Have You Ever Wondered?

98 one of Grand Hotel carriages

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Have you ever looked through your vacation pictures and taken note of the small things instead of what enticed you to take the photo in the first place?

An example of what I’m referring to is, have you ever noticed the number of strangers captured in your shots.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many people have, you, in their vacation pictures?

Maybe I’m weird but I think of this often, does anyone else?

We know nobody in the holiday photo above.

Interesting points about Mackinac Island.

  • Mackinac Island is 3.8 sq. miles of land area on Lake Huron, with 8 miles of coastline.
  • It is only accessible by watercraft or small aircraft.
  • It has a Fort, built in 1780 and closed as a active post in 1895.
  • Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park established, and just three years later in 1875, Mackinac Island National Park was named the 2nd National Park. 
  • Since 1898, motorized vehicles have been and still are restricted to emergency and some construction vehicles only.
  • Peddle bikes, horses and horse drawn carts are the island’s mode of transportation.
  • Fudge is the number 1 souvenir since the 1920’s. 
  • The 2010 Census showed 492 year round residents with approximately 15,000 summer visitors per day.

It is a beautiful place to visit with amazing architecture.

Is This Normal?

ShirtThis topic is a bit odd for a post but it came to me while I was trying to fall asleep. There’s an occurrence that’s common with Mister, myself and our kids which we often joke about, and I’m curious if it happens to others.

The, year after year, appearance of certain clothing in holiday pictures. In our defense, T-shirts, tank tops, button up shirts, and hoodies don’t go out of style, right.

Do you have an average time period you keep your clothes, or do you keep them until they wear out or don’t fit?

As I laid in bed, I did a mental inventory of my clothing. I’m almost ashamed to admit that probably 85% of my wardrobe is 5-10 years old, and 10% is older (some pieces by a lot).

My reaction was, yikes, but if the items are still in good shape and in style, why replace them.

I grew up very money conscious and have been thrifty all my life but is keeping clothes for years normal?

Can anyone relate to this?

My next thought was, I wondered how many pieces in my collection, that aren’t new, still have the price tags on. The count was five. What’s up with that I’m not sure, other than most of those are dresses or too fancy for everyday. The dresses were bought with good intensions to wear them, but it rarely happens.

Will the revelation brought on from post trigger a thorough wardrobe revitalization, I doubt it will.

I’ll share one more confession which I’m sure may make some of you grasp in horror. The oldest item of clothing I have and still wear is my favorite work shirt pictured above.

Mister bought this western shirt shortly after we met then years later passed it down to me. It has been in the family since the late 1970’s.

I like wearing it on hot days at the farm when we’re working and I want my arms covered for scratch protection. The fabric is breathable, but is getting so thin I’m not sure how many more washings it can take before falling apart.

What is the oldest piece of clothing you have and still wear?

Into A Whirlwind

IMG_2179Female writer surfaces after recent disappearance into a whirlwind. It was a good and joyous kind of storm, not the kind where her home was re-rooted and yellow brick roads or witches appeared.

The last four days of May literally flew by.

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Could you go to town for a hair cut, dress and shoe shop for 3 hours, wash and dry 2 loads of laundry, as secretary take minutes for a 2 hour condo meeting, cut lawns, weed flowerbeds, get 3 short visits in with friends to explain a coming disappearance, research and book flights and hotel, get travel medical insurance, pack for an international trip, spend 4 hours driving, all before you leave for the airport in 39 hours.

Requirements to accomplish this were simple, eat while moving, keep moving, multitask, and divide less then 10 hours of sleep between two nights.

I’m not complaining though. I enjoyed every minute of hurried preparation for the trip to Las Vegas for our son’s impromptu wedding.

After four years together the son and his girlfriend decided to tie the knot and with Vegas being his favorite place to visit, they chose a destination wedding, the first in our immediate family.

A quaint yet elegant affair at a Fremont Street chapel with Mister and I as witnesses.

The groom was handsome in his tux. The bride was beautiful in her formal gown.

After the ceremony we all walked a section of Fremont Street for their photo-shoot.

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Memories were made as the four of us shared little glitches and unique situations.

The men thinking they were late and rushing from the hotel to the chapel because they thought the ceremony was a half hour earlier then it was.

Myself and the bride walking blocks in 114F carrying our clothes and shoes because the new limo driver didn’t know where to drop us off closer to the chapel.

Mister and I getting on the wrong freeway back to the hotel which ended with us four separated into 3 parties. Resulting in an interesting task of trying to locate each other in a large Vegas hotel without having use of cell phones.

Doing the cake cutting using plastic utensils in our hotel room, and having no plates with ate using the dig in method.

All things we laughed about and will certainly never forget.

We welcome the son’s new bride into the family and hope they have a long and happy life together. If their smiles are any indication, they are off to a great start.

Mine and Mister’s schedule didn’t quiet upon returning from this trip though.

We were home for Thursday and Friday. I did laundry, he did yard-work then we packed a suitcase and left for three days so Mister could help the son work on his truck.

We arrived back home this Monday night, with thoughts that the week will settle. No road trips in the plans, maybe just a trip into town for groceries. Then I realized I left my laptop at the daughter’s, a two hour drive away, each direction. Today had another road trip, but I think our pace will slow some now.

It’s times like this that make life interesting, and we’ll keep enjoying them while we can.

People always ask us if we get bored now that we’re retired. Ah, no.

This was our first trip as spontaneous as this. Would we do it again?

Mister would probably say, no, but I’m sure he would.

As far as me, I prefer not being so rushed, but sure I would do it again, why not?

Are you a spur of the moment traveler, or do you like to plan in advance?

Blog Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition Award

A big thanks to, Riddle From The Middle, for nominating me for “The Blogger Recognition Award.”

As a new blogger, having my posts viewed brings satisfaction. Getting likes and comments is rewarding, and I’m thrilled and honoured to have RFTM, whose blog inspires me, enjoy my work.

Riddle From The Middle’s blog is about her journey through everyday family life. What makes her work worth reading is she writes with a genuineness that’s inviting and entertaining. Check out her blog here.

These are the Blogger Award questions and my answers.

How my blog got started.

Layered with years of experiences, a mind stocked with stories and an inquisitive nature, I’m surprised I took this long to start blogging?

When I’m writing a novel, I spend an abundance of time wrapped up with the characters and their storyline. After my recent book hit the presses, I wanted a short break from writing fiction but not from writing in general.

A new passion started when I began reading blogs and following favorites. That led to commenting on posts, and soon I joined the fun and created, “Saddles to Shorelines and Life as it Comes.”

To me, blogging is a version of reality TV, but the drama is more controllable. I enjoy connecting with real people while we discuss concerns and sometimes silly topics. It’s a way to share interests, inspire each other, or make us reflect on precious moments. A bonus for a writer is bringing a smile to someone’s day.

Two huge benefits to blogging is I can be in my PJ’s, and I’m never followed by a camera.

While I plot my next novel, blogging keeps my mind in writing mode and my fingers practised on the keyboard.

My 2pc of advice for new bloggers.

– With my blog less than a year old I don’t have the experience to say what works or doesn’t, but if you enjoy sharing thoughts and writing join me in, the learn as we go group. The hardest part is pressing the publish button.

– Although getting readers and gaining followers is wonderful and satisfying, write for your own joy. You get out of blogging what you put in to it.

Rules for This Award:

Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.

Write a post to share your award with a brief story of how your blog started, and give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.

Nominate 10 to 15 bloggers for this award.

Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link back to this post.

I have nominated 10 blogs which I thoroughly enjoy reading, check out these links;

A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tale

A New Day Living Life Almost Gracefully

Empty Nest Full Life

Invisible No More

Muddling Through My Middle Age

Retirementally Challenged

Rhythm in Life

Ron’s Country Musings

The Traveling Todds

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Hang In There

Digger

Digger, one of our barn cats and his favorite tree.

Hang in there readers, here comes a schedule change.

We’ve entered the season of sandals and being outdoors.

A time for summer activities, boating, golfing, building and yard projects.

A time for increased visiting and road trips.

It’s harder for me to squeeze in time to write, especially on weekends, so instead of my weekly Sunday posts which went to email followers on Mondays, I’m switching to midweek. I’m not sure which day will work best yet, but I promise to fall into a routine soon.

Are your weekends getting busy?

What’s your favourite summer activity?

A Queen Of Hearts

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Sharing a life with your child or children is a wonderful and indescribable journey. Not everyday runs smooth, and they shouldn’t. Lessons, good or bad are crucial to a person’s growth.

There are two sides to Mother’s day, a time for children to express their appreciation and a day for mothers to reflect on their joy.

Sometimes, work schedules or time with their spouse’s family means I can’t spend Mother’s Day, with one or all of our children. I understand though, and I’ve said this before, “Any day with them during the year, is Mother’s Day for me.”

Whether a visit on May 14, a phone call, or a message, I’m touched to receive the simplest acknowledgement.

Me as a Mother

Have I made mistakes?

You bet, but I’ve always done the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time.

Will I make more mistakes?

Probably. There should be no repeats, but parenting didn’t come with a manual for new situations, and I will be a parent until the day I die.

I believe, I’ve had a few successful moments too, though. About now, I’m imagining the kids and Mister, groaning and rolling their eye’s, but I’m sure, given enough thought they can come up with some precious memories of things I did right.

My message to our children, forgive my past and future imperfections and misjudgments and know the bottom line is, this Queen of Hearts, will always love you.

To my long past Mother: My love didn’t die with your physical being. I miss and think of you every day.

The years you get with your parents are never enough, so appreciate them while they are alive.

For Mother’s reading this, I hope you have a day that makes you happy or words or a message that make you feel special and loved.

Please, Be Careful !!!

I’m sharing our recent chaos hoping to save others from similar misfortune. It takes a mere second to trigger a domino effect. We’ve all heard it a hundred times, “Be careful of computer scams.” The biggest problem, is sometimes our clicking reactions are on autopilot when we scroll emails.

I want to caution readers about an email, Mister received supposedly from Paypal regarding charges occurred on Facebook.

Please, if you see one like this or any unusual message in your Inbox think twice before reacting. What ever it is to do with, check that account directly, don’t believe email warnings.

A little over a week ago I had used Paypal and whether coincidence the following day Mister got an email which in the subject box stated a Paypal charge for a Facebook purchase. Well, that was not where I used Paypal and the amount was double my transaction.

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, autopilot had us click on the message.

That’s when our nightmare began, and it still isn’t completely resolved. Keeping this brief though the results were, a frozen computer with a flashing note to phone Microsoft Support, a number bold in the on-screen box. Next came the remote access to check and fix the issue, programs were installed. Then we realized it was not Mircosoft who we had called, so bank accounts and files were now at risk. Hours of phone calls have followed, days of sleeplessness and stress, the headache of cancelling cards and getting new ones, and changing every password we both have.

Top all that off with the cost of a computer specialist to get both our laptops safe and back working. Yes, they accessed two laptops and my iPad, but Apple assured me that was safe though.

People, and I was one of them, say how does this happen? Why do people fall for scams?

Trust me, this person was a professional at making me believe who he was and what needed doing, even when I out right asked him, how do I know you’re not scamming me?

Scammers know our mental buttons, they know what common sites to mention that will get our attention. Once inside our head and hard-drives their skill can be overpowering.

Please readers be careful online!!

Mister and I know better, we’ve avoided potential problems before, but this time, a minuscule lapse in concentration was all it took.

Oh, one more thing before you leave.

Check the expiry date on your Drivers License, sign up for email or text notifications of an approaching due date.

Many of you are probably snickering but do you know when yours comes due?

It’s not a card I look at and we use to get snail-mail reminders but I forgot that stopped.

The only good thing to come out of our computer issue was when getting a new debit card my bank asked to see my drivers license as photo ID. Who knew it had expired months ago, and I wonder when I would have noticed this?

Mister and I have now registered for email notification.

I hope you all can avoid the headaches and hassles we endured during this lesson.

Beeping Things

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Am I a lab-rat trained to respond to sound stimulus? Everything, beeps or buzzes these days. Clothes washers, dryers, microwaves, coffee pots, oven timers. Excuse me while I pause this thought, my laundry is beeping, I must jump up and switch loads.

Were was I?

Oh I remember, things that beep or buzz, dying batteries, car sensors and ignition, keypad strokes, incoming phone or social media messages, calendar reminders, well you get my drift.

Laundry day is the worst, it’s when the annoying sounds wear on my nerves.

Our washer and dryer know exactly when I sit down, open a page on the computer or I’m in the middle of another project, that’s when they call out. Plus, they never finish a cycle at the same time.

Yes, I do understand the notifications are meant as a convenience. We no longer have to relay on memory as to what we have going on, but is this a good thing?

Super annoying is when I’m standing in-front of the open washing machine already transferring clothes into the dryer, it still keeps beeping telling me it’s done. Does it think I’m deaf, or maybe not working fast enough?

I have found myself muttering to these appliances more than once when they’re demanding my attention, “Yes, yes I hear you, just give me a minute to finish what I’m doing.”

If they ever respond with something like, “Get your as… in here,” instead of their nagging noises, I’ll let you know. Maybe not, you’ll send a visitor to my door carrying a white jacket. 🙂 

Another pet peeve on laundry day is, how the heck do coat hangers, especially the wire ones, twist themselves into mind puzzles while hanging on the closet rod? If more than one are side by side, I can guarantee they will come out in a tangle, and usually at least one falls into the recesses of closet darkness.

Once gathered and untangled I’ll lay them on the bed so they are handy. With a shirt from the washer in one hand I’ll reach for a hanger. Now, I’m playing the “Barrel of Monkey’s” game. Lifting the lot linked together, grrrrr.

Oh, oh.

My fingers have become still, my hands now hover over the keyboard. There are furrows between my brows as my gaze lifts from the computer screen. My head turns towards the other end of the house.

I must go, an appliance is beckoning me. 🙂

Should we be worried about robots taking over the world in the future?

or

Perhaps we should be cautious of programmers and appliance designers?

A Week Pet Sitting

dobby 1

Why Are You On The iPad?

Puppy’s are made of short naps, hours of fetch and tug a-war, and the rest of the time is pet me or at least pay attention to me.

Mister and I spent last week pet sitting at our son’s house in the City, while he and his girlfriend went on vacation.

Under our care was Dobby, a nine month Doberman Pincer pup, Chewbacca and Little two felines, and a dwarf hamster.

When looking after Ruben or now Dobby our fur Grand-puppies for longer than a night, Mister and I find it easier if we’re at their homes where they have fenced yards.

In preparation I packed writing assignments, reading, two knitting projects, and had planned to catch up downloading pictures and organizing them during the sort of vacation away from our own chores.

What was I thinking?

I always expect to get more done in a week than is practical and I hadn’t considered the coming distractions.

The first full day on our own I was out of bed before Mister which is normal because that’s when I like to write.

Who would have guessed that Dobby would bark whenever I’d stop paying attention to him and look at my iPad? With Mister still asleep, I tried to keep one hand petting him while the other maneuvered the stylist on the iPad on my lap. That might have worked if not for the unexpected boops causing all kinds of chaos on screen. The puppy won my attention that morning.

By midweek, I had more of a routine. Emails got checked when Mister could play with Dobby, and there was no more barking at my iPad if I tried short sporadic spurts of morning writing.

The kid’s 3 story home also distracted me from time to time. We only used the main floor, an upstairs spare bedroom and two of the four bathrooms, but with carpet and house pets there was vacuuming, dusting, or wiping nose and paw prints, to keep up with.

A quirt of mine is I enjoy house cleaning, I’m not obsessed about it but it can sidetrack me. Give me a sink of warm soapy water and I can spend hours spot washing doors, frames, walls or non-daily areas.

Our kids have never complained that having us house sit often comes with a cleaning bonus. It’s not meant to offend, it’s just what I do when I’m bored or unsettled.

Adjusting to a different TV provider proved frustrating for Mister. Remotes, menus and channels were not what he was familiar with, so he usually gave up searching for shows. Instead, he would find a channel with reruns and we would just watch what ever came on.

There was, On-Demand, Netflix, and the kids left written instructions how to use these but we couldn’t get interested in either. It surprised us to learn how much we watch and depend on our PVR and taped favourites when at home.

Being in the city for a week came with benefits. We got in a couple visits with our nearby daughter, although unfortunately we weren’t able to catch up with the oldest one. I enjoyed a shopping day with my BFF which ended with her husband and Mister meeting us for a enjoyable supper out.

We had a shortened but nice visit with the kid’s when they got home. They had other things to do though, so we got out of their hair and returned to our cottage.

My voice will probably crack from lack of use not saying, good puppy, bad puppy, Dobby don’t chase the cats, no, leave it, go get your toy.

I should have weighed myself prior to staying there. I’m certain I lost weight, not enough but still a positive, due to trips up the stairs and having Dobby judge me if I ate snacks. Because of his watchful eye I didn’t consume a single potato chip during the week, a record for me.

Another misconception was I thought I’d have tons of opportunity and it would take little effort to get great pet pictures for this post. By the time I would grab a device and get a camera App open they would either turn away from me, move into bad lighting, have disappeared, or Dobby would boop the camera resulting in a blurred picture. If I tried to sneak into a different room for a cat’s photo session, Dobby would find us in a flash and send the cats fleeing.

This is one of the few pictures I managed to get of Chewy, the black cat, and Little, the tabby.

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Oh a warning, cats are traders.

We swear the cat dish always had food in it which is how they are use to being feed but they made sure to lick it clean sometime between the last nightly check and the morning when the kids got home, making it look like we neglected them. This after letting them share our bed every night, a treat they don’t get to do with the kids.

When either the son or daughter ask us to look after their animals, if we can, we are glad to do the favour, but we’ll admit we enjoy stays at their places better when they’re there and we can visit them.

What do I appreciate the most about being home?

No puppy has tried to steal my morning cookies, and I can enjoy a full cup of hot coffee without the interruptions of throwing a slobbery rubber toy.

I miss the cute faces and their happiness to see us though, but not enough to make us think of having a full time pet of our own again. Been there, done that.

One more thing, I don’t remember Mister and I wearing so many cloths while away so who does all this dirty laundry we brought home belong to.

I wrote this post with a smile and a fondness of animals.

Do you ever Pet sit?

Do you prefer doing it at your own place or go to the animals home?

What is Retirement?

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Mister and I sometimes get asked, what do you do to fill the days, do we get bored?

No, we don’t get bored often. Sure, some days are quieter than others, but than there’s days like today that seem short.

Today is flying by because, even though it was a weeknight, we were up having fun while playing cards with good friends T & E until 2:30 this morning.

It’s great having the opportunity to do this, knowing we can sleep in which I did until 9:30, and knowing it won’t interfere with projects needing doing. Unlike when working and you only have those precious 2 days, a week, off.

What doesn’t get done today can get done another day.

Hence the clock picture capturing the time it was when I finished my morning coffee, doing emails, and finally went to get dressed.

I skipped lunch because a breakfast cinnamon bun worked for both. There was barely time to vacuum and stroll the yard checking flowerbeds before my 3:00 afternoon coffee break. Smiley face.

Life can be great! Savor the downtime, tomorrow might be busier.

Just thought I’d share this short unscheduled post as I reflect on how enjoyable retirement freedom is.

Retirement is different for everybody but this is a glimpse of ours.

Here is a startling, amazing, somewhat scary, call it what you may, tidbit.

The four of us card players vary in age and without revealing the exact numbers if adding our years on this earth together they approximately total 295.

Are you retired? If not are you counting the days, months or years until it happens?