Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Champions League Victory!

How can one possibly capture in words the exhilaration and joy that Rob and I are experiencing today? No, we didn't move up our nuptials! No, today we watched as Liverpool came from 3-0 down at half-time and went on to beat AC Milan 3-2 on penalties in the Champions League! This probably means very little to many of you but to us it's a feeling beyond belief.


The Champions League is UEFA's (Union of European Football Associations--the governing body of football in Europe) most prestigious cup competition and is open to teams that finish in the top of their domestic leagues in Europe--which basically means you play the top teams in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, etc. in a series of knock-out stages until you reach the final. Liverpool finished fourth in the English league last season and was the last team from England to qualify for the competition to be played this year. Along the way we have beaten Juventus (who won the Italian league this season) and Chelsea (who won the English league this season) until we were finally faced against AC Milan, who finished second in the Italian league this season, for the final. Having really underperformed in the English league, and finishing the season in fifth place, it was virtually inconceivable that Liverpool would walk away with the trophy today.

It seemed less and less likely that we would win when, only 50 seconds into the first half, AC Milan scored their first goal. By the end of the first half, Milan had gotten two more and were beating Liverpool 3-0. To give you an idea of how inconceivable it was that Liverpool would come back to find victory, at half-time the odds of Liverpool winning were 188-1. The first five minutes of the second half didn't seem to offer much promise for Liverpool's comeback but then they began stringing some passes together and in the 56th minute, Stevie Gerrard finally found the back of the net!

stevies goal

Nothing inspires a team more than a goal and suddenly, Liverpool had sprung to life. Only two minutes later Liverpool found the net for the second time bringing the score to 3-2 and just four minutes after that, Stevie Gerrard was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty kick which Xabi Alonso missed, but was able to convert the rebound into a goal to bring the score level at 3-3. UN-FRIGGIN'-BELIEVABLE!!!!! The last 30 minutes played out without any additional goals which meant 30 minutes extra time were added on. With only two minutes to go, the Liverpool goalie made the most amazing save--here's what one match report said about it:

"Jerzy Dudek pulls off the greatest double-save I've ever seen to deny Andriy Shevchenko from point-blank range twice in quick succession. How did he keep the ball out? Two reaction saves in a row - it was amazing goalkeeping. The first was a bullet-header from the edge of the six-yard box, while the second hit his hands and went over the bar."

The final whistle blew with the score still level at 3-3 which meant the winner would be decided on penalty kicks. Any of you ever watch a penalty shoot out? Once we were watching a youth soccer game that went to penalties--we didn't know any of the players, weren't routing for any team in particular and still our hearts just about stopped with anxiety during the penalty kicks. When you actually care about the result, it's pure torture. (Some of you may remember England going out of the European Cup last summer when they lost to Portugal on penalty kicks.) But, today, the torture was worth it. The Liverpool goalie managed to save TWO penalty kicks (a nearly impossible task) and Liverpool went on to win 3-2!!!

liverpool win!

trophy & confetti

The last time Liverpool won the Champions League was in 1984--the same year the pope died and Prince Charles got married. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

San Francisco Twins

I can't believe it-after living here 14 years, I have finally seen the San Franscisco twins, Marian and Vivian Brown! The sisters are often spotted, arm-in-arm and are always dressed to the nines in matching outfits and perfectly coifed hair. I am surprised to not find a website devoted to the twins as they make up a large part of San Francisco folklore. They could be to San Francisco what Yowza is (was?) to Concord, NH.


Monday, May 02, 2005

KGB Comes to Oakland

Those of you expecting to read about Russian intelligence are about to be disappointed. You'll find plenty of intelligence from Kari, Gretchen and Barbara though--the real KGB.

Gretchen and Barbara were granted "weekend leave" from their significant others and given 72 hours to come visit me in California for a girly weekend. We haven't all three been together in five years so it was long overdue.
We made dinner, drank wine, went out for coffee, had dinner, went out for more coffee, got pedicures and had more dinner. The two of them had the opportunity to lay around and be lazy, something they rearely get to at home since they both have children.
On Saturday, we visited a perspective caterer for the wedding and it went really well. Unfortunately, for me, I didn't realize a "tasting" was actually a "meal" and I could barely move after eating all that food. Gretchen and Barbara gave their seal of approval on the chicken and I really enjoyed the risotto cakes. Rob was absolutely no use at all as a judge since he had just finished playing football and would have loved any food at all. I might advise you against playing football immediately after eating this food, however, which is what I had to do. And we didn't even win.

On Sunday, Rob and I took Gretchen and Barbara to the Gardens at Heather Farm to check out the wedding site and it was a gorgeous day. This was the first time that Rob and I have been there when all the roses were in bloom and it was absolutely stunning. I have no idea how many of these roses will be in bloom in July but if it's half as beautiful as it was today I'll be a happy bride.

Gardens at Heather Farm


That afternoon, we brought mimosas to the salon and got ourselves some pedicures. The nail technician swore she wasn't offended by my hairy legs so I gave her a big tip for lying.



The weekend felt both like a moment and a month. We caught up on so many details of each others' lives including children and boyfriends and families and memories. Sometimes living far away, I forget how important these women are in my life but being all together this weekend was a valuable reminder of how much they mean to me and how thankful I am that they've kept me in their lives. Long live the KGB!