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Ahoy Cruisers; Moving Day! Creepie-Crawlies; Award Breakfast; Buen Camino?

We recently had visitors from another world. Kind sorta “extraterrestrials”, because they have given up life on land for the opportunity to travel the oceans aboard a small sailboat – they are called “cruisers”. Anthony and Annette Baker are friends from DC who are living aboard their beautiful Morgan 44 sloop Magnolia and cruising the East Coast of the US from Maine to the Bahamas. During this year’s ongoing southbound voyage, they stopped in Vero Beach and came to visit us here in Central Florida. We tried to entice them into The Villages lifestyle by taking them to the newest country club, Belle Glade, but no luck… they are now headed back to sea, and are enjoying every minute of their adventure afloat. 

Note for non-sailors: cruising offshore aboard a sailboat with just the two of you aboard isn’t quite like taking a Holland America cruise with 2,000 other passengers and 800 crew to cook your meals and run the ship. It’s a 24/7 operation, and both of you have to know how to operate the boat and trim the sails in any weather and sea conditions, which are often “exciting” and physically demanding. Here we see Magnolia at anchor on a sunny day in light winds; now imagine her at 3:00 AM in a thunderstorm with 45 knot winds, rolling and pitching like a bucking stallion…

Back ashore, one of the most exhausting events in a Villager’s life is Moving Day. Fortunately, that doesn’t occur nearly as often as thunderstorms do for sailors, but Suzanne’s Lovely Mom Ruthie recently moved from Steeplechase in Oxford, FL, to Sumter Grand, a brand new residence on Highway 466A right here in The Villages, only 4 miles from our house. A nice trio of strong young men packed up all her gear and furniture into a moving van and got her set up again in less than 6 hours.

We had a fabulous lunch courtesy of Sumter Grand; Ruthie was one of the very first new residents here, and you can see by the photo that the hanging lamp over our table hadn’t yet been unwrapped, the building is so new! At the end of the day, we felt that we should ensure the dinner menu would be adequate for Ruthie by sampling it ourselves… the Paella and Filet Mignon were both judged superior, and my chocolate Ganache the best I’ve ever had.

Back at our homestead, however, things were not going well. Just as I was settling in for a well-deserved and long-overdue nap on the couch, Suzanne said, “Ty, you had better come look at these bugs on the lanai screen.” I replied, “Sweetheart, they are probably just gnats or mosquitoes.” “No, Ty, you should come see them… they are four ugly, nasty creepy-crawlies about three inches long.” And you know, she was right. Being an old Navy guy, I’m on good terms with sharks and barracuda, but I’m not used to bugs like this. I know you’re not supposed to get too close to potentially poisonous critters like this one, so I said, “Let me grab my Grandpa’s Winchester Model 94.” For some reason Suzanne was reluctant to let me expend four .30-.30 rounds on the beasts, probably because of the noise disturbing some of our neighbors, so I called Massey Services to come get rid of them. (I really do prefer taking care of things like this myself, but she seemed adamant.) Maybe I should have a contest to name them…

Speaking of contests, Quiz Winners Bob and Jan Blythe accompanied My Lovely Bride and Der Blogmeister to First Watch Cafe for their Award Breakfast. Another great meal; food seems to be a common thread on this blog…

Finally, I have to say that My Lovely Bride really caught me off guard the other night. I was working at my computer, and Suzanne said, “Ty, there’s a movie here that we should watch together; it’s a spiritual film called The Way.” Even though we had no popcorn, I agreed, since it had an interesting plot, location and scenery. When it was over, she said, “I think I want to do that; with you.” I was stunned. What “that” is, is a 500 mile long pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago from the French border to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, where the remains of the Apostle Saint James (the Greater) are interred. You make the pilgrimage on foot. Carrying all your stuff in a backpack. So, next September will find us heading out on the most physically demanding adventure of our lives. We will be following in an ancient tradition, because for about 1,000 years, pilgrims have been making this journey, during which your personal, inner quest is as important as the pedestrian part. Meanwhile, we have to get into shape for hiking 12-15 miles a day for 35-40 days. We have already started our early morning hike/training regimen, as this photo of Miss Sunshine proves. As for myself, I am telling my feet that it won’t be so bad… but they are already grumbling. Wish us luck… or as they say along the pilgrimage, Buen Camino! 


  • angeldust
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Wow, Ty…you take amazing pictures! The critter depicted, reminds me of a recent newspaper article, mentioning a new type of caterpillar making its way to Florida. It is NOT friendly and somewhat toxic… so the article reported. You did the right thing calling Massey's.

    Ruthie and Suzanne look vibrant and happy in Ruthie's new sacred space. Aahhh…coming home again. May joy, peace and happiness abound!!

    Would like to watch the DVD, "The Way" one day. A while back, read Shirley Maclaine's book, "The Camino," which also gets into the spiritual nature of this journey…along with Maclaine's metaphysical experiences. Pretty impressive book. Would be terrific if you and Suzanne seriously consider going on this journey. Wow–would your bloggers ever be glued to your website! After all, one would think all your training has you ready for this kind of journey. You should probably put it on your bucket list. Go for it, and we'll all be cheering you on to more amazing experiences!! Love & Hugs, G

  • Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Ty, is that critter a Syntomeida epilais?


  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Dale: Dude, You rock! Congratulations on identifying the critter as a Syntomeida epilais, or Oleander caterpillar. They have chewed off most of the leaves on our only oleander, strangely enough. You win the contest! Dinner's on us when we visit Indiana next summer…

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Gloria, Thanks for your note. See Dale's comment below, identifying the critter as an Oleander caterpillar, not toxic as it turns out. Suzanne will pass The Way DVD to you for your viewing pleasure.


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