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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.