Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Great Week

The weeks events started on Tuesday with the Venture Out Boat Club's fishing tournament.  I was able to go out with Blane and compete in my very first fishing competition.  What a day it was.  We came home with 27 fish.  The days catch included two Cerro Mackeral which won 1st and 2nd place in that category.  Wow!  It was great.

Wednesday brought a visit from a great friend and his wife.  John Jelinek has been a friend on mine since our days in high school.  Now that's a long time ago, for sure, and yet there are times when it seems like yesterday.  What great times we had remembering the  events and conquests of so long ago.  Yes, we still can remember that far back.  Mary even said that we are like two peas in a pod.

John and his lovely wife Mary came for a short power packed three day visit.  They arrived here on Wednesday just as I arrived home from a day out fishing.  It was a great welcoming.  We caught 20 yellow tail snapper and Jon's eyes got bright at the prospect of him being able to go out and catch some himself.  The rest of the night was spent getting settled, planning the three day visit and attending the boating club's dinner.  He and I bought some 50 /50 raffle tickets with the hopes of hitting it big.  Low and behold we did win the 1st place pot.  With our winnings, we decided that we'd stimulate the local economy the next day during our tour of Key West.  Nothing like a free days outing.

So Thursday was spent seeing the sites of Key West.  There were some places that Mary wanted to definitely see.  First there was lunch and Sloppy Joe's Bar.  As usual, the food was really good and the music and crowd lots of fun.

The second stop was Hemingway's House for a tour.  That entailed a great 10 block walk which helped get rid of a little of the lunch.  The tour of the house was a fantastic literary history lesson.  They even have the famous 6 toed cats.  They are currently numbered at 42 free roaming cats. That man sure lived life to the fullest but had a tragic ending for sure.

From there is was an 8 block walk back to the famous, yes you guessed it, Matheson's for the frozen chocolate covered Key Lime Pie on a stick.  Mary and I had ice cream and Rose shared some of mine.  John ate the pie with gusto.  We also had to stop for our picture at Mile Marker 0.

It was then time for a walk through the shopping area and then on to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafe.  Crazy busy with the cruise ship being in port.  Then again this is a tourist party town and everyone is here for the winter time.

Now it was time to start heading to Alonzo's on the wharf for the tarpon feeding at 5 PM.  Today was a little different though.  The tarpon were there but so were a mass of pelicans.  It was a fight for the food and for the most part the pelicans won.  So much for seeing the ferocity of the tarpon.

I said it was time for our feeding at Alonzo's also.  They have a great deal on their menu each day.  All of their appetizers are 1/2 price along with ALL the drinks from the bar from 4 PM till 6:30 PM and we were here at 5:10 PM.  We wound up having more food on the table than we could eat.  Oh well, that just means leftovers.  We ended the day spending just a little over our winnings of the previous night.

Then there was Friday, a day for the women and a day for the guys.  Mary and Rose started with Yoga and then time at the pool catching the warmth or the sun's rays.  It was a great day for just being quite and sharing good time together.

Tim & John joined Virgil on his boat for a day trying to bring home dinner.  Well, they sure did bring dinner home.  After about 6 hours, they came back with 29 Yellow Tail Snapper and 2 Grunts.  That turned out to be about 10#'s of fish fillets.  Virgil & Jo joined us for a great supper of fish, biscuits, steamed vegetables, salad and ice cream for dessert.  What a bountiful feast it was.

As far as the fishing went, John turned out to be the winner of the day by catching the most fish.  It was really a lot of fun seeing the look on his face as he pulled in the first three fish before anyone else caught anything.  What a fantastic time with great friends.

Saturday morning came way too quick for us.  Rose and I had our work cut out for us as we volunteer to serve at the pancake breakfast every other week and this was our day to help out.  John & Mary slept in and then joined us for breakfast before coming back to pack up for their trip back to Ft Meyers to catch their plane to the cold up north.  It was a sad time for us all.  However we are so fortunate to have been able to share this precious time with John & Mary.  We thank them both from the bottom of our hearts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mom's Visit

Time sure does go quickly when you're having fun. Our grandson, William, left us after a wonderful two week visit on January 4th and here it is February 6th.  A lot has happened sine then for sure.  The fun part is we're smiling the majority of the time.

After William left, we had a few days to go through the rig and get everything put back to normal.  We moved some things around so that he would have places to tore his things while he was here.  Now we had to get ourselves setup for Tim's mom's upcoming visit.  She was with us for 15 days starting on January 10th.  It was wonderful being able to spend this precious time with her.  We are very thankful and greatly appreciate it.

After picking mom up from the airport, we immediately introduced her to The Gieger Key Grill and their great dinner fair and a fantastic sunset.  It brought back memories for her of her and dad"s visit to us in Spain and watching the sun set over the ocean there.  Great memories for us, for sure.

The next day was set for mom and Roseann to compete in a Mah Jongg tournament.  Well mom won at her table as was rewarded with her trophy pen.   That was just the start of many days of her and Rose enjoying Dominoes and Mah Jongg game times.

Then on the 12th, we were able to celebrate her 91st birthday.  What a great treat for us and special to us all.  Her phone was buzzing all day as family called to wish her well.

There were football game parties, game nights, quite times, hot tub soaks and good sharing times.  There was also the morning exercise Yoga class on Tuesday and Friday that we attended.  The Friday TGIF gathering gave us good food, entertainment and meeting friends.

There was site seeing around Key West starting up at the southern most point in the U.S. picture.  There was food at Sloppy Joe's Bar and frozen Key lime pie on a stick at Matheson's.

We were also able to attend a seafood festival at the park in Key West and sample great food and, of course, ice cream.  Mom was able to do some shopping too.  It was a fun day for all.

Most of all, there was our time to go fishing.  Mom fished from the dock that was 5 ft behind our rig and from the nearby bridge.  She did really good fishing from the dock but she kept complaining that they were all small.  So it was to the bridge we went.  There she did extremely well at feeding the fish.  It's a little difficult for her to feel the fish biting.  I briefly thought about going out on a boat but quickly gave it up because of the current weather condition making it a little rough.

Before we knew it, her time with us was over and it was time to take her to the airport.  It was a special day.  We know our time of having her with us on this earth is getting shorter and we will cherish these moments forever.

After mom left, we just sat back, took a deep breath and got the rig back to normal.  Well almost normal.  There was something left behind that needed to be mailed to her.  Oh well, we were happy that is wasn't anything really big and heavy and we were able to include a little gift from the Keys.

Now we are fully back to normal and waiting for the fishing tournament coming up on Tuesday.  The weather has really been bad lately giving rough seas so this will be an interesting time.  No one has been able to go out and scope out the good fishing spots.  I've joined the boat club and was able to get a ride with one of the members.  This will be a fun time for sure.  They will be giving only two very small prizes for each category but the more important thing will be bragging rights for the winners.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Caught Four, Landed Two, Kept One

Well the fishing was just that, fishing. It was supposed to be, according to, a really nice day for fishing. The winds were going to be low, small waves and sunny. I guess one out of three isn't bad. It was sunny for sure. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The temperature was a little on the chilly side though. It started out around 61* with low winds. The temperature gained only a few degrees but the winds really picked up and the seas got really choppy.

I wound up hooking four fish, one broke the line really quick. The second one came really close to the boat before it chewed though the line. Then came number three which turned out to be a blue fish but it was too small. Oh well, next time I guess. About 30 minutes later after much tossing about, the big strike came. The pole was bent over and the fight was on. I was out about 100 yards, the current was running fast, and I was pulling against the current. Oh what fun it was. It turned out to be a solid 18 inches, a good keeper. That was it for the day. Oh well, next time.

Life has been good here in the Keys. We've made new friends and met up with some old ones. We are also awaiting visits from my mom and a high school friend and his wife. These friendships and our activities are what make our life exciting. We are feeling really special in being able to share in the excitement of accomplishments of those around us. As we look back on our life, so many times we recognized happenings but didn't acknowledge them. Today we are able and excited to take the time to share in and enjoy the excitement of others lives rather than just recognize it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow! When I said we were busy here in the Keys, I didn't realize how fast time passes here.

Our grandson William came to visit us here on December 19th and it's now time for him to go back home tomorrow. We have had a ton of fun with him. I will admit though that I wasn't quite prepared for the eating habits of a growing twelve year old. There were only a couple of times when he finally said, I'm full. Success, I thought. Fat chance. One hour later, he starts grazing again.

While he was here we celebrated Roseann's birthday, went deep sea fishing for dolphin, went Yellow Tail fishing on a boat, fished off the bridge and from behind our rig in the boat canal.

We played Dominos, swam in the pool, sat in the hot tub, and visited with our friends Jo and Virgil. He made some friends here in the park and they would do the kid things like ride bikes, play "man hunt" at dusk, climb the coconut trees, and be kids.

We visited the aquarium, where he was able to find out some information about his life's dream from the people working there. We also introduced him to a frozen chocolate covered Key Lime Pie on a stick from Matheson's. Matheson's is also the home of the biggest and best hot fudge brownie sundae anywhere.

We introduced him to the world of snorkeling, riding on and driving boat small boats on the ocean. Yesterday we went to the Dry Totugas. It's 70 miles, 2 1/2 hr ride from Key West by boat. It was a long day finished off by a great meal on Big Coppit Key.

His last day here in the Keys is getting him prepared to go back to Albuquerque. It's windy and cold here now with more on the way. Tonight it's supposed to get down into the 40's. Ugh! I just may have to turn on the heat.

Besides all this, I also sang in a Christmas Cantata with a choral group in the keys. You can see a video here, I also continued my cooking breakfast pancakes on Saturday morning for the RV park breakfast. Along with all the other activity, we had to change sites here in Venture Out RV Park on January 1st. That was the start of our New Year after a night of partying with friends.

I will close for now with a wish for all for great health, safe travels, prosperity in love and work, and the realization of all the blessings we receive each day from The Lord above.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Busy in the Keys

I guess the old adage is true, when you retire, "When Did I Find the Time to Work?"is the mantra of the day.  Each day as the sun sets, we turn around and look at each other and ask, "Is it Bed Time Yet?" or "Where Has the Day Gone?"

Morning typically will bring out the cooking in me.  It's my time to get the day started for us with a great breakfast.  Nothing better than starting the day with energy for what's to come.  I'm a firm believer that in order to perform well, the body needs good fuel.

While cooking, it's usually the time for the sun to rise.  We make it our special time to thank God for bringing us and our family and friends safely through the night and ask for a bountiful day.

We have volunteered to help out every other Saturday morning with the Venture Out pancake breakfast cooking.  That means we are up at 6 AM to go and get things ready to start serving at 8 AM.  By the time we are done cleaning up, it's almost 10:30.  Then it's home to wash up and get rid of the vanilla pancake essence.  Saturday is also our day for a little exploring around the Keys, along with any other day we feel like going.

Then during the week, there are the regular things like morning walks, bike rides, water aerobics, catching up on the latest national & political news, emails, telephone calls to family & friends, laundry, dominoes, mah jongg, cooking gourmet meals, up-keep on the RV, reading, and of course, fishing.  It's amazing how the time just seems to fly accomplishing all this and more.

Then there are the special events.  Our church here, St Peter's, recently had a friend of theirs, Jim Trainer, from New York here for a visit and a night of Christmas entertainment.  It was a lot of fun joining him in singing Christmas carols.

For the Christmas season, I joined a choir and will doing a Cantata  at three different venues this month, including St Peter's, Venture Out and the Methodist Church.  I guess that's being ecumenical in the season.  It sure does take a lot of practice to get it sounding decent.

We have also decorated the RV inside and the area outside with our lights.  Many people in the park have decorated their units really nice.  We enjoy it all.

Oh, I mentioned fishing as one of the occupiers of my time.  Virgil & I went out on Wednesday for about 6 hours and came back with these fish.  The one I'm holding is a Mutton Snapper that was 28" long and weighed in at 11 lbs.  I must say that it was a really fun day.  I also caught 2 others that we threw back because of size and caught 3 others that never made it on the boat.  I came close on one that we identified as a dolphin but the other two are unknowns.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Then there is just sharing good times with our friends here in the park.  It always amazes me on how different the RV community is from the one that we lived in in the different cities. It this community, people get out and meet others through their walks around and just in the daily activities outside.  In the city community, people were more apt to get inside the house and stay there.  Here, life is more outside and prone to interaction with each other.  It would be nice if more communities were like this.  It reminds me much of the times when I was growing up and people spent more time visiting with neighbors and out and about.

I guess the lesson we are learning is that there is so much more to life than just work and we are glad that we have this great opportunity to experience it.

The rest of this month will be even busier with birthdays, family visits, community holiday happenings along with daily life.  Hopefully we'll also be able to a little more fishing in with everything else.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Very Special Day, Our 47th Wedding Anniversary!

Today was a very special day for us as we celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary.  We've had all sorts of weather changes, rain, wind rough seas and this evening with cooling breezes, calm seas and sunshine ending a wonderful day.  I guess it was much like our life has been thus far.  It all started some 47 years ago in Berwyn, Ill at St Odillo;s Church when I said "I DO".  Oh wait, I think I meant to say "Yes Dear".  Just kidding.  This has been a wonderful partnership in life. 

It's been a wonderful journey with Roseann at my side.  Together we have shared some incredible times and events, too numerous to list.  Today we get to share this day with our friends Virgil & Jo.  Virgil & I went fishing for a while (or is it fed the fish) and Roseann & Jo played Mah Jongg. 

We all went for dinner to No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.  It was built in 1935, has wonderful food and their walls & ceiling is covered with one dollar bills.  You can check them out  at  We opted for a spinach lobster dip w chips, garlic bread w marinara sauce and then a Royal Pub Pizza.  This 14" pizza was enough for the 4 of us and was really really good.  We finished it off with Key Lime pie, of course.  It was a great night of fun & laughs for all.  Then it was time to go home for entertainment.  I'll leave that part of the story to your own imagination.  Suffice it to say that we laughed and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  

We are looking forward to many more years together.  So far we are blessed with great health both body & mind.  We pray that it continues that way as we travel together on our journey of life that began this day 47 years ago when two teenagers promised each other their hearts and had dreams that seemed crazy then but are being lived out today.  Thank you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner for 80 People

Thanksgiving day started like most days we've seen so far here in the Keys. We were given a spectacular sunrise.  I used to think that only the mountains in the west provided gorgeous scenery.  I've changed my mind and have seen the flat sea do the same.

We lazied around this morning.  We had coffee on the patio watching the sunrise and had a simple breakfast because we knew what the afternoon was to bring.  We were going to attend a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at St Peter's Catholic church in Big Pine Key.  It was a great time to meet some of the parishioners from the church.  There were 80 people at dinner.  I cannot begin to tell you how great the meal was.  Everyone brought the best dishes and the roasted and fried turkey was so tasty.  It truly was a meal fit for a king for all who were there.

It turned out that we met a lot of people from the RV park that we are staying at, which was good.  I especially enjoyed meeting Margaret & Bob.  They have been married a really long time and shared their success story with us.  At 92 Bob still fishes commercially and enjoys life to the fullest.  What an inspiration they are to Roseann and I.  We'll definitely be seeing more of them and Sarah and Ken during our stay.

Sarah and Roseann play Mah Jongg with some other ladies a couple of afternoons a week.  I think that I'll be "shanghied" into learning this new game soon (in between fishing, swimming, walking, water aerobics and oh did I mention fishing).

Again, we are blest on our journey with new people entering our lives and becoming a new thread in our tapestry of life.  How wonderful to have this experience.  We are so grateful to all for sharing themselves in our lives.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Full Timing Lifestyle Blessings

We are often asked how we like this lifestyle of not having a place we call home.  We are most asked about the holidays and sharing of those special days or birthdays, graduations, marriages, and births with our families and especially the grandchildren.  There are always more questions than answers but the one answer that keeps coming up the most is that we are following a dream and fulfilling a promise I made some 47 years ago to Roseann.  I asked her "Marry me and I'll show you the world".  Well here we are exploring the world and enjoying each day.

I was reminded this morning, by an email from a friend in Colorado that we made from this lifestyle, about the gifts that we have received from this lifestyle.  The people that we have met and the friendships that have ensued from those meetings are beyond value.  We cherish each one of them and hold them dear in our hearts.  The friends are from all parts of the USA and Canada and yet we always feels their presence either through meetings on the road, phone calls or emails.  They are always close by.

We have also encountered God's creation up close.   This was our sunrise two days ago.  It lasted long enough for me to get 2 pictures.  That shaft of light pointed right at the door of our "home".  What a way to begin our day.

We also have encountered some fun times with God's creatures.  While we are here in the Keys, I am able to go fishing right behind us in the canal.  Some of the fish are just not what I want but there are those who want whatever I want to throw back.  We named this one "Mikie" because he will eat anything I give him.  He knows that he'll at least get one.

This is why we travel, The friendships, the beauty of the land and God's gifts to us, our world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friends - We Are Blest With Many.

This has been a great year for us in reconnecting with our friends from Saudi Arabia and Hawaii.  Since September of this year, we have met up with 3 of our friends from Saudi Arabia either in person or via Skype.

Lorne & Shelly live just outside of Dallas and we stayed with them and then with Jon & Mary Lou in Brownwood, TX.  We had met them in Saudi and had stayed in touch all these years.  Then we met up with Rich & Judy, from our Hawaii days, in Marietta, GA.  The memories they all brought back were fantastic.

Then through the wonders of the internet, yesterday we were able to spend almost an hour talking and seeing our friends Glenn & Judy in New Zealand.  That was a fantastic time.

Friends are chosen by each other.  It is a blessing for us to have been chosen by these people to be their friends.  We must say "Thank You" for this blessing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It Was a Hard Days Work!

We are in the Florida Keys At Venture Out because of our good friends Virgil & Jo Allmond. We visited with them here this past February. They had invited us to consider coming here for the winter months this year instead of going to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. It sure was the right decision.

Virgil had a boat in storage this past summer and when he went to pick it up, he found that someone had stolen the motor. A few bummer days followed until he found "Doll's Dusky" while he was parked in Ft Lauderdale. I rode with him up to Ft Lauderdale to pick his "new" boat. WOW! It is great. The next couple of days were spent getting things cleaned up and set for the Coast Guard inspection. It was then time to try out the boat for fishing. The first day was kind of a "dry" run. We hooked a few but didn't them into the boat.

We then waited for a few days until the wind died down and hit it good. We started in 90' of water with no luck. Then after and hour we shifted into 60' of water and it was jackpot. We hit 14 Yellow Tail snapper for 9 lbs. of fillets. It sure made for a great meal with some headed to the freezer for later.