Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Lunchtime Stroll

I decided to bring my camera with me to the office today. I thought a lunchtime stroll would be nice since it’s so beautiful out. That there was a celebration passing about a mile and a half from the office played no part in that decision. None.

I started off just before 12:30 and walked over the bridge, taking pictures on the way.

As I neared the plaza, crowds thickened, to say the least, The place was mobbed.

After figuring out where the duck boats were, I realized that due to the time I wouldn’t be able to stay to really see anything, so I tried to retreat - but was thwarted by the crowds. Very slowly I made my way back through. Eventually, I was crossing back over the river, taking more photos on the way. I resigned myself to the fact that I’d miss seeing some of our October heroes. I was well off the official route.

Almost back to the office, I noticed a fair number of state troopers in one location. Hmmm.
I finally asked one, and yup, the procession was due to pass by. I stayed put, camera at the ready. And since the procession would pass under my office windows, I tried to call coworkers.

And then they were rolling down the road toward me.

Oh, look – there’s Wonderboy and Schill.

And the rookies that need some love from the front office? Here’s one of them now.

I was sad to not to see the other rookie. I have to admit, I'm developing quite a thing for that young 'un. He's just adorable. Did you see that little boy smile on his face when he ran in from the outfield on Sunday night? And there's this. Isn't that just the sweetest thing? Basegirl and her friends are right. You can can just imagine him approaching all the hot shot veterans on the plane and very politely asking each of them for their John Hancocks. To think he started the season in AA! I might be on my way to my first player shirt.

Hey, there’s our game four winner (on the left)!

More of the bullpen, too.

C and M are going to be so jealous.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Please Excuse Us if We're a Little Bleary

I bet the local roads - notorious for impatient drivers - are fairly tame this morning. Our team has won. We are bleary but smiling.

It was an extremely full weekend at our house anyway. M's birthday was Friday, and his birthday party was Saturday. Imagine ten 8-year-olds, 40 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke, 60 rolls of Mentos, a large bag of Wint-o-green LifeSavers, a homemade potato cannon (using compressed air) and ping pong balls, golf balls, mushrooms, tomatoes and potatoes. The woman who lives across the street is going to wonder why there are tomatoes growing in her woods next spring.

The only downside to the party was in the last possible moments. There were four boys left and they were running around the yard trying to give one another wedgies while waiting to be picked up. Just as I approached them to settle down when I was thinking they were getting a little too rough, B manages to give P a hard wedgie, and P reacts fairly instinctively - with his elbow in B's nose. As B's mother was pulling up. It was a gusher.

Still, M had a pretty great birthday weekend, and last night capped it off really well. We woke up the boys for the last inning, though M refused to get out of bed (and this morning claims we never tried to wake him up). C woke up just fine for those last moments - and had the grumpy attitude this morning to prove it.

After watching the post season, I have some items to add the the GM's to do list:

1. Resign the series MVP. Now.
2. Give some love to the rookies - specifically this one and this one. They rocked.
3. Encourage the Comeback Kid to do some public service announcements or whatever for LLS. Think about it: a year ago the kid had just had his first round or two of chemotherapy and now he's the winning pitcher in the final game of the World Series.
4. Receive notes of apology from everyone who questioned your efforts to sign this one. Myself included. That grand slam last weekend makes up for all of it.

Can't wait to see Papy and Wonderboy jig - but until then, I need caffeine.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, M!

Don't grow up too fast, okay?

I love you, and I am going to keep saying so. Often.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I’m Quite Sure on This One

I was chatting with my sister this evening. I was sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store and she was telling me about seeing one of our favorite humorists last night. After several minutes, I said I had to go; I needed to pick up some things for M’s birthday cake.

“Wait a minute,” she said, “When is his birthday?”

“Tomorrow,” I replied.

“What is the date tomorrow?” she asked.

“The 26th,” I said.

She was silent for a moment, then said, “Isn’t his birthday on the 29th?”

“No,” I said, “It’s the 26th.”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

She was silent for another moment. “Was it ever on the 29th?”

I didn’t know what to say. Finally I just said, “I’ve really got to go,” and we hung up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tough Life

Last night as the kids were settling into bed, I gave M a kiss and said, "I love you."

He replied, "Mom, you say that way too much."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stick Your Bum Out a Little More, Kevin

You look darn silly when you settle into the batter's box with that stance, but as long as you keep your post-season batting average soaring, we won't laugh. As much.

Man, I am wiped. We didn't get home until 1AM after Saturday night's game, and it took a while to wind down from the caffeine I'd needed for the drive (since we live way out in the 'burbs). Then I had to get up early to teach church school (and one of C's friend's was dropped off a our house early so I could take him to church and choir with us because both parents had to be at other kid events in different parts of town). Add a full day, including soccer, cleaning, and grocery shopping, and by 8:30PM I was at the end of my functional day. Of course, S decided to resist bedtime.

As much as going straight to bed would have been the smart thing to do, I just couldn't turn out the light until there was a resolution to the ALCS. As I was writing last night, the boys had yet to let loose in the 7th and 8th innings, and it was still a nailbiter game.

But they came through. Another crazy late October in our part of the world.

And then I was so overtired that I had a difficult time falling asleep. Figures.

M's birthday is Friday and his party is Saturday. I think we'll come up with an iron-on in support of the team and send the kids home with that as a party favor. I did this in 2004 with an iron on that read "Believe." Any suggestions for what it should be this year?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Seats, They Weren’t So Bad

That playoff game for which I had acquired tickets? It was last night. In the end I took C. It was a wild and crazy night, and he really enjoyed it.

The seats that I thought were terrible weren’t so bad. In fact they were quite good. We had a clear view of the infield and left field from behind right field. The obstructed part of our obstructed view was a beam to our right that held up the upper seating level. We couldn’t see where the center fielders stood, but that was okay. We could still see JD Drew’s grand slam land in the center field bleacher seats.

We were at the park with plenty of time to spare – I also paid through the nose to park close by. I didn’t relish the idea of navigating any kind of walking distance with an 11 year old very, very late at night. We sat in our seats and watched the last of the Tribe’s batting practice. We listened to the music (Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety) and watched the highlights of previous players and previous seasons on the big scoreboard in center field.

The last set of highlights was particularly well done. It was of the 2004 postseason and it was set to A Day in the Life. Just before the music turns we see that awful night the evil empire pummeled us 19-8, then the change in feeling in the music and the lyrics, “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head,” as the 2004 ALCS took that historic turn….and as the music climaxes and ends we see the final out of the 2004 Series. Of course, the crowd cheered wildly, then cheered even harder as the national broadcast joined us and the announcer encouraged us to be heard in cities where they are not playing baseball (Gee, wonder where he could have been thinking of).

Then the game started, and I think you know what happens – you can get those details at any number of sites. I do have these observations and tidbits, however:

--What is it with national anthem singers and song “stylings?” I think you know what I mean. What ever happened to singing it well as it was written?

--Bill Mueller, a hero of 2004, threw the ceremonial first pitch. It was nice to have him back in the park.

--When they introduced the Tribe, all the players but one received boos (and C noted that it wasn't good sportsmanship). Trot Nixon, former Dirt Dog, still received hearty cheers.

--Only organized professional sports could prompt persons from all walks of life and with all musical tastes to sing along to Neil Diamond, heartily. Not that any of the punks or headbangers or Symphony season ticket holders would ever admit to knowing all the words to Sweet Caroline by heart. But they do.

--When the Tribe (and I can’t remember which) hit the homer in the 2nd, the fans around the person who caught it chanted for it to be thrown back. The person didn’t, but it was kind of an amusing moment.

--We were next to the media tables. One guy packed up in the top of the 8th. Oh, but that guy got some grief. Sure we were up 10-2, but doesn’t that guy know our history?

--The guy sitting in front of was huge. HUGE. When we all stood for pitches or plays (often in this kind of a game), he and I stood eye to eye. And I am not short.

All in all it was a fun, crazy game. I’m glad we were there last night for the fun rather than tonight biting our nails. (OMG – the double play in the top of the 7th after Lofton's base running error - PHEW!) I’m really glad I was able to take C; we had fun. As the night wore on, he even put his head on my shoulder a couple of times. Don’t tell any of his friends that, however.

(Turns out this is my 2ooth post! Woo!)

Friday, October 19, 2007


C has a friend sleeping over tonight. A really nice kid.

But when we sat down to dinner he asked what the stuff in the bowl was.

"You mean the cauliflower?" I asked.

"What's that?" he said.

Rather surprised, I said, "It's related to broccoli."

He said, "I've never seen it before."

I had a hard time believing that, but he insisted it was true. At least he tried it - and liked it.

Just confirms that I must be one of the weirdos around here, feeding my kids a wide array of foods.

I'm so anti-establishment in that way.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some Relief Anyway

My husband has left for work, C already is on the bus and it’s still early here. S is asleep next to me, and M is in his own bed, gangly little body splayed every which way.

Our cardiology visit was good yesterday. For the first time in a few years, the ultrasound showed no advancing dilation of the aortic root. That is, while it has grown over the last year, it has grown in proportion to M’s growth. The ratios were the same as last year. Phew. Also, no evidence of his valve leaking at all, a common issue with bicuspid valves and a sign that further interventions might need to begin. Double phew. So no further talk of ace inhibitors or beta blockers for now.

With any luck this trend will continue for a while. Like his whole life.

Dr. B was very reassuring, as usual. The ultrasound went quickly, and we were called into an exam room quickly after the ultrasound was done. I’ve learned over the years that longer ultrasounds and longer gaps between the ultrasound and doctor exam are reasons to be concerned. My husband, who was late to the appointment, didn’t see this part, and so became very, very nervous when Dr. B insisted he sit down in the exam room and found an extra chair for him.

(Dr. B did say M was a little dry. The kid doesn’t like to drink water, but now he has doctor’s orders to do so. I promised him his own funky Sigg bottle to encourage it)

I know there are worse issues we could be facing in terms of birth defects and development and such, but it’s still hard to know you have to limit your child in any way. Still hard to know he is at increased risk even if he spends his life being careful and diligent on the issue. He’s still my baby after all. My mischievous, spunky, funny little monkey.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I am sitting in the town library while S is in the Children’s Room for 3 year old story time. The last time I sat in these chairs was in the spring of 2003 while M was in 3 year old story time and – you guessed it – just before C got sick.

I haven’t spent much time in the library since then, and not for that reason. Our life just took a different path. We’d play in the playground outside the library, and C was in school next to the library, and our wonderful summer sitter would bring them in, but there never seemed to be time for me come in and poke around or get the kids participate in programs. Maybe it was subconscious avoidance.

I knew when I signed up S for story time I’d have a few memories, but the memories and feelings I had weren’t what I expected. When I sat down in these chairs, I felt great sadness for lost innocence. I remembered chatting naively with the other moms, knitting a baby jumper for a cousin (and I never did finish it), never imagining what could happen.

A couple of weeks later, while C was still on the vent, my dear friend L came from DC to help care for M while my husband and I were so occupied at the hospital. We tried to keep M’s life as normal as possible, so L brought M to story time. She told the other moms what was going on.

I never did get back to story time with M. By the time C was home and stable, the spring session of story time was done. I saw the other moms around town a bit and we were cordial, but clearly they had no idea what to say, so didn’t, and I didn’t feel any need to push the issue. I was enough of a wreck. By that time, everything had changed for me anyway.


People tell me how wonderful their 40s are, and I believe them. I can see how it can be so. I have bigger fears about 40s, though.

My husband’s mother and aunt were both diagnosed with and died from cancer in their 40s. My husband already has had a colonoscopy with removal of polyps that showed adenomatous change. That is, they were pre-cancerous.

I worry about keeping him and us healthy though our 40s. I see 50 as this great goal. If we can get him (especially) to 50 then the kids’ base memories of our family will be strong and they will be their own.

We’re careful with all the screening we need to do. His regular colonoscopy, my mammograms, etc. I try to take reassurance where I can. When we had our life insurance physicals a few years ago, we were able to get the best possible rates for our risk factors/age groups because we’ve been careful about eating well and all that. Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, etc., were all excellent.

I don’t want to let this fear take over my life, but it is there. My/our experience with C’s illness plays into it. The understanding of how impermanent it all can be. Sometimes it feels hard to live with that knowledge.


M has his annual cardiology appointment this afternoon. We’re doing everything we’re supposed to for him. No upper body straining, antibiotics before dental appointments. How I wish the ultrasound this afternoon would show no increased enlargement of his aortic root. I so don’t want him to have to go on ace inhibitors or beta blockers. He’s only 7, almost 8, and I understand that those drugs can dull the mind. But if they are needed to keep him alive…well, how can I say no?

I can usually block this out of my head on a daily basis, but oh, how I worry about my sweet, cheeky M. He said to me, about two years ago, shortly after one of these check ups, “Mommy, if I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.”


No, it can’t be “if.” It has to be “when.” Has to be. I can’t live with thinking about it any other way.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sometimes You Have to Laugh

It's been at least a decade since my mother called me on my birthday. More like fifteen years. She sends cards, but that's it. If I dared miss calling her for her birthday, however...well, let's just say I don't risk that. Anymore.

So imagine my surprise this evening when my mother called to wish me a happy birthday. I was shocked, even, and not just because it's been so long since she's called for my birthday.

She also got the day wrong.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How to Decide?

We were scheduled to leave our house at 10AM on Friday for our weekend away, but on Thursday night I received an email that said, congratulations, you have the opportunity to try to purchase tickets to a playoff game. Yes, they are scattered singled and obstructed view seats that no one in the first round of sales for this series wanted, but hey, this is your chance. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon.

I knew my boys would never forgive me if I didn’t at least try to get tickets. Even if they are obstructed view, or whatever. So in the morning, we announced we were delaying our departure, and I sat them down to talk about what I was willing to do for this effort. I said I’d give it fifteen minutes of waiting online in the virtual waiting room, that I would not get single seats, that I would only buy grandstand or bleacher seats (either were expensive enough), not box seats (way, way too expensive).

At noon, I was ready at the computer. The car was packed and everyone was ready to go as soon as fifteen minutes was up. I was in the virtual waiting room, annoying as it is, in eight browser windows. The minutes ticked by. I recalled the hours we spent in February in the same virtual waiting room, trying to get regular season tickets. It took hours to get in, and then we could only get tickets to our third choice game.

At – I swear – 14minutes, 10 seconds, one of the browser windows flashed. I clicked over and yes, it was true, I was on the screen to actually choose a game for which to purchase tickets.

It was at that moment I saw the restriction: there was a one game, two ticket limit. I should have stopped right there since I couldn’t get three tickets for two boys and a parent, but I didn’t. I admit it was a bit of selfishness. I want to see a playoff game.

Clicked the first home game. Only scattered singles. Click back. Click the second game. Only scattered singles. Click back. Click the third home game (potential game six, if necessary). Yes. Seats together. Grandstand. Obstructed view. So what. Click. Type. Click. Type. Click. Click. It’s done.

Of course, it was only after I purchased the tickets did I really stop to consider who will go. A parent, of course. Probably me. C? The obvious choice. He’s older. The bigger fan. M? It’s just before his birthday and could make a spectacular gift. But M got to go to a game with just Dad last season and had great seats. Definitely not S, though. She’s only 3. She’ll wax poetic about her hero, but she would not appreciate the situation. Or do we get a sitter for all the kids and just us parents go? Will we be able to endure the grumping and sulking that is sure to ensue? (and C has become quite the master of the pre-adolescent sulk)

This is all dependent on the series going that long. If the series lasts only four or five games, then it doesn’t matter. The ticket price is refunded and no hard decision.

It’s a funny state to be in. How well do I want the team to do? I want our boys to win the series, of course, and move on to the Series, but do I want to root for the tribe for a game or two so a game six will happen? If there is a game six, how on earth do we figure out who goes? Draw straws?


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I took my camera with me on our walk around the bog this morning. While my intent was to catch a glimpse of the heron, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the harvest had started.

Most cranberry growers around here wet-harvest their berries. This means they flood the bog so that the plants are covered with water, then agitate the berries off the plant with a weird looking ride-on contraption. The berries float to the top and they use booms to gather and contain them to one area. Then they suck up all the berries into a dump truck and take them away for processing. Then the bog gets drained again - until really cold weather, then it's flooded to help protect the berries from temperature extremes and, if it freezes solid, we go skating.

The pictures I took today at the bog aren't particularly interesting. The light was really flat. On sunny days, the cranberry harvest is quite spectacular - the blue in the sky, the red of the berries contained in the booms, the fall colors in the trees around the bogs. Unfortunately it doesn't look as though we'll have that kind of weather in the next several days.

About three-quarters of the way around the bog, the dog pulled a little and I looked around - and there was the heron. It had taken off from a concealed spot near the path and was flying low over the water. I couldn't get my camera out quickly enough. In case it came back our way, I turned on my camera and we continued.

I kept looking at the heron where it had landed off in the distance when I caught another movement out of the corner of my eye and the dog pulled again.

A second heron.

I was able to get a couple pictures of the second heron, but they are not very good. As I mentioned, the light was pretty flat out there.

We followed the herons' movements for a few minutes and watched as both of them flew to the supply pond. By then, it was time to be moving on anyway.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Apples Needed Picking

The License Plate Game

We went away for the weekend. Just one state and about four and a half hours of driving.

About two hours in, I realized we should be playing the license plate game because we were seeing quite an array. I then kept track until our arrival home yesterday. Our totals were 28 states and 3 Canadian provinces.

We saw:

  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • California
  • New Hampshire
  • Colorado
  • Missouri
  • Maine
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Wisconsin
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • New Jersey
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Michigan
  • Kentucky
  • Arizona
  • Ohio
  • New Mexico
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • New Brunswick
  • Quebec
  • Ontario

Pretty good, huh?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


My sister just sent me an email letting me know that she is having an extra-marital affair. Then she tried to justify it saying that God wants her to be happy.

This makes me so mad and brings up so much crap for me. I don't understand why she felt the need to share this information with me. I won't condone it, and she knows that. I feel sick that I'm somehow an accessory by this knowledge. What the hell am I supposed to do with this information?

My parents divorced when my mom had an extra-marital affair and decided to leave my dad to marry the guy. It was an ugly, ugly situation. My mom also tried the God wants me to be happy thing. I remember the three of us kids were all disgusted and devastated when we found out what had been going on.

And now, twenty-five years later, my sister is repeating the cycle.

I've recently watched a friend endure her husband's infidelity and try to rebuild her marriage. It was so hard to watch.

I remember being 14 and my world and everything I thought was real and true crumbling in an afternoon. My youngest nephew is 14 now.

I've worked hard in my own marriage because I love my husband and I love the life we have built and I made a vow before family, friends and God to be faithful until death. I believe in that commitment.

Not that I believe you should torture yourself if you are unhappy in a marriage, because I don't. But an affair is such a cop out! If you are that unhappy and can't possibly restore the relationship, leave the marriage first. Show some dignity and self-respect - and respect for your spouse. Then go do whatever, with whomever.

But don't have an affair. And don't try to justify it using God's name.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Suburban Wildlife, Again

I've had some suburban wildlife encounters recently. And all species lived to tell the tales.

Last week, I took S and the dog out for a morning walk around the bog. This is a school year ritual. On my off days (Wednesday and Friday), we get C on the bus, then M, then go out for a long walk. On our way home on Friday, we noticed a large slowly-moving lump on the road up ahead.

People drive pretty fast on this road, even though they shouldn't. There have been/are plenty of carcasses to prove it. I was worried this poor turtle would get nailed by some idiot speeding and jabbering on their cell phone at the same time, so I hurried up ahead to see if there was anything, reasonably, I could do. About the same time I realized that between S and the dog there was little I could do other than wave drivers around it, a gentleman stopped and we found a big stick to urge it along (lucky for the turtle, I think).

The turtle was none to pleased. This thing had attitude to spare. It kept trying to snap it its rescuer, turning back to try to bite the stick with every movement forward. Eventually the turtle made it to the side of the road and headed down to a small pond.

Later that afternoon as I pulled into our drive, I saw a hedgehog hurriedly waddle into a pile of oak logs waiting to be cut. We've seen plenty of rabbits around, and chipmunks of course (relocated one just ten days ago after setting out a chocolate chip cookie in the trap), but this is the first time I've seen a hedgehog around here.

It reminded me of when we lived in another northeastern state years and years ago and tried to cultivate a fairly large garden. The first summer of gardening was great, but the second was a disaster with the varmints that kept tunnelling their way into our peas and carrots and lettuces. We battled those things all summer long, digging deep and wide trenches around the garden, and laying fencing flat to discourage burrowing before turning it up and filling in the trench. Then one day as I turned onto our street I saw a lump of hedgehog roadkill. I was sad for the critter, but happy also. We never had a varmint issue again.

Anyway, I headed straight for the garden after pulling in. I verified that our fencing hadn't been breached (yet), but knew I'd better start keeping a sharper lookout.

On Monday I took the dog out for another walk around the bog. As I came around one curve in the bog, there was a great blue heron not 30 feet away at the edge of the channel around the bog. I held Miss T back immediately, hoping to watch it for a moment, but in an instant it took off, flying low over the bog. I hoped we'd see it again on the other side of the bog, near the supply pond, but no luck.

I wonder if this is the same heron that has been showing up and hanging out at the bog for the last couple of years. Maybe this year I can get a photo.

I looked at the local Audubon site for recent bird sightings. A few straggling goldfinches have been sighted in the area. We had a lot of goldfinches around the sunflowers this summer and blue jays in the bird bath, and I miss seeing that color. I still hear hawks around. Owls should begin migrating south soon enough. Maybe that owl will come back to our yard this winter.

Fourth Week

Apparently I was looking a little draggy on Sunday. Three people stopped to ask me if I was okay and C said I looked sad.

B, the mother of one of C’s friends who is also a nurse, said with confidence, “Well, it’s the fourth week, after all. Everyone is crashing.”

I looked at her a little sideways.

“No, seriously,” she said, “it’s the end of the fourth week of school. It’s been just enough time for all the germs everyone brought back from their summer vacation to make one pass through the kids and now on to the parents. And we’re all run-down from trying to master and keep up with the new fall schedule. It’s also when all the families will drop one commitment from their list – or at least think about dropping one. I’ve been tracking this for a few years now. You’ll feel better in a few days.”

We went on to talk about carpooling the boys to a couple of shared activities. Then, as I stepped into the car, I realized B probably was right.

On Thursday I was looking at schedules considering what could drop. We were just too frenetic to master the schedule. Too many different directions. We’ve had sinus congestion in the house for a week or so now. Nothing major, just many tissues used. M crawled into bed with me overnight on Thursday and was hot to the touch. Motrin cooled him off, but he passed the low-grade fever and sore throat and headache on to me by late Saturday. Of course, my husband was out-of-town during this.

I looked around as I was driving through town and later at the grocery store. There were some seriously tired looking moms around. In spite of the gorgeous weather, we all looked like fading remnants of summer, not people enjoying the season.

The long weekend coming up is happening at just the right time. We all need a small break, a little regroup. Even though we’ll be going away for the weekend, it’s still three days without alarm clocks and appointments and commitments – and hopefully with some restorative rest.