Thursday, November 01, 2018

Autumn. Pictures of change.

 The garden getting ready for the rest
 Pink Stayman apple sauce.

 The forest begins to thin behind the house.
 The neighborhood
 Oldest Grand
 One of the middle Grands
 Apple scraps for vinegar making!
Papa and the second youngest Grand.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Wyoming and the planning continues

My trail run of my suitcase and bag have been completed.
We did 8 days of travel through Wyoming last week.
It was beautiful.
I packed for fall and ended up in summer.

My next trip is for 10 days
in Phoenix
This time I will pack for summer
and probably get fall.

The suit case pack worked with packing cubes.
Next trip will include compression cubes.
Stuff sack for dirty clothes worked better then expected.

Wyoming is either prairie grass
or mountains
Oregon Trail Ruts

 Fall in the mountains

 Medicine Bow Mountains
Red Hills outside of Buffalo

Tower Falls Yellowstone

Dinosaur Digs near Thermopolis
 Yellowstone Big Horn Sheep

 Billy Goats
And Pronghorn everywhere

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I have lived through a typhoon, but not a hurricane.
It shouldn't come up the coast- but you never know.
From what I have seen, these things are like wild fire
and have a mind of its own.

Wind chimes are in
Water is stored
Hanging Solar lights are inside by a window
My canning is put away
Nothing on the floor in the basement
Gas in the car
The "glass with frozen water and coin on top" is in the freezer.
Not much more I can do then
pray for my southern friends.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

And now the map

We do take a physical map with us.
AAA is terrific at supplying one.
After we have spent our many hours planning
first we google map and then
out comes the travel map.
Highlight the cities of interest with the marker.
Use a different color for the route.
Tuck it away.

Some of the places we go are just not easy on a GPS.
Our next adventure overseas is already packed,
but the current USA adventure map is out.

We make hotel reservations well in advance.
The dreaded "no room at the inn" is mind blowing 
when you drive 400 miles somewhere!

If we decide differently along the way,
we simply cancel by 4 pm. 

We also carry pages of tour books.
Nope, we do not carry any regular tour books
 too heavy
 too many places we do not plan to see. 
My son taught me how to change a page to a PDF yesterday
Maybe the iPad will hold the next tour pages!

Plan it out and go for it. 
After hundreds of trips between the two of us
we have gotten pretty good at it.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Packing for trips- the base pack.

First, finding the right pack.
My bag of choice is the E bag Mother lode Weekender Convertible Junior.
AT 19 inches height and 3.5 lbs, this baby rocks the packing.
Hey, it is on my back, I can get it up stairs easier.
If you haven't checked one of these out,
you should.
It has been on a dozen domestic trips
so far. Looking forward to some

I keep either this or my rolling 21 inch Samsonite(5 lbs) packed almost all of the time.  The Samsonite is more for hubby. He hates me to carry on the plan, so it is checked.  I am going to try checking my back pack this next trip to see how it does.
What do I keep packed?
Packing cubes :).

In the packing cubes?
Seven undies, a bra,
Seven pairs of socks
My comfy pants and hoodie (both are black),
two shirts,
a long skirt,
a nightgown/ dress and short sweater
1 pair of Sketchers and Teva flip flops
A new 1 oz tube of toothpaste,  basic makeup, small sunscreen, small aloe, lip balm. small shampoo (bought the bottles years ago and refill from home), a tiny bottle of peppermint EO, & Deodorant. All in a see through bag for TSA in case I carry this on.
Regular brush, small soap, travel toothbrush (yes, that makes two tooth brushes),
My long scarf (occasionally lives in my carry on if I take a wheeled bag),
Light, hat that will squish,
A sliver of Castile soap
5 quart sized baggies and several snack sized in case things need to be kept apart or for souvenirs.

Travel week, I add in my current favorite jeans and/or shorts,
small jewelry in a tiny cosmetic container,
sections from a travel book (I am one of those. I rip out the part I need.)
two blouses (that makes four altogether)
Sometimes a swim suit.

On international flights I add a converter and appropriate plugs.

Sometimes I wear those comfy black pants and hoodie on the plane and replace them with some nicer slacks in the bag.

The objective, always, is that my pack or small suitcase only weighs 20 lbs.
That means if I take the rolling suitcase, I have to pack less. OW!
Lifting over 20 lbs can be an issue for me, so I am careful.

Yup, those things live in my backpack or suitcase year round.
They get taken out, laundered (or filled) and replaced.
Some think that is a terrible waste of resources. I just need a base.
For three years I worked for a publishing company.
My job was to fly around the country and talk about product.
I spoke in 700 places in those three years.
Having a base suitcase was a must.
It became habit.
Good thing, with the wild schedule this year,
habit is good.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Packing for trips- on the plane backpack

Packing no longer is an issue for me.
The suitcase lives with basics that are refilled each trip
but the base is the same.

What do I take?

For the plane is a small back pack.
The objective is the backpack weighs no more then about 5 lbs when packed.
The LLBean Stowaway is my current favorite. 14 oz- everything easily fits and has a place.

In it:
1)Blow up pillow. I have had many and they are all about the same. With blow up the amount of air varies depending on seat. It doubles for a hotel pillow with a towel in the middle. Gave up on all the other types long ago- bean bag, memory foam, etc. They tend to be too bulky for me- and much more expensive. This one is 2.4 oz with bag and eye mask.

2)Sony makes these collapsible phones (5 oz)

3)My ear buds are all over the place from noise canceling to cheap. My comfort level keeps me from bulky.  On long trips a spare set of really cheap are in my bag. Nothing like being on a flight and having your earbuds die. (Or end up next to someone who forgot theirs- you can give them a pair of cheap ones.) (1 oz)
4)My iPad and cord- music, movies and books loaded on this. (1 lbs 5 oz)
5) Caroline Dexflex by Payless. My feet like to be free- so something WAY lightweight are in my bag. About 7 oz. (My heaviest shoes are always worn onto the plane.- although they only weigh 2.3 lbs) They have a rubber bottom so the flight bathrooms are not as bad.

6) A long scarf that doubles as a blanket. Cotton is about 10oz
7) Refillable water bottle. Carried through security empty. Filled at airport water fountain (or buy a bottle of water and transfer it- trusting someone else's plastic bottle is a no go).
8) My phone and cord (3 oz)
9) Second set of  cheap reading glasses. (Old eyes).
10) My wallet. Mine is a small leather Coach two zip wallet with a wristlet. No purses on board.
Overseas my "goodies" will be in a neck carrier. The wallet is good for two currencies in the open. (4 oz)
11) Toothbrush, toothpaste in small baggie within a larger baggie with small brush. (3 oz)

12) Undies rolled in small baggie. (2 oz)
13) Granola bar/almonds

That is it. All together it is about 5 lbs without the water in the water bottle. Might be 7 lbs with it full.

What is in YOUR back pack?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Retirement- How is this school year shaping up?

Notice I use "school year".
After thirty years teaching, everything begins the first day of school.
Yesterday my neighborhood went back to school.
My NY grand begins next week.
My other grands begin after Labor Day.

Here is the plan.
Tuesdays at the local grand house until the snow comes.
Lots of sights to see and experience.
Wednesdays is the Food Bank.

Travel/Play is scheduled:
September - Wyoming
October- Phoenix - Aunt's 90th b day
November- DC overnight-
December - NYC for the Rockettes with grands.

Winter- I cook at the shelter twice a month once the weather turns.
January- Phoenix
February- NY grands
March- Israel
April- watching the grands while their parents travel
May- Missouri

The summer is when the garden goes in.
Next summer I do not plan to leave the East.
There will be one week of canning each month
finishing with August canning mania.

June- Niagara Falls
July- the beach--somewhere (this year we canceled- that was a mistake!)
August - canning!!!

Most of these trips I will do alone.
My husband does not believe in airports
after the flu season begins (which is almost year round these days.)

How will I survive?
My plan instead is to swim two to three times a week
and read at least one book a week.
Several daily conversations really help me smile as well.

Honestly, I thought about applying for a para professional position this year.
When would I fit it in?

BTW- Why is it that every time I give in and water really well
Suddenly a cloud shows up and rains
right over our house
for about 30 minutes?

Retirement - finance, the picture, not the numbers.

When we were first married, we were flush.
We both had good jobs, at least for us.
Living in the heart of free Europe,
we traveled all of the time.
Moved back to the States
and began the child/SAHM journey.
After being broke for a year
 I ran into a book by Ron Blue called Master Your Money.
Ron Blue is the precursor to Dave Ramsey.
Actually Dave Ramsey worked with Ron Blue
...and followed his advice to get debt free.
And so our financial journey began.
Here is the take away:
Twenty composition books of finances from the last thirty two years.
We went from budgeting every penny to tracking our portfolio
 to doing both and back again.

We rented while we were Army.
My husband retired and we paid off the house we built for us.

We have bought and sold four houses since his first retirement.
Mostly we broke even.
We continued to both work full time.

Only once, combined,  did we make more then $80,000 a year. 
That was long ago.
It went for kids' college.

We took our last five working years out 
and stashed 1/3 of our combined income into savings.
Then we retired for good.

There are times that happiness is way more important 
then the power a raise can give you.
There are times you have to do a job you hate to get ahead.
There is no need to continue to work if you feel the job fills no real needs.

Set a goal. 
End date.
Then set another.

It is weird, after saving for so long, to let that goal go
and begin to budget with that money.

We decided to center our giving on causes.
Homeless, struggling people and children 
instead of institutions and far away places.

We give the grands experiences over stuff.
Our presence is the most important piece of the puzzle.

And now we do what we want
within reason
just taking care of us.