Home from Maui; off to Europe

We flew home from Maui.  So sad to leave.  Just like this turtle who is going back out to sea in this photo I took. We said Aloha to the wonderful island and came home to 91 degree temperatures.DSCN4261  DSCN4271  When we got home we decided to go back to Europe this May.  It would be easy to just slip back into living at home and doing everyday things that keep you busy.  But we are not getting any younger and so we need to push ourselves to travel again this year.  Our son will be staying in the house with his spouse and they will take care of our sweet doggie, Mac.

So we have booked a trans Atlantic cruise for the end of April and will be in Europe in the beginning of May.  We are working on lining up some pet and house sitting gigs in England and Ireland for the first months.  We met such nice people last year and took care of some wonderful pets that we are looking forward to doing it again.  I will be posting as we get ready, so if you want to follow along just hit the “follow ” button on top of the blog and add your email addy and you will be notified only when I post. I am so excited to experience more adventures.  Now to pack…..

Stars and whales in Maui

We have been having so many adventures on this trip. We went up to the top of the crater of the volcano which made part of the island of Maui.haleakala-maui-linda-and-davidHaleakala ( 10,000 feet high).  It is on top of the clouds and feels like the top of the world.  It is windy and cold hence the snow gear.haleakala-maui-clouds-5x7-net  We got to watch the sun set and to see the planets and the stars with an astronomer who educated us about the Maui night sky. www.mauistargazing.comhaleakala-maui-sunset-5x7-nethaleakala-maui-dave-telescope

Then yesterday we went on a whale watching trip at sunset.  We saw lots of whales. One of them even touched our raft.  They are very gentle and it was very exciting to be that close to such an enormous animal.  Here are some photos of a whale breaching.maui-whale-breach-5x7-closer-netmaui whale out of water 5x7 net.jpg  Thought you might like to see the size of the raft we were on and a whale’s back.   maui whale and boat 5x7Maui is a wonderland and we are having so much fun.

Stunning sunset and a party at Hale Kai

Hale Kai is the small , intimate group of condos from the 70’s that has been rennovated.  It is right on the ocean and is only 2 stories high.  This type of small condos are quite unique for this part of Maui.  The northwestern part of Maui is dominated by large ritzy developments by big companies like Marriot, Ritz Carlton, and Hyatt etc.  The people who come to Hale Kai come every year on the same weeks.  They book their condos a year in advance and have made friends over the years.

One of their traditions is that every night at sunset people gather around the pool and have drinks and celebrate another day in paradise.  They blow conch shells like the old Hawaiians to announce the sunset, a birthday or a new comer to the group.  It is quite charming. maui-2-26-17-hale-kai-blowers-5x7

Here is the sunset that we were celebrating tonight. maui-2-26-17-sunset-5x7-closer-net-1maui-2-26-17-cloud-sunset-5x7-net  Since it was Sunday night we all got invitations to bring pupus ( little munchies) and make it a party with food. maui-2-26-17-hale-kai-party  The pupus were excellent and everyone is crowding around the snack table to try the tempting morsels. Ladies were asking for recipes and talking about their sea adventures here on the island.

We have met several really nice people.   What I really like are the moms and daughters that come back together every year.  Here are some photos I took of two of them.

maui-17-steph-and-patty-5x7maui-patty-and-steph-17

How lucky these women are that they can spend special time with their moms, I wish my mom could have done this with me.

Well, it is off to bed as a new adventure is calling us tomorrow. Aloha!

We are in Maui to see whales and turtles

It has been easy to fall into the rhythm of everyday life at home.  Time slips away without our noticing it.  The goal of doing the senior gap year was to use as many minutes as possible while we are still physically able to climb, walk and enjoy the surprises of the earth.  So we decided to go to Maui to see the whales.  They come here every year from Alaska to have their babies from December to March.  A dear friend of ours was lamenting that she could not go this year.  Linda said to David, ” This is a bucket list item, let’s go.”  So dear David planned it all and here we are in heaven.  And on Monday before we left on Friday David tore the meniscus  in his knee.  But luckily it is not bad and we went anyway even if David has a cane.

We flew Virgin American from LAX to Maui.  Here is a logo from the side on one of their planes.  maui-2-17-virgin-air I thought it was funny.

We are staying in a small apartment in the northwest of Maui.  It is small and on the ocean with a small beach on the side.maui-2-17-little-beach-5x7-net  This is where turtles come ashore to eat and rest. maui-2-17-turtle-5x7-closer-net  They need to rest as the surf can get quite rough , like it did today.maui-2-17-splash-5x7-net   There are beautiful flowers everywhere so I thought I would share this lovely orchid with you.  maui-2-17-purple-orchid-5x7-net

I got to see a whale breach on the sea horizon ( I did have binoculars) and one whale lift his big fin up in the air and splash it down 3 times.  Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me when I saw them.  Whale pictures will be coming as we are going to take a whale watching trip sometime this week.

Needless to say,  this has been an exciting trip already.

We are in Las Vegas

We have been at home all this time since returning from England in August.  Our son got married in December.2016-b-wedding-parents  Then we got through Christmas; with a small tree and all of our Christmas decorations still in storage.  We have made the downstairs comfortable with furniture from our office and our bed.  The upstairs is completely empty.  We find we do not need to live in much space these days after being on the road for 6 months.  All of our clothes fit into 1/2 of our closet.  It is good to have our sweet doggie Mac back with us.home-16-mac-in-box-small

The housing market seems to be depressed here at the moment so we are taking some small trips while we decide what to do.  I find that I am restless and want to be back on the road again.

So we are spending a week in Las Vegas.  There are some interesting places to take photographs here.  This is the glass ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel that is stunning.bellagio-ceiling-flowers-5x7-net  And some glass Cherry flowers from the inside of the hotel. cherry-flowers-belliago-5x7-light-net  We also went to  an abandoned mining town near here, and got photographs of lots of rusted cars and signs.old-car-grill-5x7-filtered-netdeadend-snake-5x5-poster-net  The next day we went to the stunning Valley of Fire.  This is a state park that has lots of sandstone rocks the are standing straight up from the ground due to violent up thrusts from the time of the dinosaurs.  It is pretty dramatic.vof-beehive-person-5x7-closer-netvalley-of-fire-arch-5x7-net

And today we visited the Atomic Testing Museum. We had a Groupon (2 for $26) and you should look for such a discount, as the list price is $22 each, and I don’t think it’s worth that. Those of you who are of our age will remember those duck-and-cover drills from the 60s, and this will certainly make you realize how useless that would have been, and how crazy the whole nuclear industry was.

There is a lot to do in Las Vegas besides gambling.

Well, I thought I would up date you on some of our events.  Not as exciting as the summer in England but still interesting.

If you want to purchase any of these photographs they are available in my Etsy shop.

Lessons learned from unpacking

So here we are at home (when we did not expect to be returning to this house) and unpacking parts of two storage units.  Since we did not think we would be back and unpacking just parts of the storage for the basic things to live for six months or so (until we relist the house in the Spring), we did not pack with that in mind.  Now we have to sift through many boxes with just words like “kitchen” or “desk” written on the sides, not knowing if that rice cooker is in this one or not.2016-unpacking-boxes-small  This is leading to a lot of lifting and shifting at the hot and stuffy storage unit.

Plus I have my craft studio to unpack.  All those paint brushes, pens, paper, paper crafting tools and embellishments. 2016-craft-boxes-small So I am taking my time and reorganizing , labeling and purging everything that emerges from the boxes.  I have them stacked up in the empty living room while I sort everything. 2016-unpacking-craft-desk-small

I will be having another craft supply sale sometime this Fall when it is done.

So here are some lessons that we have learned the hard way for people who are packing up their house to sell before leaving on a senior gap year.

  1. Start packing early.  You need more time than  you think.
  2. Purge when you can while packing.  You will have to pay for storage and many things are not worth the storage fees.
  3. Label your boxes in a way that clearly shows what is in it.  Instead of “kitchen” label “kitchen utensils, knives, can opener”.  This makes it much easier to find important things like a can opener. Pack like things together.
  4. Pack important things that you might need in the front of the storage unit; just in case, like us, you have to do a partial unpack to live in a smaller place or your home again. This actually happens semi-automatically, as those things are likely to be stored last, and thus right inside the door.

A note from Dave: we actually started early with our packing, and the first 30 boxes or so had clever little computer-printed stickers with their contents, and I had a spreadsheet listing them all and their major contents. However, it turned out that these were the things we packed first, and that means they were things we most easily identified as “not too important” in the last three months before leaving. And of course, that meant they’re waaay in the back of the storage unit. As the packing rate quickened, there seemed not to be time to do this … but it would have helped, and had I imagined a “partial unpack” I would have found a way to do it.

 

Reentering our previous life

It is very strange to come home to an empty house after 6 months on the road in Europe.  We did have a bed to sleep in but that is all.  We moved some of my office furniture into the the family room. home-16-family-room-small We got my dining room table back from my sister and got an outdoor table with some patio chairs that we had in storage.  I got my long art table out of the storage unit and am in the process of setting up my studio again.home-16-studio-small

I have vacuumed and mopped the floor two times.  Cleaned and waxed the teak table and even put up a painting in the dining room.home-16-teak-table-small  We bought a new TV and are slowly finding things that we need from the storage unit. This is our dear son Brian and David working together . home-16-bri-and-david-smallWe swan in the pool the other day and it was heaven.  It is coming together.

We have a large house and have decided to only live in the downstairs. We are used to living in small spaces now and are trying to only add what we need.  It is refreshing.

We have also had time with our son, his fiance, our family, our dog and our friends.home-16-mac-in-box-small  This is the best part of being home.