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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Baltic Cruise

We're off again for a trip to the Baltic region, cruising on the Royal Princess. This is our first ever cruise on a big ship. And big she is at 3600 passengers and 1200 crew. The red arrow shows our deck—mid and low. It is one humongous ship! She was christened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge last June 2013.
Dolphin Deck. We're on the Starboard side (the other side of the ship!)
We start our vacation in Copenhagen for a few days to get over the jet lag and see some of the sites. Then it is on-board to travel the cities in the Baltic Region.

Our Itinerary:
Day 1 Copenhagen, Denmark
Day 2 Oslo, Norway
Day 3 Gothenburg, Sweden (Goteborg)
Day 4 Warnemunde, Germany
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Tallinn, Estonia
Day 7 & 8 St Petersburg, Russia
Day 9 Helsinki, Finland
Day 10 Stockholm, Sweden  (Nynashamn)
Day 11 At Sea
Day 12 Copenhagen, Denmark and fly back to Ottawa




Hope to find my sea legs quickly. But others have told me that these big ships are very stable and I should be ok. Hope they are right. Just in case, I've packed lots of Gravol and my anti-nausea wrist bands.
My sister and her hubby are coming along, in fact it was their idea, along with two other friends. The big difference between this trip and our Ireland trip last year is the clothing I'm bringing. We lived in jeans and hiking gear in Ireland. But the ship has these "dress-up" nights so I'm packing a fancy dress and hubby will be fully "Kilted Out" for those two evenings—Kilt, sporran, dinner jacket and bow tie.

That means two large suitcases for a 2 week trip. Just not used to packing so much. And lists galore. Plus lots of different currencies for our day trips.



Click here to read about the entire trip on Travelpod: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/timsandy/3/tpod.html

Sandy


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Birthday Fun and Am I Really That Old?

My birthday was March 15th, the Ides of March. I turned 60.

But I don’t feel 60. I remember when I was young(er) that someone who was 60 was OLD. I really don’t know how 60 is supposed to feel these days. Just as I didn't know how 30 or 40 or 50 was supposed to feel. Sure there are a few aches and pains but generally I’m in good health, eat well (most of the time), travel and keep active.

Having a birthday in March sucks. It's almost always cold, snowy and dreary. So I planned a birthday weekend. Had my hair cut and coloured. My youngest sister visited from Toronto and along with my older sister, niece and daughter here in Ottawa went for tea at the Chateau Laurier. Here are some pictures from the day.
Selecting our tea at the Chateau Laurier.
I skipped the sparkling wine.
Our steeped loose tea arrived and shortly afterwards three tiered plates of scones (with Devonshire Cream & Jam), finger sandwiches and sweets, one for each of us.
Posing with one of my sisters.
Finger sandwiches. Two biters.
Yummy sweets
The tea was fun. At another table was a group of women spanning the generations from 8 to 80 with their fancy hats and fascinators. It was decided then and there that when I turn 80, in twenty years, we would again get together for afternoon tea at the Chateau, this time with our granddaughters who would be in their twenties.

Hubby gave me a lovely Pandora charm for my bracelet—a gold bouquet of diamonds. 
And on March 16th, we girls had manicures and pedicures. Just a bit of pampering to celebrate a milestone. I also watched as my Retirement countdown calendar (to the right) switched to less than 4 years til retirement. Time is flying! 

I’m still working which kind of sucks. I was out of the full time workforce for most of the 90’s, while my kids grew, only working part time or no time. Which means I’m making up for lost time and padding my pension with each year of service. Two years ago when I started this blog I asked the question “Will I be Ready to Retire?” At the end of that post I wrote:
"I will explore what will make me happy. Now. And from there I won’t see retirement as something that has to have a final plan in place but an extension of my current life. I just won’t need the alarm clock to get me up each morning. Unless I want to get up early."
The same holds true two years later. Lately a few close to me have been dealing with illness or death. We can never predict how our life will unfold.

So, I’m doing what makes me happy now, because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Sandy




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Friday, August 9, 2013

Healthy Years

I was scrolling through some blogs today and this one caught my eye: Life Expectancy at Age 65

Now I am not 65. But it’s only a few years away so this was rather interesting. I took the map and added where I live up here in Canada (red arrow) and extrapolated the light green colour from the Northeast States (you know Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and a couple of those little states!) and decided I must be in the green zone too.


(I couldn’t find the original map on the CDC siteso used the one the blogger posted. Thanks!)

This map wasn’t about how long you are going to live but the expected “Healthy Years” remaining past age 65.

In my case—green zone—just over 14 healthy years. Which means I should be healthy til I’m 79. Then after that its downhill.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation have launched the coolest commercials called Make Health Last. In the video they say that the majority of older people today will live their last 10 years in sickness. The video is split screen showing the same man living in health on the left and living in sickness on the right. It really is powerful.

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Qo6QNU8kHxI

As I work through planning retirement in a few years, all my hopes and dreams will be overshadowed by my “health”. 

Not just as a statistic but in the healthy lifestyle I’m following. Well 90% of the time anyway. Eating well to control my weight, being active, lowering stress, having lots of friends and family around. 

Right now I feel I’m good. I just need to keep it that way.

Cause I still have lots to see and do!

Sandy


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Healthy Years

I was scrolling through some blogs today and this one caught my eye: Life Expectancy at Age 65

Now I am not 65. But it’s only a few years away so this was rather interesting. I took the map and added where I live up here in Canada (red arrow) and extrapolated the light green colour from the Northeast States (you know Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and a couple of those little states!) and decided I must be in the green zone too.


(I couldn’t find the original map on the CDC siteso used the one the blogger posted. Thanks!)

This map wasn’t about how long you are going to live but the expected “Healthy Years” remaining past age 65.

In my case—green zone—just over 14 healthy years. Which means I should be healthy til I’m 79. Then after that its downhill.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation have launched the coolest commercials called Make Health Last. In the video they say that the majority of older people today will live their last 10 years in sickness. The video is split screen showing the same man living in health on the left and living in sickness on the right. It really is powerful.

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Qo6QNU8kHxI

As I work through planning retirement in a few years, all my hopes and dreams will be overshadowed by my “health”. 

Not just as a statistic but in the healthy lifestyle I’m following. Well 90% of the time anyway. Eating well to control my weight, being active, lowering stress, having lots of friends and family around. 

Right now I feel I’m good. I just need to keep it that way.

Cause I still have lots to see and do!

Sandy


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hiking


A few years ago I bought hiking shoes. They were hard and unforgiving but did work great on rocky surfaces. I used them on a trip to Australia and New Zealand where I hiked up to the melting glacier beside Mount Cook. And yes those hikers were heavy. We had to scrub them clean in order to get back into Australia so we didn't bring dirt in from a foreign country.
Hooker Glacier, Mount Cook, New Zealand. February 2009
Over the past couple of years I have mostly been walking on paved pathways, but since taking up Nordic walking with my poles am trying out rougher ground. My poles collapse so I'll be packing them for our trip. They give an amazing upper body workout by pushing off while hiking. Great workout for the triceps.

With lots of hiking, walking, trekking planned for our upcoming trip to Ireland, I splurged on new hiking shoes. And what a difference a few years make. They are so lightweight. Lighter than my runners. They might look like runners but the sole is quite firm.
MERRELL AVIAN LIGHT LEATHER

NORDIC POLES WITH TINY LITTLE BOOTS












If only the weather didn't suck so much. We've had almost continuous rain and severe thunderstorms making it is hard to find an hour or so to actually get outside. But there are lots of mountains and glaciers and rocky paths to conquer. 

I'm on a mission! Onward.

Sandy



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Hiking


A few years ago I bought hiking shoes. They were hard and unforgiving but did work great on rocky surfaces. I used them on a trip to Australia and New Zealand where I hiked up to the melting glacier beside Mount Cook. And yes those hikers were heavy. We had to scrub them clean in order to get back into Australia so we didn't bring dirt in from a foreign country.
Hooker Glacier, Mount Cook, New Zealand. February 2009
Over the past couple of years I have mostly been walking on paved pathways, but since taking up Nordic walking with my poles am trying out rougher ground. My poles collapse so I'll be packing them for our trip. They give an amazing upper body workout by pushing off while hiking. Great workout for the triceps.

With lots of hiking, walking, trekking planned for our upcoming trip to Ireland, I splurged on new hiking shoes. And what a difference a few years make. They are so lightweight. Lighter than my runners. They might look like runners but the sole is quite firm.
MERRELL AVIAN LIGHT LEATHER

NORDIC POLES WITH TINY LITTLE BOOTS












If only the weather didn't suck so much. We've had almost continuous rain and severe thunderstorms making it is hard to find an hour or so to actually get outside. But there are lots of mountains and glaciers and rocky paths to conquer. 

I'm on a mission! Onward.

Sandy



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Friday, June 21, 2013

Travels With My Family


Woo Hoo. The weather is finally warm and sunny. Today is the longest day. The sun will set around 10:00 tonight and then the days will gradually shorten. Must celebrate!

Most of the time I am on my iPad and just realized I can actually create a post right here and now. Ok, don't judge. I'm quite technically inclined but really thought I had to use my computer :-( You know the good ol' Bill Gate's windows had me hypnotized.

I've been travelling. At the end of May, spent a fantastic week with my grandbaby, daughter and her hubby in Phoenix, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. My DH came along too. I sorta, kinda forgot what it is like to have a 3 months old around. She basically controlled our trip (in a wonderful way). We would start driving in the morning when she napped. Pulled over when she needed to feed and basically had us all wrapped around her little finger. Loved (almost) every minute. The hour of screaming while I babysat one night was interesting. Ended up holding her for two hours when she FINALLY fell asleep. Was afraid she'd wake if I put her down. But there is nothing better than snuggling with a little baby.

Here we are at Salsa Brava in Flagstaff. 3 Generations.

We stayed at the MGM in Vegas and had the breakfast buffet. It was excellent although I only ate a tiny bit. It was one of the things I wanted to do though. Also saw a Cirque de Soleil show at the Bellagio. Funny but we ate dinner at the Bellagio and I ordered Meatloaf with Mushroom sauce. Yummy. But really, meatloaf? It was actually amazing. 

The heat just sapped my appetite and with all the walking I was down 5 pounds on arriving home and have lost another 3. Seems to be the same every year. Gain 10 pounds over the winter and lose it again each summer. At least I'm staying steady and approaching that magical 50 pounds lost. So close. For so many years just a few pounds shy of reaching that goal.

Life is good. In the throes of planning our trip to Ireland this September. Lots of walking and trekking. Going to get my new hiking shoes this weekend. That are so light. Can't wait to break them in.

And I will get back to finish my cross-stitch of "The Wedding". Have promised my daughter to have it done for her first anniversary. October 6th. But right now the wine is calling.

Sandy

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