Monthly Archives: June 2013

Baseball – The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

I simultaneously love and hate baseball season.  The hate primarily comes from having to get there two evenings a week.  It’s a mad dash home from work, throwing dinner together, shoveling it in, and then racing out the door in order to get there in time for a half-hour practice before the 6:00 game.  The game then goes until about 7:45, at which time we race home, jump into pajamas, brush teeth, and lights out.  I can’t pull together anything particularly nutritious or satisfying for dinner – we’re talking frozen pizza or chicken nuggets and some carrot sticks.  I try to put healthy things on the table so that we can have a healthy meal together, but during baseball season, I feel like I fail miserably at that goal.

The upside is that there are some really great aspects of baseball.  Spending at least two nights a week sitting outside in the fresh air, soaking up the setting sun is pleasant.  Watching Lydia bloom on the baseball diamond is amazing.  She is really a joy to behold.  She embraces every challenge that is thrown at her, and she relishes every second of it.  So very, very different from my sports experience as a child – I really don’t know where she came from.

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Marching with her team in the Memorial Day parade.

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Baseball ready!

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Look at that stance!

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Catcher is her favorite position.

Aaron is also playing baseball this season.  It’s coach-pitch, a step up from t-ball last year.  This is the first year that he’s been an active participant, rather than needed me to hand-hold and nudge him along.  He’s having fun, and his hitting, throwing, and catching are coming along very nicely.  His games are a bit less of a trial – Saturday mornings are generally easy for us – we bring a snack, hang out, watch the “game”, then head home for lunch.  Much more relaxed than the stress surrounding Lydia’s games!

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I’m always so relieved when baseball season is over, but truth be told, I hope they both decide to play again next year.  They have so much fun, and I have to admit that the positives outweigh the negatives for me!

 

 

 

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Garden Watch 2013

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time of year when the novice gardener tries again to grow delicious edibles in her backyard.  Each year, I try something a little different to see if I get better results.  I’m wondering if maybe I planted too many plants last year, which ended up being too crowded.  This year, I’ve planted fewer plants, and further apart.  Who knows… maybe it’ll work.

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Nicely weeded beds before planting.

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Strawberry plants. They share this bed with acorn squash and zucchini.

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Cucumbers. We planted an entire bed just with cucumbers… they are easy to grow, delicious, and can be made into refrigerator pickles if we end up with too many to eat at once!

A couple of years ago we bought a few small raspberry plants at a plant sale and planted them in a corner of the back yard.  They have gone wild – we had to trim them back pretty severely, and we built kind of a corral to keep them in place.  They are now covered with buds – it’ll be a good year for raspberries at our house!

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Raspberries!

 

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Quabbin Gate 40

A few weekends ago we decided to head over to the eastern side of the Quabbin to Gate 40.  We had been there once before.  It’s probably the most historically interesting gate, because it goes to the center of what used to be Dana, MA.  The buildings are gone, of course, but the town common is still there, and there are several cellar holes to explore.  When we got to the common, we saw that they have added some information about several of the sites.  There are photographs of what used to be there, mounted on wooden posts in the aspect that the photo was taken.  It turns out (I googled later!) that this was a Girl Scout Gold Award project (like the Eagle Scout Award, but for girls) for a local teenager whose great-grandfather lived in the center of Dana.

The pictures are apparently engraved on aluminum plates, and then encased in a glass frame.  It was really hard to take pictures of the pictures, but I tried.  This is the best one – it’s of the Eagle House Hotel which was on the Northwest corner of the common:

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Here is the same site today.  You can see the same trees on either side, just like in the picture.  And that’s Nate and the kids looking at where the front door used to be, and down into the cellar hole.

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This is the road leading to the common, as seen from the front lawn of what used to be the town hall.

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Sidewalk leading up to the Dana Town Hall.

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Dana Town Common with memorial marker.

There are a lot of interesting trees there.  They are very old, and they haven’t been maintained.  You can tell that many of them were planted to line the streets, and there they remain.

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There was a mowed path through a field leading to what looked like a trail in the woods.  We decided to check it out.

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We didn’t realize we were so close to the water there.  Just on the other side of those trees was a steep path down to the shore.

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No trip to the common would be complete without the requisite picnic lunch.  Since Aaron is on his own bike now, we loaded up the bike trailer with more food that we could possibly have eaten at one sitting.  Why do I always over pack for picnics?

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Goodbye, town of Dana – we’ll catch you next time!

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Memory Monday

I was reminded of this memory while talking with a co-worker this week.  She told me about how her husband tried to dig a rock out of their lawn, and kept digging and digging and digging, and finally realizing that the rock was HUGE, and only the very tippity-top was poking out above the surface.

That made me think of Nate and the Great Swing-Set Debacle of 1998.  We bought our house in Berkeley in 1996, and slowly started working on the yard.  We had a small back yard (the house being on a corner lot), and there was an ancient iron bar which probably had once upon a time held a swing.  It was basically the 1940’s version of a swing set.  We didn’t have kids, and didn’t know when we would have kids, so we thought, “Well, let’s get rid of that thing.”

So Nate started digging.  We figured the bar went down a little ways under the dirt, and we’d pull it up and take it to the dump and voila – all set.  Then we realized that the ends were encased in concrete under the soil.  So we kept digging.  And when I say “we”, I mean Nate.  And we dug, and dug, and dug.  Finally – FINALLY – we were able to rock the end loose and pull it up.  It weighed a ton!  And there were 2 of them!  They were so heavy that we had to take them to the dump separately – the car couldn’t take the weight of both of them at the same time.

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The proud papa.

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It’s hard to get the perspective from this picture! But that’s a three foot deep hole!!

Our yard in Berkeley ended up being lovely.  We had three plum trees, a gorgeous fuchsia, a giant lavender plant, a rosemary bush taller than I am, a clematis climbing a trellis… it’s amazing to think how different the climate is between here and there.  Stay tuned for a post about gardening and composting 3000 miles away from the temperate climes of the Bay Area!

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Hotter Than Hades

So what do you do on a Friday afternoon in May when it’s 95 degrees out?  You hook up the sprinkler and get your water slide going!

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There’s nothing that a sprinkler can’t fix.

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