Friday, September 28, 2012

bird bird bird...bird is the word: ravens edition

There is no denying that we are a town that loves our football.

You can't go anywhere in the city in the fall without seeing Ravens purple somewhere...a bumper sticker...a flag....a jersey...a sign in a window.  We just love our Ravens to bits and pieces.

It's more than just a's a's an's a way of life.

I've been to two games so far this year, the season opener on Sunday Night Football against the Bengals and last night's Thursday Night Football game against the Browns.  Both were divisional games, and both games we won. Which is great because it allows us to sit atop our division early.

It's interesting, because I mentioned in one of my last posts about how awful the month of September has been for me, and it's funny because all of the bad stuff pretty much happened in the middle of the month, sandwiched between these two games.   The Bengals game was the last bit of fun I had before the September sh*tshow, and as of yesterday my luck has seemingly taken a turn for the better.  Not only the better, but the AWESOME.

So I wanted to go back and showcase my little slice of Ravensnation.

Week One - Ravens versus Bengals 7:00pm.  Sunday Night Football

Ravenswalk was packed

Tailgating was in progress

Mockery was made of opposing team mascots

And as the frenzied masses approached the glorious gates of M&T Bank Stadium, each touching Johnny U's foot for good luck,

clad in their war gear and war paint,

you could just feel the Primetime excitement.

The tents went up

the cheerleaders posed,

and as Oriole Park looked on in the distance,

the masses kept coming.

paying respects to The Golden Arm, who'd passed almost exactly ten years ago,

and the man who made it all possible in our city, who had passed only four days prior.

The players warmed up,

the signs went up,

and familiar faces showed up.

The band marched,

the flags were presented,

the bird took the field,

then the season began with a roar.

The most decorated Olympian of all time was welcomed by (arguably) the greatest middle linebacker of all time

the crowd was on their feet.

 A flip of a coin,

a flyover,

and a snap of the ball,

the battle began.

We cheered the Ravens' success,

and celebrated the defeat of our arch-nemesis.

Kerri was with me, a rare moment when both of us were kid-free and together.  Which is a treat in and of itself, even if a game is not involved.  This alone is cause for celebration.

And, of course, we won.  13-44 to be exact.

Then the next couple craptastic weeks happened.  But amidst the stress and annoyances, I got a text from my old buddy Emanuelle.  She and I (and Kerri too) had worked together in the restaurant years before, and two years ago she had moved out to Hawaii, on the very same island as my friends Donna and Jamie.

She told me she would be home for a few weeks at the end of the month.  We must get together.  Even better, we decided to go to the Ravens game together in week four.

It was nice to have something to look forward to among my month of misery.

And thankfully the blessed day came--yesterday.  My bad bad luck has apparently taken a turn (finally!) and some great, wonderful things are coming my way--including a visit from my sweet Emanuelle!

And as it always is when I hang out with this fun and freespirited friend of mine, the unexpected and wonderful happened.

So here we go...

Week Three - Ravens versus Browns 8:20pm.  Thursday Night Football
Pre-celebratory glasses of champagne started our night off properly.

So excited to welcome my sweet friend back home after a two year absence!
And when it was time to head to the stadium, beers in styrofoam carry out cups...good friends don't let you leave empty-handed, afterall.

And the next thing I was suggested that we take "the limo" to the game.

(Life Lesson #987,234,835: when someone offers to provide limo service for you, don't ask how, where, why, or who.  Just agree, smile politely and say, "well that's a lovely idea, thanks for offering. Now we won't have to pay for parking."  The End.)

Don't ask how.  I'm still not entirely sure myself.  But somehow a limo showed up.

And it was just for us.

Well, us and our styrofoam cups... (klassie!)

And as we walked through Camden Yards, en route to M&T Bank, we stopped for an Orioles photo op,

oh, and the actual Oriole BIRD, moonlighting as a Ravens fan.

And as we got closer and closer to the gates of the Bank, Manee got a little overwhelmed with all the familiar sights and sounds of being home.

The game kicked-off in similar fashion, with fireworks and fanfare.

And Baltimore was happy to welcome it's ex-pat home.

And once again, the Ravens won.  16-23.
The Ravens are 3-1, after playing a grueling 4 games in 17 days.   Comparatively, I'm finally on the upswing after a grueling 3 weeks of life craziness.
It's so nice to know that despite years going by, motherhood, and moves of more than 5000 miles, I can still turn my brain off and have a few hours of FUN enjoying our Ravens, one of the common bonds that brings us all together, with these girls NOW

just like we did back THEN:

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

phursday phavorite photo: phursday night football!

Ray Lewis rallies the troops.

This picture was taken from my section at M&T Bank Stadium on opening night, Monday September 10th.  Since then, my boys have played three games, two of those in prime time, plus one more prime game tonight.  That's 4 games in 17 days for those who aren't counting.  Tough!

I have to admit, tonight almost feels like a re-start of the season, even though it's technically not (sorry Green Bay).  ReplacementRefGate of 2012 is over, and we can get on with real, as fair as possible football.

I never thought I'd be so excited to see real NFL officials on the field as I am today....
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Monday, September 24, 2012

super sucktastic september

September is usually one of my favorite months.

I love the tail end of summer that transitions to crisp autumn air in September.  I love the start of a new school year, and all the excitement that brings.  I love new extracurricular activities for Sadira.  My mom's birthday.  Labor Day weekend...there are always lots of things to look forward to in September.

Except this year.

This September has sucked in a major way.

This is the story of how September handed me my ass on a silver platter.

It always seems like when it rains it pours.  When one thing goes awry, it's inevitable that everything else is going to go poorly as well, just for good measure.  And I am the Queen of Murphy's Law...if there's any possibility of something happening that technically "shouldn't" happen, it will still happen to me.  It's just the way it works.

September started off great enough...we went to Legally Blonde at the dinner theater for Mom and Sutton's birthdays and that was a ton of fun.  The Orioles are having their best season in years, so fall baseball in Baltimore is actually relevant for once.  Not to mention the Ravens held a phenomenal season opener, blowing the Bengals out of the water.

But there were other but so fun things that have happened.

Work has been stressful in a way its never been before.  Sadie's school year began and it felt impossible to keep up.  Brian had to leave town for a week to go back to Ohio for a funeral, which is horrible enough, but left  me with no back up or extra set of hands.  Then while he was away, I got into a car accident.  I was without my car for a few weeks.  During that time my phone completely died.  I got an unexpected tax bill from the State of Maryland...there was a mix up ..their mistake, but now I owed them more money.  To the tune of several many hundreds of dollars.  Then I got sick.  Then other people around me got sick.  Then I had to pay for said car accident and tax bill and broken phone.

I mean seriously it was one thing after life was starting to feel like the Book of Job.

I didn't blog as much, I didn't exercise as much, I didn't sleep as much.  These things that are therapeutic to me I no longer had time or energy for. 

And while none of these things are earth shattering by themselves, when piled one on top of the other on top of the other, it starts to feel overwhelming.  Beyond overwhelming.  Insurmountable.

And with no back up or outlet I felt off-kilter.  Unbalanced.  Like a top that is spinning and then starts to go off its axis, spinning about wildly.

That's exactly how I felt.  Spinning around, trying to get myself upright again.

And then there were emails, phone calls, text, messages...all from people who didn't MEAN to make me feel crazy, but just did...simply by the fact they they were asking me, "Can you...?"  "Do you...?"  "Have you...?"  "Are you..."  It felt like a million and one questions, none of which I could answer or keep up with.  Everyone needed something for me that I couldn't give or provide.  None I even wanted to deal with.  Inquiries.  Follow ups.  Invitations.  Requests. 

And I seriously just wanted to scream at everyone, "I'M HAVING A SERIES OF CRISES, CAN YOU ALL PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A FEW MINUTES?"

And when I would talk about it, I'd get the unsolicted advice or a lecture.  "You really just need to say no to people."  "You know what you need to do Nas, you need to slow down."  "If you keep this up, you're going to make yourself sick."

Keep this up?  Oh you mean, keep up with my daily responsibilities of getting my kid to school and getting to work?  Cause that's honestly what I'm having a hard time doing.  Yeah thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

I did have friends who understood reach out.  Kerri, offered to help with anything I needed.  From picking up Sadie from school when Brian was out of town, to offering to drive me back to the repair shop to get my car.  She just understands me. One Saturday night Sandi just said, "let me keep Sadie tonight," and it honestly felt like she said, "let me give you a million dollars," because THAT'S how helpful that was in that moment.

And you know what I did?  I stayed home and slept.  Cause I desperately needed to.

Because when you feel like that, everything just becomes another chore or task.  Things that you once would've enjoyed become another thing on the To Do List.  And I'm not talking a fun, "30 Before 30" To Do List, I'm talking about the "Things that suck but I have to do them because I am an adult" To Do List.

Things just kep spinning more and more out of control.

And its become imperative that I STOP. 

About two weeks ago, in the midst of this life crisis, I had to go to a work lunch.  We were out for Chinese and I opened my fortune cookie and this is what it said:

And I seriously thought to myself, "Fortune cookie, are you being sarcastic?  Cause I have been decidedly NOT cheerful in my outlook this entire month..."

And my co-worker said as kindly as possible, "well, yeah, that's you MOST of the time...just not recently..."

So I'm taking back September.  I'm stopping.  I'm getting off this ride.  I'm not passing go, not collecting 100 dollars.  I'm done.  September, you've had my number for three weeks now and I'm over it.  I'm finally FINALLY feeling like I'm getting my head above water, and I'd like to keep it that way.  I've had some great, fantastic, wonderful opportunities come my way recently and I'm not going to let them pass me by due to a sucky attitude or negative outlook.

So there you have it.  Super sucktastic September can find someone else to pick on.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012


 Attend an outdoor movie night - DONE!

Living in Baltimore City there are lots of opportunities to attend an outdoor movie night in the summer.

In Federal Hill there are the Flicks on the Hill at the American Visionary Arts museum on Thursday nights.
In Little Italy there is the Cinema al Fresco series on Friday nights.
In Fells Point there are the Films on the Pier on Wednesday nights.

Charles Village, Johns Hopkins campus...the opportunities go on and on.  Apparently in Charm City we just love an outdoor movie.

But one of our FAVORITE movie nights has got to be the Ravens Rookies movie night on the field at M&T Bank stadium.  For the bargain basement price of $6, you get to camp out on the field and watch a movie from the jumbotrons.  

There are also autograph sessions, locker room tours, meet and greets with the mascot and cheerleaders, and tons of other kid-geared fun.

To top it all off, this year's movie was The Lorax, one of Sadira's FAVORITE movies of this year.

We were excited to go.

Even better, two of Sadie's BFFs met us there--Sean and Olivia :-)

Before the movie started we played on the field and ran some drills...

We paid our respects to Art Modell...

And spelled my name out of Ravens' letters :-)

(Come on, you know it's cool... Lucky Sean can spell his name in Ravens letters too) :-)

 Then the movie started...

And the whole time I kept thinking how this year the experience of watching a movie on the field was so different from the last time we came, two years ago when the kids were 2 (almost 3) years old.

Last time we could barely get them to sit still.  They were more content to run and chase each other around the field.  I don't think they even remember what movie we saw.  

This time, I couldn't pry Sadira's eyes away.  She didn't even want to tour the locker room because she didn't want to miss a moment.

So different.

So of course after I came home and uploaded the pictures I had to take a look and compare to 2010:

Greeting each other then:

And now:

 Posing with the S (for Sadira) then:

 And now:

Sadie and me then:

And now:

And saving my personal favorite for last...

Watching the movie, deep in thought, then:


And now:


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