Monday, January 19, 2009

CGI GALA 2009

I can't believe the Gala has already come and gone for another year. Without fail it is one of my favourite nights of the year!!! I have to say, this year has been my favourite yet! They keep getting better and better every single year. We had the best table in the joint I SWEAR!

Saturday morning was chaos for us trying to get everything ready. We had enough packed to go camping for about three weeks and we were only going overnight!

Our goal was to check in my noon and we did VERY well by checking in at 12:30. Unfortunately I directed D to the wrong parking lot so we were dragging suitcases and grocery bags through the Rideau Centre!!! pretty funny.

I got everything unpacked while D moved the car to the right parking lot to unload the rest of the stuff. We zipped down to the foodcourt and picked up some Subway to take back to our room. It is SO HANDY to have a shopping centre attached to a hotel I tell you!

After lunch we made our way downstairs for some swimming and hot tub action. We are both total fish and haven't been swimming for a while so it was a nice treat.

By about 3:30 we had to head back to the room to get ourselves and the joint ready for the cocktail party we were hosting!

Denis had told people they could arrive between 4:45 and 5. By 5:15 the room was still empty and we were getting a bit scared. Next thing you know the room is PACKED. Oh and I must point out, we had the BEST room in the place - room 1313. I just doesn't get any better than that.

Here are some pictures before the story continues...
I must point out that Denis said he had to edit all of the ones he took to remove the BLOOD STAIN from the curtain! Lovely. One classy room I tell you.

The view from room 1313 - i love the blue hue to the picture...

And another - we could see the little people skating on the canal...

Denis all dressed up and ready to go!

Trying my best to pose but the rum and diet cokes by the pool took over I think!

Trying my best to stick out my chin like Denis tells me to!

Scott and another Laurie or Lori or Lorrie or...I dunno. What I do know is she scrapbooks and I nearly peed my pants when I found out! These two ROCK.

Oh la la - I could go on forever about Gary and Sandie. I met Gary a few years ago and INSTANTLY liked him. He's Irish and oh so fun. I just met his girlfriend Sandie on Saturday night and we became instant buddies and hung out all night. She's a total Scottish sweetheart! And what a great looking couple!!!

Bryan (with a "Y") and Kim! Poor Kim wasn't feeling too hot at dinner but the two of us had an awesome time at our cocktail party! This couple rocks too!

A shot of the group - it wasn't even that crowded when this pic was taken
Ok - now on to dinner we go! Cocktails were at 6, dinner was at 7. I think we made our way downstairs sometime around 6:55 or so!

We had a sweet table - right on the dancefloor where are the action was. I had to be on my best behaviour because the Vice President was seated right behind me and I didn't want to get D fired.

Once he left all bets were off!

I made immediate friends with the bartender, a nice young lad from Haiti named Elysee. As is "champs elysee" - what a cool name! He took great care of me all night!

Here are some shots of our table mates...

Scott and Laurie (excuse the red eyes in these pictures - i was using my little point and shoot for these)


Roxane and Andre - SUCH A FUN COUPLE! And total sweethearts to boot. Love hanging with them...
Jason and ??? - they showed up late and left early. They also had a room in the hotel.
Ben and ??? Sorry - one too many bevvies at that point to remember everyone's name. Both of them were total sweethearts though! I do remember that.
Andre being silly.

Supper was pretty good. We started with butternut squash soup and it was SO YUM.
Next was the salad. I remember going to the washroom and walking back into the ballroom as they were serving the salad. Two words - STINKY FEET. That's what the entire room smelled like!
Main course was chicken, potatoe and some veggies. I just wasn't feeling it so I didn't eat most of it.
Desert was blueberry maple mousse thingy. Also tres delish!
The them was Hollywood and the centrepieces were glass popcorn containers filled with candy treats, popcorn and MOVIE PASSES. At first one of the other ladies at the table won because Jason and his gf hadn't arrived yet but once they arrived I became the winner. JACKPOT. In my defence, I did tell Ben's girl she could keep it but she insisted I take it. So I did. I'm most excited about the movie passes.
Dave and Janet - they were set up. J used to work at CGI and Dave didn't have a date so he brought her. They had a blast and we had a blast harassing them!
The highlight of the night was Elvis. If you can believe it, this sucker sold for $45 and it technically wasn't even for sale. He was part of the decor but people couldn't get enough of him and one lady bought him and then promptly sold him to another lady. Classic.
We kept stealing him for photo ops and they kept stealing him back!
Kisses for Elvis (I don't want to think about how many lips were on him that night)...
"Us" girls with Elvis with the "owners" always very close behind...
Sandie gets up close and personal (don't tell Gary!)
My aim was SO FAR off at this point - I was aiming for his "bits and pieces" and ended up grabbing Sandie's ankle. Ooops!
The girls getting into trouble - can I just say I look TOTALLY POSSESSED in these pictures. I have cranberry stained lips!

New buds! I can't wait to hang out with her again...

I cannot say enough about what a great time we had. The music was phenomenal. Every request we made was played the very next song and the dance floor was always full. The night passed in a flash and it was so fun to see so many other people having such a great time.
Our table ended up shutting the place down. Literally. At one they turned on all the lights and we were the only ones left. That did not deter us. We hung out for a while more just chatting and laughing and having good times.
I met so many random and interesting people throughout that night. I love that sort of thing and tend to end up going so at the Galas. I then report back to Denis about all these people he works with and doesn't know!!!
We finally stumbled to our room and decided to order a pizza - I was starving from barely eating any dinner and I thought it would be a good idea to absorb some of the alcohol.
It was after 3 a.m. by the time we got to bed. The Westin advertises these "heavenly beds" and "heavenly sheets" and "heavenly EVERYTHING." UM...not so much! Our own bed is far more heavenly I have to say.
I had a horrible night's sleep because my loving husband treated me to his cold so I was having a hard time breathing. I finally fell into a deep sleep at around 8 a.m. only to be woken but a HORRIBLE SOUND of a jackhammer on concrete just after 9. Yes, 9 a.m. on a Sunday they are drilling through concrete. I thought it was right above our heads. I thought they were coming through the floor. At about 10:45 I called down to ask for late checkout and to complain about the noise. As it turns out it was on the 19th floor! That's how loud it was. Crazy I tell you.
Eventually we gave up trying to sleep and Denis ran down to Starbucks in the mall to get us tea lattes (our new fave) and some breakfast. We then hit the pool again and were able to escape the noise at least for a short while...
I was so looking forward to a nice warm shower when we got back to the room but alas, it was not meant to be. There was NO HOT WATER. huh? The signs in the elevator said the water was being shut off on Monday, not Sunday! GRRRRR. So frustrating. At this point I was feeling a bit ripped off. I had expected luxury and frankly I think it could have been better at a Super 8 motel!
In my frustration, I filled out the comment card and I was brutally honest about my disappointment. I did praise their employees, specifically Elysee. I said that we would not be returning and that Denis would be informing his colleagues not to make the same mistake we did at next year's Gala.
By last night the manager had sent D a message with their apologies, explaining that to complete the rennovations on time they have to work 7 days a week. BUT ON A SUNDAY??? COME ON!
Aparently the lack of hot water was because a pipe had burst. Oops. In any case, the manager was very apologetic and has invited us back for a complimentary night so they can make it up to us and hopefully change our opinion!!! Sweeeeet.
So once the rennovations are completed (sometime this summer) D and I are going to head back and check it out. If all goes well, hopefully we can make our pre-gala cocktail party an annual tradition because it was one heck of a great time!
Oh, I just remembered something (I'm sure this is going to happen quite a bit)...Denis is being mentored at work by Pablo, a sweet gentleman who has just been named a director. I have met Pablo in the past and really liked him. On Saturday night I suddently became fluent in Spanish and had a full conversation with him in Spanish. HELLO - I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT IN MY LIFE! I don't even know how to speak spanish! apparently elysee put something special in the vodka-cranberries I was drinking!!!
Ok - I must head to bed. Nyquil is calling.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far.
'night lovelies,
me

5 comments:

Dorrie said...

Looks like you had a great time...
Oh and I stayed on the 13th floor there... and I had a board meeting in rm 1313...
Crazy they have a 13th floor.....
I have the same Parliament pic as you...LOL... that's how I knew where you were... The Westin, right??
Love your hair dark...you looked like a beauty queen!!!

Stay Funny said...

looks really like you had a great time! Love the Elvis shots!

Rachel said...

I LOVE YOUR POSTS! I totally feel like I am right there with you when you are telling your story... I *heart* how you post all your pics and names... sounds like it was a blast.. even with the crummy hotel experience!

Hugs
R
XOOX

Kataroo said...

You are so so so pretty!! The new color in your hair is beautiful, and the curls!! oh and the beautiful face. WOW

Shabby Chic Crafts said...

I loved all those pictures! Looks like you had fun! tehehe and about that chin.. .?? heheh I do that too. Hubby says I tilt my head to the side too much. hahah