Category Archives: Our Year of Preparation

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!

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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.

A very ‘chill’ day for us…

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Today we had several things we accomplished but the most important things we did was spending time with important people. We began the day with a yummy breakfast with Scott’s mom, Pat. It’s always a good day when we start it with her ( and with cinnamon brioche french toast!). After breakfast we came back to the house and then my friend Cindy came to get me and we went on a mission. I have these beautiful hanging moss baskets that I just love. I had replanted them so they are bursting with color and they were a beautiful accent in our yard for all the open houses. I really want to take them with me to Panama so that I can someday use them in my new yard, but I would have to pull out all the plants and throw them away, Nooooo! My friend loves them so I suggested that if she wants, I will let her take them and she can just purchase new , empty ones for me to take. Great Idea, right? She thought so to. So our mission was to go to the nursery to try to find the same ones. They are 24 inches and they are made from pretty heavy duty black metal, not the wimpy ones with the chain that gets all tangled. Our mission failed but we did find one place that said they could special order them for us. Given the fact that we will be back to California at the end of this year to see to the packing of our shipping container, there’s no hurry. It will be a great excuse,(not that I need an excuse!) to visit with Cindy when I’m back in town. But we did enjoy looking at plants and smelling roses and we even saw a beautiful display of a huge amount of different varieties of Fuchsia plants. I think it was a smashing success of a shopping trip cuz’ it was time well spent with someone I adore.

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Did I Tell You???

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I Already Got Invited to join a book club in Boquete!!! Yipee! whoo hooo! I’m very happy about this development, as you can likely guess. Being a very big fan of reading but especially a big fan of making new friends and meeting new people, I’m overjoyed to have been invited. I was invited by my friend Sela. She is a wonderful lady who we met two years ago when we rented her casita in Boquete for our second visit there. She and her husband moved to Boquete many years ago from Bend Oregon and have a wonderful life there. As a matter of fact they are kinda our role models. They may or may not like to read that , I hope they don’t mind the title cuz’ I mean it in the most kind way! When we stayed at their casita they were so kind and generous with advise and information about their experiences living in Panama. We took notes and asked unending questions and they never batted an eye while we soaked up any information they would offer.

Fast forward to today and Al and Sela have been communicating with us frequently and giving us little bits of info when they think of it. We have emailed them a few times , well, I think I’m the one with the most questions, you know Scott, he likes to research online and try to find as many answers on his own as he can. I, on the other hand, like to ask questions. And they very generously an patiently answer and tell us how happy they are that we are on our way. It warms my heart to know that someone is looking forward to our arrival there. And to have been invited to Sela’s book club , well, those who know me know, I’m over the moon! I just hope I fit in with the ladies and that they like me. I already have the list of the books they have selected for the whole year and there are some books I’ve already read but would love to re-read and others I have wanted to read but haven’t gotten to yet, then there are some books I’ve never heard of. I’m looking forward to getting to know new people and I am still trying to imagine what it will be like to go to a ‘breakfast’ book club! Breakfast! Imagine,Not having to go to work, and going to book club in the morning! Well, it may seem silly to you but to me, it sounds sooooo decedent to have the time to enjoy a morning of chatting with a group of like-minded women while possibly enjoying a mimosa or a big cup of (locally grown) coffee! Ahhhhh! With my eyes closed, and a grin on my face, I am imagining it right now! It’s great!!

Oh Boy, It’s good to be on the same page!

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This morning I was chatting with my first client, Anika, and she mentioned how nice it is that Scott and I are on the same page with regards to our decisions and desires to make such a huge life change. It got me thinking , and she’s sooooo right! Wouldn’t it be horrible if only one of us wanted to retire abroad? Well, I guess if that were the case, it wouldn’t be happening! But, luckily, we were both of the same mind when we began the discussion about moving to another country.

When we think back to the night we began the discussion I think It was me that actually said it first, ” let’s just LEAVE!” “Let’s get the heck outta here!” I said it with a laugh and a big eye role! I remember talking about what it would be like to just ,’start over’ someplace different. Granted, at the time ( about 8 years ago), our reasons for wanting to leave would have been totally wrong. It’s never a good thing to run away from situations because,’ wherever you are , there you are’! So it’s good that we are both pretty level headed and at the time it just began to be a fun dream to talk about and imagine what we would do, where we would go, how we would do it. The dream itself became our escape during a difficult time in our life. We would just talk and talk about what it would be like to sell our house and how much money we thought we would need to make it work. Where would we go, would we be able to find a place where we would both be happy? We each spent a lot of time thinking on our own about what we would need to do to make moving to another country work for us. That night, so many years ago , little did we know, was a life-changing moment. When that conversation began we unknowingly started to go down a path together that we didn’t , at the time realize would change our life path so dramatically.

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Our Next Big Milestone Will Be The Close Of Escrow…

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The next big milestone for us will be the closing of escrow on the sale of the house. We don’t have a firm date on that quite yet! Originally the paperwork said May 24 but the buyers are going on vacation on May12 so we are hoping they will be able to close before their vacation, maybe May11? That will mean we need to vacate the house just as soon as that date is determined, so either by May 24 or May 11. The last few days or weeks of our stay will be spent in a pet friendly hotel.

We still have a few things remaining in the house that we are hoping to be able to fit into our storage unit and then into our shipping container. We have our couch,coffee table, king size bed,washer/dryer,patio furniture and three more big tools that Scott just ordered. Unfortunately this is where we begin to re-prioritize the things we are bringing. Why? you may be asking? Well, our storage unit is just about full already and as you may know, the two storage units are equivalent to our 40 foot shipping container so that means that whatever fits into the storage units should also fit in the shipping container! And Whatever ‘doesn’t’ fit will surely not fit into the shipping container! Yikes! There are already a few things that I know we can abandon, well not abandon exactly, but find a home for. Like a desk and printer stand,a wine rack, a corner metal bakers rack thingy,an upholstered chair, and I’m sure I can think of a few other things we can live without. The last things on my list of priorities is the couch and coffee table, although I’m pretty sure the coffee table can be disassembled and then it will fit better, I love that table! But the patio furniture is something I really want to be able to bring and the washer/dryer are non-negotable as well as the bed. Scott thinks he will have to completely unload the storage unit and repack it more efficiently. Given the fact that we had to pack it little by little, it was impossible to do a very efficient pack job. So we shall see how much more room we can find in there and just what ends up not making it into the container.

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I Have Wayyy Too Many Clothes!

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Sooooo I decided to go shopping! Hah! What’s a girl to do??? It seems as though the clothes I wear in my life here are not quite what I envision wearing when I live in Panama. The clothes I wear to work tend to be a bit more trendy and dare I say, fancy? I know…. I’m not the fanciest girl in town , but fancy as far as Panama standards go. I think I’m probably on the less fancy, more casual side in terms of Los Altos standards, of this I am pretty sure. We have spent a bit of time in Boquete and I think I’ll be wearing mostly jeans and sweats and capri pants maybe a sundress every once in awhile, but I’m not certain ,or shall I say, I can’t decide exactly what I should bring!I do know that up in the mountains it’s not nearly as hot and humid as it is down in David, so I don’t think I’ll be wearing a lot of shorts, except of course when I go to David. I have already gotten rid of quite a bit of clothes and I’ve even already packed a bunch of stuff that is sitting in the storage unit . I still have 23 days to work! (whoop! whoop!), so I have to keep a selection of “work clothes” out and I have separated a selection of things I want to take but don’t need now and can live without in Panama until they arrive in the container. The important selection of clothes is the clothes I want to fit into those four suitcases we can bring with us on the plane (sadly, I have to share some of those bags with the dumb cats and that silly man who’s coming with me!) . These are all the clothes that I will have with me in Boquete at least until the container arrives in possibly November or December. Mind you. I’m betting that when the container arrives I’ll most likely open all those boxes of clothes and wonder what the heck I was thinking! I’m hoping I will be happy with the smaller amount of clothes that I bring with me and then I can hopefully find a place to donate the excess. I just really hope to be living a much more casual life . That being said, I somehow still find myself agonizing about ‘what’ to bring! I don’t really know what my day to day life will look like, I hope we will eventually get to do a bit of traveling in and around Panama . This will call for some much cooler, lighter weight cloting. I’m hoping this post will prompt my friends who already live there to give me a bit of advice? What do you where most of the time? Sweats? Jeans? Capri’s? Shorts? Long Sleeves? Layers? Tank Tops? Huh? And don’t forget shoes? Sandals, Teva’s, rainboots, tennis shoes? I’m thinking a pair of flip-flops, a pair of Teva’s, a pair of rain boots and a pair of tennis shoes. If I go out at night to dinner or to someones house, are my flip flops gonna offend anyone? Of course Scott will not be seen without his Teva’s that’s a given, but he just doesn’t have that gene that makes him wonder what people think or if he looks ok! I aspire to someday be more like him in that respect! I’m workin’ on it! (Eye Role!)

Yesterday we went to have a consultation with an attorney to get a trust started. I had a very exciting ‘milestone’ moment, while filling out the paperwork I got to put “RETIRED” in the box that said vocation! Wow! It felt so foreign to refer to myself in such a way. RETIRED? REALLY? Well, 23 more days, but who’s counting? This move is a big one! So much is changing in my life and honestly, my wardrobe is the least of it but it’s a great distraction from some of the bigger changes. For now I’m kinda thrilled to begin to redefine myself beginning with the style of clothes I will be wearing. It’s an exciting transition and one that I am not takin lightly. But really folks,what’s a girl to wear for her life of leisure? Given the fact that the fashion police will probably not care , I’m pretty sure my new sweats and jeans will suffice for my new life in Boquete . Mostly, Scott is just hoping I can fit everything I need into the allotted four bags we can bring without incurring large fee’s for excess baggage. I know It wont be a problem but I just want to bring the right things.

Back To The House…

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This week we went back to stay at the house until the close of escrow. Sigh. It’s just not home anymore. I can’t really pinpoint why I feel that way but I do. Although it could have something to do with the fact that I have nothing personal in the house anymore. (Shrug) Also, the reality is, it isn’t our home anymore. I think I may have said at one point in a post awhile back that I couldn’t wait to be ‘homeless’! Wellllllll, you know what they say about being careful what you wish for?? Yep! It’s true, we are on a path of our choosing and heading down that path there are going to be a few bumps and even a tear or two (or three or four). But as Scott says, ‘It’s a means to an end!’ I’ve said it many times and I continue to say, leaving our house is indeed very bittersweet. At the core of it though, It’s exciting and it’s something we will look back at and feel proud of having accomplished as a team. To have designed, and then actually built such a beautiful house all on our own, never even having had any experience doing such a thing before , is something to be proud of, for sure. I don’t know many people who would take on such a project and actually survive it! Or should I say, the relationship survived it! In the 13 years we have been together we have found immeasurable reward in participating together in activities that are new to us both. I swear, every couple should put themselves in situations and commit to activities where they are both learning something new as a team. I suppose most people who choose to have a family together are doing just that! Scott and I didn’t have children together and we have often joked that our house has been our baby. Hence, the attachment we feel for it. Just like a kid that grows up and eventually goes away, it’s time to let go. For goodness sakes! What a total and utter SAP I’m being! Geesh! I’ll be glad to be gone from the house again. Going back hasn’t been a good thing for me. I know Scott is not at all emotional about it like I am. To him it’s a means to an end. I promise I’ll stop these silly emotional posts as soon as we walk out that door. Oh, I also have to walk out the door to my salon as well for all the sappy stuff to be completely over! Again, Geesh! It’s been quite a ride this whole year. When we finally made our final decision on where we would move, the ball really started rolling fast. It’s been a forward motion and a march through list after list of ‘to do’s’. I think we’re both at the point in this process that we are just ready to go. The lists are shrinking and there are just a few more tasks to complete. With each step we make we get closer to our goal and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

We aren’t sure when the close of escrow will be, it looks like sometime between May 11-24. Now It’s time to begin sorting through the rest of the small amount of belongings we have not yet put into storage. We will be able to bring four suitcases on the flight with us. One bag will likely be for cat stuff, litter box,food and water bowls etc. So Scott will have 1/2 a bag (shorts and a few t-shirts!) and I need to attempt to make do with whatever I can manage to fit into 2 1/2 bags! This is where Scott gets to role his eyes! Of course, it’s possible I could manage to squeeze Scott and The Cat’s stuff into one bag then I could have three whole bags! HMMMM! That may be a good plan. We are gettin’ down to the nitty-gritty now and if I thought I had paired down my belongings before, I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Until our container arrives and we are able to get to some of the things from there, we will be just making due with the bare necessities. I honestly , in all seriousness, am looking forward to a much more simple existence in our next phase of life. As long as I have my iPad and some good hair products, oh! And my sweet man! LIfe is good! Wellllll, a couple bottles of wine too! ha! ha!ha! I better stop now , before that more “simple” existence I just claimed to be looking forward to begins to look awful similar to life as I know it now! ( But seriously, a girl’s gotta have her hair products, right?) Cheers!

Next On Our List Of ‘To Do’s’.

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Now that the biggest things on our list have been accomplished its time to slowly , one , by one , work our way through the remaining list of ‘To Do’s’. We need to set up our mail forwarding service in Miami. This will be our new U.S. address where we will receive any correspondence . First thing we need to do is get rid of as much paper bills and such as we can. Setting up electronic bill pay for whatever isn’t already set up that way. This shouldn’t be too many things because Scott already has most of our bills set up that way. Also, we shouldn’t have too many bills after we cancel out everything here.(Did anyone say whoohooo?) So the mail forwarding service will collect our mail and we will be allotted a weight amount that we pay monthly for. Anything over the allotted weight will be an extra charge. Then they send it to Boquete, possibly to Mailboxes Etc. We will gather our mail once a month.

I found an interesting solution to all the tons and tons of junk mail that we really want to stop receiving. If we keep getting junk mail we will end up actually paying for it! No thanks! There are services to rid you of all the tons of catalogs and credit card marketing junk. The one I have found is $35.00 for five years! So for five years they will continue to make sure you are off all the lists of mass mailing organizations. This sounds good to me. It will take about six weeks for it to actually kick in so it’s a good idea for us to get this started asap. Of course I just realized that means I have to actually try to stop throwing it all in the trash as I remove it from the mailbox. I need to give the name of the catalogs that I wish to have my name and address removed from.

This is yet another part of our preparations to begin our new life. Next up, making sure we have enough original copies of personal documents like marriage licenses and Birth certificates. These things can be very important especially while applying for certain documentation at government offices. They just love documentation in Panama, so we have read. We have also read that poor Scott will be required to actually wear long pants when going into government offices! Gasp! He’s not happy about having to bring pants with him , just when he thought he was finally going to be “Mr. Shorts”! Well, I suspect, he will mostly achieve that goal of nearly never having to actually be forced to wear those dreaded Dockers! It will hopefully be only very infrequently that we will be visiting government offices. After we retain our Pensionado Visa it should be a “shorts” only life for him.

There are still a few more ‘to do’s’ on our list but that list is slowly getting smaller and smaller with each passing day. We’re almost there, for sure! It wont be long now and these posts with start being about our new life in Boquete.

You Can Call Me! Go Ahead! It’s Like I’m Right Next Door!

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We picked up our Magic Jack yesterday. This is a device that we had heard about from other expats who raved about the efficiency of using it to keep in touch with their family and friends back home. It basically assigns you a local, California phone number when you activate it, (of course not ONLY California, you choose the location of the local phone number). Then, when we are in Panama we will have a local number for people to call us on. It costs us about $20.00 a year and that’s it. So it is equivalent to making a local call for anyone who calls us. It’s using wifi to place phone calls not unlike Skype or Vonage which are similar to Magic Jack. There are many different ways to go in terms of internet phone services but we are hoping this is going to be a good solution for us. We shall see. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it goes! For now, I”m very excited that we can give all our friends and family an actual local telephone number where they can reach us. Technology really has made the world a much smaller place. Of course, we have to be at home for our phone to actually work! Good luck catching us between hiking, exploring,roaming around the countryside and generally enjoying our new home.

Flights are Booked!…WHAT???

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We booked our flight to Panama! It’s official, we are actually doing this! I’m in a strange fog at the moment. This whole plan has been in the works for such a long time. The research, the planning, the dreaming, the work, work, work ! It’s all culminating in a flight to Panama City on Tuesday, May 28th. Time is flying by fast now. My move is changing so many peoples lives , and although everyone is really happy and supportive , they are very sad to see me go, as am I. It’s unavoidable, everyone knows that. But , there is no way around this period of time. My leaving is a loss to many. We have been in each others lives for a long long time. Even though our relationship consists of seeing each other mostly only once a month it’s still very hard to experience the end, not of the relationship but of the way we are accustomed to experiencing the relationship. Endings are really hard and its especially hard for those who stay when the other leaves.

Now that I’m at the part of my adventure that requires saying goodbye, It’s getting very sad and emotional for me and everyone else. Sigh. Let’s all be grateful for the time we have had together and for what the future may hold. I’m so grateful for each moment I’ve had the honor of sharing with all the people who have sat in my chair or in Natalie and Elisabeth’s chairs! I’ve had the pleasure of spending my days, for so many years, conversing with countless people who I admire, respect and have felt blessed beyond belief to have gotten to know. while I will miss the day to day exchange of conversation with all the wonderful people who I come into contact with in my salon, I am exceedingly grateful for having had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with each and every person I have chatted with . We have talked about books, travel, children, houses,husbands, school, childcare, teenagers,men, men and men,decorating, landscaping, ,work,motherhood,divorce,business,collage,retirement,sports,a bit about hair,death, life,family,marriage, sex,movies,health,animals,grandchildren,hobbies,art, iPads,Kindles,food, and countless other topics. I have LOVED connecting to each and every person who has walked through the door of my little salon . It’s a big part of what defines me. I have really enjoyed styling hair but I must admit I have found the most value and reward in just being in the presence of so many people who I admire. The reward that I find in the people I come into contact with is beyond description. I hope somehow to hold onto and never loose all those connections. Although they must change and even be redefined, they don’t really have to completely come to an end. No, it’s possible to remain connected through the magic of technology! I have finally caved in and joined the Facebook game and my blog will keep everyone updated on all the details of our adventure. For those of you who have access to Facetime on your Apple devices, I will be so pleased to video chat with you! My email will remain the same so please send me emails anytime you think of it. But most of all, I really hope that after we get settled in , you will come to Panama to visit! I know most will not do that but I will still have high hopes for at lease a few visits.

This next few weeks is sure to be pretty emotional so I will make sure to provide a box of Kleenex on my station at the salon for all the tears that will fall from our eyes. I think this is a good time for me to throw away my mascara! Let’s just get this weepy,sad,emotional part over with , shall we! There’s no escaping your “last” appointment and I’m touched by the fact that I am an important part of your life (as you are mine) and that you will miss me. No “Goodbyes”! Just, “See You Soon”! Cheers!

Tying Up Loose Ends…

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First things first. Airline reservations, did I mention ‘One Way!’ ( Whoo hoo!) Before we can book our tickets we first have to confirm that we can get the cats booked into Cargo on the same flight which is a Copa flight from LAX into Panama City. Of course they don’t make this an easy thing to do. There is no local office where we can just go talk to a real live person, nooooo. We have to call and arrange that with someone over the phone. So we leave messages and wait, and wait, and wait some more. GRRRR. It’s kinda frustrating because we are not able to purchase our tickets until we are certain they will be able to be in cargo. We have found flights into Panama City on Tuesday, May 28th. Ok, here’s where a whole weeks worth of clients begin to panic! Yikes! I have a booked schedule that last week through June 1 and now my email, Facebook page and voicemail is beginning to fill up! I’m sooooooo sorry everybody, please forgive me? It’s not a done deal quite yet, still working on the scheduling and booking but that is a date that looks like it would be workable, ( not for you, I know.) . I’ll do my best to get everyone in early so we can say our farewells. try not to panic quite yet, like I said, it’s not a done deal yet.

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Today is our Day!

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We are planning to rest, relax,recover and rejoice! Yep, No work or worry on our agenda today. We have begun our day with coffee while we give the cats some love. So far we are undecided what direction our relaxing day will take. We have toyed around with the idea of a hike and a picnic, or possibly a bike ride, since Scott spent the better part of yesterday revamping our very neglected bicycles . Then we thought about the possibility of a train ride into the city to wonder and explore, which we always love to do. Culminating in dinner near the water so that after it gets dark we can go see the new light display on the Bay Bridge. Then again… we do need to do a bit of shopping for a few things we know we will need to bring with us to Panama. Given the fact that we just have about six more weekends left before our departure we really might need to try to gather the last few items we are planning to pack into our container to ship over to Panama. We have a list of a few essentials that we know will not be easy to find or at least easy to find for economical cost and of decent quality. Read the rest of this entry

The Next Step…

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Well, it’s time to begin the next step or the next few steps! The house is sold, the cats are ready,our belongings are packed and ready for shipping,my salon is sold,my clients are extremely sad,gulp. What? you may ask is the next step? Well as soon as we put our signature on that contract for the house Scott was online looking for flights to Panama! Yep, first things first. Then we will contact the airlines to confirm that they have availability in cargo for our two guys. Retain the services of the pet relocation people, Golden Frog, Jose is the name of the person we have gotten very good reviews about. I’ve shot off a few emails to contacts in Boquete to see if anyone may have any recommendations of short term cat friendly lodging for us when we first arrive. We may not be able to secure our long term rental until we are actually on the ground in Boquete so it would be great to, at the very least, know we have a place to stay while we scour the area for something that will work for us for the first six months to a year. The right thing will pop up, of this I am certain. Otherwise you may read about the two globetrotting homeless people who are wandering around Boquete with two very angry kitties in tow. Ha!Ha!Ha! I jest, of course! I have no doubt that the right situation will reveal itself to us just when we are ready! Life is like that, isn’t it? So far, this whole Adventure has fallen together just as it should without too much pain and agony. Well, maybe a bit of pain but certainly no agony! : ) Here It Goes! An Adventure is Beginning in Earnest !

Gettin’ The Kitties Ready To Go…

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Yesterday, Wednesday, Scott took Midnight and Copper to the vet to have their check up and to update all their immunizations. I thought he was pretty brave to take such a chore on all by himself. Even attempting to collect them one by one from their hiding spots under the bed in the apartment would likely be quite a challenge. Not to mention trying to corral them into those travel crates without losing too much skin would be a very tricky maneuver with one person. Those pesky kittys are very determined to do everything in their power to stay out of those crates.

Lo and Behold, when that man sets his mind to accomplish something there’s just no stopping him! He, of course, successfully got those two furry guys to the vet with a minimum of blood loss, (his blood mind you!) . Midnight apparently was very unhappy with the temperature taking procedure! Scott was in charge of the front part of the cat while the vet probed the back end, culminating in a loud ‘HISS” and a sudden appearance of Scotts blood ! As he said with a shrug of the shoulders in classic Scott style, “It Happens”. That’s my guy! And apparently both cats had a change of heart regarding those crates when the choice became ,1.let the vet handle them or 2. take refuge in those familiar,( yet unpleasant), boxes. Funny how they changed their minds .

The good news is we can check one more thing off our list. We have yet to officially retain the services of the Golden Frog, pet relocation company. The final step is to make one more trip to the vet for the official certificate of health which must be no more than ten days before travel. This document is then taken to Sacramento to two more government offices to be stamped and authenticated. This will be the completion of the documentation required to import the cats with us to Panama, at least until we arrive in Panama City . There is a period of time when they must be quarantined to our home for a bit. I’m pretty sure Midnight is hoping there will be no more of that rear end temperature taking! Geesh! According to him, that was just rude, HISS! As soon as we are able to purchase our airline tickets and have a firm date of departure we will then feel like it’s the right time to arrange the services of the Golden Frog, to aide us in getting our little fur-balls to Panama. In the meantime I suspect they are planning to spend as much time as possible hiding under the bed and avoiding any more trips to that rude vet. Of course Scott will shake his head and say,With a shrug of his shoulders, “We gotta do what we gotta do”.

A Walk To Remember

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Ive written about my walk to work in earlier posts. Today,( Wednesday) I had a late start, 12:00. We had a couple of things to do at the house so we went over there from the apartment and I decided to walk to work instead of having Scott drive me. I really took the time to enjoy my walk to work since , very soon, I may not have many more opportunities to do that walk . My time alone as I stroll through my beautiful neighborhood is a time of reflection, a time to decompress, it truly feeds my soul. One of the many things I love to soak up as I walk are all the flowers in the gardens I pass by. There are so many different varieties of flowers blooming during different seasons of the year. This time of year the tulips are just about done doing their thing but they are still beautiful as they begin that iconic tulip drip . One yard always has a gorgeous display of springtime tulips and I never walk on by without gazing upon them with much appreciation. During the summer I love the roses! There are endless varieties of roses as I walk down the sidewalk. I especially like the house with the white picket fence that has a very happy climber that covers the little fence, bursting with miniature pink roses. I often think that little picket fence looks as though it couldn’t survive the weight of even one more little bud. I witnessed the evolution of that particular rose through many seasons. I see it burst forth with growth in the summer, growing and growing as the hundreds of tiny buds appear and then it just bursts, almost overnight, with beautiful tiny pink roses that smell delicious as I walk by with a smile . Then the display slowly fades as the tiny roses finish their show for the season. I never tire of pausing to take a whiff of the roses that I pass on my walk to work. Mother Nature is so amazing to me. And I believe I am a very fortunate girl for having had such a delightful walk to work day after day for so many years. Read the rest of this entry

“Poco a Poco!” (Little by Little!)

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When I think about all we need to accomplish in the next eight weeks I feel a bit weak in the knees! The biggest thing is the house needs to sell, then we have to shut down my business and transfer it to Stephanie, prepare the rest of our belongings for transport, prepare the cats and all the important documentation to transport them. Have you ever considered what needs to be done to shut down your life and start it up again elsewhere? Of course, many of you have done just that , your the ones who have ( in many ways) inspired me! We have a long list of phone numbers and account numbers of everything we need to cancel, credit cards, AT&T, PG&E,Homeowners insurance, health insurance,Water, Garbage,bank accounts, Whew! And that’s not including all the Salon things that I need to cancel or transfer. If for some crazy reason our house isn’t sold and escrow closed by June 1, We are kinda screwed cuz I wont have a job anymore ! Yikes! I don’t even want to think like that ! It has only been two weeks, almost three since the house was listed for sale and there has been a lot of interest, just no official offers yet. The landlord at our temporary apartment told us we will only have the apartment until May 4 so hopefully we will have a much more solid vision of what comes next. This Limbo time is very troubling and Im trying to think positive and remember the “Poco a Poco” mindset ! Little by little Holly, Just one day at a time is all we should focus on. It’s hard when your a planner by nature. Scott is much better at this mindset. He seems so untroubled by the temporary uncertainties that are facing us. I try to adopt his relaxed , seemingly untroubled demeanor but It’s doesn’t always work. I’m pretty good at faking it though, I probably look calm on the outside but boy oh boy, I’m not! I am constantly reminding myself to focus on today, one step at a time, relax, breath, all that good stuff I’m sure to believe it sooner or later. Don’t get me wrong, I have moments of calm and I know everything always works out just as it should. Usually as soon as I just let go, thats when Everything falls into place. So, I think my mantra for the day is, “Poco a Poco!” , “Poco a Poco!”, Ahhhhh! Much better, this is me, relaxing and letting go! Any minute now things will be tumbling into place and before I know it I’ll be writing a post about how crazy we are as we try to prepare to set up all the details of the move. Well, Well, Well, be careful what you wish for, I wished for an Adventure, and an Adventure I am having! Life is good! Crazy, but Good!

Eight More Weeks!

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The time is fast approaching. We’ve worked really hard and concocted a plan that we have been very focused on achieving. It seems as though we have been obsessed with our relocation to Boquete forever! In reality we made our final decision on the location last year in June. I remember how excited I was to have finally made the decision after so much time researching where to go. The decision to move to another country seemed easier to make than the decision of ‘where’ to go. We decided on a path, made our list of tasks that needed to be completed and began to march in that direction. The biggest milestone in our march towards our final goal has been to ready the house to sell. Now that we are anxiously awaiting an offer on the house we find ourselves able to sit back for a minute and take a deep breath. Of course while Ive been at work Scott has been trapped in our little apartment getting all our taxes ready so we can submit it on time. He’s not feeling like he’s necessarily gotten to catch his breath quite yet!

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Selling The Salon…

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She’s gonna kill me, this picture of Stephanie from my Hollyween party is the only one I could find! As you can see , she is extremely talented! My good friend Stephanie James has decided to buy the salon from me. She’s been a stylist in town for at least as long as myself and used to work at the salon next door. For almost as long as I’ve known her she has aspired to have her own salon. I know she has looked high and low for a location but has not ever had any luck. She told me that she always wished she could work in my salon but the opportunity just never arose . When the situation changed here I immediately thought of Stephanie but I thought she was already involved in a partnership at the salon she is currently working in. I sent her a text just to let her know that the situation had changed and she told me she had not officially made that commitment and was re-thinking her decision. My timing was perfect! She and I got together to chat about my thoughts and plans about the salon. We then set up a time to meet at the salon one evening when no one was working and she brought her husband , Kevin, along to check it out . That night we four decided to grab dinner together and just talk while sharing a glass of wine. It was so great to hear her talk about how much she loves my salon and has always wished she could work there. It feels so right to hear her enthusiasm about taking over and making it her own. I’m sure she has ideas of ways she can tweak the decor to make it reflect her without totally changing the unique design . Natalie and Elisabeth are also thrilled to have Stephanie join them here. I know the three of them will be a great combination and although it will be different with a new person I have a good feeling that she’s a great fit here. She is very excited and that just makes me smile! Stephanie and I have both had meetings with the landlord and he is very supportive and is agreeable having Stephanie take over the lease of the building. I have only to submit notice of my intention to discontinue my lease then the two of them can establish the new terms between themselves. This is the last big hurdle concerning the salon and then it should be smooth sailing . Whew! This is a hard one!

The Joys of Connecting Via My Blog

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One of the best things about blogging (in my humble opinion) is making connections with so many interesting, supportive and often inspiring people. I have had the pleasure of chatting, (via my blog), with a number of other expats who either already live abroad or are , like me, planning to move and start an adventure. I’m a ‘connecting ‘kinda gal, I find great pleasure in getting to know people. To me, finding a commonality with a new person gives me so much pleasure. I’ve found through the years, especially in my business, that there is almost always something to find that I have in common with someone. It’s like a treasure hunt, finding that one little connection that links us and makes us a little less complete strangers and closer to friends. Rarely have I met a person who I cannot find something in common with.

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Hurry up and Wait…

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We are in limbo at the moment. While we wait for someone to step up and buy our house there are so many variables and so many aspects of our plan that we are unable to really move forward on just yet. Scott and I are still going over to the house to finish off little details and maintain the beautiful garden so that it looks spectacular for potential buyers. The little detached garage/cottage in the back really needed to be cleaned up so we gave it a fresh pain job inside and cleaned it up as best we could so that it looks nice. It’s hard to know if someone will like the versatility of having the ability to use it as a guest house or office or will they want it to be a garage? Who knows. So we go back and forth between the possibility of staging it as a cottage or leaving it just a clean slate so someone can use it as a garage. I think for now we will just leave it as is and see what happens. On Wednesday Scott is meeting a guy at our storage unit to get an estimate on shipping everything to Panama via container. We will most likely get estimates from at least two shipping companies. Then he will spend the rest of the week getting our taxes done so we can finally get that chore off our plate for this year.

Today at lunch we were brainstorming about what our options are for finding a place to live in Boquete. Ideally, in the long run we would like to find a furnished home that is pet friendly where we can live for at least the first six months to a year. Given the fact that finding and securing a situation via the internet is kinda risky, you just really never know who you are dealing with online. There a people everywhere who will be glad to take our money in return for a house they want to rent us sight unseen. We have had an email interaction with a man who has a house he and his wife would like to rent so they can care for his aging mother who lives abroad. Sounds pretty much on the up and up except for the part where he wants an entire year worth of rent paid upfront before we have even been there to see the place. He emailed pictures and it does look lovely but who in their right mind mails a complete stranger an entire years worth of rent for a house that may or may not even exist? Not us! I don’t know, just how we will find a long term situation without being there to really see it and meet the people who will be our landlord. It seems to us that the best plan will be to find a short term B & B or hotel or something where we can just spend a week or two while we hunt for more permanent lodging. Of course our cats are the problem with this plan. I did just make a new friend through my blog who has a lovely B & B in Boquete and it is pet friendly but she has two cats and we would have to see if our cats would get along with hers. HMMMMM, I’m just not sure how they will behave with other cats? I would feel so bad if they were really mean to two kitty’s who are just innocently welcoming them into their territory. I’ll have to see if it would be possible to just keep our guys in our room for a few days . Or the next idea we had is , as soon as the house is sold, possibly Scott can go to Boquete without me and the cats and stay in a cheap hostel while he shops around for a furnished place for us to live. This would require him to return so that he can travel back with me and the cats and some luggage. I just don’t think I could manage all by myself when it comes time to make the move. This may be a possibility. Right now we can’t make any final decisions about which route to take because as I mentioned we are in limbo until the house is behind us. It will be really comforting when we finally know where we will be living when we arrive in Boquete. At the moment we just have to patiently wait until this limbo phase has passed, which I’m sure will not be too much longer.

Although our living situation hasn’t been quite dialed in, I’m grateful that there are many aspects of this next phase that we have already spent a great deal of time organizing . Just getting to where we are now has required quite a tremendous amount of planning, coordinating, strategizing and research. When I feel myself beginning to feel anxious about not being as far along on a particular aspect of our goal as I wish we were, I have to stop and remember how much we have already accomplished this far. And as I like to remind others, I really need to just ‘be in the moment’! There’s so much to be grateful for and so much to soak up right now that I will miss someday. It’s very easy to get so caught up in ‘where’ I’m going and then I realize I am missing out on what is right in front of me. Everything always ends up working out just as it should in the end so why waste so much energy fretting over what will eventually become very clear. As I’m writing this post I am realizing just how therapeutic writing this blog is for me. When I began writing this post I was feeling so caught up in worrying about finding a place to live in Boquete. Now that I’ve reminded myself to chill out, I can take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment and all the people in it. Everything will fall into place as it is meant to. Of this I am certain. I’m gonna attempt to sit back and… ‘Let This Adventure Begin!’

Welcome to apartment living…

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We moved into our temporary apartment on Friday(March 15) . It’s a furnished apartment in Santa Clara, about 20 minutes away from Los Altos. As I’ve said before, we looked at staying at a pet friendly long term hotel but this place provided much more room at a much more economical cost. So our very first night was quite a comedy. First , before leaving our house in Los Altos, we could not find one of our cats, Copper. They both have been rather Traumatized with all the commotion going on in their home lately. They have both spent all day everyday this past two weeks , hiding in the basement only coming out at night when we would sit down to relax and it was quiet around the house. Poor guys, I feel so bad for them. They must be very confused by all the recent upheaval . So on Friday, moving day, Scott and I first made a trip to the apartment with a load of our belongings so that when we came back with the cats they wouldn’t have and opportunity to sneak out the door while we moved things in. When we went back to the house to retrieve the cats only Midnight was there. We waited and searched until after 9:00 and just finally had to leave without Copper. We knew we would be able to find him eventually so were not especially worried. Midnight was not happy about the move , of course. I figured it would be a rough first night with him meowing and climbing all over us as we attempted to get a bit of sleep the first night. I was right about him, he was like a magnet to my hair, clawing and clawing my hair and head and wondering around the new place all night long. At one point he finally settled down for a bit and then some kid in the complex began yelling at the top of his lungs, ” Don’t Talk To Me!!, Don’t Talk To Me!” It was really loud and then when he finally stopped his rampage we began to go back to sleep, and outside out window was a very loud ‘QUACK!” ‘”Quack!” ( insert eye roll right about here) Scott said,”What the Hell is that???” My answer… “A Duck?” As it turns out, the swimming pool is just outside our bedroom window and a pair of very chatty ducks were enjoying a very early morning float in said pool! They were involved in a very exuberant conversation and did not care who was eavesdropping!

We’re not in Los Altos anymore! Welcome to apartment living. We have been in our temporary housing for a week now and It’s actually going very well. The next morning after very little sleep, I realized that our bedroom window was not closed and that explained why everything was so loud. It has since been closed and we now have two cats who are very slowly and not very happily adapting to their new surroundings. They are slowly beginning to let up on the nightly ‘walking on our heads’, maybe they feel as though they have tortured us enough for the time being! Now that the mad dash to prepare the house is over we are trying to be with the cats as much as possible. We feel so bad about having to leave them alone so much right after we took them there. After this week Scott should have a bit of down time so hopefully he will be around there a bit more, that will make the cats happy , although getting at those darn ducks would probably make them the most happy! Come to think of it, a nice ‘Duck’ dinner doesn’t sound half bad!!!

La!La!La! It”s Countdown Folks! 10 Weeks!

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For those of you who are not retired yet, Try to imagine if you had 10 more weeks until it was time to begin a new chapter in your life! For those of you who have already begun A shiny new chapter, you know just how excited I must be. I’m excited and terrified all at the same time! For nearly 30 years I have known what each day held for me. Maybe not exactly what each day would bring but I could predict with relative accuracy, what my day would hold. Now as I look forward to 10 weeks from now, it is unwritten, it’s not predictable at all. To some , this fact would be unacceptable. To me and to Scott, the unpredictability is exhilarating! The unpredictability is not just related to my career, but to every single aspect of my life! People I will come into contact with, food, where I will live, language, customs and traditions, even the landscape I will see when I look out the window in the morning will be different. In 10 more weeks I will wake up with the reality of a fresh new start.

What will our “fresh new start” look like? Your guess is as good as mine! We can plan and strategize and make arrangements all we like, but we still won’t know exactly what will happen once we hit the ground in Panama. Things could go as planned or more likely it could be a comedy of errors! Let’s just hope we can have a sense of humor and roll with the punches as we navigate our new, unpredictable life. We are planning to find a furnished place to rent for our first year in Boquete. We are hoping to be able to find a place fairly soon, we’re always keeping our eyes open , watching online on forums what is happening in the rental market there. Our friends, Al and Sela may have a place available close to town but we don’t know much about it yet so we are looking and attempting to keep our eyes peeled for just the right spot. Our cats are most likely going to be a bit of an issue, limiting us on what we can rent. I totally understand landlords wanting to restrict renting to folks with pets. The right place will show up eventually, of this I’m sure.

I envision our early days in Boquete being filled with a bit of relaxing and getting acclimated with everything. Stocking up on food and essentials. Getting the cats settled, getting signed up for spanish classes, relaxing some more, maybe getting caught up on my reading. All this and also getting all our essential things lined up like banking and cell provider and wifi and I’m sure we will still have a bunch to do about our residency visa. We will see how long we can live without a car, taxis are pretty cheap and easy to use, we shall see how long we last. Buying a car in a foreign country will be an adventure. I hope we will be able to find an animal sitter so we can get a bit of traveling in. But, wait! I still have 10 more weeks, and I am planning on enjoying these last few weeks. I’m gonna hug everyone I can hug and I’m planning on appreciating each and every moment with all the people in my life here. Not that I will not see everyone again, cuz It’s not goodbye! Noooooo! It’s “farewell”, “see ya soon!” and “Bon Voyage!” Initially there will be tears but then time will pass and we will become accustomed to being connected via, Facetime, email, Facebook, my Blog, Skype, and even the old fashioned telephone! The world is not so big these days and I have a feeling many of you who I only see and catch up with once a month or so will be hearing from me much more frequently. You’ll probably wish you’d stop getting so many emails from ‘Let The Adventure Begin!’ Yes, it will not be “The Same”, but who says “The Same” is the best? “Different” will work!

As I’m counting down 10 more weeks, I plan to savor the joy and anticipation I’m feeling . Beginning anew is not something that happens everyday and I’m really excited, filled with so many different and varied emotions. There are so many things happening at the moment with the beginning of trying to sell our house and moving into our little apartment and selling my business, just to name a few. I could be stressed and grumpy and sad and many other less optimistic emotions but I’m choosing to be focused on all the exciting aspects of this next chapter. Yes, An Adventure is A’ Brewin’, for sure! WhooHooo! 10 More Weeks! La, La, La! ( That’s me doing a Happy Dance!) I hope your dancing with me!

Did Someone Say An Adventure Was A’ Brewin’ ??

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Now that the house is ready to be gobbled up by someone who just can’t live without it, we are living in our little apartment and waiting for the next step in this big adventure of ours. Scott is finishing up a few more details at the house, clearing out his workshop being the biggest chore at the moment. He needs to sort through his big mess back there and decide what he wants to keep and what he will give away or throw away, sounds like my Hollyween purge huh? It’s a pretty big job and he is hoping to be nearly done by mid week. There are still a few little details to address inside the house like installing a few more handles on cabinets and finalizing all the CAT5 wiring. The outside sprinkler system is getting a few repairs done at the moment as well so I wont have to keep doing the watering by hand which takes a couple of hours to complete now that the yard is landscaped all around. As soon as Scott gets his workshop all cleaned and packed up the only thing left to do is wait for our buyer to step up! Hopefully that wont take too long.

I am still planning to work until June 1. I have sold the salon to a friend and as soon as she has her meeting with the landlord we can begin to finalize all that. I haven’t written too much about that yet because she has not officially told her co workers where she is currently working so it’s still kinda hush, hush. The time between now and June 1 will be busy choreographing the move to Panama. Up until now we have obviously been completely focused on selling our home but now the next phase is all the paperwork and details of making an international move. We have to retain a container moving company and arrange the date for them to load all our belongings into the container from our storage facility. We still have all the paperwork to gather and complete for importing our cats to Panama, lot’s of work on that front. We will most likely retain the services of a pet relocation company that we have found in Panama. We need to begin the process of getting our permanent residence visa for living in Panama. Retaining an attorney in Panama is the first step in that process then we will proceed as we are instructed by them. Let’s not forget our taxes! Dee (my accountant) will be happy to know that is on the top of our list of things to do in the next few days!

Yes, we have made it through the preparation of our house and next up is all the technical stuff. No rest for the weary! I’ll be back to my busy schedule at the salon and Scott will be busy with all the gathering of all the documentation required to move our cats, our belongings and US to Panama! As soon as we get to Boquete, we are gonna really need a drink and possibly a hammock where Scott can sleep for about a week! This Adventure is so far proving to be much work and we are looking forward to having some down time after June. Time is flying by , to be sure!

Stagers are here!

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The Stagers have just arrived and there is a flurry of furniture, flowers, rugs and lots of accessories ! I can feel that familiar twinge of emotion beginning to boil as once again the house is evolving into a space that is no longer mine. Sigh. I am excited to see what they do to transform this house into a model home. It’s hard for me to stay out of their way! I just want so badly to follow them around and watch what they are doing, but I am forcing myself to just take a deep breath and stay outside. I’ll post pictures at the end of the day so you can see the result .

A Family Tragedy

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A family Tragedy

Amidst all the hurry and scurry in my life, our family has had a great tragedy, my Mothers husband, Glen passed away yesterday morning in a car accident. I’m sorry to have to tell such sad, sad news but it just felt wrong to continue talking away about all my plans and not stop to say something about this huge loss in our family. My heart aches for my poor mother. She is distraught to say the least. Naturally, she is beside herself with the fear of now being all alone, along with the incomprehensible reality that her life partner is gone forever. She is , of course, in shock. It’s hard for me to be so far away from her at this time, she lives in Fort Worth Texas. When she phoned me yesterday morning (Friday), I was blown away , of course, but also at a complete loss as to what I should do to support her. I have so many wheels in motion at the moment that there was really no conceivable way for me to get to Texas to be with her. Mariah to the rescue! My sweet daughter wanted to be with her grandmother as soon as possible. I’m so blessed to have such a loving and kind daughter who would be willing to take time off work to get on a plane at the last moment to go to her grandmothers aide. My sister, Rora , and I have been estranged for many years , but when I phoned her with the news, all the complicated drama of our own issues just seemed to drop away for the moment, it was so nice. She and our mother also have a very dysfunctional relationship so she was unable to make the trip. Her son Nick got on a red-eye and was by his grandmothers side this morning, what a great kid he is. Mariah arrives this afternoon and my mother will be surrounded by friends and family and will surely feel supported, loved and cared about from all directions.

Living so far away from my mother and Glen, I really never got to spend large amounts of time with Glen in the 16 years ( I’m not sure exactly how long they were together , I’m guessing ) that he and my mother were together . He came to California with my mom several times and stayed at our house, I went to Texas with Mariah when they got married, and Mariah and I visited them only one other time at their home in Texas. But I chatted on the phone with him many times and the last time he visited us was for my last Hollyween party. He was dressed as Hagrid from Harry Potter , he loved those books. Glen was a VERY big guy and he made the perfect Hagrid! Such a gentle spirit , kind, sweet, generous in every way. I gotta say he was the stereotypical “Big Texan”. He had such a big heart and was always texting me about how proud he was of me and Scott and how much he would brag to all his friends at work about us and he never stopped telling me how much he and my mom loved us. Never have I met a man who could talk, and talk, and talk and talk ( you get the idea) Glen was quite the talker! And he could talk about absolutely any subject and with any person who would listen. He seemed to have unending knowledge about everything under the sun. He loved to read and to watch educational shows on tv about anything from hunting and fishing to hot rods and travel and history he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and seemed to just soak it all up, only to share it with whoever would listen. Scotts friend Jason got to spend time with Glen once when they were here visiting and he still always asks about how that big Texan is doing. Glen couldn’t help but make an impression on those who met him, not that he was actually aware of or cared much about what others thought of him. Glen lived his life his way and I believe that he was a pretty happy guy. He loved my mom and he was a great son to his aging mother. It is truly a sad and very sudden loss to my mother and to those of us who knew him.

Whew! One more day to pull it all together on the inside!

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Whew! Today was yet another productive day at our soon to be on the market house. I did a bit of running around while Scott was working on the never ending job of finishing up cabinetry and overseeing the finishing up of the drip system one of the workers was working on. My mission was to try to find a replacement for the missing safety pull out doohickey that makes the jacuzzi run, ( I failed miserably) then mission number two was to locate and order or buy pieces of glass for the four cabinet doors in the dining room area. I’m pleased to report that my mission was a success! Aside from the fact that the guy made a booboo on one piece and I have to go back tomorrow to get it, no big deal, I was just overjoyed to be able to walk out with three beautiful pieces of glass.

A Few Days Later, Tuesday, March 19

It’s been a grueling few days! Remember those beautiful pieces of glass? Well the painters broke all but one of them! Rats! Well, back to the glass store! It took them a few days to order more of the glass so I picked them up yesterday, we should be good to go on that! I also ran around while Scott was chipping away at the remaining details of his woodwork for the interior. I went to the storage unit to drop off a few more boxes. We have just been trying to empty out all the little nooks and crannies in the house so Ive been just tossing things in boxes taping them up and throwing them in storage. We may end up opening some of the boxes when we get to Panama and wondering why in the heck we brought that! lol! Like I said, I was the, ‘Run Around Girl” yesterday, after picking up the replacement glass I went to the hardware supply place to get more drawer slides and cabinet hinges and 14 more cabinet handles. Then back to the house, anxious to see what the stagers had done to my house. Then after the flurry of people left I tacked installing the covers on the plugs all through the house and making sure all the hardware is installed on all the windows. I also cleared out my glorious closet and made it look beautiful.

Today I’m back to work, the work were I actually get paid! : ) I just hate not being at the house helping with all the last bits of final work but I guess we do still have a mortgage to pay so we just have to divide and concur ! The Realtor is stopping by the house to check out the staging at 8:30 then the stagers return at 9:30 to polish it all off then the virtual tour photographer arrives at 12:45 and the Realtors have invited some of their top producers over to help determine pricing. and then at 6:15 when I’m done working we will meet Christy and Ed to discuss all the listing details. Whew! I think the biggest job Scott has left to accomplish is packing up his workshop which is a pretty big job but should be able to get at least a big amount of it done by the time the open house happens on Saturday. One of my favorite blogging friends posted a blog that included a phrase she and her husband learned in Spanish class, ‘”Poco a Poco”, Little by Little! Yes, We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and Poco a Poco we will get it done.

Three more days to moving day, To the apartment! Not to Panama, not yet! Don’t worry, I’ll still be here until June!

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I took this whole week off work to help pull this house and yard together by Friday. Every day we are up by 6:00 and working non stop until the wee hours of the day, it’s 7:30 pm right now and we just finally sat down. I’ve been in charge of the landscaping and it’s really coming together pretty good. Sunday and Monday I had help, thankfully, from Cindy, Janet ,(the best next door neighbor EVER!), and Mariah. Cindy came with me to the nursery and we bought tons of flowers and shrubs. I think she may have been slightly overwhelmed by the amount of plants we had to decide on and buy. We bought so many Pansies and Marigolds If I see another Pansy I think I’ll scream! Then on Monday Natalie and Patti came over for a few hours and we got the rest of the front and most of the side yard planted. Patti and I had to run to the nursery for more shrubs for the side yard. We had plenty, more than plenty flowers but needed shrubs to fill in around the side yard and courtyard areas. I love shopping with Patti because we are both really good decision makers and we pick things out really fast without even questioning our decision,”Yep!, That’s Perfect!” and off we go! We picked out the plants and bought and loaded them and got back to the house pretty quickly. Natalie was planting away in the front yard when we got back. I bet Natalie will also scream if she see’s another Pansy! I think all my friends think I’m going a bit overboard with all the flowers and plants but I think it’s really important to make everything look perfectly beautiful. I want someone to come into this house and just absolutely fall in love with it. Then I want them to write me a nice big check so I can catch the next plane to Panama, Well, ok, maybe not the NEXT plane .

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Well, Here’s The Beginning Of The Big Lifestyle Change We Signed Up For…

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I’m realizing with each passing day that Our Adventure has begun in earnest. I know, I’ve already acknowledged the fact that the “journey” is the destination. But so far our Adventure has been planning and strategizing and dreaming and researching and planning some more. Getting our home ready to sell and preparing to move out of the house has been the first really big step that is irreversibly changing the way we are accustomed to living our day to day life. We are taking on this monumental life change in order to quench our hunger for a very different lifestyle, and HERE IT IS! We are just weeks away from walking away from our house. Most of our material possessions are packed and waiting to be loaded onto the shipping container. It’s a very sobering thing to realize that we set our sights on something and are marching briskly towards our goal. In the midst of all this upheaval I must admit that I have not experienced even one moment of regret or change of heart about what we have set out to do. In the coming months I’m certain I will be writing about how hard it is to leave all I know but fear not, I am expecting this transition to be a challenge of enormous proportions . Writing about all this and sharing it with all of you is very therapeutic. It’s a very productive way for me to process all my many varied emotions as I travel through this gigantic adventure. All the hardest, most challenging experiences in my life have always, without exception, been the most worth doing and the most valuable. The easiest path is not always the most rewarding. The thought of not pursuing this adventure and staying put, continuing on the same path we are on , is to me much scarier and sadder than marching forward towards the unknown.

We have a loosely formed plan for this next phase of our life. But “loosely formed” Is the key phrase. We would be foolish to think that we can predict what will actually happen when we hit the ground in Panama. We have an idea of what we would like to achieve and for now we will head in that direction but with open minds and very clear expectations to expect the unexpected! To some this may sound unsettling and it may well prove to be just that, unsettling . If calm, predictable and settling was our goal we would stay put in our beautiful home in Los Altos. We signed up for an Adventure and I’m sure we will not be disappointed . We may be frustrated at times, nervous in the beginning, and of course sad to leave many people who we will miss. Making a life change as monumental and all-encompassing as the one we are in the process of making is many things but easy is not one of them. Who really knows for sure what the future holds for any of us? We certainly don’t expect our relocation to Panama to be predictable but what we can predict is, we will learn a lot and we will be pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone as well as creating a new life filled with lots of new friends and new experiences.

So as we prepare to leave our house, our careers, our family , friends and country we may feel sad at times and I speak for myself when I say I will very likely be very melancholy as I face so many lasts and endings and farewells. But , boy do we have much to look forward to as well! It’s truly exciting , hard , to be sure , but I’m certain all this preparation and hard work will be worth it ! It wont be long now! Did somebody say, ” Let The Adventure Begin!”, Oh, yea! That Was ME!! Sooooooo It’s an Adventure All Right!! And It’s Begun Already!! Whooooo!Hooooo!

Oh, I Thought It Was CRUNCH TIME A Few Weeks Ago, I Was Wrong, NOW It’s Crunch Time!!

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We are sleeping at our house but to be sure, we are barely living there. We have sold, stored or given away most of our furniture . We have packed up most of our kitchen and cooking equipment. All the wood floors are covered in paper by the painters. Our Bed, the only thing left in our bedroom, is pushed into the middle of the room, weird! All the windows are covered up by the painters and there are trash cans and toilet paper and other odd things piled up on counters so they are out of the painters way. Get the picture? To say we are Living in our house would be an inaccurate description of the situation. We sleep, shower,eat frozen pizza and drink wine (Lots of wine!) ! It’s quite strange to exist in our home this way. All for a good cause, I am not complaining! Just sayin’! I’ve taken next week off work so that I can help with all the last minute things that need to be completed. I have a few friends who have kindly offered to come over and help me do so some planting. I just want to plant tons of color all over the yard so that it looks beautiful and cheery! I”m so glad I don’t have to do the final cleaning ! The cleaning crew will come on the 16th and make the house sparkle. Where have they been all my life? It wont be long now and our house will not be ours anymore. Sigh…

Today…

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Today, Wednesday, our realtors Ed Graziani and Christy Ying are coming to the house with the cleaning company to give a bid for the cleaning and the copy writer who will be writing the brochures for the house. Ugg! This selling a house gig is proving to be quite the ordeal! Geez! Can’t we just plop a for sale sign in the dirt and call it a day? I guess not. sheesh! Nothing is as easy as I would like it to be. So I will play the game along with everybody else, cross our fingers and hope for the best. The “best” being a fast sell for lot’s of $$$!

In the past I always dreamed of having crews of workers swarming around my house getting lots and lots of projects done while I gazed upon the scene with a big smile on my face. Well, be careful what you ask for! This morning I was in my bathroom getting myself ready for my day, headphones in my ears , as usual,( listening to my favorite podcast) while I blow dried my hair, got dressed and put on my make up. When I was done with this morning ritual I opened the bathroom door and Wow! My house was swarming with worker-bees! Painters, carpenters, and who knows what else was going on in every nook and cranny. A beautiful sight for a women who has lived in a ‘half finished’ house for many many years, dreaming of a house that was actually ‘finished’. I realized quickly that there was no place for me to even work on my iPad so maybe I should exit, stage left! Although, It was only 8:30 A.M. and I did not have to work until 1:00! Well, the realtor and their crew are coming at 10:00 so I decided to take refuge at my salon, which is just 5 minutes away. I grabbed the truck keys from Scott and fled the scene to find solace in the salon and then I will return in at 10:00 to meet with Christy and ED. Just another day marching towards our Big Adventure!

Who’s Cookin’ Dinner Tonight?

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I’m usually pretty spoiled when it comes to dinnertime! Scott loves to cook so I don’t starve. I don’t actually think the possibility of me starving is actually why he likes to cook, but I must admit that from time to time I wonder how I survived without his cooking! Before Scott came into our lives I think Mariah and I just foraged for food. Most nights when I get home from work Scott has dinner ready to go or at least pretty close to ready. I usually try to help by assisting with chopping or hand him this or that or I follow him around cleaning while he’s cooking, of course there is the occasional evening when I plop myself down at the kitchen island and enjoy a glass of wine while I chat with the cook . For him, sharing at least one meal together each day is very important and I’m glad. It’s so nice to end the day together and chat about our day . It’s a nice tradition that I’m grateful he has always insisted on. So lately, my cook has not been so motivated to cook, I know, what’s up with that? huh? I’m so neglected! Well, I jest! We are both understandably distracted and exhausted by the whirlwind that is our life at the moment. Not only are we not especially prepared for our weekly meal plan, but we haven’t even had time and energy to get to the market to buy food! So we recently discovered Waiters on Wheels. Love that web sight! They deliver food from a large list of local restaurants. Last night we ordered from a Moroccan restaurant in Mountain View, Yum! We will try not to make it an every night occurrence but I must say, it’s quite convenient at the moment! I am planning to try to get to the market in the next day or so but we shall see how that well intentioned plan goes! One things for sure, we will not go hungry!

I have a feeling that our life has already taken on a much different flow from what we are accustomed to. I was just mentioning to Scott the other night that our days of cooking elaborate , gourmet meals in our beautiful kitchen could very well be over already. Scott will likely shed a tear for his Viking stove! Given the fact that we will be living in the house for only two more weeks and our agenda is so focused on working on the house till the wee hours of the evenings ,cooking and planning meals is naturally on the very bottom of our list of priorities. As a matter of fact I hate to admit this but we actually have frozen pizza sitting in our freezer for dinner tonight! Shocking! I know!