Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Small World - Kindred Spirits

On October 21st, Jim Keay Ford Lincoln, was hosting an autograph signing / food drive with 5 Ottawa Senators players.  The 5 players were Chris Phillips, Marc Methot, Matt Kassian, Kyle Turris and Craig Anderson.

As evidenced on many prior posts, I've met Chris Phillips multiple times.  I was going to the signing this day to get my heritage jersey signed by the other 4 guys.  Of course I had a couple of things for Chris to sign, but he wasn't the only reason I was going to one of these things.

I arrived fairly early and found myself 10-15th in line.  As I was waiting for a friend of mine to arrive so that we could keep each other company, a woman came in with her friend and son.  I told them where to put their food donation and at this point, she noticed my Chris Phillips jersey and told me that she was a HUGE fan of his herself.  Right then - I knew Lisa and I would be friends :)

She then realized where she'd seen me before.  She looked at me and told me "You had your birthday at Big Rig!!" Yep, through Facebook posts and various tweets and re-tweets, she somehow saw the pictures of me and my cake from two weeks ago.  I'm a celebrity now ;) LOL.

While waiting for the players to arrive, she and I with her son RJ and her friend Ginette just talked about many different things.  We realized that we had something else in common, we both worked for the CRA, although for different departments.  We talked a little about working there and then moved on to better conversation.  Hockey! ;)

We shared hockey/Phillips stories and talked about our mutual admiration for #4.  I showed the three of them my camera and the amazing pics I can get from my seats at the Sens game...and it's not even close to being a professional camera.

Me and the girls decided we wanted to take pictures with Chris and Marc since they were sitting next to one another.  I told them I'd take pics with my camera and share them on Facebook - so she added me as a friend immediately. It's not that I didn't want pictures with the other guys - I would have loved that, but I get very shy and embarrassed at these things and I'm more comfortable talking to Chris now so that was the only one I was going to get.  I'm slowly getting a little better with the whole "shy" thing, but you gotta give me a break here.

I believe her son RJ was probably just shaking his head that there was someone else as crazy as his mother.  Talking to them for 40 minutes while waiting for the signings to start was amazing.  I was so happy to make new friends and talking to strangers is not usually my forte as some of you have witnessed.

We finally went through and got our autographs....and despite my shyness, I was able to talk to all of them.  (Yay me)

I got the girls' pictures with Chris and Marc and when it was my turn, it was just a comedy of errors with the attempts.  I stood behind Chris and Marc forever while the girls were trying to figure out the camera.  We thought we had the pictures but when I looked at the camera - the pictures weren't there.  I was fine with it, but Lisa felt bad, even though it really wasn't a big deal. 

There was a small break in the line and we decided to give it another try.  Chris and Marc were really great and accommodating and I finally did get my picture.

Before Lisa left, I saw her phone and her case is purple.  I showed her my phone and the case is also purple.  Yes, another thing in common - our favourite colour is purple

I waited at Jim Keay for a bit while my other friend was going through with her children.  When they got to Chris I asked him for one of his player photos for me as I hadn't gotten one the first time through.  He said I was too busy earlier trying to figure out the camera.  Thanks Chris - but I know my camera.  :)

I'm really hoping to see Lisa again soon.  Hopefully Ginette and RJ can join us too.  Maybe we'll have to go to Big Rig for dinner and watch a game one night.

I'm so glad I went to Jim Keay last night - it was great meeting the players, but I made new friends and that's even better to me. 

Great night.

Til next time
Julie / @Flip_4

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Unpopular Opinion - Sens Fans

As a season ticket holder who goes to almost every game, there is one thing that bugs me about going to Sens games...actually, there's more than one - but the others don't happen unless the Leafs or Habs are in town. 

What does bother me, and this is a pretty unpopular opinion, is the Sens fans who complain about how bad the crowds are in Ottawa, how quiet etc...and then they go and start chanting "Leafs Suck" when the Leafs are NOT here.

You know what?  I understand the dislike - I really do cause I share in it.  What I don't understand is why??

I know some find it funny to yell out "Leaf sucks".  You know how it sounds though??  "We Suck".  I was actually asked by someone if that's what was being said - seeing as how the Sens weren't playing that well, maybe they thought the crowd had turned on the team.

First time I heard it - it was funny.  Maybe even the 2nd time, but when all chants with that beat started getting hijacked by "Leafs Suck" - it got pretty annoying and I really don't understand it.

It only serves to give people "proof" that Sens fans are obsessed with the Leafs.  I don't know about you, but I'm really not.  The only time I really care about how the Leafs play is when they play against the Sens...or when a Leaf fan friend bugs me ;)

Why don't you try this?  Instead of cheering against a team that isn't in the building, why not use the energy you have to cheer FOR the Sens and try to encourage them to play better.  How about chanting "Go Sens" instead.  I remember going to games before this all started and it was always chanting FOR our team.  When did that change?

We want great atmosphere in the building.  We want the fans to make noise like when the Sens make the playoffs...each person has to do their part for that.  I actually do cheer "Go Sens" when the other chant breaks out - I wish more people would do that.

Anyway - that's my opinion.  It might not be popular, but it's how I feel.

Use your energy at a hockey game to cheer for your team, encourage them, be that extra man they need on the ice.  Become fans that other teams will be jealous of. :)

Anyway - you might not agree with me - but what's important is that we're Sens fans :)

Til next game :)

Julie / @Flip_4

Monday, October 14, 2013

Birthday Wishes Results - Candlelighters

Not sure anyone was really waiting for the results from my Birthday Wishes for Charity 2013 campaign...but here they are. :)

This year, I chose Candlelighters as the charity I would be donating to.  I'm proud to be able to support such a great program in Ottawa.

I received 39 birthday wishes on Twitter and 73 on Facebook.  For those who aren't good in math, that's a total of 112 :).

On top of that, I also was able to raise 215 during my birthday party at Big Rig.  Still on a high from that night I must say :)  If you haven't read about it yet - find it here. :) \

So that's 112 from social media and 215 during my party for a total of $327.

I've decided that since there was an appearance by Chris Phillips at my party, I'll be rounding up the amount to $400.  :)  His number is 4 after all and I turned 40 so it kinda fits. 

I have to say, and this might sound corny, but giving on my birthday has truly become something I look forward to every year.  There is NOTHING better to make you forget about getting older.  Knowing you'll be helping out is very gratifying.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my two birthday celebrations over the weekend and everybody who wished me a Happy Birthday on social media.  Also, thank you to the morning hosts at Majic 100 for giving me such a fantastic shoutout.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many great friends and family members.  I love you all.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Birthday weekend - Sunday - Did that REALLY happen??? - Chris Phillips

Let me start this post by saying - OMG!!!  That was such a FANTASTIC night!!!!  SQUEEEEE!!!!

Ok, now that that's out of my system, let me describe the night - this might be a long post so beware ;)

Let's start from the beginning. (For part one of birthday weekend - go here)

I started thinking about having a party for my 40th about 6 months before my birthday.  I went in and spoke with Catherine at the Big Rig Brewery and we had started to discuss my 'event'.  I wanted to have a charity tie-in with my birthday.  I didn't expect anyone to bring me any gifts, but I was hoping they would want to give to a charity I would choose.

A few months went by and I almost cancelled my whole idea but I decided to downscale it instead.  I invited some friends and family, and made my reservations at Big Rig.  About 25 to 30 people were coming.  I decided on Candlelighters as the charity I would try to raise money for.  Candlelighters is one of the charities that my favorite Sens player, Chris Phillips and his wife Erin support.

The day of the event, I was pretty tired and for some reason, was apprehensive.  I was afraid the party would be a bust and no one would come...or something would happen that would make it a disaster.  I could not have been more wrong.

My friend, sister and I walked in to Big Rig 30 minutes before the party and got things set up.  There was going to be a draw for a GC and Beer.  I got everything ready with the staff at Big Rig and sat down and waited for the guests to arrive.

Everyone started to trickle in.  My friends Spencer and Lisa brought a cake that Lisa made for me.  They wouldn't let me see it before it was time.  I knew it would be a nice cake because I'd seen some of the ones Lisa had made in the past.  I couldn't wait to see it - but I had to.

Now, in the last post I said that I was a suspicious person by nature so it's hard to surprise me.  Someone managed to do that on Sunday.  Mr. Stuntman Stu - radio host and PA announcer extraordinaire.  He told me the week before that he couldn't make it - even going so far as to pretend he had never even seen the invite...and I fell for it.  Connie, never even replied to my invite.  They both showed up and brought along their children...and a gift that I couldn't open yet.  *sigh*

In these kinds of situations, I never know where to be.  I want to give everyone attention, but it's so hard to do.  You're going from table to table talking to everyone and feeling like you're talking to no one.  I did have a blast though.  My friend Dave took pictures for me.   Everyone seemed to enjoy the appetizers I ordered - with extra fried pickles of course and their meal.

They brought out a table and I was told to SIT and STAY. that I think of it, should I have been insulted?? ;)

Out came the cake and OMG!!!  It was the most amazing cake in the world.  Lisa did such a fantastic job.  It was a red Chris Phillips jersey with the Sens logo.  The most fantastic cake I've EVER had.  I can't do it justice with words so just enjoy the picture :)  THANK YOU Lisa!!!!!

Staff and people sitting at other tables came by to see the cake and take pictures.  Before I was allowed to cut it - I was given the gift that Stu brought with him.

We need a little background here.  For the past few years I've been bugging a few people, namely my best friend Charlie and Stu about getting me a red Chris Phillips jersey.  I was actually driving Charlie crazy with it.  Stu just told me that he'd give me the jersey when the Sens won the cup.

When I opened the gift, yes, there was a red Chris Phillips jersey.  Stu tells me the jersey comes from the Sens as I'm such a great fan.  I'm sure he talked me up some, but if anyone knows how big a Phillips fan I am, Stu does.  I put it on immediately and it's perfect.  Stu - THANK YOU for again being instrumental in something great happening to me :)

Now it was time to cut the cake - you have NO idea how hard it was for me to cut it up.   it broke my heart!!!   It tasted great though. 

Now, for the icing on the cake so to speak.  I was told by the manager that night, Peter, that Chris was on his way to pick up some food.  Peter knows how big a fan I am.

A few minutes later, I turn around and Chris is coming towards us from the front of the restaurant.  He came to see me, gave me a hug and wished me a happy birthday (go here and here to read about me meeting him)  I was so happy.  Seriously, a little kid in the candy store. He admired the cake even though it had already been cut.  He also gave his seal of approval on the jersey and authenticated the signature on the back.  I got some pictures taken and offered him some of the cake.

He couldn't stay long because he had to bring food to his family - they have to eat too I suppose :)

Once he left and everyone had a piece of cake, people started leaving.  I had such a great time and I am so grateful to everyone who had a hand in making this a perfect birthday..

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.  I was so glad everyone was there to celebrate my birthday with me, plus I have witnesses to the events of the night. :)

The final total for Candlelighters is $215.  I still have to count all my facebook and twitter birthday wishes in order to figure out what my personal donation is. I will give an update in a future post.

I don't think anything could ever top this weekend for me.  I've never felt so loved and appreciated by everyone...I'm humbled by some of the things I was told!!!

Thank you to everyone and especially Chris Phillips for coming by and making my day even better!!!

Not sure I'll ever come down from this high I'm on :)

Special thanks go out to my sisters Annie and Lyne, brother in law Todd and best friend Charlie for being part of both nights.  Thank you again Lisa for the fantastic cake, Stu for the jersey,  Marc for the treat and Diane for the decadent cookies.  Thank you Dave for taking such great pictures.  To the rest, Danielle (Sam), Connie (Isabella and Matteo), Spencer (Emily), Corrie, Stuart, Manon C, Manon S, Glen, Kristine, Dave, Tony, Randy, Ann and Donna; Thank you so much for taking part in this fantastic birthday.

I had such a great time and I might just have to do this again :)

Birthday weekend - Friday and, Saturday

I just turned 40 yesterday (Sunday, October 6th).  This past weekend has probably been the best weekend EVER!!!! ;)

Who knew turning 40 would be so fantastic!!!

Instead of writing an extra long post about the entire weekend - I will be dividing it in to two parts. (see part deux)

It all started on Friday morning when I asked for a song to be played on Majic 100 for my birthday.  Well, not only did they play my song (Girls just wanna have fun), but Stuntman Stu, also gave me a pretty fantastic shoutout!!!

I'd have it on here - but I haven't yet asked permission ;)

I was actually blushing while sitting at my desk and listening to them.  It was really great.  They made me feel like I was a great friend of theirs.  Thank you Stu, Angie, Trish and Dean.

I really did enjoy my song and was almost late to a meeting because I refused to leave before I heard the whole thing :)

That day, I started to get suspicious of my family.  I figured out that instead of my birthday fondue, they were going to be throwing me a 40th birthday party with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

It wasn't anything they did wrong though, I'm just a very suspicious person by nature so I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together....maybe I should have been a detective ;)

Well, I played along cause I didn't want to ruin the surprise early, but I did mention it to my co-workers during the day.

On Saturday, I went shopping with my best friend before heading to my sister's place for the rest of the day. 

Yes - all their cars were parked around my sister's house so really, I would have figured it out before anyway ;).

As I walked through the door, the first thing I saw was a ton of shoes in the entrance and then I walked in and my family was there and they yelled surprise.  It was really great.

I'm so lucky that they would all take the time to come out for me.  I really did appreciate seeing all of them there.  It wasn't all of them - but most of them were able to make it.

Gift cards and cash were the gift of choice.  This is good since I'm going to Disney World in April and I need to pay for the trip somehow :)

My favorite card though is pictured above.  My cousin Chantal had it made for me.  Can you guess why I love it so much??   On the inside is a sticker of Chris Phillips.  My family knows me so well...and so do others as you will learn in my next post.

My mother made the cake with my grandmother's icing on it.  It will always be my favorite icing.  I just wish my grandmother would have still been with us.

To end the night, we watched the Sens / Leafs game.  Even though the outcome wasn't what I would have liked it to be, I still had a fantastic time.

Thank you to my family and my friend Charlie for making my 'surprise' birthday party so much fun.

Little did I know that the next day would be so eventful. be continued in next post.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Birthday donation 2013 - October 6th

As some may know - for the past couple of years, I've been making a donation to a charity on my birthday.  I would count all the birthday wishes I would get on Twitter and Facebook and would then decide the amount of $$ depending on the number of wishes I got.

In 2010 it was a donation to buy some Lee DeWyze CDs for children stuck in the hospital over Christmas time.  It was a HIT!!!

In 2011, I made a donation for pancreatic cancer research.

In 2012 it was much more personal.  I made a donation towards prostate cancer research in honor of my father who had just been diagnosed with it.  I am happy to say that treatment has worked and he is doing well.

This year, I turn 40 on October 6th.  I decided to add a little  something different.

I will make a personal donation in my usual way - that is counting all my tweets and facebook birthday wishes and I will donate for every wish I get.  Also, if I get celebrity / semi-celebrity birthday tweets - I will also give a larger amount. ;)   AHEM Chris Phillips, Lee DeWyze and others :)

On top of that, I'm also having a small get together with friends for my birthday at Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery and I have asked the guests to bring a donation for Candlelighters.  They work to provide different support programs for families struck by childhood cancers.  This is such a FANTASTIC and IMPORTANT organization.  I know of families who have used their services and it's so appreciated.  Please visit their website for more information on what they do and all their different programs. 

I hope you all will help me break my bank account on October 6th. :)

Thank you for your support :)

Julie / @Flip_4

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery - My thoughts :)

For those who know me, the fact that my fave place to eat / hang out at is Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery is probably not a surprise at all.  There are many reasons for this - but let's be honest here for a second.

The fact that my favourite Ottawa Senators player, Chris Phillips, is part owner and the restaurant is also named after him did help at the beginning.

When I first heard that he was opening a restaurant, I was really looking forward to going.  I was going to go eat there whether it was good or bad just to support his project.

Of course - it turns out that it isn't bad at all.  It is actually great in my humble opinion.

I've been going to the restaurant fairly regularly since it opened on June 12th 2012.  I was there the first week and yes, there were a few hiccups, but  I have to say that every time I've been since the opening, the food and service have only gotten better and better.

I like to make an appearance during the hockey season to watch hockey games or to eat before a Sens hockey game.  The decor, especially on the bar side of the establishment is very much geared towards the Sens - specifically, Chris Phillips.  My faves are a framed #4 Sens jersey, with the name Big Rig on the back, and a print of a painting Chris received for his 1000th game in February 2012.

I've also been known to head there after work to pick up some food to take home.  I've brought many friends and family to experience Big Rig and they've mostly left impressed and quite a few have become regulars themselves.  You can't please everyone, but it seems like the management at Big Rig tries and I absolutely love that.

They aren't just a restaurant, they also have an in-house brewery where their brewmaster Lon Laddell  makes, what I'm told are pretty amazing beers.  I can't say that I've tasted any of them since I'm allergic to alcohol, but I've heard so many great things from my beer drinking friends.

They brew their regular types of beer and also make some seasonal ones.  See their brewery site for more details and a list of beers -  Brewery Site

The brewery is visible from the restaurant and one day I'd like to take a tour.  I wish I could say more about this part of the restaurant, but my experience is extremely limited. 

Now for what I do know, the restaurant.  I am a pretty picky eater, but the food has won me over.  I tend to stick with what I know - but I am able to have more than just one or two items from the menu.  The portions are large (there is no chance you will leave still hungry).

I am absolutely addicted to their deep fried pickles.  Sounds odd, but TRUST me, you must have some.  I've converted many people. ;)  I also really love their spicy maple chicken wings.  Just the right amount of seasonings.  I've recently had the pleasure of tasting some fantastic ribs at their 1 year anniversary and I have to say - some of the best ribs I've ever had.  I only wish they were available on the daily menu as I'd have that every single time I go - with a side of fried pickles of course. ;)

Other than that, they have a very varied menu and you can find something for everyone.  Their pizza is extremely popular as is their smoked meat sandwich.  Try one or both, you won't regret it.

If you sign up to their birthday club and go on your birthday month with 5 friends, you will get to enjoy a free birthday cookie as well as other perks.  Do not miss out on this warm ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie.  It is SINFUL and the size of a dinner plate!!!  I've ordered it for dessert just so I can have leftovers to eat at home the next couple of's THAT good.

On to the staff.  It really shows that effort has been put in to finding just the right people for the various jobs.  I have not yet had any issues with anyone.  You walk into the restaurant and are greeted but an always smiling employee who will remember you if you've been there before (I might have a problem ;)).  There is someone working the takeout counter / store, where you can buy some Big Rig merchandise - again, they will remember you and your regular order if you go often enough - or maybe it's just me (Again, I have a problem ;)).  Once you're seated, your server will take your drink order and a few minutes later, someone else will be dropping it off to your table.  I've always had servers that are courteous and extremely helpful.  I've only had limited experience with the bar staff, but from what I can see, there are no complaints in that area either.

You will also notice that upper management is very visible and they will do whatever they can to help out and address any concerns. If you're lucky, you might be able to meet some of the partners and maybe even Chris Phillips himself.  Yes, I have seen him there a few times.  You might even see some Ottawa Senators players as well as local celebrities and they're always so nice.

I've had the pleasure of meeting a good number of the partners/managers and they are all fantastic and willing to go the extra mile.

They are also very visible on social media and that's very important now.  They haven't shied away from Twitter or Facebook and take advantage of both platforms.  I've found out about lots of events and specials just from following them and you can sometimes get some perks from this.

Follow them on Twitter
and like their page on Facebook - Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery

They have a fan for life in me - now if only they could open a location in the East end of the city ;)

Go experience it yourself and let me know how you like it.

See you next time
Julie / @Flip_4

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Walt Disney World - LOVE!!

Walt Disney World.  Those words make me so happy!!  I've been there three times already and I'm going back in April to celebrate my 40th bday with my bestie.  :)  It's going to be so much fun.

The first time I went, I was 16 or 17.  It was with my sisters, parents as well as my aunt, uncle, cousin and grandmother.  It was a fantastic time.  I just remember being in awe of actually being AT Disney World.  My grandmother went on most of the rides with us...SO. MUCH. FUN!! :)

The second time I went was pretty much an unplanned trip.  My friend and I went to watch the July NASCAR race in Daytona and decided to go and join up with friends of hers at Disney World for a few days.  It had changed so much in the 18 ish years I'd last been.  More parks and more fun.  I walked through the gates and was instantly turned into a child again.  Wanted to stay longer... :)

The third time I went, it was April 2012.  My entire family and I went and stayed on the Disney World grounds for 8 days.  It was AMAZING.  Seeing everything through the eyes of a 6 and 4 year old, made me wish I was their age again.  We were 9 people.  6 adults and 3 children (6, 4 and 9 months old).

There was lots of time spent in line waiting to meet various characters as well as going to character meals...which I must say are FANTASTIC for kids.  Those actors are great.  If you ever get the it.  You won't regret it.  The trip was probably the best family trip I've ever been on.   Not sure how it will ever be topped :).

If ever you want hints on going there with small children, we learned so much.

This time though, it will be just 2 adults being able to do whatever we want.  I can't wait.  Pretty sure we won't be doing any autograph seeking Hehehe.

We started planning the trip on Sunday and reading my Disney books just makes me wish April was here already.

We will likely go to Universal Studios and one of the Disney water parks also.

I'd like to know from all of you readers...if you've been there;  What's you favorite part of Disney World or Universal Studios.  What do you consider MUSTS as far as rides, shows or experiences surrounding those parks.

If you haven't been, WHY NOT???  ;)  What are you most looking forward to doing there if you ever plan on going?

Til next time
Julie / @Flip_4

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shyness - Working on overcoming it.

I am shy...painfully so actually.  This statement surprises absolutely no one who knows me.

I've been shy my entire life.  I don't like doing presentations in front of people - even though I need to sometimes in my job.  I start panicking and turn into a babbling fool.

Meeting new people is a horrible experience for me as well where I seem to leave my brain anywhere but where it should be.  I become quiet and can't think of anything intelligent to say.  To top it off, I'm allergic to alcohol so I can't even use that to help me be able to have a little more confidence

I don't do anything that's out of my comfort zone for fear of doing something that would make me look stupid.  I am hard on myself and looking stupid is almost like the end of the world for me.

Seriously, this has been terrible during my entire life.  I was a child and was afraid of going to a friend's house and knock on their door.  I wouldn't go anywhere alone because what if I needed to talk to a stranger?

I did get a job in customer service at Canadian Tire when I was 16.  For some reason, I was ok with dealing with strangers at the cash, probably because I felt like I was the one in control however wrong that may be.

In the past couple of years, I've been thrown into situations I would normally avoid.  I've been interviewed on the jumbotron at a Sens Game.  I've participated (albeit not willingly) in a promotion for Golden Palace Egg Rolls, again at Sens games.  I've called in to a radio to play a game and ask my favorite NKOTB member a question.  I've met my favorite NHL hockey player and actually didn't run away.  I've been to various Ottawa twitter events on my own. In the past couple of months,  I've driven places I'd never been to in order to volunteer for a BBQ charity event and at a charity golf tournament.  I've met many new people and guess what, I made it through relatively unscathed.

All these things may sound small to anyone else, but for me, they're a victory. 

Not sure exactly what happened, but I'm glad I'm slowly taking some chances.  I'm not expecting things to change overnight (considering some of the above things happened over 2 years ago), but I'm glad my comfort zone has expanded if ever so slightly.

I'd like to thank everyone that has a hand in helping me with this.  Family and friends have tried for years and I'm finally understanding that even if I do look silly, it's really not the end of the world.

Two people have been a big part of helping me with this problem recently and I wanted to single them out.

I'd like to thank the Ottawa Senators PA Announcer/radio host for helping me along a little...even though he probably doesn't realize it.  Stuntman Stu as he's known around Ottawa has been part of many of the above examples where I was drop kicked into the middle of a situation totally out of character for me. (radio and Ottawa Senators related) Instead of running away like I usually would, I stuck around for it.  There's no real reason for it, other than no matter how much of a fool I might look - I know he's probably done worse...way worse ;)

Also, my friend Spencer or @charityforcheo on twitter has also managed to get me to go to events and drive there on my own even though I didn't know where I was going.  It was for charity, but for the 38 previous years of my life, I'd never done anything like that.  Only this year I managed to get off my a$$ and do something different.  Thank you Spencer and keep up the great work you do for @KidsPlaySafe.  You're amazing!!!  :)

To everyone else that has any part in helping me become a new me - thank you. I appreciate your patience with me.  You are all great.  I'm hoping that I haven't stalled and will keep going with the progress.

It's possible - difficult, but possible :)

Julie / @Flip_4

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The "Alfie situation"

It's now been a few days since Alfie has signed with the Detroit Red Wings for this upcoming season.  The shock has worn off for me and I'm ready to move on to next season and cheer for the Ottawa Senators.  I've read many blogs/comments/twitter posts about it in the last 4-5 days and see hate for both sides in this situation.

Here is my opinion, whether you like it or not.

Unless you were in the room with Bryan Murray and Alfie's agent, or unless you are a family member or close friend of Alfie's, you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED!!!!

I understand that in situations like this, people feel the need to blame someone for what happened.  It's easy to point a finger at the Sens for "low-balling" Alfie, or to blame Alfie for taking his ball home and leaving after being insulted.  Honestly though...does anyone really know what happened to make Alfie decide to go play somewhere else?

Can you really blame the Sens?  Can you really blame Alfie?

Unless you can give me solid facts for what happened between the end of the Sens playoff run and Alfie signing with the Red Wings, I refuse to blame anyone.

I'm not going to cancel my season tickets because I think the Sens mishandled the situation, because I don't know that they did.  They went in to a negotiation expecting to get a deal done and they were blindsided.

I'm not going to burn or throw out my Alfie jersey because I think he made the wrong decision.  The decision was his to make and he had every right to make it.  Just because you work for a company for 20 years and they treat you like a king, doesn't mean you're obligated to retire with that company.  You make the choice you feel is right for you and will make you happy.  You're not in Alfie's mind, you don't know what he's thinking.

Sure, I'm not happy with the way it all happened and I was as shocked as anyone else in Ottawa when the announcement was made.  I actually refused to believe it until it was officially announced and even still hoped it wasn't true until I heard the interviews.  I was sad, shocked and disbelieving of the whole situation.

I'm really not sure how I will react to seeing him in a Red Wings jersey next season, or how I'll react in his first game in Ottawa against the Sens.  I do know that I want the Sens to beat the Wings every single time they play them next season AND I want the Sens to beat them in the playoffs.  I want Alfie to be proven wrong.

I hope this year's team takes this as a challenge from Alfie to the Sens.  He doesn't think we're good enough, let's show him that we have just as good of a chance as Detroit to win the Cup.

It's now up to the veterans on this team to fill up the hole left by Alfie in the leadership department.  Phillips, Spazza, Neil and everyone else need to step it up.

I'm excited at the upcoming season and I can't wait to see what the team will be able to do.

In the meantime, I'll fondly remember the good times with Alfie in this city and wish him well in his career...just never against the Sens.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13, 2012 - Sad day in my life

I was sitting at home, late evening, on my computer, going through pictures of Chris Phillips' 1000th game and the celebration when I got a phone call from my sister.

She told me my grandmother, dad's mom, was taken to the hospital and my dad was going to meet her.  My mom was waiting for my aunt and uncle to pick her up to take her to the hospital too.  I think I knew at that time it wasn't going to turn out well.

I went to my sister's house to wait for news with her.  I really didn't want to be alone and being with family is the best thing at times like this.

It really didn't take too long, an hour maybe, and my mom called us to tell us the bad news.  My grandmother had died.

I swear, everything just stopped in that instant.  I'd never lost someone close to me before and didn't know how to react, feel, what to do.

I stayed with my sister for a little while, not sure if we even spoke. She wondered how to tell her daughters that they'd never see grand-mère again.

I eventually went home and just thought of my grandmother and everything she meant to me and how much I was going to miss her.

The next few days were pretty much a blur.  Spent lots of time with family at home, the funeral home and church.  It was all so surreal.   I thank everyone that offered us support during those difficult days.  If I never told you, thank you.

Now a year later, I still can't grasp that it happened and just how quickly.  I'd seen her not long before and she seemed fine to me.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  She asked me when I was going to find someone and get married.  She wanted me to be happy.  I told her that I was happy being single and on my own.  It brings a smile to my face when I think back on that conversattion.

I talk to her sometimes and I know she's watching over us.  I'm sure she was silently supporting my dad during his recent battle with prostate cancer.  I wish my nieces and nephew would have had more time with her.  I have so many great memories of her.  She showed me to make "Pudding Chomeur" when I was younger and I made it this year thinking of her.

I will never forget all the good times I had with her.  All the clothes she made us, the quilts, the slippers, etc.  I still have a lot of those things at home and they have even more meaning now.

They say (who's "they" anyway) that the first year is the hardest.  I do believe that, but I'm not sure how it can really truly get "easier".

I know she joined my grandfather after many years without him and they're both looking out over the family.  Two wonderful Angels!

Je t'aimes grand-maman!!! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One year ago today - Meeting Chris Phillips

One year ago today, February 10th, I had the opportunity to meet my favorite hockey player.  Chris Phillips.

I've been a fan of Chris' since he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1996.

During his first season with the Senators in 1997-1998, he became one of my favorites along withWade Redden.  Within his first 2 season, he surpassed Wade as my favorite Ottawa Senator player and quickly eclipsed Martin Gélinas as my all time favorite NHLer.  For those who know me, that's pretty big!

Over the years, I've been able to have him sign 2 jerseys that I have bought with his name on the back.  The first time, he was surprised that I had his name on the jersey and the next time, he thanked me for it.  You'd think that I would have actually talked to him during one of those two times, but you'd be terribly wrong.

I'm an insanely shy person and have trouble articulating any kind of thought under normal circumstances, then throw in the fact that he's my fave and that just makes me unable to formulate a complete sentence.  Heck, I probably could barely say hi.

I've had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting and talking to his wife Erin on multiple occasions prior to my meeting Chris and she's always been very warm and gracious towards her husband's crazy fan.  She'd help me buy some of the charity autographed items (trying to find Chris' for me).  She's never made me feel uncomfortable.

On this day last year, it was the unveiling of a timeline in the 100 level concourse of ScotiaBank Place of Chris' 1000 game career with the Ottawa Senators.  He'd played his 1000th game the night before.  How did I get myself invited to this event?  It's all thanks to the Senators' PA Announcer, Stuntman Stu.

I'd been emailing/tweeting Stuntman Stu for years while he hosted various radio shows in Ottawa.  I'd also had the opportunity to meet him before several Ottawa Senators games as I'm a season ticket holder.  On the day following Chris' 1000th game, I wrote Stu an email telling him just how happy I was for Chris and how proud I was to be a fan.  Chris scored 2 goals on the previous night.

I wish I still had this email because I'd like to see what I wrote.  I'm sure it was gushing and unbecoming of a 38 year old, but who really cares.  Something in the email made him send it to Cyril Leeder, President of the Ottawa Senators and that is how I got the invite.

I hurried out of work and went to print out a picture I took the night before to get it autographed.  I met Stu at the arena and off we went to the unveiling.

Erin was first to come over and say hi and she was followed by Chris.  Stu introduced me and to be honest, at this point, I'm sure I said NOTHING!!!  Yes, that's right...nothing.  My brain froze and I must have looked like an idiot really.  Chris was so nice and signed my picture and then Stu took my camera to take a picture of us.

I might have managed to say hi and thank you, but I'm pretty sure that was all I said.  Despite that, it was a great experience and to be part of an event like that was amazing.

I made up for it a little bit a couple weeks later at an autograph signing where I forced myself to say more.  What exactly I said then?  I'm not really sure, but it was full of babbling, especially after he actually recognized me and said my name.   

He now recognizes me and says hi when he sees me, mostly at his restaurant Big Rig.  I'll never forget this day.  It was so much fun.

Thank you to Erin and Chris for being such great people!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NHL Hockey 2013!!!

I wanted to wait a couple of days before I wrote this post because I wasn’t sure how I’d truly feel, but now that the season has started…


I’m so happy about it.   I watched the Sens game on Saturday vs Winnipeg and went to their home opener on Monday!  I wore my Chris Phillips jersey to work as I always do on home game nights.  There were some negative comments, but mostly they were positive!!

When I walked into ScotiaBank Place that night, even before the gates opened, it was like coming back home.

That might sound odd but I’ve had season tickets for 12+ years now and spend a lot of time at the rink, but, other than a concert a few months ago and a Season seat holder event last week, I hadn’t been in the building since April.  

I got my ticket scanned by the same person who’s been doing it for years.  The same people were standing at the gate selling the 50/50 tickets.  I loved it!

I walked around the lower concourse a few times and absorbed the atmosphere.  There was excitement all around.  I saw Cyril Leeder and he looked really happy to have the season start again.  I also saw and spoke to our PA announcer, Stuntman Stu.   It was all just very familiar.

I went up to the upper concourse where my seats are located and saw some other familiar faces.  The same people were working in the concession stand behind my section when I went to buy my food.  They were happy to be there. 

I walked through the tunnel to go to my section and felt the same excitement I always have on season opening night.  When I got to the end and saw the ice and the HD scoreboard, it struck me just how much I had missed it and was looking forward to this day

I walked up to my seats where some of the “old guard” were already sitting.  All season ticket holders I’ve gotten to know in the past few years, but hadn’t seen in months.  It was a family reunion of sorts.  Contrary to what people believed, they were all excited about the game and upcoming season.

The anticipation grew as the time to puck drop got closer.  I looked around and saw the crowd getting larger and larger.  There were so many fans, just happy to be back; so many children looking forward to seeing their idols again.

The HD scoreboard had multiple montages showing highlights of the past seasons which served to make us even more excited than we already were.  Then it started….

Stuntman Stu started announcing our 2012-2013 Ottawa Senators team one player at a time.  The biggest cheers and ovation of course reserved for our captain, Daniel Alfredsson.  I got chills I tell you.  I cheered extra loud for Phillips, as I always do.

There was a ceremonial puck drop featuring our Owner, Eugene Melnyk and a double lung transplant recipient, Hélène Campbell.  She is such an inspiration to many out there. 

We were then treated to Lyndon Slewidge singing the American and Canadian national anthems.  Sens fans know who he is.  Again, I got chills.  On a side note, I did not recognize him without his hat.

Then the moment we were all waiting for, the actual puck drop and start of the game.

It certainly didn’t take long for the crowd to get into the game.  They were cheering for the saves and the goals.  They jeered ex-Sens players on the Panthers team and they complained about Jason Spezza…one part I had almost forgotten about.  For the record, I’m not one of those complainers, I happen to love Jason.

The music was great and Stuntman Stu was on his game, not showing any rust after an 8 month break from PA announcing.

All in all, I left the arena after the game and couldn’t have been happier.  It does help that the Sens won, but the whole experience was fantastic.

I guess no matter how mad I was at the situation, I still love hockey and the Ottawa Senators and I don’t really think that will ever change.

Now on to a packed season!!!