Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

Recap: Hockey Roadtrips 2011-2012 (or How I Almost Bought a Max Talbot T-shirt) April 15, 2012

This post wasn’t supposed to come so early. It was only to be written after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the 2012 Stanley Cup. And, right, the Pens aren’t out of it yet, but they are down 3-0 to the Philadelphia Freakin’ Flyers. And, you are right, they could have a gut (and heart) check to come back blazing Wednesday night. Stranger things have happened. (See: Boston Red Sox, 2004 or watch the movie Fever Pitch — and don’t go to any costume birthday parties Wednesday night.)

Patterson and I went to our first NHL game in February 2011 — the Pens at the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Pens lost. Our second game was in Pittsburgh for the last game of the season in April. Pens beat the Devils to make it into the playoffs. We were officially hockey fans, specifically Pittsburgh Penguins fans, and it was going to get extreme.

The evolution of our hockey love is kind of a long and arduous story, but it goes a little something like this: Local minor league hockey coach’s wife starts working with Patterson in Fall of 2010 > Local minor league hockey coach’s wife doesn’t like to sit alone at games > Local minor league hockey coach’s wife gives us tickets to the games > Local minor league hockey coach’s wife gives us the behind the scenes scoop of the real hockey action > A sickly afternoon marathon with HBO 24/7 featuring the Pens and Caps takes it to the next level > Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.

After the misguided dismissal of local minor league hockey coach at the end of last season (and pretty much the entire team, for that matter), we went to a few games this season, but it wasn’t the same. Good job on those dismissals, by the way. We went from just missing the playoffs last year to being dead last (with a bullet!) in the league this year. Best laid plans, I suppose.

We turned to the NHL to keep our hockey buzz alive. We went to seven games and had a 5-2 record. I’m starting to think we should have shown up for the playoffs.

 

 

Patterson swears Marc-Andre was practicing proposing to her.

 

 

Saturday, November 12 — Pens at Carolina Hurricanes (L)
We had hoped to see Sidney Crosby back after being out for nine long months, but we were a week or so too early. Highlights included sitting beside the bench, good naturally harassing the security guy at the end of our row and meeting the Pens Knitting Lady and her husband (who takes amazing photos of the games, by the way.)

 

 

Sid's back! (This is my screen saver on my phone. Is that creepy?)

 

Saturday, December December 3 — Pens at Carolina Hurricanes (W)
Sid was back and it was the first time the entire Pens team was healthy and on the ice after a litany of injuries. It didn’t last long though — Jordan Staal was nailed in the face with a puck, right in front of his parents, and spewed blood all over the ice. I swooned, and not in a good way. Highlight of the game was discovering that sitting behind the goal is pretty dang cool.

 

 

Got a Sidney Crosby doll for Christmas. Took it to Tampa. This is how we found Sid after housekeeping cleaned the room.

 

Sunday, January 15 — Pens at Tampa Bay Lightning (W)
Good grief, this trip started out as the Journey to Hell. The drive down was dull and slow. We arrive at our hotel to find it covered in feathers. Patterson is highly allergic to feathers. She turned a weird color and oozed from every pore. It was gross. And she still had to haggle with the front desk to be released from our reservation. (This was after they claimed to have hypoallergenic feathers. No joke.) We moved to the lovely Marriott that was, hands down, the best hotel of the trip. We walked past Tyler Kennedy as we were leaving Precinct Pizza. Now, poor Tyler Kennedy has taken a bit of a beating from me because he’s the only non-beautiful kid on the Penguins. I mean, tell me he doesn’t resemble one of the pigs from Angry Birds. Yeah, see, I told you. But let me tell you, put TK in a suit and set him out in the Florida sunshine and that kid sparkles. I kid you not. We were still giddy when we watched Geno score a hat trick later that day. [Hockey Bucket List Checkoff: Witness a Hat Trick]

 

 

Flower took the pow-wow literally.

 
Saturday, February 16 — Pens at Philadelphia Flyers (W)
I was slightly afraid of walking into the Wells Fargo Center with my Crosby jersey. Flyers fans are, um, serious. Happy to say we made it out alive with only mildly hostile razzing from disheartened Flyers fans. We beat them pretty squarely. Further convinced that behind the goal seats are the way to go.

 

 

The guy in the front row's big head was blocking all of my photos of Zach Parise.

 
Saturday, March 17 — Pens at New Jersey Devils (W)
I like the New Jersey Devils — OK, I like Zach Parise. Pens won and we went into NYC to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. A good time was had by all.

 

 

James Neal in the penalty box. (He had just fixed his hair.) Wish I had video of Geno in the box. He talked to himself the entire time.

 
Sunday, March 18 — Pens at Philadelphia Flyers (L)
Hockey insanity. We decided that since we had to drive by Philadelphia on the way home from Newark, we should stop in for the game. Our seats were behind the penalty box. That game was intense. Pens lost in overtime with .9 seconds left on the clock — there is a point in front of that 9 and that’s less than a second. The crowd was crazy. I had to tell Patterson to stop talking about James Neal’s hair because we were on the verge of being beat up. In fact, an older lady in a Flyer’s jersey had her husband watch us as we walked to our car because she feared for our safety. We were so dejected by the loss, we didn’t even realize we were in harm’s way. On the way out, I almost bought a Max Talbot Flyer’s t-shirt because I loved Max as a Penguin. I wanted our relationship to continue. But he switched sides and it’s time to let him go. Good-bye, Max. It’s for good this time. [Hockey Bucket List Checkoff: Overtime Game]

 

 

We became besties with Matt Cooke during warm-ups.

 

Saturday, April 6 — Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh (W)
It’s officially tradition. Our second annual last game of the season in Pittsburgh. We ponied up for glass seats and it was totally worth it. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to the third row.

Our own version of NHL Awards:
Best Venue: Consol Energy Center
Nicest Event Staff: Carolina Hurricanes
Best Fans: I can’t believe I’m saying this… Philadelphia Flyers. Sure, they are homicidal, but they know hockey.
Best Restaurant: Marra’s in Philadelphia with the best buss boy ever, Mario. Honorable Mention: Jerome Bettis Grille 36 in Pittsburgh
Best Hotel: Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina

On Tap for Next Season:
Washington, DC to see the Pens play the Capitals
New York City to see the Pens play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden
Boston, MA to see the Pens play the Bruins
The first and last home games in Pittsburgh
Every game the Pens play against the Hurricanes

But this season isn’t quite over yet…

 

 

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My Fake Date with a Hockey Player February 28, 2012

Filed under: NHL,Road Trip — Teri @ 9:07 pm

I was reminded last night that February wasn’t all bad. There were a few ridiculous, hilarious moments that poked through the haze of daily life.

 

Nope, that's not him.

 

My favorite February moment was my fake date with a hockey player. OK, it wasn’t my date — and, ok, it wasn’t a date at all, but remember I am fragile and work with me. Our local minor league hockey team ran an auction to win dinner with a player. It wasn’t cheap. Your car payment is probably more than their monthly paychecks, so the winner had to buy the player’s steak dinner. And you don’t get to keep the player at the end of the night [rip off!], but you do get two glorious hours to interrogate him on all things hockey. [Squee!] I bid on a player under the guise that it would be an excellent practice date for P, who was due after a lengthy divorce. [And secretly I really wanted to break bread with a full-blooded Canadian.] When the auction made a 6’3″, 220 lb professional hockey player suddenly available, it clearly meant my plan was endorsed by God. I told P that I placed a bid in her honor. She panicked, then recovered her senses in time to ask for an additional bid on the player with the sketchiest reputation. And while I’m quite sure said sketchy player came with a bonus supply of penicillin, I told her we were sticking with my original pick. I mean, pace yourself, Woman.

 

Nope, that's not him either.

 

P and I were both deathly ill the night of the big date. [Did I forget to mention that I’m chaperoning?] My head was stuffed with kindergarten paste and I hadn’t had color in my cheeks in weeks. P was wearing twelve layers of makeup and weird sounds kept escaping from her throat. Just to dial things up a notch, I decided to see what really does happen when you mix Magic Cough Syrup with Blue Moon beer. [Answer: You say just a little too much about your inner most hockey secrets.] We walked into the banquet room of our local old money steak house and were directed to the only player sitting alone at his table. See, the auction was actually for season ticket holders, but no one told me that when I bid. Essentially everyone in the room knew each other — except for the random girls that just walked through the door. Freakin’ details. Get you every time.

 

Cha. You wish.

 

Take notice, NHL teams, this chick can pick an awesome hockey player. First of all, he was incredibly, insanely nice. Secondly, he was handsome. We’re talking NHL good looking. Like Pittsburgh Penguins good looking. [Stop. You know they are the best looking team in the NHL.] We chatted nonstop. We wanted to know all about Canada. It’s a lot like here. [Bummer.] We wanted to know about hockey fights. Typical southern hockey fans. We wanted to know who he knows in the NHL. He used to work out with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning during summer breaks. We told him about our monthly hockey road trips. He was worried about our chances in Philly. [But I suspect secretly thought we were awesome.] We mentioned the hockey blogs we read. What?! Hockey blogs? Hilarious. We asked what he wanted to do after hockey. Fireman. [Awww.] He told us about playing hockey in Europe. We talked about traveling. Has he ever been to Austria? Yes. Definitely go. It was like we were trying to shove a filming of NHL36 into a two hour dinner. The only question he really had for us was: So why did you pick me? We froze. Did I tell the truth? Was I really going to look him in the eye and say, “Uh, cause you are, like, hot and you had the best Movember stache on the entire team.” Noooo, I was not! After dodging the question twice, I lamely muttered, “Seemed like a good idea.” He gave a little Canadian smirk and went back to debating goalies with P.

Amazing night. Call me, NHL. I know what I’m doing.

 

Fillin’ the Belly August 28, 2011

Filed under: College Football,Cooking,Food,NFL,NHL,Penguins,Recipes — Teri @ 10:47 pm

I’ve gotten into a pattern of over-analyzing everything. It took me forever to write out our September menus. Our formula is pretty simple: one night of vegetarian, one night of red meat, one night of salmon. The rest usually turns out to be chicken. I was hoping to up the number of vegetarian meals this month, but instead I doubled up on red meat some weeks. That’s what happens when you over-analyze — often times, you move in reverse. Speaking of red meat, I made Slow Cooker Barbeque Beef Sandwiches from Southern Living tonight. Z ate four sandwiches with baked barbeque potato chips and cole slaw. The recipe is a keeper.

  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) eye-of-round roast, cut in half vertically [I used a 2 and a 1/2 pounder from Carolina Grown of grass fed beef.]
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 (10-ounce) can condensed beef broth
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons steak sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 Kaiser rolls or sandwich buns [I used whole wheat hamburger buns.]
  • Dill pickle slices [Omitted. Z hates pickles.]

Preparation

  • Sprinkle beef evenly with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Stir together remaining 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, and next 7 ingredients. Pour half of mixture into a 5 1/2-quart slow cooker. Place beef in slow cooker, and pour remaining mixture over beef.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH 7 hours.
  • Shred beef in slow cooker with two forks. Serve in rolls or buns with dill pickle slices.

 

That steely eyed bluebird is on the hunt for leaves and sticks and berries for her fabulous vegetarian meal.

 

Here’s what we’re having for the next 28 days. [I still haven’t gotten a proper calendar.] Maybe I’ll do better at sharing recipes this month.

August 29 – Salmon, spinach and rice
August 30 – Veggie Sausage & Egg Burritos
August 31 – Stovetop Chicken Pie
September 1 – Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Balsamic Reduction
September 2 – Beef & Mushroom Sloppy Joes
September 3 – Out for Family Birthday Dinners
September 4 – Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo with Asparagus
September 5 – Grilled Bison Burgers with French Fries
September 6 – Salmon, Broccoli, Couscous
September 7 – Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
September 8 – Chili with Guacamole and Chips [NFL Season Opener]
September 9 – Eat Out [Hopefully the new Mellow Mushroom!]
September 10 – Grilled Chicken Wraps
September 11 – Linguine with Two Cheese Sauce
September 12 – Mexicali Meatless Tostadas
September 13 – Creamy Chicken Salad
September 14 – Salmon, Asparagus and Rice
September 15 – Grilled Flank Steak with Onion, Avocado and Tomato
September 16 – Pizza and Beer at the Midnight Madness 5K
September 17 – Chicken and Black Bean Stuffed Burritos
September 18 – Spaghetti
September 19 – Wild Mushroom Stroganoff
September 20 – Chipotle Rubbed Flank Steak
September 21 – Chicken & Bacon Roll-ups
September 22 – Salmon, Brussel Sprouts, Red Potatoes
September 23 – Chicken Strips with Blue Cheese Dressing
September 24 – Chicken Tostadas & Avocado Dressing
September 25 – Lasagna

Should Just Give Up Reading: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Training Log: I used Hurricane Irene as an excuse to sleep a lot this weekend.

Days Until: College Football: 6; NFL: 11; NHL: 46