20 December, 2012

This and That - The Pre-Christmas Edition…

Now that the craziness of the holiday season is almost behind us, I’m hoping to get back into the blogging state of mind. With everything else going on these days, it’s been hard to keep up.

My Christmas shopping is done and wrapped. Thank goodness for small miracles. I’ve been second guessing a couple of the purchases. Not that I’ve overspent on them, I’m just not 100% convinced they will be appreciated as much as I feel they should be. Oh well, I’m not dwelling on it because it’s the thought that counts – right?

About 4 weeks ago, J and I ordered new living room furniture for Christmas. Only one piece was being customized with different fabric, but we refused to pay a delivery charge twice, so we’re now expecting it to be delivered in time for Valentine’s Day. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The Gigantic Craft Show has come and gone. After all my hard work, I’m happy to say I made money. Not enough to retire, but enough to call it a success. Will I do the same show again next year? Most likely not. While it was successful, it wasn’t successful enough when you factor in the two “vacation” days I had to use up from work. I LOVE my vacation days too much to give those up again.

J’s mom has decided she isn’t participating in Christmas this year. No Christmas Tree, no decorations, no Christmas dinner. Bah humbug! There will be presents though – both given and received. Apparently she doesn’t despise Christmas enough to give up on the presents. I didn’t bother to ask why she is being so anti-holiday. Somethings are just better left unsaid.

Speaking of Bah Humbug, The Boy is currently between jobs at the moment. His current contract ended a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately, nothing else has come along. I realize no one is hiring right now given the time of year; however I’m hoping he finds something else and soon because his Christmas spirit hasn’t been shining all that brightly either.

We have our work luncheon and secret Santa gift exchange tomorrow. Oh goody. I love nothing more than spending extended awkward moments with co-workers during the holiday season.

So with that, I leave you with the best possible Christmas quote of all time…sums things up quite nicely I think.

“Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no! We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here! We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye! And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!"  – Clark Griswold

13 December, 2012

A Look Down Under...

As a follow up to my Bonaire - 2012 Photo Montage (and as requested by my other favorite redhead, Crazy Cris), here is a photo montage of some of the wonderful critters that live in the lushious reefs surrounding the island of Bonaire.  Of course, these shots are all courtesy of J.

Spotted Moray Eel

French Angel - Close Up

Hawksbill Turtle (we counted 8 on one dive alone)

French Angel at the Salt Pier

Another French Angel at the Salt Pier

Queen Angel

Brown Spotted Trigger (I Think)

05 December, 2012

Twas the Night Before...the BIG Day...

The BIG day is nearly upon us. No, not Christmas. That’s BIGGER than BIG, but the BIG day I’m talking about is the BIG craft show that I’ve been preparing for since… ummm, June. It starts tomorrow and I can hardly wait to get that beast behind me. I cannot even begin to explain how much I HATE – yes HATE making earrings… and necklaces… and bracelets. It used to be fun, but it’s turned to misery.

I have made no less than 117 pairs of earrings, 120 necklaces and 35 bracelets since June. I HATE it all right now. Seriously. I know HATE is a strong word, but if I see another bead roll across my floor I will lose my mind…again.

I think I’m prepared and I hope I have enough inventory; but in all honesty – I don’t care anymore. I just hope to sell it all. Then, all this misery and misspent time will have been well worth it.

For four loooong days, I’ll be immersed in the world of crafters and crafty hunters. Wish me luck and say a little prayer that my sanity remains intact.

04 December, 2012

Hold On, Here We Go Again…

By the time our early retirement plan comes to fruition, you will be either too dizzy or too confused to follow this blog.

Remember how I said, Ecuador would most likely be our retirement destination of choice and then we had a change of heart and thought perhaps Bonaire could work for us and then we were back to Ecuador and then I think when I last left you we were back in Bonaire mindset.

Well, after doing some pre-retirement homework while we were on island in Bonaire, reality has again kicked us in the pants. Guess what? We apparently are not made of money and once we quit our jobs, we will no longer have a bi-weekly income in which to support the lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to.

So while we could financially make Bonaire work short term, we aren’t convinced it could be sustainable long term. Housing is more than what we want to spend, groceries are on average 5-10% higher than they are here in Canada and the daily housing costs (hydro, propane, water) are significantly higher than Canada.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that the amount of money we leave Canada with will be what we have to live on until we become eligible for our provincial and federal government pensions. So, our cash will need to last a minimum of 10 to 15 years from our date of departure. We have some retirement savings set aside, but these are under secured plans and cannot be touched until age 70.

What does all this mean? It means that we’re back to researching Ecuador and other potential retirement destinations. Panama has now been tossed into the ring as a potential contender. Why Panama? Well, Panama has the climate we’re looking for, easy daily access to mainland North America, affordable housing and healthcare, reasonable residency requirements, mainland amenities in Panama City and it would give us the ability to scuba dive in either the Caribbean Sea or Pacific Ocean – both within a few hours’ drive. How awesome is that?

Like the choices before with Ecuador and Bonaire – we won’t know if Panama is truly right for us until we’ve gone to do some exploring, dipped our toes in the Sea or Ocean, left footprints in the sand and downed a few ice cold cervezas while watching the sunset.

03 December, 2012

Bonaire - 2012...Photo Montage

Artistic Photo by J

Gumby Enjoying the Sunset - Day 1

Love the Boat Name:  "Free at Last"

Lac Bay, Bonaire - Heaven on Earth

Gumby Enjoying the Salt Pier - Best Dive Site on Island

1,000 Steps Dive Site - Only 60+ Steps to the Bottom, 
Feels Like 1,000 with Dive Gear On

Gumby Enjoying A Couple of Cold Ones After a Hard Day of Diving - 
Polar, A Nice Import From Venezuela