i heart pamela dries

Where would I be without Pamela Dries-Smoley?  No where, that's where.

Years ago, when I was fighting for my economic life, I had several flurries with stock brokers , one of them  guilty of churning, and all of them (male) patronizing and uncaring about my welfare or future.  I got passed along several times and followed meekly, until finally it was too much paper work and I stayed with the last one I inherited, a young woman, as it turned out.  I was living up north by then, but I was in Toronto and she agreed to meet me and let me interview her (and her me), to see if we could be compatible.  Oh my, yes. I'm afraid to start the superlatives too soon. 

When she changed firms she came up north to see me in my cottage on the lake and brought me a birch-bark reindeer who stayed with me the rest of my time there plus an obscenely generous amount of fresh fruit (hard to get in the winter in Muskoka). I would have stayed with her, anyway.  

When I "retired" at the obligatory time for a RRIF to cut in (age 69 then, over 71 now, I think), Pam set up my RRIF account and has worked wonders with it.  Lo, 14 years later and I'm still drawing the same amount (the requisite 10%) from the account as when I launched it.  In other words, she has "self-administered" it so that I am getting a ten percent return on it.

When I first read about this "Around-the-World-in 180 Days" cruise, I called Pam and said if I could be guaranteed to die when I got home so that I wouldn't need any money left to live on, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Let me see what I can do, she said.  Several heartbeats later, I was in, I was on, and I spent the remaining year and a half or so, not cutting my hair, not buying new clothes, except for bathing suits, which I wear out, and being generally very frugal.  I paid my full fee in July, 2013 and started preparing  my body as If I were getting married, checking my teeth (expensive), eyes, bone density, blood, and so on, and getting all my shots.  

Well, you know the rest, I think.  The ship had a fatal fire in the engine room in December and went into dry dock for repairs, scheduled to last for 9 weeks.  So the first 79 days of the trip were cancelled, not postponed, cancelled.  Then we, the passengers, had to decide what to do, whether or not to reschedule our lives and funds and arrangements for a truncated cruise, starting in Singapore in March. I opted for carrying on with what was left of my trip of a lifetime, my bucket list. 

The refunds and new payments have been confusing and the Canadian dollar being what it is now, quite difficult. Again I called on Pam for clarification.  Well, not just clarification,  She is my watchdog, my duenna, my planner, my caregiver and she is so


How can I ever thank her?

Last year, when I had the grant to write in Stegner House for a month in Eastend, Saskatchewan, I had occasion to talk to Pam about my (puny) affairs, and I mentioned that I was pleased to find that the little gift shop with one set of shelves serving as a liquor store, carried my favourite wine (Heritage Park Road, Bloodstone, Shiraz, from Australia) which the LCBO in Toronto does not offer. Later in the day I attended a a knock at my door to find the owner of the gift shop standing there with a bottle of that wine and a bunch of flowers from Pam.  How she found it and him and managed to persuade him to deliver the gift to me, I don't knowl. She can work miracles.

Just so you know. WOW!  I heart Pamela Dries.