Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Red Wings Parade & Niece's Graduation

Greetings and salutations, all! I have had so much going on and so much to write about, but no time to write and now I have no clue what to tell you. If I include everything done over the past two weeks, this entry would be a novel. And a not very interesting one.

I think in my last post the Red Wings were on the brink of winning their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years. LL was rooting for the Pens (bastard), while I was obviously rooting for the Wings. The Wings came through in Game 6 (whew!) and I took that Friday off from work to attend the parade in downtown Detroit. I had missed the Cup parades in '97 and '98 because I was living in SF. I remember calling my friend Debbie in '97 who had my old job at the U and asking her if she was planning on attending the parade. She wasn't sure. I told her she should go, because if I were still living there, I would be going to the parade and she wouldn't be able to – as we worked in the same office and one of us would have had to be there and since I was the boss, I would have pulled rank.

I wanted to go in 2002 but couldn't find anybody with whom to go. This year, however, it worked out perfectly. The Game 5 triple overtime loss was actually advantageous for the YS and LB, as the YS doesn't work Fridays and the LB was flying in from SJ late Thursday night (early Friday morning). I went into work on Thursday, June 5 and told my boss I was taking the next day off. "Going to the parade?" "Yup."

Friday morning, the YS and LB show up at my place and we transfer their crap into my car (it was hard getting ready for the parade because I was doing all the things I normally do to prepare for a hot day at the race track). Parade day was forecasted to be HOT and HUMID – 90F with an insane stupid humidity of 70% or something ridiculous like that. It was bloody hot. Actually, the YS and LB showed up with an extra person which meant I had to move my crap out of the back seat of my cute little Focus and into the trunk – coolers, spray bottle with battery run fan filled with ice and water, knitting bag (hey, we were heading down early and I had a tank top to finish for the niece's graduation present – no need to waste precious time), sunscreen. YS had the water, I had the soft-sided portable coolers.

I always have to drive downtown because the YS got her truck broken into once (parked on the street – I always pay to park in downtown Detroit). I told her that I'm going to get a new car just so I don't have to drive all the time. She just laughed.

We decided to go to Hart Plaza and stake out a spot for the rally which would take place there after the parade. It turned out that that was probably not the best decision, but only because the rally was not as long as the one in 2002. I swear EVERYBODY on the team got a chance to speak to the crowd in 2002 (I taped it), but this year only a few players spoke (Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios & Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper & Chris Osgood, Darren McCarty, Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler). It was a little disappointing. In hindsight, I think I would have snagged a good place on the curb along Woodward and had a chance to see everybody as they want by. We were far enough back (yeah, there are pictures, but you know how good I am at downloading them) from the rally stage, that there was no way anybody would have heard me if I had yelled.

I developed a habit at the races that during the driver parade I would yell for every single driver as he (or she – love and miss you, Katherine) would go by. I hated that drivers like Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti (back in the day when he wasn't a complete loser-traitor) would get massive cheers and hollering, while other drivers were barely acknowledged. I always hollered for the drivers, but when it became de rigueur was after Toronto 1996. I'm not normally very loud, but that's the first race where I remember the drivers actually hearing me, because after I would yell their name, they would look up into the stands, and I always sit as high up as possible (well, except Toronto, because the top 3 rows in my grandstand were blocked by one of the Exhibition Place buildings, so as high as I would go there was Row 4 – road courses are counted from the top down).

Two weeks earlier I had met Jeff Krosnoff in the paddock at the Cleveland race. I was nervous and didn't know what to say after asking for his autograph on my racing shirt, but he asked me how I was doing and if I were having fun, etc. He was so nice that I rooted for him that race (even though in the POS Toyota he didn't have a chance in hell of doing anything but finishing) and so as he went by my Toronto grandstand I yelled extra loudly for him and he turned and looked up and waved. Two hours later Jeff was dead in an absolutely hideous accident I will never ever forget. That night at dinner my friend Ottawa tried to comfort me by saying how I had probably made Jeff's day knowing he had a fan in the stands (he was new to the series as he had come up the ranks in Japan, and had therefore only run 11 races (including Toronto). Back then we had a fair number of drivers, which meant it could take some longer to make their way into our hearts (unlike the past few years), so Jeff didn't have a lot of people cheering for him in Toronto. Ever since then I made it my duty to cheer for and welcome every single driver in my own loud and annoying (to the people sitting in front of me) way. And I didn't give a damn if the people in front of me didn't like it, because I simply thought of Jeff and realised it was more important to show my support for every driver, even the 'king Hiro - who, for all his faults, was exceptional at getting out of the way – for the most part. While Hiro might not have been a great driver, he was rarely a "moving chicane" (Hi Dennis Vitolo).

Anyway, all that was to tell you that the next time the Wings win the Stanley Cup I'm going to watch the parade and yell for every single player and then force my way into Hart Plaza like all the parade-watchers did that Friday.

That Friday was exhausting and very busy. After the rally, we went and got food at Cheli's Chili Bar and then we all raced home because we had to be at the Niece's graduation commencement exercise at 6:00. And we all had to shower away the nastiness of 90F, humidity, and sunscreen. And you'dt hink that after a high school graduation of nearly 500 kids, the day would have been over, but you'd be wrong. Since the LB was in town, HRH drove down from Toronto and the plan was to meet her over in Windsor that night. It was probably close to 11:00 p.m. when we (Mom, YS, LB and I) got across the border and found our way to the Windsor Casino, which means it was around 2:30/3:00 a.m. when I got home and to bed.

I would have slept in except that HRH was coming across the river that day for the party the LB's friends were having for him, and was going to crash at my place. This means I had to clean (hide yarn in the closet, vacuum, etc.). I was also getting my hair cut (Whew, it was LONG) at 12:30, so that took time out of the day which could have been used on the apt., but in the end, it was all good.

HRH showed up, we watched F1 qualifying from Montreal, the Euro Cup game between Portugal and Turkey and then headed to the far western suburbs to meet Mom and YS for sushi. YUM! I ate WAY too much. The original plan was for HRH to spend the night and then attend the Niece's graduation party on Sunday, so that she could meet Grandma. We've been friends for 13 years and while she's met a few members of my family, she hadn't met Grandma. As has been the case for the past few trips we've taken, however, someone died (her high school best friend's father) and she hadn't to fly back (not actually, but the way she drives…) to TO then next day to get to the funeral home. This means that instead of heading straight to the party, we had to make a side trip to my Uncle's house, as that's where Grandma was (she rarely turns down dinner invitations, especially when my Uncle's cooking).

So, while HRH got to meet Grandma, various cousins, and an extra aunt, we almost missed my older brother, SIL and the Terror Children who were leaving the party as we arrived.

We take a break from the regularly scheduled program with the following public service announcement.

WOOHOO!!!! My Igor will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!

Okay, I'm bored telling you about stuff that happened two weekends ago. I can't imagine how bored you are reading about it, so I'm not going to tell you all about the graduation party and how bloody hot and humid it was and how I needed a shower after helping my sister set up in my party dress. It was pretty, oh so, pretty. Nothing quite like sweat dripping off your nose.

Why can I think all of sorts of stuff to blog about until I sit at the computer and then it all disappears? I need to learn to write stuff down. I always think I'm going to remember it, but never ever do.

I want this car.

I'm *this* close to having my niece's tank top finished, but now I'm thinking that I need to rip it back to where the shaping for armholes start and make it longer. I don't know this for a fact or anything, because I haven't measured it, but that's what I think. You would, of course, think that I would have gotten it out of its bag and measured it last night, but I just didn't feel like "frogging" it last night, so I ignored its existence. (I have absolutely no idea why ripping out your knitting is called "frogging," but it is…normally, I refuse to use that term as I think it's stupid, but as I already had used "rip" I was trying not to use it again. Oh wait, I think it's called "frogging" because when you say "rip it," it supposedly sounds like "ribit." I knew there was a reason I refused to use it.)

Work is quite stressful these days as for the fourth year in a row (and sometimes multiple times in a year), we're having workforce cuts/layoffs. At some point, you have to figure your luck is running out and this time it might just be you that's cut. I'm ready to throw up thinking about it. Oy vey. Please keep your fingers crossed, pray, light candles, etc. that I make it through once again. Moving home with my mother is so not an option if I want to remain sane, and not kill her.

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At Wednesday, 18 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Bastard? WhyIotta...

At Thursday, 19 June, 2008, Anonymous yelayna said...

Firstly - good luck and my fingers are crossed for you again - you've made it through this far you'll be ok. I can feel it in my water.

And secondly - Today I came accross This Website and it just made me think of you. So there you have it. I love it as an idea - it's mental but I love it. Take care xxx

At Thursday, 19 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - It was said with love and affection. ;-)

Yelayna - SWEET!!! I sent that to my knitting friends. Thank you for the crossed fingers. I'm a tad stressed, as is everybody at work.

At Thursday, 19 June, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

I'm glad that someone gets to be happy and excited about sports this year. So far, nothing but disappointments for me -- Tech not doing anything worth a damn in any sport, UGA exceeding expectations in all of theirs, Braves players dropping like flies, Thrashers making us blue in Blueland... I fully expect college football to be a disaster this fall as well. *sigh*

90F and 70% humidity? Situation normal here. Except with more humidity.

I don't care who ll roots for in sports, but I have to say once again that Nathan Fillion is NOT old.

At Thursday, 19 June, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, too. You're in a tough business right now.

How can I complain about pro sports this past few months? The Titans made the playoffs, which exceeded expectations. The Predators made the playoffs, which exceeded expectations. The Cardinals are over .500, which exceeds expectations. And everybody knows that the NBA is rigged.

At Friday, 20 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - I don't remember the humidity being so high when I went to Road Atlanta back in 2003. It's also possible that our humidity was higher than that... I was guessing. LL just likes to get a reaction.

Dr. - It is, indeed, a tough business to be in these days. The Preds did great this year. I have nothing against them, except that we play them too many bloody times. Bettman needs to GO!

At Saturday, 21 June, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Oh my gosh. I just read the link about Krosnoff and that's really sad.

You probably did make Jeff's day. I remember being a roller skater and when doing your routines, there were definitely people with bigger followings. You felt it, and appreciate every single cheer you got, even if it was just one or two people.

I couldn't name a single hockey player, but I imagine if I lived in an area that actually got ice, I'd follow hockey pretty hard-core.

Thanks also for introducing us to Igor Larionov. I now know a Russian hockey player, a former Red Wing who was one of the best passers of all-time (according to that wikipedia article). :)

At Saturday, 21 June, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

ZS - I was there the day Jeff died and it was just awful. I can play the accident in my head to this day and it's been 12 years. I remember standing in the grandstand between turns 6 and 7 with my friends waiting and waiting and waiting for news. We finally decided to leave, but I had to use the facilities. While I was washing my hands, a girl came in and said, "I shouldn't have come today. Whenever I go to a race someone dies." I turned to her and said, "You don't know that for fact, do you?" as I tried not to cry. "Yeah, one of the corner workers told me." I walked out of the restroom and started to cry. I cried for a week straight, I think. And it still breaks my heart to think about him.

My Igor most definitely was one of the greatest passers of all time and an absolutely beautiful skater. I could spot him on the ice w/o seeing his number, his movements were so graceful and economical.

At Sunday, 22 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

He is old...

At Monday, 23 June, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you at work. It sucks having to go through situations like that every year!!

How cool that you got to go to the parade! I was looking through the pics of it online searching for Osgood pics but I never saw any, Was he cute? :D

And congrats to your Igor.

At Monday, 23 June, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I hope this year's football season is as exciting as your racing season seems to be.

Don't forget to share pictures of your finished knitting. I LOVE looking at the afters ... even the durings.

At Friday, 27 June, 2008, Anonymous Suzy said...

I was thrilled that the Wings won the Cup on my birthday! I wish I could have gone to the parade with you.

I remember your telling me why you cheered on every driver when we were at the race in Toronto a couple of years ago, and it moved me to tears. I'm sure it was appreciated by the drivers all those years. I bet they miss you, too!



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