Circle of Despair

tennisTomorrow I play tennis for the first time since October. One comment was made: “You’ll never find your balls.”

It took me a minute to realize she meant tennis balls in the snow. I thought she meant… never mind. For the record they have not crawled back inside my body for winter.

I’m starting to get the first rumblings of concern about the increased sedentary nature of winter in general. I have looked at my cross country skis. They looked back, as if to say, “You’re not going to stand on us, are you? Fuuuuuuuuuu…” Oddly, the year that I got them was a year pretty much without snow. Perhaps if I go skiing I can stop this snow nonsense, but more likely true environmental change would require a new sacrificial cash outlay, one I am not prepared to make.

Tennis now and then in the winter won’t make much difference for me anyway, too infrequent and too time limited. I will probably overplay, packing in as much pseudo-ball whacking glory into an hour as I can, as though the calorie burn could be stored, squirrel-like, in my cheeks (yes, an homage auntie e), but sadly it doesn’t work like that. It should.

So with the Christmas Gorge-Fest staring me in the face, I think I better talk to Kathryn about some personal training tips. If you think I was afraid of the clothes, I tell you you know nothing of my fear.

So Kat… I think I’m ready. Provided I survive tennis.

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Have a Drink On (top of) Me

By all accounts it was a weekend of celebration. Nothing official. American Thanksgiving isn’t until Thursday. Simply, everyone I know seemed to have a party on the go, or a special event to attend.

Me, I made arrangements to visit some old friends. Not a wild party by any means. They were working around sons’ hockey schedules so a later evening soiree was prudent. No problem. I have been and remain proud of my ability to adapt.

It is my ability to recover that is now in question.

Now, this is no debauched revelry we had planned, but rather a quiet late evening dinner with conversation. As it is in many hockey households there was an early wakeup call for morning, which in itself dictates approach to a night of socializing in one of two ways. Canadian readers, bear with me here. I do have a few American and overseas readers who Don’t Understand. I state the obvious for them.

ice-hockey-7In Canada, hockey is Not Optional. One does not say, “Oh, excuse me. I was imbibing slightly past my tolerance last evening and, as a result I am feeling rather queasy of stomach this morning, therefore, as Your Goaltender, I choose not to play this morning so that I might attend to my headache and nausea. Do continue without me, knowing that I offer my best wishes to the success of today’s match.”

I’m certain people who say and do such are indeed born in Canada. They won’t survive childhood.

Likewise, a parent will balk, bitch, bemoan and whine over the ungodly hours required to provide offspring with the opportunity for ice time. They will not, however, miss the ice time. They will continue to balk, bitch, bemoan and whine with other such parents while clutching the ubiquitous Tim Hortons Cup of Warming Goodness, a talisman against the dual affronts of lack of sleep and lack of heat that such mornings require. The world view is that all Canada lives in igloos. In the case of the Hockey Parent, this is closer to truth.

So, my Gracious Hosts, being Hockey Parents, had two options. That was to go to bed at A Reasonable Hour, or to Skip Sleep Entirely. Both are equally valid approaches. Hockey Parenthood generally prefers the former while adult tournament hockey frequently engages the latter. Wine

There have been instances, on the very floorboards we trod, where once upon a time the adult males in this story were known to throw together a concoction of amaretto and tequila, light the works on fire and slurp them up through straws. Oddly, facial hair survived such an evening, though many straws did not. Last night was not such an evening, being a polite and dignified affair more in line with glasses of red wine.

Being Gracious Hosts, and aware that I was not driving (or for that matter getting up for ice time in the morning), a quiet but insistent attention was paid to my wine glass ensuring that I was not left thirsty at any point. I don’t recall having a say in the matter.

There is something about visits with old friends that aids my ability to swallow alcohol. Perhaps you’ve experienced a similar effect. At home I simply cannot drink things in similar quantity when by myself. It doesn’t taste the same, nor is it of similar effect. The goodness of feeling that comes from being surrounded by dear friends is abetted by wine and the taste of wine is abetted by the presence of friends to such a degree that I am positive that the first person to think of swallowing fermented grape juice likely was with a good buddy at the time. Likely goading them on.

This is how I came to be feeling rather less than optimal this morning. Oh, without regrets. And certain of my friends would mock the miniscule amounts of wine needed to put me in this state. A hallmark of age, perhaps, one’s condition seems to become something like a balancing act, or in the case of this morning, an unbalanced act. “Not enough water,” I think. “I’d be fine had I only drank more water.” “Tylenol,” I think. “I’d be fine if I took a couple Tylenol.” “Potatoes,” I think. “I’d be fine if I peel and dice 10 lbs. of potatoes and make home fries, eaten in one sitting slathered liberally with ketchup and Frank’s Red Hot sauce.”

Yes. Now we’re talking. That will be almost as good as a high stick upside the head.