Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WOW - What a Monster!

Have to share this with everyone........

Why did we buy a house on a lake and a Bass Boat? 

To catch a monster like the one our friend/neighbor caught. 

 Congrats Barb! 

Wishing we could be there to celebrate..........


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Still Celebrating!

We had made absolutely no plans for today - even though it was actually our anniversary.    Neither of us wanted to go out to eat again, so we call friends to see if they might want to come over - do a little fishing and have dinner with us ----------.  It was late morning when we called - so we were not surprised that they already had other plans.  Oh well , I guess it would be just the two of us. 

I called Publix and ordered a Happy Anniversay Cake.........then made plans for dinner.  Both of us would be cooking today!  I took some fish out of the freezer ( Bass that Rich had caught, and a couple of small crappie) and made up some blackening seasoning mix for cooking it.   About mid-afternoon I pulled out the vodka, kaluha and cream and made us both a White Russian.  Put together a large dish of macaroni and cheese and headed to the store to pick up the cake.   I seasoned the fish, gave Rich some extra butter for cooking and he took the fish outside to cook. 

Dinner was Excellent.   We enjoyed it while watching a movie. 

And later we enjoyed a piece of our anniversary cake.  Rich's favorite.  Yellow cake with Whip Cream icing. 

Celebrating 40 Years

Rich and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary on the 23rd.  We generally just go out for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse or Red Lobster, but this year we decided to make a trip back to Port Charlotte to the Visani Restaurant and The Comedy Zone.     To help us celebrate this special occasion we asked friends Dieter and Helen, who own a winter home in North Port - about 15 minutes from the restaurant, to join us.   Our anniversary is actually on Sunday - but Visani is closed on Sunday.

So we headed for North Port about 9:30 Saturday morning, and arrived at Dieter and Helen's about 11:00 am.  The last time we visited was back in late 2011 when they were just purchasing this house and because contractors were working on the inside we were only able to view the outside of the property.    They also have a beautiful home in Columbia Crossroads, PA where they spend the summer.  This is where they come to spend much of the winter months.

The house is small but very cozy and welcoming and we noticed the new color shutters and the newly planted shrubs.    Helen prepared a delicious lunch including sandwiches and potato salad and our beverage of choice.  Most of the time we spent sitting outside enjoying the beautiful summer day.  Their yard is full of palm trees, but among them you can also find a few beautiful  avocado and mango trees.  Beautiful~

Just like at home the Florida birds always grace the yard and come to visit.  This egret must have been within about 2 feet of us for most of the afternoon, leaving and returning several times.

Our dinner reservations were for 4:45 at the Visani Restaurant.(Photo - compliments of Trip Adviser.)     They have a  great variety of items on their menu.  We started with drinks and the fried mozzarella for an appetizer.  The mozzarella was definately not your expected small sticks - they were huge.

Everyone had something different for dinner: Spaghetti and Ma Ma's Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken A La Vodka, and Stuffed Flounder.    The meal was excellent.    We did not make reservations until Thursday afternoon, so we were pleasantly surprised to get such great seats.  Not able to get a table for just the four of us, but rather we were seated at a very long table.  Our seats were only about 4 or 5 back from the stage. PERFECT!  Here's the four of us..........and yes Helen caught me with my eyes shut!

The show started just a few minutes after 6:00.  As the name indicates - it's  a stand up comedian.  I can not remember the name of the first guy who opened the show.  He was only on for maybe 15 minutes, and he was pretty good.  But the reason we were all there was to see the headline comic...Greg Hahn.   I found the following on Visani's facebook page, and it tells a little bit about this stand-up comedian.

We are extremely pleased to announce that we will be hosting the one and only Greg Hahn from LA as your headlining comic....... 

Greg is a very talented and famous entertainer who is one of the most iconic figures in the industry, he brings with him an all encompassing stage presence that combines a very sharp wit booming with energy that makes for one hour of nonstop laugh out loud entertainment.

Greg has appeared on just about every night talk show there is with special appearances on Comedy Central's Premium Blend, Louis CK's Pulp Comics, Star Search, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, in addition to being a regular appearing guest on the Bob and Tom Show to name just a few of his numerous accolades.

 His show was outstanding.  Both Rich and I laughed so hard at times it would bring tears to our eyes.  After the first few minutes you pretty much laugh non-stop for more than an hour. This guy has so much energy - but still hard to believe he could do this great a job again at 9:30 the same evening.  Tickets for most of the shows are $12, but his show was $18.  Well worth the money. Probably the best stand-up comedian we've ever seen, live or on TV!

What a great way to celebrate our anniversary.  A wonderful evening of entertainment shared with good friends.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Simply Beautiful

We've posted pictures of ducks so many times here on our Blog - but I have to do it one more time.  Most often we'll be sitting on the lanai with morning coffee when  we hear the chattering of the ducks as they land in the water or the yard or on the boathouse.  But the other day you would have thought they were filming a movie in the backyard.  Instead of "The Birds" it would have been titled "The Ducks".  Rich counted over 100 ducks that morning perched on the roofs of our neighbors boat houses.

A closer view and you can see they were not only on the roofs, but also roaming in the yard.

And last night as I was preparing dinner Rich called to me to look out the kitchen slider.   My hands were full as I'd just put the shrimp in the sause for scampi.....so I quickly got the camera for Rich. 

Here's the picture he took from the inside, looking out. 

He then took the camera outside - and this beautiful bird did not get scared or try to fly away!  So Rich shot a few more pictures. 

Simply Amazing!  Simply Beautiful!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy Birthday - Officially a SENIOR Citizen

 Monday welcomed the second of three February birthdays.  Rich is now officially a member of the Senior Citizen community as he celebrates his 65th Birthday.

Those of you who know Rich are surely aware of his love of the Stock Market and know that most every day you will find him in his office as he sits at his desk, on his computer with his statistical charts evaluating his selected stock for trading potential.    And not far away the TV is tuned to CNBC - his favorite news channel.

But this year Monday was President's Day - so the stock market was closed and  we were able to celebrate ALL DAY!

 So during morning coffee - I gave him his birthday present.  One of his favorite evening programs is Mad Money with Jim Cramer and he had "hinted" not long after Xmas that Cramer had a new book out  he was considering........ "Get Rich Carefully"

We had originally planned to go out for dinner to celebrate and he had selected either the Outback Steakhouse or Red Lobster.   But on Sunday Nick and Tonyia called to see if we wanted to meet them for Mexican!  We declined telling them of our birthday dinner plans the next day.  As it turned out - we met them at the Mexican Restaurant and they invited us to Steaks on the Grill at their place for Rich's birthday.

But first we made a trip into Sebring and stopped at the Sebring Diner for breakfast, where Rich enjoyed his stack of pancakes!  This is probably the ONLY place I've ever seen him order a SHOT stack and NOT finish them.  The portions are huge!

From there it was a couple of stops to look for a new washing machine ( I know - what a way to celebrate a birthday!)  and then a quick stop at Publix for some cheese and crackers and some fresh Italian bread to have with dinner.

Below, Nick gives Rich his birthday present - a 12 pack of Bud Light! - Again those that know Rich well know this will last him 12 days!

Tonyia and Carla and I played a little Mexican Train while the guys talked and took a ride down to the boat docks. And then we enjoyed a delicious dinner with T-Bone Steaks and grilled potatoes and vegies. 


We didn't get back home until after 7:30!  And the perfect ending to a great birthday was the Birthday  phone call from his Son Dennis. 

Happy Birthday !

Congrats - Chauna and the Show Choir. Soon to tour in Florida!

 On Saturday Dennis and the family took a rad trip to the Keokuk High School where they cheered on Chauna as she performed with the Davenport West High School Choirs.  Below are some pictures that Dennis was able to get of what looked like a really fun and entertaining performance.

 Dennis reports:  Congratulations to DWHS Falcons.  Chauna's team "This Just In" prep took 2nd place.  "West Connection" took 1st runner up, Best Band and Best Choreography!  AWESOME!

We understand that her group may be making it's way to Orlando, FL to perform/compete soon.. We're just waiting to hear when~





Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank You , Garth and Rosemary......

Rich and I ( and especially Rich) loved to introduce new people to the game of pickleball.  I would usually train the "newbies" and Rich would provide clinics to experienced players to help them improve their game.

We met Garth and Rosemary at the Peace River Preserve in Wauchula, FL when we were full time RV'ing.  It was there that we taught a lot of new people how to play and where Rich would do two or three clinics each winter.

Garth and Rosemary are also great singer/song writers and we'll never forget the song they wrote one winter about pickleball and their desire to "play like Rich".  

Congratulations,Garth and Rosemary on your Gold Medals.............and for taking the time to share this great game with your Canadian friends~  Here's the picture they sent us today.........along with their e-mail message.

Hi Rich/Donna

How are things going...?  We saw the pictures of the new fence at Peace River.......it looks great. 

We are still playing Pickleball here in Canada..... getting it started here in Prince Edward Island.  So far we have three locations with about 50 players trained and playing.  

We had a regional 55+ games and Rosemary and I just barely nabbed the gold. 

Thank you to both of you for your encouragement and training that you both so generously gave to us.   We are now able  to give the same back to the people here.  

Garth and Rosemary

Before and After

Rich finished the remodeling of the shelves in our family room.   And today I finished the painting.  We are so pleased with the way it came out, especially given what we had to work with.

Below is a before and after picture.  We would have just tore everything down and started over, but the original shelves were put in BEFORE the ceramic tile was laid.  And we did NOT want to have to replace the tile in the whole room.   As you can see, we removed several of the shelves including the ugly piece of wood that the TV had been sitting on and created an insert for the TV/DVR/DVD and inserted and electric fire place on the bottom.  Rich did such a great job..........and we are very please with the results.  We are considering putting Brick on the bottom around the fireplace insert.????


Today we had a great visit with our good friends Dieter and Helen Kedrovitsch.  Dieter is actually family, once the partner of my older sister Ronda.  Since my sister's passing he has been with Helen, an absolutely lovely lady that Rich and I have come to consider family.  It's been a while since we've seen these two, with one thing or the other preventing a visit.  So today was extra special.

Dieter and Helen have a lovely home in Columbia Crossroads, PA, and a winter home in Venice, FL.   They arrived mid morning and we spent a while just sitting, talking showing them our new home and just catching up.  We enjoyed a nice lunch with a variety of cold cuts for sandwiches.  And I had also made a macaroni salad and some fresh brewed iced tea.


After lunch we took a walk down to the boathouse and checked out the water..... and then we had our dessert!  Our Valentines Day Chocolate Chip cookie and some Cherry Cheese Danish.  Delicious!   We sat on the lanai and talked a while and then we decided to show them a little bit of Lake Placid.  We took a drive around Lake June and downtown Lake Placid and then headed out Henscratch Road to check out Henscratch Farms and Winery.   Krystal and I had made plans a couple of times to visit the winery, but had not yet made it.  It's less than 15 minutes from town so we took the back roads.  Not as large as we thought it would be, but it was a nice place to just stop for a few minutes and check out.

Today was their second annual Strawberry Festival with a Fiddle Pickin Band and the Snack Shack serving everything Strawberry!!   We didn't know that when we headed over and unfortunately we were a little too early for the band. Our first stop was at the Country Store:  The sign below describes it best.  Lots of country kitchen decor and tons of home made jellies, jams, pickles........ and Wine!

 Next stop was the large circular building where the wine is made.  Foot Stomped Wine!   Actually they have a special day every year and this year they claimed to have stopped over 2,000 lbs. of grapes.  Thanks to the record number of people who came and did "The Lucy".  This is where we got to sample some of the wine. 

And you can't miss the Hens!  They claim to have more than 200 Hens that are all "free range".  They are everywhere.  Not hard to tell that everyone feeds them.... they are HUGE!

It was a nice visit, nothing fancy, but I'd go back.  Check out the website and watch their calendar of events.  If you're in the area it's a nice place to stop...........especially for pickin fresh strawberries, blueberries and  Muscadines & Scuppernogs during their "pickin seasons".  

Dieter doesn't like to drive after dark - so he and Helen headed back to Venice about 5:00.  The last time we visited them they had just bought their new home along the canal in Venice and it was have some remodeling done.  So our plans are to visit with them sometime, probably in April, before they head back north to PA.  Since we have plans to head north for a month of so this summer - we may even stop and pay them a visit in Columbia Crossroads!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chateau Elan and a Tribute to Journey

Nick and Tonyia and Bob and Carla invited us to join them at the Chateau Elan Hotel and Conference Center on Wednesday evening for dinner and a show. Odyssey Road is a national touring Journey tribute band and on Wednesday they were in Sebring entertaining at the Chateau Elan.  

 The Chateau Elan is located in Sebring ,conveniently  situated adjacent to the Sebring International Speedway. The 60th Annual Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is an auto race held at the International Raceway each year.  This year will be March 15-17.  The race serves as the opening round for both the inaugural FUA World Endurance Championship and the American LeMans Series seasons. 

We arrived at the restaurant about 5:45 and the rest of the group was not far behind.  I had a chance to snap a few pictures of the hotel, and the race car parked out front, and the track off to the side.  We later found that the garden/lawn area of the hotel is right on one of the best hair-pin turns on the track and provide an excellent view of the races.  Tickets for various packages including admission and seating track side, lunch, dinners and open bar were on sale and available at the Hotel.

Here's our group checking in and heading for the LeMans Ballroom.  The room was set up with an excellent buffet that included a salad bar, fresh bread assortment,  chicken, pork roast,  rice, green beans/carrots and an excellent shrimp and pasta dish.  A nice array of desserts was also provided.   The food was Excellent!

Here's the group at our table.  About 6:30, there was a Champagne Toast to celebrate Valentines Day and to kick off the musical event for the evening.

Unfortunately, neither Rich nor I could remember the band , Journey.  We both love to listen to music  so we decided to give it a try.  While the dinner and the company was great, neither of us enjoyed the music much at all.  We were never fans of  rock music, and this was just a little too loud and a little to "rock" for us.  During the break we bid farewell to the group and graciously slipped away.  

If you are race fans - check out the race packages available for March.  You don't even have to be staying at the hotel to enjoy the track side seats and dinner/drink packages............

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Still working in the Family Room

 Rich and I spent much of the weekend working in the family room. ( Actually - he does the work - I'm generally the gofer or someone to hold something in place - or to grab a tool he needs).  But I did get some painting done.  Things are starting to look pretty good.  Here's some progress on the Entertainment Center.  The TV fits perfectly and the electric fireplace insert looks wonderful!  We still have some final framing to do be done, but it's getting close to finished.

We did take a break on Tuesday to get a little work done in the yard, and while wood ducks may not be the most exciting or the most beautiful - I still enjoy seeing them in the yard.   We were both in the family room working when Rich looked out the window and saw what looked like an alligator in the water our back.....  Nope - just a log........but we both had to go all the way down to the boathouse to make sure!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Like many communities here in Florida, there is much more activity during the winter season when all the snow-birds come south.  Here in Placid Lakes it's no different.  While located on beautiful Lake June, many of the homes are only occupied during the winter months.  So from October through March there are a lot more activities as well.  One of them is Bunco, which I learned to play and came to enjoy while staying in The Villages.  Unlike The Villages however,  Bunco is only played here every month or so.

I went back in December and really enjoy it.  Met a lot of ladies from the neighborhood.  In January, Tonyia came over and joined me.  At the January games, they passed around a sign up sheet for February 1st, and both Tonyia and I signed up.  There are only a certain number of tables available, but I called a couple of days before to see if there might be room for a couple more.  I was thinking of asking Krystal, and Tonyia was going to ask Carla............NO ROOM.  However when we arrived yesterday, one person did not show up......

We had 34 players. Everyone brings a finger food/dessert to share.  As you can see above, we had a bigh variety of food, and it was delicious.  Same for the desserts, There were so many!! These ladies are great bakers.  We each took home $15 for most Buncos!  SEVEN 

Not sure when the next one is, but I do hope they have one more before the snowbirds head north. 

Not long  after getting home from Bunco, Nick called to see if we wanted to join them for dinner.  Our plans were to head to Sebring, to Lowes, to pick up some more wood for our family room project.    So we said we would meet them at the Palm Diner.  Bob and Carla had just come in from fishing, so they met us at the Diner.   We had never been there before and enjoyed it very much.  With all the good food at Bucno - I had to settle for just a small chicken wrap and a glass of iced tea.  Everyone else had dinner.....Chicken, Ribs, Steak or Pasta.....and it looked delicious.   Will definitely come back. 

It was a beautiful evening - so we dined outside.  Tonyia got this picture of the sunset.  Beautiful!

More Work in the House

Little by little, we are starting to get more work done. Actually, I should say "Rich" is getting it done.  !

The office and the guest bedroom are coming along nicely -  We tore down all the shelves on the office wall, preferring to use our own office furniture to the formica type shelves that were used as a desk by the previous owners.  We ordered new carpet that was  finally installed this last week, deciding to go with the same color/style in both rooms, since you enter both from the same hallway. The old carpet was a very very lght color tan or beigel, little to no pile.    The new,  a darker brown low pile, that really looks nice.   We still have some decorating (walls, curtains etc.) We did get the office walls painted, but still want to make some changes to the wall that has all shelves.

Here are some before and "what's done so far" pictures.

So - while these two rooms are not yet finished, they are at least presentable.  We have friends from PA coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I really wanted to get the guest bedroom ready for company!  

We're taking a brief detour to begin another big project and that is in the family room.  Removing the shelving in the bedroom was a bear - but this one is going to take a lot more work.   The one wall in the is all shelves, and or original intention was to remove them entirely and put in a fire place with the TV mounted above on the wall.  Unfortunately this was done BEFORE the ceramic tile was installed - so removing it was not longer an option.  So we are going to design our own TV Wall Unit.  The plan is to leave open shelving along the top and the left side.  Make a large opening/shelf for the TV, and the bottom will be wall with an electric fireplace insert.   

For now all you get to see is the before........and the mess we have so far!

This should look very nice when Rich is finished!  He does good work!  But then again - he's got a pretty good helper ( who does a great job cleaning up all the sawdust!)