Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Well, we did it. We've been talking about it, thinking about it, dreaming about it -- and we finally did it.

We. Are. Going. To. MANCHESTER!!

My husband has been to Manchester and Old Trafford before. When the family visited London in 2004, he took the train up north and was able to see a United match. He was hooked! He has been wanting to go back ever since. This spring, he decided it was time to do it, and take me along to my first ever pilgrimage to Old Trafford.

We are taking the boys to Walt Disney World in November, so we knew our little parents-only vacay would have to wait until after the first of the year. We waited patiently until mid-June when United's match schedule was released. We wanted to go to a 'big game' but we couldn't go in April or May because the boys' schedules are just so full at that time of year. As luck would have it, the Manchester derby (when Manchester United plays Manchester City) occurs in February. We found our date!!

Vacationing in England at that time of year is old hat for us. We have only been to Jolly Old in February or March in all the times we've been before. Compared to the weather here, it's absolutely balmy over there! Besides, I hate sweaty sight-seeing!

So, now all that's left to do is wait, and count down the days. 134 and counting until we make our way...home.

PS -- Check out my countdown on the right hand column of the blog!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Palace Baltimore -

I am consistently bemoaning the fact that the United States lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to support of football. Soccer. (We even call it the wrong name.) And although my heart and my family's belong to the mighty Manchester United, we try to support our local teams, if only to offer our patronage and encouragement to growing the sport here in this country.

Of late, we've been attending Crystal Palace Baltimore matches. CPB is a small, professional soccer team that competes in the United States Soccer Federation's 2nd Division. It's a really fun club to watch, and while not on par with the skill & talent level of United, it's a great way for the boys to get to watch live football. It's also a small enough club that they are able to go meet the players and get their autographs after home matches.

CPB is the sister club of the English Crystal Palace Football Club. Unfortunately, we are now hearing that the American club is facing the same financial problems as its UK counterpart. However, here, the club's problems lie with their lack of support. They don't have very many fans, and they don't even have their own stadium. And, as CPB was only founded in 2006, they don't have the history of their sister club, nor the deep bond with the fans they do have. I find this situation to be very sad...although my family has only been to two matches so far, both of the boys loved every minute. Especially the Big Guy. It is simply amazing how moved and inspired he was when he watched live football. It is safe to say that it solidified his love for the sport and his passion for the beautiful game. Between his loyalty to United, and seeing football played "in real life" right before his eyes, there is no doubt that he will be a lifelong football enthusiast.

And that's what makes the woes of CPB even more regrettable and disheartening. It feels as though they weren't even given the tools or the opportunity to succeed. All I can do is continue to give my family's support for the club, and desperately hope for some miracle to turn things around for CPB, like the happy ending that arrived in Selhurst Park.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


“Most of us are in this more than just for playing soccer. We're in it for the bigger goal: to move it along for the next generation.” --Landon Donovan

Something very exciting happened today!! This weekend, Big Guy decided that he wanted to be Landon Donovan for Halloween. Now we all know that this family eats, sleeps and breathes Manchester United, but dressing as Landon is very timely because of the World Cup this year, and there's nothing wrong with expressing a little patriotism in your Halloween costume! :)

On Twitter today, I tweeted to Landon Donovan that my son was going to be him for Halloween. It was on a whim, and not expected to really go anywhere. My tweets are 'protected' which means no one who isn't following me can see them. And if fellow tweeters want to follow me, I have to accept them (a la Facebook). My friend Robin thought it was cute and she retweeted my comment. And then the craziest thing happened. Landon. Donovan. Replied!!!

He made a joke about the costume, and making sure that the accompanying wig would have plenty of hair. I, of course, immediately started freaking out..."fan girl-ing" squealing, jumping around, the whole bit. Now I can't WAIT for Big Guy to get home from school to show him. Eeeeeeee!!!! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

If you're a parent, no doubt you have uttered the words, "When did he/she get so big?" It's amazing how quickly time passes when you have children. Every day they seem to be achieving a new Big Guy is in first grade, and I could have sworn I just gave birth about a week ago. And my Little Guy? I don't even know when he got here!

The time passes so quickly, I need to slow down and start savoring these little people. On a daily basis, they crack me up with some of the comments they make and conversations they have with each other and me. I really need to start writing everything they say down -- they will be mortifying memories in high school, but they will love it when they get older...or at least their wives will!

Here is just a sampling of gems -- one day in the life of the Big Guy:

  • "Can I wear my Manchester United jersey to my First Holy Communion?"
  • Getting ready for CCD: "God school is fun!"
  • As we are driving to my dad's birthday dinner: "So, how old is Papa now? One hundred?"
  • Looking at his new winter coat: "Wow!! That is brilliant!"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Liverpool 2 - 3 Berbatov
Glory, Glory Man United!!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Will Never Forget. September 11, 2001

Where were you nine years ago today? Take some time today to reflect and remember those brave and innocent Americans who were affected by the tragedies of September 11, 2001.

Nine years ago today, I was working as a legislative aide for a United States Senator. I was driving to work, and the only thing that seemed out of the ordinary was the weather. That particular Tuesday was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining grandly, but it wasn’t too hot. It was a positively glorious autumn morning.

I pulled into the parking lot of the Senate Office Building where I worked, and I heard on the news radio station I was listening to in the car that someone had flown a plane in to one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I simply thought, “Some idiot with a Cessna who doesn’t know what they’re doing. I hope not too many people are hurt.”

I walked into my office, and turn on the television. All legislative staff in the Senate offices have their own TVs to keep an eye on proceedings on the Senate floor. Everyone watched as the second plane flew directly into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m.

No one knew what was going on. Everyone was panicking on the inside, but we were all trying to keep it together on the outside. Our supervisor called us into the conference room for our normal morning staff meeting. She said, “I know everyone is upset and confused. But we need to stay focused.” As our Senator was on the Armed Services Committee, we had a National Security team, comprised of three staffers. She said that those three could watch the developments on the news, but the rest of us had to watch the floor, as per usual. Especially me, as the Senators were debating an Appropriations bill for the Commerce, Justice and State Departments, which I was covering.

After the meeting, we returned to our offices. At 9:37, as I was diligently watching the floor business, all the Senators and staff vacated the Senate floor. We heard that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. My Chief of Staff came in to my office and said, “Get out NOW. The Senator wants everyone OUT.” I protested, “What about the CJS Approps bill!??” Looking back now, that was incredibly silly, but we were all losing it at that point.

What we didn’t know then was that Flight 93 had already been hijacked, reversed course, and was barreling its way back to Washington, DC with the United States Capitol as it's intended target.

I quickly dialed my husband, who had worked a late shift the night prior and was sleeping. “We’re under attack.” I told him, and the line went dead.

Luckily, our Senator had the foresight to evacuate us before the formal evacuation orders came from Capitol Police. Because of that, those of us that lived outside of DC were able to leave the city before they started closing roads down.

I got to my car, and tried to call my husband again on my cell phone. It took me a few tries, but I got through to him. I told him what was going on, and that I was coming home. By this time, he knew what was going on because he’d seen the news. While I was talking to him, there was a loud BOOM! I said, “What was that??” And my cell phone went dead. They had closed down the cell towers in the city. My poor husband didn’t hear from me again for another two hours, and he didn’t know what was happening or if I was okay. We never did find out what that noise was…the fighter jets scrambling, an explosion at the Pentagon, who knows…

During my interminable ride home, the radio was crazed with rumors. There was a car bomb at the State Department; the White House was under attack, etc. I also heard as the Towers of the World Trade Center fell to the ground. And when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. When I finally made it home, my husband hugged me and left…the city’s entire police department had been called in.

I sat glued to the television for the next eight or so hours. There were many times I felt I couldn’t breathe. It was all so surreal, so impossibly frightening. Silly as it sounds, I kept thinking back to the ‘80s movie “Red Dawn.” It was so implausible because no one could ever touch us, as we were safely entrenched behind American borders. And yet, here this all was happening to us. It was like a nightmare.

Needless to say, it was a day that will live forever in the hearts and minds of everyone who was touched by September 11th in any way. And today, we take time to remember all of those who were lost in those cowardly, horrific attacks on our beloved country. I also like to think that they are looking down on us, proud of how our nation kept moving. Proud of how determined we were and still are to not let them break us. Proud of how we all stood together and proclaimed our love for this great American nation. Proud of how we vowed to never forget.