Monday, April 27, 2009

A Sun-Filled Weekend

We had a great weekend! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, complete with record-high temperatures. We had several things planned for this weekend, and thankfully they all enabled us to be outside in the sunshine.

On Saturday, Eric's firm had put together a team to volunteer for Hands On New York Day. We traveled to a community herbal garden in East New York (Brooklyn) to help the garden's caretaker, an adorable little 69-year-old woman named Miss Johanna, get the garden ready for spring planting. We worked hard from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. weeding, turning over soil in planter boxes, spreading top soil, and painting picnic tables and benches. I gave Eric a hard time the whole day because he spent most of his time painting in the shade, while I slaved away digging up planter boxes in the hot sun. But hey, I'm a stronger woman for it! And he did eventually join me in the hot sun for some digging action.

The herbal garden in East NY

Hard at work!

Eric and some of his fellow lawyers painting a bench

Our friend/Eric's co-worker Jose, his girlfriend Karen, and co-worker Steven

Eric trying to steal my shovel thunder

Finally some manual labor!

We took a break around 12:30 for lunch. While we ate, Miss Johanna gave us a full tour of the garden and showed us all the different herbs she grows. Apparently this garden was abandoned in the late '90s, and after September 11th she took it over as a memorial garden. She is retired, and is out there 6 days a week starting in April or May ever year. She has helpers come out pretty regularly, but she puts in a lot of hard work in that garden. On Sundays she sells the herbs and plants she grows at a farmer's market, and uses the money to fund what she needs for the garden. She also explained that she wanted to grow herbs so that she could show people in the community how to cook with herbs rather than salt, to help with diabetes in the community. She also had a good sense of humor and was a very fun lady!

Miss Johanna giving us the background of the garden

Miss Johanna

We all had a great time and got a lot done in our hours at the garden. When we finished, of course we had to get a team picture with Miss Johanna!

The group

After making the trek back to Manhattan, Eric and I stopped home and picked up Achilles and took him to the dog park. At first there were hardly any dogs there, which was surprising! But it quickly filled up and Achilles had a great time. Then it was back home for burgers and relaxation - we were beat!

On Sunday we went to church, then headed down to Penn Station to meet up with some friends to take the train to Giants Stadium for a New York Red Bulls soccer game. When we got there, we first did some tailgating in the parking lot, which was really fun. There was music, beer, and even a tent with food prepared by a guy named Chef Leon. For $5 it was all-you-can-eat, and the menu included meatball sandwiches with zucchini and ricotta cheese, pasta salad, and all kinds of dessert including a tiramisu type thing, something with fruit, and S'mores bars. It was all delicious! I had been expecting maybe a hot dog, but this was gourmet.

Eric and me enjoying lunch and a beer

Karen, Jose and Eric

Me with Giants Stadium (both old and new) in the background

The whole gang: Aaron, Rochelle, Camilo, Karen's co-worker who got us the tickets (I didn't catch his name!), Eric, Me, Karen and Jose

After eating and drinking a bit, we went into the stadium for the game. It was my first Major League Soccer game, and it was quite an experience. The stadium was fairly empty and quiet, except for our section. Our section was filled with the die-hard fans, who stood the whole game and spent the entire time singing, chanting and cheering. There were trumpets, drums and air horns, and jumping and dancing. I can't repeat any of the cheers, partly because some of them were in Spanish and I didn't understand them (thanks a lot, high school Spanish!), and partly because the ones that I could understand contained vulgar and violent English language. (Although apparently the only Spanish that did stick with me since high school is the obscenities. That Spanish I understood. That sure is helpful.) But it was highly entertaining! Meanwhile, the rest of the stadium sat quietly. Very strange.

VIDEO: Our section cheering while the rest of the stadium sits. This was even taken from a little ways back behind the craziness, rather than in the middle of it.

The game was pretty entertaining. The Red Bulls were actually playing the D.C. United, so that was fun! In the first half, D.C. scored one goal. We spent the second half watching from a shady spot out of the craziness, and saw the Red Bulls score two goals to take the lead. However, in the last minute of the second half, D.C. scored again to tie it up, and right away in overtime they scored again to win the game 3-2. The New Yorkers were pretty bummed. I had a good time overall, so I was still happy.

The teams taking the field

Our section cheering

D.C. celebrating their victory

Hanging out in the shade: Me, Jose (making a "bummed" face), Karen, Camilo, Rochelle and Aaron

After the game we made the commute back to Manhattan once again. After arriving back at Penn Station, Eric and I did a little shopping on 34th Street before coming home for sushi and more relaxation.

All in all, it was a very fun weekend! It felt so nice to be outside, wearing sandals, even sweating a little bit and ending the day feeling "sun-kissed." Hmmm...maybe I'm more of a Florida girl than I always thought. Either way, I love this weather and I loved this weekend!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of soccer lovers!! Your cousin Adam will be playing soccer at college in the Fall. So, its not over for us yet!

Aunt Rachel