Monthly Archives: May 2013

Our First Full Day In Boquete…

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Well, our first full day here has been really great. We are still a bit foggy-brained but all in all not doing half bad! We began the day with breakfast here at the Inn, Villa Marita. They serve a lovely little breakfast with eggs, sausage, some bread thingy (kinda puffy, doughy, fried goodness), and fresh fruit, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe. And did I mention Coffee?? Well, in case you didn’t know it, we are in Coffee country up here in the Highlands of Panama! So the coffee is Devine! A great way to start our first day.

We sat outside at the big table on the veranda and there were three very friendly ladies sitting there too. Of course we began to chat, ( to Scott’s glee ) And it turns out one of the ladies is a Salon owner and stylist in Panama City! Too funny! It was good to have someone to ask about what brands of professional hair color are available here, nothing I recognize. Well, I told them I have a supply to tide me over for about 6 months and that Scott would be applying my color for now, they had a chuckle over that. So, I have no doubt I will eventually find a very talented stylist to help keep my gray hair hidden. It would be great to learn some spanish first though!

After breakfast we loaded our raincoats in the backpack and took a nice long walk into town. Its not bad going down but a bit far to walk back. It’s a breeze to hail a cab and only $3.00 just about anywhere we want to go. Easy breezy! This time of year is rainy season and we aren’t quite acclimated yet so we were not sure what time the rain would start and believe me, you don’t want to get caught in a downpour here without a rain coat or an umbrella. We stopped on our way into town at a coffee shop, Cafe Ruiz, and I enjoyed a Frapacino while Scott had a Mochacino. MMMMMM! Yummy! Then we continued our trek into town. We were on a mission to get a few little things accomplished, our mail forwarding at Mail Boxes Etc. and A new SIM card for Scotts phone. Those two missions were accomplished, well kinda, we had to leave Scotts phone at the phone store so they could unlock the AT&T part on the phone, we pick it back up tomorrow. We also thought we would see if we could find a french press so we can make our own coffee instead of having to go downstairs to get it, and a blender so we can start concocting some fresh fruit smoothies. We failed with the french press and blender, maybe we will take a trip to David another time.

When we began to feel drizzles falling in our faces we realized it was a good time to take cover someplace where we might find food and drinks! Baru is a place we had visited last time we were here and we love sitting outside under the big umbrellas and people watch. It’s located right in the center of town across from the town square, perfect spot to people watch. I don’t think it has the best reputation amongst the expats as far as service and quality of food but we were feeling pretty easy to please and just wanted something simple and mostly to kill some time while the rains barreled through. It wasn’t bad at all. After the torrential rain abated we took off to Romero’s. That’s the big grocery store in town. We wanted to get a few essentials for our little apartment at Villa Marita. We got eggs, milk, fruit, cereal, and I had to buy shampoo and conditioner. Sadly, I was forced to abandon my Alterna shampoo and conditioner when we were packing because we were having a hard time staying within the weight limitations. So I bought something that I think “Controls” volume, but it’s very possible it say’s “ADDS” volume?? Yikes, I’m in trouble if it’s the latter! I have enough VOLUME all on my own, especially with all this mist and fog and rain! I’m quite Fuzzy at the moment! Oh Well!

As we were walking out of Romero’s a Cab was driving by and I very quickly hailed him . That was lucky! So we got back up to our room loaded down with groceries and ready to spend a nice quiet evening with our two traumatized cats. Sadly, we are going to have to give them both a bath because they are extremely stinky at the moment. This is a bad thing because they like to be on the bed with us and it’s not pleasant to be near them right now. I hope they like the Baby shampoo I bought for them while we were shopping, they should be soft and shiny by the time I finish with them! Yes, I cant help myself, still doing hair even while I’m retired! lol!

I just cant even describe how happy I am to be here. I look around at the beauty of this area and tears well up in my eyes, I feel so fortunate. And the people are just as beautiful as the land they live in. As we sat at Baru enjoying the shelter of the umbrellas and sipping on my wine I found myself looking around the town square and at all the people milling about and thought to myself, “Where is my place here?” This is something that I know will reveal itself in time. In the meantime I plan to soak up all the beauty around me and I hope I never loose the feeling of gratitude that I feel right now for having such an amazing opportunity to redefine my life and the way I choose to live it day to day! Life is good and Adventure abounds!

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Travel Day…

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This has been a very smooooth travel day (Long, but smooth!) with the tiny exception of my very warranted meltdown over the Cargo issue with the kitty’s. You’ll be relieved to know that they arrived at the Panama city airport virtually unscathed although clearly not especially happy. I was very relieved when we were boarding the plane scott looked out the window and just happened to see the cats being loaded last into the cargo hold of the plane. They loaded them last so that they would be unloaded first upon arrival in Panama City. Given the fact that the flight was a red-eye, we slept the whole 6 hours. After going through immigration and customs we made our way very smoothly to baggage claim where I immediately began trying to find out where we would find our cats. I was looking all around for them and then I saw a very nice lady who looked like she was in charge, standing off to the side, by the two cages containing my precious cargo. Oh Good! She was so sweet and managed to get me to understand with no english, that she would wait there while we got the rest of our belongings. All four of our bags arrived as well, like I said, smooth travel day .

After securing our bags we made our way back over to the line for customs and we were instructed by a guy who looked in charge to come this way, around to the front of the line. They took us to the front of the line so we could get to our animals asap, so nice. The lady who had been patiently waiting off to the side with the cats turned out to be Lucy, our pet relocation guys (Jose) wife. She spoke no english but we managed understand what we had to do next. Scott grabbed the documents and the money and went , escorted by Lucy, to talk with the vet, who I never even saw. As a matter of fact, Im not sure if the vet ever even looked at the cats but, oh well. Money was exchanged and paperwork procured for the in-home quarantine required in Panama for importing animals and off we went. As soon as we exited immigration there was Jose, I recognized him from his web sight. He grabbed the two cat carriers and warmly greeted us and off we went to the front of the airport where Jose parked us on the curb with his wife Lucy while he went to get his van. One funny thing that happened as we made our way through the crowded airport, there was one point where Jose was forced to stop for a minute while a bunch of people looked at the cats with huge smiles and obviously admiring their beauty, even though they were seeing them at their absolute worst ,I’m certain the poor cats were mortified to be so exposed! After being parked on the curb to await Jose, I stood in the humid, but not too uncomfortably hot Panamanian air and just took a deep breath ! I’m here! Finally!

Now I’m sitting in the van with Jose and Scott in the front seat, the cats in their carriers in the next seat and Lucy and Brian, Jose’s 6 year old grandson sitting in the seat behind me. I just finished playing on my iPad with Brian, I entertained him a bit with the photo booth app and we laughed and laughed as we took funny pictures of ourselves and I tried to learn a few words of spanish(which my addled brain has already forgotten, ugg) while we giggled. When He finished playing with me he sat back and took out his own iPad! Ha!Ha!Ha! Silly me, I thought I was exposing him to something new when all along he was just being polite to this silly gringo lady. Too funny! The other funny thing is Scott ( you know, that quiet, guy) sitting in the front seat of this van with Jose and just Chatting away with him! Turns out Jose is quite talkative and considers himself a tour guide as well as educator to new gringos coming here to settle. I must say, his knowledge is very appreciated indeed! He also made sure we are aware of all the other services that he offers in addition to pet relocation and transportation. He gives tours of Panama City and the surrounding areas and when our family and friends come to visit us he will be there to take good care of them, (hint, hint!) But seriously, its great to have someone like him lined up.

Did I mention that this time of year is the beginning of rainy season? As we are driving down the PanAmerican Highway on our way to Boquete ( 6 hour drive ) it is pouring rain, not like California pouring rain, These raindrops ore HUGE! and I find myself wondering how Jose (of the chatty driver) can see the road, but I have confidence in his abilities, he strikes me as a very capable man. We are in good hands for sure.

Fast forward to 10:30 pm. We got to our lodging, Villa Marita and are comfortable settled. Scott is snoring away as I update you on the remainder of our travel day. The cat’s are recovering , although it may be awhile until they completly forgive us for such a humiliating experience. Copper is badly in need of a bath , he seems to have peed himself, poor guy. They were stuck in those crates for an awfully long time. But we have all their familiar things here for them, The cat box , some scratching pads which have been freshly doused with fresh catnip,their waterfall water, which they love and the familiar cat food dispenser. They have been exploring the apartment and I expect it wont be long before they are feeling much better. After we got here we had Betty, the lady at the front dest, call us a cab and take us to La Posada for a delicious Pizza and a good bottle of wine, Ahhhh! The cab driver quickly ascertained that we would be needing to find a long term living situation and drove us , not far out of our way, to see two house that he happens to rent, they are not currently available so I”m not sure what the point was, but oh well. Fernando, ( the cab driver) would really like to help us find a place to rent, we shall tread carefully with this kind offer, he is after all, a completer stranger to us. We are smarter than we look , Ha! Ha! Ha! We have already made dinner plans with our friends Al And Sela for Saturday night and are looking forward to seeing them again. I am also looking forward to connecting with other “virtual” friends who I have been communicating with via my blog and Facebook as soon as they have time.

It’s good to finally be here, although we both agree that it is a bit surreal, it just seems like it’s not real yet. Maybe after a good nights sleep and a bit of exercise tomorrow we will feel a little more like ourselves. Thanks for all your well wishes! We are grateful to be on a path of our own making and to feel so supported by everyone who cares about us. Cheers!

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Finalizing Our Storage…

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As you know, we plan to ship a 40 foot container with our household belongings off to Panama. The plan is to leave all our belongings in two storage units until we return later in the year to facilitate the packing of the actual shipping container. We opted to do it this way in order to take advantage of one of the perks of the particular Residency Visa we plan to apply for, the Pensionado Visa. This perk is a one time only exemption on the import taxes on one container from your country of origin. This import tax would be 21 percent of what Panama values the contents of the container. whew! That would be quite a bit. ( this is the most recent information we have gotten , but if It’s different I’m sure we will soon find out, these things often change) This Residency Visa is one that is offered to retired people and although there isn’t an age requirement, there is a requirement to prove that you receive a lifetime income , of a minimum of $1,250.00 per month. Most retired folks could satisfy this requirement with a pension or Social Security but given the fact that we are too young for social security, we decided to purchase an annuity that will provide us with the required proof of lifetime income. This is what is causing the hold-up on shipping our belongings because the document proving we will have this income couldn’t be provided until we got our money from our house in the bank. Then they want to see three months statements from the annuity. Sooooooo we will come back to be here while the packing company packs the container.

We have rented two storage containers to hold all our belongings. It took us some time to find the right place that would work for us. There wasn’t a place that had a single unit to accommodate our belongings , One big unit would have been ideal but , oh well! So the shipping container is 2900 cubit feet , give or take, and our storage units equal 3700 cubic feet, so we are banking on the professional packers being able to pack that puppy much more efficiently than we packed, cuz we have those units packed to the rim. Of course we have a list of things we can abandon but we will just wait until packing day to just be sure we have to give up those things.

The very last big job we have had to accomplish , which by the way, we finally finished just yesterday,(Sunday), is Getting the last of our things into those storage units. We had a bit of a complication because one of the two units was a bit small to fit what we planned to fit so we decided to exchange it for one that had 5 more feet of space! The new unit was one row over from our existing unit so Scott and Me and a worker spent Saturday,(Scott and the worker were also working on it on Friday ) schlepping everything from one to the other! Yikes! Thank God for Dollies! This gave Scott an opportunity to pack the new unit much more efficiently and Voila! It all fit! Whew! Sunday, yesterday, we had to complete this task. On Friday while I was working for my last day, Scott was getting all the final things out of the house and he didn’t have enough time to get it all over to the storage so he left it all in our next door neighbors ( Janet ) garage. She kindly let us do this and she also let us use her pick up truck to get it all to the storage. We had two loads including my 10 boxes of my personal belongings from the salon. We were very relieved to have finished this last big job.

Now, today we have Lunch with Scott’s mom, Pat and Then I’m meeting Natalie and Elisabeth at the salon to get my hair colored one last time before I set out on Tuesday. But before we start the day we are about to get our final pack done here at the hotel. Tomorrow, (Tuesday) the plan is to meet Mariah at 7:00 am for breakfast then return the economy rental car that we have been driving this week, And pick up the SUV we will drive to LA with our four bags and two cats. Off We go! Soon we will be on the airplane headed to Panama , Big smile! What an Adventure it’s already been!

Our first kinda big snag in our Diabolical plan…

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Those darn cats have caused yet another snag in our plans. To be fare it isn’t really their fault that their owners are dummies! We somehow dropped the ball on the correct procedure for the documentation requirements to import animals to Panama. The Certificate of Health document needs to go to the USDA then to the Panamanian Consulate , somehow, on the day we began the process of fulfilling all these requirements we thought(correction, someone told us!) instead of the Panamanian consulate , we could take it to the Secretary of State to be Apostiled. Nope, Wrong information somewhere down the line. OOPS! So remember this document is time sensitive so we had to do it at the last minute so it would be no older than 10 days old, otherwise we would have done it ahead of time just in case we had any crazy mix ups.

So Scott had a very successful trip to the Usda got it embossed and whatever else they had to do to this precious document but the remaining requirement being the Panamanian consulate is the part that is holding us up. There apparently is no Panamanian consulate in Sacramento or San Francisco! UGGG! We got online and the only Consulate that said they dealt with Pet importation was the Washington DC consulate, the LA one did not say anything on their web sight about their ability to deal with it (we should have called and spoken to a human being, hindsight!) so we quickly Fed Exed the Certificate to DC with their assurance that they would turn it around right away, we should have received it by Wed, Thursday at the latest, emphasis on “SHOULD”! You guessed it, No delivery!

The Washington DC Panamanian Consulates office hours (West coast time) is 6:00am to 11:00am! Welcome to Panama! LOL! so I phoned them at 6:00am Friday morning to inquire. I was placed on speaker phone as the gal on the other end shuffled through paper, asking,”how many cat’s?, What’s your Name?, When did you send it?” Blah! Blah! Blah! “OH! Here It is!!” Ahhh Ha! “you will get it saturday!” We did not trust this promise of delivery, justifiably so. So Yesterday, Friday, Scott decided he would simply redo the whole thing and drive back to Sacramento again to the USDA with a new copy of the document so that we could then leave early on Tuesday and take it to the LA consulate who we spoke with and they said they could take care of it. We are flying out of LA on a red-eye Tuesday night, so we figure we should have time to do this before our flight. Sadly, we should have called the office to see if the hours would be different given the fact that it is Memorial Day weekend, (do you see where this is going?) yep, they closed early and Scotts 3 hour drive was a bust, sooo 3 hours back home again! Poor Scott! Ok, soooo fast forward to today, Saturday, its early yet, but we shall see if the original document actually materializes. I had to let the new owners of our house know that we are expecting a Fed Ex delivery on their front porch today, but they will not be there so I will need to go check later to see if it miraculously appears today. Fingers are crossed! If it makes it we will be sooooo lucky but if not, well, plan B is to be at the USDA first thing Tuesday morning, have the new document of Health Certificate stamped then drive to the LA Panamanian consulate to complete this silly requirement. There is only one flaw in this plan, that is, we had arranged to hand in our economy rental car on tuesday morning and pick up a bigger SUV to accommodate all our baggage and the two cat carriers. The car rental place opens at 9:00 so we cant get to Sacramento until probably around noon! Grrr! It’s a 3 hour drive to Sacrament then a 5 hour drive to LA and the consulate is 50 miles from the airport. Good Grief!! Thankfully, this has been our worst snafoo yet! There had to be some kind of wrinkle in our diabolical plan, otherwise, how could we call this an Adventure, we would have had to call it A CAKEWALK!!! WaaaHaaaa!! Here We Go!!!

What A Day Today Is!! Whew!

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Friday, May 24th,2013…
Look at all those cards!! Sigh …

Today may seem like just another ordinary day to you, but to me, it’s a very special, extremely bittersweet, and totally exciting! Today Is the last day of my thirty year career in the Hairstyling business. I got to the salon early , as usual, but today I cant help feeling sentimental as I prepare for my day. I just tossed my little color file box in the trash! I have two more colors to mix up today and that’s it! I’ve given all my clients their color formulas and Ive given Natalie and Elisabeth all the formulas as well. I have a short day today, I finish at 2;00 and then I must scurry around to accomplish many little details of our move. I’m glad I have a lot to do today after I’m done with work.

I have so many things tumbling around my head that I want to say about this day and about retiring from
a very satisfying and extremely successful career. I don’t mean Success in the traditional way that most people consider the definition to be. Some may think when I say success I mean that I see myself as having been the best stylist EVER or that I made lots and lots of money. I know I am very creative and talented and I have always strived to do the absolutely best job I could do, but Ive always been of the mindset that there is always someone more talented than me and there is always someone less talented than me. I have enjoyed practicing my chosen career as a collaboration between myself and each person who sat in my chair. But I must say that to me, my success is measured right this moment by the many many good wishes and cards , gifts and tears of sadness at my parting , the people who have said,”I Love You”, the hugs, soooo many hugs and kisses on the cheek!. My clients are my family and my friends. There is a mutual, deep love and admiration between us all. I’ve made lasting connections with so many people and I’m confident that even if I move away to begin my next adventure and I don’t get to see everyone on a regular basis, the connections never end. They will change and some may seem to fade but , go away? or end? NEVER!

So today is the last day of my career as a stylist! The last day I will make a living cutting and coloring hair. Tomorrow when I wake up I’ll still be the same Holly, but after 30 years of doing my job , going into the salon and making people happy (Most people anyways!) I believe I’m a better person, more confident , satisfied, and fulfilled . What a gift my job has been and I walk away today having received immeasurable gifts of generosity in the form of friendships that I take with me to Panama. Ahhhhh! Sweet Success!! Life is good! I’m a happy girl today! Tears will come and my heart aches, as I face this day. But the tears aren’t all sad, they are a mix of gratitude and reflection on all the amazing and wonderful experiences I get to take with me.

The sadness of leaving my dearest co-worker Natalie is an Ache in both our hearts that will need time to heal. She is a sister to me and to say I will miss seeing her everyday doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling we both have today. Boy oh boy! This isn’t easy!

Whew! Just got notice from the Title company , The money is in the bank! Holy crap! We’re homeless!! OMG! This is a very very big day! Tears are flowing all around me and This Adventure is really in full force now! Sooooo stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Adventure. I gotta go take a deep breath and grab some kleenex! Gulp!

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6 More Day’s…

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Last night was our first night in the hotel where we will be staying until we leave next Tuesday. I worked yesterday from 8-7 and Scott finished up some details he needed to address at the house as well as doing a bit of running around to accomplish a few details. We weren’t able to establish our mail forwarding yet so we decided to just set up a P.O. box at the Mountain View post office and Mariah agreed to check it for us and then FaceTime us so we can go through it. We have gotten all the important stuff set up for electronic mail already so it will mostly be junk , but you have to have a mailing address anyhow. We will address the Mail forwarding in Boquete at the MBE office in town.

While I was in between clients yesterday I began the big cancellation process. I cancelled a couple of credit cards and notified PG&E to discontinue service in my name (at the salon) effective 6-1 as well as garbage service at the salon too . Then I called both my business liability insurance and our homeowners and car insurance brokers and cancelled those ( Big Huge Smile 🙂 . Scott also had to quickly FEDEX the documents and money orders for the cats to the Panamanian consulate in L.A. , our fingers are crossed that we get it back by Friday! Darn Cats!

As you can see, there’s still quite a bit of little details to address . Tonight, Tuesday, we have the final walk thru at the house with the buyers. I’m not really looking forward to that. sigh! Maybe I’ll be too late to make it??? Scott is finishing up moving out all the rest of our belongings from the house to our storage unit. This morning he went to pick up the moving truck that he rented to transport it all . I think he had to get a truck with a lift-gate so he could load the three huge woodworking tools. We had a bit too much left at the house to fit it all the the storage unit we currently have already packed so we had to switch everything to a different one that has a bit more space. We are counting on the professional packers who work for the shipping company to be able to pack that container TIGHT! so that all our stuff will fit. If not, then when we are here watching them pack we will have to start saying,”ok. we don’t need that, or that, or that!” But for now, we will just store it with the hopes that it will all be able to make it.

I have to admit, with each passing day I am feeling a bit more nervous. There just seems to be so many little pieces to this move that still need to be addressed and I’m anxious about messing something up or forgetting something important. Scott keeps telling me to “Breath”. He is my rock! Mariah has been on a little vacation this week in Utah. She is with Elisabeth , they are hiking around the national parks there, Zion and Bryce Canyon . It’s been great to have her car while she’s gone. I’ve gotten a lot of running around done , like just now, I ran to my optometrist and friend’s office to get my lenses in my glasses replaced. They had a bit of a smudge (from all the hair spray , I think!) that was really driving me crazy and luckily they were under warranty so I got brand new lenses!! Yea! But had I not had Mariah’s car I wouldn’t have had any way to run over there.

It’s hard to believe that I have only two more days after today to work! Yikes! and Yippee! There is most definitely an Adventure brewing !! What will I do??? Who will I be?? Where will we settle? Will anybody like us there?? What new and exciting hobbies will we discover?? Sooooo many new things to look forward to discovering but the first discovery I want to make is, “Where is the closes bar??” I’m thinkin’ Maybe a Big, cold Margarita ! That’s an adventure I’m ready for! Tuesday, May 29 we are expecting to hit Boquete if all goes according to plan! Villa Marita here we come!! And whatever bar or restaurant that is around, that’s were we will head first. Although, there is a possibility that a bit of a nap will be in order after the travel day we will have had! UGGG!

Let’s Get This Adventure Goin”! Oh, wait a minute, I do believe It’s already begun in ernest!! It began wayyyy back when we started dreaming about moving to another country! Sometimes I have to pinch myself! I just cant believe we’ve made it this far and we are just day’s away from making this dream a reality! Boy, oh, boy, as I read back what I’ve written I see that I’m a very ‘excessive exclamation point user’ !!!! That particular key on my keyboard may wear out any moment now!!! But that’s exactly how I’m feeling at the moment!! I just cant help Exclaiming about my anxieties, joys , fears, excitements and especially the extreme anticipation about the next few days, weeks, months and years! (Big Smile!) Cheers!!!!!

Wow! 8 days to go!

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Today has been a vivid reality check, we leave in 8 more days! Tomorrow, Tuesday, we (we meaning Scott!) will be moving completely out of our house and into a hotel for the remainder of our time here in California. Yikes! This is it! I will be working in the salon for 4 more days. Today I met Stephanie at the salon and we both signed our agreement to transfer ownership of the salon from me to her, officially! Money exchanged hands and effective June 1, I no longer own my little , precious salon. Sigh! I will finish working on Friday. That means I am officially RETIRED, on Friday! Holy Crap! Ive been counting down and waiting for this day and its 4 days away!

I am bracing myself for a very emotionally charged week and a very crazy week filled with “lasts”. Scott has a laborer coming over to the house to help him move our few remaining belongings , a few boxes and our bed and a few big tools from his workshop, also our washer/dryer and patio furniture, to our storage space. Then at the end of the day he will take the cats to the hotel . I work from 8:30 to about 7:00 tomorrow then it’s to the hotel and living out of a suitcase for the rest of our time here. I have a few personal belongings to pack up in the salon,which will be put into our storage.

On Wednesday we have the final walk-through with the new owners of our house. Then Friday, if all goes as planned, it should be the close of escrow. Saturday is Mariah’s birthday and I have plans to go out on the town with her and a few of her friends. Scott has plans to go out with his Mom And Brother and Sister in law on Saturday night. Who knows what Sunday and Monday holds for us, I’m sure there will be something more to organize. Tuesday is the day we leave but we will meet with our financial guy at Schwaab in the morning after we return the economy rental car and pick up the SUV rental for our drive to L.A. with four suitcases and two cats.
Today, Monday, we attempted to complete the cat document
requirements but had a little snag. After the vet Scott took off to Sacrament (2 hrs) to get all the requisite stamps, or signatures or what have you, sadly we thought it was USDA then State department but it turns out its USDA. and Panamanian Consulate who need to Authenticate the Certificate of health, not the State Department, oh well! . Sooooo FedEX it will be, there is no Panamanian consulate in Sacramento, its in Washington DC! Cross your fingers we get it back by Tuesday!! Grrrrrr! Just a tiny little snag! At least the USDA part is done.

I’m tired! Ready to be done with all this prep work already! Not too much longer and all this part of the work will be behind us. Then begins a much different set of hurdles, but we will have a good amount of down time before we worry too much about all that!

10 More Days! WHAT!!

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10 Days!! WHAT!!!

THAT’S RIGHT! Just 10 more days! If I haven’t already said this,” We are ready to go!” I know lots of people who love us are not ready for us to go, but we are so excited to begin this next phase of our lives. Right now we are on Utube looking at all the many videos of Boquete and drooling over the hikes we will do soon. We see a video of The Lost Waterfalls of Boquete that makes our hearts race! We love waterfalls and we love hiking and nature and to think that all this will be in our backyard makes us sooooooo unbelievably happy. Not long now and we will be on our way, ohhhhhh boy! Let’s get this train goin’ already! Did I mention ,”Band-aide being pulled off RRRRRRRRREal SLLLLLLow?” Yep! that’s precisely what this period of time feels like for us!! There’s just no avoiding the emotions of ending our life here and saying our goodbyes and farewells to so many people we love. But, guys, ” THE LOST WATERFALLS OF BOQUETE” awaits!! We got stuff to do! Gotta get goin’! 10 More days!!! 10, 10, 10 10!! Oh boy!! Oh Boy!!

Working through all the last little details!

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This is what our house looks like at the moment. Note all the suitcases lined up on the floor in the background? Not empty for long!

Today (5/15/13) has been a day filled with signing our names over and over and over again! Whew! We went to the title company and went through a huge stack of papers there. Then off to the attorney to sign the final drafts of our wills and our trust. Then the documents for Schwaab so they can do all their financial transactions through our new trust. Geesh , a lot of rigamarole today , that’s for sure. But all these things are important pieces of the final push to get on down the road.

There’s not much more to accomplish but what we do need to finalize we have just about 6 more days to do. We hope to be officially moved completely out of the house by the 21st. That means at the moment we need to finish boxing up the last few things that are still sitting around the house. A bit more clothes, I think Scott might be completely convinced that he’s married to a CRAZY person! I have wayyy too many shoes, I’ve already gotten rid of a ton of them but I just cant seem to rid myself of enough! Damn! I’m sure that I will never wear the mass majority of what I’m boxing up! By the time that container arrives in Boquete I will very likely open some of those boxes and be in agreement with Scott! Yes, I know I’m CRAZY! It just kills me to get rid of those adorable shoes! Shoot , man! It’s sooooo silly because most of the shoes that I have wouldn’t even be worn by locals if I even decided to donate them! GRRRRRR, The fact remains, they are boxed up and getting shipped to Panama! What’s a girl to do? I hope Scott’s head is attached really well to his neck cuz’ he’s shakin’ it so much lately , I’m expecting it to just tumble into one of those boxes andy moment now.!LOL!!

We will be checking into a hotel, cat’s in tow, on the 21 for the remainder of our time here. That is ‘after’ Scott gets done jumping through the hoops that are required to import cat’s into Panama. The hoop-jumping begins on Monday, (5/20) when we take the cats to the vet at 8:30 am for the “certificate of health” document which the vet needs to sign ( In the upper right hand corner!) . After that he will drop me and the cats off at our house and he will drive to Sacramento to the USDA (They do whatever they do to it there? ) and then he will hopefully have time to march over to the Secretary of State to then have it Apostiled (I think this is the proper hoop-jumping but I seem to get totally confused and it’s a good thing Scott is doing it and not me) !! He may have to stay the night in Sacramento if he doesn’t have time to hit both offices on the same day, which is why I cant go along, because I have to work on Tuesday morning. If your wondering why we are waiting until the very last minute to get all this done, it’s because this “oh so very precious” document must not be any more than 10 days old when we submit it to the authorities at the Panama City airport.

The other detail that we really need to deal with asap, is arranging our mail forwarding in Miami Florida. We seem to be having a difficulty creating an account on the web sight for some reason. I think we are going to have to find a phone number and try to see if we can talk to an actual person. This is a detail that we need to address asap, for sure! Aside from that little detail the salon is my last big thing to finish up with,sigh! I need to finalize all the contracts with Stephanie and with my landlord. My lease doesnt actually end until Dec, so I need to sign a termination of my lease contract. Then I have to bring some boxes over and start to pack up my personal things. Yikes! When do the ‘bittersweet’ moments end?

We’re almost there! These last few detail are daunting for us because we are exhausted, not only physically but mentally as well. This adventure is truly an Amazing Adventure but one that comes with sacrifices. Leaving all the people is not an easy thing. As I consider the sacrifices of leaving our home to begin a new life abroad I am reminded of the sacrifices of staying. If we stayed we would continue down the same path of working excessively in order to make enough money to be able to afford to survive here. For us this means not having much free time to enjoy each other and all those people who I’m saying farewell to right now. How many of those people do I wish I had had more time to socialize with? All of them! It’s such a vicious cycle of work, eat,sleep,pay bills, work, eat , sleep, pay bills. Yuck! I want off the merry-go-round we call life in the silicone valley! It’s time for us to figure out a way to live our life the way we really want to live it not the way our lifestyle dictates we live it in order to support all the “things” that make up that life. To me , I often feel ripped off. All these dinners, lunches, and bittersweet gatherings serve as a constant reminder of time lost, time I should have taken , but had no time or energy to do it. All in the name of a Mortgage, and property tax and income tax and blah , blah, blah! Was it all worth it, yes, would I have done some things differently , maybe. The fact is, I get to move forward with lessons of how I will live my life differently in this next phase. I don’t mean to sound as though I regret my life here, noooo, not at all. I just mean to say, as I spend much needed and much appreciated time with so many people I care so much for, I am constantly wishing I had made more time or had had more time to spend with them before now. We all know what they say about ‘Hindsight”, it’s 20/20! Oh Sooo very true.

It wont be long now and this blog will be coming to you from Panama! I’m sooooo looking forward to this next phase that we have planned for and strategized for and worked so hard to get to. Whew! 12 more days till liftoff!!! WHOOT!WHOOT!! BIG SMILE!!!

Yes folks, Another Dinner! (I’m stuffed!) But this dinner is with my virtual Brother!

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So tonight I am going to enjoy a very rare social outing with my very dear friend Walt. I’ve been cutting Walt’s hair for somewhere around 27 years. We go wayyyyy Back! Three children two divorces and two marriages later we have a shared history that has flown by at a blink of an eye. I’m really looking forward to spending time with him and celebrating all the years of our friendship.

I don’t know any other way to describe my friendship with Walt except to say that if I had ever had a big brother I would wish him to be exactly like this guy. I don’t really know why we have not had more opportunities to spend time together except that we just got so darn busy with all the regular things that suck up our time , careers, raising children,developing and enjoying relationships with our spouses and all the other activities that end up being the sum of 27 years. I must say I do regret not having made more time to be around him cuz’ he’s just such a great person to know. Even so, I’m so grateful for every moment we’ve shared together while I was cutting his hair. Lot’s of laughter, a few tears, sharing story’s of kids, travel, loves, Ups and downs in our careers, and endless other aspects of our lives

When Walt walks into the salon he always gives me a great big hug and I feel like I just saw him the day before. It’s as though no time at all has gone by and we just pick up the conversation where we left off four or five weeks ago. Our lives have had turmoil , the regular trials and tribulations of life and more blessings and happy times as well. All these things we somehow manage to share with one another in the span of a haircut every single five weeks in the last 27 years. It may sound strange to some but I love this guy and I feel blessed to call him my friend. I’m certain that every person who is in his presence can feel the genuine generosity of his spirit . Walt is just one of those rare human beings that emanates warmth and caring anytime your around him. I am pretty sure he and his wife Alley will visit us in Panama someday because they love to travel and have a very similar adventurous spirit like us.

Dinner With My “Girls”…

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I know, what your thinking, She has a lot of “girls!”( also, you may be wondering how many dinners a girl can endure! Lots!) And you are kinda right about that. But I must say these two “girls” are the two who I get together with on a regular basis . We bond over dinner about once every five to eight weeks , sometimes longer depending on what craziness is going on in our lives. I don’t remember how long we’ve been doing this , long enough that I’m very attached to our regular gatherings. We three are very different women with vastly different lifestyles and careers but one of the many common connections I would say we share ,is our mutual desire to have women of substance in our lives. These gatherings are our regular opportunity to connect with each other and to enjoy the blessing of the power of girlfriends.

We three, bosom friends, have often solved all the worlds problems (well, most of them anyways!) during our dinners, with much laughter, psycho -analysis, opinionated banter, constructive criticism and plain ol’ female intuition. We each have faced a world of difficulties in our own personal lives , many times I walk away from a dinner with my “girls” feeling abundantly supported, validated, sometimes redirected by my wise friends when they have often helped me to see something more clearly or more optimistically even at times, a bit more realistically. Wendy and Janell and our regular girl-time -gatherings have truly been a source of balance and often sanity in my life. Everyone should be so lucky to have nurtured connections such as the one we three enjoy. I find it ever so important to have bosom-friends who “GET” you! Friends who you know will always be on your side and who will also kick your but when you need it.

I remember a time long ago when I was on a quest to ‘really’ define or discover who the ‘genuine’ Holly was. It was a pivotal period of my life when I just wanted to grow and to be myself without trying to please everyone and to stop letting everyone around me define who I was. As I began to look around me and really take in the people I was the closest too, the people I admired the most, and the people I tended to attract, I had an epiphany….. If I had so many amazing admirable people in my life, to a degree, they must be a reflection of the kind of person I am. I think it’s a truth that we attract “Like” people (most of the time) . It was an AH, Ha! moment for me. From that time on I’ve had a renewed and deepened appreciation for the beautiful women in my life. Each one has a special light that attracts me to them . All this to say, spending time with Wendy & Janell feeds my soul and I thank my lucky stars for them! Girls Rock! (boys’ arent bad either, but hey, we’r talkin’ about the girls now! )

Another Fabulous Dinner With Some Special Friends…

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I told Scott that before we leave I really wanted to have one more dinner at my favorite steakhouse, Sundance. I just love the food, it’s a good old fashioned steakhouse, but truth be told, the Mud Pie is to die for!! We don’t get to go there too often but I’ve had it in my head that we would get one more visit in before our departure on May 28. When My friend Cathy said she and her husband Jim and their son Alec, wanted to find a time to get together with us before we go, I had a lightbulb moment! “How about Sundance Steakhouse?” They agreed and I booked a reservation for Saturday at 7:30. Then Cathy’s sister ( also my dear friend) Sandy and her husband Rob , wanted to join us so a party had evolved before I knew it.
Scott and I have always enjoyed spending time with these friends and this dinner was no exception. Who can go wrong with delicious steaks, Amazing wines, and great conversation with a group of good people. Jim & Cath brought two bottles of exceptional wines to share with us . And Alec,( who may someday become a consummate Sommmelier) chose an Amazing Cab from the menu, what 16 year old do you know who can do that? It’s amazing to be around a young man who has such a passion for food and wine, I think he’s destined for big things someday, I can’t wait to see what path he chooses.

The fun part , besides the meat and wine, was reminiscing with our friends about when we first met and our friendship began . It all started with Sandy who is an Optometrist , she owned an office just down the street from my salon , I walked into her office one day ( over 10 years ago) and introduced myself. It was a beautiful new office in town and I just like to welcome people to town and get acquainted with new people. Not long after we met, She began coming to me for her hair , I got my eyes cared for by her and we just hit it off right away, a kindred spirit for sure! I’ve always admired Sandy’s ambitious , adventurous spirit She’s a person I just love to be around. I love the way she thinks and I always know that if I want smart, honest , often witty advise or opinion , Sandy can always be counted on. Not too long after we became friends Sandy’s sister Cathy and her family decided they wanted to relocate from Pennsylvania to Sunny California. Of course they needed haircuts (Who Doesn’t?) and I hit it off with them right away, no surprise ,another friendship was formed. One of the focuses of Me and Scott’s friendship with Jim and Cathy has always been our mutual admiration of FOOD! Good food! Gourmet food! Scott and Jim are the cooks in this group! Me and Cathy are the lucky ones, right? We’ve spent many evenings with these folks enjoying not only eating together but also getting great pleasure in the whole process of preparing elaborate menus ,(Scott & Jim enjoy this part) then gathering at one another’s homes to let those guys do their magic ! Cath and I get great pleasure in preparing the cocktails (Most important!) and perching ourselves at the counter where we chat and supervise as the magic unfolds before us. Those two men can cook! And they share a passion for cooking with top notch ingredients and preparing food that wayyyyyy surpasses any 5 star restaurant I have ever been to ( not like I’ve been to a lot , but you get it?)

I’m so glad that Sandy and Cathy and Jim fell in love with California and decided to move here. In past blog posts that I’ve written about people I come into contact with who inspire me to have the experience of starting over in a new place and getting out of our box, these three are on that list . Even though they didn’t move to a whole different country to start over, it was still a huge, brave, adventurous decision to begin again on the West coast. They sold everything and left all they knew to have a completely new life. And it’s paid off. Life is good for them here and I don’t think they have ever looked back . They ‘get’ our craving for a fresh new start and an adventure more than most. Hopefully that ‘adventurous spirit’ they had when they moved to California is still alive and well , because we’re expecting to have them over for a group cooking and drinking night in our new home in Boquete someday! And I hope it will be someday sooner than later!! I’m sure as soon as they are ready to come out Jim and Scott will start the emailing back and forth to strategize about the menu they will be preparing in Panama! And Alec, will stash some good wine in his suitcase, right buddy? LOL! The moral of this post is… Sandy,Rob,Cathy,Jim and Alec are good people who Scott and I have shared many good times with and look forward to more good times in the future. Cheers! Here’s to Cookin’ good food and drinkin’ great wine with GOOD PEOPLE!

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A Fun Evening With Some of my Favorite Women…

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When Kathy decided to organize a night out to celebrate my move I knew it would be a good time, but boy , oh , boy, to say it was a ‘good’ time is an understatement ! I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time! She made a reservation at an italian restaurant in downtown Mountain View that she said is her ‘new favorite restaurant’. I wish I could describe the hilarity of this evening but words could never do it justice! It was one of those evenings that you just had to be there to appreciate . But, if you insist, I’ll attempt to draw you a picture with my words… Six of us sat at a round table in the middle of a small ,crowded Italian restaurant ready to share a meal, a glass of wine and some good conversation , sounds like a nice send off for me right? Well, It quickly turned into an even better send off when one of the men who runs the restaurant came to our table and began to belt out , in a very loud operatic voice, I Left My Heart In San Francisco! YEP! Well, we all had to join in , as did the rest of the entire restaurant patrons! Who could just sit and listen to such a thing, it was a spontaneous chorus mixed in with a lot of laughing and Mariah looking as though she wanted to climb under the table ! Kathy had requested that he sing that particular song especially for little ol’ me! AWwww! Soooo sweet and soooooo like Kathy! After that it just kept getting better and better, lots of good italian food , a fantastic Chianti, then a fabulous desert to top it all off! Then as we were all sitting around enjoying the ambiance and the company and talking to our hearts content, we noticed a teeny tiny little old lady with a kerchief tied onto her head walking around the restaurant like she was the princess, just stopping at each table and spending time chatting with such passion. We wondered who she was. And leave it to Kathy to say to her from across the room when she looked our way,”Who Are YOU?” Well, she responds, “I’m MOM!” Well, we thought we had already had all the laughing and fun for the evening but Mom sat down at our table and began to give each and every one of us a one on one lecture on why it’s important to love the father of our children even if we are divorced from them (which not all of us are divorced from the father of our children,only, 3 out of 5 of us are ,but who’s counting?) . She was so funny and sooooooo talkative and she had us all laughing as she went around asking each of us how many children we have and how old they all are and on and on and on! Between the five of us I think there are 17 children of various ages and stages of life! “Mom” was extremely impressed that we all look so young! As she should, cuz’ we are all very young!! lol! That adorable tiny old lady was more fun and has such a gigantic personality I think we all enjoyed her zest for life and her ability to connect to us and to make us all laugh and just revel in her presence. I think all my dear friends would agree that we can’t have too many “Moms” no matter what age we are! As the laughter died down and we all looked around the restaurant we were the last people there, it was after 10:00! Time to go home ! Darn! I had such a great evening with four really amazing women who have been a part of my life for many years and who I love and admire more than they could ever realize. Kathy, Lisa, Angela And Tara you are four women who I admire, respect and Love!Try to guess who Mom is!!

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A Great Evening at Teske’s!

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Last night we had a great evening with some really good friends at Scott’s favorite bar/restaurant, Teske’s of Germania In downtown San Jose. It’s a place he and his friend Jason have a long history and many good memories of drinking excessive Liters of good German beer and B.S.ing with the owner and the bartenders who happened to also be the grown kids of the owner. Jason and Scott & the rest of the gang are definitely longtime regulars who get a big friendly greeting when they sit down at the bar and order their liters. They serve the best Goulash and (i cant spell, sorry Chris!) Spetzle. But , I think the big draw for Scott and Jason and Theo,(yes, you too Holly!) is the BEER!! They apparently serve a large variety of good German beer on Tap that you don’t find at just, ‘any’ bar. Given the fact that Jason is a professional brewer and lives, breathes, eats, sleeps BEER, its a requirement for this group to patronize establishments where quality beer is served and it’s a huge bonus when said ‘quality’ beer is served by the ‘Liter’! Yep, they are serious about their beer consumption, for sure! Although Scott and Jason can’t quite consume the same ‘large quantities’ of beer like they did when they were younger! These day’s there seems to be a bit more self control and dare I say moderation? Yep, the days of sittin’ at that bar for hours on end and consuming innumerable quantities of alcohol without a care in the world, are gone. We’ve heard stories of the two of them just wasting away the day or night (they would never call it wasted time, NOOO) drinking to their hearts content. Darn it! Now they have grown into responsible guys who have wives that are in charge! 🙂 HA!HA!HA! ( But, really, we are the bosses, right Caroline?) Scott will surely miss his buddy Jason and I know the feeling is mutual. Those two guys ( Scott & Jason) go back a long , long time and I know for a fact that they both have an incredible amount of admiration, respect, and love for one another. They would never say those words out loud but some things don’t need words, that’s the type of friendship they share. I’m absolutely positive that last night will not be the LAST visit to Teske’s! It may be awhile, but surely those two guys have more evenings in the future of sitting at that bar and sharing a liter together! Cheers!

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13 more days of work!

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It’s count down time folks! (like you didn’t notice!) Now we’re down to the very last bits of the planning and Strategizing for this big move to Panama. When I think time is moving sooo slow I just go back and re-read some of my early blog posts. It gives me a fresh perspective on just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished in this last year. Whew! Boy, oh Boy, have we gotten a ton accomplished ! Of course, when I look back I feel like time has flown by fast.

Let’s see, this is what this last few weeks look like for us:

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Our Calendar is getting more and more busy as each day goes by. This period of time was not possible to have planned until we got to where we are right now. The last few bits of the details, selling the truck, getting the rest of our possessions cleared out of the house, renting a car for the last few days,organizing all the cat paraphernalia for travel(travel crates,harnesses and leashes, food,water,flea medicine, toys,scratch pads,Blah,Blah,Blah!) ,staying in a local hotel for the last week,planning our financial situation,setting up a Trust,organizing the storage and packing it appropriately for the shipping container,getting all the documentations gathered properly for importing the cats,finishing up all the details of the transfer of my business to Stephanie,canceling utilities and all the other bills required for living here but unnecessary for Panama (like car insurance, health insurance,PG&E,you know the list, it goes on and on). When I begin to feel overwhelmed I just look back at all we had to accomplish to get to this point . Then I realize, that these last few remaining details are really very minimal in comparison. It wont be long now and we will be looking back at this time with a sigh of relief.

Once we arrive in Boquete We have a studio apartment rented for the first month. That will give us plenty of time to shop around for a more permanent situation. From all we’ve read about Boquete, it’s quite a Mecca for snowbirds during the winter months and about the time we are arriving many of those folks should be heading back home. Which means there should be plenty of longer term rentals available for us! The trick will be finding a ‘pet friendly’ rental! The right situation will turn up , of this I am certain. In the meantime, we are focused on the tasks at hand, and at the moment, that’s my glass of wine…tomorrow it will be a haircut, or maybe a bit of haircolor, maybe a highlight! One thing for sure, time is going by as it should and when we get to Boquete and get settled we’ll look back at this time and wonder how the time flew by so darn fast!!!

Time may fly fast, but at the moment it feels like slow motion…

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Yes, It’s almost always true that time really flies by fast. But at the moment, for us anyways, it’s moving at a snails pace, ssssslllloooowww! When you’ve made a decision ,such as the one we’ve made, to begin anew in a different location, and then subsequently worked your but off to prepare for said move, you reach a point when all you can think is,” let’s go already!”. Last night we walked into town to a local restaurant where we can sit at the bar and drink sangria and watch Hockey. As we enjoyed our sangria and nachos we both lamented our mutual feeling that this waiting period is very reminiscent of pulling off a band aide reeeeeal slow! I even went so far as to compare it to that last few weeks of pregnancy , when you get to the point where that tiny bit of fear you may have had at the beginning of the pregnancy, the fear of being torn apart to get that baby out of that tiny area, is completely gone because you just want that darn baby OUT!
Early on in our planning I remember worrying about all the “lasts” that I would experience and how emotional It would be. Well, I’m here now, experiencing lasts everyday and boy oh boy am I done! While my heart strings are most certainly being pulled by the emotion of ending the life we have built here, I feel as though I’m done with the ‘endings’ and really ready for the ‘new beginnings’. I’ve been very focused on all that I’m leaving behind. While there’s no way around the sadness of goodbyes, I realize I still have quite a few more to endure. But I can’t help hoping that while It’s goodbye ‘for now’ to all the people it’s really a very final goodbye to some ‘places’, to our house, to my salon, to Los Altos, and to California even to the U.S. Well, Okay, maybe not goodbye “forever” to California or to the U.S., I admit, that may have been a bit on the dramatic side! But the big “Final” goodbyes to my house and to my salon that I have been preparing myself for … those goodbyes, I’m just ready to GO ALREADY! I’m so tired of being sad and of thinking about what it will be like to have left these two parts of me behind. Intellectually I know that time will pass and our new life will begin to take on a shape of it’s own. This part of my life will always be a fantastic memory that will always be a part of who I am .
Aren’t we all, in part, a sum of our past, in a way. Our life experiences make us who we are . I’ve been so lucky to have had some pretty amazing experiences so far in my life. I see this next step as yet the beginning of even more amazing experiences to come. This period of time, may be hard for us , the waiting is a killer. But it’s all a part of the Big Adventure and I think it’s a pivotal time for us. We get to decide what our focus will be, will we mourn and wail about what we leave or will we focus our attention on the road ahead and be grateful for what lies behind us? The same goes to those who love us and are feeling sad to see us relocate so far from them. Our hope, of course, is that in time the focus for them too will change and they will enjoy knowing that we are following our dream. That our life is of our making and that we are overjoyed to be making it an Adventure ! But for now….We hurry up and WAIT! GRRRRR!

Two Women I Admire!

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I’ve lived in my house since my daughter, Mariah was just about two years old. Very soon after I moved into the neighborhood I became a single mom. I soon discovered that I had an incredible single women living right next door. Janet and I quickly formed a mutual admiration of one another that has only grown as the years have passed by. She may not realize it but she has made a very big impact on me in many ways. She was also a single mother and raised two incredible children who are both healthy, productive, successful adults. At the time that I moved into my home both her kids were practically all grown up, I think her youngest may have been at the tail end of high school, and her son was already off in college. She has seen my life change through the years and it’s always been such a comfort just knowing she was right next door.

Way back when Mariah was in elementary school Janet used to be a Teachers Aide at the school. The teacher that she worked with, Tara, was a very dear friend of Janet’s who also had two young kids,(also another single mom). Tara and I used to spend a lot of time hanging out and visiting at Janet’s house with kids in tow so naturally we also formed a close friendship. Mariah and Tara’s kids would play in Janet’s pool or run around the house laughing and conducting plays and dances or making up various games that kept them all busy . Meanwhile the three of us would sit together sipping on wine and endlessly chatting and laughing while we supervised all the shenanigans. Those evenings are precious memories for me. I just loved spending time with those two women who both have become so important to me. In my eyes they have always been strong, independent, wise and generous women who I have admired more with each passing year.

I’m certain both of these women are reading this right now and are saying to themselves, ” Awe that Holly, she’s just being nice.” While that may be partially true, cuz’ I am usually ‘nice’, ( Eye role here!) I’m also very honest and honestly, I love these two women and have admired and felt tremendously supported by them for a better part of my adult life. We may have had less and less opportunity to sit together and enjoy a glass of wine and laugh at those adorable kids who are now adorable young adults, but even though life has flown by faster than any of us can really believe, I always know that they are there for me ! They cheer me on with such gusto and I always feel that they are two of my biggest supporters no matter what crazy plan I manage to come up with! They may not realize what role models and mentors they have quietly been to me , so this blog post is my way of expressing my adoration of them. Janet and Tara have created such successful and I think satisfying lives for themselves without having depended on anyone . I see them as ‘self-made’ women , and they have done that while simultaneously caring for their families and friends around them with such selflessness. I’ve quietly watched with admiration as my two beautiful friends have, through the years managed to find some balance between family, friends, career, fun, financial independence and also very personal spiritual beliefs.

While I wont live right next door to Janet anymore and Tara wont be coming to see me for her hair appointments anymore, I have no doubt that these two women will always be my dear friends. We already miss the good ol’ days of sittin’ in Janets backyard drinkin’ our wine, but someday I hope they manage to get out to Panama to sit in my backyard ! Hey guys, I promise, I will have wine ready to go!! I’m so lucky to have such great women in my life! We truly make each other better people! Cheers, guys! I know you’ll still be cheering for me from Los Altos no matter where I live! I’m so lucky to have you both as my friends!

Strategizing about our last few weeks…

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Soooo, let’s see, we know we have to be out of the house completely by May24. We fly out on May 28. We still have to finish emptying the house of our last few belongings and get it all packed up into the storage unit. We also have to sell Scott’s truck. This all means figuring out timing of when to sell the truck and when to begin moving our things out of the house and when to go to a hotel and then how long we will need to have a rental car before we go. Of course we need to do all these things while making sure our cats are also safe and cared for. One other kinda big thing I have yet to mention is me packing up what I plan to take from my salon. Gulp! I haven’t really been ready to sort through the nooks and cranny’s and pack up things that are personal to me. I will also bring all my hairdressing tools, just in case. I plan to retire from my career but, you never know! I just might miss it soooooo much and eventually beg my new friends to let me at em’! This may be when all my new friends run screaming!!! Hey, that sounds like a pretty good exercise that could replace Zumba! ” Run from the crazy hairdresser!” LOL!

Our first best guess is, to plan on staying in the hotel for about a week, beginning on Tuesday, May 21 until our departure on Tuesday , May 28. We think listing the truck for sale on Craigslist on around May 7 or 15? Not completely sure about the timing of that quite yet. If we sell the truck we will then need to use the moving truck that our storage place provides for free for their tenants (a very nice service) . Scott is thinking he may need to rent a moving truck with a lift-gate to move his bigger tools, at least for one day. The big part for Scott is going to be repacking the storage unit to fit all the remaining things from the house. I think there are probably a few things that are already in the storage that we can do away with if we need to.

The whole, ‘ storage and shipping container’ part of our plan is proving to be quite a big P.I.A! I wish we could be as low maintenance as many other people I have spoken to who make this move, but alas! As much as we have purged and minimized our worldly possessions, there are still just too many toys we are planning to have much more time to enjoy in our early retirement. Between kayaking and camping and sculpture and woodworking and entertaining our new expat friends with fun-filled pool games and Scott cooking his little heart for anyone who will let him, we are just not scaling back enough to be able to be as footloose and fancy-free as we would like. Wellll, maybe fancy-free, but not so footloose! While some folks who choose this path for their life are able to just minimize their worldly possessions to a few suitcases and simply begin all over again, it’s not the case for us. So we shall endure the pain of this last scurry of prep work as we near the end of this portion of our adventure preparations. In 16 more days I will be done working, ( May 24) then I’ll have a few more days to help Scott with any of the remaining organizing and , oh,my daughters birthday is May 25 so that will require a bit of celebrating! But, of course! After all that, it’s TTFA! We’re almost there folks! Can’t wait! Can’t wait! Can’t wait!

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We are soooo ready to get on that plane…

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We are more than ready to walk out the door and get in the car and drive to L.A. to board the plane to Panama City! But, NOOOOO! Screeeeech! NOT YET!! Scott , who is at his best when he has very little time to accomplish a task, is roaring to go. He doesn’t have too much to do at the moment and I think it would be an accurate assessment to say that he’s a bit stir crazy. I still have work to go to but, he is kinda hanging out with the cats and procrastinating on his short to-do list. I must say, although to the common bystander he may look as though he is very unproductive, he has actually been getting quite a bit of research done on the computer while he’s waiting to the last minute to get to his actual tasks. He has been busy checking out the real estate listings in Boquete and reading up on financial topics that will greatly benefit our future. I gotta give Scott a lot of credit for all the research and planning he does while I’m at the salon blissfully(blissfully ?) cutting and coloring hair. It’s a good thing too cuz’ anything that has to do with numbers is not in my arena. Noooooo! I have my strengths but they’re not in finance. (Aside from measuring 1 or 2 oz of hair-color, numbers allude me .) So I know Scott feels a bit bored and he’s soooooo ready to get goin’ but I know he’s actually getting some very important things done that would have needed to get done sometime. Besides, I know that the kitty’s are quite happy that he’s around. They have been segregated to the master bedroom and are not quite sure why the rest of the house is now off limits to them. We really want to keep all the cat hair isolated to one room so the new owners don’t have to move into a house full of cat hair. I’m certain they will appreciate that. Not that I would ever leave the house filled with cat hair! I’ll be sure to give the whole house a good vacuum before I hand over the keys, it will be pristine, for sure. Hence, for now we are holed up in the master bedroom area of our house with the cats. Don’t worry we have our sofa and there is a TV in the room, we have plenty of space , for sure.

All the things we’ve had to coordinate in order to make this whole life changing move are mostly done now. Yes, we do have a few more items to check off our list but given the amount of work we’ve already put into this endeavor, we are feelin’ pretty good about taking it easy this last few weeks. We have many friends we would like to have time to get together with and our family members are on the very top of that list of get togethers. I’ve always felt that time with those I care about and love is by far the most valuable thing to me so given the fact that I’m about to have very little time with my favorites , I’m really stocking up on my face time with everyone who will make time for me. Even though we will still be in touch via phone ( Magic jack) or Facetime ,Facebook or my blog, it , of course, won’t really be the same as being together like we can right now. Soooooo as our calendar fills up with lots of visitin’ we relish in each moment with all the people in our life.

We found out today that the original date on the paperwork for the close of escrow still stands so it looks like it will be May 24. Now that we have a firm date of that final piece, we can prioritize the remaining tasks . We know for sure that we must be out of the house by that date (May 24) so we now can plan to arrange a pet friendly hotel for the last four nights here ( Our airline tickets are for May 28) . Scott will begin to empty the house of the last few belongings that we have here and move them to our storage unit most likely the week before,( leaving the bed for the very last minute so we have a place to sleep). Our bed, our washer/dryer , sofa,coffee table , tv’s, patio furniture and a few more boxes, and his big tools, also a bit of my clothes that I will pack up and live without until they arrive at the end of the year. This is Scott’s last big thing on his list, he’s planning to hire the workers who had helped him with the house. Given the fact that he will unload the storage space and reload it in a more organized manor so that we can hopefully fit more stuff, he will need more hands than only his own. Remember, I will be at the salon, “blissfully” cutting and coloring hair. We’re so close to being ready to go, we can taste it! I gotta tell ya, having made this very difficult albeit exciting decision and spending so much time preparing to do this, It’s really hard to wait for the actual day of our departure. I think we are both mentally gone already! I know it’s not easy for all of our friends and family to hear that , but it’s true, we are soooo very excited and just ready to make it happen already.