Thursday, February 28, 2013

Campground Goings On In February

This post has been a long time in the making. Not because nothing's happened, but because I've been so busy with our Seminole Campground friends I've just not spent much time at the computer. 

Several of us are taking long, fast walks in the morning and it's nice to chat with friends while I walk.  Nancy began walking with me in early February and in about a week Linda joined us.  Mary walked one day but the 45 minute long hard asphalt walk caused her shin splint pain so she opted for the bicycle over the sneakers.  

Our group of friends continues the usual cycle of planning food events, going to food events, discussion of the just-finished food event and then it starts all over again.  We do some other things too, but nothing matches these food events.
This is Nancy standing in front of her coach with her drearly little hibiscus.
It took almost a full month, but Nancy has managed to almost kill this otherwise nice looking plant.
In this photo, it's reduced to 15 leaves and one sickly blossom.  It fares no better today. Brown thumb.
Also during February our good friends Pam and Joe drove down from Bushnell for a day visit. It was great to get to see them -- and their sweet dogs, Izzy and Ally.

Pam and Joe trying to coax Ally to eat her food.
Ally knows that if she doesn't eat her food, Joe will try to coax her with tasty dog biscuits.
Ally doesn't eat her food -- and she got some tasty dog biscuits.

When Valentines Day rolled around, we celebrated by, what else? Scoring another food event. Today was the barbecue rib special at Mr. BBQ in Lehigh Acres. One of our neighbors' son manages the restaurant. The food was great and the price was reasonable!  Just what retirees love!

Valentines Day lunch special at Mr. BBQ in Lehigh Acres.  Delicious fall-off-the-bone ribs!
Nancy, Ken, Mary, Fran, Wayne and me.

Another day, three couples of us drove to Cypress Slough for an afternoon walk.  Here a diverse array of plants occur in recognizable zones of a wetland ecosystem. The morning was cool, but by mid-day, when the sun was high in the sky, we were very comfortable in a sweatshirt.  It is unimaginable, but we did not eat while we walked Cypress Slough. 

We did eat on the way home though.

That's Wayne patrolling the boardwalk.

"Okay all you stupid hard-shelled nitwits... watch this. I can fly."

Our neighbors, Mary and her husband, Fran.

The Cypress Slough walk was wonderful. It's a 1.2 mile boardwalk built over the wetland. We saw several alligator, large and small, along with a wild pig who walked directly under the wooden walkway where we stood directly over her.  We could hear her babies making piggy sounds nearby.

Scenes of the slough

Air plants are all over the place.

More scenes in the slough.

Directors of the Wild Kingdom for today.
Left to right.... Wayne, Nancy, Ken, Fran (trying to hide) and Mary (contemplating a jump).

A rare photo of an elusive wild female roaming retirement gnome.

Nancy in her very realistic squirrel costume.

Ken and Nancy.
Funny thing...  Just after I took this photo, my camera batteries died.  Hummm.

Later that week, during one of the ever-popular "food discussions" the next eating event was planned.  It would be a soup dinner. The weather was perfect.  Cool after sunset and that would necessitate a campfire.  We enjoyed taco soup, white chili, potato soup, cornbread, biscuits and other goodies.  So much food was brought, in fact, that we had to have left-overs the following night. 

Mark and Wayne plotting to overthrow the campground government.

Yup, I'm gonna eat the whole thang!
Dale really does have teeth.  But he forgot them tonight, I guess. 

Just a real good picture of a beautiful friend, Linda.

 Mark is doing the buzzard dance.
Nancy is bewildered at his antics. 

Mark and his good friend from Illinois, Jimmy.  Charlie watches from a distance.
Jimmy is known as the "Gate Nazi"
He is also an Ambassador for Alabama's Gulf Shore Region.

Our neighbors, Brad and Barb enjoy soup and cornbread.

Rick (center) with Steve and Ruth.
Don't give me that look, Rick!

Nancy lost her pie.
Fortunately, I found it for her.
Nancy and Ken's son, Brian, his wife and their three children came down for a visit in February too.  Well, Brian's wife and three children actually came for a visit. Brian played golf in Naples while Karen, Alana, Ally and Brady enjoyed non-stop activities with Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Ken. They are a great family and we enjoyed spending a little time with them.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any real good photos of these really wonderful children. 

Nancy, her daughter-in-law and the grandchildren. Wayne is on the far side.
We were talking to a neighbor who has a beautiful, talking Cockatoo.
Then last Monday night our gang gathered again for Fran's special French spaghetti sauce.  As is customary, we all participated in the dinner,  I think there must have been a crowd of twenty or so for dinner and I must say, Fran's secret recipe sauce is about the best I've ever eaten.  Delicious.

Notice Wayne's empty glass.
Also notice Mary holding tightly onto her wine bottle.

Dale has teeth in this picture. 
Unfortunately, he's lost his mind we now fear.

Master Chef, His High Cookness, Fran.
And no, he didn't divulge the secret recipe

The spaghetti hungry mob.
Yes, that's Wayne's orange and blue Auburn croc and nice white ankle socks.
We dress real nice in retirementville.

So, you ask, who are all these weird people with whom we've become acquainted.  Let me name them and tell you their home state.  None of us knew each other until we came to Seminole Campground.

Dale and Linda are from Ohio

Brad and Barb are from Connecticut

Ken and Nancy are from Pennsylvania

Steve and Ruth are from Massachusetts

Mary just wants everybody to have a good time.
Mary also likes to sing "Tiny Bubbles"....

Mark and Janie are from Illinois.
Janie sometimes can be forced to watch the Illini play basketball.
She doesn't know, however, what a football is.

Rick. Without Louise.
Louise went home to Massachusetts for a week to check on home and family.
She returns to Florida later this evening.

Stephanie and her husband, who's name I do not know.
Stephanie is the reservations genius for the campground.
He is some kind of high-powered computer science wizard.

Charlie and Joyce.  Joyce surely had too much to drink. She looks blurry.
They are from Kansas.

Fran and Mary are from New Hampshire.  

Wayne and me.
We're the full-timers. We're not from anywhere.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birthdays: What Goes Around Comes Around

Our Seminole Campground neighbor, Nancy, had a birthday last Saturday. I won't say how old she is. I will say she is expecting a monthly payout from the government now. 

Nancy's birthday began quietly. Except for a small bunch of balloons quietly placed at her motorhome's doorstep, nothing happened...  Until 3 p.m.

As is customary with this group, Mark's golf cart would transformed into a Royal Carriage around 3 p.m.  This time it would be decorated in all pink.  Nancy looks good in pink.

The Birthday Queen must wear a crown.  Luckily, Linda found one during a lunch outing last week. It would be a perfect fit for the Birthday Gal!
For the longest time, our Birthday Queen wore her crown backward, but it didn't seem to cause bad luck.
The Royal Carriage parade route goes through the entire campground with the Birthday Queen perched on the rear facing seat.  The usual, Carriage chauffeur, Janie, uses a heavy hand on the rubber bulb horn and shouts "It's Nancy's Birthday" as the pink ballooned golf cart bounces merrily by all the innocent bystanders.  Some wave and call out birthday wishes.  Most simply stare in bewilderment.

A stop at the campground office prompts a microphoned singing of "Happy Birthday To You"  --  mostly off key.
Humiliation heaped upon embarrassment.
Nancy kept her chin up even though her cheeks were bright red.
On the right edge of the photo you can Dale approaching, microphone in hand, for the Happy Birthday sing-along.
Linda, on the front seat, blows a steady goose-like "honk" while everybody else sings.
Cheryl, rear seat, knows Nancy's embarrassment, as she had a birthday two weeks ago.
Janie (on the left) has another little surprise for our birthday girl.

An inflatable "Old Zone" walker was presented to the Birthday Queen.

I took this picture to show the Seminole Campground name.
I couldn't resist the added caption to the "Bottom" of the photo.
Nobody laughs harder, longer or with more enthusiasm than Janie.

Queen Nancy and her court.
Front row, left to right, Janie, Queen Nancy and Louise.
Rear, left to right, Linda, Chery and me.

Queen Nancy with her court jesters.
Left to right, Rick, Mark, Russ, Dale, Ken, Wayne and Fran.
She wanted to have more guys in the photo but we ran out of $5 bills.
The elongated birthday kiss from hubby.
Awww, stop it already or get a room.

As usual the birthday ends with calorie consumption. Tonight it's cake and ice cream 'round the campfire.
Two days later, on my 39th birthday, I found this outside our coach at as Wayne and I took the dogs  for their morning walk.

This was the scene outside our coach on the morning of my birthday.
Meanwhile, Janie and Mark are sitting quietly on the seat of their golf cart, across the street -- snickering.
Our neighbor Brad, opened his door, in his bathrobe, and sang his loud rendition of "Happy Birthday" to me. 
Oh joy. What a group.

I survived the initial round of birthday humiliation from my new friends.  Holding my breath, I agreed a day trip to the beach would be a nice thing so off we went, of course,  with lunch loaded. It's always about the food...

We're at Barefoot Beach Preserve in Collier County.
The beach was very nice and clean and we had a beautiful day -- low 80's and plenty of sunshine.

The only bad thing about our day to the beach today will be the Red Tide Condition.
We were all bothered by coughing, sneezing and slight headache.

Barefoot Beach

That's Wayne on the boardwalk.
Russ and Cheryl must leave Wednesday morning and go home to Ohio. 
This is a farewell visit to the beach with them.  We're all sad to see them leave.

Louise working hard on her tan.

Linda anointing herself with sunscreen.
Dale sits gracefully in his beach chair...looking for something to eat, no doubt.
I took this picture to show him I can see up his pants legs.

Pretty much the whole gang.
Janie, Mark and me.
No, I will NOT wear a swimsuit.

Russ nearly caught himself a girlfriend...
Yeah Russ.... like we won't be telling Cheryl. 
Cheryl..... oh Cheryl....

Russ wearing his "shark teeth"
Wayne and I would need to leave earlier than the others so we came alone in our car. By the time we got home, I was feeling tired from the red tide condition.  We made an early supper and sat down to eat just seconds before we heard banging on the door.  Uh oh... the Royal Carriage had come for me.
The Birthday Queen must be crowned. 
Because I have "hat hair" already, I cannot come out with a bare head.
The Queen must also wear leis. They itch.

 Janie perched behind the wheel and ready to roll.
Joyce (in pink shirt in the background) is my Royal Photographer
With iced tea in hand, I prepare myself for whatever they do to me.

This time the Birthday Queen (me) must stand, iced tea in hand, and wave to the throngs of her dedicated public, who will, I am sure, be lined up 10 deep along the roadside just waiting for glimpse of this royal motorcade.

Because I didn't appear to be humiliated enough, Janie took an extra lap or two around the campground, horn honking. All this after a very loud public loudspeaker "Happy Birthday" singing.  I wanted to crawl under the dirt but kept a brave face.

The Birthday Queen is assisted off the royal carriage.

Dale and Linda. Dale is wearing the Birthday Queen Crown.
After the humiliation of the Royal Carriage ride all around the campground, I was anxious to enjoy the birthday cake I was sure I'd receive fireside, in early evening.  This gang of hoodlums, however, did not get a birthday cake for me.  No, they got birthday pies!  Who gets birthday PIES?  Furthermore, they would wait until nearly 9 o'clock to light the campfire fire.   Too late for me.

Stubbornly, I stayed inside and insisted they eat birthday pies without me.  To my dismay, they ate my entire coconut cream birthday pie, leaving just a small piece each of peach and chocolate cream pie. 

I think I'm being repaid for that prank last week.....

Happy Birthday to Nancy, Happy Birthday to Me and Goodbye to Cheryl and Russ .... till next year.