Friday, March 29, 2013

Opening Day by guest blogger Pat

Guest blogger Pat is back...enjoy 

My old friend and Pulitzer Prize winning critic Jonathan Yardley has said "there are only two seasons, baseball and the void." I could not agree more and am rejoicing that we are coming to the end of the void this year. Major League baseball 2013 begins on Monday and Opening Day in San Diego is only nine days away.

I didn't always like baseball. In fact, as a child I hated it. My memories are of being stuffed in the backseat of the smoke filled  car (with the windows all closed) between my older brother and sister with the Detroit Tigers baseball game droning on an on. My parents were baseball lovers and each year for six long months the game was always on the radio.

It wasn't until April of 1978 that I actually attended my first major league game. I had recently relocated to Baltimore and some colleagues persuaded my to take the afternoon off to see the game. I remember it all so clearly-- it was a beautiful warm spring day.  Somehow we had seats right behind home plate and I was mesmerized and totally smitten as I am to this day.

Since that time I estimate I have attended more than 1000 major league games, having been a full-season subscriber for 16 years (in Baltimore and Cleveland) and sometimes attender for another 19 in Baltimore and St. Petersburg. The vast majority of these were with my beloved Walt,

although my kids did get to more than a few.

During that time I have been fortunate to be at the games which officially closed Memorial Stadium and opened Camden yards in Baltimore, and closed Municipal Stadium and opened Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

Walt before attending "Blacktie & Baseball" to benefit the Babe Ruth Museum before the opening of Camden Yards in 1992

I have attended four world series--two in Baltimore and one each in Cleveland and St. Pete-- as well as an All-Star game in Cleveland.

All Star Game in Cleveland 1997
Two  and a half years ago I made a quick trip to Chicago to see the Tampa Bay Rays play the White Sox twice and attend a Cubbies game in  historic  Wrigley Field. While there it was my great good fortune to see a perfect game thrown by Mark Buehrle of the White Sox, quite a thrill.

Bart Giamatti  former President of Yale and former baseball Commissioner,  wrote a wonderful little book called "Take Time for Paradise." In it he said "the largest thing I've learned is the enormous grip this game has on people, the extent to which it really is very important. It goes way down deep. It really does bind together." I too believe this with all my fiber.

So here I am in San Diego, my first National League city. I need to learn new rules and all new players and become an avid fan in a new place for the fourth time. To get a running start, I bought a half season ticket for this year prior to moving into my new house last August.

April 9th is our home opener (my 36th consecutive)  and I am thrilled that my daughter Beth of this very blog will be my guest behind home plate.  'Tis the beginning of a new tradition, I hope.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Clary Sage

Last year, when we got a new roof, the sloping wall-to-ceiling wall in our bedroom got cracked in places, and for a year -- a year -- I looked up at it from my (south) side of the bed) and said to myself*, "I have got to fix that wall."

*Actually, I said it out loud.

So finally, last month, I scraped it.

I love scraping. I love getting my scraper under the errant paint and just pulling it away. It's so visceral and satisfying.

Plus, it results in a map of the Antilles.

And then........

....I spackled.

I love spackling, too. I love how it goes on pink and dries white, I love filling in the scraped-out empty spaces and making the wall whole again . . . .

. . . and I love the Pink Antilles.

And then I sanded.

Ooof, I don't love sanding quite so much.

Sanding is hard.

It takes a lot of prep . . .

. . . and it is messy.

. . . but I like how all the furniture looks like it's dressed for Halloween . . .

. . . and although I make a holy mess . . .

. . . I'm good at cleaning.


I looked at that scraped and spackled and sanded ceiling for a month, from that happy south side of my bed, and tried to figure out what color to paint it. I knew I wanted a green, but what green? Mistah kept telling me it was my project; I should pick what I wanted, but it's his bedroom too. Well, at least the north side of it is.........

I finally went to the paint store and had an argument with the worker. Sherwin-Williams herself.

We went back and forth; Amanda offered colors and I dismissed them. She told me what to do and I told her she was wrong. I told her I wanted a green-gray and she told me green-gray would clash with the pale yellow of the other walls. She grabbed a sample of pale yellow, she grabbed a sample of our purple sheets, she grabbed a sample of Clary Sage and said, "Look how good this looks."

"Fine," I said, "I'll take it."

 I went home and prepped . . .

. . . it was a little less festive than Halloween . . .

. . . and cutting in around the edges took forever . . .

 . . . but then . . .

First coat done.

And the next day?

Second coat, finished.

Amanda was right. I called her to tell her so and she said, "I knew you'd like it." Amanda likes to be right.

But what about that glaringly white plate on the wall, against the Clary Sage, you ask?

Oh, don't you worry about that for one second . . .

. . . the second coat goes on today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

speaking of random

We just returned from a whirlwind of a trip to Northern California to celebrate the life of our Mimi, Bill's mom. I took a million photos, got one of each person who spoke at the service and all angles of the lovely altar and flowers and mourners and family members and cake. We're going to put together an album or memory book to commemorate the very special occasion, and all of those important images will be prominent in the official book.

What about the other photos, though? They can't all be prize winners, right? 

What about Buck, standing on a chair  and crouching to catch just the right angle of the infamous cup pyramid.

What about my girl, crashing down said pyramid?

What about the lower legs of 3 of us wearing Mimi's old floor length skirts in the garage?

What about a blurry side image of garage style beer pong?

and what about the growth chart on the garage door, with a line in the middle marked "Charo"??
Maybe I should make a second book....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I woke this morning to my phone ringing, at 6:15 am. This is not typical.

It's typical to be woken up at 6:15 am if my youngest is home, and it isn't out of the ordinary to be woken up by text sometime in the 6 am hour by an ex-husband or older daughter, but a rining phone? Random.

I knew it wasn't any of my nuclear peeps, because they all have a specific ring tone. So, no family emergency. I opted to doze, as my phone was all the way across the room and my bed was too warm and comforting to exit.

Of course, when I reawoke at 7 am, I immediately checked my phone. It wasn't one of my contacts and not a  number I recognized. I tapped the message and listened to Dale say, "Hi Beth" and then proceed to tell me about how he and Heidi were looking through the Macy's insert in the paper this morning and saw a set of flatware for $36-odd dollars and a toaster oven for $19.99. Heidi then cut in from the background to remind Dale about the mattress. Oh, yes, the mattresses are on sale! Go online and check it out!

Okay, am I going crazy? Or do I not know Heidi and Dale? I had just left a message for a Dale at an insurance company, but surely this wasn't him. And Heidi? No, no I don't really know any Heidi's. Plus, of course, I'm not in the market for flatware, toaster ovens, or mattresses. But didn't he say my name?

I relistened, and Dale actually said, "Hi Bev," not "Hi Beth," but it really was hard to tell the difference. Random.

We get lots of wrong numbers at my office, so I actually have a lot of random phone calls and conversations. I find that it's those people who I call back to tell that they've reached our number in error who are the most likely to engage me in random conversation. I don't know if they feel obliged to talk because I've gone to the trouble to call them back or what, but it not unusual for me to chat for a few minutes. One guy last week said to me, "It sure was nice hearing your voice this morning," as we were hanging up. Aw. That's cool, isn't it? Random. But cool.

Conversely, there are the times that I get a random call and I'm not all sugar and spice; I'm a tab bit irritated. I get behind at work, and those miscellaneous random calls can be a time suck. But you know what, it's always better if I just go with them. I admit to sometimes rolling my eyes when the random person reaches out to me -- this other random person on the other end of his or her phone -- for help, but reach out they do. I'm not sure of the number of times that I've Googled some business or organization that the caller is in search of, and in the process get pulled into their reality, their story. But really, how easy is that? I'm sitting in front of two big monitors, with at least two web browsers open, so wtf, I usually do end up asking, "What are you looking for?"

"Oh, mattresses and flatware? I've got your Macy's weekly online circular right here."

Thanks, Dale.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Do The Pedro

There's this kid in New London called Pedro.

Yeah, this kid.

Pedro has lived in America for years -- decades, even -- but doesn't speak English, and, frankly, doesn't seem to speak Spanish either*. The Spanish speakers try to speak to him but Pedro just does the patented Pedro-shoulder-shrug and gestures for another Miller High Life.

(*Except for Jill. Jill's the Pedro-whisperer.)

Pedro seems innocent enough . ..

. . . he likes to casually get into everyones' photos, no big deal . . .

. . . until that moment when he signals he wants to get into a singular photo with a special someone . . .

. . . and we realize . . .

. . . he only wants to be in photos with the pretty girls . . .

. . . the really pretty girls . . .

. . . the, um, shall we say, gorgeously goddessly-endowed pretty girls.

Hey, Pedro's no dummy. He knows a goddessly-endowed pretty girl when he sees one.

And, hey, if you can't beat him, well, hell, let's just join him.

. . . that's right . . .

Do The Pedro.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mimi's books

We are currently en route to my husband's home town to celebrate the life of his mother. My kids called her Mimi, so we all call her Mimi. Mimi was a teacher who loved books. She always brought books for the kids, beautiful hardcover award winning books. At her memorial, each of her 12 grandchildren will bring their favorite Mimi book to display at the entry. We lugged out the box of Mimi books and had ourselves a trip down lovely lane.

box of love

so many treasures!
so many contenders


first runner up

honorable mention

Miss Congeniality

my girl's choice

my boy's choice (The Gingerbread Man)
my girl loved having all of those books out to peruse

thank you Mimi!