February Wrap-up – fun, frustrations, decisions & destinations

Malcolm and I drift from settled to unsettled at the drop of a hat these days. We are still not ready to have a ‘permanent’ home, but we also think there might be other/better options for a ‘temporary home’ out there. What prompted this latest wave of discontent is the fact that our renewal notice will arrive within the next few days. There is nothing like a little pressure to force an honest evaluation of the state of our being. The pros and cons list is significant on both sides, but overall, we’d like a little more space and diversity of age groups within our neighborhood. Regular readers will recall that our current community is age-restricted and residents must be at least fifty-five years old.

A lot of our month was devoted to visiting properties and weighing options, but we still found time to have fun with friends, visit with family, take a little vacation, and pay attention to fitness and health.

On the Road

We shared our day trip to Bok Tower Gardens in this post, where we discovered that the antidote to indecisiveness is a good belly laugh with friends.

We also took our annual trip to Jekyll Island, GA to celebrate Valentine’s Day and satisfy my insatiable appetite for this beautiful place. It was a short visit, just three nights, but we revisited all our favorite spots; Horton Pond, Driftwood Beach, the Historic District bike trails, and St. Andrew Beach. If you want to know more about my obsession with Jekyll Island, read this post that I wrote about the same time last year.

This time around, we found a ‘new to us’ breakfast spot -The Sunrise Grille. It’s just downtown in the village. Also, a new sub shop has moved in. A simple sandwich was a nice change to all the fried food we usually consume while visiting this barrier island off the Georgia coast. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten fried Georgia shrimp! The weather was perfect for biking, playing miniature golf, watching a rousing game of croquet, and goofing around at driftwood beach.

Family Time

We took a three hour detour en route to Jekyll Island and visited with my brother and his wife for two nights. It rained and was cold for the entire time we were in the Florida panhandle, or ‘the big curve’, as Malcolm and I call it. We had plenty of time to sit around and catch up on family gossip news.

Thanks to all the stalking I do on FB and occasional text messages, I know a lot of what is going on with my nieces and nephews, but there is nothing like sitting by the fire with my big brother watching him beam with pride as he shares tales of his grandkids. He is the patriarch of a sizeable family and everyone calls him Papa. With a heart as big as Wyoming, an engaging way with a tale, and a laugh that comes from a grateful soul he knows no strangers and the love of family is more precious than gold. Our visits warm my heart.

We took this photo together four years ago during a visit to Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, GA. We had a great day learning more about our English ancestry. You can read the full post on discovering my roots here.

Blogging and Discoveries

I published three posts during this short month. Considering I posted only 28 times during the whole of 2022, this is a big deal for me. One of the three posts was a self-portrait tutorial that I wrote using the experimental WordPress AI feature. I have been wanting to share my thoughts on creating self-portraits for a while, and writing a ‘how to’ post seemed to be the perfect opportunity to try the AI tool. My readers shared thoughts across the board about the tutorial, and their use of self-portraits, but not everyone weighed in on the subject of AI. Of the readers who did share their thoughts, most were positive but there were also some genuine concerns. I greatly enjoyed the experience and the conversation that followed. Stretching my mind to learn something new is always a good thing.


Tennis is a time-consuming sport that I have played since my late teens. It makes me happy to be outside with my friends, doing something both physical and fun. Between my league play and casual games, I played an average of three times per week this past month.

During tennis league season (November – April) I go into protective mode to avoid injuries, so I slack off on some of the supplemental work that I should be doing, like strength training and cardio. Lately, I need more recovery time between matches. I am struggling to find a good mix of what I love to do and what I need to do to maintain my strength and fitness. Yes, age has a lot everything to do with that, but I am not ready to curtail the tennis and use that energy more productively. Summer is coming and our oppressive heat changes everything, so this is an easy decision to delay.


We will be cruising out of the port of Miami next month on a 10-day Caribbean cruise with Regent’s Seven Seas Navigator. We are excited to try this cruise line as we typically cruise with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, or Holland America. This cruise line is an industry upgrade with everything included. Even our shore excursions were included in the price. That could be a good thing or a bad thing – we’ll see.

I bought new luggage for the occasion. Don’t you just love the color?

Anyway, we will be traveling with two other couples. We are close friends with one couple and have never met the other (friends of our friends). Should be interesting.

We chose our excursions from an a la carte menu that the cruise line provided and then shared our choices with our friends. We matched up with several of their choices, but not all. Doing it this way keeps the stress levels and hurt feelings down by not having to defer to the person who thinks they are ‘in charge’ of making all the decisions. If you have traveled with friends, you know what I mean.

We have all agreed to share a dinner table, but the plan is to remain flexible about alternative choices.

I completed our online check-in two days ago and we just received an impressive little zippered folder with lots of reading material about the ship and embarkation day. They also included a couple of very nice leather ID tags for our luggage. I’m a sucker for special touches, so we are off to a good start.


Thank you to Donna, Sue, Deb, and Jo for hosting ‘What’s Been on Your Calendar’, a monthly opportunity to share your WOTY (word of the year) progress or a recap of your month.

I find that recaps are a great way to take stock since both deficiencies and progress stand out (if you take an honest assessment). I can choose to either ignore or embrace what I have learned, but at the very least, I must acknowledge it.

Visit their respective sites to join the link-up and learn more about what they have been up to.

52 thoughts on “February Wrap-up – fun, frustrations, decisions & destinations

  1. Sounds like you had a great adventure, family visit and are off on your next cruise – busy but happy people. I’m sure looking for a new place to call home is challenging. I have a good friend who moved out of the state but found they preferred living here and are trying to move back. It’s not as easy as she’d hoped because real estate is hard to come by up here. So many people moved here from MA during the pandemic that the inventory is almost zero, and the prices are outrageous. I hope you have a much easier time finding good options. Happy cruising.


    1. Hi Judy, that’s a shame for your friend. I am sure she weighed all the factors before making the decision to move. Unfortunately, even the best thought-out plans provide no guarantees of success. The market in Florida is beginning to correct, with more properties available than I have seen in a long while. Prices are still high, but not insane. There is also a lot of new building going on. Our plan is to find another place to lease for one more year. After that, we will consider owning again. Until then, we just continue on making the best of every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, this is so interesting! I’ve only recently gotten back to blogging and I think I followed yours a while ago. I’m sort of retired(still working part time) and still searching for a place to get out of the frozen tundra as I call my home in the twin cities. Nice to see another retiree who hasn’t settled just yet(unless I read that wrong?). I’ve been all over the globe seeking the right place and am currently looking at the Richmond, VA area. I enjoyed reading about your month and I’m thinking of joining in for March. and oh yes, I do love the color of your new luggage! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Toby, welcome back. I do hope you will join the end-of-month link-up next time. It is a great way to catch up with other bloggers. Regarding our current situation, we were pretty settled into retirement for a long while, (since 2006) but we sold our (too big) house in July 2021 and started experimenting with alternative living situations – we began by purging a lot of stuff and downsizing. It has been an educational year and a half, but we are still not ready to make a ‘final’ move.

      I don’t know a lot about Richmond, but I hear it is highly rated as a place to retire. I’d love to hear what you think about it and what draws you there. Thanks for stopping by. It is nice to hear from you again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! Our original dream was to retire to southern Spain. We were supposed to be gone by 2020 alas…then we were almost settled on Tucson but we have an outdoor cat so that’s not going to work. I have a good friend who lives in Roanoke and as it happens I’ll be attending my nephew’s wedding in northern VA in July so I’m combining that with a trip to visit my friend in Roanoke. I’ve always loved Virginia and actually lived there for a couple of years before hubby and I got together but he didn’t want to move…..so I moved back to southern CA to be with him and we moved to Minnesota a year after we were married as I couldn’t see raising a family in Los Angeles. I think Richmond has appeared on several lists of places to retire and my friend and I might even be going there when I visit her. So I began looking around. It does still have winter but nothing like here so….that’s a shortened version of how I ended up looking there. Guess we’ll see.


  3. Hi Suzanne – good luck with the house hunting. We’re still happy with where we live and I don’t think I could prise my husband out with a crowbar for at least another decade. Our dilemma will be how to downsize without feeling squashed or too in each other’s space. I follow your housing adventures with interest because you’re trying different approaches and that gives me a little more insight (without the pain!) The cruise sounds like something you’ll enjoy and I like the boundaries you’ve put in place to make sure you don’t feel pressured to do stuff that doesn’t appeal – a definite win in my opinion. 🙂


  4. Hi Leanne, there is something to be said for being settled, so enjoy what you have for as long as you can. You will know when the time is right.

    I had originally thought that we would be closer to buying a home by now, but I am rather enjoying this little ‘housing adventure’ as you call it. If all goes well, we will move again in June. This time to a ‘townhouse’ not far from where we live now. The move will give us an opportunity to experience a slightly bigger space (adding about 800 sf) to how we live now, and it is not in an age-restricted community. I enjoy the ‘forced’ socialization aspect of our current situation, but it does get a little trying at times as the average resident is at least 15 years our senior. Boundaries don’t only apply to cruising with friends 🙂


  5. I look forward to seeing photos of your cruise adventure. I’ve never been on one, so I find them all exotic and intriguing. I wish you well with your move. I dread doing that, as we’ve become very acclimated to this place.


    1. Hi Ally, if you like the convenience of unpacking once while visiting multiple destinations, it is likely something you might check out. I’m pretty sure I could live on a ship. Hmmm…another experimental living idea to consider.

      When someone starts remodeling their home, it usually means one of two things – they are prepping to sell, or they are staying put. I gather it is the latter for you. There is a lot to be said for contentment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Suzanne, your Jekyll Island photos are gorgeous as always. How lovely that you managed a good catch up with your brother and his family. Nothing like a good family reunion.
      A cruise with Regent will surely be very special, I will look forward to hearing all about it.
      We have cruised with Royal Caribbean, PO and NCL , but our favourite has always been the Royal Caribbean. Loving your new luggage , great choice of colour.
      Have a fabulous time cruising 😀


      1. Hi Gilda, my infrequent visits with my big brother are special indeed. He is a pretty cool guy. Jekyll is always, well, Jekyll. Indescribable. Can’t wait to cruise with Regent and will report all about it. Doesn’t the color of that luggage just scream “I’m cruising the Caribbean”? In Europe, it will say”American Tourist” loud and clear! Maybe I should designate this set as the ‘official’ cruise luggage. What are you guys up to these days?


  6. I think I’d like to visit Jekyll Island, as it sound like my kind of place! And have fun on your cruises. We’re going on our first Regent cruise this August, to Alaska, so I look forward to hearing what you think of the cruise line.


    1. Hi Ann, we canceled an Alaska cruise during Covid, and still haven’t rescheduled. Maybe one day. I’m really looking forward to cruising with Regent – a first for us also. I’ll give a full report.

      Jekyll Island would thrill anyone who loves to explore nature. The landscape there is very diverse, from the oceanside to the marsh side and there is always something new to discover.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Suzanne, I always seeing what you and Malcolm have been up to. Your visit with your brother and trip to Jekyll both sound wonderful. I really enjoyed your Jekyll images. Somehow I missed your blog post about using the WordPress AI for your post about self portraits. I’ll go back and check it out. Ahhhh, a Caribbean cruise coming up sounds like heaven. Bon Voyage!


    1. Hi Beth, it is impossible to read and respond to every post but (as bloggers) we do our best to stay involved to the extent we can. Thank you for your visits and the generosity of your comments.

      The visit with my brother and Jekyll was the highlight of the month. Ed is a real hoot. He is raising chickens now and gathered eggs (that we had for breakfast) while we were there. My SIL estimates that the eggs cost about $100 each, given his initial investment! His next adventure involves goats. Can’t wait to see how that turns out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your Caribbean cruise sounds lovely… I’m looking forward to your pictures! I’ve been on a couple of large cruise ships (Mexico, Alaska) and enjoyed it but I’d really like to try a smaller ship on a river cruise. They are always advertising Viking cruises on PBS, which sound more relaxing.

    Traveling with friends and family can be challenging, especially with those who have much different tastes and schedules. Fortunately, the ship and ports will offer a lot to choose from. Like you indicated, the key is to remain flexible and not expect to be tied at the hip at all times.


    1. Janis, I think this ship is about 600 passengers, which should be ideal. We typically travel on larger ships, but NEVER on mega ships with 3,000+ passengers. That would just be ridiculous. You know I will give a detailed report of our experience as soon as possible. Fingers crossed that it is sublime.


  9. Hi, Suzanne – Your 10-day Caribbean Cruise sounds awesome. I look forward to reading the followup. I liked your thoughts on experimenting with AI on your blog. My experience, especially the comments generated, were very similar. Most of all, I absolutely loved your exquisite description of your big brother. I could never see AI generating that. Your description was very human, and incredibly personal. ❤


  10. Hi Suzanne, it is lovely that you have linked up with us at #WBOYC to share your February with us. I’m sure you will settle when the time is right but it seems to me that you both have flexibility to do what you would like at any given time and that is a wonderful way to enjoy life. We have a cruise to Papua New Guinea in June and a River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel booked for November. Enjoy your cruise and no doubt there will be some posts with stunning photos. Happy March! x


  11. Hi Suzanne, Jekyll island looks beautiful. I love that photo of the turtles and the alligator sharing space. Great colour for the luggage. Happy cruising and all the best with your house hunting! #WBOYC


  12. Hi Sarah, I am still assessing why I didn’t take as many photos as I usually do when we visit. 1)It was a bit buggy. 2) I was too lazy to get out of bed for sunrise. 3) General familiarity with the island. 4) Didn’t want to carry my full bag of equipment. The list goes on. I think we were simply enjoying the place and not so focused on photographing every inch of it this time around. I guess that’s a good thing.

    Many of the ports of call for the cruise are new to us, so I’m sure there will be lots of photos. Discovery = photos seems to be the determining factor.


  13. Suzanne,
    There’s a lot to like about this wrap-up…Jekyll Island, fried shrimp, Driftwood Beach, a cruise, new luggage, and the prospect of a new place to call home. You’re one busy girl! I couldn’t help but wonder if you’ve ever tried pickleball for exercise. Helen is addicted.
    We’ve cruised several times, but our favorite was through the Caribbean on the Windstar Line. 300 passengers with 125 crew members catering to every whim on a vessel with full sails. It was a treat. Wishing you both a wonderful trip! Joe


  14. Hi Joe, we are still unsettled about the move/not move decision, but everything else about February was good. Yes, I do play Pickleball. I started with a small group about two years ago and got hooked very quickly. Tennis is still my priority, but I manage at least once one game per week. It is an addictive sport, easy to learn, and highly social – perfect for us seniors!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Last things first, having not long returned from a cruise with friends, I know exactly what you mean! Having said that, it sounds fabulous. Other than, Feb seemed to have everything – family, friends, travel, and fried shrimp.


  16. Hi Suzanne, thanks for linking up with us for #WBOYC and I enjoyed reading of all your activities. Riding along the sand looks like fun! Enjoy your cruise with your new lovely coloured luggage 🙂 I’ve been playing around with the AI block in WordPress and have enjoyed learning new things, I won’t use it all the time but it does have its uses as you’ve demonstrated. Enjoy the month ahead.


  17. Christie Hawkes

    What a busy month you’ve had Suzanne. Good luck with your big decision on living arrangements, and have so much fun on your cruise. My husband and I have been contemplating going on another cruise. We used to cruise regularly, but it’s been several years now. And yes, I love the color of your new luggage. Enjoy!


  18. You keep having busy and varied months. Suzanne! I’ll be curious to find out if you have decided to move again and where to. Why not settle for a while on Jekyll Island? Enjoy your Caribbean cruise. I’m, of course, also curious about the islands you have lined up.


  19. Big decisions take a lot of time and energy! I’m kinda ready to be done with big decisions for a while, haha. Looks like you had a wonderful February. Jekyll Island is on our list of places to return to, and I always enjoy seeing your beautiful photos.

    I’m looking forward to your cruise. And I can’t wait to hear about what you’ve decided to do next in your continuing experiment in finding a home base that fits your desires!


  20. Hi Laurel, I am sure you are ready for a good rest, or at least a nice diversion from all that you have recently endured. I hope the new build has commenced and that all is going well. That is an adventure to look forward to.

    Weighing the decision to move again has not been easy, and we could have easily settled on a couple of properties, but ‘settling’ isn’t part of the plan. We have found another rental that we would like to try on for size, so if the stars align, we will be moving sometime in June. Fingers crossed that it works out.


  21. Diversity of ages is important for a vibrant community so I can understand you not wanting to be stuck with everyone the same age. It sounds a bit like being graded at school. In my primary school we were stuck with the same group of identically aged students for the seven years of primary school. I still remember all their names and faces. Diversity and change is preferable. Good luck on your search.
    I noticed the turtles around the gators in one of the photos of Horton pond. So these two species co-exist quite happily? (I am pretty much ignorant of Gators behaviour!)


    1. So sorry I missed your comment. Better late than never, I suppose. Gators do eat turtles, so it always astounds me to see them peacefully sharing a space like this. They also eat their young and will attack other adult gators if they feel threatened – especially during mating season. TMI, I’m sure, but they are fascinating creatures.

      We are looking forward to our next move and have missed having a mix of younger faces among our neighbors. I don’t like daily reminders of the inevitable fact that I will be among those slowing down in the very near future. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, gators will eat their own young. It is usually the father or a female who does this, and not the birth mother, who protects them for a very short while after birth. Although, it is believed that she too will devour her own if food supplies are low. It is a barbaric notion, but one that exists among both alligators and crocodiles. Lovely topic for my morning coffee, but thanks for asking for clarification of my sentence.


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