Another TransAtlantic Cruise

Dec 26

Ann and DanWe enjoyed a 29-day cruise on the small Pacific Princess from November 23 to December 22. We had two days in Venice Italy before getting on the ship. The back-to-back cruise started in Venice with stops in Croatia, Greek islands, Italy, and ending in the port near Rome. We stayed on the ship to continue to Spain, Tenerife  in the Canary Islands before the eight day crossing to Fort Lauderdale.

Our winter coats, hats, and gloves were exchanged for short sleeves and flip flops as we headed west.

As we cruised back to Fort Lauderdale, I have had time to reflect on why we cruise.

  • To get away from my responsibilities
  • To see new places
  • To eat different foods
  • To experience life in a different county
  • To be pampered — bed made and then turned down
  • To have clean towels daily
  • To meet new people
  • To shop on the ship (port t-shirt for $4.99)
  • To enjoy live entertainment every night
  • To read hour after hour
  • To dress up a few nights each cruise.

I am a bit overcommitted so I like the getaway aspect of cruising. It is interesting to talk to people that cruise a lot and by a lot, I am talking about over 300 plus cruise days. There were 230 Elite passengers out of the  640 passengers on board. That means they cruised 151 days or more on Princess ships.

We met a couple that is going on the Pacific Princess World Cruise for 111 days starting January 4. As he says, it’s better than sitting home watching TV or doing puzzles. This is after returning from the current 29-day cruise.

There is another couple on board with 1636 cruise days. Princess offers 250 Internet minutes per person after 51 cruise days and free laundry after 151 cruise days. Dan and I will get our Internet minutes on our next Princess cruise. We managed to go up three levels after two back to back cruises.


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Let the Good Times Roll!

Nov 05

Ann, Basil, and Jim
NaCCRA Executive Committee

While I attended the National Continuing Care Residents Association  (NaCCRA) meeting, Dan was able to play tourist and spend the day at the new World War II Museum, walk to St. Louis Cathedral, and tour the Ursuline Convent Museum.

It was full of meeting for me with one nice meal with other NaCCRA members at Mulate’s, the Original Cajun Restaurant.




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Locked Out of WordPress

Oct 25

Ann MacKay

First Chapter Meeting

What a Mess was the last post. I could add “another fine mess you’ve gotten  yourself into.” My intent is to post at least once a month. What happened to my fine intentions? Life is what happened.

My password no longer worked and I send password requests but never received an email from WordPress. Duh, I finally looked in the Spam folder tonight. I am in!

As my husband said to me last month, “Are you overcommitted?” I am. I was appointed to the National Continuing Care Residents Association (NaCCRA) Board in June and was elected the Secretary at my first meeting. The Secretary moved into the vacant Vice President slot.

The same month, I said I could help with the website since the webmaster resigned. I knew it was in WordPress but in the interim, it was rebuilt in Mobirise which I knew nothing about. I struggled to learn it so I could work on the site. I am still struggling to redo pages.

I started organizing a chapter for the Maryland Continuing Care Residents Association (MaCCRA) in July since I am the webmaster for the state association. As of today, there are 81 members since I started recruiting in mid-July.

Also in July, I had the bright idea to submit a presentation proposal to Baltimore WordCamp on the redesign of the website. I am co-webmaster with two other women. It was accepted!

So the very talented Hope Tillman who did the design in the Divi theme and I did a session on The Story of A Redesign on October 14. We had a good audience in the Charles Village Room of the UMBC Columbus Center in the Charles Village Room. It was a fun weekend hanging out with WordPress enthusiasts. The sessions were good as well as the food.

Now I am headed off to the NaCCRA meeting in New Orleans the weekend before the start of the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo. LeadingAge is the trade association for aging services providers.  They provide the meeting room and lunch both days. They also comp an expo booth. It is the same weekend as the Voodoo Fest 2017.


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What a Mess!

Aug 07

The experiment to change the theme on this website was a real mess. First, the theme didn’t work when I logged out of my WordPress account. I spend a few weeks troubleshooting with the developer. It never worked properly so I tried using a Divi builder plug-in that saved some of the design work I attempted. Then my computer started acting up. By acting up, I am talking about my MacBook Pro shutting down while I was at the keyboard. How frustrating! I finally took it to Genius Bar at the Columbia Apple Store. After running the usual tests, the hardware tests came back normal. This computer was purchased in 2013 and was made by Apple until last year. I had to leave it over the weekend so they could run more tests. Nothing else showed up and of course, the computer would not quit unexpectedly in their hands.

The final solution was to erase the hard drive and install the operating system. Thank heaven for backup. I brought my computer home with the welcome screen asking me what language I wanted to use. How about that for starting over. It took about three hours to restore my MacBook. All seems to be okay although it still shuts down at night by itself and is ready for me to log in when I arrive at my desk in the morning. There are some real advantages to work in the cloud as I was able to carry on with my iCloud account documents over the weekend.

So it is three weeks later and I am back on the website to see what I can do. Now the Divi theme is working. There may have been a software conflict somewhere on my computer that causes the problem. I may never really know.

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It’s Outdated!

Jul 19

I watch entirely too much HGTV. It seems every house is “outdated” in some way. Homes that were perfectly good for us now need granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, space for a “man cave,” and at least two sinks in the master bath.

Web websites need redecorating too. Have you noticed the websites of your bank or shopping site has changed over the years? So has my website. I have tried many different themes over the years. I don’t get enough traffic for people to notice. At least they are kind enough not to notice or mention it.

So in my quest of “redecorating,” I have tried a new theme, Divi, that allows me to build the site visually and has “drop and drag” abilities. It promises me that I don’t need to know programming code. My site is a work in progress as I experience with the new theme. Thank heaven my livelihood is not dependent on this site.

Why go to all this work you ask? It’s my hobby. It helps that both the and the site use the Divi theme. I work on both as a volunteer webmaster. It is easier to be using the same framework working on WordPress websites.

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Who Represents Us?

Jul 12

Who looks after the interests of residents living in CCRCs. How about other residents. The Maryland Continuing Care Residents Association  (MaCCRA) is the statewide group of CCRC residents formed into chapters. Right now there are 17 chapters in Maryland CCRCs with many individual members in other communities. I am in the process of recruiting members to form a Charlestown chapter. Why is that important? For the simple reason that our voices need to be heard by legislators and public officials. MaCCRA is the only organization that is solely dedicated to protecting and advancing the interests of CCRC residents. Please check out the website and download a membership form if you are interested.

NaCCRA is the national association advocating for residents throughout the country. I got involved. I hope you do too.

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Five Year Anniversary

Jun 28

It is hard to believe that five years ago we moved to Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, MD. The move from Warner Robins, GA was smooth. Here is what I wrote in a blog post five years ago.

Where does the time go? Here we are heading to a six week mark on the calendar since we moved in. Life is good. The adjustment has been easy for both of us. It has surprised me how fast I got used to having a nice meal every night. We have sampled all the dining venues. We go to the Refectory for dinner before or after Mass, we head to the Chesapeake if we attend the movies in the Conference Center, and we go to the Atrium in our building the rest of the time. It is potluck when dining, you never know who will seat at your table. Sometimes it is a four top, sometimes a five top or even a seven top. We have some good times around the dining table as we get to know other residents. We don’t hear many complaints about life here from our table mates.

Life continues to be good. We are very blessed to be able to afford this lifestyle. We are both involved with things we enjoy doing. Dan has found his niche doing what he likes to do and I am busy with a variety of projects involving my techie skills. We don’t have to leave the campus to do what we like to do. We are spoiled with the on-campus services including the bank, pharmacy, library, video library, chapel, medical center, shuttle service and the list goes on.

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