Monthly Archives: December 2012

Surviving the Tournaments

We are currently in the midst of another tournament weekend. This one is relatively close to home but we still opted for a hotel stay due to the crazy game schedule. Be at the rink at 6:30… A.M.!?! We’ll sleep a couple of miles away to avoid getting up in the middle of the night, thanks. I know, I know… wimps!

Tournaments are fun, but a bit overwhelming at times. The weird schedule (game Friday morning, game Saturday morning, game Saturday night, game Sunday morning) leads to a lot of scurrying around interspersed with long stretches of downtime. And, being a youth hockey tournament, there tend to be a lot of youth hockey players around. Go figure. No real way to avoid them, no matter how hard you try. For example, my otherwise peaceful workout this afternoon was interrupted by a dozen or so 11ish year olds who decided that they needed to exercise some more between games. Races on the treadmills and weight lifting challenges promptly ensued. I had to either “play mom” (they were unsupervised, of course) and tell them to put down the 50 lb. dumbbells before they hurt themselves or grab my stuff and skedaddle. I chose the latter so I don’t actually know how fast they were able to go on the elliptical, sorry.

When I’ve competed in tournaments as an adult, I’ve always found the process of getting psyched up before a game and then coming down after only to have to get up again for the next game exhausting. I’m finding the same thing as the parent now – packing and unpacking gear, feeding and resting the child between games, and then getting him ready to play again is tiring. Glad I had time to take a nap.

English: Image taken during a youth hockey tou...

Image taken during a youth hockey tournament in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure some of you have tournament experience. What do you do to survive these weekends?

Bon Appetit! Part Deux

So it is Christmas night and the family is gone and the house straightened up. I have to say that the beef bourguignon turned out quite well. Everyone seemed to like it and they ate a lot of it, so I take that as a good sign. I did get hung up a few times with the recipe but, overall, I found the whole thing fun. I am still not sure what we supposed to be done with the bacon lardons and I ended up tossing a bunch of strips of fat because it just seemed wrong to keep them in the stew. I also had to play with the amounts of burgundy and beef stock, but, in the end, the whole thing was pretty tasty.

Will I tackle another Julia recipe anytime soon? No. But I do think I could possibly find it in myself to try another fairly complicated recipe some day, maybe (how’s that for non-committal?). Perhaps for next years cookie exchange — another event that causes me to break out in a cold sweat.

Merry Christmas all!

The finished dish. And my new casserole.

The finished dish. And my new casserole.

Bon Appetit!

English: American cook, author, and television...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warning! This is a post that has to do with “what happens between games” and is not hockey-related. If you are here just for the hockey, then you might want to stop reading now. However, since we all do live a life outside of hockey (yes, really), I encourage you to take a chance and read on…

I have been listening to the Julia Child biography “Dearie” lately and it has inspired me to try one of her recipes. I should note here that I am not a cook. I can cook but I don’t really like to. Once I get past a few ingredients I start to lose interest. I also find that I don’t often have all the detailed ingredients that many recipes call for, so I start out in the hole.

Given this, the idea that I might try to tackle a complex recipe from a foremost chef known for her attention to detail and love for sophisticated French cooking is completely absurd. But the way I see it, Julia couldn’t cook worth a damn when she first started out (it’s true) and it seemed to work out just fine for her.

I have decided, to add more drama to this potential disaster, to make said dish for Christmas dinner. No pressure. Given my family’s rather pedestrian tastes, there really is not much pressure, except that we may not have anything to eat on Christmas day. I’ll make a note to have chips and salsa on hand, just in case.

I want to try the beef bourguignon recipe, since that was her first famous recipe and the one most talked about. I went to the library and checked out Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 2nd edition, but the first edition was not available, which is where this particular recipe was printed. So I ended up finding the recipe on the Internet. It would have added to the event to be working from the actual book, but considering what a messy cook I can be, I may be better off with paper that I can splatter upon without fear.

I have already encountered my first challenge – identifying the cooking utensils I will need to complete this task. Specifically, what a casserole looks like. I actually had to look it up to see a photo to discover that I don’t have one. So, off to the store I go. I often have to get ingredients but have not, so far, had to get specific cookware and utensils. Perhaps this is a sign?

I also had to look up a few ingredients, like chunk bacon, lardons, and small onions (did she mean not large onions or actually little onions, like those I used to pick out of soup when I was younger?). Now that I have successfully identified the items I need, I will have to go and find them. But I am on my way. Stay tuned for what happens next.

I can always get Chinese take-out if this goes badly, right?

The Christmas List

Santa still comes to our house on Christmas. My son remains a firm believer and I like it that way – belief in a good, generous, friendly soul is something to be fostered for as long as possible, in my opinion.

That strong belief, however, has gotten us into a pickle or two over the years. Take, for instance, his wish list from last year (note his only non-hockey request – fruit punch flavored candy).

xmas list

 

He collects NHL figures, particularly every goalie he can find. He has quite a few, but his collection is far from complete. His list included some of those he wanted to add. For those not familiar with how this works, the company makes figures of certain players each year and not every player has a figure yet. You have to have earned it, so to speak, by being a player “worthy” of a figure. So not every player is available (and those who have been out for awhile can cost quite a bit on the resale market).

Thus our dilemma – a number of the goalies on last year’s list were not actually available or affordable. No problem, he says, Santa can make them.

Uh-oh.

Some quick thinking was in order and I rambled something about how Santa can’t make just one toy. He has too many kids to provide for and he has to make things in bulk. Don’t judge – it worked.

I did find people that make custom-made figures in my searching, but we weren’t going to go that far. Customization appears to involve taking an existing figure and repainting it so I decided to try it myself and made a custom figure of my son. He got quite a kick out of that.

custom figure

Not too shabby, if I say so myself. I’m not getting in the custom-made business, however; painting all that detail is a killer!

Here’s hoping that what you want most is under the tree on Christmas (and is available in bulk).

Ho! Ho! Ho!

What a strange trip it’s been…

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In his first set of pads, at age 8.

It’s been a little over two years since we began our hockey journey. When I look back, it all happened without much planning. Things just fell into place. Fate, perhaps? Certainly not anything we thought a whole lot about. My hockey experience growing up consisted of going to occasional Washington Capitals games (back when they played at the Cap Center in Maryland). I did not play and no one in my family did. We were soccer players, who dabbled in basketball, wrestling, track, football, and crew along the way. No ice involved in any of those, unless you count the icicles that would form in my hair when we had early morning practice on the water when I was on the rowing team. My husband did not play hockey either, nor did any of his family or close friends. Essentially hockey-ignorants. That was us.

Then my son, who was turning 7, wanted to have an ice skating birthday party. Not sure why – he had never really skated and had not been to any parties at an ice rink. Maybe he had a calling? Maybe in his young brain he had an inkling of things to come and knew he had to break out onto the ice somehow? Who knows, but there we were at an ice rink that I recalled from my childhood (and that still looked EXACTLY the same, all those years later).

The party itself was a disaster. A tip for parents out there considering this type of party – don’t do it unless you know that everyone invited can skate. Otherwise, you get a bunch of kids hanging on the wall and falling all over the place until they give up and just stand around. Huge bummer. But we did discover that my son was pretty much a natural skater. As much as one can be, that is.  Do we really have an innate need to balance ourselves on thin blades while going in circles on man-made ice?  Continue reading

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