Every once ina while we're fortunate enough to witness Mother Nature at her finest. This evening turned out to be one of those moments with an incredible sunset, just as the rain was starting.
We hope that wherever you are, you have a safe and joyful New Year.
We decided to try something new this year. Dinner and a movie. What's that you say? What's new about that? Well, dinner was a four course Italian feast, courtesy of Chefs of Napoli. And what a feast it was!
Dave's appetizer mussels and his rack of lamb were spectacular. And my veal fiorentia and angel hair pasta was scrumptious as well. And beautiful to look at!
We had some time to kill before the movie, so off to Wal-Mart for essential supplies and a great view of the early moon.
Finally, the movie - the movie I've waited for over a year to see - Star Wars - the Last Jedi - in 3D. We went to the Villages to see it, at the Brownwood Barnstorm Theatre. It was definitely the most unique movie theatre I've ever been to. It was totally decorated in a western style, down to the bathrooms. The stall doors were made of wood and had a crescent moon, like a real outhouse! I didn't take any pictures of the bathroom - too many people in there and I didn't want to look strange. But the rest was definitely picture-worthy. Oh, and I can't forget the great gold cart.
So, there you have it. A fairly quiet but totally fun New Year's Eve. Being able to walk around outside with the palm trees blowing and no freezing temps was an added bonus.
Again, Happy New Year, and may 2018 bring you peace and joy.
Since we got here to Paradise Oaks in November, we've spent most of our time in and around the park, meeting new friends and enjoying the many activities here, as well as getting some rest.
Tonight, we ventured out. We met Dave's brother George, in Mt. Dora where he treated us to a great German meal and a wonderful evening of scenic Christmas lights around Mt. Dora.
Dinner was fantastic as was the light show. Mt. Dora definitely goes all out to impress and I can see why tour buses drive through. It was truly magical. This is what I love about Christmas. enjoying good company and just relaxing and having a good time without stresses.
We've been at Paradise Oaks in Florida now for nearly a month and have enjoyed it immensely. Paradise Oaks has more than doubled in size in the last year and we're having fun watching all the changes and improvements going on.
The campground itself is just beautiful. Filled with Palm trees and other vegetation, it's fun to drive around and see what other campsites have up for decorations. And the kids love to ride around as well and say hi to all the other dogs.
We've met a lot of people and made new friends. Paradise Oaks has a lot of activities going on every day. One could easily stay at the campground every day and have something fun to do. A local distributor sells fresh seafood on Mondays. Tuesdays is fresh produce. Fridays is the pet groomer. And that doesn't include all the social activities that range from holiday dinners to entertainment to horse races and tours. It's easy to become complacent and never leave.
We have made a couple of trips to the Villages, once to Lowe's and once to Petsmart. Both times we staopped at Steak n Shake for dinner and are now addicted.
Christmas is just around the corner and the residents are decorating for the season. Paradise Oaks had a craft sale last Saturday, filled with all kinds of decorating and gift ideas. In December, we'll have a Christmas parade with decorated golf carts and other seasonal activities.
Other than a few days here and there, the weather has been perfect. Between 70 and 80n during the day, allowing us to leave the windows open and stay outside for most days. Knock on wood, it's been mostly bug free.
As much time as we spend outside, we decided to splurge a little and upgrade our patio area. A new rug, new chairs, a water fountain and some plants and new fancy lights have done wonders to make our patio a little sanctuary. How I love to hear the water fountain gurgle. It's nice to know that no matter where we end up, we'll always have a beautiful outside living area. The dogs love it as much as we do. Sage never wants to come inside anymore.
We have two cranes that reside here and it's great fun listening to them and watching them walk around the campground, even of they do stop traffic sometimes.
The sunsets are incredibly beautiful. Every night is different with lots of color and interesting cloud formations.
We spent yesterday putting up all our Chirstmas Decorations, which I'll post as soon as I get some good pictures.
Well, Tennessee will be in our rear view mirror tomorrow as we head to our winter home for this year.
It’s been a crazy and hectic month, visiting with family and friends, celebrating my birthday with old friends and new. We also sweated out a year’s worth of doctor appointments and found out that this lifestyle is definitely good for our health. Now, that wasn’t a surprise.
Kate, our granddaughter has grown so much since we left. She turned three in August and her vocabulary is incredible. She is smart as a whip and has the memory of an elephant. Her favorite new thing is riding in the golf cart with her Grampy.
My first visit (of three) to my Cades Cove was with Kate’s other grandmother and my dear friend, Sue. It was so wonderful to see my favorite place again and have great conversation, as well. Sue was kind enough to invite us for dinner, twice, so we had wonderful food and great company with the kids and grandkid. It was wonderful, catching up with the family.
My second visit to the Cove was with Janey and Jim, who came up from Florida to see our neck of the woods. We had a great week with them, showing them our favorite haunts and our history here in Blount County. While showing them around, I relived some wonderful memories.
My dear friend Peggy, introduced me to my new favorite drink, called the Sylvia. Once again, we solved the world’s problems with one conversation, and I was also able to support her at a political function.
My third visit was with old friends, Trish and Roy, after a wonderful lunch at PawPaws Cajun Kitchen. I’ll never hear the words “Here BAR” again without laughing. Roy and Trish spent a couple of nights out here in their new motorhome. Looking forward to their retirement and doing some traveling together. Of course, we also had our obligatory German dinner together.
The time I got to spend with my mom was invaluable. We were able to take care of several legal issues and spent some great conversations together. I’ll miss her when we leave, but I hope to bring her down to Florida during the cold winter months.
My Birthday turned out to be a perfect one. All I wanted was a campfire with friends and family to celebrate with me and that’s what I got. Trish and Roy, and the fur-divas Mariann and Ginger: Sue and Kate: Janey and Jim: Peggy: and Rinda and family. It was a wonderful evening catching up and spending time with friends that I love.
That was our month in a nutshell. After this weekend of cold and rainy weather, we’re all ready to head for warmer climes.
Paradise Oaks has almost completed their major expansion and we’re looking forward to many fun activities and meeting new friends. We’ll return to Tennessee in April next year instead of October and after that, who knows?
Yesterday was our trip to the Indy Zoo and I have to admit that I was disappointed. The orangutan was extremely depressed, just laying against the glass and not moving or showing any emotion. The tiger did nothing but pace the same path, over and over and over again. Most of the animals showed a lack of interaction within their own groups and families.
But we still had a great day.
Yep, we're still outside Bloomington, but we'll be leaving here in a little more than a couple of weeks. We haven't done much, but we did participate in Lake Monroe Village's annual fundraiser for Riley's Children's Hospital. Last year was the third year they participated and raised over $18,000.
Fundraising included dinner, silent and live auctions. This year's total was over $30,000! We bid on a couple of things and did win a nice basket of local wines.
I volunteered to take pictures for Sandy, the owner, and had a blast doing it.
Tomorrow, the Indy Zoo.
We just finished our Saturday night golf cart parade. Lake Monroe Village does a golf cart parade every Saturday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day. At 9:13, we line up and head out. We go throughout the entire Village, blowing horns and throwing out candy to the kids who line the roadways. Some even throw our dog treats for our canine companions.
Now that it's totally dark, we took the telescope out to check out the crescent moon. It was incredible to see the craters of the moon. I felt like I was seeing Neil Armstrong place the flag again, taking that one step.
Naturally I had to pull out my camera and got a couple of great shots.
I also got a couple of sweet shots of the furkids today, while we celebrated National Dog Day.
And Forrest is dressed in lights below...
We had our big monthly splurge today - we rented a pontoon boat for half a day and set out on Lake Monroe, with the kids.
They took to boating like little pirates. Sage wanted to lay up on the seat and sunbathe with Mommy. Chacho alternated between checking out the seaworthiness of the boat to co-captaining to napping.
All in all, it was a fun day. I just wish they had bathrooms on board, lol.
Most of the pictures are of the kids, not the lake, sorry. But the last shot I got was one of the vultures they warned us of!
Travel days are rough. Before you even leave, you start stressing about not forgetting anything. You've got to remember 20 million things before you leave, something always goes wrong and you're stressed out watching the traffic in front of you. And your spouse just has to yell at you because of what went wrong.
Our last travel day ended up being five days long when we lost our coolant and EGR. It meant three nights in a hotel, leaving and coming back three times because it wasn't fixed right the first time. We finally got to our campground at 10 p.m. We had just enough light left to back into our spot. So, as we prepare to leave next week for East Tennessee, I can't help but worry that the same problem or a different one will happen. That's human nature. It's hard for people who don't live in their RV that this is our home and car.
Then, you get where you're going. You get set up. You get your chairs out, start your campfire and sip on adult beverages. And all of a sudden, the stress floats away.
I used to be the type to hold grudges for days on end. If we had cross words, I couldn't let it go. Now, I realize that travel days are stress days and what happens there stays there.
The last two weeks with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, all the forest fires in the north and northwest make me glad that our home is on wheels. Because if we had been in Florida and we had notice of such a hurricane coming, we could have pulled up stakes and taken our home to safety with us.
Life is never a guarantee. We could be hit by a tornado tomorrow. A tree could fall on us. There are always dangers out on the open road. But they're the same dangers that face homeowners. and I'll take my home on wheels any day.
I put it out of my mind and enjoy my new homesite! Because this is why we do it. We love our nomadic lifestyle. Sometimes, the nuts and bolts get a little much. Sometimes, we go stir crazy because there's not a lot to do at our location. But we always try and remember that there will be new adventures ahead.