Monday, December 31, 2007

Giants Pics

Finally, some pictures from our trip to Giants Stadium!

Halftime picture taken by some friendly fans. Notice the blanket I have wrapped around me. It was so cold! I have my gloves off because I was just taking a picture of Rob. The rest of the game I had two pairs of gloves on. And yes, those are my new glasses... I'm so old I have to wear glasses all the time now!

The younger Manning talks to his boys when they're backed up in their own endzone.

This was the exact view of the field from our seats.

Right before the snap.

The Giants coming down field later in the game. Eli prepares to pass.

Rob enjoying the scenery.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from Seattle

Or to be more precise, Bainbridge Island.

Rob and I are on Bainbridge Island, just across the water from Seattle, visiting my mom in her new home for Christmas. The house is fantastic -- it's a cottage in the woods and only a short walk from the beach.

The weather has been very rainy. But yesterday we saw the sun. So we wandered down to the beach to explore a bit. After a ton of walking, we headed to downtown Bainbridge to see National Treasure 2, which was surprisingly entertaining. Today we even got some snow!

We arrived on Friday after a looong journey from Chicago. True to form, I was working quite a bit last week. Silly me thinking the end of trial means the end of a case! Thursday evening I finally put my projects to bed and headed home to do laundry, clean, put the final touches on (i.e. finish purchasing) Resa and Nick's presents (they were coming over to exchange gifts) and pack. By 2am, Rob and I were finally ready to go to bed.

Unfortunately for us, the alarm went off at 2:45am because Resa was picking us up to go to the airport at 3:30am. Seriously. We had a 5am flight to Phoenix with just 30 minutes to connect to our Seattle flight. The 5am flight was about $200 cheaper per person, so we couldn't pass it up, but 45 minutes of sleep following the last two months of craziness at work was not easy. (Major sister bonus points, though, to Resa for driving us to the airport at 3:30am!)

Not surprisingly for O'Hare, even though our flight could have left on time -- weather was fine, crew was there, bags were loaded, passengers were chomping at the bit to get on the plane -- we boarded just a few minutes before our scheduled departure time and then took off about 30 minutes late. A few minutes before we landed in Phoenix, we knew our only hope was a delay on our connecting flight as well.

Rob and I mapped out a strategy. Rob was responsible for our carry-ons so that the moment the "fasten seatbelt" sign turned off, I could race off the plane to our connection in the hopes that I could somehow keep the plane on the ground long enough for Rob to catch up. Well the first part of the plan worked. I was the first person off the plane... and thus, the first person in line to get ourselves rebooked on a later connection to Seattle. This turned out to be particularly fortuitous because others on our Chicago flight were also bound to Seattle and didn't make the 2:30pm connection we eventually got on. (Our original connection departed at 8:30am.)

I got a nice nap in at the Phoenix airport until about 11am when we learned we weren't going to make it off the standby list for the first flight to Seattle after our scheduled flight. So we enjoyed some Pizza Hut pizza for lunch and read the latest US Weekly as we waited for the 2:30 flight. We finally made it to Seattle around 5:30pm. We were thrilled to find that our bags were already there!! We were sure they'd be lost for days.

Through some other bizarre miracle, my Blackberry worked through Friday night, long enough for me to get the emails that our final court filings had been received, but then shut down its data retrieval capabilities. The result has left me entirely disconnected from work, which I actually really needed.

I am so glad for the break. I am not surprisingly fighting my way through a cold. I think my body had been trying to get sick for the past 6 weeks, but my mind kept talking my body out of it for the sake of my sanity. Especially last week when the end was in sight even when sleep was not. So on Saturday it finally caught up with me. Sleeping in four days in a row has been amazing though. Sick or not.

We've had a great Christmas so far. I bought Rob a Wii off of eBay (which is what happens when you start Christmas shopping on December 18th-ish). The Wii successfully arrived at my mom's on the 24th with the original store receipt attached just in case -- nice! The Guitar Hero III, however, did not arrive on the 24th. But Rob is having a blast with the Madden 2008 game my mom bought for him. Meanwhile I'm enjoying my gorgeous necklace and earrings from Rob. I've never had such a glamorous present!

Anyway, it's been a nice and relaxing Christmas for us. I even finished reading a book today. Atonement, which I am not sure I liked. I tried to read it a couple years ago, but got bored. I want to see the movie though, so I had to finish the book! I loved the style and the writing. It was brilliant. But still I got bored at times, frustrated at others. I didn't ever get sucked in.

Post-reading, tonight was capped off with a fantastic turkey dinner. Even better... I have just a tiny bit of work to do between now and New Year's. So this week I will really truly be catching up on the emails I probably owe everyone who is reading this! Phone calls too. :)

In the mean time, thank you for all the Christmas cards. I'm beyond impressed with those of you who manage to fit those in your hectic lives! They are all hanging on our kitchen wall at home and we LOVE all the adorable photographs of the kids. I am always overwhelmed when I have a calm moment to reflect and realize just how lucky we are to be connected to so many amazing people scattered around the globe. I love that Christmas is a reminder of that.

So to everyone out there, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!! We love you!

P.S. The best part about my new job is that when all the holiday solicitations from nonprofits come in the mail, I can write a check to as many as I want. Here are a few I have written (or still plan to write) checks to, just in case you are looking for some additional worthy causes: Lakeview Pantry, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Off the Street Club, Planned Parenthood Chicago (who has a donor matching donations dollar for dollar through the New Year!!), Teach for America, Teb's Troops.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Trip to Mecca

That's what Rob called it, at least.

On Sunday night Rob and I went to Giants Stadium for Rob's first home NY Giants game. I'm sure it's shocking to some of you that Rob -- the world's biggest Giants fan -- had never before made it to a Giants game in East Rutherford. But it's true.

Earlier this fall, I bought a pair of tickets for Rob for his birthday. I picked a late season game against the division rival Redskins. If I'd been a bit more selfish, I probably would have picked a game earlier in the season because I'm not a big fan of sitting out in the cold.

After some logistical snafus (the Giants' website asks fans to please take public transportation because of their limited parking, but the public transportation options are even more limited), Rob's sister Gena swooped in to rescue us from our Newark "airport hotel" ($18 cab fare from the airport to the hotel... yet it's still "at the airport." Hmmm.). Anyway, Gena picked us up and drove us to the stadium with a little help from a GPS system.

We arrived a few minutes before kickoff. Rob grabbed a beer, I grabbed a hot chocolate, and we settled into our seats -- row 18, right behind one of the endzones. The temperature was a bit brutal. The wind was worse. But I've never seen so much Giants' blue in my life.

The first half was anything but pretty as Eli threw a few shaky incompletes and then his receivers started dropping great pass after great pass. I think the Giants managed a field goal, but I don't think they managed 100 yards of offense. They had a frustrating string of 4th and inches through the half.

Rob and I circled the stadium during halftime to get warm. We got back to our section as the second half got underway, but took seats back in row 36. Closer to the back wall and further from the wind's reach. Turns out that 36 is luckier than 18 -- the Giants scored a touchdown on their first serious drive of the game.

We were freezing, but the game was finally close. The Giants marched down the field again in the fourth, but failed to score from about 20 yards out. Then the wind carried their field goal attempt into no good territory. There was a fair amount of time left in the game, but the Giants needed two touchdowns. We knew it was not meant to be... so we walked out of the stadium in search of a way back to our hotel.

We'd been told that cabs lined up at a certain location outside the stadium. Not exactly. There were no cabs. There were small traffic jams of limos and buses. And the cab company whose number we had was not answering its phone. I thought we might die of exposure. Okay, maybe not, but I was insanely cold.

Miraculously, a few minutes later Rob spotted a cab in the distance. I told him to run for it and he took off -- snagging the cab and my undying affection just seconds before another pair of freezing fans. I was quite relieved.

We made it back to the hotel and packed our stuff. Our flight was Monday morning at 7:30am. Fortunately for us, our hotel made making the flight super easy. They didn't call us for our wake up call. The hotel alarm clock didn't work. They wouldn't call a cab for us until we got downstairs. When they finally did call a cab it never came. And when we gave up and took the hotel shuttle 20 minutes later, the shuttle dropped us off at the international terminal.

We made it to security, only to wait 20 minutes past our flight's boarding time while a mere 20 people sloooooooowwwwwly inched their way into one of those new security screening machines and then sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwly inched their way out. After I got through, I grabbed my shoes and ran for the gate to make sure our flight didn't leave without us, leaving Rob to pick up all the rest of our things.

We made it to the plane, but of course the overhead baggage compartments were full. So we checked two bags -- as the flight attendant lectured us for having a large carry-on bag.

We made it home though. Thank goodness. Who knew I'd have another Newark adventure so soon.

I know it's been a while, so I'll post pictures tonight, along with everything else that's been going on in our lives. My trial work still isn't quite over, even though the trial itself is, so I've fallen behind on everything. I can't believe it's almost Christmas and I have virtually nothing for anyone!!