Sunday, June 28, 2009

After the Arena Football Game

Saturday night was family night out. Dennis, Crystal, Dalton and Chauna headed out to Moline, Il, to watch their hometown team, the Quad City Steamwheelers (Arena2 football league).
Last summer while visiting them, we made the trip to watch the team play, and had a great time. They all love the game and really cheer on their favorite players. After the game they were auctioning off the players Jerseys......... Here's the note and pictures we got from Denny today.

"It was last night after their game at Moline, IL.
Crystal has on #91 OL/DL Stokes, Prentis
Chauna has on #4 DB Golden, Greg
I have on #11 QB Raterink, JJ (just recently left team)
Dalton has on #52 DL Hayes, Sydney

Mine and Dalton's jersey are signed by entire team. I won #11 in a silent auction and #52 in a raffle (which is funny because Chauna got to pick the ticket).I won bidding on the other 2 so everyone got a jersey.

Prices?....hehe "
(When he doesn't say, that means it was WAY to much!!)
Here's Crystal - "Richard Dent was the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl MVP and he made a guest appearance at the game last night - with his super bowl rings too. We will have to scan the picture they took and he signed. " That's from Dennis.

Now from Crystal!

"OMGosh!!!!!! Richard Dent....I got to meet Richard Dent!!!!!!!!!!!
He let me wear his Superbowl ring too!!! I was on cloud 9!!! He is such a nice man and to be in the presence of such a great name of the game was a true honor!! My next wish is to meet Mike Singletary (49ers coach) You should've seen Dennis, he was grinning from ear to ear. It was a wonderful night!! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Work, Work, Work, and NO PLAY!

We're getting ready to leave for The Villages next Wednesday. So we've each made up our To Do Lists of all those things we need to get done before we go. The weather continues to play havoc on our plans, whether it be to get yard work done or try to get away for a little fun. The weather has been brutal, with temperatres up in the high 90's and the heat index well over 100. Summer also brings the regular afternoon thunderstorms here in Florida. Rich finally got the fertilizer or weed and feed down before the rain a couple of days ago. Can only water the lawns twice a week.

Haven't been able to play pickleball since Monday. Rich has pulled what we think is a muscle in his stomach, so that's kept him from playing. As for me well............

While Rich wasn't able to play on Friday, I was ready to go started to sprinkel despite the bright sunshine. There was the rainbow again...............and of course the heavy downpour folowed and pickleball was cancelled for the night.

In the meantime, Rich and I spent the day cleaning out the garage, rearranging, throwing out stuff that we had accumulated for years and haven't used foryears.
Garage hasn't been this organized in a long time. We even ended up with one whole stack of shelves with nothing on them!
When we return from The Villages, we'll be heading directly for Ft. Lauderdale. So that means picking up the RV in Peace River. So, we've got all the stuff that has to go with us to the RV stacked on one side of the garage.
Just four more days until we leave for The Villages. Sure do hope we get to play pickleball on Monday, so we can say goodbye to our Meadow Pointe crew!! We'll miss them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Weekend- A Pickleball Clinic, Father's Day and the First Day of Summer

It was an exciting weekend. Well, it started that way!

On Saturday we headed out about 7:00 am, for Kings Point in Sun City Center. The Pickleball League there had invited Rich to do a training clinic. Rich had to alter his usual clinic a little because the group was very diverse in terms of skill level. There were beginners as well as seasoned players.
The weather forecast for Saturday was for record setting temperatures; high 90's, high humidity, high dew points. That all translates to Very Hot and Very Sticky!! Seriously though, they did have a high heat advisory out for the weekend.
Great Beach Weather - but we were on the pickleball courts. !
About 16 or 18 people showed up Saturday morning for the clinic. More than we anticipated so they took down the volley ball net and set up the third court. In this picture the group is learning "dink" shots.

On this side of the court is Gary Ball, who is a very good player. He's a Florida snowbird and is heading back to Michigan on Monday.....but wanted to come to the clinic and say goodbye to Rich and I. That's our friend Nadine Powers next to him and Rich and Louann on the other side. Gary and Rich had to play a 'singles' game before we left. Gary is an excellent singles player. Rich has not yet been able to beat him in a game, and he just loves the competition!

Here's a picture of Rich and the group that attended the clinic. I think a couple of them might be missing...........I don't see our friend Colin!

We had a great time and headed for home around 11:30.

As I said the weather was horrific on Saturday, so you can imagine how excited we were when later that day it seemed to be getting much warmer inside the house. We looked at the thermostat and it read 81 degrees. A hundred years working in HVAC (well I am stretching a bit!) and Rich knows nothing about servicing the air conditioner. This man can make or fix ANYTHING, but he just couldn't make it any cooler. We turned on the fans and made it through the night. The weather on Sunday was even hotter. High 90's and heat index again well over 100!

Rich called a friend of his that he had worked with. Bob knew everything about servicing air conditioners. And he was such a great help. He walked Rich through checking things out. The funniest was when he told Rich to take a look at the capacitor, to which Rich replied " Where is it, and what does it look like?" Bob's response was "look for a small crushed beer can!" Rich found it! Rich was able to get a new capacitor and replaced it. Air conditioner now worked!! The house was cooling down............but now it would not turn off when it got down to temperature. We learned, again from Bob, that it was not unusual for the thermostat to go along with the capacitor. So .....................Rich went out and bought the thermostat and by 9:00 on Sunday evening we were back in business!!.

A litle bit of good news: Sunday was Father's day and our son Dennis called to talk with his Dad early Sunday morning. Both Dalton and Chauna have made the All Star Baseball Team, Chauna wants to play the Flute and Dalton wants to play the Trumpet! Chauna is doing her Community Service project to get her Bronze in Girl Scouts. Now this is where I was supposed to show you the picture of the beautiful 6 inch beautifully decorated Chocolate Chip Cookie that said "Happy Fathers Day" in Red icing. but Father Rich was up before me this morning, and had already cut the first peice before I could get to the camera!! Those of you who know Rich, know exactly what I'm talking about!!!

But we both got new T-shirts this weekend. Louann and the Kings Point League gave both Rich and I these Pickleball Bug T-Shirts before we left on Saturday! Thanks Louann.

Here's a Link to more Pictures of the Kings Point Clinic

Louann wrote up an article about the clinic on her Kings Point website. Thank You Louann for the kind words about Rich and I. Click this link to read her article: Kings Point Pickleball League Clinic

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Birthday

Today we celebrated my birthday. Wasn't going to tell you how old know, you never ask a lady her age.................but you're gunna see it on my cake in just a second anyway!!!

My presents were waiting for me on the kitchen counter when I woke up. My very favorite was the home made card from Rich, made with love and complete with the big red heart!

I had already asked him not to make plans for a birthday dinner today, because it's pickleball night with the MeadowPointe instead he took me out for breakfast. We went to our favorite for breakfast, (well, my favorite place - Rich still likes Waffle House - ugh!!) It's called First Watch - and I feasted on an excellent omelet while Rich had his blueberry pancakes.

We did spend a little time getting some stuff done around the house, but nothing too exhausting. Then about 6:00 we headed for the pickelball courts. We knew there wouldn't be too big a crowd tonight, but my leg had been bothering me this week, and I wanted to play at least once.

Only five of us there tonight. Here's Rich and Don playing against Mary and Chris. We played a lot of games tonight and all of them were real close games!! Lot's of exercise tonight. I really did play!

But while the game above was taking place I grabbed a picture of this interesting looking bug? beetle? that found it's way on the court. Not sure what it is......but everyone came to take a look before the night was over.

Afterwards, we headed back to the house. It was about 9:15 or so. Grabbed a quick bite to eat and then Don and Linda and the boys came over for cake and ice cream.

These two guys were best friends with Beau. That's Cheyanne in the front and Dakota in the back. They just had their treat, so they were good to go lay down and rest for the night.
Rich got out the cake........and told the story of the guy at Publix when he ordered the cake yesterday. Two or three times the guy asked him if he was SURE he wanted the age on the cake, and yes.........Rich insisted. He tells everyone it's the last time I'll see the 50's...!! Anyway, it was beautiful. I made my wish and made the first cut and then Rich took over.

He even served up the ice cream!!!! An yes........he cut himself the biggest piece.

Yes!!! That's the Card that Rich made for me all by himself. I think he's a superb artist! And that's my favorite present. Chivas Regal!! I only get this on special occassions..........and I work hard to make it last and last and last. Now Rich and Linda don't drink Scotch.....But Don does!!

These are our best friends Linda and Don Bass with me and bottle of Chivas. I poured for Don and I and we toasted to my Birthday. Thank you Rich and Don and Linda for making my day so special. And the boys too...............

PB Clinic at Kings Point

This isn't an invitation to everyone...........Sorry!

Our good friend Louann Dubendorf, asked Rich to do a pickleball clinic for the league she plays with down in Sun City Center.

She always comes up with something creative, whatever the occassion. ...... so we wanted to share this. She has it posted on her website, ( and if I know Louann, probably in the display case near the courts, for those who don't use the computer.

I wonder if Buns Buns will be attending the clinic.

According to Louann:


Thanks Lou.....See you........and Buns Buns on the 20th

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trip to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino

Rich and I are not big gamblers, but today we decided to take a trip into Tampa and visit the Casino and Entertainment Hot Spot in the Tampa Bay area. Everyone and anyone who visits Tampa always makes a stop here. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Every time we see our friends Steve and Kay Krepteck, we hear about their adventures at the Hard Rock. Now Steve has been retired for some time, but since Kay's retirement just short time ago, this has become one of their favorite places to go. They go often enough that they pay them to come and gamble!!! They either get to stay at the hotel for free or have dinner at one of the exclusive restaurants free.

So, here we are pulling off I-4 onto Hillsborough Ave which will take us to Orient Road. That;s the hotel off in the back.

As you turn on to Orient Road to the entrance, you're greeted by this flying guitar. It really is nearly as hig as the palm trees

As you enter the grounds, looking for a place to park you'll pass disply over a large fountain on your right. Guitars seem to be the big theme here.....Guess that makes sense given the name hard "Rock".

Actually as you walked through the Casino, it was quite impressive. Lots of table games and thousands of slot machines. There is 150,000 square feet of casino! There is rock and roll memorabilia every where you go. Being a fan of country music, my favorite was the autographed guitars (yes, more guitars) of Wynona Judd and Garth Brooks. Lots of places to eat, from your typical "mall type" walk up places featuring pizza, burgers and chinese food. A huge buffet onthe second floor ($15 for members, $20 for non members). And then you have your more upscale restaurants. Lots of lobbys and corner bars and one great big bar right in the center of the casino.

If you're going to the casino for some real atmosphere and top notch entertainment, you really go at night. But........hey, we just wanted to see what the place was like that everyone kept talking about. So no entertainment this early in the day, but we understand they have one of Florida's best night club, which opens from Thurs through Saturday at 11PM, complete with music and large dance floor.

Well - we wandered around a little more, checking out the Hotel. Nice - Very nice. Well secured. Without a guest key pass you could not even get into the hotel restaurant. But we managed to get outside and check the grounds.

Yes..another BAR. But this was outside, with immaculate and beautiful landscaping. Located adjacent to the pool.

There is actually another pool, but this one is a lap pool.

But come on folks, this IS a casino. How did we do? Well I (Donna) tried my hand at the slot machines. We found some 5 cent slots. Well, I put in my money, one dollar and pressed the button. (I liked pulling that handle on the old slot machines....oh well) Nothing happenned. Well,
it's not really a 5 cent machine. The minimum bet is 12 nickles. 60cents!!!! I won 50 cents!

I invested a total of $6, had fun pushing the button and walked away with my 30cent voucher!!
Better luck next time.
This is an absolutely beautiful place, with everything to entertain their gambling guests. If you enjoy the casinos and the night club entertainment, and a 4 star hotel, this is a great place to be.

When we got back home, The Laker, which is our Wesley Chapel newspaper, was in the front yard. When we got to the sports page, there was a big article on our Meadow Pointe pickelball round robin......... I sent the article in about a month ago. It was a surprise to see it in print. I posted that out on our pickleball website. Click the link to read the story.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dalton gets a Haircut!

WOW!!! It's summer............time to shed those long locks!! Dennis took Dalton for his summer hair cut today and shares the event............
Oh.......Why am I here? I'll close my eyes and hope for the best!!
Well hey.. That feels pretty good.......But I haven't looked in the mirror yet!!!

Voila!!! He's smiling, so he must be happy with the new look. He's a handsome lad either way!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pictures of the Grand Kids - Wish we could be there!

Dennis and Crystal sent us some pictures of the kids today. They've been pretty busy over the last month or so...... The whole family loves sport and supports all the local teams in and around Davenport, Iowa. We had a great time with them last summer at the local arena football. But here some pictures from the latest Hockey games.
And here is Chauna posing with one of the "Flames"

After posing with all the good looking hockey players after the game, Chauna shows off her skating skills.

This year Dalton played with the "Pleasure Pools", Majors League 10-12 year olds. He's holding his "first place" trophy as his team was the City Champions: Davenport, IA. after winning the tournament on June 6th at the North West Little League Park. They beat Arnolds Body Shop, also from Davenport, 6-2. Dalton played left field in the tournament, but in league play often playes 3rd base. Great Job.......Dalton.
Chauna also played in the All City Tournamentl, but her team did not make it to the finals this year.

But, little miss Chauna can sing..........and here she is at the microphone!!
Add Image Wish this picture was better, but that's Dalton on the let. This group received medals in their school math olympics. He must have got the math skills from his Pa Pa (That's grandpa!)

Both of the kids enjoy the outdoors. Here's Chauna on a fishing excursion with the family.

But it looks like Mr. Dalton caught the Big One!!

Back at school........Chauna discusses music with her classmate. Yes that's a Violin!!

Ever the sportsman........And he definately got this from Pa Pa (The great white hunter!!) Dalton practices shooting at Scouts in May.
Hate being so far away from the family..........We really miss them. But we love getting pictures.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tree Trimming Day Goes to the Birds!

The winter weather really took a toll on the yard while we were away this winter, and little by little we've been getting it back in shape. We've pulled all the weeds,cleared and pulled the plants damaged by the winter frost, pruned and raked......and yesterday was trimming the queen palms and the robalini palm in the front yard.

Believe it or not......we had only cut down about half of what needed to be done, but the sun was hot and the tongues were it was time for a break. We filled two large lawn bags with the smaller stuff than Rich cut the branches into 4ft lengths before we tied them into about 8 bundles. Wish you could have seen us tying the the wind started to blow, then thunder, then the rain.....

But then it's back to relaxing on the lanai. Tonight we were making Calzones and Rich had just lit the grill. As we sat talking, two of our neighborhood sand hill cranes wandered into the back yard.
They continuted to wander a little while and then made their way just outside the screened lania. I went out into the yard and they continued toward me and then stopped just a few feet away.
You often see the sand hill cranes in the area and frequently have to stop you car as your driving through the neighborhood, as they slowly make their way across the roads. As we continued to watch, this one decided it was time to clean himself (or scratch and itch!!).

Meanwhile this one was looking for his supper and continued to search for bugs or worms in the grass.
After several minutes......they went on their way. They are such beautiful birds.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lunch with Linda........Then Rich and I watch the STORM come in

Don and Linda Bass are very good friends of ours and we really miss their company when we're not at home. Over the past several years they have not only been our neighbors but very close friends. We had them over for dinner right after we came back from Sebring, but today Linda and I had a 'girls day out'. While we were in Sebring this winter a new shopping center opened about a half mile from home called The Shopps of Wiregrass. A very quaint setting, cobblestone walks. Dillards, Macy's........lots of shoe stores, lots of real expensive shops and lots of places to eat.
Linda and I stopped at the Cosi Cafe. Great little delicatesson type place for lunch where we enjoyed a cold drink ( tea and lemonad!!!) and a Chicken Ceaser Sandwich on an excellent homemade flatbread. Great soup and 1/2 sandwich or salad specials. Pizza looked great! We must have sat and talked for over an hour......The we headed out to walk around and do a little window shopping.
This fountain is located in the middle of the shopping center and in this area they have live music every Thursday night. We also stopped at Macy's Department Store. The last time I was in Macy's when I was a junior in HighSchool and my mom and I were in NYC. We brough my prom dress there!! We ended our tour at Barnes and Noble........but Linda decided to get some slow cooker recipes off the website instead of buying a new cookbook.

It was a beautiful day..........warm and sunny and Linda and I had a great time catching up

Rich and I had just finished dinner. It was about 6:30 and we were just sitting out on the lanai relaxing. The sun was shining brightly but you could hear the thunder in the background. It started to sprinkle, and if you looked off in the distance you could see the clouds coming in. Then we saw the rainbow and I grabbed the camera. Now I don't take pictures like Mark Jones...... but I think they came out pretty good with my cheap camera!! The pictures below were taken in a span of maybe 15 minutes.

The first glimpse of the rainbow

If only I had a better camera. The rainbow was so pretty, and you could actually see the reflection on the water, and if you looked just to the right of it......a second rainbow, very faint, was beginning to form.

You can see in the backyard, that the sun was still out, but off in the distance the sky was getting a little darker. Look how calm the water is...............and the clouds are really coming together now.

The wind was really beginning to blow...The is a small queen palm in Brad and Teresa's yard next door. ..... And the rain was hitting the screens.

And then the wind was whipping across the water, and the sky opened up!!!

But we stayed DRY!! It's days like this when we really appreciate the beauty in our own backyard.