Part 3…Boating day, Lake Harris and Dora Canal..

As water birds, Anhingas spread their wings to dry out their feathers and sit in this position until dry.

Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30 pm, Tom headed to the Orlando Airport, an hour’s drive, to pick up our friend Rich upon his return to Florida from Minneapolis. During the drive, Tom encountered a horrific traffic accident, but he left early enough to get there in time to pick up Rich. The accident was in the opposite lane on the freeway, but gawkers slowed traffic to a crawl.

An anhinga bird sitting atop a fallen branch.” A long-necked, long-tailed swimmer of southeastern swamps. Often seen perched on a snag above the water, with its wings half-spread to dry. It can vary its buoyancy in water, sometimes swimming with only head and neck above water (earning it the nickname ‘Snakebird’). Often solitary when feeding, it roosts in groups and nests in colonies. It looks rather like a cormorant when perched, but not in flight, when the long tail may be spread wide as the Anhinga soars high on outstretched wings. Anhingas are mostly silent, but around nesting colonies, they make various croaking and clicking sounds.”

On their return drive to our place, they were in the same lane as the accident and didn’t get here until a few minutes after 7:30. None of us had yet to eat dinner, and I had big New York strip steaks ready for the grill with rice, salad, and dessert.

Houses along the shore of the canal to Lake Harris.

Once they arrived, they grabbed an ice-cold beer I’d put in the freezer for them. Tom fired up the grill while I started the rice and tossed the salad.

Shortly after 8:30, we sat down to dinner. Rich had promised his mother-in-law, Donna (whom I visited on Friday), he’d spend the night at her house in Leesburg, so he didn’t stay overnight after all. After dinner, he was on the move, so I packed dessert for him and Donna.

An osprey sits on its nest atop a platform on an electric pole.

By 9:30 pm, we had the dishes done, the kitchen cleaned, and finally sat down to stream a new show on Netflix, “Citadel.” By 11:00 pm, we both headed off to bed, having a good night’s sleep.

We went for our usual walk this morning and returned to make breakfast while I started laundry. With our passports renewal applications sent yesterday by FedEx, our next big task was to book our flight and hotel to Edinburgh, Scotland, departing Orlando International Airport on July 28, arriving in Scotland on July 29, and staying three nights in a hotel, the best and closest we could find close to the cruise terminal in Leith.

It was fun to see this seaplane taking off from the lake.

The hotel we wanted, The Bay Hotel, across the bay from the cruise terminal, was showing only two rooms left. Plus, we couldn’t book our seats for the red-eye, non-stop flight. It took us over two hours to book both airfares and the hotel when the prices kept jumping around.

We were thrilled to find a non-stop flight, one of the few offered from Orlando, although only on certain days of the week. We got an excellent price for airfare and three nights in a hotel, July 29, July 30, and July 31. As a result, we’re leaving The Villages on July 28, not July 29, as initially planned.

An interesting home at the entrance to the Dora Canal.

Using the Expedia link on our home page, we saved hundreds of dollars on the combo price of air and hotel by booking both together. We paid only about $500 more for the three-night four-star hotel, including breakfast, about 20 minutes from the Port of Leith, a suburb of Edinburgh. It will all work out well.

One canal-front home had a garden filled with gnomes.

With that out of the way, we can relax over the next several weeks, continuing to enjoy our time in The Villages. After many house guests since we arrived, the next few weeks will be easy, even though our only means of transportation will be the golf cart from now on. But we don’t mind a bit.

Tourists in a group tour of the lake and canal in these unusual dual-motorized surfboards.

We have everything we need right now and will order next week’s groceries online at Kroger, as we’ve been doing in the past month since we arrived. Tomorrow morning, the house cleaner is coming for the monthly cleaning included in our rent. We’ll either leave in the golf cart or stay out of the way on the lanai.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 31, 2013:

Wow! Wow! Wow! Tom took this photo from the 124th-floor observation deck of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, with a total of 163 stories. For more photos Tom took at the top, please click here.

Part 2…Boating day, Lake Harris and Dora Canal…Note, please, two ten year ago photos…

A heron in the shadows in the canal.

Now that Memorial Day has passed, we’re continuing with photos from our boating day this past Saturday with new friends Linda and Burt and their friends Claudette and Jay.

We had a busy morning today, finishing the documents for our passport renewals that we dropped off at the local FedEx store since today is the last day we’ll have a car. No words can express the relief of having our passport renewal applications in the mail today. It was quite a task to complete all the paperwork.

An egret on a fallen log.

Fortunately, we’re using a company, CIBT,  that states they can get the new passports back to us in the mail within ten days of their receipt of the package we sent today. Here is the cost, per person, through this company for the fees to process the passports quickly:

SERVICE AND PROCESSING FEES (per person for expedited service)

Renew Passport
CIBTvisas Service Fees $499.00
Government Agency Fees $190.00
UPS Next Day Air $53.00
Inbound Shipping Label $57.00
Passport Replacement Coverage $43.00
Fees Summary $842.00

If we didn’t require expedited service, we could have applied directly to the US State Department for passport renewals, avoiding the $499.00 fee for each of us. This is the fourth passport we’ll have received during our over ten years of world travel: ten years, two years, and later four years, and now another ten-year passport.

Picnicking at Lake Harris County Park.

We applied for and received the shorter-term additional passports of two and four years to enable us to mail in a passport when we needed visas for various countries to have a valid passport in our possession while the other was in the mail. We never wanted to be in a foreign country without a passport in our possession while another was being processed. For now, we aren’t ordering second passports for this purpose unless we see a need that we don’t foresee in the near future.

Smiling alligator on a log.

Today, Tom will pick up our friend Karen’s husband, Rich, at the Orlando airport at 6:00 pm. Karen traveled to Seattle from Minneapolis after her son Jack’s wedding to be with a friend going through cancer treatment. That’s just the kind of friend she is!

It was exciting to see alligators which are overall smaller than crocodiles.

Tonight, Rich will have dinner with us and then spend the night. Tomorrow, he’ll drive back to their new home in Bradenton, and we’ll return to using the golf cart for all of our transportation. We’ll do fine with groceries delivered weekly from Kroger and two nights out per week for dinner. The closest village square is Brownwood Paddock Square which takes about 20 minutes to use the golf cart.

As it rolls into summer in Florida, which is in the Northern Hemisphere, it stays light a few minutes more each day until we reach the summer solstice on June 21. We plan to go to dinner early and return while it’s still light. For example, the sun sets tonight at 8:07 pm. This will work well for us. If we’re with people and don’t leave by 8:00 pm, we will be fine driving on the golf cart paths indicated on an app on my phone.

The pier at a restaurant, Hurricane Dockside Grill, is situated near Lake Harris.

Other than Rich coming tonight and a get-together with readers next week, we are ready to start contacting readers who contacted us to get together. If you haven’t contacted us for a get-together, please feel free to contact us soon. We are trying to meet all the readers who’ve reached out who live in The Villages or nearby. We’ve been very busy so far, but we’re enjoying all the social time.

A beautiful view as we maneuvered through the narrow Dora Canal.

Many people approach us and are very friendly and welcoming. It reminds us of Jabula, although nothing will compare to Dawn, Leon, and David welcoming us two nights a week and all the wonderful friends we’ve made in the bush. Plus, we’re having so much fun hanging out with locals at the outdoor bars at many good restaurants.

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more photos tomorrow!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 30, 2013:

Umer, our driver, insisted we stop for a photo op in front of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque., also known as the White Mosque. For more photos, please click here

Not my most flattering photo. Tom looked great! We’re standing in front of the architectural scale model of the White Mosque. After we posed for this picture, a security guard rushed over, telling us we could not touch one another in the mosque. Of course, we complied. For more photos, please click here.

Memorial Day observations in the US today…We met and have photos of a World War II vet we met in The Villages…

This is Jim, a World War II veteran at 97 years old. On Friday, we met Jim at the Amerikanos Grille Restaurant outdoor bar in Spanish Springs Town Square.

We realize that Memorial Day is the observation of fallen soldiers as described here:

“Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. From 1868 to 1970, it was observed on May 30. Since 1970, it has been observed on the last Monday of May. “

It is not the day celebrating veterans who’ve survived wars. Veteran’s Day is in November and is described as follows:

“Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces.”

The day for observing active military service members is U.S. Armed Forces Day, which is not a federal holiday, is described as follows:

“Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May in the United States. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May (the fourth if the month begins on a Sunday, as in 2016).”

Today, Tom is observing his ex-brother-in-law, Ernest (Ernie) Thorson, who was killed in Viet Nam on April 26, 1970. Each year, he writes a tribute to Ernie on Facebook with Ernie’s photo, which states, “The uncle my kids never knew and the cousins they never had.” Below is a picture of Ernie, who was only 19 years old when he was killed.

From this site, there is information listed at the Viet Nam memorial The Wall of Faces:




PANEL / LINE: 11W/54

DATE OF BIRTH: 05/24/1950


DATE OF CASUALTY: 04/26/1970


COUNTY OF RECORD: Hennepin County



It’s with much sadness that we observe the loss of this young man and extend our love and prayers to those who have lost loved ones in wars. One’s heart remains heavy for a lifetime over a loss of a loved one, never to be forgotten.

Not necessarily in line with the meaning of Memorial Day, which would have been more appropriate for Veteran’s Day, we decided to mention a man we met on Friday night in the bar at the Amerikanos Grille. We met Jim, a 97-year-old veteran of World War II who welcomed us to take photos and share a little about him on our site. We were honored to meet Jim.

Jim and Tom at Amerikanos Grille Bar in Spanish Springs Town Square on Friday evening.

Regardless of his advanced age, he is “sharp as a tack.”  Every evening, he visits Amerikanos Grille to say hello to his many friends. We were thrilled to hear and see that each time Jim enters the bar, everyone at the bar who knows him, claps and welcomes him one more time. It was a delight to see the enthusiasm each time he arrives for one drink and then takes off for his home, as shown in the photos below.

Jim drives his motorized vehicle once he leaves Amerikanos, but while in the bar, he uses a walker. He has a friend that helps him with his means of transportation.

We’ll include Part 2 with photos of our boating day with Linda and Burt tomorrow.

Again, love and prayers to everyone who lost a loved one in war. May today bring you peace and healing.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 29, 2013:

No photos were posted on this date, ten years ago. For the post’s text, please click here.

Part 1…Boating day, Lake Harris and Dora Canal…The differences between an alligator and a crocodile…

After years of spotting crocodiles, seeing alligators in the Dora Canal was exciting.

Boating with Burt and Linda and Linda’s friend Claudette and Burt’s neighbor Jay was exhilarating. No more than 10 minutes into the boat ride on Burt’s newer pontoon boat, we spotted numerous alligators, which were very exciting. It was easy to see the difference between alligators in Florida and crocodiles in Africa.

But, for those unfamiliar with both of these scary-looking and dangerous creatures, we thought it was important to share the differences.

A young alligator was resting on a log.

The differences are listed below between an alligator and a crocodile from this site:

“Although they may look similar at first glance, the most significant differences between alligators and crocodiles are their overall size, snouts, jaws, coloring, feet, and teeth. Take a quick look at how you can differentiate between the two reptiles. The comparison between the American alligator and the American crocodile shows the unique qualities of adults from each species.

Alligator Crocodile
Size 8.2 feet to 11.2 feet long
400lbs to 800lbs
10 feet to 20 feet long
300lbs to 2,000lbs
Snout U-shaped snout V-shaped snout
Jaws A wide upper jaw hides the
lower teeth and overlaps the
lower jaw
The upper and lower jaw are roughly
the same size, allowing the teeth to
Feet Webbed feet allow for better
Feet are not webbed but possess
a jagged fringe
Teeth Roughly 80 teeth 66 teeth
Colors Dark gray or black, with a cream underside Olive green or light brown with a mottled pattern

These differences make it easy to identify an alligator and a crocodile. As with many other creatures, the males are larger in both the alligator and the crocodile, but the crocodile is a much larger reptile overall.”

Linda and one of her two dogs, Havana and Luna, who joined us for the day.

After we boated past the first canal, where we spotted the alligators, we headed out to the open expanse of Lake Harris, as shown in the photo below.

Once we exited the canal closest to Burt’s home, we reached the vast expanse of Lake Harris. “Lake Harris Lake in Florida 4.5 60 Google reviews Lake Harris is a lake in Lake County, Florida, United States, 31 miles northwest of Orlando. It is part of the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin, a sub-watershed of the St. Johns River. It is one of seven lakes in the Harris Chain of Lakes or “Ocklawaha Chain of Lakes.” Wikipedia Area: 21.54 mi² Surface elevation: 62′ Fish: Northern pike, Largemouth bass, Channel catfish, Blue catfish, White perch.”

We always enjoyed boating, and when Tom and I met almost 32 years ago, we both had boats, and each of us had owned boats for years. It had been a long time since we’d been on a boat on a lake. The last time was on Lake Minnewashta in Minnesota with friends/neighbors Jamie and Doug in 2017. For that post, please click here.

Our captain, Burt who, joyfully hosted us for the day.

Being out on the water on a perfect weather day was ideal. Mother Nature was kind to us to provide a sunny day without high temperatures and a gentle breeze. We couldn’t have asked for more. Burt’s newer boat was comfortable. We each got a slight sunburn but not severe, and we felt no discomfort today.

Claudette and Jay chatted while comfortably seated on the back bench.

We stopped at a lovely Lake Harris park for a lunch picnic. We found a great picnic table sheltered from the sun, and all six of us took out the various items we shared. We brought homemade chicken salad and coleslaw. Claudette had a big package of croissants to share, and the four of them added the chicken salad to make sandwiches, except Tom and I, who went bun-less, as usual.

There’s my guy, Tom, wearing the hat we got on the Maharajas Express Train in India in 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit.

After lunch, we continued on the journey to see the famous and impressive Dora Canal. We had no idea how gorgeous it would be and we will share photos in the next few days. We took dozens of photos, many of which we still have to share.

Me, wearing my African hat.

A special thanks to new friends Linda and Burt for the beautiful day boating and for sharing your favorite spots with us in the exquisite chain of lakes in central Florida.

Be well.

This map illustrates the chain of lakes where we motor-boated in part yesterday, starting at Harrie Lake and heading to Lake Dora, including the famous Dora Canal.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 28, 2013:

Figuring a little warmth and sun might benefit us; we could only stay outside for 30 minutes in Dubai’s windless, scorching heat. For more photos, please click here.

Tender story from Marloth Park…We’re still paying attention to what’s going on!!!…

This young giraffe was saved from certain death by Marloth Park Rangers, who cleared the way for the youngsters to escape. Photo Maureen Oxlee Jarratt
“A young giraffe fell into a gully opposite Naboom/Seekoei and was trapped. Thank you to all our rangers and Mark de Beer for coming to its rescue. They cut away exposed roots and branches, allowing the exhausted giraffe to pull itself out independently. After a short rest, it came up close to us, almost as if saying “thank you” before it galloped off down Seekoei.”
Even though we’re no longer living in the bush in Marloth Park, South Africa, surrounded by wildlife, we’ve managed to stay up-to-date on everything happening while we’re away. It’s easy to do with friends sending messages and photos and the availability of photos and stories on Facebook under the “Marloth Park Sighting Page.”
Each day, Tom and I peruse Facebook, him for all his communication with friends and family and me to know what’s going on in our absence in my favorite place in the world. No, we do not wish the time to pass quickly to return there in a little over a year. We enjoy each day here in The Villages while living in the moment.
Last night, we drove to Lake Sumter Landing, a 15-minute drive, intending to watch the Thursday night movie. Once we arrived at the movie theatre, we looked at each other and almost said simultaneously, “I don’t feel like going to a movie.” We hadn’t eaten all day and felt having a bite to eat was more important than waiting until after 8:00 pm when the movie started at 6:00 pm.
No photo description available.
The young giraffe resting and recovering after the ordeal. Photo Maureen Oxlee Jarratt
We moseyed across the street to find a restaurant from the theatre and picked the first restaurant we spotted, grabbed two seats at the bar, had a drink, and munched on some appetizers. Afterward, we were too full for dinner, and by 8:00 pm, we headed back to the house to relax and unwind, watch the semi-finals of Dancing with the Stars, and eventually have a snack an hour later. Tom had popcorn, and I had Fage Greek yogurt. It was a lovely evening.
I didn’t sleep well for some odd reason, but I slept almost seven hours, according to my Fitbit. When I got up, it felt as if it was only three or four hours, but once I was up and moving about, my energy level picked up, and now I feel fine.
In a few hours, we’ll be heading to the Sunrise Asian Restaurant to pick up lunch to bring to Karen’s mom Donna, who’ll we visit for a few hours. She lives about 20 minutes from here. I haven’t seen Donna in over ten years, and it will be fun to see her again. She and I have always had a special relationship, just like I have with her lovely daughter Karen.
After the visit with Donna, we’ll make a quick trip to the market to pick up a few items and then head back home. We plan to go to Spanish Springs Town Square tonight, where we found a great-looking restaurant, Amerikanos Grille, that serves one of Tom’s favorites…Rueben Sandwiches. Several items on the menu are befitting my way of eating.
Spanish Springs Town Square is 20 minutes from the house, so we should go while we have the car. Otherwise, to go on the golf cart would take twice as long, and we may not appreciate a 40-minute return drive back at night in the dark.
Tomorrow we’re going out on the river on Burt and Linda’s boat. We’ll be bringing the camera and taking photos throughout the day. In the morning, I’ll make chicken salad and coleslaw for our picnic lunch on the boat. No doubt, it will be a nice day.
Be well.
Photo from ten years ago today, May 26, 2013:
There was no photo posted ten years ago on this date. For the story without photos, please click here.

Purchasing supplements in the US…

Tom has been taking this supplement for 18 years to prevent kidney stones. It has worked well for him. If you have kidney stones, please see your doctor for advice on this supplement.

This morning I placed an order for supplements we use, enough to last for the next four months or so. There’s no question about it. It is expensive for most items in the US. When we return to the US in September, we can restock until we return to Marloth Park nine months later, where they cost less.

When purchasing these same vitamins in South Africa, different but reliable brands, we spent about 40% less. The best pricing I could find for brands I trust in the US was from Puritan’s Pride.

6 Items: $196.12
Puritan’s Perks Points: 1,961 
Vitamin E-200 iu Mixed Tocopherols Natural
100 Softgels / Item #450 (2 bottles)
Low Dose Aspirin 81 mg
240 Tablets / Item #595 (1 bottle)
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride) 50 mg
100 Tablets / Item #1160 (1 bottle)
MK-7 Vitamin K2 90 mcg
60 Softgels / Item #22011 (2 bottles)
Krill Oil Plus High Omega-3 Concentrate 1085 mg
60 Softgels / Item #34783 (3 bottles)
Ubiquinol 200 mg
60 Rapid Release Softgels / Item #50096 (3 bottles)
Some items were listed as “buy 1, get 2 free.” But the single bottle’s price was higher to allow for the “2 free,” preventing them from being much of a bargain. I didn’t fall for this trickery, but I otherwise trusted this company’s products and decided it was an excellent place to spend almost US $200 on supplements.
Why do we take supplements? Tom takes B6 three times a day but has enough on hand to last with this one bottle added to his current supply until we return to the US in September. After having three kidney stone surgeries over three consecutive years, the doctor told him some people had success with B6. Why didn’t he tell Tom this after the first surgery?
He’s been taking 50 mg B6 three times daily for the past 18 years and has never had a recurrence. I take all of the remaining supplements listed here, which are documented in medical studies as having some benefit to those with arteriosclerosis. I did tons of research to discover these studies and feel confident they may have some benefit.
Besides the above, we both take 2000 mg of Vitamin D daily, and I take magnesium which is also good for the heart. One never knows if supplements are working since it’s too difficult to monitor. Please contact your medical professionals before adding any supplements to your diet in case interactions may result if taken with certain prescription medications.
While in South Africa, with the help of the fantastic pharmacists in Komatipoort,  they cross-checked all the supplements I take with the few prescription medications I am taking, giving me peace of mind. We’ve noticed that US pharmacists aren’t willing or able to provide medical advice.
The pharmacists in the US are behind enclosed areas, and when we asked for assistance, they told me to check with a doctor or refer to the various aisles with over-the-counter products. Every country has its rules regarding how much pharmacists can be involved with their customers. I guess it’s a liability issue in the US, whereas, in South Africa, there aren’t as many stringent regulations and resulting lawsuits.
In some countries, many otherwise prescription medications can be sold without a prescription, as occurred when we were in lockdown in India and I developed a tooth abscess. I purchased the necessary antibiotics to treat the condition by ordering them through the hotel’s reception desk, and they were delivered later in the day, no questions asked.
As for today…it’s movie night, and late this afternoon, we’ll head out to Lake Sumter Landing to the Old Mill Playhouse for the movie starting at 6:00 pm and to meet up with Linda and Burt. We still have Karen and Rich’s vehicle for five more days so that we can drive. Once Tom picks Rich up at the airport on Tuesday, May 30, and returns the car to him, we’ll return to using the golf cart. That’s fine with us.
Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 25, 2013:

This AED 282.45 translates to US $76.91, an excellent price for all these items. For details on everything we’d purchased today, see the list at the end of this post. Please click here.

A strange visitor in the garden…

Excuse the jittery video above. I had difficulty trying to edit it, so I decided to go ahead and post it regardless. Tom was talking to his daughter Tammy in Minnesota while attempting to hold the camera with his free hand, and it recorded their conversation. At least you can get the gist of what he was trying to accomplish.

After being exposed to snakes in Marloth Park, South Africa, it never occurred to us that we’d see much wildlife here. We’d hoped to see an alligator and some exciting birds but never anticipated seeing a snake. we laughed about the fact that we have a snake living in the garden while in The Village, Florida.

The snake likely lives here because the backyard is fenced with cement walls. There are numerous opportunities for it to find food. We’ve seen the snake several times but had only one chance to take the jittery video.

We had a gecko trapped in the screened lanai and could not catch it. There was nothing for it to eat in the enclosed area. We put down water for it, but it was looking fragile. When Carol, Mark, and Tom were sitting at the table on the lanai, Carol was able to catch it and put it outside to hopefully flourish. Between the snake, the gecko, and some birds, this is all the wildlife we’ve seen so far.

It feels good that I don’t have much to do today. Last week, the property manager installed the new computer, and we can now use the printer. We’ve promised to get back to work on our passport application since our online appointment is on June 20, and we’d like to have this done and out of the way.

We have plenty of leftovers tonight, and I won’t have to cook, which adds to the easiness of the day. This morning we embarked on the walk we’d missed for a few days, returned to have breakfast, and then settled in to do the post and some work on our laptops.

Today, I’ll do a new online Kroger grocery order, with the order arriving sometime tomorrow. We only need a few items after grocery shopping often in the past few weeks. I enjoy putting the online order together. Go figure. It shouldn’t be that fun, but it is. It’s one of many things I haven’t been able to do for the past few years, and it’s a pleasure.

We have a busy rest of the week planned. We have movie night at Sumter Paddock Landing tomorrow with Linda and Burt. Friday, we’re heading to see Donna, Karen’s mother, who lives a short distance from us, bringing her Chinese food for lunch and having a few-hour visit. Saturday, we’re going on a boat ride and picnic with Linda and Burt on the river.

We’ll likely lay low on Sunday, and more activities will ensue. I still need to call a ton of people on the list of those that have contacted us to get together, but we need a little break from all the activity for a few days before we start booking more social activities.

Do we miss Marloth Park? I think about it many times daily, but we’re both wrapped up in the easy life in The Villages, enjoying the moment. In no time at all, we’ll be back in Africa.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 24, 2013

Check out these cherry tomatoes in Dubai, still on the vines. They looked as if each one had been hand polished. It was a pleasure just looking at them. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…What fun at Brownwood Paddock Square with friends!…

Brownwood Paddock Square, where live entertainment starts daily at 5:00 pm, and sometimes people dance in the square. We plan to return to sit in those bleachers and watch the activity.

After three days and nights with us, Carol and Mark left a few minutes ago to begin their drive back to Boca Raton, Florida, about four hours away. We had a great time with both of them. After lots of cooking and food prep, having an easy day today will feel good with little to no tasks other than washing sheets, towels, and other laundry.

Many people crowded around, taking photos of these two men with parrots on their arms and shoulders.

Last night was enjoyable. After our homemade pizza dinner and salad, we all sat at the table, drank delicious red wine, laughed, and told stories. For the first time since my heart event weeks ago, I drank regular red wine, not low alcohol, and had no ill effects.

I slept enough and felt fine this morning. After sipping a few glasses of the delicious Cabernet Sauvignon over several hours, there was no racing heart or hangover. Now, I know the allergy pill caused the Afib and put me in hospital for three days, four days before we departed South Africa.

Restaurants and other businesses surround the square.

There are few foods or drinks that I can consume with my keto way of eating, and red wine has been a favorite. Not one to overindulge, I can allow myself a bit of red wine when socializing.

There’s a bar at the square for those who want a drink while watching the live entertainment.

We have no plans until Thursday when we’ll return to Lake Sumter Landing for another movie night with Linda and Burt. On Saturday, we are going on a river on Burt’s pontoon boat. We’re looking forward to seeing them and others who’ve contacted us about getting together. But it’s amazing how time is slipping away. We’ve been busy with guests the past few weeks and enjoy every moment.

We’ve had many readers write to us commenting about The Villages and how much there is to do here. Having a car for the next nine days will keep us all the more active since, let’s face it, it’s easier to get around in a car than a golf cart. But we couldn’t justify spending thousands of dollars on a rental car when we can use the house’s golf cart.

There’s Carol and Mark in front of us as we neared the Bluefin Grill & Bar.

We have all the time in the world and will plan ahead when getting together with others to ensure we are always on time. So what if it takes a little longer to get where we’re going? In a pinch for directions, we can always use “Maps” to get us to where we want to go. Although tricky and sometimes inaccurate, the app on my phone helps with the golf cart trails.

We didn’t know why the dancers were wearing blue robes. Any comments?

Yesterday, I placed an order at Amazon and was curious to see if the package will be delivered directly to the house or the nearby mail station. We shall see how that goes.

A short time ago, I started preparing a new online food order from Kroger. The cart stays on their site for two weeks, but each time I think of something we need, I put it into the site’s cart, making it easy when I finally place the order, knowing I haven’t forgotten anything. I have no doubt we’ll need to place another order in the next week after all the company we’ve had.

Some visitors to the area brought along camp chairs to sit wherever they liked.

The buzzer just went off for the washer. It’s time to load everything into the dryer and start another load. It’s a good day; we’re both content and reveling in every moment.

Be well.

 Photo from ten years ago today, May 23, 2013:

Again today, the air is thick, and the sky is overcast. The smog and sand are evident in this photo we took from our rental of Atlantis at Palm Jumeriah. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…What fun at Brownwood Paddock Square with friends!…

Last night it was fun going out to dinner with Carol and Mark at the Blue Fin Bar & Grill in Brownwood Paddock Square in The Villages.

When it was raining hard mid-afternoon, we were concerned our plans for the evening would be dashed since we’d planned to be outdoors for part of the time. Much to our delight, the sun returned shortly before we were ready to leave, and we were off for our plans.

Arriving at Brownwood Paddock Square with the sun shining, we found a good spot in the parking lot and walked several blocks through the square to easily find the restaurant and four open barstools at the outdoor bar. We plopped down comfortably, ordered drinks, and enjoyed lively conversation and people-watching.

Our friends from Boca Raton, Mark, and Carol. They are visiting us for three nights. We’re having an excellent time with them.

For the first time in four weeks, I had white wine, a crisp Pinot Grigio, always one of my favorite white wines. I always prefer red but had decided to start cautiously, not knowing if I’d react and my heart would race. Nothing happened. Checking my pulse on my Fitbit every so often, I noticed that my pulse stayed in the 60s. Slowly I sipped the wine and ended up having a second glass with dinner.

The outdoor bar at the Blue Fin Bar &. Grill. We had a great time enjoying our drinks.

The only problem I ran into drinking the wine was that it caused me to have a fitful night’s sleep. Maybe I should take that as a warning that wine is no longer for me. I can have a fitful night’s sleep without wine. We shall see how it goes in the future.

A couple sitting beside us at the bar ordered this sushi and the other appetizers below.

The dinner was delicious but not perfect, but the service and ambiance were excellent. Indeed, in the next few months, we’ll return for dinner or drinks at the bar. The atmosphere outdoors was lively and friendly. Tom suggested we try new further locations in The Villages while we have a car (until May 30). I agreed that was a good idea. Even after dark, we can always use the golf cart to get to and from Brownwood Paddock Square.

Their bowl of clam chowder.

There were tons of golf carts everywhere in the square, many of which would return to their houses in the dark. It feels incredibly safe here, and we’re not worried at all.

A small rib appetizer was ordered by the people next to us.

With Carol and Mark still here this morning, I made another breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, onion and bacon bits, and a big side of bacon. I assumed they ate somewhat like we do for some goofy reason, so I failed to buy bread, jelly, pancake ingredients, syrup, and orange juice. When I’d asked if they ate bread or potatoes with dinner and they said they did not, it was the basis from which I assumed they were keto or low carb.

Tom’s dinner of fish and chips. He said it was good, but the chips were a little overdone. I had grilled ahi tuna atop a Caesar salad without dressing or croutons (no photo shown).

Next time we have houseguests, I will be more specific about the foods they prefer with meals. We haven’t had a lot of overnight guests in the past several years, so I’m a little rusty at this. We always want our guests to have access to the foods they enjoy.

Carol and Mark left an hour ago to go to a car museum about a 30-minute drive from here. I was busy doing the post and preparing all the toppings and ingredients for tonight’s pizza and salad dinner. Thus, I was unable to go with them. Tom decided to stay with me offering help with the time-consuming process of preparing this big meal. We had to change our bedding and go to the local post office.

Carol’s dinner of grilled ahi tuna and bacon-roasted Brussels sprouts.

Snail mail from the United States Postal Service doesn’t necessarily come to the house here. There are some items that we need that I am ordering from Amazon. If the Amazon truck typically delivers packages, no problem. They will deliver to us. But, some products at Amazon are sent via other sellers by USPS, which are delivered to the local postal service centers. This was a problem for us since we couldn’t access the mailbox at the service center.

A few days ago,  I contacted the owner, and she agreed to let us use the mailbox as needed for any packages sent by USPS. After Carol and Mark left for the museum this morning, we went to the postal center to inform them that it was okay to receive mail for us. Then, if a package comes, we can pick it up, or they will deliver it to the house between 12:00 and 2:00 pm.

Mark’s ahi tuna, rice, and bacon-roasted Brussels sprouts, with sauce, on the side.

It’s required that patrons speak to the postal people through the mailbox opening. Quite peculiar. I’d found the key where the owner said she left it and talked to the person through the hole, explaining we’ll receive a few packages while we’re here until the end of July. Now I can rest easy and place my waiting Amazon order. Ah, the little things…

More photos will follow tomorrow from our outing last night.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 22, 2013:

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