Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day two with Nick and Tonyia.....

Rich and I slept in a little later than usual on Saturday morning.... but Rich was the last to show his face!    The morning was uneventful - but after coffee and showers in was time to get the started.  About 11:30  Tonyia and I headed out.

The afternoon would be BUNKO at the Seabreeze Recreation Center.    All the rec centers here in The Villages  are absolutely beautiful inside and out - and the decor of the Seabreeze Center is nautical....  Before we went in to play with 85 other Bunko  enthusiasts and spend our $5...... I caught a picture of Tonyia..... We had a great time...........but neither of us went home money winners today...

Leave it to Nick and Tonyia to come up with yet another great idea for our evening out on Saturday.  We  headed over to Kissimmee for the Dinner and Show at Capone's.   If you have never been there - put it on your list of things to do/places to see.  The show takes place is what appears to be a speakeasy....
"is set in the early thirties when prohibition was the law of the land. Al Capone is our illustrious owner and provider of our bootleg spirits."

Nick had made the reservations and made sure we got a great table for four with a perfect view of the stage.  But before we were escorted to our tables we  were invited to go upstairs for the first of or "bootleg spirits".   You are greeted by and waited on by true "Chicago style"  gun bearing and gun waving gangsters with an attitude.  There was a lot of "How Ya Do'in," and "Get Outta Hear".  You have to purchase your first alcoholic beverage - and then for the rest of the night - it's all you can eat and drink...... You also get some poker chips should you want to join in at the table where they are playing Black Jack.

Downstairs at our table, our glasses were refilled (except for Nick - he was our designated driver)  we enjoyed a great buffet dinner with everything from turkey and stuffing and tons of Italian - lasagna, ziti, spaghetti, pizza ---- the works.   The entertainers mingled with the audience and we got some pictures.    Baby Face was our "gangsta waita".  We got some great pictures of Bunny,(bottom left) and Jewel (with Bunny - bottom right).  Jewel was the  hostess, singer and MC for the evening and Bunny played a great role as a lovable but ditsy blond, recently married to "Fingers" Salvatorio ( pictured center with Tonyia and I), a silly mobster with a great voice.   An Rich really looks like he's having way too much fun with those two "blonds".    

It was a very entertaining evening  of song and dance, a lot of audience interaction and great stand-up comedy, but it was after midnight by the time we got back and settled in for the night!  Nick and Tonyia headed back to Peace River this morning.  We'll see them and the rest of our RV friends in a couple of weeks.  

The Weekend with Nick and Tonyia

It was another weekend where we had friends visiting and another weekend of good times and lots of laughter!

Nick and Tonyia arrived early Friday afternoon and we just sat around, talked and caught up on what's been going on here and at the RV Park.  They wanted to take Rich and I out for dinner and asked us to choose a place that we had not been before; someplace different.   Most of the restaurants here in The Villages are no different than what you find anywhere else - and the few that are,  we have been to.  So Nick went on-line and found the greatest little restaurant - the Cotillion Southern Cafe  located about 10 or 15 minutes from here in Wildwood.

What they say on their website is absolutely correct!  "Come to  Cotillion for Real Southern Hospitality, where all food is served ASAP (As Southern As Possible)!

I looked up the restaurant myself and found that this building used to be the Bank of Wildwood and was built some time before 1905!   The setting inside beautiful with the table set with lace tablecloths and real china....... The menu provides an array of Southern Cooking  and we each tried a different Southern Specialty.

Take a look at these portions.

We started with Cream Cheese with Jezebel Sauce, with crackers for an appetizer and either Butta Bean Soup or House Salad.  Starting at the bottom left, Nick chose the Southern Fried Steak with smashed potatoes.  That huge bowl just above is Tonyia's Pulled Port Platter,  I chose the Southern Style Meatloaf, and Rich, bottom right, elected the Cracker Chopped Steak.

What is so neat.......on every table is Miz Kathi's Southern Cotillion Cookbook with ALL the recipes for the menu items......and you can also purchase the cookbook at the restaurant or on line.

Some pretty good size "doggie bags" went home with us....    But Nick could not leave without a piece of the Nutta Butta Cake - Four layers of chocolate cake, with peanut butter filling  and chocolate icing with nutter butter cookie shavings..... 

Back at the house we played cards (Skip Bo) until after 11:30  and then called it a day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Signs of Aging

August was a terrible month.   Between the chest pains, the hospital visit, the bad knee and the mammogram results  .........I am about ready to believe that I am BEGINNING to age.......  If I get this knee working - I'll feel YOUNG again!

I think I played pickleball a grand total of 3 days during the month of August.  Thankfully the knee held out long enough for me to enjoy the visit from Nate and Krystal.  Since then I've had the x-ray - which didn't show anything, and then the MRI last Thursday.  Got the results today..... and they say it's osteoarthritis.

So what now:
1. Cut Back on Caffeine
2. Cut Back on Sugar/Potatoes/Starch  ( Spicy food is good - so I can still eat the Jalapenos/ Habanaros!).   Eat more protein. This should help with the weight - Right!
3. Keep exercising - but not quite so much pickleball!!  I have to limit the intensity and duration of any weight bearing activities.  But doctor said three days a week is OK or every other day if I don't stay out there for hours!!
4.  Moderate exercise when not playing pickleball - swim, bike ride, whoorpool...
5. Ice after pickleball... Heat before exercise is also good.
6.  Keep taking my Glucosamine and Chondroitin    AND

7. A shot of corotzone two to three times/year.  The first one was today!  Piece of Cake!

One more bad day to go....... Thursday I have the Breast Biopsy done.

Pickleball Clinic at SumerGlen

Back in August, while performing my Pickleball Duties..... I found a group that played at the SummerGlen community in Ocala, Fl.  This is a gated, active adult community located right along the west side of Interstate 75, about 15-20 minutes south of the center of Ocala...........and about 1/2 hour ride from here in The Villages.    I spoke with a pickleball resident, Len Outzs, who worked with me to get his location listed on the USAPA website.....and a few weeks later he contacted Rich and I to come over and do a clinic for some of their players.

More than 35 players showed with just two courts it was not possible to get everyone out on the court.  Four of the more experienced players worked with rich to help with some of the demonstrations/drills.

We really had a great time!   They asked lots of great questions during the clinic, but it was really quite nice getting a  chance to chat with some of the folks before and after the clinic. There were a few players that arrived a little bit later, arrived, but below is Rich with the SummerGlen group before we started. 

Back Home on Saturday.....

On Saturday we took a ride back to our home. Don and Linda who had been staying there, moved into their own new home a week or so ago.  We were so excited for them that they could move into a place of their own again and really call it "home."   At the same time it meant getting our  furniture that we had packed away to make room for them - back out and in it's place.   As  you can see the rooms were pretty empty - All the furniture was packed from floor to ceiling in the third bedroom...

Don, such a great friend, came over to help Rich move the furniture.  Rich and I had packed the room and the two of us could have unpacked it - but it surely would have taken us twice the time.  Below, the house begins to look a little more like "home".

The outside was even more beautiful than we remembered.  Don and Linda had kept the front yard meticulously manicured.....and the view in the back is always one of our favorites.  I think I might be getting a little 'homesick'.

About 4:00 we headed over to Don and Linda's new place.  Their new home is right in our community  - only about a mile from our place.  They still have boxes to unpack, but it is a beautiful  3 bedroom villa.  Just perfect for them and their canine companion Dakota.

Just to give you an idea of their's a picture that Don took one morning recently while he was out walking Dakota.  No this is not something you see everyday........but it is a beautiful animal.

It was nice spending a little time with Don and Linda again.  We ended the day at the Outback Steakhouse for dinner.  A perfect ending for the day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day Two with Nate and Krystal

Labor Day Monday started out like most other days.......Yes - with pickleball.

While playing Sunday afternoon - Rich in all his pickleball excitement hit himself with the paddle on the knee. Wanting to make sure that he was OK to play on Monday afternoon, he decided not to play on Monday morning. So Nate and Krystal and I headed over to Churchill Street Rec Center where we played for a couple of hours.  Big crowd out playing that morning - all four courts going and probably 10-12 sitting out waiting to play.  Rich came over to watch for a while.    I'm sure that Nate and Krystal enjoyed the morning - this is one of the friendliest groups of players in The Villages.

After an early lunch the guys headed out for Hacienda Rec Center  to meet up with the afternoon group of players.

Krystal and I  went for a ride in the golf cart.  We stopped at High Five Yogurt for our afternoon treat.  Neither of us had been there before - and our first experience was very positive.  The waitress knew immediately that we had not been there before we she saw the two of us looking for a menu.  At High Five you take you dish, select your self serve yogurt flavor of choice, add your toppings and take your dish to be weighed  - and then you pay!  We took the long way back home allowing her to experience the golf cart trails and the tunnels that go under the roads........  We prepared a vodka and orange juice and enjoyed a couple of hours of  So You Think You Can Dance, that I had previously recorded.

I had made reservations at Katie Belles for and early dinner and show, so we headed up to Spanish Springs Town Center.   It was only about 4:30 when we arrived so the band was getting set up in the Square and  people were starting to arrive early as well, to make sure they had a good seat in the shade where they could enjoy the music.  It was Market Night as well, so the vendors were finalizing their displays and getting ready to sell their goods!

Katie Belles (bottom right below) is a Villages Resident Only club located right on  the Square at Spanish Springs.   It's a stunning two story building and the inside is  like a western style opera house where you can enjoy great food and entertainment every night of the week.   Entertainers and show bands from across the country play here.  On the second floor is the Cattle Baron Restaurant where we had a table on the balcony that overlooked the stage and dance floor below.   There was pretty much a packed house for tonight's entertainment which was The Dunning Shaw and Donna Moore show.   These two are impersonators and the show tonight included songs from Neil Sedaka, Elton John,  Elvis, Patsy Cline, Dolly Pardon, Lisa Minnelli, Sonny and Cher and more......

Below is  Nate and Krystal before dinner and enjoying, on stage, Roy Orbison and on the dance floor - Lady Ga Ga..............   Both the meal and the show was excellent!

 And then the visit was over and Nate and Krystal hit the road and headed back to Wauchula.  We hope they can make it back one more time.  We are expecting to hear from our Louisiana friends real soon about when they might be arriving in September. Hopefully we can get Nate and Krystal back while they are here...........and we got an e-mail today that Harry and Karen Shaak will be back here on September 24th...........So we look forward to some good pickleball and some good Louisiana cookin'

Thanks you two...........We had a wonderful time!

Here is a link to a video of Dunning Shaw and Donna Moore at The Villages earlier in the year........

 CLICK HERE  and enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend with Special Friends

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac delayed the visit from good friends Nate and Krystal until this Labor Day weekend.   By the time that Krystal was able to get our of work at the park on Friday it was after 10:00 on Friday evening when they finally arrived.   It was 12:30 am or after by the time everyone called it a night.

Obviously, number one on the list of "things to do" when pickleball friends visit is.......PICKLEBALL.  

On Sunday morning we were all and out the door about 7:30 am.......Rich and Nate headed to Pimlico and Krystal and I to Churchill Rec Center.  I did manage over the two days to catch a couple of pictures of Nate on the courts -  the rest of the crew playing at Churchill and both of them sitting  on the bench waiting for their next turn..

Everyone was back, showered and ready for lunch by 11:00.   Rich and Nate then headed for Saddlebrook for afternoon pickleball at Saddlebrook.  Krystal and I headed out for a few hours of BUNKO at the Mulberry Grove Rec Center. The camera went we we a couple of shots of the Rec Center - beautifully decorated inside.....and yes - that Krystal at her Bunko table after the last game of the day.   We had a great time - but neither of us were big winners.  The guys arrived home from the pickleball courts not far behind us. 

We headed on down to Lake Sumter Landing and the first stop was at the Lighthouse Point Restaurant.  Three of us went with the Fisherman's Platter which is the house favorite and Nate opted for the Blue Fish, with some kind of Jalapeno seasoning.    As always - the food and atmosphere was excellent.  

It was still early (and hot!) but we decided to take a walk along the boardwalk  and see what was going on.  The turtle were back - looking for some bits of food from passersby,  folks were heading into the Old Millhouse Theater for their favorite movie -(By the way --- If you have not yet been to see the movie 2016 about the life of and the results of the decisions of President  Obama, make a point to see it!  Rich and I went to see it Thursday night)  

After checking out the folks listening to the music around the square we all took the 20 minute boat tour around Lake Sumter.     Our cruise director was a lovely lady who told us the history of Lake Sumter, as we took in the view of the Bridge that crosses the lake that was built in the likeness of the London  Bridge, the site of The Villages Bird Sanctuary  and the view of the Lighthouse Restaurant from the water among a few other things. 

Everyone - the guys especially were pretty tired after a long day of pickleball so we headed back to the house - got ourselves our beverage of choice and relaxed and watch the new Footloose Movie.   

It was a really fun day............ A final photo of Nate and Krystal as we left the Lighthouse Restaurant..........I think everyone was tired and off to bed about 10:00 pm.  We had another busy day scheduled for Monday.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Goodbye Isaac - Welcome , School Days

Here in Central Florida we were spared the brunt of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac, but we got tons of rain.........   We thought the rain wound never stop.   Krystal and Nate were supposed to visit last weekend - but the threat of Isaac put a halt to that visit.  Krystal did share a few pictures of the impacts of Isaac at the Thousand Trails park in Wauchula where they are for the summer and where our RV is parked.

WOW - The Peace River is really invading the park............

And after making it's destructive path through Mississippi and Louisiana our thoughts and prayers are with friends and fellow pickleball players in it's path. 

 And then our concerns turned to Davenport Iowa, where our Son and family live....

But fortunately as the storm lost it's strength we were pretty sure that it would be nothing more than some very welcome rain to the area and give them a break from record high temperatures.

In the meanwhile - speaking of the family in Iowa.  It was back to school time, and pictures of the kids as they head off for their first day really do make you feel Proud...........and Old.....and wondering where the time has gone.  Chauna is in  8th grade, and our grandson, Dalton heads off as a High School Freshman.

And what else do High School Kids do?     You've Got It!   Dalton is now driving.   Dennis is not quite ready to let him handle the truck - so it's practice time in Mom's car.

Both of the kids EXCEL in school and at the same time remain involved with the arts and in sports.  Chauna has already been out on the field with the softball team and below the family heads out to the  Davenport West High School Football game.  Dalton will be on the field with the marching band.