Tuesday, January 1, 2019

31 December 2018 Ocala and occasionally Jacksonville

     Hip hip hooray!!! Our sofa finally arrived on 1 December---an indication of a good month to come! Now our guests don't have to bring their own chairs nor sit on the floor.

     We began the month with Bill and some of his car aficionados went to the Garlits Car Museum for the day and they loved it. I think we've landed in Paradise.

     In the evening that day, we went to George and Donna's home for Happy Hour and to bring in the last month of 2018. Our Larkhill Family seems to be most proficient at finding even the most insignificant reason to toast.

     The following day we attended the Christmas musical presentation of the choral group of our development. 

     Love the proximity to 2 gyms and 3 pools. In a group class we had to grab a ball and look what I pulled out of the bin--a Bender Ball. How apropos!

     Larkhill Elves decorated both gates into our neighborhood making our entry festive. They also put Santa hats on all the mailboxes.

     Bill and 'the boys' went to a local venue for a car show. He thinks he's died and gone to Classic Car Heaven! Our 2nd son, Geoff, also had a birthday that day---46, he is!!! These kids need to slow this aging!

     The performing arts center here on campus has outstanding entertainment and we were fortunate to hear the Atlantic City Boys. They were fantastic and so much fun.

     We took a little drive to Rainbow River with the "special" car group and had lunch at Swampy's Bar and Grill. Beautifully clear water.

     Then that evening, we attended the Candler Hills Christmas Party at our beautiful Lodge with a catered meal.  Under this development of On Top of the World's umbrella, is OTOW General, Indigo, quite a few more and Candler Hills under which Larkhill, our neighborhood, is the newest area.

      I met a couple at the pool, Bob and Barbie, from the UK and Canada. They were so interesting so we planned to meet for breakfast at the Pub just off the Pickle Ball courts and an outdoor 50 meter pool. We had a most enjoyable morning chatting with new friends.

     One afternoon I attended a lecture, The Hilarity of the English Language. It was fun and led by a very well educated, talented, and well-traveled presenter.

     Both of us attended a community meeting with our County Commissioner as the featured presenter. Following, a landscape architect spoke on efficient water use, conservation, and indigenous plants we should consider for our lawns. He was excellent and inspiring!

     The second week of the month (10 weeks since we moved in!!!), we finally got our mattress and foundation. How good it felt to move into our own bedroom albeit it sans dresser, one night stand, and window treatment.

     The same evening we attended Tim and Marcie's Christmas Open House and while loving the spread, we couldn't wait to dive into our new bed hoping it felt as good as does the same brand mattress on our boat.

     There's an art instructor here that I took classes from last winter. She's excellent and here's the fruit of my labor from that morning.

      One of our Larkhill song birds invited the entire neighborhood to their home to loosen up our vocal cords with some Christmas Cheer and then we all went caroling. That was a bunch of fun and hope it becomes a tradition for Larkhill.

     Bill bought a membership to the Woodshop here and he is head over heels. He has quite a bit of tools, etc., here (seems to me) but the shop has state of the art equipment that would take several barns to house.

     Our oldest grandson had his 18th birthday!!! Seems as though I should feel like Methuselah but I don't. They're all getting older but we aren't. How does that work?

     We feel as if we have enough furnishings to have friends in so right before Christmas, we entertained 4 evenings in a row, skipped a day, then went to neighbor's on Christmas Eve to welcome the anticipated arrival of Santa.

     I heard some lamentations about no excuses for a party after NYE till Valentine's. We were a couple days before the full moon so we invited the whole kit and caboodle of Larkhillians to bring their chair, a refreshing beverage and come to our house for our first Full Moon Party aka Howl at the Moon Party. There were meteorite showers that night which we didn't see but the moon rise was spectacular. After a bit of howling we all went our separate ways. Tom and Elaine have stepped up to host the event in January. These folks are looking for any reason at all to party so here we go!!!

     NYE morning was spectacular in every way and a tad of exercise with good intentions for more seemed a good start to end 2018. The weather is absolutely gorgeous so we saddled up our bikes and took off for a 15 mile ride as we gradually condition the parts of our anatomy with which our saddles contact in anticipation of longer rides. I kept falling behind because when I'd see oak trees near the street, I'd slow down and ride by the curb so I could pop the acorns. Then I'd laugh all alone and by myself while Bill's patiently waiting and rolling his eyes. I often think I'm a 78 year old 4 year old!!!

    An underlying motive was to get tired so we could nap and stay awake till the party begins at 8. Usually I'm preparing to shuffle off to bed about that time. Bill napped but my wheels kept turning so will start my coffee consumption.

     NYE we're all headed to The Lodge to sweep 2018 under the rug as we add golden intentions for a better 2019 although 2018 was quite excellent for us. Happy New Year, All!!!

Bill and Laura
9128 SW 82nd Lane
Ocala, FL 34481
864 525 5236


Saturday, December 1, 2018

30 November 2018 Ocala, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tampa, Ocala

     It's impossible to believe that a month ago today we closed and began the arduous task of moving in. In that month we've received furniture ONLY for our guest suite and that's where we're sleeping for lack of our own completed bedroom. It'll be well broken in before our first guests arrive. The remainder is promised by Christmas. It was ordered in March, delivered in October but 2 of the 5 cartons looked as if they'd been dropped from the Empire State Building so we're awaiting replacements.  We hope Santa can get down the chimney with the anticipated pieces without creating anymore firewood and splinters. We're so looking forward to being able to have overnight guests and neighbors over but at this point, they'd have to bring their own chairs!!!

     We started off the month, 1 November, on the Pickle Ball courts at 7:30. We're new to this game but are loving it and the aerobic conditioning that it's providing. Bill's really making great strides in improvement. The seasoned players are so friendly, welcoming, and patient with newbies.  I'm still working with a personal trainer trying to get this old and neglected bod back in shape. I'm rejecting 'round' as an acceptable shape.

     If you know Bill only vaguely, you'll know he, among many other things, is an old classic car guy. A friend planned a little back-roads trip for 1 November, to a unique lunch place and since then many others have said, "sign us up". Mid-December we're planning a similar excursion and from the response, believe we're going to have quite a parade. May need a police escort.  Only kidding.

     For years Bill has coveted homes that we see in passing that have roomy garages. Now he doesn't need to lust anymore--he has his own. I'm so sorry I ever teased him about his anal-ness because every day I'm absolutely amazed at what he's concocted. Nothing's on the floor. Everything is stacked or on shelves with labels or in labeled drawers. "Cutting tools", "Small screwdrivers", "Large screwdrivers", "SAE Metric", and there is no end. His garage is a work of art and it makes my heart swell to see him playing in his long hungered after garage. He give 'garage' a new definition and it's not just a place to park cars.

     Even though this is a golf cart community, I'm holding out. Everywhere we go inside our community, we ride our bikes. If we had a cart, we'd be plopping our big fat behinds in it instead of getting some exercise. In 6 weeks I've cycled 200 miles just running errands, going to the gym, pool, etc. We've not yet gone on a ride--these are just what would've been golf cart miles. This is such a beautiful and safe place to cycle.

     Last Friday I signed up for a boat load of Life Long Learning courses---guitar, acrylic as well as watercolor painting, Spanish, and several lectures. On Top of the World, Candler Hills, and Larkhill each have a Face Book page on which I saw a comment by someone asking how he could be so lonely living in such a huge and beautiful place. Ironically, there's a LLL class on how to make friends when moving into a retirement community. We've found the best way is to just walk out your front door. We haven't encountered an unfriendly person nor a grump yet.

     I'm still exploring and experimenting with fitness classes. On my bucket list for years has been ballet so that's semi-checked off. I took a Barre class in my endeavor to replicate Pavlova. The entire experience was hysterical and I wanted to burst out laughing but just resisted by grinning a lot. I'll go back this next week for Beginning Ballet but I don't see myself rushing out the door to purchase a tu tu anytime soon. Not real sure this is my cup of tea.

     Bill's made 2 trips to Jax to the boat so far this month varnishing, making the engine room clean enough to eat off the floor, changing fluids, etc., in anticipation of meeting with a broker next week. In 5 trips, he's filled our little vehicle to the brim with stuff from the boat. He said in 1 or 2 more trips, he may have her emptied. We're discovering things we had forgotten that we have. You know, for old folks, every day's a brand new experience even if it's the same as yesterday!!!

     Continuing with that thought, for folks who park their car and blink a couple of times which erases their brain, this is a solution for helping them find their vehicle.

     Bill and a friend drove over Daytona's Turkey Run, the largest car show and swap meet in the US. Nothing followed him home but I'm certain some seeds were planted.

     Bill's reason for wanting a large garage is to fill it with a long dreamt of car collection. Today, the last day of November, this followed him home. He is one happy man!!! It's now a roommate to the TR6 and awaiting the Model A, yet to come.

     Thanksgiving and my birthday have come and gone and were near the end of the month. We're still impatiently awaiting our rug and furniture. Hopefully by the end of next month, we'll be 'complete'. 

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Bill and Laura
Ocala, FL

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

31 October 2018 Ocala, FL

1 October 
     Today is the day I thought would never come! We closed this morning and began moving in this afternoon. 

     A friend and new neighbor planted Flah Flamingo in our yard to welcome us home this morning. We’ve almost been flocked!

2 October 
     Yesterday, I promised photos but last night we were weary to the bone so here are a few this morning. 

     At day's end we had dinner at The Club and came home to savor a bottle of champagne brought over by another new friend and neighbor. We slept here last night on an air mattress and enjoyed our coffee in our wonderful chairs that we've not seen for ever so long. The shot to left of kitchen is from the back yard and our lanai. Southerners call that a "screened porch".  ‘Lanai’ is far too fancy for us. We are most happy to be home.

10 October
     Today was my inaugural swim in one of our beautiful pools. This one is just a five minute stroll up the street. My swim was puny but it’s been so long since I’ve had the opportunity and I intend to get stronger every day. I have eagerly anticipated the day that I could swim at the slightest whim. 🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️ Not in any of the pools have I had to clamber for a lane to myself.

     To all my Facebook friends. I am no longer using FB Messenger. I see that I have many messages but I am not going to re-install it. So communicate with me either by email, text, an old fashioned phone call, or Messages, please.

12 October
     Tonight we were enthralled, grinning the entire time, during Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits performance. It was so much fun to know every song and to sing along (quietly).

15 October
     Our bedroom suit that we ordered in March was delivered today and 2 of the 5 crates were in splinters.  They HOPE they can get replacements to us by Christmas.

     Both of us deplore shopping but we have been in the trenches and have certainly boosted Ocala’s economy. And sadly, we ain’t through yet. Overheard a man complaining in an interior design studio, “it costs as much to furnish and decorate this #@%* house as it did to buy it!” I wholeheartedly agree.

     We aren't novices to moving. Several times during my "singlehood" I moved all alone and by myself but all of our moves combined were never as burdensome, complicated, thorny, and problematic as this one has been and continues to be. That must mean that moving is for the youthful.

25 October
It seems that Pickle Ball is what old folks migrate to—many of whom used to play tennis.  It’s been many moons since I was a tennis player so I was game to give Pickle Ball a whirl. Bill and I have taken a couple of lessons and it is SO much fun to run and pick up the ball because my paddle has great difficulty “connecting”. All of the players, even the Hot Dawgs, were so welcoming, friendly, and patient with us. We love it but I haven’t been to the courts many times because there are so many other things I want to do so I need to finish trying them all out so I can prioritize. I did peek in on the ballet and everyone there welcomed me with outstretched arms. They'll never confuse me with Pavlova!

     Today we ordered our sofa and were told to expect delivery in four months! :-(   We’re so empty that we echo.

26 October
We take any and every opportunity to celebrate everything! Today is our son, Andy’s 48th birthday as well as the 21st anniversary of our first date. We went to a lovely French restaurant owned by a couple from France and as was our last experience here, there, food and presentation were spectacular. We each ordered their filet mignon and it very well may beat out our favorite filet restaurant in Brunswick. They were so tender and delectable. A duo entertained us through our long and drawn out dining experience. Both sang and each played an instrument—guitar and flute. Their voices and their instrumentation blended impeccably.

30 October
     Today Bill drove to Jacksonville to bring another load of our carnage home. I think this is the 5th trip with the car packed to the gills. How in the world did we collect so much junque??? He hopes to be home tomorrow and he’s gotta be because we have a very fun thing to do on the 1st but you’ll need to wait another month to find out what that is and see photos.

31 October
     Friends have asked if we miss the boat. I miss our mattress!!! I think of Kindred Spirit III  often but am dumbfounded that I don’t pine for rocking at anchor and cruising the waterways. I thought I’d shed copious tears every day…that may transpire when she sells and leaves us standing on the shore as the new owners steam away from us.

     There are just SO many things to do here that, so far, there is hardly time to taste them all. I’m up before dawn, hit the deck running with no extraneous time during the day, and long for the sun to set so I can hit the hay. 

     Neither of us are sleeping well. It takes forever to fall asleep and then our thoughts awaken us despite the list we made before bedtime— sometimes it may be 1 AM or 3 AM and we’re up and at ‘em for the endurance.

     What brings me more joy than having enough room so that we don’t have to pat each others’ fannies when we need to pass or having a dishwasher and a washer and dryer that who-knows-who didn’t just washed their car mats and dog beds, is watching Bill playing in his garage. That poor baby has languished and yearned for years for a garage that he could outfit and begin his old car collection. In the middle of the night, if he’s not beside me, I know exactly where he is…and I’m right. For instance, he was showing me a little shim that looked like a domino sans spots, that he made for a shelf and explained to me how and where it would fit. All I could come up with was, “Billy, that’s such a clever idea and perfectly constructed.” After all these years, what should I expect from an engineer? It’s his attention to detail with everything that is such a superb gift. When I enter a room in the dark, the light switch is exactly where I’d expect it to be. Outlets are numerous and well placed. I can’t begin to enumerate all the things he thought of that would’ve never crossed my mind till we'd have closed and then it'd be "too dadgum bad!!!" I used to kid him about his obsession with minutia but now I praise him for it. Opposites certainly do attract.

     Thanks to you all for hanging in there with us all these years.

Bill and Laura
Ocala, FL

Sunday, September 30, 2018

30 September 2018 Jacksonville - Ocala

17 September
    Love the early morning view from atop the Roosevelt Boulevard Bridge of the anchored sail boat and Jacksonville’s skyline from my morning walk. On my way back home, Bill and I met for breakfast at Bagel Love.

So much for Keto. A bit of rug shopping at a fabulous shop whose owner knows more about wool rugs than I ever knew there was to know. Then, again, boating friends, Bill and Barb, came and fetched us for lunch. Now it’s happy hour and I am in my most happy place for the first time in quite a while. We're on the fly bridge relishing a nice breeze. It has been in the upper 90s here and just too hot to stick our heads outside. In an effort to keep our galley clean, I’m sure we will find a place where someone cooks but not me. Donna and Mary, you are acquainted with that concept, aren’t you?

19 September
     Feel as if we are abandoning a sinking ship. We are throwing things in boxes and suitcases to head to Ocala in the morning. Just hoping it will all fit in our rental car. Of course, our bikes will be the first to be loaded. Stressful but exciting time. Stand back! Two more Larkhillians on our way! The beginnings of a new adventure!

20 September
     This is our last sunrise from our beloved Kindred Spirit III. The beginning of a very emotional day.

                                      View from our fly bridge

22 September

     Man, oh, man—- do we feel and look like Tobacco Road!!!! Don’t want to unload our carnage brought from our trawler into our coach and then have a do-over of the whole rigmarole Monday when we close. It's only 40' so we'd need pogo sticks to get around with superfluous stuff inside. I’m eternally digging through the car for necessities and am sure our RV Park neighbors are weary of looking at my posterior as I’m upside down in the trunk trying to root out things we need.

     So excited to end this temporary “adventure” and get moved in and organized. This limbo is driving me crazy and for me, that’s a short trip.

23 September
     Tonight we had a grand reunion and long overdue happy hour with Ellen and Carl who are celebrating their 40th anniversary and George and Donna at everyone's fave Tex-Mex restaurant, Las Margaritas.

24 September
     We just finished our 2 hour walk-through and it was a hoot! Our superintendent, Steve, and warranty guy, Butch, were outstanding!!! A stupendous experience would be an understatement.

25 September
     Today Bill rented a car to get to Greenville, SC, where our meager worldly possessions are stored---a 10 hour trip in a car.

26 September
     This morning, Bill and his best friend, Dave, took the truck to Dave's shop to meet power lifting dudes to load important things like a drill press and other manly toys. Then off to our climate controlled storage unit for some essentials that we kept. THEN he picked up the love of his life, his little blue TR6, that he loaded on the car dolly.

27 September
     From Greenville to Ocala in the UHaul truck and dragging the dolly behind was a 12 hour trip. He was toast when he arrived home, thankfully safe and sound.

28 September
     Another day--we shopped till we dropped.  George and Donna kicked off the neighborhood festivities with a gathering in their gorgeous home. Wednesday, the moving truck delivered their things. 2 days later everything was in place, window treatments hung and even pictures on the walls. Their home looks like something from Better Homes and Gardens. Ours won't be that 'put together' next year this time. Maybe Donna's for hire.

30 September
     It was such a good feeling of "coming home" today when we sat on the 3rd row from the front at the church we plan to join. Then off again to enhance the local economy of Ocala. 
     Our closing is in the morning at 11:15! So excited I'm about to jump out of my skin! It will be like Christmas when we open boxes and bins whose contents that we haven't seen in over a decade.  Our ragged bodies will collapse on a brand new air mattress tomorrow night.

Stay tuned for a new book---not just a chapter--that book's closed---but a totally different adventure.

Bill and Laura
Ocala, FL

Sunday, September 16, 2018

16 September 2018 - Great Bridge, VA - North River, NC - Belhaven, NC - Morehead City, NC - Snead's Ferry, NC, Oxbow/Waccamaw, NC, Johns Island, SC - Cumberland Island, GA - Ortega Landing, FL

1 - This morning we left Great Bridge, VA, and spent the night in North River, NC. Nature treated us to a beautiful sky all day. Even at our slow pace, seems as if we got to NC exceedingly quickly. Imagine because this is our Final Cruise and we want each day to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out for as long as possible.

2 - Up and at 'em leaving our anchorage and relishing the exquisite sunrise.

     Coincidentally, our sailing friends, Robert and Tracy were sailing back home in Oriental and we passed each other "like ships in the night." They took a photo of us and we of them, however they did a much better job for us than we did.

3 - Labor Day morning, we saw this 42 foot Grady White sporting four 425 HP outboards. Would love to see that at full throttle. Seems like he could become airborne. That will make for some pretty expensive fish.

                              Isn't this guy the cutest little puppy!!!

     In northern NC, we found every nanometer of our boat covered in blind mosquitoes, AKA Midges. They lay black gelatinous eggs that are the devil to remove and they were everywhere those critters went. Certainly didn't want them propagating in our domain. And even worse, they poop tiny little specks of green dots. 

     We went into Morehead City Yacht Basin to scrub the boat inside and out. Wish I'd taken a photo of our bridge enclosure and our dingy cover. There wasn't a spot as big as a pencil point not covered by those things.  We'd put in a long, hot day and boat washing was the last thing we had any inclination of doing but there wasn't any other choice. I multi-tasked by also doing laundry. Someone told me once that multi-tasking is the result of being scatter-brained. Could be!

     What a lovely surprise to see old boating buds, Diane and Louis, walking down the dock to welcome us. They wanted to take us to dinner but laundry was still in the process of becoming clean again and we were in dire need of showers so weren't able to accept their sweet offer.

4 - This morning we went to breakfast with Louis and Diane to an old family owned restaurant in Morehead City. We love going to dives--not that this was one but it was definitely immensely local. All the servers know our friends--'twas like one big family. We had an enormous breakfast.

 On Tuesdays they serve chicken livers which Diane and I both love so after a brief "rest" from breakfast, we were back for lunch and had to hurry before they ran out. They've lived in that area for eons so gave us a wonderful tour of the city and of their home. Exquisite is the only word to describe their home. Wish I'd taken a photo.

5 - We left Morehead and cruised to Snead's Ferry. Don't know what it is about us and sinking boats but this one, with two Yamahas, sank just before we arrived.

6 - Sunrise as we leaving little Swan Point Marina, we headed toward Southport to visit and have dinner with our boating friends (believe it or not, we DO have friends who aren't nor have ever been boaters) Kay, Robert, Patsy, and Rick. 

     What delightful hosts are Kay and Robert. They are unquestionably, awesome, friendly, welcoming, and hospitable friends.

7 - Good morning, Baby Moon.
                                         Southport City Marina

     We decided that we need to make tracks so are abandoning our usual cruising style of leaving at 10 AM and anchoring by 3 PM to putting in 12-13 hour days to get south of Florence's cone.

8 - We left before first light and thankfully the current is with us. Jim Cantore just arrived Wilmington, NC. NOT a good sign!

9 - After 8 ½ hours of bucking the current almost all the way, we’re in one of our favorite anchorages.

      This is the Oxbow, just off the beautiful tannic Waccamaw River, whose shores are lined with graceful, moss-draped cypress trees. Their bases are punctuated with diminutive cypress knees. One of the loveliest areas of the waterway. 


     We planned to stop in Little River to visit boating friends, Mary and Larry but those plans were aborted so Mary, came out to wave as we passed and took this photo. Thanks, Mary.

10 - We blew past Wild Dunes/Charleston where we had reservations. So strange to pass places, at our break-neck speed, that we know and love when we wanted to chill there for a while.

     Anchored John’s Island, SC, south of Charleston. 12 hours. 103 miles. We’re exhausted. 3 more days just like this till we get to Jacksonville.

                  I just love the beguiling marshes and the wonderful balm they emit.

10 - Today we had several magic dolphin shows with them riding our bow wave and our wake. They would turn on their sides and smile up at us. After all these years, we've never grown tired of the dolphin performances.

12 - Mission accomplished! In 5 days we traveled 450 miles and those sweet Ford Lehman engines purred all the way with nary a hiccoup. We pulled into Ortega Landing Marina just off the St. John's River on the Ortega River in Jacksonville, totally fried! We did absolutely nothing the first two days but sleep. Again, that was not our way of cruising but "you do whatcha gotta do" and we had to get Kindred Spirit III out of Flo's fury. Prolly one of the hardest things I've ever done. Could never get cool. Couldn't take enough cold showers. But that's behind us now and we're enjoying our time here and are working on choreographing our move to Ocala to our new home. We will close and move in a week from this Friday.

14 - Today my little mother would be 109!!! She and Daddy both lived to age 98. This photo is of her college graduation from Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee which is now FSU. Doesn’t seem like she's been gone for 11 years. Doesn't being an orphan just suck!!!

Bill and Laura
Jacksonville, FL

31 December 2018 Ocala and occasionally Jacksonville

     Hip hip hooray!!! Our sofa finally arrived on 1 December---an indication of a good month to come! Now our guests don't have to brin...