Can Major League Baseball teams watch ESPN

Curt Schilling was especially critical of Clay Buchholz when Clay was given the ball to open the Red Sox season against Philadelphia. Curt criticized Clay, saying that he didn’t hate to lose enough to be the Ace of the team. Maybe Curt’s commented caused Clay to yell back, “Oh Ya!” by pitching phenomenally. Some people said that the Phillies weren’t a good barometer for Clay’s ability; I heard someone say that the Triple A pawtucket-red-sox-cap-logoPawtucket team would beat that Phillies team. Maybe the Seadawgs are so good, they could beat other major league teams.

I was a little worried about Curt Schilling being an announcer for tonight’s game. Clay didn’t start the game well, walking the first Yankee he sees. I’m not sure he had walked anyone in the Phillies game. And then the hitting clinic began and the Damned Yanks opened the game with 7-0 runs. I can’t imagine what was going through Clay’s mind? How positive was he being to himself. He couldn’t have been thinking good thoughts when he threw his cup of water. Pissed. But isn’t it more effective to have good thoughts? There must be statistics to answer that question.

1397091477000-4-9-tanakaThe Yankee pitcher, Tanaka, had a comfy cushion, but his pitches weren’t fooling the Red Sox. Curt Schilling noticed that Tanaka’s elbow was in different places depending on what pitch was coming. Out of all of the pitches that Tanaka threw, the BoSox missed only twice.

The ESPN commentators talked about Tanaka’s elbow and how the batters could see that difference. Maybe someone noticed it, but maybe they hadn’t but just heard Schilling and Kruk have the discussion.

The Red Sox did get my heart beating again as they climbed back into the game. Clay looked like control was his gear, but the wheel fell off the next inning. Clay was allowing hits, and he wasn’t backing up third base. Curt had ammo and re-stated that Clay is too inconsistent to be the Ace of the Red Sox. Clay’s third inning was curtailed as he was yanked from the game as the New York Yankee’s returned to having a seven run lead.

It’s still in the fifth inning, and the Red Sox have the bats.

I suppose if the Red Sox benefited by ESPN analysis the Yankees have the same opportunity. Tanaka may not be able to change his elbow, but the announcers were talking about how his pitches have been down and not changing the eye level of the batter. He could be making the same adjustments. It does help that Hanley Ramirez just left the park.

Earlier I was trash-talking some Yankee fans. I have learned my Karmic lesson. I’m sorry Red Sox Nation.

New Career

I should begin my new career tomorrow and switch from trying to be a teacher to being a stand up comedian. I even started to write a script.

Good morning class. I’m glad to be back. Just in case, my name is Susan. Susan is, after all such a a very forgettable name. On the other hand my bubbly and vivacious personality is something to remember. I tend to make some sort of impression when I meet people, especially middle and high schoolers. I try to convince myself that most are positive impressions, but I don’t want to come across as egotistical.

After yesterday’s subbing experience, I have decided to take up a new career. It’s time. I can’t seem to stay in an occupation longer than a decade. Ten years as a grunt at The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene.  And now this is my tenth year as being a teacher. I’ve now decided to dedicate the next decade to being a stand-up Comedian. Move over Ellen, here I come.

How many of you believe in previous lives? For those of you who are having a horrible high school experience, there’s good and bad news. Want good or bad news first?

The good news is you’ve done this before, for some of you many times. It’s old hat. Most of the time you survive. The bad news is you get to do it again and probably many times over.

Not all past lives are so bad. I once was a parakeet. You don’t believe me? I have definitive proof. First, I speak Parakeetnese. {I do a mean chirp. I mean, if this were a live show and not just a script, I’d be chirping like crazy, and your mouths would hang open in awe. Some of you who are reading this will concur that I have an amazing bird chirp.}

After giving my amazing demonstration, I  would continue to tell my students that  unfortunately, I only speak Parakeetnese; I don’t understand what I’m saying. This is also the truth. I do this with English as well, but that’s a different blog.

This story should demonstrate my lack of lying. I once had a parakeet named Toby. I thought she was a boy when I first got her, but she turned out to be a girl. Cute little yellow and green budgie. That’s the English name for a parakeet. Why do they always have to be different? Anyway, as I started training Toby, I started chirping to her. She was so easy to train and very rarely left my shoulder.

Sometimes we’d have these long conversations back and forth. Used to drive my sister Deb crazy at our conversations. Sometimes when we were face to face, Toby would  cock her head sideways, look at me with one little black beady eye, like she was sizing half of me up or down or whatever direction birds do that. She would then peck me in the nose and finish with a bob of her head. Good thing parakeets don’t have much of a bill as my nose couldn’t have taken much of the tapping.

I don’t know what possessed me, but I brought home a little blue chested parakeet and named him Wilbur. He didn’t want anything to do with me. He did a lot of bobbing of his head and pecking Toby in the beak. They did a lot of long conversations back and forth, but I think Toby was telling Wilbur to leave her the hell alone. There seem to be a lot more squawking on Toby’s part whereas Toby often cooed at me.

This is one of the reasons why I moved to Oregon. I realized that I had led Toby astray. I left Toby and Wilbur behind with my ex’s parents. I don’t know if Toby’s little parakeet heart ever mended, but I sure would have hated to be in Wilbur’s little parakeet feet.

For my first draft of my first comedy script, this isn’t so bad. Maybe I’ll try it out on the Sheldon High School Algebra classes. They certainly aren’t expecting me to teach them math.

How sharp are your tools?

Last night I had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate one of my dearest friend’s 55-bday. The gathering was small and powerful. Great food. Great company. I even sung along when I knew the words. Peter, Paul, and Mary. Simon & Garfunkle. Every so often the Shy part of me would chase my voice away.
As my friend and I chatted about the party, wrapping the night up, she mentioned that the room was full of women with sharp pencils.
I had never been told my pencil was sharp, and I mentioned this to her. What do I mean, she asked.
I grew up thinking my pencil was on the dull side. From a young child, I got the impression that not much was expected from me or of me. I was smaller and slower. They told me to think about being a veterinarian’s assistant.
What I lacked in stature, I had a surplus of tenacity and determination.
When it came to sports, especially the ones I could give over a hundred percent, I wasn’t about to settle for less. I was willing to put in the time and do the work, though the most important factor was my willingness to try hard. Can I blame it on my German heritage as being stubborn? I hate to lose.
Being athletic was my only sharp tool I possessed. At least that’s what I told myself. Why even try?
During our conversation last night about sharp pencils, my friend reminded me that the story of my dull pencil was a very old story.
The up to date story is that my pencil may not be the sharpest, but with the same determination I found in sports, I found in academics, especially when I became a teacher. I had a hell of a lot to learn before I could become an effective teacher. How could I expect my students to become stellar students if I didn’t know what that looks like?
And in terms of what that looks like, I have to invest in a lot more time and energy to learn something. It’s not bad or good. It is just what it is.
Maybe my being a pickled fetus and subsequent month premature birth didn’t help my cognitive devopment.
But it doesn’t really matter. The cause that is. I didn’t mind putting my heart and soul into sports, but I have been so resistant to do the same with school. I tell my students that it isn’t fair that I have to spend twice as much time on assignments as my peers, but that’s the reality.
Maybe it isn’t a matter of how sharp my pencil is, but how well I can use the pencil.

Ripple Effect

Tragedy can hit home so easily. Last Thursday while subbing at one of the elementary schools in Springfield, the staff was informed that one of the mother’s of two of their students, had a stroke and had no brain activity. The daughter, the eldest of two, would have been in the fifth grade class that day. The boys is just a couple of years younger.

I didn’t know this family. Not directly. But as I felt the ripple effect of all the teachers at this special neighborhood elementary school. The specialness of Julie and her family radiated.

I’m on the fence when it comes to religion and beliefs of God and Jesus and Whatever. But I sure like the strength my Christian friends have when facing adversity. Thursday night I begged for a miracle. I don’t know how many people have come back from being brain dead, but I do believe in miracles. I wanted to believe in miracles for the children’s sake. I didn’t want them to have to go through what I went through at twelve when almost exact thing happened  to my mom. Sudden death is so much different than the lingering kind. Death is cruel regardless of the way it happens, but it is so much harder to have closure without any warning.

Turns out Julie was the daughter-in-law of one of my ex-coworker and friend. World can be so small sometimes, reminding me everything that happens around me is connected to me. This is a good reminder as I realize that I have as much power in controlling how I effect the world as how the world effects me.

No one should ever lose a parent, a sibling, a child, but a child should never lose a parent. When my mom died, she was only 50. I was an extremely immature twelve-year-old. Sometimes I think I have never been successful in pulling up the nose of the plunging plane. The nose-dive has been going on since 1972. You can do the math. So much longer than my 55-years on the planet. You would think that 43 years worth of experiences would somehow have covered over that one experience the night Richard Nixon was re-elected. Now I’m really dating myself.

Barbara gave me this picture for Christmas one year; we’re very small in the picture, but it’s the only picture I have of my mom’s girls. I think the only family pictures I have is my sister’s wedding. My dad did most of the photography.

I’ll have to ask how old wMom's girlse were in this picture. I could have been maybe four or five. This would make Barbara 14 or 15. This would mean that mom had seven or eight years left of her life when this picture was taken.

When I heard that Julie passed away, I felt that pain I felt when the rug was pulled out from me. My prayers shifted to those to help heal her family and the community. I pray that the two young kids have a stronger aviation team; maybe they don’t have to take a tail spin if that’s possible. I can’t imagine anything this devastating to not make a major impact on their lives. And as I pray for them, I can start getting the nose to pull up.

Time is Slippery

I’ve always been a Robin Williams fan. All of his movies leave me thinking about my life and what kind of impact on the world do I want to have.

I hadn’t seen Dead Poets Society in quite a few years. This week I got a chance to see it four times w401px-Dead_Poets_Society_filmhile subbing at Springfield High School. I only saw the end once when by accident I started the film towards the end, not realizing it until the credits rolled on the screen. Oops. First period must have thought that I was a dolt, an absent-minded teacher. I apologized for my floundering move and started the movie again.

It only takes Mr. Keating a couple of days to earn the trust of his students; he was so different from the other old farts at the school that it didn’t take much to enamor the students. Students hung on every word. Wouldn’t that be a cool way to go. I’d love it if I could look at the sea of faces and see that they were really paying attention and not just staring blindly at me to just shut up already.

No one will ever know what Robin Williams was thinking as he slipped the noose around his neck. It certainly wasn’t seize the day as his character advocated in the movie. Yes, Robin Williams did go on and live an extraordinary life, which is what he was encouraging the young high school boys to do.

Somewhere along the way, the zest of life slipped between Robin’s fingers. He had gotten so good at playing various characters, especially the clown, that he lost track of his own identity and his own reason for being.

Every new month, I start a new journal. Early on, I find motivation to look back at the year earlier to see what I was doing. Time has slipped away between emails between my friend Emily Dyer. I was writing a response to her February 10, 2014 email two months later. She had done the same thing; in her email, she was apologizing to me in taking so long to reply to me. But we had done this dance for fifteen years or so. It never even occurred to me that my email would bounce back since Emily had shot herself eleven days after her email to me.

We both struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts almost our entire lives. We wrote to each other, sharing our struggles with fighting the demons of what’s the point. Life’s hard. Sometimes it’s as if I am on a gerbil wheel, working so hard but not ever getting anywhere, especially when I’m not exactly sure where I’m trying to go. Without a direction, I’m plodding along, going through the routines, going to Work, sort of cleaning the house, playing Words With Friends, and taking as many naps as possible.

The other day I learned that there are people who believe that Dead Poets Society should not be shown to school students, that it romanticizes suicide. Robin Williams had played in a few movies that used suicide to make a point. At the end of last year, I watched What Dreams May Come while undergoing Neuro Feedback Therapy. Was it ironic that I was undergoing a therapy that may help me chase the demons out of my thoughts and watching a movie where Robin Williams’ character was on a mission to bring his wife back from Hell after her suicide.

Did that movie influence Robin’s decision to go forward with his suicide because there is something after this life, something beautiful. Maybe there was irony in my movie choice, but I mostly think that it wasn’t the best choice I could have made.

I’ve been trying to surround myself with positive quotes and inspirational messages about happiness to shed a little bit of light as I walk this path of my life. I try to make the most of interactions I have with people, especially students, and of course with the dogs and cats in my life. If I have a dog in my life, I’ve got a life saver, which is probably why I always have dogs; and just in case, I tend to have a couple of spares just in case.

I’d like to think that the casual hellos and how are yous I spread around through the day to every one I pass has somehow makes an impact. I bring to the table my smile, my somewhat off-color humor, and my quirky writing style. Isn’t merely contributing to the potluck of life enough to keep the thoughts away that I must not be good enough? The premature deaths of Robin and Emily and all the thousands of others who give up their battles to get to that place of good enough remind me that there is no such thing as a happily ever after. There is no finish line. There’s not even a race. Life is what it is. I’ll always have days when I feel like I’m on that gerbil wheel or going through the motions, but there always will be magical moments, like listening to a Great Horned Owl or seeing Daffodils bloom. It just depends on what catches my attention.