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”…………

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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!

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.

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.

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.