Jay's Visit To Florida - December 2006 
(click any small picture to get enlargement)

 Jay decided to visit Florida this December to meet with friends for the 3rd year in row.  Next year he  may be moving from Venezuela to another part of the world, so this may be his last visit.  Jay visited some co-workers from his first job with General Electric in the 80s. Bill lives in Tampa and was the main host. Mike, who lives near Washington, timed a Florida visit to coincide with Jay's trip.

Jay & Mike flew in from different directions on Friday & met up in a Tampa bar where Bill joined them.  They spent a quiet evening & prepared for the 2nd Annual GE Field Service Golf Tourney the next day.

On Saturday the trio headed south towards Sarasota where another co-worker, George, and his wife Laura live.  George arranged for the guys to play at the Rolling Hills Golf Club; yes, this was going to be a small, self-originated, tourney of only 4 people ... with bragging rights as the only prize!

Jay, Mike, George & Bill at their  golf reunion in Sarasota, FL.

Hey Mike, the hole is over here...
no wonder there's no 2nd kid!

Jay is accustomed to using other people's clubs.... but Laura's?

The hardest part of the game was to follow the ball.  The cute gal selling beer & those stuffed in their bags didn't make it any easier! George decided to play in the sandbox most of the day.

After a tough golf match where Team Jay/George got the better of
Team Mike/Bill, the group headed to George and Laura's for dinner.

This picture speaks for itself... the meal was FANTASTIC!

These boys are in 7th heaven; the perfect follow-on to golf. Jay is happy to get dark beer, which he can't get in Venezuela Come on guys... there is enough food for everyone!

Special thanks to George & Laura for being our hosts!

Next year the event may be in another location ... but hopefully we can arrange to get more of the ex-GE Field Reps together!

Jay usually keeps a score of all activities to determine the 
'Winner of the Day'.  This enables the fellows to compete in a fun fashion without wagering huge sums of money.  Today's Result:
+1 to Mike, for driving the trio to Sarasota so early in the morning
-1 to Bill, for making us return to Tampa to retrieve a forgotten item
+1 to Jay and +1 to George for winning the golf tourney
+1 to George and +1 to Laura for hosting the event

Winner of the Day = GEORGE ... and yes,  he is still very 'special' :)

***   Special Addition   ***

A long time ago (early 80s)... in a land far away (California), there were a bunch of General Electric Field Engineers from Utica (NY) who worked on an interesting space-based project.

At the time they could not discuss the project outside of work... but I found some related stuff while surfing the internet:

What is the contraption above?
           Link #1          Link #2   

To the right?  Link #3 

        What about below?

OK, lets get back to Jay's holiday in Florida:  On Sunday morning Mike & Jay woke up to a nice breakfast at Bill's apt. in Tampa.

The weather was fantastic and the trio visited the common areas; first the swimming pool 
& then the billiards room... 
the results were quite a shock!

'Winner of the Day' Summary:

+1 to Mike for beating Jay in billiards (first time in many years!)
-1 to Mike as a penalty for phoning his wife too much.
+1 to Bill for beating Jay and +1 for beating Mike (wow, yeah Bill!)

Winner of the Day = BILL ... quoted "it feels good to be a wiener"

This weekend's exercise was so strenuous that 
Bill & Mike crashed early... wow, what wimps!

Time for regression ... how about a few shots of remembrance from our past ... Halloweens!

Jay & Bill on a cruise in 1991. Jay in 1997; yup, same costume! What, the same thing in 2006?

 ** placeholder for a group pic ** Bill decides to be spiffy in 2006 Mike is a family man in 2006.

OK... back to Jay's Florida trip once again.  On Monday, Jay joined Mike for a sports week in Orlando.
Mike exchanged one of his timeshares so that they could stay at the Marriot resort; quite nice!

The building overlooked the golf course; and there were also tennis courts and a great jacuzzi.

It was fun to watch the golfers avoid a 'little hazard' on the hole by our room; it caused a few lost balls!

Jay & Mike didn't want to pay the outrageous fees at the Marriot championship course, so they drove to Haines City to play at a course that has become a local favorite over the years; called Grenelefe.
After a day of golf the pair usually played tennis, sat in the jacuzzi, ate & then played scrabble... whew! 

Monday's Winner of the Day analysis:

Golf Front =      Jay 53     (1)          Mike 44     (7)        MIKE +1
Golf Back =      Jay 51     (3)           Mike 47     (5)        MIKE +1
Golf Total =      Jay 104   (4)           Mike 91    (12)       MIKE +1

Scrabble =        Mike (268-180)                                   MIKE +1

Winner of the Day = MIKE (4-0) ... and Jay says "ouch"

Tuesday's Winner of the Day analysis:

Golf Front =      Jay 53     (4)            Mike 54    (3)          JAY    +1
Golf Back =       Jay 52     (4)           Mike 51    (4)          MIKE +1
Golf Total =       Jay 105*  (8)           Mike 105* (7)          JAY    +1
    *Note: Over the years they have been very evenly matched
Tennis Set #1 = Jay (6-4)                                                JAY    +1
Tennis Set #1 = Jay (5-2)                                                JAY   +1

Winner of the Day = JAY (4-1) ... Jay says "that more like it"

Wednesday's Winner of the Day analysis:

Golf Front =      Jay 51     (2)           Mike 49    (4)         MIKE +1
Golf Back =       Jay 45    (6)           Mike 48    (3)         JAY   +1
Golf Total =       Jay 96    (8)           Mike  97   (6)         JAY   +1

Tennis Set #1 =  Jay    (6-4)                                         JAY   +1
Tennis Set #1 =  Mike (7-6)                                         MIKE +1
Scrabble        =  Mike (282-274)  darn close!               MIKE +1

Winner of the Day = TIE (3-3) ... too tired to play a tiebreaker!

Overall they lucked out and had nice weather all week long. 

Thursday's analysis: a quiet day

Tennis #1 = Mike (6-4)
Tennis #2 = Mike (6-2)

Winner of the Day = MIKE

They decided to visit Universal's Canal Walk & saw three bands.  Due to a few strong 'Hurricanes', they were feeling no pain.

Mike usually had pretty good luck, like hitting a house and having the ball return to the fairway; this time though ... take a penalty! 

Friday's Winner of the Day analysis:

Golf Front =      Jay 51     (3)            Mike 50    (6)        MIKE +1
Golf Back =       Jay 52    (5)            Mike 52    (3)        JAY    +1
Golf Total =       Jay 103  (8)            Mike  102 (9)         MIKE +1

Scrabble=         Mike (280-177)  not even close!           MIKE +1

Winner of the Day = MIKE (3-1) ... caveat: Jay had a hangover

Saturday's Winner of the Day analysis:

Golf Front =      Jay 62     (2)            Mike 54    (6)          MIKE +1
Golf Back =       Jay 52    (4)            Mike 53    (4)          JAY    +1
Golf Total =       Jay 114  (6)            Mike  107 (10)         MIKE +1
  * note: Their scores got worse as the week progresses; strange!

Winner of the Day = MIKE (2-1)  ... and in summary:

(note: never fall asleep early at George's, as you never know what friends will do)

On Saturday night the duo, after completing their week of sport activity, headed to Disney's Pleasure Island.  They wanted to see if the bands and drinks were as good as Universal's.  They were actually disappointed and decided to return to the hotel early... the highlight though, was a Shuttle Launch!

The shuttle took off on schedule at 8:47pm from Cape Canaveral, about 100 miles away.
Even though Jay & Mike are interested in 'space activity', they didn't think it was worth
the drive to get a closer view... as from Orlando it was supposed to be pretty good.

What we saw from Orlando was the clouds in the horizon lighting up... and then a surprisingly bright glow slowly raising up.

We heard no noise and after awhile it looked like a star.

On Sunday Jay dropped Mike off at the airport and then headed back to Tampa and Bill's place.
He played on the beach a bit, but due to a home football game they were unfortunately empty.

 Jay stayed for another few days in the Tampa area... to mainly shop for special things which he cannot find in Venezuela... which is just about everything!

Jay & Bill ventured to the pier in St. Petersburg for Happy Hour  near the water. After a few dark beers Jay played 'Tarzan'.

Past & Present... can you guess which of these pictures was:

1) Taken in 1983 atop the World Trade Center in NYC?

2) Taken in 2006 in the Floridian town of Tampa?

This concludes the story of my wonderful trip to Florida. 

A special toast to friends, family, Florida's wonderful weather, their nasty alligators, and...

... Happy Holidays &
Best Wishes for 2007!