A look back and forward

I usually do this post between Christmas and New Year’s but was busy finishing my PreCalc class then. I wrote the final today, so it’s time to review 2017 and look ahead to 2018.

It was a very good year. Lots of adventures, lots of time with friends, lots of learning.

  • In February, I travelled to Cuernavaca, Mexico with a group from church on a social justice learning experience. It was amazing, and definitely a life-changer. Before flying home I went over to Mazatlan to visit my friends Myrna and Glen on their last winter retreat. A wonderfully relaxing time.
  • While I was in Mazatlan, I decided to go online and check out what dogs were available for adoption. Just looking. The plan was to wait until the end of July before getting a dog, but then I saw this picture:

How could I resist? On February 28th Posey moved in. Love her to bits.

  • It was about this time that I called the school board and told them to take me off the sub list. I was saying no every time they called anyway. Retirement is awesome!
  • In June, I went on a tour of Newfoundland with my friends Jo and Judy. It was a fabulous trip! I was hoping to see icebergs, whales and puffins.

Mission accomplished!

  • July brought my last retirement year trip – a bus tour to Haida Gwaii with my friend Betty Lou. We had a lot of great adventures (and misadventures) and laughs together.
  • It was while I was on the ferry to Haida Gwaii that I got a call from a publisher offering me a contract to publish a story of mine as the first Pickles children’s book, with creator Brian Crane. So exciting!
  • In August, Posey and I went camping at Kimball Lake for 9 days. We both loved it.
  • In August, I also started the final push to solicit letters from widows for a book that will be out this year. Now that my PreCalc class is done, it’s full steam ahead on it!
  • I signed up for two classes at the end of August PreCalc 30 and hula hooping. Unfortunately the hula hooping class was cancelled due to a lack of participants. (I know – I couldn’t believe it either!)
  • In September I joined Weight Watchers because it was time to shed some poundage. I’ve reached half my goal so far, and have much more energy now.
  • In November, I traveled to Toronto for a weekend conference for widows. It was very good. Exhausting, but very good.

So what’s up for 2018?

  • Calc 30
  • Dear Me: The Widow Letters will be out this spring.
  • Camping at Kimball Lake this summer.
  • The Pickles book will be out this fall.
  • Another birding trip with my friends Adele and Ray, this time to Ecuador! (December)

Despite having the occasional widow panic attack (I can’t do this alone!), my confidence in myself is growing. I feel Bill with me often, which now can bring smiles as well as tears. Love lives on. Life is good.

May 2018 bring you joy and adventures!



Looking back, looking forward



I always feel like the end of the year is like being at the top of a mountain. Look one way and you can see where you were in the last year, look in any other direction and you can see the possibilities for the next year. Between Christmas and New Year’s is when I like to climb my mountain.




2016 was another year of adventure and change for me.

  • In February, I took my first solo trip out of the country. I went to Cuba over the school break. It was important to me to prove to myself that I could do it. Plus I saw some new birds. 🙂
  • In March, Bill’s brother, Bob, died. He had cancer and it changed him. It was like his spirit died when he got his diagnosis, and finally his body caught up with it. It really was a blessing.
  • I retired at the end of June. Thanks to Bob’s generosity, I was able to retire a few years earlier than planned. After seeing too many people die too young, it felt like the right thing to do. I am enjoying it immensely!
  • I finished two quilts this year. One for myself and one for a friend’s new baby. I’m not speedy, but I am enjoying it.
  • I went camping for two weeks in August at Kimball Lake. That place always restores my soul. And I survived a big storm in my tent – playing my ukelele and singing at the top of my lungs because no one could hear over the thunder anyway. 🙂
  • I visited my friend Bett in Kitchener at the end of August. I was amazed that almost every building there is made of brick. And I saw both a male and female cardinal. Bonus!
  • In September, I fell down an old well hole and broke my arm. I should say, and only  broke my arm. It could have been much worse. And it’s about 90% back to normal now.
  • Right after breaking my arm, I visited my friends Cathy and Nick in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Of course, it was a little different trip than I had originally planned, but they took good care of me and we had a wonderful visit. Cathy and I drove up to the magnificently beautiful Crater Lake one day. If I had seen that sight on a postcard I would have sworn it had been photoshopped. Amazing.
  • I’ve done a little subbing. Breaking my arm put a kink in those plans, but I’ll do more next year. Although I have to admit I really enjoy being able to go “Umm, no, I don’t feel like working today.”
  • My retirement dream trip was a December birding trip to Costa Rica with my friend Adele and her husband Ray. We arranged it through a company called Costa Rica Gateway. We had a guide (Steven Easley) who took us around to different areas of the country and over the 12 days, we saw an incredible 382 different birds! Plus learned to take better pictures. I didn’t get pictures of all the birds we say, but I’m working my way through the thousands of pictures I did take and am sure I have over 200 to add to my site. It was a fantastic trip with great friends and a terrific guide.
  • Greg and Troy and I spent a quiet Christmas together. I’m lucky to have them so close. We opened presents, ate turkey and watched Elf, which was Bill’s favourite Christmas movie.

So, overall it was a good year. And more adventures are planned for 2017!

  • In February I’m going to Cuernavaca, Mexico with a group from church and then hopping over to Mazatlan to visit my friends Myrna and Glen before flying home.
  • In June I’m going on a tour of Newfoundland and Labrador with my friend Jo. Hoping I see some icebergs and some puffins.
  • In July I’m going on a bus trip to Haida Gwaii with my friend Betty Lou. Then my year of retirement travelling is done. I’ll do some more camping in August, then get a dog and stay home. And be very content.

I have so much to be thankful for. True, it’s a different life than I was expecting, but it’s not a bad life. I still miss Bill, and always will, but I know he’s near and is always looking out for me.

I hope 2016 was a good year for you as well, and wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Saying Good-bye

The house is sold. The new owners take possession next Friday. It’s time to say goodbye.




This is the ramp that led into the house from the garage. When we first bought the house, the ramp was only 2/3 as wide, and folded up against the wall. After Bill became less mobile and needed the ramp all the time, some of the guys that he worked with at Mitchell’s came out and widened the ramp and added the railing. It’s a testament to the great relationship he had with his Intercon “brothers.”









The living room – Bill’s chair was always at the left edge of the short wall, next to the magazine rack/table with the phone and (of course) the remotes. The couch was originally along the longer wall, but later was replaced by a loveseat in the corner and Bill’s computer desk along the wall.







The view of the living room from Bill’s spot. The TV was in the corner to the left of the windows. The dogs’ beds were next to the TV under the window, which explains why one shade was always part-way open – Shadow would rest his head on the window sill and watch the goings-on outside.







The kitchen was largely Bill’s domain, for most of our marriage. He made the majority of the meals. He wasn’t a fancy cook, but he was a good cook. And he made the best ribs – bar none!









This was Bill’s room, where his hospital bed was. We had a lift put in as well, after his second lengthy stay in hospital. But once he got some of his strength back he preferred to lower the bed to the same height as his chair and slide over on to it. He was a proud and independent man, and it was hard seeing him lose that independence as he become sicker and sicker. The stand held (of course) a TV and his own satellite control box so he could watch whatever he wanted while he was in bed.








Bill loved BBQing out on the deck in the summer. Hamburgers, steaks, pork chops, chicken, sausages – and of course, finishing off his awesome ribs. He’d have the stereo on, blasting songs from the ’60’s. “Who’s this?” was his favourite question. I sometimes knew – he ALWAYS knew.







This is the fencing around the garden that Bill and I strengthened the summer before he got sick. We made a great team. He was the brains and I was the brawn. I always appreciated that he showed me how to do things and encouraged me to learn how to use basic tools.





I loved this house, but without Bill there, it was no longer a home. I like my new condo and I’m glad the house sold quickly. Glad and sad. This was the last place Bill lived, the fifth and last place we lived in together. It’s right, but hard, to say good-bye.