More of the Good Stuff

First, if you’ll recall, my company has an Ultimate Slim Down contest every year. It kicks off Monday next–grand prize is an iPad 2 for the person who kicks the butts of everyone else in the company. I don’t actually know if I lost any weight on my vacation because the battery on my scale died while I was gone. I haven’t taken the time to find and replace the battery, but I’ll do it this coming week so I’m good to go. I figure it’s a good time to get back on the wagon and lose the rest of the weight I need/want to shake off.

I cooked like a fiend this weekend. I prepared two of the dishes I ate at the National Gallery of Art. A lot of work, but worth it. I prepared Pollo in Potacchio (chicken braised in homemade tomato sauce and Pinot Grigio, roughly) and Bucatini e Pancetta (pasta in rendered and crisped pancetta (and its rendered bacon grease), Pecorino Romano cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese). I made the tomato sauce and butchered two chickens on Saturday, marinated the chicken over night, and then cooked everything yesterday. It was deemed a success by Mom, Dad, Auntie Pat, Debbie, Andy, Ruth (Debbie’s mom), and the kidlets. Everyone loved it. And it was as good as I remembered from my meal with Stewart and Loren at the National Gallery of Art… minus the art. Word to the cooking savvy folk… the National Gallery of Art switches up their menu in the Garden Cafe every few months. And they post a couple of the recipes for your enjoyment. The current set is Catalan in nature and created by the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef of 2011, Chef Jose Andres. I wish one of the two desserts on the menu had been offered… guess I’ll have to go back in mid-September when the menu cycles again.

Okay, more Fenway Park:

Shortly after arriving at my seat, my brother Ethan called to wish me a happy birthday (my Auntie Pat (I may be 36, but she’ll always be my Auntie Pat) had already left her traditional birthday song on my voicemail… I played it for Daniel and he cracked up because it’s possibly the worst rendition of the birthday song, intentionally slaughtered every year). He was dropping off my sister-in-law’s car at the dealer to be serviced and used the opportunity to give me a call. He was duly impressed with my thoughts of the stadium. Ethan and I have both been to Wrigley Field, I’ve been to Fenway, he visited the original Yankee Stadium. Right now we’re tied on the cool stadiums attended, but he’ll eventually pass me when he makes it to Fenway since I can’t ever catch a game at old Yankee Stadium. Bummer. (Please note, you can see the bunt laid down the third baseline by the Rays’ player who is hightailin’ it to first.)

Proof I was there!

When the sun had finally gone down far enough that I could take off my sunglasses and not squint madly, Daniel shot a photo of me with Fenway as my backdrop. If you squint, you can read “Fenway Park” on the press box over my shoulder.

We sat next to a fun couple who are students at Boston University. The guy is a die-hard BoSox fan… and his girlfriend is from New York City and is a Yankees fan. I’m not projecting a long term relationship for those two. If you don’t know, the BoSox and Yanks hate, HATE, HATE each other. Seriously bad mojo between ’em.

At every baseball game, the fans sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” It’s tradition.

At every BoSox game, the fans sing “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth inning. It’s tradition.

And it was pretty darn fun to sing it with the BoSox fans. They kindly pop up the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline” for those of us who aren’t natives and don’t listen to a ton of Neil Diamond. Don’t get me wrong, I know the tune. I just don’t know the words.

A birthday note aside (no pun intended, just wait for it)… for my twenty-first birthday, the guys I went to college with–Daniel included–gave me a sheet of music, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” signed by Tommy Lasorda. He might not be my favorite baseball manager, or my favorite Dodger, but I still have the gift.

After the game was over, I was able to take a photo from above showing the canopies at the concession stands off of Gate B. It makes for an awesome sight. I love that the BoSox operations have embraced their vintage qualities. And not just embraced them, but celebrate them. It greatly ads to their stadium’s charm. The lighting was darn near perfect, especially since I didn’t have any say in it!

Before leaving, I had to try for another angle of the stadium, fitting as much of it into a photo as my camera is capable of doing. I got the press box, “Fenway Park,” and the Green Monster. And the last traces of sunset. I’m a happy girl. I have a collection of stadium photos. Every stadium I’ve visited for a game, that is.

My last photos from the game were just outside Gate B, on our way back to the car. Just to the side of the gate is a statue of Ted Williams and a young boy. I was neither the first, nor the last person to hop up on the base for a picture. Who am I to avoid all chances to be a proper tourist? (I might not stand in front of the Rocky statue flexing my non-existent muscles like a doofus, but I’ll take a seat on the base of a statue of one of the greatest ball players of all time (with the wind blowing my hair in an unattractive way).)

So the BoSox are, um, a not great team? Is that a delicate way of saying it? They managed to log their second victory of the season during this game. It made their record 2-6. Ouch. They’re currently 11-11 and keeping a firm hold on the basement of the American League East. If you’re wondering, my Dodgers have the second best record in baseball, 16-6.

On the way home from the game, I realized I had a voicemail from Adri. I think I’m the only person she’ll sing the birthday song to and I love it. Nope Adri, no one heard it but me! It was a bit weird to spend my birthday with no family. The first time in my life, in fact. However, I still had a pretty splendid day. And just so’s you know, the fam is celebrating my birthday this weekend. Maybe next year I’ll go back to the habit of celebrating with family. On my birthdate. Not in August like last year, not in May like this year. It’s something to shoot for anyway…