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...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So today I took the first step towards going sailing. Well, the first proper step. Leaving everything behind a year ago to join a sailboat that was planning to do charters in the Caribbean was a pretty big step. But we all know how well that went. So when I got back, I decided that I would start over; sign up for some sailing lessons; have a few thou in the bank; and drastically reduce my luggage before attempting that again.

I have definitely culled the wardrobe (am still working on the hair products); the bank account is far from healthy; and today I learned how to tack.

When I looked into lessons, I found that the Rocky Point Sailing Association in nearby Port Moody gave private lessons. With my film schedule, there was no way a regular class was going to work. I was apprehensive as to how much private lessons would be but when I discovered that it would take less time to go through the White Sail 1, 2 and 3 programs privately than in a group setting, it actually ended up that it would be cheaper than the scheduled classes. Then Kim, the DP I work with, said he'd like to join me. That cut the price almost in half. So a real bargain.

We arrive at the dock and eventually find our instructor, Connor. He said he was at the dock but he's actually up at the building where they keep the PDF's and sails. To both Kim's and my surprise, there is to be no theory first. We go straight down to the docks and help launch the dinghy that will take us over to the dock with the sailboats. As usual, I have to have someone's hand to hold to get in and out of the dinghy. My knees are losing strength and just aren't able to lift me up and down like they used to. I remember my doctor predicting knee replacement surgery in my future back when I was in my 20's. I think that time is almost at hand.

We learn how to get the sails out of the bag and up onto the mast and boom. I reach way back into the dark recesses of my mind to remember a couple of knots we need but I need not have strained as Connor teaches us the knots right there. I master the 'figure eight' pretty quickly. We learn how to attach the rudder and tiller and lower the keel. Then we take turns sitting in the boat, while it is still on the dock, to learn how to maneuver the tiller and switch sides, to tack. It's tricky. And it takes me a couple of tries to figure it out.

Soon we are in the water and Kim takes the tiller first. I sit up front and man the jib. I have to cleat one sheet and release the other and pull hard to bring the sail to the same side the boom is swinging to. I get the hang of it pretty much right away, although Kim's first tack is really tight and the boat heels far over. I don't like that much. I learn to reposition myself to keep the boat balanced and Kim doesn't tack that hard again. I have to say that the little (and I do mean little) seat I have to perch on in the front is very, very uncomfortable. The end of the keel sticks up about half an inch and is no fun to sit on. I could really use a cushion or padded shorts!

We tack back and forth for about an hour, with our instructor motoring along side us in the dinghy, and get into a bit of a rhythm. Eventually we luff the sails (let them relax so we stop) so that Connor can talk to us for a bit. He tells us that we are doing really well with coordinating the sails from side to side. He says he hasn't had first time students do so well.

Then I take over the tiller.

I am a bit nervous because the wind has really picked up. I determine not to make a sharp first tack like Kim did and so move the tiller arm away from me slowly and the boat responds by gently coming about. Then I get up and move over to the other side, remembering to duck for the boom, sit down, and deftly switch hands on the tiller and the mainsheet. For some reason the boat is still turning. I can't figure out why, in the split second I have. Kim is calling out some sort of instruction to me but I am too flustered for it to sink in. Connor is calling out as well. We're heeling over and I don't like it. I feel completely out of control and I am close to panic. Then I finally hear what they are saying. STRAIGHTEN OUT THE TILLER. Oh right!! I totally forgot about that part. I quickly straighten it out and we even out on the water but now the boom is on the wrong side again and so I have to switch sides. I don't want to. I just majorly screwed up switching sides and I am not ready to do it again right away. But I have to so I do. This time I can't seem to sit down on the side without the tiller arm under my butt. I keep trying but I can't get it out from under me. I start laughing. Kim is laughing at me as well. I finally figure it out but I am no way ready to keep tacking. It must be painfully obvious because Connor comes over with the dinghy and ties us up to it and tows us along, weaving back and forth a bit so that I can get used to how the boat steers.

I do pretty well. After a bit he cuts us loose and I try a couple of tacks and then it's time to head back into the dock. We release the sails as the wind has died right down and we 'run' back at a very slow pace. I am so glad for my past days of boating because I know the markers and what they mean, so I keep the red ones to starboard and the green to port. With Connors instructions being called from the dinghy, I bring the boat right up to the dock, nose first. I do a pretty good job of it and Kim says 'nicely done', which is encouraging.

Now if I can just get him to say that the next time I attempt tacking.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I walked into Fort Langley to watch the May Day parade. As I cut through the park the tantalizing smell of barbeque was already wafting on the breeze. The Lions Club had a huge grill made from half oil drums covered in racks that were covered in chicken.

I found my friend and her grandson at the curb as the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team started their performance right in front of us. It was really great.

The parade itself started with fire trucks and then a long line of vintage cars each with a local politician being chaufffeured along at about 5 km an hour. I got a kick out of the sign for the MOSTLY British Motoring Club.

The entire parade after that was basically just one long commercial for local businesses and clubs. All in all, a bit of a letdown. No fancy floats, not a single clown, no people on stilts. Boring really. The best part was the motorcycles and the apple bannock. I don't think I will be making the effort again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Friday night is the wrap party for the movie. It was hyped on set as 'the best wrap party ever'. I don't go to them anymore as it's a long way to drive in and back as they're always downtown Vancouver, and they're just not worth the effort. But as this one was in a brand new club and everyone said they were going, I decided to go.

I go into Vancouver early to drop off my continuity binder at the studio, and then drive to North Vancouver to pick up Ashleigh from work and drive her downtown to meet Rob. They are catching the new Canada Line out to the airport as they fly out to Hawaii for 5 days. She has my new passport for me as I get all of my mail sent to their place and so I kill several birds with one stone (drive daughter, pick up passport, go to wrap party). The only drawback - I am a bit overdressed for the middle of the day. We had a great visit as we drove into town and then I hugged them both goodbye, and not a little envious. I haven't ever been to Hawaii and would love to go. Also, the weather here has turned cold and rainy again so am absolutely fed up with being here. Need I say it? I WANT TO LIVE IN THE CARIBBEAN!!!

After parking the car in the best and cheapest place downtown, I walk along Granville. I am looking for two things; a nail salon because I am in desperate need of a manicure, and a restaurant that is owned by a friend in the industry along with his brother. It's called The Twisted Fork and I have been meaning to try it out since it opened almost two years ago. This morning I texted a bunch of friends from the show and invited them to meet me there for dinner before the party. So far most have texted back saying either they can't make it to dinner or they plan to skip the wrap party entirely. So most of the people I want to hang out with aren't going. Great.

I find the restaurant and there is a nail salon right next door!! They take walk-in's so I settle into a big comfy chair and enjoy a bit of pampering for an hour. The restaurant doesn't open until 6 and it's just before 5 when my nails are all prettied, so I walk down to the salon that Izzy, my son's girlfriend, works at. I catch her without a client and about to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine, so she pours me one and we sit together and get caught up. The hour flies by and soon I head out back up the hill from Yale Town to Granville St.

I tell the hostess that I may be dining alone or may be joined by a few friends, I am not sure. She sits me in the window that has four tables nestled up against a 3-sided window seat and says she will keep the rest free in case they show up. She hands me a menu on a clip board held by a twisted fork. Love it! I order a Cosmo and an appetizer. I forgot my book in the car so I people watch through the window as I munch on Fernie Frites - their first restaurant was in Fernie, BC. I also meet the brother and we have a nice chat. I get a text from the hair key saying she is loading out the trailer and might be able to make it if she finishes in time. I text her back saying I am the only one there. She doesn't make it. I order another Cosmo and the grilled asparagus: 'Fresh grilled asparagus with balsamic roasted mushrooms, basil boccocini and balsamic reduction'. It's delicious.

Stuffed to the rafters and feeling the two martinis, I make my way down to the other end of Vancouver, to the new club Five-Sixty. Turns out I have been here before, after the Crazy Eight's Film Festival a month ago. So between that and the fact that none of my friends are showing up to the party, not to mention I ate dinner alone, I feel let down. But I head inside determined to make the best of it and have some fun. As usual, I am among the first to arrive. The only other person there, beside the bartenders, is the accountant. How appropriate is that... the two most anal people on any crew - the accountant and the script supervisor. I tried to be fashionably late, once. I was still the first to arrive.

I end up having an okay time. I spent most of it alone at the bar. One of the actors comes up to me and pays me a lovely compliment, saying that he likes to stand by the village when he's not working and listen to the talk. He says that I had some really good and insightful notes and suggestions for the director - things that are more like an actor would be thinking of. It is really encouraging to hear and I appreciate him coming over to tell me.

I keep watching for Craig, the first camera operator, and Shannon his wife and the second camera operator, to arrive. He had texted me earlier to say that they were both filming something until 10 but would be at the party shortly after. They don't arrive. Most of the rest of the people here at the party, I don't know all that well. Because I spend all of my time at the village surrounded by a black tent, I only get to know a few people really well on set unless it's a longer running show, like a series, or if I have worked with them on multiple shows. Most of this crew I have never worked with before so I have no relationship with them and all of the ones I do know aren't here. I feel very much alone in a crowd. At 11:30 I decide I have had enough and say my goodbyes to the few I know. I walk outside just as AJ, our #1 cast member, arrives. I get a photo with him, as I forgot to get one on set, and then make my way back to my car. No more wrap parties for me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I thought those of you who follow LOST might be interested in seeing this photo.

My daughter went through training to be a camp counselor at Green Bay Bible Camp for two years and then worked there for several more as the lifeguard and girls counselor. Her second year of training, the leaders were Jay and Nicole. The two leaders started dating that summer but it didn't last. Eventually Jay married the daughter of a good friend of mine and Nicole married another young man who worked at the camp.

But the year she lead the trainees, Nicole became good friends with my daughter and eventually moved down from Kelowna to live near White Rock with her new hubby. My daughter and Nicole hung out together now and then.

Then one day life changed drastically for Nicole. She had been 'discovered' by Ford Modeling Agency while in Kelowna and had appeared in a couple of ads and on a show as a dead body since moving to the coast. Now a new show was about to start up in Hawaii and Nicole auditioned and won the role of Kate. She left without a backwards glance, changed her name to Evangeline - her middle name, and became an instant star.

My daughter hasn't heard from her since. And she found a new love in Hawaii and divorced her husband of one year.

Every year GBBC puts out a video, or DVD now, of highlights of the summer. One my daughter owns shows a sweet clip of Nicole dancing in the dining hall with a little girl of about 4. I wish I could get a clip of it to post here but it's on VHS and I have no idea how to do it.


...two weeks from today on the Hallmark channel, 9 / 8 central.

Here is a trailer for the movie, which I worked on in Victoria last year.

And here is a behind the scenes look.

Friday, May 21, 2010


We shoot through the night on our last two days of filming. Our second to last day starts out sunny and the view from where we are shooting is breathtaking. By the next day, the weather has turned and it's cold and raining. So we started out in mud and we will end up in mud. The finale of the movie will be shot on our last night, in continuity - more or less - so that should be fun. Charles Widmore is still with us and will be until the end.

When I leave the house at 4pm, it's been a sunny day but there's big raindrops falling now and again as I walk to the car. I guess it could rain. The weather forecast was for a lot of rain. I am driving down the road to the bridge when I realize that it's so windy all of a sudden, that there's branch bits all over the road and flying through the air. Something hard hits the roof of my van and gives me a good start. Not sure what it was... probably a branch. Up ahead I see a wall of rain and as I drive into it, it's a deluge. It doesn't let up the whole 15 minute drive to work and when I park and get into my coat and a disposable rain poncho, I walk over to the catering truck to see it closed up tight and nothing much on the tables. Apparently the wind blew away the plates and cups etc. So now we have to knock on the shuttered window, they open it a small crack, and place our order. It's Eggs Benny day. Eggs Blackstone for me, hard yolk please and crispy bacon. We have to climb into the back of the supply truck to get our drinks - OJ for me - and cutlery etc. where everything has been placed to keep it from blowing away again. Apparently a big branch fell from a tree and narrowly missed the truck right before I got there.

As I am setting up my work area in the tent, I hear a huge crack and look up just in time to see a big tree fall down on the hill right beside where we will film. The lighting guys are in there, putting up some big lights. Thankfully, no one was near the tree when it fell.

Eventually the wind dies down and the rain steadies to a drizzle and we methodically make our way through the scenes we need to shoot. There's a lot of huge puddles where we need to place the cast and picture vehicle so the guys set to digging through the high bits to let the water run away and then some pea gravel is brought in to cover the mud and fill the holes. It works great to keep the picture area clean. But there's a big hole dug for one scene and it sure is muddy down there. The actors have to climb in and out of it and, during a fight scene, Alan (Charles Widmore) has to fall into it. Of course, a stuntman will do the actual fall but then Alan will have to lie in the cold, wet mud for a few takes. The life of an actor is not all glamour!

At about 3am I can tell everyone is tired as the silliness starts. Kim, the DP, has started a game where you think of a movie title and insert the word Moai (pronounced mow-i) into it (there are Easter Island type Moai heads in our story and we are shooting those tonight). Some of the ones he comes up with are Me, Moaiself and Irene; Bridge on the River Moai; There's Something About Moai. The camera op comes up with Moai Five-0 and the director's contribution is Three Men and a Moai. I get into it and come up with The Color of Moai; Steel Moaignolias, and Helen of Moai. The one that gets me laughing so hard I have tears rolling down my cheeks is when Kim comes back into the tent from lighting, sits down and says, "The Little Moaimaid". The next day while preparing the continuity 'Script Bible' for the editor, I create a page to slip into the front cover with the best selections splashed across the page with some Moai heads in the background.

We wrap at 5:33, or 29:33 as we call it, and as soon as my paperwork is done I go to the camera truck to have a drink with the camera department. We end up talking and laughing for two hours and I don't get home until after 8am. Thankfully, there is no internet - I guess we lost it in the wind - and so I have nothing to keep me from falling into bed. I sleep like the dead for three and a half hours and then get up so that I will be able to sleep tonight. The rest of the day is spent prepping the Script Bible and running a few errands. I have to buy some groceries again, something I don't need to do while working. And I need to buy an engagement gift for my friend's daughter as she got engaged on Sunday. My youngest is going to be a bridesmaid!!

can't reveal the title - thus blurred

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I think I may have mentioned that I am a fan of LOST. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out yesterday that today Alan Dale would be joining our show to play the role of the General. For those of you who aren't a LOSTIE, Alan plays the role of Charles Widmore (I want to say 'the third' after his name but I am not sure that is accurate).

When he first walked on set, I recognized him instantly and when he spoke I was surprised to hear a New Zealand accent. I introduced myself to him, as I always do with each actor, and told him I was a big fan of the show. He said he always wonders what LOST fans will do once the show ends and I told him I plan to watch every episode again in a short time span so I can figure out just what the heck actually happened. He laughed and said that if fans expect all the ends to be sewn up by the end of the show, we will be disappointed. I told him I figured out already that wasn't going to happen as this last season has brought more questions than answers. He said that the writers complained that they ran out of time to wrap it all up but that he thinks that is nonsense as they knew two years ago it was ending now. He then told me how a story point involving his character will not follow through on how it was set up earlier. That the continuity for his character was broken with the final thing that happens to him. He told me exactly what it was that happens and I felt frustrated in the lack of care by the writers to, at the very least, follow through on a character set up and to stick to the precepts they had laid out.

I don't have much faith that the ending of LOST will be satisfying... just the opposite. For those of you who remember the series Dallas; it reminds me of the year Patrick Duffy left the show so they killed off his character, Bobby Ewing. Then he decided he wanted to come back so the writers had a dilemma as to how to bring him back. I recall there were a few theories tossed about as to how they would do it and one was that it would all have been a bad dream of his wife, Pamela (played by Victoria Principal). Of all the theories that was the one I hoped would not be the one. It was. I quit watching after that because I felt like I had wasted a year watching a 'dream' where all the story line advancements were now irrelevant. Only this time it will be six years of wasted time. I hope I am wrong.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So the weather decided to cooperate this week and we had nothing but glorious sunshine. Unfortunately, we spent most of the week deep in a forest where there were just spots of sunlight here and there, and the crew, when not working, would gather in those spots for some lovely warmth. So despite seeing people in shorts and tank tops on the drive home, I spent all day in my long-johns (under the jeans, of course) and a polar-fleece jacket.

But I have to say that place, where we spent the first half of the week, was enchanting. Not a half a mile from a fairly busy road, I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. When you look over to Maple Ridge from a high point across the river, you will see snow capped rugged mountains in the distance, flat acres of blueberry and hay fields in the foreground, and a few cedar covered hills in between. It was at one of those hills where we were buried deep in the woods. I discovered, much to my surprise, that the hills are all moss-covered rock and boulders - more like what I am used to seeing on Vancouver Island. The trees sprung up between drifts of fern, their huge roots wrapped around the rock they were perched on and roping down to the soil below. Although the whole of the forest seems to climb up-hill from a distant perspective, we actually walked downhill into the grotto we shot in and were then at a cliff on one side, and a gentle incline on the other down through the fern and trees to a field about 100 yards away. The whole place was private property and I imagine that the kids growing up there must have a ball playing outside. If I had grown up there, I would have spent all my free time chasing the pools of sunshine with a good book.

The second half of the week, we shot at a cabin buried in the same woods, just on the other side of the hill. When I went inside, I noted the border painted on the wood floor and asked the art department if they went to the trouble of putting it there. It was a border of native symbols and scrolling in black and red paint. He told me that it was already there, that it was done for the Twilight movie. The cabin was used as the werewolf's hide-away. If you saw the second movie, it was the one where all the bare-chested guys went for a snack of muffins served by a girlfriend of one of them. We are using it as a hide-away for an old man who is living 'off the grid'. It is part of a compound of several acres with about 4 houses on it. This one is uninhabited but would make a great little writing retreat. I don't know if it has electricity, we have lights inside but they are most likely powered by our generator. But I'd stay there with some Coleman lanterns. There is a proper oven, although no fridge, so I imagine that it's wired for electricity and it's turned off due to no occupant. There's a wood-burning stove that would keep one toasty warm on a cold night. But I am guessing there's lots of spiders and probably mice, so maybe not so great after all.

It seems that our DOP, Kim Miles, tends to work on shows where, at some point, an eating challenge is made and he must compete. I am sketchy on the details as to how this one came about, but it was decided that a few of the guys were going to eat balut. Balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. They asked the craft services gal if she would be up to boiling the eggs for the challenge and she agreed, as long as the embryos were dead already. I guess they were because at the end of the day, an egg carton appeared at the village (the cart with the monitors) and inside were half a dozen large duck eggs. The challenge was on. When Kim got his egg, he hemmed and hawed and then made the mistake of looking at Bill's egg once it was bitten into. That was it. He couldn't even crack the shell. I made the mistake of looking over at Bill's egg and started to gag. I wasn't even eating it and I almost threw up! Then the 2nd AD, Lori, came along and said she would eat one. I was horrified. Turns out, she has traveled a lot to strange lands and eaten really disgusting stuff. She said the most interesting was deep fried scorpion. I can't fathom why anyone would want to even try that. Anyhow, she ate the whole thing! I couldn't even watch or I was afraid I would lose it right there.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Just finished with the first four days of shooting our doomsday movie. I can't tell you the name of it and post photos and I want to post photos so the name will have to remain a secret.

We spent the first day out in Abbotsford at Fraser Valley University, mostly indoors which was nice as it is unseasonably cold out. The second day we were at the Hilltop Cafe just between Langley and Aldergrove. I haven't been in this cafe before but have seen it in several movies, most prominently in The Butterfly Effect. Walking in is like walking onto a specially built set. It's right out of Hollywood. We had several scenes to film outside before we did the interior diner scenes. It was cold and drizzly all morning, then the wind picked up and started to blow the tents about. They were quickly weighted down with sandbags, but not before the one at crafty blew right over.

We were setting up for our third scene outside when all of a sudden it began to pour rain like I've rarely seen it come down here. It was sideways and heavy, almost tropical in it's force. A decision was made to move inside and start the interior work. I gathered up my things and tried to wait for it to abate some but it just wasn't happening so I made a dash for the door and got completely soaked. Thank goodness for my big down coat! We just got a blocking done and suddenly the rain stopped and the sun came out. So back outside we went. We had just nicely got everything set up for the outdoor scene when it clouded over and began to hail. It was some of the heaviest hail I can remember seeing. There was talk of going back inside but hail doesn't usually last too long. Someone told a story of shooting out in Aldergrove last year when it hailed for 45 minutes and we all hoped that wasn't going to happen today. We gathered under the tents to wait it out and it lasted about 10 minutes. Everything was covered in hail and the vehicles we were shooting had to be wiped down. Later, when we were done with the outside scenes, we were packing up when the wind started blowing again and the tent I was in, sandbags and all, lifted and then blew away - right over my head. Everyone ran over to see if I was okay, and I was. Just really windblown. Kim, the DP, mentioned that I might want to pat down my hair as it was standing on end. The next day I was wearing a hat and he drolly asked me if it was due to the 'hair trauma' I suffered the day before!

The last two days, we worked at a place called Jamestown. It's a huge acreage that was purchased by a family of stuntmen and turned into a movie backlot. There's an old western town that was originally used in a Scary Movie that was a knock off of The Village. It was later moved and added onto to make a western street for a TV show. There's also a huge field and this is where we filmed for an entire day. It was a very soggy field and by the time we were done with it, full of muddy ruts. It was an exciting day full of the SPFX (special effects) department blowing stuff up. There was also a great stunt where a car drove off the road and down a ravine.

Yesterday we shot in the forested area of the property, up a big hill in the trees. We had a late call because the last scenes of the day were at night. We were deep into those scenes when we lost all power and were plunged into inky blackness. Not a light anywhere, not even the moon. It would have been terrifying except that there were 75 of us there. Soon little mag lights and head LCD lamps were piercing the dense wall of nothingness with tiny circles of illumination; one in our tent, thanks to a locations PA. I fumbled in my bag for my work light and soon was back at making my notes. It took about 10 minutes for the electrics to find the problem and get us back up and running. An hour later it happened again, and resolved much quicker. It seems it was so damp on the ground that the safety kicked in and shut 'er down.

All part of a day on set.

1)'B' camera awaits the crash. 2)Jeep goes over ravine. 3)Working in the mud. 4)Volcanic ash (shredded newspaper) is liberally sprayed about

all photos displayed with producer's permission

Saturday, May 1, 2010



All I did for my birthday was eat, eat, eat. One friend took me out for breakfast, another for a late lunch, and then my friend I live with made me a T-bone steak dinner and then took me out for dessert. I honestly don't eat that much food in three days. Then the day after, I went to see Isolde, my son's girlfriend, to get my hair done. She was appalled when she realized it had been my birthday (they both forgot) and so ran out while my color was processing and surprised me with a beautiful posy of flowers and a little box containing a strawberry and cream pastry and a chocolate mousse slice. Oh my! We both had a taste of each... amazing... and then I polished off the strawberry cream (as it would have spoiled in the heat, so I really had no choice!) and saved the mousse for later.

After my hair was done I drove over to North Vancouver to see my daughter and we ended up going out for sushi once her hubby got home.

I swore I wouldn't eat for a week. But now, I am heading out on a 'date'. I met a fellow on Plenty of Fish who lives in Victoria but is over here for the day to visit his dad. We have arranged to meet for lunch at the Olive Garden. I go with hesitation. I am pretty much over the on-line dating experiment (on and off for 6 years). I'm tired of expending the effort to get to know someone and then have it go nowhere. And I am tired of feeling like I don't measure up to the most ridiculous expectations for what my figure should be. Hey guys... I am 52. I had three kids. I post full length shots. There should be no surprise when you meet me. Yes. I need to lose weight and I state that in my profile.

So off I go with no expectations. Other than it probably won't work out.

Either way, I am taking my profile down today.
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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