Archive forDecember, 2011

Photo Slideshow

Here are lots of photos I’ve taken since we arrived in Florida, October 2011. Several appear to be duplicates, but I often take multiple images of the same view to see if a subtle difference will improve the shot. (I’ll keep adding photos through April 2012 and you’ll be able to access them from the rightmost menu here on

If you’d like to stop the slideshow, click picture, and use the arrows to back up or scroll through the photos without the auto feature.

Most of the sunsets were taken right out my back door, although we did go to Little Harbor Marina and viewed a wonderful sunset across Tampa Bay.

On December 29th, we spent the day at Busch Gardens where we enjoyed the holiday shows. My photos include several of the animals at the Gardens.


PS In June, I went back and added all of photos which were taken at the end of our Florida stay. You can now see the whole show until June 5th or 6th, 2012.

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From Poolside

According to the forecasts, today will be the last of our 80+ degree days for awhile. In fact, over the next 10 days, the prediction is that we’ll experience at least six days when it will be 55-65 degrees. That’s quite a change from what we’ve been enjoying.

We’re here at the South Club pool. It’s the day after Christmas. After hosting our Christmas Eve party, we feel that our place is presentable so we can relax today. We’ll be inviting other folks to come over the next week or two so we’ll need to do some additional spiffying but nothing major.


The cool air moved in about 3:00 p.m. We left for home about 4:00.

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We’re Almost Ready

Christmas PalmTonight we’re hosting a compatible bunch of friends for a Christmas Eve / Happy Chanukah gathering.

The invitation we extended said: “It’ll be an informal evening. We’ll whip up some hors d’oeuvres for your enjoyment, haul out some of John’s 2011 vintage homemade wine for a wine tasting plus soft drinks, and four of us will play about 30-minutes of fun holiday music.”

I planned a simple menu so it wouldn’t be a lot of work: sloppy joes on small buns, baked beans, fruit tray with dip, cheese spread with crackers, a relish tray with veggie dip, Koegel’s hotdogs in a red sauce, cranberry Jello sauce, Bacardi Rum Cake and a pumpkin pie. Several have asked what they can bring and I know we’ll have two salads and tray of cheese and sausage.

We have six bottles of wine chilling.

We’ll start with a little wine tasting and the cheeses, relishes, etc. Then we’ll serve the sloppy joes, beans, salads, and hotdogs. Desserts will be a little later while we’re playing a little holiday music.

The condo looks lovely. The decorations are simple (poinsetteas, a Christmas Tree, table decorations in both the living room and dining room, candles everywhere.)

We’ll have a video of a fireplace running on the TV and holiday music playing.

I still need to get dressed and make the sloppy joes. (Don’t want them to be ready too far in advance.)

Unfortunately the sun will have set when the party starts so no one will get to see the view and most of the crowd hasn’t been here before.

We wanted to include several other couples, but this bunch has been hanging out together so we figure we’ll invite other friends over between Christmas and New Years. One evening I think we’ll have six couples over, another night two couples, and probably others before we take the tree down. I’m sure we’ll have lots of food we’ll be able to serve again, and in fact, I’m setting some aside for those evenings.

So glad we’re finally going to “show-off” our place!!


It was a pleasant evening. We had 16 guests. That included nine couples counting John and me. It was a nice way to celebrate the holiday. We ate a lot (had lots left). Fun conversations, and played a little music. Everyone left by 9:00. It took us about an hour to get the food put away and the place back in order.

Glad we opened our home. We’ll do it again very soon. This was one group we enjoy, but we also enjoy other circles of friends and neighbors. This was a large group that have been getting together with a lot this year, but we’d also enjoy inviting others to enjoy our hospitality. Old friends, new friends, we love ’em all!!!

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Robert and Jennie Mahoney

Jennie and Robert Mahoney's 70th Anniversary PhotoTonight I did an on-line search and discovered a lot I didn’t know about John’s aunt and uncle (his mother’s sister), Robert and Jennie Mahoney. This year this remarkable couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Robert was the first blind man ever elected to the Michigan House of Representatives. Robert Mahoney stayed in the Michigan Legislature for eighteen years and is best known for introducing the bill that requires hunter safety classes for young people. To prove that anyone could buy a hunting license, the blind legislator went out and bought one himself. The bill passed the following year.

Together they raised 10 children, yet they are both totally blind.

In 1956 the Mahoneys established a mail-order business, Michigan Notary Service, which sold seals, bonds, rubber stamps, and other notary needs. Jennie Mahoney took care of the business, basically run out of the couple’s bathroom, while her husband served in Lansing. This very successful business is still on-going and is currently owned and run by one of their daughters.

In 2006, Jeannie wrote: “We have twenty-four grandchildren and three have earned their Ph.Ds and two have their Master’s Degrees. The rest are still pretty young, so we will have to wait to see what they will produce.”

What an inspirational couple!

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Sneaking in past curfew

Here in Sun City Center, FL, many folks travel everywhere by golfcart. We were on our golfcart when we headed out this afternoon to shop at Walmart. It took much longer to make our purchases than we’d planned and when we came out to get on our golfcart (four or five miles from our condo), we realized we only had about 10 minutes until the sun would set (and at this latitude, when it sets, it gets dark immediately).

Our golfcart is fully equipped with headlights, “So what’s the big deal?” you ask.

In Sun City Center, golf carts are not allowed on the streets after sunset (no exceptions) and if you’re caught there’s a ticket and sizable fine.

We live in Kings Point, which is a large, gated, separately-managed area, within the city limits of Sun City Center. It’s a totally separate community. In Kings Point, golf cart restrictions are much less restrictive. If you have headlights, they look the other way and let us drive on the streets within the gates after the sun has set, but as a protection to the residents, the Kings Point guards do chain lock the golf cart gate INTO the community at dark. We don’t know of anyone who has tried to come in after dark. We figure there’d be hell to pay.

We didn’t want to get caught outside the gates. (It happened to us several years ago, when we were visiting my mother’s nursing home for a holiday party and over-stayed. That time, we managed to circumvent the Kings Point guard by edging behind their post. Quietly we manage to drive half in a ditch through a narrow opening but it was a challenge. The gate area has just been revamped, so I’m sure that access point has been plugged.)

Tonight we weren’t the only ones dashing for the security of our Kings Point gated area. There were at least three other carts rushing down the golf cart path ahead of us as the sun was setting.

With our headlights on, we made it home! (But it was fun and reminded me of beating curfews when I was in high school.)

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Christmas Cards

This year we limited the mailing of our cards to immediate family (just our siblings). Looks like others are also limiting what they send because, from friends, we are receiving primarily email greetings.

As we receive mailed cards, I’m surprised by who is sending those cards.

We have received cards from our newspaper delivery person, a favorite restaurant, our investment company, our insurance agent, our tile contractor, one of our dentists, my beautician, and a few other business services. I know the attempt is to thank us for our business, but I almost feel that we’re being spammed.

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Running out of excuses

With both of my eyes now seeing at a distance, I’m doing very well. I’m finding that it’s frustrating not to be able to see close-up, but not so difficult that I can evoke a sympathetic response from friends. John is feeling a little “used” and he’s right. I’ve taken advantage of my “handicap” for as long as I can. Time to get busy and accomplish something… anything.

At night, before I go to sleep, I always resolve to get busy, but when morning comes, I’m back to feeling lazy.

At least now the Christmas performance is history. We played yesterday and it went very nicely. The audience was very receptive.

Next week (Christmas Eve), we’ll be hosting a party here. Between now and then I need to get the house prepped. There’ll be food to fix for about 20 guests.

But right now I need to get our Christmas cards mailed to our family. (I no longer send cards to friends, but instead try to do an email version which doesn’t require addressing and stamps.)

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Viewing the World More Clearly

This a.m. I had the cataract on my left eye removed. Now both of my eyes can see beautifully.

After my eye heals, my vision will improve, but already I can see better that I can ever remember and I don’t need glasses or contacts!! (I got my first pair of glasses in second grade.) It’s a whole new world.

I’m slightly uncomfortable and exhausted, but I know tomorrow I’ll be better and it is certainly worth a little discomfort.

Already I can read all of the small print on television, and distant vistas are sharp and clear. My close-up vision isn’t working yet, but in a couple weeks, I can start eye exercises which will eventually allow me to focus on fine print.

I’m sure my friends are tired of my whining. Soon I won’t have anything to complain about. (I will have a couple weeks when my doctor will have me on physical restriction.)

I was forewarned, that when my vision improves, every dirt spot will become evident to me. Already I’m walking around with a damp cloth removing finger prints I didn’t know existed.

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Hot Christmas!

Today the weather had warmed up to about 80 so I spent the afternoon at the pool.

Looking at the long-range forecast, they’re saying that we may have a Christmas that is in the high 70’s. Wow!!

It seemed unseasonably hot today, but if it continues to the New Year, that would be grand. They’re already saying that maybe we’ve already experienced our “Florida winter.” I just hope there are no “heavy freezes” like we’ve experienced both last season and the year before. We lost so many pretty plants (a 7′ orange and and a similar sized rose-colored bougainvillea, a poinsettia, and a bird of paradise.) I hope this year our plantings will survive.

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Cool Down

Today we awoke to chilly temperatures (the coolest this season). It’s about 43 and won’t get out of the mid-60’s. The wind is fierce. But it’ll be warming up tomorrow and into next week with nicer 70’s.

Monday I will have my left eye cataract surgery. I’m looking forward to having the interruption behind me. My right eye sees quite well, but it’s tough to optimize that improvement when the left eye is so blurry.

Folks have told me that I’ll spot every dust particle and finger print. Hope so because we’re planning a party on the 24th and right now I can’t see well enough to get the house party-ready.

We attended a nice holiday affair last weekend, and there are more to come.

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Only nine days!

Thank heavens this limbo waiting time will be resolved in nine days. I’ll have my left eye cataract removed and hopefully my vision will gradually improve. It won’t happen immediately, but I’m sure that when both eyes are “equal,” it’ll be a lot easier to enjoy the world around me. Right now my vision is very good with my right eye alone, but when I open my left eye, the blur distorts everything. It’s much more difficult that I’d thought. I can’t clean because I can’t see the dust well enough to eliminate it. TV viewing isn’t very much fun since I’m looking through one eye.

The muscle in my eye has been intentionally paralyzed so I can’t focus, allowing the eye muscle to heal around the Crystalens extensions. I was told that when reading or using the computer, I must use “reading glasses” which blur more than they help.

Also I can’t do anything which raises my heartbeat more than about 10 bpm.

I feel helpless because there seem to be so many things that don’t work as I wish they did. But, although it sounds like I’m whining, I have no reason to complain. I’m blessed that I only have to endure this for a few more weeks, and after the 12th, it’ll be easier. Yeah!!!!

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