Sunday, December 30, 2007
Lizzie modeling the latest in hand knit hat and mittens, fashioned by her very talented mom, Jenna.
During our 4 days there, 10 inches of snow on Christmas day, and another 6 inches on Thurs, did not deter anyone from going anywhere, especially when driving this. However, it was a bit of a challenge for Paul to actually get in this . Mike promises to put steps on it for the old folks.
One of our excursions took us to Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver's most famous place to enjoy a hot drink and good book.
We laughed and played Rummykube for hours.
Roxie has mellowed a bit from the busy noisy puppy to the princess who enjoys her new bed.
After filling up on all the Christmas goodies, we still had room for a fine Mexican dinner, despite all the snow .
We reluctantly flew home to 80 degrees. It was a wonderful few days and we will remember those special moments.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Life is quiet these days now that all the papers are signed and decisions made. I believe this is the first year I have felt none of the Christmas stress . No decorating, no baking, no shopping., well, of course I did shopping but not the frantic kind. I think everyone should take a year off every now and then. But we are SO looking forward to our trip west to celebrate with the Colorado Clan. Peace and quiet will be over and laughter and good food will prevail. We will really miss watching Andy and Mason discover Christmas morning. but I'm sure Lizzie can equal their enthusiasm. Andy said he hopes Santa brings him 'a present' but no special requests.
We enjoyed dinner last night with Ernie and Barbara after we toured the new house. They approved. In the morning, we attended a Good Golf session. A presentation on all the rules and regs of golf in The Villages. They have an automated tee-time system, accessible by phone or computer. It took one hour for someone to explain the system. They say its very equitable and Paul seems to understand it. I don't. I hope to start playing on Ladie's Day after we get back.
We attended the Inner Circle neighborhood gathering the other night. It is a very active group even tho most have only lived there a few months. We signed up for couples golf and ladies golf. We met most of our next door neighbors and liked them all. There are about 100+ homes included. They meet monthly. I don't think they give you much time to be the new kid on the block.
The Villages is made up of many villages.......We will be living in the Village of Amelia . Each villages has its own pool and mail center and several villages share a Recreation Center where there is usually a family pool, huge center with meeting rooms, some have a fitness center. Each has a different theme. They are over-the-top decorated. Yesterday's golf meeting was at Lake Miona Center which had a nautical theme. It was quite amazing down to the smallest detail. I should have brought my camera.
Time for the morning walk.....I have new shoes so there's a spring in my step.
Monday, December 17, 2007
This is the view from the front door into the great room. The kitchen is a reasonable size with very pretty granite, stainless appliances and bisque colored cabinets which appealed to me. This area is all tile, set on the diagonal and bedrooms are carpeted.
View from kitchen, across great room to french doors going out to lanai. Note the fireplace on the right, which has a window on each side. Very similar to the arrangement in our Pa. house. The cabinets look white in the picture but really are a very rich cream or bisque. And the walls are similar to the color at home also. Maybe that's why this house felt right. Our reaction to a fireplace in Fl was similar to the one we had when we saw the fireplace in the RV. But we quickly learned to enjoy that one.
Lanai with wet bar. Some have a grill built in but guess that's just something to break. This has a small refrig and sink. The other door goes into the master bedroom.View from the golf course. There is no landscaping in back and there is room for expansion should we ever want to put in that large pool !!!!! (don't think so)
View from across the golf course. Our house is to the right of center with all the palm trees.
Today we signed papers and such and they actually gave us a garage opener so we can go in anytime we want. He said to bring a lawn chair and stay awhile.!! Tomorrow evening is a neighborhood block party . We seem to arrive at the right time. So we'll get to meet our neighbors and hopefully find some golf partners.
Cold day today, low of 36 and high's in the 50's. But the rest of the week will be typical.
Anyone want to buy a house in Pennsylvania???
Friday, December 14, 2007
Congratulations to Dean and Diane and the arrival of granddaughter Jacqueline. http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071205/NEWS/712050334&emailAFriend=1 I can't imagine doing this and I would be expected to know what I was doing....sort of. Good work Diane.
It has been pretty warm these days with slightly increasing humidity. Chance of rain for the weekend and I won't mind it. I've been procrastinating the whole shopping and holiday thing. I guess if we were home, it would be different, but to me it feels like May or something. The Christmas decorations seem odd down here. They don't seem to fit in. They don't seem genuine. Not that we have always had snow up north but the glow of lights combined with a nip in the air seems right. Don't get me wrong, I don't miss all the snow they are getting. We will be flying to Colorado this year to spend the Christmas Days with Mike and Jenna and Nicholas, Becca, Alex and Lizzie.....and assorted birds and dogs. It will be very festive and winter-like and we will gladly give up our warm for a few days.
I've been getting educated on the bird life down here. The other day, these beautiful sand hill cranes came to visit. They are the most abundant cranes and are over 4 ft high at maturity.
They wandered over to where I was and did not seem at all concerned that I was there. And then quite suddenly, they began foraging in the bushes and the grasses and pulled out many wiggling geckos. It was quite a violent scene, a working model of the food chain and I found it quite disturbing and went in the house. Makes me want to build safe houses for the little things.
The other day, the local radio station hosted a NY radio personality, Joan Hamburg. For all you non-New Yorkers, she has been a fixture on WOR 710 forever, sharing her recommendations for restaurants, hotels, theatre, vacations spots and that day, she was pushing The Villages, live and on the air. So of course, I had to go down and watch. I only stayed to listen to her interview of Nancy Lopez. Nancy designed one of the Championship courses (27 holes) and has a home that she visits regularly down here. I took pictures but they aren't so good. This is a picture of the lake next to the radio station.And so, enough of the blog, next is knitting and then maybe I'll have to give Paul's sleep tonic a try......over ice.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Today, I managed to navigate from the house to the grocery store by myself , in the golf cart...or LSV as they are sometimes referred to around here (low speed vehicle). I had to go approximately 1-1.5 miles via the transportation trail (golf cart path, jogging path, bike path, walking path). I had to find the correct tunnels that go under the main roads and avoid accidently ending up on a road. There is a reported $170 fine for going where you shouldn't go, like main roads. Well, I did Ok, got there and only had to ask for directions once. Leaving , I backed out of the parking space, (2 LSV fit in one space) and when I tried to go forward, it wouldn't go. There I was , stuck in the middle of the driving lane . Some grumpy guy (they are certainly an anomaly down here) told me I had to move it out of the way and then got in his car. I got out and started to push it and he must have rethought his behavior, and came over and pushed it and then said, " I hope you have a cell phone so you can call for help" and got in his car and left. So I did but then suddenly, it decided to drive forward. This golf car came with the rental and is a gas model. Not sure of the advantage but we are not impressed with the louder noise and the gas fumes.....and the erratic behavior.
Tonight we were invited to attend a Society Hill Circle block party. There are 63 homes on the street and I would say that maybe 40 attended. We met a great number of people and they were extremely friendly and inviting to a couple of renters. At first I was suspicious, thinking that Deb, the owner of this house, had called everyone and said "Be nice to them, and maybe they'll buy my house!" But I think it was all very genuine. One side of the street brought salads and the other dessert. And it was BYOB. We had a great time and I have to say, that it would be very easy to just live here. There are 5 houses for sale. We met people who are still working, a very nice lady from Finland, a retired United pilot, many golfers and the ages varied from younger (but not by much) and somewhat older.
Here's the recipe for the Broccoli Salad that I brought. I found it on foodnetwork.com and it is a Paula Deen creation. Her food is loaded with fat and high calories but this one was easy to modify to something healthier.
A couple bunches of broccoli. I used 2 big bunches, cut into smaller pieces. I blanched them for about 1 minute (no longer) and immediately dropped them into ice cubes to cool down. Then drain thoroughly.
Chop 1/2 red onion
Cube 8 ounces of sharp cheddar (small cubes, could use shredded)
Chopped pecans......a handful or so
6-8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half......about a cup or so. I drained them on a paper towel to cut down on any excess liquid
Dressing. 1 cup mayonaise ... I used Smart Balance mayo which is lighter
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp Splenda or sugar
Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar well and pour over other ingredients....mix well
this can be modified many ways.....add peas, chicken, grapes instead of tomatoes etc........
It was REALLY, REALLY good and disappeared in a flash. I was hoping there would be leftovers.
It's very hard to imagine that it is cold somewhere else. Tonight we stood out in shirt sleeves and it was lovely. The afternoons are hot if you are standing still in the sun but mostly there is a pleasant breeze. I'm finding that sunscreen is a necessity tho. I burned yesterday..........yes , I feel your sympathy.
You too can enjoy it.......the guest rooms are waiting.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
We've been getting blisters on our hands from spending time at the driving range. I think there is hope for both of us. I got my clubs regripped today and am hoping it will make a BIG difference. No money back guarantee .
I've been walking in the mornings. I've found a looooong 4 mile loop. It even has two hills so that's added pain. I pass one of the many swimming pools and it is a lively place at 8 am. I assume it's water aerobics. The pools are heated. I should try it. We've investigated the fitness centers but haven't made a decision yet.
For all you botanists and gardeners out there. Society Hill was named after the plant called Society garlic. This area apparently was covered by the plant, hence the name. It is not actually garlic, but the leaves are very aromatic and smell like garlic . It is in the amaryllis family and has a lavender flower.
Here's a view from the golf cart.
And this is one thing we saw on our travels around The Villages. They actually have several buffalo herds. Not sure why but they make for a different Kodak moment.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
· Final check of the house
· Forgot to empty carton of soy milk in refrig
· Headed out and began the drive south
· Forgot cell phone 10 miles back at house
· Drive back to house
· Wander around house finding other stuff ‘we needed’
· Forgot to empty carton of soy milk in refrig
· Headed out and began the drive south
· Decided we needed the road atlas
· Stopped at RV storage place and searched RV for atlas with no luck
· Continued drive south until we got to Gettysburg and stopped to buy an atlas.
· Remainder of day was uneventful
The car has behaved just fine and apparently hasn’t found a place it wants to retire to…yet.
A belated Happy Birthday to my mother who turned one year younger yesterday.
Thanks for the call Jeff and thanks to Mark and Annette for the Happy Anniversary greetings.
We made about 550 miles today and are a bit over half way , staying in Fayettsville, NC. Our anniversary dinner was a Wendy’s Taco Salad…….perfect.!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
We will try and leave early on Friday but I suspect we’ll have enough last minute ‘to do’s’ that it might be closer to noon. It’s 1065 miles according to mapquest. Over to Harrisburg, turn left, wander towards Baltimore and then south on I-95. Or we could stay on I 81 which is much prettier, less traffic and follows the Shenadoah Valley. I have expressed some concerns about the 2000 Ford Explorer being physically fit for this trip. It’s been going strong for over 100,000 miles so I hope it has a few more left. Paul’s theory is that if it quits on the way down, that is where we will retire. I guess it’s as good as any way to pick a new place to live. I just hope it’s someplace warm ……..
Friday we will celebrate 44 years of togetherness. From the very beginning, I knew that we were meant to be together and 2 years ago, when our world was turned upside down, I felt deep within that we would not be separated.
We'll update as we travel, providing we have internet at the hotel tomorrow.....otherwise, we'll talk on Saturday or Sunday. ........live from The Villages in the land of sunshine and oranges.and grey hair.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Paul returned to Miami today to finish up one aspect of the simulator training. He is doing part-time work for North American Airlines as a sim instructor in the 757/767 simulators. He says part of the reason was just to see if his brain still worked (it does) but mostly I think its just to get back to flying, even if it is a box and to tip a few with a bunch of the NARPA guys(North American Retired Pilots Association). He'll be back on Thurs.
On Tuesday, I will make the long drive back to Connecticut to visit the dentist. We've been going to her for over 20 years and hope to continue for as long as we still have our teeth. I usually combine the trip with a visit with friends plus some shopping at old favorite places but this time it will be over and back. It's over 2 1/2 hours each way.
While I write this I am watching "Dancing With The Stars"..... wow, I love that show.
This posting is lacking in pictures. I had planned to show off a finished knitting project but can't find the pictures. I downloaded them yesterday then erased them off the camera and now they are nonexistent. I'm sure it wasn't anything that I did.
So in lieu of a picture, I offer thishttp://www.elfyourself.com/?id=9608214954. Thanks to Jenna who had nothing better to do with her morning.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
In the past year, we’ve known that our time in the Pocono’s was limited. Jon and MaryBeth have made plans to return to Connecticut where she will join an OB/GYN practice and Jon can still fly out of Newark. We haven’t developed enough roots in this area to want to stay here after they leave. So the world became a potential home for us. With few limitations, we began auditioning locations. We looked in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and California. I spent hours reading publications on the “BEST” places to retire and doing more research online. Each place had its appeal, some way more than others. Having friends in some of these places really helped. Years ago, I had been very opinionated (who me?) about never wanting to live in Florida. Suffice to say, it involved too many old people , too much humidity, bugs and no mountains. But times and situations change and all of a sudden, old people don’t look so old, humidity is better than desert air on the skin, I’m about ready to put away the skiis and ……well, bugs are bugs and still something to be considered.
So we have decided to give The Villages a try. It is VERY large and located between Ocala and Orlando, in the hill country of Florida. It is in horse country and looks very much like Lexington. We have friends there( Hi Ernie and Barbara) and when we went to check it out in July, we met many friendly , happy couples. The climate is much more temperate than farther south. We will need jackets and sweaters . We will use this blog to share the good, the bad and hopefully, there is no ugly. ( unless you consider our golf game)
So we are trying to get the house in order up here. We went ahead and put up a few paltry decorations on the outside so as not to look like the black hole in this overly decorated neighborhood. Most years we do it up proud but I do not miss freezing my fingers trying to hang lights in 30 degrees. And I hadn’t even considered doing anything down there until Deb, who owns the rental, wanted to know if we were bringing decorations with us or did we want to borrow some from her. And here I thought I was going to get away easy this year.
Well, its not the greatest shot but we have candles in the windows and a wreath on the door and on the upper bedroom window. I'm done with the decorating for this year.!!
Friday, November 23, 2007
I'd like to thank ALL of you that responded to our blog. We received at least 324 emails......or maybe it was 2. But we know you're out there just waiting for the next installment.
Black Friday: I’m not sure about the name, but the thought of shopping with the masses is not my idea of fun. In previous years, I shopped via the Internet and found it very convenient. This year, I’m giving in to conventional shopping and hoping to accomplish the task in a week. For a brief minute, P said that he needed to go to Walmart. Then we both looked at each other and laughed. Walmart is NOT on our list of approved big box stores, especially on the busiest day of the year. The one in our area has been the scene of mayhem and violence and is not the place to be any time of the day and especially not at night. But on our travels in the motorhome, we have actually parked overnight in the parking lot. Walmart allows such things and assumes that you will shop for supplies while camping there. The only time we tried it was this fall, returning from a trip to Asheville, NC, and all campgrounds in the area were full. We were among about 15 other Rver’s plus a few tractor trailers. Obviously , we skipped the campfire and the s’mores.
Some days, I really want a puppy. Oh wait, that’s what Andy says. Actually, he wants a puppy and an RV for Christmas and a Frisbee . But every now and then, I think having a dog would be a good addition to our lives. And then I realize that we don’t lead the kind of lifestyle that a dog fits well in. Maybe we could share one with Andy.
I'm ending today with one of the last pictures taken of my Dad. He died in October of Alzheimers.
He will be remembered for his commitment to excellence and detail , his beautiful carvings of carousel animals and his delight in babies and children. He was honored with a full military burial for service in Okinawa and China.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We have so much to be Thankful for and we are truly grateful for our wonderful family.
Addendum: Blogger has a few quirky features and one is that the date of the blog is when you actually started it and not when it was actually published. I have read complaints about this but no solutions......so this blog took two days of frustration and is actually being published on Friday, Nov. 23rd.