Happy Halloween, everyone!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
“Oh, God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” Breton Fisherman’s Prayer
This past week has been challenging and the waves just keep coming. Sometimes I feel that I’m bailing out as fast as I can, and other times I think my little vessel will be swamped.
Then, just as I was writing this, I remembered:
“Even the wind and the waves obey Him.”
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Midnight blue it was,
and black the sides.
A tunnel through
the ribbons of
red reflectors and
Black it was,
black on black
and silver when
headlights dialed onto
sentries in the dark.
the moon rose
turning midnight sky
and valley to
Sunday we had the unique opportunity to see a WPS [Women’s Professional Soccer] game at UC East Bay (Hayward). This was the championship match between San Francisco’s team (unfortunately called FC Gold Pride) and the winner of Thursday night’s game between Philly and Boston. We were hoping for Boston to win because 2 of UP’s players have gone on to play for Boston, but unfortunately for us Philly won.
FC Gold Pride has Christine Sinclair and Tiffeny Millbrett playing for them, 2 of Dad’s soccer heroines from his early days following UP. Those 2 were on the team when it took the National Championship in 2005. Besides them, San Francisco has “Marta”, the one-word name player from Brazil who is titled since the Olympics “the best woman soccer player in the world”. Half of the people in the stands had “Marta” shirts on; I thought it was a little sad for her teammates that she is thought to be a one member team.
FC stands for Football Club, in case you were wondering. Football is what the rest of the world calls soccer. It is very political and financial and I heard bits of the harsh realities of how LA lost its professional football (soccer) team last year because they went bankrupt and the players split into other teams, such as Marta coming to SF which is actually known as Gold Pride. Don’t ask me why. This is all more than enough politics and finances for my faithful readers, but let me just say, it’s not a simple game in the big leagues.
But, back to the important matters: It was a gloriously perfect day. The stands were full. People cheered, especially the guys saying, “Popcorn! Peanuts! Ice cold lemonade!” People were actually passing 20 dollar bills down to the cotton candy guy, that’s how high the spirits were. Crowds of little girls in their soccer uniforms came with their teams to see Marta do it again.
And she did. With Tiffeny Millbrett and Christine Sinclair also in the front line making goals. FC Gold Pride won 4-1. It was wonderful to see soccer at this level, I must admit. I am not a sports fan particularly and you must remember I was on this trip to keep my dad company. But seeing the well-oiled machinery of a team that knows how to play together is really fun. I hardly saw the goals when they happened because it was so quick and sometimes there were so many fast moves and different feet involved that I only knew it was a goal when I saw the cage net bouncing. And heard the crowd roaring.
This was a bonus treat for our trip. We didn’t know the championship game was going to be in SF until we were in California and heard the other fans talking about it. I got online for Dad’s sake and found tickets left in a good section, only 8 tickets left total. So it was a rare treat. It cost more than he’d ever paid for a soccer game, and he said he’d never paid that much for parking, either. $15! A momentous occasion.
We left there about 2PM in 97 degree heat, and headed home to Portland, driving through the night with stops for soda or gas or bathrooms. In Redding at 7 we visited soccer team parents and then continued on. We arrived home at 5:30 AM, sleepy and satisfied with our adventure. The trophy and tee shirts are handed out
Monday, October 4, 2010
Before the game we needed to find the right stadium, and we circumnavigated the Stanford campus several times before finding the visitor’s information booth. They obligingly told us that the name of the stadium had been changed, which is why we weren’t seeing it on the maps.
Stanford is beautiful. Palo Alto is beautiful. After seeing it I realized how quirky Berkeley was and wished I’d taken more photos there for your amusement. I got carried away taking pictures in Stanford because the sun was so glorious and we weren’t skirting hazards every moment on the road.
The buildings in color and architecture are very uniform but it is never boring because there are arches and porticoes and garden walkways and little surprises of beauty everywhere. How can they keep it so nice, I wondered, and was reminded that it is a private school with many endowments. Everything is a memorial. Memorial Chapel. Memorial Quad. Memorial arch. Hoover Memorial Tower. Memorial This. Memorial That. Even the stadium was Cagan Memorial on Maloney Memorial field. Lots of money here.
Dad enjoying a break while I take photos.
Having found our way to the correct field and a suitable parking area, we left to find dinner. Dad wanted to find a place he and Mom had enjoyed years earlier, and we did. Street parking. No meter. Too hot for my hair.
Then, back to campus for the game. It was a beautiful evening. The moon rose as the sun set. Lovely.
But, Portland lost this critical game. We were #3 playing #2 and hoping to beat them before going into the finals. It was supposed to be our big triumph only it didn’t happen and the Portland fans--50 or so-- were very disappointed.
Yes, that’s the moon on the right.
But, tomorrow is another day…
On Friday we had started with breakfast in the motel again, and then went to a paper store I had noticed located next to last night’s restaurant. Paper Heaven! I shopped and thought of things I could do while Dad busied himself making a shade device to cut the glare on his GPS. He bought black scrapbook paper and designed a box but the store couldn’t loan him scissors because of liability. We puzzled over this, but didn’t want to buy theirs. The shop attendant was willing to make cuts for him and ended up quite engaged in the process with her stapler and hole punch. I bought a cup there from WWII English propaganda posters: “Keep calm and carry on”, it says. I just love it. That’s my new mantra.
We had some time to dawdle before the next game a day later, so we went sight-seeing in San Francisco. On the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge there are viewpoints of the city which is usually encased in fog—but not today!
We lingered in the Marin Headlands where many fixtures from WWII are left, the bunkers and secret anti-aircraft missile sites. Protecting San Francisco Bay was critical during the war, and as a Navy radar officer Dad had many reminiscences. Most of the old forts have been turned into YMCA camps and Youth Hostels and study centers, but I was especially touched by the old military chapel where men of all faiths prayed before being sent out.
We drove the back roads of Mt Tamalpais (sp?)and eventually went across the Golden Gate into San Fransisco and south to Palo Alto. Friday afternoon traffic, us gawking and others catapulting on and off the exit ramps, changing lanes at 75 miles an hour. We made it through the gauntlet of airport traffic, freeway exchanges and chatter from the GPS, “Recalculating. Recalculating.” Finally, we arrived in Sunnyvale at our motel.
And after we settled in, what did we do but get back in the car and go looking for a recommended restaurant in Palo Alto. Fire the GPS back up, retrace the freeway on and off ramps, and find street parking without a meter.
We did it, and were rewarded by dining at St. Michael’s Alley al fresco. Charming.
And we walked back to the car in the warm evening by the light of the silvery moon. It was much bigger in real life, I promise.
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