I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I have a bite of breakfast with Ada and Bob and their niece, the older one. Everyone else has gone home. I head over to Ron's at about ten and when I get there, everyone is just lounging about except for Nelson, who is in the kitchen, and Ron who is sweeping up more broken glass from under the bar. Jane is the suspect. I go help Nelson wash and dry the glasses from the party and then empty the dishwasher. That done, I go sit in the living room with Matt and Michael and they are talking about the party. Apparently this is the morning-after tradition. Matt and Michael deconstruct the entire evening and talk about all the little juicy bits. They are deep into it. But then Michael stands up and says to Matt, "Come with me." and they leave for the guest bedroom and close the door. I feel awkward. Obviously they didn't want to talk in front of me so my being here has driven them away. Ron comes into the living room and I say as much to him.

"Nonsense." he says. "Don't feel bad at all. They do this every year, they are like two old women. They love it and they're having a marvelous time in there." He hands me a book about Palm Springs and tells me to relax by the fire and asks if I want a cup of tea. I do but get up to make it myself. I don't want him to feel he has to serve me and keep treating me like a guest. I like feeling like family, and he has told me that is what I am.

So with a cup of tea and an interesting book, I sit in the chair by the fire, the Eames chair that was once owned by Greta Garbo, and put my feet up on the matching footstool. Life is good here in Palm Springs.

Soon Geb arrives and we sit on the couch facing the kitchen and the boys, finished with their gossip session, come and join us. We talk some more about the party. Geb pipes up with "So I have to say that Sandra here wins the award for the best cleavage of the night." All the guys enthusiastically agree. I am embarrassed but laugh it off. "I walked into the house," Geb says, "looked over at the bar and saw a woman sitting there in this gorgeous dress and thought 'who is that beautiful woman?' then I realized, 'it's Sandra!' I was so surprised." The other men make some comments on how great they thought I looked and I tell them what the actor said when he saw me and my reply. They laugh. I tell them I had second thoughts about wearing the dress without a camisole and they protest that I made the right decision. I love these guys!!

Everyone is ready to go out for brunch. I ask if they would prefer to go alone as men, because if they would I am happy to do something else but they scoff at that and insist I come along. So we head over to Azul's for their (apparently fabulous) brunch. We get seated and settled in and then discover that the brunch is served on Sundays only. They just have a lunch menu available as it is after noon. Everyone wants breakfast so up we get and back into our cars to head over to Pinocchio, as they serve breakfast all day.

Once settled in there, we pour over the extensive menu and drinks are ordered. I don't know what I want to drink until I decide what I am eating. I say as much and Michael, who is sitting beside me, says he is the same. I decide on Eggs Benedict and they come with a side of fried potato cubes. I am starving! Matt orders a huge Margarita and as he sips it, Ron and I eye it enviously. So we each order one, even though that isn't something I would normally have for breakfast. When they come and I taste it, it is STRONG. I don't like Tequila but I seem to always forget that is what they are made with. I haven't had many Margaritas in my life, but enough to know by now that they're not my favourte thing to drink. However this drink is so huge that the more I drink it the better it tastes, so it's all good. And the eggs and side of potatoes are delicious. We eat and laugh and have a great time. My mind keeps straying to the fact that this is my last day here and tomorrow this time I will be on the plane home. But I push the thought away and concentrate on the here and now. Tomorrow will come soon enough.

Once breakfast is over, we head into the street and just up at the end of the block is a bronze statue of Lucille Ball sitting on a bench. I get my photo taken with her. The guys have decided that they want to go look at some retro furniture stores so we agree to meet them at a particular one. But first, Ron wants to make a stop and so by the time we are ready to go meet them, a phone call confirms they aren't there anymore. They have moved on to a different place so we head over there.

It's a huge second-hand furniture place spread out over three or four buildings. Ron turns his nose up at the place, saying it's mostly junk but when we get in there it's anything but. The place is packed with retro stuff from the sixties; huge sectionals that you only see in magazine spreads about Hollywood homes; loads of patio furniture, a whole section of it in ornate white painted wrought iron, which I love. I see four white Shabby Chic style French Provincial dining chairs for four hundred dollars. Those would be four hundred a piece at home. I covet them. I don't have any dining chairs since I let Ashleigh have most of my furniture. But I don't have a dining table either so the chairs wouldn't be much use at this point. But if I lived here and was furnishing a place, I'd have a field day in this shop.

After half an hour or so of wandering about, we finally find a couple of the guys but Ron is done with the place. Although he did spy a lounge chair that he thought would look perfect on his pool deck. It was a big circle woven in exactly the same material and same color his other furniture is in, with a fat white cushion on the bottom where there was just enough room to lie down. I try to talk him into buying it but he balks a little at the eight hundred dollar price tag and says in a couple of weeks it will be marked down. I don't think it will last that long.

We drive back to Ron's and lounge about for the rest of the afternoon. I leave at about five to go home and get a head start on packing. The guys are all lethargic after a big brunch and a busy week and are heading off for naps so it's a prefect time to leave.

We are going to meet at eight at a restaurant called Johnny Costa for dinner and then we will go to the Ingleside Inn to have drinks at the famed Melvyn's. I can't wait! Ron drove me through the grounds earlier in the week and told me that it is where all the old Hollywood stars used to come and play. There are small bungalows lining the drive that look so familiar to me, I am sure I have seen photos of this place in books I have read. The restaurant and bar has seen a lot of celebrities through it's doors and I am excited to go there tonight.

I get my packing done in short order, everything (except for the string of lights - I leave them behind in the closet) fits fine in my suitcase as I packed pretty light, so decide to take a nap. I am still suffering from missing a nights sleep earlier in the week and it's been a busy few days. I wake up with just enough time to get ready and set off for the restaurant. Ron gave me directions but I punch the destination into the GPS for safety. I end up getting lost as the GPS had me turn way too soon. So I get back to where I know where I am and follow Ron's directions instead and arrive just fine. Only, when I pull up to the curb, I realize I am an hour early. Our reservation is for eight not seven. I am bang on time for seven. I ponder going in and sitting at the bar to wait but decide to just wait in the car. The hour seems to drag by but eventually I see Jane and Scott arrive. I wait until I see Geb and Matt walk up to the door before I get out of the car and join them in the bar.

Soon everyone is there but the party sitting at our tables are lingering and so we don't get seated until close to nine. There's a dozen of us here but Paul isn't among the number. I had asked the guys if he was invited and they said he was. I guess he had something else to do. I find out later that he never got the invite as one thought the other had called him and no one called. Such a shame. I bet he would have loved to be here and I would have loved to see him again before I leave.

When we are being seated, Shaw takes my jacket and scarf, folds them neatly, and places them on a spare chair in the corner after pulling out my chair for me. I am impressed by what a gentleman he is. I say as much and say to Ron that I am being royally spoiled. Ron leaves to visit the mens room and when he returns he says to me, "You know, I was thinking about what you said about being spoiled. You've said that a few times over the past week. This is not being spoiled. This is how gentlemen treat a lady who is gracious and charming such as yourself. You should be treated like this all of the time and the men up in Canada are gits and need to be taught a lesson or two on how to treat a lady. You deserve nothing less, my dear." I have to say that I am having a hard time not letting all of the compliments I have received over the past week from this stellar group of gentlemen get to my head. I can honestly say I have never been treated so well, felt so cared for, or felt so adored. They definitely could teach heterosexual men a thing or two about dressing well, being perfect gentlemen, and making a woman feel fabulous.

It's going to be very hard to leave tomorrow.

I order the Chicken Alfredo with a Ceasar salad. The salad, when it comes, is huge and I can't eat half of it. And I only eat half of the entree. My appetite has really shrunk this past year. I should weigh a fraction of what I do for the amount I eat.

After a couple of hours over dinner, we head over to Melvyn's. Eric wants to come with me so I won't get lost, even though it's just a block over. I protest that it isn't necessary but he insists that I not go alone. So we get into my car and drive over. We all arrive at the same time and when we go inside, I am dazzled. The place is right out of a movie. I am sure it hasn't changed in decades and it has the genuine feel of old Hollywood. The Maitre'D is fabulous; he looks like he's been here for eons. He knows Ron by name and seats us at several small tables grouped at the back of the bar. We are right by the entertainment, a man of some vintage playing the piano and singing old hits from the Rat Pack days. He's really good. And there are couples dancing on the small dance floor. One couple, who look to be in their sixties, are dressed to the nines; she is in a red satin corset trimmed with black lace and a flowing black skirt, he is in a matching red tie, white shirt and black pants. They are obviously having the time of their lives. It's so fun to watch.

Ron has left the table for a bit and when he returns, he hands me a book, Palm Springs a la Carte, written by the owner of this place. It's the story of how he came to own it and the running of it for the past thirty or forty years. I thank him and he tells me that, were Mel here, he would have autographed it for me but he left just before we arrived. I would have loved to meet him. I page through the book and it has photos and I can't wait to read it. I will read it on the flight home.

A couple join us, two men, and the older one I feel I have seen or met before. It turns out I haven't but he's a well known Hollywood producer. He knows Ron as he produced a movie Ron directed in Toronto last year. I must have seen his photo somewhere or maybe seen him on a DVD talking about the movie in those extras I always watch. We are introduced and he seems surprised that I am a script supervisor. I don't think many of us get invited to places like this. I feel very privileged to be here and am not taking it for granted one single bit. As I sit here for the next hour, the music is too loud for conversation, so I bask in the feel of old Hollywood and the glamour that I am surrounded by. I try to commit it all to memory so that it will carry me through what I am facing when I get home.

This has truly been one of the best weeks of my life and has left me feeling as though, no matter what is ahead of me in the next month or so, I have this to not only recall and dwell on, but to come back to whenever I want to. Bob and Ada have already told me that I am welcome to come back and stay with them anytime. I told them not to say it unless they meant it because there would be nothing I would love more. They insisted that they would love to have me stay with them anytime I wanted to come back. And so I will be back. I just have to come back.

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