The Challenge of Packing Light


I’m about to leave on another one week adventure and as always, I’m conflicted.  I envy travelers who pack lightly, can fit everything in carry on luggage, and still seem to have everything they need.

Perhaps the secret to packing light is to not need so much.  When packing, I check the weather at my destination – and then I prepare for all kinds of weather.  If the forecast is 85 degrees and sunny, I pack an umbrella to be prepared for anything. And maybe a sweater or two in case the nights are cool. Darn my Girl Scout past.

With one more day till I need to fill the suitcase, I will again attempt to curtail the clutter that is intended for the suitcase.  My intent is to look at everything I have laid out for the trip and then put half back in the closet.  I’ve been searching the internet for packing tips and that seems like good advice.

This is a casual trip, so no dressy clothes are necessary. Make up, hair products, and lotions are in small travel containers. I’ve done my research and this should be easy, right?

I’ll get back to you on that.


Getting the Most from Retirement

I’m setting out on a personal quest to understand what it means to be retired.  In the United States, we use the term so flexibly that an individual can be retired from one lengthy career and begin another. If that’s the definition we apply, I’ve retired several times already. But this is the big one for me. Retirement with a capital “R”.  My intent is to work freelance only – and only if I IMG_3657need/want extra cash or when I find the work to be enjoyable. But what are the specifics?  Still an intriguing mystery to me.

My intention is to develop this new phase of my life into a shape and form that I can decode and describe.  Currently, my days are going by at the speed of light. Planning more events in my day than possible to complete has resulted in frustration – and a growing list of things on my daily calendar I need to complete.

My first hurdle is to be more realistic about what can possibly be accomplished in one day.  Since I’ve been making daily lists that are packed with too many items for the last several decades, it’s no small barrier to overcome.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll trim down my lists and spread out the things I want to complete over the week. And it might be a good idea to schedule in some time for fun.

I retired so I could have more time. Now it’s time to manage that extra time.


Don’t Call Me Princess

Magic Kingdom

A trip to Disney World was not on my list of places to go.  Because my husband is interested in animation and technology, I fully agreed to a vacation that included four days in the magical world of Disney. And I did have fun. A lot of that had to do with animation and technology, which are interests I share with my husband.

We stayed at a beautiful resort on Disney property, so the transportation back and forth to the parks was simplified.  Buses to all of the parks were plentiful.

My first moment of “was I out of my mind when I agreed to this?” came when we first entered the park.  As I entered the Magic Kingdom for the first time since 1980, I was greeted with “Have a magical day, princess”.  Really??? Take a good look, I’m more the family matriarch, queen mother type of person.  Princess? Ugh.

And then I noticed them.

The dozens of little girls in their princess dresses, ready to to have their princess make-overs, their princess lunches with other princesses, and being called princess by all the Disney employees (known as cast members).  That should prepare them for the future, right?

Never mind the math and science. Let’s work on their princess skills.




I Look at You and I Wonder


Your smile does not match the horrible experiences you are conveying to me with your words.  It serves to distance you from these horrors, I know. And I wonder – are you aware of your smile?

I wonder what fortunate events have counterbalanced my own horrors so that I have evaded the dissonance I see in you. Or am I simply not aware of my own incongruities?

There is a strangeness flowing out of you as you speak. Your thoughts wander and then return to the topic at hand, running full circle.

I wonder how firm your grasp on reality remains. Or is your reality so unthinkable that you have released yourself from it?

Traveling with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Before rheumatoid arthritis became my constant companion, I wasn’t concerned with limitations. Never considered that I had any at all.  Until one day I did.

Traveling with R.A. becomes more challenging each time.  And there is no certainty to how I feel, what I can (or can’t) include in my itinerary, or how much energy I require to push through the discomfort and pain. And functioning with chronic pain demands a constant supply of energy.

When I arrived in Costa Rica, I was exhausted. Early in the day is the best time for me to fly, so I took the 7 AM flight. Still, the travel time required for such a simple flight took a toll.  Upon my arrival in San Jose, I longed for someone to say “You’ve done well, You can return home right now.”  But I pressed on.

My first two days of vacation were spent in a state of exhaustion.  I visited museums, walked around the city, and had a delicious meal.  The food is so fresh! (A story for another time.)  I’m not sure I ever recovered from the initial exhaustion. I think I became numb.

And then – the numbness left. The pain and stiffness began.  The feeling of exhaustion remained.  But Costa Rica is such a beautiful country, I pressed on.  I walked, I rode buses, I took taxis, I walked again.  Walls became a means of physical support for me, especially where stairs appeared.


I pressed on.  This was a journey I waited three years to begin and I wasn’t planning on stopping.  As long as I could move, my adventure would continue.  And what an adventure it was!  I walked further than I ever could imagine I would. Not certain how, but quite a few days my pedometer measured 6 or 7 miles per day.


I hiked up to a volcano, toured a coffee plantation, walked through well manicured trails to waterfalls, and walked through museums and organic markets.

It was worth the struggle. The memories and the photos tell the story of my trip.  The pain and the struggle are now distant.

Walking Around San Jose, Costa Rica

What an interesting and culturally alive city!  I found quite a few interesting buildings yesterday.

Today –  Cafe Rojo with delicious meals.


And the best independent bookstore in Barrio Amon, San Jose – Libros Duluoz.

Both the cafe and the bookstore are in a building that captured my attention. A great old building with original wooden floors and a hallway decorated with the original tiles.


Bonus – A block away from Libros Duluoz, I found a captivating English bookstore called Mora Books, where I bought a book to read on the plane – The Zookeeper’s Wife. I recommend both the bookstore and the book. Since the books are overflowing and also stacked on the floor, it was like a treasure hunt.  Who knows what you’ll find!