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Honey, let’s REMODEL something!

Stick to the things you really love. An honest room is always up to date.”

Billy baldwin
Looks more like an archeological dig!

As you might have guessed, Mr. G. and I are embarking, once again, on a home improvement project, with more to come! We are remodeling one of our guest bathrooms. This one happened a little faster than we thought it might, because our tile guy is moving out of the area, and we really wanted him to do the job. The above picture represents 70 years of remodeling projects! Our home has been the victim of many “happy hands at home” well-meaning do-it-yourselfers. We are, slowly, trying to bring everything up to date and still honor the classic cottage style of the house.

Built in 1948, our house began as a 1400-square foot home. In the early 90’s, the then-owners added another 1000 square feet, including a beautiful family room and master suite. We moved in in 1999, and at the time, everything was fairly up to date. Now, twenty years later, some things need updating, our kids are out of college (no more tuition!), so we are tackling the projects one by one. And, we’ve done plenty over the last 5 years! New flooring in the family room, all new copper pipes, remodeled the kitchen, completely re-landscaping the front yard, new decks, new fencing, one bath remodel. As you know, all of these improvements cost money, so we’ve had to plan, scrimp and save to get them accomplished. And as much hassle as it can be, we’re really happy so far with the results.

So… back to the bathroom in the spotlight! The bathroom in question was the former master bath before the addition in 1990. It is cute, and has a perfect shower. However, the flooring and the fixtures needed updating. We knew that someone had laid linoleum over tile at some point, but we didn’t realize that there were two layers of tile and linoleum! The demo took longer than anything else. However, we’re thrilled to report that the floor base was old, but completely sturdy, and dry as a bone!!! Yay!

If these boards could talk!

So, after the demo was done, the next step was pouring the foundation for the new tiles:

Much neater than before!

While our tile man was busy doing his thing, I was doing the fun part: picking out new tile and finding the right paint (more about the paint choice later).

Tile choice, surrounded by possible paint colors…

I chose an old-fashioned tile collection, patterned after Victorian tiles from Britain. I loved the colors, and the pattern itself. It’s a tad busy, but the area is small, so I thought I could get by with it. I’m so glad I did. The paint choice to the right side of the tile in the above picture (it’s called Perfect Tan by Behr – don’t you wish you could name the colors – what a fun job!) is going on bead board that will go on the bottom half of the walls, with creamy plain walls on the top half. I’ve chosen all new fixtures, although we managed to save the pedestal sink, which is really cute and fits perfectly in the space. The only thing left to buy is a new toilet.

Oh, how cute!

Mr. G. and I are adding the bead board ourselves. Are there storm clouds ahead? I sure hope not. We do pretty well together on projects. We have our moments, but mostly, we have the same sensibilities. He’s a bit slower, a bit more perfectionistic, than me, but I thank goodness for that, because the tasks he takes on turn out really well (even if it takes a little longer!). We hope to add a small shelf across the top of the bead board on the wall with the sink and the toilet, for sundry things. We’ll see how it works out!

When we’re finished, I’ll give you a tour of the “new” bathroom! Until then, my friends! Have a great weekend…

Honey, Let’s Watch TV!!!

Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.      

David Frost

“Give me that remote!!!”

True confessions? I LOVE television! From my earliest memories of watching the tube (Flintstones or Jetsons, anyone?), I love the escape. I suppose it’s the same reason I love books. However, I have to say, I’m a discerning “watcher”. I don’t just go in for just anything. I love GOOD TV. And, so, enter Netflix! And Acorn TV! And Britbox! And Hulu! And Amazon Prime! And HBO.com! And, the list goes on…

I’m hooked on subscription services where TV is concerned. Lots of advantages. No commercials. I can watch whenever I want. I can BINGE-watch! No waiting a whole week to see what happens. By the way – public service announcement – The Crown, Season 3, starts on November 17!!!).

I thought I would make a list for you of some of my favorite things I’ve bingeing on in the last few years. I’ve included a link to each service, so you can click and browse to your heart’s content! ‘Tis the season to hunker down and pop the popcorn….

From NETFLIX: https://www.netflix.com/browse

  • The Killing – I know, unfortunate name, but some of the best TV I’ve ever watched. The incomparable Joel Kinnaman and Mareille Enos are amazing together (and did you know they make another appearance together – not as the same characters – in Hanna – on Amazon Prime?)
  • Dark – if you like time travel and Sci-fi, you’re going to love this. Warning: have a pencil and paper handy, as you might need to make a chart to keep it all straight. But, it’s part of the fun. Loved it!
  • The Kominsky Method – You’ll just laugh and laugh
  • The Great British Baking Show
  • Friends – anytime
  • Gilmore Girls – anytime
  • The Office – always and anytime
  • Parks and Recreation – always and anytime
  • The Sinner – so good! Very suspenseful!
  • Broadchurch – fantastic, and so heart wrenching
  • The Haunting of Hill House – scary as all get out – but I loved it!
  • Schitt’s Creek (funniest TV in a really long time)
  • Father Brown – comforting fun
  • Agatha: The Truth of Murder
  • The Crown – Amazing!
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – quirky, weird and fun
  • Black Spot
  • The Five
  • The Umbrella Academy – A real favorite
  • Mindhunter – So, so, sooooo good!
  • Longmire – Love this
  • Sherlock – doesn’t get better than this!

Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Prime-Video/b?ie=UTF8&node=2676882011

  • Hanna
  • Jack Ryan (starring our dear John Krasinski)
  • Catastrophe
  • The Missing
  • Late Night
  • Ladies in Lavender
  • The Bookshop
  • An Inspector Calls
  • A Quiet Place
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • Bottle Shock
  • Modern Love
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Absentia
  • Homecoming

Acorn TV https://acorn.tv

  • Agatha Raisin – funny and fun
  • Janet King
  • Queens of Mystery – quirky funny
  • Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries – great
  • Vera – the master!
  • Line of Duty
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Keeping Faith

HBO.com (not for kids!!!) https://www.hbo.com

  • True Detective (especially Season 1 – unbelievably good, but dark and not for kids!
  • Catherine the Great – Can’t wait to see Helen Mirren in this
  • The Righteous Gemstones (this is about as crude as I can stand – but so funny, I can’t help myself – don’t judge!)
  • Big Little Lies – Sit on the edge of your seat TV!
  • The Casual Vacancy – a good adaptation of the book
  • In Treatment
  • John Adams – the best historical drama I’ve seen in years
  • Parade’s End – starring our dear Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Sharp Objects – whoa!
  • Westworld – Fantastic (again, NO KIDS!)
  • The Young Pope – Jude Law at his best

Guess what? I’m tired of typing! And, I think I need to take a good hard look at how I’m spending my time!!! I will add to this list periodically, as I discover new things. PLEASE share with us your favorites, because you know I left some out!!!

Next time on the blog, the joys of a home remodel… Until then, my friends! Happy watching!

Honey, Let’s Make Chili!

I like to bring in some of my Kevin’s Famous Chili. It’s the thing I do best.”  

Kevin Malone (the office)

For all you fans of The Office, I have my own Kevin Malone Chili moment… thirty-eight years ago, I was working at my second job in California (at the ripe old age of 22). Our staff had a potluck at someone’s house – details are sketchy – and I brought chili. However, the chili turned over in the car on the way there, and ruined my car mats. And, I was so stupid, I didn’t clean it up until the next day. My car smelled like chili forever!

Ruined car mats aside, I do make a good traditional chili, with a few little tricks… Here’s my tried and true!

  • 1 pound ground been or ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 T. tomato paste
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1-2 cans kidney, pinto or black beans
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander (just adds a little something)
  • Garnishes: avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, cilantro

Instructions:

Saute the onion and meat in a large dutch oven or pot. Add spices (chili powder, cumin, and ground coriander). Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken stock. While that mixture works it’s magic, open the cans of whole beans (your choice), rinse and drain. Add beans to the mix, and also add my secret ingredient: 1 can fat-free refried beans. The key to my chili is the refried beans. I like a thick, stewy chili, and a can of refried beans really does the trick. It thickens, and makes it so hearty! After adding all the beans, stir well to incorporate. Then add 1/4 cup ketchup (it just adds a little vinegar-y sweetness without going over the top). Let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour (an hour is best!). Add more water, if needed, to get the desired consistency. To serve, garnish with your favorites! P. S. My cornbread is really good with this too!

Hoping you all have a good weekend, filled with spooky stuff. Until next time, my friends!

Honey, What’s in Your Purse?

The best things in life are free. The second best are very, very expensive.”

coco chanel
A few of my favorite girlfriends…

Let me start by saying that I’m fairly low-maintenance. I don’t need lots of girly-things. However, I do have a weakness, and it’s purses. Oh, how I love them! Through the years I’ve made several impulse purse buys. And, some of those handbags have had a permanent place on the shelf in my closet… and have never been used. But, they are soooo cute.

I know… I’m supposed to be purging! Purses are my weakness. My kryptonite. My Achilles heel. I LOVE them!

In all fairness, a purse saved my life once. I was 20 years old, going to college in downtown Atlanta, and working part-time in a shi-shi law firm as a “girl Friday”. One day my assignment for the firm was doing an errand for one of the attorneys, which required my riding a bus through a dicey part of town, where, I (of course) got off at the wrong stop. Suddenly, I was being pursued by a guy who was wearing platform shoes, lots of necklaces, large velvet hat and possessed a certain… swagger. He was following me, while I was just trying to find the special dry-cleaning establishment that this particular lawyer favored. While trailing me (relentlessly), he was simultaneously “offering me a job”. You get the drift. I was panicking, and then remembered what my dear old dad used to call a woman’s purse – her “ammunition pot”. I decided to take that description literally and turned around and nailed him, right in the face, with my own ammo device. The last thing I heard was lots of colorful language during a frantic play for the large hat before it landed in a mud puddle. Thank you, purse. Thank you. No wonder I love you so much!

Are you a “big purse” girl, or one of those annoying “small purse” girls? Sorry… don’t mean to judge. I just need room. Through the years, I’ve had to winnow down my collection (a little), because I need my stuff. However, I have come up with a few ideas of how to change purses rapidly and keep things organized. Pictured below are the main “components that are in my purse most days:

The main components!

The key to my success was finding a “catch-all” bag (see the flowered zip make-up bag above). I keep lots of essentials in it:

How many pens do I need???

This catchall bag (as stated earlier, I use a makeup bag) makes it possible for me to change purses in less than a minute, and it keeps things neat. I’ve got my Advil, my Splenda, my cheaters, my pen(s) (how do I accumulate so many pens?), my chapstick, tissues, and my receipts. Done. I love this. Also, when I buy a new purse, the only real criterion is that it has to hold all these things. So, I’m a confirmed “medium/big” purse girl.

Other requirements for my handbags: pockets, (my phone and keys go in those). Also, my Kindle makes a regular appearance (it’s thin), so it slides between the wallet and catchall. I love this, because with my Kindle in the bag, I always have a book (essential). If the friend I’m meeting for lunch one day is late, no problem. I sip my tea and get another chapter read in my book! And, I’m not pissed off when the errant friend arrives, breathlessly apologizing, 25 minutes late (most of my friends don’t do this!). If I’m at the doctor’s office, and the waiting room is full, and my doctor’s had an emergency and is running late… three new chapters in my book! Happy Day!

It seems like a silly, frivolous thing, but when I figured out this whole catchall bag thing, I was immediately happier. And, happier is what our focus should always be!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what kind of bag you carry and what your “tricks of the trade” are. Meanwhile, I’m searching for more happy-making things to write about. Suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Until next time, my friends!

Honey, WHO do you come from?

If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.

michael chrichton

I was in Atlanta recently, attending a dear friend’s daughter’s wedding and visiting with family. One day my sister and I took our mom on a family field trip. Actually, she took us. We wanted to see some of the old family graves and sites where our ancestors had lived, and Mom, of course, knows exactly where to find them.

Is it just me, or does this become way more interesting as we grow older? I find myself daydreaming about ancestors who have come alive for me through my mom’s research. Our family has our share of characters, some with incredible stories, some inspirational (and some embarrassing). Like any family. EVERY family.

Does anyone know the significance of the shells on top of the gravestone?

The cemetery we visited is a small, fenced in area in a rural residential neighborhood. It’s just there! What I’m always struck with as we tour one of these older cemeteries is how hard life was for many (most) of these people. Yet when Mom tells us stories of these individuals, it’s not all sadness. There’s great happiness and lovely times … stories that have passed from generation to generation. My mom has made it her business to know who these people were – what they did and where they lived. She now lives in the same small town where my grandmother (her mother) grew up. Remarkable. I saw homes where my great-greats lived. Trees they planted. Churches they built. We traced the tracks where they walked or rode their horses (most likely – we loved to imagine it). In the cemetery we visited, we saw graves of ancestors and their children – some of them so old we couldn’t read the engravings. (And, we had a hard time keeping our 85-year-old mom off the tops of gravestones – she’s quite naughty – we had to ply her with ice cream while cautioning her about snakes and critters to get her to come down). It’s hard to imagine our forebears’ lives, but there’s the evidence that they did, in fact, live, and it’s right there in front of us. The sorrow, the challenges, every life a story. And, despite incredible mountains to climb, these people kept going. Some of them lived very long lives, while navigating their journeys without antibiotics, Neosporin, or Merthiolate. It really makes you think. There was no 409 for cleaning counters or Shout! for laundry stains! I’m exhausted and in awe just thinking of it.

The area of the South River where my ancestor, Betsy Bryans, ran her own raft ferrying service, shuttling people across! Wow! Wouldn’t you want to be her friend?!

One of my favorite ancestors, Betsy Bryans, was a young widow and started her own rafting service taking people back and forth across the South River to support herself and her small children. She met her future second husband, my fifth or sixth Great-Grandfather, Patrick O’Bryans (he dropped the O’ shortly after coming to North America from Ireland in anticipation of fighting the British in what would become the Revolutionary War), while she was ferrying people across. This was in the late 1700’s. What!?!? Yes. What a trailblazer! Imagine the blog she could write!

I’d love to know if any of you have worked on your own family history. I’m incredibly interested (and intrigued) by our cast of characters. Feel free to message me here on the blog. Another upcoming blog post will cover some resources for genealogical research. I’ll warn you… it’s addictive!

Next time, on the blog, we will, indeed, talk about purses! (I get distracted sometimes!!!) Until then, my friends!

Honey, let’s LISTEN… to a movie!

Music in movies is all about dissonance and consonance, tension and release.

quincy jones
The game is “afoot”!

Being a classical music major in college, I was (and am) very tuned in to the music around me, and how it affects my environment. One of the most impactful ways we witness new composed music today is through movie scores. Notice I didn’t say movie soundtracks (that’s a different blog post). Many musicians consider music scored for film the new “classical” music of our time. Film score performances are interesting because many times you walk out of a movie and haven’t thought about the music underlying the scenes at all. But, 99% of the time, it’s there, and its impact is great. (Offhand, I can think of one notable exception – Dog Day Afternoon – no score at all – and that creates a whole different kind of tension). Movie scores are written to complement and enhance the images on the screen. Composers very often sit with the images flowing by them on a computer screen, with their electronic keyboard at the ready so they may literally create the score “to” the image. Need a scary sound? At 21.8 seconds into the scene? The composer is sometimes creating the sound in real time, or in SMPTE time. They’re literally syncing up the sound with the scene. (Sorry, I’m getting nerdy on you!)

I’ve had a couple of fun adventures throughout my career, some creating music to accompany images. Most happened when I was in college, when I scored and performed a couple of commercials and public service announcements. One was for a cemetery – a 3-minute piece on a historic cemetery in San Francisco. What fun! I often think how much more fun it would be now, with the innovations in technology that have happened in the 30 years since I was dipping my toe in those waters!

I listen to scores when I’m working or writing. I thought we’d look at some of the more famous movie scores, many of which have won awards, and next time you’re watching some of these gems, you can pay special attention to the music that helps create “story”.

Here’s a list of some of the composers and scores that I think are particularly amazing:

  • Dances With Wolves and Out of Africa by John Barry
  • Titanic, Braveheart, and Field of Dreams by James Horner
  • Star Wars, ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, (and all their sequels) by the amazing John Williams! He also composed the gorgeous score for Schindler’s List, and many, many more.
  • Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, both by Vangelis
  • The Lord of the Rings movies scored by Howard Shore
  • Henry Mancini, the diverse composer of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Moon River!!!), Hatari!, and The Pink Panther, among many others
  • The great Ennio Morricone, composer of The Mission and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and many Western themed films
  • Danny Elfman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman (1989), and the theme to The Simpsons
  • The English Patient, by Gabriel Yared
  • Driving Miss Daisy, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, Sherlock Holmes, the Dark Knight trilogy, Spiderman, and The Last Samurai by the amazing Hans Zimmer
  • The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein
  • The Godfather by Nino Rota
  • Shaft by Isaac Hayes
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Burt Bacharach
  • Doctor Zhivago by David Lean and Maurice Jarre
  • La La Land by Justin Hurwitz
  • Grand Budapest Hotel by Alexandre Desplat
  • Pride and Prejudice by Darrio Marianelli, performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet
  • Gone with the Wind and Casablanca, by Max Steiner
  • Rocky franchise, by Bill Conti
  • Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, Castaway, and The Avengers, by Alan Silvestri
  • Slumdog Millionaire, by A. R. Rahman

Whew! And, that’s just scratching the surface. The next time you watch one of these movies, listen for the musical cues and the moods the score creates. You’ll be so grateful to these composers and their work! I’ve been adding to this list for a month, and know I’ve forgotten some. Share with us your favorites!!!

Next time on the blog… we’ll talk about… purses!

Honey, where’s the Cornbread?

“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ (1852)
Where’s the butter?

Okay… I’m know I’m on dangerous ground here. However, I’m about to confess a major truth… I use Jiffy Cornbread muffin mix, and doctor it up. I’m a girl from the South, and I’m proud to be a Jiffy user! There! I’ve said it! Don’t judge me. I love cornbread. And, Jiffy makes it more accessible. My California kids grew up on Jiffy. I’m bringing a taste of the South to my West-coast pals, and they love it!

Oh, Jiffy, my Jiffy. How I love you. I even buy it in 6-packs from the local grocer. Halleluyer!!! So, how do I make this “basic” mix over-the-top good? I add in any combination of shredded cheese, sour cream, corn (creamed or whole kernel thawed from frozen), diced chilis. I’ll add cumin, or dill, or some other wonderful spice (depending on what the cornbread is being served alongside). It is so consistently good. It’s all about the consistency. Sometimes, if I plan to use a lot of add-ins, I use two packages (one package makes 6 muffins), and start mixing. The key is not to overrun the mix with add-ins. Get the right consistency (not too runny), and you’re in business.

I serve my cornbread with soup, chili, and my all-veg dinners (black-eyed peas, anyone?!?!). They’re also great toasted for breakfast (then with honey butter). It’s easy, and it works. Try them with my White Chicken Chili (see my last Thursday post, “Honey, Can it Really be that Easy?”). Trust me… they’ll rock your world.

Next time on the blog…we’ll talk about garden planning! Until then, my friends!

Honey, let’s celebrate the garden!

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

cicero
Makes me catch my breath!

It feels as though we should be winding down the seasons. As you know, I’ve made a small attempt to make the house feel fall-ish. However, today, where we live in California, our temps will reach the 100-degree mark. But in the evening and the early morning, I’m starting to feel a “freshness” to the air (as the Brits would say!). It’s coming, and I thought it might be fun to do a year in review…

The first BIG thing that happened in the garden this year (and this was in April), was the wisteria. Wowza! This stuff is just… Wow!

Can you believe it?

We also celebrated many varieties of iris (Mr. G is a great enthusiast!).

Pacific Iris
Look at that color!
Gorgeous!

Then, I got to look at some of the Queen’s gardens!

Windsor Castle

Between the ancient buildings at Windsor, the Queen’s gardeners have terraced the hills, created waterfalls, and placed benches in lovely places to escape (or celebrate!) the sun. Isn’t this amazing?

A more secluded garden area at Windsor

I always say that no city in the world does green space better than London. Whether it be one of the incredible city parks, or a private garden, they really cherish and maintain the natural elements for all to enjoy!

Kensington Palace Gardens
The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens
Private Park (thanks Mitzi, Humam, Maya and Lena!)

Meanwhile, back at home, we’ve celebrated the blooming of roses

Double Delight

and abundant harvest of veggies

Squash, chives and cherry tomatoes

Now, I’m starting to plan some new sections in the garden. I love to spend fall and winter nights poring over books and pinterest pictures to plan our garden space. I’m so looking forward to planning for next year! In the meantime, I’ll pretend that it’s cool, and dream of down blankets and cozy sweaters!

Thursday on the blog, we’ll talk about another favorite (and unbelievably easy!) recipe! Until then, my friends!

Honey, can it really be this easy?!?!

It’s either easy, or forget it.

Marty Rubin
I smell dinner!!!

I don’t subscribe to the quote above in all things…for instance, a good musician would never succeed unless they worked hard. However, in terms of cooking dinner, ease is your friend. Find a few delicious and simple recipes that you know by heart, and you’re in business!

I’m about to lay the easiest recipe I know right on you! Almost embarrassing, but so good, who cares? And, our friends love it, so it’s great for company. Cornbread is the ONLY bread option as an accompaniment, in my considered opinion, and should be “doctored” up with cheese, sour cream, chilis, or some other good thing (coming soon in another post!)

Here’s Mr. G’s favorite soup!

White Chicken Chili

  • 2-3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 T. Olive or Canola Oil (I use Canola)
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon and water)
  • 1 can diced green chilis (mild)
  • 2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2-3/4 jar of green salsa
  • Garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, avocado (your choice!)

Saute onion in oil in a heavy dutch oven or stockpot. Add green chilis, salsa, chicken, chicken broth, beans and cumin. Let simmer. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, cilantro, or avocado (or all of these!).

Easy-peasy, and SO good!

Enjoy! And, next time, on the blog, let’s talk about cornbread!

Honey, let’s GO somewhere!

He who would travel happily must travel light.”

Antoine de St. Exupery

From Antoine’s mouth to God’s ears! I am trying to learn the art of traveling light – a work in progress. And, lately, I’m having more and more opportunities, cause I’m retired (woo-hoo!)! I’ve traveled a lot, (and plan to do more), and have learned some things along the way. Here are a few things I think are essential for a good flight.

On the road again!

Corliss’ Tried and True Flight Check

  • If you like listening to music or Audible books, noise-cancelling headphones or AirPods are a great way to go. I adore my noise-cancelling headphones, but they are bulky, and the case, while wonderful, takes up a lot a room. The AirPods are, by comparison, teeny (let’s hope I can keep up with them!). On my next trip I’m taking the AirPods. We’ll see which I prefer.
  • A lightweight scarf or shawl, like a pashmina (my experience has been that the plane is either freezing or sweltering, or both at different times during the flight). Sigh. If the plane is sweltering, layers are good!
  • Bottled water. Buy it after you go through security. Yes, they charge you an arm and a leg, but there’s no guarantee that water given to you on the plane is from a sealed bottle (I’ve watched enough 60-minutes episodes to make me completely and justifiably germaphobic).
  • Hand sanitizer. (See above)
  • A tote bag that fits under your seat for your book, Kindle or tablet, phone, and all the stuff you’ll use in-flight (you don’t want to open the overhead compartment to access your carry-on every time you need something).
  • Speaking of carry-ons… I usually pack a couple of extra pairs of undies, pajamas, toothbrush, and an extra outfit in my carry-on. I’ve dealt with misplaced luggage in times past, and this eases the gap!
  • Shoes that are easy to take on and off (trying to lace your shoes is the pits when on a plane, or going through security).
  • A carry on bag that rolls, preferably with wheels that do a 360-degree rotation.
  • I try to get an aisle seat. I have restless leg issues, and I can’t just SIT there. I’ve got to get up. So, I give my seat partner by the window or in the middle plenty of opportunities to get up as well. If I’m traveling with Mr. G, we either sit across the aisle from each other, or climb over!
  • I make sure to have several books and audio books downloaded on my tablet or phone, whichever I’m using. (Once I had purchased a new book for my kindle, but forgot to download it before we took off. Misery.)
  • I always use a decongestant before I fly. I find that it keeps my ears from clogging. My ear/nose/throat specialist actually recommended Afrin* (while quickly telling me that I should use it ONLY before flights – not a day to day option – don’t worry, I know!). It really works, so I make sure I have a fresh bottle (check the expiration date) and use it before I go to the airport (*it’s a “red-top” item, so should be packed with your checked luggage, as well as some contact lens solutions).

I’m loving the freedom to travel to familiar and new places, and celebrate family and friends. The next stop? A much beloved friend’s (family, really!) daughter’s wedding. Let the fun begin!

Next on the blog… let’s celebrate the garden!!! Until then, my friends!