Archive for the 'a night on the town' Category

Rejuvination

I just had the perfect weekend. I don’t mean to brag, but sometimes you just get that weekend sweet spot where you find the perfect mix of activity and lounging to leave you rested but not resenting the next day at work.

First, it helped that I had a 4-day weekend. Who doesn’t love extending long weekends with their last vacation day before year-end on May 31st. I had Friday off and Monday was a holiday and I had absolutely NOTHING planned.

My past few weekends before this one were jam packed with activities and driving. A few weeks ago I headed to my parents (about 2.5 hours away) to celebrate Mother’s Day with my lovely mom and last weekend my sister came home from Trinidad (!) and there was airport pick ups and driving home (again) and all around busyness. They were both wonderful weekends, but wonderful in the way that leaves you exhausted and totally unprepared for the week ahead.

This past weekend was none of those things.

On Friday, Matt and I took a spontaneous trip to our favourite conservation area – Mount Nemo – for a wonderful hike. The weather was gorgeous and we took the long, scenic way there which took us through a few cute little hamlets and past beautiful farmland We also saw an Aston Martin out for a drive, so that was exciting!

View from the top of the escarpment.

Matt exploring and me trying not to freak out that he’s going to fall and die.

Saturday night involved a night out dancing with friends. I danced my heart out and the aches and pains I currently feel are totally worth it. In other news, when did I get so old that a night out dancing results in days of an aching back and neck and a massive charlie horse that WON’T GO AWAY in my calf?

Sunday and Monday were spent taking lots of walks around the neighbourhood in between the thunder storms, watching Firefly and getting some housework done.

Overall, I started this Tuesday back in the office feeling refreshed and ready to work. It was a nice switch from the past couple weeks and I hope I can make it last for the whole week. Considering it’s a 4-day week, I think I can probably make that happen.

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My first all-nighter (for a good cause and a great time!)

Every year around this time, I travel to my small, hometown to participate in a huge event with my rather large family.

I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with the Relay for Life but, just in case, I’ll give you the low down. It’s a fundraising event that starts at 7pm and ends at 7am the next morning. Teams of people sign up and at least one team member must be walking the track at all times. The track is lit with luminaries (white bags filled with candles) that are ‘In Honour of” or ‘In Memory of’ people who have fought cancer. There is music, games and food throughout the night and in the morning, you all find out just how much money you’ve raised. All proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society to support people with cancer and to support cancer research.

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Like most families, mine is definitely touched by cancer. Both my mom and my aunt are breast cancer survivors (my aunt survived it twice, many years apart), my grandfather has beat prostate cancer and many extended relatives have died of the disease. So, this whole event is kind of a big deal for my family.

And since it’s such a big event for us, we do it up in style. We have a team of anywhere between 25 and 35. We set up tents, bring food and get our walking shoes on.

Not everyone lasts the whole night. Some go home for a few hours of shut eye before coming back early in the morning for the last lap. Others set up tents and grab a quick nap here and there. And then the real troopers, they stay up all night. They shift between walking the track and refueling with grandma’s cookies.

I am proud to say that this year, I was one of those troopers. I did not try for a wink of sleep until I got home when it was all said and done at 8am! This is kind of a big deal for me as I have never pulled an all-nighter in my life!

Before I get to the part where I tell you how much money we raised (it’s staggering and worth sticking around for), I have to tell you about my favourite part of the whole night.

My family is pretty close. My dad is one of 6 and all but one of those siblings live within 15 km of my grandparents (the one that’s not close is a whopping 2 hours away and comes to visit often!). I am one of 16 grandchildren ranging in age from 31 to 5. We are all loud and we all love attention. I love that we get together so often but because there are so many of us I don’t often get a chance to catch up with anyone one-on-one.

As the Relay runs over a full 12 hours, it’s a great opportunity to catch up with all my cousins and aunts and uncles. I can walk the track with each of them at least 5 times before the night is through. I learned all about my one cousin’s college program, my other cousin’s plans for college and another cousin’s Grade 8 Graduation dress (it’s purple and black and there may be cheetah print involved!). I quizzed my uncle on his trip to Switzerland as a kid (my grandparents first time on a plane) and about growing up being subjected to 80s music.

All around it was an awesome night. There were a few hiccups with a MASSIVE thunder storm complete with lightning and torrential rains (we went inside the high school for a while) but, all in all, the night was a HUGE success.

So, now for the money part. My town of 4,600 people pulled together 26 teams of 300 participants to stay up all night (in the rain) to raise money for cancer.

Those 300 participants were able to raise:

$81,723.00

For a small town in a difficult economy, that, my friends is incredible.

I’m so proud of my town and my family (my family alone raised $7070).

Montreal-Ottawa Adventures

Although I’ve been back for nearly a week, I just took the photos off my camera from my vacation to Montreal and Ottawa. Join me on a photo tour of my vacation. I promise it’s mostly worthwhile to keep going if only for one specific photo of this amazing sub-culture of absolute craziness that I learned about in Montreal.

After a long-ass drive filled with great new music and some amazing story-telling podcasts brought to you by the Vinyl Cafe (seriously, if you are unaware of who Stewart McLean is, check him out. He’s well-known in Canada as one of the best story tellers).

Upon arrival in Montreal (7.5 hours later!) there was pub-hopping to do and hockey games to watch. The following day, M and I hit up the Biodome which is this awesome mix of zoo and museum.

M and I at the Biodome. Check out the awesome forest behind us.

They had these cute, weird little birds there running around like they owned the place. There were signs up everywhere that warned you not to touch them but they were so damn friendly I was wishing that I had brought a bigger purse in which to shove them in and take them home as pets.

Then there were these beautiful creatures. Although they were totally beautiful, I was less inclined to take them home with me because they would probably clash with my more subdued home decor. Although, those design shows always say you need a splash of colour in a room. Hmmm….

The trip also involved an unsavory night on the town of which I will not post photos for all the world to see cause I like my friends and do not wish to draw unwanted attention from the authorities.* However, I will say that the evening did begin with a rockin’ birthday dinner for M at a classy place that provides you with sombreros on your birthday!

The other highlight of the Montreal portion of my trip was Tam Tams. Apparently, every Sunday in the summer in Montreal people gather at Mont Royal for a huge party. The highlight of the party is all the drums. People bring drums and form impromptu drum circles complete with dancing, drinking, smoking and that guy in the tye dye shirt.

It’s truly a remarkable experience. There were probably over 2000 people there of all walks of life. You had the traditional hippie types with their dread locks and joints but you also had the parents with their little kiddies in strollers enjoying the music, the tourists and the seniors and everyone in between.

Although the music was great, the best part was the people we found a little ways up the hill. While walking through the crowds we stumbled across something truly remarkable. We stumbled across a battle:

Apparently, there is a group of people (there were well over 100 there at the time) that get together to battle. After watching for a while, I determined a few things:

  • There seems to be no dress code for such situations. Some people, as you see the two boys above, were dressed in everyday clothes. Others were dressed in full body armour. The armour ranged from full medieval traditional garb to outfits more befitting of hobbits in the Lord of the Rings. One guy (sorry I couldn’t get a photo) was clearly inspired by Russel Crow in Gladiator and had a Roman-esque outfit complete with big fur pelts.
  • There is no age limit. Although the boys above are young, there were men and a few women there that were well into adult-hood enjoying it all the same.
  • They were definitely organized. From what I could tell they were playing some form of capture the flag. There was definitely a King (he had a crown more like Cesar’s golden leaves than a European crown). There were even people around the battle who were in ‘training.’ They were being trained by more experienced battlers on proper battle etiquette and weapon use. In the one training match, the King came to observe and was clearly impressed because he greeted the trainee with some secret handshake. The trainee was clearly overjoyed but trying to keep his cool in front of the King.

My friend C informed us all that this strange hobby was called LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) and was sort of the real-life off-shoot of those fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons (I’m sure if C was wrong on this someone will correct me). No matter what it was it was such a mixture of super weird and super awesome that I was mesmerized. We stayed and watched the battle for over an hour. We all picked out of favourites and had mini bets going on. I think we had just as much fun watching as they did playing.

Post Montreal, I headed to Ottawa to visit my friend K and her puppy. The puppy is at that awesome ‘teenager’ stage where their legs are a little too long for their body and they are super cute and super awkward all at the same time (once again, sorry no photo, my batteries are almost dead at this point).

I did however get a photo of K and I at parliament hill.

Not the greatest photo, but in true Ottawa fashion, the beautiful warm, sunshiny weather had turned into a windy, snowy day of gloom so we were both cold and tired and wind-swept by the time we made it to the Hill.

Ultimately it was an awesome vacation with just the right ratio of party-chill out and relax-touristy stuff. It’s not often you achieve the perfect ratio, most vacations tend to fall into one of the three categories, or 2 at the best. But this one was pretty damn near perfect.

What was the last vacation you took? Was it everything you wanted it to be?

*If you happen to be the authorities, I assure you that nothing illegal happened on our night(s) out. But, please don’t tell my friends, I don’t want to lose my street cred.

The Best of 2009: Night Out

December 5 Night out. Did you have a night out with friends or a loved one that rocked your world? Who was there? What was the highlight of the night?

This question is difficult for me. I wish I could say it’s difficult because there are soooo many great nights out this past year. But the reality is that I don’t go out much anymore. I no longer live in a house full of friends. I no longer am a full-time student who doesn’t think twice about going out on a Wednesday.* Therefore, I no longer go out all that often.

*Please note this is not entirely the truth. Even when I was a full-time student it took a lot to convince me to go out on a Wednesday cause, you know, it’s a school night and I’m studious like that.

However, despite being too few and too far between, there have been a handfull of totally rockin’ nights out this past year and there are 2 that immediately come to mind.

The first that came to mind was a night out in Toronto which was unofficially themed: Before You Make Your Promise to God (Erin from Down the Rabbit Hole wrote about it too). The idea was to peer pressure a soon-to-be-minister friend into doing inappropriate things before she made her promise to god (hence the name).

The evening had all the ingredients necessary for a successful night on the town: great friends, a ridiculous theme, red lipstick, pounding music, a busy bar and lots of dancing.

My soon-to-be-minister friend and I, all red lipsticked up!

Unfortunately, the only inappropriate thing we managed to convince our soon-to-be-minister friend to do was wear red lipstick and to most, this is a completely appropriate choice for a night on the town. Therefore, I think we failed at our theme.

Erin and I

However, we did utilize the theme well throughout the evening by confusing strangers by shouting out directions to our soon-to-be-minister friend such as: “Soon-to-be-minister friend, take this shot of tequila before you make your promise to god!”

This provided Erin and I endless enjoyment, consider the above photo as proof.

The second night that comes to mind involved the same group of people (plus or minus some). It was a friend’s birthday and it was my first introduction to karaoke. For someone who loves to belt it out in the car and loves being the centre of attention, I was surprisingly terrified of karaoke. I have an awful voice and submitting an entire bar full of people to the horror that is my singing was not something I was all that interested in doing.

However, with a little liquid courage and by doing the wimpy girl thing of begging a friend to do it with me, I belted it out. Not surprisingly, as I’ve already revealed my love of the spotlight, I loved it.

This is actually the best photo I have of my performance of the evening. If you look closely, you can see 3 people, I'm in the middle (I think).


Hi There!


I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.

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