Thursday, December 31, 2009

Round Robin to End the Pickleball Year

After all the cold mornings this past week, it was great to see sunshine today. And perfect timing. for our first tournament here at TT Peace River; a random draw, round robin envent. I headed down to the courts first to get myself registered. Rich wasn't playing in the tournament today, but was there to help if/when needed. There was a real good turnout; enough to hold a separate mens' and ladies' competition. For us ladies - that was the best news of the day!

Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page. Speaking of the ladies, here they are having a great time on the courts. Definately some pretty good rallies and some close games. Veteran players like Sally and Barb were expected to play well, but newer players like Christie, Crystal and Diane didn't back down. The games were fun to watch and fun to play; amd everyone felt like winners!!

Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page: Meanwhile - off the court - most couldn't take their eyes off the games. But there were so many new people in the park, and some of the regulars just returning from family holiday visits - there was a lot putting names to new faces.

This is Dave and Barbara Hart, two pickleball players that we just had the pleasure of meeting a few days ago. I think they wanted to make sure they didn't miss ANY pickleball - they are sitting facing the courts, watching the tournament, and that is their Motor Home right behind them. Home for them is at The Voyager Resort in Tuscon, AZ, where we have mutual friends - David and Nancy Jordan.

Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page: The men's competition featured some excellent matches, many being won or lost by just a couple of points. What was so great about this competition was the vast age difference in the players. The youngest was Austin who is just 14 ( He always says he' almost 15!) The oldest was Ken at 77 (I might be off a year!). There were 20's and 30's and 40's, right on up. As luck would have it, Ken and Austin were paired together in the very first game of the round robin (top left photo) - and set the pace with a very close game - losing 12-10 to their opponants. There were so many long games - that the men's competion was still going on long past that of the ladies.

The winners of the ladies' competition are: Sally (1st). Diane (2nd) , and Barbara (3rd)

Winners of the mens' competion - Mike (1st), Austin (3rd) and Dave (2nd)

This just goes to show you that pickleball is for everyone - a real family affair. Pictured above is the Showalter Family, Nathan, Crystal and Austin. Not only did the three of them play in the tournament, Mom and Dad Showalter were the host and organizers of today's event. Congratulations on a job well done and thank you for a really fun tournament.

Here is a group shot of today's Peace River Picklers.

Dinner with Friends at Tanglewood

On Wednesday Rich and I headed over to Sebring to visit and dine with Bob and Kathy Hughes. Last winter we had a great time with them at Tanglewood. While we elected to return to Peace River in Wauchula this year, Bob and Kathy elected to purchase a permanant site at Tanglewood, where they can leaeve their rig parked for the summer and return each winter. Last year they had an interior lot, but this year moved to a beautiful lot along the perimiture of the park. No neighbors in the back allows them to see the beautiful view day and night from their back window. They did a lot of work on the lot, clearning brush and planting to make it look like home.
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This is a small sample of how nice the site looks. The Christmas Poinsiattas were beautiful. Kathy said she had planted several Merigold, but their seems to be a pet turtle the likes to feast on the buds.
Kathy and Bob love hot and spicy food - so we thought this variety of flavorful hot sauces was perfect for the two of them. We know that Bob likes his sweets, so they also got some home made cookies and fudge. But the best part of the day was just getting a chance to sit and chat and catch up on what's been going on. Bob is having some problems with his back so he's limited himself to the gym, and some bike riding while Kathy has been busy, as usual, with tennis and cards and even pickleball for the past few weeks.
Here is the four of us, Bob, Rich, me and Kathy just finishing up our meal at Homers Buffett in Sebring. Yes - that is a chocolate eclair that Rich is tryin so hide behind the napking container. I think we counted only four eclairs tonight instead of six; cherry pie and ice cream took the place of the other two. Homers is always a great place to dine - Great soup and salad bar too. A little of something for everyone.
It was great visiting with Bob and Kathy - and hope to do it a couple more times before the winter is over.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another Christmas with Friends

Today we were invited to celebrate the holidays one more time with Friends in Wesley Chapel. We left for the ride back home and arrived at the home of our good friends Don and Linda by about 10:30

Posted by PicasaClick on picture to enlarge: use back arrow to return to this page. The house, both inside and outside was full of holiday spirit. The Christmas Tree sparkled in the family room. After some crackers and cheese and a glass of wine, we enjoyed a delicious meal of Turkey and all the fixins.

We finished off with a superb chocolate cake ordered special from Publix. Outstanding! The dinner was so good ( and Linda made this new cornbread/sausage/apple stuffing that was perfect!) that even Rich could only handle one piece of cake. But Don and Linda sent him home with enought for a very large midnight snack.

Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page: But Cheyanne was not having the best day. This morning Don and Linda awoke to find Cheyanne with his left paw cut and bleeding. So they cleaned it and wrapped it to allow it to heal. Buy Cheyanne wanted to continue to chew the bandage. Unfortunately, Cheyanne was left with no choice but to wear the cone to keep him from pulling off the bandage. He and his brother Dakota both still enjoyedtheir special holiday treats though.

Pickleball is generally played on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at Meadow Pointe, but Don had contacted the group to see if anyone wanted to come out and play while we were visiting.

Click on picture to enlarge: Use back arrow to return to this page. Top left is our friend Don. To the right is our "Pickelball Family Photo" Judy and Misty are mother and daughter - along with their significant others. Bottom left is Ruthann. This is the first we have seen her in a long time, since her knee surgery. Today she made it through four games and was quite pleased. And rouding out the pictures is Mary and Renee. Mary's love of running allows her to cover the court better than any of us, and Renee - well she is the very first one of our friends that we introduced to the game of pickleball.

Click on picture to enlarge - Use Back arrow to return to this page: And here is the group enjoying the brisk weather and a few games on the courts of Meadow Pointe II. We had a wonderful day and enjoyed seeing our MP Pickler friends.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day

Our stockings were hung by the chimney ( well, next to the Christmas Tree!) with care, in hopes that St. Nick soon would be there..............

Yes - the tree looked much bigger in the picture yesterday - but it's not the size of the tree, it's the love and holiday cheer that went into putting it up! And Santa didn't seem to mind either. He left us pictures of the Grandkids along with T-Shirts from their All-Star Teams gift cards, a new VideoRecorder (yes, now you'll get to see Movies of Rich on the court - not just those still shots!!!) and a new Garmin GPS System. The wine glasses were nice too! But most of all we got to talk with family and friends and to spend the day with good friends. We talked with Dennis and the family, my brother Dave and good friends Dieter and Helen from Pa.
In the afternoon we headed for Torrey Oaks RV Resort in Bowling Green to meet up with Stan and Sally and Ken and Fay.
Here's Sally - She and Stan met us at the door with hugs and Christmas Cheer and bearing gifts of even more goodies. Everyone hopes to get a tin of Sally's Home made Trail mix! Here she is preparing White Russians ( Kalua, vodka and cream) for Rich and I - and one for herself. Yes they were excellent!

And here she is with Stan . The RV was beautifully decorated for the holiday.

Not long after - there was another knock at the door as Ken and Fay arrived. Faye elected to stay with her burbon for now, and Ken prepares himself a grasshopper. ( I think most of us shared a taste!)Posted by Picasa

And here they are - Faye and Ken with their best Merry Xmas Smiles!

After a little socializing it was time to meet up with Richard (Rivard) and the rest of the Torrey Oaks Crew for our Holiday Dinner.

Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page: The pictures above are from our dinner. There were probably 50 or 60 people. Torrey Oaks provided the Turkey (oven baked or smoked) mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. Everyone else brought a dish to pass. There was everything you can think of: green bean and artichoke casseroles, sweet potatoes, cranberry salads, pasta salads, rolls and breads and lots of desserts, including Ken's Pumpkin Pie. Music and dancing followed dinner - with Faye the featured line dancer and Sally the Smashing Sensation of the night!!! But before that........

Rich tries to open the bottle of wine for dinenr - as Sally shares another Christmas Hug!

And this rose between two thorns - yes that's me getting a Christmas Hug of my own from Ken and Richard. Posted by Picasa

And the Star of the evening! Sally shakes her tambourine !!
Merry Christmas to AllPosted by Picasa

Christmas Eve

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Most all of our friends left the park to be with family or close friends in the area, so it was just the two of us this year. But over the next several days we would be seeing several of them, so we spent Wednesday and Thursday cooking and baking and filling Christmas Tins with goodies for our friends. This year we made cookies, chocolate and chocolate nut fudge, peanut butter fudge and potato candy.
We had an early, un-traditional Xmas Eve Dinner with Pot Roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and home made biscuits. Before settling in for a movie - we took a stroll through the park. That's our Christmas Tree - upper left corner. I know - a bit of an improvement from last year's! The rest are just a few of the rigs in the park that decorated for the holiday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Entertainment by Chrissy Harriman!!

Well, Rich did venture out a little later in the day on Saturday. Actually, by late afternoon the wind had died down, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day for an afternoon walk. and so we did -a stroll down the trail along the Peace River. Rich took off to play pool after dinner, and then I met up with him at 7:00 at the Meeting House, where Chrissy Harriman was the evening's entertainment.

Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page. Chrissy Harriman lives just north of here in Winter Haven, and it's easy to understand why she is in demand in Central and South Central Florida. The pictures above tell a little bit about the program. She sings and plays the keyboard, with songs from the 50's and 60's, Country, Big Band, Rock and Rythem and Blues. A natural comedian, she has a great way of getting everyone in the audience involved, even the kids. Let me tell you - we sang - we danced and we laughed SO HARD. There were some people in the audience that were great - not afraid to let loose and just have a good time.

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Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page. Just about everyone took to the floor to dance. You may recognize a couple of the people in the pictures above. Larry and Dottie (upper right corner) are great dancers, especially couples line dancing. Bottom left is Karen, Dottie and Dawn. It was fun being back on the floor doing some line dancing again. If any of you are going to be in TT Orlando in January - Chrissy is doing her first show there. Sorry, can't remember the dates. Don't miss any chance you might have to see one of her shows.
The evening ended with a tribute to our men and women in the armed forces, as we all stood , joined hands and raised our arms as we sang - Proud to Be an American. And the final dance of the night?
Good Night, Sweetheart, Good Night.

Saturday Morning Pickleball

Over the past week or so there have been a lot of new people in the park. On Wednesday we probably had twelve or fourteen out playing in the morning. Some were new to the park and some were also new to pickleball this year. So we planned a happy hour for Friday evening so that everyone could socialize and get to know each other better. Several would be leaving the park on Saturday or Sunday. Unfortunately, it rained all day long on Friday, so we needed to cancel our get-to-gether.

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The cold weather kept a few players inside. As you can see, many of us came bundled in our sweat pants and sweat shirts. But here are a few more people that we played with this week. In the center (from left to right) is Buddy, Tracy, Tom and Dick), Clockwise from top left: Tracy and Keith, Tom and Greg (Greg snuck out for just a few games - he usually home schools his kids in the AM), Renate and Karen and Rene and Larry. Where is Rich? Did I tell you the temperature was only in the 50's? Yes - now you know.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Line Dancing, Pickleball, Bingo Pool and Xmas Carols

So what else has been going on? Well it's been pickleball, billiards, pickleball, Bingo, line dancing, pickleball and musical entertainment.

This is Dottie!! My Line Dancing Partner

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings Dottie and I have been meeting at the Meetin' House for line dancing. This week it's only been the two of us. I guess 8:30 in the morning is too early for the rest of the line dancers. Both of us are experienced line dancers - so with no training/teaching necessary - we just danced and danced and danced for an hour an a half. Then we would head for the pickleball courts at about 10:00 to get in a few games before everyone else called it a day. Rich has been playing most every morning.

On Wednesdy evening, Mike Thomas was back in the park and did a great musical performance. He did a little of the oldies, and a lot of Christmas Music. What a great evening.

Most every night after dinner, Rich heads down to play pool with Lee. There's a new player in the park, Charlie - who is an excellent player - so the games have been a bit more of a challenge. And that's perfect fo Rich!!!

On Tuesday evening evening - all the employees of the Park serenaded us with Xmas Carols!! They certainly will not make it big time - or cut a CD any time soon, but they were certainly having fun riding around the park and entertaining the RV'ers. Merry Xmas!!!!
Monday and Thursday nights are Bingo. I didn't make it on Monday - but went up to play on Thursday. Not a big crowd, and the regular games only paid $3. I split one game with someone else and won $1.50. Then I won the last game with a full card which paid $10, plus a free sundae at the Hot Fudge Shoppe. I kept the money and gave Rich the gift certificate for the hot fudge Sundae.
On Friday we had planned a Happy Hour. There are so many new people here playing pickleball, that we wanted to be able to get us all together for an evening of good appetizers and good conversation. Unfortunately - the weather did not cooperate! Rainy and Windy most of the day. Tom and Margie did come over for a little while this afternoon. We had a couple of drinks and some Chicken Tequitos and then called it a day when it started getting a bit more windy and rainy. We had met the two of them two years ago in Clermont, but this was the first time we had the opportunity to spend a little more time getting to know them. you believe I FORGOT TO TAKE THEIR PICTURE????? But they don't leave until Wednesday - so I still have time.

Dinner with Stan and Sally

On Tuesday (Dec 15th) we were invited to dinner with Stan and Sally's. They had left Peace River a few days before and went just a few miles up the road to the Torrey Oaks RV Resort.
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We know you've seen these two before on our BLOG -They are very special people - great friends - and we truly enjoy spending time with them. This is Stan and Sally - our hosts for the evening.
Stan and Sally had also invited Richard to join us for dinner. Richard Rivard is from Canada and snow birds at Torrey Oaks each winter. A pretty darn good pickleball player - he's been coming over to Peace River to play in the morning - awaiting the rest of the players to arrive. He's at Torrey Oaks by himself - but his girlfriend will be visiting soon. Hope we get a chance to meet her.
Here's Rich and I - enjoying the evening. Before dinner, Stan and Sally told us that they were in the process of purchasing a lot at Torrey Oaks, They took us for a walk through the park and showed us the lot they were hoping to purchase. Nice lot that backs up to the golf course. We walked a bit more and checked out the Rec Room, pool tables etc. and then headed back for dinner.
What a great dinner. Stan cooked Sirloin Steaks and potatoes on the Grill. Here is is taking them off the grill! They were excellent!! Add a salad, beans and rolls and dinner was perfect. Stan - you can cook dinner for us ANT TIME!!!
We had a great time. The food and company was excellent. Stan and Sally have since let us know that they have finalized their sale and are definately now residents of Torrey Oaks. Congratulations! It will be great to have our good friends here in Florida EVERY WINTER!!

Pickleball Skills Clinic - Sun City Center

Can't believe it's been so long since I've updated our Blog. I guess I've been pretty busy with the USAPA newsletter, and updating our Atlantic South Pickleball Blog. But.........let's try and bring us up-to-date!!

On Saturday December 14th, Rich and I headed over to Sun City Center to do a Skills Clinic for the Sun City Center Pickleball Club. Mike Perkins, the President of the Club, knew we had done a similar clinic for the Kings Point League, so he put up a flyer asking his members if they would be interested in a training clinic. There was a great response, so Mike called and we scheduled a time that was good for everyone.

Click on Picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page. Here's Rich working with the group. There was a very nice turnout for the clinic. He did a nice job getting everyone involved in practicing their form, serve, forehand, backhand and volleys at the net. He had them practice one on one with volley shots, and gave them drills to work on to improve their soft game (dink shots), forehand and backhand shots and offensive lobs.

Neil Nightengale, who is the former Regional Ambassador also came to the courts that day. It was nice to see Neal. His health does not allow him to play as frequently as he'd like, but he was looking great. He game me (Donna) a license plate that said Pickleball, Atlantic South Regional Ambassador. I Love IT!!!
This is Rich and I with Mike Perkins - President of the Sun City Picklebll Club

And here is Rich with most of the players from Sun City who participated in the clinic. Will never remember all their names - but they all made us feel very welcome. They gave Rich and I a $25 Raceway Gas Card to help pay for our travel expeses. What a grat gesture. We truly appreciated it - even though we told them we did not want any reimbursement for what we truly enjoy doing. !

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Jam Session

When we retuned from pickleball and happy hour with friends at Torrey Oaks today, we headed down to the the store to check out the activities board and saw that there was a Jam Session at the Meeting Hall tonight at 7:00 pm. After all the good food today - there was no need to plan dinner, but I did need to make a quick trip to the grocery store as Rich was out of "goodies".
Rich headed down to play billiards with Lee just after 6:00 pm, and at 7:00 I headed over to the Meeting House for the Jam Session. Have never been to a "jam session" before, but I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I love country music; and tonight I felt like I was officially a "hill billy!
When I arrived, the group was already playing. There was a group of about 15 or 16 musicians that took turns taking the mike and singing/playing their favorite song. After they played, they invited people from the audience to come up and sing. Some of them were very very good and others - well - the singing was not that great, but you could tell they were having a great time despite their voice. And the audience was enjoying it as well.
Now -Rich is not real big into country music so this was 'not his bag'. But our friend Buddy was hosting the 'jam session' tonight - so he did stop in an listen to a few of the songs. Posted by Picasa
You all remember Buddy? Yes earlier you all saw him out on the picklebll court! And remember Austin - the 14 year old young man that was playing pickleball with Mom and Dad today at Torrey Oaks? Well - these two were the best of the group tonight, and that's Buddy and Austin center stage in the picture above.
The group sang a variety of songs by country artists like Merl Haggard, George Jones, Alan Jackson to name a few. There was a great song sung by one of the woman. Can't remember the name of the song, but she was a great singer. It was about a lady who alone in a bar had seven drinks with a guy she didn't know. This lady could not only sing, she was a great entertainer. Other songs included "It's a Little Too Late" and oldies like "Summertime". My favorite was Buddy's singing of "Chase Each other around the Room Tonight", and Austin's - Johnny Cash song - "My name is Sue."
Rich took off after a few songs - and headed back to play a few more games of pool. I'll definately be back again to listen to these 'jam sessions"

Pickleball Happy Hour - Torrey Oaks

Today our friends Stan and Sally Michalski from Michigan planned a great day of pickleball and good food at the Torrey Oaks RV Resort in Bowling Green. Stan and Sally just moved to Torrey Oaks from the Peace River Preserve in Wauchula - just 5 or 6 miles south on US Hwy 17. Stan and Sally generally stay the winter at Peace River, so I think after only ONE day they missed all of us that they left behind. Pickelball and Food will always bring this group together quickly - especially Jack and Diane; just mention Happy Hour and Diane is there!!! About fifteen of us made the trip up US Hwy 17 . Pickleball started at 1:00 with Happy Hour to follow at 3:00 - followed by more pickleball for those still ready to play.

There are eleven paddles lined up, waiting to take over the two courts, where eight others are already playing. Jean had not yet made it out of her golf cart, so her paddle was not yet in line for play.
Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page. Here are some pictures of everyone enjoying the day and their time on the courts. There are only two courts at Torrey Oaks, but because they are back to back instead of side by side - you never hear "ball on the court!!!"

Click on picture to enlarge- use back arrow to return to this page. More pictures of the group playing. But then, check below - to meet our friends - up close and personal!

Woody and Pat, just arrived a few days ago for the Clermont Thousand Trails park, near Orlando. Pat wasn't playing today, but said she was very much looking forward to Rich's clinic on Saturday. Woody and Pat are new friends this year.
Larry and Dottie also just arrived from the Clermont Thousand Trails. Friends Keith and Marie send us an e-mail a few days before they arrived telling us what good players they were, and told us to give them a wam welcome. We just met them for the first time today, so Marie if you are reading this, we will take very good care of them. And you're right - they are very good players.
Ken and Faye (with and E) need no introduction. We met them three years ago right here in Peace River. They officially "pickled" Rich and I not long after we learned to play, and we have carried on their "pickle" tradition for new players ever since. They are very instrumental in promoting pickleball during the summer at their home part in Chesapeake Bay.

We introduced you to Doug and Karen a while back, at our Thanksgiving Celebration, I think. Karen was not out playing today - but we hope to see both of them at our clinic on Saturday.

Yes - I know you've met Richard before! Richard hails from Canada and purchased a lot (actually two of them) at Torrey Oaks. Until the pickleball players arrive for the season, he often comes down to Peace River to play with our group. His second lot is right next to where he is parked, and today he took us over to see it. Should we need a week or two out from Peace River, he has offered to rent it out to us. Wouldn't that be FUN!! Torrey Oaks is a beautiful park.

We have probably spent more time with these three people than anyone else so far this season. We just met Jack and Diane for the first time this year, and we want so much for them to extend their stay at Peace River. They will be spending the holiday with family in Ft. Lauderdale, and then are planning on going to Texas for the remainder of the winter. If we have our way they will be HERE or at Torrey Oaks. Just having tooooooooo much fun playing pickleball and having Happy Hours.

Garrett and Jean are also from Michigan. Previously, the two of them spent most of their time at Thousand Trails, but Jean is now the pickleball instructor at Torrey Oaks. The two parks do a lot of stuff together, and again this year we are looking at putting on some friendly competition. Today we are at Torrey Oaks - but we will be inviting their crew here for our Indoor showing of Coach Mo's 21 Clinics DVD in January.

We met Jim and Tracy a couple of years ago here in Peace River. Today was the first time since then that we have seen them. Great to have them back in Florida for the winter. They will be staying either here or in TT Orlando until May - so we should have some good games on the courts, and some good Happy Hours together.
Meet Austin, Crystal and Nathan. Actually we met Austin two summers ago at Thousand Trails in South Carolina, where he came out and played a few games with us. This year he and his dad, Nathan have both been out on the courts at Peace River. Today was the first time that we met Mom, Crystal. These three have made pickleball a "family affair". Austin is a great little pickleball player

Posted by PicasaAnd here are our good friends Stan and Sally Michalski - Our Hosts for the day. Sally was so excited about getting everyone together today. We had hoped that these two would be spending the winter here at Peace River, but Stan, was not able to get his job back here this year, and with the monthly rentals at Torrey Oaks - staying there for a couple of months made more sense. Thank goodness they are only a few miles up the road. And the four of us need to get back in touch with Toby's down in Arcadia to work on getting pickleball set up for next year!! Stan and Sally - thanks for planning today- It was a really fun day!!

But - not over yet. At 3:00 the ladies headed for the lounge to get the food laid out for Happy Hour.
Click on picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page. What great food. We set up the food in the lounge - but ate outside on the terrace. Happy hour food included sweedish meatballs, sausage balls, sausage, peppers and onion, ham and cheese roll ups, crackers and cheese, nachos and dip, flat bread and tuna salad, sandwiches, watermellon...etc. What a great facility for entertaining. After some food and conversation, some of us headed back to Peace River, and some went back to the courts for more pickleball.
Thank you Stan and Sally for a great day of fun and food with great friends.