Tuesday, February 28

day 10679: looking over my shoulder

There’s a girl following me. I’ve seen her at the gym, I’ve seen her at the Timmy’s next to my office, and seen her on street corners all over downtown. I’ve even seen her at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar on a non-Winterlicious night. (How weird is that?)

Funniest part of it all, I think she went to one of my high schools and I think she might have gone to my university.

AND…

I think she’s an accountant…

It’s getting kind of scary… as if she leads the parallel life to mine. I think I’m being stalked.

Somebody hold me…

Monday, February 27

day 10678: bruised and battered, but oh-so-giddy

Yep, I'm back. I'm alive. My legs are covered in various shades of purple where I banged against the rock. I've got scratches from battling cacti, and stories that you wouldn't believe.

A lesson learned from this trip... everything happens for a reason. Life is a series of fortunate/unfortunate coincidences that hopefully all works out in the end.

*Yawn*

More later. Nap first.

Friday, February 17

day 10668: tying up loose ends

18Feb06 To Monterrey
Air Canada flight AC993 terminal 1
Toronto to Mexico City 8:35am - 12:40pm

Mexicana : flight MX1584
Mexico City to Monterrey 3pm - 4:20 pm

26Feb06 To Toronto
Air Canada: flight AC9754
Monterrey to Mexico City 11:30am - 1pm

Air Canada: flight AC992 terminal 1
Mexico City to Toronto 2:25pm - 7:50pm

Staying at Quinta La Pagoda in Hidalgo (El Potrero).

Be good boys and girls, and I’ll tell you the stories when I get back.

Thursday, February 16

day 10667: the gift that keeps on giving

The first time I filled out my organ donor card, it was accompanied by a lot of yelling, and a lot of tears from the maternal one.

Last night, when I filled out the donor card that accompanied my brand-spanking-new motorcycle licence, I filled it out as usual… “everything except heart.”

The maternal one who was acting as my witness, took one look at what I wrote and said, “Why? You don’t need it anyway. Cross that part out." And so I did.

It seems she can’t wait to give me away.

Wednesday, February 15

day 10666: psychoanalyst babble

As a favour to a co-worker, I’m volunteering to be a case study for her soon-to-be-psychotherapist cousin. Tonight’s session will be the commencement of many tear jerking nights where we’ll talk about my commitment issues with my favourite type of chocolate bar, my fear of abandonment by my dog, my authority issues with the Subway police, my fear of tiny white flowers in the middle of great big bodies of open water, blah blah blah…

Really, I’m not sure I have any major issues except that I’m stubborn to a fault at times, and I’m REALLY good at denial. These ones I can accept. Nobody’s perfect.

But, playing along with the grand scheme of things, I should probably have a goal or something I want to accomplish at the end of all this…

*drum roll*

EXPLAIN THE FOLLOWING:
~ What is my obsession with playing with my boy’s ears?
~ If I’m happy that I’m denial and I can accept that I’m in denial, am I still in denial?
~ How much wood does a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Believe me, it’s much harder to type this than to say it…)
~ Are those voices that I’m constantly hearing just in my head, or is some drunken guy on the street yelling “JUST DO IT” over and over again?

Life is just peachy-keen, ain't it?

Monday, February 13

day 10664: ice ice baby

[ed note: Before I go any further, I want to thank My-Boy-Bacon for being so sweet and wonderful the entire weekend… for driving the 9 hours to Quebec City (and the 9 hours back)… for letting me pick the things I wanted to do even though this weekend really was supposed to be all for him… for being there while I fulfilled MY DREAM of sleeping in the Ice Hotel, and letting me use him (and his Christmas present) as an excuse to do it… for walking through half the city of Quebec looking for a restaurant I wanted even though the one he wanted was the first one we passed by which we eventually made our way back to… and most of all, for entertaining me during the long hours we spent in the car, because heaven knows, I really suck as a passenger… oh, and for not getting sick of me despite all that I put him through this weekend… ]


Wow.

I’m not sure what took my breath away first: the frigid cold of the teeth shattering -28˚C night, or the utter astonishment I felt when I first laid eyes on the giant ice cube in which I was supposed to sleep.

Ok. I lied.

It was the cold that did it. Snatched the breath right out of my chest and left me gasping and shivering like a mad woman. Teeth chattering, bone shattering, fcuking-can’t-even-talk-because-I’m-so-cold-ing, whatever the heck you want to call it, it was cold. Bitterly so. I don’t think I’ve ever felt my eyelids so close to freezing before.

Blizzard in NYC, bah… try driving up winding country roads where the snow banks are taller than your car, then we’ll talk. Toronto, schmoronto… call in the army, why don’t you… no wonder we’re the laughingstock of the country. I’ve been cold, and I’ve been colder, but somehow the thought of spending a night in the deep chill of Quebec did nothing to warm the blood in my veins (the bottle of wine, and the vodka drinks, on the other hand, was another story). But it was an adventure of a lifetime, and something that I’ve wanted to do for years.


Like most things Canadian, the exterior of the Ice Hotel was unassuming. I experienced a pang of mild disappointment as we drove up. That was it? Gosh darned it, the pile of snow in the middle of the parking lot seemed bigger. Where were the multi levels like in the James Bond movie? Where were the Aston Martins in the parking lot? Reality check… maybe my expectations were a little high.

We checked in and took care of all the administrative details before we attempted to breach the sentinel guarded gates. Arranged for dinner reservations, orientation sessions, dogsled excursions; my credit card receipt signing hand was a little shaky (from the cold). We hadn’t even stepped foot into the hotel yet.

“I feel like a Japanese tourist.”

“Bon soir. Good evening.” The sentinel greeted us with a warm smile and a casual glance at our zipper passes. We walked through the torch lit gateway and the metre thick snow walls into the compound that would be our home.


With fifteen minutes before we had to depart for our dinner reservations, it was a race against time. We wanted to explore everything. There was so much to see in that deceivingly huge complex. The ice sculptures, the Absolut bar, the N’Ice Club, the spa, the rooms – my God, the rooms. Everything glittered and sparkled in the brightly coloured lights; one moment red, another blue, and then green.

The elegance and the artistry were astounding. The subtle curve of one wall would meld in with another. Figures were carved in relief in the snow and ice, and highlighted with a carefully arranged spot light; lighting so casual and warm that you almost forgot that you were in a giant igloo. Indeed, after a while, it almost felt warm. -5˚C “indoors” was bearable.

It was late. The majority of tourists had already departed for the day. The only people still wandering about were other guests, like us, who had time to kill before braving the cold for the night. Our footsteps crunched beneath us. It was time for dinner.


apr├Ęs une cozy dinner for two

Warm again and stuffed to the gills, we left the Hotel Duchesnay for our orientation session. The problem (or benefit) with living in a bilingual country is that you get to hear everything in both French and English. We watched while she explained everything to the French couple, and then watched as she explained things again in English.

My French n’est-ce pas bon.

First you take everything out of the stuff sack. There is a pillow, a sleeping bag, and a cover for your sleeping bag in case you get cold. The “sheets” are inside the pillow. Step one, crawl into the “sheets.” Make sure it’s facing the right way if you want to see anything as you lie there in the dark, encased in a mummy bag. Ha ha. Step two, squirm into your sleeping bag. There is a fleece pocket for your feet. Don’t wear shoes. Yes, wear socks. Steps three to a hundred, get into your sleeping bag, zip it up halfway, attach the cover to the velcros, lie down, do up the Velcro near the top, zip up the rest of the bag, pull the cordalette that keeps the bag snug around your neck, don’t pull too hard if you want to breathe, ha ha, pull the cordalette on the hood so that only a small part of your face (i.e. nose and mouth) are showing. Good night, sleep tight, it’s too cold for any bed bugs to bite. You can arrange for a wake up call at the front desk.

PS. Don’t wear too much clothes. You don’t want to sweat because then you’ll be REALLY cold. Ha ha.

Wow. That was a lot of information. As accustomed that I am to camping and doing outdoor activities (or so I claim, but you really can’t prove it), I was floored. I’d never gone winter camping before. I didn’t even own thermal underwear. -30˚C rated sleeping bags… OMFG… brrrrrr… it was going to be one cold night. Morning might find me frozen solid in the fetal position huddled under a billion layers of clothing, and burrowed so close to My-Boy-Bacon so as to… um… yeah… onto the club.


alcohol helps, but so too, does a nice long dip in a hot tub

It takes a brave person to walk outside in -28˚C weather in nothing more than a swimsuit and a toque. It takes an even braver person to get out of the hot tub to streak across the frozen ground and into the sauna when your feet freezes to the ground if you stand still for a mere moment.

There’s something about a clear night in the middle of winter when the moon is almost at it’s fullest and feeling like you’re the only two people in the world that makes it seem worth it. Your troubles melt away and there’s nothing left except to sit back and enjoy the moment… if only to postpone the actual process of getting into bed.

We had pruned, and we had sauna’d ourselves until we were dry. It was past midnight, and finally time for bed. Dressed for bed (tights, socks, fleece jogging pants, dry-fit shirt with perspiration wicking properties, cotton t-shirt, fleece and a toque), we began the semi-arduous process of squirming into the various layers of bedding. Sheet, sleeping bag, tuck feet into fleece, zip half, cover, Velcro, zip other half, pull cordalette, arrange pillow, etc etc etc…

god help me if i have to pee in the middle of the night...

Finally settled, and actually feeling warm and toasty, we drifted off to sleep, snug as a bug, in a rug.


[ed note: We actually slept in a much, much simpler room. Picture above is a theme room… another $100… yikes… but I think definitely worth it had I known the difference… ]

Thursday, February 9

day 10660: remind me once again…

Sitting here sipping coffee like a maniac. It’s barely past lunch, and I’m drunk as a skunk. Ok, not so much drunk as a skunk, but definitely on the happier side of sober - one of the joys (or pitfalls) of monkeyco, I suppose, depending on your point of view.

Off to Quebec tomorrow to freeze my boobs off. Ice hotel, Winter Carnival… mmmm… should be fun…

… and cccccold… brrrrrrr

Wednesday, February 8

day 10659: nerves of steel

I’ll admit that I’m pretty nervous about Mexico. I’ve spent the past days tying and retying knots, reading about building anchors, and cramming climbing knowledge into my already overworked brain. And while my body remains relatively uninjured, and my mental blocks have been temporarily eased, thoughts of factor 2 falls, rappels off the end of my rope and knots magically untying haunt me.

My palms sweat every time I think about it.

I’m at a place where I should be comfortable in my climbing abilities. The extra couple classes of yoga and the unending rounds of push-ups and sit-ups have me almost back to pre-May 12-accident shape. I know I’m still carrying a *few* extra pounds of spare weight, but it’s nothing that will hold me back. I’m climbing strong though I technically should be climbing stronger. But that’s only half the challenge.

The other half is the mental fortitude and determination that it will take to get up the mountain. That’s where I’m lacking. My body is capable, but my mind freezes. I have a habit of forgetting to breathe when I’m in a tough situation. I cling to the wall afraid to take the fall, and lose focus. I yell “take” even though I know I should push on. Stories of 35’ run-outs on a 5.10b constantly run through my mind.

I’ve done what I can and what I can’t do I’m committed to giving a 100% effort. But there are other people involved and I have to take their efforts and goals into consideration. Though I am the weakest one other there, I will not be the weakest link. I will not be the one to hold anyone back.

The only thing I can do is just grin and bear it. Ten days to go.

Tuesday, February 7

day 10658: someone else’s super bowl story

Once upon a time…

It’s never a good thing when the first email you receive after the Super Bowl is one from a cop asking for a copy of the picture that you took with him on Super Bowl Sunday and you don’t remember giving him your email address.

It’s an even worse thing when you don’t remember which cop he was and you have to email him all the pictures you took with MANY different cops.

The end.

Apparently, I missed one hell of a tailgating party this weekend.

Friday, February 3

day 10654: friday morning quickie

VP Legal: You should buy some shares so you can voice a motion at the AGM.

Schmassion: You should pay me more so I can afford to buy some shares.