Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#446 Take Pictures In A Photo Booth

The Selfie before the Selfie!

Photo Booth

I am a firm believer that everyone should have a Bucket List. Why? is motivation. Motivation to dream, to hope, to get out of bed, to live life.

I am also a firm believer that a Bucket List should be comprised of the ridiculous, the far fetched, the serious, the fun and the everyday. Think about it. How many everyday adventures/experiences are out there that we take for granted? Little things that have a  big payoff to the human spirit such as smiling, laughing, and feeling happy. 

Sure spending $10,000 for a private oasis in Bali would be heaven and worth every penny, but so is spending $99 on a bridesmaid dress and celebrating the day with two of your favorite people laughing, smiling and just having a good time. 

Jere and Chris are two of my most favorite people on the planet. They are genuine, sweet, thoughtful and fun. They do not judge. They have a zest for life. They enjoy their passions. They are very unique. They love their family and friends. They are just two of the best human beings I have ever met! Can you tell I adore them? 

A real life fairy tale.
The day they got married was one of my most favorite days. These two were seriously meant for each other. And while it took some time to find one another, in the end, the planets aligned and Mr. & Mrs. Croll were wed. It was beautiful. Yes, tears were shed by many. Happy tears!

 And....The people they keep near and dear are just as wonderful and fun as they are. The Crolls are not only excellent people, but they care so much about the company they keep. It's always a fun time hanging with Croll and Company.

Their wedding was a blast and spoke so much of their spirited personalities from the food, to the flowers, to the centerpieces to the live band! ( 40lb Head) They even had a photobooth complete with free pictures and props at their wedding!! OMG!! So much good times to be had with such a simple concept. Simple yes, impact.....huge!!! 

That's my Chris and Jere!! Tried and true free spirits!

Love them!

Mr. & Mrs. Quirky and Fun
I was only too excited about the photobooth fun, along with every other guest at their wedding. Photobooths invoked memories of our childhood days, throwing a few quarters in the machine at the local arcade, mall or fair, then quickly piling in with your friends for four magical photos of smiles, weird faces and well...anything really. 

The photobooth is a classic. It has survived decades (actually dates back to 1888), introducing each new, up and coming generation to the memories and fun that a 1.5 X 8 in strip of film can capture. No digital camera, smart phone or selfie can ever compare to those four little pictures of a few moments in time recorded onto photo paper.

Yes, technology has been incorporated into the modern day photobooth but, this technology is not so intrusive to take away from the familial qualities of the photobooths of over a century ago.

I will let the photos I partook in speak for themselves but just wanted to note that perhaps it was the actual bridal party that was so enthralled in photobooth fun that we practically had to be pulled away because we were delaying the introductions and dinner. Whoops!! LOL!

Photo Booth
One of many strips!

A picture is worth a thousand words..... 
All of these things made me who I AM....

Photo Booth
Photo Booth

The Most Epic Photobomb.....According to Me!!

These are just a few of the memories captured that day. I will never forget the fun times and laughter. All I have to do is look at my little collection of photo strips.......

Photograph- Ed Sheeran

We keep this love in a photograph
We make these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time's forever frozen still

Photo Booth

Keep Smiling!!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part X: Game Over

Until We Meet Again.....

Heinz Field
Heinz Field from the River

The game is over. The stadium is becoming a bright yellow sea of empty seats again.
Becky and I hang out for a little while at the top of the stadium. It really is amazing up here. The view is so incredible. I keep gazing over to the other side of the stadium towards the rivers. Becky says this is one of the most beautiful stadiums she has ever visited.

We discover that the Eagles have made a tremendous comeback against Jacksonville to win the game! That makes Becky so elated that she dances around the Heinz Field bleachers with her pom poms singing Fly Eagles Fly. She continued on to make up a few cheers of her own because that is how she rolls! I was laughing so hard!

The #1 Eagles Cheerleader

I snap some more pics of the Steelers Superbowl flags flowing with the breeze in the clear blue sky. Now that the crowd has cleared, the breeze is a little stronger, cooling us down somewhat. The afternoon sun is still showing little signs of mercy.

Becky suggests we go explore the stadium seating for future games. I think it is a great idea. I gather my pom poms, terrible towels, football programs, Bettis jersey, and my pair of jeans. I shove everything in my new clear plastic Steelers bag. I swear I was a bag lady in one of my past lives because I always have so much shit with me.

When we have descended the steps, I can now see how nice the lower 500 section of the stadium is. Those seats are pretty sweet for the price. We also walk over to check the 100 sections. I find a real game ticket on the ground and pick it up. I was hoping to find a real ticket for this game. All I had was a stub hub print out for my seats. I like the view from here as well but those tickets are a little more money than I can afford. I am one of those people that are happy anywhere really. As long as I can see what is going on, I am good.

From the lower levels we enter the hall of Lombardis again. I gaze proudly at each trophy as we pass them. Hopefully a seventh Lombardi will soon grace these halls. Becky mentions that she thinks it is very cool that the stadium staff does not chase anyone out right after the game. There are still quite a few of us mulling about, checking out the displays. A lot of food stands and souvenir shops are still open as well. I mean, I am sure you can't stay in there all day, but she likes that we are not rushed out. Especially since by now, the game had ended almost an hour ago.

As we walk out of the Hall of Greatness, I have to turn back over my shoulder and take it all in once more. Little did I know that would be the only time I would ever see Troy Polamalu play as a Steeler, live and in person. Little did I know that it would be Dick LeBeau's last season as Defensive Coordinator. Of course rumors had been buzzing around NFL World and Steeler Nation in the off season about possible retirements following the 2014 season but, bottom line, it is just speculation. A year can change a lot of things. Like for instance.....

James Harrison was another player I had much regret about never seeing play in person. He was a real firecracker! I adored him. He was right up there with Jerome and Hines. I was a little sad they signed him back on the team not too long after this game. But that sadness only lasted a little while because I was actually thrilled and excited beyond measure that he was once again a Pittsburgh Steeler! Silverback was back!! He was exactly what the defense needed.

And now this year, much to my excitement, he is still with the Steelers. Unfortunately due tio circumstances beyond my control, my plans to see the Black and Gold this year will not happen. But next year I have ot go back. James has one more year on his contract. I may still have a chance. Too bad they couldn't bring back Hines and Jerome too. :( I understand Jerome's position at RB has a very short life span in the NFL. Those guys get pounded on. However, to this day, I still believe Hines had a few more years in him. He was one of the most defensive, offensive players I have ever watched. It was always a good time when Hines was on the field.

I am haunting myself now. Getting a little melancholy. To some people it is just a football stadium. You may wonder, How can one think and feel so deeply about a team and a sport and a stadium? I just can. I just do. I am sure there are others out there like me. People that know they are walking among the ghosts of history. A million moments have come to pass. I am like that with everything though. I am too deep. It's a blessing and a curse. I keeps me sane while making me crazy all at the same time.

Anyways, Becky and I decide to take a nice boat ride back to the car. We both love boat rides very much. Being on the water is so much fun. We notice the line to the Ferry has a million people in it. We decide to sit and bake in the sun some more until the line starts moving. Steeler Nation is siting among the concrete benches, talking about the game, looking at the game program, checking out each others jerseys and basking in the down to the minute win the boys pulled off.

And we wait!

It was about 30 minutes until the boats arrived back the Heinz Field side of the river, but we were able to get onto one of the two the Ferries. Damn you can fit a lot of people on these boats. Sometimes I worry about one sinking, but that is just my nature. I chase it out of my mind almost immediately. My son is not here so I do not have to mentally plan a rescue mission in case the boat goes down. He can't swim. Whenever I brought him on a boat, I would always mentally note where any life preservers etc. were. It just came naturally to me. I do that in any building/house/venue I am in too. I automatically note all exits. If I do not see one, I will seek them out before I can truly relax. LOL! I have issues. Don't we all.

Back to the boat. Becky is taking some really wicked pictures with my camera. She knows how to do panoramic pictures. I do not. LOL! She got this! I stand with her on the top deck of the boat while she is snapping pictures. I can't take my eyes off Heinz Field. I am trying to soak in as much about the scenery and landscaping that make up the entire Heinz Field area so I can have a strong memory stored in my memory bank.

If you ever notice me getting quiet or spaced out for a few moments, it is either because I am mentally rebooting, counting to ten or soaking in everything I possibility can about my current experience for the memory bank. That or I am totally lost in my thoughts or really really sleepy. My memories and experiences are so very important to me. I take them very seriously. Weirdo....right here. I know it. I'm proud.

As I am soaking in my moment, the boat slowly starts drifting away from Heinz Field. I just want to live in the stadium. That's right. I would live there all year round. It would be my house. I would plant flowers around the end zone and make a nice little water feature like a pond or fountain by the goal posts. I would get black and gold fish for the pond. I could probably put my little blow up pool on the 50 yard line along with my patio table and charcoal grill. One of the VIP boxes would be for my apartment. They have plenty of them. They can give me one. It wouldn't be that big a deal. And the view of the rivers.....heaven!! Serenity now!

The concessions stands would be like having 50 kitchens! OMG the food I can make with those puppies!! It would be a feast! And If I wanted to throw a party or have company over.....hello? Plenty of room. Of course I would protect the Lombardis and make sure the glass cases were nice and clean. I would even wash all the towels for the locker rooms and I hate doing laundry. But I would do it. I'd earn my keep. Of course it would cost a small fortune to hang Christmas lights around the stadium for the holidays. Would totally have to buy them at the dollar store. Would probably need a lot of extension cords too. Where would I put the tree? Hmmmm.

As I ponder this, we are leaving the Allegheny River moving onto the Ohio River. The city and the bridges and the stadiums are so incredible. PNC Park is the other stadium and it looks just as beautiful as Heinz Field. This whole city is just so picturesque and laid back. No detail has been spared in making this a remarkable place to visit. We are now churning on the Monongahela River. I admiring the city from across the river as we head towards the port. nice. Wait.......What?? Hold on one sec.....

Becky is already there though. She is way ahead of me. You see, We are on the other side of the river. As in, we are porting across from Downtown Pittsburgh. Downtown Pittsburgh just happens to be where Becky's car is. Fuuuuuuuuddddddgggggeeee. all the serenity I am feeling has now been replaced with a huge dose of OMFG ANXIETY!! How do we get to the car? Becky is scanning the river to see if there is another port on the other side that the Ferry may be going to after this port.

Negative on the other port. We even ask some of our fellow boat riders if there is another stop after this. Nope. This is it. This is where we get off. Okay, calm down. We wanted to take a walk right? Sure we did. Of course that was this morning before the big yellow ball in the sky and the excitement of Heinz Field drained every ounce of energy from us. I walk down to one of the ship mates and explain our dilemma to him.

We need to be....over there. Yep! 

He explains it will probably take us 40 minutes just to reach the bridge that we can walk. And another 20-30 minutes to get to the parking garage where we are parked. FML. I can barely stand. My legs are jello. I have sweated so much that I am seriously convinced in about an hour I will look like a piece of beef jerky. I am tired and hungry and GET ME THE FUCK TO THE CAR!!! I do not yell that outloud but that is scrolling endlessly through my head.

I ask the guy if they are going back to the stadium. He asks around, and finds that yes. there is one more boat going back to the stadium. They will gladly take us back free of charge! Thank you Steelers magic for this wonderful blessing of another boat ride. And I get to see the stadium one more time! This is awesome. But I am starving and thirsty and sunburnt. Hope it is a fast ride back.

Becky and I have the whole boat to ourselves. We laugh. Pretend we are on the Titanic. Take goofy pics and chat with the sea people. Well, river people. We are not on a sea. We are on a river. 3 of them!! As Heinz comes into view, I smile again. I love that stadium so much! And...once we get off the boat, we have to walk around the outside of the stadium to the T platform. It is nice to be able to really enjoy the view without all the crowd. I snap a few more pics before we hope on a much, much less crowded T.

How did they know I would be on board??

We have the boat to ourselves.

Once back to the car, we decide Primanti Bros it shall be. We go to the one in Market Square. Squares are really pretty and way cool. We choose an outside table because.....that is so much more fun. Besides, it is still beautiful out, albeit, not nearly as scorching. It just feels good. And perhaps we, as well as most of the outdoor patrons,  have some added amusement watching a lady try and parallel park for like fifteen minutes, only to remain 3 feet into the street before saying fuck it and just leaving the car as is. ( I felt so much better about myself in those 15 minutes. Not gonna lie.)

Becky and I peruse the menu before ultimately deciding to try the #2 best seller, The Pitts-burger. We also get a side of fries to share because the more fries the merrier. Woohoo! Can't wait to try this sammich. I have heard so much about it!! I decide to check out the inside of the restaurant while we wait for our meal. We are seriously starving to death for real. And we may have sucked down a few sodas in record time as well.

There is an awesome mural of famous Pittsburgh players on the wall. I snap a picture of that and the menu then head back out to the table because the food comes out pretty fast here. It looks fantastic! Becky and I both dive into our sandwiches like ravenous....birds. The Ravens? Damn! Not the analogy I wanted due to AFC North rivalry dissension but I just want to finish this blog already so I am not going to even try to make another analogy.

Outdoor eating rocks!!

Primanti Bros
Awesome Mural

Wait....let me try this one more time.....15 times later. 

We kind of almost stop chewing at the same time. It's good we tell each other. Not bad. But...we are also both eating much slower now. We are also definitely way more focused on the side of fries than our sandwiches. Finally we both admit that.....we really do not like our sandwiches that much but were too afraid to admit it, considering all the raving so many others have done concerning these sandwiches. Are we freaks? Is there something wrong with us? Some would agree that yes, there is something wrong with us.

However, I just didn't like it. And no matter what sandwich I would have ordered there, I would not have liked it either. I do not care for the cole slaw. And the fries were way too mushy and did not combine well with the white, untoasted bread. It just did not sit well with me taste nor texture wise. A couple of people said we should have went to the Strip District one instead, would not have made a difference. I love creamy, sweet coleslaw. They have a more tart, dry coleslaw.

By no means am I saying this food is bad, because it is not. The fries on there own were amazing. Both Becky and myself, personally, just did not care for it. It all comes down to a matter of taste. But, we did try a famous Pittsburgh establishment and the most famous of the sandwiches which did make me happy. When I go somewhere, I want to try the native food that the locals suggest and love. Becky is the same way. We did just that. So were were content. Hungry, but content. And the service was awesome! That always makes the experience so much better.


The #2 Best Seller

Primanti Bros
May have been schooled by a native on the proper way to say Primanti Bros. Yep!

We decide to end the day doing one more very Pittsburghian thing. We drive over to the other side of the river to take a ride on the Dusquene Incline. Not only does it provide one of the most gorgeous views of this stunningly beautiful city, but it is also rooted in history. Again, I love experiencing the history of a city as well So does Becky. Finding a parking space around the Incline....not so much fun. Think we ended up parking next to some seedy parking lot. There was a really fancy, upscale restaurant near the lot so it couldn't be that bad right? We take our chances.

And make sure you pee before you go to the incline. There is a bathroom at the bottom of the ride, but, according to is not pretty. So....pee before you go. Some very sage advice indeed! As we slowly descend down the steep incline, pre-bathroom experience, of course Irene Cara softly starts singing in my head as I picture Jennifer Beals and her bicycle riding the incline in Flashdance. Gotta love the 80s. I miss them so much! Well...I do not miss the Steelers of the 80's so much. If we can replace that with the 70's or 00's Steelers that would be awesome but....we cannot. Oh well. Bubby it is. Malone too.

Cheap and fun! 

Becky signing the guest book

Pittsburgh PA
Pittsburgh PA

Going down

Pittsburgh PA
Pittsburgh PA

Pittsburgh PA
Pittsburgh PA

After our little historic jaunt, we head back to the hotel. I am utterly exhausted. We throw on the 8 PM game. Becky falls asleep pretty fast. I sit on the bed, fighting sleep, to check out all of the awesome pictures of my most fantastical day from a most epic weekend. I post a few more pics to social media then give in to sleep. I sleep like a baby.

As we head back to NEPA the next morning, my head is spinning with so much good stuff. It's a good kind of overwhelming. As we say goodbye to Pittsburgh I think of my experience. I never got to enjoy 3 Rivers. I do wish I had. But I got to walk the hall of Legends, Lombardis and Dynasties. I got to not only share one of my most favorite experiences of a lifetime with my dearest friend, but I got to be a part of the larger than life energy the makes up Steeler Nation, in person.

I experienced a throw down, high anxiety, maximum energy, nail biting, down to the wire, AFC North game played by one of the oldest rivalries in football history. I brushed my hand against 6 beautiful trophy cases. I had one of the best photos I have ever taken , next to my dearest Becky B, with the official Steelers back drop in the back ground. I had a real stadium beer and photo bombed the announcers. I gazed upon the weathered gear of Hall of Famers. I became a part of history. For that....there really are no words.


The Free Spirit Bucket List Football Weekend Series

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part I: Prelude

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part II: The Morning of the Big Day

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part III: You Are Now In Steelers

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part IV: 3 Rivers Run Through It

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part V: The Mothership

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part VI: May The Lombardi Be With You

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part VII: Under The Bleachers 

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part VIII: Pre-Gaming It

#1 Attend A Pittsburgh Steelers Game Part X: Game Over

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