Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quiet Places In The Sun

As mentioned in the previous post, I did laundry today and then we hopped into the car and headed south towards Key West. Well, we stopped just shy of the keys in Homestead, Fl, former home of the Air Force until Hurricane Andrew wiped most of the area off the map, literally. Instead of rebuilding, the place was bulldozed and the track was put in. We got there fifteen minutes before the NASCAR store closed. It didn’t take long to pick out Dale Earnhardt Jr. souvenirs for my son, daughter and granddaughter. I even managed a Tony Stewart tee shirt for myself. Then we went up to the fourth level of the tower and took a long look at the 1 ½ mile oval, the pit garages, stalls and the start/finish line. I wish there had been one or two cars out there so I could have gotten some idea of the scale of the place. It certainly didn’t look wide enough for three cars to run side by side for even a couple of seconds. I took pictures of the finish line looking down towards turn one. When we were back on ground level, we walked out to the catch fence and found a gate open that lead to the starter’s flag stand. I looked over both shoulders and went for it. The next thing I knew, I had climbed up and was leaning over to get an unobstructed view of turn four and the front stretch. Then I figured I’d better not push my luck and climbed back down. It was exciting to be there when the place was empty. I can only imagine how much adrenaline pumps when the place is crawling and the motors are screaming. Oh, and today was the first day that I’ve taken any pictures.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Traffic 3- Carl 0

We drove north to Holman Stadium in Vero Beach once more. The nice breeze of Sunday was gone and the humidity much higher than it had been all week. I’m not one to enjoy that type of weather and there was an audible sigh of relief by everyone in the stands when the thick clouds rolled in. The high points: Derek Lowe, a former member of the Red Sox pitched three fine innings; Rafael Furcal, a former member of the Atlanta Braves played a smoking short stop and the Marlin’s Hanley Ramirez, a former Red Sox prospect that was traded away, played an equally active short stop. These players have all moved on but I still enjoy watching their careers. The Low points: crowded seats, over priced mediocre food and the Dodgers lost by one. Carl decided after his third traffic jam in three days that we would play “hooky” on Wednesday. I get caught up on some laundry and planned for tomorrow's trip to Homestead Motor Speedway for NASCAR souvenirs for the family.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Directions Are Over Rated

A quick trip into Miami found us at the American Airlines Arena within site of the cruise ship docks and also home of the Miami Heat Basketball team. Tonight, they faced off against the LA Clippers with Carl and I in upper deck seats overlooking the court. The view was exceptional and I can certainly appreciate two well matched opponents who faced off with a hotly contested last quarter. I’m not a huge basketball fan, as such, so it didn’t matter to me who won and in the end it was the Clippers by one over the Heat. The trip home should have been easy with my Map Quest directions in hand. The Miami Dade police force had other plans and met us at each turn with blocked roads. Eventually we found our way to Rte 95 which was undergoing construction. At one point, traffic was pushed from five lanes down to two and slowed to a crawl. Never a dull moment in the big city. A trip that should have taken 45 minutes was almost two hours.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Baseball Is In My Blood

Close up on a few guys tossing a ball around and, as your mind’s eye pulls away, the entire ball field comes into view. Now, you pull further back to see traffic backed up for miles in all directions on it’s way to that park. Okay, so it’s the closing scene from the movie "Field of Dreams" but, it’s also the very conditions we found ourselves in today. We were to find out later that we were part of the largest crowd ever, 9,260 fans, to be at Holman Field in Vero Beach for a Dodgers game. The Red Sox were beaten 0-4 in the very last Sunday game that will ever be played on that field because after 60 years, the LA Dodgers will be joining the Cactus Spring Training league next year based in Glendale, AZ. I’m sorry that my guys got beaten but it was great to see regulars, Manny, Big Pappi and JD Drew take the field with some of the new guys. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched well. I had only one option to try for a couple of pictures but due to the close quarters I found myself in, it didn’t matter that our seats were only 60 feet from the field. The seats at Holman Stadium are crammed closer together than coach seats on most airlines.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Florida, Warm And Apreciated

My husband and I own time share weeks and we use them often to trade into areas that we want to visit. This is one of those trips. We’ve traded a week that we own in North Conway for a week here in Weston, Florida. Now, there are many different types of resorts but they all have one thing in common. There is one day at the beginning of the week that is called a down day. Whether you use it to become familiar with the resort, the area or just to chill and gear up for the rest of your stay, this is the day. You find grocery stores, line up activities and spend the rest of the day finding everything in your new home because these types of resorts all have the same amenities but they are always located in different places. This part of Florida is a planned community and streets are really just grids running north and south with connectors that flow east and west. So, no worries if you miss your turn, just take the next three lefts or rights and you’ll be back where you started.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ah, The Signs Are Changing

This morning, I woke to the brilliance of a newly risen sun and when I stepped out the door, I caught just the faintest whiff of springtime. I mentioned, a few posts earlier, a vague description of this very much desired time of year. As I stood there, I listened. At first there was nothing but silence and then I became aware of the soft sighs of a light and warm breeze. I heard the unmistakable decay of a nearby snow bank giving way to the insistence of a 40 degree day. There was the sound of birds singing as they foraged in the nearby branches. And, I caught the unmistakable aroma of fresh earth warming. It was absolutely wonderful just to stand there and soak it all in. Of course, the reason I was in the yard was to put my suitcase into the truck. Yes, the time has finally arrived. We're headed to Florida in the morning for Spring Training. Remember, this isn't a vacation. I'm working! It's my hope to get a couple of good images of key team members or maybe a manatee or two. I even have plans for a beautiful sunset taken by air boat in the Everglades. Wish me luck. And who knows, with some of that luck, the snow will be mostly gone when we return on the 17th.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Show Calendar Begins To Fill

And just as the subject of this post mentions, I have begun to fill in dates on my web site calendar as to where I'll be displaying my work this year. In fact, April is already fairly well filled in. If you'd like to check up on my whereabouts so you can view new images, just click on the link on the right side of this blog which will take you to the monthly calendar.

And another search engine has done it's job and found my blog. I'm still amazed that what I write here can be detected by others who may be looking for me to type in a specific word or phrase. I was contacted by The Boston Globe reporter, Mark Levenson, who was doing a piece on The RED SOX and how difficult it is to get tickets to the hottest club in town. I guess I should have been less shy about calling him because although I gave him plenty of material by e-mail, he didn't use any of it in his very interesting article. He did catch up with my very good friend, Bob Kidder, another fan who has even had his tomb stone etched with Red Sox sentiments. I'm a fan but he's way more than that. This reminds me to watch what I say about whatever I may be wanting to write about.