Winding down…Two fun videos…

This video was posted at this post on this date in 2018. It was such a joy to see this again! Also, see the video below from ten years ago today, in 2013.

In speaking with friends Linda and Ken yesterday (it was Linda’s birthday), she explained they are also going to be in Marloth Park in a few months; around the same time, Rita and Gerhard will also be visiting, who will be staying in our old house  It’s too bad we won’t be there to be with our friends  If it were one year later, we’d also be there.

Instead, we’ll enjoy the photos and experiences they will share with us during their time in Marloth Park. During that period, we’ll be in South America, having experiences of our own that we’ll share here in photos and posts with them and all of our worldwide readers.

With “White Night’ upcoming on the Azamara cruise beginning on August 1, I ordered a few items, including a pair of white jeans and a white top that fit without trying them on. I ordered the jeans directly from Levi’s since I have two pairs of Levi blue jeans, figuring if I purchased the same size, the white jeans would work, and they did, much to my relief. The shirt also worked, and I am ready for that special event.

Tom is all set, too. While in the US a few years ago, when we knew we’d be going on Azamara cruises, he also purchased a pair of white jeans.

Speaking of clothes, I went through the closet yesterday to see what items I could donate to the Salvation Army. Since I take good care of my stuff, I feel comfortable donating some of my used items. Going online to the Salvation Army’s local site, I was able to schedule a pick-up for this coming Friday. I am hoping to lighten my baggage weight substantially.

No longer, in this life, do I ever get attached to clothing items since most can be replaced. Although, in many foreign countries, I can’t find anything to fit me based on my height, I am much taller than most women. Here’s a small sampling of the average heights of women in various countries from this site.

“Country Average Height for Women

The Netherlands 5 ft  5.5 in. (168.7 cm)

Barbados 5 ft  4.2 in (165.5 cm)

United States 5 ft  3 in. (161.5 cm)

China 5 ft  2.4 in. (159.8 cm)

Iran 5 ft  2.3 in. (159.7 cm)

Nigeria 5 ft  1.3 in. (156.4 cm)

Guatemala 4 ft. 8.8 in. (149 cm).”

As a result, it’s difficult for me to find pants and tops that work for my frame. Most of the items I can fit into are from stores in the US that offer tall sizes. These items can often only be purchased online when most shops don’t carry tall sizes due to lack of need. Thus, I rarely have an opportunity to try something on, so I must buy the same brands over and over again to ensure they’ll fit.

Usually, while in the US making some purchases, I have no interest in buying things to try on and potentially return. Paying extra for return postage is foolish, so I am cautious about what I buy. For Tom, it’s a lot easier, as it often is for men.

In any case, I’m thinking about packing, although I am not putting anything into suitcases yet. That process will begin next week as we prepare the suitcase we plan to send to Minnesota to avoid taking everything with us and incurring added baggage fees, far exceeding the cost of shipping the bag.

This morning was stormy again. We haven’t walked in days due to inclement weather. Once we leave, we’ll get plenty of walking in, even when walking back and forth on the ship each day and going on excursions. I am considering working out in the fitness centers on the two upcoming cruises and again in the hotels in Nevada and Minnesota. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked out in a health club, and I will do so carefully.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 17, 2013:

A video (not ours) of a motorbike ride through Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, on this date ten years ago. For the text, please click here.

Snow storm in Minnesota!…Dinner with kids…New photos!…One day and counting…

Last night at dinner with granddaughter Maisie at Pinstripes in Edina.

Last night we had a fabulous evening with son Greg and grandchildren Maisie, Miles, and Madighan at Pinstripes Restaurant in Edina. Unfortunately, Camille was unable to join us. We had little fun gifts for the kids, and I’d brought a bag of clothes for Maisie. She’s still quite a bit smaller than I am, but she’s embraced some of my things.

The snow had yet to fall at 6:00 PM, although it was predicted to start earlier. The drive was slow at rush hour, but we arrived at the restaurant in no time at all.

It was a particular time with the kids. Without the distractions at their home, we had their undivided attention allowing for plenty of playful and thoughtful conversation and laughter. We’re grateful we had this particular time with them and Greg.

Last night, with granddaughter Madighan.

Afterward, we headed back to Karen and Rich’s home. Rich made room in the garage for Tom to park Camille’s minivan inside, a perfect decision after last night’s heavy snowfall.

The snow finally began to fall around 9:00 pm when we were all safely inside and off the slippery roads. When we went to bed, the windows without shades reflected the ambient light from the falling snow eliciting many memories from our old lives.

Last night with grandson Miles.

As tricky as driving in the snow, something magical about a fluffy snowfall, especially during the holiday season. No regrets…just reminiscent about past times.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Chere and I drove to the Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall in Eagan to shop for Tom at the Tommy Hilfiger store. Two lovely salespeople, Edina (her name is the same as the city as mentioned above) and Jill, both helped in ways we never imagined possible. We couldn’t have had more fun.

Tom’s new clothes from Tommy Hilfiger. Over $700 in merchandise was purchased for $286 at the Twin Cities Outlet Mall in Eagan.

At the last minute, when checking out, Jill helped with a 20% online discount coupon making the total sales amount all the more palatable. The store should be proud of these two dedicated staff members, focused on customer satisfaction and service. It couldn’t have been a more enjoyable process.

This morning we put together a big bag of clothing and dropped it off at the Goodwill store. As it turned out, every item I purchased fit Tom perfectly, and he was pleased with his new things. Whew! We’re moving forward with many new items in our luggage.

About 8 inches of snow fell in Eden Prairie overnight.

We’re almost completely packed for tomorrow’s departure for Las Vegas, this time flying out of Terminal 2 on Sun Country Airlines, our only nonstop option on Thanksgiving Day. Son Greg will drop us off around 2:30 pm for our 4:00 pm flight.

In the morning, Tom will load up the minivan with our bags, and in the early afternoon, we’ll drive to Greg’s to say goodbye, drop off the coats we borrowed, deliver the pumpkin pie I baked today and be on our way.
Nothing is as pretty as the freshly fallen snow.

As soon as I upload this post, I’ll be heading to the kitchen to bake the pumpkin pie I promised to make for their Thanksgiving dinner. We wish we could have stayed to have Thanksgiving with them, but it wasn’t possible with my severe allergy to cats. Thus, tomorrow on Thanksgiving Day, we fly away.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the details of today’s cardiology appointment and our final goodbye from Minnesota.

This morning’s snow.

May those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving revel in the preparations and the ultimately, the fantastic meal. We’ll be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, tomorrow evening.

Photo from one year ago today, November 27, 2018:

A tower of giraffes crossing the paved road in Kruger. How magical? Be well. For more photos, please click here.

It’s time to start planning clothing for the Antarctica cruise… Different for us than most other travelers…

This is a variety of Bromelaid.  This stunning bloom is located  on the grounds of the villa is over-the-top!

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This was a perfect opportunity to get a photo of Ulysses, our groundskeeper, and maintenance person, who lives in an apartment on the property.  We wish we could chat with him freely but we are able to communicate sufficiently to ask him questions and make requests.

It’s not as if we can jump in the car and drive to REI or Cabella’s to purchase clothing for our upcoming Antarctica cruise in five months. And, realistically, we need to start planning now knowing anything we purchase will have to be shipped to Buenos Aires and go through customs which can take a long time, as we’ve experienced in past situations.

There are several options for handling the required items of clothing considering we’ll be leaving the ship on Zodiac boat for several hours at a time while we visit various islands, ice floes, and glaciers. Waterproof gear is a must.

Another Bromeliad with patterns appearing more like fabric for curtains than an actual plant. Wow!

Over the past several days, we’ve begun conducting research to discover the following options since the Ponant Cruise Line doesn’t handle rental clothing as do most other Antarctic cruise lines:
1.  Rent from one of a few companies that handle such clothing, all of which require the clothing to be sent to us in Buenos Aires. Downside: Clothing of this type can easily be stolen in transit; customs can cause delays; the clothing is rented for a specific period and penalties will incur if there are delays in transit times;  the clothes must promptly be returned at the end of the cruise, adding one more project to handle when we need to be on our way.
2.  Purchase the clothing from the US at lower costs. Downside: The above shipping and potential theft issues would be unavoidable. Plus, when we’re done, shipping the clothing back to the US to be held by our mailing service until we need it again someday.
3.  Purchase the majority of the clothing through Ponant. They’ll have it waiting for us in our cabin when we board the ship. Purchase odds and ends in the US and have them shipped to our hotel in Florida on November 22nd where we’ll stay for one night before boarding the back-to-back cruise the next day. This results in a two-step process. Downside:  Ponant’s items are expensive.

These waxy flowers almost look like Begonias we’d plant years ago in shady areas in Minnesota.

Originally, when we booked the cruise, we budgeted US $1,000, (CRC 57,594) for each of us for clothing rental as a necessary element of this expensive cruise, which is pretty much the going rate per person for all items. If we purchase some of the items separately and ship to Florida, we may be able to save a few hundred dollars each.

After considering all of the above options, we’ve definitely decided to go with purchasing the bulk of the major items directly from Ponant and the balance  (long-sleeved shirts, socks, glove liners, etc) from Amazon in the US with free shipping with our Prime membership directly to the hotel in Florida.

These orange flowers, Lobster Claws, against the palm background create an appealing scene.

The other options, although less expensive make no sense at all, especially when there’s the cost of shipping and delays due to customs. If we purchased the bigger items on our own, we’d have no idea of the quality and suitability for the cruise. Most likely, the clothing from the cruise line is suitable.

Most likely sizing will be an issue for me with my extra-long arms and legs. Maybe I’ll be able to tuck my pants into the Ponant provided complimentary boots to avoid the high water look. Hopefully, I’ll have enough layers to keep my arms covered especially wearing the almost elbow-length gloves we’ll also purchase through Ponant.

What was Mother Nature thinking here?

Tom inquired to previous Antarctica cruise passengers at Cruise Critic for more finite details and based on their comments, it appears we’re going down the right path.

It’s considerably easier for those who can jump in the car and drive to local cold-weather-clothing stores to check out the possibilities, try on a few items and purchase their smaller items with ease. Here again, this is one more of the many challenges we face as constant world travelers. 

We love this type of palm tree.  We’d seen many of these in Hawaii a few years ago.

No doubt, we’ll have it all figured out long before we board the ship, Ponant Le Soleil, on January 23, 2018, in Ushuaia Argentina. No worries. It will all work out! 

Have a happy Monday or Tuesday, depending on where you may be in the world, whether it’s approaching the end of your warm summer months or your cold winter months, depending on which side of the equator you may live.

Photo from one year ago today, August 14, 2016:

We visited the Phuket Seashell Museum. It was fascinating to see all of the various seashells indigenous to the area. For more photos, please click here.

Busy day…Tomorrow, we’re on the road…An unexpected last minute social event…

A beautiful scene in a roadside rest area about halfway through the four or five hour harrowing drive. Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll stop there once again. 

“Sightings in the Beach in Bali”

A colorful sunset photo taken while under the cabana.

After the considerable packing experience, we won’t become flustered or concerned about getting out the door on time tomorrow at 9 am, fully packed and ready to go.Five days later we’ll be doing the same after the necessity of wearing some of the clothing in our suitcases while staying at the hotel in Kuta.

Vegetables on display for a cooking class at Puri Bagus Lovina where we spent four nights during the five day visa extension process.

At the villa we’ve only worn swimsuits, all day and into the evening and have had very little laundry while here. We each alternated between two swimsuits, one always drying while the other was being worn. 

With a self service laundry at the hotel, we’ll be able to wash what we’ve worn to repack clean clothing for the 33 night cruise. Then, on the cruise, with our limited supply of clothing, we’ll be using a portion of our “cabin credit” of US $700, IDR 9,137,093, for the ship’s pricey laundry service.

Exquisite hand painted fishing boats at the pier in Negara.

While cruising it’s possible to change clothing four times a day depending on the events we’re planning to attend. From workout clothes in the morning, to swimsuits and cover ups, to shorts and tees for afternoon activities, to casual/ dressy attire for dinner. 

Each fishing boat has a unique design commensurate with the ethnicity of its owners.

With my clothing suitcase completely packed and only the third bag of supplies awaiting the final toiletries and miscellaneous items, we’ll have no problem getting out the door on time. Tom need only about 10 minutes to complete his packing.

Rambut Siwi Hindu Temple (Pura Rambut Siwi) in Negara.

Two days ago the property owners, Egon and his lovely wife Francoise, stopped by to say hello.  After a lengthy, interesting conversation among the four of us, we’d hugged upon departing with a plan to say goodbye in person before we leave.

Last night, we heard a knock at the door. It was after dark and quite surprising. During the day we leave all the doors wide open (no screens), only locking them at night. An evening visitor was quite unlikely.

We were honored to meet Gede’s parent at their home in Lovina during our first visit to Bali.

Egon had stopped by to invite us to a restaurant we’d known about and had seen when we had walked down the beach a while ago, but found no one in attendance and no posted menu. 

With the fabulous meals the cooks have prepared, we had little interest in investigating it further. Also, eating only one meal a day, the idea of walking back on the beach at night in the dark wasn’t appealing.

The skill required to create this work of art is typical among Balinese people.

Today, the enjoyment of the companionship will supersede any dietary or dining concerns and we’re off to lunch with Egon and Francoise at 12:30 pm. The next door neighbor, Peony, is joining us as additional guest at the party and to translate when none of us speak Balinese or Indonesian. It should be fun.

The patience of the buffaloes being “dressed” for the races surprised us as we gingerly walked by.

Today, we’ll be dining twice with scrumptious leftovers awaiting us for the evening meal. I guess we’d better get used to dining twice in a day when we’ll be doing so at the hotel over these next several days (complimentary full breakfast included) and then on the cruise, where we usually dine for breakfast and dinner.

Wearing sarongs at the Monkey Temple, which are required attire to enter any Hindu temple.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our post for the final expenses for the villa and the remainder of our favorite Sumbersari photos. Please check back as we wind down the remaining hours in this exceptional property.

Here’s the link to this wonderful holiday/vacation villa. We’re sure Egon and Francoise would love to see YOU here.

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2015:

In order to visit the Vuodomo Waterfalls, its expected that visitors bring the chief, (the owner of the land where the waterfall is located), a bag of kava, an intoxicating local drink made from kava leaves. Here’s the Fish Shop where we purchased the kava before we headed to the falls. For more details, please click here.

Clothes, clothes and more clothes…mostly mine…

As a “girlie girl” all of my life, with an affinity for the feminine flair, as far removed from “Tom Boyishness” as a female can be, I unabashedly admit to being the female stereotype when it comes to clothes.  

Although, annoyed by the process of purchasing clothing and its varying accouterments, there is a certain sense of glee when finding a bargain on an item I am particularly interested in acquiring. Not an impulse shopper, I rarely purchase items I don’t need or want.  There isn’t a single unworn, still price- tagged item in my closet (less the items we are purchasing for our journey).  
It’s all about “the hunt” and in some cases, “the negotiation” that get my shopping juices flowing and then, the subsequent acquisition of a high-quality, well-priced, properly fitting item to add to my repertoire of varying taste and style.  

Not a fashion maven, I  possess an uncertainty of my “personal style” as encouraged by an endless pouring of style and fashion shows on TV which I seldom watch. 
Moderately comfortable Easy Spirit fashion flats
Shall I say good-bye to these?

From time to time, I peruse a current fashion magazine in a genuine effort to become familiar with current hemlines, popular colors and shoe styles, always hoping they are befitting my body type, relevant to my age and commensurate with my comfort needs. 

As a result, my current wardrobe consists of a mishmash of layering pieces which I tend to wear without layering, with either a comfy pair of jeans or more often, not so comfy pair of jeans, the comfort factor based on what I had to eat in the past two days.  Sound familiar?

Shoes?  Not so much.  Yes, I have some high heels (seldom worn), fashion flats, (most often hurt my feet), sandals (no flip flops when I can’t stand to wear anything in between my toes), boots and those staples you’ll see me wearing in the grocery store; workout shoes, Keds slip-ons,  Easy Spirit anything and Aerosoles. (In the 70’s, I could wear Candie’s high heeled shoes for 18 hours straight. Not now.)
Comfy old Keds slip-on shoes.  Are these worthy of taking along?

Assessing mine and Tom’s current wardrobes some months ago, realizing how long we’ll be traveling, we both made the decision to sell all of our old clothing at our upcoming estate sale on the weekend of October 27, 2012 and to bring only new appropriate clothing with us.  

There’s no sense in bringing lots of jeans and sweaters to Belize, Africa, Italy (in summer), Madeira and Hawaii and other warm climates.

Old, worn, favorite comfy Dexter’s flats.  Shall I make room for these?  Here again, probably not, based on worn condition.

Here’s my list.  I posted Tom’s clothing list on Thursday’s post, May 31, 2012. Hold onto your shorts!  I said that I’m not a “clothes horse” but, I do like having choices:

  • 15 casual dresses, for everyday wear, easy to dress up or down, roll in a ball in a suitcase
  • 4 dressy dresses, for formal nights on cruises
  • 5 pairs jeans
  • 5 pairs Capri pants
  • 9 pairs shorts, mostly Bermuda length (acceptable to wear in public on hot days)
  • 1 black maxi skirt
  • 16 tee shirts
  • 12 various tops 
  • 4 cardigan sweaters, 4 shrug cover ups (for breezy nights aboard ship, matching dressy dresses)
  • 2 light weight jackets (1 blazer, 1 rain coat)
  • 1 hoodie sweater
  • 3 sets of workout clothing
  • Exofficio BugsAway: 2 pair convertible pants, 2 long sleeve tee shirts, 2 hats, 4 socks
  • 2 belts for dresses
  • 2 scarfs to dress up outfits
  • 4 bathing suits, 2 bathing suit cover up dresses, 1 black pareo
  • 6 sets sleepwear, mostly tanks and shorts, 1 lightweight robe
  • 1 pair workout shoes, 2 dress shoes, 2 pair walking shoes, 3 pair sandals, 2 casual shoes
  • 5 bras, 12 panties, 2 shape wear items for those formfitting dressy dresses
  • Various costume jewelry to match outfits – We will be selling all of our “real” jewelry prior to leaving due to the high risk of exposing oneself to theft while traveling
  • 3 handbags; 1 large, 2 small
Undoubtedly, I am unknowingly leaving out some items at this point.  As the packing begins, I’ll post photos of our packed goods and post a list of all the non-clothing items we will find necessary to pack.  

Most certainly, frequent travelers will laugh when they see our extensive lists.
I would only ask them this one question, “When have you traveled when you are never going home to repack, carrying everything you own for a period of no less than 3 years?”  Now, tell me we’re taking too much!