Where Did the Year Go?

It’s been a long time since my last post.  Believe me it’s not because I have nothing to say, it’s because I can’t find the time to sit here and write about it.  I have had friends and family in my life through out the years, and I have done things such as travel, go to concerts, dinners, shopping, boating, and golfing.  Everything went in cycles, but what never changed was the 7 to 5 work grind, that was always first and foremost.  It had to be, there were bills to pay, and if I wanted to do any of the things I just mentioned you needed money, so off to work I went.  Along the way I saved, could I have saved more; of course.  Will what I have saved be enough, only time will tell, but I will say that the effort that went into controlling my spending and holding back on some of those “wants” that weren’t “needs” did pay off, and because of those times in my life I am happy to say that I have almost reached my first anniversary of retirement.    All my life I would say, “when I retire I want to do this”, or when I retire I would like to go here”, well I certainly haven’t even scratched the surface, but I’m sure moving in the right direction.

I had this certain expectation of what retirement was going to be.  I didn’t see myself sitting in my house watching TV all day, nope, I was going to be socializing and traveling, and doing activities.  I am so very happy to say that in the first year my expectations have been met and exceeded.  It started as a busy year relocating to our current home, which is located in an Adult Sun City Community.  After settling in we started meeting people and joining groups.  We got involved in game nights, dances, dinners, golfing, and exercising and now as we continue to expand our activities list I am now meeting new people in the community.  I’m still as excited about our community as I was when we first moved here.  It hasn’t slowed down and we are having as much or more fun than at first.

At first I was scrambling to do all and get involved with everything.  Almost like a kid in a candy store, afraid they’re going to run out, so go for it all.  A year later, it’s not running out, but changing, expanding and getting better.  The end of August will be one year since I left my last career job.  I thought I was going to die, I was scared to death about money, being lonely and bored, and figuring I would be back to work full-time in under 6 months.  I can honestly say that if we stayed in our previous house this probably would have happened.  I didn’t have the base of friends that I have acquired here in less than a year.  We lived there 5 years and never developed friendships like we have in the short time we’re here.

I write this down because I am hoping that as you near retirement and if you consider yourself a somewhat sociable person and want to meet people of similar ages and likes, then please look at an Adult Community, they are not for old people.  I can tell you that I am getting healthier than I have ever been and have a chance to look better in my 60’s than I did in my 50’s.  Age is nothing, it’s your attitude and how you go about life.  All my adult life I was in a controlled environment, meaning someone else controlled the majority of my life, my employer.  Now I’m in control and I’m doing the things that I have been waiting 35 years to do, at my own pace and my own time.  Embrace your older years, it’s still time to grow and develop.  It’s time to learn and expand your knowledge and it’s time to share those also.

Work hard and long when you have to, and prepare for the later years in your life, because the best is still to come.  Enjoy your travels, it’s getting better and better…….

Next post is our trip to New Mexico!

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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………..

Checking out the Area

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

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

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

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.

Almost a Week

On Monday we will have owned our new home one week.  Although we had a Holiday this week, Thanksgiving, it basically has been a blur.  From closing on two houses, packing up the last-minute things, going to a neighborhood farewell party, moving out of one house and moving into the next house the next day, and cleaning and painting and unpacking, these last 6 days are a blur of activity and being very very tired when going to bed.

Overall, based on some of the horror stories regarding moving and closing on houses, I guess you can say ours was uneventful, which is always a good thing.  The movers overall did a good job, with only 1 broken  yard plant pot, and some minor scratches on the furniture that can be touched up.  Putting things away I have broken two things, so the Movers have a better track record than I.

Our new home is a resale so it was previously lived in.  The more I’m here I really do like the floor plan, but regrettably it hasn’t had a good cleaning in quite a while, so not only is unpacking required, but before anything can be put away, a thorough cleaning must be done.  I think I truly have dish pan hands!  I have never washed and cleaned so much in one week, and we still have a lot ahead of us.

One of our new neighbors brought over cookies on Wednesday and that was really appreciated, they were homemade and was good snacking.  You need that sugar energy to keep you going.  Although it seems like endless work we do try to stop by 8PM, but that is a long day since we start about 8:30.  I would never have guessed how badly my feet hurt.  Although wearing shoes all day, it’s amazing that one’s feet can hurt so much.  I give all retail people a big kudos for I have no idea how they can stand all day long, every day.  I have been at it a week and every evening my legs and feet just ache.  I wonder how long it takes until your legs and feet just get numb and they don’t hurt any longer?

On Thursday we enjoyed a very nice dinner at Cracker Barrel along with many other people.  Since Cracker Barrel was about the only restaurant open in the area, it was a big hit with many people.  On Friday we joined the locals in Georgetown’s square, listened to Christmas carols and watched the Town Square come alight with Christmas lights.  It was all very small town and all very nice.  It was a nice way to welcome in our new town.  There were many people so we will be going back this week to take some photos and I will post later in the week.  As we get settled in I’ll start carrying my camera with me and start taking more photos to share with you as I progress down our new town roads.  Welcome to Georgetown, TX, I can’t wait to share with you all the things I find and learn about this area. Although only 90 miles from where we previously lived, it feels much farther, and is all brand new.  Enjoy your Holiday travels and be safe and happy when traveling the roads!

 

One Week and Counting

It’s almost here  – Moving Day!

It’s a day that I look forward to with sadness but also with great excitement.  Probably compared to many people I have moved quite a lot in my adult life, and to others probably not that much.   The amount of my adult moves does not in any way correlate to my childhood.  I was raised and lived in my childhood home from 5 years old until I got married in my 20’s.  As an adult the longest I have lived in a home is about 6 years, so I guess you can say I should be an expert at packing and unpacking.  Most moves were local except for the last 2 moves which were cross-country.  One thing I have learned is that cross-country moves take much more thought and planning.  You need to know what can go on the moving truck, what can’t, no refrigerated foods, no gas in lawn movers and every little thing must be packed.  Once the moving truck leaves if you can’t fit it in your suitcase or your car, you’re going to be leaving it behind.  Local moves, especially if you can coordinate good in sync closings are a little less worrisome because you can possibly make some trips by car and it’s amazing how much you can fit in an SUV, and really if it doesn’t fit or misses the truck it’s not like I can’t ask a neighbor to hold it and we come back for it.  It’s not the do or die situation that once you leave the area, you’re gone.

So what have we been doing the last couple of weeks, well of course, packing.  Yes, we’re packing ourselves.  If you haven’t moved recently moving is not a cheap thing to do, so since packing yourself saves lots of money, we’re doing it.  Also, I really like packing.  It gives you that chance to remind yourself of all the “stuff” you have.  You know all those things at the back of the cabinet or closet that you forget you have and never use, and you think why am I packing this again?  We have lived here almost 5 years and I haven’t used it once, and in the previous house I don’t think I used it, so for at least 10 years this item has taken up space in a cabinet and yet there I go and wrap it and stick it in the box!

The sadness about moving is that the people you have met will probably in a year or two just stop communicating.  With everyone’s life so busy and having friends close by its really hard to maintain a long distance friendship, especially if it wasn’t that close to start with.  I have to say that it now has been over 5 years since we left Florida and I still enjoy talking and emailing my next door neighbor and dear friend.  Even after all this time I find the discussion to be as free-flowing as when we lived next to each other, this is a true friendship.  It’s when the conversations turn to “how’s your weather” you know the end is in sight.

My last job is a good example of abrupt endings.  I really wasn’t that close with anyone in particular, except for occasional lunches so I really didn’t expect any type of closeness to continue.  To say the least I am disappointed that certain friendships that I thought I had stopped immediately, while another has actually improved.  So whether it be work friends, your neighbors, people you know from church or clubs, there’s a higher percentage that the longer you’re away the less you will hear from them.  But if you realize that and accept that it’s part of moving on that’s OK.  They shared a portion of your life, you carry the memories of the laughter, or sadness, but these people were part of your life and we all should be grateful we had the opportunity to meet them and they have become a part of a long and full life.  With the amount of moving we have done, I am happy to say that no matter where we have moved, I have had the opportunity of meeting some wonderful people and glad I had the time I shared with them.  I certainly hope that we will stay in contact, as we’re only moving 90 minutes up the road.  It’s not like we’re again moving out-of-state, but a relatively short drive based on Texas standards, only time will tell.

The excitement part is moving into the new neighborhood and meeting the new neighbors and starting the cycle over again.  I enjoy meeting new people and with the amount of invites already received to participate in things, I am hoping that this will be one of the neighborhoods that we will enjoy for years to come.  There’s always room for new and more friends, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your old friends.  If you’re going to be traveling down a road that is taking you to a new neighborhood or area, make sure you take time to meet your neighbors and participate in clubs.  Friendships should be nurtured and each one cherished and appreciated in its own way.  I’m tired but looking forward to the new roads we will be traveling on in the next week.

 

 

Packing, Patio Party and WURSTFEST – Does it get any better!

It’s been a few days since posted anything new, because how exciting can packing be?  I have been a busy bee this week packing up the house and getting ready for our move, which is now fast approaching.  But after working on it most of the week, I’m happy to say that I’m actually much farther than I expected.  We took yesterday and today off for fun things we had planned, but we’re back on track to packing again tomorrow.  Every move prior to this one, I have worked right up to the moving day, so it was very tiring.  Worked all week, and every evening and the weekends I would spend packing, and after a few weeks of that you get really tired.  This is the first time I am not working and it’s really not so bad.  I’m probably in the minority when I say I really like packing.  It’s like putting a puzzle together.  You pack this and that, then you have a certain size spot in the box that you need to find something to fit, so you walk thru the house and then you see it and it fits just perfect and fills out the box perfectly.  So each box is like a mini-challenge and you feel such an accomplishment with each one you tape up.

Now onto the fun things, really how much can you talk about packing.  Yesterday we drove to our new community in Georgetown to attend our first neighborhood party, although not moved in yet.  We were introduced to most of the people in our neighborhood, and I’m lucky if I remember 5 names.  Certainly have no idea who belongs to who as the wifes were not sitting next to their husbands so that one is going to take some time to figure out.  I have to say that I can pretty well hold my own when meeting new people, and joining in discussions but it was a little overwhelming.  The best example I can give you is like you’re walking into the middle of a movie where all the characters know what’s going on and you don’t.  So we have a lot of catching up but from our first meeting with our new neighbors they seem very friendly and open and I’m sure in no time we won’t be the new kids on the block, but feel like we have been there for years, I’m looking forward to it.  So we attended the afternoon patio party and unloaded an SUV load of stuff in our future garage, so we accomplished a moving task while having a very pleasant afternoon.

Then there’s today – it’s WURSTFEST time!  Only in New Braunfels, TX is it WURSTFEST time.  Every time about this year Wurstfest is held, it is a 10 day music, eating and beer drinking event.  It’s a place you can go with your family, spouse, old or young, if you like polka music you’re going to love Wurstfest.  The weather this time of year is fantastic, there’s plenty of sausage and sauerkraut, and an unlimited amount of both domestic and import beers.  They have bands from all over the Country and World that come to this event.  Some bands come from Germany and I can almost guarantee that every band will have at least one accordion player.  I thought accordions were dead, went by the way side in the 1960’s, but not here in New Braunfels, they are here to stay.

This is Wursthalle

Wurstfest has been going on for a very long time, from about the 1960’s, not sure of the exact history, so as always, the Internet will answer that question.  We went this afternoon because after 4 years of attending this festival we do have a favorite entertainer the Alex Meixner Band.  I have to say, in my opinion, he is the best entertainer of the event.  This year he had a special guest, the Canadian National accordion Champ, he was amazing!  Now I’m not an accordion aficionado, but it is an amazing instrument and fun to listen to.  Every year we get our annual dose of the Chicken Dance and the Beer Barrel Polka, two traditions that I enjoy maintaining.    Some of the entertainment are local to New Braunfels and are very good also.

Alex Meixner with Canadian Champion

Alex Meixner Band with Canadian Champion

Typically this festival is held near November 1st each year and the start date only changes by a day or two.  The event runs over 2 weekends, and although they are open during the week, it is only open in the evenings starting at 5PM on weekdays, of course the weekends are the biggest days and evenings and based on the crowds we saw today, it was amazing.  I have never seen it this crowded in the 4 years we have gone.  If you like to hear some good German music, enjoy good food, drink some good cold beer, and enjoy the beautiful Texas Fall weather, then you need to make New Braunfels your destination for a long weekend or a stop over on your vacation in this area, I don’t think you will be disappointed.   As I have stated before you don’t always have to travel far to have a good time, make some great memories and enjoy something different and new.    If coming to attend Wurstfest make sure you have time to stop and see Gruene, and enjoy some good music and there is also historic downtown New Braunfels that is worth the stroll.  It would certainly be a weekend that you will get plenty of good food and some great music, there is not a shortage of either one in this area.  This is a road well worth traveling down….. enjoy!

Mark Halata and Texavia