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...

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I am missing the islands and I decided to make a video of White Bay, Jost Van Dyke because I couldn't find one I really liked on YouTube.

I hope you like it.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Sunset on Anegada

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. Tomorrow is the first day of summer.

You could have fooled me.

The weather in and around Vancouver since my return from the BVI has been nothing short of MISERABLE. Cloudy, cold, raining... I think there have been three days where I have actually seen the sunshine. Gladly, one of them was last Thursday on my daughter's birthday. I took her out shopping for some makeup at a fabulous wholesale place (I can shop there because I have a movie union card) and then for a lovely lunch at Havana on 'The Drive'. The day before was the first time she had managed to keep her food down in 13 weeks and so we had high hopes that she would not only enjoy lunch but be able to hang onto it. Alas it was not to be. No sooner had we left the restaurant than she felt the meal was very heavy in her tummy. I took her home so she could have a nap before going out for a birthday dinner with her hubby later that evening and she called a bit later to say she had lost most of her lunch. Poor girl! She's lost 10lbs or more and it has really sapped all of her energy. (You know, writing this I don't think I have written on my blog that I am to be a grandmother come the end of the year [I just updated this post where I sort-of hinted at something when I originally wrote it]. I was told on the day my kids and I went to White Rock for a Mother's Day fish & chips lunch [although I had to pay for my own lunch so not sure if it was for MD - it was supposed to be, because I was away on actual MD]. I had suspected that they were going to tell me that very thing and had said as much to my friend the day before. I have no idea how I know these things but I often do. Anyhow I was very excited at the news and am really looking forward to this new chapter of my life.)

This card was in an envelope and with all the other mail my daughter had collected for me while I was gone. That is how they told me!

Anyway, back to this CRAPPY weather. I feel like I am going to go insane and I am not kidding. I just want to scream at the top of my voice that I HATE HATE HATE it here and I want out. People tell me "oh you would miss the seasons if you moved south." Oh really? What seasons would those be, exactly? The fall, winter and spring which is basically one long season of GREY and RAIN and COLD?

Vancouver in the rain. That sure is no Caribbean beach!

I love the Caribbean and would live there in a heartbeat but I can't work there so that is out. AND the cost of living is stupid high so even if I could get work, which I can't, I couldn't afford to come home to see my kids (and now a grandchild as of the end of this year) as much as I'd want to - if at all. I'd move to California - I love Palm Springs despite there being no beaches - but I can't work there either. I have never been so frustrated in my life as I have these past two years. I am SO DONE with the Pacific North West.

If anyone knows a way out - I am all ears.

Palm Springs

P.S. Sorry for the rant but I am seriously at the end of my rope and very stressed out at the moment. I know I should be just grateful that I had a month in the Caribbean while everyone else was here, toughing it out - I really do. But some people can handle this weather better than I do. I feel like I have put up with it for years and I am DONE with it. I just want to run away from it all. Also, it is hard not to have someone to share life's ups and downs with and I am weary of going it alone. In the rain. And then an invitation to THIS that I can't go to, and the fact that Walker and Nancy are back at Hidden Treasure as of today was sort of the last straw. I want to be there.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I have found a fabulous suite in New Westminster. It's not the one pictured in yesterday's post - that place was really tiny. Those photos were nothing short of miracle photography, making the rooms look at least twice the size they actually are.

No, the place I found was the second place I mentioned. The woman who owns it called me the evening before I was to head over to New West and I scheduled a time to view it right before I went to the other one.

The house is AMAZING. It is a genuine New Westminster heritage home, one of the larger beauties. When I was ushered into the main floor, where the owner lives, the grandeur of the dark wood-paneled entrance hall with high coffered ceilings took my breath away.

The house is divided into four additional suites, one in the basement, two on the third floor, and one in the attics. The suite available that I was shown was on the second floor. The door into the suite opened to reveal a roomy, sunny living room with a large bay window on one end. An antique brass chandelier hung from the center of a 12 foot ceiling and underfoot (throughout the whole suite) was the original wood flooring. This, at one time, was one of the bedrooms in the home. The suite ran the depth of the house and through a doorway was a small kitchen on the left and a place for table and chairs on the right. Continuing through, past a small open storage closet, was the bedroom - about half the size of the living room. Each room had a door that lead into the common hall where, down at the end, was the bathroom. That's right, there's no bathroom in my suite but the one down the hall is mine (as the other suite on that floor contains a private bathroom). There is also a bedroom on the floor that the owner reserves for her daughter when she visits from New York, and for when missionaries that her church supports come back for a visit. At those times, the bathroom is shared with whoever occupies the spare room. I was concerned about this at first and it was almost a deal breaker for me. But when I asked further, she divulged that she only has female visitors stay in the room and not all that frequently. The commode is in a separate room from the bath and shower. I decided that I could deal with it. The price is right and the rooms perfectly suit my taste in decor and furnishings - Shabby Chic.

I told the owner that I would take it but she wanted to hold it for me for 10 days until I am sure. She is a bit nervous that I only saw two places. But I don't need to see more. I love this suite! I sent her my references today.

The James Gilley House. The suite is the bay window on the left (second floor); the two windows on the side are in the kitchen and bedroom, in that order.

Here is some history on the original owner of the house:


For many years connected with the firm of Gilley Brothers of New Westminster, James Rogers Gilley occupied an important position in the commercial life of his community, being highly regarded by all who knew him for his straightforward business methods and his honorable dealings. His death, in August 1906, removed from the city's activities one of its foremost citizens and a man who even in a short span of life had done much to promote the
general welfare.

James R. Gilley was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, June 12, 1863, a son of Walter and Sarah (Rogers) Gilley. There he was reared and educated but in 1886, when twenty-three years of age, came to British Columbia to join his brothers, Walter R. and H. Gilley, who had located here a few years previously. After his arrival here he engaged in the teaming and livery business in company with his brother Walter at Port Haney for a year. In 1887 they removed to New Westminster, establishing themselves in the same line, and here the three brothers were associated in business for about five years, at the end of which period the livery stable was disposed of, all their attention being given to their teaming. Gradually the present extensive business of Gilley Brothers developed and new lines were taken up, including handling of building materials, coal, crushed rock and sewer pipe, they also becoming in time owners of extensive quarries. The firm gradually built up a business which was second to few, if any, in their line in the province.

In 1890 James R. Gilley returned to New Brunswick for his bride and on the 2nd of October of that year was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Adelma Dean, a daughter of Rufus P. and Mary (Smith) Dean, of St. David, New Brunswick. Mr. and Mrs. Gilley became the parents of eight children: Reita Sarah; Edgar Roland and James Royden - twins; Rufus Walter; Marjorie Evelyn; Beatrice Adelma; Verna Muriel; and Jean Rogers Dean.

Mr. Gilley always took an active interest in fraternal affairs and was a well known member of Union Lodge, No. 9, A. F. & A. M. Beside his connection with the firm of Gilley Brothers he was interested in other commercial enterprises, having made judicious investments as prosperity came to him. He stood ever ready to give his support to any worthy movement that he considered would benefit his adopted city and gave an example of public-spirited citizenship well worthy of emulation. Strictly temperate in his habits, he was upright and honorable in all his dealings and although entitled to prominence and recognition, was modest and unassuming in his demeanor. Frank, open-hearted and genial, he was easily approachable and personally popular, his generous nature making him a favorite among all who knew him. He was always willing to give his share of time and money to any measure that had for its object the good of the community, never taking into consideration if such measures would benefit him financially or not. Naturally his death therefore was a heavy loss to the city of New Westminster, where he died August 1906, the news of his demise bringing sorrow to many a home. Mrs. Gilley, who survives, makes her home in the beautiful residence which he erected on Eighth street shortly prior to his death. She is a woman of many charming qualities and is rarely accomplished and is socially popular among the best people of New Westminster.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Well, it seems my quest for a nice RV to park on the studio lot for season 2 of Mr.Young is for naught. There isn't going to be enough room to park it there. Plans are to build a couple of outbuildings to get paint and construction out of the studio - which is a great idea as the smell and sawdust drives us all insane. Parking will be at a premium; there's more than enough for all of the crew but come Friday nights, when we shoot before a live audience, there just isn't enough.

So, growing ever more adaptable in my new life of scaled-down living, I switched my search from the RV'S to apts/housing for rent. I kept my search to New Westminster and South Burnaby, as both locations would be very close to work. I found a few that seem to suit and I have one, hopefully two, lined up to see tomorrow. I spoke at length with the owner of the one I am booked in to view and it sounds like it will be mine if I want it. It's two large rooms on the top floor of a small-ish heritage home in New Westminster. It has wood floors, sloped ceilings, and a fairly large bathroom. I would share the kitchen (although have a bar fridge and cupboards for my food upstairs) with the family; a couple with a four year old daughter. The dad is away lots on business. I would have preferred something with a small kitchen of my own, but this has a lot that I couldn't either find or be sure of in any of the other ad's, namely; right price, quiet assured, top floor, wood floors, parking, and enough space for a separate bedroom and sitting room.

Photos of the suite from the ad.

I like what I see in the pictures, but I'd like an appointment with the second place I found to at least compare what is available for the same price in the same area. Here's hoping they call me back today.

Monday, June 13, 2011


So I received several emails and a few posts on FaceBook from friends concerned that the deal on the motor home I wrote about yesterday could be a scam.   Let me say that the thought did not originate in my mind with these expressed concerns.  I didn't fall off of the cabbage truck yesterday but I do tend to be more trusting than most people.  However, I tend to research something until the information starts to repeat itself and this was no different.

I started out by checking eBay's Vehicle Purchase Protection; the way the seller wished to handle the transaction. It looked pretty iron-clad as far as protecting me from fraud. I then called a friend who had purchased a Land Rover from eBay using this method of payment. He said that, if the vehicle wasn't being sold on eBay (it wasn't, it was Craigslist) then the seller would start a private auction, once I had decided to purchase, and I would buy it on eBay at the 'buy now' price. Then eBay would contact me and I would place the funds with them in escrow until the vehicle arrived and I had 5 days to inspect it. Other than my friend finding his Land Rover on eBay initially, this was exactly how it worked for him and it worked well. Reassured, I felt I could move on with securing financing from my bank today.

I also had Googled the title of the ad on Craigslist to see what would come up. It turned up three more identical ads in PEI, Edmonton, and Richmond BC (the one I was replying to was Vancouver, BC). When I checked the ads, the one in Edmonton had been flagged for removal. This did not give me a huge concern as Craigslist does not allow multiple posts in different cities for the same item. But I filed it away in my mind as something to remember.

Another friend from work offered to find someone who lived in Yellowknife, where the rig is, and have them go take a look at it and make sure it was legit. I took him up on it and he posted to his FB page asking if anyone knew anyone who lived there and I did the same thing.

This morning I was about to put together my proposal to the bank and was checking emails to see if the seller had replied to my request for a VIN# and the name and address of the shipper in the Yukon who has possession of the RV. There was no reply as of yet (they are in London, England) but there was a message from a good friend of mine. She wrote to say to be very careful as the deal sounded too good to be true (which was my biggest concern thus far) and that they had nearly been scammed in a similar deal last week. She urged me to Google 'car selling scams', something I had not thought to do. I did and the first site on the list had all a list of typical scams and the first one I clicked on was almost exactly what I was experiencing. Here's a list:

The seller is almost always from London, England. Check.
They will want to use eBay Protection. Check.
They will have some excuse as to why they don't want the vehicle where they live now. Check.

The first experience listed also stated that huge red flags for her was when, once they had agreed to buy the vehicle, the letter from eBay was full of spelling mistakes AND they required the payment be sent through Western Union only.

Had my dealings with this RV gotten that far, they would have stopped right there. I have an active eBay account and have received several emails from 'eBay' over the years claiming various things that all required me to visit the site - link kindly provided in the email - and sign in to verify this or that. Every time I have sent the email straight to eBay's spoof department. As for sending the payment through Western Union, I would NEVER EVER EVER use Western Union to send money in a transaction of this sort. The money would be wired from my bank or they could forget it. Like I said, I didn't fall off the cabbage truck yesterday.

So I would have discovered that this was fraud eventually, but it is really great to have done so before it got that far.

As for advice I received to get the VIN# and then run it through CarFax:
quote from the website I found: Anybody can get a VIN and pictures of a legitimate car off of any number of websites, like AutoTrader.com or even eBay. CarFax does not show the owners name, and they know this. The vehicle will show to be free and clear of any loans or liens and they know this too as they will have checked already.

Lastly, this morning I tried something I attempted to do yesterday but couldn't figure out - I clicked on the little down arrow beside 'reply' on the header of one of the emails from the seller in Google Mail. This opens a drop-down menu that gives me several options. I selected 'show original' and a page of details showing the path the email took to get to me opened up. In there I found the originating ISP# on this line:
Authentication-Results: mr.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of chandelle.kies63@gmail.com designates as permitted sender) - *I put the ISP in bold.

I then typed: Who is into Google search and up came a map of a range of ISP's including that one and their place of origin; off of the coast of AFRICA, not London England as the sender claimed.

So it pays to do your research and I hope this helps anyone who might be considering an internet deal that seems too good to be true because it really is true that if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Please, Please, PLEASE?!

I first got the idea of living in an RV full time in the winter of '09 when I was kind of at the end of my rope with my situation. Actually, I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of converting my mini-van into a camper-van and living in it full time. You can read about that time in my life here. It was a pretty low point for me in that season of no work and no money. But the seed of an idea that really appealed to me was planted - namely, living full time in an RV and being able to go wherever I felt like going whenever I wanted to, and always having a place to live.

Since that time, I have moved in with a good friend who gave me a large room for a very good monthly rent. It allows me to have a place for things I need to have with me (and the rest is in 74 - yes SEVENTY FOUR boxes in another friend's crawl space) as well as afforded me the opportunity to save up for much needed dental work and a trip to the BVI (also much needed, for my sanity's sake. I have nearly driven myself mad for two years with longing to go back).

I have known that the living situation with my friend was not permanent as she has a big family of adult kids that keep coming home as well as wanting to renovate her basement, where my room is. Add to that a commute in horrendous traffic for an hour and a half every day into my job as a script supervisor on a children's TV series (and up to another an hour home) which is more than I can face for another year or more. When I saw, last season, that two crew members had brought motor homes to live on the studio lot, the seed of the idea began to bloom. How very much time and money (in gas) I would save if I could buy a motor home and do the same. And when not filming the show, in the summer months I could take it up to Kelowna to visit my friends and daughter, and in the winter I could head south to get out of the weather I hate so much in Vancouver. And most attractive of all, I would always have a place to live, even when there was long stretches of no work. It seemed like the perfect solution to my situation and inherent longing for adventure.

I decided that should the show go to a second season and should I be asked to come back, I was going to buy a motor home. I would have to scrimp and save for the first three or four months of the show, but I know I can do that. And once in a motor home - I would not only save on gas but on rent.  To me it seemed like a total win situation. So I started to look online for motor homes for sale to figure out what sort of rigs fell into my price range.

I figured that $10,000 - $15,000 was my range, with the high being a bit of a stretch because it would put me into a motor home rather late in the shooting season, and would take a lot of my income for the entire second season (and I need to consider the fact that I must to save up to get the rest of my dental work done).  I decided on 'C' class RV's because - although large 'A' class models are roomier and have lots of storage,  are often comparable to the smaller 'C' class models in price for the same year, AND tend to have lower mileage because people just drive them to a pad and then park them for years - the thoughts of driving what amounts to a bus is daunting to me. I quickly discovered that I wasn't going to get anything newer than about a '95 for my range. I also found that there are quite a few 'C' classes available with low mileage for either the same reason that 'A' classes are so low,  or people only use them two weeks out of the year to drive to a destination they will stay at the entire time.

What I realized over a three month period of checking adverts was, there's lots of choices out there and there wouldn't be any trouble finding something I would be happy with once I had the cash to pay for it. So - no need to get anxious or stress out about losing out on a good deal, I would get back to work in July, save like mad and buy something in September or October.

All of that changed yesterday.

First of all, when I got back from Kelowna, my friend told me that she needs me to move out soon because she is going ahead with plans to renovate the basement and she needs to put one of her daughters in my room. We talked about it and she is agreeable to me not moving out until our hiatus in October, so that gives me time to save but no time to fart around. I had been toying with saving for the dentist first and getting that over and done with in October but now it has to be the motor home that comes first. I also have to get serious about paring down, yet again, my belongings so that I can fit my stuff comfortably into the motor home I buy.

Secondly I started searching again for what is out there in my price range. As I looked, I found one or two that I really like and so wrote to the owners to try to set up times to go see them so that I can get a good idea of how much storage there will be, the condition I can expect the unit to be in - that sort of thing. Then, as I continued to look, I found one that made my heart skip more than a few beats. 

I know I can't buy something I am going to be truly happy to live in full time for the price I can afford. But my thinking is, if I buy a decent one with low miles and then we go to a third season on the show, I could probably sell it for what I paid for it and then trade up. If we went to season four and five, I could do it again - twice - and end up with something really nice; newer, with push-out's, roadworthy (because I am not entirely confident that I can get something right off the bat that I would feel confident driving to, say, Arizona in). I could end up with something like I found yesterday - the one that made my hear skip beats.

As I read the very short ad, I felt there had to be a mistake. The only two pictures in the ad were of the exterior of the vehicle showed a beautiful 'C' class RV with a truck cab. The description: 2006. Diesel engine. Three slide outs.  No leaks, no rust, no dents, no accidents, no smokers or pets ever inside.  $14,500. I have looked at enough RV ads by now to know that has to be a typo. So I email the owner and ask if the price is actually FOURTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Today I get a reply.   That is the price.  I hardly dare breathe.

I write back and asked why it is that price, what the mileage is,  and does she have more photos. She writes back to say that she has moved to London, England and just wants it sold. It only has 65,700km on it. It is in the Yukon and the price includes delivery to my door! She wants to sell it using eBay Vehicle Motor Purchase Protection - which I look up and is a fabulous way to go as it protects both the buyer and the seller. She includes about 30 pictures of both the outside and inside and it is honestly the Cadillac of RV's.

I then do a search online for the same make and model. What I find leves me stunned; this motor home sells anywhere from $65K - $99K. It was $150K brand new. I read a few RV sites where people sing the praises of how it handles, how much storage there is, how well designed the interior is, how it comes with everything you can think of... on and on. The only negative thing I read is that upgrading the shocks will improve the drive at higher speeds and that installing 'air bags' will improve the low riding rear end.

I write back and tell her I want this RV. I tell her that I need two days to go to my bank and see if they will give me a loan for it. She says she will hold it until she hears back from me.

So now I am driving myself mental with anxiety wondering if the bank will give me a loan. Having declared bankruptcy two years ago is not going to be hugely in my favour but I read an article that said it's not necessarily going to hinder me either. I figure that the RV is worth so much more than the loan that it is a good risk. Also I can prove my earning income and they can see from my deposits and savings last season that I can save a LOT of money when I want to. I can have the loan paid off by January for sure. I have a good friend that is a bank manager and I need to talk to her today to see what she thinks my chances are.

Oh, please, please, PLEASE let this work out. It would be AMAZING if it did.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Five Days in Kelowna, B.C.

I decided to escape the cold and wet of the coast and head up to Kelowna, B.C., home of the legendary Ogopogo, to visit my youngest daughter who lives there.

Statue of Ogopogo

I can't drive my old jeep on the Coquihalla Highway as it has long, murderous hills that I don't trust it can live through so I looked at flights and found a seat sale on West Jet but by the time I was ready to buy, the sale was over. I ended up finding a friend who was heading up that way on Sunday so hitched a ride with him. I would have liked to have left on Friday so I could have a weekend with Shonah, but beggars can't be choosers and I was very happy to have a free ride. (I offered to help pay for the gas but it was a business trip for him thus covered).

The weather in Kelowna was warmer than the coast by about 10 degrees, but still not the hot sunny days one expects up there by now. And a trip to the lake on my first day, to a beach I took the kids to almost daily when we lived there, was a huge disappointment. I guess coming right off of a trip to paradise (where visions of beaches that are straight out of Islands Magazine were still dancing in my head) made this beach look dirty, pebbly, and the water brown and cold. I dipped my toe in and cold doesn't quite cover it - it was freezing! So I left and never went back to the lake.

Certainly not the Caribbean.

Instead I spent my days (while Shonah was at work) reading, doing dishes, visiting with a couple of friends (one I had really wanted to see came down with a terrible cold the day I arrived so I didn't get to see her), and a bit of shopping. In the evenings Shonah and I went to see Pirates 4, had ice cream down in the City Park while people watching, walked through a pretty Japanese garden in the city center, went to Kelley O'Brian's for patcho's (YUM!), and watched a couple of DVD's and a Canucks game together. One day I went and had lunch with her at Disney Online Studios. What a great place to work. Their lunchroom is AMAZING with foosball, video games on a giant screen TV, a fully stocked kitchen - yougurt, fruit, veggie plate, granola bars, pudding cups, chips, pop, water, two $45,000 cappuccino machines, and lots of windows and nice seating.

The Japanese Gardens.

We headed back together on Friday after she was done work, and after we had 20 minutes or so with an old friend I hadn't seen for 15 years or more that we spied at a coffee shop right across from where Shonah works as we were driving away. That was really nice. Roberta and her husband, and me and mine were best of friends from just before we got married right up until we moved to Kelowna in '93. And, strangely enough, they lived in Kelowna and we had kept up a long distance friendship for years by visiting them every Easter and some summer weeks. Now that we lived there, we never saw them. I think they were really disappointed in us not joining their church, going to one we had heard about and wanted to check out instead. Whatever the reason, it had been too long since I had laid eyes on her. Funnily enough, my daughter and hers work at the same place and have continued their childhood friendship for the past few years, so I had sort of kept up with how Roberta was doing through them. Next time I go to Kelowna, the two of us have plans to see much more of each other and renew our friendship. I am really looking forward to that.

Friday, June 3, 2011


It's been miserable since I got home - raining and COLD!!! And that isn't just me not being able to acclimatize because the furnace has been coming on. It's actually COLD!

I arranged to meet a good friend in Vancouver for the day on Sunday and it ended up being partly sunny and actually warmish when the sun was out. We met at her place near Gastown for brunch and then went for a walk. (I had lunch on Saturday with two of my kids but I can't talk about that just yet. UPDATE June20: Ok now I can - I am going to be a GRANDMA!!!! - but I won't be called grandma or grannie or nana. I like Nona but my daughter doesn't so we will see. The baby is due December 23.)

This city can be gorgeous when it wants to be. I hope it 'wants' to be more often and soon. That was our only good weather day since I got home.

Memories of sand between my toes and humid air warms my days and haunts my dreams. My head is still back in the BVI.
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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