Nice for a weekend, but not a decade.

At the end of this month, I am officially retired from nursing. I’m also moving into my mom’s house, to help her take care of it. The same house and mom that I ran away from at age 17. Thankfully, mom and I have both matured and we are looking forward to having this time together. We plan on taking Tai Chi and water aerobics classes. We will declutter her place a bit. We plan on reading a lot of library books and listening to music. Mom is hoping I will get excited about the TV series Dr. Who. Especially now that the new Dr. Who will be a woman.

I’m too young and healthy to completely retire, and do not have the disposition to take up golf. I will be devoting myself to writing: a novel, poetry, a You Tube show and of course this blog.

What this means for the blog: there will be many more posts on minimalism,  frugal problem solving and frugal fun. I plan to post weekly.

I am very excited about this chapter of my life and hope you will follow along.

Travel Sewing Kit

A couple times while traveling in Ireland, I longed for a needle and tread to mend some small thing before it became a bigger thing that couldn’t be fixed.


Like this unmendable tear in my daughter’s shorts.

When a few short days after I returned, my daughter split her shorts open, I harvested some of the fabric and string ties and buttons before throwing the rest away.


Materials for travel sewing kit

I used the tie material as bias tape, and formed an envelope shape.


All hand sewn


When my daughter saw it at this stage, she asked if I would make a pouch for her too.


I gave her the one with the button and reserved the one with the safety pin for myself.


I added the needles, thread, safety pins and buttons from my home sewing kit.

I will probably put some nail clippers in there when I travel. I think they are allowed now by the airlines.

Custom-made sewing kit for free.

Trip to Ireland


Cliffs of Moher

My son Patrick has been studying at Trinity College in Dublin for the past academic year. When he finished his studies, I went to Ireland and we toured the country together. Here are a few highlights of the trip.


Patrick in front of St. Patrick’s cathedral.

We spent the first five days in Dublin, with Patrick showing me his favorite places.


We consumed a lot of really good ale.


We went biking in Phoenix park….


…which has a herd of very human-tolerant deer. There are about 450 head that live in the park.

We enjoyed the shops.


Lucky Charms for sale in a shop that boasts it sells the “finest confections.”


We took a tour bus to the passage tomb at Newgrange, an awesome example of human engineering from approximately 4,000 years ago.


We hiked on a rocky beach.


We saw these birds resting on a small ledge on a cliff.

Then we rented a car and went exploring further afield. I was a little concerned about driving on the opposite side of the road that I am used to. We did not have any accidents, but I must say that I found the two lane roundabouts terrifying. Our first day out of Dublin, we drove to Derry and then next day went to see the Giant’s Causeway.


Basalt columns at the Giant’s Causeway.


Mansion on a hike we took.


We drove through some very wild and beautiful places.


Cliffs of Moher

The trip was a marvelous experience and I am so glad I had the opportunity to go. Let me share with you what I did to make it more affordable.

Plane tickets between Chicago and Dublin were running $1,200-$1,400 for non-stop flights. By booking with the Swedish airline and accepting a 16 hour layover in Stockholm, I got my round trip airfare for $605. Patrick can fly for free, as his step-mother is a flight attendant. Even accounting for the $120 hotel I stayed at near the airport, this was a bargain. Plus, it helped me reset my sleep schedule to European time and I had time to tour the old town of Stockholm.


View from Stockholm’s old town.

Other than that one night in a hotel, the rest of our lodging was through Air B&B, with the cost ranging from $39 to $100 per night. Lodging costs for the entire trip were $880, for nine nights total. One of the things I really loved about Air B&B was meeting each of our hosts. They were as varied as they were welcoming. From a gentleman about my age, born in rural Ireland to a Turkish marketing student to a youngish couple with school aged children who cooked us dinner and served homemade pineapple wine to the real estate entrepreneur that served us fresh, homemade scones to the farm wife who funds her own travels with her Air B&B income–each host was warm and interesting.

We spent about $1,000 on eating out, ale, a few souvenir gifts, and local transportation (trains, buses, bike rental.) The car rental was $400. The total cost of the trip was $2,900. We could have saved a bit of money by not eating out as much, buying food at grocery stores for picnics, etc., but I enjoyed trying the new dishes and familiar ones, with an Irish twist. It was a great trip!

Summer Wardrobe

I did my count earlier this summer, but did not do the individual photos of the wardrobe like I usually do. Several of you requested I post these, so here they are.


Sandals, boots, canvas lace ups and “yard work” shoes


white T, brown jeans


blue/black heather T, skinny jeans


Blue T, wide leg linen pants (with pockets!!!)


Another white T and cut-off brown jeans. You will note that these are a discreet above the knee length and not “Daisy Dukes.”


Grey T and olive-green linen wide-legged pants. Also with pockets.


Grey leggings and green sleeveless top.


Knit linen white/grey heather top and black jeans

I have four exercise outfits. I sleep in those before I wear them to the gym. That minimizes the number of clothes I need, and also reduces my outfit change by one per day.