Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Son

 Just a few memories from the past 44 years, SON................


Thursday, February 21, 2013

An evening with Todd Hallawell and Garth Matthews

There is a lot of entertainment here at the park - some that is OK, some that is quite good and some, like last Saturday evening that is absolutely excellent.

Todd Hallawell is an acoustic guitarist who is the recipient of numerous musical awards including the National Fingerstyle Guitar Cahmpionship....   You can read more about his music and accomplishments on his website:

I tried taking pictures - but I seldom can get good pictures inside the meeting these are a few pictures that Judy, the Peace River Recreation Director took and posted on the Peace River facebook page.

The room was absolutely packed - standing room only for this show...........

Joining Todd on stage was his wife and our good friend and fellow pickleball player from Canada - Garth  Matthews.  Garth has been down with a bad cold prior to this performance - but you would never have known.  He and his wife Rosemary are both excellent singers and entertainers.

While Todd can certainly make that guitar sing and both he and Garth can belt out some great tunes..............the Hallawell canine could not let the evening pass without sharing his talent.........

What a great companion and lover of music this one is.  And whenever he hears the song " Happy Trails to you............he lends his voice............and belts out some great howls....................And he did just that for the audience tonight!

Dinner at the Hotel Jacaranda - Avon Park

Last Friday Nick and Tonyia joined us for dinner at the historic Hotel Jacaranda in Avon Park, FL

According to

As a true example of living history, The Hotel Jacaranda is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in Highlands County. When the Jac opened in 1926, it took its name from a 150-year-old jacaranda tree that had been removed to make way for the hotel. Among its first guests were members of the St. Louis Cardinals, who came to Avon Park for spring training from 1927 to 1929. Photos of its famous guests, from Babe Ruth to Hollywood celebrities George Burns and Gracie Allen, adorn its dining room. During World War II, the grand hotel played a hand in the war effort by housing hundreds of servicemen who had come to the area to train as military pilots.

Below are some pictures of the hotel as it looks today...

Nick and Tonya in the foyer......

Below is the four of us after  dinner.  The hotel features a buffet, Monday through Friday, with each day's menu different.  Being Friday it was the seafood buffet, but still provided some excellent fried chicken for those who don't do fish.  Excellent clam chowder,  salad bar and tons of desserts.  The music, a piano player, make the atmosphere just perfect.

Been a really long time since we've seen fire escapes like this on buildings.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Birthday Celebration!

 On Wednesday evening it was once again time for a happy hour and this time it was Keith and Marie who were the generous host. . Like most happy hours these days, the table was chocked full with outstanding dishes.  RV'ers are great cooks and enjoy festive occassions.   The circle of friends keeps getting bigger and bigger

But tonight's happy hour was also a Birthday celebration.  Not sure why - but those people  born in February always seem to get this special treatment.  It's been the tradition here at Peace River for about 5 years. 

And here are a few of of friends who showed up for the birthday festivities. 
Margie and Dean, Travis, Tonyia and Nick, Diane and Buddy, Hedy and Art, Tom, and Karen,  Donna and Barry, Carol and Lou, Russ and Nell.

And here are the five that were celebrating their birthdays today!
Marie, Joy, Rich, Marie and Diane

My Last Day of Radiation Treatment

Wednesday February 13, 2013 was our grandson's 15th birthday and my very last day of radiation treatments.  The folks at the Sebring Cancer Center are some of the very best; and that's everyone from the receptionist to my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Stephanie Rapke.    When I went for my treatment on Tuesday, I prepared them - telling them I was bringing my camera the next day!

Sebring Cancer Center has some of the  most advanced technologies available to treat cancer.  One of them is  the  Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – a sophisticated type of external beam radiotherapy which allows delivery of precisely targeted radiation beams to tumors, while sparing the surrounding healthy organs.

Pictured below:  Top left, clockwise:  Sandy - the receptionist who greeted me every morning with a smile, just before 8:30 am.  On Wednesday she greeted me saying " is your last day!"   With the exception of just ONE day - when there was a problem with the machine I was in the radiation room ready for treatment on or before my 8:30 appointment time.    Next picture is the IMRT as it was positioned when I arrived.  I would lay comfortably on the table with my arms in those little blue holders above my head.......Once positioned correctly the table would rise and the machine would do it's thing!

The next picture is of Tina - who often helped with my daily positioning or especially when they took the weekly photos........But it's Monday's that I remember best with Tina when I met with the Doctor after treatment.  "You can put on a blue robe..........I'll meet you at the scales!"

The picture at the bottom left is of Stephanie, who actually gave me my daily treatment.   With the exception of ONE day Stephanie was there to greet me every single day.  She was so professional, but so very nice - always making sure I was comfortable.  They don't come any better.  

And the last picture gives you an idea of how the IMRT machine moves/works. The table would be raised much higher.  The first 5 weeks that machine would start at the far left, move about 45 degrees for the next treatment and move it's way all the way to the right.  The last week or so was call the Boost - where the radiation was targeted to just the impacted area.

I left them a big box of chocolates for Valentines day. Seems insignificant now, after all they did for me.   God willing - I should be done, with the exception of regular check ups and regular mammograms.   Thank you all for your prayers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Just a few of the very special moments over the past 15 years!  We are so proud of you......We love You!

Our son (his dad) put it best on facebook today!

My Goodness 15? Really? Well yes a Very Happy Birthday to my most Incredible & Awesome Son!  My buddy lil D... Dalton Jordan Donald!
 I'm so Proud of you & all that you do & I Love You! Wishing & Praying for many many more!

Woman's Wine and Wii

On Tuesday afternoon Boonie invited several of us ladies over for a fun day of wine, snack and Wii Fit.    Everyone brought a snack to share and Bonnie made the afternoon full of laughter....   I have never done Wii Fit before, but didn't do too bad  being a penguin on an iceberg trying to catch fish.  Then it was the hoola-hoop - Loved it!   I think I had the second high score!  And you would thing that as a pickleball player  I could see a ball coming in my direction......but while I was not the worst - at soccer I managed to get hit by almost as many smelly sneakers as I did soccer balls!   Here are a few of the ladies enjoying the afternoon!

Pictured above : Bonnie getting the goodies ready, Tonyia (left) giving Hedy some pointers, ME, Bonne, helping Janet with the hoola-hoop, Rosa and Tonyia, hoola-hoop pros!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pickleball Skills Clinic at Peace River

In the past several weeks, several of the pickleball players have asked if Rich would do another Skills Clinic for those who already know how to play the game, but want some tips and techniques to help them improve their play.

It was a beautiful day - and about 20 people showed up at the courts ready for their lessons.  Several others sat outside the fence to listen.

I got some pretty good shots of Rich during some of his demonstrations - ground strokes, cross stepping, and the sky hook......

And here are some shots of some of our friends - some who  have attended Rich's training more than once in the past.......  Lance - only been playing for about 2 weeks, Laurie, Justin, Rosa,  Karen, Tonyia, Nick, Bonnie and Jessie.

And a group shot to complete the day!  I had to look hard to find Rich!  He's way in the back with the white hat.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Italian Happy Hour at the Lovelands...........

After all the Peace River players won at the recent tournament, I guess Dean and Margie thought it only right to celebrate!  Margie made some AWESOME Chicken Cacciatori for everyone...........and everyone else brought an appetizer or complimentary dish or dessert.   So Friday night was Italian Night at the Lovelands.

It seemed like the whole park was there...........The site was packed with people enjoying food and friendship and talking lots of pickleball...... There were some new players and new faces that I didn't know so enjoy the photos.

Dean and Margie were parked right along the River Road - and while it's usually enjoyable to watch the sunset - tonight it was just a whole lot of sun in your eyes.

And with Valentines Day just around the corner, Margie gave all the ladies a strawberry Sucker Ring.  Thanks Margie!

People were still there into the early evening , so Dean lit the fire for everyone to enjoy.

Pickleball Clinic tomorrow - and the February Birthday Happy Hour is scheduled at Keith and Marie's on February 13th......Weather looks a little threatening that day, so there could be a date change!

Friday, February 8, 2013

More Pickleball in Port Charlotte

On Wednesday several of the pickleball players here at the Peace River park headed for Harbor Lakes RV Resort in Port Charlotte, FL.  This is the second year that ELS has held the FT. Myers and Sarasota Expo.......... and again this year Harbor Lakes was the host resort for pickleball.

Unfortunately, I was not able to play, since I had to make my morning trip for my radiation treatment, and players needed to arrive by 8:00 am.  But I hooked up with our friend Art Carpouzis for a ride ( he wasn't playing either)  and we got there about 10:15 and play was well underway.  Below are the ladies playing.  Notice those nice blue shirts?  Those were compliments of the manager here at Peace River.  Very nice.

Top to bottom left:  Tonyia and Judy, Karen and Krystal, Donna and Marie, Rosa and Lauri/Carla and Dee.  Top to bottom right: Vicky and Lois/ Karen and Krystal, Laurie and Rosa, Dee and Carla, Lois and Vickey

And below are the men..........Clockwise from top left:  Nathan and Lance/Barry and Bob,  Bob and Barry again, Nathan and Lance,  John and Buddy,  Russ and Keith/ Buddy and John.  I missed a few of the guys.......

Everyone was really enjoying the day whether on or off the court.  So here's a few shots of the group between games....

And before the day was over I managed to get some group shots and pictures of the winners!   Bay Indies RV Resort in Venice, FL is doing another of these tournaments in March - and I'm sure we'll have the group back in the competition.  And I should be ready to play by then too!

Below is Carla and Dee receiving their 1st place prize and Donna and Marie the 3rd place prize!  In the group picture are: Back row: Lois, marie, Dee, Vicky, Krystal and Carla.  Front row: Karen, Rosa, Judy, Laurie and Tonyia. 

And the men.......Rich and Dean took first place, Nathan and Lance, second and John and Buddy 3rd.    And in the group picture: Back Row: Rich, Russ, Dean, John(almost hidden), Nathan, Lance.  Front Row:  Bob, Buddy, Keith, Rene and Barry

The park manager and the folks who helped her out did a great job.  A fun tournament, good food and great fun.

Tournament Day!

After the player social - it was back to the room for a good night's sleep.  The next two days would be very very busy.  The alarm was set for 5:30.

The day began with the free continental breakfast at the hotel.  A nice set up with waffles and an array of fruit, cereal, toast, boiled eggs and pastry, coffee and juice.  Rich seldom eats that early in the morning - so today was no exception.  I grabbed a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice and then we headed for the East Naples Community Park, just 15 minutes from the hotel.  We arrived about 7:00 and began helping to set up the booths which would house the players table, the referee table, Pickleball Specialties  and Pickleball Inc who would be selling pickleball goods!

As you can see from the picture, the weather had turned a bit cool overnight - so players were arriving in sweat shirts and sweat pants to stay warm.  But it wouldn't be long before the sun was out and the games would generate some great competition.    I'm not sure what the final count was - but the tournament drew close to 250 players, representing 25 states across the country and 2 Canadian Provinces.  We had sixteen lighted pickleball courts set up.  The two time National Champion, Jennifer Lucour came to play as did National Champion Phil Bagly.  They took the gold medal in the 19+ age group.

I, and Rich when he was not playing, spent most of our day, until about 7:00 in the evening monitoring courts, looking for referees, or refereeing ourselves. Believe me - it is much more taxing on the body running a tournament and monitoring courts to keep them active than it ever was competing as a player!  All of you know how much I love taking pictures, right?  Once the tournament began I snapped FOUR pictures of Rich playing with his partner Tom Burkhart from Louisiana.   Rich and Tom played in the 60+ age bracket and came home with the Bronze medal.

Atlantic South Regional Tournament- Player Social

 Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've put anything out here.  Believe it or not - there has been nothing exciting going on.  I've been making my daily trip to Sebring for my radiation treatments.  ONLY THREE MORE DAYS AND I'M DONE!!!    YEAH!    We've been out to dinner a couple of times, I've been up playing Pokeno three or four times a week during the afternoon, and to Bingo on Monday and Wednesday evening.  Rich has played a little pickleball, but I've only been out twice in the last month - doctor's orders.

But last Wednesday we headed down to Naples, FL for the Atlantic South Regional Pickleball Tournament.  With a couple ambassadors from Ft. Myers, Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman, we began the  planning for this event probably five month's ago.   It was a USAPA Sanctioned Tournament and our very first Regional Event, so we really had no idea how many players to plan for.  We had hoped to get between 100 and 125. Nancy and Cindy got a host hotel, the Quality Inn and Suites Golf Resort in Naples,  where they as the tournament directors and Rich and I, as the Regional Directors were given complimentary suites for three nights.

On Thursday evening we hosted the Player's Social where again we hoped we'd get 80-90 of the players attend.  All USAPA members were admitted to the social free and all others paid $6.  We had about 170 people attend!    The hotel did a great job with the buffet ; chicken, potato salad, beans, pulled pork barbecue ...  and there was more than enough for everyone!    We set up a slide show that played while people were arriving, there was a full cash bar set up for those who wanted a cocktail with their meal, and we had about 50 items that we gave away as door prizes.  That's Jodi Pree, one of the USAPA ambassadors from Marco Island calling out the winning numbers.

Several of our RV friends from here in Peace River came down to play, although not all of them made it to the player social.  But Rich and Dee, and Dean and Margie and Rene and Myra shared a table close to the buffet table, and if I remember correctly they took home a couple of the door prizes!  

My job that evening was to address the group and share a few statistics about USAPA across the country and more specifically across our Atlantic South Region of AL, GA, NC, SC and FL, and to manage the door prizes.    But the best part of the evening was having the special honor of presenting the 2012 USAPA Pioneer Award.  What made it even more special was that I got to present it to two very special friends of both Rich and I, Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman, out of Ft. Myers, Fl who teach the game, promote the game and organize pickleball competitions across the country!    They both received a crystal plaque, a USAPA T-shirt, and a three year renewal of their USAPA membership.

It was a really enjoyable evening and a great way to start off the biggest tournament ever held east of the Mississippi!