August 18, 2003
Once again it has been too long in keeping up on this journal. Everything continues to be so exciting that I want to jot something down...yet coupled with exhaustion at the end of the day and time passing I think what is the use. I'm so far behind. Anyway, remaining hopeful that it is better to keep a few memories...
We just left Seattle WA. We attended the Red Sox game at Safeco Field and unfortunately once again, while we were being the ever enthusiastic Red Sox fans...they lost to the Mariners 10-5. That we were disappointed with the loss, it is something that we've grown accustomed to being Red Sox and Cubs fans. (How 'bout them Cubs?! Well how about the Red Sox too! The Red Sox are now first in the wildcard and the Cubs are in sole possession of first in their division...a good reason to remain hopeful.)
The good news for this game is that we got to see a grand slam by Ichiro Suzuki in the 7th inning. The bad news is that the Red Sox had one of those games where it seems so simple in getting 3 outs but you have to earn a total of 6 before the officials see it your way. The totally better news is that at the end of the day, the boys were up. After a lot of patience they were rewarded each with an autographed baseball from Nomar!!!! and they were happy to end the day with a dream come true!
Safeco is another awesome stadium! I will let the guys provide you with the details as I have shied away from providing my opinions on this. I don't want to ramble but most stadiums have some great characteristics and it just depends on what kind of mood you're in. I liked the cushioned seats we were in and sitting six rows back from 1st base ranks up there as one of the best seats we have had in a park so far. A beautiful night under the opened retractable roof...sitting next to Bill and his youngest brother....also Red Sox fans...(and a BU alum during my time there) Life is good! Being that the Mariners provided us with these awesome seats...I was feeling a little guilty (but not too much) that we ditched our usual m.o. of rooting for the home team. The Mariners rank high in my esteem and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful park! The ushers were extremely friendly and I loved having my picture taken with the Mariners MOOSE... a fitting mascot for this part of the country.
The retractable roof deserves mention. From the outside it looks like a rebar project gone awry. However, it definitely fits into the Seattle environs. What can I say it is absolutely beau-tee-ful here. The mountains, the sound, the lakes, a beautiful skyline... an exciting metropolis tucked into big hills and trees... beautiful residential areas... Pike Place market...more lakes.... more trees...and a huge working, visitor friendly harbor. BUT... in my opinion, there is just too much steel about. The harbor just welcomed 6 mega sized (around 300' tall???!!) cranes to load and unload container ships. The cranes are bright orange/red and look like a colorful cousin to the retractable roof. The city viewed from the sound, definitely has a star wars quality. The Space needle, a building that looks like r2-d2, the cranes look like imperial walkers, the Seahawks Stadium looks like an alien space ship and then you have the glory of Safeco. The park is beautiful and has an intimate feel on the inside and it was nice to hear the fans take on the roof: a seeming fondness for the alien like structure that keeps out the rain while successfully letting in light. All in the name of progress!
Pike Place Market: WOW!!! I took so many pictures of this market. The display of flowers, vegetables, fresh fish, meat... hanging yellow green and red chili peppers...mostly more beautiful flowers. I hope some day, I can capture the festivities in paint. Feeling inspired we each picked out our prime choice morsels for lunch, secured a spot overlooking Puget's sound, read the news on the East coast power outage, thanked god for the simple pleasures and chowed down.
August 14, 2003
Last night we had the extreme pleasure of staying with my brother Ed and sister-in-law Niki, and daughters Kayla and Teanna. They live in a beautiful home in Springfield, OR: right next to Eugene located in the middle-eastern part of the state.
August 5, 2003
Well, where does the time go? The past two weeks are a bluuuurrrr! While in Illinois we visited Comiskey (I refuse to adopt the new name and won't even educate you if you don't know it,) to catch a White Sox game and Milwaukee to see the Brewers. For the White Sox game, we had the pleasure of going with a large contingent from the Helbig family. My dad and mom, sister Joan and nephew Ben, and my brother Gib and his large family made the trip into the city. Gib's family just moved from AZ back to IL and it was great to visit this park with them as they have the true die-hard White Sox fans in this family.
This brings up the very important issue of team loyalty. How does a person become a "fan" of a particular team? Is it geography, experience, politics, educated and calculated positions or what? Speaking strictly for me before this trip I would claim to be a Cubs, and Red Sox fan. I also have a little interest in the Angels and perhaps the Marlins.... why? Well it is not because these teams enjoy successful winning seasons. Most likely because I lived and visited these teams as a child and/or adult. However, we did live near the NY Yankees and the males in my immediate family seem to gag and curse at the mention of this team. What is your favorite team and why?
A frequently asked question on this trip is what is your favorite stadium? Well I'll give it to you straight. Because I am a true Libra, (and measure both sides of the scale) there isn't one right answer to this question. Based on my fan lineage... I like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park best. Now that we recently visited the Anaheim Angels I can safely say that I was proud of what they have done to this stadium over the years (even though management has fallen victim to re-naming the stadium to honor their financial sponsors.) Really now...who can relate to Edison International Field? What does that have to do with the Angels? with community? with baseball, mom or apple pie?
By the way, if you know the name of the major share holder/owner of the Angels send me an e-mail with the correct answer and tell me why you think I think this is important and the winner will receive a very special prize
Side trip News!
Right now we are driving up Rt.1 along the CA coast. It is about 7:30 p.m and the sun is shining in our eyes and glistening off the ocean. We are zig-zaging back and forth on some quick switch backs. It is absolutely beau-tee-ful!
We just toured the Hearst Castle. What an amazing place to build. A big wow by all. However, the boys thought that it was too dark and the decorating a little bit much to call it "camp" which Hearst referred to it as. As for me, I'll take the guest room and a swim in the beautiful roman pool complete with roman balustrades and marble statues of Neptune and Venus and water nymphs...and I don't even like to swim all that much.
It seems that he built it to one, honor the love he had for his parents land along the coast, and two, to show place his extensive art collection of over 2,500 pieces. W.R. Hearst seems like he was quite the guy. He attended Harvard, but never graduated. They say that he had a photographic memory and basically designed the castle from sites that he saw as a child touring European castles. Wm. convinced his father that he should run the newspaper business as he could increase sales. His father was hesitant but gave him two years to prove himself. The rest is history. Family picture: He married Millicent of NY. They had 5 sons. When he informed Millie that he wanted to build a camp in CA, she said no thank you she would stay in NY. He was open to the fact that he had a girlfriend Marion Davies...and all seemed to live happily ever after. There are now about 64 Hearst family members living. As it is a family business, some remain directly involved in Hearst Ent. In addition to the Castle and the 7 storied NY condo, Wm. built about 36 other Hearst private estates around the world. Great Job going after a dream!
July 21, 2003
Good Morning ILLINOIS! We arrived at ORD on Saturday early evening. Miles (Allan's Dad) picked us up at the airport and swept us off to Lake Geneva. He and Nancy have a fabulous home in a wooded area and it was quite nice to see them happy and settling in. I was happy to hear that they still have boxes to unpack, but they don't want to worry about them until winter as they will never get in some golf games or boating. Ahhh! to once again experience the sensation of a home cooked meal!
On Sunday, we ventured off to my folks house, where everyone on my side (that could) came to experience a Sunday family meal, outside. My mom and siblings once again outdid it and offered up a fabulous fare. It was great to see everyone! It also was great to reintroduce ourselves to this part of the world. It is very pretty and feels like home.
The Dodgers game was by far an awesome experience! Our friend Fred joined us and the fact that he isn't a Dodgers fan made it fun and educational. Dodgers Stadium is an older stadium, built in the early 60's. (I think!)....guess what it was built right the first time. It was the first ballpark to be built with private funds and sits beautifully on top of a big hill with a beautiful view of San Diego. We were greeted by a Dodgers rep..Lan. She provided us with tickets and even secured another ticket for Fred. I didn't know this but she planned on taking us for a tour. I was delighted to learn that so far the Dodgers administration respects their stadium enough to renovate instead of demolishing and building new. They incorporated a club level and even developed special seating behind home plate. If you are feeling rich, you can purchase a luxurious padded seat which includes a full buffet and chair side service for about $220. a seat. The new score board and Jumbotron are separate screens which make it easy to keep an eye on everything. (Other Jumbotrons are too cumbersome for my liking.)
The best part of this stadium trip was participating in the pre-game festivities on the field (behind home plate) It had the feel of a professional tailgate party. Old and new faces gathered together to celebrate a nice friendly feeling. Sam and Max also had a great lifetime experience when they got to accompany a player onto the field after the national anthem was sung. The singing of the anthem was awesome, sung by (forgive me for not catching his name... but) a broadway singer who has preformed in the Phantom of the Opera. Beautiful. Oh... Sam went out on the field with RF Sean Green and Max went out with 3B Andrien Beltre. Each received an autograph ball and got to join them in the dugout before the game.
To top it all off, we had the gracious hospitality of Fred and Nancy. They have a beautiful home that sits on top of a mountain??? hill??? how do you classify way up high in Redondo Beach...where you have a beautiful view of the ocean? It was beyond words. And it was great to visit with them.
July 17, 2003
Welcome to my side of the world! Allan was so nice to build me my own area to write in. However, as you can see...we are far into the trip. Today's game in San Diego was our 17th game (Sam pointed out 17 on the 17th) making our trip more than half over. I have been keeping my own notes...but I intend to start here...today..so I can pretend that I'm talking to you in real time. As I type we are....guess what? Driving! We are headed up to LA where we will stay with our friends Fred and Nancy Topple. (We are also listening to??? Baseball. The Angels vs the Orioles) You know one can never get enough of baseball on this trip!
The question has been raised as to whether or not I am a saint for so readily agreeing to take this trip. Although I like the attention...I can't even begin to pretend to aspire to that status....Crazy is more my speed. Butl....if I wanted to aspire to sainthood, today would have been a good day for it as we went to the San Diego Padres stadium. Again, (Sam pointed out) that translated means Saint David and Fathers. The teams mascot is none other than a "Swinging Friar"! Isn't there a convention where you shall not mix baseball and religion? Please let me know. (Sam says that baseball is religion... argh!) While we did not witness the actual Friar...I was quite appalled when they showed a video on the Jumbotron where fans were throwing baseballs at him! What is baseball coming to? First you have a Prirate's ball player, acting like an real pirate when he swung a bat at the girls dressed up like sausages and then throwing baseballs at a Friar? Where is the glory? Well, I guess this just brings back old bad memories from my childhood days when I suffered a concussion after walking into a full swung bat. But still!
As for this trip...I can't believe it. I imagine that I feel like what a rock star on tour feels like. Even though we go from one game to the next game and I don't have to give a concert...it is quite a high. Additionally, just to set this straight, our tour is not complicated by drug use. In fact I have gone through Starbucks coffee withdrawal and have survived. Since leaving Florida June 14th, I can count the number of times, my dear husband has treated me to a Starbucks. This very morning, as the boys and I were sleeping in once again, Allan delivered to me...put in my hands in the dark...the coveted cuppa. I keep telling Allan that he owes me big time for my good sportswoman ship in going on this trip and he is scoring big time on his royal treatment toward me. Let's keep that our little secret.
I guess I need to mention here that for the most part when we are not visiting friends and family we have been staying in 41/2 star hotels thanks to Allan's knowledge of hotwire a website that offers particularly great hotels at low prices.
I interrupt this message to report that we just missed getting involved in a terrible car accident. We are traveling on a 6 lane highway going 70 miles per hour and there is a mercedes stopped and sitting in the third lane (the lane next to us). The car behind us just hit the mercedes...and went skidding less than a car length from us. I have to stop now and say a prayer. God Bless us and you too!
April 26, 2003
Well we set off for our second game around 12:30 in the pouring rain. Destination: Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Clearwater...Tropicana Stadium. Accompanying us on this trip is Tyler and Mitchell. They have been like family to us and it is only right that they help us in our pursuit.
The trip is about 250 miles and the boys played Gameboy...Tyler and Max getting to section 3 in the game driver. The boys listened to tunes and we all listened to the NFL Draft. First Pick was Carsen Palmer from USC by the Cincinnati Bangles.
We had our first of many anticipated stops at Mac-D's and we have to smile at our friend Lynn's concern with the number of hotdogs and fast food we will consume during the summer. She is right in her projection that we are bound to look like baseballs if we all we eat is junk and fast food. We plan on purchasing a refrigerator for our trip with the hopes of storing a more healthy snack selection.
We went straight away to the stadium and had fun looking around at all that the stadium offers. There is a restaurant that over looks the field a little worn and tired looking. However, there is also a beach area - stadium bleachers, a nice pool hall, bat making store and lots of nice amenities. The kids were really impressed and had a lot of fun at the Residence Inn we stayed at for $89. that night. Lots of room and a loft.
April 27, 2003
The next day we went to Busch Gardens and we were extremely ...