My last day of work!

What an emotional day I’ve had today – my last day of working at Yukon College. I am now officially retired!

Photo: this is it! my last day at work...

People popped in all day to say hello and goodbye, and every time I left my office, I would return to find another card or gift or kind wish waiting for me.

In the afternoon, there was a staff party – a retirement tea in my honour. Wow – it was really something to sit and listen as person after person got up to tell a story about me. I was overwhelmed by the kind and wonderful things people said. A few of us cried.

There were lots of speeches, lots of hugs, lots of cake. I had so much fun and it was fun to see so many people from all across the college having a chance to visit and re-connect with each other.

I have truly LOVED my time at Yukon College. I’ve loved my job every day for 10 years. That’s saying a lot. 🙂

retirement party





retirement 5retirement 7

nita retirement 1

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Walking away at the very end was hard. I sat in my car and had a good boo hoo. Thank you, Yukon College, for 10 wonderful years.



Tomorrow will be a busy day preparing for my long drive South.

quilts for four seasons

Today is Yukon Day at the Canadian Quilter’s Connect Blogathon which is hosted by Sew Sisters. Thank you Dee (our Yukon host) for inviting me to participate!

For my entry in the blogathon, I thought I’d give you a little seasonal quilt tour!

March 12 048 smaller










038 (2)




017 (4)


…around and around it goes. catch it if you can!


The Mills Brothers

Doing my part to put a little swing on your back porch this chilly Wednesday evening!

Navigating Pre-Retirement Waters

To quote Diane who blogs about being a new retiree at A New Chapter,  “leaving your job, selling your house, leaving your friends and moving to a new city is a lot of change. ”

No kidding! When I actually stop to think about the changes that Kelly and I have made in our lives over the last several months, it boggles my mind. So I try not to think about it very often, because when I do I start to feel anxious.

We sold our home at the end of June. Notice I don’t say “house.” It wasn’t just a house. It was our home and at one time I truly believed that we would live there until we died.

We moved all of our belongings into a storage locker. A storage locker in a new town, 1,560 miles away. Kelly and Michael drove everything down in a U-Haul.

We moved into our cabin at the lake and commuted an hours drive back and forth to work everyday for 4 months. We only took our summer and fall clothing and a few handwork projects (for me). Every else went down the highway in the U-Haul.

Four weeks ago Kelly worked his last day at the flying school.

Three weeks ago today he loaded up the camper, put the cats in the back and the dog in the cab and drove away. I cried a bit as I watched the back of the camper disappear down the highway.

Three weeks ago today I moved in with my friends Fawn & Michael and their two young daughters. I am blessed to have friends who have so happily opened their home to me.

As grateful as I am, and as much as I truly feel welcome in their home and into their family, as much as I love them, I am also very aware of being, well, homeless (for lack of a better word.) It’s an odd feeling that I don’t exactly have words for. A feeling of floating…of waiting. My boat has been launched down the ways, and now bobs gently on the tide, anchored to the dock by a simple slipknot. Waiting only for the requisite number of days to pass before venturing out into new waters.

Tonight I am having supper with my son, Michael, at his apartment. I am going to cook him supper, even though he is 28 and doesn’t need me to cook for him anymore. I guess it’s me that needs to do it. He doesn’t need me, but I need him. An odd reversal of roles. I am moving away from home and leaving my son behind. Unnatural. Children leave home and move away. Parents stay behind. The closer the day comes, the less I try to think about it. There is a big tide of “overwhelmingness” attached to moving away from my child. I am afraid that if I think about it – really THINK about it, I won’t be able to go. I am afraid that I will cry so hard that I won’t be able to see to drive. Just like right now it’s hard to see to type.

There is, all of a sudden, a lot of letting go and saying goodbye to do…son, friends, job, routine…my familiar life.

Part of embracing the new involves releasing the familiar.  I envision all those parts of my life standing on the dock waving goodbye as I wave back from the deck of a great ocean liner, festooned with ribbons and streamers, pulling away from its mooring.  “Good bye, good bye!” We laugh/cry to each other, waving.

Selling our house, quitting our jobs, leaving our family and friends, moving to a brand new town where we don’t know a single soul…

Discovering/inventing a brand new Nita, having the freedom to be creative every day, exploring a new geographic region by foot, bike and car, a whole town-full of people to meet…

As Diane said, that’s a heck of a lot of change!

On the new house front, Kelly has been busy with the paint brush. From this:








to this:











Wood floors are on order and should arrive this week. 🙂

Two weeks from today is driving-away day.

on November 13th…

November 14 weatherJust Sayin’…


Last night I borrowed Fawn’s sewing machine and sewed the binding onto the quilt I’ve been making for my sister.

with binding 2

I have to do the hand quilting on the border, but it will be easier now that the edges have been stabilized (I do the border quilting without a frame).  Once that’s done, I’ll hand stitch the binding onto the back.

with binding 1

You’ll have to excuse the poor quality of the photo – I took it quickly this morning with my iPad under dim lights. But what a difference having a binding partially sewn on makes to the way the quilt looks!

A Writing Retreat

You may have gathered that I moved into town 10 days ago, when Kelly drove out.  You also know that I’ve been taking a creative writing class this semester. 🙂

Well, I’ve been working on a story and needed a big chunk of uninterrupted time to concentrate on it, so last weekend I took myself on a private writing retreat and went back to the cabin for a visit.

At the lake (9)

I put a fire in the wood stove and made a pot of tea. I roasted a chicken breast and vegetables for supper. I listened to Loreena McKennett on the iPod and quilted in my lap with a notebook and pen at my elbow. Whenever I had an idea for the story, I’d put my stitching down, pick up the notebook and jot down my thoughts.

Later, I set up the laptop and started in earnest. I remember at one point lifting my head to see that it had grown dark while I worked. What a luxury it was, having all this time completely alone, all to myself!

fall winter 2011 076 - Copy

What thrills me the most, though st that I finished my story!  It came in at just over 10,100 words. I don’t know if it would be called a long short story or a short novella…

The lake is a truly beautiful place to write, but especially when you get up in the morning and the water is clear as glass and there is a fresh dusting of snow on the far hills.

At the lake (10)











I didn’t have my camera with me, so dug up these photos from the archives. The lake is timeless, though, and this is truly what my weekend view looked like. 🙂