My Bucket List Progress

I know I have a lot of lists. The Bucket List, however, has no ending date except the obvious one.

Travel is high on my list.

To that end here is my Bucket List: Items in grey have been on the list for awhile; items in orange are new to the list; items in blue have been accomplished.

  1. See the pyramids in Egypt –  hoping also to cruise on the Nile and ride a camel.

    I’d like to visit Egypt.
  2. Inspire somebody to do something great — not sure that if I do inspire anyone I may never actually know it.
  3. Own my house 

    We’re cozy and happy at The Glade.
  4. Write a book and have it published — I don’t know what the actual subject might be but I think I would write a fictional story.
  5. Visit the Louvre in France — I have been to the Louvre and have seen the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus de Milo. 

    I’ve seen the Mona Lisa.
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Take a ride in a gondola in Venice

    Venice would be the start of a great adventure.
  8. Go on a cruise — I’m making plans to leave from Baltimore Harbor and cruise to Bermuda.
  9. Audition for a movie — I would have to check the local casting calls.  Getting the part is not as important as auditioning.
  10. Own a beach house — I have been regularly checking real estate ads for a run down fixer-upper.  I don’t know if this will happen but it is not impossible.

    Here’s a quarter acre in Virginia for $6,750.
  11. Invent something — I’m hoping I could invent something that would be useful and bring in some cash.
  12. Have a million dollars — working on it.
  13. Go whale watching
  14. Buy a stranger a meal
  15. Do something I know is reckless!
  16. Fly in a helicopter
  17. Read the Bible — I read the entire Bible in a year. Very inspirational and enlightening.

    I finished in May, 2017.
  18. Save somebody’s life
  19. Fly 1st class
  20. Make and sell a product
  21. See the Southern Cross in person

    The Southern Cross.
  22. Visit Greece
  23. Visit London — Planned for Fall, 2018.
  24. See the Northern Lights — I’d like to view the Northern Lights — the Aurora Borealis — from Iceland.
  25. Visit New Orleans 
  26. Learn to Tango

That’s 25 items.  I reserve the right to add more.  As I was looking at other people’s lists and trying to add to my own I realized I had already done quite a few things in my lifetime that would have been on my list had I made one earlier in my life.

I have a lot to do and see in this world.  I better get busy.



Our Digs in London — Finally

I have been putting off and putting off committing to accommodations in London.

We’re staying in Chelsea Mews — former stables.

I wasn’t sure whether Sug would meet us over there or not so I was researching both small and large apartments at the same time. Impossible.

Looks like our bedroom is up a flight of stairs.

Sug has decided, instead, to go on a mission to Central America so I limited my search to accommodations for two, Charlie and Jo.

We’ll be staying the area in the green circle.

I searched two different websites: AirBnB and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and finally settled for an AirBnB one bedroom flat in Chelsea, an area of London north of the river and west of London city center.

We’ll be in walking distance to Earl’s Court underground station.

Because we’re staying for 7 days in the same place we are getting a 10% discount. (While we were visiting Paris we moved once across the city on a Sunday which was a hassle.)

Google maps has a feature that shows an overlay of pubic transportation with a click of the mouse.

One important feature is proximity to the London Underground, especially the Piccadilly Line (dark blue line on the map) which goes directly to Heathrow Airport.

I’m going to try to get tickets to tour Buckingham Palace.

I’m excited to now have all our accommodations pinned down so I can begin to plan the sights and attractions.

Have you tried AirBnB or VRBO yet?

Decking the Cottage

Yesterday Sug’s carpenter came to measure up the area in front of the Cottage for a deck.

The Cottage is ready for its next improvement.

Over the weekend Sug had removed all the plants from in front of the Cottage.  Some were potted for later use and some were transplanted into spots that needed a little greenery.

The ground in front of the Cottage is bare with a slight swale running left to right for drainage.

The carpenter removed all the brick and stone that we had been using as an entranceway.

Framing lumber for a ground level deck.

He also delivered the pressure-treated framing lumber.

The diagonal brace is temporarily holding the framing square.

The first step was to lay out a square frame across the front of the Cottage by 8 feet depth.

N.B. Before starting the decking the carpenter put a piece of white Azek trim across the bottom of the Cottage to neaten it up.

The top boards are temporary to allow access to the Cottage while the deck is being built.

The deck will ultimately stop on the right at the hose bib.

The deck will span most of the front of the Cottage stopping just before the dogwood tree on the right.

Do you have an outdoor living space?

Charlie Has Been Searching the Blog

Charlie wanted me to make two comments about using bamboo:

  1. You’ll want to use dead (brown) not living (green) bamboo for the trellises. Owners of bamboo patches are happy to give these away for free.
  2. Leaving some little nubs of leaf branches on, especially, the pieces you use on top will allow a single-person build.

I have noticed that people have been particularly looking at the photos of our bamboo trellises.

Some years the trellises are just more attractive.

At least I thought “people” were looking.

Cucumber trellis.
Cucumber trellis is July.

Then I found out that Charlie himself, builder of the trellises, has been reminding himself how he did it by reading the blog and examining the photos.

The pea trellis does not need to be this complex.

Right now he is particularly interested in pea trellises.

Charlie puts the finishing touch on a bamboo tomato tepee.

I have pulled together in this post the links to the directions for building bamboo trellises and inspirational photos.

The garden has been reconfigured since this 2012 plan when we used a simple grid pattern.
Now we have a greenhouse.

I hope you’ll try this cheap and easy and attractive technique for keeping the garden neat and productive.

Do you grow vegetables?

Cleaning up Cottage Landscaping for a Purpose

Sug spent the weekend taking out all the plants in front of the Cottage.

Cottage in Winter before Sug moved in.
Everything comes back in spring.

Although the foundation planting in front of the Cottage is fairly bare in winter, hostas, liatrus, liriope, and lily of the valley along with daffodils come up in spring.

The area in front of the Cottage remains neat and green.
Most of the plants had been removed.

Sug took the time to remove all the plants.  Some were potted for later use and some were transplanted into spots that needed a littler greenery.

The Cottage is ready for its next improvement.

Finally every plant directly in front of the Cottage was gone.

This mock-up give the idea of what we’re going for.

Sug’s carpenter is coming tomorrow to start installing a deck.

Do you like lounging outdoors or indoors?

Step 4 — Prepare wall for wallpaper

I finally found enough free time this morning to skim coat the wall over the sink in the pink bathroom so I can finally begin papering.

Easy Sand quick-set joint compound.

I made a thin mixture of quick set joint compound.

Professional drywallers would mix a big bucket but I only need a small application.

I put 3 scoops of powder in a mud tray.

All the lumps must be removed by continued stirring.

I poured some water to make a thick paste stirring well with a paint stir.

The quickset should have a smooth, creamy consistency.

After stirring for a minute and letting it sit for a minute, I added a bit more water to make a thin mixture.

The mud goes on grey and dries white.

Using a large bladed spackle knife I spread the mixture over the wall trying to even out the divots.

A lot of the ridges have been smoothed out.

It looks better than it did.

After a light sanding this wall will be ready for wallpaper.

Next tasks are to sand this area lightly, wipe down all the wall with a vinegar and water mixture, and size the wall.

What project have you put on old for too long?


The second item on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days is to confirm my ancestry through DNA testing. I read all the pros and cons not just for which kit to select but also the risks of DNA testing in general. I decided to go ahead.

The Ancestry DNA kit comes in a 5 by 7 box.

After researching the various tests I decided to use Ancestry and pulled the trigger when the cost was the lowest I had seen it, $59.

The kit contains everything needed.

After ordering I received the kit in about a week.

DNA is checked via saliva in a tube.

First step is to activate the kit online which I did by entering the code on the collection tube. The directions were easy to follow. I chose not to participate at this time in the Human Diversity Project.

The vial is filled with saliva up to the line not including bubbles.

Second, after waiting at least a half hour after eating or drinking I spit into the provided tube.

The funnel is removed from the tube and replaced with a cap containing stabilizer.

Again following the directions was easy.

The stabilizer goes into the saliva as the cap is screwed onto the vial.

I shook the saliva and stabilizer mixture for five seconds before sealing it in a special bag from the kit.

The tube is sealed inside a special envelope before being put in the mailing box.

I mailed the tube back to Ancestry in the mailer enclosed with the kit.

A pre-paid return box comes in the kit.

I should have my results in 6 to 8 weeks.  I bet it tells me I’m Irish.

Are you interested in your genealogy?