Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year in Review: Pictures

As is my custom at this time of year, I'd like to share some of the images that MADE my 2007. If you're in one of the pictures, I salute you and thank you. If you're not in a picture, I truly wish you were. Maybe in 2008? (Sorry for the long post, but I'm in love with my own photography!)

Aside from general good health and happiness this year, the highlights were the trip to Ireland for my brother's wedding, an event I was NEVER sure would actually happen. Also high on my list was the week in Chatham that Bobbers and I enjoyed in September. The weather was stellar, the hotel views were spectacular, and the company was not even the least bit boring after 28 years of these sorts of trips. Cheers, Bob!

And may we all experience a New Year full of good fortune, good health and good humor...and could we even ask for a bit of peace? We are finally in election season and January 21, 2009, cannot come fast enough.

And so, without further ado...

January started off with the inauguration of our new governor Deval Patrick. I had a chance to hear a brief speech shortly after he took office. I look forward to even more good things from Beacon Hill after his groundbreaking election:



Attended three Sox games this year, and sat in the bleachers for the first time in a VERY long time. Got a great look however, at our Captain's rear view in this preview of the World Series on June 12.



There were just too many pictures from Ireland, so I had a hard time reducing this to just one. The first one is a taste of the Cliffs of Moher:



The second one is another warm welcome to Tara, who joined our family this year:



And just because this is a great picture of two of my siblings:



You couldn't ask for two better traveling companions either:



In early July, Bob and I spent a great weekend in the Pioneer Valley. I love this picture of spontaneous friendship I snapped in Amherst:



Another special night was my first meetup with this band of crazy people from Surviving Grady in late July:



My birthday present this year was an iPhone, which has been really fun, including using it to snap this picture of my own superhero:



Chatham in September, as previously mentioned, was magnificent:



...including doing something Bob and I haven't EVER done before (keep your minds out of the gutter):



And spending the day in Lowell, Massachusetts, was surprisingly fun:



One of the very best days of 2007 was spent in Provincetown with this gang of wonderful women:



My first Red Sox autograph came the day after our boys clinched the Eastern Division championship. Youk was surprisingly awake, considering the champagne that flowed the night before:



Oddly enough, went to the British isles for the second time in one year. Here is a nice pic of Aberdeen - a nice, medium sized city that I barely got to see:



Although our friends, Susan and Daryl, have defected to North Carolina, they are still in our hearts each and every day. We look forward to their return....some day.



We rounded our Sox events this year with an event for the Lowell Spinners where I was able to get my picture taken with the 2007 World Series trophy. I haven't digitized it yet, so this photo of the Papelbon family with the trophy will have to suffice:



And finally, we had a great visit to Sturbridge a few days before Christmas:



Happy 2008 to one and all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thank You, David

Since the television writer's strike, I've been amazed at how much I miss three shows that I regularly record on our DVR: Late Night with David Letterman, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. There's some good news to report on this front, with Letterman signing an independent deal to return to the air with his writers in tow.

It's one thing to get through the holiday season without these shows, but I'm not sure I could get through a cold and dismal January the same way. If you're interested in asking Comedy Central to bring back the other two shows WITH THEIR WRITERS, go here. In actuality, I think the writers are striking appropriately to get a few cents more per show based on the fact that their work is available in so many new media formats. Let's hope they're all back soon - the presidential candidates are getting off way too easy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in New England

Yesterday, Massachusetts took a break from some truly sucky weather to deliver a relatively decent day, which we spent mostly outdoors. Friends were visiting from out-of-town and we met at Old Sturbridge Village and enjoyed the peace and quiet and beauty of a winter day.

Here's a sampling of some really atmospheric pictures. Enjoy!

















Such a sweet face on little Amelia...but underneath that angelic exterior is a sarcastic, deep-voiced little troublemaker. Seriously, she's a doll, but quite a handful!



Let's hope some of Jen rubs off on her little sister. She's adorable, smart and polite.



And a special greeting from Father Christmas:

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Questionnaire

Last year, I ran across a Christmas survey that I thought might be fun to revive this year...

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I worship eggnog, but my arteries don't. (You'd think I'd like the Eggnog Latte at Starbucks, but it sucks. Big time.)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

Santa doesn't wrap presents! Everybody knows that!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

White outside usually, but not this year because the outlet started to sizzle this summer when I plugged the weed wacker into it. Thought it might be a good idea not to burn the house down. Colored lights inside on the large tree in the living room; white on the smaller tree in the dining room.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Later than most people, but not on Christmas Eve I (at least not yet).

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Don't have any specific favorites from days of yore. In recent years, I've made Jambalaya on Christmas Eve - it's starting to be our tradition.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

It may be strange, but a favorite memory for me was the weeks leading up to Christmas. My dad was a jeweler, and worked non-stop from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Truth be told, I don't think we saw him much over those 4 weeks - he even worked Saturday AND Sunday all day. During that time, the house was totally run by my mom and us kids. The best part about it was having breakfast for dinner - pancakes, scrambled eggs. Part of this is because my mom was the World's Worst Cook, but also because my dad was a real "meat and potatoes" guy and I suspect she wanted time off from the regular routine as much as we did. In later years, we found out that all the overtime Dad put it in actually provided us Christmas itself. My mom would 'charge' all our toys and gifts early in the season and pay them off at Christmas with the extra pay. How did he do it? I'm not sure I could ever be so selfless. Thanks, Dad.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I really don't remember, although I think Patty vanden Eynden from down the street had something to do with it.

9. Do you open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

When we were little kids, we opened Christmas Day, when we were teenagers, it all moved to Christmas Eve. For all my married life, it's been Christmas morning.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

Although most of my married life, I've decorated the tree by myself (after Bobbers puts it in the stand), we didn't put up a big tree this year. I've finally determined that I'd rather spend my time doing other things - a sure sign of oncoming elderliness, I suppose.

11. Snow- Love it or dread it?

Now that I don't have to drive in it much anymore (telecommuting, what a concept!) and we bought a snow blower, I really like snow. I've really tried to make an effort to enjoy each season as it comes and not to complain too much about it. To me, one of the pleasures of winter is the beautiful sky - best enjoyed while shoveling snow in late afternoon.

12. Can you ice skate?

Nope, the one and only time I tried to ice skate, I fell and someone behind me skated over my hand. Kinda turned me off a skating career. Although I have to say it looks like great fun...especially at Rockefeller Center.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I don't have a particular stand-out gift as a child, but I have to say that two Christmases ago, I got a bunch of presents from Bobbers that were out of this world. Everything was well-thought out and bought with love. Especially important was the fact that all the gifts were purchased a mere two months or so following his major heart surgery - very impressive. (I still - to this day - marvel at how he slogged through the mall with all that heavy stuff when he wasn't supposed to be carrying anything really heavy at the time. Wouldn't that be just great to have your husband keel over buying Christmas presents for you?)

14. What's the most exciting thing about the holidays for you?

Catching up on sleep, watching movies, hanging out with friends, cooking some great meals.

15. What is your favorite holiday desert?

1) A desert I can make: Garbage candy -- one part white chocolate, one part peanuts, one part pretzels; 2) Grammy's fudge (although I don't get to have it often). As my cousin, Susan, said on her blog, "My uncle makes the most awesome, decadent, melt in your mouth fudge you will ever taste, using my Grandma's recipe. (Funny note: the recipe has this instruction on how long to stir it: Until your arm falls off. I miss Grandma)." Me too, Susan, me too! Except, isn't she called "Grammy?"

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Watching "White Christmas" (favorite song: "Sisters") and "It's a Wonderful Life" (favorite scene: when George Bailey just barely prevents himself from heaving the newel post knob; second favorite scene: when he tells off Zouzou's teacher: "What kind of teacher are you, anyway?"; third favorite scene: "Hello, 5 and Dime! Hello, Savings and Loan! Hello....everything else....!")

17. What tops your tree?

A green and gold painted aluminum star from Pier 1.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?

Well, I must confess I really like....receiving!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" sung by just about anyone. So very bittersweet. Second favorite: "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme.

20. Candy canes?
Nah, not so much.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reclaiming 9/11

Remember how you felt on September 11 and in the days that followed? When exactly did this hallowed day become a caricature of itself? Probably anytime Rudy Guiliani had anything to say about it.

Well, there are ways to avenge this double loss, and the families of some 9/11 victims are doing something important:

"Jim Riches, a New York deputy fire chief whose firefighter son was killed during the attack, said the group aimed to raise doubts about the central premise of Giuliani's presidential campaign -- his leadership role on Sept. 11. "If we have to follow him around all 2008 we'll do it," Riches said.

Lauded as "America's Mayor" for his blunt talk and compassion after the attacks, Giuliani's political stock soared, and he built a multimillion-dollar consulting group emphasizing his leadership skills."

and:

"But the former New York mayor's frequent references to Sept. 11 on the campaign trail have infuriated Riches and about 20 activists who lost firefighter sons. The New Yorkers blame Giuliani for decision-making failures that they say contributed to the deaths."


It is taking New Yorkers a while to crack St. Rudy's halo, but it appears they're getting ready to - and it's time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Lunches with Nicole

What do you do when you're a bleeding heart liberal and the company you work for asks for volunteers to read to students during one lunch hour per week? You sign up, that's what you do. Cue the heart-warming violin music that plays while you dream of sharing a meaningful and life-changing, one-on-one relationship with a third-grade student.

Before being introduced to "my" student, I eagerly attend the training class where I learn I'll have to pass a security review. I'm also told never to unnecessarily touch my student, bring her presents or spend any time alone with her. OK, I shrug, this is all perfectly understandable, and I determine not to let these things get in the way of the time I'll spend sharing my love of books and a lifetime of reading with a young, book-loving girl.

I eagerly anticipate finally laying eyes on Nicole. I'm told that I may bring books that were meaningful to me if I'd like, to encourage conversation and bonding. "Little Women" comes to mind - but I wonder if that's suitable for a nine-year-old?

Finally, the big day comes. I wait in the elementary school hallway where hordes of children run screaming past me. Wha..? The nuns at Our Lady of Sacred Heart would not have allowed such behavior. Hrrmmph, I think, my Nicole will be much better behaved than these hellions certainly.

She finally arrives. She's taller than I thought she'd be, and there's no smile to be seen when we meet. And, as we make our way to the lunchroom, she seems to know everyone we pass. While Nicole ignores me for the most part, she notices everything else that's going on in her surroundings. She greets each teacher and half the students. Although we pass fairly quickly through the cafeteria line, I'm amazed at how much time Nicole can waste. She decides we should go to the library to find a book. I agree, not realizing that the library is at the opposite end of the school. I worry that we might be spending too much time alone, but I quickly find that there's NO PLACE in the school to be alone: the place pulsates with activity.

It's fairly obvious that Nicole looks at this lunchtime meeting as a way to wrap an adult around her finger. She even admits without the slightest bit of hesitation that she is participating in this voluntary program to avoid math class. (Finally! I have something in common with her!) On the other hand, when she chooses books, she clearly picks ones that are clearly below her reading level. When we finally settle down to read, the words pour out of me as quickly as I can say them, but I notice that she spends a lot of time staring out the window. At one point, I stop reading altogether and it takes her a full 30 seconds (which is an awfully long silence actually) to notice that I've stopped speaking.

We've had three sessions so far, Nicole and me, none of them turning into the bonding experience I had let myself believe might happen. But I've spoken to the program coordinator about our problems. Mrs. B tells me she'll talk to Nicole (and her mother, who happens to be a personal friend of hers) to see whether she really wants to continue with the program.

While I'm secretly hoping Nicole moves along, the parents reading this are probably roaring with laughter. My frustrating experience with Nicole is for 45 minutes per week - I can't imagine dealing with this 24-hours per day for 18+ years.

I applaud teachers and parents - you truly do important work. But I'm still hoping I can trade Nicole in on that sweet, smiling bookworm. I can dream, right?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lowell and Lowell

Incredible though it may be, I didn't blog about the return of Mike Lowell to the Sox. Like most Sox fans, I couldn't be happier. The man brought stability, confidence, energy and excitement to nearly every game. Here's hoping he can bring another stellar season in '08.

Now we all get to sit in wonderment waiting to find out if the Sox will be making a deal for Johan Santana, a two-time Cy Young award winner from Minnesota. When a proposed trade included Lester, Crisp, and any two additional prospects, I was feeling quite sanguine about stockpiling yet another ace on our team. But today ESPN is reporting that the Sox have included Jacoby Ellsbury in the deal. This is a deal-breaker as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, it's Johan freakin' Santana. But I don't care. We need a base-stealin', taco-eating Native American on OUR team. Just say no, Theo. N-O.

The Surviving Grady group had a special outing this past Friday night: the Lowell Spinners Alumni Dinner. The Single A farm team for the Red Sox throws this dinner every year to honor a former player who has made it big in the major leagues. This year's guest? Our own Jonathan Papelbon!

Other assorted guests included former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler, first base coach Luis Alcea, Joshua and Jeremy Papelbon (two younger brothers of Jonathan who are also signed to pro ball contracts). Despite a most horrific rubber chicken dinner, we also were able to get our photo taken with the 2007 World Series trophy - a religious experience of its very own. (When the picture arrives, I'll share it here.)

Here are some photos of our group, along with a Papelbon family portrait with the world series trophy. (We were lucky enough to be in the viewing area when they stopped by. Needless to say, we didn't mind waiting.)


Gabe and JET



Gabe and Nancy



The Papelbons

Life with Mac

For those of you who are interested, I have been having technical problems with posting since I got the new Mac. That, plus the fact I haven't had anything exciting to report have kept me away from Blog Land. I wrote the post below about two weeks ago, but have been trying to figure out how to import pictures into iPhoto. I figured I shouldn't waste it, so at least it's out there, for history's sake (::insert rolling eyes here::).

Getting acclimated to the MacBook has been very interesting. I've found that I hate Safari (the browser that comes with it) and have switched to Firefox. It was a big challenge to export Windows Explorer "favorites" into a Mac using Safari - took me the better part of a day to complete it. I'm also getting adjusted to life without a right click button, as well as the ability to delete forward (just found out this can be done by holding the function key down when hitting the delete button).

Overall, using a Mac is a most pleasant experience - it's visually beautiful, feels great to the touch, and has some really interesting tools. Funnily enough, I can now have instant messages read out loud to me, which I discovered one night when Bobbers sent me a silly message - quite funny to hear out loud, read by a disembodied computer voice! The iPhoto software is so incredibly easy to use that I'm finally getting a handle on organizing all my digital images. I just wish it was this easy to organize my HOUSE!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Procrastination Does Not Become Me

Well, I've avoided this post for a while and I cannot think of any good reasons why. Since the Scotland trip, life hasn't been all that chock full of rockin' good times, nor has it been lower than low. It's just been, well, November. The first glimpses of winter have appeared and we've finally decided to put away the summer yard tools and make our first tentative stabs at Christmas shopping.

Our big debate this year: what to do about Christmas decorating. A few weeks ago I was dead-set against ANY sort of celebratory gee-gaws. Now I have to admit, I'm starting to feel a tiny twinge of the seasonal spirit. But, just when I do, the thought of hauling up the boxes from the basement makes me feel a tad verklempt. It's shocking me to think this way as I could never stand hearing old people say "well, I don't think we'll put up a tree this year." But that might be exactly where we are this year.

Much as I love the Christmas decorations, giving myself a year off the tradition treadmill may just make it seem even more interesting next year. Part of me thinks it would just be rebellious as hell, too, which has a certain appeal. Of course, next year might be the year I get my other fond wish: to spend the holidays in a tropical climate. Umbrella drinks instead of eggnog? When do I pack?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

You Take The Low Road, I'll Take the High Road...

and I'll be in Scotland afore ye.

Or something like that.

Yes, tonight I'm going on a quick business trip to Aberdeen, Scotland, home of one of my company's businesses. Plane leaves at 10 pm, and I arrive at around 3 pm local time (after a change of planes in Amsterdam). Then it's two days of meetings and flying back on Thursday in time for supper (I believe - might help if I actually checked the itinerary).

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about this here blog over the past few days and the fact that I've left it unattended since the Red Sox won the World Series. But I made a conscious decision to enjoy the coverage on TV and in our local newspapers rather than add my two cents worth here. Suffice to say, I ate up every minute of the coverage - so much so that I wanted to stuff a sock in McCarver's mouth by the time it was all over. But that was the bad stuff. The good stuff was seeing our team enjoy itself through every moment of the parade and through visits to various national TV shows. Manny on The Tonight Show? If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it. Papelbon and Papi, yes. Manny always keeps us guessing, that's for sure.

After a tough week at work in which everyone was recovering from World Series mania, I was able to close it down with a visit from my favorite Texan and my SG co-conspirator JET. Slowly but surely, all the wacky band of bloggers over at Surviving Grady are meeting one another. Each person I meet convinces me that we are truly lucky to have found a group of like-minded individuals to share our baseball obsessions.

So, I'll catch you all later in the week - just wanted to let you know that there is more to come!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Whew!

Baseball has sucked the life out of me, even more than usual. There's not much room for politics or other pursuits that typically occupy my mind. The Sox are up 2-0 in the World Series after two games that couldn't have been more different. Game 1 was an orgy of Red Sox hits - they set a number of records, including the most doubles ever in a World Series game. Final score: 13-1 on a game pitched magnificently by Josh Beckett. Game 2 was a nailbiter. Final score: 2-1 in a well-pitched game by my favorite Republican, Curt Schilling.

Everyone's saying the Sox are going to take the series, unless you are a native of Colorado (or a MFY fan, I suppose). I'm feeling very good about it and wouldn't be surprised if it was a sweep.

Luckily, I have XM Radio and I've been listening for my roughly 90 minute daily commute to the MLB coverage. I'm not familiar with all the analysts, but I'm finding it really interesting to hear the national coverage of our boys. Today, for instance, there was a lengthy interview with Mike Lowell, talking all about where he positions himself depending on which pitcher is on the mound. I found it a fascinating discussion and something that hasn't been covered a lot locally.

I'm having the most interesting reaction as I listen to the national news - a feeling of pride in the Red Sox organization, and in the individual players. Something tells me the country is going to embrace a few of the young stars - especially our Riverdancing Closer, Jonathan Papelbon.

So, along with other Sox addicts, we will be tuned in to each of the last few games...won't you?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

World Series Bound



Is this NOT the very picture of happiness? Of all the photos taken by Kelly at Sitting Still during the post-season run of the Red Sox, this is my very favorite. It just makes me want to pinch his cheeks!

Tonight is the last night for catching our breath before the World Series starts tomorrow. I'm just about recovered from Game 7 against Cleveland, and now it's on to the Colorado Rockies. The 2007 post-season is different for everyone it seems, as compared with 2004. I guess it's like losing your virginity...as much as you repeat the act it is enjoyable, but there's nothing like your first time (unless, of course, you can recall 1918).

Considering the warm weather and the continuation of baseball season, it's hard to believe we're nearing Halloween. But I'll take it!

Go Sox!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Game Seven Mojo

The Red Sox are making it dramatic, once again! But, we're experienced at Game Seven rituals, superstitions and downright bizarre behavior. For instance, I'm continuing to wear my unwashed (but not filthy) "Life is Good" Fenway T-shirt. Last week, I was wearing my Papelbon shirt but after the Sox lost three games in a row, this shirt stays in the drawer until the World Series.

For last night's game, I also sported a hand-knitted scarf from an internet friend that had just arrived from Tennessee. It provided its very own mojo because just as I put it on, JD Drew hit a Grand Slam. You can bet the scarf stays on tonight for the duration.

Spent yesterday afternoon visiting with some friends from the Surviving Grady website, two of whom actually won tickets to the game. It was fun to be near to Fenway prior to the game to feel some of the excitement - and to put faces and real voices with the electronic voices each of them has.



It's just a few minutes till gametime! Go Red Sox! Sending positive vibes to Daisuke Matsuzaka tonight. See you later...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Will Be, Will Be

Waiting for tonight's baseball game is about to drive me around the bend. But I posted Youk's picture before the last win and since our backs are against the wall now in the ALCS, I thought I should post again.

Just wanted to wish the Red Sox well and hope that we extend the season for at least six more games. I'm not ready for the off-season and I hope they aren't either.

Go Sox! (Photo courtesy of Kelly at Sittingstill.net!)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Baby Youk Mojo



Thanks to my niece, Beth, we are graced with this lovely picture of Kevin Youkilis as a freshman at Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, circa 1994. We're using it as a good luck charm for the American League Championship Series, which begins tonight. Luckily the Sox are NOT facing the MFYs, but the Cleveland Indians. It's going to be a tight, evenly-matched series, but you've got to like our chances.

Go Sox!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Been a While...

This has been an odd week. First, there's the summerlike weather. It's October and we're still sleeping with all the windows open? It's October and I'm still watering the flowers? I don't mind in the least. I think reality will set in soon enough.

It's also been a busy week for us - had the house painted early in the week (in two days - man, those dudes fly!). Didn't expect to get that job finished this season, but the painter called and said he had the time and the weather is cooperating, so we figured we might as well get a jump on the spring chores.

Bobbers went on a short business trip to D.C. He rarely travels alone, but I think he had a really good time and enjoyed the seminar on the latest in digital high def video. But I also am very glad to have him home!

My friend Susan and I added another fun night to our Longest Goodbye Ever this week. Her husband was also away on business so I spent the night with her on Wednesday. We had a nice dinner together and watched the Sox and Josh Beckett beat the ever-lovin' stuffing out of the Angels in the first playoff game of the ALDS. Best part? Sitting with Susan in our pajames with our feet up on the coffee table, sipping red wine, munching on a bar of dark chocolate, watching the game. Now that's entertainment. (Ted, I also pointed Susan to your blog to let her know there were other wild-eyed Sox fans in NC.)

Then, there was last night. After my usual Friday afternoon swim, I came home to watch the MFYs lose to the Indians. Boy, was I cheering for those damn bugs! I have a suspicion that the fans of Red Sox Nation will NOT let Joba forget about them in the years ahead. "The Curse of the Canadian Soldier?" Sounds good to me!

Afterwards, we were glued to the Sox-Angels game. Dice-K was a bit shaky but luckily Tito had a quick hook. The bullpen was O.U.T.S.T.A.N.D.I.N.G. They no-hit the Angels for the last five innings of the game. I believe the Red Sox bullpen is to be feared in the playoffs this year.

And, boy, did Manny come through! That home run was as sure a thing as I've EVER seen when it left his bat. Sailed one into the early morning darkness at around 1 a.m. this morning. I love this picture (from Boston.com), which an internet buddy (JET) called the 'Largest Game of Simon Sez Ever.' I love this team.

So, how was your week?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Cincinnati Kids

A funny thing happened on the way to the women's clothing department at Nordstrom's today. My husband sauntered up and calmly says, "When you're done here you might want to go downstairs. Kevin Youkilis is down there and a line is forming to meet him."

What? A member of the 2007 AL East Championship team downstairs and I'm supposed to continue shopping? In retrospect, I suppose the poor man had difficulty deciding between my love of shoe shopping and my love of the Sox. But, I dropped everything and got in the rather short line. Kinda felt foolish without any Sox garb or children in tow, but I did have a camera and a notebook for him to sign.



So, what did Kevin and I talk during my approximately 90 seconds of contact?

Me: I have just one question for you: Skyline or Gold Star?

Youk: Skyline

Me: Eastside or Westside?

Youk: Eastside, Montgomery

Me: Where did you go to school? Moeller?

Youk: No, I'm Jewish. Sycamore

Me: My brother-in-law went there.

Husband drags me away...

Me: Nice job this year. Good luck!



Too funny for words. I had to wonder how the heck Youk managed to get to the Natick Mall at 1 pm after partying the night away. I know I was exhausted and I went to bed at a decent hour.

So, that was my excitement for today.

Congratulations, Red Sox! Bring on the Angels!



Just another note: One of my nieces may have been in Youk's graduation class at Sycamore High School. Beth, if you're reading this, let me know if you know Kevin, ok?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Clear, Blatant Hypocrisy

Every once in a while you wonder when a reporter is going to show some balls. Here, at long last, is David Shuster taking on a Tennessee Congresswoman who came to the show with HER OWN agenda. But David took her in a surprisingly different direction. Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Favorite Bumper Sticker

A trip to Provincetown is not complete until you see some tacky souvenir shops, some up-scale, New York-style boutiques, some sex shops, and typical liberal political shops. My kind of place? Sure, why not?

But the best bumper sticker? Here it is:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Looney Dunes

If the first day of fall was an indicator of weather to come, we're in for a grand season. And, it was a perfect day for our day-trip to Provincetown. Took the "fast ferry" from Boston Harbor across the Bay with my group of women friends, and had a relaxing day shopping, eating, drinking and taking a tour of the dunes, which none of us had ever done before.

Although we have much to be thankful for, it was also a bittersweet day because this particular group probably won't be together very often in the future, when Susan moves to North Carolina at the end of October. But we figured out a way to celebrate that, along with Julie's graduation from law school and Joan's new job. The rest of us were happy to be along for the ride, saying goodbye to summer and looking forward to the future.

The picture below was taken on a high dune over looking the Atlantic Ocean:



From left: Rita, me, Susan (the NC-bound), Joan, Ethel, Susan (staying in Mass.) and Julie.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

Not sure if anyone I know is paying much attention to the political scene, but there's a small battle being waged between MoveOn.org (yes, I'm a member), and Rudy Giulliani. Seems Rudy doesn't think this group of over 3.5 million Americans has a right to free speech about the Iraq War. Well, MoveOn is fighting back with this ad:



Rudy, like most of the GOoP presidental candidates, is a freakin' money-grubbing hypocrite.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stress

Lots of people get stress. Sometimes it's on the job. Sometimes it's from dealing with your spouse or in-laws. It happens sometimes when you're behind the wheel of a car or riding in an airplane. Your heart races, you feel sick to your stomach, you develop a twitch in your eyelid. You can't sit still or speak coherently.

Although I am anything but a Type A personality, I get highly stressed while watching baseball in late September and October. It's a terrible problem for me. The first time I remember it happening was in 1975. (Yeah, I'm OLD, get over it.) It was Game 6 of the World Series. I was watching the game with my college roommates in Amherst, Massachusetts. Carlton Fisk strode to the plate and hits his fateful home run. I was devastated.

Yes, I was then a Cincinnati Reds fan. I remember running off to bed, a complete sore loser, while everyone else cheered downstairs. The next night, I went to a bar to watch the Reds beat the Red Sox in game 7, allowing me to have the last laugh. If I had known then what I know now, I would gladly have wished a World Series win on the Red Sox.

Next time it happens is 1986. Again, game 6 of the World Series, except now I'm fully committed to the Red Sox. I'm fairly confident that the Sox are going to do it this time. That is, until a certain ball rolls through a certain first baseman's legs. I remember exactly where I was standing near the steps in our living room when this shocker occurred. I also recall not being able to face game 7, and trying to half-listen to it from the bedroom as the Sox went down to defeat.

It's now 2003. Sox are up by several runs in game 6 (what is it with game 6, anyway?) and a certain Red Sox manager won't remove Pedro Martinez from the game as the MFYankees tie the score. No, I wasn't in the living room when the winning run is scored by Aaron *bleeping* Boone in extra innings. I was in bed with a pillow over my head, trying desperately NOT to hear the cheering, right before my husband turned the TV off.

By 2004 I was burnt to a crisp on post-season baseball. I watched the Sox sweep the Angels in the ALDS. I watched the first two games of the ALCS, won by the MFYs. I skipped game 3 after coming in late and seeing the lopsided score. I was pessimistic on the morning after game 4, but woke up to see the heroics on TV. Papi wins the game in extra innings! Although still too nervous to watch game 5, I once again awaken to news of Papi winning the game. It's time for game 6. Had plans with friends that night, and they had the game on but we weren't in the room. We settled for getting scores shouted to us from the basement family room. Schilling was pulling it out! I drove home with the radio on and watched the last several innings...but not without stress, especially when Slappy took a swing at Arroyo. The next night? No problem. I stood in the exact place that I stood in 1986 and jumped up and down as the Sox beat the Yankees in the greatest comeback in the history of sports. By then it was no problem to watch the World Series - every game, every inning, nearly stress-free.

This history is one of the reasons why I so enjoyed the Sox-Yanks games early this season. They were completely fun, especially the night that Manny, Drew, Lowell and Varitek hit consecutive home runs. The MFYs were in free-fall and I could watch the games with utter composure.

Now, tonight is the last game between these two rivals this season. On Friday, I watched one pitch of the game and it happened that Sid the Sloth hit a double. *Click* I was off to a different TV station. I was able to follow along with the bad news of this game on the internet, with the good folks of Surviving Grady. Yesterday, I played jazz all afternoon while the game played and was finally able to turn on the TV about the sixth inning when the Sox were safely ahead.

What to do tonight? And more importantly, how do I get over the stress factor and actually try to enjoy these games? It's fairly certain that the boys will make the post season and short of getting a lobotomy, I want to watch the games. What do you all suggest?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Beyond 9/11

On Monday, September 10, 2001, one of my nieces was in New York City interviewing for a job at a company called Cantor Fitzgerald. It just so happened that Cantor Fitzgerald was a tenant of a building called One World Trade Center, located on the 102nd floor. If she had been there a day later, could she possibly have been a victim of the terrorist attack? Perhaps. But, it's a haunting thought, and luckily not one that our family has had to think about.

But as we approach the anniversary tomorrow, we're going to hear a lot of talk about revenge and Al Qaeda, and what the Chimp has (or hasn't) done to keep us safe from further attacks.

I had a passing thought the other day about 9/11 and the disappointment I have with our country's response to it. We went from immediate shock and horror, to actively seeking a payback, and now a generally blase feeling about - at least so far as I can tell.

What if our response had been different? What if we had simply done the necessary things to bring those responsible to justice? What then? Would we have been able to move on and focus on the bigger picture? Would we be able to commemorate the anniversary of these horrible deaths with a bit more...I'm searching for the right word...pride? What I'm trying to say is so long as that dingbat is in the White House, he will keep us psychologically stuck on September 11, 2001.

Imagine, if you will, a president that took us forward - and focused us all on a brighter future. Next year, we have the opportunity to put this horror behind us. At long last. It's time.





PS: After writing this post, I came across this post from Anna Quindlin in Newsweek. She says it better than me, but it's a similar message.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cape Cod Wonderfulness

So, is summer officially over? For us, perhaps it is after our almost-a-week vacation on Cape Cod. We must have done something very right to experience the near-perfect weather. It was around 80 degrees every day, with almost painfully clear blue skies, and just slightly chilly evenings.

The best part of the week was our location at the Chatham Tides. We had an oceanfront room, with our own deck from which we enjoyed breakfast every day. Bobbers was smart enough to bring the portable XM radio, so we dined al fresco with jazz or blues accompaniment each morning, wearing sunglasses and going barefoot all the while.

Inspired by the soft ocean breezes and relaxed atmosphere, we didn't do a lot - we shopped some, enjoyed some short drives to the Cape's outermost points - like Wellfleet and Provincetown, topped off with some great dinners. The best were at the Nauset Beach Club in Orleans and Pisces, just up the road from us in South Chatham. If you find yourself lucky enough to be on the Cape, try them out.

Here's some pictures to remind us of what we're missing as the weather turns to fall and the days get shorter...Enjoy!