Day 2 The Great Greek Adventure, packing stress is over

My brilliant friend, Joanne, met me at the ferry in Vancouver and as we drove to her lovely home in Chilliwack we talked about my packing stress! I was feeling frustrated, nervous and overwhelmed at the prospect of carting over 50 pounds of stuff around in a suitcase all over Italy ….. What have I got in that bag? Is the question over and over in my head.

Out for dinner with her good friend telling stories all evening, thoughts of shoes, scarves and a sore back kept rolling through my mind.

Today, Sunday and the eve of my trip, we went shopping. I found a stylish and classy, shiny sleek small dark suitcase with 4 wheels that can be pushed and pulled. Perfect!! I will make the stuff fit!! Then I purchased the lovely red overnight / computer bag on wheels that I have drooled over and checked out several times in Victoria before I left … but had not yet bought. Again, smaller and lighter weight, classy and big enough! Yes, I say with conviction! I can do this!

Several hours in the upstairs suite …. And by the way she is going to rent out the upstairs to some very lucky person ….. And out with the old, in with the new. We were relentless and sometimes Joanne had to hide away some of my “maybe” pile as we were brutal in selection. Do you really need this other pair of shoes ??? (Sian, you would so have appreciated this afternoon!!).

And this scarf is very similar to that scarf … how many pair of black tights do you need? Too many t shirts …

It is done. My bags are re packed and ready for the flight. I had called Lufthansa to confirm what I already knew in my bones. Their new policy for luggage weight and extra bags has recently been changed and carries a $100 to $150 price tag depending on the scenerio. We got out the scale and I am firmly and securely under the allowance and I can lift the bag without causing major back injury.

I feel the stress melt away in the heat of the suns rays pouring in the window of the upstairs bedroom where we have repacked the larger blue suitcase now almost as full as it was when I arrived, it seems.

I am ready. We spent a beautiful evening out for Greek dining, followed by google search of the ports of call I will be visiting on my cruises. We looked at islands in the sunset, cobblestone steps, white washed building with azure blue domes. Wine tours catch my attention and walks through ancient times. Meandering through narrow alley ways and stopping for a cool glass of something or other and drinking in the local culture. Santorini, Kusadasi, Izmir, Rhodes, Messina, Olympia, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Pireaus, Chania, Rome, Mykonos, Katakolon, Venice ….. ahhhhhhhhhhh

Great Greek Adventure, Leg 1

Day one of the Great Greek adventure. 15 Sept 2012

I got a ride to the BC Ferry walk on and am now on the first leg of my cruise. Ok – it is only a ferry but it is on water and reminds me a bit of embarkation on a real cruise…. sort of.

My packing stress continues. Tried to weight my bags to get on the ferry and it is too heavy! So I will need to repack and maybe send some stuff home to Steve ….. Just don’t get it!! How does this happen? I will have tonight and tomorrow to figure this out.

Ferry is not full, it is sunny and beautiful outside. I am on my way!! Tickets and passport, check. Euros and US dollars, check. Mastercard and travel protection information, check. New ipad, ebook, iphone and this old computer for writing my story (has a keyboard), check check check and check. Too many bags, check. Vouchers and Boarding passes, check.

I have some Univera products to help me with muscle strain from carrying my heavy bags!! Can’t wait to eat and drink contents so I won’t have to carry them in Venice to board the train. I may have too many clothes as well – will have to review the situation and repack later.

Completed some travel booking duties this morning, addressed 100 envelopes for Dream Voyage delivery to some awesome people. Dropped off some papers I can file when I get back in 3 weeks. Cleaned off my home office desk at home. Gathered up some belongings for my youngest daughter to come pick up on her way moving off the island. Emptied the garbage can in my room. Filed or deleted old emails from several email sites so they won’t clog up my phone ipad as I begin my travels.

Not sure how to use ipad yet and so last minute decision to bring this old faithful lap top / netbook computer for blogging and journaling and maybe writing my first ebook. The key board on the ipad is small and unfamiliar at this time. And my CruiseShipCenters business is not totally compatible with Apple products. I know I will be spending much time in airports and will want to have the right technology for the right purpose. Gee whiz, remember when we just took a camera? I am not complaining … just noticing.

I look forward to noticing as much as I can on this trip. Stop, take a photo in my mind of what is, try not to judge and make up stories about why, and let it go as the moment passes and new moment steps in to view.

Gentle enquiry as I meet people and wonder their story. Again, the task is to stay present, welcome the experience and stay in the “what is”.

I don’t feel totally prepared for this day. It seems a short time ago I was making the decision to make final payment and commit to the trip. And then time zipped by and here I am.

Day one, moment one … just noticing.

Notes to my 20 year old self

  • Start now and save a bit of money every month.
  • Buy something that lasts and keep it safe.
  • Don’t buy things that don’t last.
  • The people you think are so important now, you might not remember their names later.
  • Be kind to your family.
  • Be kind to everyone you meet, be generous and grateful.
  • Write your story, every day.  Your life is worth recording.
  • Get work that you love and stick with it.  Learn and practice skills every day.
  • Get into a network marketing company and learn about business NOW!
  • Dream big, do a vision board every year, set your goals and stay the course.
  • Travel every chance you get.
  • Say YES more.
  • Honor yourself first.  Put your oxygen mask on before trying to help another.
  • Meditate .. go on a 30 day silent retreat before making any big decisions.
  • Be healthy and strong, look after your body – it is the only one you get.
  • Practice positive self talk EVERYDAY.  Don’t ever stop.
  • Buy Mac /Apple and always get the best technology at the time.
  • Give gifts that are meaningful to the receiver.  Take time to figure that out.
  • Take chances and enjoy risk.
  • Fall in love often, it is the best feeling.  There is more than one “the one”!!
  • Invest in a good bed and shoes that fit.
  • Never mind the sale rack, shop for the best you can afford.  Only buy if it is a “Hell YES!!”
  • Travel Travel Travel, go places, meet people, do things.
  • There is more than one right answer.

Joys of Packing Stress

What journey lays in store?  The journey of packing stress.


Greetings to my friends and family.  If you know me at all, you know about my packing stress.  I am seeking a temporary or permanent solution to minimal packing, having every thing I need no matter what the eventuality.

Some people tell me, “if you don’t have it, buy it”, “do you really need a whole suitcase just for shoes?”, “get everything in a back pack and that is all”, “take the biggest suitcase and travel with it partly empty to bring home the booty”.  All well meaning comments and some good advice for sure.

I have tried making lists, (truth be known, lists of the lists I should make); I have tried packing two weeks in advance, and I have tried packing the morning I depart.  All carry certain, although different, packing stresses. 

I was last traveling for 4 days in Seattle to a convention in one hotel, not a lot of stops.  I took a larger mid size suitcase on wheels and a briefcase and purse.  Too much!!  This time I am going for 3 weeks to Europe, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Italy.  I will be on several flights, a train, a bus, and a ferry just to get to my destination and then two cruises back to back.  I have no idea the weather prediction.  I will have formal events including a masked ball and I will have casual walk around days in old ruins.  I am pretty excited about it all. 

I want to take one small rolly bag, one larger one that sits on top for my new ipad and ereader, and whatever else I might need on the flight; and that is all.  Yup, that is my plan.  There, I said it.  On paper and with witnesses. 

I am seeking strong confident advice.  I was thinking all my Sympli dressy cruisey kind of clothes in my suitcase to put on the plane.  I have health products, my Xtra, some PQ gluten free foods to eat on route going over, mid way and coming back.  I have multi vites and Omegas.  I have MetaGreens and Aloe.  Some liquid and some powder in a package and then capsules.  This can take a fair amount of space for three weeks. 

Necessity accessories, such as shoes, scarves, hair clips, curling and straightening iron and the ever important bling!  I also want to take LuLuLemon pants and jackets for sea days and for walking and running.  I need a bathing suit and cover up and of course, some item to sleep in.  Some washing detergent as I for sure will need to laundry under things and some of my clothes.

There, I think that is the list.  Because I am 6 feet tall, it is never easy to find clothes to buy off the rack.  I have found a few brands that work, fit well and are figure flattering and seem to meet my travel needs.  So that eliminates many of the other possibilities such as leather jackets (too bulky), jeans (again, take up a lot of space and a different change of clothes each day (my old pattern of dressing from years ago).

Looking forward to your suggestions.  I have a list, my suitcase is out and half packed (dress rehersal).  I don’t leave for a week and a half so I still have a chance to do it “last minute” and will have felt and worked through all 3 forms of packing preparation strategies that I know.  Space limitation is a new one to tackle for me.  Wish me luck and send me your thoughts.


With much love to all

“happy packing”


Today, what am I learning from yesterday? 

Some experts say we learn from crisis.  While I am certain this can be proven to be true, what is the cost to the soul? vs learning from caring, compassion and consideration.  From reflection and desire, research and practice?

Standing in my own experience and from what I learn now, that which I can feel today …  the cost to learning from crisis alone is too great.  When people put us on notice or speak down to us, we become injured. 

Let me sit with that statement for a few breaths and let it truly sink in.  Do I know it is true?

Many can return to a strong place but what has been the cost? And the residual pain and loss of self?  What is the true cost and where does that hide?

This is my mission …. To speak this belief and wonder if any lights can be turned on through shining my own light.  Holding it up as a candle in the dark of my truth.

Let us not harm others, but gently offer another perspective.  Let us bring change with kindness.  Certainly many situations will lead to learning and growth.  I ask the Universe to please let me be part of offering a catalyst of love, not fear.

Let the shadow of doubt be gone and the soul be not damaged in the precious moments of change and redirection.  Let words of kindness and gentle enquiry be my guide and sign post from this moment forward.


Thank you for this learning.  I am so grateful and happy now to be living on purpose, joyfully and with ease.

Why do it at all?

Why do it at all?

What is the point of prioritizing, setting goals and spending hour after hour organizing a life in pursuit of those goals?

For each of the answer is unique.  As this is my blog, I guess it is my turn to speak about my “why”.

I have had a most generous and loving life. 

I have family who care for me and support me.  I would love to find some way to give to my family: my mother; my daughters; my partner; my brother and his family; my aunts and uncle; my cousins; and the newest additions, my grandsons.  I see me working for this purpose.  To raise the standard of living of my family and to contribute to their happiness by living the life I love.  I can offer travel opportunities, I can arrange visits and spend that precious commodity: time.  I can and do share the gift of health and vitality that I have been so fortunate to discover. 

I feel a strong emotional connection to friends; always have.  Maybe because of frequent moves, maybe it was in my DNA and perhaps it is my habit formed from positive reinforcement of generous love by having heartfelt connection to other human beings.  Wherever it originated, I rejoice that I have good friends!  I love to spend time with friends, in person is the best.  Travel to foreign lands with friends where we walk and discover together how the world works and how it came to be as it is; to take steps on cobblestone walkways where many, many millions have walked before us; particularly women friends, soul sisters and women holding hands around the world; this has become my “why”.

To travel this wide world in emotional capsules of love and connection, is my “why”.  To discover Her-story on the planet and to share in deep understanding of how it is and how it will be, is my “why”.  To give back and pay it forward in acts of kindness to the ones I love, and also to those whose path crosses mine on my adventures, is my “why”.  To further explore vital energy and fitness of the body, as well as continue on a path of life-long learning and exploration of social networks and to offer relationship support in achieving higher and higher financial standing of women globally, is my “why”.  I want to live in a world where women are financially invincible, fit and having fun.  That world offers happy children and a future for all persons. 

When I found my “why”, I sat with it and let it wash over me in waves, as if sitting on the shore as the tide comes in on the Bay of Fundy.  First appearing slow and gentle with the rise and fall of the water line; then, as if by magic, suddenly it seems that I am immersed in this vision and I have goose bumps and tears in my eyes.

The journey that I walk on is mine and it is personal: it is political and it is of vital importance to my soul.  

Why do you do what you do?  What stirs deep inside your being, reaching down into your gene pool and pulling out the core of your existence, your reason for being and doing?  Share with me, if you care to.  I will be happy to bare witness to your journey.  Travel with me in spirit and let’s do what we came here to do. Image

travel diaries continued

Chapter 2. The continuing saga. Still Thursday 18 June 2009, now 1:44 pm local time, YVR
I have found a bathroom that allows me to bring all my lime green luggage in with me ….. you know how that is for women … . I am frequenting the lovely room and they keep it pretty clean here. I have had a wee bit of lunch, Canadian style “greek”cuisine of salmon and greek salad, diet coke. Who knows when I will get to eat what I can actually read on the menu again!! Travels and eating for gluten free diet is always a challenge even in my own country – can’t imagine in Europe. I am thinking maybe I will find a good weight loss strategy after all … except chocolate is probably just as wonderful no matter where I find it!
People watching is interesting here – people coming and going, here and there, up and down, sit and walk, looking – always looking. I wonder if all people are searching for the same thing in airports? Is it something to grab their interest? Is it a bathroom? Is it a familiar face? Is it the dreaded security section or perhaps more exotic interests like duty – free shopping? I have not yet gone through security and the office for KLM does not even open for another hour. I did ask for clarification at the ever-so-helpful information desk. I like the well placed and highly sought after info desk …. makes travels more friendly and less “I am all alone and lost” kind of feeling.
I wonder the route my airplane will take as it heads to Amsterdam?? Let’s not get too ahead of myself just yet. Remember to stay in the present .. take it all in. A constant reminder in my head. Breathe, don’t forget to breathe. It will be as it will be, the task this trip is to notice.
I am seeing some familiar faces as I sit at this counter looking out into the foyer, I wonder if they are lost or just spending time like me …. round and round we go …together … turning with the earth in preparation for air travel to another place.
Some with matching luggage, holding hands. Some barely acknowledging each others existence, some bubbling over with excitement, some looking a bit bored and lonely. What an intriguing place to share space with humanity.
There is a very large screen just off to my right, up high on the wall with scenes of Canada I presume and the odd add for Olympics to come. Fireplace, food preparation, no sound – just the visual. I wonder who has that job?? to decide what is or might be a pleasure for folks as they walk around in circles? There is that same couple again ….. see how much I can notice when I just watch.
I think I might do the same in a while … stroll around in circles …. <grin> maybe they know something that I don’t …..
It will be late tomorrow night local time in Germany when I land. I wonder how long I will travel. That whole time zone thing is very trippy (pun intended) and kind of interesting. Do we age differently if we change time zones?? how is it with the body to go across the date line? Will I notice? Feel refreshed or feel like I have lost a day sleep? Maybe there is nothing to notice … just to sit with what is and
**** a person just stopped and started talking to me …. about travel and places, german and french, difference and the same. He asked if I was working … that is how it started. I said “no, writing to my home” was what my unexpected voice responded. He is a security person here – from Africa, lives in Tsawwassen.
I guess in a manner of speaking, I am working. I am learning, I am traveling and learning. I am on my familiarization cruise tour compliments of my new part time job. Yes, I am working. Yes I am learning. Yes, this is my life. How unexpectedly sweet my life is …. all parts
Sending these notes to friends and family – keeping them for my own record of my travels for when I am old-er I may want to re-read and re-experience the moments I carefully am saving in my mind.
Like making a movie – to be watched and re-watched. Everyone will have a different version of the story and I will have made it, written it in my own world as it came to me. As I sit and watch. I am the main character but all have a part of importance.
Watching shoes, people, time, faces, energy, direction, expressions, eyes, the screen, the food, the foyer, the stores, the info booth, young people and not-so-young people. It is all here at YVR any time for anyone – make that everyone to enjoy. What a glorious place and a wondrous life
I am busting with gratitude, filled with awe, many questions … many moments to capture.
Thank you thank you – for all that has lead me to this space and this time – for coming with me and for guiding me with your light.
It is my third entry and second day of travel, and as yet I am still without more than moments of stolen sleep. I have been most of this day in the Amsterdam airport, following an all night flight from Vancouver…. and waiting for my last flight to Nuremburg.
Last night – the flight was long, the plane was nice and the service was amazing. KLM was the company and although they had no prior knowledge of my food allergies, tried to accommodate as best they could. Wine was free!! Amazing what free wine can do to make the weary traveler feel just a wee bit more cared for! Good for them! And a special decaf coffee with Bailies, complimentary of course!
They gave me yogurt and salad and then some to take with me this morning as well. It was a huge plane and filled every seat. Mostly families traveling, I sat in the middle section, back of the plane, on an aisle (there was no real options, the aisle was my choosing) with almost no leg room. It was challenging. Movies were fun, and somehow in that very very small space I lost my Westjet headset that I had carefully packed for use with the lap top. I guess it was absorbed by the larger European plane …. I now have a two pronged one compliments of KLM however, won;t work on the lap top. It is a mystery to me how the Westjet one got lost …. it is not like I was walking around or anything … sat still for 8 and ½ hours …. maybe it got lost in the time zone change??? over the dateline?? It seemed we just left, headed north over Edmonton, and very cold temperatures outside according to the plane information provided … maybe over Norway?? I had to move my watch time 2 hours back when we arrived …. 10 hours later here ….. and there was almost no darkness last night outside the windows!! Magical night for sure.
And now in Amsterdam, the Netherlands –
I found a comfy lounge chair to sit in all day and read. I watched the weather and planes outside, listened to announcements in foreign accents and generally had peace around me. Not being adventurous on my own, I did not step out and wander much …. just a few moments ago I found a sign that said there is a meditation center here and wireless connection. I have decided to write an entry, and maybe go find a few minutes of meditation in this large spacious airport – before I seek out my next terminal. There are duty free shops everywhere – lots of cities being announced, peoples names called out who are late for their flights …. with notice their bags will be taken off the plane. That would just be nasty!!!
Places include, Milan, Rome, Paris — oh the places people are going!!! Lots of English spoken here – and of course, Dutch. Memories as I wander …. wooden shoes, tulips, gouda cheese … all and more being sold in this airport. Memories from a time long long ago, and not so far away .. Germany and Holland in 1967 with my family. Familiar sites nevertheless. Chocolates, of course are international!! the packaging might be different but the contents I certainly recognize. The duty free shops offer perfumes and make up in familiar names, even crocs (shoes) are sold here in many colors!! I look for a suitable bag to drag home as a new addition to my luggage, but nothing jumps right out at me. Hard to sort out prices as well… I keep trying to recall 1.6 Euro …. so it means doing the math and takes the quick mindless purchases to a minimum (lucky me!!). Perhaps shopping in Europe will be much less painful than I had first predicted!
I see Guerlain products and recall becoming a fan many years ago with my friend Verona …. then I found them at Walt Disneyworld at Epcot center in the France pavilian … and now … in Amsterdam airport in the duty free shops. I love the flood of memories of previous stories.
OOOOOPs, someone who is late for feparture to Prague, and another one for Lisbon … “or we will proceed to off load your baggage” ….. the kind announcers say over the loud speaker for all the folks to hear.
Well, I must go find that meditation space just to say I did it … maybe have a moment there. Then on to find my departure gate …. I would not want them to off load my lime green baggage!! I guess at least then I would know if for sure it is really and truly following me around the world and will be at my final destination when I need it the most.
The end of another page. A time zone of 10 hours ahead of all of you … who says tomorrow never comes!!! it did for me last night ….. <grin> And I am living my tomorrow today!!



Welcome and good morning.  How do I do it?  Here are a few simple reminders for me and duplicate-able steps for anyone.

  1. My future has nothing to do with my past: and every thing to do with what I do today.
  2. My self talk is the most important voice in my day.
  3. I take a step.  I take a small step, ever onward, toward my climb to success.
  4. My attitude is my sail and determines my destination, as well as my journey.
  5. I face the opportunities and see the progress.
  6. I forgive all and offer generosity.  I smile.  I practice gratitude, optimism and positivity.
  7. I look for mentors who have what I am looking to achieve.  I follow what they say and do.
  8. I dream big; I dream often.  I live my dream.
  9. I meditate, journal, read and listen.  I connect to others and listen to their story.
  10. I matter and make a significant contribution to as many lives as I touch in a day.Image

A long weekend and a Life Long Love : Grammieblog

A weekend of love for Grammie

On one of the busiest weekends of the year, August long weekend, I loaded my car with treasures on the Thursday night. Large stuffed sea otter from Alaska cruise; check. One quarter of my treasured 100% cotton quilt fabric in large white garbage bags; check. Serger machine in box; check. A large bag of small stuffed animals, birds, bears and more of the same; check.

Carefully selected for the recipients. My eldest daughter is self sufficient and successful beyond her years. She and her husband are building their second home and she wants to make stuff out of quilt fabric. She wants to use the serger. The grand boys will want to open treasures too – hence the abundance of stuffies!

The most important reason for this last minute trip: to see and hold and hug and love those grandbabies. My heart skips a beat as I prepare. Will Luke remember me? Why do I have this fear? Say the mantra and let it go. “I love you; I am sorry; please forgive me; thank you”. Releasing the voices of my memories and self doubts that may have started in many generations past. Poof, in the moment, they are gone. Leaving me with my excitement and anticipation of a wonderful adventure that I surely will remember in my heart the remainder of my days.

I leave from Victoria and start driving. Some 8 hours later I arrive at their home and am ushered in to the room at the resort where we stay while the house is being built. All are sleeping. My excitement will stay with me till morning.

Early I am woken by the sound of the phone, my daughter says “we are up, come on over”. I say the mantra to clear the doubts and space and leave only inspiration.

I rush. As I walk toward their place there he is -in the hallway and he begins to run. Arms outstretched, knowing his grammie is there. A bit of shyness as he searches the recesses of memory from several months ago and finds me. He hugs me. My day is complete. Should no other wonderful moment happen this day, I have found the pinnacle of my success. I have felt the dream come true. I explode in love for this little boy. His mom watches on and I feel such love for the little girl that I raised and the mom she has become.

Fast forward a few days and I am now heading home. Back to Victoria. I shed tears as I left and hoped he would not see. I don’t want him to have one sad moment from our visit. Savor only the precious hugs, books we read and songs we sang. Ice cream we ate, animals we saw at the farm, muffins we made in the heat of the day, juice we drank, jammies we put on, baths he had, meals we ate, kisses we shared. Goldfish kisses, he is starting to learn. Buckets of kisses from grammie … as we read from one of the books about how to fill up the buckets of your loved ones. “When the moon hit’s the sky, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore, la la la la la la.” He learns new words, Pinnochio, electricity, cinnamon, zucchini.

I cried for a while, feeling nothing but love and a tightness in my heart for this relationship.

Till next time, little one. And for Jack as he also grows old enough to remember his Grammie. I send hugs and love bigger than I can describe.

What is so great about Love Notes?


Who loves to hear from family and friends and new acquaintances that they brought joy into another person’s life? 

I am guessing the answer is “everyone”!  In my work, my day job, I work with people who seldom hear good words, kind words and words of encouragement.  One could imagine that is how they came to work with me.  I am a Probation Officer and I love my career.

In my 30 years in the business of helping others I have learned a few simple strategies.

  1. Find a quality you like and notice it in others, and tell them about it.
  2. Be genuine in your approach and always be in service to the other person.
  3. Never give up and never give in to discouragement.
  4. Be to the other, as you want the other to be to you.
  5. Be the best daughter, mother, partner, authority, employee and friend that you know how.
  6. Apologize when you have done something wrong.
  7. Keep in touch, keep the door open and let people know they matter.
  8. Hang out with people you want to be like.  Offer them your service.
  9. Join a business where you get compensated for personal development growth.
  10. Send love notes to everyone, as often as you can and try to do it every day.


I love you.  I am sorry.  Please forgive me.  Thank you.