Tag Archives: baseball

I Was a Gretzky Groupie…Happy 50th, Wayne!

As a girl growing up with a younger brother in Southern Ontario (and two young male friends that lived nearby who we played with), I definitely wasn’t a “girly-girl.”  I rode bikes, played cops and robbers, rolled oil barrels across the back yard with my feet, kicked a soccer ball around, threw (and caught) baseballs, and played floor hockey.  I also had a pretty respectable collection of hockey cards, which I would “pitch” at school to win more.  My favourite hockey players when I was a kid were Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson (because they were “cute”…maybe I was a little bit girly)…my team was the Boston Bruins!  My brother was a Montreal Canadians fan (poor, misguided soul).  I would have played league hockey if I’d been able to skate and my parents could have afforded the equipment!

By the time I was a teenager, my love of hockey had cooled somewhat.  But then Wayne Gretzky came along!  Before he owned the Los Angeles Kings, he was part owner of the Belleville Bulls, our local Junior B hockey team.  And we just happened to live right across the road from the other co-owner!  Of course, Wayne would come over to socialize with his business partner, and I would be happy to get any glimpse I could of my teenage crush (even if it required binoculars to see down the incredibly long driveway…can you say stalker?)!  He was six months older than I was…I planned to marry him!

The eighteen-year-old me...probably daydreaming about Wayne...

One day, I found out that Wayne would be signing autographs at the Quinte Sports Centre, the arena where the Bulls played.  I borrowed my mom’s Pentax camera which was equipped with a zoom lens (she was a professional photographer) and got her to drive me into town.  I took my place in the long lineup, rehearsing what I would say to my future husband as I shot picture after picture of him.

"Man, it's hot in here..."

Finally, there were only two people between me and my skate boy…that’s when his handler announced to the unfortunate people still in the lineup that there wouldn’t be any more autographs signed that day.

"Really? I have to go now? There's still a lot of really cute girls in this line!"

It took me a while to get over Wayne…five years later, I married a radio guy who was an excellent golfer but didn’t play hockey!  Fifteen years after that, my husband and I were separated, but by then, Wayne had married that Janet girl…wonder what he saw in her? 

Happy 50th, Wayne!

*Sorry for the photo quality…these are pictures of pictures!

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Filed under memories, satire, self-discovery

I’m a Little Bit ADD, I’m a Little Bit Rock and Roll (With Apologies to the Osmonds)…

Fasten your seatbelts, readers…it’s going to be a bumpy ride…I’ll be going through topics faster than my kids can make ice cream disappear.  You’ll laugh; you’ll groan; you’ll salivate; you’ll wish you were having dinner at my house!

1.  Best. Candy. Ever.  Utah didn’t just give us the Osmond family…they also have the Sweet Candy Company which makes the best candy ever: Raspberry Sticks, which are described on the package as “raspberry jelly centers dipped in luscious milk chocolate” (this is NOT a lie!).  I discovered these bits of deliciousness at our local Co-Op when they were marked down after Christmas last week…I bought three boxes…unfortunately, they were gone when I went back for more last night!

Sweet's Raspberry Sticks...

2. Did You Miss a Post?  It seems that my blog host may have been having issues last week…just wondering if everyone who subscribes got notice of my Friday post on the Bay of Fundy…it was a “rerun” from the early days.  I wasn’t the only one having problems: my friend Renée at Life in the Boomer Lane moved her blog to a different host, and her subscribers aren’t getting their notifications (if you’re a fan of Renée’s, the link in my “She Said” blogroll still works!).  Poor Todd at Todd Pack’s Messy Desk put up a post on Thursday that got far fewer comments than usual…he thought the post was bad, but I tried to access it twice, and got the message “Post Not Found” both times!  He ended up taking it down.

3. Cooking Up a Storm.  Jim cooked twice last week, making a turkey dinner with dressing, mashed pototoes, and vegetables last Sunday (and Grammie Clark’s cheesecake for dessert!), and a lovely seafood chowder on Wednesday (with homemade biscuits!).  This past Sunday, I used frozen tomatoes from our garden to make some more pizza sauce (took several hours to cook them down), and made a deep dish pizza (which I forgot to photograph before people dove into it!).  For dessert, we had sour cream chocolate cake.

Homemade Pizza Sauce...I wish you had "Smellovision"...yum!

Leftover Pizza...I cooked the dough a little too long, but it tasted good!

 

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake...sinfully delicious!

4. Mr. James to the Rescue (Again).  When I came downstairs Sunday morning, Dad informed me that Jake was “having trouble” again.  He’d obviously gotten into something he shouldn’t have, and was pooping everywhere (Jake, not my dad!).  Consequently, the fuzzy white hair on his rear end wasn’t so white any more (still Jake).  After giving the dog a bath, I called our resident hairdresser and dog groomer, Jim (aka “Mr. James”) downstairs to do a quick trim on our schoodle’s bum.  I love that man!  We decided it would be best to sterilize the scissors with a little bleach before putting them in the dishwasher…

5. Valentine’s Day.  I’m finally taking down the Christmas books display at the bookstore and replacing it with a Valentine’s Day-themed selection.  Books with the word “love” in the title will be 10% off for the next little while…

Lover's Secrets...10% off...any takers?

6. Crossing Guards With Magical Powers.  As Jim and I were watching our usual Wednesday night comedies on ABC, a commercial that featured a crossing guard caught my cynical eye: she stops the kids in the middle of traffic to take a decongestant (?!!).  Jim helpfully pointed out that she had also stopped the traffic: “She’s an omnipotent crossing guard!” he declared.  I thought The Omnipotent Crossing Guard would make a great blog title.

7. Off the Map.  Speaking of ABC, I’m loving the new drama by the creators of Grey’s Anatomy, Off The Map.  It’s got interesting plotlines and characterization, cool guest stars (Michael McKean and Cheech Marin, so far), and a leading man from New Zealand named Martin Henderson, whose pecs are as sexy as his accent (don’t worry, guys…there are beautiful women on it too)!

Martin Henderson as Dr. Ben Keeton...hot in the jungle...

8. Just Call Me ‘Ms. Technical’.  Yesterday, Dad’s monitor started flickering for no apparent reason.  I got on the phone with Jim (the computer tech), who advised me to try my monitor to see if if would work.  After unhooking Dad’s heavy old-style monitor and hauling it down off the desk out of the way, I carried my slim-line monitor over from my office across the hall, only to find that it didn’t have the right connector to plug into Dad’s computer.  I carried my monitor back, and hooked it back up again.  I only swore a little bit.  Then I went into the back room and pulled out the old (massive) monitor to try it.  I connected it to Dad’s computer (right connection, but no picture…hurrah!).  Still flickering though, from what I could see.  Unhooking it again, I was getting ready to put it away when Dad insisted on carrying it for me (have you ever been offered help when you didn’t really want it?…sigh).  After reconnecting the regular monitor, the problem persisted, and I did a Google search, which suggested that if it wasn’t the monitor, it was likely the video card.   I called Jim again, who said he would look at it in the morning.  After we got home, I floated my “video card theory” for Jim, and was shot down.  Fast forward to this morning:  I turned on Dad’s computer and the monitor was fine.  I forgot the standard advice offered every week by the technicians on The IT Crowd: “Have you tried turning it on and off?” 

9. I’m the Last One Picked for Wii Games Too.  The kids conned me into playing Wii with them the other night.  I totally suck at baseball and tennis…at least I started to get the hang of bowling halfway through!  Damn that hand-eye coordination…I wonder if they have word games for Wii?

10. Classic Albums Live: The Who

Where?  The Imperial Theatre. 

When?  Saturday night. 

What?  An amazing group of musicians recreating the “Who’s Next?” album. 

Why?  I bought Jim tickets for Christmas, and we desperately needed a Date Night!

How?  Very skillfully!  This was our second Classic Albums Live show (we saw the Supertramp: Crime of the Century show last year and it was equally great!).  The band did an excellent job recreating the album note-for-note, and this folkie girl was instantly transported back 35 years to her “headbanger period” (age 15-16).  All the musicians and singers were very talented, and the drummer was awesome! 

If you have a chance to see a Classic Albums Live show, I’d heartily recommend it!

This concludes your tour through my rather addled Tuesday brain…I hope that the transitions didn’t cause any whiplash!

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Je Parle Français (Sort of)…

In the spring of 1975, I boarded a school bus with about 29 other rural Grade 8 students from Kente Public School in Ameliasburg, Ontario, bound for L’Assomption, Quebec (a small town near Montreal).  We were going on an exchange trip for three days, unilingual anglophones being dropped into a place where French was the language of choice.

I don’t remember much of the ride there…I suspect that I must have slept through a lot of it, having spent most of the night before trying to convince my mother that maybe I shouldn’t go after all (I’d never been away from home by myself before).  Mom stuck to her guns…I think the trip probably cost them a fair amount of money (which we were usually short of).  I do remember the songs we heard on the radio, over and over: Fox on the Run, Philadelphia Freedom, and Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.  Hearing those songs always makes me think of that trip.

We arrived at Polyvalente Paul-Arseneau (the host school) at about noon.  The school housed students from Grades 7 through 13…quite unusual to combine middle school with high school!  The next thing we noticed was that at least half of the students smoked at school (and the adults didn’t seem to mind).  After a welcome speech in the gym (most of us didn’t understand any of it), we were matched with our host students and had lunch in the school cafeteria.  A swim in the school pool was scheduled after lunch.  I whipped out my pocket French-English dictionary, and tried to tell my host, Isabelle, that I did not want to go swimming (it was cool that the school had its own indoor pool, but I wasn’t a good swimmer).  After only three years of rudimentary French classes in Ontario, I’m sure my skills were sorely lacking.  French verb tenses are notoriously complicated, and we’d only learned “present tense” so far.  It took a great deal of wild gesticulating and pigeon French to get my point across.  I sat on a bench while the other kids splashed in the pool.  After the swimming, we went on a tour of the school…it was huge compared to ours!  Then we got on the buses with our host students to go home with them.  Isabelle lived in a neighbouring community called Saint-Sulpice.

Isabelle's first letter to me...her English was better than my French!

Arriving at Isabelle’s house, she introduced me to her mom, and her two sisters still living at home.  They were nice enough, but I remember very little about them.  We ate supper in awkward silence.  After supper, Isabelle’s mom dropped us off back at her school…we got on a bus which took us to Jerry Park in Montreal for a Montreal Expos game.  The Expos were playing the Cincinnati Reds (a nice coincidence since I was born in Ohio).  The Reds won 3-2.  I decided that baseball was more fun to play than to watch…

My Expos ticket stub...notice the price: $3.63 plus $.37 tax = $4.00!

It was almost midnight by the time we got back to Isabelle’s house…I was exhausted, and went right to sleep.

We slept in Saturday morning, but had breakfast before we got back into the car to return to Isabelle’s school, where we’d board another bus and head to Old Montreal.  Our first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral.    I was used to Methodist and United churches…I was shocked when we stepped into Notre Dame…I’d never seen so much gold and beautiful artwork outside of a museum!  I would have happily spent all afternoon there…

Then, we went to Man and His World, an amusement park that had been built as part of Expo ’67 when it was held in Montreal.  I’m not a big fan of amusement parks.  We saw a dolphin show at the aquarium, and went on a few rides.   My favourite was the log ride, which was very high…we got soaked, but it was fun!

For supper, we all went to a restaurant called Crèpe Bretonne, where I had real crèpes for the first time…mine were stuffed with apples, and had whipped cream on the top (I was so excited that I made crèpes for my family when I got home!).

After supper, we drove up to Mount Royal on the bus…it was a pretty view of the city lights at night from up there!  We got home very late again that night.

There wasn’t time to sleep in on Sunday morning…we had to be at Isabelle’s school at 8:45 to board another bus for a local marina.  We went on a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River, and then had a picnic for lunch.  After another bus ride back to the school, all the anglophone students boarded our bus and headed for home.  I was excited to see my parents and brother, and sleep in my own bed!

A few weeks later, the French students visited us…they had five days to spend in Ontario.  I don’t remember much of what we did, other than attending a dance at our school where some of the French kids got into trouble for smoking outside.  One of my classmate’s parents hosted an outdoor barbecue for the exchange students at their house…imagine inviting 60 middle school kids to your back yard!  I remember music and dancing, but not much else!

Isabelle and I wrote to each other for about a year after we met, even after her family moved to Baie Comeau.  Other than both being quiet girls, I don’t think we really had much in common, and we soon lost contact with each other.

While going through some boxes the other day, I found the little book we were given to keep a journal of our trip…the only thing written in mine was Isabelle’s name and address.  I wish now I had kept a better account.  I still have all of Isabelle’s letters though…

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