Following my husband's death in 2008, I moved from Tennessee to Florida to look after my parents. Now I'm living in a retirement community, making friends and trying new things. The most fun I've had has been ballroom dancing. So far, I've taken intro lessons in all the dances and now I'm starting intermediate. I hardly have time to read anymore but I manage four or five dances a week!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tropical Escape with Retro Express

Dennis and I are helping a local band, Retro Express, make a dream come true.  They have wanted to have a weekend in a posh hotel on the beach where they play several times over the weekend.  Diana and Mitch have two separate groups that they play for: Parrot Heads and ballroom dancers.  The Parrot Heads said if they had to pay more than $79 a night for the hotel, forget it.  We decided it would be a really fun weekend for social ballroom dancers, so we're coordinating the weekend for them.  They are really great people and wonderful musicians.  *sigh*  Another high stress, no-pay job.  We're so good at them.  LOL

Here's the brochure I designed.  I still need to add some wording that indicates it's a package deal.  If you want to come to the dances, you have to stay at the hotel.  They aren't charging us for the ballroom in which to have the dances, so participants can't stay in a cheaper hotel and still show up for the dances.  Now, how do I say that POLITELY AND TACTFULLY.

And here's the registration form:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finding Romance in Ballroom Dance

A local magazine featured us this month.  
We're famous, in our little corner of Ocala. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dancing with the Doctors

Two weeks ago, we went to a fundraiser organized by Dr. Justin Ferns. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Marion County were the main recipients along with the Youth Programs of the Ocala Police Department.

Trish Sands, a local dance instructor, taught some of the kids an east coast swing dance routine to perform at this glittering event held at Jumbolair in Anthony. It's cute. They did pretty good considering this probably isn't the kind of music OR dance the kids are used to. Betty Dangar, a friend of ours as well as a Board member of USA Dance, made the costumes for the girls in just a few days.

There were also a lot of professional dancers giving exhibitions as well as local doctors. We didn't have enough card memory to record all the exhibitions, but they were amazing.

Here's a west coast swing performed by one of our favorite teachers, Donna Steinfeld, and her dance partner, Shawn Swaithes. It's kind of hard to see because they are wearing black and the background is black, but it's still pretty awesome. Dennis remarked that the routine was so professional there weren't any moves he could "steal". *chuckle* What Donna and Shawn are doing is performance dancing, I can't imagine doing a lot of this on a regular dance floor.

There was some open dancing which was fun, but it was a small dance floor and there were a lot of really good dancers wanting to "strut their stuff".

It was a catered dinner (Chef Brothers Catering) which was surprisingly good. I was ever so shocked when the waitress came by our table asking if anyone would prefer a vegetarian meal. Of course, immediately my hand shot up, but I was the only one at our table of ten. And it was delicious. I had all the veggies the other diners had as well as a spicy pasta and eggplant parmesan. In fact, there was more than I could eat. Dennis said his meal was delicious too. Oh and how could I forget the scrumptious dessert! Chocolate dipped strawberries, cheesecake and chocolate mousse. (I made room for all of it.)

Um, have I mentioned I'm having a little trouble keeping my weight down? Dennis and I are eating out more often ... and this dinner certainly didn't help. LOL

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's a Whole Family!

Looks like I have more than just one armadillo, I've got three!  Last night the dogs were going crazy in the back yard, trying to get at something just on the other side of the fence.  I went out and discovered three armadillos, not just the one I thought I had.  Two of them headed back to the den, but one of them just ignored the dogs and continued rooting around in the flower bed just inches from two snarling, barking dogs as if he didn't hear a thing.  *sigh*  I had to herd the dogs inside and close the doggie door so we didn't further annoy the (human) neighbors.

So hear are more pictures of my new neighbors:

They are very quiet neighbors, even if my dogs are not.  LOL

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Birthday Party

Dennis turned 62 on Thursday, so I hosted a party for him.  I've been in this house for 2-1/2 years and it's the first party I've had.  The living room is particularly large and I've always thought it would be good for dancing.  Finally I found out I was right.

Dennis blowing out the candles
I had the food catered by Genesis Heaven and Health in Ocala.  Mark & Rene Ramirez specialize in organic, healthy food and smoothies.  The restaurant on Broadway is just a hole in the wall but it's a little treasure.  The cake was from Betty Cakes in Your Heart's Desire on Silver Springs Blvd.  It was all delicious.
Eileen and Norma

Uncle Henry, Richard, Dennis J, Rudy and Henry H.

Pat and Mary
There were about 20 people and it was just a bit crowded since my kitchen isn't that large.  But that's where the food was and so that's where everyone congregated.  LOL

 After most of the food was gone we moved into the living room for dancing.  What fun that was.  I was truly amazed that we could get five couples following line of dance for waltz and fox trot in my living room!
Merle and Dennis, I'm sitting

Den danced with most of the ladies there.  Here he's doing an East Coast Swing with Merle.  Which reminds me ... the police came to the door during the party.  It appears that Merle parked her SUV where she was blocking someone's driveway and instead of coming to me, they called the police!  I thought it was kind of funny, actually.

Dennis and I dancing

I did get a few dances in with Dennis, but honestly my feet were killing me by the time the group had moved to the living room.  My dance shoes aren't made for standing around.  

Oh and Mom came.  A few of the folks from OTOW remembered her from when she and Dad took dance lessons from Trish.  (Not that they needed lessons; they've always danced together and did it effortlessly and gracefully.)  It was great that they were able to reconnect.  And she looked great, I thought.

So Dennis had a fun birthday party and I got to see how well dancing fit in my living room.  I am now more willing to have more dance parties in the future.  It was delightful!

Mr. Armadillo

I have a new neighbor.  He built (or perhaps it would be more proper to say "dug") his home under this big rock at the corner of my property.  It really is an ideal location.  The rock is really large so there's plenty of room.  Then the ligustrum and crepe myrtles provide lovely shade.

This morning, while returning from the dog walk, we saw him hustling toward home.  I had enough time to get my camera and just barely caught him.
I finally got the zoom to work so you can see Mr. Armadillo a little better.
Here's a close-up of his front door.
I added this little sign so the yard workers won't disturb him.

There's also a coyote around our community but I don't know where the den is.   I love all this wildlife.  Amazing to find it in a gated retirement community!  LOL

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finished Bath Remodel

Well, I was going to do a week by week visual of the remodeling of my bath, but ... not going to happen.  What I'll provide is before and after pictures.  I'm so lazy.

So here's a before picture.  The laundry baskets sat behind the door.  I would sit on the toilet to put on makeup.  

Now I have an area where I can sit and put on make-up and a whole lot more storage space.  The laundry baskets are in the corner under the counter.  The door was replaced by a pocket door so there's a lot more space.

The other side of the bathroom before the remodel.  I had a portable radiator (seen on bottom left corner) to warm my towel (yes I know that's weird in Florida but I like it).

I changed the overall color scheme from white to cream with natural wood cabinets.  

Instead of the portable radiator I had a towel warmer installed (there on the left) which doubles as the towel rack.  I also had a seat built in (behind the knee wall) at a specific height that would make bathing the dogs easier.  Yes, my life revolves around my pups.  And instead of sliding shower doors we installed a swinging glass door.