Archive forOctober, 2010


A friend of mine pointed me to this Key West (FL) moonshot from October 22nd. The moon has been so bright it looked like a floodlight. I realized I could have “read” by moonlight.


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Anticipating Busch Gardens

The schedule for 2011 for Busch Gardens Real Music Series was released and lots of excellent acts are included in the line-up:

Jan. 19 – 22 – The Terry Myers Orchestra (a Tribute to Benny Goodman) with the Swing Sisters
Jan. 26 – 29 – The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Feb. 2 – 5 – Debbie Reynolds
Feb. 9 -12 – Paul Revere and the Raiders
Feb. 16 – 19 – The Ventures
Feb. 23 – 26 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
March 2 – 5 – The 5th Dimension
March 9 – 12 – The Osmond Brothers
March 16 – 19 – Tony Orlando
March 23 – 26 – Charo

Most of the acts have visited Busch Gardens before, but we’d still go back and see them again. Our special favorites are: the Osmond Brothers and Charo. We haven’t seen either of the orchestras, Debbie Reynolds (although I saw her about 40 years ago in Chicago), the Ventures or Tony Orlando.

It should be a great season.

I took these photos of Charo in April, 2008, when she visited Busch Gardens. According to Wikipedia, official documents in Murcia, Spain (where she was born) and the United States indicate she was born in 1941, but Charo insists she actually was born in 1951. If Wikipedia is right, when we see her in March, she’ll be 70. When these photos were taken she was 67!


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Golf Cart Mishap

Today we picked up our new golf cart. It’s pretty, shiny, and has all the bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, when we were parked in front of the dealer’s store, testing the brake lights, the sales person said, “Hit the pedal.” I was sitting in the passenger seat and he pointed to a pedal, which I hit. Unfortunately it was the accelerator, not the brake!! John had left the key on and it was in forward so it took off and hit another (NEW!!) cart. Our front was metal, the front of the other one was plastic. Ours was fine. But we now have to pay for a new front piece on the other cart!! I feel so stupid!!

John kept saying, “How could you?” and he has been really quiet and I can tell he’s really mad.

I don’t know how much it’ll cost, but the golf cart shop said, “It won’t be much.” I hope not.

I think they feel that it wasn’t totally my fault. From my view, the guy pointed at the wrong pedal. (In fact I questioningly looked at him and got a nod.) And John left the car in forward and not neutral as he’d been told to do. But I took 100% of the blame because I should have known not to hit the accelerator.

So the good feeling we got from the new cart was quickly gone. We didn’t even go to the regular Thursday Rockin’ Rendezvous. We stayed home in a quiet funk. Last night left us tired and not feeling like more beer. John said the loud music would drive him crazy tonight, so we didn’t go anywhere.

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Little Harbor Evening

Last night we invited Linda and Wayne Conklin to go with us to Little Harbor’s Grill to watch a Florida sunset.

Little Harbor is one of our favorite destinations but it’s usually a bit pricey. We’d heard that on Wednesday they are offering a “special” of a $5.95 half-pound angus burger and cheap beer. We arrived at about 5:00 so we got a great outdoor table in the shade. It was perfect! Apparently we weren’t the only ones who had heard about the bargain because by 6:00 the place was packed.

The food was great.

At about 6:30 our friends, Darlene & Gary and Sharon & Al showed up and were trying to find a table. We crowed in four more chairs. It was a nice evening.

At 6:55 the sunset didn’t disappoint.


torches at Little Harbor.
After the sun had gone down but the sky was still colored, Wayne & Linda walked with us down to the water. It was a perfect temperature and a lovely breezy night. The fish were jumping and it smelled like “ocean.” The tiki torches illuminated the shoreline.


Florida has a “feel” and the whole evening definitely had that quality. Wayne and Linda agree that Little Harbor is the perfect place to take folks who want an experience. It’s the sort of place that we want to save as an “occasion,” but it is fun and October with mid-70’s temperatures was a perfect time to take it in.

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Another Photo


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More activities!

Nearly every day we’re at the pool for at least four hours (sometimes six). Weather’s been delightful.

Last night we went to the Pennsylvania Club’s Octoberfest. Nice event. Tonight we’re heading to Ruskin for a spaghetti dinner at the Elks Club. (Mel and Jean loosely organized a few of us to go over for the evening.) Tomorrow night it’s Rockin’ Rendezvous from 4:00-7:00 (we’ll probably go at about 6:00), followed by a Baby Boomer Club wine and cheese party. Then we have a few “days of rest” (unless we decide to go over to the clubhouse Saturday night or Sunday night for football), before we attend a Kings Point Ballroom Dance Club dance next Tuesday. Whew!

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Soaking under the sun

We’ve been at the pool most days since arriving. (I think we missed one day when we had a full schedule.) Friends gather and we float around and exchange stories. It’s fun.

Yesterday we went inside (to the bar area) for the last couple of innings of the Rays game. It was super fun when the Rays won. The crowd went wild and the excitement was contageous.

The Tampa Bay Rays are obviously very popular here. Tampa Bay’s baseball team will come home Tuesday night to play a fifth and decisive game against the Texas Rangers in the first round of the American League playoffs. The winner will go on to play some team or another from New York City for the league championship, and a place in the World Series.

The Rays lost the first two games, but they rebounded to win games 3 and 4 in Texas over the weekend.

Tomorrow night we’ll have a grand and exciting showdown. John and I will miss most of the excitement because we’re going to a Pennsylvania Club Octoberfest dinner dance. But I’ll bet we’ll know what’s happening. There’s a TV set outside the ballroom and I have a feeling that if we’re still at the party and the score is close, the whole party will be gathered around the set.

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Sunshine Kids

Saturday we went to a lovely Fundraiser at the Sun City Center Community Hall. The crowd was large and supportive. It was a benefit for Sunshine Kids, who are children with cancer. One of the youngsters spoke and made a real impact with her explanation of how this charity had helped her.

We’d never heard of this annual event, but we won’t miss it next year. Tickets were $18 per person. The dinner was catered by Carrabba’s and was excellent. (We’ve even tried to find a recipe for the chicken.) Talented locals provided the entertainment. As the evening ended, there were lots of items raffled off. Everyone was given a Sun City Center candy jar or coffee mug. We bought a white golf shirt with embroidered Sun City Cener logo. It was a wonderful bargain.

Our friends, Sharon Baremore and Alan Goodyear, were our guests. Alan won a raffle package.

We ended the evening at our house for a little wine.

Nice evening!

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Blue Skies and Gentle Tans

Since we arrived Monday the skies have been blue without a single cloud. Temperatures have been delightful (low to mid 80’s). It’s been really nice.

Today we looked at seven condos (exterior observations only). None impressed us enough to be given further consideration. The more we look, the more we feel it’s best to stay where we are.

Many of the places we’ve checked need TLC. Flower beds are over-grown and a good power-washing of the exterior would help. Some have small living areas and NONE we’ve checked have a view equal to what we have. The perfect place may show up, but we haven’t found it yet.

Tomorrow evening we’re going out with Alan Goodyear and Sharon Baremore. They are a cute couple we met last year. We’ll attend a benefit for kids with cancer. Dinner will be catered by Carrabba’s. Our original plans were to go with Wayne and Linda Conklin, but Wayne’s nephew died, so they made a quick trip back tle Michigan and they suggested that we give their tickets to someone who would enjoy the evening. Alan and Sharon will be fun.

I need to do a little house cleaning early, we’ll head to the re-sale shop, and check the bulletin boards to see if we can find any wonderful bargains.

Don’t know if we’ll make it to the pool. We’re both getting a gentle tan.

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Tom Petzak

We’ve made lots of special friends here in Florida. One of those was Tom Petzak. He was a 71-year-old, sun-tanned fixture at the pool. He always had a smile and would always take time to talk with you. John and Tom really hit it off. Tom played softball and was as more active than anyone we knew. He had a malignant brain tumor and only live five weeks after diagnosis.

Tom died in July. We didn’t know until today at the pool. Actually, I didn’t find out until John told me as we were driving home.

The pool won’t seem the same.

We’ve commented that the lost of Jay Morris in August 2008, and Bob Taylor in December that same year had a major impact on our Florida experience. Now we’ve also lost Tom. There’s be an empty spot in our lives.

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We’re HERE!

from our condo
We arrived in Sun City Center about noon. After stopping at the post office and Winn Dixie, we got to our place about 12:45. The place is dusty but in good shape.

The bougainvillea, which we feared had died after last winter’s heavy frosts, is in bloom but needs more pruning. It had been about eight feet tall, now it’s half that, but at least it survived.

In 2008, we brought a small six inch poinsettia in a 3″ pot. It had one or two flowers. Last year, when we arrived just before Christmas it was lovely.

When we got down here today, it had doubled in size. Of course, it’s not time for it to flower, but it’s going to be awesome during the holiday season. It stands over four feet tall, and it’s a good three feet across. My pansies had died, and the flower beds where they’d been planted are overgrown with weeds, but I’ll get them to look nice again.

It’ll take a few days to get everything polished up, but I love it here!

So far Mel & Jean and Wayne & Linda have stopped in. Our neighbors have stopped us to welcome us.

We attended the Pelican Players (drama club) potluck but it was small. It’s obvious everyone hasn’t returned yet.

John said he already feels better here. The six months will fly by.

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Nearly There

We’re in Florida with about 180 miles ‘til our exit. It’s 9:00 a.m. and 60 degrees. We’ve spotted a few palm trees but no “love-bugs” yet. Traffic is light, Charlie, our cockatiel is cooing contentedly, and Willow’s anxious to arrive.

The trip has been fairly uneventful. Traffic was bumper to bumper and slow-moving as we went through Atlanta. Maybe a sporting event (??). We never figured it out but things all lanes were clogged. We’d figured that by traveling on the weekend, we’d avoid a lot of the truck traffic, but we were wrong. Yesterday, especially through Tennessee and northern Georgia, truckers were out in force.

But today, on this last lap, we’re moving smoothly along.

We’ve noticed a lot of big rig RVers pulling extra vehicles. Yesterday it seemed every other vehicle on the road was a huge, pricy motor home.

Tonight we’re headed to a Pelican Players’ potluck at the North Clubhouse. We’re hoping to bump into the couple that gave us grapefruit last year. We don’t know their names, but they were complaining about too much fruit and anxious to give it away. We’d like to get on their list of “recipients.”

Our friends, the Conklins, called us yesterday afternoon and asked if we’d like to come to dinner tonight, but I explained that we already have plans. We’ll see them Saturday night when we go to a benefit for children with cancer.

We’ll be there shortly.

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Love Bugs Re-visited

On September 17th, 2007, I wrote about “unlovely love bugs.” Yesterday I was warned that “they’re back!”

Our friends, Wayne and Linda Conklin, who are already in Florida said we should be prepared. They’ve really invaded the south.

Again, for clarification, what are love bugs? I found this technical explanation:

The female is the larger one on the right.

Love BugsThe love bug (also known as lovebug, march fly, honeymoon fly, telephone bug and double-headed bug) (scientific name Plecia nearctica) is a small flying insect common to the southern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast. It was first described in 1940 in Galveston, Texas, and was said to be invading Texas and Louisiana. By the end of the 20th century, however, it had spread heavily to all areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and other parts of Central America.

Just before we get into Florida, we generally see our first love bugs. They don’t bite, sting, stink, or buzz. But they are annoying because there are so many of them. And they are really hard on car finishes. Someone made a comment in something I read that lovebugs truly help the economy because so many people have to have their cars washed after driving through them. If you leave them on your car, they’ll permanently pit the finish. But even if an insecticide could be found to eliminate them, there’d be a lobby defending them, since so many folks earn money off them.

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