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2009 First Quarter Wrap-up

Well - I haven't been keeping the blog as up-to-date as I had hoped. So instead of trying to catch up with individual posts, I'm going to summarize Q1 in one post and then attempt to stay on top of things.  I may come back at a later date and add to these items.

Feb 1 - 6, 2009:  Ships and Dips V Cruise - Ben and I spent a week aboard the Ships and Dips V Cruise with many of our favorite bands.  Great Big Sea was the reason we went, but we also enjoyed seeing Bare Naked Ladies, Gaelic Storm, Sarah McLachlan and many others.  We made 2 port of calls in Cozumel and Key West.  The seas were rather rough and we tumbled on the waves most the cruise.  We even got a little risque and participated in the "Naked Picture" on deck with several hundred other passengers.  Great music and great times!  Photos are at:  Ships and Dips V Photo Album

Feb 17, 2009:  Glen Wesley Night - On Feb 17, 2009 the Carolina Hurricanes retired Glen Wesley's jersey.  He played hockey for 20 seasons, many of those with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes.  He was a true defenseman, never afraid to jump in front of a shot or pin someone to the boards.  The 'Canes handed out mini banners to the fans.  During pre-game warm-ups, all the Hurricanes players were wearing Wesley #2 jerseys.  During the game, their jerseys had a #2 on the chest.  It was a great tribute to a great player.  We definitely miss seeing him on the ice, but he's still with the organization helping with defenseman development.  We have a few pictures in the gallery: Glen Wesley Night
We mostly took videos and may upload those at a later date.

Feb 19, 2009: Joined Twitter - My resistance to joining social networks and such is starting to wear down.  I created a Twitter account.  I'm not that active on it, but do find it as a good way to keep up with some of the bands I like.  If you use Twitter, you can follow me at:

Mar 1 - 2, 2009:  More Snow! - We had the second measureable snow of this Winter, about 3 inches.  Ben and I decided to forego the sledding this time, but we did go out during our lunch break and build a few snowmen.  Ben's looked oddly similiar to a cake I saw over the holidays. The snow was moist, perfect for snowballs.  Our larger snowman developed a lean and fell over shortly after it was completed, but we had fun.  Snow Pictures

Mar 4, 2009:  Welcome Home Erik Cole!! - In a last minute trade deadline 3 way deal, the Carolina Hurricanes welcomed Erik Cole back to the team.  As the last minutes of the deadline passed, there was still no news that Carolina had made any moves.  Then, suddenly, a note that Justin Williams had been traded to the L.A. Kings for Patrick O'Sullivan, who is actually from NC.  OK, hate to see Williams go.  He'd had some injury problems lately, but is a good player and great teammate.  What's that?? O'Sullivan has been traded to Edmonton for ERIK COLE!!!!

Best news I'd heard in a while regarding the Hurricanes.  For most of the season I was attributing Eric Staal's stump to not having his favorite winger on his line.  Now they will be reunited.  This is a win-win-win for all involved.  Cole seems very happy to be back in NC. 

Mar 6 - 7: Hurricanes Win Big - As if they were having a "Welcome Back" party for Erik Cole, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Calgary Flames 6-1 on March 6th.  Cole delighted the home crowd with a goal in his first game back with the 'Canes.  The party continued on March 7 in Tampa as the Hurricanes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 9-3.  The Staal-Cole-Ruutu line combined for 15 points!  Just amazing.

Mar 12 - 15: Vegas Trip - Ben and I traveled to Las Vegas for what seems to be our bi-annual trip.  Also on the trip was Ben Mc, Courtney, Chris, Ray, Brek, Nate and a few other folks.  We stayed at The Wynn again.  This time in a regular room instead of the Tower Suites.  We were very pleased to find out that our regular room was exactly like the Tower Suite in size and floor plan.  The main difference other than price was small things like no chocolate on the pillows at night, no free bottled water and no slippers. 

We went to see the Chriss Angel show "Believe".  I believe it was the worst show I've seen at Vegas, possibly the worst show I've seen EVER!  He was like a one trick pony.  It wasn't even as goth as advertised.  We've decided Vegas is almost done for us.  We've been to all the Cirque shows and the appeal is wearing off.  For the time and money, there are a lot of other places we would like to visit.  Heck - the flight time is almost the same as going to Scotland.

Apr 7, 2009:  Meeting Cam Ward - The goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes, Cam Ward, has a charity called "Cams Champs".  He gives a certain amount of money to the Special Olympics for every goal he saves.  Back in the Fall I contributed money to this charity.  I got an email in late March saying I had won a drawing for 2 tickets to a Hurricanes game and to meet Cam Ward afterwards.  Cool!  We had very nice seats in section 211.  But honestly, I like our seats in 329 better. 

After the game a group of fans went downstairs in the hallway near the locker room.  I cheered Paul Maurice has he walked by.  He seemed a little shocked, heh.  After a bit Cam Ward came out to meet us.  Ben and I stood back and let everyone else take a turn so we ended up being the last folks there.  We had a great conversation with Cam, talked about the game, the great fans in NC, and some non-hockey stuff.  Many thanks to Doug Warf and the Canes Kids-n-Community program for the tickets and opportunity to meet a great goalie, Cam Ward.
Photo: Meeting Cam Ward

Apr 4, 2009: Hurricanes Clinch Playoff Bid - In a tight, hard fought game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Hurricanes won 3-2 in OT and clinched their first playoffs bid since the '05-'06 season when they won the Stanley Cup.  The RBC was ROCKIN!  The last half of the 3rd period was so loud you could feel the vibrations in your body.  The Hurricanes had the best March record in franchise history going 12-1-1.   9 straight wins, 12 straight wins at home.  Hooray for summer hockey!

Ok, that last one was a little bitter sweet to type up, since we had our first playoff game tonight against the New Jersey Devils and lost 4-1.  Let's hope the Hurricanes figure out what needs adjusting and have a better results in Game 2.  We have playoffs tickets, let's hope we get to use more than 2.

That catches up most the highlights in Q1.  I'll try to do better with more timely posts.


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I woke up Tuesday morning to a beautiful blanket of snow!  The weather forecast had been flip-flopping the last couple of days.  First we weren't going to get much, then possibly 4-6 inches, then back to "a few flakes".  I was pleasantly surprised when I looked out in the morning, expecting a light dusting, to see 2-3 inches already on the ground.  By the time it stopped snowing that afternoon, we had 6 inches of snow.  WOOHOO!!  Here are more pictures of the snow. Snow Pictures

I know, for those of you reading this from more northern areas, you're thinking "What's the big deal?"  For most of you that have to live with this stuff for 3-4 months, I'm sure it loses it's appeal and is mostly a nuisance.  For me, living my whole life in NC, snow is something I see a couple of times a year and it rarely accumulates.  Usually we get ice or freezing rain which just causes power outages and crazy traffic problems. 

I think some of my fascination with snow comes from my childhood.  There were no snowplows in Raleigh back then, so when we got enough snow to cover the roads, school was canceled.  My two brothers and I would get out the out the sled and spend the whole day riding down hills.  The first thing we would do is line up on the sled, my older brother first so he could drive, me next, then my younger brother.  We'd try the sidewalk first.  As we got older, the challenge was how far we got before my younger brother fell off the back.  I was about 10 when I got my own sled.  Then we would race each other and dare each other to go down steeper hills or the trails with lots of trees.  It was one of the few times we weren't fighting.  As if the snow was some great negotiator that would bring us to a truce for a few short hours or days. 

Last weekend Ben and I were in IL.  One afternoon it started to snow these BIG, fluffy snowflakes.  I went outside to enjoy the snow and noticed a perfectly formed, 6 sided snowflake on my know, like the way they look on Christmas cards.  I had never seen this before.  I thought that was only at the microscopic level.  I guess since the snow we get in NC isn't as fluffy or is half melted before it gets to the ground, I had never noticed this before.  Most the folks around us thought I was insane.  They're right. :0)  Ben tried taking pictures, but they didn't really turn out that well.  If you look closely you can see a couple of nice flakes in this picture.


Happy 2009

Happy New Year! 

2008 ended with a win for the Carolina Hurricanes!  It has not been the best season for them, so hopefully 2009 will be better.  GO CANES!

After the game we went to Tim and Kelley's house to ring in the new year with friends.  Tons of fun was had.  Some of us <cough> Tim, Ben </cough> had extra to drink, which lead to extra fun.  For example:  (click for larger version)

posting20090101.JPGMost I've laughed in a long time!  You can click here to read more of it.

I'm not one to make resolutions, but I am going to try to post more regularly to this blog in 2009.  It will mostly be about trips I've taken or hockey related, we'll see how it works out.

Hope 2009 is a great year for you!

You Want This Ready by When????

It's been a busy couple of months. My new job is finally taking off, which is another way of saying that I'm never home. Been traveling almost every other week. Mostly to Boston, MA and a trip to Auburn, CA. I don't really mind business travel all that much, but combine it with planning for a wedding and a visit from the future in-laws... it's been interesting.

Part of my new job is to review and select the software the company uses. We have some antiquated, home-grown applications that really don't work well and need to be replaced. First in line was the applications our nurses use to track cases. Our business model is rather unique, so I couldn't find a perfect fit, but I was able to find a Case Management software that came close and is very configurable. The catch - the upper ups wanted it running by the beginning of Q2. I had 5 weeks to review, contract haggle, purchase, be trained on, install/configure, test, deploy, train the end-users and Go Live.

It was quite the challenge. And yet, as I look back, I am damn proud of myself. I learned a lot, not only technology-wise, but about myself. I actually was a little surprised at how my project management skills have improved. Not only did I have a successful Go Live, but the other business units are very excited with what they've seen me do for the first business unit and are ready to be the next implemented.

Oh - and did I mention during those same 5 weeks I was doing business analysis and requirements gathering for development work on another of our applications?

So our Canadian office will be next. Means I'll soon be flying to Toronto every couple of weeks. I just can't wait until it's Japan's turn. I might just decide to stay there for the entire project!

Welcome to 2006 and my blog


At the beginning of 2005 I thought to myself "I should start a blog." That didn't go so well.

So I'm starting my blog on 01/01/2006 instead. I suspect I'll have lots to share this year with the wedding and all.
Bear with me these first few weeks as I learn all the features of the blogging software.

Wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2006!