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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Darren Rumble - My first Fave Senators Player

Lately, for some unknown reason, I've been thinking a lot about the Ottawa Senators.

I think the fact that they've been in the news a great deal with player signings and Community Announcements (100 Million, wow!!) has contributed to this.

I was more specifically thinking back to the early days and my first ever favourite Ottawa Senators player.

It was October 1992 and the current incarnation of the Ottawa Senators were on the verge of beginning their first ever season in the National Hockey League.

I was 19 years old and there was no doubt that I had found a new team to root for.  The Montreal Canadians remained my very close second favourite team for a year or two after this, but it didn't take too long for them to fall off significantly.

The Senators were holding their first ever Skills Competition and Fan Meet and Greet on October 6th...my 19th birthday.  I worked for Canadian Tire at the time and they were event sponsors, so I was able to get free tickets.  I brought my dad or he brought me since he drove.

I was excited to be there and was looking forward to lots of fun.  To be absolutely honest, I don't remember too much...but I DO remember how I came to choose my first favourite Ottawa Senators player.

Individual team members were being introduced one by one.  Depending on the day I either hear them in Dean Brown's voice or Gord Wilson's voice.  I couldn't even tell you if they were the ones there, but that's how I hear it..

At one point #34 came out and he tripped and fell.   Dean or Gord said "Rumble Takes a Tumble".  There you have it, I'd found my fave player.  #34, Darren Rumble.

I didn't know what he looked like or if he was even a good player, but I didn't care.  He won me over when he fell.  We later went down in the bowels of the Ottawa Civic Centre for the Meet and Greet event and I got Darren's autograph.  Now, if you know me, you know exactly what I told him...nothing.

He was a defenseman with the Senators for two seasons and I was probably his biggest fan during that time.

I had the opportunity to meet him on Labour Day in September 1993.  I was volunteering at the Muscular Dystrophy telethon and as I was minding my own business, who walks in?  Yep, Darren Rumble.  He went and sat at the front of the phone banks to take some calls.  The person who was supervising was told by my friend that Darren was my fave player.  Well, this awesome supervisor went and got me a Senators pennant and took me over to Darren to meet him and get the pennant signed.

I went, I got the signature, I was introduced to him, I'm not sure if I really said anything as I don't remember that part.

About an hour later, as he was leaving, he stopped at my phone and told me "I hope to see you at a game this season Julie" and then he left.

Yep - the rest of the day, I was on cloud nine.  OMG...he hoped to see me at a game.  Wow!!!

At some point, I wrote him a letter (back when we still wrote letters), to thank him for being so great to a fan.  I wish I had a copy of that letter because all I remember is that it was a LONG one.   A Novel really.  I have absolutely no clue what I wrote in it...but there were lots of words there.

I never got an answer but...

Maybe 2-3 months later, my friend and I went to a Sens game.  As we almost always did with the 67's at the time, we stayed after the game for autographs.  I think I was probably waiting for some of the other team's players because they were NHL players, therefore very important ;)  For me, it was never about the autograph or the picture, I just wanted to see them up close.

Darren came up the stairs.  I debated whether or not to get him to sign my program and decided to bite the bullet and do it.

I approached him very quietly and shy.  He looked up, smiled and said "Hi Julie, nice to see you again".  What?!?!?  Did he actually remember my name months later??  Yep, he did.  Not only that, he proceeded to tell me that he really appreciated the letter that I sent.  Wow...how impressed do you think I was that day?

I later went out to wait for my ride and someone drives by and honks the horn.  I looked over...and there's Darren with his wife and he waves at me as he leaves.

Honestly, I just couldn't believe the entire episode.  Unreal.

I was a fan of his from day one until he left the Senators.  I followed his career as best I could after that.  He played mostly in the AHL with a few stints with the Flyers, Blues and Lightning. 

I never did get a Rumble jersey, but I do have a Sens hat with his name on it and a game-used hockey stick that was given to me for my birthday.

I sometimes see a fan at Sens games wearing a #34 Rumble jersey.  I always smile when I see him as I reminisce about those two years.

These are definitely memories I'm not likely to ever forget. 

Til next time

Julie / @Flip_4

Monday, August 18, 2014

My love affair with books and a lost Kobo

I read...a lot.  I'm not exaggerating...I absolutely LOVE reading.

There was a time when I didn't want an e-reader.  I loved having actual books so much that e-readers felt like I was cheating on the books.  it just didn't seem right to me.  I certainly don't have a fear of technology so that's not the issue at all, I've just always loved  actual books.

Walking into Chapters or any other book store just puts me in my happy place.  So many books, so many stories, so many possibilities.  I've spent a pretty penny on books in my lifetime.

There's really nothing like reading a book.  Some people like the new car smell - I like the new book smell.  I love feeling the pages of the book, I like being able to SEE how far into the book I am.  It's satisfying to get to the end of the book and turn the last page.

I've read a ton ever since I was able to read.  I've always loved books and I couldn't even estimate how many books I've read in my life.  I used to borrow 10 books a week at the school library.  My grandparents also worked at the school so when everyone was gone, I'd sometimes stay in the library waiting for them and read.   I think I went through most of the books in that place.

I have a love affair with books.

A few years ago, my bestie bought me a Kobo e-reader.  I wasn't going to buy myself one but I was curious about them.

It took some getting used to - but I learned to love my e-reader.  The Kobo is...was amazing.    Don't get me wrong - I still love reading an actual physical book, but the Kobo is so convenient.  I had many books on it and it fit easily in my small purse.  I could bring it anywhere without it weighing me down.   

I would read 1 or two books on my e-reader, and then I would swich to actual books for a bit.  I'd go back and forth.  During the hockey season, it's easier to just have the e-reader with me to bring to hockey games (I get there early and spend some time reading). 

Unfortunately, this past weekend, it looks like I've lost my e-reader.  I couldn't find it when I arrived home from work.  I had read while at work so I naturally thought that's where my Kobo was...unfortunately, as I sit at work now, it's nowhere to be found.

This makes me sad and annoyed.  I was in the middle of reading a great book by Cynthia Wright and now I can't finish it.  How will I find out about the rest of the book??? ;)

You might say to go buy myself another one, but in my current financial situation, that's not a possibility.

I hope I'll be lucky enough to find it again - but after looking everywhere in the house and here, I'm not feeling too optimistic.

I do have a TON of books at home that I haven't yet read, so that's not the issue.  I'm just feeling al tiny bit lost without my e-reader.  Isn't it sad...just a little bit??

I've managed to read an entire book this weekend (V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton)  and I've started a french one my mom lent me.  The loss certainly wont' make me stop reading...not even close.  I just want my e-reader back!!!

Julie / @Flip_4

Monday, July 28, 2014

Volunteering!

Image: Kids Play Safe Facebook
I met Spencer and Lisa Warren through Twitter and Facebook a few years ago.  When I found out they organized several events over the course of the year for the "Plan-it-Safe" - Childhood Injury Prevention Program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), I decided it would be a good use of my time to help them out. I've been lucky enough to help out at the last 5 events held.

Their events are:
1) An annual CHEO Family BBQ at a local park with many activities for chiildren.
2) An annual Golf Tournament / Dinner / Auction
3) An annual Children's Gala / Dinner / Auction.  What makes the Gala really special though is the fact that it is FOR children.  Kids get dressed up like princes and princesses for the night.  There is entertainment and great food and CANDY!!! ;)

Over the past 1.5 years, I've volunteered at 2 BBQs, 2 Golf Tournaments and 1 Gala.  I plan on helping out at the next Gala on February 21st too.

The reason I'm writing this post is to say just how fun it is to volunteer for these events.  I've had a great time at each one and plan on helping out as long as they'll have me.

My first experience was at the BBQ in 2013.  The number of children that come to this event is insane.  There are lineups for all the activities and the kids all seem to have a fantastic time.  I was posted at the "Fish pond" the first year.  There's really not much to this game, but is it ever popular.  There were no breaks from the moment the event starts until the end.  It's so fun to watch children of all ages come by and try to catch a fish so they can get a prize.  So many of the little ones fall in the pool and there are lots of smiles all around.

My second time at the BBQ (this summer), I was stationed at the Fish Pond again and it was even more popular if that's even possible.  The day goes by so quickly.  I saw many of the same children and some friends as well come by and support the event.  How can you not have fun when surrounded by happy children?

The second event I helped out with was the Golf Tournament.  I am usually there from the beginning (set up) to the end (putting everything away). The first year was insanely hot and there was a Tornado warning during the day as well as thunder storms, but that didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm for the event.    Everyone came in from the storm dripping wet, but it was still a fantastic time.  Great food, great atmosphere, great fun all around. I was taking care of the silent auction items throughout the day so while the golfers were out, I was on my own.  Watching the storm watches on my phone and seeing the big dark clouds head our way, I was happy to be able to stay indoors.  Everyone was so generous despite probably being uncomfortable in their wet clothes.  Fun was had by all!!

This year was a little different...ok a LOT different.  I arrived to help set up and helped put things away at the end again, but everything in the middle was different.  The weather was PERFECT...at least for the volunteers out in the sun.  It was sunny, there was a nice breeze/wind at different times and it wasn't too hot.  It was perfect.  I was stationed at the "Beat the Pro" hole and got to see all the golfers throughout the day.  Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time.  The supper and auctions were also a great success.  So much generosity in this city.  I got home exhausted, but satisfied that I was able to help out.

The final event is the Children's Gala.  Now, there's a fun event to volunteer at and it's the only one in my end of the city!! ;)  I arrived early again to help set up (see a pattern here?) and was glad to stay late to help pick everything up too.

I was stationed at one of the silent auction tables (One of the Sports themed ones of course).  Other than foot pain from standing in one place all night, it was FANTASTIC!!.  As soon as the doors open and you start seeing the children file in all dressed up, it is AMAZING.  They are all so happy to be there.  There are a lot of activities in the two rooms reserved for the event.  There's also a CANDY BAR!!!  What do you think was the most popular area?  Yep, the Candy.  So many kids running around and having a blast.  It's so wonderful that they get to experience a real Gala just for them.   I'm not sure the parents are as ecstatic to have their children on a sugar high for the next few days - but it's all worth it :)


I have to say, volunteering is helping me too.  Other than the obvious fact that it makes me feel wonderful to be able to help out, it's also helped me come out of my shell a little bit.  I'm extremely shy and this is forcing me to maybe get over it a little.

If ever you're looking for something fun and great to do, volunteering a few hours of your time is extremely fulfilling.

I'm really looking forward to the February Gala - even though I will be missing a Senators Home Game (Possibly Chris Phillips' 1200th game :( )...but it's definitely worth it!! :)

'Til next time

Julie/@Flip_4

30 Day Ab Challenge temporarily derailed

For a little over a week now, I've suffered from almost daily headaches which were made worse when I was doing the Ab Challenge exercises.

Since I really don't like having intense headaches, I've decided to put off the completion of the Ab Challenge for a little while.  At least until I can do stuff like pick up a heavy bag without the shooting pain in my head...it has gotten much better over the past few days.

Rest assured, I will pick this Challenge back up soon.  I don't want to give up on it.  :)

'Til next time.

Julie / @Flip_4

Monday, July 14, 2014

Short update on the 30 Day Ab Challenge

We are 14 days in to the 30 Day Ab Challenge and I have to say, it's been very hard...harder than I thought it would be, but I've persevered through it.

I've actually had conversations, arguments even, with myself about getting up off the couch and getting the challenge over with for the day.  These arguments get pretty heated, but I've won them all...or have I??

I'm happy to say that I haven't yet missed a day and I plan on keeping it up.

Wish me luck!

'Til next time
Julie/@Flip_4


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Next challenge :)

Well...my last challenge worked out well.  I stopped biting my nails.  I never thought I would be able to since I did try many times in the past...but here we are weeks later and I've stopped.  When I got back from DIsney, I had some Disney Jamberry Wraps waiting for me and I decided to try them...see result below :)


The two previous challenges have also been pretty successful.  I haven't had Pepsi/Coke (dark colas) since early March.  I haven't had any Potato Chips in a couple months either.  I sometimes miss them, but the horrible cravings have all but disappeared!!

I think those challenges combined with the insane number of steps we were walking at Disney have helped me lose 10 lbs in the last 4 months.  I'm not doing these things to lose weight...but it's a nice side effect :)

Now for my next challenge.  This one will be a tough one.  Last month, a few friends of mine were doing the "30 Day Ab Challenge".  I decided to push it a month because of my Disney Trip and there was no way I'd be doing an Ab workout every day of my trip.

So here it is.  On July 1st, I will be starting the 30 Day Ab Challenge.  It looks EXTREMELY difficult, but I'll be trying anyway.  I'm sure I'll be needing some encouragement during this one...I'm good at convincing myself OUT of things...but I have to do this one.

*Fingers crossed* that this goes well.  I'll be taking measurements to see if there's any difference at the end of the challenge.  Granted - if I eat horribly during that time, it won't be helping me much, so I'll be starting the "My Fitness Pal" app again to try to keep my calories to a normal level.

I'll probably keep updates going on this more regularly.

Have a fabulous Canada Day Weekend y'all :)

'Til next time
Julie / @Flip_4


Friday, June 27, 2014

NHL Draft day

The day many hockey fans wait for to see who their favourite NHL team will choose to build their future on is here.

Yes, it is DRAFT DAY!!! 

The first round will be tonight on TV and the rest of the rounds will happen tomorrow.

I've watched many drafts over the years...MANY drafts.  There were two reasons for this.

1. I wanted to see who my favourite team at the time would pick.  Those teams were the Habs from 1986 to 1992 and the Sens ever since.

2. I was always interested to see where Ottawa 67's players would be picked.

There are many draft days that I remember.

1992: The Otttawa Senators' FIRST draft year where they picked Alexei Yashin at number 2.  It was also the year three Ottawa 67's players were picked in the first 2 rounds. Curtis Bowen (22), Grant Marshall (23) and Mike Peca (40).

1987: The year Ottawa 67s player Andrew Cassels (my fave 67's at the time) was drafted by the Habs (fave team at the time).  That was an exciting year

2008: Attending my first live draft and watching the Ottawa Senators pick Erik Karlsson.

2003 - 2009 - 2011: Three years the Senators went and drafted from their own backyard - from the Ottawa 67's. Will Colbert (228),  Corey Cowick (160) and Shane Prince (61)  I know I missed one...there's a reason - hold on to your horses.

There are others as well for various infamous reasons...but on to my favourite draft years....

 
1988:

The year I watched Martin Gélinas get drafted by the Los Angeles Kings 7th overall.  For those who haven't read previous blog posts, Martin was my fave NHLer for a very long time.  He was billeted by my aunt Fleurette when he played for the Hull Olympiques, and that's how I found out about him.  I saw a picture of him with my aunt in the newspaper and that was it - I started following his career instantly and didn't stop until he retired.  He was part of the famous Wayne Gretzky trade to Los Angeles back in August 1988.

I always hoped he'd get traded to Ottawa, but that unfortunately never happened. :(  My only Gelinas jersey is a Vancouver Canucks one.

For previous blog posts I've written...see:

      Martin Gélinas - My favourite Hockey player.
      The day I turned into a 12 year old girl!!

 
1996: 

The year my all-time fave Ottawa Senators player and all-time fave NHLer, Chris Phillips was drafted first overall.  I absolutely do remember watching that draft and thinking the Sens had made a great choice.  I didn't know that much about Chris at the time, but there was something that I liked about that 18 year old kid.   He quickly became my fave Ottawa Sens player.  I now have 4 jerseys with his name on the back (one of them is game-worn).  I can say that he and his wife Erin are truly amazing people.  Always so nice to talk to.  I've met Chris multiple times and he's always been great - even though I was probably making a fool of myself once or twice - or EVERY time :).

For more see: 

     Roller Coaster of Life
     One year ago today - meeting Chris Phillips
     Birthday weekend - Did that really happen?
     NHL Trade deadline day 2014


And finally...

2012:

The year the Ottawa Senators drafted Cody Ceci from the Ottawa 67's 15th overall..  I knew Cody was getting drafted that year and was hoping the Sens would take him.  I kept seeing pictures of him on the ice with Mike Fisher when he was a child.  The picture was taken during the Sens Skills Competition day.   It really was something exciting to watch happen when he was drafted.  It's an amazing thing to watch, really it is.

Now...you may be wondering why this was one of my absolute favourite draft years along with the above-mentioned two. Well, I know that Chris Phillips will be retiring sometime.  The guy can't play til he's 50 after all...so for years I've been trying to see who would be my next fave Ottawa Senators / NHL player.  I love all my Sens players...but there was no one that I felt could follow after Chris retires.

This past season, when Cody was called up for a game, I was lucky enough to have been given tickets to the 100 level in the Sens end.  As soon as Cody came on the ice, I just knew that I had found my next fave.  I can't tell you why or exactly how I knew, I just did.  My bestie commented on it during the game as I was paying attention to Cody every time he was on the ice and almost ignoring Chris (they were on the same pairing).  Ever since that day, Cody's been my second fave Sens player. :)

I already bought a jersey with his name on the back, the Heritage Classic one.  He autographed it that same night and I got to get my picture taken with him as well. (Thank you to his mom Karen for setting that up)  Looking forward to watching hm for many years to come.

Now, tonight I'll be watching the draft, not only to see who drafts who, but to see if the Senators will be trading away their captain Jason Spezza for a first round pick (and more I hope).  I don't want it to happen, but it's extremely possible that it does.

In any case, it's always fun to watch these 18 year olds get drafted and seeing the joy on their faces as they pull on the jersey of the team they're possibly going to be playing for in the future.

Til next time
Julie / @Flip_4