I win a golf tournament, and other stories

I am sooooooo excited I can hardly contain myself. I won a golf competition at Horizons Golf Resort! 19 women played the Stableford, and I won with 37 points!!!!!!! Here’s proof! SONY DSCAnd here, too, were my witnesses although they don’t seem too impressed.SONY DSC

And then, a week later, I came second in yet another golf competition. Then Russ and I came first in a social golf event, and then we won the raffle and I pick up a meat tray!  Yum!!!

Talk about being lucky….

But let’s start at the beginning. We arrived in Australia on February 6, and spent a few days with Russ’s brother who lives in Coal Point on Lake Macquarie, just outside Toronto (in New South Wales, that is). Then, on February 12, our real vacation started. We moved into Robyn and Brian’s house.

Here’s a photo of the kitchen they renovated recently (we like to think they did it just for us!)

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Robyn and Brian were meant to be going away on a four month trip around South Australia, but that got put off for a month. Not to worry (as the Aussies say). They moved into Fay and Bob’s house. Fay and Bob are currently at their other home in Sydney. As you can see, we’ve just invented a new game called musical houses….

So, for the next two months, this is our home away from home and the views we have. Right on the 17th tee of Horizons Golf Resort.  SONY DSC

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SONY DSCIt was Brian’s birthday a few days ago. We invited Robyn and Brian back to their own home for a birthday dinner with friends, and a grand old time was had by all. Russ cooked up a spectacular seafood paella. Fresh Australian prawns (that’s what they call shrimp here), topped with the best pieces of blue-eyed cod. After the last guest left at 12:30am, we washed up, went to bed, only to leap out (bleary-eyed) a few hours later to go to coffee at Dave and Inga’s.

Since arriving we’ve played tennis every Sunday morning with the usual suspects; played a lot of golf; had golf lessons; had dinner parties with more to come. I’ve played mahjong. Russ goes to the driving range. We can hardly find the time to relax!

It’s Russ’s birthday on Wednesday. We’re recreating his party from two years ago. A barbeque at Sunset Beach with all our friends. Not too late in the evening though. That’s when the mosquitoes come out to play and they’re not nice!

It’s a hot one today. And, as most mad dogs and Englishmen (or Australians), Russ decided it would be a good idea to let the lawnmower take him for a walk in the midday heat. He was so engrossed I thought he might head across the cart path and continue on the 17th fairway!SONY DSC

So, it’s lunch time now, and I’ll close with a photo of a koala I saw on Saturday on the 5th fairway! Till later! SONY DSC

Wrapping up the year

Wrapping up the year? That sounds like a gift that will need to be unwrapped again. Since that’s not possible, we shall move ever onwards and upwards and will look back on 2014 as a wonderful, event-filled year. I like the ring of that. Kind of profound. If you know what I mean.

Now, a number of friends reading this are not on Facebook. For those who are, some of this will be repetitious. Skip those bits, if you must.

We moved into our new home in Kingston in April. A lovely condo, with spectacular views.

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A guest bedroom, also with view, is ready and waiting. Please check ahead of time with management for availability as we seem to be rather popular with friends who like to stay over.

We were hard at work, getting settled. imageRuss renovated both bathrooms (he’s the odd-job specialist – and I don’t mean odd, as in strange, although now that you mention it..) …

…and I painted the dining room.image

Ceiling fans were installed, a range hood was put up as well as the back splash behind the stove. All electrical outlets were modernized with new plates and switches. The old doors (really ugly) in the condo were replaced. All this handled most professionally by Russ (the odd guy, in case you’ve forgotten)!!!!!

And with all that going on, we had numerous visits from friends, even found time to play golf, and had a very busy social life. Oh. Let’s not forget those amazing, fun-filled dinner parties!
imageWhat else happened in 2014? Russ went on his annual old-guys golfing trip to Malone in New York State with the usual suspects in July. I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand in October.

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Federer is Betterer

Oh – I once again managed the Chairman’s Lounge during the week of the Canadian Open Tennis in August.

Federer even dropped in to say Hi during our staff barbeque.

So,after a busy summer we finally drove south to Florida in November. We left behind this….image

…and arrived to see this…

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Yes. I kid you not! A Floridian Christmas tree! You should see the bikes at night. All lit up and quite dazzling, if you ask me.

Then, if course, there’s Charlotte’s Christmas tree. A proper one. Beautifully decorated. A wine theme this year as you can see.

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imageWe’re leaving Florida in 10 days, after another incredibly busy social time here, with wine bars, dinner parties, golf, more wine bars, dinner parties and so on…. Back to Canada for three weeks then off to Australia. So 2015 is already promising to be an amazing year too. You’ll get the kangaroo and koala postings, so keep checking in for your “Too Cute” fix.

I’m not sure if this note will get posted before I actually preview it for typos and content (I seem to press the wrong buttons sometimes). If so, a very, very happy New Year to all from Russell and me. Chocolat, of course, in her very best French, wishes you a TRÈS BONNE ANNÉE!

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MEOW!

Bloody typos

Ok, really, my blog gets published with tyops. Really? Shameful.

So here’s my New Year’s resolution. I will use a proper keyboard and large screen to write my blogs. Or, if I am using my teeny weeny smart phone to write them up, I will put the damn thing under a bloody telescope, let alone a microscope, to check for mistakes. The typos were, in case you did not pick up on them: Russ was HANGING OUT WITH THE GUYS (not ganging out with the guts, although there are a few paunches out there!). And ELECTRICITY. Aarrgghh. Merry Christmas to one and all! And excuse my French, but ZUT!

Have you missed me?

After all this time, I’ve finally thought I’d get back to blogging again. There are a number of friends in Europe not connected to Facebook who don’t get much of our news.

So, I just had a birthday. Actually, I was going to call this blog Fifty Eight Shades of Grey. Guess how old I am!!! Russ took me out for a delightful lunch on the marina here in Venice, Florida. Then we went to our favourite downtown wine bar in the evening, La Dolce Vita, where our good friend Sam was playing, as he does every Thursday.

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We sang along (badly, as usual) to all our faves from the 60s and 70s, and even danced a bit. Russ is not in the photo. He was hanging out with the guys at the bar.

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Met up with all our friends, too. It’s the place we all hang out and mingle. Well, one of the places. The others are the Venice Wine Bar, and the Venice Cafe. On Tuesdays and Fridays, respectively. We are busy.

I play mahjong on Monday evenings here with my lady friends. We play for money and I was break even after two weeks. Then, blast it, the group expanded last week to eight ladies (and they ALL play in mahjong tournaments). Guess what? They CLEANED ME OUT. I lost my entire purse for the evening. Thank heavens we only play for $5.00 and once that’s gone, one just continues to play for free. Like that makes you feel any better. The poor country cousin, the loser. Oh well, chin up. There’s always next week for revenge.

We also continue to be amazed at what life throws at us. We were expecting to leave Florida around January 2 and drive back to Canada to face cold weather before flying to Australia on February 4. Well, lo and behold, don’t Joyce and Dave tell us to move into the condo they have not yet sold and stay a while longer. They have bought a new house, new furniture, new everything and the only thing they are taking to their new house from the condo is their big screen TV, and replacing it with a 32 inch TV. Damn. And the rent? A good dinner! Can you beat that? Oh yes, here’s how you do it…….
So you know we are going to Australia for three months,  leaving in Feb. 4.  I’d rented a condo on Horizons golf resort for six weeks, and we were going to mooch off friends and family for the rest of the time. Well…… Robyn and Brian call two weeks ago. Do we want to house sit for them while they travel for four months or so? They have a three bedroom home on the 17th hole on the golf resort we play at. One house away from my bestest, bestest Australian friend Di! The price? We just cover costs like electricity and water, and we get the use of their golf cart as well. Holy smoke. Can you top all this?

I write this as Russ is cooking dinner. A delicious lemony/peppery shrimp with fettucine. Last night I made seared scallops in a whisky cream sauce which was amazing, if I say so myself. So as you see, we continue to eat like kings. I’ve also started to cook a lot more exotic dishes, and lately made a scrumptious Chinese orange/ginger chicken with rice.

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I’ve also experimented with Moroccan and Indonesian recipes, although the ingredients can sometimes be hard to find, and I have to make the spice mixes from scratch. Actually, that’s half the fun, although quite labour intensive. And my last lamb biryani (a dish from Pakistan), had almost 30 different ingredients, including all the spices. Yum, yum, yum.

That’s enough. Dinner is ready. Bon apétit!

Russell goes all Floridian

Only another two weeks and we’ll be making our way back to Canada. Back to a new home in Kingston. Friends – please make sure the weather gets warmer, VERY quickly!

We’ve been busy. Pool parties, golf, (yes, with the alligators)

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and wine bars where Sam keeps us dancing in the street…ImageThe usual.

However, Russ has had an epiphany, and has discovered a new meaning to being alive. He now enjoys the rustic life of the angler.

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Come on – I just know you’re down there!

Just look at his concentration. The pose. The determined look of he who knows he can do it (with a $25.00 fishing rod from Walmart).This is what Otis Redding sang about in his song: “Fishing on the dock of the bay“….

So far he has not caught anything, and there has not even been a nibble on his bait. That’s obviously because it’s a cheap fishing rod.

We’ve also visited a gun store. They were most accommodating and let me take photos. I guess that’s because the owner of the store is a former Lutheran priest who found another calling (!), and was being kind. SONY DSCHere’s the man, trying out for the title role in a remake of The Sopranos.

We’ve also been to a fun St. Patrick’s day party at Judy and George’s home. We call them The Jettson’s, for obvious reasons. 20140317_194906Here is Sam (our favourite entertainer), with his go-go girls and groupies. Apologies for the grainy photos of the party.

And these are my two favourite leprechauns, Sam and Russ, having a blast with Sheila. They were singing along to something on the TV (“Stop – in the name of love“, I believe). Out of respect for the title of this blog, “Russ goes Floridian”, his T-shirt says “0% 20140317_185133Irish“.

Oh – if you’d like a good laugh – watch the video I took of them! https://www.dropbox.com/s/7rbezv4i6y7jcui/20140317_185154.mp4.

That’s all for now folks. Enjoy your day!

I am most pleased!

First, before I get going on what’s happening in our Floridian life, I have to brag. I broke 100 on the Calusa Lakes Golf Course this week. WAY TO GO!!!!!!!   I ROCK!!!! Now, I have to do it consistently, and then break 90. I have to beat Russell. I just gotta. Just gotta!!!!! Really. Yes. (For my Aussie friends, with my handicap, in a Stableford, that would have been 55 on that course. Not bad, huh? Huh? Yeah.).

And, check out this wildlife on the golf course.  SONY DSC

Compared to kangaroos and koalas, not terribly exotic, but he was certainly curious!

Talking about golf in the USA, look at this. You know those monster trucks you see on TV? They do exist.

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Well – look at this golf cart to match! That’s enough to make anyone want to take up the game.ImageOur social life continues to be extremely busy, although we did have a rather embarrassing moment. Invited to a pool party by Mike and Pam, we pitched up last Sunday with our booze and swimsuits, only to find that everyone had already left (we thought). Gracious as ever, Pam and Mike made us feel most welcome. We swam, chatted, drank (of course), and then, when Pam asked if we’d received the invitation for February 16, realized we had the date wrong!!!!! Oops. Russ, of course, apologized profusely and fired his social secretary on the spot! We’re looking forward to the real party this Sunday. I hope we’re still invited.

I finally (after almost a year), got to play Mahjong again last Monday night with Jane, Jean and Irene. Well, I lost $0.60 that night. Russell is horrified at my ruinous gambling addiction, but I promise I’ll make it up next Monday. He, Tim and Derek got to hang out at Tim’s house and watch TV, and this will probably be the standard Monday night ritual till we leave at the end of March.

Venice, Florida has gone funky since we were here two years ago. SONY DSC

The main drag has many creative sculptures dotting the sidewalks, and as you can see, Russ has now found his real porpoise in life.

Only in Venice

(I had to get that pun in, sorry!).

I have just had a well-needed mani-pedi done. Feel great, and will look good for our evening with wine bar buddies at La Dolce Vita. Sam is playing there tonight. Should be fun!

I’ll be back again soon with our updates. Don’t hold your breath, though – it may be a few weeks!

Checking in (not out)

It’s me again, with nothing to report, so I’ll just update you with what Russ and I have been up to this past month.

We’re over on the East Coast of Florida, in Hallandale Beach. As in the past, Karen and Dan (friends who also live in Kingston, Ontario but spend the winter in Florida), are on vacation in Costa Rica for the month of January. We house-sit and dog-sit for them. I was a bit nervous this year, as we had to travel with Chocolat (CAT) this year, but…
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after two days, DOG and CAT got on famously. Chocolat rules, Willie obeys, and peace (or is that CAT?) reigns in the animal kingdom.

And, here’s the view from their condo, which overlooks the Intra-coastal waterway. You should see some of the private yachts that sail by. Very impressive indeed. It’s lovely sitting on the balcony watching the world cruise by…
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We’ve played some golf, and some tennis. We’re not yet ready to compete on the PGA or LPGA tour, nor at Roland Garros or Wimbledon, but we’ll leave that to those who are!

Oh, for those who aren’t on Facebook, I had an upright MRI scan done here in Fort Lauderdale. (Sitting up, instead of the traditional lying down). Had to pay out of my own pocket, but the results came back with rather encouraging news…… I’ll see my doc when we’re back in Canada in April, but I got information that there were a number of issues that might explain the pain I’ve been dealing with for the last 8 years. YAY. It felt like Christmas when I got the news!!!! (There is only one of this particular type of machine in Canada, a four hour flight from Toronto, so it made no sense to do it there).

As usual, we continue to eat like kings. Just recently we’ve cooked mussels in a tomato and fennel broth. Mussels in a Thai coconut curry sauce. Delicious rib-eye steak with caramelised onions and red bell peppers. wpid-20140108_192551.jpg

Baked fish a creamy sauce with roast grape tomatoes and fresh basil. Gosh, it’s only just past breakfast time and my mouth is watering already!

We leave Hallandale on February 2 and drive to Englewood on the West Coast of Florida for two months. We’re actually looking forward to being back there. We’ve got loads of friends, there is so much more to do, we have a wonderfully busy social life with visits to wine bars three times a week, cocktails in the courtyard every afternoon, and it’s so much more laid back. Suits us to a T.

And, February 2 is Superbowl. That, for readers who don’t know anything about American Football, is the day North America stops in its track. Fans throw rowdy Superbowl parties where one devours chips, popcorn, chicken wings, pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken and any other unhealthy food one can lay one’s hands on. You watch the game on big-screen, high definition TV sets, cheer boisterously for one of the teams, (hopefully yours made it to the finals, but if not, who cares), and drink copious amounts of beer. I usually like to stay home and read a good book. But Russ needs to get to Englewood and to one of those parties with friends, so that’s what we’ll do. I am The Good Wife, yes I am! (Didn’t they make a TV series about me?).

Enough said. Chocolat is waiting for me to get off the chair so she can use it to hop onto the dining room table. She needs her afternoon snack, and the dining room table is the only place we can keep her food without DOG getting to it! Off I go. Till later…. with hopefully more interesting stuff to talk about!