Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saying Good-Bye to Good Friends

We met Jim and Patti Carmen almost a year ago when they arrived here at Peace River.  They had previously worked at an RV Park in Crystal River, but came here where Jim worked as the head of Maintainance, and Patti ran the store.  They have decided not to come back next year, and will be leaving the park the first part of March. 

These two were absolutely loved by everyone who met them.  And Rich and I are truly thankful that we got to spend a little time with them and get to know them better.   Working with Patti this year has been an absolute pleasure and I will truly miss her cheerful smile, her great attitude.

We could not let them leave the park without a "happy hour goodbye"!  But it was really Nick and Tonyia who put the gathering together and the Leibermans who provided the site.

Below are a few pictures of the four of us -  What a great way to remember them.
 And below, a few pictures to show just how many people stopped by to say good-bye and wish them well.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pickleball at the Lee County Senior Games in Ft. Myers, Fl

We were on the road to the Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Center in Ft. Myers early on Saturday morning for the beginning of our two day pickleball tournament.  Rich was scheduled to play in the doubles competition on Saturday and the Mixed Doubles on Sunday.  Both of us would be helping to referee games both days.

Our friends Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman out of Ft. Myers Florida were the tournament directors for this event, so we knew that it would be well organized, the Pickleball Specialties booth would be set up to purchase pickleball equipment and the competition would be top notch!.   We were not disappointed.

Trying to referee and take pictures of the tournament was not an easy task.  But I did manage to get a few pictures of Rich and his partners as well as some of our friends who were also competing

Below are pictures taken on Saturday during the doubles competition.  Starting from the top left are: Marlene and Kathy from Solivita,  Michelle and Gail from Tanglewood in Sebring, Nancy Meyer and her partner Marcia from Ft. Myers, Diane and Linda from Tanglewood,  David Jordan from Arizona and Mike from Ft. Myers, playing Tim Diffenderfer from Solivita and Steve from Stone Crest in Summerfield,  Al and our RV Buddy John Foard, Barb and Toni from Anna Maria Island - All the ladies on the courts, and  the last picture is of Diane and Linda (Tanglewood) playing Marlene and Kathy from Solivita in the Gold/Silver medal match.

Rich's regular partner was not able to make this tournament so he partnered up with Jim Cetlinsiki out of the Stone Crest Community in Summerfield. These two have played with a group of other players each year when we visit The Villages.   Jim is younger than Rich so they had to play in the 55-59 age group.   Unfortunately there were not a lot of players in that division so it was combined with the 50-54 group!!   So instead of playing in his usual 60-64 bracket with guys his own age he had to play against all those young guys!!  He and Jim played eight games before they were eliminated from the medal rounds.    Below are some pictures of Rich and Jim.

Both of us refereed several games the rest of the day, until after 5:00.  We headed back to the room and did dinner again at Mel's Diner.  It was Shrimp/Pasta fro Rich and I did the Tuscan Chicken with Pena Pasta.  Once again the meal was outstanding!

On Sunday morning we checked out early and arrived at the courts for the Mixed Doubles competition about 7:45.   Below are some pictures starting top left of Nancy Meyer and Mike from Ft. Myers finishing one of there first matches, Rich visiting with Byron - who we just met today and who plays an awesome game and was also one of the tournament referees. In the center is Gail and Gordon (far court) from Tanglewood, Diane and her partner Walter (near court) also from Tanglewood.  At the bottom is Bill Wilson and Barbara Smith (near court) from Anna Maria Island and in the last picture is Nancy and Mike again playing in their gold medal match!

Rich and Linda played some awesome pickleball today against some formidable opponents.  The pictures below are of their two matches against Tim Diffenderfer and Kathy Miller from Solivita.  Rich and Linda took the first match, sending Tim and Kathy to the Back Draw where they had to work their way back to play for the Gold.  They met up once more with Rich and Linda.  It was a great match and Rich and Linda came out on top.   
Below are the final four! Rich and Linda taking the gold and Tim and Kathy the Silver. Some really great pickleball!
 Once again, Rich and I refereed, but headed for home about 3:00.  We stopped in Arcadia at the Clock Restaurant for dinner.   Suffice it to say that we DO NOT recommend this restaurant for anything other than a cup of coffee!!!  The meal was SO bad.   We declined a complimentary dessert - but they did deduct 30% off our total bill. 

The evening ended with a visit with Krystal and Nate.  The weather was perfect for sitting out so we enjoyed a beverage and a little conversation and then called it a night!

Friday, February 24, 2012

We arrived in Ft. Myers ....

We set out for Ft. Myers today in preparation for the Lee County Senior Games Pickleball tournament.  Singles competition started tonight, but Rich is scheduled to play on Saturday in the doubles competition and again on Sunday in the mixed doubles.  I'm on the agenda for the weekend for refereeing the games.  Should be a fun weekend. 

We arrived somewhere around 4:30 and 5:00, checked in to the hotel and got unpacked and settled in.  When Rich was moving things from the small cooler to the refrigerator - we found that I had forgotten a couple of things.  One - his water bottle that he keeps with him while he's play and  even worse than that - I forgot to bring his medication!!!!! 

So we called the closest CVS.  What a great place to do business with!  They had us taken care of within a half hour from the time we called.   We took a ride to the Wa-Ke-Hatchee Recreation Center, where the tournament will be held, to make sure we knew how to get there.  Have to register at 8:00 am - so we didn't want to be late. 

Dinner tonight was at Mel's Diner.  It's directly across the street from our hotel on Tamiami Trail here in Ft. Myers.  Pictures above.  What a great menu!  I opted for the fish and Rich had a perfectly prepared Prime Rib. The place was packed full but the wait time was about 10 minutes to get a table, the service was excellent and the food was delicious! 

2/23/12 - Celebrating 38 Years

On Thursday Rich and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary and that always means a date for dinner.    Sometimes it's our favorite place, and sometimes it's trying a new place that we've talked about.   And I'm sure we're not unlike many other couples who go through..... "Where would you like to go?  I don't care - where would you like?  It really doesn't matter to me - you decide.......

The Hotel Jacaranda was where Rich suggested we try.  For the past four or five years we've talked about going there - so to Avon Park we drove.

Built back in the 1920's, the Hotel Jacaranda is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in the  County and is listed on the National Historic Register.  The lobby reflects the "true south" and pictures of many famous personalities grace the walls.  During the winter season a dinner buffet is served every evening with a different "main entree" each evening and their Grand Buffet on Sundays. 

Tonight pianist Jeff Klein entertained the dinner guest with a medley of favorite tunes.  The service, the food and the atmosphere was perfect.  We really enjoyed the evening.

A fun evening with the Carmens

You know how you see people every day and keep saying we've got to get together?  Well, I've been working with Patti and Jim here at the park since the beginning of November!  Oh, we've seen them at many a happy hour, stopped by their site a few times to chat when we'd see them sitting out and Patti and I sang our hearts out together at Karaoke on New Years Eve!  

Finally on Tuesday evening Jim and Patti joined us for dinner at our place.  Rich threw some pork chops on the grill, Patti brought along a fabulous dish of garlic/cheese mashed potatoes, we added a few veggies, a fruit salad and some crusty bread and it was perfect.   Jim and Rich opted for a beer, their regular beverage of choice.  Patti and I on the other hand opened a bottle of wine.  Joining me inside while I finished cooking, I mentioned the bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey that Rich had put in my stocking for Christmas.   What's  the harm in one shot over ice?   No harm at all!  We enjoyed a sip  and then finished our wine.  

It was a very pleasant evening just getting to sit and chat for a while and enjoy their company.   Hope we get to do this again sometime.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pickleball Skills Clinic for Peace River Players

The sign up sheet went up just a few days ago and on Saturday 23 players showed up to get some tips to help them improve their game.  Below. the Peace River pickleball players participate in learning skills to improve court position, serving, dinking, punch volley's at the net, ground strokes, player communication, line calls proper paddle grip and ready position! 

For about an hour and a half they listened, practiced and asked lots of questions.  And below they all smile for a group picture!

After the clinic - the group took to the courts for some play time- and time to practice what they learned.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Rich..... and Diane, and Marie, and Joy and Jim!!

Today is actually Rich's birthday, but it was last night that we all celebrated.  Keith and Marie Richards, planned a happy (birthday) hour at that site  to celebrate all the February birthdays.    Pictured below with their significant other, and with their Birthday Cake is (starting at top left), Birthday Girls Diane with Buddy, Joy with Ed, Marie with Keith, and the Birthday Guys, Jim with Jenny and Rich with me. 

There was a huge crowd ! Keith said he counted 42 people.  I must have missed a picture of someone - cuz I only count pictures of 37......    I'm not going to post the names this time - because, I'm embarrassed to say that there are about  3 people in these pictures that I SHOULD know their names - and about 6 that we met for the first time tonight. 
Before eating  the entire group gathered in a circle around the table and joined hands while Keith gave a prayer of thanks.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening to be with friends.
Keith and Marie make some excellent barbecue for the crowd and everyone else brought a dish to pass.  I think they about five tables lined up in a row to hold all the food.   For those who did not want the white cake - Marie brought out FOUR small chocolate cakes.  There was very little of either left to take home.

Once more the birthday group.  All were celebrating birthdays either on the 16th, 17th or 18th of the month .  Below they stand in order of age from left to right ranging from the Baby at just 61 to the Senior at 69.  .


PS:  Princess Jane  - I know you're reading this. Once again it was very strange not seeing your name on the cake or you standing next to Rich.  We send along our best birthday wishes to you.....and want you to know we miss you both!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We're So Proud...

Below our son Dennis is recognized by a 3 Star General for saving a man's life who was having a heart attack on February 8th at the Rock Island Arsenal in IL.   While in the military, Dennis was stationed at Rock Island and since his retirement has continued in his position as a Criminal Investigator at the Department of Army Civilian .

In front of Senior Leaders, he received the Military Coin for Excellence.  Following the presentation he posted the following on his face-book page:

I'm sure glad this is an extended weekend being off tomorrow I'm not very public but it's been a roller-coaster week. I thank God that I was in the right place at right time on Wednesday morning to help save a mans life..... Please say a prayer of your choice for those that are sick, ill, injured & stressed to give them strength to full recovery! Stay Strong!

A few days later on February 13th, we celebrated our grandson's 14th Birthday.   We didn't get a birthday picture - so this is one taken a couple of month's ago.  ( We understand the hair is shorter now!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DALTON !!!  

  Dalton's choice for his birthday dinner was Jimmy Johns, and then off for family bowling.

Once again Dennis says it best......."‎14 years ago, along comes Dalton. Today & everyday, I couldn't be more proud of my Son & Love him so much!

Happy Birthday Buddy!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Pickleball in Naples, Fl

On Friday afternoon we headed for Naples, Fl for the Collier County Pickleball Tournament. This is where the annual Collier County Senior Games are played each year, but this year, due to lack of funds the county elected to cancel the entire event.  So our good friends and fellow USAPA Ambassadors Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman decided to have a pickleball tournament anyway.  With 12 courts and lots of interest, they made it a USAPA Sanctioned event open to ages 16 and older and drew almost 130 players.

We arrived in Naples around 6:00pm, checked in at the hotel and headed for the courts to watch the singles competition for a while, then  stopped at 5 Guys Burger and Fries for  late dinner before we headed back to the room.  We stayed at the Best Western on Pine Ridge Rd and it was one of the nicest places we've stayed.  The room was huge with a small kitchenette (sink, micro, frig, coffeepot) and the price was very reasonable.  The only down side was that our room was directly in front of an entry door and across from the ice machine and elevators, so we did get disturbed a little during the night. You can't believe how many people go for ice at 3 or 4 in the morning!!  A great complimentary breakfast in the morning.  We would definitely recommend this hotel if you're in the area.

Saturday was the doubles competition and we were not surprised to see many of  the same people we've come to know and play with over the years; Linda and Diane from Tanglewood, Tim and Marlene Difenderfer and Gary and Cathy Miller from Solivita  and Cindy Eddleman and  Nancy Meyer. from Ft. Myers.  This year  we were pleasantly surprised when we ran into  John and Carla Foard.   John partnered with one of his fellow Venice players. 

The games were delayed about an hour because of rain during the night.  While the day remained partly cloudy,  everyone could shed the jackets and coats when the sun did shine. As the day progressed, the winds got stronger.  Players were battling winds 16 to 18 miles/hour  with even larger gusts that more than once toppled the nets.   But this group hung in there. Linda and Diane took the gold! The rest of this crew all went home with Silver Medals!.  
Rich played with Mark Stemmerman, from The Villages.  They had a couple of matches that they took easily, but they also had a couple that were very very competitive, and went three games.  As usual, they played the very last game of the competition on Saturday and  finished with the GOLD!!

During the second match of the day, Rich slipped on some loose stones and turned his ankle.   Once the match was over he bandaged up the ankle and continued on, hobbling a bit at times, but still coming out on top!

On the way home we stopped for dinner at a great Italian restaurant called Meravelas.  They advertise Pizza, Pasta, Subs and Salads. 

Rich had the small Stromboli - which was big enough for the two of us.  I had the Pena Pasta with meatballs.  Both were excellent as was the service! 

When we returned to the hotel, Rich removed the bandage from his ankle, and it was very very swollen, and hurt to touch.  As much as he wanted to play, we both decided it was best that he not get back on it for a while.   So rather than head for the courts on Sunday, we headed for home.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dining Out with Friends.


On Saturday we headed up to Bowling Green to Smokin Joe's BBQ with Nick and Tonyia.   Rich and I had never been there before but had heard that it was one of the best in the area.   A great meal deal for four people for $29. includes a full rack of ribs, a whole chicken,  rolls and two sides.  There was enough for the four of us to take home another meal.  Everyone enjoyed the meal - but I guess I found out that I really don't  care for the "smoked"  flavor.

On the way back we stopped at Pure Magic Ice Cream.  Nick and Tonyia had not been there before so got to experience the art of making "peanut butter fudge and coffee fudge ice cream.  As usual it was excellent.

On Tuesday evening it was a home cooked dinner with friends Tom, Karen and Sammy.

We see Karen at the pickleball court, and Tom when there is a happy hour, and Sammy out walking Mom or Dad, be we seldom get the time to just enjoy their company.  Tonight, Tom treated us all to a delicious pork roast, sweet potatoes, with rolls and veggie and apple slices. 

The home made brownies topped with grasshopper ice cream and Carmel syrup topped off a perfect meal and a perfect evening.  It was so enjoyable just to sit and enjoy the evening with friends. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ground Hog Day Tournament at Peace River

Our first tournament of the winter season!!  Nate and Karen, our tournament organizers put together a great day of pickleball including both doubles and mixed doubles competition.

Each player paid a $5 entry fee,  and that will be used to help resurface/repaint the courts here at the park. 

Below Nate prepares the group for the day, goes over the schedule of events, and the rules of the round robin.  The first eight players take to the courts, and the rest settle in to watch the competition.    And you'll notice that our Peace River Mascot , Miss Ava,  also found a comfortable seat , court side;  she  was ready to cheer on her favorites!

The ladies take to the courts.  There was Nell, Barbara, Julia, Hedy, Vickie, Karen, Carla, Carol  Rosemary and ME!  The competition was great; we had lots of laughs and  some really good games!

While the ladies played on one court, the guys were deep into some great competition of their own on the adjacent court. Rich was not able to play today but those that did were:  Nate, Rene, Bob, John, Art, Garth, Keith, Gene, Paul, Skip,  and Richard and Mike from Torrey Oaks.

The doubles was played a a random draw round robin and everyone played five games.

 By the end of the doubles competition, the temperatures were well on there way to the high of the day - about 85 degrees!! Thanks to Nate and Karen there was plenty of water on hand, and the Pizza arrived just in time for lunch. Everyone moved their chairs to the other side of the courts trying to find some shade and settled in for the mixed doubles.

At the end of the competition there were two teams who went undefeated - one game to 15 points determined the final first place winner. Everyone stayed for the final game and the crowd cheered on every point in this very very close match.  Either team could have been victorious...........Below are a few shots of the final match between Nate and Rosemary and  Barbara and Mike.

And your winners are pictured below.  In the men's doubles it was Richard going undefeated and taking first place, Rene in second and Nate in third.  I also went undefeated in the woman's double and took first place.  Karen and Barbara tied with number of wins AND total points, but Karen took two games 11-0 - which gave her second place.   First place in the mixed doubles went to Mike and Barbara, second place to  Nate and Rosemary and third place to Richard and Vicki! 

Congratulations to all the winners!!

And before we all left  for the day we took center court for a group picture!

Pictured from left to right: Hedy, Art, Bob, Donna, Gene, Nell, Ricard, Carol, Vicky, John, Carla, Barbara, Keith, Garth, Mike, Rene, Nate, Paul and Skip.  Kneeling in the front are Karen and Rosemary.

Now I did not check  today's predictions from Punxsutawney Phil - but the Peace River Ground Hog definitely would declare as he looked out at the crowd around the pickleball courts.....

Many shadows do I see
So six more weeks of winter it must be!

Thanks Nate and Karen for a really great day.