Saturday, November 30, 2013

A family interlude in Central Florida

November 19-30, 2013
Zephyrhills, Florida
Majestic Oaks RV Resort

closest shot of alligator[1]

Goodbye to November already!  Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas songs are going full force on the radio—a disappointment for us as we really enjoy a Tampa station called “The Dove” which normally plays mellow oldies.  It’s hard to believe this is my third year of retirement from the classroom. I still have my fair share of teacher dreams and tend to view the year in terms of Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Vacation (no—Winter Break), etc. I guess after living this way as a student or a teacher for close to 50 years, it makes sense. But, this year I feel the hold on me loosening as Sunday evenings now hold the same possibility of joy as any other day of the week.  (Teachers out there will know what I am talking about---the ungraded papers and loose lesson plans colliding with the Monday morning reality).

We accomplished pretty much everything we intended in our stay here the past ten days.  A major focus for me was to spend time with my aunt. She lost her husband one year ago and it has been a tough adjustment for her after being married for more than fifty years. Our park is only about two miles from here, so I have been able to spend time with her almost every day. I didn't think to take a photo of us together, but here is one from two years ago.

terry and pam 2011

We managed to see two movies while here: Last Vegas and About Time. We didn't expect Last Vegas would be that good, but it was entertaining to us baby boomers from beginning to end. How can you go wrong with Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Cline?  It has been described as similar to the movie Hangover only for senior citizens, but we thought it was better than Hangover because it had a better developed plot and subplot which we found quite entertaining.

I took my aunt to see About Time. It was an unexpected WOW for both of us. If you liked the movie Groundhog Day, it is likely you will appreciate this one even more. Suffice it to say the film caused us to both laugh and weep, and more importantly, reflect on our own daily relationship to the passage of time. For some reason, I think those of us who are full-time RVers may relate to the theme of this movie more than others. See it and let me know!

One big highlight this past week was learning that we were in close proximity to fellow bloggers, John and Pam of Oh the Places They Go. We have been following them for almost a year now, but have been quite far apart geographically for most of that time. Aside from having the connection as full-timers and for me, the same first name, we are all retired educators. Vic and John, even more so, as they both were social studies a teachers and principals. I also need to acknowledge that they have been an inspiration to do some serious hiking out on the trails. They met us for lunch near at Kafe Kokopelli in Dade City. As so often happens with getting to know folks we only knew in the virtual world of blogging, we passed three hours quite easily with much to share about our travels and perspectives on this lifestyle. Fortunately, we will be at the same RV resort for the month of March, giving us a much better opportunity to deepen our friendship.

pam and john with us at lunch

The day after we met Pam and John was Thanksgiving. I have two nieces who live in Zephyrhills; the youngest one typically hosts Thanksgiving and the older one hosts the Christmas gathering. This year, three other nieces were able to join us: one from Sweden, one from Miami, and one from Ocala. As the mother of two sons, my nieces are especially important to me. I was thrilled to be able to be with them on this holiday. Here are a few more shots of our Thanksgiving feast.

Five of my gorgeous nieces. They make me miss being young and . . . ?

With about twenty five or more for dinner, we had quite a festive gathering. It also happened to be my sister-in-law’s birthday so we managed to include a birthday celebration after our gynormous meal.

Of course a family gathering for us Irish folks would never be complete without a group shot—hah.

After our meal, we had a big bonfire in the backyard (one of my favorite things) and we were serenaded by my niece on guitar and one of my other niece’s boyfriends, also on guitar. My photos and short videos were too dark to share, but it was a special way to end the day.  I also enjoyed taking photos of one of the two bulldogs who graced our party.

Another highlight of the week was Vic washing the motorhome over the course of two days. He even found time to polish the rims—a job that had not been done in some time!

We are hoping the winter months are more reminiscent of our previous winters here in Florida as the weather has been either unusually warm and humid or downright chilly.  I had intended to bathe and groom the two dogs, play tennis, and lounge by the pool. With temps as low as the mid 30s the night before Thanksgiving, the pool was not a big draw this week. It was also too cold on most days to wash the dogs outside, so that will have to wait.  I am sad that we did not get out on the courts; time just slipped away. Playing tennis or pickleball is something I really want to do. 

Tomorrow we are off to Holiday Cove, a splurge to be by the beach RV resort in Cortez, where we will be for the next two months. It is only about a ninety minute drive from here—close enough to return for a few occasions in December during the holidays. I leave you with my friends, the Sandhill Cranes, who visited us daily here in Zhills.

sand hill cranes


  1. I wish we would have known (or remembered) you were nearby and could have gotten together, but I understand how it is when you're around family. I hope your aunt is doing well.

    1. I had hoped to get together with you but figured you were busy getting settled back in. How about kayaking at Robinson Preserve one day?

  2. I am sure the ten days with your aunt were very special to her in many ways. Living a gypsi life (maybe nomadic would be a better description) enables us to connect with so many family members and friends scattered around the country.

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  4. What a lovely photo of you and your aunt. Two very pretty ladies.

    We love Pam and John. We had so much fun when they stayed at our house this past summer. Great people. We two are retired school teachers. What a small world.

  5. And I thought I did well just posting about 4 days in one post. Nice wrap up of nearly 2 weeks. I had no idea you had that much family in Florida. Looks like you had some fun times together. Pretty sharp looking gals and I LOVE bulldogs. What a face! Hope to see you down here sometime this winter. Although we were teachers, we didn't make it to retirement. I'm always in awe of those who did.

    1. Even I had no idea I had so much family in Florida! I was the lone wolf who went west when I was 18 and never looked back--'til now.

      Surely we will connect sometime this winter while here in Florida.

  6. I'm relieved to see Vic polishing the RV's wheels. I thought I was the only one who did that and after all the ribbing I got over it, I almost (almost) developed a complex about doing it... ;c)

    Now I have to get busy and catch up to you! A shiny wheel is a happy wheel...

    1. Glad to know you can appreciate Vic's OCD leanings. The wheels do look happy now!

  7. Wow! You certainly had a full plate during your visit. So very glad that we were able to meet. It truly is a small world.

    That was a magnificent Thanksgiving table! Lots of women around for sure.

    Beautiful photo of you, Pam, and your aunt:)


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