Thursday, March 26, 2015
I am doomed... On our first day out on our Summer Tour, we were driving down I-10 at 60 mph, Your Humble Correspondent at the wheel, and I caught just a glimpse of a billboard advertising "Brothels"... well, that's what I thought the sign said. I mentioned this to My Lovely Bride, who glanced up from her computer, and without the skip of a heartbeat, she said, "Ty, get your mind out of the gutter; it's an ad for Panera's Broth Bowls. We'll discuss this when you're not driving..." Smack!
In an effort to recover my senses after the aforementioned rebukes, both mental and physical, I mentioned to My Lovely Bride that I needed something sweet to eat. She looked inside the Goody Bag that our Very Thoughtful Friends Joyce and Sharon had dropped off before we departed home., and said, "Ty, here is some candy, shaped like lips with teeth; it looks yummy." "Okay, Love of My Life, I'll take it." It wasn't the worst candy I've ever had, but it certainly wasn't in the top 10% either... surprising, considering the discriminating tastes that Joyce and Sharon normally have. It wasn't until the end of the day that Suzanne emailed J&S and mentioned the candy... a few minutes later, their reply came back, "Oooooo nooooo, that Waxy Wonder is probably resting uncomfortably in Ty's tummy right now. Who raised you kids anyway? That was Scary Teeth for Ty to put on for a photo op!" I may recover from my indigestion in a few days. Maybe I should find a good lawyer (or is that an oxymoron?) and sue???
On the way past Tallahassee, we stopped at Maclay Gardens State Park, a small but beautiful gardens planted in 1923 by snowbirds Alfred and Louise Mackay. We didn't have time to tour the gardens themselves, since this was a brief stop for PT, but we enjoyed a run on the park's 8 miles of pine needle-covered trails through the woods, never seeing another runner or hiker. There were some high school kids down at the lake, where racing shells sat awaiting their crews while the guys trained on rowing machines.
Our first night on our Summer Tour was spent at Falling Waters State Park in Chipley, FL. It was a very pleasant and tiny park, with only 20 or so campsites, and by Great Good Fortune, the only one that we could easily fit in was vacant; most of the others were full, it being Spring Break. We celebrated our first night out with a ribeye steak dinner cooked over our portable gas grill.
After dinner, we took a hike down to the 73 foot high waterfall at Falling Waters Sink, for which the park is named. Here we see Suzanne enjoying the spiritual and physical beauty of the falls, while the puppies are sniffing for potential prey. It was almost dark, so the details of the falls are unfortunately obscured, and early reveille the next morning would preclude a second visit.
There were two benefits to early reveille: (1) getting on the road before rain and thunderstorms made driving a pain; and (2) having our traditional "First Breakfast on Tour" at our favorite diner, Waffle House. I feel sorry for those (mostly known affectionately as "Deprived Yankees") who have never eaten at this typically Southern institution. Our meal is always the same, eggs over medium, hash browns scattered and smothered, raisin toast and bacon (for M'Lady) and sausage (for Der Blogmeister). Waffle House servers are always friendly and smiling (polar opposites to those at Durgin Park and many other non-Southern establishments).
On our way out of town, we passed several houses like this one, with expansive yards, huge trees with Spanish moss, beautiful gardens, and a few even with RV garages... hmmm, that would be a nice feature! Maybe I can talk our neighbors and The Villages management into agreeing to a variance...
This photo requires some explanation... we stopped at a rest stop for... well, rest... and this long haul trucker had stopped for a TV break! The white object on the hood of his tractor is a satellite TV receiver, and it is obviously impossible for him to drive with it rigged for action. I hope that he was such a basketball devotee that with March Madness underway, he simply couldn't miss a match; in the worst case, he may have been anxiously awaiting a rerun of As the World Turns...
Finally, you will note the longish hair style of the trucker above... sort of a "mullet" look... we have a neighbor back in FL (who shall go nameless) with a similar cut. I laughingly mentioned to My Lovely Bride recently that he hasn't changed his hair style since the 70s. She replied saucily, "Well, Ty, neither have you!" "Yes, Darling, but mine is... well... timeless!"
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
As I pen today's blog, the sun isn't even up. The pre-departure excitement is building to a crescendo. Our 2015 Summer Tour starts in about 4 hours, and Suzanne (AKA to regular readers as My Lovely Bride, or MLB), is trying to get some much-needed sleep after a restless night. Fortunately, I slept like a log; must be my sailor background, when sleep came in 2-3 hour batches at best. Even our faithful canine companions, Rudy and Gretchen, know something big is about to happen. Both were pressed up tightly against Your Faithful Correspondent all night, not wanting to be left behind.
We will be traveling about 12,000 miles again this summer, from Florida to California to Boston and back home, so please come out and see us if we're passing through your area. Suzanne's events are shown on the map at the right and listed on her web site at www.LoveAtTheCenter.com. You will also get to meet Rudy and Gretchen, who are always hits at Suzanne's events.
For the past two days we have loaded our Itasca Ellipse 42QD motor coach with books, DVDs, projector, screen, speaker system, clothes, food, bike gear, tools, backpacks, hiking boots, fishing gear and even dumbbells (no, Bob, I'm not referring to myself). It's amazing how much the coach holds. This image shows the 800 lb capacity slideout cargo tray in the coach's belly that holds Suzanne's books and presentation equipment.
Oh, and this was a thoughtful addition by the manufacturer, an outside fridge for adult beverages; for many, this is primarily for cooling beer, readily accessible for those RV'ers who like to watch sports events on the outside flat screen TV. Since (1) we don't watch television, indoors or out, and (2) I would be violating several long-held principles by adding to the unnecessary noise pollution of the wilderness (or even state park) campsites which we prefer, we have modified the use of this equipment to provide cave-like temperatures for wine....
... in this case a particularly nice Petite Syrah/Petit Verdot by Michael David. The label is even very cool, and may even have a subliminal reference to my choice in the next election. This varietal was recommended by our good friends Bill and Gayle Hancock, wine connoisseurs of the first order.
Last night we had a delightful dinner with Suzanne's Lovely Mom Ruthie at Sumter Grand, where she has made many new friends. The chef did an exceptional job with our filets and crab cakes, and the raspberry pie a la mode wasn't too shabby either. Suzanne will be flying back to visit Ruthie for their shared birthday on August 1st, and Ruthie has an iPad to keep up with our travels and Suzanne's events, which will be chronicled on this blog per usual.
Our good friends Sharon and Joyce gave us a send-off goody package with Hershey's Kisses, Manchego cheese, cookies, olives and wine, but my favorite gift was this fishing clock... well, it was my favorite until it awoke me at midnight with sounds of fish splashing and slurping. I'm hoping it will serve as a good luck charm and help my fishing success, which has been less than stellar on past summer tours. (You know, because of the heat, humidity, drought conditions, fish being on vacation, etc...) By the way, the tiny fishing rod and fishy hot pad were gifts from our good friends and neighbors Jan and Bob; something about "Ty, here's the biggest fish you'll catch all year..."
I'll wrap up now, because the sun is coming up and we need to finish packing and grab a quick brekkie before hitting the road. We're heading across Florida today, and should wind up in the panhandle, somewhere near Eglin Air Force Base. We're really looking forward to meeting new friends at each of Suzanne's events and at our campgrounds. It's one of the best parts of our summer tour. Why, just last week in Sanibel, I made a new friend while we were out biking. He wasn't very talkative, but that's okay, because he didn't criticize my fishing prowess like My Good Friend Bob often does...
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 4:18 AM
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Last Sunday was Suzanne's final SOAR! Workshop in The Villages for this season, and a large and enthusiastic group of attendees spent the day learning how to attune to higher consciousness and achieve self-transformation. You can still gain the benefits from Suzanne's SOAR! program by going to her web site and ordering her DVD set at http://www.suzannegiesemann.com/soar/ .
After the SOAR Workshop, we traveled south and had a delightful short vacation with friends on Sanibel Island for a few days. Bill Hammond, Suzanne's original literary agent, award-winning author (http://www.bill-hammond.com/) and continuing adviser on publishing, invited us down to a condo he was renting for the week with his sons Churchill and Harrison (2 of the 3 Most Eligible Bachelors in the USA, therefore in the World... the third, Bill's other son Brooks, was unable to make the trip to Sanibel). We arrived Sunday afternoon and got reacquainted with the Hammonds and Churchill's girlfriend Emily. Here we see the Gang of Six on the beach... (L-R, Harrison, Suzanne, Ty, Emily, Churchill and Bill).
We then went for a visit to Sanibel's Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, named for the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and wildlife supporter who initiated the Federal Duck Stamp program. Our first event there was a two hour kayak trip. Churchill and Emily were in a double, as were we, while Harrison and Bill chose singles. Here we see Churchill and Emily enjoying the beautiful scenery in the mangroves; Churchill claims to have put on sunscreen, but when the day ended, he was in near-agony due to a brutal sunburn. (Since Minnesnowtans don't see the sun for 10 months during winter, don't they know to be careful out in the tropical sun???)
Harrison and Bill are seen here; Harrison was usually on point (befitting for an Army ROTC senior), and this photo barely suggests the power in his weight lifter's upper body. (Along with his awesome strength and power comes an incredible appetite... Harrison was the brunt of several jokes and stories about his ability to consume heroic quantities of food, including one about a snack he had one night, a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon... but I'm sure that was slightly exaggerated... or maybe not!) He also impressed us with his speed while running on the beach. Suzanne and I were jogging at a 10 minute per mile pace when Harrison flashed by at a 6:30 pace; the sand parted under his feet like a Corvette running at full throttle!
Speaking of incredible upper body strength, that shown by this kayaker (hey, not the sexy girl, but that handsome muscular guy) also impressed every passing paddler... no laughter, please!
Der Blogmeister almost died on this vacation... I guess an explanation is in order. In the spirit of recording faithfully the events and people he met, purely for historical purposes, Your Faithful Correspondent was going to take photos of everything and everyone that he met. All was going well until a certain beautiful 20-something young woman with a perfect runner's physique, clad in a skimpy, form-fitting bikini, appeared. My jaw dropped with admiration, and with trusty camera in hand, I was about to record the moment for posterity, when My Lovely Bride gave me "The Evil Eye", or "Dagger Eyes", as "The Look" is also known by husbands worldwide, with the unspoken but perfectly understandable message, "You lift that camera, Bozo, and you are Dead Meat!" Sigh...
Up until today, I was a Starbucks drinker, maybe 5-6 cups a day. I have consumed my last cup. In the future, I will shift to any other coffee brand on the planet. Why, you ask? I am greatly offended by their Race Together program. I don't need any commercial establishment, particularly a coffee company, lecturing me on social issues. So that settles that. I'll go to Panera, McDonald's or 7-11 before I buy another cup of Starbucks.
Finally, a humorous accounting moment... and how often do those come around? They can be as rare as honest lawyers. In any case, we were having our taxes done, and during a free moment I commented to the office manager, an old friend of ours, and a grandmother, how much I liked her colorful blouse. I asked, Sharon (not her real name), did you embroider those flowers yourself?" She replied, "Ty, get real. I spend my free time on the target range with my .357 magnum, not embroidering blouses..." "Yes, ma'am, I didn't mean to offend!"
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 6:30 PM
Friday, March 13, 2015
Our dear friends Joyce and Sharon are remodeling their home, adding on to their lanai and putting in a pool. But the feature that impressed me most was their new, tres chic outdoor privy. They even offered to let us use it, allowing us to reduce water consumption at our home 5 miles away. It's a bit of a drive, especially at 3:00 AM, but worth the effort. We now route our bike rides and shopping trips past their house, and my only complaint is that the T.P. has needed refilling twice...
It's always nice to congratulate friends on getting a new dog. In this case, it's especially gratifying, because Brad Bernardy, His Lovely Bride Leslie and their Patterdale Terrier Skeeter recently became owned by Simon, a 10 year old Dachshund. Brad and Leslie will shortly discover that the best synonym for Dachshund is "Stubborn". Good luck, Brad and Leslie!
Speaking of Dachshunds, Mike and Beth Pasakarnis (Wolf's dad and step-mom, who is a veterinarian in Plymouth, Mass.) sent us this poster for a popular antibiotic; it made me laugh out loud, because it reminded me of Rudy's ears flapping in the breeze aboard our sailboat.
Yesterday I took a long bike ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail, starting in Inverness and heading north to Dunellon and back, a 35 mile round trip. I was about 5 miles north of the trailhead when I saw a backpacker walking southbound. Imagine my surprise when I recognized the person as "Denali", the backpacker Suzanne and I had met on the Florida Trail several days earlier. What were the chances of that? Since then she had one very bad experience; she was bitten by someone's pet dog, a small white fluffy thing that approached her from behind without barking and nipped her on the ankle twice, drawing blood. Fortunately, a County Animal Control Officer found the beast and its owner and verified that the dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination; otherwise Denali might have had to undergo a painful series of rabies shots.
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 11:57 AM
Monday, March 9, 2015
Suzanne and I were invited out to lunch last week with friends, Catherine Chiesa (from Gurnee, IL, outside Chicago) and Donna and Ron Virgilio who live here in The Villages. We had a great time catching up with Catherine, who has attended several of Suzanne's events, both here in TV and in Illinois, and who was staying with the Virgilios for a few days. Ron served in the US Marine Corps for six years (Ooh-Rah!) and Donna was a psychotherapist. (MLB may be looking for her to help Der Blogmeister, but that's not an appropriate subject to mention here.)
Another meal out (is there a pattern here?) was with our good friends Sharon and Joyce (AKA Little Miss Bluetooth... see earlier blog post) at a local Italian restaurant which had surprisingly good food, in spite of the inappropriate use of an apostrophe in the establishment's name. (I will demur in naming the specific eatery in case they are offended by my grammatical stickiness, but the word Chef's may give you a clue...)
Congratulations to Gayle Hancock, who won the bread machine recipe contest with the tastiest submission among hundreds of entrants. Gayle wins lunch for two with Der Blogmeister and His Lovely Bride.
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 8:17 PM
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Visitors! Ty Got Lei'ed; An Intimate Party; Little Miss Bluetooth; Irish Pennants; Gourd Art; Teeny Sex Pistils
Having just spent last weekend at First Unity of St. Petersburg, we were happy to have a visit from Rev. Temple Hayes and her family to see The Villages. Not that St. Pete isn't a cool place, because as Temple mentioned in her welcome at Sunday services, "To get to Heaven, you have to go through St. Peter... sburg." Who knew? In any case, Temple, her partner Barbara (like me, from New Orleans, and of course, also highly sophisticated and debonair), and Temple's Uncle Jim and Aunt Brenda, two thoroughly delightful and charming North Carolinians, visited The Villages for the day. Suzanne highjacked and hot-wired a six-seater mini-van (okay, maybe she had permission to borrow it from Gloria Quigley), and we toured "the Ville" in style. Our visitors were very impressed by Florida's Friendliest Home Town, and we are hoping that Jim and Brenda decide to move south out of that terrible winter weather sooner rather than later. (Photo of stylish ladies L-R shows Barbara, Temple, Brenda and Suzanne). Also, readers would enjoy Temple Hayes new book, When Did You Die?: 8 Steps to Stop Dying Every Day and Start Waking Up. Click here for more info.
Jim and I were definitely in the minority, but being Southern Gentlemen, we were on our best behavior. I can hardly count the number of times each of us said, "Yes, sir".
We recently attended a birthday party for Lawyer Gail, seen here in a tres haute coutoure grass skirt. (It was a noteworthy event, because I got lei'ed... as did everyone else, but it wasn't that kind of party!!!) It was a small, intimate affair, with only 64 guests. One good thing about lawyers: they know how to throw a party. I'm sure there are other good generic lawyerly qualities, but none come to mind at the moment. (From L-R: Sharon, Ty, Suzanne, Gail, Suzanne's Lovely Mom Ruthie, and Joyce.)
A birthday party would not be complete without a cake, of course, and fortunately there was a yummy one at this party. Un-fortunately, for Joyce in particular, the cake in question had a blue icing that turned one's teeth bright blue. I thought about blackmailing Joyce to suppress this image, but figured it would be more fun to circulate it widely... her new nickname, of course, is Little Miss Bluetooth!
My Lovely Bride approached me with a pair of scissors today, saying, "Ty, would you please take care of this Irish pennant on my sleeve?" I replied immediately, "Certainly, my dear, I'd be happy to help." Those who have not served in the US Navy or US Marine Corps might wonder what that exchange implied... To sailors and Marines, an Irish pennant is a loose thread on a Navy or Marine uniform. The term relates to the lack of seamanlike appearance of ships from Ireland which docked in England centuries ago, with the bitter ends of ropes dangling untidyly all over the ship. A Boatswain's Mate (AKA "the Bo'sun") aboard a Royal Navy or US Navy warship would be quick to secure such flagrant examples of improper seamanship, which is also referred to by the term "at loose ends".
My only regret about our evening together was that Ottawa, their home town, has a pretty boring, non-controversial mayor, unlike the former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, whom I like to bring up in conversations with some Canadian friends from that fair city when they mock American politicians... he and Marion Barry, the oft-elected mayor and home-town felon of Washington, DC, have a lot in common, particularly corrupt politics and a propensity to smoke crack cocaine... great role models for young people. What planet do these clowns come from?
Suzanne had a Sanaya channeling session at Unity of The Villages on Sunday past, which was the last one she will host here until late July, when she will return to The Villages to spend time with Her Lovely Mom Ruthie. It was a powerful session, and many first-timers were spellbound (as was I) by her connection with Higher Consciousness.
Finally, the last subtitle has nothing to do with a height-challenged rock band or lady-sized handguns. Rather, it deals with a flower that bloomed on our lanai a few days ago. I think it was a Christmas camellia (Camellia sasanqua); it was very pretty, and had fallen off its stem, so I put it in a shallow bowl with water and then shot it... well, I used my faithful Nikon with macro lens and took a photo (called an "image" these days) of the pistils, the "female" sex organs of a flower. I enjoy getting into tiny subjects because they seem to me more pure and innocent than what I see in the news headlines, and they also provide a glimpse into another dimension, a delicate world without humans. (That can't be all bad.) I am reminded of something I read recently: "God did an amazing job with the Universe and Nature; too bad he didn't do a better job with Man." I think a Woman said that; I would have used "Humanity" rather than "Man", but in any case, you get the drift...
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 6:56 PM
Thursday, February 26, 2015
St Petersburg; Magnificent Mandalas; The Ultimate Gift; A Poetic Breakfast; Let Out More Chain; A Job Offer
On Sunday, we traveled to First Unity of St. Petersburg, where Suzanne spoke at two services and presented her workshop, "Awakened Living 301, The Advanced Course for Souls on the Earth Plane," to a large and enthusiastic audience. First Unity is one of our favorite places to visit because of the wonderful congregation, their fabulous Wings Bookstore (thank you, Sharon Jebens), and their inspirational minister, Rev. Temple Hayes. It was also nice being back in St. Pete/Tampa, a vibrant community with a somewhat younger population than The Villages, our home community in Central Florida.
We had driven our motor coach down for the weekend and "dry camped" at MacDill Air Force Base. That means we didn't have any services (water, electric, etc.), but simply parked in a field with about 50 other visitors in a variety of rigs. For some unknown reason, there were many other RVs down from the Boston area in particular. But the highlight for Rudy and Gretchen was getting to play with other Dachshunds, especially these two longhairs and a dapple. There aren't many other Doxies back in The Villages, and you can tell they were trading dog stories while sniffing each others' butts. Dogs seem to have no compunctions about getting down to basics; I'm glad people don't use that olfactory means of greeting. At least I was able to get a formal photo with everyone's head up.
On Monday, we drove to Bradenton to have lunch with artist and poet Patricia M. Bowers, an incredibly talented painter who specializes in mandalas. Not only are her works vibrantly colorful and amazingly intricate, but Patricia paints freehand. Suzanne was impressed by the beauty of her work and the sacred geometry which infuses Patricia's designs.
Suzanne is the proud owner of two of Patricia's Spirit-inspired prints, which she uses not just for the pleasure of gazing at them, but as a meditative tool. Suzanne and I were also very impressed by Patricia's book of art and poetry, Infinite Love; Love and Life Enraptured. You can see more of Patricia's work at www.patriciambowers.com.
Our good friend Bill Hammond, whose award-winning nautical fiction series has been praised in this blog previously, has a new book out, The Ultimate Gift: Embracing the Joy of Eternal Love. This is a very personal and touching book about the loss of his beloved wife Victoria, and the series of stunning soul-to-soul communications that Bill experienced that provide irrefutable evidence that life is eternal and that love never dies. You may recognize a couple of folks with whom you are familiar in the pages of this book, as it features several highly meaningful sessions with Suzanne and a special visit we enjoyed with Bill in Minnesnowta. You will find this well-written and heartfelt book hard to put down, and a confirmation that our consciousness lives on long after death. Click here to find out more.
Suzanne and I took the latest creative cactus contest winners, Connie England and John Henry, out to breakfast yesterday at First Watch, and Der Blogmeister sadly allowed them to escape without documenting the event with a photographic record. I had to ask Connie to send a selfie by email. Connie is a gifted poet from Maine (but you'd never know it by her accent... right....) and John is from North Dakota, where he has a house on a lake filled with fish that leap onto his hooks. Amazingly, this is one fisherman who actually catches fish. (No snide comments about my fishing prowess, please...)
Speaking of water sports, as I write this post, the wind is howling outside our lanai. A severe cold front with a line of strong thunderstorms is moving at 75 mph through the area, and the winds outside are already up to 45-50 mph. In fact, the wind woke me up a bit ago, and I murmured to Suzanne, "I'm getting up to let out more chain.", referring to the frequent routine aboard a sailboat of increasing the length of your anchor chain to prevent dragging during a storm. She replied without a beat, "Be careful out on deck." You can take the sailors off the sea, but you can't take the sea out of the sailors.
Finally, we had pizza recently with our good friend Gail Grossman, who is a lawyer and a public defender. (I have to admit that I must be mellowing a lot, because I rarely use friend and lawyer in the same sentence.) I was giving her a hard time about some of her clients (whom I generally refer to as "TGBs, those guilty b----- ... now what was that last word?") Gail has a real sense of humor, because she later sent me a note saying that she had alerted the P.D.'s office that I was looking for work, and they were awaiting my application and C.V. to join their staff to help get the miscreants out of jail and on the path to righteousness. (In the Navy, we called that "peeing up a rope". Don't hold your breath, Gail.) It is appropriate that just over Gail's shoulder is the logo "NYPD" and a sheriff's badge...
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 4:24 AM