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All Things EARTH... part 2


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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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Laurie, I love that dress!!

 

we leave Tuesday morning!!!  Hoping the snow expected today thru Sunday will be a nonevent!  


Les is so much better. We’re not taking the walker, just the cane. Les has agreed that if the 4-nighter is too much we’ll rent a mobility scooter for the 10-night. This was a HUGE concession on his part. His mri showed a polyp on his gallbladder so we have a robotic surgeon (I guess that’s a thing!) appt the week we get back. We also see the ortho surgeon for his shoulder (which has been great since the cortisone shot) 2 weeks after we get back

 

these cruises are going to be interesting. First cruise has Super Bowl. Celebrity does a bang up job with a huge party in the theater with tailgate food & the game (no commercials tho. Our teams didn’t make it & we likely won’t even watch. The second cruise has Mardigras night & then Valentines!!  I’m wearing black sequined tops & either palazzo chiffon pants or silk stovepipe pants with my Allegria sandals (Laurie, you need to try this brand, all adjustable straps & exceptionally comfy. Melody

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.  

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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Laurie I'm glad you got that green dress, I like it a lot  and I bet it looks really good on you. My favorite earrings for it are either the long dangle ones for evening or the green stone ones if you want a step down in formality. Not a fan of the matchy match green ones. They are pretty but maybe a bit too subtle for me. The flower ones are fun.

 

Our next cruise is in April from LA. We have a few ports in Mexico, the solar eclipse at sea, Panama Canal, Cartagena, and Grand Cayman. We end in Fort Lauderdale. It's a unique itinerary for Princess because of the solar eclipse. 

 

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We got home really late last night from our b2b cruises. Pictures soon

 

Laurie, love the green dress. I agree completely with Margaret on the earrings

Edited by awhfy
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Laurie, I think that green color is fabulous! Sooo pretty. I really like the contrast of the blue green stone with the veining that seems to match the color of the dress...with the kind of rosy metal dangle...I really like those a lot. They remind me of a scarf that I have. 

 

Welcome back Melody! Can't wait to hear all about your cruise. Y'all have cruises planned...I'll admit that I was looking at Alaska cruises out of Seattle. Just because... Nothing that I would really book at this point but man, I was seeing deals out of Vancouver for the first of the season cruises. DH doesn't have enough vacation time in the back to do something like that. I did see a long weekend cruise that basically was 4-days cruising right around there. I think the ports were literally Vancouver, Victoria, somewhere further down the Pacific coast of Washington state and back to Seattle. I don't recall the price...but it wasn't that cheap yet...

 

I'm headed back to Seattle next week...flying Alaska Airlines for the first time.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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. 

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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.

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Well, we’re home from our b2b. I took a nasty fall on day 3 of 14 & messed up my surgically repaired shoulder. MRI yesterday. We still had a fabulous time with great friends. Les is having gallbladder surgery on 11 March following all the tests in January. 
 

We’re looking at a couple of cruises for next winter but haven’t settled in on one/two yet 

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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!

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Well, I definitely have surgery in my future, big surgery. I’m having a reverse total shoulder replacement the 8th of April. Went to ortho. I said so a cortisone shot & I’m good to go? He looked at Les like I was crazy & said no, that shoulder is pretty much destroyed. Sigh, I’m really going to be bionic!!  Had to wait till Les has recovered from the gallbladder before I can get it done (one if us needs to be able to drive!)


I should be good to go to our entire family vacation in Hawaii in June. Doc did say no paddleboarding 😢  I was really looking forward to that, but I’ll be able to watch everyone else. Melody

 

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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.  

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Laurie we had this discussion several years ago. We each had big term policies when kids were little. We’ve converted both to paid up whole life policies (no more insurance payments). The whole life policies continue to earn dividends. With our pensions, & savings we don’t need big insurance policies. Both of our pensions have survivor benefit plans too. 
 

Les has his gallbladder surgery tomorrow afternoon Melody 

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3 hours ago, awhfy said:

Laurie we had this discussion several years ago. We each had big term policies when kids were little. We’ve converted both to paid up whole life policies (no more insurance payments). The whole life policies continue to earn dividends. With our pensions, & savings we don’t need big insurance policies. Both of our pensions have survivor benefit plans too. 
 

Les has his gallbladder surgery tomorrow afternoon Melody 

Thinking good thoughts for Les & his surgical team tomorrow.

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1 hour ago, 57redbird said:

Thinking good thoughts for Les & his surgical team tomorrow.

Thanks so much. Same surgeon tgst did my hiatal hernia & ventral wall hernia. He’d the chief of robotic surgery at our teaching hospital . 

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Les’s gall bladder surgery has been postponed to 10 April because he managed to detach a retina over the weekend (no clue how). His retina surgery will be tomorrow at 7am. This is really serious surgery. I’m pretty much spinning in circles!!  Melody

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