Saturday, November 28, 2009

Florida Thanksgiving, gators, jumpers

First of all... I must confess that it has been years since I have celebrated Thanksgiving with my REAL (biological) family, due to living in Texas for years. So spending yet another Thanksgiving NOT with my "own" family is not a hardship for me. L and I had already looked at airfare prices and decided that we could only realistically afford one trip this year -- so we chose Christmas.

We had a gathering at the clubhouse of this RV park, so those who were not able to be with family, could have a social gathering. The park's management provided the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls and margarine -- and the residents who chose to join in the meal, were asked to bring a dish or dessert. I am SO hungry for vegetables, so I chose to steam several heads of brocolli. I sliced and sauteed several cloves of garlic and stirred this into the brocolli before I covered the dish and we walked up to the clubhouse. And it was a good meal, with certainly PLENTY to eat. Most of the vegetable-based side dishes were definitely made from scratch. Not so, with most of the desserts (I noticed). I think ALL of the pies were "store bought" or at least store-purchased, then later baked. The same was true of most of the cakes. So it's given me some ideas for NEXT year... I will probably still bring a good veggie dish, but maybe a from-scratch dessert, too. I could make a good bread pudding (a taste that I acquired while living in Houston), for example.

Gators: L has noticed gators in the water, on most of the golf courses on which he has played. So here are a snap or two of one of the gators - only about a five-footer - that he and the rest of his foursome came across while playing in a tournament the Monday before Thanksgiving. This first shot shows the gator mostly out of the water, headed (already) back to "safety" after being spotted.

Here's the gator making his way back to the pond and already partially in the water.

JUMPER! A friend that we've made at this park, did a tandem jump (yes -- he jumped out of a perfectly good, still operating plane) the Friday after Thanksgiving. Here's a couple of photos of that day.

First one shows him practicing the "assume the postion" that he is supposed to be in, soon after bailing out of the plane.
>>== "And smile for the camera..."

<<== Supportive friends - plus B's wife, S (blue jacket, right side)

SAFE LANDING! They sold a tee shirt: "The sky is not the limit: the ground is"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LOL - and Christmas lights

LOL does NOT refer to the usual "laugh out loud" -- which is a phrase that I absolutely hate, since so many folks use it ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Please -- just say it made you laugh, made you smile. I can show you many blogs, many e-mails, where the writer uses this phrase too, TOO frequently.

So -- I am here to tell you, that in THESE parts, LOL is a shorthand reference to Land O Lakes -- an actual city's name in this area. Some of the street signs say LOL Rd (or is it Blvd?) -- this is actually 41 (US 41 or SR 41), part of it called Land O Lakes as it meanders in this region.

Also wanted you to see the Symphony in Lights that we saw Monday night. This is at a shopping center called Wiregrass Shops. Five trees were involved in this display. Although the video cannot do it justice, the tallest tree was just about 3 stories high, and the two trees on EACH side were stepping-stone smaller. (Note the real palm trees behind these artificial trees.) The music was from Trans Siberian Orchestra and was of course synchronized with the light display.

It was a beautiful evening, and we went there by motorcycle. I am not sure if this particular video shows folks in jackets, but there were several videos to choose from. It was definitely shirt-sleeve weather. And this video might have been from last year (I think). On the way back to the RV park, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins. Some got coffee and donuts, some ice cream. An interesting restaurant combo... Or junk-food combo, probably a better description! I had the plain ol' chocolate ice cream, in case you are curious. But... BUT - I did not have any dinner, just a bowl of soup for lunch. I am just sayin'.

Gonna wind up this post, since L's back from the morning coffee/gossip session that the guys in the RV park have on weekday mornings. A good way to find out what's goin' on in this little neighborhood! And it gives me a few moments alone, which is NOT a bad thing, when we share this tiny "home".

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Okay -- just a few snaps to share with y'all... We rode with 6 other couples up to Zephyrhills on Saturday. They had a small-town parade to honor veterans (and their families). It was about a 20-mile ride (more or less) each way.

Some of these folks were also pictured in the pool party pix a few days ago. So without further ado...

<< Him

>> Me

<< The gang's bikes!

Lutz bikers >>

M - N - J - R - B (white cap) - M (pink shirt) - me - W - J

<< L's friend, F

>> Another pic

> adds F on the far right

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pool party.. wait! No pool!

Here are a few photos from the pool party on Saturday. Some of us still have a sense of humor about the situation - that is that we do NOT have a working pool, since like many roads across the nation, it is "under construction"...

In this first photo, standing: N (married to R - from Michigan); seated: L (yes, that's him) and J (married to W, from Alabama).

J (or JR) (married to W - Michigan- ders), S and B (married to each other - New Yorkers), B and his wife (?), origin unknown.

M (married to F, L's long-time friend), N (see her in 1st photo, also), R (her husband, Michigan residents), and F (spouse of M, on the far left of this photo). M and F were originally from Minnesota, have been Florida residents now for several years.

F (see in previous photo), B and wife (a pair of Canad- ians), and W (from Michigan - see her spouse JR in 2nd photo).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Still kickin'

Yup -- I am still alive and kickin'! Sorry that I (we) have been so busy that I haven't set aside time for blogging. We have been looking at places to (potentially) buy, meeting all the "old timers" who return to this park year after year, etc., etc. This first photo shows our humble abode, a class-C motor home. Tiny little thing that is almost big enough to accomodate L and me, and not much else. Plus it is NOT ours, so that is something that we are very careful about. This is courtesy of L's friend F and his wife, M. They own the the little home and have put it on a lot for us to use, gratis. We ARE paying for the lot rental, however. Didja notice my "Don't mess with Texas" bumpersticker on the wheelcover? For those non-Texans who might be reading: this is not a macho statement - it IS, however, the anti-littering slogan for Texas. I like it!

We are lovin' the 1990 Honda Goldwing that we purchased from L's friend, F, and some of the new friends are other "bikers". Yup, we are among the graying of America's bikers. We all ride safe -- almost all are helmet-wearers, and no one drinks (alcohol) and drives. So it's a good, sober group. You can't see the Goldwing in this second photo - it is at the front of the Rav, under that deep blue cover. Gotta protect our li'l baby from Florida's sun! I did not realize that L had captured me behind the bike, in that photo.

L likes golf and admits that he is really NOT good at it. But he golfs with the Wednesday group of guys and hopes that I will join the ranks of the female golfers. I have gone out to a coupla driving ranges with him and did notice some improvement from session # 1 to session #3. I actually hit some of the balls around 100 yards during the third go-round.

This place is like a small town, complete with gossip mill, etc. But the majority are friendly. It is interesting to find out others' backgrounds. There are some like us - living-together couples - but the majority are long-married couples, with histories of kids and grandkids. Because I feel like such an outsider, I have "reached out" to J, a gal who feels like even MORE of an outsider than I do. She has health challenges with her back, so that rules out golf for her. She is doing a "trial" winter time with her guy, T. He is a widow, she a divorcee - the opposite of L and myself. I love her accent - she is originally from West "by God" Virginia, although she and T now live in Ohio.

Saturday we had a pool party. Naw -- no pool, folks. Actually, this was an attempt to make the best of a situation that has many rankled. The pool has been ripped out and is in the process of being rebuilt. Actually, the process seems to be at a halt. The contractor does not seem very motivated, and a LOT of the folks here count on that pool. I mean, they are here from cold climes and WANT to enjoy all aspects of Florida during winter. And folks -- that DOES mean access to a pool. So our "pool party" was at a vacant lot across the street from where we are staying. We all brought our own lawn chairs, some snacks, and whatever beverages we wanted. One of the guys, B, videotaped some of the events. L took some photos (I hope to post some soon). A tongue-in-cheek get-together, done in fun.

We (the bikers) drove west to Hudson, on the Gulf coast - about a 20-mile ride or so - to a neat restaurant for dinner on Friday. This place had a great seafood menu - of course - and I defaulted to fish-n-chips when I found out that the fish was fresh grouper. It was so, SO good. If we get back to this place, I do want to try their scallops. The restaurant was PACKED. I think our party was either 9 or 11 in size.

There is a hurricane brewing in the Gulf - yeah, I KNOW that this is November and that hurricane season is OVER. Will someone tell Mother Nature?

That's my quickie, catch-up post, folks. Hope to be better about this, next time - not SO far down the road. Maybe have someone take our photos on the Goldwing?