Sunday, July 31, 2011

Don't Mess With The Baseball Bat: A Softball Sunday Story

Tonight was our last softball game of the season.   Again I was not really looking forward to it because of the heat.  I heard that it was supposed to rain Sunday night and Monday morning and I was hoping that it would at least hold off until after our games were done.  No rain but it was still a bust.

You see... our opposing team had many issues.  They were tardy.  They were unorganized.  They were un-athletic.  They couldn't pitch.  They couldn't field the ball either.  It took us forever to start the game and when we were 40 minutes into it, we were only in the 3rd inning.  We should have been at least into 5 or 6 by then.  But what put the umpire over the edge, and thus calling both games in our favor, was what transpired when they took the field in the top of the next inning.

They were again slow to take the field but words were exchanged between the first baseman and the pitcher.  I heard a couple of F-bombs.  We were in shock that they were fighting...they are on the same team.  Next thing I see, the pitcher going back to the bench to grab a baseball bat and then he swaggered back towards first base, threatening to use it as a weapon.

I will refrain from disclosing their ethnicity.  But it's acts like this that give a group of people a bad rap. We're here to have fun and play the great American summer sport.  This behavior might fly in a bar league, but this is through Community Ed and the fields are in a family neighborhood park.  We, as adults, are role models for the kids that are playing in and around these parks.  If they see unsportsmanlike, they pick it up too.  You need to respect the other team, but even more important, respect your TEAMMATES!

"What did we do next?" you might be asking.  The same thing you would do in this situation....we headed to the 5-8 Club to unwind, chill out and grab some beers. 

While we were at the 5-8 Club, I was chatting with a girl who was playing catcher.  She said that the umpire must have know about the behavior of this team.  He said that we would be lucky to make it to 4 innings.  Yup.  That's about right.  But you have to admit that we went out with some flare!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Movie Monday

You Again
Date of Viewing: Sunday, July 24, 2011
Method of Viewing: Netflix
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Big Names: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Victor Garber, Betty White, Kristin Chenoweth, Cloris Leachman and Patrick Duffy ( even if they both only has 2 minutes of screen time)

Date of Viewing:  Sunday, July 24, 2011
Method of Viewing: Wynnsong 15; Mounds View, MN
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Big Names: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Adam Sandberg, Emma Stone and a cameo of Shaun White

Funny, funny, funny movies!

I spent most of "You Again" wishing I could punch the daughters in the face.  So much high school angst....just let it go.  I did enjoy the feuding between Jamie Lee and Sigourney.  And there's a l.o.l. moment at the very end between Betty and Cloris.  If you're having a girls' movie night, this is definitely a movie you would want to rent.  All the fighting and arguing throughout the movie is worth the end reward.

I saw "No Strings Attached" when it came out even though I didn't do a Movie Monday about it.  This movie stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman.  I would classify this movie as more romantic than comedy.  "Friends With Benefits" is more comedy than romantic.  Isn't it funny that similar movies come out around each other.  "Chasing Liberty" and "First Daughter".  "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon".  "The Illusionist" and "The Prestige".  As I was searching for other movies for more examples beyond these, I can across this blog.  It seems like I'm not the only one who's thought about this.

Sorry.  I'm getting off topic.  "Friends With Benefits" is the superior of the two.  I like Ashton and Natalie, but Justin and Mila have better on-screen chemistry.  And I'm so happy that Justin has found his footing in acting.  He's much better here than he was in "The Social Network".   You also get to see his tushy.

The plot goes deeper than just what the title tells you about the movie.  These characters have flaws...commitment and family issues.  You root for the couple (and their families) and wonder if they'll ever get over said issues and just move onto the next step.  I'll stop talking before I give anything away.  This is most definitely a sexy date movie!  The creepiest part was that couples that looked like my parents were in the theater too.  I would die if I saw my dad at this movie.  But I shouldn't have to worry.  He's more into action films.   Phew!

A side note worth mentioning:   I had a sister date and dinner afterwords.  We went to Chili's.  Did you know that if you bring in a current movie ticket stub, you get a free brownie a la mode dessert.  Times two if your partner has their ticket too.  Yummy!  Thanks Chili's!

Friday, July 22, 2011

In Remembrance

In Remembrance Of 
 James Schirmers
 May circa late 1940s- July 22, 2011

This picture was taken at Uncle Jim and Aunt Darlene's 25 Wedding Anniversary in 2007.
I'll always remember Uncle Jim sporting wife beater tank tops and trucker hats. 
Here he is accessorizing them by wearing a boutonniere.

( I wish I had a better quality photograph.  It's the only picture I could find that could be supported by a flash drive.  Thirty-five mm film isn't helpful until it' burned onto a disk. )

I ask that you continue to keep my aunt and cousins in your thoughts and prayers.  They surely are in need of them at this time of loss.  Thank you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Prayers Needed

This morning I got a phone call from my mom at work.  I've told her that only in an emergency should she call me at work.  Otherwise, just leave a message on my cell phone.

My heart races quickly as I dread something has happened to my dad.  He's has some heart issues but I think things have leveled out a bit and he knows his physical endurance limitations. 

It was actually about one of my uncle who lives in California.  (They were/are suppose to be coming to Minnesota for a couple of weeks in the beginning of August.)  Yesterday something happened to him at work and now he's in a coma.  I don't know many details, but my mom mentioned something about a hornet.  Maybe he got stung and this is his allergic reaction or maybe he had a heart attack or stroke. 

I hope he pulls through.  I have to remain optomistic until I hear other news.  I can't imagine life without my dad.  I don't want my aunt and cousins to have to experience that.  It's too soon.

So I'm asking for you to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. 

"Waiting For A Loved One"

This prayer is to Our Lord in Heaven above
Please be with us,and help us
To have the Wisdom and Patience to wait,

And help with all aspects
Of our Coma Patient's
Recovery Process Dear Lord
With Your Guidance and Love.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Will I Do In 2012??

Last week I got my vacation schedule for 2012.  In the dental office I'm at, I don't really get to choose when I get vacation time.  I just follow my doctor's schedule.  She works, I work.  She's off, I'm off.  Now I can take time off in addition to hers in case I have big trip or event planned.  But with how many days I get off and how little PTO I accrue, the extra days would probably be unpaid leave. I don't think so.  I also have to option of working when she's off, but it would be as a float at another clinic and I'm not doing that either.

I kind of like things the way they are.  I don't have any major plans for 2012 besides turning 30! 

One of the girls on my team noticed that our doctor took 2 weeks of vacation for her birthday in October.  We thought maybe she had a big trip planned but she had a "milestone" birthday in 2010.  She says she just felt like it.  Someone had said maybe she should take us to Vegas all the October birthdays. ( On a six member team, three have October birthdays.) 

Once the idea was out there, we all were like...."Yeah.  Let's all go!"  I have only been there once back in '03.  It wasn't for very long.  We flew in Friday night and flew out Sunday morning.  Again, it was with dental people and it was for a gal's bachlorette party.

**Side-notes:  Pass on the male "dancers".  Been there.  Done that.  Not worth it.
 Take a taxi or light-rail (they were building something like that in '03.  We could have used it instead of walking the 2 1/2 miles from the Old School Vegas to the new Vegas aka. The Strip.  My feet hurt for days.
Don't talk to anybody.  Too many creepy homeless people.
Don't TAKE things from anybody especially little kids.  Unless you really do wanna call a 1-800 number at 3 a.m. 

Okay...back on topic.  Going to Vegas ain't cheap.  So I'm gonna start now.  I'm committing $50 bucks from every pay check to my Vegas fund.  By next Summer I'll have over $1200 for airfare, hotel and leisure.  If I have any extra cash, I'll just put it toward the new car fund that I intend to start as soon as the Vegas fund is done.  That should take the ouch off of the pocket book.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fly Ball Catcher

When Softball Sundays come around, it's a love/hate relationship.  I love the sights, sounds and smells of it.  But on nights like tonight....not so much.  When you're playing in the 90 degree humidity and the drizzle, the line between rain and sweat is blurry. 

Somebody was smart enough to bring Gatorade for all of us.  We definitely benefited from the re-hydrating electrolytes.  We swept both games.

When our double header was over, I took off my socks and shoes to put on my flip flops.  My toes were all wrinkly as if I was in the bath tub.  And my feet were still so sweaty that I couldn't keep my flip flops on.  I had to walk back to the car barefoot.

Tonight was my night.  I got a base hit, a couple of walks and made it to home base once.  But I was on fire in right field.  I caught 3 fly balls, two of which were from a lefty.  And I didn't just catch balls; I did some moves that were a little more fancy.  The first was behind my back ( I was running away from the batter into deeper outfield territory).  The second I ran up on because I knew that the Second Basemen couldn't get to it.  The third I caught like a football.  One minute it was in my glove, the next I was cradling it like a baby.

Catching those fly balls felt so good.  To steal those away from some big guys is like saying "Haha.  Not on my watch!"  For those of you who don't know much about co-ed softball, they usually put sub-par girls in right field.  And I'm not sub-par.  I would prefer to play second base or catcher but those positions are already spoken for.  First and short-stop go to guys and I'm definitely NOT taking third.  So that leaves me outfield.  Surprise, surprise for those big burly guys to underestimate me.

Only one more Softball Sunday left of the season.  Let's hope things go just as well as tonight.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Hoo-rah

Today is the last day of my vacation.  Tomorrow I inevitably have to return to work but today I can still be in denial.  I want to go out for one last hoo-rah.

In Friday's edition of the Star Tribune I saw an article promoting the new African Penguins exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo.  As far as I knew, the zoo was closed.....but I was wrong.  The article also said that a Minneapolis judge had made a ruling that the zoo didn't need state funds to operate.  Which means they are open for business and I'm going to the zoo!

I did some research online on how to get there and ticket prices.  $18 bucks a person, plus parking, plus monorail passes.  And $3.85 for a gas.  This is going to get spendy.  In their FAQs, there was a question about discounted passes. 

I haven't been to library in forever, but I remember seeing museum passes at the checkout counters.  Yesterday's agenda was finding a pass because on Sunday's either libraries are closed or they open super late.  So I sent my sister on a goose chase....Johnsville, Northtown and Mounds View.  They were all sold out.  I got done working at the Y around 4:45.  I called my sister to see if she had any luck (nope!) so I decided I was going to run over to Rum River in Anoka before I headed home.

Boy was I lucky.  I made every green light and I sprinted to the door in hopes that I could get in before they closed the doors at 5pm.  I arrived at 4:58!  The museum display caught my eye right away, crossed my fingers that they still had MN Zoo passes, which they did.  I just saved $36. 

After this afternoon, I'll be able to cross off the MN Zoo from my Summer Bucket List.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How To Spend A Perfect Wednesday Afternoon

How would you spend a sunny Wednesday afternoon while on vacation?

This is how I spent such a day!

My view from under a shade tree.

My front patio and all my flowers

Blanket, lawn chair, pillow, tunes and a book.  Don't need much else.  Well, maybe a chilled drink.

Puffy clouds

I missed getting a picture of a bluebird on the feeder.  I startled him off when I grabbed the camera.

But some other birdies showed up.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saint Paul Saints

The St. Paul Saints game was a bust.
For starters, the game time on the ticket said 7:05 but it actually started closer to 7:45.  All the pre-game stuff started at 7:05....ceremony first pitches, Purple Heart award veterans, more first pitches, more veteran speeches, a little army recruiting video on the big screen.  Let's Play Ball!

We were only into the top of the 2nd inning when half the crowd got up and started to leave.  I was confused as to why all these people were leaving.  That's when I did a 180* and saw a black wall cloud coming straight towards us.  What do we do??  Do we go along with everyone else or do we stick it out and wait for it pass??

We decided to stick it out.  I paid $30 for these tickets and I wasn't going to leave after 10 minutes of baseball because of a silly black cloud.

Not five minutes later, the rain started to fall and the game was called.  With nowhere to go, we were stuck in the rain for 2 hours.  The Saints announcer kept saying that we needed to clear the metal stand seats but with all the people that left earlier, the shelters were full.  It was a road block of people.

I did have a sun visor on to save my glasses but that didn't stop me from picking up a plastic lawn chair and turning it upside down over my head to use as an umbrella.

When the tornado sirens went off, I thought "Oh goody, we can get inside now."  Nope.  Still stuck outside without any shelter. While waiting, I could see the baseball players hanging out in their dugouts.  Then I thought, why are they not putting people in the locker rooms?  Why am I still standing out in the cold, wet weather?  The Saints announcer came on the speaker again and said that there we were in a severe thunderstorm warning, not a tornado warning.  So then why did the sirens go off??

We eventually made our way to the front gate but it was still raining.  I had expected warm weather so I had worn flip flops.  There was no way I could walk the mile back to the car in flip flops while it was raining.  Looking back I'm glad we wore sandals and capris.  We would have been even more miserable if we were stuck in wet pants and soaked socks.  Yuck!  I, however, wished I had brought along a jacket.  I felt sorry for all those people that just had a tank top on.

Ten o'clock came, the sun rose in the west, the rain stopped.  Another announcement was made.  The extended fireworks show would still go on and then the game would resume.  Yeah!

The fireworks were awesome, at least it sounded like it.  By the end of the show, they were going off so fast that white smoke covered the sky and with the breeze, it came over and blanketed us.  We were sitting on the 1st base line and we couldn't even see past 3rd base.  It was that thick.  We missed seeing the finale but it sure sounded like it was awesome.  If only we were on the north east side of it versus the south west side.

We stayed until the top of the fifth; it was about 11pm.  It was a long day.  Time to go home and dig out the flannel pajamas.  I heard from a gal I work with at the Y; her friend was at the game until 1 am.  I'm glad we left when we did even though I still don't know who won.

Next time, if there's ever going to be a next time, I'll buy tickets at the sales counter versus pre-paying for them.  Who thought it was a good idea for outside baseball again?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Bucket List

I know some of you have already posted your summer bucket lists.  I've meant to do mine sooner but never got around to posting it here.  I, however, have "posted" it in my kitchen.

Last year I had many ideas of what I wanted to do throughout summer but I probably only did one or two.  I don't want to miss out on this summer too.  Nice weather (even 90* days) don't come around too often. 

As you can see, a hole row is gone.  That was the months of May and June.  Some items that can be checked off the list include: Garage Sales.  I hit the Johnsville neighborhood at the beginning of May and the Club West/ Deacon's Walk Garage Sales at the end of May.

The Stone Arch Arts Festival.

Casey's Wedding.  Forget Will & Kate.  Her's was the event of the summer.  And she planned it fast.  They only got engaged at Valentine's Day.  But she's so organized that she would be the one who could plan a wedding in only 4 months.

Some activities that are still on the list include:

Attending a St. Paul Saints and/or Twins Game.  I will be able to check the Saints off the list as of tonight.  My sister and I will be going for both the game and the extended fireworks show following the game.  I'm still looking forward to my first game at Target Stadium though.

The Minnesota Zoo.  The last time I was there, it was for German Days in my Senior Year.  I can't believe that was 11 years ago.  I wasn't able to see anything besides the little bit of hall that our Schildkrote (sea turtle) display was stationed and the food court.  Maybe I'll be able to see the dolphin show or a lion, tiger or bear.  Oh my....I hope the shutdown doesn't last too long.

Valleyfair!!!! The be-all and end-all of a Minnesota summer.  A bunch of gals for the dental office have set the date for Friday, July 29th.

Festivals.  These include the Grand Marais Arts Festival on July 9th and 10th. (I will miss out on this as I have to work at the Y.)
The Hopkins Raspberry Festival: July 9-17.
The Minneapolis Aquatennial: July 15-23.
Lumberjack Days in Stillwater: July 21-24.
Uptown/ Powderhorn/ Loring Park Arts Festivals: August 6th and 7th.

Movies Under The Stars (Loring Park) and Movies In The Park (Walker Arts in St. Paul), both in August.

I'd also like to see a Water Ski Show on the Mississippi and take a Dinner Cruise on the St. Croix in Afton/Hudson.

Last but not least, get a farmer's tan.  I haven't had a natural sun-made tan since Captain's Practices for tennis when we were in high school.  I have a hint of glow but that's from a tanning bed.  I'd rather have an uneven tan just to feel the sunshine and breeze than be line-free from a dark, air-conditioned room.

I may have missed some things and I know things will pop up as we move through July and August.  But I'll keep you updated on my adventures.