Sunday, November 29, 2015

We Have Been Home 1 Week and It Has Been Crazy, But Great!

Well, we have certainly been on the move since returning to PA! 

Last Sunday we went to church where we celebrated seeing Jamie and her family, getting big hugs and kisses from them.  We also had breakfast with our small group and had such a good time catching up and just having fun socializing.  We did go home to get a short rest before driving 45 minutes to visit Lanie and her family.  Another wonderful time of visiting and sharing and getting to see all of them.  Got needed groceries on the way home.

Monday I actually spent the day at home (all day) working on jewelry making because I had a craft show this Saturday and another one next Saturday.  I needed to build up the inventory!  Ken had breakfast with his friend, Gary and then did some necessary errands!  He spent the afternoon working at his desk and going through our accumulated mail. I got to spend the evening at home but Ken went to a meeting at church.  I was able to get many pieces of jewelry made!

Tuesday I had my 1st dermatology appointment ever, and I figured the Dr. would have a "hay day" with all my spots and what I thought might be abnormalities.  Actually there was only 1 area that concerned her, and I thought that one wasn't even an issue.  She numbed my lip and "scrapped" off a white area on my lower lip and then cauterized it.  It wouldn't stop bleeding so a bit more novacain was needed and more cauterizing.  Not my favorite thing!  I should get the result of the biopsy this week, but hopefully it will be fine and there will be nothing else to do!  I did some shopping and then at 3 Ken and I left for Jamie's where we met Bria and Cali at the bus stop.  They went with us to get little gifts to put in the Samaritan Purse shoeboxes that we filled and then returned to the church to be sent overseas.  Bria and Cali were good helpers when selecting the gifts for 5 to 9 year old girls.   Home for dinner and then more jewelry making.

Wednesday morning was prep time for making a jello salad and our traditional potato stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner.  It was a gorgeous, mild day, so Ken and I took a long walk.  After lunch we went to visit my parents for an afternoon of card playing.  Dad is doing well mentally, but his legs are so weak and no longer able to "hold him up".  So, he is totally dependent on the nursing staff for getting him our of bed and moving him from a chair to his electric wheelchair. He has never shown signs of depression until now, especially with winter coming and he will not be able to go outdoors.  Sad to see and experience!  So good to spend time with them again and they certainly love when we come and play cards.

Thanksgiving Day was so much fun and our daughter, Jamie, is definitely the hostess with the mostest!!!!  We  had such a nice day with her family and Sue and Dan, her in-laws.  The men sat outside (it was warm and sunny) watching the turkey cook in peanut oil in the fryer.  What a tough job!  All the food was delicious as well as the hospitality.  Jamie makes it look so easy and relaxing, but she really goes all out with the food and drinks. 

After our big dinner, Sue and Dan had to leave but the 6 of us walked to the Ephrata Park so the girls could burn up some energy and have fun on the climbing wall and the monkey bars.

They were so happy to walk to the park!

Love the "rock wall".....

....and the monkey bars!
Even mommy, daddy and Grandma got in on the fun!

Then the girls decided to go on the stage of the band shell and do a little show for us -

We left there at 5 and went to the home of Cindy's daughter, Michele (my niece) for the evening to visit with Cindy's children and their families. There was a beautiful sunset while we were driving -

 It was so good to see all of them again.

This is Cindy's son TW, his wife Arlena, and their son Bennett.
Arlena is due to deliver twins anytime!

This is my sister Cindy, her husband John, and grandson

Black Friday is not a shopping day for this gal.  I left home at 6:45 to meet my Curvette friends for breakfast.  We had a lot of fun and I was happy to reconnect with all of them.  Ken spent the morning working at his desk and after breakfast I stopped at K-Mart for a few small items and at Turkey Hill for my free hot chocolate and cheap poinsettias.  Ken had lunch with Kevin and I did more jewelry making.  When he returned we went for a 5 mile walk, checking out the new section of the rail trail here in Lititz.  After dinner Ken loaded the car for the craft show while I made additional jewelry.

Yesterday, Saturday, we were up at 5:45 for our craft show at Northern Lebanon High School and my sister, Cindy, had the space right next to us.  It was fun to spend the day together.  I am so blessed to have such a supportive husband who enjoys going to the shows with me and is such a helper.  He is my best advocate!  After a good show, we returned home by 4:15 and we were exhausted.  We both took a nap, then had more leftovers for dinner.  Doloris and Fred arrived at 7:15 and we were so happy to see them.  We "caught up" on each others lives and then played Hause (women won) and a game of Skip-Bo which the men won.  All of us were tired and called it a night around 10:15. We really enjoy spending time with them.

Today, Sunday, we went to church and were able to spend time with Jamie and her family and our small group.  We stopped for a few groceries before meeting our small group at Evergreen Restaurant for breakfast.  More sharing and just having a good time.  We were home by 12:30 and Ken read the paper before taking a nap.  I recorded expenses on our budget program (how can we spend so much money is beyond me!) and then I started more jewelry making.  Need more inventory for my show this coming Saturday. We watched football (what happened, Steelers?), had more delicious leftovers for dinner, and making jewelry and watching football continued.  By 10:15 we were in bed.

Like I said, we have only been home for 7 days, but we have managed to keep extremely busy.  That's a good thing!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Back Home Again!

Ken and I left mid South Carolina by 6:40AM on Saturday and thus the 2nd day of driving back home continued.  Traffic was not as heavy as Friday, and we didn't pass any accidents, so that was a big plus.  Also, it was a bright sunny day, but it kept getting colder and colder the further north we traveled.  Wow, that should have been a "no brainer".  I kept telling Ken we needed to be heading SOUTH, but he paid no attention.  

We stopped 2X for gas (again, only $1.79/gallon), at 2 rest stops, and enjoyed chili and a salad for lunch at Wendy's.  We arrived in Lititz around 4:45, stopping at Polly's house to drop off our bikes and the bike rack.  So good to see and talk to her.  

When we got to our apartment the work of unloading the CRV began. Fortunately we did not have nearly as much as when we are unloading Waldo. Our daughter, Jamie, had stopped by yesterday, turned up the heat, plugged in the refrigerator, and had a new 40" flat screen TV with a bow on the box waiting for us in our LR.  Our daughters and their families gave it to us as an early Christmas present.  They knew ours had stopped functioning several weeks before we left for our fall adventure and we were using a 13" one.  They wanted us to have it before Christmas so we would have more time to enjoy it before leaving for Florida again the beginning of January.  How thoughtful and what a surprise!!!!

Ken hooked up the new Smart TV ( we need a book, Smart TV's for Dummies!) while I unpacked everything and put all the items in their proper location.  By then we were both exhausted and it was 7:30.  We drove to La Piazza here in Lititz and shared a small chicken cheesesteak and a piece of pizza.  It was delicious.  Both of us were in bed by 9:30 and so ready for a long, good night's sleep.  We had driven 580 miles on not a lot of sleep and it had "caught up" with both of us!

Today, Sunday, was a special day.  We got ready to go to Church, arriving there at 8:45 and were welcomed by our small group.  So good to see all of them again.  Then when we went into the service and sat with Jamie, Dane, and Dane's parents, Sue and Dan.  So nice to see all of them too!  It was a very good service and afterwards, we went back to the youth area and got hugs and kisses by Bria and Cali.  It feels so great to see their excitement when we return back home.  We spent the next 1/2 hour visiting with Jamie and her family and it was a special time.  When they left, we reconnected with our small group and all of us went to a local restaurant for breakfast - lots of sharing and laughter. 

Ken and I were back to the apartment by 12:30 and Ken was feeling rather "drained".  He napped for about 1 1/2 hours which was good, for he had done so much driving the last 2 days (I did NONE!).  I went through some of the newspaper, talked to my mother, and then made some jewelry.

At 3:15, we left and drove 40 minutes to visit our daughter Lanie and her family.  They are leaving on Tuesday for Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with Bob's sister and her family, only coming back on Monday.  So we wanted to make sure we saw them before they left.  So good to see all of them too. Samantha and Katelyn were excited to show us their rooms (they had rearranged them) and to talk about what they have been doing.  We had wanted to buy pizza or go somewhere for dinner, but Bob grilled chicken and we had delicious salads.  We had a really nice visit!

We left there at 6:45 and decided to stop at Wal-Mart for groceries since our refrigerator was "bare".  Not what we wanted to do, but it was necessary!  We were back to our apartment by 8:15 and then I worked on this blog while we watched some TV (on our new 40" flat screen - WOW).  In bed by 9:30 after a busy, but good day!

Friday, November 20, 2015

On the Road Again, but Not in Waldo!

Ken and I were up at 6 and got ready to depart for home.  By 6:30 Ken was outside unhooking all the utilities and I left to go to a nearby Race Trac gas station to get us breakfast sandwiches and for some delicious mint hot chocolate for me.  We hooked the CRV to Waldo and were on our way out of the CG by 7:15.  It was already hot and humid!

We got onto Interstate 75 with Lazydays our destination.  All went well until we got within 6 miles of the exit for Interstate 4 for Lazydays and due to an accident it took us 1 hour to go those 6 miles.  We arrived at 9:30, Ken unhooked our CRV, we had our appointment with our service adviser, Samantha, and were back on the road by 10:40, leaving Waldo there!  Google advised us to take Interstate 4 instead of 75 due to some traffic congestion where there was some major road construction.  Of course, we got into some heavy traffic around Orlando and Jacksonville, where we passed 3 major accidents in less than a mile.  More slow traffic.  We actually saw 7 accidents during our drive today - wow!  We stopped at one Rest Area, 1 time for gas, and at a Subway for lunch.  Other than that, Ken just kept driving!

We drove a total of 520 miles arriving at Exit 119 in South Carolina at 7:30. What a long day!  We decided we were too tired to go out for dinner.  So we ate some snacks we had brought with us - peanut butter crackers and some fruit. Hopefully the hotel will provide a good breakfast tomorrow morning.

I did talk to my sister today (Dad has a UTI and it had him very confused), then my mother who said dad is on some antibiotics and doing much better, and then to Melissa.  They left Alliance today after staying there 5 nights to get some work done on their Motorhome and drove to just south of Atlanta.  They plan on being in Nashville on Sunday.  Ken had a nice chat with our daughter, Jamie, and we are anxious to see our children, granddaughters, etc. 

We are planning to be home later tomorrow, but we still have 580 miles to travel before arriving in Lititz.  Hopefully traffic will flow more smoothly.  We have no timeline for being home, so if it takes till Sunday that will be okay!  We plan to be on the road again around 7:15 with about 10 hours of driving.  We shall see!

I am excited to get back home but I am not looking forward to the cooler weather.  I am definitely a Florida type weather gal!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Busy Day of Preparation for Heading Back to PA!

Ken and I were up right after 7:30 and the fun began!  I started vacuuming Waldo while Ken loaded somethings in the car.  Then we made a cooked breakfast, did the dishes, and then I headed to the laundry in the CG while Ken washed the floors in Waldo.

After putting the laundry in the washer, I returned to our campsite and Ken was on the phone with Ernie who was checking up on us and wishing us a safe journey back home.  Ken had started to wash the shelves and drawers in the refrigerator so I finished them while Ken and Ernie chatted.  I returned to the laundry to dry and fold the clothes and then went back to Waldo.  

Ken had a nice chat with Alan, our former financial adviser who had moved to Idaho and met us at Zion National Park in June to hike Angel's Landing with us. They covered many different topics during their conversation!

We re-made the bed, loaded a plastic tub to put in the shower with food items we didn't want to take home, made certain we had all the clothes and shoes that we would need at home, and then ate lunch.

I went shopping at Beall's Outlet from 1 to 2:45 while Ken pulled in the slides (boy is it crowded inside!), retracted the jacks so he could get the boards out from under them and allow them to dry before packing them in the basement of Waldo, and emptied the refrigerator so it could defrost.  Amazing how little food and drinks were remaining.  We did a great job reducing our food inventory.

I cleaned and scrubbed the bathroom and at 3:30 we took a short walk around part of the campground before stopping at Ray and Barb's.  Ray and Ken went to men's bocce from 4 to 5 and I played Quiddle with Barb and 5 of her lady friends.  We both had a good time.  

At 5:15 Barb, Ray, Ken and I went to Sonny's Bar-B-Q so I could enjoy another pulled pork sandwich before leaving for home.  It was so good.  We were back to the CG by 7:30 and Barb showed Ken some photos they had of moose.  The last one was a drawing Barb did of a moose and it was titled - Now Ken can say he saw a moose!  How nice!

We headed back to Waldo where Ken finished loading the CRV and we made sure the refrigerator was clean and dry.  We watched TV till 9 and then headed to bed.  We have a lot of driving to do in the next 2 days and hope to be on our way to Lazydays no later than 7 tomorrow morning.

PA, here we come!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Busy Day of Prepping for Heading Home!

Ken and I were up at 7:30, got ready and made a delicious cooked breakfast. After cleaning up, we decided to decide what clothing we needed to take home. We will leave all of our summer clothes here, since it is way tooooo cold in PA for shorts and sleeveless tops!

We left the CG around 10 and drove to Venice Beach, parked the car, and starting walking towards the south jetty.  It was another beautiful morning with plenty of sunshine, breezy and temperatures in the mid 80's.  Without the breeze it would have been very hot!!!

We enjoyed walking along the beach and then spending some time on the jetty where we watched some dolphins "leaping" out of the water several times. Unfortunately, Ken wasn't able to get a photo of the action.

This is Venice Beach

More walking along the beach to the Jetty!

This is the south jetty a beautiful place to watch a sunset!

It was very windy and the water much rougher than usual!

It was extremely windy and you could sense how tough it was for the boaters and those in kayaks to maneuver in the water.

The kayak were going swiftly through the water with the wind.
Good luck on the return trip!!!!  It may take a lot longer!

We came back to the main beach via the sidewalks viewing the marinas and all the condos, etc.  

I think these are Christmas coconuts!

Very colorful!

When we got to Venice Beach we decided to walk out to the water and whom should we see but Feather Man as Ken calls him.  He was always at the Drum Circle on Nokomis Beach but in March and when we were there last week we didn't see him.  One of the drummers told us he now a part of the drum circle on Venice Beach.  So, we were happy to see he was still around the area and "doing his thing".

So good to see "feather man" again!

Not sure what he does, maybe Tai Chi?  It is very meaningful
to him and to others!

We arrived back at the CG around noon and the work began.  Ken spent hours working outside putting things away, cleaning the grill, loading things in the car and in the basement of Waldo, loading our bikes, etc.  I worked inside packing up some food we need to take home, the rest of the clothes that go back to PA, cleaning out cabinets, and then putting things in safe places while Waldo is at Lazydays.  After that, I started cleaning Waldo.  We had planned to play some shuffleboard, but it got too late for that!!!!

Ken also did lots of paperwork for insurance for Waldo and our vehicles.  It was a crazy, busy day.  Hopefully tomorrow will be less hectic since we got so much done today.  We will need to defrost the refrigerator and freezer.

Called it an early night...  what a great time we have had at the Venice area.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Our Last Day on Manasota Beach for this Trip!

Ken was up at 7 and did some reading and working on the computer.  I only arose at 7:45 as I had stayed up until about 12 last evening.  I made breakfast, cleaned up and then talked about what we wanted to do today.

We called John, my sister's husband to wish him a Happy Birthday.  His birthday is the day after hers.  We had a nice chat. 

Happy Birthday John!!!

 Our next call was to Chuck and Melissa to see if they were able to get their slide fixed yesterday and move onto the place where they were getting their shattered bedroom window replaced.  They had planned to leave Alliance late yesterday, but had to wait and leave early this morning, giving the caulking a chance to set.  The glass company was measuring the window as we were speaking and they will find out later whether the new window will be delivered quickly or if they will have to return to get it replaced after Thanksgiving.

Today was supposed to be a sunny, warm and breezy day, so Ken and I decided we should go to the beach.  We headed to Caspersen Beach, but due to severe erosion, there is very little beach area there. 

The road to Caspersen Beach!

The water at Caspersen was so clear....

but the beach erosion so severe.  Very little place to sit in the sand!

So, we got back in the CRV and went to Manasota again to look for more shark's teeth and shells for my jewelry making.  It was another delightful day on the beach and we probably found another couple hundred shark's teeth.  Loved it!

And here we are at Manasota Beach, one of our favorites!

Ken took these photos when we were leaving.  Beautiful!

We left the beach at 5:30 stopping at Wal-Mart for a little fruit for the rest of our stay in Florida.  We are trying to get the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry as empty as possible before heading back to PA and we are doing a fabulous job if I do say so myself.  We will have very little to take home.

Just as we got back to Waldo, we had a brief rain shower while Ken was grilling.  After dinner and finishing the dishes, showers were needed!  

I did talk to my mother today and dad said he is feeling much better since they stopped his pain medication.  Hallelujah!  I also talked to my friend, Jackie, and all is well with her and her family.  

Ken went back to the BR to watch TV and read while I enjoyed The Voice.  I went to bed at 9 to read and write in my diary.

It has been another great day.  Can't believe we only have 2 more days in the Venice area!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Shark Tooth Hunting on Manasota Beach!

Ken left Waldo a little before 7 to look for a roseate spoonbill and any other special birds he could find.  A lady here at the CG had told him of several "water areas" where she has photographed a roseate, so Ken was excited.  Unfortunately, he did not see one.  He also drove to the Rookery, where there are usually nesting egrets, herons, etc. and he enjoyed watching the Snowy Egrets feeding.  They drag their yellow feet in the water which scares the fish that are swimming nearby and makes it easier for them to grab them out of the water.  They were almost extinct before laws were enforced to protect them. 

Love these photos Ken took of the snowy egret "hunting" for fish!

What a technique!

He also photographed egrets, herons, and woodstorks.   

The rather "ugly" woodstork!


Blue Heron!

Great Blue Heron

Red shouldered hawk!

I had gotten up about 7:45, got ready, did some exercises, clean-up, and then started breakfast. He returned around 8:45.  We had a delicious cooked breakfast and then had a long phone call with my sister, Cindy.  We sang Happy Birthday to her and then had a great chat about so many subjects. 

Happy 61st Birthday, Sis!  Love you!

After the 51 minutes phone call, Ken and I took a walk around the CG.  It is an amazing place with so many permanent park mobiles in a separate area of the CG.  The amenities and location make this a special CG so much so that they have a 6 page waiting list to get in if you want to be here in Jan., Feb., or March.  It is crazy!  There is a protected area in the CG for the gopher tortoises. We saw several of them in that area while taking our walk!

The gopher tortoises in the CG

A lot of the CG looks like you could be in the islands!

We left the CG at 11:30 to go to Manasota Beach stopping first to see the house that Lloyd and Deb Eberly bought here in Venice in October.  What a nice place in a great location.  They are going to love it!

We were on Manasota Beach from noon to 6 and it was a perfect beach day - sunny, breezy and around 84 degrees.  Both of us spent most of the day searching for sharks teeth and it was a success time.  We found several hundred of them!  We stopped looking long enough to eat our packed lunches, but then it was time to search again.  Once you start and are finding a lot of them, it is so hard to stop!  We had a "ball"!

What a gorgeous beach day!

Not overly crowded!

We did sit in our chairs around 5 in preparation for watching the sunset.  What a gorgeous sight!  The sky was so orange and there weren't any clouds on the horizon.  Ken text Melissa and told her they better hurry up and get to the beach if they don't want to miss the beautiful sunset!  Ken used his good camera for the 1st 3 photos and I took the last 3 on my phone.  Thought I would include all of them!

We got back to Waldo at 6:15 and Ken grilled chicken and a pork chop and we also had salads and quinoa.  So good!  Then he went on a "mission" to clean sink drains, fan covers and screens, spigot filters, etc.  While he did that, I called my friend, Polly, and we had a very nice talk.  She is one of my Curvette friends back home who graciously allows us to keep our bikes, bike rack, and our craft canopy in her basement whenever we are home.  We are grateful!

We watched The Voice and I worked on our blog.  Cindy called and said she didn't want to alarm me, but they visited Mom and Dad today and he was very confused.  It appears that it may be the result of a new pain medication they started him on about 3 days ago (he tends to be very sensitive to medication), but the other concern could be a kidney infection.  Cindy talked to the nurses and they are stopping the medication, but it could take a day or 2 before we know if that is the "culprit".  We certainly hope so!  The good part is that Dad knew he was confused and mixed up.

This has been another Another Best Day!