In August, I was in countdown mode for vacation – my first time off work since January.
I bought a couple of items for the trip. First, a new backpack, which I bring to work every day, and use as my “personal item” on flights. My last (Jansport) backpack was the best ever – it lasted over 5 years, compared to barely one year for all my previous ones – but it finally wore out. Instead of buying the identical one, I picked up a new backpack on sale at Eddie Bauer which has the exact same pocket configuration, so I can pack the same as I did before, and remember where everything is!
The other item was a light summer jacket which you saw in my recent posts on Bristol and Bath.
We gave some serious thought to travelling using carry-ons instead of full-sized luggage. Because we travel locally by train and subway, we knew we’d have many difficult slogs up and down station stairs. But we don’t own carry-ons, and didn’t want to invest in new ones just yet.
It would have been the perfect trip to pack light, though, since we could have reused the same 3-day wardrobe at each of our stops (Bristol, Bath, small-town Sussex and London). We didn’t even share a suitcase, which was just as well, since I did some shopping.
My haul was a navy shirt and a pair of shoes from M&S, and an athletic jacket by Kerrimor. I have also had to buy another swimsuit since even with proper care, they don’t last long in the pool chlorine. I tried out a new brand, Tyr, and so far I am thrilled with it (the fit and ease of movement).
Needless to say, this has been a spendy summer. To top it off, I finally caved and bought a new Fitbit, about 18 months after my last one died. I just needed the motivation, and – you know me well – tracking is what motivates me. I decided on the low-priced Fitbit Flex 2 because the higher-priced model I bought before didn’t last. This one is waterproof and can be used for swimming. The trade-off is that it doesn’t monitor heart rate or stairs climbed (altitude) but I am OK with that.
To balance all my spending, I did lots of gardening and DIY. I cleaned out the shed by hauling everything out onto the lawn, sweeping it out and repacking it. I painted the trim around the shed door. I enlarged the flower garden a bit, put in some astilbe, and mulched. I cut back all the mature shrubs which grow as much as a metre every year, and there are 8 of them. Now that our new deck has aged in place for a few months, we had to stain/waterproof it.
August and early September were scorching hot and we had very little rain. I made a point of swimming in the lake (“the” lake being the one where I grew up – yes, I practically grew up in it) and I was pleased to find it very clean and clear even though the water levels were low.
To end September, we saw Rufus Wainwright in concert. I have been a fan from way back. He performed solo with piano and guitar, and he is one of those singers whose voice fills a room. He’s on tour until next April, so if you like a good crooner, you should go! (and if you don’t know his song Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, you should look it up right now!)
Hope you had some good times in the last month or two – would love to hear from you!