Archive forApril, 2010

John continues to do well

John’s Saginaw pulmonologist (Dr. Indira) is a really good doctor. She says that, because John came in when his disease was just starting, she can hopefully keep him going for a dozen years or more. At 72, that’s great news for John.

(Note: She keeps telling us about the one patient she has who is still doing well after 10 years, but that’s probably (undoubtedly) not what happens in most cases.)

Today, after going to his doctor, we went to the bank and dozens of stores. We were exhausted by the time we got home. (Why is it that going in and out of stores is the most tiring of all the kinds of shopping trips?) We didn’t get many items: some plants for our garden, a couple of small flashlights, a rug for our guest bathroom (to replace the one I took for the guest bath in Florida), two large heavy beach towels, a prescription, and a few grocery items. We must have stopped at a dozen places where we didn’t get anything.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be grand weather with temps near 80 degrees.

We’ve been looking for a gravity lounge chair. I hope we can find one, In Florida, my favorite pass time is being beside the pool in a comfy lounge chair reading.

Why do I need to be in Florida? I can do that here beside “Lake Cecil” (the tiny lake where we live). With a lounge chair and a good book, I’ll love this summer as much as if I was in Florida.

I’ve been working on the workshops for the ODPC Funfest, the huge dulcimer festival which will be held in July. The scheduling of the classes always takes me dozens upon dozens of hours. I hope I can have the scheduled grids completed within the next month. It’s such a monumental task that even the preparation takes weeks.

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Back to the Saginaw pulmonologist

John has an appointment tomorrow with Dr. Indira, his Saginaw pulmonologist.

Some of his problems have returned since we got back from Florida. He coughs more and I can tell he has some additional problems. But he pushes himself harder so he accomplishes more. I wonder if it’s the pushing that causes the cough.

But he’s still much better than a year ago. His color is good, his energy is up.

Tomorrow we want to approach Dr. Indira with the idea his Florida doctor had, to get him on the lung transplant list. I’m all for it. I know that’s a cure. He isn’t at a point where he could except a lung (or two), but who knows what six months could bring and at that point he’d have a lessened chance to get on “the list.”

We’ll meet with Dr. Indira and see how she feels about such a proposal. His Florida doctor was very careful not to undermine any of Dr. Indira’s treatment plan. He said he’d be silly to since her plan seemed to be working. But I wonder if we’d come to him first if John would be better off, or if he’d have been written off.

We’ll see how she feels. It might be tough to balance the personalities of two different physicians.

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Our Fire

Headline: “Historic Fordney now rubble”

Friday, June 28, 1991, The Saginaw News

The photo (above) shows the rear view of the fire which destroyed a major part of the historic district of Saginaw. We owned the part that is shown fully involved in flames. The one-story white building behind the main structure was also ours.

We’d purchased the building shortly after John retired in 1988. The building contained eight apartments on the second floor and two long-term businesses on the first floor. The third and fourth floors were occupied by a vacant ballroom with a balcony.

We had obtained a historic grant and had spent approximately $45,000 to renovate the builidng. John had done most of the work himself. It was up to current code and the old place had a “new lease on life.” He had put the final coat of paint on the doors of one of the shops the previous weekend. Everything was new: furnaces, plumbing, kitchens, bathrooms. We looked forward to steady long-term income.

We’d feared the proximity to the Fordney Hotel (which was located next door). John had witnessed derelicts entering the Forney which had been condemned for about two years. The authorities had been notified over and over. Everyone ignored John’s concerns. The fire was almost pre-destined. We knew that the homeless folks who lived in the condemned building were “cooking” and smoking. It was a problem waiting to errupt.

When the fire broke out, John’s first concern was getting all of the residents out. There was no time for “packing”; the fire moved fast. The fire department fought to save nearby businesses, but ours was written off as a total loss. The walls of our building collapsed about five hours into the blaze. It was hard to stand by and watch dreams go up in smoke.

Within a few days The Saginaw News reported that the City of Saginaw had contracted for clean-up. We had been negotiating for clean-up on our own. We had a contractor lined up who agreed to haul away the debris for $5,000. Instead the contract the City negotiated was for the demolition of a four-story building. (Our building was just rubble. There was no demolition necessary.) The clean-up contract reported that we’d owe $150,000, then it was lowered to $57,000. In any case, we didn’t have that kind of money to pay off the clean up company.

And the City gave all salvage rights to the clean-up company. One of our tenants had been allowed to store his motorcycle in the white building behind the main building. The fire didn’t touch it, but the clean-up company got the motorcycle. We had items stored in that building. We crept on to the property and took our broom, our shovel and a couple of souvenir bricks. But the rest was hauled away. (We’d have loved bricks to build a path at our home.)

Eventually insurance paid off the bank but we lost all our equity and had nothing to show for the three years’ of work John had invested.

We looked into the possibility of re-building on the site. With the help of a local congressman, we felt we could probably get a grant to re-build since low cost housing in that area was desperately needed. We sketched out plans and proposals.

But the City continued to fight us. It was a nightmare. We found an attorney who said he’d take our case against the City for a 1/3 contingency fee, but as is widely reported, “You can’t fight city hall.”

It was one headache after another. The City hired a fleet of attorneys.

After several weeks of struggling, John’s temper was near breaking point.

I suggested we “get out of town” for a day. We went to a hammered dulcimer festival in Evart, MI. We’d never been there, but we had enjoyed the sound of hammered dulcimers.

That day at the festival changed our lives. We listened to lovely music and knew we wanted to be part of that community. Within a couple of months, we’d purchased a dulcimer and John had built one.

The battle with the City of Saginaw continued for a couple of years. They decided to “go after us” for the grant money because (as they said), it wasn’t being used for the intended purpose. (It had been paid out for materials and contractors. All money had been controlled by the granting agency. It was all spent on the building.)

As the time added up, our attorney decided that it wasn’t worth it to his firm to continue to represent us. He sent us a bill for $25,000 and withdrew as our counsel. We met with him and couldn’t believe his position. We knew we’d agreed to pay him only if we won the case but his comment was “You have a place in the Upper Peninsula. I don’t have a place in the U.P. Don’t you feel guilty? Sign on the dotted line and agree to pay what you owe.” Basically he wanted us to agree to give up our place or pay the $25,000. We refused .

We filed a complaint with the State Bar. Our attorney was reprimanded.

But in the end, we represented ourselves in court. We lost our property to the City in exchange for the clean-up bill and the grant money.

The property is now a parking lot. Our dreams were snuffed out by the City of Saginaw.

The bitterness John felt was slow to dissipate. But the hammered dulcimer world became a big part of our lives.

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My Brain Tumor

On September, 1981, I was hired by St. Mary’s Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan, to work in Administration as a secretary.

Three months later, I met John Skaryd at a meeting for single parents.

From our first introduction, I was smitten. At the end of the evening, he walked me to the car and kissed me gently on the cheek. We made plans to go to dinner later in the week. That date was followed by many more.

In January, 1982, only a month after we’d met, I found out I had a brain tumor. Talk about bad timing! A new job, a new guy, and a life-threatening brain tumor!

I had gone to a specialist when I felt something with my hearing wasn’t “quite right.” From the audiologist, I was sent to one of best neurosurgeons in the world. He diagnosed my condition as an acoustic neuroma, a non-malignant tumor on my brain stem. It took about a month of tests and a hospital stay to confirm and map the tumor. Without the surgery, I would die, with it I had a 50/50 chance of facial paralysis with many side effects. My doctor explained that he hadn’t been successful removing these tumors and felt I should go to the center where they’d had the best outcomes and were making the greatest advances: St. Vincent’s Medical Center, in Los Angeles, California.

I was frightened. I’d never been across the country. I couldn’t lean on my parents because Mom was incapable of becoming “involved.” (I now believe her inability to deal with difficult situations may have been part of the very early stages of Alzheimer’s.) Dad was dealing with a major heart problem and couldn’t handle anything further. My teenage daughter had her own life.

So I confided in John, my very new gentleman friend. I shared my innermost thoughts with him. I cried. I felt vulnerable.

A surgery in California presented logistic problems. I had to stay for three weeks following the operation. Since my finances and paid sick-time were extremely limited, there was no way I could cover the costs for my daughter to accompany me.

I prepared to go across the country alone. Although John wasn’t able to get much time off work, he said he would be there for the surgery.

I arrived on the weekend so that I could have lab tests and work-ups. John came in on Wednesday just before I checked into the hospital. The surgery was scheduled for Thursday.

The night before my operation, I received a call from Sister Mary, Administrator of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Saginaw. At that time, I’d only worked for St. Mary’s about six months but we’d become friends. She was at a retreat and had requested a special mass for me. She also arranged for my care after the surgery.

I am not Catholic, but I was glad that I had her and her strong beliefs behind me.

The next day, everything went fine. John was with me in intensive care. He called my parents to fill them in, and then left to go back to work in Michigan.

Eight similar surgeries were done the week I had mine. I was one of only two patients who had a successful outcome. (Sister Mary’s prayers had helped.)

The next three weeks, I had to stay in California. My recovery progressed smoothly under the care of the Daughters’ of Charity, the nuns of Sister Mary’s “order.” Her pull had really helped with my accommodations. After I was discharged from the hospital, I was invited to stay in a vacant nursing school. It was empty except for me. She’d even arranged to have my meals delivered.

Six weeks after my surgery, I was back at work.

I’d met John in 1981. On September 10, 1985, we were married.

That’s the brief story of our romance… Or maybe you could say it’s the story of my brain tumor. I know my health crisis drew us closer. He was there for me.

This past September, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Because of the surgery in 1982, I’m totally deaf in my right ear and my balance is lousy. I have found that the loss of my inner ear produces dizziness which isn’t always easy to deal with. Sometimes I am disoriented, especially after dark, but I am fortunate to have come through it as I did. I’ve had a grand life.

When Sister Mary died in 2003, I asked to speak at her memorial service. All of the others who took the podium were high-level community leaders and political figures. They talked about how Sister Mary had made the hospital financially viable and credited her with the introduction of high tech services that made St. Mary’s the second most intensive care facility in the state of Michigan. Because of her leadership, Saginaw now has a reputation as a hub for excellence in medical services.

The room was filled and noisy when I started my story. As I told of my experience, the room quieted. My account explained how Sister Mary had made sure I had the best possible treatment in California. She may have been an icon of business success, but it was clear that Sister Mary was more importantly a warm, caring friend, who lived her beliefs.

There was total silence … then applause when I finished.

In 2004, I retired from St. Mary’s. Over the years I had advanced from secretary to an administrative position in charge of hospital planning and the authority on certificates of need for most of hospitals in central Michigan.

In those 23 years, I’d only missed one additional day because of illness.

Boy, that Sister Mary had some powerful prayers!

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Willow’s better

Willow’s sleeping and we’re taking a breather.

She’s kept us up most of the past three or four nights. When she gets started, she hacks continuously — often for more than an hour (unrelenting) . But right now, she’s quiet. I hope it lasts.

We have increased her meds to the max. We’ve prayed and hoped. She is better right now. Let’s hope it continues. We both know that if the coughing continues, we have to make a decision because, if something like that doesn’t cease, it isn’t fair to her. If it goes on incessantly, we can’t let her suffer.

Tonight it’s looking up. She’s breathing easily and she’s comfortable. Hope it continues.

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Now and Then


I scanned a photo of me taken in 1960. Quite a difference fifty years makes!!)

I look at that wide-eyed innocent young lady and think, “Girl, you’re going to have a great life. Not what you would plan for, and you’ll find some of it difficult, but all in all, pretty darned good!”

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Willow’s (our dog’s) hacking

We will probably have to take Willow in to the vet’s today. She keeps coughing. It’s like she has something in her throat; like she’s trying to hack up a fur ball. John says it seems more like hiccups… a spasm.

John can calm her by holding her. She doesn’t want me near her.

I have a fear that it’s something to do with her heart condition.

We were up much of the night with her.


We took her to the vet. It’s her trachea that’s being crowded by fluid build-up in her chest cavity because of her heart problem. It’s all one condition. Her meds have been increased. Hopefully it’ll help. The vet indicated we will probably lose her in less than 6 months.

On the way home from the vet’s she wet me completely (slacks, jacket, and top). Only a mother understands that being drenched with pee goes with being a “mom.” I didn’t complain. I felt badly because I should have realized she needed to be “walked” before we headed for home. I thought her discomfort was because of her trachea. I didn’t know it was because she had a full bladder.

John may be the one she loves most, but I do what’s necessary because she’s my baby too. (Note: According to him: she’s never “wet” him. She must either hold it or he doesn’t take her when she’s in crisis. I have been wet twice this weekend… and countless times before) She may prefer him, but I pay my dues.)

She’s been a good dog but it’s hard to deal with these times when you know she’s suffering.

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I shouldn’t have promised

I sorta “promised” that my next couple of post would cover a couple important events in our lives: my brain tumor and our fire; but those will be in depth narratives so I’ve put them off because they’ll take serious effort and I have to be in the right mood. So let me say, they’ll come, but I don’t feel prepared to do them now. Instead let me add a fluffy piece about Michigan where it’s lovely and we have a grand view out the window to our tiny lake.

The robins have been collecting nest building materials and the geese have been making pests of themselves while the red buds are coming into bloom and the grapes, apple, pear and peach trees are flowering.

It’s not all that warm (60-65) but I can tolerate this temperature. I just want sunshine and clear skies. That we have!

Our yard is surrounded by maple trees and blue spruce. The spruce never loose their green needles, but the maple are just leafing out. It’s amazing that there are so many varieties of maple: red maple and several green-leafed varieties. Right now we can see the small leaves forming and opening up. Some are fairly large (4-5″ plus) but others are tiny buds barely showing themselves. The color difference is huge: bright kelly green, dark muted green, and red/burgundy.

Ahh…. maple trees. My daughter, Kelly, took one back to California and tried to grow it but it didn’t survive. As John has pointed out, maples need the cold hibernation season and then the “rebirth.” Florida wouldn’t provide that climate so I need to accept that, but I’d love to see the multi pointed leaves in Florida. Ahhh well…. it’s not to be.

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Missing stuff

In the past, John and I have gone through two major situations that I’ve never shared with my blog, but I probably should: (1) I had a brain tumor which totally impacted my life in 1981 and (2) we experienced a fire which was a life-changing experience in 1991. These life-landmarks make us who we are so I will delve into them soon.

I did tell the true story of finding the brother I never knew I had and that’s already shown under “Family Matters.” (Shown to the right under the “Menu” heading.)

I need to also report these other two events that changed us deeply. The fire got us into playing hammered dulcimers and changed the focus of our lives. The tumor brought John and me together closer than we may have been otherwise. When I add these “Life Changing” true stories, they will also go into the area of the blog on the right so, in addition to being a post, you’ll see these “life altering events” under the “Menu” items.

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Videos are up!

There are 22 videos of the Kings Point Lip Sync Show. It’s easiest to see them here, but they are actually on “You Tube.” I consistently used the tags: Kings Point, Lip Sync, Sun City Center, March 24. If you go to You Tube, you should find them by entering those words as a search but remembering “” might be easier.

Spread the word.

(And I’m sorry that it took so long. It took a lot of time to do them. Each one had to be converted, edited, titled, uploaded and embedded. It took more than 15 hours of work to get them ready for you.)

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Video 22 – “Billy Jean” (Michael Jackson)

A tribute to Michael Jackson:

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Video 21 – “Witch Doctor”

Bill and Donna always do fun stuff.

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Video 20 – “Lady Gaga”

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Video 19 – “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”

This is the much talked about “puppet duet.” What fun! (Wish I had been able to get better audio.)

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Video 18 – “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”

Our own Marilyn (aka Rachael) did this version of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

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Video 17 – “Jailhouse Rock”

Honey and Rachael:

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Video 16 – “Bosom Buddies”

The participants in this video deserve extra credit. The sound track on Sue’s sound track did not come through so she was handed a mic. This was supposed to be lip sync, but she ended up speaking and singing the lyrics. Her partner never missed a beat. Both deserve recognition for the excellent job they did in a difficult situation.

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Video 15 – “Inspite of Ourselves”

Another of Linda’s many looks:

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Video 14 – “The Squirrel Went Berserk”

Cute! This one was another crowd favorite.

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Video 13 – “You’re the Reason our Kids are Ugly”

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Video 12 – “Sam, You Made the Pants too Long”

Don’t forget you can make the image full-screen by clicking on the icon in the lower right corner (above the “U” in “You”).

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Video 11 – “Drippin’ and Droppin'”

I guess this one was called “Drippin’ and Droppin’.”

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Video 10 – “Hit the Road, Jack”

This one started with a skit:

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Video 9 – “She’s Got You”

Sue did a cute version of “She’s Got You.” Notice the photo of Tiger Woods who is the object of her affection.

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Video 8 – Dolly Parton’s “PMS Blues”

Linda’s “PMS Blues” had a small technical glitch, but she handled it well.

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Video 7, New York, New York

Don’t forget you can click the little icon in the lower right corner of the screen over the “U” in “You” to enlarge the screen.

Sue did “New York, New York.” A great job!!

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Video 6 – He’s So Fine

Don’t forget you can enlarge the image to the size of your screen by clicking on the icon which is just above the “U” in You in the lower right corner.

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Video 5 – Let’s Get Loud

Look for the “naked man” during the intro to this one.

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Video 4 – To All The Girls I’ve Loved

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Video 3 – Dancing Queen

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Video 2 – I’m having a hot flash

If you click the little icon in the lower right corner below the “U” in You, it will enlarge to fill your screen.

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The first video: “The Blues Brothers.”

I’ll be posting the lip sync acts which were performed March 24, 2010, in Kings Point, Sun City Center, FL. This was a fund raiser to benefit the Sun City Center Emergency Medical Services.

The first act was “The Blues Brothers.”

If you click the little icon in the lower right corner below the “U” in You, it will enlarge to fill your screen.

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Kings Point Lip Sync Videos

I’m not really happy with my lip sync show videos. The sound isn’t very good, and the images should be sharper.

Here’s my excuse: I bought a new video camera just prior to the lip sync show. It came just before the show so I only had time to try it out once. I could see there would be problems. The battery wouldn’t last long enough for the show and I wasn’t impressed with the quality. I didn’t have a choice but to use it for the show and then sent it back for a refund. I’ve since purchased a much better camera, a JVC HD – high def with an 80 gig hard drive. I’ve also purchased THREE BATTERIES so I can do up to eight to ten hours without needing to stop. It has a super zoom and Dolby sound so I’m sure it’ll be much better.

In order to conserve the battery, I did the March 24th, 2010, show in snippets. As it was, the battery ran out about half way through and I recharged it for about a half hour during intermission to get a little more time. And while it was charging, I switched to my “other” camera which doesn’t have the ability to zoom so it’s hard to use for that kind of show (but I think it actually had higher def images.)

I’m now in the process of editing what I was able to video. It’ll probably take me a few days. I may not have captured all of the acts because there were times when my battery was too low. I believe I videoed 22 which I’ll make available asap. They are not necessarily in the order they were presented.

Enjoy. (And next year I’ll be better prepared.)

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“Michigan, My Michigan”*

We’re home.

The house smells musty and it’s more than a little dusty. It’s a little chilly here compared to Florida, but the weather forecast is for 80 tomorrow so we can’t complain! This afternoon we were able to open the door for a while before it cooled down. It’s good to be home.

Actually it was an “easy trip” compared to many we’ve made. Traffic wasn’t too heavy and the truck purred. But our dog, Willow, was restless and difficult all thirteen hundred miles and that was exhausting. (She’s gotten crabby in her old age.) She was shedding so we were constantly breathing her fine hairs.

I always seem to have problems getting our wireless internet to work after we’ve had it shut down and today was no different. Took two calls but it’s working now except for my out-going emails which I must transmit from by domain host. It’s a pain!!

The house seems to have made it through the winter without many problems. We did have a leak in the drain from the master shower, but since we shut off all water, it didn’t hurt anything.

In December, we stored our houseplants in the hot tub, which we filled just enough to provide a constant “drink” while were away. (Now it’ll be drained and wiped down). My white orchid succumbed and a mother’s tongue bit the dust, but the other plants look fine. Our grass is a little sparse (needs re-seeding), the geese are hanging around on our beach, and the apple trees have started to bud out (which disappoints John because he hoped to be home in time to spray with dormant insecticide.)

As we came down I-75 we saw lots of redbud trees in bloom from Georgia to Kentucky and green everywhere, but it’ll be a few weeks before this area of Michigan is leafed out. Our redbud doesn’t even have a haze of red yet. I do see a couple of white flowering trees in full bloom across the lake and the maples have tiny green leaves. It looks like spring.

Nice to be home but we’re pooped.

* “Michigan, My Michigan” is the tune most residents think is the state song.

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Last Day

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



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

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

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    Packing again

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

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

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

    So we’ll have a full truckload again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Near the end of Spring 2010 in Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Feels Finished

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    We always under-estimate the length of a job

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

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

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    Neighborhood House Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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