A couple of weeks ago, my husband, my seester, and I traveled to Charlotte to break the curse of the losing New Orleans Saints.  You see, seester and I attend a Saints’ game every year, most often in New Orleans itself.  But, sometimes, we will be present, several years in a row, at a heartbreaking loss (they are ALL heartbreaking, really). When that persists, we attend an away game, in the hopes of breaking the curse.  So, far, it has worked at least 75% of the time.  This year, we chose Charlotte.

In some cases, we have decided it is really fun to experience football from a different fan base.  They have their own customs, traditions, and personality, quite frankly. Now, there are some teams, where we aren’t exactly comfortable displaying our full black and gold colors, for fear of encountering ugly foes.  It doesn’t happen everywhere, but we’ve ruled out a few places due to that.   I’ve heard that Green Bay is a great place to attend a game, but I think the tickets are hard to come by!

The last away game I attended was at the Tennessee Titans.  That stadium is very family friendly, and as such, it falls a little flat on the “we gonna pulverize you and grind you into the ground” feel that other environments produce.  We were underwhelmed, but the tooting steamboat whistle after scoring drives was a little bit cute.  Cute doesn’t belong in the NFL.

So, Charlotte.

The Arts

Charlotte, NC, as it turns out, is a fantastic, walkable, city – at least in the “Uptown” area where we stayed.  The stadiums are less than a mile away from any hotel in the area.  There were many, lovely greenspaces, including a park hosting a free concert on Saturday night.  Charlotte loves the art scene.  One park was dedicated to the celebration of literacy, and I really wish I had thought to really capture it with photos. We kept thinking, this must be where the library is, but it wasn’t.  Just a park with book sculpture, flying copper pages of poetry slapped up against windows and walls, as if blown by the wind, text puzzles in the sidewalks, and all sorts of hidden secrets.

The first picture below is of a sculpture (taller than I) called “Life is an Open Book.” Other random sculptures are from around town.  (I swear, next time I am bringing a tripod and a good camera.)





The Food

What can I say. Charlotte is full of very nice dining venues.  Most we sampled were pretty good, but when we were trying to pin down the signature cuisine of Charlotte, all I could come up with is “salt.”  Almost everything, with one or two exceptions, I ate was over salted, including the breakfast potatoes at the hotel – all three mornings, so it wasn’t an anomaly.  But there is one particular establishment that I must highlight –  The King’s Kitchen.  Their entire purpose is to create fabulous food and serve as outreach to the poorest of the poor of Charlotte.  To lift up the forgotten.  Quite frankly, Charlotte has a very visible homeless population.  These people are trying to make a difference in that area.  The food was fresh, unique and very tasty.  Go visit their website to read more about the mission.

The Football

In our observations, Charlotte is no where on the New Orleans end of the spectrum of football towns.  Until about 2 hours before game time, we hardly ever saw any indication of fandom – not a shirt, not a jersey, not a cap!   And I mean ANY fandom.  You’d think you’d see a bunch of NC university apparel running around, but we did not.  We decided all the sports fans must be commuting, ha ha!

The stadium is very nice, open air and we had good weather so it was not to uncomfortable.  There was some hoopla and hubbub on the jumbotrons, but the pump up the crowd music was tailored to those who love 80’s classic rock.  Not much hip hop, and certainly, no Ying Yang twins in the house.  But that’s okay, right? Their fans/their traditions.   One item of note, they are a little snarky, in a funny way.  We noticed, after the Saints sealed the victory with one more touchdown, the sound guys started playing, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” over the PA as the fans streamed out and away.



As you can see, we really enjoyed our quick getaway.  Charlotte is a beautiful city. There seems to be something for everyone in the family to enjoy. We barely scratched the surface because we did not have time to visit the various museums and such.

Go if you can.


This past summer, a new pattern idea caught the eye of my sister and me.  It’s called the Scoreboard Knit Along  where one sets up a scarf, knit in the round – each row represents a point scored during the season.  Generally, two main colors (from your team) are chosen. Color 1 is used for your team’s points; color 2 for your opponents’ points.  Some people use a third color to knit a separator row between games.

I chose to use all three colors for the New Orleans Saints: Black, Gold and White. Because I wanted more variation and interest in what would be a very long finished piece, I decided to use black for the saints scores, and alternate gold and white for the opponents scores.  I separated games by purling the final rows of each.  My sister also decided we should augment these ridiculous things with beads to make them even more ridiculous! (In hindsight, I regret it because the beads catch and snag the scarf when it’s folded up.)

In this 2015 season, the games the Saints played in had a combined 984 points.  That is a lot of knitting, and because the pattern called for a mid-weight yarn, this thing ended up over 14 feet in length. At least the pattern connects the ends, so the scarf ends up doubled on itself, so the result is only 7 feet long.

ONLY. SEVEN. FEET. Hahahahahaha!



This is probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever crafted, and if you know me at all, that’s really saying something. So, now, what does one DO with an 8 pound, striped, although quite cuddly and squishy, because I used nice yarn, monstrosity?

If I wrap it around my neck 4 or 5 times, it’s impossible to move, but is comforting.  Hey! Just like one of those travel neck pillows:


It’s the perfect length for a good leash:



I could freak out the children and tell them there is a giant python in the living room trying to ingest their dog!


Or perhaps, Rapunzel Hair for halloween…


We live in an old house. Maybe, this is the perfect item to block those cold, drafty doorway openings:



Hm. Yeah, it makes a pretty good straight jacket.


I think this is my personal favorite. I hate unannounced visits from people I do not know. Especially solicitors – anyone going door to door must be discouraged from coming near my place. What looks from the street much like a huge snake on the porch may deter a few annoying people.  Would you risk it?


Ah. Scarfzilla  – the possibilities are endless.



So, my sister occasionally creates a voodoo doll for the bigger games during the football season. This is “Carrie the Death Star,” named for a good friend of hers who is a devoted Cowboys fan.

I don’t really know what’s going on here, other than Carrie has escaped the Voodoo Lounge and is diving into a beer.


I, most definitely, am ready for some football!


It’s no secret that baseball is my second favorite sport, next to Saints football. I can pretty much watch a game between any two teams and enjoy myself. Over the past years, however, I’ve not been a big fan of college baseball because it seemed so much like they were just slamming the ball as hard as they could. The aluminum bats that were used over the past decade or two made that style of play possible.

If you look over series past, you see a lot of scores like 11 to 7, 19 to 10 and so on. Of course it did help force the development of more elusive style pitchers in the vein of Maddox.

This past year, though, NCAA changed the bats to dull them. Combine that with larger stadiums and college ball has shifted back to a style a little closer to the majors. The teams have been forced to return to using strategy over brute strength. It showed in the UCLA-LSU game two nights ago, where UCLA strictly relied on the short game and out-maneuvered their opponent by a score of 2-1. It was a fantastic game, even though the team I was pulling for was on the losing end.

I like this new game much better than the home run derbies. Not boring at all.

Professional tennis can take a page from this lesson. Tennis used to be a game of serve and volley, coming into the net and forcing critical plays. Over the past few decades, however, the players use much larger racquets. Tennis has become a long game, where the players bash the shit out of the ball, baseline to baseline until their opponent makes a mistake. Boring.

Return to the fundamentals in everything you do. You will be better for it. Bigger, Better, Faster, More is for the past. Craftiness, Stealth, Cunning, Strategy is for the future.