Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hockey Season Recipe

Ingredients :
64  Games
2 Boys
43 Goals
2 Parents
128 cups of Tim's Coffee
6 consolation ice cream treats
7 rolls of tape
1 cracked stick
and a lost jock strap

Combine all ingredients and cook on high for 5 months.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Playoff (V02), a Play (V02) and a shot of whisky

On Friday night Debbie and I went to see the play Bittergirls.

To say that this musical is now one of my favorites is a wild understatement.  It was witty, uproariously funny with some of the most talented singers I have seen.

In a nutshell, the plot centers around 3 woman in relationships; a short lived romance, a line in boyfriend and a married couple with one child.  Who all, with no warning are dumped by their significant other.

I am sitting here smiling to myself just thinking about it as it truly was that good.

After the play, I did a quick costume change into my Irish attire and headed over to Sean and Erin's place for some well mannered whisky tasting in the name of St. Patricks.  Sean has an arsenal of whisky from the high end to the not so high end.  As I am not a whisky aficionado, I made sure to tell him to not waster the good stuff on me.

He insisted, but in the end we agreed to a taste off.  He would pour me out a taste test and I'd continue my evening with the one I liked best.  Thankfully my whisky palate is not a refined one and I ended up preferring the inexpensive one.

It was a really fun night.

Despite not getting home until somewhere north of 2 am, we had to up early Saturday morning for...yeah, you guessed it... hockey.  Logan is in a tournament way out at the Iceplex and Zach had playoffs in St. Boniface.  Logan's game went great!  They played a super game and walked away with the win!

Zach's team headed into game 2 of the playoffs.  The first game was really exciting, going into overtime.   To be honest, it has been such a blur, but I can't remember if this game went into overtime as well.  In the end though, the lost the game and the series was now tied 1-1.

Sunday came along with... yeah... more hockey.  Logan was out at the iceplex again.  The game was really close, but they lost 2-1.  Honestly, the boys have been playing so much better in the tournament than they did in the regular season, which is great.  It's nice to see them finish the season on a high note.

Zach's third playoff game was back out in St. Boniface.  The teams are so evenly matched that it went to overtime again!  Honestly, it was way too stressful.  The boys seemed a little sluggish (perhaps due to playing 100 games in a row) and lost the game and were down 1-2 in the series.

Cue Monday night and again, we have 2 hockey games to go to.  If you are keeping track, that is 7 games in 5 days,  It was a close game in the tournament and they boys played so hard.  I felt bad for them as there was one brutal call.  The game was getting down to the wire, and we pulled our goalie.  The decision paid off and one of our kids was blazing down the ice on a breakaway.  The ref was staring down the ice looking at the empty net, but apparently it didn't register and called us to too many men.  It obviously wasn't of course as we had pulled the goalie.  As a result, we didn't get the too many men penalty, but it did stop our breakaway and we lost the game.

Game 4 of the 5 games series for Zach followed shortly thereafter.  The boys had a quick lead of 2-0 and were firing on all cylinders.  In the third period we got 4 back to back-to-back-to-back penalties that ultimately cost us the game.

Zach came off the ice really frustrated and upset.  We figured it was due to the loss, but apparently there was more to it.  In the third, when Zach was stepping out of the penalty box, the puck was right there with a clear path to the net.  He seized the opportunity and made a good shot on net.  It didn't go in as the goalie made a great save, but any shot on net is a good one.

After that we noticed Zach didn't get much ice time.  After the game we found out that the coach benched him for the rest of the game because he didn't listen to instructions as he was supposed to come right to the bench after getting out of the box.

Ok.  I do my very best to support the coaching staff even when I disagree with them.  These coaches volunteer their time and you can't complain too much about their decisions because if you don't like it, then step up to do it yourself.

But in this case, I was upset.  Sure, Zach didn't listen, no disputing that, so bench him for a shift.  It seems overly harsh to bench him for the game.  It had been an odd lead up the game anyways.  Zach had played forward all season only to be switched to defense at the start of this 5 game city championship.  Zach was rusty on defense and justifiably so.

We found out later that the coach has pulled Zach aside before the game and told him if he didn't do a better job of clearing the puck from the zone he would bench him.  He gave out a similar threat to another kid on the team. Really?  Seriously?

Alright coach.  Lighten up.  This is A3 hockey.  These kids aren't going to the NHL.  At best, we are setting them up with skills to play in a beer league.  Benching kids for messing up is something that happens in AAA hockey, not A3.

I am LIVID.  Unfortunately this is just one more incident in a series of incidents this season.  There was one outdoor practice where the temperatures dropped below -25C.  St. Vital hockey stipulates outdoor games/practices are cancelled at those temperatures, so we didn't send Zach to the game as did many other parents.

The next practice coach layed into the kids for missing practice and told them they would be benched if they did it again.  Ok, here is my problem with that. Kids don't drive themselves to practice.  If a kid doesn't show up it is likely due to a schedule conflict or a parental decision.  Knowing that, don't get mad at the kids!  Send a note to the parents.

Ugh.  Another game the boys were up 3-0.  One of the kids made a goof that resulted in the other team scoring and rather than pumping the kids up with "It's alright boys!" or  "Let's get it back!, he told them "Well I guess we are going to blow this lead!".  Who does that?

I need to let this go, but I'm still pretty peeved.   I do need to get some closure, but I am letting it marinate for a day or two until my thoughts are more rationale before sending him an email.  I am simply going to ask what went down.  There are two sides to every story and perhaps there is more than what Zach is telling us.  In which case, I would need all of the information in order to make a judgment call.   

The sad part is that was the last game of the season and it's a big sour lemon that it ended on that note.  But there is always next season!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Playoff, A Play and one left foot

In recent years I have become close with my nephews Bennett and Braden.  They are great kids.  Not kids anymore actually, they are 15 and 17.

We text all the time and they keep me updated on the things that are going on in their lives.  I remember when I was a kid I was so worried I wouldn't be an aunt.  If I married an only child like myself, I wouldn't get to be one and for some reason that really bothered me.

Thankfully that is not the case.  Last week I texted Braden to wish him a happy 15th birthday and asked him if he had anything special going on.  He replied that he had a big playoff game.  Lightbulb!  Even though we were in the middle of some fairly crappy weather and driving conditions, we decided to head out to East Selkirk to watch him play. We picked up some birthday balloons and cupcakes and headed out.

It was a big surprise when we showed up!  So glad we went!  Gateway had a great game and went on to the A side finals!  Braden and his team played really well.  It's been a hard season for them.  One of their team mates was diagnosed with leukemia early in the season and was sent to Vancouver for treatment.  He is now back in Winnipeg and is doing better, but has a long road ahead.  The boys on his team took his jersey and hung it up on the bench at every game, so that even if he wasn't able to play, he made it to every game. Oh my gosh, right in the feels.

Having two boys myself, I know how brothers are and giving attention to one and not the other is a big no no.  Knowing that, I texted Bennett to see how things were going on his end.  As it turns out he was going to be in a play!  This took me by surprise as I never would have thought Bennett would have been into drama.  Since the last showing of the play was later in the same week as Braden's game, we made plans to head out to River East collegiate to catch the final showing of Sixteen Candles.

This is one of those iconic movies featuring the Brat Pack of the 80s.  I had seen most of them, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink etc, but I'd never seen this one, so I had no idea of the story line for the play.

In recent years, I have only gone to see elementary/middle school plays.  They are cute and sweet, but never really big productions.  High School is WAY different.  The play was performed in a big theater in the school instead of the gym with a professional looking stage... the whole nine yards.

Bennett was playing one of the jerky jocks.  He warned me ahead of time that he wasn't very nice in this play which was super sweet.  It was as if he was worried I wouldn't like him.

The play was GREAT.  The acting, the sets, music, lights... everything was on point and so well done.

During the last act of the play, unbeknownst to the audience, a light was didn't get turned off on one end of the stage when it should have been.  The art director asked Bennett to quickly run across during one of the "pauses" in between scenes.  Bennett ran across and just as he got the light turned off, he stumbled and tripped.  He said he rolled his ankle, but sucked it up and finished the play.

After it was all over, Bennett came out to see us where we all gave him our rave reviews.  He was limping a little and told us the story of his foot.  He didn't seem too concerned and was more focused on the cast party being held that night.

The next morning I got a text from Bennett.  His foot had swollen up something fierce and was black and blue.  They headed over to the Pan Am clinic to have it looked at and yup... he broke his ankle.

Now, if the drama idiom, "break a leg" did not just enter you head, then we cannot be friends.  Once I knew Bennett was ok, I couldn't stop laughing.  What a rockstar though!  Finished the play and went out to a party after all the while walking on a broken foot.

It made for a busy week driving around to East Selkirk, our boys playoff games, River East, but it was so worth it.

Bonnie and Brett came out to Zach's playoff game on the weekend along with my Mum and Dad.  It's really great when you a close knit family like that.

Love Love Love

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Growing Up.

Two and Out.

That's the way it rolls some seasons.  We were hoping for a playoff surge along the line of a mighty-duck-escue miracle, but alas it wasn't in the cards.

I've talked about it on my blog, but I'm sort of glad it happened.  Logan needs to learn that sometimes you lose, sometimes the other team is better and they get the trophy and you get squat.

He needs to learn that you can't blame anyone for a loss, you're a team, win as a team and lose as one too.  You can't blame the goalie, because the defense should have been helping him out.  Can't blame the coaches, they weren't on the ice.

That being said, it's ok to be frustrated that you had some bad bounces, but it happens that way sometimes.   Logan has a tendency to be ridiculously over confident and then is shocked when he doesn't win.  You don't get a medal just for showing up kiddo.

Hockey isn't quite over though.  Logan's team has a tournament at the Iceplex coming up and Zach's playoffs start tonight.  The finished first in the city, so they got a bi the first week of playoffs.

I am excited for the game tonight.  They have a legimitate chance of winning it all!

Generally the boys do some spring activities.  But this year they asked to skip it.  Zach hates flag football and never got into soccer, so we didn't know what to put him in.  Logan needed a break from hockey after his season, so we are going to sit this season out.

This past week Zach and I had to go to an open house at the high school.  He had to go visit the school and see all the elective options.  I can't believe we are here.  HIGH SCHOOL.  Zach is more of a techy, so we kind of expected him to like Information Technology and Communication elective.  When we were walking around, we stopped into electrical.  He saw some kids soldering wires, working on circuit boards and his eyes lit up.  There was a project a kid was working on that had stacked pieces of clear plexi glass that lit up with the volume of the room.

Zach also showed interest in 3D modeling and even power mechanics.  There was also a new program call Dakota 360.  It's basically an intro to high school.  The elementary schools have not been assigning homework ( a new school of thought) , it was consistent within both the schools the boys attended.  The idea being that the kids are provided with sufficient time to complete their work in the classroom.  Problem is they don't have that luxury in high school.  This Dakota 360 program teaches them skills such as proper essay writing, study skills, oral presentation skills.
 It seems like a great program to develop the things you need for all classes but there isn't time to teach in those classes.  It counts as an elective which is cool.  Zach wasn't as thrilled to take that class, but given the elementary experience and well... Zach, we really felt he could benefit from it.  So we insisted he take that one, but the other two electives were entirely up to him.  He chose info tech and electrical, with power mechanics as a backup ( you have to provide an alternative in case one of your choices isn't available).

I was worried about how Zach would feel about the school, it is so big and has so many kids.  But loved it.  He was pretty excited about the options.  The fact that he was able to pick some of his courses was a big selling feature for him and the fact he could drop band which hated.  There are SO many choices.  french, dramatic arts, performing arts, home ec, international studies, art, business, leadership... the list goes on.  I don't remember having that many choices, I was in the International Baccalaureate program and remembered having art and band options. Dakota is a combo school, it has academic electives as well as vocational ones.  I only went to an academic high school Silver Heights.  The vocational school was Sturgeon Creek.  The two schools have since amalgamated into Sturgeon Heights as the neighborhood has aged making the need for the two high school unnecessary.  With all the new homes in our area, the amount of schools is ridiculous.  Within walking distance of our place, there is HS Paul, Highbury, Burland, Christine Lesperance, George McDowell, St. Germain, Julie Riel.... and that's just the elementary ones.

It's funny we are moving on to this next step when our friends are just starting theirs.  We had our kids young, but not everyone made that choice.  Katrina and Jerritt are expecting a baby girl, who they have named Avery and are due at the end of March.  I'm heading out to her baby shower in about an hour.  Shopping for a gift brought smiles to my face.  It seems like yesterday and at the same times ages ago since we were there.

But that's how life is.  We are all growing up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

For the love of Lumpia

Year end is officially over at work, which means I have exactly 15 minutes to relax before quarter 1 reporting.

However, I've been able to get in some relaxing time.  Last weekend, the crew (Sean, David, Brad, Gerrit, Debbie, Erin, Kat and I)  went to a wedding social for Kat's sister.

I haven't been to a wedding social in a long time, but this one was BIG.  30 social prizes BIG.

It was a really fun night.  The standard deli meat, mustard and rye bread snack was put to shame when the Croatian Grandma's got together and put on the spread for 500 people.  Grandma's are something else.

Gerrit got Brad a shot at the bar.  A Croatian 400 proof shot.  Two shots later and B was three sheets to the wind.  On a positive note, Brad is a jolly drunk.  He is full of laughter and smiles.  It's pretty funny.  Case in point, Erin actually was able to get Brad on the dance floor for a few songs and he went on a hunt to find Sean so he could put a slice of salami on his shoulder.

At the time, I thought this was just weird, Croation everclear-induced behavior, but apparently, the salami on the shoulder is a real thing.  Who knew?

This past weekend was the last regular season hockey games.  Logan's team had a really rough season, but they didn't finish last! Wooot!  But the way things shook out means that they will be playing their rivals (the other Dakota team) in the first round of the playoffs.  I have high hopes, but it is looking like it's going to be a quick two and out.  It's been really hard to keep the boys spirits up.  Talk all you want, but the reality is losing that many games ( I think it was 3 wins, 1 tie and 16 losses) is tough on anyone.  

Every time we would bump into friends or family, they would ask how the season was going and it was all Brad and I could do to change the subject before Logan unraveled.

But after regular season is over, they will be entering a spring tournament at the Iceplex, so that will be a good way to finish the season on a fun note.

Zach's team had a different season altogether.  They had a really good season.  It was initially helped by a 13 year old rockstar.  He had moved here from up north and his family had missed the hockey tryouts.  Since he had never played for Dakota, they didn't know where to sort him, so they put him in A3.  The kid was CLEARLY A1.  About 1/2 way through the season, St. Vital minor hockey clued in and he was moved up to A1.  To replace him, we got a player who was A1, but had been out the whole season due to a bad broken leg.  A1 has body checking and after  bad break that needed surgery, it didn't seem wise to throw him back into A1 when he hadn't played all year.

The boys lost the first game after the rock star left.  Immediately they all got down on themselves. Thankfully, it was a one off and they proved that they were a strong team with or without the rockstar.

Sunday night was the battle for first place in the city (regular season).  It was such a close game. With one minute to go in the 3rd period we scored making the score 1-0.  We hung on for the last minute to clinch top spot.

Now while I was getting my hockey mum on, Brad was back home playing host.  The guys from work were all coming over to watch the NBA all star game.  Brad has made a ton of smoked wings ( actually smoked them!).  A lot of the guys Brad works with are Filipino and they brought over...300 Lumpia.  Holy mother of taste buds.

If you have never had Lumpia, let me clue you in.  It's the Filipino version of egg rolls and are amazing.  AH-mazing.  I challenge you to each just one.  It took all of my willpower to only have two.

Amazingly, I also skipped out on the wings, chips, drinks and all other delicious treats the evening offered up. 

I haven't really mentioned it much here, mostly because I haven't had time to be writing a whole lot, but I'm giving the healthy life style another go.  83rd times the charm right?  I think I have to get my head around the fact that it's not diet diet diet, get to a certain weight and then all will be well.  It is going to be a new way of eating if I plan to keep it off.

My motivation is that I am turning 40 this year.  It's a big, scary, very grown up number.  It also seems to be a great time to have your sh*t together, so thus the motivation. 

I have a really long ways to go, no point in sugar coating it.  Well yes, I suppose that's actually the point, I can no longer sugar coat it.  Perhaps I should roll it up in kale and serve it on a bed of quinoa.

Things are going well, I'm down 22lbs.  Clothes are getting baggy and I'm reclaiming wardrobe items that I haven't worn in awhile.  It's a good feeling.  Although, I am still trying to train my brain to drink water.  How do people do that all the time?  I have to put a reminder in my phone to drink water every four hours, which in and of itself is utterly pitful, albeit necessary.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Costco to buy some kale.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Scabbers Fleas.

I love Harry Potter.  I know it sounds geeky and I'm far too old for it, but whatever. My friend Erin is just as much of a Potterhead (some say Potterphiles, but that sounds really gross) as I am. 

Her husband Sean stumbled across a Harry Potter Trivia night fundraiser for the Winnipeg Whomping Willows which is a team in an actual Worldwide Quiddich  league.  Check out the video... it's glorious.  Full grown adults running around a field (whilst stradling a broom) trying to get a ball into one of three rings.  The snitch is a player dressed all in gold with a tennis ball in a sock hanging off the back of their shorts.  Game is over when the snitch is caught.  All of a sudden my Harry Potter obsession seems minor.

Anyways, the trivia night had a $10 cover charge and was held at the Garbonzo's at the U of W.  It was pretty awesome.   They had decorated the place to look like a Tavern in Hogsmeade complete with Butter Beer.  If you were in the mood for a Potter shot, you went up to the bar and a standard shot glass was put in front of you.  Vodka was poured into the shot glass which instantly changed color the second it hit the glass into one of three colors (which was random)  Blue, Red, Green or yellow representing the 4 houses.
Once you registered for the trivia tournament you had to come up with a name.  Our group of 6 couldn't decide between Dobby's B*tches or Scabbers Fleas.  In the end we opted for Scabbers  Fleas. The best team name scored a prize and Triviosa was the winner.

First off we felt the need to sort our own team into houses based on our personalities and skills.  Erin got Gryffindor, Sean got Slytherin, Brad was Hufflepuff (hee hee.  Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.  Match made in heaven) and I got Ravenclaw.  Erin's niece and her husband who were also on our team both got Gryffindor.  Sean getting Slytherin was pretty funny.  Sean is such a good friend of mine, but it can take a bit to get to know him properly as he's a big personality and can rub people the wrong way sometimes.  Once you do however, you'll know he is a fiercely loyal friend.  Case in point, when I met Sean, I hated him, with a visceral hatred.  We were on the daycare board of directors and he drove me crazy.  But over time he wore me down and I now consider him one of my closest friends.   To celebrate our sorting, we each had a shot that represented our house.  I got a Ravenclaw blue.  It tasted like blue raspberry cough syrup, but it's the thought that counts right?

The tournament was supposed to start at 7:30 pm, but for whatever reason it didn't.  They kept announcing that it was going to start and pumping everyone up on the mic.. "Everyone ready?  Let's do this!!!", only to have nothing happen.  Finally somewhere north of 8:30 we started.  The tournament had 3 rounds.  If you were caught using your phone you ran the risk of being killed or worse expelled (Bwahahahaha).    After each round, you switched your paper (they kept it old school with pen and parchment) with the team next to you for marking.  

Now Erin and I are pretty good at HP trivia.  She has a game at home and we play it sometimes, but the questions aren't too difficult.  The trivia night questions were pretty good.  What was the name of Hagrids Mother?  What was the score of the Quiddich World cup?  Who was the first student sorted in the Books (different from the movie)?  What is the motto of Hogwarts school?

It was a blast.   

The first three rounds were questions like the above and the last round was "name the quote".  Generally speaking we had consensus among our team before we wrote an answer.  However, one quote in particular caused a divide.  Here it was...

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals"

Sean thought it was Dumbledor, whereas I was completely convinced it was Sirius.  What ensued was a debate which resulted in a bet between Sean and I.  If he won, I had to buy him a Potter shot.  If I won, he would buy me two drinks, because he was utterly convinced he was correct.

Ah... poor Sean.  Sirus it was.  The thing was the evening was nearing midnight and I had to work the next day, so I opted for a raincheck on the drinks.  Truly, the real prize was sitting across from Sean in a cloud of smug.

The total tournament score was out of 75 and I think we landed somewhere around 68 which put us in the top ten of 50 teams.

It was a really fun night and came at a time when I needed a break from year end at work.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rex December 2013 - January 2017

Rex has passed away.

Logan's beloved gerbil is no longer with us.  Logan called to tell me and he was pretty upset.  Losing a gerbil had more significance to him than losing a fish.

Yesterday, Logan went down to check on Rex and he wasn't moving and was rock hard.  **Shudder**.  Sigh.

Honestly, Rex made it 4 years which is smack dab in the middle of the standard 3-5 year life span.  I am actually surprised he hung on for as long as he did.  Back in 2015, Rex and Lloyd were sharing a cage because we were told that gerbils are social and enjoy company.

Something must have changed, a testosterone battle maybe?  We don't know, but regardless there was a Battle Royale and both of the gerbils got hurt.

Lloyd seemed to recover well, but Rex's eye never fully opened again.  We weren't sure if he was going to make it, but outside of the eye, he appeared to have healed well.

After the battle, we separated them because we were told that once they start fighting it will be a duel to the death.  Eek, no one needs to see that.

So Rex got the palace, the nice glass aquarium with loads of room for running around and Lloyd was relegated to the "starter kit" cage we got when we bought them.  With Rex being gone, we will be moving Lloyd into the larger cage.  Although Logan has some reservations about that.

It was odd though, one minute Logan would say he was ok, but then the next he would sit and sniffle, rubbing his eyes trying to hide the tears. Poor kid.  It's part of life, but it doesn't make it any easier knowing that.

While I generally keep my blog light-hearted, it seems like it would be disrespectful to Logan if I was to make light of the loss of his gerbil.

RIP Rex.

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