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:

There were no photos posted on this date. For the text portion of the post, please click here.

Our friends have left…Doing exactly what we prefer to do…The golf cart included with our rental…

This is the Yamaha golf cart that’s included in our rent.

Late yesterday afternoon, Karen and Rich headed to her mom’s home, a 15-minute drive from here. I have known Donna for many years as Karen’s loving mom, and we plan to visit her in the next few weeks. On Tuesday, we’re taking Karen and Rich to the Orlando Airport as they take off for Karen’ts son Jack’s wedding in Minnesota.

They offered to leave their car with us during the two weeks they are away rather than leave the car in the parking lot at the airport. This works well for us. On Tuesday afternoon, they’ll return and pick us up while we drop them off at the airport, an hour’s drive from here. When they return at the end of the month, we’ll pick them up, and they’ll drop us back at our house. Geographically, this all works out well.

We plan to see Karen and Rich during our remaining time in Florida. They’ve offered to pick us up on another date to spend a few night’s at their fabulous new home in Bradenton, another two-hour drive. Otherwise, they may return and spend a few more days with us here, whichever works well logistically with everyone’s schedule.

The longer we are in The Villages, the more research we do to determine what appeals to us the most. We’ve gone through the list of daily activities, and many don’t appeal to us. We don’t play tennis or pickleball, and although that sounds fun, my weak legs prevent either of these sports from being possible.

This is the only storage area in the golf cart, leaving little room for groceries other than a few bags.

Many of the activities are those that are commonly found on cruise ships. If you like to see what’s available today, click here for the long list of activities. After sharing this list with Tom, he didn’t seem interested in any of the activities, and we accepted the reality that such activities don’t necessarily appeal to us after all.

Sure, we’d like to meet new people and hope to do so when we attend events in the various town squares and dine out each week. But we have a massive list of people here that would like to get together, which alone could keep us busy the entire time we are here.

Let’s face it; our interests have changed over the years of world travel. Also, we spend half of each day working on our posts, future travel plans, and communication with family, friends, and readers. After our walk in the morning, cooking and eating breakfast, doing household chores, and prepping dinner, the day flies by. We enjoy all these activities at the house and never feel bored or lonely. By late afternoon, we feel prepared to socialize, alone or with others.

These two bikes are in the garage, but I don’t think I can safely ride a bike anymore.

Many would say, “Get out! Try something new! Don’t be stuck in the mud!”

But our lives consist of always “trying something new,” and we never feel “stuck in the mud.” If it weren’t for this blog, no one would know what we do and don’t do. And we decided long ago that we can’t live our lives for the blog. The blog represents our chosen life and activities, not driven by it. That would be impossible with a new post uploaded daily. It would be too much pressure.

Our lives are about low stress, as much as possible, and choosing to do what appeals to us the most. Before we went into lockdown in India in 2020, we had embarked on about 20 safaris at three national parks. We never hesitated to do this. We never hesitated to interact with the people or the animals while in Africa. We rarely turn down an opportunity for social interaction.

Helmets are included with the bikes.

We never hesitated to embark on 10-person rubber Zodiac boats to explore icebergs and wildlife in Antarctica. We never hesitated to explore the souks in Marrakesh, Morocco, walk the hilly roads in Boveglio, Italy, or even attend a party where no one spoke English. We never hesitated to stand in the pouring rain, soaked to the gills for over an hour, to see the Gardens of Versailles in France.

We never hesitated to live on farms, learn about farm life, and spend time with farm animals and farmers. We never hesitated to embark on almost 30 cruises in the past ten years to see more of the world than any flights could ever offer us and so much more, the content of which is documented in over 3900 posts.

We’ve continued on when many others may have quit. Since that, too, was precisely what we wanted to do. And that will be the same for us while in The Villages. We are relishing the comfort and amenities of living in this lovely house and will enjoy many social events we plan for our time here. We are having dinner guests on Wednesday, people we’ve never met, and friends Carol and Mark are coming next Saturday for three nights.

Doing precisely what we like to do…

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 13, 2013:

Due to our 10-hour expeditions to Petra, Jordan, we couldn’t prepare a post on this date. Stop back tomorrow for the fantastic photos.