That’s all I know

We have nice views in BC

We have nice views in BC

So, here we are in Vancouver. Me until the 16th, Charlie until the 18th of March. And three weeks from tomorrow (Sunday, March 29) – we will be home in Cuernavaca. And when we get there – I’m going to embark on The Clean Diet (by Alejandro Junger, MD). My hip/leg kills me up here (as in up North) unless I’m pretty much chewing glucosamine sulphate like candy. It behaves like arthritis, which is inflammation, but traditional doctors just shrug their shoulders and say, take GS. And yes,it does work but it treats the symptoms, not the cause. It alleviates the inflammation – but where is it coming from in the first place?

After reading half the book yesterday, when I woke up this morning reaching for the family-size GS bottle, I thought: What did I eat last night? It was a very healthy simple dinner (lean chicken breast baked with olive oil, salt & pepper; baked cauliflower and bell peppers with Sumac; smashed potatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper. Scant olive oil on each. But according to Junger, both potatoes and peppers are part of the nightshade family and to be eliminated in the first part of the diet (along with all sugar, gluten, dairy and more).

cleanYou eliminate over a few weeks/a month, then you cleanse for one to three weeks, depending on your tolerance and discipline levels. Once you’ve eliminated certain food groups (possible inflammation culprits) – you can reintroduce them again, one by one, to see how they make you feel. He spends a lot of the book explaining how he came to his conclusions and it makes sense to me. I am going to do a full-blown separate blog when I start, and will blog daily during the process. Once I get the URL – I’ll link to it so you can follow my progress if it’s of interest. We have company in April, and I’ll schedule it for when they leave (I may start the elimination part though). And we’ll keep May off the books – by which I mean, not invite anyone – because it’s harder with company when you get to the cleanse part. Then we have company already booked in June and July. I’ll try to keep to my Mexico rule of only one set of house guests per month as much as possible because we do work for a living – weekends are another thing and wide open  – for friends from inside the country (or close enough for a short trip) to visit. It’s the longer term guests that I have to limit to once per month. August is open then September (right after Labor Day), we go north for probably 10 days. Maybe a week. I’m already thinking I’ll just do the Toronto trip and come home earlier – let Charlie go to Vancouver if he needs to. But we’ll see how settled in we are first. And I might need to come up for my visa application. Depends.

So, here we are in Vancouver. Staying with the kids, who are actually on the road for a week, so staying at their house is more accurate (they just left this morning). It should be a good, clear week when we can get a lot of work done. My anxiety has disappeared – I think it was weird to be on the Island but not in our house, on our way but not gone. Just paused. And the dogs. People are so kind to open their doors to us with these two. Not that they cause any trouble, but they do disrupt households, especially households with other animals. And I’m always on guard and monitoring them, so I don’t fully relax. I have fun, don’t get me wrong. But I’m always watching out of the corner of my eye.

appleWe’re going for lunch with our accountant this week – we genuinely like him and he always has good ideas. And I’ve got a forest walk (hey this is the left coast) scheduled with one of my dearest friends who I don’t see often enough. And I’ve got work to do on the memoir project. That one is hours and hours but we’re moving at a steady, sustainable pace. I could go quicker once we get to Mexico and get settled but the client (former boss and longtime friend) isn’t in any hurry. I’m all about sustainable these days. I’m don’t have the research time required to fully play the buy/sell short-yourself position I’d like to try with online trading until I get settled in Cuernavaca – but I have been buying and selling some. In about 9 months, it’s returning 32% but I did take a few fliers that brought the % down, my main purchases have been returning 45%+ in nine months. That’s not bad, but the market is quite hot right now.

A 5-point spread is even worse!

A 5-point buy/sell spread is even worse!

Unfortunately, I can’t short the big US stocks (I know that’s the wrong terminology because I’m actually short selling my own stock, not a stock I borrow, and I’ll get a grip on it once I land but please just humor me for now) because I’d have to factor the exchange spread between the buy/sell in, right now I’m playing inside a TFSA – which can contain US stocks but must be held in Canadian funds to be tax exempt. So if I want to short myself on US Stock A (say it goes up to $100, I sell 200 shares and wait til it goes back down to $98 and buy it again, I still have 200 shares when I buy it back, plus $400 profit, less two trade charges of $9.99 each. It’s only 2% profit, but it ideally only takes a few days to realize and you’re in and out. But the regardless of where the exchange is, 4% in the spread between buy/sell, both of which I need to do, puts me in the red. The short has to be well beyond 4 or 5% – not impossible but now we’re into very risky stocks again. So I’m looking at some Canadian stocks to (so-called, wrongly by me) short. I guess I can only hold US stocks – which I don’t mind doing with a couple of my favorites, that keep going up. But I need to start playing the Canadian stocks more aggressively, and Loblaws might be a good one, I’m watching it. And Shaw. And WestJet. To make $380 on what might amount to an hour’s worth of work over a couple of days is fine (as in the above example). Especially if I could get several of them in play at various times through the week. And if I can do this with less expensive stock, the payout is better proportionately. It’s not rocket science but it’s not eenie-meenie-miney-mo either. We’ll see and I’ll keep you posted.

The thing is, I really like it. Maybe I’ve finally found something to do with my idle hands. Research is the bailiwick of Scorpios (of which I am a double), I do love the internet and I love news. I spend a lot of time reading. I don’t just play these stocks based on movement – there are programs for that, I guess but I’m not interested in that kind of action. Unless I can turn it on and walk away and make money LOL, who wouldn’t be interested? But I don’t think it works like that. I start watching them because I read something that suggests they have potential, I analyze their up and down fluctuations, and pick the ones to short myself with. I mean, I watch for a month (looking at it every day) before I make decisions. It’s a pretty informed action – always a bit of a gamble, of course. But so is crossing the street or getting on a plane.

Wow. New city, new plan for the stock market, new plan for getting healthy, new blog. If glutens are a problem, I guess I’ll have to start drinking red wine instead of beer. Although I swear, when I googled low gluten beer, the two brands (mainstream) that came up were Heineken and Corona (domestic Corona, not exported). Isn’t that convenient? In any event – I can introduce beer after excluding it and see what happens. It will be interesting to say the least. I remember a cleanse from 15 years ago where I eliminated wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol for 30 days. The idea of introducing the groups back one by one hadn’t been floated yet, but that cleanse made me feel great.

Beachfront B&B

Beachfront B&B hotel – Mazatlan

Three weeks and we’re there. And on the 23rd, which is just two weeks and a day away (!) I’ll be in Cuernavaca on a recon mission with J, setting up the house for a couple of days. The Monday will be running around setting up the internet/tv/phone/fumicacion (scorpions, don’t ask) and administrator stuff for Beatriz (the agent). I guess we’d better lay in *some* food that day, so we don’t have to go out on our own the first night. I’m not comfortable enough with the city yet to have two gringo broads out alone at night – mostly because we’re coming home to an empty house – no CW, no dogs, just us. It may be overly cautious but better safe than sorry. Tuesday is Costco and Las Mañanitas (home of the peacocks, parrots and flamingos) for an early (by Mexican standards) lunch or maybe just a quick drink and a snack. The last time we were there for a meal, it was really expensive and the service was appalling. And the food, while adequate, was nothing you can’t find in most restaurants. There’s a much better place to eat in the town square but we won’t have a chance this trip. And then Wednesday, we take the bus back up to the airport and I’m off to Hermosillo to hook up with CW and the dogs and J goes back to San Miguel. I think I told you about the charming beachfront B&B (more like a boutique hotel) I found for our mini-vacation in Mazatlan on the way down. I’m quite looking forward to a day on the beach with the dogs and nothing to do. And then we’re really on the last leg.

We have to hit the ground running in April, because neither one of us will be able to do much work the last two weeks of March. I may be able to get some done on planes, and early in the morning those first two days in Cuernavaca but for the most part, the last half of the month is a write-off. Except for setting up the house, which has to be done. And migracion stuff. Still not sure what I’m doing about that – either come in somehow as Charlie’s wife – or I have to either wait til we sell the house, or I have to borrow against it to invest the necessary funds. They don’t consider equity – a house free and clear of morgages – to be valid. I don’t want to borrow that much money. I guess I could though. I have to put it in an investment account for a year. And pay tax on anything I make, clearly. FM. I hope they will finally believe that I am his wife. We talked about going to Ireland and getting married again – making sure the paperwork was exactly what they wanted. Or, getting married in Mexico but you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get married legally in Mexico. Most of the tourists who marry here aren’t actually married, LOL.

dogsinthecarSometimes I think it would be smarter (but we have to wait til the dogs are dead) just to take off for somewhere like Cyprus or Portugal (I hold an EU passport so I don’t have to dick with visas over there). But the dogs. It’s always something. When they do die, I swear we are storing everything and just taking off for a year or two, doing the whole way. It won’t cost much to use the trains inside Europe and rent is free so it’s just living expenses. Five years in Mexico (based on the youngest dog being eight) before that. But as soon as our Vancouver Island house sells we plan to buy in Mexico City (with a terrace for the dogs) I think. We will always be able to rent it out while we travel. We may even find a place to rent we can afford (with an outside) now that we’ll be on the ground and in the vicinity, able to swoop in and seal the deal in an hour.  I feel like I kind of wimped out by taking the place in Cuernavaca, but I didn’t want to get stuck in a loft in the city with no outside and two dogs, I just can’t do it. But Cuernavaca is close enough to commute and it’s a big city in itself (Costco, PF Changs, Superama etc) so I don’t think it will be as limiting as I found San Miguel to be. And we’ve only committed for one year with an option to renew. Or not as the case may be.

So there you have it. Another blog post where I say absolutely nothing and it somehow takes up multiple screens. It feels different this time, not nearly as exciting to be honest. I guess because I know what to expect, for the most part. I’m very happy to be going back. But it’s not this big, new thing anymore. I’m grateful to be able to go back. Don’t get me wrong. Grateful, happy, just not the same level of endorphins as last time. The Dopamine’s there (but it’s always there). You’ll see a big difference when I land for good, no doubt, as I get settled in and discover the town. I guess I’m back to that problem of the website name. But that’s another post. For now, things are level and calm and we have one more week before things start to move quickly. I will try to post at least one more update before we get there but no guarantees.

I leave you with one of my very favorite songs – it’s a sad song, I guess. But it’s also a happy song, too. It’s about sorrow, it’s about loss, it’s about understanding, it’s about remembering and forgiving and loving and living. And it touches my soul. Remember: Canta, no llores.

[youtube url=”″]