One Footprint In The Sand

We’re leaving today… a few hours.

I was up early as usual.  Morning is the best time of day.  The sky is beautiful, the birds seem to sing louder and I have my “alone” time.  I love it.

Most mornings I”ve gone for a walk on the beach.  Not too many people about at 6AM, which is great.

This morning I thought I’d take a couple of plumeria down with me… for me and one for Ken.  If you throw them in the water it’s supposed to mean you’ll come back…….


I just sat for a while and finished my coffee and watch the ocean, the whales spouting off in the distance and the birds digging for their breakfast.

Time was ticking by……I wanted to get my flowers thrown in the water.  I walked a little further and found this rock…….


my heart shaped rock

The tide was coming in so the waves were nice and big.  I didn’t want those flowers to wash back up on shore so I walked out a little way to make sure they stayed in and floated off to sea……hopefully finding some of those ashes.

I walked on a little ways further and just sat again to watch the ocean.  It’s an incredibly peaceful thing to do.  I’d like to say I sat there and reflected on my life this last year…..which I did do a bit…..but I just enjoyed that moment for what it was.

Walking back I found the “rock” still there.  A wave or two had come along and tried to wash it away……but it didn’t…..the rock was too heavy…..kind of like my heart.

the ocean trying to wash my heart away....

the ocean trying to wash my heart away….

I would have liked to keep that rock but it was just too big and too heavy to add to my already overloaded suitcase.

I picked it up and walked out into the water and threw it too……as far as I could.  That just seemed like the right thing to do……it was my rock.  Ken was my rock and it should be out there with him.

not even the ocean could wash my heart away......the sands of time and all that.......

not even the ocean could wash my heart away……the sands of time and all that…….

This trip was interesting to say the least……it was a good trip but there were moments…….hard for there not to be with 11 people…..very different people.  But I’ll talk about that more later…….

Goodbye Maui…….



The Week Has Gone Fast

I’m glad there is one more left!

I love Maui….there isn’t much more to say about it.  Glorious weather and it’s great be with family.  I could only be better if Ken were here.

So far all is going good.  There have been moments, which I don’t think is too odd given that there are 11 of us in close quarters.

I do notice a difference without Ken.   I believe more than ever now that he is what pulled everyone together…..he was so un-opinionated about everything….so much more easy going.   It’s definitely different. Not a bad different, just different.  The brothers have not done anything together……which they always would have before……boys afternoon out!  It was usually just to a local pub/bar for burgers.  Not this time.  It’s too bad too because with my son being here this time, I think he’d have really appreciated those “outings”.

The grandkids are loving it.  They would live in the pool all day.  Sometimes they even go back down for a swim after dinner.  They’ve been boogie boarding and got the hang of it right away.  We did the Maui Ocean Centre, which they had a great time at.


My daughter took our granddaughter for “shaved ice” and she’s now hooked on it.  So cute sitting at the stand chatting away with the lady……she’s also having fun “shopping” with her toothfairy money.  My SIL and I have taken her out with us a few times so she gets a bit of a break from her little brother and baby sister.

One snorkel trip so far……very rough and a couple of our sailors didn’t fair too well, but had fun none the less.  Golfing tomorrow…..will probably only get one round in.  It’ll be me, my son and BIL.

Our friends left yesterday.  We had a great dinner one night with them……the boys at the BBQ but without Ken.  I’m sure he was helping them…….image

This morning is just a beautiful as ever…….oh to wake up to the sun and sea every morning.  I’m usually the first one up, get the coffee on and head down to the beach for that first cup and to watch for whales….I’ve seen only one so far.

We’re off to the swap meet today.  It’s like a big craft fair/farmers market.  Just a fun place to wander around for a couple of hours.  Lots of the same old, same old…..but some really unique stuff too.


On The Beach

Ken is there now.  I hope he’s enjoying it.

Everyone got their packet of ashes and did whatever they wanted to do.   Some walked down the beach, some just went out into the water.

I walked down the beach by myself.  Half in the water and half out.  I emptied the small packet of ashes into my hand, really felt them, him…..then I held them as tight as I could.  Each time a bigger wave came in, it would wash a little bit of the ash out of my hand.  I cried.  Big tears.  This is so not how I wanted his last trip to Maui to be like.

When I had only a little bit of Ken left, I added a bit of the sand to the ashes and then just let it all fall bit by as I walked along the beach.

I wish we all could have done something a little special but we had to be pretty descreet……that’s OK.   Everyone was a little quiet for a while…..kind of a moment or two of silence.

Our friends had brought down a bag of plumeria flowers to throw in the water……that means you will always return to Hawaii.  We each threw one in.

It was a good day.  Not quite as planned of course and a little chaotic, as is everthying when you get a dozen or so people together.

The kids absolutely loved the beach.  They built a couple of sandcastles.

Now I can relax a little…..breathe a little easier knowing that part of Ken has been left in one of his happy places by everyone who loved him dearly.


One Year Ago Today

It’s hard to believe a year has gone by……..I lost the love of my life.  There are no words that can describe the grief.

I’ll miss him forever.

Today we’ll be leaving a little bit of him in one of his favorite places…..

If he were here today he’d be walking down the beach with his binoculars looking for whales.

We’ve packed up a picnic and will have a great day.  Everyone has there packet that they can do what they like with.  I’ll walk down the beach by myself thinking many things and just wishing so badly that he was there walking with me.

We’re celebrating his life so it won’t be sad…..he wouldn’t have wanted that.  We’ll have a great time…..we will.


Aloha! And Happy 4th Birthday Karter!

hello from beautiful Maui.

Our flight down only had about 40 people  on it so we just about each had a row to ourselves.  The kids were great and did really well.

Today is my grandsons 4th birthday.  He wants pizza for dinner!  My SIL a and I are going to make cupcakes for him.

Our wifi connection has been a bit iffy, so not sure how often I’ll be able to post……and of course I’m using my iPad, which I’m still so not good with.

We did have one missing bag when we arrived, but luckily that was delivered yesterday afternoon….so all is good now. It wad my daughters bag and she was the only one with the foresight to bring her bathing suit in her carry on!  Smart girl!

ARriving here brought so many memories back……not so much the first night because it was dark and so late…..everyone was just pooped, but yesterday morning sitting on the deck with my coffee…..and binoculars was so hard……so, so hard.  He’d be sitting here watching for whales……I know in my heart that he is.

The day turned out great…..lots of fun in the pool with the kids.  Auntie took Cadence for her first “shaved ice”.  She loved it…..

Today is the Maui Saturday market.  Ken loved it.  We’re heading out early before it gets too hot.  I hope everyone else enjoys it too.  Lots of fruit and veg stands, flowers, craft and the usual swap meet stuff.

I haven’t even got my camera out yet……just savouring everything for now and wishing so badly that we weren’t here for the reason we are.  The “boys” did the dishes last night and talked about doing that when hey were kids…fighting over who was going  to do the washing and drying…..good memories!

I’m looking forward to another fun day and celebrating a lucky 4 year olds birthday……I bought him a ukulele……


And We’re Off!

I’m actually pretty organized this AM.  I’m packed except for the last few odds and ends that I’ll need getting ready.

Looking forward to this trip now.  It will be a great family trip  I know Ken will be there with us in his heart and sole….but I so wish he was here in body to enjoy this.  Our last “family” trip was in 1999…..16 years ago!

This is the only picture I have of all 4 of us from that trip!  It was an early morning trip up to Haleakala.

This is the only picture I have of all 4 of us from that trip! It was an early morning trip up to Haleakala.

I’ll be blogging but not sure if I’ll manage a post every day.

I never really had a blogging plan.  It just happened.  It’s been great for me, very therapeutic in so many ways and it’s been a snap shot of my journey through this first year.  Should I continue to blog after that year?  I don’t know.  It’s kind of become part of my daily routine and my new normal is still evolving….even more so now that I’ve  retired….by myself!

Over this year I have, once or twice, gone back and read it from beginning to end.  It’s a hard thing to do, but I do see how my life has changed, some for the good and some for the not so good.

Every time, for the longest time,  I got in the car to go somewhere, except work, that is when it was so obvious to me that I was on my own.  This was especially so when going to friends or family for dinner or a visit… was just me.  Even more so on the drive home.  It was just so strange.  It’s not like that so much anymore…’s becoming a new normal now.  Sometimes songs will come on the radio and then it bothers me….and it’s usually at night, which has been the hardest times for me.

I’ve gotten used to the fact that there is just ME now.  I do everything, which has been a learning experience too.  Not just all the day to day stuff, but things that have needed repairing, renos that I’ve decided needed doing.  Who ever thought I’d be able to do some of the stuff I’ve done!

What will this next year bring?

Ken doing what he liked best to do in Hawaii....walking along the beach.

Ken doing what he liked best to do in Hawaii….walking along the beach.

My toes are painted a bright orange…..I don’t know why I chose that colour.  It’s way out of my comfort zone.  I usually have a pale pink or sand colour on my toes come summer.  Maybe that’s a sign that I’m getting a little more comfortable and confident.

This has been a long year…..a very long year!

Next post from sunny and warm Maui.


Great Last Work Day

When I arrived and walked into our “war room”, which is what we have been calling the big office we’re using as a project room, and turned the lights on I had a very nice surprise!

last day decorations

I had a couple of meetings in the morning, only one of which I went too…..lots of visits from people through the day but I did manage to get a few more things done.  Now for sure, what isn’t done, isn’t going to get done, at least by ME!

The auditors arrived a little later with a nice cake and bottle of champagne.

cake and champagne from the Auditors

It still hasn’t really sunk in…..I’m just going on vacation, right?

I think I’d pretty well cleaned all my personal stuff out of my desk last week since I haven’t been using it for the last couple of months anyway….maybe a couple more things still lurking, like my pashmina but otherwise I’m done.  On May 1st, after the lunch and afternoon retirement get together for me and the other coworker that’s retiring on Apr 30, I’ll just have to hand in my security pass and photo ID and that will be it.

Today I’m in packing and last minute clean up mode.

I’ve made my list of odds and ends that I still need to pick up….sunscreen etc. and the things I’m going to pack.  I put the ashes packets at the top of the list.  This is not something I normally have to pack so very possibly the one thing that I could forget…..which would not be good, since that is pretty much the reason for the whole trip!

I’m getting butterflies, no moths so this is a good thing.  Last vacation I was pretty up tight those few days before.  There was just so much to think about on that one…..first one without Ken, going to somewhere very different, potential safety issues (totally wasted brain cells on that one!!), being away for a month, the cats, the kids… name it…..whatever I could worry about I did!

This time it’s not like that.  It’s a totally different kind of vacation of course.  I’ll be with my family and friends, no safety issues, I know the cats will be well looked after (thanks Bev!!) and it’s not an unfamiliar place.  And if I’ve forgotten to pack something….oh well, I know I can get whatever it might be anywhere.

I’m very relaxed now and looking forward to enjoying the next couple of weeks of sun and fun……and food, wine and some other tropical drinks.

Sleeping in this morning wasn’t a bad thing either!


My Last Day Of Work!

Not officially because I still have to go in on May 1st.  images4X433R1G

But today will likely be the last real day.  There is still so much to do and just no way that it can all possibly get done.  Meetings this morning to try and transition some of it to others…..just a little late but I did try to get this moving along before….oh well!

I don’t think it’s really sunk in.  It’s like any other time I’m going away on vacation….except this time I don’t have to go back!

Forty plus years is a long time….I’ve spent more than half my life there.  Some things I’ll miss (friends…especially Donna!), but there are definitely a lot of things I won’t miss either (deadlines, stress, getting up in the morning!)

I’m pretty excited, which may explain why I didn’t sleep terribly well last night.  Lots of things to think about….good, bad, sad, what if’s etc.   This isn’t quite how I planned retiring… certainly wasn’t to be just me, on my own!

This morning all seems good though……

My car insurance had to be renewed today.  Luckily I remembered on the way home yesterday….. and was pleasantly surprised that I will now save $20 a month because I’ll no longer be driving to work….I can insure for pleasure use only.   I wonder if there’s anything else I can save a few bucks on??

I think I’ll have a toast to retired life tonight!


Taking A Good Look Around

We’ve lived in this house for over 30 years.   A house is just a house right?  But then you start to look around and see all the things that we did here.  Lots of blood, sweat and tears have gone into every room.  Most of the rooms have gone through not one, but two renos during that time…..and it’s almost time again.

I say we, but in reality most of the work was done by Ken.  I was the coordinator or director.  It was his blood and sweat that was spilled more often than mine….I was the tear part….I really did think that paint was the right colour, or the white tile was EXACTLY what I wanted and that pale blue carpet, well….definitely some design faux pas.

We both did a lot of it though.  He was the tile guy and all the major construction type stuff.  I certainly contributed to all that too, but I think it was closer to an 80/20 split than a 50/50 one.  He did plumbing and electrical too.  I could install cabinets, paint (if Ken wasn’t around or could stand watching for long enough).  I was the “attacher” of closet and cabinet doors, blinds and curtains.  I was also the clean up crew.

I really noticed all this yesterday when I was cleaning.  All those baseboards……hundreds of feet of it.  The tiles in the bathrooms…..the hours he spent on his hands and knees doing that!  The new plug he put in for the wine fridge he got me a few years ago for Christmas.  The shelves in the laundry room and the storage closet in the basement.

We had really let a lot of stuff go over the last few years just because……and it almost made me cry to see dust and dirt all over some of that hard work.   It really motivated me to get everything cleaned up…..I really appreciated all the work that he did.  It just seems like it would be such a waste of time and effort if I didn’t.

It’s also almost time to reno the main bathroom…again.  It’s stuck in the 90’s and I still have that white floor tile…..what WAS I thinking!!  I wouldn’t do it myself……just too much work.  But when it does get done it means getting rid of all that tile.

I guess you really can’t think like this……it’s kind of like the clothes and shoes, you can’t keep everything forever….somethings just have to go or change.  I must be practical, right?

Pretty soon I’ll have all the time in the world to get going on this mega clean up and the rest of my renos.  I really can’t wait!


Shopping Flop :(

I did get a new pair of sandals and a bathing suit top but that was it.   How disappointing!

I was really geared up and thought I was on a roll when I found the sandals in the first store I went into…..everything fell apart after that.  Bathing suit top was a find on the way out the door….and even that wasn’t what I had planned on getting!  It’s not the nice bright colours I was hoping for, but then in reality…..I got what I like and what I feel the most comfortable in……..that’s what counts.

Can't go wrong with black and white....and practical shoes!

Can’t go wrong with black and white….and practical shoes!

There was just nothing that really caught my eye….except for a pretty white sleeveless shirt that they didn’t have in my size.  I was hoping to find a cute dress or two in bright summer, maybe even tropical-ish, designs, but that doesn’t seem to be one of the fashion things this year. The only thing I got out of it all was sore feet!  Huge mall….must have walked miles.   Maybe I’ll start sewing again after I retire…..some beautiful bright tropical material that you can get.  That’s what I used to do before a vacation…..simple pattern, simple dress, fun material…..hmmmm.

The birthday party(ies) was chaotic and fun.  I couldn’t tell you how many kids were there but at least 50 I think….just lots!  And the presents……OMG.  These kids already have a ton of stuff, where they are going to put all this new stuff is beyond me….but that’s their problem.

Suitcases are gone….how sad.  It’s like another slice of my life is gone too.  But what else could I do.  I couldn’t keep it….I did keep some of the tshirts and a few of his fav shirts….for that quilting project down the road some day…maybe.  Keeping it would change nothing…..

.....still working on this!

…..I’m getting there.

It’s hard having a practical, realistic side.  Sometimes I feel like I’m a cold person….I’m not, far from it actually.  There is still more stuff…..a few more coats, shirts, hats etc. lurking here and there and I’ll work on that one of these days.  There is no prize at the end of the day….definitely a no win situation…..for getting this done so I’m not in a big hurry.  I’ve reclaimed some of the drawer and closet space….very slowly….I guess maybe that was the carrot dangling at the end of the stick…it is nice to have that extra space.

Today is a busy day….or will be……if I do all that I have planned.  It’s mostly housework and packing.  I have to clean up the kitty litter area…..what a mess that is.  It’s in the laundry room, and the first thing you see (and probably smell!!) when you walk in the basement.

Tomorrow I will clean out my desk at work…..and bring more junk home that I don’t need.  What will I do with all those golf tournament trophies (good ones and worst “team” ones) and team pictures?  They like to give us coasters for project work….I don’t need anymore….certainly not most of these.  I have 3 sweaters and a pashmina…just in case I was cold.  I have a thingie to keep pens, pencils and post-it notes etc. in….I don’t need that either.  Then there are the magnets…..another goodie for project work….I think I’ll just leave those there.  Since I’ve already had 2 desk moves in the last year I did pare down a lot of the “junk”, so I’m hoping my briefcase will hold everything that I really want to bring home.

Even though it may not sound like it, I AM really excited about this.  I’m looking forward to my vacation(s) and then all that time to do whatever…..lots of stuff, or nothing.  As long as the weather cooperates, I KNOW I’ll enjoy the time I spend on my deck during the summer.  I really can’t wait to do that.