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Florida from the International Space Station

Thursday, December 18, 2014


(Avon Park, FL) Hi 69 Lo 51 -- We normally don't talk about health, but this year while we're in Florida a few months I'm getting all my medical issues taken care of. I've been having a lot of problems this summer in eating certain foods and my gallbladder is pressing on my rib. It's been hurting quite a bit so I've had some tests done on it. So far none of the tests are showing anything wrong, so that's an ongoing process.

I recently had an eye exam and I have two cataracts that have gotten worse since my last exam, so I have an appointment with an opthalmologist. My knees have caused me problems all summer. I had an MRI and it showed I have a torn meniscus along with arthritis. I got a cortisone shot which has helped a lot, but I have to be very careful that I don't turn the knee. We both had our dermatology check ups yesterday and we're both fine. It's good to have something that's going well. All the doctors are on holiday vacation so my follow up appointments are in January, and they're all in the same week. The second week of January will be very busy.

By the way, Jim had his annual exam and except for borderline cholesterol he's in perfect health. (The rat!)  :)

We haven't done much of anything since the weekend. My sister and her hubby are coming up from Okeechobee to spend Christmas day with us and join us for Christmas dinner at the club house. It will be the first time Sis and I have been together for Christmas since we were kids. That will be very special!

Today I went to my first crafting class of the year. There were several gals working on different ornaments. It's always fun to learn how to make new things.

I made a little angel tree topper for our little tree.

See you in a few days.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Block Party, TSO Concert, NBA Game... Very Active Few Days!

(Avon Park, FL) Hi: mid-70's Lo: mid-40's -- We're in another cool spell, but with the daily highs in the 70's we're not complaining. Besides, it shouldn't last long. At least it feels more like the Christmas season that way.

This past Wednesday we went to our first block party here in the park. Residents who live within loosely-defined areas (blocks) periodically get together at one place and get to know each other and snack on finger food. Sort of like what we call in the RV community a happy hour. We met some new friends and had a great time. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Our friends Vi and Kevin moved in behind us on Friday. We met them several years ago in North Carolina, and they've been full timers for almost two years. They were staying down in Okeechobee and decided to come here for a change of scenery. They'll be here through the winter.

We had a very busy weekend. On Saturday we drove to the Amalie Center in Tampa to see a concert by the Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO).

This is the arena about a half hour before showtime.

TSO is one of our favorite musical groups. They combine classical and rock music into a bombastic sound and light show that's an assault on your senses. The show is partly a narrated Christmas story based on one of their several Christmas albums, interspersed with many stand-alone songs, all very loud and bright.

We've seen TSO several times in the past, but we always enjoy their show. It was an afternoon show, so when we headed back to the car we had a beautiful view from the top deck of our parking garage of the Tampa skyline in twilight.

On Sunday we got to spend the whole day with our friends Mike and Terri. They're workamping at a COE park near Ft. Myers. Jim is a Miami Heat fan and Mike is a Chicago Bulls fan, so we got some tickets to see the Heat play the Bulls at American Airlines Arena in Miami. They drove east, and we drove south, to meet up in Clewiston. We then continued on to Miami in their car. Our route down US 27 went through the sugar cane fields around Lake Okeechobee.

We also drove through the vast swamps of the everglades. It's always a culture shock as we leave our quiet, country lifestyle here in Central Florida, drive through all those miles of nothingness, and then all of a sudden we're in the non-stop traffic and hectic lifestyle of the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami area.

Our first stop in Miami was for lunch at the Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana district. Versailles is one of the most famous Cuban restaurants in Miami, but how it got a French name I'll never know. During lunch I took the opportunity to get a picture of Mike and Terri.

After lunch we had a few hours to kill before the 6pm game, so with the help of Google Maps on Jim's smart phone we embarked on a driving tour of Miami Beach. We went past the Miami cruise port, where several ships were getting ready to depart.

We've been to Miami Beach before, but this was Mike and Terri's first visit, and like us they were amazed at how the "one percent" love to show off their wealth. Wherever you see water (and there's a LOT of water around Miami Beach) you see yachts... BIG yachts.

This one was really spectacular. A quick check of its name on Google (Attessa IV) revealed that it's owned by a billionaire named Dennis Washington.

It's 332 feet long and is worth about $250 million. And notice it has a helicopter on the deck. Wow!

Another thing you'll see in the Miami area is fancy cars. We saw several Ferraris and Rolls Royces, but this Lamborghini was a real eye opener. Is is really gold plated?

Probably not, but it sure is a shiny gold paint job!

We couldn't visit Miami Beach without putting our feet in some sand.

It was time to make our way back to the mainland to the American Airlines Arena.

We got there early enough to enjoy all the pregame warm-ups and festivities.

Finally, the game was on.

The experience of watching a live NBA game was great, but the game itself wasn't the best. The Bulls beat the Heat pretty handily 93-75, making Mike happy. (Jim, not so much.)  :)

The game ended around 8:30, and after about a 30-minute delay getting our of our parking lot, we were back on the road for the trip home. US 27 is one dark road at night! We said goodbye to Mike and Terri in Clewiston, got in our car and made it back home right at midnight.

It was a wonderful, action-filled weekend! Thanks Mike and Terri for joining us and making the weekend very special. We'll see you again soon.

And to our readers, see you in a few days.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quick Note

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 65  Lo 48 -- It's been awhile but we'll post a big blog tomorrow with info about our weekend.

We don't want to bore everyone with a blog that just says, we're watching TV shows and playing games on the computer. Jim did laundry and I'm crocheting. We're doing fine and enjoying our winter park.

More tomorrow.

Monday, December 8, 2014

To Decorate (or Not) - Visit From Family

(Avon Park, FL)


The biggest decision this year was whether or not to decorate and put up Christmas lights. Call us Scrooge, but it's a real hassle, and we're getting lazy. All that work to put up lights just to take them down again a few weeks later. So this year I put up our little tree in the back window and that's it. There were a few suggestions on Facebook on how to attach lights to a fifth wheel, and for a while I was thinking about trying them. But then the feeling went away. :)

While we were sitting outside this little bird decided to clean up a bit. I couldn't get  pic with him looking at me, but the colors were pretty and he was little. I have no idea what kind it is. He flew off with a female when he was done pruning. The female was a lot darker in color.

We saw this clock on the side of an RV while on one of our walks. A nice idea, but we're not that interested in knowing what time it is anymore. :)


Our church is decorated for Christmas. It's so pretty so I took a picture to share.

Monday (today):

When I got up this morning we had a group of Sandhill Cranes right outside our window. They're so stately and proud looking birds. They prance around and act like they own the place.

My sister Doris and her hubby Herm recently bought a park model home in Okeechobee and are down for the winter months. They came up to see us today and brought their friend Judy with them. We took them to the Jacaranda Hotel for lunch. It's a beautiful 1920's-era hotel in downtown Avon Park, and one of our favorite places to eat.

Jim, Herm, Judy, Doris

Dining room in the Jacaranda Hotel

Dessert table

The main lobby is beautifully decorated for Christmas.

After lunch we took them on a driving tour around Sebring, then back to our home for more chatting. Doris, Judy and I are wine lovers, so we sampled a bottle of wine from a local winery while we visited. 

It was rainy most of the afternoon so they left to get home before it got too late. We loved their visit and had a great time. We can't wait to see them again when we pay them a return visit to their home in Okeechobee.

Tonight we went to the clubhouse for our twice-weekly card games. 

See you in a few days.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Movie Day - Down Time

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 80 Lo 60 -- The days are going fast. I think it's because I'm not always worried about posting the blog. It's been relaxing the last couple days, except for getting more medical appointments done. I had my eyes checked and it looks like I'll need cataract surgery. I think old age is catching up with me.

We've started working out at the park fitness center. Jim works out on the elliptical trainer and I do the stationary recumbent bike. I'm pleased that the cortisone shot I got recently has had a good effect on my knee. We're catching up on the TV show House of Cards. We checked out the DVD sets for both seasons from the local library and we're watching a couple of episodes a day. It's a very good show.

We went today to see the movie The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part I. It's the third Hunger Games movie. We've seen the first two, and we really liked all of them. This one left you hanging at the end because it's the first half of the third book. The second half will be released next year.

I was hungry for Mexican food tonight so we stopped at Don Jose's Mexican restaurant in Sebring. It's right on  lake Jackson.  The food is great. 

 The lake from the parking lot.
When we came out there was a lot of noise from hundreds of birds that were on the electric lines and in the trees. I'm glad they decided not to attack. 

We're enjoying our down time. Tomorrow is my crocheting class in the morning, and in the afternoon Comcast Cable is having a presentation in the club house about the new cable system being installed in the park. They're providing free pizza!

We'll see you in a few days. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Visitors and Cleaning

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 78 Lo 61 -- It's the end of another month and only one more to go in 2014. We're enjoying it here at our winter park. More and more snowbirds are coming in now that Thanksgiving is over. A lot more will arrive after Christmas.

I've been babying my knee since I got the cortisone shot last week, and so far so good. Today I cleaned out the inside of the car. There was a lot of sand and dirt from our travels out west. It took awhile to accomplish that task, and my knee was hurting afterwards so I relaxed and crocheted the rest of the day.

We had visitors yesterday (Saturday). Vi and Kevin stopped by on their way back to their park in Okeechobee. They went full time a couple years ago and are glad they did. We were so glad to see them again. They work camp in their park. We'll see them again when we go to visit my sister in Okeechobee this winter.

Kevin and Vi

Jim piddled a little with some small tasks around the house and watched some football on TV. I still have some closets to clean and sort. But hey, we have four more months. I'll get to them before we get back on the road in April.

We'll see you in three days.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 68 Lo 43 -- We wish all our friends and family a Happy Thanksgiving! We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning, and then a little football before heading over to the club house for dinner. The park provided the turkeys and everyone brought side dishes. The place was packed, and the food was great. (Click on pictures to enlarge)

2014-11-27 Thanksgiving dinner (2)

2014-11-27 Thanksgiving dinner (4)

A long food line
2014-11-27 Thanksgiving dinner (5)

2014-11-27 Thanksgiving dinner (6)

After coming home and resting up from all that food, we went back over to play cards this evening.

Yesterday I went to my doctor appointment to get the results of my knee X-rays and MRI. It turns out I have a torn and shredded meniscus in my left knee, along with arthritis. My options were to have arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus, replace the knee, or try a cortizone shot. Repairing the meniscus wouldn't relieve all the pain because I would still have the arthritis. And the doctor thinks it's a little early yet to get a knee replacement. So I got the cortisone shot, and so far it's working pretty good.  I can even get up the RV steps to the bedroom without pain. We'll see how long it lasts, but it's only a matter of time before I'll have to have the knee replaced. :(

We have more doctor appointments coming up. That's one of the advantages of staying put for a few months, to get all our medical stuff done.

See you in a couple or three days.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Movie Day

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 80 Lo 58 -- It's been rainy and cloudy but warm, so we're not complaining. We're responsible for mowing our site here at Adelaide Shores, so that's going to have to get done before too long with all this rain. Two years ago we didn't have to mow at all because it was so dry, and last year we mowed three or four times.

We've been doing very little but wanted to get a post done so everyone knows we're still ok. I've been crocheting another afghan, this one with a very neat basket weave stitch. It's taking longer but it sure is pretty. I'll post a photo of it when I'm done.

Today we went to see the movie  Dumb and Dumber To. We liked the original Dumb and Dumber, and this one was just as funny. It's a very stupid movie, but Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are great together, which makes it fun to watch. We both had a lot of laughs, and give it a thumbs up.

Jim has been walking between rain showers and we're getting ready for the big Thanksgiving potluck dinner on Thursday. We'll post again in a couple days.