One Nation. One Team.

U.S. Men's Soccer Team

On Saturday, we drove down to Jacksonville to watch the last friendly game before the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team heads to Brazil for the World Cup. It was my first professional soccer game, and I was very excited.
Before going to Everbank Stadium, G suggested we get a bite to eat. I looked for someplace interesting on my iPhone and found a wood fire pizza place called Pele’s that had great reviews. Pélé is a Brazilian soccer player considered by many to be the best player of all time, with 541 league goals and over a thousand total goals scored during his career. He is hailed as a national hero for both his accomplishments in the sport of soccer as well as his support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor people in his country.

I know, the restaurant’s name probably refers to the volcano goddess instead of the soccer player, but still, it was a good call. The restaurant is in an artsy part of town surrounded by interesting shops. Everything on the menu looked so good, it was hard for us to decide what to get. We settled on an order of Tuscan Fries (yummy), three different pizzas and a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich. Everything was outstanding.


With happy, full tummies we drove the 15 minutes to the stadium. Well, it should have taken 15 minutes…. with the soccer traffic it took more like 40 minutes. As we passed the exit for the West side of the stadium, G asked where our seats were. Hell if I knew. I pulled up a map of the stadium and what do you know, our seats were on the West side. It took another 15 minutes to get to the East side exit. But it was just as well that we missed our exit, because just as we made the turn in front of the stadium, the bus carrying the U.S. Team arrived!

We didn’t know where to park, so we floundered around a bit, made a u-turn, and lo and behold the bus carrying the Nigerian Team passed by us, along with its police escort. Exciting stuff! We followed the advice of the policeman directing traffic and turned down Tallyrand St and managed to get a great parking spot.
As we made our way to the stadium, we got caught up in a colorful crowd of chanting and singing fans. Everyone was taking pictures and filming the raucous throng, and it was so much fun to be a part of it. The excitement was as thick as the humidity in the air around us!

We had incredible seats, five rows up and virtually in the middle. And to top it off, we were on the shady side! The crowd was pumped up and G even got goose bumps when everyone sang the national anthem.

The game was great – both teams played well and there were no altercations. G even convinced a couple of people he was Jürgen Klinsmann’s brother. He kind of looks like him, and he is German. Of course, if he was related to him, I doubt we would have been sitting where we were…we would be up in the VIP cushy box seats! The guys obviously didn’t think of that.

My only complaint was the couple in front of us stood up for most of it. When G suggested to the guy that he sit down, he turned around with his red, white, and blue guitar shaped sunglasses and said

This is soccer! Nobody sits down!

I’m looking forward to some good soccer games in the upcoming weeks… I hope our boys play well.
Go Team!! :-)


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A Musical Seduction – The Long Engagement Playlist

I love music. For as long as I can remember, my life has been filled with it. Mix tape

First, there was my mother playing the piano. And then piano lessons for me. (Okay, I admit I was bribed by the promise of a chocolate éclair from the French bakery after each lesson. But I did love the piano.)

Then there was the music of my four older siblings, which ran the gamut from Georges Moustaki (my oldest sister went to the Sorbonne) to Carole King, Pink Floyd and Peter Frampton. You know, all that great music from the 70′s.

My first earned money (made from babysitting) I spent acquiring hundreds of bootleg cassette tapes from Al Khobar, a town near the ARAMCO compound I grew up in, in Saudi Arabia. I still remember some of them – I think I may have a few in the garage – and even then I had very eclectic tastes: Olivia Newton-John, Joey Travolta (yes, John had a singing brother), The Commodores, ABBA, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Cars, Black Sabbath and The Pretenders. I listened to them on my little tape deck in my room, or on my Sony Walkman when I wasn’t at home.

I spent hours recording mixed tapes to compile a playlist of my favorite songs. Some of the last ones I made were in college, in the apartment I shared with my boyfriend, both of us sitting cross-legged on the living room floor in front of the stereo, stopping and starting each song at just the right moment to make the perfect cassette.

So, when I received a package in the mail from him 24 years later, and found five home-made CDs inside, well….. he pretty much had me.

If you want to read a great love story, based on our reunion after those 24 years, please pick up a copy of The Long Engagement on Amazon.

And if you want to hear a great playlist, the songs that he recorded on the first CD are listed below. I wasn’t allowed to listen to any of the CDs until I got in my car to drive to Savannah, for our reunion weekend. I put the first one in when I pulled out of my driveway on Woodlawn Pike, in Knoxville. The last song was playing as I arrived at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to pick him up.

By that time, I had fallen completely, head-over-heels, in love with him again.


(You Want To) Make a Memory -Live … Bon Jovi “The Lost Highway”

Georgia On My Mind … Ray Charles & Count Basie Orchestra “Ray Sings, Basie Swings”

Loving You Always … Los Lonely Boys “Forgiven”

Scenes From An Italian Restaurant … Billy Joel “12 Gardens Live”

Staying With Me … Los Lonely Boys (Single)

Wherever You Will Go … The Calling “Camino Palmero”

I Could Not Ask For More … Edwin McCain “Messenger”

The Guide … Borne (Single)

So Deep in Love … Joel Auge (Discovery Download)

I’m Like a Bird … Nelly Furtado “Loose” The Concert Live

One Last Breath … Creed “Creed Greatest Hits”

Something Good … Juan Luis Guerra “La Llave de Mi Corazon”

Heaven … Los Lonely Boys (Single)

Beyond the Sea … Bobby Darin “The Ultimate Bobby Darin”

Romeo and Juliet … Emmy Lou Harris & Mark Knopfler “Real Life Roadrunning”

If Everyone Cared … Nickelback “All the Right Reasons”

Last Request … Paolo Nutini




Categories: Fun Stuff | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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