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...

Monday, September 27, 2010


I just completed 6 weeks on two movies for the same producers. The second one was a Christmas movie to air on Lifetime Movie Network on December 5th, called On Strike for Christmas. It stars Daphne Zuniga of One Tree Hill and David Sutcliffe of Gilmore Girls. What a super nice guy he is. I just loved his personality and he's an amazing actor with great instincts and impeccable comedic timing. My youngest is a huge Gilmore Girls fan so I had her bring down one of her boxed sets when she was passing through on a recent trip to Disneyland and had him sign it for her. Julia Duffy was in the cast and I loved her from the Newhart show (she was the maid in the Inn he owned). She is a delightful lady and I envy the women who get to call her a friend.

One fun thing; I got to teach 3 or 4 women on the cast how to knit. In the story, the main character owns a knitting store and the ladies sit around and knit as they chat. Daphne didn't know how to knit and so I taught her and a couple of others. Daphne was hooked and continued to knit through the entire movie while waiting between setups for lighting to finish. She completed a piece that was the perfect shape to make a little hat. She gave it to an actor who was playing her son but it ended up on the head of one of our producers, Jim. Here he is with Daphne wearing the hat. I told Jim that I want a credit at the end for 'Knitting Instructor'. I hope I get it. That would be fun.

The art department did such a fantastic job of turning an empty storefront into a knitting shop that we actually had women coming in to browse for wool while we were all on lunch!

I had a great time and I don't think I have ever laughed so much on a show before. I am really sorry it's over BUT... I got the kids series so I will be working until the end of April, thank the Lord!!!!! It's a four day work week and only 10 hour days so I will actually get to have a life. The trade off is not as much money but I am fine with that.

The show is called Mr. Young and is for YTV, a kids network here in Canada. The premise of the story is that the main Character, Adam Young, is a child genius and graduated university at age 13. He is now a teacher in the high school that he would normally be attending. So in his classes are his sister, his best friend, and a girl he has a crush on. It is a sitcom, the first ever to be shot in front of a live studio audience here in western Canada so it's a pretty big deal to have gotten it.

I am so in the Christmas mood, thanks to the show I just finished. We spent 10 days in a house that was decorated for Christmas inside and the last two nights outside in a cul-de-sac that was ablaze with Christmas lights and decorations. It was so much fun!!! (except for the deluge our first day/night outside - blah! We all got soaking wet through).

So, as a result, I have started Christmas shopping. I have three people completely bought for; a few more smaller gifts bought; and an almost complete list on my cool new iPhone app, Christmas List. I LOVE it!!!

OH!! And, AND, I have booked my trip to Palm Springs for another Christmas in the desert with all of those fabulous (gay) men. I can't wait!

Monday, September 6, 2010


I haven't been to the PNE for over 14 years, I found out today. I knew it had been a while but didn't realize it had been that long.

Linda, my Props Master friend from work texted me to see if I wanted to go on Sunday. I did. I wanted to go the weekend before but couldn't find anyone to go with me.

We get there early, the gates open at 11:00, and had a fun day tromping all around the place eating fair food - yay Those Little Doughnuts; giving the 'deep fried butter' a wide berth - YUK!! We tried the deep fried Oreos though. Meh. We poured over the many booths of goods for sale in 'The Marketplace' building. We went through the animal barns just to see the horses - Linda's a horse nut - and watched the Clydesdale show. We went through the show home that will eventually be located in Kelowna. I didn't buy tickets for it - I haven't ever gone to the PNE and not bought tickets for it before but having never won I decided not to bother. We skipped the rides, although I would have gone on the roller coasters if Linda wasn't such a chicken. We stopped to listen to a US Marine band play - they were excellent, and we watched the little parade the grounds put on; the theme this year was 100 years of celebration - Paint the Town! It was really well done; music was great, dancers were cute and the costumes were very well done.


Note to self: never buy a black chandelier. This one was partially black and all those crystals showed the dust like you wouldn't believe.


I had no idea they were showcasing people in the animal section now! I guess they're pretty good specimens judging by the ribbons on the stall.

One of the reasons I haven't been to the PNE for ages was that they took down several of the exhibit buildings years ago and replaced them with green space. I always thought that was the stupidest thing... it's an amusement park, not a park park. There was a great building they called The B.C. Building that had a huge relief map of the province that you looked down on from the story above and the rest of the building housed things of historical interest to the province. There was another building that showcased all the entries for the various categories of hand made or home grown goods. I loved that building. There were always amazingly crafted items - knit, sewn, stitched, painted, carved, embellished, iced (fabulous cakes), and baked. There were flower arrangements, vegetables, fruit... you name it. Now there's none of that at all. I didn't go to the PNE for years as a silent protest to the changes that putting in the green space wrought to the experience of going there.

So I surprised myself when I suggested to Linda that we take the tour of 'The Sanctuary' that was now in it's place. It seemed like a good idea to get away from the growing press of bodies in the main areas. There was a wonderful older British woman giving the tour, and she stopped at each different bush and tree, telling us what they were and how their berries or wood was used, both now and in the past. There is a natural stream that runs through the property that was taken underground in pipes for many decades. It has been 'daylighted' by the changes and now there's a large pond that is surrounded by reeds and is home to many ducks and migratory birds. There's even a turtle who lives there - probably relocated by a previous owner who no longer wanted a pet turtle. It is a lovely park and I was almost converted to believing that creating it there was a good idea. Until I remembered the crafts building and the hours I used to spend pouring over the entries and how inspired I felt when I left. There's a lot of park space in Vancouver. I don't think they needed to turn the one Fairground we have into another park. And it seems the environmentalists aren't satisfied with just part of the grounds as a park. They want the whole thing to be turned into a park and the PNE will be no more.

I hope that never happens.

(My first memory of the PNE is the summer after we arrived in Canada from England, so 1966, my mother had saved up Kool-Aid packets that could be traded in for ride tickets. We were in our first-ever car, a red and white 1952 Ford Fairlane, and my dad got pulled over for running a red light. When the police man came to the car window and asked my dad for his license, my sister and I - in the back seat - burst into hysterical tears. I thought he was off to jail. It was soon all sorted and we were finally at the PNE. All I recall of it is it being night and the many bright colored lights from the rides; and an uncle and aunt who were even fresher 'off the boat', house sitting for us - mom thought they'd enjoy watching TV as they didn't have one yet - and they being furious with us when we got home because they thought the invite was to come with us to the amusement park [not sure why that little misunderstanding didn't come up before we drove off].)

Sunday, September 5, 2010


My friend, Tana - the Key Makeup gal that hired me, just moved into a sweet little condo at the Athlete's Village. It's tiny but gorgeous with an amazing view.

I get a text from her on Saturday afternoon inviting me over for the evening with a couple of other girls I know from work.

I spend the afternoon baking chocolate chip cookies for the producer of the show I start on Tuesday as it's his birthday on Saturday (the same day my son turns 30!!!!). As I won't have any time to do it next week, I am doing them now and will give them to him on the first day of shooting (or they'll dry out by the weekend). The recipe makes a lot so I pack up a few and take them downtown for my evening with friends.

When I get there, they all greet me at the main entrance as the buzzer to let me in hasn't been hooked up to her suite yet. They are all excited to show me the penthouse of the place; the elevator goes right into the suite and hasn't been locked off yet and no one has moved in. We go up and it is, in a word, spectacular. The view is to die for. There's an enormous roof-top deck that could easily hold a hundred people and it overlooks the whole of False Creek and the mountains. If I could live there, I might not be so desperate to get to the Caribbean.

Actually - yeah I still would be.

Laura, Ania, Tana, The Cirque de Soleil Tents in the Distance

(first three photos are from the patio of the penthouse. the other two are Tana's apartment)

Saturday, September 4, 2010


So I bought a new iPhone 4 on Wednesday. I've been wanting an iPhone for ages but didn't want to pay full price and so needed to wait until my provider contract was up to get the best rate. Unfortunately, when I left on my no-sailing non-adventure, I had put my account on hold. There was a small monthly fee to keep it activated and when I got back, I had it restored to full service. But what they did was start me over with a new contract for three years. So that means I still have two more years to fulfill before I can get an iPhone for cheap. Someone at work was telling me that the provider tried to do that with them and they wouldn't stand for it so they didn't start her contract over. So I call my provider and, after some gentle persuasion, get them to fix it so that I am now without a contract. Which means I can sign a new 3 year contract, and get the phone for $260 less the $150 I have in FIDO dollars (a rewards program with them). Sweet deal!

I go down to the store on Tuesday but they are all out and inform me that they are getting shipments all the time but can't tell me exactly when; just that they get deliveries from UPS between 11:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon but not every afternoon. Great.

So I head down there on Wednesday at 10:30 with the script I have to break down for the show that starts September 7th, and sit outside the store on a mall bench to work and wait. I am there about two hours when I see the UPS guy arrive with a huge cart piled high with boxes. I snap my binder shut and dash into the store. There are two people ahead of me, and they want iPhones as well. How on earth did they get in before me? I guess they just got lucky and showed up at the right time.

The guy behind the counter is surly and seems mad that we all want iPhones. When someone asks him if there are any in the boxes now piled behind the counter (not all the boxes on the cart were for the cell phone store) he growls that he has no idea as he hasn't had any time to check them. He then proceeds to open the boxes, one at a time, and slowly scan in the contents, going over each purchase order sheet with a fine tooth comb. He makes all of us that want iPhones move over to form a new line. Whenever a customer comes in that isn't there for the iPhone, he stops to serve them and then resumes slowly checking in all the phones. Each box that opens, there is a collective holding of breath from the now dozen or so of us in the lineup. One lady, who's husband is also there, has stepped out of the lineup to get closer to the counter so she can peer over into the box and tell us what they are. Blackberries, Motorolas, Siemens'... everything BUT iPhones. Our hope is waning with each box. He then opens the last of three boxes. BINGO!! It's the 32G iPhone 4. There's 6 in there. That means I will get a phone for sure. He then opens the next box; 6 more - all 16G. The last box has more iPhones, not sure which ones. So the rotter intentionally kept those boxes for last just to keep us all waiting and in suspense.

When I walk out of there with mine, an hour after lining up, I head right over to London Drugs to buy a case for it and some screen protectors. Working on set, I need something to keep it in that will attach to my work bag and keep it from getting knocked about too much. I find what I need and head home.

When I open it up, there's not much in the way of instructions or directions, so I plug it into the wall socket to get it powered up but it seems it has come with a fully charged battery so I plug it into my computer to get started with activating it. A window pops up on my computer screen saying that the iPhone will not work with the operating system I have on my computer. Oh no. Was not expecting this.

I do some checking and discover that I need the 'Snow Leopard' operating system and I have 'Tiger'. So I pack everything up and head back down to the mall to the computer store to see about getting upgraded. The guy I get tells me that in addition to the upgrade, I need to add another gig of ram to run it. Total cost - $265. I swallow that bitter pill and hand over my laptop and my debit card. Three hours later I go back to pick it up. When I get home, I plug in my iPhone and all works great. So I spend a happy evening downloading a bunch of cool apps and playing with my new toy.

Thursday evening, after a production meeting in North Vancouver all morning and a hair appointment in the afternoon (I got it cut short!) I put the toy aside and get down to the business of prepping paperwork for my script. I go to print it out, and my printer won't print. I fuss with it for a while and then realize that I probably need new drivers to work with the new system. So I go to the Lexmark download page and discover, much to my dismay, that there are no updated drivers for this printer. I guess at four years old, it's too old to bother with. Fabulous. Not.

Friday morning I drive back down into town and buy a new printer from Staples. I am not thrilled about this but I had been planning to get a new one eventually, just not this soon. The reason being the price I have to pay for cartridges for it. I thought I knew what I wanted because I was looking at them a few months ago and the sales person told me that Kodak printers were great and, best of all, the ink cartridges are $9 for black and $16 for color!!!! A huge difference from the expensive Lexmark ones, my model being the most expensive of all. But now a different sales person is telling me that they are really slow at printing and that the cartridges print less than half what a HP cartridge will. And he shows me a really nice 4 in 1 printer that scans to files, faxes, copies, prints AND is wireless. And it's $40 cheaper than the Kodak. I hem and haw for a while because my mind had been made up, and then buy the HP.

I get it home and it takes me 20 minutes just to get it all out of the box, put together, and plugged in. When I get the ink cartridges installed, they won't align. I try three times and they just won't align. I am frustrated beyond words and, as the whole unit is computerized, there's no way to override it like there was with my old printer. So I can't print a thing. I am visualizing having to get it all back into the box to return it when I get the bright idea of putting in some nicer paper, the stuff I usually use, and not the cheap stuff that I thought I would use to save on the good stuff just for aligning. BINGO! It works. So I print out a bunch of paperwork for the show and then I decide to update my drivers license jpg file (I have to submit a copy of my drivers license for proof of residency for each show and so have it on my computer to email in) as I now have a new license... and it won't scan. Nothing I do will make it scan, and I try for over an hour. I can't get the wireless to work either.

I look up tech help and get online with a live person. He is in India. He starts to help me and after about fifteen minutes, I realize he never asked my for my operating system so I tell him I am on a Mac and give him the numbers. He tells me he only works with Windows and I need to call a 1-800 number for Mac help. So I get off line and call the number. I get a lovely young lady who has me uninstall everything I installed for the printer and then reinstall drivers from the HP website. Turns out the disc that came with it has old drivers and they don't work with Snow Leopard. We test it and everything works great. YIPEEE!!

But I rejoice too soon because I see on the screen that the new tool bar is telling me that my computer battery isn't charging and needs replacing. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

Also, a friend online is chatting with me and I tell him what is going on and he asks why I paid $260 for Snow Leopard when it's $35. WHAT?!?! So I get on the phone to the computer store and ask them the same question. Turns out, if I had Leopard then, yes, the upgrade is $35. But because I had Tiger, I needed the whole package. But he tells me that, if I come in, he will give me a discount. I tell him about the battery so he says to bring it down.

So I pack it all back up and drive all the way back down into Langley.

I walk in there with my laptop and he runs a bunch of diagnostics and, yes, the battery is kaput. With the discount he gives me for Snow Leopard, I hand over $40 instead of $135 and get a new battery with strict instructions to stop keeping it plugged in like I normally do. (Oh yeah, right: unplugging right now as I was charging it.)

Saturday morning, I get on the laptop and I plug it in to recharge it and the display reads 'Battery not recharging'. I numbly stare at it for a long time. This can't be happening. It just can't. But it is. So I throw myself together, pack up the laptop and head back down, yet again, into town to the computer store.

The guy plugs my laptop in, and the battery is charging just fine. What the crap? He then asks if I use a surge protector bar. I sure do. I paid over $100 for it. He tells me that, not long ago, there was a huge power surge in Langley and there was a flood of computers that came in for this very reason. Battery wouldn't charge. He said that, what ended up being the problem was, one outlet on the power bar took the hit and half died. So it had enough power running from it to run the computer but not run it and charge the battery. He suggested I go home and plug it into a different outlet on the bar and see what happens.

I do and it works and FINALLY everything is working fine.

And so, the almost free iPhone ended up costing me over $800.
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.