Tuesday, February 09, 2016

More on the Year of the Monkey - Happy Chinese New Year 2016

Happy Chinese New Year! 2016 is the Year of the Monkey according to Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Monkey will start from Feb. 8, 2016 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) and last to Jan. 27, 2017.
Our local First Coast Families with Chinese Children group is hosing the CNY celebration on February 21st.
The monkey ranks ninth of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year-cycle. Years of the Monkey include 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, and 2028.
Lucky Numbers: 1, 7, 8
Lucky Colors: white, gold, blue
Lucky Flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
Lucky Directions: north, northwest, west
Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness. Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits.
Therefore wearing red during your zodiac year (or zodiac year) will bring you good luck and give you a good year. You can wear a red belt, red socks, red shoes, or red clothes, and red underwear is highly recommended during your zodiac year. Besides wearing red, you can also wear jade accessories during your zodiac year to ward off bad luck, like pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets.
Panda Express has a Celebrate Chinese New Year Kit which is nice for younger children and for the classroom. (www.celebratecny.com)

A few monkey jokes for the kids:
Why don't monkeys play cards in the jungle?
There are too many cheetahs there!
What key won't open any door?
A monkey!
Why did the monkey like the banana?
Because it had appeal!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016!

Chinese New Year Celebration has begun. Our local Families with Chinese Children's celebration is Saturday February 21st, so we still have time to plan for the fun!
I liked this greeting for CNY, so copied it from The Priceless Princess.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Wow! Our First LPGA Tournament - Watching Live, In Person!

We planned about a month ago to definitely take Alyzabeth to her first LPGA tournament; it was being held so close to us, about a two hour drive to Ocala. We have spoken about going to one for a couple of years. We did take her to the PGA TPC Sawgrass and the WEB.com tour card qualifier also at Sawgrass. It is fun to walk around the beautiful courses and watch so many good players. The only problem we have is that unless AA is right up to the rope she can't see the players through the crowds; we are dependent on a few good spectators who see her and make a little room up by them so she can see. At the Ocala course, several couples were gracious and let her stand in front of them, as they can see over her.
Friday 02/05/16: We arrived around noon-ish and bundled up as it was chilly and all was wet due to a heavy rain storm the afternoon before. With play suspended, most golfers had to finish Round 2 this morning. We were able to watch many of them coming into Hole 18.

Photo below is from the LPGA web site - we are in the crowd (lower right side, in front of the guy who looks a little like Ford!):
We wandered over to the putting/driving range and saw many players warming up for the beginning of Round 3.
Visited with the (Bella) Dovhey's and (Maggie) Potash families:
Ha Na Jang was very nice with the fans and allowed many of us to take photos too.
Saturday - Final day with the finishing of Round 3 and all of Round 4. Unfortunately, the rain came back with chilly weather and clouds, then light showers to pouring rain after lunch. We left as it began to pour (about 3:30 p.m.), the leaders were on Hole #14.
Walking with the Chao's to find Lexi T. and Lydia K.!
AA, Sammy and Kaitlin:
Lexi at the 10th Tee (her drive went to the left into a long gully along the fairway):
We did leave a little early due to the weather and AA's nose running, catching a cold, didn't want to get her anymore chilled than she was. The Chao's had Corporate tickets (bought through a charity auction) and invited us to their protected seating but we decided to walk a bit more and then left when the rain was more than a drizzle. The Chao's are always gracious and friendly, they shared their free food and drinks; love being with them.

I won't say too much about the Girls Golf Clinic hosted by the LPGA Foundation as we found out that it is not for girls who already know how to golf. We mistakenly thought it was going to be a true learning clinic as the application had on it several groups of skill levels and we had to select which one AA was in. These clinics seem more for the curious or beginner as a couple of the skill stations that had nothing to do with golf and only about girls socializing and doing funny things. Thank goodness the Chao family had signed up (on our misinformation) and we left early with them to watch the lady golfers. One photo showing them warming up before the clinic began, it was good they kept them  busy while waiting for the clinic to begin.
We are not huge autograph seekers, usually only get a few, those golfers we follow, so getting Ha Na's autograph was fun to get and double sweet as she won the tournament, her first on the LPGA tour!

OCALA, Fla. -- Ha Na Jang had to go the final 36 holes with the best player in women's golf to capture her first LPGA Tour title Saturday (Coates at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Course).
Lydia Ko turned out to be more of a cheerleader than a challenge.
Jang was 15th on the LPGA money list as a rookie last year, when she was a runner-up four times. The player of the year on the Korean LPGA in 2013, Jang is projected to move into the top 10 in the Rolex Women's World Ranking. She was a runner-up last year at the Coates Golf Championship.
Here's the link to the entire article on ESPN Golf.
She is also amazing due to her first hole in one, just one week before on a Par 4:
A hole-in-one is always special, but some are more special than others. Ha Na Jang's tee shot Saturday on the 218-yard, par-4 eighth hole at the Ocean Club Golf Course in the Bahamas found the bottom of the cup for an ace. According to the LPGA Tour, it was the first hole-in-one on a par-4 in the tour's history.

Friday, February 05, 2016

First Week of February 2016

A few miscellaneous topics this week....
Here's the plant that cousin Carolyn brought from Maine for us, from my sister Melissa. It never bloomed until we moved temporarily to our condo a couple of years ago. It is blooming again! It must really like our Florida winter weather (or it is really confused).

We decided to try a bag of the Local Fare foods, a group who gather local farm foods and deliver to your home. We received our trial bag and it was full of purple potatoes, local citrus, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, napa cabbage, pak choi, red beets, and a loaf of Ciabatta bread. We could not resist the bread and immediately got out the butter and enjoyed a slice. Here's the link to our local food web site.
Still trying to decide about the value of the produce and convenience of delivery (but it is random, as in there is no choice as to what foods you want each week). Since we have the RAM nearby, can select what local foods we want (have a choice) and use that as a local outing, we probably will not purchase more from this group; but still undecided. It is really nice to have this fresh option. Purple fingerling potatoes:
Since being off from work, I have put some chalkboard signs around our home based on the season or holiday. Here's my latest, I need to come up with one more Valentine's Day quote:
During a heavy rain day, we took AA to see Kung Fu Panda 3 (on Thursday, 02/04/16), she had mentioned it to us about 100 times, that the movie was coming in January, so we finally went (it has only been out for 6 days!). From my Facebook post: We saw ‪#‎KungFuPanda3‬ today (pouring rain, no golfing!). AA loved it, giving it 5 Stars. I gave it a 4 of 5 Stars. The music is very motivating and catchy. The adoption theme with Poe's bio Dad finding him gave us a few pauses; adoptive Goose Dad had to think about the meaning of how this changes Poe's life. In the end, acceptance of the blended family and their different strengths allowed for lots of love to help Poe be the best he can be. Everyone gets a hug!

Next up: Taking AA out of school on the 5th to see the LPGA Tournament in Ocala this weekend and participating in a girls clinic on Saturday.  Then we need to finish AA's Valentine's Day cards for her classmates; we are making origami boxes and will fill with starbursts or candy kisses

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

NFJG - Plantation Bay Ormond Beach Golf Tournament

This was Alyzabeth's come-back tournament after sitting out for four weeks right after her double eye surgery. And she played great! Hole 8 was the only hole that she hit a shot that lobbed to the right, into a bunker. An extra 3 - 4 strokes on that hole made for a dip in her spirits for just a few moments. She came back and won Hole 9 by two strokes with renewed courage! Eight of the holes were better than she had played in the Fall, on track for her lowest score....except for the No. 8. Good first time after having both eyes operated on! 
The course had very poor greens, dry, rough, sandy and just fertilized. The very frequent/many bunkers on each hole looked either like moon craters or shoreline cliffs; very steep, sheer slopes. Practice at the driving range:

The Foundation Boys and Girls Winners:
Daddy Caddie and lovely daughter:
Scoring table with Tylar:
Ninth hole - the end!

From Jack's Newsletter: Foundation Girls
Our Foundation Girls had themselves a little battle all the way to the end. Alyzabeth Morgan (age 9) and Tylar Ann Whiting (age 11) would keep pace with each other throughout the first six holes. With the match even, going into the seventh Whiting would card a nice bogey save which would give her a one stroke lead over Morgan. On the 8th-hole an unfortunate quad plus one bogey for Morgan would close the door to victory as Whiting would nip Morgan by two to take home her second and back-to-back victories of the season while Morgan would finish in the Runner-up spot.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

River House Chili Contest and Tasting!

Saturday, 01/30/2016 - Ford and I both made chili for the annual River House challenge. Ford made his very warm, lots of heat where mine was more traditional with hamburger and mild heat (it was too mild at first, so added more pepper flakes and chili powder). In the end, neither of us won (make note to bring lots of friends, tell them which number is your chili and have them vote for you whether they think it is the best or not - {smile}). Since we didn't tell anyone which one was ours, I was pleased when Manager Kelly said I was fourth in the voting. Not bad!

We enjoyed tasting and voting! We each voted for "free" (entry fee took care of it) so only paid the $5.00 fee for AA. Great dinner with 12 chili's to taste.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Daddy - Daughter Golfing Moment

From Facebook, Ford wrote:
We've been working our way towards this day and yesterday (the 26th) you took the final step only you could make. Congratulations Alyzabeth. I drove the cart and only watched as you "coached" your game start to finish. Bittersweet. Very proud. I know you're prepared and ready to do this. I hope I am. Love you. Dad...

Over the next two years, Alyzabeth will be playing double the yardage she is playing now, moving to 18 holes and will be able to choose to play without a caddie. She is proud of her accomplishment. We are proud of her taking charge and knowing her strengths and weaknesses, coaching herself.  We love you AA!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Our Original "Rumor Queen" Posts About our 10-Year LID-versary!

David Curewitz was a part of our daily life during the adoption "wait". He predicted (the "estimator") how many days would receive their referral each month from China and we hung by his every word; he was doing this before Rumor Queen began. His LID was one day before ours - his 01/26/06; ours was 01/27/06. And we were both referred during the same month together, August 2008. What is amazing, we have not posted about our LID anniversary since 2008, which was still during the wait! We always make a big deal about our referral day and "gottcha" day (Forever Family Day), but not our LID date which was so IMPORTANT! It was the day that China acknowledged that we were in the official line to adopt. Thank you David for reminding us of those days when each day passing seemed like an eternity!
From Facebook:
So, I spent the entire day yesterday wondering why the date seemed so important, but I had no clue what it was and it wasn’t until I came in today that I recalled. So, here it is.
Ten years ago (yesterday) was the day that a pile of our paperwork (and all of our hopes and dreams) was officially “Logged In” by the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs, the official government agency that handles international adoption in China. Furthermore, it forever cemented our “place in the line” before we would be matched with a child. It was supposed to be a six-month wait, but it turned out to be five times that length. Every month, we would hear how many (or few) days they have processed and for two and a half years, we seemed to be getting simultaneously closer and further from our daughter. That date “1/26/06” was the center of our world. If we were logged in a day sooner or two days later, we would have a different daughter and “our Wren” would have a different set of parents.
A lot has happened since that date, but we wouldn’t be the family we are now, were it not for that critical date ten years (and one day) ago.
So Happy 10-year LID-anniversary to all who shared the journey with me.

Retirees Meeting at the River House 01/26/16

Even though we gathered together due to a change in our pension benefit, we did get reacquainted and enjoyed the social aspect. Kevin Tyler explained the change in the calculation for the SJRPP pension benefit and we all had a chance to ask questions and develop a plan moving forward.
Kevin, Art Wallace, Tom Scarbrough, Mark Wright and John Reid:

 The "gang" without Pat Whitaker, Debbie Hester and myself:
A couple group photos, didn't have one where you could see Linda Reid in the very back/middle!
Jim Jackson and Art Wallace:
Bobby Recker, Jim Jackson, Bob Gher and Kevin:
And Art allowed our daughter to climb on his motorcycle - she will love it when we actually let her ride on her Daddy's bike!

Maybe SJRPP retirees will get together again when there is good news!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Football Sunday (and Indoor Fun)

We have had really COLD days recently and AA started having a runny nose yesterday so today was declared a quiet indoor day. We still did strengthening exercises but took it easy with reading and watching a movie before the two final football games began (next will be the Super Bowl). We got a little cabin fever so AA and I bundled up and took a bike ride around the block; then we used a balloon to play indoor badminton! We didn't break anything either! 
Here's to Nana Ann of the North and AA (wearing her Patriot shirt from Aunti M Cobb) practicing her swing!

We both got very good at bouncing the balloon and smashing it at each other - so hard we thought for sure it would break!
A few warmer days are expected, then back to our chilly NE Florida winters!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend "Grand" Fun!

We began our weekend with Grands Dylan and Alivia; nothing special planned just some play time together. Before bedtime:

Good Morning: Dylan playing the Wii during breakfast:
We stayed inside, the high today was 39, except for a quick trip to the store Michael's for yarn and a few Valentine's things that the girls picked out. I re-learned how to make yarn pom-poms with Dylan's help (and Martha Stewart).
They came, they stayed, they played and then they left!
It is really cold outside! Low 30's for the morning!