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Florida from the International Space Station

Friday, February 27, 2015

Four "Chatters" Together - Movie Day

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 64 Lo 58) -- Most of our readers know that I'm in the RV Dreams Chatroom just about every night. The nightly chatters are some of my best friends, even though I haven't actually met a lot of them. It so happens that for a while there were four chatters here in the park, and the four of us have had some great fun together.

Jessica, Lessie, Vi and me.











Lessie was here for only a few days and left yesterday (Thursday), but Jessica and Vi are here until April like us. It was a funny feeling to be chatting away in the chat room knowing three of us are next door to each other, and the fourth was only a few sites away.

Monday night I went to the clubhouse to see The Woodsmen Quartet, a gospel group from my home state of Indiana. Jim had to miss it because of his cold (which he's over now), but Lessie went with me and it was really fun. The youngest singer is 23 and he had so much energy it made us all tired watching him. I hope they return next year so Jim can see them. He's a big southern gospel music fan.

Tuesday I had my follow up eye appointment with my regular optometrist. The tests are all good on the surgery, but my brain is taking its time getting used to the mono vision lenses (one for distance and one for near). My doctor had the same surgery a few years ago and he said it took him about six months before he finally got used to them. In two weeks (after the eyes are fully healed) I'm going to have some glasses made to help me with driving. He feels that if I wear the glasses only for driving and leave them off the rest of the time my vision will eventually adapt. I sure hope so, it's nice going without glasses.

Yesterday I finally got my colonoscopy over with. It was my second one, and my first one several years ago was not a pleasant experience. And neither was this one. Just like last time I was nauseous from the anesthesia, and some trapped air in my gut left me in pretty bad pain for most of the day. I'm better today, thanks to Gas-X. :)  Everything was "all clear", so no more colonoscopies for me!

Let me just say, I'm sure glad February is coming to a close. With my eye surgery and the colonoscopy it's been a pretty rough month for me. Come on March!

Today we went to see the movie "Kingsman The Secret Service".
















It's a very funny and over-the-top spy thriller that was influenced a lot from the James Bond films. We both enjoyed it a lot, but we have to warn you that it has really rough language, and the violence in some parts might upset some.

See you in a few days.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Beatles! - More RV Friends Arrive

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 81 Lo 60 -- On Friday we went to Orlando at the Hard Rock Live theater at Universal Studios. Jim got tickets on Groupon for a show called "Classic Albums Live". It's a series of concerts where they perform classic rock albums note-for-note. This one was the Beatles album "Abbey Road", which is Jim's favorite album. Orlando is best known for Disney World, but there are many other family-oriented attractions all over Orlando. We stopped at a Chinese Buffet that was in the shadow of this huge ferris wheel. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)








We made our way to Universal Studios and parked in their huge parking garage. We arrived after 6pm so the parking was only $5 (it's normally $17 during the day. Ouch!) The lady in the booth at the entrance asked if either of us was a Florida resident. When we replied yes, she offered us upgraded "priemier" parking, which is closer to the park entrance. Cool!

We made our way to the Universal City Walk area, which is the restaurant and shopping area just outside the theme parks. The Hard Rock Live is in this area. It was around 6:30 so we were walking against the traffic of the crowds exiting the park after their all day fun. It was getting quite cool and everyone was bundled up in heavy coats, ear muffs and gloves.









The area is beautiful at night.












We had great seats, front and center in the balcony.









It was a great show. They performed the entire Abbey Road album, then after an intermission they played several more Beatles hits. Jim's a huge Beatles fan and he always enjoys going to any kind of Beatles tribute show. It was a late night for us. We didn't get home until around 12:30am. But it was worth it!

Saturday our friends Lessie and Ed arrived in the park to stay for a few days. Ed did a terrific job getting their 40-foot Bluebird coach into their site.








Some neighbors came over to say hi to them. Ed and Lessie are on the right.







Sunday was one of our favorite days of the year, the Daytona 500 which kicks off the NASCAR season. Most of our Sundays will now include watching the NASCAR race on TV. Our favorite driver Jeff Gordon announced this will be his last year of racing full time, so we were hoping he would win his final Daytona 500. But it wasn't to be. Joey Logano won. We'll be pulling for Jeff all year.

This week will be very busy, we'll catch you up in a few days.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fun With Friends

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 56 Lo 28 -- We're in the middle of a cold spell. Last night it got down to 37 degrees, and tonight it's expected to get to the 20's. Brrrr! Fortunately, cold weather in Florida doesn't last long. It will be back to near 80 this weekend. :)

This past Monday our friends Mike and Terri had a day off from their work camping job at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam Campground (near Ft. Myers), so they came up for a visit. They brought with them their friends Joe and Donna, who we haven't met but are good friends with our neighbors Harry and Jessica. The eight of us spent most of the day under our awning laughing and having fun telling travel stories. We especially enjoyed hearing Jessica, Harry, Donna and Joe tell stories about working at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Kentucky last fall.

L to R - Joe, Mike, Jim, Jessica, Harry, Terri, Donna

Jessica and Dee prepared a great lunch for everyone, with finger foods and Jessica's homemade pulled pork BBQ. Dee made brownies and Jessica made a great dessert of fruit-filled angel food cake.


















Jim, Joe, and Harry in the food line.

Harry and Jessica.











Harry and Donna.











After lunch we took a walk around the park to burn off some calories. This is the boat dock on Lake Adelaide.

Our visitors were impressed with our pretty park.











When we got back we sat and talked some more. Donna is checking her cell phone.











From L to R, Joe, Mike,  Jim and Jessica.











We often mention our Monday and Friday night cards group. Anywhere from eight to 14 people show up. This was our group this past Friday night.


















One of the group dropped her coins on the floor. We thought it was pretty funny seeing several of them under the table gathering up all the nickels and dimes.











Dee caught a cold and is feeling pretty miserable at the moment. So far it's a head cold, and she's fighting it and hoping it doesn't drop to her chest. I'm doing my best to take care of her, but she's a lot better at mothering me when I'm sick. Of course I whine and complain much more than she does. :)

See you in a few days.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day Trip and NC Friends

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 74 Lo 47 -- The most talked about topic lately is weather. It's colder here than usual, but we can't complain. Boston is getting more snow than they can handle, now it's freezing temperatures on top of that. It seems like they're getting storm after storm this winter.

We made a trip to St. Petersburg Beach on Thursday. We love going that direction to be near water (NEAR it, not in it). We looked up another seafood restaurant for lunch, Dockside Dave's Grill.  It's a great place, and we especially enjoyed their yummy seafood bisque.

















We stopped for an open drawbridge on the way home. Florida seems to have more drawbridges than just about anywhere else.There's something cool about seeing the road rise right before your eyes.











This evening we drove about 45 miles north to Davenport to meet some friends for dinner. Gary, Hank, and Selene were attending a ham radio convention in Orlando. They're good friends of ours from North Carolina. (Hank and Selene were here in our park a couple of weeks ago.) Gary's car is loaded with ham radio equipment.





We met at Cracker Barrel for a great meal, then hung out for awhile afterwards on the porch in the rocking chairs, talking and laughing until it was finally time to part.

Hank, Selene, Gary, and Jim











The NASCAR season started today and it's good to have racing to watch on the weekends again. And tonight we're watching the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Show. That show has had its ups and downs, but seeing all the stars from the show's past brought back a lot of memories for us.

I'm still waiting for my eyes to get back to some semblance of normal after my cataract surgery. Things are still too blurry to drive. It's still early so I'm learning patience. I'll get there. My next follow up appointment is on the 24th.

We'll see you in a few days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cataract Surgery, Pt 2

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 67 Lo 49 -- This month has been very interesting. I promised a picture of our new neighbors Jessica and Harry, and remembered to get one yesterday.












They had us over for a scrumptious lasagna dinner yesterday evening. Since I had my cataract surgery earlier that day, the invitation was very welcome as I didn't have to cook. Thank you so much guys, I sure couldn’t see to make dinner.

The surgery on the right eye wasn’t anything like the left. They checked my left eye before doing the procedure on the right. They gave me an eye test  and I'm at 20/30, which is ok because the left eye will be for close-up vision. There’s still a lot of healing to do, but it’s slowly getting better. I can see the computer with a larger font, so at least I can get online as long as I don’t read for very long at a time.

The prep for the right eye was about the same. I had to wait about a half hour on a gurney. It was about 11:00 when I went into surgery, and 11:04 when I came out. This time I saw and felt everything going on. I didn't see little blue boxes and bright light, which I found out later that's because doctor was fixing the astigmatism. There was no pain, so that’s good. The eye was totally dilated, which pleased the doctor as it makes it so much easier to implant the new lens. He was very satisfied with the procedure.

This morning was terrific. My left eye wants to see close-up and the right eye is for distance,  and the colors are incredible! Now to get both eyes to heal completely. I'm thankful I don’t have a third eye. :)

Several of us walked over to the north side of the park this evening to watch the Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral.











The rocket is carrying a satellite to deep space, about a million miles from earth, where it will monitor solar activity from the sun. Cape Canaveral is about 80 miles from us, so it was hard to photograph. You can barely see the contrail in this photo, taken by Jim with his smart phone.



















We actually saw the bright fire of the engines when it appeared above the trees, then the trail that it left behind. It was quick, but looked great against a clear blue sky.

See you in a few days.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Update on My Eye – 50th Anniversary Party at the Clubhouse

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 75 Lo 55 -- My recovery from my first cataract surgery is going very well. I can now see my laptop screen better, and the letters no longer have the shadowy look I was seeing. My vision in that eye still needs to be clearer, but it’s come a long way. I still can’t see distance, but that will be corrected this Tuesday when I have the second eye done. I’m very happy with the outcome so far. I’m still hoping I won't need to wear glasses after Tuesday.

We've enjoyed getting to know our new neighbors, Jessica and Harry. On Saturday Harry installed a new TV in his basement. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)








He was also busy washing his RV and truck.

We just sat and watched. :)

Today (Sunday) was the 50th Anniversary party at the clubhouse to celebrate those who have been married at least 50 years. There were six couples this year. Everyone told the story on how they met, something about their lives, and how they ended up at Adelaide Shores. It’s always interesting as they try to tell funny things that’s happened during their marriage, and answer the age old question, how do you stay married for so long. 

Each couple sat in the seat of honor and a narrator stood behind them and told their story. This is our friends David and Toni.










All six couples.



We all toasted the couples with a cup of juice, then had ice cream and cupcakes. It was a great celebration, and many people attended.








It was a beautiful day so I walked around visiting the neighbors, who were all sitting outside. I got to meet a few people that’s come to the park for a week or two and others that will be here till end of March. It’s suppose to get chilly again and rain tomorrow.

See you in a few days.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cataract Surgery, Pt. 1

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 69 Lo 57 -- On Tuesday Dee had cataract surgery on her left eye. Everything went well, except she coughed during the surgery. Yep, you read that right... she coughed while a doctor was about to cut her eyeball with a sharp scalpel! Fortunately no harm was done. While I waited for her in the waiting room I watched as patient after patient was called to the cataract conveyor belt. The doctor performed 36 surgeries that one day!

She's now two days into her recovery and stumbling around like a drunk sailor. :) Her repaired eye isn't real clear yet, and her right eye is so bad that she can barely see of it. (Kind of like blind in one eye and can't see out of the other.) And it doesn't help that the left lens was removed from her glasses, which throws off her equilibrium. She's doing fine except for being a little impatient. She wants to see, and she wants to see now! :)  She has commented about how bright and colorful everything is in her left eye, kind of like going from black and white to technicolor. The other eye will be done next Tuesday. She wants me to thank everyone who has offered kind words of encouragement.

That's about all to report for now. See you in a few days.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Going to the Dogs - Friends Old and New

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 74 Lo 63 -- On Saturday we drove to Tampa to visit with our friends Gail and Ed who are staying at the MacDill AFB famcamp. (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)
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We got there early enough to spend some time visiting in their big beautiful Blue Bird Wanderlodge. After grabbing some lunch at the Base Exchange Food Court we headed across Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg to take in some greyhound racing. We've never been to dog races before so we were looking forward to it. The trip along Bay Shore Drive on base offered a nice view of the Tampa skyline.
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After crossing the four-and-a-half mile long Gandy Bridge we arrived at Derby Lane, "Tampa Bay's premier greyhound facility."
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Before each race the handlers parade the eight dogs in front of the grandstand for review. I check out which ones have their heads up and look like they're ready to race, and which ones are sniffing around and seem preoccupied.
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After leading them into the starting chutes, the gates open and "they're off!" The dogs chase a mechanical rabbit around the 3/8-mile track, and they're very fast! They complete a lap in 30-33 seconds, which Jim calculated to be between 40-45 mph. It's hard to catch them on camera.
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We stayed for seven races. I had four winners and Jim had one. Each bet was $2, and we ended up with $15.80 more than we came with. I guess we’ll buy a large pizza with our windfall. :)

One of our winning tickets.
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The annual Gasparilla Festival was going on in Tampa this weekend. It's a huge pirate-themed festival with parades, mock pirate invasions, and lots of drinking. We avoided all that mayhem, but when we crossed a bridge over the Hillsborough River we could see lots of boats anchored in the river watching all the festivities.
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After returning to Ed and Gail's we said our goodbyes and headed back home. An ideal weather day with good friends and good fun. Perfect!

Our good friends from our North Carolina days, Selene and Hank, arrived at our park to spend a few days. They've been full timing for 2 1/2 years, and we always love it when our paths cross. We'll be seeing more of them the next few days.
2014-02-21 selene and hank

We also met some new friends. Jessica is one of the regulars in the RV-Dreams chatroom, but we've never met until she and her husband Harry arrived today. They’ve been full timing for a couple years and are spending time in Florida this winter. They’ll be here for a couple of months. I forgot to get a picture of them today, but I'll be sure to get one and post it later.

I'm scheduled for cataract surgery one one eye this coming Tuesday, and the other eye a week later. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. We'll give a report on that in a few days. See you then. ('See' you then... see what I did there?)