Sunday, January 31, 2016

$1446.93 "Saved" in January

For those of you who read my 2016 goals you know I decided to keep track of the money that we don't spend because:
  •  we buy RTC, 
  • the specials of the day, 
  • free e-books,
  •  get OAP/senior discounts, 
  • use coupons/vouchers, 
  • receive member discounts, 
  • use petrol/gasoline discounts, 
  • fly economy instead of economy plus even with new knees that would have loved the extra room, 
  • self installing of files and software onto a new computer instead of paying to have it done,
  •  etc.

The savings DOES NOT reflect things bought at normal thrift/charity shop prices or just on sale since I probably wouldn't be buying it except if it was on sale or at a thrift shop.  Hope you get the idea.

Well, in the month of January I am amazed and pleased to report that $1446.93  remained in our bank account because of the frugal decisions we made during the month.

That should help the old retirement fund stretch if we decide to be ancient instead of just old before we kick the bucket.

Maybe a change of scene?

To recap:  we came back to a boat with DEAD batteries.  We could not get them recharged and upon exploring the cause discovered that our alternator had died. 

A replacement was ordered and took a few days to arrive. 

It then had to be adjusted so that it would work with the electronics on our boat. 

It is now sitting, all bright and shiny, in the cockpit and today's task for Mike is to install it.  (He had such fun getting the old one out I am sure he is looking forward to installing this new one.) 

Then we can turn the boat around in our slip and reload the wood onto the other half of the roof. 

And then, just maybe then, we can leave the marina and head down the canal towards Chester.

I like the marina but a week plus of looking at the same scenery and walking the same walks can get a little much. 

Time for a change.

The New and Improved Emma John

She is freshly painted and so serene looking.

Monday, January 25, 2016

11,500; 4.5; 2

Today is a milestone day.

I walked for 2 hours.

I helped restack half the wood back on the roof of the boat.

I perambulated a total of 4.5 miles.

And I have walked over 11,500 steps and it is not quite six o'clock.

Hooray for new knees!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Murphy's Law in Action

On Friday we caught an 8:05 ferry from Dublin to Holyroad in Wales on the Isle of Anglesey.

From there we took a train and taxi back to the boat.

And then the fun began.

Our batteries were dead so we couldn't start the engine.

Without the engine we had no electricity.

Without the electricity we had no water or heat.

And the overnight temperature was below freezing so we did what any reasonable person would do, we snuggled under two duvets fully clothed including our fleece vests.

In the morning I brewed hot tea, made oatmeal, and baked bread and cookies to allow the oven to help warm up the space.

We are now plugged into shore power.

The heat is on and we have electricity and intermittent connectivity.

What more could a girl ask for?

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Dublin got its name from the place where the river Poodle met the river Liffey creating a pool of water made dark by the copious amount of sediment carried by the two rivers. In Gaelic, dub means dark and lind means pool.  Thus the name of Ireland's largest and capitol city was born.

The first Viking settlement on the site of present day Dublin came to be in 841 and the area remained under Viking control until the Norman invasion of  1169.  Dublin Castle, a popular tourist attraction, was constructed by the Normans and it was from there they maintained their sovereignty over Ireland.

In 1592 Queen Elizabeth I established Trinity College in Dublin as part of plan to establish the Protestant religion in Ireland.  Only Protestants were allowed to attend.  Today Trinity is known for housing the Book of Kells, a beautifully illustrated manuscript done by Irish monks around 800 A.D.

During the Georgian period Dublin was a large and prosperous city and it is from this period that many of the city's great buildings date. In fact, Dublin is home to some of the world's finest examples of Georgian architecture.

For those of us who are aficionados, 1759 is an important date in Dublin's history. It was in this year that Arthur Guinness first opened his now world famous brewery.
The Guinness family has done much to improve the city over the centuries including the restoration of churches, the establishment of parks and the rebuilding of slums.

In 1916 and again in 1921 Dublin was at the center of Ireland's fight to become a country separate from the United Kingdom. Several buildings and statues still wear the scars from bullets fired during that time.

If you enjoy literature it is important to note the names of authors such as Jonathon Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeates, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and Maeve Binchey.  All are associated with Dublin.

Approximately half of the population of the city is under the age of 25. Therefore, as expected, the nightlife abounds.  However, this I can not personally attest to since I am well past the age for such nightlife.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

All in a Day's Flying

Preparing for my first flight post knee replacement, Mike and I decided support hose might be prudent.

I'm sure it was but it was also a bit of comic relief, reminding me of when Aunt Evelyn and I used to struggle to get them on her and dissolve into laughter at how hard we struggled.

I eventually got them on and I am sure they work great in preventing pooling blood in the extremities since I believe they are strong enough to act in place of a cast if I ever have a broken leg!

I also spent most of the day thinking my shoes were suddenly too tight until I realized that it was just the hose giving a good squeeze to my feet. In fact, I probably could have worn a size smaller shoe yesterday without a problem.

When we arrived at the airport I answered one of my questions: yes I will now always set off the scanner and need to have my legs patted down.

 The viewing of my scars is not enough. Although I am unsure what additional information they get by patting my legs down. Mine is not to question why.

My day was made complete by air turbulence.

 I am a Dramamine flyer.

Somebody in air traffic control must have had it in for Dramamine fliers in small puddle jumper airplanes heading for Newark.

 We got to spend ten minutes flying through the clouds.

I could have been on a carnival ride.

We went up and then dropped quickly back down. We slid rapidly from side to side. We made random combinations of all four possibilities.

We could have moved up or down a thousand feet to avoid it all but someone must have thought it would be more educational to see how well the plane would hold up to all this bouncing.

As for how well I held up, I turned an interesting shade of grey-green that had the people around me mesmerized. Obviously they had never flown through clouds with a Dramamine flyer before.

Friday, January 15, 2016


That was her formal name. But we always just called her Rory.
She was a petite but very regal marmalade cat and she knew she was beautiful.

She belonged to DD1 but spent college vacations and the first year after graduation at our house. In fact, it was Rory who taught our Sam how to be a cat.  (Sam modeled the behaviour of our dogs, to the point of sleeping in a cage at night.  This was totally unacceptable to Rory who took matters into her own hands.)

Rory did love to take adventures out in the world from the time she was young until fairly recently. But luckily, one way or the other, she always found her way back home.

Now Rory has gonna ahead on her final adventure. And, like all Auroras she will be lighting up the sky.

RIP sweet Rory. You are missed.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Out of the Cottage

Today we left behind our home of the last four months.
We moved in the evening before my surgery and I returned 10 days later to heal and rehab.
Now I am as back to normal with bionic knees as one can be.

Mike and I have different moving out styles.
I start early and I am basically done the day of except for the necessary cleaning.
Mike counts on the fact that God sees him as special and all will work out for him no matter what.
That is a recipe for a migraine.  For me, not for him.

But we made it out of the cottage, although a little late.
We are in the hotel half way to D.C..
I am working on liqidly medicating my headache.
Tomorrow, the grandkids.
Monday,  the plane.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stuff, Stuff and more Stuff

We are sorting.

What will go back with us now.
What will go back with us later.
What goes into the Erie house and will stay there.

And then there is the cleaning out of the cupboards, fridge and freezer.  Boy I am bad at estimating how much I need to buy.  Note to self:  work on that, seriously.

And the laundry and packing of the clothes and other items such as craft supplies; and getting it all into the suitcases and under the weight limit per bag!

Boy this stuff is time consuming and less than relaxing.  I know, I know, poor me. :)

Too many things!

No matter how I try I end up with too many things.

Do you think it is in my DNA  That would be a convenient excuse.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Gathering Up the Scattered Bits and Pieces of Our Life

It is amazing how far things get scattered over four months.

And now it's my job to find them all so that they can end up back where they belong.

 Somehow a skirt and pair of slacks have gone AWOL.

  And my yarn has grown exponentially even though I have been crocheting the entire time I have been here.

And, to make matters worse, I am collecting jeans for a future project and let me tell you they take up space, lots of space.

Then there are the leftover spices and shelf stable foods purchased over the last four months but not used (why can't I estimate better?).

 Plus the items we purchased to take back with us.

Where will it all go?

How many suitcases will it all take?

Will we have room for such non essentials as clothes and shoes and prescriptions?

Life on the boat is simpler and easier, not enough space for things to hide.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

More Stocking Up

Mike and I did quite a bit of shopping at our local Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar, Wal-Mart and at the local Whole Foods Co-Op that we have belonged to for two decades plus.  Our mission was to purchase some needed items to take back to the boat. (The suitcase these are packed in ALWAYS gets searched. I wonder what they think.)

At the Dollar Tree we purchased:

Tuna :  this and others are because we don't have a freezer and I like to have them to fall back on when feeling lazy
Canned ham
a pouch of buffalo seasoned chicken
Some cider drink pouches for using to flavor water since I need to drink more
Two pouches of salmon
Aluminum foil sheets- I have learned to love the convenience and since I reuse I figure why not

At Wal-Mart we purchased:

Store brand water flavoring drops
Compression socks for the flight back: an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure
Size N crochet hook for a pattern I want to try
Iron on bonding tape - no sewing machine on the boat, need I say more
Liquid stitch

At the Co-Op we bought:

Several different spices: nutmeg, allspice, cloves, garlic powder, dried onion, curry powder, fennel
MSM for my arthritis: works for race horses and works for me
TVP chunks, both for mock chicken and beef
Garbanzo bean flour
Vegetarian bouillon
Dried butter beans
Carob powder -to use instead of cocoa ($16/lb vs $3/lb)
Vanilla beans- I need to make some more vanilla
Vegetarian rennet- I want to try making some different cheeses

The purchases all make sense to me but must have them scratching their heads.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Food, Glorious Food

I have been working on restocking the boat for after we return on the 18th.

To do so I have placed two orders with Approved Foods, an online deep discount grocery store.

Usually I aim for a 75 percent overall discount on the order but these last two orders came in at an 81 percent discount. I'll take it.

My first order cost £30.44 and got me:
 5boxes of cake mix that will become cookies for Mike,
a pound and a half of flax seed to use in baking,
three and a half kilos of sponge mix  for making cakes of different varieties,
a liter of extra virgin olive oil,
7 kilos of brown bread mix,
10 kg of flour for making bagels and English muffins to say nothing of tortillas and pita bread.

I also got:
6 small cans of pate,
a quarter pound of dried figs, and
 36 small bags of Weight Watchers assorted snacks.

My second order cost £24.85  and I will receive:
3kg of oatmeal which is useful for making mock meat,
20 Nutrigrain bars for easy and quick meals or snacks,
15 Adkins bars for the same reason,
2 mayo, 3 ketchup,3 salsa,
more cake mix for biscotti that Mike snuck on the order,
36 low salt broth cubes,
 4 pounds of soba noodles,
1 pound of risotto rice and
3small jars of hot sauce.

I will need milk, cheese fruit and veg but with the canned and dried foods we have on the boat we should be fairly well set.

I foresee:
 spicy peanut noodles,
tvp cheeseburger casserole,
 bean burgers,
pasta with chick peas,
 lo mein noodles,
tvp tacos,
pea or bean soup,
spaghetti with mock meatballs,
mock chicken pot pie,
not chicken parmesan,
 black bean soup,
Tuscan tomato bread soup,
 vegetarian haggis,
 potato curry,
pierogi casserole,
tvp sloppy Joes,
 tvp stroganoff,
 potato pancakes,
mock meatloaf,
swissed mock steak,
Buffalo mock chicken sandwiches,
meatless Glamorgin sausages,
Mexican pizza,
 stromboli with mock sausage.

That should feed us well for over a month and not a piece of meat in sight. That's one for helping to purge the bodily systems of all that holiday excess.

Friday, January 1, 2016


Remember when you were a kid and moved?
Or when you went off to college six hours away?
Weren't they perfect times to reinvent yourself?

The new year is another time for reinvention.
This year why don't we try reinventing the world around us into a nicer,calmer, quieter, and friendlier place?

If not now, when?
If not us, who?

And, if we are lucky, it might just catch on and spread around the globe.
Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?