Update – November 21/17

To anyone who recently decided to follow this blog. It is now full. You can certainly go back in the posts to see all 110 of them if you wish, but the blog is full and no new posts are planned. There are some really good posts here of our 2014 trip to NZ/Australia. Thanks for following.

Here is where you can find my other blogs.

February 2/18 UPDATE



July 6/16 UPDATE

Blog above is also full and I have initiated another at


December 24/16 UPDATE

You know the spiel. Here is the latest link.


Thanks for reading.




For those of you who still visit, this blog is full, so I have initiated a new one. Here is where you can find it.


July 6/16 UPDATE

Blog above is also full and I have initiated another at


December 24/16 UPDATE

You know the spiel. Here is the latest link.


Thanks for reading.



A Year of Living Dangerously – Retirement 1 Year In

Many people asked me how I knew it was time to retire, how I planned for retirement or what I was going to do with the time that I used to spend on the job. The decision to retire was easy. While the job was still challenging, it was no longer fun. In truth, the job had not been fun for over 2 years and it was getting tougher to stay motivated. The challenges now had more to do with how I handled my projects, rather than consistently getting the best results and price, time after time. In 2012, as my 4 week vacation drew to a close and I felt I was not yet ready to return home and head back to work, a lightbulb went on. It was then that I started planning for the promotion I had worked my whole career for….retirement.

As to a detailed plan of what I would do instead, the truth is that I did not have one. Not one clue, nor had I even created a basic framework of how I would fill all those days and days of “extra” time. That, in hindsight, likely showed I was as ready for retirement as I would ever be.

You see, I am a planner. My mind is always spinning trying to see how I can fit just one more thing into an already tight schedule. That was my job with TD for 38 years, 7 months and 9 days. How could I ever possibly hope to stop that runaway train? Many people predicted failure, said I would be lost without my career, sitting around all day watching television or some other time-wasting occupation. Or worse yet, back looking for another full-time job.

In reality, the sudden transition from the 50-75 hour weeks on the job to full-time at home was not easy. I had planned my “escape” vacation and my first “retired” home improvement project (flooring) when I was still working. Early on, I even boldly predicted I would finish that project on March 31/15. I did just that, at precisely 2:01 PM, when I put the last coat of touch-up paint on the baseboard on the stairs. I obviously still had a way to go to perfect my “retirement”.

Numerous other projects followed, as I worked through the long list that had accumulated while I gave of all my time and energy to TD. Somewhere in July, things started to slip a little. Oh, I still had projects and still took them on at full speed, but it was more about the execution and less about a firm timeline. They still went quickly and while it looked like I was not really slowing down, I was now taking the time to get it right, to explore what made things work, how the pieces fit together, what method worked best, how I could do it all and still have some fun?

All this, while not earning a wage for 12 long months. Oh, there was my final TIPS bonus from TD in January, my monthly CPP, some CRA refund money and I even did a couple of small projects around the neighbourhood, for cash. My beloved was still bringing home the bacon, but spending patterns had to be adjusted to ensure we could, in fact, live within the budget I had planned out 9 long months before my last day on the job.

Overall, how did I fare?

Hits (in no particular order)

  • fabulous trip Down Under to make the break between work and retirement
  • completion of 8 projects around the house and yard
  • repairs to washer and dryer appear to have worked
  • tidy yard and great tomato crop
  • survived helicopter flying experience
  • hiked 101.7 km in the Edmonton River Valley trail system
  • read 13 books
  • improved my cooking and baking skills
  • fit in more coffee breaks with friends than I was ever able to do during my career
  • 2 engaged sons in the span of 3 weeks (I can take no credit for this)
  • 2 visits with son Brian and Kathleen in Vancouver
  • numerous visits with son Liam and Amanda, including a day trip to take engagement photos in Jasper
  • trip to Montreal, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for fall colours
  • visits with Linda and Lloyd, Bill and Marilyn and family and Colleen and Rene and family
  • cleaned out the garden shed
  • started cleaning out the garage and basement
  • Christmas lights up before end of September (OK, so this one is a bit overboard, but, to be fair, I was leaving on vacation for 3 weeks and we all know how bad Alberta fall weather can be)
  • lost 10 pounds
  • actually picked up my Mandolin and was still able to pick a few tunes
  • tackled the cost of phone/data/cable with the big 2 and managed to shave 25% off my monthly cost.
  • Wrote a diary of sorts with this blog

Misses (in no particular order)

  • no real improvement with mandolin skills
  • still have not finished the 3 partially read books in my nightstand
  • still have not read the 4 magazines in my nightstand
  • not enough progress on regular quality cleaning of the bathrooms
  • failure in helicopter hovering at 6 feet above ground
  • did not yet finish cleaning out basement and garage
  • failure to look in the cupboard before buying groceries to cook supper
  • failure to plan meals using grocery items which were on sale
  • inability to substantially adjust my sleep habits
  • monthly spending did not meet my targets, largely due to my frequent trips to the lumber and hardware stores. (I did manage to wrestle this into submission in the last 3 months)
  • incurred the wrath of my Sciatic nerve after too much luggage lifting and prolonged airplane sitting.

So, while not a total failure, I still have some things to work on as we approach 2016. To complete the transition to retirement, I will not worry about a timeline for the misses, except for maybe the Sciatic one.

Thanks dear readers for coming on this year-long journey with me. I could not have done it without all of you.

This BLOG is now complete . If any of you wish to keep track of my further exploits, my new BLOG is located at


Back to the Future – October 20 —–the Sequel and October 21 – +18 and sunny (Good Old Alberta Blue Skies)

Today, it finally hit us that the vacation was rapidly coming to a close and it was back to the sameness of everyday life. Always tough to take, but we have so many fine memories (and photos and videos, of course) from this trip to remind us of the fun we had, we are sure to keep smiling for a while longer. Up at 6:30 AM, October 20 started off grey and cloudy, with dulling fall colours in Bear Island.


Out the door and on the road by 8, as Linda and Lloyd drove us to the airport. Hugs, tears, waves through the window, etc. and we were soon checked in and eating a quick breakfast at Freddy’s Bistro (sounds pretty fine, does it not). Not so, as it was, as they say, the only game in town at this airport. Breakfast consisted of bad coffee and a not so bad bacon, egg and cheese English muffin breakfast sandwich.  Through security into the departure lounge (gate 3). There are only 6 numbered gates here and I think really only 3 doors out to the ramp. Boarding is from the ground onto turboprop planes. It kind of reminded me of Medicine Hat or Grande Prairie airports.

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Our flight to Montreal left 10 minutes early and we quickly climbed up above the fading colours of Fredericton as we enjoyed the fine Air Canada complimentary in-flight food and beverage service.

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We were soon in Montreal, thinking we would enjoy some quiet time in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge one last time before my Aeroplan status expires. Alas, that was not to be. They were only open during the morning and afternoon business commutes. Perhaps they were simply trying to get me used to being a nobody. We wandered through the airport shops and found a place selling everything maple, including the illusive Maple flakes we had in our Magog B & B. Then, off to Archibald’s Microbrasserie (Brewpub) for lunch. Patty had a salad, while Allan went for the burger, fries and a brew. Best food we would eat all day, as it turned out.

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Off to the boarding lounge, where our plane to Toronto was already parked, onto the plane and we even pushed back early. Then, came the announcement we had been dreading. Toronto inbound traffic was heavier than usual, so we would have to hold on the ramp for 15 minutes or circle endlessly around Toronto. This was a tight 1 hour connection and we were worried we may not make our final flight to Edmonton.

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Landing in Toronto with 15 minutes to spare before boarding, we rushed off the plane and down the length of the terminal to our new gate. Ten minutes later, boarding was called and we were settled and finally able to relax.


Up, up and away on time,we had no time to pick up food from the airport vendors, so perused the Onboard Cafe menu to see what delights awaited us. Yummmm, cold wraps, cashews and sparkling lemonade. Looks like our dining has come down a notch.

We landed at Edmonton on time and caught a taxi ride back home. To bed early and boy, that familiar bed felt so good.

October 21

Awake at 8:15 AM New Brunswick time (5:15 AM Alberta), we decided we might as well start our day. Unpack, put away, throw out 3/4 of the mail (donation receipts and flyers), simple breakfast with Allan’s lattes. Life was good. The sun came up and showed bare tree branches, but, the leaves are still here. All I have to do is rake them.

No rest for the wicked, we had booked a lunch date with my former co-worker Howard, so determined to banish the taste of airline food, it was off to Vi’s for Pies, as it is all about the pies, don’t you know. Tonight, Allan is going to an Oilers’ game with former work acquaintances. So much yard work left to do, but, tomorrow will be another day. Next year will be a busy one, full of weddings, so as the caption says, it is good to be Back to the Future….(without the Delorean, of course).

November 7 will be the 1 year anniversary of my retirement from TD and that will likely be my final post on this blog site, as it is almost at capacity. I may or may not start another blog in the ensuing months and will be sure to post the new URL on this site when I do, for those who wish to follow. Thank you for reading. Cheers to you all.

Leaving (there will be tears) – October 20 – +6 and grey in Fredericton – +9 and Sunset in Edmonton

Like every trip, visit or vacation, the time has come to head home, time for warm hugs, time for gentle tears of happiness, time to say our goodbyes to those we do not see nearly enough. This trip was about the fall clours, but also about the people, meeting, greeting, saying hello, enjoying laughter and time together, hugging, shedding tears and then moving on. This being the last stop makes the process that much harder.

Flower heads droop


chairs sit empty


red leaves fall


pond waves roll


kind words murmer

warm hugs linger

soft tears drop

love you all…………………………..

Crescendo – October 19 – -4 at 8 AM (feels like -7) +6 at 2 PM (feels like -7)

Gotta love the sun, at least from inside a warm house. GoPro this AM, but not many other shots, as we have seen this show before. High waves on the headpond whipped the foam into a froth of white bubbles resembling sea gulls.


We had a Friday on a Monday, long leisurely coffee and conversation followed by a cinnamon bun (note size as compared to regular fork). Then off to do some chores (dishes, vacuum, primping).


Allan provided tech support for Lloyd’s recording studio and between the 2 of us, we think we got it figured out.

Then it was off to the Mactaquac walking trails. The wind was a bit lighter in the shelter of the trees, but the crescendo of colour had been passed on the trees and was now on the ground. The trail, although damp provided many photo opportunities and Allan snapped them all up.

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By the time we reached the car, it was well past coffee time, so we headed for the Keswick Kitchen. The sign read Bakery and Tea House, but the 2nd part had apparently been omitted from the interior. What had not been omitted was the quality baking and the reasonable prices. The cashier had to make fresh coffee while we decided on our sweet. We could not believe the prices or the size of the cookies. Refreshed, we headed for home.

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We still had so much yet to do, before we headed home. The pace reached a crescendo, as we posed for photos in the Adirondacs, recorded a Lloyd original song, Go Pro’d one last sunset and even sat outside with some bubbly to watch the show.


Between us, we had all tried to come up with the right words for the peak period of fall colour, Pinnacle, Peak of Perfection, Penultimate, but in honour of the total experience and Lloyd’s musical talents, I decided on Crescendo. We really squeezed a lot in and yet found the time to enjoy laughter, fellowship and Nature’s beauty. It was the ultimate Autumn and indeed a Crescendo that simply could not be surpassed.