Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our Wedding Anniversary

February is a busy month for us. Our grandson Dalton celebrated his birthday last week, and he's now officially a "teenager"!! Can't believe how fast they grow up. Valentines Day on the 14th - and then Rich's birthday. Our son, Dennis will celebrate his birthday on the 25th.......

On Monday we headed into Tampa. It was time to trade in that 98 Toyota Camry. We've had that car since 2000, when we bought it with only about 18,000 miles on it. Had it so was a bit sentimental trading it off. But we made our way to Toyota of Tampa Bay where we found a replacement. A 2011 Toyota Camry....

While we were in the area we went on up to MeadowPointe and visited with our friends Don and Linda. Rich and Don took off for the pickleball courts about 6:00 and I stayed to visit with Linda. The hand is still bothering me- so I'm not back on the courts playing yet. The camera was in the car with no pictures this time. We left to go back to Wauchula about 8:30 and stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way. It was nearly 11:oopm when we got back.

Tuesday evening Bruce and Gena rode with us to Seabring where we had dinner with Bob and Kathy Hughes. Dennis and Fran also joined us. Acxtually - Fran came along a little bit later after finishing up the day on the golf course. They were holding a tournament over in Tanglewood. Of course - where do we go for dinner when in Sebring? Homers Smorgasboard of course, and Tuesday night was Seafood night! The food was great and it was terrific spending time and catching up with old friends. I did have the camera with me.......but too caught up in the conversation!!

Wednesday the 23rd was our 37th Wedding Anniversary and Rich surprised me with this beautiful ring.

I had admired this ring the other night at Friday Night Live where Rich and Dee had set up their booth. They have a wonderful selection of Sterling Silver Rings. Rich had remembered that I really liked this one!

This was really kind of special, because I had just recently lost the onyx out of the ring that had belonged to my mother.

We'd been eating out so much recently that we decided to stay in for dinner. Rich cooked pork chops and asparagus on the grill..... added a salad, baked potato and fresh Italian bread and a glass of wine! It was absolutely delicious!

Gena had called and invited us over for coffee and home made apple crisp and icecream. They had just bought a new Wii, so we played some Wii Bowling. I do much much better with Wii then I do with the real thing. As you can see - Darby settled in nicely - snuggled between Rich and I. It was a lovely evening!

Today, Rich went back down to Sebring to practice with Gary and Linda, and I got caught up on some phone calls and e-mails! It's off to Ft.Myers tomorrow for the Lee County Senior Games on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grillin' and Chillin' and Pickleball Learni'n

Friday was a busy day.........but a fun day as well. It started in the morning as we headed off to Torrey Oaks RV Resort just up the road in Bowling Green where the folks would be learnin' some pickleball skills and techniques.

About a dozen or so stayed after pickleball play that morning. Above the group sits and listens then takes to the court for some skills and drills. Stan worked with Rich on some of the demonstrations. This group was a lot of fun.........lots of questions........eager to learn new drills to improve their game........and hungry for Coach Mo's video. It was after 1:00 by the time we left for home.

Bruce and Gena took off in the morning to pick up their grandson, so we had "Darby Sitting Duties" for the day. Darby came down and spent a couple of hours with us, but we made sure she was back home before mom and dad arrived.

It was the third Friday of the that meant Friday Night Live in downtown Wauchula! Gena had called earlier in the day to remind us that tonight was "Grillin' and Chillin' on we made plans to meet up with them at 6:00

For such a small town, they really do a fabulous job with these Friday night events. This month it was Friday Night and SaturDAY Live. As nabove - tonight was Food Vendors Galore - with smokin Barbeque. Chicken, Ribs, Potato Salad, Slaw, Beans . Chili and Dessert Cook off. Home Made Ice Cream, a Jujitsu Demonstration, a well known band, One Night Rodeo and Vendors with eveything from Salsa to Rich and Dee's Sterling Silver!! Yes folks - that is our very own Rich and Dee right here in downtown Wauchula! What a beautiful line of sterling silver rings, and now they even do ring engraving.

That's Bruc and Gena and Grandson Nate - buying and enjoying their Chicken Barbeque. As you can see they set up large tents and rows of tables and chairs for the evening where you could sit and enjoy your meal. And yes - Rich did follow his chicken barbeque with a powdered funnel cake!! As we wandered through the crowds we saw several folks from TT Peace Rver.......including Jack and Diane, and the Clowns - Silly Willy and Fluffy - out of costume for the night! But Fluffy is coming back on Saturday to do face painting for the kids.

Whoops! The night did have a tad of disaster! As we were circling the event for the last time before heading for home, I found one of those concrete curbs, like in a parking lot, didn't see it and toppled head over heels. Knocked the breath out of me and it took me a few seconds to pull myself together! Needless to say - this morning I'm a little sore. My pickleball hand/wrist is pretty tender along with my neck and my left arm. It could have been alot worse, but it will probably be another day before you see me on the courts. Just call me Grace!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


February 17th............Today we celebrated Rich's Birthday. Jane Rankin and her hubby Jim, have been RV'ing in the US for the past several years, and for the last three of four we have met up with them here in TT Peace River. Rich and Jane's birthdays are just a day apart and it has been tradition here to have a happy hour and celebrate their birthdays together. But the Brits are back in England this year with family, so Rich sent off an e-mail to Jane last night wishing her a Happy Birthday. Hard to believe it's been nearly a year since we've seen them.
Tonight our friends, Bruce and Gena and Darby came down to celebrate and share some birthday cake with Rich.
The birthday boy got some pretty good gifts. Denny and the kids called and e-mailed their birthday wishes, and even Miss Darby brought Uncle Rich a present. She knows how much he likes to do his Sudoku puzzels.
We put on a pot of coffee and cut the cake. Take a look at how much cake is left, and take a look at the piece that is sitting on Rich's plate. I know it's hard to tell the difference!!! Pictures never lie!!!
On February 13th our grandson Dalton turned 13 years old!!! Can't believe he's already a teenager! Happy Birthday grandson!! Hope you had a great day!! We love you!!!

Day Two in Naples

Sunday morning was beautiful, and by mid morning the sun was out shining and everyone shed the long pants and sweat shirts and jackets. Men's and Ladies singles were scheduled for the morning. Rich wasn't playing in the singles, so we didn't need to check in until about 11:00. That worked out well. We could take our time, get some breakfast and check out without having to hurry. We arrived a little early and caught some of the singles play. The mixed doubles competition began around noon.

Buddy and Nadine played together in the mixed doubles, and today Bruce drove down to partner with Louann. The format was the same; double elimination, best two out of three in the winner bracket and medal match and one game to 15 in the consolation bracket. Bruce and Louann played in the 50-59 age bracket, and Buddy and Nadine in the 60-69. Bruce and Louann played some great matches and were on their way through the winners bracket. Unfortunately, the lost one game and then could not quite make it back to the medal match. It was their first time playing together in the tournament and they played well together.

Above are pictures of Nancy Myer (top left) and her partner. Nancy along with Cindy Eddleman were the tournament directors. We left before her final match ended - but I know she was playing in the match for Gold or Silver. The others are Kathy and Tim from Solavita, and Kathy's husband Gary. Gary had registered, but without a partner, and was able to hook up with another lady the day before. Some great games, but no medals.

And then we get to the next age bracket. Generally the age brackets are only five years (ie., 50-54, 55-59 etc) For the mixed doubles the brackets were expanded to 10 years. This meant that Rich and Linda would have to meet up with Buddy and Nadine along the way. There were 16 teams in this age division. Rich and Linda won eight straight games to take the Gold Medal. In those eight games only 16 points were won against them. The toughest competition was Buddy and Nadine who scored 1/2 of those 16 points. Buddy and Nadine ended up taking the Bronze Medal. Great Games!!

And here are the winners donning their medals. Congratulations!!

It was really a well run and well organized tournament. We all had a great time. Once again, it was after 5:00 when we left the park for home. We stopped in Ft. Myers at the Cracker Barrel for dinner and made it back to Peace River just before 8:00pm, where we unpacked and called it a day.

Monday was Valentines Day. We met up with Bruce and Gena and Rich and Dee at the Meetin' House at 6:00 that evening. Everyone brought either a seafood dish, a side dish or dessert to share for dinner and at 7:00 Bobby Mack put on his show, one that he did with a group when he performed live in Vegas. There was a great variety of food, and the show was Excellent!!!

On Tursday, Rich headed for Sebring to practice with Gary and Linda for the next tournament, the Lee County Senior Games which are next weekend in Ft. Myers. Buddy will be playing with Nadine again, and Bruce with Louann - so it should be another great weekend with friends and pickleball. I went with Rich to Sebring, and did some shopping while he was playing. I needed some new sneakers and needed to finish shopping for Rich's birthday. No Homers run this time........ Next Tuesday we are going with Bruch and Gena to meet up with Bob and Kathy Huges for dinner at Homers. I'm sure they'll hide the eclairs when they see Rich come through the front door!!!

CLICK HERE to go the photo gallery for all the pictures from the tournament.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Off to Naples, Fl

Can't believe so far behind on updating what's going on...... But last Friday we headed down to Naples, Florida for the Collier County Sweetbay Senior Games. Rich had to check in at 8:00 am on Saturday morning, so rather than drive the 2 hours plus in the morning, we decided to head down the day before. Got an excellent room at the Quality Inn and Suites about 15 minutes from the courts. They had a complimentary breakfast in the morning so we could grab a coffee and something quick without stopping on the way.

We made a few stops on the way and arrived about 3:30. We drove over to the courts to make sure we could find our way in the morning. We checked out the hotel a bit. Great pool - but WAY to cold to enjoy. Also had a great TIKI type bar set up near the pool, but we elected to go to the indoor lounge and have a drink before dinner. Checked out the menu for the night, and with the recommendation from the bartender headed out for a Mexican Restaurant.

There were so many little Mexican restaurants in the same area, and we could not remember the name he told us........and none of them looked like any place we wanted to go, so..........we continued on up the road about 4 or 5 miles and found just what we were looking for.

The food was more of an authentic Mexican than the normal "tex mex" style. Very good. AND we were even serenaded during our meal.

Later in the evening, Mother Nature decided to put a damper on things. The weather turned very cold, the wind was blustery and it RAINED. And the next morning it was still very nippy and windy and the rain delayed the start of the games better than two hours.
Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page

Above Buddy and Roger take to the courts for the men's doubles. These two were on fire!!! They flew through the winner's bracket, not losing a game, best two out of three games. In the medal match it got a little scary, as they lost two games straight to the team that came up from the consolation bracket. That meant one more match two out of three for the Gold. And they were great. They took the GOLD Medal in their age division.

Rich and his partner Gary Shinderle from Highlands Ridge in Avon Park played some great pickleball too. They had some pretty good competition and two of their matches went to three games. But they won all their matches in the Winners Bracket and took the Gold Medal in the final match winning both games.

And above - friends Louann and Nadine from Kings Point partnered together and finished with their Gold Medal. Linda Kramer (Rich's mixed doubles partner) teamed up with Kathy Miller from Solavita and they went undefeated to take home the GOLD.

Despite the delay the games were over just after 5:30 in the afternoon.
Where to go for dinner was next on the agenda.... and Jim Thomas from the Collier Parks and Rec who had donned an apron for the day and cooked hot dogs on the grill for all the players and spectators...recommended that we go to the "best place to
eat in Naples"
Don't be intimidated by the looks of the building on the outside. Cracklin Jacks serves Southern Everglades style food including gator tail and frogs legs. Very laid back and has a watering trough full of iced beer as you walk in the front door. A roll of paper towels on each table. We both opted for the Andouille Sausage with sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic. You only order your entre and with it come all the "vittles". Vittles are served family style and include coleslaw, stewed tomatoes, baked beans, white beans, collard greens, mashed potatos and brown and white gravy......So your table is overflowing with FOOD!!! The food was very good, the atmosphere was friendly .....a little pricy and we really didn't need (or eat) all those "vittles.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Catching up with Friends

What a great evening we had last night with Cliff and Carlene. Carlene and Rich were friends in highschool back in New York. We ran into them quite by mistake a couple of years ago here in Peace River. They travel down this way each winter, and we have made it a point to meet up with them each time.

They arrived here in Wauchula a couple of days ago and we immediately made plans to get together. It was Carlene's idea to do a cookout instead of going out for dinner so a cookout it would be at our place. The weather Tuesday evening was a little cool, but we planned dinner for 4:30 - 5:00 , so it was not uncomfortable eating out.
We had sooooooooo much food!!! We started out with some crackers and cheese, chex mix, nachos and cheese sauce and shrimp coctail. That was followed by dinner - chicken/veggie skewers, cabbage/fruit slaw, Carlene's EXCELLENT potato salad, fresh strawberries and fresh Italian Bread.
I had opened a bottle of Chardonney before they arrived but their beverage of choice was a much much better. Marguaritas!!! They came with this HUGE bottle, the Marguarita salt and the lime. I got the glassas and ice.............and put the wine aside. I can't believe we FINISHED that bottle. And for some reason the evening temperature, while dropping quickly was even more bearable!!! I wasn't counting - but I think Carlene had ONE more than everyone else.
But it was getting a little colder and so we moved the party inside....where after a while we had some KeyLime Pie for dessert. And we talked, and we talked and we talked about everything from how reckless (some of us) were in highschool, to favorite recipes, to old age plans and nursing homes to politics and solving the health insurance crises!!
And we called it a night. But in a week or so, we'll probably do this again one more time, before they head north and we have to wait till next year.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heidi - Hi Ho- Takes 1st Place

Got these pictures today from our friend Ruthann and her canine companion - Heidi......
Message from Ruthann.........
Hi, Thought you would get a chuckle from this picture. We were at an RV rally and show in Brooksville Florida this past week. We were in a parade and the theme was "Go Western". AND I HAD A GRRREAT TIME!!

Love ya,
Heidi Hi ho.
Heide won 1st Place.........I think Mom, Ruthann deserves honorable mention, don't you?

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Last night at happy hour the ladies decided to take over the courts at 1:30 today. We had a great group of ladies turn out to play.........some of them for their first time. We had so much fun that we decided that 1:30 everyday is ladies time on the court.

Click picture to enlarge - use back arrow to return to this page
We don't officially have a name yet. We tossed around the Pickleball Widows - but some of us really do play as often as our spouse... So for right now I'm calling them the Peace River Pickleball Queens! (From left to rightP Linda, Me, Hedy, Vivian, Shirley, Margie, Barbara, Lois, Wilma, Jan, Gloria and Diane.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Night Happy Hour

Friday night was Happy Hour back at the Red Neck Castle with Jack and Diane. So many of the pickleball players had left the park the last couple of days for Orlando ( Jim and Tracy, Rene and Mira, Bill and Val, John and Carla to name a few) that we didn't expect a large crowd for tonights gathering.......... There is usually a pretty good group of players on the court at 3:00 in the afternoon - but today the courts were quiet. Another indication that we might have just a cozy get togethere around the campfire.
Well - now I know where everyone was this afternoon. They were home cooking up their favorite recipe for the Happy Hour. Everyone brought a dish to go with hot dogs and sloppy joes. I'm telling you pickleball players are great cooks! The campfire was blazing as the circle of friends grew larger and larger around the fire pit and folks picked up their long forks and began to roast the hot dogs over the open fire.

Here's the crowd... starting below with Jim and Wilma.
Jan and Jerry
Our host for the evening - Diane and Jack
Vivian and Jerry

Neil, Shirley and Linda

Now I want you to take a good look at the glasses that Vivian and Jerry and Shirley and Neal are holding........these quickly became the center of attention....
You are looking at the official " Red Neck Wine Glass". On Wednesday the four of them took a trip to Punta Gorda for the day, and found these top of the line wine glasses - the perfect glass for the RV'er who needs to carry both their drink and dish to pass. So popular were these glasses that Jerry has decided to call to see if they will ship him a case to sell to the rest of the group. A simple canning jar atop a tapered candle holder. Oh, my!! Are Shirley and Vivian thinking of taking on another hobby in addition to their pickleball shirts??
And Jerry and Neal have been bringing home so many orders for t-shirts with the paddle, ball or player name that Shirley and Vivian made their own pickleball shirt, even though they don't play. They proudley display the Pickleball Widow emblem on their shirts.

And now..on with the rest of the group. Here are Margie and Dean.
Art and Hedy
And arriving from Torey Oaks were Bob and Vicky. This was the first time we've seen Vicky since she had the operation on her knees. It's been just a couple of weeks, and she is walking around very very well.

Also from Torrey Oaks was Vick and Judy - who is still wearing that ACE bandage on her wrist! It's been about three weeks since she fell on the courts learning to play pickleball.
And last but not least - the ever smiling Lois!

Tomorrow afternoon all the ladies are taking over the pickleball courts for some friendly,non competitive play.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinner at Giovianni's

If you stay at TT Peace River then you must make the trip to Main Street, Wauchula to visit Giovanni's Italian Restaurant. On Wednesday evening Rich and I joined Jack and Diane, John and Carla, Bruce and Gena and their friends who were visiting from Venice. With the exception of Jack and Diane, the rest of us had been there before. I think that Jack and Diane will be back. The owners have been trying to get their liquor license, and in the meantime diners are permitted to bring in their adult beverages. I think that everyone at the table ordered something different: pizza, linguinie and sausage, lasagne, portabello ravioli, pasta with clam sauce, chicken parm...........and everything was excellent. The conversation was just as good..........and as you can see I got so caught up in the great food, wine and conversation that I missed a group picture. Jerry and Vivian and Neal and Shirly had wanted to join us but had made a trip to Punta Gorda that day and found a great restaurant right on the water. Maybe we'll join up with them in a week or so for an encore visit.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Many Faces of Darby..........

On Sunday Bruce and Gena came for a short visit before afternoon pickleball. Gena brought us a big dish of home made pea soup.. which we thoroughly enjoyed the next afternoon for lunch. I am not a big fan of pea soup, but it is one of Rich's favorites. This variation, however is a keeper. Thanks Guys!!

Taking mom and dad for a walk today was Miss Darby. If you remember, Bruce and Gena adopted this little one at our Pickleball for Paws tournament. She is such a great tempered dog. In the picture above she shows how much fun she has just getting a little treat. She is also a great pickleball fan.........she comes to the court every day.
We have officially appointed ourselves as Uncle Rich and Aunt Donna!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter In Paradise Pickleball Wing Ding

On Saturday, Louann and the Pickleball Leage over at Kings Point in Sun City Center held their 5th Annual Winter In Paradise Pickleball Wingding. There was a pretty good group of "non Kings Point" players there, most of them from either here at TT Peace River, TT Orlando or Torrey Oaks. Bob and Kathy and Dennis and Fran drove over from Tanglewood, and a couple of the people that we play with on our home courts in Wesley Chapel also came down to play. There were even two guys who drove better than 2 1/2 hours from Melbourne.

Unlike the unpredictable weather at our Pickleball for Paws - Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day for pickleball. And as usual, Louann had the day very well organized.
Above the guys take to the courts for the men's doubles competition. There was both a competitive and recreational draw. John and Renee, Austin and Lewis and Bruce and Ron all played in the competitive games, while Bob and Dennis elected to play in the recreational draw.

More from the men's doubles - with Joe and Gene from Torrey Oaks, Bill and Dean, Stan and Buddy. Rich partnered up with Chris who is from our community in Wesley Chapel, and Jack partnered up with Ed who is a player from Kings Point.

The ladies draw was the same, with both a competitive and recreational draw. Jean teamed up with Jeniece, a pretty good player from Kings Point. Jeniece also came over and played in our Pickleball for Paws tournament a few days earlier. They along with Sally and Cis, Louann and Nadine and Karen and Delores all played in the competitive matches. Karen is also from our home community in Wesley Chapel. Don't have a picture of Diane and I ......we also played in the competitive draw. Kathy and Fran and Val all played in the recreational games. Charlotte had planned on making the trip from Orlando with Jack and Diane and Austin - but wasn't feeling well. She would have been teamed up with Val........Zachary - who is Karen's son, often playes with our group in Wesley Chapel. He's only 12 years old - but is a pretty good little player. Zachary team up with Val.............and they had a great time playing together...............and they did very well.

Most everyone had brought their chairs along, and took on the role of spectators between the games. There was a pretty good wait between games, so we got to catch up a little with Bob and Kathy Hughes and promised to make it down to Sebring for a Homers run.... We met some new players that had moved to Kings Point and promised to meet up with the two guys from Melbourn this summer when we go to our timeshare in Cocoa Beach.
The games started at 8:30 and we didn't finish until well after 4:00 in the afternoon. Everyone played four games in the doubles and three in the mixed doubles. At the end of the day, our group did very well...
Pictures above (starting top left): Dean and Bill - 2nd place men's competitive, Bruce and Ron - 3rd place, men's competitive, Karen and Chris- 2nd place, mixed competitive, Nadine and Louann 2nd place, ladies competitive, Val and Zachary- 3rd place recreational, Dean and me- 1st place mixed competitive and Rich and Nadine- third place mixed competitive.
We all had a great time and many of us will probably be back there the first week in April, when they will have finished putting in their fourth pickleball court!.
CLICK HERE to see all the pictures from the tournament.