Thursday, February 25, 2016
Prissicion? Interst & Enviroment? Pancit and Lumpia; Tractors! Florida Trail; Hidden Pond; Pink; Florida Snow Golf?
I love signs. Not only are they (sometimes) informative, but they are often amusing. The first was observed on the back of a landscaping trailer here in The Villages. (I hope the owner is named "Prissi", but I'm not hopeful...)
The second sign was outside a local financial planning company (which shall go nameless, for military cooperation reasons)... the funniest thing about this sign was that when I mentioned the misspellings to the girl at the desk, she asked me, "Wow, were you an English teacher?" "No, I was a naval officer, but I had to write a lot." "Oh, that explains it; I'm the wife of a Navy yeoman, and the sign was written by a former Air Force guy. Wait until he hears he was pimped by the Navy!" Anchors Away, Birdman!!!
Those readers familiar with the US Navy know that during most of the 20th Century, and especially after WW II, thousands of sailors were recruited from the Philippines. Service in the US Navy was a path to good pay, training and citizenship for young men who otherwise would have few opportunities back home. When I served aboard ships from 1968 until 1990, many of our crewmen were born in the "P.I." Many were cooks and stewards, and for thousands of American sailors, their first taste of Asian cuisine was pancit, chicken or pork adobo, and lumpia served aboard ship or ashore in Subic Bay or Manila when their deployed ships pulled in for R&R during Vietnam. Suzanne's first taste of these culinary delights was at CINCLANTFLT headquarters in Norfolk, and more followed at every duty station until she retired. So it was no surprise that when we got married, pancit and lumpia were front and center on the serving line at our reception.
Fast forward to last week, and she was having some physical therapy done on her elbow, and everyone in the office was from the Philippines. She mentioned our wedding menu, and after looks of amazement from the staff, one of the ladies said, "I'm bringing you pancit on your next visit." Sure enough, a few days later we were enjoying it at lunch, and then a few days later a gift of lumpia followed. The ladies also told her about a Filipino restaurant in Leesburg, so one day we took Suzanne's Lovely Mom Ruthie on an outing for lunch. As soon as Ruthie sat down, a cute little Filipina girl about 4 years old came over and starting talking to her and showing Ruthie her iPhone. They had a fun chat while we ordered.
The food was delicious and authentic, and every other diner surely used Tagalog as their primary language. We were the only Anglos there, and it brought back many fond memories to both of us retired Navy officers. For those in our area, you can find great food at very reasonable prices at the First Asian Grocery on Route 44 in Leesburg.
Speaking of outdoor activities, winter in Florida is a great time for backpacking on the Florida Trail, which runs from Pensacola to Miami. I got out this week for a two-day trip, which allowed me to lighten my backpack from the 40 lbs I was carrying on the Appalachian Trail to 22 lbs, a huge benefit. For example, I replaced my compressed gas backpacker's stove with a tiny Esbit fuel tab stove (weight savings: about 8 ounces).
I would like to thank our good friend Lynette Setzkorn from Tulsa for a very thoughtful brass key chain/dog tag she sent me with some lyrics from a Pink song. I think that Lynette was surprised that an old guy like me would like Pink's work. Hey, I appreciate talent when I hear it, and she has such a subdued, "girl-next-door" style...
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 6:52 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Jet Lag; Two Lusty Gals; Dogs in Bags; A Concert Out; Winter Park; No Xena Outfit for Suzanne; What Is She Doing?
Finally back on a regular sleep schedule, we are back in the routine of Life in The Villages. One of our favorite pastimes is mountain biking, and last week we loaded our trusty Giant bikes on the car's rack and drove to Santos Trailhead. We were a half hour into our ride, having seen nary a single other rider, when we stopped for a water break. We heard wheels behind us, and through the woods came a young couple wearing Team Giant jerseys. Jess and Joel Nankman were obviously professional riders, and as we chatted, we noticed that their bikes were basically the same as ours, although theirs were the top-of-the-line professional models and ours a notch or two below; the guys were riding Giant Anthems and the women Giant Lusts. Of course we joked about the girls being "lusty". (You just can't make this stuff up.) Based in PA, Jess and Joel travel around the East Coast racing for Team Giant (the men's team) and Team Liv (the women's team), living out of a van with their Lab Clifford. Both of these riders have dozens of trophies and podium finishes to their credit, and we truly admire their skill and stamina.
Speaking of dogs, our Dachshunds Rudy and Gretchen are glad to have us back from New Zealand, although we wondered whether their surrogate parents Marc and Maureen would dog-nap them before we got home. We learned from neighbors that our puppies were even more spoiled by our dog/house-sitters than by us, and there were some hang-dog expressions on the puppies' faces when M&M left to return to North Carolina. If we ever go away on a trip again, we'll know who to call to make our pups happy. We recently took Rudy and Gretchen out on hikes to the Cross-Florida Greenway and to Sumter Landing, carrying them in our backpacks. We would have walked them beside us, but Rudy in particular cannot go five feet without sniffing and marking his territory.
We got to visit the new Sharon Morse Performing Arts Center here in The Villages for an Amore performance by renowned tenor Fernando Varela and his amazingly talented wife Susan Williams. Here we see Suzanne and Her Lovely Mom Ruthie in our front row center seats (I happened to see the ad in the paper on the day the concert was first announced, and ran down to the ticket office to be first in line for this splendid performance.) We also enjoyed the inspired pianist William Joseph and an amazing violinist, the lovely Molly Rogers.
While in Winter Park, we saw several unusual trees in the town's Central Park. I think this one was designed to stop our Rudy from marking it... ouch... talk about cruel and unusual punishment!
Valentine's Day provided an opportunity to take My Lovely Bride out for a fabulous dinner at the Arnold Palmer Country Club here in The Villages. The food was exceptional and my date was beautiful. What more could a guy ask for?
On a sad note, I have to admit to failing on one of my important assignments while Down Under. Before we left, our dear friend Terri of the Frozen North (TOTFN) asked me to find one of her childhood heroines and get an autograph. I looked and looked, but could not find Xena Warrior Princess or her blonde sidekick Gabrielle; and given their leather and steel outfits with sword and spear, they should have been easy to find. Maybe they had taken a vacation to Ely, MN, to go ice fishing... but not in those skimpy clothes! (I offered to buy Suzanne a black warrior princess rig like Xena is wearing, you know, for special occasions, but got a Harumph! and a Smack! for my initiative. Sigh...)
Finally, this photo of My Lovely Bride working at our kitchen table provides a bit of mystery... what IS she doing??? The answer suggests yet another reason in addition to my jet lag why I have not been blogging as often as usual lately. More info to follow in days and weeks ahead...
Posted by Ty and Suzanne Giesemann at 6:54 PM