan Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Party and had a really good time. Lots of good food, beer, and great friends. It was one of the best parties we’ve attended this year and/or last.

The weather has been perfect (low 80’s). I’ve been spending lots of my afternoons enjoying the outdoors on our back patio. At this time of the year, all the grandkids are here visiting and spending time at the pool. Therefore, the pool is unbelieveably over-crowded. We bought a couple of luxury lounges last week so I’ve been staying home where I don’t have to fight for a lounge and shade. I can enjoy a good book, linger in the shade, and have a nice bathroom or drink of water when wanted.

We have a couple community festivals coming up Friday and Saturday and a carribean party Sunday. We’ll have a good time.

Life is good!!

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My first post in a couple weeks!

John had that bad cold and it hung on and sapped his strength. We hosted the Michigan Club pizza party on February 23rd which left both of us exhausted and the next day I had the cold bug. Mine wasn’t as bad as John’s so I bounced back within about five days. John is still not 100% and here it is a month since he first got sick. Therefore we’ve been doing very little. We’ve been trying to feel better. I feel great. Hopefully John’s strength will return.

Last Friday we graduated from our physical therapy sessions. John has absorbed all the help they can give him and I think my balance is better. Any further sessions were unnecessary. In fact we got so we felt that the staff didn’t know how to handle folks who are as healthy as we are.

Last week we celebrated our birthdays. John’s was last Sunday (a week ago today). Mine was Wednesday. On Sunday we went to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s. Wednesday after I’d enjoyed several hours at the pool, we went to our dance class and then to Ruskin’s Elks Club for spaghetti and dancing. We were home by about 8:00. Thursday we went to Busch Gardens. The featured entertainers were Exile and Juice Newton. Good show. On our way home, we stopped in Brandon at Sweet Tomatoes to enjoy their wonderful salad buffet.

Our group, Kings Strings, has been practicing for a performance next Wednesday the 11th for the Shriner’s St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. We have a practice Tuesday, and I’m sure it’ll go fine.

Yesterday, we got a call from a Michigan friend, Gwyn. She’s stopping in tomorrow afternoon and will overnight here tomorrow. She’s welcome to stay longer, if she wishes, but we will have to practice from 1:00-3:00 Tuesday and we’ll be gone for our performance from about 10:00-2:30 Wednesday. We’ll see how it goes.

Today I cleaned the guest/music room in preparation for her. It’s ready. Tomorrow morning I have an eye doctor appointment. I should be home in time to wash my hair with more than enough time left-over to finish the living room, bathroom, and kitchen while John’s at his chorus practice. She should get here about 4:00 (about when John gets home). Gwyn is a very talented and ambitious lady. It’ll be nice have a chance to visit.

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John’s been sick with a cold, but this week he’s out and about!!

For the past couple of weeks, John’s had a bad cold so we haven’t done much. (I was afraid I was also germy so I avoided folks too.)

Valentines Day he was improved enough to go to a COA (Condo Owners Association) wine and cheese party, and last night to a Baby Boomer Club dance. John had skipped volley ball, physical therapy, chorus, and had just vegged (which is what you should do when you’re sick.) He went to volley ball and chorus today so he’s pretty much back to his normal self.

Good thing he recovered when he did because not only did we have tickets for the two parties this past weekend but Wednesday during the day, he’ll be scurrying to Front Porch Pickers and Sportsman’s Club, and in the evening to a Pickleball dinner party. Then on Thursday we go to Tampa Bay Downs (horse race track) with the Sportsman’s Club which includes a lovely luncheon. Friday we have tickets to the evening “Kings Point lip sync show.” It all sounds like fun fun fun.

We also have to squeeze in our two times a week physical therapy sessions and I’m getting my hair cut Wednesday.

Life’s great!!!

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We are at the half-way point

101 days since we arrived on October 12th and 101 days until we leave on May 3rd. Yup, we’re half-way through our 2014-15 visit to our Florida home.

I love it here. I don’t have to be doing stuff all the time but there’s always something to do. Today John played volley ball in the morning and headed to the Front Porch Pickers in the afternoon. I stayed home and enjoyed the sun from our back patio and then entertained three girl friends who dropped in unexpectedly.

It’s actually a fairly quiet week because our dance classes and Rockin Rendezvous are both cancelled this week. So what are our plans: Busch Gardens tomorrow (Thursday), John’s PT Friday morning with Disco Fever night Friday at the clubhouse. Then Saturday, we’re going to a Laff-a-Lot brunch in the morning, and if the weather’s ok, we’ll join the Pickers for a Hobo Camp at the railroad museum in the evening. Yup, it’s definitely a lull in our usually busy schedule!

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Sand Hill Cranes vs. the Red Fox

Last night John and I witnessed something unusual. Two sand hill cranes flew in and landed between our condo and the pond. As I was preparing to take their photo, I noticed a red fox just a few feet from them.

At one point the fox was between the cranes trying to find a way to escape.

My photo isn’t very good, but you can see the sand hills chasing the fox away. He hightailed it to the other side of the pond.

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Tonight it happened again. I saw the swift red fox running across the golf course fairway behind our condo. And right behind the fox there were the two sand hill cranes in hot pursuit. Didn’t have time to get the camera out but I think from now on, I’ll be ready at sunset.

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There are advantages of having snowbirds

While having my my hair done the other day, I mentioned to my beautician that I was sure their business really notice the influx of snowbirds at this time of the year. She said, “Yes, it is lots busier but we don’t complain. If it wasn’t for the revenue the snowbirds bring in, half the businesses in Sun City Center would fold.”

I recall that my mother, a full-timer here in Sun City Center for many years, didn’t appreciate the crowds that flocked from the north to her bit of paradise during the winter months. She complained about the lines and the traffic. She wished all those northerners would stay away. Restaurants were busier, parking was harder. She resented their winter intrusion.

I look at things differently.

I don’t apologize for being here part of the year. I’m sure we help the economy.

Yes, we’re snowbirds. We’re residents only seven months of the year. We’re not full-time residents. We come down here in October and head back north in May. But we pay just as much in property taxes. (In fact we pay more than many fulltimers because we don’t qualify for homesteading.) We pay just as much in HOA (home owners association) fees. We pay just as much in insurance and other services as we would if this was our only residence.

But, although we pay for a full year, we don’t use the facilities full-time. Even our water usage which is included in our HOA fees is lower. Since we are here about six months, if annualized, we pay twice as much for the privilege of living in this lovely community.

Businesses come to town to sell to us, parking lots are enlarged to accommodate the winter influx. And all of those who stay the whole year, benefit from the time we spend here. You have the luxury of more parking places, businesses and restaurants that you wouldn’t have if the population was always at summer-time levels.

I love it here in Sun City Center. Someday I hope I’ll be here full time. I am already a voting, Florida resident.

Full-timers don’t realize it, but they benefit from us.

I’m sure that if the snowbirds were all here 365 days a year, the cost of living would have to rise to accommodate the wear and tear on the facilities that we use only half as much as full-time residents do.

We help our community maintain the luxurious way of life at the reasonable prices which we all enjoy.

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The last couple of weeks

We entertained about 20 friends Christmas Eve. Preparation was exhausting but it was a low-key fun evening filled with wonderful personalities and definitely worth the effort.

Christmas Day we enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lazed around. The 27th we were at the pool most of the day. The next day (the 28th) I started feeling really rotten. By December 29th I was totally miserable; running a temp with severe abdominal pains. The 30th, John took me to the doctor. I was hoping to get a flu-inhibitor like Tamiflu but my doctor’s swab-test said it wasn’t the flu but instead a bacterial infection. I was prescribed antibiotics.

New Years Eve (the 31st), we had tickets ($38 each) to a dinner-dance at the North Clubhouse and invitations to Richard and Shelly’s warm-up-for-the-evening house party. I tried to get ready, but realized that I just couldn’t go. I was much too weak and sick. John went to the clubhouse for dinner (which he didn’t enjoy). He was home by 11:00 to see the New Year in with me.

New Year’s Day we watched Michigan State win an exciting football game and lounged around. I was still not moving around much and felt lousy.

Today is the 2nd of January. I’m still not 100% but feeling much better. I haven’t been able to eat much so I’ve dropped a few pounds. Even with the weight loss, it’s not a way I would recommend to bring in the new year.

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Christmas Gift

With my new computer have come lots of challenges.

I always have the installation disks for the programs I use. They go back and forth from Michigan to Florida and even camping, so I thought I was prepared for a computer replacement. But one program, Streets and Trips (my GPS program which I use to pre-schedule our trips), would not install. I called Microsoft two times, without success. Although I had the disk, I didn’t have the correct Product Key so I was out of luck.

One of my concerns was that I have been the moderator/owner of the Yahoogroup, StreetsandTrips, since 2008. Without the program, how could I successful answer questions members might pose to the list? True, fewer folks now use S&T because many folks have turned to free-standing GPS units or smart phones instead of using a computer based program. In fact Microsoft no longer up-dates the program. I just wanted to stick with my 2010 version. I wanted to be able to access S&T files which included addresses for friends, relatives, and our favorite “stops” between Michigan and Florida.

I went to the list and explained my plight. The most helpful member of the list has always been Larry. He offered to give me the program! Wouldn’t even take shipping costs.

When the program came, it was still sealed. On the product box were a lot of signatures. After I’d appropriately thanked him, he wrote back and said, “BTW – those signatures on the box are from the team members at Microsoft that created the software. My name is above the MS logo. I loved working on the product and really enjoyed helping others out whenever I could. It was my pleasure to give it to you.”

Makes the program even more special!

What a nice guy!

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Difficult evening

Friday night (December 12th) we went to party at the home of good friends. The crowd was a little older than we are, but we’d attended their party last year and we were sure it would be a lovely evening and we had looked forward to it.

The first part of the evening lived up to our expectations with great hosts, friendly folks, lots of food and drink. John and I were in the living area with five others where the conversation was lively and filled with smiles and laughter. The oldest couple, Fran and Kline (92 and 96), told many lovely stories. They were delightful. We’d met them last year and she said she liked sitting by me because I told good jokes. They’d been married 57 years. (The husband had been a trumpet player and traveled with the Benny Goodman Band.)

Suddenly Fran slumped into unconsciousness. Her husband tried to revive her, but when it was determined that she was having serious problems and a faint pulse, John and another guest with CPR training started resuscitation. The emergency squad and other rescuers were summoned and heroic effort was tried. John, the other guest, and the paramedics worked on her for probably close to an hour. It didn’t look good as they took her away in the ambulance.

A short while later Cline called to say she hadn’t made it. We all felt that it was an honor to be part of her last wonderful evening. She’d been among friends, enjoying herself.

It was a sad evening.

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The past couple of weeks

Thanksgiving was great.

Last week we attended an Oldies But Goodies dance and a karaoke evening. Friday, December 5th, I joined nine “girl” friends on a shopping and dinner trip to Sarasota. There was an Elvis street party Saturday. The past few days, we’ve been resting up for another round of holiday parties this weekend. It’s fun to be busy but at this time of the year, it’s over-whelming.

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Thanksgiving

This afternoon we’ll head to Richard and Shelly’s to celebrate the holiday with good friends.

I certainly shouldn’t complain about my life, but this year has had some difficulties:

John’s health hasn’t been great. I have witnessed some deterioration to his lungs, but we should consider ourselves fortunate that he’s able to be as active as he is. It’s his determination and drive. Amazing! We found a new home for Charlie, our cockatiel, because after tests, it was found that John has a sensitive to cockatiel dander. Hopefully not having our bird will at least halt further loss of his abilty to breath.

So things have been difficult and “interrupted.”

Then, to cap it off, both my smart phone and my laptop decided to die of old-age.

New ones are ordered, but I know how much work it is to set up a new computer and smart phone. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Charlie has a new home … We’re sad :(

imageSorry to say that we no longer have Charlie, our cockatiel. He’s traveled everywhere we’ve gone and been part of our life for 20 years but yesterday, after running a blood test, John’s doctor confirmed that John cannot be around him. He is probably a big part of the reason John has lung problems. Reluctantly we put an advertisement on the Kings Point Sportsman’s Club Marketplace website and a lady immediately contacted us. She just left with Charlie. She appears to be a very caring individual who loves birds (especially cockatiels). Charlie will get lots of attention and hopefully enjoy many years with her. Seems really empty here without our talkative bird but she said we can visit him anytime.

Charlie’s new owner is almost too good to be true: former nurse, took in three mentally challenged children, a grandmother who teaches at her church, lives alone and currently has no pets but has had cockatiels and they are her favorite. She’s a farm girl from Michigan who now lives in Sun City Center (outside our gated community) year-round. Her daughter wanted her to have a pet to keep her company and suggested a dog, but she said she’s more a bird person.

John may not see an “improvement” but not being around Charlie may help stop the deterioration of his lungs. Not something you’ll be able to pinpoint. Sad that his two pulmonologists (in Florida and in Michigan) never asked if we had a bird. It was only because John tried to get in a clinical trial in Sarasota and the Sarasota doctor asked if by chance John was around a bird(s) that the link was discovered. Wish we’d known when he was diagnosed in 2009. He’d probably have less permanent damage.

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Progress Report on My Right Wrist

I’ve talked about my wrist a lot because it’s controlled my life since I fell on July 11th, 2014.

My surgery was on July 21st (after the ODPC Funfest had ended because the surgeon said it wouldn’t matter if I waited a few more days.) I was in the operating room for over 4 1/2 hours!

On August 5th, the bandages were removed. It wasn’t pretty, as you can see on the left.

I started hand therapy on that day and until October 8th, I worked with Trisha, at St. Mary’s Spine Center three times a week. We left for Florida on October 11th. I started working with Amber at Cora Rehab on October 15th.

Tomorrow (November 7th) I will end my wrist rehab. I’ll need to continue my exercises on my own. I’ve assembled a variety of tools: stretchy rubber bands, putty to work with, a 6″ ball to squeeze and manipulate, foam pieces to offer resistance, a 26″ exercise ball to lie on for push ups from the floor and two 2-lb. weights to help my wrist gain strength.

Don’t know if anyone is interested, but below are the x-rays taken October 1st, before I saw my surgeon. Dr. Taha, the last time. You can see the two plates and the 16 screws. (Actually we were charged for 24 screws, so I’m not sure how many there are.)

I’ll be so relieved not to have to attend hand therapy. My therapists have been very nice but at this point I want to concentrate less on my wrist and more on living my life to the fullest. I definitely can’t forget to keep working on my flexibility, but I will get a lot of exercise from what I do in my day-to-day life.

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Real Music Line-Up

The 2015 Busch Gardens Real Music Series line-up is now available. This is of special interest for those of us who have season passes.

Real Music 2015 Lineup:
Monday – Friday with performances at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.

Cornell Gunter’s Coasters January 5-9
The Grass Roots January 12-16
Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone January 19-23
The Diamonds January 26-30
Fernando Varela February 2-6
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Terry Myers Salute to Benny Goodman February 9-13
Ricky Nelson Remembered Featuring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson February 16-20
Shirley Jones February 23-27
Exile & Juice Newton March 2-6

Real Music Concert Series is FREE with park admission or season passes, but tickets are required. Pick up your free tickets at the Stanleyville Theater for all performances or at the front gate for the 11:30 a.m. concert.

Personally, one of the acts I’m looking forward to is the last show with Juice Newton and Exile. I saw Juice many years ago when her big hit, “Break it to Me Gently,” was popular.

There’s another on the list that I was “unfamiliar” with: Fernando Varela. Looking into his background, I found that he was one of the vocalists who did an awesome job on America’s Got Talent with the trio, Forte. He also performs with his wife, Susan. Hopefully he’ll have her with him as he did in January:


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Just crossed the Ohio River on our way South

We’re about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We’re going to stop soon at a rest area so that’ll eat up our extra time. After the rest area, we’ll head non-stop to some place near Knoxville, TN to get fuel. Sweetwater. TN, just south of Knoxville is where we’ll over-night tonight. Dinner at the exit before we get to the motel.

Sunday – October 12

We made it to the condo at about 6:30 p.m. Except for a water heater which will need to be replaced, everything was fine when we arrived.

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