SEPARATED MASKED TWIN BROTHERS DISCOVERED!

It’s been a few weeks now that I have been on the search during my morning and evening walks for prowling “Uga,” the University of Georgia bulldog mascot.  I’ve searched high and low, and I always search the fire hydrants.  But, it appears as if our collegiate rivalry remains between just the Clemson Tiger and Georgia Tech Yellowjackets.

Since my last post, I spotted a couple of painted rocks with a complimentary “You Rock” on one, and “Rock On” on the other.  I also found “Hope”—something badly needed, since my usual half-full glass seems to have a slow leak in it.

All three rocks were left in other areas of the community to be discovered by unsuspecting walkers.  Since those rocks have all disappeared, perhaps somebody else has found “hope,” too.  Perhaps they have a half-empty glass and need hope even more than I do.

Well, off I went on my continued search for Uga, when a couple of days ago, I came across what I thought was the triplet of those two blue-eyed masked cuties I wrote about in my first post, and again in my last post.  This guy even had eye brows and hair that matches his stylish bow tie!  I brought him home to keep me company at my computer.

But wait!  There’s more!!  Today, I came across his twin with matching hair and bow ties, separated at birth!  So, the twins have twin brothers!  Two sets of twins!!  Here they are, reunited once again:

Twins-resized

Will their family grow?  Do they have sisters?  Will they ever get to remove their masks so we can see their handsome smiles?  We can only

Hope-resized

THE PLOT THICKENS

The masked man has a twin!  A quite dapper one, I should say, because he is wearing a rather stylish bow tie.  Now, these questions remain:  Do they have a triplet?  Will he be as dapper as the twin?  Will he also have blue eyes like his brothers?  Will there be a sister?  The plot thickens…

MaskedMan2-Resized

Meanwhile, today, May 4, 2020, after kidnapping the bow-tied twin (and visiting his brother still in yesterday’s resting place, more discoveries were made. A college football rivalry seems to be brewing here at Sun City Peachtree.  A Clemson Tiger prowled his way south to Griffin, Georgia.  Not to be outdone, TWO Yellowjackets buzzed there way south from Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, to sting The Tiger.  So, where’s Uga?  It seems as if UGA’s Uga has yet to drool his way down from Athens and mark his territory.  I fully expected to find him on one of the fire hydrants.  Perhaps the Yellowjackets scared him off.

ClemsonTiger-resized

Yellowjackets-resized

Who (or what) will we find on tomorrow’s walk?  We will release today’s kidnapped gang and be on the lookout!

WHO IS THIS MASKED MAN?

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Ever since COVID-19 forced the closure of Club Peachtree, the recreation center in my active adult community, my husband and I have been going on morning walks, taking turns choosing a different route.  One day, along the way, we discovered this masked blue-eyed cutie sitting atop a stone wall.  I picked him up, complimented him on his stylish “SC” (Sun City) mask, and let him rest in the shade to be discovered once again.

Several days passed, and then, today, while enjoying the gorgeous spring weather, we were walking a different route in the community.  There he was again!  Basking in the sun on a stone retaining wall, he looked quite content.  This time, though, I kidnapped him, and took him home to capture this mug shot.  He’s resting comfortably next to my computer as I type this story.

I thought about taking him swimming with me, but the pool is still closed.  I also thought about taking him on our Scandinavian & Baltic cruise for some sightseeing, but it was canceled.  Since he is properly attired in his mask, I guess it is safe to turn him loose in our Sun City community.

So, who is this masked man?  When was he born?  Who set him free into the community?  Does he have a twin?  Does he have several siblings?  Are they all blue-eyed cuties?

The mystery remains…

 

iFLY: I FLEW AGAIN

If you haven’t read my first post on iFly, this won’t make a whole lot of sense, so you might want to check that out if you are curious.

This time at iFly, Sani was my instructor; and, after quickly assessing my skills, he wasted no time in teaching me new ones.  I was taught how to move forward by bringing my forearms in towards my shoulders, and then moving backward by bending my legs and straightening my arms.

I was also taught how to move up, which entailed pushing down on my arms.  To go back down, I had to lift my arms and legs.

Turning involved a slight shift of my hands, turning the back of my hands towards the left to go counterclockwise, and right to go clockwise.  To stop, I had to flatten them back out and keep my palms facing the floor.

All of these maneuvers require subtle moves to keep from going out of control.  When I lifted my arms too far up, I landed on the floor of the tunnel.  And, when I pushed down too far, Sani had to grab me to keep me from heading to the top of the tunnel.

Throughout my flights, another instructor was in the booth outside of the tunnel flashing me signals.  At one point, he motioned to turn all the way in a circle, and then stop in front of him.  I managed to nail my 360’s a lot better than my ups and downs!  He flashed this on the computer screen:  I’M PROUD OF YOU.  That made me laugh!  I was having such a great time!

Here is one of the videos Bruce shot of my flights.

For my last flight, Sani took me for spins up and down the tunnel that were a lot faster than last time.  I screamed the entire time!  Although it was exhilarating, I was glad he stopped when he did, because I was starting to lose my sense of direction, thanks to having Meniere’s, an inner ear disorder.  My ears had reached their limit.  Next time, I’ll have to ask him to stop in one place periodically, so I can regain my sense of where I am in the tunnel.

Next time?  Yes, I’m going back!

 

iFLY: I FLEW!

Long before the movie Bucket List hit the screen and got everybody thinking about what they would want to do before they died, I had been living my personal bucket list.

My list began with a goal I had set as a school kid to travel throughout the South Pacific on my own for one year after graduating from college.  I squirreled away gift money, saved up my bartending and waitressing tips, and embarked on that adventure on August 28, 1984, following the L.A. Olympics.  (The Olympics also took place in my home city of Long Beach, so I went to watch volleyball and hang out at the yachting village with my friends from the Australian sailing team.)

That trip down under would have been THE trip of a lifetime for most people; however, it lit a fire in me that has been burning for travel ever since.  My priority in life has been about acquiring experiences rather than things, so I opted for a less expensive gold band rather than a diamond ring when my fiancé wanted me to pick out my own wedding ring.  “Let’s travel instead!” I suggested to Bruce about how to spend that money, and we have been traveling together ever since.

It wasn’t until last year that we finally got around to watching the 2008 movie, Bucket List.  It sparked a conversation that I am guessing many people had after they watched the movie.  “What’s on your bucket list?” we asked each other.

Having been regular goal-setters and travel planners, we knew where each other wanted to travel.  As a matter of fact, we already had our 2020 and 2021 trips booked!  What we hadn’t discussed, however, was what other types of experiences we wanted to have before we died.

I can’t even remember when or where I first heard about indoor skydiving, but when I learned about iFly (www.iflyworld.com), I had immediately added that to my mental bucket list.  So, when Bruce asked me what (besides travel!) I would put on my bucket list, “Indoor skydiving!” was my reply.  I explained that it was skydiving without all the risks:  No small planes, no fear of a parachute malfunction, and no broken bones on a potentially rough landing.  Besides, I hate that feeling of my stomach coming up through my throat!  I could handle brief periods of that when I used to kayak surf, but that’s about it.  I also have Meniere’s, an inner ear disorder, so how would my ears respond to jumping out of a plane?  The thought of it makes me dizzy.

After writing up our bucket lists, I learned that iFly has a location in Atlanta, very close to Costco.  Perfect!  Even more perfect was when Costco started selling iFly gift certificates last Fall.  Bruce snatched one up, and that is how I spent my birthday.

As iFly describes the experience, “When you go skydiving, you jump and then fall several thousand feet.  At iFly, you don’t jump or fall, you fly gently on a cushion of controlled air.”  I couldn’t wait to experience that feeling.

Before getting suited up, our group was given instruction by our flight instructor, Austin, on how to enter the wind tunnel, hold our “flying” position, and exit the tunnel.  We were also shown a set of hand signals that he would be using, so we could make adjustments to our body position.   One finger held up meant, “Lift your chin up.”  Two straight fingers meant, “Keep your legs straight.”  If he bent those fingers, he wanted us to bend our legs.  If he flashed us the “ok” sign, that meant to hold our position.

Our group, which included a group of cute little girls celebrating a 10th birthday, a family, and me, got suited up in a flight suit, head sock, and helmet.  We entered the tunnel and lined up on a bench to wait our turn.  I purposely positioned myself last, so I could watch the other flyers and learn the ideal body position.  As a result, I learned from everybody’s mistakes and nailed my position fast.  (You only get one minute in the tunnel for each of your two flights, so there was no time to waste!)

Flight01

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This was the perfect body position, because Austin flashed me an “Ok!”

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For the first flight, Austin kept us low in the tunnel and hung on to us while he stood up.  The second flight was the “High Flight,” where he took us up high, and then low, and then back up high again throughout the one-minute flight.  This is what you will see in the video that was included in my package.  (Doing a high flight rather than a low one for your second flight costs an additional $14; however, it was well worth the added expense.)

How was the experience?  IT WAS A BLAST!  The first flight was exhilarating and a lot of fun, as you can see by the grin on my face; but I let out a loud, “Woo HOO!” and a non-stop giggle throughout the high flight.  Austin couldn’t hear me because of the wind noise and ear plugs we were wearing, but he said he could feel the vibration from my laugh when he was holding onto me!

Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  Bruce convinced me to go ahead and take advantage of the $139 offer they made to return for ten more flights, which sure beats the $219.95 it would cost to book the same thing online.  No, iFly is not necessarily inexpensive, but it sure beats the high cost of skydiving, and it’s a heck of a lot safer!

Flight05

POMS: NEW DIANE KEATON MOVIE PANNED

Cast
“POMS,” the new Diane Keaton movie, was released today; however, Sun City Peachtree (“Sun Springs”) residents viewed a special screening for us on Wednesday in two of Regal’s theaters, in Griffin.
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Our community looked fabulous in the movie, and several of our friends appeared as extras.  In addition, our neighbor around the corner, Karen Beyer, has a speaking role in the movie.  If you see POMS, Karen plays a member of the welcoming committee and drives Diane Keaton around “Sun Springs” in a golf cart tour of the community.  She was great!
We all got a kick out of seeing people we knew as extras in the movie, including some friends.
Bruce (below center) is an extra in a gym scene where he walks by with Victor (pictured below) behind Celia Weston and the welcoming committee.  Unfortunately, all you see is the top of their heads, because the gym eqt. obscured their faces.
They are also in the scene in front of the recreation center where Celia Weston and Bruce McGill drive by in their golf cart; however, all you see is Bunny’s orange shirt.  Oh well, know he’s there!
As for my hopes of making it in the movie, the entire last day of filming made it squarely on the cutting room floor.  Those scenes were supposed to go into a montage of “A Day in the Life of Sun Springs,” a video that would be used as a sales pitch to get Diane Keaton’s character to buy a house in the community.  I guess they decided to cut that part of the script out.  The movie cuts straight from Diane Keaton in New York to moving into her house in “Sun Springs.”
It was interesting to see what made the movie and what didn’t.  The funeral scene took several hours to film (I watched for a couple of hours); however, only a small portion of the scene made the movie.  I also watched the main pool scene and gym scene being filmed.  Both scenes appear in full.
Although we all had a blast watching the movie, the critics didn’t.  They weren’t too amused…  I just read a bunch of reviews, and the movie was panned by all of them.
Here is an AP movie review that made it into today’s Griffin Daily News.  The paper used my picture again; however, the caption is as poorly written as the movie, according to Lindsey Bahr.
If you go see the movie, our wonderful Sun City Peachtree really shines!  Just know that our community is nothing like it’s portrayed in the movie.  Our Vicky (HOA Manager) is way nicer than Vicky in the movie (Celia Weston), and we don’t have those crazy rules!  We have no security guards like Bruce McGill’s character, and their security office is really our tennis club!  The houses, however, were real houses that were repainted (interiors) and refurnished for the movie.  That indoor pool you see through the gym?  That’s my home away from home where I train!  The gym is Bruce’s second home.

NEW DIANE KEATON MOVIE FILMED HERE AT SUN CITY PEACHTREE!

During late July and early August of last summer, our little Sun City community had a lot of excitement!  Georgia has become one of the top filming locations in the country, and the latest Diane Keaton movie landed on location right here.  “POMS,” written by Shane Atkinson and directed by Zara Hayes opens in theaters on May 10.

In the early days of the movie’s inception, this was the official description: “45 minutes outside of Phoenix lies a retirement community. A place where palm trees line the streets, the skies are always clear and the “taxi” (ambulance) drives by two or three times a day – a final destination for retirees. This is the story of America’s first cheer-leading squad for women aged 60.

Phoenix and palm trees were eventually dropped for Georgia, and Sun City Peachtree became “Sun Springs,” the community where Diane Keaton comes to “die.”  She is joined in the film by Jacki Weaver, Rhea Perlman, Celia Weston, Pam Grier, Alisha Boe, Bruce McGill, and more.

Cast

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A Georgia-based casting company was used to hire all the extras, and us residents had first crack at applying for the roles.  If you see the movie, almost all of the extras in the retirement community scenes are either our friends, neighbors, or fellow Sun City residents in a community that was less than 2,000 residents at the time.

In addition, the house scenes were all filmed in the homes of residents who applied to have their houses used in the movie.

I was originally cast to be a water aerobics instructor; however, after jumping through a bunch of hoops, the scene got canceled.  As a matter of fact, an entire day of filming (and numerous committed extras) got cut.  Putting two and two together, I quickly surmised as to why that happened: budget.  Just a guess.

That was just one of many scheduling changes that took place each day.  Suffice it to say the entire three weeks of filming here could be summed up in one word:  chaos.

Having said that, there were a lot of fun moments here as well.  Bruce was cast as a “gym goer” and was filmed for a scene out front of our recreation center where Bruce McGill and Celia Weston pass by in a golf cart.

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Bruce (middle) with Bunny and Victor

In the gym scene, Bruce walks by in the background for a scene that included our actress friend who lives around the corner from us.  Karen Beyer has a speaking role in the movie, and she appears briefly in the trailer.

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Karen Beyer is in the pink blouse.

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Rhea Perlman is lifting weights in this scene.  Bruce was an extra in the background of the gym scenes.

 Although it was a long and boring day for Bruce, I enjoyed hanging out and watching the filming.

The only scene I may appear in is when the crew filmed a resident tai chi class.  Evidently, the footage the crew shot of “real” residents will be used for a “Day in the Life of Sun Springs” montage that Diane Keaton’s character watches at the sales center, when she is considering moving to “Sun Springs.”

One thing for sure:  Diane Keaton was really nice to the residents here!  When she wasn’t filming, she posed for pictures with anybody who asked.  Right before I was photographed with Diane, a lady on the way to the pool with her grand kids asked Diane she could take her picture.  Diane responded, “Only if you are all in it with me!”  Diane asked her assistant to take the picture for them and then did the same for me.  In this shot, Diane turned to me and said, “Oh f*@#!  He took the picture when I wasn’t ready!”  That’s why I’m cracking up!

At the funeral scene (see the trailer; it’s a hoot!), I had the opportunity to chat a little with Diane Keaton, and she was quite friendly.  It was very hot that day, though, so she spent most of her time between shoots in her air conditioned limo.

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Diane Keaton is under the umbrella.  The sun was very hot that day!

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Rhea Perlman is in all black.  Her husband dies in the movie, and this is his funeral.

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Jacki Weaver (facing me) and Diane Keaton in the funeral scene.

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An amazing amount of equipment was needed to film the funeral scene!

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This was some of the equipment used for the pool scenes.

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Filming scenes at the tennis and pickleball courts.

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I wasn’t allowed to get any closer than where I shot the picture above, so this was the best shot I could get of Diane Keaton.

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Bruce and I got to know Caesar, the caterer, during the filming.  Caesar is the regular caterer for the TV series, “NCIS New Orleans,” where he is now based. Caesar invited us to have dinner twice, including after filming wrapped.  That night, he served crab legs and filet mignon!  He also sent us home with extra food that he didn’t want to see thrown out.  Lucky us!

The “grunts” of the film crew were also friendly.  We could see as the filming progressed over the three weeks, however, that they were stressed, exhausted, and ready for the film to wrap!

Our HOA ended up with $35,000 for allowing the crew to film onsite, and the experience gave us all a lot to talk about!  We are looking forward to a big screening party here when the movie is released.  Whether the movie is a hit or bombs out, it sure will be fun watching all our friends on the screen!

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Check out this article on the movie.  Here is another article from PeopleThis article shows a screen shot from the trailer that includes Karen Beyer.

 

 

 

 

GOING FULL CIRCLE

We had good intentions when we collected all of those shells, but Bruce and I never followed through with crafting a shell-covered mirror frame for our powder room– in San Antonio. It was seven years ago when we moved from that house, left Texas behind, and made our way to Georgia. Our shell collection came with us and ended up in the attic, never to be seen again until I got motivated to sell some of our collectibles on ebay and donate the rest.

There it was, the bucket of shells collected from South Padre Island, and who knows where else. I don’t remember, but I think we even added to the bucket when we brought home shells from Sanibel Island. Why? I have no idea, because those good intentions were a distant memory by then.

Perhaps it’s all about the hunt. Hunting for shells is much like doing macro photography. It forces you to slow down and carefully study your subject. In doing so, you appreciate the beauty around you so much more. Besides, it’s fun! You never know what you’re going to find, and when you will find the one; that beautiful specimen might end up proudly displayed on a shelf to admire.

I imagine the thrill of the (shell) hunt to be much like “garage sale-ing.” Is it really about that perfect find? It could be the process that is so enjoyable to garage sale enthusiasts: Waking up at the crack of dawn, pouring over the classifieds while sipping a cup of coffee, circling the locations of garage sales to shop, mapping out a route, and then hopping in the car with great anticipation of bargaining for a great deal.

After contemplating our motivations, Bruce and I came to the same conclusion: Collecting shells was much like travel; it was about the journey, not the destination. We enjoyed the process, but not necessarily the collection itself. Aside from a few beauties I’ve displayed to enjoy , there was no longer a valid reason to keep the rest. The shell mirror frame was forgotten long ago, and our good intentions were gone.

It was time for our shell collection to go full circle. They had come from the sea, so we returned them to where they belonged. Who knows where they will end up next? Perhaps another couple combing the beach for shells will gather them with good intentions, and they will go full circle once again.

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GOOD MORNING, BAMBI(S)!

As I jumped out of bed and streaked across the back of our house to answer the phone this morning, I neglected to notice the peeping Tom’s outside our bare windows.  It wasn’t until I hung up the phone that I looked out and saw I was being stared at by two gorgeous fawns casually relaxing under the trees in our backyard!  Bambi 1 and Bambi 2 weren’t spooked by the commotion I made, nor were they in any hurry to leave when I returned  with my camera.

These two little Sun City Peachtree cuties have been spotted by several of my neighbors in the past, and we were thrilled to get to see them hanging out at our house this time.

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CONGRATULATIONS!

This post is dedicated to my happily married friends,Ted and Al, who live in my native state of California:

In my 53 years on this earth, I have never been as proud as I am today to be an American.  Congratulations to the five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who made the right decision on gay marriage.  This day will go down in U.S. history as a great day for not only gay rights, but HUMAN rights.

Here’s to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans!

CHEERS!