Archive forJanuary, 2009

We got away — finally!

After two days of delays because of the weather, this morning at 7:00 we finally left home to head south to Florida. We’re now over two hours into our trip south. Roads are clear and traffic moderate. It’s a balmy 19 degrees. We should arrive in Kings Point about 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night.

I’m able to go on line, but the connection speed is less than snail’s pace. Nevertheless it’ll keep me busy.

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Stuck in Michigan

We got up at 5:30 a.m. ready to take off but the weather forecasts changed our mind. We have heavy snowfall here until noon, and it’s even worse in Ohio where there are severe weather forecasts. Eleven inches in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.

It’s such a frustrating situation. This afternoon the weather will clear here, and it won’t be bad late in the day in Ohio, but in order to get to Knoxville to overnight, we’d be hitting the worst of the weather. Therefore, we have postponed until tomorrow. There’s no reason to endure a ‘white knuckle” trip.

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Change of Plans

We were supposed to get up early today and head to Florida, but we have delayed our departure until tomorrow (or Thursday).

The reasons?…

  • We’d be driving into a major winter storm. Southern Ohio and Kentucky are experiencing a freezing mess.
  • Willow’s still not well. Last night she had another “problem.” We want to take her to the vet today.
  • There’s no rush. It’s supposed to be lovely today in FL but cool this weekend. We want to be there by Friday at the latest. (We have purchased tickets to a dinner dance for Saturday.) But we have a little leaway.

    So, we’ll plan to leave tomorrow. We’ll get up at 5:00 and be on the road by 6:30 or thereabouts.

    Since we were ready to go today, everything we need (food, etc.) is in the truck. Oh, well…

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    We take off tomorrow

    Tomorrow we head south. We’ll be in Florida Wednesday (“Good Lord willin'” my grandma used to say).

    This past weekend was a lot of fun! We left Florida January 14th so we could host the Snowfest Concert in Frankenmuth, MI, January 24, at lovely Fischer Hall. It was a total success. The Frankenmuth Museum benefitted and we had a grand time with friends that we don’t see often enough.

    The concert Saturday started at 11:00 a.m. and went to 6:00 p.m. Three showcase acts performed when the whole group of musicians would leave the stage and they were were phenominal! They were Sonas, Moriath, and Picks and Sticks. These groups are the best! Their CDs were available for sale and you can buy them from their websites. (To get to their websites, click on their group’s name.)

    We had standing room only crowds and folks loved the whole event!

    Then yesterday Glen and Judi Morningstar brought the Ruffwater String Band to Frankenmuth. Fischer Hall was a perfect setting for a lively contra dance.

    But now we will be heading back to warm weather. Today, when we got up, it was about zero. It’s only supposed to get up to about 14 degrees. It’s 84 in Sun City Center. Tomorrow we’ll leave about 7:30 a.m. and plan to get as far as Knoxville, TN. Hopefully we won’t have any cold weather related problems as we head South. It’ll be in the high 70’s when we get there Wednesday, but cool down toward the weekend.

    Wish we could be there today. 85!!! I can envision everyone at the pool now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Inauguration Day

    I plan to take a lot in today while slipping in some house cleaning.

    After the swearing-in we’ll need to go into town (I have a dental appointment at 2:15).

    It’s historic and definitely interesting. It really does signify a hopeful change in U.S. politics.

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    Home feels good

    It’s good to be home.

    Friday we finally got our truck running at about 7:30 in Sharonville, OH. We had to pack but as quickly as possible, we hit the road. We had a five and a half hour drive ahead of us. It was incredibly cold on the way home. The temp was -9 in Ohio.

    Stopping for Gas in Beaverdam, OH, was numbing. Poor Willow needed to “go” but it was just to cold to stand still outside. I finally smuggled her into the restroom of the Flying J Gas Station and put papers down for her. She was also not feeling well so it was necessary.

    She’d been ill for a couple of days (a bad digestive problem).

    When we got home (I don’t even know what time it was, but late late), the furnace wasn’t working. John messed with it and got it going. But when we got up Saturday morning at 7:00 (after a few hours sleep), we had to assess the situation. A winter snow warning blanketed our area (and there was a blizzard out there), Willow was sick, the furnace wasn’t working right, we were pooped, and I had already sent in my reports, so my absence wouldn’t be critical. We decided to stay home. And boy, I’m glad we did. We got between 8″ and a foot of snow. It was a white-out most of the day.

    Today we drove to St. John’s (an hour trip). The roads were fairly clear, but even today, we stuck to the main highway.

    This week is going to be hectic. We have Monday-Friday to get our house spick and span for a crowd. Saturday, January 24th, we’ll host an all-day Snowfest Concert in Frankenmuth, MI. Six folks will come back and stay overnight here.

    Sunday we’ll feed them a nice breakfast and we’ll all head back to Frankenmuth where Glen and Judi Morningstar will present a contra dance. John and I will do the “sound” and keep things working smoothly.

    Our initial plan was to leave on Monday at 8:00 a.m. but thinking about how we’ll feel after two full days in Frankenmuth and then having to pack, we decided to revise our schedule. Now the plan is to take off Tuesday a.m. but do the nearly 1,300 mile trip in two days instead of three. We’ll go as far as Knoxville, TN, which is 605 miles, the first day, and the second (last) lap will be 685 miles. We will be economizing by doing sandwiches for lunches during the trip and maybe eating dinner in our room (which is supposed to have a microwave).

    We should arrive at our condo by about 7:00 Wednesday night the 28th.

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    Stuck in Sharonville, OH

    We are headed home. Or at least we’re trying.

    We left Sun City Center Wednesday, January 14th. We over-nighted in Kennesaw, Georgia, Wednesday night. Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon we arrived in Sharonville, OH, where we stayed last night in a Red Roof Inn just north of Cincinnati. We’re still about 325 miles south of Saginaw. We could have made it last night, but it seemed more sensible to finish the trip today (Friday) so we’d be fresh.

    It was bitter cold last night. At about 8:00 a.m. when John tried to start our diesel truck it was -6. The truck wouldn’t start. It’s now 12:30 p.m. We’re still trying to get it started. We’ve had the engine block heater plugged in all morning and a hair drier running in the engine compartment. The temperature is supposed to stay in the single digits today.

    We are stuck here.

    If we have to stay until tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to be a toasty 30 but we really wanted to get home today. I’m supposed to be at a board meeting of the Original Dulcimer Players Club at 10:00 tomorrow.

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    Cool Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Beautiful weather

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

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

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

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

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

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    “In Heaven there is no beer”

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

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

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

    John says it’s all my fault.

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

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

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

    Funny thing is I do feel guilty.

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    What’s missing?

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

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

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

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

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    Butterflies and Chameleons (Geckos)

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

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

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

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    New Years Resolutions

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

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

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

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

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    My Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

    That’s our prayer. Our wish.

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