Saturday, December 25, 2010


Must be that we were pretty good this year, cuz Santa made a visit. Actually, Rich and I do not buy a lot of gifts for each other any more. But it is a day that always brings back the memories of being a kid, leaving out the milk and cookies, trying your hardest to get to sleep so Santa wouldn't pass you buy and later making the trip to Midnight Mass to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. It's remembering the smiles on the faces of your children and grandchildren as they were experiencing the same. It's giving, sharing and laughing with family and close friends and being thankful for all that we have and all that we've experienced.

But the kid in me, still insists on a tree and stockings. I know - the presents overpower that huge tree - but great things come under small trees - and Santa stuffed our stockings until they were over flowing!

One of the best gifts are those that you can keep forever and we truly treasure the pictures of Dalton and Chauna (the grandkids) and from our very good friends Stan and Sally as they show off their very own Palm Tree!!

At 3:00 this afternoon Christmas Dinner was being served at the Meeting House here at Thousand Trails, Peace River. This year there were about 160 RV'ers joining in the festivities. All the food was set up in the Meeting House, but additional tables and beverages were also set up in the Adult Lounge. (No pool tables in the lounge just now - as a NEW TILE floor was just installed - and it looks great!) All 160 of us joined in the meeting house for the blessing and then those dining in the Adult Lounge made their way to the food table first. Our table was one of the last to find our way to the food - but there was still tons of food and desserts left. The park supplied the turkey, ham, stuffing and gravy and everyone else brought a dish to pass. The park also provided lemonaid, coffee and complementary wine for everyone. Ticket numbers were called after dinner for door prizes of wine, blankets, coffee mugs and umbrellas! They really organized the day very well.
And we had the pleasure of dining with new pickleball friends Roger and Linda.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Holiday Season is in Full Force

How does that song go? "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" This holiday season is proving to be no exception. While we are not able to be with our loved ones this year, we are truly enjoying the friendships of our RV family.
On Tuesday and Wednesday this week it was finishing up the shopping (well - starting it for one of us. And I won't mention any names....Rich!). On Wednesday evenings we met up with Bruce and Gena for pot luck at the Meet'n House and then wished them Happy Holidays as they headed off to be with family. Later that night, I went back to call Card Bingo. I had forgotten to bring my camera - so was not able to capture Santa in his flannel shorts with HO HO HO scribed on the back side - or the TT Staff singing Christmas Carols to all of us and handing out Candy Canes from Santa's sack.
On Thursday it was back to the pickleball courts for Rich, and I joined up with the line dancers. At 1:00, I was back on the courts teaching four more new people how to play pickleball. That brings our total to about 13 new players that we've introduced to the game in the past couple of months.
The Happy Hour Queen is back in the I'm sure it won't take you long to figure out where the group gathered on Thursday evening.

Jack and Dian's Red Neck Castle was decorated in Holiday Style - with festive foilage, snowmen and candy cane lights. We were one of the first to arrive - as I had promised to bring her the nutmeg to top of the traditional EggNog Punch - perfectly made with a hint of fine liquors. The table was soon overflowing with an array of fine foods and the dessert for the evening was a delicious chocolate mint cake.

Remember - you can click on any of thee pictures to enlarge!

Included in the Happy Hour circle tonight are (starting top left) are: Jerry, Vivian and their son Danny, Happy Hour Hosts - Jack and Diane, Sally and Santa Stosh, Brenda and Buddy and Linda and Roger.

And joining Rich and I are (starting top left) are: Neil and Shirley, Bob and Janet, Will and Ella and Woody and Pat.

Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah

to all our friends and family!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pickleball Clinic On Monday

Last Friday at the courts Tracy asked when Rich was doing another pickleball clinic - she had missed the last one and said she was leaving on Wednesday. So the clinic was scheduled for Monday at 1:00pm. A small group - but we had a good time, and the weather was perfect!

Pictured above practicing their volley's at the net are : Art (top left) He just learned how to play this year and is enjoying it so much!! He's on the court every day! To the right is Roger, and then Teresa. Teresa just arrived in the park about 1/2 hour before the clinic - and left her husband to set up the rig while she came to the clini. Right below Teresa is Tracy who will play all day long if someone is there to play!. Bottom left is Jerry, then Roger's wife Linda, and finally the youngest of the group - Danny who is Jerry's son. Everyone did great, had a good time and asked lots of questions...............and learned a few more rules of the game they never knew!

Nice picture of the group!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday Night Live - Hometown Holiday - Wauchula

Friday night Rich and I headed to Main St. Wauchula for the monthly Friday Night Live. This month's theme was Hometown Holiday.

Main Street and the Stage area was beautifully decorated with holiday lights and tinsel. The music was appropriate for the holidays with three different groups including the Band Fuel, a group from the First Baptist Church of Bowling Green and a Youth Choir

There were so many booths set up that night including Holiday Gift Baskets, Home made cakes, Fresh Boiled Peanuts, Chile and Cornbread for 2011 Graduates, Quilts and Holiday Plants. One of my favorites was the "The Kitchen of Granny Rich" a table full of various chocolates! And of coursr H.A.R.T, with their animals up for adoption.
The plans were to have 15 ton of snow for the kids, complete with a hill to slide down........Unfortunately the snow machine broke. But this kids were having a ball making snowballs!!

An after playing in the snow they got to meet Santa, sit on his lap, tell him they've been good boys and girls and ask for their favorite holiday gift!
Also on display tonigh were some older cars ( sorry - I don't know one old car from another - but I think they were Thunderbirds? And how about this Truck - think you can pull your 5th wheel with this one!!
And of course - before we left, Rich had to make a stop for one of his favorits - the Awesome Funnel Cake!!!
We didn't stay for a real long time - but long enough to stop at all the booths and listen to a little music.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pickleball Workshop - Sun City Center

Rich and I were scheduled to do a pickleball skills clinic with the Sun City Center Pickleball Club on Monday. The clinic was to begin at 9am. If you've been following the weather here in Florida, then you know that we are experiencing some exceptionally cold days. When we awoke on Monday morning it was in the 30's with winds blustering from 18-20 mpr, making it "feel like" about 27 degrees!!!! We assumed the weather was the same over in Sun City Center - but not knowing we began to dress in several layers...........It was just a few minutes after seven when the phone rang, and it was Mike Perkins, the Pickleball Club President. They were experiencing the same type of weather, but the forecast was also for some possible light we rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon. WHEW!!! We were SOOOOOO Glad - because unless it was absolutely critical - no one was stepping outside their rigs!

How quickly the weather can change down here!!! Above are some pictures taken on Wednesday afternoon. It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon and we had a great time. We had done a similar clinic about this time last year - and we were thrilled when Mike called to invite us back again this year.

Everyone posed for the "group picture". That's Mike Perkins on the far left.......and Rich is there in the back row!!! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dalton and Chauna

It's that time again. Time to show off a few more pictures of the grandkids. We are so very proud of their accomplishments, whether it's sports, academics or musical talent!

Daltons' Football team this year went undefeated. Congrats!!!

Both of them love to read. Dalton got top honors for 2009-10. I think that miss Chauna is trying hard for the 2010-11. Congrats to Dalton - and good luck to Chauna. Posted by Picasa

On December 9th they both played in their school concert.
The holidays are fast approaching and we so much miss not being able to be with Dennis and Crystal and the kids. But we are so very proud of all of them! Love you Guys!!!!!!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today, some of the folks joined up with a group from Torrey Oaks and made the trip to the Peace River Refuge and Ranch in Zolfo Springs.

This is an exotic animal sanctuary that is dedicated to the care of abused, confiscated, neglected or unwanted exotic animals.

On these 90 acres, rescued animals are given a permanant home in a large natural habitat, with a skilled staff that makes sure the nutritional, medical and emotional needs of the animals are met.

For ten years now the animals at the ranch have one day when they all get to share the holidays. Visitor's to the ranch today got to celebrate with them as they all got stockings or paper mache gifts filled with goodies. As we watch the animals enjoy their gifts we heard many of stories that brought these rescued animals to the ranch, and some of them just broke your heart.

Posted by Picasa Lots of monkeys including the capuchin, lemurs and spider monkeys/ All of them were rescuded from the Sarasota, Bradenton Childrens Zoo after the attraction closed their doors.
Black Bears Molly, Dolly and Elizabeth Rose were rescued from Frontier Town in Hudson, NY - after the park closed and the bears were left abandoned in the same enclosure for more than three years, where a caretaker and some neighbors periodically dropped off donuts and pizza etc and dropped them through a chute to the animals. Such a sad story. But look at how happy they are now!!
Lions and Tigers and Panters and Cougars, a Siberian Lynx...just a few of the cats on the ranch, and each with a hearbreaking story- like the white tiger, rescued at the age of three from an abusive breeder - but at 400 lbs today - he is happy and healthy and loves his home on the ranch.
Tortoise, the Cotton Top Tamarin, Duck and two Patagonian Cavies surround one of the many paper mache gifts that was part if the animal's holidy party that all of us got to enjoy with them.
It was a very emotional and educational day. If you get a chance to take the tour - we would highly recommend it. Here is a link to more information about the Peace River Refuge and Ranch. Posted by Picasa

Friday Night Dance with Bobby Mack!

This has been a busy week - I've been doing the three mile walk three mornings a week, and line dancing on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The weather has been pretty cold, so we haven't seen a lot of people out early in the morning playing pickleball, and even with the lights on the courts, the cold weather has kept the players off the courts. Since the warmest part of the day was in the afternoon - a lot of us would come out at 3:00 and play with the beginner group. Rich and his tournament partners continue to try to get some practice together, so he's been down to Sebring at Highlands Ridge a couple of times.

Friday night brought out all the dancers in the park. At 7:00 the music began at the meet'n house.

Here's a few of the people at our table: Art and Hedy ( our pickleball "newbies"), Linda and Rich (who you can't see!) Rene and Mira and Tracy. Bruce and Gena were also sitting with us.

Tracy and I out for our first line dance of the night!
Bruce and Gena and Earl the Pearl and Mary (two more pickleball newbies).

Tracy and Karen in the center as the group attempts to do the "STROL".
Posted by Picasa
And you can tell the group got more roudy as the night went on, with lots of line dancing - the Macarana, the Cupid Shuffle and......
Y. M. C. A
Lots of great music and dancing tonight - and a lot of fun!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Off to Estero for the Florida State Games

On Friday we packed our bags and headed for Estero, Florida, which is located just south of Ft. Myers, for the Florida State Senior Championship Games. We arrived around 3:00 in the afternoon at our hotel, the Hampton Inn and Suites located just of I-75 in Estero. We chose this hotel primarily for it's location close to the pickleball venue. Very nice accomodations for a reasonable price, and a very nice hot breakfast buffet each mornings.

The Estero Community Center was open for practice play on Friday evening from 4:00 to 7:00pm, so we headed over there, where Rich got a chance to play with his doubles partner for the first time. It was only one day before the registration deadline, when he and Paul Coletta, from Flat Rock, NC decided to play together. Paul was already planning on coming down for the mixed doubles and singles competition, so was glad to be able to find a partner for doubles.

Also arriving that evening was Gordon and Michelle, Linda, Diane and Gail from Tanglewood, and it was so nice to visit with them. Gordon and Michelle were also staying at the Hampton Inn - so we all made plans to meet for dinner that evening at Applebee's Restaurant. Lot of folks in town for the tournament - so it was pretty busy. But it was 2 for 1 happy hour, so we grabbed a beer or wine at the bar while waiting for a table. We had a very enjoyable evening. I had the waitress take a picture - but I must have had the camera on the wrong setting!!!

On Saturday morning we arrived early at the courts; Rich was scheduled to play at 9:00. Saturday was the men's and ladies' doubles competition. I didn't realize that I had the camera on the wrong setting until Rich and his partner had already finished their match!!! It was best two out of three and they were playing against a team from Solavita - and they took the first two games and won their first match.
There were nine pickleball courts set up in the gymnasium. Registration this year was up almost 30% over last year, with 162 participants showing up to play! The picture above is Rich ( left) and two other matches taking place on the back three courts.
Now - this looks more like synchronized ballet than pickleball - but Stan and Buddy do a great job keeping their eye on that lob!

And make it back to the net for the net shot!
Here's a shot of some of the ladies playing on the front three courts.

It was amazing how many people travelled to play in the State Games, not just from across the state, but from across the country. Pictured above are USAPA Ambassadors (back row) Bev and Ed Beyster from San Antonia, TX and (front row) Jan Pasternak from Houston, TX and Tom Burkhart, the Mid Atlantic Regional Ambassador from Baton Rough, LA

Paul and Rich lost their match to Jim Claycomb and Rick Skaare from Del Webb, Spruce Creek in Summerfield and that dropped them down to the consolation bracket. They won all their games and made it back to the gold medal match - again against Jim and Rich. It was a great match both games very competitive and very close - and Paul and Rich took the Silver Medal. Congrats!!
Linda and her partner Diane also played some awesome games in the ladies doubles, finishing the day with the GOLD MEDALS! CONGRATS!!

Saturday evening - we took a ride south on SR 41 into Bonita Springs. We stopped at TGIFridays - but there was a pretty long wait, so we decided to keep on driving and found a nice Chinese Buffet in Bonita Springs, and then headed back to the hotel and prepared for the next day.

Sunday was the mixed doubles and singles competition. Most everyone was slated to start at 9:00 except for Rich and Linda, who were scheduled for an 11:00 start.

Stan and Sally in their first match of the day - What form!!! They lost the first game, won the second and lost the third. They made their way through a couple of consolation matches, but unfortunately missed out on the medals this time around. But they played very well!

Gail and Gordon take on the pair from The Villages, and play a couple of great games. They lost in two games, but started their way back up through the consolation bracket, only to meet up with these two again. Another great match - and they take home the Bronze Medals.

Here is Louann and her partner JD from Kings Point. Louann also played in the doubles the day before. Some tough competition in the 50-54 age bracket! Great try, but were not able to secure a medal this time.

Buddy had registered for the mixed doubles with Karen Wolf as his partner, but unfortunately, Karen and Tom are stuck in NC. While at practice Friday evening we asked Michelle if she wanted to partner up with him. They were in the same age bracket - they played very well together and had some pretty exciting matches. No medals, but we'll probably see them playing together again soon. Posted by Picasa

Rich and Linda were paired up against, Bill Freeman and Deb Harrison in the first match. Bill and Deb are pretty much undefeated at the State Games, definately their toughest competition of the day. They dropped to the consolation bracket and played through some pretty tough matches.

Pictured above from left to right is Bill Freeman, Deb Harrison from the Villages, Walter and Diane from Kings Point and Paul Coletta.
This is Nancy Meyer from down in Ft. Myers - who with her new partner took the the Silver medal!
Rich and Linda again - in their final match against another really tough team from Del Webb, Spruce Creek. A great match -and scores of 12-10. Posted by Picasa
Rich and Linda take home the Bronze Medals! Great Job!
We were back home around 6:00pm on Sunday, and stopped at Pauls Kitchen to grab some dinner. The weather is turning cold again; it was already down int he 50's when we got back to unpack, and Sunday night it was down in the low 40's. Today it never got very warm - and tonight it's supposed to get down to about 32!!!! Time to grab the heaters and electric blankets! BRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!Posted by Picasa