Tag Archives: party

Rough As A Badger’s Arse

18 Apr

To say that I am feeling rough today would be an understatement. I have that exhausted, fuzzy-in-the-brain, all-over achy feeling that is usually associated with the aftermath of a weekend of heavy drinking and dedicated partying.

I guess this is partly true. On Saturday our bridal party threw a Jack & Jill party for us. One of the groomsmen showed up with several bottles of wine and a beer-filled cooler that could have sunk a small ship. “Drink!” he commanded. “Enjoy!”

Well, orders are orders. I drank. I enjoyed. The guys crowded around the cooler of beer like bees around a honeypot, while me and most of the other women present tucked into the wine.

It was an outstanding evening. There was food, there were happy people, there was a lovely raffle prize (which was won by my five-year-old), and there was the incredible spectacle of my soon-to-be mother-in-law enthusiastically throwing a pie into the face of her firstborn son, the groom-to-be.

Eventually the guests left, leaving Gerard and I to settle our over-excited children. By the time we fell into an exhausted sleep ourselves, it must have been close to two in the morning.

I woke up yesterday morning with a well-earned hangover – the kind that comes complete with a queasy stomach, an excruciating headache and a death wish. I stumbled into the bathroom to get some extra-strength Tylenol and some water. Then I somehow – probably by luck more than anything else -found my way back to bed, and with the room spinning around me, I went back to sleep.

For a change, the kids were not up at the crack of dawn, as they usually are on weekends. They let me sleep, the little treasures.

When I woke up for the second time, I still felt kind of gross, but at least I felt as if I was going to live. I got up and went for a run (I say that as if it was a seamless event – the process of getting up and going for a run actually took about three hours).

The run was hard. The weather was bad. I was exhausted at the end of it – as if I hadn’t already been exhausted to begin with.

You’d think I would have slept last night, but no. Not only is George going through one of his phases of not sleeping, my mind is chock-full of details right now and just isn’t letting me rest. I tossed and turned and eventually fell into a fitful sleep, not long before I had to wake up.

To borrow a wonderful phrase from a book I read (This Charming Man by Marian Keyes, if you’re interested), today I am feeling as rough as a badger’s arse.

After another seventeen or so cups of coffee, I might start to feel normal.

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Whatever The Weather

17 Apr

This morning I woke up, somewhat hungover after yesterday’s party at which Gerard and I were the guests of honour, looked out of the window, and said, “Oh crap.” April 17th, and it was snowing. We’re not talking about minor flurries here – we’re talking about copious quantities of the white stuff falling out of the sky and settling on the ground.

I had a problem with this for three reasons. First, my wedding is less than two weeks away, and that doesn’t give the weather much time to get its act together. Second, I really wanted to get in a decent run today and I didn’t relish the idea of running in the snow and the wind. And third, I’m just fed up with crappy weather. Anyone who knows me knows that I turn into a pathetic crybaby at the slightest sign of winter.

Nonetheless, I needed to go running. I have a half-marathon six weeks from now and my training lately has not been up to scratch. So I waited for a couple of hours to see if the weather would improve, and then I got dressed, laced up my shoes and braved the elements.

As I stood at the end of my driveway waiting for the satellites to find my training watch, I thought, Hey, this isn’t bad. The snow had stopped, the wind had died down to a tame breeze, and it wasn’t all that cold. It actually seemed like perfect conditions for a run.

I set off down the road at a moderate pace, and after about three minutes, it started to rain a little. I don’t really mind running in the rain, but this was not normal rain. Normal rain does not feel like icicles against your skin. The air temperature was fine, but the rain temperature was bizarrely cold. I kept going, though. I’ve run in worse conditions.

As I was running over the Rouge Valley bridge, though, the wind suddenly kicked up about ten notches, and it started to hail. The  hailstones were tiny, the size of the gravel you get for fish tanks, but it hurt. Believe me, those little hailstones flying at you with a hefty wind behind them can feel like tiny but very effective jackhammers against your face.

I came very close to turning around at that point, but I kept going. I knew that I would not feel good about myself if I gave up on my run after just a mile.

The hail continued for the next 2km or so. After that it gave way to snow. Not the cute little snowflakes that gently drift to the ground like you see in romantic comedies. These were big fat snowflakes that were flying to the ground like missiles. I felt like I was in Space Invaders. A snowflake flew into my eye at high speed. It hurt.

But still, I kept going.

At around the 6km mark, I suddenly realized that I was enjoying myself. The weather had righted itself without me really noticing it. There was no snow, no hail, no rain, and no wind. The sun was even peeking out from behind the clouds. I had a lovely time for the next 3km or so.

Right after I had completed 9km, a gust of wind came from nowhere and almost blew me away. If I’d had an umbrella I would have looked like Mary Poppins. This wind was unbelievable. It was blowing straight at me with such force that it actually took my breath away.

I still had 2km to go, which in the scheme of things is almost nothing, but when you’re running into wind that feels like a solid wall, it’s a long way. Those last two kilometres were really, really tough. I had to slow my pace because the wind was so strong and I’m not a Kenyan.

By the time my aching legs carried me back into my driveway, I was absolutely spent. My time for the 11km run was not great, but it was well within the range of what it should be. Most importantly, though, I had done it. After several weeks of poor training that had made me wonder whether I still had the right to call myself a real runner, I was once again the kind of runner I love to be.

The kind of runner who goes out and logs the miles, whatever the weather.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanspama/4199315435/)

Another World

25 Feb

My son James, who is all of five years old, has a wonderful imagination. When he’s lying in bed at night, after the lights have been turned off, I lie down beside him and as he snuggles up against me, he and I come up with bedtime stories. Well, James comes up with the basic plot, and I just turn said plot into a coherent tale.

Here is last night’s story:

Once upon a time, there was a little boy whose name was James. James was a very good boy who loved his family, did a great job putting his toys away at the end of the day, and gave lots of hugs to his big brother George.

And so one day a giant magic toucan came to see James. The magic toucan said, “James, you have been a very good boy. You ate all your dinner and put your toys away, and you’ve been super-nice to your brother. And so I am going to take you on a special trip.”

James climbed onto the toucan’s back, and the toucan took off and started flying. Together, James and the toucan flew over the fields and oceans, going higher and higher into the sky. They went so high that they went all the way into space. But James was not afraid. The toucan was a magic toucan and he would keep James safe.

After flying for a long time, James and the magic toucan landed gently on another world. It was a planet of brilliant green grass that was soft to walk on, white beaches where the sand wasn’t too hot, and blue, blue seas. There were beautiful flowers and many, many butterflies of all colours. Even though it was daytime on this world, when James looked at the sky he would see twinkling stars that looked like diamonds, and far, far away, he could see the Earth that he had just come from.

On the grass there was a picnic table made of gold, and on the table there were all of James’ favourite foods. There was pizza, and sandwiches, and chicken nuggets, and fruit, and ice cream. There was apple juice, milk and hot chocolate.

As James looked at the picnic table, he heard the sound of children laughing, and then he saw his friends running towards him. James and his friends sat down at the table and ate the delicious food, and drank the delicious drinks. As they ate and drank, they talked and laughed and had a great time together.

When the meal was done, James and his friends went to play on the beach. They frolicked in the water and built magnificent sand castles. They ran around, playing tag and having races.

All the time, the magic toucan was there, making sure the children were safe and having a good time.

Eventually, it was time for James to go home. He said goodbye to his friends, and then the magic toucan took James around the corner, where James saw the biggest slide he had ever seen. The slide had walls going all the way around, and little windows in the walls.

James climbed into the entrance of the slide, counted to three, and off he went! Down, down, down the slide went, turning this way and that. James had a fantastic time on the slide, and he looked out of the little windows as he went down. The slide went all the way back down through space, and ended – in James’ bedroom!

When James came out of the bottom of the slide, he landed right in his bed, and his Mommy was there to put the blankets over him and tuck him in. James was so tired from his adventures, and he drifted off to sleep and had beautiful dreams about all of the wonderful things he had seen and done.

The end.

Running: A Great Hangover Cure

20 Dec

On Saturday night, Gerard and I went to my work Christmas party.  It was quite a fancy shindig, in the grand ballroom of an expensive hotel.  The waitstaff were wearing black tie and gliding elegantly around the room carrying huge platters.  There were elaborately wrapped guest favours, a lineup for the photo op that reminded me a bit of senior prom, and a dessert table that included two chocolate fountains.  There were free drinks both before and during dinner, so I drank far more than my usual sedate one glass of wine.

Predictably enough, I woke up on Sunday morning with the mother of all red wine hangovers.  You know the kind – dry mouth, queasy stomach, little men with little but very real jackhammers on the inside of your head.  What I really wanted to do was eat Tylenol like candy, and then roll over and go back to sleep for the rest of the day.
Instead, I got up, with every movement feeling like torture, and got dressed.  With a fuzzy head, I drove to the community centre, and when I saw my fellow running club members, my “Hi” came out as a weird-sounding croak. When the other runners started running, I gritted my teeth and ran too.

It was a hard run.  Very, very hard.  Of course, I had three things again.  First, I had this massive hangover.  Second, I hadn’t run for three weeks.  Third, I was recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis. Considering all of this, it’s a miracle that I was able to get out and run in the first place.  A hard run was made harder by snowy, slippery conditions, and by the time I’d run 4km, my heart rate was way up.

In the end, I managed just over 5km, and I didn’t do it very well.  The distance runner in me was disappointed with this dismal performance, but the plain old runner in me was thrilled to be back on the road again after an enforced break of three weeks.  The best part of all?  The run knocked the hangover right out of me, and I felt great afterwards, and happily joined the other runners for breakfast (side note: breakfasts contain a huge amount of protein for one meal).

The key to all of this for me is that I am back.  Yes, I had bronchitis and no, I am not quite 100% yet.  But I am well enough to run again, and confident that I will start the new year on a strong note when I do the January 1st Resolution Run.

Do I Really Need A New Dress?

15 Dec

This coming Saturday, Gerard and I are going to pretend we have a life and go out for the evening, sans children.  Said children will be home with their grandmother, no doubt driving her insane with their boundless energy that never runs out. They’re like the Energizer Bunny, those children.  They just keep going and going and going.

Gerard and I will be heading downtown, to some fancy hotel, to attend the Christmas gala dinner being put on by my employers.  There will be prizes, good food that neither of us had to cook ourselves (and that no-one will have to clean up after), dancing, and out-and-out fun.  I am looking forward to it.  Gerard is looking forward to it.  My mother-in-law is looking forward to an evening alone with the kids – at least, that’s the story she’s bravely putting forth.

And yet I find myself with a dilemma.  This is a dilemma that men can never seem to quite grasp the severity of, but that women all over the world can identify with.

What Do I Wear?

I posed this question on Facebook, and it sparked a fairly lively debate.  Most of the people who responded – all women – were of the opinion that I should buy myself a new dress.  The general consensus was that I work hard, I’m always taking care of other people and not enough care of myself, and that I deserve to pamper myself a little and buy something nice.  There was one lone dissenter – a man.  To protect his privacy, I will not state Kane’s real name (whoops, did I just say that out loud?), but I will say that I am impressed with his bravery.  How many men would jump so fearlessly into a discussion that women are genetically programmed to feel strongly about?

I love Kane.  He is a good and dear friend, and I give him credit for the fact that I actually survived the intense loneliness and off-the-boat neediness that I experienced when I first came to Canada.  Unlike many people, he actually does possess common sense, and he has the integrity to be honest instead of just saying what he thinks people want to hear.  I value Kane’s opinions a great deal.  when he expresses an idea that is contrary to what other people are saying, he’s not trying to be difficult.  He’s trying to help.

And that is why, when Kane posted a reply asking if I really need to spend money on a new dress just for one party, I actually did stop and think.  After all, he has a valid point.  There are other things that I could be doing with my money.  I have kids to buy Christmas presents for, a wedding to plan, groceries to buy, telephone bills to pay.  A new dress should not be high on my laundry list of priorities.  And besides, I have a closet at home that I can barely get into because it’s so chock-full of clothes.  There must be something in there that I can wear.

But.

But, but, but, but, but…

Even as the logical, rational part of me (and yes, despite what many people think, there actually is a logical, rational part of me) was making a strong case for saving money and digging something out of the scary depths of my wardrobe, there was another part of me that was pitifully saying, “But I want a new dress”.  Talk about conflict.  Talk about indecision.  For a couple of days I was flip-flopping between “Have to have a new dress” and “Cannot afford a new dress”.  How I wish I could just win the lottery and not have this problem.

By the time I got home from work yesterday, I had come to some kind of compromise with myself.  You see, I have this skirt.  A really nice long black skirt that is perfect for occasions like this.  What I would do, I decided, was buy a nice top with bling to go with the skirt.  That way, I still get to wear something new, but without forking over the money for an entire dress.

Ten minutes after I got home, that plan went right out the window.  What happened was this: I opened the mail.  And found a cheque from the Government of Ontario. For $335.  I will say this in words, because it somehow adds more weight.  Three. Hundred. And Thirty Five. Dollars.  The Ontario Premier has been sending out these “sorry I screwed you over with the sales tax” cheques, and I got enough to be able to say, “Screw this, I’m getting a new dress!”

So at lunchtime today, I wandered over to my favourite clothing store in the shopping mall, and emerged with a lovely new dress that I got on sale. The way I see it, everyone wins.  I get to go to the party in a new dress.  And I still have an extra $200 in my bank account that I didn’t have before, which means I can splurge a bit on Christmas presents for the ones I love.

And I’ve contributed to the economy by doing a bit of spending.  Just doing my civic duty.