And here we are again

Goddamn, here I am again. Feeling the urge to open this page, even though I don’t think I have much to say. However, I always seem to prove myself wrong.

April 20. So 4/20. But not 4:20 yet. Buds are all out on the trees (the ornamentals all flowered some time back) and the daffodils and tulips are just about done. So, I guess it’s officially spring but it’s been a cold and rainy one here. Today, however, is sunny and supposedly mild (10C, still cold if you ask me). I haven’t been out yet, it’s only 8:21 am and I’ve been at my desk for three hours 🙂

We need to hang on until mid-May, I guess. The next few weeks are rain/sun/rain/sun/rain/sun. But it gets good later (really late for us), around May 19.

Do not care much for La Nina years — tooooo much rain. But hey, I’m back in the land of healthcare and Chinese food. I can deal with it. One thing Mexico does have going for it — the weather, I will never deny that. And it has so much potential. Just no political will.

I guess I’m kind of at odd ends. I think Mariupol may fall today. FM. I hate that Russian bastard with all my heart.

April 30. It did not fall. But the times are so precarious.

I thought to open this page because Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party” came on and it made me melancholy. Always does. I remember the new years day that I heard he was dead (he died freebasing coke with his pilot while they were flying to a New Years Eve party gig somewhere in the south). What a waste. In my mind, I know his face so well, and his expressions. As a child, I was glued to Ozzie & Harriet. I had such a crush on that guy. And I heard, “Hello Mary Lou” the other day too, a bit before my musical time, really, but I know the song very well. And “Poor Little Fool”. Yikes, they wore suits and ties in bands then.

God, he was cute and I was so happy for him when he started to make his comeback. That was a long time ago (I googled – died NYE in 1985, released Garden Party in ’72, and released Hello Mary Lou in ’61). I always think about his life when any of his songs come on. So much potential. I wonder if anyone ever did a bio. I’d read it. Ah yes, I see one on Amazon, long out of print and only $88. No.

May 11. Sometimes, I just have little to say. It doesn’t mean I’m not thinking. Just that nothing is coming out that makes sense. The war still rages on, but nothing escalated on May 9 and that was good. There is another Economist zoom about the war on Friday, the first in three weeks so they should have something to say. A few people I know in Vancouver have recently caught Covid (last few days), as have quite a few friends of my friend in San Francisco (apparently). The BC government has all but abandoned any reporting – I think they report cases once a week but all mask mandates are gone, as are vaccine mandates. Surgeries are being delayed again because the hospitals are so full. Sometimes I wonder if this is the collapse of civilization as we know it – the health care system in Canada is on the brink of disaster as far as I can tell. No province seems to be doing well. There are 900,000 people in BC with no family doctor. That makes emergency a popular wing at the local hospital. Which is a good hospital at least.

We now move in 3.5 weeks. I haven’t sorted our new mortgage yet, although I’ve been working on it for literally weeks. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is. Things take so long. We do have our old one, which is portable but we’ll see. We have a locked-in rate, but she hasn’t submitted the paperwork yet because there is so much of it. I knew this, though, because of the current mortgage. They want to know everything. The last time, they wanted to see the divorce decree from literally 30 years and two husbands ago. To make sure I am not obligated to pay spousal support. Seriously? That one still owes me money from the divorce.

Mercury went retrograde in Gemini yesterday. But I think it might be tempered by Jupiter going direct in Aries. Haha. Fooled ya. I have no idea what that means (well, I do, but only because I looked it up). It’s direct now until October 28 – and hasn’t been since 2011. Only happens every 12-13 years. I feel the need to write something good, do something creative. It’s busting out actually but I have no plan. That’s not good. I need a plan so the daemon doesn’t go nuts. He’s the destructive version of the muse. Maybe he’s a she, I don’t know. When harnessed, he can be highly productive. But without an outlet, he raises effing hell. And I think I feel that starting to happen so I’d better figure this out 🙂

I’ve lost touch with the creative projects the past few months. Maybe even this whole year and it’s already month five. I did build a website for Sonia, my co-author (The Move to Mexico Bible). She is a constant source of information and referrals for book sales. I really enjoyed doing it — it was a new WP theme so it challenged me, and it was creative. Choosing photos and layouts. Editing. It’s what I should probably be doing, I enjoy it a lot. Oh, here’s the website.

The thing, however, I need to be very aware of is that I was my own boss on this and I don’t like most people and that’s not a good quality for a client-based business ???

I have been working, and busy. Marketing copy, mostly. But I need to do something creative. I’ll have to work on that. It would be nice if I could make it pay. I’m not even so interested in doing Captivatist anymore. That isn’t good either.

We’ll be going to Ontario for Dad’s 90th and that will be fun. That will be the only holiday this year. Chris will have to go back in August to visit his family. Then, we need to stay put this winter and get back on a firm footing and figure out where we stand after the financing is settled and we find out if we have enough money to do things to the house. It will be fun, but we may have to go slower than we thought.

We immediately need a new hot water heater and need to put up a fence. We also need to upgrade to 200 amp (it’s 100amp now).

Then comes the heat pump, hot tub and gas fireplace. Not necessarily in that order. And the kitchen, but that can be over time. Either the FP or the heat pump the 1st year to help with heat (it’s electric right now, baseboard). And CW needs a hot tub. Maybe a doctor will prescribe it.

I’m of the opinion that we should also consider taking on some extra debt in order to build a suite downstairs. 1100 SF – 2 br – can probably get $2,000 a month right now because there’s an ocean view and lots of light, it’s above-ground down there as the house is a bungalow. We’ll have to see how much of it we use. Even with a kitchen, we’re talking $75K I think — and if gross income from it is $24K a year, that really makes sense. But we’ll live in it a year and then decide. And if we do it, it’s with permits and legal suite status with the city.

But the most important thing to come to the top of my mind in writing this morning (you are my therapists, never forget that) is that I have to get a creative project going. My writing partner is wrapping up a series for Mexican TV this month (or next, perhaps) and plans to come and visit in order to write a pilot/limited series outline that we’ve started but not gotten back to. We have a producer who is quite into it, and she’s gotten lots of good feedback so this, while not my preferred type of show, could be good. And the lead character is intriguing. Challenging. Redeemable 🙂

Merc Rx and the remaining 3.5 weeks will be stressful, but if I prepare myself, I can get through it. Then I have about four weeks (five?) in the house and off to Ontario. I’m going to stop and visit my friend Pam and my cousin Sharon — because I may not get to Ontario again for a long time. It will be at least a year and I haven’t seen Pam since 2012. I saw Sharon when I last saw Dad, I always try to see her, even if it’s a brief stop when I’m in Ontario. Now that I’m back from Mexico, I hope she’ll come out to visit.

I am happy not to travel for the winter, mostly. I hate traveling now. I used to love it but it’s such a pain. I have to get to the Vancouver airport, usually the night before. Then, by the time I land in Toronto, because of the time difference, I have to stay at a hotel at the airport there. The same thing on the way back, but with an early early morning flight out of Toronto, I can get to Vancouver in time to get a float plane or ferry to the island on the same day. There is that. It’s always one more step. But it was the choice between an 800sf condo with an electric stove and no view in Vancouver, or this house on the island. Where we can grow things and have a dog. And a view. And a hot tub and a gas stovetop.

Well, it’s Friday the 13th. Almost the middle of the month. We will move three weeks from today. I’m frantic with the things that aren’t confirmed – like the mortgage. But I’m sure I will hear next week. Maybe I should just start eating gummies but they mostly put me to sleep.

Sunday, May 15. Laura died what I think is now 19 years ago, which makes it 2003, sometime between today and the 17th. They put the 17th on the death certificate but we don’t know for sure. The last time she was seen alive was the morning of the 15th. I’ll chant all three days. That she’s happy and free of pain, wherever she is. In the new house, I’ll plant something for her. I’ve actually got another six bushes to plant in this house but I think I’ll make hers a tree at Poplar Ave.

I don’t know when the impermanence of it all hit me. Probably before Laura died, when Michael K. died. And then after Laura, both Tom cousins. All too young. But I guess there is always a plan. Somewhere. There were lots of deaths before Laura (we’ve discussed some of them) but I think Mike K was the one that made me realize that it could be any of us, any day. I’m still not used to it.

This photo always makes me think of Laura. This was my sunrise view in Galveston the fall and winter after she died, every morning, out the screen door of the cottage. And “Keep Me in Your Heart” was the song – Warren died that year too.

In the morning when you wake up and you see that crazy sun …

Speaking of death, as I do quite often, I have another dear friend in Cuernavaca who is dying (literally, days away) and it is killing me. Killing me. He’s the most positive person I know. He’s 76 and was fairly healthy until just before we left. We both started dropping weight and were each diagnosed (on the frigging phone) with cryptospirosis, a water-borne gastrointestinal thing that is more than common in Cuernavaca because according to the doctor, their pipes are all “compromised”. Not that I ever drank tap water. In the end, it wasn’t at all. For me, it was stress and once I hit Canada, I started to put weight back on and got some appetite back.

My friend, however, kept losing weight and stopped drinking and I gather kept looking worse and worse. Took them a fucking year to send him, finally, for a petscan just a couple of weeks ago (he talked to numerous doctors, had numerous tests previously). Cancer everywhere – from his groin to his stomach, to his lungs, heart, bones and brain. Fuck me. I spoke to him on the phone Monday and it was great to talk to him but he said, “I thought I had 20 years left” and that just broke my heart. We touch base most mornings on Facebook messenger, as we have since the pandemic. I will miss him so much, just knowing he is there.

The most positive person I know, he has been with his partner for 45 years and they have lived in Cuernavaca for the past 17 years. He posted every day about how happy he was and how much he loved his life in Mexico. For as long as I’ve known him (about six years). And he isn’t happy but he’s accepted it, and he’s ready to go. I have my old mala beads on, the ones my Buddhist mentor Georgia gave me when I first took refuge. These are the beads I turn to when someone is dying (or has died). I’m chanting for safe passage for him and for peace for his partner. I’m so sad though and bursting into tears through the day. He always called his friends his “chosen family” and I was fortunate enough to be included. He’s going to leave on his own terms. May he have peace and transition easily, without pain.

It’s May 18th now and I feel stressed. Wish I didn’t. Aside from my friend, we are STILL waiting to hear back about our mortgage. I am sure we can get something. But we’re hoping for more than 50%, which is all they would give us last time. I don’t know why it takes so long but this stuff really stresses me out. And then, there is moving, and making sure everyone is onside for that – following up with the movers, the cleaners. Our cleaners supposedly had us booked for move out, but then they all got Covid, she told me that much at least and I’ve been messaging and no reply now for more than two weeks. I have a new cleaner coming today to quote (I hope).

The new house, and why I’m not stressed anymore 🙂

This is all very stressful but I will be calmer once we have moved to the new house. And then it’s almost time to go to Ontario in the first week of July. Frankly, I’m stressed about that, too. But it’s what it is, that’s where Dad lives. And I wouldn’t miss his 90th. And I’ll go to Pam’s house, then Sharon’s then Dad’s. It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but I have no idea when I’ll be back and I need to see those two as well.

I think the mortgage is stressing me out the most. I don’t know why it takes so long to decide. I think I’ll email her again. I have to force myself to eat. It helps to work, and it helps to write and get it out. My coffee consumption is way down and I’m hardly smoking any pot – it just makes me more anxious (those of you who know me will now realize how serious this is ???).

But I guess I’d better just buck up, really. I have nothing to complain about. My only legitimate worry is about my friend. I know it will happen in a few days and he will be at peace and I think I will be then, too. His partner must just be going through hell. They love each other very much. Okay, back to work. This break didn’t help me stop thinking about him at all.

May 21. It’s the long weekend here in Canada. I’ve had a week. Our rescue bull terrier, that sweet, sweet Boo, had some issues and is with a trainer right now. He’s had a rough road, poor baby, and I know he’s confused. But he is reactive and getting worse almost daily. We’ll see how it goes. Honestly, I can’t stop crying. He is such a cuddle bunny and so needy and so sweet. The trainer (who specializes in reactive dogs and was actually his trainer as a general trainer already) says you often don’t see the reactive issues for a couple of months. We are so upset, but we need to assess the situation.

My friend is still alive in Cuernavaca this morning and as happy as I am to get his messages in the morning, I don’t know that it’s a good thing. I know he’s still saying goodbye to a lot of people. He has an IV in his chest for morphine every six hours. He’s in incredibly good spirits.

And then my dad has other issues – he sounds good but lots of small physical issues, which add up, and that makes me sad. And my new friend in Kyiv keeps waking up to air sirens, shelter notices and missile defence systems going off over her head. So how can I complain? But life sucks majorly at the moment. That’s a fact. As Dr. Hook says, “Stop Crying. Put another quarter in the jukebox.”

So, off I go to do just that. I have about five hours work to do today. Alexa will play Ocean 104.7 (crafted for the Cape, on the other coast but oldies that comfort me right now) and I will do some work I need to do on some blurbs for a client. Yeah, here I am, back to marketing writing. Not sure how I got here but I’m working on other things in the meantime.

New Dining/Great Room sorta

May 22, the dog is being assessed and so far, so good. We’re getting calmer about it – he’s in a great place, he knows the trainer, all is good and we can’t do anything more until the end of the week when his assessment is done. We are so lucky to have had her relationship established.

I did all my blurbs, now I have about a 300-word product sheet to write tomorrow. It’s a holiday here and we will go out for dockside fish and chips but I’ll write in the morning and then later in the afternoon if it carries over. We’ve been really depressed about (and missing) the dog, Chris more than me and it’s been horrible. But Boo is in a very secure place right now and it’s what he needs. As she points out, he feels better and he feels safer. One of the things he is reactive to is space. I guess because he lived in a trailer for two years. And that’s why he is more reluctant than any dog I have ever had to go for a walk (although he will go). He doesn’t seem to enjoy it and now that makes sense — too much space outdoors. He doesn’t even like the yard, although he will lie in the sun, close to the house wall. And our interior house is open plan (always is), making him more anxious, according to her. All good information.

My friend is still alive and cheerful (morphined up) and still ending his sentences with !! when he messages me. Ever cheerful and ever grateful and I will miss him and his near-daily happy missives. He’s the one who introduced me to my other close buddy down there who died, Kiki. That was the hospital that did her hip a couple of years prior. Screwed it all up for her. You expect places and things to change drastically in 20 years, but not in six. This has been a hell of a six-year run of people dying (and not all older people) and bad luck (bad decisions), but we are so happy to be headed for this cottage house with a view of the Departure Bay ferry and hunker down.

We realize the stress we’ve been putting on ourselves and it’s not sustainable. That’s why we are so happy to be in this house in 12 days. If this was a movie, maybe the movers would just be leaving the new house and the characters would have the couch set up to look at the view in the new house, and CW would come in, maybe with a pizza box, and flop down and the couch would go through the floor into the basement. But it’s not a movie, right? ???

All good, nothing fell through the floor

Ok… we are getting a grip again. Tomorrow should be even more normal, it’s a holiday Monday so I can’t do a lot (other than that one product piece). We’re watching a great British series called New Tricks about retired cops chasing old cases, it’s great. It’s on BritBox. Later.

Okay, Monday, March 23. My friend began his journey today at 1:30 Central. Although I don’t normally think or speak like this (I’m quite nihilistic about death), he’s gone home. I really feel that. He was the most positive, cheerful person I’ve ever met and I enjoyed his company very much. He was kind. He thought everyone was the same, black, white, purple, rich, poor, or somewhere in between. He was a prince and I shed a few tears but this was a good death for him and I was grateful to talk to him (by message) every morning this past week, and even this morning. I will miss our morning time, he and I were always up before anyone else. We shared a lot. His partner, Dennis, is devastated, of course. I wish him peace and will help as I can. I will miss my friend. The sorrow is for me. I have nothing but gratitude for him, grateful for his friendship and grateful for the way he was able to leave. Sweet Dreams, David. Via con Dios.

Oh man. Life. It’s what it ends up being. I remember reading somewhere and it may have been Karmapa. Or maybe it was the Dali Lama, talking about the death of someone close. In any event, they said they were sad because they would miss them. But it was part of, or the nature of, life. My friend lived a good life, he was happy and he was good to people. He didn’t understand class systems. And he didn’t live by them. He went willingly to his light. Many people spoke to him in the last week of their love for him. It’s hard to wail and scream when it’s a good death. My sister? FM, that was another thing entirely. But now almost 20 years ago. My God.

How can I help people have good deaths? It’s the perfect Scorpio calling BUT it has to be people who know they are terminal and have decided to go while they are still healthy- not anyone in palliative care, I know I can’t do that. I tried very hard to imagine myself as an actual death doula and I just don’t think I can do it. I’ve only been present for an actual death once and I wouldn’t change it for the world but I can’t be around that sorrow every day. I had a hard time being a blackjack dealer every day (well, night) because I was taking peoples’ money.

Do you remember the party on Grace & Frankie where the old, terminally ill gal was going to commit assisted (legal) suicide when the party was over? I think it was the end of season 2. Had all her friends over, had a party, had drinks, had fun, and told them what they meant to her. Helped Grace & Frankie clean up, then she was gone. Literally.

It’s the way to go out, and it’s how I want to go. Maybe a book about this. I think it would be too ghoulish to be a last-dance party planner. But that would be a chapter. The How to Die a Good Death Bible. Too long? I need a title that isn’t ghoulish. “The Good Death Bible: How to Exit with Dignity, Control and Purpose” or maybe that’s too much. The Good Death Bible: How to Navigate that Final Journey. Everything from decluttering to assisted suicide. Tossing it around in my head. I want to do it. And I need to do something other than marketing. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and creating projects that are useful that will help people (and provide a passive income in our older age).

The Move to Mexico Bible does well. If I could get four more of those, I could probably stop working for now. Don’t you like how I say “for now”? How much time do I think I have left? ?? ?

David thought he had 20 years, but no, I’m not going there. My brain wants to, though. It has made me think about my old Galveston friend again… he’s about the same age and I haven’t heard a peep from him — except once when I got some mail at his house and he texted me — since 2016. I wonder if he’s dead. I guess I need to just let this shit go. If he is dead, there is no one to tell me. I doubt his brother, who is the only family he has left, even knows who I am. Six years is a long time. As long as I’ve known David (the one who did just die).

Ok, enough of that. Time to get to work. I have a 500-word piece to write for a very short commercial blog.

Can you tell I am running out of pictures, too busy to take any more

Boo has been a week at the trainer, and I can fill you in on all the details but the bottom line is that we aren’t the best place for this dog. The good news is that the trainer also texted, “I’m falling in love with Boo❤”. And wants to adopt him herself. And can manage him. And it’s an incredible place for him to land. Even before the reactive stuff, it would have been a perfect home for any dog, with lots of indoor and outdoor space, lots of proper attention and training, and an agility course. He’s getting along well with other dogs, he’s calming down and her staff are smitten with him.

It’s a sad thing for us right now and despite the short period of time, we miss him a lot. But it may end up being a good thing. Our setup stressed him and he wasn’t adjusting – in fact, he was getting more stressed. And it’s not fair to him.

One of our friends, who has known all of our dogs (except PJ) and observed his reactiveness when she visited, said that she thinks this is how it was meant to be and we were his foster ticket out of the shelter. I like to think she’s right but in any event, even if that just softens our blow, I know the dog is in the best place for him. I think this was a tragedy and wish we had recognized his issues sooner (I’m no dog whisperer) but it worked out well for him and that part makes me happy because that is what matters – what is best for him. I’m going to focus on the good and move forward.

In the meantime, working away. Waiting. One week yesterday (it’s Saturday) and we move. Lots of shit going on in the world. School shootings, shooting down Roe and as always, the horrific war raging in Ukraine. So much going on out there, like I said, cannot wait to hunker down. Just get through the next move and start to decompress. And after Ontario, I can find a new creative project. It’s always just over that next hill. I want to stop after this hill for a while at least.

I’m going out to yard sales this morning. The first time in forever.

Sunday, May 29. My calendar says today is a good day and tomorrow there is a sweet new moon. It’s been a good day so far. I’d like to share a post from Mark Manson. I’d cut and paste, but I want the credit to travel with him so I just did a screenshot. He speaks the truth.

Ahhhhh, Ricky Nelson is on Ocean 104.7 again (different song, Hello Mary Lou this time). I gotta stop listening to oldies, makes me too nostalgic! In any event, I’ve been successfully beating back the urge to create narratives to explain things to myself, which doesn’t mean that I’m not still mourning the losses of the week but things happen. David had a good death, Boo has a wonderful home.

Ok, I can’t believe this. It’s June 19. Seriously. We’ve moved, unpacked, and our friends from Mexico City are on their way for a visit. The trainer calls Boo, “Boo Bear” and is totally in love with him and he’s doing really well on walks and meeting new people outside – she’s still working on inside but it really makes us feel better – she had three older dogs when she adopted him, all reactive, one about to be put down at 13 (cancer) — as it turns out, she lost two of them last month and says Boo is such a blessing to her. I’m still sad and I still want a dog but I’m happy for Boo and for his new owner 🙂

Boo and his new friend, Luke.

We love the new house, have plans, but I’ll have to fill you in next time. I want to get this out before the guests arrive – because after they leave, I only have a few days until I go to Ontario for Dad’s 90th. So I won’t be back until July, then I’m sure I will be super busy. I don’t want to take my laptop but maybe I should. Oy. Or I could try to work on the iPad. There may not be much work. I’m trying to get a bunch done this week too. But overall, it’s good.

So, I’m just going to throw up some photos (see above, any of the new house) and get out of here. It’s been quite the morning already and I think the next 3 weeks will be insanely busy. So hasta lluego, folks.