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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


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!!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Another UFO Completed

This project was not started until the fall or early winter as I was away on vacation when Alan gave his retirement notice and basically was gone before I got home from Western Canada.  Since he had admired my own Celtic table runner from the red/orange panel I bought while touring Ireland in June 2013, it was a no brainer of what he would like.  But this time I asked for his input before ordering the fabric panel from Fabric Freedom which ended up to be one-third the price from the US supplier on EBay and it arrived in 5 days - WOW!!!

So I had a couple of visits with Alan and Karen recording their input of which blocks to use and the layout and his choice of green for the inner border - I was not up to making that decision when Alan is a very meticulous person of varied interests!  I wanted this table runner to be his choice so he'd be pleased to display it and remember our working days together.  The left over two blocks I made into coasters for his glass coffee table.

I worked on framing the inside blocks with a mottled green and have like a very small piece left over - PHEW.  Then went over again with various blues for the outer border and wouldn't you know it the one that we all liked best I did not have enough of!!!  So back online trying to figure out where I bought it from and it was like a week before I finally found it at Oma's Quilt Shop!  She had 2.2 metres left and I asked for all of it - lucky too as I have like a ten inch strip of it left - it was just enough to use for the backing too!  This table runner was specifically measured to fit his side table and was finally finished off this weekend at the Gimli Retreat with the charms Alan ordered himself and the label in Celtic font finished yesterday evening.
Thank you Ola for providing the comparison.

I was teasing Alan that I really love this table runner and should keep it for myself.  But I won't be that mean - anyways, I have my own red/orange table runner and my left over blocks will be made into a skinny vertical wall hanging to go with the runner.