Archives for category: Friends

My best friend is coming into town this weekend, and I’m taking her to see the Bruins play the Capitals on Saturday night at the Garden. Beth, like me, grew up going to the occasional Adirondack Red Wings game in Glens Falls, so she knows the game, but I wanted to make sure she knew the particular team for which she will be cheering come Saturday.

Beth’s Guide to Boston Bruins Hockey is the result. I present it here to help anyone else making the trip to see the team during the 2010-2011 season.

BETH’S GUIDE TO BOSTON BRUINS HOCKEY

I. The Players: Offense

  • 11 – Gregory Campbell (LW): Soupy. New to us this season (from Florida). Scrappy player who plays on the Fourth (Merlot) Line. He’s known as the Good Campbell in Boston. His father, anti-Boston league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, is known as the Bad Campbell in Boston.
  • 17 – Milan Lucic (LW): Looch. Leading scorer who plays on the First Line. Physical player whose clip of him slamming someone into the glass (which then breaks) is played approximately 700 times during a Bs game – and it’s awesome every time. People aren’t booing him – he’s the Kevin Youkilis of the Bruins.
  • 18 – Nathan Horton (RW): Doesn’t have a nickname, but that didn’t stop him from getting off to an amazing start for the team. Is smiling about 78 percent of the time. New to us this season (from Florida). If he scores, you’ll see a girl hold up a sign that says “Horton hears a woo!” I would like to note that I tweeted that before she made the sign. Lesson learned: Always make a sign.
  • 19 – Tyler Seguin (C/W): The Chosen One. You can tell when he’s on the ice because there’s a glow around his head and angels start singing. He’s also super wicked fast, dude.
  • 20 – Daniel Paille (LW): Just call him Trade Bait – everyone else does. Good player, but hasn’t had much of a chance to fit into the mix this season. I don’t expect him to be here much longer.
  • 22 – Shawn Thornton (LW): The single greatest offensive talent on the NHL ice today. The Human Highlight Reel. The Sniper. The Kevin Millar of the Bruins, and I mean that as a compliment. He’s the consummate Bruin and we love him for it.
  • 26 – Blake Wheeler (RW): Wheels. A 6’5 guy with a nasty habit of playing like he’s only 5’10. Having a much better season than last year and is starting to hit his stride. That said, if the Bruins are ever called for offsides, assume that the guy standing alone on the ice with a confused look on his face is Blake Wheeler. Nine times out of ten, it is.
  • 28 – Mark Recchi (LW): Rex. He’s 42 years old, which is about 97 in NHL years, but he’s still kicking the ass of kids half his age or younger. The elder statesman of the NHL and we’re lucky he’s on our side. He’s a wine guy and swears by two glasses of red wine every day. He’s holding onto a 1970 bottle of wine for when he wins his next Stanley Cup. I love this man.
  • 37 – Patrice Bergeron (C): Bergy. Brilliant talent, one of the team leaders. Fast, great with the shot or dishing it off for an assist. When he has the puck, you feel good about it.
  • 46 – David Krejci (C): One of the three most popular sweaters seen at the Garden any given night (along with Looch and Savard). Young, quick, working brilliantly with Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic on the First Line. He’s the reason Section 313 will one day get that “Czech Re-pub-lic” chant going.
  • 63 – Brad Marchand (RW): New to us and a strong member of the Merlot Line. He’s the Dustin Pedroia of the Bruins – always pestering, always jumping in to get the puck. That’s why I call him Scrappy. No one else does – yet. Just you wait and see.
  • 73 – Michael Ryder (RW): Rides. He might as well have been called Casper last season, because he was practically invisible. He’s having a decent season so far, working with Blake Wheeler to become the most unexpected offensive pairing of the season. But he’s a frequently mentioned trade possibility. He’s also our age, so I have a soft spot for him.
  • 91 – Marc Savard (C): Savvy. Traditionally the Bruins’ top playmaker, Savvy was the one who was leveled with that horrible hit by Matt Cooke last season. He’s only just gotten back into the mix, but he’s getting his feet back beneath him. He’s more fond of passing than shooting. I’m waiting for the day he has a penalty shot and he dishes it off by accident. It’ll happen. He also tends to stick his tongue out as he’s playing. I just find it funny.

II. The Players: Defense

  • 21 – Andrew Ference (D): Captain Planet, Firefly. This guy is having an amazing year, which is nice because he’s battled injury in the past. Tends to be paired with Zdeno Chara, which makes him look as if he’s about 4’11. Hasn’t scored a goal since dinosaurs roamed the planet, but we remain optimistic that it’ll happen. When it does, Laura might actually cease to be. But she’ll die happy. He also recycles, composts, and rides a bike whenever he can. He’d be the Bruin most at home in Vermont.
  • 33 – Zdeno Chara (D): Z. He’s the captain of the team. At 6’9, he’s defying physics every single time he skates, but it’s awesome. He has the hardest slap shot in hockey, clocked somewhere around 104 mph. What I’m saying is that you don’t want to make him angry. Logs the most ice time of the team each game.
  • 44 – Dennis Seidenberg (D): Most people call him Sides, but we call him Wardo in 313 because he took over the 44 sweater in Aaron Ward’s absence. One of the best shot blockers in the game, he’s a great denfenseman AND a guy who almost always seems to wind up with an assist when a Bruin scores. He also scored the funniest goal of the season thus far. We like him immensely.
  • 45 – Mark Stuart (D): Stu, Stuey, Tango. A hockey player’s hockey player who plays hurt, dives in front of shots, wrecks the opposition, and still stops in his sensible SUV to sign autographs for people despite the fact that his signing hand is broken. But you know all this, Beth. I’m sorry you won’t be able to see him play this time around. Next time. In other words, my favorite Bruin.
  • 47 – Steve Kampfer (D): Kampfer got the call up when Stu went down. I was psyched because I loved him during training camp. He’s more of a puck-moving defenseman, while Stu stays at home, but he’s already making a great contribution to the team after three games and he’s going to have a great career.
  • 54 – Adam McQuaid (D): Killer McQuaid. Young, physical guy who tends to be paired with Stu when Stu’s not busy healing bones at a freakish pace.
  • 55 – Johnny Boychuk (D): Boych. This guy’s just great. I could tell you about the way he’s a solid component of penalty kills and power plays, or the way he’s physical, or his strong slapshot. But instead know that he’s going to have a wonderful career as a Bruin and I look forward to following him. He’s also a female fan favorite. Let’s face it: Dude’s hot.

III. The Players – Goal

  • 30 – Tim Thomas (G): UVM’s finest product, Tim Thomas is the Black and Gold Ninja. Had the most atypical journey leading to the NHL, won the award for best goalie in the league two seasons ago (the Vezina – pronounced “VEZ-na” – Trophy), had a tough time last season because of a hip injury, and now is back and playing like he’s a solid decade younger. Tim Thomas is the reason the Bs have as good a record as they have this year. He makes me proud to have grown up in Vermont.
  • 40 – Tuukka Rask (G): Tuuuuuuuuuuukka. Hasn’t gotten as much play this season, thanks to Thomas’ resurgence, but he had an amazing rookie season last year. We love Tuukka. You should, too.

IV. The Coach

  • Claude Julien: If the Bruins are playing well, Claude Julien is a genius. If they’re not, Claude Julien should be fired. That’s all you need to know, according to Boston sports fans and radio talk show hosts.

V. The Garden

  • Rene Rancourt tends to the sing the National Anthem. I want him to sing the National Anthem at my wedding – and I’m only half joking. He shows up in a tux, belts out the tune, pumps his fist, takes four steps back, spins around, and walks off the ice. Rene is a Garden favorite and if he’s singing Saturday, you’ll see why.
  • When the Bruins score, the announcement of the scorer and assists is followed with a “WOO!” Learn it, live it, love it. May you hear it many times on Saturday.
  • There’s a guy who sits a section over (to our left) who starts screaming “Let’s Go Bruins.” We clap along and start to chant because, as you’ll hear, it sounds like his vocal cords might snap every single time. We do what we can to prevent that.
  • There are Ice Girls. They show up in skimpy outfits and throw t-shirts wrapped like Chipotle burritos. You’re encouraged to judge them.
  • You’ll be seeing the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin sucks, by which I mean that he’s known as one of the best players in all of hockey. Man, he sucks.
  • Whether the Bruins are winning or losing, the Garden is one of the best places to be. The people who are there, especially the people around where we sit, know and love the game and the team. There’s a lot of heart at the Garden and that heart bleeds black and gold.


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My Chicago Marathon training process has given me the chance to do many things. I’ve been doing yoga, strength training, cross training. I laughed my way through a Crunch dance DVD the other day–I’m sure there’s nothing funnier than the sight of this girl trying to unleash some funk dance moves.

My favorite part, however, has been running or otherwise training with friends. My friend Emilee, who will also be crossing the finish line at Grant Park on October 10, has been absolutely remarkable during our yoga sessions, training runs, and pool-running sessions. And my friend Ashley has become a recent addition to the training process, as she and I have started taking on morning runs.

This morning, we set out for a quick 5K around my work neighborhood. We ran and caught up on how we’ve each been doing, and I was so impressed that we were rocking an early morning run. After bidding her farewell for the day, taking a quick shower, and transitioning into work mode, I was feeling pretty outstanding and with it as I made a quick dash across the street to get myself a latte and breakfast. Look at me, able to work in early-morning time with a friend, while running and gearing up for a busy day of work, then play …

That’s when I picked up my latte and the bag with my bagel in it, turned around …

… and ran smack into a tall drink cooler.

Mary Tyler Moore, I’m clearly not.

I could tell you about how the first three miles of my race on Sunday were actually downright pleasant – that the skies were overcast and there was a breeze that, coupled with the 9 a.m. start time, helped me forget that I was running on a day expected to reach the 90s. That the sun came out during the loop back, which wound us through the surprisingly quaint town square of Foxborough and past cheering fans waving signs. That there was a glorious saint of a woman who sat on her lawn in a chair, grinning as she squeezed the handle on her hose and sprayed us grateful runners with ice cold water as we moved past.

But I’d rather just tell you about the end.

After six miles, my friend Kim and I (who had wound up running within sight of each other over the course of the entire 1oK) kept telling ourselves to converse a little bit of energy. “Wait for it. Wait for it,” we repeated as we watched the lights and stands of Gillette Stadium grow larger and larger. We held back as we ran past Bill Rodgers, who was cheering on fans near the back entrance to the stadium parking lot. We held back as I tried to find “Crazy Train” on my iPod, settling for “Motownphilly” instead. And we held back as we wound our way around the final bends…

…through Gate 8…

…and as we approached The Helmet.

And then, after slapping the side of The Helmet like we’ve seen them do from our various spots in the stands over the years, Kim and I emerged from the tunnel, arms raised, and then booked it. An all-out, leave-it-on-the-field 50-yard dash where we blew past our fellow runners and raced each other to the end. We crossed the finish line at the same time. Kim unleashed her best Randy Moss and we dropped to make Welker-approved snow angels in the endzone (verdict: awesome, yet scratchy and HOT on the turf in July).

That dash – and 10K that preceded it – left me breathless in the short term. It put me out of commission later in the day, when I took what was supposed to be an hour-long break from barbecue and revelry and fell asleep until 2 a.m. But it was a moment of pure fun and adrenaline in which I had such a sudden spike of runner’s high, feeling strong, powerful, and amazingly alive.

I sat on my porch early yesterday evening, reading my book as I listened to the breeze moving through the trees and the squeals of little children at the barbecue across the street. I’d just gotten back from my own holiday gatherings, where I enjoyed homemade sangria, pastries from the North End, and perhaps the richest (and warmest and best and most amazingly sinful, thanks to Mark’s decision to incorporate four kinds of chocolate) brownies I’ve ever tasted. I ate too much and felt absolutely no remorse. I can be in training mode all I want, but nothing counts on holidays. And even if it does, I just don’t care.

It was a heavenly three-day weekend, the kind that I wish I could bottle up and save for a cruel and bitter Tuesday in, say, February. Memorial Day weekend was a great example of why living in New England through all of those cold months is ultimately worthwhile.

It was warm without being uncomfortably hot. I worked, I played, and I was even able to get enough sleep for once. I picked up a new pair of Chuck Taylors. I spent a little time in the Green Monster. I took in live music. I bought the bag I thought I’d coveted and lost (Brooklyn Industries H Bag. I’d been longing for it since I saw reference on Petit Hiboux. I knew I needed it in my life once I saw an owl print. I went to buy it online and it was sold out. But there’s now a store on Newbury Street!). I went for my first Five Squares run of the 2010 training season* and felt great. My roommate and I happened upon an amazing farm and market in Lexington, where I bought kale and later baked kale chps. And did I mention that there were four kinds of chocolate in those brownies?

At one point during the weekend – Friday night, I believe – I walked through Davis Square on my way home. The air smelled like the waffle cones being served at JP Lick’s. Christmas lights twinkled in the tree branches as people sat on benches or milled about. The busker with a penchant for Simon and Garfunkel – more due to an appreciation for Art than that for Paul – was humming the opening to “America.” People were filing in and out of the Somerville Theatre or riding their bikes along the streets. And as I took this all in, it almost seemed impossible to grasp that this was my neighborhood: my quirky, cool, comfortable, and altogether charming nook of the world. And that I might get frustrated with life sometimes, but overall? I have it amazingly good.

*Five Squares runs feature travel through Davis, Porter, Harvard, Central and Kendall squares.

October 2004 brings many things to mind for people, particularly those who live in the Northeast. Glee. Disbelief. Tears. Miracles. Curses. Coffee. Bleary eyes. Relief. Misery–if you like pinstripes. Coffee.

(Yes, I mentioned coffee twice. Those were late nights and early mornings.)

In addition to the obvious things that come to mind–duck boats, deadlines, and comebacks–October 2004 brings two things to mind . I think of the way the crowd with whom I watched Game 4 groaned when the second out was recorded in the bottom of the ninth inning–victory was so close, but we’d all been trained to expect the worst in such situations. We all reacted in the exact same way.

The other thing that comes to mind, however, has nothing to do with baseball. I think of Crossfire.

Back in October, while the Yankees were confidently dismantling the Sox in the ALCS, Beth and I were in DC for a long weekend. It had been my first trip to Washington since moving back to Vermont and we were each catching up with our various Washington connections. It was at the end of a Capitol tour–when I was busy laughing over how much I remembered from my own Cap tour-giving days–that someone approached us with a question:

Would we be interested in two complimentary tickets to that afternoon’s taping of Crossfire?

Let’s stop and pause for laughter. Crossfire. During vacation.

Needless to say, we declined. We enjoyed most of the rest of the visit, if you ignore the debacle that was watching the Sox hit rock bottom during a night out at the Brass Monkey, and then we returned to Vermont.

That’s when we heard about the episode of Crossfire we’d missed. And the guest that day. The same guest who was on the cover of Rolling Stone I’d brought with me on the trip. The man who rivaled Josh Lyman for top status as my intellectual crush.

My reaction to this realization, as you’d understand, was displeasure. Epic, FML, why-do-the-fates-hate-me displeasure.

Ever since, I’ve tried to make things right again, to get my Jon Stewart moment.

Five and a half years–and two Red Sox world championships–later, my moment arrived. After an early morning, a bus ride, dashes through the rain, and a few hours spent standing in line across from a furniture shop in Hell’s Kitchen, I got my Jon Stewart fix.

It was worth the wait.

To understand just how sensational the experience of attending a Daily Show with Jon Stewart taping was, look over my description of the day again. T ride, bus ride, walking in rain, subway ride, more walking, hours standing in line, 35 minutes of Daily Show taping, immediate post-taping walk to Times Square, subway ride, bus ride, T ride home. I left my apartment sometime around 6 am and returned around 1 am. All for 35 minutes of sharp and savvy filming. And it was worth every moment of travel. And while the talent performing was impressive enough, it was seeing Stewart watch the news that was my favorite part. He was into every single moment, whether the camera was on him or not.

And he was on, from the moment he bounded out onto the set for the pre-show Q&A. Sharp, witty, brilliantly sarcastic, and just what I’d hoped he would be.

Five a half years after the Crossfire Incident of 2004, much has changed in my life. And yet I’m still the girl who’s giggling over the anchor of a fake news show. And he’s still duking it out with Josh Lyman for top spot on my intellectual crush list.

Some things don’t change. Nor would I want them to.

“I mean this as a compliment,” I said, settling into my seat at Flour, the South End bakery a short walk from the brownstone where Nicole and I used to live with one awesome cat and one pitiful excuse for a human being. I now live across the river; she now lives halfway across the country. “If I were with anyone else and all this had happened today, it would be an epic fail. But given that it’s you, it’s fantastic.”

Five minutes into our afternoon together, I’d taken a tumble on ice and sustained the jams to both of my wrists and arms that made it difficult to lift my bag, take off my jacket, open the car door and just about anything else I wanted to do. She’d sustained her own injury, with blood appearing on her leg. We were both exhausted, had nearly gotten lost traveling in the city, couldn’t find a quarter for the meter to save our lives and had hit our heads against car windows and walls.

We were walking distasters – which means that we’d bascially taken all of the misadventures and injuries we’ve always encountered together and condensed them into one glorious, fabulous screw-up of an afternoon.

I had one of my favorite people sitting across the table. I was enjoying banana bread, she had a cupcake. Despite the fact that I couldn’t lift my latte without wincing, things felt just right.

(via Facebook)

Dana: Leave it to the Bruins goalie to give up a goal in a shutout bid.
Victoria: Deflected off the defenseman!
D: That comment just deflected off of my defenseman.
V: That comment just scored a goal against Finland.