Good Friends and Good Food

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

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

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

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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!

Found the Mall

It was an exciting day! Probably not for all, but it was for me. Although we have very good local shopping with the quaint shops on the Square in historic Georgetown, along with the many local businesses along Williams, plus the two strip malls which have Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Pier One, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Hallmark, Yankee Candle, and many other small stores, plus a variety of restaurants, but what Georgetown does not have is an indoor shopping Mall.

I am far from an avid shopper. Actually over the last few years I have shopped less and less. I used to live and work very close to a Mall so I was there multiple times during the week, but with our move to Florida and Texas, we were farther and farther away from a Mall, so I found most times that I usually talked myself out of going to the Mall as I actually didn’t need anything. So except for those few times of year that I was looking for something to do and didn’t mind the drive I went to the Mall.

The closest Mall we have is in Cedar Park. The best thing is that it is not down I35 so you do not have to deal with that crazy traffic on that road. The Round Rock Outlet Mall is off I35 along with Ikea, but the good old-fashioned indoor Mall is in Cedar Park. It was about a 25 minute drive with most of it being on open country roads. It was a rather pleasant drive. I was surprised at the size of the Mall. It was a very good size, 2 stories and had lots of stores, many that I’m really not familiar with. The variety of stores was good. The Dillard’s and Macy’s was very nice and I have to say it’s one of the biggest Macy’s I have been in recently.

It was a nice change of pace for the day. Was able to check out our new area traveling on new roads. One fun element of moving to a new area is finding all the new things in the area such as the shops, and restaurants, movie theaters and activities. The roads we are now traveling are not boring and the same old thing, but offer new sights and adventure. It was a fun day traveling down our road today, hope yours was safe and fun also. To new adventures whether in a new area or your home turf, enjoy your travels…………….

A Long Two weeks

It’s been awhile since my last post.  I finally have a few minutes to sit at the computer and get up to date on the last 2 weeks.  I can honestly say that I have never been so busy!  From the closings, to the actual moving to now the unpacking, it is endless.  I am so happy that I do not have to get up and go to work every day, as I don’t have enough time in a day as it is, I can’t even imagine how I would have fit work into this.

I can now say, the last box was emptied today – yeah!!!  We have accomplished so much, but by the end of the day my legs and back hurt so much, I can tell you after popping 2 Advil I sleep like a rock.  I remember when I worked the restless nights I would have thinking about the issues I was dealing with at work, my mind running and running and feeling my stomach in a knot.  Now my head hits the pillow and I’m out for the night.  So although I’m physically tired at the end of each day, it’s a good tired, I sleep well, and start each new day with new energy.  I really haven’t thought of work, or missing it.  I still get all the daily and weekly notifications from Monster and Linked In and a multitude of other job sites, I look at them quickly and delete.  I can honestly say I’m just not interested in getting a job right now.  This might change as we get to January and February, but the task at hand seems so big and is looming overhead that I don’t even think of it or want it.  To the workaholic I used to be, this is simply amazing.  I am a strong believer that things happen for a reason, and I feel from the day I quit on 8/31, everything has fallen into place regarding timing and this move.  We were able to visit family in Chicago, we found a nice home to move to and we had time to enjoy our previous home before leaving it.  The packing kept me busy and now the new house setup is definitely keeping us busy and will for some time to come.

The new neighborhood.  It seems that for the month of December things slow down a little when it comes to activities.  Many retirees either travel to be with family or family travels here to be with them so many groups don’t meet in December, but start again in January.  Again, timing that seems to be working out for us.  By end December we should be as settled as we can be, and we’ll be ready to start enjoying all the New Year activities, and let me tell you, there are quite a few.  You can be as busy as you want to be, and honestly could fill up an entire day going from one thing to the next.  We were able to attend the New Residents introduction meeting and all the clubs and groups were present to tell you a little about their activities.  My best analogy that I’m using is that you’re like a kid in a candy store.  Seeing all the different candies (clubs and groups) and you want to pick them all, but you know you can’t so you have to choose which ones to try now and maybe try the others later.  I can see how you can easily take on too much, too soon, and too fast.  We’re going to be here for a long time so if we try to do everything the first year, what will we do with the rest of the years.

For sure I’m going to join the neighborhood book club, getting on a few sub lists for game nights, and hoping to join a new game group that is being setup.  Already signed up for 3 yoga classes.  I said I was going to do this and I’m doing it.  Now only once a week for 3 weeks, but it’s a chance to try yoga and hopefully will like it so I can sign up in January again.  We’re going to join the Country Western Dance group and I’m going to join the ladies 9 hole weekly golf group.  Sounds more like a fun group and for someone who hasn’t golfed in a long time, it’s a perfect way to get back into it.  We’re going to join a group called the Zoomers. We hear this is the “in” group of Sun City.  Sounds like they do a lot of activities from luncheons, day trips, even 1 and 2 weeks trips.  This seems to be the biggest group in the community and the most active.  My husband wants to join bocce ball, and is considering work working.  We both think Pickle Ball sounds interesting, so we might give that a try.  I think starting with these activities is a good way to see how things go.  Of course, we want to have time to use the state of the art fitness facility and the pools also.  They have a wonderful library, I don’t think I’ll every have to buy another book again.

So all those activities are the future.  For now, I’ve been stuck inside with my boxes.  For some reason the stupid Unpacking Fairy missed our house so I have been on my own.  The rooms are setup, the Christmas decorations up, the knick knacks in place, so only a few things left.  I can say that the “to do” list is now shorter than the “do” list I started with 2 weeks ago.  Not sure how much I’ll get done this week.  We have fitness orientation, Neighborhood Christmas party and we’ll be attending a show in the Grand ballroom on Thursday, and of course, my first ever yoga class.  Then on Friday I do want to go see the lights in the historic section of Georgetown since the shops are open late.  I can tell you I won’t be bored this week.  I sure would like to find some time to read a few chapters in my book, maybe the following week.

I hope your road you’re traveling on is being good to you and you’re enjoying it.  I’m on a new road, I have high hopes and I’m trying to see what’s around the next bend.  I’ll keep  you posted on what I find.

Closing Day and More!

It has arrived.  Months have gone by since we first started discussing whether we should move or not.  I know it goes back to about the Spring time frame.  You know, the conversations that starts out “what if…” and you make a comment or two, then nothing, then a short while later something happens and it comes up again.  Then the moment comes when you start talking seriously about, weighing the pros and cons, and then saying we should wait a year or two.  Then a little more time goes by and something comes up and now it seems maybe this is the right time.  So we talked and talked, thought and thought, and finally about May we decided that were going to move forward with selling this house and traveling down our road to our next chapter.

We knew where we wanted to move so that wasn’t the issue, but we again went back to make sure we still felt strongly about the community and we certainly did.  When we left the Chicago area nearly 10 years ago we thought we would like to retire in an Adult/Senior community.  Prior to moving to Florida we traveled through many of the Adult/Senior communities throughout Florida and we decided we weren’t ready for that type of community yet.  I had many working years ahead of me, and although my husband was gong to retire I felt I was too young to move into this type of community.  So we purchased a home in an all age community and there we stayed for the time we were in Florida.

When we decided that Florida regrettably was not going to be our final destination, and we started looking at Texas, again we went down the road should we consider an Adult/Senior community.  Again we looked, and once again we decided not to.  Instead we had the opportunity to allow my husband to build his home that he designed and he lovingly was involved with from beginning to end.  It’s a beautiful home on an acre lot and is bigger than 2 people need, but we enjoyed the home and the area.

When we were making the decision about moving, the factor that was different this time is that I was quitting my job and not going to work.  With that new to the scene that changed our opinion and we did decide that now 10 years after our initial discussion it is time to move into the Adult/Senior community that we had been considering for the last 2 moves.

So today was our closing on our home in New Braunfels, and on Tuesday we will be moving into our home in Georgetown, TX.  We will be joining the other Seniors already residing in Del Webb’s Sun City in Georgetown.  It is a beautiful community; 3 golf courses, 2 indoor and 2 outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a wide variety of activities both within your neighborhood and through out the community.  We knew we would one day move to this type of community we just didn’t know when.  We both feel this is the time.

I will miss this home as my husband put his heart and soul into this home and he loved the building process and the results of all his hard work.  We put all the good we have found in previous homes and tried to come up with a home that met all of our needs and in some cases exceeded them.  It has upgrades that we never had before and probably will never have again.  Although we will be giving this up, we will always have the wonderful memories of our times here and also the memories of having been in a position to build this home and enjoy it.  We are lucky and blessed because I know many have this dream and it is never achieved, so I am leaving with no regrets and I am glad that life allowed us to enjoy the time we have had here.  If only we could take this house and move it to our new community, but of course that is not an option; hence the sale.

I know that Tuesday will be a difficult day for my husband, but I am hoping that as we get involved with our new home and community that although he won’t forget the home, but will start enjoying our new community.   I am calm about this move as I feel this is the right time.  It’s not like this decision came out of the blue, it has been thought about for 10 years and we did say that ultimately we wanted to purchase our last home in one of these Adult/Senior communities so to me it’s just turning onto the next street in our life and I’m looking forward to it.

Del Webb and Sun City are two words that have been around since the 1960’s.  The original communities were started in Arizona and now there are many communities throughout the U.S.  Not just in the warm climates any longer, but throughout the U.S.  It’s an active adult lifestyle.  It’s like going on a cruise.  You can take a cruise and lay on the deck all day and read a book and don’t get involved in any of the daily or nightly activities, and for some that’s great, but why go on a cruise.  Sun City is like a big adult playground and unless you want to go out and play, don’t waste your time.

Like with anything in life, you make of it what you want.  If I’m going to be by myself all day, take a walk and sit on my back porch and read a book,  we should have just stayed in our current home.  We can go a week without seeing anyone, and for a social person like me this is just depressing and boring.  But that’s not we want.  We want to golf, and socialize and be involved in activities.  Have a day that by the evening your exhausted but happy, not bored and lazy.  I am hoping that if our life in our new home is 1/2 as exciting as I hope it will be, then I will be 100% happy, and couldn’t ask for more.  Anything more than that will be a special surprise.

So we won’t be traveling down any new roads on vacations or long weekends over the next month or two as we have a lot of unpacking and settling in.  But what I will be bringing to you is our initiation into our new community and lifestyle.  Welcome to a new day and a new road, you’re never too old to start a new adventure.  Happy travels.

The Quiet before the Storm

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Texas for the end of October.  Temperatures will be in the upper 80’s, can’t complain about that.  It’s Fall, but it doesn’t yet feel like that down here.  Coming from the Midwest, by this time of year the trees have changed color and most have bare branches.  The corn fields are getting cut down, and there are Halloween and scarecrow festivals everywhere.  The days were cool and nights were brisk.  For me it was my absolute favorite time of year.  September and October in the Midwest are just beautiful and I truly miss that season.

This weekend we are going to get some cool weather here, high in the 60’s and low in the 40’s, so that is rather cool for this area for this time of year, but I understand that it takes one of these cold fronts for the few trees that do change color, to change.  There is a State Park west of San Antonio called Los Maples.  We have never been there, because we were only able to go on the weekends previously, and because our season change is so short and limited that at most you have 1 or 2 weekends to check out the Fall color and it’s gone.  The problem with that is that they limit the number of cars in the Park and we have heard that the weekends are extremely busy.

This year, we can go any day.  So we’re going to faithfully watch the local weatherman awaiting updates on the tree color changing status and when we hear it’s at peak we’re going to get into the car and drive out there that day.  Somewhere between now and mid-November we have to figure out when we’re going to pack!

Yesterday was my first day to start the packing extravaganza!  We have a closet that’s rather large and I use it as storage so that was my first task.  I was able to stash a lot of stuff into dresser drawers and packed up some stuff on the shelves.  It actually wasn’t too bad.  Of course I only worked a few hours, but I did feel a sense of accomplishment.  I actually felt like I did something worthwhile.  I was busy, I was active, I had to think and I had to apply myself, and on top of that I did get some excercise.  I find being home every day that you actually have to think very little compared to when I was working.  It seemed before that I was always making decisions, planning and organizing, but the last 2 months that really hasn’t been necessary as I typically have more time in a day than what I have planned, so not a lot of planning to get the things done.  And what has to be done, really doesn’t have to be done, it’s something to do.  So for me packing is actually something I’m looking forward to.  It will give me a goal, something that I need to achieve and get completed by a certain time.

This is me, whether I like it or not.  I’m goal oriented and being that way all my life, just because I take a few months off, this is not going to change.  I’m still driven, but I have slowed down.  No need to drive hard, where there’s no place in particular you’re going.  But it’s these things that come up such as packing, scheduling movers, coordinating closing dates and coming up with a plan, that I still enjoy.  I am actually surprised how quickly I have adapted to my new schedule of sleeping later, reading the paper while enjoy 2 cups of coffee, watching a talk show once in a while, going for a long walk, but I know it’s there, bubbling under the surface, waiting to come out.

I’ll let it come out some day in the future when I am ready to go back to work, but for now I have an avenue to put some of this energy into and I hope that with our few projects we need to do in the new house and the activities we hope to join that I’ll be able to funnel my energy into these types of things, and not be thinking how soon I will be going back to work.    For now, I’m learning to enjoy the moments I have now, because if I do go back to work, I need to know that I lived these months to the fullest, appreciated the time I had off, and will be comfortable knowing I had an opportunity that most people do not experience until older.  I’ve worked to get here and I’m not going to let it pass my by.

Enjoy your travels this week, hope you’re on the road that you want to be on, and if not it’s never too late to take the next right or left turn and try a new direction.  Have fun and until next time, Happy Travels…….