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Everything posted by laurspag

  1. First, those are beautiful pictures of your granddaughter, Melody! And the fire pit sounds wonderful. My family has always enjoyed having a campfire in the yard, but since we have dogs now, we really haven't had any. Both of the dogs are petrified of them. Someday though, I would really like to get a propane fire pit. We could go out for a bit, and just turn it off if we were bringing the dogs out. Both of them are very attached to us, and hate having us out of sight when we are home. Oh, all these surgeries for you two! Do they know why Les is having so much trouble with his eye? I can imagine too that your shoulder will be rough for a bit. I feel so badly that you two have had so much going on. Brian and I are off next week. It is mostly about appointments and things like that. I just found out that he has to work Saturday. Not sure why yet, but they told his department it was mandatory for all of them so I guess our vacation starts a day later! He will be pretty tired tomorrow, as he is currently working at the Bruce Springsteen concert. His work days start at 7 AM.
  2. It's been a rainy, cold weekend here. I guess what I would expect for April, but I'm looking forward to having weather that is at least dry. At the same time, with such limited snowfall over the winter, I know we need as much rain as we can get. Maybe....just maybe...we might have a deck to enjoy when the weather gets warmer. At least with cruise clothing planning and excursion planning, I can pretend it is warmer! I was tempted to start putting away certain clothing and getting out warmer weather clothing. Not so much that I can wear the items yet, but I know that there are certain wintry things I am not going to put back on, and if we get a warm day, I don't have to go digging. This also lets me think about the daytime outfits too. I've added more tank tops over the winter, as Old Navy has a certain type that I like, and they have some great colors for us earth people. I picked up two pairs of shorts from Costco last week. They were inexpensive, and the pull on styling has worked well for me lately. One of the pairs I don't really love, but the other is pretty nice. The colors are a bit odd, so I have to think about what I have to wear with them before I make a decision. I know they had some really nice solid olive green shorts should I decide to make an exchange. I don't fuss for daytime outfits, other than wearing outfits that I feel happy in. Depending on if it is a sea day, port day or beach day, I may throw in earrings or a necklace, and that makes the process fun. Do you ever think about a color you really want to add to your wardrobe? For me, I've been thinking about warm blues. It could be teal, dusty aqua, or something in that area. I don't know why, but I keep thinking about wanting that color so if I see a shirt or a pair of shorts, I may grab them.
  3. Great picture, Margaret! It was so incredibly fascinating. I hope you are having a great time! Melody, how is Les today?
  4. The eclipse...amazing! Our weather was not exactly ideal, as it we ended up with a fairly heavy cloud cover. That being said, certain areas of the sky lightened up, and we were able to witness this amazing event. The whole process - the way it got quiet, cooler, turned dark. It was an incredible thing to experience. I can imagine that those people in sunnier areas got quite a treat, but I am not complaining. It was a once in a lifetime event, unless I am able to line up travel with a future eclipse. I am so happy that the bank closed for a half hour so that we could all experience this. I hope Margaret had a great view! I have a vacation coming up, or I guess you can call it a staycation. We have a few appointments, some estimates, and things of the sort. We have one estimate for a deck so far, but as we research more and more, it is likely we will do this ourselves. I was avoiding that because i was worried about my husband, but Humira has been a lifesaver for him. Still, with our full time jobs, I know it will take a while to do. The savings will be worth it for us, as it will leave money for some of our other projects. We might even be able to get the deck furniture this year too. I've been thinking about Anita. She handles moving and changes so well. It must be challenging though. I continue to putter with putting outfits together for my cruise in September. I can say that I have most of the dinner outfits figured out, but not completely. Once it warms up, I will start bringing out my warm weather clothes and I can get some ideas for daytime outfits too. It was very nice today. It will be in the mid 60s for the rest of the week, I believe. It is always energizing when the weather changes. Good luck with Les' surgery tomorrow!
  5. My daughters felt the after shocks here at the house! They thought a big truck went by, but there was nothing there. They were trying to figure out what it was. I'm glad you are all set to go!
  6. It is so interesting that I will be right in the path of the eclipse. All the hotels motels, B&Bs are all sold out around here. They say to expect very heavy traffic. I will report back after Monday and let you all know how it all goes. A lot of businesses, including my place of employment, are making adjustments for this. We will be closed for a half hour, so that all of us can witness this. As of right now, it is supposed to be good weather-wise. Melody, how is Les doing?
  7. Happy Easter!!! 🐇 I'm glad the weather looks okay for your son's move today, Melody. Margaret, I'm excited about your cruise. I know it is a bit of a longer one, and you indicated a mix of weather. I can imagine you probably have some pants and some sweaters mixed in.
  8. I'm loving all your choices, Margaret. I know you said you were putting things together last minute, but it looks well thought out. When you figure out your style and you get things that work together, it becomes so much easier to put a capsule wardrobe together. I'm also very intrigued by your itinerary. I very much want to explore some different itineraries that require longer cruises. Someday!! When do you leave? I know you sail in April, I just wasn't sure what part of the month. Melody, how is everyone feeling? I hope to start putting together some outfits in a more meaningful way, and this weekend helped a lot with that.
  9. Aaaahhh! The jewelry! 😍 that last ne place is beautiful, as well as the set you have from Peru.
  10. As you all know, I love to see clothing and accessory choices. I have been a bit under the weather with a cold, but I enjoyed paying with clothing options yesterday, and getting some input from one of my daughters and my husband. I've been thinking a lot about how I try to limit shoes, but that I don't think I will this time. How do you pack yours? I love you each of your dresses have a different vibe. When trying on dresses yesterday, there was one I hadn't considered but after putting it on, I got to thinking how much I like it. I've had it for a while but it has been a while since it went on a cruise. I noticed immediately that it had a very different style than everything else. I am really loving those dresses!
  11. A reminder of the dress: If I wore my gold sandals, I could easily do these her, which is a bit understated. I'm leaning towards these earrings though, on the upper left. They have some metallic gold in them. I'm also bringing my bone colored sandals which might look better.
  12. Happy belated St. Patrick's Day to everyone! We didn't do anything exciting, despite the fact that my husband is Irish and then some more Irish. We always wondered if there might be something else mixed in, so we did an Ancestry test for him. He is something like 98% Irish. They even gave him the different regions of Ireland that his ancestors came from. We went to the Home Show, which is essentially vendors lined up that you can talk to and get estimates for and so forth. We set up a few appointments for the coming week. Then we went for brunch, something we really never do. It was fun! Melody, how is Les doing? I hope he is feeling better. I was just thinking about the domino effect all this must have with both of you needing surgery. I hope you are able to stay on track with your traveling plans. I was talking to my husband a bit about my cruise dresses. One thing that came up was that I don't have a second formal night dress picked yet, and I was debating about one of the casual dresses. I have a few options for the casual dress choice, and there is a dress I have that I have been wanting to alter, so I think I am going to go ahead and make the adjustments. After that, I can decide which one I want to bring. The second formal night though...nothing is really jumping out at me, and I know I've mentioned being bothered about my weight. I have a red cocktail dress that would look great, but I am wearing a red dress on the other formal night so I really want a different color. I've been toying with the idea of wearing the green dress. It does have a bit of a shimmer effect, and feels rather elegant. I know I could get away with it as people don't dress that formally any more, but I'm not sure I envisioned the dress that way. I had a few thoughts on that, but I have time. I have a few other things I can choose from, I'm just not getting that feeling when I look at them. You know what I mean? I feel like I am so much more at home with my choices these days. I just feel like I love what I am wearing and I really don't want to wear something that messes with that vibe.
  13. Oh Melody, that is awful. You two have been through so much in the past few years. I'm glad you will be healed before your June vacation. I had to look that surgery up, because I wasn't familiar with it. It sounds like it is a long road to recovery. I can see why he said no paddleboarding. I hope your kids are able to help you both out a bit. Our weather here has been very strange this year. We are several feet below normal with our snow levels. A week and a half ago, we had record warmth in the 60s, and less than a day or two after that, we got a storm that left visibility near zero in some areas. Within a day or two, it melted and was back in the 50s. We have a snow advisory for tonight and tomorrow, so we will see what that brings. It definitely feels like spring is starting though...I have a feeling that if we get the snow they predict, it will be on the low side and melt right away. So far, I have nothing planned other than our cruise in September for this year. We have a vacation coming up in April, but I think I should mention that it is a vacation from work only, in that we aren't going away or anything like that. We will likely work on house projects, catch up on some appointments and find a few fun things to do. My husband is good at coming up with surprises. We have had some sobering discussions on life insurance. Both of us, but me in particular, have extremely good life insurance through work. Outside of work, we have a joint term life insurance policy. Sometimes, when you have something a while, you forget some of the details so I dug it out. It appears the insurance will continue to age 80, which I I think is fine. However, the premium goes up drastically at 65. I don't recall it being explained to us this way, but it is in the paperwork. We are now trying to figure out what we should do. I'm 58, so I have some time, but you know expensive it gets when you get older. The premium that begins at age 65 isn't even remotely affordable. It's like 6 1/2 times what we pay now. On the plus side, our mortgage will be paid in full at the end of 2025. We plan on taking the mortgage payment, and putting the majority into emergency savings each month, and might increase the amount going into our retirement with the balance. I think our savings are good, and our retirement is in very good shape, so maybe what we will need by that point isn't as drastic as we think. Just for reference, I do not have a pension. My work contributes a partial match to what I contribute so I've very hard to save. My husband's is different, in that he has a 403b plan. If any of you don't mind sharing your thoughts, I would love to hear them! by the end of 2025/beginning of 2026, we will be pretty much debt free, with the exception of car payments and the usual utilities and taxes. We have a meeting with our financial planner when we are off in April, so I am going to ask him his thoughts as well. I suggested to my husband a burial account. That is the main expense I think he is concerned with.
  14. Oh, Melody, I am so sorry to hear this. You two just can't catch a break! Do you have the MRI results back yet? Hopefully, it is nothing that requires any surgery. I'm sorry to hear about Les needing surgery. From what I understand, the surgery is less invasive and simplified these days. Hopefully, he will have a very speedy recovery! I look forward to seeing your pictures!
  15. I got some better pictures, and added them to layout. I know it is silly, but it really helps me visualize! I messed up though in not moving the jewelry to the left of the chair, I could have totally avoided the reflection. I got so excited about the colors looking right that I missed it. Now everything is back upstairs and put away! I have a photo of the dresses I've decided on as a group. While the red dress for formal night isn't earth, the rest so far are and it is very pleasing to the eye for me. I also am considering these two dresses. The purple one I planned to wear last cruise, but ended up replacing it with something else. The yellow one is older...I've worn this one a lot. I think with the loose styling, it will still fit fine, and I could wear the crescent earrings with the flowers with it. I don't know if it is just the natural progression as we age or what, but I'm very much wanting to enjoy myself and have fun, and I like to have what I wear show that.
  16. Thanks, everyone. Looking back, I think my pictures of my jewelry that I posted are dreadful, lol. The pictures came out so bad! I tend ti use the spare room to get better pictures these days, but that room is kind of messed up right now, as we are looking to turn it into a home gym. I've added the elliptical, but we have the bed still up and we got the foam squares for the floor and a weight set and everything is all over the bed. It is too much of a hassle to move it all, lol. Also, it is sunny out so I get some interference from that. The pictures come out so much better on a cloudy day! Anita, it is good to hear from you. The vacation time when starting a different job can be rough. My daughter earns days on her job, with no set this many vacation days or this many sick days. That is why I recently babysat for her earlier in the week. I was already off Monday for President's Day, and then I took a day on Tuesday to help her out. She currently has one day available, and that is it. We are hopeful that she will be able to save up some time, so that we can go to a Buffalo Bills game in the early part of the season before the weather gets rough. We want to bring my grandson to his first NFL game, and it would actually be a first for all of us! I thought it would be better to drive there in the morning, but then stay overnight and drive back the next day. I think it would allow some time for my grandson to decompress a little after getting back this way. We shall see. Alaska is still very high up on the bucket list! The reasons we are waiting is 1) cost of airfare 2) want to be able to do a longer cruise or a cruise tour. My husband just isn't wanting to take a week and half off for one trip so it is currently at the top of the list for when he retires. I may not be retired yet, but I'm taking that week and a half! For me, the cost of cruising right now has really knocked me for a loop. We paid $199.00 for a beach bed last year. It is currently $399.00. A photo package is double. We one free photo each as diamond, and our TA throws in a free photo too. I am a big picture person, and we like having lots of photos. However, I downsized the package dramatically, and it is still double what I paid last year. With all that said, we still feel that cruising is our favorite way to vacation. My cruise planning is even a hobby! There is a lacrosse game today, a basketball game, and the first spring baseball game to watch. I'm doing laundry, cleaning....life is good. I probably don't say it out loud enough, but I'm grateful to be able to do the things I do.
  17. Olay, so that picture is driving me crazy, lol. I don't have time at the moment to take another, but I found a layout photo where I took pictures from her website of some of the earrings I purchased. This will show some of them better, at least. One important thing to mention is no two earrings are alike. I have asked her at times to send "warmer" ones when there was a mix of colors.
  18. Ione picture didn't come through for the rust/orange jumpsuit. This is the one that looks too bright.
  19. First formal night. I'm pretty certain of the jewelry but if I think of other options, I will post them. Just to let you know how off the lighting reflections are in my room, my bed spread is a dark, warm teal!
  20. I love this jumpsuit. I could go in many directions here also. I had some issues getting the earring colors to look right. They are not this bright.
  21. Here is the green dress with jewelry options next to it. I just realized I didn't the a picture of it hanging up, but it very much looks like the stock picture I posted previously. It is a wonderful color. I am already thinking I will wear it to Chops or Giovanni's. What options do you like? The green ones look better in real life than in the photo - the fold mixed in with the green pixk up on this color. The ivory are also much warmer in real life.
  22. Yesterday was President's Day, and I watched my grandson. We had such a fun day. I took a personal day today as well, as she needed a sitter for part of the day. I was kind of sad when I left. While he can be a handful, I really feel like we were having a great time. We didn't have enough time to go to the library as we originally planned. We will have to do that next time! Since coming home, I have been playing a bit with outfits. Right now, my focus has been on dinner outfits. I have four of seven nights decided for sure, and I'm contemplating about the rest still. It's funny, because there was a dress I purchased for my daughter's graduation when she received her master's degree, and I have then worn it on a few cruises since. I knew I wanted to bring it again. Like always, I'm having fun with the jewelry. I have never been a big earring wearer, because they tend to bother me a lot. However, many of my tops and dresses in more recent years really don't lend themselves to wearing a necklace so I've been wearing earrings more often. They still bother me, but I find that the more I wear them, they better I tolerate them overall. That new green dress? It is so much fun to dress up or down. In my mind, I have more or less decided that I am going the fun route. I will post pictures shortly, and I would love to get some feedback. I have not yet chosen shoes for each, but I find that the bone colored shoes from my daughter's wedding and the subsequent purchase of two pairs of gold sandals in a similar heel height and the same brand (I think) have been very helpful. I don't want to have hurting feet. I'm glad I was able to take a few minutes to play with the outfits. I really enjoy it, and it helps me to feel excited and gives me something to look forward to.
  23. I've completely lost track - when is everyone cruising? What ship? Where to? I am already planning some things out for my wardrobe. I think I have toned down the formality a lot more over the past few cruises, but I still love the whole process of planning and accessorizing so much. That green dress came in, and it is a keeper! I really like it a lot, and I immediately had jewelry ideas. It's fun when you have options readily available. I have this bracelet with a citrine type stone to it. I guess you could call it a tennis bracelet, and I have earrings that match as well. I am really thinking about a different pair of earrings that I have, that just create an entirely different feel. I think I will wear this to a specialty restaurant. I like to feel that each outfit is picked just for that particular night, and I want to feel really good about it. I am okay with keeping the dress more to the casual side. It is the kind of dress that you can dress up or down. We have President's Day coming up, and I usually take advantage of the long weekends to play with outfits and take pictures. I am babysitting this time though, and my daughter's hours aren't the best so I may not get to it this weekend. I may sneak upstairs in a bit though, and see what jewelry I like with that dress! We haven't really planned out any excursions yet. In San Juan, we plan to do our own walking tour and lunch. We love to see historic places and the like, and a lot of forums have indicated it is easy to do on your own so that is what we will do. We visited the fort a while back when we were there. I recall it being very hilly to get there! We will be in St. Thomas and Cococay as well. I am going to bite the bullet and reserve a beach bed. Our last one did not provide a lot of shade, so I hope the location of the next one is good! I would love a cabana, but the very cheapest one is $1200.00, and that is ridiculous so we aren't doing that, lol.
  24. Margaret, we are excited about the eclipse. It isn't often something like that goes through our area. I understand we will get about a minute and half. Hotels are so hard for me to figure out. I've never minded taking a shuttle. We have taken taxis as well, which is probably what we will do this time. I'm all about getting to the port and on the ship as soon as they let me. 🙂 I'm a little more concerned about the shuttle to the airport after the cruise, so I have a feeling we will just carry off our luggage if we think we need to. Do you ever just come across something online that you think might work, and order it on a whim? I do that if I have free returns. This is mostly because I have found out that things I think will be perfect often aren't, and things I don't think will work can end up being my favorite thing. About ten years, I got his brown dress that I have worn so many times. It is too tight now, but I bought it because it was brown and hated it when I took it out of the box. It ended up being one of my best purchases ever. Well, I ordered this dress from Macy's. I did not want another tent, but the color was really nice, and it seemed like it draped nice. It came in today and I was so impressed when I tried it on! It is not fitted, but not big and baggy either. This has always been a preference for fit - something that follows along with body curves but isn't fitted. That can be hard to find these days. It has a satin like look. I would need to check the tag and so forth, but it is probably a crinkle charmeuse. I love when a dress feels kind of elegant, even when it is a casual night. I can already see this at a specialty restaurant.
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