It’s our stuff!

I think the best part of moving is unpacking your stuff and figuring out what to do with it. It’s so nice to open a box and see one of your possessions and know exactly where it will be placed in your new home.   Our decorating style is pretty neutral with the odd complimentary accent piece and art.

Prior to moving in we decided that the 3rd bedroom would become a study or reading room. It houses our computer, a sofa bed, bookshelf and curio stand. We’ve ended up with quite a hodge podge of mementos, art and knick-knacks in this special room.

I suppose it would be a professional decorator’s nightmare. They wouldn’t know where to start to make everything ‘flow’ and there certainly isn’t a common theme. Besides books, the bookshelf has an Inuksuk, a panda bear plate, a ceramic penguin and a featured book of Van Gogh.

There are prints from Roy Vickers whom I’ve loved for a long time. He’s a West Coast artist that Lanie introduced me to. The print over the sofa is a Santa Fe type impression by Irene Klar, an artist from Edmonton.

But wait, in the curio cabinet is an Eskimo jade carving, polar bears, a penguin, elephants and a 70-year-old ceramic horse. I still have to figure out where to put the Bob Marley wooden mask!

As I said, a decorator would take off running. I think it’s ok though as everything means something to us and I think it all has a place there.  I think that is ‘theme’ or ‘flow’ enough.

I will apologize for any nightmares ahead of time to our overnight guests who use the sofa bed!



A nice bond

Coming home from Seattle on the Clipper we sat in front of two men whom I found to be loud and annoying. They were en-route to Victoria for a business meeting. It was obvious that the gent sitting at the window was higher in the company echelon (Mr. Boss). His coworker (Jan) was working really hard at impressing him.  We heard the complaints of the poor breakfast at the Clipper Cafe compared to the 5 Star hotel Mr. Boss was staying at (duh) and the fact that he was pretty angry this meeting was so early in Canada.  Mr. Boss called his assistant many times changing his flight plans for a future flight – twice forgetting her name.  Then the voice control emails began.  He commented to his travelling companion how inept these voice controls are but he continued to send them.

Jan pointed out some of the great scenery.  He told Mr. Boss that he and his wife had thought about buying on Whitby Island – it was very beautiful.  Mr. Boss said snottily “Oh really?  I do like Florida.  Are there golf courses there?”

Mr. Boss said he couldn’t believe the customs officer in SEA called Jan, Janice.  Jan reacted quite emotionally (and louder than usual): “that’s my name!!”  Mr. Boss said “really?”  “Yes, Janus is my name, J-A-N-U-S. It would be Janice if I was a female”  SILENCE.

More work related, professional conversation continued.  I actually felt sorry for Jan.  Mr. Boss was difficult and Jan was not making headway.  Then, the pivotal moment came.  Jan yawned and said “I’ve been awake since 3 a.m. when our dog jumped on our bed and puked.  Then he looked at us as if to say ‘what are we going to do today?’ haha”.  Mr. Boss instantly softened. “Really, you have a dog?  What kind?  I have two Whippets”.  Their strained working relationship barrier was eased. They’d found a common thread and a pretty great one, I thought! They talked about the ages of each dog, their habits, showed pictures on their phones, etc. Although I was not facing them, I know there were smiles on their faces. I quickly warmed up to these two guys.  They like dogs.

I love that no matter how pretentious, cranky, and arrogant people can be, talking about their pet completely changes their disposition in such a positive way. It also changes the way I view some people. I ended up thinking these guys were okay! I even partially forgave Jan’s final comment as we pulled into Victoria Harbour – “weird looking boat over there, must be bringing in beer, it’s Canada after all”.

Gilligans Island?


On October 24th, my cherished sister Lanie passed away. Grief really is such a personal thing, isn’t it? You won’t hear about how I’m doing with that – that’s between her and I. But, I hope to share my favourite memories of her. One is below.

Given our age difference, I think Lanie felt protective of me in a way and at times she wanted to give me some almost parental advice. I often heard ‘Now Debbie’, ‘Let me tell you’, ‘you may not want to hear this but….’

Sometimes it irked me, but most of the time I knew she just cared and she thought it important that I had her views on things.

Over the years of living in Calgary, she often remarked at how much meat we ate and how much we barbeque. ‘You Albertans!’ When I would complain about the weather I would hear a sigh as if to say ‘you choose to live there’.

We talked often about how nice it would be if we moved to Vancouver Island when we retired. We’d be able to see each other more and have some Sunday dinners.When it came to fruition that we would be retiring and moving to Parksville, I had one of the best conversations with her. I smiled for days.

Lanie: Now Debbie, are you sure you want to be an island girl? You guys eat so much meat. You’d have to learn to like fish. What about the rain? You can’t just stay inside when it rains, you have to get on some boots and go out in it. Are you up for it?

Me: I like fish.

Lanie: You won’t be able to get your nails done all the time here. That’s all going to change. It will be different here.

Me: (Laughing) Lanie, you sound like I’m moving to Gilligan’s Island!!

Lanie: Well, I just want you to be prepared; it’s going to be a lot different than Calgary.

I miss and will always miss her perspective on things – and our conversations

– Ginger




Below is a part of my retirement farewell note to my colleagues outside of our office. The note was sincere and still is. I am grateful that I worked for such a great company and for the most part, I did enjoy my job. But wow, I am so surprised how little time it has taken me to put the actual work all behind me. I’m blessed to have carried over some lifetime friends and I hope they will be a part of my life forever. I think fondly of some colleagues and hope they are doing well. I think of others and even though I know we’ll never be friends, I wish them well too.

Articles on the Company spark my interest and I am incredibly proud that I was an employee. Otherwise – I feel so detached and almost feel guilty for feeling that way. I’ll need to keep reminding myself that some of my colleagues and customers are likely feeling the same way and saying “Debbie who??”

Good Day Everyone,

Tomorrow will be my last day of work before retiring after 25 years of service.  It has been a privilege to manage XXXX over the last five years.  I am grateful for your trust and support and I could not have wished to end my career with this great Company in any other capacity.

I have read many retirement good-bye notes over the last few years and there has always been one common thread; what great people I have had the opportunity to work with.  I couldn’t agree more.  No doubt working in Customer Relations for 19 years was challenging at times but I was so fortunate to have had the support, knowledge, camaraderie, humour and friendship of my fellow colleagues in CR and you.  Thank you.

I also owe thanks to the customers I’ve dealt with (ok, not all ☺).  Lots of life’s lessons learned from my interactions with them.  The stories I have could fill a book – and they may some day!  Stay tuned.

I’m incredibly grateful that working for XX, in a job I enjoyed, has allowed me to retire at a (relatively!) younger age, with a good pension and benefits.  Mark and I are looking forward to starting this new chapter of our life in Parksville on Vancouver Island.  Hopefully my days will be filled with spending quality time with my sister and her family, beach walks, golfing, gardening, reading and of course travel.  As I’ve said to a few of you, I’m going to trade in my heels and Uggs for some Birkenstocks and rubber boots!

I wish XX continued success on every level – I’ll be reading and watching as a proud retiree.  Most importantly, I wish you and yours good health and happiness in the years to come.



About 20 years ago I went to a psychic. All in all, he was pretty accurate in pinpointing what was going on in my life at the time. I was impressed even though I was a tad circumspect about his future predictions for me. He knew my birth month – crab is July’s symbol so of course he could say that in order for me to be truly at peace I should live by the water. Still, I thought of that statement often.

I grew up happily near the water in the beautiful North Okanagan. In later teen/early 20 years, I really didn’t care if I was by water, unless it was in my rye or there were ‘boys’ on the beach!

I didn’t live by the water in Calgary but for the most part I was happy and content. I had a beautiful home, great job, wonderful lifelong friends and family, not to mention the breathtaking surrounding landscape. Most importantly, I met Mark there.

We have been in Parksville BC for about 7 weeks now and honestly I have never experienced such ‘at peace’ moments as I’ve had here. It’s like exhaling a deep breath or saying PHEW. Even though we’re going through so many life changes, this place feels right.   Accurate psychic prediction or coincidence, I don’t care.  I feel like I’m home.

“And I shall watch the ferry boats, and they’ll get high, on a bluer ocean against tomorrow’s sky. And I will never grow so old again, and I will walk and talk, in gardens all wet with rain…”
― Van Morrison




Hey, thanks for checking out my blog. Although I’ve enjoyed writing over the years, I have never had the time to do a lot of it. Retirement has allowed me the time to reflect and write.

I am excited about this new hobby but also a little nervous and apprehensive. Please give me your thoughts, comments and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Rather than give you a long opening intro about my life, I’m hoping you will get to know me through my posts – if I can keep your attention that long!

Thanks again.