A Day’s Adventure

Back on the Texas road of adventures. If you have enough money and lucky enough to have the time and someone to travel with, seeing the U.S. or the World is exciting. But not everyone can take multiple weeks off to travel half way around the world. Many more only have the opportunity to visit sights that are closer to home. For those who enjoy a weekend get-away or are looking to put a vacation together another fun day to add to your trip if visiting central Texas is a visit to Fredericksburg, TX. You certainly can stay in town and visit these sights from there, but we made a day trip from our home and we stopped and visited many places en route to Fredericksburg. There is much to do and a variety for everyone.

Rt 290 is where the wine trail starts. If you like wine and want a relaxing day, you can spend the entire day traveling from one winery to the next. Every time we travel from Johnson City to Fredericksburg it seems a new wine tasting room is opening up. Even if you don’t drink much wine you should stop at least at one or two just to try some Texas wines. We happened to be visiting the area the 3rd weekend of the month so we went to Fredericksburg Trade Days. This is one of the biggest “market” days in the area. Most towns in this area have a certain weekend day of the month that they have a market days and usually it is on Saturday. But Fredericksburg calls their event “Trade Days” and it is for 3 days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It costs a few dollars to park but the entrance to the Trade Days is free. There is all kinds of stuff there. Probably not that much fun for kids but the Mom’s and probably even some Dads will really like this.

Another stop along the way is Wildseed Farms. In the Spring you can’t miss it. The fields are full of all types of wildflowers and the color is spectacular. They have a nursery where they sell plants, a cute store that sells knick knacks and on some days they have music in the afternoon. A nice rest stop along the way. There is also a place that sells pottery, so if traveling by car and you have room, definitely worth a stop. There is also LBJ’s ranch along the route, stop by and visit, always good to get a refresher history lesson.

 

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Along the way we stopped at a store, that I haven’t seen before. It was so cool! They had all kinds of wagons for sale – like the wagons from the  old Western movies. It was an interesting store to walk around and look at some of the unique items they have. Here are some photos of those wagons.  This Longhorn was eye level, very big!

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When you finally reach Fredericksburg there is a very good museum “Pacific War Museum” that is if you have a family member that is a history buff, this museum should not be missed. You can spend a 1/2 day in this museum.  I see many a family split up, the men go the museum and the ladies go shopping. And that is what Fredericksburg is also about – shopping! They have blocks and blocks of shops. You could spend a day just visiting all the shops and hope that your wallet won’t be empty at the end of it.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, there are other things to do in the area, and many festivals during the year, depending on when your visit is scheduled. There are good restaurants so you can have dinner before you head home. If you haven’t been this direction for awhile, or looking for something new, I think you would enjoy the day, and also not having to deal with city traffic. If this is a road you decide to go down, have a great time on your travels…….

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OK, I had to do it – I’m working Part Time

I first need to say, I did not go back to work part-time because I had nothing to do, because I have said multiple times that living here in Sun City there is so much to do, you can be busy 12 hours a day.    I went back to work because of me.  Although I enjoy visiting with the neighbors, playing games, working out, doing line dancing, and starting to play golf, I felt I needed something else.  I am not a competitive person when it comes to sports and I can say I’m not the most athletic. I am not an artsy person and have really never done crafts except ceramics years ago.  I have mentioned that I don’t have a hobby.  I enjoy reading, but that is one thing I have always found time for, no matter how much I worked.

It’s almost impossible to put into words, but I was sitting and pondering our new life and thinking about our future years and I thought as much as I enjoy all these activities and I enjoy the freedom of not having to be somewhere at a scheduled time, I also realized that I can’t see myself doing these activities for the next 30 years (I’m thinking positive).  Because work was such a part of my life I realized that this was my hobby, my identity.  I like the mental workout, the completion of tasks and seeing my accomplishments.  But since I have been home I also realized I like my later starting mornings, and I like being available for activities when they come along.  So I had a dilemma.  I needed to find a part-time job.  I did realize that full-time was just going to be too much, but a part-time job would still allow me to participate in all that I have been doing since moving here, yet giving me a dose of “my hobby”.

Well luck would have it, I had potential for 3 part-time jobs and I accepted and have started one of them.  In all my years I have never until a few weeks ago saw an Ad for a part-time purchasing person.  It was like a message from heaven, that I should open the paper at this right time, see this ad, contact them, get the interview and in 4 days get the job.  What is really great about this job is that I told them that I didn’t want to work more than 20 hours, and they seem to accept that.  I can work any day of the week and any time from 7 AM to 8 PM at night.  What are the odds of finding a job that will be so flexible, in my profession, close to home, and the hours I want to work.  I couldn’t have asked for a better match.  Now I’m not saying there aren’t some faults with the job, as we all know, nothing is perfect.  But the flexibility of this position is something that will make me try a little harder and hope that it works out.

So I’ll let you know how it goes.  I have some concerns that the hours could exceed 20 hrs a week, but hopefully we can work something out.  I know I’m going to like the extra spending money, which will not be much, but more than not working.  It sure is a reality check what you get paid for a part time job, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was.  It has been 3 days, and I’m going back tomorrow, so keep the faith and let’s hope this new road I’m traveling down all runs smoothly.  To your happy employment travels.

Golfing Here we Come

This is my fair warning to all the die-hard golfers out there, we’re back…….

I used to be a fairly avid golfer, but this is going back at least 30 years.  Then from an avid golfer I went to more of a social golfer then just stopped playing.  My husband has probably never exceeded a social golfer.  It has been probably 12 years since we last played golf and in that time period we probably went to the driving range twice.  Since we haven’t played for 12 years and we had purchased our clubs years before we can honestly say our clubs are antiques.  We went to some local golf shops and I am truly amazed at how the golf clubs have gotten so large, especially the driver.

So I writing this as sort of  a warning to let all the people here at Sun City know that we’re getting back into golf and other golfers beware.  My husband went for a lesson, more as a refresher course, so today we went to the driving range, yes with my antique clubs.  We have a very nice neighbor that has let Fred try his old set of clubs, which are probably no more than 3 years old, much newer than his set.  You can’t expect much the first time out, but I can happily say that I not only hit some balls, some of them actually looked real nice – in the air and straight.  Then of course there were the shots that sliced or hooked and then there were the ones that never really made it into the air.  But I am happy, I could have been worse.  I know it’s going to take some practice and we need to be consistent about practicing, but I feel I’m ready to get back into the game.

Our Sun City has 3  – 18 hole courses so I have no excuses.  I can drive my golf cart right from my garage onto the course, you can’t get anymore convenient than that.  No more lugging them out of the car, getting them all setup on the cart, now it’s just drive over there and play.  There is also an advantage to playing on these courses over the general public courses, as I watch the players I know I won’t be the worst player.  But then again I certainly won’t be the oldest player.  I feel very compatible with the ladies here in the community.  There are of course the hot shots that are very good, but I just won’t be playing with them.  I don’t think I’ll ever get good, but I think I’ll get back to enjoying the game.

It’s a wonderful sport for enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.  With a cart it really isn’t that tiring, and it’s an activity that fills a complete day, and hopefully somewhere along the way we’ll have fun and hopefully as we play more see some progress and improvements in our abilities.  I remember when I used to play you always want that last shot to be great, it keeps you coming back for more.  So to all those fellow golfers out there, hit the ball hard and straight and hope for a hole in one this  year.  Enjoy the cart path you’re on.

Classic Cars and Vintage Planes

Last weekend we attended The Second Annual Georgetown Airport Classic Car and Vintage Plane Show.  It was a beautiful sunny day and really enjoyed seeing the variety of classic cars.  Although it was free admission, the proceeds from the day went to help our wounded warriors.  So it was for a good cause, and fun.  It was not the biggest or best show that we have been to but if you’re in the area next year and you like classic cars, then I would say that it would be worth the trip.  They were raffling off free small plane rides, so if you don’t get air sick in small planes, this would have been a great raffle for you.  Here are some of the cars that we saw at this event

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Two of the planes that were there and these photos are of the raffle winners getting their free plane ride.

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And here’s just a few more of the cars

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So if you’re in the Georgetown area about mid-February next year check the calendar to see if this car show is scheduled.  It’s a nice day trip if you like classic cars.  Again travel does not always have to be far from home.  There are some great weekend activities that are scheduled close to where you live.  To happy travels down your back roads in finding fun things to do.

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.

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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.

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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……..

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………………

You Think you have Seen it All!

Sometimes you think you have seen and done it all, but in reality we aren’t even close to seeing and doing it all.  But today I do have to say we did something that was a first for me.  About 20 years ago if you would have said that I would take time to watch something like this I probably would have laughed and said are you kidding.  This morning we woke up to a cloudy and rather cold morning.  The wind was quite strong so after having some absolutely beautiful winter days here in Central Texas, today was not so nice.  But we got in the car and drove to one of the other neighborhoods in our community, actually lucky Neighborhood 13 and we watched a Golf Car Mardi Gras parade.  Don’t laugh, it was actually quite cute.  I was surprised by the large number of golf cars that were decorated and the people (and dogs) that participated.

Of course, as with any Mardi Gras parade, there was candy being thrown, and the numerous different types of beads.  I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of 42 different types of beads.  Actually I think that is quite a lot considering this was a small neighborhood parade.  But like with anything we have seen here at Sun City, whatever people choose to do, they do it with zest and zeal.  They give 100% to the decorating and although we had fun standing and watching the parade, the people in the parade were having an equal amount of fun.

I’m glad we went, another one of those firsts for us, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year waiting to see what each new month will bring us.  One thing living in a community of this type is that it gives you an opportunity to try everything, whether you’re a beginner or advanced, all activities are open for everyone to try to see if they like it, of course, withe the hope that you will like it enough to want to become a full-time member and become fully involved in their activity.  I’ve only found one thing myself, so far, that I find I want to get fully involved and that is Line Dancing.  I have so much more to try, but feel I have to give the things I am trying now my full effort before I move onto the next.

The worst part of today is that I forgot my camera!  Sometimes I think if my head wasn’t attached I would forget that too.  I had no phone and no camera so I will not be able to share any of the photos, but I think imagining what a parade of this type looks like could be even more fun.  I hope your day was fun and you also had a chance to experience “a first”.  That can’t happen every day so when it does, it’s a day you don’t want to forget.  Hope the road you’re traveling is free of bumps and pot holes and you have smooth traveling in the week ahead.  Until next time “happy travels”…………