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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.

What Friends Are For...

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On January 17 we made an impromptu trip to Bloomington and Canton Illinois to support one of Ben's friends, Chuck.  Chuck's mom, Linda, passed away after a long and courageous fight against cancer.  I did not have to pleasure of meeting Linda, but hearing the stories and accolades from those that did, she was an incredible lady that will be greatly missed by family, friends and the community.

Although the initial reason for the trip was not ideal, we were able to visit with Ben's mom and other friends that he had not seen in IL for a while.  We went to a Bloomington PrairieThunder game with Matt.  They are an IHL hockey team.  It wasn't quite like going to a Carolina Hurricanes game, but the players were determined and played with everything they had. (unlike some Hurricanes games, heh)  The game ended in exciting fashion with Bloomington winning a 9 round shootout.  We thought the goalies were going to have to shoot against each other.   Matt works at the Johnston's Hockey Pro Shop and is a little bit popular with the hockey crowd.  Walking around the US Cellular Center we were stopped time to time with folks wanting to chat with him.  After the game we hung out at a pub with Matt's buddies and waited for the PrairieThunder players, but we left before they got there.  We stopped by the hockey shop to check out all the gear.  Matt fitted Ben with hockey skates...some nice the kind Eric Staal wears.

On Sunday we browsed the antique furniture Ben's mom has up for grabs.  We tagged a few pieces we liked, now the challenge will be getting them to Raleigh.  After a nice lunch with mom, we headed to Canton, IL with Matt to attend the viewing.  It was good to see Chuck and Karmen and give them a hug in person.  I might be a little sentimental, but it was heart-warming to see Chuck, Matt and Ben together.  Chuck and Matt were groomsmen in our wedding.  Since they live in 3 different states, spanning the country, they don't get to see each other in person that often.  Something we talk about being better about, we just need to do it!  They were like three peas in a pod reunited.  We spent the evening with Chuck, his dad and Karmen. 

Monday was the funeral service and a luncheon at the church fellowship hall.  We did what we could to support Chuck.  I can't imagine what he's going through, but hopefully we made it easier for a bit.  For me at least, this is what friends are for.

Chuck, Matt, Ben