We both retired in May of 2006. For the first 6 years we were avid RV'ers and addicted to the game of Pickleball. In September of 2013 we sold the RV and bought a house on the canal to Lake June in Lake Placid, FL where we continue to meet new people and make new friends. Fishing is our favorite past-time now. THANK YOU to our families and friends, old and new, for making our retirement the best chapter in our life so far.
Today, December 26th, my oldest brother Jim passed away. Jim was the first born of nine brothers and sisters. He was born on my mother's 18th birthday. Here he is with Mom and the rest of his siblings. This was taken back in the late 70's.
Pictured: Back row, left to right - brothers Mick, Chuck, David,k Bill.
Front row: left to right: Sisters Ronda and Sandy, Mom, Me and Brothers Jim and Don. Of this group the only ones left are my baby brother David and I.
And here is Brother Jim and his family. This was taken the summer of 2013. Pictured: Jim, his wife Gloria and children Carol, Glory, Kathy, and son Tim with his wife, and 2 of Jim's grandchildren.
Growing up, Christmas was always a time to be with family, to decorate the house, family gatherings and Xmas carols, Midnight Mass, and mom's and dads and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters gathered around the tree and around the dinner table. After we moved to Florida it was pretty much just Rich and I, except for the year that Denny and Krystal and the kids came home, or with our good friends Don and Linda who were our neighbors for several years. Then it was celebrating the holidays at whatever RV Park we were at, pot luck style, but lots of fun meeting and making new friends.
This year, for the first time in about 6 or 7 years, we actually have a Christmas tree up again and we are spending the holiday in our new home.
Christmas Eve - The day began as any other - sitting on the lanai having our morning coffee. Today we had company..........
About 1:00 in the afternoon, Rich made his pumpkin pies ( three of them). I had picked up a couple of steaks at the local meat market - so put them in to marinade. Dinner was grilled NY Strip Steak, baked potato, grilled asparagus and garlic break. Delicious!!! We relaxed and watch a movie and about 9:30 before it was over, Rich finished off the first pumpkin pie. Presents were wrapped and under the tree.................as we called it a day.
Christmas morning, we were up about 7:30 and enjoying our morning coffee once again on the lanai. Joining us this morning were the resident ducks, perched atop boat house.
The tree lights were on and the Christmas music playing as we opened our gifts. Santa was very good to both of us.... Rich got stuff for fishing including a fish weight, anchor and rope, he got shorts and sandals, and a new thermos and lots of chocolate! Santa gave me a new watch and pocket book, a deep fryer and a day at the Spa including a massage, facial and much more! I love you SANTA RICH!
Then it was time to get dinner started - the meat and potatoes in the oven......... Since Nick and Tonyia do not have family to spend the holidays with, we invited them to join us for dinner. A few days earlier, we had dinner at their place and they surprised Rich with a VERY unexpected XMAS gift. A Coldwater Outfitters, Fish Fillet Station, for the dock. He'll now have a place to clean and fillet all the fish he wants! Thank you Nick and Tonyia.
Dinner was excellent. If you've never used the oven a for cooking - they are wonderful.
The ham, studded with whole cloves and covered with a pineapple and brown sugar glaze came out deliciously moist.
Fresh made biscuits, scalloped/Au gratin potatoes, fresh green beans tossed with olive oil, garlic and cherry tomatoes, and glazed carrots completed the meal.
After dinner the guys spent most of the afternoon down on the dock fishing. They would have taken the boat out - but it was a bit too windy.......... Tonyia and I spent the afternoon on the lanai playing Mexican Train. We all enjoyed a little holiday cheer, be it a glass of Sangria, Eggnog and Cinnamon Whiskey, or just a plain old can of beer. While the weather was beautiful and the guys tried real hard - the fish were just not biting. Rich is holding about the biggest one for the day!!!
Of course the highlight of the day was hearing from Denny and the family. He called early in the day and Rich and I both were on the phone for a while. And Santa was very good to them as well.
Back in November a special Soldier friend of Denny's contacted him and wanted to do something special for him and his son. According to the post on facebook this Soldier wrote: "you are largely responsible for mentoring me and helping pave my career..... Thanks goes to you." This is what he did. Our grandson, Dalton is a huge Colts fan and Bryan Grantham was able to get 2 autographed pictures from multiple Pro Bowl center Mr. Jeff Saturday signed "To Dalton and Dennis.... God Bless...#63 Jeff Saturday". According to Dennis. Dalton was in awe with a smile from ear to ear! Picture below of Dennis and Dalton with the photo, joined by our grand daughter Chauna.
Rich and I are so fortunate. A beautiful family and so many great friends.
Well today Ava's Mom and Dad are coming to pick her up and take her home. We've really enjoyed having her for the week.........Here's a few more pictures. I think she enjoyed her stay!
If we didn't see her around - we'd check the bedroom and find her buried in the pillows~ She loved to roam around the back yard, but she's still not sure if those ducks are real or not! We didn't take the boat out on the water - but she kept begging...........so we put her in the boat. She wandered around, but like the driver's seat the best.
It all started Friday evening when Nate and Krystal stopped by long enough to drop off Miss Ava, as they headed on to Miami for a week long cruise. What a great Xmas Present for the two of them!! Meanwhile we get to enjoy the company of our favorite little girl for a while.
She seems to be settling in and enjoying herself. She likes the kitchen chair when I'm sitting there on the computer.....she can keep her eye on me AND see what's going on outside. She likes running around in the big back yard, and she's claimed her seat out on the lanai. In the evening she takes to her favorite blanket either on the couch or the recliner - wherever she can be closest to the both of us.
She does NOT like to be left alone! On Saturday she was alone for a couple of hours and when we returned every pillow on the sofa except one was on the floor in the living room. She isn't going to like it on Monday evening when we have to leave again. Dinner at 6:00, follow by the Placid Lakes HO Association members meeting from 7-9. She's getting a little more acclimated, so I'm sure she'll be fine. We'll leave her a treat, the light on and the music playing!
On Saturday morning Nick and Tonyia arrived about 8:00 am and brought us breakfast from McDonalds. A cup of coffee and they loaded the boat and headed out to fish.
Just before noon, Tonyia and I left for Lunch and Bunco at the Meeting House. We had a great time. ( Can't believe I did not take my camera!!!) Great assortment of food and desserts and fun games. We both came home winners, Tonyia with $20 and me with $10!
In the meantime the guys had some pretty good luck on the water. Nick would send Tonyia a text every time they caught a fish. The ended up with 12 fish for the day( would have been 13 - but that Pike got away from Nick before he could get it in the boat!!) Rich had them all cleaned and in the freezer by the time we got home. They brought home crappie, shell crackers and one big Bluegill.
Nick got the trophy fish for the day - the only one deserving of a photo! Here is is with a very nice large mouth bass!
This summer Nate and Krystal and Rich and I spent four months in The Villages. Not a week would go by without Krystal and I meeting up for one thing or the other at least four our five days out of every week. And the four of us would get together for dinner at least once a week.
Rich and I left The Villages about a week early because we were in the process of buying the house and selling our RV. By the time that Nate and Krystal got back to Peace River - we were already gone. All of us have been busy and despite every effort we have not been able to get together.
But last night we drove to Sebring to meet up with them for dinner at Cody's Roadhouse Grill
Wednesday is two for one fajitas - And dinner was delicious! We sat and talked for quite a while after finishing our meal and then a little more time out in the parking lot! It was so nice to see both of them again. They are off on their cruise on Saturday - and we get to have Miss Ava stay with us for the week. We look forward to having her with us, and look forward to spending more time with Nate and Krysal over the holidays!
It's been another busy week. We continue to have a hard time trying to find an area rug for the living room. After returning the first one we ordered on line from Home Depot - we found another one while there shopping in the store. We asked them to order the rug, and made arrangement for them to come and measure the office and the guest bedroom for carpeting. They came and measured, but we are STILL waiting for the area rug to come in. Hopefully before XMAS!
We were invited for dinner with our new friends, Al and Barb ( Can't believe I still don't have a photo!) They had us over for a fish fry. We had shell crackers ( fish that the two of them caught fishing right here on the lake. She fixed some backed beans and macaroni and cheese. Delicious.
We went to the local Placid Lakes Country Club for pasta night with Nick and Tonyia and will definitely go back there again. Best pasta we have ever ordered out!
In the meantime we ordered a new wagon wheel rocker to go with the bench on the front porch, found a few more wall hangings for the living room and started to do a little decorating for the holidays.
On Sunday our friends Buddy and Diane came to visit for the day. It was great to see the two of them again. We feel good that they could finally fit us in to their busy schedule. We saw them last back in September when they visited us in The Villages. They are now back in Wauchula. Both of them sing and play an instrument, and during the winter months here in Florida they meet up with other "jammers" in the area and sing/entertain at several of the parks. They do this most every night - and on Sunday mornings at their church....
It was nice to just sit and talk and catch up on what's been going on. About 4:30
Rich put the Chicken Kabobs on the grill.
I finished the potato and,corn on the cob inside and we all enjoyed a delicious meal.
And thank Buddy and Diane, for the lovely gift.
A beautiful Christmas Pointsetta which adds the perfect holiday touch to our front porch!
On Wednesday we have dinner planned with our friends Nathan and Krystal in Sebring. We have not seen these two since we left The Villages in September! It will be so nice to visit with them again.
Such a wonderful holiday. A time to really reflect on how fortunate we are, a day to reflect and be thankful and grateful for all the wonderful things in our life - our health, our home, our friends, our family, the life that we've been able to share together for the past 43 years. Our son Dennis posted this on his face book page.
I enjoyed it and thought I would share this with our friends that I know follow our blog.............You are special people and the times we spent with you will forever be wonderful memories.
Thanks Dennis - and as always, the highlight of our day was your phone call.
We were not able to be with family - but we were able to spend the day with very special friends, Nick and Tonyia. They arrived late morning, and while dinner cooked the guys did there thing outside and Tonyia and I enjoyed a couple of games of Mexican Train.
Dinner was delicious..........Turkey, Sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, fresh biscuits................ Nick and Tonyia made us a new beverage - Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Eggnog! It was wonderful. And Rich made some absolutely delicious pumpkin pie for dessert. (Yes - his mother's recipe)
This past week has been busy, but we still found time to spend with friends. Still trying to get used to the new lake and where the best fishing holes are..... and still shopping and decorating.
Last Thursday we had dinner with friends at the Country Club here in Placid Lakes. Al and Barb had been there the week before, said it was very good and asked us to join them this week. Each night is a different special and Thursday was Barbecued Ribs.
Rich would like to go back again on Wednesday for the Pasta Special.
On Friday we took a ride out on the lake again for some fishing. The lake was just beautiful. Actually it was so calm that it looked almost like glass.......... Here a few pictures.
It was a bit overcast and barely a breeze.........
Only the wake from the motor put a ripple on the surface.
These next few pictures actually looked to me like an ice covered lake - where in some places the ice was melting. ( Wow! - sounds like I'm back up north)
By the time we headed back. ( And I was the only one who caught a fish today!) the wind has started to come up and the lake looked a little more like normal as we headed back for the canal to the house.
On Saturday Al invited Rich to go fishing with him. Rich was up early, enough time to drink his coffee and wake up before heading out just before 8 am. About 11:30 I headed out for Bunco at the Clubhouse, and Rich had still not returned. About 25 people showed up for Bunco and brought finger foods to pass. Some really good stuff! And I met some new people in the neighborhood, which was nice. Had a really good time, and even won back the $5 I spent to play.
When I got back Rich was home - they had only caught a few fish; not enough for dinner so they through them back. But Rich was very impressed with how Al set up the poles/boat for catching Crappie or Shell Crackers - can't remember which and he says he can find his way back to some of the better fishing spots.
On Friday the new rug arrived for the Living Room. What a disaster!
We ordered the rung on-line through Home Depot. The picture on the left is what we were expecting. A rich black with bright white accents. The rug on the left is what we received. Actually it looked MUCH worse than this. The white fibers would mix with the black and make very ugly gray patches on the rug - and the design was not even the same. We laid it out on Sunday morning, and packed it back up immediately!
On Monday it was a trip to Home Depot to return the rug. We did find another one while we were there - but the size we needed was not in stock. Should be here Next Monday. We also found the carpet we wanted installed in both the office and guest bedrooms. From there it was off to Wal-Mart for new hooks, sinkers, leaders, jigs and fishing line for rigging up the poles for our next trip out on the lake.
Wednesday was back to Sebring for a my check up with the Medical Oncologist, a little shopping and a final trip to the grocery store for some last minute items for Thanksgiving Dinner.
I had picked up some wall decor for the family room - so we hung that.... It really looks much better than the picture........
The Wagon Wheel Rocker arrived for the front porch and the patio furniture for the back patio. It's starting to feel like home.
After more than a week, Rich was finally feeling better. It was Friday evening, the stock market was closed, it was still early so we called our friends Nick and Tonyia to see if they wanted some company.
They suggested that we try the "Mexican" Restaurant in Sebring. They didn't know the name (and I still don't know the name!) but it's located right across the street from the Sebring Diner. The food was good, but folks this is NOT a Mexican Restaurant! We all had either burritos, quesadillas, or fajitas (the only Mexican food on the menu!). I don't know of any Mexican restaurant that does not have re-fried beans! We only had a choice of Red or Black Beans and then had to ask for Salsa!
But, having said all that the food was very good and the Margarita's were even better! After dinner we just went back to their house to visit for a while.........Always great company!
We are finding that Lake Placid is really a very nice small town and really has more going on than we had imagined. The town has two nicknames - "Town of Murals" and "The Caladium Capital of the World." It has more than 40 murals painted on buildings all over town and 98 percent of the world's caladium bulbs come from Lake Placid!
One of these days I am going to take a day and just go visit the murals, AND the Old Lake Placid Atlantic Coastline Railroad Depot, AND Toby the Clown Foundation, the only American Clown Museum in the World which is right here in downtown Lake Placid.
There is weekly games and line dancing, and the beautiful lake to fish on and just sitting on the lanai and enjoying the view! And yes those ducks were back again, this time selecting the boat house for their daily entertainment!
Now that winter approaches and the snow-birds are back in town there will be even more activities.
Last Saturday was the first of the Lake Placid Farmers Markets in downtown Stuart Park. There were at least 30 different vendors selling plants, vegetables, wine, food, crafts and more! This has been going on here for about 5 years, and will continue this year the second Saturday of each month from October through May. The next one is scheduled for November 9th......and opens 8:00 am. I will definitely go again!
Thursday found Rich feeling much better, but I still managed to keep him from jumping in to a lot of physical activity. Relaxing out on the lanai having morning coffee we noticed several duck sitting along the water's edge in the back yard.
As we continued to watch, more and more duck arrived and settled in between our yard and the neighbor's. We tried to count them; there were somewhere between 50 and 60 ducks in the yard. And they were there all day long!
Early in the afternoon, Nick sent an e-mail to see how the Sick Guy was doing and asked if he felt good enough that we could join them for dinner. We met them for an early dinner at Dock 633, right here on the Lake June. It was such a nice afternoon that we decided to sit outside. We were not there long before our neighbors Al and Barb showed up and so we asked them to join us. So the six of us had a very enjoyable evening.
Hopefully Rich and I can get back out fishing, now that he's feeling better. Actually - We could just fish off the dock here in the canal if we wanted. We generally would take the boat out to the lake, but they say the fishing is good right here................I guess it must be - this couple was trolling along slowly out back today! Rich went down to say How Ya Doin...... and see if they were Catch'n Any!
This past week has been pretty hectic.......for me anyway. But Rich has been down with a really bad flu/cold; fever, cough, congestion, achy all over, no energy...... Like everyone else - he hates not being able to get up and around and get "stuff" done. I managed to keep him down for the first two or three days, but once he started to feel a little better, he did a little more than he should having working on the boathouse and paid for it the next couple of days. It hung on for well over a week, and just yesterday he was up and around for most of the day and feeling more like himself.
I on the other hand (after making sure he was comfortable and well fed!) have
been busy shopping.
I found the perfect rug for the family room where we decided on the brown leather reclining couch and matching reclining console love seat.
Unfortunately they are currently out of stock, so we have to wait until the middle of December for delivery!!!!
Oh well...........a nice Christmas Gift!!
We had been looking all over a patio set for outside. Our lanai is very small so
the typical 42 in round or the nice rectangle table sets would not work. We looked at several styles, including the aluminum, which we really liked, but we decided on the PVC. We had this style at our last house, and while it is very stylish, it is also very durable and will last forever! We elected the putty color instead of white this time with the modern back chairs and a driftwood color fabric. Hopefully that will arrive before Thanks Giving.
We also bought a Wagon Wheel Bench for our front porch. The porch/entry way is very long and this should fit nicely. It should be here sometime next week.
On Wednesday the living room furniture was delivered.
As you can see the walls are bare, and the area rugs are not down - still lots of decorating to do. But it's finally starting to look and feel like "home".
Dennis and Crystal sent these pictures of our grand-daughter a while ago. As I checked to see what Dennis was up to today on his facebook page. I found the picture of him and decided it was time to update our Blog........
Not sure who's the kid in the family.......
but this is typical of Dennis just being
However - he does clean up nicely! Here he is (wearing the Sergeant Audie Murphy Medallion). And he shares the picture with our grand-daughter who recently turned 17, and is shown dressed beautifully with her best friend for Home Coming.
It's been a long week.......but things are starting to come together. Sometimes I wish we had never sold so much of our "stuff" when we sold our house last year. Some people would say getting new "stuff" is great.........but I'm not so sure. The living room and patio are still bare.......but tomorrow I'm going to do some more shopping.
Last Thursday we went to a local restaurant for the FIRST time. Al and Barb ( and I still don't have a picture of them!!) took us to Dock 633, which is located just across the lake from us. A very casual "bar and grill" type place with daily specials, indoor and outdoor seating, TVs for the sports fans, weekly karaoke, and great food. Rich had the fish fry and Al the Bacon Cheeseburger. Barb and I had a bowl of the homemade loaded potato soup and shared a Chicken Wrap. Great service, great prices! We're going back on Wednesday for two for one Wings.
On Friday the boat was delivered. Here are Nick and Rich bringing the new boat to our boathouse/dock for the FIRST time. The boathouse was set up for a 20' pontoon - so adjustments need to be made to accommodate the 17' fishing boat.
Nick and Tonyia talked us into going out for dinner - so it was back to the Golden Corral. We really like it there; but you can eat too much if you're not careful. Tonight I was very good; probably for the FIRST time.......enjoying my salad bar and veggies with a piece of baked chicken.
Saturday was another trip to Sebring. First stop was at the Precision Welding place where Rich dropped off a sketch of what he needed to have made for the boathouse. Then it was off to shop for life jackets, anchor, horn, fishing line, fishing licenses and a little grocery shopping.
Sunday we went out on the lake fishing for the FIRST time. It takes us about 10 minutes to ride the canal from our dock to the lake. Here are some pictures of the canal route and a few of the other houses/docks along the canal. Top right is a great picture of another small canal/waterway that branches off of our canal. and bottom left shows where we go under the bridge (Catfish Creek Rd) to enter the main lake.
And here are a couple of shots that give you an idea of the size of the lake ( this is just the south end of the lake). It also extends east all the way US 27.
Here, we just passed under the bridge and this is the small private park for Placid Lake Residents that includes a boat launch.
A view from the south east corner of the lake.......
Rich fishing for the FIRST TIME!
A couple more views of the lake..........
Rich at the helm......
But it was I who caught the FIRST fish! And don't you dare laugh at my FIRST.
And before we headed for home..........while not the most beautiful.... our FIRST sunset over Lake June in Winter...
When we got home we cooked on our new patio grill for the FIRST time. I made a salad while Rich cooked the burgers.
The boats today are so much different than what we had 35 years ago! So we are still trying to figure out the GARMIN and the workings of the foot pedal for the trolling motor and all the other gadgets!
And today I spent the day looking up Supplemental Insurance Plans since Rich will soon be the FIRST to join the Medicare family.
Krystal - I know you will be reading this...........We MUST make plans to get together. We miss you guys!