Sunday, August 18, 2013

Friends Visiting Friends, Visiting With Friends!

Nick and Tonyia were supposed to arrive Friday afternoon.  But afternoon turned into evening, and evening turned into Friday night!  They finally arrived somewhere near 10:30 pm, and it was well after midnight before we all called it a day.

Saturday morning coffee was followed by the first game of Mexican Train for Tonyia and I, and the guys took off for the Chrome Shop over near Wildwood. We grabbed a quick lunch before heading for BUNCO at the Mulberry Rec Center.  Tonyia and I were supposed to meet up with Krystal.........BUT - Krystal had to bail out to help Nate and I forgot to pick up Villages Passes for Nick and Tonyia.  Without a pass, Tonyia would not be allowed in to play - and  unfortunately passes have to be processed before 12:00 on Saturday.

 So....back to the house where she and I resumed our Bunco game and played until after 4:30.

Nate and Krystal had invited the four of us to Dinner and Game Night at their place. We arrived there about 5:00.....and it was the beginning of a very fun filled visit.   Nate and Krystal are staying here in The Villages for the summer - so we've been spending a lot of time with them, but they had not seen Nick and Tonyia  since April or May when they left Peace River.  So it was a little socializing and catching up on what's been going on.

Below, Bartender Nate kicks off the evening with our FIRST batch of Frozen White Russians!   Sorry Nate - the tips  certainly did not convey our appreciation of your great talent tonight!  Don't they look wonderful?

And the FOUR Ladies pose for their photo. Tonyia, Donna, Krystal and Miss Ava!

  Dinner Time:  Not only was Nate our Head Bartender tonight - he definitely deserved the title of Master Chef!    The Chicken Fajitas were excellent!

Time to clear the dishes, whip up that second batch of White Russians and settle in  for game night.  Tonight, Nick and Rich and I learned how to play Phase 10.  Beginners luck - Nick was the winner!

It was after 10:00 when we called it a night and headed home.  Nate and Krystal - always the perfect host and hostess - we thank you for such  a great night!

But the night was not yet over.  Back at our place, Nick and Rich watched a little TV while Tonyia and I headed for the kitchen table for ONE MORE game of Mexican.  We decided to call it a night......Rich had already gone to bed, Nick was sound to sleep on the couch.  About 12:30 we covered Nick with a blanket, turned off the lights and called it a day.

Before Nick and Tonyia headed back to Sebring, the six of us met up one more time this morning for breakfast at Golden Corral.   Sorry Nick - the waitress only snapped one picture!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pickleball and Bunco Today

This morning we were up early and ready for our morning exercise.   Today I drove up to the northernmost section of The Villages to pick up Krystal about 7:30 and then head over to the Mulberry pickleball courts.   They have eight courts here and the better players share four of the courts, while the "recreational" players have fun on the other four.  Nathan was playing with the better players while Krystal and I chose the recreational side.  Not sure why - she has really improved her game, especially after her afternoon clinic with Coach Mo.  We were back home before 10:00.  Enough time to grab some breakfast, shower and be ready to head back out.

Around noon, Rich took off for his afternoon pickleball fix up at the LaHacienda Recreation Center, while Krystal and I headed south to Seabreeze for Bunco.

There was a really nice crowd out this afternoon for Bunco, I think I counted 102 players.   Someone walked in front of the camera - but I almost got Krystal in the photo.

A very roudy group today.........and we had a great time.  Neither of us were big winner today, but  I won one of the $10 drawings, and shared the lucky combo winnings with eight other players for $9 more. ( I had 13 wins and 17 losses).

I'm trying to get pictures from each of the Recreation Centers that we visit this year, so before we left for home, I got some pictures from the inside of the Seabreeze Center.

Like all the other centers, this one is really beautiful.  I also found a video of this recreation center, which, while it shows some of these same pictures, it also shows the fitness center, meeting room, pool, beach volleyball court and the tennis, paddle tennis, handball, picknic and pickleball courts.

CLICK HERE to view the video

This really is like living in paradise..........the only thing we have not found here is a fresh water lake for fishing!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary - Nate and Krystal

Today was Nate and Krystal's 24th wedding anniversary, so we were flattered when they asked if we would join them for dinner.

Dinner reservations were at the Havana Country Club here in The Villages.  A few of the guys that Rich plays pickleball with, said they were not too impressed with this place, and there were a few reviews that were not very complimentary when I goggled it. But despite all that...........our dining experience tonight was absolutely excellent.

The facility is beautiful; par for the course, here at The Villages.    We were seated immediately, ordered our beverage of choice and our meals and then we were entertained.  The serving staff are also entertainers, with outstanding singing voices.

The service was excellent and the food was deliciousl  

Entres tonight included (top left) Steak Gorgonzola (grilled sirloin, sliced and tossed in pasta with a creamy Gorgonzola sauce).  Rich and Krystal both selected the  Sugar House Pork Tenderloin (pan seared pork dusted with cinnamon and finished with a brandy apple reduction, served with garlic mashed potato and a vegetable medley of zucchini and squash).  And (bottom right) is the Twin Tournedos ( medallions of beef tenderloin, charbroiled and topped with wild mushroom tarragon sauce and served with risotto and vegetable medley.)

And then we left the two of them to continue their celebration together.  You can see Krystal with her camera - so I'm sure she'll have some great photos on her blog!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday - Re -visit Potential Properties - Stromboli for Diner

Saturday morning I managed to get up very early and meet Krystal at Mulberry Recreation Center for pickleball.  Such a really nice group of people.  There were four courts on our side going with about 10-12 people waiting to play.   Nathan was playing on the adjacent courts with the "better than Krystal and I players".

Our plans, once again was to go to Bunco at Seabreeze this afternoon - but we had to do a second visit to the two potential properties that we are considering buying, so I had to cancel the Bunco playing.  We did look at the two properties, but we still are undecided as to which one to buy.  We really like the inside ( new stainless steel appliances, beautifully furnished) of one, the outside ( great view from the bay window/patio and a great breezway and golf cart garage) of the other.  We will make a decision ----- I am sure!!!

Can't wait until tomorrow.  We are having dinner at the Havanna CountryClub to celebrate Nate and Krystal's Anniversary and then getting together at their place for some fun and games!!!

Tonight, after our revisit to potential properties, Rich and I fixed dinner together.  We made stromboli..... They really do look delicious............and they tasted wonderful!

Back to Bunco at Bacall

Krystal and I usually get together to do something almost every day...but this week I really let her down.   We started out great, with line dancing on Monday and a trip to the new Brownwood Town Square.   We talked about a day trip over to Homasassa or Dunellin to a few of the state parks.   I think I made it up to Mulberry for pickleball one morning???

But Rich and I started looking at some properties here.  We have discussed it so many times, but just can not commit to living here year/round.  We elected to look over in the Orange Bloossom Village, which is the "historic" section of The Villages.......the modular home section.   So on Wednesday we looked at about 6 properties, and then another 5 or 6 on Thursday. We've narrowed it down to two!   We may still keep an annual site at the RV Park........but we are thinking of upgrading to a bigger 5th wheel for the winter months.  

But I was able to finally meet up with Krystal on Friday.    Both of us seem to be making one excuse or another for not getting up in the morning for pickleball..... but we did make it back to the Bacall Recreation Center for Bunco on Friday afternoon.

Oh my!!  Is that Krystal with Humphrey Bogart?

All of the recreation centers here have a different theme.  This one is represents the American Film Industry........  right down to the wall paper.   One of the smaller of the recreation centers, but I did find a video of both the inside and outside which is really very nice!  Krystal won today on the lucky combination of 15 and 15.   Good Job Krystal
CLICK HERE to watch the video. 

On Saturday morning I met Krystal at Mulberry Recreation Center for pickleball.   Our plans were to go to Bunco at Seabreeze in the afternoon - but we needed to make plans for a second visit to the properties we were interested in.  

Tomorrow -Sunday - Rich has his Dunkin Donut visit around 11:00 am, Pickleball at 12:30 and then we are celebrating Nate and Krystal's anniversary with dinner at the Havana Country Club tomorrow evening.............

Monday, August 5, 2013

Another fun day at The Villages

I was sure that Krystal would suggest pickleball this morning.  Since we always do line dancing on Thursdays at Laurel Manor, I was surprised, but pleased when she suggested we try line dancing today at Colony College.  

For her that means driving from the most northern part of the Villages to almost the farthest south!  I took the camera with me - because we had not yet been to this Recreation Center. Colony College is one of the Regional Rec Centers.

Line dancing started at noon today, so we arrived about 11:35.   We've learned that you need to arrive early, because it fills up fast.  Good thing.......  As you can see below - the line was pretty long; folks heading for the dance floor!

Even this early - there was no way we'd get a spot up close to the stage near the instructor.  We were about 6-8 rows back about the middle of the room - with about that many more rows of people behind us.   People had their water bottles or bags on the floor to hold their spot, so we did the same and wandered around the center. 
Like all the other recreation centers, this one was so beautiful inside.   Beautifully decorated right down to the perfect lamps!  Here a few of the pictures I snapped. 

Back to the room for dancing.... This is a typical group for "beginner line dancing"???


We danced until after 2:00 which is pretty good.  The dances pregress from beginner, to beginner plus to intermediate!  So we are pretty proud of our success.  We'll be dancing on the town square, showing off our skills before we know it!

Neither of us had eaten any lunch, and we were sweaty and hungry and thirsty!  So we headed to Subway and relaxed over a 6 inch sub and a cold drink.  

From there we decided to take a ride down a little further south to the newest, still under construction, town center.  South of county road 466A, The Villeges is now building out their final section.  

Below are some pictures of the newest town center, Brownwood Paddock Square, built to remind you of an early century Florida cattle town.  And like evetything else in The Villages - it is expertly done.    

Only a few of the restaurants and  stores are open now but each night on the Square residents and visitors show up for shopping, dining, live music and dancing!
Below are some more pictures that show the stage where the band plays each night and the outstanding and unique detail put into the construction of the town square. 

A few more 

Anyway - we both took a lot of pictures, and leisurely walked the square. 
Another fun day in The Villages!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Thanksgiving in August

Ok - Now this will be a great example of how lax I have been this year with my camera.  We have company for the day, have a great time......... and my camera remains idle!

Anyway - On Saturday  we invited Nate and Krystal and Ava to join us for dinner.  One of the things I really like about staying here is  having a full size oven, refrigerator and KITCHEN.  During the winter while we RV - big dinners  like this just don't happen.

Hors d'oeuvres included fresh carrots, celery and tomatoes with ranch dipping,  and crackers -and cheese.

Pre - dinner cocktails: Your choice of  straberry dacquari, pina colada, marguarita, wine or beer

Dinner include a 13 lb turkey, beautifully browned and perfectly moist with sausage stuffing, ( that's the dish with the foil still on it!)  mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, fresh rolls and cranberry bread, and cranberry sauce.

After dinner  we had to decide between pegs and jokers or pickleball.   Right! Yes - we donned the shorts and sneakers, grabbed our pickleball paddles and headed to Churchill Rec Center.  It was about 6:30.  We played about 5 games and Rich and Nate had a great time destroying our confidence.........But we just laughed and smiled through the beating!   It was a typical hot, muggy evening.

Back at the house, it was time for dessert.   Rich had baked pumpkin pie the day before. Too late for coffee.....but the pie was delicious!

Summer Rain (ugh!)

This summer is one of the worst we remember for storms and rainfall, despite the fact that here in Florida it is our "hurricane season".   It has been reported that the rainfall totals are well above the average.   Here are a few pictures of what we've been seeing about 90% of the time!

Looking out the front window........

Looking out back,,,,,,  This has put a real hurtin' on pickleball.  Rich plays generally in the afternoon - and more times than not he's back home, rained off after only one game or maybe two.  On Thursday's he and Nate go to Stonecrest in the evening - but that too has been rained off three of the last four Thursdays. 

Thank Heaven, I have Bunco and Line Dancing and Mexican Train with Krystal!