Archive forAugust, 2013

My Facebook “friends”

Who are my “friends”…? (I’m referring to those I consider Facebook “friends.”)

I went through the 140 folks I have listed as “friends.” (Yes, I have turned down many requests to be “friended” because I figure if you’re a “friend,” I should at least know who you are and recognize you.)

Among my friends, there are our “music friends.” This is the largest segment of my friends’ list. Most of those come to us through our involvement with the Evart and Midland dulcimer festivals and our Saginaw dulcimer club. They are genuine folks who we include in our close circle. We know and recognize these folks and the typical greeting would be a huge hug. They are friends in every way. I want to know about their families and care deeply. We enjoy them totally. Some are banjo players John knows through the Flint Banjo Club. I’m so glad our involvement with music brought all of us together.

Next, there are a few “family members” who are also “friends.” Actually this is a very small group. I come from a huge family, as does John, but few are interested in the internet. My daughter is my #1 friend in this group. And I hope I will be able to follow the January wedding of my new granddaughter-in-law to my grandson. (She is on FB a lot posting the details as they develop.) I also watch my cousin who is a cross-country coach in a Saginaw Township school and admire his support of his students. I’m proud to be associated with this small but important segment of our “friends.”

And there is a huge group of our “Florida friends.” These are folks we interact with in Florida (and in Michigan whenever possible). These folks live about six months a year in our Florida Kings Point community and most, like us, head back to Michigan for the summer. They enjoy the very active social life of our southern community. They are individuals from many walks of life that fate brought together in our retirement location. We are all inclusive and non-judgmental. We’re all at the same stage of life. What a wonderful bunch!! These are folks who I am so glad we know. They enrich our lives completely but most we have only known for three or four years. Doesn’t seem possible that we could draw close so fast. I’d do anything for this bunch.

So that’s almost my complete list of facebook “friends.” What a wonderful assortment.

We love them all!

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Our Departure Plans have Changed

We had planned to leave for Florida on October 5th and arrive the 6th, but we have decided to delay our departure for two weeks. (John has lots of unfinished jobs.)

I’ve made a change to our motel room and doctor appointments. I also changed the start-up of our HD TV subscription and our Florida newspaper. Until we started moving between residences, I had no idea how many items need to be changed when you move every six months. Right now I’m trying to contact our magazine subscriptions. We have four print magazines that need to have our travel plans.

I am sorry that we’ll miss an Oldies but Goodies dance, but there’ll be other dances. At least we’ll be back for the Michigan Club kick-off event, the Wine and Cheese Welcome Reception.

We’re both looking for fun stuff to do here in Michigan until we leave. Sadly all that we’ve found is a once monthly dance at the Moose Club and a senior bingo and potluck. There may be a dance at a closeby establishment. We’ll make the best of it.

I can complain, but in the end, it’s John’s life too. If John is happier with us making this adjustment to our travel plans, our life will be more enjoyable for both of us. I may not enjoy Michigan as much as he does, but the balance reverses when we’re in Florida.

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Finding Lowest Prices on the Price Tag

Some stores have secret ways of telling you whether you’re getting their lowest price. Check the last number of the tag price tag to know whether or not it the item will come down in price.

At most stores (especially Target) regular prices end in “9.” If the price ends in “8,” it may get marked down again. If it ends in “4,” that’s the lowest it’ll get.

For Sam’s Club’s below cost prices are end in “1.” A “C” on the price label means it’s on clearance.

At Costco, an asterisk (*) means the item won’t be reordered but it still might go down in price so wait until the item goes on clearance, which is when the prices end in “97.”

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Bags of money

Several times, when I was a young child (maybe seven or eight years old), my grandmother took me to visit her very close friend, Ersel, a very wealthy lady, who lived in a to-die-for apartment on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. This place, with it’s sparkling mirrors, luxurious furnishings, white grand piano, plush carpets, and wonderful view of the Detroit River would be awe-inspiring, even by the highest of today’s standards.

Life at Ersel’s was more opulent than anything I’d ever experienced. She had hired “help” (a sweet maid named “Vassey”) and a chauffeur. We went to “The Yacht Club” for dinner (where I was served a grown-up looking drink, a “Shirley Temple.”)

moneybagsAs a child, I knew they were “rich.” It was an over-the-top lifestyle accented by fur coats, big cars, flashy jewelry and even Ersel’s first-person recounts of her frequent cruises to Europe.

But as a youngster, the thing which impressed me most was a large dish of change on Ersel’s husband’s dresser. A dish of MONEY! People so rich that they had money sitting around in bowls. I was hard to believe but there it was!

As an adult, I grew to understand that this was just a convenient way for the man of the house to empty his pockets of change but as a child it seemed to mean something much more.

About thirty years ago, I started the same practice. Every time I’d pick up loose change that had slipped down between the cushions of the couch, or from the bottom of my purse, I’d put it in a bowl. Over the years, the bowl filled. In fact, I had to start a couple additional containers as the first over-flowed. Sometimes my contributions over months were meager but pennies or change went in the jar.

This week I decided to cash it in. I found that First Merit Bank will “count it” for us so I dumped the change into a cloth bag (it was heavy!) and took it to the bank.

Most of the change was pennies. John spotted a few coins that looked foreign. The teller laughed when she realized what they were. Somehow five or six Chucky Cheese tokens had made their way into the collection.

I don’t know yet how much change we had. But the bag weighed about 18 pounds! In our case, it sure wasn’t a sign of great wealth. Just a convenience accented with Chucky Cheese tokens.


Note: Our 18 pound bag of change contained $42.87. (Certainly not a fortune.)

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South? North?

I’m looking forward to our return to Florida and it can’t come soon enough.

John is wishing we could stay in Michigan longer. He says he’s not ready.

There is no solution. We can’t both be totally happy. I’m sure, once we get to Florida, John will enjoy himself. It’s leaving Michigan with incomplete jobs that is bothering him, but if we stayed longer, we both know he’d just start more jobs.

Right now he still wants to wrap up building the beach fortification. He still needs to finish planting a row of shrubs and using rocks to accent it. There are two dead trees he hopes to bring down. He’ll need to pick grapes (when they’re ripe in about a month). And on September 7th, he wants to participate in a neighborhood garage sale.

Of course there are some winterizing jobs, like making sure nothing freezes in our RV unit. There will be leaves to rake and get rid of. And, before we can leave, there’ll be lots of packing.

If we put our mind to it, we’d have no trouble being ready by October 19th when we’ve planned to head south. If we’re being honest he knows there’s no point in delaying the date. If we move it a couple weeks later, he’d be talking the same way. We have several doctor appointments for the week after we return, and lots to do when we’re there. And in fact, I need to make another doctor’s appointment.

I’m eager.

He’s dragging his feat.

(Note: After we changed our date, I had to change the departure date from Michigan.)

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January Plans

My grandson is getting married January 4th. We’ll be in Florida starting in October. Although I hate the thought of leaving our Florida “Paradise,” I do want to do grandma stuff, and it’ll be wonderful spending time with Kelly. So I’m trying to work out flights, car reservation, etc.

I have a feeling Kelly’s house will be crowded to the max. I’m thinking that I’ll get a motel room at least part of the time to lessen the stress on her. She’s such a good daughter! I’ll certainly be flexible in every aspect. I want to make it as easy on her as possible.

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Keeping our word…

About a month and a half ago we met a lovely couple, Sim Clark and his girlfriend Eleanor. They’re quite a bit older than us, but we enjoyed their company. We spent several evenings with them at the Moose. They like to dance almost as much as we do. They’re a sweet couple.

Sim is celebrating his birthday tomorrow, his 90th!! We have a hard time keeping up with them. They’ll get out on the floor and dance by the hour. (Unlike them, we sit out every other dance or two.)

We have had other possible events for tomorrow, but we told Sim we’d be at his party so we will. We keep our word.

Besides it sounds like he has a fun time planned.


Couldn’t believe the size of his party. Had to be 200-250 folks in attendance! Good food, good music. Nice time!

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Busy Day

Today we bought TEN pyramidal arborvitae to plant around the area where we store our 28′ RV unit. We figured that if they are planted around the “pad,” it’ll camouflage the RV.

Planting them will be more work than he anticipated. The instructions said to dig a hole three times the width of the root-ball. John’s being more conservative, but even digging a hole the size of the ten root balls is a lot of work.

He started.

I suggested that he plant one per day because it’s exhausting work. Knowing him, it’ll be done in a lot less time but he sure doesn’t need to rush.

After several hours of work, I convinced him to quit. He was pooped!

This evening we went to the Moose where we ate and dancing. Yup, after all that work I dragged him to a dance to the music of Dixie Highway Band.

Pacing yourself when you’re our age is important. The day nearly sapped John but he saved enough of his energy for the evening so we ended our day with a fun bit of dancing.

Love that man!!

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I’m happy to be home

Seems that I’m always wishing I was at our home in Florida, but it took being at our place in the Upper Peninsula to realize how much I love our Lake Cecil (Thomas Township) home. It’s nice. I need to do a lot of work to bring it up to snuff, but we have two months and maybe I can accomplish some of my chores list before we head back to our Kings Point home.

It’s truly comfortable here in Thomas Township!

We’re more isolated than in Florida, but we have some social activities on our calendar. For example tomorrow night we’re going dancing at the Moose Club. Saturday we have a birthday party for a 90-yr-old friend complete with a lovely dinner (and dancing). Monday we have a family gathering with John’s siblings. A hair cut appointment is a week from today, and a big family reunion in a week and a half. So, with a few things to look forward to, I don’t mind at all that we have two more months here in Michigan.

John’s busy finishing up chores he feels necessary before we leave. He has about 10 pyramid arborvitae to plant, stuff to clean out of the basement, purging the upstairs, and maybe participation in a neighborhood garage sale after Labor Day. That’ll take us until the first part of September. During that month we have dental and doctor appointments and preparation to head south.

Time’s flying but life is good and I’m going to quit wishing it away. I’ll savor my time here, just as I love our time in Florida.

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And Then It’s Winter…..

You know. . . time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise…How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting grey…they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me…but, I see the great change…Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t of my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so…now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last…this I know, that when it’s over on this earth…it’s over. A new adventure will begin!

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done…things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not in your winter yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, what ever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life…so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

(I did not write this. I copied this from a friend’s Facebook post, but I’m sure she read it elsewhere. It’s worth sharing.)

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A hum-dinger!

We’ve been watching the hummingbirds devour the sweetness we’ve supplied in our bird feeder. The “hum” of their wings is almost constantly heard even from inside our trailer here in the U.P.

These small birds are very territorial so generally only one feeds from the feeder at a time – occasionally two. But there are sometimes as many as four fighting for “air space” around the area. Most of them are the Ruby-throated variety.

We’ll refill the feeder before we leave tomorrow. They’ve consumed about a cup of the liquid since Tuesday (today’s Sunday). After reading a bit on line, I understand they will start migrating south anytime within the next month so they’ll need lots of fuel. The males sometimes leave as early as mid-July.

Most of them must retreat back “home” to Central America in the winter. A few Ruby-throated remain along the Gulf coast each winter instead of continuing to Central America, perhaps because they are too old or sick to make another trans-Gulf flight or too young (from very late nests) to have had time to grow fat and strong enough to migrate; their survival chances depend on the severity of each particular winter, and many perish in unusually cold years.

Most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds winter between southern Mexico and northern Panama. Since hummingbirds lead solitary lives and neither live nor migrate in flocks, an individual bird may spend the winter anywhere in this range where the habitat is favorable, but probably returns to the same location each winter.

Maybe they’ll visit us in Florida.

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Our place in the U.P.

Tuesday we took a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to our place on Lake Michigan. It’s about 90 miles west of the Big Mac Bridge, south of Thompson off Highway 2 down the east side of the Garden Peninsula.

I’ve explained in previous posts that this place isn’t anything fancy. It’s an old 1960’s 12 x 50 foot trailer on a foundation with a newer roof over it and a large covered deck with a lovely view of Lake Michigan. (This is the beautiful view from our deck. It is truly a spectacular sight.)

It’s tranquil and quiet, but it does have it’s shortcomings:

  • It smells musty! The old furniture, which came with the trailer when we bought it about 20 years ago is mismatched and harbors old odors of a closed-up place. It always looks messy and not very clean.
  • It seems there are always pesky insects. Mosquitoes are a bother most of the time, and some seasons we have to avoid big wood ticks that latch onto you whenever you venture out. Spring is black fly season and in late summer we fight swarms of biting beach flies. (Thank heavens this trip we’ve just had mosquitoes.)
  • There’s no access to the lake. Over the years, because of the drop in the level of Lake Michigan, the beautiful white sand beach we purchased has turned into a weedy, mucky, no-man zone. You can’t walk across it without sinking to your knees in ooze. When we first got here Wednesday, John tried to get to the water’s edge but lost the battle. If we were here more, build a long deck or some other way of getting over the muck, but since we’re only staying for six days, it’s not worth the effort. Winter storms would erase anything we would do by next year when we return. Our hope is that by the summer of 2014, a grant which has been secured to spray the lakeshore, will eliminate some of the weeds.
  • We are totally isolated. No TV and little internet. We brought a small TV with us this time, as well as a digital converter, and an antenna. We hoped that we could watch some of our favorite TV shows. The first night we were successful for a couple of hours, but since then, not at all. Internet access is spotty. I find it nearly impossible to use my cellphone as a hot spot. I had hoped we could view some of the on-line “programming” or videos but the connection just isn’t strong enough to download anything.
  • But even saying all that, I’m glad we came up.

    Temperatures have been about 70 most of the time and even warmer some days, but certainly not hot.

    I’ve loved watching hummingbirds at our bird feeder. Their antics are amusing. I’ve had time to read a book and relax.

    So even with all the negatives, I’m glad we came up here. John works hard but seems to enjoy it, and we’ve had lots of time together without distractions.

    And the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is lovely. The drive through untouched areas is beautiful. The scenery unmatched.

    But when we head back home Monday, we will both be more than ready! If only packing wasn’t so much work. I don’t look forward to hauling everything out to the truck and trying to fit everything in. We’ll start packing Sunday. Monday John will winterize the water system and we’ll try to pull out by about 9:30 a.m.

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