Posted in 2019, Aging, Rambling thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized

Resolutions

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This year is going to be great for me.  First I have 2 grandchildren graduating college this year, first one in May the other in June.  Then one of my grandchildren will be getting married in the fall.

I have actually been actively working on getting fit.  I know, we all resolve to do this every year and it lasts about one or two weeks, no resolution but I started doing this in November and am just sticking with it.

As I try to age as slowly as possible I find new things to occupy my mind and hands.  I am one of those who needs several projects going at the same time.  I have no idea how any one can retire  without at least a couple of hobbies.  I already had a few, but have added even more.  Doing this blog is a new thing for me, I started 3 years ago and find it very enjoyable and a good creative outlet.  It has also moved me to do some other writing and doing the research is always rewarding because I never know where it will lead me.

I have made a couple of silent resolutions, not sure if that is good or not.  I kind of have that old world feel of keep things a secret so no one can mess with your plans, quite opposite of how many feel that you speak it and put it out in the universe to make it seem real.  Right now, I don’t have complete control of my life and don’t want to upset someone else’s apple cart.  Sorry for the secretive attitude.

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Posted in 2018, Aging, Airplane, firstfridays, humor, London, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

2018 Year-End Review

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How do these things sneak up on us, another year in the record books and I have not broken any record or shattered anything.

I had 2 “big” trips this year and a few small ones. It felt like the travel gods were on some other path than mine.  In the spring I did go to London and the timing worked out great for the royal wedding.  I was lucky enough to be on the grounds of Windsor Castle during the wedding and saw close up the carriage with the newlyweds go right past us.

Then recently I was in Paris for a few days and mostly had a great time.  I have been lucky enough to have visited both of these cities previously but did find new and exciting things to see and do.

For the most part, those were the 2 major unique events that happened this year.  As is prone to happen people are born and die.  I have a new great-grandson born earlier this year, that makes 3 great-grands so far.   I lost a second cousin, much too young, this year and a few friends.  I was able to reconnect with a couple of old friends and spend some time rehashing much older days.  I participated in a craft show for the first time in almost 10 years and certainly enjoyed that.

Not to appear like a slug for most of the year, I have been spending a great deal of time with my grand and great-grand daughters.  One is hard at work in her college program and one is 9 and in 4th grade.  My involvement is to make sure the little one gets on and off the bus and has homework finished and helping out with cooking some meals for the family.  It’s amazing how much time that can consume.

This will continue in 2019 since this is the last semester of my granddaughters college degree.  She may decide to go for post-graduate studies, but after tough study and work and home commitments she will take a couple of years off. (She is also planing her wedding in 2019, busy lady.)

For next year, I have put 2 more countries back on my travel wish list, they have been for many years and I really hope to get to them.  I can’t wait to see what my grand is doing with her life and career and what level of commitment she may need next year.

At my age it is always time to ramp up the exercise and cardio so I can be the  active gram out on the dance floor, not the one looking for paramedics.  Trying to get back to some of my favorite cities to visit and find one or two new ones.  Take a course in college for anything, just to make sure the gears are all still turning. Oh, I also want a new tattoo or two.  Not a super long list, but I know from experience things pop up to change my direction.

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, Aging, Crayola 120 day challenge, humor, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized

Paris Rip Off 2018

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I was fortunate enough to spend several days in Paris recently,  this was before all the disturbances began.  This was not my first trip there and I felt reasonably comfortable trying to navigate leaving the airport and buying tickets for the subway system.  A helpful gentleman working at the airport directed me to another type of ticket.  This was good for 1 week and valid on subway, buses and trains throughout Paris.  Would reasonably get me from the airport to our hotel and everywhere we wanted to tour.

So we happily purchased the tickets and proceeded to board the next train bound for the city center towards our hotel.  About halfway there the train stopped and they announced something in French which I could not understand.  Then required all of the passengers to disembark.  That train left with a number of announcements happening.  Another train sitting on the next track was beginning to fill up, so we thought with these great tickets let’s get on.  A half hour later no movement and people starting to disembark. As a side note, it was raining the entire time but not cold enough to turn the rain to snow as it was when we landed.

We determined staying was not the best answer so we left the station to find a bus.  It was going to take 2 buses, but that was OK since our passes covered it.  Both buses were packed to the brim and standing room only with our luggage, but after a couple of hours we got there and checked in to the hotel.

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Changed  shoes, refreshed and no luggage to take along we set out.  First stop was food and there were so many choices we just opted for the closest place.  Cell phones are both a blessing and a curse and we used one to help navigate.  Taking a subway to get to the Arc de Triomphe so we have a beautiful view of all of Paris.  We again opted for a bus for a portion of the travel since we could see all the streets and decorations and the beautiful  buildings.

Success.  We arrive and see lots of people at the base of the Arc, then a band starts playing the French national anthem.  We get to the base and see a very large military presence and lots of flowers by the eternal flame so something honoring or commemorating someone just happened. It is a lot to take in.  Next the hike to the top, 11 flights of stairs.  We see the Eiffel Tower all lit up with Christmas lights and the view is breathtaking.

Leaving we decide the subway is the best option and using our passes we go through the turn-style and towards our train.  There are 3 people in street clothes asking to see everyone’s pass so we show them ours and the guy said where is your picture and takes it right out of my hand.  I said what are you talking about, he said you needed to have a picture taken and put on the pass within 1 hour of purchase.  First we were told about this.  Upshot is he is looking for more than the purchase price of the ticket from each of us.  I am getting louder and louder, this sounds like the biggest scam ever.  I am not being friendly or polite or nice in any capacity.  He is not convincing me.  It takes all three of them non-stop  talking , a French girl crying because she was grabbed also, me shouting about being robbed in front of everyone, they kept saying we will call the police and we said OK bring them here.

End of story we paid the outrageous fee.  As I did curse their miserable lives to their faces, not good, and so out of character for me.  Back at the hotel we go online and find out this is a common thing and has been going on for a while.

Next morning ignoring what they told us we ask the front desk about the picture and they direct us to a store nearby.  Turns out the pictures are from a photo booth, but must be a very tiny size, so I now am the proud owner of 14 pictures I will never use.  Whole situation really turned me off on going to France.  Not a cheap transportation method,  it will be a very long time before I go back, if ever.  How sad.

Posted in 2018, Aging, London, Rambling thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

Leeds Castle

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My recent trip to England took me to new places which is always delightful.  My grandson who was traveling with me selected the destination for this day.  His choice for this was because of the maze.  We have corn mazes which are fun, but he wanted to see and experience the original styles they have in Europe.  So underground to the train to the bus to a long walk and in a couple of hours we were there.

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Starting with beautiful grounds and just amazing flowers in bloom with the castle as the backdrop  for it all.  This like many has self guided tours and lots of signs to keep you going in the right direction and with a bit of history to explain what you are seeing.

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We found beauty inside and outside the castle.  We never did find the maze but loved the visit.  As we were told, this was a “proper” castle with a moat and everything and it did not disappoint.    Now off to the next adventure.

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Posted in 2018, Aging, Rambling thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

July 3rd, The Day Before

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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Thoughts on this day before our country’s Independence Day.   First, let me say that I am very lucky to have been born and live in this country.  While I may have lived most of my life well below the poverty level, I rarely felt like I was a lower class of person than anyone else I may have encountered.  I also never felt that I was better than anyone I ever encountered.  Maybe I am the odd one out, but in my mind that is what this country should be all about.

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Photo by Maria Sealey on Pexels.com

Due to a fortunate set of circumstances, I have been lucky enough to travel to many other places and countries.  None more beautiful than this country for all it’s natural and man-made beauty.  I do appreciate that this country has the freedom given its citizens to make choices for themselves on almost everything we say and do.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am grateful to all those who came before me to give this to me.  May you have the safest and happiest Independence Day.

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Posted in 2018, Aging, Airplane, London, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

London Travel/Royal Wedding

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Well this title is a bit misleading, our remaining days of travel were all outside of London.  This was the week of the Royal Wedding and I was pretty much prepared to change travel dates, but my grandson said Yes, so off we went.  He scouted out the best route to get to Windsor and we took a bus, double-decker of course, to a train filled with other wedding watchers.

The trains were filled with people from all over the world, speaking a huge variety of languages and all seemed quite charmed by the event about to take place.  Windsor is a smallish town fairly distant from London and very much like the places you see on TV shows.

With the help of the “Royal Wedding” signs around town and a local giving us directions as he watched from his front lawn this parade of people going past.  We made it through security and safely on the grounds of Windsor Castle.  About 100 yards in front of our location was a huge, movie screen size, TV for viewing the wedding.  Now, just to wait.  A camera in a tower on the grass was about 10 feet away and he was filming all around the area.  When he turned the camera on the people right there a lot of flag waving and cheering happened.  We were “officially” at least in our minds, a part of the royal wedding.  We found a fairly open space to watch and settled in.

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The people watching was fun and a few cars with guests and Megan with her Mom came right past us for us to all wave to.  We then watched them disembark from those same cars at the front of the castle.  Once the wedding started the grounds quieted a little but not completely.  Many of us on the grass joined in with the songs and cheered the events happening. We all sang God Save The Queen and waited for the carriage to come past.

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We were certainly rewarded for our efforts and were no more than 20 feet from the carriage and saw Prince Harry and Megan!!!!! This was never officially on my bucket list, but certainly is crossed off now.  The locals asked what would this compare to back in the US.  The only thing I could think of was seeing the President.  I have luckily seen 3 and shaken hands with 2 and this felt the same.

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Posted in 2018, Aging, humor, London, Rambling thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

London Travel Part 1

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I have a couple of adventurous grandchildren who are always up for almost anything fun.  I was doing a bit of whining and saying it had been far too long since I had the opportunity to do any international travel and I would be doing some soon.  I had some eager companions who said they were willing to take time off from jobs and school if necessary to go along. My grandson and I settled on a weekend where he knew he could make himself available and we decided on London.  So I checked the calendar and flights and hotels and discovered it was the weekend of the royal wedding.  He said let’s go anyway so we did.

We arrived Friday morning and first stop was the hotel we were staying in.  It offered a great rate but was a bit out-of-the-way.  My cell phone never did work while I was out of the country so we had no sense of where we were going.  We stopped in a pub by the underground stop that I remembered was near the place for lunch and directions.

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By the way, for any of you going there.  I am not sure if it was the wedding weekend or just the summer weather starting but it was the worst time ever getting out of the airport.  When we got off he airplane there was a queue that snaked through the airport at a snail pace.  We spent almost three hours in line waiting to get up to the front of the line and have our passports checked and stamped.  This was my 7th trip to London and I have never seen anything so bad.  They were bringing water for us standing in line because they thought someone might pass out.

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Found the hotel, but they had no storage facility for our bags so off we went on our adventure.  First the London Eye.   A truly giant Ferris Wheel with huge enclosed cars for about 20 people in each car.  Moves very slowly, no shaking or wobble almost don’t even know you are up in the air.  A short walk over to Westminster Abbey,  Big Ben is in scaffolding for the next 5 years with some major repairs to the building.

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We took a pedicab to Buckingham Palace, just because it really is impressive, between the gates and the people and the size and the park area, I’m not sure I would want to live there. Then off to Piccadilly Circus because it is like going to Times Square in New York, just an iconic place to see.  I was pretty much done for the day, but when you have an 18-year-old boy along you just keep going.

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Posted in 2018, Aging, Airplane, Computers, humor, Quilts, Sewing, Travel, Uncategorized

Sunny Day And Cottage Names

Today for my early morning walk I started very early.  In the midwest, many of us, missed spring.  We had some nice spring days, then it got cold and rather than go back to spring the weather jumped into the middle of summer.  We are having several days in the low 90’s which does not usually happen until late July or early August.  Who stole spring?

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I do love early morning and the nice mirror and stillness of the water.  This photo surprised me with the pretty reflection of the clouds in the water.  I was very lucky with this shot.

While I was walking among the lake houses my mind wandered back to my recent trip to England and many homes have names, not just the huge manor houses or castles.  So I decided to name a few.

Eagles Nest went to a home that could be a tract home elsewhere.  A simple 2 story aluminum sided house.  But, this home has an enormous half dead tree in front, the kind I have seen eagles stand in to survey their next meal, it also had an eagle with its wings spread nailed above the doorway.

Another smallish home with beautiful blue siding became the Bluebirds Roost.  We have long ago dubbed a  quaint home The Witches Cottage because of the moon shaped cutouts in the shutters.  So you can see, the is a bit of whimsy in this process.

So let’s get really cheeky as you might hear across the pond.  This we call Skiers Rest.  That is because they have used retired water skies to surround the mail box. Very clever.

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We named this next one Evita’s Cottage because of the great view from the balcony overlooking the lake.

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We also found a Rabbit Hutch due to the bunnies nibbling on their lawn.  Lilac Cottage due to the purple flowers blooming throughout the lawn, no lilac bush in sight.  Old School House is named for the large bell hanging near the front door and it never was a school to our knowledge.  Whales Tale is due to the fact we saw an airline pilot getting out of her car one day. ( Pilot Whales in case you were wondering.)  Guppy Cottage is due to the collection of fish always swimming near it.

What would you call your neighbor’s houses?  I think I need to get busy and quilt small banners for the neighbors to hang in their homes or yards and let’s see if the names stick.

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Posted in 2017, A Photo A Week Challenge, Rambling thoughts, Travel, Yes

A Photo A Week Challenge: Recreation

This is for the Nancy Merrill weekly challenge.

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My family has discovered and embraced lake life.  From hanging out on the beach in summer to ice fishing in winter it is a very large part of their lives.  Getting home from work often means driving past the lake and seeing what it looks like today, checking the radar to see can we get some time in on the boat.  From early spring to late fall it is all about the boat.

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The lake they live near is a nice size private lake that is over 200 acres large.  At the deepest part it is about 40 feet deep. There are a couple of large beaches for residents and quite a few small beaches for private use only.  The lake supports about a dozen different types of fish as well as a fair amount of migratory water fowl.

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All summer long there are events on the waterfront for boaters and non boaters.  Summer camp for children is at the beach and lessons are offered in sailing and boating. All sorts of water craft take advantage of the mostly calm waters from kayaks to paddle boards to canoes and jet ski’s.

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I think we are quite lucky that the lake has become an important part of so many lives.  It gives family a ready event to get out on the lake and watch 4th of July fireworks or a quiet concert on a weeknight. Not to mention the winter of boat repair and prep that has become the new normal.