Christmas Day

We’ve waited all year for this day and it’s almost over.  The planning, the shopping, the anticipation, it’s there every year whether you want it to be or not.  It’s a wonderful time of year no matter where you are, who you’re with or what you are doing.  Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and sometimes it is rather sad and depressing for some.  It’s not fun to be alone and sometimes the Holidays makes being alone even more difficult.  Over the years I have had small family gatherings and I’ve also enjoyed the larger get-togethers.  What I remember of those large affairs was that I was really tired by the end of Christmas Day and did not look forward to the next day which was usually a work day.  I’m now at a time in my life since we have chosen to move away from family that it’s just my husband and I.  We still enjoy the family and I do have to say I love Skype.  If you can’t be with someone it’s the next best thing.

This morning we talked with family and actually was able to watch the kids open their presents, it was like sitting in the family room with them, was really nice.  Then after that visit we went on to the next daughter and we were able to see all the Christmas presents the grandkids received.  I know the little ones get up early because they want to open gifts but next year we need to join another in their living room when they open gifts.  It is wonderful.  You get to enjoy the time, but not the mess and fuss and all the work.  So after about 2-1/2 hours on Skype this morning we then took a walk.  It was a nice afternoon in the 60’s but it was certainly quite windy.  So we were able to get in a very long walk and then the cold front came in.  We were hoping to walk more, but the cold came in too soon.  From the low 60’s to the low 40’s in less than an hour.

What was special for us today is that today is the only day that the golf courses are closed in our community and we are allowed to walk the cart paths.  Except from a distance we have not really seen the golf courses so today we enjoyed walking holes 1 – 5.  It was quite nice.  Although we did enjoy this time, if I wasn’t so tired and getting hungry I would have really enjoyed continuing the walk because I really wanted to see more.  What this means now is that I guess we better get out our clubs, go practice so we can play a round and see the whole course, it looks very nice.

What follows are a few photos of the course, I hope you all enjoy whether you are a golfer or not.

Golf Course 015 Golf Course 017 Golf Course 019 Golf Course 030

Holes 3, 4 and 5 of the Legacy Golf Course.  One of the three golf courses in the community.  It was quite hilly, quite scenic and enjoyed looking at how the neighbors decorated their yards (yes I was peeking into the backyards!)

Golf Course 026 Golf Course 029 Golf Course 025 Golf Course 033

I was quite surprised at how many trees have lost their leaves.  There are more varieties of trees in this area, not just live oaks, and there was some nice color on the trees a few weeks back.  We have had a few frosts so all has gotten brown.  I am quite surprised how 90 minutes up the road from where we used to live that it is actually a little colder up here.

Today we opened our presents, had a nice dinner, talked with family, had a lovely walk and enjoyed our new community.  I enjoyed the day.  Don’t get me wrong I miss our times with the family so I’m grateful for Skype, but after all those years of hectic running around crazy, the quiet time isn’t so bad.  We’ll see the family we’re just waiting for warmer weather up north, and their visits here early next year.

To one and all, Merry Christmas and to pleasant memories of another Christmas past along our road we are all traveling……….

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Checking out the Area

We took a day off yesterday from working and decided that we would go “window shopping”.  We’re at a point that we need to make some decisions on how to proceed with our projects so we had to price out some things. So us and all the other crazy last-minute Christmas shoppers were on the road.  After making our stops, and having lunch we found two areas close by that I wanted to learn more about.  The two towns were Round Rock and Hutto.  Prior to moving to Georgetown I did hear of Round Rock.   When I think of Round Rock I think of the Outlet Mall, IKEA, and of course Dell.  I did not realize that Round Rock was not a new town that sprung up with Dell and Outlet Mall shopping, but it also has a small historic area.   Although no Courthouse and not as old there are about 2  – 3 blocks of older buildings mainly housing restaurants and day spas.  What was really nice about Round Rock is that on each historic building they had old photos from either the late 1800’s or early 1900’s and the placard would tell about the history of that particular building.  It was a nice touch and if you’re a history buff like me it really gave you an idea on how things used to be.  It was nice to know that amongst all the commercial and retail things that Round Rock is known for that there is a piece of history nearby.

Then we went a little out of our way to the east of Williamson County and checked out Hutto.  Hutto seems to be a far northeast suburb of Austin and just east of Round Rock.  There are many new home subdivisions and I’m sure it’s a great place to move when you’re looking for a very reasonable priced home.  You can tell that this was an old farming community but is fast disappearing with the new Home Depot, various fast food restaurants and the HEB; all that comes with new developments.  But like Round Rock, Hutto has a small historic street, 2 blocks and really only one side of the road.  Some attorneys and insurance offices but there looked to be a very old-fashioned family restaurant that served homemade pie and a very nice variety knick-knack store.  We had just eaten but I really wanted to try that pie.  I thought of a friend of mine when we went by that restaurant.  She always likes dessert and I was thinking I bet she would like this restaurant.  Probably good home cooking with homemade pie, how can you go wrong.  When we have an afternoon we’re going to go back to Hutto and try that restaurant.

So although each community doesn’t have much to offer it was nice to see history trying to be preserved and that there were retail and commercial businesses trying to keep these areas alive.  It’s hard in today’s world, when everyone wants convenience, and al the name brands, but there’s nothing like a family owned business.  It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and hopefully the roads traveled will be safe.  Enjoy Christmas, family,  good food, and do hope that Santa will be good to you and all of yours.  To happy travels as we venture nearer to next year.

Texas Courthouses

Today was relaxing!
My first activity of the day, after a nice relaxing breakfast, was a massage. I am a true believer in massage therapy and have given myself a gift once per month by having a massage with a licensed therapist. If you have never had a massage, I highly suggest it. It is great for your body and is relaxing and therapeutic. I figure I’m worth this one treat each month. I had a great therapist in New Braunfels and finding a new therapist is as hard as finding new doctors and a place to get your hair cut. I have been enjoying massages for about 15 years now so I guess you can say I’m picky and know what I expect and want and if I don’t get it I look elsewhere. Another benefit of living in Sun City is that they have 2 therapists right on sight. I had my first appointment today and I was rather impressed. I usually don’t find the right one the first time and I’m not quite sure if I won’t experiment a little with trying others, but I was satisfied enough that I made an appointment in January. So as you can see, my day started off very good.

This afternoon we did a little adventure learning more about our town we now live in. As mentioned in previous posts Georgetown has a quaint square and a very nice Courthouse right in the center. Today we participated in the Williamson County Courthouse tours. Every Friday and Saturday, all year-long they provide free tours of the courthouse. The tours start at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 and start in the Williamson Museum across from the Courthouse on Austin Street. The tour guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed her tales of some of the famous people and activities that occurred within the courthouse. I’m sure if you go on more than one tour you might even hear some different stories.

One surprising thing we learned is that the Courthouse can be rented for weddings and parties. There are two chambers and a meeting room and a balcony. And you can rent the entire second floor for under $400.00 an hour. Of course you must add catering, music etc… but how cool is that. They remove the benches and setup tables, but the judge’s bench and some items remain, it sounds like an interesting place to have a party and I think it’s nice that the public have an opportunity to use the building. The Courthouse was completed in 1911 and is the 5th courthouse for the County. The first two were basically log cabins, the 3rd courthouse they do not have photos of, and the 4th Courthouse lasted from about 1877 – 1920 and it was explained that it was basically falling apart, so much so that it could not be salvaged. So in 1911 the Courthouse was completed and with many changes over the years, it was not refurbished to it’s 1911 glory until 2006. On the Tour they point out what is not original due to new safety laws and some changes that just could not be put back to the original format.

It’s a beautiful Courthouse and since it Christmastime they had the biggest tree in the center that exceeded 2 floors with ornaments hanging from the ceiling. It was a pleasant afternoon and glad we were able to take time to learn more about what Georgetown and Williamson County has to offer. Our next stop is to see old town Round Rock. We have learned there is more to Round Rock than Dell, I35 and shopping and we’re going to find it. I hope you’re having fun traveling down your road. I know it’s a hectic time of year, pace yourself and enjoy your travels. The season will be over before we know it and we’ll be waiting another 11 months for all the activities to start again. Happy Travels and Happy Holidays.

Found the Mall

It was an exciting day! Probably not for all, but it was for me. Although we have very good local shopping with the quaint shops on the Square in historic Georgetown, along with the many local businesses along Williams, plus the two strip malls which have Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Pier One, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Hallmark, Yankee Candle, and many other small stores, plus a variety of restaurants, but what Georgetown does not have is an indoor shopping Mall.

I am far from an avid shopper. Actually over the last few years I have shopped less and less. I used to live and work very close to a Mall so I was there multiple times during the week, but with our move to Florida and Texas, we were farther and farther away from a Mall, so I found most times that I usually talked myself out of going to the Mall as I actually didn’t need anything. So except for those few times of year that I was looking for something to do and didn’t mind the drive I went to the Mall.

The closest Mall we have is in Cedar Park. The best thing is that it is not down I35 so you do not have to deal with that crazy traffic on that road. The Round Rock Outlet Mall is off I35 along with Ikea, but the good old-fashioned indoor Mall is in Cedar Park. It was about a 25 minute drive with most of it being on open country roads. It was a rather pleasant drive. I was surprised at the size of the Mall. It was a very good size, 2 stories and had lots of stores, many that I’m really not familiar with. The variety of stores was good. The Dillard’s and Macy’s was very nice and I have to say it’s one of the biggest Macy’s I have been in recently.

It was a nice change of pace for the day. Was able to check out our new area traveling on new roads. One fun element of moving to a new area is finding all the new things in the area such as the shops, and restaurants, movie theaters and activities. The roads we are now traveling are not boring and the same old thing, but offer new sights and adventure. It was a fun day traveling down our road today, hope yours was safe and fun also. To new adventures whether in a new area or your home turf, enjoy your travels…………….

Community Activities

I finally did it! It only took at least 5 years of saying I needed to do something and I finally did – I attended a Yoga class.
One of the great benefits of living in Sun City is the convenience of working out and staying fit or getting back in shape, whatever you need to do.
There are no excuses any longer. You can’t say it’s too far, can’t say it’s too expensive and you can’t say it’s not the right time. For anyone who wants to participate in a group class like yoga, zumba or even types of water aerobics the first classes usually starts at 7:00AM and the last class is 7:00PM.  Now if you can’t find a time between those hours to attend at least one class two or three times a week, then you really don’t want to get into shape.

There are 2 beautiful fitness centers in the community. They have 2 outdoor pools and 3 indoor pools. They have a wide variety of state-of-the-art aerobic machines along with all kinds of weight machines. You can have a personal trainer or you can go on your own. So if you’re not a class person, or you’re not a water person, but you just want to do your own thing than these machines were made for you. These are open even longer hours so again there should be no excuses to get off your butt and start moving. For years I sat behind a desk, was always too tired or didn’t have enough time so the best I did was go for a walk in the neighborhood, and that wasn’t on a regular basis. It is now attainable and I am looking forward to setting up a schedule that will allow me to excercise on a regular basis. Remember we’re not getting any younger and it’s for our own good, so I’m going to make the time.  Of course seeing one self in the  mirrored  classroom should be enough motivation to keep my butt moving.

In addition to starting my first class, we attended our first neighborhood game night. We played Cribbage. With very little lessons we joined our neighbors who have been playing this game for quite some time. They have an opening and we joined in. It’s not a hard game but it is fast and you better know how to add cards quickly to either 15 or 31. What’s nice is that it seems most game nights are setup with couples so there is a total of 3 other couples and us and we will rotate to each of our homes once a month. You really have to watch your calendars because everything seems to be scheduled by “the first Tuesday of the Month”, the “second Wednesday of the month”, etc….. So you need to make sure that you don’t double book yourself. Not all groups meet in December so in January we are scheduled to sub for Mexican Train night, setup with another group for game night where the host picks the game and a possible 4th night to play 31, which I have no idea what that is. These are all couples based and all right in walking distance, can’t get any better than that.

So not here yet a month, and we have attended a neighborhood party, the neighborhood Christmas party, cribbage night, a Sun City music presentation, book club meeting, attended the New resident orientation, attended the fitness orientation and have taken 2 yoga classes. In addition has been all the unpacking, decorating and cleaning activities. January will get even busier because adding to this will be the 3 additional game nights, the street block party (which will be our house), the Ladies luncheon, Men’s luncheons for my husband, more exercising and hopefully a dinner or two out. Once it warms up were back in the yard to keep attacking the weeds and pulling out plants, and we’re getting close to finalizing our color choice which means my husband will be adding painting to his list.

We moved here for the activities and I’m glad we are starting out as I had hoped it would be. I am happy that we have made this move, it is as good as I had hoped and I am hoping it will only get better once we get to know people better and start meeting even more people the more activities we participate in. Our road is widening and I’m happy we have chosen this road to travel down.

Christmas in Georgetown, TX

NB, Georgetown and house 086

Here is Georgetown, TX – our new home town.

This is the Courthouse on the Square that was refurbished in the early 2000’s.  I don’t have any history on the courthouse at this time, but later in the month we will be going on a tour, and I will hopefully will be able to share more details with you.  The Courthouse is surrounded by a lovely square that has a nice variety of shops and restaurants.  The library is nearby and there are some nice parks and walking trails also nearby.  It is Christmas time in Georgetown.  The next few photos will show it getting darker than there will be the Christmas lights.

On the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend we visited downtown to listen to the Carolers and wait for the lighting of the town, it was all very nice and quaint.  The town is lit up very nice and it’s a nice Square to take a walk around, even if you don’t shop.  Last Friday the shops were open late and most shops offered some tasty treat to savor while you looked at their merchandise.  Next weekend they are having some type of Christmas Fair on the Square and looking forward to that.  As I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs we love small Texas towns with the old courthouses.  Texas has done a great job investing in these wonderful structures to preserve them.  Although Georgetown has all the “new stuff” – strip malls, shopping, etc… it’s the core of the historic old town that keeps attracting me.  Please enjoy the remaining photos.

NB, Georgetown and house 088

NB, Georgetown and house 089

As all good small Texas towns have, yes there is a winery on the Square.  We considered part of the Hill Country and we are surrounded by small Texas award-winning wineries.

NB, Georgetown and house 094

This is on our list of “to do’s”.  This is an old movie house converted to a theater.  New Braunfels has one also and it was always on our “to do” list.  This time we will be going there to see a play in 2013, one more of those small items that need to be accomplished.

NB, Georgetown and house 119

NB, Georgetown and house 120

One of the local stores on the Square – their windows were done up so nice, it was like a Vintage Toy Store, only available in small towns!

NB, Georgetown and house 123

Courthouse once the sun goes down and the lights go on.  All 4 sides are decorated.

NB, Georgetown and house 126

One of the streets on the Square all done up with the lights and the stores open for business.

NB, Georgetown and house 118

The Courthouse has a real cool dome that is lit up green for the Holidays.  You don’t realize until you’re driving around Georgetown but this area, the downtown historic district, sits on quite a high hill, you can see this for miles around.

Well, that concludes today’s tour of Christmas in Georgetown.  Promise I’ll have more for you soon.  Hope you’re having fun traveling down your Christmas roads and making your wonderful memories.  Until next time, drive carefully on your road you are traveling……………..

Week Three

This Monday we will be here 3 weeks. In some ways it seems like 3 months and other ways it seems like we just arrived yesterday. We have accomplished a lot in 3 weeks but we still have had time to enjoy ourselves. Most things are put away, the Christmas decorations are up, so now it’s time to start looking at the big projects. It’s nice to be able to buy new, but buying resale you can find some good prices on homes. This time we bought a resale, and although it is certainly livable, and some people might not change a thing, we are getting to a point that we will start looking at the big projects that need to get done. Some we will do ourselves, but others will require getting some type of contractor in here.

Although it is nice to be able to come in and put your own colors on the walls, it’s still a lot of work to do. The house has no color. Every house in Sun City is painted the famous “Sun City White”. Let’s just say it’s not very uplifting, and rather boring. Especially when you get a room painted it makes the rest of the house look dull. We have the master bedroom and bath painted so now we are anxious to move forward with getting the rest of it started. This is not going to be a small job and you really want to make sure you pick the right colors because this is a job that you don’t want to do for a lot of years once done.

Painting is one of the jobs, then there is getting stonework done for a grill, and the biggest job, changing and improving the landscaping. The landscaping really sucks! But what to do first and how quickly really depends on when we can get quotes and once picked when they can start. I foresee that maybe at our first anniversary of moving in we hope to have most of the projects done, but we’ll see. We moved here to enjoy the “fun stuff” and that is what we are going to do, and somewhere we will fit the work in.

Sun City is place to come to be with similar aged people, people who want to have fun, and hopefully people who you will find some common interests with. Once you attend the orientation programs it is really up to you to get going and get involved. You do need to have some of your own initiative. The activities are there, you personally need to go out and get involved. No one is going to pull you out of your house and say “hea, join our group”, but you need to make an effort to find out what time the activity is, and be where they meet and be socially adept to join in. You make of your stay here as enjoyable you as you want. If you don’t want to participate in group activities, be sociable with your neighbors, and volunteer to get involved, then don’t move here. If you’re happy to sit inside, stay on the computer all day or watch TV, and maybe meet with friends once a week, then you can live anywhere.

Our realtor was very helpful as she lives in the community to help us realize that it is not only the Community Association that is important, but your neighborhood. Each section is broken out into Neighborhoods. Some larger while ours is on the smaller number size. I believe we have gotten very lucky to have purchased in a rather active neighborhood. We have heard that purchasing in some older communities people are disappointed by the lack of involvement, but so far, I think we did pretty good. Our neighborhood is only 3 years old, so no one has gotten tired of “doing stuff” and considering this is a retirement community, they are rather on the young side. Many people buy new homes as most believe the newer communities are the most active. I do have to warn you, as we have been warned, don’t over commit, it is so easy.

As of today we are already involved in 3 different groups for game nights in a month, and I have joined the neighborhood book club, which is also monthly. Our neighborhood consists of 3 blocks so we have a monthly block party, and Howling at the Moon monthly party that the entire neighborhood participates in. We have 3 annual neighborhood parties, of which we just went to the Christmas party, which was very nice. Each block is responsible for handling a year, so every 3 years our block is responsible for the Christmas party. I have already joined a yoga class every Wednesday and I can tell already that I will certainly be joining more excercise groups. It’s close, it was fun and not that expensive, it is so nice that everything is so convenient.

We worked in the yard a little yesterday and really didn’t get much accomplished. After visiting with the neighbors, I only got about a third of what I thought I would accomplish. But that’s OK, it’s not like when I was working and time was limited and when you worked on something you had to get it done because who knew when you were going to have time again. There is a reason for this phrase “there’s always tomorrow”. My husband has a little issue with that but not me, interrupt me that’s my motto.

So as I said at the beginning, it’s been 3 weeks. With the tasks that we need to yet do, it feels like we’ve been here a short time, but the involvement with our neighborhood, activities and social scene I feel like 3 months. Our neighbors have been so welcoming. We have received more wine and cookies and more “welcome to the neighborhood” than ever before in my life. I can honestly say that I have never felt more welcomed then we have here, and considering the amount of times we have moved, that is quite an achievement. I hope that our relationships grow with our neighbors. I’m looking forward to the Ladies monthly luncheons, joining the woman’s golf league, learning how to play pickle ball, and participate in the Zoomers activities. I foresee my travels ahead to be exciting and to be very very busy. I’m sure we’ll hit a few bumps along the way, but I am hoping my road has few obstacles to block my way. Until next week, enjoy the Holiday activities and all the Christmas lights.