First Career Hockey Fight…

Posted: 20 April 2011 in Hockey News
DebsHolly_fightinposter by MRB.08
DebsHolly_fightinposter, a photo by MRB.08 on Flickr.

One of my life goals was to get into a fight in a hockey game…. that dream finally became a reality at the NHL’s annual employee hockey tournament, the Mountie Cup. My friend Blinn made this fight poster in honor of that fight.

Good times :) And don’t worry, no one was harmed in the making of this poster.

Makeup-less March

Posted: 25 March 2011 in Uncategorized

I don’t always give something up for Lent, but this year I decided to give up makeup. I was inspired by a makeup-less picture of my younger sister that she posted on her facebook page recently. She looked radiant.

I’ve always been an advocate of natural beauty and less-is-more when it comes to makeup anyhow, but, I felt that giving it up for a month would be a good way to come back to terms with my natural beauty…. and I decided to dedicate the time that I normally take to apply my make up each day to spend that extra ten or fifteen minutes with God.

Today is day 15 of no make-up, and I am relishing the freedom it’s brought me. There were a few days there when I was really apt to cheat, because I just felt icky, but I’m glad I didn’t give in. (Even though I saw Bradley Cooper of the Hang Over on one of my icky days, alas). Makeup is a good thing when we use it to enhance the beauty that God created us with, but when we use it as a crutch to cover insecurities, it is a bad thing. Giving up makeup has helped me open my eyes to the raw person that I am, created in God’s image, lovely and radiant in Him.

When you struggle with your image it can be hard to accept how God truly views you, and so this verse really encouraged me during my first week of no makeup:

‘I take delight in you’ — The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing — Zephenia 3:5

Wow. The God of the universe rejoices over me with gladness? He exults over me with loud singing? His love truly does quiet me. This is a truly humbling passage. Well, here are a couple of pictures from my March with no Makeup:

Groceries

Posted: 15 March 2011 in My 'Hood, NYC Misadventures

I grew up in the Southwest, where we could drive our S.U.V. to the local Smith’s Grocery chain, or down to Wall-Mart to do any grocery shopping. However, grocery shopping in New York City is an entirely different experience. The stores are much smaller, more crowded, and are not always conveniently located. Since I do not own a car, I try to do the majority of my shopping at markets within walking distance to my apartment or a subway station.

One cool thing about the New York City, though, is that everything is vertical, so even some of the grocery stores span two or three stories, and they have these neat cart escalators. The best way to show all of this, though, is not through words, but with a video. So here is a video I made so you can have a better idea what it’s like to get groceries in New York. Just a disclaimer, I felt too awkward to film blatantly, so I tried to hide my camera most the time, and so the footage is kind of shaky. Sorry if it makes you dizzy.

How did I end up standing along the side of a busy highway for more than an hour with just my i-pod and my hockey stick to entertain me? This, my friend, is another Debs Francisco NYC Misadventure. Today’s episode, though, features a turban-headed hero, so do read on.

Part of working in sports is having a bizarre schedule. Right now my days off are Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday nights I volunteer as a coach with Ice Hockey in Harlem and I usually try to squeeze in a visit with a friend after I’m done coaching at 8, since it’s one of the few chances I get to see my 9-5 friends. Yes, Wednesday night and Saturday morning are the peak of my social life.

Tonight I went to visit Amber in Astoria, Queens once I finished coaching Bob Marley Jones and the rest of the gang at Lasker Rink in Central Park. It took me exactly an hour to get from the rink to Amber’s apartment, and it only involved two subway transfers. I had a lovely time with Amber and her husband David, and around 11 pm I headed back home — lugging my hockey stick and coaching gear and garnering looks from strangers along the way.

I planned to take the N, Q to Astoria Blvd. where I could then hop on the M60 bus back into Manhattan and across 125th St. in Harlem back to my apartment. A flawless plan really.

I only had to wait 15 minutes for the train to come. Then I sauntered down to the bus stop where I waited…. and waited…. and waited for the M60 to come. I started singing aloud with my i-pod (no one else was really around anyway), then I started dancing to the music, then I found a chunk of ice and practiced my wrist shot….. and I waited some more. After 40 minutes of waiting for the M60 in 33 degrees (not that cold, but after a while it gets to you) I started to ask myself:

“Debs, at what point are you going to hail a cab? This bus might not be coming…….ever…..”

I couldn’t decide which was more important to me at that very moment: time or money? How badly did I want to be back in my warm, cozy apartment curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, watching In Treatment? Five minutes passed, and still I could not decide.

Then a cab driver pulled up by the bus stop, and we just sort of made eye-contact. He didn’t say anything, but, he somehow knew that I was thinking about hailing a cab…And so, I hopped in.

However, I soon realized this was a more expensive venture then I expected. The fare just kept going up and up, and finally I said enough… I asked to be dropped off at the corner of St. Nicks and 125th, about a six block walk from my apartment. And then the lovely cab driver said,

“Is it a money thing?”

“Yeah” I replied sheepishly.

“It’s cold out,” he said. “I’ll stop the meter here, but take you the rest of the way.”

And so he dropped me off right in front of my door. What a guy. Who knows, if he had not stopped, I would probably still be standing at that bus stop right now.

People always ask me what I like or dislike about living in New York City. I’ll tell you one thing I really dislike — moving furniture. More specifically, moving furniture from 32nd St. and 9th Ave. to 129th St. It’s not like I have a car and I can just load things up and go. No, I have my two hands and two feet….so yeah. Today, Heather-from-Alberta and I shared a magnificent NYC furniture moving adventure. If you ever wonder what it’s really like to live in NYC, then read on:

Heather and I were pleasantly strolling toward the A, C, E subway stop on 8th Ave. when we walked right past a pile of garbage that caught my eye. You see, I have been contemplating buying a black shelf for my living room but decided to hold off since the shelf I want costs upward of $250. But there in the pile of trash was my shelf! And in excellent condition too. So, the wheels began turning, and despite the tepid 24 degree temperature we decided it would be cost effective to hail a cab and take the shelf up town to my apartment.

Heather and I transported this shelf over 100 blocks.

We hailed a cab, told him our plan and pulled over by the pile of trash. He was a nice cab driver, and he played along with our brilliant plan. When the shelf was too big for the trunk, he even tried to jam it sideways along the backseat… but, to no avail, because it was too much shelf for his little cab. This little set back didn’t bother Heather and I though… we were on a mission and nothing was going to stop us. So, we lugged the shelf to the end of the block where the A,C, E Subway station is. We thought about hailing a van cab, but none were driving by, and our hands were freezing, so the decision was made (not so wisely) to take the subway.

Just as we were poised to carry the shelf down three flights of stairs, two kind-hearted and gray-bearded Jewish fellows insisted on aiding us. They carried the bulky shelf to the bottom of the stairs for us and helped us get it through the turn style. I felt relief, (what an answer to a small prayer) only until I looked up and saw a huge flight of stairs UP to the A train. Again, just as Heather and I picked up the shelf to carry it up, another kind-hearted stranger intervened. He donned an orange-ski coat, Carhart pants and a knit-cap, (or a tocque, as Heather would say).

So we waited for the A train, realized it’s running on the local track only, which is across the platform (two flights of stairs away from us) and we eventually hop on the E train and transfer at 42nd St. Lots of people were staring at us and laughing at us, and a sleek, dark-haired woman in a fur-coat commented as we huffed the shelf onto the train, “How did you get that down the stairs?!”

When the train stopped at 125th St., Heather and I realized our journey was just beginning. We toddled the length of the platform with the shelf in hand, took the elevator up a floor and then had just one more flight of stairs between us and the outside world.

As we attempted to ascend this final flight of stairs, we overheard a pair of snarky twenty-somethings making bets on if we could get up the stairs or not. After watching us struggle they finally offered to help us with the second half of the stairs. At the top they asked where we were taking the shelf, “129th and Amsterdam,” I replied. They replied with laughter.

Heather and I weighed our options and decided we would try to take a bus from 125th over two avenues and upto 129th St. The temperature had now dropped to 21 degrees Fahrenheit, and we foolishly decided to carry the shelf without gloves on our hands so we could better grip it, seeing as the shelf was rapidly gaining weight…or we were getting more tired, one of the two. We lugged the shelf one block to the bus stop, where the M100 proceeded to stop 20 feet in front of the actual bus stop….and then he drove right past us, never stopping to let us on. This was a bad moment in our adventure. But we had already come so far, so we waited ten minutes for the next bus to arrive. It arrived, but the driver said (I think, but he was hard to understand) that he couldn’t let us on the bus with that shelf, “Where you gonna put it?” he said.

Heather and I were all too happy to finally get the shelf through the door of my apartment.

Ugh. Two Avenues and four blocks from our final destination. We can’t give up now. All logic has gone by the wayside at this point. The fact that neither Heather nor I can feel our fingers is only an after thought. Our only option is to keep trekking. We set small goals. Walk one block, baby steps, through the snow, stop, wrest. Walk one more block. Finger check….well I see them there, even though I can’t feel them. We are getting closer. We can do this.

Then, three blocks from the final destination, we run into a complication. Heather really can’t feel her hands anymore. At all. I start to run through the options when all of a sudden we met The Three Amigos.

The three amigos came out of nowhere, well actually they came out of the bodega on the corner of Convent and 128th. They took the shelf from our hands, as they clamored rapidly in Spanish, and muttered in English…”strong girls! Muey strong!” Heather and I laughed, embarrassed, and gladly let them take the shelf for us. They carried the shelf the rest of the way, speaking in Spanish the whole way, and they carried it all the way up the three flights of stairs in my building. We handed them a $20 bill for their help, afterall, they didn’t even have gloves on. And we said thanks several times, in Spanish and English. Wow. We did it. Well, us and several strangers.