How to Take A Viking Tour…Part 1

Don’t use the back door when the blades are on that side.

It’s been a while since my last post. We have a bit of catching up to do.

Last Christmas, we decided we didn’t need any “stuff,” instead, we said we’d save our bucks spent on  anniversary, birthdays, and  Christmas and give ourselves an international experience in the upcoming year instead.

Okay, we were probably watching too much Public Broadcasting. The beguiling violins and cellos of the Viking Cruise song lured us like sirens … and shoot, darn, heck, who doesn’t want to travel to foreign places to learn to knead bread, make pancakes, and run between the blades of the windmills. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) We signed up.

The Grand European Tour: Amsterdam to Budapest

1.  PACK RIGHT:  I’m a small packer. I feel righteous about only traveling with a carry-on

Smart packing techniques.

and a backpack. Of course, I look like a charwoman most of the time, but when I’m traveling, I figure I’ll never see these folks again, so why risk a dislocated spine?

But on a river cruise, you DO see these folks. Everyday. Every night. Almost  every meal. Almost every tour. So I had to bring a slightly bigger suitcase and more clothes. Now here’s a travel-secret: Use the JEANS-TECHNIQUE: No one is sure if you’ve previously worn your jeans, OR if you’ve got on a fresh pair…so you could probably do a 15-day trip with 2 pair of jeans.  Except all my jeans look like they should be made into Raggedy Ann dolls, so instead I simply packed black clothes. I looked like Johnny Cash with a scarf. The good news is that no one cares what you wear (unless you’re naked). These trips are pretty laid-back.

2. ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION EARLY: I have a lot of talents. Most of them are useless (like counting backward in Pig-Latin or juggling sponges), but my favorite skill is being able to sleep on airplanes. I snap on noise-canceling headphones, a blindfold, warm socks, blanket, air pillows, nearby snacks, water, and Chapstick, and I’m snoozin’ by the time we reach mid-Atlantic ocean. I arrive only slightly less jet-lagged than Dallas Cowboy Fan, who has watched four movies through the overseas flight. We try to arrive early and soak up some sunshine in our new locale; it’s supposed to help the body reset. I don’t know if it works because every time I sit in the sun, I fall asleep like a cat in a warm spot.


Yeah, sure, the cruise folks provide local lectures and tours in every town.  But these are


Welcome back to the boat. You were only gone two hours. That’s okay. Welcome back and have a drink.

the usual touristy stuff. If you want to mix it up with the locals, you’ll have to find your own adventures.  And honest-to-Pete, our unplanned forays were some of the best parts of the trip. (See Part 2-coming)


Why?  Because you’ll be spending A LOT of time sitting around, watching the scenery go by.  Yes, most of it is lovely and interspersed with the groans and squeaks of going through 67 locks, but it’s sort of like being at a party for 2 weeks with strangers. People start hauling out cards, board games, dominoes, or telling you about relatives that you may (or may not)  care about.  One experienced traveler brought his taxes to work on; others brought knitting, puzzles, Kindle readers stuffed with books, journals, and several brought work from their offices. (There’s a lot of down-time).


Unpack in your cleverly engineered room. You’ll be pulling up to the food tanks about every 4 hours During this cruise-time, Viking will treat you like a queen or king. So IF your ideal vacation is eating and visiting OR not having to cook, do housework, or laundry, then you’re going to be very very happy. IF you need to be a bit more activity… you’ll need to come up with a plan.

Of course, not all of our plans turned out like we expected. We’re in 4 different countries, don’t speak the languages, and can’t read the signs. What could go wrong? And that’s the joy of travel. Stay tuned…but in the meantime…

Merry Christmas…may you have a few surprises among your presents.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” 
― Anita Desai








The Rule Women Are Afraid to Break

Thank heavens fashion has changed over the last decade.

Even those pioneer women who crossed the plains broke the rules. Oh…they wore long

dresses and corsets….but they didn’t tighten them.  Walk 20 miles cinched up in whale bone staves?? No Way. These women knew how to survive and it wasn’t in a corset.

That brought up a hot discussion among the Lutheran Ladies

What should Women Wear to Special Occasions Now Days?

(Weddings, Funerals, etc)

Dresses?   Yes, everyone agreed.

Slacks?  Okay. As long as they’re elegant. A few ladies admitted they don’t wear dresses anymore…only slacks.

Jeans?  HA.Ha.  Get out of here.

Zara Phillips, Daughter of Princess Anne at the Royal Wedding

Hats?  Wear ’em if you got ’em.

But there was one powerful rule most women were afraid to break. They’d heard it since they were born. Everyone agreed it had changed, but rarely did anyone break it.

What was this powerful magic forcing its domain over a woman’s closet????

 The No White After Labor Day Rule

The why of the rule has been lost, but like a ghost story, it still haunts fashion.

The myth is that in the 1880s, there were complex social rules for those in the know. Show up to a gala in a puffy-sleeved gown when the “cool” ladies wore straight sleeve and you and your vulgar new money could expect to be snubbed (just like at a Jr. High Dance.)

Not wearing white after Labor Day seems to be one of these rules.  By the 50s, the No-Summer-No-White  had become a commandment for everyone.


You can blame Coco Chanel for changing the rules.

She introduced:

The Little Black Dress

Tweed Suits

Bell Bottoms.

And She wore white year-round.

Go ahead. Free your white clothes.

Let them enjoy Christmas. 

Do you break the “no-white” rule?
SmileyHo Ho Ho Santa Smiley

A Season to Break Mirrors

For every time, there’s a season. This is the season  I’d like to break my mirror. Fall brings out my tiny shopping gene, but it never ends well.

I peruse the mail-order catalogs and dog-ear pages before I go shopping. I don’t want to

Barbie has a designer and tailor….that’s why she looks so good.*

waste too much time in those stores which are like buffets of textile disappointment. I’ve done my homework and know what I want before I walk into Macy’s. I’m like a Barbie doll all hopped up on choices and the hope of finding a pair of pants that fit.Smiley

But after trying on the carefully vetted threads, I walk from the dressing room, twisting right and left, trying to see myself from all angles in the mirror. I’m more baffled than an English Lit major trying to do Chinese algebra.

It’s taken years, but I’ve finally deduced the reason for my bewilderment.

The clothing promises every possibility of looking like this when it’s hanging on the hanger……

I’m not sure why those ridiculous department store mirrors reveal…..

I think it’s the lighting…or maybe I need another foot and a half of leg

….or an unbreakable mirror?

I hate shopping.Smiley How about you??

(*Barbie’s Clothes by Hegmony77, Thin model: Heidi Marie by Will Foster)