Saturday, March 27, 2010

Details, details

Life is full of details. This week I went for my regularly scheduled cleaning at my dentist's office so that she could give her regularly scheduled lecture on the benefits of flossing. I know she is right, I just don't like to do it. But as I get older (and older) I have started to make peace with alot of things I don't like to do that are good for me and do floss more than I used to--but clearly not as regularly scheduled as my dentist recommends.

I also got my taxes done. I don't understand much of this stuff and one of the best decisions I made a few years ago was to pay someone to take care of this for me. In an hour I am out the door with a promise of a refund. Nice! And he pointed out a detail that I have known I needed to look into more--what I am putting in my 403B--his subtle question was "do you want to retire before you are 80?" LOL I looked over my paperwork on this and I realized I was under a misconception that I was putting in more than I actually am. But that is easily remedied and I have already gotten the necessary form from the Benefits office.

But the details I have been taking care of have been for my Hong Kong trip are the most fun. This week I purchased a travel iron and a travel hair dryer as well as a voltage adapter. And being that my trip is my longest one ever, I am looking into a larger suitcase. It is a little early to worry about my wardrobe, I do still have two months but I am "window shopping." My recent trip to Florida did give me an idea of what I would need to buy.

One more detail, which can also wait, is to buy a Kindle. I love the idea of having reading material with me without having to carry a lot of extra weight. And generally I do give myself a gift when I get my tax refund so this will be it. The rest goes into savings for my future, whether it be traveling or retirement.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Pretty Victrola in Thomas Edison's "Little Office"

I had a very nice time in Florida, I spent a little time in quite a few places, Ft. Myers for the Edison Ford Winter Estates and Museum, Sarasota for Ringling Brothers Museum, Tampa-St. Pete to see my aunt and uncle who also live down there and a few more wonderful things. It was a busy trip and yet relaxing too, we were home every evening to either watch tv or play their Wii and the mornings we all gradually woke up, ate and got dressed.

I forget in between trips to other parts of the US, usually to see my family, how much Americans live in their cars. I don't have a car and although I do have a license I rarely drive. And at some point I became fearful of driving so I have no burning desire to either. My sister and brother live 45 minutes from almost anywhere of interest--the nearest airports, the nearest major cities or tourist attractions. This doesn't bother them because they like to drive. Which worked out well for me.

Banyan Tree @ Edison Ford Winter Estates

Anyway, for once, I have pictures. Unfortunately, one picture I was hoping to share really didn't come out well--I was in the Ringling Bros museum in front of one of those body altering mirrors and got to see myself shrunk down to less than 3 feet.

Local wildlife

-- an Ibis Crane who walked by during lunch at Ringling Bros -- Sandpiper Crane
mother and child walking the median near my sister's townhouse
-- a turtle a park ranger was protecting from tourists at Ringling Bros

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mild March

We are having some wonderfully mild weather right now, sunshine, mid-50s--just a little more than a week ago we had a monster of a snowstorm. I was out with a friend, walking thru the park which still had a few piles of snow which haven't quite melted away. It is supposed to be this way for the next couple of days. Nice! Of course winter isn't over with, we could easily get more snow and most likely will go back to colder weather at some point.

So, of course, my trip to Florida is coming up on Friday. :) A trip I planned back in January when the winds were howling and the snow was blowing and I was wearing my sweatsuit to bed. However, right now it seems my respite from the winter weather won't be as big of a deal as it could be, unless the weather changes radically before I leave. I am visiting family, not doing the surf/sun thing or the golf thing, or even the Disney thing (other side of the state) and this is the more important reason for my trip. My sister lives down there half the year and I will be staying with her. At some point we will drive further south to see my aunt and uncle.

I am actually not that fond of Florida. But it will be nice to get away for a week. And it will nice to see my sister, because I just don't see my family that often. They don't like NYC, they are comfortable suburbanites who never quite understood why I'd want to live in such a big, crowded, dirty (to them) city. And so the onus of traveling tends to be on me. Which for the most part is fine but it does tend to mean I see my family only a couple times a year, sometimes more but usually not. And this will be the first time I will be visiting her in her new Florida home so it will be fun to watch her show it off, talk about changes they've made, changes she wants to make, etc. My sister lives for this kind of stuff, it is all Greek to me frankly and probably always will be. I am a renter, I don't make significant changes to my apartment and don't even have anything up on my walls (they painted my apt. two years ago, I haven't bothered to put back the few things that were up). My sister would be appalled, but she hasn't been here in more than a decade and I don't expect her to visit anytime soon.

I remember when I first said to one of my brothers that I would like to live in Asia someday. He was more supportive than I expected but then said something to the effect that they'd most likely never go visit me if I did. And before I could ask how would this be different from now, my sister-in-law asked the question first. We all laughed. I have made a radically different life style choice from my siblings. We have all gotten to the age where we can accept it for what it is, I don't expect to change nor do they expect me to. They have stopped asking me when I am moving back 'home,' which is good but ironically I sometimes miss.