Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Earth Day 2010!

“We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.” – Al Gore.

In honor of
Earth Day, I’m hoping to take a break from boring you all with my extremely exciting life (I know, reading about every season I’ve played kickball is truly enthralling) and focus on some environmental issues. There are tons of exciting Earth Day activities going on in DC today and this coming weekend. One of the largest displays will be the Climate Rally held on Sunday, April 25th. I’m hoping to get out and check it out for a bit (you should too), so look for a recap on Monday!

So what exactly is Earth Day?
Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held April 22, 1970.

How can you help?
Just as there are numerous ways we destroy the planet, so are there a plethora of ways we can help. These are a few simple things we can do as suggested by the Earth Day campaign:
  • Educate people to use solar power
  • Recycle
  • Shop at the local farmers market, using your own bags and eat as many locally sources meals as possible
  • Ride a bike
  • Reduce your electricity usage
From now on, each week, I will try and focus on one thing we can all do to help make a positive impact on the environment and life more sustainable lifestyles. Maybe it can be our weekly goal. So, since the weather is getting nicer, I propose we try and not use our cars (including cabs) for a week. If you live in a public transportation rich city like DC (despite the sometimes malfunctioning metro system) this shouldn't be that hard. While it's not always possible, it's something to strive for. I hope to post these each Sunday or Monday as a challenge for the week, so I'll update you on my progress.

Why should I care?
When Earth day began, pollution was rampant and it was visible. We could see the smog and the gross rivers. And while we've made lots of improvements along the way, there are still major problems that are going undetected and unnoticed because, while not as visible, are equally as damaging.

Right now I’m reading Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle by David Wann. I’ll share some of the interesting and sometimes shocking highlights. Wann explains that not only is it essential that we change the way we live in order to survive on limited natural resources that are naturally depleting, we will come to find that this lifestyle is even richer and more fulfilling than our crazy, fast-paced , yet wasteful current lifestyle.
“Real wealth is the calmness and contentedness that comes with feeling good, physically; the sense of well being that makes anything seem like an event. Real wealth is finding the rhythm of natural cycles and jumping in. It’s understanding how the world works and substituting information and brilliant design for resources."

Now, for some alarming facts:
We are already experiencing environmental catastrophe. We can fix this, but we have to accept that there are major problems. “For example, some eastern cities ran out of landfill space years ago and are now begging neighboring states to take their waste. (New York City alone ships 600 tractor-trailers out of state every single day.) “ I mean EW, that is just gross. Not to mention holy shit, I can’t imagine that much trash, what are we doing!?

“The average American’s ‘ecological footprint’ (the land needed to provide the materials supporting his or her lifestyle) is 30 acres, or roughly thirty football fields of prime land and sea, year after year—which is roughly twice what the average Italian or German thrives on.” If others can do with less, obviously we can do. And also, since land and seas are finite. We are basically using up in a few generations the resources that have taken eons to produce. Wanns likens this to temporarily going insane and gambling your life savings in a single casino spree. And that is exactly what we are currently doing.

Just some thoughts to ponder on this Earth Day. Now get out there and plant a tree! Or take a ride on the Orange Line (note to self: must leave kickball early enough to catch mass transit this week). This will both save the environment and my death-warmed-over-due-to-lack-of-sleep appearance tomorrow at work as well. Win, win!

The Queen City

This past weekend I went to visit my good friend in Charlotte, NC. My friend, whom I will refer to as klutzy, showed me a great time. Since I’m a little under the weather due to lack of sleep (gladly exchanged for fun times) and allergies, I will recap my weekend in bullets (lazzzyyy).

  • It is truly a miracle that I even made it to the airport. Since the universe likes to laugh at me, I guess someone thought it would be a greeeat idea to have me fly out of an airport 30 miles away. This was the chain of events that followed: Attempt to enter address into GPS. Find that GPS needs to be charged, but cannot locate charger. Say eff it and print directions. Get up at the crack ass of dawn and drive through the city with said directions. Freak out at 6:30 am when I realize I’m super confused and why in the world have I ended up in the district?!?. Call my friend who somehow answers at this ungodly hour and tells me to turn around. Find out from her boyfriend that I was actually going the right way to begin with. Turn back around. Flip out/have minor panic attack and accept I will miss my flight. Somehow make flight despite waiting outside for curbside check-in for 15 minutes only to find that “Miss, you are too late for this go inside and check in and hurry!” Uh, that would have been nice to know as I waited for you check the families 25890 bags in front of me.

  • Once in Charlotte my stressful morning disappeared and we went out on the lake in her friend’s boat. It is April and we were cruising around on the lake. Pretty awesome, right? I had a couple brewski’s and couldn’t hold it in. I had to lower myself off the ladder and relieve myself in the frigid cold water. Needless to say I got to know her friends pretty fast.

  • I hate to admit but a highlight of the trip was after the boat trip. We were all hanging at her friend’s house and about to go outside to the porch. Klutzy was sipping on some coffee (I myself, had a tequila/pineapple juice concoction) and was following her outside. I guess she was concentrating on not spilling her coffee, but the girl ran straight into the screen door. She ricochet off, and coffee went everywhere. It was hilarious. But she brushed her shoulders off and enjoyed her cup of coffee in style. Moments such as this are just something we are used to with that chic.

  • Went to see a sweet 80s cover band. They were no Legwarmers, but they still rocked out.

  • I went to church with her on Sunday and I really loved it. I haven’t been to church in years, but if I could find a church like that here, I’d totally go. Instead of the “thou shall not” the church was all how we can give back and make the world a better place. When I asked my friend if I’d have to stand up and announce that I was new she looked at me like I was crazy. Not having to do THAT, along with the yummy cinnamon cakes they had available really hooked me.

  • I just need to remind everyone that I don’t think brunch is truly brunch without some type of bubbly alcohol ...or tomato juice if that’s your thing (it’s not mine). Klutzy learned this lesson when she ordered a single mimosa and got a double.

  • I sure do love the south. It’s just a different lifestyle down there. People were talking about their home repairs and buying condos…things that only the elite rich can speak of in these here parts. Friend’s stop over for dinner or just show up randomly and are always welcome. Long live the south!

Sadly, I had to head home and back to reality sooner than I wanted. I’ll not bore you with details of how I got slightly lost coming home from the airport as well. All in all it was a great weekend and I look forward to visiting again.

Next time though, I’ll charge the GPS.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Time Has Come For One and All...To Plaaaay Kickball!

The ice has melted, the pollen is freely floating/slowly killing us and the smell of cherry blossoms and mischievousness is in the air. That can only mean one thing: it’s kickball season once again!

Throughout my seasons (and years) of kickball there have been highs and lows, random make outs and dance parties galore. There are ugly parts I’d rather forget, parts I did forget after blacking out and things that I never, ever want to forget. Since we have our first kickball game of a new season tonight, I thought it only appropriate to take a trip down memory lame and recap some of the highlights from previous seasons.

Without further ado…

Season 1

This was our inaugural season in kickball. I was new to the area and had heard kickball was THE way to meet people. So we rounded up some coworkers and a couple other friends and joined the league. Since we were a small group they mixed us in with another group of people to form one team. I was so excited to get to meet new people, maybe some cute boys and drink my face off. For some ungodly reason that I can’t recall, we decided to play on Sunday afternoons (whaaaa?) Once I got over my initial nerves (OMG, I’m going to whiff, ah athletic prowess being displayed in front of strangers, I’m sooo nervous), the season turned out to be pretty fun, despite half of our team never showing up for games and having to forfeit.

The good: We were all dismayed to find out that our flip cup tournament fell on the day that I was going to move. Now, not wanting to let the team down, my friends rallied and vowed to not let this deter us. They helped me move the majority of my crap ahead of time so that on actual move in day, my parents could help me quickly move the rest of my junk so I could make the afternoon tournament. I mean, priorities people, priorites. It worked (basically), but my parent’s may still be wondering why I placed so much importance on getting to that damn flip cup game. I, myself, still wonder the same.

Oh, also the fact that everyone knew us as team name (kid tested, mother approved), and we ate a lot of our team namesake’s cereal at games/drinking occasions was another bonus.

(And my really good friend met her current boyfriend at the pre-season party. We kept saying how we’d totes find our bfs through kickball. At least one of us did, you go girl!)

The bad: Although I was able to move in lightening speed, my dad attempted to drop me off at the tournament in his pickup truck, navigating the treacherous roads of DC in the middle of a tsunami. It was not a pretty sight when my dad, the I-have-no-time-for-this-BS, and I, the directionally challenged, were trying to find Cheers. Somehow, we managed to find it, I grabbed his bright yellow poncho and bolted, profusely thanking my parents for helping me move, almost crashing by taking me into city and accepting their questionably alcoholic child.

The ugly: Since I was in such a frenzy to complete my move in time, I forgot to eat breakfast…or lunch. Sure, I think I ate a random granola bar or popsicle at one point, but that, in combination with hours of flip cup and shots = a drunk mess. I made out with a kid on the winning flip cup team, wondered around DC for a few hours and finally had to ditch this kid in an alley near Pentagon City. It wasn’t my finest moment, but lesson learned: Eat before playing flip cup (or participating in a tournament!?!).

Season 2

For our second season, we made the best move ever by switching to the Thursday night league. We only retained players from the prior season who actually showed up to games. Again, we needed to join with another team and we were semi-lucky in getting what we thought seemed like a pretty great group of people. In truth, most of them were really fun people. This season wasn’t anything remarkable but it was a good time and Thursdays were the way to go. It was especially nice having every other Friday off in the summer. In fact, I think this is the season that I didn’t work one single Friday in August. It was glorious. I had also just moved into a big house, so all my coworkers would just crash there afterwards. It was just one big sleepover!

The good: We met our good friend BlackBerry on this team. She was one of the first people I met at the pre-season party and we instantly got along. Although she wasn’t able to make it to that many games, we became good friends regardless and today she is one of my closest friends in the city.

The bad: Not all the girls were as cool as BlackBerry. A couple of the girls were, in fact, straight up B-words. Or maybe they were bi-polar. They’d generally seem cool and chill and then start acting all aloof and crazy/weird. I think the breaking point came when I left one of the chick’s bday parties because I had another obligation (or more fun people I actually preferred to hang with). Upon my departure, which was obviously the end of the world, she looked and me and said, “Why don’t you just go slit your wrists.” Um, ALRIGHT DRAMA QUEEN. Or PSYCHOPATH. Needless to say, we don’t hang with those girls no mo'!

Oh, and one night the staff decided to literally hose us down. That was kinda bad/kinda awesome.

The ugly: I made out with a bald dude (shaved, but still). Do I really need to say anything else? Alright, to make myself feel less like a loser, I will say that he was actually smart (had a PhD), but Baldy was a serious stage 5 clinger. In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I did go out with a fellow teammate one night. I’m not sure if it should be classified as a “date”, but he was a cool dude and we are still friends today.

(Note: This is for Italian Mother. I’m not sure how we would classify a certain other member of our team who was in love with my friend. I think Italian Mother’s sentiments were accurately described when she said this: “I felt like I had to shower every time after I hung out with that kid.” If only she was joking bahah...)

Season 3

Season 3 could be more accurately described as the rainy season. For some reason, that spring, it would rain every single Thursday. I’m not sure if April/May/early June were more rainy than normal overall, but without fail, if it was Thursday and we were supposed to play kickball, it would thunderstorm, pour cats and dogs or otherwise cancel our beloved kickball. As a result, we spent a lot of time just drinking at Cheers, getting to know the wait staff. Our season lasted well into June because of our many delays, but overall, it was another successful season. We joined with another random team, but met some cool people who are on our team currently.

The good: This was a pretty chill season with a good group of people. We had coworkers who actually showed up to games and/or nongame drinking fests, and we had a good group of randoms join our team who were fun and a good time. We also went on an end of season boat cruise which was pretty freakin’ awesome (despite me and BlackBerry getting locked in the bathroom. We’re on a boaaaat!). We also met another team who we joined with in season 4, so that was another gain on the season.

The bad: There honestly wasn’t much bad about this season other than the shitty, shitty weather. As a result we were forced to spend way more time at Cheers then we ever intended. A low point may have been when we thought it was acceptable to bring jell-o shots into the bar. While they were delicious, obviously you can’t bring your own alcohol into a damn bar. They should have thrown us out and banned us for life, but luckily we just got a little scolding.

I also met ATM here, thanks to Italian Mother’s urgings. And he left me at the bar stranded one night. And I sobbed on the street corner to my friend on the phone as I desperately searched for a cab. How the tables have turned…

The ugly: My ugly moment involved wine, jell-o shots and Irish Trash Cans and resulted in my first blackout. I relived the harrowing experience on this blog once, but as a recap: 1) I was calling people names from Harry Potter. Seriously, I referred to our coach as Lord Voldemort. Why that dude still even speaks to me is beyond me. 2) I hit on the very married waiter, who I have to see every week and who never lets me live it down. 3) Apparently on the metro I was acting all shady and then simultaneously expressing my love. At one point I turned to my friends and screamed “I f*ing love you bitches!” Well, at least my true feelings came out :) But no, no more Irish trash cans for moi. Bring on the cherry bombs instead!

Season 4

My, my, my. Where do I even start? Some have described season 4 as epic. Others have called it a shit-show, incestuous dance party. But, if I could be so bold as to borrow a term from my favorite TV show, HIMYM, they only way to give due justice to season 4 is to refer to it as LEGEND - wait for it - DARY.

I’m not sure why this season tops all the rest. It could be a combination of many things. First, we had a core group of hardcore kickballas/flipcuppas. Then we met another team in season 3 who were equally as awesome (albeit a little creepy with a paparazzi who documented our every move). When we combined forces it was like atoms and molecules fusing together to create new energy. We became a team of pure awesome. And we all loved each other. Maybe a bit too much.

The good: In addition to being fun, our team was actually pretty good on the field. I knew our competitive nature ran deep when the pansy dude from another team bunted the ball and Italian Mother shouted in disgust, “And you call yourself a man!“ Indeed sir, or should I say madam? Our ultimate goal for many seasons had been to beat our rival team. They were ridic and actually recruited players for their team. I searched high and low, far and wide to find this email, but I just must reprint a few words from a wise kickball teammate whose pep talk must have steered us towards victory.

“For those of you who are new, you may not know the eternal wrath against this team, probably stemming from the beginning of time (at least the beginning of KICKBALL), the kind of wrath that makes your blood boil, the wrath that makes you throw up a little in your mouth, the wrath that has been brought on by the undeserved greatness of the team that is called "A"

Bottom line. WE gotta Drink Hard. then Play Hard. Then Drink even harder as we reminisce over their dead bodies......I mean, beaten bodies, heavily maimed. (in a kickball sense of course)”

And drink we did. To celebrate not only beating this despicable team, but kicking their asses!

The good keeps coming with season 4: I met some of my now closest friends on this team. I met Mr. Clean, which for a time, I had a lot of fun with. And we truly earned our spot as favorite team of Cheers by closing the bar down every single night. Oh and I can’t forget our incessantly long email (100 +) chains that helped me get through my workday.

The bad: As I’ve mentioned before our team really loved each other. As in, we dated and made out with other more than a backwards family from West Virginia. I was not immune from this phenomenon. Though I did have a longer-lasting affair with one particular highly coveted player. At one point there was a little drama between me, him and another girl that wanted him BAD. She actually stuck her claws into him first, so I let it be and figured I’d cut my losses. If she was his cup of tea, I probably wasn’t. But then, he pursued me and I went with it. I didn’t want to offend this girl, but now, I’m so glad I saved him from her she-devil ways. If this were survivor, we’d probably have to vote this chick off the island. But that’s a whole other story.

There was another bad apple on our team, who had a scary poker face. His true character wasn’t revealed until much later. But again, a story for another time and place.

The ugly: This season was by far my favorite. The ugly is only in the fact that the season ended. There are things I wish I could change. I wish things had worked out between Mr. Clean and me. But they didn’t, and we are both adults enough to be able to still play on the same team and enjoy it. I wish a certain someone on our team hadn’t turned out be such a douche bag. But, it was all a learning experience. I wish I hadn’t spent so much damn hard earned money at the bar, but what’s kickball without flip cup, and beer… lots of it.

So tonight, as we don our neon bright t-shirts and another season awaits, untainted and pure as a little baby, I like to give a little nod to our kickball past. These shenanigans helped make our team who we are today. In all seriousness, tonight, I’ll be taking the field with best friends, coworkers, a boy I gave my heart to and people who have been there through the tough times…and hangovers. And I can’t wait. TO KICK SOME BALLS!

If my liver and dignity survive (c’mon, who am I kidding), check back again in about 3 months for a Season 5 recap. (Kick balls, flip cups, hoorah!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

100,000 Nuts of Pure Happiness

I’ve been slacking with my postings lately, although my mind is full of exciting, novel worthy blog posts galore (relating Little Mermaid songs to real life, wait for it; a boy crush post I wrote a while ago, etc., etc.) But I’d like to share some random thoughts from this past weekend.

I spent both nights are our favorite bar, Cheers. In spite of having already paid for an open bar both nights (granted it ended at 11, umm I still need alcohol), I managed to drop an exorbitant amount of money. On Saturday night, I became “that girl” that has to buy shots for everyone in the bar. Well, truth be told, the bartender has created this shot, which I refer to as the Cherry Blossom. It is the most refreshing and yummy drink ever. And I simply wanted to share it with everyone! (Full disclosure: Rabbit originally made this drink for me, so she gets the true credit I suppose). $80 later, all my friends and a few strangers got to try this drink, thanks to my community service act of the day. I also brought out my business sense and told the owner the he really should put this on the menu, it’d be a best seller. And that he only had to give me 1 percent of proceeds. Instead of smacking the drunk girl, like he should, he just smiled and said, “I’ll give you 2!” This is why I love this bar. (Note: I’m in the process of getting a patent; don’t jack this sweet and clearly originally idea.)

I ran across the article the other day and thought it was really interesting. Referring to the scandal with Sandra Bullock, it asks us to consider what is more important: having extreme professional success or a healthy and happy personal life. And, as most of us with a heart and soul would probably assume, the answer is love.

"Nonetheless, if you had to take more than three seconds to think about this question, you are absolutely crazy. Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being. If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy. If you have an unsuccessful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many career triumphs you record, you will remain significantly unfulfilled."

A few other points of note:

"Instead, people are happy in their 20’s, dip in middle age and then, on average, hit peak happiness just after retirement at age 65."

I’m a little surprised to find that people are the happiest in their 20s. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty happy, but I’ve experienced, and still am, experiencing the quarter-life crises that many 20-somethings go through. However, given the fact that most of your 20s is spent in college, getting a job and finally earning money and binge drinking the weekends away, I guess this could equate to happiness. For some, your 20s is the time where you figure out what you want to do with your life. For others, it’s a time when you meet your soul mate. Although neither of these things has happened for me yet, I guess the true beauty of your 20s is understanding you have your whole life to figure these things out and find that person. So in the meantime, live it up and enjoy the freedom you have. Because once 30 rolls around, you will be miserable, obviously, until of course you reach the happiest of all ages, 65!

"The daily activities most associated with happiness are sex, socializing after work and having dinner with others. The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting. According to one study, joining a group that meets even just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income."

I both agree and disagree with this statement. Obviously getting sexed up, socializing after work (aka knockin’ a few back after a hard day’s work) and eating are all related to happiness. But I wouldn’t say my current commute injures my happiness, yet. I actually enjoy my short metro ride to work and the mile long walk home in the evenings (if my Ipod it charged and bumpin' sweet tunes). Now, this happiness will only last a mere few months until the sweltering humidity of DC summer hell descends, and I am drenched in sweat halfway up the first hill. Then, my happiness and body oder may be a bit injured.

Also, go me; I am part of a book club that meets once a month. Now, I love these girls and book club is always a good time, but um, I think, given the choice, I would DOUBLE MY INCOME!?! This one, I just can’t swallow. But I need to go finish reading my book club book…

"According to another, being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year."

Holy shit! That’s a lot of money. So maybe that online dating subscription price will really pay off in the end…That or just sign up for The Millionaire Matchmaker!

Coming from a broke-as-a-joke young professional living in a relatively expensive city, I’d like to believe that my personal relationships give me more happiness then my lame ass salary. But damn, maybe instead of looking for a new job, I should just look for that husband.

Finally, on a random note, I witnessed nature in action yesterday. I was sitting on my friend Blackberry’s porch, just chatting about random things. We had noticed a squirrel jumping around in the trees above us. Then all of a sudden the squirrel started making an annoying screeching sound, a cross between a dying bird and a rooster’s crow. Realizing we’d never heard a squirrel make a noise, we wondered if this little guy was dying. “Is he seizuring?” Blackberry asked. “I want to throw something at him to shut him up.” “Maybe it’s a mating call!” I yelled, my mind always in the gutter.

And in true blackberry fashion, she whipped out her phone and googled that shit. She stumbled upon this amazing article: Squirrel Speak: It’s More Than Just Noise. Indeed it was more than just a noise; it was a mating call. (For more on how squirrels mate, this is a must read.) We went inside before we witnessed the magical act. But I can only hope that that little squirrel found his bride. Because that would be worth 100,000 nuts of pure happiness.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunflower Seeds

Everything was different when he came back. When you realize you actually have strong feelings for the person that you’ve been pushing away it’s naturally going to be different. Maybe not for him, but for you. You will overanalyze everything he says, does, every touch – everything.

He had just got home and I was going away soon. But I had to see him before I left. I am under the impression that we were going bowling. I get to his house early to avoid the sluggish Washington traffic. I knew the combo for the garage, something a casual date should never, ever know. Then again, we were well passed the casual. I wait for him to get home from work, and my nerves get the best of me as my anticipation grows. I hear the door swing open. He walks through the door and my stomach turn to knots. Are those butterflies? That had never happened before. Was I losing my mind? I didn’t realize at the time it wasn’t my mind I was losing, but my heart.

He rushes upstairs to change out of his stylish work clothes into something more appropriate for bowling. Although he’ll turn your head in a button down shirt, he’s a t-shirts and jeans kind of guy at the core. I think are going bowling but he drives us to the metro instead.

“Where are we going?” I ask.

“You’ll see. I’m not telling you,” he says, as if mystery is part of his game. His innocence and genuineness is what draws me in, so this takes me by surprise.

I have to add money to my metro card. I wait in line only to find the machine is broken. I get a little flustered and finally add money to my card. He watches silently the whole time, before shaking his head and saying “Only you.”
The metro is full of people. Where are they going, I wonder? Where am I going? But where they were going, or where I was going, for that matter, wasn’t really important. All I saw on the train was him. As we rode along and switched lines, I grinned realizing where we were going. But I didn’t want to say anything, not yet. He had his poker face on, so I stayed clueless as he tells me to follow him and we switch lines. There is really only one reason to take a ride on the green line though.

We get off the train and not until we exit into the open streets of the Southwest riverfront does he smile, laughs his goofy laugh and says, “We’re going to the Nats game, if you couldn’t tell.”

A date to see a baseball game pretty much cannot be topped in my book.

“We should find a bar to grab a few drinks first,” he says.

Beer and baseball? You had me at hello.

He pulls out his iPhone. He leads me in the direction of some bar. He stops, laughs, tells me we are going the wrong direction. We turn around, determined to find our way, and do the same thing. He laughs again, tells me we were going the right way to begin with. The air is warm and the sky is still bright as the sun starts its slow, lazy summer descent. The late summer sun is just like him: warm, unassuming, with a purpose, but no rush to get there.

We finally reach our destination, according to his calculations. There is nothing there but an empty building. Neither of us says a thing, but we both die in fits of laughter at our many failed attempts to find a place that didn’t exist to begin with. Giving up, we join the crowds of others at the Bull Pen bar outside the stadium. We have a few drinks and the bartender jokes with Mr. Clean that he is very sorry, he simply cannot serve him because of the Yankees-hating slogan on his t-shirt. They laugh it off as I internally agree with the bartender and desperately hope he doesn’t think I share these sentiments. I’m going to go to baseball hell for kissing a Red Sox fan. But it’s a price I’m willing to play, and we head into the game to finally root, root, root for the same home team

The summer is drawing to an end; this is one of the last games the Nats will play that season. This, like many others, wasn’t their year. It’s a weeknight and the stadium is pretty empty. The wear and tear of another season is apparent; hotdog wrappers are littered around and leftover beer oozes out of empty plastic cups. We have the entire row to ourselves, but there is a younger woman and an older man sitting in front of us. We play the “what are they to each other game.” Father and daughter? Lovers? Friends? Are we being too loud? Did they hear us? We laugh at how silly we are acting.

“Want a sunflower seed?” he asks. Although my gut reaction is to say no, which with anyone else I would have, my honesty creeps out of me. “Actually, I don’t really even know how to eat a sunflower seed.” Maybe if I give it a chance, I think, I may just like it.

“And you call yourself a baseball fan, here,” he says rolling his eyes and smiling. His youth shines as he fiddles with the bag of seeds and I can imagine him during his days has a mischievous little boy playing catch in the backyard. “Just put it in your mouth and break the sides of the shell with your teeth, then spit out the shell. They are really salty, be careful” he warns, handing me the bag. “Try it. “ I look at him skeptically. “Just try one though,” he insists, laughing.

I take the bag and put the shell in my mouth. I follow his instructions as he sits there, patiently watching my attempt to eat a sunflower seed. I crack the delicate shell, and spit it out as politely as one can spit a sunflower seed shell. I taste the salty goodness of the seed and ask for more. Because, all I want is more. More of the seeds, more of summer, more of him.

He smiles at his new, successful pupil. I’m not sure what was happening on the field, nor did I care. He taught me how to eat sunflower seeds.