MUSINGLY By Karen D'Or

Writing Portfolio, Travel Stories & Other Diversions

Month: July 2013

SF Giants Game

Giant Women

SF Giants Game

Summer Day at ATT Park

This summer, the World Champion San Francisco Giants struggle to make contact — the mercurial, tiny white balls fly just inches beyond the reach of their shiny bats and handsome gloves. The players’ awkward near-misses along with straining strike-outs are so hard to watch; each painful blunder seems made in slow motion. How difficult it must be to flounder as a team after the miraculous wins of just last fall? And for Bay Area baseball fans, who are perhaps over-educated and have paid too much for tickets, the 2013 season is disheartening.

So, as the players take their All-Star break, I offer tribute to a few of the Giant women in my life: women who love the game, adore these ball stars, and are making the world a better place.

Mimi

I often go to games with my dear stepdaughter, Mimi, a loyal and knowledgeable Giants fan who often teases me when I miss a play, forget a name or follow the wrong Hector Sanchez on Twitter. Mimi teaches critical living skills to students with moderate-to-severe disabilities at a very large high school, on the east side of the Bay. Some of her students are autistic, one has cerebral palsy, and most suffer from cognitive impairment. Mimi tells me that none of them will graduate with a traditional high school diploma. So each school day she teaches them the things I take for granted: cooking, counting change or elementary grade reading comprehension.

Linda

I met Linda early in 2008 and she helped inspire me to volunteer for Obama’s campaign. I went from California to Texas, where I campaigned for four days with Linda and her crew of young San Franciscans. With her warm wit, great organizing skills, and unfailing energy, she motivated me to knock on doors all around Corpus Christi. Over the years I campaigned with many others, but it was never quite as magical as those early days with Linda as our volunteer leader. Later, she became a policy analyst for a statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, and now she is Policy Director for Young Invincibles, a new national non-profit that ensures 18- to 34 year-olds perspectives are heard wherever decisions about their collective futures are being made. Linda and I do not see each other much, but we recently shared a winning game  — and campaign memories ­— sitting high up in a boisterous ballpark, the vast green field below us on a warm June day.

Robyn

My daughter, Robyn, relocated to New Orleans two years ago. In Riverbend’s dive-y bars, she now watches Giants games surrounded by Louisiana-folk who have no major league team, and often cheer for the Atlanta Braves. Who can stand the Braves’ horrible, faux-chanting sound, a singsong irritant that bounces around my living room until I want to throw something at the TV? I digress. Robyn has found her home in the Big Easy, with an energetic group of caring new friends, she has created life that includes half-marathons with Mimosa rest-stops, walks to the Sno-Ball shop, and rides into the Quarter on the green streetcar line. With her resilience and creativity, she teaches in the Orleans Parish schools, guiding young  students to read, write and love education.

As Robyn struggled with career changes earlier this year, I wrote her a support poem. Now I offer it to all those who may be struggling —and particularly to the San Francisco Giants:

Giants Prayer

Pray for the calm savvy of Bruce Bochy.

Pray for the steady skillfulness of Matt Cain.

Pray for the youthful vigor of Buster Posey.

Pray for the exuberant joy of Pablo Sandoval.

Pray for the humble accuracy of Marco Scutaro.

Pray for the high altitude of Brandon Belt.

Pray for the sexy showmanship of Angel Pagan.

Pray for the clear vision of Gregor Blanco.

Pray for the hustle and goofiness of Hunter Pence.

Pray for the pure magician-ship of Sergio Romo.

Pray that as you “play ball” with your inner team you find the grit and guts to come back after defeat. Together, you’re giant.

Karen D’Or, July 2013 

 

 

sazerac cocktail

Transformation NOLA-style

Renowned writers have long explored the decadence and idiosyncrasy of the Big Easy. I won’t try to compete with decades of great prose and poetry, but will offer my list of personal transformations since falling in love with the city New Orleans. Here are ten ways that the Crescent City changed the life of this native northern Californian:

 

1.  Appreciation of Jazz and its history. I may not understand it, but I like Jazz — especially if brass and young people are involved. 

 

2. Now prominent in my living room bar is a bottle of artisan-distilled Rye whiskey. My rye love started with the Sazerac Cocktail. If you have not experienced a Sazerac, get thee to New Orleans!

 

sazerac cocktail

sazerac cocktail

 

3. I am  now staunchly spoiled when it comes to wait-staff hospitality, and am exceedingly impatient with what I now call “California-style indifference” in any restaurant.

 

4. Consider myself a foodie. Thanks to an extroverted couple from San Diego— who were also lost waiting for a streetcar at Riverwalk, we discovered a sampling of New Orleans favorites— like Casamento’s and August— on our first visit. Now I am a shameless food follower and have even been called a great ambassador by local chowhounds.

 

5. Addicted to accumulating airline and hotel miles and points. Since my darling daughter now lives in New Orleans, I have a great excuse to travel. Deep discounts and free nights make it much more fun. 

 

6. Cocktails.  Thanks to a hint from the locals,  I don’t even look at a food menu until I’ve ordered a cocktail!

 

7. Sundresses. I think they are a must in the summer, but the sundress becomes more appealing for a middle-aged women when a charming young man, walking an Uptown neighborhood street, says: “That dress is perfect for today!”

 

8. Da Track. The thought of spending Thanksgiving day at the horse races would have upset my life balance before NOLA. Da Track is a New Orleans tradition:  a spicy mix of old timers and young hipsters coming together in their best hats and finery on Thanksgiving afternoon. Looks like I will be there for 2013, too.

 

9. Hurricane alerts. My daughter may be composed during storm warnings, but her worried mother is on Twitter, Hurricane watch, Weather Channel and the NOAA website at any inkling of Gulf storms.

 

10.  Joie de vivre. I enjoy the pleasures in life more passionately knowing that in our vast nation there is a place as magical and unique as the City of New Orleans.

 

To my new friends in New Orleans, to my dear daughter who may never leave, and to all the friends I hope to meet on my journeys, I share some BB King:

 

“I don’t care if you’re young or old

Get together, let the good times roll.”

  

Karen D’Or

July 2013

 

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