It’s a New Life

Once again I am apologizing for not blogging as frequently as I promised. I actually made a New Year’s resolution to blog weekly and, as with most resolutions, that one got broken too. I did have a good reason though and you’re going to hear all about it.

I retired from nursing six years ago. The work was becoming hard physically and mentally I felt it really wasn’t as challenging as it could be. I needed something different. I thought I would relax, do some writing, study the use of crystals in health and healing, maybe travel a little, further explore my interest in politics. I did run for political office, unsuccessfully but that was okay. The hubby and I had always wanted, we thought, to spend our winters in a warm place and of course be home the rest of the year. We did travel to Great Britain and had a fabulous trip. We bought a mobile home in Florida and a trailer in Ontario, did some sight seeing, golfing, learned shuffleboard, played cards, all the things snowbirds do, but things change.

We really weren’t satisfied with that lifestyle. When you have worked all your adult life, it’s very hard to make the switch. We missed our sons and their families. The grandchildren were growing up and we weren’t there to see it happen for half the year. Other than being warm all winter, the Florida lifestyle was not for us. Nor was the trailer life we envisioned having here in Ontario. I missed having my “things” around me, I missed my family, and I missed my friends. So we sold our mobile home in Florida and our trailer in Ontario and got ourselves a nice little apartment, easy to care for and once again I have what I need and want at hand. But as I said, things change.

We sold our Florida place in mid-February with the new owners taking possession on March fifteenth. Just after the sale but before we came home we heard that one of our council members had passed away unexpectedly. As I said, I had run unsuccessfully in the city election, three were elected and I came in fourth so I wasn’t sure if her passing would have any effect on me. I got a phone call a few days later from a private citizen to ask if I still lived in the city. Then after a few more days, I received a call asking that, if the city council decided to appoint someone for the last eighteen months of the term and if I was nominated, would I accept the appointment. Since I had long wanted to serve my city and it’s residents, the answer was an easy one for me. I said yes and was subsequently appointed about five days after returning from Florida.

Whew and that’s how I got to this point in my retirement. Things change and I have a whole new life happening right now. I love it! I am working again but I’m not physically exhausted. I’m using my brain, my listening skills, my public speaking skills, what I hope are my people skills. I am a bit obsessive-compulsive at work. I like a clean desk at the end of the day, accomplished not by just putting everything away but by answering the messages & solving the problems. I am trying to make my city just a little bit better and am thoroughly enjoying this new life.




But We Just Moved!



One week after moving into our sweet little apartment, it’s time to begin our winter sojourn to our little mobile home in Florida. Crazy I know but we really don’t like the winter cold anymore and go to great lengths to avoid it. This season the plan was to travel south in November, the high cost of medical insurance and having just found our apartment, it seemed better to wait again until January. Next year I’ll be a better planner, at least I’ll try but, like most New Year’s resolutions, that too might not make it. Ah well; we live in hope.

With just about everything I own still in boxes, I started my vacation packing with the most obvious, clean out my purse. Most people I know wouldn’t consider it essential but when we travel, my purse turns into the repository of everything from passports to gas receipts. Add in a wallet containing American money and my regular Canadian money wallet and my small case for holding all cards, my cell phone, some headache tablets, keys for Florida and home and you can see that it gets really full, really fast. Occasionally I also have to carry the hubby’s wallet and keys also. He complains about the hard time I have finding things once in a while but, he too would be lost without my purse. Now that task is complete, I can move on with the rest of the packing. Clothes and toiletries of course as well as food that would rot if left here for a couple of months and what I consider kitchen essentials that travel everywhere with us. We learned last year that Florida is not always hot and sunny, sometimes it’s not even warm, so a few extra long sleeve shirts and a couple of sweaters were added this year.

We’ve made this trip quite a bit over the years so we basically know how to get to the sunshine state, but I gave the hubby a gps device for Christmas in the hopes it would be good to have for any little side trips we may take. The darn thing still isn’t programmed, we have pages of instructions to follow online and I’m just not that adept at these. Maybe I should give it to my four year old grand daughter to program for me, she seems to be a budding techie.

Next thing I pack is the personal care bag. I take a couple of meds for diabetes, the hubby takes nothing, but I had to sign a paper at the pharmacy swearing I was going on vacation and needed the extra meds. Sheesh, are diabetic medications selling on the black market now? If we feel a cold coming on, I have vitamin “c” and then first aid stuff. Then of course cosmetics, toothbrushes, our preferred soap etc. Why not buy that type of thing after I arrive? Because I have personal preferences that I’m afraid I won’t be able to get elsewhere and I already have a ton of this at home so why waste time and money buying more. Makes perfect sense to me. Besides I always forget something that I have to replace when travelling anyway.

At the end of it, our minivan is well packed with every conceivable necessity. It looks like we’re moving all over again. But even though we just moved, we are ready to do it again! So setting out at four am; or five; maybe six, anyway we avoid the worst of the morning traffic and hit the road. Every trip is an adventure!






























Back to Reality



I am back to writing, after about eight months of not writing and feeling quite guilty about it. I kept telling myself that I didn’t have time to write anything so I just didn’t, but really I just didn’t carve out the time I needed to write. So much was going on that I allowed myself to be distracted, yet everything that happened were things that every retiree goes through at some point in time.

To start the hubby and I decided we wanted a home in Florida. Although recent events in that state have made us question our decision, we made a quick trip last December to look at and ultimately purchase a mobile home almost smack dab in the middle of the Sunshine State. It’s not huge, a single wide park model, and some painting and repairs were needed, but it’s comfortable, the people are nice and let’s face it, there’s no snow. I Have to apologize for the picture. It is from the back of our trailer in Florida and I forgot to crop but it gives you an idea of our nice little space.

We decided to leave our townhouse too. We sold our home a few years ago and were renting so we thought why put out that much money when we won’t be there five months out of twelve. So we left at the end of our lease and bought a trailer in a small park situated on the shore of Lake Ontario. Our children and grandchildren live about an hour away so the choice was easy.

But I have to tell you, all these lifestyle changes were a real shock to the system. We moved a lot of our “stuff” to Florida when we went there and the rest we put into a rather large storage unit. We also donated some belongings, sold some of the furniture, and took some to the dump but we still had a lot left. Hence the need for a storage unit.  My goal this summer is to go through all our belongings again and decide what more we want to take with us to Florida and what we can either sell, give away or trash. One thing that really bothers me is there is no place to hang my pictures right now. I don’t have a big, wonderful art collection but I have a number of prints either given as gifts or purchased just because I really like them. Here at our trailer in Ontario, there isn’t much wall space for hanging things but we do have much more space in Florida, so quite a few pieces will be making the journey with us in November. What do I like, really like, about trailer life? There is so much less space to clean!

Although I am enjoying the quiet and solitude here during the week, I miss seeing my friends and family more often so we are still undecided about staying in a trailer here. I will try it for this year but I am leaning to going back to a rental if we can find one that is reasonably priced.

I have one other issue with being retired, I am not focused enough on what I want to do with all my time. I want to write so I must make time for that. It’s not hard, I have lots of time, but setting aside time for a specific task is difficult for me as my mind wants to go to many different scenarios at once. So to solve that I decided I need to meditate. I used to meditate about a hundred years ago but life and all its busyness got in the way. so now I meditate sporadically. I have vowed to do it on a daily basis. My meditation has led me to a new interest that I’ll tell you all about on these pages as time goes by. Hopefully my blogging again will bring me back to the reality of a calm, organized life.


The Marine Railway Spectacular




We are fortunate to have very good friends who own a cottage on the shores of Lake Couchiching in Orillia, Ontario. They also have a pontoon boat and take us out on it when the opportunity arises, When planning a weekend at their place last summer, our friend asked if we’d like to boat up to the Big Chute Marine Railway. Who could possibly say no to spending a whole day on a boat meandering a waterway that leads through some of the loveliest scenery, to an engineering marvel? Not me that’s for sure. So we made plans, packed up some snacks, lots of water and of course sunscreen, and prepared for our boating excursion. No alcohol involved as it’s frowned upon when boating and against the law for the skipper to drink when boating. Knowing this would be a whole day, we set off pretty early, just after breakfast and prepared to enjoy. Let me give you a brief history of the Marine Railway and the Trent Severn waterway it accesses.

The waterway itself extends from Trenton in the south on Lake Ontario, up about 386 kilometres to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron in the north. The boats pass through a series of locks, swing bridges and under taller bridges. The small portion we were boating through would take almost nine hours to traverse, involve three locks and a swing bridge. Samuel Champlain was the first European to travel the entire distance in the 1600’s and he would have had to portage several times carrying his canoes overland to avoid waterfalls and rapids. The route was later canalized and in 1833 construction of the locks began. It took eighty-seven years to complete and by 1920 a boat could complete the route. Initially the system was built for industry but is now used for recreation and tourism.

Travelling by boat is not about racing up the river. There are speed limits enforced to protect other boaters, swimmers and water craft. We enjoyed the magnificent scenery and peeks at cottages along the way, marvelling at the ones that had a hundred stairs from cottage to lakefront. If I was in one of those I’d take a full day’s supply of whatever so I didn’t have to walk those stairs three or four times, unless I had a weak bladder.

So we chugged along slowly and quietly, enjoying utter relaxation that only the water can bring. Our boat, even with the canopy up, was low enough to go under the swing bridge, barely, and I held my breath as we went; whew we made it. Then on to the first of the three locks. when travelling through a lock, we had to drop the bumpers over the side and attach to a metal ring so we didn’t float all over the place. You drive in, get ready and the lock doors close behind the boats. The locks can hold quite a few boats and you just sit there and let the water level do its thing. It was my first time in a lift lock so really exciting. The walls look so high, probably twenty feet or so, the water is let in through unseen pipes I presume, and we just slowly rise to the level of the next part of the river. On the return trip the process is reversed. It really doesn’t take too long to go through each lock. I wish I had timed it but I think no more than a half hour at each one. Of course we did extend that a couple of times for needed bathroom breaks. The waterway meanders off in different directions but fortunately, the folks at Parks Canada have erected large, painted signs so we didn’t get lost. Well actually, we did once but that was because the sign was covered by overgrown brush and we didn’t see it.





Finally we came to the Marine Railway! It is so neat! First you gently float your boat into a cradle of sorts. There are helpers to get you straight and they place slings under the boat front and back that are then attached to the mechanism. Each boat is cradled separately, there are front and back wheels for each to keep the boats level and the slings keep your boat steady. A system of hydraulics raises your boat out of the water, on rails, about sixty feet up and then down the other side where you are gently deposited into Georgian Bay, unhooked from everything and off you go to explore some more. It seemed that the whole bay is visible from the top of the railway, just gorgeous!

We didn’t have time to explore very far into the bay as the locks close at seven pm on the weekends and we had to get back but wow I hope we get to take a weekend the next time we do the trip!


Retirement – Smile for the camera





I was told that photos will enhance my blog posts, attract the reader’s eye, encouraging them to read my posts and come back for more. I’d like to think my writing alone is so riveting that folks will eagerly await my next words but as they say “a picture is worth a thousand words” so I will add pictures to my blogs and hope I can find the appropriate ones.

I made a large list of all the sites to go to and download free photos. I’m really good at making lists, the rest of the task, not so much but I plug along and eventually find my way. I prefer the free sites as my blog isn’t commercial and I would rather not to pay for photos if I don’t have to. The absolute best thing to do of course, is take your own photos and use them, so I’ve started carrying my little camera with me wherever I go. Then I realized that my point and shoot might not be good enough to do justice to the things I am photographing, or could it be the user of the camera who doesn’t really know enough about her equipment? This question resulted in me spending an entire day reading the camera manual and discovering the wonderful things little point and shoot digitals can do. I now have a notebook to go with the camera, with instructions and definitions written out and where I can keep a list of the photos I take. Some of these have, and will continue, to find their way onto my blog, the rest I’ll keep for a while. Except for the really bad ones.





Digital photography is really quite wonderful. Combined with a computer and just a smattering of knowledge, we can enhance our favorite photos enough to make them usable. Keeping in mind that I’m really a beginner, I want to start taking better pictures. I don’t use a SLR (single lens reflex) though the hubby has one but I want to snap what I like and have it turn out. Although I’m not artistic, I want to slow down, take my time to think about composition and the rule of thirds and just take better pictures. As an example, I was amazed by the palm trees in Ireland so I took a picture of them posing my son in front of a palm to give the shot some perspective. I now have a great shot of my son with a palm tree growing out of his head. This type of mistake can be avoided with a little care and planning. With notebook and camera tucked away in my purse I’m ready for any spontaneous photo opportunity as long as I can look up the rules in my little book and figure out the settings on my camera. I don’t compose my own pictures yet but this too I will learn.

I plan to learn as much as I can about photography and I hope you’ll see a difference in my blog as I practice and expand picture taking beyond the “smile for the camera” photos I’ve done so far.