2018 Honda Accord

 

2018 Accord

I am not someone who likes to spend a ton of money on vehicles. You can buy a cheap car or a multi-million dollar car, but take it to the grocery store once and either way, it will likely be dinged by someone. As a result, I tend to look for a car that is more reasonably priced, but can haul enough in its trunk. I need a big trunk.

In March, we got a 2018 Accord and I really love it. It is more sporty than our last Accord and has lots of bells and whistles that make it a great car for trips. I now have Honda Sensing:

  • to let me know if I’m getting close to the side or center line
  • to remind me to brake if I am coming up on another vehicle
  • which uses auto-cruise control, so I don’t get too close to another vehicle and adjusts the speed automatically
  • lets me know if I need to take a break (seriously, I don’t need this feature. My gas gauge does that)
  • that beeps to let me know there’s a car in another lane when I’m changing

I also like the backup camera, which I haven’t had before, though I still don’t trust it. I’ll get there. I also like that I can see the outside temperature and it lets me know how much gas I have left in a more visual way.  This is my first car that starts with a push button, so I’m still adjusting to that, but I like it. The gas cap is  gone, and the door opens with a push. Features are getting better with each car purchase. On to driver-less cars for all that are large enough to have seats that fold flat for sleeping and include a toilet, a refrigerator, and sink, and can travel at 500 miles per hour. No more cross country flights for me!

One of my most pressing concerns when buying a car is the color. PLEASE automakers…think of some new colors! When I had my Nissan Altima, I loved it because it came in a sage green, which made it easy to spot in a parking lot. I’m not a fan of white, red, black, or storm cloud gray cars. I live in an area where it’s really hot in the summer, so a dark car is out of the question. So, what color do I have? Silver. I’d really like something prettier with a bit of metallic.

Oh, and I’m enjoying Sirius radio again! I like the comedy channels, CNN, and the Beatles channel. And the car is sporty looking!

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July 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Southwest Airlines

I used to LOVE flying. As a kid, it was exciting, especially take off. It was an awesome way to get from here to there. Free food, take as many bags as you wish, and it was reasonably priced. Now? Not so much to any of that, but that being said, at least Southwest lets me take two bags for free.

I needed a flight to the San Francisco area and normally, I’d just pick the cheapest flight and head into SFO. That’s not exactly the best option for me, since I really don’t like big airports, riding trams, and taking public transportation to get to the rellie’s house. So, I opted for a new carrier to my area (I might add, I’ve been hoping to get them to come for years!), Southwest Airlines. I am not a fan of ‘cattle call’ seating, but due to the fact that I could fly direct from here to Oakland, I weighed the options and this was the best. I was pleasantly surprised. I really didn’t mind standing in line to get a seat as much as I thought I would. And, going into Oakland meant an easier drive for my brother, so no BART for me!

When I was getting ready to leave for the trip, I reacted to a tweet from Southwest and mentioned I was happy to get a free bag. They tweeted back that I could take two! On the way back, I did bring an extra bag and enjoyed the no hassle, no fee plan. I would definitely fly Southwest again. I only wish they would fly to Green Bay from my location!

They often have fare sales and you need to go directly to their website, since they don’t appear on Orbitz, Expedia, etc.

April 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Spin Mop and Vinyl Plank

I got new  flooring recently and normally with hard flooring, I hand wash  it. I have never felt like a mop does a great job and I worry that the spray mops are just pushing the dirt around. My kitchen, dining and living room floors were replaced with vinyl plank. I’m not as young as I once was, so the thought of washing that much space on my hands and knees is not appealing. So, I looked at the options and per my son’s recommendation, I purchased an Aootek spin  mop on Amazon for about $40.

I first heard my daughter talk about spin mops and I was imagining a mop that had a spinning head. It made no sense to me. Even though I am the queen of research, I didn’t bother to check it out. I knew that I wanted my floors really clean and was happy with the results of hand washing. That being said, when my son brought it up, I decided it was time to take a look. What is a spin mop?

 

spin mop

It’s a rather cool way to clean your floors. It took me a bit to get the hang of it. The little man and I couldn’t get the handle to move into an upright position at first.  We used a screw driver to remove the plastic connector at the base of the mop, which probably was unnecessary. It just took a bit of a tug to get the handle in position. This particular mop set comes with two microfiber mops. You can wash them in the washing machine. The bucket has a stainless steel basket, which after reading multiple reviews of different buckets, is a plus. It won’t rust or wear out as quickly as a plastic one. There are two sections, though it’s all one bucket. It does have a release valve to drain the water, but it was easy just to dump it. There’s also a dispenser to squirt in your favorite cleaner, but I didn’t bother filling it.

I used a capful of Mrs. Meyer’s’s multi-surface cleaner and filled the bucket up to almost the bottom of the basket. Here’s the thing I struggled with…how to make the mop head spin. I didn’t read any directions. My bad. On the handle is an On/Off mark, which means turn it to On when you want the mop head to spin, either in the water side of the bucket or the basket. Then, all you have to do it pump the handle up and down and voila, it either rinses the mop or spins it dry enough to mop the floor. You can spin it as dry as you want. For my floors, I spun it mostly dry, as I didn’t want standing water on the surface. It did a great job and didn’t streak the floors.

Why did I choose vinyl plank? I was going to put hardwood in the living and dining rooms and vinyl plank in the kitchen. I went to meet my new neighbor and thought her new flooring was wood. It was vinyl plank. She told me that her dog knocked over his water bowl on the first day they moved in and because it wasn’t hardwood, she was able to wipe up the spill with no worries about the water seeping into the floor. Nice. That gave me the idea to make a complete change to my original flooring plans. I have four grandsons and soon to be five and I wanted something that was easy care. Vinyl plank seemed like the best options. If the dishwasher ever leaks or a pipe breaks, we can pull up the flooring, let it dry, fix the surface underneath and put the planks back down. I chose a wood look that I think looks like wood. So far, other than being a bit dark and showing dust more easily, I do like it. It should be scratch resistant and it was less expensive than wood.

val ivory coast

 

 

February 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Being Retired

I’ve been retired since the end of February and time is flying by! I had images of myself sitting in my family room with a cup of tea and a good book. Well, I really haven’t done that yet and it’s November. So what have I been doing? It hasn’t been adding to Jinny’s Favorite Things.  I didn’t even get to sit on the patio on sunny evenings as I thought I would. I’ve really been too busy. So, what have I been doing? Eating out, spending time with family and friends and traveling. It takes a lot of time.

I awoke on my first day off to a loud bang, the blinds rattling, and as I sat up in bed, I could see the bedroom curtains billowing in. My other half was holding the window. I jumped up and joined him, because I thought the whole window frame was blowing in. He said, “It feels like the window is breathing.” We had tornadic winds and there we were, standing in front of the window on the second floor instead of dashing to the basement. Duh! Welcome to relaxing retirement!

Since then, we’ve had the aluminum siding replaced and due to a substandard job, it has to be redone again! It’s been an ongoing headache. Plus, I want to replace  flooring and that has also been a challenge. Wood? Vinyl plank? Carpet? What to put where is really a struggle for me. That hasn’t been fun, but the rest of the time has been purely enjoyable.

I’ve chosen a handful of people  to visit this year and all of my trips have been fun. I drove, by myself to Fort Mill, South Carolina and then on to Charleston. It was a nine-hour journey and I only made one stop on the way home. I’m not a fan of  stopping, unless I need gas or have to use the facilities. It was nice  to see both parts of SC. Fort Mill has lots of new home construction and a cute little downtown. I especially liked the idea of Baxter Village in Fort Mill, with it’s porch-front houses and mini-village feel. You can live, work, eat out, etc., all in a matter of blocks.  Very cute.

Charleston is a neat Southern city. We stopped at The Battery and across the street saw a dolphin in the bay. Lots of old homes with lovely gardens on narrow streets and plenty of good restaurants. We ate lunch at Eli’s Table and wandered through the Old Slave Mart. We also visited Magnolia Plantation and did a lowcountry boat tour in the rain. Luckily, the boat had a cover. I was there in May and it was a bit hot and humid, but that’s the South.

In June, I headed to Wisconsin to visit friends and family. It’s always good to be back in the motherland. I got to see my ex-sister-in-law for lunch, stay a few nights with a friend I’ve known for 38 years, and had fun at a dinner with some high school friends. Plus, I stayed at my sister’s and my mom’s. It’s always good to be in the northwoods where it’s calm! And, I got to see my daughter and grandsons on the way there and back. It was another driving trip and though I’m not a fan of driving, it was nice  to have my car so I could make all the stops to see people.

In July,  the little man and I went to Galena, IL to meet friends who drove down from MN. We had a great time shopping, especially at Poopsie’s. What a great store! My friend and I both have young grandsons and this store has stuff for all ages. We were there three times in two days! Galena is basically one street that’s loaded with shops and restaurants. We ate yummy Italian food at Vinny Vanucchi’s up at the top of the main street. If you haven’t been to Galena in western IL, it’s a fun place for a girl’s trip. After our weekend, we helped our daughter move to a new place in Chicago. We were really tired after that! At the end of the month, we even had a visit from our CO friends whom we’ve known for 37 years!

In August, I drove back up to WI for more time with my daughter and family in Chicago on the way and time with mom, my sister, and her high school friends (our annual dinner). Then, it was off to one of my favorite places, Door County. One of my grandsons was not happy with the five-hour drive and asked, “Why do we have to go to the Door?” Well, after dinner and a trip to the beach across the street, he said, “I LOVE the Door. I don’t ever want to leave!” We had a great time at The Farm, where they got to see lots of animals and hold a few, played on the beaches, at the parks, shopped a tiny bit, ate at some yummy restaurants like Chef’s Hat, Trixie’s (interesting appetizers and selections), Wild Tomato (pizza!), Al Johnson’s (Swedish pancakes and goats on the roof), and White Gull (get the cherry-stuffed French toast). The Door has a bit of everything, shopping, eating, golf, biking, water sports, ice cream at Wilson’s, beaches, sunsets, and more. It’s the Cape Cod of the Midwest and a place I’ve gone almost every summer for the past 30 years.

September was the big trip…our vacation with our British friends to the Canadian Rockies. I hadn’t been there before and it certainly is stunning scenery. Not as varied at southern UT, but very pretty. Pictures don’t do the Rockies justice. They are yuuuge! I LOVED Lake Louise and Peyto (peato-o) Lake. The color of the water really is aqua blue, like the Caribbean. We had afternoon tea the Fairmont Chauteau at Lake Louise, stayed at Banff Avenue B and B, right on the main street so we could walk to restaurants, and spent plenty of time in nature hiking. There are so many pretty spots to see. We liked Athabasca Falls, the Banff Gondola ride to the top of  Sulphur Moutain, and the Maligne (muh-leen) Lake boat trip to see Spirit Island.

One cool part of flying into Calgary was staying at the Marriott Hotel right in the airport! Our bags were late in arriving, so all the airline had to do was walking them fifty feet. Our rental car was also right in the airport, so it was easy to get to without having to take a shuttle. We really enjoyed seeing Banff and Jasper National Parks and they were free in 2017 due to Canada’s 150th anniversary. The only downside was that we saw so few animals. I really wanted to see some bears and the only one I saw was a photo on the back of a tour bus!

In October, we got together with some WI friends we’ve known for 43 three years. We enjoy getting together at a B and B and playing Trivial Pursuit. I’m sad to say that for the first time EVER, the women did not win a game! Just to put that into perspective, women win 90% of the time. But, we handled our defeat gracefully. We stayed in Zeeland, MI at a darling place called Baert Baron Mansion. It was like stepping back in time. The house was built in the 1860s and decorated in period pieces. The hosts are wonderful! Anna made us chocolate cake and peach pie for dessert in addition to yummy breakfasts. While in the area, we walked on an amazingly thick and clean sand beach, wandered through Douglas, Saugatuck, and Zeeland (nice library!). Then, our daughter and the boys met us in St. Joseph for a night. We played on the local beach, went to one of the children’s museums (really a lot to see and do. The boys loved it), and found  some good places to eat. I like St. Joe. We almost moved there in 2006, but it didn’t work out. If you’re looking for coffee and something to snack on, try Cafe Tosi.

Later in October, I headed to sunny Pleasant Hill, CA to spend time with my baby brother and family. I had a wonderful week! We walked to get coffee at Peet’s, I wandered the shops in Walnut Creek, my bro and I went to the John Muir house in Martinez and ate at a yummy place called Eureka! in Concord, walked the Boardwalk and Wharf in Santa Cruz (my nephew actually chose playing on the beach to having a few rides), and visited the Rosie the Riveter museum in Richmond. It was a fun week and I certainly enjoyed the warmer temps! And I loved spending quality time with my nephew. I haven’t helped anyone with homework in a long time.

November will be more quiet with the family gathering here for Thanksgiving and we will head to our son’s for Christmas in VA next month. It seems like the year has flown by and from what I hear, it will continue to be that way as I age. At work, I remember looking at the clock and thinking, “It’s ONLY 2:00!” Now I see 2:00 p.m. and I think, “It’s 2:00 already!” My advice to you is to make the most  of your free time! If you haven’t retired yet, the best is yet to come!  And I’m already thinking about 2018 travel!

November 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

Snyder’s Wholey Cheese!

Yum! I’ve found a new snack to love! Wholey Cheesecrackers are crispy baked crackers and my current fav is the Swiss and Black Pepper variety. The package says the crackers are made with real cheese. They are crispy and peppery and I LOVE them! It’s a great salty snack. I can eat about 28 cracks for 120 calories. I usually don’t eat that many, so the package has lasted a while and what I like is that they stay crispy in the package! Nothing is worse than opening a package and taking a bite of a stale cracker or chip. Haven’t had a problem with these

Other varieties are Gouda and Mild Cheddar. I haven’t tried those yet, because pepper is my flavor option, if it’s available. Have you ever tried a peppered pork chop? I have and they are yummy. I’m not talking about shaker pepper, but cracked pepper. Standard shaker pepper is too fine and would be overpowering.

P. S. I’m trying to cut down on sugary snacks, and though carbs from crackers don’t help, it’s better than a few cookies. If that’s incorrect, let me know! I’ll go back to cookies.

June 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm Leave a comment

Lotions and Scents

I’m a nut about scents. I can tolerate most, but there are some I LOVE! And, of  course, the lotions need to feel smooth and silky and not tacky or drying. My current favorite lotions are Lollia’s In Love (how fitting) and Rodan and Fields’ Essential Body moisturizer. Both go on nicely and smell great! They aren’t harsh like some fragrances. Did you ever talk to someone wearing a fragrance that’s soooo awful that you wanted to head the other way? Has someone wearing an offensive scent hugged you or shook your hand and you were stuck with the dastardly odor? We all have opinions. When I get in the car with my other half while wearing lotion (I no longer wear perfumes or colognes), he will often go, “Ewwww” and wave his hand in horror. He could stick his head in a gym bag and not say a word, but lordy, don’t wear a nice  scent or walk him past the fragrance counter at a store. I think it’s a primal thing.

In the past, I went through tubes or bottles of lotion pretty quickly. I retired at the end of February and what I’ve noticed is that my hands don’t feel dry all the  time. Why did they? Using sub-standard hand soap at work. At home, I use Method gel soaps and I don’t have that annoying dryness anymore. At work, trips to the restroom meant putting on hand lotion many times a day. And I’m sure that annoyed people, since I used scented lotions. I did try to pick something that didn’t have a cloying odor, like Bath and Body’s Twisted Peppermint or Pink Chiffon.

My sister is allergic to scents and I always have to remember not to use products around her. When she comes to my house, I wrap my potpourris in plastic wrap and put away the scented candles. I can’t imagine not being able to tolerate fragrances. When I walk in my neighborhood, I will often pass  something wearing a body lotion or perfume and I like it. Takes my mind of exercise. I think scent is my strongest sense and one thing is certain, I don’t like nasty ones.

My favorite fragrance right  now if Issey Miyake’s Pour Homme Sport. It’s a men’s cologne and I use it to scent the potpourri in my bedroom. The base of the scent is sandalwood and it has a calming effect. It’s woodsy and at night I will often walk over and inhale it before hitting the pillow. I first noticed I liked this scent when I was in a store in England. In fact, sandalwood was in a few stores. When I got back to the states, I went to a fragrance kiosk at the mall in search of a men’s sandalwood cologne. The person didn’t know of any. While at the movie theater one time, there was a man in front of me wearing the perfect scent. I should have asked him, but felt it was an odd thing to do. Then, as luck would have it, I got a Macy’s flyer in the mail with some of those scented samples pieces. That’s how I found Issey. And I love it!

 

May 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

Granola

Wow…it’s been four months since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve been busy and especially in the last month due to the holidays. My daughter asked me, “Why is it the woman’s job to write the cards, buy and wrap the gifts, do the decorating, plan the meals, etc., when it comes to Christmas?” Good question. Once again, I’ve gotten sick after the holidays.

So what does that have to do with granola? I’ve been not feeling well enough to make any more. But, today, I will. Why make my own when there are so many good ones out there? Mostly, so I can control what goes into it. I never used to care, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m trying to watch calorie intake, especially when it comes to sweetener, since I don’t do artificial ones.

Back in the day, I used to eat Nature Valley granola. I’d eat a larger than I was supposed to eat serving and it would last the better part of the day, at which point, I’d bake cookies and eat half the dough. Gee, maybe that was more of the reason I was starting to gain weight than the granola. Hmmm, food for thought.

A year ago, I was visiting a friend and her husband was making his own granola. If he could do it, so could I, so after searching for a good recipe to try, I found this one. I LOVE it and if I wake up in the night with a hunger pang or two, think about this granola sitting in a jar in the pantry, my hunger pangs grow and I usually have to go and drink water to fill my stomach enough to go back to sleep.

If you haven’t tried making your own, you should!

  • 4 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats (I use Quaker)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw nuts and seeds (I use 1 cup pecan pieces and 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds)*
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I leave it out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or melted coconut oil (I prefer the olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (I use 100% maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the liquids together in a measuring cup and pour over the dry ingredients. Blend together and pour on a lightly greased  rimmed cookie sheet (I use a silicone mat instead of greasing the sheet). Spread into an even layer.

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from over and stir. Bake another 10 minutes.

When cool, add the dried fruit of your choice and store in a sealed glass jar or tin. You can add the dried fruit when you’re ready to eat, instead of adding to the jar/tin. I think it stays more crisp that way.

*You can also add flax seeds, if you want more health benefits.

Play with this recipe and jazz it up by adding chocolate chips, coconut flakes, etc. Up to you! It’s great on yogurt, dressed up with M &Ms, peanuts, etc., as a trail mix, or just served with milk. LOVE IT!

January 8, 2017 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

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