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...

Friday, December 25, 2009


It's Christmas Day! I wake up late to the sounds of someone arriving at the front door. It sounds like a lot of people. Turns out it's some surprise visitors for Bob and Ada... her niece and husband and their 4 year old daughter. Unexpected. They are planning on spending the night and Ada shows them into the second spare bedroom beside mine.

We are supposed to be at Ron's by 11 for brunch so I hop in the shower and get about getting ready to go. I drive myself over to Ron's and the rest follow shortly after.

Nelson is making mimosa's and there is a plate full of scones freshly baked by Eric. I help myself to a scone with butter and jam. There's a bowl of what looks like whipped cream cheese as well so I pass that over. I find out later it was a bowl of clotted cream, my absolute favourite thing to eat with scones and I missed it! Oh well. The scones melt in the mouth and didn't need the cream anyway. Well done Eric!

Ron has free long distance to all of North America from his house phone and he tells me to call my kids to wish them Merry Christmas. I call Shonah and rib her for not texting me last night to say she arrived safely in Vancouver after flying down from Kelowna, as I had asked her to do and she had promised me she would. She's having such a good time, she totally forgot. She didn't want to spend Christmas eve and morning with her dad and his wife and her kids so she is with my good friend Fran who's daughter has been friends with Shonah since kindergarten. She was there over night and is having a fabulous time, as I knew she would. I try calling Christopher but he's not answering. I get Ashleigh and Rob as they are driving to the grandparents for the day. We have a lovely chat and she tells me to call her later when Christopher will be there so that I can talk to him. I tell her I will try.

We are waiting for Ron's sister and husband to arrive but after a couple of hours they still haven't arrived so we decide to get on with it. Everyone moves outside to the patio and Ron plays Santa, handing out the gifts. It's great fun to see what each one gets and it's a really great window into what their likes are. For instance, Matt gets a lot of vintage things including a floppy vinyl record from the 50's from Geb, and two fabulous vases from the 40's from Ron; Michael gets books and a pair of silver cuff links; Ged gets a lot of vintage items; when Scott and Jane finally arrive, he gets drinking glasses wrapped in tooled leather - very western looking - from Ron, and a Brooks Brother's jacket from Michael, who is determined to de-cowboy Scott and turn him into a class act. Nelson gets silver cuff links in the shape of transformer heads and he is beyond excited with them. He also gets a lovely cashmere sweater. Bob gets a vintage book about something historical that has him reading for the next half hour. He later comments on how much he loves it. I get a CD of Vera Lynn - I loved a song that was on the radio in Ron's car a couple of days ago and when I said as much when it was over, he told me that it was Vera Lynn. The gift card says it's from Crawford, Ron's dog. I am so touched. Ron is such a thoughtful guy and this gift shows just how much so. Michael and Brian give me a gorgeously scented gardenia candle in a glass jar with a sliver lid. My big gifts from Ron was the car rental and the money he gave me; far far more than I should have gotten, that is for sure. Geb gives me a mug that is painted black and comes with chalk so that you can write whatever you want on it. Ada gives me a towel set. Matt gives me a string of lights in the shape of crucifixes and a key chain with a picture of Jesus encased in amber. Nelson gives me tabs to mark the books of the Bible to make it easy to find them. It makes me laugh that, because I am a Christian and they know it, I get religious themed gifts. Matt tells me that he loves the lights and wishes he had a set but they were the last ones in the store. I can't exactly give them back to him but I'd like to as I find the lights a bit sacrilegious and won't be putting them up anywhere so he may as well have them.

Ron gets the flamingo tie he passed up at Brooks Brothers from Nelson. He gets a set of wooden hangers engraved with his initials from Michael. He loves the martini shaker from me. And his favourite gift is a leopard print bicycle seat from Eric. It matches his leopard print lined basket attached to the handle bars that Crawford travels in.

The sun is actually hot and there isn't a cloud in the sky. I am loving this so much. I thought I would really miss my kids today but I don't. I know they are having a good time with their grandparents, their Dad, and the rest of the family. And I feel very much at home here, strangely enough. I mean, most of these people I had never met before a few days ago yet I just love them. There is such a generous spirit among all of them and they are a lot of fun. I have been welcomed with open arms and the men have been absolute gentlemen and have treated me extremely well. I feel doted on at times, and that is something I am not used to but sure could get used to it in a hurry. It's going to be very hard leaving here. But I try not to think about that and concentrate on living in the moment and enjoying every bit of this.

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