Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sink Holes

Twenty-four sink holes in Plant City recently..and counting. There's a 100 foot deep sink hole under a school.

The reason? Farmers have watered the strawberry fields to keep them alive during the extreme cold (for Florida). They will turn the sprinklers on the fields and leave them on if there is to be a freeze during the night. I read that the aquifers went down 60 feet in Plant City. This is a rare and dangerous occurrence.

We have been fortunate in that neither we, nor anyone we know has been affected by the sink holes. We have driven by several of the sink holes though and it's frightening to see all the devastation. It's like an earthquake in that the earth just opens up and swallows homes, roads, whatever is in the way. The financial impact is incredible. When people try to sell homes that have been affected by a sink hole at any time in any way, the owner or realtor has to state that fact. That makes selling the property almost impossible.

We were affected by that watering also. Our well went dry and the pump burned out. We have other friends whose wells went dry as well. That is a temporary thing but because the pump burned out, we have to replace it. The well guy said that in the future if we know the strawberry fields are being sprinkled we should turn out pump off during the nights. Makes sense and wish we had thought to do that before. I didn't dream the water used for the fields could drain wells though.

I don't know what is going to happen but I know something will be done whether it is finding a way to monitor the aquifer levels or they will figure out another way for farmers to keep the strawberry crop from freezing.

Central Florida has already lost so many orange fields to the cold and because it was no longer profitable for some orchard owners to stay in business. Now I'm wondering what the future holds for the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. Life situations continually change and we are lucky if we can keep up. I wonder if Florida winters are getting too cold. Hard to think so when we are having such sunny mild days now but several freezing nights can change Florida's landscape and perhaps future as well.

My Doctor

I went to the Dr. at Bill's insistence. I really felt fine and didn't see the need. My injuries would just take time to heal.  I was thinking that perhaps the insurance would more likely pay if I had verification here of my injuries, too, so I went. 

Well, wonder of wonders, my ankle is broken!  I can't believe I could walk on anything broken but Dr said obviously sometimes you can.  I was there most of the day. The healing of my ankle has already begun but he said they are going with what we have and try to see if physical therapy will keep the ankle from being rigid.  Sigh Lots of exercise (painful) plus they put me in an air cast so that I can walk.  I like it so much because I can take it off to get a bath and will just have to go in once a week for an adjustment and to see if I have range of motion.  They will have to put on another type cast if this doesn't work so I'm going to do everything I can. It's more painful to walk in this cast but I still think it's preferable to a plaster one.

Also, they might have to call off the surgery on March 16.   I have a hematoma, where the blood has pooled in the sack under my knee cap.  All the bruising and swelling is just the runoff from the hematoma under my cap.  I don't understand, since they will be cutting everything off in the surgery, why that would affect the surgery but it has something to do with blood clots.  The hematoma takes from six weeks to three months they predict to heal.  It's upsetting because I have psyched myself out for the March date but "it is what it is". 

My eye is fine and so is my shoulder. I wear my shades everywhere now, looking very mysterious I think. Not too mysterious probably because you can see the bruise above and below. People look at me and turn away fast and then they stare at Bill!! LOL I have a feeling they are wondering why I'm still with the abuser. LOL I'm getting all kinds of story lines out of this one.

So, that's the whole story and I just have to go with it until it's all healed and there's just no telling.   I have to go ice creaky places and draw the alphabet in the air with my toe.  Cool, huh? 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Delayed Homecoming

The flight from Cancun to Miami was a breeze, on time and every thing. Then we even got on board the plane for Tampa and buckled in before the pilot comes over the intercom. "We are experiencing electrical problems on the plane and we will have to get it fixed before we can go". Marlene, Judy, Jean and I looked at each other and started laughing hysterically.
I felt like announcing to the poor unsuspecting people that they were jinxed simply by being on the same plane with us! Three out of four planes we were on during the this trip experienced mechanical problems! After waiting probably an hour we were told to get off the plane and they would bring another plane for us. Next message was that they couldn't get us another plane and we'd have to line up and get reservations for another flight or even another airline.
We found a plane leaving at 10 PM instead of the 3 PM we originally were supposed to be on. We were also told we could go standby on a filled to capacity flight at 6:45. We stood by.
At the last moment we were called to the gate and we got the last four seats available. We were feeling lucky all of a sudden. THIS plane did make it out of Miami and into Tampa. Home sweet home!
Bill and Jim (Marlene's husband) were there to greet us. What a day and what a trip we have had. To say it is memorable will be an understatement. We are already laughing about it. What can you is what it is.
Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with my Dr to see if all the parts are working. I'm feeling great but it will be good to get a good bill of health from someone that knows we don't have fingers on our feet. LOL
I will say that we had a wonderful time, bottom line. If we can have such a great time with all the calamity that befell us, then we are doing pretty darn good.
Jean is still here at the house with Bill and me. She had intended to spend the night before heading back to Hilton Head but had to stay one more day. The reason she stayed that one more day was the final straw to our saga of flights and misadventures. Our luggage didn't show up on the 6:45 as we were told and that we expected.
We had to line up in another LONG line and put our claim in for missing luggage. Today, as promised, our luggage was delivered to our door and so we finally can put an end to this trip.
Now we are wondering where we will go next. Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crash, Boom, Splat on Foreign Soil

Just an update. Here's my latest photo from Cancun. Don't you wish you were here?? LOL

What happened: Tuesday I fell on the side walk between the two sections of the resort. There was one step that I did not see though I was paying special attention to watching where I walked because things aren't as clearly marked here. There will be one tiny step and no indication that it is different from the rest of the sidewalk. Same color, no signs, no differences. I twisted my right ankle, fell on my left knee, my left shoulder, and then clonked myself on the left side of my head. What I heard is that people could hear my head hit the cement and they were there right away and the resort Dr and security were called right away. There was also a Dr. that was at the resort on vacation and later a nurse that was there with me. Talk about having lots of help. The ambulance was summoned and I do remember being told that I was surrounded by some very handsome men. :)
This is what I remember, I remember starting over and saying"oh, no" to myself because i knew I was falling. I remember bits and pieces, I remember my friends, Judy and Marlene at my side and hearing Jean's voice. I remember being in the ambulance but no more until the hospital. Jean went with me and stayed with me the whole time. I was never worried or scared. She stayed by my bed (standing the whole time) for hours. When the Dr came in he told me that he needed to do cat scan on head, knee and ankle and that I needed to stay 12 to 24 hours. Oh no. I thought of my vacation being spent in the hospital, a Mexican hospital, and more than that my friends vacation where they had to worry about me. sigh I then talked to Jean and she finally agreed to break out with me. We told them my wishes and they said they weren't responsible for what could happen, yadda, yadda, yadda. I said OK, I will sign whatever and get a cab back to the resort. We signed out, paid $600 for the Dr. and hospital, $400 for the ambulance ride that I did not even enjoy for pete's sake! LOL Jean spotted me the $400 and I charged the $600.
Let me say this about this hospital. They took me to an American hospital, called such because they spoke english. They didn't, not so you'd notice anyway. They kept telling me to wiggle my fingers. I wiggled, and wiggled, and wiggled. They never seemed happy about it. Finally the doctor says, no! wiggle the ones on your feet. (seems that the word for fingers and toes in spanish is the same word so they thought fingers were on our feet as well as our hands I guess) LOL
The hospital was so cleanand every one SO nice that it stood out to me. OK, since I was more aware of my surroundings I will also say that the drs and assistants were SO handsome, even the nurses were beautiful. Jean noticed that when a Dr or assistant would leave the room they would kiss the nurse. Hmmm. Wonder if that is sanitary. LOL VERY friendly people. I like this Mexican culture more and more. I do know they are so family oriented.
Since I got back to the resort, I've been pampered unbelievably. It's a bit embarrassing but not enough for me to stop the process. LOL I go by wheel chair everywhere. Jean said she's so glad she's my friend because they take us through places we would never see otherwise. They find the best route to the places I want to go and can't be helpful enough. I have my own runner each day that comes when I call 64 on the phone and takes me where I want to go and act like I dont call them enough. I don't get to the door before they are knocking, ready for transport.
I am feeling better each day and it hasn't hampered the vacation at all for any of us. Marlene and Judy have gone to the Mayan ruins today as they had planned and Jean and I are going to have computer time then go to the beach ...all things we had planned the first day. Thank God. Bill and I saw the ruins when we were here last time and it was wonderful. Now they aren't even allowed to climb to the top of the temple though because of damage to the ruins.
I was prepared to go home and get my own Dr to look at me if things didn't seem like they were working. Everything is great though. I just look funny and walk even funnier than I used to but I wear dark glasses and I'm in the wheel chair for the long walks so ...all seems pretty normal in my very abnormal ways. :) Adios Amigas e Familia. From Paradise:Judy
Royal Solaris where we are staying. You can probably tell why I chose to rough it out here. LOL

Monday, January 18, 2010

More of Same and Then..Paradise

After we boarded the plane in Miami finally and thought we were on our way we were held on board for almost two hours. Why, some of you might wonder as we did? Because it was raining. I had no clue that they kept planes from flying because of rain. We sat there and sat there and shook our heads as we mopped up the sweat because there was no air conditioning of course. sigh
By the time we landed in Cancun we were beyond tired. The Shuttle we asked for had given up on us I guess and was not there. We did finally get a cab and hoped we would end up where we were supposed to be. We did and we were bouyed by the beauty of the resort we saw as we drove up. FINALLY, about 24 hours after we were supposed to be there, we were at Royal Solaris. Wow! The beauty of the aqua blue clear ocean and the snow white of the sand really lifted our spirits fast, not to mention the champagne we were offered!Then we began our check in process which lasted over two hours!!!! We could not believe it. We were astounded that they had to give us all this information and hold us captive there for two hours while they slowly (we are on island time here...every thing is slow) checked us in. It was a process and they weren't going to deviate from it even though it was obvious we were beyond tired. We had the same clothes on since we left Tampa two days ago and had not seen our luggage since. Looks like they would be happy to get rid of us so we could go freshen up. We were starved and tired. Finally they released us BUT we had to wait in our room until our bags arrived before we could eat lunch We waited and waited and finally our luggage arrived.
NOW, the fun can begin. We got cleaned up and scoped the place out. The resort is HUGE! It's hard to walk the whole property. There are swimming pool next to the beach and the sights are spectacular. We have a VILLA! We have private balconies and practically our own house. Two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and two patios. Our home away from home for a week accept with this home we get housekeeping every day and all the food and drinks are included! We just try to orient ourselves after we have lunch.
For dinner Jean and I went to one of the many restaurants and Marlene and Judy chose to go to a special dinner with show in town that they offer to take you too. I was way too tired to go anywhere else. Jean and I made the good choice because Marlene and Judy said the food buffet where they were was just ok and there was so much noise and so many people where they went. Jean and I ate at an international restaurant and they had about five courses and you order anything you prices. This could be real dangerous, like a cruise as far as so much food available at all hours. The food was even more incredible than we thought. It was a good sign of things to come.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Say What???

Hard to believe BUT we are at MIA waiting to board aircraft because it's having mechanical problems &they do not have any idea when we will depart . I'm looking for the candid camera lens!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stranded in Miami

We meant to be on the beaches of Cancun this p.m. but instead we are in a Holiday Inn in Miami. There were mechanical problems with our plan in Tampa and it was delayed until we missed our connection from Miami to Mexico.
It's not all bad though because we have been put up in a nice hotel in Miami we were given vouchers for free dinner and also free breakfast in the morning before they fly us out to Cancun. We had dinner at a nice Cuban American restaurant here called. The food was delicious.
Back to the bad part. We do not have our bags so that means no PJ's, no toiletries, nada. They gave us little packages of necessities like tooth brush and tooth paste.
So, since we are, well, us, we are making the best of things. We are camping out. Sleeping in the clothes we wore all day and, oh, yes, that we will wear to Cancun tomorrow also. Oh, my. I hope they sit all of the ones that missed their flight in the same area of the air plane because we are going to be one messy looking bunch. In our kits is this tiny little comb that we are supposed to do something with our hair with tomorrow. This really will be interesting, donchathink?
It's very warm in Miami. I figure this is the way it will be in Cancun and it is definitely beach weather. A lot of people have been stressed out today about all this but we just say, " It is what it is" and enjoy the crazy parts because by tomorrow this will all be funny. After a glass of wine over dinner tonight we were already thinking things were pretty darn funny and memorable.
Our flight leaves in the morning and we have to figure out how to get our free breakfast in before we have to go to the airport in the morning. See..lots of figuring, thinking and regrouping going on here. It's not all fun and frivolity.
We are all exhausted right now so I am going to crawl into my bed and pretend I'm in my clean p.j's and hopefully sleep tonight. No guarantees though because my cold medicine is also in my bag at the airport. Which airport is anyone's guess.
Adios familia, amigas, and amigos.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I have been spending my online time in Facebook so much that I had to set blogging more as my goal!
My friend, Jean, arrives here this afternoon. She lives with her husband in Hilton Head and will be driving all this way today. We will meet up with two other friends , Marlene and Judy, at Tampa International Airport and fly to Cancun Mexico on Saturday. We will stay at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun for a week. I look forward to seeing my friends. They all live fairly close but it seems like we don't see each other unless it's some far away place. LOL
To start the week off wonderfully well (not) I have a cold. Drats. I don't even have a voice today. I promised Jean I would not loose my voice and I would be better when she saw me. I have until 3 p.m. today to carry through with those promises! Thankfully I am thought the worst of the cold and will finish out the residuals of it in Cancun sun and fun. We will take side trips and attend shows, etc, but most of the time will be just relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere.
I'm thinking of my daughter right now who was married and honeymooned in an all inclusive resort. That is the first time I had heard of them. It sounds incredible, especially for me since my friend Marlene has points from her time share that will get us there and we will be there or a week for a price that is incredible. I feel so fortunate. I have traveled with these women several other times and we've always had a great time.
I especially like the fact that I just relax and go along. Two of the women are wonderful planners for travel and one is an x travel agent so I really have it made..this time in Cancun.
Enough of that. I am going to check to see if I should throw out my Zicam that I just heard is causing permanent smell and taste loss in some. I have taken so much of it the last week it's probably too late anyway. I was counting on it cutting my cold short but since it's day six now and I'm still sick, it hasn't done a stellar job of that anyway. Hope I can still smell the flowers in Mexico.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mystery Trip

Monday, January 4, 2010, we went on a mystery trip. My daughter's in-laws and some of their friends go on mystery trips. The host of any particular trip does all the planning. All they tell the guests is how long they will be gone and what to pack. Dale and Barb Finney were the hosts of this particular mystery trip. We were told to meet them at their house, bring smart casual clothes, and plan to spend the night.

We met Dale and Barb on a cruise we took with Alan and Kay this past year and also spent time with them at A&K's home in PA when we were there. Alan and Kay are Jeni's in-laws and they are like family to us as well. We sure are thankful to them for sharing the rest of their adventurous and interesting family and friends with us.

We started out at Dale & Barb's winter home in Bonita Springs. Kay and Alan arrived about the same time we did and we got to see the community they live in and enjoyed appetizers, drinks and conversation before we all went out to dinner.

Dinner was at the British Open Pub in Naples, Florida. Bill had fish and chips and I had a delicious Shepherd's Pie. We sat out on the patio with heaters going. It was very pleasant though very cool temps had come in and looked as if they were going to stay with us awhile.

Then we were taken to "The Phil" harmonic Center for the Arts in Naples. We saw "American Voices" on the billboard and found out that the entertainers of the night were Andy Cooney (Irish American's Favorite Son) who sang so many favorite Irish songs and his "Danny Boy" left everyone in silence for some long seconds before the applause began. I found I couldn't move because his rendition was so moving!

Larry Gatlin sang a lot of songs I was not familiar with. I was thinking it was Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers which I really like, but he was not as good by himself. They are known for songs like "Broken Lady", "All the Gold in California", 'She Used to Be Somebody's Baby", etc.

Crystal Gayle came on last and she was impressive with her distinctive voice and hair. Her hair would be sweeping the floor if she hadn't had on very high heels. Seeing her live gave rise to new questions about her hair and how she must care for it. I don't see how she keeps from having headaches with that much hair. LOL Thankfully, her singing distracted me from the hair though. She sang "Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue" and many other songs that she is known for and some I did not know. Another of her sisters was on stage with her singing back up and she had the spotlight a few times but I didn't think she was good at all. All the Webb sisters look different. Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, and this new sister I saw on stage that night did not favor IMHO. By the way, Crystal Gayle's name is Brenda Gayle Webb and she was given her stage name by her sister, Loretta, along with her first hit song that was written by Loretta Lynn. The show was very good and I enjoyed seeing these three people that I have never seen on stage before. We all hauled ourselves back into the car for the trip home. We all wanted to travel in the same car so we took Dale and Barb's SUV which meant one of us had to sit in the back where the luggage goes.
That would be Dale. We laughed so much at him. We thought we were going to lose him a few times when Bill would hit a bump. Dale is a character. We always laugh when we are with them. We can be in the most mundane of situations and we will be roaring with laughter before it's over. I love being around people like that. Alan and Kay are also people that are so upbeat and see the positive in every situation. What valuable people to have in your lives, the optimists of the world. These people always bring us up and we feel good just to be alive.

Tuesday morning, Dale was leading a stretch exercise class at the rec center and so we went there to stretch along with Dale. The Farmer's market was setting up outside the rec center when we came out and we had to buy some ugly tomatoes (that's the name!) and other fresh produce and herbs.

We went back to the house where Dale and Barb made us an wonderful breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice from the oranges on their tree and a casserole that was incredible.

This is our first Mystery Trip and we hope to be on many more with these fun people .I wanted to plan one for the Strawberry Festival but we couldn't work out our schedules for that. I think we will definitely plan one for our mountain house in NC this year some time. There aren't any rules for the Mystery Trip. The hosts have to do all the planning and reservations, etc. The others are along for the ride and you just take turns so that everyone becomes a host. What fun and what marvelous possibilities this opens up for us.

After we left the Finney's, we went down to Immokalee to check out the community of Ave Maria. Bill and I are checking on 55 + communities that we would be interesting in moving to. Ave Maria itself was a nice community but there is NOTHING around it. We drove what seemed like forever inland and then this beautiful place pops up out in the swampland. Oh, well, we have to check them out. We will look into Sun City near here, a community in Sarasota and probably the Villages and one place in Hilton Head. We are just in the thinking, planning stages but we are ready to make a move I think. Dale and Barb are in a mobile home community but we realized we wouldn't be interesting though there are so many beautiful motor home communities in Florida.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Party

Frank and Linda Vanek had a New Year’s party on Saturday night, January 2, 2010. I thought it was nice to have the party on a weekend night and after the holidays.
Frank is the man who planned and built our home. He lived here before he sold it to us. He has a construction company and he took all the ideas of the best parts of the homes he has made and made it into this home. I think it’s unique in that the outside is country looking and the inside is modern. Since we live in a country town, I love that the outside goes with our surroundings but I can be eclectic inside. Frank also builds good sound homes. His wife, Linda, is our title person at the car lot and she works at an auction as well. So, they are both involved in our life in some ways. Frank’s company is also the one that built the upstairs addition over a year ago.
Their home is beautiful. Frank’s well known for his construction company but we did not realize Linda is an incredible decorator. They complement each other in the building industry for sure.

Each room is warm and decorated so tastefully. We really loved that they have a fireplace out by the pool. Everyone was gathered around the fireplace, too, when it became cooler as the night went on. I can imagine the amount of work that went into setting up for the holidays and this party. We sure appreciated all the work that went into it and this gift that they give to their friends each year.
It was nice meeting a lot of people that we have heard about and surprisingly enough, we met a whole family of Roney's! There were about four sisters that were Roney’s. We will have to figure out if we are related.Here is Bill with one of the Roney's.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

I remember thinking of year 2000 or 2010 and figuring out what age I would be then. My twenty-five year old self would think how terribly old I would be then so I'd best do a lot of living before those years creep up on me. I was right in my thinking that I should do a lot of living but I was wrong about the old part. I know what age I am mentally but I also know what fun and what joy there is in life for a sixty-two year old woman who chooses to keep squeezing out the good in every day.

If Bill and I stay up until midnight to usher in a new year, it's more a fluke than planned. Yesterday evening we went out to the Catfish Country, a restaurant that we had heard about and wanted to try. As is our tradition, I brought paper and pen and over drinks we wrote out our new year's goals. We've refined the process over the years to come up with concrete things and ways to achieve them. Bill usually chooses one self improvement item to work on so that he can be sure he gives it a good work out throughout the year. More than that and he says he doesn't keep them. I'm glad the old boy keeps working on himself. He tries to talk me into doing the same thing but I don't fall for it. LOL

I choose a self improvement, an artsy one, and then one that I believe will improve my life in general and one that is farfetched. I have found that writing them down clicks somewhere in the subconscious and I'm working towards that goal even when I don't know it. I take out my list every couple months to see if I'm on track. That works for me. I sure have a lot of them written down this year. If I don't succeed with something, I take it on to the next year. I find that I don't have many carry overs though. The one thing that sticks out for me is that one year I had to carry over "take golf lessons". I'm glad I didn't get specific about it, like "be able to play golf after the lessons" or something like that or it would still be on my list. I have had years when I only had one thing on my goals list. That's usually when something very important needs to be addressed.

So, on the way to Catfish Country we were dazzled by the blue moon. I had heard it called blue moon but wasn't sure why. It was a full moon and glowing so bright it was quite a show. Then the cloud formations around it kept changing it into these marvelous water colors of brilliant light and shadow. It took our breath away. What a perfect way to end 2009. The restaurant turned out to be really good. Our expectations weren't real high but we were surprised with the huge chunks of fish and coleslaw and hush puppies. I could eat there again tonight. However, the Gators (who are number 5 now) play their bowl game tonight so we can't get too far from the TV.

I failed at my first goal which was to update my blog so I'm current on Jan 1, 2010. The holidays are such a busy time that although they are ripe with events and happenings to write about every single day, I just can't find the time. So, I will start at Jan 1, 2010 here and go BACKWARDS for a bit and hit Jeni's birthday and our Christmas. I hope to be caught up in no time.

P.S. Go Gators!