Good Friends and Good Food

It’s come and gone and all that planning and setup is all in the past. As I have mentioned previously our neighbors have been very welcoming and I felt that we should show our appreciation so we decided to have an Open House for the Neighbors. All Neighborhoods in Sun City are designated by a Neighborhood Number, we happen to be neighborhood 60. Relative to some neighborhoods ours is on the rather small size. It doesn’t matter the size, it’s the quality of the neighbors and I think we hit a winner. So out went all the invites and to my surprise the majority responded they would be attending.
We have some single men and ladies on our street and except for the singles not attending all the couples in our neighborhood responded. So once that was all added up we were up to 50 people. Yes, that does seem like a lot of people, but it’s amazing how you really don’t need that much space to accommodate 50 people. The actual day of the party we had a few that could not make it, but the total attending was 45 people, not a bad showing.   We have a rather large garage and on a scale of 1 to 10 for cleanliness ours is probably a 9. This is my husband’s domain and he sure does like a clean and organized garage. So it was an easy decision to include the garage as an option to include in the space we would use for the Open House. So after deciding that the bar would be setup in the garage and the food would all be setup in the kitchen we had a plan.

Open House 002
What we quickly learned is that everyone in the neighborhood is more than willing to help out and share. We borrowed tables and chairs, and even 2 heaters, just in case we needed to get the chill out of the garage. It was a beautiful day so by the time of the party at 6:30 the garage warmed up quite nicely. And I will say when you get 45 more people in your home that body heat really warms up the place.   Also, when you have this many people it is extremely difficult to provide all the food, and very expensive. So we provided the drinks and everyone brought a dish to share, either an appetizer or dessert. My counters were full, but what was great is that by the end of the evening most dishes were either empty or near empty.

Open House 003
So once all was bought, borrowed, setup, and food made we were ready for the start time. I truly appreciate the time awareness that the neighborhood has. When you say a party is from 6:30 to 9:30 people show up at 6:30 and the last person left at 9:30, now that’s a great thing. Besides we’re all getting older and don’t stay up late like we did when we were younger it’s nice that they respect the invite times.   I know we enjoyed the Open House and from the general feedback I believe all that attended had a good time to. It’s not what you cook or how it all looks, it comes down to the people attending and the fun that you all make together. I felt a part of the neighborhood before, but I feel even more involved and closer since our party. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one party happy neighborhood. We’re enjoying our life here in Sun City and have absolutely no regrets regarding our decision to move here, or neighborhood has made this an easy transition. To our continued travels in and around Sun City and hope that your road choices are just as fun……..

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Finding Your Identity

I can’t believe that it has been almost 6 months since I quit my full-time job and took a “sabbatical” retirement. I thought it might be permanent, but then I thought it might be temporary that is why I made up a term “sabbatical retirement”. I needed a break. I was tired of my career, the same thing for over 30 years. I was damn good at it, but that still doesn’t mean you don’t get tired and stressed out. I cared too much sometimes, more than I should have, and it affected my health and my home life. I couldn’t leave work at work, I realize now that it consumed me and defined me. In all my adult years work was my identity. I am married and enjoy vacations, holidays, visiting family and friends, but always just sitting on the edges of my brain was my work.

I have written a few times as to how shocked I was walking away from my career and long work hours  and at how well I was adapting. Overall I think that’s a true statement.  I guess I don’t miss it as much as I could because I still have a friend that talks with me about issues he is dealing with in the same job I was doing.  So I’m staying “involved” by hearing all the issues he is dealing with, but yet I hang up and say that was fun to listen to, but then I never think of it again.  I like these discussions as it gives me a chance to give him my opinions, support him, and sometimes help him solve a problem.  And it helps me remember how glad I’m not in this position any longer dealing with the day-to-day problems and issues.  Not all was bad, otherwise how did I last for over 30 years, but Purchasing definitely is a position that has its fair share of problems.

The problem is I can’t sit still.   It’s just that I was always so busy that I was running on overdrive to keep up with work, and the things we did once I got home, from taking care of the house to visiting family, to having friends over.  I tackled everything like it was a job, very regimented, and organized.  So I go from this very regimented, fast paced, organized life, where every minute counted, and I was looking at the clock constantly, to now I don’t even know the date.  Basically I look at the clock when I’m getting hungry or if I need to be a class or activity at a certain time, and I have even advanced to days that I don’t even wear a watch.  OMG, if I went to work without my watch, the day was ruined before it started.

So although I am busy, I find that most things that we are participating in happens at night.  Game nights are in the evening, and all social events like dances are in the evening.  It seems the days are open for people to play golf, play tennis, tap dance, play pickelball, and the many, many other activities that Sun City has to offer.  Although I really do enjoy country Line Dancing, and I really do like yoga, I have really never been an athletic person, and with working all the hours I did, I never have been interested in being accomplished in any sport.  So although I want to golf, and I like to dance I can not do this every day, and at this point in my life I can’t see me doing this every day.   I wake up and think to myself am I ready to do this for the next 20 or 30 years?  I’m not planning on going anywhere too soon, and being able to retire early I have a lot of these years ahead of me, at least I’m planning on it.  When I’m truly honest with myself I need more.  The only identity I had for myself was based on my career and the job I was performing.  I never had my own children and although married, we have a strong independent relationship.  I never participated in sports, didn’t do volunteer work, and really didn’t go out much, so what was left was work.

So now I sit here, we’re not as busy as we have been and realize I need to find a new identity.  I’m not going to miss anything in the neighborhood that I can’t live without, and I realize that although I enjoy all these activities and social events, and I will continue to enjoy them, I realize I need more in my life.  I don’t want to go back to the long hours, but I do want to work part-time.  I also want to give back.  All I ever did was make money for the company, I want something different.  I’m going to find that.  I need to feel that I am doing something that means more than profits to the bottom line, and to come home feeling some satisfaction.  I made it 6 months but I am going back to work part-time.

One thing retirement will do for you is to give you time to think about what you have accomplished, who you truly are and who you yet want to be.   It’s time to be honest with yourself and to be truthful with yourself and others as to what will make you happy.  My husband knew this day was coming probably more than I even realized, but I’m glad for the time off I have had, but I’m looking forward to achieving something new and more rewarding.  I think part-time is a good compromise where I can still achieve some of my personal goals, while not completely limiting me on doing the activities I have begun to enjoy.  I’m hoping this compromise is exactly what I’m looking for.  To the new roads that are right around the next curve………………

Where Does Time Go?

It’s been awhile since I last posted, and as I look back over last month, January, I wonder where the time has gone.  We moved to our home in November, we are now in our 3rd month and I can say that there hasn’t been one day that I have sat here and said I have nothing to do.  I had expectations before we moved here, just like when  you start anything new.  Whether it’s a new job, starting a new excercise program, taking a class, you go into your project expecting something from it.  Sometimes you are disappointed and other times surprised because the outcome surpassed what you thought would happen.   Before we moved here I remember telling friends that if only half of my expectations are met, I will be happy.  I can honestly say that this is a time in my life that my expectations have been met 100%.

I have been retired since September, and I can say living in our previous home, if it wasn’t for the packing and preparing to move out of our home, I was on the road to boredom.  I found myself very aware of the time of day, and found I had more down time then I really was happy with.  Since moving to Sun City, it has been the opposite and we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things we want to do.  We certainly did jump right in, but because of that we feel very much like we belong, and not an outsider looking in.  We are involved in multiple neighborhood game nights and asked to sub on more.  We have attended dances and have started taking yoga classes.  I really do enjoy the Line Dancing Club and look forward to our monthly ladies luncheons.  Our neighbors have included us with open arms, they couldn’t be nicer.  This has helped achieve my expectations.

We have a big Open House planned in February, and am looking forward to it.  People I didn’t think would come are coming, so definitely more than expected, so I guess some will just have to stand, or we’ll take turns sitting.  Either way I’m sure we’ll have fun.  We have parties planned out to June, that’s one thing I can say is that you certainly do get enough notice about attending a party.  Now put all these activities together and consider we just moved into a house that we are painting, putting knobs and handles on all the cabinets, shopping for some furniture and general house fixing up, every day is active and we’re busy.  What’s nice to know is that the house activity, such as the painting, etc… is coming to a close so we’re going to have more free time.  I am not worried about this extra time, but actually glad it finally has arrived as we are looking forward to even more activities to get involved in.

We are going to join the Country Dance club, learn how to play Pickle Ball, play a little Shuffleboard, and even get back into the swing of things by pulling our golf clubs out of storage and seeing if we can still hit that little white ball.  We will be joining the ranks of other Sun Citiers and will have our Golf Car very soon.  There will be days now that I won’t even have to pull the car out of the garage, we’ll be able to attend all of our activities using the golf car.  The day has arrived!  The next level will be joining these additional clubs, but then we need to go further and consider some day trips, and outside activities, that will be the final stage to total involvement.

I consider us lucky.  Our neighbors have been welcoming, they have given us direction and helped us become absorbed in this lifestyle very quickly.  I know all don’t experience this type of immersion.  Sometimes it might take a while, but if you’re willing to put in the effort it’s there for the taking.  What I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to continually meet new people.  We enjoy our neighborhood and all the activities it brings, but what also we’re looking forward to, is having a chance to meet the 5000 other people who live here.  Of course that’s silly, we’ll never meet them all, but I’m certainly going to give it my best shot.

We’re off on a new month, the weather is getting better, the sun is shining bright and I’m looking forward to each new adventure that is around each and every corner.  Keep your travels safe, we’ll be traveling close to home for a while, but whether near or far, it’s not the destination, but the time it takes you to get there.  Enjoy your travels………..

The Good Old Days

It’s a beautiful Monday morning. Although the sun is shining, it is rather brisk outside so it’s a day for indoor chores. I  just finished my necessary chores and decided to take a few minutes to relax. While sitting at the computer I looked at a few files and I happened upon some folders that had copies of some old family slides. So, of course, what was only going to be a few minutes turned into a lot longer. Without getting too side tracked, I find that since retiring I find myself getting side tracked more often than ever before. I guess I just never allowed myself the time, and knowing now I make my own time, I seem to go down these paths often. So through the old photos I went.

  We all remember Smoky the Bear.  My brother and I on one of our family vacations.
We all remember Smokey the Bear.  My brother and I on one of our family vacations.

 

They bring back such memories.  The family, the vacations, the parties and just life in general.  Some of the photos only bring back vague memories while others seem like they just happened yesterday.  I look at myself, at these young years and think if only I had known what was ahead for me.  I wish I could take back some of the bad things, and sure wish I was smarter when dealing with others.  I have been at many forks in the road in my life and wish I could have talked to that little girl and forewarned her about what was  to come.  But alas, we do not have that capability to look into the future, only backwards, and hope that we feel we have accomplished our goals, or at least we are on our way.   We need to be happy with ourselves and where we are, have enjoyed our families and friends, not taken things for granted, and have gotten to this point in life where although we all have regrets, I hope that the regrets are less than all the positives.

My favorite dress up outfit.  Who would of guessed that I would live in Texas.
My favorite Dress Up Outfit.  And I wind up in Texas, who would have guessed!

I do remember when we were young we couldn’t wait to grow up.  Then grown, I couldn’t wait to get married, the next house, the next job, etc…….  There was always something waiting to get done.  I sit here now at a juncture trying to figure out what I yet have to get done.  I haven’t found my “thing”.  Now I have no idea what that “thing” is, but I guess when I find it I will know it, but I can certainly say at this time I have no clue what I’m waiting for, what yet I want to achieve, or what yet I want to do.  I always had something to look forward to and I feel right now I don’t have this.  Is it because I’m content in my life right now?  It makes one think, can I see myself spending the rest of my days like today.  I know that answer and it certainly is “no”.  So if it’s no, then what will I do with myself during this journey?  That is a question that will not be answered today, and most likely not tomorrow either.  I’m sort of hoping that something will just pop in my head, you know, one of those “ah ha” moments, but I don’t think the chances of this happening are high.  I am hoping over the next few months of trying new activities and meeting new people I will find what I’m looking for and how I want to spend the next years, but until then it was a day for remembering and looking at old photos in awe, remembering how naive we were and how all of life was in front of us.  Well, all of life is not in front anymore, much of it is behind me, so although I need some time to figure out my remaining life plan, I will find what I’m looking for and down that road I will go, with all the exuberance and excitement as I had when I was younger.  Knowing and appreciating my time more, the new roads I am approaching will be taken with care, but with an excitement that comes with exploring, learning, sharing and finding new things.

I have attached a few photos of when I was very young to help me remember that each day is a blessing and that we should appreciate what we have, never give up our excitement for life and to always remain positive while embracing the future.  Don’t stop learning, remember to smile, and find something you enjoy and be happy you are healthy enough to be able to partake of these things.  I’m a little concerned that my road is a little foggy right now, but I’m sure over the years I’ve had not only some foggy areas, but also some slippery roads, and yet I’m here today, happy with what I’ve accomplished and excited that I’m healthy enough that I still have time to accomplish more.   Memories are wonderful, and it’s nice at times to reflect, but it’s the today and tomorrow that we need to focus on.  To mine and your roads yet traveled, let’s go out and find our super highway.

Younger days, my entire life in front of me!

The Younger Days

 

Another Day on the Sun City Cruise Ship

It’s the start of the first full week of the new year. Kids are back to school, people back to work, relatives have gone home. It’s back to reality for most people, of which I was one of those “most people” for years. The build up to the Christmas season was tremendous, the pressure, the rushing around, the shopping, visiting, cooking, and of course presents. Then New Year comes and it’s all over and peace and quiet sets in. I always disliked this part of the year because the companies I worked for did not get off any holidays in January, February, March or April. No Good Friday, No Easter holiday, no Presidents Day, etc… it was 4-1/2 long months of no Holidays until Memorial weekend. It was horrible just thinking about this stretch of time. Almost every year that I worked we planned a trip for sometime during this time period. Not only were there no days off, living in the Chicago area, it was snowy, cold, cloudy, and just plain dreary. And then when you thought Spring might be coming because you got that one beautiful day in March or April, you realize it was an exception and that you have another 6 – 8 weeks of not so good weather.

Well, I can happily tell you that times have changed, and changed for the better since I retired. First living in Texas versus Chicago gives us better winter weather and more sunshine. I will tell you don’t think Texas doesn’t get cold and cloudy, it does, but we always remember, never as long or as cold as up North. You might get a few cold/rainy days, but then it warms up. I can live with rain any day over snow. We have had some really cold weather the last two weeks, but as many times as we drop in the 30’s or 40’s, up north is going down to zero or the teens, so relatively speaking, not bad. I will go on record though, if you want warmer winters its Florida that you want to go to. Florida is more temperate and the swings from highs to lows are smaller than Texas, and generally the overall temps are higher than here in the winter.

So onwards to this time of year and now. I was up at the Sun City Fitness Center and a man came by and was very happy. He said he felt he was on a cruise ship with so many endless activities to do. I have thought about that and I agree. Sun City is like a party on a big cruise ship. There is one important factor, and something people must know. The activities, people, socializing will not come to you. You need to be pro-active and be willing to talk with people, be sociable, join the fitness classes, participate in the dances, shows and for sure join some of the activities and chartered groups. You have to remember that many people have been here for years so you’re not just going to join a group and wham, you’re in the click. Yes, the woman have formed friendships already and it’s not always easy getting “in”. But there are new people moving in every day, so at some point your will meet someone who is also looking to meet people and it just starts growing from there.

Not only does the Community Association have many activities, but there are chartered groups and a nice side perk is to move into a sociable neighborhood. We think we got lucky. In addition to all that Sun City offers, our neighborhood has been very accepting and we are in 3 game nights and subbing on 3 others per month. Our neighborhood has woman’s lunches, men’s lunches, monthly get-together, and 3 Holiday parties a year. Are all neighborhoods like this, from what I heard, I don’t think so, but as I mentioned that’s just a perk. All these things our neighborhood has you can find if you join the Zoomers, or some of the other clubs. But the secret, and it’s really not a secret, it’s plain and simple; be pro active in expressing what interests you, ask questions, ask for help, and be willing to try things to see if you like it or not. This is your time. It doesn’t cost you anything to try, it’s free. A fine example is I always wanted to tap and/or clog, so I’m trying that now for the next 2 weeks. Pickle Ball is next on our list and I have a few more fitness classes I need to try out. I’m going to start attending the Zoomers activities and I’m going to start Line Dancing, Square Dancing and join the Country Western Dance club. All these things I just never had time for.

Wether it feels like you’re on a Cruise ship, or a kid in a Candy Store, you can be as busy as you want.  The point of moving here is not to sit in your house, but to enjoy what your annual dues are paying for.  We didn’t move here for the home, the way it was built or how it looks, we moved here for the activities and having a place that everything we want to do it right in our community.  There are many days of the week I never have to leave our community, it’s all right here.  But, don’t forget Georgetown either.  I’m going to my first Newcomers meeting on Thursday.  I understand these groups are in many towns but again just never had the time, so again I inquired and I will be joining one of my neighbors as she is a member and will introduce me around.  What a wonderful way in join a new community.  It’s a good thing I love talking with people!  I hope your New Year’s road will be happy and fun.  I’m now starting our 2nd full month in this new community, and the Holidays were rather slow, but I can tell you that even after our short time here, and even thru the slow period I have absolutely no regrets that we sold our home and moved here.  My husband (Mr. Anti-social) is starting to come around and will actually be going to his first men’s Luncheon; it’s a beginning for him.  I hope you can tell by reading this I am thoroughly enjoying our new road we are traveling.  I actually think we are still in the infancy of what is yet to come.  Be happy, be safe, and drive carefully down your road you are traveling on……………until next time.

PS  I promise to add more photos soon!

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……….

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.