Sunday, December 24, 2006

This is Xmas eve.
We have had a great holiday season this year. Friday night we went out to dinner with dear friends, Teresa and Jim Poppino. Teresa and I were very close friends in high school. We have recently reconnected through Classmates.com. It has been wonderful to rekindle our 30+ year old friendship. Teresa's birthday was yesterday. We had a great time celebrating with dinner at Bahama Breeze and cigars and drinks at Del Frisco's.







Jim and Teresa have promised to come and visit us in Canada. We spent a great part of the evening laughing, reliving our youth and visualizing our futures.



Last night Diane and I watched 'The Secret'. It is a great message. It has worked for me my entire life. It is wonderful to see it in a life-manual format.


Tonight, Diane and I will keep alive our family tradition. We load all the kids in the car and ride around looking at Xmas lights. We drink champagne, eat chocolates and talk about all the things we have to be grateful for. There are so many this year.


We will never forget last year when we lost our dear friend Jim Sinagulia on December 22nd. Every year at this time, from now on, it will be bittersweet. Tonight we will raise a glass of champagne and toast, "Here's to you, Jimothy!" We will always love and remember you.


Friday, December 08, 2006

The carpet was installed on Saturday at our house in Victoria. Thanks to our friends Heather and Darren, who shuttled the carpet and workers up and down the snow packed driveway. Here is the picture Heather sent.

Darren & Heather shuttle service.

The holidays are fast approaching. We have packed/stored all of our Yule items. I think I can easily access the menorah. I've already put in for early leave on the 15th to get home before sundown. That is also the night of Diane's work Holiday party. This year they are having it at the Hilton. I have no idea what that will be like. We are going to take a cab to and from. No drinking and driving.

We actually agreed to skip Xmas this year. This discussion happened a month or 2 ago. Now, Diane informs me she has purchased a few little gifts. I am pissed about this. I don't do the last minute gift thing. I usually search way in advance and have my gifts well thought out. Now, less than 20 days out, she tells me this. I came home from work last night and she had decorated the house with garland, rosemary tree and table centerpiece. What am I going to do? Celebrate Xmas.

We scored a personal invitation to Bally's Sterling Steakhouse champagne brunch on New Years Eve. This invitation-only event should be spectacular. It will probably be our last trip to Bally's (that's what we said last time we were there in August). B,S & O caviar and Perrier Jou√ęt, here I come. We have had great times over the years with friends at this brunch. I remember Clara and I going to the restroom (which is quite a little trek) saying "We think we can, we think we can, we think we can". This time it will be Nerrisa and Michael. We will remember to take the camera and take photo's.

I had a dream I gave my 2 week notice at work. Ahhhh.

MPs voted 175-123 against the controversial motion to open the Gay marriage debate is tabled by the ruling Conservatives ! How about that!!

I'm not Catholic, not even Christian. On the advice of friends, movers and real estate agents, I have done it. Those of you who know us well, don't be shocked. It is just that we want to move so badly. See below


We are set to do our ritual planting of the St. Joseph statue upside-down. There is a prayer that you are supposed to say, we say affirmations anyway. It is worth a shot. Then we will watch "The secret" on DVD. We are working it!

Our realtor says things should pick up around the 15th of January. I will still give credit to St. Joseph, if the house sells by then. I will dig him up and he can live in Canada next to all our other ritualistic icons.

In the meanwhile, if you know anyone that wants to buy a house . . .

Mary



Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So much has happened . . . Most importantly, we have received our immigration papers!! We received them on November 18th. We were officially in the system on June 8th 2005. The entire grueling process took us 1 year, 5 months and 10 days. The worst part was the health exams. Not the exams themselves, but dealing with the horribly inadequate clinic. It was a real test for Diane to not . . . well. . . be Diane and chew them a new one. We were totally at their mercy. If they wanted to, they could have just 'misplaced' the paperwork and we would have been behind for many more months.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends/family. Diane cooked a turkey the traditional way and John Notabartolo did the Cajun fried turkey. Aside from Diane and me, John, wife Leeanne and son Jack were present. Chris Sinagulia and daughter Brenda came over. We were so glad they did. They lost Pete, son and brother respectively a couple of weeks ago. It would not have been much of a holiday for them. A good time was had by all who attended. The food was fabulous. We did our part for the economy on Black Friday.

I'm home from work because I had a colonoscopy today. Diane and I decided to get all medical screening tests done before we go to the Great White North. All is fine with both of us. The abdominal mass scare was nothing more than that, a scare. So we have reason to be thankful.

Speaking of the Great White North, a friend of ours in Victoria took this picture for us of the entrance to our quarter mile driveway. Oh, my gosh!! And our Canadian friends swear, "It doesn't snow in Victoria".






Yes folks, that's our driveway. 18 inches of snow. No electricity until Thursday. New carpet being installed on Saturday? I doubt it.

Now what we really need is to sell the house here in Las Vegas. We had people look at it this past weekend. Any majik you all can work up to help us sell the house would be greatly appreciated. Diane and I are saying affirmations daily. We have honored the Native American tradition by placing whisky (actually single malt 18 year old scotch) in the four corners of the property. We have the color red placed on the front door. We don't pray but will gladly accept the prayers of the believers out there. We just want to get to our home in Canada. Now.

Quebec its own nation within Canada? They have already seceded philosophically generations ago. I don't know what this all means at this point. I will have to ask our Canadian friends for further enlightenment.

Fun quiz to take - How Canadian Are You? I scored 80%. I guess I need to study.

http://www.gotoquiz.com/how_canadian_are_you_1

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday, October 14th

I’ve been reading Life Without Borders and their first two weeks in Canada. There are ups and downs to this journey. I really hope Nick and Mason find jobs. I worry about the anti-American sentiment in the job market. That is my biggest fear for myself. I just want to be there. Today. Now. I will deal with it all when I'm there.

What an incompetent lab Canadian Immigration uses here!!! The first time, they lost both of our urine tests. We had to go back and take those tests again. This same lab does pre-employment drug testing. (Our urines could have been a real gift to someone trying to get employment.) Then, they couldn't find my second blood test. After 1 month, it has finally been located and the results overnighted to Ottawa. Now we wait. Again. Still.

The rain is coming down in sheets today. I wish it was out our windows in Canada I was watching the lightning. It will happen soon enough I guess. We have been interviewing moving companies. I budgeted for this on the high end and I'm delighted so far that the move will not come close to what I had speculated. That is good. We will need all the cash we can get to tide us over until we find employment.

We had a key person in our organization give their two weeks notice last week. Management says they will not fill the position (which would have meant a promotion for one of the rest of us). They believe the rest of us can easily absorb the work. Isn't that nice?



The rain is starting to ease up a bit. I know what I'll find at the end of the storm. It is just a matter of waiting things out. I can be impatient. I want it now. I want to be in Canada now. I want to be in our house now. I want to be looking out our Canadian window at the rain. I want the rainbow to be right over our backyard.

It will come when it is meant to come.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

We are back from our trip to Canada and our short week at work.

First off, the report on our home in Canada.

We found our house in not exactly the same condition we left it in. A year and a half later - wear and tear does show. The renters had 3 cats (they told us all were de-clawed - we found out differently) there was some obvious damage to walls and molding. We were planning on re-carpeting the master bedroom anyway, so we are having that done before we make the move up. The fence looked good and was functional for the most part - but we are having a few minor things changed.


Victoria is really dry. No substantial rain since June. The grass in our yard is fairing okay. We are on a well, so we are not subjected to the restrictions on watering. So says our irrigation maintenance guy.

We spent much of our trip cleaning and doing chores that we really need to be in Canada to perform. We visited Home Depot and Rona and of course spent time at Costco. We were delighted with the growth in the highlands. Not just the Big Box stores but we now have PetsMart! Our Jacks will be very pleased about that. Most of the maintenance on the house besides cleaning was replacing burnt out light bulbs. We replaced about 30 of them, inside and out. I know, with a rental it could have been so much worse. At least we have our house back.

I have a tracking number for the 2nd medical that was sent to Ottawa on Tuesday. Everyone says that the time is drawing near once that hurdle is crossed. Now if we could only sell the house here in the states in a timely fashion.

We had a wonderful time with friends in Victoria. We had meals at the Fireside Grill, Brentwood Bay Pub and the Six Mile Pub. It was wonderful to see everyone again. We are all counting down the time until we are living in our house.

We met with our banker in Victoria, TD Trust. The exchange rate is frightening for the American in us and thrilling for our soon-to-be Canadian Permanent Resident status.

I took a picture from the master bedroom windows of frequent visitors to our yard. There is a rock hill just outside the master and the deer like to sun on the ridge. We can't wait to be there again.


Tonight we are meeting with friends to go to another Oktoberfest, this time at the German American Club. I will try to remember the camera so that I can take some photo's.

We talked to a new accountant in Canada and learned that we do not have to sell our house in the states before we go, as we thought. As long as we do not sell it for more than it is valued, we will not have to pay capital gains. If we do sell it for more than it is valued (not in this market!) we pay capital gains only on the amount over value. This little tidbit of information has changed the way we are looking at the whole moving thing. Diane has appointments with international moving companies over the next couple weeks to get estimates on the move.

The short work week was horrendous for both of us. It almost doesn't pay to go on vacation. You get bombarded when you get back. I'm still trying to catch up. Well hopefully tonight will help put the workweek behind us.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

September 24, 2006


I'm feeling a little fuzzy today. Last night's Oktoberfest celebration was a lot of fun. Fun that I'm paying for today. The thing about imbibing a little too much and feeling it the next day is this: I don't have days I can afford to waste. This move to Canada has taken over most spare moments I have. With the open house coming up this weekend, I'm trying to get things organized, put away, packed up and moved to the storage unit. The whole moving van thing I will need to address soon. I know it will be expensive. I have budgeted about $25,000 for the move alone. I hope that is realistic. I have adjusted my budget spreadsheet many times as money comes in and goes out.

Yesterday I visited my friend and hairdresser Susan. I got my hair all cut off on a whim. I'm adjusting to it. Diane (my partner/wife) loves it, she says. I don't know how much of that is being supportive or being sincere. It's okay either way, I guess.

I read a lot of blogs in which people ask "Why Canada?" At 50, I just want some peace. I look at situations in my life and ask, will this bring me peace or turmoil? At the end of this journey, I'm sure I will find peace. For now, the road to get there is the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life. I'm never moving again after this. (I know I should never say never) I'm going to a new home, a new country with no job, my excellent credit score becomes meaningless, so I hear, and I'm competing in a new job market with younger native born competitors. This is not a decision entered into lightly.
I am more than just a disgruntled Bush-ugee.

The next 4 days will pass quickly. I will be at my home in Canada before I know it. Soon, for good.




Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday September 23

This evening we are going to meet with friend's at the Hofbrauhaus for Oktoberfest. It's the Autumnal Equinox and we thought that would be a nice way to celebrate. A mass of Dunkles, a rousing chorus of beer hall tunes.


Next weekend when we are in Canada, our realtor is having an open house for us. It is the best timing, as the dogs will be boarding for the weekend. Believe me, trying to show a house with 5 Jack Russell's at home, is insane. They are cute little Tasmanian devils.


There is so much to do to prepare for the move. The amount of @$%# you accumulate when you have lived in a house for 13 years amazes me. There is somehting so liberating about throwing it out. We have donated a great deal and had our garage sales but the real fun happens when you leave it out at the curb.

My work continues to trip about my leaving. On one hand they want to extract as much information from me before I go and on the other hand they want to keep me in the dark about anything that is coming up. I am truly getting short-timers disease. My response to job emergencies is less frantic. It is good in many ways. My dress has become more relaxed on Fridays. This is the message on the shirt I wore to work yesterday.


I'm counting the sleeps before next weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20th, 2006

I'm slow to find these Canada blogs . . .but here goes. My partner and I have been officially in the system since June 8 2005. We took our first round of medicals a month ago. Then 2 days ago, I received the brown envelope you can not open. Only the doctor can open it. It is a request for a further of medicals. I was totally stressed about it! L-Girl really helped to calm my fears. I just got back from the doctor (I took the whole day off from work) and all they needed was another blood test. It seems the first time around my blood pressure was slightly elevated (NO, ya think?) I am hoping that this will suffice and that we are on our way to Canada. Finally!

We purchased a home in Victoria, B.C. about a year and a half ago. The market is so hot there, that we were afraid if we waited, we couldn't afford the kind of property we wanted. We have rented it out for the last year and are going up next weekend to final out the renters.



We were married 2 years ago at the UU church in Victoria, BC. We have made some great friends there, including the minister that married us. One of the most surreal moments of my life was walking into the license bureau and getting the marriage license. Part of me was sure they were going to turn us away because we were 2 women. They didn't flinch. They were kind and offered us congratulations. We had been together for 14 years already at the time we were married. We look much different 2 years later.


I have already told my employer that I am leaving. Since I work for a large library district, we are government. They couldn't fire me. But I sure have noticed a change in my work assignments. Its the government. When they know you are leaving they 'dumb you down'.

My partner's employer (2 owners) cried when she told them we were leaving and why. They asked what they could do to change things. Both are staunch Republicans. So that opened up a fantastic dialog of ideas. She told them unless they could change the laws in America, there was nothing they could do. No amount of money they offered can change the freedom we will gain by leaving the United States.

So hopefully soon, we will pack up our 5 Jack Russell's (I know, what were we thinking) and make the move.

Our house is on the market here and the market is really slowwwww. I just have to hope the right person (s) will see it and want it as much as we did.

Mary