Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Ball Game

This was my photo yesterday on my SC blog.
It's 7-year-old Nicholas in his favorite position, he says.

Now look at last Thursday's game when we took him to see the Atlanta Braves play against the NY Mets.
In all my years of watching baseball, I had never noticed the catchers putting their right hand behind their back...for safety. That right hand is their most precious commodity. So when I saw Nicholas doing it, I melted!

Okay, then. I'm getting ahead of myself! Like all the games we attend, we go early and watch the prelims. It's part of the building excitement, you know.

It always tickles me to death to see how many guys it takes to hose down the bases. Eleven. I guess that water hose is really heavy!

The hotties cheerleaders come around to shoot out their freebies, of course. Reward for coming early.

And everyone is in it for the show, even if the show is watching Nicholas.

Don't forget the cotton candy!
Well, it's not that we forgot it this time but I still can't believe we didn't get it this time. What's wrong with us!

Why the field prep fascinates me like it does is beyond me but it does. I'll just leave it at that!

And watching our favorite players warm up is almost as exciting as the game itself. It's the whole thing, you know, from beginning to end.

The 7th-inning stretch was a hoot, watching Delta strut its stuff in a Mini-cooper. How cool is that!

Then, as the shadows lengthen and the sun goes down, now you're talking. This is Turner Field, the Home of the Braves!

And everywhere you look, there is team spirit. This isn't Nicholas but sometimes he looks like this himself.

The long and the short of it is we're Braves' fans!
Take me out to the ball game any time you want. We love it.

It helps, of course when we win the game.
4 - 2


Tomorrow we fly to Hawaii! YAAAAY. With a bunch of finagling, frequent-flier miles, special waivers and very few dollars, Donica was able to get the 3 of us in Business Class the entire way, coming and going on direct routes from Atlanta to Honolulu. 9.5 hours going; 8.5 hours coming back. Kinda like flying back-n-forth to Europe. Now that's flying. We'll be 6 hours behind Atlanta time, 12 hours behind AMS time.

But by Sunday, we should all be in our own zone: Wedding Time! That's THE ball game, Folks! That's where it's all at right now. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Decisions, Decisions!

Yesterday was the last day of school for Nicholas. He is finished with second grade! YAY.

Now starts a new phase in his life, when Mommy will get married and life will no longer be the same. YAY.

I was the lucky g'ma who got to pick him up from daycare yesterday to start this waiting game before the June 1 Big Day.

BUT, he still has to decide what suitcase he wants for the trip to Hawaii. His old kiddie one is just not suitable anymore. So Donica said we would get him a new one as an early birthday present. AND we would let him pick.

So once we got home yesterday, I let him loose in the hallway to check out the 3 we bought. "Pick one and we'll return the other two," I said. "Open them all and check them all out," I said.

And he did. One by one. The green one was left in the dust at the very beginning and never seemed part of the discussion (even with its 4 wheels).

The blue one was very cool, inside and out.

It was cute how he opened them all while they were standing up in the hallway. I told him to feel free to lay them all down and even try pulling them. Gotta get the feel of them, you know.

But the red one seemed a bit cooler, maybe, because of all the outside pockets.

"See how many there are, G'ma!"

OK. Decisions, decisions. The blue one has 4 wheels and can move around every which way. But the red one has only 2 wheels. If it had 4, he'd choose it, hands down. BUT it doesn't come with 4 wheels...not that design.

So I told him to sleep on it! And when Donica comes home today from NYC, maybe she can help him decide. He likes that idea.

In the meantime, Donica's not thinking about suitcases! She bought us tickets to go see the Braves against the Mets tonight at our Atlanta baseball stadium. I think he'll have to sleep on the suitcase decision another night, because it'll be late when we get back home. But who cares, right?! YAY.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lest We Forget: Anzac Day

(First of all, in case you're curious, I've added an update with photos to the last post about the almost-dead, sunken boat.)

Anzac Day. When we scheduled our few days in Brisbane, Australia, between Sydney and Magnetic Island, we were totally unaware that Australia would be celebrating one of their most important holidays during our stay. Rank it up there just behind Christmas.

We arrived on Wednesday evening and left Saturday morning. On Friday was the holiday. It
is commemorated by Australia and New Zealand on April 25 every year "to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I." (Wiki)

Talk about a fabulous war memorial!

What surprised us more than anything was how looooong the parades were, both in time and length. AND how many people were out to watch and applaud!

Everywhere there were reminders that this was a time to...remember! Poppies are the symbol for remembrance.

Especially the old-timers remembered.

The Vietnam vets looked just like ours in the States and brought back too many memories of post-traumatic stress disorder. But I think these guys looked a bit less stressed than ours?

Without question, there was pride, pomp and circumstance. Donica and I both had tears in our eyes when we saw the patriotism. We mentioned it later to a British couple who agreed that even in their country they don't see it like we did in Australia. It gave us pause!

(And yes, that left front man really was a giant!)

Lest we forget!

There is no way in the world the Australians or New Zealanders will ever forget their war heroes. They are a breed set apart, for sure. They do not have our own history. They are proud not to forget!

Tomorrow morning Donica and I fly back to Atlanta from Amsterdam on two separate planes but at almost the same time. She'll then fly to NYC on Monday for the rest of the week...before we start gearing up for the big wedding the following week in Hawaii! Daughter Amy is definitely in count-down stage, as are we!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This Broadcast is Briefly Interrupted

Don't worry...I have not forgotten about Anzac Day in Australia! But first, I just have to tell you what I saw on my walk last evening here in Amsterdam.

I saw this, but that's not what I'm talking about.

As I walked along the Prinsengracht canal, I suddenly saw these Tibetan prayer flags crossing the canal. No clue unless it is a protest or prayer vigil in connection to the Beijing Olympics?

I remember posting about these prayer flags a couple years ago!

THEN I saw this, and, NO, that's not what I'm talking about either.

But it was definitely the first time I saw a service boat coming to the rescue of a drowning victim! It took two pump-out hoses but I didn't stick around long enough to see the end result. Maybe tonight I'll go back and check!

THIS is what I'm talking about!

Just as pretty as you please, a camera crew filming...a glass of water? I still have no clue whatsoever but they went back-n-forth, up and down the canal for a few feet, pushed and pulled by the raft boat in the back.

Wouldn't you love to know what that was all about?!
There is never a boring day in Amsterdam, let me tell you. NEVER!

ADDENDUM: 24 hours later....

The next day I went back and found the almost-dead boat resurrected from its watery grave! I found out there was a leak in the back toward the bottom that the service guys were fixing, after pumping out all the water. I had no clue the boat was that deep!

I'm sure the owners were happy campers!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

BRIZ-bun = Brisbane

If you go there, yes, you have to pronounce it correctly!

Next to Sydney, it was our favorite city to see in Australia...even though it was our only other big city to see. HA! It was well worth the drive from Sydney to Brisbane in two days, with an overnight in Coffs Harbour along Australia's southeastern shore. For one thing, the farther we got north out of Sydney, the more the sun began to shine.

Every city has to have its Town Hall and Brisbane was no exception. They even let you go to the top for free, which I did.

But the main building I just had to see was Brisbane's and Queensland's oldest structure, The Windmill. YES, folks. That's a windmill without sails. It was brought over to Australia by a British soldier who could not maintain the operation of the sails. He was a soldier, not an engineer! So he ended up using convicts to tread the grain mill for him by hand.

An elderly man, who saw me taking lots of pictures, stopped to tell me some of the history. Apparently said soldier really mistreated the convicts and was despised by them. When his body was later found in the river, it was assumed the convicts did him in, even though it was never proven!

One fun way to see a city, we have discovered, is to take a city sightseeing bus tour (those hop-on-and-off buses) OR, if there is a river, a river cruise. We opted for the latter and had a heyday with pictures. Well, I did, that is.

See the itty-bitty people climbing up to the top (just like on the Harbour Bridge in Sydney!)?

I think you could safely say I'm almost as mesmerized by bridges as I am windmills. Almost.

It so happens that three of my Shutterchance blogger friends live in Brisbane! You know me: I had to meet them. One of them was out of the country but the two remaining guys were game for a meet-up. First we had lunch with Neal (bottom left) and then supper with Adrian (upper right). Even Donica enjoyed herself, so it was a great time for all.

We were there from Wednesday evening to Saturday morning before flying to Townsville and taking the ferry to Magnetic Island. That Friday was a public holiday, Anzac Day, second to Christmas in importance. I would compare it to our Memorial Day in the States. But that will be my next post....