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...

Thursday, December 30, 2010


This is an absolute MUST SEE for everyone. There just aren't enough movies like this made anymore. The last one was Young Victoria, but The King's Speech is even better. It's a touching story of fear and courage, perseverance and love, duty and dread. Colin Firth has given the performance of a lifetime and deserves the Oscar, I don't care who he will be up against. Geoffry Rush is no less outstanding and I hope he gets the Oscar for Best Supporting Male. Helena Bonham Carter is the image of a young Queen Mother and gives an impeccable performance.

As I expected, it is a very moving story and I came close to tears at the end, but what surprised me was the humour in the movie and found myself laughing along with the rest of the audience many times.

Also fun for those of us who are die-hard Pride and Prejudice fans; Jennifer Ehl plays Myrtle Logue, Geoffry Rush's wife and David Bamber - the unforgettable Mr. Collins - has a small role as the unnamed Theater Director.

Go, go, GO to see this movie as soon as you can. It will be the best $12.50 you have spent in a long, long time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I am all packed up and text Ron to tell him I'd like to buy him lunch at Pinocchio's. He texts me back to say he is at the gym and will meet me there at 1:00.

I load up my rental car with my luggage and, with deep sadness, take one last look around the beautiful home and grounds that has been my home for the past eight days. As I open the gleaming wooden gate set into the adobe wall that surrounds the yard for one last time, I feel quite choked up and almost cry. I really do love this place.


I have lot's of time to kill so I drive to the coffee shop just down the street from the restaurant and order a hot chocolate so I can sit in the sunshine on the sidewalk and finish the book I brought with me. The people working in the coffee shop must be short on sleep or something because trying to get my order right, and then giving me back the money they overcharged me for the wrong drink is a comedy of errors. At one point the guy just looks at me and says, "so what do you want me to do for you?" I say, "you can give me the drink I actually ordered along with change you owe me?" He ends up bringing my change outside where I am sitting, a full 15 minutes after I sat down, along with a $5 gift card for their mistake. I won't be able to use it before it expires so I will give it to Ron at lunch.

I luxuriate in the warmth of the sun and try to memorize how I am feeling right now. I won't get to feel sunshine burning through my jeans like this for a long time to come, and certainly not while looking up at palm trees. Oh how I wish... LONG... to live in a place where palm trees wave in the warm breeze all year 'round. Why can't it just BE?

While eating curried chicken salad at lunch with Ron (the first meal I have really enjoyed since getting MSG poisoning on the 23rd) he suggests dropping me at the airport really early so that I can clear security and relax in the outdoor waiting area in the sunshine. Apparently there's lounging chairs and even a putting green. It sounds like a good idea but I know enough to suppose that there won't be anyone at the Allegiant Air desk to check me in and thus will spend hours sitting in the waiting area indoors until the ticket agents come on duty. Ron assures me this will not happen as he's flown out of there hundreds of times and has never had to wait. That may be so but I am betting two things; he never arrived four hours before his flight and that he wasn't flying with tiny Allegiant. But I say nothing as I am pretty sure he just wants me out of his 'hair' so that he can get back to a normal life with no Christmas company. After returning my rental car, Ron drops me off outside the terminal with my bags precisely four hours before my flight is due to depart. I walk inside and, as I suspected, there is no one at the desk. So I sit and wait. For two hours. As the sun sets and it gets very dark. So much for soaking up some last minute rays. Not exactly how I had thought it would go when I very cleverly booked a flight late in the day so I could enjoy a few last precious hours in Palm Springs.

My bags are overweight, again, so I pay $50 and ask for a receipt. The agent used his computer to take the payment but now he pulls out one of those heavy sliding things they used to use for credit cards way back before the computer age. He puts my card through it and writes $50 in the charge area. I protest that I don't want another charge and he claims this isn't one. Then why do I have to sign it? I protest more but he insists this is how they give a receipt. So I write in bold caps that 'THIS IS NOT A CHARGE - DO NOT PROCESS' and sign it. I have huge misgivings as I walk away. If I do get charged twice, I am going to be furious. It's bad enough having to pay extra for bags at all.

After an uneventful flight we land in Bellingham at 9:30 to wet roads and freezing cold air. This is the part of the trip I have been dreading; loading everything and me into this cold, cold, rattly old jeep and driving an hour and a half home. But the drive goes pretty fast and I am at the border in no time. To find an hour line-up. But when I finally make it to the booth, he only asks where I was and how long I was gone. I had been worried about having to pay duty on the two large bottles of Malibu Rum I got for $16 each at the Rite Aid. He didn't even ask.

BYE-BYE BEAUTIFUL PALM TREES AND BLUE SKY As sad as I truly am to leave, it's so much better than last year. Now I have a job to come home to and a somewhat stable life. I am very grateful!

Monday, December 27, 2010



I spent a very lazy day today. I went for brunch at Rosie's Diner on Palm Canyon Drive. If you're in Palm Springs looking for a good breakfast, don't waste your money there. Go to Pinocchio's instead. For about $2 more a plate you get far superior food and portions. And service.

After a leisurely breakfast and a stroll around town, I headed back to the beautiful home I am staying in and dragged a chair from under the porch out by the pool and stripped down to get a tan. And by stripped down I mean a sundress. It was gorgeously warm and I tried to read but soon dozed off. All in all I was out there for about three hours, just enough to get a faint tan line.

That evening, the faithful few (Matt 1 and 2 were gone back to their respective cities) met up at Johnny Costa's for dinner. By now I am just so done with eating. I feel all I have done is drink and eat since I got here and that along with the MSG that STILL hasn't left me, I have almost no appetite. I ordered a pizza and ate two of the very thin crust slices and was finished. I had wanted to share one with someone but those ordering a pizza wanted a whole one. So mine was boxed to take home.

The Duke and Duchess, Nelson and myself all leave tomorrow. So we head off as soon as dinner is over to go pack. It is with great sorrow that I say goodbye for the last time this visit to everyone but Ron. I will miss them all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


We all met up late at Pinocchio's for brunch. I was the 'last' to arrive until the couple from last night showed up really late, same as yesterday (they arrived after dinner was over and cleaned up). Our table for 11 was full so we all got up from our chairs and rearranged the tables to make more room. They sat beside me but Ron was across the table so, of course, they talked only to him. Did I mention that about last night? They only looked at the perceived 'important' people in the room when he droned on and on last night - namely Ron and Michael. The rest of us sitting there didn't exist, for them anyway.

After lunch, Ron's mom had to check out of her room at the Ingleside Inn and I wanted to see what the rooms were like so drove over there with Ron. The place is gorgeous in and out. I will have to stay there for at least one night on a trip down, just to say I did.


After Helen was checked out, we drove over to Ron's where she soon left to go back to LA with Janie, Ron's sister. We were all feeling quite lazy so we laid out on the deck and had a snooze. I dragged a lounge chair into the sunshine to try to get a tan and promptly fell asleep. Ron arranged some Malibu Rum bottles on a table beside me to make it look as if I had passed out drinking and then took several pictures. I woke while he was adding a glass to the table. As soon as I got my hands on his iPhone, I deleted all of the pictures as I looked hideous.

I went back to my room at Eric's parents to have a proper nap and when I awoke, had a text from Ron to meet him at Melvyn's at Ingleside. So I got dressed up a bit and headed over. It was jazz open mike and there was to be some really good music. I got there before Ron and so took one of the few seats open at the bar and waited. There was an old man of about 70 across from me who kept staring at me so I smiled at him. He quickly looked away. I am absolutely pathetic at flirting and so that was pretty much my best attempt. So much for that. Not that one is necessarily interested in 70 year old men, but it makes for good practice. Or not. As the case may be.

When Ron arrived, a small table came available so we sat right by the band. It honestly felt like I was in a movie. The small round table with a candle on it, the band right there, glamorous people all around, the ambiance of the room. Just fabulous.

After a couple of hours there, we drove over to meet up with the rest of the gang at a Mexican restaurant nearby. It was packed. A lovely couple asked if I wanted to sit at their bar table and wait, while Ron was in the line checking in. They were from Seattle and the older fellow owned a house in Palm Springs. The younger guy looked a lot like Ross Matthews (when he was thin) and he was so very charming. He chatted very freely with me and I really liked him a lot. He was someone I would love to have gotten to know better. Later in the evening, as they were ready to go, the younger fellow dropped by our table and invited everyone to party at their house on Wednesday evening. I was fed up that I wouldn't be in Palm Springs still to be able to go.

I didn't eat anything but a few chips and salsa at dinner; I was still full from brunch and that stupid MSG has still not passed completely through my system so I feel off color most of the time. Blerg.

Afterwards Ron, Matt 1 and Matt 2, and Nelson were all headed to a place called Toucan's where there's a drag queen show. I wasn't planning to go with them but I was informed that if I had never been to one, I needed to go as this was a very good one. So off I went. Suffice it to say; it was a whole new experience for me, I felt somewhat like a fish out of water, and there is photographic evidence of me that I have not been able to delete off of Ron's iPhone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


We weren't to be at Ron's until 11:00 so I tried to sleep in but really couldn't. I was itching to leave by 10:30 and still not feeling that great from the MSG I ate two days ago so I headed over to the Rite Aid for some Immodium. While I was there, I picked up two 1.75 liter bottles of Malibu Rum for $16 each. They would be over $50 each at home.

I arrived a little late, for once, and the gift opening commenced almost immediately. With a chocolate filled croissant in one hand, and a mimosa in the other, I took a seat with the sunshine warming my back and settled in for a good couple of hours.

I am always amazed at the fun gifts Ron always manages to find. He gave Matt a stuffed toy goat that sings 'Lonely Goatherd' from Sound of Music; coffin cufflinks to Micheal that actually open to reveal a vampire inside; Spiderman head cufflinks for Nelson; and Malibu Rum flip flops for me - to name a few. He gave me a set of pens that look like the ones businesses have their info on, only these are all very rude businesses. He said they would dissuade people asking to borrow my pens on set!

Michael gave me a bottle of one of my favourite perfumes, Mediterranean by Elizabeth Arden, and then I knew why my daughter had asked me what expensive perfume I was out of. I thought it was because they wanted to buy me some at the Duty Free on their trip to England and I told her not to spend her money, that I didn't need it. But now I have it again and am really pleased.

Once the gift opening was over, it was almost 3:00 and so I headed home for a long nap and then to get ready for the glamorous dinner Ron has catered each Christmas.

This year I arrived spot on time (not early like last year) but still got scolded for not showing up late. It really isn't in my DNA to be late, I told Ron; I can't help myself. I even tried to be late this time.

The guest list included some rather famous names; Chris Rice (Anne Rice's son) among them. There was also a well known director (who shall remain nameless) whom I found to be rather loud, dominating any conversation he was a part of and constantly lauding the gift of a cheese selection he and his girlfriend, who couldn't keep her hands or lips off of him, had brought to the party. They seemed to not understand why none of us were eating any of it - seemingly oblivious to the fact that they had arrived very late and we had all just eaten a rather large turkey dinner. It didn't help my opinion of them both when they plopped down on the floor of the living room, after just handing Ron a huge box wrapped up in Christmas paper and tied with a bow, exclaiming how much he would love the gift - how the store they got it from was full of things he would love - how they felt whatever they got him from there, they couldn't go wrong - and how much he would love the gift they did get (I say that twice on purpose because they must have said it fifteen times) BEFORE he even opened it. He talked on and on while Ron opened the gift, on and on after it was opened (I honestly can't recall what it was - maybe martini glasses?), and on and on the rest of the night. At one point, Ron's gaze met mine and we both started to laugh at the absurdity of it - and the fellow talked on and on totally oblivious.

Despite all of that, it was a lovely evening with Ron performing a fabulous magic trick where he guillotined a guests hand with no harm done, with another amazing Christmas Buffet by the wonderful chef, Paul Hietter, and with a very chic guest list, and lots of love and laughter.

THE Cheese

Friday, December 24, 2010


Christmas Eve was a quiet day. I did a bit of running about to get some last minute things. I had the hardest time finding pitted olives that aren't stuffed. I bought Ron the OLIVATOR so that he could make his own much loved blue cheese stuffed olives. I had the blue cheese but not the olives. I finally found them at Fresh and Easy, a grocery store.

I went to the huge outlet mall again this year and then remembered that I really didn't like it there. So I bought the same pretzels and dip that I bought last year for the Christmas Eve dinner, had a bit of a look around, and left. The reason I don't like that mall is that all of the stores are name brand only; Coach, Guess, Lacoste, Miss Sixty, etc. etc. and so nothing in any of them are made for a woman of my size, ulike the outlet mall in Tulalip has Lane Bryant and Dressbarn (terrible name but fabulous clothes). One thing I did find; I have always wanted a diamond tennis bracelet and so went into Zales to see if they really are discounted in an outlet mall. They seemed quite decently priced, with a 40% sale price. Then I found one that was 5 carats, regularly $7,000 for $2,000. And if I wanted it the sales girl was ready to strike an even better deal with me. Of course I didn't buy it, but I left it behind rather reluctantly.

We were to be at Ron's at 8:30 for his traditional pasta dinner and so I had a nap before getting ready and arriving on time. It was a really relaxed and fun evening and I managed to persuade Ron to perform a few magic tricks. He's really, really good! Later in the evening his mother gave him the gift of a large manilla envelope stuffed with clippings from newspapers, performance bills, and other memorabilia from his decade of magic shows in the 90's. Turns out, he was Ontario's most famous magician!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Today was the annual December 23 road trip into The Grove in Los Angeles.

Ron was late, a repeat of last year only not quite as late this time. I was ready to go spot on time, as usual, so took a stroll around the neighbourhood where I am staying and took some photos.

While strolling, Ron called and suggested that I drive Ada and myself over to his place as the rental car was just now available and so by the time I got there, he would just need a few moments to get ready and we could leave. That made me suspicious. Why wouldn't he be 'ready' if he was out getting the car? When we arrived I saw that he was in his baggy gym shorts. Which I deduced meant that the rental car was not so much late as he was late picking it up because he was at the gym. I think he's addicted to that place. I did not give voice to either of my suspicions as he toddled off to take a shower and I settled on the patio outside to soak up some rays and enjoy the company.

Once Ron was finally ready to go, the boyfriend was AWOL. Ron made a call and found out he had gone to his shop to deal with an order that had to be UPS'd out. So we waited another half hour or so for him to return. All said and done, our targeted departure time of "9:45 and I promise you we won't be late" ended up "11:40 and why are you in such a hurry to get going anyway?"

The traffic most all the way in was quite heavy and once in LA it was stupid heavy. That delayed us further and when we finally had the car valet parked at The Grove it was going on 4:00. We had also stopped at Ron's sister's on the way to pick up his very sweet mom. This was my first time meeting her and she is just lovely.

Once we were finally let loose from the car, we headed straight to the same Italian restaurant as last year and got a table out on the patio. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and then split up to go shopping. Ron and I went off together so that he could help me with two gifts I needed to purchase, then we met up with everyone and went into the Farmers Market. While in there I was hit with violent cramps and I instantly knew that the French Onion Soup I had eaten at lunch must have contained MSG. It resulted in a miserable two hours for me where I ended up with the rest of our group, now including the Duke and Duchess, at the Whisper Lounge sipping on ginger ale and bitters. Two of those and a few trips to the ladies room, and an hour or so later I was feeling moderately improved. We headed out to Musso and Franks and on the drive over suddenly felt back to normal, where I wanted nothing more than a baked potato with all the trimmings. When it arrived they had whipped all of the trimmings and the potato together and scooped it back into the skin. It was, without question, the best baked potato I have ever had in my life.

Before we left for Palm Springs I popped into a gaudy souvenir (I always have to look that word up to spell it) shop and picked up a few slate themed items - a key chain, a mug, a magnet and a picture frame. What I really wanted was the beach towel I spied there last year but they were all out.

Another fabulous day, MSG notwithstanding.

Because I can't add captions that sit where they're supposed to, here's what you're looking at from L-R: 1)Ron driving the minivan to Los Angeles 2)Matt and Nelson in the back seat 3)The Warner Brothers Lot 4)The Magic Castle, a private club for magicians - Ron is a member 5)Eric, Ron, and Ron's mother Ada 6)Matt, Nelson and Eric's mother Ada 7)The lights just turned on all over The Grove 8)Ron and Mom walk under the lights 9)More lights 10)Ron and Me 11)Musso and Franks
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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