Our great Olympics experience Day Two

Day two started out bright and sunny… we made our way up to the Canadian border where my dear husband ran into “problems” with the Canadian border guards.  They wanted to know why he is listed as a permanent resident of Canada, and yet he lives in the USA.  Hmmm.  DH informed them that he is a Canadian citizen, not a permanent resident, but because he had nothing with him to prove that, they tended not to believe him.  At any rate, they finally granted us entry into their country, and it was a darn good thing we’d left home early because that fiasco took about 45 minutes!  We drove up to our friend Jim’s place which was close to today’s venue, Pacific Coliseum.  We took a cab to the venue to save the poor hip of my dear husband, but…….. alas, the cab driver had NO clue as to where to drop us off — and we ended up walking nearly as far as we would have if we’d just walked from Jim’s house.  So frustrating for the guy with the BAD leg.

Anyway, today we were going to watch Short Track Speed Skating, and we knew it would be nothing less than exciting.  We were NOT disappointed!!  It was a thrill!!  We got to watch semi finals of the women’s 500 meters, then the finals of the same – so we actually got to see a Gold medal race!   We also thoroughly enjoyed the heats and semi finals of the men’s 1000 meters which included appearances by our fellow Washingtonians, Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski.

Here is a shot of the men’s heats about to begin.  Apolo Ohno is on the far left.  These guys go soooo fast, it’s hard to get a good shot of them in action.

As shown in the photo, this was one of the heats for the men’s 1000 meters race.  The medal race was held several days later, and Apolo did get the bronze medal, making him the most decorated Winter Olympian ever -from the USA.

Up next was the mens 5000 meter team relay heats.  It was amazing to see so many guys on the ice all the time!  Tonight is the final – the gold medal round – of this event.  Five teams have qualified, each with 4 men on the team, so lots of bodies will be skating tonight for the gold.  Go team USA!!

Next up was the women’s 500 meters final  Here are the ladies being introduced.  No Americans in the final four, however there were  two Canadian women in the group and needless to say, the crowd went wild!!  They are  2nd and 3rd from  the left in this photo.

One of the Canadians won the silver medal!  Much happiness and cheering ensued from the vastly Canadian crowd 🙂

One of the things that we found most interesting was what goes on outside of the eye of your typical television viewer.  The “ice repair” – an ongoing thing between every race – is fascinating.  If one of the skaters falls, inevitably there will be a hole made in the ice.  Out race the ‘repair team’ to the rescue!! 

Here they are with the big bucket of snow and what looks like a grouting trowel which is used to repair the hole.  An official quickly comes over to inspect the repair job.  If it’s acceptable, then the race goes on.  Sometimes it takes a bit more than the snow and the trowel!

Sometimes it takes a blast of your good old fashioned CO2 Fire extinguisher to seal up the repair job!!

These folks in the blue jackets race around doing more than repairing holes, too!  One of them seemed to be always pouring water from the large white bucket onto the corners of the track.  Others watch during each race to see if any of the little black knob thingys (that mark the edges of the track) are knocked off by the skaters.  When they invariably are, these folks RACE out onto the ice, replace the little markers, and quickly skate away – all before the racers make it down to that end of the track again.  It’s a “side show” to the main event – watching all the behind the scenes action!

After the event, we met up with our buddy Jim and went out for dinner at one of Vancouver’s favorite Italian restaurants, Antons.  We had to wait in the line up out the door and down the block on a nippy evening, but it was worth the wait.  Great atmosphere and gargantuan portions.  Not one person left there without a take home carton!  Not one!

So, this was our very fun, exciting, and much anticipated Olympics!  I’m so grateful that we were able to attend!  I sincerely doubt I’ll ever attend another Olympics, summer or winter, but I’ll have the memories from Vancouver 2010 for always!

Mishmash

Its been a busy couple of weeks around here, and is about to get even busier!  Tomorrow we are making the trek across the Cascades to visit family in Eastern Washington.  Since this winter has been so mild, we’re not expecting any problems crossing the pass – Yay!  So today has been a busy one, recovering from two WILD days at work and packing for our little trip.  It will be great to see #2 Son and DDIL, as well as Gramps and my brother too.  Upon returning home, I’ll have one day to do laundry and pack up for my next two days at work.  Here’s hoping next week at work will be slightly less berserk than this week – but of course there are no guarantees on that!  We have been overflowing (literally! We had to open an “overflow” unit) with tiny babies of late.  Of course, while not so fun for parents, this is job security for us! 🙂

Here is a snap, taken today right outside my front door.  I have to say that I can sympathize with the folks on the east coast… they are having an abominable  winter this year, while we bask in sunshine.  What seems odd to me is that last winter we had repeated blasts of snow (a total of 60 inches here!) and that didn’t make the news.  Yet two big storms in the east, and it’s all we hear about.  Whatever.

Too bad the Winter Olympics didn’t happen LAST winter.  I say that because Vancouver (less than 100 miles from us) is having the exact warm winter we are loving… and had the exact same crazy white winter we had last year.  This year they are trucking in snow to some of the snowboard events areas… Last year, well lets just say that wouldn’t have been necessary!  Speaking of the Olympics, we are SO excited that NEXT WEEK we will be attending two events.  Look for us Tuesday at the USA vs Switzerland Ice Hockey game and rink-side at the Short Track Speed Skating venue on Wednesday. Obviously, I’ll be doing a blog posting on this Olympic adventure – after it happens!

Even though it’s a warm winter, it’s still winter, which for me is an excuse to make soup!  We both love home made soup and last Saturday I made a nice pot of Minestrone.  Here is a photo:

Again I used Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine as a  guideline for my minestrone creation.  It was oh-so delicious, and dear hubby said it was even better the next day.

After the soup, I made one of my very favorite recipes from Everyday Food.  It’s one I have prepared over and over, and never ceases to satisfy!  Asian Pork and Noodles.  Click HERE for a link to Martha’s actual recipe.  And yes, I don’t take license with this one, I make it just as it’s written.  Here it is…

Snow peas and broccoli simmer for about a minute with the noodles

Already sauteed pork strips sizzle with hoisin sauce and orange juice

Ahhhh, the finished product. Simply scrumptious!

Two weeks ago we managed to get our little car all set up to be towed behind our motorhome.  That was a fiasco, but to avoid looking backward, I’ll just say I’m glad it is all done!   Here is a little amateur movie made with my camera as I was following along behind hubby as he drove the motorhome and the “toad” (as it’s called in motor home lingo!) to the storage area…… Check it out here- at You Tube. I tried to embed it, but WordPress is not very accommodating with video!  We are planning a trip with our motor home in April — Spring Barrel Tasting here we come!  And in June, we hope to make a “big trip” and take our [soon to be] “RV cat” with us.  That will be hell on earth an experience!

Look for more next week from your humble “Olympics correspondent”!!!