Archive forJuly, 2011


I’ve had my Samsung Droid for about four weeks now and I LOVE it. When we got my Droid we also got a Chocolate Touch with email and digital access for John and a USB modem to provide wireless internet for my laptop.

The Droid has unlimited digital. The USB modem is subscribed to a 5.0GB per month plan. I may find that, in order to stay within my budget, I will have to learn to use the Droid better. I sure don’t want to pay an additional $10 per gig for overage because I over-used the laptop connection.

Actually the Droid can do most everything my laptop can do but at this point, it takes me lots longer. Hopefully I can manage my usage and also use the Droid more effectively.

I think I’ll have enough access to get me through the month, but it’s going to be close. The month ends at 12:30 p.m. on August 4th. This afternoon, with six days to go, my data usage was 3.765GB which means I have about 1.235GB left for the remaining six days. Dividing that out it comes to .206GB per day. The original 5.0GB equaled .161GB per day, so I should have excess; about a quarter of a gig left over. I hope!!

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I’m list and preparation obsessed

We’ll be driving down to Florida in less than two months.

This week we started assembling stuff.

We now have a box ready to take with us for our 2011 income taxes. We’ll still have to add our most recent payments, but all of the historic information has been collected.

I’ve prepared a file which uses my GPS program on my laptop so we know where well stay and even where we’ll eat. Our motel reservations have been confirmed. I’ve figured out how I’ll get my orchids back with me. And I’ve even lined up our realtor to show us new condos when we get down there.

I’m busy working on my “lists.”

I have lists for chores I need to do before we leave, items I need to take back with me, and things which I need to remember for the trip. (It seemed really strange to eliminate all of the items we used to bring for little Willow, our sweet little dog who was always with us as we traveled to and from Florida.)

Betcha there aren’t many folks who spend more time “getting ready.” I truly love to plan ahead.

I plan ahead in part because we spend so long in Florida or in Michigan, and it’s distressing to forget something that’s necessary for our comfort. I do everything I can to avoid forgetting.

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Great Group

We had about 20 members of our dulcimer club playing at Haithco Park last night. The rain held off until we were packing up to leave.

We need rain desperately but why does it always happen when we have an outdoor event? I kiddingly commented that whenever we have a Haithco Concert, it rains (or looks like rain).

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Another Instrument in the Hands of a New Player

I love it when folks who have never played a hammered dulcimer get an instrument and are hooked by it.

Our good friend, Shelly Brooks, is progressing nicely on her instrument. She got her instrument at the ODPC Funfest the 13th of July. It was provided for her use for a year by the ODPC’s mentor program.

Today a sweet lady, Barb, from Ontario Canada and Florida, picked up her new instrument from me. She’s excited and anxious to get started.

It’s fun to watch these people get excited about their instruments. I’m sure they love the experience.

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Summer is Flying Past

We have our second Haithco Concert Wednesday the 27th. Two weeks from now we’ll join our club for the performance at Gladwin Carriage Days, an event that also serves as a camping weekend for the members. The week of the 21st we plan to head to our place in the Upper Peninsula. When we return, we’ll be heading into September and the grapes should be ready for John to pick, crush, and make into wine. At the end of September, we leave for Florida. Wow! Time flies!

Yesterday we received a message from Oldies but Goodies, a dance club we belong to in Florida. Their activities are enticing. We’ll miss their root beer float party and dance, and several other fun times, but at least we’ll be there for their annual pizza party and dance in October.

I’m already starting to gather the stuff we need to take back to Florida. We leave

But I hate wishing my life away. Time flies fast enough and here I am hoping time will hurry past.

So I’m going to savor each day. I’m going to “use up” each minute before it passes.

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My new phone

For years and years we were out-of-date with our cell service. Our phone was about ten years old (an old flip phone), which we paid for with a monthly $15.60 pay as you go payment which gave us very few minutes.

On the 30th of June, we signed up for Verizon’s two-member famiy plan and bought two high end phones and a usb modem which plugs into my laptop and brings in high speed internet.

John got a fairly basic LG Chocolate Touch (with internet and email access), and for me, smart phone, a Samsung Droid Charge (with all the bells and whistles available). Neither of us are into texting so we didn’t bother signing up for that extra service.

We had problems with each of the two phones. John’s was DOA so he had to get a replacement. Mine worked fine, but had a major overheat problem and ate battery charges at a rate that was unbelievable (at best, two hours per charge). But now both phones have been replaced and they’re working perfectly. We’re happy. The service from Verizon has been excellent. I’ve spent hours with customer representatives and all the folks have been quick to respond (no wait times on customer service). They’ve all been well equipped to answer my questions and give me the kind of service you don’t often receive.

Now that things are purring, I realize I enjoyed the visits with those nice folks.

Maybe I should just call them up to say hello.

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We are going to Relax!

John and I are realizing that our summer has been really demanding and we have limited energy. We helped all we could with Evart, and although we’ve been home nearly a week, we’re still tired. Coming up, we have fun commitments to our dulcimer club, Saginaw Subterranean Strings, including a long camping weekend in August and some performances, but that’s it! The rest of the summer, until we leave for Florida, will be calm and tranquil. We deserve it.

We haven’t been to our Upper Peninsula retreat since last July. We have a trip planned for late August, if we’re able.

Florida, with its relaxed attitude, is We look forward to quiet time, but with lots of activities and friends we enjoy at our Florida home.

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Super HOT!

I know my blog is followed by several of our Florida friends. They generally think of Michigan as the ice box of the country. Comments are frequently made that we are in the “cold” north.

Well, this week would change their minds. It’s dern HOT (92) right now, with a prediction to go to 95 this afternoon. There are “Excessive Heat” warnings on the weather sites.

I checked the reports on Sun City Center and they haven’t been spared. The temperature is the same (92) but the feels-like temperature is a cooler 101 compared to our 109 feels like temp and they have the pool. Also they are expecting a cool-down into the 70’s about 5:00 when rain moves through.

We’re staying inside with the A/C running at a comfy 76 degrees. Our plan is avoid going out. We invited a friend over who doesn’t have A/C. It’s just miserable if you can’t escape it.

John went outside a while ago and after about 15 minutes gave up because it was really hard to breathe. The humidity really gets to you.

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Life is Good! — Everything’s right with the world

We’re heading home from Evart. It’s been an exhausting ten days but I have no complaints. My workshop leaders were wonderful. Everything flowed smoothly and we felt the love.

I will be happy to put my feet up and enjoy air conditioning at home.

Our friends, Shelly and Richard Brooks, left the fairgrounds last night at about 10:30 and headed to their motel in Clare, MI. We turned in about 12:30. We were up by about 7:30 and by about noon had broken down our campsite and at 1:00 we sat in on the ODPC meeting.

After repeating “Good-bye” and “See you next year” many times, we left the hot and dusty Osceola County Fairgrounds.

Loved it! What fun!

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Last Day!!

I’m so exhausted and grubby but today’s the last day of the ODPC Funfest. I think I can survive it.

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Can’t believe it’s now Tuesday night

Right now I can hear three or four music jams going on around us. There’s one in the “Rabbit Barn,” one in the “Swine Barn,” one at the Kaiser family’s campsite right inside the corral, and one in the ODPC pavilion. I hear the Rabbit Barn playing “Peacock Rag.” The one that’s at Kaiser’s is playing “Wizzard’s Walk.” That’s probably the fastest and craziest of the gatherings. Everyone is wearing battery-powered hats that blink or flash. We sat and watched them for a while and it was fun, but when John wanted to join a jam, he chose the one in the Rabbit Barn which is a bit more mellow.

Since arriving at the fairgrounds last Thursday, we’ve been non-stop busy. A lot of our time is taken up talking to friends. But there have also been a few pre-arranged events. Sunday night we attended a huge pre-festival potluck and jam at a nearby lake. We’ve gone out to dinner a couple of times. Tonight there was an ice cream party.

A lot of our time has been spent getting things ready for the start of the festival on Thursday. The tempo is definitely picking up. Tomorrow morning there’s a “breakfast” in the community building. At 1:00, we’ll join the officers for pizza. At 6:00, there’ll be a cart parade, followed by the “list” reception at 7:30 tomorrow night at our campsite. Also there’s a meeting of the “mentors” so Shelly and Richard (our friends from Florida who we visited a week or so ago) will be arriving in the afternoon. (She’s one of the participants in the program.)

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We’re HERE!

We’re in Evart, MI, at the ODPC Funfest, the largest hammered dulcimer event in the world.

Arrived yesterday about noon. Friends have been pulling in and things feel “right with the world.”

I did hurt my foot yesterday. It was really sore last night and swollen. But Gwyn Besner loaned me some Arnica gel which helped. When the swelling went down, I realized the swelling had caused my foot to fit differently in my sandal and a blister formed on my little toe. This morning it had broken and it’s a really raw spot. Oh, well… Where are the bandaids when you need one?

We’re in our regular spot where this a.m. we’ll be putting up the “workshop leader rest area.”

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Still Straining

It’s a challenge. My old brain is trying to absorb the inner workings of my new Samsung Droid cellphone. Additionally I’m trying to help John get up-to-speed on his LG Chocolate Touch. All this stuff is stretching my mental resources. I am challenged.

Alao I’ve had to set up a new method for receiving my email message. (My new usb modem won’t let out-going mail be sent so I’ve had to find a way to use web-based email to send my messages.

I know eventually I’ll be comfortable with all these techie tools and I’ll be back to working comfortably, but right now I’m stressed by what I’m trying to grasp.

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We’re exhausted – but it’s a good exhaustion

We’re really tired tonight. For a little more than 24 hours, we visited Caroline and Stephen Cooper at their home in White Lake, MI. It is a lovely area and the Coopers and the Brooks (Richard and Shelly, who live within walking distance from each other) jointly hosted the weekend. We met both couples in our Florida community, Kings Point. They’re good friends both here and there.

We arrived early afternoon Friday at the Cooper’s home. It is a 4,000 sq. foot lovely tudor-style residence that is unique and totally lovely. We occupied the second floor suite.

We all took an excursion on the Brooks’ boat around the area. It was very pleasant. When we got back to the Brooks’, we were joined by more guests, Bob and Sherry, who also live in King Point, our Florida community. The evening was filled with food, beverages, and fireworks. The fireworks display was unbelievable especially for a modestly sized small community. We watched for a solid 25 minutes of constant light display. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better show even when it was an organized as a whole-community event in a good-sized city.

We finally made it to bed about 1:00 but sleep came later.

This a.m. we were up fairly early (about 8:00), and spent several hours getting to know Caroline and Stephen better. What a wonderfully interesting couple! Stephen is a retired judge, Caroline runs a business.

The other two couples joined us about 10:30 and then we took a interesting tour of the Cooper’s home. It’s fantastic. The original artwork which has been incorporated and the stories, made it even more interesting. It’s totally unique and original.

Our brunch probably started close to noon. Caroline fed us fabulously.

We then adjourned to the deck and conversed for hours. It was obvious that everyone needed a nap, but we all fought to stay awake through the afternoon.

Bob and Sherry left late afternoon and we followed shortly after them. We got home about 7:00 p.m.

This evening, John’s zonked out and I’m watching TV but ready for bed.

What a great weekend. One of the best I can remember.

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