I was out on the deck transplanting a plant when Sylvia declared that it was too hot to stay in the dome, and we had to go somewhere. Anywhere. An earlier attempt on going to the coast failed as Sylvia couldn’t find lodging for the dogs and us. Us and the dogs. You get the point. Sylvia convinced me that the cooler basement was perfect for the dogs while we were gone. Not sure why I was against her request. Sylvia assumed the dogs would gravitate towards the loft, the hotel part of the house. Lucy especially. If probably would not occur to her to migrate somewhere cooler. Lovely Lucy.
I did feel a pang of guilt for leaving the dogs, but the basement was the best location. If we were just driving around with the air conditioning, dogs on board would great, but I will be one the last person on earth to leave an animal in a hot car. In the ideal world, public libraries would accomodate canine customers. Or perhaps a place with pools would be better than the library. Heck, if I ever get my act together, I could have dog pools at the dome. …
The Subaru Forester must have been glad to move off the hill and into some cooler temperatures.
Off we went. Plan A was to go to the Eugene Public Library. This is something I don’t remember us doing in quite a long time.
The part that I enjoyed was being the passenger and getting to see the World through the lens of my camera. A tourist in my own town.
Chambers is the big descent. It’s what keeps me off of my bike. It the winter time, it’s what I avoid if there’s snow or black ice on the road. I sure wish there could be a little less heat and a little more cool. But if that were the case, I wouldn’t be on this nifty little trip to who knows where. Yeah, I know we were heading to the library, but mystery trips sound so more exciting.
I take Eugene for granted. It’s been my home for almost half my life. Everything is at the halfway point. I’ve been with Sylvia for 27 years, cancer free for 27 years. I’d like to think that I’m not exaggerating by saying I wish I were at just the half-way point in my life. Just is a word I try to avoid, but I like it in this wish.
I’m just realizing that this is the first time I wished I would live into the 100s. The way my body’s been aging ahead of schedule. Bones of a seventy-year-old. I have never wanted to live to be that old.
And on to the library we went. By the end of Chambers, the air conditioning was working well and I felt like a dog with my head out the window. Car Trip? I’m there. I’ve not left the house very since returning from True Colors seminar. I hadn’t realized that I was housebound. That’s two revelations in one blog!
The mere small patches of shadow on the asphalt give me hope of escaping the oven. I had not realized that they were expecting a high of a 105. Holy Tamoli. Tomoly? Tomole? Someone, anyone, please help me out with this one. I’ve said it. I’ve heard it. I don’t recall seeing it written or read it.
Dang it. I gave Sylvia some bad suggestions and we ended up on a road that wouldn’t let us go the direction we needed. A few years ago I went to the library every five weeks. This trip would have been just the second for the year. It was neat seeing this building. Reminds me of Europe. So, around the block, here and there we went. It was after all all about the journey, right? Sylvia had remembered that the library was having some renovation going on and the parking garage would be closed. She wasn’t willing to walk in the heat and was just about to suggest plan B when a parking spot appeared in front of St. Mary’s Church.The best part was what was parked behind u
s. I wonder if I’ll ever fall out of love with Mini Coopers? I hope not. Every time I see one, my heart zings a little. Sounds a little weird. But that’s okay. I’m starting to learn to love my weirdness. It is about time. We got to the Eugene Public Library in about five minutes. Coolness awaits us. Free stuff also awaited us. The EPL does a summer reading thing where you can sign up for a twenty dollar gift certificate, a dollar off of a coffee, and a cool wrist USB bracelet. It goes so well with the very large Eugene Public Library tote bag. This may be a very good reminder to back up my computers. Note to self: Get on this.
The entry into the library. Breath taking. Nirvana. The library was busy, but Sylvia and I managed to find two comfy chairs. I set down to finish some blogs. Sylvia read and nodded off.
I was going to write about the great places we went after the library like Off the Waffle and Tsunami Books, but it is time to put this blog to bed.
We weren’t at the library very long before they closed. Neither of us had looked at the closing times. Now what. Neither of us were hungry yet, though hunger was lurking in the background.
I love the Red Sox. Boston will always be my home town regardless of where I live. I recently told a friend a friend I was thinking about giving up on the Red Sox; that it was getting harder and harder to watch the Red Sox Demise of season 2015. Statistically, they are not done for the year; it feels like the slippery slope’s steepness is almost ninety degrees and is extremely slippery. The Boston Red Sox baseball team is slowly bleeding out. Slowly.
And there’s nothing that I can do. Or is there? I used to think that if all Red Sox Nation had positive collective thoughts sent in their direction, miracles could start to happen. Maybe that’s still possible if all of Red Sox Nation gets on board; it is amazing what collective thought, collective positive thought can do. I don’t have enough of a fan base to make this possible. Not yet.
As I write this, I am listening to Red Sox as they take on the Windy Chicago White Sox. The White Sox aren’t blowing the Sox around badly this game, but they sure scattered the BoSox in the first three games of this series. Blew them right out of the water.
It’s pouring rain at Fenway. Now I really want to be there or perhaps the rain in Oregon. With the 104 degrees we would only get warm steam.
Jackie Bradley Jr., got hit by a pitch. I’m trying to be there. I think about being there last August with my sister Pam, but it was a night game and the weather was perfect. The company even more so.
I flipped to the game in time to watch Hanley Ramirez push Holt across to tie the game. And then Big Pappy, who is not done at the end of this year, drove Ramirez in to give the Red Sox the lead. It doesn’t matter that the Red Sox haven’t had the lead in a game in a long while; the one victory here and there has a hard time sticking around in my memory base.
I’ve been a Red Sox fan since I remember. I usually throw out the year 1965 when I say I have been a Red Sox fan since. Was I really paying attention when I was just five years old? And then again, now is the only thing that matters.
It’s the bottom of the eighth. Brock Holt, one of those special players, is at bat. The Green Monster displays the 8-2 lead that the Sox have built. He could have taken the pitch and got a free pass to first, but he took his chance with a hit. He busted his butt to get down the base path; this kid has no give-up.
It doesn’t matter that The Red Sox won a game; they are still double-digit behind the UnMentionables. As a day-by-day fan, it doesn’t matter. All of these characters that make up the 2015 Boston Red Sox baseball team are the baseball team. Do I think Pando could lose some weight and in his younger years he’s been able to carry it, but defensively he’s suffering. I’m sure he’s not liking this aspect of his game; it’s not like he’s playing this way on purpose? His competitive blood must be boiling. He’s probably trying hard to overcome the problem.
Unless he works on his psyche, that voice that says “You can’t stop that ball; you can’t make the throw, etc” is already on his mind. At least that’s what I experienced while playing third base. One error is almost like a hand grenade that goes off with negative self-talk thoughts as shrapnel. This is true for all sorts of mistakes that I make.
Back to the overweight Panda, the third base player for the Boston Red Sox. Do I think he should do what I want and lots of other fans want him to do and get into better shape. Sure. I’d be lying if I said no. But I also believe that Pablo Emilio Juan Pedro Sandoval, Jr. is being true to his essence. If he doesn’t want to lose weight and he’s okay with his self, we should celebrate the joy and passion he brings to the game.
Baseball is just a game; a game to be cheered; baseball gives me a place where I can hang my hopes when other aspects of my life are sagging. That is why is was so important to keep baseball alive during World War II. I think of the phrase, “there’s no crying in baseball” and think that’s just junk. Nothing wrong with tears of defeat, tears of joy. This just means the person put everything they could on the field regardless of win or losing.
To me, baseball reminds me that it’s not the destination that I want to celebrate, but the journey. There will be plenty more seasons where my Red Sox will be sitting in contention, even though statistically they are not out of it. How about it Red Sox Nation? Can we give it our all to help the Boys of Summer?
I’m constantly learning that I can’t expect lives to go on forever. I tend to learn that lesson like the rolled-up newspaper to the nose. It’s not that I don’t learn the lesson the jillion times before; it’s that I forget. I suppose that does define not learning something.
The Monday is unusually quiet. I can’t get Pandora to play my Heart Meditation station. I listed to the house. The air filter just kicked on. There’s a steady whir, kind of like the ocean, but there’s not an in and out, there’s just the in. Poor thing works very hard in this house of fur and dust. I had hoped that by moving into a new house, I wouldn’t have the dust problems I had on River Road, but if I really wanted a dust-free house, I’d have to pet-free, and that’s never going to happen.
As I listened to the air cleaner, I didn’t hear Lucy’s snoring. For ten years I have listened to Lucy snore, and she can give a full-grown man a run for his money in who can snore the loudest.
In the good old days, teachers could bring their dogs to school. I was a student teacher in a reading program the summer I brought Lucy into the fold. She was younger than I would have preferred, so I asked if I could bring the pup to work.
I was with third through fifth grade kids. They fell in love with this little ball of white gold. So wiggly and loving; she had to make sure that all kids got enough attention. But being a growing dog, she slept well. There were some back packs that were more comfortable than others. So much noise would be happening with twenty-five loose-wires moving about, but it didn’t phase her. Maybe that’s why she became such a loud snorer. In order to be heard, she had to project.
In meetings, Lucy would almost get me into trouble. She’d be sound asleep on my lap and as the talk started to get passionate, her snore would be so loud that other teachers were sure that it was me who had nodded off. I’d just point to her and shake my head.
I haven’t had that many dogs in my life even though there hasn’t been many days without having a dog in my life. But as we all know dogs don’t have a long enough lifespan. I sometimes think that it’s a cruel joke that God plays; I fall in love with this being and in a dozen years, that being’s no longer.
I didn’t really know Pip. The senior Beagle. I may have a picture or two of the old dog and me as a baby.
Pip’s son, Pippet, was my rock. My foundation as I learned about the trials and pitfalls of life. I don’t think it was too long after he died that my mom died.
It took a lot of begging to get Beagle number three. Pippie or Pippy, AKA P-Dog and Poopy Dog. I don’t think I am making any of this up yet, but who knows. Another Rock of Gibraltar. I was the only one that this stubborn beast would listen to. He’s the dog I had to train with a rock. Wasn’t as bad as it sounds. His death was at a pinnacle time where I’m in-between colleges and ready to move out of my Father’s house.
Kahlua. My first son. Unplanned. Sitting in a wagon outside a store in Rhode Island. Warwick, R.I. The third floor apartment in Boston didn’t allow dogs. The studio apartment was already cramped. After a few moves to save a failing relationship, Kahlua and I hit the road and drove out to Oregon. He never liked car trips after that. Is there something stronger than the Rock of Gibraltar? I should have given one of the Beagles the Plymouth Rock or something smaller. It’s impossible to compare dogs. They are so different depending on the training. Kahlua got a lot of training, and having German Shep in him as well as Collie, this made him amazingly smart.
Following that German Shep and Collie pattern, the universe provided me with two pups from Montana almost immediately after I buried Kahlua. Harold and Maude. It was like going from a fine wine to sour grapes. I had never had two puppies at a time before, and these guys were chewers! The house. The car. Everything. I was trying to go to college and train these guys and it was crazy; they did turn into wonderful companions. Harold was more or less my dog, and Maude was Sylvia’s.
Most of my dogs aren’t planned. When Joe Sandoz, Sylvia’s cousin, offered us one of his Labrador pups, it didn’t matter that Harold and Maude were in the picture; they were slowing down, and it’s impossible to turn down a free pure bred Chocolate Labrador.
Jules. Because H & M had slowed down so much, Jules did get a lot of attention. Smart as a whip. Large vocabulary. I could buck a tennis ball over the Dome house and he would base his find on his sense of hearing; he couldn’t see where the ball landed, and he would look until he found it. I’ve never had a dog with such a long attention span.
I’ve gotten used to multiple dogs in my pack. Mostly they help me when the cycle of loss comes around. Having a young one in the mix, helps me anchor. I’ve moved from rocks to other unmoveable objects.
Lucy was Jules’ dog. My life had gotten busier, and I knew he needed a buddy. Lovely Lucy. Not the smartest tool in the shop, but still a vital instrument for this fold. Many times a day I get such a chuckle watching Lucy, Abby the Labby Number Nine, and Ricky playing. Lucy holds her own against the constant Brat attacks of Abby. Abby’s about half her age and not showing many signs of slowing down. Ricky is the sweetest boy I’ve ever had; I’m sold on rescue dogs.
I think it’s time to step away from the computer and give them all some attention and make sure all of their water bowls are refreshed for the heat.
While cleaning down one of my kitchen counters, I imagined riding a Zamboni around, clearing the ice. Would I like that kind of job. I have recollections of a recent story where a zamboni operator was arrested for drunk driving.
If I had to go around in circles all day, I’d probably drink. Wait a minute. I do go in circles all day long. I’m trying to catch my tail when I don’t even have a tail.
Going up and down all day long would also cause heavy drinking in the younger generation. This one I know for a fact.
While I acted like a security guard in Boston, one of my first dead-end jobs, I worked in a building where I had to have a license to drive the elevator. I’ve probably written about the Biewend Building, but I might remember things differently this time around.
The Biewend Building had to have had more than 13 floors. I had learned a trick that would drop the elevator back to the main floor with just a coat hanger driving it. Coat hanger didn’t even have a license.
When I started working this job in the Combat Zone at all sorts of crazy times, there were two guys who operated the elevators. There were three elevators. Only one went to the basement, so they didn’t use that one very often. Chuck and Dale. Those sound like good old names. I have no idea what their names were, though I’m sure I could look it up in my journal of 1980something and get one name. Edwin.
Chuck and Dale had been driving elevators for close to thirty years, may even been more. They each had their own elevator. Chuck had the middle one. Dale had the one to the far right. They were forged in the good old days when workers were created to be dependable. They probably didn’t miss any work; they probably didn’t even take vacations, though they probably weren’t given vacations. Not much pay, but that didn’t matter. It was a living. Maybe they lived in South Boston, not far.
Every day, C & D reported, always a little early so they could chat before their shift began. They never changed elevators. Each of the brass seats were worn a little differently because C’s butt was much bigger than D. C was on his seat a lot more than D. D was always dancing around whether it be in the chariot or out in the lobby. Quite the character that Mr. D.
The first elevator, the one that went to the bottom was the first of the three to get overhauled and become automatic. Made sense. the other two were sensitive; they thought they could go to the basement, but they could only go halfway and if the operator wasn’t paying attention, the elevator would get stuck.
People would have to climb out of the stuck elevator. Was it this the cause of the phone calls or how if the operator doesn’t land the elevator properly, flush, a passenger could easily trip getting out of the elevator.
People started to gravitate towards D’s elevator. If C’s was available, people suddenly became inspired to get into shape and take the stairs or they forget something in the car; any excuse to not get into C’s cab.
Mr. C retired. Got the entire fanfare. Cake. Balloons. Cards. Lots of well wishers. He didn’t hear most of what was being said to him, but he smiled and everyone smiled back.
It wasn’t long before D caught on to the retirement air. You gotta try it, C told him. It’s a lot less stressful and there’s something to be said for the foreword motion.
Never in a million years could I have held onto that job for thirty years or even close to it. Every day. Same elevator. Same 14 floors. The people change. The building changed over time. The original brass was beautiful. A bit ostentatious and showy, but that’s what the Biewend Building was about. It hadn’t intended on being a medical building. It was quite jealous that the Wang Family bought the building next door and revamped the Theatre to bring in the Big Wigs and their fancy cars. The Biewend at one point attracted a different crowd. People who needed methadone. Young girls who were trying to get off of the streets. Very young girls.
After Chuck and Dale retired, a young man took over one of the elevators. They made the security guards take over the other elevator, at least this is how I remember it. Anyway, Peter’s the new guy on the job, and there’s something a little off with him. It wasn’t winter and he didn’t have a cold, but he always smelled like cough syrup. The going up and down life was probably not much different than his life outside of New England Medical Center. His friends were waiting patiently for him to hit the bottom before he would accept help.
I didn’t get to know Peter as he wasn’t on the job for very long. It wasn’t like he quit. He was sticking it out even though it was driving him crazy. Maybe it was the other chemicals he was digesting that caused that problem. His body decided to not wait for him to hit bottom. His body just gave up. Flat refused and sent him into total system failure.
I don’t remember much of the funeral, considering that I didn’t really know Peter, and that this was thirty something years ago, but I remember his two young boys and a young widow. Their lives hadn’t been easy before, and it certainly wasn’t going to get easier.
Even though I tend to be a sequential person, when I write or talk, my thoughts are like dandelion seeds that spread out in many directions. Curiosity causes me to go down all sorts of rabbit holes and investigate. My eldest sister Barbara has told me on many occasions that I ask too many questions. I will why something to death. Sometimes I get so distracted by tangents, I don’t get to my point or I flat out forget what I originally was thinking about. This can drive some people crazy.
Following up on an email promising to help me find more about my family heritage, I signed up for Genealogy Bank, thinking that I was signing up for Ancestry.com. Maybe one of these days I’ll pay closer attention to what I’m doing, but for now the site is providing me with all sorts of tidbits. Some pieces are more on the tid side of things than bits.
I read “Dr. Honthumb’s eleven-year-old son died in Cincinnati, Ohio, after falling off of a porch.” Must have been a high porch. Anyway, four years before that there was a lawsuit by a CA. Honthumb, a newspaper reporter. I know that there’s a Casper Honthumb, but I’m not sure if Dr. Honthumb and C.A. Honthumb and Casper are the same person.
Casper Alexander Honthumb was my paternal great grandfather. I didn’t realize my great-grandfather was a doctor. I like the internet because I am that much closer to information, but as in anything, sometimes the information on the internet isn’t accurate. I searched for images of Casper Honthumb. The last name is rare, the odds are slim that there was another Casper Honthumb. The first picture was Friedrich Kapp, and not Casper Honthumb. Why his picture came up with Casper, I’m not sure. There are a few more faces that come up for Casper Honthumb, but none are him.
What is strange is that Casper Honthumb is listed as being a member of German Student Corps. With just a few keystrokes, I found out that the German Student Corps has to do with fencing:
It is “the oldest still-existing kind of Studentenverbindung, Germany’s traditional university corporations; their roots date back to the 15th century. The oldest corps still existing today was founded in 1789. Its members are referred to as corps students (Corpsstudenten). The corps belong to the tradition of student fraternities which wear couleur and practice academic fencing.”
Just when I think I have come to a reasonable rabbit hole, I click on his clickable Wikipedia name. How cool is that, I think. Instead of progress, I hit the end of the trail with “Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. Please search for Caspar Alexander Honthumb in Wikipedia to check for alternative titles or spellings.” Of course, that clickable item only tells me that the name doesn’t exist. I’m also a little confused because this source says his occupation is a journalist. He was the “contributing editor New Yorker Staats-Zeitung, Cincinnati Volksfreund, Puck, Corps Hannovera Göttingen”
I suppose back then he could have been both, a doctor turned journalist. Did he just fence while studying medicine? I’d be intrigued on what couleur he wore, that is if couleur translates into colors.
It took me a while to realize that the photos that were coming up in connection to my great-grandfather were members of German Student Corps. I thought that this person was very dignified, though probably not a student. So much for understanding the connections of pictures and group. This last guy is Constantine I of Greece. No wonder he looks impressive.
Information can be a double-edged sword for tangentalists like me. If that’s not a word, it really should be. Maybe I just got a vowel or two in the wrong place. Please forgive me; that’s one tangent I don’t want to follow. Because so much information is available to me, I could float away like the dandelion seeds. Hither and Dither. Dither isn’t looking like the word I want.
Since typing in Casper Honthumb in image was getting me all sorts of pictures, I thought if I used quotation marks, that would narrow the search down. I was really surprised to get this picture:
I don’t know German. This came with the photo: “Her ser man, hvordan de danske soldater er nødt til at rejse sig op for at lade forladergeværerne.” Maybe it’s not German.
Sometimes errant rabbit holes turn out to be something. from this picture, I found this line. Again, it’s not in English, so I don’t know what it says. “Blodtrøsten griber den preussiske soldat Casper Honthumb omkring klokken 10.30 den 18. april.”
And again, “‘Omkring mig lå døde og sårede i stort antal (…) de jamrede og stønnede’, og: “da kunne jeg ikke fornægte den blodtørstige fornøjelse (1), skriver Casper Honthumb.” Could I make a guess that skriver has something to do with writing and that this is what he was reporting on?
I guess the copy editor of this article was not paying attention because the next time my great-grandfather’s name comes up, “Caper Honthumb er, som de fleste andre preussere der denne dag stormer de danske skanser, bevæbnet med et bagladegevær.” his name was misspelled.
I sure I wish I knew what this translated into: “Så selv om kroppen nægter at rejse sig, så kan Casper Honthumb alligevel lade, sigte og affyre sit gevær mod de danske soldater, der flygter over marken på vej ned mod brohovedet ved Alssund.”
My great-grandfather’s name is written quite often in this article. Why? Was it for good things? I should ask my cousin in California who is writing about my dad’s side of the family. If I remember correctly, her Grandmother was my grandfather, Benno Honthumb’s sister, Vera Maxwell.
I wonder if my great grandfather is in this photo? Even without being able to read the article, I got the impression that the Prussians were involved in this battle and am guessing that it had to do with World War I. Would my great-grandfather on my father’s side be part of the same war that my grandfather on my mother’s side was involved in. Burgess Preston Stanley, my grandfather, fought in France during World War I. Well, I don’t know if he fought; I just know he was stationed in France during the Great War.
I guess I have more digging to do. Thanks for joining me.
I have no reason to put off eye exams. I don’t like the puff in the eye test, and I really don’t like the stinging drops to dilate my eyes, but it’s not embarrassing like the yearly exam. I even like my doctor, Dr. Goo. I’ve had him for many years. Both of use are slowly inching up the ladder. I worry about the professionals that have been with me more than thirty years. I’m thanking my Lucky Stars that Devon, my Vet isn’t planning on retiring. I’ve not had another vet since moving to Eugene over thirty years ago.
I’ve known for a while that I am in need of a new eye glass prescription. I’ve gotten quite used to wearing my glasses on top of my head. That’s where I wear them when I need to see closely. Sometimes when I am reading or working a Sudoku, I’ll take my glasses off, and I have been playing a lot of Hide and Go Seek with my glasses. I try to have the usual places for them to land, but every so often I’ll get creative and put them in an unusual spot.
Dr. Goo is confident that he can help me from having to take my glasses off and on.
Since I have been going to Rainbow Optics for so long, I wish they could only examine just my left eye. I have monocular vision. My right eye doesn’t work and never will. It wouldn’t cooperate for the puff test, and I sometimes can’t control what it does. For the most part, it stays where its supposed to. People who know me well notice that when I am tired, sometimes my right eye migrates.
It’s not correctable. My right eye gets just a piece of glass. When I wear contacts, just the left one gets the contact. That does cut the cost down. Maybe I could cut the exam fee in half by just having them look at my left eye. I suspect that they are not going to see eye to eye on this.
Three years ago, during my previous exam, cataracts were discovered. I still have them, but the growth has been slow; they aren’t big enough to cause major problems. Just another thing in my body to monitor as I age. I’ve got a cyst on my left kidney, my sole renibus. Needless to say I am a bit overprotective of my remaining kidney.
This exam, like all others, detected enough of a change that I need new glasses. In an attempt to cut costs, I put back the $250 pair of glasses and settled for the $80 version. The practical philosophy spoke loud and clear: Once I put glasses on my face, it doesn’t really matter what they look like since I don’t look at them. I try hard to not worry about what other people think of what I wear, though I wonder how a pair of glasses may influence an interaction. I’m not very attentive to these kinds of things. I don’t know if the clothes someone wears is high-end or low-end. I have no fashion sense.
But even with letting practicality take the lead, I still had to shell out three hundred dollars for the new pair of glasses, and that’s with just one lens. One Progressive lens. Now that I think of it, but lens are the kind that darken. And then there was the coating to prevent glare. Guess those things add up.
If I hadn’t had insurance, the cost would have been twice as much. I imagine that there are plenty of people who don’t get their eyes checked. A friend of mine recently told me that he also has cataracts, but it costs too much, so he doesn’t bother. This doesn’t add up.
I know that the Lions Club works with schools and provides free vision screenings, but I didn’t realize that this is due to Helen Keller speaking to the organization in 1925, asking them to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Now this adds up to a lot of help.
Thursday for one more week means softball. Maybe I’ll get a chance to play second. Second is comfortable.
Comfortable until my abilities hold water. That game at third not that many weeks ago haunts me. There was a homing device in the softballs that night. The yellow neon not-so-soft softball found me in the infield, smacked me in the foot for good measure. I quickly abandoned ship, begging for the left fielder to swap places with me. Damn yellow ball found me out there. I was running here and there and everywhere. Once again I was playing the part of a Bad News Bears menopausal player. If only I could have seen me chugging away in the outfield in between sun flower seed spits, I would have thought it hysterical funny; instead, I was feeling hysterically upset. I begged the right fielder to take my place in left fielder. I just wanted to not be involved in any more defensive maneuvers.
This season I have had the opportunity to look a little harder at me as the athlete, the aging athlete. The changing athlete. I don’t have what I used to have, to know that I’ve given it all. Or maybe I have, but it just feels different. Failure feels different.
It has been a long time since I had to snag soccer balls out of the air. I’m not going to do the math. Typically, I’m not the one that most coaches would pick to be a soccer goalie. Even at my tallest height, 5’4″, I wasn’t going to give anyone a run for their money for this position. It didn’t matter if I was too short, there wasn’t anyone willing to do the job. I’m not sure what attracted me to Keep. I wasn’t lazy yet, and the uniforms weren’t bad. I distinctly remember not playing field hockey or lacrosse because the the stupid kilts. Soccer was a more progressive sport, though it hadn’t been seen as a legitimate athletic event.
I don’t know if there were any other sports that had to do this, but we had to be bused to our practices and home field. Not much an advantage in this; good thing Weston was small town and it didn’t take long to drive from Weston High School on Wellesley Road to Brook School, which by that time had become condominiums.
Our uniforms were old and outcast from the boys, but at least we had uniforms. We had a coach that didn’t play soccer, but she was one of the best coaches I had ever had in my life. Betsy Jantzen. Not sure where that name came from as I haven’t thought of her in a while, not since the last time I told the story of how the soccer team gave her a piglet named Pelé. This should date me by now.
I’m happy to think that when I think soccer, I think achievement. It didn’t matter that the school didn’t really recognize us. Every time I stepped onto the field, it could easily have been the World Cup. Felt that way about hockey, ice hockey, the real hockey. Felt that way while playing lacrosse.
Tonight is softball night. I can go out there and think about the errors and the badly hit balls and I can let those meaningless things entangle the ability for me to have a really good time or I could go out there and feel the exhilaration of playing for just the sake of playing.
I felt a twinge of this last Sunday while bowling. Expecting myself, this body, to perform like I did the last time I was good. When my expectations were reasonable high. No, could I take on Tish Johnson? Not even if she became the only senior. Dated myself again, didn’t I? Just for a few readers. The rest of you don’t have the slightest idea who Tish Johnson is. Just one of the best bowlers that’s bowled professionally. She was one of those idols I had when I got serious about bowling.
There was a time with bowling that it really didn’t matter how I bowled. No, I hated losing. I got mad and frustrated, but the losses, especially the dead-last losses would motivate me to try even harder and have less excuse.
This past Sunday as I bowled a monthly trio, I had a great talk with a very good bowler. I was saying how I wasn’t sure how much more I should continue to bowl. It just hurts too much. He jumped in and tried to perform cardiac recovery on my dyeing attitude. He threw all sorts of life-saving suggestions. Go to a clinic. Spend too much money, but get three bowling balls. What do I need with three more bowling balls. I have more than I know the number. The Subaru’s currently stuffed with them from Sunday’s tournament. Only used four. The other four or eight stayed in the car the entire day. I ignored them because I couldn’t even remember which ones I had in the car or which ones I left at home. Yes, the list goes on. I might even have a ball or two in the Mini Cooper.
If I were the kind of bowler who uses a spare ball, this would be the kind I’d love to have. Never have had the heart to pay too much for a plastic ball.
The bowler at Firs Bowl Lanes was just trying to be helpful. Giving up bowling is not an easy thing for me to do. I’ve been doing it for so long, and I can occasionally frequent being really good at something, though those moments don’t come like they used to.
This just brings me back to Tonight’s softball game and Mantra. Let me play with the spirit of a child with the wisdom of knowing that This Old Grey Mare Ain’t What She Used to Be. It is possible to play, do the best I can, and have fun regardless.
Not the best picture of me. But I’m in the middle of therapy, and I am extremely satisfied with Yang’s expression. She’s probably telling me to put the camera down so we can get down to some serious business.
It didn’t take long for me to settle on the office bed to get a round of Yang therapy. Much needed.
After leaving Stadium Automotive with George’s four steps of coping with a mistakes sort of firmly planted. Sort of planted sounds solid, doesn’t it? According to George, the owner of a few auto mechanic shops in town, there are four coping steps.
The First step is to admit the mistake. I own that I side swiped the side mirror of a mysterious person’s clack SUV on Hilyard. I cracked the side mirror of the rig I probably should not have been driving in the first place. If you know that commercial where the dad tells his teenage daughter to look for these kinds of things, and she gives him a whatever before inserting her earbuds. He manages to knock of many side mirrors. Should this make me feel better that I only knocked off one?
What was I thinking when I thought about buying a 1992 eighteen foot mini monster motorhome. Am I really slipping into senility. At least wait until I am sixty, which is only a handful of fingers away. Use two hands if you don’t count the thumb as a finger.
Because of Yang Therapy I am moving further and further away from the mishap of two mirrors kissing as they passed in a sweet afternoon. The kiss was much too hard, but that is an image much better than the side mirror of a rig that I don’t own punched the daylights
out of an innocent black SUV. I picked up the poor plastic and glass pieces strewn about. I quickly thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t smack a BMW or Mercedes Benz, though I knew even a Chevy was going to cost some cash.
Was this a sign, an omen? Yang is sort of stroking my throat. Claws are out and the purrs don’t cover up the slight pain.
I trust that she knows what she is doing. Catapuncture.
Second step of George’s philosophy. Maybe owning my mistake is different than admitting. I need a second one, so I am going with that. I owned this accident by scurrying to a man washing one of his vehicles and yelling, “I am the idiot who just hit that black car across the street.” He owned a Mini Cooper, telling me he was a soul mate, one of the Brethren of Mini Lovers. He hadn’t even noticed the accident.
I figured it was the crash heard around the World.
The guy laughed and said the owner might be the seller of the house the injured vehicle was parked in front of. Cute little house for sale, but not really a safe place to park.
Too much traffic.
The guy washing his car advised me to leave out the idiot part and focus on the honest citizen that I was being. I could have kept going and blamed the crazy college students.
George gave me too many examples of the third and most important step. Being the owner of three automotive shops, he has had his fair share of the employees not learning from their mistakes, but many of those soon to be unemployed wouldn’t admit to making the mistake in the first. I an really good with this one. I’m so good that I have even fessed up to mistakes that really weren’t mine.
This brings me to the last step. Letting go. I paid Mike, the man who owns the black steed, his chariot, he uses to be an insurance agent.
Mike was glad I had contacted him as he initially blamed the busted mirror on one of those idiot University of Oregon students.
I did take the accident as a universal sign and Francis is picking up the Mini monster tomorrow. I I will even miss the little beast as all sorts of day dreams of where this little home on wheels could take me. I had talked myself into almost believing that this is what was going to get my writing career off the ground.
I know that it is going to take more than a room of one’s own on wheels.
Meanwhile, what I do have is Yang Therapy. I believe that she’s in my life to be a story starter. There’s something magical about her purrs and drools.
Avi’s book, Something Upstairs, isn’t very thick in terms of number of pages. For some kids this is the kind of book they are looking for. Few in page count, but full when it comes to plot and character development.
I was already feeling for Kenny Huldorf. I imagine a young boy having to move from Los Angeles to Providence, Rhode Island. I like how he mentions that Los Angeles wouldn’t even fit into the state of Rhode Island.
The kid accepted his fate, especially since his parents gave him a really cool room in the attic of this very old house, the largest space he’s ever had. He didn’t seem mad at being pulled away from his friends. Maybe he’s a rare teen that doesn’t mind being the new kid on the block and has a pretty good self-esteem. Doesn’t seem possible, but who knows.
Maybe I’ve not been around too many twelve-year-old boys, but would it be common for the boy to not flip out when in the middle of the night he hears scraping and scratching noise coming from a small room where the slaves were kept. He never went to his parents, but instead went to check it out himself.
If I were to see a couple of hands and arms come from a stain on the wood floor, I’d probably either pee on myself and or run screaming my fool head off. I highly doubt that I would be composed enough to stick around and watch a ghost come all the way out of the floor, and then have a civil conversation.
Caleb, the Ghost of a Slave, isn’t very nice to Kenny. Why should he? He’d been treated so badly by whites, why would this interaction be any different even if we’re talking hundreds of years had passed.
Even with these doubts, I enjoyed reading the story and how Kenny helped Caleb solve the mystery of who killed Caleb, freeing him from being imprisoned in this old house. Free to go where. Avi doesn’t really say.
Between trying to find my glasses and trying to reclaim my house, I’ve been looking at things closely. I wouldn’t have opened this envelope, and I’m glad that it didn’t take more than twelve minutes on hold to do so.
Before going to Europe last month, I tried to clear the decks of all chores that needed to be done like paying bills. One bill got the payment rejected. I didn’t do it, and then I did know about it but chose to ignore it for a little bit.
Today was a good day to not ignore it any longer. Forty-two dollars and nineteen cents doesn’t seem like it warrants the collection agency, but those sub fifty dollar bills do add up quickly.
I called. The first six minutes weren’t so bad, but the ads were really faint that I couldn’t hear what as being sold to me. After six minutes I started to walk around my house. I found my glasses. The lost glasses is what caused me to clean up my kitchen desk; what caused me to open the envelope, I don’t know. Good fortitude? Maybe that motivation or MoJo will cause me to clean the floors.
Twelve minutes really isn’t that long to wait. I was able to get other things done. Melissa, the person that helped me, was very nice. I think the transaction took under two minutes and the matter was a done deal. I sure wish the other aspects of life were that simple.
Found my glasses and then found my missing wallet. I’m not sure if emptying the dishwasher will even make the list of the things I have gotten accomplished today. Three little blogs do count.
Today’s my get things done day. Sunday got sucked up bowling. Monday disappear while I recuperated from Sunday.
Fourteen games is the rough estimate. Eight games in the tournament. About two while we waited. I hate not bowling as I get so stiff the fifteen pound balls grow heavier as the time passes.
By the time we go to the finals, my back was toast. Not enough morphine in the world would get my back to de-seize, and I wasn’t about to take a Flexeril. Not until i got home. We qualified for second place. The tournament team number was done, but still it was a victory, a large moral victory. Now that my handicap has gotten so large, I’m wondering why I’m doing this activity, especially when it is so painful. Every time I have to pick the ball up, I get to dance with pain. Maybe I need a ball person to pick the ball up for me. That’s an idea.
The first game in the stair-step finals for our team, Strikers Trio, was for third place. I hadn’t bowled well all day, though there was a lot of that going around; I just happened to get lucky, bowling against players who were struggling just as much as me. I won a lot of close games. I didn’t track how many I won or lost, but Francis, my teammate said I won quite a few. I never bowled a game in the 190s. I’m adjusting to lower expectations. The expectations are old and out of date. I should pull them from the shelve and come in with something different.
I tried. I didn’t get mad when I failed. I just tried something different. I was proud when I made a good shot. I only used the bad shots for more information to learn from, and there were plenty of them. I had more trouble picking up spares on the left side than the right side, which is unusual. To be a right hander that is afraid of a seven pin that says a lot, though I was even scared of the five pin. The ten pin and I had an agreement. I think I picked up more than fifty percentage.
We managed to scrape out victories. We seldom blew anyone out of the water and we were seldom blown out of the water either. A spare or two seemed to be the difference in individual points and team points.
By the tenth game of the day, my body was sore head to toe. I was just going through the motions, trying to be as simple as possible, trying to not have to throw the ball hard. Mostly trying to bowl defensively and not get splits. It’s like me in softball. I go for the singles and the doubles, not the triples and home runs. That’s not my game in bowling either. I’ll take the strikes, especially when they come in a row or sequence, but spares are good for me. I don’t think I had many splits. I had a few that should have been splits, but they felt sorry for me.
Today’s my day to get things done around the house since I have ignored it because of bowling and my Monday of recovering from bowling on Sunday. Today’s my day to think about important decisions. Earlier I wrote about whether I ought to buy a 18 foot RV. Cute little thing. Now I’m writing whether I should continue bowling or not. Is the pain worth the socialization and competition?
My friend Francis has been telling me I should buy his 1992 Tioga motorhome. I haven’t been in too many; never really gave it much thought.
A few weekends ago, we went camping. It was a last minute thing. Took close to five hours of lugging stuff from the storage closet in the basement to the Subaru. Between the thick mattresses to sleep on and the dogs, the Subaru was almost entirely filled. Sylvia does the packing as I’m horrible. Give me a jigsaw puzzle, and I can do that, but pack a car or even a suitcase, and things won’t line up.
It took Sylvia a bit to put the tent up while I unpacked the car. I’m good at unpacking. That took a while. Then there was the work at the camp site. Building fire and cooking. Burning corn is a lot of work. I tried with the husks on, but I must have missed a step.
Two days later; I hadn’t slept well, being that close to the ground and all, but the pads help, and that’s when the real work begins. Load the car up again; things don’t seem to fit as well going as they do coming. The drive home always feels longer. I’m not as energetic when I have to pack the car and unpack the car and then put all of the camping gear away. There is the extra step of having to wash things.
I had a blast, but it was a lot of work; it took days to recover. Maybe not quite as hard as recovering from a bowling tournament, but close.
So, Francis brings up the idea of his Tioga. It’s cute. It reminds me of a boat,, but not on water. Maybe not as much maintenance, but maybe as much or more. I have no clue.
I have the thing parked in the upper drive. Yesterday was my do nothing day, the day after a bowling tournament, but today I’m on it. What do I have to do to see if I want to buy or not. Find out how much a 1992 with 40,000 miles on it is worth.
I called my mechanic at Autobahn for a recommendation. That recommendation only looks at the House and nothing mechanical. I talked to a guy at a place that does mechanical, but not house. When I did land on the right square, I found out two critical things. The how much is between $85 and $115 an hour. And the when is three to four weeks from now.
Avi’s twin sister nicknamed him, so the name Edward Irving Wortis dropped by the wayside. He is my favorite children’s author and has gotten much more of my attention than any other author. I have read Seventeen books of his seventy books. I’ve got some work to do.
I hadn’t read any of his work prior to tracking on Good Reads on what I books I have started, what books I want to eventually read; and the books I have actually finished. I started logging on Goodreads about three years ago.
I used to have a database. I kept track of genre, in addition to name and date, how many pages, and how long did it take me.
I read a lot of books in 2013 while earning my Reading Endorsement, which is for all grades, so some of the 182 books I read were children’s picture books and young children books. 2014 I had a total of 56 books. With less than five months, my current count of 38 needs a boost to beat last year’s number; that’s my goal.
Avi is an author that I am able to steam roll through, but even then I am a slower reader compared to most. I tend to pause and smell the clauses, really soak up the author’s word choice and descriptions. With fewer pages I would think his language would be more particular, more reason than random. Precise.
The other day Sylvia was telling me about a book she was reading and it had some glitches. For example, a character would get so mad that he balled up a document and put it in the trash can. Later on in the book, that same document is being read, but nothing was said on who fished it out of the garbage; did they just think that readers wouldn’t notice?
I would be interested in knowing how many drafts Avi goes through before submitting. Is he the kind of author that tends to clean up the mechanical errors as he re-writes or does he have people to do that?
I’m on My eighteenth book, Something Upstairs was primarily chosen because I hadn’t read it yet. I prefer to read in a sequential order, but that’s not the case for this 1988 book. It just was the first one after I flipped through the books I had already read. The greatest part of Good Reads is that I can check to make sure I’m not bringing home a book I have already read.
I have no idea how many books he’s published, though I suspect the number may be in the three digit category. (Okay, so I w as about thirty books off my prediction.)
I try to get students to do some predicting about a book before reading. Do people still believe that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover since so much is invested in the cover? Studying the front and the back can tell the reader a lot. In this particular book, Something Upstairs, the picture is of ghostly bluish hands coming up through some water and are reaching for a box of books. A dozen books, one with the title beginning Dia…Diary? I can only think of Diary of Ann Frank. I do not believe I have read Diary of Ann Frank. If the title isn’t The Diary of Ann Frank, I could be predicting the title in the box.
It is important to get my mind ready to read. Predicting is the same as stretching before running. I would hate to pull a muscle reading in the bathtub. Reading, writing, soaking oh my.
Something Up There or Upstairs makes me think mystery. The light bluish arms stretching out for the box, a box of books, indicates a murder mystery.
I don’t usually read the back of a book, even though I encourage students to do so. I suggest this practice. For me, it allows me to take the time and find my way into the book. I think that story had been told. Curiosity is created, and I want to know what is in the hidden bedroom, the bedroom upstairs, off the kitchen.
Corkscrew staircase. In a house? Come to think of it, the cliftons had a similar back staircase to one of the bedrooms. I think it went to Jed’s room. In the book, the ghostly figure is trying to prevent me from the dangers that lurk in this tiny room.
Is the stain that the hands and rest of the body emerge from a blood stain? At one point, Kenny touches it and is surpassed the wood is cool. He scrapes up a sample to get it analyzed.
The house is very old. Perhaps 1782. Where and Who. Why not how or why to provoke the story teller to tell me. (I do realize that this picture is not of an old house, just a cool little house.)
Kenny Huldorf has asked his teacher if she could arrange a meeting with the Author Avi. Does this make the Genre autobiographical? More questions.
Kenny Huldorf. His teacher didn’t give Avi much room to say no to the request of a private interview.
They meet and the first chapter, which really isn’t a chaper, but an author’s opinion. He measures Kenny up, and the toe-head lad with a few freckles does not register as anything unusual. And yet there is everything.
Avi mentioned that there was a look he got from fans “but couldn’t decipher if the look was one of awe and admiration or disappointment.”
Building a reality based on little information doesn’t pan-out. If I were a gold-miner, I wouldn’t have much to live on. Sifting for gold and only ending up with worthless sand and bits of grit.
What was Kenny expecting when he first met Avi? And just because Avi judged Kenny, this doesn’t reflect on what is going through Kenny’ brain. Will the point of view change in the story. Will it go back and forth from Avi to Kenny? Will anyone else be brought into the novel?
Change is what the story is about. Moving from Los Angeles to Rhode Island is a drastic and culturally divergent move, and it’s got to be hard on a kid, especially a teen. But again, I know little about Kenny. Does he have a lot of friends in LA. I know he loves the weather.
Moving a Senior from the security of home-base is a tough choice. I hear so many people say they wait to make a drastic change until their kidlettes are at a good place for a change. Before the end of school or before school even begins. Changing schools in the last year in high school is the worst time. I have known some students who have to live on their own in an apartment and stay to finish school.
I hadn’t experienced being the new kid on the block until I went to college, but the entire freshman class were the lot of new faces.
Simple writing explains a lot. According to Kenny, his dad took three left turns and they were at their house in little Rhodey. Kenny didn’t like the idea that you couldn’t squeeze his former home, Los Angeles into L.A. Providence, Rhode Island. At least there is an aiport.
Kahlua, my first dog of my own, came from Warwick, Rhode Island. Tiny town, but a great state.
Daniel Stillwell’s House. 1789. Old house with lots of memoriefts. Who is Daniel stillwell? Two many questions and not enough answers. The following picture may not have the exact name as what was written on the house that Kenny’s family just moved into, but it’s creepy enough to warrant placement in this blog. Daniel Stillwell Thomas.
The house was empty, except for some boxes of books, but to Kenny, it didn’t feel empty. Ghosts perhaps. I get the feeling that he isn’t afraid of much. The colors of the walls are described as being like
“Skins of tired bananas.” I enjoy the way Avi brings in relatable items. Haven’t we all had bananas ripen on our counters? How brown is Avi talking about? I am extremely particular in the color of the bananas I’ll eat. Tired bananas tend to make great banana bread.
And back to the mysterious stain on the floor. The main room had been redone since the house hadn’t been lived in recently. Why didn’t they re-do the smaller rooms, especially the one with the stain. The large stain in the middle of the room.
I made up the part about re-doing or completely redoing. The floors are the original. Many stories could be told from the grains of the wood floors. I could really go back in time if I think about the age of the trees. They were a lot bigger than today’s logs.
New England in the late 1700s. I wouldn’t want to be a female at that time. No respect. No intellectual threads and thoughts.
Kenny is feeling a sense of unease in the smaller rooms near his bedroom. He hears things that aren’t there. Some sort of rustling noise. He thinks the rooms are dirty, and his parents try to persuade him that old and historical may look dirty but isn’t. Well-lived in, they said. Not for one person, he thinks, noting that nothing good came from that big stain in the middle of the floor.
I still don’t know how old Kenny is, or if he has siblings. I have already forgotten the family’s last name.
One night he is awakened by a scratching noise. Armed with just a flashlight and a shoe gripped toe first, he quietly crept close to one of the smaller rooms. Nothing in the first room, but in the second room he noticed hands coming up through the dark stair on the floor as if it were liquid and not wood; the hands were pushing away a box of Kenneth’s mom’s stuff from the stain in the middle of the room. Something sinister had to have happened. He was positive of this. Using the box as a weight or leverage, the arms worked hard to become a glowing body. An outline. Great quip.
The difference between mass and air. Human shape, but that’s it. Ken was able to tell himself that it wasn’t real, at least that is what he tells himself. But the room is giving away his secrets.
Kenny studied the human like mass and discerned it was a young boy, and that he and the boy were about to come face to face. Last moment of fight or flight response. Kenny held up the shoe in an offensive pose. But he wasn’t the only fearful one in the room. The image shrank back defensively and disappeared.
Now that I am done with the first chapter of Something Upstairs, I think I will publish this now.
Last year around this time, I was soaking in a hot tub outside of Roseburg. Camas Valley. Heaven on Earth. Everyone had gone to bed, but my yearning for hot water had to be met.
I was kind of afraid. I did have Abby the Labby Number Nine with me, but I could tell that she was a little petrified herself. Chipmunk sounds could easily be mistaken for bear sounds. I did my best to ignore those sounds.
Without much light pollution, the stars are ultra expressive, not having to compete with unnatural light.
I couldn’t figure out how to get the jets on in the hot tub; it didn’t help that it was pitch black and I had no clue where the buttons were. I also didn’t want to make any noise and keep people from sleeping. The water was plenty hot. As I settled in, looking at the dazzling light show above me, I heard a Great Horned Owl. Simultaneously, I thought of my friend Emily Dyer. Last year I was still at a loss with Emily’s sudden departure from this planet. She had become a fixture in my life. Emails bounced between us for so many years; our friendship had gotten to a point that there was little we couldn’t discuss. We shared the ups and the downs. We shared the treatment possibilities and the pros and cons.
And so as I sat in the hot tub listening to the Great Horned Owl, I had a sense that it was Emily talking to me, telling me that everything had worked out; she was fine where she was; she wasn’t in any more pain.
I’ve had these experiences before where I feel absolute serenity. When life becomes a battle and hardships are around every corner, it isn’t worth continuing. That’s what Emily chose to do, not realizing what devastating quake she would leave behind. A hard ripple. A strong tide that can wipe away a beautiful sand castle.
But that night, Emily was telling me that all was well. Tonight I got another opportunity to listen to Em Dyer. I was feeling the urge to step out into the fresh air. I knew the stars would do their best, but the clouds were cloaking everything. And then I heard the Great Horned Owl. I went back inside to grab my tablet and set about to record the conversation. I could at least confirm that I’ve been listening to a Great Horned Owl. I’ve been taking an Educated Guess. Plus it sounds really cool.
Anyway, while recording, a second Great Horned Owl started talking. Whoa, a pair. I’m still smiling as I think about how Emily has found a kindred spirit and is soaring to newer heights, and for that motorcycle mama, this is saying a lot.
Thank you Canadian Brass for setting the table, for putting me in such a peaceful mind that I was able to make my acquaintance with Emily again. Everything does eventually work out.
A wide range of blogging ideas have been circulating and perculating. I still have pictures from Europe to meander on about.
I thought I was going to blog about the present, I tried to take the dogs and Ying for a walk. Abby the Labby Number Nine, AKA Pain in the butt, was pestering me. Not much worse than a bored and restless dog.
A walk was announced, setting Ricky, Lucy, and Abby off. Tigger the tiger wannabes.
I set off to get the newspaper. The digs are so good that I can leave the gate open, and they won’t leave. They are not angels, so if left untended, this doesn’t mean they won’t greet passers-by. But they won’t go far. We have forgotten to close the gate or latch it; as long as I am home, they stick nearby.
While I was in Europe, Joyce W. had a hard time keeping Abby on three right side of the fence. She had to engineer a fix to prevent Abby the Digger from escaping. Maybe in a previous life Abby was imprisoned at Alcatraz, and maybe in that body at that time tried to escape. Maybe he, and I am only switching genders because I don’t think there were women at Alcatraz. How many tangents can I afford to take?
I was correct in my thinking that there were no women on the island of Alcatraz. A hundred and one facts about Alcatraz noted that some men didn’t hear a female voice for over twenty years.
Tangents cause me to shake my head to remember what I was supposed to be writing about.
I only have 19% battery left on my cell phone and I do eventually have to get out of the bath tub. I am more than content. My back is comfortable and not complaining.
Mike Strickland is playing the piano in the background. Soothing.
In a while I will have to change mind sets and shift gears for softball. Do I have a choice in what personality will show up for the game. I would like to have confidence and trust in myself to field the ball and have fun picking where I want to hit the ball. I know that when I try too hard, the outcomes aren’t so great. There is a fine line between thinking about what I need to do and allowing muscle memory to take over. I have had the repetitions. My fundamentals are solid, at least they were when I was young. Retrieving those old files is the key.
And if that doesn’t happen, I know having fun and not getting hurt are the most important things to focus on.
Élisabeth Thible’s blog will have to wait.
I just watched the US Women’s soccer team win the World Cup. The celebration is going on right now. I love repeats. When I first tuned in, I thought only clips would be shown since the game was this past Sunday. It didn’t take long before I realized I was in for a special treat; I was going to be able to watch the game again. The only thing that would have made this even better would be that it was starting from the beginning. I’ll take what I can.
I had paid some attention to the World Cup, but not really. I am just realizing how much I missed. That game against the favored Japan was exhilarating. I fell in love with practically each player and am in such awe of their tenacity and character. To work so hard and for so long. Amy has played for a long time, and this was her first World Cup victory. Rampinone. Wambach. Team trophy lift. I’m so proud of these women.
I loved the team USA chant of, “I Believe that We Just Won.” Powerful. I’ve never really been a great spectator of sports. I would much rather play than watch, but lately I’m realizing how I can live vicariously through other’s experience. Since 40 is made out to be ancient in the Sport’s World, Fifty-Five is close to being six-feet-under.
Carli Lloyd. I hadn’t realized that she was the team captain, but she sure led the team on the field, getting the first hat trick in the history of the FIFA Women’s final. Her almost half-field shot and goal was amazing, and such a head’s up decision, noticing the goalie was out of position. Why not?
I’d like to think that I played with as much guts as these women displayed. Both teams. Japan, the winner of the cup four years ago, never gave up regardless. Some teams would have folded after being down four to nothing, and those goals were rapid-fire. For some players the fourth would have been a knock-out blow.
I liked the way all of the players left it all on the artificial field. Admirable. Watching this game in Vancouver helped me reflect on when I bowled in the Gay Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Marching in the stadium was an amazing thrill. Even though there weren’t fifty-five thousand people in the seats, it really didn’t matter.
And it didn’t matter that I didn’t medal in the games. I was still fairly new to bowling. My thumb was a mess; looked like hamburger. Rare hamburger. I had been practicing so much that I had a lot of blisters. For some reason, no one at the house I bowled at suggested I use mole skin and a patch. I’m dating myself with this archaic method of patching thumbs; now they make this wonderful tape that prevents the blisters from happening.
One of them women in our group, Skeeter, told me what to do to take care of my thumb. Great lefty from Washington. I was able to keep bowling because of her. I will say that that experience was what lit the fuse for my bowling. I was determined more than ever to see how good I could get.
This is why I say I am familiar with the grit and grind that these professional soccer players use. Bowling isn’t even close to that intensity of soccer. I didn’t return to the weights or take up running. But I did commit to practice and was on the lanes as much as possible. My goal was to get a hundred games in during a week, though it wasn’t hard to get twenty games in during one practice session. Often I didn’t even wait for a ball to come back, so there was no stopping. For those who think that bowling can’t be a workout, try to bowl that many games without any breaks. Water’s the only thing consumed as I did get my respiratory up and did sweat. It’s hard to get to that during league, but when I bowled two double’s leagues back-to-back, there wasn’t much time between throws, and since they were very competitive, I put more into the shot than what I might do on a Friday social league.
I’ve drifted off from women’s soccer, but this is what I mean about living vicariously through these amazing athletes. The great thing about going down memory lane is that since I tend to have a hole-riddedled memory, some of my notions of myself probably have been exaggerated, but why not think the best of myself. Sometimes I think that when I think this way, this confidence plays a part in what I do in this present life.
I’m not going to get to my thousand word goal, but perhaps this just means I’ll write another blog later on.
I don’t think Ricky cares if I divulge his mental health issues. He has an easier time sharing his post-traumatic-stress-disorder than sharing his rawhide. He is one of those dogs who doesn’t like to chew them, but if he has been given this as a reward, he’ll guard this priceless item for hours. Tonight, after at least four hours, I had take the untouched square thing. I was happy it wasn’t soggy. I would rather touch earth worms than a partially eaten rawhide. There are lots of things that I’d rather pick up. As I took it away, I tried to erase his pained look on his face with a promise of protecting his treasure and returning it.
My cell phone was also happy Ricky hadn’t hadn’t touched it. He hadn’t even drooled on it.
I had to take the rawhide away; he wouldn’t have left it alone long enough to eat. The girls have some room to lose, but Ricky is at a perfect weight, especially since he spends so much time on top of me. Camping was hard on his appetite.
After dinner, he respectfully asked for his friend back. I dug it out of my pocket. I sensed his relief as I gave it to him.
Some people have imaginary friends; others have a favorite toy or stuffed animal. Ricky has to have both. His imaginary friends like to jump from tree to tree as they play tag with him. Ricky is always it.
Eventually he buries the rawhide, or Lucy manages to swoop in and steal it.
Lucy inhales rawhides, figuratively-speaking, as if there is a rawhide scarfing competition. Lucy will eat them quickly and as many as she can get her mouth on one.
Abby is not into chewing rawhides. What is the point? At least with a stuffed animal, there is usually a squeeky toy to dig out, and the stuffing is fun to spread around. Sometimes it looks like it has snowed recently. When it comes to rawhides, Abby only likes to be chased around the house with it. When it is too hot to play Duck and Run, that is a perfect time for Lucy to swoop in and do her own version of
snatch and run.
You would have to know that this Old Girl’s Swooping is kind of like slow motion. It does the trick as some days, she gets rewarded with three rawhides. She is very patient and waits for the others to get distracted.
Abby doesn’t have any patience for rawhides. Some sort of kinesthetic experience has to be involved with the rawhide. For her, it is just another thing to run around with and try to encourage me or Ricky to chase her. Joyce W. will attest that Abby has A.D.D. Maybe the H needs to be in there. This depends on how well I have tired her out. She is an on the go kind of gal.
This last weekend we went camping to Delta Campground. We don’t camp often, so this may have been Ricky’s only second time. The McKenzie River is a short drive, and all the dogs go crazy when they hear the car alarm beep. Car rides are the best.
Being a rescue dog, I have little background Intel on Ricky. I am his Third person. I used to have no clue why, but camping shed a little light on his situation.
This seventy-five pound Chocolate Labrador Mix is the sweetest boy. I call him my velcro dog as he typically has to be on lap. He takes over my body if I am reclining. Maybe in a previous life he had been a lap dog.
Ricky, AKA Sparky, came to me just a little over three years ago. I tell him he has Angel-Wing ears and has been my Angel in saving me from myself. Every dog that has entered my life has had impeccable timing. How do they know?
This weekend I got to repay him with a partial payment.
All was well at campsite 26. Tent was up. We found a trail for the dogs to play in the creek. I was having fun rounding up kindling for the camp fire. Small group. Angie, Ariel, Sylvia, and I. We had never camped together, and things were going great. I had always wanted to get to know A&A other than softball.
Night was falling. Friday was playing revelry. The first time Ricky tried to leave the camp site, I was surprised. He had been astronomically good in not taking after the chipmunks and little children. Typically he sticks close. For example, today I had left the front gate wide open for several hours, and none of my dogs left.
Abby only leaves when I have left her behind. Ricky doesn’t leave even if I have left. He is a true home body.
I had to resort to the leash after Ricky was adamant that he had to take a walk. I am glad I didn’t have to tie him up.
My attempt to persuade him to come with me to the fire only caused him to resist as strongly as possible. At one point I ended as over tea kettle. Ricky was pulling on the leash with a large rock between us. I only scrapped my knee and muffled the profanities.
I offered Ricky asylum in the Subaru. I had never seen him in such a state. His ears were folded back with fear. Was it the camp fire?
He and I stayed in the Forester for an hour or so. I did manage to get him out for our last business walk of the night.
Next day was the closest thing I have had to being in Nirvana. Cool water. Swimming dogs. Everyone had a great time.
Dusk fell. Joyce was a great addition to the fire circle and dinner. Ricky was starting to get anxious. It didn’t take much of a signal before I realized he needed car time. Maybe something bad happened around a fire?
There was a lull in activity and conversation. Perfect time to work with Ricky. I really wanted to know what was triggering his fight or flight reflexes. I managed to get him close to the fire. When he resisted, I stopped, allowing him to set the boundaries. He was enjoying the beef Jerky snacks.
And then I mentioned Walmart. Talk about a political fire starter. Raised voices. The F-Bomb landed. Ricky reacted almost immediately. Good thing I was planted on the ground as he could easily have taken me for a ride.
As a result, I figured out that a passionate, albeit loud and profanity riddled, discussion was causing Ricky to slip a gasket.
Now I have to figure out how to counter his reaction and somehow slip some positive reinforcement into the scenario. It might be a month or year before a repeat performance happens since typically my home is very calm.
Camping: Come One, all. Angie, one of my softball teammates face booked a campground reservation and sent out an open invitation.
Typically, camping is not in my repertoire. I used to think camping was a lot of work for the opportunity to just eat ashes and whatever in your food. The really big reward: I get to sleep on the comfortable, hard ground. My back’s favorite surface.
Why would I want to miss out on the opportunity to lug all the camp gear from the basement to the car? Once sandals hit the ground, it’s one maneuver after another. Put up your shelter. Think hunters and gatherers. Everyone had to work for our food.
Of course, my favorite are the last phases of the vacation but work-oriented experience: packing up the camp site, loading the car, drive, unload the car. There are still more steps. Soaped down pots and pans, some scorched from cooking on an open fire wait patiently to be washed. The list waiting for cleaning is quite long. Tent, sleeping bags, clothes, dogs, car, and self.
Sometimes I wasn’t sure if there were any rewards after so much work. Camping didn’t even seem normal.
My family never camped. My first experience came when my Brownie troop camped in the leader’s backyard, and that just felt weird. I wasn’t cut out to be a Girl Scout at any level, though I did the “crossover,” moving from Brownies to Girl Scouts. I hated almost everything about the Girl Scouts. The uniform. The idiotic badges. I didn’t want to sew and they certainly were not going to give me a badge for playing
baseball, especially when girls at that time were not even allowed to play baseball.
When my path crossed with Sylvia’s, I was introduced to camping. She had a lit of experience to my zero. I have tolerated camping. She loved it. I didn’t really hate it.
I don’t know what is causing my attitude change, but I was very excited to go camping. I was packed under two hours, and moving quickly in the morning is not my strong suit.
Getting out of the record high temps was such a extra bonus. Since Eugene temps are supposed to stay high, I told Sylvia to leave me at the Delta Campgrounds for the week and join me for the next weekend.
I could easily stay close to the Blue Lake Reservoir where fun and frolicking in the water replaced the agony of melting in the heat.
The dogs had so much fun swimming and playing.
Now I want to know when we can return to camping.
I’ve been wanting to blog every day. I really wanted to write everyday while traveling in Europe, but there was too much going on. After sightseeing and playing tourist, I was too tired by the time we got back to the hotel. Everything was interesting and worthy of a picture. I never did figure out what these steps were about while in Switzerland. Sometimes things were explained to us in French and not in English. Other times I was just over saturated and couldn’t take in any more information.
Now that I have the entire summer in front of me, there’s no reason why I can’t blog every day. Or is there? And why is it so important for me to write every day. I admire people who blog every day, the ones that travel and blog, and the ones who reflect upon their lives, their daily lives of what is happening around them. Writing doesn’t have to be around special events, at least that’s what I think.
For some reason, the more I want to do something, like writing every day, the goal feels so big that it becomes an obstacle rather than an encouraging little kick in the butt. For writing, the more I push to write, the more I push back. I’m not sure why. The real Progress happens when I stop thinking about the idea of writing every day. I’m learning that I’m more of a day at a time kind of person. I don’t really know if I have consecutive days of blogging. I think I have at least a couple of days. Does it really matter? If I concentrate on the right here and now, I don’t worry about what I did or didn’t do yesterday, and certainly thinking about if I will write tomorrow, shouldn’t even be on the screen. Sometimes all it takes is a little inkling while journaling that tells me, hey this might be a good topic to blog about. Why not?
I’ve written more this summer than I did last year, which really doest say that much, but I don’t have a garden to distract me this year. After having a large vegetable garden for the last several years, I’m realizing how much time the garden took out of me.
I’m realizing that this is the year to focus on my house, making spaces writeable.
I love my kitchen. It’s a hundred degrees out there, or really close, but it is comfortable in the darkened kitchen. Abby the Labby Number Nine is my biggest distraction. I’m not exactly sure what she wants, but she doesn’t want me to sit here and write. It helps that I’ve got loud music to help me keep writing. When I look around the kitchen, there aren’t too many things to distract me, the things that say, “Hey, put me away.” “Clean me.” Is it possible to have a room without something asking for something? I’m not sure. There always something to clean or fix in a house. It’s a good thing that I’m really not a perfectionist.
Maybe I should not have focused on the recyclable cans sitting in the sink that were in my direct line of sight. Maybe I should type with my eyes closed and then I don’t see all the crap that needs to be done, but I like to see the words form on the sheet.
I have to go on a tangent. One of the first classes I took after moving to Eugene was a photography class at Lane Community College. Seeing images appear on a blank white piece of paper was more than magical. (I sure hope in my editing, this sentence is re-worked.)
I’m just realizing that the photography story wasn’t the first tangent. How can it be? I’ve not touched the original topic that I held when I titled the blog, a few distractions ago.
Confidence. I’ve never understood this emotion. I know that I have to have confidence in order to do something well. But in my mind there’s a thin line between having Confidence and being Cocky. I’ve no idea who or what taught me this life-lesson. Probably more like multiple who’s and whats. Where did I pick up the idea that it’s not good to brag about deeds?
Perhaps I’ve written a blog with a similar vein or it’s one of those blogs that is sitting in the draft pile waiting for my attention. It’s possible that I had thought about this idea, but it never got transposed from my brain to paper. That happens more often than not. And it’s all about confident, feeling that I’ve got something worthy to say.
While reading Virginia Woolf’s Diary, she mentioned that if she reads what she’s written too many days afterwards, she tends to not like what she wrote. I do the exact thing. I’m starting to do that right now.
Tonight is soft ball night. I didn’t play last week. My back. My left big toe nail fell off. Just half of the nail. Good enough reasons to not play. The prior week’s game wasn’t helping any, haunting me. In the week before, I played third base. I’m not sure if I ever have played third. Sure, I got this, I said. I’m a gamer. I’ll do what the team needs. The first ball didn’t get by me, but it managed to get under my glove and smack me in the feet. Good thing I had cleats on; it still smarted and caused me to utter some expletives.
It didn’t take long before I petitioned Emily to switch places with me. I feared for my life. What a ground ball is moving at a faster rate than my reaction, the physics of fear increases. Unfortunately, swapping to Left field just encouraged the batters to hit it into the field. Damn, I was running all over the place. Think Bad News Bears. Now think of a Bad News Bear player beyond menopause and you’ve got a good image of me scrambling around left field. It didn’t help that our side of the inning was a one-two-three kind of affair. But the opposing team took advantage of us and held a batting clinic. My brain and my body were not on the same page. I’m so much slower than my brain thinks I am. I can’t track the ball. I can’t catch the ball. I can still throw the ball, but sometimes that’s the most I can ask of my self.
Even though it was against the Rec Softball League rules, I begged for the Right Fielder to swap places with me so I could graze in right field and stay away from the ball. Seldom do balls come in that direction. Every so often it happens, so I still have be on the ready.
Tonight I’m going to play a new position and give Second Base a try. I’ll swap with Michelle who loves second. And now this is where the notion of confidence comes in. Eventually I always get to the meat of the matter, but it does take me some meandering.
When I think of Second Base players in baseball, the two names that pop up is Dustin Pedroia. Pedie. I love him. I hope he mends soon. And then there’s Brock Holt who has done a phenomenal job in filling for Dustin while he’s hurt. I don’t know if he’s actually on the injured reserved or whatever they call that list that hurt players go on so the team can bring in someone up from the minors.
Dustin and Brock own Second Base when they step on the field. Actually Brock has that attitude regardless of the position they put him in. He’s the best utility player I’ve ever seen. I think he’s played every position except pitcher and catcher.
When Dustin is playing what television viewers don’t get to see is the way Dustin moves. He’s involved in every pitch. Constant movement. There must be some sort of physics lesson in this with the force of motion; does it take less energy for an object to move if it’s already started? I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but Dustin’s feet are never still. He jumps on every pitch, regardless if the ball gets hit by the bat or hits the catcher’s glove. I wonder if he’s every worn a pedometer to track how many steps he takes in a game. Pedroia is so invested in the game that he’s predicting where the ball is going. I wonder if he’s got one of those brains that can track what every batter has been doing in the game or has the tendency to do. I don’t even try since I can’t remember who did what. I rely on side line people or coaches to move me.
I don’t know if the story is true, but this is what is I have heard about Dustin. He grew up with people telling him that he can’t be a professional baseball player because he’s too little or too something. Some people take this information and feedback and they give up. Dustin does the opposite. I sure hope this is true; it’s also possible that I’ve put the poor guy on a pedestal. What makes me affirm the story I make up about him is that he plays hard and doesn’t give up. I’ve heard commentators call him a spark plug; Red Sox management must agree me with me as they gave him a lengthy extension on his contract. I’ve been arguing with a friend of mine who thinks Dustin is one of the players that need to go; her list is a lot smaller than mine.
The other day I was watching a baseball game. Probably the Red Sox. And one of the announcers was talking about a third base player. The coach of the team thought people weren’t really putting their best foot foreword on the field, so he asked each person, “What do you think before the ball is hit?” The third base guy said that he thinks two things, The first is he hopes the ball is not hit to him. And then he hopes the ball isn’t hit to one of his teammates.” That ended the meeting.
After my lengthy vacation from life, I came back to the softball team with a relaxed attitude. I hadn’t realized what a good vacation can do for the soul. Anyway, Angie was absent, so I got to play short stop. Favorite position. Always has. That and number eleven, but that’s a different blog.
The best thing about success is that those experiences are kind of like seeds for future events and moments. Mistakes are also good in my opinion; something has to spread the manure. Anyway, I was so psyched to be there that did everything I could. I cut my expectations to just fielding the ball and thinking where to throw the ball. I wanted the ball hit to me. And this is where the cockiness comes. Maybe. Please tell me your opinion. In this game, I didn’t have any throwing errors, that I recall, but the strength of my throw wasn’t strong enough to get many outs. Flips to second and third were a piece of cake, but getting the ball from third to first was just my Albatross. I’d like to think that it’s mind over matter and that if there’s a will there’s a way. Why not throw in as many cliche’s to give myself a pep talk. I’ll let you know how I did.
Most of the time when I write, text comes first; but sometimes the picture comes first. It’s the picture that directs me when I go off on tangents. I’ll try to keep the extraneous rabbit holes to a minimal amount, but I don’t necessarily have a choice. Do you know what I mean?
I love new months. For my journal, I think of the opportunities to break records. Writing records. Page counts. Word counts.
I must have been a professional athlete in a previous life as I have to have statistics. If I can make a game out of the basic routines of life, I’m going to create one. June’s journal of this year almost hit three hundred pages. Darn, so close. The best part is I smoked last year’s count. Of course blogging has helped my page count, especially since I didn’t blog if at all last June. Not sure why. Writing is that thing that comes and goes. Sometimes goes more than sticks around.
More statistics. I suspect that a challenge in repeating last July has thrown the gauntlet down. I lost track while waiting for the document to surface after it reached two hundred. That’s been a few hours ago or so. 258 pegs is going to make me put writing into a different gear. First gear won’t do it. Ten pages a day has been the ultimate goal. I’m doing great today, and considering it’s still the first, I’m making up for those blank times. Some months are like that, ending up gardening, cleaning, reading, sleeping, playing with the dogs. All of those things can get in the way of writing. How much time do I spend getting warmed up to get the grease going in the gears. I can’t necessarily expect that I start off in third or fourth gear. Sometimes starting in neutral is a good place.
Most of my journaling depends on how much time is on my hands. I savor those days when I don’t have anything on the schedule. This gives me a chance to write a lot, but in small increments. It all changes as the day progresses and what my duties direct my direction. The only thing that I’ve done in addition to writing and playing on my exercise for my back is sort socks. We have more socks than two people ought to have. It takes an act of congress to get a pair pitched.
I better get the picture in before I go into the twelfth hole.
We’re doing our best to stay cool. Ricky. Abby. Lucy. And I. Sylvia’s in an air conditioned office. None of us go outside unless it’s a dire emergency. Lucy is the only one who has braved the heat, but she’s got the best coat to be out there. Abby doesn’t go out very often. Too black.
I’ve been walking around the house interior to get walking in since I can’t walk the property. If the dogs aren’t too hot, they walk with me, but mostly they are just puddles and I just say hello to them as I do my laps. When I saw The sun light on Ricky’s coat, I had to stop and get the Camera.
As I said, there are some things that are out of my control and when I suspect a dog is being cute, they ought to be rewarded. Don’t you agree with me? This is probably why I don’t get much done around the house. Every time I look around, there’s another belly to be rubbed. I’ve never had three dogs that liked bellies. I don’t think Jules liked bellies. As sweet a boy Jules was, Ricky is so much cuddlier; he’s so much needier. I would have thought that Ricky would be past this stage since he’s been with me for three years, but maybe he just has me trained.
Instead of gardening this year, I’m cultivating the house; I think that’s the word I want. I’m not planting, I’m just getting the beds ready. I have way too much stuff, and I think it is going to take the entire summer to get under control. I hope to get it completely done before my sister Deb and B.I.L Michael come to visit. Was it next summer or the summer after that? Having Deb spend her 60th birthday in Eugene would be a great idea. Okay, so I was worn about planting seeds. Deb, what do you think?
I’m way past my thousand word mark, which means I better wrap it up. I have only three minutes before the dogs need to eat, though Ricky hasn’t been eating because of the heat.
This house has got the better of me for the past few years and I’m determined to take it back. I used to have Christmas parties and birthday parties, but years have gone by without that tradition carrying on. traditions are hard to keep up.
I have noticed that I’m much more apt to sit down and write if I feel good about a room. This does sound obvious, doesn’t it, but there have been a lot of things that have been deluding me these past fifty-five years. Take away those five or so years that I wasn’t in much control of things. Might be more than five years as I’ve had those phases here and there and now.
Different kinds of music will inspire me to do different things. Phil Collins is one of those musicians that makes me want to type along. Others make me change the channel. At least with Pandora, they mostly play music I like. Chicago was my last thumbs down, and it was one of their later sappy songs. Most of Chicago I love, but there are a few that I can’t stand.
My favorite game is to guess a song before too many notes come on. Kenny Loggins has one song that I swear I get in just a couple of notes. He sings with Stevie Nicks and that gives me goose bumps. Day by Day. I wish I could sing as high as Stevie Nicks. background. I’ll always call you friend. Great solo. Is it a sax? I love it. This is probably my favorite song of all time or close to it.
The Kenny Loggins duet is a rare song. Most of the time, a song comes on and I either know the name of the song, the artist, or just the words. Sometimes I know the words, and am totally floored when I see the artists. Names I’ve never heard of.
One of the things I enjoy in reading my old journals, especially the thirty or so years, I compare music notes. Music has been my safety net.
I try to guess who the singer is or the song before too many notes. Yup, just another game I play during the day. Pandora has all sorts of things mixed in with Kenny Loggins. I don’t quite have it. The more and more instruments that come in, the likelier that I’ll figure it out. Sometimes I have to listen to the voice. But sometimes the words don’t even help and I have to run to the source. No one knows where you are going. You belong to the City. I’m going to kick myself when I see…
I was wrong. I know this song so well, but Glenn Fry wasn’t on the radar. No matter how many times I try to stick Bill Withers name in my brain as there’s a song that I really like, but his name just won’t stick. Kansas. Chicago. Eagles. Cold as ice. I ought to know this, but It’s probably one of the tough ones for me. Foreigner. Maybe I’m going to guess Journey. Darn it. So close.
At least when I came up from feeding the dogs dinner, I knew immediately Kenny Loggins was singing. I know that he sang about his dad, but I don’t think that this song is. Remember. Forever in my heart. Makes me think of my dad. Anyone know the name of the song or who he was singing to. Great buildup. I’m softy for songs with a lot of percussion. I may have to make a trip upstairs and find out for myself. Forever. Such a sweet song.
I’m not at the end, but a cool bath is calling my name. Hall & Oats don’t necessarily give me earth-shaking ideas. Next time.