the cactus league :: chapter one, baseball

Steve and I just returned from a four day trip that felt like a real vacation. We flew to Phoenix for Spring Training in Scottsdale. It was a last minute trip, with a few unexpected surprises. Some  good, some were rookie mistakes. Let’s start with the baseball chapter, shall we?

We were joining our good friends, Dave and Vicki, who were smart enough to make their reservations in January, rather than three weeks ago. Therefore, they were in town, not a half hour away…but were great scouts and knew that Scottsdale is full of golf cart cabbies who will drive you around for tips only. Handy, yes?

We saw two SF Giants games, with the White Sox and Texas Rangers. Did you read about Will Ferrell playing for 10 teams in one day? We were team 8. He arrived via helicopter, on the freakin’ field, and hit for the White Sox and caught for the Giants, before he was pulled by Bochy. Hilarity ensued. I video taped the helicopter, but it’s blurry, and over the cheers of the crowd one might hear a voice saying, “I am videotaping, but I can’t see anything… is that him, is that him?” It was the camera man.

Back to baseball…it was swell. And I’ll do it again. More games, more water, better seats. Maybe a few teams other than the Giants. But gosh, I do love baseball.

Up first, Camelback Stadium, home of the Chicago White Sox and LA Dodgers,  a little Mad Bum, classic Posey with Travis, Will as a White Sox, Will catching (he called for a pitch out and still made us laugh.IMG_0894 IMG_0901 IMG_0913 IMG_0924 IMG_0955 IMG_0961 IMG_0972

Next up, Scottsdale Stadium. Not shown, a delicious hotdog. A little Joe Panik, and a little more…a new view from Third Base, Belt (he hit a triple and was thrown out stealing home) and Roberto Kelley.

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Win on the games, the dinners, the company. Win on not drinking alcohol during the day and drinking plenty of water (and generous with the suncreen). Win on bring the right clothes, though a few too many. Rookie Mistakes: we never made it to the fields early enough for batting practice. Also, dugout store on game day, never a good idea. We brought our own coffee and a nifty new collapsible filter (win) but had lousy breakfasts. I am pretty sure Scottsdale knows how to do breakfast, we just never did.

Tomorrow, the cactusyness of Arizona.

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march madness

This weekend we watched Season Three of House of Cards. That’s pretty much it. Friday night we had take out sushi, Saturday night take out Korean BBQ tacos. There was some exercise, a little gardening, and some ukulele strumming. I also wrote this piece about the mythology of Facebook. But pretty much we hunkered down with Frank and Claire Underwood and watched pretty people behaving badly. So on Sunday we decided it might be best to get out and about. We chose Mt. Diablo State Park, where we had never been. You know the ten minutes in spring when northern California is green? This was it. Spectacular.

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where I live

California’s Central Valley. It’s flat. It gets hot. It’s in between some neat places. But typically, it’s not one of our state’s beauty spots. It’s fertile, but we don’t always think of it as fabulous. In fact, I’ve been known to say (on a weekly basis), I really want to move someplace beautiful. But you know, on Sunday, February 22, I think this qualifies as beautiful.

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Our week wasn’t perfect. One of my favorite people on the planet has breast cancer, another friend’s journey is ending. There’s plenty of good in my life, but you know, cancer sucks. Last weekend I found some awesome orchards, but seven days later, the blooms were gone. Luckily, there were new ones, and as I drove around in circles, in my corner of the valley, I did see beauty. Everywhere.

It’s where I live. I’m here, and it’s good.

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yay for love

We knew it was coming. We knew they were committed to each other, and that they would build their lives together. What we didn’t know was how excited, delighted, surprised and overjoyed we would feel when we got the phone call.

“Mom, he gave me a ring. We’re getting married.”

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I screamed. Truthfully, it might have been more of a shriek.

In true Kate + Brendan form, it’s not a traditional ring. But they have a charming proposal story (Steve and I don’t have one…it was more a cajole than a proposal, but it worked out anyway), and I am going to have a son-in-law.

Giddy. I am giddy.

Kate + Brendan have a lightness about them. It’s not just how they are together, but how all of us are when we are around them. It’s enough to make you believe in lifelong love.  I always believed, because I have it with Steve. And now she has it.

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I smile every time I think about it. About them. The future, with them in it, forever and ever.

June 2016. Alex has the Pinterest board started. Yay for love.

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well, that didn’t go exactly as planned

It’s Saturday morning. Second cup of coffee. It’s sunny, a little windy. January 31. That would be the time we start our traditional first-flu-of-the-year-a-thon.

It snuck in Monday night. We came home from our San Francisco weekend a little more tired than we expected. We went to the gym before dinner on Monday, and both remarked that while we worked out hard, we really shouldn’t be that wiped out. Never suspecting…

It’s been Steve who has been down. He’s been sleeping for four days, rising (that’s a very loose interpretation of rising) every so often to watch something on his iPad. He went through The Americans, Alpha House, and The Interview. This morning he told me he started Season One of Friends. I told you this was serious.

I’ve been going to the studio, working and worrying a bit, and finding alternative Wednesday night dates. Two tickets to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain magically appeared, and I was able to magically invite my friend Nancy. I watched the farewell episode of Parenthood alone. That show has annoyed me over the years, but it does know how to make my eyes leak. Sniff.

I stopped by the Yolo Wildlife Basin one evening and took some photos of the beautiful light. One of them is on the new masthead. I took it from my car. Talk about magic.

And I wrote a few things that made me happy, or sad, or at least wistful. I wrote a few more things and was excited that I was excited about writing again. My year-long experiment with Fifty|Fifty Vision is about up, and I think I may keep it and change it up a bit…and maybe morph this blog into that one. Or maybe not…and just keep silly, personal stuff here (and yes, this post is part of that experiment).

Steve is up this morning (again, a relative term) and attempting his second container of lemon lime Jello. If he can handle that, there’s tapioca, chocolate pudding and mashed potatoes waiting for him. Also Canada Dry AND Seven Up, plus three magazines and nine more seasons of Friends.

It’s gonna be a wild weekend, I can smell it. I am going to make it through without succumbing. But I have a few magazines for myself, just in case.

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24 hours, words and pictures

This weekend Steve and I did our chores, then packed our duffles and headed west. First stop, Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, where I had a gift certificate to squander, and he had some tiles to test (chalkboard backsplash replaced with something grownup, coming soon). Met up with a blogger friend, Risa, and her husband (a blind date, which went exceptionally well) for an awesome dinner in Mill Valley. Then we walked to Sweetwater Music Hall to hear Tim Flannery and the Lunatic Fringe. Fun show, but I think my SRO concert days are limited.

We stayed in Tiburon and in the morning got up to run around the point, slept in, had breakfast and wandered to San Francisco to see the Keith Haring show at the deYoung. It was powerful, inspiring and kind of exhausting.

Take out Dim Sum (thanks Monica for helping us remember where to go), a drive home, and a nap. A really long nap. I will be ready for the week by Tuesday.

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21 years ago today, this happened

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And she looked like this:

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And became this:

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And she grew into this:

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Which I have to say, is kind of spectacular. Happy Birthday Alexandra Rose. You are more than I ever imagined, and you are truly an adventure. Keep going. Love, Mom

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