The Old Lady and the Mediterranean Sea. Or Why Do I Stress Over Packing?

She was an old lady who traveled with her Frenchman in a plane in the sky and she had gone eighty-four days now without failing to stress about her luggage. In the first forty days her Frenchman had been annoyed with her. But after forty days the Frenchman had told her that the old lady was now definitely and finally fou, which is the worst form of emotional state to be in.  The Frenchman sad to see the old lady spend time each day with her luggage opened and closed; opened and closed. And he always suffered while he observed her obsession.

The old lady was not thin and gaunt, but she was with deep wrinkles in the front of her neck. She called this her “turkey neck” The brown blotch of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea had been erased from her forehead some years ago by MOHS surgery. She had a scar. She also had a scar from a horrific bathroom accident. It occurred while cleaning the bathtub.. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as a well-worn pair of Bass Weejuns the old lady had since her high school days.

Everything about her was old except her crossed eyes and they were the same murky greenish-brown color as the dirty Atlantic Ocean and her Frenchman’s eyes were as blue as the Mediterranean Sea. Both sets of eyes were cheerful and undefeated….

Yes. While shoveling Bonaparte’s car out of the deep piled carpet that Snowmageddon left us, I thought about how I inspired Hemingway to write “The Old Man and The Sea”. Great minds think alike!

Papa Hemingway and Me. We go way back

YOU may know him as “Papa” Hemingway. But in my delusional mind, he’s just Ernie!  He’s giving me “that look” again. Ernie. You are a little devil you!

I lied. I really didn’t inspire him.  My delusions and daydreams had me inspiring Ernest Hemingway.  But I got to thinking. And you know how in my world one thought randomly leads to another.  I started thinking about my travels throughout France, Ireland, Australia and domestic USA trips and my luggage woes!

I’m a very territorial old broad you know.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in a large family and it was every member of the wild pack of wolves, sibling for themselves. Yes. That’s it! I remember one of my sisters borrowing criminally stealing my clothing and lending them to her friends.  I want my shit with me!


I’m in front. Behind me, Theresa, Tommy, Germaine and Pete! We all look alike!

And if you read my post about the infamous luggage debacle from a few years back, you can understand just why I’m a bit OCD about my suitcase!   The Trouble With Travels

Anyway, I’m going to be leaving in a week to visit Oona in Arkansas. The kids gifted me at Christmas with a round trip ticket.  It’ll be a fun “Mommy and Me” visit –especially when we play the game “How Many Times Will We Argue and Make Up?” All kiddin’ aside, I’m looking forward to seeing my baby.

Mommy and me

Looking foward to a fun visit with Oona! I hope I don’t run into any Duggars while in Arkansas. I just may start an ugly scene and do NOT want to embarass my daughter!

But. I AM stressing over packing.  It’s a Wednesday through Sunday trip and naturally everything will fit in my carry on. I am in love with my Longchamp weekender.  This bag can hold a house!

Longchamp weekender

I LOVE this Longchamp weekender. I picked it up at CDG, just moments before we boarded the plane to return from Paris.  Do NOT dismiss airport shops. You can get the greatest deals. I paid 43 euros for this–which is a steal!!  Airport shopping is the greatest! You are welcome!

Here’s how I’m stuffing packing.

I have to throw in some underwear—but first I have to get up off my lazy ass and do some laundry in order to complete that task!

Hair products?  I have a travel sized Toppik to sprinkle on my bald spots.  I’ll bring my teasing comb and some hair ties. That’s it.  Oona has plenty of hairspray.  Besides, my hair looks so much better the dirtier it gets!

Toppik Hair Building Fibers

My little travel sized Toppik will last me for the time I’m in Arkansas!

Makeup and skin care:  That gets packed last and goes on top of everything. I place it in a plastic garbage bag to ensure against leakage. Kind of like a “Depends” for cosmetics!


Last to pack the makeup

My makeup bag will go in last..but I’ll put it in …

Plastic garbage bags. The only way to protect clothing in luggage

A large white plastic garbage bag to ensure against any leakage onto clothing.  The “Depends” of travel!

My journals will be in my oversized purse—as will be pens and colored pencils.

A Writers Shitstorm

Thank goodness I organized my writing equipment. I’m NOT taking a direct flight so I’ll have loads of time to write!

Bespoke pjs. Chippy is pissed

My lounging/PJ/slob clothing always travels with me! Just in case I forget who I am, my NY Tee shirt!

Leggings for Oona

The plush leggings from Primark that I picked up for Oona. She LOVES these!

More leggings

An extra pair of MY Primark shaper leggings to suck my ripples and wrinkles inward!

The workout ensemble

My *cough* “Workout” ensemble.  Oona is taking me to her gym.  I haven’t worn this get up in over a year two years.

workout clothes and pjs in this packing thingy that actually gives more structure

Workout clothing and lounging clothes will go in this little thingy. It makes for easier packing and gives the bottom of my carry on a bit more structure!

Gap skinnies SIZE 8

I’m bringing one pair of skinny jeans. I’m so happy that my size 8’s fit again!

Old Navy fitted t shirt. Left over and unworn from the summer

One Old Navy Fitted White Tee.  I bought so many of these last summer (because they were on sale for four bucks each) that I still haven’t worn them all.  The size “S” fits like a glove. Downsize the Tee’s or they will be too loose and sloppy looking!

Primark leggings tunic shirt and boots for the plane

OK. See this outfit?  Primark Shaper Leggings, Boots and a nice tunic shirt I picked up at Nordstrom Rack. I was going to wear this on the plane. NOTE TO SELF: REMIND BONAPARTE TO POLISH MY BOOTS! But I had a change of plans. I’ll wear the leggings and the boots and I’ll pack the tunic shirt and wear it when we go out to dinner on Saturday night..but……

J. Crew turtlenecks.

I’ll wear the black sweater on the plane and pack the Navy Sweater…

Six year old Tory Burch Reva flats for the airport until I get my boots on

And I’ll wear my old-worn in, six-year old Tory Burch Reva flats until I get through the TSA, then I’ll put the boots on and put these in my carry on.  Makes sense?

J. Crew light weight wool scarf

I’ll also wrap this lightweight wool scarf from J. Crew around my neck. I don’t like to travel with heavy scarfs and this is the perfect weight!

Navy Schoolboy Blazer will be packed gingerly

Last but not least,  my navy J. Crew Schoolboy blazer. If the weather is somewhat warm in Arkansas, I don’t want to be traipsing around in a heavy coat!  Ugh. the blazer doesn’t look that great from the photo. It never ceases to amaze me how other bloggers seem to have professional photos. HTF can they afford it?

The best thing about this is that after I return home, the carry on will be left out and slowly—very slowly, I’ll be adding items for my summer trip to the Cote d’Azur. It should be easy. The apartment has a washing machine and we spend a lot of time at the beach so I don’t need much! If I lose enough weight, I’ll only need the bottom of my swimsuits anyway!

I have five more months to obsess! That Bonaparte is one lucky man!

I’m in the mood for more Michel Polnareff today:  La Poupee qui fait non!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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10 Responses to The Old Lady and the Mediterranean Sea. Or Why Do I Stress Over Packing?

  1. Leslie Preston says:

    Why do I get so much enjoyment out of what/how you pack for trips? I guess I figure I might fly somewhere, and now I know how to pack. Thanks for the tips! Keep them coming!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hahaha! Leslie. Like Fleetwood Mac made lovin’ fun, I make packing fun! I’m sure between now and next Tuesday evening I’ll be in that carry on bag at least 52 times! I just threw my tweezer in. God forbid I forget my tweezer–how will I get rid of those pesky chin hairs? XOXOXO!

  2. Julia Poulos says:

    I’m am leaving Saturday for Oceania and Australia. Missing the rest of the snow. Will be back in May. I appreciate your packing tips! I am only taking a small roll on for Australia and I spent much time brooding over its contents.

    I loved your makeup tips last week- keep them coming.
    Really enjoy your blog.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Julia! Have a wonderful time! You’re so lucky that you’ll be missing the snow-into-slush factor and you’ll be back when the weather is springy and beautiful! Isn’t it amazing the way we mull over our packing and ohhh–the time spent-LOL! I’ll be sure to keep posting some old lady make up tips! Right now, I’m noticing that the lighting in my home office is nice and bright. Excuse me while I go get my tweezer!! XOXOXOXO!

  3. Carol says:

    You stylish diva you! My fashionista blog is taking shape {but it won’t be published until Chris is with me in March} and I look forward to collabs with you! <3

    I hope you have a safe flight and a great time with Oona. Looking forward to hearing all about your trip…as only you can tell it, of course!

  4. calensariel says:

    (He reminds me a little of early John Lennon.)

    How the hell did you get all THAT in that bag??? 😮

    • Catherine says:

      Oh..He does!! He’s got that Lennon nose! And I can stuff ANYTHING into that carry on. It’s like stuffing my belly fat into a pair of jeans! XOXOXO!

  5. LosiLosLoco says:

    Sounds like a fun time! Hope you enjoy yourself! Or enjoyed yourself? Are you back yet? I dunno but I hope it was amazing. Now regarding your packing habit, well, I already let that go. Not gonna try to fix that one XD I still love you though Catherine! Hug Chippy for me! (That’s your dog’s name right? Please tell me I didn’t screw that up…)

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