Jaxty's Place

My place to ramble about my family, my crafts, my travels and life.

A Return to Paradise

…for Anthony that is!

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If you recall, Anthony was blessed with an amazing opportunity to be a camp counselor at Camp Homelani on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii last summer. This week he was again offered a position with the camp for this coming summer. However, instead of being a camp counselor, Anthony will be the “Surfer Lead.” This position does not mean that he will be in charge of surfing but that he will be in charge of a cleaning/maintenance crew. It will give him more free time (that’s where the surfing will come into play) and a slightly larger stipend each week. Hooray for Anthony!

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He will be finishing up his sophomore year of college in about a month and then heading to a friend’s house in Seattle, Washington for a week. From there, he will leave for Hawaii for the summer for more visiting with friends before camp begins. At the end of the summer he will return to Jacksonville to visit us before Anthony and I get to bond during our 3-day road trip back to Phoenix with his pickup truck. Good times!

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We are very proud of Anthony and excited for his second summer in paradise.

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Congratulations, Anthony!

(Photos “borrowed” from Anthony’s Instagram account from last summer.)

 

 

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Spring Break

Anthony’s home for spring break!

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That means that he is doing lots of surfing.

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Since Sue and Karl weren’t able to come for their annual Christmas visit, they came for a week’s visit as well. With Karl’s recent broken leg, we convinced them to actually take an airplane instead of spending 12 hours driving in the car each way. Since they flew into Orlando, they only had to spend 2 hours in the car each way :).

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We spent lots of time soaking in the Florida sunshine in the backyard.

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We had a cold snap for two days and were able to enjoy a cozy fire one evening.

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We spent the evenings playing games together and watching a few movies.

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I did take Sue and Karl to the two 55+ Adult Communities (Dell Webb and Cascades at World Golf Village) in the hopes of convincing them to move to Florida. Although Sue and I found a house that we really liked at Cascades, it’s going to take some convincing to get Karl on board with a major move.  We’d love it if they were closer so that we could spend more time together and help them more as they need it, but it’s out of our hands. Time will tell what they decide!

We are grateful to have had Anthony, Sue and Karl with us for a while. Thanks for coming to JAX, family!

 

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Kelly Visits Memphis

Since the in-laws weren’t able to come for Christmas, the kids really missed spending time with their grandparents. So I was very impressed and proud of Kelly and Avram for deciding to go to Memphis for a long-weekend to visit with the grandparents and Aunt Leslie.

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While in Memphis, they visited our first house together, the one were we lived when Kelly was born.

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They did some thrift-store shopping at some of Grandma Sue’s favorite places.

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They played games together.

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And of course, there was lots of yummy food and some “adult beverages” for those that wanted them.

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I’m so glad that my kids enjoy time with their grandparents and take time out of their busy schedules to visit and/or call them on occasion. I think we did something right to raise such thoughtful, caring children that value family-time together.

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I’m glad that you all had a great visit!

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Wordless Wednesday: Dolphins

I love how different cities have different decorated statues placed throughout the area.

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In St. Petersburg/Clearwater, it was dolphins.

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So cute!

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St. Petersburg/Clearwater Road Trip

The fundraisers at the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame host a silent auction at all home Jaguar games. So they invited Carl and I to join them at their annual induction dinner at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida and even offered to put us up in the historic, waterfront Vinoy Renaissance Hotel.

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Free weekend getaway, dinner-out and deluxe accommodations…we’re in!

Saturday morning, we made the 3-1/2 hour drive down to St. Petersburg. After checking into our hotel, we stretched our legs with an energetic 5-mile walk along the water front and through a historic neighborhood district.

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After resting for a bit, it was time to get dressed up to head off for the main event at Tropicana Field.

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The event was set up right on the field of the baseball stadium. We made new friends with our table-mates, Lisa and Kenny. Kenny is one of the maintenance workers/painters for the stadium and he told us countless stories of his years with the team.

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There were also four 20-somethings seated at our table but they barely took their faces out of their phones to introduce themselves or attempt to make conversation with the four of us. Really rude and a sad sign of the generation. I hope that my young adult children would all behave differently. Kids…listen to your mother and put the phones away and talk with the people seated at your table!

After dinner, there were all sorts of important baseball people introduced and given various awards. However, the only one that I’ve ever heard of was Pete Rose.

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Although the program ran about an hour late and we were tempted to leave, I’m glad we stayed because Pete, the last speaker of the evening, was an entertaining story-teller and did the best job of them all.

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Look how close we were to the stage….

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As soon as it was over, we hightailed it out of there and made our way back to the hotel. And who should be getting out of the vehicle in front of us but Mr. Pete Rose! I was very tempted to approach and ask for a photo with him but Carl wouldn’t let me. Blah.

On Sunday morning, we found an adequate church to attend in Clearwater. We went and checked out the water front views in downtown Clearwater.

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But then the real reason for our stop in Clearwater was to spy on the Scientologists. After recently reading Leah Remini’s book on Scientology (called Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology) and watching the first season of her expose on the cult (Scientology and the Aftermath), I’m a little fascinated by the whole thing. We stopped in the visitor’s center to use the bathrooms and had a nice conversation with the young girl inside.

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She attempted to get us to stay and watch a movie about Scientology and learn more but we rejected her offer. She then attempted to give us reading material but we also declined that.

We walked around the area and saw several of the buildings featured in the Scientology series, including Flag – short for Flagship (the headquarters)

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and the Fort Harrison (the retreat center).

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There were all sorts of Scientologists walking around in their uniforms and going in and out of buildings. It really made me sad. After taking some time to pray for the people to be delivered from the cult, we made our way back home.

It was a short and sweet weekend but I’m glad that we got to see another part of Florida and enjoy a beautiful weekend on the Gulf Coast.

 

 

 

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Carl to the Rescue!

Carl made a very quick trip to Memphis this past weekend to help out his dad, who is still recovering from his broken femur. The good news is that airfare was only $150 round-trip. The bad news is he had to drive to Orlando to get that super fare but it was worth it to help out at his parent’s house.

The main project was to install a second hand railing going up the stairs. My father-in-law hasn’t been upstairs in about two months, since before his accident occurred, which means that he’s been sleeping on a bed in the family room and taking sponge baths. Good times!

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Now he can finally get upstairs! Yippee!

Carl also installed a hand-held shower sprayer so that when my FIL finally does get in the shower, he can sit on the little shower chair they borrowed from a friend and get his business done.

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Carl also did a lot of cleaning up in the yard, including a ton of raking.

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Now granted, he’s not actually raking in that photo but I guess he’s entitled to the occasional coffee break.

Before you feel too sorry for him for working so hard, there was plenty of goofing off.

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And as expected, Sue made him fabulous meals every night.

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He also spent time hanging out with his sister.

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Carl is very grateful for the chance to go and help out where needed.

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We are grateful that Karl is making such good progress in his recovery and we look forward to having Sue and Karl visit in March.

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zAcK

I forgot to mention here that Zack got a new job after the new year.

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After a full year at Chick-fil-A, he has moved on to Lowe’s Home Improvement Center. He is working every Monday through Friday from 4pm until 10pm each night unloading the delivery truck.

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He is enjoying his hefty paychecks and not having to deal with the public. It’s good, hard manual labor at it’s finest!

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As far as what comes next after his high school graduation in May, he has no idea...looks like he may be working at Lowe’s full-time until he makes a decision.

Congratulations on the new job, Zack!

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Wordless Wednesday: Before and After

From Jeff’s wedding in 1983…

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A little less hair, a few more pounds…but looking good, guys!

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They really haven’t changed a bit!

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CBHS Reunion

Thanksgiving week, when we visited with Carl’s friend from high school, Bobby, the guys discussed how it had been way too long since the last reunion of their core group of friends from their high school soccer team. Back in 2001, we organized the first reunion of the guys at our house in Minnesota, complete with visiting the amusement park at the Mall of America, golfing, a tour of the MN Vikings facility and a preseason football game (although actually Bobby canceled at the last minute that year since it was shortly after 9/11). The following year, they all (including Bobby) met up in Memphis and toured all their old hangouts.

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Then life happened and the young families got busy and they didn’t meet again until now 🙂 . With two of the guys now living in the Atlanta area and Bobby traveling there frequently for work, Atlanta was the natural choice for the location.

Carl and I drove in on Friday afternoon and spent our first night at Jeff and Waverly’s beautiful, expansive house in the woods.

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We stayed in the guest suite, complete with our own entrance, bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and kitchen. Sweet…they are lucky that we didn’t decide to move in!

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That evening, Steve and Anne drove over from the other side of town for dinner. (Bobby and his wife were not due to arrive until Saturday late morning.)

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In the morning, the three guys and I went for a brisk, 38 degree hike up Kennesaw Mountain.

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It was cool to see the cannons left on the mountain from the Civil War.

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After our hike, we all showered and dressed and then met up with Bobby and his wife, Jessica, for lunch, where we were seated at a table next to Kirk Cameron from the 1980’s TV show, Growing Pains and star of a series of Christian movies in the past few years. Jessica and I were particularly smitten and tried to work up the nerve to ask for a photo but we didn’t (other than sneaking him into our photo below).

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After lunch, we went to a local escape place.

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These are all the rage across the country and if you haven’t heard of them, they place you in a locked room with a series of clues and puzzles that you have to solve to figure out how to get out of the room in a designated amount of time (an hour).

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Despite our best efforts and getting down to the last puzzle, we ran out of time to escape. Losers!!

We then headed over to Steve and Anne’s house for dinner and the guys spent time looking at old school yearbooks, photo albums and other memorabilia.

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We ended the night sharing our favorite group game with them, “Say Anything.” It was a lot of laughs.

 

I love the fact that these old friends of 35-years can get together and pick up just like it was last week. And we were all impressed that the guys all married so well and the wives could join in just like we’ve been friends for years too (although I’ve met them all at various times over the years, we really don’t know each other very well and some of the other wives have never met).

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Carl and I stayed at Steve and Anne’s stately house the second night.

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After a terrific breakfast in the morning, we headed back home.

It was a great weekend and we are so happy to have spent time with all of these old friends all weekend. It’s quite notable that this group of friends that all married young are now all still together for 25+ years (33 years for Jeff and Waverly, 31 years for Carl and I, 29 years for Bobby and Jessica and 27 years for Steve and Anne)! That’s quite an accomplishment. We are going to ensure that it is not another 15 years before we all gather together again!

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Belated Birthday Weekend Celebration

Although my husband was initially annoyed back in October that I purchased tickets to see Wicked in Orlando this past weekend (he didn’t love it like I did when we first saw it in 2010), he ended up being glad that I made celebrating my birthday so easy for him after I declared them to be my birthday present.

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We went down a day early to spend the day at Universal to use our annual passes again. This time we took the suggestion of a friend and used motion sickness patches and took a dose of Dramamine that morning.

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After the first ride, we looked at each other and asked “did you feel anything?” When we both agreed that no, it did not make us nauseous, we cheered and high-fived each other!

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We rode several roller coasters and most of the virtual reality rides with little effect, until late in the day. It was awesome! I enjoyed our day much better than the last time, when I spent the day fighting nausea the whole time.

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It was a fun day at Universal, with beautiful, warm weather. We stayed at a new Airbnb this time and were not disappointed. It was in a much nicer, residential neighborhood and although we did not have our own bathroom this time (it was shared with two other guests), the hostess was very friendly and accommodating and we had everything we needed for our stay.

The next morning, after brunch, we had time to kill before the performance in the afternoon so we decided to drive down to Disney Springs since we had never seen it during our 4 visits to Disneyworld in the past.

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If you like shopping or eating, it’s the place to go. If you don’t like shopping or eating, it’s just an interesting place to walk around for a short time.

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We even shared a Gharardelli Caramel Square they passed out in the Ghirardelli Store…9 whole carbs between us (although Carl says I had 6 carbs and he had 3)!

It was neat to see the different architecture and Disney statues but I can’t say that I’d go back.

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It was fun to pass the time though on another beautiful, sunny morning.

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We eventually headed off to downtown Orlando for the theater for the main attraction…WICKED!

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It was a fantastic performance and I thoroughly enjoyed it (again)! Although I have had the soundtrack since the first time we saw the musical 7 years ago, it was nice to have a refresher of the storyline. Carl even enjoyed it much more than he thought he would.

It was a great weekend in Orlando with my husband. I’m glad for a fun way to celebrate my  birthday belatedly! Happy 50-something birthday to me…I think I’m just going to stay 50 until I turn 60!

 

 

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