Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday Night Entertainment, Picklers Give Thanks on Saturday

On Friday night there was musical entertainment, Mike Thomas, at the Meeting House. We had heard that he put on a very good show, so several of us arrived early to make sure we got a good seat. He was excellent, singing and playing both the keyboard and guitar. He sang several of the songs he wrote himself along with some oldies and a little country including medleys from Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, a little Willie Nelson and dueling banjos. Paying tribute to our country and service men the finale was very moving, with everyone singing along - a few of us with tears in our eyes. Believe it or not - I never took a picture of our entertainer!!!!

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But here are a couple of pictures of all of us waiting for the show to begin.Posted by Picasa

Saturday mornign, most everyone was back on the courts playing pickleball by 8:00 am. Then it was back to the house to prepare for dinner that afternoon. Jack and Diane wanted to share Thanksgiving with all of their picklabll friends. Since they were with family on Thanksgiving Day, they planned our festive event for Saturday. About 1:00 in the afternoon a small group of us went to the meeting hose to set up tables and chairs, and space for setting out the food. You couls smell the turkey cooking in the oven.
The plan was for all of us to meet at 3:00 for orderves and drinks and some pre-dinner socializing. Then dinner would be ready to serve by 5:00
Enjoy the pictures below of all our pickelball family here at Peace River.

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Everyone was there, and some brought family with them. Pre-dinner snacking included sweedish and sausage meatballs, bagle bites, cheese and crackers, chips and dips and tortillas and salsa, quiche and even peanut M&M's. I'm sure there was even more, but that's all I seem to remember. A very special Thank You to Diane, her Mom, and Chef Tom and Chef Lou who continued to work through our social hour to complete the final baking duties including the carving of the Turkey and Ham.

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The dinner menu included (and again I'm sure to miss something) Turkey, complete with stuffing, Ham, Mashed and Sweet Potato and Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Broccoli/Cauliflour, Home made Bread and Rolls, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Rice and Beans, Cranberry Sauce, Ceaser Salad......

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Everyone enjoyed the day. El'nor, the park manager, stopped by to say hello and extend her holiday greetings, Travis was celebrating a birthday so John and Charlotte presented him with a handmade seat cover for his bike. Many of us are used to seeing the duct taped seat!!
Special recognition was given to Diane thanking her for the time and outstanding effort she made to make this a great afternoon. Everyone knows how much Diane loves her Miami Dolphins so check out the picture above and the Dolphins Hat that John presented to her.
Lots of joking and fun was had by all.
The rest of the crew is pictured below:

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Oh - Almost forgot dessert!! There was of course the carrot cake that Sally made that read Happy Birthday Travis!. There was a great assortment of pies and cookes and brownies and pudding!
Great Job Jack and Diane - You can plan our party any day!!!
Happy ThanksGiving

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

We are so thankful for having such special friends to spend such a special day with. Click on Picture to enlarge - Use back arrow to return to this page.
Thanksgiving Day started out with rain and drizzle for most of the morning, but by 12:30 a small group of us were out on the courts to play. THANK YOU Stan, for sweeping the court so it would dry and be ready for us to play!
By 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun was shining and people began to arrive at the meeting house. THANK YOU to everyone for such an abundance of the most delicious food! THANK YOU to the staff at Peace River. This was one of the very best Thanksgiving Dinners ever!
Sharing our table today was - Lou and Charlotte, Stan and Sally, Doug and Karen, Heinz and Renate, John and Kathy and John and Shelly with their son and grandson. Bruce and Gena had family visiting today, so cooked at home. Jack and Diane, Buddy and Brenda, Tom and Kathy and Travis traveled to be with family/friends.
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Thanksgiving did not end when the meal was over. The night air was getting a bit crisp, so we took our dirty dishes home, changed into some warmer clothes and met back at John and Shellys for a night cap around the campfire. No need for goodies, everyone's belly was still quite full!! We shared some good stories, lauged and told some jokes, and made fun of Kathy's New Jersy accent ( or was it her ATTITUDE?)
THANK YOU ALL for the Fun, Laughter and Friendship. THANK YOU for a Thanksgiving we won't foget.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our First Pickleball Clinic at Peace River

A few of the players were interested in attending a pickelball clinic to help improve their game. Rich posted the time and place on the white board at the club house a few days prior. Better than 15 people showed up either as spectators or to participate in our first training clinic.
A special thank you to Stan for coming out and helping Rich - They make a pretty good team!!
Here's Rich addressing some of the participants. The clinic only lasted about an hour an half and covered things like - the serve, where to stand on the court, forehand, backhand, dink shots, volley at the net, making line calls and safety on the court. Everyone did a great job, looked like they were having fun and hopefully learned a few new things to help them with their game.

Enjoy the pictures.............

Click on Picture to Enlarge - Use Back Arrow to return to this page. Here are some of the ladies taking turns at the net doing either forehand, backhand or volley shots with Rich.
Click on Picture to Enlarge - Use Back Arrow to return to this page. Here is Rich and Stan along with some of the guys working on forehand, backhand or volley shots at the net. John and Rich demonstrate calling balls in or out!
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More Pickleball Friends arrive - More work on the courts.

The Happy Hour and Monkey Ball Golf over, Sunday meant more of our picklebll friends arriving at Peace River. Stan and Sally left Arcadia and arrived early morning. In the 5th wheel directly behind him was Travis. A little later that day Bruce and Gena arrived. So on Monday morning we had a good group of players enjoying our new courts.

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Even Baxter came out to watch this morning - I think we'll dub him our official pickleball mascot.

As more and more players come into the park - morning play just doesn't seem to be sufficient for many of them. Several days ago, while over in Sebring, Dick picked up 10 ft. of aluminum. The lights that are currently at the courts are really more like street lights, and unfortunately do not provide enough light for night play. Our hope was that we could place them strategically behind the lights in hopes that it would allow the light to reflect further on the courts.

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After cutting the sheets, Rich, Dick, Jack and Stan along with ladder and drill arrived at the courts and set to work. You all know how pickleball players can be creative right? Well Stan wanted to be able to turn on the lights earlier, so with tin snips he proceeded to cut up four soda cans and placed them atop each light covering the sensor!!!!
And VOILA!!!!!
Well................not really - If you look at the pictures above ( that Gena and Stan on the left and Austin and Buddy onthe righ) you'll see that there really still is not enough light to play. Since then Rich and Stan went looking for and pricing some different lights. We're going to see if Peace River will cover the cost!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Hour at the Redneck Castle

Jack and Diane returned to Peace River from Orlando on Thursday. As much as Diane LOVES her Happy Hours - I was surprised she was able to hold off until Saturday to host the first one.

But at 4:oo on Saturday afternoon, the crew started to arive with food and drinks and chairs and BIG smiles- ready to enjoy the evening.

As usual the food was delicious and included pepper steak and noodles, crackers, cheese, sausage and pepperoni, bagle bites, chips and salsa, fruit salad etc. etc.....

Here are all the folks that were there along with Rich and I.

These two really need no introduction......You've seen our hosts for the night on this blog many times already..........the perfect Host and Hostess!

Kevin and Linda have played pickleball before, but not for a while, and we're trying to get them back on the courts. Kevin is an excellent pool player and Rich really enjoys when he comes over the the club house to play.

Our Canadian friends..........Heinz - always the joker has such a great sense of humor. Picked up some great cooking ideas for the pressure cooker from Renata at the courts.......

Kathy and John are parked right in front of the pickleball courts. Kathy is new to the game. Just met these two for the first time a few days ago.

Just met Tom and Karen for the first time a few days ago as well. They too just arrived from Orlando. Karen is a very good pickleball player, and we hope to see Tom on the courts soon.

Again- if you've been following this blog you alreaady met Shelly and John a few times.

It was a surprise to see Stan and Sally. They drove up from Toby's in Arcadia to join the Happy Hour!!!Posted by Picasa
Click on picture to enlarge- Use Back arrow to return to this page. Here's some group shots of casual conversation, people meeting new friends, everyone preparing to eat.........and Diane getting the food list prepared for Thanksgiving Dinner for the group next Saturday!!
As for this picture - It speaks for itself............

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But the dinner and white lightening did not end the evening. Tom and Karen brought the ladder ball /monkey ball game and ladies and men took on some competition. Thank goodness the traffic in the park was light that evening. The balls were flying, and sometimes all the way across the road!!! Jack had Rich playing some game on paper connecting the dots, but we really had to put on the thinking caps when John began to draw in the sand saying......
Everybody listen...........
The Moon is Round
It has two eyes, a nose and a mouth.
Now you do it!
Almost everyone tried and got it WRONG.........But I figured it out.
Sorry - can't give away John's secret !!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pickleball and Lunch Buffett

Our friends Stan and Sally are currently RV'ing at Toby's down in Arcadia and would like to plan to spend the winter there next year. Only thing missing is Pickleball.........and we all know RV'ing and Pickelball are like PeanutButter and Jelly - One's just not the same without the other. Anyway - they want to introduce the game to the park. There is a very large tennis court in the park that the tennis players don't like to use. A little bit of work and it would make either two or four nice pickleball courts. So that people in the park could see what the game was all about, Buddy and John and Shelly went with us this morning to join Stan and Sally who had already chalked the lines on the court.

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Here are some pictures of Sally and Buddy playing Stan and Rich.
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So - of course we all had to pose for a final picture on the soon to be new pickleball courts. Not often that you see me in these pictures - I'm usually behind the camera. Thanks John for including me inthe group! We stopped in the office and left or business cards for the manager. We'll be in contact with him - try to advertise ahead of time for a fun demo and see if we can't get some courts installed.
You never travel away from home with a group of pickeball players without stopping for food!!! And today was no different. We all went to the DeSoto Restaurant in downtown Arcadia where they have a buffett lunch. Nice selection of food and a great price.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday started like most other days - with pickleball in the morning. Stan and Sally drove up from Arcadia to play. We're still trying to get them to spend the winter at Peace River. They are currently at Toby's in Arcadia, which they say is a very nice park. They're also trying to introduce pickleball at the park. Stan said he took the owner out to USAPA and showed them all the places to play in Florida. So tomorrow Rich and I and Buddy are driving to Arcadia to hopefully do a pickleball demo for the owners and the other RV'ers there. Hopefully, we'll have one more RV park with pickleball courts.
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Tuesday evening, Buddy and Brenda joined us for dinner. Take a look at Rich. I'm sure you've already figured out by the eclair in the hand and the smile on the face that we are at Homers. As expected - the food was great. Lot's of seafood on the menu tonight. Shrimp, Scallops, Catfish, Baked Scrod , Crab Cakes and Crab Alfredo. As expected - we were ALL overly full when we left.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Busy Weekend

On Saturday - we were due at Kings Point in Sun City Center. Rich was asked to do a clinic for the Pickleball League, primarily for those players who are preparing for the Florida State Senior Games the first week in December.
So it was up very early, and on the road about 6:45 am. A quick stop at Walmart on the way was necessary as I had run out of batteries for the camera. The clinic was scheduled to start at 8:00 am. There was a group of about 25 people there and even two of the Ambassadors, Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman, who will also be playing in the Senior Games, drove the two hours to Sun City to participate.
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Here is the flyer that Louann had posted at the courts, and some pictures of Rich demonstrating and then working with the group.
Back in Peace River - Saturday was the grand opening of the Hot Fudge Shoppe. From 11-7 they set up a large barbeque grill and table and chairs out near the shuffle board courts and sold Beef Barbeque, beans, and slaw for$6. From 3-7 a D-Jay played a variety of music. The park is not very full - not like we remember it from the past few years, so there were not a lot of people around.
Sunday morning we headed to the courts to play some pickleball, but there was only three of us. Dick is working now, so can't play in the morning. So Buddy and I attempted a couple of single games, and then we played two on one with Rich two or three times. Didn't play for long, but we played hard and had fun.
The Hot Fudge Shoppe started doing breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nice variety. Eggs, Pancakes, Biscuits and Gravy etc. After pickleball we stopped in for breakfast. Two eggs, Two Bacon or Sausage, Homefries, Toast and Coffee for $2.99. It was very good!
Leaving the restaurant - John and Shelly were arriving. Back from Orlando. So we should see them on the courts in the morning. Heinz and Ranate are due in on Wednesday, Jack and Diane on Thursday and Stan and Sally and Travis on Sunday. Ken and Faye should be arriving pretty soon as well, so we should have a great group on the courts .
Here's Stan and Sally !! They moved from Orlando down to Arcadia for their week out, but were in the Wauchula area this afternoon, so they gave us a call, and then stopped by to say HI. We haven't seen them since last winter. I did up a batch of Frozn Dacquari's, and we talked for a while before they headed back to Arcadia. It was SO great to see the two of them again!!

Saying Goodbye AGAIN!!!

It was a bit nippy on Friday morning, but Keith and Marie were back on the courts. Only four or five of us out this morning, so we didn't play for a real long time, but we had fun. We were heading for Sun City Center on Saturday, and they were pulling out on Sunday, so they invited us over for dinner that evening. Fo those of you who don't know - Keith (aka Chef R) is a Chef and Marie says he "loves to cook" for people. The two of them had a catering service at one time, and Keith taught this culinary art for several years. It was such an amusing story to hear how he acquired the name of Chef R ! And of course - we asked the same question I'm sure a lot of people do when they meet him. But while Hell's Kitchen may be a reality show, Keith says it is very much like the real deal. OH MY!!

Here's Keith busy at the stove and Marie fixing me a white russion with their 'home made' Kahlua! Needless to say it was 'wonderful'.

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Marie snapped this shot of Rich as Keith decorated the table with an array of food, sure to please any pallet.

This, my friends, was absolutely delicious. They were both probably getting tired of the two of reapeating this phrase so many times, but it was excellent. These golden pastry shells are filled with lobster, scallops and shrimp..............then toppedwith creamy seafood sauce and
Mmmmmmmmmm - Superb! Baby red potatoes, and a vegetable of mixed peas/carrots rounded out the meal. AND THEN - the warm Tapioca Pudding!!!
We truly enjoyed having the opportunity to spend time and get to know Keith and Marie better. Or previous meeting a couple of years ago was a quick one on the pickleball courts in Orlando. Not only did they provide this absolutely wonderful dinner, they gave us a bottle of their homemade Kahlua. Thank you Both.
And of course - you all know that we are animal lovers, so we want you to know that Nala got a sufficient amount of our attention.
Keith - Maybe one day we'll have that 'mixed generation' pickleball match. You and your son, against Rich and Denny. Denny - if you're reading this - you better get your butt back out there on the courts before we get there!!!
In the meantime, Keith and Marie will head for Texas - but perhaps we'll meet up with them and Harry and Karen this summer in PA.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye to New Friends......

Just a small get together tonight at our place to say goodbye to Harry and Karen. While we had met them and Keith and Marie a year or so ago, we never got a chance to really get to know each other. Over the past week, we've had some good times at the pickleball courts, and happy hours. Harry and Karen leave tomorrow morning, and we probably won't meet up again until this summer when we pass through PA.. Keith and Marie will be gone tomorrow but back on the courts Friday and Saturday before they leave on Sunday.

It rained this morning, so no one was on the courts. Rich left for Sun City Center to meet up with his doubles partner for practice, and the rain held off for them. The sky looked pretty threatening most of the day but it didn't rain and spoil or evening affair!! Actually, until the mosquitos arrived at dusk, the evening was very pleasant.

Harry, Keith, Rich and Buddy - The guys took the back corner. Sorry to say that Brenda was not feeling well, so wasn't able to join us tonight. We were glad to see Buddy though . He fixed Brenda a nice plate of food before he left, and promised to tell her how much she was missed.

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I don't think Harry likes the camera!! I just can't seem to get him to face me when I point and shoot!! Although it looks like whatever Keith is talking about, has got his full attention.

In the meantime - the ladies circle the area to grab a few more pictures. Marie however, stops long enough to give me her best smile and a big "HI There!"
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Karen, Marie - Here's that soft focus feature in Picasa that we discussed tonight. Great picture of you two.
And then there was food! (And I almost got Harry to look at the camera). We feasted on meatballs, ham/cheese roll-ups, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, shrimp salad finger sandwitches and deviled eggs. Marie made her excellent chocolate fudge, and Karen some delicious peanut brittle.
We'll miss you guys !!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A mini clinic at Torrey Oaks, and the nets go up to finish the courts.

Everyone was ready to play a little pickleball this morning, but we wanted to make sure the courts were completely dryso we headed up to Torrey Oaks to play. Rich had mentioned that he would be setting up a video and doing a clinic here in the not too distant future. Harry and Karen are leaving the park on Thursday and Keith and Marie will follow on Sunday - so they wanted the chance to get a little training before they left. Rich gave them the video (21 Clinics by Coach MO) to watch. Marie came back the next morning and asked when Rich could do his clinic and Monday seemed to be the best day.
We arrived at Torrey Oaks just after 8:00am, and Richard, one of the Torrey Oaks residents came over to join in on the training. The class lasted about 2 hours and Rich left the group with several drills to work on to improve their games.
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Here's a picture of all the students with their 'teacher' for the day. Afterwards, despite the winds (and it was VERY VERY windy; definately a bad hair day) - we played a few games to practice what we learned and then headed back to PR.

Over the past couple of weeks we've had a chance to listen to Buddy practice for his "jam session" Primarily country music, Buddy sings and plays the guitar. He and his partner are scheduled for jam sessions, including Kareoke at a couple of the neightboring parks and will be doing them here in Peace River on Tuesday evenings. Ya'll stop by! He headed out this afternoon for his first session and returned in time to help put the nets back up on the courts.
What da'ya think? Look pretty good don't they!! Tomorrow - provided hurricane IDA does not send rain our way - we will Christen the courts at 8:00 am. Posted by Picasa