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, January 29, 2012


When I was about 12 years old I volunteered at a nursing home and I often found myself looking at the gnarled hands of one or another of the old ladies, resting in her lap, usually a well worn gold wedding band on her left hand, and I would imagine all the things those hands had done... twirled one end of a long skipping rope, held the hand of her boyfriend for the first time, caressed a lover, dug up the earth to plant flowers, bathed a new baby, rolled out pastry for pies, smoothed the sheets on a freshly made bed, rubbed a babies back to get a burp, clapped with joy as her children blew out their birthday cake candles, stroked back the hair from a small fevered forehead, tied the shoelaces of her child as she taught them how to do it, carefully wrapped up Christmas presents, brushed crumbs off of a small mouth, held the roller or brush to paint a room, stirred a pot of home made soup, carefully dusted treasured knick knacks (and where are those treasures today?), flung open the curtains of a bedroom on a sunny morning, patted sand into a pail to help build a sandcastle....a myriad of things those hands had done throughout a long life.

And now they lay folded, idle, bent and swollen from arthritis. They won't do much anymore, it's hard to even pull on stockings.

Then I'd look up into the face and eyes of the owner with a renewed sense of respect and care and compassion and smile and they would smile back and, somehow, I think they knew that I saw them for who they really were.

I still do this sometimes; at the mall, at church, waiting in the doctors office. And, now and then, I look down at my own hands which all too often are a bit stiff and sore in the mornings, and the skin is starting to look leathery and the age spots are starting to appear and I wonder how long I have before my hands sit idle in my lap and I look down at them to remember all the things they once did.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Above is a picture of me with 5 other women who have been my friends for over 21 years. From left to right are Cary, Julie, Fran, Me, Lorraine and Carol.

What a lot the word FRIEND covers.

We started out as a Mom's in Touch group in September of 1990. My youngest had just started Kindergarten. I remember that I kept hearing a woman's laugh outside of the school whilst I was in the office, doing volunteer work. I loved hearing that laugh and finally found out who she was. It was Fran and she invited me to join the group. I gladly accepted, having no idea what a huge part of my life the women I was about to meet would become.

Our reason for meeting together was to pray for our kids and their teachers. And we did. But it became much more than that... we prayed for everything that was going on in our lives. Women came and went from the group over the years but the six of us remained steadfast. I moved away for 6 years but continued to join in when I was back in town and always stayed in touch with the core group of friends I had made. As soon as I moved back into the area, it was as if I had never left. Once all of our kids were graduated high-school we, in theory, should have disbanded the group - which at that point was just the six of us as it had been for several years. But there was no way we wanted to quit meeting. And we still had lots to pray about. Some of our kids were in relationships we weren't sure were right for them. Some were about to be married; others now had kids of their own; some were having trouble making career choices; others had just lost their jobs; some were still struggling in desperate ways. LOTS to pray about. And besides, we had become such good friends - some closer than others; it seems that we tended to pair off a bit outside of the group. Me with Fran, Carol with Cary, and Julie with Lorraine (their husbands worked together and they'd been friends before the group so that was only natural). I spent a lot of time with Carol as well as we lived just a few blocks apart. We each really wanted to keep meeting as a group. So we did.

We have seen each other through so many many things; wayward teens, divorce, death, marriages, births, illness, scary hospital visits, and the horrible empty nest syndrome. I know that I could call any one of them any time of day or night and if I needed them to come, they'd be over in a heartbeat. Sometimes they come even when I don't ask. Fran has driven me to the airport at 2:30 am. She went with me to the hospital when I had to go for a colonoscopy. I took meals to her once a week for a few months when she was devastated over the death of her mother. Cary and Carol helped me move out of my house when I left my husband. I pushed Carol into sorting through all the stuff she'd collected over the years which FILLED her garage, and spent days in there going through it all with her. And that's just a small sample of things I know about. I don't know what all each of the women have done for another but I know that in 21 years, it's been lots. And every single thing has been a gift.

I love these women. I hope we have at least 21 more years together.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I just finished reading the book about the making of this video. There are three video's actually and you can find them all on YouTube, but this is the final one and the book devotes most of it's pages to this one.

I highly recommend reading the book. It is inspirational and a fun read. You can buy it from my Amazon store and I will get a tiny (and I do mean tiny) commission.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Anyone who knows me knows I hate the snow. Sure it looks pretty on the trees and stuff but that's all the good I can say about it.

Snow on Saturday on a Vancouver Street

It started snowing on Friday night and it didn't stop for over 24 hours. I hunkered down and was glad I'd stocked up on food. And oh so glad I am not working on a show at present (I am, however, writing like mad on my first novel).

Then I ran out of fire logs.

I went all day yesterday without any. I missed the glow of the fire something terrible.

So I braved the snow today and went to buy more. When I got out to my car, it was covered with the white stuff and the bottom layers had turned to ice. And my drivers side door was frozen shut. I could not get it open. Fortunately, the passenger side was against some shrubs that protected it from the snow and cold and that door opened with ease. I crawled in, started it up and turned the heat on full blast while I proceeded to scrape the snow and chip the ice off of my car.

Once I got off of my street, which does not get plowed, the roads were clear but MAN was it cold out. As I waited in line with my three boxes of Duraflame logs, I saw on the newspaper headlines that more snow is coming. So I stopped off on the way back home and got a few more groceries and now I am good for a week.

Snow - I laugh in your face.

(I tried to get a picture of the sun set casting a pink glow on the snow of the North Shore mountains but couldn't get a clear view to them until it was too late.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I had a quick visit with a good friend the other day, someone I haven't seen for a while. She moved east from Langley and I moved west so now we are about an hour and a half apart thus getting together doesn't happen much anymore. She said she missed getting updates from me on what I'd been reading lately. She reminded me of how she always took out her notebook and pen and would write down the titles of all the books I was talking about. I remembered it well. She said she reads this blog faithfully (hi Erna!!) and that I hadn't written about any books for a long time. And she's right. So here, in no particular order, are five recent reads that I enjoyed and recommend:

ENTER, NIGHT Michael Rowe

I bought this book because it was written by a friend of mine, a published author of non-fiction, and this was his first foray into the fiction world. I wouldn't normally have purchased this book as it's a horror book about vampiers and I am not really into the whole vampire genre.

Well, from the first page, it grabbed me. And to me, that is the sign of a book I am going to love. I always read the first page of a book written by an author I've never read before and if it grabs me, I buy it. If not, it goes back on the shelf. I had planned to read this book, grab or no grab, to support my friend. So the fact that it was so gripping right off the bat delighted me; I knew - a bit fearfully- that I was going to enjoy this story. And, sure enough, I could not put it down.

The tale is told from multiple points of view, something that can really annoy me when a book tends to jump back and forth between them. But Michael used this method of storytelling to an effect that was chilling and filled me with dread because some came to a 'dead end' and thus I had no idea who would survive and who wouldn't. The suspense of what may or may not happen heightened the build to an excruciating crescendo. Brilliant.

I don't take many walks in the woods, but the next time I do and come across a pile of boulders or a cave in a hillside, I think I will have to summon all the courage I have to not take a wide detour.

The only criticism I have, well two actually, is that there is a scene missing from the book that I badly wanted to be there, and that the book ended far too soon. I wish it had been twice as long as it just didn't feel like I could sink my teeth into it (no pun intended but, wow that was good, no?).

LIFE Keith Richards

Here, again, is another book I normally would never have read. I am not a Rolling Stones fan. I could (before reading the book) name perhaps three of their songs. But I was lying by the hotel pool one weekend in Kelowna (I was there for a month, shooting a movie) and out of maybe 15 people at the pool, literally 10 of them were reading this book. That told me it had to be good so I bought it then and there - gotta love having a Kindle with Wi-Fi!!

I really enjoyed this read; it's is a perfect example of why I love autobiographical books - they take you inside a personal experience you can never live or be a part of. And what a world Keith Richards lived and lives in. I was looking forward to reading about his life in England (where I grew up for my first 9 years) as he grew up just a decade before I did and I love reading about life in England at that time, plus I was really interested in finding out how they gained fame.

The story is told with an ease and casual honesty that feels like he's sitting there with you just telling you how it was. There's no pretentiousness, no reaching for a fancy turn of phrase to impress you; it's just raw storytelling and I loved it. By the end of the book I honestly felt like I could just call him up and say, "Hey Keith, how ya doing man? Loved having you tell me the story of your life like that. We should get together for a drink sometime." I've never felt that way after reading an autobiography, and I've read loads of them.

I found my lack of knowledge about the Stones music a bit of a hindrance in really getting lost in the story and that was frustrating to me. So if you are a Stones fan and know all of their songs and know what Keith is talking about when he says, "...you hear and see the transformation of the song, 'Parachute Woman', with that weird sound area like a fly buzzing in your ear or a mosquito or something..." then you're going to love love love this raw, honest telling of a truly extraordinary LIFE. (and I have to add that I was -and am still- SO JEALOUS of his ability to buy not one but TWO homes in the Caribbean. I could hate him for that, but I don't.)


After reading, and loving, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, I purchased this book without a second thought. I fully expected it to be every bit as absorbing as those two were and it did not disappoint. It follows the destinies of five interrelated families – one American, one Russian, one German, one English and one Welsh – through the earth-shaking events of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Now if this time in history is something you like to delve into, then you're going to love this book. If, like me, it's hasn't been something you've studied much more than what you were taught in school, then you're going to find it fascinating. And the history is accurate in even the most unexpected places. One of the characters is a very strong woman who married a bit later in life and came from poor working class in England. Her husband decided to run for civic office and she decided to run also and when she won her marriage suffered due to what her husband considered a humiliating defeat by his wife. This actually happened as I discovered, quite by accident, when researching something else a couple of months after finishing the book. I love that. Historically accurate novels and autobiographies are one of my favourite ways to gain knowledge about the past.

Where the Hell Am I? Trips I Have Survived Ken Levine

Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer. He travels around America, Hawaii (yes I know that's part of America) and a few other places around the world and - like most of us who travel - has some crazy and hilarious stories to tell. I loved it and laughed out loud. He's no Bill Bryson, but it was an entertaining read nevertheless.

After reading it you will either want to book a trip right away or never travel again. Me? - I wanted to write a book based on my own travels. Boy could I tell you some stories (yes, more than are in this blog!). I just might do it one day.

Manpot's Tales of the Tropics Malcolm Boyes

This book is written by a friend I have yet to meet. He lives part time on Tortola and I have gotten to know him a little through postings on a forum I belong to for people who travel to the BVI, as well as we are now FaceBook friends. He was someone I was really hoping to finally meet on my recent trip to the BVI but he left a few days before I got there and arrived back one day after I left. I was staying just down the beach from his home during my time on Tortola and so was really disappointed that I hadn't timed that part of my trip a little better.

When I read that he had just published a book of stories about living on Tortola, I had to buy it. I wanted to support him and I also wanted to read anything about what has become my favourite place on earth. I really enjoyed being able to visualize the places he was speaking about and even some of the people. It's written in a casual conversational story telling style and I loved that. Even if you haven't been to this part of the world, you will really enjoy the characters that populate this book and their funny escapades. He also tells the story of how he got the nickname 'Manpot', something that had intrigued me for some time.

Malcolm is a Hollywood producer (he produced Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) and, rumour has it, one of the stories in the book may become a children's cartoon series. Here's hoping!

This book is not available on Amazon. It is only available as an electronic download, HERE.

If you're interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider doing so by clicking on the Amazon link below. I will get a tiny commission from anything you buy from my Amazon Selections and all of these books are part of my collection. (If, instead of the book, you see a flashing yellow Amazon ad, just refresh the page and the book should return).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Dreaming of sunsets in the BVI today.

Sunsets are like a gift from God at the end of the day "Here, feast your eyes on this and don't forget that I am still here, even though it's about to get dark." Yay God!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


My life is never going to be the same. I have fallen hopelessly in love with a new person in my life and this is a FOREVER love.

Meet my new granddaughter, Malia Katherine.

She arrived 10 days late, on January 2nd at 5:57am weighing in at 8lbs13oz. Mom did AMAZING with instant onset of hard labour that woke her up at 12:30am with less than 30 seconds between contractions. Her dula kept assuring her that she had lots of time thus they barely made it to the hospital in time - mommy got into the bed and not 5 minutes and just ONE PUSH later, Malia arrived! They are both doing fabulous.

My other daughter was down from Kelowna for Christmas and had taken extra time off to be here for the birth but it was looking like she going home without meeting her niece. In fact, she had set her alarm for 8:30 to depart that very morning. When her phone rang at 7:30 I thought it was her alarm except my phone was ringing at the same time, which confused me as it woke me from a deep sleep. "That's your alarm" I mumbled to Shonah then realized my phone was ringing as well so picked it up and saw "Asheigh" on caller ID. I knew right away why she was calling and jumped up out of bed. I was squealing before I even answered the call, I think. The reason both our phones were ringing at the same time was Rob dialed Shonah on his phone and Ashleigh me on hers at the same time and then Ashleigh held them both to her ears and spoke to us together.

We got ready FAST and then headed to the hospital, 5 minutes away, stopping on the way for Starbucks for all of us and for roses, a couple of mylar balloons and muffins (for Rob as I figured he'd be starving) and for photos of the glorious sunset that heralded her arrival. We cried as we got ready at home and we cried again as soon as we saw the baby. I got to hold her right away and as I uncovered her a little so I could see her better I laid my finger by her hand and she grabbed it (she was sleeping) and Ashleigh said that was the first time she had grabbed anyone's finger!!

We stayed a couple of hours and Christopher and Isolde arrived about an hour after we got there - Ashleigh called Christopher about half an hour after we arrived; she wanted us to get there first which was really nice of her to do as this was Shonah's only time with the baby before she left to go home (at noon now instead of 9).

I was so happy that the baby came when she did. When we were going to bed the night before, we had just come from Rob and Ashleigh's place and Shonah was so sad that the baby hadn't come. Ashleigh seemed fine and wasn't feeling any twinges so Shonah was sure it wouldn't be born that night even though I said maybe it would come. "No it won't mom, she will probably be born on WEDNESDAY!" We got to bed just after midnight. After turning out the light, I prayed for about 10 minutes that the baby would come in the night so Shonah could meet her, and then expected to fall right off to sleep as I normally do but I tossed and turned for about two hours. SO not like me. But I never thought that it might be because Ashleigh WAS in labour!! I finally fell off to sleep and then woke to the phone ringing and hearing a baby crying in the background when I answered. Such joy. I can't even describe it.

I haven't seen her since that morning as mommy, daddy and little Malia are spending time alone at home, bonding. My arms are aching to hold her again and I feel like I might go insane if it doesn't happen soon. I had NO IDEA it would feel like this to be a grandma (or NAN as I will be called). As a new mom, you get to have your baby whenever you want it. As a grandma that isn't the case.

Lots of people told me how much fun it would be to be a grandma but no one told me how hard it would be between visits!

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.