Sunday, December 30, 2007

SOLD ! ! ! !

What a surprise...! Although we had someone who had been interested in the house for awhile, we didn't really expect any movement until at least spring, if then. But on Thursday we received a call that someone else wanted to see it. In a flurry, Jon arranged for his cleaning lady to give it a lick and a polish. On Saturday , Jon donned his realtor hat and showed the house. That afternoon we received an attractive offer and we accepted today. Wow.
When we first saw the house, one of the reasons we acted so quickly to purchase it was that we felt it would sell quickly if we ever wanted to do that. It has location, location, location. And it is beautifully built with many upgrades. It has always been our favorite house.
We don't have a closing date as yet but assume we will head north the end of January to pack and move.
Jon seems to think he is entitled to a 3% fee. I think we will just deduct it from what he owes know, things like orthodontia , wrecked cars, flying lessons, a protracted life at college and oh yes, let us not forget the babysitting charges....

Christmas memories

Leaving on a jet plane..........from 80 degrees to a lovely white Christmas Eve. We were excited to once again be with our Colorado family . Lizzie, Becca, Nicholas and Alex on the couch on Christmas morning, all in their new pajamas.
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

Wishing you all a Wonderful and Joyful Christmas

Before we fly off to Colorado tomorrow, we'd like to share this with you. Enjoy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good morning

We manage to get together so seldom. This was taken in early November when we gathered for Dad's memorial service. From the left, Jon, Jeff, Mike, me, Paul and Marybeth, Jon's wife. Someday soon, I hope to see us ALL together. We are so fortunate that they chose us as their parents and grandparents.

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

561 Inner Circle

It's not all signed, sealed and inspected, but this could be our new home come January 15th. Decisions to do this have not come easy and we have gone back and forth many times. The Villages makes it relatively painless to contemplate this major undertaking so we've been doubly cautious. And then there was the actual process of looking at the houses available. There were only a couple models and a couple locations that were of interest to us and after awhile they all started looking alike. Finally, this one kept coming to the forefront and started to feel right. It is smaller than some others that we saw and each house seemed to have something we either liked or disliked but none had everything. This one came closest. It is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, around 2000 sf. None of the houses are much over 2100 unless you spend the really big bucks. And it has the 2 car plus golf cart garage.
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

Counting Sheep

It is late as I start this entry. I was asleep and then I wasn't. The brain became awake and started firing across those synapses and before long, I was in the middle of solving the mysteries of life (or at least trying to figure out why I can't do Sudoko). So I had to get up, check my email to see if any of you had written, checked the headlines to see if the world was still there, considered my knitting, thought about a snack , didn't want TV on and haven't started any good books lately. Sooooo, that just left the blog.

Congratulations to Dean and Diane and the arrival of granddaughter Jacqueline. 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

And the beat goes on...

We're settling in. The weather is warmer but still extremely pleasant and addicting. I had to pick up more 'summer things'. Humidity has been low and barely noticeable.

We/ve played more golf and getting better each time (realizing that we started from square one so we have a ways to go). We played with Ernie and Barbara on Monday and felt we were almost competitive. Altho we use our golfcart, Paul is beginning to think he could walk the easier courses and use a pull cart

I tried to get a picture of Paul and the large white bird in the tree......I know that I need to be more precise on that bird description but there are a lot of different , large birds down here. The sand hill cranes were on the golf course behind the house the other day and seemed to be uninterested in the golfers trying to manuever around them. They are magnificent and large.

On a smaller scale, we frequently have these on the screen of the lanai and scurrying around the yard. I don't mind them , as long as they don't try and sell me insurance.

We stopped at Sunset Point the other night to view the glowing colors. We didn't wait long enough to get the real pinks. The golf cart next to us was equipped with a sound system and was playing very beautiful instrumentals and they were enjoying their bottle of wine. We have a ways to go in learning to live this life.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 8, 2007

On this day, 2 years after his rebirth, Paul T Miller played 9 holes of golf..............miraculous.
And his wife failed to record it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

LSV, block party and broccoli

Picture Alert: There are none in this blog. For those of you who only look at the pictures, tune in another day.

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 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

Too busy to blog

The daylight doesn't last long these days so we try and squeeze everything into those hours. Actually, once the sun sets this place gets pretty lively. There are two large town squares and each has nightly entertainment. Live bands play everything from lively country, oldies but goodies(of course, what would you expect in a place like this) and once we even heard a good polka band. Polka dancers really make the rest of us look like slugs. The quality is excellent and there is a lot of dancing on the square. Some nights there are vendors selling everything from personalized hats to gifts for the grandchildren. And there are two bar stands selling anything you would want to drink. I couldn't get a picture that does it justice.

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

Views on Society Hill Circle

Life is good. Clear blue skies, 80 degrees, birds chattering, glass of ice tea and view of the golf course

We started the day with breakfast on the lanai, no fancy omelets today, just good old-fashioned oatmeal.

Here's pictures of the dining room, kitchen and view thru the great room to the lanai and the golf course.

The bed is very comfortable , providing you can get up on it. The mattress surface comes to my waist and is a feat of acrobatics to climb up on it. Paul, being taller, does not seem to have a problem. The other beds in the guest rooms are also that high. So if you are short and plan on visiting, we will rent you a ladder. I'm not sure why they have to be so tall. Our bed is very comfortable but dangerous if you turn over wrong.

The golf course is one of the 18 hole Country Club courses. Everyone pays to play on them, about $20 for residents and $40 for non. Most of the courses here are Executive, or 9 hole and vary in the amount of challenge they offer. They are free to residents. There are 9 Country Club courses and 24 Executive!!! This particular course is ringed by beautiful huge live oak trees, many are covered in spanish moss.

We wandered over to the dreaded Walmart today on a mission for a wireless router. Altho not as messy as some, it was packed.
But thanks to Paul's efforts, we now enjoy wireless technology.

I'll end todays discourse with a picture of Paul and Ernie at the tree lighting last night. I should have included the tree.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

On time arrival

Short note just to say we arrived about 3 pm , got semi -settled in this quite beautiful house then went to the tree lighting ceremony at the town square, met Ernie and Barbara and stayed around to have dinner. Then to grocery store for a few necessities and off to bed. More later