Thursday, May 31, 2007

Easy Green Tip

Last Saturday, my mom, my sister and I took a drive up Weber Canyon through small towns such as Mountain Green, Huntsville and Eden and around Pineview Reservoir. The judge I clerked for recently purchased a cabin and invited us up for the afternoon. The drive was beautiful - everything was surprisingly green, the sun was shining and the mountain peaks still had patches of snow nestled on the shady side of granite slabs. Driving back we had hoped to retrace our path back to a place off the side of the road advertising Fresh Raspberry Shakes. Somehow we missed it. As we drove up the on-ramp to I-84, I wondered how we all missed the large tantalizing sign. Disappointed we tried to think of a plan B. Since we were nearing Layton, my mom called her sister who lives there to see if she was around for a visit. After a great deal of unnecessary confusion, we managed to meet in a parking lot just off I-15 in Layton. Hungry, we surveyed the surrounding restuarants - Applebee's, TGIFriday's, etc. - and I chose the least offensive to my palate - Famous Dave's.

Watching the clock closely to avoid any time delays before the evening's Jazz game, we surveyed our menus and each ordered water to drink. Unlike many of the fancier restaurants in New York, our server did not ask for our preference of mineral, sparkling or still. The only option was tap water and if asked, I am sure tap water is what we each would have requested. However, as we each reached for our tall thick glasses filled with ice water, we were not just disappointed but irritated. The water tasted nasty. Upon the server's return, we each ordered an alternate beverige that was more palatable.

I am a snob about many things but water is just not one of them. I admit I am an avid consumer of bottled water. I remember my dad scoffing at the very idea of purchasing something that comes free flowing from various faucets throughout the house. But times change, taste buds adapt and now he buys bottled water by the case. I, however, do not drink bottled water to the exclusion of the free-flowing variety. New York City has surprisingly good tasting water. Even if it is not among the ridiculously lengthy water options listed by a waiter, tap is always a free alternative to the trendy and beautifully packaged Voss, San Pelligrino, Fiji Water and the appealing blue bottles of Ty Nant water. Most of which I have never tried. My bottled water consumption is generally tied to the quality of tap water available or my portability requirements - e.g., sitting in a restaurant, tap is acceptable because I won't be wandering off with my glass but picking up lunch to eat in the park, a bottle is more appealing as it stashes in a purse with great ease. At home I have filtered water from my tap so I have no use for bottles there and at work I refill my nalgene bottle multiple times a day from the fancy hot/cold filter in the pantry.

Which brings me to this article about the latest greening trend - tap water goes haute couture. The newest trend, beginning where else but San Francisco, is for restaurants to step away from their very lucrative bottled water service to the environmentally friendly choice of filtered tap water poured from aesthetically pleasing carafes. The article is interesting and makes some good points so have a read and next time someone tries to look down at you for drinking mere tap water - remind them of the green house effect. Unless you are in Layton, St. George, Vegas or some other foul tap water tasting city, then please drink bottled water - no one should have to endure that taste.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thank you Jazz

As I sit here, reviewing my photos and re-living Saturday night's incredible Game 3 victory, the Jazz are free falling into being shut out of the Playoffs, already losing by 20 points at the start of the second quarter. It gets me down a bit but watching a pass from Williams to a dunk by rookie Millsap, I am excited about the future of this team. At the start of this season I saw glimpses of a promising future and was hopeful that we were embarking on a new era for the Jazz but I never thought we would manage to make it this far this year - the Western Conference Finals!




As you can see, Saturday was full of fireworks, blue t-shirts, balloons and HUGE grins. Not only did I get to enjoy the game with my sister from our back row seats, but I was also able to meet up with Tiffany, Ryan, Christian and Mr. Smith (sorry, no pic). We all wore our free XL "True Blue" t-shirts proudly but Tiff and I each added our personal flare - hers with the flirty knot and the excess ends of my tee threaded through my belt loops where I could nervously tug on them through the closer parts of the game. Although I believe Tiffany was regretting not bringing her bedazzler to the arena to really give her shirt some pizazz. After the game, Erin and I met up with Tiff and her crew at The Dodo - one of Salt Lake's finer eating establishments. Given its location across 400 West from the arena formerly called the Delta Center, Erin and I giddily approached the door anticipating a packed dining room full of baby blue XL shirts. Surprisingly, the restaurant was nearly empty and our loud crew took over more than just our corner of the room. Erin, Tiff and I stayed true to our pact to pick a variety of choices from the dessert board and not one selection was a disappointment. It was a phenomenal night that took me back to so many playoff wins of past years, only this time I could happily afford to celebrate with more than a slurpee from 7-eleven on West Temple and 800 South on the drive home.

Monday's game was a bit more disappointing but I wouldn't change a thing except maybe the refs, oh, and the final score. Okay, and maybe I should not have eaten the majority of the gigantic waffle cone Erin and I were supposed to be splitting but she turned over to me once the top layer of burnt almond fudge was gone. I was happy to introduce her to the thrill of attending the NBA playoffs and she put up with my loud obnoxious behavior and even agreed to switch seats with me at half-time when I was feeling crowded by my neighbor. Despite the trailing score, we remained proud of our Utah Jazz to the bitter end and even lingered in our seats as the arena emptied, soaking in the experience, knowing this was most likely the last game this arena would see before November.

See you next year Jazz!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Perspective

This is a pretty interesting article. I think I should tell my next story in the third person to try and glimpse a vision of myself as others view me - something that always fascinates me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

Throughout most of the winter I was overworked, slightly depressed by the lack of sunlight and feeling apathetic toward society so I slipped into semi-social hybernation. I went to relatively few parties, dinners and get togethers and those I did attend I didn't feel I had the energy for them. Even when I was invited out, my preference was generally to take the reclusive route by enjoying whatever movie Netflix delivered to me with some popcorn on my couch. It was a nice run but I have decided the hermit life must end - afterall, I can pretty much guarantee that I will never meet anyone sitting on my couch so no matter how long the odds are at various parties and social events, they are better than what I currently have going for me.

In light of this new resolve, I reluctantly decided to forego my Friday night yoga class in favor of a night out. A girl (let's call her Texas for reasons to be revealed later) I sort of know who has never given up on inviting me to her gatherings despite my rare appearances organized an outing to a place in the West Village called Cafe Wha. Her emails adamently insisted everyone arrive promptly at 9 pm so that our large crowd of 20+ people could be seated. I arrived at exactly 9 pm and was the very first person to arrive and I was seated immediately at a long table for 20+ people. The ten minutes it took for the larger group to arrive felt more like 20 as I sipped my diet coke and chatted with the two other prompt attendees, one of whom insisted on asking me questions about getting into law school. But once the larger group arrived, things relaxed and before I knew it I was meeting new people and hugging those more familiar.

The place is known for its cover band that plays everything from current pop hits to R&B to 50s rock. We even had a special performance from (I believe) Samuel E. Wright who was the voice of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid - he performed his Grammy winning Under the Sea! Not really my choice in dance music but it isn't every day you can say you heard a live Grammy winner perform their winning song. Basically, you eat then dance in the aisles between the tables. It was pretty fun and my friend even danced on stage although I think I impressed a few people with my "shake it" abilities during the cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya"! Afterwards a smaller group of us (only 5) went to a place called Slate Plus where we played pool for an hour or two before heading home. I was quickly reminded that I am bad at pool. A shameful thing considering the amount of pool my siblings and I played the summer of 1990 after we first acquired a pool table and my sporadic dabbling throughout high school. I enjoyed meeting new people and decided I really need to make more social efforts.

However, Saturday that resolution quickly slipped away when gray clouds brought a cold drizzling rain to New York City. I slept in and puttered around my apartment not accomplishing much of anything until I left for yoga class at 330. I was glued to my couch despite the fact that I knew this weekend was the annual International Food Festival in Hell's Kitchen. Unlike last year, it snuck up on me and I failed to promote and recruit friends to wander down 9th Avenue with me for more sharing. The snarled traffic on the street outside my apartment confirmed that even with the rain, the street fest was going forward. So I went to yoga smack in the middle of the festival and sized up the food booths, plotting my post-workout indulgences. When I finished class the rain was falling slightly faster and heavier than the misty drizzle from my walk to class. This was no reason to forego my plan. The streets were emptier and the booths didn't have lines so I picked up a mozarella cornbread thing (I can never remember the name of it but SO yummy), a freshly made mango, strawberry and pineapple smoothie, an oriental chicken salad from Eatery (a favorite restaurant with a booth out front) and a cheesecake.

The first time I stumbled onto this festival was May 2002 when I ran into my neighbor in the lobby of our building when I was running to the grocery store. He convinced me to join him and a friend to see the newly released Star Wars movie (I can't remember which one). I still remember that I was unshowered and only left the house out of absolute necessity. I used the excuse that I was hungry and needed food and there was no time to eat and make the matinee. Then Kyle pointed up the block to 9th Avenue and explained we could grab some food from the street festival. I acquised despite my grungy, make-up-less appearance and the intimidating good looks of Kyle's friend visiting from DC. We started at 53rd street and literally ate our way to the movie theater on 42nd street. Most of the food costs $4-6 (a bargain here) and we would pick something up, try it and pass it amongst ourselves for better sampling. By the time we reached the theater we were pleasently stuffed. After the rather lengthy movie we repeated the process, sampling each other's purchases on the way home. One of the clear favorites was the cheesecake. We bought one slice on the way down and a second on the way home and I believe we each bought our own the next day on the way home from church. The booth is there every year and I always make a point of picking up a slice of the absolutely best cheesecake I have ever had. The crazy thing is the booth is for Martha Frances Cheesecake which is an actual bakery in the City, but I have never been to the actual establishment. Each year I just wait for the cheesecake to come to me in my neighborhood. This year I was not disappointed. I walked up to the booth with my other to-go items, stepped under the tarp for a respite from the rain (I felt a baseball hat was preferable to carrying an umbrella but it really isn't as effective) and pondered over the turtle, mud pie, chocolate raspberry and other delectable flavors. The proprieter of the booth claimed to be a dessert counseler and offered to help me with my choice. He seemed more suited to the Renaissance fair circuit (or what I imagine the Renaissance fair circuit to be) than a dessert shop on the exclusive Upper East Side. But he helped me narrow my selection to the turtle cheesecake and I was very pleased when I pulled it out of my fridge yesterday evening.

After devouring my street festival food, I indulged in a book and a long bubble bath. At the end of the previous night I was invited to attend a game night downtown at one of the boy's apartment. I debated all evening and even got dressed, put on a makeup and was about to walk out the door to go when I received a call from Texas, the one person I knew who was planning on attending. She wasn't going. She encouraged me to go anyway but I had been reluctant and now I lost all desire. I felt bad about making the effort to shave my legs and even put on lipstick but ultimately I think I made the better choice in watching Dreamgirls.

Sunday was Stake Conference - broadcast from Salt Lake and after talking to my brother in Boston I discovered it was actually a regional conference because he saw the same thing. But then another social dilemma presented itself. The Jazz game was scheduled to start at 3:30 pm and I received not one but two text message invitations to a barbeque downtown starting at 4:00 pm. I was told via text that the game would be on but not wanting to miss any of it I debated and debated and ultimately, when the Jazz were up 7 - 0 in the first minutes of the game, I walked out the door. Luck was on my side and the train arrived shortly after I reached the platform and when I transferred at 42nd street the express train pulled right up so I made it to Wall Street in 30 minutes. I ran into an old friend in the lobby of the building (she lives there, as do about 4 apartments of Mormons!) so I had a friendly face to escort me to the bbq. But when I walked in the apartment I became worried. I didn't know any of the party hosts (although I've met one a few times) and their tv was small and shuttered behind glass and latticed doors. I walked out onto their truly amazing 18th floor private terrace but felt I needed the tv on or I needed to find a sports bar. I explained that I had been reassured that the game would be on after I dropped my contribution of hummus and pitas on the serving table outside. It was a production getting the tv on the right channel but I then plopped myself on the couch and squinted across the room at the sorry score nearing the end of the 2nd quarter. During half time, I enjoyed the terrace, made brief small talk with people and nibbled at some pasta salad, carrots and the pitas and hummus - foregoing the novelty of barbequed hot dogs and hamburgers (truly no temptation there).

When I returned to the room with the tv at the start of the 3rd quarter, I was once again the sole viewer but gradually others trickled in and I started meeting fellow Jazz fans. Texas claimed to be a San Antonio fan despite the fact she is from Houston. She is from Texas and at all times wears a pendant in the shape of her home state with a heart cut out of the middle. She is loud, opinionated and attention seeking. I mean, this is the same girl who danced on stage Friday night. She is a lot of fun but I was getting irritated with her constant jabbering as she tried to prove how much she knows about San Antonio - since it is her third favorite team after the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks - and how she had $800 tickets to the Heat v Spurs finals game last year. We tried to point out that those teams are rivals but she claims she supports ALL Texas teams. I'm sorry, but you have to pick - you can't be a Mets and a Yankees fan so you shouldn't be an all-inclusive Texas fan. As the game wore on and the Jazz improved she started slamming Utah more and more. Belittling Utah for only having one professional team and claiming the games she attended at the Delta Center were the worst ever and that the Jazz have the absolute meanest fans. Those of us who were born and raised on the Jazz defended our fans but mostly watched the game while she pressed on claiming they are the worst she has ever seen and how they once tore up her brother's autographed poster of Hakeem Olajuwon. Why he would take an autographed poster to an opposing team's arena is beyond me. I didn't respond a lot to most of this because I was focused on the game. But then she crossed the line. First she spat out that everyone at Jazz games is white. Umm, yeah, it is Utah. We know we don't have a lot of diversity but what a weird comment, it isn't as if they only allow white people to attend. Then she said "I mean, they were all white trash." That was it, I had had enough of her. I told her that was just ridiculous and inappropriate. She countered that I shouldn't take it personally and I said of course that is personal - Utah is my home state and I have been a Jazz fan as long as I can remember and everyone in that arena is NOT white trash! She pressed on. Frustrated by her incessant badgering and the Jazz' inability to close the scoring gap by more than 10 points, I let myself loose and argued back. I think I silenced the room when I told her that just because you had the misfortune to sit by some jacka** doesn't mean you should call the entire fan base white trash. She persisted and I reluctantly let it go but couldn't understand why she had to be so rude about it. I thought her home city of Houston was hot, humid and dirty with no apparent redeeming features when I visited it briefly years ago and our waitress chastised my brother for not calling her "ma'am". But I did not share this with her, nor would I. That would be rude. Mostly I just get tired of Mormons who are not from Utah thinking it is funny to ridicule Utah and everyone from there. I know I mock much of the social culture of Utah but I love my home state, I often miss my home state. At the barbeque I told a friend I am going there for vacation this next weekend and she said "well, that isn't really vacation." What? Let's see, beautiful mountains, warm spring weather, the Jazz in the Western Conference finals, lots of friends and family to visit and best of all no work . . . why doesn't that qualify as vacation? Oh, because you scorn Utah. Right. I am tired of defending my state to those who think they are better.

Later that night as I was relaying the incident to my brother, Texas called. I let the call go to voicemail and was surprised by her message wherein she apologized and claimed she hoped there were "no hard feelings" because she didn't mean to personally attack me but felt like I was taking it very personally and then backed up the apology by saying "that's just my experience, Jazz fans are the meanest fans I've experienced." Fine, I really don't care if she feels that way but calling them white trash is an elitst, self-entitled attitude that crossed over the line in my opinion. I called her back and got her voicemail - told her I don't take these things personally and this was hardly a friendship breaking encounter. She returned the call (perhaps screening?) and although it ended fine I was irritated that she kept wanting to bait me back into an argument, or at least get the last word. If you are apologizing do you really need to insist you are right? Anyway, it added some drama to the evening.

But to end on a better note, I have to say how VERY EXCITED I am to get on a plane in 4 days to go home to Utah for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! I have a whole list of things I want to do, people I want to see (and yes, if you are reading this in Utah, you are on that list) and Mexican food I need to eat. Topping out the list will be attending both games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals. The Jazz need to step it up a notch, win tomorrow night in San Antonio (which I believe they can do) and take games 3 and 4 in SLC. I know that sounds like I am asking a lot of a team that no one predicted would come this far and a team that has not won in San Anotonio since 1999, but I have faith. I really want to believe that this is the year of the Jazz.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kitchen Set-Up

I am a sucker for places like Williams-Sonoma and Crate and Barrell. I love browsing through their catalogues and roaming the aisles of their stores and I always have a very long wish list of coveted items I do not necessarily need or have room for in my kitchen but desire nonetheless. Currently topping the charts are items such as these and these and of course this. But I also look longingly at items such as this and these.

This post isn't meant to be a loud hint for my upcoming birthday. Rather, it is a response to this article which claims I should be able to stock my entire kitchen with everything I need for $300 total - far, far less starting from scratch than the total of my short list of luxury wants. While I think I may have a Saturday adventure coming up exploring restaurant supply stores in the City, I don't think that will cure me of my desire to have bright yellow melamine bowls like these.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mocktails

Saturday night I met my friend Joo at Hurapan Kitchen, a Thai restaurant in the West Village. The menu had a variety of interesting more Thai-fusion type dishes but ultimately I decided to test their masaman curry - one of my Thai favorites. Joo also stuck with a classic - pad thai - and we split a fried calamari appetizer. It was fun to venture into a different neighborhood and try a new restaurant. It was also fun to have a low key dinner to catch up with a good friend I don't see as often as I would like. Instead of dessert we opted for tea - mine was called Ambrosia, a rooibos tea (my favorite tea, it is an African red tea that is used for herbal chai) infused with apples, chocolate and something else I forget. It was really good without being too much - no need to add any sweetener.

After dinner, we wandered through the Village as Joo allowed law school memories to catch up with her as we made our way to destination number two: Pegu Club. We were meeting a friend of Joo's to celebrate his birthday. As we expected, arriving at 9:30 for a 9 pm party, we were the first to arrive after the birthday boy and the organizer. We sat at the bar and caught up. When my Diet Coke was low Joo's friend insisted I try something more exciting since this place is known for its cocktails. He knows I don't drink and asked the bartender to mix me up a special virgin concoction. My expectations weren't too high so they were quickly surpassed by the refreshing beverage with which I was presented. It was too loud for me to completely understand the name of my "mocktail" - a virgin something-something mule. I cautiously took a sip through the slim black straw after admiring the decorative mint floating atop the stacked cubes of ice. It was fantastic! Almost too fantastic, so I inquired about the other ingredients. I didn't get a complete answer but I gathered it was mostly ginger beer - a beverage I first tasted in Australia - mint, lime juice and possibly something else. I always appreciate it when friends - especially indirect friends like the birthday boy who ordered the drink - go out of their way to make sure I have a satisfying drink, even if it isn't filled with alcohol. It was also a nice change when later in the evening the birthday boy had another teetotaling (very attractive, but not Mormon, not a New Yorker and possibly with a girl) friend show up. I watched as he cautiously and skeptically inspected his mocktail , not quite believing it was a virgin drink intended for him. It was another hit. Without the benefit of the bartender's explanation, I couldn't even begin to guess what was in it. But after passing it around for a sip - we all agreed it was intriguing with more spice than my minty refreshment.

So, if you find yourself in New York, looking to try out the New York loungey night life, but you're not ready for the hard stuff, check out Pegu Club and ask the bartender to mix you up a mocktail - you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

wishing all a guilt-free, angst-free mother's day

Today as I sat in sacrament meeting and listened to the speakers combining thoughts and memories of motherhood with the topic of prayer, I let my mind drift back to when I was able to spend more mother's days at home. I thought about the ward tradition of having all the mothers stand at the end of the meeting to receive their gift from the ward. There were always a few teary eyed women who remained seated as the happy mothers collected their plant or flower surrounded by children clamoring for a peak at the gift. I remembered an awkward mother's day while I was still in college when the ward decided to be more inclusive and I was handed a rose with the "real" mothers - I felt silly but glad women weren't being left seated. At the end of the meeting I happily collected my giant chocolate chip cookie from my friend's husband as I exited the chapel knowing I am not the intended recipient. The obligatory Sheri Dew quote was read about all the opportunities to mother, even if you never have children and how everyone is a mother in Zion but I was not comforted. But I did not dwell on it, I was more anxious to get out to the street and call my mother, especially after I read her text that she could not wait for my call to open her present that had been sitting wrapped in the living room for two whole days.

I did not watch the other women receiving their cookies but I did notice that the 4 other women who rushed the elevator with me to be the first to leave were also single. Why is mother's day so full of emotion? There is the high for kids and mom at taking a sloppy breakfast into mom who has been patiently cooperating by staying late in bed for the surprise meal. There is the joy of taking a day to truly be grateful for the woman who gave us life. But there is also the sadness of those women who are trying to become mothers but feel they are failing, the sorrow of single women who feel the window of opportunity is narrowing and they may be left out of the club. There is also the defeat of mothers who may not feel that they measure up to the unbearably high bar of Super Mom set by others, forgetting they are already Super Mom to their children and perhaps they are the unatainable standard in the eyes of someone else.

More than anything, I want to wish my mother and my friends a mother's day free from comparison - you are each your own Super Mom.

************************************************

When I was in high school, there was a tradition in my parent's ward of having seniors graduating from seminary speak in sacrament meeting. This usually meant Mother's Day consisted of teary Laurels lauding excessive praise on their near-saintly mothers. It always left my mom felling inadequate, as if she fell short of something, despite our insistence to the contrary. Instead of recognizing all of the amazing things she has given to her children, given up for her children and even what she thankfully did not do for us, she focused on what she saw as her shortcomings.

I was not one of the Laurels asked to speak on Mother's Day in 1993 despite the fact that I completed all the make-up worksheets that allowed me to graduate from seminary (to overcome my absences). I do, however remember a couple of the girls who spoke and amazingly, I remember a great deal of what one in particular had to say. This classmate of mine spent most of her talk recounting every ridiculous little thing her mother did for her - including, carrying her from her bed to the car when she didn't want to go to school. If she was 8 or 9 when this happened, it may be a bit indulgent, but not shocking. But no, this wasn't a memory from early childhood, this was a current and seemingly recurring event. Piled on top of all the other stories throughout the years of the seeming super moms who did no wrong - the absurdity of it all hit me, and finally, my mother too. How could my own amazing mother compare herself to these inflated, bordering on the absurd, stories? Granted, she never carried me as a teenager to the car but there is no way I would have ever allowed it even if it had been physically possible!

My mother's gifts cannot be summed up in a teary antidote or in a description of a single attribute, my words are limited and inadequate in their ability to adequately describe her influence, beauty and abiding presence in my life. Nevertheless, knowing her humility will not make it easy for her to read this, I want to try and express my gratitude for all my mother has and continues to give me.

The salient gift my mother has given my siblings and me is independence. She instilled in each of us values, courage, hope and trust; then she let us explore, let us get hurt, let us fail and allowed us to soar.

Self-sacrifice. Sometimes I am afraid of motherhood for the simple reason that I feel selfish. I have watched my mother always give to others first, herself last. If someone is going without, it is usually her. She tries to do this to this day and when we are thinking my siblings and I force her to sit down, relax and enjoy while we fetch the forgotten items for the dinner table or encourage her to indulge in herself. She has often confessed that one of the hardest things was learning to share the brownie bowl with her kids . . . she loves to lick the bowl!

My mother hated that she was forced back into the workforce due to our financial circumstances but she taught my sister and I to better arm ourselves for the unexpected. She emphasized that education would open doors and grant more flexibility.

The phrase that echoes in my ears each time I walk out the front door is two words from my mom: "Be Good." It is all encompassing and I am sure I will one day find myself repeating it to my children.

My mother knows me better than I sometimes want her to. I cannot lie to her or even omit something I don't want her to know - she has a way of asking the right questions and working a confession out of me. But even when I disappoint her, she stands by my side.

My mom has always been my greatest ally. At some point in high school I was reluctantly cajoled into attending youth conference with my ward at BYU. After one day and a night, I was beyond miserable. I was lonely and desperate for a way out. I called my mom. She had taught me that it is okay to say I don't "feel well" because it is the truth if emotionally I wasn't well. She didn't question me, she knew I gave it a shot and she came and picked me up.

Now, as adults, my mother and I continue to become better and better friends and I have gained a better appreciation for who she is and how she raised me. She is an inspiration to me and has set a high standard for motherhood, one to which I hope one day to measure up.

I could go on and on about all of my mother's amazing attributes and qualities but in many ways I know she will remain unconvinced of her super mom abilities. Over the years I have watched so many of my friends become mothers and they too compare their perceived weaknesses to the strengths in others. So often, I want to turn a mirror to them, as I have wanted with my own mother, so they can see the unique supermom that I see.

Happy Mother's Day Mom and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in my life, I am continually amazed by all that you sacrifice and accomplish each day. There may not always be glamour but I envy and admire you for the job you do.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

There Is Superstition . . .

Walking to work this morning, I was hopeful. The sun was shining and I had successfully finished an intense pilates workout with my trainer. Jill Scott was was keeping the tempo up from my ipod as I weaved through a group of early tourists. But as I was crossing the street - with a green light and on a crosswalk - I weaved to the left and fell in a hole. Literally. My left leg unexpectedly dropped 6 to 8 inches and my right knee and palm hit the asphalt. In shock I jumped to my feet and waved off the one woman in the crowd who paused to help as I kicked into my best speed walking mode without inspecting my injuries to get as far from embarrassment as quickly as possible. After arriving in my office I realized my knee was covered in blood and had stained the hem of skirt.

What was my first thought? That this day could start bad and things can go wrong all day but that would only improve the odds of a Jazz win. Seriously. I am extremely superstitious when it comes to sports and I couldn't help but think maybe I could take the bad luck on for the day - like when my friend got married and I was the one who had 50 mosquito bites on my legs, fell down cement steps and got a flat tire on the drive home so she could have a perfect, non-dramatic wedding. I was happy to make the sacrifice.

The game was another tight one filled with unusual drama and emotion. Dee Brown has stepped up from the bench in the last two games to cover Fisher's absence and has been playing incredibly. Sadly, he was injured in an unfortunate collision in the 1st quarter. As the trainers slowly helped Dee to his feet and every person in the arena stood to applaud, tears came to my eyes when he looked like he was going to pass out.

Teary emotions returned when Derrick Fisher walked onto the floor and the crowd cheered. Then again when he made a critical three-pointer to cinch the game in overtime and after the game as he selflessly discussed his daughter's rare cancer to warn other parents.

Despite doubts, the Jazz pushed through and took it down to the wire. I called my mom when the Jazz were down by 3 with less than 2 minutes left to play - the same time I have called during the last two games (another superstition). In a crux play Baron Davis went to the line. My mom lamented that he never misses and I said "He's 5 for 5, you know what that means, right?"

I am not sure exactly when or how it started but years ago, watching Jazz games with my family in the basement of our old house on Azul Way, my mother developed a power. At critical points in a game, when the Jazz were losing or missing free throws or three point shots, or when the other team was on fire and couldn't seem to miss, my mom would utter two words and luck would reverse, baskets would fall and the Jazz would win. Tonight, after years of neglect, she pulled it out her secret weapon after Baron made free throw number one.

"He's Due!"

Remarkably, he missed. The Jazz were able to make a field goal and tie the game for overtime where they won by 10. It may just be a superstition but I believe in this one - Baron was due to miss because my mom said so. Over the years I have developed many, many superstitions related to sports but none so powerful as this one. Hopefully my mom will deem the Jazz due to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jazz Win!!!

One of the worst things about living on the East Coast is how late sporting events run. Last night's game didn't start until nearly 11 pm and the game was so tight and exciting there was no way I could go to bed before it was over. Which means I was up until nearly 2 am. The game ended before that but I was so wound up I had to watch the post-game show and discuss the game with my parents.

I have to vent about how much I dislike TNT. Their camera work is irritating, sometimes they shrink the screen into a corner to show stats, at one point they showed Reggie Miller (who was one of the broadcasters) highlights and they didn't switch from the final minutes of the excrutiatingly boring Pistons Bulls game to show the Jazz tip off. What is worse, throughout the entire game the announcers would not stop fawning all over Golden State, especially Baron Davis and his stupid hamstring. If all you heard was their commentary during the fourth quarter, you would have thought the Jazz were hopelessly behind and didn't stand a chance to win. They didn't have much to say in the final minute when the Jazz put the Warriors away.

The one redeeming thing about TNT is Charles Barkley in the post-game show. I loved Charles Barkley when he was a 76er, a Sun and even as a Houston Rocket. He was always a tough match-up with Karl Malone and he always has something crazy to say. Last night he was the only one who believed in the Jazz and flat out said how great they are. At one point one analyst was saying "how would you describe this game" and Barkley cut in and said "Excitin'!" They ignored him. But he was the first to laude praise on the Jazz for their rebounds (afterall, he is the "Round Mound of Rebound") and Kirilenko (who was described in an article as a "6-9 pogo stick") for his 7 blocked shots. But the best line of the night by Sir Charles was just before a commercial break as I stood up to turn off my tv and go to bed. The other analyst was explaining they would show highlights from the Pistons Bulls match-up after the break and Barkley started whining about having sat through that already and after someone told him it was for the viewer's at home, he said "they don't want to see that lame-ass game either." I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for telling it like it is Charles.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Brunch Suggestion

A couple of months ago I was watching the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network and she made the most amazing brunch for her weekend guests in the Hamptons or some such fancy East Coast beach destination. Everything looked so amazing I knew I needed to try it. So a couple of weeks ago I did - Breakfast Bread Pudding, Garlic and Herb Tomatoes and Maple-Roasted Bacon.

I made a few changes to make it my own - I substituted craisins for raisins and added a bowl of fresh berries which tasted amazing with the bread pudding.

I didn't try the Pomegranate Breakfast Soda simply because I didn't want to carry the juice and sparkling water the three block walk home from Whole Foods Friday night. I definitely want to try it sometime though because it looks like a nice refreshing summer drink - plus I love anything with a lime.

BIG NEWS. . .

Last Monday I was back in Boston for work - this has turned into a semi-regular trip for me since Easter. The timing could not have been better for this one because my sister-in-law was scheduled for an ultrasound that same day. That is right - an ultrasound! I am going to be an AUNT!! We have known for a while but somehow knowing the sex and getting this first glimpse at my niece made it so much more real. Yes, it's a girl! Isn't she beautiful?It was a great day. I flew to Boston in the morning, spent the bulk of the day in a boring deposition that thankfully ended promptly at 5 pm, then I jumped in a cab and met Jason and Nadia in the North End to find out the good news - girl! - and celebrate. We had a fantastic dinner at Giovanni's (I think that was the name), picked up some dessert at Mike's Pastries and enjoyed the springtime sunshine as we discussed names and all the exciting changes in their lives. I also warned them once again that I will spoil this little girl because I am determined to be the favorite aunt; no, more than that, I am determined to be the favorite : )

Go Jazz!

Like Tiffany's husband Ryan, my Saturday was spent counting down the hours to the 9:30 tip-off in Game 7 of Round 1 of the playoffs. And today is just as distracting.

This is the first time the Jazz have been in the playoffs in 7 years and only the second time ever without John or Karl. I have previously recounted my love for the Jazz and Karl Malone specifically but I have to say my love did not stop when John and Karl retired. The Jazz were difficult to love during the two years I was living in Utah - they hit an all time low winning only 25 games or so - but I still went to a couple of loser games in the near-empty Delta Center. This season started off amazing and I constantly cursed my East Coast satellite for not showing me more Jazz games. At Thanksgiving I was reminded of how great it feels to be a part of small community that rallies around its team and missed (that's right, missed) living in Salt Lake. Earlier this season, after begging for my firm's tickets, I lost my voice in my unsuccessful single-voiced cheering when the Jazz lost to the dumb Knicks here in Madison Square Garden. My 16-year old self would be disappointed in my 31-year old self for not better prioritizing the Jazz in the same way I used to and I would have to agree when it came to my Saturday night choices.

I wanted to stay at home and wait for the game to come on but when Brooke invited me to dinner and then to hear a band play I realized I should probably make the social effort. Besides, she agreed to meet at Boca Chica - and I could not pass up an opportunity to eat shrimp chiptle - YUM! Since the band was supposed to play at 8, and they were Mormon singles, I hoped maybe I could find some fellow fans to watch the game with afterwards. Oh how I overestimate Mormon singles at times. Despite promises that the band would play at precisely 8, they didn't. Luckily the bar where they were playing deep in the heart of the Lower East Side had a tv on playing the Pistons versus Chicago game. I kept an eye there as I listened to the band and watched the scene unfold. Neither was impressive. The singing was off-pitch and the voices never managed to blend. Brooke kept apologizing, feeling responsible for their lack of intonation. But I had heard the lead before and I knew he was usually better. We wondered if it was lack of practice, bad sound monitoring (the balance was bad) or just nerves - avoiding the obvious conclusion of bad singing. I tried to mingle a bit afterwards still hoping to stumble onto a fellow Jazz fan but time was ticking on and the Pistons were putting the Bulls away for the night. The next stop for most of the crew that showed up was "the fight". Seriously? You would rather see two men hitting each other. Ugh.

It was after 9 when I boarded a train and tried not to think about how much of the game I was missing for a failure of a social outing. Honestly, lonerdome has some serious advantages. My transfer was slow but as soon as my phone had a signal I called my mom to get a score and the time. The game was still in the first quarter. She kept me updated as I speed walked home.
I watched the majority of the game on my own, happy to have home-couch advantage (love that phrase Tiff!) - yelling at my tv, texting various members of my family with comments like - "I think I'm bad luck" when the Jazz blew their 18 point lead and a quick half-time run down with my brother. As the fourth quarter started I could no longer eat my popcorn and I moved from my couch to the purple cube that was previously serving as my footstool. With only a minute or two remaining in the game I couldn't handle it any longer and I called home to share those last angst riddled seconds of the game. After discovering (once again) a nearly 2 second time delay from my parent's KJZZ broadcast and my TNT broadcast, my mom tried to squelch her reactions but I could hear my dad yelling in the background giving away results. I didn't care. I was pacing the room, jumping up and down, yelling and so happy when the buzzer ran out. It was well after midnight but bed was not an option. I talked excitedly with my mom, then my dad joined in and then we conferenced in my brother - continuing a long family tradition of fandome that stretches back to my earliest memories.

This morning one of the maintenance men at my firm congratulated me and I rattled on and on about my humble little team - happy to have someone to talk basketball with. With the opening of round two tonight, I have had a difficult time accomplishing any work. I have read everything the SL Trib had to say about the Jazz and I've cursed ESPN for having so little to say about them. Now I need to try and concentrate for a few more hours so I can be back on my couch at 10:30 to cheer my team to another victory for another late night.

The Jazz are back! GO JAZZ!!!
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