Saturday, August 31, 2013

Irish win!

ND vs Temple2Today was the first game of the 2013-2014 Notre Dame football season, and man, were we both psyched, or what?!

We were not quite as psyched about the weather forecast, which was originally calling for temperatures close to 90° and high humidity, which would have made for a pretty miserable day at Notre Dame Stadium. However, the forecast moderated a bit, and it ended up being not quite as warm, but still very humid. It wasn’t a huge surprise to see dark clouds move in and we got a little rain. It wasn’t a total disaster, because we sat in the truck and ate our lunch, and by the time we were ready to head into the Stadium, it was starting to let up. We were bummed that we didn’t get to hook up with some of Ken’s coworkers, though, who were tailgating in the parking lot. It would have been great to stop by and say hi and have a beverage with them, but the weather just didn’t cooperate with that. Hopefully next game!

It was great to be back at ND for football, and our new seats were quite good. Another of Ken’s coworkers sold us his and his Mom’s season tickets for this year (face value, no shenanigans there!), so we actually have ND season least for one year! We are about a third of the way up in the end zone opposite the Notre Dame student section. Good seats!

The woman sitting next to me was from (I think) New Jersey, and it was her first time at Notre Dame. Her daughter, Lucy, was right behind us, and Lucy is thinking of attending ND. Ellen had lots of questions for me, and we enjoyed chatting. It was nice to hear her say that her and Lucy have had a great experience at ND, and that everyone has been very nice. She said she really enjoyed talking to me and appreciated me trying to answer her questions as best I could. It was my pleasure, Ellen, and I hope we see you and Lucy in the future!

The sun finally came back out, and let me tell you, it got hot and humid! It wasn’t like I had heavy clothes on, but I was still getting overheated. I can’t even imagine how bad it was for all the players. Ouch! After we got home and got stuff unloaded, we both took cool showers just to rinse off and get cool. Felt great...I bet the players enjoyed their showers, too!

ND vs Temple3Of course, the best thing of all was that we got the win. ND is 1-0 on the season, as is the Lucky Underwear (yes, it’s back!). I can honestly say that they have a lot of work to do, because the defense was a little porous, Tommy Rees didn’t always read the openings well, and we struggled a bit on offense. We’ll see what happens in the coming games, but I’m guessing that Brian Kelly is going to work the hell out of them this week. Love you, Irish, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all season...and seeing you WIN!

I have to say that I am about wiped out. Game Day is always fun, but it’s quite a hike into the Stadium from the parking lot (no guilt about skipping my workout today!). With today’s heat and humidity, it just about did me in. The next home game is September 21st against Michigan State, so maybe it will be a little cooler for that game. Fingers crossed!

A fun day, and Football Fangirl is very happy!

Tomorrow is a tour of the State Theater with Drew, and yes, there WILL be pictures of the pink-tiled women’s bathroom!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A gazillion thanks

Thank youToday was my 51st birthday, and I can’t begin to thank my family and friends enough for all the kind words and good wishes. I had a low-key day, which was probably a good thing after last night’s Dropkick Murphys concert! (Pictures and more info coming soon...I just didn’t have it in me to mess with it today!)

I got some great cards, a couple of phone calls, and Ken gave me a super cool book about Johnny Cash, and a Johnny CD with a couple of previously-unreleased tracks. I also got a package from Bill and Libby in Las Vegas: a nice card and a cool black Route 66/Las Vegas t-shirt! What a nice thing for them to do! I even got a present from Sheeba: a dead mouse on the basement stairs. Awww! Best kitty!

We’re actually not doing anything tonight, and that is fine by me! I got my ya-yas out last night, and we’ve got a busy weekend ahead, with a comedy show Friday night, a tour of the State Theater with Drew on Sunday, and of course…

The Notre Dame football opener on Saturday! Woohoo! I’ll be picking up sandwiches and stuff tomorrow for tailgating, and I am super excited to cheer on the Irish! It’s going to be a hot and steamy day in the Stadium...thank goodness I bought that ND tank top a while back, because even a t-shirt will be hot that day!

Thanks again, you guys. All the nice comments really made my day special, and it meant a lot to me. I’ve known many of my online friends for quite a few years, and after getting to know you over a period of time, I’ve even met many of you and look forward to more meetings in the future! I don’t automatically takes a bit for that, but when that happens, it’s been a pleasure to meet you on our various travels. We’ve never had a bad experience, but after you’ve been friends online for a while, you really get to know people, at least in my opinion.

Anyway, cheers to you all!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Save your money and your time

BachmannistanYesterday, I saw that there was a new short “insider” book out about the Michele Bachmann presidential campaign. I’m sure most of you remember that I was thoroughly entertained by the crazy train that was the 2012 Republican primaries, and Michele “Crazy Eyes” Bachmann was, for one brief, shining moment, the conductor. She was definitely one of the most scarily hilarious—hilariously scary?—candidates I’ve ever seen.

So when I saw this book was out, I thought, “Oo! That’s worth a quick read!” Oh, how mistaken I was. At least I didn’t spend $2.99 on it (the price on Amazon) and instead chose to exercise our Prime membership and borrow it for free from the Kindle Lending Library (a nice feature). If I’d paid any money for it, I’d be pissed. I can never get the moments back in my life that I spent reading this drivel, though.

There is just so much wrong here. Where do I begin? The editing is pretty bad. The author speaks of “thunder and lightening.” I don’t fret about that when I see it posted somewhere, but when I read it in a book, I am not impressed. It was also written that there was an issue with “steeling the list.” Seriously? Inexcusable in a published work.

What really bothered me, though, was the nonstop snark of the main writer, who I guess was John Gilmore. Both he and his co-author, Peter Waldron, were higher-ups in Bachmann’s campaign, and seem to have grown rather disenchanted with their candidate. Mainly because she wasn’t religious enough, or took the advice of others over them? It was hard to tell in this jumble of junior high school Mean Girl snarkiness. Gilmore goes after everyone.
  • He writes that Minnesota disgraced itself by electing Al Franken.
  • He wrote something about the Democrats putting rollers on Walter Mondale and wheeling him out to campaign.
  • About a reporter for The Atlantic, he wrote this: “No word if the reporter ever wrote a story about Bill Ayers. Her first name is French for a particular shade of red. You know the type.” What does that even mean?
  • He writes that Ron Paul was a “seriously unserious candidate.”
  • He went after Florida, writing, “In Lutz, Florida (only Florida would have a town that rhymes with putz)....”
  • He went after Minnesota again: “Minnesotans, as is their wont, remain largely clueless.”
  • He even went after Erica Jong for some reason, calling her a “dated, flash-in-the-pan author.”
  • He constantly goes after the “liberal media.” Yawn.
  • He goes into a long defense of Peter Waldron, his co-author. Why devote so much time and space to such a thing? Perhaps a little too much protesting?
  • The real kicker for me was this about Bachmann, which morphed into a slam against Hillary Clinton: “...[S]he possessed no such skills. The same can be said of any number of democratic candidates, but, somehow, they are better actors, thus getting away with it. Nothing else explains the success of the very unaccomplished Hillary Clinton.”
We’re talking about the very popular former Secretary of State here, folks. And this guy calls her “very unaccomplished.”

The entire thing had a tone of misogyny, snarkiness, and pettiness, although he had high praise for Marcus Bachmann. Make of that what you will. He also seems to still have a thing for Michele, ignoring the rejection of his candidate by the majority, chalking it up to campaign mismanagement rather than the candidate’s own flaws. He truly seems to think that if Bachmann had been allowed to unleash her evangelical mojo, she would have appealed to more people. He just doesn’t seem to get that her extreme message didn’t resonate beyond a relatively small group of conservative Christians. I also have to say that if this guy is part of the conservative Christian evangelical movement, and he seems to be, he’s not exactly bringing anyone over to his side with his snarkiness and puerile insults. Just the opposite. He comes across as a petty little bitch.

He winds up with a slam on Michele Bachmann: “There may be second acts in American life, but if there is any justice, Michele Bachmann will not have one.” I can’t argue with that, but I have to wonder just what he thought his candidate was all about. I learned very little new from this book. It seems pretty obvious that there were ethical violations in the campaign, although the investigation is ongoing. It is common knowledge that campaign workers were not treated well and many went unpaid.

You know what you get when you treat people that way? You get a misogynistic former campaign worker writing a shitty book. I’m no Bachmann fan, but the tone of this book made me dislike the author even more. I’m glad the entire campaign tanked, because dealing with these insufferable idiots in a presidential administration would be close to torture.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Say hello to Crazy 8

Crazy 8Although listening to the song in this link isn’t mandatory, it might enhance your reading pleasure for this entry.

I drove over to meet Ken tonight in the city where he works (it’s not by the Bay). Our mission was to visit our brother-in-law Tom at his place of employment and find a new couch and loveseat—and throw him some business in the process.

Ladies and gents, here it BRAND NEW DAVENPORT! (Shane and Matt will get that joke!)

As you can see, this Broyhill lovely is resting comfortably in the wild. The wranglers in the warehouse at Carson’s will be loading it and its smaller companion for shipment next week, and will deliver it to its new habitat. I think it will be comfortable here, out in the woods and able to enjoy plenty of fresh air and natural lighting.

If you want to make fun of me for being so excited about a new couch and loveseat, I’d like to point out that our current couch and loveseat has been around since my single days in Indianapolis, and it is approaching 25 years old. A quarter of a century. That couch is old enough to drink—and believe me, it has! (Spills happen.) It is on its second set of slipcovers, and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to be getting a brand new one.

I love the clean lines of it, it has a bit of a mid-century modern feel to it, and I love the light green color. I think it will brighten up our living area quite a bit. It comes with the pillows, and I’m already looking for new sheer curtains that will match the blue in the pillows. (That was Ken’s suggestion...turns out he’s got a pretty good eye for such things!)

As you can see from the picture, Tom had this model on the floor, so I was able to try it out. If I sit all the way back, my heels don’t quite touch the floor, but that’s how it is with the current couch. I sat on another one, one that Tom called the Shaquille O’Neal couch, and it was so tall and deep that my feet stuck straight out a few inches away from the couch. The one we got is comparable to the one we have now. It’s rare that I sit on the couch with my feet on the floor, anyway, and anything built to my size would be very uncomfortable for Ken!

I will be happy to say goodbye to the old couch (although I’ve got some pictures of friends and family on it, but pictures are good enough for me at this point) and welcome the new addition to Nutwood. I’ll take another picture when we get it next week. I also love that it’s called the “Crazy 8” model.

Crazy 8...come on down!

Monday, August 26, 2013

I’m out of order!

CubsDI’m going back over a week, to our Chicago weekend. I’m sorry I’m so behind, but there were quite a few pictures to download, and we’ve had enough going on that I haven’t made the time to get to them.

We met in the lobby around 11:30, and headed out to Wrigleyville. The hotel was within easy walking distance of Wrigley Field, and it was a beautiful day! We kept an eye out for a place to grab a bite to eat before the game, and ended up at a place called F. O’Mahoney’s, a little Irish pub near the ballpark. Along with our food, we had a couple of beverages, and after the previous night at Buddy Guy’s, a pitcher of mimosas tasted mighty good! Gotta get that Vitamin C, you know.

Then it was off to the ballpark. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood, because it was such a nice day, and we were heading to THE greatest ballpark in the country! (I haven’t been to Fenway, but Ken has, and says Wrigley is better...prettier and more charming, or words to that effect. I think it’s the ivy-covered walls.) Our seats were fantastic, behind the Cubs bullpen and just four rows up. We proceeded to watch the Cubs lose 4-0, but you know, we really weren’t expecting much. We’re Cubs fans, after all. And I say that with great love and affection for the Cubs. It’s our lot in life to see them tank year after year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love them or don’t have a great time at Wrigley. We were hoping that Notre Dame alum Jeff Samardzija (he played both baseball and football at ND and chose baseball for his pro career) would be pitching, but no such luck. We got Travis Wood instead, and he’s one of their better pitchers, along with Samardzija.

CubsLSpeaking of Notre Dame, the guy who sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the 7th inning stretch was Digger Phelps, former basketball coach for the Irish and current analyst for ESPN. He did a great job, and it was fun to be there and sing along and root for the Cubbies!

We really enjoyed our day, and one of the fun parts was the usher who was covering our area, Jim. The guy was super cool, taking care of problems and putting out fires, and just generally a nice guy. Ken asked if I could come down to the wall and take a few pictures, and Jim said no problem, as long as I don’t try to chat up the players, and do it between innings. I got a nice picture of the bullpen and the field because Jim let me down there!

After the game, we started making our way back to the hotel, and stopped in at a place called Rock’s Lakeview for dinner and beverages. Noisy as hell, but the food was decent, and it was fun to enjoy the open windows and the party atmosphere of Wrigleyville on game day.

Then we went back to the hotel and crashed, because Happy Fun Party Time™ wasn’t going to be happening two nights in a row!

That was our day at Wrigley Field. At least one more Chicago post, about our visit to the Art Institute on Sunday, and I hope to get that done this week, but no promises...lots going on this week!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Quite a Saturday

SBFDBefore I get to that, I want to tie up a couple of loose ends.

I recently wrote that my Congressman, Jackie Walorski, was a coward for not holding any town hall meetings. She did finally hold one, so I give her credit for that. However, she held it in Rochester, a small rural town about as far removed from the major media outlets of South Bend and Elkhart (cities in her district) as she could possibly get. I chose not to attend, but my friend Dan did. He said there were a lot of questions about the Affordable Care Act, the NSA, and immigration. It seems that Jackie is in hot water with conservatives over quite a few things, because they feel she isn’t being conservative enough. The usual teabagger stuff. When this town hall was announced (I believe it was announced the day before it took place), it was said that there would be “more to come.” There have been no more scheduled as of today.

So do I take back my “coward” statement? Not really. While I give her credit for finally scheduling a meeting, it was in a small town that was remote from the majority of her constituents, and she has scheduled no further meetings. It seems to me that she does not want to face anymore tough questions from her constituents, those on both side of the aisle. That still strikes me as cowardly.

On a more fun topic, I also posted the poll about the best sneer in rock and roll. There were only a handful of votes on the poll, but there were also several Facebook comments on my post of the entry there. I can tell you that the overwhelming winner was none other than the Blonde Bombshell, Mr. Billy Idol. Sid Vicious got a couple of votes, but almost everyone went with Billy. I have to agree, and that was who I voted for, too. Mark commented that it is an iconic punk look, and when he thinks of punk rock, Billy’s look and sneer springs to mind. There was just something about Billy’s look...that spiked blonde hair, the gorgeous face, and the way he did that sneer. Some really fun music, too, and I still enjoy listening to Billy and Generation X. Nutwood and Friends love you, Billy!

Drewry's2Now, a quick write-up of our fun Saturday. The Drewry’s kickoff party started at noon, but because we had another thing to go to afterwards, we didn’t get there until 2 pm. In retrospect, that was a mistake, because they had already run out of all the tasting beers, they had passed out the last t-shirts, and it looked momentarily like they had run out of food. However...silver linings, people, silver linings! We DID get our Drewry’s pint glasses, which are pretty cool. They did bring out more food, and although it wasn’t abundant, it was fairly tasty, and we got enough to take the “edge” off. But good’d think people hadn’t eaten in a week. As soon as they wheeled out the carts, there was a horde of people following them and swarming the cart like human pigeons. Chill, people! We also saw Drew, who is earning the title of Mr. South Bend because of all the work he’s doing with the State Theater and making downtown a destination!

The silveriest—most silvery?—silver lining of them all was that because they had run out of the other varieties of beer, they made the Classic Lager (which they still had plenty of) FREE. That’s right. Free beer. I won’t say that a choir of angels were singing, because the beer wasn’t all THAT great. So maybe one angel was singing. No offense, Drewry’s, but the Classic Lager I found sort of...meh. I look forward to trying some of the other varieties, though, as they become available in local stores.

Billy NicksAnother bright spot was seeing a long-time South Bend fixture, Billy “Stix” Nicks and his current band Motown Dance Party. We chatted with Billy afterwards, as well as a couple of band members, and apparently they play Martha’s Midway fairly often. I look forward to seeing them there, because they were a lot of fun and very talented. Billy is a living legend, and is incredibly sweet and charming. I was so pleased to finally get to see this guy...his name crops up frequently, but I had never managed to see him before. Wonderful!

But wait! There’s more! We weren’t even close to being done. We headed over to the Cove for Ken’s company party. We chatted with several of his coworkers, I got to check out some of the valves and stuff that the company makes for firefighting equipment, and I got an up-close look at one of our city fire trucks. The technology is really amazing, and total respect for the firefighters who put their lives on the line every single day! I like being associated (at least by marriage!) with a company who helps keep the firefighters as safe as possible in a terribly dangerous job.

We hung out at the Tiki Hut—a nice addition to the Cove!—saw the bartender we talked to last time we were there for Bacon & Brews, and also saw and chatted with Ben, the head chef for the Cove. I pigged out on popcorn and my favorite thing there: Philly Cheesesteak Nachos. I’ll try to hit the workouts extra-hard this coming week! The Hawks lost, but it was still a great evening at the ballpark, and the weather was perfect. Then it was a stop at Fiddler’s Hearth for one last brew, and we chatted with a guy who works at the Morris, and talked about how excited we are for the coming season’s shows. A really fun day downtown!

Today has been a fairly lazy Sunday (although Ken got the mowing done), and we’ll top off the weekend with a couple of porterhouses, some grilled potatoes, a salad with blue cheese dressing, a bottle of wine, and a movie.

I hope your weekend was as pleasant!