Sunday, December 30, 2012

Picking Strawberries Today...

We certainly could have picked a better day..... but it would not have been any where near as fun.

The original plans for today was to play pickleball.  With the colder weather, everyone has waited until 9:00 or so to play.  Just about the time I was ready to head for the courts it started to rain.    About 5 minutes later, Judy comes by on her bicycle  (she had already been to the courts ..) and said to meet in about 10 minutes at Tonyia's - we were going to pick strawberries.

Mo(nique) was driving so we all loaded into the pick up and headed for Center Hill Farm in Bowling Green, maybe 10 miles up the road.   The rain had stopped, but when we made our last turn off of SR 62 onto Center Hill began to sprinkle.  We got our buckets and were directed to the fields for picking and it POURED!!!!!  ( Which didn't help at all, trying to take pictures).

The buckets hold about 5 lbs of berries.......Tonyia and I took home about 3 quarts, and Mo and Judy both took 5lbs or better...    Judy's making strawberry Jam!!   Beautiful berries for $1/lb.

Center Hill Farm also has some of the best fresh vegatables,  white and sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini  romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and small farm fresh eggs - white and brown.
With our bags full and soaking wet ----we piled back into the truck and headed back to Wauchula!   Who said that you can't have fun in the rain?

In the meantime - Rich has come down with a really bad case of the flu.  The past three days have not been pleasant for him at all.  He's getting lots of fluids and lots of rest, and we hoping that he'll be feeling better for our upcoming New Year's Eve party.  And I have my fingers crossed that I can get through the next few days without catching it from him!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day........

And then Santa came...............

It was the aroma of coffee that woke us this morning....and sure that Santa had worked his magic we wandered out to take a peek.     Sure enough......we poured our coffee and opened our gifts.  Now I know that it's hard to find the tree in the picture,it's soooooo small.  So just imagine the time that Santa had trying to fit all those gifts underneath!

Not long after, the phone rang and it was our son Dennis calling with Holiday Greetings from the family. The hardest part of the holiday season is not being able to spend it with family, so the phone call was the best gift of all!  We hope that Dennis and Crystal and the kids are enjoying their Christmas in Iowa......and the cold, and the snow......  We love you guys!

Before we knew it, it was time to head up to the meetin' house where the park was hosting our Holiday Dinner.   The park supplied the Ham and Turkey and gravy, which was excellent! The room was festive, beautifully decorated and filled up fast as everyone brought their dish to play.   Twelve tables that seated 10 filled up quickly.   Each table had a number, representing the 12 days of Christmas - and you had to know what your number represented in order to make your way to the food table.  We were EIGHT - maids a milking.....

Below among a few new faces were several of our friends from Christmas Eve!
Dick and Lou, Crystal and Nate, Larry and Mo in the Santa hats, and Chuck and Dee walking, Nick and Tonyia, Hedy and Art, Archie and Janet and Julia and Jim.


And  too all of our friends and family,  here, at home or travelling......

Rich and I send our very best wishes for a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Safe, Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Christmas Eve Fun with Friends.........

What a great Christmas Eve this year.  Art and Hedy have a modular home here at Peace River Park, and just a few short weeks ago their brand new huge deck was completed.  So tonight we all christened the new deck with it's First Happy Hour.  That's our Host and Hostess below and their new deck!

And here are some of our friends enjoying the evening..... and each other!!
Diane and Buddy, Dee and Chuck, Joe and Cindy, and Janet and Archie.  (By the way compliments to Archie - the one who built this beautiful deck!)

Below everyone just having a good time!

Here's Karen with Rich and Tom, Justin ( or Bubbles to his friends),  John and Rosa and Krystal and Nate.

A few folks shared the picnic table before lighting the campfire....  Tonyia, Jim, Nick, John and Judy.  Also pictured is Julia and Jim, Larry and Mo(nique), and Judy holding Art and Hedy's newest family addition - Beau!
A few folks left for home, a few stayed and sat by the campfire and a few of us took advantage of the lights on the pickleball courts!  One the court is Karen, Julia, Nate and Krystal, while Bubbles and I wait to take on the winners!

And then it was home to wait for Santa!

Monday, December 24, 2012

In the Holiday Spirit

Saturday morning Rich and I decided to go out for breakfast, so it was the "breakfast special" at Paul's Kitchen.  Where else can you go for 2 eggs, bacon or sausage, grits or home fries and toast for $2.50?   From there it was grocery shopping and Xmas shopping.

Saturday evening featured Mike Thomas at the meeting house.  We seldom miss any of Mike's shows; he's one of our very favorite entertainers.
Being the Christmas Season, Mike , either on keyboard or with his guitar performed his Holiday Show with several medleys of holiday songs that everyone could sing along to.   Sprinkled between the Christmas Caroling was some of our favorite Neil Diamond, John Denver songs and his ever popular patriotic medley.  A very entertaining evening!

On Sunday - I finished up my Christmas Shopping ( Well, except for one or two things!)  Rich, keeping with tradition, will finish his on Christmas Eve day, after the stock market closes at noon!

The days have been a lot colder so the pickleball courts have been neglected a little too much.  Karen sent an e-mail to everyone that she needed to play - so about 10 of us met at the courts at 4:00 to get our "pickleball fix!"

We had picked up a couple of steaks on Saturday, so after pickleball Rich fired up the grill.   But the day was not yet over, there was still the matter of making our traditional potato candy to share with friends.
Actually - Rich makes the candy........ AND the MESS!!!  And I get to clean it up!
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve - and we look forward to spending it with all of our friends at Art and Hedy's place , as we christen their brand new deck!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Village of Christmas Lights

We recently made a trip with our friends Nick and Tonyia to Sebring.   It was Nick's idea!   Last year about this time we made the same trip to have dinner at Homers Restaurant, and then went on to Sebring Village to see the display of Christmas Lights.
 It was so nice last year we decided to do it again.   Dinner at Homers Smorgasboard is always a treat.  They always have such  a great selection of meals and desserts!

Sebring Village is less than a mile up the road from the restaurant.  And just like last year the entrance was beautifully decorated and very welcoming.  So our tour of the community was officially underway!  It was a bit nippy outside - but to make sure we had the best view, Nick put the top down on the car!

It's amazing how much time people put in to decorating in this community.    Here are some pictures of the ones we liked the most. 

This little alien was new this year...... 

And this was typical of most of the homes. 
There is also a small pond in the middle of the community which is also decorated, but unlike last year, we could not find a way to get close enough to enjoy it.    So the top went back up and we headed back to Wauchula.   A great way to enjoy the Christmas Holiday.  Thanks Nick and Tonyia. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


As of December 12, 2012, 29542 Forest Glen Drive in Wesley Chapel, Fl is no longer our home!  It's really kind of hard to believe.  Our plans were to sell our home back in 2006 when we retired, but it was about that time that the housing market died.........foreclosures and short sales were flooding the housing market and the value of  homes declined significantly.    So we waited, and waited until the recovery began............and now we feel so fortunate to have sold it before we suffer even more from four more years of OBAMANATIOM!

So at 10:40 AM in Tampa, Florida we signed the closing papers and this beautiful home was sold to a happy couple from New York State.

If every you need a Realtor in the TampaBay area , we highly recommend Don Bass of Future Home Realty.   Amidst short sales and foreclosures we got an excellent price for the house, and we had a contract signed in less that two weeks.    We can't thank him enough for his hard work.   Don is not only a Realtor, but a good friend of ours, so we asked him to bring his wife Linda along so we could have lunch after the closing to celebrate.

They suggested the Cheescake Factory, which is located at the International Plaza in Tampa.

What a great place to eat, a fabulous menu, a great atmoshpere, and more than 30 flavors of cheescake to choose from.

Here are the four of us enjoying a great lunch.........I had Pecan, Turtle Cheesecake (or something like that), Rich, plain with  Strawberry Topping, Linda had Pumpkin, and Don some crazy chocolate........... And they are SOOO Big.

Our plans are to spend the winter at Peace River...........and "perhaps" start to look for a home in The Villages this summer.

But for now...........we will enjoy the winter withe some of our very best friends!  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back to the Good Life!

Nick and Tonyia did not give us a day to rest. Well - actually they did - until about 4:30 the next afternoon.   We were invited over for a small happy hour - just drinks and snacks.   Have to share this sign................. Nick got one for himself and all of his friends in the park........Each a little different, for each couple

We stayed and chatted for about an hour with John and Shelly//

Harley -- who had just finished laying carpet and tile in Nick and Tonyia's Bus

And with our friends Jim and Judy - who will be hosting our New Year's Eve Party this year. 

Nick must have had a couple of drinks before we arrived.... so it was easy to get him to pose for the camera by his new Holiday Sign....
We left for dinner and ran into Lee and Jerry so sat and joined them for our meal.     Tonight was Beef Fritter ( Country fried steak) and Smothered Chicken for me.  We headed back and a few more people had stopped by - Mo and Larry and another couple that we had not met before.  We sat around the fire for about an hour and then called it a night.

Been catching up, and calling or e-mailing everyone with our new mailing address!  Wow are there a lot of changes to make!

It's been pickleball or pokeno or bingo most every day.

On Monday I went to Sebring to see the Radiation Oncologist, got maked and tatoo'd in preparation for my radiation treatments.  They will start on the 17th and I'll be going daily for seven weeks.  Not looking forward to this at all - but after seven weeks it will be ALL over!

On Wednesday we had dinner with Krystal and Nate.   We did a trip to Paul's were everyone enjoyed their meal.  Good food, Good Price!!  But we decided to take home some leftovers and leave a little room ice cream.  So we stopped at Pure Magic, ordered our favorite combination, and sat and enjoyed the ice cream and conversation.  
 WOW - Time flies when you're having fun!

Countdown - 2 more days before we are houseless!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Last Trip Home.....

It's been so long since I've updated this - I forget what's been going on.

We were at home for about a week.  Played a little more pickleball, but really spent most of the time packing away stuff we needed to put in storage, selling the remaining furniture.   Below are a few of the pictures we got from the lanai out back while having our morning coffee - before we started work each day.


On Saturday December 1st we had a big garage sale, and we sold almost everything.  What was left we packed up and took to the Salvation Army.  On Sunday Nick and Tonyia came up so that Nick could help Rich pack up the truck and transport all of our stuff to storage.   What a great help they were.... It was done in no time at all.  Nick and Tonyia headed back to Wauchula, and we finished cleaning up, and paced up the car.  And we took a look at the house for the very last time.  The closing should take place in about 10 days.

By the time we got back to Peace River it was after 10:00 pm.  But we did not miss the welcoming sign that Nick and Tonyia had left for us in the front yard.   No happy hour tonight folks - just a lot of sleep........
But tomorrow is another day!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Visiting with the MP Picklers!

We have been working so hard here at the house.  Tomorrow is our garage sale; the final attempt to get rid of a lot of "stuff".   What does not sell will go to the Good Will, Salvation Army or local thrift stores.   Packing is very close to being finished and we contacted the storage places today.  We're hoping to be able to head back to Wauchula by Wednesday at the latest.  Fingers are crossed!!!!

In the meantime we needed a break, so we headed down to the Meadow Point II courts to meet up with our fellow picklers.  It's hard to believe that it was almost five years ago when we introduced pickleball to folks here in the  community.   There was a pretty good group out tonight, maybe 12-14 and two of them were new to the game.   But before the night was over - we had to get one more group shot.

Frequently on Friday nights some of the group heads out for pizza after their done playing.  Nine of us headed for Pizza Mania.  The food was excellent.  Linda and I opted for salads tonight while everyone else chose pizza.  Seated with us at the table from left to right is Linda and Don, Mark and Renee and their son Gary, and pickleball newbies Sharon and David.

It's always nice to come back and visit with these folks.... We'll need to make a point to come and visit whenever we can.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back Home - Getting Ready for the Sale....

The market closed early on Black Friday - so we headed back to our home in Wesley Chapel.  I drove the car and Rich the truck.  Since we would be putting a lot of our stuff in storage - Rich decided it'd be easier to transport everything in the truck!

Friday evening we did a quick dinner at Arby's and we were going to play pickleball with the group here - but being the holidays - there were not playing that night.

On Saturday morning we began our task of getting the house ready for the new owners.  The buyers were purchasing most of our furniture - so our goal was to take everything left and sort into - keep/store, keep/take to RV, sell/give away or throw away.  First it was a trip to Home Depot to buy screen to replace a few panels on the lanai and a trip to the grocery store for food for the next few days.  We got a pretty good start and called it a day when our friends Don and Linda called and invited  us to dinner.

Dinner was spaghetti and sausage, salad and Italian bread.  Dessert was pumpkin or pecan pie.

Don and Linda have been two of our best friends for a long time.  Don is also a Realtor and we can't thank him enough for the great job he did getting a contract on the house in less than two weeks.  If you need a good Realtor.........give us a call!

Sunday was another day of hard work and sorting. We had posted a few items on Craig s List and were able to get a few dollars for our power washer, ladder, chess table, and we gave away our old computers and printers.   And I managed to get everything out of the guest bath and bedroom and the living room/dining room packed away.  

It was leftovers that we brought from Wauchula for dinner tonight, but Rich still had enough energy to bake some pumpkin pies.  So we ate, did dishes and began to bake.  It's now 8:30pm and Rich has finished the first pie.   It will be pumpkin pie and whipped cream for him for breakfast tomorrow - and by mid afternoon I expect that pie #2 will be gone.

Talked to Nick and Tonyia today................and found out that we were missing Happy Hour #3!   Hope you guys all had a great time!

Thanksgiving at Peace River

We were invited to our friends home in Wesley Chapel again this year, but decided to stay at Peace River  for Thanksgiving Dinner since it would be just a few more days before we had to go back to the house.

RV'ers are great cooks - and the food prepared for the Thanksgiving Day feast was excellent.   There was no where near the number of people that attended last year - which made the food line much faster, but the way it was managed this was a little bit disappointing.   The park supplied the Turkey and Ham and Gravy - and that was excellent.  But the food tables were set up OUTSIDE.. with a tacky blue swimming pool filled with ice set on top of the table to keep the cold food cold.

 It was a very windy and chilly day - and nothing was done to keep the hot food hot - like the mashed potatoes....and people were asked to bring the food 1/2 hour early.  No one was allowed in the hall to sit until 2:00.  There is no minister in the park - and the park Manager never even joined the group at all. It was the activities director who stopped in the middle of the parking lot and gave a quick blessing - which most of us missed completely!

But it was a day to give thanks ............ and we were thankful to be able to spend the day with good friends.

After dinner we joined John and Shelly over at Nick and Tonyia place.  The guys sat and talked and enjoyed their beverage of choice, while Tonyia and Shelly introduced me to Mexican Train.  Lots of fun..........we'll have to do that again.   All in all it was a good day ...........which ended perfectly with a phone call from our son Dennis.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A night of Pure Magic...

On Sunday morning it was pickleball from about 8:30 to 10:30 in the morning.

 At noon Barbara and I joined Tonyia and Hedy and Judy for Pokeno. Buying a couple of dollars of pennies from those of us who play regulary - Barbara was all set. She went home the big winner today! We had originally talked about going back to Torrey Oaks for Card Bingo on Sunday night - but I decided I needed to go home and fix some dinner for Rich and I.   About 5:30 we gave Barb a call and asked if she could be ready by 6:30 for a trip to Pure Magic for some ice cream.

She and Rich opted for the Peanut Butter Fudge..........while I had my usual: Butter Pecan.

I think she enjoyed it!
She looks like she's being rewarded  for being a good girl!

Happy Hour #2

I guess this month has been one for seeing pickleball friends that we've not seen in a long time.  What better reason than that to have a get together.     On Saturday Keith and Marie had everone over to their place for  barbeque.....and everyone else brought a dish to pass.  

Below (from top left, clockwise) Our host and hostess:  Marie and Keith.   Jim and Jane ( Princess Jane to most of us).  They were regulars to the park for several years, but two years ago, sold their RV and returned to their home in England.   Barbara- leaving California to visit with old friends for a few weeks.  Chris and Mark.  Hasn't been quite as long since we've seen these two - but this year they are spending the winter at Tanglewood in Sebring. Chances are pretty good we'll see them again this winter. 

Below (from top left, clockwise) is the rest of the crew.  And with the exception of just a couple - it's our pickleball crew!  Art and Hedy, Buddy and Diane and Dee  and Chuck.  The next couple ( can't remember their names - even though I asked twice!) were friends of Keith and Marie, Bob and Janet ( just arrived at the park today), Nate (Krystal was a little under the weather - so we missed her) , Sally and Stan, Laurie and Charlie and his wife. 
It was really nice to see these folks again.  Enjoyed the evening and the food was delicious.

It was dark by the time we headed for home, but we saw that Nick and Tonyia were sitting out.  It was still early and the campfire looked very inviting so we decided to take a walk over.  Bill and Marie ( also not staying in the park this year) had come over to visit for the day and we learned that they would be coming back for our New Year's eve party! GREAT!  We had not been there long when Todd and Theresa pulled up and joined the group.  There was a little wine and whiskey Todd shared some Chocolate Wine and some Sambuka (anise flavoured liquor). We both passed................but I could not turn down a shot of my favorite Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey! 
And then we called it a night!

A trip to Torrey Oaks

On Friday Sally and Stan invited us for a little cookout and am sked us to bring Barbara with us. Barbara, let hubby Dennis at home with Roxy(their dog) and flew out to visit some friends she hasn't seen in a couple of years. Rich and I are going to try and show her a great time......and try to convince her that coming back to Florida for the winter is a GOOD thing.

Without an RV - Barbara is staying in one of the cabins, so we picked her up and headed to Torrey Oaks  for a 4:00 pm dinner date.

It was burgers on the grill with potato salad, slaw and beans!  And we got to see their brand new 5th wheel.  Absolutely beautiful!  It was a little cool, so after dinner we moved inside to talk for a while.  It was our intention to stop in downtown Wauchula for Friday Nite Live.....and then to Pure Majic for ice cream on the way home.  BUT - Sally mentioned BUNCO  7:00 and asked if we'd stay.   So Rich headed back to Wauchula and the girls went to play. Barbara got a DOUBLE WIPEOUT,  I lost $1, and Sally came home a winner.   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Nite out with friends...........

We had originally made plans to meet up with Nate and Krystal for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, Krystal was not feeling well so the dinner date was postponed... I had not taken anything out of the freezer for dinner, so it only made sense that we go somewhere! Barb Johnson came into the park yesterday. She left Dennis and Roxy back in California to come here to Peace River for a couple of weeks. It's been a couple of years since we've seen Barbara so we gave her a call to see if she would like to have dinner with us. She wanted to go to Paul's.

First we all met at the pickleball courts at 4:00, left for showers about 5:20 and met at Paul's Kitchen at 6:00.  For those of you not familiar with Paul's Kitchen , the dinners you get are huge!   So Marie and I both got our camera's out to snap some pictures.   Pictured below, starting top left and going clockwise:  Chicken Parmesian with garlic toast ( Rich and Barbara), Sirloin (it was supposed to be Sirloin Tips, Donna),  Steak Stir Fry ( Margie) Chicken Tenders/Fries (Tom), Chicken Salad Platter (Marie) and the next three dishes are all for Keith! ( Catfish Tenders and Beef Medalions, Sweet Potato, Rice, Cabbage.....

A a group picture - (bottom left - clockwise)  Barbara, Marie, Keith, Donna, Rich, Margie and Tom
It was a fun evening - thewas new ( I think we were the first table she waited on) they got a new computer system ( the line to pay our bill was VERY long)  But the food was good and company was perfect!  It was a nice evening out..... and everyone went home with their doggie bags.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

We would like to extend our gratitude and respect for all the men and women who have valiantly served in our military through the years.  Thank you for your patriotism, your willingness to serve, and the sacrifices you made for our country.

On Sunday evening here at Peace River, Mike Thomas did a short show for Veteran's Day.

 Normally , Mike entertainst us  with music, playing either the keyboard or his guitar and singing songs.  But tonight was a tribute to the men and woman of the armed forces..... a lesson in  history  and trivia to see how much of our American History we remembered.

The crowd was not real large, but the tribute spoke volumes.    Pictured are a few of  our friends:  Marie and Keith  (top left) and that's Mike Thomas next to them.  Bottom (left) is Rich and Joy.  Rich used to be a ranger here at the park, but his health no longer allows him to work, and next to them is Bill and Jan.  They'll be leaving the park soon, but I enjoyed playing Pokeno with Jan and the rest of the ladies each afternoon.   As each of the armed forces were recognized  with their "offical" songs, retired military standed and were applauded.........including our friend Keith - retired Navy.

The night was not without a little humor as we laughed at what we should have known - and listed to Abbot and Costello's " Who's on First"  But one of the best moments of the night was listening to that all familiar and well remembered speach from Red Skelton,.when he interpreted for everyone the Pledge of Allegience to Flag.  

The video is below............If you've never heard it - you will love it!