Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happiness is...

  • a smart and funny child who makes me smile (she calls me "lady")
  • my newish blog title :) (thank you my friends!)
  • planting new trees on the old homestead (1 maple and 2 beech)
  • discovering that previously planted trees are still alive!! (4 out of 5 maples, a red oak, an eastern pine, many many spruce seedlings)
  • having a sister email me several times a day with positive advice and encouragement
  • having a good friend spend 3 weeks with me to get me over a tough spell
  • marigolds
  • gathering enough dead wood for several more campfires
  • a cold beer (or two) after mowing lawn around my forest during 30+ humid weather...ahhhhh!
  • wandering around Victoria by the Sea with no time restraints; walking out onto the ocean floor when the tide is out!
  • RAW FOOD - tonight's dinner is zucchini spaghetti with alfredo sauce made from cashews :)
  • buying my very own adjustable wrench!!
  • planting kale and lettuce seeds in July - why not?
  • time for reading novels (not exactly classic literature if you know what I mean)
  • icecream (toffee almond twist - a flavour I can only get on the island - I made it THREE WEEKS before I caved!!
  • YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU!! My blogging friends - the best friends in the world!!
  • loving myself, believing that I am worthy
  • meeting relatives for the first time!! My second cousin Dawn and cousin-in-law Cindy
  • travelling to Halifax for the first time - what an amazing city! I love your galleries and museums and especially your thrift/vintage clothing stores!!
  • siblings who care
  • crows for their entertainment value
  • a strong wind that helps keep me cool in this scorching weather AND prevents mosquitoes and flies from landing on me :) :)  now THAT'S happiness!!
  • high speed internet which I DON'T have, but wish I did; it took about 15 minutes to upload the following 5 photos - good thing I didn't try for more! 
                                     The tide is out!
                                    I want a turquoise house (in Victoria by the Sea!!)
                                Chocolate should be on the list - it makes me really really really happy!
                                  PEI scenery - the layers and layers in a landscape.
                              Trees, especially the largest tree in PEI!!!     Julie is a tree-hugger but this one was                                                        way too big for her though she tried!  

                                  Ain't she a beaut!?!          

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So anyways...

Hurrah! I now have what they call here "high speed internet"!! I beg to differ but it's better than what I had before which was just my cell phone. (Can't wait to see my next cell phone bill - NOT!!) Tonight it took a while before I was able to get online but eventually I did, so I should just stop being a whiner!

I've been wondering where to go next with my blog - that's the dilemma I'm currently facing. Now that I AM retired what's next? Things didn't exactly turn out the way I thought they were going to and I still don't know the answer to the Clash song's big question: "should I stay or should I go now?" I really don't know. Honest to God I change my mind about 10,000 times a day. I have had some really rough days here at Crofters Lane - I'm even wondering about changing its name to something else, but if I don't move here then why bother? I'm really overthinking things so am going to let it go for now and try not to think about it. The answers will come.

So, what I'm thinking about now is changing up my blog format, changing my direction to something like:

"Living Alone: Smash the Fear" (Sam - you were the inspiration for that one - at least your fridge is;)!!)

"The Single Life: Pros and Cons"

"The Joys and Sorrows of Life Alone"

"Finding Jane"

"After Retirement - What's Next?"

"Life after Teaching"

"Finding my Way Back"

And on it goes...I am open to suggestions...please! All that "alone" stuff isn't meant to just be morose but to explore the various challenges a woman, aged 58, retired, faces as she goes about her daily life. For instance, I am finding new ways of doing things since I don't have a strong man around. I have to be way more creative. Is that interesting? Do you have an opinion of what direction I should take? Please weigh in with your opinions - I find what you have to say immensely valuable!

In the meantime I'll be sharing photos from the last couple of weeks, and I have TONS! Hopefully you don't mind going back in time a wee bit while I catch up. I haven't done a proper post since I left Ontario 3 weeks ago.

Here's a start; I left London on June 29th, stopping in Barrie for a little jam session...
 Tammy - bass player extraordinaire!
Her talented partner Jay...
Steve and Nancy, the hosts of the evening...
And then entered a saxophone player...
and a tinkler of the ivories...
pretty magical! (Look ma, no hands!!)
Jan, belting one out!
Oh yes, I also play guitar...
On the road again...drove as far as I could that night and then slept in the back seat of my truck at a service centre - yes, indeedy!

There's so much to love about New Brunswick...the hills..
the streams...
the view around every curve...
the lupines were at their peak...
Dougie the Dodge handled beautifully - I was so proud!
I pushed myself and drove from 6am to 10pm...the sunset was brilliant...

and then I arrived at my destination - a sweet little house in rural New Brunswick - good friends, good food, awesome fur babies and a comfy bed. Sigh..... :)

To be continued...

Monday, July 14, 2014


Such fun I am having with the internet.  Bell is coming July 21st. Please keep me in your prayers as they attempt to connect me!  Meanwhile I will keep busy by driving to Halifax and causing mayhem with my friend Jules.  We'll be back on the "gentle island" on Friday.

This past weekend I went to see my sister and enjoy some time at Montague's Summer Days. We also had some family visiting from the States and we had a great time beach combing, eating and gabbing.  I have the distinction of being the first guest in my sister's farmhouse which is still under construction. Thanks to my brother-in- law for hanging a curtain across my bedroom door for privacy:)

I only got a few black fly bites:/

Unfortunately all my photos are on my phone so prepare for some photo heavy posts once I am connected. This post is brought to you by my iPad and the Albert and Crown pub in lovely downtown Alberton. I enjoyed some excellent chowder, a tea biscuit, carrot cake and a glass of wine.

Now back to Crofters Lane to pack for Halifax.  Talk to you soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Internet Woes

Thank you my dear friends for your most supportive and helpful comments on my "reaching out" post from the other day. Staying connected is of vital importance I am finding. I have already implemented some of your suggestions but as I am using my iPad and have none of my photos on it I'll be posting about those things in another post hopefully in the not too distant future.

I really really really want things to get back to normal internet wise. But this is PEI!!  Normal in P E I is when the internet company shows up and "tests the site"!  Ok, admittedly I didn't really understand what that meant, now I do.  This particular company uses towers to transmit the internet signal (please forgive my lack of technical jargon) and proceeded to go up to my roof line in a cherry picker.  No signal.

It seems that my forest was blocking the signal! In this day and age they can't work around the trees? Nope, cut 'em down! Cut them all down! Actually their solution was to hire some guys to install a 35-40' tower at the edge of my property that might then allow a signal to reach little ol' me. Ummmmm no thanks.

So then on my cell phone I chat with an agent of Bell only to find out that wifi and "regular" internet are two different things and I can't afford wifi! The lovely agent said to try Bell Aliant and see if they provide service in the boonies.  To make a long story shorter I discover there is a Bell Aliant dealer in my local Home Hardware store so off I go. Well, I purchased a one year monthly contract (nothing seasonal available from Bell) but do not yet have an appt with them to come and hook things up. Sigh.....I'll call  THEM on Monday and see if I can get things moving, however I'll be away Tues. to Friday so things don't look too hopeful.

By the time I get things hooked up it'll be time to go back to London and I'll be providing free internet to the spiders and chipmunks over the winter months. Sheesh!

Sooooooo, today's post is brought to you courtesy of the only Starbucks on the island in Charlottetown. I'm headed to my sisters place so came early and had a spree at Indigo books as I had $120 left in gift cards. First thing I nabbed was The Globe and Mail newspaper-finally, news of the outside world! I also bought 5 bargain books (already on sale but if you buy five you get an additional 50% off!) I know how to work the system and get the most for my money. I also got a huge wicker basket for my overflow of books (50% off), a couple of books not on sale....GASP!, a blue glass pitcher with matching glasses, a passport holder, a monogrammed  keychain ($2.00), and I forget what else. One of the bargain books was the latest Reader's Digest of home repairs! Stay tuned for some DIY projects:)

So now I must head off into the wild blue yonder. I've been more positive the last couple of days thanks largely to you good folks. Oh, and exciting news! I met another blogger-"I am Sam!!  Many of you know her from her blog. She's wonderful and I'm so glad we finally met. One of these days I'll be coming to visit all of you! That road trip ideas is still in the back of my mind:)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Greetings from PEI

Hi everybody- I've missed you!  Keep your fingers crossed that I am successful in getting wifi hooked up this Friday. I am really in need of some communication with you good folks. Retirement is hard, way harder than I imagined. It's not just that but also I am being steeped in memories at Crofters Lane and I'm finding that hard to deal with too.  Everywhere I turn I see Michael's handiwork and it is almost unbearable. The fire pit, the path through the forest, etc etc. I took one walk through the forest and felt so overwhelmingly sad. This was our place, not my place and I'm not sure at this point if I can do it alone. 
I just wanted to touch base as I know your were probably wondering how things were going. Well, there have been lots of tears and lots of emergency texts to Kazi and my friends. This isn't the way I wanted things to be and I'm having a hard time adapting to life alone. I put on a brave face but really I am feeling like a fish out of water. Friends were "our" friends so I am feeling lonely and isolated. Happily a friend is visiting tomorrow and then my friend Julie arrives next Tuesday, that will help. 

Bye for now.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quickie Time!!

Good evening my faithful friends :)

Today I went back to my feminist roots, yes indeedy. I told myself that old truism (because yes, it's based on the truth!) -
"anything a man can do, a woman can do better!"

And so I proceeded to pack the back of the truck, bearing in mind that I had to contend with and make room for the 800 pound spare tire! And leave room for the cooler which will be packed tomorrow. And lift big heavy awkward boxes up into the truck.  That's why I'm drinking a delicious concoction made up by me of mango sorbet and vodka :)  It's for medicinal purposes of back's a bit sore (NOT!)

There's the first layer in place...see how I managed to squeeze smaller items in between the larger bins, uh huh, uh huh, I know what I'm doing...

I never thought I'd be able to fit in my dad's captain's chair, but I did!! And I put the cooler in though I haven't packed it yet, I just needed to see how much space it would take up. But it works, even all of my friend Jules art supplies and there's ROOM LEFT OVER - HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN??

Tomorrow I hit the dusty trail but not going TOO far - just to Barrie, maybe a 2.5 hour drive......for a JAM SESSION - woo hoo!! Friends that play at the pub in August are making a wee detour tomorrow to do a house party - so I get to see Jay and Tammy early this year - now that's the way to get summer or RETIREMENT off to a fabulous start!! Then I'll turn EAST -----------------
next stop New Brunswick!!  to see good (no, GREAT) friends!! sorbet + vodka = YUMMY!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

And now, the end is here...

Almost!! Only hours to go!! Though, essentially I'm done now. What? I don't think I quite understood that last sentence!  DOES NOT COMPUTE!! I'm what??? Done? Finished? Kaput? Over and out? Out to pasture?


TRULY? They're really going to let me leave? And continue to pay me? Is this legal??  'Cause it feels really weird - like I'm going to wake up and find out it was all a big practical joke!

Last night I dined at the parents of my graduating student, Alex. As a polish immigrant this woman knows how to cook! Pork roulade, chicken that had been marinated for 2 days, and salmon. Two kinds of slaw, potatoes, rice, her world-famous mushroom sauce, green salad, two kinds of dessert. Ooooof! I'm turning into a barrel!

However, I was so glad to leave! Oh my! Her husband said that he likes when they have guests because then his wife has to treat him a little nicer. Nice? You call that nice? The man can say nothing right - every time he started to say something she would interrupt him in her constantly LOUD and SHRILL voice - no, you're wrong....actually, it happened like this....that's not what I meant at all....the point, no, no, let me tell the story...she overpowered him at every turn - I'm surprised he even opens his mouth at all. She insulted him constantly...I could barely stand it and it went on from 5pm til I managed to leave at almost 10pm! What an ordeal!

However, that is done and over so I will move on...tonight I am volunteering at graduation so I will get to say good-bye to many Gr. 12 students who were members of my Best Buddies club - there will be lots of tears. It will be closure for them and for me. Then tomorrow I will go in early one last time, sit at my desk with a cup of coffee...and remember..........then mass, a brief meeting and lunch at Aromas - a wonderful Portugese restaurant here in London. And then...


and then on to the Village Pub for drinkies with friends, pack up my truck on Saturday and hit the road on Sunday. Wow, is this really happening???   Just pinched myself - yup, I'm awake! It doesn't feel real yet, I wonder when it will?

Here are a few pics from my open house - I figure if I keep looking at images from all of the celebrations over the past couple of weeks maybe I'll start to believe it....
 Alex, we are both "retiring"...
 This is the best smile David could muster lol!
 Some of this year's gang - Natalie, David, Alex and Kianna..
A former student - all grown up! So handsome Rustic! and very tall!
 my pal Amanda, she is so very sweet:)
 Former student - Adam (we share the same last name so I always called Adam "my son by another mother!"
Former students and brothers Shawn and Gary - again, all grown up! (and handsome!!)
 Former student Agniezka and her dad - she gave a little impromptu speech and did very well!

 It took some tracking down but I found former student Jesse (her dad died  a couple months ago and she's now living with other relatives); she still loves to rub my head and say "porcupine hair!"
My AV guy, Jerry.  I got to hug so many handsome men that day :)
Cutting my cake - throughout the whole afternoon I only managed to eat a piece of blueberry cake baked at my request by my retiring student's polish mom - she sure can cook!!
 My super duper extra large sized card :)
My retirement pal -Fil - formerly the dep't head of Learning Services...
The staff and students put together a video - perhaps I'll post it one of these days - it was very emotional witnessing each student saying goodbye in their own special way...

good memories or as they say in Tignish - the very best!
the love of my life, former student Todd came to visit so we shared some cake :)
my bestie, Jules, stopped by, thank you my dear one!
 that cake I'm holding? I'm feeding it to Todd, I miss those times with you Todd... (Todd's mom to the left and his dad in the background with Jules...)
 Alex's best buddy - Melissa - they have shared some special moments over the years - they enjoyed dancing together to 60's tunes on Fridays...
the best EA ever and party organizer Michele behind me - thanks Michele!!
our big boy Paul and his mom behind me...

Paul loves to draw and drew some pictures of him and I as a gift - thanks Paul!!
 Some extraordinary best buddies!
It's difficult to see but I am holding a pink glass heart, engraved from Todd :) He stole my heart years ago!
 since it's too late to fire me I figured I could get away with sitting on Todd's knee one last time!!
Colin, a supply EA who spent most of the year with us thankfully, and Cristhian (a former street kid from El Salvador, saved by adoption and brought to Canada), an amazing young man:)
and what a thrill to see Lori once more, she's graduating from another highschool this year after being with me for 5 years. Due to family issues (her parents couldn't manage her behaviour so Lori had to move into a mental health facility which was not within the boundaries of my school). Now she's graduating and her caseworker is looking into a group home placement. Good luck Lori!
 Lori was missing a CCH yearbook from 2011-2012 (she has a mind like a steel trap) and I just happened to have one so I gave it to her. We got her former classmates to write in it so that worked out well :)
Such great smiles! It was the best day of my career seeing all of my students from the past and present together for one last time. Very emotional day...

If you made it to the end of this post - BRAVO!! I feel like I should have something amazingly deep and meaningful to say right now but I just feel exhausted, wrung out and in a daze. I really need a holiday lol!! I'd best get preparing for a long one!!  I have a long to-do list to help me get on my way so I better get cracking! TTYL!!