Archive forJanuary, 2011

Busy Life but LOVE it!

Last week we enjoyed a karaoke evening (we don’t sing but it’s fun to watch), I attended my “writers’ group,” we had fun at our country couples dance lesson, went to Ruskin for spaghetti, socialized at Rockin’ Rendezvous, attended the Cirque De Monde show, joined friends at a memorial to honor Rose Wark (a good friend who died in October), danced and feasted at the Sno-Ball (a fancy formal party), shopped a couple of times including at a huge flea market (the Big Top), practiced our music with Wayne and Linda Conklin (the other half of our little performance group we now call Kings Strings), and planned for an equally busy week this week!!!

It’s no wonder that the condo hardly ever gets cleaned.

This week we will probably have company from Michigan (Cindy and Mike Baker). They are looking for a rental condo unit for January, February and March, 2012. They were north of Nashville last night when they called. That’s at least a 13-hour drive. I invited them to stay with us if they want. If they do, it’ll be tonight but I can’t imagine how they can make it here unless they arrive in the wee hours. Tomorrow at 3:00 they check into their rental condo unit in Orlando northwest of us. I have a feeling they’ll come tomorrow about 10:30 a.m. We’ll take them on a tour until they have to leave (about 1:00). It won’t give them much time, but they’re anxious to see the place.

I hope, if they call and say they want to stay tonight, I can find the bed under all our music stuff which has taken over the bedroom. (Actually I’m stretching the truth for effect. I could get the bedroom ready with 30 minutes of polishing.)

We have a condo association annual meeting at 8:30 tomorrow, a pizza party with the same group on Wednesday, our couples country dance lesson Wednesday afternoon, Thursday we have another practice scheduled with the Conklins and Rockin’ Rendezvous is that evening at the clubhouse. On Friday, we’ll go to Busch Gardens and see Debbie Reynolds. Saturday we’ll hit the “Nearly New” re-sale for bargains and Sunday we’re invited to Brenda and John’s for a Super Bowl party.

Love our life here! It’s almost good that the pool is closed until the 17th (while the paving stones which make up the pool deck are torn up and leveled). We just don’t have time to relax in the sun. We”re too busy having fun.

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Kitchen Renovation

Here are the long-promised before and after kitchen renovation pictures.

October 2008

The honey oak cabinets (above) were in the condo when we bought the place in 2008. You’ll notice the oak cabinets are short, and there’s an old fan over the range with a counter microwave. There’s wallpaper behind the cabinets and on the wall behind the “buffet.”

We had Mauro’s Cabinets re-do everything. He finished Saturday. The top cabinets were totally reconstructed. The bottom cabinets were “resurfaced.” Eventually we’ll also put granite on the countertop and a nice back-splash. The walls in the great room and kitchen are all sand color (a light brown). The wall behind the “buffet” is a milk chocolate color.

There’s also a new stainless French-door refrigerator, microwave, buffet, and hanging pendant lights over the bar area. (The range and dishwasher will eventually have stainless installed, but that will wait.)

January 2011

January 2011

January 2011

This is the “buffet” that prompted the whole renovation. We loved the dark storage piece we bought, and it matched nicely with the lights we hung about the same time, but the cabinets didn’t work with it. Now they do!!

January 2011

The last photo is the way folks see the kitchen as they enter our condo.

We still have more to do: counter tops, back splash, new bar stools, and eventually the flooring. It’s coming together!

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Lookin’ Good

The kitchen isn’t complete, but hopefully Mauro will finish up this morning. (We’re waiting for him now.)

He needs to finish the spice rack (a skinny pull-out to hold our array of spices). He’ll add a door to the corner cabinet, put the doors on a narrow tip-down door under the sink for a scouring pad, etc., adjust some too tight shelves and insert in a missing shelf. Then the hardware (handles) need to be added (22 in all).

John is going to add shelves over the microwave and refrigerator (since Mauro hadn’t included the price of those in his original bid and would have added about $200 to the amount he charged us.) John is also finishing up the painting of the kitchen wall toward the guest bathroom. That one wall will be a milk chocolate color and will accent the lighter sand colored walls in the rest of the kitchen/dining and great room.

We still need to get the stuff put back in all the cupboards. Right now most of the dishes and glassware have been put in them but the top two shelves in all of the cabinets are totally empty. The added shelves really gave us a lot of additional storage area which I hope will take a lot of time to fill. And when John gets the old cabinets installed in the office, we’ll have even more places to stow our stuff.

I don’t want to accumulate things we don’t use, but we, or more accurately I, want to do more entertaining down here. Our social life in Michigan in is almost non-existent. When we entertain in Michigan, it’s at festivals and very casual. I’d like to bring some of our stuff down here so we can host our Florida friends more easily. We have very few serving pieces.

When the kitchen is complete and the wall painted, I’ll post before and after pictures. We feel it’s really a nice improvement; a totally different look. Yes, there’s more to be done in other areas of the condo, but little by little we’ll get the place the way we want it. Next year flooring and maybe counter tops.

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End of January 2011

What a great month it’s been. The weather greatly improved so we were able to spend a couple days sunning ourselves at the pool.

We’ve been to a couple of great dances, and tonight a super Rockin’ Rendezvous.

We love our Kings Point friends. Tonight again I sat beside Phyllis. She’s the 80+ mother of Brenda. What a charming, lovely lady! I would love to talk one-on-one with her and get to know her even better. Since it’s difficult to seriously converse at our evening gatherings I’ve invited her to stay with us for at least two nights in 2012. I’ll have her captive. She’s the mother I wish I had. Next year we’ll get to enjoy some quality time. Can’t wait!

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My philosophy:

I just read this and it’s how I want to live life:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, glass of wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

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Fun Evening

We went to the Baby Boomers’ annual meeting and ice cream social. It was primarily a business meeting, but the ice cream was great!

After we left the meeting, we headed to the Oldies But Goodies monthly dance across town.

We sat at a fun table of nice Michigan folks: Caroline (who could be my BFF because she also belongs to my creative writing group and is very encouraging) and her nice husband Stephen. They love to dance and it shows. They also belong to our “couples country dance class.” Caroline is such a charmer.

And we also had Shelly and Richard at our table, another Michigan couple. Shelly is fascinating and I already felt I knew Richard because we keep running into him at nearly every event we attend. I spent quite a bit of time exchanging life-stories with Shelly. She and Richard have been married nearly 25 years; just a year less than John and me.

It was a fun, relaxed table of compatible folks. Hope we can get to know them better!!

To finally “feel good” and enjoy the company of friends was grand. It seems we’ve been “out of it” for so long. Actually it’s been less than a month, but it felt longer. Finally we know we’re “over it” and we can again be part of society without feeling contageous.

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Dear God..

Dear God:

For 2011, all I ask for is a big, fat bank account and a slim body.
Please do not mix up the two like you did last year.

Thank you.

PS Why can’t I get a little ahead instead of a bigger behind.

(Note: This isn’t my “original” thought, but I definitely “second” it.)

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Yet another sunset from our condo

A lovely January sunset I photographed tonight.

January Sunset

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Yesterday we got a call from Mauro, our kitchen cabinet contractor. He’ll be installing our new top kitchen cabinets and resurfacing the bottom cabinets tomorrow (Friday). They’ll be a warm chocolate brown with brushed stainless bar-type handles.

Before the new cabinets go up, we wanted to get the old wallpaper off the walls in the kitchen area and paint it the same sand color as the living room and dining room.

There’s also a long wall-papered wall where there won’t be cabinets that will need to be stripped of wallpaper and painted but that can wait.

John started yesterday and I assisted. Today we need to take EVERYTHING out of our upper kitchen cabinets.

I can’t wait to see the finished product. It’s going to be so much nicer! Even without the new cabinets, the removal of the old wallpaper has up-dated the room.

I’ll post before and after photos.

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Sick too long!

I’m still not 100%. It’s been a long, slow recovery but I’m finally feeling better. Not great, but better.

This week I’ve had a major website crisis. My workshop leader registration script wouldn’t run and it was time to send my “invitation” to the leaders. For some reason the website wouldn’t work. I spent dozens of hours trying to trouble-shoot it. I contacted everyone I could think of who might know how to write a perl script. It’s finally working. (I contacted my domain hosting company and they got it running.) Classes are being submitted by leaders and I’m happy.

We were supposed to go to a “sock hop” this evening but neither of us really felt like going anywhere tonight. Hopefully tomorrow we can get out. John’s still coughing a little, but he looks better (except for a cold sore which is bothering him).

Another chilly spell has moved in. It’s not frigid, but certainly not warm and toasty.

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Up in smoke

Generally my postings are light-hearted. This one is serious. Let me start off by saying that my opinion on this topic is influenced by the fact that my father and two of my aunts were heavy smokers who died of emphysema. My mother, a non-smoker, also had emphysema from my father’s “second hand smoke.”

I’m very allergic to smoke. If I’m around even small amounts of cigarette, pipe or cigar smoke, I usually lose my voice (sometimes for long periods after exposure.)


John and I divide our time between two lovely states: Michigan and Florida. We therefore experience the way these states deal with the conflict between smokers and non-smokers. Michigan is more pro-active when it comes to protecting the rights of non-smokers. Florida’s law, sorry to say, misses the mark.

This week, several hospitals in the Tampa area made news by forbidding smoking on their property. In Michigan, hospitals haven’t allowed smoking for at least a dozen years. Michigan hospitals took the lead and said they would set a good example and it’s worked. It’s hard to believe that in Florida, hospitals are doing this “voluntarily” and aren’t required by state law to provide a smoke free environment for those on hospital property.

Although Florida does not allow smoking in public buildings/workplaces, they let folks smoke on terraces, patios, and other similar areas. In Michigan, if a business has even one paid employee (and that includes private clubs), smoking is not allowed even on terraces and other adjacent outdoor properties.

It would be great if Florida would extend their law to cover these out-door places. There are many instances where Florida non-smokers are forced to endure the smoke of others. If Florida’s law matched Michigan’s no-smoking policy which went into effect in 2010, the pool deck would be off-limits for smokers. There’d be absolutely NO SMOKING on patios. You wouldn’t have to avoid “smoke zones” at Busch Gardens.

What difference does it make? you ask. If you’re a smoker you probably feel that you’ve already lost most of your right to smoke. But Florida law still give preference to smokers in many areas.

Smoke knows no boundries. It doesn’t stay within the “smoking” area at the pool deck. Smoke can’t read signs. Frequently the wind carries the smoke from one area to another.

At least at Kings Point, no smoking is permitted inside. But the other day we went to the Moose Club in Ruskin for their Friday fish fry. The food was good but we won’t go back. To order your food or get a drink, you had to stand in “the smoking section.” That room was blue with heavy smoke and the non-smoking area smelled strongly of smoke. In Michigan, our Moose Club was forced to eliminate smoking completely because the Michigan law applies to private clubs, if they have any paid employees. The Ruskin Moose won’t see us again. We’ll find a place that puts a higher value on the rights of non-smokers.

My allergies are often triggered by the blowing smoke at the pool, even though it’s outside. And just who figured out that outdoor food service should be located IN the smoking area?

When smokers ask, “What about our rights?” to be honest, that isn’t my concern. Everyone has a right to expect that they can breathe in smoke-free air. Smokers don’t have the right to polute the environment. Smokers’ rights end when they contaminate the air I breathe in.

In the past, I’ve been forced to give up bowling (because all bowling alleys allowed smokers), I’ve had to move at restaurants because smoke traveled from area to area, I’ve had to leave venues where smokers were contaminating the area. Now, when the rules are supposedly favoring non-smokers, I’m still having to avoid the pool deck area at our favorite pool because smoking is allowed in “smoking” areas and the smoke won’t stay in the areas designated for it.

I just wish Florida would adopt Michigan’s stricter non-smoking policy.


(Today, January 15th, I went to the pool. There was a guy in the smoking section with a cigar. I wanted to get a burger but I had to stand in the smoking section to get my food. Later, I had to endure his smoke even at the other end of the pool. I believe the lack of wind and heavy air contributed to the inversion which trapped his smoke. But why did I have to put up with it? I left.)

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Feeling better

No, I’m not back to “normal” but I feel much better and so does John.

This morning we went to the “resale” shop. (We are looking for an old steam iron so we could use it to strip the wallpaper off our kitchen walls.) We were home before noon.

Our country dance lesson was tonight but we didn’t feel we had enough energy. We also turned down the opportunity to go to the Elks in Ruskin with a big bunch.

But we are getting better and that feels great!

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Lovely view

I’ve taken dozens of photos of the view “from-our-condo” but tonight’s sunset was awesome!

View from our condo

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Still Under the Weather

We’re both still sick with horrid colds. It’s been over a week for John and I’ve had it for about five days. No fun!

With both of us being ill at the same time, it’s difficult because we both need to be babied but we’re too sick to do much for each other.

John really scared me a couple days ago. His color got really gray and he was afraid it had gotten into his lungs. He couldn’t get warm and was shaking with chills. He finally took a really long hot, hot shower but he passed out in the shower. Thank heavens he was sitting on the bench in the shower when he collapsed.

As soon as I opened the shower door and he got fresh air he revived and was on his feet within a few minutes. His color slowly returned to normal and he felt better that evening (at least he’d warmed up).

Friday night went to our New Years Eve party. We were careful to take all the precautions so we wouldn’t pass it on (hand sanitizer and no sneezing or coughing). We lasted until about 10:20. I was asleep long before midnight.

We haven’t eaten any real meals for three or four days. The closest was last night when I opened and heated a can of chicken noodle soup.

Neither of us has been dressed since Friday night, but we’re going to try to get presentable and go out for groceries this afternoon. We don’t have a choice. We’re out of bread, bananas, and kleenex.

So far 2011 has been a disappointment.

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