Packing Problems

When I was younger, packing for a business trip was so much easier. I calculated how many days the conference lasted plus the number of mandatory business dinners. I  added in a few fun tops to wear to the “after-hours” activities (also known as hitting the bars with co-workers) and made sure to include comfortable travel clothes. My biggest conundrum was figuring out how to pack my suitcase with the least amount of shoes. They took up so much room! The trick was to wear the bulkiest shoes on the plane, so I always had sneakers with me. But I still had no less than three pairs of work shoes in tow. (No pun intended).

Next week, I am going to Chicago on a business trip for six days, and I have already started the packing process. I’ve been doing laundry all day, got a mani/pedi, and picked up the necessary toiletries at CVS. I also located my packing cubes – the best invention ever! – started to pick out my outfits and put aside the good underwear. This trip is more complicated than others because I am spending part of it at a nice hotel where we are hosting a major fundraiser. The second part takes place at a retreat center/campground. Therefore, I’m packing for all occasions and situations: business/cocktail attire for the fundraiser and sweatshirts, jeans, and lots of layers that can pass as professional but still appropriate for the outdoors. I may need to check another bag for my shoes!


And if my outfits weren’t complicated enough, I have another issue. I use a CPAP machine at night for my sleep apnea. This thing takes up more room in my suitcase than my shoes ever did back in the day. When I was fitted for the machine a few years ago, the travel version didn’t seem worth it at the time. It would have set me back about a thousand dollars. It also runs on distilled water, and since I’ll be without a car and in the middle of the woods, I’m sure it’s not readily available unless I schlep my own water with me. I’m debating on leaving it at home, even though it will mean my quality of sleep suffers. But who am I kidding? I don’t sleep well when I travel anyway.

Well, at least I no longer have to worry about any “after-hours” outfits this time. At my age, these are otherwise known as pajamas.

Got any packing tips for me? Share them in the comments. 

Maisel and Mad Men

I don’t watch a lot of television. Not because there isn’t anything to watch; there is plenty to watch. The main reason is that once I sit down after a busy day to watch a little TV, I inevitably and unintentionally fall asleep on the couch by 8:30 – 9 pm every night. The next thing I know, I wake up at 11 pm to go upstairs to bed and waste an entire evening. And I hate when that happens.

The last show I watched religiously was Mad Men on AMC. Why that show? Have you seen Don Draper? Even though it came on at the ungodly hour of 10 pm on Sunday nights, I parked myself in front of the TV to take in every second of the drama. I’ve binged watched all seven seasons at least four or five times since it stopped airing. I never tire of it.

More recently, I love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. If you haven’t had the chance to watch it, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect combination of family, funny, and feminism—definitely my cup of tea. Today, the first three episodes of the final season dropped. I watched the first one, and I’m already preparing myself for the depression that will surely come after the last curtain call.

What shows do you watch over and over again? What should be on my list to check out once Maisel is over? Let me know in the comments. Nothing too scary or violent, please. I need to be able to fall asleep on the couch at some point, and I could do without the nightmares.

A Talent for Typing

Did you know that on this day in history, the first portable typewriter received a U.S. patent in 1892? And writers everywhere are eternally grateful. While it is true that many writers, including me, do some of our best writing using a pen and a yellow notepad, transferring the words from my messy handwriting to the keyboard is what brings my words to life in this blog.

Learning to Touch Type

I remember taking a typing class in high school. After learning where to position our fingers on the keyboard to punch in the right letters, we moved on to more advanced skills like numbers, punctuation marks, and other symbols. At the end of the week, we were tested for accuracy and speed. And every student had a bottle of white-out by their side to fix their mistakes. Throughout the year, we also learned typewriter maintenance, like how to adjust the spools, change the ribbon, or fix it when it was tangled.

I don’t remember anything about my typing teacher, but I do remember having to type “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” over and over again. If you took a similar class, you know that particular sentence includes every letter of the alphabet. I think I used to dream about that silly dog.

As a side note, I spent all that time in class typing two spaces after each period. And then, years later, with the invention of word processing, we all had to retrain our brains to only type one space. Not an easy task!

“You type really fast!”

I don’t remember how fast I typed in high school, but I know I improved dramatically in college. I learned to type on a deadline at the student newspaper. Nothing makes you type faster than an angry editor breathing down your neck. After graduation, I worked in a newsroom as a reporter for about a year and had to make nightly deadlines before the presses ran. My colleagues marveled at how fast they could hear me type. Some asked me to type their articles for them as they dictated to me. It was how I made friends. (Just kidding!)

To answer your question, I can type about 75-80 words per minute with 95% accuracy – as long as my fingers are in the right position on the keyboard. I guess it’s a hidden talent because I still see people my age (and older or younger) use the hunt-and-peck method or only two fingers to type. I don’t judge, but I admit it’s entertaining to watch. I’m sure it’s the same entertainment my kids get when they see how slow I text on my iPhone.

Why are Typewriters Still Cool?

Tom Hanks has made no secret of his love for typewriters. He has a collection of over 250 vintage machines. So, if he thinks their cool and Tom Hanks is cool… there you go.

Here is what he had to say about typewriters, and I wholeheartedly agree.

“Everything you type on a typewriter sounds grand, the words forming in mini-explosions of SHOOK SHOOK SHOOK. A thank-you note resonates with the same heft as a literary masterpiece”. – Tom Hanks

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