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Suitcse

I used to travel for work.  It was exciting to accompany groups on international tours.

But when Bill and I retired to the joys of a quiet country life I vowed to curtail roaming.

The travel fever had subsided after eight years of tours.   Flying became challenging instead of an adventure, crowded instead of elegant,  uncomfortable instead of fun.  And our international tours were fraught with the anxiety of pleasing 25+ people at a time.

“Enough was enough,” as Dad used to say.  It was time to stay home.

The urge to travel afar did not plague me for years.

But now there is a strange compulsive need to discover and collect travel accessories!

Where other folks love fashion catalogs, or gardening issues, or even food catalogs, I love TRAVEL THINGS!  Not PLACES you know – THINGS.    I literally “pour” over all the travel catalog treasures:

  1. mix and match wrinkle free outfits,
  2. ideas for minimizing packing,
  3. under-seat carry-ons,
  4. travel soaps,
  5. jet lag help,
  6. sleep masks,
  7. first aid kits,
  8. packing cubes
  9. clotheslines to string up in hotel bathrooms,
  10. blankets,
  11. pillows
  12. air purifiers,
  13. collapsible mirrors,
  14. sample size detergents, and
  15. the whole range of THINGS to make travel less cumbersome, sleeker, easier to manage, safer, more comfortable, and organized.

Even articles about how to be away from home for a month with one carry-on have my full attention.

Oh, the temptations there are in direct mail catalogs, newsletter articles, travel blogs, and even invasive social media advertisements.

With instant take-off in mind,  I started a real collection that is taking up space in the closet (I am READY!):

  • A passportwallet that is positively amazing for all it will hold and ease of access.
  • Shoe bags that do double duty holding slippers and shoes or socks and shoes, or  other things besides shoes.
  • A drawstring makeup bag. Open it up and see all your cosmetics spread out (no digging).
  • Oblong packing cylinders (don’t ask me to describe what these are for because I am not sure)
  • A valet tray with snap up corners. Snap the corners, and it becomes a walled tray for keys, watch, change, etc. Unsnap and it lies flat at the bottom of your luggage.
  • A mini umbrella and a foldable reversable raincoat.
  • Neon colored luggage straps for easy identification.
  • A collapsible water bottle.

The collection keeps growing and it will one day soon be ready to go.

And surely there will be another day when the urge to roam will take over.

Will the travel things I thought were perfect actually work?

Will the odds and ends necessities come in handy?

Will I be able to find what I need when I need it?

The question now is where in the morass should I pack my toothbrush?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cathy_bathingsuit

cathy-bathingsuit

It’s Tuesday!

I  LOVE Tuesdays in my part of Virginia because it’s “Swim Day” (even though I have missed doing the local YMCA Aquasizing sessions now for several months.

I do manage to get there on Thursdays though and whilst the class is doing jumping jacks in the water, I am dog paddling at the deep end.  It makes BigFoot happy to participate even in that small way.

It’s Thursday!

Thursdays are also delightful because Thursdays are Swim Days too.  And the dog paddling brings on an after-the-beach drowsiness as well as soft skin and a feeling of immense accomplishment.

Other days present odd challenges.

It’s Monday!

On Monday, after agonizing trying-on-and-on-and on, I found a bathing suit (to wear on on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It’s a lovely floral thing (dooming outdoor swimmers to be attacked by bees who think the flowers are real).  It might work for Tuesdays and Thursdays but makes me look pregnant on any day of the week.

Now I realize a woman my age should not be pregnant (and if so, might qualify as a carnival attraction).  Nevertheless, it is a lingering image locked in my mind’s eye. 

It’s Friday!

Therefore on Friday, after swimming on Thursday in an old suit which outgrew my newly acquired non-exercise shrinking figure (saggy suit blues), I returned the new (pregnancy type) suit to the store down the street who said they would take it back with the original tags.

That leaves Wednesday and the weekend.

It’s Wednesday!

Wednesday was spent on line ordering other things.  BigFoot resists on-foot- buying in real stores (except for swim suits) resulting in shopping withdrawal symptoms.  You would be surprised at how painful that can be.  But, modern progress allows one to alleviate pain by enabling purchasing things without actually standing on your feet.

As for the weekend,

  • Sunning in old clothes (not sure of bathing suit yet).
  • Waiting for results of the 5th MRI for BigFoot.
  • Trying on new socks (ordered on line).
  • Taking pictures of BigFoot (which is nominally shrinking now).
  • And wishing it was Thursday!
  • How did your week go?

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KUiTpJf

“Hello, Super Market Management?  I am in your store and I am in the far end.  You know, near the chips?  I am a handicapped elderly woman (in a therapy boot) gratefully using one of your electric carts but the cart battery went dead.  Can you help me?

I cannot walk all the way back for another cart.  I need a new cart with active batteries and someone to help transfer all the groceries.  Yes, I am by the chips.  Thank you so much.  I love it that you offer this service.  It’s a very kind public gesture, but for some reason the cart batteries always go dead.

The electric carts at my grocery/big box store constantly run out of battery power.

And this usually occurs on the far side!

Getting stuck in the middle (or far end) of a gigantic store leaves a person (this person with the BigFoot) in a precariously helpless, embarrassing position, stranded in limbo with peripheral problems like being emotionally distraught.

I am STUCK! HELP!

  • The basket on this electric cart is full.
  • It will lurch forward while emitting a weak sickly beep.
  • It will never make it back to square one for a new cart.
  • That means I must WALK (Limp) back across the store (for what seems like a mile) to get another cart.
  • You may witness my staggering arrival at the cart area where there may or may not be a new cart available.
  • If I am lucky and find a cart it may have a dying battery, and there is no way to tell if it will make it back to Cart #1.
  • Hurrah!  It arrives at Cart #1 for a transfer of goods to Cart #2.
  • Finally… leave Cart #1 stranded and,
  • With aching foot and increased blood pressure, move on to finish shopping.

Results?

  • Embarrassment
  • Pain
  • Anger 
  • Frustration
  • Fear of getting stuck again.

The latter fear has taken such a hold that I can only shop on one side of the store at a time, i.e., bar soap is on the wrong side (the other side) of the store.

Soap therefore, must go on a different day’s shopping list entitled “Right Side” or “Left Side”.

I also finally devised a Diabolical Plan (feel free to try this yourself if you are either elderly, infirm, or both):

  1. Program the name of the store and it’s local phone number into your cell phone.
  2. Choose an electric cart without too much concern for dying batteries.
  3. Begin shopping and don’t worry about filling your basket. Fill it to the brim or higher! Remember, the point of this plan is to send a message to store management.
  4. Be alert and wait to get stuck ANYWHERE in the #$%2x##* blankety blank place (preferably far far from the stable of carts).
  5. Are you stuck yet? Well, if you are, then sweetly call the store from your cell phone.  Please, reserve the urge to rant!  
  6. Helplessly plead you are handicapped and need to be saved by a store employee who will have to fetch another cart.

Will pity prompt positive action?

I haven’t tried the Diabolical Plan yet.

Stay tuned.

 

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I do love shiny things and I am

not even embarassed to admit it.

Things that glitter and glow like diamonds, sequins, twinkling lights, cut glass, shiny makeup, gemstones, or anything with a glint will receive my full attention.

But rarely is there a shiny thing that is not only glittery, but elegant and practical too.

And of course today’s story is about a charmingly small Christmas gift from a great friend (Pam).  Pam also loves shiny things.

The little object of this tale is a “crystalline pen” made by Swarovski!  It’s center is filled with tiny little crystals that shine in different lights.  I keep it right where I can see it too.  And occasionally a deep sigh can be heard across the room.  It is a sigh of contentment.

20180124_141622.jpg 20180124_141443.jpg20180124_141103.jpg

Because this sparkling object is not only wonderful to look at,

but is also a smooth and silky writing pen.

And it has a thumbs-free rubber stylus at one end

Did you know I used to be able to type 70 words per minute on a manual typewriter?

And 100 words per minute on an electric typewriter (does anyone remember those?).

But I am woefully clumsy when it comes to texting on a cell phone!

Result:  Typos!  Great Big Ugly Typos!

Forefinger-texting doesn’t work for me because the typos are so horrendous nobody can decipher the mesHvs7& (see what I mean?).

Enter:  The Swarovski Magical Pen.

This wonderful little thing is a real problem solver and a Senior’s Answer to keeping up with social media’s high speed demands.

Like who can match the maddening two-thumb expert young-uns who probably exceed 100 words per minute just before they run into a wall or fall down the stairs?

It’s the stylus I now love…. that little eraser-like thing at one end of my wondrous little pen.

The stylus is like a miniature thumb

and is just the right size for error free cell phone typing.

Now if they would only invent a pen that has twin stylus-es styl-eye? at one end to work like the kids using two thumbs.

Maybe I will write a letter to Swaovski!

In the meantime, thank you Pam for this sweet little gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday was a magical day.

I went on a 45 minute trip to a magical outer world.

Of course, Virginia scenery this time of year is spectacular, and even stay-at-homes can rejoice in the colors of Autumn, but the windows are getting fogged up at my house and even though the mountains and the sky offer endless transitions, seeing the outer world becomes an urgent need.

You see, I am still coping with the BigFoot and am up to about 8 doctors, 20 tests, and 11 different diagnoses in a search that has gone on for just over two years.

So on most days I am a more effective person “at home” where aches and pains can be addressed in familiar surroundings.

But yesterday…. well, yesterday was different.

Old girlfriends met at a little box store in Staunton, Virginia for shopping!

Hurrah!

Shopping!

Ever feel like Alice in Wonderland?

There were bright shiny things to find and sparkly things to buy.

If I had a dog I would have loaded up on all those cute dog toys, dog beds, and doggie treats.

“Maybe I should get all that anyway.  You never know, we might find the perfect dog. And what about all that glittering jewlery for those of us who crave elegant adornment and hardly ever leave the house?  I could use a roasting pan too… a copper roasting pan.  And what about that just-the-right-size pasta bowl?

But No – Let reason prevail.”

In other words, I went slightly mad!

I did wind up with quality holiday wrap and bows, a laundry bag for travel (wishful thinking?) and great potholders (just in case I have to cook at home).  Not the most glamorous purchases I know, but Hey… a step up from online searches.  I could actually touch and feel the merchandise.

And I found a forest green sweater for me!

I have been looking for something that color since I was eight years old and there it was jumping off the rack…. perfect fit too.  Irrestible!

There is joy in finding elusive things.

Then, to top off the magical day we old girlfriends all went out for a magical lunch.

The entree I splurged on would normally have been a disappointment since it was too dry and maybe even too spicey.  But I never really noticed.  We talked and talked and even after the bill was paid, we kept on talking.

Noone rushed us off and there was time to plan our next magical meeting in that magical outer world I have been missing so much.

Have you ever had a magical day of your own?

 

 

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Maxine attitude

My “to-do” lists are created in all seriousness, with all-serious intentions.

But creating a list is not always the same as fulfilling it.

This was yesterday’s list:

  • Get gas in the car. O.K., so I forgot.  Will get it tomorrow.
  • Mail that bill.  Forgot.
  • Remember to take a cooler bag with ice packs for perishable purchases. Forgot the cooler.
  • Stop at the drugstore for allergy meds and eyedrops. Sent Bill (short for “William.”)
  • Shoe store for comfort sandals. No time.
  • Haircut. Managed that.
  • Gym for a mild workout. Too tired.
  • Stop at the real grocery store for real food.  Sent Bill.
  • Stop at the produce market for fun things that taste good like local peaches and tomatoes. Managed that.
  • Don’t forget to put all that in the cooler bag. No cooler bag.  Drove home fast.
  • Take pictures along the way.  Nope.  Taking time would make the peaches go bad.
  • Visit with people you meet.  Of course.

Somehow I did not feel particularly productive on this day.

But after all the groceries (peaches and tomatoes) were put away, I took a little walk.

No list.

Just a walk.

And  how about this all-in-one list of fulfilled to-do’s?

  • A 30 minute walk added EXERCISE.
  • Thirty minutes in sunshine for VITAMIN D3.
  • Thirty minutes of fresh air in beautiful rural Virginia!
  • STOP-AND-GO PHOTO OPS for next blog post.
  • And, I pulled at least 5 weeds and thinned one zinnia bed in the front garden.

 

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Change is o.k. I guess.

But at what point should one begin to think about starting over?

I am giving serious consideration to reliving my life with new loves.

No, I don’t mean acquiring new relationships.

Well, maybe so.  Maybe some relationships.  Relationships with places and things.

Long-time favorites once loved and counted on are either going, going, going, or gone.

  • The downtown gift shop I loved and even wrote advertising copy for is selling out!
  • The health food store I depended on for expensive delicacies and youth restoring vitamins  has already closed its doors.
  • Long nylon nightgowns that helped with silky, sleepy, bed-turning are now considered “Vintage” and impossible to find unless you want to sleep in something slept in by somebody else.
  • Big terry cloth pot holders with pockets are missing. They may be another vintage item. (Hurrah Ebay!)
  • My quilted barn coat is getting frayed from 12 years of use and is irreplaceable.  The store that carried it no longer carries it. Neither does anyone else.
  • Favorite tea flavor (Vanilla Caramel) is gone from our local grocery stores.  Is there such a thing as Vintage Tea?  (Yay! Amazon!).

Every day something else is NA (Not Available – To be youth oriented, I am practicing talking in initials) and the search begins for replacements.

“Such is life,” my sainted mother used to say.

She never told me I would lose so many old loves and would have to start life over.

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