Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Season Ends

Last night, my good friend H and I went to the last game of the Carolina Hurricanes season. We had hoped it would not be the final game, but it was.

The Canes were swept, losing 4 games to none, by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Canes had pulled off some miraculous play in the post season, beating both New Jersey and Boston (both higher seeded teams) in seven games. I suppose there are only so many miracle to go around. The Canes never seemed to get it together in this round. The Penguins certainly found their stride and simply outplayed the Canes four games in a row. I wish them luck in The Stanley Cup Finals and really do hope they bring the win back to the Eastern Conference.

The thing I love the most about our team and our fans is that despite the fact that the game signified the end of the season, the fans gave the players a standing ovation for the final 1:30 minutes of the season. We were cheering equally as loud as we had in the beginning of the game. I think it is really nice to send the boys off to the summer vacation knowing we love them and we appreciate the ride, even if they didn't nab the Cup. I hope it gave them some solace in the face of defeat.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Liking the new gym

I am really enjoying our new gym.

This evening I went for a fitness consultation. It was an opportunity for me to ask questions about any of the fitness equipment available at the gym. We started off slow and I wondered if I had made a mistake with the appointment. I thought perhaps I would not get much out of it. I mentioned that I was particularly interested in working my core and my upper body. Once he heard this news, we were up and running.

He took me all over the gym floor to point out different pieces of equipment and different exercise I could do to reach my goals. We used rubber balls, mats, free weight, machines, medicine balls, and the floor. I love that I have new ideas and new exercises to try. I have always felt that I never know what to do in the gym, but I have no fears now. I have a good foundation of moves now, and it was all complementary.

I am looking forward to my nutrition evaluation next week. I also plan to take advantage of the free clinics held periodically. There are clinics to highlight upper body, lower body, abs, stretching, and many others. I really think this gym will work for me. I am feeling motivated already.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Heart is Intact

Yes, the Cardiac Canes struck again!! My team did win Game 7 last night (as they have won every game 7). They won it in spectacular fashion - in overtime. Scott Walker was the hero - the same man who nearly got suspended for throwing a big punch in game 5. I know the Boston fans must have been doubly upset. Me - I am happy as can be.

My Canes continue to play on. Beginning on Monday, they will start the Eastern Conference Championship round against Pittsburgh. Who knows what the Cardiac Canes will do next? I just hope they continue to win and to thrill the fans. I hope I get to be there to see at least one game.

Four teams remain - the Pittsburgh Penguins, The Detroit Red Wings, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Carolina Hurricanes. One will capture the Cup. It could be my team.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Canes: Don't Break my Heart

Well, the Carolina Hurricanes had done the unbelievable. They were leading the top team in the Eastern Conference 3 games to 1 in the second round of the playoffs. It was totally unexpected. Boston had swept Montreal in the first round, and had beaten Carolina all 4 times they met in the regular season. Now, the underdog had the upper hand.

That was last Friday. Now, the Canes have lost 2 games in a row. The series is now tied and Game 7 is tonight. I was at game 6. I paid my money, wore my lucky earrings, sat of the left side of my best hockey buddy, Heather, and they lost. There was a chance to put away the series at home, and they lost. It just looked to me like they had no fire, no urgency to win. Despite the 30+ shots on goal to Boston's 19, the Canes just looked tired. Tonight, they go back to Boston and now each team is desperate for the win. One team will play Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference Championship, and the other team will start summer vacation.

On Tuesday, my gut was 100% certain that the Canes would win at home. Now, my gut is 100% certain that the Canes will lose in Boston. The Carolina Hurricanes have never lost a Game 7 in franchise history. I am told that the Bruins have never won a Game 7.

My gut is usually wrong. Let's hope the streak continues tonight.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Iron Chef Grill Off

We were invited to a unique party this weekend - an Iron Chef Grill Off.

Our friends, C&T, have hosted this party in the past and it has become a successful annual event. It was the first year we have been invited. C even asked me if I would be a judge. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I said I would be willing to give it a try.

We showed up Saturday evening to their place. They have a magnificent home with a kick butt backyard. They have a screened in porch that leads out to a small deck. That small deck has stairs down to a large deck with a full bar, detached from the house but loaded up with outdoor speakers, a TV, lights, and, of course, all the liquor you can imagine . Further steps lead out to a nice yard. By the time we arrived, the chefs were working hard.

There were 4 chefs creating unique dishes using one key ingredient - strip steak. They could do whatever they wanted as log as it was grilled. There were four grills going, and sous chefs helping out as needed. The dished would be judged on presentation, creativity, taste, and dessert. I really thought there would be just one dish and a dessert, but I was oh so wrong.

The first chef handed us full menus for our meal. We were offered wine, then given a deviled egg appetizer. It was followed by sweet and spicy shrimp with stuffed mushrooms and grilled pineapple. There was a salad with a strawberry vinaigrette. The main course was kebabs (using the steak) with green beans ans potatoes. All of this followed a dessert of ice cream with caramel and bananas. It was tough to just eat one bite and pass it along to the non-judges, but there was still more food to come!

The second chef, thankfully, had less food. He made his strip steak inside phyllo dough and covered it with a mushroom sauce. There were sides as well, and a dessert of grilled peaches with ice cream. I really liked the phyllo dough, but it was not a hit with all of the judges.

The third chef prepared the whole meal by himself. He presented a tropical mixed grill featuring steak, shrimp, sausage, corn, grilled sweet potatoes and a fruit salsa. It was all really good. His dessert was peaches with a heavy cream and a blueberry reduction.

The final chef presented us with a limoncello cocktail before giving us a steak sandwich with crusty bread and a Gorgonzola cheese spread. It was accompanied with a pasta salad and dessert of a sweet biscuit covered with ice cream and peaches.

Everything was delicious. I was so glad that I tried a bite of everything, but I think there was more than enough food for everyone.

After careful deliberation, we came down to a tie between chef #3 and chef#4. In the end, the tropical grill won out, and chef 3 became a two time winner. I had a wonderful time, and mot even getting the finger from chef #1 dampened my evening.

I sure hope we are invited again next year, even though C told us that we could not be judged two years in a row.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Must Tri Harder

I did a silly thing. I signed up for a big triathlon in July. A long one. One longer than I have ever done, but then again, I have only done one.

My husband signed up for this tri a few months ago. He had done it last year, and was excited that they were moving it to a new venue this year. I know he will do well in it. I started to think that if I was going to go with him to watch the event, I might as well sign up for myself. So, I did. I did not think it through too clearly.

The reason I am really nervous about this one event is the distances. It starts with a 750 meter swim. I have done a 250 meter swim in the past. That swim was in a pool. This event will be in open water. The bike is 17.5 miles. I have gone 12 miles in a race. I rode a little over 12 miles last weekend, and it took me over an hour. The run is a 5K (3.1 miles). The kicker is that it must all be completed in 2 1/2 hours.

I am really worried about the time restrictions on this race. I think I will be really, really close. I'm not entirely sure I can finish in the time limit. That makes me extra nervous. I have never failed to finish a race, and I do not want to start now. I would be mortified if I was pulled off the course with a DNF.

Well, I guess I know what I will be doing for the next 2 months - training my butt off!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cardiac Canes are at it Again

Back in the '02 Stanley Cup run, the Caroline Hurricanes earned the nickname "Cardiac Canes" because of their many games that went to overtime and the many comebacks they earned. I think they are bringing it back for the 2008-09 season.

Last night, the Canes beat the Boston Bruins in overtime to take the series lead 2-1. It was a great overtime. It was very hard fought, and I thought for sure the Bruins were going to score at one point. However, our Canes took the victory with a great follow through from Jossi Jokinen (the hero of Game 4 in the New Jersey series). Jokinen is quickly establishing himself as the go-to guy for the playoff series. I am starting to really like the guy.

Game 4 is tomorrow night. I am trying to see if I can score some last minute tickets for 2 (let me know if you happen to know anything about tickets). I would love to be able to go to one game in each round. I can really see the possibility of another round.

LET'S GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My new ride

I have had my new Honda Element for 2 days now. I really, really, like it. It is fun to drive, but it is super comfortable. I love that it is so sporty, yet the interior feels very plush.

I have a full navigation system (I don't even know how to use is yet, but it's cool!), a removable cooler between the front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for the radio on it, a back up camera (it doesn't work so well in the rain - trust me), and the rear seats flip up out of the way for full doggie access. I like that the doors open 90 degrees with the rear door opening toward the back of the car. I like the clam shell rear door. It opens with a short tailgate that the pups can easily jump on to get in the truck. And, I absolutely adore the color!!! It is so vibrant, so warm, and so me!! I have even personalized it already. Bill gave me two chrome features for the truck - a Georgia Bulldawg mascot and a silhouette of a dog. I also bought myself a sticker that says Peace, Love, and Running.

I just want to so for a ride now!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Truck

We are picking up the new truck tonight. Watch for updates!