Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dinner and Music................

Rich and Don took off early this morning for Pimlico and played pickleball until probably 10:30 when they arrived back soaking wet and tired!!   A quick bite for luch - finishing up theleft over slaw and macaroni  from yesterday with a sandwich and cold drink.  

Don had to get on the computer for a bit to check on work stuff, but for the most part we were just lazy and sat around talking or catching up on the Anthony trial.......

About 5:30 we headed down to Sumter Landing to the Lighthouse Restaurant for dinner.
We had stopped here at the Landing and walked along to boardwalk last year, so we knew they'd like to go back.  The tour boat was out with passengers enjoying the beautiful evening..

Inside - we enjoyed a fabulous meal three of us getting the haddock platter, and Linda opting for the Salmon.  Everyone was bad..........with the guys getting fried ice cream or (Rich) the fried snickers bar!!  Linda and I shared a slice of keylime pie.  Annd the coffee and conversation and it was a pefect time.

It was such a beautiful evening that we headed up to Spanish Springs town center.  Tonight was supposed to be "market nigh", when all the vendors are out and their is music and dancing on the circle.  With the threat of rain, only a few vendors were out, but we sat until close to 9:00 enjoying the music and dancing. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Good Friends come to visit............

On Sunday, our very good friends Don and Linda arrived.   They didn't have to come far.... but we're sure glad they came.  We look forward to their company for the next few days and showing them around The Villages a bit........that is when Don and Rich are not out on the pickleball courts

Linda (smiling in the back, sitting on the sofa) while Don presents us with a lovely gift..............

And.................our two favorite (canine) boys!    Cheyanne - top photo who is 14 years old, and really starting to show his age........and Dakota, who is ten and at times, still thinks he's a puppy.

Back to the gift!   Two beautiful Tervis glasses.........Long story behind this, but we complmented the ones they had the last time we visited ........and they remembered how much we liked them.  What is especially "special" is that another friend and fellow pickleball player, Rene made the pickleball patches that are on the glasses.  What a talented lady! 
Thank you Don and Linda.....and Rene!   What a great surprise.

The guys are out on the pickleball court now.......and Linda and I will tune in shortly to the Casey Anthony trial.........at least until the guys get home.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


"The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God;  I call him Dad"
(Author Unknown)
John L Benjamin - I (Donna)  lost my fater when I was only 13 years old....... but he was indeed one of the greatest gifts in my life..........This is the only picture I have of my faher, thanks to my brother Dave.   Happy Father's Day Dad!!
"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad." -- Anne Geddes

Three generations of Dad.....This is a picture of Rich's Dad, Robert at the age of 73, Rich at the age of 43 and our son Dennis at the age of 23.  Taken in Elmira, New York.  One of our favorite pictures................We lost Rich's Dad not long after we relocated to Florida. 

"It's only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home—it's only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love." -- Margaret Truman

...... a couple of our very favorite pictures of our son Dennis - as he becomes a dad to Chauna for the first time, and to Dalton - the second time. 

Today we celebrated Father's Day

 A morning of pickleball for Father Rich,  a phone call from Son Dennis and a Chocolate Chip Cookie for the sweet tooth.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, Pickleball, Red Sauce and Stormy Weather

Wednesday morning had to be one of the hottest mornings since we've been here.  The humidity was so high that I swear my t-shirt was soaked before I finished my first game of pickleball.  I arrived a little later than normal; good thing, because I was one of the last to leave.  Today was Marty and Prissy's last day here at The Villages, and they made sure they took full advantage of morning pickleball.  Prissy was so exhausted from the heat and sun (and no breakfast) that she stopped in the middle of the last game.  By this time Rich had also stopped by, not planning on playing, but they got him on the court for one game anyway.  During that time, Tom, one of the Villages players took Marty and Prissy to look at a Villa............Everyone is eager to show them their Villas or homes for sale or rent!  But yes...........we were the last to leave,and  made plans to meet later in the day.

About 5:30 we headed to Lake Sumter Landing where we met up again with our Louisiana friends at Red Sauce, a great Italian resaturant on the town square.  It was happy hour until 7:00 so we all indulged.  As usual - the meal was great.  I had my camera in my pocketbook..........and FORGET to get one last picture of our friends.  They would be heading for home in the morning.

We thought about sticking around the square for a while, but before dinner was over we could hear thunder in the distance, and the sky was beginning to look pretty threatening.  Since Marty and Prissy had come in the golf cart, it made sense that we let them head for home before the storm. So we hugged and said good-bye and promised to stay in touch!  We will really miss them.  I'm sure they'll be glad to get back to their air-conditioned pickleball courts!! 
We had not been home long before the skies got really dark, the wind started blowing and the storm had arrived.  The picture on the bottom left was taken from the front porch, the others from the outside patio before the rain.  The storm the night before had set off the fire alarm in the house,  knocked out the TV reception and opened the garage door!!!  Tonight was not quite as eventful......only lost TV reception for about 10 minutes, but the lightening show after the storm was awesome!!! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birthday Celebrations with Friends.

Today was my birthday!  Yes I'm a Gemini.  Those of you who know me well, know my dual personality........so no surprise there!!!
For the past couple of years, when we've visited The Villages friends who live here have suggested that we try the Sunday Brunch at the Orange Blossom Hills Country Club.  Until today we never got around to it.  When Rich asked where I'd like to go for my birthday I suggested that we ask our visitors from Louisiana to join us for brunch.  Located in The Villages this country club is located on Water Tower Circle......Yes - that the water tower in the back of the picture.

The hardest part of the drive there was trying to find the entrance to the parking area from the circle.  When we did some of the folks out front told us to make sure we check out the pool!  Is this beautiful or what?  Beautiful water falls makes this a very inviting  place to be, and at 11:30 am people were starting to gather under the sun.

The Brunch was excellent and very very reasonably priced at just $6.95.  There was a huge egg/omlett station with most any ingredient you could think of.  To accompany the egges was an array of  ham, sausage, bacon, potatos, pancakes, cornbeef hash, biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit and danish.  

And I send a very special Thank You to Marty, Prissy and Sharon for the card and birthday cake.

Rich does the honors............and shares a slice with everyone.  Delicious- Chocolate with Butter Cream Icing.

Smiling for the camera - Marty, Sharon, Me, Rich and Prissy.  Thank you all so much for making my day extra special.

Another full day of fun with LA Visitors

Back at Churchill this morning for pickleball.  I arrived just after 7:00 and it was another of those sunny, muggy mornings where you break out in a sweat just watching people play.  Sharon and Marty and Prissy all came over to play again a little bit later and by 9:30 I left them to head for home and get ready for our Saturday morning  breakfast.

By about 11:05am, everyone who was meeting at the Sun Rise Cafe this week had arrived.  Not quite as many as last week; but there were eleven smiling faces for this weeks photo!  Pictured above are (left) Louise, Sharon, Donna, Prissy, Marty and Charlie. (Right), Joe, Rich, Lorraine, Ray and Joan.

The owners and staff here at the Sun Rise are great.  They expect group of pickleball players every Saturday and always have the tables ready.  The food is always good.  But - it's not Paul's Kitchen where we can get the very same breakfast for $1.99 instead of $5.........But where do you find this many people having this much fun at Breakfast!

And today was VERY entertaining as Joe and Sharon exchanged jokes....Rich says that  in addition to his great jokes, when the guys meet each morning at Dunkin Donuts, Joe brings his list of trivia questions from the local paper and everyone tries to see if they can beat Louise"s( his wife) score. Joe is also well known for his Karaoke - But today the two took turns making us laugh;  Sharon with her Louisiana "Boudreaux" jokes.  Charlie - who was sitting way at the other end of the table came down to our end to listen!

We're so glad that Marty and Prissy and Sharon got to meet this crew!  We will definitely miss them when they head for home, Sharon on Monday and Marty and Prissy on Wednesday!

But the day was not yet over.   By the time we finished breakfast it was a little past noon and Sharon and Prissy wanted to play Bunko again today.  Prissy is so hooked on this game that after playing the previous day she went back to the Recreation Newspaper and found where Bunko was being played every afternoon until she has to leave.  Today we played at the Mulberry Rec Center. Sharon came home  with a few dollars extra today!  I'm sure they'll be looking to go to Lake Miona tomorrow after Sunday Brunch!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Today was Girls Day Out.........

This morning everyone showed up at Churchill Street for pickleball.  Rich went to play with the big boys over at Saddlebrook.  Our friends from Louisiana have really fit it well at Churchill - the crowd is very friendly there and they have welcomed, Prissy, Marty and Sharon without question.  Of course all of them are pretty good players.

By 9:30 I had played better than two hours so headed for home.  I had made plans to meet Sharon and Prissy for lunch today.  They suggested the Mallyor Country Club  - so I picked them up about 11:30.  
They have a really nice menu with a great selection of lunch items at a fairly reasonable price. ( Of course - I have to remember that I am not in Wauchula!!)
 This is Sharon and Prissy in the picture above in front of the  Mallory Square Country Club.  Before we left - Sharon asked "What are we going to do now?"  She had already checked out the Recreation News paper and suggested that we head out for an afternoon of Bunko!!  Prissy and I had never played before but decided to give it a try.  There was a big group of players at the Bacall Recreation Center ( about 16 tables of four people).  We had a GREAT TIME!!!!   Prissy and Sharon more than me since they both won $10.   But Prissy and I were hooked, and will probably go back again! 

Tomorrow we'll meet again at Churchill and then head to the SunRise Cafe for our Saturday morning breakfast.  I asked them to join us on Sunday for a Breakfast Buffet at the Orange Blossom Country Club - so that should be a good time.   We are really going to miss these three when they head back to LA!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An evening in Spanish Springs

Wednesday evening we made plans with Marty, Prissy and Sharon to meet at the Spanish Springs town center for dinner at KatieBells.  KatieBells is the only "resident only" restaurant in The Villages.  It's a beautiful two story Western style opera house where Villages go for great meals, fun and dancing.  There is entertainment there every day and includes show bands from all over the country. 

The first objective when you arrive at the town center is to find a place to park.  Tonight was "Market Night" which means that all the vendors had their booths set up selling their wares.  The band was playing in the center of the circle so people were  checking out the vendor booths, dancing to the music, enjoying their favorite beverage or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful evening.  Some even brought their family pet!  In the center photo - KatieBells is the large building you see on the right.

When we arrived at KatieBells - the first decision was whether to eat upstairs ( steak house/fine dining) or downstairs (lighter fare and close to the entertainment and dancing).  We had never eaten downstairs before, so left the decision to our guests.  So glad that they chose downstairs.  A little noisy and hard to carry on a lot of conversation - but all part of the festive nature of the evening.

Wish I could remember the name of the group that was playing tonight, but I can't........but I do remember that they were very very good, really got the audience included and the dancers on the floor.

At the country music brought out all the line dancers and country couples line dancers.   Some of them were excellent dancers - not hard to tell they'd had some training.

And others just took to the floor, made up their own dance steps and were almost as entertaining as the band!  As Rich watched this couple dancing - he recognized him as Scotty - one of the pickleball players in the group that he plays with at La Hacienda in the afternoon.  They were having a great time!
Marty and Prissy take to the dance floor!  Sharon and I also did a little line dancing joining about 30 other dances for the Electric Slide.

Love this picture of Marty and Prissy.  Looks like they're having a good time.

Finally a picture of Sharon!!!!! The group shot after dinner.  Marty, Prissy, Sharon, Rich and Me.  I know - hard to recognize when not in our pickleball attire!!!!
It was after 8:00 as we headed for home.........and the sunset was absolutely beautiful.  This picture really does not do it justice at all........but  the best I could get from the car window! 
A perfect ending to a perfectly enjoyable evening with friends!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sharon Arrives from LaFayette!

Another day in paradise here in The Villages.  Up bright and early.  Rich headed over to Pimlico to play picklball and I went back to Churchill Street.  Yesterday another fellow pickleball friend arrived here in The Villages from LaFayette, LA.   We met Sharon Richard the first time a couple of years ago at the National Senior Games Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, and then met up with her agin this April at the Mid South Regional Pickleball Tournament in Mandyville, LA.

Sharon arrived late last night and will be staying for the week.  She's staying with the other couple that's also here from LA - Marty and Prissy.   All three of them showed up to play this morning at Churchill Street, and I think once again - we were probably the  last to leave the courts.  This afternoon at 3:00 were back at Churchill for Coach Mo's Clinic.
Above is Prissy and Sharon practicing what they've learned today from Coach Mo. 
And here - Coach Mo is autographing Sharon's Visor, and Prissy's Shirt!!!!  They keep telling us that the folks back in LA are so jealous................ 

It was VERY hot on the courts this afternoon; I think the temperatures reached almost 97 degrees.  So it was lots and lots of water during our lessons.   
Following our lessons with Coach Mo - we all met at the Lighthouse Point Restaurant here in The Villages that overlooks Lake Sumter.  They are famous for their Haddock fillets - so tonight all but Marty opted for the Haddock Fish Platter.  Marty went for the daily special - which was very pituresque.......... and looked like an array of shell  fish atop some sort of flatbread , with a vinigarette dressing drizzled atop......

The restaurant has some great outdoor dining, but tonight Mother Nature decided to send us a brief thunder storm.......... a little to wet and windy for sitting out.  But even from inside, there is a great view of Lake Sumter.

And should you decide to do so.......you can walk the boardwalk along Lake Sumter Landing.

During Dinner we made some plans for the next few days.  Tomorrow morning I am meeting these guys at Odell Rec Center at 8:00 for pickleball.  It is Market Night at the town square in Lake Sumter landing tomorrow - so we'll stop there and then head to Coconut Cove Rec Center for some evening pickleball around 6:30.   Sometime in between, Prissy and Sharon are meeting the Realtor and looking at a new Courtyard Villa!!!!  Wednesday morning is pickleball back at Churchill Street, and Wednesday night is dinner at Katie Bells.  Thursday morning is pickleball at Bacall Rec Center, and we'll all meet for breakfast at the Sun Rise again on Saturday!!  We' re going to miss these guys when they leave for home.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Southern Oaks Villas Social

At the pickleball courts on Friday, Sue and Phil invited Rich and I to join the rest of the residents (those who have not gone back north) of the Sourthern Oaks Villas at the Churchill Street Rec Center for a Pizza Social. 

Here in The Villages there are several Villages.  For example we are staying in the Village of Lynnhaven.  Within each Village there are your various sizes of single home, there are smaller "villages" of courtyard villas, and others which are "villages" of patio villas.  We are staying in Soutern Oaksm which is all "patio" villas. 

Sue and Phil planned the social as a way to get to know your neighbors, meet new neighbors and people like us who are visiting the neighborhood.

Five dollars per person got you in the door where we all mingled and talked for a while and then shared some Pappa Johns Pizza and Salad. Someone made some great brownies, fruit salad and watermellon for dessert. In the picture above, folks are starting to arrive and find a seat, Rich finds a couple of ladies in the neighborhood who play pickleball,  party planner Sue.......addresses the group, Rich with Al and Yvonne - the first two people we met tonight, and the bottom is party planner Phil.......making sure the pizza's are ready.
After eating, Rich headed over to the Billards room to shoot a little pool and I joined some folks for a game of "Southern Oaks Scramble Bridge" .  We all took to tables of four, and learned the rules of the game.   Trump in each game, 10 points for each trick, keep score, keep your partner for four games then switch tables...........My table was (top) - Joe and JD  who was my partner and (bottom) Denise and me.  JD and I did AWESOME taking 730 points to our second table.  I joined a table of three guys - Jim, Phil and Rich.....where I racked up only 530 more points.  Top three scores won lottery tickets. 

So glad we decided to go..........it's always fun meeting new people and making new friends.......... It was a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday at the SunRise Cafe

I'm so glad that I had invited Marty and Prissy to join the group that playes at the Churchill Rec Center.  They are a fun group to play with - and I guess that they made our Louisiana couple feel welcome; they came back to play on Saturday morning. 

We invited them to join us for breakfast at the SunRise Cafe.   Several players ( and their non  pickleball playing spouses) often meet here on Saturday mornings at 11:00.  Today there were 14 of us.   Pictured about are (left- front to back) Pete, Charlie, Rich, Jeanne, Mo, Lorraine (hidden) and Joe. (right - front to back), Ray, Joan, Donna, Marty, Prissy, Ray ( almost hidden) and Louise.   Lots of food and laughter today!!

And our birthday boy.....who celebrated his ?0th birthday today.  You'll have to guess!  Jeanne said if I was putting this on our Blog to tell everyone it was his 50th!  I don't know..................he certainly doesn't look THAT old!!!!  (HA!)

We arrive at The Villages

On Wednesday morning, June 1st, we closed up the 5th wheel for the summer and were on our way to The Villages, Fl before 11:00.   With the exception of some pretty heavy rain storms along the way, the 3 hour trip was uneventful.  But we were so glad that the rain held off until we had finished closing things up. 

We arrived around 2:30 having stopped along the way for a quick lunch and a coffee refill at McDonalds just south of Clermont, and then again at McDonalds in Leesburg so Rich could get a milkshake!
We were back in familiar territory; this was the same villa that we stayed in last year.   On Thursday morning Rich headed out to Pimlico Rec Center to play pickleball.  I headed out to Publix to stock up on groceries for the week. I whipped up a  batch of Chicken Enchilladas and we ate in that night.   A very nice couple that we had met at the pickleball tournament in LA in April  Marty and Prissy Martin,  had arrived for their two week visit and we made plans to hook up the next day. 

So on Friday morning Marty and Prissy met me at the Churchill Rec Center where we played pickleball for a couple of hours.  We were the last ones to leave the court!   Above are both of them along with Rich and Coach Mo.   Rich had hooked up with  Mo and set up some one one one pickleball coaching for Marty and Prissy for Monday evening at the Pimlico courts.
Rich, Marty, Prissy and Mo..............