Generation Gap?

103I had a marathon hair session the other day.

Colour, cut, high lights, straightening–I got the full meal deal and then some.

This intense level of beautification isn’t for the faint of heart. My appointment started at 10:30 and I didn’t get out of the salon until about 1:40! Afterwards I was exhausted–fit for nothing more than lounging with a cup of tea and a novel. I don’t know how the stylists do it.

I’m not one for small talk so after our initial hello-s, my stylist got down to the nitty gritty while I immersed myself in gossip magazines.

Soon after my arrival, a high school girl took up residence in the chair next to mine. She was one of those bubbly, chatty people I admire.

She talked about her yearbook photo (“awful!”), her graduation dress (“strapless cream satin–like a wedding dress, but cuter!”) and her part time job at a t-shirt shop (“I love it when we get people with funny accents!”)

Her cell phone rang: “Yah…No, probably just hanging out at home tonight…Oooh–I’m so hung over today…You, too? Oh my God! Ha ha! We’re both hung over!…Okay, bye, Mom.”

Bye, Mom! What???

Sometimes I feel like the mom that time forgot.

At first I think it’s the generation gap rearing its grizzled head. Back in my day, high school kids (at least the ones I knew) didn’t complain to their parents about the severity of their hang overs. And if a parent suspected their teenager of illegal, underage drinking, they certainly didn’t commiserate about their own hang overs.

Then I realize the mom on the phone is probably about my age so I can’t even blame a generation gap.

I’m just uncool.

And I’m okay with that.

Strike One!

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Labour unrest thrives here.

It’s tit for tat.

They illegally strip class size and composition concessions from our contract. We move to stage one job action.

They threaten to roll back our wages 5%. We engage in province-wide rotating strikes.

They impose a partial lock out and roll back our wages 10%.

They say potato. We say potahto.

Sigh–I wish we could call the whole thing off.

Today I got an email from the president of our local. Because I’m the staff rep for our department, I have to go to my administrator first thing tomorrow with a list of questions about the lock out and how it will impact our ability to perform our jobs.

I get that we need clarification. No one seems to know what the complicated partial lock out entails. Even the negotiator who dreamed it up admits it will be “tweaked” as necessary because the situation remains “fluid.” I just don’t want to be the person who has to poke a stick at the hornet’s nest. (I should clarify that my boss’ office in no way resembles an actual hornet’s nest. She’s a reasonable woman who is likely just as frustrated by this situation as I am.)

I did what I usually do when I’m stressed and I need reassurance. I went to my sailor and whined at length about my predicament.

As the former Commanding Officer of a unit with a number of unionized Civilian employees, he has experience dealing with labour issues. Surely he would have some words of wisdom for me.

“If you didn’t want do stuff like this, you shouldn’t have volunteered to be a union rep.”

Thanks, honey. I feel so much better now.

Victoria Day Cont.

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I love a parade! (Who doesn’t?)

Here are a few pictures from the Victoria Day parade last weekend.

The cyclists in bright spandex are the Cops For Cancer, a group of police officers from local detachments who ride the length of Vancouver Island to raise money for cancer research every September. They should really be called the Cops Against Cancer.

Every parade needs a beauty queen and the Victoria Day parade has Miss Vancouver Island. To be honest, I didn’t realize there was a Miss Vancouver Island so I don’t think the pageant is well publicized, but I’m sure her mom and dad are proud of her.

I thought the cheerleaders should have gym mats under them when they started throwing that girl around. Lucky for her they were really good so no one got dropped on the pavement.

My favourite part of the parade: all the awesome high school bands. It’s a pleasure to see so many talented young people participating in a community event like this. The ones in the gorgeous uniforms with the tall plumed hats are American high school bands. (A number of bands come from Washington state to participate in the Victoria Day parade.) The ones dressed like used car salesman are from a Victoria high school.

You can probably guess which uniforms I prefer, but all the musicians were equally talented and well prepared.

I love a parade! The beat of the drums…

Three’s a Crowd

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My sailor doesn’t like going to movies or restaurants alone.

I don’t mind it.

When I’m in need of something delicious and I’m on my own, my go to spot is Pagliacci’s. It’s everyone’s favourite. (Get there early, or you’ll be lining up out the door.)

Tables are jam-packed in the small space and the wait staff fairly fly out of the kitchen with baskets of bread, carafes of wine and plates of steaming pasta.

There’s so much energy that it’s a comfortable place for a solo meal.

I’ve never had a bad experience there…until today.

I was next in line (party of one), followed by a nervous-looking couple. A table for four became available.

“Just give me a minute to get your table ready,” said the hostess, grabbing three menus and ducking back into the restaurant.

Table? I glanced at the couple behind me.

Moments later she came back. “Follow me.”

We did.

She’d moved the two tables that made up the table for four apart–about three inches–to give us a semblance of privacy.

We sat at our separate tables but because we were so close I couldn’t not hear every word of their conversation. It was stilted and awkward–typical first date stuff.

I got a crick in my neck from looking away from them so I didn’t loom like a Victorian chaperone, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t fool anyone. We all knew I was the third wheel on their romantic bicycle.

We had to give up the pretence when we realized I had the sugar, which she needed for her coffee and they had the pepper, which I wanted for my linguine.

When their talk turned to lotteries, she asked me if I knew how many numbers you pick for a 6-49 ticket. Embarrassingly, I was able to jump right into the conversation as if I’d been following every word.

I hope their next date is better. I don’t plan on attending, which should be a giant leap in the right direction.

Oh and the gorgeous pale mauve purse? I saw it, loved it, wanted it and didn’t buy it. It’s a small victory in my quest to stop the mindless shopping.

That Time We Stalked Prince Andrew

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If you’re trying to find me and I’m not at work, chances are I’ll be at the mall. It’s my happy place.

I was there the other day, sniffing things at a natural soap shop, a very small natural soap shop. I was the only one in there besides the two staff members.

One of them commented on the all the “Celtic-type people” wandering around the mall. Even in a multicultural country like Canada, Brits tend to blend in, but I knew just what he meant. I’d noticed groups of people in kilts.

“They’re probably here for the Highland Games,” said his co-worker.

Of course–the Highland Games! I’d forgotten all about them.

“Are you going?” asked the first shop clerk, after offering to give me a salt scrub.

“No, but I went last year.”

“Really? What events did you see?”

Umm–I didn’t actually watch any events.

D and I went to the opening ceremony because Prince Andrew was the Master of Ceremonies that year. (Yes–that Prince Andrew all the way from London!)

Want to hear something even more embarrassing? We had our hair done on the way to the Games just in case Prince Andrew noticed us in the crowd of camera-wielding spectators.

After his (really good) speech, he wandered though the grounds, greeting athletes and the people running booths.

We lurked after him, getting close enough on a few occasions to warrant a stern look from one of his protection officers. Getting close enough that we’re both in the background of the photo used on the front page of that day’s edition of the Times Colonist.

“I didn’t actually watch any events. I, uh, just went to soak up the culture.”

Ahoy There, Mateys!

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My sailor has finally found a boat he loves and (more importantly) can afford.

It’s been a process because our wish list is so long: a real toilet, bunks and a small kitchen so we can do weekend trips. It has to be small enough to be trailer-able so we don’t have to keep it at a marina. Choices have been limited because of the budget or lack there of.

He put a deposit contingent on the wife liking the boat and showed me a dozen pictures, including a few really cute ones with him posing in the cock pit, a look of stern concentration on his face as he pretends to drive or sail (cruise?)

We made arrangements to see it Friday evening after work.

Mid-week my sailor got an email from the sellers. They invited us to stay for dinner after viewing the boat.

I’m a bit of an introvert and rarely take the initiative when it comes to socializing. Because of that my first thought was . . . why. Why would they want a family of strangers to have dinner at their house?

Friday night I had my answer: they’re charming people who enjoy the company of others. In addition to being friendly, they’re interesting.

He’s a retired helicopter pilot who served with the American Army in Vietnam. Now he travels the world giving lectures on aeronautic safety. Oh, and he writes books in his spare time. Actual books that other people read. One has been optioned for a movie. He gave a copy to my boy, and even inscribed it to him.

She’s a nurse, who makes museum-quality porcelain dolls. (I didn’t know it was possible to sculpt detailed objects like that by hand.) She also quilts and makes colourful jewellery. She gave me a pair of her handmade earrings.

Most remarkably, they managed to bring one shy, marginally grumpy woman out of her shell. I had a lovely evening and I’m so glad we went.

Hopefully some of their charm and glamour will remain on the boat and rub off on me.

Girlish Pursuits

002I’m obsessed with internet reviews.

I waste hours reading reviews of things I already own, products I’d like to try and even services and edibles. So when I booked myself a pedicure for the long weekend (yay!) it was a given that I’d scour the net for spa reviews, even though I’ve been before so I know I’ll have a lovely experience.

As expected, most were A+ ratings–words like lovely, beautiful, professional and clean (especially important when you’re talking touchy-feely services like pedicures or massages.)

One review, though, stood out: “Horrible! My husband and I booked the Embrace package (apparently a side by side couple’s experience including the man’s pedicure I’d tried unsuccessfuly to nag my sailor into.) My pedicure was okay, but my husband needs another pedicure because he still has dirt under his toenails. Apparently cleaning dirt from under the nails isn’t included in the pedicure.”

Umm–who has visible dirt under their toenails? Aren’t issues like that resolved through regular bathing? Even more disturbing, who admits to having an abundance of dirt under their toenails? If I had this unfortunate condition, you can bet I’d never breathe a word about it to anyone, even an anonymous spa review site.

The fun thing about these online reviews is that management sometimes responds to the outrageous ones.

I wasn’t disappointed in this case:

“I apologize that the technician wasn’t able to fully remove ALL of the dirt under your husband’s toenails in the one hour we allocate for pedicures.”

Ewww! Not only did her husband have dirty toenails, but there was so much grime under there it couldn’t all be scraped out in an hour. How filthy were his feet?

I put this gross review out of my mind, focussing instead on the upcoming treat of my first pedicure in over a year.

Until I realized they might use the files and scrapers from Mr. Filthy Feet’s pedicure on me–ewww!

It’s as I always suspected. No good comes from reading stuff online.

Book Vs Movie

001A while ago I blogged about discovering Game of Thrones.

I was initially hooked by the exciting storylines. Add compelling characters, fabulous costumes and amazing scenery and I was powerless to resist.

Terri Lively, a fellow blogger, mentioned the graphic violence in later seasons. At that point I’d only seen season one and although I thought it was fairly violent, it wasn’t any worse than most of what’s on TV these days.

I think I’ve reached the scenes to which she referred. Horrific is the only word to describe them. I close my eyes and plug my ears while they’re on screen. (Really? This is how I spend my precious leisure time–trying not to watch the show playing on my TV??? It’s crazy!)

Weirdly, this particular horrible storyline doesn’t drive the plot. A quick online search indicates these scenes aren’t even in the book. For some reason, they were added to the screen adaptation. And I can’t figure out why.

I’m caught up in the stories, but I just can’t watch anymore so I’m going to give the book a try.

I love reading. The book is always better than the movie. Apparently there’s not as much graphic violence in the novel.

Sounds like win, win, win.

How to Enjoy Mother’s Day Without your Sailor/Significant Other

005Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

Because I’m married to a sailor, I’ve spent numerous Mother’s Days as the only adult in the house. What does that mean in terms of celebrating? There’s no one to plan breakfast in bed, order a pretty bouquet or even pick up a box of drugstore chocolates on the way home.

You’re on your own, baby, but that doesn’t mean the day has to be bleak and miserable.

Here are my suggestions to plan a special Mother’s Day even if you’re the one doing the planning.

1. Think positive! Don’t focus on what you won’t be getting. (And really, is breakfast in bed worth having to deal with the sticky pillows and crumbs in the sheets? I didn’t think so!) Sure, it’s tough being on your own with the kids whether it’s only for a few days or forever. But raising children is amazingly rewarding. Remember how lucky you are to have a family not how unappreciated and overworked you are.

2. Treat yourself! I like to celebrate Mother’s Day with the person who calls me mom, so for me it’s lunch out with my boy, but don’t feel guilty if you need some grown up time. It’s your day. Do whatever floats your boat and enjoy it.

3. Plan ahead! My worst Mother’s Day involved driving from restaurant to restaurant with my hungry boy whining in the back seat . Every place was full because…wait for it…it was Mother’s Day. You know it’s coming so spare yourself a visit to Self Pity City and make reservations ahead of time.

4. Avoid disappointment! If you want a little treat for yourself, don’t leave your shopping until the last minute. One year all I wanted was a simple bunch of grocery store flowers. Could I find any on the day before Mother’s Day? Of course not! Everybody else had the same idea for their mom. If you want something traditional like flowers or chocolates, shop early while there’s still some available.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the great moms out there!