Thursday, August 30, 2007

Roll Tide Roll!

Oh, how sweet it sounds! Three words so commonplace in Alabama but tough to come by in New York City. Imagine a world where there isn't radio talk show after talk show after talk show to keep you up to the minute on every move of the team and the coach. The nightly news headlines don't begin with how the team looked at practice, or the tailgate rules changes, or how campus is ready for the thousands of fans.

A few weeks ago I saw a guy on the street wearing an Alabama shirt - I happily exchanged "Roll Tide!" greetings with him. Other than that brief encounter, I rely on my roommates and a few trusty Crimsonettes and Bama friends - and, of course, my die-hard Daddy! - to keep me grounded in Alabama thoughts.

I love the story of when my dad and I were kind of butting heads last fall over my wanting to move to New York - he was firing off all his reasons why I shouldn't go, and I was doing a pretty good job of answering each with a reason to go. Finally, it was like he couldn't think of any more protests, so he shouted, "Well, how will you go to the football games?!!" I just rolled my eyes and huffed away and said, "Who even cares?? I just won't go! It's not a big deal!"

The next day I did a little investigative work and found the Greater New York Alumni group - they meet every weekend at Mercury Bar and watch the game together. I emailed him the link and said, "Well, maybe I can watch the game with these people!"

Last night the UA chapter had a kick off party with all the SEC schools' New York chapters. Alabama was the best-represented school and gave the loudest cheers - of course! Paul Finebaum flew up here to talk football with the group, and it was so good to hear his voice (did I seriously just say that?!) and learn of his predictions for the season and updates on the teams. I looked at the crowd while he was speaking and noticed many people were leaning forward, like they were thirsty for football talk - I guess our Southern souls are suffering from the deprivation! With so many Southerners in one spot, it was a wonderful time of conversations filled with "hey y'all" and "I grew up around there" and "who do you think will take the SEC?"

Yes, funny what I already know I'm going to miss about game days - the green grass, the sweltering heat, the anticipation, the incessant talk, the abundant Alabama paraphernalia, the all-day tailgating, the sounds of the band, the roar of the crowd, the "evaluation" of the Crimsonette costumes and routines (okay, I may be the only person who does that!), the "Roll Tide's" heard all over campus, the friends, the way my dad likes to get to the stadium SO early and watches the game so intently while listening to the play by play on his headphones, clapping and shouting as needed. I know if I were in Alabama, I wouldn't be appreciating everything about Alabama gamedays - it would be just another season of football, another reason to buy crimson-colored outfits and spend the day in Tuscaloosa.

So, Daddy, for the record - I do care, and although I can watch the game with other fans here in the big city, I'm looking forward to sitting by you in Tuscaloosa at a game very soon!

Dolo - This pic's for you!
Oh - and I love this article in Sports Illustrated by Rick Bragg...and the quick mention of the Crimsonettes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"It's a little on the chilly side here"

Have you ever even heard those words uttered in the month of August?? They have been cause for me to feel guilty over the last month while talking to my parents or friends in Birmingham. Sure, we've had some humid and mucky days here, but nothing like the 100+ heat at home. The extremes in the weather conditions were most obvious tonight when I called my parents to report I was wearing jeans and a long sleeve sweater, and I was shivering so much I couldn't stop! They laughed and couldn't believe it since it was still in the high 80's after the sun had gone down there!

If this weather is possible in August, what am I going to do when it's really winter?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Big Red Galoshes

I've never had rain boots before, so I didn't know the fun I was missing out on! It's been raining since early morning and is forecasted to continue all day. As Matt Lauer said on the Today Show, "it's raining up, down and sideways in New York today." What more perfectly chilly, dreary, rainy day could I ask for to debut my new shiny red boots?!

I was a little apprehensive about wearing them - should I have gotten shorter or taller? shiny or matte? bright color or classic dark? solid or pattern? The decisions had been eating me up! But after several rainy day observations of girls on the street and detailed consultations with experienced New York friends, I decided to just go for it!

Right out of the apartment door, I saw a little boy in his big galoshes, and he looked so cute stomping down the sidewalk in them! I let my red rain boots take over...puddles were a delight; I could just keep scooting on down the street without tiptoeing to avoid a splash or leaping over a gutter river. People in regular shoes looked at me enviously, while others in rain boots shared knowing smiles with me.

Rain boots -- the shiny red lining to a rainy day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hey! I know you!

One thing I don't think I'll ever get used to is walking down the street - or going anywhere for that matter - and seeing a million different faces and not one of them being familiar. Everywhere I went in Birmingham: the mall, the walking trails, events, restaurants - you name it, I would see someone I know. Someone from college at the mall, someone from church out walking, someone from high school at a restaurant, someone from work at a football game. You get the picture. If it wasn't someone I knew personally, it was someone who is friends with my parents or sisters or cousins...there are just a handful of us Mummerts in Alabama, and you can bet I'm related to them if you meet one!

Anyway, I'm accustomed to hearing a horn's "beep, beep!" and turning to wave at the friend passing by in their car. I can count the times on one hand that I was on the strip in Homewood during the day and did NOT see someone I knew! So, of course, when I hear "beep, beeps!" here in New York, my initial reaction is to turn and see who's saying hello. After two months, I'm still trying to train myself not to whip around with a big smile and wave at whomever, since it's always just a cab driver announcing he's coming on through the intersection whether you're ready or not!

You can imagine my delight when I was in South Street Seaport last weekend and saw a friend of mine! I know I made the biggest production of "Well, how are YOU?! Imagine running in to you here!" Then a few days later I saw another friend while I was running along the trail by the East River. It was just like when I used to see friends at the Lakeshore Trail. Yesterday I saw Lauren and Jake on the street - we both screamed with excitement of having run into someone we know in New York! And later I was sitting in the park and a guy I know from church came up to say hello!

Okay, so four people over the course of two months isn't that great, considering there were probably a few times in Birmingham I logged four random run-ins in one day, but still. For New York - and for still being so new - I think it's fabulous!

Oh, and I can now add a celebrity to my run-ins list: I said a very cool "hi" to Jimmy Fallon from Saturday Night Live when I saw him Saturday morning as he walked out of the gate of Gramercy Park. Definitely can't say I ever did that in Birmingham!

* Disclaimer - No, I didn't act like a tourist and take a picture of him! I just found this on the Internet for those who aren't familiar with Jimmy Fallon!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Casablanca...Must Die?!

Casablanca in Bryant Park - sounds so nice, doesn't it? It's a lazy Monday night, perfect sunny summer day, not too hot...did every person in the city have the same thoughts?! I have never seen so many people crammed into such a "big" space! What was so funny was how small groups of friends would be sipping wine with a few little appetizers to share, and another group would be sitting on top of them doing the same - there was no walkway, no end of our blanket and start of yours...just people on top of people on top of people!
We enjoyed the festivities of people watching and just being part of the craziness for an hour or so. Finally it was dusk, the movie started, everyone cheered, we watched about 15 minutes and then decided we couldn't hear it and our booties hurt! We had big plans to rent the movie and watch it in the comforts of an apartment, but our good intentions turned into an evening of watching John Tucker Must Die...ah, classic movie watching at its best!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Coney Island

Coney Island didn't disappoint! My desire to visit the famous spot has been heightened by everyone telling me this is the last summer Coney Island will be Coney Island - "you better go while you can!" Developers have bought much of the area and soon high rises will go up and the battered amusement park will be "cleaned up". We took the subway there - the last stop in Brooklyn. It took about 50 minutes from midtown. The first thing we saw out of the station was Nathan's Hot dogs - good thing because we were starving, and you know I can eat some hot dogs!!

Nathan's is famous for its hot dog eating contest on the 4th of July. There's even a screen outside the building to countdown the days to the next contest, and it has stats of who has eaten the most hot dogs. I'll be honest - I didn't really like my hot dog, but my hamburger was yum, and yes - I ate them both!!

It was fun just to walk around and see the park - it felt like we'd stepped back in time! But we did make a point to ride the Coney Island icons - the Cyclone wooden roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel. The Cyclone was so much fun we road it twice! The second time around I kept my hands in the air on the big drops - or, at least I tried to!!
And the Ferris wheel gave us the coolest views - downtown Manhattan in one direction and the packed beach in the other.

A trip to Coney Island wouldn't have been complete without a peep at the side show "freak shows"! The nail in the nose, the snake dancer, the wolfman tightrope walker, the sword swallower, the contortionist, the fire eater...they sufficiently geeked me out and made me lucky to be able to leave them in their dark little building. It was the freako's walking freely on the beach that I was a little more worried about!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Small Group in a Big City

I'm so thankful to be part of a small group called "Kindred Harts". We meet at the beautiful apartment of the Harts and have such a nice time eating, talking about the sermon from Sunday, sharing what's going on in our lives and just relaxing in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. I almost feel like I'm back in Birmingham at Gay and Frank's house with all my sweet friends at Bible study!

Although the group has been meeting since last fall, they welcomed me right in and have been such special people to know. Last week I was looking around at everyone as we were sharing prayer requests or praises, and I realized how God brings hearts together that need to be together - even in a city of millions of people!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New York Summer Storm Recipe - Serve Steaming with a Splash of Water

Humid Air
Mass Transit

Combine 2-3 hours worth of rain, lightning and tornado warnings at 3 am. Let stand til morning. Toss in a few million people trying to get to work. Block off all subway lines because of flooding from earlier rain to create a tight mixture on the streets of your people/rain combination. (Chef's note: though rain has stopped, the puddles and raindrops from scaffolding will keep the people moist during this step.) Pour sweat into the combo on the streets - varying amounts, but enough to soak mens' dress shirts and melt ladies' makeup. Add smells "to taste" - I use either meat kabob sidewalk stands or blocked up sewage. Delay mixture in steaming oven until one hour after scheduled work start time.

And wa-la! An entire city serving worth of stories of morning adventures to work!