Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to pay $1 for a seat behind the dugout...

The Baltimore Orioles are quite a piece of nostalgia for people here. They love the Cal Ripken connection, Camden Yards, and the hope that they'll return to the playoffs -- hasn't happened for about 20 years. I wanted to take part of those feelings, so my friends and I decided to head to a baseball game. Also spurring that excitement is that $1 tickets were being offered for all home games in September! Being a cheap-o, $1 is my kinda ticket!

So, co-workers E & K traveled with me to the game.
We got there about 90 minutes before game time and had a chance to meander around. Now, think about where you might get to sit for $1. You thinking high? Go higher! We were about 15 rows from the top of the stadium. (There I am at the top of the stadium making "WOW" fingers!) Lightbulb changers were the only ones higher. Knowing we'd be closer to heaven, I decided to talk with some of the ushers to see how we could amend that situation. I found Wojo -- he was sitting at the entrance of the elevator that would get us to our proper seats. He was talking with Mike - the Supervisor!!

I calmly asked, "How many people are coming to the game today?" 14,900. "How many can the stadium hold?" 49,000. hmmmmm...

"What's it take for us to get seats closer than the rafters?" Mike proceeded to let us know that come the 2nd inning, we could come and find him and he'd help us with getting better seats. He did mention that we'd be right of first base.

So, when the 2nd inning started, we left the upper-upper decks and went to find Mike. Having him called on the radio by other ushers, noting we were his personal friends, he led us to our new seats. We expected to be closer - to not think the players are just ants, or midgets as Wojo called them. But, there goes Mike, heading down the stairs right in front of first base. And then he talks to people behind the dugout and motions us down. He gets us seats 3 rows behind the O's dugout!!! What is that about?!!? E & K have pictures -- will post one once I get them.

We sat and enjoyed our lovely views. (Check out the picture, of course, that was during the 8th inning, and most had left!) And then started chatting up with those around us. Come to find out, one of them worked for Exxon Mobile -- he was there with some vendors, from India and Pakistan. I'll be honest, we all thought they were arms dealers. Alas, they were just gas station owners. And having begun conversations with our row mates, they offered to have Exxon/Mobile buy us pretzels. Wow!!! Were they tasty. And that might answer any questions one has regarding where the billions earned by big oil goes to -- direct to Debby's tummy!!!!

Oh, then while watching the jumbo-tron near the end of the game, I saw someone I knew!!! She grew up in MD and we met in Orlando. We're having dinner on Wednesday!! How cool is that?

My friend E was convinced I was using my feminine wiles to make things happen. Not sure if that's the case, but still paying $1 for dugout seats? Whatever works!!!

The O's lost to the Rays. But all around a good time had by all.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where have all the cowboys gone?

I love to read; I love books.  Last year I had to make a pact with myself that in order to have Lasik eye surgery I couldn't purchase any books.  Every person I mentioned that to groaned with the reality of what that would cost me.  And so, when my brother once offered to purchase a book, even with a caveat, I took it!  He said, "If you read our already owned copy of 'The Three Musketeers', I'll purchase for you 'The Count of Monte Cristo.'"  I wanted to read Cristo, so I was up for the challenge.    

And I loved it!  The Three Musketeers won me over.  Here was a book filled with action, sword play, and men wanting their women.  They defended their kings, they fought along side their brothers, and they made sure that their women were their women.  I finished that book and thought, "I have got to get a guy to fight over me."  Just think, back in the day if you were a damsel in distress, or cut the distress and were just a damsel, and a guy saw you, liked you, and was willing to fight for you, what a rush!  I started looking at every guy thinking, "Could you be taken?  In a fight?  Could you win me?  Would I want to be won by you?"

I've been watching the 2002 TV series Firefly.  (Please note, if you get the series, there are some (3 or 4 in the whole series) inappropriate stuff, blah, blah, blah -- I didn't write it, I just watched it.  Use judgment.)  It is awesome!  They are in the future wild-"west" of the universe.  They fly thru space, finding jobs, beating up the bad guys, righting wrongs and getting beat up in the process.  Mind you, they can be a bit knuckle headed, but how many guys aren't?  The Capt'n Malcolm Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillion (hello!!), is the rough, yet sensitive guy who doesn't really understand women, but he does fight on their behalf.  Basically, it's almost the 2500 version of the Musketeers... only on spaceships using laser guns.

And here I am, 2008, early 30's loving life.  But, I wonder, where are the cowboys?  The ones willing to fight for their women, to pursue the chase?  I've not known many - but those I have, I'm impressed: college friend Aaron - he fought for his woman, stayed the course, even though for the moment she met him she was sure she wouldn't marry a red-head (7 years, 2 kids later); a youth group leader - Billy Crippen -- he fought, fought, fought for his woman - she turned him down more times than not, yet he was convinced he was to marry her (12 years).  You know the type, the heartache, the pursuit.  And in the end, it's a marriage worth fighting for, worth trying for, worth dying for ... hoping you hear Bryan Adams' "Everything I do..."  Might have thing for Robin Hood also!

I never did read Monte Cristo -- didn't have the heart to ruin my view of those Musketeers.  But, some cowboys could help -- so, c'mon.  Get on the saddle, ring the rope, and find that woman to fight for.  And I wouldn't mind if I would be one of them!!!  Is that too much to ask?  

Friday, September 19, 2008

November's Flower

As a child, I always questioned the determinance of the mum for November's flower. April has the Sweet Pea, June the Rose, December the Paperwhite, and then November -- the mum. How boring, this one flower with loads of petals might come around every fall. Only to hold on for a bit of time until the chill comes through the Florida air to cause it to drop those slender petals. No scent, no picking ability really, and just a disappointment.

Alas, I was wrong. Here in Maryland mums are a prolific foliage. A friend moved from South Florida and was greeted with a scraggly, ugly looking plant near her driveway. She was certain that it should be pulled out and mulched. While contemplating the soon-to-be short-lived decrepit plant, a neighbor came along and noted, "That's a mum. It'll bloom in the fall -- don't pull it out, wait for it." And come the fall, it did bloom.

These days there are mums growing beyond belief in Maryland. There are a number of roadside farm stands here. They have displays for their items of sale: corn, apples, tomatoes, peaches (fyi - I now know I enjoy white peaches the best. Carolyn's Orchard carries about 6 different types of peaches. Not sure if you really knew that was possible.) And then you see the mums -- rainbows of color, beautiful bushes of blooms that make one happy to drive through the country side.

Waiting for things -- jobs, relief from pain, relationships -- they often seem to have a bismal outcome. And yet, in the fall, when the excitement of Spring and Summer have fallen away, just when it seems that life is sure to harbor itself up for Winter, along comes Fall with a long forgotten bloom of harvest. The harvest comes in with such surprise and hope that we are astonished things could occur in such stalemates of life. What joy we find when the mums arrive and remind us yet again that God's sweet promises of life are still there ... before (and sometimes after) the winter ... to realize the full beauty of his ways.

I think I might be okay with mums as November's flowers. Now to work on understanding the Topaz...anyone want to supply me with some to study?


Saturday, September 13, 2008

living la vida loca

Alright, so I'm not living so crazy that I could use that title, but I certainly feel like it. Today, I'm hanging out with some friends here in MD. The S's. They were very kind to let me stay at their home during the ice storm of February and the drizzle of no-end in April. Their home is constantly full of welcoming warmth and kindness.

Today, I'm with them for it's a Fall Saturday and that means one thing --- FOOTBALL!!! Here in Maryland, they only talk about 1 type of football -- the RAVENS. Who really cares about NFL teams?!?!? Now, don't get your panties in a wad if you really like NFL football or the Ravens for that matter. (By the way, can you believe what happened to Tom Brady of the Patriots?!?! In the first game, the first quarter, the first few minutes -- gone, done, out for the seasons. Oh, Patriots, can you hold on to the season without your man? Maybe it's a good thing you were picked so low in the fantasy football world. Some people had a hunch. I still really don't care, but I still love the Patriots. And only the Patriots - the rest of the NFL --- phffffffft!)

Last week, when I was really ready to get into football mode the only game on the TV was some lame ACC game. And then I was going to try and find an SEC game on the radio, all that was on was Maryland!!! The Terps! Are you kidding me? But, what else did I have to drive me through folding my laundry? As I was listening to the cries of the only football other than the Ravens, I heard a name ... a kicker was coming out ... "Gendreau"! How cool is that?! The only game I get on the radio has a student from Orangewood -- playing for the other team of course, but guess who started to get my cheers?! Middle Tennessee State! And then they beat the Terps!! It was awesome.

But, come Gator game time, 8pm, I needed to find a place to watch my team on ESPN. And remember, I don't have cable -- Verizon has told me that I'm too far away from the server to get internet -- can't watch it online. And if I'm too far from the server for internet, who's to say I can get Cable?!?! I called some bars to ask if they were going to watch the Gators on ESPN prime time and they said, "Who? Well, I guess we might put them on ... if you really want to watch them." ARGH!! Not real fans of good football. (I've been in an ACC bashing mood this week! heh heh heh.) I finally realized that the Senior Pastor of CPC is a Miami fan -- he must have been watching. And he was. So, I watched the Gators in enemy territory. But, we won, so all was right in the world.

Today, alas, no Gator game, but am watching with the S's. He's for GT, she's for LSU -- so at least there are some wise people in my new world. Next week - Gators play Tennessee -- gotta keep that wretched song out of my head -- Go GATORS!!!! Beat the putrid orange! And I'll be watching in Gator Country -- at the G's in Altamonte Springs!!!

Jesus could come again and realize that some good was in the world. Ok, so it's completely crap theology, but the Gator Nation would be happy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A bit of the absurd

Here in Maryland they have "Free Papers" that are delivered to your house a few times a week.  On Monday the "Marketplace" comes with loads of sales flyers included.  On Thursday, the "Westminster Times" or something like that arrives -- local county news full of flavor.  Sunday morning brings the "Baltimore Examiner."  Please note - you don't sign up for these papers, they just come.  And if you would rather not receive them you put up a handmade sign that reads, "NO FREE PAPERS."  It's rather humorous.  

This past Sunday I received my paper, came home from church, and began to flip through to see what might be of interest.  There's always the main story -- this week John McCain & the convention (way to go on the Sarah Palin choice - I do love it!!!), the odd entertainment news, and the sports -- which always have to do with the Baltimore Ravens.  Which I went to see last Thursday -- free tickets!!!  See, there I am .....

It really annoys me that there isn't any Gator news up here ... but what can I do?  After my great annoyance, I found this article -- it just made me laugh.  See my notes at the bottom.

Olive oil spill still being cleaned up

By Sara Michael
Examiner Staff Writer 8/29/08


BALTIMORE – Crews under contract with the Maryland Department of the Environment still were cleaning up olive oil from the Baltimore Harbor nearly a week after 5,000 gallons spilled from a nearby plant.

The oil flowed from the Pompeian Inc. plant on Pulaski Highway after vandals broke into a 20-foot holding tank sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning, officials said.

Attempts to flush the oil from the two miles of storm drains between the plant and harbor weren’t successful, said Alan Williams, MDE director of emergency operations.

About 200,000 gallons of water from fire hydrants didn’t help much, but the rain late in the week did, he said.

Cleanup crews had recovered about 2,200 gallons of the oil by Friday, and were still poised to collect any more that trickled from the drains, he said.

There was one casualty in the spill. Williams rescued from the water a small duck covered in oil, which damaged the duck’s ability to insulate.

However, the duck died about a day later. Officials at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware will conduct an autopsy to determine if Williams or rescuers might have contributed to its death.

The information then can help wildlife rescuers improve their procedures, Williams said.

“We don’t put out that kind of effort and lose the guys,” he said.


Seriously -- Olive oil -- on the loose?  And causalities?  A duck?!!?  "We don't put out that kind of effort and lose the guys ... " Was this written for The Onion?!!?  Ahhh, Maryland.... God bless your little heart...