Thursday, June 30, 2011

At The Baseball Game

I love watching baseball games. I can't remember a time when I didn't. I got to know Eric in High School when I was the baseball team manager and he was a player on the team. He was shy, but he'd always wander over to my spot on the bench to see what the score was. At the time I didn't realize that he was a stats guy, that he always knew what the score was, but he just wanted to talk to me. Silly kids. Anyway, a love of baseball goes way back....for both of us. We watch a lot of games during the summer. Here is a typical one.

Billy has been playing outfield quite a bit on this team. He catches sometimes, but mostly plays out in the field. This team has 12 players and they keep the playing time they play a full game and then play a half game. Last night was a half game for left field. He didn't get any action out there.

This was Billy's first at bat. His hitting has really been coming around the last few weeks. He looks pretty confident here....

....and then a pitch comes in high and inside...right at his head! He turned and got out of the way enough to protect his head...whew....then he laid there a little while. Then he got up and gave the pitcher the nastiest stink eye I've seen in a long time. He wasn't a happy camper...

...but he was a base runner. He took a lead.....

...they tried and failed to pick him off.

He took a bigger lead....

...and when the time was just right he took off... at second. We do a lot of baseball laundry around here.

He made it to third...and there he stayed until the end of the inning.

In between innings I asked him if he was ok. He snarled at me that he was fine. Alrighty then. Before too long it was his turn to bat again. He's looking pretty serious. And still a little cranky. He fouled one off. Then....

...the pitch came in and with a mighty swing and the crack of the bat he was off....

...running to first...I peeked to see where the ball had gone, it was headed to the fence at center field....

....running to 2nd.....

...oh...he's not slowing down...

...headed towards 3rd...

....the ball is coming....the boy is diving head first....

...and sliding foooorrrreeeeevvvveeeerrrrr......

...into 3rd. The ball got there, but the 3rd baseman caught it but was behind the base.

Billy got there in a small cloud of dust....

....the ump got there in time to make the call....

....SAFE! He was in with a 3 run triple.

Hey pitcher....that will learn ya for tossing a ball at my boys head! And then Billy ended up stranded at 3rd base. And then it was his turn to sit. Sigh. They won the game 6 to 2. It was an exciting game. And I'm glad that Billy wasn't hurt. They play the same team again tonight, at home. Hopefully the fun will continue.

Having a boy that loves the game has been pretty wonderful for us. I watch and take pictures....and keep the uniform washed. Eric helps to coach and keeps the book and the stats. The down side is that our other son Brian isn't interested and isn't a part of it at all. We would never push him into playing a sport if he doesn't want to. He played when he was little but didn't enjoy it....and that's perfectly fine. The hard thing has been to keep an equal balance of time with them when one boy is so active in sports and the other boy is mostly interested in things that are more solitary. I do know that it's not right to spend more time with one child than the other, but it also doesn't seem right to not be a part of something that the other one is so passionate about. It's hard sometimes, and not fair. But I think that the key is that they both know that time spent watching a game doesn't equal love....and that supporting what they love, and loving them both more than anything else in the world are the things that balance it all.

Slowly But Surely

Slowly but surely it's warming up and starting to feel like summer. Sunday morning started out cloudy and cool. By Sunday evening it was feeling warmer...and it's been a little bit warmer every day since.

Billy's team played well on Saturday. His grandparents came down for the final game of the evening. Billy had a great game. He made a nice throw from right field to get a runner out at second....and he hit a home run! His last over the fence home run in baseball was when he was in 5th grade, so it was pretty exciting. Even better since his grandparents were there to see it.

Sunday's games didn't go nearly as well, the team lost big and then lost in the 3rd place game. But Billy kept his head up and played his best....and in the end that's what matters.

Monday was sunny and almost an average temperature. Average felt pretty darned good. The daisies are blooming. A little sunshine can go a long way to improve all sorts of things, especially my mood!

I missed Billy's game so I could play in our co-rec softball game. We won against a team that usually beats us pretty easily. It felt pretty nice. Maybe it was the sunshine that brought our win. What ever it was, I'll take it!

Tuesday was warmer yet. Upper 70's, a few clouds floating by. A perfect day. The roses are blooming like crazy.....and we finally got to golf with no concerns about the weather.

Walking around a golf course, pulling a cart, hitting a ball every now and again, chatting with friends...a perfect eveing. As perfect as it was, I have to admit that I had a pretty big lump in my throat for a couple of holes. The course where we play is out in the country surrrounded by farm land...there was a farmer cutting hay in a field that bordered a couple of the holes that we were playing. A farmer driving an IH tractor, pulling a Heston mower...such a familiar sight, familiar sounds and even smells....made me think about my dad....and miss him so much. He's always close to my heart.

Wednesday was almost hot. The humidity is coming, you could feel it. But it was sunny, and there was a nice breeze, and it was finally a perfect night for baseball.

Perfect except that Billy got hit by a pitch...if he hadn't put his arm up it would have hit him in the head. He was ok, but it made him cranky. Cranky enough that he hit a triple his next at bat. That will teach them to hit my boy. I'll post a baseball re-cap a little later today.

The forecast is calling for hotter and more humid today. Heat warnings in effect. Temperatures in the mid 90's with humidity making it feel like 105. What about a happy medium? What about average? Average is good. But I guess that since the cold days and the warm days all get added together to find that average we just have to roll with it. Roll with it and turn on the air conditioner. And find something cold to drink with ice. And stop complaining.

I hope that the days are perfect wherever you happen to be. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Liquid Sunshine

Sunshine they said. Warm temps they said. Here we have some cool liquid sunshine. 64 and rainy. Really? What about the upper 70's and sunshine that we were promised for the weekend? How can the forecasts be so wrong all of the time?

Maybe they are just telling us what we want to hear so there isn't a mass exodus south. Or so we don't throw things at the TV. Whatever the reason, they sure got it wrong again. But that's ok, the game goes on. Eric's helping with coaching Billy's team this year. During baseball season, this is about all I see of him....his hand attached to the score book. Sometimes I text him to check on the score if I lose track. He doesn't seem to mind. Sometimes I text him to say that I think he's cute. :-)

Another thing that I see a lot of is the darned fence. I like the fence when balls are flying at me, but it's kind of a pain to take pictures through it all the time. It's not so bad when you can get up close to it, but today I was holding my keep that liquid sunshine off of me...and it was harder to get close. But my boy made a couple of good stretches at first. That's fun to see whether it's through a fence or through the rain drops or whatever.

My favorite thing to see is this boy, playing ball, having fun doing something that he truly loves. I think he's cute too.

They are in a tournament this weekend. They had an easy win last night, today they were down 7 to 1 early in the game, but chipped away, didn't give up and then with 2 boys on, one of Billy's team mates hit a 3 run homer to tie it up. It was the boys first home run ever. Exciting! A couple of more runs, and they ended up winning 9 to 8. Now they just need to win tonight and they'll be playing tomorrow. I hope that they do...
...because tomorrow it's supposed to be 80 and sunny....and I've got to believe that one of these days the forecast will be right! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Days Ahead

Something very strange happened last night. It had been a cold, damp and cloudy day....again. And then it was time to go to the baseball game....and something strange happened. You know what it was?? The SUN CAME OUT! Sunshine! Beautiful sunshine!

Sunshine with a forecast of warmer days ahead. Could it be? We've been waiting for summer to arrive for a long, long time.

The sun was out for a while today. It got all the way up to 75 degrees. Only 5 more degrees and it would have been an average June temperature! A forecast of 79 tomorrow...then 82...but they are throwing that darned chance of showers in there again.

But the extended forecast is calling for 80+ for next week. There's hope. That's good, because there are baseball games to be played, and softball games, and golf and the lawn needs mowing. And hammocks to swing in. It's summer in Minnesota, there's a lot to fit in.

I'm so glad that it's finally here! I hope that the weather is fine where you are. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Catching Up Yet Again

I went and got behind again. Somehow between working, softball, golf, baseball, my oldest graduating from High School and a darned graduation party I got behind. I've still been taking pictures though. This one was taken at night, after a softball game when I realized that I hadn't taken a photo all day.

I consider it as getting some practice using my flash. It had been 100 degrees and humid that day, might be a part of the reason I hadn't ventured out to take a picture.

The next day was crazy hot...and windy! The car thermometer read 104 degrees on my way to golf. Luckily there was a gale force wind to keep us alive. Someone compared the hot, windy day with a hair dryer blowing on us all day. Pretty much summed it up.

We had rented a cart that day and drove around the course. Since we were driving I took the camera with. The sunset was a welcome site that evening.

I normally take a picture of the boys next to the front door on their first and last days of school. Brian was running late and didn't have time. This was all that I got...his back as he headed for the bus. Last day of his senior year of High School. How in the world did that happen?

Billy had one extra day of school to finish up finals and stuff. He also had a baseball game that day. He likes to get dirty diving back to first.

He didn't get dirty enough that day, they lost their game. Oh well, it builds character.

First he has his last day of High School, then he goes and graduates. It's a lot for a mom to think about. Brian's graduation ceremony was held at Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota. Just over 800 kids graduated in a little over 2 hours.

Brian was happy, Billy was proud of his older brother, grandparents came down for the event and we all survived it. It was a good day.

We had a beautiful, warm Saturday that I spent inside cleaning the darned house. All the windows have been washed. I went through two bottles of window cleaner. I got to enjoy the beautiful day through my clean windows. Since then it has rained and rained and rained. Now all of my clean windows have spots.

Cleaning is not for the weak of heart.

I had a lot left to do, with the graduation party less than a week away, but I needed a break so I went to Billy's baseball game. It was the last game of the tournament that they were in that weekend. They played in the friendship game.

Our boys took it to 'em and won by a lot. Not sure what's so friendly about that. It sounds better than the losers bracket I guess.

I planted a lot of red and white flowers for the graduation party. The school colors are red, white and black. I'm more of a pink flower girl, but I'm liking the red more than I thought I would.

Another Tuesday, another golf night, but it was raining, raining, raining. I spend a lot of time dumping water out of my flower pots. Where is summer?

I used the break from golf to work on a slide show for Brian's party. And more cleaning. Things get undone faster than I can do them. I didn't train my boys very well I guess.

The sun came out long enough to get some outdoor painting done. Why do party's bring out the big urge to get those things you've been putting off for a long time done?

The list was longer than the days to do them....especially when the weather wouldn't co-operate.

The end of the week was slow for graphic design work, which was nice timing for me! Brian and I went to a little bit of Billy's baseball game, just to get out of the house.

Friday the 17th, one day until the party. Our mom's came down to help me get things ready. Help that I needed. I wasn't feeling nervous, just sort of over whelmed with how much stuff needed to be done.

There is nothing better than having help come in when you are feeling over whelmed. I was grateful.

Party day. The tent was arriving at 9:00 a.m. My friend Kris was coming at 12:00 o'clock to help with the last minute stuff. The forecast was iffy, 30 percent chance of rain. I kept telling myself that meant 70 percent chance that it wouldn't rain. It rained all day. Rained and rained and rained. I didn't get a picture of the tent or the decorations. I did get a picture of Brian with his cake...and this close up where the cake doesn't show.

Eric's folks brought a runner that saved my carpeting from getting soaked. People didn't use the tent very much, the ground was mushy from the 1" of rain that we had the night before. About 1/3 of the people I was expecting didn't show up...but in spite all of that, it was a really fun day. Fun to see old friends. Fun to see Brian interacting with people. Fun even though it rained. Worth the work. Now if my house will stay clean for a few days I will be really happy.

We had sent our dog to the farm for the day of the party. I'm glad that we did since it rained and rained and a wet dog would have added a little too much excitement for me. So on Sunday, Fathers Day and our 29th anniversary, Eric and I drove to the farm to get the dog. We stopped by and wished his dad a Happy Fathers day. Then we stopped at the cemetery and wished my dad one too. A quick visit with my brother and then my mom and we headed back home in time stop at a friends graduation party and then on to Billy's baseball game. Yikes.

It was a busy day...but it felt so nice to have the party behind us! The boys were playing for the tournament championship. They lost, but 2nd place isn't half bad.

Monday felt like the first day of the rest of the summer. Or something. I was tired, I slept late, I read for a while, I picked up some of the things that we had left outside from the party...because guess what, it was supposed to rain again. I wanted the graduation party to feel like an old fashioned picnic. Daisies and lilies in Ball jars on tables with 1950's style table clothes...and no photos from that day. Here are the flowers lined up on the railing to my back door.

Eric and Brian headed south to Winona to get Brian signed up for classes and to pick up his lap-top. That left us short a male softball player, so Billy filled in. His first time playing softball and the kid hits a grand slam home run. I'm not sure whose smile was bigger, his or mine.

The rain held out until after the softball game, and it really hasn't stopped for very long since. Eric and Brian made it home ok from Winona after driving through some heavy rain. Golf was cancelled again, but then the sun came out for an hour or so.

It's the 22nd of June and we've rarely seen a day warm up higher than in the 70's. Cold, wet, damp, rainy.... was cancelled for tonight because of the rain. But the Twins will be playing in I can snuggle up in my sweatshirt under a blanket and watch some baseball anyway.

And maybe make some hot chocolate. And dream about how it's summer, somewhere.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that the sun is shining where you are!