Archive forAugust, 2008

Hot time in Sun City Center

I love the Florida environment. I spent today at the pool. They have “Fun Fridays” with music, food and beer. The beer cooler broke, so that was left out of the party, but the burgers were good. The water was probably 90 degrees so not really refreshing, but cooler than the air. It was nice. Too hot but nice. Tomorrow I’m taking a mist sprayer so I can stay cooler.

Visited Mom this evening. She was doing better and in fact the staff couldn’t believe how she responds to me – talks, waved good-bye, and is interactive.

The problems with the Original Dulcimer Players Club and my resignation are coming to a head. I feel horrid about any problems I may have caused, but I’m glad that so many are responding and hopefully fixing issues which were log over-due. We’re all optimistic.

This weekend is the Labor Day holiday. Since this community is just retirees, a day-off-work doesn’t mean much. I hope to hang out at the pool.

Every day flies by. No one is idle. I’ve already “spent” four days of my two-week time down here. I miss John, but since I like it better down her than he does, it’s wise that we do it this way. Eventually I could be happy down here year-round. For now, it’s nice to divide our time.

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Here we are:

Got this photo from a friend who captured John and me in the South Club pool here at Kings Point this past spring:

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First two days with Mom

I’ve been here in Florida for two days. It’s been very nice but HOT! (mid to high 90’s)

I’ve been to see Mom three times. Yesterday (Wednesday) she was more alert than Tuesday. With a lot of coaxing I got her to go through her “routine” with me.

I said, “I love you, Mom.”

She replied, “I love you too.”

“How much?” I asked.

“Bushel and a peck,” she said.

“And?……” was my response.

“And a hug around the neck,” she stated.

She “puckers” to kiss me and seems more alert when I’m with her.

I brought her a milk shake yesterday. She enjoyed it.

Tuesday night was a karaoke night at the South Clubhouse. Saw lots of good friends. More were at the pool yesterday (Wednesday). Tonight is Rockin Rendezvous and lots of the people we miss should be there. I know it’s still summer and the snowbirds won’t be back for a couple of months, but some of our friends are full-time residents down here.

I’ve been trying to stay current on the ODPC Evart problems. It’s been difficult but I think folks are on the right track. I’m totally supportive, and I’d love to return to do workshops, but I want to see things fixed. I didn’t go through all this to “cave-in” and accept less than what is best for the workshop leaders and stage show performers.

In about an hour, I want to go to the clubhouse. Thank heavens I rented a car because Tuesday it rained HARD, and it looks like we’ll have more rain today.

I have found a condo I’d like to tour. It looks lovely. The water view is perfect. It’s a tad small but has a huge two-car garage. Best thing, the price is fairly low. Hopefully we could talk them into an even lower selling price. I have looked at a half dozen (without going inside). Actually three are really nice, one is interesting, and there’s one which is perfect but beyond our price-range. I love looking.

Today I picked up my mother’s medical records from Courtyards (the facility I will soon be suing for my mother.) I want to get the paperwork going for her lawsuit against Courtyards. I truly believe Mom would be much better if she hadn’t had the trauma of her two falls last May including 28 stitches the first time and a broken nose, and 16 stitches the second time. True, she’d eventually have deteriorated to this point, but the decline was so steep after she fell on Courtyards’ bus, that I lost her.

Well, I suppose I should go get ready for Rockin Rendezvous. Tomorrow there’ll be a noon pool party. Since it’s supposed to have thunder storms tomorrow afternoon, I think I’ll head to the pool early.

It’s sure nice here. I miss John, but I love the people we know here. The environment really encourages a fun lifestyle.

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Heading South … Again!

In about eight hours, I’ll be with Mom. I don’t know how she’ll be, if she’ll remember me, if she’ll be totally in another world, and I’m apprehensive. I know her time is limited (she’s forgetting how to chew and swallow, which is frightening), but I’m determined to enjoy some pleasant times with her, however brief and fleeting.

I’m waiting for my plane to board, as I work on this entry. I’ll fly into Detroit and then on to Tampa International.

Seems like our life has been chaotic lately. I’m looking forward to the tranquility of the southern environment.

My husband, John, was a co-chairman of the Midland Dulcimer Festival and I was in charge of the Saturday stage shows, so this past weekend was hectic but rewarding. John and the other co-chairperson, Margaret Loper, organized a wonderful event. It was relaxing, fun, and filed with music and friends.

The problems resulting from my resignation as workshop chairman of the Evart Funfest continue to pile up. It’s really a mess now.

I know we all want the same thing: the successful continuation of our wonderful music festival and the organization behind it. I’m receiving indications that folks feel the the board doesn’t care but I know that’s not true. Those people are committed to this event/organization and care, just as I do, about it.

One member, Judith, a voice of reason, asked for some explanations from the board and I hope they comply.

The latest wrinkle is that they (the board) sent out a newsletter which included a mail in ballot for bylaws changes. That’s not the way bylaws changes are to be made. We may wish we could “speed up the process” but when you’re running a 501C3 corporation, you can’t just handle things willy-nilly. You have to follow the rules which are in effect. My fear (and that of others) is that we could lose our status as a not-for-profit.

Someone needs to rescind the mailed ballot, no matter what it takes.

The election of officers isn’t handled very well in the current bylaws, but Roberts Rules would indicate that although a “slate of officers” has been prepared by the nominating committee, nominations from the floor would still be in order. We are being denied that opportunity.

Time to board my plane… I’ll write more later.

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Wow! Our “little event” has grown up!

We’re here at the Midland Dulcimer Festival (where my husband, John, is a co-chairman). It’s held at the Midland County Fairgrounds (Midland, MI).

The Midland Dulcimer Festival used to be considered “little” because it’s always being compared to Evart. Actually it’s the second largest hammered dulcimer festival in the world. Especially this year, it’s really grown.

Unofficially, we counted about 137 camping units last night. That is about 50 more than we’ve had most years on Thursday night.

Nearly 200 folks enjoyed a huge potluck and there was an open mic show after the dinner.

Unfortunately, it’s cloudy today with occasional light mist. The weather forecast is for a shower or two and I fear they mean the heavier kind and temperatures in the high 80’s. Then tomorrow, there’s a 60% chance of an afternoon thunderstorm as a cold front comes through. Sunday it should be be partly cloudy but no rain.

Last night John and I walked around and observed several large jams. Our jam was moderate in size. It broke up fairly early. One of the larger jams had the neatest set-up. They’d made a “U” of three trailers. In the middle there were four easy-up 10 x 10 canopies, and the three trailer awnings were touching the easy-ups. It made an area about 36 x 28 all ablaze with white icicle Christmas lights (the kind that hang down), and chinese lanterns. It was awesome.

Not to be out-done, we’re planning on making our jamming area even tackier. We are planning to do the decorating today, and maybe we’ll even have a pole dancing routine tomorrow night. (We need to practice it and get it right.)

It’s all great fun.

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Midland Dulcimer Festival

Next Wednesday (August 20th), John and I will move our fifth wheel to the Midland Fairgrounds for the 15th annual Midland Dulcimer Festival. It starts Thursday evening with a large potluck.

John and Margaret Loper are co-chairmen. I am in charge of the stage show, and run the copy and hospitality service, but for me, it’s not stressful. John has all of the work for this one. We’ll stay until Sunday, the 24th.


When we’re home on Monday the 25th, I will need to do some laundry, unpack the trailer, and transfer some of my festival clothes to my suitcase because at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, the 26th, I fly down to Florida to visit my mother.

I think I am as well-organized as I can be. I’ve gone as far as I can packing for my Florida trip, and I have a list of the stuff that I can’t pack until we get back from the festival.

I’ll fly back from Florida on Tuesday, September the 9th, in the evening. Hopefully John will be ready to take off again for our long drive back to the “sunshine state.” We’re planning to leave on the 11th.

I had thought I could get to the point where I’d leave my clothes down there and not bring stuff back and forth. I left a lot last time and I’d thought I would be traveling light this time, but I find that the stuff I really like, I want to have available no matter where I am. Clothes don’t stay in style all that long, and when I have something new and cute, I really can’t see leaving it behind.

I’d rather have a large wardrobe in Florida than in Michigan because we have more social engagements down there, but even when we’re home in Michigan, I find I need a decent wardrobe.

My plan was to buy two of my favorite items (one for Florida and one for Michigan), but I find even if I have two, I want to bring them both down there. So buying two of some items has actually increased the amount I bring. Oh, well…

I do vow that what I bring back when we head north next spring will be just a fraction of what I am taking down there.

Or maybe I can just look at it as “helping the economy.”

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Bruno, the Singing Chihuahua

When we were at Gladwin’s Carriage Days over the past weekend, Picks and Sticks were also playing. We seemed to always be following them, or they followed us.

On Friday, they brought Bruno out of retirement. Bruno is their singing chihuahua.

Yup, he actually performs. In fact he steals the show.

You can check out the video I took:

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Carriage Days…

John and I are at the Gladwin (MI) fairgrounds participating in the Gladwin Carriage Days festival. It’s been a fun weekend. Our dulcimer club (Saginaw Subterranean Strings Hammered Dulcimer Club) is using the event as a camping weekend. We had a good turnout: 19 members. Everyone seems to have had a good time.

We’ve played twice a day for an hour or an hour and a half each time. We’ve been playing in different locations on and off the fairgrounds property. Right now we’re relaxing and I’m planning to “stay in” tonight.

I haven’t felt my best this weekend, and right now I’m totally worn out. I didn’t sleep well last night.

We’ve had cool weather (66 degrees now and a low in the low 50’s last night). It’s rained several times. The foul weather has been unfortunate because, with the bad weather, the turnout for this event has been small. It’s only the second year for their “Carriage Festival”. I hope they can continue it. I’m sure our club would like to return. The community seems to have good involvement. There are little things to be straightened out, but it certainly has been fun. The fairgrounds has a lovely campground and it’s a comparatively short drive for most of our members. If only the audiences had been larger.

Tomorrow is Sunday. We only play from 11:00-12:00 and then we head home.

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Am I packing, or unpacking?

We’re loading up our 5th wheel to head to Gladwin this Thursday for a few days of camping and performing with our dulcimer club. Since I haven’t really unpacked from our Upper Peninsula trip, I don’t know if I’m packing or unpacking. It is lots easier to load up the trailer than it is to prepare for a truck trip to the Upper Peninsula. When heading to the U.P., we pack our vehicle then when we get there, we unpack, then pack to come back, and unpack when we get home.

This week we will take our 5th wheel to Gladwin but at least the stuff stays in the trailer while we’re there (sorta). The weekend should be fun.

A little over a week after we get back from Gladwin (on the 10th), we will be heading to the Midland Dulcimer Festival. Thankfully, stuff can just stay in the trailer, so as I pack for Gladwin I’ll be including the some of the stuff for Midland.

We’ll be at the Midland Festival from August 19th or 20th until the 24th. It’s always a highlight of our summer. Lots of fun with good friends.

To complicate things, two days after we return from Midland, I’ll leave to fly down to be with Mom (on the 26th). That’s three weeks from tomorrow.

Today I reserved a rental car to use for the two weeks I’ll be down there alone. I hadn’t planned on renting a vehicle since I got along quite nicely last time just using the golf cart, but things have changed. Just before I came back from my last visit with Mom, I had to move her from one nursing home to another. When Mom was at Courtyards, I only had to go about 1/2 a mile to see her. I could zip over in less than five minutes. Now that Mom is at Cypress Creek, it’s about three miles from our condo. The golf trail to get there is pretty bumpy in places and if it’s raining (which I understand it’s been doing a lot lately), it will be hard to go to see her.

This whole packing/unpacking business is complicated even more because, when I get back from Florida on September 9th, I’ll have one day to repack for a return trip with John by vehicle back to Florida. We’ll leave Michigan on September the 11th to drive back down and we’ll stay until the end of October. As I’m packing to go to Florida, I’ll also be packing the stuff in separately that I’ll bring when I we drive back down on the 11th. (I will try to travel light when flying, and bring the rest when we come back.)

It’s a tad mind-boggling. Good thing I love lists.

I’m unpacking from the U.P., packing for Gladwin and Midland, while also packing for two Florida trips. Whew… Guess I’d better get busy!!

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The Birthday “Kids”

Today we attended a 90th birthday party for our good friends Jane and Bill Kuhlman who live in rural Midland County. They’re absolutely the nicest folks you can imagine. The party was well attended, the food great, and Bill and Jane looked healthy and happy:

They’re a super couple! On top of that, Bill’s a very nice looking guy, and Jane is an absolute beauty. She gets prettier every year. And to think they’re 90!!!

Jane and Bill started us out playing music as they have many others. What absolute treasures. We are so glad to know them! Bill lead the Midland Jolly Hammers and Strings dulcimer club for over 20 years! Maybe that’s what’s kept them so young!

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“Home” from our U.P. hide-away

It’s Friday and we’re back home. I re-read my last post and it definitely needs an addendum. There were some very good parts of our U.P. visit.

Yesterday John and I finally found time to walk the beach together. We were pleasantly surprised that the water is a lot higher than last year. If we have another winter like the winter of 2007-08, the levels may restore the beauty we once enjoyed. The sandy bottom is still there. The muck at the edge of the water has improved a lot since last year and was totally gone from some areas. Yes, there are some cattails, but if the water level continues to rise, they’ll go away. We need another fierce Michigan winter or two with lots of snowfall.

We had a lovely afternoon on the beach. It was about 75 and sunny. A soft breeze made it perfect.

Too bad we didn’t have another day to relax.

John worked really hard while we were up there. I certainly have no room to complain. He was doing the stuff that takes physical strength. Yes, we both worked getting the antenna up, but most of the time, I stayed inside away from the mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and pollen (which I’m really allergic to).

He got the place back in good shape. Hopefully when we come back in 2009, the water will be even higher and we can take more “long-walks.”

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