Safety First!

Travelling to Powell River for the Family Day weekend, we arrived at the ferry terminal at twilight. Even the wet, yucky weather couldn’t diminish the beautiful scene of water, sky and clouds (lots, of damn rain-producing clouds!)

Once we were on the ferry, my sailor and I went upstairs for coffee and snacks. Our boy and Chihuahua remained in the truck. He was in the back seat (hidden from view by the tinted windows) watching a movie. She hopped onto the driver’s seat the moment my sailor’s bottom vacated it so she could glare at everyone passing in the manner of small dogs who think they should rule the world.

Well into the voyage, the loud-speaker crackled to life with an important announcement:

“Attention! Would the driver of a silver Ford truck with a Chihuahua return to the car deck. Your Chihuahua has turned on your lights.”

My sailor and I looked at each other. Odds are this was our truck/Chihuahua combination.

The beauty of cell phones is that neither of us had to do the walk of shame through the crowded cafeteria to direct our Chihuahua to stop playing with the lights. I texted our boy to ask him to turn them off and please keep a better eye on the Chihuahua of power.

Whew!–mini Marititme crisis averted.

Wandering through the ferry afterwards, I was impressed by some of the signage.

Clearly, safety is a priority on these vessels.

Oh dear! I think I performed this manoeuver (twice) at a reading conference in Victoria last fall. Where were warning signs like this when I needed them?

My favourite BC Ferries warning sing of all time. This powerful image speaks for itself.

Wordless Wednesday?

Okay, so it’s not quite Wednesday and this post isn’t exactly wordless, but it’s an homage to all those fabulous text-free photo montages many bloggers post on Humpday.

The photos are from a walking tour with my sailor during our recent visit to Powell River.

We both grew up in this isolated town.

Back when I lived there I didn’t appreciate its charm.

I particularly disliked the fact that it was so new. An antique-loving, history-obsessed introvert, I spent my formative years pining for a quaint British village.

It turns out there was history aplenty on my own doorstep and I didn’t even know it!

The Townsite of Powell River has been designated a National Historic Site because it’s an example of an early twentieth century company-planned community. Most of the original 400 or so original buildings are still standing.

Add stunning scenery to the mix and it becomes obvious why I’m pining for a quaint British Columbia village.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

017I got an email from my friend N the other morning. N and I met in junior high when we were thrown together in home room class because we both had surnames beginning with S. (It’s interesting how something as random as shared initials can be responsible for a lifelong friendship.)

We don’t email as regularly as we used to, but we still keep in touch and we always get together when I’m in Powell River. It was a nice surprise to find her email in my inbox until I read the first line: “I had a dream about you last night (don’t worry–nothing bad!) and thought I’d check in with you.”

Oh my God! Not a dream! I hate it when people dream about me.

I worry about dreams because I know they can reveal the future. Don’t believe me? I once dreamed of walking through the forest and sure enough later that week I accompanied my boy’s Cub troop on a nature walk. . .in the forest.

But my uneasiness about being the subject of dreams goes deeper than that.

It goes back to my older brother who, if he’s to be believed, dreamed about me regularly. He shared his dreams in lurid details.

“You’re not planning to ride in a car anytime soon, are you?”

It was summertime. I was nineteen, working shifts at the local A&W and hanging out at the beach on my days off. Of course I was planning to ride in a car.


“It’s probably nothing, but I had a dream you were in an accident.”

“Oh. I’ll try to be extra careful.”

“Good, because it wasn’t just a little fender bender. You were thrown from the vehicle.” Pause for effect. “Your head was found several metres away from your body.”

I still get chills thinking about that conversation. I still get angry when I remember he told my superstitious mother, who spent the rest of the summer worrying about me every time I left the house.

She died of cancer a few years later.

Shortly after, his cancer dreams about me began.

It’s okay. N’s dream wasn’t anything bad–just an indication she’s been thinking about me. It’s nice to be in the thoughts of your friends. This should bring warm and fuzzy feelings, not dread and anxiety.

It does. . . until I get a Facebook message from M, another high school friend: “How are things? Had a dream last night where you featured, nothing odd, just saw your face!”

I’ve Lost the Christmas Chocolate!

008Home for less than a month and my sailor is already gone again.

This time not to war–huge sigh of relief. His mother has some medical issues so he’s returned to Powell River to help her out. Although I’m glad he’s caring enough to support his mom when she needs it, I’m also feeling a big grumpy. (Yes, I realize this is not my finest moment.)

He’s been away almost a week of his month-long post-deployment leave with no firm return date. Best case scenario, he could be home by mid-week. Worst case–this could drag on for most of his time off.

Is he an exemplary son?–you bet! He spent most of his pre-deployment leave with his mom, too. His caring and compassion are qualities I love. I’m just disappointed his leave is ticking away and we’re not together.

What’s a girl to do on a lonely Friday night when she finds herself without her sailor, you ask.

My first choice is the standard: Chardonnay. Unfortunately there was only about half a glass left. (Who runs out of wine??? I can’t believe I let this happen!)

Right then, on to plan B: chocolate. If only I could remember where I put it. All the half-price Boxing Day chocolate has disappeared. I’ve looked in all my usual hiding places, but to no avail. My boy assures me he didn’t eat it and I believe him. I’m the one with the voracious sweet tooth, not him.

When all else fails there’s always custard. One of the classic comfort foods of my childhood. I always have Bird’s Custard powder, milk and sugar. Custard is an easy peasy sweet treat. A monkey could make it if he had opposable thumbs. It’s never failed me–until tonight. Instead of a warm silky pudding, I ended up with a bright yellow mass the texture of loose scrambled eggs.

And I ate it anyway!

Ugh–it’s going to be a long weekend.

Reunited and it Feels so Good?

Our Christmas plans continue to be derailed.

D and I always spend the first weekend of the holidays together. Usually I go to her in Vancouver for the enhanced shopping opportunities. (Last year we even managed a day of international shopping in Seattle!)

This year as my sailor had only just returned, I didn’t want to go away even for a weekend. (We’re still in the gushy honeymoon stage of reunification!) Since I couldn’t come to her, D decided to come to Victoria. Yes! In addition to quality time with my sailor, I was getting my girl time with D. I’d get to have my fruitcake and eat it, too.

I planned a low key weekend with shopping (of course!), afternoon tea at the Empress, which is stunningly decorated at this time of year, and a dinner out with my two boys.

It would have been great–if the weather had cooperated. Instead, we had snow and icy rain on the busiest travel weekend of the year and D had to postpone her visit. Barring another freak snow storm, she’ll come in the New Year and our fun fun fun weekend will consist of browsing Boxing Day sale left-overs and an afternoon tea that will still be delicious, but will the lack the charm provided by looping garlands of holly and thousands of fairy lights.

At least we made it to Powell River safely and the weather is lovely now–more May than December.

And we’re together again–a big plus when nothing else seems to be going according to plan.

The Weakest Link

I’m a few days into my antibiotics and feeling marginally better. I still cough whenever I try to say too much and I’m exhausted. This is so not how I imagined my sailor’s first week back!

As usual my sailor is relentlessly cheerful, certain I’ll be well enough for our upcoming road trip and still thrilled to be home. I’m getting grumpier by the day.

In an effort to be more positive (could this be a potential New Year’s resolution in the works?) I’m doing a countdown of the top five Christmass-y things I’m grateful for.

5. Five special Christmas treats: pfeffernusse, marzipan, golden shortbread (another of my sailor’s special recipes that he makes every year–mmm), chocolate and moose milk. No, it’s not literally milk from the female moose. It’s a dreamy concoction made with softened vanilla ice-cream, milk and the contents of the liquor cabinet, and it’s the best way I can think of to get my daily recommended calcium allotment.

4. Four pairs of boots to pack for a five-day trip! As I get stuff together, I realize that I NEED each of those four pairs. My old beat up riding boots are as warm and comfy as slippers and will be just the ticket if it rains (and it always rains in Powell River in December.) My shiny new boots aren’t quite as comfy, but so much prettier. I can’t go without them. What if it doesn’t rain after all? Then there are my suede kitten heels for Christmas dinner–unless I decide to wear the high stacked heeled pair, instead. Clearly, I need to bring them all.

3. Three doses of Amoxicillin everyday. Sure, it’s a pain to remember if I’ve taken my latest capsule or not, and I’ve had to dump them out on the counter a couple of times to count them because it’s really bad to miss a dose, but I’m truly grateful for access to modern medicine. Even the dog gets regular medical care. Hers isn’t free, like ours is, but nothing’s perfect. (Wow–that was a really positive statement! Well done, me!)

2. Two days until we leave for our family reunion/Christmas visit. I KNOW I’ll be feeling perkier and more energetic by then and it will be wonderful seeing everyone. A delicious turkey dinner, time spent with family and lots of good home baking–what’s not to love? As if that wasn’t enough, I have a date for natchos and wine at Moose and Eddie’s with my old friend, M. I am positive I’ll make it to that pub even if I have to arrive in an ambulance!

1. One super duper sailor who has come safely home to me. There’s not much that could top that!