Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Solar Eclipse Edition

In an effort to keep the blogging rolling, I've decided to participate in Wednesday Hodgpodge questions... Solar Eclipse Edition!

1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?

We only had a partial eclipse here, and no, I didn't watch it. I have memories of the one in the early '90's, being in elementary school and they blocked the windows with black garbage bags. They really instilled a fear in me back then of damaging my eyes.  I had no special eyewear to watch the eclipse on Monday, so I stayed in the office and tried not to look out the window.  Tried.  I also learned on Monday that when someone tells me not to look at the sun, I am totally the type of person who will look at the sun.  I glanced up out of my window several times, and then spent the rest of the day waiting for my eyeballs to fall out of my head.

As I said, we only had a partial eclipse - I think 60-65% coverage - so it did get a little dark (like in the evening when the sun is starting to set) and it was kind of weird, but it was much darker yesterday morning when a storm rolled through.  All in all...nothing to write home about.

And my favourite eclipse related snack? Absolutely 100% Sun Chips.  The Harvest Cheddar kind.  And now I'm craving... 
2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?

I can't say I'm really "over the moon" about anything right now... I'll go with our girls trip to Nova Scotia.  It still feels like it's far away so I haven't really gotten super-pumped about it yet, but in reality, September is right around the corner... before we know it, we'll be flying out on the 27th!  I can't wait!

Something I do "once in a blue moon"... hmmm... blog? exercise? choose healthy food options? ha!  Actually, I go with a pedicure.  I just got one on Sunday, and it was marvellous. I don't know why I don't go more often.  Once in a blue moon for sure, but hopefully I'll train myself to go more often.
3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?

ummm... I'm not a science kid. Never have been.  Not much in that department interests me.  The stuff that does is things like aliens - extra-terrestrials. Do they exist?  Are we alone, or is there other life out there? Watching the show Colony and the movie Arrival has probably inspired this in me moreso right now. Also, I really liked The Martian - book and movie.  So, I guess space stuff is my thing.  Kinda. lol.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?

Oh God. This question makes me wanna puke.  Going back to school time was AWFUL for me.  Dreaded it.  Still do.  I didn't enjoy back-to-school shopping, I didn't get excited about going back, and the night before/first day always came with tears.  Even now, far removed from my school days, the thoughts of it makes me sad and my stomach twist painfully.  I hate back to school time. :(

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.

Faith - I am a person of quiet faith, raised to go to church, not one to rub it in anyone's face or force my beliefs on others, but to have a deep understanding, belief, and confidence in that faith.

Home - I'm not one to stray far from home, and when I do, I'm always happy -relieved, in fact - to get back.  I'm most content in my safe, secure bubble, and treasure the memories of 'home' all throughout my life thus far.

Christmas - My favourite holiday, my favourite time of year... thoughts of Christmas makes my heart sing with joy.  Christmas is totally my "thing".

Music - It's been a big part of my life, I've always enjoyed listening to live music, the radio, tapes in the car on family drives as a kid, my dad or my uncle or my cousin playing guitar.  Music definitely is part of my soul.

Babies - Strange to put this, as I don't actually have any of my own, but I love babies. Nothing brings me greater peace that holding a sleeping infant in my arms.  I have always loved babies.  Maybe someday.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday, I wrote about my disappointment with this summer and my reluctance to get excited for fall.  I don't know what has shifted in me since then, but literally 24 hours later, I can say that I WANT FALL!  Once we get over this back-to-school stuff that makes me feel squeamish, fall is one of my favourite times of year (preceded only by winter).  And I'm suddenly oh so ready for it.  I want to bust out the cozy leggings and big sweaters, I want to snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch spooky movies, I want to put on giant pots of sauce or soup and not worry about my house getting too hot.  I want leaves to change colours and I want that crisp cool air to arrive.  Bring on FALL!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rainy Tuesday Randoms

Oh, hello there, little blog.  It's been awhile.

As per usual, I had no intentions of taking an extended blog break, it just sort of...happened.  One minute, I was writing out a review of the Ed Sheeran concert in late July, and the next... sidetracked. Back-burnered. Saved for a later date.

And now, here we are. Heading into the "late August" category. Summer, it feels like we hardly knew ye.  Too much has happened in the past month to give a minute-by-minute re-cap, but here's some of the random thoughts and musings I've had since my last post on July 13th...

  • I mentioned Ed up there, and it feels to long ago to give an indepth review, but let's just say, he was awesome.  It was a whirlwind trip to Montreal to see him at the Bell Centre - there and back in less than 24 hours - but it was worth it in my books.  I regretted not seeing him the last time he was in Ottawa, and of course on this tour he didn't have an Ottawa stop, but Montreal isn't that far away.  Very happy I got to see him at least once live.  What that man can do with a mic, guitar, and a loop machine... simply amazing.
  • While Ed was fantastic, it still can't compare to the magic that was happening last summer as The Hip traveled across the country for one last tour on the news of lead singer Gord Downie's terminal brain cancer diagnosis.  The past few days, my Facebook memories from a year ago have all been Hip-related. God, what an emotional, intense, crazy time it was in my world.  Makes this summer feel lacklustre somehow.
  • I don't know why I have that feeling about this summer; like it somehow didn't live up, didn't compare, to last summer. I mean, the weather has been kind of crappy, but I've still managed to squeeze a lot of fun into the good days. I had an awesome week off for holidays, and so many other fun and happy summer moments.  I even managed to get a tan (somehow).  I don't know why I feel like this summer has passed me by too quickly, and with a sense that we've been jipped for some reason...
  • Perhaps it's the sadness. Because, despite all the high points, good moments, fun memories, there has, indeed, been sadness, too.  Two weeks ago on Saturday, I had probably one of the most blue days I've had in a long time.  First, I awoke with a splitting headache, which I wasn't used to because I haven't had bad headaches in quite awhile.  Then, late morning, my phone buzzed with a notification from the TSN app I follow with the news that former Sens GM and the pride of Shawville, Bryan Murray, had passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer.  Add to that, I kind of fell into the dark abyss of following the terrifying events that unfolded in Charlottesville that day, with Nazis and white supremacists marching in the streets... still sends a shiver down my spine.  It was a blue day.
  • One of my favourite things about the past few weeks, though, has been watching fun TV again!  As happened the first time, when I finished Prison Break the second time around, I felt so empty and convinced I'd never find a show to replace it.  I decided to move on to Colony, because it starred Sarah Wayne Callies, aka Sara Tancredi-Scofield from Prison Break.  At first, I thought I was going to love the show, but it strayed too far into sci-fi territory for my liking, and I had a hard time getting through it.  But it did the job:  it got me over Michael and Prison Break again. By the time I was done it, I was eager to move on to something else.  There were lots of shows I've watched that had new episodes that I could have jumped in to: Scandal, Suits, The Mindy Project, Bloodline... but none of them were grabbing me. (in fact, I watched one episode of Scandal and was so turned off by Fitz, whom I used to love, that it astonished me.)  I decided to go with Riverdale, and I was so glad I did.  SO much fun!  I was a big Archie comic fan as a kid, so it was a treat to see the characters brought to life, and follow the darker storyline than I ever would have read in my colourful pages as a kid.  I blew through Riverdale in less than a week.  Then last week, on the recommendation of several friends, I started Shameless.  I'm only in the early stages of Season 1, but it has definitely grabbed my attention.  Loving it too!
  • I'm disappointed that summer is winding down - it always makes me feel a little sick when back-to-school time comes around - but at the same time, I'm also kind of excited for fall.  My favourite time of year is upon us.  Cool, crisp air, crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice, cozy days in the kitchen making soup or baking, scary movies, warm clothes... mmmm... I love fall!  Add to it that we have our girls trip to Nova Scotia to look forward to at the end of September, and it almost makes me want to kick summer out the door for good.
Well, I think that's all I have for today.  Going to try hard to get back in the blogging groove again.  Hopefully see you again soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday 13: What I'm Into Lately

Hey folks!  Sorry for the lack of posting lately... I have ideas!  Lots and lots of blog post ideas!!  But, the days come and the days go and no blog posts to be found...

Today, though, I'm making myself post something.  Taking the lead from incognitusscriptor and going with a Thursday 13 of  what I've been enjoying lately...

  1. Prison Break.  Oh, I know, you've all heard me ramble about this show before.  So I promise not to get too into it now.  But I really do think this is my favourite show of all time.  I watched it several years ago and got so infatuated with it.  I was eating, drinking, sleeping Michael Scofield for weeks.  I didn't think I'd get so would up about it again the second time around, but... I did.  I am.  Just as obsessed as the first time I watched it.  I think I'm appreciating it even more this time. Already dreading it ending again... 
  2. The Beach Boys.  I fell pretty hard for the Beach Boys when I was in college.  We used to listen to their music at the apartment and dance around to it.  I went through a big retro phase around that time - thanks in large part to my friend Sara - immersing myself in Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys around that time... I was a big Dennis Wilson fan.  (and yes, I'm aware that he's dead.  Didn't matter.)  Anyways, I had kind of lost touch with my Beach Boys over the years, until recently, when Sara loaned me Mike Love's autobiography, Good Vibrations.  I'm about half-way through the book and it has once again fanned my flames for their music.  I downloaded a Greatest Hits compilation off iTunes with 50 of their best songs, and I'm listening to it steady.  Current faves: "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "Do It Again", "Rock & Roll Music", and "Sail On, Sailor".  LOVE!!!
  3. Poutine.  I don't know what the heck is wrong with me these days.  Remember super-healthy Jill?  The girl who loved quinoa and sweet potatoes and Asian pears?  Well, now she loves poutine, and only poutine.  Lots of poutine.  I eat wayyyyy too much of this Canadian delicacy.  And I need to stop it, ASAP.  But not today.  It's National French Fry Day, after all. ;)

  4. Fruit Salad.  Gotta balance out that poutine with something a little bit healthy, right?  Inspired by my friend Sharon, who had a big bowl of it on hand last week when I visited her, I made myself a giant bowl of fruit salad to keep in the fridge for snacking this week.  I made it with pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes, and added Sharon's "secret ingredient" (vanilla pudding mix combines with the juices to create a delightful light glaze), and YUM!  Easy summery treat.
  5. Reading on the deck.  I truly do get a simple pleasure from a sunny day on the deck, reading a book.  I got through a big chunk of that Beach Boys book I mentioned earlier on the deck Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately, deck time has been sparse as we're in the midst of a cool and wet summer around here.  But that makes me enjoy those relaxing times when they do come around, even more!
  6. The current colour of my nails.  Last night, Danica demanded I give her a manicure with the new nail polish Grandma let her pick out and buy while out shopping.  I loved it so much, I put it on my own fingers.  A delightfully summery shade of coral pink.
  7. I'm enjoying the anticipation of upcoming days off.  Next Wednesday, Lindsay and I are making a whirlwind trip to Montreal to see Ed Sheeran perform, something I've been looking forward to for months.  Ed is on my bucket list.  So glad I'm going to finally see him live!!  Then, at the end of the month I'll be off for a week's vacation, and even though plans are very much up in the air this year, I'm just looking forward to being off.  No alarms.  No rushing.  I'm craving a little break.
  8. Scoring deals.  Like, for Tupperware that I normally find too expensive... I've picked up quite a few pieces of Tupperware that I normally find way too expensive through some girls who are selling it locally and offering amazing prices from time to time.  I know it's worth it - my mom still has and uses many of the items she got a million years ago - but I can't rationalize it unless it's a screaming deal.  Also, a Scensty sale this week had me ordering a few new warmers.  Do I need them?  Definitely not.  But I couldn't turn down those $54 warmers on sale for less than $20!!
  9. Wildflowers.  Don't ask my why, but I'm delighting in seeing the colourful wildflowers growing in the ditches along the road I walk at lunch time.  I keep stopping to take pictures of them.  And then I'm like, "Jillian. They are weeds.  Get over it."  But... they're pretty weeds.  And they remind me of the wildflower painting I did this spring with Shannon. :)
  10. Going for ice cream.  It's one of those simple summer pleasures.  I haven't actually gone lately, but knowing it's just down the road, and any evening can result in a trip for ice cream...well, it makes me happy.
  11. Throwback Thursday photos.  On Father's Day, I sat down with some old family photo albums and made copies on my phone of some of my favourite old photos.  I've been having fun going through them each week and picking my #tbt.   Today's makes me giggle - an old photo of my dad with my cousin's pet goat, Marvin.  (at least, I think his name was Marvin.)  Marvin, a true mountain goat, used to walk along the windowsills of the house.  Moments after this photo was taken, Marvin stepped down onto the lid of the BBQ and peed all over it. Needless to say, that night's supper plans were ruined... LOL!
  12. Chips.  OK, so I love chips all the time, but I'm realizing lately how deep my appreciation is for basic, classic chip flavours.  I used to be all about "trying new chips", but now I just want my old, all-time faves.  Plain ruffles with dill pickle dip.  Or Dill Pickle flavour.  Salt & Vinegar.  Ketchup is about as wild as I want to get now.  Mmmm....chips...

  13. Zumba Country!  I haven't been doing well on the exercise front lately. It's been the summer of sloth and laziness.  So on a whim, I picked up a Zumba Country DVD, hoping it would encourage me to get my butt moving again.  I just got it on Tuesday, and already super happy with it.  I've been a Zumba fan for years, but I'm really liking the country twist.  Sort of like really fast line-dancing. haha!  So fun!
Happy Thursday, my chums!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Happy Canada Day, indeed.

Hoooo boy, getting back into routine after a long weekend is TOUGH, man.  But here we are, a short work week, Wednesday already, and I'm feeling just about back to normal. Finally.

This past weekend, our country celebrated it's 150th birthday, so there were big celebrations from coast to coast to coast, and of course, our little town was in on the action.  As usual, we celebrated a day early, my favourite way to kick off Canada Day festivities!

The weather last week left something to be desired, and I admit, when they told us to leave work early on Friday, I didn't depart with that extra skip in my step that I usually do on a long weekend.  It was pouring rain, and my heart was sinking at the thought of what a damper this was going to put on our party.  Still, I went home and immediately went about my last-minute preparations - getting my nacho dip made and the burger fixings ready, changing into my red & white, painting my nails red, and decorating my yard with my flags and pinwheels.  Late afternoon, my mom, my sister and her kids, and her MIL/my neighbour Donna all gathered at my place, and we enjoyed BBQ'd burgers and dogs, salads, chips, nacho dip, and ice cream cake for dessert, as well as a tasty Canada Day cocktail my sister had whipped up.  Yum!

Miraculously, the skies cleared in time for the parade and the sun actually came out, so we all took our lawn chairs out to the front yard and watched a fantastic parade, one of the best I've ever seen in our town!  Other friends and neighbours joined us, and we had a fantastic time waving flags and shouting "Happy Canada Day" at the folks in the parade.  It was great.

I walked down to the flag pole for the annual flag raising ceremony and singing of O Canada, then joined friends in the park as we killed time before the fireworks while their kids played and had fun with the clown.  At dusk, the fireworks were set off at the river and it was an awesome show, the best our town has ever seen.  A big thank you to the Canada Day Committee for all their hard work and fundraising for putting on such an amazing show for our community!

After the fireworks, a group of friends and I headed to the Legion where a Canada Day party was going on.  I fully intended to "go for one", and ended up "staying til 3"!!  Whoops!!  But it was such a blast.  The DJ was playing great tunes, and the drinks were going down so well.  We had lots of laughs.  So much fun!!

So, needless to say, the next day - actual Canada Day - I was a bit out of commish.  Still, I managed to get myself up and back into the red & white, and headed for Shawville where my BIL's dad was entering his classic car in their afternoon parade, and my niece and nephew were going with him.  Once again, the weather co-operated, and it was another wonderful parade.  I was happy to take in some of the celebrations in Shawville, as I don't think I've been up there for Canada Day since I was a kid.  We returned back to my mom's to eat leftovers from the night before and a Canada Day cake that my BIL had brought us. I hung in there as long as I could, but I had to take an extended nap post-supper. LOL  I woke up just in time to catch the last hour or so of festivities on TV from Parliament Hill.

Sunday was a low-key and peaceful day.  I spent the morning relaxing and catching up on Big Brother before taking advantage of a few sunny hours and cutting the grass.  The afternoon was a perfect mix of reading on the deck, napping, and watching Prison Break on Netflix.  There were STILL leftovers left from our BBQ, so I joined my mom for supper to clean up what was left, before heading back home to continue my Netflix binge.  It was exactly the kind of day I needed!

Having Monday off, I was a little disappointed that I didn't have any plans - other than laundry - but unable to come up with anything fun to do, I had resigned myself to another afternoon on the deck reading.  But then, I got a text from my friend Kerry shortly after lunch, wanting to know if I wanted to go out on the boat with them for the afternoon.  Um... yes, please!  Finally a day of super nice weather, and the chance to spend it in my happy place, on the water?  I wasn't going to say no!!  I changed into my bathing suit, packed a cooler of drinks, and headed down to meet them at the boat launch.

It was such a nice day out on the water.  I loved every minute of it.  Just before supper time, we docked the boat at friends of ours who live on the water and decided to stay for "a drink".  Well, one drink turned to two, turned to three, turned to four... and as much fun as it was, with the sun started going down, I knew I needed to bail.  Calling in "sick" Tuesday morning wasn't an option for me, and I needed to get myself to bed in order to be functional at work.  We walked down to grab food from the chipstand, and then I headed for home.  It was the perfect way to cap off the long weekend!

So, yesterday was a bit rough.  Tuesdays after a long weekend always are, so add in the touch of a hangover, and...well... I was happy when 5 o'clock rolled around!  I ate supper and read for a bit, before putting on Prison Break and promptly falling asleep on the couch.  I got all caught up on my sleep and I'm feeling much better today!!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, celebrating Canada Day or the 4th of July!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

  • I'm loving that it's almost Canada Day! One of my favourite celebrations of the year!!  Our little town always puts on a big splash for Canada Day, but we do it up the day before. I hear this year the fireworks are going to be the biggest we've ever had, and I can't wait.  I'm very much looking forward to Friday night, for the parade, fireworks, fun in the park... fingers crossed for good weather!  

  • I love that it's a long weekend coming up.  Honestly, aside from Friday night, I have zero plans - so I'm hoping something fun comes up for Saturday, which is actually Canada Day.  I have no desire to go to the Hill for the huge celebrations planned there, but maybe we can go somewhere locally - perhaps up to Shawville to check out their festivities and fireworks?  Maybe just a deck day at home, checking in on the TV to see what's up in the city? We shall see...
  • I'm loving that summer is finally here, and thinking of all the fun coming up.  Truthfully, it hasn't felt much like summer yet - it's been a rainy, cool few months around here - but I want to make the best of this summer, regardless of weather.  Simple things, like I want to go to the beach more, I want to read on the deck more, I want to eat popsicles and go for long walks and just enjoy it.  
  • I love that it's almost July, which means the Ed Sheeran concert in Montreal is just around the corner, and it also means that the Quyon Tractor & Truck Pull is coming up!  It falls on my birthday weekend, so I'm VERY excited for my "birthday party" this year!!!
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE PRISON BREAK YOU GUYS!!!  I think the addiction is just as bad the second time around as it was the first.  It's been several years since I watched it originally, and I had forgotten so much of what happens.  I'm sucked right back in again, watching 3-4 episodes a night.  I just started Season 3 last night, and it's already making me sad to think of it ending.  I have a feeling the withdrawals are going to be just as bad as the first time... I literally fantasize about Michael all the time!
  • Loving that I'm dabbling a little in writing some fan fiction.  It's something I've done a little bit in the past, especially with Twilight, but I haven't done any in a long time.  Now I'm writing again; this time about Michael and Sara.  While the show centers on the craziness of breaking out of prison (several times) and the two of them struggling to be together and have a normal life despite the many obstacles they face, I've always loved the thought of the two of them leaving all the mayhem behind and just being a normal, happy, married couple.  Which is what I've been writing about.  And it's
  • Oh, I almost forgot!  My new favourite song!  After seeing Imagine Dragons perform their new song "Thunder" on Jimmy Fallon last week, I went immediately to download it, and I've been listening to it non-stop every since.  I LOVE this song!!!
  • It's still a long way off yet, but I love thinking about our girls trip to Nova Scotia in September.  I can't wait!!!
What are YOU loving this Wednesday??  :)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Reasons Why This Hasn't Been the Best Week of My Life

  • Marc Methot was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL expansion draft.  And I was NOT happy about it.
  • Erik Karlsson didn't win the Norris Trophy.  Some goofy looking beast of a guy with a gigantic beard, no front teeth, and a MAN-BUN beat him.  After EK's best season EVER.  I don't even understand what is going on with the world.
  • Jimmy Fallon grew a mustache.#summerofstache #notafan
  • I've been trying to decide who's my favourite hockey player: Bobby Ryan or Mark Stone.  And I can't decide. I feel so off-kilter, not knowing who my favourite hockey player is!!!

  • Kids in our town (and I'm making an assumption when I say "kids") have decided to tear up the flower planter boxes around town a few nights in a row.  And that just drives me bananas.  People say we have nothing nice in this town, but when people make an effort to do something nice, it is destroyed.  If I ever catch them, let me tell you...
  • I haven't had nearly enough time with Michael Scofield this week.
  • Did I mention Marc Methot?  Gone to Vegas?  Seriously.  HOW did this happen??  I'm soooo not impressed.
So, yes, I've been a wee bit disgruntled.  But there's good news.  It's Friday.  I have a relaxing, fun weekend ahead.  And it's raining, which I enjoy.  Sets me up perfectly for my quiet Friday night in, watching Prison Break and movies.  

It'll get better.

Happy Friday friends!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

That time I met Chris Neil

Yesterday, we learned that the Ottawa Senators are going to part ways with popular veteran tough guy, Chris Neil.

Upon hearing the news, I was struck with a pang of sadness and regret.  Chris Neil was the last player remaining from what I consider "The Senators of yore" - the team I cheered for in my teens and early adult years that consistently made the playoffs, two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, and one kick at the Stanley Cup.  Despite this past season of success and making the Conference Finals for the first time in 10 years, I consider those my "Glory Years" as a Sens fan.  And Chris Neil was a big part of that.

Sidenote: Remember when I said this current group of Senators and their awesome playoff run had turned me back into a diehard fan?  Well, life was much easier when I was NOT.  I mean, sure, I still would have been sad to hear that Chris Neil was leaving no matter what, but the offseason is one of turmoil and anxiety for diehard fans.  I'm even worrying about Dion Phaneuf.  DION PHANEUF!  Imagine! *sigh*

Anyways.  Back to Neiler.  This guy has been a life-long Senator.  He has played 1026 games for the red, black & gold.  He has been a huge part of the community, and a fan favourite for his 16 seasons here.

He's also one of the very few Ottawa Senators players I've met in person.

I will always remember that night back in November 2011, out for Krista's Bachelorette Party in the city, and our first stop at the Crazy Horse in Kanata.  I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I hadn't noticed that one of the guys sitting at a table across the room was someone I should have recognized very quickly.  Luckily, there were other girls in the group who had scoped him out, and quickly word spread that Chris Neil was in the house.

Several of the girls, including the bride-to-be, had approached him, and word on the street was that he wasn't in the most friendly mood that evening.  I had made up my mind I was going nowhere near him - I didn't want to be one of "those" fans - but Krista was having none of that.  After trying to convince me to go up and say hi several times, she finally grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me across the room, pushing everyone in our path out of the way, loudly declaring, "Excuse me Chris Neil, this is my friend Jillian and she's the biggest Sens fan I know, will you pleeeeeeeease get up and take a picture with her??"

Dude was not impressed.  He had to make his buddies shuffle out of the booth they were sitting in to get out (probably strategic, to avoid moments like this), plus he also had a bum ankle (the reason he wasn't in Vancouver with the rest of the team that night).  Everyone knows "celebrities" don't like being bothered by fans when they're out, just trying to have dinner or a few drinks with their friends, and I truly was very sorry that he was basically being forced into a photo op with me.  But hey, it was a Bachelorette party.  Did he really think a bunch of Pontiac girls were going to notice him and turn a blind eye?  pfffft.

I had met my all-time favourite player Wade Redden ten years prior to this, and literally became a dumb mute the moment I got near him.  He asked me questions, and I could not speak.  Literally could not.  Years later, after he was out of the NHL, I spotted him at the Bayshore shopping center, and creepily stalked him from a distance by snapping blurry far-away photos of him while he was in line at Booster Juice.

So I was proud that this time, with Chris Neil, I found my tongue.  Although all I recall saying, over and over, was, "I'm sorry, Chris Neil.  I'm so sorry."

To Chris Neil's credit, he chippered up once he got up and ready for the photo.  As I kept repeating apologies to him over and over, he chuckled, and reassured me it was no big deal.  He smiled for the camera, and I remember putting my hand on his back and literally being in heaven.

SO glad Krista made me go over there for that picture.

Fast-forward to this past season.  It was a delight to be invited to a Sens game by my friend Sharon one night in December, as she had scored tickets to a game that turned out to be the celebration of Chris Neil's 1000th game in a Sens uniform.  Quite an accomplishment, and I was thrilled to be there for the pre-game ceremony honouring him and celebrating his milestone occasion.  A Senator to be proud of, and extra-special in my books because of that night when he so graciously - though he really didn't want to - got up from his meal and drinks with his buddies, and took a picture with a desperately apologetic fan.

Last night, when I got home from work, I went to throw my sweater on the armchair just inside my living room, and realized I still had the Chris Neil 1000th game towel draped across the arm of the chair, exactly where I had left it the night we got home from that game.  My heart gave an extra little squeeze.

I wish he could have retired here, but totally understand his desire to play the game he loves, which is something the Sens could no longer offer him.  I hope he will find a team that will allow him to do just that, and I wish him all the success in the world.

Cheers to #25.  One of the very best.