Sunday, January 30, 2011
Sitting and standing
Thursday, January 27, 2011
A little bit of sun
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Cranky in January
Friday, January 21, 2011
The Bag Lady speaks
January 20, 2010
I’m afraid of heights - and of being a bag lady.
I’m quitting my job on June 25 of this year, after 20 years with this company and another 10 or so before that working other places. The world of work is familiar – my way of being useful and of bringing home the money for my life.But my work mantra today – and for most days for the past year – is, “I’m done.”
I am so ready for the no-alarm awakenings and open days, for the exploration of new interests. Everyone I know who’s already retired says I’ll love it.
But I am also scared. What if I get bored? Usually, by the end of a two-week vacation, I’m ready to get back to work, to my scheduled days and crammed to-do list. Time on my hands sometimes leads to ponderings about the meaning of life and mortality and a vague wish I’d taken some other road on my life’s journey – without the slightest idea of what that road might have been, and without any significant disenchantment with the path I actually traveled. What if that happens and I have no reassuring morning destination to muffle my mental quests?
It’s like I’m on the precipice of the next part of my life journey. And, as I said, I’m afraid of heights.
This bag lady business is weird. My friends say it’s impossible I could ever become a bag lady. I’ve got too much energy, they say – too many interests, too much enthusiasm. Besides, they remind me, I’ve planned the finances of quitting work so completely - witness innumerable spreadsheet scenarios all attesting to a reasonable degree of financial security. You don’t have to worry about being a bag lady, my friends assure me, chuckling.
Still, I’m afraid of heights. And of being bag lady.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Ecuador next January?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Mexico - reflection
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The middle days in Puerto Vallarta
Today we took the city bus to Old Town and walked a couple of miles along the boardwalk. Artists were building sand sculptures, which I´ve seen in photographs but never in person. Most interesting to me was watching the pelicans watching for fish in the surf. They fly parallel to the water, then seemingly fall, head over feathers, into the water to jab at fish. One of those things I could watch for hours.
A friendly taxi driver directed us to a restaurant up the hill from the Sheraton. Called the Friendly Lobster (la langosta feliz, or something like that). It was pricy, but possibly one of the three finest meals we´ve ever eaten. Appetizer was avocado stuffed with shrimp and octopus, main course was an enormous medley of lobster, shrimp, crawfish, and red snapper, all in the shell or with fins still attached. It wasn´t until we walked back down the hill, through the non-tourist part of the city, that I started to feel the heat for the first time on this trip. I was glad to get back to the resort to our cool room.
A few more words about timeshares. They´re one way to spend vacations in a place where you can cook if you want, and we´ve always had a clean place and a comfortable bed. I agree about the high pressure sales pitch. But they are a depreciating asset, and you can buy one quite inexpensively in the aftermarket from people who want to sell theirs. Three years ago we bought a week at a great place in Sedona called Arroyo Roble Resort - it´s right on Oak Creek, with two bedrooms, good size and great staff. We bought it on Redweek.com from the agent of the previous owner for less than half of the original price. I know the resale prices have fallen even further in the last couple of years. These days you can find timeshare weeks on Redweek.com for a dollar. There´s still the annual maintenance fee, but it´s a very good deal. Our timeshares are in Whistler, Arizona and this company which has nice resorts all over the country including Hawaii besides here in Mexido. You can also trade your timeshare through several clearinghouses. We´ve done that to go to Maine, Williamsburg and, last month, Idaho. I wouldn´t pay retail, but aftermarket can be an excellent bargain.
We also travel with home exchanges. When we were in Maine in September, we spent a week on Peaks Island, off Portland, while that family was at our house. And in March we`ve got another exchange, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a couple who has grandkids in our area. Since we have grandkids in Santa Fe, it will be a good trade. We´re also exchanging cars in the deal, so all we`ll need to pay for is our plane tickets and our groceries.
Someone just told me that this week there is snow in all of the Canadian provinces and 48 out of 50 states. Here in Puerto Vallarta it´s about 76 and sunny. I love snow, but I can live with sun in January!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The first 24 hours in Puerto Vallarta
You've heard of high pressure timeshare salesmen? We waded through a throng of them at the airport on the way to our taxi. And last night, while shopping for groceries at the supermercado, we were approached by two inside the store! One sat near the ATM machine, and the other helped us find peanut butter. We told both of them we already had an appointment for today with the company we already have points with. Neither was happy.
Today we upgraded our points for new benefits that will allow us to stay longer at the places we love as well as being more generous to kids and friends who might want to travel. These sessions are always tiring. We'd agreed to say no, but Art was impressed with the increased flexibility we'll have now, so he says I should say he talked me into it! One of the incentives was a gift of the all inclusive feature, optional at this resort, which we now have for the rest of our stay.
Tomorrow we'll take a bus to the main part of town and then walk. On Thursday we plan to take a regional bus to a town an hour north of here to visit a friend of mine who, since her retirement last year, has moved here with her husband for eight months of the year. We're still considering parasailing and zip lining, but less so as I think about the heights involved.