You miss one bus…

Another one comes along. Right? What a week. I had a post all ready to go saying we’d set the Vancouver Island Organic Alternatives shop in motion. All that was left was crossing the Ts. We had a location, a lease, a plan. A logo. But we did a 180 degree turn at the last minute. You don’t need to hear about it – it comes down to a combination of circumstance, emerging data – and gut feeling. Any time I’ve ignored my gut, I’ve regretted it and usually ended up broke or in jail (just kidding about jail but I’ve been broke more times than I like to acknowledge). So, okay then, time for a new plan. After we move.

Over two weeks free of gluten, dairy and sugar. One more week and I’ll start reintroducing things one by one. Maybe sooner. Gluten first, then dairy. And never sugar, I’m hoping. It’s amazing how may processed foods have sugars. All sauces and dressings (almost). Many gluten free products that are processed contain sugars. They get you at every corner. I guess that’s the corn syrup market in the US. To be clear, I am still having fruit (smoothies every day) and any naturally occurring sugars are allowed. No processed or added sugars allowed and no processed foods containing sugar. Fructose (found in fruit) breaks down in your liver and doesn’t provoke an insulin response – glucose (refined/processed sugars) breaks down in the stomach and requires the release of insulin into the bloodstream to be metabolized completely. If you care.


Our smoothies are awesome. I start with cashew or coconut milk (low fat no added sugar), 25 calories per cup. Just for a bit of richness. The rest of the liquid is coconut water. Then major pineapple and/or mango, berries (cherries, blueberries or mixed raspberries/strawberries/blackberries) and I use 100% organic but frozen. So I don’t need to add ice. If I have them, I add egg whites. I add vegetable protein powder, cold milled ground flax, chia and hemp hearts. And often fresh ginger. And a teaspoon of tumeric paste. That probably sounds terrible, but you only taste the fruit and it’s very good. And quite filling. Occasionally, I’ll add raw cocoa beans. It’s certainly a full meal replacement in nutrients and being liquid, easy on your digestive system. Which is important for your first meal of the day and any food you might eat in the evening if you can manage it. Left to its own devices, your body will expel any toxins you take in, as long as it isn’t using all its energy digesting food (food that’s probably got its own toxins if it’s processed). So if your late night snack can be liquid (a blended soup? smoothie? milkshake?) – all the better. That’s what I read, anyway and it seems to work for me. I feel healthier.


I haven’t quit coffee. Just the things listed above. And only for one more week. If I don’t find the culprit, I’ll eliminate three more things on the next round – nightshades, eggs and citrus (although I’ve pretty much eliminated citrus now except for my half lemon in hot water in the morning). That’s another thing I’ll say about bigger cities – they always have lemons. That’s important. Limes are citrus too, but so are oranges and grapefruit. And they are all different. And lemon is the morning ritual for me. I’ve been doing that for years – although I had to switch to lime here and there when I lived in San Miguel. In Cuernavaca, I can get them at Costco or Superama. Probably Soriana too, but I’ haven’t been to that chain down here yet. There’s one close to the new house. But I can’t wait to get to the City Market near the new house. I’m kind of excited about that. Food is without a doubt my favorite shopping. Food and flowers.

My dear 93-year-old mother-in-law has a bad aortic valve but they can’t operate because she has pneumonia. She’s in the hospital, but improving. She wanted to have the operation, was going to schedule it and then she got ill again. We’re chanting long and hard for a satisfying recovery for her. She’s a fighter for sure – but she’s not interested in a life with a lot of physical limitations. I hope I have her courage as I age.

And here I am again, thinking about time and space and light years of travel and the universe and the meaning of life. And death. And aging. A lot of people (celebrities and friends and dogs) seem to have died so far this month. Disproportionate amount, I think.  And where do we go? I guess we’re all going to find out, one day. What if Chris de Burgh was right? That would be very cool. Hey Zeus! (Sorry, inside joke).


I’ve been letting go again. Always good, particularly when it’s spontaneous. Sometimes you hang on and hang on without knowing why and then boom. You wake up one morning and give up those attachments. Attachments to thoughts, to perceptions, to established ways  – even attachments to physical things, like refined sugar. They’re all attachments and you don’t need them. That’s what this picture says to me  – it’s infinite. So why are you hanging on? (This photo came from Astronaut Scott Kelly – he has a killer Facebook feed.)

There’s a new phase coming up – there pretty much has to be with all the things that will be different in the next few months. I feel a transition. That change I felt coming when I last wrote – I am even more certain of it’s inevitability. I see a turning point in my near future. Sure, you say, easy to predict. You’re moving and looking for a new project. Well, that’s true. But more of a turning point than just that. I’m really shedding my skin.

I’m much more interested in exploring my Irish heritage than I was before – a cousin has done a great deal of work on the family tree and there are a ton of relatives around the village where my grandmother grew up. Plus I have what I think are second (or third – but friendly) cousins in the north I could visit (we could visit). I’d like to see Galway Bay, because it’s in a song I like. And Dublin is the place I’m really keen to explore. If we were to spend an extended period of time in Ireland, that’s where I think we’d base. And by extended, I mean a month or two (not a year or two). Extended vacation. Ploughman’s holiday, as they used to say.


We’ve always liked to stay at least two months in a location if we can. Even at that, you don’t truly get to know a place, I don’t think, until you’ve been there six months. Our initial moving around – from Toronto to Dallas and then to Vancouver – was all work related transfers. And we did stay in Vancouver until the job was done (then high-tailed it to the Island) and we’ve been there more than a dozen years. We spent most of those winters inhabiting other places, and for many years that was Galveston. Which I am still very fond of. Of course, I haven’t been there since Ike. I hear it is different now. I can’t imagine all those live oaks gone from the boulevard on Broadway. Or from the streets and the yards. Must be brutal now in the summer heat. The cottage where we wintered has been bulldozed. Nice little triangle of land though, right on the seawall (which was built after Isaac, the storm of 1900). If I had enough money (I don’t), I’d probably buy it and do that damn condo hotel 🙂


This was the view from my desk in Galveston, at Magnolia house. The sunrise. And it always made me think of Warren Zevon. When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun, Keep me in your heart for a while... As you can see, I have emotional attachments to that piece of land (spent many a winter watching that exact sunrise) so this is a project I should never, ever consider in a hundred million zillion years.  The Galveston years were fun. I’d produce the screenwriting seminars for six months and make a shit load of money (culminating in the fall, usually, but occasionally the spring). As a consultant, my husband isn’t tied to any one location. So the other six months, we’d go to Galveston where I’d dream up schemes like the Galveston Condo Hotel (with my bad companion, JR). We went for six winters – missed one to go to Costa Rica to check it out. And we did travel to Mexico a couple of times from Galveston. But we based from there in the winter, pretty much. And then Ike came.

That’s Murdoch’s Bathhouse in the background, since rebuilt. But the larger-than-life Balinese Room is gone forever, it seems. Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope both played there – the Maceo brothers (yes, those Maceos) opened it in 1929, when they controlled the gambling and liquor on the island (during the height of prohibition). Google it if you are interested, it’s has a fascinating history. That rubble between the gentleman with the sign and Murdoch’s is what was left of the legendary Balinese room the day after Ike.


We did try to buy a property in Galveston (sight unseen for me, other than online) in 2011 but couldn’t get the logistics figured out. One offer fell through and we backed off  for a myriad of reasons that seemed logical at the time. Plus, our very good friend and colleague who lived there had moved on after Ike. The oaks and he were both gone. Galveston looked more and more like a memory we were trying too hard to hang on to. And then we moved to Mexico.

And here we are. Coming up to “Our Year in Mexico City” to see if we can find something that works as a lifestyle for us. I think we can. If we don’t find a building in DF to renovate – Hamilton, Ontario is hot right now. And full of old red brick, formerly factory, three and four-story buildings. Just begging to be turned into lofts. Begging. We’d be doing them a favor.

We looked at a few of them (from the outside) in September and had a little spurt of ‘what if we did one of these buildings’ but left it on the table after we hit Vancouver the following week and started to pursue other opportunities. Really, it’s where we’ve earned the largest annual freelance incomes – fix and flips. In the last dozen years, we’ve bought five houses (one was a loft) and sold four – all for profit (the Winchester house was weak profit, but the market wasn’t great). The other three were very good profits. And we’ve still got one to sell (the Ladysmith house). We were seriously wondering WTF to do with the money if we sold our house, given it’s not an opportune time to go into US investments (for a Canadian without a US stash).  And now we know. The game is afoot. Lefty. I think we may have even found the ideal starter-building. Anybody want to buy a condo?

hamiltonBut more about that another time. The snow isn’t nice, but Ontari-ari-ari-o is used to it. I need to assemble a team. If someone asked me what the most important assets one could protect was, I’d say: your team and your credit rating. Always protect your credit rating. Build it and protect it. Because then 25% down will buy you anything that earns enough money to pay the mortgage. That’s probably the only financial lesson I know, so there you have it all. Never forget that things can change, my friends. And sometimes, it’s good. And sometimes it’s not but who’s counting.  Orale!

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