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George Clooney and Buying a Home

Years ago I realized my dream wasn’t going to come true and I wasn’t marrying George Clooney. Being George’s wife would have made me happy but he married someone else. I was left to find other ways to be content.

I survived… and oddly enough, I’m happy.

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When I hear a local news report about how Vancouver real estate prices have become too high for most people I scream at the radio… “And I’m not Mrs. Clooney!”

Suck it up people… sometimes dreams don’t come true. Just because you want something doesn’t mean it will happen. Vancouver doesn’t owe you.

And guess what, owning a home doesn’t guarantee you will be happy.

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I know lots of people that own homes and are stuck in a job they hate because they need the money to pay their mortgage. Or they’re trapped in a relationship and can’t leave because they would have to downgrade their lifestyle.

No, owning a home does not equal happy. It might, but it might not. And are you prepared for that? Sink all your money into this one dream only to find out it isn’t the golden ticket.

Get over it.

I got over the George thing.

But I also got over the home ownership thing.

I left a high-paying stressful job for a career that I love. It doesn’t make me enough money to buy a home. I gave up trying to make relationships work and opted to live contently alone. A single income is not great when applying for a mortgage.

And that’s OK… I’m happy. Very happy.

Part of my happiness is because I live in the best place on earth. Vancouver.

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I was born here, lived a few other places and then came home.

A day in Vancouver is better than almost anywhere else.

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You can complain all you want about the high cost of living and the fact that you can’t buy a home. And I really hope they find a way to solve some of these issues. But this isn’t “breaking news”. And even a minor fix to the problem won’t help the “poor” people.

It would be nice if we all got what we wanted… but that’s not going to happen.

I’m never going to marry George Clooney.

And yet I’m still happy.

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Tartan Day Penguins

It was going to happen sooner or later. I can blame it all on Tartan Day but that would be a lie. For the second time in 153 weeks I didn’t post a blog on Wednesday. The last time this happened I was in the hospital.

This time I was so exhausted even a penguin couldn’t help me.

Yesterday, April 6th, was Tartan Day. For the last seven years I’ve been putting on some sort of event to mark the day. This year was no different except that this year may be my last.

I’m not an “events” person. People think I am, but they’re wrong.

Yesterday I joined up with Rob MacNeil and Nic Brand. I love these guys! Nic is the founder of Men In Kilts and let us use his tartan firetruck to drive around downtown Vancouver. Rob is the Cultural Committee Chair of the Scottish Cultural Centre and got us two pipers and a dancer to provide the entertainment. We made stops at many iconic Vancouver places, put on a mini show and in-between, drove around the main streets of downtown with the bagpipes going strong!!!

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Lots of fun but very crazy and a little hard to organize.

It’s “gorilla-style” with the premise that you do something and ask for permission later.

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A tad bit stressful for the person in charge.

Before we headed out I wanted to address the issue that I might lose my cool while we were on the road. (And when I say lose my cool I mean I could go insane and yell at everyone.)

So I gave this little speech to Rob, Nic, Roger Lye, Aiden Fowler, Alexandra Lye and the parents.

“We’re going out to have as much fun as we can, but I know that if I get stressed about something I can go a little crazy, get mad and totally crap out. It’s very ugly! So… if you see me start to get a bad face and get mean… I want you to immediately say a special word to me. And that word is PENGUIN! Then all I’ll think about are my favourite animals and the way they are so cute and how they walk funny and I will stop being mad. OK?”

I even tossed in my imitation of a penguin walking.

Everyone laughed.

The speech wasn’t for their benefit, it was for mine. It was a safety net in case the event went bad. In case I went bad.

But the day went well and no one said “penguin!”  The crowds smiled, took pictures, waved and realized it was indeed Tartan Day.

We only had trouble with two security people. Even those encounters ended well.

I got home after the fifteen hour day and wrote my blog. Then I accidentally deleted it. An exhausted, stupid move. I wrote another one and it was shit. I wrote a third one and can you believe this; my computer crashed and I lost it all.

I wanted to cry and scream and say I will never blog again.

Instead I said the magic word and went to bed.

Penguin.

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Tammy Moyer

She annoyed me at times… she was often a little too perky.

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My clock radio would come on at 5am and there she was. Cheerful and happy and no matter what the weather or circumstance, she would find a bright angle to focus on.

She joked around and made a chatty conversation with everyone that joined her in the morning.

I’ll admit that there were days I hit the “off” button because I was too tired to jump into her positive world. I wanted to close my eyes and fall back. I didn’t want to be pulled into her happy place.

She was part of my every day and now she’s gone.

Tammy Moyer, the morning anchor at radio station News1130, died this past Friday.

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When I found out I cried. And that surprised me.

What happened at the radio station in the following days also surprised me.

I’m not a big fan of those overblown public memorials where people bring little candles and teddy bears. It seems rather silly. Yes, people have to grieve, but is that the best way to do it?

There are better ways to let someone know how you feel.

Tammy’s friends and co-workers had to announce on the air what had happened.

And they did it with class and a nod to the professionals that they are.

Tanya Fletcher’s noticeable struggle to get through that first Monday morning broadcast. Jim Bennie’s voice cracking as he introduced the segment on Tammy and saying “Here it goes… I’ll try to get through this…” The few tasteful clips they played included a message from Tammy’s family.  Many of her colleagues commented through Twitter. Ben Wilson’s tweets made me cry again.

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Then guess what… the world continued on and big news stories had to be covered and reported on.  These people put their grief aside and did their jobs.

Tammy would have been proud. And no doubt Tammy already knew how much they loved her.

My policy is to tell people how I feel about them before they die. If I have a favourite singer, store clerk, writer or even politician, I write them a letter or card to let them know how I feel while they are alive.

I never wrote to Tammy. What would I have said?

“I think you are just too happy at 5am.”

Behind Closed Doors

I love my apartment building. We are our own little neighbourhood.

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It helps that we’re also in Kerrisdale, a perfect, throwback, mid-scale, little part of Vancouver.

You get to know your neighbours. People come and people go. Some, like me, have been here for years. We chat in the laundry room, parking lot and stairwells. At Christmas I invite most of the tenants to my open house.

Most of the tenants.

I will never invite the people that live right next door to me. And luckily, they never read my blog.

He looks like an upscale businessman. He’s not. She’s his mother. They’re always very polite when we pass in the hall. She speaks in a whisper.

A few times a month, behind their closed door, they scream at each other like two deranged banshees. Shrieks of accusations. Raging condemnations. It goes on for hours.

I can hear them from my bathroom.

So I know their little secret. They hate each other.

In this building we tend to look out for the people around us.

Jack lived on the second floor and was in a wheelchair. A friendly chap. Once when the fire alarm went off we all ended up in the lobby. It only took seconds for two men to turn and head back up the stairs to carry Jack down. It was a false alarm but from then on we put a system in place as to who would make sure Jack was OK in an emergency. I liked that we did that. It’s what your neighbours should do.

We also share books in the laundry room library.

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Someone has hung “paintings” in the carport.

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For a few weeks we had a lady living under the tree by the side of our building. It was well protected and she just “moved” in. Oddly enough we were all respectful of her space. When the weather turned, someone found her a better place to stay.

There’s a generous on-going dose of common courtesies.

People come and people go. Some people stay for years and years. Jack got sick and died.

We old-timers rate the newbie’s but we’re also quick to welcome them in.

Yelling neighbours, well they’ve taught me that you never really know what goes on in someone’s home when their door is closed… and locked.

We all have secrets. The way we act. What we think. Things that make us mad. Things that give us our greatest joy. And the people we choose to hate.

I swear I haven’t looked the mother or son straight in the eye since I heard the first yelling match.

I’m afraid they would know I know.

And how could I live with that?

Or worse… how could they.

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