The Little Things Make all the Difference

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A few little things that have brightened my grumpy mood and brought some Christmas magic:

1. The ratty angel from my childhood Christmas tree. She’s not as glitzy as contemporary ornaments, but she has something even better than sparkles and glitter–history and happy memories.

2. Key lime pie at Pagliacci’s! I know–it doesn’t get much better than this.

3. Lights! How can you not be cheerful when all the houses are dressed up for the season?

4. Breakfast of champions: coffee with Bailey’s, homemade shortbread (thank you, Sailor!) and a Bliss Ball*. This would be wrong on so many levels as the start of a work day or even a busy Saturday, filled with errands and chores, but during the holidays? It’s perfection!

5. Time to cuddle up and watch a movie under a big comfy blanket with my sailor, our boy and of course, our little Mexican friend.

Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015!

*Bliss Balls are all natural, sugar-free chocolate “truffles” I found at a health food store. They have a delicious, dense texture because they’re made with minced dates and, although they’re quite different from actual chocolates, they’re quite nice.

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.

Date Day

006003Experience has taught me that the more I look forward to something, the bigger a disappointment it will be.

Probably because reality can’t live up to my expectations.

This was the case during our highly anticipated Friday date day. There was nothing inherently wrong with the day. It just wasn’t as special as I’d hoped.

The first disappointment was lunch.

We hoped to go to the Parliament Building restaurant.

The Parliament Building is a focal point on Victoria’s Inner Harbour. I once took a class there on a field trip. The highlight of the tour–the portraits of BC’s premiers, including one who died shortly before his picture was to be taken. Being a Victorian portrait photographer wasn’t for the faint of heart. The fresh corpse was propped in a wing chair and the photo shoot went ahead as planned.

The dining room for the politicians is open to the public, but we can’t often go because it’s closed weekends. It was our first choice for our rare weekday out. Unfortunately, it was the first choice for a number of other diners. We were turned away because we didn’t have reservations.

We went to Pagliacci’s. It was nice, but not what we wanted.

After lunch, we went house shopping. We’re thinking of making a move and had a short list of about ten places to view. None of them was even close to what we’re looking for. It was discouraging.

The day wasn’t a total loss, though:

We had a sweet moment when I told my sailor he’s my best friend. Surprisingly I’ve never told him that before, but I realized that I can tell him things I don’t even share with the dog. That’s trust!

I didn’t eat the luscious peanut butter cream I picked up for our boy at Rogers. This is quite an achievement for a chocoholic like me and I believe it demonstrates the strength of my maternal devotion.

It was sunny and warmish–a perfect day for wandering downtown.

Small moments to celebrate in an otherwise meh day.

Boxing Week Blow Out

001002006After our travels to a small isolated town with very little shopping, I was chomping at the bit to check out the Boxing Week deals in Victoria.

I even managed to convince my sailor to walk downtown with me. Of course, he wasn’t permitted to actually shop with me because he is a lurker in the mall–silently trailing after me, inspecting and judging everything I pick up(not with words, but body language and eye rolls.)

This time, I bribed him with brunch at Pagliacci’s. As we had walked, our permanent designated driver even permitted himself a glass of wine, which added a festive flair to the afternoon and was all the encouragement needed to order dessert. It came with two forks, which was lucky as this huge slab of custard-y vanilla whipped cream cake was bigger than my head! The best part–it was decorated with marzipan flowers, which I promptly devoured.

After lunch, I ditched my sailor for a little more shopping before we walked home together and collapsed in front of the TV.

Although the day was good, the shopping was just meh.

Maybe all the good stuff was scooped on Boxing Day, or maybe the pre-Christmas sales we get now have taken all the fun out of the post-Christmas sales I used to love so much.

What did I get? Some half price Christmas crackers (the last box I could find anywhere), a selection of half-price festive themed chocolates at Rogers (chocolate tastes just as good wreath-shaped!) and a photo of Ye Old London Pub that I’d admired in a shop window all of December. It was 50% off, too.

The realization that I could afford a trip to London to take my own photos of pretty pubs if I just stopped buying so much junk is not lost on me, but who can resist a deal?