Monday, September 28, 2009


Up until last week, the 70,000 + citizens of The Villages had few choices if home ownership and it's upkeep was no longer feasible. But now we have Freedom Pointe with 240 gorgeous condos and a vast array of amenities. Next door is a new rehab center and assisted living and skilled care. There is a parking garage for GOLF CARTs.......the favored mode of transport around here. Paul's 97 yr old aunt will move in this week. She will be the oldest and the 39th owner. Many more will follow quickly.

On Saturday, Jeff and Paul played 18 with our special neighbors, Freida and John.
(I am waiting for 60 degree days.)

This is their creatively designed golf cart, done up to acknowledge their joy of Jimmy Buffett, the Parrotheads and Margaritaville. It's very cute.

And, as I'm becoming very weary of the persistent scorching temperatures down here, I remember the beautiful fall days in Connecticut and this view on our lake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Golf in The Villages

Here's the family's star golfer.....It was fun watching him launch those shots with such great precision. Jeff flew in on Tuesday from the Vancouver, Washington area. He is an excellent player , among other fine attributes. We have a lot of golf planned. Today, we played 18 holes, or Jeff did. Paul and I called it quits after the 17th. It was 90 degrees out there and I was feeling pretty fried. It was HOT.

This is just one example of some of the daunting holes......I played badly and blame it on not playing much this summer. Hope always springs eternal for most golfers, as we're convinced the next hole, the next game, the next week, etc.....all will improve.

There is assorted wildlife on the course and sandhill cranes don't seem to mind us getting up close and personal.

This was the 17th hole. All the times I have played this, I have NEVER managed to carry it across the swamp. Today was no different. Paul and Jeff which point I declared that it was a stupid game , a waste of my time and I wouldn't consider playing again....until tomorrow morning at 10 with the ladie's group.....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It isn't 90 degrees everywhere

I headed North on Thursday on a short 2 hour flight. The sunny view from the plane was deceiving and it was COLD . Luckily, I brought my hand knit wool sox and flannel pajamas. Besides being welcomed by two mighty fine grandsons, these exuberant kittens greeted me. They are siblings and so far, mostly nameless. We were never successful in naming our many cats. They mostly just became Kitty.

There was talk of a dog but busy schedules sometimes dictate more accomodating pets.

I'll head back on Tuesday just as Paul completes his two weeks of work in Miami. And hopefully, no pets will welcome us home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Small World

When we lived in Newtown for 30 + yr s, I walked regularly on the area roads. And believe it or not, I even jogged in those younger years, up and down the country lanes. On occasion, I would pass another walker who just happened to have the same kind of dog that we had, a wonderful little Westie. This is our Laddie.....he lived 17 years. She also drove a Saab and had 3 sons, just like me. And blonde hair. And she lived about a mile from us. But altho we knew the same people, we never connected on a social level, just a Hi and wave as we passed on the roads. So, many many years later, after we'd lived in Pa for a few years, we came down here. And one of my former neighbors tells me that Sonja moved to The Villages also. Just out of curiosity, I looked them up in the phone book and WHOA.......they live on our STREET.!!!! How weird is that ??? So we are now walking partners. She still lives in Newtown and hates the heat so is only here for short days in the summer but is here most of the winter. I am heading up to Ct on Thurs and was looking forward to walking on those old familiar roads with her ....(.those hills are much more challenging these days).........but she emailed me and said she would be down here . So this morning , we had a vigorous hour plus jaunt around the neighborhoods. It's just not as scenic but the conversation is lively. We had a lot to catch up on. I still think it's remarkable that we have connected. She'll be down for a couple of weeks so we can do more catching up when I get back. I'm heading up to spend the weekend with Andy and Mason while their Mom and Dad go to a wedding. I'm looking forward to that fall weather and wearing jeans.
It's still 90 degrees down here.
Today, I headed over and got the first of the flu shots this year. I also

got the Shingles vaccine. Both of my parents had Shingles in recent years and I have seen the misery first hand. The Villages is very efficient in offering vaccines to anyone who wants them. Each day, a different area Rec. Center offers it and the wait is minimal. The pneumonia, flu , shingles and tetanus are all available. For all you old people, Medicare paid for it all except a small charge for the Shingles.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pretty ugly

The mandevillas are doing great. The blossoms are so large and lush. But they still don't get an adequate supply of water from the sprinkler system so hand watering is needed. We need to correct that. Left in my care, most green and living things die.......Speaking of

GREEN and LIVING.... Mr. Gecko has taken up residence on the lanai. He started out as a tiny 1 inch baby and as you can see, in the past month or so , he has filled out a bit. I don't like him out there but since it is still too warm to open up the doors, I don't fear him coming in to the house. But I do fear him growing and possibly becoming THIS
Not a chance you say....????? Green, 4 legs, long tail, pointy head, moves quickly, beady eyes...........looks like same gene pool to me.

And who would have predicted this ...........BRONCOS WIN SEASON OPENER. It was a terrible game for both the Bengels and the Broncos until the last 20 seconds. It wasn't a John Elway type save , just dumb luck.

Got back on the golf course this weekend......twice. Not pretty. Except for the new shoes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Going home

Yesterday was a lazy day with no big we started at the beach. It was a bit breezy ...... That being quite an understatement when the umbrella launched itself into the air and then careened along the beach putting all in its path in peril. It was impressive in it's speed. Luckily, it was caught before it could do harm. So then we placed it back in the sand but I kept one hand firmly on it. Meanwhile, Paul and Curt tried their skill at boogey boarding. It was not always pretty and the photographer spared them any further embarrassment. I think you have to be a 6 year old to do it with style.Jan and Curt and Laca and Kevin are avid shell hunters . The beach closest to us doesn't have blog worthy shells to capture. But further south, there are more fruitful pickings.

But.......Laca learned the hard way about liberal applications ofsunscreen. This was acquired during their kayaking trip.......ouch.

We are heading home today, regretfully. We take with us a bit of sand, a lot of memories and a relaxed spirit.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Today I am in a rush as the masses are urging me to remove myself from this computer and get thee to the beach.....But knowing my loyal fans are hanging on my every update , I have ignored their pleadings......

We wandered the streets of Charleston yesterday. The air was balmy and delightful and it was a short 21 mile drive from Kiawah. Altho I learned a great deal of very early history, early history and later early history, I won't detail it here...... mostly because I can't remember all the wars and invasions and disasters that have befallen this magnificent area.

This is a close up of a woman making a sweetgrass basket. This is a skill passed down since the days of rice plantations when they made the baskets from local grasses to winnow the rice. On many street corners, these are displayed for sale. I wanted to take a picture of this women but she declined so I snapped a quick one of her working. The picture below is a googled picture since I forgot to take one on the many we saw. They are not cheap but very labor intensive so I am glad they are popular and valued. The woman did say that she liked my big lime green one. I offered a trade for a basket but guess she didn't like it that much.

We did take a carriage ride thru the is a cobblestone road that are prevalent in the older parts.. The stones were used for ballast by the English ships and then either dumped or made into streets.
A view from the ride shows the Slave Market up ahead. It was a place to buy and sell slaves altho their history is rather vague and more politically correct these days when discussing this. On a smaller scale, it reminds me a bit of Pike's market in Seattle or Fanueil Hall in Boston in that it is a long, multi block open air building with stalls for selling assorted goods. Pike's market is more upscale, Boston's is more permanent and this one had mostly forgettable shopping. It is also an area of frequent floods so all looks temporary.

Here is our guide and horse, Bandit. Some of stories told may or maynot be historically accurate but it was a pleasant ride thru history for an hour.

Later we walked and walked and walked. I took few pictures but this is a view of Rainbow Row where they narrow houses are each painted a different colors. There are 40 'approved paints' in Charleston and most of the city looks like a Historical district so not much can be changed without lengthy bureacratic decisions.

Not sure of the history, if any, of this house but it is somewhat typical of the narrow tiny row houses.

Later, we met the rest of the family for some libation. We met at the world renowned Hyman Seafood restaurant downtown. We ate well and of course, I have pictures to prove it.

Laca has been raised a true southerner. She ordered Fried Okra and Fried Green Tomatoes........note, I said this was a SEAFOOD restaurant. !!

Kevin took the plunge and ordered the Fried Calamari po-boy sandwich. This picture does not begin to show the true size of this whopper..........he declared it delicious and most of us declined a taste.

Jan and I had shrimp appetizers with really fresh and delicious hush puppies. Curt also had the fried green tomatoes and the shrimp.

Paul had the fried flounder. It was massive but he gave it a 10 for freshness and taste.



And then we were too full and satiated to do anything but go home and take a nap.

Charleston is just lovely and would need many many trips to enjoy it all. We'd like to go back.
And now we're off to the beach.............................................

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kiawah Island, Day 2

It was a peaceful morning, like so many other mornings on the Island. Jan and Laca sharing mother-daughter thoughts. And then........, The "Jaw' s Music" could be heard in the know the tune.....
and the pair looked out on that dark and stormy night.....(ooops, wrong story)

....looked out to see who was humming the ominous sound.........

. It was Larry ........contrary to popular belief, he had no interest in food or small children or even the mother-daughter conversation......
Larry knew that a 'world famous blog' was about to be written and he wanted to be a part of it. He put on his best shiny coat, without the assorted twigs and leaf adornments, drew up close and personal and showed those pearly whites for the camera. And then he waited and waited and waited.........

Meanwhile, life on the Island was waiting to be explored. First we went for a walk. Trails wind thru the lovely live Oaks and palms. Then we went for a long bike ride for more distant views.

And close up views.......

We ended the afternoon at the beach......with a cold one, a good book and a best friend...forever......

Friday, September 4, 2009

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Jan and Curt, VFF, (very favorite family) have become regulars at this beautiful place on the Carolina coast and this year, have invited us to share the experience. (Jan is Paul's sister for the non-relative readers of the blog). Laca (Jan and Curt's daughter) and husband Kevin rounded out the group. And now that the introductions are over, let's begin the tour.

This is a view across the water from the deck. Everytime we open the slider and step outside, along comes Larry, swimming over for a snack. Then he
parks himself beside the deck and waits, and waits, and waits...........fortunately, there are no small children around.....This picture is looking straight down off the deck with the building and clouds reflected back...but Larry is NO reflection. Clicking on the picture will make it bigger and you will see the stick across his nose and his beady eyes. Here is the view to the right with the deck next door which looks just like ours and provides for good Larry and other wildlife viewing.

We went for a walk to the nearby beach.......

The grounds are lovely and have over 30 miles of bike/walking paths and 10 miles of beach front.

The beach is very hard packed and biking is a popular way to see it all.

Love the many birds.

Later, we went to dinner and came out to this beautiful sunset. We look forward to some beach time and some biking and more exploring.