Nose Prints and Wine

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One week of school done, thirty-eight to go!

As relieved as I am to be back at work, I’m exhausted after working five days in a row.

Here are some first week of school stats:

1 glass of wine this week. I was (gasp!) too tired to even drink most days after work.

2 episodes of Vikings. My sailor and I watched Ragnar’s exploits last night because it was Friday night and staying awake long enough to watch two hours of TV was all I could manage.

3 days of leftovers. It’s amazing how far you can stretch one crock pot meal when you’re too limp to cook at the end of a working day.

4 cups of Tim’s new Dark Roast. Determined not to fall back into my daily coffee habit, going through the drive-through only four times this week was an accomplishment!

5 Chihuahua-height nose prints on the living room window. She watched us leave each morning, convinced she’d never see us again. Imagine her delight when we turned up again every evening.

It’s a Guy Thing

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My sailor found shopping heaven.

Cabela’s is a big ole huntin’ and fishin’ store. My sailor was drawn to it like a fly to a fresh cow pattie. I’m not sure why, since he neither hunts nor fishes.

It must be a guy thing.

Maybe it’s a gal thing, too.

I was fascinated by some of the stuff in there, particularly the extensive taxidermy displays. They had everything from moose to cougars to a family of foxes whose sharp little faces were eerily similar to our beloved Chihuahua’s. Looking into all those blank glass eyes was like visiting a zoo of death.

Luckily there was something fun and flirty to lighten the mood–a lingerie department!

My sailor was a little too enthusiastic, even offering to get me something.

He may have been disappointed by my choice.

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With Christmas exactly three months away, I hope a camo bra or negligee isn’t in my future.

The Turkey Vulture

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Ding Dong! The strike is dead!

Let us all rejoice as we head back to class three weeks into the school year.

Resuming regular responsibilities after the never-ending summer requires some adjustment. In addition to the early call of the alarm clock and the daily dilemma of what to wear:

1. Normal cooking has now been resumed. No more grazing on bags of salad, frozen pizza and ice cream because I’m too fraught to cook. I’ve got a hearty chicken and vegetable stew bubbling in the crock pot and I’m gearing up to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for lunch box treats. Now we’re talking!

2. Not everyone is thrilled with the new schedule. After three months of constant companionship, our needy Chihuahua is less than pleased to be left alone all day when we go to work/school.

3. Kindness comes when you least expect it. Last week, I received something in the mail. I called my sailor.

“Someone sent us a Turkey Voucher!”

“A turkey vulture?”

“Voucher, not vulture.”

Turkey Vouchers are a local thing–a coupon we can exchange for delicious turkey goodness–mmm! Someone, who only put their return address on the envelope, sent me one.

Using my well-developed detective skills (and a reverse address search site), I discovered who sent it and was able to call to thank them. Apparently our turkey benefactors had noticed my stress level going through the roof as the strike progressed and wanted to do something nice for me.

Thank you!

4. Best of all–I had time to contact the Christmas tree farm lady and cancel my journey into the wilderness. I remain gloriously bear bite free as I go back to my real job!

O Christmas Tree!

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As our strike drags on, I’m looking for an alternate source of income.

I thought I’d found the perfect opportunity when I heard of O, a friend of a friend, who recently bought a Christmas tree farm. She’s hiring Christmas tree pruners.

I enjoy visiting farms (especially if they have on site wineries!) and I love Christmas. Could there be a better fit for an uncoordinated striking teacher with little wilderness experience?

I called O, introduced myself and volunteered for duty.

“It’s hard work,” she warned.

“Not a problem,” I gushed.

“Would you like to use clippers or a sword?”

A sword???

“Could you repeat that?”

“Clippers or a sword?” she asked. “Since you’re new to Christmas tree pruning, you might want to start with clippers. The swords are harder to control.”

Have I mentioned I’m one of the least coordinated people I know?

“Put me down for clippers.”

“What about a dog?” she asked.

“What about a dog?” If there’ll be dogs around, it’s a good thing I won’t be swinging a sword through the trees.

“If you have one, you might want to bring him,” she said. “For the bears.”

Bears???

“I don’t think my dog would be good for the bears.”

“Not a problem. You’ll just have to be extra-vigilant since you don’t have a dog to scare them away.”

Is it too late to change my mind and choose the sword?

The Golden Retriever’s Guide to Happiness

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Picketing sucks!

Now that’s out of the way, I can admit there’s one aspect that’s actually not so bad–the dogs. In particular, a couple of gorgeous golden retrievers who often accompany their striking humans. These canines provide a burst of positive energy few people can match.

I’ve gotten to spend enough quality time with each of them to learn three life lessons as demonstrated by golden retrievers.

1. Charge into every situation with tail-wagging glee! These dogs aren’t obnoxious, but they’re SO joyful it’s contagious. They approach everyone they meet like their new bestie, leaning in for a back rub here or looking up with those soulful eyes there. Hesitation or shyness? These pooches don’t know the meaning of those words (literally)! True confession: I sometimes avoid talking to people because I can’t imagine they want to be stuck chatting with me. I need to adopt a little of that golden self-confidence.

2. Roll in the dirt when the spirit moves you! Parker (the handsome guy in the photo) is ten years old–well into doggie middle age, but he hasn’t lost that puppy joi de vivre. Every now and then he flops down on his back and shimmies on the grass. His person says it’s a do it yourself massage. It must feel good–Parker’s bright eyes and big grin don’t lie. Does he look a bit silly?–Hell, yes! Does he care?–Hell, no! We could all use a dose of that golden enthusiasm.

3. Always carry a wet tennis ball! As much as I admire Parker, I don’t want to toss his damp, squishy tennis ball for him when he nudges it my way. He doesn’t care. (Honestly–is there a more good-natured creature on the planet than a golden retriever?) Parker keeps his ball near by and always knows where it is without getting neurotic about it. The golden rule of this little story–surround yourself with things that make you happy, but don’t get too hung up on your possessions.

Fashion on the Line

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As we begin another week of the longest teachers’ strike in BC history, there is no news. Sadly this is not a case where no news is good news. There’s no end in sight.

After a summer travelling across the country, taking part in ice bucket challenges, sampling dill pickle vodka and posting inflammatory tweets about greedy teachers, our premier finally called a press conference to add her two cents.

Unfortunately she made several false claims.

I’m still trying to figure her out.

Either she deliberately lied to sway public opinion against teachers or she’s so uninformed that she genuinely believes teachers are asking for “unlimited massages and extra days off.”

Yikes! The premier’s either incompetent or dishonest. I can’t decide which quality’s more dangerous in a leader.

On a more personal note, I’m facing the dreaded picketing striker fashion dilemma.

My summer shoes of choice, a comfortable pair of soft suede ballet flats, while perfect for a day of shopping, are not up the rigours of walking a section of pavement for three hours straight. My other choice, running shoes, offer more support but…ugh!

Have you ever tried to co-ordinate runners with a summer dress? It’s not a good look!

A Room of One’s Own

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I’m obsessed by small, contained spaces, almost to the point of weirdness.

We moved when I was in middle school, and my new room had a walk-in closet. Most adolescent girls would be thrilled at the extra space for their growing wardrobes.

Not me. I dragged a chair, a bath mat and a lamp with a long cord in there and called it my private reading room. Sadly, I spent much of my grade seven year in a closet.

Flash forward to the present and taking over a closet isn’t an option. We don’t have nearly enough storage space. The price for a private reading corner would be increased clutter in the rest of the house.

So no private spot for me to dream and read…or so I thought.

Lately, I’ve been spending time on the boat. It’s so much better than a closet! It has windows and a table, even a cushioned bench for naps. It’s almost like a tiny house!

So far I’m only using it as a reading space, but my sailor promises to run a cord out from the basement so I can access shore power. (Okay–I’ll just be tapping into the house’s hydro supply, but accessing shore power sounds more exciting–like something Gilligan and the gang would have done if their three-hour tour hadn’t gone pear-shaped.)

Once I’ve got power, there are no limits on what I can do in my little garden hideaway!

Writing for sure, as long as I don’t drop my computer climbing a board. (That swim ladder is pretty narrow.)

In theory I can brew grassy herbal teas, but in reality I’m more likely to stash a small box of wine in the fridge. I might even bring the dog aboard for visits. Of course, she doesn’t run on power–just Milk Bones and tummy rubs.

I’m beginning to appreciate the nautical lifestyle!

Perhaps my sailor is finally rubbing off on me.