Monday, January 21, 2019

Cooler weather.... a lot more energy!

Well, for a change, we were quite productive over the weekend. Got some work done in the yard, and enjoyed a little comfort food!

On Friday after morning grocery shopping, I made my very first EVER homemade chocolate pie.  When I asked Rich what sounded good for goodies, he suggested the pie...........and so I found a recipe, picked up the ingredients at the store........... And I have to admit it was EXCELLENT! 

With the cooler weather we've been enjoying a little more comfort food  while  using up the left-over Ham.  It was ham and potato soup on Friday,  Chef Salad on Saturday, Chicken Fajitas ( I know that's not a comfort food!) and then Macaroni and Cheese with..... Ham!!!

On Saturday morning we headed into town to get some non ethanol gas for both the boat and the power washer.  I would not normally tag a long just to get gas... but Rich suggested that we stop at the Inter-lake Blvd Cafe for breakfast. Usually a bit busy on Saturday morning - but it's worth the wait. Bacon/Sausage, home fries, eggs..... mmm good!

And so on Saturday we got some yard work started....  Rich got the power washer going, and finished most of the driveway before we had to call it quits.  In the meantime I worked on trimming the shrubs.  Sunday was a day of rest - rest for the back!    And on Monday we finished the driveway, and started in the back yard.....  We worked together to give the grill a good cleaning, Rich did the power washing - and I cleaned the lanai!

This morning - Monday - it was really quite cold in the morning..... It was pretty funny when the Whistling Ducks came around early..........and gathered only in the sunny areas.......Only a small area of the roof on the boathouse had sun.... and so they crowded around that area...

Still lots more to get done..... and hopefully we'll have some more of this nice weather.  

Thursday - I an scheduled for my CT Angiogram/Coronary.......... which I a NOT looking forward to..... That means a trip to Kissimmee!  BUT..... On the way back we will be picking up our favorite little visitor - Miss Ava.....who will be staying with us for a few days. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

And the first month of the New Year is half over!

And so the New Year starts out about where we left off in 2018.  Rich and I have both had our blood work done, and had our follow up with the Doctor - and everything looks good.  But we both have appointments again coming up......before the end of the month.

Grocery shopping this weekend on Saturday I made meatballs and spaghetti sauce and we enjoyed linquini for dinner.  Sunday morning I made a couple dozen chocolate chip cookies, and we had Ham and Scalloped potatoes, and Monday was some of the left over meatballs with Ravioli........and peanut butter cups for dessert!

Dennis called over the weekend and said he would be in Orlando again for work in February, so he'd be spending three days with us, which would include Rich's birthday. So far we've made plans to pick him up in Orlando and head to Dania Beach/Hollywood, Florida whe've booked a room for the night.  We'll head over to the Dania Casino and Live Jai Alai on Friday and Saturday, and then head for home..........and then maybe stop by Gatorama......on Sunday if they are open!!

Monday was a beautiful day with temperatures around 73 and sunny, so the doors were open letting in the fresh air.  And while they were open, Rich did a few minor repairs, and we cleaned and lubricated the tracks.  Still need to clean the windows!!!

Tuesday was a late afternoon visit with the Cardiologist..... so since we were already in Sebring it only made sense to stop at our favorite restaurant - Hibachi Grill for dinner.  Left well satisfied and with full bellies! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Holiday's are over.......

It's been a pretty quite week and things are pretty much back to the norm.....  It was just a couple of days after ringing in the New Year that we started to take down the decorations, the tree and pack everything away for another year. 

The weather has been quite nice lately - especially when you can leave the windows and doors open and can hear the birds chirping!!!  The past few days we've had the sliders in back and the front door open.....

and it's so nice to see the Whistling Ducks again.......It's been a while, and we usually have dozens of the atop the boat house.......Today they split between the boat house and our neighbor's back yard.  They can be pretty loud when they all get whistling!

For the past few days, my baby brother has been going through some very very old photographs and has been sharing them with family and friends on face book!  They really do bring back some wonderful memories growing up....  Left to right top row:  My parents, Jack and Marge Benjamin, Me and brother Dave/Easter Sunday, Brothers Chuck and Mick.  Second Row: Jackie Snyder and Me in competition at the Eldridge Park Talent Parade,  My family, before David and I were born:  back row: Brothers Mick, Jim and Don.  front row:brothers Bill and Chuck, Dad, Mom, sisters Ronda and Sandy.  Bottom row: Me and brother Dave at Christmas, Sister Ronda (front), Mom, ME, and brother Chuck, and Brother Dave in back, and the last picture another Easter Sunday for brother Dave and I. 

And today would be my Dad's birthday. Born January 9, 1909.   He would be 110 years old today.

Happy Birthday in Heaven.  We love and miss you...........

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Best Time EVER with family and friends.....

On Monday, New Years Eve Day,   we headed out just before 11.00 AM to meet up with family for New Years Eve cook-out, and ringing in the new year.  Our destination would be Wesley Chapel, at the home of Pete and Kim Walters.  Kim is our son Dennis' step-sister.   We, along with Grandparents,Wayne and Kathy would be spending the night here.  Dennis, Dalton and his girlfriend Briana, and Chauna and her boyfriend Ryan would be here for festivities, but spending the night with  Grandpa, Jack Jones .  Everyone will meet back here in the morning and head to Raymond James Studio for the Outback Bowl - where we hope to see our Iowa Hawkeyes WIN!

It was about 2:00 pm when we arrived at Pete and Kim's.... Dennis and the Kids, and Jack, and his friend Mike were already there.  Wayne and Kathy arrived a short while afterward.  They have an absolutely beautiful home.  Below (top) Kim and Pete, Dennis and Kim, (Bottom) Ryan, Kathy, Jack, and behind them Wayne, Dalton and Briana,  far right is Grandma Donna, and Grandma Kathy!

Most of the afternoon was spent outside.  It was a beautiful day, and so games of corn-hole, or fishing, or just tossing the football took place in the back yard.

And when not playing - the guys were relaxing under the Pergola enjoying an afternoon beverage, or watching Pete take care of the grilling!   At the table from left to right is, Dennis, Rich,  Grandpa Jack, Mike (a family friend of Jack's) , Grandpa Wayne, and Pete.  That's Chauna, waiting to plate the meat!!

There was sooooo much food!  We enjoyed Cheeseburgers, Dogs, Chicken, Beans, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Veggie Platter, Chips, A delicious Orange Cake, and a variety of cookies and donuts.  Everything was absolutely delicious!!

The remainder of the afternoon, and until about 11:30 it was more game time...  Most were either involved in shooting pool,  or playing Mexican Train.  The second floor of their home has a huge game room with pool table, hockey, TV/with games, and one large "theater room" complete with huge screen and four recliners for movie night!  After all that food - Ryan took to a little relaxing time!

Those spending the night at Grandpa Jacks in Land 0' Lakes headed out hoping to arrive there by mid-night. Pete and Kim and the kids (Michaela and Camden), Wayne, Kathy and I stayed up to ring in the New Year.... Rich did not make it!  But it was time to get a good night's rest in preparation for Tuesday - Game Day!

The plan for Tuesday - Grandpa Jack's group would arrive back at Pete and Kim's by 9:00 AM - Everyone should be dressed in their Hawkeye Black and Gold for group pictures, and plan on being on the road to the stadium by 10:00 am.  We would be taking three vehicles with Pete in the lead, followed by Rich, followed by Dennis....Stay together so we can all park together...

Kim was up very early and had a huge breakfast prepared for everyone!! Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Biscuits and Sausage Gravy... coffee..... Worked out perfectly - those of us who stayed at Kim and Pete's were pretty much finished eating, when the rest of the crew arrived....... 
Top left: Pete, Jack, Briana, Dalton.  Top right: Donna and Dennis in the front, with Briana, Dalton, Pete and Kim in the back.  That's Kim at the stove, Camden and Pete standing behind me and Rich,  Bottom left:  Chauna, Briana, Dalton with their backs to the camera... Rich at the right, and Pete and Kim and Jack in the back. Bottom right: Pete, Rich and Jack, standing. 

Right on schedule - Dennis called for group photo's of those who would be attending the game.  As you can see everyone is wearing their team colors today!!  Kiddos were first, with their pictures taken both inside AND outside... That is Camden, Dalton, Briana, Chauna and Ryan!  Bottom Left is the Grandparent group:  Wayne and Kathy, Jack, Donna and Rich.  Each grandparent, as requested, was wearing their " University of Iowa Grandparent" T-Shirt!  And last but not least the Group Photo - 12 of us ready to head to the game!
 Only about 12 minute ride to the stadium, parked side, by side, by side.... chatted with a few Hawkeye fans, took another group photo - made our way to the stadium, went through security - ( Rich got stopped twice... once because of the metal detector ( his belt!)  and again because he didn't take his hat off!!) And then we were on the escalator headed for our seats. 

Just checking things out around the stadium....watching the teams out on the field.......... and more pictures!!!!!
Dalton & Briana, all four, Ryan and Chauna

And of course, the rest of the group!!!  Love that picture of Pete and Camden!! (upper left)  and then it's those old folks - the grand-parents.  OH LOOK - another group photo ( but I think Kathy is missing)! , Dennis and Dalton,  Donna and Rich, and Wayne, Kathy and Jack!

A few shots of the billboards at the stadium Happy New Year -  The Buccaneer Ship, the Bands on the field....and I even caught the flyover.......before it was out of sight!

It was a great game....Iowa did not start out too well - falling behind, then rallied and took the lead........ We were yelling  and clapping and doing the WAVE and the I - O - W - A  ( much like the Y M C A - if you remember)  and it was almost as much fun watching Dennis as it was the game!!

Iowa Wins 27 - 22

Both of us had such a great time - we hated to see the day come to an end.  But we said our good-bye's when we got back to the vehicles, and we headed for home.  Dennis and the Kids would be staying with Jack for the night, and leaving for Iowa early in the morning.  We enjoyed meeting Briana for the first time... and  Ryan - well he's just a really nice guy, and soooo funny!  They are all just great kids...... ( won't be able to call them that very much longer!!) 

It was a long wait both trying to exit the parking lot, and then to get back on to I- 275N  to head back home. It was probably 6:30 when we were going through Sebring, so we stopped at the Sebring Diner for dinner.   I had the Chicken Fried Steak, and Rich had the burger with French Fries and Gravy.... Continued on home, unpacked the car......... We were tired and called it a day earlier than usual. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Getting ready to Ring in the New Year with family and friends...

Not a whole lot going on since Christmas Day......... Just the same old house cleaning, Rich on the Stock Market, fixing dinner, watching a few TV programs, and starting to take down Christmas decorations.

It's been four weeks now since Rich had the surgery on his arm. The stitches have dissolved and you can barely even see where the incision or stitches were! How often have you had your doctor call to see how you were doing?  Rich was very surprised when he received a call today from Dr. Patel, who did his surgery.  We had left a very complimentary  write up on Google, and his face book page etc. regarding visits, the staff, the surgery etc.  He gave Rich his personal e-mail address, thanked Rich for the reviews, and said if we were in need of any reconstructive or plastic surgery - to e-mail him directly!!!!  Quite impressive!!

So anyway - Dennis and the kiddos arrived about 2:30AM Sunday morning after an 19+ hour drive from Iowa. All five of them rode in the truck... and he said that traffic was bumper to bumper/stop and go - from Chattanooga to Atlanta.  And Dennis is one who does NOT like to stop ---- just get in the truck and go!

Below is the group just before they left home - dressed in their Iowa winter clothes........ and a few pictures taken of them enjoying the warm weather at Dennis' step dad's house in Land O'Lakes. 

While they were enjoying the pool I was making salads for our New Year's Eve get together.  We will be leaving late morning on Monday for Dallas and Kim's house (Dennis' step-sister)  in Wesley Chapel, where somewhere between 15 - 17 of us will be ringing in the New Year!   And on Tuesday we'll all be heading to the Outback Bowl!  Go Hawkeyes!!

It was leftover meatloaf for dinner tonight, and a couple of movies - but not before I caught a picture of our favorite Blue Heron in the nest.......and the Whistling Ducks in the neighbor's back yard. 

Next time I write - it will be 2019!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Well we slept in until about 8:30 Christmas morning.......... and it appeared that Santa had stopped by.  The stockings were filled with goodies, and the presents waiting to be opened! And so, with coffee in hand,,,,, we headed in to see what surprises awaited!

I was extremely happy to see the bottle of Chivas Regal AND the Rum Chata!! And Rich carried his new book on Options Trading to the back lanai to read while drinking his coffee!!   Not long after having his Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream for breakfast we got our Christmas call from Dennis and family!  We are all looking forward to our trip to visit with them in Tampa/Wesley Chapel for the New Year

Our original plans for Christmas dinner were with Nathan and Krystal.  Unfortunately, Krystal had a serious spell, losing all feeling on her left side - so she will be down for a few days.  So glad we got to spend time with them for a few hours, just a few days ago.

But........we were very surprised when we saw our neighbors, Jim and Patty pull into their driveway about 2:00 o'clock this afternoon.  I had prepared a Christmas tin of homemade cookies and candy for them, and quickly pulled it from the freezer.  While exchanging gifts, we learned they had no special plans for Christmas dinner we asked them to come and join us!   I was quite impressed with how dinner turned out!  Everything was delicious - which I seldom say about what I fix myself!  We  had Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, and Biscuits.

We watched a movie and called it a day..............

A Quiet Christmas

Christmas Eve 2018

Just Rich and I this year to celebrate the Holidays.  The Stock Market was open till noon............ so Rich was doing his "thing", and I spent the morning doing the laundry - and making ONE MORE trip to the grocery store!  (We really did need more eggnog!)  We both wrapped gifts that Santa would bring, and prepared our stockings..... all the while enjoying another festive beverage:  Fireball and Eggnog!  A few of the neighbors stopped by - Phil and Dorene left us a package, and about 9:00 PM - Diane called to say she had just taken Banana Bread out of the oven..............and hand delivered a freshly made loaf............which Rich decided to try immediately!

Christmas Eve in the past has generally been Pasta, or Shrimp Scampi......... but tonight we decided to have Chicken Fajitas, with Rice and Re-fried Beans.  We watched a couple of movies before calling it a night, headed for bed and waited for Santa's arrival!  And the full moon tonight was lovely!


Monday, December 24, 2018

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Well today the last of the holiday baking was completed.  We made up four trays of cookies and candy and fudge for our neighbors, and delivered them to each.  And Rich made his traditional Christmas Pumpkin Pies today - and one is just about gone!

Did my grocery shopping yesterday making sure I had everything I needed for
Christmas Dinner..........and of course there are a half dozen items that I forgot - so it's back to Publix in the morning. Plans are for Ham and Scalloped Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, and Coleslaw, and probably a shrimp cocktail for an appetizer~  I think the carton of Eggnog is just about empty - so that's on the list as well, as we've been enjoying our holiday beverage of Eggnog and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey!

Again - over the past few days we've enjoyed the visits from our Blue Heron, the flocks of white Ibis, and a new visitor - the Raccoon, making his way quickly across the back yard, near the water's edge.......and then on to the neighbor's yard.

And today we watched TWO Blue Heron........One perched in the nest in the Pine Tree - the same tree where they nested two years ago.  The second one was watching the first from the yard, down near the boat dock.

And yesterday, we finally were able to meet up with friends for dinner.  Everyone's been busy with one thing or the other, but the six of us met for our December/Xmas dinner at the Outback Steakhouse.  It was a fun evening.........but we're still not that impressed with their food!  Rich ordered the prime rib - which was about , asked for a baked potato with just butter, but got sour cream ( which he does not like at all!),  I ordered the 6 oz filet - which was OK, and a Sweet Potato, but they gave me a baked potato!! Probably will not go back there any time soon.........But everyone else's meal was fine and we enjoyed the company!

Just a few small gifts to wrap tomorrow.  Just one or two gifts for under the tree and some stocking stuffers for Santa to take care of.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Splints and Bandages Removed!!! Our resident Great Blue Heron

Hopefully the LAST doctor visit for either of us this year!  Today we had the follow-up visit for Rich back in Orlando.   We arrived about 11:20 AM - and we were back on the road home about 15 to 20 minutes later!!  Dr Patel saw him right away, and was very pleased with the healing process, saying that it looked very good, he was good to go with no restrictions.........and that the stitches would dissolve.   It was the first time we actually saw how long the incision was - about 5 1/2 inches!

Anyone looking for a surgeon - we recommend Dr. Anut Patel.  He is a Specialist in Plastic Surgery, but is also exceptionally skilled with hand/arm/wrist surgery.  He got us in to see him quickly, identified Rich's problem as in need of emergency surgery, and had the surgery completed within 24 hours!  Rich had absolutely NO pain following the surgery, and it appears to be healing beautifully.

Meanwhile back home this week our resident Great Blue Heron visited us, relaxing on the railing of our back deck.  I think he has also started to build his nest in the pine tree the other side of our neighbor.....Have to keep an eye on that.

And so tomorrow the forecast does not look too good for the whole state of Florida........  I don't mind the storms - as long as we don't lose power!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 This last week I finished most of my Christmas shopping.

Everything that I ordered on line arrived.  And those being sent out of state were wrapped.  And all the names on the Christmas List were checked off as Cards with Holiday Greetings were completed.

A trip to the post office on Friday for stamps and all the cards and packages were on their way to final destinations.

Last stop at the grocery store to make sure I had everything to start my holiday baking!

And so this weekend I got most of my baking completed.  I still need to do the no-bake cookies and the peanut butter cookies, and then Rich will make his Pumpkin pies a few days before Christmas.

But I made a couple dozen Chocolate Chip cookies, and a couple of dozen White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, along with a batch of Chocolate Walnut and Peanut Butter Fudge.

I tried a new recipe on Friday and it was delicious. Crock Pot Pork Roast with carrots and baby red potatoes.  Recipe calls for Lipton onion soup, water, red wind, minced onion, soy sauce, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Cooked for about 5 hours and it was fork tender.

On Wednesday we'll make the trip back to Orlando to see the surgeon, and to have the splints and bandage removed from Rich's arm. He's still doing well - with absolutely no pain at all..... Dinner plans with friends on Saturday, and then we'll visit with neighbors to exchange Christmas gifts over he weekend.  Getting excited about our trip to Tampa for New Year's Ever Party and Outback Bowl!