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.

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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……..

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”…………

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!