Sunday, May 3, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
We each went to see our rooms; Shonah would be upstairs in the master suite with her sister, the bride, for the first two nights, and I would share the kids room with Amy. Christopher, when I arrived, would have the lovely downstairs room with a queen bed and Izzy would take the small child's room. We started unpacking and I wondered aloud where said son and girlfriend could be. We were all settled in and checking out the fridge to see what the 'welcome snack items' might be when we heard their car pull into the parking spot. They arrived, dragging their suitcases and told us where they had been for the past hour.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
This is a picture of me and my family on a sunny day in late April, 1985. I had just recovered from an easy birth via cesarean, but an agonizing and dangerous battle with infection after. I came close to losing my life and had spent the past two weeks recovering at my in-law’s house. No one had lived at our house for three weeks and the fridge was empty. We were stocking back up on provisions.
About half way through the store the grocery cart was so full I couldn’t fit as much as a can of beans in it so hubby decided to go fetch another cart, take the full one through the checkout as I continued to shop and, after loading the groceries into the car, return to help me finish up. Sounded like a plan to me.
I continued up and down the isles, piling the necessities of life into the new empty cart - things like baby diapers, toddler diapers, diaper wipes, diaper cream, and – oh yes – food. I was eagerly anticipating being back in my own little house and sleeping in my own big bed. As I turned down the next isle I looked up to see my husband heading back towards me from the front of the store. As he got closer I noticed that the baby, who I was certain was wearing a cute little pink velour sleeper when he left with overflowing cart, was now stark naked. Stark. Naked. It was only then I noticed the look of consternation on daddy’s face.
“The baby. She’s naked.” I stated the obvious as he walked within hearing distance.
“Yeah. No kidding.” Was the curt reply.
“This.” He lifted her body away from his chest and I had a hard time swallowing the bubble of laughter that welled up my throat as a large greenish yellow stain on the front of his white shirt, from mid chest to waist, was revealed. From the look on his face I knew that laughter would not go over well at this juncture. Gulp.
“Just as I was handing over the cash for the groceries, she let go a huge one and it went EVERYWHERE. I was SO embarrassed. I have spent the last 15 minutes trying to clean it up with McDonald napkins I found in the backseat of the car. Do you have any wipes in that cart yet?” Obviously he didn’t see the humour in the situation at all. Which, frankly, didn’t surprise me much as I seem to have all the sense of humour in this family via my British heritage. Plus for once I wasn't the one wearing baby insides on my outside so I had a whole different perspective.
I dug out the wipes from the bottom of the cart and handed them over. As he was tearing into them I opened the package of baby diapers and held one out.
“Give me your wallet and I will pay for the groceries while you go back to the car with the kids and wait for me there.” I offered.
“Yeah, well there is another problem.” He said as he mopped the front of his shirt. “The groceries are taking up so much space that there isn’t room for everyone so I am going to have to go home and drop them off and come back for you.”
“Fine. Just take the baby then.” I said. “And while your there put some clothes on her.”
“I will.” He snatched the diaper out of my hand.
“And feel free to take the time to change your shirt while you are at it.” I grinned.
“Thanks. You’re all heart.” He called over his shoulder as he headed off.
The cockles of said heart were warmed as I watched him head down the isle. I loved my little family. And I loved it that my husband was wearing baby insides on his outside, for once. And as soon as I knew he was out of earshot, I let the laughter come.
The guy she is marrying is Mr. Perfectly Wonderful. Really. He is the type of man I didn't think existed anymore, other than on film. He is a gentleman; thoughtful, caring, kind, generous, absolutely madly in love with my daughter and isn't afraid to show it. She is madly in love with him. She is blissfully happy and is certain she has found an amazing man who she can spend all her days with.
So why could I be happier?
Because they are getting married on Tortola. And no, that isn't the island from Pirates of the Caribbean. That was Tortuga. Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands. It's an unspoiled vista of lush jungle and white sandy beaches sitting in a sea of... well... Caribbean blue. Perfection. Picturesque. Exotic. Expensive. Very.
Just getting there, no wedding stuff, just GETTING there and accommodations (for four flights and a house that sleeps seven) is going to run over $10,000. That doesn't include spending money or food. And no wedding stuff. Did I say that already? There will be more than four people there but that's the four I am paying for, at least initially.
She wants a beach wedding. And somewhere in-between his family in London and ours in Vancouver so that it doesn't look like they are favouring one side over the other. While I understand the sentiment the logic of it is killing me, to wit: so, instead of inconveniencing just half of the guests let's inconvenience everyone. Hmmm.
It's not like we don't have nice beaches right here in B.C. I will admit most have what is more like gravel than sand for a beach but not all of them. Tofino is one of her favourite places and the sand is actually sandy, if not the sugar white stuff of the Caribbean. I am sure we could have a gorgeous wedding there. Or I hear tell there is a nice spot on the water in Tsawwassen. Even better. And I am sure his parents would love to see Vancouver if for no other reason than to see where their first-born plans to make his home. But that isn't what they want. Alrighty then. So how about not having it in high season? Wait 6 weeks and the villas will slash prices in half. But that doesn't fit the time line for when they leave London and need to start the sponsorship process for his Canadian citizenship. Ok then. High season on Tortola it is.
Bottom line is this: she is my sweetie; one of my babies. I love her to death and I want her to have the wedding of her dreams. Heck, I wouldn't mind spending a week in the Caribbean in the middle of February. But, and it's a big one, right now the funds just don't exist. Like an idiot I spent the family allowance all those years on books and orthodontics for the kiddies with the goal of raising readers with nice teeth, instead of stashing it away in a high interest account for such a time as this. So what to do? Pray. Pray hard. For another union show like jPod to come along SOON and last all through the winter like Blood Ties did. Because if this winter to come shapes up like last winter, I will have a hard time holding onto the house and car let alone winging myself and three others off to paradise for a week.
And the ex better be ready to cough up the cost of the reception. Because after I pay for the brides dress, my dress, invitations, favours, table decorations, a hair and makeup gal to come along with us, a wedding present (as someone reminded me today...to which I replied 'the whole wedding is a present!!!!') and who knows what else... that meal might be the only one I get all week.
Monday, April 21, 2008
This past year I FINALLY got to experience it (well - not the Spanish hottie part) and it was as close to heaven as I have ever been. Speaking of which, do you think there will be white sandy beaches in heaven? I sure hope so or eternity is going to seem endless if I can’t go to the beach.
It came about like this: I was sitting in a local café with another script supervisor, we were working on our respective shows scripts, both of us near exhaustion as a result of a long season on episodic TV. Sixteen hour days and then working all weekend on the upcoming episode had taken it’s toll. I happened to mention to her, as we were slaving over our laptops, that my show was going on hiatus for a week. She said hers was as well. Turned out it was the same week. We looked at each other and at the same time said ‘Want to go somewhere?’ Scripts forgotten, we began searching the internet for a good deal on a vacation - somewhere hot with a fabulous beach. And palm trees.
We ended up buying tickets to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, the dream vacation that I always wanted. I was beyond excited. I started counting the days.
It was August. When we got off of the plane I thought the wave of heat I felt slam into my body was from the plane’s engines. Nope. That was the temperature outside. I had NO idea how hot Mexico was in August and, in the one and a half minutes it took to get from the airport exit to the waiting coach, I thought I might pass out from the heat . We did say we wanted somewhere hot. Climbing onto that bus, never had air conditioning felt so great. So delicious. So necessary.
On the drive to the resort I couldn’t stop looking out of the window. All the trees were short and thick, a jungle started where the roadside ended. The highway was surprisingly wide and modern, not sure what I was expecting – a dirt road? The cars and trucks whizzed by in various states of disrepair. I saw a truck loaded down with bricks and five men sitting on top of all of the bricks as it sped by. I shook my head. So crazy.
When we pulled off of the highway at the large stonework gate that marked our resort and started down the long, winding drive I could hardly contain my excitement. Taking in the luscious green gardens resplendent with flowers, palm trees, deep green lawns and – as we drew closer – a huge building that had no front wall, just open to the warm air, my excitement began to build. I could see that it was the main building and was two stories high with a red tile roof and honey colored marble floors. When we left the cool of the bus and walked inside I could hardly watch where I was going as I dragged my suitcase. There were Mayan-type carvings high up on the walls, deep cushioned rattan couches and chairs arranged in groups all around a large glass sculpture, and a long mahogany bar with cute bartenders busy keeping patrons lubricated in the far corner just before the entrance into a large dining room. Lush. Exotic. Luxurious. Fabulous.
We checked in and then headed through the main building and down the pathway to our room. We passed more beautiful gardens with a man made waterfall spilling over golden rocks. The grass on the lawns was thick and coarse and when I stood on it to test it out, my feet sank far down into the prickly leaves; definitely not for walking on. Identical square cottages were spread throughout the grounds, all painted a bright yellow-orange with red tiled roofs. We found our cottage close to the main building and climbed the tiled stairs to the second floor. Our room was large and cool and so …Mexican. There was even a tiny gecko on the wall near the air conditioner. We named him Hector and he made an appearance almost every day.
We changed into our swimwear, stuffed our valuables into the tiny safe in the closet and headed down the winding pathway to the pools and beach. The heat and humidity in the air was heavily perfumed with the blossoms on the bushes everywhere. I know my flowers but I had no idea what these were, they were so vibrant and exotic looking. The sensation of breathing in the dense scented air was like nothing I had ever experienced.
The pools were spread out at the end of the pathway, one for children on the left and the other for the grown ups to the right. There were white chaise loungers surrounding each pool and the grown up pool had a swim up bar with a thatched palm roof. Just beyond the pools was the whitest powder sand beach that anyone could ever dream up, the kind I had only seen while drooling over travel magazines. The water beyond was all shades of the most gorgeous blues and greens. I think this is what Enya called Carribean Blue. And this was the Carribean Sea.
Putting my toes into the soft white sand for the first time rates as one of the best experiences of my life. I think it falls somewhere between becoming a mother and eating turkey dinner at Christmas (which are not as far apart on my scale as one might expect). As I stood there in the blazing sun under a tall palm tree that was blowing gently in the warm breeze coming off of the ocean and wiggled my toes in that softest of sand, I wanted to cry. I actually had to fight back the tears. I never thought I would live to see the day. I thought this would always be just a dream. I know it probably sounds superficial but this moment had been one of my most treasured dreams, something I had imagined and lived over and over in my mind when I needed something wonderful to think of. And now here I was, actually living the dream.
It happened again the first time I walked into that azure blue sea and felt water as warm as a bath surround my body. I looked down and saw a school of pure white angelfish swimming in a circle around me and had to fight back tears. Was I really here after all these years of dreaming? Yes I absolutely was.
A dream fulfilled is a miracle.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
They say that you age gradually. It’s a lie. From my experience, you go to bed one night looking like you have looked for the past 20 years, then you wake up the next morning and there's a brown spot on your face you know wasn’t there yesterday. A week later you wake up and there's a deep crease in your forehead between your eyebrows that, until now, you’d only seen on your Aunty Mary. And, by-the-way, I'm pretty sure I know where that came from. I can be sitting thinking about nothing much, or even something pleasant, and someone will walk in the room and ask 'What's the matter?' and when I say that I don't know what they mean I am told I looked angry or upset, that I was frowning. Well, I guess that's just my face in repose.
I always believed that age spots and wrinkles would appear first as sort of a ghostly image of what was to come. That I would look in the mirror (the magnification side mind you) and if I looked hard enough I would see the faint hair-width of a crease that had started to form somewhere and I would know that I had about five years to go before it would become a full blown wrinkle. That the age spots would first make themselves known as a slight discoloration of a few cells and I would think, ‘oh-oh, that will be an age spot in a couple of years’. That way I could get used to the idea of it or maybe even nip it in the bud before it blossomed into it’s full blown glory. But no. I go to bed looking one way and when I stumble into the bathroom the next morning and peer in the mirror the shock of what is peering back knocks the last vestiges of sleep fuzz from my brain and a cold reality takes it’s place. I am aging. And fast.
I am going to turn 50 this month. Fifty. Half a century. I can’t wrap my head around it even though I have felt the weight of this birthday coming for the past 5 years. And I have been dreading it. The roots of this dread go back to something I discovered many years ago.
I used to buy Glamour Magazine every month back when I was 18 till I was about 27, at which time, with one child on my hip, another permanently wrapped around my right leg, and yet a third playing Lego on the kitchen table, I gave up on the notion of ever becoming Glamorous and quit buying it. Every issue had a page towards the back that featured an aging celebrity in 5 or 6 headshots, one for every decade of their lives from becoming famous to the present day. What always struck me, and this was the case for all although the time they featured Cary Grant is the one that is burned into my memory, is that in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s they looked pretty much the same. The hairstyles of the women changed but the faces hadn’t changed much at all. Even in their 50’s they were still looking pretty good. But O MY GOSH, the difference between the one in their 50’s and the one in their 60’s was nothing short of a complete shock. It was like all the aging they should have been doing gradually over the decades hit all at once in that 10 year span. The hair had greyed (or gone completely white in the case of Cary Grant), the face was a mass of liver spots and wrinkles, there were bags under the eyes and bags over the eyes….. it shocked me celebrity after celebrity, month after month. And it burned an awareness into my very soul that beauty ends somewhere in your 50’s.
So now I face turning 50 with the absolute knowledge that I am about to live the last few years where I have of any chance of looking good. That the gradual aging I thought I would do in the past two decades will hit all at once in this decade to come. And what’s worse, I seem to have a bit of a head start. I am overweight. I have skin tags sprouting up everywhere like mushrooms in the wild. I have been waging a battle with age spots on my face for a year now (thanks to endless sun tanning sessions in my foolish youth) with trips to the dermatologist where she blasts them with nitrogen. Some wrinkles have shown up, especially on my neck and chest in the most puzzling of formations until I realized they are from sleeping on my side. Now that is what I call the epitome of injustice. I can understand getting wrinkles from doing something you can control, like frowning too much. But from how I sleep? That’s just cruel.
I know I am going to look back in a decade when I face turning 60 and kick myself for not taking steps to give myself a good head start, like losing weight and using expensive face cream night and day. Today I did something I used to watch my mother do. I placed my forefingers on my cheekbones and my thumbs on my jaw and gently pushed the skin towards my hairline. It took 20 years off. So I guess there has been some drag and sag up to now but, trust me, it's nothing compared to that which is to come.
There just might be a facelift in my future. For sure there is Botox ahead; to erase that crease between my eyebrows and freeze my forehead into a bland look of disinterest. No more shall they ask 'what's the matter', but rather - 'are you listening to a word I am saying?' To which I will reply, 'Sure I am. I am just not getting any wrinkles over it!'
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Last year I worked on two TV series; Blood Ties and jPod. From an insider's perspective, they were really fun shows to work on. The cast and crew were really great people, the producers were accessible and friendly, and the scripts were intelligently written. Both series generated individual loyal fan bases. And those fans were up in arms when their shows were cancelled after just one season.
Blood Ties was a show about Vicky, a private detective; Henry Fitzroy, a 400 year old vampire; and Mike, a cop. They worked together to solve crimes that involved a supernatural element. Lifetime refused to renew Blood Ties for a second season despite the outcry from fans who, before Blood Ties, had all but given up on the network to produce shows they deemed watch-able. They mobilized to lobby the network to rethink their decision using the internet and fan sites to spread the word. They flooded the Lifetime website with postings, they sent emails to any executive they could find an address for, they signed on-line petitions, and any online poll that included Blood Ties was voted on by the fans to ensure it had a great result. All to no avail. The big guns at the network were impervious to the fans pleadings and so the show died a premature death.
But the obstinate suits at Lifetime and their callous non-response to their fans pleadings pales in comparison to the outright idiocy of CBC.
For those of you who haven't heard, jPod is based on the book of the same name by Douglas Coupland who is one of Canada's foremost authors. It takes place in a computer gaming company called Neotronic Arts and centers around five of it's misfit programmers. The show had a great cast including Alan Thicke, Sherry Miller, Colin Campbell, as well as the five main and relatively unknown actors. It was on CBC on Tuesday night, 9:00. After the third episode aired, CBC decided to change the time slot to Friday night, 9:00. HUH? The target demographic for this audience is 18 - 35 year olds. Now I am no network executive yet I can figure out that pretty much NOBODY in that age bracket is going to be home on a Friday night watching TV. In fact, pretty much nobody but your 80 year old aunty is at home watching the telly on a Friday night. That is why that time slot is usually referred to as the 'death slot'. So why did they do it? My theory is that someone at CBC had a personal vendetta. Maybe Doug snubbed them at a party. Maybe Larry lost it on an exec. Who knows? What goes on in the mind of the sequestered elite and the resulting decisions are an enigma tied up in a riddle wrapped up in a conundrum (or however that saying goes).
All I know is this: CBC hasn't a clue what people want to watch. I have three kids in the demographic jPod was geared towards. Until jPod, the only time they tuned in to CBC was to watch the Canucks. My 27 year old son loves jPod and proclaimed it the best show CBC has ever aired, so good that he couldn't believe it was a CBC production. Since the time slot change he downloads it via bit-torrent. My 23 year old daughter works at an online, interactive gaming company. She doesn't have cable so she can't watch it when it airs, but she has many co-workers who watch (albeit now they program their PVR's) and she watches the show on tapes one of her friends makes for her. She loves it. My 25 year old daughter in England has them on her computer from a bit-torrent site. She and her boyfriend love it.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people on line who have started petitions and facebook groups in support of jPod. And yet CBC is not moved. Like Lifetime, it seems they don't care what their viewers think or want. They will go ahead and do whatever they want and viewers be damned. CBC is funded by the Canadian government, so they can afford to be stubborn moron's, I guess. They will continue to survive via the benevolence of a government who is happy to throw our money around. But Lifetime stands to lose a lot by ignoring their viewers. Biting the hand that feeds you only works if you are Henry Fitzroy.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
4. the act or capacity of enduring; endurance: My tolerance of noise is limited.
I have been thinking a bit today about the notion of tolerance.
Why is it that those who are the loudest proponents of the concept of tolerance are often the most selective as to whom they practice the concept on? Conversely, those who are often accused of intolerance can be, by comparison, some of the most tolerant in our society.
Let me explain.
Where is it written that tolerance is only to be practiced with the tolerant? Isn't the idea to have an objective and permissive attitude towards those who's beliefs differ from your own? I don't read anywhere that tolerance must be reciprocal in order for it to be dispensed. In fact, isn't the idea of tolerance based on the very foundation that there is a disagreement in the first place? That the other party may or may not choose to be nice about what they believe, think, or how they act but, as long as they are not breaking the law they are free to be as they wish and I will not let it bother me and I will not bother them? In other words, tolerance is the buzzword for the old adage of 'live and let live'.
I have a friend who is gay. He expects that, in this day and age, there will be tolerance from society regarding his lifestyle. He expects that his sexual orientation should have no bearing on how he is received as a human being; that it is a non-issue. He would be angry, offended and (rightfully) affronted if he were to encounter bias against his person because he is gay. Yet this same man has no problem expressing his thoughts and feelings towards Christians with sarcastic, scathing vitriol. His expressions are not fair, objective or permissive in the slightest. He has disdain for Christians, he ridicules their beliefs and practices, and he has not the slightest compunction in expressing it. How is that fair? How is that just? How is that upholding a value, namely tolerance, that you believe is such a key part of a functioning society? How can you expect to receive that which you will not give?
I am a Christian. I go to church. I have hundreds of friends and acquaintances who are Born Again Christians. Not one of the Christians that I have relationship with hates or otherwise maligns homosexuals. They don't agree with the lifestyle (and - again - what would there be to tolerate if there was not a disagreement) but they would never speak of the person, the human being, with the blatant disdain - dare I say the hatred - which I have heard and read directed at them by virtue of their Christianity. In fact, they are true followers of Jesus and endeavour to live their lives with love and integrity. They believe in the wisdom of Jesus and follow his commandments. He had two. Love the Lord your God with all your might and love your neighbour as yourself.
Who is my neighbour? It's not just the person who I live beside. My neighbour is the person I work with, the grocery store clerk, the guy in the car next to me. Anyone. Regardless of what they believe, practice, or say. I am to love that person as much as I love myself. Jesus said to 'do to others as you would have them do to you'. The ultimate form of tolerance. Jesus preached tolerance. As a follower of his I am to be tolerant. I and my Christian friends purpose to live this out in our lives. And I do love people. I love the people I work with. I dearly love my friend who is gay. He knows I am a Christian and I think he loves me too, but he believes that I am a big exception to the norm. I'm not.
I know that there are people out there who proclaim to be Christians and use the name of God to further their political, personal, or social agenda. But here's the thing. The Bible says that you will know a true Christian by the fruit of their lives. If they don't love their neighbour as themselves; if they don't treat others the way they wish to be treated; if the fruit of the Spirit is not in evidence in their life (love, joy peace, patience, kindness, meekness, self control) then they have no right to claim that they are a follower of Jesus. Plain and simple.
But for those of us who love Jesus, who love our neighbours, who try to practice tolerance as Jesus commanded... please tolerate our beliefs. Or you are not allowing us to live our lives with freedom from bigotry.