Apres-hockey

1310 News

 

Great news!  I’ll be on the Ed Hand Show on 1310 News Radio on Monday November 16, 2015 between 12:30-1:00PM

We will be chatting about hockey mom stuff and my book, “Offside by a Mile – Confessions of a Hockey Mom”

Listen live here!

(Photo credit to Godello.ca)

(Photo credit to Godello.ca)

For some reason, hockey moms have a teensy weensy reputation for drinking. I sure I didn’t start it but may have contributed to that rumour over the course of my hockey mom years. Perhaps it comes from that little shot of brandy in the coffee to get you through a 6AM practice or maybe the Canadian beer smuggled across the border for the Rochester tournament or very likely having to squeeze a dozen or so women into a hotel room to socialize. Whatever the reason, there’s usually a good story.

I realize it’s just the beginning of the hockey season and nothing could have possibly gone wrong yet, right? But once in a while, a hockey mom’s day goes so terribly offside that some liquid relief is necessary. The inspiration for this post came from a viral posting on some pretty hysterical wine pairings written by Jeff W. As a veteran hockey mom, I’m here to help with your hockey mom wine pairings.

The setting:  You’ve been driving through blinding snow all the live-long day and finally get to the hotel. You do not want to be asked, “Do you have a reservation?” Obviously you have a reservation. You’re also obviously the last one here since the only parking spot left is in another time zone. There were no trolleys in the lobby, they’re all the second floor being used as bumper cars by the three Atom teams staying there. As you approach the front desk whisking sopping wet hair away from your eyes, breathlessly muttering, “Ughhh what a drive! I cannot wait to get out of these clothes,” to the front desk clerk, who peers over a computer with apathy since you’ve obviously interrupted a really good part of episode two of season seven of Grey’s Anatomy. “I don’t seem have a reservation for you. Are you sure you’re at the right hotel?” Oh, dear God.

The Drink: Crown Royal Special Reserve

Pairs nicely with desperation and lost hotel reservations

The setting: Somehow you’ve driven all the way to the hockey arena without your child’s hockey stick. It’s their job to put it in the car right? So if their signature top-shelf wrist shot doesn’t make its mark because they had to borrow their teammate’s back up stick which is either three sizes too small or too large, that is not your problem.

The Drink:  Three Sticks 2012 Chardonnay

Pairs nicely with incessant nagging

The setting: You’re sitting through your third minor hockey game of the day. Now you’ve been tossed out of a game by the referee. You’re not THAT hockey parent, you’ve never been THAT hockey parent – something just snapped. Call it exhaustion. Call it frustration. But call a spade a spade – it was still inexcusable. Now you’re totally embarrassed and you just want to slink into the back seat of your car and cool your jets … and steal the fifth of vodka from your oldest son’s backpack. You’ll like this one – just don’t drink the whole bottle and then go back into the arena to apologize.

The drink:          Polar Ice Vodka (best consumed right out of the bottle)

Pairs nicely with remorse and embarrassment

The setting: Your child has just advanced to the next round of playoff hockey. This is entirely unexpected given their regular season play but – still – you’re really excited for them. Until you discover that the playoff games conflict with the girls’ weekend you’ve been planning for months (assuming the hockey season would be over). After 80 emails you’ve come to the realization that there’s no changing the date. You’re just going to have to suck it up and tell your husband he’s on his own.

The drink: Dog House White VQA (husbands are equally if not more familiar with this varietal)

Pairs nicely with – um – being in the dog house.

So as you can see, I am clearly an expert hockey oenologist. Let me help you! Whatever your hockey mom situation, I am certain I can find the drink for you! Leave your hockey mom traumas in the comments and I will prescribe the right remedy for you. Oh, and cheers, by the way!!

 

Please drink responsibility and know your options for getting home from hockey safely!

 

There is so much planning that goes into a guys’ weekend away. The date is chosen months in advance to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with anything important going on with work or with family. If it does, it might become necessary to reschedule, setting off a series of emails to put forth alternative dates to everyone attending. Accommodation is carefully selected to ensure a wide range of tastes and budgets are taken into consideration. One of the men is charged with arranging all the restaurant reservations, being mindful of everyone’s medical conditions and dietary restrictions (though thankfully this task is rotated I believe to make sure not one person is doing it every time). And certainly it’s a big chore to make sure any excursions that are booked suit a wide variety of interests within the group of weekend warriors as well.

The entire week prior to the boys’ weekend away is devoted to doing laundry making sure that not only all his clothes are washed for the weekend in order to have maximum personal choices when packing but that all the clothes of his family are also washed and folded. It can be tricky organizing rides for all his kids to any of their weekend activities for which his wife might have a conflict. The last minute grocery shopping and meal preparation is exhausting but necessary as well so that the wife doesn’t resort to take-out for three meals in a row.

I can only imagine how tricky it must be for dads to constantly have to quarterback the social lives of their kids over the weekend through numerous back and forth texts granting permission to do this but forbidding to do that.

And that ultimate sacrifice of precious “me” time he devotes during his weekend getaway shopping for that special little trinket that made him think of his, ever so grateful for her efforts during his absence? That is priceless.

Luckily we women have it so much easier. We just grab our clothes and go.

suitcase

Photo credit to cbc.ca

(Photo credit to cbc.ca)

I love to read. I don’t get near enough free time to just … read. Sometimes, if I hear rain upon waking, I silently make a pact with myself that I’m just going to spend the day in the warmth and comfort of my bed and read all day. Then I realize it’s a weekday and I have to get to work. Or it’s the weekend, and I have about a million and a half chores and errands to tend to.

Still.

My favourite genre is historical fiction which takes me away from my current world and bends my mental senses every which way. I also love humour which bends my mouth and abs in every which way. The one genre of writing I stay away from is non-fiction. It’s way too much like the real world. Oh, I see. It is the real world. Maybe that’s why I don’t like it. I need to escape. Fiction and humour do that for me

So it came as a shock to me when I looked back on my list of summer reads and realized that the majority of books I read were non-fiction. I hope this doesn’t mean I’m growing up or something.

I read “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed mostly because I really liked the picture of the shoe on the front cover. Also because since reading Jane Christmas’s “What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim” I’ve wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago. But that’s in Spain and really far away. After reading “Wild”, I really wanted to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. And you know what happens next, right? I’m going to read “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson and want to walk the Appalachian Trail. Can someone please just write a book about that short cut trail to the liquor store in Manotick? Did I mention I’m not a hiker? Anyway, I couldn’t put the book down. Maybe it was like fiction to me because I’m never actually going to do anything like that.

Then I read “A House in the Sky” by Amanda Lindhout about a Canadian sort-of journalist who spent over a year as a hostage in Somalia. In part, this book ticked me off because listen, Amanda, I’ve been trying to teach my kids that there’s no short cuts to international fame and here you go and try take a short cut because no journalist would step foot in Somalia unless Oprah invited them. The seemingly endless nightmare she put her parents through as a result of her stupidity still stuns me. Yet she and her co-author Sara Corbett retell an experience that is terrifying and spellbinding. Amanda’s resilience and will to survive are nothing short of extraordinary. And as a mom, I just couldn’t put it down until I knew she was ok. I think her mom should write a book too. Wait. No.

And because a terrifying hostage story wasn’t summer-y and fluffy enough, I read “A Storm Too Soon” by James Tougias about a daring Coast Guard rescue off the coast of North Carolina after a freak storm caused a sailing vessel to capsize throwing its crew of three into a little itty bitty life raft amongst the 80 foot waves. Another page turner that I couldn’t put down until I was satisfied that everyone was safe. A special treat for me, though, was that I got to meet one of the survivors Rudy Snell who is from Ottawa and happens to be a neighbour of one of my book club friends. Oh yeah – and I’m never going sailing again.

Finally … finally … I finally read a book that wasn’t all about disaster and the wild outdoors. I read “Let’s Discuss Diabetes” by David Sedaris. Yes it’s non-fiction but it was funny. Oh he is a humour master, that David. It was so funny in fact that I was reading sections of it out loud to my family on the dock at the cottage this summer. (I got to spend a bit more time on the dock by myself pretty soon. It’s a good tactic if you want some alone time I’ve come to realize!)

I don’t think I’ve read four non-fiction books in my life and here I’ve cram them all into one summer. That’s ok. I’ve amassed a little army of historical fiction and humour books that will get me through this dreary winter.

But before that, go on! I urge you to go read these books before I change my mind about nonfiction!

What was on your reading list this summer (and spare me the non-fiction)?

A video I saw recently on Facebook called, “Sh%t Southern Woman Say”, filled with bless-her-heart after bless-her-heart, had me thinking of all the Canadian colloquialisms I use (bless my heart). I thought of making a really excellent video called “Sh%t Canadian Women Say” that I’m sure would go viral, but let’s just say I prefer the modest medium of writing medium to – you know – filming myself!

Without even mentioning any proclivity to anything hockey, you know you’re a Canadian when –

  • There’s more to a case of beer than the beer! I swear to God a good part of my husband’s wardrobe came with a case of beer – or rather a 2-4. His nieces refer to him as that uncle. And speaking of beer, when someone tells me the beer store is kitty-corner from the liquor store, I know exactly where that liquor store is. (Though I honestly cannot remember the last time I had to ask anyone where the liquor store was!)
  • KDCanadianisms in gastronomy are pretty universal now thanks to the internet. But I do think finding a proper poutine, tourtière, beavertails, Lay’s ketchup chips, Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, and Kraft Dinner (or KD) outside our borders is not an easy achievement.
  • Tim Horton’s coffee shops have their own lexicon entirely. You simply don’t live in this country if you don’t know what a double-double is. And of course this time of year with their Rrrrroll up the Rrrrrim to win campaign, dumpster-diving takes on entirely new meaning – for that’s what you do when you realize you’ve thrown out your Timmie’s without Rrrrolling up the Rrrrim to check out your prize (which is usually a message of pure hope: Please Play Again)!
  • It’s funny enough that the Canadian one dollar coin is called a loonie (because most in circulation have the common loon on them) but what gives with calling the two dollar coin a toonie (that’s right – it’s spelled toonie not twonie)? Most toonies have a picture of a polar bear on them (because while there might be real loons around Canada, the toon is rather rare and endangered, I guess). Are we that lazy? Could we not have called it the polar coin? “Got any polar bears on ya?”
  • When I was a teenager I never snuck a fifth of rum into a hockey game. Never! Now a mickey of rum? That’s a different story! (I just don’t remember it.)
  • And when we got married, our friends planned my husband’s ‘stag’ and my ‘doe’ – not our bachelor and bachelorette parties. CBC should consider getting in on this Bachelor TV viewing crowd with a new show. Seriously! Who wouldn’t tune into a show called The Stag! Americans would be buying satellite TV by the millions!
  • And I know I said I wouldn’t mention hockey but my kids all knew the local rink rat by his first name. In fact, they knew a few rink rats by their first names!
  • And because it’s February, and it’s minus stupid cold outside, and people are making plans for March Break (not ‘spring’ break), here’s one more final iconic Canadian activity: you don’t need to bring your tuque on your trip to Cuba!

Bless your Oh Canada, bless your heart!

heart shaped Cdn flag

Two guys run into each other in the doorway of a Tim Horton’s coffee shop; one leaving and one arriving. One guy says, “After you…” to which the first responds, “No, after you …”

And there ensues The Great Canadian Stand-Off where our national proclivity to politeness and addiction to Tim Horton’s coffee, collide.  You know this could go on long enough that the required twenty minutes sitting time of Timmies coffee would expire and I would have to wait for a fresh pot to brew. Someone would have to break the stalemate.

Might as well be me.

Between my thirst for a Double-Double Dark (not to mention my need to go pee after my last Double-Double Dark) and my son’s yearning for a maple dip (do you need Eh dictionary yet?), we were not above trampling Canadian ideals and pitching forth through these blocked doors.

We waited a respectable thirty seconds and one more round of “No, I insist …” and “No, really … you go first” before I barged in between them and scurried to the ladies room.

But not without voicing a quick, “’Scuse me! Sorry!” over my shoulder, of course!

Canadians.

What can you do, eh?

I just want you to know I’m not one of those hockey moms

But sometimes I wish I was.

My daughter’s team was in a hockey tournament recently in Cornwall and alongside the usual pre-game superstitions (mostly her), chips and wine in bed (mostly me) and juicing up the Jambox (both of us), her team made it to the semi-finals of the tournament – a game that they , the Hungry Hippos,  sadly lost to hometown rivals, The Ugly Pucklings (the nicknames girls’ hockey teams give themselves is an entirely different blog post).

One of her round robin games saw them play a team from the Outaouais region just across Quebec border from Ottawa. It was not a pretty game. We tied 1-1 but not before our trainer had to tend to two Hippos who’d been checked by girls on this team (girls hockey is non-contact by rule but not always in practice), and saw the opposing team accumulate 8 minor penalties in one game. I’m don’t think my daughter’s  team accumulated 8 minor penalties in the entire season last year. To make matters worse, one of their team members accumulated 5 of those penalties, and the coach then saw it fit to nominate her for player of the game. Not only is that bad coaching and parenting, but let’s agree that that is bad everything.

It was one of those games that gives hockey a bad reputation. Thankfully, the game finished with no real havoc and no serious injury.

The havoc started when we got home from the weekend – when I get to talk about my stellar parenting.

I should have just let it go, but I was irked, and the game became the subject of our family dinner conversation on Monday evening.

“You would not  believe this team,” I shared with the boys. “Eight penalties in one game! Five to one player! And the coach gives her Player of the Game. Can you believe it?”

My son asked, “ Did you yell at the ref? Did you and another hockey mom go at it?”

That’s when it happened. I faked it. I faked the bad ass hockey mom.

“You bet I did! The refs were totally useless! And then you know what else I did? I stood up and yelled at the other parents. Oh yeah. I gave them a piece of my mind – and a piece of my hot dog. That’s when it really got going. I stood up and screamed “what kind of a goon show is this?” and one of the other hockey moms told me to shut up and then the coach of their team told me to shut up. Then, this other hockey mom and I got into it in the stands. Then you know what I did? I spit on her. Oh yeah. I spit on her. That b!tch was asking for it, you know it!”

They stared at me.

They know I did nothing like that at all. *Sigh*

“Well … well,” I stammered, “I wanted to do!” I said. “I’m totally going to do it next time.”

I’m such a rebel … in my dreams ….

“Ice cream, anyone?”
 

777I was tagged by Lesley Donaldson in the 7-7-7 Challenge in which writers are invited to share seven lines from the seventh page of their work in progress, starting from the seventh line. Lesley’s urban fiction book “The Queen’s Viper” is due out in the spring of 2015 and her non-fiction book, “Growing A Rainbow: The Premature Journey of a Two Pound Hero” will be on sale imminently.

The seventh page of my manuscript happens to be a blank page (chapter separator) so already this challenge did not bode well for my marketing.  So I cheated a little. The number “7” is a lucky number, after all, right? Well, not for me as this story unfolds …

Below are seven lines from the eighth page of my manuscript “Offside by a Mile – Confessions of a Hockey Mom”.

My husband, Peter, turned from packing balaclavas, thermo ski mitts, and HotShots hand warmers into the ski bag and said, “He’s going to find out, you know.”

“Find out what?” I asked innocently, though I knew only too well what he was referring to.

“Right . . . ,” he answered, rolling his eyes heavenward.

“Well, I’m not taking full blame for this one, buddy!” I snapped back as he continued shoving ski helmets into the bag. “I learned to ski for you! Our kids learned to ski for us! We’re a skiing family, and that’s final!” I bellowed, and hammered my fist onto the kitchen counter.

I knew he was right, though. Connor was going to find out sooner or later that we’d lied, that first-year hockey starts at age four, and that even though this had been a mutual decision between my husband and me, odds were good Connor was going to blame me. That’s motherhood for you.

These lines set the stage for a fourteen-year odyssey which continues to this day: my après-ski life as a hockey mom. I am hopeful that my book, Offside by a Mile – Confessions of a Hockey Mom” will soon be published. Stay tuned!

I am supposed to now play  this forward to a few authors that I know. These incredibly talented women are very busy, so I am putting NO pressure on them to participate but I know they have a few great projects in their quills and inkwells!

Amy Sherman, Barbara Cooley, Sharon Enck,Brenda MoguezBonnie Jean Feldkamp and Kimberly Dalferes? Whatcha workin’ on?

There it is …

The deadline is looming…

Just a few days away…

We can see the “Submit” button from here…

Just have to click it and we’re done …

admissions officeI’ve been helping my teenage son complete his post-secondary school applications.  It wasn’t that long ago that I remember filling out my own university applications.  Actually, I do remember now – it’s been over three decades since I even looked at a university application!  Oh well, those applications – they were some great memories.  

I can’t believe how streamlined the entire process is now.  This whole world wide web online application thing is pretty nifty.  Since Canadian schools are the only ones on his radar, there are no SATs to take or scores to submit, so the application itself is fairly standard – at least for the Ontario universities.  What it lacks in applicant differentiation, it makes up for in efficiency and simplicity!  We entered his OEN (Ontario Education Number), his student number, his high school code, then pointed and clicked our way to the Submit button.  His application to Manotick Co-Operative Nursery School back in 1999 wasn’t even this easy – and that involved an in-person interview – because arranging an interview with an alumnus would have been over the top, right?

Now comes the hard part:  the waiting.  This I do remember being extremely tedious.  What follows, God willing, is the equally challenging task of deciding which post-secondary institution I want to visit on a regular basis – I mean – which is the right environment for my son.  Of course, the task of paying for that choice – er –  opportunity of a lifetime – is also still a task at hand as well. As I was saying, God willing …

I’m not sure about my son, but I found the entire university application process so easy, that in fact, I told him that I was thinking maybe of applying to university all over again myself.

Silence.

“You’re kidding, right?”

Of course I’m kidding dear!  I can hardly leave your father in charge of redecorating your bedroom, now can I?

Bring on those offers, Admissions, I got my paint chips all lined up!

paint chips

Hockey parents have this reputation for excessive drinking which I believe is unwarranted.  The truth is, hockey parents do like to drink a lot but, come on, it’s not because we’re hockey parents, it’s because we’re parents. Period. I can assure you that I was drinking long before my kids strapped on their first pair of skates!  For some reason, that does not seem to surprise anyone.

So you know who I think started this nasty rumour about hockey parents and their drinking? I think it was that it was those crazy little hockey kids who drove us to drinking in the first place – they’re the work of the devil.

My daughter asks me stuff like, “Oh, do you really need alcohol to have fun?” I pondered that this weekend as I looked around what passed for a hotel room smaller than my university dorm room and I answered, “Yes.  Yes I do. It is way more fun to be stuck in a little run-down hotel in the middle of nowhere with a glass of chardonnay than being stuck in a little run-down hotel in the middle of nowhere without a glass of chardonnay. In fact, I think you’re having way more fun yourself when I’m here with my little glass of chardonnay, because you’re out there doing God knows what and I don’t even know where you are until I need another little glass of chardonnay and I find you in some random hallway with all your friends eating popcorn” and thankfully not my chardonnay (not yet anyway; I’ll give that a few more years).”  She should know that hockey weekend would be way less fun for the both of us if I was without chardonnay.

How about this one: “I don’t know how you drink that stuff … it tastes terrible!” I don’t believe  it has ever been – nor will it ever be – about the taste. Wait until you have kids – especially hockey kids – and I assure you that little glass of chardonnay will NOT taste terrible, it will be medicinal magic –so will the second glass. And so on …

And when she tells me that I don’t need my wine to have fun, I tell her she doesn’t need the $12 buffet to have fun either.  What’s so fun about paying $12 to witness a couple hundred screaming little girls waiting half an hour for the one single waffle iron that every single one of them seems to “need” at 9:00AM on a Sunday morning?

I’d say we’re even.

white wine

 

Note: This is not a sponsored post, meaning , I was not offered any free booze to write this post. I had to buy it myself. And for you hockey parents, please rink dresponsibly.

 

 

About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
Buy Astra’s book “Offside by a Mile”!
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