Tag Archives: travel

Just Small Talk

I’ve said it before , I’ll say it again: It is great being retired and living in a senior community. Here there is plenty of time to do or accomplish whatever you want to do. All is done at your leisure which make retiring that much better. Traveling, reading, television watching, eating out, casino hopping, etc. is all part of enjoying the senior years. Many do not or have not the monetary or physical where with all to do it. Then there is Imperial Plaza.

Imperial Plaza took it’s usual Wednesday trip to Jamestown, Va. The first permanent colony in America. It was sad to see a great trip, that was cheap, not being taken advantage of by the great majority of people living here. Brookdale Imperial Plaza does not make a profit from these excursions yet seldom is there a full bus. Then, as you walk around the area, there are people saying there isn’t anything to do.

At Jamestown we viewed replicas of the Indian village, the English settlement and the museum. There was a bow and arrow demonstration, musket loading/firing demonstration and the showing of the interiors of the church and Indian huts replica. What was also for good exploration were the two ships. The size of the ships were small, by today’s standards, for having carried so many people to the new world. However, thinking of the size of the people in that era, mean there was plenty of room.

After getting back, I had just enough time to get myself clean, change clothes and get to a Mighty Pen Project class at the Virginia War Memorial (it was a humid day). I enjoyed my time with them, can hardly wait for our next time together. I always learn something new because I consider my writing as atrocious. I’ll keep trying to improve hoping I’ll get there one day. I have the two blogs to keep me in practice plus two stories I am still working on but constantly tearing apart for redoing. Each time I get fresh information at the Mighty Pen Project, I have to rewrite but I consider it worth the effort.

As I have written before, I am a member of the Howard Baugh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman Incorporated who had a ceremony in Petersburg, Virginia. I could not be with them because I was out of town; they had a ceremony at a high school, I was out of town again. I hope to be in town for the next ceremony although I have been lucky enough to be available for the meetings.

It was a fine day for an outing. My wife and I went to the Wine & Hops Festival in Petersburg, Virginia on Saturday. It was okay, however, the lines for the wine and beer were long, there were a lot of vendors in a confined space, the place was very crowded in a small area. Lots of young people attended, being it was a confined area (Old Towne), standing around, made moving from vendor to vendor very complicated. But it was nice to get out, seeing things outside our usual areas of travel.

While in the area, we toured my old stomping grounds (I am originally from Petersburg), Hopewell and Colonial Heights, Virginia. We went to the new Puerto Rican Bakery/Cafe. It opened three months ago and we learned about it on television’s evening news. They are taking items of donation to the storm ravaged Puerto Rico. It’s the only Puerto Rican cafe I know in the area. There was one in Chesterfield but it closed a year ago.

I advise people, especially seniors, to get out and explore, revisit places of yore or new ones. Make time to go, enjoy before there is not enough time left to do it. I know my wife and I will go as much as we can because time is quickly catching up. Have fun and party as if there is not a tomorrow.

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Taking Advantage of Retirement

I will write, again, about being retired and all the fun that is out there to be taken advantage. But, there are others, in my retirement community, that want to just sit and complain about this and that and rarely, if not ever, take advantage of the magnitude of opportunities. I promised to give a little more of my travels and/or taking advantage of the opportunities, not only here at Imperial Plaza but outside the gates of the community. But, first I must say, there are numerous things to do and most are free and what is not free is very cheap.

Everyone here know my wife and I love the casinos and the last one was a stay at the Sands Hotel and Casino/Mall in Bethlehem, Pa. (Sunshine Bus Tours). To say the casino was huge is not a dream but the truth. Of all the casinos we have visited, that was the largest. The hotel room was very large and cleaned daily whether we wanted cleaning or not. There was a cards tournament going on and the number of people playing (must have been in the hundreds) would not fit in Imperial Plaza’s auditorium. It was a nice trip…

The Activities Department, here at Imperial Plaza, have been doing a great job. Among the many trips (I’ll name two) was the fishing trip at the mouth of the Chesterpeak Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and the latest trip was on (The Alliance) a schooner on the York River. We sailed out of Yorktown and, after sailing in the triple mast (sails) schooner, had lunch at Outback in Williamsburg, Va. This Wednesday is to the Maryland Live Casino/Mall, can’t miss that, and, two months from now, a trip to the casino in West Virginia (Charlestown).

I just found out that a Richmond Mayoral Debate will be held here and I am wondering how many residents will attend. People here have so much apathy toward so much yet they can sit around in the lobby area and gripe about everything. I didn’t care about Richmond politics until I started living here. Now that Richmond is my city of residence and where I vote (we have a voting precinct in house), I am very interested and there is a need to know before I vote. Since there is a voting precinct here, I wonder how many residents vote, especially the Black vote. I have found the Black people here show more indifference than most and participation is seldom, with the exception of very few.

A few days ago I was talking with a couple of people about cities and, out of the blue, I was asked “what makes a city a city?” and I had to stop and think a second. It came to me about a conversation I had with a ranking postal official in North Dakota. I had wondered what made such small towns in North Dakota designated as cities. Some of the cities in North Dakota are smaller than our large trailer parks here in Richmond. This man told me that all the place needed was an operating post office and it could then become a city on it’s own. Well, Imperial Plaza don’t have a post office per se, but it does have package pickup, stamps, mail delivery and mail pickup. To top that off, Imperial Plaza have a bank, store, restaurant, doctor’s office, pharmacy, etc. All the places some cities in the USA don’t have and that includes having police, buses, barber shop, beauty parlor, etc. The resident don’t have to leave the premises for anything that is needed. We are a city within a city but without our own zip code. Now I don’t want to hear anyone saying I didn’t name this or that because I purposely didn’t mention everything. There is so much here to mention that I don’t want to attempt naming everything because I know I will miss something.

So, until the next time, I want everyone to be careful out there because any bad thing can happen at any time. Just be vigilant and careful but don’t go off the deep end and take matters into your own hands. Let the proper people do that and respect them for doing a great job in spite of the miniscule few that put a taint on their name. Peace Out

facebook-20160918-101543(I’m hoisting the foresail by myself but the teenager, in the blue cap, was suppose to help me)

I Am Retired

For the moment I will get back to talking about Imperial Plaza, not all of the happenings but as much as I dare for now. Since I have been here and have written about this place, I have found it quite intriguing, to say the least. Imperial Plaza have gone uphill, downhill and now uphill again. I was involved in some of it by being on committees but there have been some people that were quite radical about what they perceived as needing to be accomplished and how it should be accomplished. There is one or more that gives the perception of “my way or the highway”. There are others that will go so far as to jump the chain of command and go straight to the top.

In everything, like the government, there are parts of a problem that is not seen by the average person. In other words, the whole picture is not seen, therefore, the problem can not be solved as it is seen because one must first see the whole picture (the big circle…). There is always another element to look at unless you are at the top and definitely know the whole picture. Then, alas, there may be an element of that picture that is hiding something, for whatever reason, which makes the picture cloudy and a commendable resolution difficult if not impossible.

There are a few people at Imperial Plaza that come from a world where they are the boss and are used to people complying to their every whim but now they are into a world of retirement. They still have the mindset that when they say something, everyone must jump to do whatever it is without question. They also have it in their heads that they know the best way to do things only if they can get people to get on with the task they have alluded.

Since the previous head of Imperial Plaza got the boot (some say not), the new person have done a great job getting things moving without too much conflict and discontent. There is still a hic-up here and there but nothing is perfect and never will be. There was a large shift in the dining facility and the food and wait staff got to be pretty bad. With the new head chef and quite a few new wait staff, things are beginning to look up. I hope so because I have stopped eating there.

The one thing that have, on one hand, gotten stagnant and, on the other hand, gotten bad is the entertainment. I know most of the seniors want old music (thirties, forties and so on), but, it is always the same old thing. There are two or three bands that always come here and I can tell you the line up of the music. I know what tune is next, because there is very little deviation from that line up, and usually what comment the lead person will make. There is a very good man playing good music in the White Squirrel but he have been relegated to twice a month, he was playing every week for months. He would fill the place on Tuesday and everyone was eating, drinking and dancing. The new group that replaces him every other Tuesday does not take requests nor do they fill the place. Alas, you can’t fight city hall. It’s the dining facility’s lost and I keep my money in my pocket. I either stay in my apartment to eat and drink or I can go out to eat. My wife and I are mobile and I don’t care what we do for that day. There are always choices and I try to take advantage of them because I am retired and I’m not nailed down to do anything I don’t want to do.

I’ll stop here although there is so much more to talk about but I don’t want to make this too long and boring. I want to continue this at the next writing and go into other parts of what is going on as well as, hopefully, getting into my travels. As I said before, I am retired and I love writing, salt water fishing and traveling. As time permits, I’ll write something else soon. Be kind to your neighbors for you’ll never know when you’ll need them. Also, insure your words are soft and sweet, you’ll never know when you’ll have to eat them. By the way, the photo is one of the jobs I retired from.

 

Eric_on_Night_patrol2-428x266

Vacation Cruise

We have returned (my wife and I) to land after nine days at sea, on the Grandeur of the Seas, with stops in Bermuda, Nassau (Bahamas) and Coco Cay (Bahamas), over twenty four hundred nautical miles, round trip. I loved it but I did not love what we returned to, the aftermath of a terrible storm. Trees down, roads blocked because trees were across the roads and power lines and no electrical power anywhere. I have been through and seen worst but that is something a person can’t get used to. It’s an inconvenience, to say the least, but I’ll get to that later.

First let me write about the cruise. We traveled from Imperial Plaza by bus with twenty six other people and checking in/boarding was a breeze. It was better than what I anticipated plus the weather was perfect. In fact, the only day we ran into rain was at the last stop, Coco Cay, Bahamas, and that was an off and on rain. In fact, when I took the picture of the sailboat with the lightning strike behind it, it was a sunny morning. When the off and on rain hit, I was reclining in a beach chair on the beach, letting the warm rain wash over me along with a gentle, warm breeze. What a relaxing day.

The first stop was at Heritage Wharf in Bermuda. We took a tour of the entire island with frequent stops included. That night we cruised the waters in a glass bottom boat, looking at the fish and the old ship wreck that was sticking out of the water which have been there a couple hundred years. This is proof that Bermuda is surrounded by a reef and there are only two ways past the reef. It was quite warm but a nice breeze gave relief from the humidity. Lovely place but it would be expensive to live there. Michael Douglas and a couple other stars have property there but they can afford it. While we were on the tour, we stopped in the capitol, Hamilton, and did a short tour downtown. We also did the same thing at the far end of the island, St. Georges.

The next stop was Nassau, Bahamas and it was a little hotter (I don’t mean that in a bad way. I love the heat.). We toured a cigar making factory, a chocolate factory and the Natural History Museum. Of course I had to get some nice, fresh, hand rolled cigars. Love a good cigar (I know smoking is bad for you but to each his own, I say). From what I could see, Nassau is small and densely populated. My wife and I concluded that the reason people there moved and worked slowly was because of the heat, humidity and the closeness of everything. The more (faster) you moved, the hotter you become.

The last stop was Coco Cay, Bahamas (owned by Royal Caribbean). As we were entering the port I took the picture of the sailboat and never saw a lightning strike. Later that night, when I reviewed my pictures, I was startled to see the lightning in the photo. Now it is one of my favorite photos. It was sunny as we were coming into port but it later turned into on and off showers. The weather was warm with a nice breeze. I lazed under an umbrella and, as the showers came and went, I only got wet from the knees down but was never cold. The cruise line had nice food (hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, fruit, and beverages). Then the seagulls started flying all around us and occasionally stole food. They were very aggressive and would get as close as a couple feet (can anyone say aggressively hungry?).

On board the ship was fantastic. I could write a book about the things that went on, the fine service, the wonderful shows and, of course, the duty free shopping. The food was greater than great and there was a different menu each day. The on-board casino kept me and my wife occupied (she won the slot machine contest. I came in thirteen out of the many people that entered) and the drinks flowed freely (not free). I love being retired and on a constant vacation. It was so wonderful that we signed up for a cruise in December 2017, but all good things must come to an end and it did.

Getting back to Imperial Plaza, via Imperial Plaza’s bus, was easy, especially with the traffic (only a couple slow downs). Then the bottom fell out. We knew there was a wind storm but we didn’t expect the power outage or the destruction the wind caused. Trees were down everywhere and electricity was out. Oh well, can’t fight Mother Nature, just cope with it. We returned on Saturday afternoon and Imperial Plaza’s power came back at four thirty Sunday afternoon and then the fun began. Saturday night we stayed in a hotel and returned Sunday afternoon. Then, forgoing unpacking, we began emptying the chest freezer and refrigerator/freezer plus cleaning both. Now we will restock with the insurance payout. The company we are with is making a fast payout for the lost food.

Monday, we walked the area taking pictures of all the devastation and carnage that had occurred. It looked like a war zone with so many trees down, broken trees, trees on cars, trees on houses, and traffic lights not working. There were many vehicle accidents because where the traffic lights were out vehicles had to come to a stop. Some didn’t and, of course, there was an accident (one death that I am aware of). There was even damage to one of the buildings of Imperial Plaza. The wind was a “straight line” wind, not a tornado, as I’ve heard some people saying.

Well, I’ll close this and say “stay tuned because it’s not over yet”. This year’s traveling is not over yet. This weekend we’ll go to Maryland Live (casino) for my wife’s birthday, then the following weekend is to Colorado for my grandson’s wedding. Then to Pa. for a family reunion and I don’t remember the rest. I’m retired and I love this traveling. I’ve worked many years to have and enjoy this time in my life. You all should do the same. I wish all a good summer and safe travels. Enjoy life!

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Grandeur of the Seas showtime

Grandeur of the Seas showtime

A resident of Coco Cay

A resident of Coco Cay

A small piece of the wind damage

A small piece of the wind damage

SMILE!!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and will have a very Happy New Year! This being the last blog for 2015 (on both sites), I would like for all of us to reflect on the good things and the bad things that have happen to us in 2015. But, always remember that even though things may seem bad for us, there is always something worst that have happen for someone else. We have survived our worst and is hoping for better things in the upcoming year. Always look ahead because it’s no use looking at what has happened. There is nothing that can be done about that now, only try, during the next chance, to be better or do better.

I always have to remember that there is no use to bury my head in the sand and hope things will go away. It will not. I constantly remind myself to keep on pushing and smile. Always smile. I see many people with a frown on their face and never a smile. A smile make you feel better and people will perceive you as a better person (and they don’t know what you are really thinking).

There are things I have accomplished, done good, and I smile and wonder what I can do to top that. There are things I have failed in and I smile but try to think about ways to do better. Smiling goes a long way and is on both sides of the coin. One good and one bad. But, smile and it will all even out in the end. There is always an end.

This year, at Imperial Plaza, there have been good and bad and I really don’t want to get into which is what. I just smile and keep going. I just remember that I have had a long and fruitful life and there is nothing that can ever take that away from me. It is time to take it easy and let the next generation fully take over. They have been an apprentice long enough. If they make mistakes, oh well, I am retired and can live through it. It is no use moaning and groaning about what is happening because it won’t do any good. No one will listen to me anyway.

Therefore, we all should sit back and let someone else drive. Give a little direction, a nod of approval or a little advice in the disapproval but we are too old to drive. I’ll keep my eyes open during 2016 but do my own thing. I have plenty of writing to do. I still have The Mighty Pen Project board that I am on. I still have my every other weekend part-time job. I have plenty on my plate. Then add in travel and other pleasures which will have the plate overflowing, but I still smile. I am trying to enjoy retirement and being a senior (I don’t like that word. I’ll try to put another word in it’s place). I’ve had a full life and it’s time to enjoy what I worked all those years for. You should try it, you may like it. And Smile! Remember, it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.

Graves Mountain and Imperial Plaza

The people at Imperial Plaza that did not take the trip to Grave’s Mountain Lodge for lunch missed a fantastic trip.  I was in my apartment thinking, before we left, about the road conditions and the weather in general because of the recent snows.  To my surprise the roads were clear and dry and very few pot holes.  Thumbs up for the state of Virginia which is not like the state of Georgia and never have been.  Then the scenery can be added in and it made for a wonderful ride.

Those of us that went on the trip had the pleasure of travelling in the new Imperial Plaza bus.  Of course our favorite driver, Terry, was behind the wheel and Ron led the way, as usual.  However, Terry and I were looking at the bus and, of course, inspecting it as we looked at the rear camera that had a large display for the driver.  Then we found a leak on the right corner of the windshield that came from the snow that was on the roof of the bus.  Always something but it’s better than the other bus which had most of the windows leaking and, at times, the person sitting next to a window would get wet.  Now, that’s all gone and a smoother ride to boot.

We had a delicious meal and fantastic table talk and the usual beautiful view out the window.  The weather co-operated and the day was wonderful and it wasn’t too cold.  If I were to eat there every day, I would be big as a house and then some.  It was a lot and I could not have eaten everything; I was stuffed to the gills.  Then we left for our favorite stop, The Yoder Store.  There is so much there to choose from that I usually find myself spending more than I counted on, but it’s all good.  Then there are the small corrals with all types of animals in them.  In the goat corral there is a long ramp that wraps around the corral, slowly going high in the air.  The goats will walk to the top and wait for someone to get a cup of grain and send it up for them to eat.  If you want to see pictures of this, you need only to contact me.

I enjoy these trips, they are simply wonderful and, being selfish, I don’t have to drive.  So far, everywhere I have travelled with Imperial Plaza it was Terry driving and a couple of times Ron drove and, of course, the James River Bus Line.  My wife kids me about overly enjoying myself and, yes, I am enjoying Imperial Plaza.  More residents should go on these trips and enjoy themselves also.

Until next week, all take care and join me on some of these trips.  There is plenty room or there can be a second bus.  Let’s have some fun together.