Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Sunday, April 9, 2017

So Long, Joe

Sitting front row for Steve Yzerman's 500th goal
 When I was in high school, I had to write a paper on my favorite place for one of my English classes. I chose to write about Joe Louis Arena. My dad (and Uncle & co.) had Red Wing season tickets the whole time I was growing up. When he started taking me to games it was like a whole new world opened up for me. A world of sportsmanship and heart and passion. So much passion. I loved walking into that arena, seeing everyone in their jerseys, the ushers handing out programs, people buying popcorn and beer, but most of all I loved opening the curtain to the rink itself and smelling the ice. There's nothing like that smell. That cool crisp, smack you in the face excitement of seeing your favorite players skate and pass a puck around. 

We sat in section 219 in the very last row. I suppose they would be classified as "nosebleed seats" to some, but not to me. I loved those seats with all my heart. We had no one behind us and the best view of the entire arena from where we were. The first thing I noticed about the place when the game started was how quiet it was. In between the "Let's go Red Wings!" and "Ozzie!" chants, you could actually hear the skates glide on the ice and the puck hit the players sticks and boards. Those sounds were like magic to me. And then we would score. When we would score, the place would go nuts. I would clap and hollar, and my dad would bang on the wall behind us, and everyone around our section, whether you knew them or not, would high five each other. It was glorious. 

No one celebrates like a Wings fan. 

I have been to countless games in that arena; NHL and college. Endured a plethora of "Osbad" jibes in that arena, seen two concerts, several fanfests and a few Joe visions and I cherish every single memory of every single experience. I used to come home from every game and write in my journal about how great my night had been and then talk to people at school the next day about how good (or bad) Chris Osgood had played. My dad thought he was just taking his daughter to a few games, but he was really creating a lifelong lasting memory and bonding experience that I would not give up for all of the Chris Osgood meet and greets in the world. 
After scoring his 500th goal

Through all those games and all those wins (with some heartache thrown in), all those Stanley Cups, all those stairs climbed (so many stairs), all those times of wishing I would just "happen" to run into Chris Osgood, smiling when they showed the orange hat guy, laughing (and maybe rolling my eyes a bit) when they would show Mo Cheese dancing in the aisle, saying hello to all the ushers, all those people mover rides, Joe Vision trips, and late nights... at the base of it all was a building. A meeting place for an entire Hockeytown to get together, have some snacks and a ginger ale or three, and take absolute joy and pride in a team that made them so happy. One rundown building where so many memories and stories were born, where people complained about the bathrooms and said it smelled of sweat and beer. A place for thousands of fans to call home for a night and cheer their hearts out for a team they love.

Chris Osgood (and Sergei Fedorov) during pregame warm ups
The new arena will be fancier and have a new name. I know some people hate what they chose to call it, but it's not about the name of the arena. It's about the memories built inside of it. It will house an entirely different sport and team along with our beloved Wings. It will have fun new food, better bathrooms and escalators(!). It will have an updated concourse and nice new digs for the players and staff, but it won't have the authenticity and heart of The Joe. Not yet anyway. It's up to us to make Little Caesars Arena just as special as our beloved Joe Louis Arena is to us. It will take some time, but fueled by the memories of the past 38 years, I think it's possible. 

Many many many thanks to my dad and my mom for always nurturing and respecting my love of hockey. Thanks to my dad for always picking the games I requested (my birthday and anytime we played the Islanders or the Blues after Osgood was traded) whether he wanted to or not, and to my mom for always writing them down for him (even though I'm sure he was made fun of by my Uncle and his friends when he showed up with a list. Ha.)

                                      So long, Joe. Thanks for the decades of memories. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

So Long 2016

So... 2016, eh?

Sure there was a lot of death... and depressing things... and sometimes it was downright unbearable, but it couldn't have been ALL bad, could it?

Some highlights of the year for me:

-Taking Charley to Chicago for Spring break. There were a million other people who had the same idea as us, and the weather wasn't that great, but we had a really great time together.

-I was able to take part in one of my best friend's wedding. Weddings are a lot of work and stress and worry, but in the end they are radiating with so much joy and love and I was so happy to play even a tiny part in Dawn and Bill's special day.

-Stranger things on Netflix. It's been awhile since a television show has pulled me in and made me excited to watch the next episode. This clever little series about a group of 12 year old boys and a girl named Eleven did just that. It's smart and nostalgic and so entertaining. I can't wait for season two.

-Harry Potter and The Cursed Child came out and we celebrated the release with the most fun Harry Potter party at Barnes & Noble in Northville. I was sorted into Gryffindor (of course), kicked butt at HP trivia and made my very own wand. It was the absolute best to be surrounded by fellow Potter nerds who understood the excitement of a new story being released into our magical little world.

-Rogue One was released, and while I admit that I was nowhere near as excited for it as I was for The Force Awakens, I am so happy to say it pleasantly surprised me. The story was so smart and I love how connected everything in the universe is. The acting was fantastic, and while SPOILER ALERT it's really extremely, super f'ing sad, (like, really sad, you guys. Like, I had tears streaming down my face and Jeff and Carrie and Charley were all looking at me like I had lost my mind,) it made so much sense and the end is pretty phenomenal.

-The Gilmore Girls revival; Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life finally came out. A long time ago when Gilmore Girls was on the CW (pre-Charley), I remember coming home from work every Tuesday and spending my evenings with Luke, Lorelai and Rory and losing myself in Stars Hollow for an hour every week. Just a tiny getaway where everyone talked fast and pop culture, family and love ruled. If Lorelai said a quippy one liner, I would save the episode and make Jeff rewatch the scene with me. It was fresh television floating around in a sea of reality TV shows and shows about over privileged rich teenagers with no parents. It made me happy and it made me want to live in their world. When it ended in 2007, I never in a million years thought they would bring it back, but as the years went on and a new generation of fans found it and fell in love with it for all the same reasons I had adored it, and all of the actors had to endure that same repetitive question of "will there be a movie/reunion/follow up?", Netflix decided to do this amazing thing and help revive it. And revive it, they did. With four 90 minute episodes (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall), they brought back every single one of our favorite characters (except Max Medina, which I am still a little sad about) and made me want to live in Stars Hollow all over again. I was able to enjoy every one of those new episodes with my 17 year old niece. We had pizza and ice cream sundaes and coca cola and we were so excited when it was starting that we were both a little giddy.  it is quite honestly one of my most absolute favorite moments of the whole year. It's something that I will remember my whole life. If you are not on board the Gilmore train yet, what in the world are you waiting for??


-Game of Thrones, The Battle of the Bastards. One of the absolute best, most phenomenal hours of television I have ever seen.

-Going to one last Red Wing game at The Joe with my dad. My parents surprised me with tickets for my birthday and what a great time we had. Growing up, the Joe was my happy place. Man, I loved it there. It's where my love for Chris Osgood and the Wings was always always accepted and it's where my heart was broken a few times over losses and swelled over wins. I have such fond memories of that place and to be able to share one last time there with my dad made me really happy.

-Seeing Green Day at The Fillmore with my brothers and sister. We have seen Green Day together countless times over the years, but this one seemed so much more special. I don't know if it was because we got tickets unexpectedly at the last minute, or if it was just because we hadn't seen them live in so long and we were just happy to be at one of their shows, but holy moly did we have fun. We weren't even all sitting together, but we still had the best time. My sister and I sang our hearts out, so much so that we were sick for two weeks after from losing our voices and probably inhaling all the germs surrounding us. But damnit, it was so worth it.

-Discovering the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. This was one of those series that I always looked at and was kind of curious about, but could never pull the trigger of actually buying/reading it. I found the first book at a used bookstore and the rest is history. I was hooked from the first chapter. HOOKED. I got lost in the relationship between Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall completely and fell utterly in love with Scotland through the descriptions in the book. The best thing about this series is that I have approximately 1 million, 47 pages (give or take a few thousand pages) left to read of it and the TV show that accompanies it is just the icing on the cake.

-Carrie came home for good. Carrie came home for good! After accepting a position at Grand Valley State University, my LYBF returned to the Mitten this past summer and my heart is so happy.

-Adopting Bryn. After the heartbreak of losing our Logan Lebeau last year, Charley wanted a dog he could sleep with and call his best friend. We went to the "Meet your best friend at the zoo" event in May, with no guarantees that we were going to come home with anything. We circled all around those tents at least three times and finally asked Charley if any of the dogs had caught his eye. He walked right over to Bryn's crate, where she was curled up in a little ball and looking like she wanted to hide under a blanket, and said "this one". We chatted with the rescue group (P.R.O.U.D. Detroit) and after petting her, and learning that her name was Bryn (sounds great with Bristow, doesn't it?!) and getting all the info we needed, we walked out with this 50 pound pitbull mix who had been through a great deal prior to being rescued (with the scars to prove it) and who was absolutely terrified of us. After a bit of a rocky start (destroyed crates, couches, shoes and Charley's bedroom), we are absolutely head over heels for each other. She is the sweetest, cuddliest pup there ever was and always wants to be by, if not on top of, one of us. And though Charley didn't get a dog who wants to sleep in his bed every night, he did get a dog who is fiercely loyal and very loving, and Bristow got a sister who loves to play tug of war as much as he does. She's our little defunct dalmation from the ghetto and we can't imagine life without her now.

-The Olympics. I love the olympics. I love them. I love reading about them and hearing the feel good stories and watching the competition and seeing all the happy, ecstatic faces and feeling for all the athletes who came just shy of the ultimate goal. It's full of competition, and heart and excitement and for two weeks it makes me feel like I could achieve some phenomenal feat like all of those other extreme humans have done. Let's be honest though, I'm just going to sit on my couch, drinking a coffee drink and feel inspired by watching them. I'm not about to go out and become the ultimate fencing queen. But that's part of the beauty of the olympics... It makes you feel like it's actually a possibility.

-The final Tragically Hip show. The Hip have always been one of our favorite bands. Canada's ultimate rock band has brought Jeff and carrie and myself many, many, many happy memories. Gord Downie is one of the best performers you will ever hear/see live. He is an artist with words and the microphone is his paintbrush. Back in May, when he announced he was battling terminal brain cancer, my heart plummeted. The band decided to do one final farewell tour throughout Canada. We tried to get tickets to the venues closest to us, but it wasn't happening. Those tickets sold out in seconds and rightly so. In August, CBC decided to air their final show live and uninterrupted (during the olympics) for whoever had access to see. It was one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, exquisite things I have ever seen, and to be able to experience it with Jeff, Charley and Carrie, it's something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

-Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them. You want to give me more stories in the world of Harry Potter? You go right ahead. I will be right there to see it. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and the characters, and I loved the subtle shoutouts to original Harry Potter characters/settings. I'm happy that the story made sense and it felt authentic to the HP world. I look forward to seeing the rest of the movies as they come out.

-Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan on The Walking Dead. I have never ever wanted a bad guy to get what he deserved more, but to still remain on the show because he is So. Damn. Good.

-Seeing/meeting Kris Allen for the 3rd time. Not only were Natalie and I able to attend another Kris Allen show, but we were lucky enough to meet him again. He is such a nice guy and so thankful for his fans. He chatted with us, took pictures with us and then put on an excellent show. I love that my sister and I can always count on him to put on a good show.

-My mom turned 65. And what a celebration we had! Dennis orchestrated the most amazing birthday video for her compiled with old video clips, songs, and tons of well wishes from her friends and family from all over. It was a lot of fun and I know she appreciated it and we had so much fun watching it.

-The Me Before You movie was released and it was beautiful and lovely. Just like the book.

-Working with some really great people. I know it's corny, but I feel truly lucky to like and enjoy being around the people I work with. We are always laughing with each other and trying to make the best of the situations that aren't so great. We have a good team and it makes me happy to be a part of a group like that. Something so small can make a big difference in your every day life, I tell ya.

Those are my highlights. Honestly, there were way more than I thought there would be and that's pretty cool to look back on, considering a lot of the year was a crapshow (we won't talk about those here though). I truly wish you all a very happy, healthy, safe 2017 filled with the things and people you love, and if bad things come your way, try your best to sprinkle some positivity glitter on it. That's my glass half full, January 1st, page 1 perspective on this brand spanking new year. Thanks for reading my thoughts and being my friend and loving me as family (and if you don't love me, that's okay too because I'm pretty awesome and you're just missing out).

I don't make resolutions, but here is a list of maybes for the year ahead:
-Maybe we will finish painting our kitchen that we started painting last February.
-Maybe I will write more.
-Maybe I will continue on my ophthalmic journey to becoming certified.
-Maybe I will learn to try to be a more forgiving person.
-Maybe I will learn to be a little more patient.
-Maybe I will try to take a little more time for myself.
-Maybe I will stop having mom guilt all the time (HAHAHAHA that's not going to happen)
-Maybe I will read more.
-Maybe I will be a better friend, mom, wife.
-Maybe I will find some motivation to organize my house.
-Maybe I will want to workout (L O L)
-Maybe, just maybe I will go to London and see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage.
-Maybe it will be a really great year