Archive forJuly, 2012

Three Trees DOWN!!

I have the best husband in the world!! Today he “took out” three, 40-50 foot, dead poplar trees on our east-most property line. He worked alone, and initially that concerned me because I was afraid for his safety. I lost most of last night’s sleep worrying about it. And the first thing I said to him this morning, when he was awake, was a strong “suggestion” (leaning toward “begging,”) that he give up the job. But when begging didn’t work, I made him “promise” to be extra careful and I asked him to describe his plan to me. He said that working alone, he wouldn’t be as tempted to hurry and make a mistake. His plan was to notch each tree and “direct” it’s fall by pulling with a strong rope tied up the trunk with our truck, so he would be well away from the tree-fall.

It worked! The first two went down flawlessly. I breathed a sigh of relief. But the very last tree didn’t go quite as planned. It fell close to (and really shook) our house, but thankfully there was no real damage. Yes, the light-weight branches did brush the roof, but he can straighten the eave trim which is a tad rumpled and everything else is fine.

Yea for my hubby!! (What did I learn?? That a wife can’t control the actions of a determined husband. And that’s probably for the best.)

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A slight “advantage”

I just purchased a folding “cane” on ebay.

Sure I can line dance with the best of ’em, I can walk around Busch Gardens for miles and miles, and I certainly don’t need handicapped parking, but I do have my limitations.

In 1981, I had a brain tumor removed, and as a result, I have absolutely no working inner ear on the right side so I’m really shaky on my feet, especially when going down stairs. I grip hand-rails like my life depends on them (because it does). I’m afraid and tentative, and it’s gotten worse since being diagnosed with osteoporosis last month because I know a fall could be a disaster.

We go to the Busch Gardens shows weekly from January until March to enjoy the all-star line-up of acts. At those events the admission procedure to the Stanleyville Theater is to line up with handicapped being admitted and seated earlier than the general population.

But here’s my problem: I can’t navigate straight down the steps which are directly ahead of the entrance gates the way most people do. I must head to the only handrail which is located on the out-side wall and, holding on tightly, I go down to the bottom in front of the stage area, cross over, and then go back up to the seat I desire. (And while I’m doing this I’m going against an anxious crowd which is trying to shove past me.) It always seemed unfair that I’m competing with able-bodied folks. As a general rule, I line up an hour before the average person, just so I can get to the side rail and find a good seat without falling.

I was told by the gate guards that, even though they could understand that I am definitely limited (more than most), I need some “sign” that I’m handicapped. These guards have suggested that I should get a “cane” or a “walker” which would indicate that I have a problem. So today I bought a folding cane so I can be allowed to go down the stairs ahead of the huge crowd. I don’t really want to have preferential treatment, but I am definitely restricted. No longer will I need to stand in line for an hour to get head-start so I can get a good seat. I can enter with the handicapped folks and find my way to the seat I’d like without being afraid of falling. I’ll still need to go to the far railing and I’ll hold on tightly to the handrail, but I won’t be pushed and shoved in the process.

I hope no one glares at me when I line up with the “handicapped” because it’s taken me over 30 years to admit I need extra consideration.

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Feeling “Old”

When we’re in Michigan I have a tendency to feel “old.” I can’t find any energy so I laze around. That depletes energy. It’s a draining cycle. Last year I wrote, that I feel the years slip away, when we get to Florida. We will probably leave for the “sunshine state” on October 6th, or maybe even the 5th, that’s just over two months away.

What to do between now and then??

On August 6th (a week from today), we are planning to join John’s siblings for a dinner in Owosso. August 8th, we’ll camp with Saginaw Subterranean Strings Hammered Dulcimer for in Gladwin, MI, at the annual Carriage Festival. It looks like it’ll be a fun weekend with lots of performances, a lunch performance, and a pizza party on Saturday night.

When we get back to Saginaw, we have a performance for area Red Hat Clubs at a senior residence facility (Wescourt) scheduled for August 16.

John would like to go to the U.P. to look in our place, but I’m not eager. We’re really isolated up there. We haven’t even had any TV the last few times we’ve gone up. And the bugs (ticks and mosquitos especially) are liable to be plentiful because there wasn’t enough cold last winter for a total kill-off. If we go, we might be able to “take in” a potluck on August 26th, that the home owners’ association has planned.

Haithco Concert is scheduled for August 29th.

We don’t have anything else firmly planned for the rest of the summer.

I did read that a close-by night spot is hosting Sunday evening dances. I have no idea what style of dance, and there is an admission charge, but it would be worth trying.

If we do go to the U.P., I’d like to take-in some the lovely Michigan scenery. We have such a pretty state! We haven’t done much sight-seeing the past few years, and it might be fun.

Ok, so I need to explain why I entitled this blog post, “Feeling ‘Old'”: Yesterday someone mentioned to me that I should be looking for a replacement to handle workshops at the Evart Funfest… They said I need to find someone “YOUNGER!” I know it’s true, but I certainly feel that I’m still capable. That being said, I’d hate to leave the club in a lurch, if something happened to me, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. I just hate to face the truth. I’ve written an article for the next ODPC newsletter suggesting that, if someone is interested, I’d like to help them learn the ropes over the next three years, so they can take over after I’ve completed my 20th year. Maybe I’ll even pull out sooner, if the right person comes along.

My life is full and complete. I don’t need being the “Workshop Chairman” and as John pointed out to me today, at 2 months per year (which is what I have stated it takes to do the workshop schedule). In 17 years, that’s well over two years of my life.

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I’ve made a decision NOT to run for the Vice President of the Original Dulcimer Players Club. (I currently hold that position.) I really hoped that as V.P. I could provide a “historic viewpoint” since I’ve been on the ODPC boards going back to 1996, but I HATE POLITICS!

The slate of those running for ODPC offices came out yesterday and there are two others on the ballot for the two vice presidential positions. I like both of the people I’d be running against. They’ll do a good job and it’s best this way. I hope to continue in my roles as Workshop Chairman and Webmaster. (But I am an “appointee” so who knows?)

Hopefully, whoever assumes the leadership roles will continue the traditions of the ODPC. It’s a very special organization.


It’s now more than a day since I made my decision and I can’t believe how much better I feel having decided NOT to run. (I was really overwhelmed with anxiety.) I know it was the right decision.

I would like to continue to be in charge of workshops and webmaster. I hope the new administration is willing to keep things as they are with my roles in those areas. My plan is to avoid politics and meetings and just “do my job.” I no longer wish to be “involved” in any way with the administration of the ODPC. I hope that those who will assume administrative roles will continue the traditions which are vital to the ODPC Funfest and the organization behind that wonderful event.

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Getting Closer (but taking too long)

Soon we’ll be heading to Florida. I know it’s still months away, but I’m really eager.

Our big summer event is the ODPC Funfest but it’s past. Now there’s really nothing I eagerly “anticipate.”

We have two more summer concerts (one tonight and one on August 29th). We’re planning for an August camping weekend, and a possible trip to the U.P., but that’s about it. It would help if it would cool down and stay cooler. At least then activities like walking would be enjoyable and we’d be more tempted to find a place to dance.

I’ve been looking at the Kings Point activities wistfully.

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Pool Rules

The festival is over. For the “hot days” we enjoyed a cooling dip in our “pool.” Which was once a 14-foot pool (because it did have 7 pairs of feet in it.) Photo of Skaryd’s Pool

Back in 2005, pool rules were posted by the Dianne Phelps, wife of the past Osceola fair president and manager, and I just found them.

Thought I’d post them here for you to enjoy:

To whom it may concern and to whom it may not concern:

In regard to the poor little piddly pool located just north of the south first panel of an entire fence surrounding the horse corral with the exceptional openings which may or may not exist depending on whether or not the gates are open or closed or up at all:

This is an official permit complete with all the hitertos and wherefores and what ifs and why nots you can imagine, plus some we may have to make up as said use of said pool becomes increasingly popular as a said gathering place next to the said first campsite just north of the south first panel of an entire fence surrounding the horse corral with the exceptional openings which may or may not exist depending on whether or not the gates are open or closed or up at all. That having been said:

It is proper to dip all those “this little piggies” of storybook fame into the pool. It is not proper to dip people in the pool. Exception: (insert the name of the current president of the ODPC). It is totally proper to wade up to your ankles. It is not proper to sit in the pool. Though it may be fun and tempting it is not nice to splash. It is permissible to use ice cubes to further cool the pool, but it is not permissible to take them out of the trays located in the freezer compartments of other campers when they’re not looking! It is proper to paddle in the pool, but not proper to piddle.

It is not proper to advertise the fact that there are also individual pools located in varous bathroom facilities. You could get thrown off the grounds should you decide to do much more than piddle in those pools. Do not add ice cubes. Do not add feet. If either of the above are present, do not flush!

Enjoy the pool and if you get in trouble, do not blame me.

Ms. Management
(Past) President of the Unfair and Bored


Especially since we are an “aging” group, we felt it necessary to include some additional “rules” in 2012:

Please insert the following in the appropriate place in the above document: “No diving. If full body contact is unavoidable due to the attraction of the cooling properties of the water, no Swimmies (baby diapers for swimming) nor Depends (or other adult incontinent apparel). Swimsuits are optional, but Speedos, thongs, and bikinis, when worn by our age group, are definitely frowned upon.”

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Our festival is over!

9NoteMarimbula.jpgWe had a great time, but we’re pooped and need several days to rest without any stress or commitments.

The weather was varied: hot, cold, rainy, nice, hot! Today with it hot again, we were exhausted after packing.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the festival for us was enjoying the music played outside our door in the workshop leader rest area.

For me one highlight was the purchase of a marimbula. The picture is from the Cloud Nine music site which shows a marimbula just like mine.

The sound is similar to an upright bass. I got it Thursday night and over the next two days, played a few times with some excellent musicians. Didn’t do as badly as I’d feared. It was fun.

Why a marimbula? you ask.

In Florida, we have created a performing group with the Conklins called “Kings Strings.” The four of us have played several gigs, but we feel our sound isn’t “complete.” Two dulcimers and two autoharps are missing a “cut through” bass beat. We need to add some punch. If I work on it, I hope the marimbula will give us what we’re looking for. Playing with others was fun! There were times when I knew I missed the proper notes, but other tunes came together nicely.

What shocked me most was the positive feedback I received. I actually had folks asking me to keep playing.

I was careful to keep a steady beat, and that’s what was most necessary. I’ll work on the correct notes, but I was pleased with my progress.

We attended the Saturday night stage show. It was great. We got back to our campsite about 10:00 and played and enjoyed the music which was going on outside our door. We went inside by about 1:00 a.m.

This morning came too early. We were tired but dragged ourselves out of bed to start breaking down our “campsite.” It took from 8:00-3:00 for the two of us, plus a bunch of our friends, to get our trailer ready to head home.

We pulled in our driveway about 5:30.

During the first days of the week, before the actual festival began, friends from Florida came by. We enjoyed showing them what our life is like at our festival.

John’s two sisters and their significant others stopped by to visit a few times, but we really didn’t have time to visit while they were there.

So we’d stayed at the fairgrounds living in our trailer for 12 full days.

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Complain.. complain.. complain!

The past few days here at the dulcimer festival have been HOT! I don’t mean just pleasantly warm, I mean HOT! A couple days ago I watched the temperature reach 101.5 under our awning. We were miserable. Even at night it only dropped into the mid-70’s. Last night we had a pleasant evening with a nice parade, lots of food, and wonderful music.

In the middle of the night a loud thunderstorm moved through the area and the temps had cooled to the mid-60’s when we got up. All day, the rain was off and on, but mostly on. It’s now cold and damp! (63 degrees) It’s rained a couple of inches, and it’s definitely not clearing yet.

So for the nine days we’ve been here, I’ve complained about the heat but my tune has now changed. I’m still complaining, but it’s because I’m freezing. I’m here in our trailer (all the music has stopped while everyone breaks for dinner). We decided to fix a meal in the oven so the place will warm up and eliminate some of the clammy chill. Chicken kiev over rice will be great.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to warm up and, by Saturday and Sunday, it’ll be back close to 90! But tonight we expect temps down into the 50’s.

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We’re Here at the ODPC Funfest

If you know us, you have already heard about the huge hammered dulcimer festival which we’ve attended since 1991. It’s always held at the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart, Michigan.

The Skaryd's pool We are involved with the management of the festival. I’m the Webmaster, Workshop Chairman, and Vice President. John is my right hand man. He sets up the workshop areas, helps me with the workshop area rest area, and also runs the one-on-one classes each day. Of course, there is the running and maintenance of the copy machine and dozens of little chores.

This event will start on July 19th and run until July 22nd, but we arrived on Tuesday, July 10th. Right now the fairgrounds is about 80% full and those sites that are still vacant are reserved, or on the distant edges without any hookups and a bit of a hike to the restrooms.

This year it’s been a bit of a struggle. The state fairgrounds inspector came through and determined that many of the campsites were illegal so they can’t be used. That’s made it tough to fit in people who have always attended. It’s never been a problem before, but this year, finding a place to park your trailer, van or tent will be tough.

Hopefully it’ll work and everyone will be happy, but each day it gets tougher as folks realize that they aren’t able to be where they expected.

It’s been really hot. Today we probably got to about 90 before a storm came through and cooled things down about 10 degrees.

To keep folks comfortable, we filled our small kiddie pool and several of us cooled off by dipping our feet. The picture shows Marj Mountainsong (left) of Eugene, Oregon, Gwyn Besner (right) from Traverse, City, Michigan. The pool was really refreshing. Tomorrow, I think it will be a tad cooler (88), but Monday and Tuesday we expect it to return to the mid 90’s, before it drops back down into the 80’s through the end of the festival.

The pool will be enjoyed and appreciated by lots of us.

What do we do in the time before the festival starts? Well, we talk, play music, and enjoy renewing old friendships and making new ones.

Many folks think of the pre-festival time as the most fun. It’s always so hectic when the actual festival activities begin. Seems like we’re rushing around constantly and never have time to take a breath.

We really haven’t had time to join a jam. Yes, John’s played a few tunes but mainly inside the air conditioned trailer where it was comfortably cool. Maybe tonight we’ll at least take a trip around the campground to enjoy some of the wonderful music which is only played here.

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New Facebook Presence for Kings Point

Yesterday I took time to do something I’ve been thinking about for awhile: I created a Facebook page for the residents of Kings Point. Here’s the explanation I spent to friends:

As Kings Point residents who are up north during the summer months, we find it’s hard to out what’s happening in our Florida community. Sure Kings Point administration has a lovely, informative website, as well as “The Pointer,” and “the Wheel” on Community Channels 95 and 96. But, as a resident, there are things I’d like to know and share that aren’t covered by the normal communication methods. In fact sometimes there are things we don’t learn during the winter months, even though we’re in our Kings Point home. Example: If folks find a nice dance spot, or restaurant, it would be good if there’d be a way to share that “social” information. When Debby roared through, was there damage? When the wild boars were roaming last year, what areas sustained damage? Who has sold a condo? What KP activities have been lots of fun? What ones were “disappointments.”

The residents need a way to communicate with other residents. It’s especially important for snowbirds who have to depend on the grapevine route to get information when we’re more than 1200 miles away. So July 6th, I created a Facebook “page” called “Kings Point Sun City Center Residents.” Hopefully this new resource will become a useful way to find out what’s happening.

For those few who don’t belong to Facebook, you’ll need to sign up. (Facebook is a wonderful resource and can be very private if you restrict who sees what you post.)

Once you’re a facebook member, go to and sign in. Your “status” page will open. You’ll see a blue stripe at the top with the word “facebook” on the left side. In that same blue stripe area, there’s a “search” box labeled, “search for people, places and things.” In that search area, type in “Kings Point Sun City Center Residents” (minus the quotes) and you’ll be be able to go to Kings Points’ new residents page.

Or you can just go to

On that page, if you click the thumbs up “like” icon, you’ll be “subscribed” to the page. That means the comments members post will show up on your personal Facebook status page so it’ll be easy to follow what folks are saying. Or if you don’t want to “like us” you can just stop in to check on what’s happening.

Please give it a try. And please spread the word to other Kings Point residents (fulltime or snowbirds) who would be interested. If you want to quote this message, that’s fine with me.

It’s brand new (just started yesterday), so there aren’t many members yet, but the only way it’ll grow is if we all work to spread the word.

And when you have fun (either at your Florida or your northern home) let us know. Tell us about the stuff we’re missing. It’s what friends and neighbors do.

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We had the best weekend!!

white lake gathering
Friday we took off for White Lake, MI, to spend the weekend with our generous hosts Caroline & Stephen and Richard & Shelly. Michiganders who live in our Florida community of Kings Point, Sun City Center, FL, and are our social friends while in Florida, were invited. There were 15 of us: eight in the one house and seven in the other.

The newspapers being held up are issues of a Florida publication, “News of Kings Point.”

Friday night we enjoyed a great meal at Richard & Shelly’s followed by a phenomenal fireworks display and then a bonfire back at the Coopers. A few of us stayed up until the wee hours talking. Fascinating people!

Saturday we seemed to eat non-stop. We all went kayaking. Several had never tried it, including me. (I loved it and would like to get one or two for us to use in Michigan and maybe eventually a couple of them for Florida.) There was a Rummikub game and lots of chitchat. Ate some more, took a sunset pontoon boat ride with a back-drop of lots of fireworks off in the distance. We ended the night with another bonfire.

This morning we nibbled (still too full from yesterday to eat a meal). One by one/couple by couple, the guests left. We were last. It was nice to have some time with Caroline and Stephen. The more time we spend with them, the more I enjoy their company.

Fortunately most of the group will be at the Evart/ODPC Funfest.

I realize that when we get to our Florida condo, not all of this group will have arrived, but we’ll be closer to another “reunion.”

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