Thursday, July 14, 2011

Deep In My Heart

I have to say that I think last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were some of the best days for me in a long time. And let me say, that this is NO way has anything to do with the fact that my two lovely girls were at their grandparents. Seriously! Though this did help allow for the 4 days of fun.

Joel, myself, and our two good friends George and Roxanne went to see Les Miserables at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. I believe this is the 4th time I have seen it. By far this is my favorite musical I have ever seen. And I am proud to say that I have seen quite a few. The story is so captivating and the music is spectacular. Each time I see it, I catch something new, and even though I know what's coming, I still end up shedding heartfelt tears. It's a must see. Fortunately we were able to get the husbands to get out of work at a decent hour so that we could eat dinner downtown before the show. This is usually an impossible feat when Rox and I go on our own. We had a very nice sushi dinner at a teeny tiny place called Kamasa. I really had no idea that the Ahmanson was so close to Little Tokyo. I have lived in the L.A. area my entire life and yet, have no clue about downtown and all it's treasures. So anyways, this Kamasa is in Little Tokyo which is quite cute and literally chock full of sushi restaurants. We have no idea how they all stay in business because there are so many of them.

Joel and I went to a dinner party at none other than George and Roxanne's. Last year 4 couples got together and did "Fancy Dinner". Each couple hosted a dinner party for the other 3 couples. These dinner parties consisted of gourmet meals in a variety of courses. It was so fun and definitely a challenging experience. Well, the husbands didn't exactly take to the name of "Fancy Dinner" nor did they like dressing up to hang with friends so they decided that this year they would take over the hosting and do the exact opposite of Fancy Dinner. So George and Roxanne hosted theirs and we were welcomed into a Mexican themed party. We had to do TJ shots of tequila on the way in, and then were treated to Alberto's Mexican food for dinner. The guys were in Heaven as Alberto's was a college staple for them. It is always so much fun to get together with good friends. Lots of laughs. I wish we could do this with all of our friends out there.

Two words ... MATCHBOX TWENTY!!!!! My very favorite band. Words cannot explain how much I love them and their music. This is the second time I have seen them and their performance did not disappoint. We saw them at Pachanga Indian Casino. It was an outdoor concert and the warm summer evening only added to the awesomeness. There is nothing like watching people perform music live. Seriously I think I could I watch any band perform live and be moved. But to get to see your favorite band perform and be able to sing along to all the songs is so moving. I can't explain what happens to me. Somewhere deep in my heart I am just truly happy. In a moment removed from all the worries and frustrations normal life can bring. (please don't think I have anything terrible going on; all is well). It's almost like I am somewhere else. Maybe even someone else. And it's fun! And these guys, Rob Thomas and all his band members, seem to have such a good time performing. They laugh and tease and interact with the crowd. They appear to be very humble and appreciative of all their fans. It's just such a rewarding experience for me. At one point in the concert Rob Thomas told the whole crowd to sit down. He said, "Now doesn't that feel good?" It did, but I would stand all day and night to hear his music live. Then he asked if someone with a particular Twitter name was in the crowd. This guy stands up and Rob proceeds to explain that this guy had tweeted several times asking for a meet and greet with the band. That this guy had just returned from serving in Iraq and that he had surprised his wife with tickets to to concert. Rob apologized that a meet and greet couldn't be worked out because they were really busy and rushed but that he was dedicating their next song to this couple. How sweet is that?! During another point in the concert, he told the whole crowd to just Tweet "anything. Say you're taking your clothes off." I have avoided Twitter, but let me tell you, I am seriously considering it and making Rob Thomas the only person I follow. The concert was so good. I can't wait for them to come back again. Totally excited that they are working on a new album in Nashville right now.

If I thought the level of my happiness couldn't get any higher than the previous night, I was wrong. Joel was gone all day deep sea fishing and I got up to watch the Women's US soccer team play Brazil in the quarter finals match. What. A. Game!!! Oh my gosh. The roller coaster of emotions I experienced are unmatched. Nervousness, Excitement, Fear, Depression, Joy, Hope, Frustration, Anger, Bewilderment ... I am sure I have missed a few.

We are up 1-0 - totally stoked but irritated that Abby Wambach seems to fall down every time the ball comes near her. C'mon! You're tough and a stud of a player. I agree when Brazil's Marta yelled at her about needing to get up and play.

Then a penalty is called against the US in the box. Ugh! Seriously I still don't really see the foul but have come to realize that FIFA imposes some pretty strict rules. Not only does this mean a PK for Brazil but our defender, Rachel Buehler, is red carded and kicked off the field. This means we need to play down a man for the rest of the game. Not good. But Hope Solo can block this PK. She's a stud too. And block it she does. The jumping around I did in our living room was comical I am sure. But what? The ref has called a foul and is allowing Brazil to set up to take the PK again. Enter ANGER!!!! Total BS!! Hope Solo doesn't block this one and now the game is tied. Now I am nervous.

The game continues. US with 10 players and Brazil with 11. And to my great surprise, we're playing better with 10 than we were with 11. This shouldn't come as a surprise. I've been there before. A good team with good players will rise to the occasion knowing they have to play for efficiently and effectively. And so the US rallies, keeping the score tied at 1-1 and going to 30 minutes of overtime. OK, can we keep it tied and get to penalty kicks? If so, we can pull this off.

But stopping Brazil is difficult and sure enough they come up with another goal. A great shot by Marta and now I enter a depressed state. I am so not ready to see this amazing team of US women go home. I have only recently clued into them and am learning their stories. Relating to them. Loving them. Who they are as individuals and even more as Team USA. I want more of them. I watch each move with baited breath. The time is ticking away. When the time clock reaches 120 minutes, I've pretty much conceded the loss. We're in the final 3 minutes of injury time. Thank God Team USA didn't! Still down a player with the score at 1-2, Megan Rapinoe, a cute, spunky, blond, mid-fielder sends a ball from the left side and who is there to knock it in with her head? Abby Wambach!!!!!! Truly it was an amazing goal. With literally seconds left on the clock, Abby evens the score and we got to PKs. I seriously think my heart may have stopped beating for a second. In watching earlier games, I became fixated with Rapinoe. And I am not sure why. I was never a midfielder, but she was fun to watch come off the bench and play. And the constant story of Wambach being in a goal drought since last November played into the emotion. Yes, in a prior game to Brazil she had been credited with a goal, but it was a weak goal. This one, she EARNED! It was her, "F you! We ain't done yet!" goal. I loved it! I now totally now how Joel feels when watching the Lakers play in the playoffs. It's intense. We pretty much sailed through PKs. I was nervous when our first shot by Shannon Boxx was blocked but fortunately the ref called that one back because the keeper had come off her line. Boxx buried the next shot. And seeing Hope Solo block Brazil's 3rd PK was thrilling to say the least. What a win!!!!!! This team is amazing. Their composure and hard work is nothing short of inspiring. It makes me think about dusting off my cleats again. I find myself recalling fond memories of playing high school in soccer with all of my soccer friends. A tiny part of me longs to be reunited with them. Fortunately Facebook allows for some interaction, but we're all so far apart now and leading our own lives. I am so happy I get to relive those memories as I watch this amazing team move one to finals (they won the semi finals against France yesterday).

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