Retirement

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 6

I ended Day 5 at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area.  Camping at a recreation area is very different from camping in a state or national park.  You pay admittance ($10 in this instance) and just drive to wherever you want to overnight.  Lake Ogallala is gorgeous.  I parked right on the beach under the trees and prepared for the night. After unloading my kayak, chair, cooler and other items I drove to the only restaurant in the rec area.  It was 4:00 but I  thought I would treat myself to a cocktail and a hot meal.  The sign read that the kitchen didn’t open until 5:00.  OK, I’ll sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine until it opens.  I ordered my wine and told the bartender I’d just sit and keep her company for an hour until I could order dinner.  She said, “Nope, that’ll be two hours”.  Well, I had crossed into another time zone and it was actually 3:00.  So, now I’m two zones away from home and I’m a little confused because I don’t know how to re-set my fit bit watch and I’ve been deducting an hour every time I glance at it.  OK, so now I’ll deduct two hours.  But I’m still hungry.  I bought a bag of Doritos and a bag of Cheetos (actually the first junk food since I began my trip – hooray for me!) and returned to the lake.

I inflated my kayak and had a wonderful paddle on Lake Ogallala.  I decided I’d do an early morning paddle so I left the kayak inflated, sat down to write, read, drink some wine (I always carry a bottle for happy hour), plan the next day’s route, munch on junk food  and watch the sun set.  Stunning.

There’s one problem with camping in a recreation area – no facilities. Well, there was a vault toilet but yuck, no.  I used my female urination device for the first time and it worked great although my sister-in-law’s method of outdoor peeing worked even better.  Thank you, Lisa. Contact me if you want her method.  I don’t mean to be offensive but these are things girls must think about when camping. I had a very comfortable night except that my eye started draining. After cleaning it with a washcloth and water, it began to feel better and by morning the pain was gone and the swelling under control.  Whew!

No kayaking in the morning.  The lake was shrouded in mist.  I sat on the dock dangling my feet in the icy water while making some phone calls. The setting was quiet and mysterious and I started thinking about Stephen King’s, “The Mist”.  I got extra spooked when I heard a splash and promptly pulled my feet out of the water and up into a lotus position but reminded myself that there are no sharks or alligators in Lake Ogallala.  It still creeped me out until I saw a large fish jump, wiggle and splash.  It was a trout or a bass maybe and would explain why I saw a bunch of people fishing yesterday.

I had a heck of a time deflating the kayak and getting it back up into the rooftop carrier.  I brought a one step stool but I still wasn’t tall enough to position it, zip the carrier and tie it down.  There was no one around to help so I just did a half-assed job and went on my merry way. I stopped at the Visitor Center to clean up, change clothes, a little makeup (hopeless since I didn’t want anything applied around my eyes), comb and style(?) my hair, etc. The hell with it.  I was anxious to find Wyoming.

The rest of Day 6 was glorious.  I entered Wyoming early and was so enthralled with the scenery I passed right through Cheyenne and Laramie without really noticing. My plan was to stop and explore some cowboy stuff but I decided I was more interested in the countryside than tourist attractions so I kept driving west on Interstate 80 until I discovered a byway through the Medicine Bow Mountains.  It took me two hours off my route but was so worth it.

 

I then got desperately lost but eventually found Rawlins, WY and decided that I would boondock for the first time at the local WalMart.  Many of the camping blogs I read recommend staying at the WalMart lots because they’re safe and convenient.  There are security cameras and lights and I was encouraged that there were at least 20 RVs, campers and trucks parked in the overnight parking area.  I know it sounds odd to boondock in a WalMart lot but if it’s good enough for the big boys with quarter million $ RVs, it’s good enough for me.  WalMart loves overnight campers because they buy their supplies from the store, buy gas, etc.  Whatever you may think about WalMart, they are cordial and supportive of their overnight campers.

I stopped for dinner at the Days Inn restaurant next door because I was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to look for any other restaurants.  I had one of the most delicious cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten.  Perhaps I was just extremely hungry having only eaten leftover Cheetos and a couple of energy bars all day.  I parked between two huge RVs and in the morning the lot looked like a regular campground. I felt secure and had a comfortable night.  I can’t wait for Day 7 – Grand Teton National Park.

 

 

Categories: Camping, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 4

I woke up excited knowing I would be entering Nebraska today.  Up til now I’ve been traveling through states I’ve already visited.  My real wild west adventure begins when I cross the border into Nebraska.

At 12:15 I was in Iowa.  Iowa? And 25 minutes later I crossed into Nebraska.  I guess I just clipped the corner of Iowa.  The land undulates;  not hills and valleys but  waves and the crops are healthy and green and beautiful.  Planted in checkerboard patterns, the fields are tidy and neat.  I have no idea what kinds of trees I’m seeing.  There are  varieties of firs I’ve never seen before – some are fluffy and lacy and some spikey and dangerous looking.   I never imagined so many shades of green.  From lime to almost black.    I drove through miles and miles of wide open country, blue skies and green fields and woods.  We live in an amazing country and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to see it.

My first stop was at the Lewis and Clark Center in Nebraska City.  I’ve always been amazed at the bravery of the men and women who trail blazed the west and when I was a kid daydreamed of running away to be a pioneer.  I know now it wasn’t nearly as glamorous “Wagon Train” made it appear.

I had lunch at a cute little restaurant in Nebraska City and took a doggy bag with me for dinner. My eye was itching and sore. Back in the car I decided to just head toward Fort Kearney and stop at a motel mid-afternoon to reorganize, blog, relax and take a long, hot shower.  What I didn’t realize is that in Nebraska there are long stretches of highway with no exits and the exits that exist do not have the convenient gas stations, restaurants, etc. that I take for granted.  So I’m very cautious about keeping my gas tank filled and peeing whenever and wherever I can, even if I don’t have to “go”.  I drove and drove and drove and finally located a motel in York, Nebraska and had a very comfortable night. I took some aspirin for my itchy, sore eye and swore I would not allow any physical ailments to slow me down.  I’m anticipating great things tomorrow.

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 2

My brother and his family are visiting from Israel and staying in Spring Hill, TN near Nashville. It’s about a four-hour drive from Atlanta so we piled all the toys my grandson Max (7 years old) wants to give to his Seattle cousin, Lou (2 years old) onto the passenger seat of my car.  This limited my space up front a bit but it was just too hard to open the rooftop carrier and load all 40 pounds of  wooden Thomas the Train engines and tracks.  I now have Thomas and his train friends traveling as passengers in the front seat with the seatbelt engaged to keep the alarm from “dinging” due to their weight.

I’ve always enjoyed the drive from Atlanta to Nashville.  Wendy’s has a terrific chicken and mango salad that I enjoyed at a rest stop overlooking a lake along the way.  It’s a beautiful drive with the elevation changing from flatlands to low mountains.  There’s a downhill section of highway where I like to measure how far I can “coast” without using the gas pedal.  I’m easily amused.

I spent a couple of hours visiting my brother and his family before heading to Montgomery Bell State Park for my first overnight SUV camping experience. I enjoyed the beauty of the drive as well as the fun of driving through lushly green winding roads from Spring Hill to Burns, Tennessee.  The park is 4,000 acres of forests, trails, campgrounds, lakes, a golf course, villas, an inn and restaurant. I paid $13 for my campsite, set everything up and hopped back in the car to locate the restaurant.  The food was just OK, the staff inexperienced but friendly and the view was terrific. You know what?  Who cares.  I was hungry, tired, the flatbread pizza was edible and with a glass Cabernet, I enjoyed just being there.

 

My first night sleeping in the SUV was great.  All  my plans came to fruition.  My window shades worked, my little rechargeable fan kept me so cool that I had to pull up my blanket and my 4-inch memory foam mattress was super comfortable.  I slept like a rock until 4 am and then just had to wait until it started to get light because I won’t roam around a campground alone in the dark.  First light I lit my propane stove to boil some water for coffee in my French press, made up my bed and got everything organized for the day.

Montgomery Bell is such a beautiful state park but I was disappointed that the bath/shower rooms have been neglected and need updating badly.  Nevertheless, I had a nice hot shower, got my makeup and hair done and dressed for the day without melting in the humid shower room.  I relaxed with a cup of coffee while I planned my route for the day.  I wanted to get a little west of St. Louis before stopping for the night.  I’m trying to limit my driving to about 300-350 miles/day so that I have time to enjoy wherever I stay and take my time visiting any locations along the way.

I was very proud and pleased that my SUV bedroom was comfortable and private and everything worked as planned.

Day 2 was a success.  I loved being with my family and enjoyed a comfortable night camping but tomorrow begins the real adventure into parts unknown.  Well, OK, I took a road trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, MO last with my daughter so I’m not counting Missouri as a complete unknown but I expect there will be an adventure of some sort tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Family, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

As it was in the beginning, so it is …

Daily Prompt – Base

I started babysitting when I was 12 earning $.50 per hour; $1 an hour for New Years Eve.  I was allowed to start wearing lipstick when I was 13.  So, the first thing I did on my 13th birthday was hit the cosmetic aisle at Woolworths.  I bought a tube of “Blush Pink” by Coty and my first makeup base, CoverGirl liquid.  Oh, and don’t forget a spray bottle of Evening in Paris with matching body powder. It was several years before I graduated to Jean Nate.   That first cosmetic buying trip (I think I spent $8) was my initiation to gorgeous – or so I believed.

I knew nothing about matching my liquid base to my skin tone.  I figured since I grew up on Miami Beach and was tan, that was the color I should use. I thought I looked beautiful when actually I had a kind of orange glow a la Donald Trump.  I knew nothing about blending my base coat out toward my jawline and neck so,  mask-like I went to school dreaming I looked like Twiggy.  Did I mention that I have freckles and was chubby?  You can imagine what my troglodyte “friends” had to say.548301f7c19d2_-_mcx-60s-supermodels-8-s2

Fast forward 50+ years and I just wish I could supplement my retirement income with the $$$ I’ve spent on makeup — liquids, cakes, cremes, powders — Lancome, Estee Lauder, Maybelline, MAC,  Avon, Urban Decay, Clinique, L’Oreal – you name it, I’ve tried it. In addition to my makeup base, I’ve spent a fortune on eyeliners, eye shadows, concealers, blushers, wrinkle removers, cover-ups, et al.  And guess what?

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Humor, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Limit Happy to an Hour?

 

The epitome of a good day:

  • Woke up from a good night’s rest with no arthritis pain
  • Ate previous night’s leftovers for breakfast – no brainer Paleo meal
  • I was the first customer at Grease Monkey for an oil change, had coffee with the guys & they  gave me a new customer discount
  • Pool store clerk loaded 3 jugs of  chlorine in the car for me without me asking for help chlorine
  • Home Depot associate gave me a 2 x 3′ piece of plywood for free when I told him I was making a counter-top ironing board for my quilting projects
  • Washed my car in the driveway – it was overcast & almost cool. No heat exhaustion.  No streaks.
  • Rode my new bike to the library without accidents or incidents (just a sore ass)
  • Bought 2 beautiful, ripe mangos – my favorite fruit
  • Pulled weeds around the lanai without seeing worms, snakes or anything else startling or disgusting weeds
  • Dove down to pull a rogue plastic lid  covering the drain at the bottom of the pool and didn’t drown
  • Received calls from my kids
  • Finished my retro step stool project

    Before

    after

    After

  • Amazon delivered my new bicycle basket and I installed it in 3 minutes basket
  • Found enough fabric in my stash to make skirts for the work tables in my quilt studio so I can save my $ to buy more quilting fabric
  • Customer picked up her antique embroidered butterfly top that I custom quilted for her and raved about it
  • Found food in the refrigerator for dinner – no last minute run to the grocery store
  • Watched three episodes of “Nurse Jackie”
  • Listened to the laughter of the kids next door splashing in their grandparents’ pool
  • Fell asleep thinking about tomorrow’s fun

Daily Prompt: Epitome

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Daily Prompt, Humor, Life, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gotta Have More Cushie for my Tushie

I don’t believe the good lord intended for my 67-year old ass to ride on a narrow mountain bike seat for any extended period of time.  If such were His intentions, He would have made my ass smaller or the seat bigger.

bike1As we all know, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and I intend to live a healthier lifestyle by riding my bike for any errand within a 3-mile radius of my home.  Today was the first day of the rest of my life (do you like my aphorisms?) with a 3-mile ride to return library books and pick up a few audio books for my car trip next week.  Mission accomplished in 40 minutes, including 10 minutes to choose my audio books.

Pros:  feel good & energetic, proud of myself, felt safe & secure on my smaller bike, no accidents

Cons:  my ass bones hurt.  I didn’t know there were bones in your ass.  Temporarily solved the problem by alternating butt cheeks on the saddle.

So, there is definitely a larger, cushier bike seat in my future as I continue to peddle my ass around town.

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Health, Humor, Life, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sisters Camping Trip # 3 – Preparation

Casita

So, the Princess and I survived our first two camping adventures without hurting each other.  I always try mightily to back my Casita travel trailer into our camp site but I echo Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” when I fail miserably.  My job is to sweat and cuss and try and try again to back the camper in the right direction.  Yes, I know you have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction from where you want the trailer to go. The Princess’ job is to stand around looking adorable with an an imploring look & pleading smile while nearby campers rush to volunteer to back the trailer in for us.  I guess it takes a village.  Whatever.

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This time we’re heading to St. George Island State Park in the Florida panhandle.  We’ll camp on the beach and explore Apalachicola and other coastal towns.  We’ll eat lots of seafood — shrimp, oysters, mullet, etc.  It’s going to be cold (30’s-40’s at night) so walks on the beach may mean bundling up in several layers. Picture two female Pillsbury dough boys and pray we don’t trip.  “We’ve fallen and we can’t get up.”

I’ve prepared and frozen two meals, chili one night and chicken cacciatore for another night.  I plan to store them in the freezer compartment to help keep the refrigerator cold, then use my slow cooker to defrost and heat up our dinner when we’re ready.  I’m buying steaks & Idaho potatoes for our first night. Since we don’t have a very good track record with grilling on an outdoor fire, I’ll buy New York strips instead of rib eyes just in case our dreams go up in smoke (again).  The Princess is responsible for cocktails and appetizers for the trip and local restaurants and bars will fill in the gaps.weenie

I live in southwest Florida and the Princess lives in central Florida so we coordinate our departure times and meet at the confluence of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike in Wildwood.   Her husband transfers her luggage (matching pieces of course) to my car and off we go.

I’ll let you know when we get there.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Family, Humor, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stumbling, Bumbling & Feeding the Cat

Daily Prompt – Just Another Day:  Our days our organized around numerous small actions we repeat over and over. What’s your favorite daily ritual?

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Dusty is a 20-year old calico cat.  She’s mean, obnoxious and her meowing sounds like the screams of an old lady in pain.  I’m scared to death of her.  She’s blind, can’t hear very well and is crippled with arthritis.  She loves me.  I can only feed her small amounts at a time or she vomits.  When I hear those retching sounds I run to carry her outside but seldom make it in time.  Then it’s my turn to retch.

Dusty and I have a morning ritual that I have come to enjoy.  She wakes me with an old lady scream between 4:30 – 5:30 a.m.  I stumble into the kitchen and prepare her plate of food that I set out on the lanai where her litter box is kept.  This accomplishes three things – she eats, she poops and I can check the weather.

I then bumble around making coffee and cleaning up the kitchen until she comes back inside and limps down the hallway to stand next to my bed.  I arrange her quilt on top of my bedding and gingerly (she is not de-clawed and I have the scars to prove it) pick her up by the scruff of her neck and place her on her very own hand-made quilt.  Until a few months ago I have never allowed an animal in my bed.  (Well … I mean … you know).  She settles down for a little nap because she’s only had 14 hours of sleep.

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I plump up my pillows, carefully crawl in bed next to Dusty with my coffee, my iPhone and my computer and we settle down for an hour or so of pleasant social media mindlessness.  But, God forbid I move. There’s that old lady scream again — mine.

Categories: Daily Prompt, Family, Life, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Where Do I Find the Time to Blog?

DAILY POST:  Life After Blogs ...Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Without a computer I would have even more time for/to:

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Family

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Read

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Pay bills

 

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Chill in the pool

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Visit our cottage in the northern woods

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Quilt on my longarm machine

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Explore

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Cook

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Sew

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Travel

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Eat

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Kayak

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Hike

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Explore

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Encourage my grandchildren to be silly

martini_cocktail

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Participate in raising funds for breast cancer research

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Daily Prompt, Family, Humor, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

Of Course I Love My Family But …

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pride and Joy.” What’s your most prized possession?

Of course my family and their love is my most prized possession – that goes without saying.  But if you want to know my most prized material possession, it’s my Casita travel trailer.  It was my retirement gift to me, from me, with love. I am eager for every camping adventure, especially when I go solo.

My 17-foot Casita Freedom

                                                              My 17-foot Casita Freedom

On Long Key, near Key West, Florida (Paradise)

                                                On Long Key, near Key West, Florida (paradise!)

I always wanted to be a cowgirl so that's how I decorated my Casita

I always wanted to be a cowgirl so that’s how I decorated my Casita

Bathroom behind door #1, closet behind door #2

Bathroom behind door #1, closet behind door #2

Dining table drops down, cushions flatten to form a queen size bed

Dining table drops down, cushions flatten to form a queen size bed

Inside dining for two - granddaughter & Grampy

Inside dining for two – granddaughter & Gramps

Just big enough on a rainy day to stay inside & watch movies

Just big enough on a rainy day to stay inside & watch movies

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Getting ready for take-off

I took my sister with me to Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL for a girls' weekend

I took my sister with me to Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, FL for a girls’ weekend

Girly repairs with pink duct tape

Girly repairs with pink duct tape

My happy place

    My happy place

Good night

                          Good night

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Daily Prompt, Family, Life, Retirement, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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