Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Packing Small

Recently my husband and I took a Danube River Cruise with AmaWaterways and Educational Opportunities to celebrate our upcoming 50th Wedding Anniversary and our 70th birthdays...all happening between 28 July and 16 Aug.  Since I plan on spending the rest of my rickety years traveling, I decided we had to come up with an easier way to navigate the travel gauntlet.  My solution: carry-on luggage only.  His solution: downgrade the ship stateroom in order to afford Business Class airfare.  Our solution:  Let's do both!  So, while he spent untold hours researching flights, I researched carry-on gear and  travel clothing.  

For travel gear, we usually turn to eBags, where we each chose a Swiss Gear carry-on bag.  

This is the 19" model which conforms to European airline specifications.  That is 19" x 14" x 9" (with an additional 2" of expansion).  It is a 4-wheel spinner case, which was a God-send when rushing through a crowded airport.  No need to drag it behind...just walk it in front of you.  Super smooth action on nearly every type of flooring we encountered.  

For our second carry on, we chose Swiss Gear backpacks that would fit under the seat.  
I normally travel with a change of clothing in my backpack for those times when my luggage is lost/destroyed/delayed.  But, since everything was already in the overhead storage in my carry-on, I could have gone with a smaller backpack.  *Noted for my next trip*
These are packing cubes, also from eBags. They really helped keep the packed clothes from sliding around in the suitcase and eliminated nearly all wrinkling.

So, my packing list:  2 pair of JJill pants from their Wearever Collection, 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair of jeans, 6 shirts/blouses, 1 long skirt with 2 tops and one cover-up, 1 pr of pajamas, 3 bras, 5 pr undies, 5 pr socks, 3 scarves, 3 pr of shoes, 1 waterproof jacket, 1 hat.  I wore jeans, t-shirt, scarf, jacket and one pair of the shoes on the plane and carried an addition shirt and undies in the backpack.  Everything else fit in the carry-on.

The backpack also carried a small amount of jewelry, Kindle, hair do-dads, and make-up.  I even carried a hand-quilting project to work on not knowing that there would be no time for such a quiet activity on a river cruise.  I have also downsized my make-up to a 3 piece set from BOOM.  So, my TSA liquids bag had only the Boom makeup, toothpaste, tiny bottle of liquid laundry soap, one tube of lipstick, mascara.  No need to carry anything else.  The ship is a floating hotel and provides "spa quality" shampoo, etc.  

I was confident that I could make this plan work with all the lightweight fabrics available to me for summertime.  We weren't as confident about my husband being able to stay within the confines of the carry-on.  Especially after seeing it all laid out on the bed. 

His carry-on packing list:  2 pair of lightweight slacks, 4 polo shirts, 1 pair of shorts, 1 bathing suit, 2 t-shirts, 4 pair undies, 4 pair of socks, hat, 1pair sandal (size 13!!).  He is 6'1" and well over 200 lbs, so we are not talking about small items of clothing here. In addition, he must travel with a CPAP machine, but with the expandable zipper, he managed it very well.  His back pack carried all our electronic adapters, Kindle, and mini iPad. 

I opted to wash a couple of clothing items each day, but husband sent everything to the ship laundry daily.  He spent $40 for laundry service, which was cheaper than paying for an additional bag to carry more clothes.  I chose to do my own laundry for fear of what these lightweight pants might look like after a commercial laundry trip.

We received a lot of incredulous looks and comments when presenting just carry-on luggage.  The bell man at the Marriott in Budapest said in his heavily accented English "You must be very organized".  The pilot at one stop saw us waiting for the hectic rush to depart the plane and asked if we needed assistantance (old people). We thanked him and told him we were in no hurry since we had no bags to claim.   We saw him later in the terminal and he complimented us and said we really know how to make travel more enjoyable.  

Flying from Fort Smith AR to Budapest Hungary took about 24 hours.  Because of flying Business Class and using just carry-on bags, we arrived in really good condition and ready to tour Budapest the following day (remember, we are almost 70). Just knowing you didn't have to fight the baggage carousel crowd was pure freedom.  To find reasonably priced Business Class fares took my husband several months of research and negotiations, but it was definitely worth it.  And an unexpected benefit of traveling with just carry-on baggage, we were able to hop on better flights to eliminate stops without losing our Business Class seats. 

Oh, and we found that we each packed one outfit more than we used! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Life-Long Project

According to Webster's Dictionary, lifelong means something that is "lasting or remaining in a particular state throughout a person's life".  I surely hope that is not the case here, but it certainly looks like it may be on it's way to becoming lifelong.  

This is from Endangered Species by Cross My Heart.  The copyright is 1988.  I purchased the pattern book on a trip to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville AL in 1990, with the intention of making it for my first grandson who was due in Jan, 1991.  He is now 24 years old and I am still s..l..o..w..l..y,  s..l..o..w..l..y  stitching.  It is on 24-point grey canvas and I am convinced I have 12-point eyesight...that's my excuse, anyway. 

I'm linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching...please visit the other Slow Stitchers there.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Finish!

I think my friends and I started this in February and it is finally finished and is designated for a World War II veteran from Muldrow OK.

There will be no Slow Sunday Stitching today, since I will be packing and moving all my mother's belongings to storage.  Since she is facing an additional four months minimum in the nursing home recovering from a shattered femur, we have decided to let her apartment go.  Not a happy time for an 85 year-old who values her independence.

Enjoy your Slow Stitching today and send good thoughts my way to keep me packing and toting.

Linking with Slow Sunday Stitching.  Lots of beautiful work to look at.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

Today I am binding a Quilt of Valor that has been in the works for MONTHS.   This has been a group project...piecing done by myself and a local friend here in Sallisaw,  quilting was done by another friend from Weleetka.  I am doing the binding.

This pattern is "Star-Spangled Beauty" from the Fons and Porter magazine Patriotic Quilts, issued in Fall 2013.  

Tools of the trade.  I found these Mini Binder Clips at WalMart...100 for under $5.  They work great, even with arthritic hands, AND stay on throughout my many adjustments of the quilt in my lap.  The small dish of STUFF is a magnetic parts dish from Harbor Freight.  This has been a great find...no more dropped clips, needles, thinbles or pins.  

 Now, to keep motivated for a Slow Sunday, when I have on today's "to do list" ... church, take a beautiful fall walk, spar varnish a front porch rocker, complete one Christmas gift  and finish reading American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus.  Good thing I got up at 5:30 this morning.   At 57 degrees right now, cozying up under my binding project sounds great.  So, time for another cup of Irish Breakfast Tea and stitching.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Freedom Day

Since the touted leisure time of retirement is very illusive here at Lakeshore House, we have designated one day per week as "Freedom Day".  That means freedom from the demands of family members, freedom from the demands of house and gardens.  We are free to indulge in hobbies, books, movies, touring....whatever catches our fancy.  This fun day was instituted as a New Year's Day Resolution and since then, we have only managed about one day per month.  We have lost our free days by driving a son to Dallas to catch a plane to Cambodia, moving a granddaughter to a new apartment, caring for my mother who has broken her leg twice in the past eight months, awarded a Quilt of Valor to a WWII veteran in Arkansas, etc, etc.  Life happens, doesn't it? 

So, just to be on the safe side, we started our Freedom Day yesterday and are continuing it today.  Yesterday was a lovely, cool, though wet day in Fort Smith, Arkansas and with our track record of losing our free time in mind, we set out for the Fort Smith Little Theater for a matinee performance, in spite of the rain. 

A humorous British comedy that would have been even more enjoyable if the theater air conditioning had not been set at FRIGID. 

Food is fuel, right?  Fuel means warmth, right?   Next stop : Paizis Gyros and Baklava.

And today...Freedom Day, the man is in his Man Cave doing man stuff and this will be how I spend the rest of today.

Binding a Quilt of Valor for another WWII veteran.    
Working up the courage to do free motion quilting on this with my 1946 Featherweight 221.   I took a class recently from Betty Kent New at the Blackgum Harvestime Quilt Show (love that name) in Vian, Oklahoma.  I was a total failure!

This is a counted cross stitch wolf from the Endangered Species from Cross My Heart.  It IS a wolf but it has become my "Albatross".  I began this for my grandson when he was eight.....he is now 24.  It is on 22 pt canvas and my eyesight has degenerated to 12 pt.   The pattern page has yellowed and become so brittle I had to make fresh copies.  I will continue to plod through this project and hope to finish it before I become a great-grandmother.  On a brighter note...great-looking stitchery bag given to me by my cousin, Marlene. 
Time to get busy or I will lose the rest of Freedom Day.