Friday, May 29, 2009


Today we both went back to the doctor for part 2 off our yearly physicals. Part one was done about a week ago, and today we would find out the results of all the blood work, the EKG's and so on. Since the first of the month we have both cut back on the cheese and eggs and red meat and all those terrible foods that when you eat too much effects your cholesterol. Not that it would make a big difference, especially for Rich who until this month would devour at least a dozen chocolate eclairs every time we went to Homers Smorgesboard in Sebring.

We both got a clean bill of health today. All the tests and blood work came out great for both of us. Good for one more year. Eat right, exersize regularly, keep taking our vitamins and be happy!!! Sounds like a plan to stick with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The last time that our picklers could get out and play was Monday May 10th; that was 15 days ago. For the past two weeks, if you opened your front door, this is what you saw. The roads and sidewalks covered with rain................

But on Monday May 25th, the rain stopped early in the day, and the sun came out. The sun was hot, and the air was heavy, but we packed our pickleball bags and went back to the courts.

Pat and Suzi are leaving for Washington in another week and wanted Rich to do a training clinic before they left. Last summer they introduced the game to a lot of new players in Washington, and this year they want to do a clinic for them and maybe a fun tournament.

Pat, Suzi, Don, Chris, Steve, Renee, and Jeanne came for the clinic at 5:00 before open play started at 6:30. Normally rich does his clinics in one hour sessions over several weeks. Tonight he would do a condensed version for the group. He talked about the importance of serving deep and returning deep. He talked about optimum positioning on the court when serving and returning the serve. He talked about the importance of controlling your shots, concentrating on placement and not so much on power. The group practiced punching shots back from the non, volley line, and lined up for practicing dink shots. Rich covered a little on both the offensive and defensive lobs, and reinforced the need to not just come to the courts and play games. Practice and doing drills before or after playing every week will help improve our game. Time was limited, but he covered a lot of good information.
Here's Don and Rich playing Steve and Chris, practicing a little of what they learned tonight.

And tonight, Pat and Suzi came bearing gifts. For Steve, just returning from knee surgery, they presented him with a skeleton KNEE (key) chain. Perfect!! And Rich and I, the Happy Campers.................. thank you both for the Happy Camper wine. Absolutely Perfect!!!

It's now Tuesday, 7:30 in the evening, and guess what? Yes. It's been raining for a couple of hours. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow.........The photographer from the St.Pete Times is supposed to be there!!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our First Round Robin Tournament in MeadowPointe

Rich and I started planning for our first annual MeadowPointe Spring Picnic and Round Robin tournament long before we left Sebring. By game day we had a ladies round robin and a men's round robin all set up. We had goodie bags for all the players, We made participant trophies for everyone, and we planned a pot luck cookout in the picnic area following the tournament. Two of our local newspapers are covering the event.

Everyone enjoyed the day. We did up a whole article complete on the event for our MeadowPointe Pickleball Blog. Click on the links below to read the article and to see all the pictures we took that day.

Tournament and Picnic Story.

Tournament/Picnic Pictures
Tuesday, April 30th, was the first time out playing with our Meadow Pointe Picklers in a couple of months. The group is really growing and everyone is improving their play. There were some new players there that we had seen pictures of, but had not met. At home we have two locations that we play at MPI and MP II. They are about two miles apart. Both locations have two tennis courts with pickleball lines painted on them. We alternate between the two each week. This week we are playing at MP II. We are not an over 55 Adult Community, so many of our regular players work during the day. We play in the evening. Both locations have lights, so we can and do play until well after dark, sometimes to almost 10:00 PM.

Here's some pictures from this week:
Don Bass (red shirt) and Steve Long. Don and his wife Linda, live just across the street from us. Neighbors and very very good friends. Steve is amazing. Had knee surgery and was back out on the courts playing about 3 days later.

Brad Finch. He's our next door neighbor. His teenage son Tyler often play with the group. Playing with him is Ruthann. The only time she doesn't play is when she's out RV'ing. She and her husband Tony often RV at Peace River down in Wauchulla.

Chris Atkinson.....This was the first time that we met Chris. With the exception of the teenagers, he's the young'un. Loves the game, and is a great player. That's Judy playing with him. She and Bill come over from near Spring Hill to play with us.
Here's Bill (the other half of Judy) playing with Rich.

Here's Rich partnering with Renee. Renee is the one who keeps this group going strong while we're away. Thanks Renee.

On Friday we had to say goodbye to Judy and Bill. They snowbird down here in the winter. They'll be heading back to New York for the summer. They're hooked on the game, so they go searching for places to play when they get there. They just started playing with the group this winter, so we only got to play with them a half dozen times. Have a great summer you two... See you next year.

Goodbye Tanglewood.......Hello Wesley Chapel

On Monday April 27th, or vacation at Tanglewood in Sebring, Florida came to an end. The Outback was clearing out fast. Only a few full timers left to face the summer heat.

The 5th wheel is going into storage for the summer, so we loaded the truck and the car with everything that needed to go home. To protect the RV from the heat of the summer, we covered all the windows. We hooked the 5th wheel to the truck, loaded on the bikes, checked the lights and we were off.
One stop before we get home.........Drop the 5th wheel off at Lazy Days. Need them to fix the microwave, the moulding in the bedroom, the seal on the toilet, the cushions on the sofa, and the lights that still don't work. By the time we left Lazy Days, it was late afternoon, and we still had not had a thing to eat. Rich went straight home.........I stopped at Subway and took us home a sandwich to eat while we unpacked.
Welcome tour our home in Wesley Chapel..........Come on inside. This is what we leave to live in our 34ft fifth wheel. One day we will sell this and be on the road full time. Know anyone looking for a home???

Now you know why I wanted a 5th wheel with lots of kitchen space. Our kitchen is huge and I'm used to spreading things out when I'm cooking or baking. As you come in the front door, the formal living room and dining room are to your right.

This is the Florida Great Room, where we veg out, take our dinner and watch TV. The furniture is large and comfy with lots and lots of pillows. The wood furniture, coffe table, end stands are the fruits of Rich's labor. He does really nice work.

When we are RV'ing we spend a great deal of our time outside under the awning, enjoying the outside, doing puzzels or having morning coffee. At home you can usually find us here onthe Lanai. Out of the weather and one with nature.
No, this is not Stumpy from Peace River. This gator crosses the berm in the back most every day, spends his day in the water just behind the house, then heads back over the berm in late afternoon.
As you look across the water in the back, we often see the deer feeding along the water's edge.

Happy Hour at Bob and Kathy's

Well, it's April 19th........Mark has already left to get Chris, stop in Orlando, head for home and then head for Alaska with Jim and Jane. The next time we see them they should be Mr. and Mrs........Chris, I hope you get that one dance!!
The rest of us are getting together one last time before the winter ends. Kathy Hughes insisted that we come to her place. She has lots of food left in the freezer that she needed to get rid of before they leave. Bob and Kathy will be returning to Tanglewood next year and have already got their new site. So, all the food has to go...............cuz just them and the truck are going home to North Carolina.
Bob Hughes fired up the grill and made enough to feed an army. But these two always fix a feast!
Kathy puts the finishing touches on the table,making sure everything is just so, and everyone has everythng they need. She and Bob really put on one very special final happy hour.

What a great meal!! Bob did his hot dog dish on the grill, spicy as usual!! Kathy made some great anchilladas, nice and spicy! There was salad, veggies, potatoes, meat.........She almost emptied the frig. She dropped off a couple of goodie bags with me the day before she left.
Gordon, Rich and Marcel enjoying a cold one before the feast.
Good Bye, Gordon and Michelle. We are blessed to have met you both this winter. Have a wonderful summer back in Canada. Sure hope we see you again next year.
Good Bye, Louise and Marcel. Our friendship started a couple years back when we met in NY State. So glad you decided to join the group in Tanglewood. You were seldom around - Louise can't sit still for long!!! We know you have been feeling progressivly worse over the last month, with the pains in your chest. Take care of yourself, get to the doctor when you get back home. We love you both, you silly clowns!!! The next time we meet, Rich will teach you that card trick!!

Good Bye Kathy and Bob Hughes. You two are so very special to us. Can't imagine what the winter would have been like without you two. Kathy - keep practicing your line dancing!! Bob Hughes keep up with that daily walking. Hope you have better luck with the internet when you get home..........and Kathy - we probably never would have gotten our TV working without you. Maybe we can get up to the mountains and see you soon. Have a great summer!!

Pennies for Pickleball

Kings Point in Sun City is one of our very favorite places to visit. We'd been to a lot of tourneys over the winter which kept the adrenelin pumping, but today was going to be a laid back, let's have some fun and laugh pickleball day.

Louann is one of our very good friends, and one lady that knows how to put on a fun day for the recreational players. Prior to breaking her ankle and hurting her arm in an automobile accident, Louanne used to play in the tournament mixed doubles with Rich. They remain very good friends. That's Louanne with Rich, and there is Gary Ball behind her. Looks like Lou is trying to figure out who goes out to play next. Either that or their discussing the new RV that she and Tony will pick up in just a couple weeks.

This is a great picture of Ellen Zelins, and that's Tony, Louann's husband playing with her. It's so great to see Ellen back on the courts. She had been diagnosed with cancer and the last time we saw her she played just a couple of games, was wearing a scarf on her head because of the har loss from chemo. She's playing like her old self again.
Well, of course our friends came along with us today. This would be the last pickleball event of the winter before everyone headed back north. Here's Bob Huges partnering with Louise.

Kind of hard to see, but that's me and Louise playing together and Kathy Huges is on the other side.

That's Tony again playing with one Robert, another Kings Point resident.
There's Bob Huges, playing with Ellen. I know they won this game. You see those two on the other side. Just young kids. Today, when you lost, you had to pay your opponent a penny. You can be sure that Ellen was smiling big when she beat those two young'uns.

We met this couple when they came to play in the Heartland Games in Sebring. Ron and Connie Monson. Unfortunately, Conne fell on the courts just a few weeks ago and broke her arm. To even out the competition, she made everyone else play with their left hand. !!

Finally got Louann out on the court to play. She always spends all her time organizing play for everyone else. Yes we won this game!!!

Here's Marcel and Louise enjoying their match.'s Rich and Gary playing for their penny. Gary will be playing with Rich in the upcoming Villages Senior Games.

At the end of the day, we all spent all the pennies we collected and bought ourself some really fine prized.

Geezer Meister Games

The Geezer Meister Games were held on April 9th. Rich wanted to play in the games, but needed a partner, since he and Al were no longer playing together. Rod Mellott who lives in The Villages didn't have a partner and wanted to play.

The games were being held at Spruce Creek Del Webb Community in Summerfild, Fl, which is just a few miles north of the Villages. Rich and I drove to Leesburg the night before and stayed at the Days Inn. While in the area we stopped by Recreation Plantaion, which is an RV park adjacent to The Villages. Nice park, small lots, not too much available, nice pickleball courts.

The morning of the tournament we stopped at The Villages and Rich played a few games with Rod. There was another group playing on the other courts, and I managed to play a few games myself. Then we headed over to Del Webb. The guys took their first two matches easy, but didn't end up in the Finals.
Bob and Kathy and Marcel and Louise came up to watch some of the matches, but were there primarily to check out the community. Bob and Kathy really liked it.............a good possibility for residency if they ever decide to sell the cabin!

Dinner With Marcel and Louise

It's the beginning of April already. Hard to believe the winter is almost over. In just a few weeks the RV Outback will start to clear out fast. Mark Jones will be the first of our group to leave, then Marcel and Louise, followed by Bob and Kathy and then we'll head for home probably the last week of the month.

Tonight April 6th, Marcel and Louise have invited Rich and I, Bob and Kathy and Gordon and Michelle King for a speghetti dinner. Of course the skies were threatening, the wind was blowing, and we were praying that it would not rain. Take a look at Marcel's hair......pretty good sign the wind was blowing.

This is Michelle and Gordon. Like Marcel and Louise, they are Canadians. Very good tennis players, the group recruited them to the pickleball courts. They have a home in the Outback where they spend their winters. They left for Canada before the rest of us. Gordon is checking out the weather. I think this was just before we moved temporarily to the gazebo for protection from the rain.

We had a few rain drops. Actually we were ready to pack up everything and go to Gordon and Michelle's house, where we could all fit inside and out of the weather. But the bad weather held off and we were able to continue our festivities.

What would these guys do without us woman to make sure they got fed. As usual the guys filled their plates first and here is Bob, Rich and Gordon digging in. Dinner was absolutely delicious. Louse made pasta with homemade sauce that was outstanding, tossed salad and garlic bread. Dinner was followed with lemon meringue and key lime pie. The beer and wine were a plenty! Another great evening with good friends. Thanks Marcel and Louise.

Season Ending Variety Show

On Friday March 27 the Annual Variety Show took place in the main clubhouse. I can't believe I forgot to take my camera!!!! I have an excuse..........I was nervouse because I was IN THE SHOW. As for Rich............all he had to do was come and watch!

Anyway, this is an annual event that the residents take part in. Patrick Hotchkiss directs the program, and pretty much runs the show. Several weeks before the show he approached saying he would re-write the lyrics of Watermellon Crawl , with pickleball lyrics if I would take charge of choreographing a dance for the show. I was a little hesitant, but said OK. Recruiting dancers was a little more difficult than I had thought especially since some of prospects would be leaving the park before the show. But it all worked out. Nancy Fair, Barbara McKinney, Betty Schleis, Wayne Roswell and Larry Anacher joined me on stage.

Look to the right side of this BLOG and you will see a link called Donna dances the Pickleball Crawl. Click and watch the show!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Final Fire Ring in the Outback

On Tuesday March 24th, we headed for the Final Fire Ring of the Winter. Once a month the management of Tanglewood would hold either a Fire Ring in the Outback, or a Cookout in the Bash Area. In the Outback there is a giant fire ring and several small charcoal grills.......lots and lots of picnic tables, a raised stage and a big concrete dance floor. In the bash area there is a HUGE gas grill, lots of picnic tables, a raised stage and a big concrete dance floor!!! The management would provide every resident with 2 hot dogs, 2 rolls and all the soda and beer they wanted to dring. They would either provide a DJ or a band to play music. People would bring their LONG sticks to cook over the fire ring, or their favorite meat to cook on the grill. We would usually have a large group of us who would bring a dish to pass. We'd make it a group picnic and then take to the dance floor and dance for a couple of hours. On this last night Marcel and Louise brought their picture frame so we captured some of the gang. Enjoy

Tom and Barb Thulin. You always knew it was Barb coming.......In her bright yellow golf cart!
Good buddy, Little Jimmy Maynard. Yes, we'll hold the frame so you don't have to give up one of those FREE glasses of beer.

Gail Brown. She is an excellent pickelball player, but we hear she can beat even the best in GOLF.
Good friends and travelling partners.........Kathy and Bob Hughes

Really hope we get to see these two again. Nancy Fair and Jeff Blackburn. She and I don't ever miss a line dance at these things. Both of them love motorcycles too........Back in Michigan for the summer.

Lois and Patrick Hotchkiss. They are from Pennsylvania and winter in Tanglewood. He is quite a musician and a very good singer.

Diana and Roy Boisvert. We didn't get to know them too well until about the last month. Both of them came out and took the beginner Pickleball classes, and by the end of the season they were out playing morning rotation.

Kathy and Chuck Keller. Another real nice couple. Kathy is the cook of the group and heads up the committee that does all the food for most all of the events. Chuck is a former physical fitness instructor and still does some of that in the work out room. He just took over the role of Local Ambassador for Sebring.

Hard to say good bye to some of these people. We enjoyed all the fun and festivities.....and of course the pickleball.

Happy Hour Saturday March 21st

On Saturday, March 21st some of our friends were coming over to play some pickleball, so we planed a little happy hour for the afternoon. Nothing fancy. Rich and I cooked some hot dogs on the grill and the rest brought a dish to pass. It was a very windy day, just a little on the cool side, and of course when you plan a day with friends in Florida you always have to consider RAIN. The morning was nice, but as the afternnon came around the skies began to darken. Mark Jones, Bob and Kathy, Marcel and Louise and Rich and I went down to the courts to await our friends. We had played just a couple of games, and the skies were getting darker. Stan and Sally came and we got another game in.................Travis was supposed to come, but was having problems with his air conditioner. The skies grew darker, and then Lou and Carol came. They were staying down in Buttonwood Bay, just south on 27 in Sebring. I think they may have gotten in a couple of games and then ...............IT RAINED.

We picked up quick and went to the screen room to stay dry. Rich went back to the 5th wheel remembering that we had left the roof vent open over the bed!! The rain stopped, but the courts were too wet to go back out and play, so we headed back for a drink and some food. Marcel and Louise had a prior engagement, so didn't join us for the happy hour.

It cleared up enough that we were able to enjy our meal. WELL.....except for the WIND.... Here's Lou, Kathy, Mark and Sally getting ready to dig in.

Carol does a balancing act with both her and Lou's plate. Where are you LOU???

There's Stan the Man.........Always a BIG smile for the camera.

And Bob Hughes? Looks like his plate is empty and he's hoping that Lou (at the table) doesn't take everything that's left!!!
Do you notice that eveyone's plate is empty.........but Rich is STILL EATING??? Where am I? Well I've dropped my plate once, and the wind took it the second time? One way to make sure there are no left overs!

There's Kathy Hughes......But where or where is her coffee cup?

Despite the rain and the wind............we all had a great time. It was real nice to see Lou and Carol again and this would probably be the last time we saw Stan and Sally before they took off to go back north!