Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Back to Normal - and Yurt Weekend

Had a great weekend away. It was really nice; the weather wasn't too bad, and I took lots of photos. We stayed in a Yurt. It had electricity, but no bathroom - we had to use the one in the campground (not far away). It was a lovely place to stay in. There were doors at the front and the back, the back doors went out onto a deck and some grass that backed up onto a small lake. Our firepit and picnic table was back there. It was lovely to be able to see and look out across the water and not at the other campers lol. 

Every morning a lovely Orchard Oriole would sit up in the trees and sing, it would be there at nighttime too!

The lighthouse was only a five-minute walk down a path from our yurt

Got to experience a wonderful sunset

I didn't see a sunrise, one morning was rain and to be honest, the other two mornings I didn't get up and moving in time to see a sunrise! 

Husband and oldest son had a good weekend too. They spent most of the weekend just relaxing. I spent most of mine walking and enjoying the scenery and the birds. 

Now it's back to normal service, lol. At least for a few weeks! Our next away trip will be for a week long adventure to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

It's Thursday Already!

Ack, this week is flying by! I have not been very productive at all. I seem to be trying to catch up all week...and now we're off again for another camping weekend! This is one of the few holiday weekends that England shares with the US, though for different reasons. It's also my sister's birthday on Sunday. She will turn 60! I've ordered a card for her and some flowers to be delivered tomorrow. The flowers are rather expensive (isn't anything these days?) but I think it's a special occasion and she does some really nice things for me, so I wanted to treat her. I know they will be a surprise! She's off to London on Saturday, for an overnight trip and to go see a show so I'm having them delivered tomorrow. 

Today I had to drop some things off at the post office, pick up some snacks and camping supplies, fill the car up with petrol, do some washing, clean the bathroom and pack. I also messaged with my sister today instead of our usual Friday so we could take our time chatting. I suppose it wasn't a bad day! 

This weekend oldest son (the one who lives with us) will be coming too. I'm really looking forward to this trip. It's to a State Park we tried camping at last year, but I was still recovering from Covid, and husband got sick (with bad cold) and so we ended up only spending one night! This time we're staying in a Yurt. It does have electricity so not completely rustic lol. There is supposed to be some really good bird sightings here, lots of Spring Warblers. Our Yurt backs up on to a River. It's also by Lake Huron, another of the Great Lakes AND there is a lighthouse about five minutes walk from the campground. 

I might do a quick check-in on my phone, but I'm planning on doing some relaxing, some family time, some bird watching and some walking, so I can't guarantee. This is the last camping trip until our week away mid-June. 


Back walking at my Happy Place


From Behind the Beavers' Lodge. Things are certainly looking greener! It's so nice to see so much green. It makes me happy!


A lovely Box Turtle on the trail made me smile. We don't see a lot of them, so it was a real treat. I love the patterns on their shells


A really, really bad photo of a Snapping Turtle. It made me smile though (and I got so much better photos with my camera!). It climbed up the Beavers' lodge to lay it's eggs. It tried to come back down again, but ended up sliding down and got stuck in some sticks, so it ended up climbing up again and going down another way. Lol. 

Hope everyone has a good holiday weekend. Do you have plans? 

Oh, if you are on Instagram and want to see what I'm up to, I usually post a few camping things on my stories. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Start of the Week - no, it's Tuesday!

Ugh, the last couple of days that we've been back have been so hot. I'm not ready for it yet. I'm sweltering when I go to bed at night and sweltering in the morning. It certainly doesn't help that I'm of that menopausal age. It also doesn't help that we don't have the window air conditioners in yet. We don't have central air conditioning, just two window air conditioners - one for the downstairs and one for the upstairs. They aren't huge units, so it never gets really chilly, just even to stave off being truly unbearable. However, we take them out in winter and don't usually put them in until the beginning of June. We are supposed to get storms tonight and maybe, just maybe, the humidity will break, and things will be a bit more tolerable tomorrow. 

For now, most of the windows are open, but I don't like leaving them all open at night or when I'm away in the daytime. 

Our trip last weekend was to Ludington State Park. It's a beautiful state park set on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's a really popular place to camp. There are 355 camping sites at park - in three separate camping areas (including just 3 mini cabins). It's booked pretty solid during the summertime. There are lots of trails to walk including one to Big Sable Lighthouse. 

My favourite trail there to walk is the Lost Lake Trail. Perhaps it's just because of the name, but the scenery is really beautiful. Parts of it are quite deserted. 

These are all phone photos because - as usual - I'm behind with the camera pics lol. It was a great walk, between 4.5 and 5 miles all-in-all. We didn't rush around though. There is a shelter and seats to sit on along the trail. 

Today, I tried getting back in the swing of things. I cleaned out some bits that had been languishing on the top of the fridge. Baking items that I had good intentions of using. Sigh. They are cleaned and in the donate boxes. Three boxes ready to go again! Tomorrow I'm going to work on the coat closet again. I'm pretty sure there are things in there that were the 'kids' and they haven't used in years. I'm not even going to bother asking about them. I am just donating. We do still have one that lives with us but the other two haven't lived here for years. It's time for those things to go! 

Is anyone still decluttering? Do you find it an ongoing process? 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Thank You - Good Weekend

Thanks for the birthday wishes. We had a nice weekend away. It was nice and sunny and not too hot or too cold. If I was Goldilocks, I would say it was just right lol. We did a nice hike on Saturday and another one on Sunday. I think I wore husband out a little bit. He isn't used to walking as much. 

I'm still quite sleepy tonight so I'm going to have an early night. I will catch up with blogs tomorrow and share some more photos of the trip tomorrow. 

For tonight, I'll just catch up with my Things That Make Me Smile photos


The little mini-cabin we stayed in. It was nice. It backed up to a little wood that our firepit looked out on so as we sat around the campfire I could watch the birds - or at least try to spot them in the trees lol


Love this view on the Lost Lake Trail. There is some really lovely scenery


Big Sable Lighthouse. It's almost a 4 mile round walk to the lighthouse along a sandy/dirt track. The view at the end is worth the walk!

Back tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Thursday and Off for the Weekend

I feel a little bit like a hamster running around and around on a wheel lately. I seem to be doing things, but not getting a lot done. Does that even make sense? 

I did finish up the plants - well, almost. I have one more that I need to re-pot. The others are all done and look nice. I am hoping that nothing eats them! One pot was knocked over, but I managed to get it upright and not have all the dirt fall out. 

Today, after my walk, I went to the post office to drop off some Ebay items, went to the store, did some housework, finished re-potting, had a bath, chatted to daughter and sister, made dinner and did the washing up. Pretty mundane. It was nice to chat with my sister. We usually do it on Friday, but - Ta Da - we are going away Friday night and Saturday night. Our first mini-cabin camping on the year. It is my birthday on Sunday, so I wanted to get away. We weren't sure where to go, and I kept procrastinating, but somebody must have cancelled this cabin, and I was able to get it for a couple of night! I'm quite pleased as this state park is one of the most popular. It's only a couple of hours away from home, but we have another trip planned next weekend for further afield. 

It will be nice to get away for a couple of nights. There are some nice trails in the park and there are a couple of walks we like. I won't be posting while gone, so I'll probably be back posting Monday. 


This was taken yesterday, before I finished up. I am hoping (fingers crossed) that the flowers attract some hummingbirds - that's why the feeder is there lol. Only time will tell. 



Back on Monday, hope everyone has a good weekend. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Drizzly Tuesday

I didn't sleep too well last night. Not sure what that was all about. I just kept waking up and when I did sleep, I had horrible dreams of drowning and water and such. That usually means I'm anxious about something. I had an Asylum Lake meeting tonight and so I wonder if that was what I was worried about. It is still new to me and I'm not good with new people or people in general lol.  It did go alright, I suppose. The other people seem so accomplished and I'm just me lol. There is one lady there who has seen everything, done everything and if someone has a story she has one too. Sigh. 

This morning, I got up early and went out for a walk even though I was still sleepy. The weather forecast called for rain, and it was drizzling when I went out, but I decided to go anyway. It was my day by myself, and I just wanted to be for a little while. It didn't turn out to be so bad, a few showers, but I had on my new-to-me raincoat that I found at the charity shop for about $5 and it kept me nice and dry. It was lovely to be out as there was no one else around!

After my walk I went in search of some bigger pots for my plants and some mulch. I thought putting mulch around the base of the plants might stop the squirrels from trying to dig in the dirt and bury their nuts. The first place I went I discovered they no longer had a gardening section! They did have a few pots and some on sale, so I got those there and then headed over to a nearby place for some mulch and a couple of other plants. I was so overwhelmed. I walked around and around. I ended up getting some mulch and a couple of plants, but still not all I wanted lol. 

I did do the planting when I got home. I've discovered that I need three more pots and some more dirt, so I might just have to go out again tomorrow or I might leave it until Thursday. We shall see. 

I feel on a scale of 10 of being productive, I managed a 6. Sometimes I feel as though the days go by too fast. I don't suppose it helps that husband gets home at 3pm from work. Sigh. 

Oh, I also had a nice chat with daughter. Quick, but nice. She rang as I was on my way to the meeting. I have my car set up for hands free so chatted until I finished the drive. I was there about quarter of an hour early so I parked up and we set it to video chat and I got to see the baby for a bit. She is getting so big! It was so funny. She kept looking up at daughter so adoringly. So cute. 

Things That Make Me Smile 


I was going to take photos of the flowers, but I forgot, so for today this is it

Calm. That's what made me smile today. 

Hope everyone had a good one. 

Monday, May 13, 2024

A New Week and Start Again

I realised almost immediately after I wrote the last post the reason for my blahs. US Mother's Day was coming up on the Sunday. It all made sense then. I used to enjoy the day, celebrate it with my Mum. We did the UK one and the US one. It made sense as Mum was the only parent I had and she deserved celebrating twice. It doesn't seem the same now that she's gone. I wallowed for a few, thought of her, the good times we had, took a deep breath and got on with things. 

All in all, it wasn't a bad weekend. It was nice to be appreciated by my children. It's my 133/366 photo

A collage of Brids and Blooms, the things I got my Mother's Day. My middle son came up for a visit too in the afternoon. In the morning husband I had our Sunday adventure to Kensington Metro Park, really nice walk and the sun was shining. 

So, now it's Monday, back to the grind and I'm trying to get back to sorting. You'll be pleased to know that all the books I had sorted have now left the house. There were six boxes of them that went to the library book shop and two bagful that went to my friend. There are still more to be sorted!

Cherie asked how my craft room is coming. Well, I'm still working on it. I had the desk all cleared off and then promptly used it to put all the things I was contemplating getting rid of. Sigh. It is slowly being cleared again. 

This week I want to work on :

* Getting some plants planted. This is a priority. I need to get them in the ground. 

* Books - sorting more of them. There's a bookshelf downstairs that I've got my eye on!

* Ebay - I'm procrastinating. I need to list some more items. Daughter gave me some video games she'd like sold and I need to get them listed. 

* Sort - lol. This is a broad one, but that's what I wrote down. I'd like to get up in the craft room again and do a bit more up there. I did sort a drawer today and added more to the pile to shred so that might be on the list next week!

I've got to catch up on some blogs and get back into the swing of things. So here's a catch-up of Things That Make Me Smile 




Back tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 9, 2024


I'm plodding along. Feeling a bit blah. Not sure if I'm coming down with something or just feeling a little blue. After Tuesday's weather though I'm feeling thankful that the tornado didn't hit our way. There was quite a bit of damage done on the other side of town. Several businesses were destroyed, and it damaged two mobile home parks where several people lost their houses. Luckily no one was killed or seriously hurt. Amazing really as it was quite devastating. 

Here are a couple of photos people shared on the local news channel

The storm didn't last long but it certainly made itself known!

I haven't been getting much done around the house. I did walk yesterday and today. It was rainy and drizzly most of the day today but I got out before the rain became persistent. I'm glad I went. The swans were showing off their new babies! Six of them! We have seen her sitting on the nest for a while and him protecting her and chasing off the geese and other swans as they try to approach. 

I managed to take some photos with my camera

I'm hoping they fair better this year than last. Last year they had four babies and only one survived. There are lots of snapping turtles in the lake that eat the babies. It's horrible to go each day and see one less. I know it's part of nature, but not one I particularly like.  Sigh. 

Looking for things to make me smile 


Reflections. They always make me smile. It means that things are calm. Everything is looking so green too. 


Before the rain. I was glad I took a chance and went out for a bit. The skies were lovely looking and, although I got a little rained on, I was glad the worst held off until I got home. 

Tomorrow, I need to tackle the craft room again. Sigh. Not looking forward to that, but if I want to be able to create in there I need to put in the sorting work. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Tuesday and Eventful Weather

Not a bad day today. I got in a nice walk. I ended up having to back to the shop today as I bought everything for salad except the lettuce! I shan't have to go back again this week. I came home and managed to get everything checked off my list for the day. There was some housework on there and just some things that I kept forgetting to do! They are done now though. 


Not a brilliant sunrise this morning, but it was pretty and peaceful. The beavers were out playing. I counted five of them at once today! It's a joy to see them. 

Later in the afternoon we had some severe weather came through. We were issued a Tornado Watch and later a warning flashed up on my phone and the sirens outside started to go off. Sometimes it's a bit (can't think of the word), not deceiving, but when they give out the alert it's for a county. Counties can be quite big, and the storm can be nowhere near you. One time daughter and I got stuck in a mall for an hour and a half or so, not something I'd like to repeat. We don't have local television anymore, but I did manage to get it on my phone, and they said it was heading towards our town. I did go into the basement for a bit, but we didn't get much of it - some winds and some hail. The other side of town wasn't as lucky. There's no word on casualties at this point, but several buildings were destroyed, and it went through a mobile home park. Hoping everyone is okay.  It's another reminder of how quickly things can change and how we need to make every moment count. 

A hail photo (it had been about 15 minutes after the hail at this point)

Monday, May 6, 2024

Sunday Adventures and Monday

Yesterday was, well, chilly and windy and husband definitely wasn't dressed for a lakeshore walk. I had extra coats in the car and bundled up with them, so I was okay. It definitely felt more like Autumn than Spring!

After the (very brief) beach walk we ended into the woods to do a woodland walk. The swamp was, well, too swampy. We've had a lot of rain and it had absolutely flooded the trail. We did manage to find another path into the woods trail, but we had to cross a very large puddle that someone had thoughtfully put down some thick branches across it. Luckily, we had hiking boots on. There were a group of people who were just wearing ordinary shoes who saw the puddle and turned back. 

It was nicer in the woods. There were lots of birds singing though most of them were what I like to call neck-breakers, up high in the trees lol. Husband was glad the walk was pretty flat as his feet were hurting a bit from walking a lot the day before at the sales. 

A couple of phone photos from the walk, including my Phone Photo - Things That Make Me Smile 126/366

We watched as a Grosbeak began to build a nest. This was fun to watch. A fellow walker/birder pointed out the bird and nest to us. 

Everything is starting to look so green!

Monday morning and back to the weekly routine again. I got up early and got out for a walk. It was a little chilly this morning but there was a beautiful sunrise 


What beautiful colours! Straight out of my phone. Wow. 

After that I stopped in to see a friend for a bit, did a grocery shop and then came home and did my dailies and tried to tidy up a bit. Seems as though I take two steps forward and one step back! 

I have got a list made for tomorrow and I have meal planning done for the week. I suppose that's a start! I want to see if I can get ten items - any sort - for the declutter pile tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Hope everyone had a good start to the week!

Saturday, May 4, 2024

It's the Weekend

Thanks for sharing your stories regarding yesterday's post. I have come away with the feeling that the 'experts' don't know much, and we should create a realistic budget for us and make that our goal. Personally, I think a debt free start to retirement is a must. It's an obtainable goal. Thinking about it more makes me realise we can make it work. The last bit, when the time is right, it's just taking that leap! 

Today, I got up bright and early and did a quick walk down to the beavers' lodge to catch them bright and early. They were quite busy this morning. There was one who was quite curious and came really close to the shoreline to study me lol.

I didn't stay out long as we had plans. Today were the annual garage sales of a certain neighbourhood in town. We usually try to go. There are lots of sales and you can park the car and walk around. There were so many sales. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so we had a good time. I found some clothes for Aurora and a few other goodies. 

By the time we were done I was pretty tired out. I must admit to falling asleep a bit in the afternoon! 

Good News Today - Ipswich Town Football Club has made it back into the Premier League! It was great to see all the photos and videos from the town. I belong to an Ipswich Ex-pat group on Facebook and a couple of the ladies were back in town and shared some videos. I admit that it did make me a little homesick!


 A couple of the dressed I got for Granddaughter. They made me smile and were pretty cheap so that's why I got them for her. 

Hope everyone is having a good weekend

Friday, May 3, 2024

Some Random Retirement Thoughts and Other Bits

This is a random post, but I've been thinking (and reading and researching) about this a lot in recent months. Husband turned 60 last year. He got a statement from Social Security saying when he could retire, what his full retirement age is, and how much he'd get monthly depending on when he retires. This is all different from retirement in England. In the US, his full retirement age is 67. He can start receiving his social security (pension) anywhere from 62 to 70. When he retires depends on the amount he will get monthly. It's quite confusing. Let's not even bring medical insurance into that lol. 

Anyway, that's only part of the equation. I made the mistake   I decided to look up the amount of money you 'need' to retire and - WOW - what a can of worms! The amount of money advised to have is, well, really out of our league. Millions. So, I'm wondering, how much money do we actually NEED to retire?

A lot of what I read about is assuming that you expect to live exactly how you do when you are working. It assumes that you've had a really high standard of living and high expenses. It assumes that you have a mortgage and lots of bills and payments. 

I'd like a little input, no numbers and such. I'm not that nosy. But a few generalisations. I'm going to use my Mum as an example. She was pretty frugal. She did buy things when she needed them, and some 'treats' for herself. She didn't have a retirement account. When she retired, she sold the house we grew up in and bought her flat. The difference in what she sold for and bought for was her 'extras'. Her state pension paid her bills and everyday expenses. She had no other payments except household expenses. She used her 'extra' to pay for holidays and her flat upkeep. To me, that's how I see our retirement. We aren't big spenders and we've never had a lot of extra money. Am I wrong in thinking this isn't the norm? 

Husband would like to retire sooner rather than later. And I would like him too as well (well, sometimes lol). I'm thinking somewhere in the middle - he can retire at 62 but his full retirement age is at 67, so maybe 65. Our house will be paid off next year and the extra we plan to put away in our savings account. Realistically, and health permitting, we'd like to at least be active (with our Sunday Adventures and camping) for another 10 years after retirement. 

Do you take into account lifestyle and monetary value or just taking time (after 45+ years of working including 10 years in the military) to enjoy the last few years of life? 

A lot of rambling in this one. It's a big leap to take when there is no 'income'. We both do some things on the side to make extra money, so that will continue, but can't be relied upon. 

Thanks for any input. 

Hopefully tomorrow's post will be a bit more cheerful!!

Things That Make Me Smile 123/366

Taking time to enjoy the sunrise


After the Rain

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

April Round-Up (turns into a bit of a ramble)

The only thing (house ways) I was really proud of last month was the number of books I sorted out and got rid of. I well surpassed my goal of 30 books. It actually made me feel really good. So, I am planning on getting rid of more this month. I did read 5 books. More than 5 books. Yeah! I am well on track to reach my Goodreads Goal again this year. I seem to go in fits and spurts with reading lately. Sometimes I can't put books down and read and read, and other times I struggled to pick up a book. Not sure why. Perhaps this is why I'm finding it easier to get rid of books lately. 

I did work on the downstairs bookshelves, but I did not get them totally sorted. I only wiped down part of the kitchen. Sigh. I also did not get a cross stitch project sorted. Not sure why I am struggling to pick one up!

As I am writing this I am really struggling to think about where April went. It seemed to disappear without me knowing lol. I really, really need to do better with time management. I think that's part of the struggle. Lists do help so I need to make sure I keep doing them, perhaps breaking it down into monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. 

Today - just an example - really flew by. I went for a walk. I had an appointment at 11.30 to renew my driving licence. In Michigan you have to renew it every 4 years. You're supposed to be able to renew by mail and only go into the office once every 8 years, but for some reason I had to go in again (I'd been in 4 years ago in the middle of Covid). I think it might have something to do with having a green card and not being a citizen. As with most things, the thought of going made me quite anxious. It also didn't help last night that our water pressure suddenly dropped, and I was anxious about that too. Sigh. Anyway, by the time I got done with the appointment (all went well), stopped at the Dollar store, came home, ate something, picked up the house (daily stuff) husband was on his way home. I video chatted with daughter, chatted with MIL and then sat for a bit before cooking the evening meal, doing the washing up and that was that! 

Hopefully, I'll sleep better tonight. The water went back to normal about 2pm. We didn't think it was on our end. Husband had checked pipes and the water readings, and all was okay. They are doing water stuff nearby so maybe it was just that. 

I suppose that's enough for today lol. I'll work on May goals and hopefully achieve a bit more!


It's beginning to look a lot like Spring and that makes me smile!


Beautiful clouds and a lovely morning walk. That makes me smile and relax.