Friday, April 29, 2011

Bruce and Gena leave early Saturday

 Bruce and Gena have been here most of the winter at TT Wauchula.  Well.............we usually laugh when we say that, with so many trips they needed to make down to Venice/Englewood for one thing or the other. 

Thursday evening was one last time that we could get together. So we picked them up about 5:30 and headed for the Acapulco Mexican Restaurnat.   It was taco salads, enchillada or quesidias and everything was very good.

After dinner, Bruce and Gena invited us back to their place for dessert.  Actually, they knew we wouldn't turn down one more chance to see our Little Miss Darby!!!   They will be taking off, heading to Tennessee early Saturday morning.  Bruce says he want's to get on the road before the Love Bugs!!!! 

Before we said our farewell, Miss Darby had a little surprise for us.  A delicious Carvel Ice Cream Cake.   I guess the ladies at Sweetbay had a pretty hard time understanding what she was trying to tell them. She told the lady to write " Darby Says Goodbye"  and if she could't fit GoodBye  - just say Bye...
As you can see it came out DARVY SAY BY.  (Bruce added the E to BY before we arrived)  No matter.....It could have said ARF.............and we would have loved it just the same.  She is a real sweetheart and very lucky to have such a great mom and dad! 

We enjoyed their company this winter, and we will miss them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It was nice to be home for Easter.  We had dinner today with our very special friends Don and Linda.  Linda's brother Bob who we have not seen in a couple of years was also joining us. Don and Linda were the very first people we met when we moved here, and over the years we have shared many many a holiday together.  They are more like extended family than friends.  

When we arrived, the dining room table was almost ready for our afternoon feast.  Only thing missing was us and the food!  

One of our very favorite places to spend the day - out on the lanai with a refreshing drink and enjoying nature.

There is always something to watch from the  lanai looking out over the pond and the berm.  Today was no different.  We spent some time out here after dinner watching the birds dive for fish, and even saw one of the small gators on the other side of the berm.  In the past we have observed deer feeding just along the line of trees at the water's edge.
And we can't forget two of our favorite furry friends...........The top picture is of Cheyenne, who sadly, is getting on in age.  He's 14 now, the arthritis is setting in and he's not hearing too well.  Cheyenne was just a puppy when we moved here in 1998,  And sitting in the recliner is Dakota.  He's a few years younger , and still being active - quite annoying to his big brother at times. But a special guy just the same...........loves to play, eat and bark at the thunder!!

And now on to dinner!!  We enjoyed some cheese and crackers and a glass of wine before our meal.......and then feasted on ham, baked white and sweet potatos with all the fixins, green bean casserole and fresh rolls.

Don and Linda made up these cute easter candy bags and placed one at each table setting. After dishes we sat again and enjoyed  cookes and Black Forest cake for dessert.   Cleared the table and met on the lanai for cold drinks and conversation. 

A perfect place to snap a picture of  the group.  Top left is Don and Linda. Top right is Linda with her brother Bob.  And that's Rich and I beside the easter eggs!!

It was after 5:00 when we headed back for Wauchula. As we headed down Bruce B Downs, I had to snap just one more we were stopped at the red light about 500 ft from getting on to I-75 south........
A typical Florida site......Sandhill Cranes  who think they are human..... We had gotten used to seeing them walking down the middle of the road in our community.....but this is the first time I'd seen them so close to the busy traffic.  They are absolutely beautiful birds........

As we headed south on I-75 we hit some rain showers.......and it rained until we were heading west on 674 through Sun City Center.........But we had enjoyed a beautiful day, a delicious dinner and the company of great friends.  Not even the rain could ruin the day.

Happy Easter Everyone!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A visit from some Tanglewood Picklers

Rich had received a few e-mails from Charles Kuehn over in Tanglewood in the past week. If  you've been to Tanglewood then you know about the concrete area located between the pickleball courts and the tennis courts.  This is the area where four or five times a year they have their monthly "bash" parties and everyone comes out to dance to the music.   They already have some pickleball lines painted there  and they sometimes set up the temporary net for a practice court.  

They are looking to paint the court and re-paint the lines and they were looking for the best way to make the surface non-glare and non-slippery for the pickleball players, but not too tacky for the line dancers. 

So Charles brought a few other of the pickelball players from there and came over to Peace River to check out our courts.  It was a pleasant surprise, since we don't have any players left in the park.  Pictured above (back row, left to right) Doug, Charles and Bob from Tanglewood.  In the front row is Gloria, also from Tanglewood and Chris.  Chris is 16 years old, and in the park for a few days with his grand-parents, who came along this morning to watch him play.  He's a very good player.  So, since Rich's knee is bothering him, it was Chris and who took turns playing with the visitors.

It was a pretty hot morning.........but it was fun getting out to play for a little while.

Denny and his Spyder WIN Facebook Photo Contest

This is a picture of our son Dennis on his Spyder RT taken by one of his friends somewhere along the California coast.

He entered this picture in the Facebook Photo Contest.   It was selected as the winning photo!!! 

The Spyder team at posted the picture and their interview with Dennis about his 5,000 mile bike trip from Davenport Iowa to California.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dog Days of Wauchula!

 Every day more and more of our friends are leaving Florida.  This past week it's been down to just a little more than a handful.......  and Stan and Sally have returned to Torrey Oaks from their Carribbean Cruise.
Definately the Dog Days of Wauchula.  Not just because the temperatures during the days are reaching into the 90's, the humidity is on the rise and the air conditioner is running non-stop,  but we have been enjoying some very REAL dog days!!

Do you all remember Darby - the pretty little Chiweenie that Bruce and Gena rescued?  Well they took off on Friday night to see the Passion Play here in Wauchula so they dropped Miss Darby at our place about 6:30 and she spent about four hours with us.   She was back again on Saturday evening when we had Bruce and Gena over for a cookout and  again on Tuesday when her Mom and Dad had to make a trip to Venice.  We will definately miss this little one (and Bruce and Gena too!) when they leave for Tennessee.

Above Miss Darby and  Buddy's Mr. Pooh Bear were in attendance at our gathering on Tuesday night at our place.  ( I think they are talking about getting together again in Tennessee!!) 

We decided on a little get together on Tuesday evening to say our final good byes for the summer.   Buddy and Diane were leaving on Wednesday morning, Stan and Sally within the week and Bruce and Gena next Saturday.
 Stan and Sally came over for dinner, and then about 6:30 Buddy and Diane and Bruce and Gena headed over to join us for dessert.  Pictured above is Rich, Stan, Buddy and Bruce. 

And then Rich got a picture of us ladies.  Gena, Me, Diane and Sally.

It was a very enjoyable evening.  What better way to end the season than with good food and great friends!

Monday, April 11, 2011




Our sweet granddaughter, Chauna, turned 12 this month. She is a great sports fan, playes baseball and loves to go to the local baseball and arena football games. They live in Davenport, IA - so right now they go as often as they can to cheer on their local Quad City River Bandits. That's our little Miss Chauna pictured with the River Bandits' Mascott - on her birthday!

She was even more surprised when our son Dennis had set it up for to throw out the First Pitch at the baseball game that night!!!!

After a great pitch - she stops for a photo with one of the players........ usual we don't get to see Mom (Crystal) very often........she seems to be behind the camera when the family phot0 is snapped. Above Chauca celebrates her birthday with Dad and Brother Dalton.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart - We love you!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

USAPA Sanction Mid Atlantic Regional Tournament

On Friday morning we arrived at the White Pelican Gym in Pelican Park, Mandeville, LA for the start of the Mid Atlantic Regional Pickleball Tournament. Nearly 200 players from across the country registered to play. Men's and womans doubles were played on Friday followed by Mixed Doubles on Saturday. The tournament was set up in age brackets, and each age bracket had two or more splits. Each split, depending on the number of teams in the split played a round robin, each match consisting of two games either to 11 or to 15. The top two teams in each bracket played off in the medal rounds which was one game to 21 points in each medal match.

Above Rich and his partner Paul Coletta from, Flat Rock, NC play. In their split there were four teams so they played three matches consisting of two games to 15 points. They won all six of their games and moved on the the medal rounds where they played two games to 21 points.

In my split there were five teams, so we played four matches, consisting of two games to 11 points. Diane Ramsdell, from Hot Springs Village, AK, was my partner. We lost our very first game but we won all of the next seven games and moved on to the medal matches, which was two games to 21 points. We lost our first game to 21 and then played off for the bronze medal. In our final match for the Bronze we had to beat the only team that we had already lost to, Linda Neill (Lacomb, LA) and Joyce Pyall(Slidel, LA) We won 21-18! We really should have had the Silver!!!!! I had so much fun partnering with her. More than just playing well together, we just had a great time on the court - regardless of the score. Pictured above (top left) is Dennis and Diane Ramsdell with Rich, Pat Lively and her partner with their Silver Medal, Rich and Paul with their Gold Medal, and Diane and I with our Bronze Medal!!! Our friend Nancy Myer from Ft. Myers took the Silver Medal in the 50-55 ladies doubles with here partner Jan Konn (Chicago/Ft. Myers) but they were playing in the building next door and when I got there Jan had already left.

In the picture above, Rich and his partner Cynthia Boudreaux from LaFayette, LA. On the left they play against Roxanne Ware and Greg Hansen from Texas in the first of the three medal matches. Rich had played with Roxanne in the National Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale two years ago......and had called to ask if she needed a partner for this tournament. Roxy was already playing with Rich was partnered with Cynthia. Rich and Cynthia took this game 21-5. On the right was probably the best match of the tournament!!!! Rich and Cynthia play the second 21 point match to see who moves on to the Gold/Silver Final. The opponants are Tom Burkhart, from Baton Rouge, LA and Mary Ozarowski from Schenedtady, NY. It was down to the final matches of the a lot of people were in the bleachers cheering on the players. Rich and Cynthia were DOWN 0-10........ , then 1-11, then 2-11 - then 15-15..................and then they took it home, winning 21-15. There was some terrific playing on both sides of the net in this game but Rich and Cynthia were awesome!
They moved on to the Gold Medal Match, playing against, Christie Borne (Trombell, TX) and Roger Workman (Houston, TX). Another very good, competitive game......but Rich and Cynthia finished on top.
I played in the mixed doubles as well and was partnered up with Joe Smith, from Mississippi. Joe was there with a three or four other guys from Mississippi. All of them had to find partners for the mixed doubles. Joe says that there is a group of about 8 people who play in Mississippi, and all of them are men. Don't think that Joe has been playing the game for very long.........we didn't do very well.........but we had a good time trying.
Congratulations to Rich and Cynthia on their gold medal win. It was a tough battle and the rest of the players, Tom Burkart and Mary Ozarowski (left) and Christie Borne and Roger Workman (right) all played like the champions they are!

We spent the night in Louisiana and headed for home on Monday morning, stopped and spent the night in Lake City, just north of Gainesville, FL Monday night and arrived back in Wauchula just after 2:00 pm today.

Bruce and Gena were back in the park after Bruce's surgery this past week so we met up with them for dinner at Pauls Restaurant.

Rich and I go to a lot of the Senior Game competitions here in Florida, but this was the first big tournament we have been to outside of the State. To all our pickleball friends.............if you get the opportunity to play in a USAPA Sanctioned Tournament - don't miss the opportunity. We met so many nice people and even one couple, Marty and Prissy Martin from Morgan City, LA, that we hope to hook up with this summer at The Villages. It was a trip we would definately make again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pre-Tournament Pickleball Social

So Thursday evening at 6:30 a pre-tournament pickleball social for all the players was being held in Covington, LA. They had rented the education building behind the Trinity Lutheran Church for the get together. But before I take you there, I have to show you this rather unique store that is located just outside our hotel window. Actually we thought it was just a gas station behind us, and then we saw that there was also a Subway Restaruant, Store, Package Store and another called Daiquri Delights.

At first we thought it was just part of the package store, but with closer inspection we noticed we noticed that you could purchase fresh made daiquiris or frozen daiquiris in a large variety of flavors or combination of flavors. What a novel idea..........well until we saw that there was a drive through!!

We could not believe that vehicles could actually drive up to the window, order their favorite frozen beverage and drive away.....We actually had to go over and read the menu's printed at the drive through, thinking there was no way you could buy an alcholic beverage and drive away enjoying your purchase..........But the menu actually says "complete with liquor". Talking on the cell phone while driving is bad enough.......but now you can drink while you're talking!!!! I knew that most of you would not belive I had to capture the picture of the vehicles making their purchase.

So, - now off to the social. As I mentioned before they were expecting a very large turnout for the tournament and I think the majority of them showed up for the social. When we entered we were greeted and given our tournament t-shirts and goodie bags and tickets for the door prize(s) drawings..........and BEADS! Yes you can't go to LA without getting your beads. If you were a USAPA member ( and I think about 90% of the people there were members) you had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a USAPA portable net system that would be given away on Saturday at the tournament.

We were really looking forward to this evening, where we would have a chance to meet a lot of our fellow USAPA Ambassadors from the Mid Atlantic Area as well as pickleball players from outside of Florida where we tend to play most frequently. We also hoped to meet our mixed doubles partners and me, my doubles partner.

Some of you will recognize this couple. Yes - it's John and Pat Lively! We have not seen these two since TT Orlando, probably three years ago. We've been following their blog and knew that they played in a lot of the big USAPA Sanctioned Tournaments - but we were still pleasantly surprised to see them tonight.

That's Rich with Roxanne Ware and Paul Coletta. We met Roxanne over in Ft. Lauderdale two years ago at the National Senior Games when she played with Rich in the mixed doubles. Roxanne is from Texas. Paul (from North Carolina) played with Rich back in December at the Florida State Senior Games down in Ft. Myers where they took the Silver Medal, and he'll be playing with Rich here at the Mid Atlantic Tournament.

We found Cynthia Boudreau, from LaFayette, LA - who would be playing mixed with Rich, and I located Diane Ramsdale, from AK, who would be my doubles partner. Don't think my mixed doubles partner was there.

We enjoyed a nice dinner of pork and red beans with rice, tossed salad and rolls and butter, and one of the LA pickleball players made this great cake! Rich was not the only "cake" monster at the table tonight. He and another gentleman kept eyeing the cake table to see when everyone had secured their piece and to check and see if there was any left for seconds! And Seconds they did have!

Following dinner and a few speaches from some of the Ambassadors there was the drawing for door prizes.....We had a very luck table. As you can see above Pat holds her prize (can't remember what it was), John won this cuddly little rabbit, Paul a cook book (he said he'd take home to the wife), we won a water bottle, and the couple in the bottom right is John and Virginia Corker who is a couple we met from the Mobile, Al area.

This is a pretty good picture of some of the crowd. We were surprised to hear just how many players had traveled a good distance to play in the touenament. Not sure if I remember all of them, but they arrived from Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, Florida and even as far as New York State.

Tomorrow we would all convene at Pelican Park in Mandeville ......and the games would begin!

On the road to Mandeville, LA

On Wednesday we packed the car and started our trip to Mandeville, LA. Mandeville is located about 30 miles north of New Orleans. On Friday the Mid South Regional Pickleball Tournament is being held at Pelican Park. They are expecting close to 200 playes for the tournament, which will take place over three days; it's a USAPA Sanctioned Tier 3 Tournament, so it's open to youth, young adults and seniors.

We were on the road about 8:30. Stopped on the way out to say goodbye to Jack and Diane since we wouldn't see them again for a while, since they're heading out west next winter.

A few last minute stops at the post office, the bank and at McDonalds for one of their $1 breakfast burritos and coffee and then we travelled on to Pensacola, Fl. That was about 9 hours, so we decided to spend the night and drive the last 2 1/2 hours the next morning. Stopped at a Red Roof Inn right off I-10 and walked about 1/2 mile or so up the road to the La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant where we enjoyed an excellent dinner. Great atmosphere and excellent food.

We slept in the next morning, not in any hurry to get on the road. We didn't have any plans until 6:30 Thursday evening over in Covington, LA. It was nearly
11:oo when we were back on the road Thursday morning. Talk about the price of gas!!!! The tank was very low, so we needed to get gas before we left Pensacola. The cheapest we found was $3.77/gallon. It was $3.69 back in Wauchula. We drove on in to Alabama and stopped at a Subway for a quick lunch - again just off I-10. Lunch was great but hard to swallow as we lookout the window at the price of gas. It was $3.39. It's just amazing the difference in the price of gas less than 100 miles down the road..........Oh well.

We had made reservations at the Microtel Hotel in Pearl River, which is about 20 minutes from the courts and arrived there mid afternoon. Then it was unpack, relax a bit and get ready for our evening social in Covington.