Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Rose Bowl Recap

Photo by C. Goldstein
My trip to the Rose Bowl lasted around 50 hours, a jam-packed. Here's the recap and some pics from what has to be my fave New Year's Day!

I caught the first flight out of PDX to San Jose, CA. It was the only way to keep the plane fare reasonable. My best friend from college's husband and her 14 year old son picked me up. I've known D's hubby for, gosh, twenty-five years, longer than I've known my own hubby! We've done roadtrips (skiing in Tahoe) as well as a few weekends in Vegas over the years. Needless to say the drive to LA went quick while we caught up on stuff we don't post on Facebook! We arrived around two o'clock.

After a quick hello to my best friend Deb, her oldest son, a friend of his from Denver (who happens to be the son of a writing friend of mine that Deb and I didn't realize we shared for the longest time), my friend's aunt who we were staying with, we set off for the beach. It's walking distance. This gave Deb, her aunt and I a chance to catch up sans boys. This was the first time I'd seen my friend since 2008. It had been even longer since I'd seen her aunt who we used to visit so we could hang at the beach in our twenties. The sun was shining with blue skies overhead, a lovely day for a stroll.

Back at the house, Deb's younger brother, who graduated from Stanford, was there with his wife and two kids. All the way from Atlanta! We caught up for a bit, had some snacks, then it was time for me to go to Mass. New Years Day is also the Solemnity of Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. Fortunately I found a church approx. 20 minutes away that had a vigil Mass on New Year's Day since I knew the 1st was going to be an early and busy day in Pasadena. Deb dropped me off. I told Mass would be about an hour.

The church was nice. It wasn't very crowded, and the Mass went quickly. So fast I wondered if it would count! As soon as the priest walked out, I texted Deb. No reply. I figured that meant she was still showering so I sent a text to her husband. He said someone would leave shortly.

I moved from where I was sitting to near the side door so I could see when they pulled into the parking lot. People were filing out of the church pretty quickly. Soon there were only a couple left. A man came up to me. I told him I was waiting for a ride. He told me he needed to turn out the lights and wanted to warn me it would be pitch black in the church. No worries, I told him. He asked me to make sure the doors were shut and locked when I left. I assured him they would be.

A minute later the church went pitch black. It was...weird. And I must admit, a little disconcerting. I couldn't see the Sanctuary Lamp. I'd arrived only a few minutes before Mass began so really hadn't had time to check out the church. There was a fountain with the baptismal font so I could hear running water. I also heard every creak and sound the building made. My writer brain (aka overactive imagination) took over. Let's just say if I ever want to write a murder mystery set in a Catholic church I have a plot. I will admit I was happy to see a pair of headlights pull into the parking lot!

Back at the house, more people arrived. Deb's aunt made dinner for fifteen of us! A fun way to bring in 2013!

We were up early and parked at the Rose Bowl a little after nine the next morning. People were already tailgating. Deb wanted to see if we could catch some of the parade (Seeing one float was her goal!) so we headed off toward the parade route. It was a long walk in shoes not really made for walking at a fast pace, but we found a spot where we caught several floats, bands and people on horses.  The best part was a total surprise—the B2 bomber flew overhead. It was incredible and so quiet!

We headed back to the Rose Bowl.

In the LA area you never know who you're going to run into!

Look who I met!

The stormtrooper even let me hold his blaster! Very cool moment for this Star Wars fangirl. 

Photo by C. Goldstein
Then we were off to attend the Stanford Alumni Tailgate Party with 15,000 others. Not exactly an intimate affair.

You'd think with all those people you'd bump into folks you know. Not us. Fortunately we'd exchanged numbers with those we'd hope to hang out with and managed to find each other.

Two friends who I knew all four years at Stanford and are still good friends didn't have tix to the football game, but came to the tailgate to hang out with me. Isn't that the sweetest thing?

A couple hours later we made the walk to the Rose Bowl. We wanted to catch the pre-game activities!

I loved the crackling with excitement and anticipation inside the stadium. People were so psyched! All of us included. We were in the cheap seats, but they turned out to be pretty good, especially with all the scoring happening in our end zone.

This is the shot I took from my seat while the teams were warming up.

The bands performed, then the LSJUMB played the Star Spangled Banner. It was the same rendition we used when I was a member. (That's how I became friends with Deb. We were both in the band.) The best part was when the B2 bomber flew overhead again, while fireworks shot up! So cool!

Here's a video I found on YouTube of the flyover part...

The game was even more fun, cheering on our Cardinal, high-fiving each other, winning!

Photo by C. Goldstein
Yeah, we won which made the experience even better.

We, like most other Stanford fans, hung around to watch the trophy presentation and cheer more for our team.

The team ran over to our endzone. Helmets and arms in the air! A really fun moment!

Our Stanford crew at the game!
The only con, if you want to call it that, was the traffic getting out of the parking area and away from the Rose Bowl. But that's to be expected with something like 97K fans in attendance. We went back to Deb's aunt place. She'd cooked us a delicious dinner. Just what we needed!

I think we all tumbled into bed that night. I had an eight o'clock flight the next morning and was not happy when the alarm went off. But it was worth it. And I'm hoping next year Stanford makes another bowl game. Because I want to go!