Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dennis visits for weekend Birthday Celebration

This past week, our son Dennis was attending national security classes at the Shades of Green military hotel in Buena Vista, Florida. Training ended on Friday, so we headed out about 10 am that morning to pick him up.  You can't enter the gated entrance to the hotel with telling the guard who and why you are visiting, and providing ID and letting them know if you will be parking or just picking the guest up.  Absolutely beautiful landscaping!!!

Anyway - after getting lost twice near Magic Kingdom because of the extensive construction, and even On-Star not getting us to our location - we picked him up and headed for lunch, We were a little early to check in to our Hotel, so we drove to Old Town, grabbed some lunch at Checkers and checked out a few of the shops.  Good picture of Rich and Dennis with the Walking Dead - which is one of Dennis' favorite programs!

Our hotel was the Comfort Suites Maingate East which is located adjacent to Old Town, which was very convenient.  With the exception that one elevator was not working, the hotel was exceptionally nice.  Huge rooms, great morning hot breakfast, beautiful pool and fitness center, and small shop for snacks or beverages and concierge for  tickets and shuttle to local theme parks.

That evening we took Dennis to Capone's Dinner and Show, just a few miles down the road. A few minutes in the lobby checking out the "attire" and then upstairs for drinks an horederves before the show.  We elected the VIP tickets again this time which includes your snacks and drinks.  The Margarita was excellent!

VIP gets you seated early, and first to enjoy the buffet.  Tonight the food was exceptionally good!  We all enjoyed seconds!!!   Upon arrival, like everyone who comes to the show, we had our picture taken - which Dennis really liked, and decided to purchase.  We took home the key ring with our pictures.

The show was OK.......We have been here many times and have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the show.  Sometimes a bit corny - but always a good laugh and good entertainment.

Almost the entire staff was new and the show was totally different. We were so used to the regular guys who severed the drinks all night.  Unlike previously these guys did not even participate in the show!  The new cast AND the new show was disappointing, now where near as funny...........  We are not so likely to return again any time soon.  We did however enjoy the non-stop beer and wine!

Saturday was Rich's Birthday.  We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast before heading for home.

It was a beautiful day, with minimal wind so we took a ride in the boat.  Got an absolutely great picture of Rich and his son in the boat...............while I can't say the same for the one Dennis took of ME!!  On the way back we noticed that the turtles were all out sunning themselves again! 

That evening we all went to Dock 633 for dinner.  Beautiful evening, so we sat outside.  Unfortunately they were out of the Dock Onion which we were all hoping to share...........but the food  and service was excellent.  Rich had one of their big burgers ( not the one pounder - which is huge - check out the description  below) and Dennis and I had the Reuben and Slaw. Very enjoyable time.

Back home finished the birthday celebration with cake and ice cream!

Dennis' step dad drove down from Tampa to pick him up Sunday morning, shared some coffee and donuts with us.  Dennis will be spending time with him and his step-sister today and Monday before he heads back to Iowa.

All in all - it was a very enjoyable weekend and we hated having to see it end and to say good-bye.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February Celebrations Begin

And so all the February celebrations have started........

First on the list this week is our grandson's birthday.  Dalton celebrated his 20th Birthday on Tuesday February 13th.   He is in his second year, studying Forensic Medicine at the University of Iowa, and is a member of the Hawkeye's Marching Band.  We are just so proud of the wonderful young man he has become.

And of course today is Valentine's Day. 

So much going on this weekend and next week that we decided to just stay in for the day.  But we did each find our Valentine gift this morning when we awoke.   Rich was very happy with his box of chocolate covered cherries, mild chocolate and chocolate cherry candy and his heart shaped chocolate chip cookie!

And I  was especially surprised with a gift certificate for an hour facial and an hour massage at The Spa at Hammock Falls.  But my favorite is always the hand made Valentine Card!

Lazy Days of Winter

February will be a busy month with birthdays, anniversary, and family gatherings, but the past week or so have been pretty slow and lazy days.  Typical winter weather with sunny/cool days and a bit colder nights.

Rich had his appointment with the Cardiologist to see the results of his echo cardiogram.  All went well, just a minor adjustment to his medications!  And so he's good until we come back NY in August.   A trip to the Dermatologist to check a spot on his back also went well......... And me.... I have just one more scheduled next week with the Urologist.

We decided to make a stop at the Hibachi Grill after the Dermatologist visit despite it being just mid afternoon.  Kind of thought that food would not all be fresh/hot given the time of day.  Very surprised - it was very busy and everything was perfect!   Not the usual young man doing the grill ----- and he too did a great job!

Tuesday night was President Trump's State of the Union Address.  Watched the whole thing!  This will be one of those speeches that will go down in history as one of the very best!

And on Wednesday we went to Chicanes Restaurant for a complimentary dinner and informational presentation by Todd Pooley, who is an Independent Financial Advisor.  It was actually a very informative presentation on Fixed Indexed Annuities.   Way better rates than a bank CD, but lower than the stock market.  Rates are based on S&P 500..........but if the Market goes down your balance does NOT.

Chicanes Restaurant is located at the Inn on the Lakes in Sebring. I'm sure the restaurant is excellent - but I would not frequent a restaurant  where an 8oz. Fillet Mignon is $50!  We had three choices for our meal, a Fish dish, Linguine, or Tuscan Chicken.  These dishes normally run about $15 on the lunch menu.  I will say that the food was excellent.  Rich had the linguine, and I had the chicken.

Have to share one more thing.  My nice, while going through some of her father's things after he passes away, found and invitation to my High School Graduation!  How cool!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Just another ordinary week.....

Not a whole lot going on this past week.  And now there's not even much to watch on TV.  With the Olympics on, most all of the regular programs are not showing for the next couple of weeks.   We've been recording a few movies, just so we have something besides the news to watch in the evening ..... Rich doesn't watch the Olympics - but I am enjoying them.

Tuesday was my visit with the Urologist.  A few month's back a small spot showed up on my right kidney so I was referred to Dr. Arciola.  It took me from November until February to get an appointment!!  Anyway, I learned that I have a tumour/Angiomyolipoma.  This is a kidney tumour made up of fat, blood vessels and smooth muscle tissue, and while they are generally non-cancerous, they can spread into and destroy surrounding tissue. They can also cause sudden hemorrhaging from the kidney into the abdomen when the tumor is larger. 

Mine appears to be small right now.  I went back in for more blood work on Wednesday and I have a CT-Scan - scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Dr. wants to make sure it has not gotten any larger since November - and if all is good we just need to check on it a couple of times a year.

So anyway - this weekend was a busy one.  Rich trimmed the topiary out front    (and I cleaned up the mess!).  He power washed the front of the house, and the foyer area, while I cleaned the windows and swept up the floor in the garage.  He did a lot of power washing out back, with the deck, the walk and the boathouse. 

February is a busy month for birthdays: Dalton, Rich and Dennis.  Then of course comes Valentines Day and our Anniversary.   And hoping that this week goes by fast - cuz we leave to meet up with son, Dennis on Friday!  Excited.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cooking, Baking.......and the Country Fair

I really do enjoy we had some pretty good meals these last few days.  Thursday we did Shrimp Scampi over linguine, with garlic bread,  Friday I made up a big batch of White Chicken Chili, with cornbread, and Saturday we did meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and baked asparagus and today - (no picture) we did Rigatoni and Sausage.

On Saturday we went into town for the Lake Placid Annual Country Fair.  Beautiful day to be out and about and there were lots and lots of people!  When a small town like this starts charging $5 for parking - they know the venue is going to bring a big crowd!  It was a fun afternoon - so many booths set up, and there was a free shuttle running from the park to the school, where a large art exhibit was set up in the cafeteria. 

Like most fairs - lots and lots of tents set up.........with tons of places to eat.  Here are a few of our favorites.........a couple a bit unique, like the Crab Cakes, and the Catfish!! 

And a lot of talented people with booths/tents set up with stuff they build or make.  The bench was one of my favorites, and the outdoor wine bottle/wine glass waterfall. 

As we walked around we ran into our neighbor Phil sitting and enjoying the music.  All the clowns gathered for a group photo in front of the mural of the very first Country Fair.   Bob (Silly Willy) came over from the local Rehab Center, where he is staying and recovering from open heart surgery. Stopped to chat with some of the clowns at their booth - and I received a beautiful hand made bracelet!! And of course before we did anything - we had to find the Funnel Cake booth for Rich!!

The other couple of areas that we enjoyed was the Humane Society, the Bald Eagle and the BC Critter's Reptile Rescue which included the snake, the iguana, the tarantula, the 50+ year old tortoise, the turtles from South America and more. 

Also did some baking yesterday and today.   I made up another couple dozen no-bake cookies for Rich.  ( I guess no-bake is not really baking, is it!!).  A Rich was busy in the kitchen making his homemade, yeast risen bread, which went real well with the Linguine! 

Sad news from the family in they lost their dog Venus.  This is really a sad story, as Venus was a rescue dog..........  I'll let Dennis tell the story. 

😭 Devastating news we lost Precious Venus this afternoon 💖🐕🌈. She passed in my arms trying to get her to ER. Bless her heart, the heart defects were too much. Pain free & run free Precious girl. So much to say & wish I could share everything she was able to experience ... Loving home, big brother, first snow, Christmas, watching TV, many toys, freedom & comfort, etc! She was a Hurricane Harvey survivor & a warrior that fought hard! As a Volunteer at King's Harvest Pet Rescue No-Kill Shelter (KHPR) we took her in as a Hospice Foster on 31 Oct 17. I want to thank all at KHPR, those that donated, the community, family & friends that loved, prayed, asked & cared about her, all Vet's that had a piece of her care & Onyx (our lab) that took care of her & provided love & companionship! So crushed but no regrets! She will be cremated & return home where she belongs & deserves! Precious Venus will be missed but never forgotten! Thank you everyone!💖🐕🙏🙌
 — feeling sad.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A little work..... A little play~~

Well it looks like the cold weather is least for a while.  Most of this past week was booking hotels, planning travel routes, and preparing for family gatherings.  Lots of things coming up! February is a family get together in Zephyrhills. Benjamin nieces and nephews from Zephyrhills, Plant City and Hudson along with our cousin Carol and husband visiting from Beaver Dams, NY. 💗 Then later in February a trip to Orlando to meet up with our son Dennis for Rich's Birthday.   And then our monthly get together with the Showalter's and Douglas'

In March, Krystal and I have a girls night out planned with dinner, followed by a an event at the South Florida Performing Arts. 

In May we have 4 days scheduled in Orlando  at the Home 2 Suites, ( this is a FREE stay!) on our way to Cocoa Beach for a week.  Then in June  we are going to the Broadway Palm in Ft. Myers for my birthday and then we will head to Black Lake in upstate NY for six weeks. On our way back from NY we will stop in Elmira for the Benjamin Reunion, and then spend a few days with friends in Columbia Crossroads, PA. 

In the meantime we are finishing up a lot of the comfort food.........Our neighbor, Diane, came over with some Butter Pecan Cake - that was a perfect dessert to follow the left over Chili!

Over the weekend we did a little cleaning in the garage, washed the car and FINALLY put the bench seat back in the car!  It has been covered and sitting on a piece of plywood, on the boat trailer since we removed it last MAY!!!  Not easy with someone as weak as me trying to help Rich maneuver that thing.  It's very heavy!!  It's not coming out again - we'll just need to find a way to make things fit!!

On Sunday, it was such a beautiful day, that we decided to just take the boat out for a ride.  A lot of houses still with blue tarps, waiting to get their new roofs, and so much damage to trees along the canal. Hurricane Irma did a job on all the foliage as well......... trees that were thick and shading, and usually dressed with Florida birds are now nearly barren and broken.  It will take a while to get the beauty of the area back.

But it was beautiful out on the lake.   And this gave Rich a chance to check out how the motor was running.  He'd done a lot of work over the last month, new parts, fixing the gas line, and replacing the lubricant in the lower unit.  But today it was running great!! 

And then on the ride back before we reached the house we spotted a group of turtles sunning themselves on downed tree limbs and along the shoreline. No idea what kind of turtles they all are............but it was really quite a sight!

The backyard looks so strange with the tree gone that used to be down by the boathouse.  Hurricane Irma took that as well.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cooler Weather Remains, Back Yard Beauty, Dinner with Friends

Not a whole lot going on this past week............I guess it's the slow down time after the holidays.  We've both been feeling pretty good though. It's 7:00 am as I write this and it's 49 degrees outside!   Yes the cooler weather is still here, and by
mid week it's supposed to get even colder. Chili is on the menu for Wednesday!  Last night it was Rich's homemade pizza!

We have had a few comfortable days though and Rich was out doing the last of
the maintenance on the boat/motor.  Can't believe I didn't get the camera out as he rigged up some 14 foot boards to make a plank so he could change the lubricant in the lower section of the motor!

Quite a contraption! 👀  That's when I call him MacGyver!😄

This has been a great week to enjoy mother nature!  Not just the weather, but the variety of birds to watch.  We continue to keep watch on the Blue Heron, nesting atop the pine trees, but a few days ago I caught a Anhinga down on the dock.  Love the way they twist and turn and stretch their necks.Was hoping to get him diving for a fish............

This is also the time of year when our camping/traveling friends start to arrive here in Florida, which gives us a chance to see them and spend time with them, if only for a short visit when they visit TT Peace River in Wauchula.  Our friends, "The Clowns" Bob and Laverne just sent us a message they were back in Lake Placid.  Unfortunately, Bob is scheduled for open heart surgery on Friday - so everyone keep him in your prayers.

Well the holidays are over, so we are getting back on schedule for our monthly get-together.  Tonight was dinner at the Hibachi Grill with the Douglas' and the Showalter's.  As always the food was good and the company was great.........but we all missed Krystal.  Unfortunately she was having one of her bad days and hope she's feeling better soon.   We did manage to get her in our picture!   Actually Nathan is holding his phone where a picture of her is displayed!!!

Well another batch of cold weather is headed this way for the next couple of day..... especially during the night!  Bundle up and stay warm!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Pretty Good Taste of WINTER...........but short lived.

For the first time since we bought this house, back in September of 2013, we had to turn the furnace on.

 Last week and especially over the weekend the temperatures got down to the high 20's during the nights.  A bit nippy!   And so while sleeping,  we set the furnace to kick  on when the temperature inside reached 68 degrees.

During the days, or when we were watching TV in the evenings, we'd turn on the electric fireplace, and/or bundle up with the afghan!


But it only lasted for a few days.  We pretty much stayed in over the weekend, especially Sunday when it was cold and rainy most all day.  And so for the past week it's been a lot of "comfort" food; macaroni and cheese,  noodles and beef, goulash.......and left over cream of potato soup!  Mmmm. Good!

Monday was a beautiful day and so we were both getting some overdue yard work taken care of.  Tuesday is trash pick-up so Rich trimmed the palms, and trimmed the bushes in the front yard, and bagged all the trimmings.  We cut and bound the palm fronds and got all the yard waste out front for pick-up.  The toiled in the master bedroom started making this terrible screeching sound...... getting worse by the day.............

Wednesday morning I had an 8 A appointment with the Podiatrist.  And I was
more than ready!  After working in the yard my back muscles were throbbing, as was my heel.   Actually the foot had been bothering me for about a week - so I was very glad that today I would be getting my steroid shot!  In the meantime it was time for the toilet after stopping for a few groceries I made it back in time for Rich to make a trip to the hardware store for a new adjustable ball.... thingy..........!  Anyway this is what it looked like!  And the toiled is silent once again!

For the past week, maybe... we have been once again this year watching the Great Blue Herons making their nests.  They have one well underway in the same tree as last year........and there is another nest in the making in a tree just a bit further away, behind this one.  Rich has his binoculars out..........and I have my camera. The male flies off to gather tree limbs and twigs, and the female weaves the nest. 

They are amazing to watch!

The new Bealls Outlet has their grand opening tomorrow where the old Publix used to be.  Just might take a ride down and see what it's all about.  Got a coupon for $10 off.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

And a Happy New Year....

The week between Christmas and New Year's was beautiful.  While the rest of the country was seeing freezing temperatures we were enjoying cooler but comfortable temperatures and sunny days. 

We've been watching the Blue Heron.  Actually there are three of them working very very hard at building their nests in the Pine trees. Amazing to watch them carry those large branches and place them so precisely.We think this is one of the young ones hatched last year.

But while the weather was nice ----- there was still work to be done, some of which was planned, and one that unexpected.  It took THREE trips to Home Depot before we finally had two with all the parts!!!  One was packaged wrong and was actually Bronze instead of White.... (1st exchange) and then returned that one because all the pieces were not in the package.   But.... Rich was finally able to complete the installation, and they look great and work perfectly!

And - as you can see above....some repair work was necessary.  A couple of trips to the Marina for parts, and then fixing some problems with the gas getting to the motor,  But everything is running fine.  A little carpet repair and some warmer weather and we'll be ready to get out on the lake.

In the meantime - we had a leaky pipe in the bathroom.  A trip to the hardware store and some heat to dry things out and we're back in business!

So glad that the steroid shot is working..........Rich's back is still good - no pain!

New Years Eve and New Years Day was very quiet.  No champagne at midnight or wild parties.  We did enjoy a few adult well as a delicious dinner - Cajun Chicken Pasta with Garlic Bread!   

For New Year's Day - we took a break from cooking and baking and went to Golden Corral for dinner.  The steak was exceptionally good and tender.. and we both had seconds on the shrimp skewers!  And FINALLY I got to enjoy a piece of pecan pie!!

It's been clearing out left-overs in the refrigerator.... Used some of the Ham from Christmas to make Ham/Mac n Cheese casserole ( 1/2 is still in the freezer!).  Finished off the Shepherds Pie, and the Chicken Chili, and the last of the ham is going in the Cream of Potato Soup, which is what we had for dinner tonight, along with awesome Monte Cristo sandwiches!

Good news from our son Dennis.  He's scheduled for a week long conference in Orlando in February, and is staying for a few extra days afterwards.  Excited, because he will be here for Rich's birthday!  We'll pick him up in Orlando, spend the night in Kissimmee and go to Capones..  Spend the next day at home and then his Dad and sister Kim are coming here to pick him up.  He'll spend a couple of days with them before he flies back home.  Excited about spending time with him!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Christmas Day... It was just the two of us celebrating today.  But we were up just after 7:30 am, poured our first cup of morning coffee, and checked out the stockings and gifts that Santa left behind.

We agreed that it would be no big gifts this year, but we laughed as we opened gifts that we tried hard to disguise, so the other person could not guess what they were.  You know - like the toothbrushes, candy, and liquor bottles?  Yes I did get Rumchata, and wine this year, but I also got a very nice meat platter, and new wallet. Santa brought Rich some new long outdoor gloves that go to his elbows....two wall hangings for his office ( welcome to the lake, and I'd rather be fishing in the shape of boat oars... and of course his chocolate.   And then it was breakfast time - which for Rich was the remainder of pie #2!

Heard from some of the family.  Rich talked to his brother Bob, Chauna messaged us, and Dennis called late morning.  And he sent us a picture of the Shadow and Venus enjoying Christmas morning.  The little yard decoration in the front of the three puppies was one of the gifts that we sent them.

Today was a beautiful day!  We had the sliders open, and the front door open until well after dark.  And during the day one of the resident Blue Heron wandered on through the yard.

Christmas Dinner was nothing special  We enjoyed a small ham, au gratin potatoes and green bean casserole.

And before we knew it - we had watched a couple of movies and the day was over.   Merry Christmas!   And now we prepare for the new year!