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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween 2016 already!!!

I just realized it has been 2 years since I updated this blog.  My days are always so full, I keep forgetting to write here.  So much has happened over the past 2 years.

When we first moved here I sampled several clubs and took a couple of classes at the Villages Life Long Learning College.   After a while I settled into just joining the Genealogy  club and Fabric Fun Arts & Crafts.   The Machine Embroidery Club (MEQ) was created and that rounded out my club activities.  Ray checked out the Woodworkers club, The RC Model Airplane club, and the HAM Radio club, but none of them really caught him.

Sewing has become my passion and I really enjoyed Fabric Fun Arts & Crafts and the people there, but a few things the leader did started to bother some of us.  It was mostly that she didn't listen to the concerns of members and sometimes said things that insulted people. But the final straw was thst she spent a large amount of club money on a project for us without asking if the club members actually wanted to do the project.  WHen questioned on the expenditure, she said it was her club and anyone who didn't like it could leave.  A few of the women had been asking me to form a separate club for a while, so when this happened I filled out the paperwork and started Sewing N More.  We had our first meeting June 15th and in the short time since them we are now up to 50 members.  I have to turn people away now because the room isn't big enough!  Getting a room at one of the rec centers on the date and time desired is not easy.  I was lucky to get the room we have.  We are having a great time though.  Each week someone demonstrates a project and anyone who wants can make that project or work on something of their own.  We have show and tell every week and one meeting a month is devoted to charity projects.  This week we took a break from sewing and had a Halloween party/pot luck lunch. Almost half of the ladies who came wore costumes.  I organized some games and we had a great time.

There are over 2,000 clubs to choose from here in the Villages, plus all kinds of sports, restaurants, shopping.  Some people never leave the area, but Ray and I are adventurous souls. Each year an organization sponsors a summer quilt shop hop called Row by Row.  Each participating shop designs a row for a quilt and the idea is to go to various shops and pick up either a free pattern or buy a kit.  Once you make 8 rows into a quilt you submit it to one of the shops.  If you are the first one you get a prize.  If you use that shop's row in the quilt you get an additional prize from the shop.

In 2014 we stopped at a few shops ion Florida and picked one shop from each state between here an NJ during our Thanksgiving drive north.   Last year we decided to get a kit from each of the participating shops in Florida.  It was fun exploring the state.  We collected 92 kits and I won 2nd prize for the most shops visited.  This year my goal was just to get enough to make a quilt qyuickly and I won the prize from our local shop, Sharky's.    I have succeeded in making 3 quilts from the 2015 rows, but have not done the 2014 rows yet.   There's just so many great projects to work on and not enough hours in the day.

At the end of last year I was finally able to join one of the chapters of the Quilt Guild of the Villages. There are usually waiting lists to get in and I was lucky that a friend told me when there was an opening.  So now I belong to 3 sewing groups and the genealogy club.   Ray and I also joined the Villages chapter of the Mechanical Music Society and have been going with the group to visit various antique music box collections around the state.

On top of all that, we have gotten involved as volunteers at Silver Springs State Park.  This beautiful park is close to our hearts, our first visit having been way back in 1977.  Ray works on outdoor projects wherever they need him and I am leading the effort to organize and digitize their archives.  So as you can tell, there hasn't been much time for writing.

I do hope to post here as often as I can. but I hope my readers won't count on any regularity.  Retirement in the Villages and surrounding area is just too much fun!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Autumn Madness

(This was written in October 2013, but somehow never got published.  I'm not sure why)


I just realized it has been 2 months since I wrote anything here.   I have been so busy, there just hasn't been a moment to spare.

Soon after my last post my husband and I went on a river cruise vacation. Anyone interested in reading about that trip or seeing some of the photos can go to http://rosesuptherrver.blogspot.com.

When we returned home I quickly got immersed in my new hobby, sewing.  I had completed a quilting class in July and in October I took a full day follow up class on free-motion quilting. Since then I have been trying to practice the skills I have learned.  In addition, I am still making 2-3 fidget quilts each week for Alzheimer's patients, coordinating fidget quilt distribution to nursing homes and support groups, working on a cross-stitch, doing a little crochet, fitting in a little genealogy research, and attending a few club meetings each week.  I try never to miss the Fabric Fun Arts & Crafts group on Saturday afternoons.  That is my favorite club.  I also go to Happy Stitchers on Wednesdays, the Villages Genealogy Club once a month, and the Eastern European Genealogy SIG once a month.  Throw in a few doctors appointments, house cleaning, a few dips in the pool, and an occasional excursion to one of the local amusement parks, and it makes for a pretty busy life.

The most exciting thing I've done this month is buy a brand new computerized sewing machine.  My trusty old Singer just couldn't handle the work load I was putting on it, so I decided to spend a day looking at all the high-end brands to see what the options are and what I could afford.  After looking at Brother, Viking, Bernina, and Janome, I purchased a Brother Inov-is VM5100 from our local dealer, Sharky's Sew n Vac.  I love this machine. It can quilt and embroider, and is almost idiot-proof. The manual is very well written and easy to use.  If I do something wrong it stops and tells me.  Plus, it came with 90 free lessons whenever I need them.  So far, it has been so easy to learn on my own, I haven't needed any, but I'm still doing pretty basic stuff.


The New Xavier Cugat Orchestra

Tonight we went to another concert at the Savannah Center.  This one was a little different than the ones we've been to so far.  The New Xavier Cugat Orchestra is a combination tribute to Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnez.  They call their concerts BABLU-CY, and they are wonderful.  Although at 8 musicians, they are a lot smaller than the original bands Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnez led, they managed a big Latin sound.  The show also included a couple who came out periodically to dance various Latin dances.  Very Sexy!

I was surprised that the show was not as well attended as previous shows we have gone to there.  I guess the people here are not into Latin music or maybe they don't remember Xavier Cugat.  It's definitely their loss.  They missed a great show.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Italian Restauant in Brownwood

Ray has been assigned as Sacristan at the 12:45PM mass during the winter, so we don't get out of church until at least 2pm.  This is an extra mass that St. Timothy's schedules between January and May to accommodate the snowbirds.  We recently decided this would make for a great opportunity to eat Sunday dinner out after mass.  We will get to the restaurants after the lunch crowd but long before the dinner crowd.

There are so many restaurants in the area and we have only tried a fraction of them, so we've decided to try some we haven't been to before.  We saw a new Italian restaurant in Brownwood called Ricciardi's  the last time we drove through there and saw it featured on the Villages vmail last week. Since we love Italian food, that was this week's pick and it was great.  They have both indoor and outdoor seating, a casual but classy interior, and room in back for large groups.  (There was a group of 35 in there when we arrived.)

Ray opted for his favorite chicken parm with a garden salad and coke. I was a little more daring, and ordered one of the specials of the day - mahi mahi and thin linguini in a wine and butter sauce with mushrooms and artichokes. I also tried their pasta fagioli instead of salad and a nice glass of Chardonnay.  Ray said the red sauce on his entree was thinner than usual but still good.  I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner.  I'm not usually a fan of artichokes but the sauce made even these taste fine.  This restaurant will definitely be one of our choices for future meals and to bring guests to.  In addition to the full meals they also serve a full page of pizza varieties plus calzones and salads.  I think the next time we go to Brownwood for a movie we might stop there for pizza afterwards.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kingsston Trio

On Monday night the Kingston Trio performed at Savannah Center.  Ray isn't into folk music so I asked my friend Micki if she wanted to go with me and she gave me an enthusiastic yes. 

We had good seats and it was a full house.  The Kingston Trio were great, but an absolutely horrible warm-up act opened for them.  I did not catch what they called themselves, but I hope I never have to sit through their show again.  It was the longest half hour I have ever experienced.  The act consisted of 2 men, one with a guitar and the other on drums, doing bad impersonations and even worse jokes. This was the first time I've attended any concert here that had an opening act.  I guess known recording artists expect this, but I would rather have given all my admission price to the trio.

We were very relieved when the Kingston Trio came on stage. They played their 2 guitars and 1 banjo, with a bass guitar backing them up. Their harmony was right on.  Although they only played 2 songs that I actually remembered, the music was great throughout.  They did a 2 song encore and we left on a positive note.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stayin' Alive Concert

Yes, I know I am not consistent in posting to this blog.  I am having so much fun here and I am always so busy, I don't always remember to write.  This week has to be an exception. 

We have been to quite a few tribute band concerts over the past year.  They've all been fun, but this Monday night was one of the best.  We had tickets for Stayin Alive, the Canadian Bee Gees Tribute band and they were fantastic.  If I didn't know better and had my eyes closed, I would have thought I was hearing the real thing!   They had everything down, including the timing.  During the show they had video of the Bee Gees playing on the screen behind them and when you could see the Bee Gees lips, they are perfectly in sync with the voices of the tribute band. 

They also played 2 Andy Gibbs songs, with video of him on the screen and did those perfectly as well.  All together, it was a great show and I will definitely look for tickets to their show again next year.

In the past year we have seen tribute bands for the 4 Seasons, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Bee Gees.  They have all been excellent shows, but our favorites so far are The Eagles and The Bee Gees tribute bands.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Carting to a Concert

We are very lucky that the house we purchased here int he Villages is close to Savannah Recreation Center, as well as Spanish Springs.  Savannah hosts most of the great shows that come to the Villages.  Last night was a beautiful night and we took the golf cart to Savannah to see a show b the Alter Eagles, an Eagles tribute band. The band performed 2 shows last night and we went to the earlier one.  It was lots of fun hearing them play the Eagles greatest hits and the audience was fun too.  We retirees tend to be an irreverent bunch.  When the lead guitar broke a string and the had to stop for a minute to retune the guitar, several quips shouted out from the audience atucally had the band members breaking up with laughter.  They said we were entertaining them as much as they were us.

Getting out onto the cart path from the parking lot at the end of the concert was easier than getting out with our car the last time we saw a show there.  And leaving in a car is pretty easy too.  We got right out using a special cart exit and were home in under 10 minutes.

There are so many places that are wasy yo drive our golf cart to from our house.  Since speed limits are low on roads in the Villages (20-35 mph, depending on the size of the road) and on most routes carts have totally separate paths off the roads, it doesnt take much longer to get somewhere in out 18 mph cart.  We are using the golf cart more and more as we get used to the concept and learn the dedicated paths.  I took the cart to Tai Chi class  on Tuesday at Mulberry Grove rec center and to Lake Miona rec center on Wednesday for Happy Stitchers.  Today Ray is planning to take it to an eye doctor appointment and tomorrow I plan to take it to my hair cut appointment in the shopping center just beyond Spanish Springs. Many of the paths are along golf courses or ponds and under shade trees, making the drives very pleasant and relaxing.  In a car we are closed in with the air conditioner but in a cart we are shaded by the roof but open to the breeze and moving slow enough to enjoy nature around us.