Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Dreams

Yesterday afternoon, I read online that Shawn Johnson finally won her gold medal. But that didn’t stop me from tearing up last night when I watched the re-airing of her win on NBC.

Which got me thinking.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could watch all of life like the Olympics on TV?

Think about the advantages. We’d know what’s going to happen, but still have the joy of experiencing it for ourselves to get details. We’d invest all the anticipation, nervousness and build-up into our activities, but let go of all the fear that things aren’t going to turn out ok.

I can think of a few different situations where the Olympic delay would be really helpful in getting through some of my current worries.

WORK: People in my line of work are feeling so defeated these days. We’re watching dozens of our friends leave the business, many involuntarily. It would be so nice to just get a quick peek at how it’s all going to turn out. Just a teeny flash forward to a time where journalists know what they’re supposed to be doing and things feel steady. Then we could go back to the present with gusto, knowing the bad stuff does go away eventually.

FRIENDS: I don’t think any of my friends would object to a preview of the people they’re going to end up with someday. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy look. Just a flash that could help my friend Monique figure out whether or not the guy who keeps disappointing her will be worth it in the end. Or a glimpse at the woman who will someday make my friend Michael understand why the heartbreak on the way to her was necessary.

FAMILY: This one’s a little too personal to go into detail about, but it’s my deepest fear of all. What I wouldn’t give for the slightest snapshot of the future to assure me that my Dad will be able to walk me down the aisle, my mom will be around to teach me how to raise my kids, and that my siblings will be around to share the lake house that we’ve always dreamed of sharing.

I know I’m asking for the impossible. And yeah, I get the whole argument that there’s something wonderful about not knowing.

Every once in while I just think we could all use a little cheat sheet to the future.

I’d promise not to abuse it. I don’t even really watch that much T.V.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Games

On Saturday, I joined three girlfriends at Wrigley Field for the Cubs vs. Cardinals game. Twenty-four hours later I was at U.S. Cellular Field with my boyfriend watching the White Sox take on the Red Sox.

They were two totally different experiences for reasons I’m about to list. It's a toss-up which one I adored more.

Game with the Girls: What’s not to love?


The game started at 2:55, but the ladies weren’t mad when I was still on the train at 3:15. They waited patiently by the iconic statue outside Gate D -- a statue Felice identified as “Larry Caray.”

When a photographer from approached and asked for a picture, the girls were speechless.
FELICE (finally speaking up for the group): Uh, we’re not really Cubs fans.
PHOTOG: Oh, are you Cardinals’ fans?
FELICE: Um, we’re not really fans.


The upside: Sitting in our primo seats 10 rows back from the first base line – courtesy of McConnell’s dad -- we briefed each other on new love interests, new living situations and other topics. Three-plus hours is a delightfully long amount of time to catch up.

The downside: The lady sitting next to me had to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to lean back. In chatting with my girlfriends, I was blocking her $66 view of the game. Whoops. I apologized.


Being the only one dating an avid baseball fan, my girlfriends looked to me regularly for play explanations, which was an honor. I taught them that Derrick Lee is the one player we have to know to sound respectable. And they were horrified to learn about the ignorant Cubs fans who wore FUKUDOME shirts depicting a cubby bear with slanted eyes and other racist sayings. We smirked in disgust when we passed the T-shirt stands selling the shirts. “Horry Cow” later became our sarcastic catch phrase for the rest of our evening.


The Cubs got their butts kicked, 12 to 3. But me and the girls had a grand ole time sipping back beers, cracking each other up and stuffing our faces with hot dogs.

Game with the Boy: What’s not to love?


The game started at 1:05, and we got off the train at 12:55. “Perfect,” said my Baseball Boyfriend, a season ticket holder who admitted he would have been annoyed if we missed the first pitch. He claimed we could walk the 5 or so blocks and be in our seats in time for the start. I was skeptical, but damned if we weren’t there exactly when he said.

Granted, being there on time required me to skimp on the pre-game primping. I threw on a Brewers cap, slapped on some mascara and ran out the door. In my haste, I apparently smudged a big black line of makeup across my right eye, which Baseball Boyfriend pointed out, then sweetly wiped away by licking his finger and using his shirt to wipe away the smudge. Who said sporting events can’t have tender moments?


Upside: In taking the place of my Baseball Boyfriend’s usual season ticket partner on the third base line, I inherited a great view from which I could ask my most pressing questions.

Me: What’s that black thing that A.J. Pierzynski just threw down before running to first base?
B.B: That’s his shin guard. Sometimes batters follow their swing down and it hits their shins really hard.
Me: (feeling very proud for asking a good question) Interesting.

Downside: It’s hard to always sound like a smart student of baseball.

Me: What’s that white thing behind the pitcher’s mound?
B.B.: I think it’s a hot dog wrapper.


B.B. admits that I make him notice/think about things he would otherwise notice at games. On Sunday, he didn't notice that many people around us had Bobble heads. I wondered where ours were. During a bathroom break, I investigated the situation and learned we missed Sunday's giveaway but could get them mailed to us by calling the Sox corporate office. I am a proactive baseball watcher.


In the end, the Sox beat Boston, 6 to 5, which made my B.B. extremely happy, and in turn made me happy as well. No beers necessary for this organically fun date. But I did stuff my face with a loaded Kosher dog.

All in all, it was two very fun days at the park, for reasons all their own. Maybe I don't need to pick which one I liked better.

For me, it's the combination of both that defines good, old fashioned fun.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Single/Serving Platter War

I was feeling all proud of myself this morning for packing a lunch. It was a fabulous salad, with croutons and grape tomatoes and other goodies all sealed tight in this great Tupperware container I had in my kitchen cabinet…

Until I realized I’m a hypocrite.

That Tupperware was not mine at all. It belonged to my friend Tori, who baked cookies for a party months ago and left it to me to return it. Which, gasp, I obviously didn’t. I’m a horrible person. A terrible person who deserves no lunch at all!

I know you think I’m being ridiculous. It’s a stinkin Tupperware, for god’s sake. I’m sure she has many others, right?

WRONG! With this one packed lunch, I’ve contributed to a gripe I’ve long had about the way single people get screwed when it comes to serving ware and other kitchen tools.

Married people have all the fancy dishes, pans and storage containers. People literally shower them with the stuff before they get married, leaving them with cluttered cupboards chock full of pot-luck serving tray options. Fondue sets. Pyrex with matching travel bags.

But for single people, these are supplies we have to accumulate slowly from hand-me-downs or our own trips to IKEA. Often, we only have ONE pizza pan, ONE covered 9-by-13 cake pan, ONE salad-sized Tupperware.

So we need you to give them back!

Most of the time, however, married people forget this. They’ll take your party offering, serve it on the table, then let the emptied container join a stack of their dirty dishes by the sink at the end of the night.

Which leaves us single people in an embarrassing quandary. Do we ask for the tray and appear uptight and stingy?

Or do we just let it go, thereby letting married people steal from the ones who have so little to begin with?

I say we fight! We must not let those who have registered hurt us just because we’ve never held the Target gun. We must not give up the things we have worked hard for – even though it’s not quite Celphalon!

I shouldn’t say all married people are guilty of this theft. I did have one positive experience at a married co-worker’s cook-out last summer. I brought a bowl of cherries – get it? – with my only fruit bowl.

Although I didn’t ask for it, the bowl was washed, wrapped in a bag and sitting on my desk the next work day.

A non-hostile victory.