Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween 2007!!

Happy Halloween everybody!

Well, it is a tradition where I work that all employees dress up for Halloween. Those who do dress up are allowed to leave after a half day of work. So, really, it is a no-brainer as whether to or not to participate.

This year I went with what I know - I was a Caniac. I pretty much have everything I could possibly need after being a season ticket holder and fan for the past 7 years. Next year I can be a rabid Caniac, then a dead Caniac...I can ride this train for some time to come.

We had great costumes this year - a proctologist, a Twister game, Captain Jack Sparrow, a gang member, Luigi from Super Mario Brothers, and a guy who wore a blow up doll on his front and looked like a baby on her back. It sounds weird, but he won the best costume contest. Fun was had by all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

As I pass into my 36th year on this planet...

Today marks the beginning of year 36 for me. This morning, during my run (yes, it was very cold outside), I started thinking about my past relationships - past loves, past regrets, past mistakes, past chances that failed, and past chances never taken. I had a few fond memories in the bunch, and more than I few memories that I wished to forget. I thought about the people who have affected my life, and wondered where a few of them are now and what they are doing. I remembered a few people that I wish I had never let in my life.

For better or worse, these people made me the person that I am today. At the ripe old age of 36, I find that I am happy. I have a wonderful husband, a sweet dog, good friends and family. I have a job that is decent and a home that is warm. I have love and I am loved. I think that is pretty much all we want as humans. The first 35 years have been good - I hope the next 35 continue to bring more of the same. Happy birthday to me!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Happy Mistake

So, last night, Bill and I were going out for an early birthday celebration. He had asked me to make reservations at a restaurant called Vin Rouge. As we were getting ready to leave the house, he mentioned something about the restaurant. I told him that we were not going to either the restaurants we had discussed the previously week - he had asked me to make a reservation at a totally different restaurant. Boy, was that news to him!

As it turned out, it was a great mistake. We were a little nervous going to this French restaurant. We were afraid it would be pretentious. It was very good. The atmosphere was chic and modern - not in the least bit stuffy. The food was great (Bill had French Onion soup and trout almondine, I had a beet salad and steak au poivre with pommes frites) and the waiter didn't mind translating the menu for us. We had a lovely evening together and discovered a great new restaurant.

Sometimes mistakes are good.

Great Weekend for Sports

What a great weekend for sports!!

My Georgia Bulldogs' football team beat arch rival Florida on Saturday 42-30. That is (unfortunately) something that does not happen very often. It was an awesome game! Georgia is now ranker #10 in the AP Poll.

My Carolina Hurricane's beat the NY Islanders 8-3 Saturday with my favorite Cane recording a hat trick!!

My new favorite baseball team, The Boston Red Sox, beat the Colorado Rockies in 4 straight games to win The World Series (ever since the tour of Fenway Park this summer, I have been smitten).

It's good to be a winner!!!!

M & J's Engagement Photos

M & J took their engagement photos this weekend. I think the pictures are awesome! Their photographer was wonderful. These two look like they could be on the cover of a magazine. It makes me wish I had some pictures of us looking this good...

They get married 06-07-08.

The Fall TV Season

I am not a big TV watcher normally, but I have found some shows that I have been enjoying this season. Now, I am happily addicted to three new fall shows. My favs are Samantha Who?, Dirty Sexy Money, and my guilty favorite, Gossip Girl. I am so addicted to Gossip Girl right now (yes, I realize that I am no longer a 16 year old girl - that's why it is a guilty pleasure) that I have been watching the episodes I tape over and over. I am just a romantic at heart and I love Serena and Dan as a couple.

I have also continued watching old favorites - Bones, Scrubs, and America's Next Top Model (I like Jenah or Heather to win it all!).

Do you have any favorite TV shows I should check out?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CA Update

I am happy to say that my friend in California is OK. She was evacuated from her home on Sunday, but has been staying with her parents. Her office is closed as well. None of the structures in her area have burned, but there is a lot of smoke and the air quality is very poor. She hopes to be able to visit her home today, but will probably stay with her parents through the weekend. I am so glad she is safe!!

California Burning

I have been watching the coverage of the fires in California. I grew up in Southern California - I lived there from second grade to my sophomore year in high school. I really didn't think that the area where I grew up (and where I still have friends) was in danger, but I just checked out the interactive map on MSN, and the fire was closer than I thought. There was no mention of my specific town, luckily. I sent off a note to my girlfriend who is still there to see if she is OK. I hope to hear back from her soon. I have been getting e-mails from my friend who now lives in Long Beach. She is OK.

One side of the country is in a miserable drought, the other side is on fire.

I can't imagine what it would be like to lose everything you owned whether it be from a fire, a flood, a hurricane, or a tornado. Your house was there one minute, and gone a few minutes later. Bill and I have made a donation to the American Red Cross. If you would like to help, click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back to the Canes

My friend, Heather, and I went to the Canes game last night. It was a different experience to go with a person who was actually interested in the game. We had a good time.

We sat in the seats where we will have tickets all season. We are definitely in a hard core area. These folks were all dressed in their Canes gear with their radios on to listen to the commentary while watching the live game. I had better not make a false comment during the season - these guys may give me a run for my money.

I was glad to be able to enjoy a Canes victory. They beat the Canucks 3-1. Once again, they played one brilliant period, then made me question the rest. They came out swinging last night with 16 shots in the 1st (out of 31 for the total game). To his credit, the Canuck's goalie, Luongo, stood tall and rejected everything the Canes sent his way. His luck ran out in the 2nd period when Carolina finally scored on the power play.

When we went into the third period, I was nervous that the Canes would lose their lead as they had in the previous game. Luckily, my favorite Cane sent a gorgeous pass to the wide open Chad LaRose who was able to convert to the high side. It was an absolute beauty to see. While goalie Cam Ward played a great game, one finally slid by him with just under 7 minutes to spare. Again, my Cane came to the rescue in the final moments by stripping the puck from a poor slow Canuck and send it over to Ray " the Wizard" Whitley for the empty netter. A happy ending to a good game (there were even 3 major fights!).

I saw a great hockey game. My hubby went to car club and drank beer with Terry (Terry's wife was with me at the game - go figure, you would think it would have been the other way around). All was well in Raleigh last night.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Worst Part

The worst part of a vacation (for me at least) is the travelling. Our recent trip to Antigua was no exception.

On the trip down, we had to get up early in the morning to get to the airport for our 7:20 am departure time. We flew to Miami where we were supposed to have a 3 hour layover. The three hours turned to 4 when our flight crew was delayed by an international flight. We arrived in Puerto Rico with only a half hour to spare for our connection to Antigua. While that seems like a lot of time, the gate agents were calling for final boarding while we were trying to run through the terminal. But, alas, that flight was also delayed by a driving thunderstorm that closed the ramp. We finally left about a half hour late, and arrived in Antigua in the dark. Unfortunately, our bags were still in San Juan. They did not have time to make the connection. There were about 5 couples who were in the same situation. By the time we arrived at the resort and got checked in, it was about 8:30 pm. We were starved as our last meal was breakfast in Miami, so we hightailed it to the closest restaurant we could find (we had a delicious Caribbean meal and several drinks). Happily, our luggage did arrive at the resort at about 1:15 am the next morning.

So, was the return trip better? No, the return trip made the outbound trip look like a piece of cake. Our phone rang at 5:30 am to wake us for our last day in Antigua. We had a quick breakfast and were shuttled to the airport for the second flight of the day. We wound up arriving so early, that the agents moved us to the first flight. That turned out to be fine because we were able to travel with a celebrity. Actress/model Amber Valletta was on our flight. You may remember her from her role as Allegra in the movie Hitch. She had been in Antigua for a photo shoot. I am pleased to say she is just as lovely in person as she is on the big screen. We lost track of her in San Juan where we had a 3 hours layover before flying to JFK. We arrived in JFK at about 5 pm, ready for our 5 hours layover before our next flight. Luckily, there was a great bar/restaurant where we were able to hang, and it was next to a sterling silver store where I purchased 2 rings. Finally, at about 10 pm, we boarded the final leg of our trip. We were so excited to be on our way home until the pilot announced that we had about an hour wait to get to the runway. We fell into our beds at home at about 1:30 am. Yes, we both had to go to work the next day.

The best part of the return? I caught someone's cold on the flight to JFK. I was so sick, I was unable to go to work on Tuesday. I am feeling much better now, but still have a bit of congestion. The travel was definitely hellish, but I think the trip was still worth it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back from Antigua!

Bill and I spent a wonderful week in Antigua at the Sandals Resort. It was absolutely wonderful! It was simply one of the most relaxing vacations I have ever taken. Usually, we go on vacation and go, go, go! We sight see, shop, go on tours, see shows, etc. Not with this vacation. There was nothing to see other than the clear blue water, no place to go other than the bar. The weather was wonderful (if not a bit hot). We would sit out on the beach (under a shade) after our breakfast. We might go to lunch, or simply sip on a pina colada. We would head to the main pool in the afternoon to float around with more drinks from the swim up bar. We would go to the hot tub as the sun began to set. When dark arrived, we would head to our room to relax and watch TV until we felt like showering. We would then head to dinner at any of the 9 restaurants and listen to some live music afterward. It was everything a vacation should be. Not that we were bums the whole time - we did do some activity.

We did a day excursion around the island where we toured by SUV, then went ocean kayaking. We went out to a small island called Bird Island for lunch and snorkeling. Sandals also offered many different water sports. Bill tried wind surfing. We went snorkeling on another day to a reef that is beginning to come back to life after a hurricane. We also sailed on a Hobie cat catamaran. It turned out to be the most fun thing we did and we didn't try it until the last day!

The resort was all inclusive, so there was plenty of eating and drinking. We loved that you could just walk up to a bar, request a drink, and walk away. No check, no room key, no signature required. It was the same with the restaurants. You walked in, ate what you wanted, and left when you were ready - no waiting for the wait staff to bring the bill. If that wasn't enough, there was a bar in our room with a little refrigerator. It was restocked everyday with beer, soda, mixers, water, and fruit juice. Above the bar on a shelf were 5 bottles - vodka, gin, whisky, rum, and a red wine. Yours for the taking! (there was also white wine and champagne in the frig!)

I have to say, we really enjoyed ourselves. The staff was friendly and helpful, the grounds were beautiful, and the food and drink was quite tasty. I would recommend a trip to Sandals. As a matter of fact, we are thinking of going to their St. Lucia property soon!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Canes 10th Season Opening Night

Well, opening night didn't exactly go the way I had hoped. After the banner raising to celebrate the franchise's 10th year, there was a montage of great moments in their history. Absolutely no mention of last season, mind you. Of course, it was highly focused on the 2001-02 season when they won the Eastern Conference, and 2005-06 when they won The Stanley Cup. It's getting to be a little like Bush or Guiliani mentioning 9/11 in every political speech. Yes, we won The Cup. Yes, it was wonderful. But, it was over a year ago - let's focus on the now!

So, the Canes looked pretty good in the first period. They scored first on an Eric Cole deflection of an Eric Stahl shot, much to the delight on the pumped up crowd. Man, they had so many opportunities! I can't even count how many close calls there were in front of Montreal's net. The angels were definitely with the Habs last night. Montreal came back to tie it before the end of the first.

The second period was very slow - not much action to speak. The Canes had multiple 5 on 3 chances, but never did convert.

The Habs came out in the third and took the lead on a Koivu goal. The crowd booed. I hate negative crowd reactions. Cheer for your team, don't boo anyone!! Especially a guy who fought back from brain cancer and returned to the NHL. Luckily, the Canes got back on the ball in the last half of the third. They really did a good job forcing the net. Hedican had a beauty of a goal to tie the game once again. Overtime was looming.

I am not one for overtime. I like to finish the game in regulation. I never have a good feeling with OT. As soon as our player, Nick Wallin, took the cross charge penalty in OT, I knew it was over. Sure enough, the Habs scored within a few seconds. They crowd poured out, as defeated as the Canes.

Ward looked good in goal, and there were some sparks during the game. The Canes need to continue to work on the power play (old problem). I hope that this game is not indicative of things to come. We don't need another long season to nowhere.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bill is Drivin' Fast!

Bill had fun in Charlotte over the weekend driving race car at The Richard Petty Driving Experience. After instruction, he was able to drive a race car around Lowe's Motor Speedway for 8 laps following an instructor. The cars on this track top out at the low 140 mph - Bill got his #55 car to just over 139 mph. He was quite pleased. I think it was a great experience for us both. I had never been to the speedway - it is huge!! We were in the center of the track, and the cars left from pit road. It was a vantage that few people get to enjoy. Bill says that next time I need to do the ride along program where I can ride passenger with a professional driver. Those cars get to about 160 mph. We now have a list of all the different locations for the experience - we may have to road trip to another race track. I am so glad he enjoyed his birthday present!

Love this picture!

The actual caption: Sometimes when you are angry with someone, it helps to sit down and think about the problem.

My husband writes: that's AWESOME. A great use for a cat- a dog's butt pillow!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Queen City

Bill and I had a great time in the Queen City, Charlotte, this past weekend. It was part of Bill's birthday gift to go to The Richard Petty Driving School and spend a long weekend in Charlotte. Yes, Bill did go fast (more on that later).

We were totally taken aback by how beautiful and big Charlotte is. We drove down the streets and admired the gorgeous older homes on huge amounts of land. Goodness only knows how much those homes cost, but it was nice to look at all the great houses on the tree covered streets. There are some very ritzy areas of Charlotte, but also a nice mix of other, more relaxed neighborhoods. We were in an area that used to be textile mills that has now been renovated for shops, condos, and offices. It was another lovely area with a real homey feel.

Downtown was wonderful, too! The place was hopping on Saturday night with traffic at the many bars and restaurants. We were able to eat outside at a lovely Italian place called Luce in one of the tallest buildings, The Hearst Tower. We ate our brunch on the sidewalk outside of Harry and Jean's Passionate American Food (it was out of this world!) and watched all the folks walking around in their Buccaneers or Panthers jerseys.

All in all, we had a great weekend. We even got to visit the Charlotte Flying Saucer (twice) for a few beers. Great area, good shopping (of course we did some of that, too), wonderful food, tasty beer and high speed - what more could you ask for in a weekend!