It was supposed to be the biggest snowstorm in the last two years, but that didn’t stop me and an intrepid group of moms to hit the road for a two day spa getaway.
I was a little worried about driving my seven-year-old minivan on the snowy highway, so I played it smart by borrowing a brand new 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring Edition with all the bells and whistles to keep us safe and entertained.
The reason for the getaway? A combination of work and pleasure. YMC is a virtual business, so while some of the core staff who build the site on a daily basis have met in real life, the whole team had never gotten together in person – ever. We wanted to hang, relax and get to know each other better.
Natalie, our social media mom, does not like being a passenger. She’s an avid car enthusiast who prefers to be behind the wheel, especially in a vehicle like the Odyssey with all the cool bells and whistles. But, being the boss does have its perks. We agreed I would navigate us out of the city and Nat would take over half way through our hour and a half drive.
Having said that, tech savvy Natalie took control of the navigation system and input the address for St. Anne’s Spa. I have to say this system was the coolest, most intuitive NAVI I’ve ever seen. Being a bit of a gadget girl myself, this alone made me want to own this car. (Yes, I’m that girl that buys a car for cup holders as much as for safety).
We loaded our luggage into the huge trunk and hit the road, bracing for the treacherous driving conditions. We brought extra blankets and extra food (there’s a small Cool Box built into the console), just in case we were stuck on the highway. The snow started to blow, but the Odyssey’s tires seemed to grip the pavement. We all relaxed, more confident we would arrive in one piece.
I shrieked with excitement – there was XM® Satellite Radio! We cranked up the tunes (12 speakers!) – jumping from the 80’s retro station to my fave – Spectrum’s adult art rock. Time flew by as we made great time to the spa.
The party had begun!
Then Eileen, who had flown in from BC, whipped out a Sex in the City DVD. She and Natalie put on the wireless headsets to watch an episode on the massive 16.2-inch screen, while I was able to enjoy satellite radio station Spectrum blasting tunes by my new fave band Mumford & Sons.
Meanwhile, sprawled out in the third row, Jen, our organized project manager took full advantage of this down time to get some work done. She was relieved to find a 115-volt power outlet so she could power up her Mac and charge her faulty battery.
So there we were, four of us heading to bond at the spa, each of us keeping busy separately.
Unfortunately for Nat, we made better time than anticipated and she never had a chance to get behind the wheel on the way there (insert evil laughter from me here).
When we arrived at St. Anne’s in the snow storm it was a winter wonderland.
We met up with the rest of the team and spent the next two days getting pampered and reconnected while the snow continued to fall.
And if you’re wondering…. Yes, I did let Natalie drive us home while I answered to a backlog of email on my computer. The perfect end to a relaxing girlfriends getaway!
This is proudly sponsored by our friends at Honda.
It’s one thing to hear statistics like heart disease and strokes are the leading cause of death for women in Canada and that more women die of cardiovascular disease than any other condition.
It’s quite another to meet Olympic figure skating medalist Isabelle Brasseur and hear how heart disease robbed her of her parents, almost caused her to lose her baby…and her life.
First her father passed away from heart disease, and her mother had two strokes. Then, in 1999, Isabelle was diagnosed with vasodepressor syncope, a congenital heart condition that causes her heart to stop as a result of extreme physical exertion or stress. Not great news for an Olympic athlete.
She was prescribed beta-blockers to slow down her heart, helping her lead a normal life. Five years ago, when she became pregnant with a baby girl, her cardiologist encouraged her to volunteer for a study being done on beta-blockers and pregnancy to see what effect, if any, this medicine had on babies in utero.
Delivery was a concern for Isabelle. Her cardiologist warned the stress might cause her heart to speed up, in turn triggering a dangerous blackout – even while on beta blockers. She told her obstetrician about this possibility but he wasn’t too concerned. He should have been.
They discovered her baby was breech, and Isabelle had to have an emergency c-section. After her epidural, the stress got to her. Despite being medicated, Isabelle could feel her heart speeding up and warned the doctor she wasn’t feeling well. He dismissed her concerns, saying something like ‘everyone feels like this when they’re going through something scary’. Minutes later, Isabelle went into cardiac arrest. Her heart literally stopped while having her c-section. She started convulsing, foaming at the mouth, eyes rolling to the back of head – the first stage of dying.
They shot her up with adrenaline and got her heart ticking again. Baby Gabrielle was fine. And Isabelle hasn’t had a heart-stopping episode since then.
It’s not surprising that Isabelle has becoming a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Fundraising initiative. She designated HSF as her charity of choice when she performed in Battle of the Blades last season. The money raised goes to research to help others whose lives have been touched by heart disease.
If you’d like to donate to Heart and Stroke and live in Ontario, you can text ‘heart5’ to 20222 to donate $5.00 or ‘heart10’ to donate $10 with any mobile phone carrier. If you’re anywhere else, you can donate at www.heartandstroke.on.ca.
It will warm your heart and help fix someone else’s.
Today I dropped of my son off at Paintball Birthday Party with his school friends - 10 and 11 year old messy boys.
I'd never been inside of a Paintball place before. I looked to the left and was shocked to see a shop stocked with what looks like very powerful guns and artillery. Of course they're just guns that shoot paint but it kind of turned my stomach.
If you're not familiar with the painball fab, the object is to simulate combat in a dark, camoflaged facilities but using paint pelletsrather than bullets.At the end of the game, all the kids are splattered with paint. It's all in good fun with good sportsmanship rules posted everywhere to keep the vibe light.
I've always taught my son how horrible guns are; that they are the cause of so much horror in the world and that shooting someone means inflicting the most terrible physical pain on another human being.
And then I drop him off to play with guns for 3 hours with his buddies.
I don't want to ban him from playing what is, superficially, a super fun afternoon for him and his buddies. But I also don't him him associated guns with play. As an aside, the last time my husband dropped my son at a paintball party, he joined in the fun and had a just as much fun as the kids getting paint-splattered.
What do you think? Am I over-reacting? How would you handle this situation? Keep him home from the party? Lecture him before about the evils of war? Or just let him be a boy and enjoy the paintball adventure?"