Saturday, December 31, 2016


A New Year full of possibilities.

12 months to express gratitude.

365 days to reinvent yourself.

Countless hours to fill with creativity.

Endless minutes to learn new things.

Numerous opportunities to feel joy.

Let's not squander it.

December's Simple Savings and Year End Computation

$459.76 was saved this month by using small strategies.

$13,854.39 was saved in total this year with those small strategies.

That is $1,154.53/month on average.

This month the strategies used were:  E-books, free coffee, salvage groceries, thrift store sales, sale foods, Aldi $5 coupons, gas buddy, hotel breakfasts, store sales and Mike's free birthday burger.

What have I learned this year?  That doing small things can add up to big money saved.

And, the opposite is also true.  Small expenses can drain your bank account of a lot of cash.

You decide which you prefer for your future.  I know what side I prefer.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Word For The Year


Of consumerism.  Yes, I will consume, but from thrift stores and of used items.  Help your budget and your planet.

Of purchases.  Don't buy without thinking.  Buy only what is needed, not just what is wanted.

Of relationships.  Take time to cultivate them.  Be sure to honor them.

Of goals.  Make them.  Work towards them. Hopefully meet them.

Of emotions.  Feel them. Control them. Don't dramatize them.

Of gratitude.  For people. For gifts of time and the heart.

Of the moment.  Remember, yesterday is past.  Tomorrow is yet to be. Live in the moment.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2017 Challenge

2017 will be the year of the grocery budget.

I'm challenging myself to keep detailed records of what is spent, what is bought and what is eaten.

I haven't done this in an organized fashion in far too long.  It will be interesting to see how much is really spent feeding the two of us.

The U.S. government says that spending $ 75.80 per week ,   $330 per month or $ 3960  per year is considered thrifty for our family.  I wonder how close I can be and still provide the healthier choices we prefer.

I'll be shopping sales, eating in season foods, trying not to waste, and shopping discount sources when available.

Coupons will be a VERY small part since they don't do those in England.  And, in the U.S. we eat things that rarely have coupons.

I'll be, as usual, cooking the majority of our meals at home, from scratch.

My collection of cost cutting tips and recipes will be dusted off and put to good use.
And, I will be stockpiling sale items to use later when the sales are thinner on the ground.

In fact, January will be a time of using up some of the great deals from November and December.

But over the year it will all even out and I will get an honest view of our food costs, and how it fluctuates from month to month.

Monday, December 26, 2016

43 Years Ago Today

That is when Mike and I had our first date.

He impressed my dad with his ROTC haircut and his knowledge of words in crossword puzzles.

My mom liked him because of his manners.

We didn't do anything fancy.  We sat at McDonald's and talked for hours about whatever came to mind.  At the close of the evening I felt like I had known him for a long time.

Two weeks later I was in love.

It took him quite a bit longer.  :)

Happy Anniversary, Mike.  I'm glad we had that first date.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ...  "  Isaiah 9:6

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."   Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas to everyone.  May your holidays be filled with Joy.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rehab and Wrapping, Baking and Buying

No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth.

But, I have been busy with four days a week rehab, and trying to get ready for Christmas without over stressing.

 So far so good.

I have been a busy little elf.

The figgy pudding is steamed.
 Grandma's Christmas bread has been stirred up.
Mom's pumpkin bread is baked.
The banana bread is baking as I type.
Chocolate, peanut butter, and gingerbread fudge is made.
  Rice krispie treats are waiting.
 And, dad's apple butter is canned.

I still have saltine toffee, brownies and a mince pie to make.  But, there's plenty of time.

No worries.

Yesterday, all but seven of my gifts were wrapped or bagged.
Now we just need to deliver and that is the fun part.

I love this holiday and I especially love being able to enjoy it without too much stress.

Hope your holiday prep is going well.

  Just remember, what gets done gets done and nobody else will know what doesn't get done.

Friday, December 2, 2016

November's Small Simple Savings

We were away on a cruise (to be discussed in a later post) for most of the month. The result is a much smaller amount of simple savings.  We did manage to keep $308.01 in our bank account rather than in someone else's.  We did this by using points for a hotel room, free coffee, salvage groceries, gassbuddy discounts, free e-books, senior hair cut savings, and the buying of sale items.

In the last eleven months we have kept $13,384.33 in our account through simple savings strategies.  That is an average of $1216.76 per month.  Not bad.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Off On A Trip

Later today we will be off to Toronto and the first leg of a three week trip.  We will board the ship in Greece and then cruise through the Suez Canal.  Stops will be made in Crete, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

We will not have internet so things will go quiet here.  See you in three weeks.

And yes, I will still be doing my rehab exercises while on the cruise.  :)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

October's Simple Savings. (A Slimmed Down Version)

A truism:  She who is sidelined saves fewer dollars.

I wasn't up to searching out savings this month and it shows.
October's Simple Savings was $498.47.
Not as much as normal but I will still take it.

Where did we save:

Salvage shopping for groceries
Guitarist for nutritional supplements
Reduced to sell produce
Free shipping
Free ebooks
Free coffees
Thrift store extra savings tags
Auto repair/maintenance savings
Haircut senior savings
Gas Buddy savings

When averaged out over the year we have saved an average of $1307.63 per month.

 Savings that keeps money in my pocket.
That is a win.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Marmalade With A Surprise Ingredient

Yesterday Mike and I made a citrus marmalade.

We ended up with four full and one partial jar (that I have already tried on cornbread).

It was easy.

1orange and 1lemon, zested and then sectioned
2 pounds of the surprise ingredient, pureed in the food processor
5cups sugar
1tsp ground ginger

Pulse the sectioned fruit in the food processor
Put all the ingredients in a large pan
Cook down until the mixture jells
Put in jars

The surprise ingredient:  green tomatoes

No, it isn't green when cooked.
Yes, it looks liked marmalade traditionally looks.
Yes, it has a nice citrus taste.

A great use of end of the garden tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chipmunk Cheek

I have old teeth.
They are just about as old as I am, and that's not young.

I also had an old filling in a tooth.
Now I don't have the filling or most of the tooth.

But, unfortunately, the tooth broke off at the gum line.
And became infected.

I am on antibiotics and will have a preliminary appointment with the dentist on Thursday.
Did I mention I STRONGLY dislike dentists?

Life is so much fun.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Good News

My ten day Xrays showed everything is still in alignment.  YES!

I have a little nerve impingment in my hand so I have some exercises to do to hopefully correct the problem.

Meanwhile I have been enjoying the beautiful autumn weather.   Perfect for short but relaxing walks as you enjoy the changing leaf colors.

Tomorrow I am going to try the recumbent bike at the rec center. Hopefully my legs are not jarringly connected to my shoulder.  I am so looking forward to the ride.

I have also been enjoying cooking some new recipes.  Mike has to do the cutting and chopping since he doesn't trust me left handing sharp implements.  I'm a lot slower with my left hand but it helps the cabin fever.

Back to the surgeon for more Xrays at the end of the month.  Will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September's Simple Savings

$3205.45 in total savings.

This was the month we spent a lot of accumulated points on items that should have cost us a lot of green.

We used points to purchase:

One way airline tickets back to the states
Hotel rooms using points
Free Starbucks drinks
Free breakfasts

We also saved money on train tickets using our two together pass.
We caredfor Susie for five days and saved the money a hotel would have cost us.
While we stayed with Susie we self-catered all our meals.

We also saved by

Reading free e-books
Getting extra savings from charity shops by buying the colored tag of the day
Taking advantage of senior discounts

With September's savings we have saved a total o $12,587.90 this year.
That averages $1398.66 per month.
A great month and a good year so far.
I'll definitely take it.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


My beautiful designer kitty.
I loved her fur's pinkish gray tint.
She was so delicate and such a little lady.
She will be missed.
RIP little girl.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Plan B

Remember when I told you I was going to have a reverse shoulder replacement.

Well, when the doctor got in there things were better than anticipated.

It was decided that my bones were good enough to give the screws needed for repair purchase.

So, several metal plates and screws later the four pieces of my ball joint are once again joined.

Now we wait and see if it will heal.

If not, on to Plan C.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Reversing My Shoulder

That is exactly what we are going to do.

I am having a total reverse shoulder replacement.

Where the ball WAS the new shoulder socket now IS.
Where the socket WAS the new ball now IS.
And different muscles are now used to move the joint.

I will never throw a baseball again, but I never did before so no loss.

The surgery will be Monday so it will be awhile until I post again.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Happened in Cambridge, unfortunately won't stay in Cambridge

It was just a sidewalk.
A two level sidewalk.

Now, please take into consideration that my eyes are not great.
And my depth perception is worse.

There I was rolling my suitcase away from the Cambridge train station when the suitcase dropped from one level to the other.

Taking me with it.

Before I knew it I was up close and personal with the pavement.

I landed. Hard. On my right shoulder.

An hour wait to see if I could shrug it off.
A three hour wait for the ambulance.
Xrays and a consultation later we had a verdict: a shattered upper humerus.
Treatment: a shoulder replacement.

So, we took my broken shoulder  out of Cambridge and back to the states  for care and rehab.

First opinion received today.  Going to get a second opinion.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


We are currently in Cambridge cat and house sitting.
A great way to see the city.

Susie, the cat, is a beautiful calico. She takes some time to warm up to strangers but every day gets a little better. She has been fun to get to know, if only from a distance.

Not to minimise Susie, but she was not the most memorable part of the trip.

But that is a post for another day. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Creating For Paul Bunyan

I swear I followed the directions. Really.

I measured and counted carefully.

I don't have a clue how the supposedly size medium sweater turned out to be big enough for Paul Bunyan. Or even Babe his blue ox.

So, it all got ripped out. All. Of. It.  Hours and days of effort.
It was not a Hallmark moment.  Covering your ears might have been advisable.

But, I got back up on the horse.  I have started again.

The sweater is much smaller.

Let's just hope it doesn't turn into one for Jimminey Cricket.
Send good thoughts.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Cow in the Canal

A couple of nights ago we moored across from a field of cows.
As we were being pleasantly serenaded by their moos we noticed two of them were busy head butting each other.
Do females fight for dominance like males do?
Anyhow, eventually they stopped. 
But it was only for a moment.
One cow wandered away to stand peacefully by the canal.
That was her first mistake.
For the other cow decided to make a run at her and but her in the side and knock her in the canal.

Now, not to worry.  She was not hurt and was not about to drown since all she had to do was stand up in the three and a half feet water to save herself.  But, once in the water she had no intention of climbing back out.

She walked up and down the side several times.
She came over to visit the boats moored on the other side.
She stood placidly in the middle. 
But, she did not climb out.

Eventually two men from the farm came to try and entice her out but she was having no part of that.
Tempers were hot and about an hour had passed before she agreed to finish her bath and climb back into the field.
I am convinced it had nothing to do with what the humans were doing.
She saw the other cows heading towards the barn and didn't want to be left behind.
That herd mindset.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August's Simple Savings

$809.37 this month with an average per month so far this year of $1172.80.

Our lowest month so far this year.  But I'll still take it.  LOL

How did we save in August without cha going our lifestyle:

Self catering when travelling instead of restaurants
A free coffee from Starbucks
Using restaurant coupons when we did eat out
Using Gas Buddy to save on gas
Getting only the free E-books
Taking advantage of military discounts
Parking on the street and walking rather than using the parking garage
Senior citizen discounts
Negotiating a hotel charge down
Taking advantage of validated parking
Buying things that have that day's discount color tag at the thrift stores
Taking advantage of the provided breakfast
Using our 2Together pass on the train
Negotiating the boat's dockage fee

Now, on to September's savings. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


 I have a problem.  I love good food.  But I also want to cook healthy food.

Quite often I have been able to find a happy medium.

But not with brownies, one of my favorite food groups.

I like them moist and fudgey.  I DO NOT like them to resemble cake. At. All.

When black bean brownies first came on the scene I was hoping they would be my bridge between good for me food and yummy I want to eat these food.

My bridge collapsed.  The brownies tasted like bitter cocoa flavored cardboard.  And that is an insult to the cardboard.   There was no talking yourself into eating them.

But recently I read a blog written by a famous healthy cook (whose name is unfortunately escaping me).  She said she had perfected a black bean brownie that was not related to cardboard.

Oh, how much I wanted to believe her.  So I succumbed.  I made them.  They were wonderful.  No taste of black beans.  No bitterness. Just ooey, gooey chocolate goodness.  I promise.

Black Bean Brownies You Can Enjoy

1 1/2 c. Rinsed and drained black beans
2Tbs Cocoa powder
1/2 to 3/4 c. Oatmeal (I used 1/2 but will use 3/4 the next time)
1/3 plus 2 Tbs language syrup or honey
1/4 c oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 c chocolate chips

Mix in order given and put into a greased 8 by 8 pan for 15-20 minutes at 375.

Enjoy their rich, chocolatey, yumminess.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Doesn't Everyone?

Since I have been back on the boat I have made a baby afghan, two shrugs, and I am now working on a sweater.

Nothing much else to do when walking hurts.

But, the odd thing, at least according to Mike, is that I still have a suitcase of yarn to use.

Is that odd?
Is it too much?
Doesn't everyone have a stash like this?

They probably just hide it better. Right?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Eating From The Pantry

Aldi is three miles away.

 It is the closest grocery store.

 No way can I walk there and back right now.

So, we are eating out of the pantry.

No eggs.

 No cheese.

No butter.

No fresh fruit or vegetables.

Almost no peanut butter.

Such first world problems.

We have beans, rice, pasta, tomatoes, flour and yeast for bread, dry milk, oil, etc.

Plenty to go on with.

Two nights ago I made corned beef hash, fried green beans and pineapple.
Last night was homemade chili and crackers.
Tonight is bean and rice burgers with fresh homemade bread.

In the pipeline:
Pasta with sauce
Black bean soup
Tuna fish sandwich with tomato soup
Chili spaghetti
Bean and rice burrito
Baked beans with hot dogs

See, it's a good thing that I have a stockpile.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Not So Graceful Klutz

Last night I barreled full tilt into an obstruction and broke the little toe on my left foot.

It was completely at right angles to the rest of my toes.  Weird.

I was all for just taping it up afterwards, since I know from previous klutzyness (yep, I think I just made up a word) that is all that can be done.

I lost that skirmish with Mike and off to the care facility we went.

I was x-rayed and it was determined that I had done such a fine job of it that I need to see an orthopaedic to see if it needs pinned.  Who knew.

Temporarily, I am taped, wearing a boot and walk along like a mixture of Festus from Gunsmoke and Frankenstein.  Cute.

I am always good for some comic relief.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Paying Homage to an Accomplishment of My Mother's

Back in the '60s my mom crocheted throw rugs in the shape of a hexagon. As far as I know those were the only things she ever crocheted.  I had one by the side of my bed for years.  Lovely to step on those cold winter mornings

Recently, I have been paying homage to my mother by crocheting some small area rugs for a friend and her daughter.

The daughter's rug was a brightly coloured circle. It was made to go with the pillow and afghan I had previously made her.

I just finished my second area rug for her mother. Both are rectangles, although of different sizes.  Both are made of darker neutral colors.

All three rugs are washable and should wear for years.  (Although the daughter may outgrow those colors long before the rug wears out :-)

Thanks mom for the idea and the example.

Monday, August 1, 2016

July's Simple Savings

Total: $1107.81 this month, for an average of $1224.61 per month over the last seven months

This month the savings came from:
 taking advantage of military discounts,
salvage food savings,
rebates on alcohol purchased,
Goodwill colored tag reductions,
Senior discount on hair cuts,
Starbucks free coffee,
Negotiated hotel rate,
Free Ebooks,
Found change on the ground,
Free breakfasts at the hotel,
B1/G1 dinner,
Free Milkshake coupon,
Price comparison on new lenses for my classes,
Gas Buddy gasoline purchases,
Self catering at the motel,
Negotiating with the airline 're our return fares

We saved a lot of money without changing our lifestyle. Win-win!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Reasons or Excuses?

I crochet.

A lot.

Maybe too much.

But now I have reasons justifying my obsession.


First, when I crochet things it makes me feel creative. That is healthy for how I feel about myself.

Then, it lowers my blood pressure which helps my risk of heart attack or stroke.

Crocheting keeps my hands busy doing something besides shoving food into my mouth.

Stress is deadly. Crocheting reduces my sense of stress.

I love the ability to make gifts for loved ones. Every stitch is made with love and makes me feel closer to friends and family.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Try, Try Again

The floors of the boat are cold. All the time. Always.

To combat the cold I wear slippers. All the time. Always.

Slippers wear out.  Necessitating new slippers.

And therein lies the problem.

Yes, I crochet.

Yes, I have made countless slippers.

But only one actual PAIR of slippers.  And I don't like them.

I have tried countless patterns.  To no avail.

Some are too wide. Some are too long. Some just look like mutants from the outer galaxy.

I have adjusted patterns. I have changed hook size.

I have pleaded and threatened them.

All have been torn out.

 Leaving me once again with my mocking ball of yarn and snickering set of hooks.

But I am stubborn. I will prevail or die trying.

Please, don't send flowers.  Just send slippers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Family Week At The Lake

Fireworks,fishing, rides in Uncle Rock's boat, pillow fights with Uncle Paul, bare feet, Uncle Jim's famous ribs....

We have just completed a decades long family tradition in Mike's family:  a week on Conesus Lake with all the extended family. Aunts, uncles, cousins,in-laws, outlaws, they were all there adding to the fun .

It is hard to believe that our generation is now the matriarchs and patriarchs of the family, our children are the young parents, and our grandchildren are the youngsters.  Time has flown. But it is nice to see the tradition being passed to yet another generation.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June's Simple Savings


So, how did we save this month without negatively affecting our lifestyle?

Here is a list of the little things we did that added up to some significant savings in June:

Cottage rent savings on Prince Edward Island because we vacationed there during the shoulder season
Taking advantage of the Marriott friends and family rate (our last opportunity to do so)
Redeeming two free nights of hotel stays ( one hotel was really posh )
Two free donuts on donut day
Lots of free e-books
Discounted groceries
Free pizza that came with a groupon
Less expensive gas by using Gas Buddy
Discounted tag items at Goodwill
Free hotel breakfasts
Arby's coupon discounts
Self catering while on vacation (a very conservative estimate)
Military discount
Earned free coffee at Starbucks

In the first half of this year our simple savings has totaled $7464.62 for an average per month savings of $1244.10.

I'll take it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rehoboth Beach House Fun

We have spent the last several days at DD2's new beach house in Rehoboth.

 The first couple of days they were here with us.

 The highlights for me were:

          Having my grandson confide that he hoped the painter would paint dinosaurs on the walls

         Watching my granddaughter dance all around the empty living room

          Getting a very serious tour of the house room by room from my grandson with granddaughter chiming in as the spirit moved her

          Playing Disney Cruise Ship  (can you tell they enjoyed their vacation this spring?)

          Holding little hands in parking lots so they could keep grandma safe

          Lots of hugs, kisses, giggles and excited chatter

          And granddaughter informing me she likes cherries after seeing one in my cocktail (and no, she didn't get it, she got cherry yogurt instead)

The last few days we have been here working on a daddy do list of taking down lights, etc. in preparation for the painter.

It is nice still being able to help your grown up child.

Today we head back to Erie and next week is the lake with Mike's family (and the grandbabies.)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Campobello and Old Sturbridge Village

We took a couple of side trips on our way home from Prince Edward Island.

The first was to Campobello Island, the summer home of the F.D. Roosevelt family.  Franklin spent all his summers here from the time he was one until he contracted polio as an adult.  Afterwards he spent less time here but always considered it one of his favorite places.  Eleanor continued to visit up to the summer before her death.

Here the family led a relaxed life of swimming, boating picnics and hikes in a home that reflected this casual lifestyle. F.D.R.'s children always looked back fondly on the time spent with their parents on the island. I can see why. The House feels like a true home, ready to have the family return at any moment .

We also visited Old Sturbridge Village, a living historical village of New England life in 1838.  I find it fascinating to see the many skills expected of a woman in that time period: General house keeping, drying foods, smoking foods, pickling foods, making cheese, making cloth, braiding hats, dying wool, sewing clothes, and the list goes on.  No problem sleeping at the end of the day.

I would love to try my hand at all of them but would hate to have my very life, and the lives of my family depend on my mastery of all these skills.  We might be in trouble.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Prince Edward Island

We have had a relaxing if damp and chilly time on the Island and we begin our slow progress back to Maryland today.

 While here we have visited the house that was the inspiration for Green Gables in the Anne of Green Gables series of books by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  The house used to belong to a family member but is now part of the PEI Park System.  It has been beautifully restored to reflect the time period of the Anne books.  I loved going through it and taking in all the small domestic details of the era, including the five mice mouse trap. As you might have thought, I am now re-reading the books.

We also visited an artisan cheese place and bought some cumin spiced gouda to enjoy.  Me and cheese, I can never walk out empty handed.

Then we visited a dairy that makes its own butter, cheese and award winning ice cream.  I bought some of their award winning cheddar (on sale), we shared a coconut cream ice cream cone in a homemade delicious waffle cone, and I found gifts for the grandbabies.

Yesterday we took a tour of a small batch distillery and purchased some of their gin for Mike.  He really enjoyed the sample they gave him.  I tried an anise liquor but we did not purchase any of that.

The rest of the time we spent parked looking at the beautiful seashore in several different locations, driving around the island taking in the scenery and stopping into thrift stores where I found, you guessed it, more yarn.  So, I have also been crocheting and it will keep me busy during the many driving hours to Maryland.

Today we are off to St. Andrew's, New Brunswick.  Will check back in later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Go Fish

This morning that was the game of choice with the grandbabies. Grandson has a grasp of the rules. Granddaughter will just give you her matching cards when she hears what is being requested.  Generous little thing.

Before that we watched the Wiggles and Animal Mechanical. A whole new group of popular characters and shows to learn.

Last night, as she was heading up to bed, granddaughter sent grandpa and me to bed.  I guess what is good for her is good for us. No real arguments here.

Today is grandson's graduation from preschool. I know he is ready for kindergarten but I don't know if I am ready. He is growing up faster than I would wish. But that is life I guess.

We had a great time in Erie catching up with friends and family. The time there went too fast too. But we'll be back in September to see everyone again and I am already looking forward to it.

Tomorrow we begin our trip to Prince Edward Island and all things Anne of Green Gables. Won't Mike have fun.

Check back soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May's Simple Savings


Of course we were traveling again and spending but still we managed to keep the costs down and the enjoyment up.

How did we save this money and not negatively affect our retirement enjoyment?

Here is how we did it:

Reduced to clear food at the grocery store
Free ebooks (lots) for us to enjoy
Using a few earned free hotel rooms when we traveled
Marriott's Friends and Family discount rate for hotel rooms
A savings code worth $10 from Vitacost
Saving on insurance when we rented a car because we insure with USAA
A discount on yarn at the charity shop
The two Together railroad travel discount
Hours of searching to get a good airline discount
Eating meals from the supermarket and not a restaurant when living in the hotel
Taking advantage of the hotel's free breakfast even if you're not excited by the choices
A bargain haircut, or two ( including a free beard trim for Mike)
Using Gas Buddy to find cheaper gasoline
Taking advantage of our membership discount at our Whole Foods Co-Op
Using a sale, a coupon and Ebates when buying Mike new slippers
Getting a free 8 by 10 photo enlargement and a discount on 4 by 6 prints

Our five month average per month is $1210.66.

Your possibilities are different. Your savings will be different. But give it a try. It's like found money.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Catch Up Post

We have congratulated and celebrated with two graduates. How proud we are of them.

We have maxed out on junk food including Kentucky fried and Pizza Hut.

We found great yarn at a thrift store and also got some components of Christmas gifts at our Whole Foods Co-Op.

Today is coffee and conversation at Starbucks and shopping with a friend.

Tomorrow is a family picnic at my sister's.

Life is good.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Heading Stateside

Tuesday we will be leaving the boat at a marina to be blackened.

On Wednesday we will fly out of Manchester for the states.

We will be there for graduations, a family week on Conesus Lake, a trip to Prince Edward Island, and time with family.

We will return to the boat on July 13th.

I will still be blogging but probably not as often, although who knows.

Regular blogging will resume in mid July.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

National Memorial Arboretum

Last Friday we rented a car to go visit some friends and also to pick up some salvage groceries to restock our larder.

While we were out and about we decided to visit the National Memorial Arboretum which is nearby.

The Arboretum is 150 calm and serene acres that houses over 300 memorials, military and civilian, to various organizations,groups, and individuals.  All the memorials are located amidst a beautiful maturing woodland of over 30,000 trees of differing species.

The memorials are of differing scale but all we saw, and we barely scratched the surface, we found to be extremely thought provoking and quietly beautiful.

But if memorials are not your thing, it is a beautiful place for a walk and still well worth a visit.

Guided tours are available but we chose to explore on our own.  We did, however, enjoy the offerings of the Arboretum's small cafe.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

No Wonder I Am Tired

So here was my day:

A trip into Whitchurch to scope out charity shops.  I found quite a bit of yarn for 5pounds so I came home happy.  And, I was registering over 6000 steps by noon.

When I got back on the boat I cleaned out all my food storage areas, reorganized them and rewrote my list of what is where.

Then I moved on to three loads of laundry to wash and hang.

Maraschino cherries were next on the list. I now have a jar aging for my Manhattan's in a couple of months.

Then we did one lift bridge and six locks.

I have also done the meals and the dishes all day.

Total number of steps so far, 10,200.

All on two hours of sleep.

No wonder I am tired.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Antique Railroad Ride

While we were in Llengollen we enjoyed a ride on a steam engine driven train through the Llengollen countryside.

Here are some pictures of the gorgeous countryside we went through.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pictures taken from the Aqueducts and along the Llangollen Canal

Here are some pictures taken from the Chirk Aqueduct

and the Pontzysyllte  Aqueduct.  Floating high above the trials and tribulations of the world below with only beauty left to be seen and appreciated.

And then the gorgeous scenery along the Llangollen including the starry white blooms of the wild garlic.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pictures From Normandy that Didn't Accompany the Post

My laptop was malfunctioning for awhile and wouldn't connect to the internet.  Therefore no pics for my recent blog posts.
Here are some pics  from Normandy that you missed out on if you want to see them now.

Friday, May 13, 2016

We Are In Llangollen

And boy was getting here worth the ride!

After we left Whitchurch we headed to Ellesmere where we did some laundry in a laundromat, checked out some charity shops, and had a latte and teacake in a local shop.

Afterwards we headed towards Llangollen.

But here it is the scenery that steals the show.

We went by Britain's largest peat bog. It was commercially "harvested" until the 1990's when it became governmentally protected. It is like looking out over an alien landscape of some sort.  But it is also now a wonderful refuge for wildlife.  Win. Win.

You then travel through the beautiful Shropshire Lake District near Ellesmere.  The area of nine lakes, or metres, will literally stun you with how picturesque it is.  Icy blue water surrounded by gorgeous forest.  Cole Mere and Blake Mere border the canal in all their scenic splendour. We hope to moore here on our return trip. Wish us luck.

We crossed the border between England and Wales while navigating the 696 foot long, one lane wide Chirk Canal. Built in 1801, it rises 70 feet above the River Curiog.

The aqueduct is followed immediately by the literally one boat wide, 459 yard long Chirk Tunnel.

Both were navigated successfully without meeting another boat in an awkward location, I am pleased to announce.

Then we had the joy of cruising through some more splendidly isolated rural countryside where only the language of cows or sheep disturbed the silence. Even the usual canal side pubs did not add their usual touch of civilization.  And all the time the comely Berwyn Mountains overlooked us.

Today we crossed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and for all its 1000 feet it seemed like we were slowly floating above the world 120 feet below.  Built in 1805, it is supported by 19 curved arches that just add to the beauty it projects.

Once off the Aqueduct the canal travels along a narrow ridge of land overlooking the splendid Vale of Llangollen.  In many places it narrows to the width of one boat and the hillside you are clinging to twists and turns with such abandonment that a view of what is ahead is impossible.   I walked the canal path ahead of the boat in order to provide information about what was ahead and forestall any unwelcome meetings of the too up close and personal type between us and another boat.

The hillsides along the path are blanketed with wild garlic now beautifully in bloom with delicate white flowers.  I just had to pick some to flavor tonight's pasta.

A wonderful, wonderful day.

Monday, May 9, 2016

We've Got Wood

Yesterday we came upon a great amount of wood along the canal.  So our afternoon was set.

We cut and stacked on the roof all the wood the boat can hold.

Now it will cure and be ready for burning next winter.

It will not be enough for the entire winter but it's all we can stockpile for now.

A good day of work for all.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

For Our Cruise Shipmates

These pictures are mainly for our cruise companions since Google will only let us send a max of two pics at a time.  But for the rest of you, these are pics from Bilbao, Spain.