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, August 29, 2010


Just wrapped on a three week shoot of a TV movie based on a book by famed novelist Sandra Brown. I can't tell you the name of the book/movie and post photos so I'd rather keep the name a secret and let you have a look at what we did.

We had two of the nicest producers I have ever worked with on any show. I would work with them again in a heartbeat and am very happy to say that I will be working with them again in a week.
Sandra came to set for two days and was just lovely. A gorgeous woman with a fabulous southern accent, and very sweet. She was excited to be there and to have a small cameo in the movie. I have to admit that it was a bit distracting for me because every time I heard someone say "Sandra", I looked up from my notes to see who needed me and, nine times out of ten, they weren't talking to me.

We had a couple of other exciting days as well. We rolled a car and we set fire to a building on a movie back-lot. The fire was pure movie magic with fire bars, smoke, and a few gasoline bombs. We had two genuine ladder trucks there and eight or so real firemen joined the background performers. It made for a very fun and exciting last night of shooting.
Now I have one week to prep for the next show - a Christmas movie. Like I said, same lovely producers, same great D.O.P. - my friend Kim, and most of the same crew. I am looking forward to it.

Monday I go for an interview for a 22 part kids series = work until April. PLEASE PICK ME! I will keep you posted.
My view from the process trailer as we tow the car with our lead actress, Jaime Pressly inside. The car is on a platform which also has some lighting attached. The camera guys are below the monitors on a lower level of the truck that tows the car. I am seated with the AD, Gaffer and 2nd Camera Assistant on the top level, which is actually the generator that runs everything. Below me is Kim, our D.O.P. on the left and Gary the Director on the right. In the background you can see a Mercedes and this car will come right up to the back of the trailer and, on camera, it will appear as if it is bumping it. It will also swerve beside the car and, again, on camera, it will appear that it is side-swiping the car on the trailer (which will appear to be driving on the road).

This is now the car being driven off of the road.

The car is airborne. As you can see, the angle of the car does not match the picture before and that's because it is from a previous take where the car did not roll onto it's roof as planned. It took three attempts to get it to roll. What was amazing is that, apart from it not rolling twice when it should have, it just started right up and was driven back to the top of the hill - after the front tire that blew out on the landing was replaced each time. It's a Toyota Camry. If you have a teen who has just learned how to drive and you want them in something virtually indestructible, go for this car. It won't flip over, even when you try, and it just keeps on running despite the abuse. Amazing. I told the producers that they should send the outtake footage in to Toyota and they could make an advertisement out of it: "A film crew in Canada tried to flip a car for a stunt. It took three attempts...."

Once the car was upside down, we needed it to burst into flames. This was done by the SPFX (special effects) team. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see two of the team behind the trunk of the vehicle. Brave men!

One of our two gorgeous ladder trucks. Boy that siren was LOUD!

One of two large fireballs created by the SPFX team to blow out the windows of the building, which were made of safety glass. Stuntmen were running in and out of the building while the fireballs went off. You can't see them in this picture because they are already inside.

Currie Graham - our wonderful male lead, and me right after he was show-wrapped. I will really miss working with him. He is hysterically funny and kept us all laughing all of the time. I really hope I can work with him again soon. Just an all-around great guy, from what I could tell.

Here's a few shots of the back-lot I took. The entire street is fake-fronts on both sides of the street. I have put up the back of the apartment building and the back of the 'Limelight Nightclub' so you can see what it looks like, behind the scenes, as it were.

Friday, August 13, 2010


One of my best friend's daughters got married today. And the bride is one of my daughter's best friends so she is in the wedding party. My gift to the bride was to do her makeup. I also did my daughter's makeup.

I have to say that there were three products that were AMAZING to use.

1. Mineral foundation by TLC Mineral Makeup. No talc in the product. It gives good coverage with a stiff foundation kabuki brush and has a flawless finish when the skin is prepped with a primer. I used Lise Watier Base Miracle Pore Reducing Primer. So I guess that's two products right there.

2. Urban Decay Primer Potion. Your eyeshadow will not move at all, not even the eyeliner, with this as a base. The Tawny Matte version also gives a nice canvas to work on, covering any redness or darkness on the eyelid.

3. Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix. I spritzed this on each of the girls, including the ones that did their own makeup and it kept their faces looking just-made-up all day, even in the hot sun (98 degrees that day) where they stood, without shade, for an hour through the ceremony and another two hours getting photos done. I went with an on-set bag ready to do touch-ups and all that was needed was lip gloss for my two girls and a bit of under-eye liner for my daughter from crying during the ceremony. Other than that, not a single touch-up needed in over ten hours. Amazing. I will never be without this product in my kit.

In fact, I won't ever be without any of these four products in my kit.

After 10 Hours

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Spent another lovely day in Vancouver with family from England.

I decided to park my car at the ACFC office (with their permission) and catch the SkyTrain in the rest of the way. I no sooner stepped off the train than my phone rang and it was Ashleigh, just arriving with everyone off the SeaBus.

We walked through Gas Town, where Geoff was ecstatic to see the "Cowboy" store there, and then headed off to the waterfront where Geoff and Rob had a seaplane tour booked. Geoff almost didn't make it on as the ticket agent, in a tiny replica of a real airport, wanted to see photo ID and he didn't have any on him. For a scenic tour. Really?? They finally made an exception and gave him a boarding pass. We saw them off and then headed to Cardero's to have drinks and an appetizer while waiting for the guys to join us for a late lunch.

The walk over was along the water by the marina and we saw some fabulous boats. It set me to longing - again - to be out on the water in the Caribbean.

We were seated in the restaurant but then moved to the lounge to wait for a table out on the deck. Ashleigh and I shared the Forno Baked Flatbread: goat cheese, sundried tomato, caramelized onions, arugula and it was amazing. I will have to try to replicate it at some point.

The guys were late back from their plane ride and Ashleigh was getting anxious, but soon we spotted their plane coming in over the bridge. They were in a very distinctive red and white (in the pattern of the Canadian flag) plane so they were easy to spot. When they arrived at the restaurant, they both loved the flight and Geoff was wishing he could do that all day, every day.

After a fabulous lunch on the patio, they left to go to Stanley Park and the aquarium and I went off to Dress Sew - a huge store full of every kind of sewing need possible - to find some elastic for Shonah's shoes for the wedding. The store they were ordered in from have a stupid way of converting European sizes. On every chart online, a size 41 is our 9 1/2. Le Chateau takes whatever the size is, subtract 30 and that's the size. So for them, a 41 is an 11. Well, guess what? The 41 didn't fit Shonah at all. So now we have to have them stretched and then the elastic at the buckle extended. I don't think the 39 the bride ordered for the girl in California who's feet are a size 9 is going to fit hers either. When we went back to the store to see if they ordered the wrong size by mistake, and they explained, I said "You do realize that every time a shoe is ordered from you it will never fit." They didn't seem to care.

By the time I walked all over town yesterday, my feet were killing me. I certainly wore the wrong shoes. And on the SkyTrain ride to my car, I had to stand all the way. I remember when, as a kid, I was made to stand on the bus if an adult came on board and there were no seats left. Now, here I am an adult and I am still standing when there are kids in the seats. Doesn't seem fair. I guess that's what happens when you're born a decade or so before the whole world decides to throw out good manners. I'd love to live in an age where men stood when women entered the room, where they pulled out your chair, and where they gave up their seat for you. I got a taste of that when I was in Palm Springs and it was lovely.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Rob's parents arrived from England yesterday to spend two weeks in B.C. for the first time ever. Today, Shonah (who is down from Kelowna again this weekend to attend a shower for her friend) and I will drive to North Vancouver and meet up with Rob, Ashleigh and Rob's parents for brunch.

We drive to the restaurant, one I haven't heard of before but is right beside the daycare that Ashleigh works at, is called The Tomahawk. I don't know how I have managed not to notice this place in the half dozen or more times I have visited Ashleigh at work, but when I see it I am instantly so sad that I didn't know of this place years ago when a much-loved uncle and aunt came over from England a few times for visits. Uncle Donald just loved anything to do with the native Indians and this place is literally stuffed to the rafters with hundreds of original art and carvings, artifacts and utensils made and used by the local Indians. As I look around in wonder at it all, I try to imagine what the value of it must be. I am guessing, priceless. Apparently, during the depression when money was scarce, the owner took these items in trade for a meal. He thought they were lovely but worthless at the time. Now they amount to a veritable treasure trove. Uncle Donald would have been dazzled.

And the food is fabulous. And it's so lovely to see Geoff and Kathy again. I only got to see them for a few hours, all tolled, on Tortola for the wedding. They went home the day after as they'd arrived the week before. We arrived a couple of days before and stayed two weeks after. I wish we had all been there at the same time as we could have gotten to know each other better. They're a lot of fun and I'm really enjoying having this time with them now.

Once we've all but licked our plates, we walk over the parking lot to Little Acorn Daycare, where Ashleigh works. She has the keys and opens the place up to show her in-laws where she spends most of her days. Kathy is delighted to see it as she likes now having a visual to put with her thoughts of Ashleigh from so far away. I know just what she means as I felt the same way the first time I went to visit Ashleigh when she worked in London as a nanny for three years. It was great to finally see where she lived and worked so that, when I talked to her on the phone or thought about her during the day, I could visualise her in her surroundings.

We go for a walk along the water from Ambleside to Dundarave and all along the way, the visitors from England are enthralled with the scenery on one side and the houses and gardens on the other.

There's a stretch of about a mile that is all sizes of rocks and boulders leading down to the water. They were brought in from elsewhere to build an embankment that holds the pathway we are now walking on. All along the way, people have built Inukshuks and some have just piled rocks, one on top of the other in the most precarious of balancing acts, to create a tower. Rob talks of how he'd love to push them over (but wouldn't really do it) and his dad suggests he build his own and then he can push it over if he likes. Rob jumps down over the wall and those of us left on the path start pointing out rocks he should use. A few people walking along the path stop to watch as he builds his own tower and he gets embarrassed and comes back to the path. One woman who has stopped encourages him to go back and then we all chime in so he - gamely - climbs back over the wall and continues to build. It takes some effort and about 20 minutes before he is done, being cheered along all the while by passers by, and the four of us. It's a strangely exciting process and when he is finished the last thing he wants to do is knock it down, and we don't want him to either.

As we walk away, Shonah comments on how it gives us all a new appreciation for the work it takes to build one. I correct her and say that it gave Rob a new appreciation as he did all the hard work.

When we get to the pier at Dundarave, Ashleigh tells us of a cool sculpture that is a large sphere etched with the islands and continents of the world and floats on a fountain of water which causes it to spin. When we stand before it, admiringly, we aren't the only people there. There's a group of three also looking at it a little ways off from us. Then they walk right up to it and one of the men points to the sphere and makes some comments. As I start to hear what he's saying, it's sounding like he's saying "when I put this here, I..." and "well, this part was very difficult to do and it took me....". I start to wonder if I am hearing right. Because it's sounding like he made this sculpture. I finally ask him, "Excuse me, but did you make this?" He says that he did. We are all delighted and ask him about it. He then proceeds to remove a grate that covers a hole beside the statue; it's the size of a man-hole. He shows us the 'room' that is underneath the sculpture where the water is pumped from to hold the sphere up. We all peer down into the dark space as he describes how it works.

Once he has replaced the grate, I ask to take his photo with the sculpture but he doesn't want to; he seems embarrassed but I manage to talk him into it by saying, "oh please! This is such an amazing coincidence, to find you here just as we arrive. I'd love to have your photo with it." He finally consents, and as I take a couple of shots, I tell him I will be putting it up on my blog. He seems delighted by that.

On our walk back we see Rob's tower still standing. I hope it stays that way for a while.

After some refreshing passion fruit lemonade at Starbucks, we part ways; Shonah and I to go back to Langley and the four of them to go make reservations to whale watch later this week and then head up to Grouse Mountain for the rest of the day.

When we get home, Shonah is so tired she can barely stand up. She doesn't want to go to bed, however, because she won't be able to sleep through the night and so needs to find a way to stay awake. We decide to go down to that little park by the river that I've been spending some time at and play croquet.

Shonah sets up a course all over the place and we quickly finish that. Then she sets one up in a grove of trees. She puts the wickets in the most impossible places and we have a lot of fun and laughter trying to complete the course.

On the way home I take her over the Golden Ears Bridge, as she hasn't been over it yet. We were going to go for ice cream on the other side but she decides she doesn't feel like having any so we turn right around and come back. She walks into the house and pretty much straight into bed. She's out like a light by 7:30.

All in all, a pretty great day. I don't get to do stuff like that very often and I have no idea why not. I guess I just don't make the effort. I need to get out more.
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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