Saturday, October 19, 2019

Danger Alert!

If you're headed for a corn maze, remember this...

From Portland Be Weird's FB page

And watch out for axes...

From People Magazine, via Pinterest

Thursday, October 17, 2019

World Cruise, Part III: How Will We Do It?

Yep, we're going on a four-month cruise around the world, starting in January 2020. Parts I and II have told you more about that. But our income's very modest: we live on the Brick's pension, his Social Security and what I bring in for my work.

     How can we do it?

*From the beginning, we set aside money from the sale of the house. (I have nineteen bazillion lists scribbled in the notebook, listing and calculating various expenses.)

*We've been cutting expenses everywhere we can on secondary expenses -- like roundtrip plane tickets to London. We also planned a budget  (you have to get there somehow), plus accommodations for extra days, so we could explore. (In spite of our European experience, neither of us has ever visited there.) I want to see my buddy Charley's Dickens House Museum, as well as that bastion of creepiness, the Tower of London. ("Look for Sir Walter Raleigh's inscription," a visitor to my talk said recently.)

Here's his cell, at least -- thanks to Wikipedia

      I remember my ticket to Austria costing an astonishing $400 -- back in 1979 college days. These tickets were a few hundred more, but included an extra checked suitcase, something that usually costs $120-150 roundtrip.  Like the cruise, we spent a lot of time -- months, really -- comparing and looking for the best ticket buys, and a room with free breakfast, as well.

*We'll book excursions as we go, some of them straight off the boat. Booking via the cruiseline can REALLY be expensive, and the offshore outfits have been great -- something we've learned on past cruises. The cruiseline will issue veiled threats ('they won't get you back on time'), but we have NEVER had this problem. Ever. Besides, we like the idea of supporting the locals, who often show you far more interesting places, and tell fascinating stories. (I will never forget our van tour of Grenada, with the guide taking us to a lake where his grandparents picnicked annually "to feed the mermaids.")

*That's another reason we can go on this trip -careful research. You really can save money this way -- sometimes a little, but more often a lot.
     And every bit of those savings can go toward other things we'd like to do or get, including presents; lattes, leisurely sipped while listening to string music -- and more.

     What we didn't realize were some of the unforeseen expenses:

*Storing the trailer -- and the dogs. We lucked out on these. Our friend will let us park the fifth-wheel on his property. (We'll drain and winterize it, of course, before leaving.) Daughter #2 and Son #1 have generously agreed to take Charley and Ruby; we've often taken care of their dog Karma, and the three get along with each other. (Thanks, Dears -- we REALLY appreciate it.)


*Losing out on a gig. That's what I get, for having to schedule these years ahead of time. At least I only had to cancel one -- and could do it in plenty of time.

*Paying bills -- and getting an extension on taxes. We can take care of this on the ship -- but I'm pretty sure we'll have to pay for internet use. We'll try to use our phone 'hotspots,' or stop at an internet cafe while in port.

*Vaccinations. I should have known this was coming. We can't get on the ship without a yellow fever shot. Several others are recommended, as well.

and the big ones:

*Renewing our passports and getting visas.
     Our passports don't expire for six more years. The cruise line doesn't care about that, but requires that passports hold a minimum of more than 50 blank pages. Not only did we have the smaller version -- some of those pages were stamped from previous trips. Ironically, the increased-page passport doesn't cost a cent extra -- but the renewal does, to the tune of $220. And it takes 6-8 weeks to get it back. Fortunately, we found out in time.
     You want to know the other irony? The absolute largest passport for Americans still is a couple of pages short for what's 'required' by the cruiseline. (Guess they'll just have to get used to the idea.)

     Visas were the other bugaboo. Naively, this American just assumed that our passports would get us into all the countries listed on the itinerary. After all, we were guests of the cruise ship -- and only staying for a day or so in port. No problem, right?
      For most of the countries, that is indeed true. And some would let us visit, as long as we paid for a 'temporary' card. (Which price will be helpfully charged to our acount by the cruiseline.)
     However, five stops require visas. Who they were surprised us just as much as what they charged:

New Zealand   (did that weird British slumming family have something to do with this?)
Sri Lanka

(A list of countries that require visas is here. If you're planning to head to any of them, make sure you apply in good time.)

     Visas for Australia and New Zealand can be applied for electronically and get approved within a few days. Their fees, though irksome, aren't too bad. But the other three? Lots of time, paperwork and high fees, and all needing our current passports. Yes, those passports we had to renew. (Every renewal changes your passport number.)

But wait! A helpful firm will plow through all that red tape and pick up our visas. (The Chinese visa must be picked up -- they don't deliver. 'Our' office, by the way, is in L.A.) And they'll do it in a timely manner, as well, for roughly double the fee.
     Need I mention that this company has the full endorsement, and apparently blessing, of our cruise line? (I'm betting they get some kickbacks, as well.)

Yep, we're going to get soaked.

There is a way to get around this hassle. We could stay on the boat, and not get off for those countries. That doesn't make sense. Travel all around the we could look at the gangplank?
     I don't think so.

So we'll get the shots, and pay the fees -- which are adding up to roughly $1000: a nice chunk of change for a few certificates and pieces of paper.

Maybe we can eat enough to make up for the extra $$ spent.

     The good news is, of course, that our monthly expenses at home, with the exception of insurance, will drop to a whisper while we're gone. I have plans for drumming up income, as well. The ship mentions craft teachers during the cruise. I've done that before on a Hawaiian cruise; why couldn't I do it now? Also, I hope/plan to blog for a travel company or two for extra cash. The Brick takes wonderful photos, and I'll write text to go with.
     Ooh, this is going to be fun. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

World Cruise, Part II: Why Did We Do It?

As mentioned in the last post, the Brick and I are headed out on a world cruise early next year -- four months, a few dozen+ countries, both the Panama and Suez Canals, crossing the International Dateline...all on the Columbus, a 'medium-sized' cruise ship (775 cabins) from the Cruise and Maritime line, based in Great Britain.
        Whoo hoo!

     We have been planning this ever since we decided to sell our house, more than two years ago. (I've been thinking about it for years before that.) The Brick and I both grew up in families that enjoyed traveling, and within a limited budget, often did. The Brick's dad was career Navy, which meant work around the world, including a trip to Japan shortly after the atomic bomb and Japan's surrender. He was a medical corpsman, tasked with keeping the Japanese 'ladies of pleasure' disease-free for visiting sailors. That resulted in several interesting photos of her husband surrounded by beautiful young women, sent to the Brick's mom. (Try explaining that to your fellow bridge players!)
     The Brick spent six years in the Navy, taking him, via boat and submarine, around Europe and South America. I, on the other hand, spent a college summer in Austria, Germany and points further east, helping missionary cousins we still spend time with today.

     We love to travel. We just do. The few cruises we've taken and overseas spots we've visited have only whetted our desire to do more. But our time and money, like everyone else's, is limited. Where would we really like to go?

     That's where the world cruise comes in. 

     It covers many of the countries I've always wanted to visit: Israel, Jordan (oooh, Petra!), Greece, Gibraltor, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand. Several of these are multi-day stops. Sure, we'll only get a taste of what it's like -- but it would be enough to guide where we'd want to return for a longer visit. 
     We'll be able to do this in far more comfortable fashion, as well: our own room, dining and viewing spots that will soon be familiar, places to watch and learn and listen.

And be together. The Brick is one of my favorite people in the world. Four months together, without having to rush off for interruptions, appointments or other commitments? Sign me up.

      And that doesn't even count the people we'll meet -- this cruise line is used more by Brits and other Europeans than Americans. I look forward to getting to know others whose viewpoints are different from ours. (The Brick enjoys this, too.)
     Put all this together, and you've got the ideal brewing-ground for a writer. The text for my next book should be submitted before we leave, but I'll have plenty of time to do some serious writing and editing on future commitments. (These will be mentioned in future posts.)

It's not perfect. I'll miss not being able to visit more northern countries. (Hopefully next time.) But we're headed out in winter, and the cruise literature points out, quite aptly, that heading south will let us take advantage of warmer temps, including using the swimming pools and hot tubs on board.

And while a bargain, relatively speaking, it's still not cheap. And it couldn't have happened without the sale of the house. But because we've been careful with our expenses for decades, the costs for paying off the mortgage and HELOC were less than they could have been. There's enough -- if we're careful -- to take the cruise, and still put away funds for retirement. My Hollander heart rebels at putting out that much money, until I whisper the magic words "29 countries" (I counted!), and remind it that we're getting pretty much an all-inclusive package for about $206 a day. 
   That's not too bad at all. 
        (More about expenses -- including the unforeseen ones -- in Part III of this series)

I realized, just recently, that this urge to take a world cruise may have been influenced by something else from my childhood: a woman named Nellie Bly.

Here's that book link, if you're curious.

Nellie (Elizabeth Cochran Seaman, 1864-1922) was an investigative journalist, first for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, then the New York World, who specialized in 'experience' stories -- shocking stuff for her Victorian era readers. She had herself committed once to an insane asylum to see what the real conditions were. (They weren't good. You can still read her articles, collected under the title Ten Days in A Mad-House.) She pretended to be an uneducated immigrant, then was hired in various factories. (Those conditions weren't much better.)

     Eventually she came up with another idea: why not recreate Phineas Fogg's journey in Jules Vernes' popular 1873 novel, Around the World in Eighty Days? In 1888, Nellie did just that, wearing a suit and greatcoat, and carrying several changes of underwear in a small valise.

Nellie herself, in the outfit she wore around the world (Wikipedia)

     This was strong stuff for anyone, let alone a girl. In spite of worries about robbing, rampage and other r-words, Nellie did it -- sending short dispatches along the way, and taking out time to visit a leper colony and buy a monkey. She arrived a little more than 72 days later, leaving from Hoboken and returning to New Jersey. (Granted, her publisher had to charter a train to bring her home, after her ship arrived in San Francisco two days late. Another female reporter, sent by a rival newspaper, came in 4 1/2 days later.)
     The plucky young reporter became incredibly popular. Not only did she boost the World's circulation, to the great joy of Joseph Pulitzer, her boss, but all sorts of merchandise appeared to celebrate her feat, including an 1890 board game that's still sought-after.

My book about Nellie is long out of print, but I loved and reread it several times. Is it possible that Nellie Bly's exploits had some bearing on this 60-something woman's desire to travel around the world for herself?


Nellie's arrival: Jan. 25, 1890


Monday, October 14, 2019

Going On A World Cruise: Part I

The Brick and I fly out to London on New Year's Eve, and board the ship in Tilbury (also called Essex) about a week later. We'll be gone through the first week in May. Yep, four months at sea.

It's called the "Grand Round the World Cruise," put out by a British line, Cruise and Maritime Voyages. We'll be sailing on the Columbus. It's a smaller boat. Quite skimpy and threadbare, as you can see (ahem).

Why did we pick this line? After all, we'd planned to go on MSC Lines' round the world cruise. We've been on a couple of MSC cruises, and enjoyed the international flavor of this Italian shipping firm.

The answer is simple:

Itinerary and P-R-I-C-E.

MSC was stopping at nearly all the same places, with one exception: Easter Island. Darn...I wanted to see those long-faced statues for myself. (Maybe in the future.) Their timing was almost exactly the same.

And their price? Thousands and thousands of dollars more.
When the Maritime cruise appeared on Travelzoo's Top 20 List -- a must for any traveler who likes to save money -- we leaped at it.

A little more than $12,500 each got us the four-month cruise, all taxes and fees paid, and a $1000 credit for the cabin. Oh yes, and the night before at a local hotel, comped.

Original price? Almost $48,000. Each.

The Columbus is not a party boat, a la Carnival -- but we didn't want that, anyways. It not only stops at more than 20 countries, but has talks, classes and education, as well as the usual fancy dinners and entertainment. It doesn't have a casino. (We don't gamble.) It doesn't host drinking parties. (We wouldn't have gone to them, anyways.) And it has great reviews...for those who don't plan to spend their vacation drinking and gambling.
    Our favorite times on past cruises have been listening to the string duets, pianists or others. Drinking good coffee. Walking the 'exercise lane' late at night on the top of the ship. Soaking in the hot tubs. Leisurely enjoying a fine meal, choosing just what we wanted. Talking as long as we wanted, without interruption. Watching a movie, snuggled together, with hot popcorn. Going to high tea (which this British line has, every afternoon.) Attending talks. (We learned some Italian on the last cruise.) Seeing a great magician, or show.

And the stops. Of course, the stops.

More in the next two posts --
*How can you afford it?
*What do you have to do to get ready?

Are we looking forward to this wonderful adventure? You bet! Stay tuned for Parts II and III of this series, wherein I explain why we're doing it -- and how.

Here's the general description of 'our' cruise:

Sailing via the Azores and Caribbean, Columbus will transit the Panama Canal calling at islands of the South Seas to New Zealand and Australia, before unveiling highlights of Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India. Discover the ancient sites of Egypt and Jordan and transit the Suez Canal to the Holy Land from where Columbus sails the Mediterranean homeward bound.

Cruise Highlights

  • South Pacific - Visit five Robinson Crusoe-like islands with dramatic waterfalls and timeless valleys as you luxuriate in a South Sea islands paradise.
  • New Zealand - The cities of Auckland and Wellington contrast with Tauranga, gateway to Te Puia the centre of Maori culture and geothermal wonders.
  • Australia - Sydney’s iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the Whitsunday Isles and the Great Barrier Reef await.
  • Japan - In Tokyo, immerse yourself in one of the most populated cities on earth; while Kagoshima offers a more relaxing experience to discover Japanese culture and heritage.
  • China - In Beijing and Shanghai, the ancient past is displayed in a wealth of temples and museums. Bustling Hong Kong Island will exhaust your senses.
  • Vietnam - Utterly compelling, Vietnam is a country of breath-taking beauty with a unique heritage. Discover Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to as Saigon.
  • Gulf of Thailand – From the ancient ruins of Angkor in Cambodia, the largest religious site on earth, to the Buddhist temples and Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand; the Gulf of Thailand will stun you with its beauty.
  • Singapore - With its futuristic architecture and high-speed efficiency, Singapore is an oriental star. Step back and discover its rich history and culture.
  • India - If you’re not tempted by an excursion to Agra and the Taj Mahal, take in some of Cochin’s fascinating cultural legacy before visiting the intoxicating city of Mumbai.
  • Jordan - Visit the lost city of Petra - estimated to date back to 6,000 B.C. - and Wadi Rum, where T.E. Lawrence found his destiny as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Hunting

     The Brick is elk hunting in the Meeker area. With friends, our trailer and the dogs. I'm still staying at our friends' house while He goes hunting, as well. (She stays home with me, when she's not teaching.)

     Welcome to the interesting world of first hunting season.

The Brick and his daughters, in years gone by

      The Brick's been looking forward to this for ages. We had to wait A THIRD WEEK to get our trailer back. (Our poor friends.) Finally, we just went and picked it up on Friday; a few jobs were still left undone. So much for the 'I know you're living in this, I'll hurry' business. 
     We pulled out a number of boxes, stacked them in storage, then spent the night at 'home' before the Brick left Saturday morning, pulling the fifth-wheel. Unfortunately, Saturday was the first day of hunting season -- so he wasn't able to take advantage of it. But he arrived safely, and has been enjoying his newfound freedom. Today, he almost got his animal -- a cow elk jumped in front of the truck while he was going down the hill. Thankfully he missed it, but Charley and Ruby rolled down to the floor when he slammed on the brakes. (They're ok too, poor babies.) 
      I have work to do here -- which is why I didn't go. Appraisals, some appointments, and a talk on Wednesday morning for the Philip S. Miller library in Castle Rock. Here's the writeup:

It's that spooky time of year, so, fittingly, our October Life Long
 Learning will be about hauntings not far from us. 
Local author Cindy Brick will share stories she discovered
 while researching her 2018 book,
 Ghosts & Legends of Colorado's Front Range. (Arcadia Publishing)

There are a couple of stories about Douglas County! ​
And don't worry: we'll keep the lights on so it doesn't get too spooky. 

As always, please RSVP by registering here:

Philip S. Miller Library
Douglas County Libraries
100 S. Wilcox St. 
Castle Rock, CO 80104
(303) 791-7323 

Should be fun. Meanwhile, the snow is completely gone and we're back to
 warmer temperatures. But it's supposed to come back this next weekend.
 Not soon enough to drive the animals down from the high country...
          but that's typical for fall here in Colorado.

Donna Freedman admits to some odd habits...just because she's old. (Or unwilling to do what everyone else does!)

Ghosts of the Irish Famine on Grosse Isle. Sad -- and true.

Fifteen historical screwups: so ridiculous, it's amazing.

Nine times you should NOT be cheap when you travel.  Not that I agree with all of these -- we've done several -- but they're items to consider.

How a couple paid off $130,000 in debt, in less than four years:
"We would not have borrowed as much. I think we had literally just signed up for our next loans and I learned I was getting paid, kind of out of nowhere, this windfall of $4,000 from a nonprofit. Rather than paying it back to take out less money, we bought tickets and went backpacking in Nicaragua for three weeks. And both of us were in graduate school in New Orleans at the same time. We ate out all the time and paid for everything with student loans. I was uncomfortable borrowing so much and knew at some level it was not good."

Did you realize that at least one of the buildings Pa Ingalls built...still exists? Sort of, anyways. A then-and-now look at DeSmet, SD...onetime home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

A Native American burial site discovered -- on the side of an Orange County freeway. They found it during construction.

"What I've learned from 150 millionaire interviews."  Advice gleaned from one of ESI Money's most popular feature.

Fifty budget hacks for 2019. Most of these you've heard before, but still...  (From Budget Boss)

Trader Joe's best shopping secrets -- from an insider.

Middle-class budgets -- four families compare budgets and living situations. Is yours similar?

Vinegar chicken with crushed-olive dressing. Lots of people talking about this one.

Ten famous people with strange quirks... like Ronald Reagan's penchant for touching people's earlobes.  (From Listverse)

How to thrift like a rockstar -- good advice from the Frugalwoods. This fits right in with:

Thoughts on prepping for whatever comes in the future. (From Hope and Thrift) And:

"What are the coolest things you've found in a thriftshop?"  (Thank you, Quora)

I'm just beginning to read a new blogger -- and those of you knitters will find her particularly fun:
           The Yarn Harlot.   Lots of patterns, color, yarns...with the personal stuff mixed in.

Funny (and bad) reviews of national parks. Is America this clueless??

The twitter comments about Disneyland are just as funny...

Should a Christian student be forced to recite a Muslim conversion prayer? This one's on the Supreme Court's docket for October.

Rich millenial cheapskates.

How to stay warm during power outages! Some of us are going to face this sometime this winter, no doubt. (From Just Plain Marie)

Thriving At Rock Bottom -- a three-part series by yours truly. (This link starts at Part I.)

Homemade garlic fries with sweet chili dipping sauce. A classic from Poor Girl Eats Well...who's been dealing with cancer.

Have a great week -- whatever it's doing in your neck of the woods.

You can own this amazing painting, thanks to 1st Dibs

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Guess What It's Doing Outside?

First snow of the season -- at least for us here in Castle Rock, CO.

P.S. I'll be doing a talk about my Ghosts and Legends book at the Ghost Town Society meeting in Denver tonight -- stop by!

Ghost Town Society
Grace United Methodist Church
4905 E. Yale Ave.    Denver, CO
7:30 p.m.  Thursday, Oct. 10

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Fall Dainties

   Flowers, made from fall leaves??

Yes, if they're fresh and still a bit flexible. This how-to diagram comes courtesy of Goods Home Design, which is chockful of interesting ideas, and 'Keep Portland Weird's' Facebook page.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

An Autumn Thought

Quick, friends -- hide!   (I'm safe -- too big a nut for them to drag off.) Then again --
they may be too busy taking pictures.

Alien Things I Don't Understand

You know how fond I am of pointing out this silly line of reasoning.

We need to ask the Little Green Men about these items  --
     maybe next time when they stop by.

This is sad...but probably true.

This one's for our friend Jeff -- who's convinced the moon landings never happened.
He's obviously in good company.

Charley's lucky he doesn't want a dog...

Area 51, eat your heart out.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Doing the Best You Can

     We just got the news from the shop, where our fifth-wheel home is STILL entrenched, after two weeks of various repairs and winterizing. Turns out that the motor they thought would fix the problem didn't -- now it looks like we may need new 'legs.'
     This has a lot to do with raising and lowering the trailer in order to hook it onto the truck. ("Landing gear") It can be done manually, but involves a heck of a lot of cranking. And the Brick's shoulder is none too stable nowadays.
     The price? Another $1000, the Brick figures. (I intend to argue it down a bit, but who knows.)

This is wayyyy more than we'd planned to spend for repairs. On the other hand, it IS what we're living in now (or will be, once it gets out of the yard), and it's needed for the Brick to take for hunting this weekend.
    My mom suggested I sneak into the trailer when no one was looking, and emerge in robe with toothbrush and toothpaste in hand. "That'll make them work faster," she chuckled.

     I, for one, am grateful we haven't sent the money from the house sale on its various ways yet -- so we (sort of) have enough to pay the repairs. And I'm starting to realize something:

You can only do the best you can. 

     Have we abused the truck or trailer, to merit all these repairs? No. They were all items that, thanks to a tight budget for months, we limped along with, until we could afford to repair them.

     We've been forced to give away heavy things, like 40 pounds of beans (bought cheap at the Friday/Saturday store) and multiple cans of tomatoes. Why? (I could certainly use them.) Because they're making the fifth-wheel overweight, and putting stress on the truck. The good thing: the beans went to our friend at the Seniors Luncheon, who will make good use of them over the years. (And dry beans last practically forever.) Other friends who helped us move, and refused to let us pay them for it, will get their autumn stockup of tomatoes early.
     Do I feel bad that I 'wasted' these food items? Not really. They weren't expensive. They're helping others -- and again,

I'm doing the best I can. 

     This encourages me to make supper and do household chores for our long-suffering friends, whose hospitality has kept us sheltered the past few weeks. It gives me the impetus to look for discounts on plane tickets, eyeglasses (yay -- I'm finally getting new glasses!) and those heavy socks I've been needing. It encourages me to continue buying baby powder, dog treats and some downright wonderful spring rolls at the dollar store -- and stash cleaning products in our friend's garage, so I won't have to re-buy them, instead of using them up.
     It lets me convert a meal's leftovers from Outback into a farmer's fry for breakfast: baked potato, steak and Bloomin' Onion, with scrambled eggs stirred in at the last minute. (It was delicious, by the way.) It also means that tomorrow we'll have French toast, made from the package of  bolilos (puffy rolls) I found at Safeway for a buck.

      I didn't waste a thing -- and

Well, you know.

     I have blogger friends who manage on tiny budgets -- like Brandy, whose post this week features 'chicken' noodle soup -- without the chicken. Or my dear friend at Thrifty Mom in Boise, who is thrilled when she's got a few bucks left in the savings account, plus gas in the tank, at month's end.  ( "Anytime you have a little jingle left in your pocket and fuel in your car, it's a win in my book," she says.)
     Another blogger friend supplements her income with regular forays through Goodwill -- where she picks up items to sell. (And she does well, too.)
     Yet another is beating cancer -- which makes every day a blessing to her, not a hardship. (She and husband just bought a new house...and I'll bet it wasn't for much.)
     I also read bloggers who advertise -- and purchase -- kids' and adults' goods 'on sale' that I could never have afforded during the most frugal years. (Frankly, they couldn't have either, back then. She agrees with me, anyways.) Another blogger regularly features clothing and furniture for hundreds of dollars as 'budget' pieces. Obviously, to her, they are.

Their incomes range widely -- but they're using what they can to do their best.

Every time you mend a pair of pants, or hang up sheets to dry...
Every time you pay your bills (early, if possible, to save on interest)...
Every time you do the right thing, even when it costs you, or is progressing more slowly than you wish it would --

You're still doing the best you can.

And that counts for a lot.

Yes, It's Rude...

       ... I can't help myself.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Will It Snow -- Or Won't It

   Still waiting for the trailer repairs to finish. I keep feeling that we're wearing out our welcome, staying at friends' house, but they've been patient with us. (Besides, I can cook.) Hunting season starts Friday, but the Brick needs to head out earlier to set up a base and scout a bit. We need our trailer!
     The first hard freeze was supposed to happen Sunday night,  thanks to a cold front that's bringing snow on Thursday. (It did -- frost on the windshields.) Which would be perfect for hunting -- it drives the animals down to lower altitudes. 
     Bear in mind that we were having sunny 80-degree temps as late as last week. Go figure.

Overcoming Self-Sabotage...especially in the financial department.  (From The Simple Dollar)

A famous 'lost' Delacroix painting reappears. (Actually, it was never lost at all -- the collector just didn't reveal that he owned it.)

Air Force's mascot, Aurora the falcon, has died. She was 23. Anyone attending Air Force football games has admired this beautiful bird in flight.

Feverish meanderings...another classic from yours truly. For those of you struggling with flu, it will make perfect sense.

A reminder NOT to overdo it for Christmas shopping.  (From Survive and Thrive)

What to do with all those hotel soaps and lotions, little jars of jam and other them up and give them to your family for Christmas! A very funny classic post from Hundred Dollars A Month.

Weird food backstories. Did you know that Pop-Tarts happened because of dogfood? (From Cracked)

Have a great week. Stay cool -- or warm, as the case may be.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Back To Not Sleeping...And Updates

     I shouldn't be doing this. Everything's okay.

Our house sold. (Last week.)

Bills are paid, including for the world cruise. Plane tickets and passports, too. (There's a longer story here, coming in a future post.)

Truck is back from the shop. BUT...

The trailer is still in the shop, after more than a week -- and will stay there until Monday night.

Good friends invited us to stay with them while the trailer was repaired. Little did they know it would take almost two weeks! Thankfully, the trailer has a new freshwater tank (which doesn't leak); a new spark mechanism on the hotwater heater, plus a host of other little items have been noticed and fixed. It should be in good shape when the Brick, avec chiens, goes hunting next week. (And I return to Good Friends' house for some days...two talks to give here in town, or I would go with him.)

We've found a parking spot for the fifth-wheel on a friend's property. We'll do some maintenance, and act as kind-of caretakers, to earn our keep. He even encouraged us to come and go as we pleased. God is good -- we never thought to ask this friend. He suggested it, instead. Wow.

So everything is marching along -- not as quickly as I would have liked, but still -- it's forward progress.

Only I can't sleep. 

If I go to bed, I'll snooze for an hour or two -- then be wide awake. Generally it's around 4 a.m., when our friend gets up. (She's an early riser. We, on the other hand, are not.)

Or I may not get to sleep at all -- just lay there for an hour and stare at the ceiling. Tonight, I gave up at 1:30 a.m. -- got up, had a snack and worked on the computer.

It's now a little past 3:00 a.m.  Maybe I can rest. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019