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CUPID’S ARROW SENDS A MESSAGE OF LOVE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Cupids Arrow

The heart that loves is always young, so let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day with love and laughter. This is the perfect time to show affection to friends as well as family. Everyone can celebrate love today, whether you are part of a couple, a family or a community.

Cards are always thoughtful, but how about an e-card to that special grandchild? E-cards are quick, easy and many are free! Sharing a family recipe is always a treasure. I inherited my mother-in-law’s recipe box and have shared some favorites with our Boston family. A puzzle or word search is fun to work together or even on-line. There are many ways to bring happiness to others on this special day.

Speaking of togetherness, the Couples Club Championship is a Harbor Hills member tradition more than two decades old. The tournament will be played on February 27th and February 28th. The format is Two Person Better Ball and all USGA rules apply. Three flights will be fielded: Gross flight, Net flight and my personal favorite, the Fun flight! Team prizes and prizes for “closest to the pin” will be awarded. The event concludes with a celebratory dinner. Registration deadline is February 22. Sign up at the Pro Shop.

Harbor Hills has an extra-special drink of the month for February. It’s called “Cupid’s Arrow” and is available every day in the Signature Grille. Tito’s vodka, orange liqueur, orange juice and cranberry juice garnished with strawberries and a sugar rim is a delicious way to say I care! To make a dining reservation, contact the club at 352-753-7000. The public is always welcome. Love is our greatest strength today and every day.

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HAVE A HEART – FEBRUARY IS HEART HEALTHY MONTH BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Heart Health Month

The month of February is all about energy, vitality and maintaining healthy hearts. Focusing on heart health is critical for everyone and especially seniors.

Simply increasing movement can lower many heart disease risk factors. Regular aerobic activity strengthens both heart and lungs. Walking, bicycling, dancing and swimming are good examples. Golf incorporates cardiovascular exercise along with strength training, balance and coordination. Even pushing a grocery cart around the store is an aerobic activity! Motivation has been harder with COVID concerns. But our inviting environment is a strong incentive. Start with 2 ½ hours of physical activity each week. That’s only thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Effective chair exercises count, too.

Eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight go hand in hand. Carrying too much weight increases heart disease risk, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Connect virtually with friends and family to create and work towards weight loss goals. You can even take a class online with a friend in another city.

The toughest goal these days is reducing stress. Stress contributes to high blood pressure and other heart risks. One way to manage stress and improve sleep is by meditation. There are many apps for relaxation therapy on line. Peaceful sounds can be downloaded from the internet to aid in sleep.

Harbor Hills is now offering fitness instruction with Fitness Coach Blake Bolen. Group sessions are offered twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays. Classes include strength training and aerobics as well as stretching and yoga. Individual training sessions are also available. Contact Bolen at 937-305-6908.

Make your self-care story successful. The people who love you are depending on it.

WISE WORDS FROM THE FRONT LINES BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Dr. Jay Shaktawat

We are fortunate to have a large number of health care workers and hospital personnel in our community. Among our residents are physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, lab technicians, aids and helpers. Delivering quality care is what motivates them to keep us healthy.

Harbor Hills resident Dr. Jay Shaktawat is one of our many local physicians on the front lines. He explains that the COVID 19 infection is on the rise. Social distancing and wearing facemasks are critical safeguards. Dr. Jay encourages everyone to get immunized. Keep checking county health department websites for registration updates. Did you know you can register to get vaccine updates on your cell phone?

Side effects of the vaccine might include chills, headache, joint or muscle pain. But Dr. Ana Karovska of Quality Physician Group, reminds us not to be deterred. She explains that most side effects are temporary. Patients are followed post-immunization to insure that rare adverse reactions are quickly resolved.

Outdoor activities pose a lesser risk than indoor activities. Dr. Jay suggests taking advantage of our beautiful surroundings with daily pursuits such as walking, gardening, racquet sports and golf. “Harbor Hills has a beautiful golf course, ” Dr. Jay continues, “and residents and visitors should take advantage of it.”

Many of Dr. Jay’s patients who are over 65, struggle with chronic conditions. He recommends limiting our exposure in several crucial ways. Avoid large gatherings. Face masks and social distancing are essential. Eating healthy, exercising on a regular basis and building our immune systems help keep us protected.  Simple advice, but it bears repeating. As Dr. Jay says, “We are all in this together as a team. Let’s win our fight against this pandemic.”

ENJOYING LIFE AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Our Northern neighbors have arrived and we are doing our best to enjoy our lives under these unusual circumstances. COVID restrictions heighten the risks around us but Harbor Hills is still buzzing with cautious optimism.

The public is always invited to enjoy our popular Sunday brunch. Dine on an array of delicious brunch items served concierge style. Experience the stunning view of our Signature 10th hole overlooking Lake Griffin. COVID precautions are in effect. Call 352-753-7000 for reservations.

Calling all spaghetti lovers! Join us tomorrow in the lounge from 5-8PM for this member event. It’s all you care to eat spaghetti with meat sauce for $10.00. Wednesday evenings are reserved for member dining. Menu items are available to-go. On Thursday, enjoy “Cozy In A Bowl” delights with Chef-inspired soups from 4:30-8PM. Last call for January’s Drink of the Month, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, available in the Signature Grille!

If gratitude for our lives is great, paying it forward is even better. The Harbor Hills Ladies Charity kicks off the New Year with a food drive to benefit the Christian Food Pantry of Lady Lake, a ministry of North Lake Presbyterian Church. For the fifth year, Chairperson Lina Hall and Co-chair Barbara Smith will coordinate the donations of nonperishables, paper products, soap, pet supplies and cash. Lina explains, “Over 300 families count on the food pantry for supplemental food each month.” Donations will be graciously accepted January 29, 30 and 31st at the Pro Shop. Pick up is also available. Call Lina Hall at 352-753-9062 for details.

Extend a hand to those around us and lift them up. As seniors, we have a wealth of experience. Let’s find ways to share our gratitude, joy and strength.

KINDNESS REALLY DOES ROCK BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Harbor Hills Ladies Charity

Harbor Hills Ladies Charity

 Kindness rocks!

Yesterday I found a glossy river rock that had the words “Make Today Great” painted brightly on its surface. What a worthy reminder that every day has huge potential! Painted rocks with inspirational messages are purposely left in public places, spreading love and kindness to others.

The Kindness Rock Project is now a viral trend. Photos of painted rocks and hints to their hidden spaces are often found on Facebook groups. Messages such as “Be Fearless”, “Live. Life. Well.” and “You’ve Got This” are popular inspirations. This worldwide phenomenon has only three guidelines: Take one for inspiration. Make one for motivation. Be kind!

Kindness and compassion drive the programs of the Harbor Hills Ladies Charity. The 28th Annual Holiday Golf Tournament was followed by a 50/50 drawing, raffle baskets, a silent auction and dinner. Chairperson Lin McLeod announced that the December event broke another record! The Charity will donate over $43,000 to help the less fortunate. Funds are distributed to families who need nutritious food, individuals with mobility and learning issues and local children who require proper school clothing. Funds also support victims of domestic violence and young adults who have aged out of foster care.

Helping others is what drew Harbor Hills’ Frankie Smith to the Beautiful Girls Project. Frankie heard Chef Ze Carter of Leesburg’s Kitch’n Lyfe Skills Inc. speak about overlooked needs for girls. The mission of the project is to donate products and funds to disadvantaged girls. Products include individually wrapped toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products. For more info, contact Frankie at frankie.hellobeautiful@gmail.com. Sponsors and volunteers are needed.

Remember that one small rock and a few kind words can make a big difference in someone’s day.

BEAT THE “QUARANTINE 15” WITH RACQUET SPORTS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

John Natolly

John Natolly

It’s called the “Quarantine 15” and refers to the unwanted fifteen pounds of weight gain many of us are experiencing during the pandemic. WebMD cites a recent Nutrisystem survey that found as much as 76% of Americans have gained 16 pounds or more between March and July, 2020!

Challenges to staying fit are all around us. Snacking from stress or boredom is commonplace. Gym visits require heightened cleanliness and social distancing. Often, it’s difficult to find healthy food with the sporadic shortages on grocery store shelves. The key is to find a physical activity you enjoy and weight loss becomes the bonus!

Looking for a high calorie-burning activity? Racquet sports may be your answer. John Natolly, USPTA Elite Professional, is Director of Racquet Sports at Harbor Hills. John explains that the Racquet Sports Program provides significant exercise while promoting strength, balance and flexibility.

We have nine tennis, two short court and four pickleball courts with well-maintained Har-Tru (soft) surfaces. Beginning every Thursday, January 21st through April 1st, John is offering a weekly member program called “Cash Pot” tennis. Players chip in several dollars and play round robin tennis for the pot! It’s fun and open to all level players.

On January 23rd, residents are invited to play complimentary pickleball on “Residents Racquet Day,” starting at 9:30am. The ongoing Harbor Hills Tennis Doubles Championships are self-scheduled Round Robins, played through March 2021. All club and tennis members are eligible in Women’s, Men’s and Mixed Divisions.

John reminds us that positive experiences reinforce good habits. Find your own ways to make weight loss fun. Create new habits to beat the Quarantine 15 and start the New Year in a healthy way.

LET’S PLAN FOR A FUN AND HAPPY 2021 BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

As the New Year begins, there are unlimited opportunities to make it special. The events of 2020 have greatly impacted our environment and social lives. But if we adhere to the recommended precautions and proceed in a safe way, we can still have a lot of fun.

Think about what will make the New Year enjoyable. Each of us has different hobbies and interests that makes us happy, give us peace and feeds our souls. Are there skills that you have always wanted to develop but never had the chance? Now is the time! Learn a new language or refine your culinary skills. There’s yoga, painting, playing an instrument or cultivating bonsai. Our community fosters interest in so many different skills. They are all worth a try.

Adventure may be curtailed by stringent airline precautions and the current state of the cruise industry. But we don’t have to eliminate trips from our bucket lists. A visit to nearby Harbor Hills Country Club for a spectacular view of Lake Griffin, a trip to local Heather Oaks Farm or a drive to the Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area can ignite an interest you didn’t know you had!

Getting started on a creative project can be simple and rewarding. We can landscape our gardens, craft cards or update our memoirs and scrapbooks. How about learning brewing techniques to create our own beer at home?

We Seniors have the benefit of age and wisdom. As we get older, we realize that happiness comes more from within than from external events in our lives. Starting the New Year with a positive, productive and creative approach can be an exciting and fun adventure.

REFLECTIONS ON 2020 AND HOPE FOR THE NEW YEAR BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Happy New Year

This is the last article of the year and I wanted it to be special. Typically, I write a New Year’s article with an appeal to honor our veterans. Of course that is true, but this year is such an anomaly that all of us deserve to be honored. This has been a year like no other. Masks, social distancing, essential workers, COVID testing, Zoom gatherings. All of this is a part of today’s lexicon.

Yet we, as resilient Americans, find a way to go on. The third Annual Harbor Hills Festival of Lights Cart Parade was both an inspiration and a glowing success with a record number of entries. Best Golf Cart Décor went to Patti and Al Anglis. Best Overall Home honor was bestowed on Jim and Linda Roark for their gorgeous display. Special thanks to Cindy Sammons-Chancellor, Carol and Lee DiDomenico, Theresa Morris and all the volunteers whose hard work made this sparkly, holiday event so much fun.

The donations from the Harbor Hills Poker Golf Cart Rally were provided to a local family of five for Christmas. Gifts were chosen by Kim Smith and made the holiday very special for this deserving family. Thanks to the generous club members who made this possible.

The holiday season can be a difficult time for many who are experiencing loneliness or missing a family member or pet. Especially vulnerable are those with disabilities, illnesses or few family contacts. Be there for anyone who needs someone to talk with or anyone needing assistance. The New Year will bring new opportunities and another chance to get it right. Be grateful for what we have. Laughter and joy are the most effective prescriptions for happiness. From our Harbor Hills community to yours, Happy New Year, 2021!

HOLIDAY TIME PROVIDES REASONS TO CELEBRATE AND INSPIRE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Treats For Troops

This holiday season is unprecedented. Never have we celebrated the holidays during a global pandemic. It is a daily challenge to renew our spirits and energize our thoughts. Our imagination is working overtime, creating holiday magic for our family and ourselves. The word ‘Zoom’ is now an integral part of the process!

The Harbor Hills community made this year’s holiday time meaningful with the 2020 Treat The Troops drive, sending cookies and treats to our deployed soldiers. Organizers Roseann Cochran and Shirle Mabie are excited to report that 135 boxes containing a total of 1,080 dozen or 12,960 cookies were sent to soldiers deployed to Kosovo, China, Africa, Poland, South Korea and Kuwait. Thanks to Roseann, Shirle and dedicated volunteers from Harbor Hills and The Villages. Profound thanks to our soldiers who serve with such courage and love of country.

Start your Christmas week in a festive way! Harbor Hills Country Club invites you to a holiday brunch today in our decorated Harbor Terrace Room. On New Year’s Eve, enjoy an extravagant dinner in the ballroom from 7-9 PM. Donna J. will perform hit songs, making this a very special night. Don’t miss the champagne toast at midnight! For reservations, call 352-753-7000.

Take this unique time to rethink our value as friends, partners, parents and grandparents. We have purpose no matter what our age. We are a remarkable and resilient generation. Remember how much we’ve overcome and how our experiences made us strong. Wishing all my readers the happiest of holidays! Reach out to others who need your kindness. And may the true meaning of the season fill your heart and home.

LET’S CELEBRATE: IT’S PARTY TIME AT HARBOR HILLS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Harbor Hills Christmas Tree

Grab your party shoes and celebrate the season! Having fun is an important and essential part of living.  Although the landscape of our lives is different, there is a great deal that is the same. It’s time to let the joy of the season surround us.

Harbor Hills Country Club members are raising their glasses to the Drink of the Month, the Santa Cosmopolitan! Who, including Santa, could resist this twist on the traditional Cosmo, with a sugared rim and a fresh cranberry garnish? December’s Family Fundays include menu specials and creative Chef Features, available in the Signature Grille from 11 AM to 3 PM on weekdays.

The Third Annual Festival of Lights Cart Parade and Holiday House Decorating Contest will be held on Thursday at 5:30 PM. All safety precautions will be in effect including wearing masks at libation stations. Snacks and drinks will be served by volunteers wearing masks and gloves. Decorated carts will wind their way through our tree-lined streets on a beautiful Harbor Hills evening. We will begin with eggnog at the driveway of Cindy and Bruce Chancellor. Two additional libation stations will take us to a “Driveway Party” at the home of Theresa Morris. Best decorated cart and best overall home decorations will be awarded.

The Harbor Hills Christmas tree, decorated for the holidays with twinkling lights and holiday ornaments, welcomes everyone to our clubhouse. Let’s move forward in this season of joy with gratitude and hope. Connect with family. Reach out with love and understanding to others who may have no support system. Our spirit has never changed. We may have new challenges but there are new joys to be discovered as well.

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