Look at the stars

This morning I was supposed to be down at False Creek at a dragonboat regatta cheering on my former team, but this is what it looks like outside the window.

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Been there, done that mess! 10 years of dragonboating in Vancouver equals a LOT of time in the rain.  But I don’t paddle any more because I spend too much time on the road, so today I get a pass.   This was last years’ Rio Tinto Festival.  My friend C and I have been crew marshals at this regatta for 6 years;  she was out of town and escaped the wettest festival on record last year but there may be some karmic payback going on today!

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So instead I’m drinking coffee, catching up on the blog . . .hoping that the sun will peek out later and I can go put in a guest appearance.

It’s been quite the week.  Actually, it’s been quite the few weeks.  How is this for a stake in the ground!  House is for sale.

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If you have ever sold a house you will know the pain I’m going through right now.  And I don’t mean the pain of leaving, I mean the pain of keeping your home “showroom ready” all day, every day, for weeks on end.  I find myself vacuuming at 6am because I have to go to work and there is a showing that afternoon.  Dishes are immediately washed, dried and put away (no more “drying” in the second sink!).  Laundry done, folded and away.  I miss that basket of clean, lavender  scented clothes that always seemed to sit at the end of my bed.  We have 2 sets of towels in the bathroom: one for actually drying, the other for “show” – they are never used, they only get put out for showings.  Staging your home,  how I hate the phrase.  But it’s a competitive market in Vancouver so whatever it takes just has to be done.  The good news is that on the buy side there are lots of options.  Checking out a few open houses this weekend.

Things I had no idea about but have discovered in the last two weeks.  If you are relocating to the US from Canada, there are tax implications to almost everything you do.  My current home has to be sold through a US closing company and escrow process to avoid the tax liability.  I have to divest myself of pretty much everything that ties me to Canada: bank accounts, driver’s licence, health insurance and benefits I expected, but I should not own real estate in Canada and any investments outside of an RRSP need to be liquidated or I pay tax on the day I leave for the US – what the Canadian government refers to as my “deemed disposition date”.   Sweet baby Jesus.   I have a Canadian lawyer, a US lawyer and a tax expert in international relocations.   I’m still shaking my head and wondering how the heck my life got so complicated.  AND I’m STILL waiting for my US work visa to be approved.  I could show up at the border with the paperwork, force the decision and roll the dice, but I’m not that sort of high stakes gambler.

In between all this upheaval, a wonderful day on Thursday.  My beautiful, smart, talented baby girl graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in Geography.

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Her focus is environmental and sustainable geography, which will, I think, prove to be a great choice in an area of Canada whose economy is resource based.  Mining and forestry are huge economic drivers for our province, her skills will be in demand.   Of course she will be the one saying “you can’t log or mine here” – she is, after all, my little hippy girl from Salt Spring Island.  We have travelled a long and winding road together, my little girl and me. I couldn’t be prouder of her.

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The last couple of weeks have also been a time of renewing old friendships and bidding a sad (if temporary) farewell to new ones.  An old friend who hasn’t been in Vancouver in a long time unexpectedly arrived in town this week. What a great surprise.  We visited our old haunts and got caught up.  Being irredeemable music junkies, we whipped out our respective stashes of tickets and calenders and planned a fantastic summer of music.  We are blessed (or is it cursed!) with the same weirdly eclectic taste in music, finding equal enjoyment in the Gospel tent at Jazzfest or at a Foo’s concert.  Upcoming shows  include Ivan and Aloysha, My Morning Jacket, Bare Naked Ladies, Wilco, Alabama Shakes, Grace Potter, Avett Brothers, Dawes, Black Keyes and Bob Dylan.  What an AWESOME list!!!  I’m crushed to be missing both Of Monsters and Men and David Byrne (separate shows, same week) but you just can’t always be in the right city at the right time.  I will just make do with this frugal list!!  And we agreed we have to stop buying tickets (well at least for a while).  Up close and personal with BNL a couple of years ago at their first show without Steven Page.   Steven who?

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Earlier this month  I had to say goodbye, at least for a couple of months, to my friend A.  He had the extreme good fortune to get a buyout from a long time career and is now enjoying most of a year off, with pay.  It’s a bit like winning the lottery.  Of course at the end of that he will have to find gainful employment again, but for the first few months it’s amazing.  I’ve been in envy of his life every single day!  While I’m at work, he’s at the gym, hanging out at Wreck Beach, going for a bike ride or taking one of the cars out for a spin.  And now he’s gone travelling for a couple of months in South Africa and Europe.   Stunningly beautiful Cape Town.

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I am not discounting all the opportunity I have heading my way, but wow.  A paid year off work.  Sigh.  We talked a lot about living in the present while he is gone, enjoying every single day for what it has to offer and not getting caught up in worrying about what will happen once he is back, because it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Be totally present in every day.  And of course there will be those inevitable days when the road is long, you are sick of living out of a backpack and talking to strangers, when all you want is to be in your own house, hanging with friends and sleeping in your own bed.  But those days pass, they always do. And if you make the mistake of coming home early – guaranteed you will regret it the minute you land back home.  I’ve never been on a single trip that I wished was shorter!!  I love the freedom of being out on the road, living in the moment, free of day to day responsibilities except food, shelter and fun.  Those two months will seem at once endless and then it will be time to come home and they will have passed in the blink of an eye.

Well the rain has finally stopped so I gotta go cheer on my team.   Stars from the amazing Grace Potter.

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