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!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Having Fun Again

Playing with the blog layout.  It's just so much fun.

When I was younger, I used to move residences every year.  I was renting and didn't have much furniture so it wasn't a big deal.  Then, when I was in a more permanent home, I'd change the furniture around.  Just needing a change of scenery.  Now I'm doing it with my blog.  heh heh

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Year 2010 in Review

I remember when my parents retired (almost 30 years ago), they seemed busier than when they were working. I’m beginning to understand this phenomenon better. I honestly don’t believe I’ve ever been as active and social as I am right now.

Sandy and Liz are still getting walked twice a day. The morning walk is long for two reasons. First, Sandy has to take some pills for his liver that need an hour in his system before he eats. So pills, as soon as I wake up, then walk – for nearly an hour. The mornings are the best time (in the summer) for the long walk because the temperature is as low as it’s going to get for the day. Most of this summer it wasn’t over 80 and was usually around 70. Of course, it’s already gotten below freezing a few mornings this year, and last winter the cold was brutal…for Florida. In January and February, many people lost a lot of plants, trees and bushes to the freezing temperatures. Brrrrr.

Uncle Henry & my mom, Clara

Every day I go across the street and have afternoon tea with Mom and Dad. Then at 4:25, not 4:15 and not 4:30, Mom and I feed all our dogs and go for the afternoon walk. Mom has this schedule, you understand, and she really likes to stick to it. LOL On Sundays, I also go over at 10:00am to visit until lunch at noon. Uncle Henry (Mom's younger brother) comes over too. Most of the time we get take-away and either Henry or I go get it. Occasionally, Mom cooks.

I’m still dancing – usually three or four times a week. Dennis and I are exclusive now and we’re so intuitive that our dancing just flows. In April, we were asked to do a dance exhibition to replace a couple who cancelled at the last minute – we had 6 days to prepare something. We chose a rumba because it’s our favorite dance. It turned out very well, I think. Our friend, Richard, videotaped the performance. Then, later in October, we were asked to do another exhibition and this time we did a west coast swing. It was great fun, learning new moves in preparation for the performance. The song we chose, Why Don’t We Just Dance, was perhaps a little too fast for the dance, but we did it anyway. The camera ran out of space so we didn’t get a video of that one.

Mom and I have season tickets to Ocala Civic Theater. That's the local playhouse and they do some fantastic productions. Their Signature Series shows are suitable for all ages, like Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz, which were absolutely amazing. Then there is the Ovation Series for mature audiences. These are wonderful too, but in a different way, with smaller casts and are often thought provoking. Nothing too controversial ... although they are putting on The Full Monty next month.

Charity Ball
Dennis and I were co-chairs for the Charity Ball given by USA Dance Ocala to benefit Hospice of Marion County. We both feel a connection to Hospice because both our spouses were under hospice care when they died. It was a labor of love and it was also lots of fun. We raised $1,700 for Hospice.

In June, we went to Las Vegas for an Ince family reunion (that’s my mother’s maiden name). Uncle Henry was celebrating his 80th birthday, Don (his oldest son) was celebrating a birthday and Andy (the youngest son) was celebrating a wedding anniversary. Dennis was amazing as he memorized everyone’s names – children, grandchildren, girlfriends and miscellaneous friends. At the end of the week, the whole crowd went to see Cirque du Soleil’s show Mystere, which was fantastic.

I’ve done some remodeling in my lovely home. I put wood floors throughout and converted a vinyl windowed sun porch into a finished, air-conditioned sunroom with sliding glass doors and a built in doggie door. It was seven weeks of construction: living with workers coming at 7:00 am, dust everywhere and torrential rains at just the wrong times. I spend most of my time in this room now and just love it. The kitchen also got a facelift – brown quartz countertops, new stove, dishwasher and sink. It looks pretty snazzy.

In May, I reconnected with two old friends. Dale was a roommate in college (nearly 40 years ago). She discovered that I only live a few blocks from her mom, so when she came down to visit, we spent some time together. Then, my old Sifu from kung fu days, David Rose, and his wife, Zan, were in Crystal River scuba diving for a week, so Den and I drove over and had dinner with them.

Birthday Party at Gabrielle's
The week before Thanksgiving, I went to Pennsylvania with Dennis to meet his family. His aunt, Esther Chichilitti, was celebrating her 80th birthday and all the cousins wanted to make it special for her. It was just a bit intimidating for an only child to meet such a large family, but I survived. It helped that I met one small group at a time. We stayed with Aunt Esther who still lives in the same house she was born in. I can now admit that my body has become acclimated to Florida. I thought I’d never get warm while we were in PA and it wasn’t even freezing!

Hilda & Linda
For Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad had a crowd. Dennis came with his Uncle Bill and a friend of the family, Hilda. Uncle Henry was there along with two of my friends (Richard and Gail) who were at loose ends.  Add in my two dogs and Mom's dog, Lacey, all begging at the table and it was quite a gathering.  Den and I picked up meals from The Mason Jar to save Mom from the hectic stress of cooking. We served and cleaned up and all Mom had to do was entertain. From what we could hear in the kitchen, she was doing a great job at that – everyone was laughing at her stories.

Sunset on Captiva Island
This year I turned 60 and my birthday happened to fall on the same day as our USA Dance. It was fun, like a party where everyone gets to dance. Dennis arranged to surprise me with a cake and candles and everyone at the dance sang happy birthday to me (and this is just never done). Then Den had the DJ (Bob Arthur) play "our song", Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin and we danced a foxtrot around the dance floor. It was glorious and romantic. He's a real treasure. I'm so lucky to have found him. Topping off my birthday, was a trip to Captiva Island for two days with Den. I believe this may have been the best birthday EVER.