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, December 30, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR


As I reflect back on 2012 it is with slightly mixed feelings; I managed only one short trip this year! With my friend Lucy I went for 5 days to Las Vegas - a place I had not been since 1980!  I had such a great time with her there even though we didn't get more than a day and a half of the hot sunshine which was our sole reason for going.   As for other trips... I knew I most likely wouldn't make it back to the BVI but I really did hope to go back to Mexico to get the rest of my dental work done. Alas, Revenue Canada decided that a whole raft of write-off's that they allowed in 2009 and 2010 were no longer applicable and so retroactively disallowed them and applied them to my 2011 filed return.  So the expected $6000+ tax return was reduced to $1,200.  It could have been much worse; I heard stories of others in the film industry who paid sums of up to $20,000 in back taxes due to the same situation.  It doesn't seem right that they can change their minds like that and make it retroactive. They have been hard after the film industry workers for the past year or two so it was just a matter of time until they got to me, I guess.  One thing they did to me, which I called the union about and they'd never heard of, was disallow all of my union deductions from my paycheques unless I had a letter from the employer (which, in legality, is actually the payroll company that each production hires) stating which union the deductions had gone to.  This makes no sense as the paperwork the union sends me for tax time clearly states they are the ones who received it.  The union rep was aghast as my call to her was the first she had ever heard of this happening.   She promised to look into it and I need to follow up on that with her in the new year.

So all that to say, I didn't get to go to Mexico for dental work as that was what the tax return money was allotted for.  I didn't go to Palm Springs for Christmas this year either as the flights were so expensive.  When I went in 2009 it cost $240; 2010 $350; I didn't go last year because my daughter's due date was December 23 and there was no way I was going to be gone for that.  This year the flights were $570.  That is a huge increase from when I started going and I am just not willing to pay that in a year I have only worked on low-paying independent films, and only half a dozen of them at that.

On a much happier note, and this eclipses anything I could consider sad or negative that happened this year.... I became a grandmother on January 2nd to the most darling little girl anyone could be blessed with.  Malia has brought untold joy into my life and I treasure every moment I get to spend with her... and that has become increasingly more as the year has progressed.  Other grandmothers told me that having a grandchild in my life would be a joy like no other but I never imagined just how much.  It is indescribable.  And I don't quite understand it... after all, I was a mom to three fabulous kids.  But this is so different.  And as I develop a relationship with her it overflows my heart when she lights up when I walk into the room, when she picks up my iPhone and waves it at me and sways as if in time to music  - her way of telling me that she wants me to play music and dance with me, so I put on some pop music, sweep her up into my arms, and we dance around the room together.  I love it that she goes to sleep faster for me than anyone else... as soon as I take her into the nursery and turn off the light she rests her head on my shoulder and tangles her fingers in my necklace as I kiss her head and sway her off to dream land.  



On May 5th, my son got married (at one of the most beautiful and fun weddings I've ever attended with food that was out of this world) to the love of his life and I have to say.... she's a keeper.  We love her to bits.  Isolde's sweet nature, kindness, and the way she thinks the world of my son is all a mom could ask for.  I am very thankful for the choice in spouses my two married children have made.


My third child had an amazing gift of a trip to Kenya for three weeks to live on the Masai Mara with a Masai tribe.  She was awarded volunteer of the year at her company for all of the work she does with youth in her community.  She was able to choose where in the world she would like to go where a charity which her work sponsors, Free the Children, have a presence.  She was beyond excited to fulfill a 'bucket list' dream of hers to go to Kenya and go on safari.  As her mom, it gave me untold joy to see her be able to fulfill this dream and to relive it with her, once she was safely home, through her stories and amazing photographs.



I was so thankful for fairly steady work from one busy production company this year, who would have hired me for every show they did had it been up to them, but the director gets the last say on who his script supervisor is, so I missed out on only two or three but got the rest  - even the ones with new to Vancouver directors who just went on the producers' say so.  

I FINALLY got to see COLDPLAY live.  I've wanted to do this every year they've come to Vancouver but either couldn't afford it or was working.  This year I made it happen... I gave a ticket to my daughter for her early April birthday and one to myself for my late April birthday.  Best. Gift. Ever.


I am so thankful for my family and my friends.  Some friends I don't get to see often enough but I know that we are there for each other and that when we do get together it's like we've never been apart.  I am very rich in the friend department of life... Fran, Cary, Carol, Jule and Lorraine; five women I wrote about earlier this year, as well as Donna, Denise, Debbie, Erna, Dave, Cookie, Roberta, Brenda, Alison, John - these friends I have had for decades.  Then there is the abundance of newer friends I have made from the film industry and I could never list them all but these are some of the ones I have come to love as much as my old friends... Lucy, Linda G, Tana, Lisa, Linda SB, Lynne, Connie, Kim, Ron, Eric, Michael, Jeff, Irene, Violet, Laura, Lecily, Carol, Amy....  so many many wonderful people in my life.  And I can't forget the wonderful new friends I made on my last trip to the BVI... Walker, Nancy, Linda, Mike, Rebecca.  It almost makes me teary to think of each one as I type their names and think of what they mean to me.  So blessed.

As I look ahead to the uncharted waters of 2013, I feel at peace and sense that it will be another year of personal happiness, achievement and full of wonderful friends.  I am feeing good about the work situation with the chance of working on a series come early spring as well as some personal production projects I plan on working very hard on with great hopes of success.   I look forward to Malia's first birthday celebration next week and can't wait to dance with her at her party.  The next year will bring great changes for her as her already pretty incredible vocabulary for one so young (about 20 words and a few phrases!) will expand and she will learn to walk (so close already).  I look forward to spending more time with her and cementing my place in her life as her much loved Nan.  

I hope to have much more to write about on here that concerns travel.  I am again hopeful that I can make it to the Dr. Arce in Mexico early in the year to finish off what he started as it will make a huge difference to my ability to properly chew food!  Here's hoping for a decent tax return.  Lord knows I've put enough money into my car for repairs in 2012 that that alone should account for a decent write-off.  

As this year comes to a close, I am so close to 40,000 views on here.  I am hoping to cross that line before chiming in the new year... that would be so exciting for me.  Please stick with me as my dream of sailing the Caribbean, one way or another, has not died.  Even if it's just for a few weeks at a time, I plan to make it happen and be assured you will get the complete details here as soon as it does.  I have two huge goals this year towards that dream; get fit and take sailing lessons.  There.  I've said it. Now I have to do it!!!

Thank you all so much for your faithful readership and I truly appreciate every one of you.

Blessings to you all and may you have a joyful, healthy and prosperous 2013!

With ultimate thanks to the God I serve and his son Jesus...

For the last time in 2012...


Sandra 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

My Granddaughter

This is the first Christmas with a very special little angel in the family. I am so blessed with riches money just can't buy.

Thank you for your faithful readership this past year. I am almost at 40,000 visits. This time last year I was at about 20,000 and that took two years so it has doubled this year.

I am hoping that 2013 will bring lots of new TRAVEL material to write about... hopefully some of it will be in the BVI.

Blessings to you all!! May you have a wonderful Christmas with family and loved ones.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

NIGHTMARE

A couple, following their dream of owning a catamaran and chartering it in the BVI, calling the boat Knotty Dream, has had their dream - literally - dashed.

What a nightmare:


Here's the full album: Lagoon 450: Sandy Spit

Here is the video of the day they bought the boat:



So, so sad.  I can't imagine the distress and the replaying of the situation over and over in your mind and imagining how it would have turned out had you done things differently.

According to what I've read on a BVI web board, the owners were on board, they had just taken delivery of the vessel three days prior; he put the boat on autopilot while going below to the head.  His wife was also below in the galley.  They hit the reef that is just off of Sandy Spit and were hard aground.  Most of the damage occurred in removing them from the reef.

Lesson to be learned (there always is one):  never leave the helm unattended when so close to land.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MY BACKYARD

I recently read a short guide book written by my friend, Mike Sweeney of Zero to Cruising, about hikes he and his wife have gone on in the various Caribbean islands.  Although I felt that most of the ones that are in the book would be way too hard for me and that I am too out of shape to hike at all, I was inspired to get out and do some exploring in my own 'back yard'.

Since my move to North Vancouver last year, I have sharply felt the disadvantages of living so high up the mountain; far more rainy than in Langley, temperature regularly 10 degrees colder than 2 minutes down the road, in the snow line, in the CLOUDS - foggy a lot up here, lots of tree canopy so not much sunshine, mould growing in all the crevices of my car due to all the rain and said tree canopy... I could go on and on. But what I haven't really even thought about much is the advantages.  One of the obvious ones is that I am now a short drive from my new granddaughter and thus get to see her a lot more often than if I lived over an hour's drive away (and lately I am getting to see her almost every weekday).  One of the not-so-obvious advantages, to me anyhow, is that there are some amazing trails to either walk or hike in these mountains.  I am not at all inclined to 'hike'.  But a nice walk is something I can really get into so, with Mike and Rebecca in mind, I set off to explore my backyard a bit.

Down my street is this gorgeous red maple.

I loved the raindrops on the leaves.

At the end of my street, these stairs lead down to the road that will take me to the headwaters.

This is my house, buried in the trees, looking up from the road that runs behind it.

The asphalt on this road reminded me of Tortola; not in the best condition but at least there are no killer hills!

Yes, the mountain is not always friendly.

Lynn Valley Creek comes into view.

The water is high and moving really fast.

Down some more steps to take me off of the road and onto a trail.

I leave the trail to get closer to the water.

I am not much of a 'bush-wacker' but will brave any spiderwebs to get a bit closer.

I can't believe the volume of water rushing down-stream; no wonder I can hear it from my house.

Same spot as above, just looking to the left.

I get back on the trail and continue on my way; this boardwalk is over a shallow rivulet of water headed to the creek.

Oops.  Better stay on trail from now on.

Because, yes, it really is steep!

The entrance to the park.

Standing here looking at the trails, I was really thinking about Mike and Rebecca and how much they would love it here.

Standing on a small bridge, overlooking the creek running down-stream.

The churning waters under the bridge.

I think I just found a perfect spot to come and read in the summer.

The view from the bench.  Without the clouds I am betting it is amazing.




Unfortunately there is no sound, thanks to my iPhone mike not working.

So now I am wondering if Mike and Rebecca might be interested in a 'house swap' some time in the future?  That way they can explore even more trails and waterfalls in Beautiful British Columbia, and I can lie on the trampoline of their boat and pretend I am sailing the Caribbean!  ;-)

Here is a link to Mike's Book.  It really is a great read, even if you aren't planning on hiking the Caribbean any time soon.   If you are, I consider it a must-have.
                                                                       

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TECHNICAL TEAM HEADS TO ANEGADA TODAY

There has been some progress on the situation on Anegada.  I mentioned in a previous post that I had voiced my concerns in an email to the Premier of the BVI regarding the severe erosion and its probable cause, and that he had replied to me that he would "ask the Town and Country Planning Department to look into it as well as make the Minister of Natural Resources aware."  I was not certain at all that he would take action but very much hoped that he was being sincere.  It seems that he took me very seriously and moved to action immediately, according to an article in the BVI Platinum yesterday.  Either that or it is an incredible coincidence. 


My concern, after reading the article, was that the erosion was being attributed to natural causes and, as I do not believe that to be the case at all, I was somewhat dismayed to see that was going to be the focus of the group.

I communicated with a  friend on the island today who has been very concerned about the erosion, believing it to be due to the pumping of huge volumes of sand on the West End, and who has tried to raise awareness and garner some support amongst the locals for action.   We have talked a bit about the issue and so I was overjoyed to hear today that he met with the group that went over and was able to have a lengthy discussion with them about what he has observed over the past year.

Now we just wait to see what the results of the groups observations are.

One thing that disturbs me; I wrote a comment to the editor of BVI Platinum yesterday, when I was first made aware of the article, and after reading it.  That comment has not been published.  Other comments are now there that weren't yesterday so I know they have to have seen mine, yet it is not there.  I do not think that it is right for a newspaper to censor public opinion on a matter by choosing which comments to publish and which to discard.  In this age of electronic newspapers, there's plenty of room to publish them all, so not having space to print all is no longer an excuse.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

EROSION OF COW WRECK BEACH

As a continuation of my post from last week:

Here are two pictures that show how much beach has eroded at Cow Wreck on Anegada:

May 2012

October 2012

That is a LOT of beach, gone, in a very short amount of time.  There's barely enough level beach in front of the restaurant for the benches.   The photographer could not get far back enough into the water to match the exact angle on the October pic as the May pic was taken at - that is how much beach is gone!

The current owners of West End Cottages made this claimWe have not removed any plants from the property at any time either.  That claim is a half truth - no, the current owners of the West End Cottages have not removed any plants from the beach there, but the previous owner did and the current owners must know this.  They continue to assert that the erosion was due entirely to hurricane Earl.

Bill, an annual visitor to Anegada since 1979, had this to say: 

The entire northwest and western portion of the point was solid sea grape. And by solid, I mean you could not penetrate it on foot. At least 250 to 300 feet of those sea grapes were dug up before construction began to allow a visual and personal access to the beach. I remember the cottages closest to the sea being back about 300'.. about a football field back. That immediately began shrinking by 50' to 70' per year, depending on northerly storms and swells.  The sea grapes were huge and old and the only protection the point had from erosion. 

Another long time visitor had this to say about the conditions as they sit right now:

(What's) left (is) a deep channel near shore near the West End that has increased the strength of the west-running current along the north shore. I don't know when things will stabilize again to satisfy the new conditions at the West End.

If anyone has a photo of the west point of Anegada before the sea grapes were removed, I would love to see it.  You can send me a comment on here  (they aren't posted unless I approve them) with how to contact you.




Sunday, October 21, 2012

WEST END COTTAGES, ANEGADA

Back in May of 2011, when I took a month-log trip to the BVI, I spent more than half of my time in those beautiful islands on Anegada. I wrote a post about a long walk I took along the beach from where I was staying, Neptune's Treasure, to Cow Wreck Beach. Along the way, I came across the West End Cottages that were being claimed by the sea, due to Sea Grape trees being removed from the property* a few years earlier. If you go to that post, you will see photos I took of the ruined cottages.

In the year and a half since I took that trip, the dredging of sand so close to shore, in a futile effort to shore up the doomed cottages, has had devastating effects on the beaches to the east of the West End, on the North shore of the island, to as far as Cow Wreck Beach and perhaps further. My friend posts many pictures of Cow Wreck and it's easy to see what has happened to what was once a beautiful, wide, white-sand beach at Cow Wreck.

Cow Wreck before the erosion

Cow Wreck now

These pictures are of the exact same piece of beach, you can see the shadow of the only few palm trees at Cow Wreck in the 'before' pic.

Directly east of the dredging, on the north side of the island, the devastation is immense. I walked this beach in 2011 and it looked nothing like it looks now. When I was there it was wide white sand on a gentle incline from the vegetation to the sea. There was a lovely shallow swimming spot and it was like being in a swimming pool. That is now gone and the water is very deep. The erosion is right up to the vegetation and trees have begun to fall. The coral that makes up the foundation of the entire island is now exposed. That was not visible before at all.

The pictures below are of the this beach, just different perspectives. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the beach from the perspective of the second pic or you would really see the difference. But trust me, it is profoundly different.

The beach immediately to the east of dredging BEFORE it eroded

The beach immediately to the east of the dredging, on the North Shore as it looks now

After seeing the pictures, I felt compelled to write to the owners of the West End Cottages property to voice my frustration and concern as to what their futile efforts have wrought on the island. Below you will see the conversation, and their response which is filled with half-truths and lies:


Sandra MontgomeryWest End Cottages Anegada
18 hours ago near North Vancouver ·
Have you taken stock of the massive damage to the beautiful beaches of Anegada your fruitless recovery attempt has done? Those cottages are NOT saved. No, they are not in the sea where they might have ended up, but they are broken and useless and need to be demolished. Meanwhile, the beach - all the way past Cow Wreck, is eroded and trees have fallen down. Go take a walk down to Cow Wreck and look at the erosion and the roots of the palm trees all exposed. By next summer, those lovely trees will be down as well if you don't STOP this folly. You are destroying the environment of what was a very beautiful and mostly unspoiled island. It is criminal.

West End Cottages Anegada Hi Sandra, we thought about deleting your comment because of it's ignorance but instead we are going to take this opportunity to use it to educate you and any other "experts" out there.

The western half of Anegada is almost entirely a giant sand bar made of sand while the eastern half is almost entirely coral. That said, over time, the coastline of Anegada is in a constant state of flux. In your short lifetime and in your even shorter time of visiting Anegada you might not realize that the coastline changes. This is very well documented over 100 years and continues to be studied. The BVI government has a new development plan in the works for entire island of Anegada that recognizes this and proposes a 200ft set back from the sea on future developments. What is happening to the beach at Cow Wreck is the same thing that happened to our property and is the same thing that is happening at other properties all over the island.

Additionally, our project is a multi year effort which is not complete. The first phases have beenbefforts to stabilize the beach which have been successful and the next phase is to stabilize, the effected cottages and make them habitable again for future enjoyment. To unnecessarily demolish them without trying to rescue them would truly be a waste. For the record, out of the 7 cottages on thenproperty, 3 were completely unaffected by erosion and are used regularly, 3 will be rescued and one was demolished.

The next phase after that will be to landscape the property and make it more beautifulnthan it has ever been.

Just like you, we love Anegada. This property was purchased out of love, in it's darkest hour, with half of it in the sea and everyone saying that it could not be saved. Well, through miraculous effort and two years of blood sweat and tears by all involved, we have kept this property from becoming a disaster zone in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The project is still not complete so of course it doesn't look finished.
Now that you have this information about the property and the natural forces that shape the island, I hope you will look at things differently the next time on Anegada.

Sandra Montgomery This is such a lie. The beach at the West End Cottages only began to erode after the Sea Grapes** growing there were removed by the owners of the property... THEN it eroded. As for the erosion down the beach from you to Cow Wreck - this has not happened over years of time. It began almost as soon as you began dredging and has continued at an alarming rate - it has taken less than 18 months for the beach to be reduced... AND the beaches between you and Neptunes Treasure are now the widest that residents have seen in many years. This is due to sand lost from the pump-out drifting with the current and resting there... also taken less than 18 months for it to happen. And you say this is natural - just a coincidence that it occurred at the same time as you began dredging?

Kimberly Francis · 2 mutual friends
If they removed the (sea grapes) then they are guilty of disturbing the natural environment period

Sandra Montgomery Also, out of seven cottages, only one was completely unaffected. Two were in good shape. The other FIVE were severely affected. I walked through that property in May of '11 and saw this with my own eyes and have the pictures to prove it.

West End Cottages Anegada This is really getting to be a little much. You really should do some research and stop relying on hearsay of you are going to post things like this.

The prevailing current on the north coast of Anegada flows from Cow Wreck towards the West End. Not the other way. (let me just interject here that this proves my point; of course the sand would be removed from the north coast if the current flows from there to the West End - a point I made later on their FB page that resulted in them banning me) That entire portion of the coast has been eroding for many years as evidenced by what has happened on the west end. Do you think the erosion was only on our property and not on either side or anywhere else?

As far as the buildup on the Neptune side, what happens in the summer and spring months the wind blows from a more southerly direction which builds sand up on that side of the property since there is many square miles of shallow sand area and no barrier reef to block the sand flow. In the winter, which is approaching, the beach will shrink again. At the same time, more sand will be replaced on the cow wreck side and at cow wreck as the winter currents flow. The entire coastline changes constantly. When one area builds up another shrinks. This is a process that has happened for thousands of years. You are only noticing what has happened in a very small snapshot of time.

For example, construction on sandbars in north Carolina an Florida face the same issues. People built on property that may not be there in another few thousand years. So let's enjoy it while we can. We hope that you will be able to enjoy the beaches of Anegada with the rest of us in peace.

Additionaly, There are no mangroves on that entire part of the coastline as that is not their native environment. We have not removed any plants from the property at any time either.

West End Cottages Anegada As for your last post, thank you for admitting to illegally trespassing on our property on Facebook.

That's funny you have this documentation, if you you look through our photos on our page you will see the interiors of the three cottages currently in use.

Anything else you would like to say?

Sandra Montgomery I was walking from Neptunes to Cow Wreck along the beach. The only way to continue that walk, when vegetation grew down into the water rendering the beach impassable, was to cut down a small road and then through your property. A long-time resident of the island told me to walk that way and to ignore the signs saying otherwise. So I did.

And the changes in beach that you claim are seasonal have never happened until you started dredging. The beach at Cow Wreck has never been so low that the roots of the palm trees were exposed until now. There are mature trees between you and Cow Wreck that have fallen down. Are you claiming THAT happens every year?

Sandra Montgomery And YOU may not have removed any plants from the property at any time, but the previous owner DID.

West End Cottages Anegada Have a blessed day...

And so that is all they have to say about my final points. Not surprising.

I also wrote to Orlando Smith, the Premier of the BVI, to voice my concerns. He replied today with assurances that he had no idea this was happening and that he would "ask the Town and Country Planning Department to look into it as well as make the Minister of Natural Resources aware." I was very pleased with this reply until I found out that a Minister in the BVI government is (allegedly) a part owner of the company that is doing the dredging. Talk about a conflict of interest!! If that was happening here, it would be all over the news and there would be a huge backlash. But, apparently, that is the way in the islands and no one is surprised by it.

I am so sad and frustrated. I am sure my feelings are miniscule compared to those make their home there. They see the devastation every day they walk out onto the beaches. If I lived there, I don't know how I would handle it.

Taken in July 2012, just a few months ago. And the owners claim that the operation has been a success.


*Although I never saw the property, or pictures of the property, with the Sea Grapes there; I do have it on good authority from several sources that indeed there were Sea Grapes and that they were removed by the previous owner. If I can obtain photos of the area before the removal, I will share them with you on a future post.

**Earlier I wrote that the vegetation removed were mangroves. This was due to information I received from those who saw it before it was removed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

WHAT I DID THIS WEEK



Really loved that pool. Out of the five days there it came second only to this:



First trip to Las Vegas since 1980. Other than the afternoon and night it rained... no... deluged... it was a fabulous trip meant for sun and pool and a work related meeting, as I am not a gambler.

Probably it for vacation this year... missing the BVI... I can hardly believe that it will soon be two years since I was there.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

NOW IS THE TIME


A friend of mine recently turned fifty and posted the following on FaceBook today:

is looking forward to his fifties, the decade in which anyone adding undue drama or undue emotional taxation to his life in any capacity will be shown the door in a speedy and detached manner. It's different now.

to which I responded:

50 is when you come to the rather jarring realization of how short life really is and, therefore, dealing with any drama you don't have to is a waste of precious time so you just don't.

I am almost half way into my fifties and so have had time to put this into practice although, truth be told, I did away with a lot of drama in my world 15 years or so ago when I decided that I was through being a victim and took charge of my life, ridding myself of toxic people who had controlled me for far too long.   A few years later, I walked out of my marriage for the same reason - life is just way too damn short to be that unhappy day in and day out.  Not that life has been a bowl of cherries since, but at least I am living it with me at the helm and without the constant negativity that toxic relationships bring.

There is some drama, however, that is necessary to life.  I am still figuring out my role in my kids lives as theirs changes - almost weekly it seems.  As a new grandma, I am longing to be at my daughters all of the time to play with my gorgeous little granddaughter who seems to change by the day, but I can't be so settle for once a week.  My daughter isn't one who appreciates me just dropping by for a visit if I am over her way, I have learned, so it has to be a scheduled thing and once a week is often enough for her.   When I am working, I might go two or more weeks without seeing her as they like to have the weekends to themselves.  If I call too often, text too often, ask if it's a good time to come over more than twice in a week (because the previous time wasn't a good time) it annoys her.  So we finally sat down to talk about it as I was feeling like I was walking on eggshells all of the time and it didn't take much to set her off.   We had a good long talk came to a place of agreement but it was hard getting there and it was indeed 'drama'.  I cried.  I tiptoed around words that might shut her down.  It was hard to hear some things she had to say and not want to just toss in the towel and take my hurt feelings home.  But times like that are a necessary part of living if you want to keep the relationships that you can't live without.  And at this stage for me and my kids, those relationships are on the constantly shifting sands that is life so it seems they need constantly reassessing.  And for me, as someone whose language of love is Quality Time, it's hard to keep my need for this in check and not feel rejected when I don't get enough.

In your 50's, the horizon of life is always in view.  People start dying in their 50's so that horizon may be a lot closer than it appears to be.  This is in my mind ALL OF THE TIME like some sort of white noise that you clue in to every so often and realize you've been hearing it for ages.  Death was in my mind a lot when I turned 40 but it went away after a couple of years.  It didn't come back until I turned 50 and I hoped it would go away again like before but, four and a half years later, it's still there.  I look at my little granddaughter and wonder how long I will be in her life.  I was nineteen when my much loved grannie passed away.  Nineteen years.  That's not very long.  And should I make it past that, I think of her getting married and how I will be the old crone on the front pew.  Not a pleasant visual.  But it's really not that far off.   At least, it doesn't feel like it is.  Life. Is. Short!!!

So yes, if you are at the cusp of your 50's it is definitely time to say goodbye to the cause of any unnecessary drama in your life.  But, seriously, why wait until then?  If you are in your 20's, your 30's or your 40's - don't wait until your old to realize what it's taken us this long to figure out.  Learn from us and get rid of it now.

You won't regret it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PILLOWS PILLOWS PILLOWS!

I did it.  I broke down and bought three pillow shams from a great store on Etsy called The Home Centric.

She has a vast selection of the most beautiful pillow covers I have ever seen.  Here's what I bought.




I think these are going to bring me a lot of happiness just looking at them.  And if I ever get a sailboat, they'll look great on my berth!

Friday, August 24, 2012

GET ME NEAR THE SEA


Someone put this picture up on my FaceBook about a month or so ago.  I love it.

Then today a friend put it up on her FB page.  I decided to find out where it came from and it didn't take long to find it HERE.

I ordered one for me and one for my friend.  We both NEED the sea.   Now I want to get THIS to go with it.


I have decided that I, should I ever again get my own place, am going to decorate it in a shabby chic beach theme using white and this color and a sand color.

I LOVE THE BEACH!!!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

TO TILLER NOT TO TILLER, THAT IS THE QUESTION

I don't like sailing with a tiller.

I always had issues with left and right.  I don't know why that is but I was worried it would prevent me from being a script supervisor, as being able to determine in a split second if something was happening on the actors right or left vs camera right or left is rather vital to the role (whatever is in the actor's right hand is on the left side of the screen when viewing, what we in the industry call 'camera left').  I have to admit, it took a long time for it to become second nature and, in the beginning, I had several moments of panic where continuity was involved and I wasn't sure if I'd mixed the two up.

So when I have to pull or push a tiller in the opposite direction I want the boat to go, well - lets just say I find it a challenge.  Yesterday this became a bit of an issue.

I finally got to go sailing.  A friend has just moved here from the east where he has a sailboat on one of the lakes there.  He purchased the exact same sailboat here on the west coast, and yesterday he took me out for my first sailing lesson on a proper big (30') sailboat (I did have one lesson on a very small sailboat a year or so ago).  I was very excited at the prospect of finally getting out on the water again, especially on such a gorgeous day.  Not a cloud.

When we got to the boat, my friend John gave me great instructions as to various pieces of equipment and how they function.  He is a really patient teacher and I appreciated that.  Some of the things he told me I already knew well from my days of boating with my in-laws, but that was motor boating so there's lots more to learn when sailing.  Some of what he told me I had learned by reading sailing books but I learn better when seeing so it really helped to have the practical application right in front of me, plus I really needed to refresh my memory as it's been a while since I read up on the topic.  I learned when a line becomes sheet or a halyard; I learned the name for various parts of the sail and which sail is which, and I learned how to operate the winches.

At this marina, it is just a short motor down a canal to the open water.  Once we were out of the canal, the wind was at 8 knots and John wanted my first sail to be a comfortable one so he put up the head sail only and we headed downwind.  After a short while, he handed the tiller off to me and pointed out a landmark far ahead to aim for.  Reminding myself to 'move it in the opposite way I want to go' I grabbed onto the tiller and maintained a fairly steady course - not that easy at first but I soon got the hang of it.  After a while - it didn't feel like all that long but later I realized it was almost an hour later - the wind started to pick up a little and John decided to turn the boat about and try sailing into the wind.  Once we turned around, our speed dropped and the waves seemed so much choppier - we had the engine on the whole time we were out as, when attempting to first start the engine, it wouldn't due to the batteries being very low so John wanted to get them back up.  Shortly after coming about the wind picked up considerably and it wasn't long before it was blowing at 18 knots.  John decided to roll up the sail and motor back to the marina.  He handed me the tiller again and went forward to roll the sail.  That's when things got scary.





Before things got scary

John wanted me to keep a course straight into the wind but I couldn't do it.  I think I got confused as to the whole 'right - left - move the tiller opposite' thing and as a result, the wind got into the sail as he was rolling it and pushed us around to starboard.  I had the tiller pushed as far to starboard as I could get it to try to bring us about to port and it wasn't making a bit of difference.  I started to panic a little as John, while struggling with the flapping sail, was yelling from the front for me to head back to port and I was confused as to whether I was pushing the tiller the correct way.  I was keeping my eye on an instrument panel mounted on the mast which showed which way we were headed in relation to the wind and so was sure I was pushing it the right way but then why wasn't the bow swinging to port?!  John finally ran back to me and grabbed the tiller lifting the handle high and pushing it even further starboard, over the life line -  I had no idea it could do that - and the boat gradually came back around into the wind.  John explained to me later that the boat was not responding because the water was not flowing over the rudder at that point - not sure why.   He handed the tiller back to me, and I reluctantly took it, as he went forward again to finish rolling the sail.  This is where I believe we made a critical error.  The sail should have been unfurled and rolled back up from the beginning because, about half an hour later, the wind caught some loose sail towards the top and whipped a long section of it open and it began lashing.   John handed the tiller to me again, much to my dread, and attempted to fix the problem but the wind was so strong, and the sail had become double wrapped so he didn't make any headway and he decided the best thing to do would be to motor all the way back to the canal.  With the sail lashing so loudly, I was sure it would tear.  I said as much and John said it might but that it was the sail that was in the worst shape so he wouldn't mind as much as if it was one of the others.

John was sure the wind would die down once we got into the shelter of the canal, and it did a little but only to about 12 knots and the sail was still flapping madly in the wind.  When we had motored out of the canal, John had pointed out a customs dock to me.  We were coming up to it now and there was a man standing at the end and he motioned for us to come alongside.  Instead, John pointed that we were going further up to the marina and kept going past.  I almost said earlier that we should pull up to that dock to fix the sail before we attempted to get into the slip but I decided not to say anything; after all, I was the novice and John has sailed for a decade and races his sail boat back east as well as crewing on racing boats.  I figured he knew what he was doing but it turned out that was where we made our second critical mistake; we should have pulled up there and fixed the sail.

video

Lashing sail

John wanted me to take the tiller again while he moved the fenders from starboard to port because he figured it would be easier to go straight into the slip rather than back in as he usually did.  There was no way I wanted to take that thing again, I was so anxious at this point I don't think I could have told you my left hand from my right let alone figure that out again, so I moved the fenders over as well as the line on the bow.  As we turned into the section that housed the slip, I had a really bad feeling about how much the lashing sail would affect our ability to get into the slip itself and, sure enough, as he turned into it the wind in the sail began to push us sideways to starboard and we headed right for the boat beside.  I asked John if he had a boat hook but he didn't.  He said he had to push off and jumped down just in time to get his foot on the other boat's outboard motor and push away.  Two guys came running from nearby boats, one of them the guy who had been at the customs dock, and thank God they did because we were in real trouble, unable to maneuver the boat with the engine running so slow and the wind in the sail.  They grabbed onto whatever they could, I held the tiller to keep us as straight as I could, and between the two guys and John, we got into another empty slip two down from the one we had aimed for - our fenders now on the wrong side but, thankfully, the slip owner had lined the entire edge with fenders so we were okay.  Once we were in and tied up, the fellow from the dock wanted to know why John hadn't pulled up there and fixed the sail. John admitted that he should have.

Breathing a huge sigh of relief,  we were now able to fix the sail, unrolling and re-rolling it.  Then I got off and helped to guide the boat out of the slip by holding on to the toe rail as John backed up, and then running down to his slip to help guide it in.

After a much needed bathroom break, we settled onto the boat to enjoy the sunshine and the lunch I had packed and talked about all that had contributed to what had happened.  John said that, in the almost dozen times he's taken the boat out since buying it, the wind had never picked up like that and it had never gone above 10 knots.  Figures it would do that on MY first time out.  He felt badly as he had said when we started out that he wouldn't put the mainsail up as it would make the boat heel over quite far probably making me nervous and he wanted my first time sailing to be a fun and pleasant experience.  Well... it was up until we brought the boat about.  At one point, when John was trying to get the boat to port after I couldn't, I thought for sure we were going to be dashed on the rocks that were getting closer and closer.  It probably wasn't something that would terrify the seasoned sailor, but it sure did me.

If I ever get the hang of sailing and if I ever get to have my own boat.... it won't have a tiller, that is for sure. Although John claims the only 'real' sailing is by tiller, I will be fine to 'pretend' sail with a wheel.

Totally fine.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

DID I EVER TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME I FOUND A BABY?

Yes, you read that correctly - I FOUND a baby.

Not the house or the road but the best I could find on the internet

It was a cold but sunny April morning in 1982.  I was driving back home after taking my husband to work and had my 19 month old son in the back seat securely strapped into his car seat.  As I am almost home, driving down the long, straight road before my street, I can see way in the distance that the cars coming towards me are going around something that is on the center line.  I squint to try to make out what it is but I can't.  The road I am travelling has old and somewhat decrepit houses on my right and scraggly fields on my left with a small farmhouse about a quarter of a mile away down a narrow paved road.  It is interesting to note that the road I am on is now a very busy street with strip malls and high rises all around and a huge mall where the farmhouse used to be - sigh.  Anyway, as I get closer to whatever it is the half dozen or so cars have gone around, I can see that it stands about  two feet in the road and looks to be moving.  It doesn't take much more distance for me to realize, with horror, that it is a BABY about the same age as the one in the back seat.  He is wearing nothing but a disposable diaper and is standing right on the yellow line, looking around him.  When I get close, I pull over, get out and pick him up.  He is freezing cold to the touch and his diaper is fully soaked and cold.  I open the back door and put him on the seat beside my son, whose eyes grow to the size of saucers and he just stares without a sound at this person I just put there and I am sure he is thinking - is this how they got ME???

I start to knock on the doors of the houses on my right, waking up the occupants as it is just after 8am on a Saturday morning.  Bleary eyed, everyone looks at me as if I am out of my mind when I ask if they might have 'lost' a baby that I just found on the road and they all shake their heads no.  I ask if they know who around here has a baby about a year and a half old and no one knows.  After about 5 minutes of this I decide I need to get back to the babies and get home.  Once there, I strip the boy of his diaper, pop him into the bath to get him warmed up, dress him in some of my son's clothing, and feed him breakfast. Then I call the police.  Through all of this, my son stands at my side and just stares at the little boy, his normal baby-talk jabber gone completely silent.

When the policeman arrives, I tell him the details and when I am finished he looks up from his note pad with an espression of amazement and says "I can not believe that you stopped and brought him home and fed and clothed him."  I looked back at him just as amazed and said, "I can not believe that I saw 8 or 9 people drive their cars around him and not stop."  He shakes his head and says, "I guess so."

He takes the boy with the promise that he will call me to let me know when they find who he belongs to.  As well as the clothes I have a full baby bottle, some baby cookies and a small toy to send along with them and the policeman says he will make sure I get the items back.

About two hours later, I get a call from him.  An hour or so after he got back to the station, the frantic parents called to report their missing child.  They live in the farmhouse that was down the road to the left of where I found him (that was a long way for a baby to walk!!).  They want to thank me personally and to return to me the items I had sent with the baby.  Later that afternoon, my husband, son and I drive over and pull into the farmhouse driveway.  Right away, the father comes out and I can see the curtains move and I assume the mother is watching.  She doesn't come out to meet us.  However he thanks us profusely as he hands over the clothes etc.  He says the back door latch is broken and the little boy has just learned how to get out of his crib and he had escaped while they slept.  He says he is just sick about it and feels ashamed and embarrassed.  I am about to try to assuage his guilt a little by saying 'well anything can happen once, as long as it doesn't happen twice' when he goes on to say that it had happened the week before but the child had only gotten as far as the back field.  I try to hide my shock and dismay as I stammer out something about needing to get the lock fixed and he agrees saying that he had gone to the hardware store that afternoon and bought something to fix it.

As we drive away, we shake our heads at the absolute irresponsibility of the parents actions - or rather lack of action - and the very very happy outcome of the whole incident in light of all that could have happened to that baby in the time he was out of the house.  And I offer up a prayer that the parents have learned a lesson and will take better care of that little life.


It's hard to believe he'd be in his early 30's today.  I wonder who he is and where he lives.   And I wonder if he ever heard the story of that cold day in April.
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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