Thursday, February 14, 2019

To Cruise or Not to Cruise: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Cruising

Cruising is a popular way to travel. From high-end boutique-type vessels to mass market mega-ships (think Carnival), the more money spent the more pampering one receives (or should receive). 

Should you vacation aboard a ship? 


10 pros to cruising:

  1. Escape from ‘real life’. Away from home, surrounded by water, a calming influence (no mention of storms and rough seas allowed), enjoy the scenery (or lack of it) without the phone ringing, laundry waiting, meetings to attend, work beckoning, meals to prepare, errands to run. You are electronically cut off from the world (unless paying to connect).
  2. Food, glorious food! Available all day, usually 24 hours a day. Dining rooms, an extensive buffet, coffee cafe, pizza bar, ice cream stand - most ships offer a variety of venues. And best of all, someone else shops, prepares, cooks, serves, and cleans up.
  3. Learn a new skill, play games, exercise, attend educational lectures…or not. You can be busy all the time, or do nothing. All day. Your choice.
  4. Someone else cleans your room (including the bathroom!) and makes the bed. Everyday. Clean linens magically appear!
  5. Unpack once. Visit different places without packing, unpacking, packing again. Easy travel!
  6. Cruises can be all-inclusive - if you are very, very, VERY careful. The ship runs a tab on extras. Flash your room key card and you are charged. No cash required.
  7. Meet new people and be social. Or not. Your choice.
  8. Most cruise ships offer a variety of entertainment day and night, not quite Broadway quality, but entertaining and part of an all-inclusive package.
  9. Shore excursions offered by cruise lines use reliable pre-selected vendors. Or explore on your own. 
  10. Like to shop? Lots of opportunities aboard ship and in ports.

10 cons to cruising:

  1. Rooms can be small, with little storage space.
  2. If not careful you will be nickel and dimed with extras - alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees and sodas, excursions, restaurants, room service, laundry service, tips, internet…read carefully what IS and IS NOT included in a cruise package. 
  3. Food quality and menu selections vary, but after a while the same menu seems uninteresting. 
  4. If traveling with children, check out the ship’s children's programs and amenities. Kids get bored, and laments of, “there’s nothing to do…” could dampen your vacation.
  5. Sea days can get monotonous.
  6. Not enough time to explore port destinations, usually arriving early a.m. and leaving late afternoon or evening. 
  7. Lines and crowds. There may be lines for the dining room and shows, getting on and off the ship, at port attractions. But popular tourist places are often crowded, a frustration of traveling on the beaten path, especially during tourist season.
  8. Excursions book quickly. To avoid disappointment book pre-cruise. And shore excursions are not cheap. But there are local alternatives or you can tour on your own. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
  9. The power of suggestion. Cruise ships are masters of the entertaining ‘hook’, getting you to spend $$$ on everything from spa services to shopping (especially jewelry), photos, art work, souvenirs, etc.
  10. Bad weather. But weather can cloud any vacation, anywhere. 

A recommendation if considering a cruise. Read reviews before booking for insight into a particular cruise line, ship and itinerary.


Bon voyage! 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Touring Buenos Aires

Walking block after block amidst a concrete jungle resulted in our group of four struggling to keep up with our tour guide, who was used to the stultifying heat. We had no time to acclimate and found ourselves hot, exhausted and thirsty, despite regular water breaks. But we persevered through packed subway cars, crowded sidewalks, heavy security at a couple of museums, and architectural gems, not all air-conditioned. Our guide spoke English but was not easy to understand. 


The next day we had a guide who was born and raised in England. He arrived in Argentina 15 years ago, met his future wife…and the rest is history. I understood him perfectly.


Eager to rest weary legs and feed hungry stomachs after a day touring, we discovered a cafe perfect for a late lunch. We rated the food delicious, but service rated less than optimum. Tipping is optional, 5%-10% recommended, but we decided our waiter deserved nada - nothing. As we got up to leave the waiter raced over waving the bill and in Spanglish panted, “Tip not included. Did not leave tip.” So we threw a few pesos on the table, not wanting to earn a reputation as ugly, cheap Americans.


We finished lunch with ice cream from a kiosk adjacent to the restaurant. Next door was a chocolate shop, across the street a candy store, and next to that a coffee cafe. What a great city!


Two days touring Buenos Aires immersed us in the history and culture of Argentina. During the country’s golden age, the late 19th century and the 20th century up to the Depression, the government sent architects to Europe to study, return home and build a great city. The result - palatial structures, wide, tree-lined boulevards, public parks and open spaces scattered throughout the city, cafes with al fresco seating, an atmosphere conducive to spending time outdoors - the Paris of South America.


None of us studied much South American history in school. We remember reading about events which occurred during our lifetime, including the bombings of the Israeli Embassy in 1992, which killed 21 people, and the Jewish Federation building in 1994 that killed over 80 - people working in the building, folks on the street, a Catholic priest in a church next to the bombed building. We toured a memorial to the slain. 


We visited another memorial, modeled after the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C., to the Desaparacidos - men and women who disappeared during the country’s dictatorship, approx. 1976-1983. Military death squads grabbed people from their homes or off the street. The individuals were never heard from again. Most were between the ages of 18-26, and some were pregnant. Once the babies were born, the military killed the women and placed the infants for adoption. Today, with the help of DNA testing, Argentina is attempting to unite the children (now adults) with relatives of birth parents. So far, of the estimated 500 adopted babies, 125 have been identified.


I am not a fan of cemeteries, but Buenos Aires is home to one of the world’s most unique resting places. Recoleta Cemetery contains over 6,400 family mausoleums housing over 85,000 individuals. Each mausoleum extends two or three floors underground. If a mausoleum runs out of room old remains are removed, cremated, and returned, freeing space for future generations. Among the cemetery’s permanent residents is Eva Peron. Thanks to Madonna and the movie Evita, Eva’s final resting place is a popular tourist attraction. 


We lingered over coffee at an outdoor cafe, observed locals and tourists, visited sculptures and monuments in manicured parks, walked through neighborhoods and street markets, savored late night dinners and local cuisine, attempted to communicate in rudimentary Spanish, and learned about Argentina‘s history and current economic situation - inflation near 50 percent in the last year. 


Our time in Buenos Aires ended too soon, but it was time to travel on…


Note: No pictures due to uncooperative wifi.


Friday, February 1, 2019

First Impressions of Buenos Aires

The flight was long but thankfully uneventful. Two meals served, both inedible. I passed the hours reading River of Doubt by Candice Millard, about Theodore Roosevelt’s expedition to the Amazon jungle over a century ago. I thought it a good introduction to South America, although I would not be visiting Brazil. 


The one hour ride from the airport to Buenos Aires provided a first glimpse of Argentina. It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and the humidity can be stifling. Air-conditioning recommended! Avenidas - boulevards - encompassing at least three lanes in each direction, many with wide medians separating car, bus, and/or trolley lanes, criss-cross the city.  Parks dot the cityscape. European-style palaces compete with apartment houses and business buildings which date from over 150 years ago to recently completed. Many of the palaces, originally built by wealthy Argentine families, have been converted into government offices.


Hub and I arrived at our hotel 9:00 PM, tired and hungry. First stop: the hotel dining room. And there to meet us were our Las Vegas friends, Denny and Kathe, joining us on this trip.


The following evening we have 8:30 dinner reservations. Late by our standards, but Argentina’s Spanish culture dictates late dining. This is Denny’s second trip to Buenos Aires, and we are meeting a friend he met on his previous trip.


Our taxi turns off the main boulevard into a side street and pulls up to the restaurant. We stare out the window. It takes a few seconds to realize what is wrong - the street is black. No light. Not in the restaurant, not on the street, not in surrounding buildings. 


We reluctantly send the taxi away and wait for our host Alberto. He will know what to do - he’s a local! 


The restaurant is closed - no electricity, therefore no lights - so we wait on the sidewalk. After a few minutes we are suddenly bathed in brightness - the lights are back on! The restaurant opens, we enter, and our host arrives.


We leave most of the ordering to Alberto and soon appetizers appear. Over the years I have learned that sometimes it is best not to ask questions - ignorance can be bliss. One of the plates turned out to be sweetbreads - innards folks ate when an entire animal was consumed. Nowadays we can be more picky. Heart, brains, kidney…I take a couple of bites to be polite. I know what I eat throughout the rest of the meal. Fish, potatoes…the men savor thick, juicy steaks, an Argentine specialty.


We sip coffee and engage in conversation with our host, although we must lean forward and concentrate as he talks low and his accent is at times difficult to understand. Suddenly the waiter approaches and starts talking excitedly in Spanish - only our host understands - and points to the floor. We look down. Water gushes under our feet in a relentless stream soon covering the entire first floor of the restaurant.


Time to evacuate. We grab our things and quickly make our way to the front of the restaurant, the bar area, a couple of steps higher than the main floor.


The restaurant front windows offer another surprise - a torrential rainstorm greets us. People crowding around the bar take off their shoes, unfurl umbrellas, and run into cars and cabs.


Our genial host offers to drive us back to the hotel. I take off my shoes, walk through a puddle up to my ankles and jump in the car.


Torrential rains. Temporary loss of electricity. Heat and humidity. Palatial buildings. Beautiful parks. Variety of food, most familiar, including French fries and good strong coffee. Avenidas modeled after the Champs Elysee in Paris.


First impressions of Buenos Aires.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Boomers Blog About the Sunshine State, Current Events and 2018 in Review

Hub and I spent the last 2 1/2 weeks in Florida enjoying the grandkids and balmy weather. We spent a lot of time visiting friends and relatives who moved down here permanently or have embraced the snowbirds lifestyle and winter in the Sunshine State. More than a few inherited places from parents. And it seems the entire state is under construction to accommodate the influx - roads, housing developments, businesses, schools. Homes are built and people quickly fill them. The Florida allure recently hit one of our own boomer bloggers…Jennifer, of Unfold And Begin, likes to write about trying new things and starting over but it's not just something that she writes about. It's something that she does regularly. Read about her latest adventure in Time To Get Out of a Rut.


Ups and downs come with the territory called "life," points out Carol Cassara at A Healing Spirit, in a beautiful, short post that gives us all something to think about.  


The news is a constant in our lives. Sometimes we can predict how current events will impact our lives, and other times we have no idea how recent developments will effect us months and years from today. The recent partial government shutdown got Tom at Sightings Over Sixty to wonder -- suppose the government stopped paying Social Security benefits. How long could he go . . . how long could we go, before we got into real financial trouble? And if you think that's impossible, you should know that a lot of early retirees are jumping to take Social Security benefits as soon as they can, at age 62, not so much because they need the money, but because they're afraid the money will run out if they wait much longer. Check out Counting on Social Security? to find out the latest on Social Security funding and what we can do to "fix" the problems.


On A The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, writes about the top consumer stories of 2018  They include the Trump administration’s continued decimation of consumer and environmental protections and a bright spot – the Democrats taking over the U.S. House of Representatives which will help curb President Trump’s excesses.


Thanks for taking a few minutes of your time to stop by the Boomer Blogs this week. I hope everyone enjoys a peaceful week filled with activities that make you happy.  

Monday, January 21, 2019

Good Samaritans?

Samaritan: a person who is generous in helping people in distress. 

(Merriam-Webster.com)


It was mid-afternoon and hottish. Not tropical heat hot, but the Florida sun can be intense when the thermometer hovers in the 70s. Hub and I walked from our rental cottage in Lake Worth to the downtown area, eager to savor a late lunch. Not much car traffic along Federal Highway, a busy thoroughfare early morning and evening, and mid-day almost devoid of pedestrians. We were the only foot travelers until encountering another fellow trekker.


Strolling along we approached a woman pushing herself with a rollator - a walker with a seat - moving at an agonizingly slow pace.  She appeared exhausted and struggled to put one foot in front of another.


“Can we help you?” I asked. The woman was neatly dressed in a purple skirt, pair of flats, a deep red top, black jacket and a purple hat that covered all but a few wisps of her curly gray hair. 


“Oh, I am so tired,” she whispered slowly and distinctly. “I need a little push.”


“We can help,” I responded. She maneuvered herself into the seat of the walker and placed her feet on the walker’s bar.


“Where are you going?”


“To see my son.”


“Where does he live?”


“Sixth Street. I think. I just need a little push. Thank you.”


The next cross street was Sixth. At the corner we paused.


“Do you know where he lives?”


“This way,” and she pointed left. We crossed the street and walked one block. The woman hesitated and looked around. It became apparent she had no idea where her son lived.


“Can we call your son?”


“No. He has my phone. The phone is dead. I am bringing him my charger,” and, rummaging through her pocketbook, showed us her phone charger.


Further discussion elicited the information that she had taken the bus from Delray Beach - she had a free bus pass - and her son lived in Lake Worth. Where had she gotten off the bus? How far had she walked? She did not know, now confused and disoriented. 


“May I look through your pocketbook for the number of a person we can call to help you?” She agreed.


I scanned through a notebook found in her purse. Questioning the woman, Cessandra by name, we learned there were no other children, relatives or friends, except cousins living out of state. She provided her son’s name, and hub attempted to locate information on him online, with no success.


We steered the woman under a tree offering some relief from the sun and I secured water from a nearby business.


 Cessandra needed additional help hub and I could not provide. We called the police. 


A few minutes later a patrol car pulled up. We briefed the patrolman and he proceeded to question Cessandra. What is your name?…Date of birth…Your son’s name?…Do you have any ID? (She had an old driver’s license with an old address)…Do you know your current address? (She did)…Your son’s address? (She did not)…Where does he work? (She did not know.) His date of birth? (She knew the month and day, but was unsure of the year)…How long has he lived in Lake Worth? (She did not know) She had been to his house once but could not remember where it was located…the patrolman accessed a computer in his patrol car and spoke with unknown persons on the phone. 


The policeman could not find any information on Cessandra’s son. I suspect her son was staying with friends in Lake Worth and had no permanent address, phone, or recent ID. 


There was nothing more Hub and I could do. We bid good-bye to the woman, assured her she would be taken good care of, and continued into town.


I doubt Cessandra hooked up with her son that afternoon. Most likely the police transported her to a local bus stop where she boarded a bus for home. It would be her son’s responsibility to connect with his mother. Meanwhile she would be safe at home.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Costa Rica - the allure of an ex-pat paradise

I am recovering from a whirl-wind family adventure - hiking, zip lining, eating, swimming, beach time, pool time, shopping time, nap time interspersed with tour and travel time - to the Central American paradise of Costa Rica, as ex-pats enthusiastically call their Costa Rican home. A place far from the 24/7 hammering of almost-all negative news, news overwhelmingly US-centric (yes, there is a world out there beyond America’s borders), a welcome omission.


After our family journey hub and I spent five days at a secluded retreat - the home of friends who traded their suburban Philadelphia residence for a mountain in the middle of the jungle, their place outfitted with a modern three bedroom house, pool and two kitchens - one indoor and one outdoor - overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My only issue was the 1-1/4 mile winding dirt road up the mountain. Four wheel drive necessary. No kidding. Driving down the mountain one afternoon we encountered a couple and their car stranded on the side of the road. The car refused to chug up the mountain, the route characterized by steep inclines, rocks and hairpin turns. Our host contacted help…meanwhile we continued into town to watch the sun disappear into the blue Pacific waters (and take a few pictures), devour dinner at a beach bar, and be entertained with folk and country music performed by a band of three - all ex-pats.

Rocky mountain road. Most main roads are paved, most side roads are not. Photo by Jim Fava

Photo by Jim Fava

I met many Americans (and some Canadians) who now call Costa Rica home. What attracted them to Costa Rica? The country revealed: 


* Stable political system and no military. 

* Respect for human rights. 

* High literacy rate. 

* Regard for the environment and a concerted push for eco-tourism. 

* Availability of modern health care. If you might be thinking about cosmetic surgery, check out Costa Rica…

* Diverse economy - tourism (#1), agriculture, manufacturing.


* Tropical climate featuring hot weather, intense sun, equal hours of daylight and darkness, and sometimes stifling humidity (no place is perfect!). Two seasons - the wet season and the dry season, six months of each. 

* Spanish speaking ability a plus, but not necessary. 


* Varied terrain - mountains, high Central Valley, coastal beaches, flat on the east coast but not so much on the Pacific side. 


* Jungles abundant with trees and flowers, animals, fruits and vegetables rare in colder climates - unless shipped in. 


* Easy-on-the-budget prices. Although beginning to be overrun by foreign visitors and prices in some areas reflect increasing demand, reasonably priced accommodations, food and amenities abound. But upscale tourists needn‘t despair - five star digs exist and more are planned. 


The Costa Rican way of life - pura vida - is laid-back and easygoing compared to the American go-go lifestyle. Type A personalities may find it too unhurried and get frustrated that things are not done NOW.


I asked ex-pats why Costa Rica? Answers varied. They visited as tourists and returned…came for business…researched retirement alternatives and discovered their paradise…saw opportunity and started businesses, are self-employed (many artists) or telecommute…some live in Costa Rica full time, others split the year between their home country and Costa Rica - an intriguing alternative to American meccas (especially for retirees) like Florida, Arizona and Nevada. And no, hub and I are not considering an ex-pat lifestyle…


Fishing boat on the Pacific.


Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Ice cream not available everywhere, but enjoyed as much as possible!




Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Blog Bummer

I give up. Having trouble with my blog, I spent too much time recently attempting to troubleshoot. With no luck. In fact I have a bad feeling things are now worse than before my misguided efforts.

On the positive side new posts appear on my blog. On the negative side folks communicate they no longer receive them. I cannot respond when readers leave comments, and recently no comments appear on my blog. I don’t know if people stopped commenting, or cannot comment due to some flaw in behind-the-scenes blog directives, or something else is going on.

Tech-wise, relating to my blog issues, I have no idea what I am talking about. I am not a computer geek, or geek of any kind.

For readers out there, I want to let you know I am trying to fix what seems to be unfixable. By me. I need a computer geek knowledgeable in blogger to de-mystify my blog.

Meanwhile I write, I post, I get frustrated, I search for solutions…

Sunday, January 6, 2019

On the road again...and again...and again

It was late afternoon when we shuffled into our hotel, travel-weary and hungry. The alarm rang at home at 3:45 AM and a car picked us up at 4:15 for the drive to the airport. Two flights later, with a three hour layover in between, hub, Mom and I arrived at our destination - Costa Rica. We succumbed to our stomachs, consuming our first local cuisine. Then, finally, much-needed sleep.

The rest of our family group of 16 straggled in throughout the next day. We spent a few hours exploring the city of San Jose, browsing artisan and food markets. All but the last two arrivals convened for dinner.

My sister and niece arrived at the Philadelphia airport in the wee hours of the morning for a 6:00 AM flight. A cheerful customer service agent inquired, “Would you prefer a full refund or would you like to reschedule your flight?” - unfortunately there were no seats available on flights out for two or three days. Their flight to Orlando cancelled, the excuse bad weather. Spirit Air emailed customers with the update at 2:00 AM. 

On leaving the customer service desk the rep said, “Have a nice day!”

My enterprising niece grabbed her cell phone. She found two seats on an Avianca flight (to Costa Rica with a change in El Salvador) leaving from Newark Airport later that afternoon, and booked two seats. My sister and niece took an Uber to Newark and waited…and waited…most of the day for their flight. But they arrived in Costa Rica in time to join the family on our Road Scholar Costa Rican family adventure.

My sister will NEVER fly Spirit again.

Ten days, 16 folks between the ages of 3 and 93 (Mom turned 94 during the trip), two tour guides, one tour bus, five hotels, lots of food and physical activities…and we were on the road again…and again…and again!

This snake crossed my path while hiking. It is venomous, 
but I didn't know it when I stopped to snap the picture.
According to our guide:
"Black and yellow...kill the fellow." 
Mom resting on one of our hikes through the jungle.
Colorful wildlife seen everywhere!


Carnival time in San Jose, Costa Rica

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Cross Off Another Year


I don't care what science says, without a doubt time passes faster than when I was a younger soul. Recently I wore winter gear and complained about the cold. That was January. 2018. Almost one year ago.


On the other hand when asked what I did two days ago I blank out and must think about it. I remember, but not immediately.


I feel as if my life is like an accordion. I am being squeezed tighter each year. When younger the accordion spread far out, each year lasting seemingly forever, the notes long and steady. Now notes are short, sharp, staccato and increasingly close together.


I stopped by my doctor’s office for my semi-annual check-up last week. The numbers were all good, although my cholesterol could ease down a few notches. Doc asked how my back was doing. 


“When I do yoga stretches regularly, my back feels fine. Miss a couple of days and I notice it. My back warns me.”


“Yoga? That’s pretty strenuous…”


“I do gentle yoga. That’s what my gym calls it.”


He nods his head. “Senior yoga…If it’s working that’s great.”


My eye doctor said I don’t need cataract surgery…yet. 


I told my hairdresser I want my hair to turn silver gray (with help from her). She nods in agreement. It wasn’t long ago she responded, “you’re not that gray yet…wait…”


I am reminded of my granddaughter’s remark that I wear old lady clothes. Well, yes, but not as old-ladyish as my grandmother wore - loose fitting house dresses (do they even make them anymore?) and heavy, thick-soled black shoes.  


I attended a buffet dinner featuring entertainment by a comedian who lives half the year in Florida, the other part of the year north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Most of his act was less than riveting, but the audience responded favorably to a reading of the minutes of a retirement community in Florida. Fabricated of course, funny, but at times too true. Examples: the Board decided not to show any more silent films on movie night. After Tuesday night’s movie several members of the audience went to the doctor because they thought they needed hearing aids…Because of the increasingly high cost of food and entertainment on holidays, we will celebrate events at a different time. Our community’s New Year’s Eve celebration will be on December 2…the community Thanksgiving dinner on October 3…and Fourth of July fireworks on April 22. At noon so all can enjoy…


My mind wanders. Another symptom of the passing years. One more year gone, a new year to look forward to. 


May the new year be one of good health, contentment, happiness and peace. 

May you indulge in enjoyable activities and reach out to family and friends. 

And on a political note (I can’t resist) the madness leading up to the 2020 election has already begun. 

May we survive.


Happy New Year 2019


Thursday, December 20, 2018

My 2018 Holiday Letter

The year began with a New Year’s Eve concert by our local symphony orchestra. It was a bitter cold night, the roads and parking lot iced over, but we managed to maneuver to the concert venue and home again unscathed. Later in the month hub and I spent a couple of days in Manhattan. January is the cheapest time of the year to take advantage of the Big Apple. It is cold, people are recovering from the holidays, paying bills, and in serious couch potato mode. For those brave enough to face the elements, hotels are very reasonable, theater tickets available, and anything else you want to do is most likely not crowded.

February’s highlight was a road trip to somewhat warmer climes to thaw out a bit, driving as far south as northern Florida. After a couple of weeks of southern cooking implanted on my body, we returned home. I resumed exercise classes in the desperate hope of shedding those southern fried pounds. I huffed and puffed in zumba, rode a stationary bike at the gym, flexed stubbornly inflexible muscles in yoga, and took up a new workout pursuit – tap dancing. Yes, had fun. No, the pounds did not melt away. I think returning north the fat froze in place.

I endured the cold winds and rains of March, but before basking under April’s warm rays, a trip north to Vermont provided a last whiff of winter. 

Unlike normal people (and birds and other animals) who migrate south for the winter, hub and I ventured to south Florida in the month of May for family events, experiencing sizzling sidewalks, a scorching sun and oppressive heat. Indoors, however, remained refreshingly cool as long as activity was kept to a minimum. By activity I mean any kind of movement. Walking upstairs could result in a good sweat. People living the semi-tropical life claim the body adjusts, but my bod urged me onto a Spirit flight north.  

I spent one day a week during the cheery months of May and June performing my civic duty serving on a grand jury. No rain or sleet or minor flooding kept me from the county courthouse. A string of town and county police officers took the stand and answered questions concerning cases involving theft, prostitution, domestic issues, gambling (after all, a dozen casinos are located in Atlantic City). Hopefully I will not have to report to the IRS or the state of New Jersey my ascent into affluence because of the pay earned – $5 per day. 

As my birthday approached in June, illness settled in. Each year I am host to a different health issue, but mysteriously the phenomenon occurs around the same time each year. My annual inner body experience.

As the days lengthened and warmed, friends and family descended on our humble abode. The beach beckons in summer. Meanwhile hub and I spent half of July exploring, with our oldest grandchild, the wilds of Alaska and the Yukon. Returning east, we spent two weeks babysitting our youngest grandchild while the rest of the family vacationed. Overseas. Without us.

And suddenly summer’s over, crowds disperse from our island and hub and I are alone once again. Fall ushers in a new routine. Another trip to Florida (before the hot weather ends; why would we head south any other time?), the garden begs for TLC and the house also pleads for my time and attention. After eight years in the place, it overflows with stuff. New stuff, old stuff, unwanted stuff, treasured stuff. Too much stuff.


As the year winds down, I watch old movies (surrounded by stuff) and think about de-cluttering. TCM is running a series of oldies (mostly 1930s and 40s) with a holiday theme; not all well-known films but many with famous performers. I am hoarding energy for my next trip, which begins before the New Year.  

So here I am as 2019 approaches, older, grayer (cannot be denied), a couple pounds heavier (darn southern food), probably shorter (afraid to find out), doubtless poorer (check out those stock market numbers), but moving ahead!

As for New Year’s resolutions, I gave up years ago.