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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Down Under Trip


OMGG I'm starting to freak right out.  See my plans for my trip to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand have been finalized, flights and insurance paid for, and now the agent, Aruna from Around the World in 80 Ways, is working on my hotels/B&Bs/hostels, ground transportation and various prebooked tours!  Once all is finalized I'll finish off my family and friends itinerary including the various arrival/departure times, what I'm seeing, where I'm staying (with friends or commercial), and links to the various accommodations.  I just received one confirmation of a B&B in Hobart Tasmania and I'm very pleased with it!  Now to be patient and wait for all my other bookings to be made/confirmed by June 2nd.  LOL!
 
Anyways here is the quick agenda:
 
Aug 21st - leave Winnipeg Canada 2:20 pm
Aug 23rd - arrive Perth Australia 5:45 pm
Aug 23rd-26th - staying with Vivienne - visit with Julia
Aug 26th - leave Perth for Adelaide
Aug 27th - Adelaide - free time
Aug 28th - ferry to Kangaroo Island - touring - overnight
Aug 29th - touring - ferry back to Adelaide - free time
Aug 30th - leave Adelaide for Melbourne - free time
Aug 31st - Full day Great Ocean tour
Sept 1st - Full day Phillip Island Penquin Parade tour
Sept 2nd - free time - leave Melbourne by ferry to Devonport Tasmania
Sept 3rd - arrive Devonport - depart on Tassielink coach tour for Hobart - free time with Maria
Sept 4th - Tasmanian Devils tour
Sept 5th - free day - Salamanca Market with Maria
Sept 6th - depart Hobart for Melbourne for Ayers Rock - free afternoon - evening Uluru sunset tour, BBQ dinner & stargazing
Sept 7th - Uluru sunrise and base tour - depart Ayers Rock for Cairns - free evening
Sept 8th - Catamaran Great Barrier Reef cruise (all day)
Sept 9th - Full day Kurunda/Senic Rail/Sky Rail & Tjapukai tour
Sept 10th - free time
Sept 11th - depart Cairns on Spirit of Queensland train 9:00 am
Sept 12th - arrive Cooroy about 7:00 am - go with Margaret to Noosa Resort
Sept 13th - Noosa Resort
Sept 14th - leave Noosa Resort for Brisbane
Sept 15th - free day
Sept 16th - leave Brisbane for New Castle - visit with Merle - Wangi Wangi - Lake Macquarie
Sept 17th - Wangi Wangi - Lake Macquarie area
Sept 18th - leave New Castle early for Sydney by train with Merle - maybe meet with Leanne and lunch at Manly Beach - Merle/Leanne return home
Sept 19th - Blue Mountains tour
Sept 20th - free day - maybe day trip by train/coach to Canberra to visit Sharron - maybe tour Sydney Opera House & Tearoom
Sept 21st - free day touring Sydney with Leanne
Sept 22nd - depart Sydney 11:50 am and arrive Auckland NZ 4:55 pm - visit with Jo
Sept 23rd - touring Auckland - visit with Jo
Sept 24th - touring Auckland - visit with Jo
Sept 25th - leave Auckland by coach for Rotorua via Waitomo Caves
Sept 26th - morning tour around Rotorua - afternoon/evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and Hangi Dinner performance  (told a must see)
Sept 27th - depart Rotorua by train 8:44 am and arrive Wellington 5:16 pm - evening free
Sept 28th - visit Te papa Museum - evening free
Sept 29th - Wellington Botanic Garden - evening free
Sept 30th - free time
Oct 1st - ferry departs Wellington (North Island) for Picton (South Island), then train tour to Kaikoura
Oct 2nd - morning whale watching tour - train departs Kaikoura for Christchurch - staying with Sandra
Oct 3rd - touring Christchurch - staying with Sandra
Oct 4th - touring Christchurch - staying with Sandra
Oct 5th - touring Christchurch - staying with Sandra
Oct 6th - coach departs Christchurch 8:00 am arrives Dunedin 1:50 pm - evening free
Oct 7th - mourning tour around Dunedin and Larnach Castle, afternoon at Otago Penninsula - penquins & albatrosses along Taiaroa Head
Oct 8th - coach departs Dunedin for Invercargill - evening free
Oct 9th - coach departs Invercargill for Bluff and ferry to Steward Island - hiking & exploring birds
Oct 10th - morning tour of Ulva Island Guided Walk - ferry departs for Bluff and coach to Invercargill
Oct 11th - coach departs Invercargill for Queenstown - evening free
Oct 12th - full day trip Milford Sound Cruise - back to Queenstown
Oct 13th - coach departs Queenstown for Franz Josef - maybe helicopter tour over glacier
Oct 14th - coach departs Franz Josef for Westport and touring or free time
Oct 15th - coach departs Westport for Nelson - free time
Oct 16th - Artisans half day tour plus World of Wearable Art museum
Oct 17th - free time - Artisans Market
Oct 18th - flight departs Nelson 1:45 pm arrives Auckland 3:10 pm // then flight departs Auckland NZ 8:00 pm arrives Vancouver BC 1:15 pm // flight departs 7:00 pm arrives Winnipeg 11:41 pm  -  that's all in ONE DAY!!!
Oct 19th-21st - stay home and catch up sleep and pack for quilting retreat
Oct 22nd-25th - OMA's Quilting Retreat - South Beach Casino

Hmmmmm not sure if I'll survive this "once in a lifetime adventure" and then still be sane enough to enjoy my quilting retreat BUT DANG IT I'm going to try!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Retirement Update

OK the first part is finished – invitations have been sent out for both the work party and the "by invitation only" supper for family and some friends.  I can't believe it's actually happening and Monday it will be down to 32 days left (including weekends)!!!
 
Now the Australian/NZ flights including six inland flights have been narrowed down and booked and paid for (last quote was $3,500) – my first major commitment YIKES!!!  Now there may be a slight difference from the quote to the actual booking and then there is my travel insurance to pay this week too.  Then April 29th my travel agent has a tour put on by NZ to visit the changes for tours etc and when she comes back there might be some package changes and then the final bookings for hotels, ground transportation and various tours that are being paid up front.  So once this has been finalized then I'll have a final itinerary and will provide necessary travel info for those meeting me Down Under and also package info for family and friends back home to follow my travels - day to day if they wish!
 
I’ve finalized my travel itinerary except for a visit to Canberra still a maybe until I arrive in Sydney and decide what I'm doing or feel up to - LOL!  I've a loaded two month agenda with some down time but knowing me I'll be out there scouting around on my own - don't want to miss anything if I'm OK!  NOW to get out and back into my walking program and get myself as attuned to daily exercise as I can!  (chuckling)
 
Also I did my taxes on the weekend finally and I’m getting a nice return again, which will go towards my retirement party and the rest into savings till August for the holiday if needed or stay there indefinitely.  Slowly things are falling into place.
 
So already from the staff invitations emailed last week, Sandy mentioned that some staff have already replied and monies have been received!!!  WOW!!!  The email and invitations to those outside of MAFRD and those who've retired before will go out this coming week.  So then that will be it!  The next step is to sort through the mega pictures I pulled out and scan them to send to Tom for the slide and music presentation he's making for my supper party.  Also some pictures for poster boards on display with a few of my quilted projects around the room.  I'm just hoping those making the speeches will be short and sweet and not a roast!  LOL!
 
Now to try and calm down!!!  I've been feeling disjointed and not sure what direction to go next etc  -  very unsettling!  I'm one who needs to know the time and place and I'm usually early getting there - well getting ready for retirement is not falling into step so well - LOL!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Retirement Finally & Australia/New Zealand Too!!!

March 1st, 2015 I delivered my intent to retire effective May 29th, 2015 and talk about an emotionally draining few days after that.  Not sure why as I've known for FIVE years now that I was going to retire - postponed first because of a loan, then timing for the trip was off so delayed more, then another dream trip to Ireland in 2013 and again decided to delay until this spring!  NO MORE DELAYS!!!  LOL!
 
Here I thought I’d not have to start the heavy planning for my September - October "down under trip" until after retirement but not the case as I need a more in stone itinerary with stop overs planned back to my travel agent in two weeks!!!  My life is definitely not going to be normal for a while!!!
 
So on Wednesday I had my first visit with the travel agent specializing in Australian tours.  She did warn me it was an expensive place to visit, you need time and money but it was well worth the expense and to do it in leisure, not rushed!  She did say air fare would be around $3,500 and the sooner it’s booked the better the deal - I'm not keen on waiting for discount deals or standby etc - nope I like to know all is planned.  Then she can work on the mainland travel itinerary and book additional flights, train and coach travel within the package along with motels/hostels where needed. 
 
Just from talking with her she got a grasp of what I want to see and will pick the best of them out so I don’t have to see like 3 zoos or 5 sanctuaries etc, spread my spending monies around more.  Then it was suggested where to start from, how to travel to next, with less criss crossing or double backing etc and I liked most of it.  I wanted more freedom to come and go and change plans but that is not likely except in those couple days of stop overs as flights etc have to be booked. 
 
This will help too with visiting friends – they’ll know when I’m in their area and hopefully we can meet up for visiting/touring.  She asked what my budget was and I got the feeling I’m well under what is needed so will have to give her my thoughts of where I’d like to go etc and then we’ll meet again when she’s put together a few different packages to look over.  Also changing my return flight is not really possible as it’s  not only a $500 change fee but also buying a new ticket!  So I have to decide and stick with it I guess!  YIKES!!!
 
I’ve already sent out emails to my quilting/stitching friends Down Under and some have come back to me with wishes to visit.  Now that I’ve sort of an Itinerary (tentatively mapped out) I’ll have to sit down and plan my stop overs.  I’ve started a new excel file for friends to visit, places to see and shops to check out (not saying I’ll buy too much there but something besides pictures to bring back).
 
Today I downloaded JPGs of Australia and New Zealand maps and pinpointed my major stops with descriptions and possible days at each. 
Now to figure out the time involved and see if it fits into my 6-8 week plans.  I also have to make notations of where my friends are and possible meeting places.  This I truly want to do as many have been so nice and pleasant within emails and having our quilting/embroidery passions in common it would be awesome to personally meet up. 
 
Yes time is a running out especially for my retirement plans!!!  FINALLY!!!
 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

TIAS 2015 - FINALE!

OH well I was wrong again, there was no little finger support on the ring that was partially completed in Day 12's instructions.  But that's OK as it's been a lovely mystery with no great challenges (at least for me this time) and I just LOVE my lovely green scissors!
 
Again thank you Jane for this exercise in keeping the LOVE OF TATTING alive and who knows maybe it's growing but "under cover"?  Please keep dreaming these up for us to enjoy and it sounds like you love the challenge too and hearing back from us during the session! 
 
If you'd like to check out others' attempts or even other TIASs (bottom left of blog) please check out Jane's TAT IT AND SEE blog!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

TIAS 2015 - Days 9 through 12

I'm sure Jane wondered where I was and if I hit a tough spot and/or dropped out?  NO, NOPE, NADA!!!  I was just away for a 4 day quilting retreat with my sister, niece and friends finishing of some WISPs and feeling good about it!!!

So here are days 9, 10, 11 and 12 to get caught up to date with the tatting mystery.  BUT heck this obviously is not a mystery anymore, just the finishing aspects of this last piece to the scissors!



 
I LOVE these mystery tatting projects that Jane dreams up!!!  Check out others at Jane's blog!

Alan's Celtic Runner

OK I managed to find some Celtic fonts for MS Word to download free and saved myself some tedious printing time and a much nicer label too!

Then after my massage I delivered it to Alan and actually see it on display!  Just lovely and yes both Alan and Karen were very pleased with it. 

AND to boot Alan walked me through some APPS and key options with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S and gave me some pointers too - a win-win situation for both of us!!!