Friday, May 19, 2017

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation (and a goal and travel update)

So let me tell you, friends and fellow bloggers. That big dog? The one I so often show sitting in his favorite chair just because? I will never call him a whiny baby again. I mean, this is a dog that is happy playing outside and letting me read in the swing for an hour-or even play outside by himself. And he has been known to sit on that chair by the window for a couple hours, occasionally barking to let me know that the big bad mailman has walked across my path. On the other hand, these two beagles have literally, been physically attached to me. I move, they move. And I mean they move with me, right next to me. I even tried to do aerobics or walk back and forth in the house.  I don't know if it's Grandma love, missing their mom or something else, but Grandma seriously needs a break!!!  

All of which is to say daughter is home tonight, and my traditional posting will return. Meanwhile, enjoy a top of my head stream of consciousness post written with a dog on one arm and another in between my legs on the recliner!!

I know, I know. We're retired. We don't have to worry about vacation time, or "weekends" or other things. Unless of course we have many non-retiree friends or family. And I do take joy in living an off the track schedule if you will. Still, the frugal retiree is looking at a few months of vacation-on retirement terms if you will.

Last week, all of my weekly commitments died off. There is no senior college in the summer. My Thursday cooking volunteer gig is finished until the fall. In fact, with the exception of my knitting group (which meets year around but is pretty thin in the summer) there is no other regular weekly commitment I have until fall. That and a "when I have the time and the energy" program that I do at will-craft programs with various populations. They are happy enough to have me do it that they work with my retirement, spontaneous schedule.

So what am I doing to additionally fill the time?  As you've probably figured out, deciding what to do with my time is not a major effort.  But losing four regular outside the house commitments that last at least four hours each, along with the lessening of other commitments means I have more flexible time than usual. And since both my adult children are taking the summer off from school before they move to grad school or eighteen semester hours and working full time, I'll have additional time with them. Hence one of my reasons to veg on the sofa on this visit. I'll be back more than once this summer. Probably for much of August, when I'll be able to the play the vacationing tourist instead of the mom and puppy sitter. 

A family trip to the beach in August?

What I'm probably not doing is any serious travel.  I'll plan on the advice of my readers, but weather in Colorado in the summer is to die for most years. And since I've decided that my long trip will be south on 25, to us 60 (I think is the road) to the main road to Phoenix and then to California, I figure a date post August is the best. The question is whether to do that, or to go the Monument Vally route again. 

One of the advantages to off the main drag driving-the very large array just west of I25 in New Mexico.

I am however, planning day trips, short trips north and more. Most with an accent on frugal and fun, since I am upping my travel to the next level this year (all within the US). We have a trip scheduled driving from Denver north to Jackson then to Missoula and home. I've been telling every friend and family member I could that after my solo drive last year I thought that western Montana might be the most beautiful place in the US not on the water I have seen and now I have a group ready to go. Other than that my friends, I am as they say, exploring the local this summer. I've visited the website that shares all the Colorado scenic drives, and my goal is to complete as many of those as possible this summer, starting with Sand Dunes National Park. 

Yep, we have sand dunes in Colorado. Big ones if I do say so myself.

I don't camp, but I can't decide between "glamping" and this adorable cabin. What say you all?
A frighteningly organized friend went through a couple websites and found more festival's than one could visit in a year, bless his heart. The end result?  An overnight trip to Estes park for a wool festival. A strawberry festival in Glenwood springs (I may stay in the springs and never get to the strawberries), Craft fairs. Bourbon and Bacon festivals.  You get my drift.

I also have a lot of boring or normal stuff on my plate. Because that's what happens, even in retirement.  My twenty something son has what I believe to be a rotary cuff issue, and this summer is the time to deal with that, so I may be assisting the temporarily handicapped. Although my money earning is mainly passive, this is the time of year I get to sew up a storm so I have things to sell and give for the holidays and football season (I just bought a pile of Cowboys flannel). I'm doing as close to a zero spend month of June as I am able (knowing that I will need stuff to buy to make money and food), using the guidelines at this blog and adjusting them for a retirement home. And I've promised to join in with group yard sales at the beginning and end of the summer, to encourage me to completely "summer clean" instead of spring cleaning.  I may  look at winterizing my pergola as a final, side job.

This sounds like a pile of stuff to get done in three months. If I've over planned, then I'll pull back, since we all know I have no problem doing that whatsoever. Saying no has become a positive for me, especially as I generally try to have hours outside and with the dogs during all but the hottest weather.

And there you have it, the frugal retiree's summer plans. With one more addition.  All these goals below?  They could get extended until fall because well........I'm me.

Now, as for those goals I so confidently posted awhile  ago?  

Nuff said?

  1. Aim for a basic goal of five dollars daily by passive means.  Not a chance, but I've been driving, helping with a ceremony and had no tablet to be passive on for a few days. Yesterday I was successful.
  2. Begin a new non walking (or at least not walking outside) exercise and health routine.  Again, this is in the works post travel. My goal is to go into the pool two days, due silver sneakers completely seated two days and begin from there.
  3. Finish at least two homemade/handmade gifts. This goal is progressing well. I've made many natural cotton face cloths and experimented with bath salts. I'm also sewing napkin sets (sets of eight for at least four holidays) for each family household.
  4. Write Daily-With Intent. Yes and no. I've written daily but often rambling rather than with intent. On the other hand I have outlines for my handmade/homemade gifting book and came up with a list of starting articles for my frugal/deals blog coming up.
  5. Completely declutter and streamline a room or two. No, no and no. But in June, let me tell you......
  6. Get at least seven hours of sleep a night.  Yes, yes and yes-with help of course. Even when the dogs get me up at seven, I am able to go back to bed.  Right now I am working on eight hours!
  7. Turn my unused stash into at least $400. Making progress. The cotton washcloths are from yarn on hand. Yesterday I did research into small sewing projects and I have a plan in place. I actually think the end amount will be much more than that when I am finished sewing. In a completely monetary move, I'll soon be sharing my items for sale again and connecting with my Facebook sale page, since I know some of my readers appreciate my team items especially.
  8. Complete a rough outline and at least two chapters of my crafting book.  Done.  Sort of.  I have a completed outline and introduction, but the two chapters were handwritten freely so some major typing and editing to go. I am one of those who really likes to right in long hand and then move to Word, even though I cannot read my own writing sometimes.
  9. Take at least one local adventure weekend a month. Planned and scheduled throughout the summer. .This is one area where the no spend June will come in conflict, but the frugal retiree will work it out.
  10. Completely plan my late summer/fall trip. No, but that was because  I spent time and effort and asked for reader input. I have the where on two long trips this year. Now to figure the logistics. Hello Airbnb.
  11. Make two items for my church silent auction. Again, yes and no. I am offering two items, one five trays of holiday cookies and the other  a holiday wine, cheese and chocolate party for up to six people. So I have two contributions but one will not be made. Being the frugal retiree, I normally make all my silent auction items (and they sell well). But this year I wanted to do something different, and since my son in law is a wine guru, I trust him to help me both with wines and cost.
  12. Finish updating this blog completely. Nope. As you can see nothing new has happened yet. It will, and soon. Feel free to share your opinions as I slowly do that.
  13. Aim for a use it up June, in every sense. June is not here, but yes, I'm still aiming. my intent is to pay for my basic expenses and nothing more. Exceptions will be a quick day trip to Estes Park and fabric or yarn IF I decide it's a requirement for a gift or saleable item.  Obviously I expect to fall off the wagon some here. But I want to put money away for fall travel, and a no spend month meshes with my ruthless downsizing plan. Also, this is the time when I am happiest to enjoy the sun, patio, and laze about, where as later in the summer I am ready to go, go , go.
  14. Complete One Online Class.  I'm taking a class on how to draw through the Great Courses Online. It's a two year course officially and I've completed a quarter of the classes, so yes.
  15. Discern how to best spend my time in the fall.  This goal was there because I wanted to rethink how I am spending my time to see if volunteering especially was where my heart and energy are. I really felt over scheduled this spring, and frankly I enjoy going out for evening activities outside of my neighborhood less and less. So I think about this as part of my meditation, but I have decided to give up my evening class and take a day class, and am turning one weekly volunteer activity into a "flexible" program.
What have I learned so far? That goals in my world should be guidelines rather than rules, and that most of these will also become summer fall goals-which is okay.

And so it goes, this hot, muggy, cloudy day in Texas.


  1. Whew, sounds like you have plenty to keep at least three folks busy. I love the goal list...need to do the same. Still, there's no gig like retirement, so enjoy your summer. Going to put Sand Dunes National Park on my "to do" list.

  2. I like that picture of the cabin vs. glamping. I am not an outdoors on the ground camper.Cabins= much nicer!! And still rustic enough! I think your goals/guidelines are in line with your interests, and in retirement, we get to do what we please, so nothing needs to be set in stone. P.S. I would be intereste din that list of FESTIVALS? Can you share it??

  3. Hi Barbara, Stumbled upon your blog with a search for quilts. Hello from Lancaster County Pennsylvania! I loved visiting the sand dunes last summer! Best of luck with those goals! Pretty ambitious I must say!

    Ann Bomberger Watson

    1. Ann!! We should talk. Im investigating the family line of one J Frank Bomberger from West Earl, my husbands side of the famil and I just started. More quilts to come.

  4. Sounds like you're becoming a bit more flexible which seems like a good approach to retirement living. Doesn't sound like you'd ever want for things to do. I would be annoyed with pets trailing me around, or on top of me constantly. I think I would shoo them away and hope they'd eventually get the picture.

  5. Must be that time of year -- I suddenly have some down time as well. The challenge is to use it positively and purposefully ... which you seem to be doing quite well.


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