The Reluctant Acrobat

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Friday was a professional development day.

I attended a reading conference at the Victoria Conference Centre which adjoins my favourite hotel in the world–the Fairmont Empress.

Since I hate driving downtown, I hitched a ride with my sailor on his way to work. Sailors start ridiculously early. I assumed he’d roll in late because he was dropping me off on his way to the office.

Never assume anything. He left me on Government Street almost two hours before my conference started.

His last words to me as he sped off into the darkness: “I’m sure you’ll find a Starbucks that’s open!”

Gee, thanks.

I’m going to blame later events on sleep deprivation (I had to get up at 5:00 to be ready to go with my sailor) and too much caffeine (the rent on a table at Starbucks is paid in big, strong lattes.)

The day progressed without incident until lunch.

I defied gravity and fell up the stairs.

Not a little slip, but an acrobatic tumble that left me on my hands and knees at the top of the steps, my bag sliding in one direction, my jacket another. No painful fall is complete without an audience. Mine was witnessed by about one hundred primary teachers.

Red faced and sore, I collected my bag and jacket and slunk away to my next lecture–in the large theatre. I considered sitting down near the front, but decided to hide in the back row. I was comfortably ensconsed in my seat, rubbing my aching knees and waiting for the presenter, when a woman suddenly loomed over me.

“I was sitting here this morning and I lost an earring. Can I look under your seat?”

“Sure.”

I stood and moved into the aisle. She advanced towards me so I took a step back.

Walking backwards is rarely a good idea, especially on one of those theatre aisles that’s comprised of shallow steps leading down to the stage. My heel hit the step behind me and–you guessed it–I went down…hard. This happened moments before the speaker was about to begin, so the theatre was full, giving me an optimal audience for my second spectacular fall of the day.

I don’t remember much about the final session. I mostly thought about whether I should sneak out to find a glass of wine and an ice pack.

The day wasn’t a total loss.

An hour later I was sitting in Milestones with my sailor and our boy enjoying the view and that large glass of wine.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ever since I was a university student, Thanksgiving has been one of my favourite holidays. It’s the first long weekend of the school year, the weather is usually glorious and who doesn’t love a day that centres around eating a delicious meal?

This year, with our resident turkey chef overseas (although I can roast a chicken, I can’t bring myself to cook an animal that’s bigger than the dog), we went out for our turkey.

We enjoyed the Thanksgiving buffet at the Empress.

As usual my boy demonstrated considerably more restraint than me when it came to dessert. He ate half his slice of dense, flourless chocolate cake then pushed the plate away, sighing with contentment.

I not only finished my own chocolate cake, but also my bread pudding and my cheesecake.

He noticed me eying his cake remnant and without a word handed it over to me–an indication of two things I really shouldn’t share: I have been known to clean my son’s plate and I have zero willpower when it comes to anything chocolate.

I was about to finish off the cake when two women went by on their way to the buffet, a snippet of their conversation over heard as they passed.

“…diagnosed with type two diabetes…”

My boy looked at me and then looked down at the cake.

I put my fork down. Perhaps three desserts at one sitting really is enough.

Girls’ Weekend!

026014D came over from the mainland for a girls’ weekend.

We drove straight to Sooke after I picked her up at the ferry on Friday. Sooke’s a pretty village just outside Victoria. My Sailor and I are considering a move there. D had never been and I wanted to show it off. On the way I gushed about Sooke’s precious small town feel, its stunning ocean views and best of all–the friendliness of the locals. You just don’t get that in the big city.

We arrived at the height of rush hour. Caught in bumper to bumper traffic as all eight local cars hit the narrow road at once, I inched forward unaware I’d blocked an unmarked parking lot entrance until an enormous white pick-up truck almost T-boned my car when it surged towards the exit. With a mighty screech of his huge tires, the driver yelled, honked and made extremely rude gestures at me until the light changed and I could move forward off the stretch of public highway apparently owned by him.

So maybe super friendly locals aren’t one of the top three reasons to move to Sooke.

A delicious dinner at a lovely ocean front resort smoothed over the rough edges of surly men in pick-up trucks and restored my faith in Sooke as a great community.

On Saturday we shopped till D dropped, ending our fab girls’ day out with the curry buffet at the Bengal Lounge.

My Sailor and I have had a couple of hot date nights there so I have special memories of the Lounge–like the night we left our boy with his uncle and got a room upstairs for the night. Why don’t we do stuff like that more often?

Mid-way through our second helpings, a wedding party came in for photos in front of the fireplace. The newlyweds were radiant with happiness and hope. Seeing a freshly-married bride and groom is almost as rare as glimpsing a pod of orcas when you’re on the ferry. Both sightings are likely to bring good luck.

When it goes well, marriage is the ultimate connection between two individuals. It can be the closest we get to paradise on Earth. When it goes bad, it can be very bad, quickly morphing into a living hell. I hope this couple remembers what brought them together in the first place and keeps the magic.

The happy discovery that the Bengal Lounge has expanded its desert buffet was literally the icing on the cake. Mmmm–chai tea creme brulee and cardamom apple tarts!

I see a date here with my Sailor when he gets home!