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...

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I got an email from the manager of transport for Cypress Mountain.  Apparently he is still under the impression I am working up there.   Included in the email is my schedule for working on the mountain for the next three weeks.  I send a reply telling him I am not working on the mountain anymore.  Then I take a good look at the schedule.  Krikey!  He has me down for seven - twelve hour days in a row, one day off, and then eight days.  But that's not what has me shaking my head - I do work in film after all so that's not such a big deal.  A couple of times he has me working from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm and then starting the next day at 6am.  What??  Is he kidding?  Another sheet tells me to allow an hour to get from downtown Vancouver to Cypress on the buses provided.  And it's a 20 minute walk from the drop off to where I will be working.  And I am to show up for work 20 minutes early.  So that's an hour and forty minutes already and I haven't accounted for the drive into Vancouver.  Add an hour and a half for that, at least.  So that means three hours and ten minutes to get to work.  Say two hours to get home, and that's being conservative.   That leaves me three and a bit hours to sleep and get ready to go back - so basically two hours sleep, as I would need time to shower etc. and make and eat breakfast as they said today that we should arrive with a full tummy (and well rested?!?).  Really?  Has this guy ever heard of the term 'turn around'?  Or don't labour laws apply to the Olympics.  And if not, is it really a good idea to expect someone who is working around really big moving vehicles all day to be safe with that little sleep?

I can't TELL you how glad I am to not be working on that mountain.

I went out last night into Vancouver to go hear Prairie Dance Club with a friend from film.  They are such a good band.  I really hope that the right person hears them soon and gets them the exposure they need to become as famous as they deserve to be.

I don't get home and into bed until around 1 a.m. and the alarm is set for 7:45.  I have to be out of the door by 9 to be at training by 10.

I leave right on time and it takes me about 40 minutes to get to BCIT.  It takes me another 10 to figure out where on the huge campus I am supposed to be.  I finally spot a couple of security guys and they point me in the right direction.

When I get parked, and follow some people, I end up in a portable construction trailer that is empty of any furnishings but has about 40 people inside.  Apparently the desks, equipment, and a couple of large screen TV's will show up in a day or two.

People arrive late throughout the first hour of this training session.  How is that okay?  It doesn't bode well, I think, for them arriving on time for work.

We stand for the next two hours as a woman goes over what exactly happens at this location.  There are two separate areas; one for Whistler Olympic Park and the other for Whistler Sliding Center.  I have no idea yet which area I will be working at or exactly what I will be doing.  At each area there are three separate teams.  One is parking.  They will direct people coming to catch the buses as to where to park.  The other two teams are in charge of the buses.  One team, called the 'Staging Crew' will work with the buses lined up waiting for their turn to move ahead to the loading area staffed by the 'Spectator Systems Crew' - the third team.  On the giant accreditation placard I am wearing around my neck, it says I am a 'Staging Supervisor'.  The email I received to tell me to show up for training today said I am a 'Spectator Systems Supervisor'.  So who knows.

All I know is, by the time I have stood for two hours listening to the instructions from the parking manager, half of which don't apply to those of us with the buses, then walk around the parking lot in the drizzling rain for another hour to where the Sliding Center area is, and back again, and then listen to the manager for us bus bunch talk for another half an hour (out in the elements) about what parts we should ignore from earlier and, instead, what we need to know - I am feeling a bit underwhelmed.

When the agency informed me that the job I was initially hired for, RA Supervisor, was no longer being staffed by them and that I would be working at a 'Staging Area', I had some questions.  Namely, what would my job description be?  I was told that I would be overseeing a crew and mostly be doing scheduling and be responsible for keeping their spirits up.  Not exactly accurate information.  Scheduling is being done by the agency.   I am outside the whole 12 hours of my shift, working alongside the crew.  There's a long list I was given as to what my responsibilities are (if I end up being a 'Staging Supervisor').  None of it says 'keep up the spirits of the crew'.  Rather it says stuff like: sign out equipment; check in drivers that have to go directly to staging area - complete drivers log with name, bus number, mobile number, spot time and start time;  confirm assigned bus route with driver; brief driver of competition schedule, peak population movements, special movements, and possible break window; make sure route signs are properly placed in bus windows; communicate via walkie with System Supervisor to advance buses from staging to loading areas.   And this puzzling missive: Help coordinate Driver Seat Slide when it occurs in staging area.  Alrighty then.

If I work on the staging side of things, I will start my shift at 4 am, which is great because I will miss rush hour going in.  If I work on the loading side, I will start at 6 am which isn't so great because rush hour will have just started when I leave the house.  Or I will leave later in the day (better) for the unloading stage of the day - when everyone gets back from Whistler tired and cranky and can't find their car.   It's all a big mystery at this point as to what exactly I will be doing but I could be starting to do it as early as Thursday because we also bus staff up to the venues and they start going up this week to start their training.

I learned that I should have been at a classroom session that dealt with how to do most of my job, but I never got that memo from the agency so not only did I miss out on a whole bunch of important stuff I should know, I missed out on getting paid for it as well.  Speaking of which....

I was told that my rate would be $15 an hour as a supervisor, with one dollar of that being held back until I completed the contract.  If I was a manager (this is back when I thought I would be the RA Supervisor or Manage the Supervisors) it would be one dollar more.  Now I am informed that my rate is $12.44 an hour.  HUH?  Can they do that? 

And they told me that I would be working for two months, through the Paralympics.  Well that's not true.  I was told today that this 'Staging Area' is only operating for the Olympics and after February 28th, I am out of a job.

I am beginning to think that the people at the agency are all either super incompetent or way out of their league here.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I manage to get through all of the sorting and packing and take the last load of boxes up to my friends to store in her crawlspace. My landlord loads them into my van and then goes with me to unload them at the other end. There is no way I can pick up anything more than a couple of pounds in weight. My back is really dodgy.

Moving day arrives and I get up early and put my sheets in the wash. Then I set about packing up the rest of my bedding into big Rubbermaid containers. I pack the last of the bathroom stuff into a small suitcase. I carry a couple of lighter things out to my van and when I come around the corner back to my door, the young fellow who is going to help me move today is there. We introduce ourselves. He is alone. I ask him if he has help and he says yes, that his father-in-law is supposed to be here with the truck but he can't get an answer when he calls home. I don't know where he has come from but apparently not home. He tries calling again and leaves another message. We decide to load up all the stuff I am taking with me to my new place into my van while we wait. He gets stuck in. He's a really nice guy and we get along great, chatting away about all sorts of stuff.

An hour or so later he calls again and finally gets his wife. Soon his father-in-law arrives and they load my mattress and a couple of small pieces of furniture that is coming with me into the truck. We head over to Fort Langley to where I will be living and we unload everything. My friend thought we were coming in the afternoon and it's just after ten so she is scrambling to get painting stuff out of my bedroom. She spent the last two days painting it a pretty blue to cover up the dark green walls with the graffiti that her daughter had 'decorated' the room with.

We head back to the house, and the young guy tells me they have to go back to his place, for some reason. They take one load of the stuff I plan to garage sale to the barn and then leave saying they will be back in half an hour. I potter about, cleaning the place and putting my box-spring into a large mattress bag for storing. An hour or more goes by and they aren't back. I pop out to throw away some garbage and run into my landlady with another woman. This is the wife of the young guy who is helping me move. She has come to do some cleaning before they move their things in. I decide to go get some lunch as I am really hungry, having had nothing to eat so far today.

When I get back she is still cleaning and we get to chatting. She says her husband really likes me and that I remind him of a friend of theirs. We talk about what it's like living here; she wants to know if the road is noisy (yep) and where I put stuff in the kitchen. I tell her and she likes my way of organizing things so plans to copy it.

Time is going by, the guys are not returning and I am anxious to get to my new place and unpack, get my bed made, and settle in. I decide to leave. All that's left to move is the stuff in the little storage shed, a bookshelf, and my bed and dresser. Just as I am leaving, they arrive. I ask if he minds if I go, as there isn't much for me to do and he says he's fine with it. He tells me that, if my bookcase is for sale, he would like to buy it. I tell him it is. That means both big items are gone now as I wrote to the woman who came to see the red bookcase and told her she could have it for $130. Her husband came and got it last night.

I head back to my new place. It doesn't take too long to get my clothes unpacked and my bed made up. My friend pops her head in after an hour or so and is shocked to see how settled in I am already.

I put my mattress on top of the boxspring and mattress already in the room as I don't want to store it in the barn again. It got very damp when it was stored there over the spring and summer and I am afraid of it getting ruined. When I climb into bed, exhausted at the end of the day, I sink deep into the mattress. I guess the support the boxspring normally gives it is not there and that's why it's so soft. But it feels great and I sleep like a log.

It's now Friday and I just got back from a 'Mom's' group meeting. It was a nice way to spend the morning and as I sit here, I am where I couldn't wait to be a few days ago. It's over. The move is done. My stuff is sorted. I can relax for a few months without worrying about where to live. I can stay here at least until the beginning of August if I want to. Maybe longer. Maybe shorter if I decide to sail the Caribbean. I am seriously thinking about it.

But meanwhile, I got a call today from the agency. I am off the mountain and have been assigned to the Staging Area at BCIT, a local college in Burnaby.  There is no staging area in Surrey.  The woman who told me that didn't know what she was talking about.  And I go for my training, finally, on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I was moving out on Sunday, the 31st. Now I have to move out tomorrow.

There's a knock on my door. I answer and it's my 'land lady'. It seems strange to call her that as I have been friends with her husband for ten years. She is his second wife; they got married 3 years or so ago. I hadn't seen much of him since then until I moved into this suite. I don't know her all that well as I have spent almost no time with them socially. She's really nice though and I like her.

She's in a panic. She came over a couple of days ago to see if I could move out early as the people moving in wanted to have their little daughter's birthday party here on Saturday. I wasn't keen but said I would see. If my daughter was able to come over and help me pack on the weekend, then perhaps I could manage it. Turns out Ashleigh wasn't able to so I called to let her know I wouldn't be able to do it. I didn't like the feeling of pressure and panic it gave me, all for a birthday party, so it was just as well.

Now she tells me that she had it wrong. It wasn't for a birthday party. It was because if they can't move in by Friday, then they won't be able to move in until the 15th and that means they will lose half a month's rent and they can't afford that loss. I am not happy to hear this because immediately I feel pressured. She tells me that the family really want to move in and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. They will come over with their truck on Thursday to move my stuff wherever it needs to go. The woman will even come over and help me to pack up the rest of the stuff. I don't have to clean the place. Whatever it takes.

I really feel like this is not my problem. It's within my right to stay until when I paid for - the end of the month. No reduction or refund is being offered to me. So that means I paid rent (and utilities!) for 5 days on the front that I didn't get and now for another 3 on the end. But there is a long standing friendship here so I say I will do it. When she leaves I feel totally overwhelmed.

I get stuck in to serious packing, by myself. I don't really want someone I don't know packing for me. It's mostly just the kitchen and my bedroom (clothing) left to do. All the kitchen stuff will go to my friend’s crawl space for storage. The stuff in the bedroom comes with me. All day I pack boxes and stack them in the spare room. By the end of the day, my back is feeling like it might go out. The next morning, it is feeling worse. The first box I pick up, I feel the familiar sickening twinge that signals a trip to the emergency room is imminent. I have to stop. If I pick up one more thing, or twist a wrong way, I will be totally incapacitated. It is the worst timing. But to be expected. I shouldn't be lifting heavy boxes at all anymore. This was all supposed to happen on the weekend when I had help coming.

I spend the rest of the day in my living room chair, totally frustrated. There's still so much to do. Around dinner time I feel my back is stable enough to go through the bathroom cupboards and toss out a lot of stuff I don't use anymore.

As much stuff as I have gotten rid of in the past year, I feel as though I still have way too much. Not furniture. I barely have any of that anymore and, should I have to set up house again, I am going to be living like a college student. More like clothing, makeup, toiletries, jewelry, shoes.... just way too much stuff. Yet now, when I look in the closet for something to wear out somewhere other than work, I feel like I have very little to choose from. It's a weird dichotomy.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Get a call from the agency that hired me for the Olympics.

"Hi.  Sorry I am calling you on a Sunday evening but we just wanted to let you know that you have been security cleared for the games and you can go pick up your accreditation and uniform."


"Ummm.  I did that already.  On Friday."

"Oh!  You did?"

"Yes. But while I have you...."

I explain the situation with the clearance to work only on Cypress Mountain.  She tells me that she will talk to Gavin, the guy who hired me, and they will try to work out another area for me to work in.  I tell her that I live in Langley so somewhere either closest by or on the SkyTrain route would be the best and she tells me that there is a staging area in Surrey.  FANTASTIC!!  I tell her I would love that and she tells me to expect a call tomorrow about it.

So now I wait.

And pack.  I am moving on Sunday.  My landlord came over and asked if I could possibly move on Thursday as the people moving in want to have their daughter's birthday party on Saturday.  Panic.  I told her I would see what I could do.  If I got some help packing over the weekend, and if she could find people to move my stuff back into the shed, then I could probably make that work.  But I didn't get any help over the weekend so Sunday it is. 

I am so sick of moving, I can't even tell you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What Part of "I DON'T WANT TO WORK ON A MOUNTAIN" Did You Not Understand?

Last night I had a read through the hand-book for the games before I went to bed. It has a diagram of the HUGE ID tag I have to wear and a key to all the symbols on it. I don't have many symbols on mine. Not the knife and fork one that I assume means one gets free meals (couldn't find the key for that one but saw it on the sample pictured). Not the one that in no way looks like it means one gets to carpool, but that's what it means. Just one really. A cryptic trio of letters; CYM. I look it up and discover, with horror, that it stands for Cypress Mountain. Oh no. Not there.

When I was hired it was for the job of Resident Assistant Supervisor, where I would get to drive around in a brand new Olympic vehicle with heating that worked and pop in and out of nice downtown hotels all day. Then when VANOC went ahead and did something they had paid an agency a lot of money to do, namely hire their own RA Supervisors, I got reassigned to Staging Area Supervisor. Staging Area is a nice way of saying Bus Stop. It's places at venues and various spots scattered about where athletes and spectators can board the big tour buses to take them where cars won't be allowed to go for the duration of the games.

Not only are there many venues all over Vancouver and Richmond where events take place, there are (who knows how many) pick-up and drop-off points all over the city (and maybe the outskirts - I don't know yet as I STILL haven't had any training). So with possibly 20 or so places to pick from, I get Cypress Bowl? In the interview I was quite clear. I don't want to work at Whistler. I don't like cold and snow. I don't want to work at any mountain venues. Yet the only area I have clearance for is Cypress Bowl. My grandfather had a saying he used a lot: If there's a dinner short, I get it.

I am supposed to do a lot of paperwork for this job, I think. Scheduling, reports, that sort of thing. So I am thinking there must be a trailer or some sort of indoor spot at each 'Staging Area' to do this. But I don't know that for sure. It may be my car. Judging by the thickness of the pants I got yesterday, they expect I will be out in the cold a lot. Twelve hours a day outside, up Cypress Bowl (where I have shot several movies so know VERY well how freezing cold it gets up there this time of year) is NOT what I signed up for. Actually, and this may be at the root of my total aversion to working up there, on one show I was working at night at the top of Cypress on second unit and when my hours were done, the main unit still had a couple of hours to go. I handed in my paperwork and took a shuttle from set to the parking lot. There were over two hundred cars in the huge lot, due to two full crews on a very big show. When the shuttle drove away, I was left in complete darkness to try to find my car. I walked up and down the rows for twenty minutes in the freezing cold, squinting into the darkness and could not locate it. I started to panic. I didn't know if another shuttle was coming back, because I am often one of the last people to leave, and the main unit wouldn't be arriving for hours. To my great relief, another shuttle finally arrived and I ran to it before she could drive off, climbed in the front seat and told her she wasn't leaving until we found my car. It took another five or ten minutes of driving up and down before I spotted it. The next day I went to Canadian Tire and bought a nifty flashlight that charges by plugging into the lighter socket and has a setting where it flashes on and off so brightly, it lights up the entire inside of my car like a lighthouse. It never leaves the socket and I always turn it on once I am parked whenever I have to work nights. I haven't had any trouble finding my car in the dark since.

Anyway, an email has been composed and sent to the consultant at the agency who hired me. Summed up? Get me off of mountain duty. Please.

Oh - and THIS is the difference when you take a photo from a higher angle. If I get to have it redone to clear me for a new area I won't open my eyes until they slide that camera higher up the pole!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Here's a trailer for a movie I worked on... I blogged about it back in October.

Got an email yesterday telling me to be at the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) grounds between noon and one to get my official ID and wardrobe for the Olympics.

I set off at around eleven, after making sure my hair and makeup look good. Don't want to have an ID photo that 'looks like you've been in a bar brawl' as my dear friend said when she saw my passport photo.

I am not sure where to park, I don't really want to park across the street in the huge lots usually full to the brim when the PNE is open in the summer. So instead I cheekily pull onto the grounds themselves and park in a small lot that has a few cars in it, some with the Olympic decals on the sides. Should be fine to park here.

I am not sure which of the many huge buildings on this end of the grounds is the Forum Building and as I am walking along wondering how long and how far it will be before I find it, someone comes out of a doorway nearby. "Scuse me." I call out, "Do you happen to know where the Forum Building is?" She points the way and it's the big one right in front of me.

I go around to the front door and am greeted by a fellow who holds the door open for me. Inside there's another fellow, this one decked out in the blue fleece of the games (wonder if I will get one of those vests?) and he asks if I am a volunteer. I say no and he directs me to the left. What follows is a very well thought out process of working my way through various stations: checking in, getting my photo taken (it looks hideous - I TOLD him to take it from higher up but did he listen?), getting my laminated and HUGE ID tag to wear and which will also get me on all transit for free for the next two and a half months, then to the wardrobe area where I try on samples for size, then to collect my eight items. Once that is done I go through the final checkpoint where all my items are scanned, just like at a store but only I don't have to pay at the end. It seems the touque did not make it into my bag (even though I saw him take one off the shelf) so the guy goes back and gets me one.

All in all, it takes about an hour and when I get back to my van I pull everything out and have a good look at it. Each clothing item is of the highest quality fabrics and workmanship. There are two pullover shirts made out of a soft cotton fabric that has an almost fleecy feel to the inside. One is plain blue, the other has a faint pattern on it. There's the fleece vest I saw earlier; a pair of warm ski pants that have about a zillion pockets and are thick with a soft filling (they will do nothing for the figure); there's a fabulous Gore-Tex jacket that zips up on an angle so that you don't catch your neck in the top last bit of zip (so I caught my hair in it instead when I tried on the sample inside); and the touque. There's a 'welcome kit' that contains a souvenir hand-book, a bunch of postcards, a bottle of Cold FX, a Cold FX Olympic pin, a pack of 2 pieces of Excel Gum (cheap'os), a stainless steel travel mug (OH YAY!!! I have been looking at them ever since I lost mine on the plane back from Florida but didn't want to pay the twenty dollars for a good one that wouldn't leak - this one's a good one), a card to swipe at Petro Canada gas stations for five cents off of 200 liters of gas, another card that gives me $1000 towards a new GM vehicle (as if), and a coupon for 15% off of a day of shopping at The Bay. All of it is in a lovely big dark blue carry bag. It's a lot of very expensive stuff. I am guessing about five hundred dollars worth (just found out it's actually eight hundred dollars worth!). I am not going to tell them that I feel like this is enough payment for a few weeks of work. If they want to give me an hourly wage on top of this, who am I to argue?

I tuck it all back in the bag and get into the van. I am going to drive over the bridge to North Vancouver and surprise my daughter at work with a Starbucks Toffee-Nut Latte and a cupcake. She is a preschool teacher and it's nap time so she will have a couple of hours to herself.

It's a gorgeous day today and as I make my way across the river, I can see the North Shore mountains and I am shocked at how little snow there is up there. The run down Grouse is very clear from here and there are huge patches of rock and earth visible all over it. It's as if spring has arrived in Vancouver. It's a balmy day. Not the best news for VANOC. All of the snowboarding events are to be held on Cypress Bowl. They closed down last weekend to try to preserve what little snow they have. If this weather keeps up, there won't be any snow up there. Thank goodness Whistler had a good lot of it this year and, apparently, will be fine for the games.

At this rate, they should have given us tee-shirts and cargo pants to wear to work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Photo by Ashleigh Montgomery
Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is easier than I thought it would be. Until I got to the books.

I rarely use my library card. I love books. I love them so much that I would prefer that they became treasured possessions than an item borrowed and returned as if they had no value to me.

This may be explained by the fact that I have been reading since I was three. My mother taught me. I have foggy memories of a green chalkboard on an easel in our living room and yellow chalked letters with my mother's voice sounding them out; ah, buh, ku, du, eh... I remember begging my mom to be able to go to school at four years old. She talked to the school officials and I found myself happily in the British equivalent of Kindergarten a year early (until it came time to do math; there was no happiness in that for me. Ever.) I had every story book lining the shelves of that classroom read in two months. I have read pretty much everything I can get my hands on since.

When I was married, we turned the family room into a library. Bookshelves lined every wall and were full. He was a reader as well but read different authors than I did. When I left, I took the ones that were mine. The Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, a set of leather bound classics such as The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, Don Quixote, The Secret Garden. I had every book by Sharon Kay Penman, Bill Bryson, Rosamunde Pilcher, John Grisham, James Patterson, Anne Rule, Maeve Binchy to name just a few. And they all came with me.

I have moved 6 times in 7 years and carting all of those heavy boxes from place to place became too much so I decided that most had to go. Not to mention I no longer had the luxury of devoting one whole room to their keep. I selected only the ones I knew I would read again. The Bronte sisters, Austen, the leather bound classics, Bill Bryson (hilarious travel writer), and Sharon Kay Penman stayed. As did a few select others. The rest I sold at a garage sale or gave to the local thrift store. I tried to sell some to the used book store but they didn't want most of what I had. I didn't know quite what to make of that.

Along the way, in the past seven years, I have added to the small library I cart around from place to place. As I pack my belongings into boxes, yet again, I pick up a book and run my hands over the cover, recalling the story held within. It's like remembering a recent vacation as the scenes that I love dance through my mind. The thoughts of parting with it is akin to parting with a photo album full of holiday memories. If I don't have the book, how will I remember the story? But I shake my head clear of that thought as the pragmatic side of me forces it's way into focus. The question that needs to be answered is - Will I read it again? If the answer is no, then it has to go into the garage sale box.

I have acquired some books that I cannot part with. Two are veritable tomes, inches thick and weigh a lot. But oh, what satisfying reads they are. The sort of book you just don't want to put down and, as the pages on the right get fewer and fewer, you wish you could slow down your reading enough to make them last longer than you know they will. Panic actually set in as I got down to the last ten pages. I am speaking of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and it's sequel, World Without End. Oh the feeling of elation that came over me not a week after I finished Pillars when I discovered there was a sequel just released. I, who can not bring myself to pay the price for a hardcover when it will be out in paperback at a third of the cost in mere months, handed over thirty odd dollars without a blink. If you haven't read them, don't waste a moment more. You MUST get these books into your hands as soon as you can. You won't regret it.

So those definitely go into the 'keep' box. Along with my Guide to the British Virgin Islands, all the Catherine Cookson books I bought over the summer, and a few books I haven't yet read.

As I tape up the box of books to garage sale, come spring, I am proud of myself. It's not easy for me to give up my books but I have done it a few times now. I can't say I haven't missed some of them because I have. I often recall with fondness the entire shelf of Ms Pilcher's books in their chintz print covers - so very British - and I wonder if I did the right thing to get rid of them. In the grocery line up I will see a book by Anne Rule and pick it up, read the back, and wonder if it was one I used to own and thus have read. And now, when I see a book I want to buy, I hesitate to spend the money if I know that I probably won't be keeping it. I guess it's time to dust off the library card.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Yesterday someone came to take a look at the bookshelf I have on Kijiji and she liked it... it matched the red for her son's room perfectly. She called later to ask if I would take $125 for it and I said no. I paid over $700 for it new, albeit 15 years ago, and I am asking $150. If twenty five dollars keeps her from buying it, then so be it.

I call the agency that hired me for the Olympics to find out just exactly how much work I can expect and I find out that the job they hired me for, supervisor of resident assistants, is no longer mine as VANOC went and hired a bunch of kids to do that job. So now I will be a supervisor at a 'staging area'. This means that buses with athletes, their families, or spectators will need to have various drop off and pick up places around Vancouver. Each of these areas is called a 'staging area'. I will supervise the crew at one of these spots. Not sure what that will look like. Will I have somewhere to go out of the rain and cold? I guess we shall see.

I also found out yesterday that the apartment on English Bay that I was hoping to sublet won't be available as someone had spoken for it earlier for more money. She hadn't heard back from them so wasn't sure they would take it but now she has talked to them and they are. So was wondering where I would be living at the end of the month. But I just heard from my friend Denise who I stayed with for five months last year and she said I could stay with her again as her daughter has gone to Europe until August. So that is GREAT news as I loved living there and I love Denise. She has been just the best friend to me through all of this.

Speaking of good friends, I dropped off a minivan load of boxes to my friend Fran's house on Saturday night. She is going to store stuff in boxes for me in her crawl space. So now I just need to get more packed so I can take a load up this weekend. I need to get motivated.

Because I have no idea what I will do when the Olympics are over I have been exploring a couple of options. One that has opened up, due to still having a profile up on Findacrew.com, is a boat that is in the Caribbean and plans to be there for several years. Right now it is in St. Thomas but is heading down to Barbuda and Antigua for the annual races in April. I have been emailing the chap, who is from Scotland, and he would be willing to wait for me in Antigua before carrying on to ports farther south. It is extremely tempting and I will give it serious thought. I still really want to sail the Caribbean and I am not getting any younger and can't see doing it any other way. This guy is super laid back and likes to take the journey slow and stay as long as one is enjoying the place so that sounds like a great match for me right there. I hate moving on before I have had my fill.

I am also continuing talking to the guy from Mexico who wants to sail down to Ecuador but I am still not sure about his itinerary nor his age. He's in his seventies and that worries me. I don't want to be out in the Pacific with an incapacitated (read, dead) captain and have to bring the boat in alone. Not at all.

I also found out that the likelihood of me getting a settlement from the mall is slim to none. I spoke to a lawyer on Friday who recommended a personal injury firm in Vancouver and he said that if they passed me off to someone else, then the chances of my winning in court was slim. They passed me off. So, very reluctantly, I guess I will just drop the whole thing. It is very frustrating to me because it was a hard fall, I did have injuries and the concussion took a lot out of me over the summer. I feel cheated and I don't like that feeling. It seems nothing is going my way these days when it comes to making some money. Not even something like this which would seem like a sure thing. I certainly read enough on line about people getting offered cash and merchandise (a 50" flatscreen TV and $2,500 cash in one case) on the spot when they fell in a store, so why not me?

Ahh well, bring it on. I will always have Palm Springs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Someone who reads my blog pointed out that I could be an agent for Amazon. That means that I could put a link on here to items that I talk about in my blog so that you, dear reader, could buy them if interested and I would earn a tiny commission! So I just added a few of those links to older blogs but, because you've already read them and most likely won't be going back to them, I will put them up here.

Aztec is the fabulous book I read while at the houseboat in Florida. An amazing read and I highly recommend it.

Catherine Cookson is the author I discovered while in Kelowna, and I am still working my way through the dozens of books she has written. This is the one that started it all. (Yikes! Eighty bucks for a hardcover? It was good but not THAT good. Check out used bookstores for the paperback version.)

Palm Springs a la Carte is the book I was so absorbed in on the flight back from PS that I had no idea we were landing and nearly jumped out of my seat with fright when we touched down.

Myst Riven and Exile are the games I recently mentioned that I was obsessed with a few years back and that the visuals in Avatar reminded me so vividly of. I am serious; if you haven't played them you should give them a try. Even if you haven't ever played a video game in your life. They are fabulous. I promise.

And last and least, the dreaded Olympic mascots that everyone in BC hates but the rest of the world seem to love.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Well it's been an interesting week. Got a letter from the insurance adjuster for the maintenance crew at the mall saying they have determined they are not responsible for my fall. So a lawyer has been procured and I will be visiting him tomorrow.

I didn't get together with all of my kids before Shonah went back to Kelowna but was hoping to do so with the other two and their partners on New Years Day. All too busy and so I haven't had any family time this holiday and I miss it. I guess I can't have everything.

New Years Eve was a bit of a wash out. I went to see Avatar with a friend in the afternoon and I have to say I was very impressed. I am not into 'cartoons' for adults nor am I a science fiction fan by any stretch of the imagination. But I loved the story, the effects, the world created... everything. I have to say that I fell in love with the visuals of Pandora because they so closely resembled the world of Edanna in the game Exile, the third installment of the MYST series. I was addicted to these games back a few years ago, and my kids tired of me constantly pointing to something and saying "that looks like it came right out of Riven." or whatever world it happened to resemble. If you have never played these games, I HIGHLY recommend you do so. They appeal to those of us who's entire video game playing experience has been Duck Hunt. It's not about killing or blowing things up. It's about discovering what this place is, why it's in the condition it's in, and solving multiple puzzles along the way to unlock the big reveal at the end. The graphics are spectacular (especially with a larger screen, surround sound, and a darkened room - you feel like you are THERE), the puzzles just complicated enough to be challenging without being impossible, and the story (which continues from game to game) is absorbing. I can't recommend too strongly that you give them a go. But do them in order; Myst, Riven, Exile. There's more but I haven't had a strong enough graphics card to be able to play them. Sadly.

Anyhow, the movie was so long that I ended up showing up about an hour or so late to a small party. All couples but for me. Not exactly the best setting for me but I knew most of the people and so had a nice time chatting with a few. I went to the same party last year and forgot that they like to have it all wrapped up and everyone gone by 9:30. Yes... that's right. On New Years Eve. So I was home by ten and watching the telly. Happy New Year to me.

Earlier this week I had a ton of paperwork to get caught up on for a few of the agencies I am involved with at the moment. Then Tuesday evening at 5:15 had an appointment with a career counselor/life coach. It was to be my second time seeing her but she didn't show up. She forgot she scheduled me in and was in the office downstairs and went home while I was waiting upstairs.

Wednesday, yesterday, I went for my initial training for the Olympic Games. It was just a lecture format about the history of the games, the meaning of all the logos being used at these games, some general rules and guidelines for conduct,... that sort of thing. Overall it was interesting and informative. Thank goodness it wrapped an hour early though. Neither of the girls doing the presentation were great public speakers. And both of them were from the states. Of about thirty of us in the room, only five or six of us were from the area. The rest were from other parts of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, the Ukraine, and other places far flung. It kind of irked me. There's a lot of people right here in BC out of work right now. The two women presenters have been working here since summer. Why couldn't I have one of their jobs? Why did they get precedence over me? It's not like I didn't apply for everything I saw for the Olympics.

Another thing that irked me. We are supposed to be sensitive to other cultures and so don't use idioms or jargon they won't understand, which is reasonable. But we are not to point using our fingers, rather with our whole hand, open and palm up because some cultures find pointing offensive. Well I am sorry, but it's fine to point here in Canada. That is OUR culture. Why do we have to modify our culture for visitors? They don't do it when we visit them. In fact, go to any travel website and you will find a list of things that we need to modify about our dress and behaviour depending on which country we are to visit. So... we have a culture here in Canada. We have our own ways of doing things. You're a visitor here. Deal with it. I really don't have a lot of patience for that sort of thing.

And don't get me going on those stupid, STUPID mascots we have. They have NOTHING to do with B.C. They look more like something that would be suited to the Olympics in Japan. We had to endure half an hour of talk about them in case guests ask us for information or names, or what the hell animal they actually are supposed to be (half orca, half bear; a sasquatch; and some sort of spirit bear, eagle thing. Oh and, get this, a marmot [called MukMuk - ACK! should be YukYuk] which was supposed to be a side kick but the public raised such an outcry, calling and writing to demand it be given full mascot status like the other three had. REALLY? Some people really need to get a life.) I am glad I am not going to be dealing with the public because I would have a hard time to keep from rolling my eyes as I say, "Really? You can't think of anything better to spend your money on than those dreadful things?"

Parking was at a premium at the location of the training session so I thought about taking the SkyTrain down but decided I would see if I could park in the nearby lot for ACFC, as I am a member. I asked the receptionist and she said it was fine. Which was great because it was just one building away. When I came out from asking, I saw a good friend from the film industry just getting into his car. I ran over and said hi. I could tell he didn't recognize me at first, I have lost a fair bit of weight and changed my hair. But once he did, we hugged and talked for a bit. I was very sad to hear that he is battling cancer, has been since the spring, and has been given three to five years. And now his life is all about the disease and the doctors and hospital. I remember my friend Anne, who died this past April, talking about how one's life is robbed as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer. It's a horrible disease and I am full sure we would have a cure by now if it wasn't for it being such a huge industry for the pharmaceutical companies not to mention all the doctors and hospital wings that are devoted entirely to the disease.

Today I am determined to start the very unwelcome task of, yet again, packing up my stuff and sorting through it all. I need to determine what to keep and put in my friends crawlspace; what to garage sale in the spring and put back into the shed. Yes.. BACK into the shed. Turns out, I can keep stuff in there as long as I want to. HUH? Then what was the call back in September all about telling me I HAD to have it all out by the end of October? So I was thrown into panic again, for nothing? I just don't get it.

At the end of January I will be out of here and, hopefully, moved into a sub-let on English Bay in a heritage apartment. An actress friend is going to be in LA for two months and, if someone else who said they wanted it but didn't get back to her doesn't want it, it's mine. That will be so convenient for the Games, and a lot of fun being right downtown and on the water. I can't wait.

And just in case you can't resist:
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.

Search My Blog

Amazon Store

Here's my Amazon Store called Sandra's Selections, full of my favourite things and constantly updating it as I discover more fav's. It's more for fun than anything as I've never made a cent off of it.