Thursday, February 18, 2010

What is Curling Anyway?

I realize that curling is a somewhat obscure sport. But ever since the 2002 Olympics, we've really enjoyed watching it. So, we thought it would be fun to see it in person. least for's more fun to watch on tv. Imagine, if you will, a large arena with 4 curling lanes (is that what you would call them?) that looks something like this:

Then imagine that the seats are hard plastic things that are really close together. Then imagine that it's kind of chilly in there. Then imagine that there are four games going on at the same time and you just sort of understand the rules. Now you can imagine what it was like for me.

Brent's been reading up on the ins and outs of curling. If you'd like a explanation, go here. But, basically, there are these stones that you slide down the lane and try to get in the bulls-eye thing at other the end. But the other team can also knock your stone out of the way. Each team has 8 stones at each end (which is kind of like an inning) and whoever has the stone closest to the center after all the stones have been slid, gets points. Clear as mud, right? Maybe some pictures will help.

First, you begin with the pipers, because this sport was invented in Scotland. (What is it with the Scottish anyway? They have invented a lot of games. Weird.)

Next, the first team slides their stone down the lane.

Then the sweeper people, that's what I call them anyway, get to work sweeping the ice in front of the stone. The cool thing about that is that they are actually melting a little bit of the ice to make the stone go faster or curve a certain way.

Then, if everything goes right, the stone gets somewhere in the bulls-eye.

The US played Germany. The Germans were really good. But the US had the absolute best play. The US got this stone...

Through this space...

It was pretty impressive.

Unfortunately, in the end, the Germans did triumph over the US, but it was still a good game.

So there is Curling 101 al la Ashley. I'll finish out with the rest of the pictures from that day.

Because I'm a sucker for these kind of decoration-y things, I had to take a picture.

I have a confession, I am COMPLETELY directionally challenged. I can read a map. I'm a great navigator. But I have no idea which way I'm heading. I didn't realize how directionally challenged I was until I moved away from the Salt Lake Valley with the big mountains to the East and the little mountains to the West. I am confessing this because I have no idea which mountains these are and since I am so directionally challenged, I don't even have a guess. We can pretend they're Whistler, but they could the be Olympics in Washington. I have no idea. But wasn't it a pretty day?

Here we are waiting in line to get through security, to get into the venue. Sorry about the last post. I had composed it on the LONG drive home from Canada and had to share. We really did have a great time. It's just that some days my tolerance for crowds is higher than others. This usually has to do with how much sleep I've gotten.

So, turns out, for me at least, curling is much more fun to watch on tv. That way you have the announcers telling you what's going on and you can see the bulls-eye from the top instead of the side. But it was still fun to be there. And fun to hear all the Canadian fans cheering for their home team. The US fans were fewer and farther between.

Go USA! One of these years, if the Winter Olympics are ever close to us again, I think we're going to need to go to the Halfpipe. Wasn't Shaun White amazing yesterday?

That's it, I'm addicted to the Olympics. Good thing they only come around every 2 years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ask Me What We Did in Canada...

Go ahead, ask...

I'll tell you what we did...we waited in line. We waited in line for the bathroom. We waited in line for food. We waited in line to get into the event. We waited in line to get out of the event (this was the craziest at the hockey game). We waited in line to get on the train. We waited in line to get into the Olympic Superstore - which was out of all the good stuff even though the Olympics just started.

Can you tell that by this afternoon I was tired of waiting in line?

We're glad to be home to our quiet little world. It was fun to be there, but my crowd meter (the meter I have that shows how patient I am with crowds) is in the red. I think it got pushed over the edge when we were on a train that was so jam packed you couldn't even move without moving your neighbor. WAY too close for my comfort.

So, tomorrow I'm going to hang out in my pj's, do some laundry, and pet my cat. Oh, and I might blog about our curling adventures. And, I'm also going to at least look outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather we're having and my beautiful bulbs that are starting to bloom. Not a person in sight. Ahhh.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Imagine...20,000 of your closest friends in one building, watching a hockey game. Now imagine that a good 75% of those people are chanting "USA USA USA". You now have an idea of our day today!

As you probably guessed, we went to a hockey game. It was the USA vs Switzerland. I took about a million pictures of the game (I've chosen the best), so you can see what we saw...

Here we are outside of Canada Hockey Place. This is where the NHL team - the Canucks - play. We need to come to a game sometime.

We were told to be there at least 2 hours early so we could get through security. So we were and security took 10 minutes. Not that we're complaining. I always would rather be early than late.
As we were waiting for the game to start, I saw this kid with his huge stuffed mascot - Mukmuk I think - and I thought it was funny.
Here they are warming up. The US is in the blue. The next few are the game.
This is the jumbo-tron as they introduced the Swiss team.

And the US!

Here is the US team celebrating after the first goal. It was very exciting.
And this is what the audience looked like after the goal. It's kind of hard to see, but it's just a sea of American Flags. It was kind of moving.
And the US wins 3 to 1! Woho!

And, surprisingly, not a scrunch picture!

Oh, today we heard a guy say, "I guess we'll have to buy a touk somewhere else, eh?" (A touk is a hat in Canadian.) We giggled. We really haven't heard a lot of different languages, which is kind of weird. We're thinking that maybe everyone is up in Whistler right now.

It was really fun to be at the event today! We have Women's Curling tomorrow morning at 9 am, which means we have to leave early, so I'm going to bed.

And...this is my favorite Winter Olympics was 50 degrees and sunny today. Steven Colbert of the Colbert report suggested that the IOC add a question to their application for the Winter Olympics..."Does it snow there? Circle Yes or No"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Go Canada Go

It hardly seems real that we're here in Canada at the Olympics. Since we found out that the Olympics were going to be here in Vancouver, we've been looking forward to it and it's finally here.

We didn't get the tickets we wanted for today - speed skating - so we had a slow morning and then started heading north. Vancouver is about 3 hours from our house. I was a little worried about the border crossing. Online it said they were expecting a lot of people, especially in the middle of the day, but we only waited about 5 minutes and that's only because we got behind a Mazerati (is that how you spell it) and it was super slow.

Here we are waiting for our chance to answer the fun questions to get ourselves into Canada.

We found our hotel, which isn't actually in Vancouver because, well, we couldn't get one in the city. I waited to get a hotel room until after we found out which events we were going to, which was kind of a mistake, but we know for next time now...

I really wanted to go into Vancouver today to kind of get an idea of what's going on. So we hopped on the train and headed that way. I wanted to go to the Olympic Superstore. We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes to get in but it was fun in there. Everything you'd like to buy.

After that, it was getting dark, so we decided to go see the Olympic Flame. We had no idea that this was going to be so difficult! We asked the guy at our hotel and he told us it was by the Superstore. We couldn't see it there, so we decided to head down to where the Opening Ceremonies were thinking it would be close by. Nope. So finally we asked someone who said it was completely the other way by the water. We got on another train and FINALLY (after some weird directions from another volunteer) found it. You couldn't get too close and it was behind some very pretty chain link fence, but I got some decent pictures.

These are the rings that are out in the harbor - I'm guessing on a boat, but we couldn't see.

Tomorrow we have tickets to see the USA play Switzerland in hockey. Woho! We didn't even mean to do that...we had to get the tickets at least 2 years ago and we had no idea who was going to be playing. At least this time we can chant "USA USA USA" without making anyone feel bad. (In the Salt Lake games, they told people not to chant that because we were going to make the rest of the world feel bad.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Have you ever had the experience of hearing someone's voice and realizing that something was really wrong? I had that experience just last night. Brent was out in the garage working on a scratching post for Daisy. It was getting close to bedtime so when I heard the door open and Brent go into the bathroom downstairs, I didn't think anything of it. Then I heard him yell at Daisy to get down, and I could tell something was wrong. Then he called up to me asking for a paper towel and I really knew something was wrong.

As I headed down the stairs, I could see a big drop of blood on the floor, and then another. Then I walked into the bathroom and he had his hand over the sink and the sink was covered in blood. I went into "mother" mode and asked if I could see it. There was so much blood that it was hard to see what it looked like, but I could tell it was bad. "Ok," I said, "let's go to the emergency room." To which Brent replied, "Ok" which told me that it was bad. (He caught a glass as it was breaking a few years ago and had to have stitches for the first time and he PROMISED he would never get stitches again.)

I don't know exactly what happened, but apparently he was using a utility knife to shave some wood off a corner of something and it slipped and went through his thumb instead. Yuck!

So, we go to the 24-hour urgent care that recently opened in our town, which was nice. We were the only ones waiting for a little while, but then some people came in who were complaining of nausea - holding their puke buckets - and I started praying to be called back before any spewing went on, because then I would throw up, then they would throw would be a vicious cycle. Thankfully we got called back just after that.

You know it's a bad cut when the nurse barely pulls off the blood soaked paper towel and says, "Yep, you're going to need a few stitches." That's when they started soaking the wound and I remembered to take a picture...

You can't see, but it goes right through his fingernail too. Again, I have to say - yuck!

It took about 1-1/2 hours, but we came home with him looking a little more Frankenstein-ish...
They couldn't stitch under the finger nail, so they just put in three. They filled him full of pain meds and sent us home. It was about midnight by this time so we'll just say that it was a short night. He has a hard time not doing things, but I'm yelling at him to sit and he does sometimes. At least it's not his leg...we are going to the Olympics afterall. (Do I need to keep saying that? I'm excited.)

Happy Spring!


We have a new niece that was born about a week and a half ago. Unfortunately, because of a cold and the fact that we did NOT want to give Camila the cold, we just met her yesterday.
She's not bad looking, right? Marcela said that she rarely has her eyes open so we were super lucky! It's hard to see, but her hair is strawberry blonde. I wonder what it's going to be when she grows up.

And Reyes got a haircut. It looks cute, but I miss the curls. Perhaps I'm just a little bias. Maybe she'll be like me. When I was a kid, my hair wasn't super curly, but as I've gotten older, it's gotten curlier and curlier.

We're so glad that Camila got here, early even, healthy and happy. And the rest of the family is doing well too.

We're sad today though...Brent's brother Jared is blessing his little boy Jacob today and we wish we could be there, but we're there in spirit.

Also, check back - we had a tough night last night that included some stitches...and it wasn't me. Pictures and the story to come.

Canada tomorrow! Woho!