Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Last Few Days!

Friday was my appointment with the doctor. Almost two months ago, my (Donna) right thumb began peeling, and the tip of the thumb became very red. There was a small opening in the skin, but not enough to cause it to bleed. I began using Neosporin and Antibiotic Creams, but nothing seemed to heal it. I checked with the local pharmasist, who told me to use Hydracortazone and keep it dry, but DO NOT cover it. It was just about healed, when the next morning it started to worsen. I continued the Hydrcortizone but the thumb continued to get worse. Back to the pharmasist, who told me to STOP using the hydracortazone, don't worry about getting it wet, but keep it moist with Vaseline. So.........the thumb began to heal nicely, but then one morning I wake up, and the skin is peeling and cracking. The pharmasist then told me that I would probably need a stronger steroid to get the thumb to heal. Called a doctor in the area, and had an appointment last Friday.

Doctor says.......Keep it covered 24 hours/day and take these anti-biotics!! Four pills two times a day. Take the cover off to shower or wash dishes, dry the thumb and cover it again. "You can play pickleball, but don't let the bandage get wet. If it gets wet, remove it and put a new one on. RIGHT!!!!! About three shots into the game in this humidity and the bandage just falls off the thumb. So I have not been on the courts since. How are the antibiotics working? The thumb looks worse than it ever has........except that it is not cracking and bleeding. Two more days of pills, and if it's not healed then it's back to the doctor. WHAT A PAIN!!

Rich on the other hand (no pun intended!) has been making up for the time I'm missing. Most days he's been playing in the morning, and then heading over to La Hacienda to play for a couple more hours in the afternoon........Early to Bed, Early to Rise!!!!! AND PLAY..

Linda Kramer is going to continue to be his mixed doubles partner, so she's heading up here to The Villages to stay with us for a few days before the Tampa Bay Senior Games in October. They played very well together last year so it's great to see the partnership continue. Unfortunately, she can't make the National Games in Ft. Lauderdale. NO - I will not be his partner.........This marriage would NEVER LAST!!! It will be great to see her again. Can't wait to show her around The Vilalges. She will surely enjoy the level of pickleball play.

But Rich needs to be careful........as he is having some serious foot problems and is off to the Podiatrist on Thursday..........Can you imagine his reaction if the doctor says NO PICKLBALL? I don't want to even think about that alternative!!
Today, our Regional Ambassador, Greenie Greenfield, invited us to join him at the Lady Lake Rotary Club meeting, to do a pickleball presentation. Here's Greenie, doing the opening presentation, talking about the history of the game, the growth of pickleball across the country, the game, the courts, the equipment, etc.

He asked Rich and I to share how we were introduced to the game and our work as Ambassadors, our RV experiences, tournament play and for me as the editor of the Monthly Newsletter, to talk about that and our Atlantic South website.

The meeting was held at the Outback Steakhouse where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of salad, fried shrimp, sweet potato fries and green beans. It was delicious! We had a great time and really enjoyed doing the presentation.

Will let you know how Rich makes out on Thursday!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Geezers and Gals - Pickleball Social

We've been playing pickleball at several places here in The Villages, and we each have our own favorite places to play. The courts at Churchill Street where I enjoy playing the most and the courts at Pimlico where Rich goes several times a week have been closed for a couple of weeks for resurfacing. So I can go to either El Santiago or over to Laurel Manor, where most of the Churchill gang has gone. And Rich goes to either Lake Miona, Saddlebrook or El Santiago.

But we had travelled down to the southern part of The Villages a few weeks back and played with the group at the Bacall Center. Yesterday we were invited to join their Pickleball Social. Open play started at 7:00 am, but Rich and I did not arrive until about 9:00. Rich's foot is really bothering him, so he decided not to play at all today. (Appointment with the Podiatrist next week!!). When we arrived the eight courts were filled and about 4 or 5 people were waiting to play. I got in about 4 really good games.

At 10:00 Coach Mo was scheduled to give a clinic, so I participated for some of it, but had to grab some pictures of both the clinic and some of the people that play regularly there. There are some very good players always ready to improve their game. But they are one of the most friendly groups of players we have met here. Always make us feel welcome.

By 11:30 everyone was inside the rec center for the "food" portion of the Social. Yes - thats a long line of pizza's. Assorted - plain, pepparoni, cheese, green pepper, sausage, and full veggie. That was accompanied by a fabulous Italian salad, watermellon, chocolate, chips, cookies and soda or water to drink.

This is Al, Margie and Dennis - Pretty much the leaders of the Geezers and Gals. Margie did a great job designing the shirts!! Some of you may also remember Al if you played in the Heartland Games down in Sebring (Tanglewood) last winter.

This story is so funny! I correspond regularly with a couple, Tom and Ann Early, who live in the northern part of Georgia. They have a very large estate there, which includes pickleball courts where about 30 players come to play. While sitting at the table talking with "Greenie", Rich and I were telling him about a guy named "George" that had a home in N. Georga, as well as home here at The Villages. Just as we mentioned the name "George" the guy in this picture was walking by, stopped, turned to us and said. Hi...I'm George! Rich says - Hi, but you're not the George, of "George and Clair" - to which he replied "yes I am". Coincidence????? As it turned out this the THE GEORGE ODOM that we just happened to be talking about. He joined us at the table and we learned all about Tom and Ann's pickleball in N. Georgia. Funny, funny man!!

Now - we had previously made plans to meet up with Mo that evening at the Golden Corral. Jeannie is visiting family in Nova Scotia - so Mo needs to eat out for a week!! Knowing we had dinner plans, I ate very light at the Pizza Social. Rich, on the other hand managed FOUR pices of pizza, TWO trips for salad, a package of chocolate chip cookies, and about THREE DOZEN chocolate kisses!! At the Golden Corral he only managed TWO dishes of food ( Steak, Pot Roast, Stuffing, Green Beans, Mashed potatoes, Mushroom s and mushroom gravy, etc.) Unlike Homers in Sebring where he feasts on the chocolate eclairs, he had to settle for cheesecake with whip cream and coconut cream pie!!

As usual, dinner and conversation with Mo is always delightful. A great ending to a very busy but fun day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dinner with Greenie and Kathy at Lake Sumter Landing

This weeks schedule is looking pretty busy, between pickleball, dinner plans, the Pickleball and Pizza Social and scheduling doctor appointments.
Monday was the beginning of the men's doubles competition in the advanced pickleball tournament, being held at the Truman Rec Center. From our villa in El Santiago, about 2 miles north of SR 466, it's about a 1/2 hour to Truman, which is located on the southern end of The Villages just north of SR 466A. We arrived there around 8:00AM and the competition was already under way. All six courts were in play and there was a pretty good size group of spectators. The tournament was set up as a round robin event so the games moved right along at a good pace. But the sun was out and very hot, very early. We didn't stay for the whole competition. Mo showed up about 1/2 hour after us and settled in comfortably in his folding chair. The guys were putting on a great show and playing hard. Didn't hear yet who won.

From the tournament we headed back north electing to go back to our courts in El Santiago where both played four or five games before everyone had had enough for the day. Four or five games is just a warm up for Rich, so he definately did not quell his pickleball twitch this morning.

Early that evening we met with Dick "Greenie" and Kathy Greenfield for dinner at Redsauce. a restaurant in Lake Sumter Landing, Village Square. Of course we both know Greenie very well, since he is the Regional Ambassador for the Atlantic South Region, but until tonight we had not had the pleasure of meeting Kathy. We arrived about 5:30, the place was very crowed, so we had about a 20 minute wait before we were seated. Time enough for Kathy and I to take a short walk around the square, stopping in a few of the specialty shops. Greenie is still recouperating from heart surgery. He's a little to anxious to get back on the courts, so we encouraged him to take it slow. So the guys were talking pickleball while Kathy and I got to know a little bit more about each other. We shared some family stories, and hometown stories and talked about things we liked to do........(and the guys were still taking pickleball!!!).... and I learned that she had been an editor for a large newspaper in Michigan. So writing was something we both had in common.
Redsauce is an Italian Restaurant with a great menu. Monday night was 2 for $20. Two dinners, two salads, and two cheescake desserts for $20. Kathy said the Eggplant Parmigiana was excellent, as was my Lasagna. Greenie and Rich both went for the deep bowl of speghetti with meatballs.

This is obviously a very popular restaurant in the Square. Adjacent to the restaurant is a fabulous NY style deli. I mean really adjacent, we could not only look into the deli, we could actually get up from our table and walk into the deli. Definately a place we would go back to.

Like Spanish Springs Town Center in the northern part of The Villages, the Lake Sumter Landing Town Center is situated closer to the center of the community. As the name might suggest, the buildings and all are of a nautical nature. We'll take you for a quick tour.
As you enter Lake Sumter Landing along Old Mill Road this is on of the first things you see. I believe, when the building is finished it will be another restaurant in the Square.

This is the back side of RJ Gators Bar and Grill , where outside dining is availabe. You have a great view of the Landing and Lake Sumter.

From this small pier on the lake, we understand that boat rides around the lake are available.

Here's a little better view of Lake Sumter. Those are small row boats you see in the water. Understand the fishing is pretty good.

As you walk along the waters edge, you will see several of these type buildings. Check out that antique gas pump!! Want to know what this building is?

Here is the front. The Villages has their own Radio Station, and this houses WVLG. You can listen to WVLG on cable TV, where they play oldie but goodies, and keep you up-to-date on the local weather.

As you approach the Town Center this is one of the signs you see. Like Spanish Springs there is a raised stage and a large dance area. Not too many people on the squar Monday night. The music was playing, but it had been raining not long before we got there.

This is the view down one of the several side streets looking from the center of the Square. You always see as many golf carts parked along the side of the roads as you do automobiles. Definately the major means of transportation here.
There are so many places to eat when you visit the Town Centers.
This first one is called Up the Creek and is supposed to be an excellent Steak and Seafood Restaurant. The back of this restaurant also faces the lake.
And of course there is always Johnny Rockets where you are sure to see Villagers sitting outside every afternoon enjoying some of the best burgers in the area.
Tomorrow is the Pickleball and Pizza Social and then we have dinner plans again for tommorow evening!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

More News From the Kids

It's tough living so far away from Dennis and the family. We miss seeing them, but Dennis and Crystal are so good at keeping us up-to-date with what the grandchildren are involved in.

Crystal got a new digital camera for her birthday and like a little kid with a new toy, she is having a ball taking pictures of the family. And the perfect daughter-in-law that she is, she always remembers to send them to all the grandparents.
Dalton and Chauna take a second to pose for a picture for Mom, as the family recently spends the day at Adventurland!
Dennis, Dalton and Chauna catch a cold drink, before heading back to the amusement park rides. Chauna loves to smile for the camera!!!
Dalton and Chauna, enjoying the ride, take the time to wave and smile at Mom and Dad!

Time to relax for a minute....take a break and smile for the camera. Dennis looks like his dad when in front of the camera! That smile says"All right, if you have to, just hurry up!" Dennis you are looking handsome with that civilian hair cut. So used to seeing you with your military brush cut!!
Chauna (left) is with her friend Katie both dressed up for "Halloween in August". They got to trick-or-treat around the stadium after the Bandits game.
A note received from Crystal with the pictures: "Chauna had her 2 summer-end concerts yesterday and they were fantastic!! I was extremely impressed by the band one, but I love bands anyhow. She did a wonderful job and is now talking about learning the piccolo trumpet. OMGosh, how many instruments does she want to practice???
Personally - I think she gets her love of music from her Gramma Do!!!

Dennis says: " Kids did a special phot shoot for daddy! Was surprised and really liked my gift." We know that Dennis and Dalton are big Buc fanatics, so this was the perfect photo shoot for dad. Crystal - we know you are a Chicago Bears fan.........you'll have to do that one next time.

Dalton - Great Shot - You definatley look like a pro!!

From Crystal: "If you can believe it, I took the pictures in the livingroom. The background is Dennis' fleece blanket. When I went to pick up the pictures at Walgreens, the manager was checking me out and asked if I was copying professional pictures. I giggled and told her no that I'd taken them. Then she proceeded to question me....where did you take them, how'd I get the background, etc. When she finally believed me she became a bit nicer. I thought it was kind of comical and told Chauna the lady was funny."

Great job Crystal.........Thanks for the update! LOL

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dinner with the Cardoza's

Manny and Marie Cardoza reside at Highland Lakes, which is an active adult community located on US 27, just south of Leesburg, Fl. We met Manny and Marie for the first time just last month when they invited us to play pickleball with their Highland Lakes players. We had a great time that day. Today we got to know the two of them a little better, and thoroughly enjoyed the company, the conversation, the laughter and the sharing of stories about family and friends.

We had originally made plans to meet on Saturday the 15th, but that ended up being an already planned Line Dancing event for them.........so we moved our plans to today. We drove from The Villages to their home. (Manny and Marie - you have a beautiful home!) . Before heading out to dinner, Manny gave us a tour of the community. We had already seen their beautiful club house and indoor arena the last time we were there, so today we got to see just how large the community was. Just over 900 homes, resident owned, the grounds and resident properties were immaculately maintained. They also have a large wood working area and both open and covered RV storage which is free to the residents.
Manny had suggested a restaurant, "just down the road" where you can get excellent Prime Rib for two and a bottle of wine for $25.
The restaurant, The Rusty Fox is located on US 561 in downtown Clermont. A small casual Restaurant and Pub, friendly staff and excellent food. As it turned out the $25 deal is only on Saturday but Wednesday still offered Prime Rib Specials - at a reduced price.

Everyone ordered the Prime Rib and Manny got the bottle of wine for the table. Dinner included bread, salad, prime rib and choice of potato. The food was excellent. Add the wine and great company............and you have a perfect recipe for a very very enjoyable evening.
Marie had saved the best for last, having made a beautiful strawberry pie. Just the right choice after prime rib. It was delicious.
Of course, with Rich at the dinner table, the topic of desserts was definately discussed. Manny and Marie learned that Rich has a great weakness for most anything sweet and I also shared the reputation he earned this winter in Sebring with his chocolate eclair affair!
So when Marie cut the pie, without hesitation , and without asking she cut Rich an extra large portion. Yes it was Rich -
and the picture is here to prove it.
Whatever the portion size, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Thank you Manny and Marie for a great day. We look forward to seeing you both again. If not before................we will see you in September when our friends Ken and Lynn arrive from South Carolina.

And thanks Marie, for the great Google/Collage Tips!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our Prayers are with you, Marcel and Louise

We returned back to The Villages early evening on Saturday. Rain threatened our drive, but we made it back without incident. We did get a light rain later in the evening.

Today, Sunday, Rich and I both took the day off from Pickleball in the morning. The refrigerator was empty, so a trip to Publix was a must today. Rich did meet up with Mo this afternoon for some pickleball drills.

Good thing we decided to stay home today.

Received a call today from our Canadian friends,Marcel LeMieux and Louise Barette. If you remember, they spent the winter at Tanglewood in Sebring with us. We had originally met Marcel and Louise while visiting family in NY state. We were all playing pickleball in Scotia, NY. Spending the winter in Sebring, we got to know them so much better.

Previously on this Blog, we mentioned that upon their return to Canada, Marcel learned that he needed heart surgery. He is still recovering, slowly it seems, but improving. After surgery, Louise was diagnosed with breast cancer and has be undergoing chemo. It's been rough for her. Through the tears today, she told us she is feeling good, and hopes to see us later this winter.
These two are very special people and good friends, and we hope you'll keep them in your prayers. It's been a rough summer for both of them.
Marcel and Louise - WE LOVE YOU BOTH, wish you the best and look forward to seeing you again real soon.

Friday - Pickleball with friends and PIZZA!

Friday was definately a day to remember.We had so much fun! Not only was it a great pickleball day.........it was just great to spend time both on and off the courts with great people and great friends.

We were up very late Thursday night. All that work in the yard tired us both out. But not too tired to watch the finale of So You Think You Can .....and Florida dancer Jeannine wins!!! No, Rich does not share my enthusiasm for dance!!! But he did peak at a few of the dances! He set the alarm for 5:45 Friday morning, but staying up late to see those dancers must have really tired him out!!!..... because the alarm never went off. So we left a little later than intended for pickleball with Louann and the Kings Point crew. It's always such a pleasure to visit these folks; they always make us feel so welcome. Don't forget, her pickleball Labor Day Jamboree. Here's a few pictures we took while we were there. Here's Nadine and Ron, playing agaist Shirly (not in picture) and Paul. Louann tells us that Paul "has really been bitten". That's by the pickleball bug, folks! Nadine is soooooooo good and continues to be one of the best female players there.Everone is smiling.......That's John (right) retrieving something from the courts and interupting the games!!! Shirley, Rich and Louann just smile, joke with John and continue play!! As usual-everyone has a good time.

After leaving Kings Point we continued on down to the Thousand TrailsPark in Wauchula. We had loaded the car with the canoe along with some other things we wanted to leave at the 5th wheel, which is in storage there. We chained up the canoe on the back of the 5th wheel, and stopped in to see Elnor, the Preserve Manager. Good News!!! The pickleball courts are being resurfaced. She said that pickleball is their most popular sport and also the one (because of the condition of the courts) that she has received the most complaints on. Great News for all of us this winter!!!

We returned back home mid afternoon. Rich had some work to take care of, but I headed over to MP2 and met up with our Meadow Pointe picklers. Here's a few pictures :
This is Penny and Ken. Two of our newest members. They saw our article in the St. Pete Times and are now regulars with our group. Yes, that's an umbrella. We got a little rain tonight, but it was quick, so we were able to go back out and play. We had met Ken on Wednesday, and tonight was the first time we got to meet Penny.

This is Don Bass and Penny (left) with Ken and Renee Glassman , ater the game.

Friday night pickelball is generally followed by Pizza at Marcos, so tonight 10 of us kept to the tradition. Rich and I are joined by our best friends and neighbors, Don and Linda Bass. Linda does not play pickleball, but always joins group for pizza!! Next is our new players Penny and Ken, followed by Renee and Mark Glassman. Mark had some recent knee surgery, so pickleball is on the back burner right now. And finally, that's spinner, Mary Jones with Steve Long.

What more can we ask for? Good friends, Pizza and Pickleball!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


On Wednesday we were back in Wesley Chapel. Left The Villages early that morning. On the way we stopped for breadfast at the Waffle House. I have never been a big fan of the Waffle House, but Rich absolutely loves their Waffles with Strawberry topping and lots of Whip Cream.

During this visit we learned that (imitation) strawberries are now being added to the waffle batter; they no longer carry the strawberry or blueberry topping. I silently smiled to myself, thinking YES!!!!!! This will be our VERY LAST VISIT to Waffle House!!

Continuing south on I-75, we were just north of SR 52 when we hit some heavy rains. It was definately a high speed windshield wiper type of rain, take the car off cruise control rain, and slow down kind of rain. But when we took Exit 275 to Wesley Chapel, it was clear that the rain had not found it's way here yet.

YET, being the Key word here. Pickleball days seem to coincide with rain these days. It wasn't long after we arrived home that the skies began to darken............

This is the view from the back lanai. The clouds came in quicky.

I know this looks like a nice afternoon - but about 5 minutes after this picture the rain started. Thunder, lightening - typical afternoon Florida shower. But fortunately, the weather cleared mid afternoon, the sun came out, the air was thick.............and pickleball was on at MP II....
We were looking forward to playing tonight. We had several of our home picklers that had ordered Coach Mo's new DVD.....so we brought them with us. But we also had heard that we had five new picklers on our home courts, and we were hoping that they would be there tonight so we could meet them. Four of them were!

These are our newest pickleball players at home. This is John and Bonnie. John is playing very well, having just been introduced to the game. Bonnie .......she is really doing well, but everyone continued to give her pointers tonight. She and I had a couple of pretty competitive ladies games tonight. FUN!!
And this is Liz, another new player with our group. She's playing very good after just a couple of weeks...............and will be one of our better woman players. Had fun taking this picture. Suck It In Liz!!!!

Here's Rich and Liz, playing against Ken ( another new player with our group ; Wife Penny was not able to make it tonight!) and Chris.

And here is Rich and Steve Long (far side) partnering against, Don Bass and Chris Brown.

We had a great time playing with the group tonight. It was after 9:00 pm, when we were ready to leave the courts. Not having had any dinner yet, we called for Chinese Take out, and picked it up on the way home and Watched "So You Think You Can Dance" while we ate dinner.

Today was yard work again. Rich was back on the ladder cutting down the dead branches from the Queen Palms. Tomorrow - Friday we are headed to Sun City Center for pickleball at 7:30 am, then a trip to the RV in Peace River to drop off a few things, back home for pickelball at 6:30 with the MP group, and then Pizza with our Meadow Pointe Picklers after playing.

Busy day tomorrow...........better call it a day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday- Pickleball, Dinner Out and Pickleball News from our Snowbird Friends

Like most mornings, this one started with pickleball, although on Sunday we don't start quite as early. I dropped Rich off at Pimlico and headed for Churchill Street Rec Center. The sun was intense this morning and the humidity was wicked. Totally drenched after a couple of hours, I went back to pick up Rich and we headed back to the villa for showers and 'brunch' and a nap!!

Sunday evening was dinner again with Mo and Jeanne and they introduced us to another of the many places to eat in The Villages. Tonight was Italian cuisine at Giovianni's Ristorante' , located in the Southern Trace Plaza just about in the center of The Villages. This is a small family owned restaurant that we understand draws a pretty good crowd most every night. That's quite understandable, given the great food and atmosphere. And,you can't beat the price. For less than $20 we had pasta with sausage, salad and the best garlic knots ever. Excellente'!

Following dinner we were invited over to their home for coffee and dessert! They did not forget the many many trips Rich made to the dessert bar at Homers and we laughed as they served a plentiful supply of eclairs. We had a great evening.

Just before leaving for dinner, Rich got a call from Gary Ball and this morning we got an e-mail from Johnnie and Barb McKinney.................Great to hear from all of them.....And they had GOOD NEWS!!

Barb and Johnnie McKinney (left), and Gary Ball and Vicki Sterner.
I pulled these pictures from our winter 2008-09 pictures in Sebring,Fl, but three of them are recent pickleball tournament winners.
Gary Ball and his wife reside in Monroe MI, during the winter, but we know them best from King's Point in Sun City Center where they spend the summer. Rich and Gary have partnered together in the Florida Senior Games. He and his partner Vicker Sterner, who came all the way from York, PA, took the Gold Medal in the consolation bracket in the 2nd Annual Pickleball Tournament in Middletown , OH, July 31st and August 1st.

Johnnie and Barbara are USAPA Ambassadors who reside in Brownstown, MI in the winter, but to us they are Johnnie and Barb from Tanglewood in Sebring Fl, where they spend every summer. Johnnie and Gary took the Silver Medal in the men's doubles consolation bracket. Congrats to all of you.

Barbara..............wish you were here!!! You would love the line dancing.........Every night at the town center!!!!