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Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

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The Road to Birr

Eager to leave our hotel in Dublin, we set out Sunday morning for Birr. John’s family lives in County Offaly and we were excited to be going back for a visit. But in Ireland, it’s easy to get distracted while meandering the countryside.

We had a little time to kill, and John mentioned he’d like to take me to this little town at the end of Lough Derg, on the River Shannon. As he was driving, he told me to put Port Laoise into our GPS. Oh, and it’s pronounced “Leash”. Continue reading

Come fly with me

I have a love hate relationship with flying. I love that I can jet across the world in relatively little time. But I’m not fond of the actual flying experience.

Walking past the business class section on our Aer Lingus flight I got a painful reminder we were in the cheap seats. Our seats wouldn’t be 22” wide and fully recline into a bed.

We had two normal seats with the rest of the passengers who spent a good portion of their savings to fly to Ireland. The layout of the Boeing 757 is good, because we had our two seats together without having a stranger in a third seat next to us. Continue reading

Weekend – Vacation!!

It’s vacation time!

By the time this post is published, we should be landing in Dublin, Ireland for the start of our vacation!

Landing in Dublin, Ireland for the beginning of our vacation!

View from our trip in 2013

I’ve always enjoyed journaling when traveling, so I hope to be able to share my journal here with you during our trip. Of course, I will be enjoying the views, time with John’s family, and exploring lots of castles and pubs.

Have a wonderful weekend, and may you have an amazing view!

What is your dream vacation destination?

Where would you go?

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?

Happy Friday dear readers! If you haven’t already, please join me on my Facebook Page. Thank you!

How to pack for a trip

I hope you aren’t expecting any advice here, because I hate packing for a trip.

I agonize over what to bring and not bring. I try on all of my clothes to see how I feel in each outfit, and a bunch end up on the floor. I’ve tried to pick outfits that will mix and match with each other, but I’m not very good at it.

Do you go shopping for new clothes before a trip?

Shopping before the trip – exhausting!

It seems that I inevitably bring either way too much or not enough clothes. And don’t even get me started on shoes. How do I decide which ones to bring?

How do you decide which shoes to bring on a vacation?


And I’ll be gone 16 days this time.

How to pack for a trip

laying out some of my clothes for the trip

We had toyed with the idea of just bringing backpacks, but I quickly decided that was just craziness. It was easy to do that for our Florida trip, because everything had to fit inside the saddlebags on the motorcycle.

Not to mention, that was Florida in May, not Scotland in May.

Okay, so I’ve checked the weather and long slacks, rain gear and hiking shoes seem to be in order. And I can’t go wrong with jeans, right?

I can do this.

Several pairs of slacks, a handful of tops, lots of socks, and a bathing suit (#WishfulThinking), into the suitcase! Maybe if I under pack, I’ll have to buy a few new things there, right?

Camera, camera bag, and all the accessories are ready.

I always bring my Canon Camera on my vacations

Passport – check.

Cash – check.

I even bought these interesting travel pillows and socks for the 11-hour plane ride. I’ll let you know if they work 😉

Have you ever tried travel/compression socks? Or one of these face forward travel pillows?

Compression socks and face forward travel pillow!


If you have any pointers, or great packing ideas, toss them my way would you? Otherwise I may have to Google “how to pack for a trip”.

Let’s do this together video – beauty and body image

How do you see yourself? Does it match what you see in the mirror or in photos?

Mine doesn’t.

Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s on the heels of the Twiggy movement, thin defined beauty. Growing into my body as a teenager and coming of age, I was super thin. And that image has stayed with me, even when the person staring back at me in the mirror has changed. Continue reading

How to go on vacation, even if you don’t have a lot of money

I used to tell myself I couldn’t afford to go on a vacation abroad. And you know what? I was right.

Whatever we tell ourselves, it’s true.

Well, at least to the point of believing limitations should stop one from going on a dream vacation. So, I decided to change my thinking.

I now believe I can go anywhere in the world.

But, that does take some forethought and tenacity. First of all, we don’t take a big vacation every year. We went to Ireland in 2013, and then a trip to Florida to tour The Keys via motorcycle in 2016.

Have you ever thought about renting a motorcycle for a trip?

Florida trip 2016

Our next trip starts this coming Friday and will include, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. We are basically just driving through Wales and England on our way to Scotland, but I’ve already found some great sightseeing for our route.

For the past few years I’ve been finding ways to afford this trip to Europe, and I’d like to share them with you.

The first thing I did was to get a credit card that accumulates points. Yeah, I know, you’ve already heard this piece of advice, but I can tell you it really works, if you work it.

Don’t get an airline specific card, but rather one that allows you to use your points however you want. Ours even has a “cash out” option.

Buy everything on that card!

This can be tricky because if you’re not careful you can overspend. But if you pay attention, this works well. We used our card enough to be able to get the cash back for our plane tickets on Aer Lingus ($1400 round trip for both of us).

We are also Hilton Honors members and because of my husband’s job and all of the travel he does, he’s accumulated enough points to get four nights stay in Dublin and Glasgow. We have points for more nights, but want to stay in Bed and Breakfasts along the way.

Speaking of B&B’s, they are a great way to immerse into the culture, and in Ireland they are very reasonable. Our last trip there we spent, on average, $50 per night for B&B’s. And let me tell you, an Irish breakfast will hold you over until dinnertime, so that saves you money too.

Traditional Irish Breakfast

We try to pay, in advance, for as much as possible. Planning our trip well in advance so we can pay for rental cars and ferries and hotels before we even leave the country.

Near our B&B in Wicklow, Ireland

Another easy thing to do is stop spending money.

I know, that doesn’t sound easy, but it really can be. Get a can or jar and put a photo of where you want to go on it. Every time you want to go out for coffee, drop $5 into the jar and make coffee at home instead.

An easy way to save up for a vacation is to stop spending money! Instead of going out for coffee, put the $5 in a can and make coffee at home.

This was our savings can from our trip to Ireland in 2013

That goes for so many other small things we mindlessly spend money on each day. I used to play a game with myself to see just how many days in a row I could go without spending any money.

You’d be surprised how quickly those $1, $5 and $20 add up.

Also, pick a place that is not expensive. Florida is way cheaper than Hawaii, and we had a blast there. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend just went to Bali because flights were cheap. Okay, so there was a threat of a volcano, but you can’t let those details spoil the adventure!

Just shift your mindset and start planning where you want to go. At least start researching, you will be surprised how one step leads to another and before you know it, you are stepping on foreign soil.

Did you go on vacations growing up?

Growing up in a small town in Michigan, we didn’t go on vacation as a family. I don’t remember one single time we vacationed anywhere. I don’t even recall my parents leaving us kids home so they could go.

Summers were for working, either on our farm or in the cherry orchards.

We all worked together to bring enough income in for the year. And when we weren’t picking cherries, my dad had us working on our farm helping tend to the crops or raise our farm animals. Continue reading

Weekend – Day tripper

“She was a Day Tripper, one way ticket yeah”….

And by one way, I mean no backtracking!

It’s time to dust off the big bike and take it for a ride. John mapped out a fun loop to take today, and we are just about ready to hop on and go. We both love to find routes that take us on a loop, instead of coming back the way we went.

Do you love to go for a day ride on your motorcycle?

Ready for our day trip!

We love to take rides and never take the same way home.

Let’s take the long way home

I hope your weekend has a little adventure in store for you. And that you “take the long way home, uh yeah, take the long way home.”


April is the month of the Military Child

I would love to write the perfect post to describe what it is like for children of the military, but I’ve never been one. My children didn’t have Military parents either.

But my granddaughters do.

Continue reading

Let’s do this together video – No diet no dye

I meant to get on today and talk about the Mediterranean Diet and how important it is to heart health.

Only the lady staring back at me in the camera was way too distracting!

Remember when I said I was fine dying my hair, thank you very much, and I didn’t have beautiful silver hair? Well, I’ve decided to embrace my gray, even if it is not silver.

Today, my hairdresser put in highlights where my gray is to help me transition to my natural color. And…she cut off at least 6″ of length too. Continue reading

Where do you come from?

If you are like me, that question can be a strange one to answer. Are you asking where I was born? Or maybe where I grew up? Perhaps where I live now?

Or are you asking about my heritage?

Some people are lucky enough to know exactly where they come from; like my husband, for instance. His family is from Ireland, and he is first generation American.

He knows for generations back where grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and distant cousins are all “from”. And he also sort of takes it for granted. Continue reading

Buzz Cut?

I’m trying to write more of my story, but keep getting stuck. My mind is elsewhere.

I feel like I need a change.

Usually when I feel this way, I move the furniture around in the house. Or change-up the decorations. Sometimes I’ll get a new hairstyle to shake things up.

But, I just moved the furniture last month, so that is not going to help. And I have an appointment on Wednesday to make some changes to my hair. But, I’m not sure that’s going to fix this need for change I’m feeling. Continue reading

Weekend – It’s all fun and games

Some weekends are all about fun and games!

We have the grandkids (and their parents) here this weekend, and we are having a blast. We hit the Moxi, kids museum here in Santa Barbara and us big kids had as much fun as the young ones.

Moxi Museum

Fun inside a video game!

After lunch it was off to the beach.

A bit windy but a great time at the beach!

I hope your weekend is FILLED with fun and games!

Tornado vs Earthquake?

Have you ever been in a tornado? I have. It is one of the most amazing, scary and even thrilling natural events I have experienced. The sound of a tornado is something that you will never forget.

Growing up in a small Mid-Western town, we would have tornado drills at school. And most of us had cellars, so we all knew where to go if there was threat.

You get no warning with an earthquake.

Continue reading

Let’s do this together video – de-stress

What do you do when you are feeling stressed? Do you power through and keep going?

I used to do that, but now I stop and regroup. Today is my day to do just that.

I’m still in my pajamas but slowing getting things checked off my list! 

There are some stressful situations in life that I can not control….like whether my passport arrives in time. But, I can control how I react to anything thrown my way. Today, I chose to just take a deep breath and take some time to take care of me.

Well, and a bunch of other things too!

But getting some things checked off my list will help me in the long run. So, I hope you find some time to take care of YOU this week.

Learning how to put my needs first (repost)

I have been super busy with family needs these last five days, and haven’t found the time to write. I got back home last night and this morning I’m working on catching up with a few things.

It’s interesting how life is filled up with busy moments and I get caught up in it all. Then something happens to remind me that it’s all just little stuff. It’s okay that I haven’t written here in a few days. And it’s even okay if I’m behind on a few reports due.

It is also okay that I take some “me time” to regroup and replenish.

Continue reading

Weekend – on the bunny trail

We are on our way to spend Easter Weekend with John’s kids and mother! Hippity Hoppity

Are you traveling to see family for Easter?

Hopping down the bunny trail!

Are you traveling to spend Easter weekend with family? Is there an Easter Egg Hunt in your near future?

I hope you eat chocolate and find treasures this weekend!

Won’t you join me?

It’s not all here!

If you haven’t already, please follow me on my Facebook page.  I share different posts there and each Friday do a fun mind teaser.  Continue reading

The Worst Year of my Life – The Luckiest Person I Know

I will never forget the realtor that worked with my banks to ‘short sale’ my homes. She was a bitch.

Yep, I went there.

She treated me with such disrespect and down right contempt. I was already mortified and embarrassed, but this woman was actually enjoying kicking me while I was down.

And speaking of down, have you ever experienced bankruptcy? It is a life altering decision to make in the first place, but oh once the process starts you’re put into the “undesirable” category.

Which is where you will stay for at least 10 years.

Continue reading

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