Friday, May 28, 2004

It's taken me a little while, but I'm in a better frame of mind than I was when I got the rejection post card from [department store]. Not that I'm done being ticked off about it, because that's not entirely the case. But at least I've filed it under "AFGO" (short for Another ****in' Growth Opportunity) and have decided to move on.

Too bad that darn post card had to arrive when it did. I was all set to post about some much NICER stuff that went on last weekend, but then the post card arrived and my emotional state took such a nosedive, for a while I didn't feel like posting much of anything other than the rant I wrote a few days ago.

So NOW I think I'll post about the nice things that happened on Saturday and Sunday.

First of all, Mark's and my fifth anniversary was Saturday. We started the day by going to see Smarty Jones do his exercise run early in the morning. It was open to the public, and it was even more thronged THIS time around than it was a couple weeks ago.

That's OK, though. This time we walked alllllll the way to the end of where spectators were permitted to stand, and got a place next to a chain-link fence. I was able to aim my camera through the fence, and I think I got better pics this time around than last time. The only challenge this time was competing with a few PRO photographers who kept managing to get in the spectators' way as they were setting up their own shots. Some properly-timed "HEY! DOWN IN FRONT" exclamations from people in the crowd got the pro photographers to move, though. :o)

Shortly before Smarty Jones came into view, the track announcer instructed the crowd to please keep sudden noises to a minimum in order to not spook the horse. (I'm paraphrasing, but that was the point.) Looking back at it now, I wonder if they were hoping to head off the sort of sudden noise that is made when an annoyed spectator yells at a photographer who has suddenly gotten in the way. Hmmm... food for thought.

As we watched Smarty Jones gallop, then stayed to watch the other horses exercise after Smarty Jones was finished, I thought, "No wonder little girls love horses". When I was a girl, I loved all animals, not just one kind of animal in particular. But those race horses were so beautiful and graceful, it's easy to see why some little girls feel a particular affinity for them. If I hadn't already been in "dote on ALL animals" mode, I probably would have been enamored of horses, too.

We'd noticed that the Pennsylvania State Fair was set up on a part of Philadelphia Park's parking lot. (Say THAT three times fast! ;o) ). So once we were done watching the horses exercise, we went to see what was up at the fair.

This was pretty early in the morning -- not quite 10 AM -- and not too many things at the fair were open yet. We did, however, get to see the petting zoo (including a miniature horse, which was utterly adorable), the ferris wheel, the bumping cars, and a few other things.

On we went to Peddler's Village, with a stop at a large flea market that we passed on Street Road. We didn't buy a lot, but the highlight was a small aluminum stepladder for $3. If all goes well, I want to bring said wee ladder to Belmont so I can see above the standing-room-only crowd this year. I still remember well how challenging it was for a vertically-challenged person like me to see the track last year. Standing on the bottom step of the ladder will give me enough height to match a TALL person's point of view.

We got to Peddler's Village in time for lunch. The sun was out and it had turned into a gorgeous, if hot, day. Next time we go, though, I'd like for us to make a whole day of it. The most we got to see is maybe half of Peddler's Village, if that. We had to leave semi-early so we could arrive in time for dinner at my in-laws' house.

So, everything up until and including dinner was great. :o)

And then we got home in time to see the final period of the Flyers game, in which they lost to Tampa Bay and were eliminated from the playoffs. DARN DARN DARN DARN... but that's an "I'm disappointed!!!" rant for another day. One thing I'm NOT is angry about the loss... the Flyers overcame more than their share of injuries and came to within one goal of the Stanley Cup Finals. They played their hearts out and gave it everything they had, and lost to a DARN good team. How can I be angry about that?

The next day, Mark, Joe, and I went to a graduation party for one of my oldest friends. Beth Ann and her twin sister, Eva Marie, have been my friends since we were all in 4th grade. Beth Ann was graduating from law school, and it was great to see her again. Unfortunately, Eva Marie wasn't there; she had to return to Ohio because of prior commitments that she couldn't reschedule. I hope we can catch up with her the next time she's in Philly.

One other friend who it seems like FOREVER since I've seen is Eva (not to be confused with Eva Marie). I can't believe it's been about 10 years since I've seen her.

Seeing how much Beth Ann's kids have grown, and seeing pictures of Eva's two daughters for the first time, really underlined for me how long it's been since we have all gotten together. Beth Ann's son TJ is about to graduate high school (which did not surprise me, as I remember he was born in 1986) and he's taller than I am now (then again, isn't everyone?). What really DID floor me, though, is that he's about to go into the National Guard.

On the one hand, I agree with Beth Ann: TJ has always wanted to go into the military, and she's not about to stand in the way of his dream, even though she's very concerned that he's doing this during a war. On the other hand, I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that the firstborn child of ANY of our group of friends is about to put himself at risk and could possibly die for his (and my) country. WILLINGLY. God bless TJ and everyone who is willing to serve. I hope to God that this war ends and our people come HOME as soon as humanly possible.

I definitely am going to go out of my way to try and keep in touch, now that Beth Ann is out of law school. She has been so busy for the past few years, between being a mom with a full-time job and law school classes into the bargain, that spare time was unheard of.

Heck, I can empathize -- for five years, I just had the "full time job and night classes" to worry about, and I hardly knew which end was up I was so busy. That's WITHOUT having four kids and a husband into the bargain. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be committed to work, school, AND other people all at once.

Too bad that the Flyers and Phantoms are both done for the season. Beth Ann has been a hockey fan for as long as I have. If the Phantoms were still playing, I'd have invited her to go to a Phantoms game with Mark and me. Oh, well. Next season, for sure!

Now we're heading into the Memorial Day weekend. Tomorrow, Mark and I are going to Atlantic City with Jean and Joe J. I hope we don't run into the Shore Traffic from H*ll, considering that this is a weekend when half the world seems to want to go to the shore. But traffic or no traffic, I'm looking forward to going.

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