I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Friday, December 30, 2011


Christmas is over and now we are in that 'no man's land' between it and New Years. I had hoped there'd be a baby to help fill it in but she has decided that she's not ready to make her appearance yet.

Christmas Eve was fun with the kids over in my little place. We all fit quite well and I think all had a good time. Christopher forgot to bring the board games so we were a bit stymied for something to do once everyone was stuffed to the gills with the buffet of food I had prepared.

One thing we did was watch a video one of my friends had posted to her FaceBook page a few days before. I had watched it and laughed all the way through and my kids loved it, so here it is for you to enjoy: T'was the Night Before Christmas - Drunk. It's not like any other you've ever seen. WARNING: bad language throughout.

Watching Muppet's Christmas - Rob had never seen it so was subjected to it.

Christmas Day my youngest daughter and I went to my friend Fran's house for Christmas dinner. Her youngest daughter is the best friend of my youngest so we had a lovely time. Rob and Ashleigh stayed home for the day in anticipation of the baby's arrival as they didn't want to be far from the hospital she will give birth at.

My good friends, Fran and Tom.

The rest of the week I have spent alone and bored out of my mind. I decided to download season one of Breaking Bad as I keep hearing how good it is and I am HOOKED. I am now almost done season two and have three and four downloaded and ready to watch.

I also downloaded the Christmas special of Downton Abbey - one of my all time favourite TV series. I watched it last night and it was glorious. I highly recommend the series.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


So yesterday I was looking at how to add some features to my blog by searching online for tutorials. It all started with a search to try to determine why comments made through DISQUS were no longer appearing on the blog as they were made. One thing led to another and I ended up deleting DISQUS and trying to add the 'reply' feature to the BLOGGER comment form. This way, supposedly, any reply to a comment would appear directly below it instead of in chronological order.

Not sure what I did wrong. The line of code I was to input needed to come after a particular line of code that did not appear in the HTML code for my template. So I gave up. When I went back onto my blog something had changed and my formatting was screwed up. Everything was bigger. The font, the pictures, the layout, even the BLOGGER bar at the top. It looked like I was looking at it all through a magnifying glass.

Thus began hours and hours and HOURS of trying to fix it. I have come close but what's happened now is a lot of the formatting for older posts is all out of whack. The body of the post does not line up with the pictures I have added. I have just spent about 3 hours trying to fix each post, one at a time but I've given up. This is not the first time I have had to go back through every post and rework them to align everything up properly. Each time I change something, this is what happens and I am sick of it. So, it is what it is. I don't know exactly how many times all the old pages are viewed anymore anyway. It can't be enough to warrant all of this work so I am not doing it. It bugs the crap out of me as I am somewhat of a perfectionist and definitely a detail oriented individual, but I just can't keep doing this. It's such a colossal waste of time, not to mention frustrating to the max.

Please accept my sincere apologies to those of you who have just joined this blog and want to start at the beginning. I feel so bad that it looks so awful.

And - ironically - this happend just after I posted a comment on someone else's BLOGGER blog where they were complaining about how difficult they found it to format each post so that the pictures were where they wanted them. I said I didn't understand why they found it so difficult as I don't have any issues with that. And I don't. But every now and then something in the template format changes and it screws everything up. THAT I can't deal with.

Friday, December 9, 2011


There is a Christmas tradition that has gone on for years in Vancouver. The Carol Ships. Each night in December several large ships leave their berths and head out, all decked out for Christmas into English Bay and beyond, full of passengers dining on turkey with all of the trimmings and then singing carols as the ship cruises by the city skyline where, hopefully, there are lots of Christmas lights to see.

It's something I've always wanted to do. So when a GROUPON for a 2 for 1 passage came up, I asked a good friend - who I just happened to be working with on a show that day, and who just happend to be standing right behind my chair when I got the Groupon notice - if she wanted to go with me and she did. So I bought the tickets. When I went to book the cruise, I saw that the price I had paid was for passage and a free cup of hot chocolate only. If we wanted the full deal meal, it would cost another $53 each. I called and asked her if she wanted to go for it - I did as I thought it would be torture to be able to smell turkey dinner and not be able to eat it - and she agreed. So I upgraded our tickets and then we waited for December 8th to roll around.

Last night we went on the cruise. When I got to the marina, the gates down to the dock were locked. I had to hang over the rail near the ships and wait for someone to come out of one of them and when someone finally did, I called down and asked how to get down there. A very friendly fellow came and unlocked the gates and, as soon as my friend arrived with the printed tickets, we 'went aboard'. The salon was huge and easily seated 100 people. We had paid $5 extra per person for a window seat and were shown our reserved table. The dinner was buffet style and it was pretty good. Not liked a home-cooked turkey dinner - they never are - but it was a lot better than someone had described to me (a leathery bit of turkey and some soggy vegetables was how he put it). The dessert buffet consisted of profiteroles, sliced banana, a chocolate fountain, and a tray of small dessert pastries (if one wanted the dessert option only it was an extra $13 but was included in our buffet price). In my opinion the meal was far overpriced for what was offered, $20 less per upgrade would have been acceptable.

One thing we noted on the cruise out of False Creek through English Bay and then around the perimeter of Stanley Park and into Burrard Inlet; there weren't many Christmas lights up on any of the buildings. Not the commercial ones nor people's apartments in the high-rises. Usually they're a blaze of lights - especially the high-rises. I wondered if it was because of the incandescents having been replaced with LED strings. I personally detest the LED lights and I think I am not alone. My friend thought that very well could be the reason. There were still a few really nice displays - one was a huge deciduous tree that had been draped from top to trunk with hundreds of strands of blue and lavender lights. It was gorgeous. There was also a nice display in a park close to Yale Town, and some of the boats we passed in the marinas were festively decked out which was really nice. There were also a few cranes on the skyline that were really well decorated with loads of lights and a tree at the end and I always love to see that. It gives one a glimpse to another side of all those seemingly hardened and often crude construction guys.

Another thing that happened on the cruise; when it came time for the carol singing we were handed song sheets with lyrics to 29 songs on them. I later noted that out of that number, only 9 were actual 'carols'. The rest were all about santa and the tree etc. etc. We began to work our way through them from #1 but every time we came to a carol about the birth of Jesus, the guy who was leading the singing would skip over it. He started to ask for people to call out numbers they wanted to sing. One woman called out #11. He said, "Ah, number 11, my favourite." He said that for every number that was called out. But then he looked and saw it was 'Oh Holy Night' and he stammered a bit and then said, "Lets sing #18 - Jingle Bells." I was shocked. This was supposed to be carolling after all. After we sang that song, another woman was calling out #24 - Hark the Herald Angels Sing. She called it over and over and he just ignored her. I was not impressed at all. A bit later he wanted people to be more involved but you could sense that the mood had changed a bit in the room, no one was calling out any numbers. He ragged on us for not being more enthusiastic so I called out, "Well maybe you should stop skipping over all of the good ones." I couldn't help it. I was not happy with the guy at all. I don't have anything against the songs about Santa and trees and reindeer, not at all, but some of the old carols are so beautifully written and perfect for my alto voice and I love singing them. But mainly this guy's blatant bias against religion was getting to me - AND after all, why do we even have a Christmas?? Not to mention it's the only the reason this company has any business this time of year!! He completely ignored me and selected another secular song but, after that, he did not ignore people who called out an old carol and we actually got to sing 3 or 4 of them.

All in all, it was a fun evening. I wouldn't do it again but it's part of Christmas in Vancouver and I wanted to have the experience. I am glad I went. Plus, any excuse to be out on the water.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Other than items for travel, I don't review products on my blog as that's not what it's about. But I am so frustrated at a new purse, and more importantly, at the lack of any kind of response from the manufacturer, that I am using this venue as a way to utilize word-of-mouth - a very powerful tool.

I bought my first Nicole Lee bag this fall and I HATE it. I love the look but functionally it is garbage. It is the Crystal in silver/black. When you pick it up by the handles, the front pocket pops open. EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's closed with a magnetic clasp but it should have been a toggle clasp to prevent this happening. AND... if the large compartment of the purse is more than half full, THAT pops open all of the time as well. Just useless. At $69 plus tax (what I paid at LUCY'S in Langley) I expect a lot better than this.

The hateful handbag. Pretty but useless.

Worse... I wrote two reviews on their website about it, the second one when I saw they hadn't posted the first one - the second one wasn't posted to the site either. I sort of get not wanting to post a negative review but.. BUT... not a single email to me to apologise, refund my money, or offer a solution.

I won't be buying another one of their bags... EVER!!
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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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.