Random Acts of Bread Pudding

I made two discoveries during a recent day downtown.

The first was bread pudding.

I stopped at Murchie’s for a pot of tea and a snack. Searching for something healthy in the long glass case filled with tarts, eclairs, puddings and pastries, I spied bread pudding. (I realize my level of self-delusion is sky high if I’m able to convince myself that heavy, eggy bread pudding is a healthy choice, but it works for me.)

The server shared some game changing information: Murchie’s doesn’t use bread in their bread pudding. Here’s where it gets really interesting–they use yesterday’s left over pastries! I know–bread pudding made with current scones and flaky blueberry danishes soaked in rich custard and baked until it’s light and fluffy! Add a cup of Earl Grey and it doesn’t get much better!

My second discovery was emotional rather than food-related.

An off duty bus driver passed me on the sidewalk. I was still thinking about my bread pudding, so I didn’t pay much attention to him.

He was several meters past me when a young woman across the street bellowed, “Hey, Mr. Bus Driver!”

Impressed by her projection (has she considered a career on the stage?), I worried about what she’d say next. One stranger screaming at another across a busy street–how could this end well?

“Your backpack is open!”

I turned to look at the bus driver and saw that his backpack was indeed wide open.

He zipped it, shouted thank you, and resumed walking.

I kept walking, too, but I felt a little glow.

Even though I hadn’t been a direct participant in this random act of kindness, I benefited from it. It felt good knowing I live in a community where people look out for one another.

Bread pudding and random acts of kindness–two very good things.

Me Day!

035038049051With our busy schedules, we didn’t have a chance to celebrate my recent birthday until Monday, the first day of our Spring Break holiday.

What’s better than a Monday that begins without a screaming alarm clock? A Monday when your nearest and dearest make you their number one priority. (I called it “Me Day.”)

The day was off to a roaring good start when I poured my first cup of coffee and remembered three special facts: I wasn’t going to be driving anywhere, it was St. Patrick’s Day and my Welsh mother had an Irish grandmother. Guess what that means? That’s right–Bailey’s in my coffee! It’s the best part of waking up!

I was surprisingly excited about Me Day. To fully celebrate me, I attempted to get my boys to run through the alphabet, listing a positive quality about me for each letter. Sadly, my sailor and my boy weren’t quite as enthusiastic as me. This exercise was abandoned when they generated words like annoying and bothersome.

After a relaxing walk downtown, we had lunch at the Legislative Dining Room. With its white table linens and bow tie wearing wait staff, The Leg is a blast from the the 1950’s. The menu is standard lunch fare–soups, salads and sandwiches. I had the wild salmon salad followed by the turtle torte (named for the delicious caramel pecan chocolates, not the quiet little reptiles.)

After lunch it was present time–woo hoo! My sailor gave me a silver Pyrrha talisman pendant. Not only is it lovely and meaningful, but it was made it Vancouver. I love buying local products.

Now if I can only figure out a way to celebrate Me Day again next month.

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.

Date Night

Our annual date night has come and gone.

This year we went to the Magnolia Hotel, a beautiful property downtown that offered a Black Friday special when I booked it before Christmas. Our bottom of the line, budget room even included an ocean view–bonus! Double bonus–it was a clear enough that we could actually see said view from our window.

After dinner we engaged in the kind of reckless behaviour that can strain even the tightest relationships–we shared dessert. The chosen dessert was a silky, creamy wedge of key lime pie. Although it was a generous serving with a huge mound of softly whipped cream alongside, I know I could have eaten two or three pieces myself. As it was, I probably ate about three quarters. (My fork easily outpaced my sailor’s. He’s not much of a sweets guy.)

We were at crunch time–one final bite remaining on the plate. My sailor’s fork hovered above it. “Can I have the last bit?”

“Mmmphhh,” I mumbled, mouth filled with key lime pie.

Any idiot would have known that grunt meant, “Hands off! It’s mine!”

Sadly my sailor is not any idiot. He took my proprietary grunt as an invitation to finish dessert.

At times like this, I take a deep breath and remind myself that he has only recently returned from war and I’m lucky to have him. It also helps to consider how many minutes of jogging it would take to burn off that last delicious morsel of key lime pie.

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?

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.